NIOS Class 10 Social Studies Chapter 7 Popular Resistance to the British Rule Part 2 (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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The Uprising of 1857

  • First nationalist struggle in India for independence from foreign rule.
  • Hindus and Muslims, landlords and peasants, had come together in their opposition to the British
  • Started on 10th May in Meerut and marched towards Delhi
  • It was an anti-colonial movement against the aggressive imperialist policies of the British. It was an economic, political and social struggle against the British rule.
  • Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was declared as the Emperor of India.


Political Causes

  • Colonial expansion through annexation
  • The doctrine of Lapse and the Subsidiary Alliance
  • Rules like Baji Rao II and Rani Laxmi Bai were against the doctrine
  • The annexation of Awadh on grounds of misgovernment

Economic Causes

  • Disruption of the traditional Indian economy like the Indian handicrafts.
  • Britishers kept high posts and salaries for themselves.
  • Export of raw materials to England for their factories at low prices.
  • Establishment of railways provided easy transportation of raw material to port for export and greater market accessibility to market for imported goods
  • Intensifying land revenue demand led to a large number of peasants losing their land and means of livelihood through Ryotwari and Mahal Wari system.

Social and Religious Causes

  • People did not support the social reforms against sati, female infanticide, widow re-marriage and education of woman
  • Conversion through Christian missionaries
  • Hindus were asked to remove their caste marks from their foreheads
  • Muslims were asked to trim their beards.
  • Cartridges were made of pig and cow fat which was against Hindu and Muslim religion, still, people were forced to chew it.

Discontent in the Army

  • Indian soldiers were not given posts above that of subedars.
  • Paid less salaries.
  • Soldiers refused to cross the ‘black water’ that is oceans and seas because their religion forbade it, the British were ruthless on them

The Course of the Revolt

  • On 10th May 1857, British officers and broke open the prison to release their comrades.
  • They began to march towards Delhi, where they were joined by the local infantry and the common people
  • From Delhi, the revolt spread to other places like Kanpur, Lucknow, Jhansi, Arrah, Bareilly
  • Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi, Tantya Tope and Kunwar Singh led a heroic fight against Britishers
  • Indians lost the rebellion in Delhi and it ended in July 1858.

Failure of the Revolt

  • There was no unity of purpose among the rebels.
  • It was not widespread it remained confined to North and Central India
  • The leadership of the movement was weak.
  • The different groups thought only of their own interest
  • No national leader emerged to coordinate the movement
  • With the escape of Nana Sahib and the death of Bahadur Shah Zafar people lost hope as the Mughal Rule ended.
  • Kashmir, Punjab, Sind and Rajputana kept away from the rebels. The upper and middle classes did not join the movement
  • Some rulers even supported the British and helped in the suppression of rebellion
  • Rebels did not have sufficient and sophisticated weapons and finances
  • The telegraphic system and postal communication helped the British to speed up their operation.

The Legacy of the Revolt

  • Unity of caste, community, religion and class
  • The British government was pressurized to change its policy towards India
  • As a result, Government of India Act, 1858 came up.
  • The British crown assumed control of India from the East India Company for “better governance”
  • The crown promised to honour all the treaties and the agreements made by the company with the rulers of Indian State
  • To break the Hindu Muslim unity Britishers tried the policy of divide and rule the country.
  • Indian Civil Service Act of 1861 was passed to conduct the civil services exam in London and India as well
  • The number of Indian troops reduced from the pre- 1857 figure and the strength of European troops in India was increased
  • To increase communication between the people and the government development of representative institutions in India was made by the Indian Councils Act of 1861

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