History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 1995: Q.2

Q.2 The British conquest of Sindh was both a political and moral sequel to the First Afghan War. Comment.

Ans:

The conquest of Sindh was a political sequel to the First Afghan War because:

(1) The disaster in the First Afghan War forced the British to find a scapegoat. They blamed Sindh for complicity with Afghans during the First Afghan War and decided to punish Sindh.

(2) After the defeat in the First Afghan War, British prestige of being invincible had weakened. So, the British decided to show the power by a conquest and they found Sindh as an easy target.

(3) Since British were unable to defeat Afghanistan, the conquest of Sindh was deemed necessary to protect India from Russian aggression from North West, as Sindh could be used as military base against Russia. Sindh’s river (Indus river) was of great military importance.

The conquest of Sindh was a moral sequel to the First Afghan War because:

(1) Afghan War was morally wrong as Afghan ruler had done nothing against British and they tried to be neutral in Anglo-Russia rivalry. But the conquest of Sindh was even more immoral, as British was bound by treaty to respect territorial integrity of Sindh amd Amir of Sindh was loyal to British. So, the conquest of Sindh was next step of immoral act by British after Afghan War.

(2) Afghan War could be justified morally by British at the pretext of pre-emptive self-defence, but the conquest of Sindh had no moral justification even by British. Even the main conqueror of Sindh, Sir Charles Napier said, “We have no right to seize Sind, yet we shall do so and a very advantageous, useful, humane piece of rascality it will be.”

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