|Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.www.nuttyhistory.com|
|Santhal tribesmen India .en.wikipedia. org|
The British, who started off as a simple mercantile trader on a shoe-string budget under the British East India company, using dishonest means firmly planted the roots of imperialism under the auspices of the British Crown on the Indian soil. After the Battles of Plassey in 1757 & Buxer in1767 and later Allahabad treaties, the Mogul, Nawabs of Bengal and Awadh lost their power, wealth and vast lands. On the contrary the ''Diwani'' rights gave the British Sahibs unlimited control over these fertile and rich regions of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha and tremendous opportunities to expand far beyond the subcontinent. The advantage they had was these recently acquired regions gave them surplus money and muscle power to take care of their Indian operations and also needs of their motherland. They cultivated, opium, cotton, jute,tea, etc mostly export oriented produce that gave them extra dough with which through subjugation or annexation, they could further bring many regions under their control. The British Crown encouraged further expansion of the land under their indirect authority. The BEI became an agent of British expansionism in India. As for Indian natives,including hilly people and tribes they lost their traditional lands where they had been raising paddy, wheat, etc for their needs for generations.Their production fell down considerably.
The arrival of Wellesley 1798-1805, William Pitt Amherst (1823-28), George Eden (1836-42), Edward Law (1842-44), and James Andrew Brown Ramsay (1848-56; better known as the Marquess of Dalhousie) gave a further impetus to the Britisher's policy of ''divide and rule'' and expansion. The new policies of ''the Subsidiary Alliance'' and ''the Doctrine of Lapse'' were very effective and they saw a further spurt in annexation rendering many princes and Nawobs to lose their real power and pelf (sometimes their shirts and undergarments too!!)but retaining their illusory traditional as well as funny British titles and be content with them, besides some princely lands and yearly doles bestowed liberally on them by the British Nabobs and Maharajahs. Later, British administrator Lord Canning was ruthless and merciless and he forced the last Mogul ruler out of their ancestral residence in Delhi. The Nawob of Awadh was insulted and humiliated by the British.
By 1850s almost all belligerent Indian rulers were at the receiving end of the British Sahibs whose tremendous success in India was not only due to their superior weapon power and sinistral diplomatic strategy, but also due to their innate and ingrained manipulating diabolical strategies depending on the situation that gave them the edge. The lack of unity among the various Indian rulers already divided by religion, caste, culture and languages gave the smart British yet anther added advantage which they fully exploited.Only a group of weak and gullible Indian rulers who blindly toed their lines and became ''Yes Masters'' added lubricant over which the British masters rode their chariot with ease.
At one point of time, the foreign rulers decided to westernize the Indians (who were supposed to be savages fresh out of the Jungle) and make them familiar with the western technical knowledge for their future benefits. They thought once they became civilized and competent enough and be on their own to administer vast Indian subcontinent,then only they would give them political freedom. Till such a time British Masters would act as their pr-toge or trustee. In all these years of their unscrupulous activities that aimed at keeping the Indians divided, they earned only the hatred of people across India in particular North.
With overwhelming sense of racial and class superiority, the British had scant respect for India's past glory, economic power and ancient civilization. Nor did they appreciate India's ancient tradition, heritage and languages. Discrimination in government services was rampant and this further angered Indians.
The Sepoy rebellion was the out come of not one primary factor - Enfiled rifles supplied with paper cartridges coated with tallow but many other factors also triggered it. Right from princes to paupers, police to low grade public servants, every body despised the British Sahibs was up against them. The Sepoy rebellion,the biggest and long-drawn rebellion in the British history became a subject of discussion and debate world over. It tore the mask of British rulers whose native land prospered at the cost of India's suffering masses.The British media in order to divert the attention of the public opinion in England presented concocted, stunted and wrong information on the causality of British subjects in the wake of Sepoy rebellion branding the Indians as savages.beside the Sepoy revolt, there were also other rebellions like Sanyasi-Fakir rebellion of 1770 Santhal revolt of 1856, etc.They used repressive forces to quell the rebellion and in the process they hanged numerous Hindu sanyasis -monks in the revolt and killed 15,000 Santhal tribesmen and destroyed their villages. The tribal people protested against the agents of the British - zamindars-land lords who took over their lands backed up by the British officers.
No sooner had the British rulers put down the Sepoy mutiny after their long-drawn struggle,than the British Crown took over the direct rule of India in the following year and assured the people of India of their just rule, non interference in the administration of princely kingdoms, religion, and no further expansion or annexation of new lands and kingdoms. Now, the British East India company(1600s) that laid the foundation became almost nonexistent.
Baker, David (1991), "Colonial Beginnings and the Indian Response: The Revolt of 1857–58 in Madhya Pradesh", Modern Asian Studies 25 (3): 511–543,