Causes of Revolt of 1857 – Resistance To British Rule

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After the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the political control of the East India Company extended and before the finish of the eighteenth century, the British rose as the essential vitality in India.

These modifications prompted separation in the socio-social, budgetary, and political presence of the individuals. The ensuing strife prompted a flare-up in the nation.

Uprisings had been currently not constrained to the later length of the British Empire yet were a consistent component of it from its absolute starting point, coming full circle in the insurgence of 1857.

The revolt was not an abrupt event but rather it was the summit of a century-long convention of furious well-known protection from British control. So, we are going to see in-depth about the revolt of 1857 and the uprising before that too.

  • Early Uprisings
  • The revolt of 1857

revolt of 1857

Early Uprisings

Khasi Uprising

  • Conscriptions of laborers for street building linking the Brahmaputra valley with Sylhet passing through the whole length of the Khasi dominated the Khasis to rebel under the leadership of Tirut Singh.
  • The long and harassing war with Khasis continued for four years and was subsequently suppressed in early 1833.

Ahom Revolt

  • The British had vowed to pull back after the principal Burma war(1824-26) from Assam anyway interestingly, the British attempted to join the Ahoms regions in the organization’s territory after the war.
  • This started off disobedience in 1828 under the authority of Gomdhar Konwar.

Singhphos Rebellion

  • While the British have been engaged in harassing warfare with the Khasis, the Singhphos broke into an open rise in early 1830, which was suppressed after 3 months.
  • But the Singhphos remained in a mood of sullen discontent and once more rose in rebellion in 1839 when they killed the British political agent.
  • Thus it is evident that the colonial rule even throughout the days of the East India Company witnessed numerous uprising and disturbances. These various grievances reached their climax in the revolt of 1857, which in spite of targeting certain organizations of Indians stood the outstanding rebellion in opposition to the British before the establishment of the Indian Freedom Movement.

Poligar Rebellion

  • Polygars (Palaiyakkarars) have been feudal lords who had been appointed as military chiefs and administrative governors from the time of the Vijayanagara Empire in components of Southern India. (They had been given the charge of a Palayam or a crew of villages).
  • It was once the Polygars who gathered taxes from the cultivators.
  • But the East India Company got here into war with the Polygars over the question of who must collect taxes, and sought to manage the Polygars.
  • The first rebellion, additionally known as the First Polygar War broke out in September 1799 in Tirunelveli district in cutting-edge Tamil Nadu.
  • The Polygars had been led through Kattabomma Nayak (also called Veerapandi Kattabomman) who was once in charge of Panchalankurichi Palayam.
  • He had defied the British for 7 years refusing to receive their suzerainty and pay revenue to them.
  • In the battles with the British troops, Kattabomman at the start escaped but was once as a result caught and publicly hanged as a warning to other Polygars.
  • The Second Polygar War (1800 – 01) is additionally referred to as the South Indian Rebellion due to its scale and reach.

Revolt of Velu Thambi

  • Velu Thambi was the Diwan (Prime Minister) of the Kingdom of Travancore.
  • He rose in revolt in opposition to the British when they tried to oust him from the put up of Diwan. He used to be additionally against the heavy financial burden imposed on the kingdom through the Subsidiary Alliance Treaty.
  • Velu Thampi used to be able to garner precise aid from the people of the land against the British.
  • He took his own life in order to keep away from capture by the British in 1809.

Sanyasi and Fakir uprisings in Bengal

  • An order of Sannyasis rose up against the British during and after the incomparable Bengal starvation of 1770. The prompt reason for this upsurge was the limitation forced by the British upon the travelers visiting sacred places and holy places. These sannyasis supported by average citizens struck the English manufacturing plants and settlements.
  • They additionally gathered tremendous commitments. All these prompted various clashes between the agitators and the organization’s powers.
  • Simultaneously an enormous number of Fakirs or Muslim beggars rebelled against the British under the authority of Majnu Shah and Cheragh Ali. They assaulted English plants and plundered their products, arms, and cash. There were a number of fights battled between the Fakirs and the British soldiers who endured substantial misfortunes.

Faraizi Movement

  • The originator of this development was Haji Shariatullah of Faridpur (eastern Bengal). His boss’s point was to expel un-Islamic practices from the Muslim society just as to resuscitate and re-establish Muslim guidelines by and by ousting the Christians from India. So this development was unequivocally strict politically in character.
  • His replacements Dudu Mian and Nowa Mian effectively assembled the Muslim workers of focal and eastern Bengal against the zamindars and moneylenders who were for the most part Hindus and the indigo grower who was British.
  • The Bengal government at long last stifled them in the 1860s after a progression of captures, preliminaries, and abuses.

Wahabi Movement

  • This development was initially an Islamic socio-strict change development. It attempted to define Islam by disposing of all the un-Islamic practices which had crawled into Muslim society through the ages. Saiyad Ahmad of Rae-Bareily was the organizer of this development in India. Be that as it may, his real aspiration was to resuscitate the Muslim force in Hindustan by ousting the Sikhs in Punjab and British in Bengal.
  • Wahhabism spread quickly in Bihar, Bengal, UP, and North-Western India. After Saiyad Ahmad’s passing in the clash of Balakot against the Sikhs (1831), Patna turned into the focal point of this development. In Bengal Saiyad Nissar Hussain drove this enemy of British battle which here and there took a collective turn. In spite of the fact that the Wahabi uprising was fundamentally motivated by hostility to settler slants yet, it had a Pentecostal and mutual propensity. The British took solid measures against this development and had the option to quell it totally around 1870.

Kuka Movement

  • It was initially established by Bhagat JawaharMal in 1840. His fundamental point was to purge the Sikh religion by expelling all the maltreatment, odd notions, and sick practices from it. In any case, after the British extension of Punjab restoration of Sikh force and sway turned into the significant target of the Kukas. This caused a lot of tension in the British authority positions. So they took different measures somewhere in the range of 1863 and 1872 and were at long last ready to smother this development.

Santhal Rebellion

  • The Santhal resistance was ancestral disobedience set apart by ancestral interests and a solid enemy of British emotions. Under the administration of Sidhu and Kanhu, a huge number of Santhals rebelled against the severe British and their nearby Indian coordinated efforts. The Santhals assaulted and annihilated the places of landowners, moneylenders, growers, and British authorities. Others from lower arrange likewise went along with them. They announced the finish of the British standards. After a progression of beginning mishaps, the British authority could, at last, stifle the Santhal defiance yet just with a military guide.

The Revolt of 1857

Immediate reason for the Revolt

  • The instantaneous element used to be the introduction of the ‘Enfield’ rifle. The cartridge had to be bitten off earlier than loading it into the gun.
  • Indian sepoys believed that the cartridge used to be greased with either pig fats or made from cow fat.
  • This used to be in opposition to the Hindu and Muslim sentiments and religious ideologies. Thus they were reluctant to use the ‘Enfield’ rifle.
  • This used to be a flashpoint to enrage the soldiers towards the British. This was believed to be the immediate aspect of the rebellion of 1857.


The revolt of 1857 was initiated due to quite a number of elements which are referred to below:

1. Religious and Social Causes – Racism or racial discrimination used to be believed to be a major reason for the revolt of 1857 whereby Indians had been exploited and had been kept away from mixing with Europeans.

The whites additionally began interfering in the religious and cultural affairs of Indians and tortured them as well. This enraged Indians and led to the insurrection of 1857.

2. Political Causes – The British growth had unjust policies that led to the loss of strength from the Nawabs and Zamindars dwelling at a number of places in India.

The introduction of unfair policies like the policy of Trade and Commerce, the policy of indirect subordination (subsidiary alliance), the policy of war and annexation, the policy of direct subordination (doctrine of lapse), the policy of misgovernance (in which Awadh was annexed) noticeably hampered the interests of the rulers of the native states, and they one by one became victims of British expansionism.

Therefore, these rulers, who misplaced their states to the British, had been naturally in opposition to the British and took aspects in opposition to them throughout the revolt.

3. Economic Factors – There have been a number of reforms in the taxation and income gadget that affected the peasants heavily. British Government had imposed and added quite a number of administrative policies to enlarge their territory.

  • Permanent Settlement in Bengal
  • Mahalwari contract in Central India
  • Ryotwari contract in southern India

These three settlements have been notably exploitative, and in particular, the Permanent settlement had created a devastating impact. Thus the peasants had been substantially influenced to overthrow the British Government from India and led to their active participation in the rebellion of 1857.

4. Military Factors – The Indian soldiers went through a lot of torture through the British officials with respect to their salaries, pensions, promotions. Indians had been subjugated in the army whilst their European counterparts confronted no such discrimination.

This arose discontent and used to be a major military issue that resulted in the insurrection of 1857.

5. Vellore Mutiny ­– The Vellore Mutiny took place even before the revolt of 1857(50 years before). It erupted on 10th July 1806 in Vellore, present-day Tamil Nadu, and lasted only for a day, but it was brutal and it was the first major mutiny by the Indian sepoys in the East India Company.


The revolt of 1857 shook the establishment of the British East India Company and uncovered their wastefulness in managing the Indian organization.

The most significant impact was the presentation of the Government of India act which nullified the standard of British East India Company and denoted the beginning of British raj that gave powers in the possession of the British specialists to run India straightforwardly through delegates.

  1. Administration of India Act, 1858: Under this Act, the standard of the East India Company was annulled and the British Parliament had assumed direct liability towards administering India. The East India Company came back to being only an exchanging association.
  2. The job of the Governor-General turned out to be more articulated and his profile was currently considered the Viceroy also.
  3. The contrast between Governor-General and Viceroy was that the Viceroy would go about as the agent of the Queen and the Governor-General was the delegate of the British Parliament whose authority was limited to that of British India itself and not to the Princely States.
  4. The Board of Control (set up under the 1784 Pitt’s India Act) was canceled. Another service was made known as ‘India House’, headed by the Secretary of State for India who was a clergyman of bureau rank.
  5. There were 15 counsels to the ‘India House’, who had a wide understanding of working in India. In this manner, the British Parliament was attempting to make an instrument to stay away from any further odds of revolt. The India House was the summit body to oversee India and was an associating join between the British Parliament and the Indian administering framework.

Causes for the Failure

  • The insurrection was ultimately not successful in ousting the British from the country due to the fact of countless factors.
  • The sepoys lacked one clear leader; there had been several. They additionally did not have a coherent design by using which the foreigners would be routed.
  • Indian rulers who aided the insurrection did not envision any sketch for the country after the British had been defeated.
  • Majorly northern India used to be affected through this revolt. The three presidencies of Bengal, Bombay, and Madras remained broadly speaking unaffected.
  • The Sikh troopers also did not take part in the rebellion.
PlaceRevolt of 1857 -Important Leaders
DelhiBahadur Shah II, General Bakht Khan
LucknowBegum Hazrat Mahal, Birjis Qadir, Ahmadullah
KanpurNana Sahib, Rao Sahib, Tantia Tope, Azimullah Khan
JhansiRani Laxmibai
BiharKunwar Singh, Amar Singh
RajasthanJaidayal Singh and Hardayal Singh
FarrukhabadTufzal Hasan Khan
AssamKandapareshwar Singh, Maniram Dutta Baruah
OrissaSurendra Shahi, Ujjwal Shahi


100 years of the rule of the East India Company marked the zenith of exploitation in India. And this exploitation used to be in all directions, i.e. social, economical, and political existence of Indians.

The depth of the rebellion of 1857, even though limited in positive pockets, used to be so high that it shook the backbone of British rule in India, and it also proved the reality that the East India Company which was basically a trading organization was now not efficiently adequate in tackling Indian administration.

The riot uncovered the hollowness of the company’s rule in India. The British Government couldn’t afford to lose India at any cost, so consequently, the British Government decided to abolish the rule of the East India Company, and direct Government was once installed, guided through the British Parliament.

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