Causes - The Revolt Of 1857 UPSC Notes | EduRev

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Causes
Grievances of the Native Rulers

  • Dalhousie’s annexation of states through Doctrine of Lapse: Satara in 1858, Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Sambalpur (Orissa) in 1849, Baghat (a hill state south of the Sutlej) in 1850, Udaipur (the state in Central Provinces and not the one in Rajputana) in 1852, Jhansi in 1853, and Nagpur in 1854. The annexation of Baghat and Udaipur were, however, cancelled and they were restored to their ruling houses. When Dalhousie wanted to apply the Doctrine of Lapse to Karauli (Rajputana), he was overruled by the Court of Directors.
  • Dalhousie’s annexation of Awadh on the ground of misrule in 1857: Sir Jame Outram, who had been the British Resident there since 1854, was appointed as the first Chief Commissioner in 1856, but he was also replaced within matter of months by Sir Henry Lawrence (he was the Chief Commissioner when revolt broke out).Causes - The Revolt Of 1857 UPSC Notes | EduRev
    Sir Henry Lawrence
  • Abolition of titles and suspension of pensions—Dalhousie abolished the titles of the Nawab of Carnatic and the Raja of Travancore, and refused to grant the pension to the adopted son (Dhondu Pandit, better known as Nana Saheb) of the last Peshwa (Baji Rao II) after the latter’s death in 1851. He also announced in 1849 that the successors of Bahadur Shah II would have to leave the Red Fort. Canning’s announcement in 1856 that successors of Bahadur Shah to be known only as princes and not as kings.

Grievances of Sepoys

  • Discrimination in payment and promotions. 
  • Mistreatment of the sepoys by the British officials.
  • Refusal of the British to pay foreign service allowance (Batta) while fighting in remote regions such as Punjab or Sindh.
  • Religious objections of the high caste Hindu sepoys to Lord Canning’s General Service Enlistment Act (1856) ordering all recruits to be ready for service both within and outside India (i.e., across the seas).
  • Encouragement given to the Christian missionaries by the British army officers.
  • The disaffection among the sepoys manifested itself on a number of occasions in the form of mutinies before 1857: 
  • Mutiny of the sepoys in Bengal in 1764;
  • Vellore mutiny in 1806;
  • Mutiny of the sepoys of the 47th regiment at Barrackpore in 1824;
  • Mutinies of the 34th Native Infantry (N.I.), the 22nd N.I.., the 66th N.l. and the 37th N.l. in 1844, 1849, 1850 and 1852 respectively.

Grievances of Orthodox and Conservative People

  • Fear of the Indians (both Muslim and Hindu) due to the activities of the Christian missionaries and the protection and encouragement given to them by the British government.
  • Resentment of the conservative and orthodox elements against the social reforms and humanitarian measures introduced by the government. Eg., abolition of Sati (1829), legislation of widow remarriage (1856), protection of the civil rights of converts from Hinduism (by the Religious Disabilities Act of 1856), spread of western education, etc.

Facts To Be Remembered

Farazi  Revolt (1838-57)

  • The Farazis were followers of a Muslim sect founded by Hazi Shariatullah of Faridpur in Eastern Bengal.
  • Under the leadership of Titu Mir they took up arms against the oppression of the company and its officers towards the tenants.
  • The Farazis merged into the later Wahabi movement.
  • Bhil and  Ramosi  Risings
  • The Bhils who lived in the Western Ghats revolted against Company rule in 1817-19.
  • The Ramosis rose in 1822 under the leadership of Chittar Singh.

Koli Risings

  • The fiercely independent Kolis rose up in a series of rebellions in 1829, 1839 and once again in 1844-48.
  • They were protesting against the imposition of British rule and the dismantlement of their forts.
  • Surat Salt Agitation
  • The raising of salt duty from 50 paise to one rupee in 1844 caused great discontentment among the people. The disturbances they caused compelled the government to subsequently withdraw the salt duty.

Kutch and Waghera Rebellions

  • The root cause of the Kutch rebellion was the struggle between the Kutch ruler Rao Bharmal and the pro-Jhareya chiefs.
  • The undue exactions of the Gaekwad of Baroda, backed by British support compelled the Waghera Chief to declare war on the British.

Kolhapur and Savantvadi Revolts

  • The difficulties caused by the administrative reorganization in the Kolhapur state after 1844 drove the Gadkaris and Savantvadis to revolt against the British government.

Points To Be Remembered

  • Nana Sahib acknowledged Bahadur Shah II as the emperor of India and declared himself to be his Governor.
  • Hazrat Mahal proclaimed her young son, Birjis Kadr, as the Nawab of Avadh.
  • During the Revolt, Madras, Bombay, Bengal and the Western Punjab remained undisturbed, even though the popular feeling in these provinces favoured the rebels.
  • Even the taluqdars (big zamindars) of Avadh, who had joined the Revolt, abandoned it once the Government gave them an assurance that their estates would be returned to them.
  • Big merchants of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras supported the British during the Revolt because their main profits came from foreign trade and economic connections with the British merchants.
  • The Santhals hated the dikus (traders, moneylenders, and so on).
  • Birsa Munda is regarded as a prophet of a separatist Jharkhand.
  • Agrarian discontent in Maharashtra (1875) was chiefly against moneylenders.
  • Tipu headed the Pagal Panthi sect that incited tenants against their zamindars.
  • Dis-satisfaction caused by the official policy of taxing lands belonging to temples, charitable institutions, mosques, etc.

Grievances of the craftsmen, peasants, and Zamindars

  • Artisans and Craftsmen—Destruction of village industries and handicraft due to the “one-way” free trade policy of the British.
  • Peasants—Loss of their lands to the money-lenders due to the land and land-revenue policies of the British, particularly the Ryotwari System, and their system of law and administration (which favoured the money lenders at the cost of the peasants).
  • Traditional Zamindars—Many of them lost their zamindaris to the new class of urban-based absentee landlords due to the introduction of the Zamindari or the Permanent Settlement and the strict manner of revenue collection by the British.

Military Causes

  • Jolts given to the British armed strength by certain events like the First Afghan War, Anglo-Sikh War, Crimean War and the Santhal Uprising; combined with these, the disproportionate ratio of the sepoys to the Europeans in the British India Army (6:1) and the faulty disposition of the troop on the eve of the Revolt gave the sepoys some confidence.

Immediate Cause

  • Introductlon of the new Enfield Rifle (January, 1857) with greased (supposedly with the at of cows and pigs) cartridge whose end had to be bitten off before loading it into the rifle.

Facts To Be Remembered

  • “The tampering with the religion of the people and forcible destruction of native authority led to the Revolt of 1857".—Bejamin Disraeli.
  • Sir John Lawrence: It was a military revolt which was converted Into a political affair.
  • Raikes: It was primarily a mutiny gradually developing into a general revolt in certain areas.
  • Marx: The incidence of 1857 was an extension of the social progress the English had already initiated.
  • Sir John Kaye: The Brahmans took the lead in instigating the soldiers and the general populace to revolt.
  • G.B. Malleson: The revolt was the result of a conspiracy between the leaders who participated in the revolt.
  • T.R. Holmes: The revolt was the product of groups who feared the beneficient changes being introduced into the administration.
  • F.W. Bucken: 1857 was a return of the soldiers to their king against the rebellious company. 
  • Nandlal Chaterjee: The 1857 mutiny gave vent to a more widespread political discontent. 
  • S.N. Sen: The mutiny was inevitable for no dependent nation can ever reconcile itself to foreign domination.
Important Personalities of the Revolt: Mangal Pandey, Nana Sahib, Munshi Azim Ullah Khan, Rango Bapuji, Emperor Bahadur Shah II, Tantia Tope, Rani of Jhansi, Khan Bahadur Khan, Maulvi Ahmedullah of Faizabad, Kunwar Singh.
Supporters of the English: The Bombay and Madras armies remained loyal. The Rajas of Patiala, Jind, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Nepal helped in the suppression of revolt.

 

  • Disobeyal of orders by the sepoys of the 19th N.I. stationed at Berhampur on 26th February, 1857, and its disbandment by the British Government (Colonel Mitchell its commanding officer)
  • Mutiny of Mangal Pandey, a sepoy of the 34th N.I. stationed at Barrackpur, on 29th March, 1857 (Pa dey severely wounded Lt. Baugh, Adjutant to the C O of Barrackpur, General Hearsey). Futile attempt of Pandey to commit suicide; his execution and the disbandment of the unit.Causes - The Revolt Of 1857 UPSC Notes | EduRev
    Mangal Pandey
  • Disobeyal of orders by 85 men of the 3rd cavalry at Meerut, their courtmartial and imprisonment on 24th April.
  • Refusal of the sepoys of the 7th Awadh regiment at Lucknow to use the greased cartridges on 2nd May 1857, and its disbandment.

Important Centres and Their Leaders

  • Delhi—Bahadur Shah II (nominal leader) and General Bakht Khan (who was an ordinary subedar in the British army at Bareilly and who had led the revolt of the sepoys there and brought them to Delhi was the actual leader of the sepoys at Delhi).
  • Kanpur—Nana Saheb, Rao Sahib (nephew of Nana), Tantia Tope and Azimullah Khan (advisors of Nana).
  • Lucknow—Begum of Awadh (Hazarat Mahal) and Ahmad Ullah (advisor of the ex-nawab of Awadh).
  • Jhansi—Rani Lakshmibai (widow of the ex-king of Jhansi).
  • Bareilly—Khan Bahadur (grandson of the last ruler of Rohilkhand)
  • Arrah—Kunwar Singh (the dispossessed zamindar of Jagdishpur in Bihar) and Amar Singh (brother of Kunwar).
  • Other leaders-Maulavi Ahmadullah of Faizabad, Firuz Shah (a relative of the Mughal emperor).

Suppression

  • Delhi: Its recapture by General John Nicholson in September, 1857 (Nicholson died soon due to a mortal wound received during the fighting); murder of the Mughal emperor’s sons and a grand son by Lt. Hodson; arrest and deportation of Bahadur Shah II to Rangoon.
  • Kanpur: Its defense by Sir Hugh Wheeler against Nana s forces till 26th June 1857 and surrender of the British on 27th on the promise of safe conduct to Allahabad by Nana (murder of all Englishmen while they were leaving the place in boats on 27th June and murder of all English women and children, after a short period of confinement on 15th July); its recapture by Major General Havelock on 17th July)Causes - The Revolt Of 1857 UPSC Notes | EduRev
    Sir Havelock
    after defeating Nana in a series of battles (Brigadier General Neill who arrived here soon took revenge by butchering many Indians); its occupation by the mutinous Gwalior contignent under Tantia Tope in November 1857; and its finally recovered by Sir Colin Campbell in December, 1857 (he became the new commander-in-chief of the Indian Army in August 1857).

Facts To Be Remembered

  • “The tampering with the religion of the people and forcible destruction of native authority led to the Revolt of 1857".—Bejamin Disraeli.
  • Sir John Lawrence: It was a military revolt which was converted Into a political affair.
  • Raikes: It was primarily a mutiny gradually developing into a general revolt in certain areas.
  • Marx: The incidence of 1857 was an extension of the social progress the English had already initiated.
  • Sir John Kaye: The Brahmans took the lead in instigating the soldiers and the general populace to revolt.
  • G.B. Malleson: The revolt was the result of a conspiracy between the leaders who participated in the revolt.
  • T.R. Holmes: The revolt was the product of groups who feared the beneficient changes being introduced into the administration.
  • F.W. Bucken: 1857 was a return of the soldiers to their king against the rebellious company. 
  • Nandlal Chaterjee: The 1857 mutiny gave vent to a more widespread political discontent. 
  • S.N. Sen: The mutiny was inevitable for no dependent nation can ever reconcile itself to foreign domination.

Spread of the Mutiny

 10 May 1857: At Meerut.
 11-30 May: Outbreaks in Delhi, Bombay, and many stations in U.P. The   Mughal emperor was proclaimed as the Emperor of India.
 June:At Gwalior, Jhansi, Allahabad, Lucknow. Henry Lawrence, the British   resident, was killed at Lucknow.
 July: At Indore, Mhow, Sialkot
 September: The English recaptured Delhi.
 November: The rebels defeated General Windham outside Kanpur.
 December: Sir Colin Campbell won the battle of Kanpur. Tantia Tope escaped.
 March, 1858: The English recaptured Lucknow.
 April: Jhansi fell to the English, fresh rising in Bihar led by Kunwar Singh.
 May: The English recaptured Gwalior, Rani of Jhansi died in fighting.

  • Lucknow: Seizure of the British Residency at Lucknow and death of Sir Henry Lawrence on 2nd July 1857; arrival of Havelock, Qutram and Neill with reinforcements (25th September) and death of Neill; relief of the besieged British by Sir Colin Campbell on 17th November, death of Havelock in December, 1857, and its occupation by Tantia Tope; its final reoccupation  by Campbell on 21st March, 1858.

Facts To Be Remembered

Chuar and Ho Risings (1766-72)

  • Famine, enhanced demands and economic privation drove the Chuar aboriginal tribesmen to revolt in 1766.
  • The Ho and Munda tribes of Chhotanagpur and Singhbhum also revolted.
  • The Sanyasi Revolt
  • The disastrous famine of 1770 and the harsh economic order of the British compelled a group of Sanyasis to fight the Britishers.
  • They raided company factories, state treasuries and fought the company’s forces. After prolonged action Warren Hastings subdued the Sanyasis.

Kol Risings (1831)

  • The Kols of Chhotanagpur opposed the transfer of land from Kol headmen to outsiders. A large military force had to be deployed to suppress it.
  • Ahoms  Revolt  (1828-33)
  • They revolted due to the non-fulfilment of the pledges of the company after the conclusion of the Burmese War.
  • In 1828, they proclaimed Gomdhar Kanwar as their king. The company retrieved the situation by dividing the kingdom.

Khasi Rising

  • The Britishers occupied the hilly region between Jaintia and Garo hills.
  • It was resented by the Khasis, and Tirath Singh, the ruler of Nunklow, raised the standard of revolt. It was suppressed in 1833.

Santhal Risings (1855-56)

  • The Santhal rebellion in the Rajmahal hills area of Bihar, beginning primarily as a reaction against their exploitation by the outsiders, developed into an anti-British movement.
  • Under the leadership of Sidhu and Kanhu, they fought the Britishers and took complete control of the area between Bhagalpur and Rajmahal but were crushed by British military forces.

Facts To Be Remembered

  • Hutchinson: The Revolt of 1857 was the last protest of a feudal order that felt itself inundated by the forces of modernity.
  • P.C. Joshi: The 1857 uprising was the source spring of the national movement.
  • Nana Sahib was the adopted son of Baji Rao II, the last Peshwa. The British refused to grant Nana Sahib the pension they were paying to Baji Rao II, who died in 1851.
  • The opening of Western education to girls was not liked by conservatives in India.
  • Saiyid Ahmad Khan wrote Causes of the Indian Mutiny .
  • Some historians and writers assert that the Revolt was the result of a widespread and well organised conspiracy. They point to the circulation of chappattis and red lotuses, propaganda by wandering sanyasis, faqirs and madaris.
  • On 24 April. 1857, men of the 3rd Native Cavalry refused to accept the greased cartridges at Meerut.
  • In U.P. and Bihar, peasants and zamindars took advantage of the Revolt to destroy the moneylender’s account books and records of debts. Revenue offices (tehsils) were also attacked.
  • The British occupied Delhi in September 1857.
  • Jhansi and Gwalior: Jhansi’s recapture by Sir Hugh Rose on 4th April, 1858 and the escape of Rani Laxmibai; capture of Gwalior (whose soldiers revolted and drove out their ruler, Scindia) by Rani and Tantia; death of Rani on 17th June, 1858 and recapture of Gwalior by Rose on 20th June.
  • Bareilly: Its recapture by Campbell on 5th May, 1858.
  • Arrah: Suppression of the Bihar movement under Kunwar Singh by William Taylor and Vincent Eyre temporarily in August, 1857; escape of Kunwar to Awadh and his return to Bihar in April, 1858, to fight his last battle (he died on 9th May).
  • Banaras and Allahabad: Recaptured by Neill in June 1857.
  • Central India: The whole of central India and Bundelkhand was brought under British control by Sir Hugh Rose in the first half of 1858; but Tantia Tope, after losing Gwalior, escaped to Central India and carried on guerrilla war for 10 months. Finally he was betrayed by Man Singh (a feudatory of Scindia) and was executed by the British on 18th April 1859. Nana Saheb, Begam of Awadh, and Khan Bahadur escaped to Nepal in December 1858 and died there; General Bakht Khan went to Awadh after the fall of Delhi, and died fighting the British on 13 May, 1859; Maulavi  Ahmadullah was treacherously murdered by Raja of Puwain in June, 1858.
  • The spread of the Great Mutiny: It was on May 10, 1857 that a Mutiny broke out at Meerut, owing to the foolish imprisonment of 85 sepoys for their refusal to use the greased catridges. Having murdered many Europeans, the mutineers marched to Delhi where the regiments at once mutinied and proclaimed Bahadur Shah II as the sovereign, making it a semi-national uprising. In the same year, the sepoys mutinied at Lucknow. Sir Henry Lawrence, the Chief Commissioner of Oudh, died after a heroic struggle for 87 days. The place was relieved by Generals Havelock and Outram. The town was completely in the hands of the mutineers. In June, 1857, the Kanpur sepoys mutinied under Nana Sahib and many Englishmen were killed in cold blood. Even at Jhansi, the sepoys instigated by the ex-Rani shot down their officers. Similar excesses were committed at several military stations in Bengal and the North-western Provinces.
  • General Havelock set out from Allahabad in July and captured Kanpur. After defeating Nana Sahib, he set out for Lucknow. The mutineers re-captured the town immediately after his departure. General Nicholson relieved Delhi. 
    Causes - The Revolt Of 1857 UPSC Notes | EduRev
    General Havelock
  • General Havelock and Outram entered Lucknow, but were themselves besieged in the Presidency which was finally relieved by Campbell. A kind of guerrilla war continued for two years before the province returned to loyalty. On December, 6, 1857, Campbell defeated the Gwalior sepoys under Nana Sahib and captured Gwalior. Tantia Tope, Nana Sahib’s minister, fought gallantly, but was forced to retreat. He was betrayed, caught and hanged in 1859. With his fall the Mutiny came to a close. 
  • Nana Sahib is supposed to have perished in the Nepal jungles. Bahadur Shah, the last aged Mughal emperor, was kept as a state prisoner first at Calcutta and then at Rangoon where he died at the age of 87. Rani Lakshmi Bai died in the battlefield. She was considered as the best and bravest of all the rebel leaders.
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