What factors were responsible for the initial  successes  of the  rebels  in  1857 and the ultimate success  of  the  British. Explain why the revolt left a legacy of bitterness and hatred  on both sides.  What areas were unaffected by the Revolt?

Faced with the prospect of the extinction of their power  in India, the British refers poured in immense resources in arms and men  to suppress the uprising and conquer afresh large  parts  of northern and central India. The rebels fought back heroically but could  not hold out for long due to certain weaknesses. They  had failed to evolve a unified command and even though rebel soldiers and  leaders moved from one place to another to  fight  ferocious battles, a common strategy to overthrow foreign rule was lacking. While  people from many parts of the country did not join in  the revolt,  most rulers of Indian states and big zaimdars,  many  of them creations of British rule, activelly supported the  British.  The British troops reoccupied Delhi in September 1857 and Bahadur Shah  II was captured, tried and exiled to Rangoon where he  died in  1862.  By the middle of 1858, most of the  major  centres  of revolt such as Kanpur, Lucknow, Bareilly, Jhansi and Gwalior  had been reoccupied by the British troops under John Nicholson,  John and  Henry Larence, Henry Havelock, Colin Campbell, James  Outram and  James  Neill. However, it took the British another  year  to compete  their reconquest of northern and central India. By  that time  most of the leaders of the uprising had either been  killed in  battle or had been captured and hanged and a few had to  take shelter  outside  India.  The suppression  of  the  uprising  was accompanied by brutal massacres, mass executions, devastation  of vast  areas, and arson and plunder. In Awadh alone about  150,000 people  of  whom  100,000  were civilians,  were  killed  by  the British.  The  uprising and its suppression marked the end  of  a phase  in the History of British rule in India. The  memories  of the great uprising continued to haunt the British rulers for long and to inspire the people of India in their struggle for freedom.

 

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