Leaders and followers• To fight the British, leadership and organization was required.• The first step of the sepoys was to rush to Delhi and appeal to the mughal emperor to accept the leadership of the revolt.• Bhadur shah’s first reaction was one of horror and rejection. BAHADUR SHAH
ROLE OF BAHADUR SHAH IN THE REVOLT OF 1857On 11 May the regiments that had rebelledat Meerut the previous day reached Delhi and askedfor a formal audience with Bahadur Shah that wasgranted the next day. It was attended by severalexcited sepoys who treated him familiarly or evendisrespectfully. Although Bahadur Shah was dismayedby the looting and disorder, he gave his public supportto the rebellion. On 16 May, sepoys and palaceservants killed 52 Europeans who had been heldprisoner within the palace or who had been discoveredhiding in the city. The killings took place under apeepul tree in front of the palace, despite BahadurShahs protests. The avowed aim of the killers was toimplicate Bahadur Shah in the killings, making itimpossible for him to seek any compromise with theBritish.
• Bahadur Shah issued the following decree, (Kings decree), on 12 May 1857:• Whoever shows cowardice at this delicate hour, or whoever in innocence will help the cunning English, believing in their promises, he would stand disillusioned very soon. He should remember that the English will pay him for his faithfulness to them in the same manner as they have paid the rulers of Oudh. It is the imperative duty of Hindus and Mussalmans (Muslims) to join the revolt against the English.
• They should work and be guided by their leaders in their towns and should take steps to restore order in the country. It is the bounden duty of all people that they should, as far as possible, copy out this Firman and display it at all important places in the towns. But before doing so, they should get themselves armed and declare war on the English.
TRACING THE SCENES ELESWHERE… In awadh, where the displacment of the popular nawab wajid ali shah and the annexation of the state were still fresh in the memory of the people, the populace in lucknow celebrated the fall of the british rule by hailing Birijs Qadr, the young son on the Nawab, as their leader.• Often the message of rebellion was carried by ordinary men and women and in places by religious men too.
In kanpur the sepoys and the people of the Kunwar Singh one of the leaders of the Indiantown gave Nana Sahib, the Rebellion of successor to Peshwa 1857 belonged to a royal Kshatriya (Rajput)Baji Rap II , no choice save to house ofJagdispur. At join the revolt as the age of 80 years, during India’s First Wartheir leader. of Independence (1857), he actively led a select• In jhansi the rani was forced band of armed soldiers by the popular against the troops under the command of the Eastpressure around her to India Company, he assume the leadership defeated the British twice, but lost most ofon the uprising. his battles.• So was kunwar singh, a local zamindar in arrah in bihar.
• From meerut, there were reports that a fakir had appeared riding an elephant and that the sepoys were visiting him frequently. DID YOU• In lucknow after the annexation KNOW? of awadh, there were many Not everywhere religious leaders and self-styled were the prophets who preached the leaders destruction of British rule. people of court- ranis,• Local leaders emerged, urging rajas, nawabs peasants, zamindar and tribal and taluqdars. revolt.