History Notes Part XVIII – Revolt of 1857 (Static GK Material for Competitive Exams)

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The Revolt of 1857, First Struggle of Independence, Doctrine of Lapse, Subsidiary Allaince, Satara, awadh, Permanent Settlement, Mangal Pandey, Hugeson, Baugh, Enfield rifle Catridges, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Lucent G.K. material for History, Pearson Study Material, History Notes, History Notes for Competitive Exams,Subsidiary Alliance, One Liners for History.

The Revolt of 1857

The Revolt of 1857 took place during the vice royalty of Lord Canning.The Revolt of 1857 is called the ‘First War of Independence or ‘Sepoy Muting’. The Revolt began at Meerut, and covered Delhi, whole North India, Central India and Western India, South remained quite, and Punjab and Bengal were only marginally affected. The Revolt of 1857, was unsuccessful but was a good effort to make India free from foreign rule. The soldiers captured Delhi and proclaimed the 82 year old Bahadur Shah Zafar as Shahenshah-i-Hindustan. It gave a positive meaning to the Revolt.


  • The causes Revolt of 1857 was century long discrimination and exploitation of Indian by British.
  • The Revolt had diverse political, economic, military, religious and social causes.

Political Causes

  • The most important cause of the Revolt of 1857 was the British annexation policies which took away the kingdoms of large number of rulers and chiefs.
  • Awadh was annexed in 1856, on charges of mal-administration.
  • Satara, Jhansi, Nagpur and Sambhalpur were annexed on the basis of Doctrine of Lapse policy.

Economic Causes

  • The British economic policies hurt all the sections of society.
  • The British land revenue policies forced many peasants to sell their lands.
  • Artisans and Craftsman were ruined, as Britishers sold their factory manufactured goods at cheap rates which in turn made hand made goods uneconomical to produce.
  • The land revenue system such as Permanent Settlement, Ryotwari System and Mahalwari Systems demanded higher taxes.

Military Causes

  • The Indian soldiers were looked down as inferiors and were treated with contempt by their British officers.
  • They were paid much less than the British officers. All the high posts and promotions were reserved for the British officers.
  • On 29 March 1857, an Indian Sepoy of the 34th Regiment, Mangal Pandey, killed two British officers-Hugeson and Baugh on parade at Barrackpore (Calcutta).
  • The Indian soldiers present refused to obey orders to arrest Mangal Pandey. However Mangal Pandey was later on arrested, tried and hanged. His news spread all over the country which resulted in Sepoy revolt in Lucknow, Ambala, Berhampur and Meerut.
  • On 10 May 1857, soldiers at Meerut refused to touch the new Enfield rifle Cartridges. The cartridges were covered with a greased paper cover.
  • The greased cover had to be bitten off before the Cartridge could be loaded into the rifle. The news spread that the grease was made of cow and pig fat.
  • The Hindus considered the cow sacred and Muslims does not eat the pig’s meat. This hurt the sentiments of both Hindus and Muslims.
  • The soldiers along with civilians went on rampage shouting ‘Maaro Firangi Ko’. They broke open jails, murdered Europeans, burnt their houses and marched to Delhi.

Religious Causes

  • A reason for outbreak of revolt was the fear among the people that the British government want to destroy their religion and convert Indians to Christianity.

Social Causes

  • British introduced many social reforms in Indian society.
  • Reforms such as abolition of Sati, Widow Remarriage Act, Education to Women, Suppression of female infanticide and human sacrifices etc. were looked upon as examples of interference in the social customs of the country.

Leaders connected with the Revolt

  • At Kanpur, Nana Saheb the adopted son of last Peshwa, Baji Rao II, led the forces.
  • Begum Hazrat Mahal led the forces in Lucknow.
  • In Bareily Khan Bahadur was the commandant.
  • Rani Lakshmi Bai the brave military leader and the Queen of Jhansi died while fighting the British Forces on 17 June 1858.
  • General Bakht Khan led the revolt at Delhi.

Reasons for the Failure of the Revolt

  • The poor organisation and disunity of Indian.
  • Lack of communication and coordination between Sepoy, Peasants, Zamindars and other classes.
  • Lack of common language.
  • Lack of complete Nationalism-Scindia, Holkar and Nizam actively helped the British.
    Many had different motives for the revolt.

Significance of the Revolt

  • The Revolt established unity between Hindus and Muslims.
  • The revolt was started by Sepoys but it soon turned into a revolt against British rule.
  • People exhibited patriotism sentiments without any touch of communal feelings.

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