The First War of Independence and Growth of Nationalism : ICSE Class 10 Board Exam Questions and Answers

The most comprehensive list of questions and answers on The First War of Independence and Growth of Nationalism for ICSE Class 10 Board Exams

2 Marks Questions

Question 1 : When was the Indian National Congress established? Who presided over its first session? (2014, 2009)

Answer : The Indian National Congress was established in 1885 by AO Hume.

Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee was the President of its first session. The first session of the Congress was attended by 72 delegates from all parts of India, including some eminent persons like – Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, Badruddin Tyabji, etc.

Question 2 : State any two political causes responsible for the First War of Independence. (2014)

Answer :  There were many political causes responsible for the First War of Independence. Two of them are as follows:

i) Lord Dalhousie’s ‘Policy of Annexation’ and ‘Doctrine of Lapse.’

ii) British disrespect shown to Bahadur Shah II.

Question 3 : What was the role of the press in promoting nationalistic sentiments among the Indians? (2014)

Answer : The introduction of Printing Press in India was an event of revolutionary significance in promoting nationalistic sentiments amongst the Indians. It played an important role in carrying the ideas to the people. During the later half of the 19th century, a large number of newspapers were started. These papers fostered patriotism and ideas of liberty and justice in our country.

The press was a powerful factor in building and developing a strong nationalistic sentiment among the Indians.

Question 4 : What was the General Service Enlistment Act? (2014)

Answer : The British Parliament passed the General Service Enlistment Act in 1856. According to this Act, the Indian soldiers in the East Indian Company could be sent overseas on duty. Indian soldiers dreaded sea voyage and considered it against their customs.

Question 5 : What was the influence of Western education on the minds of the educated Indians in the 19th century? (2013  , 2009)

Answer : The influences of Western education are as follows:

i) Through the study of European history, political thought and economic ideas, educated Indians had an access to the ideas of Liberty, Nationality, Equality, rules of Law and Self-government.

ii) Social awareness and national consciousness among Indians were brought by the revolutionary ideas of the liberal thinkers like Rousseau, Mazzini, and Thomas Paine.

Question 6 : What was Nana Sahib’s grievance against the British?  (2012,  2003)

Answer : Nana Sahib was the adopted son of the last Peshwa Baji Rao II. The British refused to grant him pension, which they were paying to Peswa Baji Rao II.

Question 7 : There were various factors that promoted the growth of nationalism in Indian in the 19th century. Give the meaning of ‘nationalism’ in this context. (2011)

Answer : Nationalism was the most successful political force of the 19th century. Nationalism is a feeling of oneness which the people feel about their nation. It was a result of a new social and economic force, which had put an end to feudalism.

Question 8 : Mention any two factors that helped the growth of Nationalism. (2011)

Answer : The two important factors that were responsible for the growth of nationalism in India are as follows:

i) Impact of Western education.

ii) Development of rapid means of transport and communication.

Question 9 : Mention two objectives of the Congress as enumerated by WC Bonnerjee. ( 2011,  2006)

Answer : The objectives of Indian National Congress, which were declared by WC Bonnerjee in December, 1885, were the following:

i) To promote friendly relations between Nationalist political workers from various parts of the country.

ii) To develop and consolidate the feelings of national unity, irrespective of caste, religion or province.

Question 10 : Why did the Doctrine of Lapse become a political cause for the Revolt of 1857? (2010)

Answer : According to the Doctrine of Lapse heirs adopted without the consent of the company, could inherit only the private property of the deceased ruler and not his territory, which would come under the company’s rule. The prominent states, which became victims to the doctrine were Jhansi, Satara, Jaipur, Smabalpur, Udaipur and Nagpur.

Question 11 : Mention any two social reforms advocated by the British, which affected the religious traditions of the Indian people. (2009)

Answer : Widow Remarriage Act and Abolition of Sati were the two major social reforms advocated by the British, which affected the religious traditions of the Indian people.

Question 12 : Mention two acts against which Surendranath Banerjee protested. (2008)

Answer : Surendranath Banerjee protested against the following acts:

i) Indian Arms Act

ii) The Vernacular Press Act

Question 13 : Name two leaders of the Indian National Congress in its early years. (2008)

Answer : Dadabhai Naoroji and Surendranath Banerjee were the two famous leaders of the Indian National Congress in its early years.

Question 14 : State two factors responsible for the growth of nationalism in India. (2007,  2006)

Answer : Two factors responsible for the growth of nationalism in India are as follows:

i) Repressive colonial policies of the British Empire.

ii) Socio-religious movements of India in the 19th century.

Question 15 : Mention any two social reforms suggested to the British by Raja Rammohan Roy. (2006)

Answer : Raja Rammohan Roy was the father of Indian Renaissance and the prophet of Indian Nationalism. His efforts to abolition of Sati and support of Western education made him immortal as a social reformer.

Question 16 : Explain the term ‘Doctrine of Lapse.” (2006)

Answer : According to the Doctrine of Lapse heirs adopted without the consent of the company, could inherit only the private property of the deceased ruler and not his territory, which would come under the company’s rule. The prominent states, which became victims to the doctrine were Jhansi, Satara, Jaipur, Smabalpur, Udaipur and Nagpur.

Question 17 : Mention two economic factors, which became the cause of the First War of Independence, 1857. (2005)

Answer : Two economic factors were:

i) Heavy taxation, forced evictions, discriminatory tariff policy against Indian products and destruction of traditional handicrafts that hit peasants and artisans.

ii) India was forced to export at cheaper rates, raw materials like raw cotton and raw silk that the British industries needed urgently and also plantation products like indigo, tea and foodgrains which were in short supply in Britain.

Question 18 : Mention one reason for the unhappiness of the Indian soldiers in the British army before 1857. (2004)

Answer : The British Parliament passed the General Service Enlistment Act in 1856, according to which, Indian soldiers could be sent overseas on duty. This act did not take into account the sentiment of the Indian soldiers, who dreaded such voyages.

Question 19 : Name the last Mughal Emperor of India before the British crown declared India to be its colony. (2004)

Answer : Bahadur Shah Zafar was the last Mughal Emperor of India. After his death, the British crown declared India to be its colony.

Question 20 : How did the English language play a leading role in the growth of nationalism in India? (2004)

Answer : The English language spread all over India, which gave the educated Indians a common language in which they could communicate with each other. In the absence of such a common language, it would have been very difficult to come on a common platform and to organise a movement of a pan India character.

Question 21 : Under which pretext and when was Awadh annexed to the Company’s Dominions? (2003)

Answer : Lord Dalhousie annexed Awadh to the Company’s Dominions on the pretext of misrule on 13th February, 1856.

Question 22: The Act of 1858 ended the East India Company’s rule and the Government of India was transferred to the British Queen. Who became the first Viceroy of India under this Act?

Answer : The Act of 1858 ended the rule of the East India Company and the Government of India was transferred to the British Queen by the proclamation of Queen Victoria. Lord Canning became the first Viceroy under this Act on 1st November 1858.

Question 23 : Name the policy used by Lord Dalhousie for the extension of British territories in India.
(2002)

Answer : The policy of ‘Doctrine of Lapse’ was used by Lord Dalhousie for the extension of British territories in India.

Question 24 : Why was the War of 1857 hailed as the ‘First War of National Independence’? (2002)

Answer : The War of 1857 was hailed as the ‘First War of Independence’ because it provided an inspiration to the leaders and to the people to fight for the independence from the British rule and millions of soldiers, peasants and artisans participated in it.

Question 25 : Name the first President of the Indian National Congress. (2002)

Answer : Womesh Chunder (WC) Bonnerjee was the first President of the Indian National Congress (INC).

Question 26 : Where and when was the first session of the Indian National Congress held? (2001)

Answer : The first session of the Indian National Congress was held at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College, Mumbai from 28th to 31st December, 1885.

4 Marks Questions

Question 27 : What were the four aims of the Congress?

Answer : Four aims of the Congress were as follows:

i) To develop friendly relations between Nationalist political workers from different parts of the country.

ii) To promote and consolidate the feelings of national unity irrespective of caste, religion or province.

iii) To formulate popular demands and present them before the government.

iv) To train and organize public opinion in the country.

7 Marks Questions

Question 28 : With reference to nationalism and the birth of of the Indian National Congress, explain each of the following. (2012)

i) Vernacular Press Act, 1878

ii) Any four immediate objectives of the Indian National Congress.

Answer : i) Vernacular Press Act, 1878 : The Vernacular Press Act was passed on 14th March 1878, by the Governor Lord Lytton. It was introduced for keeping a better control on the Indian language newspapers and for representing the speech inciting rebellion against the British authority. This Act was not applicable for English newspapers. In the year, 1882, this Act was repealed by Lord Ripon.

ii) Four aims of the Congress were as follows:

a) To develop friendly relations between Nationalist political workers from different parts of the country.

b) To promote and consolidate the feelings of national unity irrespective of caste, religion or province.

c) To formulate popular demands and present them before the government.

d) To train and organize public opinion in the country.

10 Marks Questions

Question 29 : The First War of Independence of 1857 was a culmination of people’s dissatisfaction with the British rule. In this context, enumerate the following causes  (2011, 2002)

a) Military causes

b) Economic causes

c) Political causes

Answer : a) Military Causes

i) Ill treatment of the Indian soldiers and low salaries.

ii) General Service Enlistment Act, as per which, Indian soldiers could be sent overseas on duty.

iii) Larger proportion of Britishers in the British Army.

iv) All high positions were reserved for the British, irrespective of their performance.

v) Deprivation of allowances.

vi) Faulty distribution of troops.

vii) Poor performance of British troops.

b) Economic Causes

i) Exploitation of economic resources.

ii) Heavy taxation, forced evictions, discriminatory tariff policy against Indian products and destruction of traditional handicrafts that hit peasants and artisans.

iii) The transfer of wealth from India to England for which India got no proportionate economic returns.

iv) Poverty and famines.

v) Decline of landed aristocracy and growing unemployment.

vi) Inhuman treatment of indigo cultivators.

c) Political Causes

i) The British Policy of effective control and gradual extinction of the native Indian states was one of the major grievances of the Indian rulers.

ii) The policy of ‘Doctrine of Lapse’ and ‘Policy of Annexation’.

iii) The Annexation of Awadh on the pretext of alleged migovernance.

iv) Disrespect shown to the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II by not allowing to use imperial titles.

v) Disrespect to Nana Sahib and Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi.

Question 30 : Describe the results of the First War of Independence, with reference to the following (2009)

a) Policy towards the Indian Princes

b) Rise of Nationalism in India

c) Changes in the Administrative Set-up of the British Territories in India.

Answer : a) Policy towards the Indian Princes

i) The Proclamation of Queen Victoria declared that the British Government would not annex the Indian states. It assured them that all treaties entered into with the company would be honored.

ii) The Proclamation declared that the British would not interfere in their internal matters except in the case of ‘misconduct’ and ‘anarchy’. However, they were asked to restrict their armies.

iii) After the Proclamation of the Queen, the policy of ‘Doctrine of Lapse’ was abolished.

b) Rise of Nationalism in India

i) the war of 1857 was a great struggle of the Indians for freedom. It aroused national feelings and paved the way for the rise of the National Movement which ultimately won freedom for India in 1947.

ii) It served as the source of inspiration for the struggle for freedom and the war also became a symbol of challenge to the mighty British, as man’s inborn desire for freedom cannot be subdued.

iii) The heroic struggle also established valuable traditions of resistance to the British rule. Due to the First War of Independence the Indian people realised that unless, they wake up from the slumber, they can’t achieve independence.

c) Changes in the Administrative Set-up of the British Territories in India

Following changes in the administrative set-up of the British territories were introduced after the First War of Independence:

i) The control of Indian Government was finally assumed by the British Crown. The Governor-General received the new title of Viceroy. The assumption of the Government of India by the sovereign of Great Britain was announced by Lord Canning at a darbar at Allahabad in a proclamation issued on 1st November, 1858 in the name of the Queen.

ii) Secondly, the army which took the initiative in the outbreak was thoroughly reorganized, and for the next 50 years, ‘the idea of division and counterpoise’ dominated the British Military Policy in India.

iii) Thirdly the British Government now took up a new attitude  towards the Indian states. The act of 1858, ended the dualism in the control of Indian affairs and made the Crown directly responsible for the management of Indian affairs.

Question 31 : Several factors led to the Revolt of 1857. With reference to this, explain each of the following  (2007)

a) Discontentment of the Sepoys

b) Resentment of the Rulers of the Native States against the British.

c) Unhappiness of the Indian Artisans and Craftsmen

Answer : a) Discontentment of the Sepoys : Several factors were responsible for the discontentment of the India soldiers. These are as follows:

i) Indian and British soldiers were not treated equally. Indian soldiers were poorly paid, ill-fed, and provided poor accommodation. British military authority forbade the sepoys from wearing caster or sectarian marks beards or turbans and they showed disregard to the sentiment of the sepoys.

ii) The General Service Enlistment Act of 1856, made it compulsory for Indian soldiers to go overseas on duty. This was strictly objected to by Indians on religious grounds.

iii) The wages of the Indian soldiers were inadequate to support their families. On the other hand, the British soldiers received more than eight times the salary of the Indian soldiers.

iv) All the higher positions in employment were reserved for the British, irrespective of their performance. The future of the Indian soldiers was bleak and difficult without any chances of promotion.

v) The existence of British dominion in India adversely affected the service conditions of the sepoys.

vi) The Enfield Rifles used greased cartridges which were  to be loaded by the soldiers by biting off the greased paper. In January 1857, there was a rumor in the Bengal regiments that the greased cartridge  had the fat of a cow or a pig. So, both the Hindus and Muslim soldiers refused to use cartridge and staged an uprising when they were forced to use them.

b) Resentment of the Rulers of the Native States against the British

A tricky method was adopted by the British to gain control over the rulers of the Native States. they struck at the very root of their existence by the Doctrine of Lapse. According to this policy, if a ruler died without his heir, his adopted son could neither inherit the the throne nor the title and the state would be annexed to the British empire using the doctrine.

Lord Dalhousie annexed would be Satara, Jhansi and Nagpur ans also Jaipur, Udaipur and Smabalpur. And where this policy could not be applied, the pretext of mismanagement in the governance of the state was done like in the case of Awadh. These discriminating actions of the British caused widespread resentment among the Native Rulers.

c) Unhappiness of the Indian Artisans and Craftsmen

Heavy duties on the Indian silk and cotton textiles in Britain destroyed the Indian industries. On the other hand, British goods were imported into India at a nominal duty. As a result of the British Policy of making India a raw material producing country, Indian handicrafts and cottage industries were ruined. Thousands of craftsmen and artisans were thrown out of employment. The manufacturers of silk and cotton foods got no profits from their work and began to look for other means of livelihood. The miserable condition of the workmen became a potent cause of resentment against the British rule.

Question 32 : “Numerous causes were at work in causing the great upsurge of 1857.” Explain the following with reference to the above statement. (2005)

a) The introduction of Railways and Telegraphs

b) The introduction of Enfield Rifles

c) The laws that interfered with the Religious Customs of the People.

Answer : a) The introduction of Railways and Telegraphs

i) The rapid speed of modern civilization made people afraid and suspicious.

ii) Peoples spread the rumor that the telegraph poles were erected for the purpose of hanging people who opposed the British rule.

iii) The orthodox Indians felt humiliated to note that in the railway compartments, brahmins and people from the backward classes were made to sit side by side.

iv) This practice, they believed, was intentionally introduced in order to defile their caste and religion.

v) Modern innovations threatened the old social rules and produced unrest among many common people in India.

b) The Introduction of the Enfield Rifles

The introduction of Enfield Rifles was the immediate cause of the revolt. In 1856, the British authorities decided to replace the old fashioned musket by the new ‘Enfield Rifles’. There was a rumor that the cartridge of these rifles were greased with the fat of cows and pigs. The loading process of the Enfield rifles involved bringing the cartridge to the mouth and biting off the top greased paper with the mouth. Both the Hindu and Muslim sepoys refused to use the cartridges, as they felt that the English were defiling their religion.

c) The Laws that interfered with the Religious customs of the people

i) The laws allowing the conversion from Hinduism to Christianity to inherit their ancestral property.

ii) Religious sentiments of the Indians were hurt by the official policy of taxing lands belonging to temples and mosques.

iii) The introduction of the Widow Remarriage Act (1856) and the opening of Western education to girls were not welcomed by the masses.

Question 33 : In the context of the rise of nationalism, explain the following (2004)

a) The Vernacular Press Act, 1878

b) The Economic Exploitation of India

c) Rediscovery of India’s Past

Answer : a) Vernacular Press Act, 1878 : The Vernacular Press Act was passed on 14th March 1878, by the Governor Lord Lytton. It was introduced for keeping a better control on the Indian language newspapers and for representing the speech inciting rebellion against the British authority. This Act was not applicable for English newspapers. In the year, 1882, this Act was repealed by Lord Ripon.

b) The Economic Exploitation of India :

i) Agricultural India was made an economic colony to serve the interests of Industrial England.

ii) India was made to accept readymade British goods either duty free or at nominal duty rates, while Indian products were subjected to high import duties in England.

iii) The British capital invested in Indian markets especially in railway, shipping, oil exploration, tea and coffee plantations etc., was used to get huge profits and were sent to England.

iv) The export of raw materials and food grains deprived the country of her agricultural surplus and raised the prices of raw materials.

v) The salaries and allowances of the English, who served in the administration and the army were paid out from the Indian resources.

vi) The drain included the salaries, incomes and savings of the Englishmen and the British expenditure in India on the purchase of military goods, office establishment, interest on debts, unnecessary expenditure on the army, etc.

c) Rediscovery of India’s Past

i) The Nationalist leaders and reformers were helped by the work of European scholars, like Sir Charles Wikins, Sir William Jones, Max Muller, James Princep etc. These scholars contributed to the rediscovery of India’s past.

ii) The British had projected the Indians as immature and uncivilised. British considered Indians unfit to rule themselves . It made Indians lose their sense of self-confidence.

iii) The works of these scholars aroused nationalistic passions against foreign rulers.

iv) Sir Alexander Cunningham, the first director of the Indian Archaeological Survey, carried out many archaeological explorations among the ruins of Northern India. He excavated at Sarnath, one of the most sacred Buddhist shrines and carefully prepared the drawings of the sculptures. In 1850, he excavated Sanchi, the site of some of the oldest surviving buildings in India.

v) Just around this time, the European scholars also rendered valuable help in restoring the rich heritage of Sanskrit literature.

vi) James Princep was the first European scholar to decipher the edicts of the ancient Emperor Ashoka. It was the study of scholars like James Princep and Alexander Cunningham which rediscovered for the Indians, the greatness of the Mauryas, the imperial Guptas, the Chalukyas and the Pallavas.

Question 34 : The First War of Independence led to several changes. With reference to this, explain (2003)

a) The Rights Granted to the Indian Princes and Chiefs

b) The Reorganization of the Army

c) The Changes Introduced in the Administrative Set-up of the British Territories in India

Answer : a) The Rights Granted to the Indian Princes and Chiefs

The Policy of Annexation and the Doctrine of Lapse were abandoned. Some of the Indian princes had remained loyal to the British and had helped them in suppressing the uprising. All the treaties between the princes and the company were decided to be respected. The British promised not to annex any territory and gave the Indian rulers the right to adopt heirs. The Indian princes became  junior partners of the British crown because they were promised that they would continue as rulers of their states.

b) The Reorganisation of the Army

The strength of the European troops in India was increased, and the number of Indian troops were reduced. The strength of European troops in India was increased from 45,000 to 65,000 and the number of Indian troops reduced from 2,38,000 to 1,40,000. All Indian artillery units (with the exception of a few mountain batteries) were disbanded. Practically the same ratio was maintained till the First World War. The general principle adopted was the number of Indian sepoys should not exceed twice that of the European troops.

The earlier policy of excluding Indians from the officer corps was strictly maintained.

c) The Changes introduced in the Administrative Set-up of the British Territories in India

The end of the rule of the East India Company was an important consequence of the war. In 1858, the British Parliament passed the Government of India Act. Due to this act, the responsibility to govern India was transferred to Queen and the British Parliament. This act abolished the Board of Directors of the Company and the responsibility of the Government of India was passed on to a Separate Minister in the British Parliament. This minister was known as the Secretary of State for India. He was to he helped by a council of 15 members, of which 9 should have worked in India for 10 years. The Governor-General was designated as Viceroy.

Question 35 : The First War of Independence of 1857, was the culmination of peoples’ dissatisfaction with the British rule. In this context,  enumerate the following causes. (2002)

i) The Economic causes

ii) The Military causes

Answer : 

a) Economic Causes

i) Exploitation of economic resources.

ii) Heavy taxation, forced evictions, discriminatory tariff policy against Indian products and destruction of traditional handicrafts that hit peasants and artisans.

iii) The transfer of wealth from India to England for which India got no proportionate economic returns.

iv) Poverty and famines.

v) Decline of landed aristocracy and growing unemployment.

vi) Inhuman treatment of indigo cultivators.

b ) Military Causes

i) Ill treatment of the Indian soldiers and low salaries.

ii) General Service Enlistment Act, as per which, Indian soldiers could be sent overseas on duty.

iii) Larger proportion of Britishers in the British Army.

iv) All high positions were reserved for the British, irrespective of their performance.

v) Deprivation of allowances.

vi) Faulty distribution of troops.

vii) Poor performance of British troops.