How was the Indian Sepoy "Mutiny" of 1857 remembered by Indian nationalists in the early 20th century?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Indian nationalists of the 20th Century invoked the Sepoy Mutiny in the desire to achieve Indian independence.  The condition of the Sepoy Rebellion bore much in way of fruit for the individuals who argued the need for freedom from England.  The fact that the Rebellion centered on the alliance of Hindus and Muslims against the British was a compelling argument embraced by Indian nationalists. The greasing of ammunition cartridges with pork (offensive to Muslim) and cow byproducts (offensive to Hindus) helped to make the case that both religions were disrespected under British rule.   The Sepoy Rebellion was one of the first large scale revolts against the British.  It was only facilitated by the unification of Hindus and Muslims.  The unity element in which "Indian" superseded factional affiliation was something that was seized upon by the Indian nationalist of the 20th Century.

At the same time, Indian nationalists and historians argued that the mass expansion of the Sepoy Rebellion in so many parts of the subcontinent reinforced the idea that the drive for independence was pervasive.  It was not localized.  This was something that millions of Indians felt.  Indian nationalists used this argument to counter the regionalism intrinsic to the subcontinent.  In seeking to broaden the nationalist desire for freedom, the call for independence radiated with more fervor and greater appeal.  The use of the Sepoy Rebellion was part of this argument that the Indian nationalists made to further their case.