India in the Eighteenth Century: Rajput States, Jats, Sikhs and Maratha Families

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India in the Eighteenth Century

Rajput States

  • Rajputana states continued to be divided as before

  • Raja Sawai Jai Singh of Amber was the most outstanding ruler of the era

    • Founded the city of Jaipur

    • Made Jaipur a great seat of science and art

    • Astronomer. Erected observatories at Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi, and Mathura

    • Drew up a set of tables, entitled Zij Muhammadshahi, to enable people to make astronomical observations

    • Translated Euclid’s “Elements of Geometry” into Sanskrit

    • Social reformers. Reduce lavish marriage expenditures.


  • Jat peasants revolted in 1669 and 1688

  • Jat state of Bharatpur set up by Churaman and Badan Singh

  • Reached its highest glory under Suraj Mal, who ruled from 1756 to 1763


  • Sikhism transformed into a militant religion during Guru Hargobind (1606-45), the sixth guru.

  • Guru Gobind Singh waged constant war against the armies of Aurangzeb and the hill rajas

  • After Guru Gobind Singh’s death (1708), leadership passed to Banda Singh (Banda Bahadur)

    • He struggled with the Mughal army for 8 years

    • Put to death in 1715

  • Banda Bahadur failed because

    • Mughal centre was still strong

    • Upper classes and castes of Punjab joined forces against him

    • He could not integrate all the anti-Mughal forces because of his religious bigotry

  • After the withdrawal of Abdali from Punjab, Sikhs were again resurgent

  • Between 1765 and 1800 they brought the Punjab and Jammu under their control

  • They were organized into 12 misls

  • Ranjit Singh

    • Chief of the Sukerchakia Misl

    • Captured Lahore (1799) and Amritsar (1802)

    • Conquered Kashmir, Peshawar and Multan

    • Possessed the second-best army in Asia

    • Tolerant and liberal

    • Fakir Azizuddin and Dewan Dina Nath were his important ministers

    • “known to step down from his throne to wipe the dust off the feet of Muslim mendicants with his long grey beard”

    • Negative point: He did not remove the threat of British. He only left it over to his successors. And so, after his death, when his kingdom was torn by intense internal struggle, English conquered it.

Maratha Families

  • Peshwa – Pune

  • Gaekwad – Baroda

  • Bhosle – Nagpur

  • Holkar – Indore

  • Scandia - Gwalior

  • The most powerful of the succession states

  • Could not fill the political vacuum because

    • Maratha Sardars lacked unity

    • Lacked the outlook and programme which were necessary for founding an all-India empire


  • Son of Sambhaji

  • Imprisoned by Aurungzeb

  • Released in 1707

  • Civil war between Shahu and his aunt Tarabai who ruled in the name of her infant son Shivaji II

  • The conflict gave rise to a new era of Maratha leadership, the era of Peshwa leadership.

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