Revolt of 1857 is known as the biggest revolt by Indians against the foreigners, forcing them to leave our motherland India. It is also referred to as “First war of Independence”but ended up in a failure. It was mainly fought against the biggest East India Company which acted as the supreme power at that time.
For trade with Asia, during 1600-1874 a company chartered by Queen Elizabeth I named “East India Company” came to India. In 1757, in India, the company rule started by East India company and lasted until 1858 (power given to Queen Victoria after revolt 1857). Their main motive was to break the Dutch monopoly of spice trading with the India.
In 1857, the revolt against East India Company was initiated by the Indian soldiers serving under the East India Company due to many reasons. But after some time, it got wide spread to many parts and was not limited to the soldiers only. “First war for the Independence of India” was the name given to this revolt.
The revolution went for one year one month and ten days i.e. from 10th May of 1857 to 20 June 1858.
The first most martyrs in the revolution was Mangal Pandey. On 29 March 1857, he attacked his own British sergeant at Barrackpore.
Some of the major leaders of the rebel include – “Kunwar Singh [Bihar], Rani Lakshmibai [Jhansi- who lost her kingdom just because of the Doctrine of Lapse], Bahadur Shah [Delhi-the last Mughal Emperor of India], Tatia Tope [Kanpur], Nana Saheb [Kanpur], Begum Hazrat Mahal [Lucknow], Tatia Tope [Kanpur]. But as any one leader was not there who can leadership among the top the these all, this was also lacking for central leadership.
Governor General at the time of the revolt was Lord Charles Canning.
Causes of Revolt
- The Enfield rifles were introduced in the army in which the cartridge was made by the fat of cow and pigs. And the Indian Muslim and Hindu soldiers were protesting against this.
- Discrimination was there between the Indian and British soldiers. Behavior towards Indian soldiers was very bad like the slave and even British soldiers use to behave very rudely with them.
- The British policies for the strict taxation on the land of India and the invasion of Territory of India.
- Fear of conversion of Hindu into Christians was there (Subsidiary Alliance, Doctrine of lapse)
- And some of the social reforms which were made by the Britishers was a reason for anger among some of the Indians.
Reason for failure
- As the revolution first started from Meerut but later on it got spread over some parts of India but at that time communication was one of the major problems so this is one of the main reason for the failure of the revolution.
- A particular leader was not there, lack of central leadership was also a reason and also it didn’t get wide spread in whole India.
- As India became like the slave for Britishers so they were not having that much money and even weapons to fight against them. However, the Britishers were having the much-advanced type of weapons and also finance was good.
- The planning was lacking among the rebels.
Effects of the Revolt
- In 1876, the East India Company’s power came to the end their rule was over taken and the whole charge or ruler ship was given to Queen Victoria.
- Assurance of better governance was given to India.
- And Declaration was made for no discrimination and equal respect and power should be given (though it was not so…).
- The Doctrine of Lapse was being withdrawn.
After the revolution, Imposition of direct rules was recognized for the army. For the Sikh and other martial races who were loyal during the revolution of 1857, some recruitment policies were made in favor of them and also the ration of the soldiers of Indian and Britishers were reduced. Those groups and castes that were disloyal at the time of revolution were screened out of the army.
Thought it was just said for relaxation of taxes but as such, no changes were made for reduction or abolition of the taxes, at the time of revolution who ever landowners were loyal being given a lot of lands and even some title was also given to them. Even later, during the campaign of Indian Independence the Britishers, for their support started relying only on the landowners.
The revolt of 1857 is known by so many names, including the Indian Mutiny, the Sepoy Mutiny, the Revolt of 1857, the Great Rebellion, the Indian Insurrection, and First war of Indian Independence.