National Renaissance

Chuar (Midnapur, Bengal 1766- 1772 & 1795-1816)
Hos (Singhbhum 1820, 1822, & 1832)
Kol (Chottanagpur 1831-1832) led by BuddhuBhagat
Ahom (Assam 1828-33) led by GomadharKonwar
Khasi (Khasi Hills-Assam and Meghalaya 1829-32) led by Triat Singh
and Bar Manik.
Bhills Khandesh 1817-19, 1825, 1831, 1847) led by Sewaram against the
company owing to agrarian hardship
Kolis (Sahyadri Hills-Gujarat-Maharashtra 1824, 1829, 1839, 1844-
Koyas Rampa Godavari region of Andhra Pradesh (1840, 1845, 1858,
1861-62, 1879, 1880, 1896, 1916, 1922-24). In 1922-24 led by
Alluri Sitarmaraju.
Santals (Rajmahal Hills-SanthalPargana, Bihar 1855-56) led by Sindhu
and Kanhu.
Naikda (PanchMahals-Gujarat 1858-59 and 1868) led by Rup Singh and
Kacha Naga (Cachar-Assam 1882) led by Sambhudam
Mundas Chotanagpur 1899-90. Known as ulgulan led by Birsa Munda
against the erosion of their Kuntkatti land system, recruitment
of forced labour (Beth-Begar) and against the activities of the
Christian missionary. They attacked churches and police station
Bhils (Banswara, SuthiDungarpur-Rajasthan 1913) led by Govindu
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Led by Haji Shariatullah and his son DaduMian degeneration
of Islamic Faridpur, East Bengal society and loss of power to
the British. It supported the cause of tenants against the
Zamindari system, Mian was finally arrested and confined to
Alipore jail.
Assumption of direct administration of Kolhapur by British
and (Kolhapru 1844-45) resentment of Gadkris against
revenue policy. Final suppression of the movement by the
PagalPanthis Led by Karan Sjaj and his son Tipu. A demi-religious sect.
Rose against the oppression of the Zamindars.
Led by Surendra Sai, interference of British in the internal
affairs of (Orissa 1840-41) Sambalpur, Surendra Sai was
finally arrested and imprisoned by the British (1840)
Kukis (Manipur 1917-19) led by Jadonang
Ramoshi In 1822-29, they rose against deposition of Raja Pratap Singh of
Satara in 1839
Chanchus (1921-22) in Andhra Pradesh.
Pahariyas The British expansion on their territory led to an uprising by the
martial pahariyas of the Raj Mahal Hills in 1778
Kharwar The Kharwars of Bihar in the 1870s.
Bhuyan and
The first uprising of 1867-68 was under the leadership of Rata
Singphos Assam in early 1830
Zeliangsong The Zeliangsong Movement of the Manipur Nagar was launched
by the Zemi, Liangmei and Rongmei
Naga Under Jodanang (1905-31). The other leader was Gaidinliu who
fed the Heraka cult.
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Led by religious monks and disposed zamindars. Against
restrictions (Bengal 1760-1800) imposed by the English
company on visiting holy places and ruin of peasant and
The Kuka
The Kuka movement started as a religious movement though it
later began to acquire political overtone. The movement began
in 1840 by Bhagat Jawaharlal or Sian Saheb in west Punjab.
The movement aimed to purge Sikhism by preaching abolition
of castes and similar discriminations and discouraging the
eating of meat and taking of drugs. Women were encouraged
to step out of seclusion. After the British conquered the Punjab,
the movement began to focus on achieving Sikh sovereignty.
The British followed extremely repressive measures from 1862
to 1872 to suppress the movement.
Important Peasant Movements and Association
& Year Region Leader Objective
Bengal Karam Shah
&Tipu Shah
Against hike in rents; the
movement was violently
Moplah Uprisings
Malabar Kumahammad
eHozi and Ali
Against rise in revenue
demand and reduction of
field size.
Indigo Revolt
Degambar and
Bishnu Biswas
Against terms imposed by
European indigo planters;
Indigo Commission (1860)
set up to view the
Against the British failure
to take up anti-famine
Patna Agrarian
Uprising (1872)
East Bengal
Shah Chandra
Roy, Shambhu
Pal, Khoodi
Against policies of
zamindars to prevent
occupants from acquiring
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Mollah and
supported by
B.C. Chatterjee
& R.C. Dutt
occupancy rights, Bengal
Tenancy Act (1885) was
Poona Sarvajanik
Sabha (1870)
Districts of
Colaba and
M.G.Ranade To popularise the
peasants legal rights.
Satyagraha (1917)
, Bihar
Peasants Against the Tinkatia
system imposed by the
European Indigo planters;
the Champaran Agrarian
Act abolished the
Tinkathia System.
Kheda Satyagraha
Peasants led by
Against ignored appeals
for remission of land
revenue in case of crop
failure; the demands were
finally fulfilled.
U.P.Kisan Sabha
Madan Mohan

Awadh Peasant
Movement (1918)

Oudh Kisan Sabha
Oudh Nehru & Baba
Ram Chandra –
Andhra Ryots
Association (1928)
Andhra N.G. Ranga Accepted abolition of
All India Kisan
Sabha (1936)
n of
Protection of peasants
from economic
Satyagraha (1928)
Kunbi –
peasants and
supported by
Against oppression by
upper caste and hike in
revenue by 22 per cent by
the Bombay Government;
the revenue was brought
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down to 6.03%
Eka Movement Hardoi,
and Sitapur
Members of
Pasi and Ahir
Against hike in rents.
Movements (1946)
Bengal By poor
peasants &
or sharecroppers
Against Zamindars and
Bargardari Bill was
Hyderabad VinobaBhave Against practices of
moneylenders and
officials of the Nizam of
Hyderabad. Telangana
movement resulted in
Bhoodan Movement.
 Palaiyakkara, Poligar, Palegaadu,
Polygar, Palegar, or Polegar was
the feudal title for a class of
territorial administrative and
military governors appointed by
the Nayaka rulers of South India
(notably Vijayanagar Empire,
Madurai Nayakas and the
Kakatiyadynastry) during 16th-18th
 The word is an English corruption
of palayiakkarar (Tamil) or
Palegaadu (Telugu) or
Paaleyagaara (Kannada).
 The Polygars of Madurai Country
were instrumental in establishing
administrative reforms by
building irrigation projects, forts
and religious institutions.
 Their wars with the British after
the demise of Madurai Nayakas is
often regarded as one the earliest
Indian Independence struggles.
 Many were hanged and some
banished forever to Andaman
Islands by the British.
 Puli Thevar, Veerapandya
Kattabomman, Dheran
Chinnamalai, Marudu brothers,
Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy
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were some of the most notable
Polygars who rose up in revolt
against the British rule in South
 The war against the British forces
predates the Sepoy Mutiny in
Northern India by many decades
but still largely given less
importance by historians.
 The First Naicker King of Madurai
ViswanathaNayak (1559-1563); a
shrewd administrator, assisted by
his famous Dalavoy (Governor
General) cum Pradhani (first
citizen) AriyanathaMudaliar are
credited with establishing “the
polygar (palaiyakkrar) system” in
Madurai Kingdom.
 The Madurai Kingdoms consisted
of present day Western Tamil
Nadu with Coimbatore, Salem and
Kollidam River forming the
northern boundary barring
Tanjore Kingdom and Western
Ghats forming the western border
and Kanniyakumari in the South.
 To make the territorial
administration more efficient,
ViswanathaNaicker and
AriyanathaMudaliar apportioned
the country into 72 palaiyams to
72 chieftains, some of them locals
and the rest Telugu leaders of
detachments who had
accompanied ViswanathaNaicker
from Vijayanagar.
 Most Palaiyams were dry tracts of
land with scanty rainfall found in
the western parts of Tamil Nadu.
Role of a Poligar
 The Poligar’s role was to
administrate their Palaiyams
(territories) from their fortified
 Their chief functions were to
collect taxes, maintain law and
order, run the local judiciary, and
maintain a battalion of troops for
the king.
 They served as regional military
and civil administrators.
 In turn they were to retain the
revenue collected as tax and
submit the remaining to the king’s
 The Poligars also at times founded
villages, built dams, constructed
tanks and built temples.
 Also the rulers taxed regions
according to the cultivable and
fertility of the land.
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 Often several new rainwater tanks
were erected in the Semi-Arid
tracts of western and south Tamil
 Their armed status was also to
protect the civilians from robbers
and dacoits who were rampant in
those regions and from invading
armies which often resorted to
pillaging the villages and
Rebellions against British
 With the downfall of Madurai
Kingdom in 1736 anarchy
prevailed in those regions.
 Starting in the 1690’s the Madurai
Kingdom became a feudatory
under the Mughals, represented
by the Nawab of Carnatic (The
Nawab of Arcot) and after the
1750’s the region came under the
complete control of the Carnatic
Nawab, who was the new overland
of the Polygars.
 The Carnatic Nawab’s tax
collection efforts often ended in
small wars with the polygars, who
refused to recognise his authority
and considered him as a usurper.
 The Nawabs often expensive tax
collection campaigns and lavish
spending drove him to
bankruptcy, resorting to huge
borrowings from the British.
 In 1752, the old Madurai Kingdom
was leased to a savage warrior
Mohammed Yusuf Khan, and was
backed with troops from the
British and Carnatic Nawab to
bring the Polygars into control.
 He immediately went around
pillaging and damaging the
country-side to subdue the
Polygars, until he was killed by his
 But by the end of Yusuf Khan’s life
he had bought many polygars
under control with several of them
 Later in late 18th century to
compensate loans borrowed from
British, the Nawab ceded his tax
collection rights to the former,
who in turn raised the taxes,
irrespective of a regions agrarian
produce, enraging several
The first Indian to receive – Dr. SarvepalliRadhakrishnan
Bharat Ratna Award – C. Rajagopalacharai , C.V. Raman
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 The Polygars saw the British as an
unwanted intruder, still refusing
to accept the weak Nawab.
Puli Thevar
 Among the Palayakkarars, there
were two blocs, namely the
Western and the Eastern blocs.
 The Western bloc had Marava
Palayakkarars and the Eastern
bloc had Telugu Palayakkarars.
 Puli Thevar of Nerkkattumseval
headed the former and
Kattabomman of Panchalam
kuruchi led the latter. These two
Palayakarars refused to pay the
kist (tribute) to the Nawab and
 Many of the neighbouring
Palayakkarars put up certain
pretexts and did not pay the
tribute. Mahfuz Khan, with the
assistance of the British army
under Col. Heron undertook an
expedition to suppress the revolt
in March 1755.
 Puli Thevar and the
MaravaPalayakkarars of the
Western bloc stood firm against
the British. Col. Heron decided
to deal with the Maravas firmly.
 Col. Heron tried to change the
mind of Puli Thevar by diplomatic
moves and by show of force. But
he failed in his attempts. Puli
Thevar proceeded to consolidate
his position by organising the
MaravaPalayakkarars of the West
into a strong confederacy.
 He also attempted to get the
support of Haider Ali of Mysore
and the French, against the
 The British approached Ramnad,
Pudukottai and the Dutch for
help. Haider Ali couldn’t help Puli
Thevar due to a Mysore-Maratha
 Yusuf Khan (Khan Sahib) was
entrusted by the British with the
duty of tackling Puli Thevar and
his allies.
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 Puli Thevar attacked Madurai and
captured it from Mahfuz Khan.
Puli Thevar’s military success had
no parallel. The native ruler
triumphed against the British.
 It is a clear demonstration of the
Marava might and the heroism of
the patriots. But Yusuf Khan
recaptured Madurai.
 With the help of the Palayakkarars
of the Eastern bloc and the king of
Travancore, Yusuf Khan had
many victories. After fierce
battles, Nerkkattumseval was
attacked in 1759.
 In 1767, this city was captured by
Col. Campbell. Puli Thevar
escaped and died in exile without
finally fulfilling his purpose of
checking the growth of the British
 Although his attempt ended in
failure, he leaves a valiant trail of
a struggle for independence in the
history of South India.
Expedition to Panchalamkuruchi
 In May 1799, Lord Wellesley
issued orders from Madras for the
advance of forces from
Tiruchirappali, Thanjavur and
Madurai to Tirunelveli.
 Major Bannerman, armed with
extensive powers, assumed the
command of the expedition. On
the 1st September, 1799 the Major
served an ultimatum directing
Kattabomman to surrender and
attend on him at palayamkottai on
the 4thKattabomman replied that
he would submit on a lucky day.
 Bannerman considered this replay
as evasive and decided on military
action. On 5th September
Kattabomman’s fort was attacked.
 On the 16th reinforcements
reached from Palayamkootai. In a
clash at Kolarpatti the
Palayakkarar troops suffered
heavy casualty and
Sivasubramania Pillai was taken
 Kattabomman escaped to
Pudukkottai. The ruler of
Pudukkottai captured
Kattabomman from the jungles of
Kalapore and handed him over to
the British.
 Veera Pandya Kattabomman
became the Palayakarar of
Panchalamkuruchi at the age of
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thirty on the death of his father,
Jagavira Pandya Kattabomman.
 The Company’s administrators,
James London and Colin Jackson
had considered him as a man
without education but of peaceful
disposition. Yet, several events
led to the conflict between
Kattabomman and East India
 During this period the collection
of tribute served as a cause of
friction. The Nawab of Arcot who
had this right surrendered it to the
English under the provisions of
the Karbatak Treaty of 1792.
 Therefore, the chief of
Panchalamkuruchi, Kattabomman
had to pay tribute to the English.
In September 1798, the tribute
from Kattabomman fell into
 Collector Jackson in his
characteristic arrogance and
rashness wrote letters to
Kattabomman in a threatening
 There is a tradition to indicate
that Kattabomman declared: “It
rains, the land yields, why should
we pay tax to the English?”. By 32
May 1789, the total arrears of
tribute from Kattabomman
amounted to 3310 pagodas.
 Though Jackson wanted to send
an army against Kattabomman,
the Madras Government did not
give permission.
 Hence, on 18th August 1789
Jackson sent an order to
Kattabomman to meet him at
Ramanathapuram within two
 In the meantime, Kattabomman
went with arrears of tribute to
meet Jackson. Kattabomman was
humiliated twice by Jackson when
the former wanted to meet him at
Tirukuttalam and Srivilliputtur.
 But he was told that he could meet
the collector only at
Ramanathapuram. Despite this
humiliation, kattabomman
followed Jackson for twenty three
days in a journey of 400 miles
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through the latter’s route and
reached Ramanathapuram on the
19th September.
 An interview was granted by
Jackson and Kattabomman
cleared most of the arrears leaving
only 1090 pagodas as balance.
 During this interview
Kattabomman and his Minister,
Sivasubramania Pillai, had to
stand before the arrogant collector
for three hours together. Still he
did not permit them to leave the
place, but directed them to stay
inside the fort.
 Kattabomman suspected the
intensions of Jackson. Hence, he
tried to escape with his minister
and brother Oomathurai. At the
gate of the fort there followed a
clash, in which some people
including Lieutenant Clarke were
killed. Sivasubramania Pillai was
taken prisoner. But
Kattabomman escaped.
 After his return to
Panchalamkuruchi, Kattabomman
appealed to the Madras Council
submitting the facts. The Madras
Government directed
Kattabomman to appear before a
 Meanwhile, the government
released Sivasubramania Pillai
and suspended the Collector,
Jackson. In response
Kattabomman decided to submit.
He appeared before the
Committee, with William Brown,
William Oram and John
Casmayor as members. The
Committee found Kattabomman
not guilty.
 S.R. Laushington was now
appointed Collector in the place of
Jackson, latter was eventually
dismissed from service.
Fall of Kattabomman
 Bannerman brought the prisoners
to an assembly of the
palayakkarars and after a mockery
of trial sentenced them to death.
Sivasubramania Pillai was
executed at Nagalapuram on the
13th of September.
 On the 16th October, ViraPandyan
was trailed before an assembly of
Palayakkarars, summoned at
Kayattar. In an assertive tone and
with contempt for death he
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admitted the charges levelled
against him.
 There upon, Bennerman
announced death penalty. On the
17th of October Kattabomman was
hanged to death at a conspicuous
spot near the old fort of Kayattar.
ViraPandyan faced the last
moments of his life with the pride
of a hero.
Dheeran Chinamalai
 Dheeran Chinnamalai born as
Theerthagiri Sarkkarai
Mandraadiyaar or Theerthagiri
Gounder (on April 17, 1756) was a
Kongu chieftain and Palayakkarar
from Tamil Nadu who rose up in
revolt against the British East
India Company in the Kongu
Nadu, Southern India.
 Kongunadu comprised the
modern day districts of
Coimbatore, Nilgiri, Tirupur,
Erode, Salem, Dharmapuri, Karur,
Namakkal and parts of Dindigul
District and Krishnagiri Districgt
of Tamil Nadu state.
 He was born in Melapalayam,
near Erode in the South Indian
state of Tamil Nadu.
 He was held with high regard by
the Gounder community who
continue use him as a symbol of
Independence for the community.
 He was one of the main leaders in
the polygar Wars and commanded
a vast army, notably during the
second polygar War that took
place in 1801-1802.
 A thousand-strong army under
him took French Military training
in modern warfare alongside
Tipu’s Mysore forces to fight
against the British East India
 They helped Tipu Sultan in his
war against the British and were
instrumental in victories at
Chitheswaram, Mazahavalli and
 He was the first south Indian to
oppose the British rule in India.
First Indian Sports person to receive Bharat Ratna- Sachin Tendulkar
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 After Tipu’s death, Chinnamalai
settled down at Odanilai in Kongu
Nadu and constructed a fort there
and defeated the British battles at
Cauvery in 1801, Odailai in 1802
and Arachalur in 1804.
 Later, Chinnamalai left his fort to
avoid cannon attack and engaged
in guerrilla warfare while he was
stationed at Karumalai in the
palani region.
 He was captured by the British
who hanged him at Sankagiri Fort
on 31th July 1805 (Aadiperukku
Marudu Brothers
 Despite the exemplary repression
of palayakkars in 1799, rebellion
broke out again in 1800, this time
in a more cohesive and united
 Although the 1800-1801 rebellion
was to be categorized in the
British records as the Second
Palayakkarar War, it assumed a
much broader character than its
 It was directed by a confederacy
consisting of Marudu Pandian of
Sivaganga, Gopala Nayak of
Dindugal, Kerala Verma of
Malabar and KrishnappaNayak
and Dhoondaji of Mysore.
 The insurrection which broke out
in Coimbatore in June 1800, soon
spread to Ramanathapuram and
 By May 1801, it had reached the
Northern provinces, where
Marudu Pandian and Melappan
provided the leadership.
Oomathurai, the brother of
Kattabomman emerged as a key
 In February 1801, Oomathurai
and two hundered men by a
cleverly move took control of
panchalamkuruchi Fort.
 The fort now re-occupied and
reconstructed by rebel forces,
Panchalamkuruchi became the
centre of the uprising.
 Three thousand armed men of
Madurai and Ramanathapuram,
despatched by Marudu Pandian,
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joined up with the
Panchalamkuruchi forces.
 However, British forces quickly
asserted itself. The Palayakkarar
forces based at
PanchalamKuruchi were crushed.
By the orders of the government,
the site of the captured fort was
ploughed up and sowed with
castor oil and salt so that it should
never again be inhabited.
 The British forces quickly
overpowered the remaining
insurgents. The Marudu brothers
and their sons were put to death.
 Oomathurai and Sevatiah were
beheaded at Panchalamkuruchi
on 16th November, 1801.
 Seventy-three of the principal
rebels were sentenced to
transportation. So savage and
extensive was the death and
destruction wrought by the
English that the entire region was
left in a state of terror.
 The suppression of the
Palayakkarar rebellions of 1799
and 1800-1801 resulted in the
liquidation of the influence of the
 Under the terms of the Karnatak
Treaty (31 July, 1801), the British
assumed direct control over Tamil
 The Palayakkarar system came to
a violent end and the Company
introduced the Zamindari
settlement in its place.
League of the Palayakkarars
 Thus, the English removed the
source of grievance to
Kattabomman. Yet, the
humiliation suffered by
kattabomman affected his selfrespect.
 During this time, MaruduPandyan
of Sivaganga organized the South
Indian Confederacy of rebels
against the British
 The Tiruchirappali Proclamation
was made. He sent missions to
Panchalamkuruchi. Thus a close
association between
Kattabomman and
MaruduPandyan established.
 The events now moved to a crisis.
In August 1798, the son of the
Palayakkarar of Sivagiri and his
adviser visited Panchalamkuruchi
and held consultations.
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 Kattabomman decided to
establish his influence in Sivagiri
with the aid of the son of the
 As the Palayakkarar of Sivagiri
was a tributary to the Company,
the Madras Council considered
this move as a challenge to its own
authority and ordered war against
Polygar Wars
 Polygar war or Palayaikarar war
refers to the wars fought between
the Polygars (Palaiyakkarars) of
former Madurai Kingdom in
Tamil Nadu, India and the British
East India Company forces
between March 1799 to May 1802
or July 1805.
 The British finally won after
carrying out long and difficult
protracted juggle campaigns
against the Polygar armies and
finally defeated them.
 Many lives were lost on both sides
and the victory over Polygars
made large part of territories of
Tamil Nadu come under British
control enabling them to get a
strong hold in India.
First Polygar War 1799
 The war between the British and
KattabommanNayak of
PanchalankurichiPalayam in the
then Tirunelveli region is often
classified as the First Polygar war.
 In 1799, a brief meeting (over
pending taxes) between
Kattabomman and the British
ended in a bloody encounter in
which the British commander of
the forces was slain by the former.
 A price was put on
Kattabomman’s head prompting
many Polygars to an open
 After a series of battles in the
Panchalankurichi fort with
additional reinforcements from
ThiruchirapalliKattabomman was
defeated, but he escaped to the
jungles in Pudukottai country.
 Here he was captured by
Pudukottai Raja (after an
agreement with the British) and
after a summary trial
Kattabomman was hanged in
front of the public in order to
intimidate them, near Kayatharu
Fort, close to the town of
Kovilpatti and in front of fellow
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Polygars too who had been
summoned to witness the
 Subramania Pillai, a close
associate of KattabommanNayak,
was also publicly hanged and his
head was fixed on a pike at
Panchalankurichi for public view.
 Soundra Pandian Nayak, another
rebel leader, was brutally done to
death by having his head smashed
against a village wall.
 Kattabomman’s brother
Oomaidurai was imprisoned in
Palayankottai prison while the fort
was razed to the ground and his
wealth looted by the troops.
Second Polygar War 1800-1805
 Despite the suppression of the
First polygar War in 1709,
rebellion broke out again in 1800.
 The Second war was more stealthy
and covert in nature. The
rebellion broke out when a band
of polygar armies bombed the
British barracks in Coimbatore in
 The leaders were more cohesive
and united with people from
Kerala and Mysore taking part.
 In the second poligar war that
followed, Oomaithurai allied
himself with Maruthu brothers
(who ruled Sivagangai) and was
part of a grand alliance against the
Company which included
DheeranChinnamalai and Kerala
 The Company forces led by L.t.
Colonel Agnew laid siege to the
Panchalakurichi fort and captured
it in May 1801 after a prolonged
siege and artillery bombardment.
 Oomaithurai escaped the fall of
the fort and joined Marudu
brothers at their jungle fort at
 Oomaithurar, along with the
Marudu brothers, was hanged on
16 November 1801.
 The Palayakarrars were all in
control in their forts, had artillery
and even had a weapon Pandiyan
Brothers joined up with the
Panchalankurichi forces.
 The British finally won after a
long expensive campaign that
took more than a year.
Indian National Movement
Page 17
 However, the superior British
military who had recently
defeated the powerful Tipu Sultan
of Mysore quickly asserted itself.
 The British had better artillery
compared to the Polygar troops
who had country-made gunfire
artillery, barring a few proper
ones received from erstwhile Tipu
Sultan’s army.
 The war being regional in nature,
the British forces could easily
mobilize additional forces from
other regions.
 Eventually the Polygar forces
based at Panchalankurichi were
crushed and by the orders of the
colonial government, the site of
the captured Panchalankurichi
Fort was Ploughed up and sowed
with salt and castor oil so that it
should never again be inhabited.
 The colonial forces quickly
overpowered the remaining
insurgents. The Marudu brothers
and their sons were put to death,
while Oomathurai and Sevathaiah
were beheaded at
Panchalankurichi on 16
Novermber 1801.
 Seventy-three of the principal
rebels were sentenced to
perpetual banishment.
 So savage and extensive was the
death and destruction wrought by
the British that the entire region
was left in a state of terror.
End of the Polygar system
 After a long and expensive
campaign the British finally
defeated the revolting Polygars, of
whom many were beheaded and
hanged while others were
deported to the Andaman Islands.
 Of the Polygars who submitted to
the British some of them were
granted Zamindari status, which
has only tax collection rights and
disarmed them completely. (The
Zamindari system originated in
Bengal, but was adopted by the
 Vellore was the capital of
erstwhile North Arcot district in
Tamil Nadu.
 In Vellore the native sepoys rose
in revolt in 1806.
Indian National Movement
Page 18
 This incident differs from other
previous rebellions. The earlier
rebellions were those of the
native rulers.
 The Vellore Mutiny was
organized by the sepoys.
 The earlier rebellions had only a
regional interest. Every prince
wanted to safeguard his own
kingdom at any cost.
 But Vellore Mutiny was the result
of spontaneous outflow of the
feelings of the sepoys who served
under the Company.
 It was a protest by the sepoys
against the Company. This
protest showed the future
 Several causes are attributed to
the Vellore Mutiny.
 Indian sepoys had to experience
numerous difficulties when they
went to serve in the Company’s
 The sepoys were forced to serve
under the Company since their
earlier patrons (the native
chieftains) were all disappearing
from the scence.
 The strict discipline, practice, new
weapons, new methods and
uniforms were all new to the
 Anythings new appears to be
difficult and wrong for a man who
is well-settled in the old way of life
for a long-time.
 Sir John Cradock, the
commander-in-chief, with the
approval of Lord-William
Bentinck, the Governor of
Madras, introduced a new from of
turban, resembling a European
 Wearing ear rings and caste marks
were also prohibited.
 The sepoys were asked to shave
the chin and to trim the
 The sepoys felt that these were
designed to insult them and their
religious and social traditions.
 There was also a popular belief
that this was the beginning of a
process by which all of them
would be converted to
Indian National Movement
Page 19
 The English treated the Indian
sepoys as their inferior. There was
the racial prejudice. This was the
psychological base for the sepoy
mutinies in India during the
Company’s rule.
 The sepoys once served the local
chieftains (either Hindu or
Muslim). The chieftains were
their own kindmen but now they
served under the foreigners.
 They can never forget their
original loyalities. The Vellore
uprising was preceded by a series
of protests by the Indian troops.
 In May 1806, the 4th Regiment
rose in revolt against the new
turban. The Commander-in-Chief
took severe action the sepoys who
were found guilty were punished
with 500 to 900 lashes.
 Before the mutiny secret
association were formed and
meetings held in which Tipu’s
family took part.
 On June 17th 1806 a sepoy of the
st Regiment named Mustapha
Beg, secretly informed his
commanding officer, Colonel
Forbes, that a plot had been
planned for the extermination of
the European officers and troops.
But this was not taken seriously.
 On the eve of the Mutiny at
Vellore FettehHyder, the first
son of Tipu, tried to form an
alliance against the English and
sought the help of the Marathas
and the French.
 FettahHyder received secret
information through one
MohommedMalick. Besides,
princes FettahHyder and Moizud-Deen in particular were active
in planning the execution of the
 Thus, there was the desire to
revive the old Muslim rule in this
region. The sepoys were aware of
the tragic end of Puli Thevar,
Khan Sahib, Kattabomman,
Marudu Brothers, Tipu Sultan and
others. Hence there were illfeelings about the British in the
minds of the sepoys. All these led
to the rebellion.
Course of the Mutiny
 On July 10th in the early morning
the native sepoys of the 1st and
23rd Regiments started the revolt.
Colonel Fancourt, who
Indian National Movement
Page 20
commanded the garrison, was
their first victim.
 Colonel Me Kerras of the 23rd
Regiment was shot down on the
 Major Armstrong was the next
officer to be killed during the
mutiny. About a dozen other
officers were also killed.
 Major Cootes who was outside the
fort dashed to Ranipet, 14 miles
away, and informed Colonel
Gillespie at 7 am. Col. Gillespie
reached the Vellore fort at 9 A.M.
 Meantime, the rebels proclaimed
FuttehHyder, Tipu’s first son, as
their new ruler and hoisted tigerstriped flag of Tipu Sultan.
 But the uprising was swiftly
crushed by Col. Gillespie. 800
Indian soliders were found dead
in the fort alone. Six hundred
soliders were imprisoned in
Tiruchi and Vellore.
 Some rebels were hung, some shot
dead. The uprising was thus
brought to a bloody end. Tipu’s
son was sent to Calcutta.
 The commander-in-chief and the
governor were recalled.
 Vellore Mutiny failed. There was
no proper leadership. The
rebellion was also not well
 But it is the starting point of a new
era of the resistance of the sepoys
to the British rule. The 18th
century was marked by the
resistance of the local chieftains.
 The first six decades of 19th
Century was marked by the
resistance of sepoys.
 K.K. Pillai rejects the thesis that
Vellore Mutiny led to the 1857
revolt. V.D. Savarkar calls the
Vellore Mutiny of 1806 as the
prelude to the first War of Indian
Independence in 1857.
 N.Sanjivi proclaims that the
Tamils had taken the real lead in
the Indian freedom struggle. K.
Rajayyan argues that this mutiny
was a continuation of the Marudu
Brothers resistance movement
against the colonial rule.
The first Indian to receive Magsaysay Award- Acharya VinobaBhave
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Indian National Movement
Page 21
The Revolt of 1857 has been hailed
as the watershed or the great
divide in the colonial history of
British India. The Revolt of 1857
was fundamentally different from
earlier rebellions by the soldiers,
peasants and tribals of the 19th
century. The scale and spread of
the Revolt of 1857 was larger;
sepoys at many centres mutinied
and this was accompanied by civil
disturbances. The extent of the
revolt was mostly over North,
central and parts of western India.
It was the most significant
movement of resistance against
European colonial rule.
The Great Revolution of 1857
 The Revolt of 1857 was a product
of the character and policies of
British colonial rule. The causes
of revolt emerged from all aspects
Socio-cultural, economic and
political. Moreover, it was not an
isolated rebellion rather a chain
of rebellions were already taken
place in different area of their
territory prior to 1857.
The Causes of Revolt
Immediate Causes
 The issue of greased cartridges
and military grievances has been
over-emphasised, as the factor
for the Revolt of 1857. However,
the recent research has proved
that the cartridge was neither the
only cause nor even the most
important. In fact the multiple
causes i.e., social, religious,
political and economic worked
together to produce the rebellion.
Indian National Movement
Page 22
Social and Religious Causes
 The British had abandoned its
policy of non-interference in the
socio-religious life of the Indians.
Abolition of Sati (1829), Hindu
Widow Remarriage Act (1856)
were such as direct interference
of colonial power into Hindu
religious beliefs.
 Christian missionaries were
allowed to enter India and carry
on with their mission of
proselytising by an act in 1850.
 The Religious Disabilities Act of
1850 modified the traditional
Hindu law. According to it, the
change in religion would not
debar a son from inheriting the
property of his father.
Economic Causes
 British rule led to breakdown of
the village self-sufficiency,
commercialisation of agriculture,
which burdened the peasantry,
adoption of free trade
imperialism from 1800, deindustrialisation and drain of
wealth all of which led to overall
decline of economy.
Millitary Grievances
 The extension of British
dominion in India had adversely
affected the service condition of
the sepoys. They were required
to serve in area away from their
homes without the payment of
extra bhatta.
 An important cause of military
discontent was the General
Service Enlistment Act, 1856,
which made it compulsory for the
sepoys to cross the seas,
whenever required. The Post
Office Act of 1854, withdrew the
free postage facility for them.
Political Causes
 The last major extension of the
British Indian territory took
place during the time of
Dalhousie. Dalhousie
announced in 1849, that the
successor of Bahadur Shah II
would have to leave the Red
 The annexation of Baghat and
Udaipur were however, cancelled
and they were restored to their
ruling houses.
 When Dalhousie wanted to apply
the Doctrine of Lapse to Karauli
Indian National Movement
Page 23
(Rajputana), he was overruled by
the Court of Directors.
Doctrine of Lapse
 According to the policy of
Doctrine of Lapse, introduced by
Lord Dalhousie, the adopted
sons of the deceased kings were
derecognised as heirs to the
throne, which subsequently led
to the annexation of large
number of kingdoms.
 Dalhousie annexed Awadh in
1856, on the ground of misrule.
The annexation of Awadh was
also represented by Bengal
Army, 3/5 of whom belonged to
Awadh. Sir James Outam, who
had been the British Resident in
Awadh since 1854, was
appointed as the first Chief
Commissioner in 1856, but he
was replaced by Sir Henry
Lawrence (He was the Chief
Commissioner when revolt broke
 Dalhousie abolished the titles of
the Nawab of Carnatic and the
Raja of Travancore and refused
to grant the pension to the
adopted son (Dhondu Pant,
better known as Nana Sahib) of
the last Peshwa, (Baji Rao II)
after the latter’s death in 1851.
 Canning announced in 1856, that
the successors of Bahadur Shah
were to be known only as princes
and not as kings.
Chronology of Dalhousie’s
Annexation through Doctrine of
Agrarian Causes
 The Summary Settlement of
1856, which was first introduced
in the North-Western provinces,
was extended to Awadh.
State Year of
Satara 1848
Jaitpur (Uttar
Baghat 1850
Udaipur 1852
Jhansi 1853
Nagpur 1854
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Award- PanditRavishankar
The first Indian to get ParamVir
Chakra- Major Somnath Sharma
Indian National Movement
Page 24
 It by passed the middle men in
the collection of revenues.
 Heavy over-assessment of land
revenue impoverished the
 The introduction of the
institution of private property
rights in land by which land
became a commodity, which
could be bought, sold, rented or
The course of Revolt
March, 1857
 The revolt was sparked on 29th
March, 1857. The 19th infantry at
Berhampur (Barrackpore),
refused to use the newly
introduced enfield rifle. The
infantry was disbanded. Colonel
Mitchell was its commanding
 Mangal Pandey, a sepoy of the
34th Native Infantry at
Barrackpore attacked and fired
at his British officers. The
mutiny was suppressed and the
leader of the mutiny, Mangal
Pandey, was finally tried and
April-May, 1857
 Ninety men of the 3rd Native
cavalry stationed at Meerut
refused to use the greased
cartridge. Eighty-five of them
were dismissed and sentenced to
10 years imprisonment on 9th
 The next day, on 10th May, the
entire Indian garrison revolted.
On 11th May, 1857 a band of
sepoys from Meerut, who had
defied and killed the European
officers the previous day,
marched to the Red Fort (Delhi).
 Bahadur Shah II was proclaimed
the Shahenshah-e-Hindustan.
The sepoy’s then set out to
capture and control the imperial
city of Delhi.
Areas Affected by the Revolt
 Very soon the rebellion spread
throughout Northern and
Central India at Lucknow,
Allahabad, Kanpur, Bareilly,
Banaras, in parts of Bihar,
Jhansi and other places.
 However, the Southern India
remained quiet. Mutinies took
place at a few places in Punjab
(Naushera and HotiMardan), but
Sir John Lawrence (Chief
Commissioner of Punjab) easily
Indian National Movement
Page 25
put them down.
Reasons for Failure of Revolt
 The poor organisation and lack
of coordination among the rebels
was perhaps the most important
cause of its failure. English had
better resources, modern
weapons and materials of war.
 Telegraph services kept
commander-in chief informed
about the movement of rebels.
 Lack of unity among Indians,
many ruling chiefs and big
Zamindars actively helped
British to suppress the revolt.
 The modern educated Indians
also did not support the revolt.
Opinions about the Nature of the 1857 Revolt
Authors Opinion/ Views
Sir John Seeley Wholly unpatriotic and selfish sepoy mutiny with no native
leadership and no popular support.
LER Ries A war of fanatic religionist against Christians.
TR Holmes A Conflict between civilisations and barbarism.
Outram and
A Hindu- Muslim conspiracy.
VD Savarkar Indian War of Independence.
Bipin Chandra The entire movement lacked a unified and forward looking
programme to be implemented after the capture of power.
SN Sen What began as a fight for religion ended as a War of
Is it a military mutiny or is it a National revolt?
The so-called First National War of Independence of 1857 is
neither first, nor national and nor War of Independence.
Consequences of the Revolt
 The Revolt of 1857, resulted in
significant changes in
administrative structure, policies
of the government and the
British attitudes. Lord Canning
at a Durbar at Allahabad in the
Queen’s Proclamation issued on
st November, 1858, declared
that those who laid down arms
by 2nd January, 1859 would be
pardoned except those directly
involved in the murder of British
subjects. Official services would
Indian National Movement
Page 26
be open to all without any
discrimination of race or creed.
 To give expression to this pledge
the India Civil Services Act of
1861 was passed, which provided
for an annual competitive
examination to be held in
London for recruitment to the
Covenanted Civil Service. Due
regard would be given to ancient
usages and customs of India.
 The Queen’s Proclamation
declared to stop any further
extension of territorial
possessions and promised to
respect the rights, dignity and
honours of native princes.
 The Government of India Act of
1858, was passed in the wake of
the Revolt of 1857. The act also
known as the Act of the Good
Government of India, abolished
the East India Company and
transferred the powers of
government, territories and
revenues to the British Crown.
Different leaders Associated with the Revolt of 1857
Place Leaders
Barrackpore Mangal Pandey
Delhi Bahadur Shah II, Bakht Khan Hakim
Ahsanullah (Chief advisor to Bahadur ShahII)
Lucknow Begum Hazrat Mahal, BijarisQadir,
Ahmadullah (advisor of the ex-Nawab of
Kanpur Nana Sahib, Rao Sahib (nephew of Nana),
Tantia Tope, Azimullah Khan (advisor of Nana
Jhansi Rani Laxmibai
Bihar (Jagdishpur) Kunwar Singh, Amar Singh
Allahabad and Banaras MaulviLiyakat Ali
Faizabad MaulviAhmadullah (He declared the revolt as
Jihad against English)
Farrukhabad Tufzal Hasan Khan
Bijnaur Mohammed Khan
Muradabad Abdul Ali Khan
Bareilly Khan Bhadur Khan
Mandsor Firoz Shah
Indian National Movement
Page 27
Gwalior/Kanpur Tantia Tope
Assam Kandapareshwar Singh, ManiramaDatta
Orissa SurendraShahi, UjjwalShahi
Kullu Raja Pratapsingh
Rajasthan Jaidayalsingh and Hardayal Singh
Gorakhpur Gajadhar Singh
Mathura Devi singh, Kadam Singh
British Officials Associated with Revolt
British Officials Place
General John
Captured Delhi on 29th September, 1857 (Nicholson died
soon due to a mortal wound received during the
Major Hudson Killed Bahadur Shah’s sons and grandsons in Delhi.
Sri Hugh Wheeler Defence against Nana Sahib’s forces till 26th June, 1857.
British forces surrendered on 27th on the promise of safe
conduct to Allahabad.
General Neil Recaptured Banaras and Allahabad in June, 1857. At
Kanpur, he killed Indians as revenge against the killing
of English by Nana Sahib’s forces. Died at Lucknow
while fighting against the rebels.
Sir Colin Campbell Final recovery of Kanpur on 6th December, 1857. Final
reoccupation of Lucknow on 21st March, 1858.
Recapture of Bareilly on 5th May, 1858.
Henry Lawrence Chief commissioner of Awadh, who died during the
seizure of British residency by rebels at Lucknow on 2nd
July, 1857.
Major General
Defeated the rebels (Nana Sahib’s force) on 17th July,
1587. Died at Lucknow in December, 1857.
William Taylor and
Suppressed the revolt at Arrah in August, 1857.
Hugh Rose Suppressed the revolt at Jhansi and recaptured Gwalior
on 20th June, 1858. The whole of Central India and
Bundelkhand was brought under British control by him.
Colonel Oncell Captured Banaras.
Indian National Movement
Page 28
Nature of the Revolt
 Character of the Revolt of 1857,
Sir John Lawrence was of the
opinion that the Revolt was purely
a military outbreak, and not a
conspiracy to overthrow British
 On the other hand the Revolt of
1857 is hailed by the Indian
scholars, especially by
VirSavarkar as the First War of
Indian Independence.
 Two distinguished Indian
historians, R.C. Majumdar and
S.N. Sen, have analysed the Revolt
of 1857 in depth. The two scholars
differ in their opinion.
 S.N. Sen believes that the 1857
Revolt was part of the struggle for
Indian independence.
 R.C. Majumdar maintains that the
outbreaks before 1857, whether
civil or military, were “a series of
isolated incidents” ultimately
culminated in the Great Revolt of
Books and Authors 1857 Revolt
Authors Books
Dr .SN Sen Eighteen Fifty-Seven
John Kaye History of the Sepoy War in India (latter completed by
Colonel GB Malleson)
SB Chaudhary Civil Rebellion in the Indian Mutiny 1857-59
BC Majumdar The Sepoy Mutiny and the Revolt of 1857
AT Embree 1857 in India
Etic Strokes The Peasant and the Raj
HP Chattopadhyay The Sepoy Mutiny 1857
PC Joshi Rebellion 1857
Eighteen Fifty-Seven
VD Savarkar The Indian War of Independence 1857
Ashok Mehta 1857 a Great Revolt
First Indian to swim across the English Channel – Mihir Sen

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