Describe the nature and causes of the Great Revolt of  1857. Identify the main centres of revolt?

     The  greatest and the most widespread armed  uprising  which shook  the  foundations of British rule in India  took  place  in 1857.  The  accumulating hatred against British  rule  which  had resulted in numerous, though localised, outbreaks burst forth  in a  mighty  rebellion in 1857. The dispossessed rulers  of  Indian states,  the  nobles and the zamindars who had been  deprived  of their lands, the Indian soldiers of Britain’s army in India,  and the  vast  masses of peasants artisans and otehrs  who  had  been ruined  by  British economic policies and had been rising  up  in revolt  in their isolated pockets, were now united by the  common aim  of  overthrowing British rule. The introduction  of  greased cartridges which showed the British rulers complete disregard  of the religious beliefs of the Indian people provided the immediate cause of the revolt. In March 1857, Mangal Pandey was executed in Barrackpore   for  rebelling  against  their  introduction.   The uprising began in Meerut on 10 May 1857 when the Indian  soldiers killed  their  British officers and marched to Delhi.  They  were joined by the soldiers stationed in Delhi and proclaimed the last Mughal  emperor  Bahadur  Shah II as the Emperor  of  India.  The rebellion  spread like wild fire and the British rule  ceased  to exist  over  a vast part of northern and central India  for  many months.  The  major centres of the revolt, besides  Delhi,  where some of the most fierce battles were fought were Kanpur, Lucknow, Braeilly, Bundelkhand and Arrah. Local revolts took place in many other  parts  of  the country. Among  the  prominent  leaders  of uprising  were  Nana Sahib, Tantia Tope,  Bakht  Khan,  Azimullah Khan, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Begum Hazrat Mahal, Kunwar Singh,  Maulvi Ahgamadullah, Bahadur Khan and Rao Tulla Ram.