Answer the following questions :

1.  What was the demand of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi that was refused by the British?
Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi wanted to recognize her adopted son as the heir to the kingdom after the death of her husband Gangadhar Rao. She desired to negotiate with the East India Company to protect her family’s interest.

2.  What did the British do to protect the interests of those who converted to Christianity?
The British did the following things to protect the interests:
i)  After 1830, the company allowed Christian missionaries to function freely in its domination and even own land and property,
ii)  A new law was passed in 1830, to make conversion to Christianity easier. This law allowed an Indian who has converted to Christian to hold the property of his ancestors.
iii)  Many Indians began to feel that the British were destroying their religion.

3.  What objections did the sepoys have to the new cartridges that they were asked to use?
 The sepoys had raised the following objections:
i)  The cartridges used for new rifles were greased with the fat of cows and pigs. It was a great insult to the religions of Indian sepoys the hindus and the muslims.
ii)  It appeared to the Indian soldiers, that the great aim of the English was to turn all the sepoys into Christians, and they had therefore introduced the cartridge.

4.  How did the last Mughal emperor live the last years of his life?
The last Mughal Emporer Bahadur Shah II lived a miserable life in his last days. When the British captured Delhi in September 1857 A.D., Bahadur Shah left lucknow, from there he continued his fight against the British. At last his sons along with some other rebels were captured by the English. His two sons and a grandson were shot dead before his old eyes. Their dead bodies were hung at the Khooni Darwaja to create terror among the rebels. Bahadur Shah himself was deported to Rangoon where he died in 1862 A.D.

5.  What could be the reasons for the confidence of the British rulers about their position in India before May 1857?
The following reasons helped the British to maintain their position in India before May 1857:
i)  The Indian nawabs and rajas lost their power. They had gradually lost their authority and honour.
ii) The British Governor Generals posted their residents courts, in several courts, the freedom of the rulers were reduced, their armed forces disbanded and their revenue and territories taken away stage by stage.
iii)  The company was confident of its superiority and military powers.
iv)  In 1801, a subsidiary alliance was imposed on Awadh and in 1856 it was taken over.
v)  In 1849, Governor General Dalhousie announced that after the death of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the family of the king would be shifted out of the Red Fort and given another place in Delhi to reside.
vi)  In 1856, Governor General Canning decided that Bahadur Shah Zafar would be the last Mughal King and after his death none of his decendants would be recognized as King.

6.  What impact did Bahadur Shah Zafar’s support to the rebellion have on the people and the ruling families?
The impact of Bahadur Shah Zafar’s support to the rebellion on the people and the ruling families were as follows:

i) The sepoys of Meerut rode all night of 10th May to reach Delhi in the early hours of the next morning. As news of the arrival spread, the regiments stationed in Delhi also rose up in rebellion. Again British officers were killed, arms and ammunition seized, buildings set on fire.

ii) The emperor was not quite willing to challenge the mighty British power but the soldiers persisted. They forced their way into the palace and proclaimed Bahadur Shah Zafar as their leader.

iii) The Mughal dynasty had ruled over a very large part of the country. Smaller rulers and chieftains controlled different territories on behalf of the Mughal ruler. Threatened by the expansion of the British rule, many of them felt that if the Mughal emperor could rule again, they too would be able to rule their own territories once more, under Mughal authority.

7.  How did the British succeed in securing the submission of the rebel landowners of Awadh?
The submission of the rebel landowners of Awadh were:

i) In the country side peasants and zamindars resented the high taxes and the rigid methods of revenue collection. Many failed to pay back their loans to the money lenders and gradually lost the lands had tilled for generations.

ii) Just as victories against the British had earlier encouraged rebellion, the defeat of rebel forces including landowners of Awadh encouraged desertions.

iii) Those who had rebelled were told that if they submitted to the British, and if they had not killed any white people, they would remain safe and their rights and claims to land would be denied.

iv) Nevertheless, hundreds of sepoys, rebels, nawabs and rajas were tried and hanged.

8.  In what ways did the British change their policies as a result of the rebellion of 1857?
The British had regained control of the country by the end of 1859, but they could not carry on ruling the land with the same policies any more :

i) The British parliament passed a new Act in 1858 and transferred the powers of the East India Company to the British Crown in order to ensure a more responsible management of Indian affairs. A member of British Cabinet was appointed as Secretary of state India.

ii) The Governor General of India was given the title of Viceroy, that is, a personal representative of the Crown. Through these measures the British Government accepted direct responsibility for ruling India.

iii) All ruling chiefs of the country were assured that their territory would never be annexed in future. They would be allowed to pass their kingdoms to their heirs, including the adopted sons.

iv) It was decided that the proportion of Indian soldiers in the company army would be reduced and the number of European Soldiers would be increased.

v) The land and property of Muslims was confiscated on a large scale and they were treated with suspicion and hostility.

vi) The British decided to respect the customary religious and social practices of the people in India.

9.  Find out stories and songs remembered by people in your area or your family about San Sattavan ki Ladaai .What memories do people cherish about the great uprising?
Poem on San Sattavan ki Ladai:
Sinhasan hil uthey raajvanshon ney bhrukuti tani thi,
Budhey Bharat mein aayee phir se nayi jawani thi,
Gumee huee azadi ki keemat sabney pehchani thi,
Door phirangi ko karney ki sab ney man mein thani thi.
Chamak uthi san sattavan mein, yeh talwar purani thi,
Bundeley Harbolon key munh hamney suni kahani thi,
Khoob ladi mardani woh to Jhansi wali Rani thi.

10.  Find out more about Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi. In what ways would she have been an unusual woman for her times?
Gangadhar Rao died in November 1853 without leaving a male heir and the state was declared annexed by Lord Dalhousie. The claims of the adopted son were disregarded. So the queen of Jhansi, Rani Lakshmibai joined the revolt to protest against the annexation of Jhansi by the English. When the Rani joined the revolt, General Sir Hugh Rose attacked Jhansi in March 1858, but the brave Rani kept the British General Unreserved for quite some time. When she found she could not hold for long time she called Tantia Tope for help. But by that time troops were severely defeated by the British on the Banks of the River Betwa. Now the Rani had to hold her fortress alone. Britisher’s resorted to deceit and treachery and bribed the guards to open the gates of the fortress. In Kalpi she was joined by Tantia, now both of them fought many wars with the British. The Rani of Jhansi died fighting clad in soldier’s uniform on the rampart fort.

11.  Imagine you are a British officer in Awadh during the rebellion. What would you do to keep your plans of fighting the rebels a top secret?
In order to keep the plans for fighting the rebels a top secret, I will only share it with my closest colleagues in the army. I would not discuss these plans with any Indian soldier in order to prevent their leakage. I would only discuss these plans with fellow British officers.