A Brief Overview of Impact Of The 1857 Revolt

Revolt of 1857 also known as First War of Indian Independence played a major role in the shifting of powers from East India Company to British Crown. Soon after the war, new laws were passed to abolish East India Company and they were merely reduced to a trading organisation. This article will explain the impact of the 1857 revolt.

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Impact of Revolt of 1857

The revolt of 1857 was an important marker in Indian History and is an important area where questions have repeatedly featured in the Civil Services (Prelims) and Civil Services (Mains) Examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Here we outline the impact of the revolt of 1857, which would provide insights to IAS aspirants in preparing for this topic.

  1. 100 years of the rule of the EIC marked the zenith of exploitation in India. And this exploitation was in all directions, i.e. social, economical, and political life of Indians.
  2. The intensity of the revolt of 1857, although confined in certain pockets, was so high that it shook the backbone of British rule in India, and it also proved the fact that the EIC which was basically a trading organization was not efficient enough in tackling Indian administration.
  3. The revolt exposed the hollowness of the company’s rule in India. The British Government couldn’t afford to lose India at any cost, so, therefore, the British Government decided to abolish the rule of the EIC, and direct Government was installed, guided by the British Parliament.

Note: 1. Ever since the EIC transformed itself from a trading organization to a political organization, the attitude of the British Parliament also went under subjective assessment. And thereafter, various rules and regulations were passed from time to time. By the passing of the Charter Acts, the power of the EIC was gradually curtailed, and at the same time, the control of the British Parliament over them gradually kept increasing. 2. The successive passing of various Charter Acts in different years- 1813, 1833, 1853  implies that the abolition of the East India Company (EIC) wasn’t an immediate action and was a long-drawn-out policy of the British Parliament and that the revolt of 1857 gave the British Parliament the perfect opportunity to abolish the rule of the EIC in India.

Immediate Impact

  1. Government of India Act, 1858: Under this Act, the rule of the EIC was abolished and the British Parliament had taken direct responsibility towards ruling India. The EIC returned to being just a trading organization.
  2. The role of the Governor-General became more pronounced and his profile was now counted as the Viceroy as well.
  3. The difference between Governor-General and Viceroy was that the Viceroy would act as the representative of the Queen and the Governor-General was the representative of the British Parliament whose authority was restricted to that of British India itself and not on the Princely States.
  4. The Board of Control (established under the 1784 Pitt’s India Act) was abolished. A new ministry was created known as ‘India House’, headed by the Secretary of State for India who was a minister of cabinet rank.
  5. There were 15 advisors to the ‘India House’, who had wide experience of working in India. Thus the British Parliament was trying to create a mechanism to avoid any further chances of revolt. The India House was the apex body to govern India and was a connecting link between the British Parliament and the Indian governing system.

Multiple Choice Question (MCQ)

Consider the Following Statements

  1. The large princely states, Hyderabad, Mysore, Travancore, and Kashmir, as well as the smaller ones of Rajputana, did not join the Revolt of 1857.
  2. A military and civilian decoration of British India, the Indian Order of Merit was first introduced by the East India Company in 1837 and was taken over by the Crown in 1858, following the Indian Mutiny of 1857. 
  3. The Indian Order of Merit was the only gallantry medal available to Native soldiers between 1837 and 1907.
  4. Invasive British-style social reforms, harsh land taxes were some of the reasons for the revolt of 1857.

Which of the following statements are true?

A) Only 1 and 2 are true.

B) None of the statements are false

C) Only 1 and 4 are true.

D) None of the Statements are true.

Answer: B

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