What were the reasons for the failure of the 1857 revolt, and how was the revolt suppressed.

What were the reasons for the failure of the 1857 revolt, and how was the revolt suppressed.

Approach:

  • Briefly introduce with the revolt of 1857 and its failure.
  • Discuss the reasons for its failure.
  • Discuss how it was suppressed.
  • Conclude Appropriately.
Model Answer :

The Revolt of 1857 was a major, but ultimately unsuccessful, uprising in India in 1857–58 against the rule of the British East India Company, which functioned as a sovereign power on behalf of the British Crown.

The Revolt failed due to the following reasons:

  • Pan India participation was absent. The eastern, southern and western parts of India remained more or less unaffected.
  • All classes did not join the revolt – not only did some people not join the revolt, but even worked against the revolt. For example, big zamindars and Awadh taluqdars backed off.
  • There was no coordination or central leadership among Indian Rebels.
  • There was a lack of a unified ideology. The rebels were a group of diverse elements with differing grievances and concepts of current politics.
  • The Indian soldiers were poorly equipped materially, fighting with swords and spears, guns and muskets. On the other hand, the European soldiers were equipped with the latest weapons of war like the Enfield Rifle.
  • Many Indian rulers like the Sindhia of Gwalior, Holkar of Indore etc. also gave active help to the British.
  • Modern educated Indians were of the belief that the British would usher in an era of modernisation and hence opposed the Revolt.

Suppression:

  • It was not easy for the British to put down the uprising.
  • Before sending out the troops to re-conquer North India, the British passed a series of laws to help them suppress the revolt. During May and June 1857, through a number of Acts, North India was put under martial law; military officers and even ordinary Britons were given the power to try and punish Indians suspected of rebellion. Thus the ordinary processes of law and trial were suspended and it was made clear that rebellion would be punished by death.
  • The British, like the rebels, recognized the symbolic value of Delhi. To reestablish their authority, the British used military power on a gigantic scale.
  • They also tried to break the united resistance of big landholders and peasants by promising to give back to the former their estates

Though the Britishers were successful in quickly suppressing it, the 1857 Revolt marked the first large scale attempt to overthrow the British rule and had a profound influence on the young men and women who would soon be part of the national movement.

Subjects : History and Culture

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