Independence Day Of India Essay Wikipedia Encyclopedia

This article is about celebrations of nationhood. For holidays with names like "National Item Day", see List of commemorative days.

A national day is a designated date on which celebrations mark the nationhood of a nation or non-sovereign country. This nationhood can be symbolized by the date of independence, of becoming a republic or a significant date for a patron saint or a ruler (birthday, accession, removal, etc.). Often the day is not called "National Day" but serves and can be considered as one. The national day will often be a national holiday. Many countries have more than one national day.

Most countries have a fixed-date national day, but some have movable dates. An example is Jamaica, which up to 1997 celebrated its national day on the first Monday in August. This commemorated independence from the United Kingdom which was attained on Monday, 6 August 1962, the first Monday in August of that year. Israel's Independence Day is not fixed relative to the civil Gregorian calendar, being formally linked to 5 Iyar on the Jewish calendar, but may also be moved to any day between 3 and 6 Iyar in order to avoid preparing for or celebrating either Independence Day or Memorial Day (which immediately precedes Independence Day) on Shabbat; the practical effect of this is that Independence Day may be celebrated any day between 15 April and 15 May. Another example is Thailand which celebrates the birthday of the king on 28 July. This date will change on the accession of the heir to the throne.

Most national days can be categorized in two large blocks:[citation needed]

  • Newer countries that celebrate their national day as the day of their independence.
  • Older countries that use some other event of special significance as their national day.

Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the few countries that do not have designated national days.


Importance attached to the national day as well as the degree to which it is celebrated vary greatly from country to country. For example, Spain's national day Fiesta Nacional de España is held on 12 October, the day celebrated in other countries as Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, and commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas.[1] A military parade is held in Madrid celebrating the occasion.[1] The national day in France is 14 July and known as the Fête nationale (known in English-speaking countries as Bastille Day) commemorating the Storming of the Bastille,[2] which is considered the start of the French Revolution.[3] It is widely celebrated and the French Tricolour is much in evidence, while the President of the Republic attends a military parade on the Champs-Élysées of Paris. In the United States, the Independence Day celebrations on 4 July are widely celebrated with parades, fireworks, picnics and barbecues. In Ireland, Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March, is the equivalent of a national day and has been a public holiday for many years. However, in the United Kingdom the constituent countries' patron saints' days are low-key affairs. In recent times campaigns have commenced to promote the national days of England, Scotland and Wales, with St. Andrew's Day being designated as an official bank holiday when the Scottish Parliament passed the St Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007. A National Day for the United Kingdom has also been proposed in recent years.

As with the Bastille Day military parade in France, many other countries have a National Day Parade. Examples include the Singapore National Day Parade, and the parade for the National Day of the People's Republic of China.

List of national days[edit]

See also: List of national independence days

Regions that are not broadly recognized sovereign states are shown in pink. For regions controlled by sovereign states (such as federal states, autonomous regions, or colonies), the name of the sovereign state is shown in parentheses.

Days that are not fixed to the Gregorian calendar are sorted by their 2017 occurrences.

NationDateNational day
 Afghanistan19 AugustIndependence from United Kingdom control over Afghan foreign affairs in 1919. (see Afghan Independence Day)
 Albania28 Novembersee Albanian Flag Day
 Alderney (British Islands)15 DecemberHomecoming Day, the return of the Islanders after the end of the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II 1945
 Algeria1 NovemberStart of the War of Independence in 1954
 American Samoa (United States)17 AprilUSFlag Day
 Andorra8 SeptemberOur Lady of Meritxell Day, patron saint of Andorra
 Angola11 NovemberIndependence from Portugal in 1975
 Anguilla (United Kingdom)30 MayAnguilla Day; the beginning of the Anguillian Revolution in 1967
 Antigua and Barbuda1 NovemberIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1981
 Argentina25 MayFirst Patriotic Government, the Spanish viceroy is removed and replaced by the Primera Junta during the May Revolution
 Argentina9 JulyDeclaration of Independence, from Spain in 1816
 Armenia28 MayRepublic Day, independence from the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic 1918
 Armenia21 SeptemberIndependence from the Soviet Union recognised in 1991
 Aruba (Kingdom of the Netherlands)18 MarchFlag Day; adoption of the flag in 1976
 Ascension (United Kingdom)2nd Saturday in June
 Australia26 JanuaryAustralia Day, date of the founding of Sydney, the first European settlement in Australia, 1788
 Austria26 OctoberThe Neutrality Constitution of 1955
 Azerbaijan28 MayRepublic Day, independence from the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic 1918
 AzoresPentecost MondayAzores Day, gaining authonomy from Portugal in 1976.
 Bahamas10 JulyIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1973
 Bahrain16 DecemberAccession Day of Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the first Emir of Bahrain
 Bangladesh26 MarchIndependence Day, declaration of independence from Pakistan in 1971
 Bangladesh16 DecemberVictory Day, the day the Bangladesh Liberation War ended in 1971
 Barbados30 NovemberIndependence Day, from the United Kingdom in 1966
 Belarus3 JulyIndependence Day, liberation of Minsk from German occupation by Soviet troops in 1944
 Belgium21 JulyLeopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld takes the oath as the first King of the Belgians in 1831
 Belize10 SeptemberThe Battle of St. George's Caye Day commemorates the battle that occurred in 1798.[4]
 Belize21 SeptemberIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1981
 Benin1 AugustIndependence from France in 1960
 Bermuda (United Kingdom)24 MayOriginally Queen Victoria's birthday; now "Bermuda Day" to celebrate the islands' heritage and culture
 Bhutan17 DecemberUgyen Wangchuck elected hereditary king in 1907
 Bolivia6 AugustProclamation of Republic (independent from Spain) in 1825
 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina)1 MarchDan nezavisnosti; Proclamation of independence from Yugoslavia in 1992
 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina)25 NovemberStatehood Day, formation of the State Anti-fascist Council for the National Liberation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1943
 Botswana30 SeptemberIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1966
 Brazil7 SeptemberDia da Independência, declaration of independence from Portugal in 1822
 British Virgin Islands (United Kingdom)1 July
 Brunei23 FebruaryNational Day, celebrating independence from the United Kingdom on 1984, which actually occurred on 1 January
 Bulgaria3 MarchLiberation Day, autonomy within Ottoman Empire 1878
 Burkina Faso4 AugustChange of name from Upper Volta in 1984
 Burkina Faso5 AugustIndependence Day, from France in 1960
 Burundi1 JulyIndependence from Belgium in 1962
 Cambodia9 NovemberIndependence from France in 1953
 Cameroon20 MayNational Day, creation of a unitary state in 1972
 Canada1 JulyCanada Day, creation of a federal Canada from three British Dominions in 1867
 Catalonia (Spain)11 SeptemberNational Day, commemorates the fall of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714 and the subsequent loss of Catalan liberties and institutions
 Cape Verde12 September
 Cayman Islands (United Kingdom)1st Monday in July
 Central African Republic1 DecemberMade an autonomous territory within the French Community in 1958
 Chad11 AugustIndependence from France in 1960
 Chile18 SeptemberThe first Government Junta is created in 1810
People's Republic of China1 OctoberNational Day of the People's Republic of China (Proclamation of the People's Republic of China in 1949)
Republic of China1 JanuaryFounding Day of the Republic of China, establishment of the Provisional Government in 1912
Republic of China10 OctoberDouble Ten Day commemorating the 1911 Wuchang Uprising that led to abolishment of the monarchy and founding of the Republic in China in 1911
 Colombia20 JulyDeclaration of independence from Spain in 1810
 Comoros6 JulyIndependence from France in 1975
Democratic Republic of the Congo30 JuneIndependence from Belgium in 1960
Republic of the Congo15 AugustIndependence from France in 1960
 Cook Islands4 AugustSelf-government in free association with New Zealand in 1965
 Costa Rica15 SeptemberIndependence from the Kingdom of Spain in 1821
 Croatia25 JuneStatehood Day, declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991
 Cuba1 JanuaryLiberation Day, Fidel Castro takes power in 1959
 Curaçao (Kingdom of the Netherlands)2 JulyThe first elected island council is instituted in 1954
 Cyprus1 OctoberIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1960
 Czech Republic28 OctoberIndependence from Austria-Hungary (as Czechoslovakia) in 1918
 Czech Republic28 SeptemberCzech Statehood day (Saint Wenceslas day)
 Côte d'Ivoire7 AugustIndependence from France in 1960
 Denmark5 June(No official National Day; adoption of the Constitution of 1849)
 Djibouti27 JuneIndependence from France in 1977
 Dominica3 NovemberIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1978 and discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1493
 Dominican Republic27 FebruaryIndependence from Haiti in 1844
 East Timor20 MayIndependence from Indonesia in 2002
 Ecuador10 AugustProclamation of independence from Spain in 1809
 Egypt23 JulyRevolution Day, the revolution of 1952
 Egypt6 OctoberArmed Forces Day, the beginning of the October War in 1973
 El Salvador15 SeptemberIndependence from the Kingdom of Spain in 1821
 England (United Kingdom)23 AprilDay of St. George, patron saint of England. Sometimes proposed as National Day.
 Equatorial Guinea12 OctoberIndependence from Spain in 1968
 Eritrea24 MayEritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) fighters enter Asmara in 1991 and Eritrea becomes a de facto independent state; United Nations recognizes Eritrea's independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a UN-supervised referendum on nationhood.
 Estonia24 FebruaryIndependence Day, declaration of independence from Russia in 1918
 Ethiopia28 MayDownfall of the Derg Day, the Derg regime is defeated in 1991
 Falkland Islands (United Kingdom)14 AugustFalklands Day, First recorded sighting of the islands.
 Falkland Islands (United Kingdom)14 JuneLiberation Day, Liberation from Argentina at the end of the Falklands War in 1982
 Faroe Islands (Denmark)29 JulyÓlavsøka (Saint Olaf's death at the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030): opening of the Løgting (parliament) session
 Fiji10 OctoberFiji Day, independence from the United Kingdom in 1970
 Finland6 DecemberIndependence Day, declaration of independence from Russia in 1917
 Florida (United States)2 AprilPascua Florida is day or week (as declared by the Governor) celebrating the founding of Florida by Juan Ponce de León on April 2, 1513.
 France14 JulyBastille Day, 14 July 1789.[5]
 French Guiana (France)20 DecemberAbolition of slavery day
 French Polynesia (France)29 JuneInternal Autonomy day
 Gabon17 AugustIndependence from France in 1960
 Gambia18 FebruaryIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1965
 Georgia26 MayDay of First Republic, declaration of independence from Russia in 1918
 Germany3 OctoberGerman Unity Day, unification of West Germany and East Germany in 1990
 Ghana6 MarchIndependence from the United Kingdom in 1957
 Gibraltar (United Kingdom)10 SeptemberGibraltar National Day, people of Gibraltar vote to reject Spanish sovereignty or association in 1967
 Greece25 MarchStart of the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire in 1821
 Greece28 OctoberOhi Day, rejection of the Italian ultimatum of 1940
 Greenland (Denmark)21 June(Longest Day of the Year) The National Day was introduced in 1983 as one of the Home Rule's traditions and is thus one of several expressions of national identity
 Grenada7 FebruaryIndependence from United Kingdom in 1974
 Guadeloupe (France)27 Mayabolition of slavery day
 Guam (United States)21 JulyLiberation Day, American landing on Guam 1944, the beginning of the Battle of Guam
 Guatemala15 SeptemberIndependence from the Kingdom of Spain in 1821
 Guernsey (British Islands)9 MayLiberation Day, the end of the German occupation of the Channel Islands in 1945
 Guinea2 OctoberIndependence from France in 1958
 Guinea-Bissau24 SeptemberDeclaration of independence from Portugal in 1973
 Guyana23 FebruaryMashramani, declaration of the Republic in 1970
 Haiti1 JanuaryDeclaration of independence from France in 1804
 Herm (British Islands)9 MayLiberation Day, the end of the German occupation of the Channel Islands in 1945
 Honduras15 SeptemberIndependence from the Kingdom of Spain in 1821
 Hong Kong (China)1 JulyTransfer of sovereignty to the PRC in 1997
 Hungary15 March1848 Revolution memorial day
 Hungary20 AugustSt. Stephen's day
 Hungary23 October1956 Revolution memorial day
 Iceland17 JuneNational Day, founding of the Republic and dissolution of the personal union with Denmark in 1944
 India26 JanuaryRepublic Day, adoption of the
On Sveriges nationaldag in Sweden the King and Queen (in national costume) celebrate Sweden's independence each year on the 6th of June.
Map with reasons for national days

For independence movements of American Indians, see Native American self-determination.

Part of a series on the

History of India

Part of a series on the

History of Bangladesh


  • Neolithic, c. 7600 – c. 3300 BCE
  • Bronze Age, c. 3300 – c. 1200 BCE
  • Iron Age, c. 1200 – c. 200 BCE
  • Bengal in Mahabharata, c. 400 - c. 325 BCE
  • Gangaridai Kingdom, c. 350 - c. 325 BCE
  • Mauryan Empire, c. 325 – c. 185 BCE
  • Samatata Kingdom, c. 232 BCE - c. 800 CE
  • Shunga-Kushan Period, c. 185 BCE – c. 75 CE
  • Southwestern Silk Road, c. 114 BCE - c. 1450 CE
  • Indo-Roman trade relations, c. 30 - BCE - c. 600 CE


  • Gupta Empire, c. 240 - c. 550 CE
  • Sylhet-Assam Varmans, c. 350 - c. 650 CE
  • Gauda Kingdom, c. 590 - c. 626 CE
  • Khadga dynasty, c. 650 - c. 750 CE
  • Pala Empire, c. 750 - c. 1100 CE
  • Arrival of Islam, c. 800 - c. 1050 CE
  • Harikela Kingdom, c. 900 - c. 1050 CE
  • Sena dynasty, c. 1070 - c. 1320 CE
  • Deva dynasty, c. 1100 - c. 1250 CE


  • Nawabs of Bengal, c. 1717 - c. 1757 CE
  • Company Raj, c. 1757 - c. 1858 CE
  • Faraizi Movement, c. 1818 - c. 1884 CE
  • The Great Rebellion, c. 1857 - c. 1858 CE
  • British Raj, c. 1858 - c. 1947 CE
  • East Bengal, c. 1947 - c. 1955 CE
  • East Pakistan, c. 1955 - c. 1971 CE
  • Bangladesh Liberation War, c. 1971 CE
  • Bangladeshi Republic, c. 1972 CE - present
Bangladesh portal

Part of a series on the

History of Pakistan


  • Palaeolithic
  • Neolithic
  • Indus Valley Civilisation, c. 3300 – c. 1700 BCE
  • Vedic Civilization, c. 1500 – c. 500 BCE
  • Achaemenid Empire, c. 550 – c. 330 BCE
  • Ror Dynasty, c. 489 – c. 450 BCE
  • Macedonian Empire, c. 329 – c. 323 BCE
  • Mauryan Empire, c. 322 – c. 200 BCE
  • Seleucid Empire, c. 312 – c. 63 BCE
  • Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, c. 190 – c. 140 BCE
  • Indo-Greek Kingdom, c. 170 – c. 50 BCE
  • Indo-Scythian Kingdom, c. 110 BCE – c. 95 CE


  • Caliphate, c. 643 – 860 CE
  • Pala Empire, c. 770 – 850 CE
  • Habbari Dynasty, c. 841 – 1024 CE
  • Kabul Shahi, c. 870 – 1010 CE
  • Samanid Empire, c. 905 – 999 CE
  • Ghaznavids, c. 999 – 1186 CE
  • Soomra Dynasty, c. 1024 – 1351 CE
  • Ghurid Dynasty, c. 1170 – 1215 CE
  • Delhi Sultanate, c. 1206 – c. 1526 CE
  • Mongol Empire, c. 1221 – c. 1327 CE
  • Samma Dynasty, c. 1351 – c. 1524 CE
  • Arghun Dynasty, c. 1520 – c. 1554 CE
  • Mughal Empire, c. 1526 – c. 1707 CE
  • Bombay Presidency, c. 1618 – c. 1947 CE
  • Suri Dynasty, c. 1540 – c. 1556 CE
  • Tarkhan Dynasty, c. 1554 – 1591 CE

The Indian independence movement encompassed activities and ideas aiming to end the East India Company rule (1757–1857) and the British Indian Empire (1857–1947) in the Indian subcontinent. The movement spanned a total of 90 years (1857–1947).

The first organised militant movements were in Bengal, but they later took movement in the newly formed Indian National Congress with prominent moderate leaders seeking only their basic right to appear for Indian Civil Service (British India) examinations, as well as more rights, economic in nature, for the people of the soil. The early part of the 20th century saw a more radical approach towards political self-rule proposed by leaders such as the Lal, Bal, Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh, V. O. Chidambaram Pillai. The last stages of the self-rule struggle from the 1920s onwards saw Congress adopt Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's policy of nonviolence and civil disobedience, and several other campaigns. Nationalists like Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh preached armed revolution to achieve self-rule. Poets and writers such as Subramania Bharati, Rabindranath Tagore, Muhammad Iqbal, Josh Malihabadi, Mohammad Ali Jouhar, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Kazi Nazrul Islam used literature, poetry and speech as a tool for political awareness. Feminists such as Sarojini Naidu and Begum Rokeya promoted the emancipation of Indian women and their participation in national politics. B. R. Ambedkar championed the cause of the disadvantaged sections of Indian society within the larger self-rule movement. The period of the Second World War saw the peak of the campaigns by the Quit India Movement led by Congress, and the Indian National Army movement led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

The Indian self-rule movement was a mass-based movement that encompassed various sections of society. It also underwent a process of constant ideological evolution.[1] Although the basic ideology of the movement was anti-colonial, it was supported by a vision of independent capitalist economic development coupled with a secular, democratic, republican, and civil-libertarian political structure.[2] After the 1930s, the movement took on a strong socialist orientation, owing to the influence of Bhagat Singh's demand of Purn Swaraj (Complete Self-Rule).[1] The work of these various movements led ultimately to the Indian Independence Act 1947, which ended the suzerainty in India and the creation of Pakistan. India remained a Dominion of the Crown until 26 January 1950, when the Constitution of India came into force, establishing the Republic of India; Pakistan was a dominion until 1956, when it adopted its first republican constitution. In 1971, East Pakistan declared independence as the People's Republic of Bangladesh.

Background (1757–1883)[edit]

Early British colonialism in India[edit]

Main articles: Colonial India, East India Company, Company rule in India, and British Raj

European traders first reached Indian shores with the arrival of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in 1498 at the port of Calicut, in search of the lucrative spice trade. Just over a century later, the Dutch and English established trading outposts on the subcontinent, with the first English trading post set up at Surat in 1613.[3] Over the course of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the British[4] defeated the Portuguese and Dutch militarily, but remained in conflict with the French, who had by then sought to establish themselves in the subcontinent. The decline of the Mughal Empire in the first half of the eighteenth century provided the British with the opportunity to establish a firm foothold in Indian politics.[5] After the Battle of Plassey in 1757, during which the East India Company's Indian army under Robert Clive defeated Siraj ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, the Company established itself as a major player in Indian affairs, and soon afterwards gained administrative rights over the regions of Bengal, Bihar and Midnapur part of Orissa, following the Battle of Buxar in 1764.[6] After the defeat of Tipu Sultan, most of South India came either under the Company's direct rule, or under its indirect political control as part a princely state in a subsidiary alliance. The Company subsequently gained control of regions ruled by the Maratha Empire, after defeating them in a series of wars. The Punjab was annexed in 1849, after the defeat of the Sikh armies in the First (1845–1846) and Second (1848–49) Anglo-Sikh Wars.

English was made the medium of instruction in India's schools in 1835, and many Indians increasingly disliked British rule. The English tried to impose the Western standards of education and culture on Indian masses, believing in the 18th century racist notion of the superiority of Western culture and enlightenment.

Early rebellion[edit]

Puli Thevar was one of the opponents of the British rule in India. He was in conflict with the Nawab of Arcot who was supported by the British. His prominent exploits were his confrontations with Marudhanayagam, who later rebelled against the British in the late 1750s and early 1760s. Nelkatumseval the present Tirunelveli Dist of Tamil Nadu state of India was the headquarters of Puli Thevan.

Toughest resistance company experienced offered by Mysore. The Anglo–Mysore Wars were a series of wars fought in over the last three decades of the 18th century between the Kingdom of Mysore on the one hand, and the British East India Company (represented chiefly by the Madras Presidency), and Maratha Confederacyand the Nizam of Hyderabad on the other. Hyder Ali and his successor Tipu Sultan fought a war on four fronts with the British attacking from the west, south and east, while the Marathas and the Nizam's forces attacked from the north. The fourth war resulted in the overthrow of the house of Hyder Ali and Tipu (who was killed in the final war, in 1799), and the dismantlement of Mysore to the benefit of the East India Company, which won and took control of much of India.[7]

Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja was one of the earliest freedom fighters in India. He was the prince regent of the princely state of Kottiyur or Cotiote in North Malabar, near Kannur, India between 1774 and 1805. He fought a guerrilla war with tribal people from Wynad supporting him. He was caught by the British and his fort was razed to the ground.

Rani Velu Nachiyar (1730–1796), was a queen of Indian Sivaganga from 1760 to 1790. She was the first queen to fight against the British in India. Rani Nachiyar was trained in war match weapons usage, martial arts like Valari, Silambam (fighting using stick), horse riding and archery. She was a scholar in many languages and she had proficiency with languages like French, English and Urdu. When her husband, Muthuvaduganathaperiya Udaiyathevar, was killed by British soldiers and the son of the Nawab of Arcot, she was drawn into battle. She formed an army and sought an alliance with Gopala Nayaker and Hyder Ali with the aim of attacking the British, whom she did successfully fight in 1780. When Rani Velu Nachiyar found the place where the British stored their ammunition, she arranged a suicide attack: a faithful follower, Kuyili, doused herself in oil, set herself alight and walked into the storehouse. Rani Velu Nachiyar formed a woman's army named "udaiyaal" in honour of her adopted daughter, Udaiyaal, who died detonating a British arsenal. Rani Nachiyar was one of the few rulers who regained her kingdom, and ruled it for ten more years.[8][9]

Veerapandiya Kattabomman was an eighteenth-century Polygar and chieftain from Panchalankurichi in Tamil Nadu, India who waged a war against the East India Company. He was captured by the British and hanged in 1799 CE.[10] Kattabomman refused to accept the sovereignty of East India Company, and fought against them.[11]Dheeran Chinnamalai was a Kongu chieftain and Palayakkarar from Tamil Nadu who fought against the East India Company.[12] After Kattabomman and Tipu Sultan's deaths, Chinnamalai sought the help of Marathas and Maruthu Pandiyar to attack the British at Coimbatore in 1800. British forces managed to stop the armies of the allies and hence Chinnamalai was forced to attack Coimbatore on his own. His army was defeated and he escaped from the British forces. Chinnamalai engaged in guerrilla warfare and defeated the British in battles at Cauvery in 1801, Odanilai in 1802 and Arachalur in 1804.[13][14]

In September 1804, the King of Khordha, Kalinga was deprived of the traditional rights of Jagannath Temple which was a serious shock to the King and the people of Odisha. Consequently, in October 1804 a group of armed Paiks attacked the British at Pipili. This event alarmed the British force. Jayee Rajguru, the chief of Army of Kalinga requested all the kings of the state to join hands for a common cause against the British.[15] Rajguru was killed on 6 December 1806.[16] After Rajguru's death, Bakshi Jagabandhu commanded an armed rebellion against the East India Company's rule in Odisha which is known as Paik Rebellion.[17][18][18][19]

The rebellion of 1857[edit]

Main article: Indian Rebellion of 1857

The Indian rebellion of 1857 was a large-scale rebellion in the northern and central India against the British East India Company's rule. It was suppressed and the British government took control of the company. The conditions of service in the company's army and cantonments increasingly came into conflict with the religious beliefs and prejudices of the sepoys.[20] The predominance of members from the upper castes in the army, perceived loss of caste due to overseas travel, and rumours of secret designs of the government to convert them to Christianity led to deep discontent among the sepoys.[21] The sepoys were also disillusioned by their low salaries and the racial discrimination practised by British officers in matters of promotion and privileges.[21] The indifference of the British towards leading native Indian rulers such as the Mughals and ex-Peshwas and the annexation of Oudh were political factors triggering dissent amongst Indians. The Marquess of Dalhousie's policy of annexation, the doctrine of lapse (or escheat) applied by the British, and the projected removal of the descendants of the Great Mughal from their ancestral palace at Red Fort to the Qutb Minaar (near Delhi) also angered some people.

The final spark was provided by the rumoured use of tallow (from cows) and lard (pig fat) in the newly introduced Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle cartridges. Soldiers had to bite the cartridges with their teeth before loading them into their rifles, and the reported presence of cow and pig fat was religiously offensive to both Hindu and Muslim soldiers.[22]

Mangal Pandey, a 29-year-old sepoy, was believed to be responsible for inspiring the Indian sepoys to rise against the British. Pandey revolted against his army regiment for protection of the cow, considered sacred by Hindus. In the first week of May 1857, he killed a higher officer in his regiment at Barrackpore for the introduction of the rule. He was captured and was sentenced to death when the British took back control of the regiment.[citation needed] On 10 May 1857, the sepoys at Meerut broke rank and turned on their commanding officers, killing some of them. They reached Delhi on 11 May, set the company's toll house on fire, and marched into the Red Fort, where they asked the Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah II, to become their leader and reclaim his throne. The emperor was reluctant at first, but eventually agreed and was proclaimed Shehenshah-e-Hindustan by the rebels.[23] The rebels also murdered much of the European, Eurasian, and Christian population of the city.[24]

Revolts broke out in other parts of Oudh and the North-Western Provinces as well, where civil rebellion followed the mutinies, leading to popular uprisings.[25] The British were initially caught off-guard and were thus slow to react, but eventually responded with force. The lack of effective organisation among the rebels, coupled with the military superiority of the British, brought a rapid end to the rebellion.[26] The British fought the main army of the rebels near Delhi, and after prolonged fighting and a siege, defeated them and retook the city on 20 September 1857.[27] Subsequently, revolts in other centres were also crushed. The last significant battle was fought in Gwalior on 17 June 1858, during which Rani Lakshmibai was killed. Sporadic fighting and guerrilla warfare, led by Tatya Tope, continued until spring 1859, but most of the rebels were eventually subdued.

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a major turning point in the history of modern India. While affirming the military and political power of the British,[28] it led to significant change in how India was to be controlled by them. Under the Government of India Act 1858, the Company was deprived of its involvement in ruling India, with its territory being transferred to the direct authority of the British government.[29] At the apex of the new system was a Cabinet minister, the Secretary of State for India, who was to be formally advised by a statutory council;[30] the Governor-General of India (Viceroy) was made responsible to him, while he in turn was responsible to the government. In a royal proclamation made to the people of India, Queen Victoria promised equal opportunity of public service under British law, and also pledged to respect the rights of the native princes.[31] The British stopped the policy of seizing land from the princes, decreed religious tolerance and began to admit Indians into the civil service (albeit mainly as subordinates). However, they also increased the number of British soldiers in relation to native Indian ones, and only allowed British soldiers to handle artillery. Bahadur Shah was exiled to Rangoon, Burma, where he died in 1862.

In 1876, in a controversial move Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli acceded to the Queen's request[citation needed] and passed legislation to give Queen Victoria the additional title of Empress of India. Liberals in Britain objected that the title was foreign to British traditions.[32]

Rise of organised movements[edit]

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Main article: Nationalist Movements in India

See also: Indian National Congress

The decades following the Rebellion were a period of growing political awareness, manifestation of Indian public opinion and emergence of Indian leadership at both national and provincial levels. Dadabhai Naoroji formed the East India Association in 1867 and Surendranath Banerjee founded the Indian National Association in 1876. Inspired by a suggestion made by A.O. Hume, a retired British civil servant, seventy-two Indian delegates met in Bombay in 1885 and founded the Indian National Congress. They were mostly members of the upwardly mobile and successful western-educated provincial elites, engaged in professions such as law, teaching

Robert Clive with Mir Jafar after the Battle of Plassey
After the defeat of Tipu Sultan, most of South India was now either under the company's direct rule, or under its indirect political control
States during the rebellion
Image of the delegates to the first meeting of the Indian National Congress in Bombay, 1885

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