From Trade to Territory
Activity (Page 15)
Imagine that you are a young Company official who has been in India for a few months. Write a letter home to your mother telling her about your luxurious life and contrasting it with your earlier life in Britain.
I am fine here in New Delhi and hope you would be enjoying the beautiful snowfall in London. I have joined the Company about a month ago. You will be surprised to know that here the officers of the Company are treated as king by the Indian people. They are mostly uncivilised. They know nothing about the outside world.
Where in London, people whether rich or poor are treated equally, but in India, the Company officials are free to do anything they want. I remember, we had to live in a one- room apartment in London. Here I have been allotted a Bungalow with many servants at the door. Life is very luxurious here. Poor Indians give me costly gifts to win my favour.
The Company is, in fact, the master of this land. I am very happy to join the Company in India. I can collect thousands of pounds here in a year or two. Definitely, I shall send you enough money to purchase a good house in London. You don’t need to live a poor life any more.
I am sure you will be pleased to know all these. Very soon our life is going to take a turn.
Activity (Page 18)
Imagine that you have come across two old newspapers reporting on the Battle of Seringapatam and the death of Tipu Sultan. One is a British paper and the other is from Mysore. Write the headline for each of the two newspapers.
- Headlines in the British newspaper :
“The Company kills its most dangerous enemy”
- Headlines in the newspaper from Mysore :
“We lost a patriotic brave king”
Activity (Page 19)
Imagine that you are a nawab’s nephew and have been brought up thinking that you will one day be a king. NoW you find that this’will not be allowed by the British because of the new Doctrine of Lapse. What will be your feelings? What will you plan to do so that you can inherit the crown ?
Through these years, I have been dreaming of becoming a king but the Doctrine of Lapse has shattered my dreams. I feel very awkward because my luxurious life style is to come to an end. What plans I had for our people, I will not be in a position to execute them. I shall have to live at the mercy of the Britishers.
The properties accumulated by my ancestors are going to fall into the hands of the foreigners. They* hre going to make a plunder in fact. If these properties are to go, these should go to the common people and not to the British.
In fact, this policy of Lapse of the right is an injustice. One has a natural right to inherit ancestral properties. Now, the British are interfering into the traditions of the Indians, that we can’t tolerate. I will form an alliance with the equally affected princes. We together will give a tough fight to the British. This is a situation of Do or Die.
This is not only a question of property but also of prestige and dignity. So, we need a fight against the autocratic Britishers. We shall throw them out of our country and save the crown.
Let’s Imagine (Page 24)
You are living in England in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. How would you have reacted to the stories of British conquests ? Remember that you would have read about the immense fortunes that many of the officials were making.
We, the English men, are very civilized people. It becomes our duty to civilize the people who have not seen the light of civilization. So, I favor the British conquests. This is one of the ways we can administer the uncivilized people. I feel very proud to hear the stories of British conquests all over the world.
I wish I could be the part of this conquest. It brings not only the fortune to the brave soldiers but also brings glory to our nation. It also increases the wealth and might of our country.
Exercise Questions and Answers
Match the following.
|“Tiger of Mysore”||right to collect land revenue|
|Rani Chennamma||criminal court|
|sipahi||led an anti-British movement in Kitoor|
|Diwani||right to collect land revenue|
|“Tiger of Mysore”||Tipu Sultan|
|Faujdari adalat||criminal court|
|Rani Chennamma||led an anti-British movement in Kitoor|
Fill in the blanks :
(a) The British conquest of Bengal began with the Battle of ______
(B) Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan were the rulers of ______
(c) Dalhousie implemented the Doctrine of ______
(d) Maratha kingdoms were located mainly in the ______ part of India.
State whether true or false :
(a) The Mughal empire became stronger in the eighteenth century.
(b) The English East India Company was the only European Company that traded with India.
(c) Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the ruler of Punjab.
(d) The British did not introduce administrative changes in the territories they conquered.
What attracted European trading companies to India ?
The European Companies saw great opportunities in trade with India. They could buy goods at a cheaper rate in India and carry them back to Europe to sell at a higher price. This opportunity attracted them to India.
What were the areas of conflict between the Bengal nawabs and the East India Company ?
Following were the areas of conflict between the Bengal nawabs and the East India Company :
- The nawabs refused to grant concessions to the Company.
- They demanded large tributes for the Company’s right to trade.
- They denied Company the right for mint coins and stopped it from extending its fortification.
- The nawabs accused the Company of not paying taxes and writing disrespectful letters.
- On the othei hand, the Company also accused the nawabs in the following ways :
- The local officials of the Nawab were ruining the trade of the Company by making unjust demands.
- The Company had to pay excessive duties.
- The Company is not permitted to enlarge settlement and rebuild its forts.
How did the assumption of Diwani benefit the East India Company ?
The assumption of Diwani benefited the East India Company in the following ways :
- The Diwani allowed the Company to use vast revenue resources of Bengal.
- The outflow of gold and silver which the Company imported to buy goods in India was stopped.
- The revenue from Bengal now could be used to purchase cotton and silk tex-tiles in India, maintain Company troops, and meet the cost of building the Company fort and offices at Calcutta.
Explain the system of “subsidiary alliance”.
Under the subsidiary alliance;
- Indian rulers were not allowed to have their independent armed forces.
- The rulers were to be protected by the Company, but for this they had to pay money.
- If the Indian rulers failed to make the payment, then part of their territory was to be taken away as penalty.
In what way was ‘ the administration of the Company different from that of Indian rulers ?
(1) The Indian rulers had revenue and administrative divisions of their territories, but not much effective. The British made new administrative division called Presidensies with a Governor. There were districts looked after by the collectors.
(2) Both the revenue and police systems were improved and reorganised by the British.
(3) Under the Indian rulers, judiciary was not much effective. The same court was there to hear both the civil and criminal cases. But the British established a proper judiciary system. They established the Supreme Court. They established separate criminal and civil courts in each district.
Describe, the changes that occurred in the composilion of the Company’s army.
- The East India Company recruited professional soldiers in place of sawars and paidal soldiers.
- The soldiers were trained in new warfare technology in European style.
- The soldiers were armed with muskets and matchlocks.
After the British conquest of Bengal, Calcutta grew from a small village to a big city. Find out about the culture, architecture and the life of Europeans and Indians of the city during the colonial period.
(1) The colonial city of Calcutta was a centre of administration, a port and an European residential enclave. The Europeans were living in high amenity in well-serviced areas. On the other hand, the natives were living in unplanned, congested and poorly serviced areas.
(2) The areas in which Europeans lived, had spacious Bungalows and splendid apartments. They had clubs for afternoon and evening get-together. They enjoyed race, golf courses, soccer and cricket.
(3) The European people enjoyed domestic water supply, electricity, sewage links, etc. while their use was quite restricted to the natives.
(4) At a later stage, the city of Calcutta started growing with European towns growing south and south-west of Park street. An Anglo- Indian residential area grew to its north. To the farther north and east to this area, there developed residences of the native people.
Thus, the city of Calcutta had a small high amenity area for the British owners and managers, surrounded by a small middle income area and low income areas where the., factory labour lived.
(5) Calcutta developed as a cultural city of India. Dramas, Group theatres, Indian classical music, religious and social festivals, etc. enriched its cultural heritage. The people participated and contributed in these events enthusiastically. Bankim Chandra, Rabindra Jfath Tagore, etc. were some prominent poets of the colonial age.
(6) Calcutta was also known for its cuisine. Rice and macher jhol (fish curry), rasagoila, sandesh, misthLroti, etc. were famous.
(7) During colonial period many grand examples of architecture, Calcutta had seen. These were adorned with Gothic, Roman, Oriental and Indo-Islamic motifs. Indian Museum, Victoria Memorial, National Library of India, Academy of fine arts etc. are some examples.
Collect pictures, stories, poems and information about any of the following — the Rani of Jhansi, Mahadji Sindhia, Haidar Ali, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lord Dalhousie or any other contemporary ruler of your region.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Maharaja Ranjit Singh was born in the Punjabi royal family. He was declared the Maharaja of Punjab in 1801.
He was a great ruler. He allowed all his people the freedom of expression and worship. Though he belonged to Sikh dynasty,- he did not declare Sikhisih – as the religion of the State. He gave due respect to all religions.
He modernised the Sikh army, i.e., the army of Khalsa. Earlier it consisted of horsemen with traditional weapons. But, Maharaja armed them with modem European arms, like matchlock.