The Vellore Mutiny predated the Indian Revolt of 1857 by about 50 years. It erupted on 10th July 1806 in Vellore, present-day Tamil Nadu, and lasted only for a day, but it was brutal and shook the British East India Company. It was the first major mutiny by the Indian sepoys in the East India Company.
Causes of Mutiny:
- The English disregard to the religious sensitivities of the Hindu and Muslim Indian sepoys.
- Sir John Craddock, the Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army had issued orders prohibiting soldiers from wearing religious marks on their foreheads and also to trim their moustaches and shave off their beards. This offended both Hindu and Muslim soldiers.
- They were also asked to wear new round hats instead of the traditional headgear that they were used to. This led to suspicion among the sepoys that they were being converted to Christianity.
- Craddock was acting against warning from the military board not to bring about changes in the military uniform without taking into consideration all required precautions of Indian sensibilities.
- A few sepoys who had protested against these new orders were taken to Fort St. George and punished severely. They were given heavy flogging.
- Also present in the Vellore Fort were the wife and children of Tipu Sultan (who was killed in the Battle of Seringapatam in 1799) who were housed in a palace within the fort. Tipu Sultan’s sons also instigated the rebellion.
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