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Diffusion of  1857 Revolt

Diffusion of  1857 Revolt

  • The Revolt began at Meerut, 36 miles from Delhi, on 10 May 1857 and then gathering force rapidly spread across Northern India.
  • It soon embraced a vast area from the Punjab in the North and the Narmada in the South to Bihar in the East and Rajputana in the West.
  • Even before the outbreak at Meerut, Mangal Pande had become a martyr at Barrackpore.
  • Mangal Pande, a young soldier, was hanged on 29 March 1857 for revolting single-handed and attacking his superior officers.
  • This and many similar incidents were a sign that discontent and rebellion were brewing among the sepoy, and then came the explosion at Meerut.

  • On 24 April 1857, ninety men of the 3rd Native Cavalry refused to accept the greased cartridges.
  • On 9 May 1857, eighty five of them were dismissed, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, and put into fetters.
  • This sparked off a general mutiny among the Indian soldiers stationed at Meerut.
  • The very next day, on 10 May, sepoys released their imprisoned comrades, killed their officers, and unfurled the banner of revolt.
  • As if drawn by a magnet they set off for Delhi after sunset.
  • When the Meerut soldiers appeared in Delhi the next morning, the local infantry joined them, killed their own European officers, and seized the city.
  • The rebellious soldiers proclaimed the aged and powerless Bahadur Shah the Emperor of India.
  • Delhi was soon to become the center of the Great Revolt and Bahadur Shah its great symbol.
  • Bahadur Shah, in turn, under the instigation and perhaps the pressure of the sepoys, soon wrote letters to all the chiefs and rulers of India urging them to organize a confederacy of Indian states to fight and replace the British regime.
  • The entire Bengal Army soon rose in revolt which spread quickly.
  • Avadh, Rohlikhand, the Bundelkhand, Central India, large parts of Bihar, and the East Punjab, all shook off British authority.
  • In many of the princely states, rulers remained loyal to their British overlord but the soldiers revolted or remained on the brink of revolt.
  • More than 20,000 of Gwalior’s troops went over to Tantia Tope and the Rani of Jhansi.
  • Many small chiefs of Rajasthan and Maharashtra, revolted with the support of the people, who were quite hostile to the British.
  • Local rebellions also occurred in Hyderabad and Bengal.
  • The tremendous sweep and breadth of the Revolt were matched by its depth.
  • Everywhere in Northern and Central India, the mutiny of the sepoys was followed by popular revolts of the civilian population.
  • After the sepoys had destroyed British authority, the common people was up in arms often lighting with spears and axes, bows and arrows, lathis and scythes, and crude muskets.
  • It was the wide participation to the Revolt by the peasantry and the artisans which gave it real strength as well as the character of a popular revolt, especially in the areas at present included in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
  • The popular character of the Revolt of 1857 also became evident when the British tried to smash it.
  • They had to wage a vigorous and ruthless war not only against the rebellious sepoys but also against the people of Avadh, North-Western Provinces and Agra, Central India, and Western Bihar, burning entire villages and massacring villagers and urban people.
  • The sepoys and the people fought staunchly and valiantly up to the very end.
  • They were defeated but their spirit remained unbroken.
  • Much of the strength of the Revolt of 1857 lay in Hindu-Muslim unity.
  • Among the soldiers and the people as well as among the leaders there was complete cooperation as between Hindus and Muslims.
  • In fact, the events of 1857 clearly bring out that the people and politics of India were not basically communal in medieval times and before 1858.

Diffusion of  1857 Revolt – Diffusion of  1857 Revolt – Diffusion of  1857 Revolt

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