Chapter 1:- First war of independence (ICSE)


Q.1. When and why was Oudh annexed by Lord Dalhousie?
Ans. The Nawabs of Oudh were the faithful allies of the English. Dalhousie was determined to annex Oudh on whatever ground. At last, towards the end of his rule, he brought serious charges against the ruling Nawab Wazid Ali that his administration had become a complete misrule. The Nawab was forced to vacate his throne and Dalhousie annexed Oudh on February 1856. This annexation of Oudh was an example of reckless Imperialism.

Q.2. What is meant by the Doctrine of Lapse?
Ans. According to the Doctrine of Lapse, if a ruler died without any heir to succeed him, his adopted son could neither inherit the throne nor the title, and in such cases, the State was to be annexed to the British Empire.

Q.3. State any two political causes responsible for the First War of Independence.
Ans. Any two political causes responsible for the First War of Independence are as follows:-

  • Many States like Jhansi, Satara, Nagpur were annexed under the Doctrine of Lapse introduced by Lord Dalhousie. According to this, heirs adopted without the consent of the Company could inherit the private property of the deceased ruler but the Kingdom would come directly under the Company's rule.
  • Awadh was annexed by Lord Dalhousie on the pretext of alleged misrule.
  • Disrespect was shown to Bahadur Shah, the Mughal ruler. Dalhousie announced that Bahadur Shah's successors could not use the Red Fort as their Palace and were to shift to Qutub Minar. Later, Lord Canning announced that after the death of Bahadur Shah, his successors will not be allowed to use the Imperial titles with their names and would be known as mere Princes.
  • Treatment given to Nana Saheb, the adopted son of Baji Rao II, resulted into resentment as the British refused to give the pension they were paying to Baji Rao II. Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi was a bitter enemy of the British as she was adversely affected by the Doctrine of Lapse
  • The rule of the British was resented by the Indians as they felt that they were being ruled from England and Indian wealth was not being used for their welfare. 

Q.4. What was the General Service Enlistment Act?
Ans. The British Parliament passed the General Service Enlistment Act in 1856. According to  his Act, the Indian soldiers serving in the East India Company could be sent overseas on duty. Indian soldiers dreaded sea voyage and considered it against their customs.

Q.5. What was Nana Sahib's grievance against the British?
Ans. Nana Sahib was the adopted son of the last Peshwa Baji Rao II. The British refused to grant him pension, which they were paying to Peshwa Baji Rao II.

Q.6. Why did the Doctrine of Lapse become a political cause for the Revolt of 1857?

Ans. According to the Doctrine of Lapse, heirs adopted without the consent of the Company, could inherit only the private property of the deceased ruler but not his territory, which would come under the Company's rule. The Prominent States, which became victims to the Doctrine of Lapse were Jhansi, Jaipur, Sambalpur, Udaipur and Nagpur.

Q.7. Mention any two social reforms advocated by the British which affected the religious  traditions of the Indian people.
Ans. Two social reforms which affected the religious traditions of the people were –

  • The practice of Sati was made illegal and punishable by the Law.
  • Laws were formed to ban girl infanticide.

Q.8. Mention any two social evils that existed in India during the 19th century. What measures did the British Government take to stop them?
Ans. Sati, where the widow was burnt on the funeral pyre of her husband, was a terrible social evil which existed during the 19th century. Rigid caste system in which the upper castes oppressed and looked the lower castes was another social evil. Upon The reform movements tried to do away with these evils. Legislation was passed by the British for the suppression of Sati and even for the Remarriage of Widows. The British also supported Raja Ram down Mohan Roy in this, and in his efforts to break the caste barriers.

Q.9. Mention the economic factors which became the causes of the First War of Independence, 1852.
Ans. (i) The British Trade Policy in India ruined Indian industries and trade. Heavy duties were imposed on Indian textiles imported to Britain raw cotton and raw silk which the British
This resulted in the loss of handicraft and textile industries, leaving millions of artisans unemployed.
(ii) India was forced to export raw materials like industries needed urgently, at cheaper rates and also plantation products like indigo, tea and food grains which were in short supply in Britain.

Q.10. Mention one reason for the unhappiness of the Indian Soldiers in the British Army before 1857
Ans. The British Parliament passed the General Service Enlistment Act in 1856, according to which, Indian soldiers could be sent overseas on duty. This Act did not take into account the sentiments of the Indian soldiers, who dreaded such voyages.