The Indian Mutiny of 1857 Essay

1963 Words 8 Pages
“What was the Most Important Factor Leading to the Indian Mutiny of 1857?”
Shariq Khan

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Plan of Investigation:
This investigation is to determine what caused the Indian Mutiny of 1857. In order to determine the origin, the investigation will evaluate the various factors which have been proposed as to why the Indians mutinied. The factors which will be assessed include the British East India Company’s expansionist economic policies, cultural and religious clashes including British evangelism, and comparatively poor treatment of Indian Sepoys within the British army. Interviews and modern analysis from British and South Asian sources on the subject will be assessed. An interview with Dr. Hassan and “Raj: the Making and
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This was traditionally done with the teeth (called “biting the cartridge.”#) A rumor was started that the British greased the bullet cartridges with a mixture of cow and pig fat as part of their evangelizing mission. #Eating cow is against the Hindu religion and would have caused a Hindu to lose caste if they consumed it.# Similarly, eating pig is considered unclean by Muslims. The Sepoys complained that they could not use their hands to tear the cartridge because this would slowdown firing speeds and because they already had been using their teeth for years.#
The theory that the Sepoys rebelled was solely because of the issue of “biting the cartridge” which was greased with pig and/or cow fat is by far the most common explanation. According to Amin Humayun this is a secondary cause#. British Expansionist policies angered many Indians, especially the Indian aristocracy.# This policy of expansionism is seen in “The Doctrine of Lapse”. It said that if a ruler didn’t leave a heir, the ownership of all their property-including the land they ruled- went to the East India Company. 650,000 square kilometers were added in this way#. The British increased their taxation in 1856 and 1857 although there was a depression in India#. The East India Company required some farmers to switch from subsistence farming to cash crops. This caused the many of the farmers and land owners to become in debt. They turned to the British money lenders.

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