Indian Rebellion of 1857
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|Indian Rebellion of 1857|
A 1912 map of 'Northern India: the Revolt of 1857-59' showing the centres of rebellion including the principal ones: Meerut, Delhi, Cawnpore (Kanpur), Lucknow, Jhansi, and Gwalior
The Indian Rebellion of 1857, also called the Great Rebellion, the Indian Mutiny, the Revolt of 1857, the Uprising of 1857 or the Sepoy Mutiny, began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May, 1857 revolted against the army. Sepoys (sipahis) were Hindu and Muslim soldiers in the Indian army.
The most important change that began the rebellion was anger about the ammunition for the new rifles they had to use when they had to fight. The cartridges that were used in the rifles had to be bit open. The Muslims were angry because they thought that the paper cartridges had pig fat in them. This was because Muslims believe that pigs are unclean. Hindu soldiers were angry because they believed the cartridges had cow fat in them. On January 27, Colonel Richard Birch ordered that no cartridges should have grease on them, and that sepoys could grease them with whatever they wanted. However, this only made the sepoys believe that the stories about the cartridge having pig and cow fat were true.
The British rulers continued to forcibly take some regions ruled by Indians and made these regions (for example: Oudh, part of the present day Indian state of Uttar Pradesh) part of the British Raj. They did not give any respect to old royal houses of India like the Mughals and the Peshwas.
Rebellion broke out when a soldier called Mangal Pandey attacked a British sergeant and wounded an adjutant. General Hearsey ordered another Indian soldier to arrest Mangal Pandey but he refused. Later the British arrested Mangal Pandey and the other Indian soldier. The British killed both by hanging them. All other soldiers of that regiment lost their job. On May 10th 1857, cavalry troops while doing parade at Meerut broke ranks. They freed the soldiers of the 3rd regiment, and they moved towards Delhi. Soon many Indians of north India joined these soldiers. They entered the Delhi Fort. They asked Bahadur Shah II, the Mughal Emperor, to become leader of the rebellion. He agreed unwillingly. Very soon the revolt spread throughout north India. Important Indian leaders of royal families joined the rebellion, and started fighting the British at several places. They included: Ahmed Ullah, an advisor of the ex-King of Oudh; Nana Saheb, his nephew Rao Saheb, and his retainers, Tantia Topi and Azimullah Khan; the Rani of Jhansi; Kunwar Singh; the Rajput chief of Jagadishpur in Bihar; and Firuz Saha, a relative of the Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah.
At the beginning the British were slow to respond. Then they took very quick action with heavy forces. They brought their regiments from the Crimean War to India. They also redirected many regiments that were going to China to India. The British forces reached Delhi, and they surrounded the city from 1st July 1857 until 31st August 1857. Street-to-street fights broke out between the British troops and the Indians. Ultimately, they took control of Delhi. The massacre at Kanpur (July 1857) and the siege of Lucknow (June to November 1857) were also important. The last important battle was at Gwalior in June 1858 in which the Rani of Jhansi was killed. With this, the British had practically suppressed the rebellion. However, some guerrilla fighting in many places continued until early in 1859 and Tantia Tope was not captured and executed until April 1859.
The rebellion was a major event in the history of modern India. The Parliament of the United Kingdom withdrew the right of the British East India Company to rule India in November 1858. The United Kingdom started ruling India directly through its representative called the Viceroy of India. It made India a part of the British Empire. It promised the "the Princes, Chiefs, and Peoples of India," equal treatment under the British law. In 1877, Queen Victoria took the title of Empress of India.
The British sent Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal Emperor, out of India, and kept him in Yangon (then called Rangoon), Burma where he died in 1862. The Mughal dynasty, which had ruled India for about four hundred years, ended with his death.
The British also took many steps to employ members of Indian higher castes and rulers into the government. They stopped taking the lands of the remaining princes and rulers of India. They stopped interference in religious matters. They started employing Indians in the civil services but at lower levels. They increased the number of British soldiers, and allowed only British soldiers to handle artillery.
In England, newspapers focused on the violence of the mutiny. Some of the reports were not true. Charles Dickens, a famous writer at that time, wrote that they should take revenge in his 1857 novella The Perils of Certain English Prisoners .
- File:Indian revolt of 1857 states map.svg
- "The 1857 Indian Mutiny". victorianweb.org. http://www.victorianweb.org/history/empire/1857/1857.html. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
- David, Saul (2003), The Indian Mutiny: 1857, London: Penguin Books, Pp. 528, ISBN 0141005548
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Text-books and academic monographs [change]
- Alavi, Seema (1996), The Sepoys and the Company: Tradition and Transition 1770-1830, Oxford University Press, p. 340, ISBN 0195634845.
- Anderson, Clare (2007), Indian Uprising of 1857–8: Prisons, Prisoners and Rebellion, New York: Anthem Press, pp. 217, ISBN 9781843312956, http://books.google.com.au/books/about/The_Indian_Uprising_of_1857_8.html?id=MGJQKg4Tja0C&redir_esc=y
- Bandyopadhyay, Sekhara (2004), From Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India, New Delhi: Orient Longman, pp. 523, ISBN 8125025960.
- Bayly, Chistopher Alan (1988), Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire, Cambridge University Press, pp. 230, ISBN 0521250927.
- Bayly, Christopher Alan (2000), Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, c 1780-1870, Cambridge University Press, pp. 412, ISBN 0521570859.
- Bose, Sugata; Jalal, Ayesha (2004), Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy (2nd ed.), London: Routledge, pp. 253, ISBN 0415307872.
- Brown, Judith M. (1994), Modern India: The Origins of an Asian Democracy (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, pp. 480, ISBN 0198731132, http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780198731139.
- Harris, John (2001), The Indian Mutiny, Ware: Wordsworth Editions, pp. 205, ISBN 1840222328.
- Hibbert, Christopher (1980), The Great Mutiny: India 1857, London: Allen Lane, pp. 472, ISBN 0140047522.
- Judd, Denis (2004), The Lion and the Tiger: The Rise and Fall of the British Raj, 1600-1947, Oxford University Press, xiii, 280, ISBN 0192803581.
- Keene, Henry George (1883), Fifty-Seven: some account of the administration of Indian Districts during the revolt of the Bengal Army, London: W. H. Allen, pp. 145.
- Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (2004), A History of India (4th ed.), London: Routledge, xii, 448, ISBN 0415329205.
- Ludden, David (2002), India and South Asia: a short history, Oxford: Oneworld, xii, 306, ISBN 1851682376, http://www.oneworld-publications.com/cgi-bin/cart/commerce.cgi?pid=145&log_pid=yes.
- Majumdar, R. C.; Raychaudhuri, H. C.; Datta, Kalikinkar (1967), An Advanced History of India (3rd ed.), London: Macmillan, pp. 1126.
- Markovits, Claude, ed. (2004), A History of Modern India 1480-1950, London: Anthem, pp. 607, ISBN 1843311526.
- Metcalf, Barbara D.; Metcalf, Thomas R. (2006), A Concise History of Modern India (2nd ed.), Cambridge University Press, pp. 337, ISBN 0521682258.
- Metcalf, Thomas R. (1990), The Aftermath of Revolt: India, 1857-1870, New Delhi: Manohar, pp. 352, ISBN 8185054991.
- Metcalf, Thomas R. (1997), Ideologies of the Raj, Cambridge University Press, pp. 256, ISBN 0521589371.
- Mukherjee, Rudrangshu (2002), Awadh in Revolt 1857-1858: A Study of Popular Resistance (2nd ed.), London: Anthem, ISBN 1843310759.
- Palmer, Julian A.B. (1966), The Mutiny Outbreak at Meerut in 1857, Cambridge University Press, pp. 175, ISBN 0521059011.
- Ray, Rajat Kanta (2002), The Felt Community: Commonality and Mentality before the Emergence of Indian Nationalism, Oxford University Press, pp. 596, ISBN 0195658639.
- Robb, Peter (2002), A History of India, Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 344, ISBN 0333691296.
- Roy, Tapti (1994), The politics of a popular uprising: Bundelkhand 1857, Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 291, ISBN 0195636120.
- Stanley, Peter (1998), White Mutiny: British Military Culture in India, 1825-1875, London: Hurst, pp. 314, ISBN 1850653305.
- Stein, Burton (2001), A History of India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 432, ISBN 0195654463.
- Stokes, Eric (1980), The Peasant and the Raj: Studies in Agrarian Society and Peasant Rebellion in Colonial India, Cambridge University Press, pp. 316, ISBN 0521297702.
- Stokes, Eric; Bayly, C.A. (ed.) (1986), The Peasant Armed: The Indian Revolt of 1857, Oxford: Clarendon, pp. 280, ISBN 0198215703.
- Taylor, P.J.O. (1997), What really happened during the mutiny: a day-by-day account of the major events of 1857-1859 in India, Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 323, ISBN 0195641825.
- Wolpert, Stanley (2004), A New History of India (7th ed.), Oxford University Press, pp. 530, ISBN 0195166787.