(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 Hyderabad.

  • 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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