NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 11 Rebels and the Raj

Q. Examine the nature of Indian leadership that emerged against British in the revolt of 1857.

Ans.Many leaders took part in the revolt of 1857. Some of them participated enthusiastically, while some other participated because they had no other option than to participate in the revolt. For these, the rebels sometimes turned to those who had been leaders before the British conquest.

  1. One of the first acts of the sepoys of Meerut,was to rush to Delhi and appeal to the old Mughal emperor to accept the leadership of the revolt.
  2. As he had very few options, he agreed to be the nominal leader of the rebellion.
  3. Similar scenes were enacted though on a minor scale. In Kanpur, the sepoys and the people of the town gave Nana Sahib, the successor to leadership of the revolt in Kanpur.
  4. So was Kunwar Singh, a local zamindar in Arrah in Bihar.
  5. The populace in Lucknow celebrated the fall of British rule by hailing Birjis Qadr, the young son of the Nawab, as their leader.
  6. Often, the message of rebellion was carried by ordinary men and women and in places by religious men too. From Meerut, there were reports that a fakir had appeared
    riding on an elephant and that the sepoys were visiting him frequently.
  7. In Lucknow, after the annexation of Awadh, there were many religious leaders and self-styled prophets who preached the destruction of British rule.
  8. Local leaders emerged, urging the peasants, the zamindars and the tribals to revolt. Shah Mal mobilised the villagers of parganaBarout.
  9. In Uttar Pradesh, Gonoo, a tribal cultivator of Singhbhum in Chotanagpur, became a rebel leader of the Koltribals of the region.

Q. Discuss the evidence that indicates planning and coordination on the part of the rebels

Ans. The evidence which indicates planning and coordination on the part of the rebels is as follows:

  1. Lines of communication: There was communication between the sepoys lines of various cantonments. For example, after the 7th Awadh Irregular Cavalry had refused to use new cartridges, they wrote to the 48th Native Infantry that, “they had acted for the faith and awaited the 48th’s orders.” 
  2. Sepoys or their emissaries moved from one station to another: Mutinies were organised is evident from the incident relating to protection given to captain Hearsey by his Indian subordinates during the mutiny. In this case, it was decided that the matter would be decided by a panchayat composed of native officers drawn from each regiment. It proves that the mutinies were well-organised. Charles Ball had also noted that panchayats were a nightly occurrence in the Kanpur sepoys lines.

Q. Discuss the extent to which religious beliefs shaped the events of 1857.

Ans. The religious causes for the Revolt which hurt the religious sentiments of Indian people are as follows:

  1. Immediate cause: The soldiers were given cartridge greased with cow and pig fat. This angered the Muslims and the Hindus alike.
  2. Reforms by the Company: The Company introduced many religious and social reforms. Many Indians began to believe that it was an attempt on the part of the government to deviate them from their own religion. Some of the important reforms were-prevention of sati system, widow remarriage, etc.
  3. Activities of Christian Missionaries: During the Company rule, there was spread of education by the Christian Missionaries, but local people looked upon them with suspicion. Thus, the people plunged in rebellion against the foreign rule.

Q. Why was the revolt particularly widespread in Awadh? What prompted the peasants, taluqdaars and zamindars to join the revolt?

Ans. The revolt was widespread in Awadh due to various reasons which are as follows:

  1. Awadh was annexed by the British on the plea that the region was being misgoverned. The British thought that the Nawab was not popular, but on the contrary, he was very popular. People considered it as, “the life has gone out of the body”. The removal led to an emotional upheaval among the people of Awadh.
  2. The annexation of Awadh led to unemployment among the musicians, dancers, poets, artisans, cooks, retainers, administrative officials and soon those who were attached with the Nawab and his household. It also led to loss of court culture.
  3. The peasants, the taluqdaars and the zamindars joined the revolt due to the following grievances:
    (a) Before the annexation, the taluqdaars were very powerful, but immediately after the annexation, they were disarmed and their forts destroyed. Not only under the first British revenue settlement, known as the Summary Settlement of 1856, wasit assumed that they had no permanent stakes in land. Wherever possible, they were removed. This led to discontentment among the taluqdars.
    (b) The British had hoped that by removing the taluqdars, the condition of the peasantswould improve but this did not happen. Revenue flows for the state increased butthe burden of demand on the peasants did not decline. So, the peasants were too not happy with the new situation.

Q. How did the British repress the revolt of 1857? Explain.

Ans. The revolt of 1857 lasted for more than a year. It was suppressed by the middle of 1858. On July 8, 1858, 14 months after the outbreak at Meerut, peace was finally proclaimed by Lord Canning, the then Viceroy of India. The British’s attempts to supress the revolt were characterised by ferocity and vengeance.

Q. Examine the impact of ‘Limitation Laws’ passed by the British in 1859.

Ans. In 1859, the Britishers passed the Law of Limitation, stating that the loan bonds signed between the money lenders and the ryots would have validity for three years only.

Effects of the law were:

  1. The moneylenders manipulated and forced the ryots to sign a new bond every three years.
  2. The moneylenders refused to give receipts when loans were repaid, entered fictitious figures in bonds, acquired the peasants’ harvest at low prices, and ultimately took
    over peasants’ property.

Q. How did British dispossess Taluqdars of Awadh during 1857 ? Explain with examples.


  1. The annexation of Awadh not only displaced the Nawab, but it also dispossessed the taluqdars of the region.
  2. In Pre-British times, the taluqdars kept armed retainers, built forts and enjoyed sufficient autonomy as long as they accepted the suzerainty of the Nawab and paid the revenue of their taluq.
  3. The British did not want to tolerate the power of the taluqdars. The taluqdars of Awadh were disarmed and their forts smashed just after the annexation.