Show by 1818 British power in India become British power of India. यह दिखाइए कि 1818 तक भारत में ब्रिटिश सत्ता भारत की ब्रिटिश सत्ता कैसे हो गई। [BPSC, 1995]

Show by 1818 British power in India become British power of India. यह दिखाइए कि 1818 तक भारत में ब्रिटिश सत्ता भारत की ब्रिटिश सत्ता कैसे हो गई। [BPSC, 1995] ©


Starting from the control over Bengal, British continuously worked towards increasing their political control over other territories of India. In this process they exploited all the opportunities presented to them due to political disunity in India and waged numerous wars with indigenous powers. Though initially they were considered one of the powers in India, after conclusion of 3rd Maratha war (in 1818) they became the master among all the political players.

British being a power in India before 1818:
  • Before 1818, there were many regional powers in India. e.g. Mysore, Maratha, Awadh, Hyderabad, Punjab etc.
    • At the battle of Buxar itself, British had defeated the Mughal Emperor of India including the Nawab of Awadh and Mir Kasim. Following victory at Buxar, the British were considered as contenders for the supremacy over the whole country.
  • After the Mughal Empire declined, the Marathas, got a chance to rise in power. They controlled and had influence over a large portion of the country.
    • With vast empire of Marathas, they were considered the dominant power in India. Even the 3rd battle of Panipath and two Anglo-Maratha wars did not mean the final demise of the Maratha Power.
  • Politically each one of Indian states was trying to establish supremacy over others and the English were looked upon as a new force in this power game. Therefore, often they entered into diplomatic alliances with the Company in order to turn the balance of power in their favour in their contests against neighbours.
By 1818 British power became British power of India:
  • British had already subdued most of the powers in India including Mysore, Bengal, Awadh. Even Maratha’s strength and resources were greatly exhausted after two Anglo-Maratha wars.
  • After the arrival of Lord Hastings as the governor general in 1813, he initiated the new policy of “paramountcy“, which privileged the interests of the Company as a paramount power over those of other powers in India and to protect such interests the Company could legitimately annex or threaten to annex the territories of any Indian state.
  • The 3rd Anglo Maratha war started when Peshwa Baji Rao II around made a desperate last attempt to regain his independence from the English by rallying the Maratha chiefs. In this war, all the prominent pillars Maratha power including Peshwa, Bhonsle, Holkar and Pindaris were thoroughly crushed.
  • All of the Maratha powers accepted the system of subsidiary alliance. The British took complete control over the Peshwa’s dominions. The Maratha confederacy was dissolved and the Peshwaship was abolished. Thus, the Marathas who were the only Indian powers capable of succeeding the Mughals were nearly wiped out by the British.
    • The Peshwa’s territories were absorbed into the Bombay Presidency and the territories seized from the Pindaris became the Central Provinces of British India.  Significant parts of the territories of Bhonsle and Holkar were also ceded to the Company.
  • After 1818, the British now had control of almost all of present day India, south of the Sutlej.
  • Some scholar has viewed that the settlement of 1818 led to the complete dominance of the British throughout India.

Still there were independent and thriving Sikh Empire in Punjab. There were also surviving Indians states like islands in a sea of British territory. But non of them were in position to challenge the British power. Thus, by 1818 British power in India become British power of India. ©


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