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The Great Rebellion 1857 (Study Notes)

 The Great Rebellion 1857 (Study Notes)

First War of Indian Independence, 1857
Historians termed the revolt as India's First War of  Independence. The rebellion was started by the sepoys of Meerut. 
What led them to the riot?
Poor salary and abuse by the British officers were the major reasons for their resentment. The rumour that the cartridge in the newly supplied Enfield rifles was greased with the fat of cows and pigs provoked them. It wounded the religious sentiments of the Hindu and Muslim soldiers. The soldiers who were unwilling to use the new cartridges were punished by the officers. In Barrackpore in Bengal, Mangal Pandey, an Indian soldier, shot at a British officer, who forced him to use the new cartridge. He was arrested and hanged to death.
The British rule had adversely affected the kings too. In addition to the Doctrine of Lapse, the princely states were convicted of inefficient rule and were annexed by the British. This made the kings lead the rebellion.
The real strength of the rebellion was the Hindu-Muslim unity. A spirit of co-operation existed among the soldiers, common people and the leaders. The rioters captured Delhi and declared Bahadur Shah II as the emperor of India.
The table below shows the major centres of the revolt and the leaders.
Leaders of the revolt of 1857
• Faizabad - Maulvi Ahmadullah
• Delhi - Bakht Khan 
• Jhansi - Lakshmi Bai
• Jagdishpur - Kunwar Singh 
• Kanpur - Nana Sahib
• Awadh - Begum Hazrat Mahal
• Bareilly - Khan Bahadur 
• The first martyr of 1857 revolt: Mangal Pandey 
* Mangal Pandey served as a sepoy in the 34th Bengal Native Infantry. 
* On 29th March 1857 Pandey shot adjutant Baugh and he missed the target but hit Baugh's 
horse instead.
* Mangal Pandey was executed on 8th April 1857 at Barrackpore(Bengal). 
* Jemadar Ishwari Prasad, who refused the order of the superior officer to arrest Mangal Pandey was sentenced to death and hanged on 22 April 1857.
• Who was the Governor-General during the revolt of 1857? 
Lord Canning 
* Lord Canning succeeded Lord Dalhousie as the Governor Gen­eral of India.
• From where did the revolt of 1857 start? 
* The unpopular administrative measures of Dalhousie, especial­ly the application of Doctrine of Lapse against the princely states is considered as one of the major factors that led to the revolt.
* The mutiny was commenced on 10th May 1857 at Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. 
* Major areas where the revolt spread: Delhi, Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Bareilly, Awadh, Assam, Bihar
* The major princely states that are not affected by the revolt of 1857: Hyderabad, Travancore, Mysore, Kashmir
• What is the real name of Tantia Tope? 
Ramachandra Pandurang Tope 
* Tantia Tope was the commander of the forces of Nana Sahib. 
* Tantia Tope was renowned for guerrilla warfare. 
* He also assisted Rani of Jhansi to seize the city of Gwalior. 
* He was defeated by General Napier's British troops and ex­ecuted by the British at Shivpuri on 18 April 1859. 
• Who led the revolt of 1857 at Jhansi? 
Lakshmi Bai 
* She was the widow of Gangadhar Rao, the former ruler of Jhansi. 
* The real name of Rani of Jhansi was Manikarnika or Mantra Bai. 
* Rani of Jhansi was defeated by British Officer Hugh Rose. 
* In descriptions of the scene of her last battle, some commentators compared Rani of Jhansi to Joan of Arc (Joan of Arc de­fended France against Britain in the Hundred Years War) 
• Who led the revolt of 1857 at Jagdishpur? 
Kunwar Singh 
* Bakht Khan, the General of Bahadur Shah II, led the revolt at Delhi. 
* Maulvi Ahmadullah led the re­volt at Faizabad. 
* Begum Hazrat Mahal led the re­volt atAwadh (Oudh). Lucknow was the capital of Oudh.
• Who was entitled as the ruler of Bareilly by the revolutionaries? 
Khan Bahadur 
* He was the descendant of the former ruler of Rohilkhand. 
• Name the centre of activity of Nana Sahib: 
* Nana Sahib was the adopted son of Baji Rao II, the last Peshwa. 
* The real name of Nana Sahib was Khondu Pant.
* Nana Sahib claimed pensions on behalf of his father after his demise. However the British 
refused to entertain it. 
* As the British forces recaptured Kanpur, Nana Sahib escaped to Nepal where he is thought to have died. 
• "The most dangerous of all Indian rebel leaders" - About whom Hugh Rose made this comment? 
Rani of Jhansi
* The name of adopted son of Rani of Jhansi - Damodar Rao
* The name of the horse of Rani of Jhansi during the revolt - Badal
* The statement 'the brightest point in the darkened back­ground' was made by Jawaharlal 
Nehru about Rani of Jhansi.
• Who was proclaimed as the new Nawab of Awadh during the revolt of 1857?
Birjis Qadr 
* He was the son of the deposed Nawab-Wajid Ali Shah. 
* Birjis Qadr acknowledged the suzerainty of Bahadur Shah Zafar. 
• Who conquered the mutineers at Delhi? 
John Nicholson
* John Nicholson died soon due to a mortal wound received during the fighting. 
* The control of Kanpur and Luc­know was regained by Colin Campbell. 
* Bahadur Shah II, who took asy­lum at the tomb of Humayun in Delhi, surrendered before the forces led by William Hodson on 20th September 1857.
* The British officer who shot dead the sons of Bahadur Shah II under his own authority at the Khooni Darwaza (the bloody gate) near Delhi Gate - William Hodson 
• Who was declared as the emper­or of India by the mutineers of 1857? 
Bahadur Shah II  
The rioters could not overcome the superior military power of the British and the rebellion was completely suppressed. Though the revolt could not succeed completely, it was marked as the foremost massive resistance of the Indians against the British. It brought about several changes in the policies and administration of the British. The British Parliament took over India from the British East India Company. 

Rare Facts
• The symbol of the 1857 revolt was 'Lotus and Bread'.
• 'Payam-e-Azadi' (The Message of Freedom), was a newspaper es­tablished by Nana Saheb's dose associate Azimullah Khan with Bahadur Shah Zafar's grandson Bedar Bakht as its patron. 
• The song 'Payarn-e-Azadi' was written by Azimullah Khan and is regarded as the first national song of India. 
• Jawaharlal Nehru in his book 'Discovery of India' described the 1857 revolt as a Feudal Revolt and added that 'it was much more than a military mutiny and it rapidly spread and assumed the character of a popular rebellion and a war of Indian Independence. 
• The British Chief Commissioner of Lucknow who was killed by the mutineers- Henry Lawrence. 
• The leader who supported the British during the 1857 revolt and was subsequently granted a pension of Rs. 200 per month- Syed Ahmed Khan 
• T.H. Holmes described the 1857 mutiny as a clash of civilization and barbarians. 
• The British historian who observed that the revolt of 1857 as a 'war against Christianity' - Reese 
• The scholar who observed that the revolt was a 'Muslim Conspiracy' to overthrow the British from India- James Outram
• The Indian historian who opined that the mutiny of 1857 was nothing but a military revolt- S.N. Sen
• The Queen's proclamation to transfer of the governance of India from the East India Company to the British crown was made public at Allahabad on 1st November 1858 by Lord Canning. 
However, the economic exploitation of the British reached its extreme level in the post-1857 phase. It is evident in the starvation deaths at that time. In the second half of the nineteenth century, around two crores of people died spread over twenty-four great famines.
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