The Revolt or uprising of 1857 was a valiant effort by disgruntled Indian sepoys to overthrow the colonial power from Indian shores, however, it ended in failure. The reasons for the failure of the 1857 Revolt are many and can be grouped into Administrative, Military and Political causes. We will look into each cause of the failure of the 1857 mutiny.
Administrative Reasons for Failure of 1857 Revolt
Following are the Administrative causes of failure of 1857 mutiny.
Lack of Planning and Co-ordination
There was no planning among the rebels. Different groups pulled in different directions. The principal rebel leaders – Nana Saheb, Tantia Tope, Kunwar Singh, Rani Laxmibai were no match to their British opponents in generalship.
Weak Leadership of the 1857 Mutiny
The rebel sepoys declared the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II as the Emperor of India and the symbol of the revolt. However Bahadur Shah II was already into semi-retirement and hesitant to lead the revolt. Apart from this there were multiple leaders at different storm centres of the revolt and all were fighting the British for their own reasons and not one single cause.
Military Causes of Failure of 1857 Revolt
Following are the Military reasons of failure of mutiny of 1857.
Superior British Army
The Indian rebels possessed great courage and will to fight the British enemy, however, they lacked the sophisticated arms and ammunition of the British army. The European soldiers were equipped with the latest weapons like the Enfield rifle. While the Indian rebels fought the 1857 mutiny mostly with swords and spears and very few guns and muskets.
Limited Supplies and Lack of Modern Communication
The Indian rebels had limited military supplies. They used weapons and bullets from wherever they could loot or they already possessed while the British soldiers had advantage of the modern Railways and the Telegraph that had already started to communicate and plan quickly. The British also possessed almost unlimited supplies of modern artillery to quickly suppress the 1857 Revolt.
Also Read: Causes of the Revolt of 1857
Political Reasons for the Failure of 1857 Revolt
Following are the Political causes of failure of 1857 mutiny.
Lack of Societal Alternative
By proclaiming Bahadur Shah as the leader of the Revolt, the mutinous sepoys demonstrated a lack of societal alternative to the British occupation. One foreign power was to be supplanted by former feudal powers. For this reason the masses did not participate in the Revolt.
The Princes and Educated Classes did not participate
Most of the Princely rulers and big Zamindars did not support the 1857 Revolt and actively sided with the British. Their dominions remained free of any anti-colonial uprisings. Governor General Lord Canning remarked that these rulers and chiefs “acted as the breakwaters to the storm which would have otherwise swept us in one great wave”.
The educated middle and upper classes were mostly critical of the rebels since they were repelled by the rebels appeals to superstitions and their opposition to progressive social measures.
Limited Spread of the Revolt
The 1857 Revolt remained concentrated in the Central India and some parts of north-Western India. It did not spread to South India and most of Eastern and Western India. Madras, Bombay, Bengal and the Western Punjab remained undisturbed.
These are the main reasons for the failure of 1857 Revolt. If you found the article useful, consider sharing it with your friends. You can also leave your feedback in the comments below.