What are the immediate & religious causes of Great Revolt of 1857 ???
IMMEDIATE CAUSES :-
Greased Cartridges Incident - A new rifle had been introduced in the army which was called the Enfield Rifle or the Enfield-Pritchett Rifle. The cartridges of this rifle were covered with a greased paper wrapper before loading the cartridge (which consisted of gunpowder and an iron ball) into the rifle. News spread that the grease was made from the fat of cows and pigs. Hindus consider the cow sacred. They neither kill it nor do they eat beef. Muslims consider the pig dirty and do not eat pork. Hence, sepoys of both the communities were enraged at such a disrespect shown for their religious sentiments, and refused to use the cartridges.
RELIGIOUS CAUSES :-
A major cause of the uprising was the fear among the people that the Company wanted to convert all Indians to Christianity. The belief that their religion was under threat united all sections of society against the British.
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The British government didn't rule India in 1857,it was administered by the East India Company,a privately owned and run organization, as an ongoing business concern.Direct rule from Britain didn't begin in India until after the Mutiny,under the 1858 Government of India Act.
The East India Company had private armies composed of Indian soldiers (known as Sepoys) and white officers in 3 separate armies,based in Bengal,Bombay,and Madras;all of these men were employed and paid directly by the East India Company,NOT the British government.In 1857, a new cartridge for Sepoy muskets was introduced.The cartridge contained a bullet with a small charge of loose gunpowder,the whole wrapped in paper.To load the musket,a sepoy needed to bite the paper wrapping open first;the whole cartridge was greased with animal fat to make insertion into the musket barrel quick and easy,and a rumour spread amongst the sepoys that this animal fat was from cows or pigs.The cow was sacred to Hindus,the pig unclean to Muslims,so biting the greased paper violated their religious beliefs (surviving correspondence of the East India Company clearly shows that the cartridges were in fact greased with mutton fat,as the Company was well aware of its sepoys religious sensibilities).
Clever agitation by anti British factions in India suggested that the cartridge was just the first step in a wider British plan to forcibly convert all Indians to Christianity,and a combination of this idea and the Company's insistence that the new cartridges must be issued and used were the religious reasons that sparked the Mutiny.
Most sepoys and most Indians remained loyal to the British during the Mutiny which,as a whole,gathered only limited support; only 3 of the 29 regiments of the Bombay army mutinied,and none of the 52 regiments of the Madras army mutinied.54 of the 75 sepoy regiments in the Bengal army mutinied,but many of these sepoys deserted and went home rather than take an active part in the Mutiny.Had the majority of the sepoys and population joined in,the British would have been overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers and kicked out of India altogether.
The idea that the Mutiny was some kind of nationalist uprising aiming for Indian independence is false;the mutineers proclaimed Bahadur Shah,last of the Moghul emperors (and long since a pensioner of the East India Company,and under effective house arrest) as their new ruler; the Mughals were a Muslim Timurid dynasty originally from Persia,and were no more Indian than the British.Handing control of the country, which had an overwhelmingly Hindu majority population,from one foreign ruler to another is hardly consistent with nationalism and independence.