Admin moved page How did the Sepoy Rebellion (Indian Mutiny) change India? to How did the Sepoy Rebellion (Indian Mutiny) change India
[[File: Mutiny 2.jpg|200px|thumb|left|A painting of fighting during the Mutiny]]
One of the most important events in
all of Indian history was the Indian Mutiny of 1857, also known as the First War for Independence or the Sepoy Rebellion. The Rebellion represented the single greatest threat to British control of the sub-continent before 1947. The mutiny was, in reality, a war of independence. It profoundly changed the British administration of India.
While the British suppressed the revolt, it fundamentally transformed the colonial system in India. After the Mutiny, the Revolt forced Great Britain to administer the sub-continent
directly and ended the East India Company's control over India. The Europeans were also obliged to undertake several reforms to pacify the Indians, and they helped to modernize the vast country. Most importantly, the Indian rebellion paved the way for the Independence of the sub-continent in 1948.
====Why were Indians frustrated with the East India Company and British rule before the Indian Mutiny?====
[[File: Mutiny 3.jpg|200px|thumb|left|The last Mughal]]
India was not formerly a colony of Britain in 1857, but
in fact, it was dominated by the British. The East India Company received a Royal Charter from Elizabeth I in 1600. Initially, the company sought to increase trade with the Indian subcontinent. Over time it morphed from a trading company into the ruler of India.
This transformation included the creation of a large army that was supported by the British government. The East Company managed India, and it was essentially the sovereign power in the territories. <ref> Bandyopadhyay, Sekhara (2004), From Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India, New Delhi: Orient Longman, p. 523</ref>
The British via the East India Company were able to dominate India by 1820, and they ruled the sub-continent through ‘subsidiary alliances’ with local Hindu and Muslim rulers. British officials had begun a policy
of land seizures and they began to replace the old Hindu and Muslim elites. Typically, when a Hindu or Muslim Prince died his lands were confiscated by the British though a variety of doubtfully legal stratagems.<ref> Bandyopadhyay, 121</ref> These actions alienated the old elite who had often been independent rulers even during the heyday of Mughal power. Moreover, the decline of the Hindu princes meant that many Brahmins were unable to secure financial supports.
What united both Hindus and Muslims was
a dislike for the Western Missionaries whom they saw as imposing a foreign religion on the people. Many of the reforms of the British governor Lord Dalhousie were also bitterly resented. They were seen as an attack on traditional beliefs and value such as the caste system.<ref>Hibbert, Christopher (1980), The Great Mutiny: India 1857, London: Allen Lane, p. 472 </ref> There were also economic issues; the East Indian Company was accused of imposing oppressive taxes on the Indian population and impoverishing many. Moreover, the introduction of free-market reforms resulted in many Indians losing their lands to moneylenders.
====The Indian Mutiny 1857-1858: the Rebellion====
[[File: Two Seapoy Officers; A Private Seapoy.jpg|200px|thumb|left|Indian Sepoy soldiers]]
The Sepoy Rebellion started in East India Company's army. The British were reliant on native soldiers or Sepoys to maintain their grip over the country. However, many Indian soldiers in the army, both Hindu and Muslim, were very dissatisfied and resented the Europeans.
The revolt began when a new rifle was introduced, and soon there was a rumor among the Sepoys that the cartridges were smeared with pigs and cows' fat. The cartridges had to be bitten before they could be loaded, and this was anathema to many Hindus and Muslims. Biting the cartridges meant that they were eating beef or pork, which was unacceptable in their religion.
There is no evidence that beef and pork lard was ever used to grease the cartridges, and it seems that it was only a wild rumor. The rumor may have been designed explicitly to outrage ranks Sepoys. The Sepoys (both Hindu and Muslim) would have seen it as an insult to their religions. Some argue that the revolt broke out because it was only in the military that Indians were organized.<ref>Hibbert, 1980</ref> The British were utterly unaware of
the discontent among their native troops.
In March 1857, a Sepoy attacked several British officers. The soldier was captured and later executed by a firing squad. Several weeks later, some Indian troopers refused to use the cartridges, and the British imprisoned them. This led to some of their comrades killing their officers and marched on Delhi and restored the old Mughal Emperor to power.<ref>Hibbert, p. 87</ref> As a result of this bold action, there was a series of mutinies throughout northern and central India.
The revolt typically involved the Sepoys killing European soldiers and often civilians. There were many instances when Indian rebels besieged British soldiers and civilians across
the north of India, most famously Lucknow. The revolt was decentralized, and the only goal that Sepoys was to expel the British from India. The Sepoys initially made significant advances and easily defeated the loyal troops of the East India Company, and they seized many cities and towns.
However, many of the Indian Princes stayed loyal to the British. Some Indian ethnic groups such as the Sikhs cooperated with the British. London rushed regular forces to India, and these, together with loyal Sepoys, began the counterattack.
Their first objective was to recapture Delhi.<ref>Hibbert, 1980</ref> Under Sir Colin Campell, the British retook Agra and later relieved
the siege of Lucknow, after some bitter fighting. The British committed many atrocities and killed rebels and their supporters in cold blood.
Even after the British had recaptured the cities, the Sepoys continued to attack the British. The
Britsh government engaged in a bloody campaign to eradicate the last vestiges of the rebellion. This campaign resulted in widespread famine across India. Some commentators believe that hundreds of thousands of Indians died as a direct or indirect result of the uprising. The fighting continued throughout 1858. Britain finally ended the revolution in 1859.
====Empress of India====Bahadur Shah Zafar was the Mughal Emperor ruled
in Delhi and had no real power outside the city. He had become the titular leader of the rebellion. Because of his support of the rebels, he was imprisoned and tried in a military court <ref>Dalrymple, William, The Last Mughal. London: Viking Penguin, p. 123</ref> . He was charged with helping the rebels to kill a number of Europeans and for this, he was exiled to Burma where he died. His trial and banishment to Burma was the effective end of the Mughal dynasty who once ruled nearly all of the sub-continent , since the 17h century . In 1877 Queen Victoria on the advice of her imperialist Prime Minister Disraeli, took the title of Empress of India. This was to symbolize British authority and power in India and its growing involvement in the sub-continent. Successive British monarchs, held the title of Emperor of India until 1948, after Victoria’s death.
Reorganisation of Indian government====
[[File: Mutiny 5.jpg|200px|thumb|left|A drawing of a scene from the siege of Lucknow]]
====End of attempts at Westernisation====
The Indian Mutiny was perhaps the greatest challenge to British rule during the Raj, and it shook their confidence in their ability to control the sub-continent. In the aftermath of the conflict that
could have cost tens of thousands of lives, there were great changes to the way that the British administered India. The East India Company was dissolved, and direct rule was initiated , and this was by Queen Victoria’s adoption of the title Empress of India. The British overhauled the government of India and willing more willing to collaborate with local elites. They also were very careful to appear not to be imposing western norms and values on Indians. This policy did reconcile many Indians to the foreigner. The Mutiny or the First War of Indian Independent as it is known in India became a symbol that inspired many to seek national determination.