Reasons for the failure of the Revolt of 1857

Reasons for the Failure of the Revolt of 1857

Causes for the failure  of the Revolt of 1857


Beginning on the 10th of May 1857 at Meerut, the sepoy revolt very quickly spread to other parts of the country. The maximum impart of the revolt was felt in Uttar Pradesh (then known as North West province and Avadh ) the revolt took place in all the eight divisions of this province. The revolt happened at Lucknow, kanpur,Bareily, Jhansi and other places as well. The western areas of Bihar, Avadh, Rohilkhand, Bundelkhand, Agra, Meerut, Allahabad, Delhi, Rohtak and Hissar were areas where the revolt seaped down to grass root level as well. The rebellion took place in Patna , Danapur, Shahabad, Jagdishpur, Chhota Nagpur etc. in Bihar which were led by Kunwar Singh.

The chief centres of the revolt of 1857 were Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi and Gwalior. If one is to leave aside the exceptions, the Indian Princess took little part in this revolt, they on the other hand were with the British in the South, in Punjab and in Rajasthan.

Various Reasons for the Failure of the Revolt 

Although the British experienced insecurity in India for the first time after the revolt of 1857, the revolt was able to achieve its purpose due to several reasons.  A discussion of tbe failure of the Revolt along different points is as follows :-

  • The main causes for the failure of the revolt lies in the fact that the revolt did not happen in many parts of India. The entire southern India, the Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujrat, Central India and Bengal did not participate in the revolt.

  • Another major cause for the fabric of the revolt was the black of a predetermined organisational structure,  leadership and was policy strategy.  Of all the Leaders who participated in the revolt,  not even one moved to be an able military commander or an able administrator of the organisational structure. Bahadur Shah Zafar , in whose name the revolt was initiated, was a feeble bodied 88 year old man .

  • Another reason for the failure of the Revolt was the absense of a strong,  universally accepted leader , able to contribute the entire exercise . The revolt was supervised at different places by various leaders and there was an utter lack of coordination between them. Leaders such as Nana saheb, Rani Laxmibai, Kunwar Singh etc, did not have the requisite abilities to provide effective leadership to the revolt.

  • The English won considerable support from several Indian princes in the suppression of the revolt. The rulers of Patiala, Hyderabad , Gwalior, Jind etc. helped the British in this effort. Nepal too assisted the British and the British met with no difficulty in recruiting the Afgan people for the suppression of the revolt.

  • There was no preplanned strategy and programme for the revolt . For this reason many people were not even aware of the true nature of the revolt and the motives for which it had been undertaken.

Although the memorial strength of the Indian soldiers at the time of the revolt was seven times that of the British , they suffered from a black of modern weapons. They fought with spears and swords, whereas the British soldiers were equipped with modern rifles and were supported by well stocked armouries.


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Who,lead the Revolt and from where ?

Bahadur shah zafar (chief leader), Baqt khan ( Military leader)     ----- Delhi 

Rani Laxmi Bai     ------ Jhansi 

Veer Kunwar singh  ----- Bihar

Devi Singh ----- Mathura

Kadam Singh ----- Meerut

Maulvi Mohammad ullah---- Faizabad

Begum Hazrat Mahal ---- Lucknow

Nana Saheb , Azimullah ---- Kanpur

Liyaquat Ali ---- Allahabad

Tantya Tope ---- Gwalior, Kalpi

Rao Tularam ---- Haryana 

Surendra rai ---- Sambalpur


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Major Events of the revolt of 1857

  • 2nd February 1857 -  Revolt of the 19th foot regiment at Behrampur.

  • 29 March 1857 - The sepoys at Barrackpore refused to use the fat greased cartridges. The sepoy named Mangal Pandey  attacked and killed his adjutant.

  • 10 May 1857 - Revolt of the Sepoys at Meerut.

  • 10 - 30 May 1857 - The fires of the revolt are ignited at Delhi, Ferozpur, Bombay, Aligarh, Itawah, Bulandsahar, Nasirabad, Bareily, Muradabad, Shahjahanpur and other cities of Uttar Pradesh. 

  • 12 May,1857 - Bahadur shah Zafar is proclaimed Emperor of India. The capture of Delhi by the revolutionaries.

  • June 1857 - The revolt spreads to Gwalior,  Bharatpur, Jhansi, Allahabad, Faizabad , Sultanpur, Lucknow,  etc.

  • 5 June 1857 - Nana Saheb is proclaimed Peshwa of Kanpur

  • July 1857 - The revolt at Indore , Sagar, Mahu , Jehalam and some places in Sialkot.

  • August 1857 - Unarmed revolt at all places and the entire area of the Narmada valley and Sagar.

  • 20th September 1857 - Delhi is recaptured by the British under the command of Nicolson.

  • October 1857 -  The revolt spreads to Kota.

  • November 1857 - The revolutionaries defeat General Windhum close to Kanpur.

  • December 1857 - The battle for Kanpur is won by Sir Colin Campbell. Tantya Tope escaped and join the Rani of Jhansi .

  • March 1858 -  Lucknow is recaptured by the British. 

  • 3 April 1858 - Sir Hugh Rose attacks and recaptures Jhansi.

  • April 1858 - Kunwar Singh revolts at Jagdishpur in Bihar.

  • May 1858 - The British recapture Bareily,  Jagdishpur and Kalpi.

  • June 1858 - The Indian revolutionaries begin gorrila man force in Rohalkhand region.

  • July - December 1858 - British authority is re-established in entire India.


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