Causes of the Indian Rebellion 1857

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  • Causes of the Indian Mutiny (Rebellion), 1857
    • Untitled
    • Short term causes
      • Issue of new gunpowder rifles for the Enfield rifle in 1857
        • Cartridges were greased with pig and cow fat, which meant Indian soldiers of Muslim and Hindu religion felt immoral while doing this, it went agaist their religion
          •  •Hindus regard cows as sacred.•Hinduism teaches ahimsa (do not cause harm to animals). •In many Indian states it is illegal to eat the meat of the cow. •Islam forbids the consumption of pork as it is not halal. 
      • The Meerut Mutiny, May 1857
        • Areas affected by the mutiny
          • •The rebellion began in May 1857 in Meerut with a mutiny of Sepoys •Within days it reached Delhi where Bahadur Shah was proclaimed Emperor of India •In June, led by Nana Sahib, it spread to Kanpur – the British fort was besieged & captured.  
        • it was the refusal to bite into those Enfield musket cartridges that led, on April 24, to the imprisonment of 90 soldiers of the Third Indian Cavalry in Meerut. They were sprung from jail on May 10 by the mutinous sepoys, who then marched on Delhi.
    • Long term causes
      • Political and administrative reasons
        • Expansion of British control through Subsidiary Alliances (1807)
          • The Doctrine of Lapse united Indian rulers in resentment of the British
            • This led to discontent in Jhansi (1853) Satar (1848) Nagpur (1854) and Awadh (1856)
              • Nana Sahib's Kanpur Revolt & the Rani of Jhansi were motivated by such anger
                • The poor treatment of Bahadur Shah Zafar was especially important
        • Westernisation
          • Adoption of English as official language 1835
            • Creation of a new administrative cadre
          • Overdiscrimination towards Indians
      • Economic causes
        • The 1813& 1833 Charter Acts opened India up to free trade as the EIC lost its monopoly
          • This benefited British merchants, shareholders and businesses much more than India
          • India's cotton trade suffered in particular
            • De-industrialisation and impoverishment were rife
      • Social & Religious causes
        • There was a false widespread belief that the Evangelicial British were aiming to convert India to Christianity
        • The British interviened in social traditions
          • 1829 Ban on Suttee             1832 New property laws   1835- Ban on thuggee          1856- Widow Remarriage Act                   1856- Religious Disabilities Act
      • Military Causes
        • Sepoy discontent dated back to 1806- Vellore Mutiny
          • This discontent worsened after 1840 as unsympathetic modernisation attempts confliected with Sepoy customs  (e.g equal treatment of all)
        • July 1856 General Service Establishment Act


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