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Q1. “The Great Revolt of 1857 was an event of great importance in the front of history of modern India.” In light of above statement, discuss its causes. (200 words)

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  • Osho Korde

    Causes of the Great Revolt of 1857
    The causes of the Great Revolt can be grouped into Political, Economic, Military, Social. They are discussed below:
    Political causes
    1. The people of all classes became angry with the British due to the latter’s despotic policy of aggression adapted from the battle of Plassey to the revolt of 1857 A.D.
    2. The Indian sepoys of Bhopal were deprived of the right to wear tikas on the forehead or turbans on the head.
    3. Clive introduced a double rule in the name of good government and brought famine in India.
    4. When the East India Company became sovereign and while Bahadur Shah II disowned his title as the ‘Mughal Emperor’, the Muslims became united against the British.
    Economic causes
    The most important cause was the economic distress caused by British in our country.
    1. The Charter Act of 1833 A.D. gave the facilities to many other European companies like trading in India.
    2. The British used to take raw materials at a cheaper rate from India and sold the costly ready-made goods here.
    3. Indian markets were full of Manchester clothes.
    4. The salaries of the Indians were much lower than that of the Europeans.
    India’s small industries were destroyed; the Indian artisans, craftsmen and peasants became poorer and poorer.
    Social causes
    It is known from the works of Lieutenant Darn that the British officials had never mixed freely with the Indians. Indian entry was prohibited in restaurants, parks and clubs reserved for the British. Indian officers and general people had to suffer from racial and social discrimination in their courts and offices.
    Further, religion also played an important part. The British thought that their religion was a superior one. This attitude gave rise to great misgivings.
    Military causes
    Another cause of the revolt of 1857 A.D. was the growing resentment of the Indian army. There were many reasons behind such resentment –
    1. Low salary as compared with the British soldiers.
    2. Poor quality of food,
    3. Ill manners of the British battalion.
    4. The sepoys had little prospect of promotion.
    5. Indian sepoys were forced to serve overseas. British officers and Indian sepoys of the same grade were not treated equally.
    6. This time the “Enfield rifle” was brought into use in the army. This incident was the immediate cause of the revolt of 1857.
    On 29 March 1857 A.D. Mangal Pandey first revolted out of this anger and became a martyr (hanged on 8th April, 1857).