Answer :

Causes of the revolt of 1857


Economic Causes:


• The Britishers were economically exploiting India.


• This created intolerance in all sections of society.


• The high tax/ revenue system put the burden of debt on farmers.


• The other working sections suffered from dishonest import and export.


• Indian goods were purchased for cheap rates from the manufacturers and called for huge amounts in the world market.


• The system of administration was so corrupt. And it created discontent among the people.


Social Causes:


The social reforms initiated by the British were looked upon with suspicion by the conventional sections of the Indian society.


The social discrimination faced by the Indians due to the British attitude of racial superiority also led to much resentment.


Educated Indians were denied promotions and appointments to high office. This turned them against the British.


c) Religious Causes:


• The religious sentiments of the people were also insulted by the Britishers.


• There was a fear among the people that the British government was determined to destroy their religion


• They also believed that the British and convert Indians to Christianity.


• The policy of taxing lands belonging to temples and mosques also increased the fear of people.


• The increasing actions of the Christian missionaries and the actual conversions made by them were taken as evidence of this fear.


• The belief that their religion was under threat, united all sections of society against a common enemy.


Political Causes:


• The territorial annexations led to the dislocation of a large number of rulers and chiefs.


• the British policies of Subsidiary Alliance and Doctrine of Lapse were very dangerous.


• Rani Lakshmi Bai and Nana Sahib and led to the revolt against British in their respective territories.


• The annexation was widely seen as a rude act by the British.


• It deeply damaged the sentiments of the Company’s sepoys because most of them came from Awadh.


• The people of Awadh were continuously oppressed.


• Peasants had to pay even higher revenue and additional taxes were made compulsory.


• The British provided no substitute source of employment to the people who lost their jobs due to the suspension of the Nawab’s administration.


Military Causes:


• The annexation of Awadh irritated their strong feelings against foreign rule.


• They were also influenced by the general fear that their religion was in danger.


• The sepoys were restricted from wearing caste and sectarian marks hurt their sentiments deeply.


• The Act of 1816 required the new recruits to travel overseas.


• The Hindu sepoys defended this because, as according to the popular Hindu belief, travel across the sea, led to a loss of caste.


• Another cause of sepoy displeasure was the withdrawal of the Foreign Service allowance (‘batta’) ,which the sepoys were getting for fighting outside the country.


Immediate Cause:


• The first soldier to protest against using the greased cartridges was Mangal Pandey.


• He belonged to the 34th Infantry stationed at Barrackpore. He refused to use the cartridges and was afterward hanged.


• On 24 April 1857, some soldiers stationed at Meerut also rejected to use the cartridges.


• On 9 May 1857, they were brutally punished for this.


• This incident resulted in a general mutiny among the sepoys of Meerut.


• On 10 May 1857, these rebel soldiers killed their British officers, and set free their imprisoned comrades and elevated the flag of revolt.


• This was the official beginning of the ‘Great Revolt’.


• The soldiers then marched to Delhi. On 11 May 1857, they reached Delhi. Here, they met the local infantry.


• The rebels took custody of Delhi and declared the Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar as the emperor of India.


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