Discuss the Direct and Indirect Consequences of Revolt of 1857. What lessons could be learned from it?
THE DIRECT CONSEQUENCES
The direct effects of the Revolt of 1857 may be summed as follows:
The Revolt of 1857 exposed the danger involved in allowing a commercial organization to rule over a country. Thus, British government passed Government of India Act 1858 on August 2, 1858, according to which the power that the company enjoyed was snatched and a direct rule was established. The British government was now established. The British was now directly responsible for ruling India.
The Supreme Executive and Legislative authority in India, henceforth, came to be known as the Governor-General and the Viceroy Lord Canning so far known as the Governor General of India also became the first Viceroy of India.
The British assured the people of India that there will be no more territorial expansion. They also assured the people of India that religious and social practices would be respected and not be interfered.
The proportion of Indian soldiers in the army was reduced and the number of European soldiers in the army was increased.
The ruling chiefs of the country were assured that their territories would never be annexed by the British. The Doctrine of Lapse was also abolished thereby allowing rulers to pass on their kingdoms to adopted sons.
Policies were made to protect landlords and Zamindars and give them security of rights over their lands.
Muslims were considered to be responsible for the rebellion in a big way. Hence, their land and property was confiscated on large scale.
A new agrarian policy was introduced to guarantee security of tenure and to fix rent for lands. This policy freed the cultivators from tedious settlements and excessive demands of the state. The financial system was also decentralized by entrusting some items of taxation to local governments.
THE INDIRECT CONSEQUENCES
Far more important than the direct results were the indirect ones which followed the Revolt of 1857.
The Revolt of 1857 further widened the difference between the ruler and the ruled.
In the post-Revolt period, to maintain supremacy in India, British followed the policy of communal disharmony. The seed of communal discord planted by the English in India sprouted like a poison and bore the fruits of communalism.
After the revolt, although British did not followed the policy of territorial expansion in India, the period was yet marked by a new era of economic exploitation of India by British.
From now on, the British adopted a policy of opposing the educated middle class and supporting the landlords and the native princes.
Learnings from 1857:
We learn from 1857 that the defeat of a resistance movement is not the end of the struggle, as those involved in it always learn a lot as a result of defeat and correct their approach for the next engagement. The events that followed 1857 were a mix of violence and non-violence. It was not the constitutional approach alone but also resistance which consequently led to our independence.
History tells us that imperialism cannot succeed in occupying another country without local collaboration. In contemporary times, we are facing the same situation in Iraq and Afghanistan on the one hand and Palestine on the other. We are hearing the same arguments that with the help of foreign powers and intervention, religious extremism and terror will be wiped out. Again, history tells us that it is not correct. We cannot rely on others to fight our wars.