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The Sepoy Rebellion versus the Taiping Rebellion

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Although India and China are different when it comes to religion and culture, the Taiping Rebellion in China and the Sepoy Rebellion in India had their similarities and their differences, which allowed them to succeed in some parts of their rebellions and fail in other. However, neither of these rebellions were truly successful in the sense that neither of them achieved their main goals. Even though the leaders of the Sepoy Rebellion and the Taiping Rebellion used certain methods and techniques to achieve their goals, both rebellions outcomes were very similar.

The main reason for the Sepoy rebellion in India was the intrusion of western culture that became the impetus for rebellious soldiers, fearful that their culture was slowly being annihilated. The British were interfering with traditional Hindu and Muslim religious practices such as the Sati. Although there was no single person who led the Sepoy Rebellion against the British, Indian soldiers, known as sepoys, rebelled when a rumor spread around that pig and cow fat were used to lubricate the bullets used in the Lee-Enfield rifles. They believed that this was the British doing to disrupt the caste system, and, in the end, turn them all into Christians. Their goal was to kick the British out of India. Unlike the Sepoy rebellion, Hung Xiuquan, the leader of the Taiping Rebellion, believed that according to Confucius law, it was his right to overthrow the Qing emporer who had lost the Mandate of Heaven due to over population and the loss to the British during the Opium war. Hung Xiuquan promoted sexual equality. He wanted to abolish foot binding and appointed of women as administrators and officers in the Taiping army to fight against the Qings. He also believed in the abolishment of the private ownership of land and property, and he developed a program for the equal distribution of land.

Because of the lack of organization in India, the sepoy’s attacks were sporadic and only limited to within the villages. This guerilla warfare technique did not work against the British soldiers and soon the Sepoy Rebellion was crushed. However, Britain reacted to the Sepoy Rebellion and saw that the East India Company could not rule India by itself, and soon, Britain had a direct control over India. Unlike the Sepoy Rebellion, Hung Xiuquan used an army to advance through southern China to overthrow the Qing Empire. However, the farthest he ever got was to the southern capital of Nanking, where he established a theocratic military government. Hung Xiuquan method of advancing with an army proved to be more constructive then the sepoy’s guerilla fighting tactics, and therefore the Taiping Rebellion lasted thirteen years. However, just like the Sepoy Rebellion, Hung Xiuquan and his followers were killed in the end by the British, the Qings, and the elites, who, in the case of the British, feared that the rebellion would disturb the newly set up trading ports for their opium trade, and in the cases of the Qings and elite were afraid that the rebellion would bring an end to their wealth and properties.

Both the Taiping Rebellion and the Sepoy Rebellion achieved parts of their goals, but neither of them were truly successful in the end. Due to the Taiping Rebellion, the Qing empire shaken by Hung Xiuquan advancing army and soon united with the British and the elites to bring an end to his vision. The Taiping Rebellion never did achieve its main goals, but Hung Xiuquan conquered all of southern China and posed a great threat to the British by having control over ports. Finally, Hung Xiuquan and his rebel army were overthrown. The Sepoy Rebellion was a success in the sense that they achieved their main goal of kicking out the East India Company, but their hopes of being free from British rule was soon shattered when the British took full control over India. However, as soon as the East India Company left and the Queen had a direct rule over India, she promised religious tolerance and that Britain would not interfere with any religious practices, and therefore the Sepoy Rebellion was successful.

Overall, even though the Sepoy Rebellion and the Taiping Rebellion had different forms of leadership that used different tactics and methods while rebelling, both of the rebellions were failures in the long run. Although they both were partly successful in achieving their primary goals, the reaction by the authorities and the British proved to be too much and the rebels were soon defeated depending on what type of military tactics they had originally incorporated.

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