The First War of Independence: The Revolt of 1857
1) Lord Dalhousie’s Policy of ‘the Doctrine of Lapse’:-if the ruler of a subordinate state died without a heir , his adopted son was not allowed to occupy the throne and the state was annexed to the British Empire in India. Lord Dalhousie annexed the states of Jhansi, Satara and Nagpur. 2) Ill treatment of Nana Sahib and Rani of Jhansi:Baji Rao II: The last Peshwa adopted Nana Sahib as his son who was denied access to the annual pension of his father. Rani of Jhansi Laxmi Bai was also not allowed to adopt a son. 3) Annexation of Awadh on the pretext of misgovernment in 1856. 4) Disrespect shown to the Mughal Emperor: (i) Lord Dalhousie had insulted the Emperor by asking him and his successors to leave the Red Fort in Delhi. (ii) Lord Canning declared that the title of the Mughal emperor would be abolished after the death of Bahadur Shah and his fort would be takrn over by the British. 5) Disbanding the armies of the annexed states: as a result thousands of families lost their means of livelihood. 6) Unpopular administration: The British abolished few Zamindars,and taluqdars which created suspicion among them. The British administration in India was corrupt and inefficient. Social and Religious causes:-
1) Fear of the conversion: (i) The Missionaries showed them the lure of money, jobs and honour for accepting Christianity.(ii) The prisoners who accepted Christianity were released. (iii) The study of Bible was made compulsory in the institutions established by missionaries in the backward areas. 2) Introduction of new laws: (i) Lord Bentinck prohibited the practice of Sati in 1829. (ii)The Religious Disabilities Act of 1856 also decided that noone would be deprived of his hereditary property on the ground of changing his religion. (iii) In 1856, the Widow Remarriage Act was passed by Lord Canning. (iv) The government taxed lands belonging to the temples and the mosques or charitable institutions. 3) Fear of western innovation: (i) The introduction of Railways and Telegraph had also created suspicion and fear in the minds of the people. They thought that these measures were introduced to propogate Christianity,if not followed, would be thrown before the railway engines or hanged by the Telegraph poles.(ii) The introduction of Railways was resented on the ground that people of all castes would have to travel in the same compartments. 4) Humiliation in the name of race: (i) The British regarded the Indians as belonging to an inferior race and looked down upon them socially. (ii) The Indians could not travel in the first calss compartment of the Railways. (iii) They were kept away from all social gatherings and were not allowed to mix up with the Englishmen. 5) General Service Enlistment Act: Passed in 1856, made it compulsory for the Indian soldiers in the service of the Company to serve wherever required. In those days , sea voyages were considered against the religious customs and therefore, resented by the soldiers. (III)Economic Causes:-
Heavy land taxes: (i) During Lord Bentinck’s reign, the zamindars were forced to pay heavy land revenue and many were deprived of their land. (ii) The appointment of the Inam Commission also created a problem. It was appointed to look into proprietary rights of the landlords, in turn, it increased the hardship of the landlords and peasants. Ruin of handicraft industries: (i) The British imposed heavy import duties on the manufactured aricles of India entering Britain and charged nominal duties on raw products going out of India. (ii) As per the Act of 1720 passed by the british government,prohibited the use of Indian Silk and Calicoes in England. (iii) All the machine made goods from Britain took over the Indian market which led to the impoverishment of the craftsmen. Displacement of zamindars and taluqdars: (i) The British confiscated the lands and properties of many zamindars and talukdars, especially of Awadh....
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