The Instigator
jungleseu
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Blade-of-Truth
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points

the grease cartridges were the main cause of the 1857 Indian Mutiny

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Blade-of-Truth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/10/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,538 times Debate No: 58799
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (9)
Votes (3)

 

jungleseu

Con

If you want any of my sources just ask....but I am ready for this debate.
Blade-of-Truth

Pro

I accept the debate.

Since I am Pro, I will begin with arguments. This will allow Con a fair chance at actually providing rebuttals to my contentions.

Definitions

1857 Indian Mutiny: Was a widespread but unsuccessful rebellion against British rule in India in 1857–58. In India it is often called the First War of Independence and other similar names. [1]

Main: the chief part : essential point. [2]

Cause: something or someone that produces an effect, result, or condition : something or someone that makes something happen or exist. [3]

[1] http://www.britannica.com...

[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...

[3] http://www.merriam-webster.com...

First and Foremost, there is some controversy in this topic. Many accept the common knowledge that the grease cartridges

I. Indian Mutiny of 1857 had many causes, with the grease cartridges being the main cause.

When accepting this debate, I immediately began my search to see what arguments, if any, can be made against the resolution at hand. I have a somewhat basic understanding of the events leading up to that mutiny including the religious, social, and caste issues that all played as factors in the ensuing conflict. With all of that acknowledged though, I believed it was common knowledge that the grease cartridges were indeed the main cause of the mutiny.

In fact, at-least three different wikipedia pages all state that the main cause was the grease cartridges. I will quote, specifically, the statements found in wikipedia alone, before sharing sources that some would deem as more appropriate than just wikipedia.

1) "The most important change that began the rebellion was anger about the ammunition for the new rifles they had to use when they had to fight. The cartridges that were used in the rifles had to be bitten open." [4]

The article then continues to expand on why this was such a major issue at the time:

"The Muslims were angry because they thought that the paper cartridges had pig fat in them. Hindu soldiers were angry because they believed the cartridges had cow fat in them. On January 27, Colonel Richard Birch ordered that no cartridges should have grease on them, and that sepoys could grease them with whatever they wanted. However, this only made the sepoys believe that the stories about the cartridge having pork and beef fat were true." [4]

[4] http://simple.wikipedia.org...

As you can see in the link just above, in the article itself this is listed immediately under the "causes" section as they start to discuss the most important change that began the rebellion.

2) In a second wikipedia article that focuses specifically on the causes of the rebellion, it is shown under the section titled "The Enfield Rifle" that:

"The rebellion was, literally, started over a gun. Sepoys throughout India were issued with a new rifle. It was believed that the cartridges that were standard issue with this rifle were greased with lard (pork fat) which was regarded as unclean by Muslims."[5]

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...

3) In the final and most dedicated wikipedia article to the Indian rebellion, as a subsection of the section dedicated to causes, we see a part titled "Tallow and lard-greased cartridges". Under that section, the audience is told immediately that:

"The final spark was provided by the ammunition for the new Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle.These rifles, which fired Minie balls, had a tighter fit than the earlier muskets, and used paper cartridges that came pre-greased. To load the rifle, sepoys had to bite the cartridge open to release the powder..." [6]

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...

As we can see from all three wikipedia articles, the greased cartridges were indeed the main cause of the rebellion.

Please keep in mind, I am not claiming that the grease cartridges are the only cause, nor am I claiming that the other factors leading up to the rebellion weren't of equal importance. What I am stating is that, in terms of causation, the greased cartridges were indeed the main cause. When articles use such descriptions as...

1) The most important change that began the rebellion...
2) The rebellion was, literally, started over a gun...
and
3) The final spark was provided by the ammunition for the new Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle..

...it is clear that the greased cartridges used in the newly distributed rifles were indeed the main cause of the rebellion.

II. THE ORIGINS OF THE INDIAN MUTINY, EPISODE 49 - 23/02/06

On February 23, 2006, BBC ran an episode for a series which focused on the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The summation and outline of the episode can be found at source link [7] which I have shared below. What stood out in the episode, for me, was the additional factors that were at play before the rebellion actually occurred. The summation included the following excerpt:

"It is wrong to accept the popular reason that sepoys refusing to use cartridges coated in animal fat caused the 1857 rebellion. There were relevant causes other than greased cartridges:

1. The British restructured India on European lines thus usurping centuries of right and privilege.
2. Governor-General Dalhousie seized states claiming that the Hindu custom of accession was illegal. This was known as the Doctrine of Lapse.
3. Many sepoy regiments were recruited from the wrong areas and castes and didn't want to serve outside their own regions.
4. Discipline in many regiments was poor.
5. Promotion was on time serving rather than ability and this added to discontent as well as inefficiency.
6. For decades there had been friction between the British and Indians because the latter, with some considerable justification, believed it was government policy to aid British missionaries who tried to convert Indians to Christianity with the force of the 1813 Charter Act encouraging them so to do." [7]

I believe this is what my opponent will attempt to use against me. The main fact I would like to draw from this is that the summation of the episode found on their website also includes the following excerpt:

"From a letter from George Barnes, Commissioner and Superintendent of the Cis-Sutlej states to Robert Mongomery, judicial commissioner for the Punjab, 5th February 1858-

"
The spark which lit the train was undoubtedly the greased cartridges. A change in the shape of a turban had led, in eighteen hundred and six, to the mutiny and massacre of Europeans at Vellore, and there can be no doubt that the danger to their caste, supposed to be hidden in the obnoxious cartridge, was sufficient case, in the existing temper of the sepoys to incite a revolt...""

It seems that even the BBC researchers for the series recognized that although there were several causes that brought about this rebellion, it was indeed the grease cartridges that served as the "spark which lit the train..." It is also noteworthy that the additional causes they listed above were never mentioned as the main causes, nor did the BBC ever say that it wasn't the main cause - they simply said that it wasn't the only cause.

[7] http://www.bbc.co.uk...

III. Further evidence that greased cartridges were the main cause.

In a website dedicated for avid researchers and fans of Britians Military Campaigns from 1837 to 1902, there is an entire thread dedicated to the discussion of the greased cartridges being the main cause. The discussion is amazingly informative and one that I believe will benefit both my opponent and the audience in terms of understanding the main cause of the mutiny. In short, they all agree that it was the "final straw that broke the camels back". [8]

[8] http://www.victorianwars.com...

Conclusion

In conclusion, I believe it is evident that the greased cartridges were the main cause of the 1857 Indian Mutiny.

I look forward to my opponents rebuttals and arguments. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
jungleseu

Con

To prove that the grease cartridges weren't the main cause for the 1857 Indian Mutiny ,we firstly need to look at the cartridges themselves. Secondly we need to see what effect using the cartridges would have on the Indian people. Lastly, we need to look at the other factors that caused the Indian Mutiny.

The grease cartridges were used o fire the Enfield rifle. You would have to bite on the grease paper cartridge to fire one. However the 1857 cartridge were coated in pig and cow fat. To both Hindus and Muslims, this was an insult to their religion.If they bit the cartridge coated with grease, they would be demoted in the Indian hierarchy and become an 'untouchable.'It was this that spurred the rebel's uprising. However, an uprising doesn't begin with one misunderstanding but many.

When the English took over India in 1763, two completely different cultures were forced to live together. Certain 'savage 'practices were not accepted by the 'good Christens of the West.' The Indians still ran on a hierarchy system, however this didn't annoy the British. The 'barbaric practices is what annoyed the British. Over 50,000 people had been killed by a religious group called the Thuggee. The Thuggee thought it was their sacred duty to commit ritual murder for their goddess ,Kali. The British therefore saw this as barbarianism and hoped to crush this religious group. They sent seypoy troops, many of which would rebel in the mutiny, to crush the Thuggee. They never succeeded in fully wiping this group and therefore their practice still carried on. However, by attempting to wipe the Thuggee out, the damage had already been done.

The British also banned Suttee. This was another religious tradition, where the women of dead husbands were burnt alive to be buried with their husbands. By the English banning Suttee in 1829, this angered the Indians because they couldn't have their wives go to the afterlife with their husbands. However, this 'barbaric' practice still went on. Those who were caught were killed or broken up. Again many of the seypoy regiments who would rebel in the mutiny were involved in this. Therefore, not only the seypoys started to hate their foreign masters, but member of the Indian public itself were starting to hate them too because they were interfering with religious traditions that had gone on for thousands of years.

I will point out to my opponent that despite having their religious customs insulted, the 1857 mutiny was short lived. Only a few Indian regiments and anti-British followers rebelled. Many Indians despite the grease cartridges and other insults to their religion, stayed loyal to the British, despite this chance for freedom. The rebellion was therefore crushed simply because India was not ready for independence and needed their foreign maters to hold their country together, even if it meant having their religion insulted.

In conclusion, the grease cartridges ,weren't the main cause for the 1857 Indian Mutiny, but the short term cause. It was the British banning certain 'barbaric practices 'and applying force if they didn't comply that was the main and the long term cause for the rebellion. It is ultimately this and therefore religion that caused the Indian Mutiny and eventually be the cause for the Indians to liberate their country from the British.
Blade-of-Truth

Pro

I. My response to the first two paragraphs posted by my opponent.

My opponent begins his final round with the first two paragraphs basically giving the audience the same background information I provided previously.

There is one important part though.

Towards the end of the second paragraph, my opponent admits that it was the grease cartridges that spurred the rebels uprising. My opponent attempts to balance his own concession by stating that such an uprising is caused my several misunderstandings, not just one. I've never contended that point, in fact, I've even said this will be the argument my opponent attempts to make. Unfortunately for him, this debate is about the main cause, not the fact that there were other causes.

I have shown several times in my last round how the grease cartridges were the main cause. My opponent has just admitted it himself as well in that second paragraph, I would ask that the audience please take that admission from my opponent into consideration, as it only serves to strengthen my own position.

II. My response to the third paragraph posted by my opponent.

In my opponents third paragraph, he provides both myself and the audience with a history lesson on some of the fighting and religious tension that served as a pre-cursor for the soon-to-happen Indian Mutiny of 1857. Unfortunately, there is nothing in this paragraph to negate, as it is nothing more than a continued history lesson, similar to his first two paragraphs. Up to this point, my opponent has yet to provide any real counter-arguments, nor does this background information he presents attempt to negate any of my arguments. As we are right now, none of my contentions have been met with appropriate rebuttals.

III. My response to the fourth paragraph posted by my opponent.

My opponent wishes to raise my attention to the point that the Mutiny was short-lived. This has absolutely no relevance to a debate where the resolution is focusing on the main cause. Whether it was a 5 year conflict, or a 2 month rebellion, such statements hold no place in this debate.

He then continues with the history lesson approach by informing both myself and the audience that the rebellion had inadequate support and was crushed because "India was not ready for independence". Again, these facts hold absolutely no relevance to the resolution at hand.

IV. Response to the concluding paragraph posted by my opponent.

This is the only part of my opponents final round where any form of counter-argument is presented. My opponent claims that the grease cartridges were just the short-term cause. My opponent then goes on to claim that religion is both the long-term cause and main cause of the Mutiny. This is simply false.

I proceeded to do a Google search to find the definition of short-term/long-term causes. According to the definitions I found:

1) Short term causes are what happened on the day of, long term is what happened in advance. [1]

2) Short term cause would be something that invoked immediate (or relatively rapid) action. Example: the assassination of Francis Ferdinand instigated WWI. Long term cause would be something that has been around for ages, and finally got to a point where something was done. Example: conflicting ideologies between Soviet Russia and USA led to Cold War.

[1] http://wiki.answers.com...

[2] http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk...

Now my opponent is trying to say that the Grease Cartridges were the short-term cause while the overall religious tensions were the long-term cause and main-cause. Unfortunately for him, short or long-term causes serve no purpose in this debate. We are debating the main cause, which I clearly defined in my previous round as:

Main: the chief part : essential point. [3] (The essential point aspect alone upholds every piece of evidence I've shared)

Cause: something or someone that produces an effect, result, or condition : something or someone that makes something happen or exist. [4]

[3] http://www.merriam-webster.com......

[4] http://www.merriam-webster.com......

As I've shown in my last round, there are several sources that all confirm that the grease cartridges were the main cause. To specifically quote them once more:

1) The most important change that began the rebellion...
2) The rebellion was, literally, started over a gun...
and
3) The final spark was provided by the ammunition for the new Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle..

**(please refer to my previous round for source links of these 3 points)**

As I showed at the beginning of this round, my opponent conceded the point that the Enfield Rifle was the main cause:

"If they bit the cartridge coated with grease, they would be demoted in the Indian hierarchy and become an 'untouchable.'It was this that spurred the rebels uprising. However, an uprising doesn't begin with one misunderstanding but many." -[My opponent]

His own statement in which he concedes my point sounds extremely familiar to another source I shared in my previous round where I cited a quote that comes from the BBC:

"It is wrong to accept the popular reason that sepoys refusing to use cartridges coated in animal fat caused the 1857 rebellion. There were relevant causes other than greased cartridges..." [5]

So, at face value, my opponents statement seems to mirror the one from BBC. The most important factor of this point though is that the BBC also shared the following:

"From a letter from George Barnes, Commissioner and Superintendent of the Cis-Sutlej states to Robert Mongomery, judicial commissioner for the Punjab, 5th February 1858-
"
The spark which lit the train was undoubtedly the greased cartridges. A change in the shape of a turban had led, in eighteen hundred and six, to the mutiny and massacre of Europeans at Vellore, and there can be no doubt that the danger to their caste, supposed to be hidden in the obnoxious cartridge, was sufficient case, in the existing temper of the sepoys to incite a revolt..." [5]

I underlined the first sentence in his letter because it shows that even the BBC recognizes that, while there are several causes (both long and short term), it was indeed the greased cartridges that was the main cause.

[5] http://www.bbc.co.uk...

In Conclusion

My opponent, in his attempt to prove his position, has made a major mistake. He has taken my position as one that is a short-term cause, and has in turn placed a higher value on a long-term cause. My opponent believes that religion (one of several long-term causes) was the main cause of the Mutiny. This goes against the very definition of Main Cause as I stated in the beginning of the debate which is that the main cause is the essential point. My opponent has not shown that religion was an essential point, but rather attempted to claim that it was the long-term cause, and therefore the main cause. His argument simply doesn't work, it is not sound. If something is a long-term cause, that does not necessarily mean it is also the main cause. This was my opponents biggest mistake. I should also bring up the fact that my opponent failed to include any sources for either round. This is most likely because no-one agrees with the position that religion was the main cause, and ask the audience to please take this into consideration when determining who's claims have sources that back up the points.

I, on the other hand, have shown through several different sources that the greased cartridges were indeed the essential point in the Indian Mutiny of 1857, and therefore the main cause. This fits appropriately with the definitions given for main cause, as well as shows the audience that even respectable sources such as the BBC and avid researchers are in agreement with my own position.

I would like to thank my opponent for this thought-provoking debate, and look forward to any and all challenges in the future. I would also like to extend my thanks to the audience.
Debate Round No. 2
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
Please don't continue the debates in the comments. It's poor conduct. If you would like to know why I said that, more in-depth, please feel free to PM me. My inbox is open for any member to use.
Posted by jungleseu 2 years ago
jungleseu
My opponent said that I have gone against the definition of main cause-the essential point. I will tell him this fact that he cannot deny-there would have beeen mutiny without religion. That obvious points out that religion is an essential point or the main cause.
Posted by ChosenWolff 2 years ago
ChosenWolff
I've been using this method recently, and I think it's the most reliable. It allows me to read the debate, and reason it out as I go along. I think most people do either two things.....

1) Skim through the debate and pick out random points for whom they agree with
2) Read the debate, decide a winner by R2, and buy all their arguments when planning their vote.

Analyzing the debate word for word makes sure my vote will be reliable, and non bias. At most, it allows me to defend my vote adequately, as you have read and responded to every point in tidbits.
Posted by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
Not alot of people utilize google docs for voting. So you know that when someone does it's most likely a quality rfd.
Posted by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
It is, lol. Reading it now and already impressed.
Posted by ChosenWolff 2 years ago
ChosenWolff
Hopefully the RFD is satisfactory.
Posted by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
con is as good as dead.
Posted by jungleseu 2 years ago
jungleseu
It started off as a rumour because when the cartridges were spilt in when traveling dogs ate them. This started the rumour which turned out to be true
Posted by ChosenWolff 2 years ago
ChosenWolff
Blade has an advantage. As any historian will tell you, the "grease" cartridges started out as a rumor, and were still a rumor when the mutiny started. There was never any evidence.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
jungleseuBlade-of-TruthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: pro was only one with sources
Vote Placed by Mikal 2 years ago
Mikal
jungleseuBlade-of-TruthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: obvious reasons, pro was the only one with sources
Vote Placed by ChosenWolff 2 years ago
ChosenWolff
jungleseuBlade-of-TruthTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LKUJOb4a8Fhaumq8CIhqns6iCkhn919i2cIwYaqh6jM/edit?usp=sharing