IAS Preparation – Modern Indian History: The Revolt of 1857
Now we are going to discuss the revolt of 1857, we have already discussed one cause of this revolt and that is the military causes, now apart from this, what were the other causes as I told you the political cause, here you just have to write al those points that we already discussed under doctrine of lab. So the state which were annexed under this policy, obviously were not happy and they revolted against the British. Then within this, if you remember, there was one state which became very controversial and it was this state which became the hub or you can say the epicenter of this revolt and that was the annexation of Awadh. So these are the two points one can write easily under the political causes all the states which were annexed under doctrine of labs, they were obviously against the British and annexation of awadh. The third one is the economic causes, you have already discussed that the high rate of taxation made the people very angry against the British. And this anger is seen in various type of revolt against the state, the government and the authorities. The second important reason is that the post __ we have already discussed that the process of deindustrialization and that resulted into closure of most Indian industries, ultimately unemployment. So naturally the people who are more unemployed, or more vulnerable, and during any violent or street type of violence, they would be most active. And then we have one more important reason for this revolt, and that is the socio-religious reform movement, sorry socio-religious causes, what happens in this is firstly some hindu orthodox were not so happy, with some of the legislations that the British brought like we have already discussed. 1829- that was this anti-Sati resolution, 1856- that was this widow remarriage act, the female infanticide was banned which was not welcomed by the Hindu orthodox, so many of them belive that it is a conspiracy against their religion. Then some of the activities of the missionaries were also reason for this revolt. Because, many orthodox Hindus believe that the missionaries in india are conspiring against their religion and converting. It… one interesting point- number one, the East India company in the beginning did not allow any missionaries in their cantonment. But only in the 1830s the missionaries were allowed to come and preach their religion. But more than preaching they were maligning the religions of others, especially the Hindu religion and ridiculing. This hurt obviously the sentiments of the Indian soldiers who are by and large very religious. But we cannot generalize that all the missionaries in India were doing the same act, there were some great missionaries working in the past and present for the humanity, they opened schools and opened hospitals and charitable organizations and working simply for the benefit of humanity. This has been exaggerated also in the recent past in both media as well as in some textbooks- so have to guard ourselves from such kind of notions which have been evolved in certain sections of India through some textbooks and through some media both electronic and print media that the Christian missionaries were doing only one that is converting. Just don’t forget that how many Christians live in India. They are less that three percent of the entire India, despite the fact that 200 hundred years the British ruled in India. And it was not the mainland India that was converted and it was tribals mostly- in Orissa and Jharkhand and north east- whose faith itself was not so- you know- established- they didn’t have very established religions like Hinduism, Islam or Buddhism, they were obviously some backward people, and when some missionaries went with some benefits for them, with some material benefits with the message of Jesus Christ obviously it was some allurement also, but that allurement cannot be generalized, this is the point that we have to be very careful when writing any single line one missionaries that the line and the words and the sentences should be very well-guarded. So definitely it had some roles in the revolt. Then one very interesting point is that some muslim elites which we can call in some Persian as Ashraf. This Ashraf were Urdu and Persian elites, suffered most due to British elites. Because before British the topmost positions in army and civil service, judiciary and revenue service were held by the Muslim elite. Now, after 1837, when English was made official language replacing Persian then, this Muslim elites suffered most. Those who learned English are getting good jobs and naturally the Muslims were far behind the upper caste Hindus in learning English. The Bengali Hindus especially along with some Maharashtrain and Tamil Hindus. So some of these Muslim elites joined this rebellion thinking that if this succeeds they could reestablish the old system in which they were benefitting most, and this is how it gave an interesting dimension when the actual revolt took place we find that a good number of leaders came from Muslim elite or who were known as Ashraf. And so it’s the multiple factors clubbed together soldiers unrest brought to this unrest. So I hope that this ‘causes’ part is very clear.