Chapters :
  • INDIAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT – 03

INDIAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT – 03

The anti-British movement of this period was reflected in a series of political and civil commotions, which originated from hostile reactions against the British conquests. It gained momentum with the actual experience of the evils of British rule. It was, therefore not clear to them if any help rendered to the British in their wars and conquests would go against the interests of their country. When, however, it was realized that the British had established their grip over India, they began to react in a different way. This realization that they had been enslaved by a foreign race came gradually, first when the rule of the Company had expanded upto the Sutlej and Lord Hastings showed a tendency to disown the Mughal emperor, but more pointedly in 1835 when the Company felt strong enough  to strike coins without the emperor’s name. During the same year, Persian was replaced by English as the language of the court. The cumulative effect of all these changes was a sense of awareness of the political subjugation of the country. It affected the minds not only of the civil population but also of the members of the armed forces.

The growing discontent of the people was further aggravated by two measures in particular, namely the Land Revenue Settlements of James Thomson and others and The Annexation Of Avadh by Dalhousie. These actions made the union of civil rebellion and military revolt inevitable. The former measure created a class of dispossessed nobles and landlords and the dissolution of the kingdom of Avadh gave a rude shock to the Indian soldiers in the Bengal Army who were recruited mostly from that area. The power of the Company had been rendered strong by the service of the sepoys and then utilized to overthrow their king. This created a rebellious mood which was so clearly in evidence in the feelings of the sepoys during the Revolt of 1857.

DISCONTENTED SEPOYS

The Discontent Of The Sepoys could be attributed either to an impolitic or unjust cutting of pay or an interference with the religious beliefs of the soldiers. The most singular episode of the sepoy revolt having a definite bearing on the future is the mutiny which took place at Barrackpore in 1824. The 47the Native Infantry refused to embark for Burma unless the government allowed two rupees to each soldier per month as traveling expense. They were ordered to communicate their willingness to march on pain of death. On November 2 they mustered as usual when on their refusal to obey the command, Sir Edward Paget, Commander-in-Chief, gave orders to fire. In a moment, grape shot and cannot bullets rained upon them.

This military revolt was a disastrous event remotely forecasting the spirit of 1857. Barrackpore thus became the historic site where so many sepoys had died. many other similar rebellions took place after that, exhibiting the same motivations and feelings and showing that a revolt became a mere question of time and opportunity. It will therefore, be realized that the earlier disturbances both civil and military formed the background and culminated in the Revolt of 1857.   
error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top