UPSC Current Affairs

Vellore Mutiny,1806

Vellore Mutiny-Ekam IAS

Vellore Mutiny,1806

  • July 10th marked 216 years of Vellore Mutiny of 1806.
  • The first major mutiny by the Indian sepoys against their British masters erupted on 10th July 1806 at Vellore in present-day Tamil Nadu.
  • Though the mutiny lasted only a day, it sent shock-waves to the British establishment.
  • Vellore Mutiny of 1806, predated the Indian Revolt of 1857 by about 50 years.
Background :
  • In November 1805, a new dress code was introduced for the sepoys of the Madras army.
  • They were ordered to shave off their beard and forbidden from wearing religious marks on their foreheads.
  • Moreover, the Madras Amy’s Commander-in-Chief John Craddock ordered the sepoys to wear round hats instead of their traditional turbans. This led to suspicion among the soldiers that they were being converted to Christianity.
  • In May 1806, a few sepoys protested against the new rules.
  • Another reason for the eruption of the mutiny was the presence of the family of slain ruler of Mysore Tipu Sultan in the Vellore Fort.
  • They were placed inside a palace within the Fort. The sons of Tipu also instigated the mutiny, although they refused to take charge once the mutiny started.
  • On 10th July at the Vellore Fort, the mutinying sepoys killed 14 of their officers and other English soldiers of the 69th Regiment of Foot.
  • The commander of the fort Colonel Fancourt was also killed.
  • By dawn, the sepoys had taken control of the fort and raised the flag of the Mysore Sultanate over it.
  • They also declared Tipu’s son Fateh Hyder king.
  • British officer named Major Coops send a force led by Rollo Gillespie. Gillespie was considered very capable and efficient.
  • Gillespie, along with his troops, was able to bring the fort under his control and rescue the surviving Europeans inside the fort.
  • As a result, about one hundred sepoys had taken refuge inside the palace.
  • Gillespie then executed them by a firing squad.
  • This brutal suppression of the revolt brought it to an end.
Results :
  • In total, about 350 sepoys were killed and another 350 were injured. After formal trials, six sepoys were blown away from canons (a form of execution), eight were hanged and five were shot by firing squads. Five others were transported.
  • The three Madras battalions involved in the mutiny were disbanded.
  • Sir John Craddock, the Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army was recalled to England and the Company even refused to pay for his return trip.
  • The order asking sepoys to wear round hats was cancelled.
  • Tipu’s family stationed at Vellore Fort was moved to Calcutta.
  • The then Governor of Madras William Bentinck was also recalled.
  • The company then decided to stop interfering with the religious and social customs of the sepoys.
  • It also decided to do away with flogging as a punishment within the native regiments.
  • The brutal crushing of the Vellore Mutiny was partly responsible for the non-participation of the sepoys of Madras in the 1857 war of independence.
Model Question

Q. Who among the following was the Governor-General of India, during the Vellore Mutiny of 1806?

(a) Lord Hastings

(b) Lord Canning

(c) Lord Dalhousie

(d) Lord William Bentick

Answer : D

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