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Section B — Chapter 1

The First War of Independence (1857)

Class 10 - APC Modern History & Civics Solutions


Short Answer Questions

Question 1

What was the system of Subsidiary Alliance? Mention any two terms or conditions to be fulfilled by Indian rulers who entered into a Subsidiary Alliance.

Answer

Lord Wellesley's Subsidiary Alliance implied the subordination of Indian Princes to the British Company in their external relations. It added to the territories and resources of the East India Company.

Indian rulers who entered into a Subsidiary Alliance had to follow these conditions-

  1. They were required to keep the British army at the Capitals of their States.
  2. They were to give either money or some part of their territory to the Company for the maintenance of the British troops.

Question 2

Name any two Indian States brought under British control by means of Subsidiary Alliances.

Answer

Two Indian States brought under British control by means of Subsidiary Alliances were Hyderabad and Lucknow.

Question 3

What is meant by the Doctrine of Lapse?

Answer

The Doctrine of Lapse meant that when a ruler of a dependent state died without a natural heir, the State passed back to the English Company.

Question 4

Name any two States that fell victim to Dalhousie's Doctrine of Lapse.

Answer

Two States that fell victim to Dalhousie's Doctrine of Lapse were Jhansi and Nagpur.

Question 5

Which acts of Lord Dalhousie and Lord Canning smacked of discourtesy to the Mughal Emperor?

Answer

Lord Dalhousie announced that on the death of the King, his successor would have to leave the Imperial palace i.e., the Red Fort. Later in 1856, Lord Canning made it known that Bahadur Shah's successor would not be allowed to use the imperial title, i.e., the title of King.

Question 6

What was the main grouse of the Rani of Jhansi against the British?

Answer

The Rani of Jhansi was angry because when the ruler of Jhansi died in 1853 leaving no child, the widowed Rani was pensioned and their adopted son, Anand Rao, was not recognised as a lawful successor to the throne.

Question 7

Who was Nana Saheb? What was his main grievance against the British?

Answer

Nana Saheb was the adopted son of Baji Rao II, the last Peshwa.

His main grievance against the British was that the British refused to grant Nana Saheb the pension they were paying to Baji Rao II. Nana Saheb was forced to live at Kanpur, far away from his family seat at Poona.

Question 8

When and on what ground was Awadh annexed to the Company's dominions?

Answer

On 7th February, 1856, Nawab Wazid Ali Shah was deposed on grounds that Awadh was not being managed well. On February 13th, the Court of Directors ordered Awadh's complete annexation to the Company's dominions.

Question 9

Mention any two activities that caused fear that the British government was determined to convert Indians to Christianity.

Answer

Two activities that caused fear that the British government was determined to convert Indians to Christianity are-

  1. The teachings of Christian doctrines was made compulsory in the schools set up by the Christian missionaries.
  2. The Bible was introduced not only in Christian Institutions, but also in government schools. Even the prisoners in the jail began to be instructed In Christianity.

Question 10

Name any two Acts (Laws) that interfered with the religion and customs of the people.

Answer

Two Acts (Laws) that interfered with the religion and customs of the people are-

  1. Religious Disabilities Act of 1850
  2. The Widow Remarriage Act of 1856

Question 11

Mention any two social evils that existed in India during the 19th century. What measures were taken by the British to control them?

Answer

Two social evils that existed in India during the 19th century were-

  1. Sati pratha
  2. Female infanticide

The Widow Remarriage Act, passed in 1856, allowed widows to re-marry. Sati pratha and female infanticide had been prohibited by the British.

Question 12

What was people's reaction to the introduction of railways in the mid 1850s?

Answer

The railways were looked down upon as means to break social order and caste rules. In the railway compartments, the higher castes and the lower castes were made to sit side by side. The people believed that the British had introduced such practices to defy their caste and religion. The mass of people regarded it as an interference with the caste rules.

Question 13

How did the indignities hurled at Indians alienate the British from the Indian masses?

Answer

The Englishman in India could insult, humiliate and even kill the Indians at will. An English Magistrate at Agra had issued the following notification: "Every native, whatever his pretended rank may be, ought to be compelled to salute all English gentleman in the streets." Besides, if an Indian was on horse back he had to dismount and stand in a respectful manner until the European had passed him. Such indignities alienated the British from the Indian masses.

Question 14

What were people's fears regarding the introduction of English language?

Answer

In 1829, the Bengal government established an English class in Kolkata madrasa, which was a Muslim institution. Later, English classes were introduced in Benaras Sanskrit College also. Shifting of emphasis from oriental learning to western education was not well received by the people, especially the pundits and maulvis. They saw in it an attempt to discourage Islamic and Hindu studies. There was also the fear that the object was not so much the promotion of literature and sciences as inducing the people to become Christians.

Question 15

How did the British rulers cripple Indian handicrafts? What were its consequences?

Answer

British rulers crippled Indian arts and crafts. An act was passed in 1720 which prohibited the use of Indian silk and cotton in England. Heavy duties on Indian silk and cotton textiles in Britain- 70% and 80%, respectively destroyed those industries. On the other hand, British goods were imported into India at a nominal duty.

The consequences of these actions were that by the middle of the 19th century, export of cotton and silk goods from India practically ceased. The arts of spinning and weaving which for ages had given employment to thousands of artisans became extinct. Manufacturing towns of Dhaka, Murshidabad and Surat became helpless and desolate.

Question 16

How was India converted into an agricultural colony of the British?

Answer

Bihar, Bengal and Awadh emerged as major producers of export crops such as jute, opium and indigo. British companies managed this export trade. The manufacturers in England required other raw materials also such as cotton and oilseeds for their industries. After the industrial revolution, the British did all that they could to keep India mainly an agricultural country. This made India an agricultural colony of British capitalism.

Question 17

What did the British do to reduce the landed aristocracy to poverty?

Answer

In 1852 an Inam Commission was appointed to inquire into the title deeds of the owners of large estates. Many land owners pleaded that they could not produce their title deeds on account of the passage of time. The Government did not accept the plea and confiscated some 20,000 estates. This resulted in a lot of discontentment among the people. The landed gentry of Awadh faced serious hardship after the annexation of Awadh. Most of them were deprived of their estates and the proud aristocracies were reduced to beggary and servitude.

Question 18

Give two causes for resentment of the Sepoys (Indian soldiers) against the British.
Or
Mention any two grievances harboured by the Indian soldiers which created an atmosphere favourable to the Great Uprising of 1857.
Or
Give two reasons for the unhappiness of Indian soldiers in the British army before 1857.

Answer

Two reasons for the unhappiness of Indian soldiers in the British army before 1857 were-

  1. Indians had poor prospects of promotion. All the high ranks in the army were reserved for the British only. The native sepoys could not rise above the rank of Subedar, even though their performance as a soldier was excellent.
  2. Indian soldiers had low salary. The maximum pay that a subedar of the infantry could expect was less than the minimum pay of a raw English recruit. The sepoys were required to serve in areas far away from their homes without any additional allowance.

Question 19

What was the main provision of the General Service Enlistment Act of 1856?

Answer

The main provision of the General Service Enlistment Act of 1856 was that all recruits to the Bengal army should be ready for service anywhere, whether within or outside India. This act caused great alarm in the minds of the personnel of the Bengal army.

Question 20

What impact did the defeat of the British in the first Afghan War have on the morale of the Indian soldiers?

Answer

The defeat of the British in the first Afghan War exposed their weakness. It increased the self confidence of the Indian soldiers, who felt they could challenge the British in India also.

Question 21

How did the introduction of Enfield Rifles become an immediate cause of the War of Independence in 1857?

Answer

The immediate cause of the War of Independence was the introduction of Enfield rifles in place of the old iron made Brown Bess Guns. The cartridges to be used for the Enfield rifles were greased with the fat of cows and pigs. The cow is sacred for the Hindus and the Muslims consider pigs as unclean. The loading process of the Enfield rifle involved bringing the cartridge to the mouth and biting off the top greased paper with the teeth. The information about the greased cartridges spread like wild fire. The whole Bengal army was seized with panic. The soldiers refused to use these cartridges and staged an uprising when they were forced to use them.

Question 22

When was the 1857 Uprising supposed to have begun?

Answer

The War of Independence was supposed to begin on 31st May, 1857.

Question 23

Name the Act that transferred the Government of India from the Company to the Crown. When was it passed?

Answer

The Act for the Better Government of India was passed on 2nd August, 1858. It transferred the Government of India from the Company to the Crown.

Question 24

What was the result of the First War of Indian Independence as far as East India Company was concerned?

Answer

The First War of Indian Independence ended East India Company's rule in India. The Company's Board of Control and the Court of Directors were abolished.

Question 25

Who became the first Viceroy of India under the Act of 1858? What was Governor-General's new role as Viceroy under this Act?

Answer

Lord Canning became the first Viceroy of India under the Act of 1858.

The Governor-General's new role as Viceroy under this Act was that he ruled over the Provinces under the British rule and acted as 'Representative of the Crown' for the native princes and Nawabs.

Question 26

What impact did the Uprising of 1857 have on the Mughal Rule (Mughal Imperial Dynasty)?

Answer

With the death of Bahadur Shah, who was deported to Rangoon, the Mughal Imperial dynasty founded by Babur came to an end.

Question 27

What is meant by the policy of 'Divide and Rule' pursued by the British in India?

Answer

The British tried to pacify the Chiefs and Princes of the native states. They were being converted into loyal supporters of the British Raj. This was done to create a wall of separation between the Princes and the ordinary masses of the land. Both Hindus and Muslims had combined against the hated foreigners. The British viewed this development with alarm. Therefore, they tried to create misunderstandings between the Muslims and the Hindus. The policy of divide and rule was meant to turn the Princes against their own people and to create a rift between Hindus and Muslims.

Structured Questions

Question 1

Using the following points describe the main political causes that led to the First War of Independence in 1857:

(a) British policy of Territorial Expansion under the pretext of the Doctrine of Lapse.

(b) Annexation of Awadh.

(c) Treatment meted out to Nana Saheb.

Answer

(a) Dalhousie's Policy of annexation and conquests showed clearly that the territory of no Indian Prince was safe.

  1. The Doctrine of Lapse created a sense of alarm among the ruling Chiefs.
  2. The doctrine meant that when a ruler of a dependent state died without a natural heir, the state passed back to the English company.
  3. Dalhousie claimed that the heirs adopted without the consent of the company could inherit only the private property of the diseased ruler, and not his territory.
  4. The prominent states to fall victim do the doctrine were Satara, Jhansi and Nagpur.
  5. Thus, when the ruler of Jhansi died leaving no child, the widowed Rani was pensioned. Their adopted son, Anand Rao, was not recognized as a lawful successor to the throne.

(b) Annexation of Awadh played a major role in the war of 1857 because of the following reasons:

  1. On 7th February, 1856, Nawab Wazid Ali Shah was deposed on grounds that Awadh was not being managed well.
  2. On February 13, the Court of Directors ordered Awadh's complete annexation to the company's dominions.
  3. The annexation of Awadh was certainly a case of high handedness on the part of the company.
  4. The British seemed to have broken all their pledges and promises to the ruling chiefs.
  5. This caused resentment among those soldiers of the British Indian army who came from Awadh.
  6. Even among the talukdar's and zamindars, there was widespread dissatisfaction, because the British had confiscated their estates.

(c) Treatment meted out to Nana Saheb led to the First War of Independence in 1857 in the following way:

  1. Dalhousie's refusal of pension to Nana Saheb, the adopted son of the ex-Peshwa, Baji Rao II, was very much resented by the Hindus in general and Nana Saheb in particular.
  2. It is said that Nana Saheb had inherited the enormous wealth from the ex-Peshwa.
  3. He spent that money in sending emissaries to different parts of the country and instigating revolt everywhere.

Question 2

Social and religious causes were also at work in causing the Great Upsurge of 1857. In this context briefly describe:

(a) Fears regarding mass Conversion to Christianity.

(b) Laws that interfered with the Religion and Customs of the people.

(c) Indignities hurled at Indians (Policy of Racial Discrimination)

Answer

(a) Fears regarding mass Conversion to Christianity led to the Great Upsurge of 1857 in the following ways:

  1. The activities of the Christian missionaries created a sense of alarm among both the Hindus and the Muslims.
  2. The teaching of Christian doctrines was made compulsory in the schools set up by the Christian missionaries.
  3. The Bible was introduced not only in Christian institutions, but also in government schools.
  4. Even the prisoners in the jail began to be instructed in Christianity.
  5. The officials openly preached Christian doctrines in mosques and temples.
  6. The Missionary Society of America established a press at Agra.
  7. It published leaflets and little books full of inaccurate information about Hinduism.
  8. In brief, a feeling of panic was rising in the people who believed that they would all be converted to Christianity.

(b) The British passed various law to bring religious and social reforms. But the laws interfered with the Religion and Customs of the people leading to the Great Upsurge of 1857 in the following ways:

  1. Religious Disabilities Act of 1850 changed the Hindu law of property.
  2. It enabled the convert from Hinduism to inherit the property of the father.
  3. The Hindus regarded it as an incentive to giving up one's religious faith.
  4. Taxes were imposed on the properties of temples and mosques, which earlier had been free from all taxes.
  5. In the 19th century, the British took measures to control some of the social evils.
  6. The Widow Remarriage Act, passed in 1856, was a progressive measure.
  7. Earlier Sati and female infanticide had been prohibited.
  8. In fact, reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Keshab Chandra Sen themselves attacked Sati and female infanticide.
  9. Yet people did not react favorably to these measures favoring social reform.
  10. They raised the cry that their religion was in danger.

(c) The British did not behave in a respectful manner with the Indians. They thought of Indian as below them.

  1. The Englishman in India could insult, humiliate and even kill the Indians at will.
  2. An English Magistrate at Agra had issued the following notification: "Every native, whatever his pretended rank may be, ought to be compelled to salute all English gentleman in the streets."
  3. Besides, if an Indian was on horse back he had to dismount and stand in a respectful manner until the European had passed him.
  4. Such indignities alienated the British from the Indian masses.

Question 3

Economic exploitation of the country caused grave discontent that culminated in the Great Uprising of 1857. Examine this factor with reference to the following:

(a) Ruin of Trade and Handicrafts (Unhappiness of Indian Artisans and Craftsmen)

(b) Impoverishment of the Cultivators.

(c) Subordination of Indian economy to British interests (Making India an Agricultural Colony of British capitalism).

Answer

(a) The popularity of Indian textiles alarmed the policy-makers in England. They tried to ruin the trade and handicrafts of India in the following ways-

  1. An act was passed in 1720 which prohibited the use of Indian silk and cotton in England.
  2. Heavy duties on Indian silk and cotton textiles in Britain- 70% and 80%, respectively destroyed those industries.
  3. On the other hand, British goods were imported into India at a nominal duty.
  4. The consequences of these actions were that by the middle of the 19th century, export of cotton and silk goods from India practically ceased.
  5. The arts of spinning and weaving which for ages had given employment to thousands of artisans became extinct.
  6. Manufacturing towns of Dhaka, Murshidabad and Surat became helpless and desolate.

(b) The policies of the British impoverished the cultivators in the following manner-

  1. The zamindars or landlords had so far been only revenue collectors.
  2. They could keep a certain percentage of what they received from the peasantry.
  3. But the Permanent Settlement of 1793 made the zamindars, the absolute owners of their estates.
  4. They had the power to eject the cultivators for non payment of the dues.
  5. The Permanent Settlement remained restricted to Bengal, Bihar and Odisha.
  6. The Mahalwari system was prevalent in parts of Central India,the Gangetic valley and Punjab.
  7. In Bombay Presidency and parts of southern India, the peasants continued to pay revenue to the government.
  8. But the British revenue officers were strict in revenue collection.
  9. Almost half of the net produce was claimed as land revenue.
  10. Unable to pay land revenue, the farmers were driven more and more to borrow from the moneylenders.

(c) British exploited India and made it their Agricultural Colony in the following ways:

  1. Bihar, Bengal and Awadh emerged as major producers of export crops such as jute, opium and indigo.
  2. British companies managed this export trade.
  3. The manufacturers in England required other raw materials also such as cotton and oilseeds for their industries.
  4. After the industrial revolution, the British did all that they could to keep India mainly an agricultural country.
  5. This made India an agricultural colony of British capitalism.

Question 4

Discontent against the British Raj was by no means confined to the civil population; it also extended to the Sepoys or Indian soldiers in the Army. In the context of the military causes of the First War of Independence give an account of the following:

(a) Discontent on account of low Salary and poor prospects of Promotion

(b) Discontent and Disaffection in the Bengal Army

(c) The General Service Enlistment Act

(d) Introduction of Greased Cartridges

Or

Give four causes responsible for Sepoys' resentment against the British that became a main factor leading to the First War of Independence in 1857.

Answer

The causes responsible for Sepoys' resentment against the British that became a main factor leading to the First War of Independence in 1857 were:

(a) Discontent on account of low Salary and poor prospects of Promotion

  1. Indians had poor prospects of promotion. All the high ranks in the army were reserved for the British only. The native sepoys could not rise above the rank of Subedar, even though their performance as a soldier was excellent.
  2. Indian soldiers had low salary. The maximum pay that a subedar of the infantry could expect was less than the minimum pay of a raw English recruit. The sepoys were required to serve in areas far away from their homes without any additional allowance.

(b) Discontent and Disaffection in the Bengal Army

  1. The name 'Bengal army' was a misnomer, because Bengal had nothing to do with the personnel of the army.
  2. The sepoys and officers of the Bengal army were mainly high-caste Hindus of Awadh.
  3. During Anglo-Afghan war (1839-1842), they had to cross the Sindhu and go outside India.
  4. They very much disliked it because they thought that sea voyage was forbidden by their religion.
  5. In 1844, some Bengal regiments refused to serve in Sindhu till extra allowances were given to them.

(c) The General Service Enlistment Act

  1. The main provision of the General Service Enlistment Act of 1856 was that all recruits to the Bengal army should be ready for service anywhere, whether within or outside India.
  2. This act caused great alarm in the minds of the personnel of the Bengal army.

(d) Introduction of Greased Cartridges

  1. The immediate cause of the War of Independence was the introduction of Enfield rifles in place of the old iron made Brown Bess Guns.
  2. The cartridges to be used for the Enfield rifles were greased with the fat of cows and pigs.
  3. The loading process of the Enfield rifle involved bringing the cartridge to the mouth and biting off the top greased paper with the teeth.
  4. The cow is sacred for the Hindus and the Muslims consider pigs as unclean.
  5. The information about the greased cartridges spread like wild fire.
  6. The whole Bengal army was seized with panic.
  7. The soldiers refused to use these cartridges and staged an uprising when they were forced to use them.

Question 5

Describe the results of the First War of Independence with reference to the following:

(a) Changes relating to Constitutional or the Administrative Set-up of the British territories in India

(b) Rights granted to the Indian Princes and Chiefs.

Answer

(a) The War ended East India Company's rule in India. The British statesman realized that it was unwise to leave the government so vast a country in the hands of a private trading company. Accordingly, an act for the Better Government of India was passed on 2nd August, 1858.

  1. The Act of 1858 transferred the Government of India from the company to the crown. India was now to be governed by and in the name of Her Majesty.
  2. Company's Board of Control and the Court of Directors were abolished. All their powers were transferred to a Cabinet Minister, known as the Secretary of State for India. His salary and allowances would to be paid out of the revenues of India.
  3. The Secretary of State was to be assisted by the India Council, consisting of 15 members. Of these more than half were to be persons who had served or resided in India for at least 10 years.
  4. Appointments to the Civil Service would to be made by open competition under rules made by the Secretary of State in council.
  5. The Governor-General received the additional title of Viceroy. While he remained the Governor General for the province under the British rule, he came to be known as the Viceroy or Representative of the Crown in India for the native Princes and Nawabs.

(b) The British modified their policy towards the Indian States and granted the following rights to the Indian Princes and Chiefs. Queen Victoria declared in her Proclamation of 1858 that:

  1. The British Government would not annex the Indian states.
  2. All the treaties that the Princes had concluded with the Company would be honored.
  3. Their rights of adoption and succession were also recognized.
  4. At the same time, they could have only a limited number of troops.

Question 6

With reference to the consequences of the First War of Independence, 1857 answer the following questions:

(a) How was the Army organised after the War of Independence?

(b) What was the effect of the First War of Independence as regards the rise of Nationalism in India?

Or

How did the First War of Independence become an important landmark in India's struggle against the British Raj?

Answer

(a) The policy of 'balance and counter check' was adopted regarding military administration.

  1. The proportion of the British to Indian soldiers was increased. The general policy in this regard was that the number of Indian soldiers should not exceed twice that of the European troops.
  2. Artillery and other effective weapons of warfare were reserved for the British troops in India.
  3. All key positions in the army were reserved exclusively for the British.
  4. Indian soldiers belonging to different castes and creeds were mixed up in a manner that no sentiment of unity and nationalism could arise among them. For the same reason, supply of newspapers, journals and nationalist publications to soldiers was stopped.

(b) The British soldiers were guilty of the most inhuman atrocities.

  1. In the words of Jawaharlal Nehru, "They spread terror everywhere. Vast numbers were shot down in cold blood; large numbers were shot to pieces from the mouth of cannon; thousands were hanged from the wayside trees."
  2. Such barbarous scenes were never forgotten by the people of India.
  3. In praise of Tantia Tope, the Rani of Jhansi and others kept the memory of their heroic deeds alive.
  4. The Rani of Jhansi became India's Joan of Arc, whose very name revived the spirit of patriotism.
  5. The war became a symbol of challenge to the mighty British power in India.
  6. It inspired Indians in their struggle against the British Raj.

Question 7

How India became the big field of Economic Exploitation by the Britishers after First War of Independence?

Answer

After the First War of Independence, India became the field of economic exploitation of the entire British people.

  1. The number of Englishmen in India, both private individuals and members of services, increased.
  2. The salary and allowances of the Secretary of State, civil servants and military officers were a large drain on the country's resources.
  3. India became a dumping ground for goods manufactured in England.
  4. There was a rapid rise in the indebtedness of the peasants under the British rule. The indigo peasants of Bihar revolted on a large scale in 1866-68.
  5. The British invested their surplus capital in Indian railways, coal mines, jute mills, shipping, etc. The Indians had to pay heavy interest and dividends on the capital invested in India.
  6. The British fought the Bhutan war in 1863, the Burma war in 1885 and a war with Afghanistan in 1878, whose costs both in men and money Indians had to bear.

Question 8

With reference to the picture given below, answer the questions that follow:

With reference to the picture given below identify the Queen seated on the throne. What solemn promises did she make to the people of India in her Proclamation of 1858? The First War of Independence 1857, Apc Modern History and Civics Solutions ICSE Class 10.

(a) Identify the Queen seated on the throne.

(b) What solemn promises did she make to the people of India in her Proclamation of 1858?

(c) Why did the British follow the policy of 'Divide and Rule' after 1857? What was its consequence?

Answer

(a) The picture shows Queen Victoria seated on the throne.

(b) The Queen's Proclamation made the following solemn promises to the Indians-

  1. She promised not to interfere with their religious beliefs of the people of India.
  2. The Queen also promised equal treatment to all her subjects, Indians and Europeans. All appointments, declared the Queen, would be strictly on the basis of education, ability and integrity.
  3. An official pardon was granted to people, excepting such persons as had been guilty of the murder of British subjects.
  4. The Proclamation ended with a promise that the material and moral advancement of the people would henceforth be the main concern of the government. The Secretary of State was required to lay before both houses of British Parliament every year an account of the moral and material progress of India.
    These solemn promises, however, were not fulfilled.

(c) After the War, the British started following the policy of 'Divide and Rule'.

  1. The British tried to pacify the Chiefs and Princes of the native states.
  2. They were being converted into loyal supporters of the British Raj.
  3. This was done to create a wall of separation between the Princes and the ordinary masses of the land.
  4. Further, the strength of the uprising lay in Hindu-Muslim unity. The principal leaders- Nana Saheb, Tantia Tope and others- recognised Bahadur Shah, a Muslim, as their emperor.
  5. Both Hindus and Muslims had combined against the hated foreigners.
  6. The British viewed this development with alarm.
  7. Therefore, they tried to create misunderstandings between the Muslims and the Hindus.

The consequence of the policy of 'Divide and Rule' was that the Princes turned against their own people and a rift started between Hindus and Muslims.

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