Nature of the Sepoy Mutiny

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Nature of the Sepoy Mutiny

Historians differ regarding the nature of the Sepoy Mutiny. According to some this was a struggle between the whites and the black, some found feudal reactions and dying voices of feudalism in it, while others regard it as a revolt of the sepoys. Some attribute the revolt to the annexation policy of Lord Dalhousie. Some find in it a national revolt, while some regard it as the first war of Indian Independence.

The most important among those who regard as a Sepoy Mutiny were Charles Reikes, Charles Roberts, John Silly, John Lawrence, John Key, etc. Among the Indians who named it as a Sepoy Mutiny, mentioned should be made of Ishwar Chandra Gupta, Sambhu Chandra Mukherjee, Harish Chandra Mukherjee, Akshay Kumar Datta, Durgadas Banerjee, Syed Ahmed Khan, Raj Narain Bose, Dadabhai Naoroji etc.

The Sepoys started but finally common people joined it, so it was a popular revolt no doubt. From Eastern Punjab to Western Bihar it was a revolt of commoners. In Oudh more than one lac people joined the revolt of 1857. In the July of 1857 A.D. Disraeli, the leader of the Tory Party declared the rebellion as a ‘National Revolt’ in the British Parliament.

Many British historians like J.B. Norton, Alexander Duff, Malleson, Charles Ball, James Outram, and Holmes also regarded it as a national revolt.

Karl Marx had also accepted the national character of the rebellion.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in his book ‘Indian war of Independence’ has declared that the revolt of 1857 A.D. was the First Indian war of Independence. He was supported by the only historian Ashok Mehra. Dr. Surendranath Sen said in his book ‘Eighteen Fifty Seven’ that the revolt of 1857 A.D. cannot be mentioned as war of independence.

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