Q.1. Examine why the British annexed the territory of Awadh.
Ans. The annexation of Awadh was done due to two main reasons:
(a) Lord Dalhousie had referred Awadh as a “Cherry that is to drop in (British) our Mouth”.
(b) The land of Awadh was fertile and was apt for growing indigo and cotton.
Q.2.Name any four leaders of the Revolt of 1857?
Ans. The Mughal Emperor, Rani of Jhansi, Successor of Peshwa Baji Rao, Nana Saheb and later the Zamindar Kunwar Singh in Arrah of Bihar joined them.
Q.3. Examine the participation of the Taluqdars of Awadh in the Revolt of 1857.
Ans. The participation of Taluqdars of Awadh in the Revolt of 1857 :
(i) The annexation of Awadh dispossessed the taluqdars of the region.
(ii) The countryside of Awadh was dotted with the estates and forts of taluqdars who had controlled land and power for many generations in the countryside.
(iii) The British were unwilling to tolerate the power of the taluqdars.
(iv) After the annexation, the taluqdars were disarmed and their forts were destroyed.
(v) The Summary Settlement proceeded to remove the taluqdars wherever possible.
(vi) In pre-British times, taluqdars held 67 per cent of the total number of villages in Awadh, by the Summary Settlement this number came down to 38 per cent.
(vii) The taluqdars of southern Awadh were the hardest hit and some lost more than half of the total number of previously held villages.
(viii)British land revenue officers believed that by removing taluqdars they would be able to settle the land with the actual owners of the soil.
(ix) Large areas of Awadh were actually heavily over assessed.
(x) The increase of revenue demand in some places hiked was from 30 to 70 per cent. Thus neither taluqdars nor peasants had any reasons to be happy with the annexation.
(xi) Dispossession of taluqdars meant the breakdown of social order.
(xii) In areas like Awadh where resistance during 1857 was intense and long lasting, taluqdars and their peasants carried out the revolt.
(xiii)Many of these taluqdars were loyal to the Nawab of Awadh, and they joined Begum Hazrat Mahal Lucknow to fight the British; some even remained with her in defeat.
(xiv) Any other relevant point.
Q.4 The National Movement in the 20th century drew its inspiration from the events of 1857. Support this statement with examples.
Ans. The National Movement in 20th century drew its inspiration from the events of 1857. It was celebrated as the First War of Independence in which people of different castes and communities came together. Hindus and Muslims were united to fight the British. The leaders of the revolt were presented as heroic figures leading the country into battle against injustice and alien rule. Heroic poems were written to honour their courage and valour.
Q. 5. Examine the relationship of the Indian sepoys with their superior white officers in the years preceding the uprising of 1857.
Ans. Before the years of 1857, the relationship of sepoys with the British officers underwent important change. In the decade of 1820, British officers stressed on maintaining friendly relations with the sepoys. During their leisure times, they would spend time together, wrestle with them, fence with them and went hunting with them. The British officials were fluent with the hindi language and familiar with Indian customs and culture. These officers had strictness and love of parents in them. But the situation changed during the 1840s. A sense of superiority began to develop among the officers and they started treating the Indian sepoys as their inferiors. They started abusing and physical violence became very common between the officers and the sepoys. The incident of the greased cartridges was a classic example of dispute evolution.
Q.6. Explain the provisions of the Subsidiary Alliance imposed on Awadh in 1801 by the British.
Ans. The British had long cherished to occupy and control Awadh. In 1857, Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General of India, had described the kingdom of Awadh as “A cherry that will drop into our mouth one day”. However, the British were able to annex Awadh to the British Empire in 1856. The first step towards the acquisition of Awadh was the imposition of the Subsidiary Alliance in 1801.
It stipulated the following conditions on the Nawab:
(i) Nawab will have to disband his military force and permit the British to send and station their troops within the kingdom.
(ii) He will act in accordance with the advice of the British Resident and will enter into agreements with other rulers or engage in warfare only with the permission of the British.
In other words, the Nawab had lost his independence and had become dependent on the British to maintain law and order within the kingdom. He had also lost his control over the rebellious chiefs and taluqdars.
Q.7. “Rumours and prophecies played an important part in moving people to action”. Support the statement with reference to the Revolt of 1857.
Ans. Rumours and Prophecies:
(i) They thought that bullets were coated with fat of cows and pigs and biting those bullets would corrupt their caste and religion.
(ii) The sepoys had refused saying that the ‘lower caste’ touch would defile the lota.
(iii) The rumours said that the British had mixed the bone dust of cows and pigs into the flour that was sold in the market.
(iv) Matter regarding conversion to Christianity was also a big issue.
(v) Chapattis were being distributed from village to village.
(vi) The prophecy that the British Rule would come to an end in the country at the Battle of Plassey on 23rd June, 1857.
Sepoys who had arrived in Delhi from Meerut told Bahadur Shah that bullets were coated with the fat of pigs and cows and biting them would corrupt their caste and religion. They were referring to the cartridges of the Enfield rifles and when British explained that it was not so, the sepoys refused to believe and the news spread like wildfire. There was the rumour that British had hatched a conspiracy to destroy the caste and religion. To this end, it was rumoured that the dust of the bones of pigs and cows are added into the flour sold in market and people refused to touch the atta. There was also a fear that British wanted natives to be converted into Christianity and panic spread fast and though the officers tried to ally their fears but were not believed by the people.
Q.8. How did British dispose Taluqdars of Awadh during 1857? Explain with examples.
Ans. The annexation of Awadh displaced the Nawab as well as the Taluqdars of the region. In pre-British times, Taluqdars kept armed retainers, built forts and enjoyed sufficient autonomy as long as they accepted the superiority of the Nawab and paid the revenue of their taluq. The British were not ready to tolerate the power of the Taluqdars and immediately after the annexation of Awadh, the Taluqdars were disarmed and their forts were destroyed. The land revenue policy of the British further undermined the power and position of the Taluqdars. The Summary Settlement further removed the Taluqdars. British land revenue officers believed that by removing Taluqdars, they would be able to settle the land with the original owners and reduce the exploitation of peasants, while increasing the revenue of the state. Though revenue increased, the burden to peasants did not stop. Thus, neither Taluqdars nor peasants had any reasons to be happy with the annexation.
Q. 9. “The annexation of Awadh displaced not just the Nawab but also dispossessed the Taluqdars of the region, causing breakdown of the entire social orders”. Critically examine the statement.
Critically examine Lord Dalhousie’s policy of annexation in Awadh.
Ans. The revolt of 1857 was well planned and well coordinated. In spite of the Nawabs of Awadh being loyal to the British, it did not stop Lord Dalhousie’s plan to annex Awadh. It was done in stages and it was needed because the soil was good for the cultivation of cotton and indigo. On 13 February 1856, Awadh was annexed to the British Empire on the grounds of maladministration.
Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was sent to Calcutta with an annual pension. The British government wrongly assumed that Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was an unpopular ruler. On the contrary, he was widely loved. With the dissolution of the royal administration, large number of officials, Taluqdars and courtiers, cooks, dancers, musicians, and poets, all lost their livelihoods. So the social order was completely broken down.
The annexation of Awadh:
(a) Lord Dalhousie had referred Awadh as a “Cherry that is to drop in (British) our Mouth”.
(b) He had used a 2 tier policy in order to annex Awadh.
The first phase was implementation of Subsidiary Alliance in 1801 under Wellesley.
(a) Through the Subsidiary Alliance, the Indian army/troops of the Nawab would be dismantled and replaced by, the British troops.
(b) Through this, the Nawab’s control on the troops would be weakened and British could gain stronger control in the region.British were interested in the annexation of Awadh due to the fact that the land was fertile and was apt for growing indigo and cotton.
The second phase was that they had annexed the Nawab of Awadh Wajid Ali Shah from throne and exiled to Calcutta.
The British had wrongly assessed that Nawab as an unpopular ruler. When the Nawab was exiled many citizens /people had followed till Kanpur and they sang songs of sorrow and despair, one such song was “The soul went out of the body”.
Not only in Awadh, this annexation happened in the Maratha lands, Punjab and Bengal.
Q.10. How did the rebels in 1857 try to materialize their vision of unity? Explain briefly.
Highlight the measures taken to ensure unity among the rebels of 1857.
Ans. The rebels tried to garner the support of all sections of the society irrespective of their caste and creed. The rebellion were viewed as a war in which both the communities stood together. Hindus and Muslims stood equally to gain or lose. The amicable relations between the two communities were emphasized. The ishtehars brought to the forefront memories of the pre-British Hindu-Muslim past. Thus, religious differences were not visible between the two communities in 1857. Despite British attempts to create a wedge between them. In this way, the rebels tried to materialise their vision of unity.
Q.11. Examine the repressive measures adopted by the British to subdue the rebels of 1857.
‘British did not have an easy time in putting down the rebellion of 1857’. Support the statement.
Ans. The British did not have an easy time against the rebellion. To reconquer North India, the British passed a number of laws to help them kill the insurgency. They passed Material Law by which the ordinary processes of law and trial were suspended and the rebellions were sentenced to death only as punishment. The military officers and ordinary British were given the power to punish the suspected Indians. The British also recognised the symbolic value of Delhi and mounted two-pronged attack. One force moved from Calcutta into North India and the other from Punjab to reconquer Delhi. By September 1857, the city was finally captured. In the Gangetic plains, the British forces had to reconquer the area, village by village and the British used military power on a large scale. In large parts of the present day Uttar Pradesh, the British dispossessed the rebel land owners and the loyal land owners were rewarded. Many land owners died fighting the British or they escaped into Nepal, where they died of starvation or illness.
Q.12. Examine the structure of authority and administration that the rebels wanted after the collapse of British Rule in India.
Ans. The revolutionaries of 1857 were in search of an alternative strategy. For example, after the British rule was demolished in Delhi, Lucknow and Kanpur, the revolutionaries wanted to set up a uniform rule or authority at all places. Though this experiment did not succeed, yet it was clear from their efforts that they wanted to establish the rule that existed prior to the 18th century. These leaders took the help of old Darbari culture. They made appointments on different posts and made arrangements for collection of land revenue and the disbursement of salary to the soldiers. They issued decrees to end loot. They also planned strategies to continue war against British rule and took steps to strengthen their control on the army. In all these attempts, the revolutionaries were taking help of the Mughal rulers in the 18th century. The Mughal period was a symbol of lost things.
Q. 13. Examine the proclamations issued by the rebels in 1857 and explain why they wanted to reject everything associated with the British Rule in India.
The 1857 Rebel Proclamation repeatedly appealed to all the sections of the Indian population for unity and co-existence under the Mughal Empire”. Explain the ways adopted by them for unity.
Ans. The Rebel Proclamations in 1857 repeatedly appealed to all sections of the people, irrespective of their caste and creed. They thought that bullets coated with fat of pigs and cows would hurt the sentiments of Hindu and Muslims. Most of the proclamations were issued by Muslim princes or in their names but the sentiments of the Hindus were also considered. The rebellion was seen as a war in which both the Hindus and the Muslim had equally lost or gained. Many pamphlets and notifications were issued which glorified the co-existence of different communities under the Mughal Empire. The proclamation that was issued under the name of Bahadur Shah appealed to the people to join the revolt under the name of Muhammad as well as Mahavir. It was noteworthy to mention that during the uprising, religious divisions between the Hindus and the Muslim were hardly noticeable despite British attempts to create the divisions, which failed. There was a fear that the British were trying to convert them to Christianity. Rebels rejected everything of the British Rule in India as they had no trust in the Britishers.
Q.14. The Rebel Proclamation of 1857 emphasized the value of co-existence amongst different communities under Mughal Empire”. Explain. Suggest two ways to bring peaceful co-existence and fraternity in the contemporary Indian society.
Ans. The proclamation that was issued under the name of Bahadur Shah appealed to people to join the fight under the standards of both Hindus and Muslims. Though British tried to create division between the two religions, there was none and people were united to fight the British. In Bareily (Uttar Pradesh), December 1857, British spent `50,000 to incite the Hindu population against the Muslims but the attempt failed. Hence, we can say that there was acceptance for prevalent values of co-existence in Mughal period.
There can be two strategies to bring about peaceful co-existence and fraternity in the present Indian society.
(a) Right from school education, there should be the teaching for tolerance of diversity in our Indian culture with respect to religion, culture, language and customs.
(b) Using casteism to mobilise people by the political parties needs to be discouraged.
Q. 15. With the help of specific examples, examine the nature of Indian leadership that emerged against the British in the Revolt of 1857.
Ans. The rebels tried to establish authority and administration and for this they went back to the culture of Mughal Court. In Delhi, the sepoys forced Bahadur Shah to agree to be the leader of the rebellion. In Kanpur, Nana Saheb, the successor of Peshwa Bajirao II, had no choice but to join the revolt as their leader. In Jhansi, Rani Lakshmi Bai was forced by the people around her to undertake the leadership of the revolt. Kunwar Singh, a local zamindar in Arrah (Bihar) was also to take the leadership. In Awadh, the people of Lucknow celebrated the fall of British Rule by declaring Birjis Qadar, the young son of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah as their leader who was displaced and his state annexed. Even ordinary men, women and even religious leaders preached the destruction of the British rule.
Q.16. Explain how the merchants in India were badly affected by the monopolisation of trade by British Government, according to the Azamgarh Proclamation of 25th August 1857.
Ans. The Azamgarh Proclamation of 25th August 1857 is one of the most important sources of our knowledge about what the rebels wanted. The Proclamation said that, “It is well known to all, that in this age, the people of Hindustan, both Hindus and Mohammedans, are being ruined under the tyranny and the oppression of the infidel and treacherous English.” It also said that the British Government had monopolised the trade and all the important merchandise. The British monopolised the trade of indigo and trade of unimportant things was left for the people. The British taxed with postages and tolls, etc., and merchants were liable to jail and had to face a lot the complaints of a worthless person.
Q. 17. Explain how the mutinies were so organised in India in 1857.
Ans. The Revolt of 1857 was well-planned and wellcoordinated. It is evident from the following: There was coordination and harmony between sepoys and the ordinary people. Both wanted to target the British. The revolt got a tinge of legitimacy as it was carried forward under the leadership of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor in India. The Hindus and the Muslims united and rose together against the British. There was communication between the sepoy lines and various cantonments. Another example of good planning and organisation can be cited from Awadh where Captain Hearsey of the Awadh Military Police was provided protection by his Indian subordinates during the mutiny. The 41st native infantry, which had killed all its white officers, insisted that the military police would either kill captain Hearsey or hand him over as a prisoner but the military refused to kill captain Hearsey. At last, they decided to settle the issue in a panchayat having native officers drawn from each regiment. In other words, many decisions during the rebellion were taken collectively.
Q.18. Explain briefly how the Rebel Proclamations in 1857 were visualised to achieve unity among all sections of the population.
Ans. The Rebel Proclamations in 1857 appealed again and again to all groups of population irrespective of their creed, caste, etc. Most of the proclamations were issued in the names of Muslims Princes. But these proclamations also addressed the sentiments of Hindus. This rebellion was seen as a war in which Hindus and Muslims both had equally gained or lost. British tried to create religious division among Hindus and Muslims but were not successful. British spent `50,000 in Bareilly in western U.P. in December 1857 to incite the Hindus against the Muslims but failed in their attempt.
Q.19. “Through proclamations the rebels of 1857 completely rejected everything associated with British rule or firangi raj”. Cite any four aspects to support this statement.
Ans. (i) The proclamations condemned the British for the annexations they had carried out and the treaties they had broken.
(ii) Condemned British land revenue settlements had dispossessed landholders, both big and small, and foreign commerce had ruined the weavers and artisans business
(iii) Every aspect of British rule was attacked and the firangi accused of destroying a way of life that was familiar and cherished. The rebels wanted to restore that world.
(iv) The proclamations expressed the widespread fear that the British were bent on destroying the caste and religions of Hindus and Muslims and converting them to Christianity
(v) People were urged to come together and fight to save their livelihood, faith, honour, identity – a fight which was for the “greater public good”. (vi) The proclamations sought to unify all social groups in the fight against British Rule. (vii) Azamgarh proclaimation
Q. 20. Describe how art and literature helped in keeping alive, the memory of 1857.
Ans. Art and literature, as much as the writing of history, helped us in keeping the memory of the Revolt of 1857 alive. The leaders of the revolt, were pictured as heroic figures leading the country into battle, rousing the people to emotions against the British Rule. Heroic poems were written about the Queen, who with a sword in one hand and the reins of the horse in other fought for the freedom of her country. Rani of Jhansi was represented as a masculine figure chasing her enemies, slaying the British soldiers and valiantly fighting till her last breathe.
There were other poems as well. The events of 1857 were remembered as the First War of Independence in which all sections of people joined together to fight against the British. Nationalist collection of images of the revolt helped shape the nationalist imagination.
Q.21. How do the official accounts present the Revolt of 1857? Explain.
Ans. There are many official records about the Revolt of 1857. Colonial administration and military men left their versions in letters and diaries, autobiographies and official histories. We can gauge the official mindset and the changing British attitude through a number of memos and notes, assessments of situation and reports that were produced. Many of these had been collected as a group of mutiny records and these tell us about the fears and anxieties of officials and their perception of the rebels. The stories of the revolts that were published in British newspapers and magazines narrated the violence of the mutineers in detail and these stories inflamed the public feelings provoking demands of revenge and retribution. One important record of the mutiny is the pictorial images produced by the Indian and the Britishers.