Cultura Brasileira: no ar desde 1998

Sepoy Uprising - the First War of Independence of India

  Versão em Portugês aqu

          "The first war of Indian independence," as it is called by the Hindus, was the first step of a long struggle for independence for the people of India. The reasons for the war began many years before its inception. Three major events had  triggered the war. The first event occurred when the leaders of the East India Company, began losing contact with the native soldiers who were called Sepoy. The second event was the religion. The crusaders of God to save the "savages" indigenous peoples have built missions trying to spread Christianity, but it created an uproar in its place. Thirdly the war needed a spark. It came in the form of a new cartridge rifle issued by the East India Company. The war began in mid-1857 with the third light of Calvary refuses to take orders. In this trial, these events will be defined in key events of the war, most commonly spread by the British as "The Revolt (or riot) of the Sepoy, 1857."


          In late 1856 and early 1857 was revealed an ancient prophecy (real or created for the occasion, but it worked well as a fuse) saying on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Plassey (1757) the control of the East India Company would end. The prophecy was secretly passed among the Hindus, in pieces of bread. All Sepoy took science, but a spark was needed to begin to fulfill the "prophecy". It came in the form of a new rifle cartridge issued by the company. For the rifle issued by the company, the cartridge contained both powder and ball. All that was needed to be done was to bite the end off the cartridge and threading the barrel. To make this process easier ramming the cartridge was covered with grease, usually animal fat. The new cartridge issued by the company was lubricated with fat cows and pigs. The cow, which is sacred to Hindus, and pigs are "unclean" for Muslims forbidden to eat, the new cartridge offended all native soldiers. The company finally realized the error, but it was too late. A single act of mutiny, which involved this cartridge, occurred March 19, 1857. A man by the name of Mangal Panday, from the 34th regiment suddenly shouted to the British police who were making him go against his religion. 

         After a sequence of events he became leader of the revolt. A large British army was sent from the nearest town, arriving before resistance could be set. Mangal, seeing the arrival of troops, and led the Sepoy killed almost all the British officers who saw it as the number of British soldiers was disadvantageously higher and there was no time to prepare resistance, Mangal tries to kill himself with a shot in the chest without success. Goes to trial and is sentenced to be hanged for high treason.




         The first executioner ran away - fearing the huge mythological figure that Mangal had become - and a new date was set for the hanging. The public hanging of Mangal Panday made him a martyr and a hero of the War of Independence of India.

            After this, the 34th regiment, already controversial, was dissolved. The news spread like wildfire: a man stood up to face the invaders in Britain and 10 May 1857 a riot broke out again, spreading regiments in Kanpur, Lucknow and other Army bases in northern India.

           At the end of the day, angry Sepoy took the city of Delhi, and appointed Mughul as their leader. The revolt had begun, and the Sepoy troops outnumbered the British at 8 to 1. With numbers like that, all that the British could do in the beginning was to try to repel any attack sepoys and wait for reinforcements from Britain. When reinforcements finally reached its first goal was to retake Delhi. It was a bloody and protracted struggle: a few thousand men, women and children were massacred, but they finally retook the city. After several months of struggle against Britain over the entire northern India.

           The rebellion lasted two years, but the decisive battle took place in a period of six months of bloody war. When the dust finally settled, the East India Company was no longer the owner of India, the British Crown assumed. In an attempt to avoid further bloodshed the British Crown decided not to pursue the expansion of India and agreed not to enslave the indigenous people more than they had. However, all the rebels were brutally executed. This ended the reign of 200 years of the East India Company. and began what would be the search of the Indian people by their own independent state.

           90 years after the execution of Mangal Panday India finally gained independence!



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