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Who were the Leaders of the Revolt of 1857?

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list of the leaders of the revolt of 1857

The British administration had to face many challenges while being on the throne to have control of the vast Subcontinent like India. One of the examples of this encounter of defiance was the revolt of 1857. The epicentre of the revolt was Delhi which later spread to different centres, like Lucknow, Kanpur, Assam, Bareilly, Arrah and Jhansi. In each of these locations, however, local figures emerged who for all intents and purposes, operated autonomously, despite acknowledging Emperor Bahadur Shah’s authority. In this blog, we will get to know a list of the leaders in the revolt of 1857.

Introduction of the Revolt

In the year 1857, a major rebellion against British rule, which was impending for a long time,  broke out in northern and central India. It started with soldiers (sepoys) but quickly involved everyday people.

  • It all began on 29th March 1857, when a sepoy named Mangal Pandey attacked a British officer in Barrackpore, a place near the then Calcutta (Kolkata). He was caught by the British forces for revolting, They punished and eventually killed him. 
  • News of this event spread like wildfire. Anger of resistance against the Britishers grew throughout India. The Barrackpore regiment was disbanded as other sepoys too joined the movement started by Mangal Pandey.
  • A bigger revolt happened in Meerut when sepoys refused to use new cartridges they believed went against their religion. Nearly 85 sepoys were sentenced to 2 to 10 years because of their resistance.
  • On 10th May 1857, three other regiments in Meerut broke open a mutiny. They were harshly punished, which sparked an open rebellion. The sepoys killed British officers, freed their comrades and proceeded towards Delhi.
  • In Delhi, the sepoys joined forces with local soldiers and civilians. They took control of the city, killed many British officers and declared the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah, as the ruler of India. This uprising then spread to other parts of the country.

Also Read – Why Did the Indian Mutiny Happen?

Leader of the Revolt of 1857

Here is a list of leaders of the revolt of 1857.

CentresLeaders of the Revolt of 1857
DelhiGeneral Bakht Khan 
LucknowBegum Hazrat Mahal
KanpurNana Saheb
BareillyKhan Bahadur
BiharKunwar Singh
FaizabadMaulvi Ahmadullah
JhansiRani Laxmibai
Assam Maniram Dewan
  1. Mangal Pandey 
  • Mangal Pandey, a young high-caste Hindu soldier from Uttar Pradesh. He became angry when he got to know that the new rifle cartridges were rumoured to be greased with animal fat, which offended his religion and that of many other sepoys (Indian soldiers).
  • In March 1857, at a military base in Barrackpore, Pandey fired his gun at a British officer to protest the new cartridges. He urged other soldiers to join him.
  • Mangal Pandey was arrested and sentenced to death. He was hanged even earlier than planned, on April 8th, 1857.
  • Though Pandey’s act failed, it sparked a series of rebellions across India.
  • The Indian government honoured him with a postage stamp in 1984.

Also Read – 20+ Greatest Indian Freedom Fighters and their Sacrifices

  1. General Bakht Khan
  • In Delhi, Bahadur Shah of the Mughal Dynasty served as the ruler. 
  • However, it was the military personnel who held true control. 
  • General Bakht Khan, who led the uprising of the troops at Bareilly, made his way to Delhi on July 3rd, 1857. 
  • He began to impose real power and authority in Delhi after his arrival.
  • He also established a military tribunal consisting of both Hindu and Muslim soldiers as its members.

Also Read – 5 Causes Of Decline Of Mughal Empire

  1. Begum Hazrat Mahal
  • In Lucknow, the Begum of Awadh took charge and declared her son, Birjis Qadr, as the Nawab of Awadh. 
  • However, once more, the leader who enjoyed greater support was Maulavi Ahmadullah of Faizabad, who led uprisings and battled against the British.
  • Thus, in Lucknow, Begum Hazrat Mahal received support from Maulvi Ahmadullah.
  1. Nana Saheb
  • In Kanpur, the uprising was led under the leadership of Nana Saheb, who was the adopted son of Peshwa Baji Rao II. 
  • The rebellious sepoys also backed Nana Saheb, and with his guidance, both the military and civilian groups joined hands.
  • They drove out the British from Kanpur, and Nana Saheb was recognised as the Peshwa. His forces were led by Tantya Tope and Azimullah.
Nana Saheb.

  1. Rani Laxmibai
  • Rani Lakshmi Bai, also known as Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, was another renowned and brave leader. 
  • She felt that she had been robbed of her authority in violation of established Hindu legal principles. Also, due to the doctrine of lapse, she was dethroned from her own region of rule. This sparked a fire against the Europeans in Jhansi.
  • Although she initially displayed some hesitation, she courageously battled against the Britishers after becoming a part of the rebel forces.

Also Read – Independence Day Celebrations 1947: Important Events

  1. Maniram Dewan
  • The revolt fire also reached the far-off regions of the North-East. Maniram Dewan led the rebellion from Assam.
  • Maniram Dutta Barua, also known as Maniram Dewan, was among the earliest to start the tea industry in Assam and initially supported the British.
  • He turned against the British due to their harsh control and during the First War of Indian Independence, he encouraged the Ahom Royal of Assam to rebel and proclaim their independence from the British.
  • Their plan was discovered, and Maniram Dewan, along with Piyali Barua ((or Peali), was executed on 26th February 1858, at the Jorhat Central Jail at the age of 51.
  • The execution of Maniram Dewan by the British ignited a widespread revolt against colonial authority.
  1. Kunwar Singh 
  • He was a regional landlord in Arrah, Bihar.
  • During his rule, the military and civilian uprisings were so thoroughly integrated that the British feared him the most.

Other leaders like Khan Bahadur and Maulvi Ahmadullah, also led the revolt from different locations of the Indian subcontinent.

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Thus, this was a list of leaders of the revolt of 1857. If you want to read more articles like this, you can get Study notes on the Modern History of India here. Also, you can visit our general knowledge page on Indian History!

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