What are the main causes of the First War of Indian Independence?
please provide points and explanasions.
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The Indian Rebellion of 1857, which was also known as the Sepoy Rebellion, was caused by a number of different factors. The rebellion began within the ranks of the Sepoys, an Indian arm of the British army which outnumbered their British counterparts 4 to 1. Many of the Sepoy’s were recruited from the upper classes of Indian society, and were given special privileges for religious reasons, such as separate dining and bathing facilities. These privileges were slowly curtailed, which led to disquiet within the Sepoy ranks. The Sepoy were also angered by the British’s decisions to grease their gun cartridge with beef fat, which was a gross violation of Hinduism, which treats cattle as scared creatures.
Many of the people involved in the rebellion were members of the landed class or old aristocracy who were tired of seeing their power slowly chipped away, so they were more than willing to help fund, lead and organize the rebellion once it had broken out.
The actual spark occurred in March of 1857 when a private in the Indian army, Mangal Pandey, threatened to rebel over the before mentioned changes. He was eventually court-marshaled and shot for striking his superior, which led to a much wider protest rebellion in the ranks.
Financial ExploitationThe British were financially exploiting the Indians. Cotton produced in India was taken to the textile industries in Britain. As a result, the local cotton industries collapsed which created unemployment and poverty. Obviously, this was a cause of immense displeasure for the Indians. Moreover, heavy taxes were imposed on peasants and small landowners which were very difficult for them to pay. Native Indians were not given jobs in the Civil Services. These activities were adding into the anger of Indian people.
Religious Attack Christian missionaries were allowed to work anywhere in the Indian subcontinent. Their main objective was to preach Christianity. They were criticizing the beliefs of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and other casts and the ways they worshipped. They established schools where local Indians were continuously tried to convert to Christianity. These actions outraged the different religious groups living in India.
Racial Discrimination Most of the British army consisted of local sepoys. They were always supervised by British officers who were very arrogant. They considered themselves racially superior over the Indians and culturally more advanced and civilized nation. They even didn’t like to speak with the sepoys in their native language. The sepoys disliked their attitude and started hating them.
Political Causes The English East India Company got strongly implanted in the Sub-continent after its historic victory over Nawab of Bengal in the Battle of Plassey fought in 1757. Soon afterwards in 1764 the British recorded another important triumph in the Battle of Buxar. This time the English defeated the combined forces of Mir Qasim, Nawab of Oudh and the Mughal Emperor. This victory further brightened the prospects of the Company in the country. Later on through skilful diplomacy the British continued their policy of expansion. By the end of the first half of the 19th century they succeeded in removing from their way the main hurdles of the lion of Mysore Tipu Sultan, the Marathas, the Sikhs and the state of Oudh. As a result territorial limits of the British Empire increased at a tremendous pace. By 1857, that is about a hundred years after the battle of Plassey the frontiers of the British territory included provinces like Bengal, Bihar, Oudh, Maysore, Maharashtra, Sindh, Punjab, Kashmir and North West Frontier. W. Hastings (1773-85), Lord Cornwallis (1786-93), Lord Wellesley (1798-1805) and Dalhousie (1848-56) were great annexationists. They annexed many states.
Economic causes of the war The new agrarian policy of the British, destruction of local industry, permanent settlement, large scale unemployment, monopoly of trade by the English and the Stamp Act were some important economic causes of the war.
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