What was the demand of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi that was refused by the British?
Rani Lakshmibai did not have a son who could succeed to the throne. She had adopted a son and wished that the Company would recognise him as the successor. The British did not accept this demand.
What did the British do to protect the interests of those who converted to Christianity?
The British did a lot to protect the interests of those who converted to Christianity. In 1850, a new law was passed to make conversion to Christianity easier. This law allowed an Indian (who had converted to Christianity) to inherit the property of his ancestors. They were given additional rights as compared to other Indians.
What objections did the sepoys have to the new cartridges that they were asked to use?
In 1856, the Indian soldiers were given greased cartridges which were to be bitten with one’s teeth before they could be fired. It was suspected that these cartridges were coated with the fat of cows and pigs. This enraged the Hindu and Muslim soldiers in the Indian army. The Indian soldiers got agitated and refused to use those cartridges. It also became the immediate cause of the revolt of 1857.
How did the last Mughal emperor live the last years of his life?
The last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was captured and tried in the court. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. He and his wife, Begum Zeenat Mahal, were sent to prison at Rangoon in October, 1858. Bahadur Shah Zafar died in the jail in November 1862.
What could be the reasons for the confidence of the British rulers about their position in India before May 1857?
(i) The British made certain policies to strengthen their position in India. Policies like Subsidiary Alliance and Doctrine of Lapse helped them to annex many Indian territories.
(ii) The British put their Residents in the local courts. The armed forces of the local rulers were disbanded and the powers of the local rulers were reduced to minimum. Their revenues and territories were gradually overtaken by the British.
(iii) The Company could boast of a strong and effective military.
(iv) The Mughal emperor was so weak that he was unable to counter the influence of the British.
Local rulers were also weak and they had no unity amongst themselves.
Thus, the British were very confident about their position in India before May 1857.
What impact did Bahadur Shah Zafar’s support to the rebellion have on the people and the ruling families?
The Indian sepoys captured Delhi and forced Bahadur Shah Zafar to lead the rebels. The rebels stormed into the palace and proclaimed Bahadur Shah Zafar as their leader. The Mughals ruled over large areas headed by local chieftains. Since the British had captured most of these territories, these rulers thought that their power would be restored once the Mughal emperor regained control. Bahadur Shah wrote letters to all the local rulers to form a confederacy of Indian states to fight against the British. Once people saw an alternative possibility, they were inspired. It gave them the courage, hope and confidence to act.
How did the British succeed in securing the submission of the rebellious landowners of Awadh?
The British tried to earn the loyalty of the people in every possible manner. They announced several rewards like restoring the landowners’ hereditary rights over their lands if they remained loyal to the British. The rebellious landowners could claim their lands if they surrendered and had not killed any white people. In this way, the British succeeded in securing the submission of the landowners of Awadh.
In what ways did the British change their policies as a result of the rebellion of 1857?
After the revolt, the British changed the following policies:
(i) Powers of the East India Company were transferred to the British Crown. The Secretary of State for India was appointed in Britain to look after the administrative affairs in India.
(ii) All the local ruling chiefs were assured that their kingdoms would not be annexed into the British Empire. They were also allowed to choose their own successors.
(iii) The number of Indian soldiers in the army was reduced while the number of the European soldiers was increased.
(iv) The British began to view Muslims with suspicion. The land, property and other assets owned by the Muslims were confiscated.
(v) The British introduced several policies to protect the interests of the landlords. They were given security of rights over their lands.
Imagine you are a sepoy in the Company army, advising your nephew not to take employment in the army. What reasons would you give?
I would tell my nephew that the Indian sepoys are discriminated against the British soldiers. The Indian sepoys could not hope of promotions or high salaries. The British were biased towards their own soldiers.
What were the important concerns in the minds of the people according to Sitaram and according to Vishnubhatt?
According to Sitaram and Vishnubhatt, the people were concerned about the British interferring in their religious beliefs. The British had introduced some laws which made the Indians discontented with British rule.
What role did they think the rulers were playing? What role did the sepoys seem to play?
The local rulers were deposed by the British which hurt people's sentiments. The rulers sent messages to the sepoys that the British are going to force Indians to change their religious beliefs. The sepoys were unhappy when Awadh was seized by the British. They aimed to resist the British rule.
Why did the Mughal emperor agree to support the rebels?
The rebels agreed to restore the supremacy of the Mughal throne. The Mughal emperor, therefore, decided to side with the rebels.
Write a paragraph on the assessment he may have made before accepting the offer of the sepoys.
The Mughal emperor must have imagined that if rebels won against the British, he will become a strong ruler. If the Indian soldiers would fight valiantly, he would regain his lost power and prestige. The Mughal dynasty was viewed with respect among the Indians and he could rule over vast territories in India if the Indians succeeded in their revolt.
Make a list of places where the uprising took place in May, June and July 1857.
The uprising began in Delhi, Meerut, Kanpur and Lucknow in the given months.