India in the Eighteenth Century: Bengal, Awadh, Mysore and Kerala

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India in the Eighteenth Century

Bengal

  • 1700: Murshid Quli Khan made the Dewan of Bengal

  • Freed himself of the central control

  • Freed Bengal of major uprisings

    • Three major uprisings during his time: Sitaram Ray, Udai Narayan and Ghulam Muhammad, and then by Shujat Khan, and finally by Najat Khan

  • Carried out fresh revenue settlement. Introduced the system of revenue-farming.

  • Revenue farming led to the increased distress of the farmers

  • Laid the foundations of the new landed aristocracy in Bengal

  • MQK died in 1727. Succeeded by Shuja-ud-din.

  • 1739: Alivardi Khan killed and deposed Shuja-ud-din’s son, Sarfaraz Khan, and made himself the Nawab

  • All three Nawabs encouraged merchants, both Indian and foreign.

  • Safety of roads and rivers. Thanas and Chowkis at regular intervals.

  • Maintained strict control over the foreign trading companies

  • They, however, did not firmly put down the increasing tendency of the English East India Company to use military force, or to threaten its use, to get its demands accepted.

  • They also neglected to build a strong army

Awadh

  • 1722: Saadat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk

  • Suppressed rebellions and disciplined the Zamindars

  • Fresh revenue settlement in 1723

  • Did not discriminate between Hindus and Muslims. The highest post in his government was held by a Hindu, Maharaja Nawab Rai

  • Died in 1739. Succeeded by Safdar Jung.

  • SJ’s reign was an era of peace

  • made an alliance with the Maratha sardars

  • Carried out warfare against Rohelas and Bangash Pathans

  • Organized an equitable system of justice

  • Distinct culture of Lucknow developed during his period

Mysore

  • Haidar Ali, in 1761, overthrew Nanjaraj and established his own authority over Mysore

  • 1755: Established a modern arsenal at Dindigal with the help of French experts

  • Conquered Bidnur, Sunda, Sera, Canara and Malabar

  • He conquered Malabar because he wanted access to the Indian Ocean

  • First and Second Anglo-Mysore War

  • 1782: Succeeded by Tipu Sultan

  • TS was an innovator. Introduced a new calendar, a new system of coinage and new scales of weights and measures.

  • Keen interest in French Revolution

    • Planted a ‘tree of liberty’ at Srirangapatnam and became a member of the Jacobin Club

  • Made efforts to build a modern navy

  • Mysore flourished economically under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan

  • Sent missions to France, Turkey, Iran and Pegu Myanmar to develop foreign trade

  • Some historians say that Tipu was a religious fanatic. But facts don’t support this assertion.

Kerala

  • Divided into large number of feudal chiefs in the 18th century

  • Four important states

    • Calicut (under Zamorin), Chirakkal, Cochin and Travancore

  • In 1729, Travancore rose to prominence under King Martanda Varma

  • Conquered Quilon and Elayadam, and defeated the Dutch

  • From 1766 Haidar Ali invaded Kerala and annexed northern Kerala up to Cochin

  • Revival of Malyalam literature

    • Trivandram became a famous centre of Sanskrit scholarship.

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