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YoungBites. Dated: 5/10/2017 11:07:21 AM

10 May 1857: The First War of Independence, began

What Forrest mentioned as the “Indian mutiny”, is considered as the First War of Indian Independence by the historians of India. Even though this term is disputed by some, all do agree that the uprising against the British administration came after a significant realisation by Indians that foreigners were not welcome in India, and should stop draining the country off its prosperity and resources.
Down the years, historians have termed this significant event by various names, including “The Sepoy Mutiny”, “The Uprising of 1857”, and “The 1857 Rebellions.” After India gained its complete independence in 1947, it was generally agreed that this was in fact the “First War” that eventually amplified the national sentiments of the people of India, consequently causing organised Nationalist Movements across the country.
10 May 1857, marks the date when it all began. This was the day when Indian Sepoys bombed and killed several British officers in the Meerut Cantonment. This bombing was neither an isolated event, nor a sudden occurrence. It was in fact, the result of building anger due to oppression by the tyrannical British officers. The tipping point was the use of cow and pig fat in the grease of the rifle cartridges used by the soldiers. This angered and hurt the sentiments of both the Hindu and Muslim soldiers in the army. This was also the reason why Mangal Pandey, a young sepoy of the 34th Native Infantry, attacked a British officer in Barrackpore at Bengal, in March the same year.
Causes culminating into the First War of Independence
The tyranny of the British was not just towards the soldiers. They had angered and hurt every class of people in the country. The major causes included, economic exploitation by forcing imported goods and banning local stuff, destruction of traditional cultures that pushed artisans into poverty, exclusion of Indians in the higher administrative posts in the government, treatment of all Indians with racial arrogance and contempt, annexation of kingdoms as per the Doctrine of Lapse policy, and forcing people to convert to Christianity. The annexation policy, in particular, forced kings, princes and queens to fight against the British soldiers in order to retain their land.
The Uprising
The First War of Independence was not a single battle, but a series of rebellions which took place in different places in North India between 1857 and late 1859.


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