Coupon Accepted Successfully!


Reforms Introduced by the British

After the British established political power in India they passed many laws to reform the Indian society.

  • Laws were passed to stop the practice of sati and to encourage the remarriage of widows.

    Sati is a funeral practice among some Hindu communities in which a recently widowed woman would immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.

  • English-language education was actively promoted.

  • 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.

Many Indians began to feel that the British were destroying their religion, their social customs and their traditional way of life.

The anger of the peasants quickly spread among the Sepoys.


The Sepoy Mutiny

India came under complete control of the British in the year 1857. Sepoy mutiny that started before March 1857 was known as the first war for independence against British.


Causes of Mutiny

Let us look at the causes of this mutiny.


Political causes :
The policy of annexation created panic and a feeling of insecurity among the rulers of various states. Corruption and inefficiency in the administration further created political unrest and the Indians wanted to get rid of the British.


Social causes
The continuous interference of English in the basic way of living, traditional beliefs, values and norms was seen by the Indian masses as threat to their religion.

The activities of the Christian missionaries, whose objective was to convert people to their faith, led to people’s believe that the British Government wanted to eradicate their caste and convert them to Christianity.


Economic causes :
The general discontentment grew rapidly and strongly among the Indian soldiers. Most of the Indian soldiers in the East India Company’s army came from peasant families which were deeply affected by their impoverished status.


Religious causes :
The Sepoys were convinced that the English were conspiring to convert them to Christianity. Superior civil and military officers abused the name of Ram and Muhammad. Idolatry was denounced. Hindu gods and goddesses were ridiculed. The Religious Disabilities Act modified Hindu customs. This act enabled a convert to Christianity, to inherit his ancestral property. All this created resentment among the people.


Military causes:
The Sepoys’ emoluments were very low in comparison with those of the British soldiers and their chances of promotion negligible. The loyalty of the Sepoys was further undermined by certain military reforms which outraged their religious feelings. They had an aversion to overseas service, as travel across the seas meant loss of caste for them.


Immediate Causes :
The introduction of Greased cartridges in 1856 sparked the fire. The government decided to replace the old-fashioned musket, `Brown Begs` by the `Enfield rifle’. The loading process of the Enfield rifle involved bringing the cartridge to the mouth and biting of the top paper. There was a rumour among the Sepoys in January 1857 that the greased cartridge contained the fat of cow and pig, the former sacred to Hindus and latter forbidden to Muslims. The Sepoys were now convinced that the introduction of greased cartridges was a deliberate attempt to defile Hindu and Muslim religion. This sparked off the Mutiny on 29th March 1857.


The Mutiny :
The greased cartridges lit the flame of rebellion and on the 29th March 1857, a soldier by the name of Mangal Pandey of the 34th Infantry at Barrackpur rebelled by firing at an officer on command against the use of the new cartridges.


Mangal Pandey


The Sepoy Mutiny

Test Your Skills Now!
Take a Quiz now
Reviewer Name