NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 11 Rebels and the Raj The Revolt of 1857 and its Representations are part of NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History. Here we have given NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 11 Rebels and the Raj The Revolt of 1857 and its Representations.
|Chapter Name||Rebels and the Raj The Revolt of 1857 and its Representations|
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NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 11 Rebels and the Raj The Revolt of 1857 and its Representations
Why did the mutinous sepoys in many places turn to erstwhile rulers to provide leadership to the revolt ?
The mutinous sepoys in many places turn to erstwhile rulers to provide leadership to the revolt due to the following factors :
- To acquire a kind of legitimacy : On reaching Delhi the Sepoys of Meerut demanded that the Mughal emperor give them his blessing and to become their leader. Bahadur Shah had no other option but to become their nominal leader. The revolt thus acquired a kind of legitimacy because it could now be carried on in the name of the Mughal emperor. Similarly, Nana Sahib the successor to Peshwa Baji Rao II became the leader of the rebellion in Kanpur.
- In Jhansi, Rani Lakshmi Bai was forced by the popular pressure to assume the leadership of the uprising.
- There was also need for organisation that could carry on the rebellious activities in a proper manner. That guidance could be provided by the erstwhile rulers like Nana Sahib, Jhansi ki Rani and others.
Discuss the evidence that indicates planning and coordination on the part of the rebels.
The evidence that indicates planning and coordination on the part of the rebels is as given below :
- Lines of communication :
- There was communication between the sepoy lines of various cantonments. For example, after the 7th Awadh Irregular Cavalry had refused to use new cartridges, they wrote to the 48th Native Infantry that “they had acted for the faith and awaited the 48th’s orders.”
- Sepoys or their emissaries moved from one station to another.
- Mutinies were organised is evident from the incident relating to protection given to captain Hearsey by his Indian subordinates during the mutiny. In this case, it was decided that the matter would be decided by a panchayat composed of native officers drawn from each regiment. It proves that the mutinies were well organised. Charles Ball has also noted that panchayats were a nightly occurrence in the Kanpur sepoy lines.
Discuss the extent to which religious beliefs shaped the events of 1857.
The religious beliefs shaped the events of 1857 in a significant way as mentioned below:
- The immediate cause of the revolt by the sepoys at Meerut was the bullets that were coated with the fat of cows and pigs and bitting those bullets would corrupt the caste and religion of both the Hindus and Muslims.
- There was also rumour that the British had mixed the bone dust of cows and pigs into the flour that was sold in the market.
- There was also fear and suspicion that the British wanted to convert Indians to Christianity
What were the measures taken to ensure unity among the rebels ?
The following measures were taken to ensure unity among the rebels :
- The rebel proclamations in 1857 repeatedly appealed to all sections of the population, irrespective of their caste and creed. For example, the Azamgarh Proclamation of 25 August 1857 appealed to all “Hindoos and Mohammedans” to stake their lives and property for the well being of the public and take their share in the holy war against the British.
- Proclamations made by the Muslim princes or in their names took care to address the sentiments of Hindus.
- The rebellion was seen as a war in which both Hindus and Muslims had equally to lose or gain.
- The ishtahars harked back to the pre-British Hindu-Muslim past and glorified the coexistence of different communities under the Mughal Empire.
- The proclamation that was issued under the name of Bahadur Shah appealed to the people to join the fight under the standards of both Muhammad and Mahavir.
- British made attempts to create divisions between Hindus and Muslims. For example, in Bareily in western Uttar Pradesh, in December 1857, the British spent ? 50,000 to incite Hindu population against the Muslims but they failed.
What steps did the British take to quell the uprising ?
The British took the following steps to quell the uprising :
- The British passed a series of laws to quell the insurgency. By these Acts passed in May and June 1857, the whole of North India was put under martial law.
- The military officers and even ordinary Britons were given the power to try and punish Indians suspected of rebellion.
- The ordinary processes of law and trial were suspended and it was decided that rebellion would have only one punishment – death.
- The reinforcements were brought in from Britain.
- The British used military power on a gigantic scale.
- The British tried to break up the unity between big landholders and peasants in Uttar Pradesh by promising to give back to the big landholders their estates. Rebel landholders were dispossessed and the loyal rewarded.
Why was the revolt particularly widespread in Awadh ? What prompted the ! peasants, taluqdaars and zamindars to join the revolt ?
(a) The revolt was widespread in Awadh due to the following reasons :
- Awadh was annexed by the British on the plea that the region was being misgoverned. The British thought that the Nawab was not popular but on the contrary he was very popular. People considered it as “the life has gone out of the body”. The removal led to an emotional upheaval among the people of Awadh.
- The annexation of Awadh led to unemployment among the musicians, dancers, poets, artisans, cooks, retainers, administrative officials and soon those who were attached with the Nawab and his household.
- It also led to loss of court culture.
(b) The peasants, talnqdars and zamindars joined the revolt due to the following grievances :
- Before the annexation, the taluqdars were very powerful but immediately after the annexation, they were disarmed and their forts destroyed. Not only under the first British revenue settlement, known as the Summary Settlement of 1856, it was assumed that they had no permanent stakes in land. Wherever possible they were removed. This led to discontentment among the taluqdars.
- The British had hoped that by removing the taluqdars, the condition of the peasants would improve but this did not happen. Revenue flows for the state increased but the burden of demand on the peasants did not decline. So, the peasants were too not happy with the new situation.
What did the rebels want ? To what extent did the vision of different social groups differ ?
(a) The Azamgarh Proclamation of 25 August, 1857 is the main source of information about what the rebels wanted. The objects mentioned in this Proclamation are as given below :
- Zamindars : lb reduce the Jumas, to protect their dignity and honour and to have absolute rule in their territories.
- Merchants : End of fraudulent practices, Right to trade of every article without exception both by land and water to all the native merchants of India.
- Public servants : Better salaries and appointment to high posts.
- Artisans : Employment in the service of the Kings, rajahs and the rich.
- Pundits, Fakirs and other learned persons : To protect their religions.
(b) Besides the objects mentioned in the Azamgarh Proclamation, the other objects of the rebels were as follows :
- To restore the life of people as it existed before the British rule.
- To save their livelihood, their faith, their honour and dignity.
- To have an egalitarian society by overturning traditional hierarchies.
- To restore the pre-British world of the eighteenth century i.e., Mughal world.
(c) From above it is clear that the vision of different groups differed from each other according to their problems. But on the whole they were against the British rule and wanted to get rid of it.
What do visual representations tell us about the revolt of 1857 ? How do historians analyse these representations ?
(a) The visual representations give us the following information :
- Information about saviours: Paintings such as “Relief of Lucknow” depicts British heroes – Colin Campbell, Outram and Havelock who saved the British and repressed the rebels in Lucknow.
- Painting showing helpless and innocent women in fear of dishonour, violence and death. “In Memoriam’ is a painting that shows the condition of British women dming mutiny and what the mutineers were doing with them.
- Women’s struggle to save their honour and their life. The sketch showing Miss Wheeler as defending herself against sepoys in Kanpur shows that the women too tried to save themselves. It has, however, a deeper religious connotation. It was a battle to save the honour of Christianity.
- Vengeance and retribution : The visual representations such as Justice — an allegorical female figure in an aggressive posture depicts that there was great demand for a repressive policy and violent reprisal.
- The performance of terror: The “British Lion’s Vengeance on the Bengal Tiger” and “Execution of Mutineers in Peshawar” proves that the British followed a repressive policy to create terror among the Indians.
- No time for clemency: ‘The Clemency of Canning’ is a cartoon that shows that there was no time for leniency against the Indians.
- Nationalist imageries : The nationalist considered it a First War of Independence. Rani Lakshmi Bai and others were depicted as heroic figures. Usually, Rani was portrayed in battle armour that symbolised her determination to resist injustice and alient rule.
Thus, the paintings and other visual representation tell us about the feeling of the people in India and Britain.
(b) The historians consider these pictorial images produced by the British as well as by the Indians an important source of information about the feelings and reaction of the people at that time. These images reflect the public opinion which influenced the policies of the British government. On the other hand, the national imageries depict the national feelings of the Indians.
Examine any two sources presented in the chapter, choosing one visual and one text, and discuss how these represent the point of view of the victor and the vanquished.
The above picture shows Secundrah Bagh, Lucknow. This place was once the pleasure garden which was built by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. After the rebellion, the British forces led by Cambell killed 2000 rebel sepoys who held the place in 1857. The skeleton strewn on the ground are meant to be a cold warning of the futility of rebellion. This shows that in Awadh where according to an estimate three-fourths of adult male population was in rebellion, too could not succeed and were under control in March 1858.
(b) Villagers as rebels
An officer reporting from rural Awadh (spelt as Oude in the following account) noted : The Oude people are gradually pressing down on the line of communication from the North … the Oude people are villagers … these villagers are nearly intangible to Europeans melting away before them and collecting again. The Civil Authorities report these villagers to amount to a very large number of men, with a number of guns.’
The above source depicts the way in which villagers in Awadh fought with the British forces. They could not be defeated easily because they used to melt away before the British but soon after they collected again. Thus, it was very difficult for the British to control them. The fighting in Awadh continued till March 1858. This shows that in Awadh the rebellion was spread. On the other hand, it shows that inspite of difficulties, the British were determined to suppress the rebellion. The forces were used on a gigantic scale and ultimately Awadh was brought under control.
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