DMPQ- Trace East India company’s response towards 1857 mutiny.

Company brought reinforcements from England, passed new laws so that the rebels could be convicted  with ease, and then moved into the storm centres of the revolt. Not only the police and military  personnel, but ordinary Britons were empowered to punish the Indians suspected of rebellion.  Rebellion had only one punishment – Death. Delhi was recaptured from the rebel forces after 4  months in September 1857. The last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar was tried in court  and sentenced to life imprisonment. His sons were shot dead before his eyes. He and his wife  Begum Zinat Mahal were sent to prison in Rangoon in October 1858. Bahadur Shah Zafar died in  the Rangoon jail in November 1862.

The recapture of Delhi, however, did not mean that the rebellion died down after that. People  continued to resist and battle the British. The British had to fight for two years to suppress the  massive forces of popular rebellion. They used not only military force to suppress rebellion, they  also used divisive tactics, they promised landlords to give them their lost land back.

Lucknow was taken in March 1858. Rani Lakshmibai was defeated and killed in June 1858. Tantia  Tope escaped to the jungles of central India and continued to fight a guerrilla war with the  support of many tribal and peasant leaders. He was captured, tried and killed in April 1859.

Just as victories against the British had earlier encouraged rebellion, the defeat of rebel forces  encouraged desertions. The British also tried their best to win back the loyalty of the people.  They announced rewards for loyal landholders would be allowed to continue to enjoy traditional  rights over their lands. Those who had rebelled were told that if they submitted to the British,  and if they had not killed any white people.

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