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If Aurangzeb let 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 aer the death of a king by a civil war between the princes. these wars of succession became extremely fierce and destructive during the eighteenth century.
History of Modern India PDF Book by Bipan Chandra
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they resulted in great loss of life and property. thousands of trained soldiers and hundreds of capable military commanders and efficient and tried officials were killed. Moreover, these civil wars loosened the administrative fabric of the empire. 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. Some of these states, such as Bengal, Awadh and Hyderabad, may be characterised as ‘succession states’.
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they arose as a result of the assertion of autonomy by governors of Mughal provinces with the decay of the central power. Others, such as the Maratha, Afghan, Jat and Punjab states were the product of rebellions by local chieains, zamindars and peasants against Mughal authority.
Not only did the politics in the two types of states or zones differ to some extent from each other, but there were differences among all of them because of local conditions. Yet, not surprisingly, the overall political and administrative framework was very similar in nearly all of them.
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There was, of course, also a third zone comprising of areas on the south-west and south-east coasts and of north-eastern India, where Mughal influence had not penetrated to any degree. The state of Hyderabad was founded by Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah in 1724. He was one of the leading nobles of the post-Aurangzeb era.
He played a leading role in the overthrow of the Saiyid brothers and was rewarded with the viceroyalty of the Deccan. From 1720 to 1722 he consolidated 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 he 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. History of Modern India PDF Book
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 power by establishing an orderly administration in the Deccan on the basis of the jagirdari system on the Mughal pattern. 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 aer his death in 1748, Hyderabad fell a prey to the same disruptive forces as were operating at Delhi. most outstanding Rajput ruler of the eighteenth 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 of scientific progress. History of Modern India PDF Book
He founded the city of Jaipur 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 streets 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 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 the Rajputs had to incur on their daughters’ weddings. This had given rise to the evil practice of female infanticide. His remarkable prince ruled Jaipur for nearly 44 years from 1699 to 1743. History of Modern India PDF Book Download
The Maratha defeat at Panipat was a disaster for them. They lost the cream of their army 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 south India. Nor 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 northern India by defeating the Rohelas and subjugating the Rajput states and Jat chiefs. In 1771, the Marathas brought back Emperor Shah Alam to Delhi, who now became their pensioner. Thus it appeared as if Maratha ascendancy in the north had been recovered. History of Modern India PDF Book Download
Muslims were no less divided by considerations of caste, race, tribe and status, even though their religion enjoined social equality on them. 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 oen stood apart from one another.
A large number of Hindus who had 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, 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.
A noteworthy feature of the literary life of the eighteenth century was the spread of the 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 the weaknesses of contemporary literature in other Indian languages. History of Modern India PDF Book Download
It produced brilliant poets like Mir, Sauda, Nazir and, in the nineteenth century, that great genius Mirza Ghalib. Hindi, too, was developing throughout the century. 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. Eighteenth-century Kerala also witnessed the full development of Kathakali literature, drama and dance. The Padmanabhapuram palace with its remarkable architecture and mural paintings was also constructed in the eighteenth century.
Even in the 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. History of Modern India PDF Book Download
Many local cults and shrines had both Hindu and Muslim followers. Muslim rulers nobles and commoners joyfully joined in the Hindu festivals such as Holi, Diwali and Qurga Puja, just as Hindus participated in the Muharram processions and Hindu officials and zamindars presided at other Muslim festivals.
The Marathas supported the shrine of Shaikh Muinuddin Chishti in Ajmer and the Raja of Tanjore supported the shrine of Shaikh Shahul Hamid of Nagore. We have already seen how Tipu gave financial support to the Shringeri Temple as also to other temples. It is noteworthy that Raja Rammohun Roy.
The greatest Indian of the first half of the nineteenth century, was influenced in an equal measure by the Hindu and Islamic philosophical and religious systems Another major source of early capital accumulation or enrichment for European countries was their penetration of Africa in the middle of the fiTheenth century. History of Modern India PDF Book Download
In the beginning, the gold and ivory of Africa had attracted the foreigner. Very soon, however, trade with Africa centred around the slave trade. In the sixteenth century this trade was a monopoly of Spain and Portugal. Later it was dominated by Dutch, French and British merchants.
Year ather 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 African slaves, took these slaves across the Atlantic and exchanged them for the colonial produce of plantations or mines, and finally brought back and sold this produce in Europe.
It was on the immense profits of this triangular trade that the commercial supremacy of England and France was to be based. 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 the slave-worked plantations provided some of the capital which financed the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. History of Modern India PDF Book Free
A similar role was later played by the wealth extracted from India. Bengal was the most fertile and the richest of India’s provinces. Its industries and commerce were well developed. 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. Second, the power to issue dastaks for the Company’s goods was misused by the Company’s servants to evade taxes on their private trade. bHistory of Modern India PDF Book Free
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.
The East India Company became the real master of Bengal at least from 1765. Its army was in sole control of its defence and the supreme political power was in its hands. The Nawab depended for his internal and external security on the British. As the Diwan, the Company directly collected its revenues, while through the right to nominate the Deputy Subahdar.
It controlled the nizamat or the police and judicial powers. This arrangement is known in history as the ‘dual’ or ‘double’ government. It held a great advantage for the British: they had power without responsibility. The Nawab and his officials had the responsibility of administration but not the power to discharge it. The weaknesses of the government could be blamed on the Indians while its fruits were gathered by the British. History of Modern India PDF Book Free
The consequences for the people of Bengal were disastrous: neither the Company nor the Nawab cared for their welfare. Lord Wellesley signed his Subsidiary Treaties with the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1798 and 1800. In lieu of cash payment for the subsidiary forces, the Nizam ceded part of his territories to the Company.