Immediate Causes of the Revolt of 1857 UPSC

The Revolt of 1857

The 1857 uprising was a result of personality traits and policy directives. Most people, including rulers of Indian states, sepoys, zamindars, peasants, dealers, artisans, pundits, and maulvis, had their possibilities harmed by the cumulative effect of British expansionist rules, economic exploitation, and administrative innovations throughout time. The simmering unrest erupted in a violent storm in 1857, shaking the empire this is undoubtedly imperial India to its very foundations.

The origins of the uprising sprang from every area of the population’s daily lives—sociocultural, economic, and political presence—cutting across all parts and programs. These factors are explored in detail below.

Economic Factors Affecting the 1857 Revolt:

  • The East India Company’s colonial policies obliterated the conventional economic product produced by the Indian society. The peasants was never able to recoup from the disadvantages imposed by the new as well as money, which is exceedingly disliked.
  • Impoverished by high taxes, peasants turned to moneylenders/traders for usurious loans, with the latter frequently evicting the former for non-payment of financial obligations. These moneylenders and traders arose as a result of the widely accepted idea that landlords are inexperienced. This is happening in real time because the scourge of indebtedness has spread to the Indian community.
  • The artists and handicraftsmen were also harmed by British directives. The continuous business’s annexation of Indian states cut off their source of income, which is actually substantial.
  • The British agenda also discouraged Indian handicrafts and promoted British products. After the collapse of Indian handicrafts was not followed by the development of modern industries, highly trained craftsmen, many of whom are Indian, were forced to seek alternate forms of work that were scarce. “It was the intruder this is actually brit who ripped up the Indian handloom and wrecked the spinning-wheel,” Karl Marx observed in 1853. England began by depriving Indian forms of cotton fiber of a European business, then launched a twist into Hindustan, and finally saturated the motherland of fiber with cotton fiber.
  • The aristocracy, as is customary, has lay dormant for a long time. With the regular use of a quo warranto by the state, zamindars’ land rights were usually forfeited. For many of them, this resulted in a deterioration of their living conditions in the communities. 21,000 taluqdars in Awadh, the epicenter of the revolution, had their lands taken and were suddenly left without a source of income, “unable to work, ashamed to beg, sentenced to penury.” The sepoy revolution presented an opportunity for these dispossessed taluqdars to confront the British and reclaim what they had lost.
  • The collapse of Indian industry put further pressure on farming and land, and the unbalanced expansion culminated in most cases in pauperization related to the country.

The Policies of British Government

  • Such policies ‘Subsidiary Alliance,’ and ‘Doctrine of Lapse’ caused suspicion whenever the East India company greedy plan of aggrandizement combined with broken pledges and oaths caused lack of governmental status  in the thoughts of virtually all ruling princes in India, on the other hand, through such policies as ‘Effective Control,’ ‘Subsidiary Alliance,’ and Hindu princes were denied the highest level of succession.
  • Mughal family was humbled when, Prince Faqiruddin’s death in 1856, Lord Dalhousie granted conditional recognition to whoever succeeded him. Lord Canning announced that the prince in line for the throne would be required to resign the regal name as well as ancestral Mughal palaces, in addition to renunciations agreed upon by Prince Faqiruddin.
  • The failure of rulers—the previous aristocracy—as well as the Revolt of 1857 had a severe impact on those elements of Indian culture who received their unique sustenance from religious and cultural activities.

Administrative Factors in the 1857 Revolt:

  • Rampant corruption inside the company’s management, particularly among the authorities, petty officials, and legislation that is surely paid down of the law, while the United Kingdom’s absentee sovereignty ship personality imparted a foreign and appear that is alien it in the eyes of Indians.

The following socio-religious factors contributed to the 1857 Revolt:

  • The British administration approach toward the indigenous Indian population had racial connotations as well as a superiority complex. Indians viewed the efforts of Christian missionaries who later deployed the banner This is Definitely Asia, This is Definitely British with distrust.
  • When outsiders analyze the social and religious domains of Indian culture, efforts at socio-reform that is obviously spiritual, such as the banning of Sati, aid to widow-remarriage, and women’s knowledge, have been considered as disturbing by a large segment of the population.
  • These concerns were exacerbated by the government’s decision to tax mosques and places that have become temples as a result of the spiritual Disabilities Act, 1856, which changed Hindu traditions, such as declaring that a change of religion did not prevent a child from inheriting their heathen father’s home.

External Events’ Influence on the 1857 Revolt:

  • The insurrection of 1857 coincided with a number of outside engagements in which the British suffered significant losses—the first Afghan War (1838-42), Punjab Wars (1845-49), Crimean Wars (1854-56), and the Santhal rebellion (1855-57). These had immediate and clear emotional consequences.

Discontent with the Revolt of 1857 among the Sepoys:-

  • The challenges in finding a solution within the business’s Army and cantonments evolved into a quarrel with all the opinions that can be skewed due to the sepoys’ spirituality. Limits on the use of sectarian and caste marks, as well as hidden hearsay of chaplains’ evangelizing operations (often maintained from the organization’s budget), were translated by Indian sepoys as meddling with their spiritual issues, which was, needless to add, usual. Crossing the seas signified a loss of caste for the Hindu who was spiritual at the time.
  • In 1856, Lord Canning’s government approved the General Service Enlistment Act, which mandated that every recruit joining the Bengal Army in the future be assigned a mission to provide assistance to the federal government wherever it was needed. There was resentment as a result of this.
  • When compared to their British counterparts, the Indian sepoy was similarly disgruntled with their emoluments. A much more immediate source of sepoy unhappiness was an order that they wouldn’t be able to fulfill because of the international solution (Matta) when offering in Sindh or Punjab. The acquisition of Awadh, the home of numerous sepoys, aggravated their feelings even more.
  • The Indian sepoys were made to feel inferior in every activity, and they were discriminated against racially and in terms of commercial benefits. The sepoys’ resentment was not limited to their army; it mirrored widespread dissatisfaction and resistance to British rule. In actuality, the sepoy was a “peasant in uniform” whose understanding was not isolated from the community. “The Army expressed issues other than its own; this is extremely significant as well as the movement spread beyond the Army,” Gopal remarks.
  • There has been a brief history of the British Indian Army sooner or later—in Bengal (1764), Vellore (1806), Barrackpore (1825), and during the Afghan Wars (1838-42) to name a few examples.

Beginnings and Dissipation of the 1857 Revolt:-

  • The stories of bone structure dirt being mixed into rtta (flour) and the introduction of the Enfield weapon improved the sepoys’ growing disaffection, which was helped by the government. The cartridge for this weapon, which is a novice, is chewed down before loading with oil, and it appears to be made of meat and pig fan. The Army is a branch of the military. The administration of the Revolt of 1857 did nothing to alleviate these fears, and the sepoys feared their special trust was at peril.
  • The greased cartridges did not establish a cause that was new to the Army, but they did provide the occasion for the simmering discontent to surface in the big open air. The insurrection began on May 10, 1857, in Meerut, 58 kilometers from Delhi, and swiftly spread across a large area, encompassing everything from Punjab in the north to the Narmada in the south, to Bihar in the east, and Rajputana in the west.
  • Even before the occasion in Meerut, there were rumblings of discontent in numerous cantonments. This is most likely the 19th Berhampur Infantry, which refused to work with the newly imported Enfield rifle and mutinied in February 1857 before being dissolved in March 1857. Mangal Pande, a younger sepoy in the 34th Native Infantry, moved one step farther and fired through the device’s sergeant-major at Barrackpore.
  • In April, he was defeated and forced to perform on 6 men, while their unit was disbanded in May. The 7th Awadh Regiment, which opposed its superiors on May 3, met with a similar fate. Then there was the uprising at Meerut. On April 24, ninety guys of this Native American tribe, this is undoubtedly the 3rd Cavalry, simply accepted the greased cartridges. On May 9, eighty-five of them were punished and discharged. To a ten-year destination and fettered confinement.
  • This triggered a revolt in Meerut, which was mostly made up of Indian soldiers. On May 10, they unfurled the banner of revolt, introduced their imprisoned companions, executed their officers, and unfurled the banner of revolt. After sunset, they left towards Delhi. The government’s representative took the city of Delhi, and the local soldiers joined up with them, killing its European officers, including Simon Fraser. Lieutenant Willoughby, the fee that is officer-in-charge of the mag in Delhi, put up a fight but was eventually defeated. The emperor of India had been proclaimed by the aging and weak Bahadur, who is Shah
  • When it comes to the Great Revolt and Bahadur Shah, Delhi has been fast to position itself in the middle. This obviously logical elevation of the final Mughal ruler to the throne of the country was an acknowledgment of the reality that the dynasty’s lengthy reign had become the expression of the country’s truly ancient governmental unity. The sepoys had transformed a troop mutiny into a revolutionary war, and every Indian chiefs who took part in the insurrection raced to express their individual respect for the Mughal emperor with this solitary deed.
  • After some hesitation, Bahadur Shah wrote letters to all of India’s chiefs and rulers, pushing them to form a confederacy of Indian kingdoms to fight and overthrow the authority, which is almost probably British. The Bengal is unquestionably the Army, and the entire rose revolt is unquestionably moving quickly. Awadh, Rohilkhand, the Doab, the Bundelkhand, central India, vast swaths of Bihar, and East Punjab defied a clearly british rule.
  • The sepoy revolt was linked to a rebellion among a municipal populace, particularly in the regions of northwestern Awadh. Their long-held complaints surfaced in an instant, and they rose en masse to express their outrage as well as their opposition to a rule that is a Uk. It was the peasantry’s, craftsmen’, shopkeepers’, time workers’, zamindars’, religious mendicants’, priests’, and ‘civil servants’ participation in the revolution that gave it true vitality and personality.
  • Peasants and zamindars, who are petty expressions, are expressing their anger by assaulting the moneylenders and zamindars who had evicted them from the land. They used the revolt’s benefit asset to destroy moneylenders’ account diaries and debt paperwork. They also targeted British-established legislation, as well as income offices (tehsils), earnings files, and government programs.
  • According to one estimate, nearly 1,00,000 of the 1,50,000 men who died battling the English in Awadh were civilians. Within a month of the takeover of Delhi, the revolt had spread to many parts of the country.

Storm Centers and Management Concerning the 1857 Revolt

  • Baji Rao II, the final Peshwa’s son, is the choice that is normal Nana Saheb in Kanpur. He was denied the grouped family name and was living near Kanpur after being expelled from Poona. Nana Saheb drove the English out of Kanpur, called himself Peshwa, respected Bahadur Shah as India’s legitimate emperor, and appointed himself their governor. On July 27, 1857, the station’s commander, Sir Hugh Wheeler, surrendered.
  • Begum Hazrat Mahal took control of the reigns in Lucknow, where the uprising was crushed on April 4, 1857, and sympathy for the deposed Nawab June is enormously popular. Birjis Qadir, her son or daughter, was proclaimed Nawab, with a government that is well-organized, with key positions shared equally by Muslims and Hindus.
  • A few hundred determined sepoys took security within the residency, including Henry Lawrence, a resident from the United Kingdom. The residence was besieged by rebels, possibly Indians, and Sir Henry was killed as a result of the siege. Only Brigadier Inglis was able to meet the need for the beleaguered garrison, and he did it against all odds.
  • Sir Henry Havelock and Sir James Outrarn’s early attempts to reclaim Lucknow were unsuccessful. Fundamentally, Sir Colin Campbell, the new commander-in-chief, withdrew the Europeans with the assistance of Gorkha soldiers. The town was eventually regained by the British in March 1858, but guerilla operations continued until September of the same year.
  • Khan Bahadur, a descendent of the ruler who ruled in the past, was placed in command at Bareilly. He had orchestrated the Revolt of 1857, seemingly unconcerned about his retirement being given to the British. The British face a formidable army of 40,000 soldiers and well-supplied opponents.
  • Kunwar Singh, the zamindar of Jagdishpur in Bihar, eventually led the insurrection. He was a man in his sixties who had a grudge towards the British for depriving him of his property. When they arrived in Arrah from Dinapore, he joined up with the sepoys without hesitation.
  • Another notable leader in the revolution was Maulvi Ahmadullah of Faizabad. He was born in Madras and then moved to Faizabad in the north, where he engaged in a fierce battle with British troops. As soon as the insurrection broke off in Awadh in May 1857, he appeared on the list of acknowledged frontrunners.
  • Rani Laxmibai, who oversaw the treatment of the sepoys in Jhansi, was the most prominent leader of the insurrection. After her husband Raja Gangadhar Rao died and her son succeeded to the throne, Lord Dalhousie, the governor-general, refused to allow her son to succeed to the throne and overrun the state, demonstrating the application of the infamous ‘Doctrine of Lapse.’ She provided the struggle weep—”main apni Jhansi nahi doongi”—after being driven out of Jhansi by British causes (i will maybe not give my away that is Jhansi).
  • Following a reduction in Kanpur, she was merged with Tantia Tope, a group that is clearly close to Saheb. The Rani of Jhansi and Tantia Tope marched to Gwalior, where they were greeted warmly due to the soldiers’ Indian origins.
  • The king of a neighborhood, the Scindhia, however, opted to side with the current English and sought shelter in Agra. Nana Saheb was proclaimed Peshwa, and plans for the march to the south were laid out. Gwalior was regained by the English in June 1858. For more than a year, the insurgents fought against overwhelming odds.

Repression of the 1857 Revolt

  • The insurgency was eventually put down. The British took Delhi on the 20th of September, 1857, after a lengthy and bloody battle. John Nicholson, the siege’s most successful connection, was severely wounded and died as a result of his injuries. Bahadur Shah was kidnapped and imprisoned. The princes who have been royally abducted and killed at that time have been publicly shot at point range by Lieutenant Hudson himself. In 1862, the emperor was exiled to Rangoon, where he died.
  • As a result, the lovely home that was once there was finally and utterly extinguished. Residents of Delhi have been subjected to heinous revenge. The goal of this is unquestionably crucial, as the insurrection was suppressed by Delhi’s autumn.
  • All of the great frontrunners in the revolt fell by the wayside one by one. Army features for the recapture of Kanpur were inextricably tied to the recovery of Lucknow’s information data. On December 6, 1857, Sir Colin Campbell conquered Kanpur. After being beaten at Kanpur, Nana Saheb fled to Nepal in early 1859, never to be heard from again.
  • In June of 1858, the Rani of Jhansi died on the battlefield early in the morning. Sir Hugh Rose had attacked Jhansi and recaptured it. By 1859, Kunwar Singh, Bakht Khan, Khan Bahadur Khan of Bareilly, Rao Sahib (Nana Saheb’s brother), and Maulvi Ahmadullah were all dead, despite the Begum of Awadh’s forced disguise in Nepal. At Benaras, all rebels were suspected of being disorderly sepoys, and a rebellion erupted, which was brutally suppressed by Colonel Neil, who met his demise.
  • British sovereignty over India was completely re-established by the end of 1859. The British government needed to pour massive amounts of men, money, and hands into the country, even if the Indians would have to pay a one-time cost for complete suppression.

Factors that contributed to the 1857 Revolt’s failure

The insurrection had a limited scatter, which is a territorial one element; there was certainly no all-India veneer to it. India’s east, south, and western regions remained mostly untouched.

  • Certain programs and groups do not join the uprising and, instead, work through it. The zamindars, who were colossal in stature, operated as “storm protection breakwaters When pledges of land restoration were spelt forth, Awadh tahsildars backed down. Moneylenders and merchants misapplied the rage of the mutineers, but they considered their particular class interests better protected under British patronage.
  • Contemporary educated Indians saw this uprising as regressive, and believed that the British would bring in a new era of modernization. The majority of Indian kings refused to engage in regular combat and instead provided active aid to the British. According to one estimate, just one-fourth of this location is completed, and only one-tenth of the whole population is affected.
  • The men, who may or may not be Indians, are ill-equipped materially, fighting with swords and spears and shockingly few muskets. With that said, the troops are European-built and equipped with the most up-to-date weapons of combat, such as the Enfield rifle. The electric telegraphs kept the commander-in-chief up to date on the rebels’ movements and strategies.
  • The insurrection was in reality badly organized, with little administration or control, and this is unquestionably the most important factor. In terms of generalship, the rebels—Saheb, Major Tope, Kunwar Singh, and Laxmibai—were no match for the British opponents. The East India Company was fortunate in that it was able to retain the services of men of exceptional ability such as the Lawrence brothers, John Nicholson, James Outram, Henry Havelock, Edward, and others.
  • The mutineers lacked a clear understanding of colonial directions, and there was no system in place. This is undoubtedly a forward-thinking ideology that is coherent from a governmental standpoint, or perhaps a society viewpoint. The rebels represented aspects that might include a variety of complaints as well as opposing political ideologies.
  • At this point in Indian history, having less unity among Indians was probably unavoidable. In Asia, contemporary nationalism has yet to be identified. In actuality, the insurrection of 1857 played an important role in bringing the Indian people together and instilling in them a sense of belonging to a single country.

Aspect of Hindu-Muslim Unity

  • Throughout the revolution, Hindus and Muslims work together at all levels—people, troops, and leaders. All rebels recognized Bahadur Shah Zafar, a Muslim, as the emperor, which signifies impulse. The Hindu sepoys at Meerut were ordered to march to Delhi, the Mughal capital, which was clearly imperial. Both Hindu and Muslim sepoys and rebels respected each other’s feelings.
  • When the revolt was successful in a location where Hindus were specifically represented and were well-represented in management in general, for example, Nana Saheb had Azimullah, a Muslim who was also an expert in government propaganda, as an aide, while Laxmibai had the solid support of Afghan troops. As a result, the 1857 events indicated that the individuals who tend to be involved in India’s personal politics are not necessarily members of the general public prior to 1858.

Leaders of the Revolt

Delhi – General Khan
Kanpur – Nana Saheb
Luckhnow – Begum Hazrat Mahal 
Bareilly – Khan Bahadur 
Bihar – Kunwar Singh 
Faizabad – Maulvi Ahmadullah 
Jhansi  – Rani Laxmibai

Reason was responsible for the 1857 Revolt.

  • For the 1857 revolt, there was a variety of perspectives on nature. Some British historians dismissed it as a “Sepoy Mutiny”— “Sir John Seeley described the Sepoy Mutiny as “a utterly disloyal and selfish Sepoy Mutiny with no leadership that is undoubtedly indigenous and no help that is-popular.” However, it is not a whole picture of the event, which was unquestionably large and involved many chapters of people, not just sepoys. The dissatisfaction of those sepoys was only one of the causes of the commotion.
  • According to Dr. K. Datta, the uprising of 1857 was “in the main an insurrection this is undoubtedly military that has been tricked by certain discontented princes and landlords, whose interests have been harmed by the most recent orc this is certainly political.” The next aspect to be examined is the atmosphere surrounding the well-known insurrection in a few regions. “It was never all-Indian in personality, but regional, confined, and poorly organized,” according to the report. According to Datta, the action was characterised by a lack of cohesiveness and unity of function in one of the rebels’ several regions.
  • The 1857 insurrection, which began at the turn of the century and ended in the twenty-first, has been described as a “planned war of freedom” by V.D. Savarkar in his book, The First War of Indian Independence. Within the Eighteen FiftySeven, Dr. S.N. Sen sees the insurrection as beginning as a fight for trust but ending as a conflict that is unquestionably punitive. Dr. R.C. Majumdar, on the other hand, sees it as neither the first, nor a national, nor a punitive war, because vast areas remained unaffected and many people did not participate in the upsurge.
  • According to Marxist historians, the 1857 insurrection was “the process concerning the soldier-peasant combine that is certainly democratic international along with feudal bondage.” However, this viewpoint will not be examined in light of the well-known irrefutable truth that the revolt’s leaders themselves came from a feudal background.
  • The 1857 rebellion will be difficult to categorize. One cannot simply accept a conflict between society and barbarism as a war for autonomy, even if one can easily dismiss some viewpoints, such as those of L.E.R. Rees, who saw it as a war between fanatic religionists and Christians, or T.R. Holmes, who saw it as a conflict between society and barbarism. Though the idea of typical nationality and nationhood had not been built-in to your insurrection of 1857, it did include seeds of nationalism and anti-imperialism.
  • One may argue that the uprising of 1857 was the first major battle to throw off the British rule. It established local traditions of resistance to British control, paving the way for a modern movement that is now widespread.

Effects of the 1857 Revolts
The insurrection of 1857 marks a watershed moment in the history of this, unquestionably, prior India. It resulted in changes to the functioning system as well as the national program.

(1) The direct responsibility for the management of this country was deemed to be owed to the British Crown, and the monarchy was abolished. Lord Canning launched the foundation for this federal administration of India as the ruler of Britain in a durbar at Allahabad in the ‘Queen’s Proclamation’ circulated on November 1, 1858. (2) The period of annexation and expansion had come to an end, and the British vowed to respect the princes’ self-esteem and privileges as indigenous.

(3) The Indian states were forced to acknowledge the British Crown’s supremacy and were treated as one-time costs.

(4) Because of the principle of “division and counterpoise,” the Army, which has been at the forefront of the outbreak, has been radically reorganized and the british military program has been dominated.
(5) Racial hostility and suspicion between Indians and English were in reality heightened.


Following the rebellion, British Government adopted a policy of non-interference in religious and caste matters within the country. Fearful of a repeat of the widespread military and social upheaval in 1857–8, the government was eager to debunk the widely held perception that its goal was to degrade the culture or perhaps convert the entire population to Christianity. Individual posturing with or against the state was increasingly understood in relation to bigger collective groups and ties, and British administrators were keen to disentangle the seemingly tight knot that brought together the question of native ‘loyalty’ and ‘treachery.’

In order to foster cultural understanding, if not empathy, the government established what is now known as a ‘ethnographic state,’ in which religion and caste were defined, distinguished, and sharpened. These influenced colonial governance in general, as well as the specifics of imperial alignment with specific elements of the Indian populace, such as new techniques of recruitment into the Bengal army. Indian communities played a key role in the development of such social discourses and behaviors. They continued, like in the pre-colonial period, to situate themselves socially, economically, and culturally in accordance with their own needs and desires.

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