NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 5: Eighteenth-Century Political Formations YouTube Lecture Handouts

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NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 5: 18th Century Political Formations

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East India Company affected every section of society and people resisted policies and actions that harmed their interests

Nawabs Lost Power

  • Mid-18th Century: Nawabs lost power

  • They lost authority

  • Freedom of rulers was reduced

  • Armed forces were disbanded

  • Territories were taken off

Ruling families tried to negotiate but all in vain – Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi wanted her adopted son as the heir to the kingdom after the death of her husband.

Nana Saheb, adopted son of Peshwa Baji Rao II, pleaded that he be given his father’s pension when the latter died

1801: Subsidiary alliance imposed in Awadh & in 1856 it was taken over as Dalhousie said there was misgovernment

Names of Mughals were removed from coins

1849, Dalhousie announced that family of Bahadur Shah Zafar would move out of Red Fort and reside separately in Delhi

1856: Lord Canning declared Bahadur Shah Zafar as last Mughal ruler – his descendants would just be called as prince

Peasants and Sepoys

  • Peasants resented high taxes and rigid revenue collection system, many failed to pay loans and lost their lands

  • Sepoys were unhappy on pay, allowance and condition of service & new rules violated religious sensibilities

  • People believed if they cross the sea, they will lose their religion or caste – in 1824, Sepoys were asked to go to Burma by sea route but they refused, they wanted to follow land route and were badly punished

  • 1856: Company passed a new law - every new person who took up employment in Company’s army had to agree to serve overseas if required

Reforms Underway – by Britishers

  • Stop sati and encourage remarriage of women

  • Promote English education

  • After 1830, Christian missionaries allowed to spread, own land and property

  • In 1850, Indian converted to Christianity could inherit land

Subedar Sitaram Pande works “From Sepoy to Subedar” - cartridges used for these new rifles were greased with the fat of cows and pigs – affected religious sentiments

Mutiny to Rebellion

  • Mutiny: Soldiers disobey the officers in the army

  • Struggle between ruler and ruled

  • People started believing they had a common enemy

  • People organized, communicated and took initiative for the same

  • Rebellion started in May 1857 after 100 years of East India Company

  • Sepoys mutinied in Meerut and other areas

  • Considered biggest armed resistance to colonialism in 19th Century anywhere in the world


  • 29 March 1857: Mangal Pandey hanged to death for attacking his officers in Barrack pore

  • 9 May 1857: Sepoys at Meerut refused to do army drill with new cartridges coated with cow and pig grease – 85 sepoys dismissed and sent to 10 year jail

  • 10 May 1857: Soldiers marched to jails and released imprisoned sepoys and attacked Britishers, captured guns and declared war on firangis & sepoys reached Delhi and moved to Red Fort (Bahadur Shah Zafar was aging and not willing to accept what sepoys wanted). He however asked rulers to organize a confederacy of Indian states to fight the British (had huge implications)

Image of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Image of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Image of Bahadur Shah Zafar

  • Alternate by Bahadur Shah Zafar led to enthusiasm amongst people

  • Nodal points – Delhi, Kanpur & Lucknow – local leaders and zamindars joined

  • Kanpur: Nana Saheb (adopted son of Peshwa Baji Rao) gathered armed forces and expelled British garrison from the city & proclaimed himself Peshwa. He declared that he was governor under Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar

  • Lucknow: Birjis Qadr (son of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah) was proclaimed the new Nawab. His mother Begum Hazrat Mahal was actively part of it

  • Jhansi: Rani Lakshmibai fought along with Tantia Tope (general of Nana Saheb)

  • Mandla (MP): Rani Avanthibai Lodhi raised army of 4,000 soldiers

  • Britishers were defeated in many battles

  • 6 Aug 1857: Lieutenant Colonel Tytler sent telegram to his Commander-in-Chief expressing the fear felt by British

Some Major Roles

  • Ahmadullah Shah, a maulvi from Faizabad – against Britishers and later moved to Lucknow

  • Bakht Khan, a soldier from Bareilly moved to Delhi – key military leaders

  • Kunwar Singh from Bihar

Map of Important Centres of 1857 Revolt

Map of Important Centres of 1857 Revolt

Map of Important Centres of 1857 Revolt

Company Fights Back

  • Passed new laws to convict rebels

  • Delhi recaptured in September 1857 – Bahadur Shah Zafar was given life imprisonment and sent to Rangoon jail along with his wife Begum Zinat Mahal in Oct 1858. He died in Nov 1862 in jail.

  • People still fought back for 2 years

  • Lucknow taken in March 1858

  • Rani Lakshmibai killed and defeated in June 1858

  • Rani Avantibai initially won in Kheri but later preferred to die when surrounded by Britishers

  • Tantia Tope fought guerilla warfare – captured and killed in April 1859

  • British asked people to submit and if they did not kill any white they will have their rights reserved and rewards for loyal landholders for enjoying traditional rights


  • British Parliament passed a new Act in 1858 and transferred powers of the East India Company to the British Crown – for responsible management

  • Member of the British Cabinet was appointed Secretary of State for India and was responsible for all matters related to the governance of India – his council was called Indian Council

  • Governor General of India became the Viceroy (personal responsibility to Crown)

  • Ruling chiefs were assured that there territories will never be annexed in future

  • Kings were allowed to pass kingdom to adopted sons but acknowledge British Queen as paramount power

  • Proportion of Indian soldiers in army will be reduced

  • Gurkhas, Sikhs and Pathans will be recruited to army rather than soldiers from Awadh, Bihar and Central India

  • Britishers started to respect the customary religious and social practices

  • Policies were drafted to protect landlords and zamindars

  • Land and property of Muslims was confiscated on a large scale and they were treated with suspicion

China – Taiping Rebellion

  • Uprising in Southern China (1850 to 1860s)

  • 1000s of people led by Hong Xiuquan to fight for establishment of the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace

Map of China – Taiping Rebellion

Map of China – Taiping Rebellion

Map of China – Taiping Rebellion

  • He was converted to Christianity and was against Confucianism and Buddhism

  • Wanted to establish a kingdom where a form of Christianity was practiced, where no one held any private property, where there was no difference between social classes and between men and women, where consumption of opium, tobacco, alcohol, and activities like gambling, prostitution, slavery, were prohibited

  • Qing dynasty emperor along with British & French forces suppressed it

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