Revolt of 1857
- During the Governor-General Lord Canning
- May 11, 1857. The Meerut incident. Capture of Delhi. Proclaiming B S Jazar as the emperor.
- Almost half the Company’s sepoy strength of 232224 opted out of their loyalty to their regimental colours.
- Kanpur: Nana Saheb; Lucknow: Begum Hazrat Mahal; Bareilly: Khan Bahadur; Jagdishpur (Ara): Kunwar Singh; Jhansi: Rani Lakshmi Bai
- Only the Madras army remained totally loyal. Sikh regiment as well remained largely loyal.
Causes for the revolt
The revolt was a result of the accumulated grievances of the people against Company’s administration and a loathing for the character and policies of the colonial rule. The causes can be classified as social, economic, religious and military. <In class notes>
WHY DID THE SEPOYS REVOLT?
- The conditions of service in the Company’s army and cantonments increasingly came into conflict with the religious beliefs and prejudices of the sepoys.
- The unhappiness of the sepoys first surfaced in 1824 when the 47th Regiment of Barrackpur was ordered to go to Burma. To the religious Hindu, crossing the sea meant loss of caste. The sepoys refused. The regiment was disbanded and those who led the opposition were hanged.
- The rumors about the Government’s secret designs to promote conversions to Christianity further exasperated the sepoys.
- The greased cartridges
- They were also unhappy with the emoluments
- Discrimination and racism
- Misery brought to the peasants by the British rule. E.g. the land revenue system imposed in Oudh, where about 75000 sepoys came from, was very harsh.
- The civilians also participated
- After the capture of Delhi, a letter was issued to the neighboring states asking for support.
- A court of administrators was established in Delhi
- Ill-equipped, the rebels carried on the struggle for about a year
- The country as a whole was not behind them. The merchants, intelligentsia and Indian rulers not only kept aloof but actively supported the British.
- Almost half the Indian soldiers not only did not revolt but fought against their own countrymen.
- Apart from a commonly shared hatred for alien rule, the rebels had no political perspective or definite vision of the future
- Delhi fell on September 20, 1857.
- Rani of Jhansi died fighting on June 17, 1858
- Nana Saheb escaped to Nepal hoping to revive the struggle.
- Kunwar Singh died on May 9, 1958
- Tantia tope carried on guerrilla warfare until April 1959 after which he was betrayed by a zamindar, captured and put to death.
Important Persons relating to the Revolt
Bahadur Shah Zafar: BSZ was the last Mughal emperor of India.
Rani Lakshmi Bai
Nawab Wajid Ali Shah
Birjis Qadr: The son of Wajid Ali Shah and the leader of the revolt in Lucknow.
Shah Mal: He belonged to a clan of Jat cultivators in parganan Barout in UP. During the revolt, he mobilized the headmen and cultivators of chaurasee des (84 villages: his kinship area), moving at night from village to village, urging people to rebel against the British.
Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah: Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah was one of the many maulvis who played an
important part in the revolt of 1857. 1856, he was seen moving from village to village preaching jehad (religious war) against the British and urging people to rebel. he was elected by the mutinous 22nd Native Infantry as their leader. He fought in the famous Battle of Chinhat in which the British forces under Henry Lawrence were defeated.
Begum Hazrat Mahal:
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