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Class 12 History Chapter 13 Rebels And The Raj
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Rebels And The Raj
Chapter – 13
PART – III
Very Short Answer Type Questions
Q.1. Discuss briefly the reaction of sub-Indian Sepoys against the new Cartridges.
Ans : The 7th Awadh Irregular cavalry had refused to accept the new Cartridges in early May 1857. They wrote the 48th Native infantry that they had acted for the faith and awaited the 48th orders.
Q.2. Why did educated Indians not support the Revolt?
Ans : Educated Indians felt that the expected rebels would push India backward and away from progress. They felt that it was in India’s interests to be ruled by the modern British nation.
Q.3. Who was Henry Hardinge?
Ans: He was Governor General of India. He attempted to modernised equipment of the modern army in India. The Enfield rifles that were introduced initially used the greased cartridges the sepoys rebelled against.
Q.4. On what date where and whom mutiny was started against the British?
Ans : Late in the afternoon of 10 May, 1857, the sepoys in the cantonment of Meerut broke out in mutiny. It began in the lines of the native infantry, spread very swiftly to the cavalry and then to the city.
Q.5. Name five important leaders who played a significant role during the upheaval of 1857.
Ans : i) Mangal Pandey.
ii) Nana Sahib peshwa.
iii) Bahadur Shah- II.
iv) Azimullah Khan.
v) Tantia Tope.
vi) Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi.
vii) Kunwar Singh of Jagdishpur (Bihar)
viii) Begum Hazrat Mehal.
Q.6. What was the immediate cause for the mutiny of 1857?
Ans : In 1857, the soldiers were given new cartridges coated with the fat of cows and pigs. The soldiers had to peel them out with their teeth before using them. It corrupted their caste and religion. So the Hindu and the Muslim soldiers refused to use these cartridges. They revolted against the British to preserve their faith.
Q.7. What was the implication of link between the sepoys and the rural world in the course of the uprising of 1857?
Ans : The link between the sepoys and the rural world had a great impact on the nature of uprising. When the sepoys defied the orders of their superiors and took up arms, then they were joined very quickly by their relatives of villages. Every where people went over to towns and joined the collective acts of rebellion.
Q.8. How Nawal of Awadh became powerless with the Subsidiary Alliance?
Ans : i) The Nawal of Awadh was deprived of his military force with subsidiary alliance. As a result Nawab became increasingly dependent on the British to maintain law and order with in the state.
ii) Now he had no control over the rebellious chiefs and taluqdars.
Q.9. State two causes for the failure of the Revolt.
Ans : a) There was lack of unity. The revolt failed to embrace all areas and all classes of Indians.
b) The sepoys were ill-equipped, poorly organised and undisciplined.
Q.10. What were the different types of pictorial images which serve as record of the mutiny?
Ans : Pictorial images: Paintings, pencil drawing, etchings, posters, cartoons, bazaar prints.
B. Textual Questions & Answers:
Q.1. Why did the mutinous sepoys in many places turn to erstwhile rulers to provide leadership to the revolt?
Ans: The rebels needed leadership and organisation to face the British. So they turned towards those who had been leaders before the arrival of the British.
First of all, the rebels sought the blessings of Bahadur Shah, the last Mughal Emperor. They appealed to him to accept the leadership of the revolt. Initially Bahadur Shah was hesitant. But at last he agreed to be the nominal leader of the rebellion. It motivated the sepoys. It legitimised the rebellion as it was in the name of the Mughal Emperor. In Kanpur the sepoys and the people of the town implored on Nana Sahib, the successor of Peshwa Baji Rao II, to join the revolt and lead it. There was also a great pressure on Rani of Jhansi to assume the leadership of the uprising. She was unable to resist the demand of the people of Jhansi who had a great regard for her.
Later on Subhadra Kumari Chuhan wrote about rani Jhansi’s role, “Khoob Lari mardani Woh To Jhansi Wali rani Thi.” In other words, she fought against the British rule with strong determination. Similarly the people approached Kunwar Singh, a Zamindar in Arrah in Bihar and requested him to guide and lead them. The people of Awadh were not happy with the displacement of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, who was very popular. So when the news about the fall of the British rule reached, they hailed Birjis Qadr, the young son of the Nawab and appointed him as their leader.
Q.2. Discuss the evidence that indicates planning and coordination on the part of the rebels.
Ans : Despite wide differences among historians there is evidence of a certain element of coordination, planning and communication among mutinous regiments and in their action, though the co-ordinators themselves remained anonymous.
The chronology of the mutinies/revolts conceals their pattern of the diffusion. The mutinies travelled down the Ganga from Meerut to Delhi with the time gap between various stations required for news to travel from one place another. The pattern was the same everyone. The sepoys began their action with a signal of firing of the gun or sounding of the bugle. Bell of arms was seized scores were settled with tax collectors. Court officials policemen and banias.
Treasuries were looted, prisoners set free and bungalows set on fire. In several places people collected, conferred and planned attack. People of neighbouring villages connected with caste and kingship ties got together. Charles Hearsey of Awadhs experience and evidence, and Charles Balls writings reflect Panchayats, where decisions taken collectively were a nightly occurrence in Kanpur lines. Given the fact that sepoys shared a common lifestyle, come sepoy from some caste, and were “Peasants in Uniform” it is not difficult to imagine them coordinating and planning.
Chapatis were passed from village to village during the winter of 1856-57. Though the meaning and purpose of the chappathis is not clear even today there is no doubt that people perceived it as an omen of an upheaval/ holocaust. The propaganda of wandering faquirs, sanyasis and mandarins Shah, reports from Meerut, that a faquir appeared on an elephant are quoted in evidence of coordination. Yet another evidence quoted by historians is transmission of rumours about the new Cartridges being greased by fat of cows and pigs, and “atta” being mixed with bone dust of cows and pigs, which acted as springboards of action.
Q.3. Discuss the extent to which religious beliefs shaped the events e.g, Maulvi Ahmadullah of 1857.
Ans : The fat of cows and pigs and that being greased : Cartridges, bullets adversely effected and harmed the religious sentiments of both of the Hindus and Muslims and shaped the events of 1857. The British tried to explain to the sepoys that this was not the case but the rumour that the new cartridges were greased with the fat of cows and pigs spread like wild fire across the sepoys lives of North India.
Destructions of caste and Religion : There was the rumour that the British Government had hatched a gigantic conspiracy to destroy the caste and religion of Hindus and Muslims. To this end, the rumours said, the British had mixed the bone dust of cows and pigs into the flour that was sold in the market. In town and cantonments, sepoys and the common people refused to touch the atta.
Spread of Christianity : There was fear and suspicion that the British wanted to convert Indians to Christianity, panic spread fast. British officers tried to allay their fears, but in vain. These fears stirred men to action The response to the call for action was reinforced by the prophecy that British rule would come to an end on the centenary of the Battle of plassey On 23 June 1857.
Religious Leaders : From Meerut, there were reports that a fakir had appeared riding on an elephant and that the sepoys were visiting him frequently. In lucknow, after the annexation of Awadh, there were many religious leaders and self styled Prophets who preached the destruction of British rule.
Q.4. What were the measures taken to ensure unity among the rebels?
Ans : The rebels sought to acquire the support of all sections of the society irrespective of their caste and creed. Proclamations issued by Muslim princes took care not to hurt the sentiments of the Hindus. The rebellion was seen as a war in which both communities stood equally to gain or lose. The ishtahers to brought to the forefront memories of the Pre-British Hindu-Muslim past and sought to emphasize the amicable relations which existed between the two under Mughal rule. Religious differences were thus not visible between the two communities in 1857 despite British attempts to create a wedge between them. For example in Bareilly, the British spent Rs. 50,000 to incite the Hindus against the Muslims but they failed to do so.
Q.5. What steps did the British take to quell the uprising?
Ans: It was not easy for the British to control and crush the Revolt of 1857. Even then, they took several steps to quell it. These can be studied as follows –
a) Martial Law and Death Sentence : The British passed a series of laws to quell the insurgency in India. By the laws passed in May and June, 1857, the whole of North India was put under martial law. The military officers were also empowered to try and punish the rebel Indians. They ignored ordinary process of the law and trail. They gave only one punishment to all the rebels and that was death. In other words, the British tried to suppress the revolt by all means.
b) Two-Pronged Military Action : The British know the symbolic value of Delhi. Thus they initiated a two-pronged attack. One force moved from calcutta into North India. The other force started from punjab
reconquer Delhi. At last the British captured Delhi in September, 1857. Similarly the British forces went ahead village by village in the Gangetic plain. They recaptured the lost ground step by step. In fact, the British know that they were not merely dealing with a mutiny. Rather they were facing an uprising that had a popular mass support. According to Forsyth, a British official, about 75% adult male population in Awadh was in rebellion.
c) Counter- Insurgency operations : The British took up various anti-insurgency operations to suppress the rebellion. They followed protracted fighting. They did not care for the heavy losses that they faced to snatch Delhi from the rebels.
d) Diplomacy : The British were worried where the big land-lords and peasants had offered united resistance. So they tried to break unity by adopting diplomatic means. They promised to return the estates of the land-lords. They dispossessed the rebel land-holders. They also rewarded the royal land-holders. Few of these land lords were either died while fighting with Britishers or they were escaped into Nepal where they died to starvation or illness.
Write a Short Essay on the Following:
Q.6. Why was the revolt particularly widespread in Awadh? What prompted the peasants, taluqdars and Zamindars to join the revolt?
Ans : Awadh was having a good relation with the British East India Company. In Spite of that the English desire to annex it and they did so in 1856. The nawab Wajid Ali Shah was disposed. He was loved from the care of art of his people. It is said that most of the people of Awadh lied farewell to their Nawab having teras in their eyes. The people did not like the annexation of Lord dalhousie. This emotional upheaval aws aggravated by immediate material losses.
The removed of the Nawab led to the dissolution of the court and its culture. Thus a whole of range people-musicians, dancers, poets, artisans, cooks, retainers, administrative officials and so on lost their livelihood. The deposition of Nawab and annexation of Awadh dispossessed the taluqdars of the region. The countryside of Awadh was dotted with the estates forts of taluqdars who for many generation had the controlled land and power in the countryside.
Several sepoys of the Awadh state were expelled from their jobs. The di spossession of taluqdars meant the break down of an entire social order. the relationship of the sepoys with their superior white officers underwent a significant change in the years preceding the uprising of 1857. The grievances of the peasants were carried over into the sepoy lines since a vast majority of the sepoys were recruited from the villages of Awadh. For decades the sepoys had complained of low levels of pay the difficult of getting leave.
By the 1850 s there were other reasons for their discontent. Fort were destroyed and very big band of footsoldiers were finish of the taluqdars. The British land revenue policy further undermined the position and authority of the taluqdars. British land revenue officers believed that by removing taluqdars they would be able to settle the land with the actual owners of the soil and thus reduce the levels of exploitation of peasants while increasing revenue returns for the state.
But this did not happen in practice, revenue flows for the state increased but the burden of demand on the peasants did not decline. In areas like awadh where resistance during 1857 was intense and long lasting, the fighting was carried out by taluqdars and their peasants. Zamindars loss their traditional land holdings. Their forts were destroy and troops were banned. The loss their comforts of life and luxurious life style. They were given due regards by Nawab of the Awadh and they had very good hold over their people.
Q.7. What did the rebels want? To what extent did the vision of different social differ?
Ans : It need be noted that attempts to reconstruct what the rebels wanted is heavily dependant on what the British recorded. Other than few Proclamation and ‘ishtaros’ issued by rebels to propagate their ideas, the main source being Azamgarh Proclamation of August 25, 1857. We do not have much that throws light on the rebel perspective- It is clear from the Azamgarh Proclamation that the rebels above all wanted to root out the English in India whose rule was inimical to the interests of all sections of Indian society.
They harked for the restoration of the Mughal world- the old feudal order, a way of life that was familiar and cherished and a symbol of all that they had lost. For example British rule collapsed the rebels in places like Delhi, Lucknow and Kanpur tried to establish the culture of the court. The fact that in many places the rebellion against the British widened into an attack on all those who were seen as allies or the British or local oppressors e.g. moneylenders, reflected an attempt to overturn traditional hierarchies. It presents a glimpse of an alternative vision, perhaps of a more egalitarian society.
The one thing common in all the rebel leaders was hatred of and desire to overthrow the British.l The rebels were farsighted in the sense that they knew foreign rule was incapable of modernising the country and that it would in fact impoverish it. However, a part from the rancour against the British different social groups joined with different motives, and interests and their different visions were one of the contributory factors, in the failure of the revolt. This hindered unity of action and coordination. The rajas e.g. Rani of Jhansi, nana Sahebl, Begum Hazrat Mahal wanted restoration of their principalities and discontinuance of the doctrine of lapse, and security from annexation.
The Zamindars/taluqdars wanted restoration of their old Zamindars rights, dignity and honour, absolute rule in Zamindars reduction in revenue demand and extortions. As for the merchants they were driven by the vision where they would have control over all trade including fine and valuable merchandise. They realised under the British they could never hope to enjoy predominance in Indian trade. The public servants were driven influence, posts of dignity while artisans hoped restoration of kings and rajas and the rich would ensure their employment and prosperity.
The orthodox elements among the Hindus and Muslims wanted no interference in the social and religious traditions that would ensure their privileged positions. The sepoys hoped for better pay, promotions based on merit, freedom from social discrimination and the peasants a life of dignity, free from impoverishment oppression and extortions.
Q.8. What do visual representations tell us about the revolt of 1857 ? How do historians analyse these representations?
Ans : The pictorial images produced by the British and Indians – paintings, pencil, drawings, posters, cartoons etc. from an important record of the mutiny. In particular, British pictures offering a variety of images have provoked a range of different emotions and reactions. Some of them commemorate the British heroes who saved the English and repressed the rebels. An example of this type was ‘Relief of Lucknow’ painted by Thomas Jones Barker in 1859. It depicts the efforts of James outroom, henry Havelock and colin campbell in rescuing the besieged British garrison in Lucknow. The siege of lucknow according to British accounts became a story of survival heroic resistance and the triumph of British power.
The dead and injured in the foreground of the picture indicate the sufferings which occurred during the siege. While the triumphant figures of horses in the middle ground emphasised the fact that British rule had been established. This reassured the British people that rebellion had been crushed and the British were victorious. Newspapers reported incidents of violence against women and children which led to demands for revenge and retribution. The British government were asked to protect the women and children. Artists gave expression to these feelings through their visual representations of trauma and suffering. “In memorian” painted by Joseph Noel paton Portrays helpless English women and children huddled in a circle a waiting their fate at the hands of the rebels.
It represents the rebels as violent seeks to provoke anger and fury. In certain sketches and paintings women are depicted as heroic and defending themselves against the rebels as did Miss wheeler. Here the women’s struggle to save her honour and life is shown to have a deeper religious connotation. It is a battle to save the honour of christianity and a book lying on the floor is said to symbolize the Bible. Threatened by the rebellion, the British felt the need to demonstrate their invincibility. In one image a female figure of justice with a sword in one hand and a shield in the other is shown.
Her posture is aggressive and her face expresses anger and a desire for revenge. She is shown trampling sepoys under her feet while Indian women and children hide from her. This urge for vengeance led the rebels to be executed in brutal ways. They were flown from guns or hanged from the gallows. Images of these executions were widely found in popular journals. Source 7 deals with the report of a British officer from oudh. He reports of the uprising of the people. He mentions the fact that the villagers do not come in front of the British but engage in guerrilla tactics. They are large in numbers and have a lot of guns.
Q.9. Examine any two sources presented in the chapter, choosing one visual and one text, and discuss how these represent the point of view of the victor and the vanquished.
Ans : The pictorial images relating to the uprising of 1857, by the victors and the vanquished i.e., the British and the Indians respectively were produced nearly two years after the uprising was successfully but brutally put down by the British, by use of gigantic military force, disgraceful acts of terror, violence, cruelty and vengeance and retribution.
Example of Victor : ‘In memoriam’ painted by Joseph Noel paton represents English women and children huddled in a circle, looking helpless and innocent, seemingly waiting fearfully for the inevitable- Vandalism of the mutineers-dishonour, violence and death. In the background are British rescue forces arriving as saviours. In Memoriam does not show gory violence. This is only suggests. It represents the view point of the victor i.e. the British by representing rebels not as fighting against the oppressive British rule but-
a) Insinuating the rebels as brutish, violent, demon like, for attacking the helpless, innocent, honourable English women and children.
b) It stirs up the spectators imagination and seeks to provoke, emotions of anger, frustration and reaction for revenge and retribution.
c) It shapes the sensibilities of the British Public, created public sympathy and sanction for most brutal forms of repression of the rebels by the British.
d) It sought to present British acts of terror and vengeance as justifiable – as acts committed to save the honour and chastity of English women and the nation. The picture also implies a deeper religious connotation for a woman is shown holding a book-the Bible. The English acts of revenge were represented as if-to protect the honour of christianity at large and the British nation. Example of the Vanquished : As compared to the British imagaries of the uprising those of the Vanquished i.e. Indians present the leaders of the revolt in art, literature films and posters as heroic figures.
For example, many heroic poems, articles, stories are written about the valour of Rani of Jhansi. She is represented as a masculine figure, dressed in fighting armour, with a sword in one hand, and the reins of her horse in the other, giving a valiant chase to the British soldiers, mercilessly slaying them and fighting till her last breath. Indian imageries represent how the ‘native’ viewed the event:
a) As a battle against and rousing the people to righteous indignation against exploitative, oppressive imperial rule.
b) A determination to resist injustice and alien rule.
c) As a fight for the freedom of the mother land.
d) It was celebrated as the First War of Independence in which all sections of the people came together to fight against imperial rule.
e) Despite the fact that the uprising did not embrace the whole country, that the leaders were not inspired by any high ideals of patriotism and nationalism, as we understand today, the imageries served as inspiration to the nationalist struggle in the 20th century.
Even today the event is a source of great inspiration and helps shape nationalist imagination. Children in many parts of India grow up reading and learning the classic poem by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan ‘Khooblari mardani woh to Jhansiwali rani then’ Thus the imageries as represented by victors and vanquished reflected not only the emotions and feelings of the times but also helped shape sensibilities.
Q.10. On an outline map of India, mark calcutta (Kolkata), Bombay (Mumbai) and Madras (Chennai), three major centres of British power in 1857. Refer to Maps 1 and 2 and plot the areas where the revolt was most widespread. How close or far were these areas from the colonial cities?
C. Passage Based Question & Answers :
Read the following excerpt carefully. Answer all the questions given below.
WHAT TALUQDARS THOUGHT
The attitude of the taluqdars was best expressed by Hanwant Singh, the Raja of Kalakankar, near Rae Bareli. During the mutiny, Hanwant Singh had given shelter to a British officer, and conveyed him to safely. While taking leave of the officer, Hanwant Singh told him:
Sahib, your countrymen came into this country and drove out our King. You sent your officers round the districts to examine the titles to the estates. At one blow you took from me lands which from time immemorial had been in my family. I submitted suddenly misfortune fell upon you. The people of the land rose against you. You came to me whom you had despoiled. I have saved you. But now-now I march at the head of my retainers to Lucknow to try and drive you from the country.
Q.1. What does this excerpt tell you about the attitude of the taluqdars?
Ans: The attitude of the taluqdars was best expressed by Hanwant Singh, the Raja of Kalalkankar near Roe Bareli.
During the mutiny of the 1857, Hanwant Singh had given sheltered to a British officer, and conveyed him to safety.
The taluqdars did not like the political activities of the British. The British came to India just to get permission to trade. But they drove out the rulers of different states. They had taken lands from the taluqdars, which from long time had been in their forefathers possession.
The taluqdars felt as suddenly misfortune had fallen upon them due to wrong land revenue policies of the British.
Q.2. Who did Hanwant Singh mean by the people of the land?
Ans: Hanwant Singh meant by the people of the land, the Indians. Though he was a taluqdar of Kalakanker, near Rae Bareli (Uttar Pradesh). Yet he was representing the attitude of ali ke taluqdars. They (the people) rose against the wrong policies of the British.
Q.3. What has Hanwant Singh give reasons for the anger of the people?
Ans: Hanwant Singh gave several reasons for the anger of the Firstly, the Britisher came into India and drove out several rulers from their states. The people did not like the dethroning of the Rajas or the things. The British government sent its officers around the district to examine the titles of the estate. At one blow they took from the taluqdars their lands which from time immemorial had been with their family, The people of land (or the Indian) rose against the Britishers. They had spoiled the lives and positions of the taluqdars. All people (nobles, Nawabs, taluqdars and common people rose against the British and their wrong economic policies.
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