Short Essay on the Resistance to British Power during 18th century

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From the middle of the 18th century the European trading companies boldly jumped into the field of politics in India with a flair for gerrymander and so far as the English were concerned the verdicts at the Battle of Plassey (1757) and at the Battle of Buxar (1764) in their favour proved to be signifcant turning points in Indian history marking the beginning of their political supremacy in Bengal and Bihar. This augmented authority of the English and its logical sequel. Shah Alam II granted the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the English East India Company.

The expansion of the British dominion in India and the growth of Indo-British administrative system conducted in India through manifold pro­cesses of transition, political, economic, and social and culture. These, for various reasons, generated fumes of discontent against the rule of the English East India Company and there were secret plots or open revolts. The East India Company’s record had been one of wanton disregard for Indian system, of ever increasing conquests and indeed of systematic economic exploitation of peasants and artisans. The pace of conquest and annexations had quickened that the Indian princes nursed grievances against the East India Company which had usurped their positions.

Among the people at large too there was general discontent which was vigorously expressed in a variety of ways. The resentment of India had found expression in a number of mutinies and insurrections from time to time in different arts of the country. In South India there were a number of such uprisings like the two revolts of Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja of Malabar (1793-97 and 1800-1805), the Vellore Mutiny of 1806, the revolts of Velu Tampi Dalawa of Travancore (1809) and Palliat Achan of Cochin (1809), the rebellions of the Brothers on the East coast, Kattabomman and Marudu Pandyan (1798-1802), the revolt of Nizieram Rauze (1794) the revolt of Dhundia in Bednur (1799-1800), the revolt of the Kurichiyas of Wynad (1812), the rebellion at Mysore (1830-31) etc.

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The subsidiary policy was indeed the cudgel with which the British hit down the princes, and opened the door to military and political ascendancy in India. The pernicious tentacles of the system extended as the British power expanded and every new success perfected the blighting efficacy of its machinery. In this attempt of the merchants to establish an empire with the gun in one hand and a bundle of subsidiary treaties in the other, they had to face stiff resistance from the princes and people in a large measure.

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