Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Ahmad Shah Durani

How the British Empire managed to occupy the “Jewel Crown” India? Simple…

The British Empire, under its trading consortium of “Company of the Orient in India“, managed to militarily displace the French company in south-east India.

The British dominion started after the victory of Plassey in June 23, 1757.

Before the arrival of the British, the powerful and splendid Mogul Empire that dominated India, and current Pakistan and Afghanistan for over 250 years (the descendant of Timor Lank).

By the 18th century, Mogul Empire was nominally in power:The various States were ruled by local Maharajah, kings, rana, and Shahs….

In 1737, the Persian Nader Shah entered Delhi and transferred the famous Peacock (Paon) throne to Persia. and the famous diamond crown Koh-i-noor. This throne is currently in the palace of Golestan at Tehran.

Ten years later, the Afghan Ahmad Shah Durani entered also Delhi and annexed the northern Indian regions. For the next 30 years, warlords (Muslim and Hindu) carved out “independent States”.

In 1788, another Afghan invader Ghulam Kadir blinded the eyes of the reigning emperor Shah Alam for refusing to deliver the location of the treasure.

Many Mahrattes filled the void and occupied Delhi and it was pandemonium for 15 years.

In 1803, England was trying hard to topple the French First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte and was facing a long protracted war against this “people State” that damaged the old aristocratic and royal structure. And England wanted plenty of money to resume this war.

The British Empire stepped in India, entered Delhi and “restored order” and got the treasures. How the British managed to rule most of India within a century, except the northern State of Awadh, current Uttra Pradesh province?

The strategy is to sign treaties with Mogul local emperors, administering the State, controlling the budget, and allowing the emperors to be splendid masters in their restrictive palaces and citadels.And why the local leaders would agree to such binding treaties? Simple

Basically, all these kingdoms were fragile and unstable, and frequently deposed or displaced by local warlords. The best strategy for these Maharajah was to sign an alliance with the British and secure their hold on power.

Consequently, the pretenders to any throne had to negotiate with the British General Resident in Calcutta, through the State Resident, if any change is to be successful. And the local rajahs paid their dues to maintain their power over the other contending taluqdars and nawabs in their State

It was through the direct engagement with local emperors and promises to safeguard their power in their own States that the British managed to occupy all of India within a century from 1756 to 1856. The British annexed two-third of India and three-fourth of the population.

Now it was the turn to directly annex the last richest northern State of Awadh, with capital Lucknow.

In 1856, England was having hard time dislodging the Russians from the port city of Sevastopol on the Black Sea. The French, British, and Turkish alliance suffered large casualties for three years, and mainly from diseases.

Her Majesty Victoria needed money badly, and the State of Awadh was next in line to be directly occupied. Wajid Ali Shah was the reigning king.

This intervention generated two years of popular uprising in all the norther and central States, and Hazrat Mahal was the soul of the revolution. The real name of this queen was Muhammadi and she was the fourth wife of the kind and got him a son Bisjis Qadar. That’s the follow up story.

Every time London needed money badly, the British governor, residing in Calcutta, would claim a clause in the treaty was not fulfilled, and the State was occupied. Lands “belonging” to rajahs and taluqdar were “distributed” to the people, taxes raised, and then real estate and traders stepped in to repurchase the lands for cheap and pay the required easy money to the British Governor and his Resident in a State. Palaces and their treasuries were confiscated… More on the atrocities committed by the British invaders in the next book review.

The dominion of the British was not mainly due to its organized army or its better weapons.

1. The British army, 12,000 strong, was annihilated after three years of confrontation in Afghanistan in 1842. The British tried again a few decades later and was crushed again.

2. The British army was unable to control the Waziristan provinces (in current western Pakistan) and had to draw a fictional border line, the Durant Line along the mountain chain tops, to separate the new Pakistan State and Afghanistan. This is the same province that prevented the Macedonian Alexander the “Great” from crossing through.

3. The British army was mainly constituted of Sikhs (hateful of everything called Islam), Gurkhas from Nepal, and the Indian cipays soldiers who were never promoted to any officer ranks, even after decades of services and engaging in many battles.

4. When the British confiscated the lands of the rajjahs… these feudal lords instigated the peasants to revolt against the infidel occupying forces until the General Governor returned most of the lands.

Fact is, the maharajahs feared their people far more than the British forces and they were allied with the colonial power against their wretched people…

Note: Post inspired from the French book “In the City of Gold and Silver” by Kenize Mourad




June 2023

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