The above is the title of a book which I completed reading a few days back. It is a book edited by Comrade P.C.Joshi, veteran Communist leader and published in 1957, in the centenary year of the First War of Independence 1857. There are many articles written on the 1857 struggle by many important historians and authors. The articles deal with the brutal exploitation of the people through heavy taxes and appropriation of the land of the people through auctions etc in case of non-payment, the conversion to Christianity using official status, taking over the zamindari/landlords etc. which agitated the people. The sepoys, as the Indian military was called, were also affected by the above. Compelling the sepoys to use pig fat for oiling the guns was the breaking point, which hurt their religious sentiments. It was not only sepoys, but the people in large number participated in the rebellion in the north India. The Nawabs, Kings and prominent persons who lost their property and power also joined ranks. You can say that it was a well prepared struggle considering the then situation. The capture of Delhi by the rebels, the decision making the Mogul Emperor Bahadur Shah as the head of the rebel government,the formation of a Court of Administration with a few top leading persons, the manifesto issued by the Government in a democratic way – all these were positive points of the government. One after another, cities fell to the rebel government. But the weaknesses of the government was more than its positive side. The manifesto included restoration of the lands to those from whom it were taken away and also tried to put an end to the exploitation of the small land owners. The former zamindars etc. now started worrying that the new government may turn against them. Some of the local chieftains also thought that it will be better for them under the British Government. The British also sent emissaries to them assuring that in future no confiscation of their property will be there. The rebels expected help from Punjab and Bengal also in addition to the central north. But, for their own reasons, the new reformists of W.Bengal and the Punjabs kept themselves away from the rebellion and in some places, actually helped the British. Since there was not any other war engaged by the British at that time, except in China, they could mobilise their armies in full against the rebels. The Telegraphs and Railways was a big help for communications and transport. The sincerity and bravery of the rebel leaders was no match against the well trained, disciplined British army with more destructive guns and ammunition. The leaders of the rebellion, one after another had to sacrifice themselves in the battlefield or were captured and killed. Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatia Topi, Kunwar Singh – all were dead. The War of Independence was over within one year. Though the struggle was crushed and the people brutally shot and hanged by thousands, the seed for the Independence Struggle has been sown. There was no going back. It started again with the formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885. The development of the freedom struggle and its culmination on 15th August 1947, India becoming a free nation, is well known.