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The Indian Rebellion of 1857
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The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a major uprising in India against the British occupation of India.
Unrest had been brewing for decades, but the first sign came in Jan 1857, when a British office was burned down in protest.
Two months later, 29-year-old, Mangal Pandey, urged his fellow sepoys to rebel and wounded two officers by sword.
He was hanged for his efforts and was soon to become a martyr to the rebels’ cause.
But it was something rather unusual that sparked the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
The sepoys had been issued with a new Enfield rifle. But to use it the soldier had to bite off the end of a lubricated cartridge.
The problem was that the grease used to seal the cartridge was made from animal fat from cows and pigs.
The cow is a sacred beast to Hindus and pork is forbidden for Muslims.
The sepoys saw it as another example of a deliberate ploy to undermine their respective religions and to convert them.
On the evening of 9 May 1857, 85 Indian dissenters were thrown into jail to serve sentences from five to ten years.
The next day, Indian comrades of the imprisoned sepoys broke out of jail, revolted and hacked British soldiers to death.
The violence was swift and intense. Civilians joined the sepoys in an orgy of killing and arson.
Upon arriving in the capital, the rebels sought to restore the old Mughal Empire and have Bahadur Shah II as their leader.
But in the end the rebellion was unsuccessful and after two years the British declared an end to them.
The Indian Mutiny of 1857 showed that nothing came before the beliefs and values of the Sepoys.
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