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  • INDIAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT – 04

INDIAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT – 04

THE  REVOLT OF 1857

In the early months of 1857, The Sepoys At Barrackpore exhibited the same rebellious spirit. On March 29, the Adjutant of The 34th Native Infantry was wondered by a sepoy on the parade ground which gave the sepoy movement a new turn, but there was a lull for a considerable period. On May 10, the sepoys at Meerut rose in revolt and killed their British officers. A call was issued for a march to Delhi. The decision to ‘ March to Delhi’ was an event of outstanding importance because it invested the movement with a political purpose.  This step of turning to Delhi and proclaiming allegiance to the Mughal emperor, it appears, was a spontaneous reaction of the common soldier as it happened in the case of many other regiments similarly situate during the revolt of 1857. For nearly four months. Delhi remained the centre of the revolt. A Delhi resided Bahadur Shah, the Mughal emperor, who gave the movement a traditional country-wide basis. The political theory of the Revolt as reflected in this particular attitude of the sepoys tended to highlight the fact that Bahadur Shah was still regarded as a source of political authority. 

Correspondingly, it implied that the source of the Company’s authority in India lay not in the Charters of the Kings of England nor in the Acts of the British Parliament, but in the farmans of the Mughal emperor. The only legal title of the East India Company was to act as the  Diwan or agent of the Mughal emperor.

But by and large, the trading Company was fast becoming the potential ruler of the country. The British attitude became increasingly firm with the rapid extension of the Company’s territory in India. 
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