Indian Mutiny Essay

The Causes of the Indian Mutiny The Indian Mutiny (also known as the first war of independence) had many factors, forces and events which contributed to it’s cause, some of which include cultural, religious and the political forces and also the Einfield Riffle. The changes in culture that the British had made in India, created a lot of discontent and there was a lot of anti-British feelings that were growing amongst the landlords.

Many people believed that the advent of the steamships were the cause, as they reduced the time travelling to England which lead to the wives and children coming out and spending less time with their sepoys and Indian mistresses, and this affected the close relationship of the British and Indian, as it began to deteriorate. The arrival of the Christian missionaries caused uncomfortablness for the Indians.

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Due to the lack of understanding that the Christians had of the Muslim and Hindu religion, the Indian’s began to fear that the British’s intentions were to spread Christianity throughout India, althought they did bring a lot of Western influences. The Governor General, William Bentinck, from 1828 to 835, introduced reforms such as putting an end to child marriages and supression of Sati. The political forces, which had a significant effect on the cause of the Indian Mutiny included the Doctrine of Lapse.

According to the Doctrine, any state or territory under the influence of the British East India Company, as a dependant state under the British Subsidiary System, would automatically be appropriate if the land owner did not leave a male hier through natural process, the land became the property of the British East Indian Company. The Governer General Dallhousie used this doctrine to prossess multiple Indian kingdoms. This process lead to the Oudh’s over taking. Once the British had given the notice that Bahadur Shar II Mughual leader in Dehli, both Hindus and Muslims became more alienated.

Heavy taxes were being placed on the Indian people, and they were to be paid in quartarly installments, which was usually a lot more than what the crops and land was worth. The land which had been rented out previously to the Indian’s, were now being collected by the Company which lead to renting exceeding to the actual value of the land. In addition to these changes, toles were also introduced, the people had to make a payment when they crossed the rivers. As the last independant Indian States disappeared, the ompany exported many rich resources such as gold, jewels, silver, silk, cotton, back to England and produced manufactured different goods, which became beneficial to England, as they recieved great profit. The Einfield Riffle was introduced to replce the muskat. In order to load the riffle, the end had to be bitten off the cartridge and then the cartridge would run down the muzzle of the riffle. Rumours began to spread that the British used animal fat to grease the cartridge, which allowed it to work easier.

The sepoys began to hear of these rumors, and that the grease was a mixture of cow and pig fat, which caused a lot of unease, as pigs were regarded as unclean animals to muslims, and cows are very symbolic to Hindus. The British had come across the problem, and tried to convince the sepoys to make their own grease, combining vegetable oil and beeswax, the rumours still continued spreading and there was still distrust between the sepoys and the British.

The Commander in Chief reacted to the uproar by stating, “I’ll never give in to their beastly prejudices”, and although the please of his junior officers, he did not compromise. The Indian Mutiny had many factors, forces and events which lead to the Indian Mutiny. The changing in culture, the spread of Christianity, the Political forces and the Einfield Riffle all had a significant impact on the cause of the Indian Mutiny.


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