British Expansion in India
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British Expansion in India
Q1. Do you subscribe to the view that the Anglo-French tussle in Carnatic demonstrated the internal decay of the provincial chieftains of South India? (2019)
Ans. The Anglo- French conflicts in the Deccan and South India often coincide with the conflicts between the Native States and allowed the European powers to acquire considerable political influence and trading privileges. This was essentially in line with the mercantilist policy which advocated elimination of competition both as buyers and sellers.
The French and English supported the rivals and hoped to extract concessions, which could further their ambition in India. In these conflicts, it became clear how the disciplined and Europeanized army could easily defeat a far greater native force and Europeans were quick to realize their political ambitions in India.
However, the Carnatic Wars were largely a product of conflicts in Europe. The First and Third Carnatic Wars led to the opening up of hostilities on the Indian soil due to the Austrian War ofSuccession and the Seven Years' War respectively and ended as these conflicts were resolved. Only the second Carnatic War can be considered as an outcome of internal decay of the Carnatic State, which provided both the European Companies an opportunity toplac their respective candidates on the throne.
Thus, the Anglo-French tussle in the Carnatic was a mulative result of internal decay of the Native States as well as Continental contacts in Europe.
Q2. "Tipu Sultan was trying to build in Mysore a strong centralised and militarised state, with ambitious territorial designs." Critically examine. (2019)
Ans. Tipu Sultan succeeded Haider Ali as the ruler of Mysore midway in the Second Anglo-Mysore War and displayed the same valour and determination as his father. He ended the nominal rule of the Wadiyar Dynasty and centralized control under himself. He was aware of the global developments and even became a member of the Jacobin Club of France.
He believed the French to be more reliable than the English for his project to modernize Mysore and this proximity with the French made the English suspicious of him. Mysore occupied a strategic position in South India and controlled the lucrative Malabar State.
Further, he tried to exclude the British from this trade in 1788 and transformed the Mysore army to bring it at par with the British and Sikh armies, the most disciplined in Asia. Even the young British officers like Munro and Read were quick to recognize a similar desire for hegemony in South India like that of the British Company and so it was assessed that unless crushed, Mysore would continue to threaten the British territories and interests and possibly even facilitate a French invasion.
Thus, the Third and Fourth Anglo-MysoreWars were inevitable since the balance of power could not be maintained in South India as long as Mysore was strong, centralized and militarized.
Q3. Underline the major considerations of the British imperial power that led to the annexation of Punjab. (2017)
Ans. The British maintained friendly relations with Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who had established Punjab as a dominant force in the Indian subcontinent. After his death, however, several developments took place that led to the annexation of Punjab.
During the first half of the 19th century, the British officials in India began to be influenced by Neo-Victorian Imperialism.The imperial expansion was justified as white man's burden to civilize and enlighten the awkward communities. Therefore, talks about the annexation of Punjab began soon after the death of Ranjit Singh. Another concern that had led to the annexation of Pun ab was the threat of a possible invasion by Russia or Persia.
Also, the Sikh alsa army had tripled since the death of Ranjit Singh and there was a threat of invasion by the Khalsa army as well in order to divert their energy away from th Sikh polity. Thus, the annexation of Punjab was also important to safeguard British India. The desire of the Companyto secure the scientific frontier as a part of their broader North-West Frontier policy also required the annexation of njab to secure control over mountain passes and Kabul-Ghazni-Kandahar axis.
Lastly, Punjab was a fertile and rich province and thus its economic benefits were also a factor that led to its conquest. Despite these factors, the annexation finally took place only under Lord Dalhousie, who followed the expansionist principle of annexing territories wherever it was legitimate to do so.
Thus, the annexation of Punjab was driven by these diverse considerations.
Q4. "The Maratha Polity disintegrated through internal stress." Critically examine (2017)
Ans. The disintegration of the Maratha Empire was a result of several internal disadvantages. The Maratha Kingdom was a loosely held confederacy of Sardars that required a strong central leadership of Peshwa to function effectively.
However, under the weak Peshwas, the Maratha Sardars began to usurp power leading to internal fights and conflicts. The Maratha army also failed to keep up with the modern military developments and suffered because of a divided chain of command (Holkar's forces did not join the forces of Sindhia and Bhonsle during the Second Anglo- Maratha war). Also,the Marathas paid little attention towards administration and failed to create an organic unity in their kingdom.
Moreover,the Maratha failure to develop a stable economic system and promote industries and trade also played a role in their ultimate defeat. However, their decline was also influenced by external factors. The British were able to defeat Mysore and bring Nizam under their protection, thus, diplomatically isolating the Marathas in Carnatic.
The Treaty of Bassein allowed the British to exert influence in the M ratha affairs, thus creating resentment against the Peshwa for the loss of Martha autonomy. This prevented the Marathas from putting a united front against the British until it was too late.
Lastly,superior industrial resources and progressiv outlook the British allowed them to overpower the Maratha might.
Q5. "Annexation of Punjab was part of a broad north-west frontier policy set in motion after the exit of Maharaja Ranjit Singh." Critically examine (2015)
Ans. The first half of the 19th Century saw the nascent British Empire in India facing the repeated threat of invasions from the North- West. The threat of Napoleonic invasion, followed by the threat of Russian Persian invasions made it imperative for the Company officials to secure the scientific frontier in the North- West (Kabul- Ghazni-Qandaha axis). It was these circumstances that led to the First Anglo-Afghan War Sindh.
Punjab had emerged as a formidable force in the Indian Subcontinent, hence the British were not able to make any inroads in Punjab during the reign of Maharaja. Ranjit Singh. However,with his death in 1839,several British officials,driven by Neo-Victorian Imperialism, began to advocate for the annexation of Punjab.
With the arrival of Lord Dalhousie as Governor-General and his policy of annexation wherever justified, it was only a matter of time that Punjab was annexed. However, it cannot be said that the annexation of Punjab was only part of a broader plan, the developments in Punjab also guided the British annexation of Punjab.
The Khalsa army, which had grown threefold in size began to playa greater role in State policy.This was a result ofpolitical instability due to weak, incompetent rulers and factional infighting among Sikh Sardars that made them dependent on the Khalsa army to retain power. In such a scenario, the threat of an invasion by the Sikh forces was also a factor that made the British conquest of Punjab desirable. Also, Punjab was not annexed after the First Anglo- Sikh War, which shows that there was no absolute policy to annex Punjab.
Only when political instability in Punjab became a threat to British India, when the Governor of Multan Mulraj allied with Zaman Shah of Afghanistan, only then Punjab was annexed. Thus, though Punjab was crucial to secure the scientific frontier in the North -West, the annexation of Punjab was largely a consequence of instability prevailing in Punjab at first that could have threatened British India.
Q6. "Punjab's fate after Ranjit Singh was foredoomed as the impulse of Neo-Victorian Imperialism was bound to overwhelm it." Elucidate. (2010)
Ans. The State of Punjab founded under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, rose to become a prominent force in the Indian Subcontinent in the 19th century. Realizing the power of Ranjit Singh, the British decided to respect his sovereignty and forge friendly ties with him. However, with the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839, the intrinsic flaws of the Sikh Empire were left exposed to the waves of Neo-Victorian Imperialism.
Ranjit Singh had forged the Sikh Empire by noting the Sikh Misls (factions) of Punjab under a central leadership. With his death, the factional intrigues and conflicts of Sikh Sardars reappeared. The problem was further aggravated by a series of in competent rulers that ruled in quick succession after Ranjit Singh.
In addition, the center of power shifted towards the Sikh Khalsa army, which had tripled in size after the death of Ranjit Singh, and became organized into Advisory Councils (Panchayats) that came to determine the course of Sikh Empire.
As a result, after Ranjit Singh, the Sikh Empire entered a phase of political turmoil, where rival factions tried to buy the support of the army in order to place their candidate amongst rival claimants on the throne. The British, meanwhile, sensed an opportunity in 11 this chaos. The drive ofNeoVictorian Imperialism justified the acquisition of territories as part of the white man's burden to modernize the backward communities. The policy of territorial expansion got further streamlined under Lord Dalhousie, who followed the principle of annexing terri tori whenever he could do so, legitimately. Lastly, control over the passes of North- West was crucial for the defence of the British Indian Empire against the possible Russian .
Thus, the British urge for imperial expansion was officially restricted in the case of Punjab as long as Maharaja Ranjit Singh was ruling. After his death, political instability provided legitimacy to their in the first Anglo- Sikh war and was ultimately a Anglo- Sikh war.
Q7. How did the East India Company become the de-jure power in India? (2009)
Ans. The East India Company that came to India as a commercial entity, was able to emerge as the de-jure power in India within a century of its victory at the Battle of Plassey. In the beginning, the British desired only to establish a sponsored Indian State that was controlled but not administered by them. However, post-Buxar, the Company began to assume political power as well to secure its commercial interests.
In the second half of the 18 century, the British conquests were a result of political instability in Carnatic, due to incessant warfare between the Nizam, Mysore and Marathas. The British made use of their internal discord, and initially overcame Mysore by allying with the Marathas and Nizam and later annexing the Maratha territories in the Second and Third Anglo- Maratha war. In the North, Awadh became a buffer state for the British and was ultimately annexed in 1856.
In the first half of the 19th century, the British began to rely on treaties and legalities to extend their territories. The Subsidiary Alliance System that evolved in the 18th century made the native rulers dependent on the British forces for their defence and surrendered their external sovereignty in return. The evolving understanding of the term 'Paramountcy' and constructive interpretation of treaties allowed the British to encroach upon internal sovereignty and affairs of the Native States as well through the office of a British Resident.
The 'Gaddi' to the state was no longer considered to be the right of the ruler and was now considered to be a gift from the paramount power. With Company's commercial functions being abolished after the Charter Act of 1833,the acquisition of territories became the source of revenue and the Court of Directors laid out a policy of territorial expansion in 1834. In pursuit of paramount power, the Company held that the succession of adopted heirs required British approval.
This Doctrine of Lapse used liberally by Lord Dalhousie, allowed the British to annex territories of numerous states, extending the empire in all directions. Thus, the British emerged as de- jure allies of India through a combination of conquests, treaties and treachery
Q8. Why was Mysore considered a threat by the British to the possessions and mercantile interests in the South? Do You think tha Tipu Sultan's posturing became his undoing? (2009)
Ans. The British were an alien force in the Indian Subcontinent, and so their mercantile and territorial interests needed to be safeguarded by maintaining a delicate balance of power between the Indian States.
In such circumstances, the meteoric rise of the Mysore State presented a threat to British interests in India. Within the course of a few years, the Mysore Kingdom stretched from Krishna in the North to Malabar in the West, bordering territories of Nizam and Marathas. In addition, Haider Ali's growing proximity to the French also made the British suspicious of his intentions. Lastly, Mysore had made great progress in the modernization of its army and thus, was well equipped to resist the British encroachment on its sovereignty.
Thus, the British could never have felt secure as long as there was a strong state of Mysore in the Carnatic. Tipu Sultan's posturing further aggravated the already piling trust between the two powers. His control over the Malabar Coast and an embargo on the export of pepper, cardamom and sandalwood in 1785,followed by a ban on dealing with English traders, directly harmed the British trading interests.
Even after the defeat in the Third Anglo- Mysore war, Tipu Sultan was adamant to resist the British advances and was actively pursuing his goal to develop a strong navy. His steps, thus, were a measure to maintain his sovereignty which was unacceptable to the British, eventually leading to the fall of Mysore in the" Fourth Anglo- Mysore war.
Q9. Examine The circumstances which led to the Third Mysore War. Could Cornwallis Have Avoided It? (2006)
Ans. The intervening period between the Second and Third Anglo- Mysore war saw developments that would have inevitably led to war. The British used the Peace Treaty of Mangalore as a time to recover and prepare for another offensive. They had managed to secure the cooperation of the Nizam and Marathas against Mysore fanning their suspicions about Tipu Sultan and promise of territorial gains.
Thus, Tipu Sultan was badly cornered in Carnatic and desperately tried to seek assistance from the Ottoman Turks and France. These alliances and developments, therefore, point towards Cornwallis' desire to overcome the still powerful Mysore Kingdom that was favorably disposed towards the Colonial rivals of the British, the French.
The British, thus, were waiting for an excuse to declare war on Mysore, and that opportunity presented itself in 1790. The Raja of Travancore purchased Jaikottai and Cranganore from the Dutch in Cochin State, which Tipu Sultan claimed was its tributary state. This purchase was thus considered as a violation of Tipu Sultan's sovereignty and hence, he declared war on Raja of Travancore. Sensing the opportunity, the British sided with Travancore and declared war on Tipu Sultan.
The Tripartite Alliance of the Nizam, Marathas and British Proved to be insurmountable for Tipu Sultan, who was besieged in Srirangapatna and forced to sign the Treaty of Srirangapatnam. Nearly half of the Mysorean territory was annexed by the allies and Tipu Sultan was forced to pay war indemnity as well.
Thus, the Third Anglo- Mysore war was a deliberate conflict started by the British to weaken Mysore. Tipu Sultan had not attacked any of the allies and their intervention was the main cause of the war.
Thus, Cornwallis could have avoided the war, but he was eager to accomplish his goals in Mysore and thus chose to support the ruler of Travancore against Tipu Sultan.
Q10. Examine the essential principles of the Subsidiary Alliance System . How far did it contribute to making the British Company the supreme sovereign authority in India? (2005)
Ans. The origin of the Subsidiary Alliance System can be traced to Dupleix, lending European troops to the Indian rulers. This practice evolved continuously and reached its climax under Lord Wellesley. The essential features of the system were;
- The Native State had to pay for the maintenance of a British co for the defence of their territory.
- They had to surrender their external affairs to British control.
- They could not employ Europeans without consulting the British .
- They had accepted a British Resident at their courts.
- The Company was not to interfere in the internal affairs of a State against any external or internal threat.
- The Subsidiary Alliance System played a major role in making the paramount power over India.
- It allowed the British to maintain a large and strategically positioned military force at the expense of the Native tates.
- It also disarmed the Native States, thus securing the British against any backlash. So, they were able to secure a series of frontier buffer States that secured the British territories from direct invasions.
- The surrender of external sovereignty by the native rulers allowed emerge as the chief arbitrator in the case of inter-state disputes. Also, the Company's approval for employing Europeans allowed the British 0 prevent the spread of influence of other colonial powers like the French, Portu native courts.
- Through the British Resident, the British began to encroach upon the internal sovereignty of the rulers as well.The Resident, thus, transformed from a diplomatic agent to executive and controlling officer and decided upon the issue of succession as well.
Lastly, in case of non-payment of dues for the maintenance of the British auxiliary force, parts of Indian States were annexed as compensation. For example, Berar was annexed by the Nizam in 1853.
Thus, the Subsidiary Alliance deepened the roots of the British Empire in India, securing useful allies for them, as well as a source of revenue , ultimately enabling the British to emerge as paramount power over India.
Q11. 'The Treaty of Salbai (1782) was neither honourable to the English nor advantageous to their interests.' Comment (2004)
Ans. The Treaty of Salbai (1782) was signed after Warren Hastings rejected the humiliating Treaty of Wadgaon and revived the struggle against the Marathas. As opposed to restoring territories taken from the Marathas since 1775,this treaty required restoration of territories taken after 1776 only. But apart from this, the treaty offered little gains to the British. It secured Peshwa's neutrality towards other European Nations and affirmed the English trade privileges as before. On the other hand, they had to restore all territories of Gaekwad taken during the war and withdraw support from Raghunath Rao, their Peshwa candidate.
Lastly, it guaranteed peace for 20 years between the Marathas and e British and thus, foiled the British attempts to gain influence in the Maratha almost all pre-war claims of the British were rejected and the Maratha remained intact.
Hence, the treaty was neither honorable nor advantageous for the British cause
Q12. 'The rise and expansion of the British Empire was an accident rather than the result of a deliberate policy and design.' critically examine this statement. (2002)
Ans. Some Apologists for British Imperialism try to defend the British colonial conquests as a result of circumstances and chance rather than a deliberate policy of conquest. They argue that the British East India Company was predominantly a commercial entity which had no ambition of territorial conquests in india.
The Company's army was maintained to defend its commercial outposts and factories and was numerically inferior to the native armies. The wars waged by the Company are justified as necessary in order to protect the commercial interests of the British. Ultimately, they lame the aggression and mal- administration by the native rulers that forced the British to annex territories and defend allies against other rulers.
This claim of accidental conquests may be reasonable for initial conquests, as accepted by Robert Clive himself, aimed at establishing a sponsored Indian State, controlled but not administered by them. However after the Battle of Buxar (1764),the British began a policy of conquest that was very much deliberate and guided by the principle ofBritish Imperialism. Ideological groups like Evangelicals, free traders, etc back in England justified the conquests in India as part of the civilizing mission of Englishmen. Governor - Generals like Lord Wellesley, Lord Dalhousie, etc undertook a well directed programme of conquests through wars or treaties in order to expand the British Empire.
After the Charter Act of 1833, which ended the Company's commercial function in India, the conquest of territories became the major source of revenue for them. In 1834 itself, the Court of Directors had laid down a well-directed policy of annexation, which was affirmed again in 1841. So, after Buxar we can see a deliberate and well-directed pursuit of imperial conquests in India. Lastly, this claim of accidental conquest is also questioned in view of colonial conquests in Africa, the Americas and other parts of the world that the British Empire came to occupy eventually.
Thus, though the initial British conquests may be termed as accidental, the later conquests were a result of a well-directed imperialist policy.
Q13. 'Dalhousie changed the map of India with speed and thoroughness no campaign could equal.'Comment (2001)
Ans. With the arrival of Lord Hastings, the British adopted a policy of isolation and non-interference in the affairs ofIndian States as long as the British Paramountcy was acknowledged. Under Lord Dalhousie,however, the British imperial expansion revived with great vigour.While his predecessors preferred to avoid annexation as long as it could be avoided, Lord Dalhousie acted on the principle of annexing if he could do so legitimately. His tenure was therefore marked by the annexation of numerous States through conquests, or application of Doctrine of Lapse or on grounds of awmmStrauve Issues,
The Second Anglo- Sikh war erupted due to the rebellion of Mulraj, the Governor of Multan who allied with Dost Mohammad. Although as per the Treaty of Bhairowal, the British Resident, who was the trustee of Maharaja Dileep Singh, was responsible for any disturbances, yet Dalhousie annexed Punjab, blaming political instability.
Similarly, the Second Burma war also ended in the annexation of Pegu, although the cause of the war was a commercial dispute. Even the arts of Sikkim, including Darjeeling, were annexed on the charge of mistreatment of English Doctors.
The doctrine of Lapse was laid down by the Court 0 Directors in 1834. Lord Dalhousie simply decided to apply it uniformly to acqui e territories or sources of revenue in a just manner. As per the Mughal customs ,the subordinate rulers/ heirs received the 'Gaddi' not as a matter of right but as a gift from the paramount power.
The custom of adopting heirs, however, was co conditional to the approval of the paramount power. Application of this policy, States like Satara (1848), (1849), Udaipur 1(1852), Jhansi (1853), etc were annexed in the aggressive itpur and Sambalpur .
Lastly, few States were also annexed over administrative grounds. Berar was annexed in 1853 due to Nizam's failure to pay for British forces stationed at Hyderabad. Awadh was annexed on grounds of mal- ad inistration and Nawab WajidAli Shah was pensioned off to Calcutta.
Thus, in his pursuit of imperial expansion, Dalhousie c with unparalleled speed and thoroughness.
Q14. The British "fought the First Maratha War in a period when their fortunes were at the lowest ebb". Comment. (1998)
Ans. The first Anglo- Maratha war took place at the time when the British colonial empire was facing numerous challenges. The growing power of the Company in Carnatic had made the native rulers apprehensive of the British ambitions.
Haider Ali, the de- facto ruler of Mysore, who had humiliated the British in the first Anglo-Mysore War, had formed a formidable alliance with the Marathas and Nizam to oust the British from the Carnatic. The Marathas themselves were united firmly behind the infant Peshwa Sawai Madhav Rao and led by Nana Phadnavis, proved to be an insurmountable challenge for the British.
The British themselves were divided over supporting Raghunath Rao, with the Bombay Government signing the Treaty of Surat with him while on the other hand, the Calcutta Council rejected this and signed the Treaty of Purandar with the Maratha Regency Council renouncing Raghunath Rao.
Lastly, the British colonial empire was also being challenged in North America where the American colonies were waging a war for Independence. The French presence in North America as well as in Carnatic was also a matter of concern for the British and thus, these were the challenging circumstances during which the British fought the First Anglo-Maratha war.
Q15. 'The British conquered India in a fit of absent-min (1997)
Ans. Some Apologists for British Colonialism defend the contest of India as an event that occurred without any conscious thought or effort by the British. They justify the numerous battles with the Native St tes as an unavoidable measure, necessary to safeguard the British interest. They opine that the British interests were predominantly only commercial and it was the aggression and maladministration on the part of Native States that forced the British Company to acquire territories in India and defend them against other States eventually leading to the conquest of India.
Initially, though this may have been true, but in the later stage, there was a direct policy of annexation followed by the British. Governor Generals like Lord Wellesley, William Bentinck and Lord Dalhousie left no opportunity to extend the British territories and tried to justify these conquests morally, by pointing towards the native rulers. In 1834 itself, the Court of Directors had approved a definite directed policy of annexation which was reaffirmed in 1841.
Thus, more often, not the British used commercial and administrative disputes as an excuse to declare war and annex the territories.
Q16. 'The British policy towards the Indian States in 1818'' 1858,was one of isolation and non-interference tempered by annexation.'Comment.(1996)
Ans. With the arrival of Lord Hastings as the Governor-General, the British policy with regard to the Indian States moved towards that of subordinate isolation. The developingTheory ofParamountcy implied that the British Government should be paramount in effect, if not explicitly paramount.
The Native States which entered the Company's protection surrendered their external sovereignty while retaining the internal sovereignty, thus, acknowledging the supremacy of the British Government.
As long as the Native States acknowledged their subordination, their internal sovereignty and non- interference was guaranteed .However, post- Hastings, the British interference in internal affairs of the State began to increase through the office of the Resident. The Court ofDirectors also proved the annexation of any territory or source of revenue, after the Company' Commercialfunctions ended in 1833. The interference and intrigues by the Resident gravated mal- governance, which became a valid basis for annexation.
Also , the British Government reserved the right to award the Gaddi to heirs, which led to the evolution of Doctrine ofLapse that justified the annexation of State in the absence of natural heirs.
Thus, despite following a broad policy of non-interference and isolation,the British annexed the States of Mysore, Nagpur, Satara, etc on the above mentioned grounds.
Q17. 'The verdict of Plassey was confirmed by the English victory at Buxar.' Comment. (1996) (2002)
Ans. The British victory at Plassey allowed them to establish a sponsored Indian State that was controlled but not administered by them. They placed Mir Jaffar as their puppet Nawab of Bengal, in return for a large sum of money, extensive trading privileges and the zamindari of 24 Parganas.
However,the extent of British control remained ambiguous. The misuse of trading privileges and dastaks, coupled with excessive demands of the British led to severe pressure over the finances ofBengal.
Mir Jaffar tried to assert his sovereignty and throw off the British yoke, but failed to do so and was replaced in turn by Mir Qasim. Mir Qasim also came to resent the misuse of trading privileges and excessive demands and interference by the British, and thus decided to form a Tripartite Alliance with Shuja- ud- Daulah of Awadh and Shah Alam II.
The following Battle of Buxar ended in the British victory that settled the ambiguity over the sovereignty of Bengal. The British gained Diwani Rights for Bengal, Odisha and Bihar through the Treaty of Allahabad with Shah Alam II. While they exercised control over the Nizamat function through their right to nominate and dismiss the Naib Nazim, the Nawab remained formally responsible for Nizamat functions.
Thus, the power and control of Nawab over Bengal ended. Hence, it is rightly said that the verdict of Plassey was confirmed by the English victory at Buxar.
Q18. 'The British conquest of Sindh was both a political and moral sequel to the First Afghan war.' Comment. (1995)
Ans. Some historians justify the conquest ofSindh by Charlie Napier as a sequel to the First Afghan war. The potential threat of Russian invasion from the North West became aggravated with the British defeat at the hands of Afghans, Thus, the unattractive and barren land ofSindh assumed a great importance for the British as a strategic defensive barrier against the Russian invasion.
However, the British had been pursuing their interests aggressively even before the Anglo-Afghanwar. Multiple treaties were signed to secure economic privileges like the use of Indus Waterway and the use of Sindh as a base for operations against Afghanistan.
The proposed treaty after the first Anglo-Afghan war also indicated the British desire for greater control, as it sought important provinces, el for the Company's ships on Indus and right to mint coins. Most importantly, the alleged threat of invasion had ended even before the First Anglo-Afghan war. Persia had lifted the siege of Herat and Russia had recalled its envoys from Kabul. Sir Charles Napier, who acknowledged that they had no right to seize Sindh, and his persistent quest for war to justi the annexation of Sindh,
thus played a greater role than the alleged betrayal of irs of Sindh and threat of invasion from the North- West in the British conquest ofSindh.
Q19. Explain The British policy of 'Subordinate Union' of IndianStates with British India from 1858 to 1905. How did the Government of India implement this policy during this period? (1993)
Ans. The Queen's Proclamation of 1858 marked the beginning of the rule of the British Crown and ended the Company's Rule. In view of the support and utility of Native States in the suppression of the Revolt of 1857, the British realized their importance as potential allies and breakwaters for future political unrest.
The British therefore ended their old policies of annexation and isolation and moved towards the policy of the Subordinate Union of Indian States with British India. Though the territories of native rulers were not to be annexed, the inheritance to 'Gaddi' no longer remained a right and became a gift from the paramount power. The illusion of sovereignty of the native Princes was further shattered when Queen Victoria assumed the title of Kaiser-i-Hind (Empress ofIndia). Through the use of constructive interpretation of old treaties, the principles of paramountcy were extended beyond even the most liberal assumptions.
The British Crown, through the Government of India, exercised the right to interfere in the internal sphere of the Native States in the interest of the Princes, subjects, British interests or interest ofIndia as a whole.
Therefore, several rulers were deposed in the period between 1858- 1905 on grounds of bad governance like in Baroda (1875), Kashmir (1884), Manipur (1891), Kalet (1892). Their internal sovereignty was also undermined as a result of pan India developments.
The rulers were required to aid economic welfare schemes for the whole of India, cede land and jurisdiction for the expansion of railways, telegraph, irrigation land, etc, and assist British India's military effort. The tendency of encroachment on the sovereignty of the Native States further intensified under Lord Curzon, who adopted the policy of patronage and intrusive surveillance. Native rulers were integrated into the Indian poli cal system as instruments of serving their subjects on behalf of the Government of India. In addition, Lord Curzon imposed restrictions on their foreign tours and defined their relationship with the Crown as one that developed under differing historic conditions but gradually conformed to a uniform type with time.
Thus, by 1905, the Indian States became equally dependent on the British Government, irrespective of terms of the original treaty and an integral unit of the Indian political system subordinate to the British crown.
Q20. How did the British establish their control over Maharashtra of the first two decades of the 19th century? Why did the Maratha challenge ultimately collapse? (1994)
Ans. The second half of the 18th century saw the resurgence of Marath s and the rise of British Company as possible contenders for pan India dominion. The First Anglo-Maratha war ended in a stalemate, with the Treaty of Slab . guaranteeing 20 years of peace between the two sides. However,with the arrival ofLord Wellesley as the Governor-General in 1798,the imperialistic ambition of the Company received a renewed thrust
In addition, the Maratha Confederacy entered a stage of political turmoil, with the murder of Vithuji, Jaswant Rao Holkar's brother and his subsequent ouste of Peshwa Baji Rao II, further suited the British designs. The ousted Peshwa signed the Treaty of Bassein that shifted the balance of power in the favour of the British. The Company was able to station a force at Poona, at the expense of the Marathas. They also gained control over Maratha's external relations with other rulers and were responsible for arbi ration between the Peshwa and Nizam or Gaekwad.
This apparent loss ofthe Ma atha autonomy was resented by other Maratha Chiefs that led to the Second anglo - Maratha war, in which the British emerged victorious decisively. Separate treaties were concluded with the Maratha Chiefsthat secured British territory from Maratha assault.
Towards the end of the second decade of the 13th century, the resentment at the loss of autonomy and British action against Pindaris, which was considered as a violation of Maratha sovereignty led to the Third Anglo - Mara ha war. Peshwa Baji Rao II tried to unite the Maratha Chiefs, but the Maratha were considered weakened by then and were easily defeated by the British quest for political supremacy over India.
Q21. 'The Treaty of Bassein, by its direct and indirect operations, gave the Company the Empire of India.' Comment. (1993)
Ans. The balance of power between the British and the Marathas shifted decisively in the favor of the former with the Treaty of Bassein. The treaty allowed the Company to maintain and station a force in Poona at the expense of the Marathas.
It prevented the Peshwa from employing hostile European nationals at their court and surrender their external relation to the British control. The Peshwa gave up all claims on Nizam's territory and accepted the British as arbitrator in disputes with Nizam or Gaekwad.
By its indirect operation, the State of Hyderabad now came under British control totally. Also,the surrender of Maratha autonomy was unacceptable to the Maratha Chiefs like Scindhia, Bhonsle and Holkars. The conflicts that followed among these Maratha Chiefs and the British ended in the victory of the latter, who was able to secure their dominions from these chiefs under separately concluded treaties.
Q22. 'This Anglo-Maratha War covering nearly nine years from he murder of Narayan Rao to the Treaty of Salbai emphatically discloses the vitality of the Maratha nation which had not been exhausted either by disaster of Panipat or the death of their great Peshwa Madhavrao.'Comment (1991)
Ans. In the preceding two decades of the First Anglo - Maratha wa mighty Maratha Empire suffered two major blows in their pursuit in the Indian Subcontinent. The first blow was that of defeat in the Battle of Panipat at the Shah Abdali.
The Marathas lost most of their experienced military leaders and 75000 of their troops. This was a blow to the Maratha prestige, which further suffered due to the sudden demise ofPeshwa Balaji Baji Rao a fe The Marathas did manage to recover under the able leadership of Rao,but his death in 1772left the position of Peshwa and ofMara a confederacy vulnerable.
The matter was further aggravated by the assas ination of his successor,Narayan Rao.Thus, the Maratha prestige and power had suffered severe blows on the eve of the First Anglo-Maratha war.
However, with the birth of the posthumous son of Narayan Rao, the Maratha confederacy breathed a new life. Raghunath Rao, who was removed as Peshwa and 12 Maratha Chiefs (Barabhai) led by Nana Phadnavis, declared Narayan Rao's infant as the Peshwa, and named him Sawai Madhav Rao.
Thus, this allowed powerful Maratha Chiefs to emerge as defenders of the Maratha Confederacy when the Peshwas were weak. Though Raghunath Rao entered into alliance with the British to oust the new Peshwa and Barabhai, the revitalized Maratha Confederacy proved to be a formidable enemy.
The military genius of Mahadji Scindhia enabled the Marathas to surround the British forces and impose the Treaty of Wadgaon. This though was rejected by Warren Hastings who renewed the war and using the might of the Company's resources was able to capture numerous territories from the Marathas. Ultimately, both sides proved to be unassailable and so Mahadaji Scindhia brokered the Treaty of Salbai, which was on equal terms. Pre-war territories of both sides were restored and the British were forced to guarantee 20 years of mutual peace.
Thus, despite earlier setbacks, the Maratha nation had been able to retain its vitality and challenge the might of the British forces in nine years long conflict.
Q23. 'The hunt of the Pindaris became merged in the Third Maratha War.' Comment. (1989)
Ans. The British began to exert considerable influence in,.he Maratha affairs after the Treaty of Bassein, which was resented by the Maratha Sardars Another issue was that of Pindari assaults on the British territories.
Pindaris were associated with the Maratha armies as mercenaries. but as Maratha forces weakened under the British control, Pindaris were unable to find regular employment, hence, they began resorting to plunder and raids.
The British accused Marathas of sheltering the Pindaris and when the British took action against the Pindaris on their own, it was considered to be a violation of Maratha sovereignty by the Peshwa.
Already there was simmering discontent against the increasing Bri sh interference in the Maratha affairs, thus, the Peshwa tried to unite the Maratha sardars against the British, but the Maratha forces had been considerably we ended by then.
Thus, the Company Was able to easily defeat the Maratha Chiefs and large portions of the Maratha Empire were added to the Bombay Presidency. So, ultimately, the military action against the Pindaris culminated in the Third Anglo - Maratha War.
Q24. 'The revolution of 1760 (Bengal) was really no revolution.' Comment. (1987)
Ans. The Revolution of 1760 (Bengal) refers to a silent coup in Bengal which replaced Mir Jafar with Mir Qasim as the Nawab of Bengal. The Company had installed Mir Jafar as the Nawab after the Battle of Plassey in place of Siraj- ud- Daulah, hoping that a puppet Nawab would meet readily with their demands.
However,soon under the burden of the Company's excessive demands and constant interference led to disagreements between Mir Jafar and Company's vague suzerainty. MirJafar conspired with the Dutch to get rid of the British influence.
However, the British became aware of these plans and consequently defeated the Dutch at the Battle ofBedara (1759). Mir Jafar was charged with conspiring with the Dutch, but his main crime was his inability to meet the constant demands of the British.
Thus, the British entered into a treaty with Mir Qasim whereby he agreed to cede to Company the districts of Burdwan, Midnapore and Chittagong, a share in the chunam trade of Sylhet along with 5 lakh rupees for the Company's war efforts in South. In return, he was made the Nawab of Bengal and Mir Jafar was given a pension of Rs. 1500 per annum, thus effecting a coup without any bloodshed or battle.
Hence, the Revolution of 1760 is not considered to be a revolution in spirit.
Q25. 'Upon the whole, then, I conclude that the Treaty of Bassein was wise, just and a political measure.' Comment. (1986) (2005)
Ans. The Treaty of Bassein had the effect of increasing the Company's involvement and liabilities in Indian affairs. It was criticized as politically an unwise attempt to control the Maratha Empire through weak, disaffected eshwa but the Treaty was more than a mere defensive alliance.
It provided the Company with a legal right to interfere in external affairs of the Maratha Empire and prevented the influx of Europeans of hostile Nations in the Maratha court. It also recognized the Company as the final arbitrator in the disputes of Peshwa with Gaekwad or Nizam, who thus effectively passed into British protection.
It also allowed the Company to place its troops at Poona at the expense of Peshwa, in addition to Lucknow, Mysore and Hyderabad, thus putting the Company in an advantageous military position. Also, it reduced the Peshwa and consequently other Maratha Chiefs in a subordinate position in relation to the Company.
Thus, though the Treaty was signed with a weak Peshwa, it produced enormous gains for the British. Not only were they able to secure their territories and commercial interest, but it also paved the way for future conquests and the Company emerged as the paramount power over the Indian Subcontinent.
Q26. Thus ended the famous Battle of Buxar, which depended on the fate of India and which was as gallantly disputed as was important in its results.' Comment. (1985)
Ans. The Battle of Buxar marked an important point in the transition of the British East India Company from a commercial entity to a full-fledged political power in India. Mir Qasim, the Nawab of Bengal, in order to overthrow the British yoke, decided to form a Tripartite Alliance with Shuja- ud- Daulah, the Nawab of Awadh and Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II.
The combined native forces, numbering around 60,000 fought a gallant battle against the British forces of 8000 men led by Thomas Munro. This was one of the most decisive battles of his The British emerged victorious ultimately. The British victory ended the dispute over political supremacy in Bengal decisively in the favour of the British who were also able to extend their control over Awad as a buffer state.
This brought the Company to a position of supremacy in northern India, and as a potential contender for paramountcy over entire India against Marathas and Afghans, The British Company also was able to gain political legitimacy through the Treaty of Allahabad with the Mughal Emperor Shah Allam II. Thus, the Battle of Buxar proved decisive for the fate of dia and was contested fiercely by both sides.
Q27. Trace the course of the Anglo-Maratha relations in the first two decades of the nineteenth century. Account for the ultimate defeat of the Maratha power by the British. (1984)
Ans. Towards the end of the 18th century, the Marathas and the British East India Company emerged as contenders for political supremacy over the Indian Subcontinent. The First Anglo - Maratha War ended with the Treaty of Salbai (1782)that guaranteed peace between the two sides for 20 years. The advent of the 19th Century, however, revived the struggle between the two sides. With the death ofNana Phadhis in 1800,the political equilibrium of the Maratha Confederacy was greatly disturbed. The murder of Vithoji by Peshwa, ultimately led to his overthrow by Jaswant Rao Holkar and the defeated Peshwa was forced to sign the Treaty ofBassein with the British in 1802.
This provided Lord Wellesley to fulfill his imperialistic vision of dominating India by reducing Peshwa and consequently the Maratha Confederacy, to a subordinate position. The British suzerainty, however, was resisted by the Maratha Chiefs, and Arthur Wellesley had to defeat the armies of Sindhia and Bhonsle first in 1803 and then of Holkar in 1806,in order to enforce the Treaty.
Thus, the Treaty of Bassein greatly weakened the authority of the Peshwa and allowed the British to gain influence in the political affairs of the Marathas. The Maratha Confederacy itself was greatly weakened by infighting and mistrust. In the backdrop of these consequences, another issue, that ofPindari assaults on British territories, infuriated Lord Hastings to take action against them, which was considered as a transgression of Maratha sovereignty.
In retaliation, the Peshwa decided to forge together the Maratha Chiefs against the British. However, these attempts proved to be futile as the Marathas had already been weakened considerably by then, reflected in their last and Third Anglo- Maratha war. Overall,the Marathas defeat can be attributed to many things. Post Nana Phadnis, the Maratha leadership weakened, while the British were led by brilliant officers like Arthur Wellesley. The Maratha polity was a loosely held confederation that lacked organic unity and suffered from frequent infighting .
Another lacuna in the Maratha forces was a divided command that further added to the lack of modernization of military forces.Lastly, the Marathas were unable to promote industries and trade in their empire, thus weakening the internal economy, which fail to challenge the modern, progressive policy of the British Company.
Thus, all the above factors contributed to the ultimate defeat of the Marathas.
Q28. 'We have no right to seize Sind, yet we shall do so and a very advantageous, useful, humane piece of rascality it will be.' Comme t. (1984)(1990)(2000)
Ans. The annexation of Sind had met with universal condemnation both at the hands of politicians and historians. The unattractive and barren land of Sind assumed great importance for the Company's authorities because of its strategic value in building up the defences of India against possible Russo-Persian designs on India.
Perhaps it was inexpedient to invade Afghanistan, but that invasion in the eyes of Ellenborough and many Englishmen made it expedient, though unjust, to coerce the Amirs of Sind.
The weakness and richness of the Amirs of Sind offered advantages which the company would not overlook. Moreover, the British prestige had greatly suffered. To demonstrate England's strength and to re-establish her prestige, Ellenborough sanctioned the conquest of Sind.
Even the conqueror of Sind, Napier himself was not convinced of the righteousness of the annexation.
Q29. 'The Treaty of Bassein, 1802was a step which changed the footing on which we the English stood in western India. It tripled the English responsibilities in an instant.' Comment. (1983)
Ans. The Treaty of Bassein (1802) can be considered as the natural culmination of Lord Wellesley's desire to reduce whole India to a position of military dependence on the Company, to meet the threat of a possible French invasion. But the Treaty ultimately imposed numerous liabilities on the Company, dragging the Company into almost all Maratha affairs.
The Company had to station a permanent regular native infantry regiment in the Maratha territories. Also,the Peshwa ceded to the company control over foreign affairs of the Marathas, thus, inevitably dragging the Company in any conflict or war between the Marathas and other native rulers. Specifically,the Company assumed the responsibility for arbitration in any dispute between the Peshwa and Nizam or Gaekwad.
Lastly, the Company wished to place the Peshwa and consequently other Maratha Chiefsin a subordinate position with respect to itself. .s ultimately led to conflicts with the Sindhias, Bhonsle and Holkar, who were not ready to surrender to British supremacy. Thus, though the Treaty of Bassein increased British control in western India, it also imposed an additional burden on the Company and involved it in numerous conflicts in the future.
Q30. 'Baksar takes rank amongst the most decisive battles ever fought.' Comment. (1982)
Ans. Unlike the Battle of Plassey which was a one-sided affair, the Battle of Buxar proved to be closely contested and produced a decisive result. Mir Qasim, in order to overthrow the English yoke,had formed a formidable alliance with Shuja- ud -Daulah.the Nawab of Awadh and Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II.
The native forces numbered around 60,000,fought against the Company Army led by Major Munro, who despite a smaller force of 8000, was able to prevail and defeat the allied army. This victory not only allowed the British to strengthen their hold over Bengal but also allowed them to extend their influence and control over the adjoining State of Awadh.
The Treaty of Allahabad with Shuja- ud- Daulah secured them a buffer State against invasion from the North- West, while the Treaty with Shah Alam II bestowed upon the Company the Diwani Rights for Bengal, Bihar and Odisha. Lastly, the Company was able to remove Mir Qasim and bring back Mir Jafar as the Nawab of Bengal, thus riveting the shackles of bondage imposed on Bengal after the Battle of Buxar,
thus, due to its numerous implications can be considered to be one of the most decisive battles ever.