War of Independence 1857 Essay:
War of independence 1857 was a bloody and protracted rebellion against the British East India Company, which erupted in May in 1857 in India. The rebellion was concentrated in northern India and lasted until June 1858, minor battles continued throughout the year. This led to the East India Company was replaced by direct British rule and the British India was formally established.
The exact causes of the uprising is a matter of debate. It began as a mutiny among Indian soldiers in British service, sepoys, but can also be considered to have had the character of rebellion against foreign rule. It was the closest caused by wounding the religious feelings and experience of social injustice. Hindu and Muslim insurgents had united against Westerners, and a plan was arranged to put the last shadow emperor of the Great Mogul’s lineage at the head of an Indian prince covenant.
140 000 Indians, called “sepoys,” served in the British Bengal Army under the command of 26,000 British officers. These soldiers had participated in, among others, First Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1842), the two wars in Punjab (1845-1846 and 1848-1849) and in the Second Anglo-Burmese War.
They had fought not only within British India’s borders: they fought in the Opium War (1840-1842 and 1856-1860) in China, as well as in the removal of the Crimean War (1853-1856 ). Some of the soldiers could feel constrained by the structure of the British-controlled army. During the Muslim rule in India Hindus were, to some extent, able to advance in the service; at the Brits, it was impossible for an Indian to be appointed as an officer.
A large portion of the Indian soldiers in the Bengal Army came from the Hindi belt of the present Uttar Pradesh. In the 1800s, this area had seen taxes increased significantly. The increase in taxes is estimated at 70 % in the first half of the 1800s, and this had the result that many farmers have been severely indebted and dependent on loan sharks and merchants. Discontent had increased even in the urban population, and the upper classes, who have not been free from the British burdens.
It proved to be a tactical error by the British to tax even the urban middle class and the old upper class. Discontent was not limited only to the countryside, and now there were dissatisfied groups with access to many leading figures.
The spark came on the night between 10 and 11 May in Meerut in XI Native Cavalrys barracks, where concerns already grown recently due to the new ammunition gained, and – as was rumored – had been lubricated with pig and cow fat. The insurgent regiment marched towards Delhi, where they quickly persuaded the then without power big mogul Bahadur Shah II to put itself at the forefront of an uprising against the British.
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