Match the following:
1-(b), 2-(a), 3-(c), 4-(d)
The British conquest of Bengal began with the Battle of ____________ .
The English East India Company was the only European Company that traded with India.
What attracted European trading companies to India?
The European trading companies were looking for new lands from where they could buy goods at a very low price, and carry them back to Europe to sell at high prices. Moreover, the fine qualities of silk and cotton produced in India had a huge market in Europe. Clove, cardamom, pepper and cinnamon too were in great demand. Therefore, European trading companies were attracted towards India.
What were the areas of conflict between the Bengal Nawabs and the East India Company?
(i) The officials of the Company, who traded privately, refused to pay taxes to the Mughal Emperor.
It caused enormous loss of revenue to the Bengal province.
(ii) The Company started to fortify its settlements. The Nawab of Bengal was against these fortifications which led to conflict between them.
(iii) The Nawab refused to grant concessions to the Company. He denied the Company any rights to mint their own coins. He demanded large tributes against the Company’s right to trade and ordered it to stop any fortification.
(iv) Bengal was deprived of a huge amount of revenue by the British who undermined the authority of the Nawab. It was refusing to pay taxes, writing disrespectful letters and trying to humiliate the Nawab and his officials. It also led to a conflict between the both.
How did the assumption of Diwani benefit the East India Company?
(i) The East India Company got Diwani rights of Bengal in 1765. It allowed the Company to use the vast revenue resources of Bengal for its advantage.
(ii) From the early 18th century, the Company’s trade with India expanded. But, it was forced to buy most of the Indian goods with gold and silver imported from Britain. It was so because they had no goods to sell in India. But, the revenue of Bengal increased the finance of the Company.
(iii) Revenue of Bengal could be used to purchase cotton and silk textiles in India, maintain the Company troops and meet the cost of building the Company’s fort and offices at Calcutta.
(iv) The Company started to strengthen its position in India with the Diwani rights and within a short span of time, it conquered the whole of India.
Explain the system of “subsidiary alliance”.
The subsidiary alliance system was started by Lord Wellesley in 1798 C.E. He wanted to expand the British Empire in India and make the Company very powerful. It was possible only if all the native rulers and nawabs were made powerless. He took advantage of the subsidiary alliance system and brought many native rulers under British control.
Terms of the subsidiary alliances: Subsidiary alliances were made between the Company and the native rulers. The Company promised to give military help to the rulers who entered into subsidiary alliance with it in case of any internal or external trouble. In lieu of it, the local ruler had to accept the following terms:
(i) He had to accept the supremacy of the Company. He was not allowed to fight a war or enter into any treaty with other rulers without the permission of the Company.
(ii) He had to keep a battalion of English army in his state for his safety and had to pay for its expenses to the British.
(iii) He had to keep an English Resident at his court.
In what way was the administration of the Company different from that of Indian rulers?
The administration of the Company was different from that of Indian rulers in the following ways:
(i) The whole of the British Empire was divided into three Presidencies—Bengal, Madras and Bombay. Each of these was ruled by a Governor and the top-most authority of administration was the Governor-General.
(ii) New system of justice was introduced in 1772. Every district was to have two courts—a criminal court and a civil court. Civil courts were presided over by European district collectors. The criminal courts were still under a qazi and a mufti, but they were under the supervision of the collectors.
(iii) A Supreme Court was established under the Regulating Act of 1773. A court of appeal was also set up in Calcutta.
(iv) A district was under the supervision of a collector whose main job was to collect revenue, taxes and to maintain law and order in his district with the help of judges.
All the above features reflect British administration and they were different from those of Indian rulers.
Describe the changes that occurred in the composition of the Company’s army.
In the early 19th century, the British introduced a uniform military culture. Soldiers were given training in the European style of warfare. Drill and discipline were also introduced to regulate their lives. In the 18th century, the East India Company recruited peasants into their armies. This was known as the sepoy army.