Revolt of 1857

Revolt of 1857, which is termed as the first war of independence of India was the first display of utter hatred and anger in Indians towards the foreign rule. This hatred and anger was the result of the excessive exploitation by theEast India Company of Indians and the Indian soil. However, the Revolt could not give India its independence but one cannot forget the fact that this Revolt was the first magnificent attempt by the Indians to free their mother soil and it did resulted in an end to the British company rule in India.
Although, the Revolt was initiated by the Indian soldiers working for the East India Company, but very soon the warmth of this fire reached the heart of the millions of Indians, who then stood together for a common objective of freedom and to throw the British rule out the premises of their mother soil, marking an end to the British exploitation.
In this first battle of freedom, there were no Hindus fighting against the company. Also, there were no Muslims involved in the Revolt. The only people who were part of this first move towards independence were Indians, who kept all the religious and regional differences away and fought for a common cause and objective, which was the freedom of their mother land and an end of the prolonged British exploitation.
Even though, according to the British tried to dismiss the Revolt by merely calling it as a ‘Sepoy Mutiny’, but the Revolt did generated some of the very considerable consequences which cannot be neglected. The various important causes, cause of failures and after effects of the Revolt are mentioned as follows:


Economic Reasons: The changes in the trade stance of the East India Company led to the generation of the massive economic instability and unemployment across the nation, resulting provocation and aggression in the souls and minds of the Indian workers and soldiers of British annexed kingdoms. During its initial and the middle phase, the East India Company was majorly involved in the trading textile, indigo, saltpeter, spices and food grains from the Indian markets to their home land Britain. This stance of the company gave a high and rapid boost to the Indian handloom and other small scale industry. The East India Company maintained this stance with no political intensions during the sixteenth and the seventeenth century, but in the eighteenth century, with the advent of the industrial revolution the company changed its trading stance drastically which had devastating impact on the Indian Economy, specifically, Indian handloom and cottage industry.With the start of the industrial revolution in Europe, the company began to export raw material like cotton from India to England and thereafter bringing the machine finished fabric back to the Indian markets for sale. This dual way trade was extremely beneficial for the company but it resulted in high pressure on the Indian handloom industry, which could not compete with the machine fabric and faced heavy losses and finally closed. The closure of the Indian handloom and cottage industry at such magnificent level left the Indian workers jobless and filled their hearts with hatred and disgrace for the British. The same aggression of these unemployed people for the British was displayed and resulted in the great Revolt of 1857.These people were also joined by the soldiers of the British annexed kingdoms and states who were also highly provoked by the British misdeeds.
Military Reasons: The British East India Company was successful in its intensions of ruling India only with the help and major contribution of the Indian Soldiers. However, once achieved its objectives, in spite of giving the soldiers credit for victory, the company treated them with disgrace and made them work at the lower ranks, not considering their capabilities. The Indian soldiers working for the company were not paid handsome and were also given no incentives. Their condition in the company was miserable. Moreover, the use of the greased cartridges was unacceptable to both Hindu and the Muslim soldiers as the grease used in these cartridges was made from the cow and the pig fats. The overall impact of all these resulted in the outburst of the anger and hate of these soldiers against the British and finally this outburst of anger took the shape of the First War of Indian Independence.
Social and Religious Reasons: The fear amongst the Indians that they will be forced to change their religion to Christianity added fuel to the fire of hate and aggression against the British. Also, the taxes held on property owned by the temples and mosques were unacceptable to the population of India.


Divide and Rule Policy: After the Revolt the British realized that the Hindu-Muslim unity is a potential threat for its rule in India and it finally created differences between the two communities by providing religious preferences under its rule which made the Hindu’s and Muslim’s feel different at objectives and goals.
Rise of Nationalism: Even though the Revolt of 1857 could not give India its independence but it definitely arose a feeling of nationalism and developed national character amongst Indians. Indians were greatly inspired by the heroic deeds of the Rani Laxmi Bai, Nana Sahib, Mangal Pandey and others who stood against British for a common cause. This Revolt definitely laid the foundation for the India’s freedom struggle.
Economic Exploitation of India: With the end of Company’s rule the economic exploitation of India increased at par. Although, this was the phase of major developments like Railway, Tea and Coffee plantation in India, but the economic woes India had during this phase are unforgettable.
End of Peshwaship: After active and sound participation in the Revolt, Nana Sahib did managed to escape and was never traced thereafter, but with his escape an end was marked on the Peshwaship.
End of Mughal Empire: After participating in the great Revolt the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar died in year 1862 marking an end to the great and glorious Mughal Dynasty.
Amendments in British Policies: With the end of the company rule, the British Parliament assured the Princely States that all the treaties which they signed with the East India Company will be respected and their states would never be annexed by the British forces. Although, there were a lot many terms and conditions imposed by the British on these Princely States and their military powers were reduced to a great extent. Right to adoption was also given recognition after the 1857.
End of Company Rule in India: After the Great Revolt of 1857, the British Parliament passed an act for the better governance in India, according to which all the ruling power in India was directly undertaken by the British Queen and Parliament from the hands of the East India Company. This marked an end of the Company’s rule in India.


Lack of Planning and Discipline: The Revolt initiated prior to schedule against the plan of Nana Sahib and others. The Revolt was planned to burst on 31st May, 1857 but due to an incident in Meerut it started early without any plan. Also, discipline was lacking amongst the freedom fighters which resulted in the failure of the Great Revolt.

Indian Help and Support to British: Many of the Indian Princely States namely princes of Nabhya, Patiala and Kapurthala and the rulers of Hyderabad and Gwalior supported the British in terms of man and money to suppress the war. This support made the Revolt suffer some great loss and finally end with failure.


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