(The story is about glimpses of the history of our country from \(1757\) to \(1857\). The picture descriptions and dialogues will help clarify your understanding of the conditions that led to the First War of Independence event in \(1857\))
1. The Martyrs
(At Delhi. Lata Mangeshkar can be seen singing a song. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, and Indira Gandhi can be seen sitting beside her)
Narrator: At a function in Delhi.
Lata Mangeshkar (singing a song): "Oh my countrymen! Let your eyes fill with tears, as you recall the sacrifices of India’s martyrs."
(Scene 1: A Map of India)
Narrator: With its superior weapons, the British East India Company was extending its power in 18th century India.
(Scene 2: Inside a palace)
Narrator: Indian princes were short-sighted.
Indian princes: That upstart Rajah Bah! Call the English merchants. They will help me to defeat him.
Narrator: The people had no peace due to such constant fights.
(Scene 3: At war)
Narrator: The rivalries helped the East India Company and it could easily subdue Indian princes one by one.
(Scene 4: Sacrifice of Tipu Sultan)
Narrator: A far-seeing ruler like the brave Tipu of Mysore fought the British till he died fighting!
Narrator: How did Indians react to these conquests? (People with varied opinions can be seen discussing the conquests of Britishers)
(Scene 5: Three royal men can be seen discussing inside a palace)
Royal man 1: Thank God, there is peace in the country now! No more wars and no looting by thugs!
Royal man 2: It is God who sent the British!
Royal man 3: Our destiny is linked with them!
(Scene 6: Four common people can be seen reacting to the conquest of Britishers)
Man 1: The white man has killed or dethroned our kings.
Man 2: Some kings were not good, but after all, they were of this land.
Man 3: Now we have become slaves of foreigners!
3. British Rule (1765-1836)
Narrator: Religious leaders preached ideas like untouchability and child marriage.
Religious leader 1: Anyone who crosses the seas loses his religion.
Religious leader 2: All the misery in the world is due to women.
(Scene 3: Britishers can be seen having conversations with each other)
Narrator: The truth was that Indians had lost self-respect. The British scorned them.
British man 1 (addressing to another English man): The natives are unworthy of trust, incapable of honesty–
Indian man: True, your honour, but I am honest.
(Scene 4: A British man speaks to a poor farmer)
Narrator: Being merchants, the British wanted quick profits, their heavy taxes forced farmers to abandon their fields.
British man: You are still in arrears. If you don’t pay next week. I will send you to jail.
Farmer: But your men are taking all my crop!
(Scene 5: The Britishers can be seen discussing the new inventions)
Narrator: Still, the British invented other methods which gave them more profits.
British man 1: The goods manufactured in England should not have any import duty when brought into India.
British man 2: A good idea!
Narrator: The East India Company’s laws began to cripple Indian industries.
(Scene 6: Starvation of Indians)
Narrator: Inevitably famines followed. Between 1822 and 1836 fifteen lakh Indians died of starvation.
Narrator: The British policies ruined the expert artisans and their business.
4. Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833)
(Scene 1: Raja Ram Mohan Roy's conversation with a political member)
Narrator: Ram Mohan Roy, a learned man from Bengal, understood what was wrong with the country.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy (to a political member): Let us not despise ourselves, our ancient culture is great. And we are capable of greater achievements. We must first reform our society. Superstitions have been ruining us.
(Scene 2: At Roy's house)
Narrator: He told his wife Uma–
Raja Ram Mohan Roy (to his wife): Cows are of different colours, but the colour of their milk is the same. Different teachers have different opinions but the essence of every religion is the same.
(Scene 3: Roy's meeting with common people)
Narrator: He was attracted by science and modern knowledge.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy: Knowledge should be practical and scientific.
Narrator: He started newspapers but the suspicious British stopped them in 1823.
(Scene 4: In England)
Narrator: He crossed the seas and went to England to see what made the British powerful. There he told them–
Raja Ram Mohan Roy (to the Britishers): We accept you as rulers, and you must accept us as subjects. But you must remember the responsibility a ruler owes to his subjects.
5. Oppression (1765-1835)
(Scene 1: Indians at jail)
Narrator: But the British continued to oppress Indians. In 1818, they had passed Regulation III. Under it, an Indian could be jailed without trial in a court.
(Scene 2: Three Britishmen can be seen enjoying their party)
Narrator: All the time British officers in India drew big salaries and also made fortunes in private business.
(Scene 3: Exporting goods)
Narrator: By 1829, Britain was exporting British goods worth seven crore rupees to India.
Narrator: The British prospered on the Company’s loot while Indian industries began to die.
(Scene 4: The life of Indian weavers)
Narrator: Governor-General Bentinck reported back home –
Bentinck: “The bones of cotton weavers are bleaching the plains of India.”
6. Dissatisfaction (1835-56)
(Scene 1: Macaulay and Bentinck can be seen having a conversation with each other)
Narrator: Education in India was in Persian and Sanskrit. In 1835, a Englishman named Macaulay suggested a change.
Macaulay: We should teach the natives through the English language.
Bentinck : I agree.
(Scene 2: Common people having conversation with each other)
Narrator: English education produced clerks to whom the British gave petty jobs under them. Incidentally, it also produced a new generation of intellectuals.
Indian man 1: We must educate our brothers.
Indian man 2: And try to improve their material conditions.
Indian man 3: For that we must convey our grievances to the British Parliament.
(Scene 3: A Map of India- 1856)
Narrator: By 1856, the British had conquered the whole of India.
(Scene 4: Several people can be seen sitting under a tree and discussing how to drive the Britishers out)
Narrator: They cared little about the needs of Indians.
Man 1: Our kings have become puppets, and we have lost our old jobs.
Man 2: And lands.
Man 3: They are converting, our brothers!
Man 4: You only talk! Do something to drive then out!
7. The Sparks (1855-57)
(Scene 1: A terrific war)
Narrator: Taxes continued to ruin the peasants. In Bengal, the Santhals who had lost their lands under new land rules, became desperate. In 1855, they rose in rebellion and massacred Europeans and their supporters alike.
(Scene 2: Soldiers can be seen talking to each other)
Narrator: Discontent was brewing in the East India Company’s army too.
Soldier 1: The white soldier gets huge pay, mansions to live in, servants.
Soldier 2: While we get a pittance and slow promotions!
Soldier 3 & 4: The Angrez asks us to cross the sea which is against our religion. Who is the topiwala to abolish our age-old customs?
Sepoy Mangal Pande (to himself): We must drive out the Angrez.
Narrator: Sepoy Mangal Pande attacked the adjutant of his regiment and was executed.
(Scene 3: Sepoys revolted against the Europeans)
Narrator: Thousands of other sepoys revolted. They were stripped of their uniforms, humiliated and put in irons.
(Scene 4: Three men can be seen having conversation with each other)
Narrator: Few Englishmen had care to understand Indian customs or the people’s mind.
Indian man: Oh, proud Brahmin soldiers, do you know that the grease on the bullet you have to bite is made from the fat of cows and pigs?
Brahmin soldier: What ?
Muslim man: The white man has deceived us too!
(Scene 5: People were sending chapaties from one village to another village)
Narrator: Soon, chapaties were sent from village to village to tell the people that their emperor would want their services.
Man : Yes, all my village men will be ready.
(Scene 6: Indian soldiers circulates lotus flowers)
Narrator: Similarly lotus flowers circulated among Indian soldiers.
Soldier 5: Death to the foreigner!
Narrator: The masses gave all help and shelter to the patriots.
8. Revolt (1857)
(Scene 1: War at Meerut)
Narrator: Then there was a violent outbreak at Meerut.
(Scene 2: At Delhi)
Narrator: The sepoys marched to Delhi.
Sepoys (in chorus): Long live our Emperor Bahadur Shah!
(Scene 3: A war spread wider)
Narrator: The rebellion spread wider.
(Scene 4: A few men can be seen talking to each other)
Narrator: Many landlords had lost their lands because of the British policies, and they were sore.
Landlord 1: The white man’s rule must end!
Landlord 2: Yes, we will help you.
9. The Fight for Freedom (1857)
(Scene 1: Begum Hazrat Mahal at her palace)
Narrator: Many former rulers like Begum Hazrat Mahal of Lucknow were bitter.
Begum Hazrat Mahal: The white man has taken away my kingdom!
Narrator: They joined the upsurge against the foreigner.
(Scene 2: A large group of people can be seen listening to Maulvi Ahmedulla of Faizabad)
Narrator: Popular leaders like Maulvi Ahmedulla of Faizabad told the people –
Maulvi Ahmedulla: Rise, brothers, rise! The Angrez is ruining our land!
Narrator: The people rose everywhere, in Bareilly, Kanpur and Allahabad.
(Scene 3: At a palace)
Narrator: Azimulla Khan told Tatya Tope
Azimulla Khan: We should have Peshwa Nana Saheb as our leader in this war of independence.
Narrator: The patriots pounced upon the British and fought pitched battles all over North India.
(Scene 4: At river Ganges)
Narrator: Eighty-year old Kunwar Singh of Bihar received a bullet in his wrist.
Kunwar Singh: Mother Ganga! This is my last offering to you!
— S.D. Sawant
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2008). Honeydew. Glimpses of the Past-S.D.Sawant(pp. 36-49). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.