Battles fought by British to gain over India

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Famines in India on 1770

Indian Economy just before and after the British get entry into the region.

1725 - 1750

During this period, Mughals were replaced by the the Maratha Empire in much of India. While the other small regional states who were mostly late Mughal tributary states such as the Nawabs in the north and the Nizam in south India remained. However, the Mughal tax administration system was left largely intact. China was the world's largest economy followed by India and France. The gross domestic product of India in 1750 was estimated at about 80 per cent that of China.[11]

 1750 - 1775

During this period, tax administration system in India was collected by officers of the Maratha empire which expanded to almost 2.8 million km². While the Nizam's remained prosperous in the Deccan. China was the world's largest economy followed by India and France. The gross domestic product of India in 1775 was estimated at about 70 per cent that of China. Nevertheless, a devastating famine broke out in the eastern coast in early 1770s killing 5 per cent of the national population.

 British rule

Main articles: Economy of India under Company rule and Economy of India under the British Raj

The British colonial rule created an institutional environment that did stabilise the law and order situation to a large extent. The British foreign policies however stifled the trade with rest of the world. They created a well developed system of railways, telegraphs and a modern legal system. The infrastructure the British created was mainly geared towards the exploitation of resources ofin the world and totally stagnant, with industrial development stalled, agriculture unable to feed a rapidly accelerating population. They were subject to frequent famines, had one of the world's lowest life expectancies, suffered from pervasive malnutrition and were largely illiterate.

 GDP estimates

An estimate by Angus Maddison argues that India's share of the world income went from 24.4% in 1700, comparable to Europe's share of 23.3%, to a low of 3.8% in 1952. While Indian leaders during the Independence struggle and left-nationalist economic historians have blamed the colonial rule for the dismal state of India's economy, a broader macroeconomic view of India during this period reveals that there were segments of both growth and decline, resulting from changes brought about by colonialism and a world that was moving towards industrialization and economic integration.

Price of Silver - Rate of Exchange: 1871-72 to 1892-93

Period Price of Silver (in pence per Troy ounce) Rupee exchange rate (in pence)

1871–1872 60½ 23 ⅛

1875–1876 56¾ 21⅝

1879–1880 51¼ 20

1883–1884 50½ 19½

1887–1888 44⅝ 18⅞

1890–1951 47 11/16 18⅛

1891–1892 45 16¾

1892–1893 39 15

Source: B.E. Dadachanji. History of Indian Currency and Exchange, 3rd enlarged ed.

(Bombay: D.B. Taraporevala Sons & Co, 1934), p. 15.

 The fall of the Rupee

 The crisis of silver currency and bank notes (1750–1870)

After its victory in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), Germany extracted a huge indemnity from France of £200,000,000, and then moved to join Britain on a gold standard for currency. France, the US and other industrializing countries followed Germany in adopting a gold standard throughout the 1870s. At the same time, countries, such as Japan, which did not have the necessary access to gold or those, such as India, which were subject to imperial policies that determined that they did not move to a gold standard, remained mostly on a silver standard. A huge divide between silver-based and gold-based economies resulted. The worst affected were economies with a silver standard that traded mainly with economies with a gold standard. With discovery of more and more silver reserves, those currencies based on gold continued to rise in value and those based on silver were declining due to demonetization of silver. For India which carried out most of its trade with gold based countries, especially Britain, the impact of this shift was profound. As the price of silver continued to fall, so too did the exchange value of the rupee, when measured against sterling.

 British East India Company rule


During this period, the East India Company began tax administration reforms in a fast expanding empire spread over 250 million acres (1,000,000 km2), or 35 per cent of Indian domain. Indirect rule was also established on protectorates and buffer states. China was the world's largest economy followed by India and France. The gross domestic product of India in 1800 was estimated at about 60 per cent that of China, not taking into account the falling price of Rupee.

The Company treasury reported annual revenue of £111 million in circa 1800[citation needed]. This needs to converted to Indian Rupees with the falling price of Rupee to assess the impact on Indian economy. Almost all of the Indian land revenues were diverted by the Company to help the British Crown defend herself in the Napoleonic Wars.


China was the world's largest economy followed by India and France. The gross domestic product of India in 1825 was estimated at about 50 per cent that of China. British cotton exports reach 3 per cent of the Indian market by 1825.(pdf)


China was the world's largest economy followed by the UK and India. Industrial revolution in the UK catapulted the nation to the top league of Europe for the first time ever. During this period, British foreign and economic policies began treating India as an unequal partner for the first time.[13] English replaced Persian as the official language of India. The gross domestic product of India in 1850 was estimated at about 40 per cent that of China. British cotton exports reach 30 per cent of the Indian market by 1850.(pdf)

 Decline of the cotton textile industry

Ray (2009) raises three basic questions about the 19th-century cotton textile industry in Bengal: when did the industry begin to decay, what was the extent of its decay during the early 19th century, and what were the factors that led to this? Since there is no data on production, Ray uses the industry's market performance and its consumption of raw materials. Ray challenges the prevailing belief that the industry's permanent decline started in the late 18th century or the early 19th century. The decline actually started in the mid-1820s. The pace of its decline was, however, slow though steady at the beginning, but reached crisis point by 1860, when 563,000 workers lost their jobs. Ray estimates that the industry shrank by about 28% by 1850. However, it survived in the high-end and low-end domestic markets. Ray agrees that British discriminatory policies undoubtedly depressed the industry's export outlet, but suggests its decay is better explained by technological innovations in Britain.[14]

 British Raj


The formal dissolution of the declining Mughal Dynasty heralded a change in British treatment of Indian subjects. During the British Raj, massive railway projects were begun in earnest and government jobs and guaranteed pensions attracted a large number of upper caste Hindus into the civil service for the first time. China was the world's largest economy followed by the USA, UK and India. The gross domestic product of India in 1875 was estimated at about 30 per cent that of China (or 60 per cent that of the USA), not taking into account the falling price of Rupee. British cotton exports reach 55 per cent of the Indian market by 1875.(pdf)


USA was the world's largest economy followed by China, UK, Germany and India. Collapse of the central authority of the Qing Dynasty and the resultant chaos triggered China's short but rapid decline on the world stage. The gross domestic product of India in 1900 was estimated at about 20 per cent that of the USA.

The Crown treasury reported annual revenue of £122 million in circa 1900[citation needed]. While the revenue in terms of Pound Sterlings reported very low growth, it does not take into account the price of Rupee falling drastically, which is needed to understand the growth of revenue in terms of Indian economy.

Battle of Wandiwash,1760

From 1744, the French and English fought a series of Battles for supremacy in the Carnatic region. In the third Carnatic war, the British East India Company defeated the French forces at the battle of Wandiwash ending almost a century of conflict over supremacy in India. This Battle gave the British trading Company a far superior position in India compared to the other Europeans.   
The Battle of Wandiwash was a decisive battle in India during the Seven Years' War. The Count de Lally's army, burdened by a lack of naval support and funds, attempted to regain the fort at Vandavasi near Pondicherry. He was attacked by Sir Eyre Coote's forces and decisively defeated. The French general Marquis de Bussy-Castelnau and the French were then restricted to Pondicherry, where they surrendered on 16 January 1761. Wandiwash is the Anglicised pronunciation of Vandavasi.[1]

This was the Third Carnatic War fought between the French and the British. After making substantial gains in Bengal and Hyderabad, the British, after collecting huge amount of revenue, were fully equipped to face the French in Wandiwash. Thus, they defeated the French comprehensively in this Battle.

According to the 19th century book ("Annals of the wars of the eighteenth century") by Author Eduard Cust, the French Army has used 300 European Cavalry, 2250 European Infantries, 1300 Sepoys, 3000 Mahrattas with 16 pieces of Artillery and the English had used about 80 European Horses, 250 Native horses, 1900 European Infantries, 2100 Sepoys and 26 pieces of Artillery.[2]. Battle of Wandiwash involved capture of Chetpattu (Chengalpattu), Tirunomalai(Thiruvannaamalai), Tindivanam and Perumukkal.

2nd and 3rd Carnatic wars

Second Carnatic War (1749-1754)
After the death of Nizam-ul-Mulk in 1748, the Nizam of Hyderabad,  a civil war for succession , known as the 2nd Carnatic War, broke out in the south between Mir Ahmad Ali Khan ( Nasir Jung), the son of the Nizam-ul-Mulk, and Hidayat Muhi ud-Din Sa'adullah Khan ( Muzaffar Jung), the grand son of Nizam-ul-Mulk.
This opened a window of opportunity for Chand Sahib, who wanted to become Nawab of Arcot. He joined the cause of Muzaffar Jung and began to conspire against the Nawab Awaruddin Muhammed Khan in Arcot. The French allied with Chand Sahib and Muzaffar Jung to bring them into power in their respective states. But soon the British also intervened. To effect the French influence, they began supporting Nasir Jung and Muhammad Ali Khan  Walajah (son of the deposed Nawab Anwarauddin Muhammad Khan of Arcot). Initially, the French succeeded in both states in defeating and murdering their opponents and placing their supporters on thrones in 1749. In 1751, however, Robert Clive led British troops to capture Arcot. Clive's success led to additional victories for the British and their Nizam and Arcot allies. The War ended with the treaty of Pondichery, signed in 1754. Muhammad Ali Khan Walajah was recognised as the Nawab of Arcot. The French leader Dupleix was asked to return to France. The Directors of the French East India Company wer dissatisfied with Dupleix's political ambitions, which had led to immense financial loss. In 1754, Charles Godeheu replaced Dupleix.     
Third Carnatic War
The outbreak in 1756 of the Seven Years' War in Europe resulted in renewed conflict between French and British forces in India. The Third Carnatic War spread beyond southern India into Bengal where British forces captured the French settlement of Chndernagore (now Chandannagar) in 1757. However the war was to decide in the south , as British Commander Sir Eyre Coote decisively defeated the French under the Comte sw Lally at the Battle of Wandiwash in 1760.The French capital Pondichery fell to the British in 1761,.The treaty of Paris in 1763 decided the result of both the parties. France to have factories ( trading posts) and British would get dominant foreign power in India. 'Let there be light, and there was light' for British in India.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Carnatic Wars (1746-1763)

The Carnatic Wars, 1st,2nd, and 3rd were a series of military conflicts in the middle of the 18th  century on the Indian Subcontinent. The conflicts involved many independent rulers for succession of their territories and between the two European forces the French and the British. 
First Carnatic war (1746-1748)    
The Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb died in 1707 CE.He was succeeded by Bahadur Shah I but there had been a general decline of the central control over the entire empire after the death of Aurangazeb. Several erstwhile Mughal colonies revolted. Carnatic was ruled by Nawab Dost Ali, despite being under the legal perview of the Nizam of Hyderabad. Dost Ali's death spurked a power struggle between his son-in-law Chand Sahib and the Nizam;s nominee, Anwar-ud-Din. The British enlisted the help of Anwar-ud-Din to oust Joseph Francois Dupleix and the French from Madras.
The Genesis of the Carnatic wars are generally attributed to the ambition of Dupleix. As governor of the French East India Company , Dupleix sought to establish a French colony in India. Immediately upon his arrival in india, he organized Indian recruits under French officers for the first time in 1740.
In the mean time the British and the French went to war over the succession of the throne of Austria in 1740. The decline of Mughal power in India provided an opportunity for the contending European trading Companies to venture out brazen use of intrigues for obtaining hold over the land for the benefit of their respective companies.By that time, the French and the British trading companies had the largest presence among all the European Companies trading in India, dominating in influence those of the Dutch Republic and Portugal.
After the British initially captured a few  French Ships ,  the French, in return,  captured  , in 21 Sept. 1746, the British city Madras. Among the prisoners  of war was Robert Clive.
With the termination of the war of Austrian Succession in European, the first Carnatic War also came to an end. In the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748), Madras was given back to the British in exchange for the French fortress of Louisbourg in north America, which the British had captured.     

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chennai-Formally Madras Presidency

The name Chennai came from the word Chennaipattinam, the name of the town that grew around the Fort St. George, which was built by the English in 1640. The first official use of the name Chennai is said to be in a sale deed, dated August 1639, to Francis day of the English East India Company. Chennai in Tamil means face, and  the temple is regarded as the face of the city.The region around Chennai has served as an administrative, military, and economic centre since the 1st century.The area was ruled by various South Indian Dynasties notably the Pallava, the Chera, The Chola, The Pandya, and Vijaynagar.The Portuguese arrived in 1522 and built a port called Sao Tome after the christian apostle, St. Thomas, who is believed to have preached in the area between 1552 and 1570 AD. In 1612, the Dutch established themselves near Pulicat, just north of the City.
On 22nd August 1639, Francis Day of the British East India Company bought a small strip of land on the Coromandel coast. The region was ruled by the Nataka of Vandavasi. He granted British permission to build a factory and warehouse for their trading enterprises.A year later the British built Fort St. George and Madras was captured by the French under General La Bourdonnais, the Governor of Mauritius, who plundered the town and its outlying villages. the British gained control in 1749 through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelleand fortified the town's fortress wall to  withstand further attacks from the French and another looming threat , Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore.By the late 18th century , the British had conquered most of the region around Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnatak , establishing the Madras Presidency with Madras as capital.    

Indian History - British Period

After getting entry in Gujarat to construct three trade posts, 1. Surat, 2. Ahmadabad, and 3. Bharuch,  and factories following the permission of Emperor Jahangir they also constructed a trade post and factory in Agra, Uttarpradesh.
In 1633, in the Mahanadi delta of Haripura at Balasore in Orissa, factories were set up.
In 1640, East India Company established an outpost at Madras. In 1661, the company obtained  Bombay from Charles II and converted it to a flourishing center of trade by 1668. English settlement rose in Orissa and Bengal.
In 1650, Gabriel Boughtonn , an employee of the Company, obtained a license for trade in Bengal. An English factory was set up in 1651 at Hugli. In 1690 Job Charnock established a factory. In1698 the factory was fortified and Called Fort William. The villages of Sutanati, Kalikata, and Gobindapore were developed into a single area called Calcutta. Calcutta became a trading center for East India Company. Once in India, the British began to compete with the Portuguese, Dutch, and the French. Through a combination of outright combat and deft alliance with local princes, the East India Company gained control of all European trade in India by 1769. In 1672 the French established themselves at Pondichery and stage was set for a rivalry between the British and French for control of Indian trade.  

Saturday, March 19, 2011

History of Gujarat

Gujarat is a state in the western coast of India with 1,600 km along the coast line and 75,686 sq. miles in area. It began its settlements with the Indus Valley Civilisation. British established three trade centers here. 1. Surat, 2. Ahmadabad, and 3. Broach ( present name Bharuch).
Bharuch served as ports and trading centers in the Nanda, Maurya, Satavahana and Gupta empires. After the fall of Gupta Empire in the 6th century , Gujarat flourished as an independent Hindu/Budhist states. The 11th century history of Gijarat saw  the emergence of Muslim rule. The first Muslim conqueror was Mahmud of Gazni whose conquest of  Somnath effectively ended the rule of Solankis.
From 1297 to 1300, Allauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi, destroyed Anhilwara and incorporated Gujarat into the Delhi Sultanate.The Sultanate of Gujarat remained independent until 1576, when the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great conquered  and annexed it to the Mughal empire. The port of Surat become the prominent and main port of India during Mughal Rule. Gujarat remained a province of the Mughal empire until the Marathas occupied eastern and central Gujarat in the eighteenth century.
After battle of Panipath in 1761, all Maratha general established themself as autonomous Government . The British East India Company wrested control of much of Gujarat from the Marathas during the second Anglo-Maratha war.Portugal was the first European power to arrive in Gujarat, acquiring several enclaves along the Gujarati coast, including Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagarhaveli. When British opened trade post in Gujarat , Mughal emperor Jahangir was in power their. 
Maratha and British
When the cracks had started developing in the edifice of the Mughal Empire in the mid 17th century, the Marathas were consolidating their power in the west., Chatrapati Shivaji, the great Maratha ruler attacked Surat twice , first in 1664 and again in 1672. These attacks marked the entry of the Marathas in Gujarat, the Europeans had made their presence felt, with the portuguese leading them, followed by the Dutch and the English.
The Peshwas had established their sovereignty over Gujarat including Saurashtra, and collected taxes and tributes through their representatives.The war between Marathas and Peshwas were fully exploited by the British. British had also created their alliances Gujarat.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Indian History : British Period

British period was divided in the following stages;
i) Creation of Trade post (1601-1769)
ii) Winning battles after battles (1757 - 1849)
iii) War of Independence - 1857
iv) Colonial rule  I (1858 - 1918)
v) Colonial rule II (1819 - 1947)
i) Creation of Trade Posts; In 1601 the East India Company was chartered, and the English began their first inroads into the Indian Ocean. In 1610, the British chased away a Portuguese naval squadron, and the East India Company created its own outpost at Surat.
The small outpost marked the beginning of a remarkable presence that would last over 300 years and eventually dominate the entire subcontinent. In 1612 British established a trading post in Gujarat. As a result of English disappointments with dislodging the Dutch from the Spice Islands, they turned instead to India. In 1614 Sir Thomas Roe was instructed by James I to visit the Court of Jahangir, the Mughal Emperor of Hindustan. Sir Thomas was to arrange a commercial treaty and to secure for the East India Company sites for commercial agencies, - "factories" as they were called. Sir Thomas was successful in getting permission from Jahangir for setting up factories. East India Company set up factories in Ahmedabad, Broach (Bharuch) and Agra.
Other than Agra three trade centers belonged to Gujarat.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Indian Army (contd-4)

The Battles of Sobraon, on the bank of river Sutlej, and thereafter Chillianwalla were decisive in linking up the Gangetic and Indus basin . With the treaty of Lahore in 1846, Punjab became a British Protectorate. The remaining Sikh Empire was thereafter bifurcated into Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, with Gulab singh being the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir.
In Rajputana, during the period 1825-26, the British invaded Bharatpur with a large force to settle a disputed succession . Hitherto consiered impregnable, after a desparate conflict in Jan 1926 the town's defences were assaulted a number of times by British forces which finally emerged triumphant, but the heroic fight put upby the defenders came as a stunning shock to the British, who suffered staggering casualities.   
Colours-Bengal Presidency : In the Bengal army , which formed part of the Bengal Presidency in 1824, the native infantry battalions were separarted into 68 regiments and re-numbered according to their senior  . After the Sikh war two Sikh infantry regiments were raised. In addition, a frontier Brigade consisting of a corps of guides , four regiments of Sikh infantry and the Punjab Frontier Force, comprising five regiments of irregular cavalry, and five regiments of irregular infantry, were raised  in 1846.
In the Madras  Army, coming under the Madras Presidency, there were 8 cavalry regiments, 25 regiments of the native infantry were reorganised into 50 single-battalion regiments. Two more regiments were raised in 1826 and in 130 and Madras rifle Corps was abolished. 
In the Bombay army, now part of the Bombay Presidency, four regiments of irregular cavalry were raised between 1839 and 1850, a camel corps was raised in 1843 and five infantry battalions were also raised. Bombay also had eight local corps battalions. The Hyderabad contingent, which remained a separate entity, comprised five cavalry and eight infantry battalions.
By 1850, the British had overcome all contenders to power and had achieved a territorial definition of India, never achieved before, and which invited a clearer unified  identity.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Indian Army (contd-3)

From left- Zorawar Singh, Ranjit Singh
This led to the Deccan campeign of 1803 under Wellesly, in which Pune and ahmednagar were captured by the British to support their ally , the Peshwa. Advancing further south the British defeated the Marathas in the battle of Argaon and stormed gwalior on 15 Dec to end the campaign.While the British took on the Pindaris head on , clashes took place between the Marathas and the British forces at Nagpur and and Kirkee, which endedwith the surrender of the Marathas in June 1818. It marked the end of Maratha political power . In the north, during three years of warfre between 1799-1802, maharaja Ranjit Singh united the Sikhs to control most of Punjab. In an agreement at Amritsar in 1809,by which Sutluj was accepted as the boundarybetween the Sikh territories and those the British had seized from the Marathas.
Turning to the West, Ranjit Singh conquered the whole of Punjab from the Afghans and local princes. Considering his landwith the help of French and Italian offices, he developed the most powerful and effective native Army in India. He also conquered kashmir in 1819. His able General Gulab Singh , who was given the 'jagir' or Kingdom of Jammu to rule in 1822, went on to expand his empire. One of his trustworthy and daring generals Zorwar Singh, with a modest force comprising 5000 Dogras and loyal Ladakhis , ventured into battlein 1841. After subduing Ladakh and Baltistan he conquered large tracts of Tibet upto Mount Kailash, on the banks of Lake Manas sorober and areas as close as 24 miles off Nepaland the Kumaon hills before making the supreme sacrifice. he became known as 'Mountain Fox.'
In Nov 1814, while Ranjit Singh was expanding and and consolidating his territories, expeditionary forces from British Indian Army were sent to Nepal to stop Gorkha raids into northern India. The ferocity of the Gorkhas repulsed the initial attempts but General Orchteriony campaigned systematicallyto penetrate the Kathmandu valley and forced peace in the Gorkhas after the battle of the of the Manlaun in 1816. Ever since, the Gorkhas have been at peace with India and its youth have been joining the Indian army regularly, albeit on a voluntary basis . Since the death of Ranjit Singh in 1839, friction between the British and the Sikhs in the Punjab increased and led to the first Sikh war(1845-46). A sikh army of 20,000 crossed the Sutlejand attacked the British at Mudki in Dec 1845but were repulsed with heavy losses.In February, having crossed the Sutlej , the British defeated the Sikhs inflicting heavy casualities. The final coup came in the form of the two winter campaigns fought against the Sikhs, with its capital at Lahore in 1846 and 1849.     

Monday, March 14, 2011

Indian Army (contd-2)

In the south, from 1756 to 1769, Haider Ali fought the British in what came to be known as the first Mysore War, and later conclude a treaty with the East India Company. However, not getting any help in his war with the Marathas, Haider Ali joined the French. He attacked and cut to pieces a small British Force at Perambakam in the Carnatic (modern Karanatak) in 1780, sparking off the second Mysore war which  swept unto the gates of Madras. With 8,000 men sent by sea from Bengal, Sir Eyre Coote attacked and defeated Hyder Ali in the Battle of Porto Novo on 1 June 1781, thus saving Madras.In August and September that year , Hyder Ali was defeated at Paliburg and Shollingurh. In 1783, owing to the withdrawal of French aid and death of Haider Ali, his son Tipu Sultan succeeded the throne and made peace. In 1789, Tipu attacked Travancore and starting the Third Mysore War. In this War the British invaded Mysore, stormed the fortress at Bangalore and drove Tipu into Seringapatam where he was besieged. Tipu made peace in 1792 by ceding half of his dominion to the British. In 1796 the Madras Army consisted of two European Infantry regiments each of two battallions. Between 1796 and 1824 the native infantry was raised to 25 regiments of two battallions each. In 1806, two regiments were disbanded because of the mutiny at Vallore. In 1803 Colonel James raised a regiment of irregular horse from Scidia's army and pressed it into Company service. In 1815 three Gorkha battallions were raised as Bengal local Battallions, of which only one survived. This became first Gorkha regiment . The British conquest of India thus progressed , as did trade, under the joint efforts of the British crown and East India Company. Resistance by native states increased as they received French support , particularly the Marathas in the south who had large armies of well trained  well equipped French-trained soldiers.         

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Father of Indian Army (contd-1)

In 1759, Bombay Garrison's Sepoy Companies were reorganized. In 1768 the first two regular Sepoy Battalions were formed, with a third in 1769 and a fourth in 1770. While a graduated albeit similar expansion was taking place in the other Presidencies as well, each now placed under respective Governors who subsequently rose in rank and power to become Governor Generals, by the middle of the century's Commander-in-chief was provided to the Governors for coordination of military activities. Major Stringer Lawrence filled this post with great verve. This was the first move to integrate the military assets of the three Presidencies in a coordinated manner. In 1784-85 full military powers, including the power to appoint the Commandor-in-Chief, wee retained by the board of directors, which meant the British Government. For the Governor-General, a formal Army Headquarters was created with the commander-in-chief as head. To assist him were two Principal Staff Officers, namely the Quartermaster General and the Adjutant General. By 1790 the total strength of the combined British Indian Army was 80,000. The begining of the 18th century also saw the rise of Sikhs in Punjab and the Rajputs in Rajputana. The French also established a new base of Calicut in addition to their existing bases at Surat, Pondicherry, Muslipatam, Chandernagar, Balasore and Kasim Bazar. The first invasion bu Ahmed Shah in 1774 was halted at Sirhind by a combine Mughal and Rajput force and the invaders were forced to retreat to Afghanistan.    
Having well established themselves, the Europeans started  increasing their influence with the princely states and often resorted to war and intrigue against them. Native soldiers were also raised by them to fight against each other and for taking sides  in local wars . During the first, Carnatic war (1744-48) hostilities ensued between the British and the French. The French seized the main British base at Madras after a fierce encounter. The Nawab who had allied himself with the British, arrived near Madras with a large army. In the battle of St. Thome the French detachment of 230 European and 730 native soldiers attacked and routed a force of 10,000 of the Nawab's troops near Madras.Commanded by Dupleix, the French tried unsuccessfully for 18 months to take the British base near Madras , but had to raise the seige following the arrival of British reinforcements. In 1748 the British tried to take Pondichery, Defended by Dupleix, but were forced to withdraw. after the Treaty in Europe, they returned Madras to the British. In 1749, Ahmed Shah's second invasion was a combined raid and reconnaissance in force which led him to believe that he could conquer Punjab and Kashmir. The Dutch exploitation  was finally eliminated in 1759 in the battle of Wandiwash, and Portugal's control was confined to their occupation of Goa, Daman and Diu. despite formal peace between France and Britain, hostilities between the two continued through their involvement in Indian conflicts.
During the second Carnatic War, the British, under Robert Clive with 500 soldiers and three guns , captured Arcot so as to relieve presure on a small English garrison at Trichinopally. They took advantage of native rivalries in an almost continual warfare.
The British East India Company had a remarkable organisation. It built up its own army, composed of European adventures and native troops, under English Commanders. Further military influence was exercised in 1754 by an English regular regiment, the 39 foot, at Madras, which became the backbone   of the British  military operations in India. Many of its officers and men were later transferred to the company's service. The French under Dupliex and its native allies, however, controlled a great part of Southern India. In Bengal, after Siraj-ud-daulah had seized Calcutta in !756, Clive recaptured it next year in January. On March 1, he took Chandenagar from the French so as clear his line of communication before pursuing Siraj-ud-Daulah. Clive found him entrenched near Plassey, north of Calcutta with 50,000 troops and 53 guns. With 1,100 Europeans and 2100 native troops, Clive launched a masterly operation and won the decisive and historic battle of Plassey. This gave the British suzerainty over Bengal,Bihar and Orissa and became lord of the vast territory.The British advanced westward along the gangetic plainand occupied areas upto Allahabad.     

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Father of Indian Army

The first authentic record of the existence of a sort of regular battalion in Indian soil dates back to the year 1741, when such a unit came into being for carrying out garrison duties in Bombay Castle. Seven years later Major Stringer Lawrence, " the father of the Indian Army", was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the East India Company's field forces in India with its Headquarters at Fort St. David, 100 miles south of Madras and only 12 miles from the then French town Pondichery. The war with France , which had temporarily ended in 1748,had brought about a substantial increase in the local enrolment of Indian troops, since neither France nor Britain could spare regular troops for India. In 1754, however, a considerable force of king's troops was sent to India from England, but this again proved to be woefully inadequate to manage the Company's military affairs in India, and local recruitment continued.
In 1757, the reorganisation of the Indian troops into regular, organised battalions was entrusted by Major Lawrence to Robert Clive. That year was also famous for the battle of Plassey, wwhich gradually reduced French influence and led to an expansionof the Company's territories in India. With the expansion, the number of troops at its disposal, quite naturally increased.  
Thus came into creation the first regular Indian infantry battalions, each with an establishment of one British captain, two lieutenants, several British sergeants, 42 Indian non commissioned officers and 820 Indian ranks and file. Clive was the first British officers in India to have Indian troops fully equipped , at the expense of the East India Company Company, which was popularly known as 'Sarkar'. He even dressed them with British 'Red Coats', hence the term 'Lal Paltan' came into being, which was locally used for such units. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rise and Expansion of East India Company

Trade posts of British East India Company since 1610.

The modern Indian Army dates back to the early seventeenth century when Europeans, like the French, Dutch, Portuguese, and British, settled in India as traders.In 1600 the East India Company was formed to coordinate all British trading activities. The Mughal Empire, being at its Zenith, did not consider these locally recruited and foreign military units to be any threat to its political, military and economic power.   
The Royal charter of East India Company was, ostensibly,to trade with India. The British saw India as a vast and unending source of fabulous treasures, and encouraged the company to enlarge and diversity its operations while tightening its stranglehold on a tottering and decadent Mughal Empire. Since its trading interests needed to be protected, the company decided raise local levies to protect their trading posts along the coast.These were soon raised on a war footing while European units sailed into India to oversee safety of their expanding trade and allied assets.
During the second half of the seventeenth century the  Mughal Empire declined rapidly. It was hastened by Nadir Shah's successful invasion and by the steady advance of Marathas from Deccan into Northern India. The Marathas under Shivaji rose against the Muslim principality of Bijapur and established an independent  principality there. In 1664 Shivaji captured the important Mughal port of Surat, made temporary peace with the Mughal but, after his subsequent arrest and dramatic escape from Aurangazeb's prison, Shivaji renewed war and kept the Mughals at bay.
By 1674 he established an independent Maratha kingdom and expanded it for thirty years by restoring to Guerrilla warfare. In all his operations Shivaji upheld the Hindu chivalric tradition in his treatment of defeated soldiers and non combatants. By the end of the century there were four major powers - the Maratha Confederacy, the Afghan Empire of Ahmed Shah,  the French and the British, all competing to take over the nearly extinct Mughal Empire.
In 1640 AD the British East India Company established its first fortified post - Fort Saint George near Madras which soon became its headquarters. Eleven years later, in 1651, they set up another post in Calcutta on the bank of River Hooghly which they later fortified and named it Fort William. In 1662 the British received Bombay from the Portuguese, British troops arrived in Bombay in 1665, but it was only in 1668 when Bombay was formally handed over to the Company. Soon Bombay Garrison was converted into a strong commercial and military base comprising cavalry, artillery and infantry elements, which later became the Bombay European Regiment. However, local troops were raised as and when required.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Maratha Empire - Yashwantrao

Yashwantarao Holkar was the son of Maharaja Tukojirao Holkar who had conquered Attock ( at present Pakistan) in 1758 and hoisted the saffron flag beyond the Sindu River. He had defeated Tipu Sultan and hoisted the saffron flag beyond the Tungabhadra River.After the demise of Malharrao Holkar (d. May 1766), his daughter-in-law Punyaslok Rajmata Ahilyadevi Holkar (ruled 1795-1797)briefly succeeded Rani Ahilyadevi upon her death.
Rise of Yashwantarao 
Yashwantarao Holkar never trusted anybody. Meanwhile support for Yashwantrao was growing.A good number of important persons joined the army of Yashwantarao. After successful victory of some battle , he was crowned King, as per Hindu Vedic Rites.
Battle of Poona
After conquering Pune, the capital of Maratha Empire, Yashwantrao took the adminstration in his hands and appointed his men.
Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar wrote letters to different kings to unite and fight against the British. He stated, "First country and then religion. We will have to rise above caste, religion, and our states in the interest of our country. You too must wage a war against the British, like me. His appeal fell on deaf ears, as all of them had already signed treaties with the British.
Ultmately Bitish had to come to a peace treaty with Yashwantrao.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Maratha Empire- Sambhaji

Chaatrapati Shivaji had two sons, Sambhaji and Rajaram. The elder son was very popular among the courties. He was a great warrior, a great politician and a poet. In 1681, Sambhaji had himself crowned and resume his father's expanist policies. Sambhaji had earlier defeated the Portuguese and Chikka Deva Raya of Mysore.He fought against Aurangazeb's 400,000 strong army for about seven years from 1682 to 1689. Ultimately Sambhaji was captured and tortured to death on March 11, 1689.
Rajaram, Chaatrapati Sambhaji's brother, assumed the throne after the death of Sambhaji. Mughal laid siege to Raigad. Rajaram fled to Vishalgad and then to Jinji for safety. From there they raided Mughal territory and captured many forts by Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadav. In 1697 Rajaram. Rajaram died in 1700 and his wife Tarabai assumed the control. Tarabai heroically led the Marathas forced the Mughal  upto Narmada river and entered Malwa in 1705 during Aurangazeb's time.
Aurangazeb died in 1707 when Shahuji,son of Sambhaji was released by Azam Shah, the next Emperor of Mughal.
Due to the disputes of Maratha Kingship it was separated in 1710 between two principalities by the treaty of Warna in 1731.