The rebellion in Awadh, 1857-58 : a study in popular resistance
This thesis studies the popular character of the revolt of 1857 in Awadh. It argues that in the pre-annexation rural world of Awadh talukdars and peasants had a symbiotic relationship which was destroyed by the first British revenue settlement of 1856-57. The sudden annexation together with the removal of the King from Lucknow and the dispossession and overassessment resulting from the revenue settlement created the basis for disaffection. The sepoys of the army - largely recruited from Awadh - sparked off the revolt but it quickly spread through the countryside. Certain similarities in the way the sepoys sought destruction are emphasized. A detailed study is attempted of the extent of mass participation, especially of talukdars and peasants. Lists are provided of all talukdars of southern Awadh who joined in the rebellion. As distinct from the extant literature on the subject, which emphasize British movements and forms of fighting, the present thesis studies how the rebels fought. It seeks to explore the ways in which the rebellion was organized, of the use that was made of religion as the rallying cry and of the attempts made to restore the traditional world.