The fact that within a short span of three weeks, the mutiny spread through the length and breadth of the country shows the extent to which the natives were furious at the policies of the English. Unfortunately, 1857 War of Independence Fails to Achieve Its Objectives due to the following reasons.
Who Started the War of Independence 1857?
The revolutionaries had planned to start the war of independence throughout the country simultaneously on May 31, 1857. But it was started prematurely due to the cartridge incident and the plan to wage the war simultaneously throughout the country could not materialize. If the proposed plan had worked the company would have found it impossible to control the whole country. British experts like Malleson and Wilson have acknowledged that if the war had started on schedule, the company would have failed to overcome it.
Role of Sikhs and the Gorkhas in 1857
Besides keeping away from the war, the Sikhs provided every possible assistance to the English army. The Sikh states of Jind and Patiala in the Punjab gave generous financial and military assistance to their English masters. In the words of John Lawrence, if the Sikhs and the Gorkhas had not helped us, it would have been impossible for us to recapture India. Besides the Sikhs and the Gorkhas, a large number of Indians helped the English in regaining control over India.
According to W. Russel, "if all the natives had joined hands against us we would have been completely annihilated despite all our courage and bravery". Our fortified armies no doubt showed great courage while defending themselves but the courageous natives also had an equal share in this defense. If the Rajas of Jind and Patilal had not sided with us and if Sikhs had no joined us with their gallant contingents, we should never have been able to besiege Delhi”.
Absence of An Active And Efficient Leader
The freedom fighters were not fighting under a single commander. No doubt they had pledged their support for and loyalty to Bahadur Shah Zafar yet, he who was then in his eighties could not be expected to play the role of and energetic and experienced commander to lead and guide the people. Moreover, he himself was surrounded by a host of traitors and flatterers. Behind the scene, they were working for the company similarly the role played by Ahsanullah and Zeenat Mahal was also quite suspicious.
Why Freedom Fighters Failed in War of Independence?
Another cause of the failure of the freedom fighters was that they did not have access to those quick and reliable means of communications which were at the disposal of the company. An English man wired the news of the mutiny in Delhi to Ambala and other places even by risking his own life. This enabled the company to make the necessary defense arrangements. In the words of Robert Montgomery, India was saved by the electronic wire.
Poor Economic Condition of Fighters in 1857 War
Indians were at that time facing acute economic problems. The revolutionary soldiers who had gathered around Bahadur Shah Zafar were crippled by severe economic hardships. He had to ask for loans in order to provide for the needs of his army. In the presence of such economic crisis, the soldiers could not be expected to fight properly and devotedly. On the one hand, the company was in control of all the prosperous regions of the country which can be termed as the jugular vein of India. On the other hand, the regions where the mutiny had originated and flourished had already been plagued by political inefficiency, internal conspiracies and the economic exploitation by the company. Thus the economic conditions prevailing in these regions were quite appalling and could not sustain another war.
Results of 1857 War
The war of independence would surely go down in history as the first and direct challenge to the British rule in India on an extensive scale. It was a desperate attempt of a subjugated people to cut off the shackles of a repressive colonial power which sought to keep them in bondage. As such it inspired the genuine national movement for the freedom of India from British yoke which started half a century later.