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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