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Essay, Paragraph, Speech on “The Rebellion of 1857 – A Mutiny” Complete Paragraph, Speech for Classes 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.

The Rebellion of 1857 – A Mutiny

“The Rebellion of 1857 was not pre-planned, it was not engineered by any political party in India or any foreign power hostile to England. It had its origin in sepoy discontent and derived its strength from the wide-spread dissatisfaction among the civil population.”

– Dr. S.N. Sen

As the years rolled by the political uneasiness in the country reached a crucial stage, when everyone was realizing irritation. In particular, the sweeping annexations and the summary application of the doctrine of lapse by Lord Dalhousie invited the resentment of both the Muslims and the Hindus. The effort of Lord Dalhousie to evict the Mughal emperor from the Red Fort and the annexation of Oudh contrary to an earlier treaty stunned the Muslim community. The refusal to grant pension to Nana Saheb, the adopted son of the last Peshwa. Bali Rao II roused the wrath of the Hindus. This political dissatisfaction was aggravated by the demobbed soldiers.

Besides, haughty behaviour of Covertly Jackson against the Nawab of Oudh, Wazid Ali Shah exasperated the nobility.

The expansion of the British Raj and the increasing liberal tempo in England led to certain measures being passed by the British Raj which hurt the sentiments of the people. The introduction of railways and telegraphs, spread of English education, prohibition of sati and infanticide, legalization of widow re-marriage and the activities of missionaries were all looked with suspicion. The immediate cause of the revolt of 1857 was the increasing grievances of the Indian troops. As some of the regulations of the Army hurt the social customs and religious sentiments of the people and with the arrival of Lord Canning, the General Service Enlistment Act worsened the situation. At this moment Enfield Rifle with special cartridges was introduced which’ were said to be greased with animal fats, particularly with those of the cow and the pig. As the cartridge was to be bitten at its ends before being used, both Hindus and Muslims were alarmed “On this inflammable material the true story of the cartridges fell as a spark on a dry tinder.” Mysterious chapotties were sent from village to village during 1856. Then the storm broke out, Mangal Pandey, sepoy, on 29eh March 1857 killed a European officer at Barrackpore. The revolt primarly centred round five regions : Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Rohilkhand, Central India and Bundelkhand, In May 1857, the sepoys at Meerut revolted and marched on Delhi and soon occupied it. They installed Bahadur Shah II on the throne. Delhi was reoccupied by British iri September 1857. This reoccupation was primarily facilitated by the loyalty of the Sikhs and the energetic steps taken by John Lawrence. Bahadur Shah was tried and exiled in Rangoon where he died in 1862 and a British officer treacherously murdered his two sons and a grandson.

At Lucknow Sir Henry Lawrence lost his life and the residency was besieged by the mutineers; Although a relief force was sent to Lucknow and it was evacuated. It was preoccupied by Sir Colin Campbell in March 1858 and the Mutiny of Oudh was failed.

In Kanpur the British people suffered much. The mutineers led by Nana Sahib murdered the British Civilians and troops. Kanpur was occupied by Campbell in December 1857.

In Rohilkhand the revolt started in May 1857, the Nawab of Rampore remained loyal to the British and Bareilly was reoccupied in December 1857. Finally the Mutiny in Central Indian and Bundelkhand was led by Rani Laxmibai assisted by Tantia Tope. With the capture of Gwalior in June 1858 and with the death of the Rani in the field the trouble came to an end. Incidentally there were rebellions in Bihar also in some parts of Rajputana and the Maratha territory.

Though the rebellion of 1857 failed and was firmly suppressed yet it proved very important in respect of its results. It created far reaching effects on the social and political life of India. The first and the most fundamental consequence of the Rising was that the hundred years old Company’s rule in India came to an end. The Board of Control was established and the Board of Directors were stripped of all powers. Now the Government of India passed into the hands of the British Queen and her Parliament, who appointed a secretary of state for India to look after the administration of India.

Secondly, with the transfer of the government from the hands of the company to those of the Queen, the designation of the Governor-General was changed. While he remained as the Governor-General for the provinces under his rule, he came to be known as Viceroy while dealings with the Nawabs and the Rajas and other native princes.

Thirdly it gave rise to Nationalism in India. Indian leaders gave birth to the nationalist movement in India which ultimately uprooted the British Government from India.

Fourthly, reorganization of the army was also an immediate results of the mutiny. The proportion of British soldiers was increased and artillery was practically reserved for them. The changes made in the army also led to restrictions on the use of fire arms by civilians.

Finally, the end of the company’s rule endangered the economy of India. India became a field of exploitation not for a single trading concern (the East India Company) but for the entire British people as well. A large number of Englishmen came to India for purpose of trading and earn more money. Thus, it may be said that as the use of force failed in 1857, the dynamic section of India community turned more and more toward peaceful means, “The last embers of the chaos and confusion bequeathed by the political disintegration of the 18th century were finally extinguished. A new era began in Indian history.”


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