History of Modern India - Bipin Chandra - PDFCOFFEE.COM (2023)

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MODERN INDIA

EDITORIAL BOARD

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CHIEF EDITOR

Dr. S. Gopal

EDITORS

Dr. S. Nurul Hasan Dr. Satish Chandra Dr. Romila Thapar SECRETARY

Dr. K. Maitra

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MODERN INDIA

BIPAN CHANDRA (Digitised By Ekvakra)

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND TRAI NING

First Published June 1971 Jyaistha 1893 Repi inted September 1976 Bhadra 1898 May 1977 Vaisakha 1899 May 1980 Vaisakha 1902 June 1981 Jyaistha 1903 April

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1982 Chaitia 1904 P.D. 22 T-DPG (R) © National Council of Educational Research and Training, 1971

Price: Rs 6.90

Published at the Publication Department by V K Fandtt, Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobmdo Marg, New Delhi 110016, and printed at India Offset Press, A-1 Mayapuri, New Delhi 110064

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Preface This book deals with, the modern period of Indian history. Effort has been made in this book to lay emphasis on forces, movements and institutions rather than on military and diplomatic events and on individual administrators and political leaders. The 18th century society, economy and political system have been discussed at length in order to indicate the social situation which enabled a company of foreign merchants to conquer this vast land. The nature and character of British imperialism, its impact on the social, economic and administrative life of India, and the Indian response have also been dealt with in detail. FinalJy,the strengthening of the idea of nationhood in the country and the development of a countrywide struggle against foreign rule, culminating in the attainment of independence, is studied. An attempt has also been made to place events in their world setting. The Board of Editors is grateful to Dr. Bipan Chandra for undertaking the writing of this book. The Board has gone through the text carefully and accepts full responsibility for the final version.

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Contents

C HAP TER

I

The Decline of the Mughal Empire CHAPTER II

Indian States and Society in the 18th Century ., C HAP TER

III

The Beginnings of European Settlements CHAPTER IV The Briti sh C onque st of India C MAP TIR V

The Struclurc of the Government and the Economic Policies of the British Empire in India, 1757—1857 C HAP TER VI

Administrative Organisation and Social and Cultural Policy CHAPTER VII

Social and Cultural Awakening in the First Half of the 19th Century C HAP TER VIII

^ The Revolt of 1857 C HAP TER

IX

Administrative Changes After 1838 C HAP TER X

India And Her Neighbours CHAPTER XI

Economic Impact of the British Rule CHAPTER XJI

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Growth of New India—The Nationalist Movement 1858—1905 Chapter XIII

Growth of New India Religious and Social Reform After 1858 Chapter XIV

Nationalist Movement 1905—1918 CHAPTER XV

Struggle for Swaraj

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The Decline of the Mughal Empire

T

HE great Mughal Empire, the envy of its contemporaries, for almost two centuries, declined and disintegrated during the first hair of the 18th century. The Mughal Emperors lost their power and glory and their empire shrank to a few square miles around Delhi. In the end, in 1803, Delhi itself was occupied by the British array and the proud Mughal Emperor was reduced to the status of a mere pensioner of a foreign power. A study of the process of decline of this great Empire is most instructive. It reveals some of the defects and weaknesses of India‟s medieval social, economic and political structure which were responsible for the eventual subjugation of the country by the English East India Company. The unity and stability of the Empire had been shaken up during the long and strong reign of Aurangzeb; yet in spile of his many harmful policies, the Mughal administration was still quite efficient and the Mughal army quite strong at the time, of his death in 1707. Moreover, the Mughal dynasty still commanded respect in the country. On Aurangzeb‟s death his three sons fought among themselves for the throne The 65-year old Bahadur Shah emerged victorious. He was learned, dignified, and able. He followed a policy of compromise and conciliation, and there was evidence of the reversal of some of the narrowminded policies and measures adopted by Aurangzeb. He adopted a more tolerant attitude towards the Hindu chiefs and rajas. There was no destruction of temples in his reign, In the beginning, he made an attempt to gain greater control over the Rajput states of Amber and Marwar (Jodhpur) by replacing Jai Singh by his younger brother Vijai Singh at Amber and by forcing Ajit Singh of Marwar to submit to Mughal authority. He also made an attempt to garrison the cities of Amber and Jodhpur. This attempt was, however, met with firnj resistance. This may have made him recognisc the folly of his actions for he soon arrived at a settlement with the two states, though the settlement was not magnanimous. Though their states were restored to the Rajas Jai Singh and Ajit Singh, their demand for high matisabs and the offices of sitbahdars of important provinces such as Malwa and Gujarat was not accepted. His policy towards the Maratha sardars (chiefs) was that of halfhearted conciliation.

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While he granted them the sardeshmukhi of the Deccan, he failed to grant them the chauth and thus to satisfy them fully. He also did not recognise Shahu as the rightful Maratha King. He thus let Tara Bai and Shahu tight for supremacy over the Maratha Kingdom. The result was that Shahu and the Maratha sardars remained dissatisfied and the Deccan continued to be a prey to disorder. There could be no restoration of peace and order so long as the Maratha sardars fought one another as well as fought against the Mughal authority. Bahadur Shah had tried to conciliate the rebellious Sikhs by making peace with Guru Go bind Singh and giving him a high mansab (rank), But when, after the death of the Guru, the Sikhs once again raised the banner of revolt m the Punjab under the leadership of Banda Bahadur, the Emperor decided to take strong measures and himself led a campaign against the rebels, who soon controlled practically the entire territory between the Sutlej and the Jamuna, reaching the close neighbourhood of Delhi. Even though he succeeded in capturing Lohgarh, a fort built by Guru Gobind Singh north-east of Ambala at the foothills of the Himalayas, and other important Sikh strongholds, the Sikhs could not be crushed and in 1712 they recovered the fort of Lohgarh. Bahadur Shah conciliated C ha tarsal, the Bundela chief, who remained a loyal feudatory, and the Jat chief Churaman, who joined him in the campaign against Banda Bahadur. There was further deterioration in the field of administration in Bahadur Shah‟s reign. The position of state finances worsened as a result of his reckless grants of jagirs and promotions. During his reign the remnants of the Royal treasure, amounting in 1707 to some 13 crores of rupees, were exhausted. Bahadur Shah was groping towards a solution of the problems besetting the Empiie. Given time, he might have revived the Imperial fortunes. Unfortunately, his death in 1712 plunged the Empire once again into civil war. A new element entered Mughal politics in this and the succeeding wars of succession. While previously the contest for power had been between royal princes, and the nobles had merely aided the aspirants to the throne, now ambitious nobles became direct contenders for power and used princes as mere pawns to capttire the seats of authority. In the civil war following Bahadur Shah's death, one of his less able sons, Jahandar Shah, won because he was supported by Zulfiqar Khan, the most powerful noble of the time. Jahandar Shah was a weak and degenerate prince who was wholly devoted to pleasure. He lacked good manners and dignity and decency. During Jahandar Shah‟s reign, the administration was virtually in the hands of the extremely capable and energetic Zulfiqar Khan, who had become his wazir. Zulfiqar Khan believed that it was necessary to establish friendly relations with the Rajput rajas and the Maratha sardars and to conciliate the Hindu chieftains in general in order to strengthen his own position at the Court and to save the Empire. Therefore, he rapidly reversed the policies of Aurangzeb The hated jizyah was abolished. Jai Singh of Amber was given the title of Mirza Raja Sawai and appointed Governor of Malwa; Ajit Singh of Marwar was awarded the title of Maharaja and appointed

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THE DECLINE OP THE MUGHAL EMPIRE

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Governor of Gujarat. Zulfiqar Khan confirmed the earlier private arrangement that his deputy in the Deccan, Daud Khan Panni, had concluded with the Maratha King Shahu in 1711 By this arrangement, the Maratha ruler was granted the chmah and xardeshmtkln of the Deccan on the condition that these collections would be made by the Mughal officials and then handed over to the Maralha officials. Zulfiqar Khan also conciliated Churaman Jat and Chhatarsal Bundela. Only towards Banda and the Sikhs he continued the old policy of suppression Zulfiqar Khan made an attempt to improve the finances of the Empire by checking the reckless growth of jagirs and offices. He also tried to compel the mansabdars (nobles) to maintain their official quota of troops. An evil tendency encouraged by him was that of \jar ah or revenue-farming. Instead of collecting land revenue at a fixed rate as under Todar Mai‟s land revenue settlement, the Government began to contract with revenue farmers and middlemen to pay the Government a fixed amount of money while they were left free to collect whatever thay could from the peasant. This led to increased oppression, of the peasant. Many jealous nobles secretly worked against Zulfiqar Khan. Worse still, the Emperor too did not give him his trust and cooperation in full measure. The Emperor's ears were poisoned against Zulfiqar Khan by unscrupulous favourites. He was told that his wazir was becoming too powerful and ambitious and might even overthrow the Emperor himself. The cowardly Emperor dared not dismiss the powerful wazir, but he began to intrigue against him secretly. Nothing could have been more destructive of heallhy administration. Jahandar Shah‟s inglorious reign came to an early end in January 1713 when he was defeated at Agra Farrukh Siyar, his nephew. Farrukh Siyar owed his victory to the Saiyid brothers, Abdullah Khan and Husain All Khan Baraha, who were therefore given the offices of wazir and mtr bakshi respectively The two brothers soon acquired dominant control over tnc affairs of the state. Farrukh Siyar lacked the capacity to rule. He was cowardly, cruel, undependable and faithless. Moreover, he allowed himself to be influenced by worthless favourites and flatterers. In spite of his weaknesses, Farrukh Siyar was not willing to give the

Saiyid brothers a free hand but wanted to exercise personal authority. On the other liand, the Saiyid brothers were convinced that administration could be carried on properly, the decay of the Empire checked, and their own position safeguarded only if they wielded real authority and the Emperor merely reigned without ruling. Thus there ensued a prolonged struggle for power between the Emperor Farrukh Siyar and his wazir and mir iakshi. Year after year the ungrateful Emperor intrigued to overthrow the two brothers; year after year, he failed. In the end, in 1719, the Saiyid brothers deposed him and killed him. In his place they raised to the throne in quick succession two young princes' who died of consumption. The Saiyid brothers now made the 18-year old Muhammad Shah the Emperor of India. The three successors of Farrukh Siyar were mere puppets in the hands of the Saiyids. Even their personal liberty to meet people and to move around was

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restricted. Thus, from 1713 until 1720, when they were overthrown, the Saiyid'brothers wielded the administrative power of the state. The Saiyid brothers adopted the policy of religious tolerance. They believed that India could be ruled harmoniously only by associating Hindu chiefs and nobles with the Muslim nobles in governing the country. Again, they sought to conciliate and use the Rajputs, the Marathas, and the Jats in their struggle against Farrukh Siyar and the rival nobles. They abolished the jizyah immediately after Farrukh Siyar‟s accession to the throne. Similarly, the pilgrim tax was abolished from a number of places. They won over to their side Ajit Singh of Marwar, Jai Singh of Amber, and many other Rajput princes by giving them high positions of influence in the administration. They made an alliance with Churaman, the Jat chieftain. In the later years of their administration they reached an agreement with King Shahu by granting him the swarajya (of Shivaji) and the right to collect the chauth and sardeshmukhi of the six provinces of the Deccan. In return, Shahu agreed to support them in the Deccan with 15,000 mounted soldiers. The Saiyid brothers made a vigorous effort to contain rebellions and to save the Empire from administrative disintegration. They failed in these tasks mainly because they were faced with constant political rivalry, quarrels, and conspiracies at the court. This continued friction in the ruling circles disorganised and even paralysed administration at all levels. Lawlessness and disorder spread everywhere. The financial position of the state deteriorated rapidly as zamindars and rebellious elements refused to pay land revenue, officials misappropriated state revenues, and central income declined because of the spread of revenue farming. As a result, the salaries of the officials and soldiers could not be paid regularly and the soldiers became indisciplined and even mutinous. Even though the Saiyid brothers had tried hard to conciliate and befriend all

sections or the nobility, a powerful group of nobles headed by Nizam-ul-Mulk and his fathei's cousin Muhammad Amin Khan began to conspire against them. These nobles were jealous of the growing power of the two brothers. The deposition and murder of Farrukh Siyar frightened many of them: if the Emperor could be, killed, what safety was there for mere nobles? Moreover, the murder of the Emperor created a wave of public revulsion against the two brothers. They were looked down upon as traitors— persons who had not been „true to their salt‟ (namak haram). Many of the nobles of Aurangzeb‟s reign also disliked the Saiyid alliance with the Rajput and the Maratha chicfs and their liberal policy towards the Hindus. These nobles declared that the Saiyids were following anti-Mughal and anti-Islamic policies. They thus tried to arouse the fanatical sections of the Muslim, nobility against the Saiyid brothers. The anti-Saiyid nobles were supported by Emperor Muhammad Shah who wanted to free himself from the control of the two brothers. In 1720, they succeeded in treacherously assassinating Husain A!i Khan, the younger of the two brothers. Abdullah Khan tried to fight back but was defeated near Agra. Thus ended the domination of the Mughal Empire by the Saiyid brothers known in Indian history as „king makers‟.

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THE DECLINE OP THE MUGHAL EMPIRE

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Muhammad Shah‟s long reign of nearly 30 years (1719-1748) was the last chance of saving the Empire There wcie no quick changes of imperial authority as in the period 1707-1720. When his reign began Mughal prestige among the people was still an important political factor. The Mughal army and particularly the Mughal artillery was still a force to reckon with. Administration in northern India had deteriorated but not broken down yet. The Maratha sanlais were still confined to the South, while the Rajput rajas continued to be loyal to the Mughal dynasty. A strong and farsighted ruler supported by a nobility conscious of its peril might still have saved the situation. But JVluhammad Shah was not the man of the moment. He was weak-minded and frivolous and over- fond of a life of ease and luxury. Hs neglected the affairs of state. Instead of giving full support to able ivazhs such as Nizam-ul-Mulk, he fell under the evil influence of corrupt and worthless flatterers and intrigued against his own ministers. He even shared in the bribes taken by his favourite courtiers. Disgusted with the fickle-mindedness and suspicious nature of the Emperor and the constant quarrels at the court, Nizum-ul-Mulk, the most powerful noble of the time, decided to follow his own1 ambition. He had become the wazir in 1722 and had made a vigorous attempt to reform the administration. He now decided to leave the Emperor and his Empire to their fate and to strike out on his own. He relinquished his office in October 1724 and marched South to found the state of Hyderabad in the Deccan. “His departure was symbolic of the flight of loyalty and virtue from the Empire.” The

physical break-up of the Mughal Empire had begun. The other powerful and ambitious nobles also now began to utilise their energies for carving out semi-independent states. Hereditary nawabs owing nominal allegiance to the Emperor at Delhi arose in many parts of the country, for example, in Bengal, Hyderabad, Avadh, and the Punjab. Everywhere petty zamindars, rajas and nawabs raised tht banner of rebellion and independence. The Marathi sardars began their northern expansion and overran Malwa, Gujarat and Bundelkhand, Then, in 1738-1739, Nadir Shah descended upon the plains of northern India, and the Empire lay prostrate. Nadir Shah had risen from shepherd boy to Shah (King) by saving Persia from sure decline and disintegration. In the beginning of the 18th century Persia, hitherto a powerful and far flung Empire, was under the weak rule of the declining Safavi dynasty. It was threatened by internal rebellions and foreign attacks. In the east, the Abdali tribesmen revolted and occupied Herat, and the Ghalzai tribesmen detatched the province of Qandahar. Similar revolts occurred m the north and west. In Shir van, religious persecution of the Sunnis by fanatical Shias led to rebellion. Here, “Swm mullahs were put to death, mosques were profaned and turned into stables, and religious works were destroyed." In 1721, the Ghalzai chief of Qandahar, Mahmud, invaded Persia and occupied Isfahan, the capital. Russia under Peter the Great was determined to push southward. Peter began his invasion of Persia in July 1722 and soon forced Persia to sign away several of her provinces on the Caspian Sea, including the town of Baku, Turkey, deprived of most of her European possessions, also hoped to make good the loss at Persia's cost. In the spring of 1723, Turkey declared war on Persia and rapidly pushed

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through Georgia and then penetrated south. In June 1724, Russia and Turkey signed a treaty dividing all northern and most of western Persia between them. At this stage, in 1726, Nadir emerged as a major supporter of Tahmsap and as his most brilliant commander. In 1729 he won back Herat after defeating the Abdalis and expelled the Ghalzais from Isfahan and central and southern Persia. After long and bitter warfare he compelled Turkey to give back all conquered territory. In 1735, he signed a treaty with Russia receiving back all seized territory. Next year, he deposed the last of the Safavi rulers and made himself the Shah. In the following years, he reconquered the province of Qandahar. Nadir Shah was attracted to India by the fabulous wealth for which it was always famous. Continual campaigns had made Persia virtually bankrupt. Money was needed desperately to maintain his mercenary army. Spoils from India could be a solution. At the same time, the visible weakness of the Mughal Empire made such spoliation possible. He entered Indian territory towards the end of 1738, without meeting with any opposition. For years the defences of the northwest frontier had been neglected. The danger was not fully recognised till the enemy had occupied Lahore. Hurried preparations were then made for the defence of Delhi, but the faction-ndden nobles refused to unite even in sight of the enemy, They could not agree on a plan for defence or on the commander of the defending forces. Disunity, poor leadership, and mutual jealousies and distrust could lead only to defeat. The two armies rret at Karnal on 13th February 1739 and the invader inflicted a crushing defeat on the Mughal army. The Emperor Muhammad Shah was taken prisoner and Nadir Shah marched on to Delhi. A terrible massacre of the citizens of the imperial capital was ordered by Nadir Shah as a reprisal against the killing of some of his soldiers. The greedy invader took possession of the royal treasury and other royal property, levied tribute on the leading nobles, and plundered the rich of Delhi. His total plunder has been estimated at 70 crores of rupees. This enabled him to exempt his own Kingdom from taxation for three years! He also carried away the famous Koh-i-nur diamond and the jewel-studded Peacock Throne of Shahjahan. He compelled Muhammad Shah to cede to him all the provinces of the Empire west of the river Indus. Nadir Shah's invasion inflicted immense damage on the Mughal Empire. It caused an irreparable loss of prestige and exposed the hidden weakness of the Empire to the Maratha sardars and the foreign trading companies. The central administration was thoroughly paralysed temporarily. The invasion ruined imperial finances and adversely affected the economic life of the country. The impoverished nobles began to rack-rent and oppress the peasantry even more m an effort to recover I heir lost fortunes. They also fought one another over rich jagirs and high offices more desperately than ever. The loss of Kabul and the areas to the west of the Indus once again opened the Empire to the threat of invasions from the North-West. A vital line of defence had disappeared. It is surprising indeed that the Empire seemed to revive some of its strength after Nadir Shah‟s departure, even though the area under its effective control shrank rapidly. But the revival was deceptive and superficial. After Muhammad

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Shah‟s death in 1748, bitter struggles and even civil war toroke out among unscrupulous and power hungry nobles. Furthermore, as a result of the weakening of the north-western defences, the Empire was devastated by the repeated invasions of Ahmed Shah Abdali, one of Nadir Shah‟s ablest generals, who had succeeded m establishing his authority over Afghanistan after his master‟s death. Abdali repeatedly invaded and plundered northern India right down to Delhi and

Mathura between 1748 and 1767. In 1761, he defeated the Marathas in the Third Battle of Panipat and thus gave a big blow to their ambition of controlling the Mughal Emperor and thereby dominating the country, He did not, however, found a new Afghan kingdom in India. He and his successors could not even retain the Punjab which they soon lost to the Sikh chiefs. As a result of the invasions of Nadir Shah and Abdali and the suicidal internal feuds of the Mughal nobility, the Mughal Empire had by 1761 ceased to exist in practice as an all-India Empire. It remained merely as the Kingdom of Delhi. Delhi itself was a scene of „daily not and tumult‟. The descendants of the Grand Mughals no longer participated actively in the struggle for the Empire of India, but the various contenders for power found it politically useful to hide behind their name. This gave to the Mughal dynasty a long lease oC life on the nominal throne of Delhi. Shah Alam II, who ascended the throne in 1759, spent the initial years as an Emperor wandering from place to place far away from his capital, for he lived in mortal fear of his own waztr. He was a man of some ability and ample courage. But the Empire was by now beyond redemption. In 1764, he joined Mir Qasim of Bengal and Shuja-ud-Daula of Avadh in declaring war upon the English East India Company. Defeated by the British at the Battle of Buxar, he lived for several years at Allahabad as a pensioner of the East India Company, He left the British shelter in 1772 and returned to Delhi under the protective arm of the Marathas. The British occupied Delhi in 1803 and from that year till 1857, when the Mughal dynasty was finally extinguished, the Mughal Emperors merely served as a political front for the English. In fact, the continuation of the Mughal monarchy after 1759, when it had ceased to be a military power, was due to the poweiful hold that the Mughal dynasty had on the minds of the people of India as the symbol of the political unity of the country.

Causes of the Decline of the Mughal Empire When a mighty empire like lhat of the Great Mughals decays and falls it is because many factois and forces have been at work. The beginnings of the decline of the Mughal Empire are to be traced to the strong rule of Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb inherited a large empire, yet he adopted a policy of extending it further to the farthest geographical limits in the south at great expense in men and materials. Tn reality, the existing means of communication and the economic and political structure of the country made it difficult to establish a stable centralised administration over all parts of the country Thus Aurangzeb‟s objective of unifying the entire country under one central political authority was, though justifiable in

theory, not easy in practice. One of the basic failures of Aurangzeb lay in the realm of statesmanship. He

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was not willing to accept to the full the Maratha demand for regional autonomy, failing to grasp the fact that Shivaji and other Maratha sardars represented forces which could not be easily crushed. Akbar, placed in similar circumstances, had made an alliance with the Rajput princes and chiefs. Aurangzeb too would have been well-advised to win over the Maratha sardars. Instead, he chose to suppress them. His futile but arduous campaign against the Marathas extended over many years; it drained the resources of his Empire and ruined the trade aad industry of the Deccan. His absence from the north for over 25 years and his failure to subdue the Marathas led to deterioration in administration ; this undermined the prestige of the Empire and its army, led to the neglect of the vital north-west frontier, and encouraged provincial and local officials to defy central authority and to dream of independence. Later, in the 18th century, Maiatha expansion in the north weakened central authority still further. Aurangzeb‟s. conflict with some of the Rajput states also had serious consequences. Alliance with' the Rajput rajas with the consequent military support was one of the main pillars of Mughal strength m the past. Aurang7£b himself had in the beginning adhered to the Rajput alliance by raising Jaswant Singh of Marwar and Jai Singh of Amber to the highest of ranks, But his shortsighted attempt later to reduce the strength of the Raj put raj as and to re-extend imperial sway over their lands led to the withdrawal of their loyalty from the Mughal throne. Wars with the Rajput rajas further weakened the Empire and encouraged separation. In particular they tended to create a wall between the Hindu and the Muslim upper classes. The strength of Aurangzeb's administration was challenged at its very nerve centre around Delhi by the Satnami, the Jat, and the Sikh uprisings. Even though the number of people involved in these uprisings was not large, they were significant because they were popular in character— peasants formed their backbone. AH of them were to a considerable extent the result of the oppression of the Mughal revenue officials over the peasantry. They showed that the peasantry was deeply dissatisfied with feudal oppression by zamindars, nobles, and the state, Aurangzeb‟s religious orthodoxy and his policy towards the Hindu rulers seriously damaged the stability of the Mughal Empire. The Mughal state in the days of Akbar, Jahangir, and Shahjahan was basically a secular state. Its stability was essentially founded on the policy of noninterference with the religious beliefs and customs of the people, fostering of friendly relations between Hindus and Muslims, opening the doors of the highest offices of the state to nobles and chiefs belonging to different regions and professing different religions. The Mughal alliance with the Rajput rajas was a visible manifestation of this policy. Aurangzeb made an attempt to reverse this policy by imposing the jizyah, destroying many of the Hindu temples in the north, and putting certain restrictions on the Hindus. la this way he tended to alienate the Hindus, split Mughal society and, in particular, to widen the gulf between the Hindu and Muslim upper glasses. But the role of the religious policy of Aurangzeb m causing the decay of Mughal power should not be over-stressed. This

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policy was followed only m the latter part of his reign. It was speedily abandoned by his successors. As we have seen earlier, the jizyah was abolished within a few years of Aurangzeb‟s death. Amicable relations with the Rajput and other Hindu nobles and chiefs were soon restored; and some of them such as Ajit Singh Rathor and Jai Singh Sawai rose to high officer under the later Mughals Relations with King Shahu and the Maratha sardars were also developed along political rather than religious lines. It should also be kept in "view that the Rajput, Jat, Maratha, and Sikh chieftains of the 18th century also did not behave as champions of the Hindus. Power and plunder were more important considerations to them than religious solidarity They were often as ruthless in fighting and looting the Hindus as the Muslims. In fact, neither the Hindus nor the Muslims formed a homogenous community at that time. The upper classes of both the religious groups formed the ruling class while the peasants and artisans, Hindu or Muslim, formed the under-privileged majority of society. Sometimes the Hindu and Muslim nobles and chiefs used religion as a weapon of propaganda to achieve their political aims. But even more often they formed mutual alliances against fellow coreligionists for gaining power, territory, or money. Moreover, both the Hindu and the Muslim nobles, zamindars, and chiefs ruthlessly oppressed and exploited the common people irrespective of their religion The Hindu peasantry of Maharashtra or Rajputana paid as high an amount in land revenue as did the Hindu or Muslim peasantry m Agra or Bengal or Avadh. Moreover, cordial cultural and social relations prevailed between the Hindu and Muslim upper classes of India. If Aurangzeb left the Empire with many problems unsolved, the situation was further worsened by the ruinous wars of succession which followed his death. In the absence of any fixed rule of succession, the Mughal dynasty was always plagued after the death of a king by a civil war between the princes These wars of succession became extremely fierce and destructive during the 18th century. They resulted in great loss of life and property. Thousands of trained soldiers and hundreds of capable military commanders and efficient and tried officials wee killed. Moreover, these civil wars loosened the administrative fabric of the Empire. The nobility, the backbone of the Empire, was transformed into warring factions. Many of the local chiefs and

officials utilised the conditions of uncertainty, and political chaos at the centre to consolidate their own position, to acquire greater autonomy, and to make their offices hereditary. The weaknesses of Aurangzeb‟s reign and the evils of the wars of succession might still have been overcome if able, farsighted, and energetic rulers had appeared on the throne. Unfortunately, after Bahadur Shah‟s brief reign came a long reign of utterly worthless, weak-willed and luxury- loving kings. After all, in an autocratic, monarchical system of government, the character and personality of the ruler do play a crucial role. At the same time, this single factor need not be given too much importance. Aurangzeb was neither weak nor degenerate. He possessed great ability and capacity for work. He was free of vices common among kings and lived a simple and austere life. He undermined the great empire of his forefathers not because he lacked character or ability but because he lacked political, social and economic insight. It was not his

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personality but his policies that were out of joint. Apart from the personalities of the Great Mughals, the strength of the Mughal Empire lay in the organisation and character of its nobility. The weakness of the king could have been successfully overcome and covered up by ah alert, efficient, and loyal nobility. But (he character of the nobility had also deteriorated. Many nobles lived extravagantly and beyond their means. Many of them became ease-loving and fond of excessive luxury. Even when they went out to fight they surrounded themselves with comforts and frequently took their families with them. They were often poorly educated. Many of them neglected even the art of lighting. Earlier, many able persons from the lower classes had been able to rise to the ranks of nobility, thus infusing fresh blood into it. Later, the existing families of nobles began to monopolise all offices, barring the way to fresh comers. Not all the nobles, however, had become weak and inefficient. A large number of energetic and able officials and brave and brilliant military commanders came into prominence during the 18th century, but most of them did not benefit the Empire because they used their talents to promote their own interests and to fight each other rather than to serve the state and society. In fact, contrary to the popular belief, the major weakness of the Mughal nobility during the 18th century lay, not in the decline in the average ability of the nobles or their moral decay, but in their selfishness and lack of devotion to the state and this, in turn, gave birth to corruption in administration and mutual bickering. In order to increase their power, prestige, and income, the nobles formed groups and factions against each other and even against the king. In their struggle for power they took recourse to force, fraud, and treachery. Their mutual quarrels exhausted the Empire, affected its cohesion, led to its dismemberment, and,

in the end, made it an easy prey to foreign conquerors. And the most guilty in this respect were precisely those nobles who were active and able. It is they who shattered the unity of the Empire by carving out their own private principalities. Thus, the decadence of the later Mughal nobility lay not so much in private vice as in lack of public virtue and political foresight and in its devotion to the short-sighted pursuit of power. But these characteristics were not the monopoly of the Mughal nobility at the centre. They were found in equal measure among the rising Maratha chiefs, the Rajput rajas, the Jat, the Sikh, and the Bundela chiefs, the new rulers of autonomous provinces, and the other innumerable adventurers who rose to fame and power during the troubled 18th century. One of the major causes of the growing selfishness and cliquishness of the nobles was the paucity of jagirs and the reduced income of the existing jagirs at a time when the number of nobles and their expenditure was going up So there ensued intense mutual rivalry among them for the possession of the existing jagirs. The heart of the matter perhaps was that no arrangement could have been made wluch would satisfy all the nobles, for there were just not enough offices and jagirs for all. The paucity of jagirs had some other consequences. The nobles tried to get the maximum income from their jagirs at the cost of the peasantry. They tried to transform their existing jagirs and offices into hereditary ones To balance their own budgets they tended to

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appropriate khalisah (crown) lands, thus intensifying the financial crisis of the central Government. They invariably reduccd their expenditure by not maintaining their full quota of troops ind thus weakened the armed strength of the Empire A basic cause of the downfall of the Mughal Empire was that it could no longer satisfy the minimum needs of its population The condition of the Indian peasant gradually worsened during the 17th and 18th centuries. While at no time perhaps was liis lot happy, in the 18th century his life, was “poor, nasty, miserable and uncertain'". The burden of land revenue went on increasing from Akbar's time. Moreover, constant transfer ol nobles from their jagirs also led to great evil. They tried to extract as much from a jagir as possible in the short period of their tenure as jagirdars. They made heavy demands on the peasants and cruelly oppressed them, often in violation of official regulations. After the death of Aurangzeb, the practice of ijarah or farming the; land revenue to the highest bidder, who was permitted to raise what he could from the peasantry, became more common both on jagir and khahsah (crown) lands. This led to ihe rise of a new class of revenue farmers and talukdars whose extortions from the peasantry often knew no bounds. All these factors led to stagnation and deterioration in agriculture and the impoverishment of the peasant. Peasant discontent increased and

came to the surface. There are some instances of the peasants leaving the land to avoid paying taxes. Peasant discontent also found an outlet in a series of uprisings (the Satnamies, the Jats, the Sikhs, etc.) which eroded the stability and strength of the Empite. Many ruined peasants formed roving bands of robbers and adventurers, Often under the leadership of the zamindars, and thus undermined law and order and the efficiency of the Mughal administration. As a matter of fact, agriculture was no longer producing enough surplus to meet the needs of the Empire, of constant warfare, and of the increased luxury of the Tuhng classes. If the Empire was to survive and regain its strength and if the people were to go forward, trade and industry alone could provide the additional economic resources. But it was precisely in trade and industry that stagnation was most evident. No r doubt the establishment of a large empire encouraged trade and industry in many ways and India‟s industrial production increased to a marked extent. Both in the quality of its products and their quantity, Indian industry was quite advanced by contemporary world standards. But unlike jn Europe at this time, Indian industry did not make any new advances in science and technology. Similarly, the growth of trade was hampered by bad communications and by the self-sufficient nature of village economy. Moreover, emphasis on land as a source of wealth and government revenue led to the neglect of overseas trade and the navy. Perhaps n^t even the best of kings and nobles could have changed this situation. In the absence of scientific and technological development and a social, economic and political revolution, India lagged behind Europe economically and politically and succumbed to its pressure. An important socio-political cause of the downfal of the Mughal Empire was the absence of the spirit of political nationalism among the people. This

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was because India at the time lacked the elements which constitute a modern nation, The people of India did not feel that they were all Indians, nor were they conscious of oneness or of having common interests, even though elements of cultural unity had existed in the country for centuries. Therefore, there did not exist the ideal of living and dying for one‟s nation. Instead people were loyal to persons, tribes, castes, and religious sects. In fact no group or class in the country was deeply interested in maintaining the unity of the country or the Empire. Such unity as did exist was imposed from above by strong rulers. The peasants‟ loyalty was confined to their village and caste. Moreover, they took little interest in the politics of the Empire; nor did they identify its interests with their own. They realised that they had little stake in it and that even its defence from external aggression was not their concern. The zamindars tended to rebel against any central authority which showed signs of

weakness. They were opposed to a strong, centralised state that curbed their power and autonomy. The nobles had been earlier imbued with the exalted notion of loyalty to their dynasty. But this was mainly based on the high offices and privileges they obtained in return. With the decline of the dynasty, the nobles placed their stlf-i nterest and ambition above loyalty to the state and attacked the very unity of the Empire by carving out autonomous principalities. Even those who rebelled against the Empire, for example, the Marathas, the Jats, and the Rajputs, were interested in consolidating their regional, tribal, or personal power and had no notion of fighting for a nation called India or for its unity. The reality was that the existing character of the Indian economy, social relations, caste structure, and political institutions was such that the time was not yet ripe for the unification of Indian society or for its emergence as a nation The Mughal Empire might have continued to ewst for a long time if its administration and firmed power had not broken down, mostly as a result of the factors discussed above. There was rapid decline in the administrative efficiency of the Empire during the 18th century Administration was neglected and law and order broke down in many parts of the country. Unruly zamindars openly defied central authority. Even the royal camp and Mughal armies on the march were often plundered by hostile elements. Corruption and bribery, indiscipline and inefficiency, disobedience and disloyalty prevailed on a large scale among officials at all levels. The Central Government was often on the verge of bankruptcy. The old accumulated wealth was exhausted while the existing sources of income were narrowed. Many provinces failed to remit provincial revenues to (he centre. The area of the khahsah lands was gradually reduced as Emperors tried to placate friendly nobles by granting j‟agirs out of these lands. The rebellious zamindars regularly withheld revenue. Efforts to increase income by oppressing the peasantry produced popular reaction. Ultimately, the military strength of the Empire was affectcd. During the 18th century the Mughal army lacked discipline and fighting morale, Lack of finance made it difficult to maintain a large army Its soldiers and officers were not paid for months,

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and, since they were mere mercenaries, they were constantly disaffected and often verged on a mutiny. Again, the noblemen-cum-commanders did not maintain their full quota of military contingents because of their own financial troubles Moreover, the crvit wars resulted in the death of many brilliant commanders and brave and experienced soldiers. Thus, the army, the ultimate sanction of an empire, and the pride of the Great Mughals, was so weakened that it could no longer curb the ambitious chiefs and nobles or defend the Empire from foreign aggression.

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The final blow to the Mughal Empire was given by a series of foreign invasions. Attacks by Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali, which were themtelvcs the consequences of the weakness of the Empire, drained the Empire of its wealth, ruined its trade and industry in the North, and almost destroyed its military power. Finally, the emergence of the British challenge took away the last hope of the revival of the crisis-ridden Empire. In this last fact lies the most important consequence of the decline of the Mughal Empire. None of the Indian powers rose to claim the heritage of the Grand Mughals for they were strong enough to destroy the Empire but not strong enough to unite it or to create anything new in its place. They could not create a new social order which could stand up to the new enemy from the West. All of them represented the same moribund social system as headed by the Mughals and all of them suffered from the weaknesses which had destroyed the mighty Mughal Empire. On the other hand, the Europeans knocking at the gates of India had the benefit of coming from societies which had evolved a superior economic system and which were more advanced in science and technology. The tragedy of the decline of the Mughal Empire was that its mantle fell on a foreign power which dissolved, m its own interests, the centuries-old socio-economic and political structure of the country and replaced it with a colonial structure. But some good was destined to come out of this evil. The stagnation of Indian society was broken and new forces of change emerged. This process because it grew out of a colonial contact inevitably brought with it extreme misery and national degradation, not to mention economic, political, and cultural backwardness. But it was precisely these new forces of change which were to provide the dynamism of modern India. E X E R C I SE S 1. How did the Mughal Empire shrink to the area around Delhi? What were the steps taken by the rulers and high officials to save the Empire? 2. Critically examine Aurangzeb‟s responsibility for the decline of the Mughal Empire. 3. How did the nobility contribute to the decline of the Mughal Empire? 4. What role did stagnation in agriculture and industry play in under* mining the functioning of the Mughal Empire? 5. Write short notes on : (a) Bahadur Shah, (£>) Zulfiqar Khan, (c) Saiyid Brothers, id) Nadir Shah and his invasion of India, (e) The crisis of the j&girdan system.

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Based upon Survey of India map with the permission of the Surveyor Ueneral of India. The territorial waters oflndia extend into the sea to a distance of twelve nautical miles measured from the appropriate base line

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Indian States and Society in the 18 th Century

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N the debris of the Mughal Empire and its political system arose a large number of independent and semi-independent powers such as Bengal, Avadh, Hyderabad, Mysore and the Maratha Kingdom. It is these powers which challenged the British attempt at supremacy in India in the second half of the 18lh century. Some arose as a result of the assertion of autonomy by governors of Mughal provinces, others were the product of rebellion against Mughal authority. The rulers of these states established law and order and viable economic and administrative states. They curbed, with varying degrees of success, the lower local officials and petty chicfs and 2ammdars who constantly fought with higher authorities for control over the surplus pro* duce of the peasant, and who sometimes succeeded in establishing [oca! centres of power and patronage. The politics of these states were invariably non-communal or secular, the motivations of their rulers being similar in economic and political terms. These rulers did not discriminate on religious grounds in public appointments, civil or military; nor did the rebels against their authority pay much attention to the religion of the rulers None of these states, however, succeeded In arresting the economic crisis. The zamindats and jagirdars, whose number constantly increased, continued to fight over a declining income from agriculture, while the condition of the peasantry continued to deteriorate. While these states prevented any breakdown of internal trade and even tried to promote foreign trade, they did nothing to modernise the basic industrial and commercial structure of their states,

Hyderabad1 and the Carnatic The state of Hyderabad was founded by Nizam-ul-Mulk As if Jah in 1724- He ; was one of the leading nobles of the post-Aurangzeb erai Hr p'o'-ed a rr'f n the overthrow of the Saiyid brothers and was re- i:h *!■_*‟ iiv; ^ ..1^ of the Deccan. From 17l0 to 1752 he can solid- ated his hold over the Deccan by suppressing all opposition to his viceroyalty and organising the administration on efficient lines. From 1722 to 1724 he was the wazir of the Empire. But he soon got disgusted with that office as the Emperor Muhammad Shah frustrated all his attempts at reforming the administration. So lie decided to go back to the Deccan where he could safely maintain his supremacy. Here he laid the foundations of the Hyderabad State which he ruled with a strong hand. He never openly declared his independence from the Central Government but in practice he acted like an independent ruler. He waged wars, concluded peace, conferred titles, and gave jagirs and offices without reference to Delhi. He followed a tolerant policy towards the Hindus, For example, a Hindu, Puran Chand, was his Dewan. He consolidated his

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power by establishing an orderly administration in the Deccan. He forced the big, turbulent zamindars to respect his authority and kept the powerful Marathas out of his dominions. He also made an attempt to rid the revenue system of its corruption. But after his death in 1748, Hyderabad fell prey to the same disruptive forces as were operating at Delhi, The Carnatic was one of the subahs of the Mughal Deccan and as such came under the Nizam of Hyderabad's authority. But just as in practice the Nizam had become independent of Delhi, so also the Deputy Governor of the Carnatic, known as the Nawab of Carnatic, had freed himself of the control of the Viceroy of the Deccan and made his office hereditaiy. Thus Nawab Saadutullah Khan of Carnatic had made his nephew Dost Ali his successor without the approval of his superior, the Nizam. Later, after 1740, the affairs of the Carnatic deteriorated because of the repeated struggles for its Nawabship and this provided an opportunity to the European trading companies to interfere in Indian politics. Bengal Taking advantage of the growing weakness of the central authority, two men of exceptional ability, Murshid Quh Khan and Alivardi Khan, made Bengal virtually independent, Even though Murshid Quh Khan was made Governor of Bengal as late as 1717, he had been its effective ruler since 1700, when he was appointed its Dewan. He soon freed himself from central control though he sent regular tribute to the Emperor. He established pcace by freeing Bengal of internal and external danger. Bengal was now also lelatively free of uprisings by zamindars. The only three major uprisings during his rule were first by Sitaram Ray, Udai Narayan and Ghulani Muhammad, and then by Shujat Khan, and finally byNajat Khan Aftei defeating them, Murshid Quli Khan gave their zamvndaris to his favounte, Ramjivan. Murshid Quh Khan died m 1727, and his son-in-law Slmja-ud-din ruled Bengal till 1739. In that year,

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Alivardi Khan deposed and killed Shuja-ud-din‟s son, Sarfaraz Khdn, and made himself the Nawab. These three Nawabs gave Bengal a long period of peace and orderly administration and promoted its trade and industry. Mursliid Quli Khan effected economies in the administration and reorganised the finances of Bengal by transferiing large parts of jagir lands into khahsah lands by carrying out a fresh revetnie settlement, and by introducing the system of revenue-farming. He also granted agricultural loans (taccavi) to the poor cultivators to relieve their distress as well as to enable them to pay land revenue in time. He was thus able to increase the resources of the Bengal Government But the system of revenue-farming led to increased economic pressure on the peasant. Moreover, even though he demanded only the standard revenne and forbade illegal cesses, he collected the levenue from the zamindars and the peasants with utmost cruelty. Another result of his reforms was that many of the older zamindars were driven out and their place taken by upstart revenue- farmers. Murshid Quli Khan and the succeeding Nawabs gave equal opportunities for employment to Hindus and Muslims. They filled the highest civil posts and many of the military posts with Bengalis, most of whom were Hindus. In choosing revenue farmers Murshid Quli Khan gave preference to local zamindars and mahajans (money-lenders) who were mainly Hindus. He thus laid the foundations of a new landed aristocracy in Bengal. All the three Nawabs recognised that expansion of trade benefited the people and the Government, and, therefore, gave encouragement to all merchants, Indian or foreign. They provided for the safety of roads and rivers from thieves and robbers by establishing regular thancts and chowkies. They checked private trade by officials. They prevented abuses in the customs administration. At the same time they made it a point to maintain strict control over the foreign trading companies and their servants and prevented them from abusing their privileges. They compelled the servants of the English East India Company to obey the laws of the land and to pay the same customs duties as were being paid by other merchants. Alivardi Khan did not permit the English and the French to fortify their factories in Calcutta and Chandranagar. The Bengal Nawabs proved, however, to be short-sighted and negligent, in one respect, They did not firmly put down the increasing tendency of the English. East • India Company after 1707 to use military force, or to threaten its use, to get its demands accepted. They had the power to deal with the Company‟s threats, but they continued to believe that a mere trading company could not threaten their power. They failed to see that the English Company was no mere company of traders but was the representative of the most aggressive and expansionist colonialism of the time. Their ignorance of, and lack of contact with, the lest of the world was to cost the state dear. Otherwise, they would have known of the devastation caused by the Western ti tiding companies m Africa, South-East Asia, and Latin America. The Nawabs of Bengal neglected to build a strong army and paid a heavy price for it. For example, the army of Murshid Quh Khan consisted of only 2000 cavalry and 4000 infantry Alivardi Khan was constantly troubled hy the repeated invasions of the Marathas and, in the end, he had to cede a laige part of Oiissa to them. And when, in

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INDIAN STATES AND SOCIETY IN THE 18TH CENTURY

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1756-57, die English East India Company declaied war on Siraj-ud-Daulah, the successor of Ahvardi, the absence of a strong army contributed much to the victory of the foreigner. The Bengal Nawabs also failed to check the growing corruption among their officials Even judicial officials, the qazis and muftis, were given to taking bribes. The foreign companies took full advantage of this weakness to undermine official rules 'and regulations and policies. Avadh

The founder of the autonomous kingdom of Avadh was Saadat Khan Burhan-ulMulk who was appointed Governor of Avadh in 1722. He was ail extremely bold, energetic, iron-willed, and intelligent pet son. At the time of his appointment, rebellious zamindars had raised their heads everywhere in the province. They icfused to pay the iand tax, organised their own private aimies, erected forts, and defied the Imperial Government For yeais Saadat Khan had to wage war upon them. He succeeded in suppressing lawlessness and disciplining the big zamin- dars and thus, increasing the financial resouices of his government. Most of the defeated zamindars were, however, not displaced. They were usually confirmed in their estates after they had submitted and agreed to pay their dues (land revenue1) regularly Moreover, they continued to be refractory. Whenever the Nawab's military hold weakened or he was engaged in some other direction, they would rebel, thus weakening the Nawab‟s power. As Safdar Jang, Saadat Khan‟s successor, later wrote. “The Avadh chiefs., were capable of creating a disturbance in the twinkling of an eye and were more dangerous than the Marathas of the Deccan ” Saadat Khan also'earned out a fresh ie venue settlement in 1723 He is said to have improved the lot of the peasant by levying equitable land revenue and by protecting him from oppression by the big zamindars. Like the Bengal Nawabs, he too did not discriminate between Hindus and Muslims. Many of his commanders and high officials were Hindus, and he curbed refractory zamindars, chiefs, and nobles irrespective of their religion. His troops'were well-paid, well-armed, and well-trained His administration was efficient. Before his death in. 1739, he had become virtually independent and had made the province a hereditary possession. He was succeeded by his nephew Safdar Jang, who was simultaneously appointed the wazir of the Empire in 1748 and granted in addition the province of Allahabad. Safdar Jang gave a long period of peace to the people of Avadli and Allahabad before his death in 1754. He suppressed rebellious zamindars and made an alliance with the Maratha sardars so that his dominion was saved from their incursions. He carried on warfare against the Rohelas and the Bangash Pathans. In his war against the Bangash Nawabs in 1750-51, he secured Maratha military help by paying a daily allowance of Rs. 25,000 and Jat support by paying Rs. 15,000 a day. Later, he entered into an agreement with the Pesmva by which the Peshwa was to help the Mughal Empire against Ahmad Shah Abdali and to protect it from such internal rebels as the Indian Pathans and the Rajput rajas. In return the Peshwa was to be paid Rs. 50 lakhs, granted the chauth of the Punjab, Sindh, and several districts of northern India, and

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made the Governor of Ajmer and Agra. The agreement failed, however, as the Peshwa went over to Safdar Jang‟s enemies at Delhi who promised him the governorship of Avadh and Allahabad. Safdar Jang also organised an equitable system of justice. He too adopted a policy of impartiality in the employment of Hindus and Muslims. The highest post in his Government was held by a Hindu, Maharaja Nawab Rai. The prolonged period of peace and of economic prosperity of the nobles under the government of the Nawabs resulted in time in the growth of a distinct Lucknow culture around the Avadh court. Luck* now, for long an important city of Avadh, and the seat of the Avadh Nawabs after 1775, soon rivalled Delhi in its patronage of arts and literature. It also developed as an important centre of handicrafts. Safdar Jang maintained a very high standard of peisonal morality. All his life he was devoted to his only wife. As a matter of fact all the founders of the three autonomous kingdoms of Hyderabad, Bengal, and Avadh, namely, Nizam-uI-Mulk, Murshid Quli Khan and Alivardi Khan, and Saadat Khan and Safdar Jang, were men of high personal morality. Nearly all of them led austere and simple , Jives. Their lives give lie to the belief that all the leading nobles of the 18th century led extravagant and luxurious lives. It was only in their public and political dealings that they resorted to fraud, intrigue and treachery,

Mysore . Next to Hyderabad, the most important power that emerged in South India was Mysore under Haidar Ah. The kingdom of Mysore had

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preserved its precarious independence ever since the end of the Vijaya- nagar Empire, Early in the 18th century two ministers Nanjaraj (the Sarvadhikan) and Devraj (the Dulwai) had seized power in Mysore reducing the king Chikka Krishna Raj to a mere puppet. Haidar All, born in 1721 in an obscure family, started his career as a petty officer in the Mysore army. Though uneducated he possessed a keen intellect and was a man of great energy and daring and determination. He was also a brilliant commander and a shrewd diplomat. Haidar Ali soon found his opportunity in the wars which involved Mysore for more than twenty years. Cleverly using the opportunities that came his way, he gradually rose in the Mysore army. He soon recognised the advantages of western military training and applied it to the troops under his own command. He established a modern arsenal in Dindigul in 1755 with the help of French experts In 1761 he overthrew Nanjaraj and established his authority over the Mysore state. He extended full control over the rebellious poligars (zamindars) and conquered the territories of Bidnur, Sunda, Sera, Canara and Malabar. Though illiterate he was an efficient administrator. He took over Mysore when

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it was a weak and divided state and soon made it one of the leading Indian powers. He practised religious toleration and lus first Dewan and many other officials were Hindus. Almost from the beginning of the establishment of his power, he was engaged in wars with the Maratha sardais, the Nizam, and the British. In 1769, he repeatedly defeated the British forces and reached the walls of Madras. He died in 1782 in the course of the second Anglo-Mysore War and was succeeded hy his son Tipu. Sultan Tipu, who ruled Mysore till his death at the hands of the British in 1799, was a man of complex character. He was, for one, an innovator. His desire to change with the times was symbolised in the introduction of a new calendar, a new system of coinage, and new scales of weights and measures His personal library contained books on such diverse subjects as religion, history, military science, medicine, and mathematics. He showed a keen interest in the French Revolution. He planted a „Tree of Liberty‟ at Sringapatam and he became a member of a Jacobin Club. His organisational capacity is borne out by the fact that in those days of general indiscipline among Indian armies his troops remained disciplined and loyal to him to the last. He tried to do away with the custom of giving jagirs, and thus increase state income. He also made an attempt to reduce the hereditary possessions of the poligars. However, his land revenue was as high as that of other contemporary rulers—it ranged up to 1 /3rd of the gross produce. But he checked the collection of

Soldier in Uniform—In the Service of Tipu Sultan Courtesy. National Archives of India, New Delhi

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Illegal cesses, and he was liberal in granting remissions. His infantry was armed with muskets and bayonets in fashion which were, however, manufactured in Mysore. He effort to build a modern navy after 1796. For this purpose two dockyards, the models of the ships being supplied 1 himself. In personal life he was free of vices and kept I luxury. He was recklessly brave and, as a commander, 1 was, however, hasty in action and unstable in nature. As a statesman, he, more than any other 18th century recognised to the full extent the threat that the English p> India as well as to other Indian powers He stood forth a foe of the rising English power. The English, in turn, loo as their most dangerous enemy in India. Though not free from contemporary economic backwar flourished economically under Haidar All and Tipu, especi. in contrast with its immediate past or with the rest of the cc the British occupied Mysore after defeating and killing they were completely surprised to find that the Mysore pea more prosperous than the peasant in British occupied John Shore, Governor-General from 1793 to 1798, wrote peasantry of his dominions are protected, and their laho and rewarded.” Tipu also seems to have grasped the modem trade and industry. In fact, alone among the Ini understood the importance of economic strength as the military strength. He rt^e some attempts to introduce tries in India by importing foreign workmen as experts an state support to many industries. He sent embassies to f Iran and Pegu to develop foreign trade He also trade He even tried to set up a trading company on the .patter companies. , ... _ Some British historians have described Tipu as a rel But this is not borne out by facls. Though he was ortho gious views, he was in fact tolerant and enlightened in toward other religions. He gave, money for the constmclic of goddess Sarda in the Shnngcri Temple after the latter the Maratha horsemen m 1791. He regularly gave gifts tc well as several other temples. The famous temple of Sri ] situated barely 100 yards from his palace. Kerala At the beginning of the 18ih century Kerala was divide large number of feudal chiefs and lajas. The four most in were those of Calicut undei the Zaniorin, Chirakkal, Cochi

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core. The kingdom of Travancore rose into prominence after 1729 under King Martanda Varma, one of the leading statesmen of the 18th century. He combined rare foresight and strong determination with courage and daring. He subdued the feudatories, conquered Quilon and Elayadam, and defeated the Dutch and thus ended their political power in Kerala. He organised a strong army on the western model with the help of European officers and armed it with modern weapons. He also constructed a modern arsenal. Martanda Varma used his new army to expand northwards and the boundaries of Travancore soon extended from Kanya Kumari to Cochin. He undertook many irrigation works, built roads and canals for communication, and gave active encouragement to foreign trade. By 1763, all the petty principalities of Kerala had been absorbed or subordinated by the three big states of Cochin, Travancore, and Calicut, Haidar All began his invasion of Kerala in 1766 and in the end annexed northern Kerala up to Cochin, including the territories of the Zamorin of Calicut. The 18th century saw a remarkable revival in Malayalam literature. This was due in part lo the rajas and chiefs of Kerala who were great patrons of literature. Trivandrum, the capital of Travancore, became in the second half of the 18th century a famous centre of Sanskrit scholarship. ' Rama Varma, successor of Martanda Varma, was himself a poet, a scholar, a musician, a renowned actor, and a man of great culture, He conversed fluently in English, took a keen interest in European affairs, and regularly read newspapers and journals published in London, Calcutta and Madras.

Areas around Delhi 77ie Rajput Stales: The principal Rajput states took advantage of the growing weakness of Mughal power to virtually free themselves from central control while at the same time increasing their influence in the rest of the Empire. Tn the reigns of Farrukh Siyar and Muhammad Shah the rulers of Amber and Marwar were appointed governors of important Mughal provinces such as Agra, Gujarat, and Malwa. The Rajputana states continued to be as divided as before. The biggei among them expanded at the cost of their weaker neighbouis, Rajput and non-Rajput. Most of the larger Rajput slates were constantly involved in petty quarrels and civil wats, The internal politics of these states were often characterised by the same type of corruption!, intrigue, and treachery as prevailed at the Mughal court Thus, Ajit Singh of Marwar was killed by his own son. The most outstanding Rajput ruler of the iStti century was Raja Sawai Jai Singh of Amber (1681-1743). He was a distinguished statesman, law-maker, and reformer.

But most of all he shone as a man of science in an age when Indians were oblivious to scientific progress. He founded the city of Jaipur in the territory taken from the Jats and made it a great seat of science and art. Jaipur was built upon strictly scientific principles and according to a regular plan. Its broad stieets are intersected at right angles. Jai Singh was above everything a great astronomer. He erected observatories with accurate and advanced instruments, some of them of his own invention, at

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Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi, and Mathura. His astronomical observations were remarkably accurate He drew up a set of tables, entitled Zij Muhammadshahi, to enable people to make astronomical observations. He had Euclid‟s „'Elements of Geometry”, translated into Sanskrit as also several works on trignometry, and Napier‟s work on the construction and use of logarithms. Jai Singh was also a social reformer. He tried to enforce a law to reduce the lavish expenditure which a Rajput had to incur on a daughter‟s wedding and which often led to infanticide. This remarkable prince ruled Jaipur for nearly 44 years from 1699 to 1743. The Jats\ The Jats, a caste of agriculturists, lived in the region around Delhi, Agra and Mathura. Oppression by Mughal officials drove the Jat peasants around Mathura to revolt. They revolted under the leadership of their Jat zamindars in 1669 and then again in 1688. These revolts were crushed but the area remained disturbed. After the death of Aurang- zeb, they created disturbances all around Delhi. Though originally a peasant uprising, the Jat revolt, led by zamindars, soon became predatory. They plundered all and sundry, the rich and the poor, the jagirdars and the peasants, the Hindus and the Muslims. They took activc part in the Court intrigues at Delhi, often changing sides to suit their own advantage. The Jat state of Bharatpur was set up by Churaman and Bad&n Singh, The Jat power reached its highest gloiy under Suraj Mai, who ruled from 1756 to 1763 and who was an extremely able administrator and soldier and,a very wise statesman. He extended his authority over a large area which extended from the Ganga in the East to Cham bat in the South, the Subah of Agra in the West to the Subah of Delhi in the North. His state Included among otficis the districts of Agra, Mathura, Meerut, and Aligarh. A contemporary Imturian has described him as follows: Though he wore the rt!ie %fu left n PUT to hi> successors. And so, aftei his death, whcit'hi* kir^ilom WJS '.^rn h\ an intense internal struggle for-power, the 1'nglish moved in and conquered it

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The Rise and Fall of (he Maratha Power

The most important challenge to the decaying Mughal power came from the Maratha Kingdom which was the most powerful of the succession stales. In fact, it alone possessed the stiength to fill the political vacuum created by the disintegration of the Mughal Empire. Moreover, it produced a number of brilliant commanders and statesmen needed for the task. But the Maratha sardars lackcd unity, and they lacked the outlook and programme which were necessary for founding an alHndia empire, And so they failed to replace the Mughals. They did, however, succeed in waging continuous war against the Mughal Empire, till they destroyed it. Shahu, grandson of Shivaji, had been a prisoner in the hands of Aurangzeb since 1689. Aurangzeb had treated him and his mother with great dignity, honour, and consideration, paying full attention to their religious,, caste, and other needs, hoping perhaps to arrive at a political agreement with Shahu. Shahu was released in 1707 after Aurangzeb‟s death. Veiy soon a civil war broke out between Shahu at Satara and his aunt Tara Bai at Kolhapur who had carried out an anti-Mughal struggle since 1700 in the name of her son Shivaji II nfter the death of her husband Raja Ram. Maratha sardars, each one of whom had a large following of soldiers loyal to himself filone, began to side with one or the other contender for power. They used this opportunity to increase their power and influence by bargaining with the two contenders for power. Several of them even intrigued with the Mughal viceroys of the Deccan. Arising out of the conflict between Shahu and his rival at Kolhapur, a new system of Maratha government was evolved under the leadership of Balaji Vishwanath, the PesWa of King Shahu. With this change began the second period—the period of Peshwa domination in Maratha history in which the Maratha state was transformed into an empiie Balaji Vishwanath, a brahmin, started life as a petty revenue official and then rose step by step as an official. He rendered Shahu loyal and useful service in suppresssing his enemies. He excelled in diplomacy and won over many of the big Maratha sardars to Shahu's1 Cause. Th 1713, Shahu made him his Peshwa or the niukh pradtian (chief minister). Balaji Vishwanath gradually consolidated Shahu‟s hold and his own over Maratha sardars and over most of Maharashtra except for the region south of Kolhapur where Raja Ram‟s descendents ruled. The Peshwa concentrated power in his office and eclipsed the other ministers and sardars. In fact he and his son Rao I made L the Peshwa' the functional head of the Maratha Empire. '

Balaji Vishwanath took full advantage of the internal conflicts of thi Mughal officials to increase Maratha power. 'He had induced Zulfiqar Khan to pay the chauth and saidesli/tuikhi of the Deccaii. In the end, he signed a pact with the Saiyid brothers. All the territories that had earlier formed Shivaji‟s kingdom were restored to Shahu who was also assigned the chautk and sardeshmtikhl of the six provinces of the Deccan. In return Shahu, who had already recognised, though nominally, Mughal suzerainty, agreed to place a body of 15,000 cavalry troops at the Emperor‟s service, to prevent rebellion and plundering in the Deccan, and to pay an annual tribute of 10 lakh rupees. In 1719, Balaji Vishwanath, at the head of a Maratha force, accompanied Saiyid Hussain Ali Khan to Delhi and helped

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the Saiyid brothers in overthrowing Farrukh Siyar. At Delhi he and the other Maratha sardars witnessed at first hand the weakness of the Empire and were filled with the ambition of expansion in the North. For the efficient collection of the chautb and sardnhmukhi of the Deccan, Balaji Vishwanath assigned separate areas to Maratha sardars who kept the greater part of the collection for their expenses. This system of assignment of the chaulh and sardeshmukiu also enabled the Peshwa to increase his personal power through patronage. An increasing number of ambitious sardars began to flock to his side. In the long run this was to be a major source of weakness to the Maratha Empire Already the system of watans and saranjams (jagirs) had made Maratha sardars strong, autonomous, and jealous of central power. They now began to establish their control in the distant lands of the Mughal Empire where they gradually settled down as more or less autonomous chicfs. Thus the conquests of the Marathas outside their original kingdom were not made by a central army directly controlled by the Maratha king or the Peshwa but by sardars with their own private armies. During the process of conquest these sardars often dashed wilh one another, If the central authority tried to control them too strictly, they did not hesitate to join hands with enemies, be they the Nizam, the Mughals, or the English. Balaji Vishwanath died in 1720. He was succeeded as Peshwa by his 20-year old son Baji Rao I. In spiie of his youth, Baji Rao was a bold and brilliant commander and an ambitious and clever statesman. He has been described as “the greatest exponent of guerrilla tactics after Shivaji". Led by Baji Rao, the Marathas waged numerous campaigns against the Mughal Empire trying to compel the Mughal officials first to give them the right to collect the chaulh of vast areas and then to cede these areas to the Maratha kingdom. By 1740, when Baji Rao died, the Marathas had won control over Malwa, Gujarat, and parts of Bundel- khand. The Maratha families of Gaekwad, Holkar, Sindhia, and Bhonsle came into prominence during this period. All his life Baji Rao worked to contain Nizam-ul-Muik's power in the Deccan. The latter, on his part, constantly intrigued with the Raja of Kolhapur, the Maratha sardars, and Mughal officials to weaken the Peshwfl‟s authority. -Twice the two met on the field of battle and both

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times the Nizam was worsted and was compelled to grant the Marathas the chauth and sardeshmukhi of the Deccan provinces. In 1733, Baji Rao started a long campaign against the Sidis of Janjira and in the end expelled them from the mainland. Simultaneously, a campaign against the Portuguese was started. In the end Salsette and Bassein were captured. But the Portuguese continued to hold their other possessions on the west coast. Bsji Rao died in April 1740. In the short period of 20 years he had changed the character of the Maratha state. From the kingdom of Maharashtra, it had been transformed into an Empire expanding in the North. He, however, failed to lay firm foundations for an empire. New territories were conquered and occupied but little attention was paid to their administiation. The chief concern of the successful sardars was with the collection of revenues. Baji Rao‟s 18-year old son Balaji Baji Rao (known more widely as Nana Saheb) was the Peshwa from 1740 to 1761. He was as able as his father though less energetic. King Shahu died in 1749 and by his will left all management of state -affairs in the Feshwa‟s hands. The office of the Peshwa had already become hereditary and the Peshwa was the de facto ruler of the state. Now he became the official head of the administration and, as a symbol of this fact, shifted the government to Poona, his headquarters. Balaji Baji Rao followed in the footsteps of his father and further extended the Empire in different directions taking Maratha power to its height. Maratha armies now overran the whole of India. Maratha control over Malwa, Gujarat, and Bundelkhand was consolidated. Bengal was repeatedly invaded and, in 1751, the Bengal Nawab had to cede Orissa. In the South, the state of Mysore and other minor principalities were forced to pay tribute. In 1760, the Nizam of Hyderabad was defeated at Udgir and was compelled to cede vast territories yielding an annual revenue Of Rs. 62 lakhs. Tn the North, the Marathas soon became the power behind the Mughal throne. Marching through the Gangetic Doab and Rajput$na they reached Delhi where, in 1752, they helped Imad-ul-Mulk to become the wazir. The new wazir soon became a puppet in, their hands. From Delhi they turned to the Punjab and soon brought it under control after expelling the agent of Ahmad Shah Abdali. This brought them into conflict with the doughty warrior-king of Afghanistan, who once again marched into India to settle accounts with the Maratha power. A major conflict for mastery over North India now began. Ahmad Shah Abdali soon formed an aUiance with Najib-ud-daulah of Rohilkhand and Shuja-ud-dau 1 ah of Avadh, both of whom had suffered at the hands of the Maratha sardars. Recognising the great importance of the coming struggle, the Peshwa despatched a powerful army to the north voder the nominal command of his minor son, the actual command being in the hands of his cousin Sadashiv Rao Bhau. An important arm of this force was a contingent of European style infantry and artillery commanded by Ibrahim Khan Gardi. The Marathas now tried to find allies among the northern powers. But their earlier behaviour and political ambitions had antagonised all these powers. They had interfered in the internal affairs or the Raj pu tana states and levied huge tines and tributes upon them. They had made large

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territorial and monetary claims upon Avadh. Their actions in the Punjab had angered the Sikh chiefs. Similarly, the Jat chiefs, on whom also heavy fines bad been imposed by thim, did not trust them. They had, therefore, to fight their enemies all atone, except for the weak support of Imad-ul-Mulk; Moreover, the senior Maratha commanders constantly bickered with each other. The two forces met at Panipat on 14 January 1761. The Maratha army

was completely routed. The Peshwa‟s son, Vishwas Rao, Sadashiv Rao Bhau and numerous other Maratha commanders perished on the battle field as did nearly 28,000 soldiers. Those who fled were pursued by the Afghan cavalry and robbed and plundered by the Jats, Ahirs, and Gujars of the Panipat region. The Peshwa, who was marching north to render help to his cousin, was stunned by the tragic news. Already seriously ill, his end was hastened and he died in June 1761. The Maratha defeat at Panipat was a disaster for them. They'lost the cream of their aimy and their political prestige suffered a big blow. Most of all, their defeat gave an opportunity to the English' East India Company to consolidate its power in Bengal and

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South India. Nor

Soldiers‟ Bazar in a Maratha Camp Courtesy: National Archives of India, New Delhi did the Afghans benefit from their victory. They could not even hold the Punjab. In fact, the Third Battle of Panipat did not decide who was to rule India but rather who was not. The way was, therefore, cleared for the rise of the British power in India. The 17-year old Madhav Rao became the Peshwa in 1761. He was a talented Soldier and statesman. Within the short period of 11 years, he restored the lost fortunes of the Maratha Empire. He defeated the Nizam, compelled Haidar Ali of Mysore to pay tribute, and reasserted control over North India by defeating the Rohelas artd subjugating the Rajput states and Jat chiefs. In 1771, the Marathas brought back to Delhi Emperor Shah Alam, who now became their pensioner. Thus it appeared as if Maratha ascendancy in the north had been recovered. Once again, however, a blow fell on the Marathas for Madhav Rao died of consumption in 1772. The Maratha Empire was now in a state of confusion. At Poona there was a struggle for power between Raghu- nath Rao, the younger brother of Balaji Baji Rao, and Narayan Rao, the younger brother of Madhav' Rao. Narayan Rao was killed in 1773. He was succeeded by his posthumous son, Sawai Madhav Rao, Out of frustration, Ragbunath Rao went over to the British and tried to capture power with their help. This resulted in the First Anglo-Macatha War. The Peshwa‟s power was now on the wane. At Poona there was constant intrigue between the supporters of Sawai Madhav Rao, headed by Nana Phadnis, and the partisans of Raghunath. Rao. In the meanwhile the big Maratha sardars had been carving out semiindependent states in the North, which could seldom cooperate. Gaekwad at Baroda, Bhonsle at Nagpur, Holkar at Indore, and Sindhia at Gwalior were the most important. They had established regular administrations on the pattern of Mughal administration and possessed their separate armies. Their allegiance to the Peshwas became more and more nominal. Instead they joined opposing factions at Poona and intrigued with the enemies of the Maratha Empire.,

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Among the Maratha rulers in the North, Mahadji Sindhia was the most important. He organised a powerful army with the help of French officers and established control over Emperor Shah Alam in 1784. From the Emperor he secured the appointment of the Peshwa as the Emperor‟s Deputy (Natb-i-Munaib) on the condition that Mahadji would act on behalf of the Peshwa. But he spent his energies in intriguing against Nana Phadnis. He was also a bitter enemy of Holkar of Indore. He died in 1794. He and Nana Phadnis, who died in 1800, were the last of the great soldiers and statesmen who had raised the Maratha power to its height ,in the 18th ,century. Sawai Madhav Rao died in 1795: and was succeeded by the utterly worthless Baji Rao II, son of Raghunath Rao. The British had by now decided to put an end to the Maratha challenge to their supremacy in India. The British divided the mutually-warring Maratha sardars through clever diplomacy and then overpowered them in separate battles during the second Maratha War, 1805-1805, and the Third Maratha War, 1816- 1819, While other Maratha states were permitted to remain as subsidiary states, the house of the Peshwas was extinguished. Thus, the Maratha dream of controlling the Mughal Empire and establishing their own Empire over large parts of the country could not be realised. This was basically because the Maratha Empire represented the

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same decadent social order as the Mughal Empire did and suffered from the same underlying weaknesses. The Maratha chiefs were very similar to the later Mughal nobles, just as the saranjami system was similar to the Mughal system of jagirs. So long as there existed a strong central authority and the need for mutual cooperation against a common enemy, the Mughals, they remained united in a loose union. But at the first opportunity they tended to assert their autonomy. . If anything, they were even less disciplined than the Mughal nobles. Nor did the Maratha sardars try to develop a new economy. They failed to encourage science and technology or to take much interest in trade and industry. Their revenue system was similar to that of the Mughals as also was their administration. Like the Mughals, the Maratha rulers were also mainly interested in raising revenue from the helpless peasantry. For example, they too collected nearly half of agricultural produce as tax. Unlike the Mughals, they failed even to give sound administration to the people outside Maharashtra, They could not inspire the Indian people with any higher degree of loyalty than the Mughals had succeeded in doing. Their dominion too depended on force and force alone. The only way the Marathas could have stood up to the rising British power^was to have transformed their state into a modem state, This they falied to do. Social and Economic Conditions of the people India of the 18th century failed to make progress economically, socially, or culturally at a pace which would have saved the country from collapse. The increasing revenue demands of the state, the oppression of the officials, the greed and rapacity of the nobles, reveuue-farmers, and zamindars, the marches and countermarches of the rival armies, and the depredations of the numerous adventurers roaming the land during the first half of the 18th century made the life of the people quite wretched. India of those days was also a land of contrasts. Extreme poverty existed side by side with extreme riches and luxury. On the one hand, there were the rich and powerful nobles steeped in luxury and comfort, on the other, backward, oppressed and impoverished peasants living at the bare subsistence level and having to bear all sorts of injustices and inequities Even so, the life of the Indian masses was by and large better at this time than it was after over 100 years of British rule at the end of the 19th century. Indian agriculture during the 18th century was technically backward and stagnant. The techniques of production had remained stationary for centuries. The peasant tried to makeup for technical backwardness by working very hard. He, in fact, performed miracles of production; Moreover, he did not usually suffer from shortage of land.. But, unfortunately, he seldom reaped the fruits of his labour, Even though it wa$ his produce that supported the rest of the society, his own reward was miserably inadequate. The state, the zamindars, the jagifdars, and the revenue-farmers tried to extract the maximum amount from him. This was as true of the Mughal state as of the Maratha or Sikh chiefs or other successors of the Mughal state. Even though Indian villages were largely self-sufficient and imported little from outside and the means of communication were backward, extensive trade within the country and between India and other countries of Asia and Europe was carried on under the Mughals. India imported pearls, raw silk, wool, dates, dried fruits, and rose water

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from the Persian Gulf region; coffee, gold, drugs, and honey from Arabia; tea, sugar, porcelain, and silk from China; goid, musk and woollen cloth from Tibet; tin from Singapore; spices, perfumes, arrack, and sugar from the Indonesian islands; ivory and drugs from Africa; and woollen cloth, metals such as copper, iron, and lead, and paper from Europe. India‟s most important article of export was cotton textiles which were famous all over the world for their excellence and were in demand everywhere. India also exported raw silk and silk fabrics, hardware, indigo, saltpetre, opium, rice, wheat, sugar, pepper and other spices, precious stones, and drugs, Since India was on the whole self-sufficient in handicrafts and agricultural products, it did not import foreign goods on a large scale. On the other hand, its industrial and agricultural products had a steady market abroad, Consequently, it exported more than it imported and its trade was balanced by import of silver and gold. In fact, India was known' as a sink of precious metals, Constant warfare and disruption of law and order in many areas during the 18th century harmed the country‟s internal trade and disrupted its foreign trade to some extent and in some directions. Many trading centres were looted by the contestants for power and by foreign invaders. Many of the trade routes were infested with organised bands of robbers, and traders and their caravans were regularly looted. Even the road between the two 1 imperial cities, Delhi and Agra, was made unsafe by the marauders. Moreover, with the rise of autonomous provincial regimes and innumerable local chiefs, the number of custom houses or chowkies grew by leaps and bounds. Every petty or large ruler tried to increase his income by imposing heavy customs duties on goods entering or passing through1 his territories. All these factors had an injurious effect on trade though much less than generally believed. The impoverishment of the nobles, who were the largest consumers of luxury products in which trade was conducted, also injured internal trade. Political factors which hurt trade also adversely affected urban industries. Many prosperous cities, centres of flourishing industry, were sacked and devastated. Delhi was plundered by Nadir Shah; Lahore, Delhi and Mathura by Ahmad Shah Abdali; Agra by the Jats; Surat and other cities of Gujarat and the Deccan by Maratha chiefs; Sarhind by the Sikhs, and so on. Similarly, artisans catering to the needs of the feudal class and the court suffered as the fortunes of their patrons declined. The decline of internal and foreign trade also hit them hard in some parts of the country. Nevertheless, some industries in other parts of the country gained as a result of expansion in trade with Europe due to the activities of the European trading companies. Even so India remained a land of extensive manufactures. Indian artisans still enjoyed fame all the world over for their skill. India was still a large-scale manufacturer of cotton and silk fabrics, sugar, jute, dye-stuffs, mineral and metallic products like arms, metal wares, and saltpetre and oils. The important centres of textile industry were Dacca and Murshidabad in Bengal, Patna in Bihar, Surat, Ahmedabad and Broach in Gujarat, Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh, Burhanpur in Maharashtra, Jaunpur, Varanasi, Lucknow, and Agra in U.P., Multan and Lahore m the Punjab, Masulipatam, Aurangabad, Chicacole and Vishakha- patnam in Andhra, Bangalore in Mysore, and Coimbatore and

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Madurai in Madras. Kashmir was a centre of woollen manufactures. Shipbuilding industry flourished in Maharashtra, Andhra, and Bengal. Writing about the great skill of Indians in this respect, an English observer wrote: “in shipbuilding they probably taught the English far more than they learr.t from them.” The European Companies bought many Indian-made ships for their use. In fact, at the dawn of the 18th century, India was one of the main centres of worJd trade and industry, Peter the Great of Russia was led to exclaim: Bear in mind that the commerce of ID dials the commerce of the world and.., .he who can exclusively command it is the dictator of Europe.

Education Education was not completely neglected in 18 th century India, But it was on the whole defective. It was traditional and out of touch with the rapid developments in the West. The knowledge which it imparted Was confined to literature, law, religion, philosophy, and logic, and excluded the study of physical and natural sciences, technology, and geography. Nor did it concern itself with a factual and rational study of society. In all fields original thought was discouraged and reliance placed on ancient learning. The centres of higher education were spread all over the country and were usually financed by nawabs, rajas, and rich zamindars. Among

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© Govrmment of India Copyri Baaed upon Survey of India map with the permission of the Surveyor of India. TTie territorial waters of India extend into the to a distance of twelve miicn measured from the appropriate base line. the Hindus, higher education was based op Sanskrit learning and was mostly confined to Brahmins. Persian education being based on the official language of the time was equally popular among Hindus and Muslims. Elementary education was quite widespread. Among the Hindus it was imparted through town and village schools while among the Muslims through

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the Maulvis in maktabs situated in mosques. In those schools the young students were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, Though elementary education was mostly confined to the higher castes like Brah- m!nx, Rajputs, and Vaishyas, many persons from the lower castes also often received it. Interestingly enough, the average literacy was not less than what it was under the British later. Though the standard of primary education was inadequate by modern standards, it sufficed for the limited purposes of those days. A very pleasant aspect of education then was that the teachers enj'oyed high prestige in the community. A bad feature of it was that girls were seldom given education, though some women of the higher classes were an exception. Sods! and Cultural Life Social life and culture in the 18th century were marked by stagnation and dependence on the past. There was, of course, no uniformity of culture and social patterns all over the country. Nor did all Hindus and all Muslims form two distinct societies. People were divided hy religion, region, tribe, language, and caste. Moreover, the social life and culture of the upper classes, who formed a tiny minority of the total population, was in many'respects different from the life and culture of the lower classes. Caste was the central feature of the social life of the Hindus. Apart from the four varnas, Hindus were divided into numerous castes (Jatis) which differed in their nature from place to place. The caste system ■ rigidly divided people and permanently fixed their place in the social scale. The higher castes, headed by the Brahmins, monopolised all social prestige and privileges. Caste rules were extremely rigid. Intercaste marriages were forbidden. There were restrictions on inter- dining among members of different castes. In some cases persons belonging to higher castes would not take food touched by persons of the lower castes. Castes often determined the choice of profession, though exceptions did occur. Caste regulations were strictly enforced by caste councils and paqchayats and caste chiefs through fines, penances (prayaschitya) and expulsion from the caste. Caste was a major divisive force and element of disintegration in the India of 18th century. It often'split Hindus living in the same village or region into many social atoms. It was, of course, possible for a person to acquire a higher social status by acquisition of high office or power, as did the Holkar family in the I8th century. Sometimes, though not often, an entire caste would succeed in raising itself in the caste hierarchy. Muslims were no less divided by considerations of caste, race, tribe, and status, even though their religion enjoined social equality. The Shia and Sunni nobles were sometimes at loggerheads on account of their religious differences. The Irani, Afghan, Turani, and Hindustani Muslim nobles and officials often stood apart from each other. A large number of Hindus converted to Islam carried their caste into the new religion and observed its distinctions, though not as rigidly as before. Moreover, the sharif Muslims consisting of nobles, scholars,

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priests, and army officers, looked down upon the ajlaf Muslims or the lower class Muslims in a manner similar to that adopted by the higher caste Hindus towards the lower caste Hindus. The family system in the 18th century India was primarily patriarchal, that is, the family was dominated by the senior male member and inheritance was through the male line. In Kerala, however, the family was matnlineal. Outside Kerala, women were subjected to nearly complete male control. They were expected to live as mothers and wives only, though in these roles they were shown a great deal of respect and honour. Even during war and anarchy women were seldom molested and were treated with respect. A European traveller, Abbe J.A. Dubois, commented, at the beginning of the 19th century: “A Hindu woman can go anywhere alone, even in the most crowded places, and she need never fear the impertinent looks and jokes of idle loungers ____________ A house inhabited solely by women is a sanctuary which the most shameless libertine would not dream of violating.” But the women, of the time possessed little individuality of their own. This does not mean that there were no exceptions to this rule. Ahilya Bai administered Indore with great success from 1766 to 1796. , Many other Hindu and Muslim ladies played important roles in 18th century politics. Whi|e women of the upper classes were not supposed to work outside their homes, peasant women usually worked in the fields and women of the poorer classes often worked outside their homes to supplement the family income. The purdah was common mostly among the higher classes in the North* It was not practised in the South. , Boys and girls were not permitted to mix with each other. All marriages were arranged by the heads of the families, Men were permitted to have more than oije wife, but, .except for the well-off, they normally had oniy one. On the other hand a woman was expected to marry only once in her life-time. The custom of early marriage prevailed all over the country. Sometimes chjldr^n were married when they were only three or four years of age.

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Among the upper classes, the evil customs of incurring heavy expenses on marriages and of giving dowry to the bride prevailed. The evil of dowry was especially widespread in Bengal and Rajputana. In Maharashtra it was curbed to some extent by the energetic steps taken by the Peshwas. Two great social evils of the 18th century India, apart from the caste system, were the custom of sati and the condition of widows. Sali involved the rite of a Hindu widow burning herself along with the body of her dead husband. It was mostly prevalent in Rajputana, Bengal and other parts of northern India. In the South it was uncommon; and the Marathas did not encourage it. Even in Rajputana and Bengal it was practised only by the families of rajas, chiefs, big zamindars and upper castes. Widows belonging to the higher classes and higher bastes could not remarry, though in some regions and in some castes, fop exampk, among non-brahmins in Maharashtra, the Jats and people of the hil!regions of the North, widow remarriage was quite common. The loi of the Hindu widow was usually pitiable. There were all sorts of restrictions on her clothing, diet, movements, etc. In general, she was expected to renounce all the pleasures of the earth and to serve selflessly the members of her husband‟s or her brother‟s family, depending on where she spent the remaining years of her life. Sensitive Indians were often touched by the hard and harsh life of the widows. Raja Sawai Jai

Sati: A Widqw Being Burnt on Her Husband‟s Pyre Courtesy: National Archives of India, New Delhi

Singh of Amber and the Maratha General Prashuram Bhau tried to promote widow remarriage but failed. Culturally, India showed signs of exhaustion during the 18th century. Cultural

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continuity with the preceding centuries was, of course, maintained. But at the same time culture remained wholly traditionalist. Cultural activities of the time were mostly financed by the Royal 1 Court, rulers, and nobles and chiefs whose impoverishment led to their gradual neglect. The most rapid decline occurred precisely in those branches of arts which depended on the patronage of kings, princes, and nobles. This was true most of all of Mughal architecture and painting. Many of the painters of the Mughal school migrated to provincial courts and flourished at Hyderabad, Lucknow, Kashmir, and Patna. At the same time new schools of painting were born and achieved distinct ion. The paintings of Kangra and Rajput Schools revealed new vitality and taste. In the field of architecture, the Imambara of Lucknow reveals proficiency in technique but a decadence in architectural taste. On the other hand, the city of Jaipur and its buildings ate an example of continuing vigour. Music continued to develop and flourish in the 18th century. Significant progress was made in this field in the TCigU of Muhammad Shah. Poruv in nsariy all the Indian languages lost its touch with life and became decorative, artificial, mechanical and traditional. Its pessimism reflected ths prevailing sense of despair and cynicism, while its content reflected the impoverishment of the spiritual life of its patrons, the feudal nobles and kings, A noteworthy feature of the literary life of the 18th century was the spread of Urdu language and the vigorous growth of Urdu poetry. Urdu gradually became the medium of social intercourse among the upper classes of northern India. While Urdu poetry shared, in common the weaknesses of the contemporary literature in other Indian languages, it produced brilliant poets like Mir, Sauda, Nazir, and in the 19th century, that great genius Mirza Ghalib. Similarly, there was a revival of Malayalam literature, especially under the patronage of the Travancore rulers, Martanda Varma and Rama Varma. One of the great poets of Kerala, Kunchan Nambiar, who wrote popular poetry in the language of daily usage, lived at this time. The 18th century Kerala also witnessed the full development of Kathakali literature, drama^and dance. The Padmanabhan Palace with its remarkable architecture and mural paintings was also constructed in thq 18th centuiy. Tayaumanavar (1706-44) was one of the best exponents of sittar poetry in TamiL 3n line with other slitar poets, he protested against the abuses of templenile and the caste system. In Assam, literature developed under the patronage of the Ahom kings. Dayaram, cue of the great lyricists of Gujarat, wrote during the second half of the 18th century. Beet Ranjha, the famous romantic epic in Punjabi, was composed-at this time by Warris Shah. For Sindhi literature, the 18th century was a period of enormous achievement. Shah Abdul Latif composed his famous collection of poems, Risalo. Sachal and Sami were the other great Sindhi poets of the century. The main weakness of Indian culture lay in the field of science. Throughout the 18th century India remained far behind the West in science and technology. For the last 200 years Western Europe had been undergoing a scientific and

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economic revolution that was leading to a spate of inventions and discoveries. The scientific outlook was gradually pervading the Western mind and revolutionising the philosophic, political, and economic outlook of the Europeans and their institutions. On the other hand, the Indians who had in earlier ages made vital contributions in the fields of mathematics and natural sciences, had been neglecting the sciences for several centuries, The Indian mind was still tied to tradition; boih the nobles and the commo n people were superstitious to a high degree. The Indians remained almost wholly Ignorant of the scientific, cultural, political, and economic achievements of the West. The 18th century Indian rulers did not show any interest in things western except in weapons of war and techniques of military training. This weakness in the realm of science was to a large extent responsible for the total subjugation of India by the most advanced country of the time, Struggle for power and wealth, economic decline, social backwardness, and cultural stagnation had a deep and harmful impact on the morals of a section of the Indian people. The nobles, in particular, degenerated m their private and public, life. The virtues of loyalty, gratitude, and faithfulness to their pledged word tended to disappear in the single-minded pursuit of selfish aims. Many of the nobles were prey to degrading vices and excessive luxury. Most of them took bribes when in office. Surprisingly enough, the ^common people were not debased to any marked extent. They continued to exhibit a high degree of personal integrity and morality. For example, the well known British official John Malcolm remarked in 1821: I do not know, the example of any great population, in similar circumstaiKW, preserving through such & period of changes and tyrannical rule, so nuch virtue and so many .qualities as are to be found la a great proportion of the inhabitant! of (his country.

In particular, he praised "the absence of the common vices oHheft, drunkenness, and violence.", Similarly, Cranford, another European writer, observed:

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Their rolea of morality are most benevolent: and hospitality and charity arc not only strongly inculcated but I believe nowhere more universally practised than amongst Hindus.

Friendly relations between Hindus and Muslims were a very heJthy feature of life in 18th. century India. Even though the nobles and chiefs of the time fought each other incessantly, their fights and their alliances were seldom based on distinctions of religion. In other words, their politics were essentially secular. In fact, there was little communal bitterness or religious intolerance in the country. All people, high or low, respected one another‟s relijion and a spirit of tolerance, even harmony, prevailed. 'The mutual relations of Hindus and Muslims were those of brothers among brothers.‟ This was particularly true of the common people in the villages and towns who fully shared one another‟s joys and sorrows, irrespective of religious affiliations. Hindus and Muslims cooperated in non-religious sphere s such as social life and cultural affairs. The evolution of a composite Hindu-Muslim culture, ot of common ways and attitudes, continued unchecked. Hindu writers often wrote in Persian while Muslim writers wrote in Hindi, Bengali, and other vernaculars, often dealing with subjects of Hindu social life and religioln, such as Radha and Krishna, Sita and Ram, and Nal and Damyanti. The development of Urdu language and literature provided a new meeting ground between Hindus and Muslims. Even in tbe religious sphere, the mutual influence and respect that had been developing in the last few centuries as a result of the spread of the Bhakti movement among Hindus and Sufism among Muslims, continued to grow. A large number of Hindus worshipped Muslim saints and many Muslims showed equal veneration for Hindu gods and saints. Muslim rulers, nobles, and commoners joyfully joined in the Hindu festivals such as Holi, Diwali, and iDurga Puja,1 just as Hindus participated in the Muharram processions. It is noteworthy that Raja Rammohun Roy, the greatest Indian of the first half of the 19th century, was influenced in an equal measure by the Hindu and the Islamic philosophical and religious systems. It may also be noted that religious affiliation Was not the main point of departure in cultural and social life. The ways of life of the upper class Hindus and Muslims converged much more than the ways of life of upper class and lower class Hindtis or of upper class and lower class Muslims. Similarly, regions or areas provided points of departure. People of one region had far greater cultural synthesis irrespective of religion than people following tbe same religion spread over different regions. People living in the villages also tended to have a different pattern of social and cultural life than that of the town dwellers. EXERCISES 1. Examine the policies followed by the rulers of the states of Hyderabad, Bengal, and Avadh.

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2. Give a critical appreciation of the character and achievements of Tipu Sultan. 3. Trace the rise of the Sikhs in the Punjab in the 18th century. Discuss Ranjit Singh‟s administration of the Punjab. 4. Trace the rise of the Maratha Empire under the first three Peshwas? Why did it fail to survive? 5. Bring out the main features of Indian economic life in the 18th century. To what extent were they related to contemporary political developments? 6. 'What were the main features of social lire in India in the lBth century? Bring out some of the differences between the lower and the higher classes and castes in this respect. 7. Discuss the major cultural developments in India in the 18th century. How far were these developments influenced by the nobles, chiefs, and kings? 8. Briefly examine Hindu-Muslim relations in the 18th century. To what extent were the politics of the 18th century motivated by religious considerations? 9. Write short notes on: (a) Raja Jai Singh of Amber, (b) The Third Battle of Panipat, (c) 1 Haidar AH, (d) Kerala in the 18th century, (e) The Jat State of Bharatpur, (f) Education in 18th century India, (g) Science in 18th century India, (h) Economic condition of the peasant in the 18th century.

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© Government of India Copyright 1982 Bated upon Survey of India map wiih the permission of the Surveyor General of India. The territorial waters of India extend into the sea to a distance of twelve nautical miles nyasured from the appropriate base line.

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CHAPTER III

The Beginnings of European Settlements

I

NDIA'S trade relations with Europe go back to the ancient days of the Greeks. During the Middle Ages trade between Europe and India and SouthEast Asia was carried on along several loutes. One was by sea along the Persian Gulf, and from there overland' dirough Iraq and Turkey, and then again by sea to Venice and Genoa. A second was via the Red Sea and then overland to Alexandria in Egypt and front there by sea to Venice and Genoa. A third, less frequented overland route lay through the passes of the North-West frontier of India, across Central Asia, and Russia to the Baltic. The Asian part of the trade was carried on mostly by Arab merchants and sailors, while the Mediterranean and European part was the virtual monopoly of the Italians. Goods from Asia to Europe passed through many states and many hands. Every state levied tolls and duties while every merchant made a substantial profit, There were many other obstacles, such as pirates and natural calamities on the way. Yet the trade remained highly profitable. This was mostly due to the pressing demand of the people of Europe for Eastern spices which fetched high prices in European markets. The Europeans needed spices because they lived on salted and peppered meat during the winter months, when there was little grass to feed the cattle, and only a liberal use of spices could make this meat palatable. Consequently, European food was as highly spiced as Indian food till the 17th century,

The old trading routes between the East and the West came under Turkish control after the Ottoman conquest of Asia Minor and the capture of Constantinople in 1453. Moreover, the merchants of Vcnlce and Genoa monopolised the trade between Europe and Asia and refused to let the new nation states of Western Europe, particularly Spain and Portugal, have any share in the trade through these old routes. But the trade with India and Indonesia was too highly priced by the West Europeans to be so easily given up. The demand for spices was pressing and the profits to be made in their trade inviting. The reputedly fabulous wealth of India was an additional attraction as there was an acute shortage of gold all oyer Europe, and gold was essential os a medium of exchange if trade was to grow unhampered. The West European states and merchants therefore began to search for new and safer sea routes to India and the Spice Islands of Indonesia, then known as the East Indies. They wanted to break the Arab and Venetian trade monopolies, to bypass Turkish hostility, and to open direct trade relations with the East. They were well-equipped to do so as great advances in ship-building and

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the science of navigation had taken place during the 15th century. Moreover, the Renaissance had generated a great spirit of adventure among the people of Western Europe. Tbe first steps were taken by Portugal and Spain whose seamen, sponsored and controlled by their governments, began a great era of geographical discoveries. In 1494, Columbus of Spain set out to reach India and discovered America instead. In 1498, Vasco da Gama of Portugal discovered a new and all-sea route from Europe to India. He sailed round Africa via the Cape of Good Hope and reached Calicut. He returned with a cargo which sold for 60 times the cost of his voyage. These and other navigational discoveries opened a new chapter in the history of the world. Adam Smith wrote later that the discovery of America itnd the Cape route to India were “the two greatest and most important events recorded in the history of mankind.” The 17th and 18th centuries were to witness an enormous increase in world trade. The vast new continent of America was opened to Europe and relations between Europe and Asia were completely transformed. The new continent was rich in precious metals. Its gold and silver poured into Europe where they powerfully stimulated trade and provided some of the capital which was soon to make European nations the most advanced in trade, industry and science. Moreover, America was to provide an inexhaustible market for European manufacturers. Another major source of early capital accumulation or enrichment for European countries was their penetration of Africa in the middle of the 15th century. In the beginning, gold and ivory of Africa had attracted the foreigner. Very soon, however, trade with Africa centred around the slave trade. In the 16th century this trade was a monopoly of Spain and Portugal. Later it was dominated by Dutch, French and British merchants Year after year, particularly after 1650, thousands of Africans were sold as slaves in the West Indies and in North and South America. The slave ships carried manufactured goods from Europe to Africa, exchanged them on the coast of Africa for Negroes, took these slaves across the Atlantic and exchanged them for the colonial produce of plantations or mines, and finally brought back and sold this produoe in Europe. It was on the immense profits of this triangular trade that the commercial supremacy of England and France was to be based. The demand for slaves on the sugar, cotton and tobacco plantations and mines of the Western hemisphere was inexhaustive as the hard conditions of work and inhuman treatment of the slaves led to high mortality. Moreover, the limited population of Europe could not have supplied the cheap labour needed for the full exploitation of the land and mines of the New World, While no exact record of the number of Africans sold into slavery exists, historians* estimate has ranged between 15 and 50 millions. While loss of people on a massive scale led to the crippling of African countries and societies, a great deal of West European and North American prosperity was based on the slave trade and the plantations worked by slave labour. Moreover, profits of slave trade and slave-worked plantations provided some of the capital which financed the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. A similar

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role was later played by the wealth extracted from India. Slavery was later abolished in the 19th century after it had ceased to play an important economic role, but it was openly defended and praised as long as it was profitable. Monarch®, ministers, members of Parlia* ment, dignitaries of the church, leaders of public opinion, and merchants and industrialists supported the slave trade. For example, in Britain, Queen Elizabeth, George III, Edmund Burke, Nelson, Gladstone, Disraeli and Carlyle were some of the defenders and apologists of slavery. In the 16th century, European merchants and soldiers also began the long process of first penetrating and then subjecting Asian lands to their control. In the process, the prosperity of the Italian towns and merchants waB destroyed as commerce and then political power gradually shifted Westward towards the Atlantic coast. Portoga.1 had a monopoly of the highly profitable Eastern trade for nearly a century. In India, she established her trading settlements at Cochin, Goa, Dlu, and Daman. From the beginning the Portuguese combined the use of force with trade. In this they were helped by (he superiority of their armed ships which enabled them to dominate the seas. A handful of Portuguese soldiers and sailors could maintain their position on the seas against the much more powerful land powers of India and Asia. Beside^, they also saw that they could take advantage of the mutual rivalries of the Indian princes to strengthen their position. They intervened in the conflict between the ruler; of Calicut and Cochin to establish their trading centres and forts on the Malabar coast From here they attacked and destroyed Arab shipping, brutally killing hundreds of Arab merchants and seameh, By threatening Mughal shipping, they sflso succeeded jn securing many trading Concessions from the Mughal Emp^fors, Under the viceroyalty of Alfanso d„ Albuquerque, who captured Goa in |3J0; the Portuguese established their domination over Hie entire Asian coast from Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to Malacca in Malaya and the Spice Islands in Indonesia. They seized Indian territories on the coast and waged constant war to expand their trade and dominions and safeguard their trade monopoly from their European rivals, Nor did they shy away from piracy and plunder. In the words of James Mill, the famous British historian of the 19th century: "The Portuguese followed their merchandise as their chief occupation, but like the English and the Dutch .. of the same period, had no objection to plunder, when it fell in their way.” The Portuguese were intolerant and fanatical in religious matters. They indulged in forcible conversion „offering people the alternative of Christianity or sword.‟ Their approach in this respect was particularly hateful to people of India where religious tolerance was the rule. They also indulged in inhuman cruelties and lawlessness. In spite of their barbaric behaviour their possessions in India survived for a century because they enjoyed control over the high seas, their soldiers and administrators maintained strict discipline, and they did not have to face the might of the Mughal Empire as South India was outside Mughal influence. They clashed with the Mughal power in Bengal in 1631 and were driven out of their settlement at Hugli. Their hold over the Arabian sea had

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already been weakened by the English and their influence in Gujarat had become negligible by this time. Portugal was, however, incapable of maintaining for long its trade monopoly or its dominions in the East. Its population was less than a million, its Court was autocratic and decadent, its merchants enjoyed much less power and prestige than its landed aristocrats, it lagged behind in the development of shipping, a >d it followed a poliey of religious intolerance. The Portuguese and the Spanish had left the English and the Dutch far behind during the 15th century and the first half of the 16th century. But, in the latter half of the 16th century, England and Holland, and later France, all growing commercial and naval powers, waged a fierce struggle against the Spanish and Portuguese monopoly of world trade. In this struggle the latter had to go under. Portugal had become a Spanish dependency in 1580. In 1588 the English defeated the Spanish fleet called the Armada and shattered Spanish naval supremacy for ever. This enabled the English ^nd the Dutch merchants to use the Cape of Good Hope route to India and so to join in the race for empire in the East. In the end, the Dutch gained control over Indonesia and the British over India,, Ceylon, and Malaya. The Dutch had Toe long been dealing in Eastern produce which they bought in Portugal and sold all over Northern Europe. This had fed them to develop better ships, scientific sailing techniques, and efficiept business methods and organisation. Their revolt against the Spanish domination of their homeland, the Netherlands, and Portugal‟s merger with Spain mads them look for alternative sources of spices. In 1595, four Dutch ships sailed to India via the Cape of Good Hope. In 1602, the Dutch East India Company was formed and the Dutch States General —the Dutch parliament— gave it a Charter empowering it to make war, conclude treaties, acquire territories and build fortresses. The main interest of the Dutch lay not in India but in the Indonesian Islands of Java, Sumatra, and the Spice Islands where spices were produced. They soon turned out the Portuguese from the Malay Straits and the Indonesian Islands and, in 1623, defeated English attempts to establish themselves there. It appeared at the time that the Dutch had successfully seized the most important profitable part of Asian trade. They did not, however, entirely abandon Indian trade. They also established trading depots at Surat, Broach, Cambay, and Ahmedabad in Gujarat in West India, Cochin in Kerala, Nagapatam in Madras, Masulipatam in Andhra, Chinsura in Bengal, Patna in Bihar, and Agra in Uttar Pradesh. In 1658 they also conquered Ceylon from the Portuguese. They exported indigo, raw silk, cotton textiles, saltpetre, and opium from India. Like the Portuguese they treated the people of India cruelly and exploited them ruthlessly. The English merchants too looked greedily on the Asian trade. The success of the Portuguese, the rich cargoes of spices, calicoes, silk, gold, pearls, drugs, porcelain,and ebony they carried, and the high profits they made inflamed the imagination of the merchants of England and made them impatient to participate in such profitable commerce. But, till the end of the 16th century, they W C TO to o weak to challenge the naval might of Portugal and Spain. For over 50 years they

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searched without success for an alternative passage to India. Meanwhile they gathered strength on the sea. In 1579, Drake sailed around the world. In 1588, the defeat of the Spanish Armada led to the opening of the sea-passage to the East. An English association or company to trade with the East .was formed in 1599 under the auspices of a group of merchants known as the Merchant Adventurers. The company was granted a Royal Charter and the exclusive privilege to trade in the East by Queen Elizabeth on 31 December 1600 and was popularly known as the East India Company. From the beginning, it was linked with the monarchy: Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603) was one of the shareholders of the company. The first voyage of the Bnglish East India Company was made in 1601 when its ships sailed to the Spice Islands of Indonesia. In 1608 it decided to open a factory,.the name given at the time to a trading depot, at Surat on the West coast of India and sent Captain Hawkins to Jahangir‟s Court to obtain Royal favours. Initially, Hawkins was received in a friendly manner. He was given a man sab of 400 and a jagir. Later, he was expelled from Agra as a result of Portuguese intrigue. This .convinced the English of the need to overcome Portuguese influence at the Mughal Court if they were to obtain any concessions from the Imperial Government. They defeated a Portuguese naval squadron at Swally near Surat in 1612 and then again in 3 614. These victories led the Mughals to hope that in view of their naval weakness they could use the English to counter the Portuguese on the sea. Moreover, the Indian merchants would certainly benefit by competition among their foreign buyers. Consequently, the English Company was given permission by a Royal farman to open factories at several places on (he West coast. The English were not satisfied with this concession. In 1615 their ambassador Sir Thomas Roe reached the Mughal Court. They also exerted pressure on the Mughal authorities by taking advantage of India‟s naval weakness and harassing Indian traders and shipping to the Red Sea and to Mecca. Thus, combining entreaties with threats, Roe succeeded in getting an Imperial farman to trade and establish factories in all parts of the Mughal Empire. Roe's success further angered the Portuguese and a fierce naval battle between the two countries began in 1620. It ended in English victory. Hostilities between the two came to an end in 1630. In 1662 the Portuguese gave the Island of Bombay to King Charles II of England as dowry-for marrying a Portuguese Princess. Eventually, the Portuguese lost alt their possessions in India except Goa, Din and Daman. The Dutch, the English, and the Marathas beflefitted, the Marathas capturing Salsette and Bassein in 1739. The English Company fell out with the Dutch Company over division of the spice trade of the Indonesian Islands. Ultimately, the Dutch nearly expelled the English from the trade of the Spice Islands and the latter were compelled to concentrate on India where the situation was more favourable to them- The intermittent war in India between the1 two powers, which had begun in 1654, ended in 1667, when the English gave up all claims to Indonesia while the Dutch agreed to leave alone the English settlements in

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India. The English, however, continued. their efforts to drive out the Dutch from the Indian trade and by 1795 'hey had expelled the Dutch from their last possession in India.

The Groi»ld enable them to compel the Mughals to allow them a free hand in trade, to force Indians to sell cheap and buy dear, to keep the rival European traders out, and to make their trade independent of the policies of the Indian powers. Political power would also make it possible for them to appropriate Indian revenues and thus to conquer the country wiLh its own resources, Such plans were explicitly put forward at the time. The Governor of Bombay, Gerald Aungier, wrote to the Directors of the Company in London, “the time now lequfres you to manage your gena&l commerce with the sword in your hands,” In 1687, the Directors advi&ed the Governor of Madras to: establish such a policy of civil and military power and create and secure such a luge revenue to maintain both as may be the foundation of a large, well- grounded, secure English dominion in India for all lime to Come.

In 1689 they declared;

The increase of our revenue is the subject of our care, as much as our trade: „tis that mi'st maintain our force, when twenty accidents may interrupt our trade; “tis that miut make us a nation in India .............................................................

Hostilities between the English and the Mughal Emperor broke out in 1686 after the former had sacked Hugli and declared war on the Emperor. But the English had seriously miscalculated the situation and underestimated Mughal strength. The Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb was even now more than a match for the petty forces of the East India Company. The war ended disastrously for them. They were driven out of their factories in Bengal and compelled to seek refuge in a fever-strickcn island at the mouth of the Ganga. Their factories at Surat, Masulipatam, and Vizagapataoi were seized and their fort at Bombay besciged. Having discovered that they were not yet strong enough to fight the Mughal power, the English once again became humble petitioners and submitted “that the ill crimes they have done may be pardoned.” They expressed their willingness to trade under the protection of the Indian rulers. Obviously, they had learnt their lesson. Once again they relied on flattery and humble entreaties to get trading concessions from the Mughal Emperor. The Mughal authorities readily pardoned the English folly as they had no means of knowing that these hannless-looking foreign traders would one day pose a serious threat to the country, instead they recognised that foreign trade carried on by the Company benefited Indian artisans and merchants and thereby enriched the State' treasury. Moreover, the

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English, though weak on land, were, because of their navat supremacy, capable of completely ruining Indian trade and shipping to Iran, West Asia, Northern and Eastern Africa and East Asia. Aurangzeb therefore permitted them to resume trade on payment of Rs. 150,000 as compensation. In 1691 the Company was granted exemption from the payment of custom duties in Bengal in return for Rs. 3,000 a year. In 1698, the Company acquired the zamindari of the three villages Sutanati, Kalikata, and Govindpur where it built Fort William around its factory. The villages Boon grew into a city which came to be known as Calcutta. In 1717 the Company secured from Emperor Farrukh Siyar a farman confirming .the privileges granted in 1691 and extending them to Gujarat and the Deccan. But during the first half of the 18th century Bengal was ruled by strong Nawabs such as Murshid Quli Khan and Alivardi Khan. They exercised strict control over the English traders and prevented them from misusing their privileges. Nor did they allow them to strengthen fortifications at Calcutta or to rule the city independently. Here the East India Company remained a mere zamindar Of the Nawab, Even though the political ambitions of the Company were frustrated, its commercial affairs flourished as never before. Its imports from India into England increased from £ 500,000 in 1708 to £ 1,795,000 in 1740. This increase was recorded in spite of the fact that the English Government forbad^ the use of Indian cotton and silk textiles iii England in order to protect the English textile industry and to prevent export of silver from England to Tndia. Thus at a Jime when the English were pleading for free trade in India they were restricting freedom of trade in their own country and denying access to Indian manufactures. British settlements in Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta became the nuclei of flourishing cities. Large numbers of Indian merchants and bankers were attracted to these cities. This was due partly to the new commercial opportunities available in these cities and partly to the unsettled conditions and insecurity outside them, caused by the break-up of the Mughal Empire. By the middle of the 18 th century, the population of Madras had increased to 300,000, of Calcutta to 200,000 and of Bombay to 70,000. It should also be noted that these three cities contained fortified English settlements; they also had immediate access to the sea where English naval power remained far superior to that of the Indians. In case of conflict with any Indian authority, the English could always escape from these cities to the sea. And when a suitable opportunity arose for them to take advantage of the political disorders m the country, they could use these strategic cities as spring-boards for the conquest of India. The Internal Organisation of the Company The Charter of 1600 granted the East India Company the exclusive privilege of trading East of the Cape of Good Hope for a period of 15 years. The Charter provided for the management of the Company by a committee consisting of a Governor, a Deputy-Governor, and 24 members to be elected by a general body of the merchants forming the Company. This committee later on came to be known as the „Court of Directors‟ and its members as „Directors‟. The East Indian Company soon became the most important trading company of England. Between 1601 and 1612 its rate of profit came to nearly 20 per cent per

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annum. Its profits were derived both from trade and from piracy, there being no clear dividing line between the two at the time. In 1612 the Company made a profit of £ 1,000,000 on a capital of £ 200,000. During the entire 17th century the rate of profit was very high. But the Company was a strictly closed corporation or a monopoly. No nonmember was allowed to trade with the East or to share in its high profits. However, from the very beginning English manufacturers and those merchants who could not secure a place in the ranks of the monopoly companies carried on a vigorous campaign against royal monopolies like the East India Company. But the monarchs threw their influence behind the big companies who gave heavy bribes to them and to other influential political leaders. From 1609 to 1676, the Company gave loans amounting to £ 170,000 to Charles II, In return, Charles II granted it a series of Charters confirming its previous privileges, empowering it to build forts, raise troops, make war and peace with the powers of the East, and authorising its servants in India to administer justice to ail Englishmen and others living in English settlements. Thus the Company acquired extensive military and judicial powers. Many English merchants continued to trade in Asia in spite of the monopoly of the East India Company. They called themselves „Free Merchants‟ while the Company called them „Interlopers.‟ These Interlopers in the end compelled the Company to take them into partnership, A change of fortunes occurred in 1688 when Parliament became supreme in England as a result of the Revolution of 1688 which overthrew the Stuart king James II and invited William III and his wife Mary to be the joint sovereign of Britain. The “Free Merchants” now began to press their case on the public and the Parliament. The Company defeuded itself by giving heavy bribes to the King, his ministers, and members of the Parliament. In one year alone it spent £ 80,000 on bribes, giving the King £ 10,000. In the end, they secured a new Charter in 1693. But time was running against the Company; its success was shortlived. In 1694, the House of Commons passed a Resolution that “all subjects of England have equal rights to trade in the East Indies, unless prohibited by Act of Parliament.” The rivals of the Company founded another Company known as the New Company. It gave a loan of £ 2,000,000 to the Government at a time when the Old Company could offer only £ 700,000. Consequently, the Parliament granted the monopoly of trade with the East to the New Company. The Old Company refused to give up its profitable trade so easily. It bought large shares in the New Company to be able to influence its policies. At the same time its servants in India refused to let the servants of the New Company carry on trade there. Both companies faced ruin as a result of their mutual conflict. Finally, in 1702, the two decided to join forces and together formed a united company. The new company entitled „The Limited Company of Merchants of England trading to the East Indies‟ came into existence in 1708.

The Government and Organisation of the Company‟s Factories in India As the East India Company gradually grew in power and tended to acquire the

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status of a sovereign state in India, the organisation of its factories in India too changed and developed accordingly. A factory of the Company was generally a fortified area within which the warehouses (stores), offices, and houses of the Company‟s employees were situated. It is to be noted that no manufacture was carried on in this factory. The Company‟s servants were divided into three ranks: writers, factors, and merchants. They all lived and dined together as if in a hostel and at Company‟s cost. A writer was paid 10 pounds (100 rupees) a year, a factor 20 to 40 pounds (200 to 400 rupees), and a merchant 40 pounds (400 rupees) or a little more. Thus, they were paid Very low salaries. Their real income, for which they were so keen to take service in India, came from the permission the Company granted them to carry on private trade withirt the country while the trade between India and Europe was reserved for the Company. The Factory with its trade was administered by a Governor-in-Council. The Governor was merely the President of the Council and had no power apart from the Council which took decisions by a majority vote. The Council consisted of senior merchants of the Company. The Anglo-French Straggle in South India The English East India Company‟s 'schemes of territorial conquests and political domination, which had been frustrated by Aurangzeb at the end of the 17th Cfntury,1 were revived during the 1740‟s because of the visible decline of the Mughal power. Nadir Shah‟s invasion had revealed the decay of t^e central authority. But there was not much scope for foreign penetration in Western India

where the vigorous Marathas held sway and jn Eastern India where Allvaicii Khan maintained strict control, [n Southern India, however, conditions were gradually becoming favoui- able to foreign adventurers. While central anthoi ity had disappeared j\oin there after Aurangzeb‟s death, the strong hand of N i2am-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah was also withdrawn by nis death in 1748. Moreover, the Maratha chiefs regularly invaded Hyderabad and the rest of the South collecting chaulh. These raids resulted in politically unsettled conditions and administrative disorganisation. The Carnatic was embroiled m fratricidal wars of succession. These conditions gave the foreigners an opportunity to expand their political influence and control over the affairs of the SouLh Indian states. But the Fnghsh were not alone in putting forward commercial and political claims. While they had, by the end of the 17th century, eliminated their Portuguese and Dutch rivals, France had appeared as a new rival. For nearly 20 years from 1744 to 1763 the French and the English were to wage a httter war for control over the trade, wealth, and territory of India. The French East India Company was founded in 1664. It made rapid progress after it was reorganised in the 1720's and soon began to catch up with the English Company. It was firmly established at Chander- nagore near Calcutta and Pondicherry on the East Coast. The latter was fully forlilicd. The French Company had some other factories at several ports on the Ease and the West coasts. It had also acquired control over the islands of Mauritius and Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

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The French East India Company was heavily dependent on the French Government which helped it by giving it treasury grants, subsidies, and bans, and in various other ways. Consequently, it was largely controlled by the Government which appointed its directors after 1723. Moreover, big shares in the Company were held by the nobles and other rentiers who weie more interested in quick dividends than in making the Company a lasting commercial success. So long as the loans and subsidies from the Government, enabled the directors to declare dividends, they did not care much about the success or soundness of its commercial ventures. State control of the Company proved harmful to it in another way. The French state of the time was autocratic, semifeudal, and unpopular and suffeicd from corruption, inefficiency, and instability. Instead of being forward-looking it was decadent, bound by tradition, and In general unsuited to the times. Control by such a state could not but be injurious to the interests of the Company. Tn 1742, war broke out in Europe between France and England. One of the major causes of the war was rivalry over colonies in America. Another was their trade rivalry in India. This rivalry was intensified by the knowledge that the Mughal Empire was

disintegrating and so the prize of trade or territory was likely to be much bigger than in the past. Anglo-French conflict in India lasted-for nearly 20 years and led to the establishment of British power in India. The English Company was the wealthier of the two because of its superiority in trade. Tt also possessed naval superiority. Moreover, its possessions in India had been held longer and were better fortified and more prosperous. Materially, therefore, the advantage lay with the British. The war in Europe between England and France soon spread to India where the two East India Companies clashed with each other. In 1745, the English navy captured French ships off the South-east coast of India and threatened Pondicherry. Dupleix, the French Governor-General at Pondicherry at this time, was a statesman of genius and imagination. Under his brilliant leadership, the French retaliated and occupied Madras in 1746. This led to a very important event of the war. The British appealed to the Nawab of Carnatic, in whose territory Madras was situated, to save their settlement from the French. The Nawab agreed to intervene as he wanted to convince the foreign merchants that he was still the master of his territories, He sent an army against the French to stop the two foreign trading companies from fighting on his soil. And so the 10,000 strong army of the Nawab clashed with a small French force, consisting of 230 Europeans and 700 Indian soldiers trained along Western lines, at St. Thome on the banks of the Adyar river. The Nawab was decisively defeated. This battle revealed the immense superiority of Western armies over Indian armies because of their belter equipment and organisation. The Indian pike was no match for the Western musket and bayonet, nor the Indian cavalry for the Western artillery. The large but ill disciplined and unwieldly Indian armies could not stand up against the smaller but better disciplined Western armies. In 1748, the general war between England and France ended and, as a part of the peace settlement, Madras was restored to the English. Though war had ended, the rivalry in trade and over the possessions in India continued and had to be

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decided one way or the other. Moreover, the war had revealed to the full the weakness of Indian government and armies and thereby fully aroused the cupidity of both the Companies for territorial expansion in India. Dupleix now decided to use the lessons he had learnt in the recent war with the Nawab of Carnatic. He evolved the strategy of using the well- disciplined, modern French army to intervene in the mutual quarrels of the Indian princes and, by supporting one against the other, securing monetary, commercial, or territorial favours from the victor. Thus, he planned to use the resources and armies of the local rajas, nawabs, and chiefs to serve the interests of the French Company and to expel the English from India. The only barrier to the success of this strategy could have been the refusal of Indian ruters to permit such foreign intervention. But the Indian rulers were guided not by patriotism, but by narrow-minded pursuit of personal ambition and gain. They had little hesitation in inviting the foreigners to help them settle accounts with their internal rivals. In 174S, a situation arose in the Carnatic and Hyderabad which gave full scope to Dupleix‟s talents for intrigue. In the Carnatic, Chanda Snhib began to conspire against the Nawab, Anwaruddin, while in Hyderabad the death of Asaf Jab, Nizam-uI-Mulk, was followed by civil war between his son Nasir Jang and his grandson Muzaffar Jang. Dupleix seized this opportunity and concluded a secret treaty with Chanda Sahib and Muzaffar Jang to help them with his well-trained French and Indian forces. In 1749, the three allies defeated and killed Anwaruddin in a battle at Ambur. The latter‟s son, Muhammad Ali, fled to Tnchinopoly. The rest of the Cainatic passed under the dominion of Chanda Sahib who rewarded the French with a grant of 80 villages around Pondicherry. In Hyderabad too, the French were successful. Nasir Jang was killed and Muzaffar Jang became the Nizam or Viceroy of the Dcccan. The new Nizam rewarded the French Company by giving it territories near Pondicherry as well as the famous town of Masuhpatam. He gave a sum of Rs. -500,000 to the Company and another Rs. 500,000 to its troops. Dupleix received Rs. 2,000,000 and a jagir worth Rs. 100,000 a year. Moreover, he was made honorary Governor of Mughal dominions on the East coast from the river Krishna to Kanya Kumari. Dupleix stationed his best officer, Bussy, at Hyderabad with a French army. "While the ostensible purpose of this arrangement was to protect the Nizam from enemies, it was really aimed at maintaining French influence at his court. While Muzaffar Jang was marching towards his capital, he was accidentally killed. Bussy immediately raised Salabat Jang, the third son of Nizam-ul-Mulk, to the throne. Tn return, the new Nizam granted the French the area in Andhra known as the Northern Sarkars, consisting of '■he four districts of Mustafanagar, Ellore, Rajahmundry, and Chicacole. The French power in South India was now at its height, Dupleix‟s plans had succeeded beyond his dreams. The French had started out by trying to win Indian states as friends; they had ended by making them clients or satellites. But the English had not been silent spectators of their rival‟s suocesses, To offset French influence and to increase their own, they had been intriguing with

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Nasir Jang and Muhammad Ali. In 1750, they decided to throw their entire strength behind Muhammad Ali. Robert Clive, a young clerk in the Company‟s service, proposed that French pressure on Muhammad Ali, besieged at Tnchinopoly, could be released by attacking

Arcot, the capital of Carnatic. The proposal was accepted and Clive assaulted and occupied Arcot with only 200 English and 300 Indian soldiers. As expected, Chanda Sahib and the French were compelled to raise the seige of Trichinopoly, The French foices were repeatedly defeated. Chanda Sahib was soon captured and killed. The French fortunes were now at an ebb as their army and its generals had proved unequal to their English counterparts. Dupleix made strenuous attempts to reverse the tide of French misfortunes. But he was given little' support by the French Government or eveh by the higher authorities of the French East India' Company. Moreover, the high French officials and military and naval commanders constantly quarrelled with one another and with Dupleix. In the end, the French Government, weary of the heavy expense of the war in India and fearing the loss of its American colonies, initiated peace negotiations and agreed in 1754 to the English demand for the recall of Dupleix from India. This was to piove a big blow to the fortunes of the French Company in India, The temporary peace between the two Companies ended in 1756 when another war between England and Fiance broke out. In the very beginning of the war, the English managed to gain control over Bengal. This has been discussed in the next chapter. After this event, there was little hope for the French cause in India. The rich resources of Bengal turned the scales decisively in favour of the English. Even though the French Government made a determined attempt this time to oust the English from India and sent a strong force headed by Count de Lally, it was all in vain. The French fleet was driven off Indian waters and the French forces in the Carnatic were defeated Moreover, the English replaced the French as the Nizam‟s protectors and secured from him P/lasuIipatam and the Northern Sarkars. The decisive battle of the wai was fought at Wandiwash on 22 January 1760' when the English General Eyre Coot defeated Lally. Within a year the French had lost all their possessions in India The war ended in 1763 with the signing of ihe Treaty of Paris. The French factories m India were restored but they could no longei be fortified or even adequately garrisoned with troops. They could seive only .is centres, of trade; and now the French lived in India under British protection Their dream of Empne in Tndia was at an end. The English, on the other hand, ruled the Indian sea. Freed of all European livals. they could now set about the task of conquering India. During their struggle with the French and their Indian allies; the English learnt a few important, and valuable lessons. Firstly, that in the' absence of nationalism in the country, they could advance their political schemes by taking advantage of the mutual quarrels of the Indian ruleis. Secondly, the Western trained infantry, European or

Indian, armed with modern weapons and backed by artillery could defeat the oldstyle Indian armies with ease in pitched battles, Thirdly, it was proved that the Indian soldier trained ani armed in the European manner made as good a soldier 33 the European And since the Indian soldier too lacked a feeling of nationalism, he could he hired and employed by anyone who was willing to pay him well. The English now set out to create a powerful army consisting of Indian soldiers, called

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sepoys, and officered by Englishmen, With this army as its chief instrument and the vast rcsourccs of Indian trade and territories under its command, the English East India Company embarked on an era of wars and territorial expansion.

EXERCISES 1. Discuss the development of European trade with India from the 15th to 18th \ centuries. 2. Trace the growth of trade of the English East India Company and its influence on India from 1500 to 1744, 3. What were the factors which contributed to the Anglo-French struggle in South India? How did it lead to the subversion of Indian political power? 4. Write short notes on : (a) The Portuguese in India, (b) Trade in spices, (c) The Dutch in India, (d) Aurangzeb and the East India Company, (e) The organisation of the English East India Company‟s factories in India, (f) Dupleix, (g) The French East India Company.

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Based upon Survey of India map with the permission of the Surveyor General of India, The territorial waters of India extend into the sea to a distance of twelve nautical miles measured from the appropriate base line.

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CHAPTER IV

The British Conquest of India I. Expansion of the Empire, 1756-1818

British Occupation of Bengal HE beginnings of British political sway over India may be traced to the

T

battle of Plassey in 1757, when the English East India Company‟s forces defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal. The earlier British struggle with the French in South India had been but a dress rehearsal. The lessons learnt there were profitably applied in Bengal. Bengal was the most fertile and the richest of India‟s provinces. Its industries and commerce were well developed. As has been noted earlier, the East India Company and its servants had highly profitable trading interests in the province. The Company had secured valuable privileges in 1717 under a royal farman by the Mughal Emperor, which had granted the Company the freedom to export and import their goods in Bengal without paying taxes and the right to issue passes or dastaks for the movement of such goods. The Company‟s servants were also permitted to trade but were not covered by this farman. They were required to pay the same taxes as Indian merchants. This farman was a perpetual source of conflict between the Company and the Nawabs of Bengal. For one, it meant loss of revenue to the Bengal Government. Secondly, the power to issue dastaks for the Company‟s goods was misused by the Company‟s servants to evade taxes on their private trade. All the Nawabs of Bengal, from Murshid Quli Khan to Alivardi Khan, had objected to the English interpretation of the farman of 1717. They had compelled the Company to pay lump sums to their treasury, and firmly suppressed the misuse of dastaks. The. Company had been compelled to accept the authority of the Nawabs in the matter, but its servants had taken every opportunity to evade and defy this authority. Matters came to a head in 1756 when the young and qulck-tempct‟ed Siraj-ud-Daulah succeeded his grandfather, Alivardi Khan. He demanded of the English that they should trade on the same basis as in the times of Murshid Quli Khan. The English refused to comply as they felt ■ strong after their victory over the French in South India. They had also come to recognise the political and military weakness of Indian states Instead of agreeeing to pay taxes on their goods to the Nawab, they levied heavy duties on Indian goods entering Calcutta which was under iheir control. All this naturally annoyed and angered the

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young Nawab who also suspected that the Company was hostile to him and was favouring his rivals for the throne of Bengal The breaking point came when, without taking the Nawab‟s permission, the Company began to fortify Calcutta in expectation of the coming struggle with the French, who were stationed at this time at Chandernagore. Siraj rightly interpreted this action as an attack upon his sovereignty. How could an independent ruler permit a private company of merchants to build forts or to carry on private wars on his land? Moreover he feared that if he permitted the English and the French to fight each other on the soil of Bengal, he too would meet the fate of the Carnatic Nawabs. In other words, Siraj, was willing to let the Europeans remain, as merchant but not as masters. He ordered both the English and the French to demolish their fortifications at Calcutta and Chandernagore and to desist from fighting each other. White the French Company obeyed his order, the English Company refused to do so, for its ambition had been whetted and its confidence enhanced by its victories in the Carnatic. Tt was now determined to remain in Bengal even against the wishes of the Nawab and to trade there on its own terms. It had acknowledged the British Government‟s right to conttolall its activities, it had quietly accepted restrictions on its trade and power imposed in Britain by the British Government; its right to trade with the East had been extinguished by the Parliament m 1693 when its Charter was withdrawn; it had paid huge bribes to the King, the Parliament, and the politicians of Britain (in one year alone, it had to pay £ 80,000 in bribes). .Nevertheless the English Company demanded the absolute right to trade freely in Bengal irrespective of the Bengal Nawab's orders. This amounted to a direct ‟challenge to the Nawab‟-s sovereignty. No ruler could possibly accept this position. Siraj-ud-Daulah had the statesmanship to see the long-term implications of the English designs. He decided to make them obey the laws of the land. Acting with great .energy but with undue haste and inadequate preparation, Sirajud-Daulah sejzed the English factory at Kasimbazar, marched on to Calcutta, and occupied the> Fort William on 20 June 1756. He then retired ,from Calcutta to celebrate his easy victory, letting the English escape with their ships, This was a mistake for he had underestimated the strength of his enemy. The English officials took refuge at Fulta near the sea protected by their naval superiority. . Here they waited for aid from Madras and, in the meantime, organised a web of intrigue and treachery with the leading men of the Nawab‟s court. Chief among these were Mir.Jafar, the Mir

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Bakshi, Mawck Chand, the Officer-in-Charge of Calcutta, Amichand, a rich merchant, Jagat Seth, the biggest banker of Bengal, and Khadim Khan, who commanded a large number of the Nawab‟s troops. From Madras came a strong naval and military force under Admiral Watson and Colonel Clive. Clive reconquered Calcutta m the beginning of 1757 and compelled the Nawab to concede all the demands of the English. The English, however, were not satisfied, they were aiming high. They had decided to instal a more pliant tool in S i raj-vid-Daii! ah‟s place. Having joined a conspiracy organised by the enemies of the young Nawab to place Mu Jafar on the throne of Bengal, they presented the youthful Nawab with an impossible set of demands. Both sides realised that a war to the finish would have lo be fought between them. They met for battle on the field of Plassey, 20 miles from Murshidabad, on 23 June 1757 The fateful battle of Plassey Was a battle only in name. In all, the English lost 29 men while the Nawab lost nearly 500. The major part of the Nawab‟s army, led by the traitors Mir Jafar and Rai Durlabh, took no part in the fighting. Only a small group of the Nawab‟s soldiers led by Mil Madan and Mohan Lai fought bravely and well. The Nawab was forced to flee and was captured and put to death by Mir Jafars son Miran. The battle nf Plassey was followed, in the words of the Bengali poet Nabm Chandra Sen, by “a night of elei nal gloom for India.” The English proclaimed Mir Jafar the Nuwub of Bengal and set on I to gather the reward. The Company was granted undibpuled right 1o free trade in Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa It also received the zamindari of the 24 Parganas near Calcutta. Mir Jafar paid a sum of Rs, 17,700,000 ascom-

Soldier in Uniform—Under the Mughal . Government in Bengal Courtesy: Notional Archives

of India, New Delhi

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pensation for the attack on Calcutta to the Company and the traders of the city. In addition, be paid large sums as „gifts‟ or bribes to the high officials of the Company. Clive, for example, received over two million rupees, Watts over one million. Clive later estimated that the Company and its servants had collected more than 30million rupees from the puppet Nawab. Moreover, it was understood that British merchants and officials would no longer be asked to pay any taxes on their private trade. The battle of Plassey was of immense historical importance, it paved the way for the British mastery of Bengal and eventually of the 'whole of India. It boosted British prestige and at a single stroke raised them to the status of a major contender for the Indian Empire. The rich revenues of Bengal enabled them to organise a strong anny. Control over Bengal played a decisive role in the Anglo-French struggle. Lastly, the victory of Plassey enabled the Company and its servants to amass nntold wealth at the cost of the helpless people of Bengal. Asthe British historians, Edward Thompson and G.T. Garrett, have remarked: To engineer a revolution had been revealed as the most paying game in the world. A gold lust un~ equalled since the hysteria that took hold of the Spaniards of Cortes‟ and Pizarro's age filled the English mind. Bengal in particular was not to know peace again until it had been bleed white. Even though Mir Jafar owed his position to the Company, he soon repented the bargain he had struck. His treasury was soon emptied by the demands of the 1 Seapoy in Uniform—In the Service of East Company‟s officials for presents and bribes, the lead in the matter being given India Company‟s Government in Bengal Courtesy. National Arckives of India, New by Clive himself. As Colonel Malleson has Delhi put it, the single aim of the Company's officials was “to

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grasp all they could; to use Mir Jafar as a gloden sack into which, they could dip their hands at pleasure.” The Company itself was seized with unsurpassable greed. Believing that the kamdhemt had been found and that the wealth of Bengal was inexhaustible, the Directors of the Company ordered that Bengal should pay the expenses of the Bombay and Madras Presidencies and purchase out of its revenue all the Company‟s exports from India, The Company was 110 longer to merely trade with India, it was to use iis control over the Nawab of Bengal to drain the wealth of the province, Mir Jafar soon discovered that it was impossible to meet the full demands of the Company and its officials who, on their part, began to criticise the Nawab for his incapacity in fulfilling their expectations. And so, in October 1760, they forced him to abdicate in favour of his son- in-law, Mir Qasim who rewarded his benefactois by granting the Company the xammdari of the districts of Burdwan, Midnapore, and Chittagong, and giving handsome presents totalling 29 lakhs of rupees to the high English officials. Mir Qasim, however, belied English hopes, and soon emerged as a threat to their position and designs in Bengal. He was an able, efficient, and strong ruler, determined to free himself from foreign control, He believed thit since he had paid the Company and its servants adequately for putting him on the throne, they should now leave him alone to govern riengal. He realised that a full treasury and an efficient army were essential to maintain his independence. He therefore tried to prevent public disorder, to increase his income by removing corruption from revenue administration, and to raise a modern and disciplined army along European lines. All this was not to the liking of the English. Most of all they disliked the Nawab‟s attempts to check the misuse of the farman of 1717 by the Company‟s servants, who demanded that their goods whether destined for export or for internal use should be free of duties. This injured the Indian merchants as they had to pay taxes from which the foreigners got complete exemption. Moreover, the Company‟s servants illegally sold the dastaks or free passes to friendly Indian merchants who were thereby able to evade the internal customs duties. These abuses ruined the honest Indian traders through unfair competition and deprived the Nawab of a very important source of revenue, In addition to this, the Company and its servants got intoxicated by „their new-found power‟ and 'the dazzling prospects of wealth‟and, in their pursuit of riches, began to oppress and ill-treat the officials of the Nawab and, the poor people pf Bengal. They forced the Indian officials and zamindars to give them presents and bribes. They compelled the Indian artisans, peasants, and merchants to sell their goods cheap and to buy dear from them. People who refused were often flogged or imprisoned. These years have been described by a

recent British historian, Pcrcival Spear, as “the period of open and unashamed plunder.” In fact the prosperity for which Bengal was renowned was being gradually destroyed. Mir Qasim realised that if these abuses continued he could never hope to make Bengal strong or free himself of the Company‟s control. He therefore took tbe drastic step of abolishing all duties on internal trade, thus giving his own subjects a

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concession that the English had seized by force. But the alien merchants were no longer willing Lo tolerate equality between themselves and Indians. They demanded the reimposition of duties on Indian traders. The battle was about to be j'oined again. The truth of the matter was that there could not exist two masters in Bengal. While Mir Qasim believed that he was an independent ruler, the English demanded that he should act as a mere tool in their hands, for had they not put him in power? Mir Qasim was defeated in a series of battles in 1763 and fled to Avadh where he formed an alliance with Shuja-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Avadh, and Shah Alam II, the fugitive Mughal Emperor. The three allies clashed with the Company‟s army at Buxar on 22 October 1764 and were thoroughly defeated. This was one of the most decisive battles of Indian history for it demonstrated the superiority of English arms over the combined army of two of the major Indian powers. It firmly established the British as masters of Bengal, Biliar and Orissa and placed Avadh at their mercy. Clive, who had returned to Bengal in 1765 as its Governor, decided to seize the chance of power in Bengal and to gradually transfer the authority of Government from the Nawab to the Company. In 1763, the British had restored Mir Jafar as Nawab and collected huge sums for the Company and its high officials. On Mir Jafar‟s death, they placed his second sort Nizam-ud-Daulah on the throne and as a reward made him sign a new treaty on 20 February 1765. By this treaty the Nawab was to disband most of his army and to administer Bengal through a Deputy Subaii- dar who was to be nominated by the Company and who could not be dismissed without its approval. The Company thus gained supreme control over the administration (or nizamat) of Bengal. The members of the Bengal Council of the Company once again extracted nearly 15 lakhs of rupees from ihe new Nawab Froni Shah Alam II, who was stilLthe titular head of the Mughal Empire, the Company secured the Diwani, or the right to collect revenue, of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. Thus, its control over Bengal was legalised and the revenues of this most prosperous of Indian provinces placed at its command. In return the Comiv.n;. gave him a subsidy of 2 6 million rupees and secured i'nr him (lie dviics of Kora and Allahabad. The Emperor resided in ihc foil of Ulahabad foi as never„seen or heard of in any country but Bengal, nor such and so . many foFfuneaacquired jn so unjust and rapacious a mannei. The three provinces of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa, producing a clear revenue of £ 3 millions sterling, have been under the absolute management of the Company‟s servants, ever since Mir Jafar‟i restoration to the subahship', and they have, both civil and military, exacted and levied contribution* 1 from every wan of power and consequence, from the Nawab down to the lowest zamindar.

The Company‟s authorities on thei r part set out to gather the rich harvest and drain Bengal of its wealth. They stopped sending money from England to purchase Indian goods. Instead, they purchased these goods from the revenues of Bengal and sold them abroad. These were knowu as the Company‟s Investment and formed a part of its profits. On top of all this the British Government wanted its share of the rich prize and, in 1767, ordered the Company to pay it £ 400,000 per year. In the years 1766, 1767, and 1768 alone, nearly £ 5.7 million were drained from Bengal. The abuses of the Dual Government and the drain of wealth led to the impoverishment and exhaustion of that unlucky province. In 1770, Bengal suffered from a famine which in its effects proved one of the most terrible famines known in human history. People died in lakhs and nearly one-third of Bengal‟s population fell victim to its ravages. Though the famine was due to failure of rains, its effects were heightened by the Company‟s policies. Wars Under Warren Hastings (1772-1785) and Cornwallis (1786-1793) The East India Company had by 1772 become an important Indian power and its Directors in England and its officials in India set out to consolidate their control over Bengal before beginning a new round of conquests. However,

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their habit of interfering in the internal affairs of the Indian States and their lust for territory and money soon involved them in a series of wars. In 1766 they entered into an alliance with the Nizam of Hyderabad to help him in attacking Haidar Ali of Mysore in return for the cession of the Northern Sarkars. But Haidar Ali was more than a match for the Company‟s armies. Having beaten back the British attack, he threatened Madras in 1769 and forced the Madras Council to sign peace on liis terms. Both sides restored each other‟s conquests and promised mutual help in case of attack by a third parly. But when Haidar Ali was attacked by the Marathas in 1771, the English went back on their promise and did not come to his help. This led Haidar Ah to distrust and dislike them. Then, in 1775, the'English plashed with the Marathas. An intense struggle for power was taking place at that time among the Marathas between the supporters of the infant Peshwa Madhav Rao II, led by Nana Phadnis, and Raghunath Rao. The British officials in Bombay decided to take advantage of this struggle by intervening on behalf of Raghunath Rao. They hoped thus to'repeat the exploits of tfyeir countrymen in Madras and Bengal and reap the consequent monetary advantages. This involved them ini a long war with the Marathas which lasted from 1775 to 1782,

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Nana Phadnia (From a Portrait in Jagmohan Temple, Mysore)

Courtfjy: Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi

In the beginning, tbe Marathas defeated the British forces at Talegaon and forced them to sign the Convention of Wadgaon by which the English renounced all their conquests and gave up the cause of Raghunath Rao. But the war was toon resumed: This was a dark hour indeed for the British power in India, All the Maratha chiefs were united behind the, Peshwa and his chief minister, Nana Phadnis. The Southern Indian powers had long been resenting the presence of the British among them, and Haidar Ah and the Nizam chose this moment to declare war against the Company.

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Thus the British were faced with the powerful combination of the Marathas, Mysore and Hyderabad. Moreover, abroad they were waging a losing war in their colonies in America where the people had rebelled in 1776. They had also to counter the determined design of -the French to exploit the difficulties of their old rival. 'The British in India were, however, led at this time by their brilliant, energetic, and experienced Govern or-General, Warren Hastings. Acting with firm resolve and determination, he retrieved the vanishing British power and prestige. A British force under Goddard marched across; Central India in a brilliant military manoeuvre and after a series of victorious engagements reached Ahmedabad which he captured in 1780. The English had found in the Marathas a determined enemy, with immense resources. Mahadji Sindhia had given evidence of- his power which the English dreaded to contest. Neither side won victory and the war had come to a standstill. With the intercession of Mahadji, peace was concluded in 1782 by the Treaty of Salbai by which the status quo was maintained It saved the British from the combined opposition of Indian poweis. This war, known in history as the First Anglo-Maratha War, did not end in victory for either side. But it did give the British 20 years of peace with the Marathas, the strongest Indian power of the day. The British utilized this period to consolidate their rule over the Bengal Presidency, while the Maratha chiefs frittered away their energy in bitter mutual squabbles. Moreover, the Treaty of Salbai enabled the British to exert pressure on Mysore as the Marathas promised to help them in recovering their territories from Haidar All. Once again, the British had succeeded m dividing the Indian powers. War with Haidar Ali- had started in 1780- Repeating his earlier exploits, Haidar Ali inflicted one defeat after another on the British armies in the Cariiatic and forced them to surrender in larger numbers. He soon occupied almost the whole of the Carnatic. But once again British arms and diplomacy saved the day. Warren Hastings bribed the Nizam with the cession of Gnntur district and gained his withdiawal from the anti-British alliance. During 1781-82 he made peace with the.Marathas and thus freed a large part of his army for use against Mysore. In July 1781 the British army under Eyre Coote defeated Haidar Ali at Porto Novo and saved Madras. After Haidar All‟s death in December 1782, the war was carried on by his son, Tipu Sultan. Since neither side was capable

of overpowering the other, peace was signed by them in March 1784 and both sides restored all conquests. Thus, though the British had been shown to be too weak to defeat either the Marathas or Mysore, they had certainly proved their ability to hold their own in India. Not only had they been saved from extinction m the South, they had emerged from their recent wars as one of the three great powers in India. The third British encounter with Mysore was more fruitful from the British point of view. The peace of 1784 bad not removed the grounds for struggle between ■ Tipu and the British; it had merely postponed the struggle. The authorities of the East India Company were acutely hostile to Tipu. They looked Upon him as their most formidable rival in the South and as the chief obstacle

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standing between them and complete domination over South India. Tipu, on his part, thoroughly disliked the English, saw them as the chief danger to his own independence and nursed the ambition to expel them from India. War between the two again began in 1789 and ended in Tipu‟s defeat in 1792. Even though Tipu fought with exemplary bravery, Lord Cornwallis, the then Governor-General, had succeeded through shrewd diplomacy in isolating him by winning oyer the Marathas, the Nizam, and the rulers of Travancore and Coorg. This war again revealed that the Indian powers were shortsighted enough to aid the foreigner against another Indian power for the sake of temporary advantages. By the treaty of Seringa- patam, Tipu ceded half of his territories to the qllies and paid 330 lakhs of rupees as indemnity. The Third Anglo-Mysore war destroyed Tipu‟s dominant position in the South and firmly established British supremacy there. Expansion under Lord Wellesley (1798-1805) The next large-scale expansion of British rule in India occurred during the GovernorTGeneraJship of Lord Wellesley who came to India in 1798 at a time when the British were locked in a life and death struggle with France all over the world. Till then, the British had followed the policy of consolidating their gains and resources in India and making territorial gains only when this could be done safely without antagonising the major Indian powers. Lord Wellesley decided that the time was ripe for bringing as many Indian states 4S possible under British control, By 1797 the two strongest Indian powers, Mysore and the Marathas, had declined in power, The Third Anglo-Mysore war had reduoed Mysore to a mere shadow'of its recent greatness and the Marathas were dissipating their strength in mutual intrigues and wars. In other words, political conditions in India were propitious for a policy of expansion: aggression was easy as well as profitable. Moreover, the trading and industrial classes of Britain desired

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further expansion in India- Hitherto they had favoured a policy of peace in the belief that war was injurious to trade. But by the end of the 18th century they had come to think that British goods would sell in India on a large scale only when the entire country had come under British control. The Company too was in favour of such a policy provided it could be pursued successfully and without adversely affecting its profits, Lastly, the British in India were determined to keep French influence from penetrating India and, therefore, to curb and crush any Indian state which might try to have dealings with France. The security of the Company‟s dominion in India was threatened by the impending invasion of Zaman Shah, the ruler of Kabul, who could expect support from the Indian chiefs in northern India and who was invited by Tipu to join in a concerted effort to oust the British from this country. To achieve his political aims Wellesley relied on three methods: the system of Subsidiary Alliances, outright wars, and assumption of the territories of previously' subordinated rulers. While the practice of helping an Indian ruler with a paid British force was quite old, it was given a definite shape by Wellesley who used it to subordinate the Indian States to the paramount authority of the Company. Under his Subsidiary Alliance system, the ruler of the allying Indian State was compelled to accept the permanent stationing of a British force within his territory and to pay a subsidy for its maintenance. All this was done allegedly for his protection but was, in fact, a form through which the Indian ruler paid tribute to the Company, Sometimes the ruler ceded part of his territory instead of paying annual subsidy. The Subsidiary Treaty also usually provided that the Indian ruler would agree to the posting at his court of a British Resident, that he would not employ any European in his service without the approval of the British, and that he would sot negotiate with any other Indian ruler without consulting the Governor-General. In return the British undertook to defend the ruler from his enemies. They also promised non-interference in the internal affairs of the allied state, but this was a promise they seldom kept. In reality, by signing a Subsidiary Alliance, an Indian state virtually signed away its independence. It lost the right of self-defence, of maintaining diplomatic relations, of employing foreign experts, and of settling its disputes with its neighbours. In fact, the Indian ruler lost all vestiges of sovereignty in external matters and became increasingly subservient to the British Resident who interfered in the day to day administration of the state. In addition, the system tended to bring about the internal decay of the protected state. The cost of the subsidiary force provided by the British was very high and, in fact, much beyond the paying capacity of the state. The payment of the arbitrarily fixed and artificially bloated subsidy invariably disrupted the economy of the state and impoverished its people. The system of Subsidiary Alliances also led to the

disbandment of the armies of the protected states. Lakhs of soldiers and officers were deprived of their hereditary livelihood, spreading misery and degradation in the country. Many of them joined the roaming bands of Pindarees which

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Phtdaree Fort in the Neighbourhood of Varanasi Courtesy; National Archives of India, Ne*'Delhi were to ravage the whole of Tndia during the first two decades of the 19th century. Moreover, the rulers of tlie protected states tended to neglect the interests of their people and to oppress them as they no longer feared them. They had no incentive to be good rulers as they were fully pro- tected by the British from domestic and foreign enemies. The Subsidiary Alliance system was, on the other hand, extremely advantageous to the British. They c6uld now maintain a large army at the cost of the Indian states. They were enabled to fight Wars far away from their own territories, since any war would occur In the territories either of the British ally or of the British enemy. They controlled the defence and foreign relations of the protected ally, and had a powerM force stationed at the very heart of his lands, and could, therefore, at a time of their choosing, overthrow him and annex his territories by declaring him to be „inefficient‟. As far as the British were concerned, the system of Subsidiary Alliances was* in the words of a British writer, “a system of fattening allies as we fatten oxen, till they were worthy of being devoured.” Lord Wellesley signed his first Subsidiary Treaty with the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1798. The Nizam was to dismiss his French-trained troops and to maintain a subsidiary force of six battalions at a cost of •£ 24Ij7I0 per year In return, the British guaranteed his state against Maratha encroachments. By another treaty in 1800,the subsidiary force was increased and, in lieu of cash payment, the Nizam ceded part of his territories to the Company, The Nawab of Avadh was forced to sign a Subsidiary Treaty in 1801. In return for a larger subsidiary force, the Nawab was made to surrender to the British nearly half of his kingdom consisting of Rohilkhand and the territory lying

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between the Ganga and the Jamuna. Moreover, the Nawab was no longer lo be independent, even within the part of Avadh left with him. He must accept any „advice‟ or order from the British authorities regarding the internal administration of his state. His police was to be reorganised under the control and direction of British officers. His own army was virtually disbanded and the British had the right to station their troops in any part of his state. Wellesley dealt with Mysore, Carnatic, Tanjore, and Surat even more sternly. Tipu of Mysore would, of course, never agree to a Subsidiary Treaty. On the contrary, he had never reconciled himself to the loss of half of his territory in 1792. He worked incessantly to strengthen his forces for the inevitable struggle with the British He entered into negotiations for an alliance with Revolutionary France. He sent missions 'to Afghanistan, Arabia and Turkey to forge an antiBritish alliance. Lord Wellesley was no less determined to bring Tipu to heel and to prevent any possibility of the French re-entering India. The British army attacked and defeated Tipu in a brief but fierce war m 1799, before French help could reach him. Tipu still refused to beg for peace on humiliating terms. He proudly declared that it was “better to die like a soldier, than to live a miserable dependent on the infidels, in the list of their pensioned, rajas and nabobs.” He met a hero‟s end on 4 May 1799 while defending his capital Seringapatam. His army remained loyal to him to the very end. The taking over of the capital was described by Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, in the following words;

Nothing therefore can have exceeded what was done on the night of the 4th. Scarcely a house in the town was left unplundered, and I understand that in camp jewels of the greatest value, bars of gold, etc., etc., have been offered for sale in the bazars of the army fey our soldiers?, sepoys, and followers... They (the people) are returning to their houses and beginning again to follow their occupations. , but the properly of every one is gone.

Nearly half of Tipu!s dominions were divided between the British and their ally, the Nizam- The, reduced kingdom of Mysore was restored to the decendants pf the original rajas from whom Haidar Ali had seized

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The Storming of Sermgapatam Courtesy. Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi

power. A special treaty of Subsidiary Alliance was imposed on. the new Raja by which the Governor-General was authorised to take over the administration of the state in case of necessity. Mysore was, in fact, made a complete dependency of the Company. An important result of the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War was the complete elimination of the French threat to British Supremacy in India. In 1801, Lord Wellesley forced a new treaty upon the puppet Nawab of Carnatic compelling him to cede his,kingdom to the Company in return for a handsome pension. . The Madras Presidency as it existed til1,1947 was now oreated, by attaching the Carnatic to territories seized from Mysore, including the Malabar. Similarly, the territories of the rulers of Tanjore and Sutat were taken over and their rulers pensioned off. The Marathas were the only major Indian power left .outside the sphere of British control. Wellesley now turned his attention towards them and began aggressive interference in their internal affairs. The Maratbft Empire at this time consisted of a confederacy af five big ichiefs, nftmely, the Peshwa at Poona, the Gaekwad at Barodat the Sindhia at Gwalior, the Holkar at Indore, and the Bhonsle at Nagpur, the Peshwa being the. nominal head of the confederacy. Unfortunately for the Marathas, they lost nearly all of their wise and experienced leaders towards the close of the 18th century. Mahadji Sindhia, Tukoji Holkar, Ahilya Bai Holkar, Peshwa Madhav Rao I[, and Nana Phadnis, the man who had kept tbe Maratha confederacy together for the last 30 years, all were dead by the year 1800. What was worse, the Maratha chiefs were engaged in bitter fratricidal strife, blind to the real daoger from the rapidly advancing foreigner. Yeshwant Rao Holkar on one side and Dan la t Rao Sindhia and Peshwa Baji Rao II on the other wer^ locked in mortal combat, Wellesley had repeatedly offered a subsidiary alliance to the Peshwa and

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Sindhia. But the far-sighted Nana Phadnis had refused to fall into the trap. However, when on 25 October 1802, the day of the great festival of Diwali, Holkar defeated the combined armies of the Peshwa and Sindhia, the cowardly Peshwa Baji Rao II rushed into the arms of the English and on the fateful last day of 1802 signed the Subsidiary Treaty at Bassein. The British had finally realised their ambition. Lord Wellesley wrote on 24 December 1802: This crisis of affairs appeared to me to afford the most favourable opportunity for the complete establishment of the interests of the British pow er in the Maratha Empire, without the hazard ofinvolvmg us in a contest with any party.

The victory had been a little too easy and Wellesley was wrong in one respect: the proud Maratha chiefs would not surrender their great tradition of independence without a struggle. But even in this moment of their peril they would not unite against their common enemy. When Sindhia and Bhonsle fought the British, Holkar stood on the side-lines and Gaekwad gave help to the British. When Holkar took up arms, Bhonsle and Sindhia nursed their wounds. Moreover, the Maratha chiefs underestimated the enormously increased strength of the enemy and went into battle without adequate- preparation. In the South, the British armies led by Arthur Wellesley defeated the combined armies of Sindhia and Bhonsle at Assaye in September 1803 and at Argaon in November. In the North, Lord Lake routed Sindhia‟s army at Laswari on the first of November and occupied Aligarh, Delhi and Agra. Once again the blind Emperor of India became a pensioner of the Company. The Maratha allies had to sue for peace, Both became subsidiary allies of the Company. They ceded part of their territories to the British, admitted British Residents to their Courts and promised not to employ any Europeans without British approval. The British gained complete control over the Orissa coast and the territories between the Ganga and the Jamuna. The Peshwa became a disgruntled puppet in their hands, Wellesley now turned his attention towards Holkar, but Yeshwant Rao Holkar proved more than a match for the British. Using traditional Maratha tactics of mobile warfare and in alliance with the Jats, he fought British armies to a standstill, Holkar‟s ally, the Raja of Bharatpur, inflicted heavy losses on Lake who unsuccessfully attempted to storm his fort. Moreover, overcoming his age-old antagonism to the Holkar family, Sindhia began to think of joining hands with Holkar. On the other hand, the shareholders of the East India Company discovered that the policy of expansion through war was proving costly and was reducing their profits. The Company‟s debt had increased .from £ 17 million in 1797 to £ 31 million in 1806. Moreover, Britain‟s finances were getting exhausted at a time when Napoleon was once again becoming a major threat in Europe. British statesmen and the Directors of the Company felt that time had come to check further expansion, to put an end to ruinous expenditure, and to digest and consolidate Britain‟s recent gains in India. Wellesley was therefore recalled from India and the Company made peace with Holkar in January 1806 by the Treaty of Rajghat giving back to the latter the greater part of his territories. Wellesley‟s expansionist policy had been checked near the end. Ml the same

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it had resulted in the East India Company becoming the pa 'a- mount power in India. A young officer in the Company‟s judicial servicj, Henry Roberclaw, could write about 1805: An Englishman in India is proud and tenacious, he feels himself & eojlqucror amongst a vanquished people and looks down with some degree of superiority on all below him.

Expansion Under Lord Hastings The Second Angio-Maratha War had shattered the power of the Maratha chiefs but not their spirit. The loss of their freedom rankled in llieir hearts. They made a desperate last attempt to regain their independence and old prestige in 1817. The lead in organising a united front of the Maratha chiefs was taken by the Peshwa who was smarting under the rigid control exercised by the British Resident. However, once again the Marathas failed to evolve a concerted and well-thought out plan of action. The Peshwa attacked the British Residency at Poona in November 1817. Appa Sahib of Nagpur attacked the Residency at Nagpur, and Madhav Rao Holkar made preparations for war. The Governor-General, Lord Hastings, struck back with characteristic vigour. He compelled Sindhia to accept British suzerainty, and defeated the armies of the Peshwa, Bhonsle and Holkar. The Peshwa was dethroned and pensioned off at Bithur near Kanpur. His territories were annexed and the enlarged Presidency of Bombay brought into existence. Holkar and Bhonsle accepted subsidiary forces. All the Maratha chiefs had to cede to the Company large tracts of their territories. To satisfy Maratha pride, the small Kingdom of Satara was founded out of the Peshwa‟s lands and giver, to the descendant of Chatrapati Shivaji who ruled it as a complete dependent of the British. Like other rulers of Indian

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© Government of India Copyright 1982 Based upon Survey of India map with the permission of (he Surveyor General of India,

The territorial waters of India extend into the sea to fi distance oftwelvo nautical miles measured from the appropriate bnsc line.

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states, the Maratha chiefs too existed from now on at the mercy of the British power. The Rajputana states had been dominated for several decades by Sindhia and Holkar. After the downfall of the Marathas, they lacked the energy to reassert their independence and readily accepted British supremacy. • Thus, by 1818, the entire Indian sub-continent excepting the Punjab and Sindh had been brought under British control. Part of it was ruled directly by the British and the rest by a host of Indian rulers over whem the British exercised paramount power. These states had virtually no armed forces of their own, nor did they have any independent foreign relations. They paid heavily for the British forces stationed in their territories to control them. They were autonomous in their internal affairs, but even in this respect they acknowledged British authority wielded through a Resident. They were on perpetual probation. On the other hand, the British were now free to „reach out to the natural frontiers of India.‟ ii The Consolidation op British Power, 1815-57 The British completed the task of conquering the whole of India from 1818 to 1857. Sindb and the Punjab were conquered and Avadh, the Central Provinces and a large number oF other petty states were annexed. The Conquest of Sindh The conquest of Sindh occurred as a result of the growing Anglc- Russian rivalry in Europe and Asia and the consequent British fears that Russia might attack India through Afghanistan or Persia. To counter Russia, the British Government decided to increase its influence in Afghanistan and Peisia. It further felt that this policy could be successfully pursued only if Sindh was brought under British control. The commercial possibilities of the river Sindh were an additional attraction. The roads and rivers of Sindh were opened to British trade by a treaty in 1832. The chiefs of Sindh, known as Amirs, were made to sign a Subsidiary Treaty in 1839. And finally, in spite of previous assurances that its territorial integrity would be respected, Sindh was annexed in 1843 after a brief campaign by Sir Charles Napier who had earlier written in his Diary: “We have no right to seize Sind, yet we shall do so, and a very advantageous, useful humane piece of rescahty it will be.” He received seven lakhs of rupees as prize money for accomplishing the task. Tbe Conquest of the Punjab The death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in June 1.839 was followed by political instability and rapid changes of government in the Punjab. Selfish and corrupt leaders came to the front. Ultimately, power fell into the hands of the brave and patriotic but utterly indisciplined army. This led the British to look greedily across the Sutlej upon the land of the five rivets even though they had signed a treaty of perpetual friendship with Ranjit Singh in 1809. The British officials increasingly talked of having to wage a campaign in the Punjab. The Punjab army let itself be provoked by the warlike actions of the British

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and their intrigues with the corrupt chiefs of the Punjab. In November 1844, Major Broadfoot, who was known to be hostile to the Sikhs, was appointed the British agent in Ludhiana. Broadfoot repeatedly indulged in hostile actions and gave provocations. The corrupt chiefs and officials found that the army would sooner or later deprive them of their power, position, and possessions. They conceived the idea of saving themselves by embroiling the army in a war with the British. In the autumn of 1845, news reached that boats designed to form bridges had been despatched from Bombay to Ferozepur on the Sutlej. Barracks for additional troops were built in the forward area and additional regiments began to be despatched to the frontier with the Punjab. The Punjab Army, now convinced that the British were determined to occupy the Punjab, took counter measures. When it heard in December that Lord Gough, the Commander-in-Chief, and Lord Haidinge, the Governor- General, were marching towards Ferozepur, it decided to strike. War between the two was thus declared on 13 December 1845. The danger from the foieigner immediately united the Hindus, the Muslims, and the Sikhs. The Punjab army fought heroically and with exemplary courage. But some of its leaders had already turned traitors. The Prime Minister, Raja Lai Singh, and the Commander-in-Chief, Misar Tej Singh, were secretly corresponding with the enemy. The Punjab Army was forced to concede defeat and to sign the humiliating Treaty of Lahore on 8 March 1846. The British annexed the Jullundhar Doab and handed over Jammu and Kashmir to Raja Gulab Singh Dogra for a cash payment of five million rupees. The Punjab army was reduced to 20,000 infantry and 12,0 cavalry and a strong British force was stationed at Lahore. Later, on 16 December 1846, another treaty was signed giving the British Resident at Lahore full authority over all matters in every department of the state. Moreover, the British were permitted to station their troops in any part of the state, From now on the British Resident became the real ruler of the Punjab which lost its independence and became a vassal state. But the aggressively imperialist sections of the British officialdom in India were still unsatisfied, for they wanted to impose direct British rule over the Punjab. Their opportunity came in 1848 when the freedom- loving Punjabis rose up in numerous local revolts. Two of the prominent le volts were led by Mulraj at Multan and Chatter Singh Attanwala near Lahore. The Punjabis were once again decisively defeated. Lord Dalhousie seized this opportunity to annex the Punjab. Thus, the last independent state of India was absorbed in the British Empire of India. Dalhousie and the Policy of Annexation (1848-1856) Lord Dalhousie came out to India as the Governor-General in 1848, He was from the beginning determined to extend direct British rule over as'large an area as possible. He had declared that “the extinction of all i native states of India is just a question of time”. The ostensible reason for this policy was his belief that British administration was far superior to the corrupt and oppressive

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administration of the native rulers. However, the underlying motive of this policy was the expansion of British exports to India. Dalhousie, in common with other aggressive imperialists, believed that British exports to the native states of India were suffering because of the maladministration of these states by their Indian rulers, Moreover, they thought that their “Indian allies” had already served the purpose of facilitating British conquest of India and could now be got rid of profitably. The chief instrument through which Lord Dalhousie implemented his policy of annexation was the Doctrine of Lapse. Under this Doctrine, when the ruler of a protected state died without a natural heir, his state was not to pass to an adopted heir as sanctioned by the age-old tradition of the country. Instead, it was to be annexed to the British dominions unless the adoption had been clearly approved earlier by the British authorities. Many states, including Sataia in 1848 and Nagpur and Jhansi in 1854, were annexed by applying this doctrine. Dalhousie also refused to recognise the titles of many ex-rulers or to pay their pensions. Thus, the titles of the Nawabs of Carnatic and of Surat and the Raja of Tanjore were extinguished. Similarly, after the death of the ex-Peshwa Baji Rao II, who had been made the Raja of Bithnr, Dalhousie refused to extend his pay or pension to his adopted son, Nana Saheb. Lord Dalhousie was keen on annexing the kingdom of Avadh. But the task presented certain difficulties. For one, the Nawabs of Avadh had been British allies since the Battle of Buxar, Moreover, they had been most obedient to the British over the years. The Nawab of Avadh had many heirs and could not therefore be covered by the Doctrine of Lapse. Some other pretext had to be found for depriving him of his dominions. Finally, Lord Dalhousie hit upon the idea of alleviating the plight of the people of Avadh. Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was accused of having misgoverned his state and of refusing to introduce reforms. His state was therefore annexed in 1856. Undoubtedly, the degeneration of the administration of Avadh was a painful reality for its people. The Nawabs of Avadh, like other princes of the day, were selfish rulers absorbed ia self-indulgence who cared little for good administration or for the welfare of the people. But the responsibility for this state of affairs was in part that of the British who had at least since 1801 controlled and indirectly governed Avadh. In reality, it was the immense potential of Avadh as a market for Manchester goods which excited Dalhousie‟s greed and aroused his „philanthropic‟ feelings. And for similar reasons, to satisfy Britain‟s growing demand for raw cotton, Dalhousie took away the cotton-producing province of Berav from the Nizam in 1853. It needs to be clearly understood that the question of the maintenance or annexation of the natives states was of no great lelevance at this time. In fact, there were no Indian States in existence at that time, The protected native states were as much a part of the British Empiie as the territories ruled directly by the Company. If the form of British control over some of these states was changed, it was to suit British convenience. The interests of their people had httle to do with

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EXERCISES 1. What were the causes of the war between the East India Company and Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah? 2. How was the Battle of Plassey fought? What were its consequences? 3. Discuss the clash between Mir Qasim and the East India Company. 4. Trace the course of British wars with Mysore. 5. Discuss the underlying factors and forces of Wellesley‟s policy of expansion. What were the basic methods he used to achieve his aims? 6. How did the British overpower the Maratha Confederacy9 7. Examine the policy of conquest and annexations followed by Dalhousie. 8. Write short notes on: (a) Mir Jafar, (b) Clive, (c) The Dual Government of Bengal, (d) Annexation of Sindh, (e) Annexation of Avadh.

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© Government of India Copyright 1982 Based upon Survey of India map with the permission of the Surveyor General dr India. The territorial waters oflndia extend into the sea to a. distance oftwelvt nautical miles measured from the appropriate base line.

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CHAPTER V

The Structure of the Government and the Economic Policies of the British Empire in India, 1757-1857

H

AVING acquired the vast empire of India, the East India Company had to devise suitable methods of government to control and administer it. The administrative policy of the Company underwent frequeni changes during the long period between 1757 and 1857. However, it never lost sight of its main objects which were to increase the Company‟s profits, to enhance the profitability of its Indian possessions to Britain, and to maintain and strengthen the British hold over India; all other purposes were subordinated to these aims. The administrative machinery of the Government of India was designed and developed to serve these ends. The main emphasis in this respect was placed on the maintenance oflaw and order so that trade with India and exploitation of its resources could be carried out without disturbance. The Structure of Government When the officials of the East India Company acquired control over Bengal in 1765, they had little intention of making any innovations in its administration. They only desired to carry on their profitable trade and to collect taxes for remission to England, From 1765 to 1772, in the period of the Dual Government, Indian officials were allowed to function as before but under the over-all control of the British Governor and British officials. The Indian officials had responsibility but no power while the Company‟s officials had power but no responsibility. Both sets of officials were venal and corrupt men. In 1772 the Company ended the Dual Government and undertook to administer Bengal directly through its own servants. But the evils inherent in the administration of a country by a purely commercial company soon came to the surface. The East India Company was at this time a commercial body designed to trade with the East. Moreover, its higher authority was situated in England, many thousands of miles away from India. Yet, it had come to wield political power over millions of people. This anomalous state of affairs posed many problems for the British Government. What was to be the relation of the East India Company and its possessions to the government in Britain? How were the Company's

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authorities in Britain to control the great multitude of officials and soldiers stationed in far away India? How was a single centre of control to be provided in India over the far-flung British possessions in Bengal, Madras and Bombay. The first of these problems was the most pressing as welt as the most important. It was, moreover, closely interwoven with party and parliamentary rivalries in Britain, the political ambitions of English statesmen, and the commercial greed of English merchants. The rich resources of Bengal had fallen into the hands of the Company whose proprietors immediately raised dividends to 10 per cent in 1767 and proposed in 1771 to raise the rate further to 12£ per cent. The Company‟s English servants took advantage of their position to make quick fortunes through illegal and unequal trade and forcible collection of bribes and „gifts' from Indian chiefs and zamindars. Clive returned to England at the age of 34 with wealth and property yielding £ 40,000 a year. The Company's high dividends and the fabulous wealth brought home by its officials excited the jealousy of the other sections of British society. Merchants kept out of the East by the monopoly of the Company, the growing class of manufacturers and, in general, the rising forces of free enterprise in Britain wanted to share in the profitable Indian trade and the riches of India which the Company and its servants alone were enjoying. They, therefore, worked hard to destroy the Company‟s trade monopoly and, in order to achieve this, they attacked the Company^ administration of Bengal. They also made the officials of the Company who returned from India their special target. These officials were given the derisive title of „nabobs' sod were ridiculed in the press and on the stage. They were boycotted by the aristocracy and were condemned as the exploiters and oppressors of the Indian people. Their two main targets were Clive and Warren Hastings. By condemning the „nabobs‟, the opponents of the Compafiy hoped to make the Company unpopular and then to displace it. Many ministers and other members of Parliament were keen to benefit from the acquisition of Bengal. They sought to win popular support by forcing the Company to pay tribute to the British Government so that Indian revenu.s could be used to reduce taxation or the public debt of England. In 767 the Parliament passed an act obliging the Company to pay to the British treasury £ 400,000 per year. Many political thinken and statesmen of Britain wanted to control the activities of the Company and its officials because they were afraid that the powerful Company and its rich officials wouij completely debauch the English nation and

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its politics. The parliamentary politics of Britain during the latter half of the 18th century were corrupt in the extreme. The Company as well as its retired officials bought seats in the House of Commons for their agents.‟ Many English statesmen were worried that the Company and itB officials, backed by Indian plunder, might gam a preponderant influence in the Government of Britain. The Company and its vast empire in India had to be controlled or the Company as master of India would soon come to control British administration and be in a position to destroy the liberties of the British people. The exclusive privileges of the Company were also attacked by the rising school of economists representing free-trade manufacturing capitalism. In his celebrated work, The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, the founder of Classical economics, condemned the exclusive companies: Such exclusive companies, therefore, are nuisances in many respect; always more or less inconvenient to the countries in which they are established and destinedve to those which have the misfortune to fall under their government.

Thus, reorganisation of the relations between the British state and the Company‟s authorities became necessary and the occasion arose when the Company had to ask the Government for a loan of £ 1,000,000. But, while the Company‟s enemies were many and powerful, it was not without powerful friends in Parliament; moreover, the King, George III, was its patron. The Company, therefore, fought back. In the end, Parliament worked out a compromise by which the interests of the Company and of the various influential sections of British society were delicately balanced. It was decided that the British Government would control the basic policies of the Company‟s Indian administration so that British rule in India waa carried on in the interests of the British upper classes as a whole. At the same time the Company would retain its monopoly of Eastern trade and the valuable right of appointing its officials in India. The details of Indian administration were also left to the Directors of the Company. The first important parliamentary act regarding the Company's affairs was the Regulating Act of 1773. This Act made changes in the constitution of the Court of Directors of the Company and subjected their actions to the supervision of the British Government. The Directors were to lay before the Ministry all correspondence dealing with the civil and military affairs and the revenues of India. In India, the Government of Bengal was to be carried on by a Governor-General and his Council who were given the power to superintend and control the Bombay and Madras Presidencies in matters of war and peace.- The Act also provided for the establish-, mcnt of a Supreme Court of Justice at Calcutta to administer justioe to Europeans, their employees, and the citizens of Calcutta. The Regulating Act soon broke down in practice. It had not given the British Government effective and decisive control over the Company. In India it had placed the Governor-General at the mercy of his Council. Three of the Councillors could combine and outvote the Governor-General on any matter. In practice,

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Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General under the Act, and three of his Councillors quarrelled incessantly, often creating deadlocks in the administration. The Governor-General‟s control over the other two Presidencies also proved inadequate in practice. Most important of all, the Act had failed to resolve the conflict between the Company and its opponents in England who were daily growing stronger and more vocal. Moreover, the Company remained extremely vulnerable to the attacks of its enemies as the administration of its Indian possessions continued to be corrupt, oppressive, and economically disastrous. The defects of the Regelating Act and the exigencies of British politics necessitated the passing in 1784 of another important act known as Pitt‟s India Act. This Act gave the British Government supreme control over the Company‟s affairs and its administration in India. It established six Commissioners for the affairs of India, popularly known as the Board of Control, including two Cabinet Ministers. The Board of Control was to guide and control the work of the Court of Directors and the Government of India. In important and urgent matters it had the power to send direct orders to India through a secret committee of Directors. The Act placed the Government of India in the hands of the Governor- General and a Council of three, so that if the Goverhor-General could get the support of even one member, he could have his way. The Act clearly subordinated the Bombay and Madras Presidencies to Bengal in all questions of war, diplomacy, and revenues. With this Act began a new phase of the British conquest of India. While the East India Company became the instrument of British national policy, India was to be made to serve the interests of all sections of the ruling classes of Britain. The Company having saved its monopoly of the Indian and Chinese trade was satisfied. Its Directors retained the profitable right of appointing and dismissing its British officials in India. Moreover, the Government of India was to be carried out through their agency. While Pitt's India Act laid down the general framework in which the Government of India was to be carried on till 1857, later enactments brought about several important changes which gradually diminished the powers and privileges of the Company. In 1786, the Governor-General was given the authority to overrule his Council ^n matters of importance affecting safety, peace, or the interests of the Empire in India. By the Charter Act of 1813, the trade monopoly of the Company in India was ended and trade with India was thrown open to all British subjects, But trade in tea and trade with China were still exclusive to the Company. The Government and the revenues of India continued to be in the hands of the Company. The Company also continued to appoint its officials in India. The Charter Act of 1833 brought the Company‟s monopoly of tea trade and trade with China to an end. At the same time the debts of the Company were taken over by the Government of India which was also to pay its shareholders a 10$ per cent dividend on their capital. The Government of India continued to be run by the Company under the strict control of the Board of Control. Thus, the various acts of Parliament discussed above completely subordinated the Company and its Indian administration to the British Government. At the same

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time, it was recognised that day to day administration of India could not be run or even superintended from a distance of 6,000 miles. Supreme authority in India was, therefore, delegated to the Governor-General in Council. The GovernorGeneral, having the authonty to overrule his Council in important questions, became in fact the real, effective ruler of India, functioning under the superintendence, control and direction of the British Government. It is to be noted that Indians were allowed no share in their own administration. The three seats of authority, as far as India was concerned, were the Court of Directors of the Company, the Board of Control representing the British Government, and the Governor-General. With none of the three was any Indian associated even remotely or in any capacity. The British created a new system of administration in India to serve their purposes. But before we discuss the salient features of this system, it would be better if we first examine the purposes which it was designed to serve, for the main function of the administrative system of a country is to accomplish the aims and objects of its rulers. The chief aim of the British was to enable them to exploit India economically to the maximum advantage of various British interests, ranging from the Company to the Lancashire manufacturers. At the same time India was to be made to bear the full cost of its own conquest as well as of the foreign rule. An examination of the economic policies of the British in India is, therefore, of prime importance. British Economic Policies in India, 1757-1857 Commercial Policy: From 1600 to 1757 the East India Company‟s role in India was that of a trading corporation which brought goods or precious metals into India and exchanged them for Indian goods like textiles, spices, etc., which it sold abroad. Its profits came primarily from the sale of'Indian goods abroad. Naturally, it tried constantly to open new markets for Indian goods in Britain and other countries. Thereby, it increased the export of Indian manufactures and thus encouraged their production. This is the reason why the Indian rulers tolerated and even encouraged the establishment of the Company‟s factories in India.

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Weaver—Working in a Pit Loom with Throw-S tint tit Courtesy: National Archives of Mia New Delhi

Bat, from the very beginning, the British manufacturers were jealous of the popularity that Indian textiles enjoyed in Britain. All of a sudden dress fashions changed and light cotton textiles began to replace the coarse woollens of the English. Defoe, the writer of the famous novel, Robinson Crusoe, complained that Indian cloth had “crept into our houses, our closets and bed chambers; curtains, cushions, chairs, and at last beds themselves were nothing but calicos or India stuffs” The British manufacturers put pressure on tlieii government to restrirt and prohibit the sale of Indian goods in England. By 1720 laws had been passed forbidding the wear or use of punted or dyed cotton cloth. In 1760 a lady had to pay a fine of £ 200 for possessing an imported handkerchief! Moreover, heavy duties were imposed on the import of plain cloth. Other European countries, except Holland, also either prohibited the import of Indian cloth or imposed heavy import duties. In spite of these laws, however, Indian silk and cotton textiles still held their own in foreign markets, until the middle of the 18th century when the English textile industry began to develop on the basis of new and advanced technology. After the Battle of Plassey in 1757 th« pattern of the Company‟s commercial relations with India underwent a qualitative change. Now the Company could use its political control over Bengal to push its Indian trade. Moreover, it utilised the

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revenues of Bengal to finance its export of Indian goods. The activity of the Company should have encouraged Indian manufacturers, but this was not so. The Company used its political power to dictate terms to the weavers of Bengal who were forced to sell their products at a cheaper and dictated price, even at a loss. Moreover, their labour was no longer free. Many of them were compelled to work for the Company for low wages and were forbidden to work for Indian merchants. The Company eliminated its rival traders, both Indian and foreign, and prevented them from offering higher wages or pn «s to the Bengal handicraftsmen. The servants of the Company monoyolised the talc of raw cotton and made the Bengal weaver pay exorbitant prices for it. Thus, the weaver lost both ways, as buyer as well as seller. At the same time, Indian textiles had to pay heavy duties on entering England. The British Government was determined to protect its rising machine industry whose products could still not compete with the cheaper and better Indian goods. Even so Indian products held some of their ground. The real blow on Indian handicrafts fell after 1813 when they lost not only their foreign markets but, what was of much greater importance, their market in India itself. The Industrial Revolution in Britain completely transformed Britain‟s economy and its economic relations with India. During the second half of the 18th century and the first few decades of the 19th century, Britain underwent profound social and economic transformation, and Biitish industry developed and expanded rapidly on the basis of modern machines, the factory system, and capitalism. This development was aided by several factors. British overseas trade had been expanding rapidly in the previous centuries. Britain had come to capture and monopolise many foreign markets by means of war and colonialism. These export markets enabled its export industries to expand production rapidly, utilizing the latest techniques in production and organisation. Africa, the West Indies, Latin America, Canada, Australia, China and above all India provided unlimited opportunities for export. This was particularly true of the cotton textile industry which served as the main vehicle of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. Britain had already evolved the colonial pattern of trade which helped the Industrial Revolution which in turn strengthened this pattern: the colonies and underdeveloped countries exported agricultural and mineral raw. materials to Britain while the latter sold them its manufactures. Secondly, there was sufficient capital accumulated in the country for investment in new machinery and the factory system. Moreover, this capital was concentrated not in the hands of the feudal class which would waste it in luxurious living but in the hands of merchants and industrialists who were keen to invest it in trade and industry. Here again the immense wealth drawn from Africa, Asia, the West Indies, and Latin America, including that drawn from India by the East India Company and its servants after the Battle of Plassey, played an important role in financing industrial expansion. Thirdly, rapid increase in population met the need of the growing industries for more labour and cheaper labour. The population of Britain increased rapidly after 1740; it doubled in fifty years after 1780. Fourthly, Britain had a government which was under the influence of

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commercial and manufacturing interests and which, therefore, fought other countries determinedly for markets and colonies. Fifthly, the demands for increased production were met by developments in technology. Britain‟s rising industry cofild base itself on the inventions of Hargreaves, Watt, Crompton, Cartwright, and many others. Many of the inventions now utilised-had been available for centuries. In order to take full advantage of these inventions and steam-power, production was now increasingly concentrated in factories. It should be noted that it was not these inventions which produced the Industrial Revolution, Rather it was the desire of manufacturers to increase production rapidly for the expanding markets and their capacity to invest the needed capital which led f'tcm to utilise the existing technology and to call forth new inventions. In fact, new organisation of industry was to make technical change a permanent feature of human development. The Industrial Revolution has, in this sense, never comc to an end, for modern industry and technology have gone on developing from one stage to another ever since the middle of the 18th century. The Industrial Revolution transformed British society in a fundamental manner. It led to rapid economic development which is the foundation of today‟s high standard of living in Britain as well as in Europe, the Soviet Union, the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, and Japan. In fact, until the beginning of the 19th century, the difference in the standards of living of what are today economically the advanced and the backward countries was very slight. It was the Absence of the Industrial Revolution in the latter group of countries which has led to the immense income gap that we see in the world of today. Britain became increasingly urbanised as a result of the Industrial Revolution. More and more men began to live in factory towns. In 1730, Britain had only two cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants; in 1851, their number was 29. Two entirely new classes of society were born: the industrial capitalists, who owned the factories, and workers who hired out their labour on daily wages. While the former class developed rapidly, enjoying unprecedented prosperity, the workers—the labouring poor—in the beginning reaped a harvest of sorrow. They were uprooted from their rural surroundings; and their traditional way oflife was disrupted and destroyed. They had now to live in cities which were full of smoke and filth. Housing was utterly inadequate and insanitary. Most of them lived in dark, sunless slums which have been described so well by Charles Dickens in his novels. Hours of work in the factories and mines were intolerably long—often going up to 14 or 16 hours a day. Wages were very low. Women and children had to work equally hard. Sometimes 4 or 5-year old children were employed in factories and mines. In general, a worker‟s life was one of poverty, hard work, disease, and malnutrition. It was only after the middle of the 19th century that improvement in their incomes began to take place, The rise of a powerful class of manufacturers had an important impact on Indian administration and its policies. As this class grew in number and strength and political influence, it began to attack the trade monopoly of the Company. Since the profits of this class came from manufacturing and not trade, it wanted to

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encourage not imports of manufactures from India but exports of its own products to India as well as imports of raw materials like raw cotton from India, In 1769 the British industrialists compelled the Company by law to export every year Britisn manufactures amounting to over £ 380,000, even though it suffered a loss on the transaction. In 1793, the'1 forced the Company to grant them the use of 3,000 tons of its shipping every year to carry their goods. Exports of British cotton goods to the East, mostly to India, increased from £ 156 in 1794 to nearly £ 110,000 in 1813, that is, by nearly 700 times, But this increase was not enough to satisfy the wild hopes of the Lancashire manufacturers who began to actively search for ways and means of promoting the export of their products to India, As R.C. Dutt pointed out later in 1901 in his famous work, The Economic History of India, the effort of the Parliamentary Select Committee of 1812 was “to discover how they (Indian manufactures) could be replaced by British manufactures, and how British industries could be promoted at the expense of Indian industries.‟ ‟ The British manufacturers looked upon the East India Company, its monopoly of Eastern trade, and its methods of exploitation of India through control of India‟s revenues and export trade, to be the chief obstacles in the fulfilment of their dreams. Between 1793 and 1813, they launched a powerful campaign against the Company and its commercial privileges and, finally succeeded in 1813 in abolishing its monopoly of Indian trade.

With this event, a new phase in Britain‟s economic relations with India began. Agricultural India was to be made an economic colony of industrial England. The Government of India now followed a policy of free trade or unrestricted entry of British goods. Indian handicrafts were exposed to the fierce and unequal competition of the machine-made products of Britain and faced extinction. India had to admit British goods free or at nominal tariff rates. The Government of India also tried to increase the number of purchasers of British goods by following a policy of fresh conquests and direct occupation of protected states tike Avadh. Many British officials, political leaders, and businessmen advocated reduction in land revenue so that the Indian peasant mignt be in a better position to buy foreign manufactures They also advocated the modernisation of India so that more and more Indians might develop a taste for Western goods. Indian hand-made goods were unable to compete against the much cheaper products of British mills which had been rapidly improving their productive capacity by using inventions and a wider use of steam power. Any government wedded to Indian interests alone would have protected Indian industry through high tariff walls and used the time thus gained to import the new techniques of the West Britain had done this in relation to its own industries in the 18th century; France, Germany, and the U S.A. weie also doing no at the time; Japan and the Soviet Union were to do it many decades ater; and free India is doing it today. However, not only were Tndia'i industries not protected by the foreign rulers but foreign goods were g ven free entry. Foreign imports rose rapidly. Imports of British cotton goods alone increased from £ 110,000 in 1813 to £ 6,300,000 in 1856. While tbe doors of India were thus thrown wide open to foreign goods, Indian handicraft products continued to pay heavy duties on entry into Britain. The British would not take in Indian goods on fair and equal terms even at this stage when their

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industries had achieved technological superiority over Indian handicrafts. Duties in Britain on several categories of Indian goods continued to be high till their export to Britain virtually ceased. For example, in 1824, a duty of 67£ per cent was levied on Indian calicos and a duty of 37$ per cent on Indian muslins. Indian sugar had to pay on entry into Britain a duty that was over three times its cost pi ice. In some cases duties in F.ngland went up as high as 400 per cent. As a result of such prohibitive import duties and development .of machine industries, Indian exports to foreign countries fell rapidly. The unfairness of British commercial policy has been summed up by the British historian, H.H. Wilson, in the following words: »:.) It was staled in evidence, that (he cotton and silk goods of India up (o this period could be sold for a profit in the British market, at a price from 50 to 60 per cent lower (ban those fabricated in England. It consequently became necessary to protect the latter by duties of 70 to 80 per cent on tbeir value, or by positive prohibition. Had this not been the case, had not such prohibitory duties and decrees existed, the mills of Paisley and of Manchester would have been stopped in their outset and could scarcely have been again set m motion, even by the power of Meam. They were created by the sacrifice of the Indian manufacture. Had India been independent, she would have retaliated, would have imposed preventive duties upon British goods, and would thus have preserved her own productive industry from annihilation. This act of selfdefence was not permitted her; she was at the mercy of the stranger. British goods were forced upon her without paying any duty; and the foreign manufacturer employed the arm of political injustice to keep down and ultimately strangle a competitor with whom he could not have contended on equal terms.

Instead of exporting manufactures, India was now forced to export raw materials like raw cotton and raw silk which British industries needed urgently, or plantation products like indigo and tea, or foodgrains which were in short supply in Britain. In 1856, India exported £ 4,300,000 worth of raw cotton, only £ 810,000 worth of cotton manufactures, £ 2,900,000 worth of foodgrains, £ 1,730,000 worth of indigo, and £ 770,000 , worth of raw silk. The British also promoted the sale of Indian opium in China even though the Chinese put a ban on it because of its poisonous and other harmful qualities. But the trade yielded large profits to British merchants and fat revenues to the Company-controlled administration of India. Interestingly enough, the import of opium into Britain was strictly banned. Thus, the commercial policy of the East Tndia Company after 1813 was guided by the needs of British industry. Its main aim was to transform India into a consumer of British manufactures and a supplier of raw materials. The Drain of Wealth: The British exported to Britain part of India‟s wealth and resources for which India got no adequate economic or material returnThis „Economic Drain‟ was peculiar to British rule- Even the worst of previous Indian governments had spent the revenue they extracted from the people inside the country. Whether they spent it on irrigation canals and trunk roads, or on palaces, temples and mosques, or on wars and conquests, or even oa personal luxury, it ultimately encouraged Indian trade and industry or gave employment to Indians. This was so because even foreign conquerors, for example the Mughals, soon settled in India and -made it their home. But the British remained perpetual foreigners, Englishmen working an^L trading id India

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nearly always planed to go back to Brjtain, and the,Indian Qovemment was controlled by a. foreign company of merchants and the Government of Bri^ai^. The British, consequently, spent.a large part of the, taxes .and income they derived from Indian people not in India but in Britain, tfyeifrhofnecpuotry. The drain of wealth from Bengal began in 1757 when th< Company‟s servants began to carry home immense fortunes extorted from Indian rulers, zamindars, merchants and the common people. They sent home nearly £ 6 million between 1758 and 1765. This amount was more than four times the total land revenue collection of the Nawab of Bengal in 1765. This amount of drain did not include the trading profits of the Company which were often no less illegally derived. In 1765 the Company acquired the dewani of Bengal and thus gained control over its revenues. The Company, even more than its servants, soon directly organised the drain. It began to purchase Indian goods out of the revenue of Bengal and to export them. These purchases were known as „Investments‟ Thus, through „Investments', Bengal‟s revenue was sent to England. For example, from 1765 to 1770, the Company sent out in the form of goods nearly four million pounds or about 33 per cent of the net revenue of Bengal. The actual drain was even more, as a large part of the salaries and other incomes of English officials and the trading fortunes of English merchants also found their way into England. While the exact amount of the annual dram has not been calculated so far and historians differ on its quantum, the fact of the drain, at least from 1757 to 1857, was widely accepted by British officials. Thus, for example, Lord Ellenborough, Chairman of the Select Committee of the House of Lords, and later GovernorGeneral of India, admitted in 1840 lhat India was “required to transmit annually to this country (Britain), without any return except in the small value of military stores, a sum amounting to between two and three million sterling”. And John Sullivan, President of the Board of Revenue, Madras, remarked: “Our system acts very much like a sponge, drawing up all the good things from the banks jf the Ganges, and squeezing them down on the banks of the Thames.” Development of Means of Transport and Communication: Up to the middle of the 19th century, the means of transport in India were backward. They were confined to bullock-cart, camel, and packhorse. The British rulers soon realised that a cheap and easy system of transport was a necessity if British manufactures were to flow into Indi? on a large scale and her raw materials secured for British industries. They introduced steamships on the rivers and set abo,ut improving the. roads, Wqrk on the Grand Trunk Road from Calcutta; to Q^lhj < was begun in 1839 and completed in the 1850*s. EfToj;ts were also mad#- to link by road the major cities, ports, and markets of th, But real improvement in transport came only, with tfte, c.opiijiifi oj^ (.fog, railways. The first,railway engine designed by Q?org? Stephwi$0n th* rails in England in 1814. Railways developed rapidfyviw during the 1830‟s and 1840's. Pressure soon mounted for their speedy construction in India. The British manufacturers hoped thereby to open the vast and hitherto untapped market in the interior of the country and to facilitate the export of Indian raw materials and food-stuffs to feed their hungry machines and

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operatives. The British bankers and investors looked upon railway development in India as a channel for safe investment of their surplus capital. The British steel manufacturers regarded it as an outlet for their products like rails, engines, wagons, and other machinery and plant. The Government of India soon fell in step with these views and found additional merit in the railways; they would enable it to administer the country more effectively and efficiently and to protect their regime from internal rebellion or external aggression by enabling more rapid mobilization and movement of troops. The earliest suggestion to build a railway in India was made in Madras in 1831. flui the wagons of this railway were to be drawn by horses. Construction of steam-driven railways in India was first proposed in 1834 in England. It was given strong political support by England's railway promoters, financiers, mercantile houses trading with India, and textile manufacturers. It was decided that the Indian railways were .to be constructed and operated by private companies who were guaranteed a minimum of five per cent return on their capital by the Government of India, The first railway line running from Bombay to Thana was opened to traffic in 1853. Lord Dalhousie, who became Governor-General of India in 1849, was an ardent advocate of rapid railway construction. In a famous note, written in 1853, he laid down an extensive programme of railway development, He proposed a network of four main trunk lines which would link the interior of the country with the big ports and inter-connect the different parts of the country. By the end of 1869 more than 4,000 miles of railways had been built by the guaranteed companies; but this system proved very cosily and slow, and so in 1869 the Government of India decided to build new railways as stale enterprises. But the speed of railway extension still did not satisfy officials in India and businessmen in Britain. After 1880, railways were built through private enterprise as welt as state agency. By 1905, nearly 28,0 miles of railways had been built. Three important aspects of the development of Indian railways should be kept in view. Firstly, nearly the entire amount of over 350 crores of rupees invested in them was provided by British investors, Indian capital contributing only a negligible share of it. Secondly, they were for the first 50 years financially losing concerns which were not able to pay interest on the capital invested in them. Thirdly, in their planning, construction and management, ItKe economic and political development of India and her people was not

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kept in ihc forefront. On the contrary, the primary consideration was lo serve the economic, political, and military interests of British imperialism in India. The railway lines were laid primarily with a view to link India‟s raw material producing a reps in the interior with the ports of export. The needs of Indian industries regarding their markets and thejr sourccs of raw materials were neglected. Moreover, the railway rates were fixed in a manner so as to favour imports and exports and to discrimin&e against internal movement of goods. Several railway lines in Burma and North-Western India were built at high cost to serve British imperial interests. The British also established an efficient and modern postal system and introduced the telegraph. The first telegraph line from Calcutta to Agra was opened in 1853. Lord Dalhousie introduced postage stamps. Previously cash payment had to be made when a letter was posted. He also cut down postal rates and charged a uniform rate of half an anna for a letter all over the land. Before his reforms, the postage on a letter depended on the distance it was to travel: in some cases the postage on a letter was the equivalent of as much as four days wages of a skilled Indian worker! Land Revenue Policy

The main burden of providing money for the trade and profits of the Company, the cost of administration, and the wars of British expansion in India had to be borne by the Indian peasant or ryot. In fact the British could not have conquered such a vast country as India if they had not taxed him heavilyi The Indian state had since times immemorial taken a part of the agri

H iirc# rrah (A Messenger)

Courtesy; National Archives t>f India, Ntw Delhi

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cultural produce u land revenue. It had done so either directly through its servants or indirectly through intermediaries, such as zamindars, revenuefarmers, etc., who collected the land revenue from the cultivator and kept a part of it as their commission. These intermediaries were primarily collectors of land revenue, although they did sometimes own some land in the area from which they collected revenue. The Permanent Settlement: We have seen that in 1765, the East India Company acquired the Dewani, or control over the revenues, of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. Initially, it made an attempt to continue the old system of revenue collection though it increased the amount to be collected from Rs. 14,290,000 in 1722 and Rs. 8,110,000 in 1764 to Rs. 23,400,000 in 1771. In 1773, it decided to manage the land revenues directly. Warren Hastings auctioned the right to collect revenue to the highest bidders. But his experiment did not succeed. Though the amount of land revenue was pushed high by zamindars and other speculators bidding against each other, the actual collection varied from year to year and seldom came up to official expectations. This introduced instability in the Company's revenues at a time when the Company was hard pressed for money. Moreover, neither the ryot nor the zamindar would do anything to improve cultivation when they did not know what the next year‟s assessment would be or who would be the next year‟s revenue collector. It was at this stage that the idea first emerged of fixing the land revenue at a permanent amount. Finally, after prolonged discussion and debate, the Permanent Settlement was introduced in Bengal and Bihar in 1793 by Lord Cornwallis. It had two special features. Firstly, the zamindars and revenue collectors were converted into so many landlords. They were not only to act as agents of the Government in collecting land revenue from the ryot hut also to become the owners of the entire land ia their zamindaris. Their right of ownership was made hereditary and transferable. On the other hand the cultivators were reduced to the low status of mere tenants and were deprived of long-standing rights to the soil and other customary rights. The use of the pasture and forest lands, irrigation canals, fisheries, and homestead plots and protection against enhancement of rent were some of their rights which were sacrificed. In fact the tenantry of Bengal was left entirely at the mercy of the zamindars. This was done so that the zamindars might be able to pay in time the exorbitant land revenue demand of the Company. Secondly, the zamindars were to give, 10 /11 th of the rental they derived from the peasantry to the state, keeping only 1/11th for themselves. But the sums to be paid by them as land revenue were fixed in perpetuity. If the rental of a zamindar‟s estate increased due to extension of cultivation and improvement in agriculture, or his capacity to extract more from hla tenants, or any other reason, he would keep the entire amount of the increase. The slate would not make any further demand upon him. At the same time, the zamindar had to pay his revenue rigidly on the due date even if the crop had failed for some reason; otherwise his lands were to be sold. The initial fixation of revenue was made arbitrarily and without any consultation with the zamindars. The attempt of the officials was to secure the maximum amount. As a result, the rates of levenue were fixed very high. John

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Shore, the man who planned the Permanent Settlement and later succeeded Cornwallis as Governor-General, calculated that if the gross produce of Bengal be taken as 100, the Government claimed 45, zamindars and other intermediaries below them received 15, and only 40 remained with the actual cultivator. It was later generally admitted by officials and non-officials alike that before 1793 the zamindars of Bengal and Bihar did not enjoy proprietary rights over most of the land. The question then arises; why did the British recognise them as such? One explanation is that this was in part the result of a misunderstanding. In England, the central figure in agriculture at the time was the landlord and the British officials made the mistake of thinking that the zamindar was his Indian counterpart. It is, however, to be noted that in one crucial respect the British officials clearly differentiated between the positions of the two. The landlord in Britain was the owner of land not only in relation to the tenant but also m relation to the state. But in Bengal while the zamindar was landlord over the tenant, he was further subordinated to the state. In fact he was reduced virtually to the status of a tenant of the East India Company, In contrast to the British landlord, who paid a small share of his income as land tax, he had to pay as 1 ax 10 /11 th of his income from the land of which he was supposed to be the owner; and he could be turned out of the land unceremoniously and his estate sold if he failed to pay the revenue in time. Other historians think that the decision to recognise the zamindars as the proprietors of land was basically determined by political, financial, and administrative expediency. Here the guiding factors were three. The first arose out of clever statecraft: the need to create political allies. The British officials realised that as they were foreigners in India, their rule would be unstable unless they acquired local supporters who would act as a buffer between them and the people of India. This argument had immediate importance as there were a large number of popular revolts in Bengal during the last quarter of the 18th century. So they brought into existence a wealthy aiid privileged class of zamindars which owed its existence to British rule and which would, therefore, be Compelled by its own basic interests to support it. This expectation was, in fact, fully justified later when the zamindars as a class supported the foreign government in opposition to the rising movement for freedom, Second, and perhaps the predominant motive, was that of financial security. Before 1793 the Company was troubled by fluctuations in its chief source of income, the land revenue. The Permanent Settlement guaranteed the stability of income. The newly created property of the zamindars acted as a secuiily of this. Moreover, the Permanent Settlement enabled the Company to maximise its income as land revenue was now fixed higher than it had ever been in the past. Collection of revenue through a small number of zammdars seemed to be much simpler and cheaper than the process of dealing with lakhs of cultivators. Thirdly, the Permanent Settlement was expected to increase agricultural production. Since the land revenue would not be increased in future even if the zamindar‟s income went up, the latter would be inspired to extend cultivation and improve agricultural productivity. The Permanent Zamindari Settlement was later extended to Orissa, the Northern

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Districts of Madras, and the District of Varanasi. In parts of Central India and Avadh the British introduced a temporary zamindari settlement under which the zamindars were made owners of land but the revenue they had to pay was revised periodically. Another group of landlords was created all over India when the Government started the practice of giving land to persons who had rendered faithful service to the foreign rulers. Ryotwari Settlement: The establishment of British rule in South and SouthWestern India brought new problems of land settlement. The officials believed that in these regions there were no zamindars with large estates with whom settlement of land revenue could be made and that the introduction of zamindari system would upset the existing state of affairs. Many Madras officials led by Reed and Munro recommended that settlement should therefore be made directly with the actual cultivators. They also pointed out that under the Permanent Settlement the Company was a financial loser as it had to share the revenues with the zamindars and could not claim a share of the growing income from land. Moreover, the cultivator was left at the mercy of the zamindar who could oppress him at will. Under the system they proposed, which is known as the Ryotwari Settlement, the cultivator was to be recognised as the owner of his plot of land subject to the payment of land revenue. The supporters of the Ryotwari system claimed that it was a continuation of the state of affairs that had existed in the past. Munro said: “It is the system which has always prevailed in I n d i a 1 T h e Ryotwari Settlement was in the end introduced in parts of the Madras and Bombay Presidencies in the beginning of the 19th century. The settlement under the Ryotwari system tvas not made permanent. It was revised periodically after 20 to 30 years when the revenue demand was usually raised. The Ryotwari Settlement did not bring into existence a system of peasant ownership. The peasant soon discovered that the large number of zamindars had been replaced by one giant zamindar—the state In fact, thfe Government later openly claimed that land revenue was rent and not a tax. The ryot‟s rights of ownership of his land were also negated by three other factors: (1) In most areas the land revenue fixed was exorbitant; the ryot was hardly left with bare maintenance even in the best of seasons. For instance, in Madras the Government claim was Axed as high as 45 to 55 per cent of gross production in the earlier settlement. The situation was nearly as bad in Bombay. (2) The Government retained the right to enhance land revenue at will. (3) The ryot had to pay revenue even when his produce was partially or wholly destroyed by drought or floods. Mahalwari System: A modified version of the zamindari settlement, introduced in the Gangetic valley, the North-West Provinces, parts of Central India, and the Punjab, was known as the Mahalwari System. The revenue settlement was to be made village by village or estate (mahal) by estate with landlords or heads of families who collectively claimed to be the landlords of the village or the estate. In the Punjab a modified Mahalwari System known as the village system was introduced. In Mahalwari areas also, the land revenue was periodically revised. Both the Zamindari and the Ryotwari systems departed fundamentally from the traditional land systems of the country. The British created a new form of private

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property in land in such a way that the benefit of the innovation did not go to the cultivators. All over the country land was now made salable, mortgagable, and alienable. This was done primarily to protect the Government's revenue. If land had not been made transferable or salable, the Government would find it very difficult to realise revenue from a cultivator who had no savings or possessions out of which to pay it. Now he could borrow money on the security of his land or even >11 part of it and pay his land revenue. If he refused to do so, the Government could and often did auction his land and realise the amount. Another reason for introducing private ownership in land was provided by the belief that only right of ownership would make the landlord or the ryot exert himself in making improvements. The British by making land a commodity which could be freely bought and sold introduced a fundamental change in the existing land systems of the country. The stability and the continuity of the Indian villages were shaken. In fact, the entire structure of rural society began to break up.

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EXERCISES Trace the evolution of the East India Company's relations with the British state, from 1765 to 1833. Bring out the major factors which influenced these relations. 2. Examine critically the commercial policy pursued by Britain in India from 1757 to 1857. 3. In what way did the British land revenue policy transform agrarian relations in India? 4. Write short notes oft: (a) The Regulating Act of 1773 and the powers of the Governor-Gsr'eval; (b) The Industrial Revolution; (c) The drain of wealth from (d) Development of the Railways. CHAPTER VI

Administrative Organisation and Social and Cultural Policy

W

E have seen in the previous chapter that by 1784 the East India Company‟s administration of India had been brought under its control by the British Government and that its economic policies were being determined by the needs of British economy. We v/ill now discuss the organisation through which the Company administered its recently acquired dominion. In the beginning the Company left the administration of its possessions in India in Indian hands, confining its activities to supervision. But it soon found 'that British aims were not adequately served by following old methods of administration. Consequently, tbe Company took all aspects of administration in its own hand, Under Warren Hastings and Cornwallis, the administration of Bengal was completely overhauled and the foundations of a new system based on the English pattern laid. The spread of British power to new areas, new problems, new needs, new experiences and new ideas led to changes in the system of administration. But the overall objectives of imperialism were never forgotten. The British administration in India was based on three pillars: the Civil Service, the Army, and the Police. This was so for two reasons. For one, the chief aim of British-Indian administration was the maintenance of law and order and the perpetuation of British rule. Without law and order British merchants and British manufacturers could not hope to sell their goods in every nook and corner of India. Again, the British, being

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foreigners, could not hope to win the affections of the Indian people; they, therefore, relied on superior force rather than on public support for the maintenance 0f their control over India. 'Hie Duke of Wellington, who had served in India tfnder his brother, Lord Wellesley, remarked after his return to Europe; Tbe system of Government in India, ,the foundation of authority, and the modes of supporting it and of carrying On the operation* of government arc entirely different from the systems and modes adopted in Europefor the tame purpose.... The foundation tad the Instrument of all power there Is the sword. Civil Service

The Civil Service was brought into existence by Lord Cornwallis. As we have seen in an earlier chapter, the East India Company had from the beginning carried on its trade in the East through servants who were paid low wages but who were permitted to trade privately. Later, when the Company became a territorial power, the same servants assumed administrative functions. They now became extremely corrupt, By oppressing local weavers and artisans, merchants, and zamindars, by extorting bribes and 'gifts‟ from rajas and nawabs, and by indulging in illegal private trade, they amassed uotold wealth with which they retired to England. Clive and Warren Hastings made attempts to put an end to their corruption, but were only partially successful. Cornwallis, who came to India as Governor-General in 1786, was determined to purify the administration, but he realised that the Company‟s servants would not give honest and efficient service so long as they were not given adequate salaries. He therefore enforced the rules against private trade and acceptance of presents and bribes by officials with strictness. At the same time, he raised the salaries of the Company‟s servants. For example, the Collector of a district was to be paid Rs. 1500 a month and one per cent commission on the revenue collection of his district. In fact the Company's Civil Service became the highest paid service in the world. Cornwallis also laid down that promotion in the Civil Service would be by seniority so that its members would remain independent of outside influence. In 1800, Lord Wellesley pointed out that even though civil servants often ruled over vast areas, they came to India at the immature age of 18 or so and were given no regular training before starting on their jobs. They generally lacked knowledge of Indian languages. Wellesley therefore established the College of Fort William at Calcutta for the education of young recruits to the Civil Service. The Directors of the Company disapproved of his action and in 1806 replaced it by their own East Indian College at Haileybury in England. Till 1853 all appointments to the Civil Service were made by the Directors of the East India Company who placated the members of the Board of Control by letting them make some of the nominations, The Directors fought hard to retain this lucrative and prized privilege and refused to surrender it even when their other economic and political privileges were taken away by Parliament. They lost it finally in 18S3 when the Charter Act decreed that all recruits to the Civil Service were to be selected through a competitive examination.

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A special feature of the Indian Civil Service since the days of Cornwallis was the rigid and complete exclusion of Indians from it, It was laid down officially in 1793 that all higher posts in administration worth more than

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£ 500 a year in salary were to be held by Englishmen. This policy was also applied to other branches of Government, such as the army, police, judiciary, engineering. In the words of John Shore, who succeeded Cornwallis: The fundamental principle of the English had been to make the whole Indian nation subservient, in every possible way, to the interests and benefits of ourselves. The Indians have been excluded From every honour, dignity, or office, which the lowest Englishmen could be prevailed to accept.

Why did the British follow such a policy? Many factors combined to produce it. For one, they were convinced that an administration based on British ideas, institutions, and practices could be firmly established only by English personnel. And, then, they did not trust the ability and integrity of the Indians. For example, Charles Grant, Chairman of the Court of Directors, condemned the people of India as “a race of men lamentably degenerate and base; retaining but a feeble sense of moral obligation;... and sunk in misery by their vices.” Similarly, Cornwallis believed that “Every native of Hindustan is corrupt". It may be noted that this criticism did apply to some extent to a small class of Indian officials and zamind&rs of the time. But, then, it was equally if not more true of British officials in India, In fact, Cornwallis had proposed to give them high salaries in order to help them resist temptations and to become honest and obedient. But he never thought of applying the same remedy of adequate salaries to eradicate corruption among Indian officials, In reality, the exclusion of Indians from higher grades of services was a deliberate policy. These services were required at the time to establish and consolidate British rule in India. Obviously the task could not be left to Indians who did not possess the same instinctive sympathy for, and understanding of, British interests as Englishmen. Moreover, the influential classes of British society were keen to preserve the monopoly of lucrative appointments in the Indian Civil Service and other services for their sons. In fact they fought tooth and nail among themselves over these appointments. The right to make them was a perpetual bone of contention between the Directors of the Company and the members of the British Cabinet. How could the English then agree to let Indians occupy these posts? Indians were, however, recruited in large numbers to fill subordinate posts as they were cheaper and much more readily available than Englishmen. The Indian Civil Service gradually developed into one of the most efficient and powerful civil services in the world. Its members exercised vast power and often participated ,in the making of policy. They developed certain traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work, though these qualities obviously served British and not Indian interests, At the same time they gradually came to form a rigid and exclusive and proud caste with an extremely conservative and narrow outlook. They came (o believe that they had an almost Divine right to rule India. The Indian Civil Service has often been 1 called the „steel frame which reared and sustained British rule in India. In course of time it became the chief opponent of all that was progressive and advanced in Indian life and one of the main targets of attack by the rising Indian national

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movement. Army The second important pillar of the British regime in India was the army. It fulfilled three important functions. Jt was the instrument through which the Indian powers were conquered; it defended the British Empire in India from foreign rivals; and it safeguarded British supremacy from the ever-present threat of internal revolt. The bulk of the Company‟s army consisted of Indian soldiers, recruited chiefly from the area at present included in U.P. and Bihar. For instance, in 1857, the strength of the army in India was 311,400 of whom 265,900 were Indians. Its officers were, however, exclusively British, at least since the days of Cornwallis. In 1856, only three Indians in the army recieved a salary of Rs. 300 per month and the highest Indian officer was a subedar. A large number of Indian troops had to be employed as British troops were far too expensive. Moreover, the population of Britain was perhaps too small to provide the large soldiery needed for the conquest of India. As a counterweight, the army was officered entirely by British officials and a certain number of British troops were maintained to keep the Indian soldiers under control. Even so, it appears surprising today that a handful of foreigners coul d conquer and control India with a predominantly Indian army. This was possible because of two factors. On the one hand, there was absence of modem nationalism in the country at the time. A soldier from Bihar or Avadh did not think, and could not have thought, that in helping the Company defeat the Marathas or the Punjabis he was being anti-Indian- On the other, the Indian soldier had a long tradition of loyally serving those who paid his salary. This was popularly known as loyalty to the salt. In other words, the Indian soldier was a good mercenary, and the Company on its part was a good paymaster. It paid its soldiers regularly and well, something that the Indian rulers and chieftains were no longer dping.

Police The third pillar of British rule was the police whose creator was once again Cornwallis. He relieved (He zamindars of' their police.functions and, established a regular police force to maintain law and• order. In this respect, he went, back to, and modernized, the old Indian system ai ,i aoiiIJ h.„reJd> t*> lire into ,i ... . •

Thus the Indian army remained a purely mercenary force. Moreover, every effort was made to keep it separated from the life and thoughts of the rest of the population. It was isolated from nationalist ideas by every possible means. Newspapers, journals, and nationalist publications were prevented from reaching the soldiers, But, as we shall see later, all such efforts failed in the long run and sections of the Indian army played an important role in our struggle for freedom. The Indian army became in time a very costly military machine. In 1904 it absorbed nearly 52 per cent of the Indian revenues. This was because it served more than one purpose. India, being the most prized colonial possession of the time, had to be constantly defended from the competing imperialisms of Russia, France, and Germany. This led to a big incease in the size of the Indian Army. Secondly, the Indian troops were not maintained for India's defence alone. They were also often employed to extend or consolidate British power and possessions in Asia and Africa. Lastly, the British section of the army served as an army of occupation. It was the ultimate guarantee of the British hold over the country. Its cost had, however, to be met by the Indian revenues; it was in fact a very heavy burden on them. Public Services We have seen above that Indians had little control over the Government of India. They were not permitted to play any part in the making of laws or in determining administrative policies. In addition, they were excluded from the

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bureaucracy which put these policies into practice. All positions of power and responsibility in the administration were occupicd by the members of the Indian Civil Service who were recruited through an annual open competitive examination held in London. Indians also could sit in this examination. Satyendranath Tagore, brother of Rabindranath Tagore, was the first Indian to do so successfully in 1863. Almost every year thereafter one or two Indians joined the covcted ranks of the Civil Service, but their number was negligible compared to the English entrants. In practice, the doors of the Civil Service remained barred to Indians for they suffered from numerous handicaps. The competitive examination was held in far away London. It Was conducted through the medium of the alien English language. It was based on Classical Greek and JLatin learning which could be acquired only after a prolonged and costly course of studies in fcqglarul. In addition, the maximum age for entry into the Civil Service was gradually reduced from twenty-ihree in 1859 to nineteen in 1878. If the_ young Indian of twenty-three found it difficult to succeed in the Civil Service competition, the Indian 6f nineteen found it impossible!*) do 40. In other departments of administration—Police, Public Works Department, Medicine, Posts and Telegraphs, Forests, Engineering, Customs, and later Railways—the superior and highly paid posts werp likewise reserved for British citizens. This preponderance of Europeans in all strategic posts was not accidental. The rulers of India believed it to be an essential condition for the maintenance of British supremacy in India. Thus Lord Kimberley, the Secretary of State, laid down in 1893 that “it is indispensable that an.i\ adequate number of the members of the Civil Service shall always be I \ Europeans; ” and the Viceroy, Lord Lansdowne, stressed “the absolute necessity of keeping the government of this widespread Empire in European hands, if that Empire is to be maintained.” Under Indian pressure the different administrative services were gradually Indianised after 1918; but the positions of control and authority were still kept in British hands. Moreover, the people soon discovered 1hat Indianisation of these services had not put any part of political power in their hands. The Indians m these services functioned as agents of British rule and loyally seized Britain‟s imperial purposes. Relations with tbe Princely States

The Revolt of 1857 led the British to reverse their policy towards the Indian States. Before 1857, they had availed themselves of every opportunity to annex princely states. This policy was now abandoned. Most of the Indian princes had not only remained loyat to the British but had actively aided the latter in suppressing the Revolt. As Lord Canning, the Viceroy, put it, they bad acted as „ „breakwaters in the storm”, Their loyalty was now rewarded with the announcement that their right to adopt heirs would be respected arvd the integrity of their territories guaranteed against future annexation. Moreover, the experience of the Revolt had convinced the

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British authorities that the princely states could serve as useful allies and supporters in case of popular opposition or revolt. Canning wrote ir^ I860: It was long ago said by Sir John Malcolm that if we made At! India into ztllahs (districts), It was not in the nature of things that our Empire should last 50 years: but that if we could keep up a number of Native States without political power, but as royal inttruipent), we should.exi$t In India as long as our naval supremacy was maintained. Or the substantial truth of this opinion I have no doubt, and the recent event! have made it more deserving of our attention than ever.

It was, therefore, decided to use the princely states as firm props of British rule in India. Even the British historian P.E. Roberts has recognised : “To preserve them as a bulwark of the Empire has ever since been a principle of British policy," '' Their perpetuation was, however, only one aspect of the British policy towards the princely state, The other was their complete subordination to the British authorities. While even before the, Revolt of 1857 the ■' > . .

• i •.•

British had in practice interfered in the internal a/Fairs of these states, in theory they had been considered as subsidiary but sovereign powers This position was now entirely changed. As the price of their continued existence the princes were made to acknowledge Britain as the paramount power. Canning declared tn 1862 that “the Crown of England stood forward, the unquestioned Ruler and Paramount Power in al! India.” In 1876, Queen Victoria assumed Ihe title of the Empress or India to emphasise British sovereignty over the entire Indian subcontinent. Lord Curzon later made it clear that the princes ruled theic states merely as agents of the British Crown. The princes accepted this subordinate position and willingly became junior partners in the Empire because they were assured of their continued existence as rulers of their states. As the paramount power, the British claimed the right to supervise the internal government of the princely states. They not only interfered in the day to day administration through the Residents but insisted on appointing and dismissing ministers and other high officials Sometimes ihe rulers themselves were removed or deprived of their powers. One motive for such interference was provided by the British desire to give these states a modern administration so that their integration with British India would be complete. This integration and the consequent interference were also encouraged by the development of all-India railways, postal and telegraph systems, currency, and a common economic life. Another motive for interference was provided by the growth of popular democratic and nationalist movements in many of the states. On the one hand, the British authorities helped the rulers suppress these movements; on the other, they tried to eliminate the most serious of administrative abuses in these states. The changed British policy towards the princely states is illustrated by the cases of Mysore and Baroda. Lord Bentinck had deposed the ruler of Mysore in 1831 and taken over the administration of the state. After 1868 the Government recognised the adopted heir of the old ruler and m 1881 the state was fully restored to the young Maharajah. On the otlier hand, the ruler of Baroda, Malhar Rao Gaekwad, was accused in 1874 of misrule and of trying to poison the British Resident and was deposed after a brief trial. Baroda was not* however, annexed; instead, a young man of the Oaekwad family was put on the throne. Administrative Policles

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The British attitude towards India and, consequently, their policies in India changed for the worse after the Revolt or 1857. While before 18J7 tly:y had tried, however half-heartedly and hesitatingly, to modernise India, they now consciously began to follow reactionary policies. As (he historian Percival Spear has put it, “the Indian Government's honeymoon with progress was over.” We have seen above how the organs of administrative control in India and in England, the Indian army and the Civil Service were reorganised to exclude Indians from an effective share in administration. Previously at least lip-service had been paid to the idea that the British were “preparing” the Indians for selfgovernment. The view was now openly put forward (hat the Indians were unfit to rule themselves and that they must be ruled by Britain for an indefinite period. This reactionary policy was reflected in many fields. Divide and Rule : The British had conquered India by taking advantage of the disunity among the Indian pow&rs and by playing them against one another After 1858 they continued to follow this policy of divide and rule by turning the princes against the people, province against province, caste against caste, group against group, and, above all, Hindus against Muslims. The unity displayed by Hindus and Muslims during the Revolt of 1857 had disturbed the foreign rulers. They were determined to break this unity so as to weaken the rising nationalist movement. In fact, they missed no opportunity to do so. Immediately after the Revolt they repressed Muslims, confiscated their lands and property on a large scale, and declared Hindus to be (heir favourites. After 1870 this policy was reversed and an attempt was made to turn upper class and middle class Muslims against the nationalist movement. The Government cleverly used the attractions of government servicc to create a split along religious lines among the educated Indians Because of industrial and commercial backwardness and the near absence of social services, the educated Indians depended almost entirely on government service. There were few other openings for them This led to keen competition among them for the available government posts. The Government utilised this competition to fan provincial and communal rivalry and hatred. It promised official favours on a communal basis {n return for loyally and so played the educated Muslims against the educated Hindus. Hostility to Educated Indians

The Governmertt of India had actively encouraged modern education after 1833. The Universities or Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were started in 1857 and higher education spread rapidly thereafter. Many British officials commended the refusal by educated Indians to participate in the Revolt of 1857. But this favourable official attitude towards the oducaled Indian* soon changed been use some of (hem had begun to ,use iheit recently acquired modern knowledge to umlyse ihi imperialistic

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character of British ru'e and to put forward demands for Indian participation in administration. The officials became actively hostile to higher education and to the educated Indians when the latter began to organise a nationalist movement among the people and founded the Indian National Congress in 1885. The officials nc?w took active steps to curtail higher education. They sneered at the educated Indians whom they commonly referred to as babus. Thus the British turned against that group of Indians who had imbibed modern Western knowledge and who stood for progress along modern lines. Such progress was, however, opposed to the basic interests and policies of British imperialism in India. The official opposition to the educated Indians ant} higher education shows that British rule in India had already exhausted whatever potentialities for progress it originally possessed. Attitude Towards the Zamindars: While being hostile to the forward- looking educated Indians, the British now turned for friendship to the most reactionary group of Indians, the princes, the zamindars, and the landlords. We have already examined above the changed policy towards the princes and the official attempt to use them as a dam against the rise of popular and nationalist movements. The zamindars and landlords too were placated in the same manner. For example, the lands of most of the talukdais of Avadh were restored to them. The zamindars and landlords were now hailed as the traditional and 'natural' leaders of the Indian people, Their interests and privileges were protected. They were secured in ihe possession of their land at the cost of the peasants and were utilised as counter weights against the nationalist-minded intelligentsia. The Viceroy Lord Lyitoa openly declared in 185J6 that “the Crown of England should henceforth be identified with the hopes, the aspirations, the sympathies and interests of a powerful native aristocracy.” The zamindars and landlords in return recognised that their position was closely bound up with the maintenance of British rule and became its only firm supporters. , Attitude tg wards Social Reforms: As a part of the policy of alliance with the conservative classes, the British abandoned their previous policy of helping the social reformers. They believed that their measures of social reform, such as the abolition of the custom of Sati and permission to widows to remarry, had been a major cause of the Revolt of 1$57. They therefore gradually began to side with orthodox. opinion and stopped their support to the reformers. Thus, as Jawaharlal Nehru has put it in The Discovery of India, “Because of this natural alliance of the British power with the reactionaries in India, it became the guardian and upholder of many an evil custom and practice, which it otherwise condemned." In fact, the British were in this respect on the horns of a dilemma. If they favoured social reform and passed laws to this effect, (he orthodox Indians opposed them and declared that a government of foreigners had no right to interfere in the internal social affairs of the Indians. On the other hand, if they did not pass such laws, they helped perpetuate social evils and were condemned by socially pro- gressive Indians. It may, however, be noted that the British did not always remain neutral on social questions. By supporting the status quo they indirectly gave protection to existing social evils. Moreover, by encouraging

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casteism and communalism for political purposes, they actively encouraged social reaction. Extreme Backwardness of Social Services; While social services like education, sanitation and public health, water supply, and rural roads made rapid progress in Europe during (he 19th century, in India (hey remained al an extremely backward level. The Government of India spent most of its large income on the army and wars and the administrative services and starved ihe social services. For example, in 1886, of its total net revenue of nearly Rs. 47.00 crores the Governmentof India spent nearly 19.41 crores on the army and 17 crores on civil administration but less than 2 crores on education, medicine, and public health and only 65 lakhs on irrigation. The few halting steps that were taken in the direction of providing services like sanitation, water supply, and public health were usually confined to urban areas, and that too to the I Socalled civil lines or British or modern parts of the cities. They mainly served the Europeans and a handful of upper class Indians Who lived in the European part of the cities. Labour Legislation: The condition of workers in modern factories and plantations in the (9th century was miserable. They had to work between 12 and 16 hours a day and there was no weekly day of rest. Women and children worked the same long hours as men. The wages were extremely low, ranging from Rs. 4 to to 20 per month. The factories were overcrowded, badly lighted and aired, and completely unhygienic. Work on machines was hazardous, and accidents very common. The Government ot India, which was generally pro-capitalist, took some half-hearted and totally inadequate steps to mitigate the sorry state of affairs in the modern factories, many of which were owned by Indians. In this it was only in part moved by humanitarian considerations. The manufacturers of Britain put constant pressure on it to pass factory laws. They were afraid that cheap labour would enable Indian manufacturers to outsell them in the Indian market. The first Indian Factory Act was passed in 1881. The Act dealt primarily with the problem of child labour. It laid down that children below 7 could not work in factories, while children between 7 Qnd 12 would not work for more than 9 hours a day. Children would also get four holidays in a month. The Act also provided for the proper fencing off of dangerous machinery. The second Indian Factories Act was passed in 1891. It provided for a weekly holiday for all workers. Working hour9 for women were fixed at 11 per day while daily hours of work for children were reduced to 7. Hours of work for men were still left unregulated. Neither of the two Acts applied to British-owned tea and coffee plantations. On the contrary, the Government gave every help to the foreign planters to exploit their workers in a most ruthless manner. Most of the tea plantations were situated in Assam which was very thinly populated and had an unhealthy climate. Labour to work the plantations had therefore to be brought from outside. The planters would nut attract workers from outside by paying high wages. Instead they used cocrcion and fraud to recruit them and then keep them as virtual slaves

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on the plantations. The Government of India gave planters fhll help and passed penal laws in 1863, 1865, 1870, 1873 and 1882 to enable them to do so. Once a labourer had signed a contract to go and work in a plantation he could not refuse to do so. Any breach of contract by a labourer was a criminal offence, the planter also having the power to arrest him. Better labour laws were, however, passed in the 20th century under the pressure of the rising trade union movement. Still, the condition of the Indian working class remained extremely depressed and deplorable. Restrictions on the Press: The British had introduced the printing press in India and thus initiated the development of the modern press. The educated Indians had immediately recognised that the press could play a great role in educating public opinion and in influencing government policies through criticism and censure. Rammohun Roy, Vidyasagar, Dadabhai Naoroji, Justice Ranade, Surendranath Banerjea, Lolcmanya Tilak, G. Subramaniya lyer, C. K.arhnakara Menon, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipin Chandra Pal, and other Indian leaders played an important part in starting newspapers and making them a powerful political force. The press had gradually become a major weapon of the nationalist movement. The Indian press was freed of restrictions by Charles Metcalfe in 1835. This step had been welcomed enthusiastically by the educated Indians. It was one of the reasons why they had for sometime supported British rule in India. But the nationalists gradually began to use the*. press to arouse national consciousness among the people and to sharply criticise the reactionary policies of the Government., This turned the officials against the Indian press and they decided to curb its freedom. This was attempted by passing the Vernacular Press Act in 1878. This Act put serious restrictions on the freedom of the Indian language newspapers. Indian publjc opinion was now fully aroused and it protested loudly against the passage of this Act. This protest had immediate effect and the Act was repealed in 1882. For nearly 25 years thereafter the Indian press enjoyed considerable freedom. But the rise of the militant Swadeshi and Boycott movement after 1905 once again led to the enactment of repressive press faws in 1908 and ]910. Racial Antagonism The British in India had always held aloof from the Indians and felt 'themselves to be racially superior The Revolt of 1857 and the atrocities committed by both sides had further widened the gulf between the Indians and (he British who now began to openly assert the doctrine of racial supremacy and practise racial arrogance Railway compartments, waiting rooms at railway stations, parks, hotels, swimming pools, clubs clc . leserved for “Europeans only" were visible manifestations of this racialism The Indians fell humiliated. In (he words of Jnwahailnl Nchfu: Wc m India hive known racialism in all rts forms ever sincc the commencement of British rule The whole ideology of this rule was that of Harrenvolk and i he Master Race, and the

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structure of government was based upon it; indeed I he idea of a master rate is inherent in imperialism There was no subterfuge about it, it was proclaimed in unambiguous language by those in authority. More powerful than words was the practice that accompanied them, and generation after generation and year after year, India as a nation and Indians as individuals, were subjected to insult, humiliation and contemptuous treatment. The English were an Imperial Race, we were told, with the God-given right to govern ns and keep us In'subjectlon; if we protested we were reminded of the “tiger qualities of an imperial race‟.

EXERCISES 1. Discuss the important changes made in the administration of India after 1858 especially in the fields of constitutional change, provincial administration, local bodies, the army, and the public services. 2. What changes did British attitude undergo towards Indiaa unity, the educated Indians, the zamindars and princes, and social reforms after the Revolt of 1857? 3. Write short notes on: (a) The Imperial Legislative Council after 1861, (b) Backwardness of social services, (e) Factory lat>our legislation of 1881 and 1891, (d) Plantation labour,(e) Freedom of the Press.

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CH AP TER X

India And Her Neighbours

U

NDER British rule, India developed relations with its neighbours on a new basis. This was the result of two factors. The development of modern means of communication and the political and administrative consolidation of the country impelled the Government of India to reach out to the natural, geographical frontiers of India. This was essential both for. defence and for internal cohesion. Inevitably this tended to lead to some border clashes. Unfortunately, sometimes the Government of India went beyond the natural and traditional frontiers. The other new factor was the alien character of the Government of India. The foreign policy of a free country is basically different from the foreign policy of a country ruled by a foreign power. 'In the former case it is based on the needs and interests of the people of the country; in the latter, it serves primarily the interests of the ruling country. In India‟s case, the foreign policy that the Government of India followed was dictated by the British Government in London. The British Government had two major aims in Asia and Africa: protection of its invaluable Indian Empire and the expansion of British commerce and other economic interests in Africa and Asia. Both these aims led to British expansion and territorial conquests outside India‟s natural frontiers. Moreover, these aims brought the British Government into conflict with other imperialist nations of Europe who also wanted extension of their territorial possessions and commerce in Afro-Asian lands. In fact, the years between 1870 and 1914 witnessed an intense struggle between the European powers for colonies and markets in Africa and Asia. The developed capitalist countries of Europe and North America h»d a surplus of manufactured goods to sell and surplus capital to invest. They also needed agricultural and mineral raw materials to feed their industries. This led to intense commercial rivalry among European states. The governments of Europe were willing to promote their commercial interests even by the use of force against their rivals as well as against the country to be commercially penetrated. Moreover, political control of economically backward countries enabled an imperialist country to have secure markets for its goods and capital as well as souices of raw materials and to keep out its rival. Thus the different imperialist countries struggled to extend their control over different aieas oT ihc world. During this period, the continent of Africa was divided up among the European

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powers. Russia expanded both in Central Asia and East Asia. Germany, Britain and Russia competed for control over the decaying Ottoman Empice in Turkey, West Asia, and Iran. Franoe occupied Indo-China in the 1880‟s, and both Britain and France competed for control over Thailand and North Burma. Hawaii and Philippines were conquered by the United States of America in 1898, and Korea by Japan in 1905. From 1895 an intense competition for control over different parts of the Chinese Empire broke out among the powers. Britain, having secured the linn's share in the colonial division of the world, faced rivals on all sides. For example, at different periods, British aims and ambitions came into conflict with the aims and ambitions of France, Russia, and Germany. The desire to defend their Indian Empire, to promote British economic interests, and to keep the other European powers at arm's length from India often led the British Indian Government to commit aggression on India's neighbours. In other words, during the period of British domination India‟s relations with its neighbours were ultimately determined by the needs of British imperialism. But, while Indian foreign policy served British imperialism, the cost of ]ts implementation was borne by India. In pursuance -of British interests, India had to wage many wars againct its neighbours; the Indian soldiers had to shed their blood and the Indian taxpayers had to meet the heavy cost. Moreover, the Indian army was often used in Africa and Asia to fight Britain‟s battles. Consequently, military expenditure absorbed a large part of India‟s governmental expenditure. For example, more than half of India‟s revenues—nearly 52 per cent to be exact—was spent on the army in 1904. War with Nepal, 1814 The British desire to extend their Indian Empire to its natural geographical frontier brought them into conflict, first of all, with the northern Kingdom of Nepal. The Nepal valley had been conquered in 1768 by the Gurkhas, a Western Himalayan tribe. They had gradually built up a powerful army and extended their sway from Bhutan in the East to the river Sutlej in the Wfest. From the Nepal Tarai they now began to push southward. In the meanwhile, the British conqiired Gorakhpur in 1801. This brought the two expanding powers face to face across an ill-defined border. In October 1814 a border clash between the border police of the two countries led to open war. The British officials had expected an easy walk-over especially as their army attacked all along the 600 mile frontier. But the Gurkhas defended themselves with vigour and bravery. The British armies were defeated again and again. Charles Metcalfe, a senior British-Indian official, wrote at the time: Wc have met with an enemy who shows decidedly greater bravery and greater steadiness than our troops possess; and it is impossible to say what may be the end of such a reverse of the order of things. In some Instances our troops, European and Native, have been repulsed by inferior numbers with sticks and stones. In others our troops have been charged by the enemy sword in hand, and driven for miles like a flock of sheep________ In short, I, who have always thought our power in India precarious, cannot help thinking that our downfall has already commenced.

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MODERN INDIA Out power rested solely on our military superiority. With respect to one enemy, that Is gone.

In the long run, however, the Gurkhas could not survive. The British were far superior in men, money, and materials. In April 1815 they occupied Kumaon, and on 15th May they forced the brilliant Gurkha Commander Amar Singh Thapa to surrender. The Government of Nepal was now compelled to sue for peace But the negotiations for peace soon broke down. The Government of Nepal would not accept the British demand for the stationing of a Resident at Khatmandu, Nepal's capital. It realised fully well that to accept a subsidiary alliance with the British amounted to signing away Nepal's independence. Fighting was resumed early in 1816. The British forces won important victories and reached within 50 miles of Khatmandu. In„ the end, the Nepal Government had to make peace on British terms. It accepted a British Resident. It ceded the districts of Garhwal and Kumaon and abandoned claims to the Tafai areas. It also withdrew from Sikkim The agreement held many advantages for the British. Their Indian Empire now reached Ihe Himalayas. They gained greater facilities for trade with Central Asia. They also obtained sites for important hill-stations such as Simla, Mussoorie, and Nainilal. Moreover the Gurkhas gave added strength to the British-Indian army by joining it in large numbers. The relations of the British with Nepal were quite friendly thereafter. Both parties to the War of 1814 had learnt to respect each other‟s fighting capacity and preferred to live at peace with each other. Conquest of Banna Through three successive wars the independent kingdom of Burma was conquered by the British during the 19th century. The conflict between Burma and British India was initiated by border clashes. It was fanned by expansionist urges. The British merchants cast covetous glances on the forest resources of Burma and were keen to promote export of their manufactures among its people. The British authorities also wanted to

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MODERN INDIA

check ihe spread of French commercial and political influence in Burma and the

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rest of South-East Asia. The First Burmese War, 1824-26: Burma and British India developed a common frontier at the close of the 18th century when both were expanding powers. After centuries of internal strife, Burma was united by King Alaungpaya between 1752-60. His successor, Bodawpaya, ruling from Ava on the river Irrawaddi repeatedly invaded Siam, repelled many Chinese invasions, and conquered the border states of Arakan (1785) and Manipur (1813) bringing Burma‟s border up to that of British India. Continuing his westward expansion, he threatened Assam and the Brahmaputra Valley. Finally, in 1822, the Burmese conquered Assam. The Burmese occupation of Arakan and Assam led to continuous friction along the ill-defined border between Bengal and Burma. One of the sources of (his friction was provided by the Arakanese fugitives who had sought shelter in the Chittagong district. From here, they organised regular raids into Burmese-held Arakan. When defeated they would escape into British territory. The Burmese Government pressed ihe British authorities to take action against the insurgents and to hand them over to the Burmese authorities. Moreover, the Burmese forces, chasing the insurgents, would often cross into Indian territory. Clashes on the Chittagong-Ar&kan frontier came to a head over the possession of Shahpuri island in 1823 which was first occupied by the Burmese and then by the British. The Burmese proposal for neutralisation of the island was rejected by the British and tension between the two began to mount, Burmese occupation of Manipur and Assam provided another source of conflict between the two. It was looked upon by the British authorities as a serious threat to their position in India. To counter this threat they established British influence over the strategic border states of Cachar and Jaintia. The Burmese were angered by this action and marched their troops into Cachar. A clash between Burmese and British troops ensued, the Burmese being compelled to withdraw into Manipur. The British Indian authorities now seized this opportunity to declare war on Burma. For several decades they had been trying to persuade the Government of Burma to sign a commercial treaty with them and to exclude French traders from Burma. Nor were they happy to have a strong neighbour who constantly bragged of his strength. They believed that Burmese power should be broken as soon as possible, especially as they felt that British power was at the time far superior to that of the Burmese. The Burmese, on their part, did nothing to avoid war. The Burmese rulers had been long isolated from tbe world and did not correctly assess the strength of the enemy. They were also led to believe that an AngloBurmese war would lead many of the Indian powers to rebel. The war was officially declared on 24 February 1824. After an initial set-back, the British forces drove the Burmese out of Assam, Cachar, Manipur and Arakan. The British expeditionary forces by sea occupied Rangoon in May 1824 and reached within 45 miles of the capital at Ava. The famous Burmese General Maha Bandula was killed in April 1825. But Burmese resistance was tough and

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determined. Especially effective was guerrilla warfare in the jungles. The rainy climate and virulent diseases added to the cruelty of the war. Fever and dysentry killed more people than the war. In Rangoon 3,160 died in hospitals and 166 on the battlefield. In all the British lost 15,000 soldiers out of the 40,000 they had landed in Burma. Moreover, the war was proving financially extremely costly. Thus the British, who were winning the war, as well as the Burmese, who were losing it, were glad to make peace which came in February 1826 with the Treaty of Yandabo. The Government of Burma agreed; (I) to pay one crore rupees as war compensation; (2) t cede its coastal provinces of Arakan and Tenasserim; (3) to abandon all claims to Assam, Cachar, and Jaintia; (4) to recognise Manipur as an independent state; (5) to negotiate a commercial treaty with Britain; (6) and to accept a British Resident at Ava while posting a Burmese envoy at Calcutta. By this treaty the British deprived Burma of most of its coastline, and acquired a firm base in Burma for future expansion. The Second Burmese War, 1852: If the First Burmese War was in part the result of border clashes, the Second Burmese War which broke out in 1852 was almost wholly the result of British commercial greed. British timber firms had begun to take interest in the timber resources of Upper Burma. Moreover, the large population of Burma appeared to the British to be a vast market for the sale of British cotton goods and other manufactures. The British, already in occupation of Burma's two coastal provinces, now wanted to establish commercial relations with the rest of the country, but, the Burmese Government would not permit further foreign commercial penetration. British merchants now began to complain of “lack of facilities for trade” and of “oppressive treatment" by the Burmese authorities at Rangoon. The fact of the matter was that British imperialism was at its zenith and the British believed themselves to'be a superior people. British merchants had begun to believe that they had a divine right to force their trade upon others. At this time the aggressive Lord Dalhousie became the Governor-General of India. He was determined to heighten British imperial prestige and to push British interests in Burma. “The Government of India”, he wrote in a minute, “could never, consistently with its own safety, permit itself to stand for a single day in m attitude of inferiority towards a native power, and least of all towards the Court of Ava.” As an excuse for armed intervention in Burma, Dalhousie took up the frivolous and petty complaint of two British seacaptains that the Governor of Rangoon had extorted nearly 1,000 rupees from them. In November 1851 he sent an envoy, accompanied by several ships of war, to Rangoon to demand compensation for the two British merchants. The British envoy, Commodore Lambert, behaved in an aggressive and unwarranted manner. On reaching Rangoon he demanded the removal of the Governor of Rangoon before he would agree to negotiate. The Court at Ava was frightened by the show of British strength and agreed to recall the Governor of Rangoon and to investigate British complaints. But the haughty British envoy was determined to provoke a conflict. He started a blockade of Rangoon and attacked and destroyed

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over 150 small ships in tKe port. The Burmese Government agreed to accept a British Resident at Rangoon and to pay the full compensi tion demanded by the British. The Government of India now turned on the screw and pushed up their demands to an exorbitant level. Titey demanded the recall of the new Governor of Rangoon and also a full apology for alleged insults to their envoy,' Such demands could hardly be accepted by an independent government. Obviously, the British desired to strengthen their hold over Burma by peace or by war before their trade competitors, the French or the Americans, could establish themselves there. A full British expedition was despatched to Burma in April 1852. This time the war was much shorter than in 1825-26 and the British victory was more decisive. Rangoon was immediately captured and then other important towns—Bassein, Pegu, Prome fell to the British. Burma was at this time undergoing a struggle for„power. The Burmese King, Mindon, who had deposed his half-brother, King Pagan Min, in a struggle for >jower in February 1853, was hardly in a position to fight the British; at the same time he could not openly agree to surrender Burmese territory. Consequently, there were no official negotiations for peace and the war ended without a treaty. The British annexed Pegu, the only remaining coastal province of Burma. There was, however, a great deal of popular guerrilla resistance for three years before Lower Burma was brought under effective control. The British now controlled the whole of Burma‟s coastline and its entire sea-trade. The brunt of lighting the war was borne by Indian soldiers and its expense was wholly met from Indian revenues. The Third Burmese War, 1885; Relations between Burma and Britain remained peaceful for several years after the annexation of Pegu. The British, of course, continued their efforts to open up Upper Burma. In particular, the British merchants and industrialists were attracted by the possibility of trade with China through Burma. There was vigorous agitation in Britain and Rangoon for opening the land route to Western China. Finally, Burma was persuaded in 1862 to sign a commercial treaty by which British merchants were permitted to settle in any part of Burma and to take their vessels up the Irrawaddy river to China. But this did not satisfy the British merchants, for the Burmese king retained the traditional royal monopoly of trade in many articles such as cotton, wheat, and ivory. These merchants were impatient of restrictions on their trade and profits and began to press for stronger action against the Burmese Government. Many of them even demanded British conquest of Upper Burma. The king was finally persuaded to abolish, all monopolies in February 1882. There are many other political and economic questions over which the Burmese king and the British Government clashed. The British Government humiliated the king in 1871 by annoucing that relations with him would be conducted through the Viceroy of India as if he were merely a ruler of one of

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the Indian states. Another source of friction was the attempt by the king to develop friendly relations with other European powers In 1873 a Burmese mission visited France and tried to negotiate a commercial treaty which would also enable Burma to import modern arms, but later under British pressure the French Government refused to ratify the treaty. King Mindon died in 1878 and was succeeded by King Thibaw. The British gave shelter to rival princes and openly interfered in Burma's internal affairs under the garb of preventing the alleged cruelties of King Thibaw. The British thus claimed that they had the right to protect the citizens of Upper Burma from tbeir own king. What really annoyed the British was Thibaw‟s desire to pursue his father‟s policy of developing commercial and political relations with France. In 1885 he signed a purely commercial treaty with France providing for trade. The British were intensely jealous of the growing French influence in Burma. The British merchants feared tbat the rich Burmese market would be captured by their French and American rivals. The British officials felt that an alliance with France might enable the king of Upper Burma to escape British tutelage or might even lead to the j founding oi a French dominion in Burma and so endanger the safety of their Indian Empire. Moreover, the French had already emerged as a major rival of Britain jn South-East Asia. In 1883, they had seized Annam (Central Vietnam), thus laying the foundation of their colony of Iado- China. They were pushjng actively towards North Vietnam, which they conquered between 1885 and 1889, and in the west towards Thailand and Burma. The chambers of commerce in Britain and the British merchants in Rangoon now pressed the wilting British Government for the immediate annexation of Upper Burma. Only a pretext for war was needed. Tim was provided by the Bombay-Burma Trading Corporation.

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