Bipin Chandra Short Notes

hi this is basically short notes of bipin chandra freedom struggle for independence and very useful for CSAT. it is basically a concise version of the big book.
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  India struggle for freedom BIPIN CHANDRA: The First Major Challenge: The Revolt of 1857 It was the morning of 11 May 1857. The city of Delhi had not yet woken up when a band of sepoys from Meerut , who had defied and ki l led the European officers the previous day, crossed the Jamuna, set the tol l house on fi re and marched to the Red Fort . Bahadur Shah vaci l lated as he was nei ther sure of the intent ions of the sepoys nor of hi s own abi l i ty to play an effect ive role. He was however persuaded, i f not coerced, to give in and was proclaimed the Shahenshah-e-Hindustan. Simon Fraser, the Pol i t ical Agent , and several other Engl i shmen were ki l led; the publ ic offices were ei ther occupied or dest royed. The Revol t at Meerut and the capture of Delhi was the precursor to a widespread mut iny by the sepoys and rebel l ion almost al l over North India, as wel l as Cent ral and Western India. South India remained quiet and Punjab and Bengal were only marginal ly affected. Almo st hal f the Company’s sepoy st rength of 2,32,224 opted out of thei r loyal ty to thei r regimental colours and overcame the ideology of the army. The 19th Nat ive Infant ry at Berhampur , which refused to use the newly int roduced Enfield ri fle, was di sbanded in March 1857. A young sepoy of the 34th Nat ive Infant ry , Mangal Pande, went a step further and fi red at the Sergeant Major of hi s regiment . He was overpowered and executed and hi s regiment too, was di sbanded. The 7th Oudh Regiment  which defied i t s officers met wi th a simi lar fate. At Kanpur , the natural choice was Nana Saheb , the adopted son of the last Peshwa, Baj i Rao II . He had refused the fami ly t i t le and, bani shed from Poona , was l iving near Kanpur. Begum Hazrat Mahal  took over the reigns at Lucknow , where popular sympathy was overwhelmingly in favour of the deposed Nawab. Her son , Bi rj i s Qadi r,  was proclaimed the Nawab and a regular admini st rat ion was organized wi th important offices shared equal ly by Musl ims and Hindus. At Bariel ly , Khan Bahadur , a descendant of the former ruler of Rohi lkhand , was placed in command. In Bihar , the Revol t was led by Kunwar Singh , the zamindar of Jagdi shpur , a 70-year-old man on the brink of bankruptcy. He nursed a grudge against the Bri t i sh. He had been deprived of hi s estates by them and hi s repeated appeal s to be ent rusted wi th thei r management again fel l on deaf ears. Even though he had not planned an upri sing, he unhesi tat ingly joined the sepoys when they reached Arrah from Dinapore. The most out standing leader of the Revol t was Rani Lakshmibhai  , who assumed the leadership of the sepoys at Jhansi . Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General , had refused to al low her adopted son to succeed to the throne after her husband died and had annexed the state by the appl icat ion of the Doct rine of Lapse. The Revol t was not confined to these major cent res. It had embraced almost every cantonment in the Bengal and a few in Bombay. Only the Madras army remained total ly loyal  . Why did the sepoys revol t? It was considered prest igious to be in the service of the Company; i t provided economic stabi l i ty. A proclamat ion i ssued at Delhi indicates the immediate cause: ‘It i s wel l known that in these days al l the Engl i sh have entertained these evi l designs —  fi rst , to dest roy the rel igion of the whole Hindustani Army, and then to make the people by compul sion Chri st ians. Therefore, we, solely on account of our rel igion, have combined wi th the people, and have not spared al ive one infidel , and have re-establ i shed the Delhi dynasty on these terms.  It i s certainly t rue that the condi t ions of service in the Company’s army and cantonment s  increasingly came into confl ict wi th the rel igious bel iefs and prejudices of the sepoys, who were predominant ly drawn from the upper caste Hindus of the North Western Provinces and Oudh .    Ini t ial ly, the admini st rat ion sought to accommodate the sepoys’ demands : faci l i t ies were provided to them to l ive according to the dictates of thei r caste and rel igion.    But , wi th the extension of the Army’s operat ion not only to various part s of India, but al so to count ries out side, i t was not possible to do so any more.    Moreover, caste di st inct ions and segregat ion wi thin a regiment were not conducive to the cohesiveness of a fight ing uni t  .    To begin wi th, the admini st rat ion thought of an easy way out : di scourage the recrui tment of Brahmins; thi s apparent ly did not succeed  and, by the middle of the nineteenth century, the upper castes predominated in the Bengal Army, for instance. The unhappiness of the sepoys fi rst surfaced in 1824 when the 47th Regiment at Barrackpur was ordered to go to Burma . To the rel igious Hindu, crossing the sea meant loss of caste . The sepoys,therefore, refused to comply. The regiment was di sbanded and those who led the opposi t ion were hanged. The rel igious sensibi l i t ies of the sepoys who part icipated in the Afghan War  were more seriously affected. When they returned to India, those at home correct ly sensed that they could not have observed caste st ipulat ions and, therefore, were hesi tant to welcome them back into the bi radi ri (caste fraterni ty). The prest ige of being in the pay of the Company was not enough to hold hi s posi t ion in society; rel igion and caste proved to be more powerful . The rumours about the Government ’s secret designs to promote conversions to Chri st iani ty  further exasperated the sepoys. The official -mi ssionary nexus  gave credence to the rumour. In some cantonment s, mi ssionaries were permi t ted to preach openly  and thei r diat ribe against other rel igions angered the sepoys. The report s about the mixing of bone dust in at ta  and the int roduct ion of the Enfield ri fle enhanced the sepoys’ growing di saffect ion wi th the Government . The cart ridges of the  new ri fle had to be bi t ten off before loading and the grease was reportedly made of beef and pig fat  . The army admini st rat ion did nothing to al lay these fears , and the sepoys fel t thei r rel igion was in real danger. The sepoys’ di scontent was not l imi ted to rel igion alone. They were equal ly unhappy wi th  thei r emolument s. He was made to feel a subordinate at every step and was di scriminated against racial ly and in mat ters of promot ion and privi leges. The di scontent of the sepoys was not l imi ted to mat ters mi l i tary, they reflected the general di senchantment wi th and opposi t ion to Bri t i sh rule. The sepoy, in fact , was a ‘peasant in uni form,’   whose consciousness was not divorced from that of the rural populat ion. The new land revenue system int roduced after the annexat ion and the confi scat ion of lands at tached to chari table inst i tut ions affected hi s wel l -being. A proclamat ion i ssued by the Delhi rebel s clearly reflected thesepoy’s awareness of the mi sery brought about by Bri t i sh rule. The mut iny in i t sel f, therefore, was a revol t against the Bri t i sh and, thus, a pol i t ical act . What imparted thi s character to the mut iny was the sepoy’s ident i ty of interest s wi th the general populat ion . The Revol t of the sepoys was accompanied by a rebel l ion of the civi l populat ion, part icularly in the North Western Provinces and Oudh , the two areas from which the sepoys of the Bengal army were  recrui ted. Except in Muzzafarnagar and Saharanpur , civi l rebel l ion fol lowed the Revol t of the sepoys. The act ion of the sepoys released the rural populat ion from fear of the state and the cont rol exerci sed by the admini st rat ion. The civi l rebel l ion had a broad social base, embracing al l sect ions of society —  the terri torial magnates, peasant s, art i sans, rel igious mendicant s and priest s, civi l servant s, shopkeepers and boatmen. The Revol t of the sepoys, thus, resul ted in a popular upri sing. Reasons:    Under the burden of excessive taxes the peasant ry became progressively indebted and impoveri shed.    The t radi t ional landed ari stocracy suffered no less . In Oudh, which was a storm cent re of the Revol t ,the taluqdars lost al l thei r power and privi leges.About 21,000 taluqdars who see states were confi scated su ddenly found themselves wi thout a source of income, ‘unable to work, ashamed to beg, condemned to penury.’    These di spossessed taluqdars smart ing under the humi l iat ion heaped on them,seized the opportuni ty presented by the Sepoy Revol t to oppose the Bri t i sh and regain what they had lost .    Bri t i sh rule al so meant mi sery to the art i sans and handicraft smen. The annexat ion of Indian states bythe Company cut off thei r major source of pat ronage.    Added to thi s, Bri t i sh pol icy di scouraged Indian handicraft s and promoted Bri t i sh goods. The highly ski l led Indian craft smen were deprived of thei r source of income and were forced to look for al ternate sources of employment that hardly exi sted, as    the dest ruct ion of Indian handicraft s was not accompanied by the development of modern indust ries.    The reforming zeal of Bri t i sh official s under the influence of ut i l i tariani sm had aroused considerable suspicion, resentment , and opposi t ion.    The orthodox Hindus and Musl ims feared that through social legi slat ion the Bri t i sh were t rying to dest roy thei r rel igion and cul ture.    Moreover, they bel ieved that legi slat ion was undertaken to aid the mi ssionaries in thei r quest for evangel izat ion. The orthodox and the rel igious, therefore, arrayed against the Bri t i sh. Whether Nana Saheb and Maulvi Ahmad Shah of Faizabad had establ i shed l inks wi th various cantonment s and were inst rumental in inst igat ing Revol t i s yet to be proved beyond doubt . Simi larly, the message conveyed by the ci rculat ion of chappat i s and lotus flowers i s al so uncertain. Immediately after the capture of Delhi a let ter was addressed to the rulers of al l the neighbouring states and of Rajasthan sol ici t ing thei r support and invi t ing them to part icipate. In Delhi , a court of admini st rators was establ i shed which was responsible for al l mat ters of state. The court consi sted of ten members, six from the army and four from the civi l ian department s . Al l deci sions were taken by a majori ty vote. Bahadur Shah  was recognized as the Emperor by al l rebel leaders. Coins were st ruck and orders were i ssued in hi s name. At Barei l ly, Khan Bahadur Khan conducted the admini st rat ion in the name of the Mughal Emperor. For more than a year, the rebel s carried on thei r st ruggle against heavy odds.    They had no source of arms and ammuni t ion.    They were often forced to fight wi th swords and pikes against an enemy suppl ied wi th the most modern weapons.     They had no quick system of communicat ion at thei r command and, hence, no coordinat ion was possible.    Consequent ly, they were unaware of the st rength and weaknesses of thei r compat riot s and as a resul t could no t come to each other’s rescue in t imes of di st ress.  The merchant s, intel l igent sia and Indian rulers not only kept aloof, but act ively supported the Bri t i sh . Meet ings were organized in Calcut ta and Bombay by them to pray for the success of the Bri t i sh. Despi te the Doct rine of Lapse, the Indian rulers who expected thei r future to be safer wi th the Bri t i sh l iberal ly provided them wi th men and material s. Almost hal f the Indian soldiers not only did not Revol t but fought against thei r own count rymen . Apart from some honourable except ions l ike the Rani of Jhansi , Kunwar Singh and Maulvi Ahmadul lah, the rebel s were poorly served by thei r leaders. Most of them fai led to real ize the signi ficance of the Revol t and simply did not do enough. Bahadur Shah and Zeenat Mahal had no fai th in the sepoys and negot iated wi th the Bri t i sh to secure thei r safety. Most of the taluqdars t ried only to protect thei r own interest s. Some of them, l ike Man Singh, changed sides several t imes depending on which side had the upper hand. Apart from a commonly shared hat red for al ien rule, the rebel s had no pol i t ical perspect ive  or a defini te vi sion of the future. They were al l pri soners of thei r own past , fight ing primari ly to regain thei r lost privi leges. The fi rst to fal l was Delhi on 20 September 1857 after a prolonged bat t le. Bahadur Shah, who took refuge in Humayun’s tomb, was captured, t ried and deported to Burma.  Wi th that the back of the Revol t was broken, since Delhi was the only possible ral lying point . The Rani of Jhansi died fight ing on 17 June 1858. General Hugh Rose, who defeated her, paid high t ribute to hi s enemy when he said that here lay the woman who was the only man among the rebel s.’ Nana Saheb refused to give in and final ly escaped to Nepal in the beginning of 1859, hoping to renew the st ruggle. Kunwar Singh, despi te hi s old age, was too quick for the Bri t i sh t roops and constant ly kept them guessing t i l l hi s death on 9 May 1858. Tant ia Tope, who successful ly carried on guerri l la warfare against the Bri t i sh unt i l Apri l 1859, was bet rayed by a zamindar, captured and put to death by the Bri t i sh. Civil Rebellions and Tribal Uprisings  pol igars (landed mi l i tary magnates in South India) The scholarly and priest ly classes were al so act ive in inci t ing hat red and rebel l ion against foreign rule. The t radi t ional rulers and rul ing el i te had financial ly supported scholars, rel igious preachers, priest s, pandi t s and maulvi s and men of art s and l i terature. Wi th the coming of the Bri t i sh and the ruin of the t radi t ional landed and bureaucrat ic el i te, thi s pat ronage came to an end, and al l those who had depended on i t were impoveri shed. Di splaced peasant s and demobi l ized soldiers of Bengal led by rel igious monks and di spossessed zamindars were the fi rst to ri se up in the Sanyasi rebel l ion , made famous by Bankim Chandra Chat terjee in hi s novel Anand Math , that lasted from 1763 to 1800. It was fol lowed by the Chuar upri sing  which covered five di st rict s of Bengal and Bihar from 1766 to 1772 and then, again, from 1795 to 1816. Other major rebel l ions in Eastern India were those of Rangpur and Dinajpur, 1783; Bi shnupur and Bi rbhum, 1799; Ori ssa zamindars, 1804-17; and Sambalpur, 1827-40.
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