THE INDIAN MUTINY 1857-1858 Belligerents : Great Britain. Native Indians.
Cause : The East India Company had engaged in constant wars and employed an army in which native troops outnumbered the British by eight to one. The Sepoys especially became aware of their strength and impor tance. In many ways religious sensibilities were offended, dissatisfaction with the Company's rule spread and unrest was abroad.
Occasion : The spirit of revolt grew, and a trivial incident was sufficient to make the spark burst into a flame. Cart ridges used for the new Enfield rifle smeared with the fat of sacred cows and the lard of polluted pigs were to be bitten by Hindu and Mohammedan alike. The ferment caused by the rumour spread and the mutiny broke out Course of the War : Native troops mutinied at Mirat, and proceeded to Delhi, Cawnpore, and Lucknow. Many British men and women were murdered. A British force in June and July 1857 marched on Delhi. Engagements were fought, in which there were heavy losses. Disease and cholera also carried off many victims. After a great struggle Lahore was captured in September, and Agra was relieved, also Cawnpore, where, under Nana Sahib, the most hideous massacres and cruelty had taken place. At Lucknow a heroic resistance
was made against an overwhelming force of rebels.
It was relieved on November 22, 1857. In March 1858, the whole province of Oudh was recovered by Outram and Colin Campbell. Not till the beginning of 1859 did organized resistance come to an end in all parts of India.
Political Result : By the Queen's proclamation of November 1858 the government of India was taken over by the British Government. The Queen declared that all her Indian subjects should be protected in the exercise of their religious observances. Excessive measures of repres sion which had been resorted to were stopped.
Remarks : Queen Victoria was styled Empress of India at the instance of Disraeli in 1876. Various reforms have been instituted in Indian administration tentatively allowing Indians some share in the government of the country. But the problem of British rule in India is not one which is capable of final solution.