24 July 2017

Indian National Movement - Revolt of 1857 (Part I) - Who, How and What

On May 10, 1987, a band of sepoys opposed and killed the European officers. They reached Delhi by the morning of 11 May 1857, crossing Jamuna and set the toll house on fire and entered the Red Fort. They went to the Red Fort to request Bahadur Shah II to be their leader. They wanted him to grant permission to their revolt.

Bahadur Shah II was the then Mughal emperor. He was not powerful. He was actually a pensioner of British East India Company. He only had a name as a Mughal Emperor.

Bahadur Shah II was confused by the request of the sepoys. He was also indecisive about their intentions and also his role. As he was surrounded by sepoys, he was afraid that the sepoys may harm him, if he oppose to their decision. Finally, he gave in. He was declared as the Shahenshah-e-Hindustan. Then the sepoys set out to capture Delhi. In this process, Simon Fraser, an English political agent and many other Englishmen were killed by the sepoys. The sepoys also occupied and destroyed many public offices.

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This marked the beginning of the Revolt of 1857. This revolt was a failure at the end. But what made it the most important phase in the History of India was, the impact, the revolt had on the whole nation.

The capture of the city of Delhi and the news that Bahadur Shah was the emperor o Hindustan gave positive meaning to the revolt. The revolt of sepoys at Meerut and Delhi gave strength to the sepoys in the North as well as Central and Western India. Punjab and Bengal were slightly affected. But South India remained silent. The army of the East India Company had Indian soldiers. Half of them kept their loyalty to the army aside and stood up for the cause of the freedom of our nation.

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Within a month, the revolt reached different parts of the country. They include Kanpur, Lucknow, Benares, Allahabad, Bareilly, Jagdishpur and Jhansi. The anti-British feelings in the rebels was very high. The local aristocrats and feudal chiefs who suffered at the hands of the British were made their leaders.

Revolt against the British in different parts of the country


Kanpur


At Kanpur, Nana Saheb was chosen as the leader. He was the adopted son of the last Peshwa, Baji Rao II. Also some reigns were took over by Begum Hazrat Mahal. Her son Birjis Qadir was made the Nawab. The offices were shared equally by Muslims and Hindus.

Barielly


Khan Bahadur was made the leader at Barielly. He also warned the commissioner about the revolt. But, once the revolt started, he gathered 40,000 soldiers and gave a tough fight to the British.

Bihar


Kunwar Singh was the leader of the revolt at Bihar. He was a Jamindar of Jagdishpur. Because of the repeated unfair actions of the British towards him regarding his estates, he developed a grudge against the British. He joined sepoys doubtfully when they reached Arrah from Dinapore.

Jhansi


The most phenomenal leader of the revolt was Rani Lakshmibai. Lord Dalhousie was the Governor General at that time. He refused to allow her adopted son to take the throne. He applied the Doctrine of Lapse and took over the kingdom. Lakshmibai tried many things to stop this. She then realised that it was not going to change anything. She then joined the sepoys. She became one of the most terrifying enemies that British had ever fought.

The revolt spread to every part of the military in Bengal and a few in Bombay. But the Madras army remained totally silent and loyal.
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2 January 2017

Medieval Indian History - North India - Pala Dynasty

The period of early medieval India starts after the collapse of Harshavardhana's empire. During that period there were many small clans and states in North India. They all were called Rajputs. They ruled for 500 years from 7th century.

Rajputs comprises of Chauhans, Pratiharas, Rashtrakutas, Pawars, Solankis, Chandelas and others. During the time of Rajputs, there was another powerful dynasty called Pala dynasty.

Pala Empire

PALA was the name added to the names of the kings as suffix. They came into emergence from the middle of the 8th century and ruled for many years. They came into power in Bengal and Bihar and ruled from 760 - 1142 AD.


Gopala


During the early medieval period, there were many independent states and small kingdoms. This made them to fight against each other for power. Those fights were continuous that both the economy and society of the country weakened. This situation provides a good chance for foreigners to attack and take over the country. Law and order was missing in the country during that period.

During the early medieval period Bengal was divided into two parts. Eastern part was called Vanga and Western Part was called Gauda. Around 730 A.D. considering the political situation, Gopala became the king of Bengal. He was able to bring order in the region. He is the founder of Pala empire.

Gopala
↓ 
Dharmapala (son)
↓ 
Devapala (son)

Mahipala I


Dharmapala


Dharmapala was the son of Gopala. He ruled between 780 - 815 A.D. He was able to develop Bengal as a leading state in North India. He brought control over Bengal and Bihar. He was a follower of Buddhism. He encouraged learning a lot. And that is the reason why he founded Vikramashila university. Before it was a university, Vikramashila was a Buddhist Monastry.

Dharmapala occupied Gangetic Doab() and invaded Kanuj. Kanuj was an important city in North India. He removed the king and placed his men as his nominee to the throne. But, the nominees and successors of Palas were not so efficient. They couldn't protect the glory of Pala kingdom.

Doab is a term used in India and Pakistan. Do means two, ab means river. It means that the region lying between the junction of two rivers. Her, Gangetic doab means the part of the Indo-Gangetic plain. The two rivers are Ganges and Yamuna. And the region between the junction of these two rivers is called Gangetic Doab.

The Palas from Doab region was thrown out by Rashtrakutas, where as the nominees of Palas in Kanuj were removed by Pratiharas.

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Devapala


Devapala was the son of Dharmapala. He ruled between 815 - 855 A.D. He took over both Assam and Kalinga. He defeated many Rajput clans and took control over them in Bihar. He encouraged arts. He constructed temples like Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya.

Nalanda university became famous under Pala rule. Oddantapuri was another university founded by Palas. Vajrayana was a new form of Buddhism that was developed in Vikramashila university. It was spread to Tibet in 11th century.


Downfall of Pala empire


The Pala rulers after Devapala were not so efficient to handle the kingdom. After the death of Devapala, the Pala kingdom was destroyed. To the end of 12th century Muslim rulers occupied the Pala kingdom.


Mahipala I



The later Mahipala I is known as the founder of the second Pala kingdom. He ruled from 988 - 1033 A.D. He successfully recaptured the lost territories in northern and western Bengal.


Economy


The Pala dynasty had close trading relations with the countries of South-East Asia. They were in close contact with Shailendra Kings of Shrivijaya in Indonesia.

They introduced Feudal economy(). Trade was decreased. But agro economy flourished. Minerals were important in economic growth and development.

Feudalism was a political, military and social system in middle ages. It was based on the ownership of the land, resulting in the relationship between the lord and vassal. Lord is who donates the land. While, vassal is to whom the land is donated.

Pala kings were Monarchs. They followed Buddhism as well as Hinduism. Their army consisted of Infantry, Cavalry, Elephants and Chariots. There was a legend that, during the period of Dharmapala and Devapala they had a huge army of Nine Lakh soldiers. Their languages include Pali, Sanskrit and Prakrit.

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