First War of Independence 1857

This section is about The Revolt against British Rule, This was also known as The Great Uprising of 1857.

The causes that led to First War independence 1857 were Political, Socio-Religious, India’s Economic exploitation, Military.
First War of Independence 1857
The First War of Independence 1857
█ Nature of Revolt against the British
…with reference to the First War of Independence 1857.
● The Indians were against the British conquest and the British rule which is known as Great Uprising of 1857 and described as the First War Of Independence.
● These were local, scattered and isolated Hindus and Muslims.Besides their traditional differences they joined their hands together against the British Rulers.
● They were not very strong but they established a tradition of struggle against the foreign rule/British rule.
● Millions of peasants , artisans and soldiers participated.
● It shook the British government to its very foundation.
❋ Causes of The First War of Independence 1857❋
✱ 【The first hundred years of British rule in India, i.e.】the period from 1757 to 1857 i.e First hundred years of British rule were marked by British conquests and rapid expansion of their empire in India.
[This expansion caused resentment among the rulers of the nature states and the India People too.]
Ⅰ. Political Causes ≣
Policy of Expansion
a) By Outright Wars
b) By Subsidiary Alliance
c) By Using the Doctrine of Lapse
d) On the Pretext of Alleged Misrule/Annexation of Awadh.
  Disrespect/Discourtesy shown to Bahadur Shah
Treatment given to Nana Saheb
Absentee Sovereignty of the British
Unpopular Administration/Administrative failures.

Ⅱ. Socio – Religious Causes ≣
1. Interference with Social Customs
2. Introduction of railways and telegraph / Apprehension about Modern Innovations
3. Policy of Racial Discrimination
4. Corruption in Administration
5. Oppression of the poor
6. Activities of Missionaries
7. Fears regarding Western Education
8. Tax on Religious Places
9. Law of Property
10. Indignities hurled (impelled with great force) at Indians.

Ⅲ . Economic Causes (India’s Exploitation) ≣
1. Exploitation of Economic Resources
2. India reduced to an Agricultural Colony of the British
3. Decay of Cottage Industries and Handicrafts
4. Drain of wealth
5. Economic Decline of Peasantry / Impoverishment of the cultivators
6. Inhuman Treatment of Indigo Cultivators
7. Grouping unemployment
8. Poverty and Famine
9. Decline of Landed Aristocracy

Ⅳ. Military Causes ≣
1. Ill-Treatment of Indian Soldiers
2. Bleak/Poor Prospects of Promotions
3. Deprivation of Allowances.
4. General Service Enlistment Act
5. Larger Proportion of Indians in the British Army
6. Faulty Distribution of Troops
7. Poor Performance of British Troops
8. Lower Salaries
9. The Immediate Cause- Introduction of the Enfield Rifle
images 18
Ⅰ. Political Causes ≣
1. Policy of Expansion ⇓
☞ This expansion causes resentment among the rulers of the native Indian States. They tried to expand their power in following ways. ↴
a) By Outright Wars –
To safeguard their economic and political interest the British waged many wars.
• The Battle of Buxar(1764) helped the British to be master of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha.
• In Anglo-Mysore Wars(1767 to1799), the East India Company annexed most of the territories of the Mysore State.
• After the Third Anglo-Maratha War(1817-18) , the British acquired the Peshwa’s entire dominions and Maratha territory of north and south Narmada river.
• In the Second Anglo-Sikh War(1849),they annexed Punjab after defeating the Sikhs.
• From 1823 to 1856 , they further conquered Sindh, territories of Assam, Arakan and Tenasserim and Regu in Myanmar.
b) By Subsidiary Alliance
→ Some Indian States were brought under British empire by following the Subsidiary Alliance which was introduced by Lord Wellesley under this system Indian Rulers —
Lwellesley compressor
• Accepted the British as the Supreme Power
• Agreed that they would not enter into any other alliance and would not wage any war, & surrender their foreign relations to the East India Company.
• Accepted a British Resident at their headquarters, they were not allowed to employ any European without consulting East India Company.
• Agreed to maintain British troops at their own cost.
Virtually lost their independence.
By 1856 all the Indian states had annexed or entered into alliance with the company which made the British Supreme Power and Indian Princes puppets.
States Under Subsidiary Alliance
• The Nizam of Hyderabad as the first to accept a well framed subsidiary alliance.
• After the third Anglo-Maratha War – Maratha ruler Baji Rao II
• 1799 – Mysore ,1801 – Awadh, 1802 – Peshwa
1803 – Bhonsle,1804 – Scindhiya
c) By Using the Doctrine of Lapse
Lord Dalhousie, the Governor -General of India annexed many states by using the Doctrine of Lapse.
░ ◆ The Doctrine meant that when ruler of a dependent state died without a natural heir, the state passed back to the English Company.
According to this, heirs adopted without the consent of the company.
★ Could inherit only the private property of the deceased ruler.
★ And not his territory which would come under the company’s rule.
rani laxmibhai
★★★★ The Rani Laxmi Bai was pensioned when her husband the ruler of Jhansi died in 1853.
** But their adopted son Anand Rao was not recognized as a lawful successor to the throne.
★★★★ Many other states such as Satara, Jaitupur, Sambalpur, Udaipur and Nagpur became victims to this doctrine.
● Some of the rulers lost their titles under pension under the principle of lapse.
★★ Regal titles of the Nawabs of Carnatic and Tanjore were taken away which caused discontent among the rulers and people too.
They believed that it happened not by the “Doctrine of Lapse” but to the “Lapse of all morals” on the part of the British ∎
d) On the Pretext of Alleged Misrule/Annexation of Awadh.
Nawab Wazid Ali Shah was deposed on grounds that Awadh was not being managed well and Lord Dalhousie annexed Awadh to the Company’s dominions.
The annexation of Awadh was arbitrary
The British seemed to have broken their promises made to the ruling chiefs.
This caused resentment among those soldiers of the British Indian army who came from Awadh.
Taluqdars or Zamindars were also not satisfied as British confiscated their estates.
☞ ★★★ Awadh played a major role in the war of 1857 ⁂
According to Lord Dalhousie, the annexation of the Awadh on the pretext of the “The good of the governed.”
✱ Consequences of the Annexation of Awadh
The people of Awadh had to face more hardships.
They had to pay higher land revenue and additional taxes on food, houses, ferries and justice.
Thousands of nobles,officials and soldiers became jobless.
It affected the financial position of the soldiers.
They had to pay higher taxes on the land which their families had in Awadh.
2. Disrespect/Discourtesy shown to Bahadur Shah ⇓
Bahadur Shah
⇉ Bahadur Shah Zafar was under the protection of the company and received a pension from the British.
• In 1849, Lord Dalhousie announced that on the death of the king his successors would not be allowed to use the Imperial Palace(The Red Fort)
• In 1856, Lord Canning mentioned that his successors would not be permitted to use the imperial titles “King” with their names and would be known as mere princes.
• This decision of the British hurt the feelings of the Muslims.
✱✱✱ So, Zeenat Mahal, the wife of Bahadur Shah also became against them.
3. Treatment Given to Nana Saheb ⇓
He was the adopted Son of Baji Rao II, the last Peshwa.
So Lord Dalhousie refused to grant him pension.
He was forced to live at Kanpur faraway from his place Poona. Which was very much resented in Maratha region.
He had inherited wealth from the former Peshwa.
He utilised this wealth in sending emissaries (person sent as diplomatic representative on a special mission) in a different parts of the country.
He generated awareness among the Indians about the British Policies.
4. Absentee Sovereignty of the British ⇓
❖ It means that India was being ruled by the British Government from England.
❖ It was not liked by the Indians
❖ The Earlier rulers like the Mughals conquered India and settled in India
❖ They spent the collected revenue from India in India only.
❖ In case Britain Indians felt, India’s wealth was being drained to England and not utilised for Indians welfare.
5. Unpopular Administration (Administrative failure) ⇓
⇒ ∮ Following reasons made British administration unpopular ‡
Indians found themselves out of place with the English Laws and the English Language.
The British official had no knowledge of the manners, customs and habits of the people.
Indians were being excluded from all high officers in the army as well as administration.
The British officials had great contempt for the Indians.
★★★★ ░ Their “arrogance led them to consider the natives of India as underserving the name of the human beings.” ░
2. Socio-Religious Causes ≣
1. Interference with Social Customs ⇓
2. Introduction of the Railways and Telegraph
(Apprehension about modern innovations)
3. Policy of Racial Discrimination.
4. Corruption in Administration.
5. Oppression of the poor.
6. Activities of Missionaries.
7. Tax on Religious Places.
8. Law of Property.
9. Fears regarding Western / English Education.
1. Interference with Social Customs ⇓
British introduced some of the social reforms to improve conditions of the people but their feelings were not taken into consideration.
As a result the reforms like the Abolition of Sati (1829), the introduction of the Widow Remarriage Act (1856) and the opening of Western education to girls were not liked by the masses.
2. Introduction of the Railways and Telegraph /Apprehension (anxiety) about modern innovations
It was misunderstood by the people
► They thought that telegraph poles were erected to hang people who were against the British rule
► Some conservative (orthodox) Indian believed the higher castes and lower castes people were made to sit separately in train compartments.
► They thought it was introduced to defy their caste and religion which was not appreciated.
3. Policy of Racial Discrimination ⇓
► British officers were rude and arrogant towards the Indians.
► They believed that they were superior to Indians and showed disrespect to them.
► They called muslims as cruel and unfaithful and ill-treated and insulted Indians.
† only for information ↴
 † An English magistrate at Agra had issued the notification ‘ Every native, whatever his pretended rank may be, ought to be compelled to salaam(salute) all English gentlemen in the streets.’
‡ If an Indian was an horseback he had to come down and stand in a respectful manner until the European had passed him.
► The British were given the highest ranks and lowest ranks were given to the Indians.
☞ Such acts of discrimination alienated the British from the Indian masses.
4. Corruption in Administration ⇓
The police and petty officials were corrupt
The rich got away with crime but the common man was looted and tortured.
5. Oppression of the Poor/Poor treated cruelly ⇓
➨ The complex judicial system enabled the rich to ill treat the poor people
➨ If the cultivators were not able to pay arrears of rent , land revenue and interest on debt then they were flogged(beaten with whip),tortured and imprisoned.
➨ So ,growing poverty made the poor desperate and led them to join this movement in the hope of improvement.
6. Activities of Missionaries/Fear regarding mass conversion to Christianity ⇓
∎ In the 18th century, the British showed a friendly attitude towards Indian religions.
∎ Even the company acted as a trustee of some Hindu temples.
∎ In the 19th century this attitude underwent a change which created a sense of alarm among Hindus and Muslims.
∎ They began to interfere with local religious beliefs they denounced, idol worship and called local beliefs as ignorance.
∎ The teaching Christian doctrine was made compulsory and the “Bible” was introduced in Christians as well as government institutions.
∎ Even prisoners in the jail were instructed in Christianity
∎ There was an increase in number and activities of the Christian missionaries.
∎ Which made Indian people to believe that these missionaries would convert them to Christianity.
7. Tax on Religious Places ⇓
• Official policy of tax on lands belonging to temples and mosques hurt the religious sentiments of the Indians.
• Previous Indian rulers exempted such lands from taxation.
• Dependent families of these lands believed that the British were trying to undermine the religions of India.
8. Law of Property⇓
• The Religious Disabilities Act of 1850 changed the Hindu Law of property.
• It enabled a convert from Hinduism to other religions to inherit the property of his father.
• The Hindus regarded this as an incentive to give up one’s religious faith.
9. Fears regarding Western / English Education ⇓
• Western system of education was introduced in a number of schools
• In 1829, the Bengal government established an English class in Calcutta which was a Muslim institution.
• Later, English classes were introduced in Benaras Sanskrit college.
• Pandits and Maulvis did not appreciate the shifting emphasis from oriental learning to western education.
• They felt that it was attempt to discourage traditional Islamic and Hindu studies
• Indian people found that the purpose of western education was not to promote literature and sciences but encourage their children to become Christians.
the first war of independence 1857
1764, Battle of Buxar 1764, Battle of Buxar
1767 to 1799, Anglo Mysore War 1767 to 1799, Anglo Mysore War
1817-1818, 3rd Anglo Maratha War 1817-1818, 3rd Anglo Maratha War
1849 2nd Anglo Sikh war 1849 2nd Anglo Sikh war
1823-1856 Sindh, Assam, Araken 1823-1856 Sindh, Assam, Araken

1764, Battle of Buxar

The Battle of Buxar was fought on 23 October 1764 between the forces under the command of the British East India Company led by Hector Munro and the combined army of Mir Qasim, the Nawab of BengalShuja-ud-Daula the Nawab of Awadh and the Mughal King Shah Alam II The battle fought at Buxar, then within the territory of Bengal, a town located on the bank of the Ganges river about 130 km west of Patna, was a decisive victory for the British East India Company.

  battle of buxar    

1767 to 1799, Anglo Mysore War

The Mysore Wars, fought between 1767 and 1799 were the first and gravest threats to British dominions, after they had established their supremacy in India during the Carnatic Wars

Anglo Mysore


tipu sultan


1817-1818, 3rd Anglo Maratha War

The Anglo–Maratha War were three wars fought in the Indian sub-continent between the Maratha Empire and the British East India Company over territory. Third Anglo-Maratha War, also known as the Pindari War (1817–1818)


Anglo Maratha War

3 amaratha war

1849 2nd Anglo Sikh war

The Second Anglo-Sikh War was a military conflict between the Sikh Empire and the British East India Company that took place in 1848 and 1849. It resulted in the fall of the Sikh Empire, and the annexation of the Punjab and what subsequently became the North-West Frontier Province, by the East India Company.


Sikh war-chillianwar


1823-1856 Sindh, Assam, Araken