First Real War Of Indian Independence

Devil’s Advocate
2 min readMay 22, 2024

Before 1857, there were a few key rebellions in India like the 1760s war between Puli Thevan and the British, the 1799 war of Kattabomman with the British, and even the 1806 Vellore sepoy revolt. Why were these not considered the first war of Indian Independence by the British?

There were a few simple reasons…

#1: Some of these fights were not directly against the British. For example, Puli Thevan was against the Nawab of Arcot taking control of Palayakkaarar territories, and the Nawab was supported by the British army. That was still a conflict internal to Indian powers. The 1857 mutiny was a direct confrontation with the British.

#2: Some of the fights directly with the British were relatively minor skirmishes, not going beyond a week. For example, the siege of the Vellore fort in 1806 lasted only a day. The fight with Kattabomman at Panchalankurichi was for 5 days, although catching him took longer. Contrast this with the 1857 mutiny that lasted over a year.

#3: The scale of the fight with the British is another key factor in determining what the British considered the first war of the Indian Freedom struggle. Just look at this map and see how many regions were impacted by this mutiny.

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Devil’s Advocate

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