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What was the first factor that triggered the Revolt of 1857?
1. Discontent of soldiers
2. Policy of Lapse
3. Annexation of Avadh
4. Civilian discontent

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Correct Answer - Option 1 : Discontent of soldiers

The correct answer is the Discontent of soldiers.

  • The immediate factor was the introduction of the ‘Enfield’ rifle. It was said that the cartridge of this rifle was wrapped in the fat of cow and pig.
  • The cartridge had to be bitten off before loading it into the gun. Thus the Hindu and Muslim soldiers were reluctant to use the ‘Enfield’ rifle. Hence option 1 is correct.

  • At Barrackpore (Bengal), the soldiers of the 34th Native Infantry refused to obey the commander Lt. B.augh. MangalPandey who led the uprising wanted to kill Lt. Baugh and finally, MangalPandey was overpowered and was hanged. He was the first rebel who was hanged in the revolt of 1857. This sparked a collective uprising in the form of the revolt of 1857.
  • After the event of Barrackpore, on 10th May 1857 General Bakht Khan who was posted in Meerut, along with the contingent of troops from Meerut and Bareily, marched to Delhi, and then the context of the revolt was set, when he declared Bahadur Shah Zafar as the leader of the revolt.
  • So, 10th May 1857, was regarded as the beginning of the revolt. After initial reluctance, Bahadur Shah Zafar agreed to become the leader of the revolt.
  • General Bakht Khan raised Bahadur Shah Zafar as the leader of the revolt as the people of India still accepted Mughal suzerainty over India, and it was symbolic for him to lead this revolt.
  • After 10th May 1857, the revolt spread to different parts of India from Delhi, i.e. Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Bareilly, Awadh, Assam, Bihar, etc.
  • Thus various parts of Northern India were under the grip of the revolt. Thus from 1857-1858, the British were on a war footing to suppress the revolt. The revolt was suppressed by 1858.

  • The doctrine of Lapse: 
    • Lord Dalhousie was the Governor-General from 1848 to 1856.
    • He led the final wave of annexations.
    • This final wave of annexations was done through his policy of Doctrine of Lapse.
    • As per Doctrine of Lapse, the Kingdom would ‘Lapse’ and would become part of British East India Company territory if the ruler of a Kingdom died without a male heir.
    • The Kingdom of Satara was the 1st kingdom to be annexed through the Doctrine of Lapse in 1848.
    • The Kingdom of Sambalpur was annexed in 1850.
    • The Kingdom of Udaipur was annexed by Dalhousie through the Doctrine of Lapse in 1852.
    • The Kingdom of Nagpur was annexed in 1853.
    • The Kingdom of Jhansi was annexed in 1854.
    • The final annexation through the Doctrine of Lapse was the Kingdom of Awadh in 1856 based on corruption.

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