The Revolt of 1857

  • In 1857, a Revolt broke out in Northern and Central India and nearly swept away British rule.
  • The Revolt began with a mutiny of the sepoys, or the Indian soldiers of the Company’s army, but soon engulfed wide regions and people. Millions of peasants, artisans, and soldiers fought heroically for over a year and by their courage and sacrifice wrote a glorious chapter in the history of the Indian people.
  • The Revolt of 1857 was much more than a mere product of sepoydiscontent. It was, in reality, a product of the accumulated grievances of the people against the Company’s administration and of their dislike for the foreign regime.

Immediate Cause of Revolt

  • By 1857, the material for a mass upheaval was ready, only a spark was needed to set it afire.
  • The new Enfield rifle had been introduced in the army. Its cartridges had a greased paper cover whose end had to be bitten of before the cartridge was loaded into the rifle.
  • The grease was in some instances composed of beef and pig fat. The sepoys, Hindu as well as Muslim, were enraged, as the use of the greased cartridges would endanger their religion.
  • Many of the sepoys, believed that the Government was deliberately trying to destroy their religion.