(viii) Revolt of 1857 Nature, Causes and Effects.
Nature of the Revolt :
The historical writings of the British scholars underplayed the
character of the Revolt of 1857. Sir John Lawrence was of the
opinion that the Revolt was purely a military outbreak, and not a
conspiracy to overthrow British rule. On the other hand the Revolt
of 1857 is hailed by the Indian scholars, especially by Vir Savarkar
as the First War of Indian Independence.
Two distinguished Indian historians, R.C. Majumdar and S.N.
Sen, have analysed the Revolt of 1857 in depth. The two scholars
differ in their opinion. S.N. Sen believes that the 1857 Revolt was
part of the struggle for Indian independence. R.C. Majumdar
maintains that the outbreaks before 1857, whether civil or military,
were “a series of isolated incidents” ultimately culminated in the Great
Revolt of 1857.
Causes of the Revolt :
The discontent and disaffection manifested in the form of revolts
against the British Government were not confined to the ruling chiefs
and royal families alone. On the contrary, the British rule was disliked
by the people at large in any region when it was newly introduced.
Anti-British feelings were particularly strong in those regions like
Burma, Assam, Coorg, Sind, and the Punjab which were unjustly
annexed to the British Empire. The Doctrine of Lapse, particularly
its practical application by Lord Dalhousie, produced grave discontent
and alarm among the native princes, who were directly affected.
The huge drain of wealth, the destruction of its industry and
increasing land revenue had become the common features