Describe immediate causes of the revolt of 1857.
Although the revolt began as a military rising and it appears to be a great sequel in the long series of a number of mutinies, its causes were deeply rooted in the changing conditions of the times. It drew its strength from several elements of discontent against British rule. After the battle of Plassey in 1757, the British captured Bengal and using it as a base they captured the entire business installations of the area and imposed their trade monopoly. But their policies brought a very sharp reaction from the general masses consisting of the peasants, artisans, traders etc. It would not be wrong to say that the country was ‘ripe for rebellion’ in 1857. But the minds of the civil population of all classes and ranks, Hindus and Muslims, princes and people were agitated and disturbed by feelings of uneasiness and a vague apprehension. Let us go for a brief discussion of the causes of this revolt which almost swept away the British rule.
The first spark of the Revolt of 1857 was lit by the sepoys of the Company’s disciplined and devoted army. After rendering services to the Company’s for so many years why the Indian sepoys took such a drastic step against British rule, is a matter of thorough analysis. First of all, the Indian sepoys were peasants in uniform. Hailing from an agrarian society these sepoys had strong feelings towards the farmers of the country. Their families back home were always dependent upon cultivation and they too were affected by the strict and harsh revenue policies of British. The sepoys always resented against the discrimination in payment and promotions. An Indian sepoy could never attain the pay of an English subaltern. Moreover, the European troops took no share in the tough ordinary duties of the service and were paid a higher salary than the Indian sepoys. Such discrimination adversely affected the sepoys morale. The derogatory behaviour meted out to the Indian sepoys was also a...
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