(Modern Indian History) Indian States Which Came up During This Period - PART - 1
The state of Hyderabad was founded by the Nizam-ul-mulk Asaf Jah I in 1724. He had come back from Delhi in 1722 after getting frustrated with the policies of Muhammad Shah. He was a leading noble from the times of Aurangzeb. Also he was rewarded with the viceroyalty of Hyderabad for the important role he played in getting rid of Sayyid brothers.
He Suppressed all opposition to his viceroyalty in Deccan till 1724 and when his attempts to reform the Mughal Empire were dismissed by Muhammad Shah, he went back to Deccan where his supremacy was uncontended. He never declared independence from central authority but acted like an independent ruler. He waged wars, concluded peace & gave jagir without reference to central authority.
He made several reforms under his reign like:
1. Equal status to Hindus (Puran Chand was his Dewan)
2. Forced big zamindars to pay allegiance to him
3. Even tried to free revenue collection from corruption
But after his death in 1748, the Plague that had gulped Delhi had its effect on Hyderabad as well.
The way the nizam had freed himself from the central authority, the same way the Nawab (Deputy Governor) had freed himself from the control of Nizam. Nawab Sadatullah khan had made his nephew Dost Ali Khan the Nawab making the Nawabship Hereditary. Later repeated struggles for the Nawabship among various forces provided an opportunity for the British to take control of Hyderabad.
Three Islamic dynasties ruled Bengal from 1717-1880. Nasiri (1717-1740), Afshar
(1740-1757) and Najafi (1758-1880).
Murshid Quli Khan, Founder of Nasiri dynasty was given the designation of diwan in 1700 at the time of Aurangzeb. Later in 1717 he was Appointed as the governor. Though he paid large tributes to Delhi but he Virtually made Bengal an independent state. Murshid Quil Khan died in the year 1727. During his reign, Murshid Quil Khan had nominated his grandson (son of his daughter and Shuja-ud-din), Sarfaraj as his heir Shuja-ud-din, the son-in-law of Murshid Quil Khan was averse to accept his son as the Nawab and marched on to Murshidabad with his army. Sarfaraj abdicated in his father’s favour only to have the throne handed back him after Shuja-ud-din died in 1739.
Salient feature of the Nawab’s rule included:
1. Bengal under the Nawabs experienced peace and an orderly administration and trade and industry were also promoted.
2. Jagir lands were transferred into Khalisah lands and fresh revenue settlements were carried out.
3. Hindus and Muslims were given equal opportunities for employment. Mostly Bengali Hindus were appointed to higher civil and military posts.
4. In choosing revenue farmers, preference was given to local zamindars and landlords which became a new landed aristocracy.
5. Trade and commerce expansion was ensured with provision of road safety from thieves and robbers by establishing regular thanas and chowkies.
6. Introduced system of agricultural loans (laccavi) to enable cultivators to pay their land revenue and invest for higher production
7. At the same time, they made sure that proper control was exercised on the foreign trading companies and also strict enforcement of payment of same customs duty as locals to ensure that companies did not abuse the privileges given to them.
8. They did not permit these trading companies to fortify their establishments for their factories in Calcutta and Chandernagore respectively
Negative features of Nawabs’ rule:
1. Their revenue farming system proved to be a disaster for the cultivators as the zamindars exploited the base level farmers. New landed aristocracy further deteriorated the condition of farmers.
2. Bengal Nawabs proved to be short-sighted and negligent in respect of the increasing tendency of the, British to use military power. They would use this power to threaten or get their demands fulfilled.
3. They neglected and failed to check the corruption among their officials like the Qazis’ and Muftis’ etc. The foreign trading companies took advantage of corruption at lower levels to undermine official rules and policies.
With the Nizam of Hyderabad taking a stand to create a new Empire of his own, Saadat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk, who was appointed governor of Awadh in 1722, initiated the process of creating his own independent state. He was bold, energetic and an intelligent person. Saadat Khan established his court in Faizabad (near Ayodhya). During this time, there were a lot of rebellious Zamindars who tried to control lands and refused to pay land revenues. However, he adopted a different policy than Murshid Quil Khan of Bengal (Who had replaced the rebellious Zamindars). Instead, he suppressed their might and enforced law and order. He increased the revenues of state by enforcing timely payment by Zamindars.
After fortifying his sources of revenue, he provided following corrections in the administration of Awadh during his rules.
1. Levying equitable land revenue thus improving the state of peasants
2. Curbed religious discrimination. Many of his top officials in court & army were Hindus
3. Suppressed the Zamindars to fall in line with the law irrespective of their religion
4. Maintained decent level of army with good payments to them. Spent money on training and improving armoury.
Mysore was a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire since it was founded in 13th century and ruled by the Wodeyar family. But the kingdom became independent after the fall of Vijayanagara Empire in 1565. The Wodeyars ruled independently thereafter till 1730s.
However in the mid 1730s, Nanjaraj & Devraj, ministers of king Chikka Krishnaraja Wodeyar gained control of the state and reduced the king to a mere titular head and took defacto control of the Empire. This control was unchallenged till the time Haider Ali rose to power in 1761.
Haider Ali who is considered to be the father of the mysore state, rose to power through the ranks of army. He was a man of keen intellect with great energy, daring and determination.
Due to their proximity to Delhi, Rajput rulers always looked forward to take advantage of the situations arising out of internal struggle in the Mughal Royal family and the nobles. They flourished due to the indecisiveness of the Mughal court. They look advantage of this weakness and increased their influence in the rest of the Empire during the reign of Farrukhsiyar and Muhammad Shah. Even the rulers of Marwar (area covered by Jodhpur state) and Amber (near modern Jaipur) were made governors in the Mughal administration in order to restrain them from carrying out a rebellion.
The Rajputana states flourished more at the cost of the weak neighbor rather than their own strength. They remained divided as always which made them weak to pose a major challenge to any the greater powers of that time: Mughals, Marathas and British. All this time, Rajputs were engaged in their own petty quarrels. Their internal politics & administration had similar trails as of Mughal courts such as corruption, intrigue and treachery. Killing of Ajit Singh of Marwar by his own can serve as an example of the infighting that was similar to Mughals.
The most outstanding Rajput ruler of this time was Raja Sawai Jai Singh of Amber (1699-1743). He was a distinguished statesman, law-maker and reformer. Makeover, he was a man of science in an age when Indians were oblivious of scientific progress. He founded the city of jaipur and made it a great seat of science and art. Jaipur was a city built purely of scientific principles.
Jats were a caste group of agriculturists living around areas of Delhi, Mathura and Agra. The Jat rebellion dates from the time when Gokula Jats, the zamindar of Talpat near Mathura assembled a large army of Jats and other villagers and raised a rebellion against the Mughal Empire. Over wide areas the peasants refused to pay revenue and took to arms. Thus Jat peasants revolted against the Mughal Empire under the leadership of the zamindars in 1669, then again in 1688. But these early revolts were crushed by Mughal authorities with the personal intervention of Aurangzeb. However, the death of Aurangzeb provided them with an opportunity to grab higher autonomy. As discussed before, this was resultant of the inefficiency of the subsequent rulers and nobels of Delhi. What began as assertion of their autonomy soon became a Jat uprising. They became predatory as they plundered anyone and everyone they could lay their eyes upon. This invluded zamindars and peasants, hindus as well as Muslim. Thus, this was a group of opportunists. As they increased in power they look active part in intrigues of Delhi. They often changed sides to suit their interests. This was also the reason that all ruler after Aurangzeb sought their support. Most ruler made peace with Jats in order to avoid any retaliations and uprisings.