The Sepoy Mutiny Of 1857

This essay The Sepoy Mutiny Of 1857 has a total of 2644 words and 13 pages.

The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857

As with any conflict or controversy there are always two sides
to the debate, and the events in India during 1857 are certainly no
exception. Given the situation in India during the nineteenth century
it is hardly surprising that such a polarisation of opinion exists
regarding the context of the rebellious events during that year. The
British being in control of the subcontinent and their sense of
superiority over their Indian subjects, would naturally seek to
downplay any acts of rebellion. While the Indian subjects on the other
hand would arguably wish to exaggerate and over emphasise the
importance of these events, as a means of promoting the nationalist
cause for self determination. The truth of the events themselves, does
it lie towards the British account or the Indian pro nationalistic
side, or could there be a certain amount of truth in both sides of the

Metcalf in his account cites three indisputable factors behind
the outbreak of rebellion in 1857. Primarily he sees `accumulating
grievances of the Sepoy Army of Bengal' as the most important factor.
The reasons behind this `deterioration of morale' amongst the army lay
with several reasons. Much of the Sepoy army was comprised of
`Brahmins and other high caste Hindus' who assisted in promoting a
`focus of sedition'. The `generally poor ezdard of British
officers', plus the lack of improvement to the overall position of
those men serving in the army also increased the level of tension. At
this point it should be remembered that the `Bengal Army differed from
those of Bengal and Madras', as the Bombay and Madras armies took no
part in the rebellion of 1857. But the more pronounced military factor
was the lack of British troops in the `Gangetic plain' meant that many
areas were `virtually denuded of British troops'.

These military grievances which although significant were not
themselves enough to incite rebellion, as it took a perceived attack
on the Sepoy religious institutions to trigger of the rebellion. The
first of these perceived threats was that the British government was
preparing to dismantle the caste system and `convert them forcibly to
Christianity'. Although not based on fact the actions of some `pious
British officers did nothing to dispel' the rumours to the contrary.
Added to this British lethargy was the Brahmins who tended to be
`peculiarly watchful for potential threats to their religion and

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