Following were the main consequences of Revolt of 1857:
A. THE DIRECT CONSEQUENCES
The direct effects of the Revolt of 1857 may be summed as follows:
- The Revolt of 1857 exposed the danger involved in allowing a commercial organisation to rule over a country. Thus British government passed Government of India Act 1858 on August 2, 1858, according to which the power that the company enjoyed was snatched and a direct rule was established. The British government was now established. The British was now directly responsible for ruling India
- The supreme executive and legislative authority in India henceforth came to be known as the Governor-General and the Viceroy Lord Canning so far known as the Governor General of India also became the first Viceroy of India.
- The British assured the people of India that there will be no more territorial expansion. They also assured the people of India that religious and social practices would be respected and not be interfered.
- The proportion of Indian soldiers in the army was reduced and the number of European soldiers in the army was increased.
- The ruling chiefs of the country were assured that their territories would never be annexed by the British. The Doctrine of Lapse was also abolished hereby allowing rulers to pass on their kingdoms to adopted sons.
- Policies were made to protect landlords and zamindars and give them security of rights over their lands.
- Muslims were considered to be responsible for the rebellion in a big way. Hence their land and property was confiscated on large scale.
- A new agrarian policy was introduced to guarantee security of tenure and to fix rent for lands. This policy freed the cultivators from tedious settlements and excessive demands of the state. The financial system was also decentralized by entrusting some items of taxation to local governments.
THE INDIRECT CONSEQUENCES
Far more important than the direct results were the indirect ones which followed the Revolt of 1857.
- The Revolt of 1857 further widened the difference between the ruler and the ruled.
- In the post-Revolt period, to maintain supremacy in India, British followed the policy of communal disharmony. The seed of communal discord planted by the English in India sprouted like a poison and bore the fruits of communalism.
- After the revolt, although British did not followed the policy of territorial expansion in India, the period was yet marked by a new era of economic exploitation of India by British
- From now on, the British adopted a policy of opposing the educated middle class and supporting the landlords and the native princes.