Let me give 2 examples.

In NCERT textbooks,

  1. A full chapter is dedicated for the Sepoy Mutiny where as a small paragraph is allocated for the Hindu Sanyasi revolts in Bengal.
  2. Rani Laxmibai is so glorified, but brave Maratha Queen Tararani who led the Marathas both politically and militarily during their toughest times against Aurangzeb is completely eliminated from History.

How may of you have heard of Tararani and the Sanyasi revolts? There is a subtle connection between the two.

Both (Sanayasi revolts and Tararani) did not serve the cause of Islamic rule in India . Hence, they have been obliterated from the pages of history.

Lets come to our topic. During the revolt of 1857 (it is also referred to as Sepoy Mutiny), the Sepoys (Indian soldiers comprising of both Hindu and Muslim soldiers) marched from Meerut, captured Delhi and established the 80 year old Mughal Bahadur Shah Zafar as the “Emperor of Hindustan“.

The title “Emperor of Hindustan” was no small title. Do you know even Babur did not hold the title.

My question is: Why could they not establish a descendant of a Hindu Dynasty as the ruler? Any descendant of Gupta, Ganga, Ahom, Rashtrakuta or Chola dynasty could have been established as the “Emperor of Hindustan”? Why it had to be a Mughal.

That makes me believe: the hidden goal of the 1857 revolt was to re-establish Mughal rule.

Lets try to speculate what would have happened to Hindus and Hinduism had the 1857 revolt succeeded?

  1. After the revolt Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled to Burma where he died, thereby officially ending the Mughal rule. Till 1857 Bahadur Shah Zafar was the official Mughal emperor (though without any power).
  2. Not many people know a big chunk of India (including all non-Muslims) was ruled by Shariat law. After the revolt was suppressed, the British abolished Shariat and brought in secular Indian Penal Code (IPC, 1860) which even continues today. Read my article here.
  3. During the centuries of the Mughal rule, the Mughals had captured all the important business in India and controlled important economic arteries of India. After the revolt was suppressed, the British conficiated the properties of all Mughals thereby breaking the Mughal stranglehold on Indian economy which eventually led to the rise of Hindu business men like Birla, Tata etc. Refer my article here.

Aurangzeb did certain mistakes due to which he failed in his goal. The descendants of Bahadur Shah Zafar would have come back with a vengeance and learning from Aurangzeb’s mistakes and achieved what Aurangzeb could not.

The failure of 1857 revolt destroyed the:

  1. Political power of Mughals as Bahadur Shah Zafar was deposed
  2. Economic power of Mughals as businesses of all Mughals was confisicated
  3. Legal power of Mughals as Shariat was abolished and replaced with secular IPC.

So, it wont be wrong to argue that the success of the 1857 revolt would have made Hinduism history.

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.