Eighteenth-Century Political Formations
Text Book Page No. 139
See Chapter 4,Table 1,which group of people challenged Mughal authority for the longest time in Aurangzeb’s reign?
Marathas challenged Mughal authority for the longest time in Aurangzeb’s reign.
Text Book Page No. 144
In trying to consolidate their rule, why did Mughal subadars also want to control the office of diwan ?
The office of diwan was the finance office. By controlling finances of a province subadars or governors could actually exert full control over other officers and thus consolidate their position.
Text Book Page No. 148
What is the Khalsa ? Do you recall reading about it in Chapter 8 ?
Khalsa is the political wing of Sikhs. It consists warriors. Yes, I have read about it in Chapter 8.
Text Book Page No. 152
You are a ruler of an eighteenth century kingdom. Tell us about the steps you would take to make your position strong in your province, and what opposition or problems you might face while doing so.
- In order to make my position strong, I would reform military and financial systems of my province.
- I would end corruption in the administration.
- The most expected problem would be the attack by some other kingdom. I would be ready to face any such attack.
Exercise Questions and Answers
Match the following :
|Faujdar||a Mughal military commander|
|Ijaradar||a revenue farmer|
|Misl||a band of Sikh warriors|
|Chauth||tax levied by the Marathas|
|Kunbis||Marathas peasant warriors|
|umara||a high noble|
Fill in the blanks :
(a) Aurangzeb fought a protracted war in the ______
(b) Umara and jagirdars constituted powerful sections of the Mughal ______
(c) Asaf Jah was given charge of the Deccan subadari in ______
(d) The founder of the Awadh nawabi was ______
State whether true or false :
(a) Nadir Shah invaded Bengal.
(b) Sawai Raja Jai Singh was the ruler of Indore.
(c) Guru Gobind Singh was the tenth Guru of the Sikhs.
(d) Poona became the capital of Marathas in the eighteenth century.
What were the offices held by Sa’adat Khan ?
Sa’adat Khan held the offices of Subadari, diwani and faujdari. In other words, he was responsible for managing the political, financial and military affairs of the province of Awadh.
Why did the Nawabs of Awadh and Bengal try to do away with the jagirdari system ?
(1) Under the jagirdari system, revenue was collected by the jagirdars appointed by the Mughal emperor.
(2) By abolishing emperor appointed jagirdars the Nawabs of Awadh and Bengal tried to take the revenue (finance) department under their control.
(3) The transfer or dismissal of the jagirdars and selling the right to collect revenue to revenue farmers made Nawabs exert and acquire control over the resources of the province.
Hence, they tried to do away with the jagirdari system.
How were Sikhs organised in the eighteenth century ?
(1) After the death of Guru Gobind Singh, Sikhs were mobilised by Banda Bahadur, who declared their sovereign rule by striking coins in the name of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh. However, he was executed by Mughals in 1716.
(2) Under a number of able, leaders in the eighteenth century, the Sikhs organised themselves into a number of bands called jathas and later on misls.
(3) Their combined forces were known as the grand army.
(4) The entire body used to meet at Amritsar at the time of Baisakhi and Diwali to take collective decisions.
(5) A system called rakhi was introduced offering protection to cultivators on the payment of a tax of 20 per cent of the produce.
Why did Marathas want to expand beyond the Deccan ?
Marathas wanted to establish their r unquestioned rule over the subcontinent. They also earned untold booty and resources from the wars they fought. Therefore, they wanted to expand beyond Deccan.
What were the policies adopted by Asaf Jah to strengthen his position ?
In order to strengthen his position Asaf Jah adopted following policies :
- He brought skilled soldiers and administrators from northern India who welcomed the new opportunities in the south.
- He appointed manabdar and granted jagir.
- He worked independently of the Mughal Emperor.
Do you think merchants and bankers today have the kind of influence they had in the eighteenth century ?
- Yes, I think that merchants and bankers today have the kind of influence they had in the eighteenth century.
- For example, Reliance Company has entered into the electricity distribution in Delhi.
- It has already installed new electric meters that run much faster than the previous meters.
- In this way the common man suffers, as he would have suffered in the 18th century.
- And the state government don’t do anything in this matter.
- This proves the merchant/banker connection with governmental authorities.
Did any of the kingdoms mentioned in this chapter develop in your state ? If so, in what ways do you think life in the state would have been different in the 18th century from what it is in the twenty-first century ?
Students, do it yourselves.
[Hint : Life would have been influenced by the political activity and wars.]
Find out more about the architecture and culture associated with the new courts of any of the following Awadh, Bengal or Hyderabad.
(1) Architecture, and culture of Awadh :
The magnificent city of the Awadh rulers is a confluence of the richest forms of art, culture and traditions. It is under Awadh rule that art forms like Kathak, Thumri, Khayal, Dadra, Qawali, Ghazals and Shero-Shairi saw their finest hour. Culinary skills, too, reached heights of excellence. The legacy of the exquisite embroidery continues even today.
The field of architecture saw re-interpretation of the existing styles and experimentation in the fusion of the occidental and the oriental style of architecture. Tourist attractions include :
(2) Bara Imambara :
Built in the year 1784 by the champion of charity Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, the Bara Imambara provided food to the famine stricken subjects of the Nawab. The monument is known for its simplicity of style, sheer proportion and symmetry.
(3) Clock Tower :
The 221 feet beautiful clock tower, constructed in 1887, is the tallest Clock Tower in India and one of the finest examples of British architecture in India.
(4) Sa’adat Ali’s Tomb :
The twin maqbaras of Sa’adat Ali Khan and Khurshid Zadi, near Begum Hazrat Mahal Park, are one of the best examples of Awadh architecture. The proportionate domes with elegant kiosks and above all, well-balanced architectural design makes them extremely interesting.
(5) Lakshman Tila :
It is situated to the north of the Imambara complex. The Tila contains the famous Alamgiri Mosque built by Sultan Ali, Governor of the province of Awadh, during the reign of Aurangzeb. The mosque is known for its outstanding symmetry of form and sobriety of decoration.
(6) Rumi Darwaza :
The Rumi Darwaza leads to the outer section of the Bara Imambara and is widely believed to be a facsimile of one of the gates of Constantinople. Also known as the Turkish Gateway, it is a brilliant example of Awadh architecture.
(7) Chattar Manzil :
The Umbrella Palace is an imposing facade with huge underground rooms and a beautiful dome surrounded by a gilt umbrella.
(8) Jama Masjid :
The construction of this mosque was started in 1840 by Mohammad Ali Shah but it was finally completed by his wife Begum Malika Jahan after his death. This splendid mosque built in the typical Mughal style lies to the west of Hussainabad Imambara. It is entirely free from pseudo Italian art then in vogue in Lucknow.
(9) Moti Mahal :
There are three beautiful buildings on the fringes of the Gomti. The main one is the Moti Mahal or the Pearl Palace constructed by Nawab Sa’adat Ali Khan. The other two include Mubarak Manzil and the Shah Manzil. They were mainly constructed for the Nawab and his courtiers to watch animal combats from the balconies of the buildings.
Collect popular tales about rulers from any one of the following groups of people : the Rajputs, Jats, Sikhs or Marathas.
Students, do it yourselves.
[Hint : You can search through internet or talk to your teachers about such heroic tales.]