years, the Bengal army had fought faithfully for the British, but on their own
Supplies of more flexible soldiers who would not stand on their privileges
were becoming available in Nepal and the Punjab, and the Bengal army was
told it must modernise—by accepting obligations to serve outside India, and
by using a new rifle.
The spark that ignited the soldiers’ great fear – that their cherished status was
to be undermined—was the rumour concerning the use of animal fat
(forbidden in the Muslim and Hindu religions) as lubricant on the cartridges
for the new rifles. Cantonment after cantonment rebelled.
When the soldiers refused to acknowledge British authority, the way was left
open for disaffected princes and aristocrats, and for village and town people
with grievances, to revolt alongside the soldiers.
Grievances of native rulers
Dalhousie’s annexation of states through Doctrine of Lapse. Satara in 1858,
Jaitpur (UP) and Sambalpur (Orissa) in 1849, Baghat (a hill state south of the
Sutlej) in 1850, Udaipur (the state in Central Provinces and not the one in
Rajputana) in 1852, Jhansi in 1853, and Nagpur in 1854. The annexation of
Baghat and Udaipur were, however, cancelled and they were restored to their
ruling houses. When Dalhousie wanted to apply the Doctrine of Lapse to
Karauli (Rajputana), he was overruled by the Court of Directors.
Dalhousie’s annexation of Awadh on the ground of misrule in 1856: Sir
James Outram, who had been the British Resident there since 1854, was
appointed as the first Chief Commissioner in 1856, but he was also replaced
within matter of months by Sir Henry Lawrence (he was the Chief
Commissioner when Revolt broke out).
Revolt of 1857: Causes
Negative Features of British Rule Positive Features of British
Grievances of Native Rulers