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Indian Mutiny Source Study

Autor:   •  October 15, 2013  •  Case Study  •  2,081 Words (9 Pages)  •  984 Views

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Indian Mutiny Sources

Question Four

Two key Sources, B and F, disagree that the British military polices and decisions were a minor role in the cause of the Indian Mutiny, Source B claiming it was the greased cartridge scandal that was the main cause of the Indian Mutiny. However, in general, more sources, such as Sources A and D, do support the view that military decisions were merely a minor role in the outbreak of war in India 1857. Along with the fact that there are more sources that agree with the statement that military decisions played a minor role in causing the Indian mutiny, these sources also generally are more important or more ‘heavily weighted' sources for example Source A, a extract from a history textbook gives a very detailed, and indeed reliable, account of the ways in which the British threat to religion caused the Indian Mutiny to occur.

Source B, a letter from the Commissioner and Superintendent to India, disagrees that British military polices and decisions were a minor role in causing the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny, instead claiming the greased cartridge scandal was the major cause of the Indian Mutiny. British officers instructed Sepoys (Indian soldiers) to rip the cartridge wrapper with their mouth before placing it into their Enfield rifle. However it was later reported that these ‘hateful cartridges' contained animal fat, the consumption of which breached the religious terms of the predominately Hindu and Muslim sepoys. This caused great outrage and, as reported in Source B ‘was sufficient cause, in the extraordinary mood of the Sepoys to incite a riot'. It could therefore be said that the military decision to used the greased cartridges and instruct the Indian Soldiers to rip the cartridge wrappers with their teeth was a major cause in the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny. However, this source may be unreliable. The Commissioner and Superintendent, blames the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny very heavily on the greased cartridge scandal, something that is unlikely to be included in the field of a Commissioner operating in India. Indeed it may be that the Commissioner is merely putting all the blame on the greased cartridges in this letter in order to ‘cover his back' and push the blame for the Indian Mutiny totally away from him. This harms the reliability of the Source, meaning compared to other Sources it is worth relatively little.

Another Source that disagrees with the view that military decisions and policies played a minor role in causing the war of 1857 is source F. Source F, an article from the New York Daily Tribune mainly comprised of a Karl Marx quote, puts the Military decisions and policies as a major role in the Indian Mutiny. Source F gives details of the way in which the British were not the ‘mild and spotless benefactors of the Indian people' that they wanted the rest of the world


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