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Causes of Failure of Revolt of 1857

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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.

Reasons for failure of 1857 revolt

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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.


You can attempt mock tests with questions on 1857 Revolt on UPSC pattern with detailed solutions.

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 chiefsacted 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.

Also Read: Storm Centres of 1857 Revolt and their Leaders

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.

Recommended Reference Books

GS Solved Papers
General Studies Manual
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Oxford Student Atlas

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Indian Polity Laxmikanth
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Brief History of Modern India
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Certificate Course in Geography

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Muzaffar Farooq

Amazing knowledge for me

Let it be x

Actually it is not so helpful if you are interested in the subject then only u should go in deep 🤔🤔


This was very easy to read.ihad exam to the next day but this helped me a lot.thanks iaskracker


This had helped me to do my project thanks iaskracker


    Glad it helped you Harshith


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