Q.Critically analyse how did the 1857 Revolt affect various aspects of India’s struggle for Independence.
The Revolt of 1857 was a major rebellion between dethroned nawabs, dispossessed zamindars, local chieftains, soldiers, etc. on one hand and the British on the other.
Effect on various aspects of India’s freedom struggle
1. The Army was insulated from the nationalist movement with deliberate efforts to reduce the proportion of Indian soldiers and introduce different regiments to prevent consolidation. Therefore, until the RIN mutiny in 1940s, the army continued to be bulwark of British rule
2. Social: The British were more sensitive to the needs of the Indian society and distanced themselves from interference in socio-religious customs. Reform process slowed down
3. Seeds of communal discord were sown between Hindus and Muslims post the revolt
4. Princely states: Warm attitude towards princely states led to their alienation from mainstream Indian society. Previous policy of isolation was abandoned
At the same time, its positive effects include
1. Legislative: More Indians were sought to be given representation in the Viceroy’s Executive Council in the aftermath of the revolt. This proved decisive as later Pherozshah Mehta and G K Gokhale played a spirited role in Legislative Councils
2. Intellectual: It shook the conscience of Indian intellectuals. Later, nationalist leaders like V D Savarkar drew inspiration from the 1857 revolt to mobilize the masses
In conclusion, despite its failure, the 1857 revolt proved to be a source of inspiration for the national freedom movement which eventually culminated in independence in 1947.