Day 3 – Q.1 There are conflicting views among historians regarding the 1857 revolt. How would you describe the true nature of the 1857 revolt? Substantiate your views.

  • IASbaba
  • November 30, 2022
  • 0
Art & Culture, GS 1, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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1. There are conflicting views among historians regarding the 1857 revolt. How would you describe the true nature of the 1857 revolt? Substantiate your views.

1857 के विद्रोह के संबंध में इतिहासकारों में परस्पर विरोधी मत हैं। आप 1857 के विद्रोह की वास्तविक प्रकृति का वर्णन कैसे करेंगे? अपने विचारों की पुष्टि कीजिए।


Candidates can start the answer with highlighting about 1857 mutiny and different views and perspective on the mutiny. Such as Dr R.C. Mujumdar, Dr S.N. Sen and J. Nehru there nationalistic and feudal-sepoy mutiny perceptions on 1857.


About revolt of 1857 historians have expressed different views depending on their perceptions. Mostly they fall into categories namely Europeans and the Indians, Nationalist and Marxist.


Conflicting Views and observations on Revolt:


  • According to RC Majumdar, the revolt was neither the first, nor was it national, nor was it a war of independence. That there was a tradition of revolts with the onset of British occupation in India.
  • N. Sen called this revolt a ‘Sepoy Mutiny’. Expressed it was mainly an outburst of the military in which certain other groups also started participating.
  • Nehru maintains that initially it started as a mutiny of the Indian soldiers, but when it spread rapidly assumed the nature of a mass rebellion with feudal uprising although there were some nationalistic elements in it.
  • Savarkar referred it wholly first national war of independence.

European and Marxists Historians on the Revolt of 1857:

  • Reese, observed that the revolt was a ‘war against Christianity’. Revolt even though some of the conservative sections of Indian society were against the imposition of Christianity over them.
  • Outram observed that the revolt was a ‘Muslim Conspiracy’ to overthrow the British from India. His views, Muslims wanted to bounce back into the ruling system, and thus conspired against the British rule is definitely not a valid ground of expression.
  • Lawrence and Seeley had some coherence with the Indian viewpoint, especially with that of S.N. Sen, that it was a military revolt in the real sense.
  • Holmes, said that this revolt was a ‘clash of civilization and barbarians. And Benjamin Disraeli described it as a ‘National Revolt’.
  • According to Marxist historians, the 1857 revolt was “the struggle of the soldier-peasant democratic combine against foreign as well as feudal bondage”.

Between Nationalistic and Sepoy-Feudal level mutiny:

  • As per my analysis it can be termed somewhere between above two views.
  • But had seeds of nationalism and anti- imperialism, concept of common nationality and nationhood was inherent at that time
  • It was the first great struggle of Indians to throw off British Rule. It firmly established local traditions of neo resistance to British rule.


Revolt helped in bringing India’s people together and pave the way to modern national movement. The revolt demonstrated the unity among Indian people, especially among Hindus and Muslims.

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