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 pig and cow fat, forbidden in the Muslim and Hindu religions respectively, 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.
Universities, colleges and schools proliferated in the towns and cities, most of them opened by Indian initiative. They did not produce replica English men and women, as Macaulay had hoped, but Indians who were able to use English in addition to their own languages, to master imported technologies and methods of organisation and who were willing to adopt what they found attractive in British culture. The dominant intellectual movements cannot be called Westernisation. They were revival or reform movements in Hinduism and Islam, and were the development of cultures that found expression in Indian languages.
Sepoy Rebellion | The Revolt of 1857 in India
After the rebellion had been put down, the new royal government of India that replaced that of the East India Company promised that it had no intention of imposing 'our convictions on any of our subjects'. It distanced itself further from the Christian missionaries. A stop was put to the deposing of princes, and greater care was shown to the rights of landlords. The major part of the army was in future to be drawn from so-called 'martial races'. The huge parades, or durbars, at which the new empress of India received the allegiance of the hierarchies of traditional India through her viceroy, seemed to symbolise the new conservatism of the regime.
India - After the Sepoy Rebellion - Country Studies
In 1857 a large part of the Indian army rebelled against the British authorities; the ensuing bloodshed sent shockwaves throughout colonial Britain. What lessons were learned and how did the rebellion shape modern India? Professor Peter Marshall analyses the impact of the uprising.
Custom Search Country Studies Index
A more thorough reorganization was effected in the constitution of army and government finances. Shocked by the extent of solidarity among Indian soldiers during the rebellion, the government separated the army into the three presidencies (see Company Armies, ch. 10).
India, country that occupies the greater part of South Asia
The civil war was a major turning point in the history of modern India. In May 1858, the British exiled Emperor Bahadur Shah II (r. 1837-57) to Burma, thus formally liquidating the Mughal Empire. At the same time, they abolished the British East India Company and replaced it with direct rule under the British crown. In proclaiming the new direct-rule policy to "the Princes, Chiefs, and Peoples of India," Queen Victoria (who was given the title Empress of India in 1877) promised equal treatment under British law, but Indian mistrust of British rule had become a legacy of the 1857 rebellion. Many existing economic and revenue policies remained virtually unchanged in the post-1857 period, but several administrative modifications were introduced, beginning with the creation in London of a cabinet post, the secretary of state for India. The governor-general (called viceroy when acting as the direct representative of the British crown), headquartered in Calcutta, ran the administration in India, assisted by executive and legislative councils. Beneath the governor-general were the provincial governors, who held power over the district officials, who formed the lower rungs of the Indian Civil Service. For decades the Indian Civil Service was the exclusive preserve of the British-born, as were the superior ranks in such other professions as law and medicine. The British administrators were imbued with a sense of duty in ruling India and were rewarded with good salaries, high status, and opportunities for promotion. Not until the 1910s did the British reluctantly permit a few Indians into their cadre as the number of English-educated Indians rose steadily.
In May 1858, the British exiled Emperor Bahadur Shah II (r
In May 1857 soldiers of the Bengal army shot their British officers, and marched on Delhi. Their mutiny encouraged rebellion by considerable numbers of Indian civilians in a broad belt of northern and central India - roughly from Delhi in the west to Benares in the east. For some months the British presence in this area was reduced to beleaguered garrisons, until forces were able to launch offensives that had restored imperial authority by 1858.