By the year 1856, a major part of India came under the domination of British East India company. Different sections of the society presented against the British and their supporters zamindars and money lenders and revolted against them in the year 1857. In history this famous uprising of 1857 is also termed as a first war of independence.
Causes of the revolt
Political causes- many chiefs and landlords were unhappy with the exploitative land revenue policies of the British. They believe that the British had started taking the privilege of their powers and started exploiting them financially and physically. Based on subsidiary alliance and doctrine of lapse, the British took rule over the territories of many Indian rulers. They also discontinued the pension and titles of many, as a consequence of our policy. They destroyed several native rulers like Nana Sahib and Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi. on the basis of miss governance they took away the rule of nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh.
Social and religious causes- the reforms introduced by the British government was against the orthodox Indians. Governor general lord William Bentinck declared sati as an illegal practices in 1829 to improve the condition of women. They also introduced the law regarding widow remarriage, women were even encouraged to take up Western learning. The British practice the policy of racial discrimination against the Indians. Indian people were given some ordinate position in all the services. Besides, Indians could not travel in the first class coaches in a train all these and justice cost the anger among the people. The British government supported Christian missionaries in India. They were involved in converting the people and this was made easier after passing the legislation in 1850. The British imposed tax on the land belonging to temples and mosque this hurt the religion believes of the people. The British promoted western education and replaced English as the official language as a result many Muslim and Hindus lost their jobs.
Economic causes- economic policies of the British were not in the favour of Indians. The land revenue policies introduced by the British made the life of poor peasants tough. Peasants trap in the laws of money lenders and often lost their land. A new Class to the place of old zamindars. Machine made goods from Britain were cheaper due to which the Indian artists and craftsmen suffered. British goods were not taxed in India while Indian goods were heavily taxed in British market so the traditional Indian industry of handicraft was ruined.
Military causes- the Indian sepoys were not satisfied with the policies of the British. The sepoys were unhappy because their salaries were low in comparison to those of the British soldiers and they did not get equal opportunities of promotions. In 1856 the company passed general service enlistment act according to which every new you have to serve overseas. The sepoys were very upset as crossing the sea was a violation of their religious sentiments. Moreover soldiers one and happy with what was happening in the countryside. Their families lost their traditional lands to the exploitative taxation policies.
Immediate causes- the whole country was tolerating against the harsh exploitative British policies and only a small Spark was required to ignite the situation. The British provided the spark in the form of Enfield rifles. This new rifle was introduced in the army in 1856. IPS cadre just had a great paper around it. To load the rifle as I had to buy the paper. The Greece and the paper was rumoured to be coated with the fat of cows and pig. This was against the believe of both Hindus and Muslims. District news spread like a forest fire. Letters for exchange among the sepoys. The sepoys discard the use of Enfield rifles.
Mangal Pande soldier attack his superiors in Barrackpore on 29 March 1857. He was arrested and executed but this incident convert the message that sepoys were were prepared to fight against the British.
Consequences of the revolt
Outbreak of the revolt at Meerut- Mangal Pande is execution caused a lot of understand the army camps across India and 85 soldiers of the 3rd Bengal light refused to touch the cartridges. On 9 may 1857 they were sentenced to ten year of imprisonment. This made the sepoys angry, at Meerut who marched to the jail on 10th may 1857. The attack the British officers, release the imprisoned soldier and set fire to British property.
March to Delhi- on 11th May 1857 sepoys from Meerut marched towards the Red fort. Once they reach Delhi the local sepoys join them. Decorate the European officers stationed there and proclaimed Bahadur Shah Zafar as the emperor of Hindustan. Soon the people of neighbouring areas rose in rebellion against the British. The sepoys as well as Indian chief proclaim their loyalty to the mughal empire. Thursday Delhi became the centre of the revolt.
Spread of revolt – the uprising soon spread to the other parts of India. Masses started believing that the British raj had come to an end. Northern India witnessed a huge apprising when Bengal, Punjab, Deccan and the South witness weird incidents. At several places European officers were killed. The revolt was supported by civilians, dispose nobles and landlords. In the hope of recovering their loss territories, princes to joined the revolt.