John Lawrence was the administrator of the Punjab at the time of the fall of Delhi. He applied tact and kept the Punjab calm.

As a result the Sikh regiment remained completely aloof. Bombay presidency also remained calm.

The Nizam of Hyderabad, the Bengum of Bhopal, the King of Nepal and the Maratha leader Sindhia extended their helping hands to the British.

British Government did not allow the fire of the revolution to cross the river Narmada.

Eon Images | Sir John Lawrence

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The strategy of the British Government to localize the revolution worked effectively. Delhi was recaptured. The old Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II was taken prisoner to Rangoon. The British Commander-in-Chief Colin Campbell with much difficulties captured Lucknow. The guerrilla type of war continued in the interior part of Oudh.

On 17th June, 1857 while fighting Maharani Laxmi Bai died, Tantia Tope kept the fighting on for a pretty long time and at last caught and hanged. Nana Saheb was defeated and fled away to the dense forests of Nepal to escape death. Kunwar Singh became the victim in a battle field. Many others either died or fled to the dense forest regions of Nepal. The great revolt subsided.


The proud Englishmen regarded the suppression as the reconquest of India. The Sepoys and peasants were killed mercilessly in the countryside’s. A large number of people had to go to the gallows. By July 1858, the revolution had been almost completely suppressed.

Causes of the failure:

Firstly, the resources of the British Government were far superior to those of the rebels. Luckily, for the British, the Crimean and the Chinese wars had been concluded by 1856 that helped the British Government to concentrate the entire energy on India. The electric telegraph kept the Commander-in-Chief informed about the movement of the Indian soldiers.

Secondly, the people of India could not be inspired by the spirit of nationalism to resist the foreign soldiers for a long period. No doubt the princes joined the revolution to regain their lost prestige, the taluqdars jointed it to get back their privileges, and the peasants fought in it for their economic discontent yet in a positive sense there was no great ideal to unite all Indians in a common platform.

The revolt thus could not be prolonged. The rebels could not organize a united military front against the British army. They fought in separate groups. In moments of need, they could not combine all their forces which worked as strength to their enemies.


Thirdly, lack of able and genius leaders to guide the destiny of the country resulted in a negative result of the nation-wide revolt. The revolt was spontaneous, the rebels were many in number but unfortunately the leaders were no great military generals. They fought desperately with their limited capacities.

Emperor Bahadur Shah whom the rebels regarded as emperor was old and feeble, Nana Saheb was brave but did not possess foresight, Tantia Tope and Kanwar Singh did not have any title to their credit to attract popular attention but the great among all leaders was Rani Laxmi Bai. With all her qualities as leader and virtues as a true patriot, she found her capacity limited in guiding acute military struggle. She could not organise all the rebels under her own charismatic personality. Moreover, her death gave a blow to the rebels.

Fourthly, the arms and weapons the rebels using were far inferior to the arms of their English rivals. Though the sepoys belonged to the British army yet they were not allowed to use sophisticated weapons, naturally, therefore, they proved inferior to them. These weaknesses of the sepoys helped the British to defeat them. On the other hand, the British were fortunate to have some of the brilliant generals to command the English soldiers in the war fields.

Finally, the sudden out -break of the revolt created an uncertain situation in the country for which the people were not mentally prepared. They were quite ignorant about their role in that emergency. So collapsed the great revolt of 1857.