The ethnic ties were a basic feature of the tribal rebellions. The rebels saw themselves not as a discrete class but as having a tribal identity. Fellow tribal were never attacked unless they had collaborated with the enemy.
The rebellions normally began at a point where the tribal felt so oppressed that they had no alternative but to fight. This often took the form of spontaneous attack on outsiders, looting their property and expelling them from their villages. Often religious and charismatic leaders emerged at this stage and promised divine intervention and an end to their suffering at the hands of outsiders and asked their fellow tribal to rise and rebel against the foreign authority. The warfare between the tribal rebels and British armed forces was totally unequal.