India in the Eighteenth Century: Nadir Shah՚s Invasion, Ahmed Shah Abdali and Shah Alam II

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India in the Eighteenth Century

Nadir Shah՚s Invasion (1738)

  • Attracted to India by its fabulous wealth. Continual campaigns had made Persia bankrupt
  • Also, the Mughal empire was weak.
  • didn՚t meet any resistance as the defence of the north-west frontier had been neglected for years
  • The two armies met at Karnal on 13th Feb 1739. Mughal army was summarily defeated. MS taken prisoner
  • Massacre in Delhi in response to the killing of some of his soldiers
  • Plunder of about 70 crore rupees. Carried away the Peacock throne and Koh-I-Noor
  • MS ceded to him all the provinces of the Empire west of the river Indus
  • Significance: Nadir Shah՚s invasion exposed the hidden weakness of the empire to the Maratha sardars and the foreign trading companies

Ahmed Shah Abdali

  • One of the generals of Nadir Shah
  • Repeatedly invaded and plundered India right down to Delhi and Mathura between 1748 and 1761. He invaded India five times.
  • 1761: Third battle of Panipat. Defeat of Marathas.
  • As a result of invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah, the Mughal empire ceased to be an all-India empire. By 1761 it was reduced merely to the Kingdom of Delhi

Shah Alam II (1759)

  • Ahmed Bahadur (1748 - 54) succeeded Muhammad Shah
  • Ahmed Bahadur was succeeded by Alamgir II (1754 - 59)
    • 1756: Abdali plundered Mathura
  • Alamgir II was succeeded by Shah Jahan III
  • Shah Jahan III succeeded by Shah Alam II in 1759
  • Shah Alam spent initial years wandering for he lived under the fear of his wazir
  • In 1764, he joined forces with Mir Qasim of Bengal and Shuja-ud-Daula of Awadh in declaring a war upon the British East India company. This resulted in the Battle of Buxar
  • Pensioned at Allahabad
  • Returned to Delhi in 1772 under the protection of Marathas

Decline of the Mughal Empire

  • After 1759, Mughal empire ceased to be a military power.
  • It continued from 1759 till 1857 only due to the powerful hold that the Mughal dynasty had on the minds of the people of India as a symbol of the political unity of the country
  • In 1803, the British occupied Delhi
  • From 1803 to 1857, the Mughal emperors merely served as a political front of the British.
  • The most important consequence of the fall of the Mughal empire was that it paved way for the British to conquer India as there was no other Indian power strong enough to unite and hold India.

Succession States

  • These states arose as a result of the assertion of autonomy by governors of Mughal provinces with the decay of the central power
  • Bengal, Awadh, Hyderabad

Hyderabad and the Carnatic

  • Founded by Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah in 1724
  • Tolerant policy towards Hindus
  • A Hindu, Puran Chand, was his Dewan.
  • Established an orderly administration in Deccan on the basis of the Jagirdari system on the Mughal pattern
  • He died in 1748
  • Nawab of Carnatic freed himself of the control of the Viceroy of the Deccan and made his office hereditary
    • Saadutullah Khan of Carnatic made his nephew Dost Ali his successor.