RESISTANCE TO BRITISH RULE
GENERAL SURVEY
Causes of 1857 Revolt There was no aspect of public life which was
untouched or unexploited by the colonial power. It completely disrupted the
traditional economy, throwing millions out of work and causing disastrous
conditions for them and their families. The colonial regime hurt the religious
sentiments of both the Hindus and Muslims in India. The activities of
Christian missionaries created suspicion in the Indian mind that they would
be converted to the foreign religion. Politically, the arrogance and dictatorial
attitude of Lord Dalhousie and his predecessors shocked the traditional rulers
of the country. His policy of annexation rocked the country with a wave of
resentment. The annexation of Awadh for misgovernment was the most
dangerous step which put the government in bad faith. The conditions of
Indian sepoys employed in the British army, were heinous and unbearable.
The slightest pretext was enough to play havoc, and this was supplied by the
introduction of greased cartridges. The greased cartridges alone would not
have, however, sufficed to provoke such an explosion, but for other
grievances.
Scale and Intensity of Revolt The Revolt began and spread like wild fire
through most of north India. In May 1857, soldiers of the British Indian army
shot their British officers, and marched on Delhi. Their mutiny encouraged
rebellion by considerable numbers of Indian civilians in a broad belt of
northern and central India—roughly from Delhi in the west to Benares in the
east. For some months, the British presence in this area was reduced to
beleaguered garrisons, until forces were able to launch offensives that had
restored imperial authority by 1858. The important incidents were the siege
of Delhi and its recovery by the British force in late September, the military
operations around Kanpur and Lucknow and the central Indian campaign in
1858 of Tantia Tope and the Rani    of Jhansi. In this great event, several native