Class 12 History - Chapter / Theme 11: Rebels and the Raj - The Revolt of 1857 and Its Representations

List of Questions and Answers

1.What attempts were made by the British to repress the revolt of 1857 ? (any two points)
(Chapter 11: Rebels and the Raj - The Revolt of 1857 and Its Representations)


  • In May and June 1857, North India was put under martial law and military officers and even ordinary Britons were given the power to try and punish Indians suspected of rebellion.
  • With the new laws in action , the British thus mounted a two-pronged attack. One force moved from Calcutta into North India and the other from the Punjab – which was largely peaceful – to reconquer Delhi.
  • The British used military power on a gigantic scale. In large parts of present-day Uttar Pradesh, where big landholders and peasants had offered united resistance, the British tried to break up the unity by promising to give back to the big landholders their estates.

2.Examine the role of rumours and prophecies in the revolt of 1857.
(Chapter 11:Rebels and the Raj - The Revolt of 1857 and Its Representations)


  • The rumours spread were that the British government had hatched a gigantic conspiracy to destroy the caste and religion of Hindus and Muslims.
  • There was fear and suspicion that the British wanted to convert Indians to Christianity.
  • The rumours said, the British had mixed the bone dust of cows and pigs into the flour that was sold in the market. In towns and cantonments, sepoys and the common people refused to touch the atta.
  • Rumours of chapattis distribution from village to village.

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3.Explain the features of the "Subsidiary Alliance" devised by Lord Wellesley in 1798.
(Chapter 11 : Rebels and the Raj - The Revolt of 1857 and Its Representations)

Subsidiary Alliance was a system devised by Lord Wellesley in 1798. All those who entered into such an alliance with the British had to accept certain terms and conditions:
(a) The British would be responsible for protecting their ally from external and internal threats to their power.
(b) In the territory of the ally, a British armed contingent would be stationed.
(c) The ally would have to provide the resources for maintaining this contingent.
(d) The ally could enter into agreements with other rulers or engage in warfare only with the permission of the British.

4.Why did Taluqdars and Sepoys of Awadh join the Revolt of 1857 ? Explain.
(Chapter 11 : Rebels and the Raj - The Revolt of 1857 and Its Representations)


  • Taluqdars maintained armed retainers, built forts, and enjoyed a degree of autonomy , also the bigger taluqdars had as many as 12,000 footsoldiers and even the smaller ones had about 200.
  • The British were unwilling to tolerate the power of the taluqdars. Immediately after the annexation, the taluqdars were disarmed and their forts destroyed.
  • The British land revenue policy further undermined the position and authority of the taluqdars.
  • A vast majority of the sepoys were recruited from the villages of Awadh and they had complained of low levels of pay and the difficulty of getting leave.
  • The British officers developed a sense of superiority and started treating the sepoys as their racial inferiors, riding roughshod over their sensibilities,abuse and physical violence etc.
  • The changing relationship of Taluqdars and Sepoys of Awadh with the British made them join the revolt of 1857.

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