BECK index

British India 1800-1848

by Sanderson Beck

British Conquest of Marathas 1800-18
Sikhs and North India 1800-18
British Expansion 1818-28
Bentinck's Reforms 1828-35
Rammohun Roy and Social Reform
British Invasion of Afghanistan and Sind
Sikhs and the Punjab 1839-48

This chapter has been published in the book SOUTH ASIA 1800-1950.
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British Conquest of Marathas 1800-18

Marathas and Cornwallis Reforms 1784-1800

Governor-General Richard Wellesley believed that the English could govern India better than the Indians. He favored free trade and arranged for 3,000 tons of shipping for private British traders so that they could compete with foreign merchants. 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.

After Muhammad ‘Ali’s son Umdat-ul-Umara died, the regents for his son rejected a pension agreement. So Wellesley offered one to Umdut-ul-Umara’s nephew, and the British East India 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.

In 1801 Wellesley demanded that the Awadh nawab cede at least half his territory to the British East India 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 1806 the Directors established Haileyburg College in England and reduced Fort William College to teaching Indian languages to Bengali civilians.

Jaswant Rao Holkar captured Ujjain in July 1801; he was defeated by Sarza Rao Ghatge in October but continued to fight by invading the Deccan. In 1802 opium addict Anand Rao Gaikwar asked the British for military aid against his brother Malhar Rao Gaikwar and his Arab mercenaries. Bombay governor Jonathan Duncan sent 2,000 men with Major Walker, who arranged a subsidiary treaty that ceded territory to the Company, defeating Malhar Rao and disbanding the Arab soldiers. After Jaswant Rao forced Peshwa Baji Rao to flee Puna, the Peshwa turned to the English and on the last day of 1802 signed the treaty of Bassein granting him 6,000 troops in exchange for 2,600,000 rupees annual revenue. Castlereagh criticized this treaty for allying with weak Puna instead of letting the divided Marathas settle their own conflicts. He objected to a clause that forced the Peshwa to accept British arbitration in his disputes with others. Some historians have considered the Bassein treaty the end of Maratha independence and the beginning of the Company's empire of India.

In February 1803 Jaswant Rao left Puna with a small garrison and plundered his way toward Hyderabad and Ahmadnagar. The civil war and drought caused a famine in central India. In May the British entered Puna and restored the Peshwa. Daulat Rao Sindia refused to agree to the Bassein treaty and organized a Maratha coalition with Raghuji Bhonsle II, Gosain Himmat Bahadur, and Gani Beg of Bundelkhand. However, Jaswant Rao Holkar made demands and declined to join. In this war Richard Wellesley limited officers' baggage to what could be packed on animals. His brother Arthur Wellesley gathered an army in the Deccan and captured Ahmadnagar in August 1803, and the next month he defeated the combined forces of Sindia and Raghuji at Assaye, killing 1,200 but suffering 1,600 casualties. In the north Commander-in-Chief Gerard Lake took the fortress of Asirgarh, and Sindia asked for a truce. Arthur Wellesley's army was doubled by the forces of Stevenson, and Berar without Sindia's cavalry was defeated with heavy casualties. French officers surrendered and evacuated the fort at Delhi. At Laswari the Marathas fought so courageously that Wellesley took their survivors into the Company's service. Sindia accepted a subsidiary force and defensive alliance, losing Agra, Delhi, and Gujarat, while Raghuji gave up Orissa and other territory on the east coast.

In April 1804 Governor-General Richard Wellesley declared war on Jaswant Rao Holkar. General Lake wanted help from Sindia; but the Governor-General refused to recognize Sindia's claim to the fortress at Gwalior even though his brother Arthur Wellesley told him he was wrong. Lake sent Col. William Monson to block Holkar's return to Hindustan; but the zealous Monson went too far and lost half his men and all his guns during his retreat from Holkar's cavalry in the August rain. The Bharatpur raja had been given some of Sindia's territory for providing Lake with 5,000 cavalry, but now he went over to Holkar's side. Holkar invaded Hindustan, occupied Muttra, and besieged Delhi in October. Lake surprised his forces at Farrukhabad in November, inflicting 3,000 casualties on the Marathas while the British only had two killed and 26 wounded. They took Fort Dig the next month, and after a siege the Jats of Bharatpur agreed to a treaty in April 1805. The raja was allowed to keep Bharatpur; but he had to pay an indemnity of two million rupees, and he could not employ Europeans without the Company's permission. The raja had paid Amir Khan to attack Lake's supplies and raid Rohilkhand; Lake defeated and dispersed the bandits with his cavalry, though Amir Khan joined Holkar.

Richard Wellesley was recalled in July 1805 and replaced by Charles Cornwallis, who reported that William Pitt had commented that Wellesley "had acted most imprudently and illegally." The war increased the Company's debt from £17 million in 1797 to £31.5 million in 1805. Wellesley was also criticized for issuing orders autocratically without consulting his Council. Before Cornwallis could reverse the subsidiary treaties, he died at Ghazipur in October 1805. Senior councilor George Barlow became acting governor-general and concluded a treaty with Daulat Rao Sindia the next month. Lake chased Jaswant Rao as far as Amritsar, where the Sikh Ranjit Singh declined to join his cause against the English. Jaswant Rao Holkar accepted a treaty in December 1805 that let him keep his territory in the Deccan. Barlow also left the Rajput and small states west of the Jumna River to the depredations of Sindia, Holkar, and Amir Khan; Lake was so upset that he resigned in protest. To save money Barlow greatly reduced the number of forces and disbanded the recruited Marathas, cutting the annual deficit in half to one million pounds.

Madras commander John Cradock required sepoys to shave their beards, banned caste marks on the face, and made them wear hats usually worn by Christian converts. Hindus and Muslims were greatly offended, and Cradock was willing to rescind his order; but Governor William Bentinck and the Council insisted on the new turban they had approved. On July 10, 1806 at 3 a.m. sepoys attacked the Europeans, shooting dead about a hundred and wounding many more. Col. Robert Gillespie brought dragoons and killed more than three hundred mutineers, imprisoning the others. A few were tried and executed, and most of the others were discharged; three regiments were disbanded. Cradock and Bentinck were recalled.

Gilbert Elliot, Earl of Minto, arrived as governor-general in July 1807. After the French invaded Portugal, the British occupied Goa. Learning that Napoleon had made a treaty with the Russians, Minto sent John Malcolm to Persia, Mountstuart Elphinstone to Kabul, and Charles Metcalfe to Lahore to try to negotiate alliances. Malcolm never reached Teheran, where the French already had influence. In Afghanistan, Shah Shuja, brother of the deposed and blinded Shah Zaman, had overthrown Shah Mahmud about five years before; he agreed to an alliance against the French, but he himself was soon overthrown and fled to Ranjit Singh and then to Ludhiana, where the British gave him refuge. Metcalfe tried to persuade Ranjit Singh to give up his recent conquests in the Sutlej and Jamuna regions. An army led by David Ochterlony persuaded Ranjit Singh to agree to a treaty in 1809 that allowed him to retain them but limited the number of his troops. Minto feared an alliance of Muslim aristocrats and sent Col. Barry Close against Amir Khan, who withdrew from Berar. In 1810 Minto sent a force that captured the islands of Mauritius and Bourbon from the French. With little warfare in India during his six years Lord Minto improved the finances of the Company.

In 1813 the Earl of Moira (known as Lord Hastings after 1817) became governor-general and commander-in-chief. The Company's charter was renewed for another twenty years in 1813, and for the first time the Parliament declared Crown sovereignty over its possessions and ended its monopoly on Indian trade. Europeans still could not reside in the Company's territories without a license and could be deported. Parliament also encouraged missionaries to provide moral education and authorized a bishop. The Charter Act of 1813 provided £10,000 to advance the study of Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic, but the money was not spent until ten years later. The Company now had a surplus, and Lord Hastings invested in road construction and irrigation. Awadh nawab Sa'adat 'Ali died in 1814 and left a huge surplus. When Major Baillie recognized the oldest son Ghazi-ud-din instead of the favored second son, the latter retired on a pension in Benares. Lord Hastings visited Lakhnau (Lucknow) and accepted a loan of ten million rupees (£1,250,000) from Ghazi-ud-din that helped finance the Gurkha war. Later Baillie demanded a similar loan, which was paid for by Terai territory taken from the Gurkhas. The defeat of Napoleon by Arthur Wellesley (Wellington) in 1815 allowed the British to end their policy of neutrality in India.

Jaswant Rao Holkar secretly assassinated his brother Kasi Rao and nephew Khande Rao, as the stress of his defeats caused him to go insane in 1807. For four mad years until he died in 1811 his state was in anarchy. Then his favorite mistress Tulsi Bai gained power while his minister Amir Khan led the plundering Pathans of central India. Raghuji Bhonsle II did not accept a subsidiary alliance, and his Berar was also in disorder because of the lawless Pindaris and the Pathans. In 1809 he forced Amir Khan to retreat to Nagpur; but his attempt with Daulat Rao Sindia to capture Bhopal in 1813 was defeated by Nawab Vazir Muhammad the next year. Raghuji died in 1816. Because his son Parsoji Bhonsle was blind, paralytic, and ill, his cousin Appa Sahib acted as regent. When Raghuji's widow Baka Bai challenged him, Appa Sahib made a subsidiary alliance treaty in May 1816. When Parsoji died the next year, Appa Sahib became gadi and met with the ministers of the Peshwa and Sindia.

The marauding Pindaris were a loose collection of brigands with no religious or national unity, and they had been ravaging Malwa, Marwar, Mewar, and other Rajput states. Company territory had been attacked in Mirzapur and South Bihar in 1812 and the northern Sarkars in 1816. These incursions into Company territory weakened the Council's resolve against armed intervention; but Board of Control president George Canning was still vetoing the extermination of the Pindaris because of the risk of a general war. In Rohilkhand in 1816 Muslims rioted after a respected Mufti was wounded by guards quelling a mob complaining about a tax. Early in 1817 Daya Ram of Hathras in the Ganges-Jumna Doab seized police officers and had a force of 8,000 men. Lord Hastings sent enough artillery to capture his fortress. In Bengal a mob led by Jagbandhu revolted against government extortion and plundered Puri in 1817; martial law was proclaimed, and order was restored by reducing the assessment. In Benares a communal riot resulted in the death of about twenty people, and a general strike and petitioning was successful in getting a tax withdrawn.

The Gaikwar of Baroda had made a subsidiary alliance treaty with the Company in April 1805; but Major Walker kept Anand Rao Gaikwar and Fateh Singh Gaikwar under British guards. His successor, Captain Rivett Carnac, provoked resistance by Gaikwar Ranis. Peshwa Baji Rao II plotted to form a Maratha confederacy against the English. In 1814 the Peshwa conducted Gaikwar chief minister Gangadhar Shastri, who was a friend of the English, to Nasik, where he was murdered. Trimbakji Danglia was suspected, and Baji Rao reluctantly surrendered him to the British resident Elphinstone at Puna. Trimbakji escaped the following year, probably by the connivance of the Peshwa. Lord Hastings ordered Elphinstone to curtail the Peshwa, and Baji Rao II was compelled to sign the Treaty of Puna in June 1817. The article in the Bassein treaty obligating him to send a contingent force was annulled. The Peshwa renounced leadership of the Maratha confederacy, surrendered three forts, and ceded to the Company territory yielding 3,400,000 rupees for a maintenance force of 5,000 cavalry and 3,000 infantry. Lord Hastings himself commanded an army of 113,000 men with 300 guns. He expected Maratha chiefs to cooperate and warned any aid to the Pindaris would be treated as predatory aggression.

On November 5, 1817 Daulat Rao Sindia signed the Treaty of Gwalior, promising to provide 5,000 cavalry and help the English suppress the Pindaris. On that day the Peshwa burned the British Residency at Puna and attacked with 27,000 men Col. Burr's British army of 2,800, but he was defeated. The British occupied Puna, and Baji Rao fled. Amir Khan submitted by agreeing to be nawab of Tonk. Appa Sahib of Nagpur had about 20,000 men and 36 guns, but his forces were defeated at Sitabaldi. Appa Sahib gave up and apologized to Richard Jenkins, whose army forced the surrender of Nagpur. The Holkar regency wanted a treaty, but the Pathan war party murdered Tulsi Bai. In December, Jaswant's son Malhar Rao Holkar II attacked the British in the largest battle of the war at Mahidpur, but his army was routed by the combined forces of Commander-in-Chief Thomas Hislop. Holkar was forced to sign a subsidiary treaty in January 1818, giving up claims to the Rajput states and ceding territory south of the Narmada River.

Captain Staunton with 900 men ran into the Peshwa's army of 28,000 but survived with only 265 casualties while killing many Marathas. In February 1818 the British defeated and killed Maratha commander Gokhale, capturing the Satara raja who was descended from Shivaji. He was installed as the ruler of a very small Maratha kingdom at Satara. The Company army defeated Pindari leaders Karim Khan and Vasil Muhammad, and about 25,000 Pindari horsemen were eventually rounded up or dispersed. The greatest Pindari leader Chitu fled into a forest and was killed by a tiger. The Peshwa was pursued and finally surrendered in June 1818 to John Malcolm, who offered him an annual pension of 800,000 rupees, which was paid until he died in 1851. One by one the Rajput states accepted "defensive alliance" treaties with the British. The last Maratha fortress at Asirgarh did not surrender until April 1819. The blind Mughal emperor Shah 'Alam II on a pension died in 1806, and Lord Hastings told his successor Akbar II to give up all ceremonial pretensions. The British now had political supremacy over all of India except Assam, Sind, and the Punjab.

Indian historians have suggested various causes for the decline of Maratha power in India from Sarkar's opinion that Indian society had become rotten to Qanungo's view that aggressive British imperialism inevitably overcame the medieval feudalism of the Maratha chiefs. Major factors include diverse causes. The Marathas overextended themselves by trying to conquer the north in the mid-17th century. Conflicts, such as the Sindia-Holkar rivalry, with each other and the Peshwa divided them. Maratha states had administrative anarchy with court corruption and excessive violence. Armies were the main government and mostly plundered, even their own people. Chiefs were won over by British money, and many sepoys served in the Company armies. Maratha military forces were badly organized and poorly trained; they lacked the modern equipment and discipline of the Europeans. Marathas had declining national feeling as the proportion of mercenaries increased and included Arabs, Sikhs, Rajputs, Sindis, Rohillas, Abyssinians, Pathans, Topiwalas, and Europeans; even Napoleon called Perron a traitor to his profession for betraying Sindia's army. The Maratha state had a precarious agriculture dependent on rain, commerce that was frequently harassed, and little industry. Unpaid soldiers led to coercive protests. The feudal system only promoted local and temporary loyalties as peasants supported whoever protected them. Caste prejudices also weakened the social fabric. Education was very limited, and even Persian influences dried up with the decline of the Safavids. The Marathas had no great leader after Shivaji, and after the death of Nana Fadnavis in 1800 the leaders were especially bad.

Sikander Jah had succeeded his father Nizam 'Ali in 1803 at Hyderabad, and his pro-British prime minister Mir Alam had such strong opposition that he took refuge with the British resident. When Mir Alam died in 1809, his Hindu deputy Chandu Lal gained the power and was also supported by the British. Company loans at high interest rates were used to spread corruption. By 1810 the outgoing resident Captain Sydenham advised taking over the administration; but the Directors still favored non-intervention. Resident Henry Russell added to the prodigal spending with a new brigade of over-paid officers. General Palmer's Eurasian son William and Director William Rumbold set up William Palmer & Co. to make money from loans as Bentinck had done at Madras. Lord Hastings gave permission for loans at 25% interest. The firm made advances totaling £240,000 mostly to the Russell brigade, and in 1819 Chandu Lal asked to borrow £600,000. When Metcalfe became resident, he investigated the fraud and arranged for the British government to guarantee a loan at 6%. This scandal resulted in the resignation of Lord Hastings at the end of 1822.

Sikhs and North India 1800-18

Sikhs and North India 1767-1800

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. The Muslim Nizam-uddin Khan and the Bhangi Sikhs submitted to Ranjit Singh in 1801, and Nizam paid him a war indemnity. Maharaja Ranjit Singh led an army that attacked Amritsar in 1802 and conquered the Sikh religious center in a few days. Also that year the Maharaja invaded Multar and set the tribute at 120,000 rupees.

Though the Marathas and Sikhs were not united, the British feared the disciplined army of Perron and sent General Lake to capture Aligarh in August 1803. Bourquien was defeated the next month. Lake put the blind Emperor Shah Alam II under British protection, and Daulat Rao Sindia was defeated at Laswari in November. Wellesley instructed Lake to win over the Sikhs from the Marathas. Ranjit Singh replied that he would cooperate with the British if they would accept his sovereignty over all the Sikh chiefs west of the Sutlej River. After the British conquered Delhi, they treated the Sikh sirdars and rajas as independent chiefs. In 1804 Bhag Singh of Jind and Bhanga Singh of Thanesar were the first Sikh sirdars to go over to the British. Bhag Singh was rewarded with tax districts. When Ochterlony warned Wellesley that Ranjit Singh was threatening the Cis-Sutlej chiefs, the Governor-General advised him to establish friendly relations with all the Cis-Sutlej chiefs. In February 1805 Ranjit Singh sent messages to all Sikh sirdars to join a united Sikh state under his leadership as Maharaja. In April, Ochterlony sent Burne to attack Gurdit Singh of Ladwa, the leader of the anti-British Sikhs who had been plundering the upper Ganga Doab, and Burne captured Karnal. By June most Sikh sirdars had agreed to be friendly with the British.

Jaswant Rao Holkar got support from Sahib Singh and asked for other Sikhs to join his anti-British efforts; but Ranjit Singh visited Lake's camp in disguise and promised him and Malcolm that he would not support Holkar. Ranjit Singh sent Fateh Singh Ahluwalia with Bhag Singh to help mediate a treaty between the British and Holkar in December 1805. These two emissaries also made a treaty for the Sikhs with the British the next month. Gian Singh was impressed by the discipline of the British army and compared them to the Mughals, Afghans, Marathas, and Sikhs, who laid waste to all the cultivation within thirty kilometers of the road; the British purchased what the others stole.

After Baghel Singh died in 1805, Ranjit Singh took over the territory of his widow Ram Kaur along with 2,400,000 rupees in cash. Ranjit Singh campaigned in the Cis-Sutlej region and took over 311 villages from Rani Nurulnisa in November 1806. Ranjit Singh continued his plundering the next year, expelling the Pathan chief of Kasur; but he alienated Lal Singh and Sahib Singh by not sharing his loot with them. He also antagonized his mother-in-law Sada Kaur by sending his general Mohkam Chand to take Dinanagar from her. Ten Cis-Sutlej chiefs met in March 1808 and felt they were caught between the British and Ranjit Singh, but they sent their representatives to the British resident Seton at Delhi to ask for protection against Ranjit Singh. The exclusion of Holkar and the British from the Punjab had enabled Ranjit Singh to unite his kingdom.

Metcalfe was sent to Ranjit Singh and met him at Kasur to negotiate a confederation; Metcalfe complained when the Maharaja sent Karam Singh Chahal with 2,000 troops to seize Faridkot in October 1808. Metcalfe refused to accompany Ranjit Singh's army as he captured Ambala and Mulana from Rani Daya Kaur, seizing 50,000 rupees. Metcalfe went to Amritsar, and the Maharaja spent time there with his favorite dancing-girl Moran. A mob of Hindus burned down the houses of dancing-girls, and Ranjit Singh fled with Moran to Lahore, where Brahmins went on a hunger strike. Hindu-Muslim riots broke out in Amritsar and Lahore, but the Maharaja suppressed them by the end of 1808.

Metcalfe accused Ranjit Singh of duplicity and noted that he had repudiated his first wife Mahtab Kaur and their two sons, angering her mother Sada Kaur, who offered Metcalfe free passage for British troops. Seton and Metcalfe advised Governor-General Minto not to allow a Sikh kingdom on the British border. Minto sent a force under Col. Ochterlony, and the Maharaja's men evacuated Ambala. Ranjit Singh chose to negotiate with Ochterlony, who was censured, resigned, and reinstated. In April 1809 Ranjit Singh accepted the Treaty of Amritsar that gave the British the territory between the Yamuna and Sutlej rivers while recognizing Ranjit Singh's domain northwest of the Sutlej. Ranjit Singh withdrew his forces across the river, giving back Faridkot, and Bhag Singh surrendered Ludhiana to Ochterlony for his camp. The British declined to support the Gurkha general Amar Singh Thapa's invasion proposal and even offered to help defend Ranjit Singh.

In Afghanistan the Barakzai brothers of the Sadozai family and Durrani tribe deposed Zaman Shah and enthroned Mahmud Mirza in 1800, but he was overthrown by his younger brother Shuja-ul-Mulk three years later. Shah Shuja ruled Afghanistan from 1803 until 1809 when he was replaced by his stepbrother Shah Mahmud because of the revolt led by the oldest Barakzai brother Fateh Khan and his brother Dost Muhammad. Shah Shuja escaped to the Punjab, where he was supported by Ranjit Singh. Shuja with help from Kabul vizier Fateh Khan conquered Peshawar, but in 1812 he was captured by Attock governor Jahan Dad Khan and imprisoned in Kashmir for a year. Meanwhile Ranjit Singh and diwan Mohkam Chand were subjugating Hindu and Muslim chiefs, and the road to Kashmir was prepared by seizing Bhimbar in 1811 and Rajauri in 1812. Shuja's senior wife Wafa Begam offered Ranjit Singh the famous Kohinur diamond if he would protect her husband from Vizier Fateh Khan, who had proposed a campaign to overthrow his brother Ata Muhammad Khan in Kashmir. The Maharaja sent his top general Mohkam Chand to accomplish both tasks in 1813. Fateh Khan got to Kashmir before the Sikhs and refused to share the spoils with Ranjit Singh. Fateh Khan released Shah Shuja but lost the battle for the fort of Attock to Mohkam Chand and the Sikhs. Shah Shuja chose to live in Lahore, and Ranjit Singh got the diamond. In 1815 Shuja escaped from Lahore and made his way through Kulu to Ludhiana, where the British raised his allowance to 50,000 rupees. Ranjit Singh fined the Kulu raja 80,000 rupees for not capturing Shuja.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh's system of justice was to make the rich pay fines for the offenses of the poor in their village. Another Kashmir expedition in 1814 led by Ranjit Singh failed because of defense by its governor Muhammad Azim Khan, the mountain terrain, and the rain. The Maharaja lamented the heavy costs of this expedition. After Jodh Singh died, Ranjit Singh seized the estates and destroyed about 150 forts of the Ramgarhia Misl. The Maharaja continued to take over more territory and forced the chiefs to pay him tribute. He declined to help the Gurkha chief Amar Singh against the British. Ranjit Singh engaged in six campaigns into Multan over fifteen years before he could collect 130,000 rupees tribute in 1816; finally his Sikh army of 25,000 conquered Multan in 1818.

British Expansion 1818-28

After 1800 Thomas Munro spent seven years in Mysore developing his method of tax collection he had initiated at Madras. He returned to England and in 1812 persuaded the Directors to prevent the use of the permanent settlement in Madras and the Upper Provinces. Munro went back to Madras in 1814 to implement annual settlements and reform of the judicial system. In 1820 he was made governor of Madras and applied his more traditional ryotwari settlements throughout the province for the next seven years. He believed that the natives were much more qualified than the Europeans for making judicial decisions, and Charles Metcalfe described the British-dominated courts as " scenes of great corruption" and "very unpopular." Even Governor-General Lord Hastings bemoaned the inconvenience, expense, and delay of the civil proceedings. He let Munro experiment using village headmen (patels) for suits up to 250 rupees and village councils (panchayats) for larger ones; but they were all expected to work without remuneration and were not utilized. Munro believed in working with a prejudice in favor of native systems, instead of against them, so that they could learn to govern themselves. Although this judicial method failed, his revenue system was adopted throughout India. Metcalfe also warned that if the British empire kept its inhabitants in ignorance, their dominance would be a curse; but if they promoted enlightenment with arts and sciences to improve conditions, then the gratitude of India and the admiration of the world would accompany their name in the future.

Bombay governor Mountstuart Elphinstone adopted the ryotwari system. In 1819 he described two techniques used if the panchayat refused to hear a dispute. In takaza a man may restrain an equal or inferior from leaving his house or eating or compel him to sit in the sun until he makes some accommodation. If the debtor is a superior, the creditor may supplicate and lay on his doorstep, appealing to his honor and shame. A person may also sit in dharna by fasting on the other party's doorstep. Maratha troops often used the dharna method to extract back pay from their chiefs. Elphinstone revised the Bombay judicial system in 1827, using Zila (district) courts with one judge, whose decision could be appealed to the Sadar Diwani Adalat. Petty cases were tried in lower courts by Indians.

In Afghanistan after Dost Muhammad treacherously took Herat from Mahmud's brother Firuz-ud-din and insulted his harem, Mahmud's son Kamran murdered Fateh Khan in 1818. The next oldest brother Azim Khan asserted his claim as Dost Muhammad seized Kabul and fought Shah Mahmud and Kamran, who now had Herat. Azim Khan turned to exiled Shah Shuja, and they marched on Kabul; but in a quarrel between them Shah Shuja was defeated and fled back to Ludhiana in 1821. Azim Khan and his Barakzai brothers ruled over all of Afghanistan.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh extended his Sikh confederation by conquering Multan in 1818, Kashmir in 1819, Dera Ghazi Khan in 1820, Mankera and Dera Ismail Khan in 1821, and Bannu and Tank in 1822. Some of these territories were taken from the Afghan empire while the Indus River marked the boundary between his Sikh kingdom and Sind. Ranjit Singh imprisoned his mother-in-law Sada Kaur in 1820, but two years later the British restored her to the fort of Whadni. Because of his friendship with the British, Ranjit Singh refused to form defensive alliances with Nepal or Bharatpur. When Peshawar governor Yar Muhammad Khan gave Ranjit Singh valuable horses, Muhammad Azim Khan disapproved and went to Peshawar, declaring holy war on Ranjit. The Sikhs won the battle in March 1823. Azim Khan died the same year, resulting in a struggle for power between the Barakzai brothers that lasted three years until Dost Muhammad captured Kabul, Ghazni, and Jalalabad; other brothers held Qandahar.

Concerned about a possible invasion into India by Russia, the British had concluded a treaty with Persia in 1814 in which they promised to provide military aid to Persia if they were invaded by any European power; but when Russia and Persia went to war in 1826, the English annulled the provision by paying Persia money. In the treaty Persia agreed to send forces if the British were at war with Afghanistan; but the British were not to interfere in an Afghanistan-Persian conflict unless both sides sought mediation.

Governor-General Wellesley had imposed press censorship; but the liberal Lord Hastings granted wide latitude to the Calcutta Journal, which James Buckingham began publishing in 1818. Three years later it was countered by the pro-government John Bull. The Government sued Buckingham for libel but lost. A financial scandal caused the Marquess of Hastings to leave India in early 1823. By then the Calcutta Journal had a circulation of a thousand. Senior councilor John Adam governed in Bengal for seven months until William Amherst arrived. However, when the Calcutta Journal satirized the appointment of a Scottish minister to a post in the Stationery department, Adam had Buckingham deported. England and the Netherlands signed a treaty in 1824 that ceded the Dutch territories in Bengal to the British.

Bishop's College was established at Calcutta in 1820 but did not admit non-Christians. In 1823 the General Committee of Public Instruction was formed in Calcutta, and Sanskrit College was founded. Rammohun Roy wrote a letter suggesting that more modern education was needed. The next year James Mill and the Court of Directors issued a dispatch urging education with utilitarian principles. A Calcutta madrasa (Islamic school) was established in 1826, but only two students passed the junior scholarship examination in the next 25 years.

Cotton manufacturing in England reversed this trade as a nominal 2.5% duty allowed British goods into India. With the ending of the Company monopoly in 1813 unsold native cotton goods accumulated in Company warehouses. The cotton imports increased from 2,000 pounds in 1813 to 100,000 pounds ten years later. The British government protected its industry at home with tariffs while allowing free trade in India. In his ten years Lord Hastings increased the Company's annual revenue by nearly six million pounds.

East of Bengal, Burma was expanding its little empire. They seized Manipur in 1813. Rebels led by Chin Byan attacked Arakan from 1811 until he died in 1815. Burmans installed in Assam a ruler who accepted their sovereignty in 1818. Burma demanded that the British deliver the rebels who took refuge in Bengal, or they threatened to annex Ramu, Chittagong, Murshidabad, and Dacca as part of Arakan. Hostilities escalated gradually because of border incidents involving British subjects. In September 1823 Burmans killed three British sepoys on the tiny island of Shahpuri, a place so unhealthy no one even wanted to leave a garrison there. Nonetheless, the British reoccupied it and put up stockades in November. Govinda Chandra had been driven away from his kingdom of Cachar by three brothers and appealed to the British, who declined to help; but the Burmans sent an army that reinstated him. Amherst wrote to the Directors that this pass was essential and recognized Govinda Chandra as a ruler protected by the British, sending a force from Dacca to Sylhet. Govinda Chandra accepted and promised to pay the British tribute.

The Burmese government sent a force of 4,000 from Assam, but a British force led by Major Thomas Newton defeated them in January 1824. After the Burmans captured the pilot of a British schooner and burned the hut on Shahpuri, the British declared war on Burma. The Burmese general Maha Bandula led a large army that caused the sepoys to flee from Ramu. The British withdrew to protect Chittagong, and the Burmans entered Cachar; but they left before Newton's force arrived. The youngest brother Gambhir Singh had joined the British but managed to conquer Manipur on his own. General Archibald Campbell with his army of 11,000 occupied Rangoon in May after the Burmans had fled with badly needed provisions. Maha Bandula attacked them in December with about 60,000 men; but the British force managed to defend themselves as part of Rangoon was burned. Meanwhile an expeditionary force occupied Tenasserim. Sepoys at Barrackpur near Calcutta, upset that they did not have enough pay to buy bullocks to carry their cooking pots, refused to obey orders to march into Arakan. Commander-in-Chief Edward Paget ordered guns to fire on them; a few were killed, and some drowned in the Ganges. A court martial sentenced the 41 captured to death; twelve were hanged, and the rest had their sentences commuted to fourteen years hard labor.

In January 1825 the British army forced the Burmans at Rangpur to ask for a truce. When the British force occupied the capital at Arakan, the Burmans withdrew from that province. Because of fever and dysentery, the British withdrew from most of Arakan. Campbell's forces and a naval column attacked Donabew in April, and Maha Bandula was killed by a rocket. The Burman king's brother, Prince of Tharrawaddy, opposed the war with the British and evacuated the strongly fortified Prome to return to the capital at Awa and try to persuade his brother to make peace. Campbell cantoned his troops at Prome and under an armistice began negotiating, but King Bagyidaw refused to accept the terms. The Burmans made another proposal, and a treaty was signed in January 1826; but the King refused to ratify it. Finally as the British army came near the capital, at Yandabo the King agreed in February to give up his claims to Assam, Cachar, and Manipur, ceding Arakan and Tenasserim to the English and promising to pay an indemnity of ten million rupees. They agreed to exchange envoys, and a commercial treaty was signed.

Even the Company Directors had to admit that this war was caused by "trifling acts of insult and aggression" and that the invasion of lower Burma was not justified by military necessity. The number of those killed in battle was less than two hundred; but of 3,738 European troops in the Rangoon expedition 3,160 died of scurvy and dysentery, and of 1,004 in Arakan 595 died from malaria. All together on the British side about 15,000 died, and the war cost five million pounds.

In central India rumors that the British were withdrawing troops for the Burman war stimulated Pindari brigands, rebels, and ambitious chiefs to take up arms. Two days before Bharatpur ruler Baldeo Singh died in February 1825, Resident David Ochterlony invested the young prince as the heir. However, Durjan Sal as regent claimed the throne and took over the fort of Bharatpur. Ochterlony announced that his troops would rescue the boy before the fort could be defended; but when the Governor-General in council suspended his preparations, Ochterlony resigned. Charles Metcalfe was appointed resident of Delhi and formulated the imperialist policy that it would be hazardous for the British to relax their paramount influence in Malwa and Rajputana, arguing that the non-interference policy had failed in 1806. He denounced Durjan Sal and sent a large force that assaulted and captured Bharatpur in December 1825, killing at least 8,000 while suffering only 600 casualties; a treasury worth £480,000 was divided by the army as prize money. Durjan Sal was imprisoned at Allahabad, and Metcalfe installed the boy Bulwant Singh as raja.

In 1827 Governor-General Amherst visited Awadh nawab Ghazi-ud-din, who loaned the Bengal government fifteen million rupees before he died that October. Daulat Rao Sindhia died earlier in 1827 but had arranged for his favorite wife Baiza Bai to choose an adopted son to succeed. Major Stewart supported this, and as regent she loaned the British Company five million rupees.

Bentinck's Reforms 1828-35

William Bentinck returned to India as governor-general in July 1828 intent on applying utilitarian principles to reform India. Metcalfe left Delhi and as senior member of the Council became Bentinck's chief advisor. He warned that the only thing that was universal in India was the disaffection toward the dominion by strangers. Bentinck himself wrote that he wanted to reform the "monstrous rapacity" of four hundred strangers governing sixty million people. At the end of his term in 1835 he concluded that compared to the Muslims who intermixed and married the natives, the British rule was "cold, selfish and unfeeling" using the "iron hand of power" along with "monopoly and exclusion."

Because of the expenses of the Burma war, Amherst left India with a one-million-pound deficit his last year. Bentinck saved nearly a million by reducing military expenditures, and an interlude of peace along with special measures to protect the Government's lucrative opium monopoly created a two-million-pound surplus by the time he left. Although it only saved £20,000 a year, the officers resented his cutting in half their batta (extra pay). Bentinck allowed newspapers to criticize him and his government, but after a while he forbade them to mention the batta issue anymore. He adopted in Bengal the revenue administration pioneered by Munro in Madras, saved money by appointing Indian judges for 400 rupees per month, and let them handle more cases.

Company servant David Scott in Assam recommended annexing western Assam and recognizing someone from the Ahom dynasty. The Company did the former but procrastinated on the latter. Prince Gadadhar Singh rebelled in 1828, but he and his supporters were arrested and put in prison. The next year Khasi raja Tirat Singh regretted his agreement to help the British build a road, and his men killed two British lieutenants. During the rebellion the British burned Khasi villages. In 1830 Assamese nobles proclaimed Kumar Rupchand raja. The British suppressed these insurrections by the Khasi hill tribes and the Singpho. Two rebels were hanged, and Rupchand was imprisoned for fourteen years. Tirat Singh eventually surrendered and spent the rest of his life in prison. Scott died in 1831, and two years later Purandar Singh was installed in Upper Assam; but his tribute was set at the exorbitant 50,000 rupees. After five years he was in arrears and was deposed as Upper Assam was annexed by the Company.

The British asked Cachar raja Govinda Chandra to cede his territory to the Company, but he refused. Cachar was invaded by Tularam on one side and by Manipur raja Gambhir Singh on the other. The British declined to help him and made him assign territory to both of them. After Govinda Chandra was assassinated in 1830 by a servant of Gambhir Singh, the British rejected all the possible rulers and annexed Cachar. Tularam was forced to pay tribute for his territory, which was later annexed three years after he died in 1851. The raja of Jaintia died in 1835, and his successor declined to pay the high tribute demanded; the best part of his territory was taken, and he gave up the rest. The Company also annexed other small territories in the late 1830s.

In Tenasserim some fanatical Muslims objected to Hindu idolatry and in 1830 plundered and burned their houses. They killed cows and forced Brahmins to eat beef. After a magistrate was forced to flee, soldiers came and killed nearly a hundred of the zealous Muslims, imprisoning and dispersing the rest. In Orissa and southwest Bihar native tribes objected to British taxes and settlers taking the best land; but their uprising with primitive weapons was suppressed by the military.

Sayyid Ahmad of Bareilly taught the doctrines of Waliullah and traveled from Delhi to Peshawar, where the governor was accused of trying to poison him. He aroused his followers to fight, and they defeated and killed Yar Muhammad in 1829; but Sikhs led by Prince Sher Singh and General Ventura helped Sultan Muhammad win back Peshawar. The Sikh troops withdrew, but Sayyid Ahmad led his forces across the Indus in 1830 to attack Sikhs led by Hari Singh Nalwa and General Allard. The Sayyid's holy warriors (Ghazis) withdrew, but a few months later they attacked Sultan Muhammad Khan and occupied Peshawar. Ahmad proclaimed himself caliph and minted a coin. His taxes on the peasants and decree that all young men must marry caused discontent, and he was killed at Balakot by a surprise attack in May 1831. The Usufzai tribe expelled his deputies, and the Ghazis dispersed.

In 1831 Bentinck visited Lakhnau and tried to persuade the profligate Nasir-ud-din that if he did not reduce the corruption, he would be removed from power. The Nawab hired Hakim Mehdi to collect revenue, but the Indians and Europeans who disliked his reforms drove him from his office. In 1835 the Directors ordered Bentinck to take over the government of Awadh (Oudh); but since he was leaving office, he just warned the Nawab. Bentinck did take over the government of Mysore from its unpopular ruler Purneah because he mistakenly thought the tribute was in arrears. Later in 1834 he visited the Raja and proposed his power be restored, but the British kept control over Mysore until 1881. Coorg was annexed by force because its raja had killed all his heirs. Bentinck tried to get the emirs to open up the Indus River, but Ranjit Singh believed it was too shallow.

Governor-General Bentinck and Maharaja Ranjit Singh exchanged state visits in 1831 with mutual respect, and the next year Captain Wade got Ranjit Singh to agree to let British traders use the Sutlej River. Sikhs led by Hari Singh defeated Afghan tribes above Attock in 1832. Shah Shuja tried to recapture his throne but could only get a four-month advance on his allowance from the British. After making a treaty with Ranjit Singh, Shah Shuja set out from Ludhiana in 1833 with 3,000 troops and 200,000 rupees. As he traveled through Shikarpur, he forced the Sind emirs to pay him 500,000 rupees. Shuja's forces besieged Qandahar in 1834, but they were defeated by Dost Muhammad Khan and his brothers. Shah Shuja returned to Ludhiana the next year with 250,000 rupees.

Bentinck made special efforts to end thuggery and sati (widow suicide). Thugs (robbers) had been active in India since the decline of the Mughal empire. They were also called Phansigars because they used nooses to strangle their victims. Mostly they were Hindus worshipping Kali, the goddess of destruction, but Muslims sometimes joined their gangs. They preyed upon travelers by pretending to befriend them before murdering them and taking their possessions. They gave some of their loot for Kali ceremonies and to those who protected them. Bentinck sent special agents and established special courts to hear these cases, and in 1835 the Department of Thuggee and Dacoity was established. A law was enacted making membership in a thuggee band a crime. In six years more than four hundred thugs were hanged, and the roads became much safer. After Wellesley decreed that sati was legal if voluntary, the attendance by police officers to assure this seemed to give it more credibility. The number of sati deaths more than doubled in six years, reaching a high of 839 for the year 1818. Bentinck enacted a regulation in 1829 making burning or burying widows alive homicide. This reduced sati in Bengal, Bombay, and Madras, but it still was allowed in the native states.

The Company's charter to administer territories in India was renewed in 1833 for another twenty years because many believed that the Parliament would increase the corruption of patronage. The new Charter Act stated that the interests of the native subjects were to be preferred to those of the Europeans when they were in conflict. The Governor-General was responsible for Bengal, Assam, and the Burman possessions, and Metcalfe was appointed governor at Agra. The English were now allowed to acquire land in India. Slavery was abolished in the West Indies in 1833, and many planters moved their plantation system of exploiting labor to India. The Governor-General and the Council could now make laws for all the Company's territories. A law member was added to the Council, and a Law Commission was appointed with Thomas B. Macaulay as its head. The Charter Act of 1833 also required the Company to divest itself of administering religious endowments, and participation in religious festivals was discouraged and in 1840 prohibited. Bentinck dismissed for corruption the residents at Delhi and Lakhnau, and he transferred others he suspected.

Before he left India in March 1835, Bentinck announced that the British government should promote European literature and science by making English the language of higher education. Macaulay wrote his "Minute on Education" in which he argued that English should be taught instead of Sanskrit and Arabic. Thousands of Indians enrolled in English schools, and in two years the Calcutta School Book Society sold more than 30,000 books in English. According to an 1845 report to the House of Commons the number of students being educated at government expense included 13,699 Hindus, 1,636 Muslims, and 236 Christians. The Bengal government attempted to establish in each district an English school or a school using both English and the local language. Higher education was available in Calcutta at the Hindu College, which was only open to Hindus. In 1854 the government took it over and renamed it Presidency College, emphasizing the writings of Bacon, Johnson, Milton, and Shakespeare along with history, science, moral philosophy, and political economy.

Charles Metcalfe served as acting governor-general for one year. He believed in freedom of the press and removed the restrictions. F. J. Shore published his Notes on Indian Affairs in 1837, criticizing the government by the English Company for being "extortionate and tyrannical in practice" while professing to be benevolent and philanthropic.

The last Maratha raja, Pratap Singh, in 1835 tried to claim the six jagirs (tax districts) recognized by the treaty of 1819, but Bombay governor Robert Grant deliberately withheld a letter and honorary sword sent by the Court of Directors. Brahmins resented Pratap Singh for supporting the right of Prabhu Kayasthas to perform religious rites. They intrigued to bring charges of conspiracy and treason against the Raja and two men for trying to seduce Indian officers from their allegiance to the British. James Carnac replaced Grant and asked the Raja to sign a memorandum agreeing to certain conditions for clemency on the charges; but Pratap Singh lost his throne at Satara in 1839, only because he had the integrity not to sign the document that would be admitting what was false.

Rammohun Roy and Social Reform

Rammohun Roy was born into a Brahmin family near Calcutta on May 22, 1772. At Patna he learned Arabic and Persian, studying the Qur'an, Islamic law, and Persian poetry. By the age of ten he had two wives. Rammohun learned Sanskrit at Benares and studied Hindu philosophy for three years. He traveled, and some believe he studied Buddhism in Tibet. His father was a zamindar and collected taxes. Absorbed in Sufi and Vedanta philosophy, Rammohun criticized Hindu idolatry and soon became alienated from his traditional parents. Yet in 1796 his father gave him a house in Calcutta, and Rammohun began studying English. He loaned money to English employees of the East India Company. His father died in 1803, and years later his mother tried to disinherit Rammohun for heresy. His friend John Digby introduced him to western literature, and in 1805 he began working for Digby and the Company. Rammohun's first publication was in Persian and affirmed the unity of God; he warned against idolatry and religious doctrines that deceive. Rammohun may have witnessed a widow burned to death in sati at the funeral of his brother in 1812.

In 1814 Rammohun and a few friends began a friendship society called Atmiya Sabha. The next year he began translating some of the Upanishads and an abridgment of the Vedanta Sutra into Bengali and English. In 1817 he helped Edward Hyde East and David Hare found the Hindu College; but Rammohun's name was not associated with it because some Hindus considered him a heretic. In debate Rammohun defended Hindu theism and argued that people are harmed by myths about gods and goddesses that do not stand up to reason. In 1820 he began helping missionaries translate the Bible into Bengali to improve on Carey's version, and he published his book on the ethics of Jesus called The Precepts of Jesus, Guide to Peace and Happiness. In response to criticism, he wrote three appeals to Christians in which he argued that the humanistic ethics of Jesus is much more important than the miracles and theological doctrines on atonement and the trinity. Rammohun emphasized the oneness of God. Max Müller, the scholar who helped to found the modern study of comparative religion, said that Rammohun was the first person to synthesize eastern and western religion.

In 1818 Rammohun began an educational campaign to end the burning of Hindu widows (sati) by publishing and freely circulating a dialog between an advocate and an opponent. He wrote,

In times of want the wife works like a slave.
In times of affluence the husband takes another wife
and enjoys worldly pleasures.
Very often the wife is beaten up,
discarded, accused of disloyalty,
all because the husband feels that he has the right to do so.1

Rammohun argued that nowhere in the Hindu scriptures is it demanded that a widow must commit suicide or be murdered. He charged that one of the main reasons for sati was the avarice of relatives who wanted to avoid the cost of supporting a bereaved widow. He advocated the custom should be abolished for humanitarian reasons. Most of the widows dying by sati were in Calcutta, and the number in Rammohun's own district of Burdwan was barely second to Hughli. The number of such widow suicides in the six divisions of Bengal had gone from 378 in 1815 to 812 in 1818. These increases discouraged the efforts that were being made by the British government. Rammohun managed to prevent some burnings by personal persuasion. His writing must have had an effect because in 1819 the number of widow burnings in Bengal was 650. In a second tract that year he defended the rights of women by showing that they are not inferior to men but in some ways even superior. Orthodox Hindus organized groups to defend the atrocious tradition of sati against his campaign, and the number only gradually decreased in the next decade to 464 in 1828. However, the new Governor-General Bentinck made any support for sati a crime in 1829, and in gratitude Rammohun sent him an anti-sati address on behalf of more than three hundred supporters.

During its first year in 1821 Rammohun took over the editing of the Bengali weekly Sambad Kaumudi (Moon of Intelligence), the first newspaper published by Indians. Rammohun also founded and began editing a Persian weekly in 1822 called The Mirror of News (Mirat-ul-Akhbar). He wrote a brochure demanding that Hindu women should have the same property rights as their fathers and husbands. In 1823 Chief Secretary John Adam got a regulation enacted that was called Adam's Gag because it required every periodical to obtain a license signed by the Council's Chief Secretary before it could publish each issue. Rammohun closed down The Mirror in protest of this pre-censorship and sent a memorial to the Government. He explained why a powerful government should avoid censoring.

Another evil of equal importance in the eyes of a just Ruler,
is, that it will also preclude the natives
from making the Government readily acquainted
with the errors and injustice
that may be committed by its executive officers
in the various part of this extensive country.
Every good ruler who is convinced
of the imperfection of human nature,
and reverences the Eternal Governor of the World,
must be conscious of the great liability to error
in managing the affairs of a vast empire
and therefore he will be anxious to afford to every individual
the readiest means of bringing to his notice
whatever may require his interference.
To secure this most important object,
the unrestrained liberty of publication
is the only effective means that can be employed.2

When the British decided to spend its large grant for education on a Sanskrit College in 1823, Rammohun argued that Indians had a much greater need to learn science from Europeans. Just as the Baconian philosophy had replaced the medieval scholastics, India needed its own renaissance beyond its religious philosophy. Rammohun helped William Adam found the Unitarian Association, and with David Hare they started an Anglo-Hindu school with free tuition for Indians. The Vedanta College was founded to study Hindu scriptures. In 1825 the Parliament passed an East India Jury Bill that only allowed Christians to serve on grand juries. Rammohun criticized this discrimination by writing articles for Sambad Kaumudi, and the next year he demanded equal treatment in the Native Petition to Parliament. In 1827 he published the Sanskrit work Vajrasuchi that criticized the caste system. He believed that the most important moral principle is the golden rule: "Do to others as you would be done by."

Rammohun and his friends began the Brahmo Sabha on August 20, 1828 based on the idea of one God, one world, one humanity. Devotional songs, mostly by Rammohun, were interspersed between the invocation, prayer, meditation, and sermons. When they moved into their own building on January 23, 1830, their purpose was defined in the Trust Deed as to worship "the Eternal, Unsearchable, and Immutable Being who is the Author and Preserver of the Universe." All kinds of people were welcome as long as they behaved in an "orderly, sober, religious and devout manner." No objects were to be worshipped. No person was to be reviled. They aimed to promote "charity, morality, piety, benevolence, virtue, and strengthening the bonds of union between men of all religions, persuasions and creeds."3 The Brahmo Sabha did not recognize any priestly class as privileged mediators between God and humans. Their members worked on such reforms as abolishing child-marriage, polygamy, and caste persecution. They planned how to bring education to women and give them their proper status in society.

Conservative Hindus led by Radhakanto Dev, compiler of a comprehensive Sanskrit dictionary, tried to counter their progressive ideas by forming the Dharma Sabha. Young Bengalis responded to Rammohun's practical synthesis of eastern and western education, freedom of thought, freedom of the press, and intellectual idealism. Rammohun protested against the Government's salt monopoly, the high taxes on the cultivators, and worked for many progressive reforms. He criticized the East India Company for taking two million pounds out of India to London each year. He encouraged Dwarkanath Tagore to set up small industries in the Bengal countryside.

In 1831 Rammohun went against caste rules and became the first prominent Hindu to visit England. As the envoy of Mughal king Akbar II, he gained him an additional 300,000 rupees for his budget. His memorial to the House of Commons to counter the petition to repeal the abolition of sati was successful, and he presented in writing his reform ideas before the next renewal of the Company charter. He proposed reductions in the rents of the ryots (peasants), and he suggested that the decrease in revenue could be balanced by hiring native collectors at lower salaries. In his Questions and Answers on the Judicial System of India, Rammohun recommended replacing Persian with English as the official language in the law-courts, appointing native assessors, using trial by jury and the traditional panchayat system, separating the offices of revenue collectors from judges, codifying the criminal and civil law of India, and consulting with local leaders before enacting laws. His efforts helped persuade the House of Commons to repeal the clause disqualifying all but Christians from serving on grand juries, and the Indian Jury Act of 1832 allowed the governments of Bengal, Bombay, and Madras to appoint qualified Indians as judges. He urged the Tories to support the Reform Bill currently being debated. He did not think that a commercial organization should be ruling another country and suggested that a proper government would be easier for the natives, even though it would still be a foreign one.

Rammohun Roy also visited France before he died at Bristol on September 27, 1833. He lived according to the great humanistic saying of Sa'di that he wanted as his epitaph, that the best way of serving God is to do good to humans. He was one of the first pioneers for the ecumenical unity of all religions, and his outstanding efforts for modern education and social reform led some to call him the father of modern India.

The Young Bengal movement had been inspired by the poet Henry Derozio (1809-31), who had taught at the Hindu College and founded the Academic Association in 1828. After Rammohun Roy died in 1833, his disciple Vidyavagish led the Brahmo Sabha; but it languished until Dwarkanath Tagore's oldest son Devendranath Tagore joined in 1843 with twenty of his associates. Dwarakanath Tagore helped found the Landholders' Society in 1838, and the next year Rammohun's friend William Adam started the British India Society in England. They eventually merged into the British Indian Association, which paid agents to pressure in England and worked for reforms in local government. In 1846 Govinda-chandra Dutt denounced the unequal treatment of British and Indians before the law and urged the separation of the executive and judicial functions. Devendranath had founded the Tattvabodhini Sabha in 1839, and the monthly Tattvabodhini Patrika promoted Indian culture with western improvements. They changed the name of Brahmo Sabha to Brahmo Samaj (God Society) and in 1850 began agitating for social reforms such as widow remarriage, monogamy, and temperance. Vidyasagar discovered a verse in the Parashara Samhita that approved of widow remarriage, and his book Vidhava Vivaha led to the passage of the Widow Remarriage Bill in 1856. That year Devendranath withdrew for two years to travel and be more reclusive in the Simla hills.

British Invasion of Afghanistan and Sind

Tory minister Robert Peel persuaded the Directors to appoint the diplomatic Heytesbury as governor-general; but the Whigs replaced the Tories in 1835, and the new foreign secretary Palmerston did not want the former ambassador who was friendly with the Russians. Instead, George Eden, known as Baron Auckland, was chosen. He set out for the Upper Provinces with a retinue of 12,000 people and was not deterred from passing through the famished region between Kanpur (Cawnpore) and Agra in 1837. They did some relief work, but about 800,000 died of hunger and disease. Col. John Colvin began investigation for an irrigation project that led to the Ganges Canal nearly twenty years later. At Lakhnau, Resident Col. John Low had used force to defeat the Begum's nominee as successor to Nasir-ud-din Haidar and put his uncle Muhammad 'Ali on the Awadh throne; but he had to agree to pay 1,600,000 rupees annually for an additional subsidiary force. The Directors later rejected the new treaty as unfair; but Auckland only told the new ruler he was released from the additional burden.

Ranjit Singh intrigued with the Barakzai brothers against Dost Muhammad, and Hari Singh led the Sikhs that seized Peshawar in May 1834. Dost Muhammad declared a holy war on the Sikhs and marched on Peshawar; he asked for English aid, but they declined. Sultan Muhammad refused to take the Sikh envoys hostage for his brother Dost Muhammad and went over to Ranjit Singh, who gave him some tax districts after Dost Muhammad withdrew. The British could not get the Khairpur emir to restrain the Mazaris from attacking the Sikh posts, and so in 1836 the Multan governor defeated the Mazaris and took over Rojhan and the Ken fort. The English sent Captain Alexander Burnes to negotiate commercial agreements with the countries bordering on the Indus River, and Captain Wade traveled to Lahore to reassure Ranjit Singh. Hari Singh occupied the Jamrud post at the Khyber Pass, but he was defeated and killed by Dost Muhammad's army from Kabul in 1837.

Russian envoy Simonitch encouraged Persia's Muhammad Shah to attack Herat, and the Persian army began a siege in November 1837. English envoy Burnes was in Kabul trying to persuade the Barakzai brothers to resist a possible Russian advance when Russian emissary Vitkevitch arrived to tell Dost Muhammad that Russia would fund his effort to expel Ranjit Singh from Peshawar. In a treaty guaranteed by Simonitch the Persian shah transferred Herat to the rulers of Qandahar. Burnes negotiated with Qandahar and offered British help against the Persians, but the Government of India made him withdraw that. They offered to restrain Ranjit Singh from attacking Dost Muhammad if he would not make an alliance with another state. However, Auckland was afraid of losing the Anglo-Sikh alliance if he pressured Ranjit Singh. Since the British offered little, Dost Muhammad welcomed Vitkevitch to Kabul. The British minister McNeill complained to the Shah in his camp that the siege of Herat violated their treaty, and meeting with the Herat ruler he arranged a treaty, which the Persian shah refused to ratify. So McNeill suggested that Auckland send a naval force to the Persian Gulf, and they occupied the island of Kharak. In August 1838 the British told the Shah he must withdraw from Herat to suspend British actions, and the next month the Persians retreated. The Russians said they were not aggressive and recalled Simonitch and Vitkevitch, who felt disgraced and committed suicide.

William Macnaghten in Lahore asked Ranjit Singh to help Shah Shuja regain his throne at Kabul, but the Maharaja declined to do so without British forces participating. Shuja promised to turn over two million rupees paid by the Sind emirs to Ranjit Singh, and all three signed the treaty by July 1838. Armies in Bengal and Bombay began preparing. In October the Governor-General issued a manifesto from Simla that even the press at the time exposed as a "collection of absolute falsehoods." Even though the siege of Herat had been ended, Auckland did not call off the campaign; his proclamation in November indicated his intention to replace a hostile power in eastern Afghanistan. The Duke of Wellington warned that the advance would be "a perennial march into that country." A Blue Book of dispatches was published in 1839, but they were carefully selected and edited to convey false impressions.

The British army gathered at Firozpur with 9,500 men in the Bengal division and 5,600 from Bombay while Shah Shuja had 6,000 men. Across the Sutlej River were 15,000 Sikh troops, but Ranjit Singh would not allow the army to march through his country. So they had to go through Sind even though a military crossing of the Indus River was a violation of their 1832 treaty with the English. The Sind emirs were forced to pay Shah Shuja 2,500,000 rupees (25 lakhs), and he had to pass on 15 lakhs to Ranjit Singh. The Khairpur state made a treaty to cooperate with the British, who promised to protect them and occupied their fortress at Bukkur. Auckland also demanded that the Sinds pay three lakhs per year for the subsidiary force in their territories. Facing an attack by this army on Hyderabad if they did not comply, the Sind emirs signed two more treaties, paid the tribute, and provided supplies. Troops took over Karachi, and a British force was stationed to make sure that tolls were no longer collected on the Indus River.

As the army marched, Baluchi brigands harassed the rear, carrying off baggage, camels and bullocks, which were dying by the hundreds. In late March 1839 they reached Quetta, where commander John Keane established his headquarters. By then they were on half rations, and 20,000 baggage animals had been lost. Macnaghten began using money to give people compensation and bribe the authorities. Most Afghan tribes were won over by gold, and Qandahar surrendered on April 25. Shah Shuja was enthroned on a platform. Macnaghten and Burnes persuaded General Keane that the Ghazni fortress would also surrender, and so he left behind the large guns. Only because a nephew of Dost Muhammad deserted and told them of a weak gate were they able to blast through and take the fortress, killing many Afghans while suffering less than 200 casualties. Dost Muhammad and a few followers fled north into the Hindu Kush mountains. There he took refuge with Uzbek chief Wali of Kulun, who kept him prisoner. Keane's army marched into Kabul on August 7, 1839, but Shah Shuja was not warmly received. The Barakzai sirdars had been expelled from Afghanistan, and British soldiers occupied Qandahar, Ghazni, Jalalabad, and Kabul.

The Bombay army departed Afghanistan as did some of General Nott's Bengal troops. Macnaghten advised Auckland to order the Bombay division to punish Mehrab Khan for not restraining the Baluchi brigands, and three Khelat provinces were turned over to Shah Shuja. Ranjit Singh had died in June 1839, and his successors objected to Keane's army passing through the Punjab. Macnaghten paid them off, and he also found that the Ghilzai chiefs and Afridis had to be bribed to keep the mountain passes open. Baluchi tribes still attacked convoys and even Quetta itself in June and July 1840. Mehrab Khan's son Nasir Khan took over Khelat and forced the British puppet Shah Nawaz Khan to abdicate until General William Nott arrived with troops and forced Nasir Khan to flee to the hills. Yet a year later to avoid more trouble the British recognized Nasir Khan as the ruler of Khelat and the three provinces taken from his father.

The Afghans did not like Shah Shuja's government and blamed the British because of their military occupation. Auckland's council complained of the huge cost for this Afghan adventure. Macnaghten contemplated taking Herat but was restrained by Auckland. Dost Muhammad persuaded Wali of Kulun to support his attack on Bamiyan, but the British defeated them in September 1840 and won over the Wali with gold. Joined by some of Shah Shuja's troops, Dost Muhammad marched toward Kabul, but the British cavalry defeated him at Parwandurrah on November 2. Two days later Dost Muhammad rode up to Macnaghten and surrendered. Macnaghten kept him as an honored prisoner before sending him under guard to Calcutta, persuading Auckland to give him a pension of 200,000 rupees.

To save money Macnaghten reduced the stipends and subsidies he paid to Afghan chiefs. This caused resentment, and the eastern Ghilzais left Kabul to take up positions on the road to Jalalabad. Macgregor arranged truces, but they were to no avail. Col. Robert Sale was wounded in Khurd Kabul Pass, and many of his men and much equipment were lost in October 1841. On November 2, Afghans in Kabul attacked the house of Burnes, killing him and many others and taking the Shah's treasury. The gout-suffering General W. G. K. Elphinstone failed to reinforce the commissariat fort, and the British lost most of their provisions. Their troops often did not obey orders or fight. The Hindu sepoys resented their loss of caste, and the Muslim sepoys were reluctant to kill fellow Muslims. The freedom-loving Afghans also resented the way their women in Kabul had been seduced by the occupying army. The insurrection spread, and the garrison at the Laghman fort mutinied, left the fort, and marched to Kabul. Two British officers at the fort in Kohistan were murdered by their men. Ghazni was attacked, and the British garrison stayed in the citadel until March 1842, when they surrendered and were treacherously killed.

Auckland ordered a withdrawal, but Macnaghten was still optimistic and sent Mohanlal to spread around 50,000 rupees among the tribes. The army was demoralized and faced starvation, and Elphinstone urged Macnaghten to make peace. Macnaghten proposed the British evacuate Afghanistan unmolested; Shah Shuja would abdicate, and four British officers would remain as hostages. They evacuated Bala Hissar on December 13. The Afghan chiefs brought provisions but asked the British to hand over their forts. They did so, but carriages were not arriving. Dost Muhammad's son Akbar Khan sent Macnaghten a proposal for Shuja to rule with Akbar as his well paid vizier. On December 23 Macnaghten went to meet Akbar with three officers; but Macnaghten and another were killed, and the other two were made prisoners. Now the Afghan chiefs required the British to leave behind all their guns except six along with all spare muskets and the coins in the public treasury. They also wanted the married men to remain with their families as hostages; but none volunteered, and this was changed to a few men. The sick and wounded were left at Bala Hissar. In January 1842 the British left with 4,500 troops and 12,000 camp followers. In the Khurd Kabul Pass they were ambushed by Ghilzais, and about 3,000 were killed. The attacks continued, and more were massacred. A few officers forged ahead, but all were cut down or dispersed except Dr. Bryden, who reached the fort at Jalabad after a week of slaughter.

Brigadier Wild led four regiments from Firozpur to Peshawar but could not get Sikh support. In the January weather the sepoys refused to march to Kabul without gloves and coats, but Henry Lawrence prevented their execution and persuaded them. At the Khyber Pass they did not fight, and the Afghans took the Ali Masjid fort that commanded the Pass. Gen. Nott disobeyed an order to evacuate Qandahar and defeated some Afghans. In March 1842 Brigadier Richard England led a relief detachment from Sind but was defeated and fell back to Quetta. Col. Sale refused to evacuate Jalalabad and defeated Akbar Khan's Afghans in April.

On February 28, 1842 Baron Ellenborough (Edward Law Jr.) arrived at Calcutta and replaced Auckland. Ellenborough ordered an immediate evacuation but contemplated whether military operations should be undertaken to restore British honor. Generals George Pollock and Nott were given discretion to vindicate the military. Pollock defeated some Afghans in August and the next month occupied Kabul. In revenge the British demolished the marketplace. Shah Shuja had been murdered in April, and his son Fath Jung, who had been a tool of Akbar Khan, fled, surrendered, and abdicated. Shapur, another son of Shuja, was proclaimed king. General Nott entered abandoned Ghazni and destroyed the town, claiming he captured the gates from the tomb of the 11th-century conqueror Mahmud. Saleh Muhammad Khan released the British prisoners from Bamiyan for 20,000 rupees and a small pension. Dost Muhammad and other Afghans returned from India. Shapur fled to Peshawar in 1843, and the British recognized Dost Muhammad, the one they had overthrown, as the rightful ruler before they departed from Afghanistan.

To gain control over Sind, Governor-General Ellenborough sent letters to the emirs Nasir Khan at Hyderabad, Rustum Khan at Khairpur, and Sher Muhammad Khan at Mirpur, warning that if they were not faithful, their sovereignty would be taken away. Ellenborough replaced Major James Outram with Charles Napier as commander and ordered him to investigate the Sind emirs. They were accused of seeking secret alliances against the British and levying tolls. In November 1842 a treaty took away their right to coin money, and Karachi and Tatta were ceded to the British. Napier ordered British troops to occupy the left bank of the Indus from Rohri to Bahawalpur, and he marched on Khairpur to replace Rustum Khan with his brother, the compliant Ali Murad.

Outram as commissioner was negotiating with the emirs in Hyderabad and advised Napier not to march on the unarmed city with troops. After Napier captured the Imamgarh fortress, thousands of armed Baluchis came and attacked Outram's residence, forcing him to flee to a steamer. In February 1843 Napier's force defeated them in a fierce battle; 62 British and about 5,000 Baluchis were killed. Most of the emirs surrendered, and their property was confiscated and auctioned. Napier received about £50,000, but Outram declined to accept £3,000 and left the country. In March a similar battle was fought against Sher Muhammad of Mirpur, killing about 2,000 Baluchis. The British annexed Sind and appointed Napier governor, but Ali Murad ruled Khairpur as their vassal. Ali Murad tried to extend his domain with a forged treaty; but he was eventually caught, and his authority was diminished in 1851.

In England Punch summed up Napier's conquest of Sind with the Latin word peccavi, which means "I have sinned." The Directors passed a resolution condemning his Sind takeover but decided that giving it back would cause more mischief. Outram testified that the emirs had been bullied and provoked into armed resistance because Napier did not halt his march even after they signed a treaty. Napier had confessed in his journal, "We have no right to seize Scinde; yet we shall do so, and a very advantageous, useful, humane piece of rascality it would be."4 Sind remained a deficit province for many years, and Napier governed it until 1847. Although Bentinck had abolished flogging in the Indian army, Napier continued to flog. He imposed martial law and tried cases by military commissions, deciding himself the capital cases. Captain Keith Young complained that he retried persons who had been acquitted. Using the Irish constabulary as a model, Napier established the Sind police under a European captain with native officers. This was the first modern police force in India that was independent of the military and revenue collections, and the Bombay Presidency adopted the system in 1852.

Ellenborough assigned Col. W. H. Sleeman to investigate the uprisings in the Saugor district of central India that occurred in April 1842. He found that the Revenue Board orders had been misconstrued, damaging the landowners. When their protests were ignored, they revolted. Ellenborough dismissed the officials. He also abolished many inland customs duties in Madras and the North-Western Provinces, raising the salt tax to make up the revenue.

When Jankoji Rao Sindhia died in February 1843, leaving behind no son and an 11-year-old widow, Ellenborough used the opportunity to take over the large Gwalior province. The Gwalior Durbar wanted Khasjiwalla as regent, but the British chose Mama Sahib, who was opposed by all the chiefs. The British government demanded that the influential Khasjiwalla be fined and banished. The Governor-General appointed Col. Sleeman as resident at Agra and went there himself. Warned that the British army was coming, Khasjiwalla surrendered. In December 1843 Ellenborough demanded a treaty be signed within three days. The Maratha troops fought for their independence and inflicted 790 casualties but suffered more than 3,000. In January 1844 the Governor-General dictated a treaty at Gwalior that provided for a larger British force and civil administration, 2,600,000 rupees from the Gwalior Durbar, a limit of 9,000 men in the Maharaja's force, and a British regent until the Maharaja came of age in 1853.

Sikhs and the Punjab 1839-48

Ranjit Singh died on June 27, 1839. His oldest son Kharak Singh became maharaja and let the British troops pass through the Punjab on their way back from Afghanistan. Sikh troops helped General Pollock get through the Khyber Pass on their way for vengeance against Kabul. Kharak Singh was considered a fool and an opium-eater; but his son Nao Nihal Singh took control after Dhian Singh murdered the Maharaja's favorite Chet Singh Bajwa in October 1839. The three wealthy Hindu brothers of the Dogra tribe named Gulab Singh, Dhian Singh, and Suchet Singh had been made rajas in the province of Jammu. Kharak Singh died in November 1840; coming back from the funeral, Nao Nihal Singh was killed when an archway fell on him. Many suspected Dhian Singh even though he was also injured and his nephew was killed. Ranjit Singh's reputed son Sher Singh succeeded. He was a voluptuary and was challenged by Kharak Singh's widow Chand Kaur, who claimed to be regent for Nao Nihal Singh's son who was born later. Both sides offered the British and the Sikh army advantages. In January 1841 Sher Singh besieged the Rani (Queen) at the Lahore fort; Dhian Singh became his chief minister, as Chand Kaur retired with a tax income. Her Sandhanwalia supporters withdrew to British territory.

The Sikh army now felt its power and plundered houses of the wealthy in Lahore, killing several people. The disorders spread, and General Avitabile fled from Peshawar to Jalalabad. Kashmir troops murdered Col. Mian Singh, but Jammu raja Gulab Singh restored order and gained control over the valley in April 1841. However, his nomination to Peshawar was vetoed by a British agent later that year. Other commanders in Mandi, Kulu, Hazara, and Amritsar were also assassinated. Sher Singh appealed to the British, and they prepared to send a force of 10,000, but Sher Singh changed his mind. The Lahore Durbar invited representatives of the army units and increased their pay; these committees of five were called military panchayats. The army had control and chastised those they considered traitors.

In June 1842 female attendants beat to death Chand Kaur. The British agent Clarke persuaded Sher Singh to recall the exiled Sandhanwalia sirdars, Attar Singh and Ajit Singh. Nearly a year later in September 1843 Ajit Singh shot Sher Singh dead while his uncle Lahna Singh killed his son Partap Singh. Then together they shot and killed Dhian Singh along with his bodyguards. Dhian's son Hira Singh and brother Suchet Singh aroused the army and stormed the fort, killing Ajit Singh, Lahna Singh, and several hundred of their troops. Attar Singh fled with his son to the British. Hira Singh declared maharaja young Dalip Singh, the son of Ranjit Singh and Rani Jindan, who became regent with Hira Singh as prime minister. Suchet Singh supported two other reputed sons of Ranjit Singh, Kashmira Singh and Peshawara Singh; but his revolt was crushed, and Suchet was killed in March 1844. Another rebellion was quelled the next month as Kashmira Singh was killed.

Robert Peel appointed his secretary of war Henry Hardinge to be governor-general, and he arrived in July 1844. Multan governor Sawan Mal was assassinated in September and was succeeded by his son Mulraj. He quelled a mutiny in November by killing four hundred soldiers. Hira Singh's counselor Jalla Pandit offended Rani Jindan, and she caused the army to turn against them. Hira Singh and Jalla Pandit fled from Lahore and were killed in December 1844. The Rani's debauched brother Jawahir Singh became the prime minister in May 1845, and her lover Lal Singh was influential. The panchayats did not like them and wanted Peshawara Singh as maharaja with Jammu raja Gulab Singh as vizier; but Chatar Singh Atariwala, whose daughter was betrothed to the young maharaja Dalip Singh, had Peshawara Singh murdered. Jawahir Singh was suspected of having killed the prince and fled with Dalip Singh; but he was caught and executed by the angry panchayats in September 1845; his four wives died on his funeral pyre. Lal Singh became prime minister with Tej Singh as commander-in-chief.

Meanwhile Gulab Singh had extended his domains to include not only Kashmir but also Chach and Rawalpindi, while his military forces increased to 50,000 men with 200 guns. Gulab Singh and others secretly negotiated with the British, who promised they could keep their kingdoms. The British had been preparing by increasing their troops from 23,000 to more than forty thousand and by sending supplies to Firozpur, where they built a fort. Hardinge appointed the bellicose Major George Broadfoot, who did not like the Sikhs. He declared the Cis-Sutlej territories belonging to Lahore under British protection.

By the fall of 1845 two British armies were about to converge on Firozpur, and in December the Sikh army crossed the Sutlej to a piece of Sikh territory on the other side. The Sikh leader Lal Singh was secretly in communication with British captain Peter Nicholson and asked what he should do. He was told to delay the attack on Firozpur several days, and the Sikhs lost their advantage. After the British commander-in-chief Hugh Gough arrived with his army, the battle of Mudki began. Lal Singh deserted his army, and the Sikhs fell back. The sepoys were reluctant to fight against the Sikhs, and most of Gough's casualties were British. The Sikhs had a larger force, and about 2,000 were killed. That night Sikhs killed the British left alive on the field. In the morning a fresh force led by Tej Singh missed an opportunity; he also fled to save the British army.

While Gough needed fresh troops, Lal Singh and Tej Singh waited a month. However, Ranjodh Singh Majithia led a Sikh attack on Ludhiana. Harry Smith, who also fought in South Africa, led a relief force; but they were surprised at Baddowal in January 1846, were rescued by a British detachment, and won a battle at Aliwal. Henry Lawrence replaced the killed Broadfoot as political agent and continued to get secret information from Lal Singh. Gulab Singh stopped sending supplies to the Sikhs. In February the British had the guns for an offensive. In the battle at Sobraon the traitorous Lal Singh and Tej Singh fled across the Sutlej and broke the bridge of boats so that their army would be destroyed. The British got revenge for their wounded having been killed at Firozpur by killing all they could; about half of the 20,000 Sikhs were killed or drowned.

The British sent a reserve unit into Lahore, and Governor-General Hardinge imposed a treaty on March 9, 1846. The British annexed the Jullundur Doab and sold the hill country between the Beas and the Indus rivers to Gulab Singh for five million rupees. The Sikh army was reduced to 20,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry. All guns were taken over by the British, and they were given permission to pass through the Punjab. The British promised not to interfere in the internal administration at Lahore, but this was not kept. Gulab Singh now had sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir, and his nephew Hira Singh paid the indemnity from the Lahore treasury. Lal Singh was still prime minister, and he urged Kashmir governor Shaikh Imamuddin not to turn over the valley to Gulab Singh. Henry Lawrence marched there with troops, learned why, and returned to prosecute Lal Singh at Lahore. He was found guilty and exiled in December 1846, replaced as vizier by Tej Singh. That month Frederick Currie proclaimed the conditions Governor-General Hardinge was imposing on the Lahore government, and the Treaty of Bhyrowal was signed. The British officer in Lahore was to have "full authority to direct and control all matters in every department of the State." Henry Lawrence was appointed the first resident, and Rani Jindan was excluded from the administrative regency council. When the young maharaja Dalip Singh refused to invest prime minister Tej Singh, Lawrence had the Rani imprisoned in the fort.

Before he left office, Governor-General Hardinge reduced the native regiments by twenty percent, resulting in 50,000 less soldiers and saving more than a million pounds. James Ramsay (Marquess of Dalhousie) arrived in January 1848. Henry Lawrence went home on sick leave, and John Lawrence replaced his brother Henry as commissioner of the Jullundur Doab. He reduced taxes and eliminated unnecessary duties. He proclaimed slogans against burning widows, killing infant daughters, and burying lepers alive. The Khalsa army was reduced from 27,764 to 22,005, and roads were built. Some of those unemployed turned to raiding. The outbreak in Multan stimulated other dispossessed rajas of Kangra, Jaswan, and Datarpur to rise up against the British also; but John Lawrence raised two divisions and crushed the insurgents by offering each village a choice between a pen or a sword, saying,

What is your injury I consider mine;
what is gain to you I consider my gain....
If your lands are heavily assessed,
tell me and I will relieve you;
if you have any grievance,
let me know it, and I will try to remove it....
If you will excite rebellion, as I live I will punish you.
I have ruled this district three years
by the sole agency of the pen
and if necessary I will rule it by the sword.5

Mulraj was charged three million rupees for having succeeded his father as governor of Multan, but the British troops sent to collect it had been defeated in 1846. Mulraj wanted to resign, but John Lawrence persuaded him to wait a year. When Currie became resident, he sent Khan Singh Man to replace Mulraj with the British officers Vans Agnew and Lt. Anderson. Mulraj handed over his office; but someone threw a spear at Agnew, and fleeing Anderson was badly wounded. Mulraj's mother taunted him into leading the insurgents. The next day a Mazhabi boy was killed in shooting with Khan Singh's troops, and rebels murdered Agnew and Anderson.

The revolt spread to Bannu, Peshawar, and the northwestern Punjab. The miserable condition of the imprisoned Maharani also provoked discontent. Hazara governor Chatar Singh was a popular Sikh leader, and his daughter was engaged to Maharaja Dalip Singh; but the British kept postponing the wedding. Captain James Abbott accused Chatar Singh of conspiracy against the English and instigated Muslims against him, promising them three years without taxes if they expelled him. Sikh soldiers under Chatar Singh's son Sher Singh were deserting to Mulraj in large numbers. Chatar Singh resigned, and his son Sher also joined Mulraj in September 1848.

British India's Wars 1848-1881


1. Quoted in Raja Rammohun Roy by Jamuna Nag, p. 55.
2. Quoted in Rammohun Roy: A Bi-Centenary Tribute, p. 125. "Memorial to the Supreme Court" in The Essential Writings of Raja Rammohan Ray, p. 237.
3. Trust Deed of the Brahma Samaj in The Essential Writings of Raja Rammohan Ray, p. 105-106.
4. Administration of Scinde by W. Napier, II, 203, quoted in British Paramountcy and Indian Renaissance, Part 1, p. 219.
5. Quoted in The Men Who Ruled India, Volume 1: The Founders by Philip Woodruff, p. 335.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book SOUTH ASIA 1800-1950.
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British India 1800-1848
British India's Wars 1848-1881
India's Renaissance 1881-1905
India's Freedom Struggle 1905-1918
Gandhi and India 1919-1933
Liberating India and Pakistan 1934-1950
Tibet, Nepal, and Ceylon 1800-1950
Burma, Malaya and the British 1800-1950
Siam, Cambodia, and Laos 1800-1950
Vietnam and the French 1800-1950
Indonesia and the Dutch 1800-1950
Australia to 1950
New Zealand to 1950
Summary and Evaluation

Vedas and Upanishads
Mahavira and Jainism
Buddha and Buddhism
Political and Social Ethics of India
Hindu Philosophy
Literature of India
India 30 BC to 1300
Delhi Sultans and Rajas 1300-1526
Mughal Empire 1526-1707
Marathas and the English Company 1707-1800


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Chronology of Asia & Africa to 1800
Chronology of Asia & Africa 1800-1950
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