The Revolt of 1857 Notes | Study History for UPSC 2022 (Pre & Mains) - Russian

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The Revolt of 1857
Page 2


The Revolt of 1857
Political Causes 
Discontent among ruling chiefs and royal families: Broken pledges and oaths resulted in loss of  
political prestige for some, while policies such as policies of 'Subsidiary  Alliance' and 'Doctrine 
of Lapse’ caused alarm and suspicion in the minds of others.
The collapse of rulers—the erstwhile aristocracy—also adversely affected those sections of the 
Indian society which  derived their sustenance from cultural and religious pursuits. 
Anti-British feelings were particularly strong in those regions like Burma, Assam, Coorg, Sind, 
and the Punjab which were unjustly annexed to the British Empire. 
Page 3


The Revolt of 1857
Political Causes 
Discontent among ruling chiefs and royal families: Broken pledges and oaths resulted in loss of  
political prestige for some, while policies such as policies of 'Subsidiary  Alliance' and 'Doctrine 
of Lapse’ caused alarm and suspicion in the minds of others.
The collapse of rulers—the erstwhile aristocracy—also adversely affected those sections of the 
Indian society which  derived their sustenance from cultural and religious pursuits. 
Anti-British feelings were particularly strong in those regions like Burma, Assam, Coorg, Sind, 
and the Punjab which were unjustly annexed to the British Empire. 
Economic Causes
The huge drain of wealth, the destruction of its industry and increasing land revenue had become the 
common features of the latter half of the eighteenth century.  
The East India Company, after attaining political power, used it to fund the growth of British trade and 
commerce at the cost of Indians.  
High tariff in Britain against Indian goods: It damaged the Indian trade and manufacture; British also 
encouraged the import of British goods to India. 
? In India the ruin of the millions of artisans and craftsmen was not accompanied by any alternative growth 
of new industrial forms.
? Annexation of Indian states by the Company cut off their major source of patronage. 
A new plantation system introduced in the year 1833: It resulted in incalculable misery for the Indian 
peasants. 
? This was the result of permitting Englishmen to acquire land plantations in India.  The hard hit were the 
peasants on the indigo plantations in Bengal and Bihar. 
? Sometimes, zamindars, the traditional landed aristocracy, often saw their land rights forfeited with by the 
administration. This resulted in a loss of status for them in the villages. These dispossessed taluqdars
seized the opportunity presented by the sepoy revolt, particularly in Awadh
Page 4


The Revolt of 1857
Political Causes 
Discontent among ruling chiefs and royal families: Broken pledges and oaths resulted in loss of  
political prestige for some, while policies such as policies of 'Subsidiary  Alliance' and 'Doctrine 
of Lapse’ caused alarm and suspicion in the minds of others.
The collapse of rulers—the erstwhile aristocracy—also adversely affected those sections of the 
Indian society which  derived their sustenance from cultural and religious pursuits. 
Anti-British feelings were particularly strong in those regions like Burma, Assam, Coorg, Sind, 
and the Punjab which were unjustly annexed to the British Empire. 
Economic Causes
The huge drain of wealth, the destruction of its industry and increasing land revenue had become the 
common features of the latter half of the eighteenth century.  
The East India Company, after attaining political power, used it to fund the growth of British trade and 
commerce at the cost of Indians.  
High tariff in Britain against Indian goods: It damaged the Indian trade and manufacture; British also 
encouraged the import of British goods to India. 
? In India the ruin of the millions of artisans and craftsmen was not accompanied by any alternative growth 
of new industrial forms.
? Annexation of Indian states by the Company cut off their major source of patronage. 
A new plantation system introduced in the year 1833: It resulted in incalculable misery for the Indian 
peasants. 
? This was the result of permitting Englishmen to acquire land plantations in India.  The hard hit were the 
peasants on the indigo plantations in Bengal and Bihar. 
? Sometimes, zamindars, the traditional landed aristocracy, often saw their land rights forfeited with by the 
administration. This resulted in a loss of status for them in the villages. These dispossessed taluqdars
seized the opportunity presented by the sepoy revolt, particularly in Awadh
Economic Causes
Moneylenders and traders emerged as the new landlords: Compelled by this new form of 
revenue settlement, the peasants resorted to loans from moneylenders/traders at usurious 
rates, the latter often evicting the former on non-payment of debt dues.
The ruination of Indian industry increased the pressure on agriculture and land
Page 5


The Revolt of 1857
Political Causes 
Discontent among ruling chiefs and royal families: Broken pledges and oaths resulted in loss of  
political prestige for some, while policies such as policies of 'Subsidiary  Alliance' and 'Doctrine 
of Lapse’ caused alarm and suspicion in the minds of others.
The collapse of rulers—the erstwhile aristocracy—also adversely affected those sections of the 
Indian society which  derived their sustenance from cultural and religious pursuits. 
Anti-British feelings were particularly strong in those regions like Burma, Assam, Coorg, Sind, 
and the Punjab which were unjustly annexed to the British Empire. 
Economic Causes
The huge drain of wealth, the destruction of its industry and increasing land revenue had become the 
common features of the latter half of the eighteenth century.  
The East India Company, after attaining political power, used it to fund the growth of British trade and 
commerce at the cost of Indians.  
High tariff in Britain against Indian goods: It damaged the Indian trade and manufacture; British also 
encouraged the import of British goods to India. 
? In India the ruin of the millions of artisans and craftsmen was not accompanied by any alternative growth 
of new industrial forms.
? Annexation of Indian states by the Company cut off their major source of patronage. 
A new plantation system introduced in the year 1833: It resulted in incalculable misery for the Indian 
peasants. 
? This was the result of permitting Englishmen to acquire land plantations in India.  The hard hit were the 
peasants on the indigo plantations in Bengal and Bihar. 
? Sometimes, zamindars, the traditional landed aristocracy, often saw their land rights forfeited with by the 
administration. This resulted in a loss of status for them in the villages. These dispossessed taluqdars
seized the opportunity presented by the sepoy revolt, particularly in Awadh
Economic Causes
Moneylenders and traders emerged as the new landlords: Compelled by this new form of 
revenue settlement, the peasants resorted to loans from moneylenders/traders at usurious 
rates, the latter often evicting the former on non-payment of debt dues.
The ruination of Indian industry increased the pressure on agriculture and land
Administrative Causes
Rampant corruption in the Company's administration, especially  among the police, petty 
officials and lower law courts
Absentee sovereignty-ship character of British rule imparted a foreign and alien look to it
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