Home » Warren Hastings- Anglo-Mysore war- Anglo Maratha war and  Rohilla war

Warren Hastings- Anglo-Mysore war- Anglo Maratha war and  Rohilla war

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Warren Hastings,

Warren hastings came into India in 1750 at the age of seventeen when his contemporaries were still at school. He was appointed as a clerk of the East India of Company on a nominal annual salary of five pounds, his duties being those of a merchant’s assistant. Hastings spent the first three years of his Indian career at Calcutta, from where he was posted to Kasim Bazar, a thriving commercial town only two miles from Murshida­bad, the capital of the province and the Nawab of Bengal’s place of residence. His diligence and ability soon took him into the interior where he organized and administered a sub-factory on behalf of his masters.

Warren hastings knew that the quickest route to the heart of a people is through the language of the country and had accordingly acquired proficiency in Bengali and Urdu, besides a fair acquaintance with Persian, the language .of the Muslim court.  Sitting in a remote Bengali town, with ample leisure for reflection, Hastings wondered at the vastness of the country· its richness and variety and, above all, the antiquity and ‘ the splendor of its civilization. Hastings who was both dismayed and disgusted with the arbitrariness and the brutality of his countrymen, sailed back for England in December 1764, seeing that men like him could not honorably take part in the affairs of the company in Bengal. Thus after fourteen years ended his first career in India. 

Warren hastings returned to Bengal in April 1772 as Governor to prove his spirit as a statesman. In the prevailing circumstance of the province, statesmanship consisted in the establishment of an efficient  and benevolent government.  In 1769-70 a mighty famine had swept Bengal decimating one-third of an estimated population of fifteen million. Sir William Hunter writes ‘people sold their cattle; they sold their instruments of agriculture; they eat their seed grain; Some people sold their sons and their daughters, till at length no buyer of children could be found; they ate the leaves of trees and the grass of the field.

In the early days of such big problems hasting was convinced that Bengal could not be governed well so long as the Nawab was allowed to cherish the illusion that he is the true ruler of Bengal and not the East India Company. To win the people’s hearts hasting a solid hand crushed the crime and lawlessness and eliminated a huge group of Marauders that masked the evil and terrible deeds against the innocent people. He prevented the attacks of the hillmen of Bhutan who invaded in Cooch-Bihar district. Law and order were restored so demoralized and depressed people were urged to return to regular activities. The farmer went back to the plow to their fields, while several other people began to use their instruments again.   

            He knew that Bengal’s prosperity could be restored only by reclaiming the wastelands and by reviving the fertility of the soil. He knew that this goal could not be realized unless there was an equitable settlement of land revenue. He was anxious to give a fair deal to the peasants and the zamindars alike by relating the assessment to the fertility of the soil and by assuring a reasonable payment to the zamindars. In 1772 he formed a committee of the circuit, this committee aimed to tour the province and grant the land on leases to people, specifically to zamindars.

Hicky’s Bengal Gazette

Hicky’s Bengal Gazette was an English-language weekly newspaper published in Calcutta (the capital of British India). It was Asia’s first newspaper, and it was published two years, from 1780 to 1782.  The journal was founded by James Augustus Hicky.  It was a harsh opponent of Governor-General Warren Hastings’ government. The newspaper was notable for its daring reporting and battle for freedom of expression in India.  The Gazette was banned by the East India Company. 

Regulating Act 1773

Regulating Act 1773 was an act of British parliament that defined the rights and duties of several bodies of East India Company, specifically its authority over the Bengal Province. The East India Company in Bengal was a profitable company and the company’s major shareholders received handsome investment returns on a regular basis before the conquest of Bengal. However, after the conquest of Bengal, they started to run in the loss.

 The company’s servants, instead of promoting legitimate business for owners, were looting the countries and company resources, and making themselves rich overnight. Prime Minister Lord North’s government realized that legislative intervention was necessary to rescue both company and the new kingdom (Bengal).   In 1773, the company’s license was up for renewal, and it asked the government for a bailout loan also. Parliament approved the financing and enacted legislation for governing the company’s domestic and abroad operations. However, the following provisions were applied to the company’s Bengal kingdom:

  1.  According to act 1773 A Governor-General and a Council of four councilors shall rule the presidency of Fort William in Bengal, with the democratic condition that the Governor-General is bound by the majority decision of the Council. This five member council was called a supreme council of Bengal which was lasted from 1774 to 1833.
  2. Governor of Bengal Warren Hastings was promoted to Governor-General of Bengal by the Act of 1773.
  3. His Majesty shall create a supreme court at Fort William to judge all British citizens resident in Bengal as well as their local employees. It was the first Supreme Court in India by the British which was created in act 1773.
  4. According to Regulating act 1773 The company shall pay wages at a rate of 25000 pounds sterling per year to the Governor-general, 10,000 pounds sterling for council members and 8000 pounds sterling for the chief justice, and 6000 to other judges.
  5. Under act 1773 Governor-General, Councilors, and Judges are forbidden from accepting gifts, favors, or financial benefits from Indian princes, zamindars, and other individuals in the country.
  6. It was forbidden for anybody in the civil and military establishments to accept any gift or reward from the Indians, as well as any financial benefits in regulating act 1773. 
  7. This means  under act 1773,  it became illegal for collectors and other district authorities to accept any kind of gift from zamindars and other individuals, including money.

In the Regulating Act 1773, it’s apparent that it was aimed primarily at the dishonesty and corruption of the company’s executives. Corruption was common from the Governor-General at the top to the district authorities at the bottom, even after this act. In Hastings’ impeachment trial, corruption was one of the major charges presented against him. The Hastings group and the Francis group were split by corruption into two mutually antagonistic groups. They were battling over allegations of corruption against each other.  Consequently, Pitt’s India act, 1784 was enacted and replaced regulating act 1773.

Rohilla war 1774

 The Rohilla War was considered one of India’s most significant conflicts in history Between Shuja-u-Daul (Nawab of Awadh) and the  Rohillas in 1774, The British East India Company, under the leadership of Warren Hastings, backed the Nawab of Shuja-u-Dula. In this war, Rohillas were defeated. 

Background and reason of war

The Rohillas were Afghans Muslim tribesmen who settled in Rohilkhand, Uttar Pradesh. But the Rohillas arrived in India around the end of the 18th century. This happened during the decline of the Mughal Empire in India. India’s zamindars and nawabs used them, even   Emperor Aurangzeb also recruited them in the Mughal army to destroy the Rajput people.  Slowly under the Mughal emperor Rohillas captured a vast area and they named this vast area “Rohilkhand”. Rampur, Bareilly, and the surrounding areas of Uttar Pradesh were included in it.

It wasn’t far until the Mughal Empire collapsed, and the Rohillas grew in strength and declared their independence. But at the same time, Marathas in India started to be strong, so they was a threat from Marathas.   As a result of this, they sought assistance from Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh. Rohillas promised to pay him Rs. 40 lakhs in exchange for his assistance. Shuja-ud-Duala with the British troop fought against the Marathas and won. However, the Rohillas couldn’t pay the sum of money as they promised. So a war started between Rohillas and nawab. In this war, the British army also supported the nawab.

Battle Aftermath

Warren Hastings promised to aid the Nawab  because he believed the Rohillas are a threat to the British Empire.

Rohilla war 1774 upsc

Discussion between both parties after war

Warren Hastings took Allahabad and Kora from the Nawab in August 1773 and sent a British army force to the Nawab in January 1774 to fight against the Rohillas. Hafiz Rahmat Ali Khan headed the Rohillas, while Colonel Alexander Champion led the East India force and Nawab force. On April 23, 1774, the conflict began. Both armies marched towards Awadh, where they fought. Britain invaded Rohilla. The British and nawab pushed the Rohillas out of Miran Katra.

During the battle, Hafiz Rahmat Khan was killed, which marked a turning point in the war.

After the victory in battle  in 1774, Britain and Nawaz  seized  Rohillas’ territory. Half  Rohillas territory was annexed by the nawab. But British again established a small town  “Rohilla state” and made Faizullah khan as chief of state in Rampur.

 In 1793 when Faizullah Khan died, His sons battled amongst themselves to become the Nawab of Rampur eventually, the British under General Abercromby intervened again and captured the area.

Anglo Maratha War-the first anglo maratha war

The Anglo-Maratha Wars refer to the three battles fought between the East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India. The the first anglo maratha war was fought in 1775-82, the second battle in 1803-05, and the third in 1817-1818 which result in ending the Maratha Empire.

Background of First Anglo- Maratha war 1775-82

On 23 June 1761, the third Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao died after the Marathas were defeated by Ahmad Shah Abdali in the battle of Panipat. His son Madhav Rao succeeded him after his death. He proved himself to be a capable, efficient leader who could keep his empire together and strong. The British became more fearful of the Marathas as their power grew, and they vowed to eliminate them. When Madhav Rao’s died in 1772 it gave the British an opportunity to fight the Marathas.

second mysore war

     The first anglo maratha war

After Madhavrao died in 1772 his brother Narayanrao took over the Maratha Empire. But Narayanrao’s was killed and then his uncle Raghunathrao and became Peshwa, despite not being the legal successor. After Narayanrao’s death, his widow Gangabai gave birth to a son who was the legitimate successor to the kingdom.  His name was Sawai Madhavrao. To crown, the newborn as Peshwa twelve Maratha nobles commanded by Nana Phadnavis (prime minister in Maratha Empire) set out to do so and they succeeded. The nobles forced Raghunathrao to lose his position,  after giving up his position as Peshwa Raghunathrao sought help from the British of Bombay.

He signed a Treaty of Surat in March 1777 with the British of Bombay. According to the treaty, Raghunathrao will give the Salsette and Bassein areas to the British along with revenue from Surat, and in return, he will get 2500 soldiers. When it came to knowing the British Bengal (Warren Hasting), he condemned this treaty and sent a colonel to annul it. The Bombay council reject it and gave protection to Raghunathrao.

After this situation, Nana Phadnavis gave a port to the French on the west coast which made the British angry. So he sent an army towards Pune.  

Battle of Wadgaon

On the borders of Pune, the British (British army) and Maratha forces met in the first anglo maratha war. The Maratha army had 80,000 men, whereas the British force consisted of 35,000 men with better ammunition and guns. The Maratha army was led by Mahadji Shinde, a great general (also known as Mahadji Sindia). Mahadji pushed the British troops into the Talegaon ghats (valleys) and trapped them. The Maratha cavalry harassed the enemy from all sides and raided the British (Bombay army) supply depot at Khopoli after they were surrounded. The Marathas also used a burned strategy, which included burning farms and poisoning wells. The Marathas attacked the British while they were retreating to Talegaon, forcing them to withdraw to Wadgaon. The Marathas trapped the British force on all sides, cutting them off from food and water. By mid-January 1779, the British surrendered and signed the Treaty of Wadgaon, which required the Bombay administration to return all British territory to Maratha obtained since 1775 after the first anglo maratha war

Warren Hasting Response

Warren Hastings, the British Governor-General of Bengal, rejected the pact and moved a huge army of soldiers throughout India under Colonel Goddard. In February 1779, Goddard took Ahmedabad, and in December 1780, he took Bassein. In August 1780, a Bengal force commanded by Captain Popham seized Gwalior. Hastings dispatched a second army to pursue Mahadji Shinde. The British eventually overcame Mahadji Shinde at Sipri in February 1781, commanded by General Camac.  When British  the army came, they faced a bigger army.  The contest was equally balanced, but in end, Mahadji got a significant victory over the British.  

Treaty of Salbai

After the first anglo maratha war, Mahadji Shinde suggested a new agreement between the Peshwa and the British, in which the young Madhavrao would be recognized as Peshwa. The Treaty of Salbai was signed in May 1782, and Hastings and Phadnis confirmed it in June 1782 and February 1783, respectively. Marthas  also received all of his lands west of the Yamuna River as part of the deal. It was  also promised a twenty-year period of peace between the two sides, ultimately ending the conflict.

Second Anglo-Mysore War- Second mysore war

The second mysore war was fought during (1780-84).

Background of war

Due to East India company actions, both the Nizam of Hyderabad (Asif Jah II) and Haider Ali became angry.   The company failed to pay the Nizam the annual sum of rupees seven lacs that had pledged to give him under the treaty of 1768. British even aided Karnataka’s against Nawab in conquering Tanjore. They also captured the district of Guntur from the cousin of Nawab named Basalat Jung. As a result, the Nizam was insulted. Haider Ali was also displeased with the English due to the occupation of Guntur.

the first anglo maratha war

Second mysore war

In 1771, the English also failed to assist Nizam against the Marathas, as required by the pact signed with him in 1768. The English conquered the French territories at Mahe in 1779, which were under Haider’s protection. This agitated Haider Ali, who decided to teach a lesson to the English. The English were also interfering in the Marathas’ affairs which began the first Maratha War. As a result, Haider Ali allied with the Nizam and the Marathas, and the three decided to fight the English together. The Marathas agreed to battle the English holdings in the north, the Nizam committed to attacking the Northern Sarkar’s, and Haider Ali promised to fight Madras and its surrounding areas.

Second mysore war and its consequences

In second mysore war Haider Ali invaded Karnataka in July 1780. To counter him, the English sent one army under Colonel Baillie and another under Sir Hector Munro. Tipu, Haider Ali’s son (Tipu Sultan), moved forward to inspect the troops’ combinations. Near Kanjeevaram, he battled against Colonel Baillie in a fight. In second mysore war Baillie and his entire force were brutally cut down by Tipu Sultan. Munro, who was waiting for Baillie at Kanjeevaram, was so disheartened that he fled to Madras. Haider Ali seized Arcot by December 1780, putting the English in a dangerous situation. “The English powers in India dropped to their lowest water-mark,” Sir Alfred Lyall said after second mysore war. The English lost all their land in Karnataka except the seacoast after second mysore war.

However, the Company’s governor-general, Warren Hastings, remained optimistic. He used diplomacy to try to gain favor with the Nizam and the Marathas. He gave the Guntur to the Nizam, who had joined Haider Ali’s side. In the same way, Hasting made the Treaty of Salbai with Maratha. As a result, Haider Ali was left alone to confront the English.

Tipu was forced to raise the siege of Wandiwash when Sir Ayre Coote defeated Haider Ali at Porto Novo in 1781. Ayre Coote was reinforced by another army from Bengal, and their united force battled Haider Ali in a draw. However, Ayre Coote defeated Haider Ali at Solinghur in September 1781, and the English took Negapatam in November. The English, on the other hand, was dealt a setback in the next round. Tipu besieged and conquered Tanjore. In a meanwhile, a French admiral, arrived in Madras in 1789 to assist Haider Ali. Cuddalore and Trincomali were taken from the English by the French, but Ayre Coote’s effort to seize Arni and the English invasion on Malabar from Bombay failed. Due to the wet season, no party could make any further progress for a while. During this Haider Ali died of cancer on December 7, 1782, after second mysore war. 

Tipu, on the other hand, continued to fight the English even after his father died. Brigadier Mathews was dispatched by the English administration in Bombay to conquer Mangalore and Bednore. Tipu, on the other hand, defeated him and imprisoned him. However, the French withdrew from the war in June 1783 after signing a deal with the British. Tipu suffered a significant setback due to this. Palghat and Coimbatore were also taken by the English. But, when Colonel Fullerton approached Srirangapatam (Mysore’s capital), he was summoned by Lord Macartney, the governor of Madras, who had begun peace discussions with Tipu due to acute financial difficulties.

The Treaty of Mangalore was signed between the two sides on March 7, 1784 after second mysore war. Both sides promised to return each other’s captured areas as well as prisoners of war. It was just a short-term ceasefire between the two. It seemed obvious that both sides will challenge each other at some point shortly.

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