Chap 5. When People Rebe – 1857 and After Question & Answers Class 8 History: Find here answers to Intext-questions related to ‘Activity’ and textbook exercise questions. Click here for other Class 8 History Chapters.
Intext-Questions Titles ‘Activity’
1. Imagine you are a sepoy in the Company army, advising your nephew not to take employment
in the army. What reasons would you give?
Ans. Students should attempt it by themselves. Here, we are giving a sample letter.
I hope this letter finds you in good health. I am writing to you with great concern, and I want you to carefully consider my advice before making any decisions regarding employment in the Company’s army. While it may seem like an appealing option on the surface, I believe there are compelling reasons for you to reconsider.
- Unfair Treatment: As a sepoy, I have witnessed firsthand the unfair treatment we receive in the Company’s army. Our pay is often inadequate, and our allowances are minimal. Despite our dedication and service, the Company does not always prioritize our welfare.
- Religious Concerns: You must be aware of the recent controversies surrounding the use of the new cartridges. They are said to be greased with animal fat, which goes against the religious beliefs of many sepoys. Joining the army may force you to compromise your religious principles.
- Influence on Family: Joining the army can have a profound impact on your family. Many of us are peasants with families living in villages. The anger and discontent that arise due to oppressive policies can quickly spread among our families, putting their well-being and safety at risk.
- Risk of Overseas Deployment: The Company has recently passed a law stating that every new recruit may be required to serve overseas if necessary. This means you could be sent far away from your homeland, which would be a great hardship for both you and our family.
- Current Political Climate: The country is experiencing a period of unrest and rebellion against British rule. Taking up employment in the Company’s army could place you in a difficult position, torn between your own people’s aspirations for freedom and the Company’s interests.
I urge you to explore other avenues for employment that do not compromise your values or risk the well-being of our family. There are alternative opportunities that may provide a more stable and fulfilling life.
Please think long and hard before making a decision, and remember that the welfare of our family and the preservation of our beliefs should be your top priorities.
With love and concern,
Ajeet Sir [Your Name]
1. What were the important concerns in the minds of the people according to Sitaram and according to Vishnubhatt?
2. What role did they think the rulers were playing? What role did the sepoys seem to play?
Ans. 1. According to Sitaram Pande and Vishnubhatt, the important concerns in the minds of the people during their respective time periods revolved around British colonial rule and its impact on Indian society:
- Sitaram Pande: In his account, Sitaram Pande highlights the concerns of the Indian sepoys and the people in the countryside. They were unhappy about their pay, allowances, and conditions of service. They also had religious sensitivities and beliefs, such as the fear of losing their religion and caste if they crossed the sea. Sitaram Pande’s narrative reflects the sepoys’ discontent with British rule and their resistance to certain policies and practices imposed by the British.
- Vishnubhatt (as per Majha Pravaas): Vishnubhatt discusses the concerns of the people he encountered in the early 19th century. According to his account, people were alarmed by the British colonial policies, particularly the rumored “list of eighty-four rules” that the British were planning to impose. These rules were seen as a threat to the religious and cultural practices of Hindus and Muslims. People were worried about the British attempting to erase their traditional way of life and religious beliefs.
Ans. 2. Role of Rulers and Sepoys:
- Sitaram Pande: In Sitaram Pande’s account, the rulers, particularly the Nawabs of Oudh (Awadh), were seen as losing their power and authority under British colonial rule. They were perceived as unable to protect the interests of their subjects. The role of the sepoys was that of discontented soldiers who were willing to resist British authority when their grievances and religious beliefs were violated.
- Vishnubhatt (as per Majha Pravaas): According to Vishnubhatt’s narrative, the rulers, especially Raja Birakishore Dev of Khurda, were initially seen as trying to negotiate with the British to regain their lost territories and rights. However, when negotiations failed, they played a role in supporting the rebellion against the British. The sepoys in Vishnubhatt’s account, though not explicitly mentioned, were likely perceived as potential allies in the struggle against British colonialism.
1. Why did the Mughal emperor agree to support the rebels?
2. Write a paragraph on the assessment he may have made before accepting the offer of the sepoys.
Ans.1. The Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, agreed to support the rebels during the uprising of 1857 for several reasons.
Firstly, he had witnessed the gradual erosion of his own authority and the diminishing influence of the Mughal Empire under British rule. The British had reduced him to a symbolic figurehead with no real power.
Secondly, he may have been influenced by the promises and persuasion of various agents and leaders who approached him, advocating the restoration of his authority if the rebellion succeeded.
Thirdly, the emperor may have felt a sense of duty towards his subjects and their grievances against British rule, as he was seen as a unifying symbol for many Indians.
Lastly, he might have seen this as an opportunity to regain some semblance of authority and prestige for his dynasty, even if it meant aligning with the rebels against the British.
Ans.2. Before accepting the offer of the sepoys and joining the rebellion, Bahadur Shah Zafar likely made a careful assessment of the situation. He would have considered the strength and determination of the rebel forces and their ability to challenge British authority. He may have weighed the potential benefits of supporting the rebellion, such as the restoration of his nominal authority and the chance to regain some control over his former territories.
However, he would have also assessed the risks, including the possibility of British retaliation and the safety of his own family. Ultimately, his decision to support the rebels was likely a combination of a desire to regain some influence, a sense of duty to his subjects, and the belief that the rebellion had a real chance of success.
Make a list of places where the uprising took place in May, June and July 1857.
Ans. The uprising of 1857, often referred to as the Indian Mutiny or the Sepoy Mutiny, was a widespread rebellion against British rule in India. It took place in various regions across the Indian subcontinent. Here is a list of some of the places where the uprising occurred in May, June, and July 1857:
- Meerut: The rebellion began in Meerut when sepoys refused to use the new cartridges and mutinied on May 10, 1857.
- Delhi: After the mutiny in Meerut, the rebellion quickly spread to Delhi, where sepoys rebelled and declared Bahadur Shah Zafar as their leader.
- Kanpur (Cawnpore): Kanpur witnessed a significant uprising led by Nana Saheb, who expelled the British garrison from the city.
- Lucknow: The capital of the Awadh region, Lucknow, became a major center of rebellion. The British faced stiff resistance from both sepoys and the local population.
- Jhansi: Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi joined the rebel sepoys and played a prominent role in the uprising.
- Awadh (Oudh): Awadh was one of the epicenters of the rebellion, with widespread unrest and resistance to British rule.
- Bihar: The rebellion spread to various parts of Bihar, with several leaders and local leaders joining the uprising.
- Madhya Pradesh: The Mandla region of Madhya Pradesh saw Rani Avantibai Lodhi leading an army against the British.
- Bareilly: Bakht Khan, a soldier from Bareilly, became a key military leader of the rebellion.
- Jharkhand: Various tribal and peasant leaders in the Jharkhand region also participated in the uprising.
- Central India: Guerrilla warfare and resistance against the British occurred in various parts of central India.
- Rajasthan: Some areas in Rajasthan witnessed sporadic uprisings and resistance to British rule.
- Punjab: While Punjab was relatively calm during the rebellion, there were isolated incidents of unrest.
- Gujarat: A few pockets in Gujarat saw resistance against British authorities.
- North-West Frontier: Some tribal groups on the North-West Frontier also participated in the rebellion.
It’s important to note that the uprising of 1857 was a widespread and complex series of events, and the list above is not exhaustive. The rebellion had a profound impact on the course of Indian history and paved the way for changes in British colonial policies.
1. What was the demand of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi that was refused by the British?
Ans. Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi demanded that the British Company recognize her adopted son as the heir to the kingdom after the death of her husband. This demand was refused by the British.
2. What did the British do to protect the interests of those who converted to Christianity?
Ans. The British introduced policies to protect the interests of those who converted to Christianity. In 1850, a law was passed that allowed an Indian who had converted to Christianity to inherit the property of their ancestors.
3. What objections did the sepoys have to the new cartridges that they were asked to use?
Ans. The sepoys had several objections to the new cartridges they were asked to use:
- The cartridges were rumoured to be greased with the fat of cows and pigs, which offended both Hindus and Muslims, as it violated their religious beliefs.
- Many people believed that crossing the sea would lead to a loss of religion and caste, so when they were ordered to go to Burma by sea in 1824, they refused.
4. How did the last Mughal emperor live the last years of his life?
Ans. The last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, lived the last years of his life in confinement and relative obscurity. After the British captured Delhi in 1857, he was tried in court, sentenced to life imprisonment, and sent to prison in Rangoon in October 1858. He spent the remainder of his life in captivity and died in the Rangoon jail in November 1862.
5. What could be the reasons for the confidence of the British rulers about their position in India before May 1857?
Ans. Before May 1857, the British rulers in India were confident in their position due to several factors:
- They had a strong military presence and control over key strategic locations.
- They had established administrative control over various regions through the Doctrine of Lapse, subsidiary alliances, and annexations.
- The British believed in their technological and military superiority.
- There was a perception that the Indian population was divided and could not unite against British rule.
6. What impact did Bahadur Shah Zafar’s support to the rebellion have on the people and the ruling families?
Ans. Bahadur Shah Zafar’s support for the rebellion had a significant impact on the people and the ruling families. It inspired many to join the rebellion and rally around his leadership, as they saw an opportunity to challenge British rule and restore the Mughal authority. This support helped mobilize forces against the British across various regions of India.
7. How did the British succeed in securing the submission of the rebel landowners of Awadh?
Ans. The British succeeded in securing the submission of the rebel landowners of Awadh through a combination of military force and diplomatic efforts. Governor-General Dalhousie declared that Awadh was being misgoverned, and British rule was necessary for proper administration. The British military took control of the region, and several battles were fought to suppress the rebellion. Eventually, the British implemented policies to protect the interests of the landowners and assured them that their territories would not be annexed in the future, provided they recognized the British Queen as their Sovereign Paramount.
8. In what ways did the British change their policies as a result of the rebellion of 1857?
Ans. As a result of the rebellion of 1857, the British changed their policies in India in several ways, including:
- The transfer of power from the East India Company to the British Crown in 1858, making the British government directly responsible for ruling India.
- Assurances to ruling chiefs that their territories would not be annexed but that they would acknowledge the British Queen as their Sovereign Paramount.
- A reduction in the proportion of Indian soldiers in the army and an increase in European soldiers.
- A commitment to respect the customary religious and social practices of the Indian population.
- Policies to protect landlords and zamindars and provide security of rights over their lands.
9. Find out stories and songs remembered by people in your area or your family about San Sattavan ki Ladaai. What memories do people cherish about the great uprising?
Ans. Do yourself
10. Find out more about Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi. In what ways would she have been an unusual woman for her times?
Ans. Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi was an unusual woman for her times in several ways:
- She was a brave and skilled warrior who actively participated in the fight against the British during the 1857 uprising.
- She was a capable military strategist and led her forces into battle.
- She adopted a son and sought to secure his rights as the heir to the kingdom, displaying a sense of responsibility and leadership.
- Her determination and commitment to defending her kingdom and resisting British rule made her a symbol of courage and resistance during that period.
Q. Imagine you are a British officer in Awadh during the rebellion. What would you do to keep your plans of fighting the rebels a top secret?
Ans. As a British officer stationed in Awadh during the rebellion of 1857, maintaining the secrecy of my plans to combat the rebels would be crucial for the success of our operations. Here are some steps I would take to ensure the confidentiality of our plans:
- Limited Communication: I would restrict communication about our plans to a need-to-know basis. Only trusted and high-ranking officers would have access to sensitive information. Communication channels would be closely monitored to prevent leaks.
- Code Names and Ciphers: To discuss important plans and troop movements, I would use code names and ciphers to obscure the content of our messages. This would make it difficult for rebels or spies to decipher our intentions even if they intercepted our communications.
- False Information: I might intentionally leak false information or misleading details to misguide the rebels. This could include fabricated troop movements or fictitious objectives to divert their attention away from our actual plans.
- Secure Locations: Meetings to discuss strategies and plans would be held in secure and undisclosed locations. These locations would be changed frequently to prevent predictability.
- Strict Discipline: I would enforce strict discipline among our troops and subordinates, emphasizing the consequences of disclosing sensitive information to unauthorized individuals. Treasonous acts would be met with severe punishment.
- Counterintelligence: We would establish a counterintelligence unit to identify and neutralize potential spies or informants within our ranks. This unit would conduct investigations and monitor suspicious activities.
- Disguised Movements: When mobilizing troops or conducting operations, I would employ tactics like night marches, unpredictable routes, and camouflage to keep our movements hidden from rebel scouts.
- Limited Information Sharing: Information would be compartmentalized, meaning that individuals or units would only be given the information necessary for their specific tasks. This way, even if one part of the plan is compromised, the overall strategy remains intact.
- Trustworthy Allies: I would rely on local allies who are loyal to British rule and share information only with those who have proven their trustworthiness.
- Continuous Evaluation: Plans and tactics would be evaluated and adjusted regularly to adapt to changing circumstances and to ensure that any breaches in security are quickly identified and addressed.
Maintaining secrecy in a volatile and rebellious environment would be challenging, but these measures would help minimize the risk of information leaks and enhance the chances of success in our efforts to suppress the rebellion in Awadh.