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Before he died on March 3, 1707, Aurangzeb wrote a will hoping that his Mughal empire would be divided between his three sons with Mu'azzam governing in Kabul, A'zam in Gujarat, and Muhammad Kam Baksh in Bijapur; but instead they followed his own example and fought. A'zam was supported by imperial vizier Asad Khan and immediately proclaimed himself and marched toward Agra. Mu'azzam was 1400 miles away; but he declared himself Bahadur Shah and in June arrived with his army at Agra, meeting his son Muhammad Azim, who had come from Bengal and secured the imperial treasure of 240,000,000 rupees. At Jajau, where Aurangzeb had defeated Dara Shukoh 49 years before, each side lost 10,000 men. Bahadur Shah won because A'zam Shah's army scattered; he and his two sons were killed.
In May 1707 A'zam let the detained Maratha prince Shahu leave. He was Shambhuji's son and challenged the leadership of the widow Tara Bai and Rajaram's son Shivaji II. Diwan Balaji Vishwanath supported Shahu in the battle at Khed. Tara Bai and her son fled to Karnatak and settled in Kolhapur. Shahu would remain chhatrapati (king) of the Marathas until he died in 1749, encouraging agriculture, low taxes, and religious toleration but letting his peshwa govern. In 1710 Chandrasen Jadhav led the Tara Bai faction in the Maratha civil war that ravaged the southern provinces, but they were defeated by Balaji Vishwanath, whom Shahu appointed peshwa in 1713.
Because of Maratha rebellions, Bahadur Shah had difficulty collecting taxes in the Deccan, and revenues from the northern provinces were also interrupted. Ajit Singh of Marwar, Jai Singh Kachhwaha of Amber, and Rana Amar Singh Sisodia of Mewar formed a confederacy in the Deccan to oppose Mughal rule. Bahadur Shah with his army occupied Amber in January 1708 and replaced Jai Singh with his more loyal brother Vijai Singh. Then his imperial troops seized the Marwar capital at Jodhpur, as Ajit Singh surrendered and was restored to his previous rank. A qazi and mufti were appointed to enforce Islamic law, and imperial officers were ordered to destroy temples, rebuild mosques, and collect the jiziya tax on non-Muslims. Kam Baksh had also crowned himself but remained in the Deccan. So in May 1708 Bahadur Shah marched south with an army of 300,000, though Ajit Singh and Jai Singh escaped to Rajasthan. Kam Bakhsh alienated supporters by his cruel suspicions and confiscation of properties. Negotiations failed, and near Hyderabad the greatly outnumbered Kam Bakhsh and his two sons were also defeated and killed by Bahadur Shah's forces. Rana of Mewar helped Ajit Singh and Jai Singh regain their capitals, and together they besieged Ajmer.
Sikh Guru Gobind Singh supported Bahadur Shah and wanted him to punish Vazir Khan of Sirhind for having executed his two younger sons. After Gobind Singh was murdered by two agents sent by Vazir Khan in 1708, the Guru's loyal Banda Bahadur assembled angry Sikhs into an army and massacred Muslims in Punjab towns on their way to Sirhind, which they also plundered in 1710 after thousands of peasants overcame Vazir Khan's cavalry. Banda proclaimed himself the true padishah (sovereign) and issued Sikh coins. His army took over most of the Punjab, but thousands were killed on both sides in their failed attempt to take Lahore. A Mughal army besieged the Sikhs at Lohgarh, but Banda escaped to the Sarmar hills. He and the Sikhs came back to take Pathankot and Gurdaspur in November 1711, and by March 1712 they had recovered Sirhind and Lohgarh.
Emperor Bahadur Shah came to Lahore to suppress the Sikhs. He also stirred up protests of a hundred thousand Sunnis there, because he added the name 'Ali to the Friday prayers. While he was dying in early 1712, Bahadur Shah kept his four sons near him. His second son Azim-ush-Shan had acquired the largest fortune from Bengal and Bihar and thus had the largest army. However, Zulfiqar Khan had joined Bahadur's side and become viceroy of the Deccan. He formed a coalition of the other three princes with the plan that Rafi-ush Khan would rule at Kabul and Jahan Shah in the Deccan under the oldest Jahandar Shah in Sind with Zulfiqar as vizier at Delhi. Thus the most powerful prince Azim-ush-Shan was defeated and fled, dying in quicksand. Then Zulfiqar Khan joined with Jahandar Shan to defeat and kill his other two brothers, enthroning him near Lahore on March 29, 1712.
Zulfiqar Khan had the power and made Daud Khan Panni viceroy of the Deccan as Jahandar's foster brother Kokaltash Khan was ignored. Zulfiqar Khan imprisoned and confiscated the property of dozens of nobles who had supported the dead brothers, and two emirs were publicly executed. He made concessions to the Rajputs and abolished the jiziya. Ajit Singh and Jai Singh were promoted, and Shivaji II was given a noble rank. Emperor Jahandar Shah was criticized for drinking and favoring his low-born wife Lal Kunwar and her relatives with lavish expenses. He began intriguing with Kokaltash Khan. Collecting revenue was difficult and became more corrupt. Zulfiqar Khan and his officials ignored laws and were susceptible to bribes. Jahandar's troops remained unpaid, and inflation was rampant. Most of the revenue came from Bengal, where Azim-ush-shan's son Farrukh Siyar was supported by the Sayyid brothers Husain Ali and Abdullah Khan of the Baraha clan. They marched an army west and scattered a large army led by Jahandar's inexperienced son Azz-ud-din. Having no money to pay soldiers, Zulfiqar Khan passed out golden and silver vessels and jewels from the palace, raising 40,000 cavalry. In January 1713 the Turani contingents refused to fight, and Zulfiqar Khan fled toward Delhi.
Farrukh Siyar claimed the throne and named Abdullah Khan vizier and his brother Husain Ali chief military paymaster (bakhshi). When Farrukh Siyar arrived, he had Zulfiqar Khan, Jahandar, Lal Kunwar, and several nobles executed. Three Timurid princes, including his own brother, were blinded and imprisoned. For the next six years the Mughal empire was torn by factions. Jai Singh agreed to govern Malwa, but Ajit Singh rejected Thatta (Sind). Farrukh Siyar sent Husain Ali to bring Ajit Singh to court but secretly sent a message that Ajit Singh would be rewarded for killing Husain Ali. Instead, Ajit Singh made a treaty with Husain Ali, agreeing to govern Thatta. The Emperor entitled Nizam-ul Mulk and made him viceroy of the six Deccan provinces, which he reformed by using troops to keep away Maratha tax collectors and raiders. At court Farrukh Siyar diverted funds for troops to attack the Sayyid brothers. In 1714 Abdullah and Husain Ali joined their Baraha army in Delhi. After negotiations, Farrukh Siyar agreed to send Mir Jumla to govern Bihar; Husain Ali became governor of the Deccan; and Abdullah Khan stayed in Delhi as vizier. Nizam-ul Mulk would not help Farrukh Siyar against the Sayyids and lost his estates. Mughal precedent fell as Husain Ali gained the authority to appoint and dismiss all officials. The Emperor ordered Daud Khan Panni to kill Husain Ali; but his cavalry were outnumbered, and he was killed in the battle. Suspicion was so great that Abdullah was accompanied in the streets by at least 3,000 cavalry. Revenues were leased to the highest bidders, and Farrukh Siyar tried to revive the jiziya, which provoked more Hindu opposition.
In 1714 Sirhind faujdar Zain ud-din Ahmad Khan attacked 7,000 Sikhs near Rupar and sent a hundred of their heads to Delhi. Yet Banda Bahadur led 14,000 Sikhs toward Sirhind. Farrukh Siyar sent Qamar-ud-din Khan with 20,000 troops from Delhi and ordered Kashmir governor Abdus Samad Khan to besiege the Sikh fortress at Gurudaspur in 1715. Banda retreated into a fortress that could only hold 1,250 men, while the other Sikhs fled or were killed. After eight months many had died of hunger; others near death were beheaded by the Mughals, who took some 200 prisoners. On the way to Delhi the imperial forces carried on their spears 2,000 Sikh heads with long hair, and Zakariya Khan captured more to make the number of prisoners 740. At Delhi in March 1716 a hundred Sikhs were beheaded each day for one week. Banda and his 26 officials were tortured for three months. Then Banda was brutally killed, and the others were beheaded. Before he died, Banda said that he was a scourge in the hands of God to punish the wicked; but he was now paying for his own crimes against the Almighty. Banda had practiced socialism by distributing all wealth among his followers and by abolishing the zamindari rent system. He tolerated all religions and had many followers who were poor Hindus and Muslims, though he was greatly hated by many Muslims for his raiding. He also opposed the use of all drugs including wine, tobacco, and bhang (marijuana). Farrukh Siyar ordered that every Sikh found must convert to Islam or be put to the sword, and this order was obeyed for a while in Sirhind, Lahore, and Jammu. During this persecution some Sikhs robbed, others shaved off their beards, and some by hiding or being peaceful escaped punishment.
Mir Jumla could not raise enough money in Bihar to pay his troops, who revolted and followed him back to Delhi. The angry Emperor took away his titles, but Abdullah Khan resolved the situation by getting Mir Jumla appointed as qazi (judge) of Lahore. Abdullah also granted the English trading rights. The Jats, who had raided both armies during the civil war, continued to rebel. The Emperor sent Jai Singh to besiege them at Thun in 1716; but vizier Abdullah Khan accepted a bribe and made a treaty with Jat leader Churaman. Husain Ali Khan was trying to control the Marathas in the Deccan but found that the Emperor's letters were encouraging their leaders to attack him. So in 1718 the Sayyid brothers made a treaty recognizing the Maharashtra territory of Shahu and the Marathas in exchange for ten million rupees tribute and 15,000 Maratha troops loyal to Husain Ali. Farrukh Siyar refused to ratify the agreement, but Husain Ali ignored this and other imperial orders.
Farrukh Siyar called on Ajit Singh from Gujarat, Nizam-ul Mulk from Moradabad, and Sarbuland Khan from Bihar, and they brought 70,000 troops to Delhi; but after delays they left or joined the vizier. Mir Jumla returned from Lahore but also sided with Abdullah. The Emperor had only Jai Singh and his 20,000 Rajputs. Husain Ali Khan marched north with 25,000 of his own forces and 10,000 Maratha horsemen under his pay, since Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath had agreed to a treaty with the Sayyids. In a complicated negotiation Farrukh Siyar and the Sayyids agreed to release each other's political prisoners and dismiss their forces in February 1719; but after an angry meeting in the palace, Farrukh Siyar retreated into his harem while Abdullah Khan took over the fort. After a bloody street battle in which 1500 Marathas were killed, the Sayyid brothers chose Bahadur Shah's grandson Rafi-ud-darjat as the new emperor. Farrukh Siyar was blinded immediately and strangled in prison two months later. Rafi-ud-darjat died in June of tuberculosis and was replaced by his older brother Rafi'-ud-daula as Shah Jahan II; but he was addicted to opium and also died of illness in September 1719.
The powerful Sayyid brothers made Shah Jahan's 18-year-old son Emperor Muhammad Shah (r. 1719-48). They tried to conciliate the factions; but they were Indian Muslims and were resented by the Irani nobles from Persia and the Turani aristocrats from central Asia. Ajit Singh's widowed daughter, who had converted to Islam to marry Farrukh Siyar, was allowed to leave the harem and return to her home and religion. When the Sayyids tried to transfer Turani emir Nizam-ul Mulk from his appointment as governor of Malwa, he marched on Delhi, appealing to other nobles. Their army defeated the Sayyid-Maratha coalition in August 1720 at Shakarkhedla. After Husain Ali Khan was assassinated, Muhammad Shah joined the opposition that defeated and later executed Abdullah Khan. For deserting this Sayyid, Muhammad Khan Bangash was made the governor of Allahabad. Jai Singh of Amber and Girdhar Bahadur persuaded the new emperor to abolish the jiziya tax. Nizam-ul Mulk went back to govern the Deccan and defeated resistance.
Various conflicts greatly weakened the Mughal empire, and many regions became independent. Awadh (Oudh) had fifteen governors in thirteen years before Muhammad Shah appointed Sa'adat Khan governor in 1722; after defeating and killing Mohan Singh in 1723, he acted independently. Muhammad Shah dismissed Ajit Singh from governing Gujarat and Ajmer; but after Ajit's murder by his son Bakht Singh in 1724, he recognized his son Abhay Singh, who governed Marwar until his death in 1748. Nizam-ul Mulk returned to Delhi as vizier in January 1722. He tried to remove the corruption from the court and reform the tax system; but his attempt to reimpose the jiziya tax was opposed by the Hindu nobles. Disgusted with court squabbles, Nizam-ul Mulk left Delhi again in December 1723 to return to the Deccan. His enemies persuaded the Emperor to write secretly to urge Hyderabad governor Mubariz Khan to attack him; but Nizam-ul Mulk made an alliance with the Marathas, and in 1724 they defeated and killed Mubariz Khan at Sakharkhanda in Berar. The next year Nizam-ul Mulk took over Hyderabad. Thus he became essentially independent and was later recognized by the Mughal emperor. After Nizam-ul Mulk supported the claim of Shahu's Maratha rival Shambhuji, Peshwa Baji Rao I (r. 1720-40) avoided pitched battles and ravaged the country, starving the Nizam into accepting a 1728 treaty that recognized the six territories of Raja Shahu in the Deccan.
When Abdus Samad Khan was transferred to Multan in 1726, his son Zakariya Khan replaced him as Punjab governor and hunted down Sikhs until he suggested the Emperor give their leader a title in 1733. Kapur Singh was chosen nawab and was given a jagir (tax income) of 1,000,000 rupees. The army of the elder Sikhs was called Budha Dal, and the army of younger ones Taruna Dal. The Sikhs continued to rebel against the Mughal government, and the jagir was confiscated in 1735. After an imperial army of 7,000 attacked Amritsar, the Taruna Dal joined forces and defeated the Mughal army.
In 1729 Bundelkhand's Chhatrasal asked Peshwa Baji Rao for aid, and the Marathas defeated Muhammad Khan Bangash, taking more control after Chhatrasal died two years later. Shambhuji was defeated in 1730 and agreed to recognize Shahu's sovereignty for part of Konkan and Karnatak, and together in 1731 they defeated and killed Khande Rao's son Trimbak Rao in Gujarat. Abhay Singh tried to fight the Marathas but had to leave Gujarat in 1733. Despite his efforts and earlier ones by Nizam-ul Mulk and Sarbuland Khan, Gujarat was overrun by the Marathas and was lost to the Mughals by 1737. Baji Rao invaded Malwa in 1732. The Marathas captured Hindaun and Sambhar, and in 1735 the Emperor recognized Baji Rao as the governor of Malwa. After a revolution on the island of Janjira in 1733, the Maratha navy made the Sidi accept a treaty in 1736 with dual government. Under Baji Rao each Maratha jagir district was jointly held by two Maratha chiefs.
Murshid Quli Jafar Khan had been administering and collecting taxes in Bengal and Orissa since 1701. He was promoted in 1713 and governed until his death in 1727. In 1714 he crushed the last Hindu kingdom in Bengal. In his last fifteen years he sent an average of 10.5 million rupees annually to Delhi, accumulating six million rupees for himself. The new Bengal capital Murshidabad was named after him. In 1727 his son-in-law Shuja-ud-din Muhammad Khan, the deputy governor of Orissa, succeeded in Bengal and Orissa for the Mughal emperor. After his death in 1739 his son Sarfaraz Khan was defeated by Bihar deputy governor 'Alivardi Khan, and in 1740 Emperor Muhammad Shah had to recognize the virtually independent 'Alivardi Khan as governor of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa.
Probably the most outstanding leader who remained loyal to the Mughal emperor was Jai Singh, who was appointed governor of Surat in 1721 and Agra the next year. Sent to suppress the Jats for having supported the Sayyid brothers, he captured their stronghold at Thun. Churaman committed suicide, and the Jats returned to their farms. Hoping to prevent their raiding, he gave the Jat chief Badan Singh the job of collecting duties on highways. Jai Singh served as an intermediary between Muhammad Shah and the Rajput rulers. He built up the new city of Jaipur and sponsored learning with research centers there and at Mathura, Banaras, and Ujjain, patronizing influential scholars and literature. He supported inter-caste dining and tried to stop female infanticide by trying to limit how much fathers spent on their daughters' marriages. Jai Singh of Amber governed Malwa 1729-37 except for 1730-32 when Muhammad Khan Bangash fought the Marathas. Jai Singh made peace with the Marathas by sharing with them the money Delhi sent for defending the province.
Sa'adat Khan complained that Jai Singh was ruining the empire. After negotiations in which Maratha peshwa Baji Rao asked for too many concessions the Mughal emperor would not grant, Baji Rao marched his army toward Delhi but refrained from attacking the capital. Muhammad Shah called on Nizam-ul Mulk, whose army of 35,000 was doubled when he was joined by Sa'adat Khan's troops and Rajput and Bundela forces. However, the Peshwa's army of 80,000 invaded Malwa and surrounded them at Bhopal. In January 1738 Nizam-ul Mulk signed another treaty in which more tribute and the rest of Malwa were granted to the Marathas. In 1737 the Marathas attacked the Portuguese on the west coast. Bassein capitulated in 1739 after each side suffered about 5,000 casualties. In the 1740 treaty the Portuguese ceded the northern province except for the port of Daman. In 1739 Sa'adat Khan was succeeded in Awadh by his son-in-law Safdar Jang, who declared complete independence. In December 1739 Baji Rao invaded the Deccan with 50,000 men; but Nasir Jang's army of 10,000 defeated them in a pitched battle, and the Marathas gave up their claims in the Deccan. Peshwa Baji Rao I died in 1740 and was succeeded by his son Balaji Rao. Because of the factions at court, Jai Singh remained neutral during the invasion by Nadir Shah's Persians; but after Delhi was plundered, the Mughal empire had little authority beyond Agra and Delhi.
In 1722 Afghan rebels led by Mir Mahmud defeated the Safavid dynasty of Persia and ruled there until they were defeated in 1729 by Nadir Quli Beg, who became the Persian shah in 1732. His army of 80,000 besieged Qandahar in 1737. Meeting little Mughal resistance, Nadir Shah moved on in 1738 to capture Ghazni and Kabul. After his envoy was killed at Jalalabad, he sacked the town. Nasir Khan tried to stop the Persians in the Khyber Pass with 20,000 Afghans; but Nadir Shah's veteran army forced them back. After occupying Peshawar, the Persians began plundering the country and crossed the Indus River. Lahore governor Zakariya Khan had no support from the Mughal emperor and surrendered in January 1739; after paying Nadir Shah two million rupees, he was reinstated.
Nadir Shah sent out 7,000 Kurdish cavalry as scouts from Sirhind. The Mughals assembled an army of about 75,000, but Mughal arrows were no match for Persian bullets. After Sa'adat Khan returned from fighting the pillaging Kurds, his baggage was plundered. He went to fight the Persians; but he was only supported by some 9,000 cavalry, and after being wounded he was captured. He advised Nadir Shah to negotiate with Nizam-ul Mulk, and they agreed on an indemnity of five million rupees with no territorial acquisitions. When Muhammad Shah promoted Nizam-ul Mulk to mir bakhshi (military pay-master), Sa'adat Khan resented it and advised Nadir Shah he could get twenty million rupees and jewelry in Delhi. Nadir Shah took Nizam-ul Mulk and Muhammad Shah into custody and made them agree to escort the Persians into Delhi. When threatened with corporal punishment if they did not reveal the treasures, the two agreed to commit suicide; Sa'adat Khan took poison, but Nizam-ul Mulk did not and escorted Nadir Shah into Delhi.
Disturbances led to Persian casualties, and Nadir Shah sent troops to quell the riots; after a shot missed him but killed an officer, he ordered a massacre in Delhi. About 20,000 people were slaughtered, and several hundred women committed suicide to avoid being enslaved. Treasure estimated from thirty to seventy million rupees was taken from the capital, including the famous Peacock throne, Koh-i-nor diamond, and an illustrated Persian manuscript on Hindu music. The Mughals ceded all territory west of the Indus River, and Nadir's army also took away 300 elephants, 10,000 horses, and 10,000 camels. Before leaving, Nadir Shah advised Muhammad Shah on government and warned him that Nizam-ul Mulk was too ambitious. On their long march through the Punjab the Persians' loot was often plundered by Jat peasants and Sikhs.
After Nadir Shah's invasion, Jai Singh tried to govern Malwa; but he ceded it to the Marathas in 1741. That year Maratha peshwa Balaji helped Nizam-ul Mulk to suppress a rebellion by his second son Nasir Jang in the Karnatak. Nizam-ul Mulk took his son prisoner but reinstated him two years later. After the rebellion, Nizam-ul Mulk used his army of 280,000 to pacify Karnatak. He maintained good relations with the Europeans trading on the Coromandel coast.
Like his father Baji Rao I, Balaji Rao (r. 1740-61) was only about twenty years old when he became the peshwa for Maratha chhatrapati Shahu. Disputes over the thrones in the Rajput states at Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, and Bundi called upon the Marathas to intervene in 1740 and help destroy Mughal authority in Rajputana. Yet in the confusion conflicts festered between Marathas. In 1741 Balaji led the Maratha campaigns in Bihar and Bengal. When he drove Raghuji Bhonslé's Maratha forces out of Bihar in 1743, Shahu ordered them to stay in separate regions. Balaji was given Malwa, Agra, Ajmer, Allahabad, and most of Bihar, while Raghuji was assigned Bengal, Orissa, Awadh, and part of Bihar. Karnatak nawab Dost Ali tried to expand his realm. His son Safdar Ali and son-in-law Chanda Sahib took over Trichinopoly and Madura; but the Marathas defeated them at Tanjore. In 1741 Marathas from the north killed Dost Ali, took over Trichinopoly, and captured Chanda Sahib, imprisoning him for seven years. Safdar Ali succeeded his father but in late 1742 was murdered by his cousin Martaza Ali, who was replaced by Anwar-ud-din Khan the next year.
After Persian Nadir Shah took over Afghanistan and invaded India in 1739, 'Ali Muhammad Rohilla (r. 1721-48) gathered a cavalry of about 40,000 Afghans and expanded his territory to include Muradabad, Kumaun, and Bijnor. In 1745 he dismantled fortifications at Bangarh to accept a Mughal position; but he declared his independence before he died in 1748. Two of his sons were still hostages and had been moved to Abdali's Qandahar, and so he was succeeded by his third son, the dissolute Sadullah. Vizier Safdar Jang got Bangash chief Qaim Khan to attack the Afghans, but he was shot dead in the losing battle.
Dal Khalsa Sikhs were organized into eleven major communities, each called a misl, which means equal or alike. The largest group was the Bhangi who liked that drug (cannabis). In 1745 Zakariya Khan was succeeded by his son Yahiya Khan, who continued the persecution. Lahore diwan Lakhpat Rai was sympathetic with the Sikhs until his brother was killed; then he vowed to exterminate them. In his 1746 campaign his forces killed about 7,000 Sikhs and took 3,000 prisoners, executing them in Lahore. The next year Shah Nawaz Khan defeated his brother Yahiya in a civil war and put Lakhpat in prison. Shah Nawaz chose the Sikh Kaura Mal as his diwan; but when the Mughals considered him a usurper, he appealed to Afghanistan's Ahmad Shah Abdali.
After Nadir Shah was assassinated in 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani of the Abdali clan proclaimed himself king in Afghanistan, taking control of Qandahar, Kabul, and Peshawar. Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India with 12,000 veterans, but after seizing Lahore in January 1748 he was defeated in March near Sirhind by Mughal prince Ahmad Shah and Muin-ul-mulk (Mir Mannu), who was named governor. That year the Sikhs ousted the Mughals from Amritsar and built the fort Ram Rauni. The aging Kapur Singh resigned, and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia became the Sikh commander. Muin-ul-mulk besieged the Sikhs for three months until Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded again in December 1748. When Abdali was recognized as ruling territory west of the Indus, he agreed to depart. Shah Nawaz Khan was appointed governor of Multan and challenged Muin-ul-mulk with an army of 15,000. Kaura Mal mediated an alliance, and the Sikhs were granted a jagir (tax district) of twelve villages. Ahmad Shah Abdali returned to Lahore in 1751 and demanded tribute from Muin-ul-mulk. Sikhs were on his side, but the Afghans defeated them and conquered the Punjab and Kashmir, forcing Mughal emperor Ahmad Shah to cede territory up to Sirhind. After Madho Singh invaded Jaipur to collect money for the Marathas, the Rajputs rebelled and massacred his troops in January 1751. That year other Marathas drove the Rohillas into the hills and sacked their entire country, taking over half the Bangash territory in the Doab.
In 1752 Ahmad Shah Abdali sent Abdullah Khan Ishaq Aqasi with 15,000 Afghans into Kashmir, where Abul Qasim Khan had recently replaced the war hero Abu Barakat Khan; but Abul Qasim had ruled so tyrannically that appeals were made to Abdali. The Afghans defeated the Kashmiris in fifteen days as their commander defected. Ishaq Aqasi ruthlessly extorted money and appointed his deputy Khwaja Abdullah Khan; but he was assassinated after four months. The secretary Sukhjewanmal (r. 1753-62) became raja (king) and was the first Hindu to rule Kashmir for four hundred years and the only one under the Pathan domination of Abdali and his successors that lasted until 1819. Ishaq Aqasi came back with 30,000 men, but Kashmiris defending themselves defeated them. Sukhjewanmal alienated Muslims by banning cow-slaughter, and he provoked Abdali by recognizing Mughal emperor Alamgir II; but he governed for nine years. In 1766 Abdali sent Khurram Khan to replace a tyrannical governor of Kashmir.
Nizam-ul Mulk and Emperor Muhammad Shah both died in 1748. Ahmad Shah (r. 1748-54) was 22 years old when he succeeded his father as the last Mughal emperor with any real power; but having been brought up in a harem, he lacked education and experience. He appointed the Irani Safdar Jang vizier but listened mostly to the illiterate eunuch Javid Khan, who took control. Nobles were revolted by his corruption and usually kept their revenues; pay for imperial employees fell behind by 14 months and more. Zamindars usurped lands, and the Marathas took over more territory. Safdar Jang as a Shi'a had much opposition at court; after an assassination attempt, he moved his tents outside of Delhi. From late 1749 to 1752 he spent much time away trying to subdue Rohilkhand. The chief bakshi Salabat Khan came back from his Rajput expedition in 1750 with 18,000 troops demanding pay. Dismissed and imprisoned by Javid, Salabat sold all his property to pay what he could and lived in poverty like a dervish. Javid made the Turanis Ghazi-ud-din chief bakshi and Intizam-ud-daula in charge of Ajmer.
After making an alliance with the Jat leader Suraj Mal, Safdar Jang was wounded in the neck while fighting against Ahmad Khan's Bangash, who then besieged Allahabad and invaded Safdar's province of Awadh in 1751. Safdar Jang dismissed his Maratha allies and went back to Awadh; its governor Naval Rai had been killed fighting the Bangash Afghans. After recovering, Safdar paid Marathas and Jats to join him invading Rohilkand. When Emperor Ahmad Shah asked his vizier to bring Marathas to fight off the next Afghan invasion, he made a treaty in which Ahmad Khan Bangas promised to pay the debt Safdar Jang owed to the Marathas. Safdar Jang made a defensive treaty with Peshwa Balaji, offering the Marathas one-fourth of imperial revenues in the Punjab, Sindh, Aurangabad, and Gujarat. Safdar Jang arrived with 50,000 Marathas in April 1752; the Marathas foraged around Delhi until Javid Khan paid them to leave. When Javid would not let Safdar Jang punish Balaram (Balu) Jat for having plundered Sikandrabad, Safdar had Turkish soldiers murder Javid. Safdar antagonized nobles by taking over their tax revenues, and he made the mistake of appointing young Imad-ul-mulk as chief bakshi. Imad won over the Emperor, plotted with the queen mother, and got Safdar Jang dismissed. Salabat Khan urged Safdar to fight a civil war that lasted six months. Rohillas led by Najib Khan made the difference; Suraj Mal mediated a peace, and Safdar Jang went back to Awadh in November 1753.
Pay for the imperial army of 80,000 was seven months in arrears, and salaries of Mughal officials and servants were 32 months behind. The Emperor paid paymaster Imad-ul-mulk 1,500,000 rupees, but he kept the money for himself. Imad then sent Aqibat Mahmud to arrest the Emperor and vizier while the palace and crown lands were plundered. Imad's allied Marathas attacked the imperial camp with 20,000 troops. As soon as Ahmad Shah made Imad vizier in June 1754, he was replaced and imprisoned; Alamgir II was proclaimed emperor. Raghunath demanded money for the Marathas from the Delhi government, but they could not pay; starving soldiers rioted in the streets and plundered the wealthy. Jats and Gujars usurped imperial lands south of Delhi.
Shahu died in 1749 and was succeeded by Tara Bai's grandson Ram Raja on the Maratha throne, but Peshwa Balaji defeated Tara Bai and Damaji Gaikwar, arresting the young monarch and keeping him a prisoner in the palace. In 1753 the Marathas tried to collect tribute from the Rajputana states but were defeated by the Jats the next year. They marched toward Delhi and helped Imad-ul-Mulk (Ghazi-ud-din the younger) in a six-month civil war to depose the Mughal emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur, install 'Alamgir II, and become his vizier. Imad-ul-Mulk was also aided by Najib Khan and the Rohillas, and he got the Sunnis to turn against Shi'a Safdar Jang by calling him a heretic. The Marathas under Balaji Baji Rao hired mercenaries, adopted western warfare methods, and allowed chiefs to use predatory warfare that ravaged Hindus as well as Muslims. The Marathas made a strategic error when they joined with the British to destroy the navy of Tulaji Angria in 1756, and the next year they exacted tribute south of the Krishna River, invading Bednore and Mysore. Malhar Rao Holkar and Raghunath Rao (Ragoba) led campaigns in the north and won over the Jats and the Doab. Since 1753 Peshwa Balaji had been campaigning in Karnatak to collect tribute and establish Maratha authority. In 1760 Marathas led by Sadashiv Rao Bhau invaded Udgir and defeated the Nizam forces by taking Burhanpur, Daulatabad, Ahmadnagar, and Bijapur.
In the Punjab Muin-ul-mulk went back to trying to suppress the Sikhs in 1753, but he died in November. After his infant sons were appointed and one died, his widow Mughlam Begum took power in May 1754. The new emperor Alamgir II appointed Momin Khan governor of Lahore. Nobles, resenting Mughlam's eunuchs and paramours, revolted. She seized their leader and had him beat to death, but Khwajah Mirza Jan took over Lahore and put her in prison. She appealed to the Afghan Abdali, who sent a force led by Khwajah Ubadullah Khan; he restored her for three months before confining her and ruling himself. He plundered his subjects and was replaced a few months later by Momin Khan and Adina Beg in 1756. Mughlam Begum called on Abdali again, and Ubadullah Khan took control. During this confusion Abdali was also invited back by Emperor Alamgir and Rohilla chief Najib Khan.
So Abdali entered India again, harassed by marauding Sikhs; but this time the Afghans plundered Delhi in January 1757. Punjab, Kashmir, Sind, and Sirhind were ceded to him; but after raiding the Jat country south of Delhi, Abdali departed, leaving Najib Khan in Delhi and his son Timur Shah as viceroy at Lahore with his general Jahan Khan as vizier. Sikhs rebelled, but Jahan Khan defeated them at Amritsar and desecrated their shrine. The Marathas ousted Najib and made a treaty with Imad-ul-Mulk in June 1757 that doubled their share to half of all the revenues they collected in Mughal dominions. Marathas led by Raghunath Rao invaded Rajputana and plundered old Delhi in August, making peace with the Rohillas the next month. Then 50,000 Maratha troops entered the Punjab in 1758, driving the Afghans out of Sirhind and Lahore. They appointed Adina Beg Khan their viceroy; but after they left, his death brought chaos to the Punjab. The Sikhs offered zamindars protection (rakhi) for one-fifth of the rent. The Afghan army attacked them at Kartarpur and Amritsar, but the Sikhs joined with Adina Beg in an army of 25,000 to defeat the Afghans near Mahilpur in December 1757. Sikhs allied with the Marathas and plundered Sirhind and Lahore. Raghunath's army left Lahore in May 1758; Adina Beg tried to suppress the Sikhs, but he died in September.
The Marathas appointed Dattaji Sindia, and in August 1759 he sent Sabaji Sindia to push back the Afghan invasion of Jahan Khan, who came back two months later, forcing Sabaji to retreat from Lahore so that Dattaji could aid the peshwa in getting money from Bengal. Dattaji's attempt to build a bridge across the Ganges was sabotaged by Najib-ud-daula, who invited Abdali's invasion and secretly organized Mughal nobles. In 1758 Imad had expelled crown prince Ali Gauhar from Delhi, and he took refuge in Awadh with Shuja ud-daula. In November 1759, Imad-ul-Mulk sent men who murdered Emperor Alamgir II and former vizier Intizam. Shah Jahan II was proclaimed emperor. The next month Ali Gauhar crowned himself Emperor Shah Alam II and appointed Shuja ud-daula his vizier; but his invasion of Bihar failed.
The assassination of Alamgir II motivated Abdali to advance toward Delhi. Dattaji tried to stop him but was killed in January 1760. The Afghans plundered old Delhi, and Abdali campaigned against Jats and Marathas. Two months later near Sikandarbad the Afghan general Jahan Khan routed the Marathas led by Malhar Rao. The Marathas fled from the invading Afghans, who would not agree on a peace treaty because of Peshwa Balaji's exorbitant demands. The ailing Peshwa gave command to the Udgir victor Sadashiv Rao instead of Raghunath Rao. In contrast to Shivaji's forces a century before, this Maratha army was accompanied by retinues, wives, and luxurious tents. The Marathas captured Delhi in August 1760; but they lost the support of Suraj Mal and his Jats when they plundered palaces, tombs, and shrines that the Persians and Afghans had respected. In October, Sadashiv Rao imprisoned the puppet Shah Jahan III. While the Marathas were taking and plundering the fort at Kunjpura from 10,000 Rohillas, Abdali's Afghan army crossed the Jumna River to cut off Maratha supply lines. In December, 20,000 foraging camp followers were slaughtered.
The climactic battle between the Marathas and the Afghans took place at Panipat in January 1761. Half of the 60,000 on the Afghan side were Rohillas, Bangash, and Mughals. The Maratha army had 45,000 men, but hundreds were dying every day of hunger and disease. The starving Maratha army left their defenses to fight a desperate battle. The victorious Afghans enslaved women and children, taking 50,000 horses, 200,000 cattle, 500 elephants, plus money and jewelry. Only one-fourth of the Maratha army returned to the Deccan. Peshwa Balaji retreated to Puna, where he died in June 1761. The Maratha confederation was shattered as local chiefs regained control-Mahadji Sindia in Gwalior, Raghuji Bhonsle in Nagpur and Berar, Malhar Rao Holkar in Malwa, and Damaji Gaikwar in Gujarat. Abdali named 'Alamgir II's son 'Ali Gauhar emperor in Delhi as Shah 'Alam with Imad as vizier and Najib-ud-daula as Mir Bakshi (military commander). The Afghan troops were two years behind in their pay and insisted that Abdali leave India before the hot summer, and they refused to go to Mathura, where hundreds had died of cholera four years before. His retreating army was followed and plundered by the Sikhs, who were reported to have freed about 2200 Hindu women.
After the Marathas' disaster at Panipat, Nizam 'Ali invaded Maharashtra with about 60,000 troops, but he lost allies by destroying Hindu temples at Toka and was defeated near Puna in January 1762. In a treaty the new Peshwa gave back half of what his father had gained in the Deccan. Nizam 'Ali took over the government at Bihar, put Salabat Jang in prison, and ruled the Mughal Deccan for the next forty-one years. In the south Haidar 'Ali rose to power in Mysore by defeating his rival Khande Rao in 1761. Balaji Rao died in June 1761, and his 17-year-old son Madhav Rao became peshwa, his uncle Raghunath Rao (Ragoba) acting as regent. Conflict led to a civil war, and in November 1762 the Peshwa yielded to Raghunath, who had to surrender the Daulatabad fort to Nizam 'Ali. After plundering each other's territories in 1763, the Peshwa defeated Nizam 'Ali's army and gained land. That year Haidar 'Ali conquered Bidnur and Sunda. The Marathas led by the Peshwa defeated Haidar the next year, occupying Haveri and Dharwar and making peace in 1765. The Marathas formed an alliance with Nizam 'Ali so they could fight Haidar and take more territory in another treaty in 1767. That year Nizam 'Ali and British troops led by Joseph Smith invaded Mysore, but Nizam went over to Haidar's side.
Sikhs took over the Punjab, and about a third of the 30,000 Sikhs who fought to stop Abdali's sixth invasion of India were killed in February 1762. Four months later Abdali's Afghans attacked them at Amritsar, and in October many of the 60,000 gathered were massacred. Abdali also annexed Kashmir before returning to Afghanistan at the end of 1762. In January 1764 Jassa Singh Ahluwalia led 40,000 Sikhs of the Dal Khalsa in an attack on Sirhind that killed Zain Khan, and the next month they took over Lahore and plundered the upper Doab. They gathered at Amritsar and minted coins of pure silver, but they lost Lahore when Abdali invaded again in October 1764.
Suraj Mal and the Jats retained strong forces by not participating in the Panipat debacle, and in June 1761 they captured the Agra fort by bribery. Najib-ud-daula had to collect the tribute from India for the Afghan king, and he suppressed rebellion in Hansi-Hussar. After Suraj Mal attacked Baluch zamindars, Najib moved against the Jats; Suraj Mal was shot dead in December 1763 and was succeeded by his rebellious son, Jawahir Singh. He won the loyalty of the Jat army of 30,000 by paying their salaries that were two years behind, and he hired 20,000 Marathas under Malhar Rao Holkar. Najib did not invade the Jat kingdom, because he had to respond to the Sikh invasion of the upper Doab, enabling Jawahir Singh to recover the middle Doab. In January 1765 the Jats bombarded Delhi as Jawahir paid 15,000 Sikh allies to attack the city; but the Rohillas defended Delhi. Najib negotiated a peace as Sikhs, learning that Abdali was approaching Lahore, left. Frustrated Jawahir turned against his own officers and extorted money from rich Jats to pay for his losses; Balaram and another Jat grandee felt so disgraced that they cut their own throats in prison. Najib showed his power to tax by massacring his villages of Buana and Bhiwani in 1765. The growing power of the Sikhs was manifested when an army of 120,000 gathered at Amritsar in the spring of 1767. The next year Najib retired with riches only surpassed in India by the Jat king. He passed his office to his deputy Zabita Khan. Sikhs abandoned Lahore again in 1767 to the Afghans on Abdali's eighth invasion. In 1769 Ahmad Shah Abdali got as far as Peshawar but retreated, because his unpaid soldiers mutinied; he died three years later.
Shah Waliullah (1703-62) was born in Delhi and became an influential Islamic theologian. He memorized the Qur'an as a child and in 1732 went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, where he studied with eminent theologians. He believed in independent thinking and tried to harmonize Islamic law with mysticism and the four traditional schools of jurisprudence. He translated the Qur'an into Persian and wrote a commentary, and two of his sons translated it into Hindivi. In social morality he argued that justice is the highest principle and that it manifests in personal behavior as courtesy, in finances as economy, in community as civil liberty, in politics as order, and as the social good of fellowship. He believed that society is corrupted when the pursuit of wealth and the satisfaction of desires for luxury and dissipation became the primary goals in life. Then the rich find ways to oppress the peasants, traders, and artisans; the economy becomes perverted by luxury goods while the lower classes are impoverished. His remedy was to abolish the entire system and establish justice and harmony. However, his method of bringing about these reforms was to turn to powerful Muslim leaders such as Najib-ud-daula, Nizam-ul Mulk, and Ahmad Shah Abdali. Waliullah's son Shah Abdul Aziz (d. 1823) educated thousands of Muslims over sixty years at his Madrasa-i-Rahimiya in Delhi.
In 1744 Raghuji's vizier Bhaskar Ram invaded Bengal through Orissa. Bengal nawab Alivardi lured Bhaskar and Maratha generals to the plain of Mankara, where they were treacherously massacred by the Afghan generals. When Alivardi broke his promise to make his general Ghulam Mustafa Khan governor of Bihar for having murdered Bhaskar, Mustafa Khan rebelled and assaulted Patna, inviting Raghuji to invade. In 1745 Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah promised to pay Shahu tribute for Bengal and Bihar. Raghuji invaded Bengal six times until he made a treaty with 'Alivardi Khan in 1751. The Marathas were to be given revenues from Orissa by Alivardi's deputy Mir Habib, and they promised not to invade Bengal anymore. Habib did not allow extortion and peculation, and he and his assistants were murdered by Maratha soldiers in 1752. Orissa became a Maratha province. The annual Maratha raids in the 1740s had plundered Bengal, devastated its inland economy, and caused many people to flee to the east, where some took refuge in the English settlement at Calcutta.
Joseph Dupleix had increased French trade in Bengal in the 1730s, surpassing the Dutch, and in 1742 he was appointed governor at Pondicherry. When a European war began in 1744 that opposed England against France, Dupleix proposed local neutrality agreements; but the English East India Company believed they could wipe out their French rivals. In 1745 Commodore Barnett captured French ships with Chinese goods in which Dupleix had an interest, and the latter called upon a French squadron that Governor La Bourdonnais was fitting out at Mauritius. After an indecisive battle, Captain Edward Peyton took the English ships back to Bengal. Dupleix goaded the French fleet into capturing Madras with a thousand men in 1746. Over Dupleix's objection, La Bourdonnais promised to give Madras back to the English for a ransom. When La Bourdonnais departed, Dupleix renounced the treaty and defended Madras from an attack led by Mahfuz Khan, son of Karnatak nawab Anwar-ud-din. Improved artillery and infantry armed with muskets and bayonets demonstrated European superiority over slow-firing Indian guns. The next year Dupleix tried to take Fort St. David, but the English (including young Clive) were able to defend it with the help of Nawab Anwar-ud-din's son Muhammad 'Ali and his 2,500 men. Capable Major Stringer Lawrence took command at Fort St. David in January 1748 and repelled Dupleix's third attempt. Admiral Boscawen's attempt to besiege the French at Pondicherry failed and lost more than a thousand men. In the 1748 treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle prisoners were exchanged, and England got Madras back in exchange for Cape Breton Island in North America.
Mughal vizier Safdar Jang did not like Nizam-ul Mulk's son Nasir Jang and urged his nephew Muzaffar Jang and Chanda Sahib to claim the Deccan; they invaded Karnatak with 14,000 cavalry and 15,000 infantry and were supported by 420 French soldiers from Pondicherry. In 1749 they defeated and killed Anwar-ud-din at Ambur, and his son Muhammad 'Ali fled to Trichinopoly. Nasir had 70,000 men on horses and 100,000 on foot with artillery and also hired Marathas; he was joined by Muhammad 'Ali and 300 English. They won the battle and captured Muzaffar because unpaid French officers refused to fight. However, Bussy's French troops captured the strong fortress at Jinji (Gingee). Nasir was shot dead during an attack on his camp ordered by France's Dupleix in December 1750. Dupleix recognized the freed Muzaffar as viceroy of the Deccan and Chanda Sahib as Karnatak nawab; but Muzaffar was killed the next month and was replaced by Salabat Jang, who had persuaded France's Bussy to support him. Bussy got Salabat Jang to give the French a lease in the Deccan.
While Dupleix negotiated, the new Madras governor Thomas Saunders sent a British force to defend Muhammad 'Ali. Dupleix countered by sending a French army under Jean Law. The English led by Robert Clive captured Arcot in 1751 and defended it against a force brought by Chanda Sahib. The French siege of Trichinopoly failed, and their ally Chanda Sahib surrendered to a Maratha commander. He turned him over to the confederate chiefs, who had Sahib beheaded to please Muhammad 'Ali. Law fled to the island of Srirangam but in June 1752 had to surrender 800 French soldiers, 2,000 sepoys, and 31 guns to Lawrence and Clive. The latter captured more forts, and by the end of 1752 Muhammad 'Ali possessed most of the Karnatak except Jinji.
Nizam-ul Mulk's oldest son Ghazi-ud-din was assigned the Deccan by the Mughal emperor in 1752 and had a Maratha escort. Bussy promised Maratha peshwa Balaji the Deccan province of Khandesh if he would support Salabat Jang, who was forced by the Marathas in November 1752 to give them much of Khandesh and Berar. In 1753 French Directors decided to recall Dupleix for having pursued territorial expansion. His replacement Robert Godeheu made a truce with the English, agreeing their companies would not interfere in Indian disputes. Soon after he arrived at Aurangabad, Ghazi-ud-din was poisoned by Nizam-ul Mulk's widow, the mother of Nizam 'Ali. Salabat Jang relied on Shah Nawaz Khan for financial administration of the Deccan, and in 1754 Nawaz made Raghuji Nagpur pay 500,000 rupees. Nawaz sent the Nizam army into Mysore and raised ten times that the next year; but the French were demanding 2,900,000 rupees a year for their troops. After Salabat Jang dismissed the French, Bussy seized Hyderabad. Nawaz was dismissed during an uprising, and Nizam 'Ali gained power. Marathas led by the Peshwa's son Vishvas Ras invaded and gained 2,500,000 rupees worth of Deccan territory in the treaty of January 1758. Bussy's manager Haidar Jang had Nawaz Shah and Salabat Jang arrested; but Nizam 'Ali avoided that fate by murdering Haidar Jang. During a riot Nawaz was murdered in prison by a French officer. Bussy was recalled to Madras, and Nizam 'Ali returned to Hyderabad. Without French assistance, the Nizam army was easily defeated by the Marathas.
In 1756 war broke out again in Europe between France and England. Comte de Lally led the French attack that destroyed Fort St. David, but his invasion of Tanjore to get money failed. Lally besieged Madras in December 1758 but was defeated the next month trying to regain Arcot, as Bussy was captured. Eyre Coote arrived with a British fleet and defeated Lally in January 1760. Pondicherry was blockaded, and Lally surrendered a year later, ending French power in India. The 1763 treaty of Paris let them keep Pondicherry but without fortifications.
During the siege of Pondicherry, Muhammad 'Ali met all the expenses in order to receive the captured stores; but the Company took them and merely promised him credit. Muhammad 'Ali lived extravagantly in a palace outside of Madras and continually borrowed money at about 40% interest, enabling the English to acquire fortunes giving him loans. George Pigot demanded that Muhammad 'Ali pay five million rupees annually to the Company on his debt. He tried to get tribute from the fertile Tanjore, but Pigot arranged for this to go to the Company also. Nizam 'Ali offered the Company the Circars for military assistance against the Marathas. Together they planned an attack on Haidar 'Ali's fort at Bangalore; but the clever Mysore leader paid off the Marathas with 3,500,000 rupees and secretly plotted with Nizam 'Ali to attack the English. Muhammad 'Ali learned of it, and Col. Joseph Smith retreated in 1767. Near Trinomalee his army was attacked by the combined forces of Haidar and Nizam 'Ali but inflicted heavy casualties upon them. Haidar's son Tipu led a raid on the outskirts of Madras, frightening Council members.
When Nizam 'Ali learned another English force was coming from
Bengal, he made a treaty with the English in 1768 and became known
as their faithful ally. After failing to supply him before, now
the Madras Council sent two deputies to make money supplying Smith's
troops. Smith was recalled and replaced by the corrupt Col. Wood.
Haidar 'Ali respected and avoided Col. Smith but was glad to attack
Wood at every opportunity. By the end of 1768 the Madras Council
recalled Wood and put him under arrest. His charges were later
dismissed because he was a relative of the powerful Company director
Laurence Sulivan. Haidar asked to negotiate with Dupré,
the most honest member of the Madras Council, and he agreed to
a treaty in 1769 with the Company restoring all conquered territories
under a mutual defense agreement.
Bengal nawab Alivardi died in 1756 and was succeeded by his grandson Siraj-ud-daula. Army commander Mir Jafar and the English conspired against him. When the Nawab ordered the English and French to dismantle their forts, the English refused. Siraj attacked Calcutta with a reported 50,000 men and captured Fort William in June 1756. English prisoners were confined in a small room called the "Black Hole" overnight. According to magistrate John Z. Holwell, of the 146 imprisoned he was one of only 23 who survived the suffocation; but many have questioned the accuracy of his account, and recent Indian studies found the number imprisoned was 64. Siraj was not blamed for the guards' incompetence. Clive arrived with an army that took over Calcutta and Hughli in January 1757; a treaty restored the East India Company's trading rights and factories. At war with France, the English attacked Chandernagar. Siraj complained but could do little except ask the French to leave Bengal. Clive accused the Nawab of violating the treaty and wrote he was asking for arbitration, but he occupied the fort at Katwa. When the Punjabi merchant Aminchand tried to blackmail Clive, threatening to warn Siraj, Clive fooled him with a forged agreement and never paid him. During the battle of Plassey in June 1757 Mir Jafar betrayed Siraj by going over to the winning English side. Clive joined Mir Jafar and his troops in Murshidabad. Siraj fled, was captured, and executed at the behest of Mir Jafar.
Clive presided over the installation of Mir Jafar as nawab, and for the first time the English were given land with zamindari rights. Mir Jafar promised to pay some twenty million rupees in compensation and gave Clive a present of 160,000 pounds. Later when he was criticized for accepting this, Clive replied that he was astonished at his own moderation, noting that Murshidabad was as populous and rich as London. Clive managed to get Mir Jafar recognized by the Mughal emperor, and Maratha peshwa Balaji kept getting the tribute agreed upon with Alivardi. The dastaks (passes) that Mir Jafar granted to Company servants exempted them from duties on private trade and gave them a competitive advantage over Indians. Some agents used the British name to extort even more money in the countryside.
The Calcutta Council elected Clive governor of Bengal in 1758. Clive sent Coote after the French led by Law, and the strict Coote had reluctant soldiers flogged. Facing a revolt in Bihar backed by the Awadh nawab, Mir Jafar asked Clive for help, because his mutinous army refused to march. Mughal prince 'Ali Gauhar, who later became Shah Alam II, invaded Bihar with 40,000 men. Clive pushed forward a battalion against him but then sent him 500 gold coins and persuaded him to withdraw. Clive stationed a garrison at Patna, and in gratitude Mir Jafar gave Clive a local tax district. Clive sent Francis Forde to help a raja who had taken over Vizagapatam. Forde's forces defeated the French, and Salabat Jang ceded territory to the English in May 1759. In July seven Dutch ships carrying soldiers tried to go up the Hughli to Chinsura. Mir Jafar ordered them to turn back but did nothing. Though England was not yet at war with Holland, Clive decided to enforce the Nawab's order after Hastings warned him the Nawab was conniving with the Dutch. Clive sent Forde with 300 Europeans, 800 sepoys, and four field guns that made the difference, killing and capturing 450 European soldiers near Badarah on the road to Chinsura. Six Dutch vessels surrendered to three larger English ships, and the other one fled. The Dutch had to admit they provoked the violence and pay a million rupees damages. The Dutch would not challenge the English in Bengal again.
Holwell replaced Clive as governor at Fort William for five months in 1760 and persuaded his successor Vansittart that Nawab Mir Jafar should be deposed. Vansittart secretly made a treaty with Mir Jafar's son-in-law Mir Qasim, making him diwani and giving him more authority than the Nawab. When Mir Jafar objected, the Governor and Mir Qasim besieged his palace in October 1760. After Mir Jafar abdicated, he was allowed to live in Calcutta. The new Nawab soon came into conflict with the English chief Ellis at Patna over duties on inland trade. Mir Qasim demanded that the Company's private trade be abolished, but Vansittart proposed paying nine percent duties on inland trade. Although Indian merchants paid forty percent, the Calcutta Council reduced the duty for company merchants to 2.5%, and it was only on salt. The Nawab's ordering that regulations be enforced provoked violence. He was also disliked for raising taxes more than they had been in the previous two centuries. Then in March 1763 he ordered a remission on all duties on inland trade for two years, hoping that letting Indians compete fairly would ruin English trade. Mir Qasim sent troops to Patna in June, but Ellis took over the factory city. Mir Qasim's forces captured Patna and killed the English envoy Amyatt, shocking the English who lost nearly 3,000 men. The Calcutta Council declared war on Mir Qasim. The English army of Bengal marched into Murshidabad and reinstated Mir Jafar. After Mir Qasim's army was defeated in June 1763, he killed his commander, some associates, and nearly two hundred English prisoners. Then he fled to Awadh.
In 1762 Shah Alam II and Shuja-ud-daula of Awadh had invaded Bundelkhand. The next year they marched toward Delhi hoping to unite Muslims; but the Sunni Afghans came into conflict with Shuja's Shi'a troops and departed. Shah Alam and Shuja gave refuge to Mir Qasim in Awadh. The Calcutta Council sent forces led by Major Carnac into Awadh. Negotiation with Shuja-ud-daula failed, because both he and Mir Jafar wanted Bihar. When Carnac refused to fight in the rainy season, he was replaced by Major Munro, who court martialed a few mutinous officers and executed them with cannons. When Mir Qasim ran out of money for Awadh's war, he was imprisoned. In October 1764 the English army of about 7,200 defeated Shuja's army of 30,000 at the battle of Buxar. Shah Alam surrendered and was allowed to govern only Allahabad and Korah for the next six years. In addition to these annual revenues of 2,800,000 rupees, he would receive tribute of 2,600,000 rupees from Bengal. As Subah of Bengal he bestowed on the Company the powerful office of Diwan. Shuja was defeated again the next year, but he promised to pay the Company five million rupees and was reinstated. These arrangements were made by Clive when he returned for a second term as governor in 1765.
The new Nawab was still head of revenue collection and the judiciary, but the army was controlled by the Company. Clive called this "dual government." Mir Jafar died and was succeeded by his grandson Najm-ud-daula. When Clive allowed the new Nawab an annual salary of 5,300,000 rupees, his character was revealed by his reply, "Thank God! I shall now have as many dancing girls as I please."1 Directors had ordered Clive to reform the system by limiting presents and checking the abuses of private trade. Presents over 4,000 rupees were forbidden, and those over 1,000 required official approval. Yet the Council had accepted presents totaling nearly 140,000 pounds from the new Nawab. Clive tried to increase salaries to reduce corruption, but the Directors balked at the cost and instituted commissions on revenues. He converted a gift from Mir Jafar into a fund for wounded and sick veterans. Clive reduced the corrupt allowances military officers had been receiving for years. Angry officers in the Monghyr brigade resigned their commissions, and the troops were near mutiny; but Clive used the sepoys (Indian troops) to force them to cooperate. Clive made the officers at Patna sign a three-year agreement with capital punishment for disobedience. He court martialed the "ringleaders" and deported them. Opposition to his reforms subsided, and Clive left India in February 1767. He predicted that the Company would make an annual profit of two million pounds and that the people of Bengal would be benefited, but the results of his efforts were quite different.
Peshwa Madhav Rao and his uncle Raghunath met in 1767, but the latter lost a second civil war the next year and was imprisoned at Puna. Bombay sent Thomas Mostyn to Puna to keep the Marathas from joining Mysore's Haidar 'Ali and the Deccan's Nizam 'Ali, and the next year the English attacked Haidar's fleet on the west coast. Nizam made a treaty with Madras in 1768, but Haidar's victories the next year made Madras promise to defend him from Maratha attack, which they failed to do. Madhav Rao wanted to subjugate the Karnatak and in 1770 occupied several posts and two strong forts; he put Trimbak Rao in charge with a large army. In March 1771 Trimbak defeated Mysore's army, as Haidar fled to his capital in a disguise. Ill and out of money, the Peshwa told Trimbak Rao to make peace in 1772; Haidar 'Ali agreed to pay 3,100,000 rupees and surrendered some territory south of the Tungabhadra.
When the Marathas invaded Mysore, Haidar 'Ali asked for English assistance in accordance with their 1769 treaty; but Muhammad 'Ali was hostile to Haidar, and the Marathas asked for English help also. The Madras Council procrastinated, and Haidar resented this breach of the treaty. Madras governor Dupré wisely refrained from supporting Muhammad 'Ali's scheme to invade Tanjore, because it would provoke the Marathas. In late 1771 he approved a siege by General Joseph Smith, but Muhammad 'Ali changed his mind on being offered five million rupees by the Tanjore raja. Two years later the Madras Council, dominated by Paul Benfield, sent Smith to seize Tanjore for Muhammad 'Ali; but in 1775 the Company directors removed the Madras governor and ordered the Council to restore the raja. The Court of Proprietors appointed George Pigot governor, and he came into conflict with the Madras Council and Nawab Muhammad 'Ali. Pigot ordered Robert Fletcher arrested, but instead the Council put Pigot in prison, where he died in May 1777.
Peshwa Madhav Rao died of disease in November 1772 and was succeeded by his brother Narayan Rao. Raghunath Rao (Ragoba) organized a conspiracy and had his nephew murdered in August 1773, becoming peshwa. He made a treaty with Haidar 'Ali, trading territory for money. The late Peshwa's widow Ganga Bai gave birth to a son, and Nana Fadnavis led an effort to govern as regents for him. Raghunath appealed to Bombay and gained an English alliance in a 1775 treaty, ceding Salsette and Bassein. The Calcutta Council condemned the Bombay treaty and sent Col. Upton to Puna to annul it and make a new one with the regency that renounced Raghunath, who was promised a pension. The Bombay government rejected this and gave refuge to Raghunath. In 1777 Nana Fadnavis violated his treaty by granting the French a port on the west coast. Bombay reacted by sending a force toward Puna, but in January 1779 the British troops were defeated by a large Maratha army. In the convention at Wadgaon, Bombay had to relinquish all territory acquired since 1775. Bengal disavowed this, and an army led by Col. Goddard marched across India to take over Ahmadabad in February 1780 and Bassein in December.
Haidar 'Ali formed a triple alliance with the Deccan's Nizam
'Ali and the Marathas against the English, and they defeated the
British advance on Puna. Haidar and his son Tipu trapped a British
force of 3,800 led by Baillie, capturing all that had not been
killed; about 200 Europeans were imprisoned for several years.
Some of the prisoners were put to death, and others were converted
to Islam. The Maratha-Mysore alliance took Arcot after a long
siege, but Hastings and the Bengal council won Nizam back over
by assuring him that his tribute would be paid and that Guntur
would be restored to Basalat Jang. Another Bengal detachment led
by Captain Popham helped the Rana of Gohad capture Gwalior in
August 1780. Hastings sent more forces, and in 1781 Eyre Coote
defeated Haidar at Porto Novo. General Camac also defeated Mahadji
Sindia at Sipri. After these English victories, Sindia proposed
a new treaty between Puna and the English, recognizing young Madhava
Rao Narayan and giving Raghunath a pension. This treaty of Salbai
was signed in May 1782 and ratified eight months later by Nana
Fadnavis; it called for the Peshwa to make Haidar 'Ali relinquish
his conquests and prisoners within six months of ratification.
Haidar 'Ali was elderly and had died of cancer in December 1782;
but his son Tipu continued the war. Bombay brigadier Mathews and
his men captured Bednore and Mangalore in 1783 but surrendered
to Tipu after he withdrew troops from the Karnatak. Lord Macartney
at Madras recalled Col. Fullarton, and the 1784 treaty of Mangalore
restored conquests and liberated prisoners.
The English East India Company's dividend was raised in 1766 from six to ten percent and to 12.5% the following year. The House of Commons appointed a committee to inquire into the Company's extraordinary money-making and reduced the dividend back to ten percent. Three Supervisors were sent out to reform the Company in September 1769, but the ship was lost at sea. Commodore John Lindsay had been made the King's Minister Plenipotentiary secretly after the Company's directors had opposed this.
The English used the dual Mughal revenue system in Bengal, but Clive's strict reforms provided little improvement. The English enriched themselves with bribes and by fixing prices. Crop failures led to a disastrous famine and pestilence in 1770 during which about ten million people died, a third of the Bengal and Bihar population. The English Company spent only 9,000 pounds on famine relief that helped about 400,000 people. Officials monopolized all grain and even forced ryots (peasants) to sell their seeds for the next harvest, compounding the misery. Revenues were still demanded and even increased, further decreasing cultivation. The justice system was corrupt, as judges were appointed by official favor, and not having salaries they depended on fines and perquisites. The Company's servants participated in inland trade without duties and drove most of the Indian merchants out of business. Verelst had failed even though he seemed to realize that acting as mere merchants, making immense revenues the only goal without protecting the people, was inhumane. He was replaced by Cartier in 1770. The Directors continued to pay the dividends even though the Company had to borrow from the Bank of England to do so.
In 1771 the Directors appointed the experienced Warren Hastings as governor of Bengal. Hastings wanted to cultivate peace and establish justice, reduce Company expenses, and limit remote wars. He had served in India since 1750 and spoke Bengali, Hindustani (Urdu), and some Persian, the official language of the Mughals. He believed that most Indians are gentle, kind, faithful in service, submissive to laws, and abhorred bloodshed. Hastings was secretly ordered to arrest the Nawab's chief minister Muhammad Reza Khan for fraud and embezzlement. However, the charges could not be proved, because the one accusing him was his ambitious assistant, the notorious Nandakumar, who had asked the English for a bribe to betray Siraj-ud-daula and the French when the English were planning to attack Chandernagore in 1757. Hastings took over the Nawab's authority but still used mostly Indian officials, believing their traditional corruption was not as bad as the greedy Englishmen. He paid thirty Company servants salaries in six Provincial Councils to oversee the Indian officials. He established criminal and civil courts of appeal in Calcutta and appointed Muslim and other law officers approved by the Nawab. Use of the dastak passes was abolished, and a uniform tariff of 2.5% was set on all internal trade.
The British Government loaned the Company 1.5 million pounds and ended their obligation to pay the Government 400,000 pounds annually. The Regulating Act of 1773 gave authority in Bengal to four councilors headed by the governor-general, who could break a tie. The other councilors, Philip Francis, General Clavering, and Colonel Monson, began investigating Hastings, who became governor-general in 1774. That year Clive committed suicide in England. When Awadh nawab Shuja-ud-daula died and was succeeded by his son Asaf-ud-daula, the Council insisted on a new treaty and gained concessions, causing his troops to mutiny for lack of pay and his zamindars to hold back revenue. Francis with a letter from Nandakumar accused Hastings of accepting 350,000 rupees in presents from the young Nawab's guardian Mani Begum. Nandakumar was charged with forgery, which the British had made a capital crime, and after a trial Nandakumar was hanged. He was a Brahmin, and Indians were shocked by this extreme punishment. Monson died and was replaced by Richard Barwell. An attempt to remove Hastings and Barwell was blocked by the Court of Proprietors, who could not be bribed and did not want the King's friend Clavering to end the Company's power in India. Clavering died in August 1777, and the Directors extended Hastings' term past 1779.
News that France had declared war on England arrived in August 1778, and within a few months the English seized Chandernagore and Pondicherry. Hastings set up the Amini Commission to determine the real value of land by examining past revenues. Eyre Coote joined the Council in 1779. When Hastings believed that Francis had violated their agreement by blocking a military decision, their quarrel escalated to a duel in which Francis was wounded. Francis objected to Bengal being governed by foreign traders and wanted the British monarch to have authority. During the Mysore war Hastings asked Benares raja Chait Singh to contribute an extra 500,000 rupees and two thousand cavalry. After he provided only 200,000 rupees, Hastings had him arrested. Chait Singh's armed retainers freed him, killing most of the sepoys, who for some unknown reason had no ammunition. Severed heads of English officers were paraded in villages. The Company sent more troops and deposed Chait Singh, who fled with his treasure. They installed his young nephew and nearly doubled the annual revenue payment to 4,000,000 rupees. The treasure was eventually captured but was divided among the troops to Hastings' consternation. His treatment of Chait Singh later became the most serious charge in the famous Hastings impeachment trial.
Hastings replaced the provincial councils with a revenue administration and local Indian diwans, but this made it difficult to find positions for young Englishmen in India. Francis promoted investigation of Hastings in the House of Commons, and in 1782 Hastings was censored; but the Court of Proprietors rescinded the Directors' recall order. Lack of rain caused famine in northern India. Hastings visited Lucknow (Lakhnau), where the Awadh nawab lived in luxury in a palace tended by 4,000 gardeners. He managed to collect half the debt the opium-eating Asaf-ud-daula owed by sending troops to take it by force from the rich Begams. Hastings lamented the encroaching spirit of the English that allowed and even protected licentious individuals. Hicky's Gazette began publishing sensational news, sarcasm, gossip, and scandals in 1780; but after it exposed Hastings' private life, he had Hicky arrested and deported. He welcomed orientalist William Jones and wrote an introduction to Wilkins' translation of the Bhagavad-gita. They founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal. After his council supporter Wheler died, Hastings handed his office over to Macpherson and left India in February 1785. His impeachment trial by Parliament began in 1788, but he was not acquitted on all charges until 1795. Even his detractor, the historian Macaulay, admitted that Hastings had been the most popular governor of India.
In England clause 34 of Pitt's India Act of 1784 enjoined the Company not to intervene in Indian politics, and Macpherson refused to join the Maratha alliance against Mysore unless the French were attacking them. To fight Tipu, Nana Fadnavis made an alliance with Nizam 'Ali and granted Garha-Mandla to Mudhoji Bhosle in exchange for 15,000 cavalry and 3,200,000 rupees; but he had to give Holkar a million rupees to pay his army. The Maratha army led by Hari Pant Fadke invaded Mysore in 1786. Tipu was in a strong position but feared British involvement and negotiated a treaty in March 1787, agreeing to pay six million rupees.
Lord Cornwallis was the Company's governor-general 1786-93 and was obligated to follow Pitt's India Act. Muhammad 'Ali was living in luxury in Madras, and the Company was paying his extravagant debts. Cornwallis made a treaty with him, promising to defend the whole Karnatak for a fee. Nizam 'Ali was supposed to give Guntur to the English when Basalat Jang died in 1782. Cornwallis finally got Guntur from Nizam 'Ali in 1788, and the next year he promised him two battalions of sepoys provided they were not used against the Company's allies, which did not include Mysore. Five months later Tipu attacked a line of defenses in Travancore that had been originally built by the Portuguese, captured by the Dutch in 1662, and sold to the Travancore raja. Cornwallis considered this a violation and arranged a triple alliance against Mysore. The Company's Charles Malet formalized it with Nana's Marathas at Puna, and John Kennaway did so with the Nizam at Hyderabad; each promised 10,000 cavalry. Tipu had a disciplined army of about 100,000, and they were much more mobile than the English, whose officers traveled with furniture.
Bombay governor Major-General Medows replaced the unprepared
Madras governor Hollond and led 15,000 men, taking Coimbatore
in July 1790. Tipu's large army forced Col. Floyd to retreat and
ravaged the Karnatak; but outnumbered Col. Hartley defeated a
Mysore army near Calicut on the west coast, and Bombay governor
General Abercromby with a larger force landed and took over the
Malabar province. Cornwallis joined Medows, and their combined
army of 19,000 captured Bangalore in March 1791. Tipu retreated
to his capital at Seringapatam while Cornwallis found his army
bogged down by rain and starving bullocks; military stores and
heavy guns had to be destroyed. Two Maratha armies brought supplies
they sold, and eventually 28,000 bullocks were sent from the Karnatak.
A Maratha army went off to plunder Bednor. Tipur still had 50,000
men but negotiated a surrender in March 1792. He ceded half his
territory and promised to pay 33 million rupees; Cornwallis took
two of his sons as hostages for two years until the indemnity
was paid. The Nizam and the Peshwa split northern Mysore, and
the English got Malabar with its spices for the Bombay presidency.
The British restored the Karnatak to Muhammad 'Ali. Upon hearing
news that England was at war with revolutionary France, Cornwallis
took artillery to help Madras capture Pondicherry and then left
for England in October 1793.
William Pitt's India Act of 1784 established a Board of Control that nullified the Company's Court of Proprietors but worked with the Directors to set policy. Pitt hoped this would guide politics in India with as little corrupt influence as possible. Both Macartney and Cornwallis refused to be governor-general unless they could control the council. Macpherson held the position for twenty months until Cornwallis was made commander-in-chief as well. Macpherson was criticized for making money for himself and his friends, but he managed to clear off military pay arrears. He offered the Nizam and the Marathas three battalions from Bombay to fight Tipu, but Cornwallis retracted that.
Pitt and Control Board chairman Henry Dundas wanted Cornwallis to institute reforms, and in his first three years peace allowed him to do so. Cornwallis suspended the Board of Trade and dismissed most of its members for irregularities. He stopped the selling of offices and enforced the ban on private trade by public servants by sending offenders home. He abolished sinecures and dismissed high officials, and he got the Company to reduce commissions and increase salaries so that honesty became practical. He did not trust Indians and confined them to inferior positions only. He cut back corruption in Awadh by reducing the seven million rupees paid for the troops to five million and stopped exempting Company servants from duties by making a commercial treaty with Awadh.
The British had been using the zamindari system in Bengal since 1765. Zamindars collected taxes in their districts, traditionally a third of the gross produce, keeping one-tenth of what they collected. Failure to pay the assessment was usually punished by fines, imprisonment, or flogging, not by confiscating. John Shore had been in charge of revenue for the last four years under Hastings, and his research was used for the ten-year settlement Cornwallis made in 1789. He persuaded Dundas to make the settlement permanent in 1793. Zamindars were considered landowners and still had to pay 90% of what they collected, and the cultivators were protected by the British collectors over them. Many of the new assessments were too high, and some zamindars had to sell to men with money in Calcutta. Personal connections between the zamindars and the peasants were often broken, and many landlords were absent. As improvements were made, the fixed settlement resulted in the zamindars becoming wealthy; but the peasants' status remained low, and they could be evicted for not paying their rent. The Board of Revenue was reorganized, reducing the districts from 35 to 23. Each collector had two European assistants, and his salary was increased from 1,200 rupees per month to 1,500 with a commission of one percent on revenue collected. This Permanent Settlement fixed land revenues; as time went on, some believed that the Bengal and Bihar governments suffered from inadequate revenues.
Cornwallis reformed civil law by instituting the English legal system for all but minor suits. By abolishing legal fees everyone could have access to the courts; but this resulted in a backlog, and it took many years to bring a case. Muslim law was modified to replace mutilation with fines and to abolish distinctions made between believers and infidels. In 1790 Cornwallis removed Muhammad Reza Khan so that the governor-general and his council had supreme authority with the advice of a qazi (chief judge) and two muftis on Islamic law. Initial appeals were made to provincial courts at Calcutta, Murshidabad, Dacca, and Patna. Zamindars had to give up their private police forces. Being a district police chief (darogha) was one powerful position an Indian could fill. The complete revision of the legal system became known as the Cornwallis Code in May 1793. Perhaps most important was that he applied the rule of law to the governors as well as the governed. Cornwallis wrote,
The collectors of revenue and their officers,
and indeed all the officers of Government,
shall be amenable to the courts
for acts done in their official capacities,
and Government itself, in cases in which
it may be a party with its subjects in matters of property
shall submit its rights to be tried in these courts
under the existing laws and regulations.2
In regard to the debts of nawabs such as Muhammad 'Ali, the Board of Control overruled the Directors and declared all debts were due; they were influenced by Benfield and others in Parliament who benefited from this. Thus Madras continued to drain wealth from the Company at Bengal.
Slave trafficking in India was abolished by proclamation in
1789; but rural slavery of peasant serfs continued in much of
India, and the households of landlords often had domestic slaves
in areas where Islamic law still prevailed. In the early 19th
century Buchanan reported that the price of adult slaves varied
between fifteen and twenty rupees while children cost an average
of one rupee for each year of their age. Many men sold their children
into slavery for bread during famines.
John Shore succeeded Cornwallis in 1793. He was a devoted Christian but also promoted the study of Indian culture as the third president of the Asiatic Society. Resident Jonathan Duncan established a Sanskrit College at Benares in 1792 and began a campaign to end infanticide. Baptist missionary William Carey came to Calcutta in 1793, set up schools, and translated the Bible into Bengali. William Duane began publishing Indian World in 1794, but he was arrested and deported the next year. During this European war Madras forces attacked Dutch settlements in Sri Lanka and the Spice Islands. Shore declined to defend Nizam 'Ali in a conflict with the Maratha confederacy that formed after Mahadji Sindia was succeeded by his nephew Daulat Rao Sindia. After a battle at Kharda with less than 200 casualties in March 1795, the Nizam's army dispersed; he ceded territory and agreed to pay the Marathas thirty million rupees. Nizam dismissed two battalions of the Company's sepoys but found he needed their aid when his son 'Ali Jah rebelled against him. Muhammad 'Ali died in 1795; but his son Umdut-ul-Umara would not modify the treaty, and the corruption continued. However, Alexander Read and Thomas Munro established a revenue administration in Madras that became the model for British India. After Peshwa Madhu Rao fell off a terrace and died in October 1795, the Marathas were divided over the succession of Raghunath's son Baji Rao II. The conflict enabled Nizam 'Ali to regain territory he lost at Kharda, but by December 1796 Baji Rao was recognized as the peshwa with Nana Fadnavis as chief minister. For a while Daulat Rao Sindia's father-in-law Sarza Rao Ghatge gained control at the Puna court and extorted wealth, arresting prominent persons. Mahadji's three widows protested but were defeated in 1798.
Company officers were upset about their poor pay and limited promotion opportunities compared to the King's officers; but Abercromby suggested modifying Shore's new regulations, and mutiny was averted. In 1797 Awadh nawab Asaf-ud-daula invited Shore to visit Lucknow. Shore hinted at a collective guilt when he commented on the succession struggle in Rohilkhand in which Ghulam Muhammad had killed the heir and then was defeated by his son.
No one can calculate the consequences
of the violation of a moral principle;
and there is some justice in your suspicion
that the inveteracy of the Rohillas
may be traced to the injustice of 1774.3
The Afghan Zaman Shah had recently invaded as far as Lahore, and Shore wanted concessions from the frightened Awadh nawab. Asaf-ud-daula agreed to pay more and replace a corrupt minister; when the threat faded, he declined to turn over the fortress of Allahabad. Asaf-ud-daula died six months later, and Shore replaced Vazir 'Ali, who was claiming to be the Nawab's son, with his brother Sa'adat 'Ali. The new Nawab then ceded Allahabad to the Company and raised the annual payment for its troops to 76 million rupees. Zaman Shah occupied Lahore again in 1798; but he returned to Afghanistan when he learned that his brother Shah Mahmud had invited the Persian shah to invade. Shore objected to the aggressive methods of Madras governor Hobart and annulled a treaty he made with the intimidated Tanjore raja. Hobart wrote to Dundas threatening to resign if Shore was not replaced; but the Directors recalled Hobart for having coerced the Karnatak nawab.
Richard Wellesley was not quite 38 years old when he became governor-general at Calcutta in May 1798. He believed in British imperialism and thought that Shore had been a weak governor. Because of the European war he exaggerated the threat of the French in India. In June he learned that the French governor Malartic of Mauritius was raising volunteers to fight for Tipu Sultan against the English. Only a hundred recruits joined him, but Wellesley used it as an excuse to bully Tipu. His brother Arthur Wellesley advised him to be patient and let Tipu explain. Richard Wellesley goaded Madras into preparing for war and got Nizam 'Ali to dismiss his French officers and support the English Company. In February 1799 the combined army of the Company had 40,000 men with more than 100,000 camp followers. Tipu had only about 37,000 men and used his mobility and a scorched-earth strategy. After being defeated on March 27 by Company commander George Harris, Tipu retreated to Seringapatam. General Baird, who had suffered 44 months imprisonment in a Seringapatam dungeon, wanted revenge and led the attack that stormed and plundered the Mysore capital. Tipu was killed, and Arthur Wellesley had to use flogging and hanging to restore order. More than half of the two million pounds of booty was claimed by the officers as prize money, Harris getting 143,000. Richard Wellesley was offered 100,000, which he declined.
Governor-General Wellesley had 14,000 European troops but declared 31,000 were needed. The Company reluctantly agreed to 21,000, but the number only reached about 18,000. Wellesley installed a five-year-old Hindu prince in the small traditional kingdom of Mysore. By a treaty in 1800 Nizam 'Ali gave up the Mysore territories he had gained in both wars to the Company for protection and an end to his paying an annual subsidy. His many troops were disbanded and caused local disorders for several years. The Company gained control of Tanjore when the raja Serfogi they had installed accepted a 40,000-pound annual pension in October 1799. Five months later Wellesley ordered the Company to take over the port of Surat as its nawab was given a pension. Wellesley believed that the English could govern better. After Muhammad 'Ali's son Umdat-ul-Umara died, the regents for his son rejected a pension agreement. So Wellesley offered one to Umdat-ul-Umara's nephew, and the Company took over the Karnatak in July 1801. The Directors approved the new treaty, because they believed the family of Muhammad 'Ali had forfeited its previous treaty rights by treasonable correspondence with Tipu.
More complicated machinations were used in regard to Awadh (Oudh). Vazir 'Ali resented having to live in Calcutta, escaped, and with several thousand armed men killed the Benares resident Cherry and other Englishmen in 1799. After Zaman Shah invaded from Afghanistan to Lahore again in the fall of 1798, Bombay governor Duncan and Wellesley sent envoys with gifts to urge the Persian shah to destabilize Afghanistan and oppose the French. In 1800 Zaman Shah was imprisoned and blinded by his half-brother Shah Mahmud. In 1799 Awadh's Sa'adat 'Ali had written to Wellesley that he would abdicate; but when he learned he could not choose his successor, he changed his mind. Wellesley ordered more troops into Awadh and told the Nawab he would have to pay for them. Sa'adat 'Ali objected that this violated the treaty; but in February 1800 he agreed to pay the Company and disband his own forces. The next year Wellesley demanded that the Awadh nawab cede at least half his territory to the Company, and the threat of force made him agree in November 1801. The ceded land of Rohilkhand and the Lower Doab bordering Bihar was most fertile. Sa'adat 'Ali was required to "act in conformity to the counsel of the officers of the Honourable Company." Wellesley named his brother Henry as president of the board of commissioners and lieutenant-governor of Awadh. This military and administrative control by the Company in exchange for subsidies in the name of a defensive alliance was called the "subsidiary alliance system."
In 1799 Richard Wellesley decreed that no newspaper could be published unless it had been previously inspected by the Government's Secretary, and the penalty for failure was deportation. He founded the College of Fort William in Calcutta to educate civil servants. The uninformed Directors objected, but they were overruled by Castlereagh on the Board of Control. In 1806 the Directors established Haileyburg College in England and reduced Fort William College to teaching Indian languages to Bengali civilians. Wellesley believed in free trade and arranged for 3,000 tons of shipping for private British traders so that they could compete with foreign merchants. Believing that the British could provide superior government, Wellesley made plans to improve drainage and roads in Calcutta and proposed experimental agriculture at Barrackpur. He encouraged missionaries, and the Bible was translated into Indian languages. He prohibited the sacrifice of children at Saugor Point by the Hughli River and tried to reduce the number of Hindu widows burned in sati.
Tukoji Holkar died in August 1797, and his sons fought over Malwa. Jaswant Rao Holkar emerged as regent and defended the Holkar House against the Maratha empire of Daulat Rao Sindia, who had 40,000 disciplined men under the French general Perron in his northern armies. The latter had Nana Fadnavis arrested on the last day of 1797, and Daulat's father-in-law Sarza Rao Ghatge terrorized Puna for three months to raise money. Nana was released in July 1798. That month the Company made a treaty with the Peshwa, who agreed to exclude the French from his army and pay the force from Bombay. This secret treaty was renewed annually three times. Meanwhile Lakhwa Dada led the war of Mahadji's widows against the tyranny of Daulat Rao Sindia that lasted four years. Young Peshwa Baji Rao II defeated the Kolhapur raja in 1799. Nana Fadnavis died in March 1800, and Daulat Rao became the Peshwa's chief minister. The civil war in Daulat's family ended when Lakhwa Dada and the widows were driven out of Seondha in May 1801.
In the north Marathas led by Malhar Rao Holkar and Mahadji Sindia gradually fought back from the devastation of the Panipat disaster. After Ahmad Shah Abdali went back to Afghanistan, in December 1767 the Bhangi Sikhs crossed the Jamuna and invaded the Doab. They defeated Najib-ud-daula in March 1768 and again in December. Jawahir Singh was assassinated in June, and his brother Ratan Singh hired the Europeans Rene Madec and Walter Reinhard. When Ratan Singh was murdered by his Brahmin priest in 1769, Jat commander Dan Shah became regent for Ratan's son Kesari Singh; civil war weakened the Jats. The Peshwa sent more troops, and 30,000 Marathas ravaged Jat territory in 1770. The Sikhs plundered Panipat and reached Delhi in January 1770, followed by Najib's son Zabita Khan. Negotiations failed, and Zabita Khan retired to his Rohilla estate, enabling the Sikhs to enter the Doab. A Jat army pursued the Sikhs and defeated them in February. Hari Singh Bhangi died and was succeeded by Jhanda Singh, who made the Jammu and the Pathans of Kasur pay tribute. Jhanda also captured the citadel at Multan. Learning that Zabita Khan had succeeded his father Najib, the Sikhs plundered Panipat again.
Zabita Khan was defeated by the Marathas as Mahadji Sindia and Visaji Krishna occupied Delhi. They invited Shah 'Alam II to come from Allahabad. The Marathas defeated the Rohillas and captured Zabita Khan, causing other Rohilla chiefs to make a treaty with Awadh's Shuja-ud-daula in 1772. The Marathas controlled Emperor Shah 'Alam II and made him grant them Kora and Allahabad; Zabita Khan joined their side, and they wanted him appointed Mir Bakhshi. Emperor Shah Alam objected, but the Marathas defeated his imperial forces. Sirhind governor Mughal Ali Khan crossed the Jamuna but was attacked and defeated by Sikhs, who invaded the Doab again a year later. In 1773 the English and Awadh defended Rohilkhand from a Maratha attack, and in a treaty Awadh nawab Shuja received Kora and Allahabad in exchange for paying five million rupees for a British garrison. In 1774 Shuja-ud-daula and the English invaded Rohilkhand, driving out 20,000 Rohillas and annexing most of that province to Awadh. In Delhi the Persian adventurer Mirza Najaf Khan commanded the Mughal army for the Emperor from 1772 until he died in 1782, repelling the Sikhs, suppressing the Jats, recovering Agra, and holding off the Marathas.
In the Punjab the Sikhs could usually govern themselves and had much less violence, though in 1774 Jai Singh Kanhaya got Jhanda Singh assassinated and joined with Jassa Singh Ahluwalia to expel the carpenter Jassa Singh. When Afghanistan's Ahmad Shah Abdali died in 1772, his son Timur Shah was governing Herat. He rushed to Qandahar and was elected by the Durrani chiefs. Shah Vali Khan had tried to raise an army and was executed for treason. For two years Timur Shah was busy suppressing disorders in his kingdom, but his army crossed the Indus in January 1775 and defeated some Sikhs. Realizing he needed more men, he withdrew to Peshawar, where Faizullah Khan organized an assassination plot; but Timur hid in the tower until his guards were aroused and caused Faizullah to flee. In fury Timur ordered a massacre of about a third of the 6,000 men in Peshawar. He promised to forgive Faizullah; but when he surrendered, he was beheaded. Timur Shah invaded India again in 1779 and tried to get Multan back with diplomacy, but the Sikhs shot his envoy dead. Timur sent 18,000 men under Zangi Khan Durrani, and they killed several thousand Sikhs in the battle of Rohtas. After losing 2,000 more casualties at Shujabad, 7,000 Sikhs retreated into the fort at Multan; but they surrendered and were allowed to depart in February 1780. Timur Shah had forts built but returned to Afghanistan before the hot weather. In October 1780 Timur Shah invaded Bahawalpur; but when 20,000 Sikh horsemen attacked Multan, he asked for peace.
In 1774 the Sikhs ravaged the Doab, approached Delhi, and were bought off by the Emperor, who offered them the district of Shahbazpur for the service of 10,000 horsemen. In 1775 Zabita Khan incited the Sikhs to plunder imperial lands; but in July he was defeated by Najaf Khan, and the Sikhs went home. In March 1776 Zabita Khan and his Rohillas attacked and killed Mughal commander Abul Qasim, and in May the Sikhs led by Gajpat Singh defeated and killed Mulla Rahimdad Khan, gaining seven villages. Zabita Khan and the Sikhs went to Delhi the next month and were pardoned by the Emperor; but in the fall about 60,000 Sikhs plundered Delhi's neighbors. Zabita Khan and the Sikhs fought Najaf Khan's imperial army in 1777. When Zabita Khan was defeated, he fled to the Sikhs and converted to their religion. In 1778 they raided the Doab and stayed in Delhi for a month. The next year Abdul Ahad led the imperial army but had to retreat in October. The Sikhs did not attempt to win political power in the region but were intent on gaining plunder.
The Emperor's grand-nephew Mirza Shafi led several campaigns against the Sikhs and even recruited dissident Sikhs into his army. He imprisoned Gajpat Singh and three other Sikh chiefs and in 1781 took Sadhaura from the Sikhs. Despite the conflicts among the Sikhs, the Mughals were not able to defeat them because Najaf Khan could not provide Shafi's army with enough supplies. Najaf Khan tried to get Zabita Khan to help Shafi but could not pay his troops. The Sikhs used guerrilla warfare and ravaged the Doab. In June 1781 Zabita Khan mediated an agreement giving the Sikhs the right to collect taxes (rakhi) in the upper Doab, and the Sikhs promised to stop raiding imperial territory. Yet the Sikhs continued to ravage imperial lands. A week before he died in April 1782, Najaf Khan sent Shafi with 10,000 troops against the Sikhs. Najaf's slaves Afrasiyab Khan and Najaf Quli Khan struggled for power with Shafi Khan and Mughal officer Muhammad Beg Hamdani, but the Maratha chief Mahadji Sindia took power in Delhi. Lack of rain caused a devastating famine that destroyed about a third of the population in 1783. Many Sikhs moved from the Setluj territory to the upper Ganga Doab.
After raiding as far as the Ganges, Baghel Singh and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia led the Sikh army of 60,000 that plundered Delhi in March 1783. Reinhard's widow Begam Samru was invited to negotiate, and it was agreed that Baghel Singh would remain in the capital with 4,000 troops to keep order. Shafi was Mughal regent and with Afrasiyab tried to suppress the revolt of Hamdani, who assassinated Shafi in September. Afrasiyab became regent until he was murdered by Shafi's brother Zain-ul-Abidin Khan in November 1784. During this period of weakness Mahadji Sindia met with Emperor Shah Alam and represented the Marathas' Peshwa. In December 1784 the Sikhs plundered the suburbs of Delhi, alarming the English. Early in 1785 about 30,000 Sikhs, led by Baghel Singh, Gurdit Singh, and Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, crossed the Jamuna and ravaged the upper Doab. A subsidiary British force led by Awadh diwan Raja Jagan Nath skirmished with the Sikhs. Najaf Quli invited the Sikhs to approach Delhi, and they did so collecting tribute. Mahadji Sindia sent Ambaji Ingle to win over the Sikhs, and in March they agreed on a provisional treaty. The Sikh chiefs tried to form an alliance with the English by making a false accusation against Sindia but then concluded a treaty with him in May in which they would receive a million rupees income for 5,000 cavalry. The Sikhs quickly broke the treaty by collecting extra revenue in the Doab, and Dhar Rao Sindia led 10,000 troops to expel them. He was joined by Gajpat Singh and demanded money from Ghulam Qadir, who had succeeded his father Zabita Khan in January.
Jai Singh Kanhaya was paramount in the Punjab until about 1785 when Mahan Singh and Jassa Singh Ramgarhia defeated the Kanhayas. Mahan Singh was the most powerful Sikh in the Punjab until he died in 1792. In 1783 Murtaza Khan and Zaman Khan complained to Timur Shah that their brother Azad Khan had expelled them from Kashmir. The Afghan king gave them 30,000 troops, and at the Kishanganga River they killed 2,000 Kashmiris; but Azad Khan's cousin Pahalwan Khan rallied their troops and defeated the imperial army. At Srinagar the Afghan army was defeated again. Angered Timur Shah sent a larger force from Peshawar. Azad Khan fled, was imprisoned, and killed himself. On learning that Shah Murad of Balkh was preparing to invade Afghanistan, Timur Shah returned to Kabul in May 1786. On Timur Shah's fifth campaign into India he led an army of 120,000 and massacred the inhabitants of Bahawalpur in January 1789. He demanded four million rupees and 3,000 camel loads of water bags from the raja of Jodhpur; but Rae Dhanje promised Mahadji Sindia he would starve the Afghans in Kachh Bhuj. So Timur Shah went into Sind and collected six million rupees in tribute. News of disturbances by Shah Murad of Turan persuaded Timur to retreat again. For the next three years rumors abounded that Timur Shah was planning to capture Delhi, but he died at Kabul in 1793 and was succeeded by his son Shah Zaman.
The Sikhs continued their raiding, and in 1787 they plundered the territory of Ghulam Qadir and others. Ghulam Qadir joined forces with Ambaji for a while. Meanwhile Mahadji Sindia was defeating the Rajputs of Jaipur; Hamdani was killed, and the raja promised to pay 6,300,000 rupees. When Ambaji joined Sindia in Jaipur, Ghulam Qadir got Sikhs to join him in challenging the Marathas. In September 1785 Ghulam Qadir took power in Delhi while his ally Isma'il Beg occupied Agra. Begam Samru's battalions reached Delhi three days later. The Emperor named Ghulam regent, and he secured the fortress of Aligarh and took control of the Doab. Emperor Shah Alam II demanded tribute from Najaf Quli Khan; but the imperial forces were slaughtered by the Sikhs, and Begam Samru mediated a reconciliation. The Sikhs plundered the territory of Ghulam Qadir while he was fighting the Marathas and Jats near Bharatpur. Ghulam returned to Delhi in July 1788. His Rohillas stripped and raped princesses and ladies, letting many die of starvation while they searched for treasures, which his wife later estimated at 250 million rupees. When Shah Alam could not disclose more secrets, Ghulam Qadir blinded him. The Marathas attacked Delhi; Ghulam fled and was captured in December. Sindia had his body mutilated before putting him to death.
Mahadji Sindia put 'Ali Bahadur in charge, tried to conciliate Tukoji Holkar by giving him a million rupees worth of land, and went to Mathura in 1788. He granted the Sikhs feudal tenures in 1789, allowing a thousand Sikhs to collect taxes with Maratha officers; but the Sikhs plundered the Doab again in 1790. They captured the British commander Robert Stuart and held him at Thanesar for nearly ten months in 1791 before the English agreed to pay Bhanga Singh a ransom of six million rupees that was transferred by Begam Samru. Mahadji Sindia got Comte de Boigne to train his troops with European discipline, and by 1792 Sindia established Maratha supremacy over the Rajputs and Jats; but he had conflicts with 'Ali Bahadur and Holkar. In 1793 De Boigne's infantry attacked Holkar's troops near Ajmer. Mahadji Sindia died of illness in 1794; he was succeeded by his nephew's son Daulat Rao Sindia, who was only 14 and inept. He appointed the Shenvi Brahmin Lakhba Dada to govern northern India, which was ravaged so badly that land was hardly cultivated. The artillery of Begam's regiment forced the Sikhs to retreat to their own territory in 1794. An attempt to collect revenue in Karnal provoked a war with the Sikhs in 1795, and they invaded the upper Doab. The Sikhs were also torn apart by civil war, though Rae Singh Bhangi persuaded Gurdit Singh to leave the Maratha camp. Maratha chief Nana Rao entered Thanesar and was enticed to march toward Patiala to secure money; but fierce fighting by the Sikhs persuaded him to return to Delhi. In 1796 the Sikhs massacred and plundered pilgrims at Hardwar.
Afghanistan's Shah Zaman invaded India in 1794, plundering and burning Jhelum. He demanded revenue payments from chiefs of Bhakar, Multan, Sind, and Kashmir before returning to Peshawar, where he blinded his rebellious brother Humayun. Shah Zaman invaded again and captured Rohtas in November 1795; but an insurrection by Mahmud at Herat and an invasion by Persian shah Agha Muhammad Khan Qajar forced his quick return. He left Ahmad Khan Shahanchibashi in Rohtas and Bahadur Khan with 12,000 cavalry to conquer Gujrat, but the latter was defeated and killed by Sikhs led by Sahib Singh. Ranjit Singh got to Rohtas before Sahib and claimed it as Shahanchibashi fled to Peshawar.
In 1796 Shah Zaman tried to negotiate a safe passage through the Punjab. Some Sikhs agreed, but Ranjit Singh promised a battle. Shah Zaman divided his army under seven commanders with 12,000 men each. Ranjit Singh forced Pind Dadan Khan's men back at the Jhelum River. Shah Zaman ordered his men at Rohtas not to seize property or wrong people and to pay for grass and fuel. Sher Muhammad Khan Vazir entered Lahore on the last day of 1796, and Shahanchibashi proclaimed security of life and property in Kotwal. Shah Zaman even ordered the noses cut off of any Durranis who oppressed the people. When houses and shops were not illuminated, Shah Zaman ordered Hindus to pay a poll tax; but Muslims were exempted. Sikhs gathered 50,000 men at Amritsar and defeated the Afghan army on January 12, 1797, and 35,000 were reported killed in this battle. Shah Zaman retreated to Lahore, repaired the fort, and manufactured arms. The Taruna Dal Sikhs were defending their homeland, but the Budha Dal and Phulkian Sikhs across the Setluj River did not participate. Once again Shah Zaman returned to quell disturbances by his brother Mahmud at Herat. Before they left, troops collected 2,200,000 rupees from Lahore. Sind governor Shahanchibashi was killed by Sikhs fighting to recover their territory, and the Durranis fled.
Shah Zaman still had his own governors in Kashmir, Peshawar, Derajat, Multan, and Sind. On his fourth invasion he left Peshawar in October 1798 and defeated Sikhs at Attock. The Afghan shah appointed Wafadar Khan chief commander, but this was resented by vizier Sher Muhammad Khan, whose letters warning Sikh chiefs were found. The Sikhs were not united either and withdrew as the Afghan army advanced. Ranjit Singh gathered some men at Amritsar, and Shah Zaman sent 10,000 troops that battled 2,500 Sikhs, killing 500 on each side. As Shah Zaman entered Lahore, various bands of Sikhs cut off supplies from the Durrani army. Some Sikhs even surrendered to Shah Zaman by coming at night. When 4,000 Sikhs gathered by the Beas River, the Shah sent 24,000 troops, causing the Sikhs to disperse. Shah Zaman tried to negotiate, and early in 1799 some settlements were made. Meanwhile Bombay governor Duncan had sent Mehdi Ali Khan to urge the Persian Shah to invade Khurasan, while Mahmud was incited to revolt again. Zaman Shah decided to return to Kabul, and Ranjit Singh persuaded the Sikhs not to molest the retreating army. This was the last Afghan invasion of India.
The Irish George Thomas fell in love with Begam Samru and then married the slave girl Marie. In 1789 he had prevented the Emperor from being taken prisoner by helping to defeat Najaf Quli's attack on the imperial army. After Le Vaisseau married Begam, his intrigues caused Thomas to revolt in 1792. Thomas surrendered and was released. He served the Maratha chief Apa Khande Rao, and in 1795 he expelled Sikh raiders. When Begam Samru was imprisoned by Zafaryab Khan at Sardhana, Thomas defeated and imprisoned Zafaryab, restoring Begam to her position. When Comte de Boigne left India in 1796, he was succeeded by French general Perron. In 1798 Thomas led a Maratha attack on rebellious Sikhs in a bloody battle that killed 1500, but a peace treaty allowed the Sikhs to evacuate the place. Almas Beg let Thomas use Hansi as his headquarters, and for a while he governed and collected taxes from 253 villages. When Sikhs raided his territory, he pursued them to Patiala. The Sikhs fought in alliance with Shambu Nath against Ashraf Beg, who was aided by Perron. Using local Muslims, Perron invaded Karnal and signed a peace treaty with the Sikhs at Thanesar in March 1799 before being joined by Begam's four battalions. Perron led the Marathas, and he ordered Louis Bourquien with his 2,000 men to join 6,000 Sikhs against 5,000 men led by Thomas at Georgegarh in 1801. Each side lost 2,000 in battle, and then Thomas was besieged. Reduced to 700 men and lacking supplies, Thomas surrendered and was allowed to go to British territory.
Ranjit Singh was born November 13, 1780. His father died in 1792, and five years later he became chief of the Sikh misl Sukarchakia. At that time between the Indus and Setluj rivers were 27 Hindu states, 25 Muslim states, and 16 Sikh states. Ranjit Singh made political alliances by marrying a Kanahya princess in 1796 and a Nakai princess in 1798. The next year the citizens of Lahore invited Ranjit Singh to occupy their city, and Shah Zaman authorized him to govern it for the Afghans, enabling Ranjit Singh to take over Lahore with little resistance. In 1800 Governor-general Wellesley sent Yusaf Ali to persuade Ranjit Singh not to form an alliance with Shah Zaman. However, Shah Zaman was deposed and blinded by his brother Mahmud, who was overthrown by Shah Shuja in 1803.
Jesuit missionaries had visited Tibet in the 17th century, and Capuchin fathers came in 1707 for four years. The Jesuit scholar Ippolito Desideri was at Lhasa 1716-21, learned Tibetan, and tried to refute their Buddhist teachings. The Capuchin mission left Lhasa in 1733, returning again in 1741; their proselytizing efforts failed, and their mission was abandoned in 1745.
Chinese emperor Kangxi (r. 1662-1722) collected tribute from Tibet. Lhazang Khan (r. 1705-17) used the military to try to conquer Bhutan in 1714, but the Tibetans were defeated. Dzungar Mongols invaded Tibet in 1717; they stormed the capital at Lhasa, killed Lhazang, deposed the Dali Lama he had appointed, and gained popularity by making a Tibetan prime minister (Desi). However, Kangxi got control of the child the Tibetans respected as the Dalai Lama, and the Dzungars were resented for persecuting the Nyingmapa lamas and attacking their monasteries, the Tibetans resisting this looting of their holy places. The Dzungars destroyed most of the first force sent by the Manchus before they reached Lhasa in 1718, and so the Emperor sent a larger force in 1720 that drove the Dzungars out of Tibet and installed the new Dalai Lama. The Manchu dynasty of China would dominate Tibet for nearly two centuries until their fall in 1911. Khangchennas was appointed chairman of the council and governed western Tibet. However, a Manchu military governor with a garrison of 2,000 troops was established.
When Yong Zheng (r. 1722-36) became emperor of China, he withdrew the unpopular Manchu troops in 1723 but left the military governor as an advisor. Pholhanas became a council minister in 1723 and was opposed by Khangchennas, Ngabo, and Lumpa for advocating an alliance with the Manchus. In 1726 Emperor Yong Zheng ordered the Nyingmapa sect persecuted, and Khangchennas began implementing that policy. Pholhanas offered his resignation, which was refused, and went home to Tsang. Ngabo, Lumpa, and Jaranas assassinated Khangchennas with knives. His two wives, secretary, and steward were also murdered along with two governors of northern Tibet who were friends of Khangchennas and Pholhanas. Pholhanas gathered troops in Tsang and there battled the invading force of Ngabo, Lumpa, and Jaranas, gaining the name Miwang Pholha. The Panchen Lama and a representative of the Dalai Lama mediated a truce in April 1728; but after some Tsang people were killed, Pholhanas marched 12,000 troops to Lhasa. The three ministers and fourteen supporters were tried and executed. The young Dalai Lama Kesang Gyatso and his father, who had provoked the civil war, were sent to Kham for seven years. Pholhanas gained the support of the Manchus, who re-installed a garrison with two Manchu officials called Ambans to represent the Emperor and report on events in Lhasa. Also in 1728 the Chinese promoted the leadership of the second Panchen Lama of the Gelugpa sect and gave him sovereignty in northern and western Tibet, though the Panchen Lama is supposed to remain in meditation and be above worldly concerns.
Pholhanas restored peace and governed in Lhasa so well that in 1740 he was proclaimed king of Tibet. That year the Bhutanese attacked Sikkim, and Pholhanas sent an administrator to help the minor ruler in Sikkim. Pholhanas died in 1747 and was succeeded by his younger son Gyumey Namgyal. He came into conflict with his older brother Gyumey Tseten, who had been governing western Tibet since 1729. Gyumey Tseten died mysteriously in 1750, the year Gyumey Namgyal persuaded the Emperor to reduce the Manchu garrison at Lhasa to one hundred men. Gyumey Namgyal secretly prepared to form an army and contacted the Dzungar Mongols. The two Ambans complained and killed Gyumey Namgyal and his attendants. Tibetans besieged the residence of the Ambans and killed them along with more than a hundred Chinese soldiers and civilians, burning the building. About two hundred Chinese took refuge in the Potala and were protected from the mob by the Dalai Lama. Despite posters calling for an end to violence, some continued to riot before fleeing toward Dzungaria. They were pursued, caught, and put on trial; thirteen were executed, and the rest were imprisoned.
In 1751 the seventh Dalai Lama Kesang Gyatso was put in charge
of the government with a council (Kashag) of four which operated
by consensus. The Kashag took over the army and required each
landowning family to provide one soldier. The province of U had
1,000 troops, and Tsang had 2,000. Meanwhile Chien Long had sent
another military force, and the Dalai Lama negotiated the withdrawal
of all but a garrison of 1,500. The Dalai Lama also mediated a
dispute between local lords on the border with Nepal. Upon his
death in 1757 the Drepung monk Jampel Delek was appointed regent
during the minority of the new Dalai Lama, and this tradition
continued for more than a century. In 1762 Palden Yeshe (1738-80),
the third Panchen Lama, gave the name Jampal Gyatso to the four-year-old
eighth Dalai Lama.
Narbhupal Shah (r. 1716-42) was the tenth ruler of the Gurkhas west of the Nepal valley. He gathered a large force and attacked Nayakot in 1736, but he was defeated and retreated. His son Prithvi Narayan Shah succeeded him at the age of twelve. He attacked Nayakot in 1748, but the Kathmandu army of Jai Prakash Malla killed many of the Gurkhas. Prithvi Narayan escaped, and the Gurkha army withdrew from the valley again. However, in 1767 Prithvi Narayan led the siege of Kirtipur that exterminated the garrison; but the Gurkhas had to go defend Tarai in the south from the British expedition led by Captain Kinloch. In September 1768 the Gurkhas conquered Kathmandu, and Malla's army fled to Bhatgaon. There Prithvi Narayan knew the old king Ranjit Malla, who agreed to let the Gurkha king take over his kingdom as he retired to Benares. Thus in 1769 the Gurkhas replaced the Newari rulers and united the kingdom of Nepal. Three years later the Gurkhas had thousands killed fighting Tanbu, which was brought under their power.
In 1772 the Bhutanese led by Desi Shidariva invaded Cooch Bihar and took their raja prisoner. Bengal governor Warren Hastings sent an Indian force to drive them back into the foothills, and the third Panchen Lama mediated a friendship and commerce treaty between Bhutan and the British East India Company. In 1774 Hastings sent George Bogle, who reached Tashilhunpo the next year and married the Panchen Lama's sister. Lhasa would not let Bogle visit, but he secured the trade agreement with Bhutan and helped the Panchen Lama found a Buddhist temple at Calcutta. The regent Jampel Delek died in 1777; but the Dalai Lama declined to assume responsibility because he had not yet completed his training. Ngawang Tsultrim was appointed the second regent. The Panchen Lama traveled to visit the Manchu emperor, but he died of smallpox at Beijing in 1780. That year the Regent sent troops that took two years to suppress leaders in Kham trying to expand their territory. In 1781 the eighth Dalai Lama began governing, and he gave the name Tenpai Nyima to the fourth Panchen Lama. Captain Samuel Turner went to Tashilhunpo in 1783 but could not get to Lhasa either, and little could be accomplished with the infant Panchen Lama.
Tibetans informed Prithvi Narayan that the Nepalese silver coins had been debased with copper since 1751. Prithvi Narayan died in 1774 and was succeeded by his oldest son Singh Pratap Shah. His brother Bahadur Shah was imprisoned and then sent into exile. The Bhutanese incited the Gurkhas to invade Sikkim in 1775, and Singh Pratap waged war against the raja of Morung. Tibetans offered the Sikkimese aid, but they accepted only food; a treaty was made, but the Gurkhas resented the Tibetan intervention. When Singh Pratap died in 1778, Bahadur Shah returned and became regent for his infant nephew Ran Bahadur Shah; but after coming into conflict with his widowed sister-in-law, Bahadur Shah was forced into exile again. The young prince's mother, Rajendar Lakshmi, ruled until she died in 1786. Bahadur Shah returned again and called himself Fateh Bahadur. He appointed Swarup Singh commander of the army that invaded the Chaubisi principalities.
Two of the third Panchen Lama's brothers, Drungpa Trulku and Shamar Trulku, were claiming disputed property, and they urged the Gurkhas to invade Tibet on their behalf. The king of Nepal informed a Tibetan that their new silver coins meant that the old debased ones were devalued and that traded salt should not have any impurities. If these conditions were not accepted, Nepal would annex Nyanang, Rongshar, and Kyirong. Shamar Trulku was held hostage, and he asked the Dalai Lama to ransom him. The Tibetan Kashag would only agree to a slight reduction in the old coins' value, and they were not concerned about Shamar Trulku. A large Gurkha army invaded the three districts, defeating local Tibetan resistance. Then in 1788 they marched on Dzongka and Shekar. A Tibetan army occupied the fort at Shekar and drove out the Gurkhas. While Manchu forces were on their way from China, the Gurkhas attacked the winter palace in western Sikkim. Tibetans brought gunpowder, and the pillaging Gurkhas left Sikkim. Shamar Trulku proposed negotiation, and the Chinese generals persuaded the reluctant Tibetans to accept and pay the Nepalese an annual tribute of 50,000 rupees. Nepal agreed to withdraw from the four districts. The Garhwal ruler Pradhyuman Shah also agreed to pay Nepal an annual tribute of 25,000 rupees.
After one payment, the Dalai Lama had the districts investigated and requested a reduction in the tribute. He and the Kashag recalled the regent Ngawang Tsultrim from Beijing. The Regent criticized the Kashag for accepting the treaty, demoted the general who surrendered Dzongka, and sent some officials into exile. The Regent became angry at the delays in the negotiations but died of a heart attack in 1791. That year the Gurkhas abducted some Tibetan officials and killed others in fighting at the Nyanang fort. The Panchen Lama fled to Lhasa, and the Gurkhas captured and pillaged Shigatse until an epidemic forced them to retreat to Shekar and Dzongka. In 1792 while the Tibetans were driving the Gurkhas back, 13,000 imperial troops arrived under a Manchu general. He and the Tibetan generals told the Sikkimese ruler they could keep territory they captured. The Tibetan and Manchu armies defeated the Gurkhas and invaded Nepal. The Gurkhas appealed to the British, but Cornwallis did not want to fight their Chinese trading partner. Shamar Trulku poisoned himself. The Gurkhas were forced to return their loot and promised to send an envoy to China every five years. Emperor Qianlong promoted the Ambans to provincial governors, and the tax system and administrative organization of Tibet were reformed.
In 1792 Col. Kirkpatrick negotiated a trade treaty for the East India Company with Nepal, but it was not implemented. Raja Ran Bahadur Shah ruled so badly that he was denounced by the people and fled to Benares in 1800. He asked the Governor-General to loan him ten battalions, but instead the English signed a friendship treaty with Nepal in 1801.
Narendrasimha (r. 1707-39) was the last Sinhalese king of Sri Lanka. The economic policies of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) compelled the Kandyans to sell their products at fixed prices well below their market value, and the VOC had a monopoly on imported cloth. Narendrasimha tried to retaliate by ordering roads from Kandy closed in 1716, but the Dutch would not open their ports. The Dutch governor administered the Colombo Commandery and relied on two other commandants at Jaffna and Galle. The Dutch were more efficient than the Portuguese; but many accepted bribes to allow illegal trading. Charges were brought against Governor Becker (1707-16) after he left Sri Lanka. Corruption spread into the judiciary, and under Petrus Vuyst (1726-29) even Dutch settlers and officials were accused falsely and executed. The Dutch were Calvinists and forbade Catholicism as well as Buddhist and Hindu worship; but such regulations could not be enforced. Missionary schools were set up, and those not attending could be fined. The frontier gates of the kingdom were closed again in 1732 for two years. Discontent with the economic exploitation turned into unrest. While Domburg was governor 1734-36 the salagama caste that did the cinnamon peeling revolted.
Van Imhoff (1736-40) instituted reforms that increased efficiency and regained some respect. Sri Lanka got its first printing press in 1737 and soon began publishing Christian books in Sinhalese and Tamil. The Dutch helped bring the bridal party from India for the new Nayakkar ruler Sri Vijaya Rajasimha in 1739, and he opened the roads. Yet the salagamas continued to resist, and in 1743 Kandyans raided Siyana Korale. Two efforts to provide Dutch ships for Buddhist missions to Burma and Siam failed before success was achieved on a journey from 1750 to 1753. Standards for monks had become lower in Sri Lanka, and few were celibate or full-time monks. The Siamese monks restored the upasampada ordination and revived Buddhist education. Valivita Saranankara (1698-1778) was not ordained, but he founded the Pious Brotherhood (Silvat Samagama) to improve the knowledge, discipline, and practice of the Buddhist order (sangha).
A doubling of the price of cinnamon stimulated the Dutch to make their land policy even more restrictive in the 1750s, and peelers revolted in 1757. Governor Schreuder (1757-62) especially tried to extract as much production as possible from the peasants, and he ordered peasant gardens destroyed if they had no legal title. Kandyans supported the rebellion in 1760, and two years later the Dutch were alarmed that English envoy John Pybus from Madras had come to the Kandyan royal court; but the British offered no military aid. The Dutch invaded Kandy and failed, but they came back in 1765 with a larger force that ravaged the capital. Kirti Sri Rajasimha (r. 1747-82) had to accept a harsh treaty in 1766 that gave the Dutch all the coastlines and the right to peel cinnamon in Kandyan territory. The Kandyans refused to cooperate on demarcating the boundary lines and resented the Dutch unilateral efforts to do so in 1773. Kirti Sri Rajasimha reinforced the caste system by only allowing goyigamas (about half the population) to be ordained Buddhist monks.
While at war with the French and Dutch, the English seized the port of Trincomalee in January 1782 but were forced out seven months later by the French. The new Kandyan ruler Rajadhi Rajasimha (r. 1782-98) decided not to accept English intervention. Dutch governor Falck (1765-85) had been experimenting with growing cinnamon on plantations, and this successful cultivation took the pressure off the peeling in the Kandyan jungles and allowed the land policy to be more liberal. Falck gave the salagamas concessions not granted to other castes. The VOC only allowed one-fifth of the cinnamon sold in the lucrative European markets to be sold in Asia to keep the price high so that others would not buy in Asia to sell in Europe. Most of their profits went to those in the Netherlands. In Sri Lanka the death penalty was imposed for unauthorized peeling or the private trading of cinnamon. Governor de Graaf (1785-93) also pushed to boost production and provoked a rebellion in 1789. De Graaf extended control by the Dutch company over small chiefdoms in the Vanni. When the Batavian government told him he could not invade Kandy, he resigned.
In 1795 the Dutch Stadholder fled from the French invasion of Holland to England, where from the Kew palace he issued a letter that governors in the Dutch colonies should turn over their installations to the British temporarily. The English took seven months to occupy the Dutch possessions in Sri Lanka by February 1796. At first Hobart offered Kandyans one trade outlet on the coast, but they demanded more. When the English learned of the 1766 Dutch treaty, they also refused to grant any trade outlets. The English East India Company and the Crown had dual control over Sri Lanka from 1798 until it became the British crown colony of Ceylon in 1802. The Company relaxed the Dutch restrictions on Muslims, because they were good traders; but Buddhists and Hindus were not given licenses to erect temples or establish schools. The increased land taxes and a new tax on coconut palms along with the replacement of headmen by south Indian revenue collectors caused a rebellion that broke out in December 1796 and was not quelled until early 1798 when the traditional system was restored. A committee investigated the territories taken over from the VOC and decided to restore the headmen of the goyigama and vellala castes.
When Rajadhi Rajasimha died of illness in 1798 with no heir, the leading minister Pilima Talauve enthroned 18-year-old Konnasami as Sri Vikrama Rajasimha. The late king's brother-in-law Muttusami also claimed the throne of Kandy, but Pilima Talauve arrested him and his sisters. Pilima Talauve was close to the British but could not control Vikrama Rajasimha.
1. Quoted in The British Conquest and Dominion of India
by Penderel Moon, p. 123.
2. Cornwallis Correspondence, Volume 2, p. 558, quoted in The Oxford History of India, p. 537.
3. Quoted in The British Conquest and Dominion of India by Penderel Moon, p. 271.
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