Abstract

The upheavals of 1857 in India left a heightened conviction among the British rulers of what many had long believed, that the loyalty of their subjects could never be relied upon. Even after 1857 the British fear of sedition was stimulated at irregular intervals by such events as the Wahhabi trials of the eighteen sixties and the Kuka uprisings of 1869–72. British responses to nationalist challenges for decades to come were conditioned by the resulting insecurity, and nowhere was this more dramatically reinforced than in Bombay Presidency in the late eighteen seventies.

British rule in Maharashtra had been erected on the ruins of the Maratha confederation. The legacy of independent Hindu rule lived on after 1818, although civil disturbances in following years sometimes bore little relation to the change of rulers. Spasmodically from 1818 to 1857 a series of minor revolts broke out in the countryside and towns, all of which fell into traditional patterns. All were strictly local in scope, whether mutinies of sepoys against English officers or tribal and low-caste riots against village moneylenders.

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