How was the Sepoy Rebellion a clash of cultures?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The most obvious way in which this rebellion came from a clash of cultures was in the disputes over the army's new cartridges.  These cartridges needed to be bitten before they could be fired.  Rumors spread among the Indian soldiers saying that the cartridges were greased by the fat of pigs (forbidden for Muslims to eat) and cows (sacred to Hindus).  This would have forced both religions to defile themselves whenever they bit into a cartridge.

This shows that the mutiny came from cultural conflict.  It came out of the belief that the British would defy Indian cultures and force the men to defile themselves.

But why did this rumor gain credence?  Some scholars argue that the British had allowed this through their efforts to push Christianity and to do away with things like the "sati" -- the burning of Indian widows.  If this is the case, then the mutiny came out of a clash of cultures because the British were trying to impose their culture on the Indians.


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