Paragraph on The Revolt of 1857


The people in different parts of India, right from the beginning of the British conquest never accepted their political subjection. The Sanyasis in Bengal and Bihar (1763 onwards), peasants, the chiefs and other landed sections as—Poligars, Bhils, Kols. Khasis and Santhals. All these revolts were localized, some of them lasted many years. They did not pose a serious challenge to British rule. The revolt started at Meerut on 10 May, 1857, with the uprising of Indian sepoys of the British armies in India. It was the result of accumulated resentment, but was triggered off by the greased cartridges incident. Peasants had been dispossessed of their lands and artisans had been ruined. The British policy of annexation of territory had led to the dispossession of many Indian rulers. Dajhousie, annexed eight new states in the course of eight years of his stay in office. There was fear in the minds of many people that the British government was out to forcibly convert them to Christianity. The rebels declared Bahadur Shah II, the emperor of Hindustan. Hindus and Muslims fought together against the British. The deeds of valour of rebels, like the Rani of Jhansi, Maulvi Ahmadulla, Kanwar Singh, Bakht Khan and Tantia Tope have inspired the people. The British rulers followed a ruthless indiscriminate policy of vengeance. Thousands of people were hanged in Delhi, Lucknow and other places. The revolt and its cruel suppression left a legacy of bitterness and hatred among the people of India. The rule of the East India Company came to an end and the control passed to the British crown. The British government promised not to annex any more Indian states. The hold of the Indian rulers on the Indian people declined and it was realized that national independence would be attained through a movement of the people themselves. The struggle against the rule was to witness the growth of the nationalist movement aiming at national independence, democracy, social equality and national development.


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