British Conquest in India Part 4

Acquisition of Punjab
After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Punjab in 1839, an atmosphere of political instability prevailed. After that, his successor son Kharag Singh also died after only one year. After that Nainihal Singh became the next ruler. He too soon entered the mouth of Kaal. Now Sher Singh sat on the throne. Sher Singh was also assassinated in 1843. Punjab had become a stronghold of conspiracies. In the same year Dilip Singh, the minor son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was enthroned under the patronage of Rajmata Jhindan. The first Anglo-Sikh war took place during the reign of Dilip Singh.

First Anglo-Sikh War (1845–46 AD) (First Anglo-Sikh War (1845–46))
The first Anglo-Sikh war was the result of Rajmata Jindan’s political ambitions. The policies of the British general Major Broadfoot encouraged the Sikh generals Lalsingh and Tejasinh to fight against the British. As a result, the Khalsa government declared an attack against the British. Thus the First Anglo-Sikh War started. The Governor General of India at the time of this war was Lord Hardinge and the Chief Commander of India was headed by Lord Gough.

In this war, four battles were fought in Ferozeshah, Mudki, Badrawal and Alibal, in which no decision could be taken. The fifth and final battle took place in Sabrao which proved to be decisive. In this battle, the English army defeated the Sikhs and took control of Lahore (February 20, 1846). After this war, the Treaty of Lahore (Treaty of Lahore, 1846) was signed between the British and the Sikhs on 9 March 1846 AD.

The major results of this treaty were as follows: –

  • The British snatched all the territories south of the Sutlej River from the Sikhs.
  • The British took one and a half crore rupees as compensation from the Sikhs, out of which 50 lakh rupees were given by the Sikhs from their own funds and in return for the remaining amount, some provinces of Punjab and Kashmir were handed over to the British. The British sold Gulab Singh to Kashmir with Rs 50 lakh.
  • Henry Lawrence was appointed British Resident in Lahore.
  • The number of Sikh soldiers was limited. Now only twelve thousand cavalry and twenty thousand foot soldiers could be kept.
  • Sikhs did not like Kashmir being sold to Gulab Singh. As a result, the Sikhs led by Lal Singh revolted. The British defeated the Sikhs and made a ‘Treaty of Bharawal’ (Treaty of Bharawal, 1846) to Dilip Singh on 16 December 1846 AD.

    The results of this treaty are as follows:
  • The British army’s stay in Lahore was ensured until Dilip Singh became an adult.
  • The administration of Lahore was handed over to a council of eight Sikh chieftains and sent to Sheikhpura to Maharani Jhindan on a pension of 48 thousand rupees.

Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848 – 49 AD)
After the First Anglo-Sikh War, the Sikh Army wanted to restore its power again. Sikhs were also angry with Dalhousie’s imperialist policies. At the same time, the British ousted the governor of Multan. As a result, the public revolted. Dalhousie, taking advantage of the opportunity, declared war. Thus, the Second Anglo-Sikh War started.

Three battles were fought in the Second Anglo-Sikh War. The Battle of Ramnagar (1848) was the first to be fought on 22 November 1848, in which Lord Gough was led by the British Army and Sher Singh led the Sikh army. The next war was the Battle of Chillianwala (Battle of Chillianwala, 1849), fought on 13 January 1849 AD. There was no change in English and Sikh leadership in this war i.e. Lord Gough took command of the English leadership and Sher Singh led the learned. This war also ended inconclusive. Subsequently, the Third War i.e. the Battle of Gujrat, fought on February 13, 1849 AD (1849) proved to be decisive. In this, the English army was led by Challers Napier. The British defeated the Sikh army. In history, it is also known as ‘War of Cannons’ (War of Cannons, 1849).

After the victory in the Second Anglo-Sikh War, on March 30, 1849, Lord Dalhousie annexed Punjab into the English state against the will of Henry Lawrence and Alnavaro under the leadership of Challers Napier. Maharaja Dilip Singh was sent to England along with Rani Jhindan by paying an annual pension of Rs 5 lakhs and took the Kohinoor (Kohinoor) diamond from Dilip Singh and placed it in the royal British Rajmukut (Crown).

Subsidiary Alliance System of Wellesley
Lord Wellesley wanted to establish the Company as India’s supreme power, but the main obstacle in it was the increasing dominance of the French. Hence, it was also intended to destroy the growing influence of the French. This imperialist plan of Wellesley came out as a Subsidiary Alliance.

The French Governor Duple first started using the Subsidiary Treaty system to help the Indian king and to make money from them in return. But the generality of the subsidiary treaty was seen in the era of the Vallejali, when it made it a means to expand the English kingdom.

Features of Subsidiary Alliance

  • The native princely state that will accept the treaty will not give shelter or a job to the person of his state without the approval of the company.
  • The princely state could not make war, treaty, or friendship with any other state without the permission of the company, that is, it would surrender its foreign policy to the company.
  • To protect the native princely states, the company will put the English army there, which will have to be borne by that princely state.
  • The company will have to be handed over the cash money or some area of ​​the state for military expenses.
  • The native princely state will keep a British resident in his court for governance.
    There will be no interference in the internal rule of the Indian King.

Benefits to the Company from an Alliance

  • The influence of the French from the princely states was completely lost because the French could not get an opportunity to work there.
  • Since the foreign policy of the indigenous princely states had now passed into the hands of the company, they were separated from each other by the company and thus they were formed against the British as groups or associations.
  • The British army became ready at the expense of the native states.
  • The army, which was created to protect the native princely states, was used by the company to destroy its enemies and princely states.
  • This led to the imperialist boundaries of the company going much further.
  • By this treaty, the native states were satisfied by accepting the protection of the company, which led to unprecedented success in controlling the growing sentiment and hostility against the company.
  • Impact of Alliance on the Princely States
  • By accepting the supremacy of the company in terms of foreign policy, the native princely states compromised their independence.
  • Although the British Residents did not have the right to interfere in the internal affairs of the states, they often violated it.
  • As a result, the rulers gradually handed over the burden of governance to the residents.
  • The economy of the princely states collapsed due to excessive expenditure on the army. They proved to be unable to bear the cost of the army, which resulted in the princely states losing their large territories.
  • Through this treaty, the national spirit, courage, military organization, etc. of the Indian King came to an end, as a result of which the Indian states continued to decline.
  • In conclusion, it may be said that the British interest was protected by the subsidiary treaty of Wellesley, while the princely states had to face its serious consequences.

Implementation of Subsidiary Alliance

1798 AD with the Nizam.
With Mysore – 1799 AD
With Awadh – 1801 AD
With Maratha Peshwa – 1802 AD
With Bhonsle – 1803 AD
With Scindia – 1804 AD

Eventually, states like Karnataka, Tanjore and Surat were also taken under the protection of the company on charges of misrule.

Dalhousie’s Doctrine of Lapse

  • The lapse meant for the company that in the event of no parental heir, the company could merge its subordinate and subordinate territories into the empire.
  • Dalhousie made it a new weapon for empire expansion. He banned the practice of adoption and tried to merge the states of childless rulers into the British Empire.\
  • Dalhousie classified Indian states into three categories –
  • In the first category were those states whose direct or indirect contribution was made by the British government in the formation and the adoption of the rulers of such states was completely banned.
  • It was arranged for the rulers of the States of the Second Region to obtain the consent of the Government before adoption. Such states were subordinate states of the British Government.
  • In the third region, native princely states were placed, whose rulers had complete freedom of adoption.

Implementation of Doctrine of lapse

  • Satara (1848 AD),
  • Jaitpur (1849 AD),
  • Sambalpur (1849 AD),
  • Baghat (1850 AD),
  • Udaipur (1852 AD),
  • Jhansi (1852 AD) and Nagpur (1854 AD).

Criticism of Doctrine of Lapse

  • It was unjust to classify the princely states into three regions as the British were not created by the British nor were they the supreme authority in India.
  • Theoretically, all Indian states were under the Mughal emperor and the Mughal emperor was the emperor of India.
  • There was no right to interfere in the practice of adoption because the practice of adoption was religious and legal in Hindus.
  • Dalhousie filled the feeling of discontent among the indigenous people with this policy, which encouraged anti-British elements. As soon as Dalhousie returned, in 1857, the British government adopted a policy of subordinate integration towards the princely states.

British Policy towards the Princely States

Although the British rule had no definite policy towards the princely states, however, they followed a variety of policies to achieve political supremacy according to the country, factor, and situation. William Lee-Warner in his book ‘The Native States of India’ has classified the British policy towards princely states into three stages-

(A) Enclosure policy, 1765-1813 AD (Policy of Ring Fence, 1765 – 1813)
(B) Policy of Subordinate Separation, 1813-1858 AD (Policy of Subordinate Isolation, 1813-1858)
(C) Policy of Subordinate Union, 1858–1935 AD (Policy of Subordinate Union, 1858–1935)

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