Main Cause of Revolt

In 1856, the British introduced the Enfield Rifle in their army.

It was suspected that the cartridges which were to be loaded in the gun were coated with the fat of cows and pigs.

To load the cartridges in the gun, the soldier had to open on one end of cartridges with his teeth.

Cow was holy for the hindus and pig was considered impure for the muslims. So, the introduction of these cartridges hurt the sentiments of both Hindu and Muslim soldiers.

Mangal Pandey who was the sepoy of the British army in Barrackpore refused to use those cartridges.

He also attacked his British officers in Barrackpore.

For doing this, he was hanged to death on 8th April 1857. He was the first person to sacrifice his life in the revolt of 1857.

After a few days of his death, 85 soldiers in Meerut, denied using the new cartridges.

On 9th May 1857, the British officers dismissed the 85 sepoys and imprisoned them for 10 long years.

On 10th May 1857, other soldiers marched to the jail of Meerut and released the imprisoned sepoys.

They set fire to the buildings and properties of the British.

They captured the guns and weapons of the Britishers, and attacked and killed some of their officers.

The sepoys reached Delhi on 11th May and got the support of other sepoys of Delhi too.

In Delhi, the sepoys attacked the British officers in the same manner and the revolt broke out.

The soldiers gathered around Red Fort where Bahadur Shah Zafar lived and demanded to meet him.

They met with Bahadur Shah Zafar and declared him the emperor and leader of the revolt.

Initially, Bahadur Shah Zafar was not ready for the revolt but later he accepted the demand of the soldiers.

Bahadur Shah Zafar wrote to all the rulers and chiefs of the country to support the revolt.

This step of the Mughal Emperor encouraged other Indian rulers to revolt against the British rule.

Let us discuss the other main centres and leaders of the revolt

Nana Saheb was the adopted son of Peshwa Baji Rao. He lived in Kanpur.

He declared himself as the Peshwa and governor under Bahadur Shah Zafar. He revolted against the British in Kanpur.

In Lucknow, Birjis Qadr the son of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was declared as the Nawab.

His mother Begum Hazrat Mahal actively opposed the British. She greatly motivated the people to rebel against British Raj.

In Jhansi, Rani Laxmi Bai was fighting to oppose the British, along with Tantia Tope the general of Nana Saheb.

Rani Laxmi Bai had created the history with her heroism and fighting spirit. She died on 18th June 1858.

Tantia Tope was the general of Nana Saheb and one of the great leaders of the revolt.

Rani Avantibai, Lodhi of Ramgarh led on an army against the British.

Vir Kunwar Singh was a Zamindar from Bihar who joined the battle to fight against the British.

Let us revise

The immediate cause of the revolt was the introduction of the Enfield rifle in the army. It was suspected that the cartridges were coated with the fat of cow and pig.

Mangal Pandey was the first soldier who refused to use the cartridges and attack the British officers. Later he was imprisoned and hanged on 8th April 1857.

On 9th May 1857, 85 soldiers of Meerut also refused to use the cartridges. They were also imprisoned.

On 10th May, those 85 sepoys were released by other soldiers. Then all the soldiers marched towards Delhi.

In Delhi, they met with Bahadur Shah Zafar and declared him the emperor of India and the leader of the revolt.

Bahadur Shah Zafar wrote letters to other rulers of the country and asked them to join the revolt against the British.

Soon this revolt was joined by many rulers like Nanasaheb, Laxmibai, Begum Hazrat Mahal and others.