Indian Rebellion of 1857
Also referred to as the Indian Mutiny or Revolt of 1857, the Indian Revolution began as a mere mutiny by of the sepoys of British East India Company’s army on May 10th 1857. The war was triggered by the revolt that the sepoys staged against their British colonial masters. Sepoys was a term that was used to refer to Hindus or Muslims that were part of the army. The sepoys were hired by the East India Company to maintain order and act in defense of trading centers; however, they all took orders from British officers.
There are quite a number of reasons that have been given to have parked the revolt. However, the major one was the introduction of a new type of rifle cartridge. This has been largely quoted to have been the main issue that provoked the Indian rebellion in 1857. The said cartridges were wrapped in paper that has grease coating to make it easier for loading into rifle barrels. However, rumors began spreading that the grease used with the cartridges was generated from pigs and cows, which would be regarded as highly offensive to Muslims and Hindus.
The outbreak of the revolt was parked by an attack on a British sergeant by an Indian solder. While another Indian solder was ordered to arrest his fellow sepoy, he refused. The two were later arrested and killed through hanging on allegations that they had committed treachery. As a result of this, all the soldiers of that regiment lost their places in the military. On 10th March 1857, Calvary troops broke ranks while on parade at Meerut.
After breaking ranks, the rebels freed the soldiers freed their counterparts who had been held and together, they moved to Delhi. The soldiers were soon joined by other Indians with whom they moved till Delhi Fort, the residence of Bahadur Shah II, The Mughal Emperor. On arrival at the fort, they asked him to become the leader of the rebellion. With hesitation, Bahadur Shah II accepted the call and soon, the war gained momentum and began spreading to the northern parts of India.
At the beginning of the war, the British were slower in response but swiftly began taking quick action with heavy forces. They diverted their regiments that were enroute to China to India. The British finally got to Delhi on 1st July 1857 and surrounded the city until 31st August. Towar5ds the end of the revolt, there were a series of tree fights between British and Indian troops. Other notable occurrences of the war include the massacre at Kanpuir in July 1857 and the siege of Lucknow that took place between June to November 1857.
The last battle of the Indian rebellion took place at Gwalior in June 1858. It is from this confrontation that Rani of Jhansi was killed. Even though the events led to British’s suppression of the rebellion, guerilla fighting still continued in some parts of India into the early 1859.
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