(IGP) GS Paper 1 – History of India & Indian National Movement – “Rise of the Regional Powers”

Integrated Guidance Programme of General Studies for IAS
(Pre) – 2013

Subject –  History of India &
Indian National Movement

Chapter : Rise of the Regional Powers

Rise of Local Compact Kingdoms

  • Parallel to the weakening Mughal rule was the rise of
    regional successor states Nature of the regional kingdoms

  • First were the Provincial Governors who estab1ish
    independent kingdoms by asserting their independence though they
    symbolically acknow-ledged the Mughal authority Awadh, Bengal, Arcot and

  • Second, the warrior states who used non-Mughal symbolism
    and owed their popularity to their syncretic tradition military fiscalism –
    the Marathas, and the Sikhs.

  • And lastly, the compact local kingdoms that acquired
    sovereignty in the eighteenth century- Rajput petty states of the north and
    Telegu-speaking clans in the South. Mysore under Tipu Sultan combined the
    elements of warrior state and compact kingdom and was in some ways more
    successful in augmenting resources than the Mughal.


The specialization of profession offered these group ethnic
identities. Social mobility from peasant to Rajput became quite frequent. It was
only in the sixteenth-seventeenth centuries that the Rajput organized themselves
into about 20 main clans. Their chiefs established centralized control over
their territory after getting patronage from the Mughal Emperor whom they paid
annual tribute / peshkash as a mark of subordination. The Rajputs enjoyed
autonomy in matters concerning the internal administration Many Rajputs were
given high military ranks in the Mughal army and the Rajputs were given help by
the emperor when consolidating control over their territories. Clan identity
decided the matters and relations of power.


  • The emergence of Mysore in South India as an independent
    under Haider ali and Tipu Sultan was an important development in the
    politics of the eighteenth century.

  • Mysore was originally a viceroyalty under the Vijaynagar
    Empire in the sixteenth century and was transformed into an autonomous
    principality by the Wodeyar dynasty under Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar
    (1672-1704). Mysore centralized military power began to increase reaching
    its height under Haider Ali. But in the period 1731-34, two brothers,
    Devaraja and Nanaraja usurped power in the Mysore state, reducing the
    Wodeyar king to the status of a puppet.


In south, the southernmost part of the country, the state of
Travancore has always maintained its independence from the Mughal reach and
reached its independence when in 1729 its king, Martanda Verma, expanded his
dominions with his western trained and equipped army. He ousted the Dutch and
suppressed the feudal chiefs from Kerala. Even the English were made to accept
his terms of trade. In 1766, Tranancore was able to withstand the shock of
Mysorean invasions during the time of Rama Varma, Martanda’s successor. However,
after his death Travancore lost its eminence towards the closing years of the
eighteenth century and had to accept a British Resident in 1800.


  • Saadat Khan was appointed as the Mughal governor of Awadh
    in 1722 in order to quell the rebellious local rajahs and chiefs and his
    success at this prompted the Emperor Muhammad Shah to grant him the title of
    Burhan-ul-Mulk. However, when Saadat Khan returned the court politics forced
    him to return to Awadh and build a power base for himself there.

  • Saadat developed Awadh as s semi-autonomous regional
    political state with very little financial obligation to the centre.


The foundation of the autonomous kingdom of the Hyderabad was
laid in 1724 by Chin Qulich Khan who took the title of Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Khan.
Being a leader of the Turani party of nobles, he-played-an-important role in
ousting the Sayyid brothers and restoring the crown to Muhammad Shah. The Sayyid
brothers after assassinating the Emperor Farruksiyar had installed Muhammad Shah
as a puppet ruler in 1719. Nizam-ul-Mulk was bestowed the title of wazir and
acted in such a capacity in the period of 1722-24. But he left the court to
establish, an autonomous principality in the Deccan.


Murshid Kuli Khan became the Governor of Bengal in 1717 under
the aegis of the Mughal Emperor Farrukshiyar. He came to hold the office of
Nizam (governor) and diwan (collector of revenue) which gave him virtually all
powers aid helped Murshid Kuli Khan to consolidate his powers in Bengal.
Shuja-ud-din became the next Nawab in 1727 and ruled till 1739 when Alivardi
Khan assumed control. He made a virtual break with the Mughal Empire. In 1756
Siraj-ud-daula became the Nawab of Bengal after The death of Alivardi Khan.

Battle of Plassey, 1757

  • The Battle of Plassey was fought in 1757 with, the defeat
    of Siraj by Robert Clive and a new puppet, Nawab Mir Jafar was installed.

  • Importance- The success of the British established them
    as the biggest power contender in India and, thereafter the political
    influence of the British only increased. The English were granted the
    zamindari of 24 parganas by Mir Jafar in 1757 and in 1760 Burdwan, Mindapore
    and Chittagon by Mir Kasim who was Mir Jafar’s replacement (again a coup by
    the British) led to amassing of great wealth by the Company. And when Mir
    Kasim objected to misuse of the trading privileges he was once again replace
    by Mir Jafar.

Battle of Buxar (1764) and its Impact

  • In 1763 Mir Kasim fled from Bengal and formed an alliance
    with the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II and Shuja-ud-daula of Awadh. However,
    in Battle of Buxar in 1764, the combined forces were defeated and Treaty of
    Allahabad was ‘signed in 1765 In accordance with the treaty Shah Alam II
    granted the diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the Company. This grant
    meant that the Company could collect the revenues from the province.

  • Importance of this battle- Before the grant of diwani,
    the English used to bring bullion to trade with India The balance of trade
    was in the favour of India But after gaining the diwani rights, the English
    bought Indian goods from the revenues collected from the province of Bengal
    and then exported them Due to this the balance of trade no longer favoured
    India but led to greater exploitation of the country by the English. The
    Battle of Buxar had important political consequences for India.

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