DMPQ: What were the changes brought by British in the administrative structure after the revolt of 1857?

The ‘1857 revolt’ forced the British Government to introduce changes in the structure of army. Several steps were taken to minimize, if not completely eliminate, the capacity of Indian soldiers to revolt.

  • The domination of army by its European branch was carefully granted through raising the proportion of Europeans to Indians and was fixed at ‘one to two’ in the Bengal Army, and two to five in the Madras and Bombay armies.
  • The European troops were kept in key geographical and military positions.
  • The crucial branches of army like artillery and later in 20th century, tanks and armoured crops were put exclusively in European hands.
  • The older policy of excluding Indians from the officers’ corps was strictly maintained. Till 1914 no Indian could rise higher than the rank of a subedar.
  • The organization of the Indian section of the army was based on the policy of ‘balance and counter-poise’ or ‘divide and rule’ so as to prevent the chance of uniting against in an anti- British uprising.
  • Discrimination on the basis of caste, region and religion was practised in recruitment to the any. A fiction was created that Indians consisted of ‘martial’ and ‘non-martial’ classes. Sol­diers from Awadh, Bihar, Central India and South India, who had first helped the British to conquer India but later participated in the revolt, were declared to be non-martial.