1857 and After
Q52. What could be the reasons for the confidence of the British
rulers about their position in India before May 1857?
Ans. The reasons for the confidence of the British
rulers about their position in India before May 1857 were:
Nawabs and rajas had lost their authority
and honour. Residents had been stationed in many courts, the freedom of the
rulers reduced, their armed forces disbanded, and their revenues and
territories taken away by stages.
Awadh was one of the last territories to be
annexed. In 1801, a subsidiary alliance was imposed on Awadh, and in 1856 it
was taken over.
In 1856, Governor-General Canning decided
that Bahadur Shah Zafar would be the last Mughal king and after his death none
of his descendants would be recognized as kings – they would just be called
Q53. What reforms did the British introduced in the Indian
society? How did people of India respond to them?
British introduced the following reforms in the Indian society.
Laws were passed to stop the practice of
sati and to encourage the remarriage of widows.
English-language education was actively
After 1830, the Company allowed Christian
missionaries to function freely in its domain and even own land and property.
In 1850, a new law was passed to make
conversion to Christianity easier.
Indians began to feel that the British were destroying their religion, their social
customs and their traditional way of life.
Q54. What impact did Bahadur Shah Zafar’s support to the
rebellion have on the people and the ruling families?
Shah Zafar’s support to the rebellion boosted the morale of the people and the
The people of the towns and villages also
rose up in rebellion and rallied around local leaders, zamindars and chiefs who
were prepared to establish their authority and fight the British.
Nana Saheb, the adopted son of the late
Peshwa Baji Rao, gathered armed forces and expelled the British garrison from
In Lucknow, Birjis Qadr, the son of the
deposed Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, was proclaimed the new Nawab. He
too acknowledged the suzerainty of Bahadur Shah Zafar.
In Jhansi, Rani Lakshmibai joined the rebel
sepoys and fought the British along with Tantia Tope, the general
of Nana Saheb.
Q55. In what ways did the British change their policies as a
result of the rebellion of 1857?
Ans. Following are the important changes that were
introduced by the British.
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.
All ruling chiefs of the country were
assured that their territory would never be annexed in future. They were
allowed to pass on their kingdoms to their heirs, including adopted sons.
However, they were made to acknowledge the British Queen as their Sovereign
It was decided that the proportion of Indian
soldiers in the army would be reduced and the number of European soldiers would
be increased. It was also decided that instead of recruiting soldiers from
Awadh, Bihar, central India and south India, more soldiers would be recruited
from among the Gurkhas, Sikhs and Pathans.
The land and property of Muslims was
confiscated on a large scale and they were treated with suspicion and
hostility. The British believed that they were responsible for the rebellion in
a big way.
The British decided to respect the
customary religious and social practices of the people in India.
Policies were made to protect landlords and
zamindars and give them security of rights over their lands.