|Indian Soldiers Execution by Canons, Sepoy Revolt.www.tenquestion.com|
The British also practiced "divide and rule" policies, pitting Hindu and Muslim Indians against one another. They rendered Land owners and farmers landless and penniless. They took over the vast lands and kingdoms of the Maharajahs and Nawobs using some excuse under the subsidiary alliance and the doctrine of lapse. For example Lakshmibai, the Rani of Maratha-ruled Jhansi, one of the major leaders of the rebellion who earlier had lost her kingdom as a result of the Doctrine of Lapse. Dalhousie refused to accept her adopted son as the legal heir.
|Sepoy Revolt of 1857, the Enfield 1853 rifle-musket en.wikipedia.org|
|Local troops,Sepoy Revolt 0f 1857, en.wikipedia.org|
On 29 March 1857, a young soldier, Mangal Pandey, who killed a British officer and wounded a man in Barrackpore and the soldier who refused to arrest Pandey were hanged to death and the Indian soldiers in the regiment were fired from service. Some days later, some Sepoys of the regiment at Meerut refused to do the army drill using the new cartridges for the En field rifles (the Enfield 1853 rifle-musket widely used in the American civil war), which were suspected of being coated with the fat of cows and pigs. For the Hindus and Muslims cow's fat and pig's fat are taboos respectively. The soldiers had to bite it to open the cartridge before use. The news of new greased cartridges to be used in the army spread faster than the dandelion and summer bush fire.
In June 1857, the rebel forces began the siege of the Residency. A large number of British women,men and children had taken shelter in the buildings there. The rebels surrounded the compound and bombarded the building with shells. Hit by a shell, Henry Lawrence, the Chief Commissioner of Awadh, died in one of the rooms in the building which carried the marks of past events.
On the evening of 3 July1857, over 3,000 rebels came from Bareilly now UP, crossed the river Jamuna, entered Delhi, and attacked the British cavalry posts. The revolt began to spread to many parts such as Delhi led by Bahadur Shah Jafar, in Lucknow led by Hazrat Mahal, in Allahabad led by Lyaqat Ali, in Kanpur led by Nana Sahib and in Jhansi led by Jhansi Rani.
Finally with great difficulty and loss of lives the revolt that began in May, 1857 was put down by the British by bringing additional enforcement of troops after one and half plus years. Numerous British men, women and children were killed gruesomely, and in return to take revenge, the British killed more than 500,000 people during that period.