In the previous post we have read about the Lord Dalhousie and his policies to transform India. Though his policies contributated to the development of Indian infrastructure. But, his Doctrine of Lapse created a difficultly for Indian Princely States. So, there was flowing a wave of antagonism in Indian masses. So, the outcome of this was Revolt of 1857 or First war of Independence.
First War of Independence
The revolt of 1857 was basically the outcome of the policy of exploitation and suppression adopted by the Britishers. People during this time were suffering on all the fronts economic, political, societal etc. So, in this, the issue of greased cartridges became the spark to the fire.
There were various places where this revolt took place. Though it was not spread all over the Indian subcontinent, still the burst of this revolt shook the EICs officials.
Features of First War of Independence
The 1857 revolt was neither the first war of independence nor a war of independence. You all must be shocked after reading this sentence. Let me explain why I am saying like this. Before 1857 also, there were some uprisings. In 1760, there was Sanyasi Revolt. In the 1820s, Vellore Mutiny happened. So, as in the 1840s, the 47th regiment also became rebellion.
So, ultimately it was not the first war of independence. But also the V.D. Savarkar, the prominent leader called it as the first war of independence. This is because 1904 saw the birth of Abhinav Bharat, a secret organisation with the basic motive of freedom of India from Britishers. This organisation came into existence by the active role of V.D. Savarkar.
So, it seems that he wanted to instigate the people by saying revolt of 1857 as the first war of Independence. He was actually trying to develop some nationalistic feeling in the masses. Because till 1857, people were even unaware of the cause of their sufferings. V.D. Savarkar was building a platform for the second phase of the freedom struggle.
National Revolt: Disraeli
In the 1870s John Strachey, the British Bureaucrat in India gave the report saying,
Indians were never nationalist. India was never a nation and will never be a nation.
Benjamin Disraeli as a Prime Minister of Britain was aware of this fact that in 1857 India was not a nation. But still, he said that 1857 was a National Revolt. The reason behind it was British Parliament wanted a constitutional ground to snatch away India from East India Company.
So, Disraeli was trying to convince British Parliament that the people of India did not want to live with EIC. So, this became the ground for change of power from company to crown after 1857.
There were some other factors also related with this revolt. We shall discuss them in the next coming post.
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