SOME FAMOUS WARS OF INDIAN HISTORY:
THE CARNATIC WARS:
The First Carnatic War (1746 – 48) –
Causes : The rivalry of the trading companies reached its climax with the arrival of Dupleix as theFrench Governor of Pondicherry in 1742. He wanted to strengthen the French position. It was at that time the Austrian War of Succession broke out in Europe. England and France took opposite sides in that war. The war echoed in India too. The English started the war against the French in 1746.
Events : The English captured the French ships in the Indian waters with the help of Commodore Barnett. Dupleix appealed for help to the French Governor of Mauritius La Bourdonnais. The French fleet came and blockaded Madras Port. With the joint efforts of Dupleix and La Bourdonnais Madras was captured. Anwar-ud-din sent a huge army under Mehpuzkhan to restore Madras. But it was defeated by a small disciplined French force at the Battle of Adyar. Dupleix tried to capture Fort St. David, but failed. Meanwhile the Austrian War of Succession ended in Europe. The English and the French stopped their fight in India.
Results : The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, concluded in 1748, put an end to the Austrian War of Succession. The first Carnatic war also stopped. As per the treaty, Madras was given back to the English company in exchange of Louisburg in North America to France. The First Carnatic War demonstrated that a small group of disciplined soldiers, regularly paid, using guns, newly developed in Europe, could easily defeat a much larger number of soldiers of the Indian rulers.
The Second Carnatic War (1750 – 1754) : Though the enmity between the French and the English ended in Europe, their rivalry continued in India. The success of Dupleix against the Nawab’s forces made him more confident and ambitious. Dupleix aimed to promote the French interests. He began to fit one Indian ruler against the other. The English were cautious and alarmed of the growing French influence.
Causes : The Nizam of Hyderabad died in 1748. There arose a war of succession between Nasir Jung, the second son of the departed ruler and Mussafar Jung, his grandson. In the Carnatic Chanda Sahib, son-in-law of Dost Ali, claimed the throne of Arcot against Anwar-uddin. Mussafar Jung and Chanda Sahib joined together and sought the French help. Nasir Jung and Anwar-ud-din got the English help. Thus
the disputes for the throne of Hyderabad and Arcot became the cause for the war.
Events : The armies of Mussafar, Chanda Sahib and the French defeated Anwar-ud-din at Ambur in 1749. Anwar lost his life in the battle. His son Muhammed Ali escaped to Tiruchirapalli for safety. He surrendered to the English. Chanda Sahib became the Nawab of the Carnatic. He rewarded Dupleix’s help by giving Valudanoor, Villianoor and Bahur near Pondicherry. Then he marched towards Tiruchirapalli to capture Muhammed Ali. The English came to the rescue of Muhammed Ali. Robert Clive, an army officer of the English East India Company, suggested a plan to attack Arcot. The English Governor Saunders accepted it. He sent an army with Robert Clive and Major Lawrence. Clive captured Arcot without any serious opposition in 1751. The French forces and Chanda Sahib were defeated at Arni and Kaveripakkam.
Chanda Sahib surrendered and he was beheaded in 1752. Dupleix failed to capture Tiruchirapalli. He was recalled to France in 1754. With his recall the second Carnatic war came to an end. The French were however strongly entrenched at Hyderabad. Nasir Jung lost Robert Clive his life in an encounter in 1750. Muzaffar Jung became the Nizam and amply rewarded the French. The capture of Arcot was the most remarkable achievement of the English in Carnatic war. Clive was hailed as the Hero of Arcot.
Results : In 1755, the Treaty of Pondicherry was signed. French possessions were given back to the French. The English emerged as the winners in the Carnatic region. Whereas in Hyderabad the French general Bussy maintained a steady ascendancy of the French.
The Third Carnatic War (1758 – 1763)
Causes : The out-break of the Seven Years War in Europe was the immediate cause for the Third Carnatic War. The French Government sent Count-de-Lally as the Governor and commander-in-chief of French possessions in India. Soon after his arrival in India, he attacked and captured Fort.St. David. With a view to capture Chennai, he recalled Bussy, the French General from Hyderabad. That was a great blunder. As soon as Bussy left Hyderabad, the English conquered the Northern Circars. Salabat Jung, the Nizam of Hyderabad was forced to change sides. The French lost their political influence in Hyderabad. The French generals Lally and Bussy were decisively defeated by the English. The French even surrendered Pondicherry in 1761.
Results : The Third Carnatic War came to an end in 1763 by the Treaty of Paris. According to the terms of the treaty, Pondicherry, Karaikal and other French possessions were returned to the French on condition that they should not fortify them. The Third Carnatic war put an end to the French ambition in India.
Causes for the success of the English :
(1) The English had a much better financial position compared to the French,
(2) The British Government rendered adequate support to the company which was not given by the French Government,
(3) The English had acquired better trade facilities compared to the French,
(4) England had a very strong and superior naval power than the French,
(5) There was good understanding between the English Generals,
(6) Peace prevailed in England and hence they concentrated more on their affairs in India and
(7) Dupleix, an able Governor, was recalled when his services were very much required in India and his successor was not as efficient as Dupleix.
Battle of Plassey (23 June 1757 ):
Causes : Siraj-ud-daulah prevented the English from fortifying Fort William. The English refused to stop the new fortification. So he attacked their factory at Cassim Bazar. He
captured Fort William. Many prominent Englishmen escaped. But one hundred and forty six English were taken as prisoners. They were said to have been kept in a very small room. It is said that on 20 June 1756 hundred and twenty three of them died out of suffocation. Only twenty three survived. The English historians describe this incident as the Black Hole Tragedy.
This incident made the English at Chennai to send a relieving force under Robert Clive along with Admiral Watson to Bengal. Clive entered into a conspiracy with Mir Jafar, the Commander-in-Chief of Siraj-ud daulah.
Events : Clive marched towards Plassey, on 23 June 1757 which was near to the Nawab’s capital Murshidabad. As agreed earlier, Mir Jafar, the Chief commander of Siraj-ud-daulah, did not take up arms against the English army. On the other hand Nawab’s soldiers fled from the battlefield. Later the Nawab was killed and Mir Jafar was
made the Nawab of Bengal as promised by Clive. The Battle of Plassey was merely a skirmish. But in its results it was one of the most decisive battles in Indian History. The battle paved the way for the foundation of the English rule in India.
Results : The English acquired a large sum of money from the new Nawab. The English company got the territory of the 24 Parganas. Mir Jafar became a puppet in the hands of Clive. He had no powers. He could not satisfy the demands of the English. So he was forced to resign in 1760. Then his son-in-law Mir Kasim was appointed as the Nawab of Bengal. In course of time, he also could not satisfy the growing demands of the English.
Battle of Buxar (1764):
Causes : Mir Kasim was an young, energetic and ambitious ruler. He wanted to be independent. He shifted his capital to Monghyr, a place far away from Kolkata. He also employed foreign experts to train his army. So a quarrel broke-out between him and the English. The English decided to overthrow him. It resulted in the Battle of Buxar in 1764. The combined armies of Mir Kasim, Shuja-uddaulah, the Nawab of Oudh, and the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II were defeated by the English General Major Munro. Mir Kasim fled from the battle and the other two surrendered to the English.
Results : The battle came to an end with the Treaty of Allahabad, concluded in 1765. As per the treaty, the Province of Oudh was returned to Shuja-ud-daulah. But he had to pay a war loss of Rs.50 lakhs to the English. The districts of Kara and Allahabad were given to Shah Alam. Shuja-ud-daulah was forced to maintain English troops for the defence of his state. Shah Alam granted the Diwani Right of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the English. In turn, the English agreed to pay him a pension of rupees 26 lakhs per year. The Battle of Buxar made the English virtually the masters of Bengal. It also proved their military superiority and unchallenged power. As a result of his success in Bengal, Robert Clive was appointed as the first Governor of Bengal (1758 – 1760). He consolidated the British power both in Bengal and in the Deccan. He introduced a new
administrative system in Bengal called Dual or Double Government. The administration of Bengal was carried on by two powers. The Nawab of Bengal was a nominal head. But the real power was exercised by the English.
THE MYSORE WARS:
First Mysore War (1767 – 1769) :
Causes : Hyder Ali strengthened his army by including the French soldiers into his service. He extended his territories by conquering many areas in South India. The rapid rise of Hyder Ali naturally excited the jealousy of the Marathas, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the English. They joined together and formed a triple alliance and declared a war on Hyder Ali. By his diplomacy, Hyder Ali, cleverly won over the Marathas and the Nizam. But under the leadership of the English General, Smith, Hyder Ali was defeated at Changam and Tiruvannamalai in 1767. At the same time, Tippu Sultan, son of Hyder Ali advanced towards Chennai. So the English were forced to enter into an agreement.
Results : The war ended by the Treaty of Madras (Chennai) in 1769. Territories
conquered during the war were restored to each other. The English agreed to help
Hyder Ali in case of attack by his enemies, the Nizam and the Marathas.
Second Mysore War (1780 – 1784) :
Causes : Mysore was attacked by the Marathas in 1771. As per the treaty of Madras, the English did not help Hyder Ali. So Hyder Ali got angry. He wanted for an opportunity to strike at the English. When Mahe, a French possession in the dominion of Hyder Ali was attacked by the English, Hyder Ali declared war on the English in 1780. He defeated the English force in the Carnatic. He made them surrender. Hyder Ali occupied almost the
whole of the Carnatic. But the English, under Sir Eyre Coote, defeated Hyder Ali at Porto Novo in 1781. In the meantime, Hyder Ali died of cancer in 1782. But his son Tippu Sultan continued the war with the English for two more years.
Results : The war came to an end with an agreement signed in 1784, called the Treaty of Mangalore. Both the sides agreed to exchange the captured territories and war prisoners. Thus the Second Mysore War came to an end without any tangible results.
Third Mysore War (1790-92):
Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793) became the Governor General of Bengal in 1786. He was also made Commander-in-Chief of the English army. He fought against Tippu in the Third Mysore war.
Causes : The English started improving their relationship with the Nizam and the Marathas. Tippu, on the other hand, improved his resources. He got the Frenchhelp. He attacked Travancore in 1789 which was a friendly state of the English. So Cornwallis declared a war on Tippu in 1790. Both the troops had victories and defeats alternately. The war came to an end in 1792.
Results : Tippu signed the Treaty of Srirangapatnam with the English. He had to give half of his kingdom to the English. The English got Malabar, Coorg, Dindugal, and Baramahal (now the Salem and Erode areas). Tippu was compelled to pay a huge war
indemnity of over three crore rupees. He had to surrender two of his sons as hostages to the English until he paid the indemnity.
The Fourth Mysore War (1799):
Causes : The Treaty of Srirangapatinam failed to bring peace between Tippu and the English. Tippu refused to accept the subsidiary alliance of Lord Wellesley. He wanted to take revenge on the English. He sent emissaries to Kabul, Constantinople, Arabia and France to get their support. When Wellesley came to know all about Tippu’s activities, he declared war at once against him in 1799. Tippu suffered defeats at the hands of General Stuart and General Harris. Wellesley himself besieged Srirangapatinam. Tippu fought bravely but died in the battle.
Results : The English annexed large portions of Mysore. The central part of Mysore was given to Krishna Raja of Wadiar dynasty. Tippu’s family was removed from Srirangapatinam and sent to Vellore prison.
THE MARATHA WARS:
First Maratha War (1776-82):
During the administration of Warran Hastings (1772 – 1785) the First Maratha War was fought. In 1772, Madhava Rao, the Peshwa of the Maratha Kingdom died. He had no issue. His younger brother Narayana Rao succeeded to the throne. But his ambitious uncle Raghoba alias Raghunath Rao murdered him. He announced himself as the next Peshwa. Nana Fadnavis, a senior and loyal statesman objected to it. He wanted to make Madhva Rao Narayanan, the son of Narayana Rao, as the next Peshwa. Raghoba went to the English for help. He signed a treaty in 1775, known as the Treaty of Surat, with the Governor of Bombay. By this treaty, Raghoba agreed to handover the islands of Salsette and Bassein to the English in return for their help to get the Peshwaship. This was done without the knowledge of the Governor-General, Warren Hastings and he rejected the treaty. Nana Fadnavis signed a treaty called the Treaty of Purandhar in 1776 with the English. Thus Nana Fadnavis raised his position and defeated Raghoba. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Salbai in 1782.
Results : Madhava Rao Narayanan became the Peshwa. The English returned the territories except Salsette. Raghoba was granted a pension of three lakhs rupees a year.
The Second Maratha War (1803 – 06):
Causes : The great Maratha statesman Nana Fadnavis died in 1800. After his death war brokeout among the Maratha chiefs, Bhonsle and Sindhia. Peshwa Baji Rao II was a weak ruler. He sought the help of the English for protection. The English defeated the combined armies of Scindia and Bhonsle.
Results : Both the Scindia and the Bhonsle entered into subsidiary system. The Maratha power was gradually weakened.
The Third Maratha War (1817 – 1818) :
Causes : In 1817, Peshwa Baji Rao II tried to organize a confederacy of Maratha chiefs against the English. When an envoy was killed by his minister, Baji Rao II was asked to sign a humiliating treaty. He refused to do so and declared war on the English. But he was defeated by the English. By this success Lord Hastings the Governor-General, established British Supremacy in India.
Results : The power of the Peshwa was shattered beyond recovery. All the Maratha chiefs were reduced to a subordinate position under the English. The Maratha efforts to save India from the English had failed. Baji Rao II was given an annual pension of 8 lakh rupees. Mumbai (Bombay) Presidency was formed with this region. According to historian Marshman, the results of the Maratha wars subdued not only the native armies but also the native minds. The English themselves raised Pratab Singh a descendant of
Chatrapathi Shivaji to Satara, but he also remained a small subordinate ruler of the English.
Causes for the decline of the Marathas :
1) Internal weakness of the Marathas,
2) Lack of political sagacity,
3) Incapable leadership,
4) Feudal organization
5) Weakness in the social organization of the Marathas,
6) Neglect of economic affairs of the state and
7) The superior diplomatic skill and spy system of the English.