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What objections did the sepoys have to the new cartridges that they were asked to use?

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The new cartridges which were introduced by the East India Company came to be suspected of being coated with the fats of both cows and pigs. This hurt the religious sentiments of both Hindu and Muslim sepoys and was one of the major reasons for the refusal of the use of these cartridges.

Sepoys Objection with New Cartridges

When the new “Enfield rifle” was first made available to the armies, it was thought that the cartridge of this rifle was lubricated with pig and cow fat. It was inappropriate for their religious beliefs to use it, the main reason was that it has to be bitten off before being loaded into the gun. As a result, the sepoys of Muslims and Hinduism refused to use the new cartridge. Which, eventually became the immediate reason for the revolt of 1857, causing thousands of soldiers to rebel against the British government.

Uprising of 1857

Due to this, on March 29, 1857, a young soldier by the name of Mangal Pandey—who himself came from a Brahmin family—started the uprising by refusing to use the cartridge and attacking the British officer. He was therefore executed by hanging. Even though the incident wasn’t particularly significant, it had a significant impact on the Indian soldier, who was already bitter toward the British government. He was followed by numerous others but  Meerut regiment soldiers who began to rebel against the British government and refuse to use the new cartridge. Eventually, the incident grew and gave rise to the 1857 uprising.

Here are some of the significant concerns sepoys had about using the new cartridges.

  • Using the fat of cows and Pigs: The major reason for the refusal of using the new cartridge was that it was greased with the cow and pigs’ fat. which enraged the sepoys.
  • Promoting Christianity: The Indian soldiers believed that the main goal of the Britishers behind the new cartridges is to convert both Hindus and Muslims into Christianity and denigrate their religion.
  • Harm to their religious beliefs: Hindus and Muslims, both religions have their own beliefs. Eating cows’ and pigs’ meat is forbidden in the respective cultures. Using the new cartridge was harming their religious beliefs, which enraged them. as they believed that the British government is trying to denigrate their religion.
  • Using the mouth to remove the covering: The cartridge was coated with beef and pig’s fat, which needed to remove before loading into the rifle. To remove it the sepoys needed to bite it by their mouth, which caused the objection.

Related Links

  1. The Revolt of 1857- Part I
  2. Consequences of the Revolt of 1857
  3. The Revolt of 1857 Part II
  4. Causes of 1857 Revolt
  5. Causes of Failure of Revolt of 1857

FAQs on Objection Sepoys Had With the New Cartridges

Q 1. What objections did the sepoys have with the new cartridges that they were asked to use?


The new cartridges were not acceptable to the Indian sepoys as they believe that the cartridges were coated with the fats of pigs and cows.

Q 2. What were the reasons for the disappointment of sepoys in the British Army?


The sepoys were paid less wages and they felt the British did not respect their religious sentiments.

Q 3. Who was the Bengal sepoy who refused to use the greased cartridges?


Mangal Pandey was the Bengal sepoy who refused to use the greased cartridges.

Last Updated : 16 May, 2023
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