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C O U R S E 
A History of the World since 1300
Jeremy Adelman, Princeton University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 and Its Ramifications
Notes taken on October 8, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
a mass upheaval in the 1850s
with echos around the world
would bring down both
the East India Company
last of the Mughal empires
the Enfield rifle would play a staring role in the saga
pressures to modernize faiths
accommodate rationalism into their explanations of the world
reconcile beliefs with new concepts of
also for religious authority
especially with the advent of Protestant missionaries dreaming of converting all those souls in India
they were less successful, however, in direct conversions than as appearing as a threat to the incumbant spirtiual authorities
compound pressures in India
resistance to religious authorities
resistance to political authorities
1875 frustrations finally exploded
spasm of unrest against colonialism came from within the army
the East Indian Company was actually able to field this army against its rivals
came from one sector within the army called the sepoys
the location of the upheavals were in the areas in which the East Indian Company had established its deepest roots
special trained British units of the Indian army at the service of the East India Company
the local agents of control for the firm
lead to the upheaval of 1857 which was called the Indian Mutiny
the countryside was in revolt against British control
in trying to compete with growing competition, the East India Company began to extract more resources than the Mughals had ever done
the hot spots were generally where the company had a footprint
disputes over land as many Indian peasants were being disposed
the immediate precipitant for the uprising was the Enfield rifle
grease had to be used to get the cartridges down the barrel
the difficulty of the musket was range and accuracy
the difficulty for the Enfield rifle was to get the ballistic down in through the bore in this grooved barrel
the rumor spread that the grease which was to be used to get the bullet into the rifle was made of pig fat
this was of course an affront to Muslim sepoys whose belief system prohibited the contact with pig fat
if it would have been cow fat it would have been an affront to the Hindus
in fact it was false, the grease was not made out of fat at all
but British officers did nothing to allay the fears on the part of the soldiers that they were being asked to do something that was in violation of their spiritual beliefs
there were other problems
low pay
wretched conditions of troops
led to a march of 300 sepoys to Dehli in May of 1857
called to the last Mughal ruler, Bahadur Shah II (Zafar), to be their leader to lead a struggle to drive the British from India
they massacred a set of Christians on their way to Lucknow
this gave way to a whole sale revolt
thousands of sepoys flocked to Dehli to join in the uprising
soon the movement bore all the hallmarks of a Jihadist movement against British authority, the ulama priests blessed the rebels, mosques filled with rebels who prayed, and who called themselves the Mujahideen, Islamic warriors to defend a new moral order, a return to the old days in which India was ruled by an emperor who believed in the Holy Script
the result was
execution of people
behind the lines were simmering conflicts between Hindus and Muslims
British responded with reprisals which were equally as vicious
sporting their brand new weapon,the Enfield rifle
bombarded Lucknow
many aspects of the British repression took on aspects of a Christian crusade killing infidels as a response to the massacres of Christians
letting Sikh soldiers engage in public atrocities and torture
this uprising was beneficial for the Sikhs, as their loyalty and fighting tenacity made them the backbone of recruitment for the British Indian Army
teeming with disease
heart of the revolt
the sepoys were remarkably brave but in the end, no match for the artillery and fire power that the British were able to yield
Zafar had tried to broker a peace but he was a reluctant rebel from the beginning
1858 tried for treason and mutiny
sent him into exile to Burma
1862 died of disease
left behind simmering dislike and resentment towards the British
a simmering enmity between various religious orders that the Mughal empire was once able to accommodate more or less in its composite structure
balancing Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths
home in Britain
faced with the atrocities that were committed, they British government knew they had to change the way they ruled India, now in the absence of an emperor
to prevent further revolt
1858 The Act for the Better Government of India
made India formerly part of the British Empire
1877 Benjamin Disraeli, Conservative Prime Minister, had Queen Victoria proclaimed as Empress of India, a gesture to link the monarchy with the empire further and bind India more closely to Britain.
princes and nobles summoned to the plain of Delhi where last Mughal Empire was destroyed, to declare their loyalty and fealty to a new imperial sovereign
India was now a formal colony ruled by a viceroy as did the Spanish in Mexico after 1521