Wednesday, 6 January 2016

How the British colonized India

[Working-Draft version; Comments are welcome :-) ]

In a Facebook conversation I wrote a comment which had the line, "But, it seems to me, that it was weakness in defence equipment/technology due to Western powers being superior in science & technology that allowed India to get conquered by colonial powers."

I got a response comment which had the line, "I don't think it was just a lack of a military that allowed for colonialism, etc. but a lack of cohesiveness and unity as a country that allowed 300 Brits to divide and conquer it." This comment may have been made in a jocular vein. But it pricked me, nonetheless.

The 300 Brits dividing and conquering India statement came across as real weird to me. I tried Google search for it to see if I could get the source for such a statement but did not get suitable results.

I felt I should do some digging up on the Internet to see what well regarded Internet sources say on the matter of how the British conquered India, and how far my uninformed view/guess that superiority in science & technology of Western powers would have played an important role, is correct. Of course, India not being a united country then like Britain or France surely was a vital factor. But how could the British overcome the various kingdoms in India then? Was not superior military force of the British due to better technology, an important factor?

So here's what I came up with. I have split the report into a summary which I have given immediately below and a detailed part (with part of the summary repeated). As this is a very long post many readers interested in this topic may want to go through the summary and skip/browse the detailed part.

Summary of major events in the British colonization of India

1) 1608-1746: East India Company of Britain engaged in the spice trade between Java and Britain. Its ships docked at Surat (now in Gujarat state), India as a trade transit point from 1608. King James I of Britain sent an emissary in 1612 to Indian Mughal Emperor Jahangir asking for protection of British subjects engaged in trade. Jahangir responded positively promising protection to British traders in his kingdom and ports in his dominions.

East India company created trading posts in following Indian towns/villages (then): Surat (1612), Madras (1639), Bombay (1668) and Calcutta (1690). These grew into walled forts of Fort William in Calcutta (now called Kolkata), Fort St. George in Madras (now called Chennai) and Bombay Castle in Bombay (now called Mumbai).

In 1689-1690 East India Company fought with a Mughal fleet. East India Company surrendered in 1690 and sought pardon from Emperor Aurangzeb, after which the Mughal troops were withdrawn from Bombay and the East India Company was allowed to re-establish itself in Bombay.

East India Company profited greatly from the trade and became a powerful lobbying force in the British parliament.

2) 1746-1763, The Carnatic Wars: British East India Company became a power broker and got involved militarily in succession struggles in parts of South India and in Bengal. The British were successful in their power broking and military involvement with the result that they had huge influence in some kingdoms in South India. They also defeated the French in similar efforts of the French East India Company. The British also got involved militarily in Bengal and were able to install their puppet as the ruler of that kingdom and collect significant war booty. In a short period of time (years/few decades) the British also started getting revenue from Bengal (via taxes).

These wars involved significant battles and involved significant number of British soldiers (far greater than 300!) as well as native (Indian) soldiers (paid mercenaries) fighting for the British. As an example in the landmark Battle of Plassey in Bengal in 1757 the British East India company had (under Robert Clive) 1750 European soldiers and 2100 Indian sepoys (soldiers).

These Carnatic wars were fought 134 (one hundred and thirty four) years after Emperor Jahangir promised the British protection for trade. From trader with military facilities to support their trading outposts, the British graduated to military victor with the victor taking the spoils of victory. However their military dominance in 1746 was limited to few kingdoms in South India and Bengal, with the Maratha federation having military control over most of India.

3) 1779 - 1799: British fight two/three wars with Tipu Sultan of Mysore. In the second Anglo-Mysore war Tipu Sultan decisively defeated the British twice resulting in a treaty at Mangalore with the British in 1784 where Tipu Sultan dictated the terms of the treaty. In 1799 the British defeated and killed Tipu Sultan in his capital Srirangapatna. The British side involved 4000 Europeans and 22,000 natives (Indian mercenaries fighting for the British) along with 20,000 soldiers from the Nizam of Hyderabad and even the Marathas, whereas Tipu Sultan had around 30,000 soldiers. Tipu Sultan fought with guns & rockets! So he seems to have been one of the toughest warrior-king enemies of the British in their colonization efforts.

4) 1775 - 1818: British fight three wars with the Marathas. Prior to 1761 the Marathas were the most powerful military group (federation) in India with large part of India being under their control. In 1761 the Marathas were defeated by the Afghan Ahmad Shah Durrani (and his allies) in the Third Battle of Panipat which seems to have weakened the Marathas significantly.

Like the British had interfered (successfully) in succession struggles in some kingdoms of South India and in Bengal, the British tried to interfere with succession struggle in a Maratha kingdom in 1775, leading to the First Anglo-Maratha war, which seems to have ended in failure for the British.

The Marathas remained the preeminent power in India until their defeat in the Second and Third Anglo-Maratha Wars (1805–1818), which left the British East India Company in control of most of India.

1818 seems to be the BIG YEAR for the British in terms of achieving military dominance of some sort over most of India as they defeated the Marathas. Tipu Sultan of Mysore had been defeated (& killed) earlier. After 1818 there seems to have been nobody powerful enough to challenge the British militarily in India.

So it took the period from 1746, the first significant military involvement of the British in India, to 1818, a period of 72 years for the British to militarily dominate most of India.


Factors which allowed the British to colonize India (as it seems to me)

a) The mastery of the British over the sea as compared to Indians, allowed them to engage in trade between Europe & India with no competition from Indians (competition from other European powers was there but the British were able to prevail over this competition eventually). I mean, the Europeans discovered new sea routes from Europe to India, China, and also to the Americas. They sailed all over the world. In comparison, at that time, Indians would have sailed from Indian coast to Arabia on one side and to East Asia on the other, but surely not all over the world. Indian ship quality and capability, I guess, would have been no match to ocean faring ships of the Europeans.

b) British East India Company got permission from Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1612 to engage in trade, and was promised protection for their (British) trading facilities and men. The first Carnatic War was in 1746 which seems to have seen the first serious military engagement of the British to support one claimant in a succession struggle for a South Indian kingdom. In between in 1690 under command from Emperor Aurangzeb, one of his generals had defeated the English in Bombay and got control of Bombay. East India Company had to seek pardon from Emperor Aurangzeb, pay indemnity and promise better behaviour before it was given back control of Bombay! So for one hundred and thirty four (134) years after Mughal Emperor Jahangir gave the East India company (the British) permission to set up trading outposts and conduct trade, the English did not get involved seriously in any military interference in Indian kingdoms.

c) The period of over a century of trade, with trading towns under their control (Bombay, Madras, Calcutta) before 1746 gave the British tremendous amount of money and great knowledge of Indian natives. They would have employed Indian natives for lot of work including using them as security guards for their "factories" (storehouses). The Indian natives, living in an India that was a patchwork of feudal kingdoms as against a unified country, would have been mainly concerned about the pay they were receiving from the British for their services and not bothered about the colour of their skin or the strange language they spoke amongst themselves. The great money power that East India Company had acquired through trade would have made them quite influential among Indian traders and even Indian kings. Graduating from that position to enlisting Indian natives as paid and trained soldiers loyal to the British and under British officers would have been quite a natural and easy step.

d) The British military weaponry, tactics and strategy were a generation ahead of Indian kingdoms. So even a smaller British force assisted by Indian natives trained and paid by the British could defeat larger forces of Indian kingdoms. The Carnatic wars including the very important Battle of Plassey demonstrate this.

e) Vastly superior European Science & technology (to Indian science & technology then), I guess, would have contributed significantly to better military weaponry, tactics and strategy. I mean, even the printing presses that were in operation throughout Western Europe in 1500, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printing_press, would have had no proper equivalent in most of India in 1750! I mean, the European trading towns in India (Madras, Bombay, Calcutta) may have had it and they may have given it to some friendly kings but that's it.

f) The British were far better organized and had a unified country as compared to Indian kingdoms which had rampant treachery both within the kingdom and across kingdoms. The British would have had such treachery in past centuries in Britain but they had developed beyond that to become a unified and well organized country. This along with their money power and superior military weaponry, tactics and strategy allowed the British to exploit treachery faultlines in Indian kingdoms and play kingmaker. Graduating from kingmaker to become ruler with puppet kings paying taxes/tribute to the British was a natural next step over time.

g) The British were able to force other European colonizer competition mainly the French but also the Dutch to keep out of India. To achieve this the British had to fight battles in India with the French and also the Dutch, and defeat them.

Given the analysis above, I find the view that a lack of cohesiveness and unity as a country allowed 300 Brits to divide and conquer India, to be a false and ridiculous Western-world-centric and Western-world-hero-worshipping view of how the British colonized India.

[The details below are longish. Some readers may want to skip reading it or just browse through it.]
Detailed note on how the British colonized India

1) The first stage clearly is the East India Company. Let me share some extracts from its wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_India_Company.

Initially, the company struggled in the spice trade because of the competition from the already well-established Dutch East India Company. The company opened a factory in Bantam on the first voyage and imports of pepper from Java were an important part of the company's trade for twenty years. The factory in Bantam was closed in 1683. During this time ships belonging to the company arriving in India docked at Surat, which was established as a trade transit point in 1608.

In the next two years, the company built its first factory in south India in the town of Machilipatnam on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. The high profits reported by the company after landing in India initially prompted King James I to grant subsidiary licences to other trading companies in England. But in 1609 he renewed the charter given to the company for an indefinite period, including a clause which specified that the charter would cease to be in force if the trade turned unprofitable for three consecutive years.
...

English traders frequently engaged in hostilities with their Dutch and Portuguese counterparts in the Indian Ocean. The company achieved a major victory over the Portuguese in the Battle of Swally in 1612. The company decided to explore the feasibility of gaining a territorial foothold in mainland India, with official sanction of both countries, and requested that the Crown launch a diplomatic mission.

[Ravi: The Battle of Swally (place near Surat) is the first naval battle, even if small, involving East India Company in Indian waters, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Swally. I believe Shivaji the Indian Maratha king did raise a small navy but that would have not been anywhere comparable to the naval ability & might of the English and other Europeans. I mean, the Europeans were sailing from Europe to India. I doubt whether any Indian ruler had seafaring vessels that sailed from India to Europe. So no comparison in seafaring ability between European powers then and India.]

In 1612, James I instructed Sir Thomas Roe to visit the Mughal Emperor Nuruddin Salim Jahangir (r. 1605–1627) to arrange for a commercial treaty that would give the company exclusive rights to reside and build factories in Surat and other areas. In return, the company offered to provide the Emperor with goods and rarities from the European market. This mission was highly successful as Jahangir sent a letter to James through Sir Thomas Roe:

"Upon which assurance of your royal love I have given my general command to all the kingdoms and ports of my dominions to receive all the merchants of the English nation as the subjects of my friend; that in what place soever they choose to live, they may have free liberty without any restraint; and at what port soever they shall arrive, that neither Portugal nor any other shall dare to molest their quiet; and in what city soever they shall have residence, I have commanded all my governors and captains to give them freedom answerable to their own desires; to sell, buy, and to transport into their country at their pleasure.
For confirmation of our love and friendship, I desire your Majesty to command your merchants to bring in their ships of all sorts of rarities and rich goods fit for my palace; and that you be pleased to send me your royal letters by every opportunity, that I may rejoice in your health and prosperous affairs; that our friendship may be interchanged and eternal"
—Nuruddin Salim Jahangir, Letter to James I.

[Ravi: So the then Mughal emperor Jahangir did not view the English as a threat. Perhaps being a land based power the Mughals did not realize that naval superiority/dominance of the English could play a significant support role in allowing future English forces to defeat the Mughals. Jahangir seemed to be more interested in the rarities and rich goods that the English would bring for his palace!]

The company which (benefited) from the imperial patronage, soon expanded its commercial trading operations, eclipsing the Portuguese Estado da Índia, which had established bases in Goa, Chittagong and Bombay (which was later ceded to England as part of the dowry of Catherine de Braganza). The East India Company also launched a joint effort attack with the Dutch United East India Company on Portuguese and Spanish ships off the coast of China, which helped secure their ports in China. The company created trading posts in Surat (where a factory was built in 1612), Madras (1639), Bombay (1668), and Calcutta (1690). By 1647, the company had 23 factories, each under the command of a factor or master merchant and governor if so chosen, and had 90 employees in India. The major factories became the walled forts of Fort William in Bengal, Fort St George in Madras, and the Bombay Castle.

In 1634, the Mughal emperor extended his hospitality to the English traders to the region of Bengal, ...

[Ravi: So while under Mughal patronage, in the course of the 17th century, the English had got their own towns of Madras, Bombay and Calcutta which they fortified suitably. This base that they built and the contacts and understanding they got of the country through trade and these bases, would have been invaluable as the launching point for future roles of kingmaker and overlord. And Portuguese and Spanish ships had been defeated by the English & the Dutch off the coast of China.]
...
In 1689 a Mughal fleet commanded by Sidi Yaqub attacked Bombay. After a year of resistance the EIC surrendered in 1690, and the company sent envoys to Aurangzeb's camp to plead for a pardon. The company's envoys had to prostrate themselves before the emperor, pay a large indemnity, and promise better behaviour in the future. The emperor withdrew his troops and the company subsequently reestablished itself in Bombay and set up a new base in Calcutta.

[Ravi: That's very interesting! So not only were the English defeated by the Mughals by a Mughal fleet in Bombay (city where I was born & bred), but the English had to prostrate themselves before Aurangzeb & plead for pardon!]
...
The prosperity that the officers of the company enjoyed allowed them to return to Britain and establish sprawling estates and businesses, and to obtain political power. The company developed a lobby in the English parliament. Under pressure from ambitious tradesmen and former associates of the company (pejoratively termed Interlopers by the company), who wanted to establish private trading firms in India, a deregulating act was passed in 1694.
...
At this time, Britain and France became bitter rivals. Frequent skirmishes between them took place for control of colonial possessions. In 1742, fearing the monetary consequences of a war, the British government agreed to extend the deadline for the licensed exclusive trade by the company in India until 1783, in return for a further loan of £1 million. Between 1756 and 1763, the Seven Years' War diverted the state's attention towards consolidation and defence of its territorial possessions in Europe and its colonies in North America.
...
With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, Britain surged ahead of its European rivals. Demand for Indian commodities was boosted by the need to sustain the troops and the economy during the war, and by the increased availability of raw materials and efficient methods of production. As home to the revolution, Britain experienced higher standards of living. Its spiralling cycle of prosperity, demand and production had a profound influence on overseas trade. The company became the single largest player in the British global market.

[Ravi: So East India Company had become a very powerful entity for Britain. The trade money was so important that Britain and France had a war over it on Indian soil too (as part of the Seven Years war waged on many parts of the world that these European powers were involved with).]

The Seven Years' War (1756–63) resulted in the defeat of the French forces, limited French imperial ambitions, and stunted the influence of the Industrial Revolution in French territories. Robert Clive, the Governor General, led the company to a victory against Joseph François Dupleix, the commander of the French forces in India, and recaptured Fort St George from the French. The company took this respite to seize Manila in 1762.

By the Treaty of Paris (1763), France regained the five establishments captured by the British during the war (Pondichéry, Mahe, Karikal, Yanam and Chandernagar) but was prevented from erecting fortifications and keeping troops in Bengal (art. XI). Elsewhere in India, the French were to remain a military threat, particularly during the War of American Independence, and up to the capture of Pondichéry in 1793 at the outset of the French Revolutionary Wars without any military presence. Although these small outposts remained French possessions for the next two hundred years, French ambitions on Indian territories were effectively laid to rest, thus eliminating a major source of economic competition for the company.

Military expansion

In its first century and half, the EIC used a few hundred soldiers as guards. The great expansion came after 1750, when it had 3000 regular troops. By 1763, it had 26,000; by 1778, it had 67,000. It recruited largely Indian troops, and trained them along European lines. The company, fresh from a colossal victory, and with the backing of its own private well-disciplined and experienced army, was able to assert its interests in the Carnatic region from its base at Madras and in Bengal from Calcutta, without facing any further obstacles from other colonial powers.

The company continued to experience resistance from local rulers during its expansion. Robert Clive led company forces against Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, Bihar, and Midnapore district in Odisha to victory at the Battle of Plassey in 1757, resulting in the conquest of Bengal. This victory estranged the British and the Mughals, since Siraj Ud Daulah was a Mughal feudatory ally.

--- end part1 of East India Company wiki extract ---

2) The Carnatic Wars, 1746 to 1763

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnatic_Wars

The Carnatic Wars (also spelled Karnatic Wars) were a series of military conflicts in the middle of the 18th century on the Indian subcontinent. The conflicts involved numerous nominally independent rulers and their vassals, struggles for succession and territory, and included a diplomatic and military struggle between the French East India Company and the British East India Company. They were mainly fought on the territories in India which were dominated by the Nizam of Hyderabad up to the Godavari delta. As a result of these military contests, the British East India Company established its dominance among the European trading companies within India. The French company was pushed to a corner and was confined primarily to Pondichéry. The East India company's dominance eventually led to control by the British Company over most of India and eventually to the establishment of the British Raj.

In the 18th century the coastal Carnatic region was a dependency of Hyderabad. Three Carnatic Wars were fought between 1746 and 1763.

...

Background

The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb died in 1707. He was succeeded by Bahadur Shah I but there was a general decline in central control over the empire during the tenure of Jahandar Shah and later emperors. Nizam-ul-Mulk established Hyderabad as an independent kingdom. A power struggle ensued after his death between his son, Nasir Jung, and his grandson, Muzaffar Jung, which was the opportunity France and England needed to interfere in Indian politics. France aided Nasir Jung while England aided Muzaffar Jung. Several erstwhile Mughal territories were autonomous such as the Carnatic, ruled by Nawab Dost Ali Khan, despite being under the legal purview of the Nizam of Hyderabad. French and English interference included those of the affairs of the Nawab. Dost Ali's death sparked a power struggle between his son-in-law Chanda Sahib, supported by the French, and Muhammad Ali, supported by the English.

[Ravi: So long as Aurangzeb was in power the Mughals were a unified force and so the English (and other European powers too, I guess) did not dare challenge Mughals or Mughal allies/feudatories. Now Mughal power centre was Delhi. South India (including Hyderabad, parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) was too far. So, after Aurangzeb's death, the Mughal feudatories seem to have distanced themselves and tried to have some level of independence from Aurangzeb. On one side Mughal power at Delhi itself was getting weak. And then in the kind-of breakaway kingdoms of Hyderabad and Carnatic, when their rulers died and there was a power struggle, the English and the French naturally chose to interfere and try to play kingmaker as that was perhaps necessary to protect and further their trade interests, and defeat their European competitor.]

One major instigator of the Carnatic Wars was the Frenchman Joseph François Dupleix, who arrived in India in 1715, rising to become the French East India Company's governor in 1742. Dupleix sought to expand French influence in India, which was limited to a few trading outposts, the chief one being Pondicherry on the Coromandel Coast. Immediately upon his arrival in India, he organized Indian recruits under French officers for the first time, and engaged in intrigues with local rulers to expand French influence. However, he was met by the equally challenging and determined young officer from the British Army, Robert Clive.

[Ravi: I think that British and French military capability in terms of both discipline, organization as well as military hardware/technology would have been significantly superior to that of the Hyderabad Nawab or the Carnatic Nawab or local feudal chiefs in South India. The Mughal forces at Delhi may have had some level of military hardware (including guns and cannon) to match European military hardware. But not the South Indian Mughal feudatory allies (or former feudatory allies). Now the English were already in India for over a century as traders with their own fortified towns. Perhaps the French too were quite well established in this role in some towns of South India. For them to use their town base to recruit local Indians to serve under European officers would have been a very natural step. I mean local Indians would have been serving the rich European traders & their families in these European bases (over a century old for the English) already. Hiring guards and fighters from the local Indians would have been a natural next step. These local Indians would essentially be mercenaries fighting for their paymaster. Note that India then was a very feudal kind of place.]

...

In July 1746 French commander La Bourdonnais and British Admiral Edward Peyton fought an indecisive action off Negapatam, after which the British fleet withdrew to Bengal. On 21 September 1746, the French captured the British outpost at Madras. La Bourdonnais had promised to return Madras to the English, but Dupleix withdrew that promise, and one to give Madras to Anwar-ud-din after the capture. The Nawab then sent a 10,000-man army to take Madras from the French, but was decisively repulsed by a small French force in the Battle of Adyar. The French then made several attempts to capture the British Fort St. David at Cuddalore, but the timely arrivals of reinforcements halted these, and eventually turned the tables on the French. British Admiral Edward Boscawen besieged Pondicherry in the later months of 1748, but lifted the siege with the advent of the monsoon rains in October.

[Ravi: Anwar-ud-din's 10,000-man army was decisively repulsed by a small French force in the Battle of Adyar. That tells us something. Were the French having better arms? Were Anwar-ud-din's fighters lacking the capability to fight the French fighters? My guess is that such fighters in South India at that time (and, to some extent, even today) would have come from families/castes that have been fighters/warriors for generations. They surely would have been a match for French fighters if the weapons involved were swords & knives or even bows & arrows. But guns & cannons & artillery would have changed the equation dramatically. Even if the South Indian army of Anwar-ud-din had some artillery and guns it may not have been as effective as what the French had. That would have been the decisive factor in the small French force being able to repel Anwar-ud-din's larger force.]

With the termination of the War of Austrian Succession in Europe, the First Carnatic War also came to an end. In the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748), Madras was given back to the British in exchange for the French fortress of Louisbourg in North America, which the British had captured. The war was principally notable in India as the first military experience of Robert Clive, who was taken prisoner at Madras, escaped, and then participated in the defense of Cuddalore and the siege of Pondicherry.

--- end part1 of Carnatic Wars wiki ----

Ravi: I came across a painting of Anwar-ud-din's death on the battlefield which seems to support my view that it was better military hardware and prowess with using that hardware that helped European powers defeat Indian forces then. 

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwaruddin_Khan

In 1746, the French and the English fought to achieve supremacy over each other in India in the First Carnatic War. The Carnatic region became the arena of their action.

In 1746, the French captured the British post at Madras, and threatened but were unable to take that at Cuddalore. Muhammad Anwaruddin had warned both parties against attacking each other, but the French had disregarded his warning, and Joseph François Dupleix, the French governor-general, had placated him by offering him Madras.

However, after its capture, Dupleix rescinded the offer, and Muhammad Anwarudding sought to capture it from them. He sent an army of 10,000 men under his son Mahfuz Khan. They fought against the 300-man French force in the Battle of Adyar on the banks of the Adyar River, and lost. The decisive French victory demonstrated the effectiveness of well-trained European forces in combating poorly trained Indian troops.
...
Muhammad Anwaruddin received overtures for support from both from the English and the French, but supported the English. The French wanted to reduce the growing influence of the English in the Carnatic, so they supported Husayn Dost Khan, alias Chanda Sahib, as the rightful Nawab of the Carnatic against Muhammad Anwaruddin.

While the British and the French supported their respective candidates for the Nawabship, they also took sides in the conflict over succession to the Nizam of Hyderabad. After the death of Nizam-ul-Mulk in 1748, there arose a rivalry between Nasir Jung, his second son, and Muzaffar Jang, his grandson. Muzaffar Jang came to the south with a strong force and allied himself with Chanda Sahib and the French.

The aging Nawab Muhammad Anwaruddin, supported by the English, met the French army at Ambur in 3 August 1749 and was killed in the battle at the age of 77. He was mentioned as the oldest soldier to die on battlefield in "Ripley's believe it or not". Ripley stated that the Nawab died of gunshot wounds but that has not been independently verified.
--- end extract ---

Ravi: Now the picture in the above wiki page has the caption, "Death of the Nabob of the Carnatic in a battle against the French in 1749, by Paul Philipoteaux." The pic can be seen in larger magnifcation here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Death_of_the_Nabob_of_the_Carnatic_by_Paul_Philipoteaux.jpg. The Nawab (Nabob) would be the elderly white bearded man on top of the elephant who seems to be thrown back by something (bullet?). The South Indian force seems to have mainly spears and shields whereas the French force (assisted by local Indians trained and armed by the French, I guess) seem to have rifles with bayonets! Perhaps some of the guards around Anwar-ud-din on the elephant also have some kind of rifle but the main Anwar-ud-din forces on the ground and on horse shown in the pic don't seem to have these rifles.

According to the above wiki page, Anwar-ud-din had joined the imperial (Mughal) army at Delhi (as a youngster). He was granted the title of Anwar ud-din Khan Bahadur by Emperor Aurangzeb himself! Surely, Anwar-ud-din would have been a great Mughal fighter. But when you are met with superior arms (due to better technology) from the enemy, even a great fighter can be defeated/killed. That is the POWER OF SUPERIOR MILITARY TECHNOLOGY. 


Part 2 extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnatic_Wars

Second Carnatic War (1749–1754)

Though a state of war did not exist in Europe, the proxy war continued in India. On one side was Nasir Jung, the Nizam and his protege Muhammad Ali, supported by the English, and on the other was Chanda Sahib and Muzaffar Jung, supported by the French, vying for the Nawabship of Arcot. Muzaffar Jung and Chanda Sahib were able to capture Arcot while Nasir Jung's subsequent death allowed Muzaffar Jung to take control of Hyderabad. Muzaffar's reign was short as he was soon killed, and Salabat Jung became Nawab. In 1751, however, Robert Clive led British troops to capture Arcot, and successfully defend it. The war ended with the Treaty of Pondicherry, signed in 1754, which recognised Muhammad Ali Khan Walajah as the Nawab of the Carnatic. Charles Godeheu replaced Dupleix, who died in poverty back in France.

Third Carnatic War (1756–1763)

The outbreak in 1756 of the Seven Years' War in Europe resulted in renewed conflict between French and British forces in India. The Third Carnatic War spread beyond southern India and into Bengal where British forces captured the French settlement of Chandernagore (now Chandannagar) in 1757. However, the war was decided in the south, where the British successfully defended Madras, and Sir Eyre Coote decisively defeated the French, commanded by Comte de Lally at the Battle of Wandiwash in 1760. After Wandiwash, the French capital of Pondicherry fell to the British in 1761.

Aftermath

The war concluded with the signing of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, which returned Chandernagore and Pondichéry to France, and allowed the French to have "factories" (trading posts) in India but forbade French traders from administering them. The French agreed to support British client governments, thus ending French ambitions of an Indian empire and making the British the dominant foreign power in India.

--- end Carnatic Wars wiki ----

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Plassey:

The Battle of Plassey (Bengali : Pôlashir Juddho) was a decisive victory of the British East India Company over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies on 23 June 1757. The battle consolidated the Company's presence in Bengal, which later expanded to cover much of India over the next hundred years.
The battle took place at Palashi (Anglicized version: Plassey) on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, about 150 kilometres (93 mi) north of Calcutta and south of Murshidabad, then capital of Bengal (now in Nadia district in West Bengal). The belligerents were Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, and the British East India Company. When Alivardi Khan died in 1756, Siraj-ud-daulah became the Nawab of Bengal. He ordered the English to stop the extension of their fortification. Robert Clive bribed Mir Jafar, the commander in chief of the nawab's army, and also promised him to make him Nawab of Bengal and attacked Calcutta. He defeated the Nawab at Plassey in 1757 and captured Calcutta.

The battle was preceded by the attack on British-controlled Calcutta by Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah and the Black Hole incident. The British sent reinforcements under Colonel Robert Clive and Admiral Charles Watson from Madras to Bengal and recaptured Calcutta. Clive then seized the initiative to capture the French fort of Chandernagar. Tensions and suspicions between Siraj-ud-daulah and the British culminated in the Battle of Plassey. The battle was waged during the Seven Years' War (1756–63), and, in a mirror of their European rivalry, the French East India Company (La Compagnie des Indes Orientales) sent a small contingent to fight against the British. Siraj-ud-Daulah had a numerically superior force and made his stand at Plassey. The British, worried about being outnumbered, formed a conspiracy with Siraj-ud-Daulah's demoted army chief Mir Jafar, along with others such as Yar Lutuf Khan, Jagat Seths (Mahtab Chand and Swarup Chand), Omichund and Rai Durlabh. Mir Jafar, Rai Durlabh and Yar Lutuf Khan thus assembled their troops near the battlefield but made no move to actually join the battle. Siraj-ud-Daulah's army with 18,000 soldiers was defeated by 3,000 soldiers of Col. Robert Clive, owing to the flight of Siraj-ud-daulah from the battlefield and the inactivity of the conspirators. The battle was ended in 40 minutes.

This is judged to be one of the pivotal battles in the control of Indian subcontinent by the colonial powers. The British now wielded enormous influence over the Nawab and consequently acquired large amounts of concession for previous losses and revenue from trade. The British further used this revenue to increase their military might and push the other European colonial powers such as the Dutch and the French out of South Asia, thus expanding the British Empire in Asia.
...
The British East India Company (under Robert Clive) had:
1750 European soldiers
100 Topasses
2100 Indian sepoys
100 gunners
8 cannon (six 6-pounders and 2 howitzers)

The Mughal ally Siraj ud-Daulah had:
700 infantry
500 cavalry of Siraj ud-Daulah
3,500 infantry
1,500 cavalry of Mir Jafar
53 field pieces (mostly 32, 24 and 18-pounders)

France contributed:
50 artillerymen (6 field pieces)
...

[Ravi: The above extract was the summary. What follows are extracts of the detailed description in the wiki page.]

In April 1756, Alwardi Khan died and was succeeded by his twenty-three-year-old grandson, Siraj-ud-daulah. His personality was said to be a combination of a ferocious temper and a feeble understanding. He was particularly suspicious of the large profits made by the European companies in India. When the British and the French started improving their fortifications in anticipation of another war between them, he immediately ordered them to stop such activities as they had been done without permission. When the British refused to cease their constructions, the Nawab led a detachment of 3,000 men to surround the fort and factory of Cossimbazar and took several British officials as prisoners, before moving to Calcutta. The defenses of Calcutta were weak and negligible. The garrison consisted of only 180 soldiers, 50 European volunteers, 60 European militia, 150 Armenian and Portuguese militia, 35 European artillery-men and 40 volunteers from ships and was pitted against the Nawab’s force of nearly 50,000 infantry and cavalry. The city was occupied on 16 June by Siraj’s force and the fort surrendered after a brief siege on 20 June.

[Ravi: The large force of Siraj-ud-daulah was able to force the small English garrison to surrender.]

The prisoners who were captured at the siege of Calcutta were transferred by Siraj to the care of the officers of his guard, who confined them to the common dungeon of Fort William known as The Black Hole. This dungeon, 18 by 14 feet (5.5 m × 4.3 m) in size with two small windows, had 146 prisoners thrust into it – originally employed by the British to hold only six prisoners. On 21 June, the doors of the dungeon were opened and only 23 of the 146 walked out, the rest died of asphyxiation, heat exhaustion and delirium. It appears that the Nawab was unaware of the conditions in which his prisoners were held which resulted in the unfortunate deaths of most of the prisoners. Meanwhile, the Nawab’s army and navy were busy plundering the city of Calcutta and the other British factories in the surrounding areas.

[Ravi: 123 English & European prisoners died in the "Black Hole" incident. This would have made the English mad.]

When news of the fall of Calcutta broke in Madras on 16 August 1756, the Council immediately sent out an expeditionary force under Colonel Clive and Admiral Watson. A letter from the Council of Fort St. George, states that "the object of the expedition was not merely to re-establish the British settlements in Bengal, but also to obtain ample recognition of the Company’s privileges and reparation for its losses" without the risk of war. It also states that any signs of dissatisfaction and ambition among the Nawab’s subjects must be supported. Clive assumed command of the land forces, consisting of 900 Europeans and 1500 sepoys while Watson commanded a naval squadron. The fleet entered the Hooghly River in December and met with the fugitives of Calcutta and the surrounding areas, including the principal Members of the Council, at the village of Fulta on 15 December. The Members of Council formed a Select Committee of direction. On 29 December, the force dislodged the enemy from the fort of Budge Budge. Clive and Watson then moved against Calcutta on 2 January 1757 and the garrison of 500 men surrendered after offering a scanty resistance. With Calcutta recaptured, the Council was reinstated and a plan of action against the Nawab was prepared. The fortifications of Fort William were strengthened and a defensive position was prepared in the north-east of the city.

[Ravi: Clive had 900 Europeans and 1500 Indians (sepoys) in his command and there was a separate naval force under Watson. They could easiy recapture Calcutta (and Fort St. George). That shows the WEAKNESS of Siraj-ud-daulah in terms of military ability and perhaps military hardware. He should have known that the English will come back and should have had a proper force to defend Calcutta and Fort St. George. But I guess that English firepower and superior military tactics would have been such that Siraj-ud-daulah could not really counter them. I think this was a victory of superior firepower and military tactics of the English.]

On 9 January 1757, a force of 650 men, under Captain Coote and Major Kilpatrick stormed and sacked the town of Hooghly, 23 miles (37 km) north of Calcutta. On learning of this attack, the Nawab raised his army and marched on Calcutta, arriving with the main body on 3 February and encamping beyond the Maratha Ditch. Siraj set up his headquarters in Omichund’s garden. A small body of their army attacked the northern suburbs of the town but were beaten back by a detachment under Lieutenant Lebeaume placed there, returning with fifty prisoners.

Clive decided to launch a surprise attack on the Nawab’s camp on the morning of 4 February. At midnight, a force of 600 sailors, a battalion of 650 Europeans, 100 artillery-men, 800 sepoys and 6 six-pounders approached the Nawab’s camp. At 6:00, under the cover of a thick fog, the vanguard came upon the Nawab’s advanced guard, who after firing with their matchlocks and rockets, ran away. They continued forward for some distance till they were opposite Omichund’s garden, when they heard the galloping of cavalry on their right. The cavalry came within 30 yards (27 m) of the British force before the line gave fire, killing many and dispersing the rest. The fog hampered visibility beyond walking distance. Hence the line moved slowly, infantry and artillery firing on either side randomly. Clive had intended to use a narrow raised causeway, south of the garden, to attack the Nawab’s quarters in the garden. The Nawab’s troops had barricaded the passage. At about 9:00, as the fog began to lift, the troops were overwhelmed by the discharge of two pieces of heavy cannon from across the Maratha Ditch by the Nawab’s artillery. The British troops were assailed on all sides by cavalry and musket-fire. The Nawab troops then made for a bridge a mile further on, crossed the Maratha Ditch and reached Calcutta. The total casualties of Clive’s force were 57 killed and 137 wounded. The Nawab’s army lost 22 officers of distinction, 600 common men, 4 elephants, 500 horses, some camels and a great number of bullocks. The attack scared the Nawab into concluding the Treaty of Alinagar with the Company on 5 February, agreeing to restore the Company’s factories, allow the fortification of Calcutta and restoring former privileges. The Nawab withdrew his army back to his capital, Murshidabad.

[Ravi: The English with a much smaller force than that of Siraj-ud-daulah were able to ROUT Siraj-ud-daulah in this battle. English lost 57 men whereas Siraj-ud-daulah lost 622 (over ten times). Clearly the English were a vastly superior fighting force than Siraj-ud-daulah's men. It is difficult to assess why this was the case based on the above extract. Yes, it was a surprise attack, and surprise attacks can defeat forces of far greater size. (In the initial phases of the Second World War, Hitler's blitzkrieg had powerful forces of Europe including France captured with unbelievable ease.) However, Siraj-ud-daulah had elephants, horses, camels and even bullocks in his force! I think that itself shows that it was an olden style fighting force of Siraj-ud-daulah pitted against a then modern European force which would have been far better in military tactics as well as military equipment.]

Concerned by the approach of de Bussy to Bengal and the Seven Years' War in Europe, the Company turned its attention to the French threat in Bengal. Clive planned to capture the French town of Chandernagar, 20 miles (32 km) north of Calcutta. Clive needed to know whose side the Nawab would intervene on if he attacked Chandernagar. The Nawab sent evasive replies and Clive construed this to be assent to the attack. Clive commenced hostilities on the town and fort of Chandernagar on 14 March. The French had set up defences on the roads leading to the fort and had sunk several ships in the river channel to prevent passage of the men of war. The garrison consisted of 600 Europeans and 300 sepoys. The French expected assistance from the Nawab’s forces from Hooghly, but the governor of Hooghly, Nandkumar had been bribed to remain inactive and prevent the Nawab’s reinforcement of Chandernagar. The fort was well-defended, but when Admiral Watson’s squadron forced the blockade in the channel on 23 March, a fierce cannonade ensued with aid from two batteries on the shore. The naval squadron suffered greatly due to musket-fire from the fort. At 9:00 on 24 March, a flag of truce was shown by the French and by 15:00, the capitulation concluded. After plundering Chandernagar, Clive decided to ignore his orders to return to Madras and remain in Bengal. He moved his army to the north of the town of Hooghly.

[Ravi: If Siraj-ud-daulah had teamed up well with the French (like Tipu Sultan did in Mysore, South India) then they could have together neutralized Clive & his English force. But the twenty-something Siraj-ud-daulah was high on arrogance and regal pride and so may have been weak on military strategy and military pacts with one foreign power to neutralize another foreign power (with both these powers having towns/forts under their command in Bengal then).]

...

The Nawab was infuriated on learning of the attack on Chandernagar. His former hatred of the British returned, but he now felt the need to strengthen himself by alliances against the British. The Nawab was plagued by fear of attack from the north by the Afghans under Ahmad Shah Durrani and from the west by the Marathas. Therefore, he could not deploy his entire force against the British for fear of being attacked from the flanks. A deep distrust set in between the British and the Nawab. As a result, Siraj started secret negotiations with Jean Law, chief of the French factory at Cossimbazar, and de Bussy. The Nawab also moved a large division of his army under Rai Durlabh to Plassey, on the island of Cossimbazar 30 miles (48 km) south of Murshidabad.

Popular discontent against the Nawab flourished in his own court. The Seths, the traders of Bengal, were in perpetual fear for their wealth under the reign of Siraj, contrary to the situation under Alivardi’s reign. They had engaged Yar Lutuf Khan to defend them in case they were threatened in any way. William Watts, the Company representative at the court of Siraj, informed Clive about a conspiracy at the court to overthrow the ruler. The conspirators included Mir Jafar, paymaster of the army, Rai Durlabh, Yar Lutuf Khan and Omichund, a merchant and several officers in the army. When communicated in this regard by Mir Jafar, Clive referred it to the select committee in Calcutta on 1 May. The committee passed a resolution in support of the alliance. A treaty was drawn between the British and Mir Jafar to raise him to the throne of the Nawab in return for support to the British in the field of battle and the bestowal of large sums of money upon them as compensation for the attack on Calcutta. On 2 May, Clive broke up his camp and sent half the troops to Calcutta and the other half to Chandernagar.

Mir Jafar and the Seths desired that the confederacy between the British and himself be kept secret from Omichund, but when he found out about it, he threatened to betray the conspiracy if his share was not increased to three million rupees (£300,000). Hearing of this, Clive suggested an expedient to the Committee. He suggested that two treaties be drawn – the real one on white paper, containing no reference to Omichund and the other on red paper, containing Omichund’s desired stipulation, to deceive him. The Members of the Committee signed on both treaties, but Admiral Watson signed only the real one and his signature had to be counterfeited on the fictitious one. Both treaties and separate articles for donations to the army, navy squadron and committee were signed by Mir Jafar on 4 June.

Lord Clive testified and defended himself thus before the House of Commons of Parliament on 10 May 1773, during the Parliamentary inquiry into his conduct in India:

Omichund, his confidential servant, as he thought, told his master of an agreement made between the English and Monsieur Duprée [may be a mistranscription of Dupleix] to attack him, and received for that advice a sum of not less than four lacks of rupees. Finding this to be the man in whom the nabob entirely trusted, it soon became our object to consider him as a most material engine in the intended revolution. We therefore made such an agreement as was necessary for the purpose, and entered into a treaty with him to satisfy his demands. When all things were prepared, and the evening of the event was appointed, Omichund informed Mr. Watts, who was at the court of the nabob, that he insisted upon thirty lacks of rupees, and five per cent. upon all the treasure that should be found; that, unless that was immediately complied with, he would disclose the whole to the nabob; and that Mr. Watts, and the two other English gentlemen then at the court, should be cut off before the morning. Mr. Watts, immediately on this information, dispatched an express to me at the council. I did not hesitate to find out a stratagem to save the lives of these people, and secure success to the intended event. For this purpose we signed another treaty. The one was called the Red, the other the White treaty. This treaty was signed by every one, except admiral Watson; and I should have considered myself sufficiently authorised to put his name to it, by the conversation I had with him. As to the person who signed admiral Watson's name to the treaty, whether he did it in his presence or not, I cannot say; but this I know, that he thought he had sufficient authority for so doing. This treaty was immediately sent to Omichund, who did not suspect the stratagem. The event took place, and success attended it; and the House, I am fully persuaded, will agree with me, that, when the very existence of the Company was at stake, and the lives of these people so precariously situated, and so certain of being destroyed, it was a matter of true policy and of justice to deceive so great a villain.

[Ravi: I think the above extract tells us a lot about how the English were able to become dominant/kingmakers (though not yet as rulers) over the Mughals in East India (Bengal) which would have paved the way for them to extend their dominant/kingmakers role right into the heart of Mughal power in India, Delhi. I would like to do some detailed analysis of the above extract.

Firstly, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siraj_ud-Daulah, we learn that Siraj-ud-daulah was Arab by ethnicity. Secondly, we learn that "Popular discontent against the Nawab flourished in his own court. The Seths, the traders of Bengal, were in perpetual fear for their wealth under the reign of Siraj, contrary to the situation under Alivardi’s reign." These are very important factors I think in the fall of Siraj-ud-daulah to the English. Popular discontent against a ruler, who anyway is seen as of foreign ethnicity by some if not many of his subjects, would have led some influential people in his army and administration to have viewed the English, another set of foreigners, as a more preferred foreign ruler to the Arab ethnicity and so in a way, foreign ruler, Siraj-ud-daulah! Further, there seems to have been lot of jealousy against Siraj-ud-daulah (a young twenty something man made Nawab/ruler) from others in the palace family. That would have weakened Siraj-ud-daulah significantly.

Now some Mughal rulers were known to have followed enlightened kind-of policy (for their times) towards their subjects due to which their rule did not seem to breed so much discontent among the influential people and the masses. I believe Akbar is well known for this kind-of enlightened administration of his empire. So even though he was also of foreign descent Akbar may not have faced too much opposition from within his own subjects. Aurangzeb, while a very powerful ruler, seems to have followed oppressive type of administration policies towards Hindus. That seems to have led to the Marathas (mainly Hindu) rising against the Mughals and thereby weakening the Mughal empire. 

At the time of Siraj-ud-daulah's war/conflict with the English, nearly half a century had passed after Aurangzeb's death (1707). Mughal power had declined and the Marathas had become a significant power in the heartland of India. The Afghan Ahmad Shah Durrani was threatening the Mughals from the North West frontiers of India/Mughal empire. In this unstable military power environment, the English (and the French) essentially pitched their military hats in, to compete for power.

This unstable power environment would have made most of the influential people in Siraj-ud-daulah's kingdom mercenaries and influence-peddlers who wanted to make money as well as be on the side of whom they viewed as the most probable winner. With the money and power of the trade that the English had established themselves in, for over a century in India then, as well as the superior military capability both on land and sea, the English would have naturally been favoured by some of these mercenaries and influence-peddlers in Siraj-ud-daulah's kingdom. I don't think one can view these people as traitors to the Indian nation as there was no Indian nation then but just a set of kings fighting for power and the riches that went with power then, and so people had to choose the right side for their very survival. Anyway, most of upper India (above the Vindhyas) i.e. North, West and East India, was under Mughal rule with the Mughals themselves being foreigners to India (Muslims from Central Asia) for centuries, at that time. The English (and the French) were just another set of foreigners even if the white colour of their skin would have been unusual to most Indians then.

The English being a far more organized group with Britain being a nation then (as against India which was NOT a unified nation in the 1750s) would not have faced the kind of treachery and palace intrigue that was common to Indian kings then. So the English would have been in a superb position to bribe susceptible influential people in Indian kingdoms with money & promise of power to commit treason against their king and side with the English. Attempts by the Indian kings to try the same tactics with the English would have typically failed outright or be used against the Indian kings by faking willingness to conspire, due to the English being far more organized and even answerable to the British parliament.]

...

Battle

At daybreak on 23 June [Ravi:year 1757], the Nawab’s army emerged from their camp and started advancing towards the grove. Their army consisted of 300,000 infantry of all sorts, armed with matchlocks, swords, pikes and rockets and 20,000 cavalry, armed with swords or long spears, interspersed by 300 pieces of artillery, mostly 32, 24 and 18-pounders. The army also included a detachment of about 50 French artillerymen under de St. Frais directing their own field pieces. The French took up positions at the larger tank with four light pieces advanced by two larger pieces, within a mile of the grove. Behind them were a body of 5,000 cavalry and 7,000 infantry commanded by the Nawab’s faithful general Mir Madan Khan and Mohan Lal. The rest of the army numbering 45,000 formed an arc from the small hill to a position 800 yards east of the southern angle of the grove, threatening to surround Clive’s relatively smaller army. The right arm of their army was commanded by Rai Durlabh, the centre by Yar Lutuf Khan and the left arm closest to the British by Mir Jafar.

Clive watched the situation unfolding from the roof of the hunting lodge, anticipating news from Mir Jafar. He ordered his troops to advance from the grove and line up facing the larger tank. His army consisted of 750 European infantry with 100 Topasses, 2100 sepoys (dusadhs)[61] and 100 artillery-men assisted by 50 sailors. The artillery consisted of eight 6-pounders and two howitzers. The Europeans and Topasses were placed in the centre of the line in four divisions, flanked on both sides by three 6-pounders. The sepoys were placed on the right and left in equal divisions. Clive posted two 6-pounders and two howitzers behind some brick-kilns 200 yards (180 m) north of the left division of his army to oppose the French fire.

The battle begins

At 8:00, the French artillery at the larger tank fired the first shot, killing one and wounding another from the grenadier company of the 39th Regiment. This, as a signal, the rest of the Nawab’s artillery started a heavy and continuous fire. The advanced field pieces of the British opposed the French fire, while those with the battalion opposed the rest of the Nawab’s artillery. Their shots did not serve to immobilize the artillery but hit the infantry and cavalry divisions. By 8:30, the British had lost 10 Europeans and 20 sepoys. Leaving the advanced artillery at the brick kilns, Clive ordered the army to retreat back to relative shelter of the grove. The rate of casualties of the British dropped substantially due to the protection of the embankment.

[Ravi: So the initial part of the Battle of Plassey went in favour of the Siraj-ud-daulah and the French, and against the British.]

Death of Mir Madan Khan

At the end of three hours, there was no substantial progress and the positions of both sides had not changed. Clive called a meeting of his staff to discuss the way ahead. It was concluded that the present position would be maintained till after nightfall, and an attack on the Nawab’s camp should be attempted at midnight. Soon after the conference, a heavy rainstorm occurred. The British used tarpaulins to protect their ammunition, while the Nawab’s army took no such precautions. As a result, their gunpowder got drenched and their rate of fire slackened, while Clive’s artillery kept up a continuous fire. As the rain began to subside, Mir Madan Khan, assuming that the British guns were rendered ineffective by the rain, led his cavalry to a charge. However, the British countered the charge with heavy grape shot, mortally wounding Mir Madan Khan and driving back his men.

[Ravi: The above paragraph clearly shows how clumsy Siraj-ud-daulah's (Mughal-Indian) forces were with battle involving gunpowder. They could not protect their gunpowder from rain!!! How foolish from a military planning point of view. The Mughals were a generation back in warfare as compared to the Europeans. A cavalry charge onto a force which is ready with grapeshot! It would have been a massacre of the Mir Madan Khan and his men by the British.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapeshot:

In artillery, a grapeshot is a type of shot that is not one solid element, but a mass of small metal balls or slugs packed tightly into a canvas bag. It was used both in land and naval warfare. When assembled, the balls resembled a cluster of grapes, hence the name. On firing, the balls spread out from the muzzle, giving an effect similar to a giant shotgun.

Grapeshot was devastatingly effective against massed infantry at short range. It was used to savage massed infantry charges quickly.
--- end grapeshot wiki ---

Overall, it seems to me, that it was this previous-generation warfare equipment, tactics & strategy of the Mughals and most other Indian kings (excluding Tipu Sultan) all over India that led to their military defeat against smaller English forces assisted by mercenary natives (Indians) who used latest generation European warfare equipment, tactics & strategy.]

Siraj had remained in his tent throughout the cannonade surrounded by attendants and officers assuring him of victory. When he heard that Mir Madan was mortally wounded, he was deeply disturbed and attempted reconciliation with Mir Jafar, flinging his turban to the ground, entreating him to defend it. Mir Jafar promised his services but immediately sent word of this encounter to Clive, urging him to push forward. Following Mir Jafar’s exit from the Nawab’s tent, Rai Durlabh urged Siraj to withdraw his army behind the entrenchment and advised him to return to Murshidabad leaving the battle to his generals. Siraj complied with this advice and ordered the troops under Mohan Lal to retreat behind the entrenchment. He then mounted a camel and accompanied by 2,000 horsemen set out for Murshidabad.

[Ravi: Mir Jafar would have been watching the battle hedging his bets till the last minute!]
...
Aftermath

In the evening of 23 June, Clive received a letter from Mir Jafar asking for a meeting with him. Clive replied that he would meet Mir Jafar at Daudpur the next morning. When Mir Jafar arrived at the British camp at Daudpur in the morning, Clive embraced him and saluted him as the Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha. He then advised Mir Jafar to hasten to Murshidabad to prevent Siraj’s escape and the plunder of his treasure. Mir Jafar reached Murshidabad with his troops on the evening of 24 June. Clive arrived at Murshidabad on 29 June with a guard of 200 European soldiers and 300 sepoys in the wake of rumours of a possible attempt on his life. Clive was taken to the Nawab’s palace, where he was received by Mir Jafar and his officers. Clive placed Mir Jafar on the throne and acknowledging his position as Nawab, presented him with a plate of gold rupees.

[Ravi: Perhaps this may have been the first instance of the English directly placing somebody on the throne of an Indian kingdom. The earlier interference including military involvement in South India (mentioned earlier in this post) seems to have been more of military support to help somebody become king/Nawab with an expectation of benefits later on.]

Siraj-ud-daulah had reached Murshidabad at midnight on 23 June. He summoned a council where some advised him to surrender to the British, some to continue the war and some to prolong his flight. At 22:00 on 24 June, Siraj disguised himself and escaped northwards on a boat with his favourite women and valuable jewels. His intention was to escape to Patna with aid from Jean Law. At midnight on 24 June, Mir Jafar sent several parties in pursuit of Siraj. On 2 July, Siraj reached Rajmahal and took shelter in a deserted garden but was soon discovered and betrayed to the local military governor, the brother of Mir Jafar, by a man who was previously arrested and punished by Siraj. His fate could not be decided by a council headed by Mir Jafar and was handed over to Mir Jafar’s son, Miran, who had Siraj murdered that night. His remains were paraded on the streets of Murshidabad the next morning and were buried at the tomb of Alivardi Khan.

[Ravi: It was common in such cases in Mughal kingdoms as well as in other Indian kingdoms of that time, for the traitor-become-king to kill the previous king and show his remains to the residents of the capital city of the kingdom, in order to establish himself as the new ruler. Savage, but that's how kings were not only in medieval India but all over the medieval world.]

According to the treaty drawn between the British and Mir Jafar, the British acquired all the land within the Maratha Ditch and 600 yards (550 m) beyond it and the zamindari of all the land between Calcutta and the sea. Besides confirming the firman of 1717, the treaty also required the restitution, including donations to the navy squadron, army and committee, of 22,000,000 rupees (£2,750,000) to the British for their losses. However, since the wealth of Siraj-ud-daulah proved to be far less than expected, a council held with the Seths and Rai Durlabh on 29 June decided that one half of the amount was to be paid immediately – two-thirds in coin and one third in jewels and other valuables. As the council ended, it was revealed to Omichand that he would receive nothing with regard to the treaty, hearing which he went insane.

[Ravi: So the British made huge money out of the military victory and expanded their territory. However, Bengal was still technically under Mir Jafar and not the British.]
...
As a result of the battle of Plassey, the French were no longer a significant force in Bengal. In 1759, the British defeated a larger French garrison at Masulipatam, securing the Northern Circars. By 1759, Mir Jafar felt that his position as a subordinate to the British could not be tolerated. He started encouraging the Dutch to advance against the British and eject them from Bengal. In late 1759, the Dutch sent seven large ships and 1400 men from Java to Bengal under the pretext of reinforcing their Bengal settlement of Chinsura even though Britain and Holland were not officially at war. Clive, however, initiated immediate offensive operations by land and sea and defeated the much larger Dutch force on 25 November 1759 in the Battle of Chinsura. The British then deposed Mir Jafar and installed Mir Qasim as the Nawab of Bengal. The British were now the paramount European power in Bengal. When Clive returned to England due to ill-health, he was rewarded with an Irish peerage, as Lord Clive, Baron of Plassey and also obtained a seat in the British House of Commons.

--- end wiki extract ---

[Ravi: So by 1760 Bengal was clearly under British rule as they could depose Mir Jafar and put somebody else in his place. It should be noted that the English were able to defeat the larger Dutch force that Mir Jafar sought help from. So not only did the British demonstrate military superiority to Siraj-ud-din but also were superior to the French and Dutch forces that fought them.

Now about how Clive benefited personally from this. 
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Clive:
Clive entered Murshidabad, and established Mir Jafar as Nawab, the price which had been agreed beforehand for his treachery. Clive was taken through the treasury, amid a million and a half sterling's worth of rupees, gold and silver plate, jewels and rich goods, and besought to ask what he would. Clive took £160,000, a vast fortune for the day, while half a million was distributed among the army and navy of the East India Company, and provided gifts of £24,000 to each member of the company's committee, as well as the public compensation stipulated for in the treaty.

In this extraction of wealth Clive followed a usage fully recognized by the company, although this was the source of future corruption which Clive was later sent to India again to correct. The company itself acquired revenue of £100,000 a year, and a contribution towards its losses and military expenditure of a million and a half sterling. Mir Jafar further discharged his debt to Clive by afterwards presenting him with the quit-rent of the company's lands in and around Calcutta, amounting to an annuity of £27,000 for life, and leaving him by will the sum of £70,000, which Clive devoted to the army.
...
While loyal to his employers (the British East India Company), actions taken by Robert Clive resulted in the plundering of Indian treasures and famines caused due to policies which were disastrous to local Indian farmers. Historians such as William Dalrymple have called Robert Clive an "unstable sociopath" due to these harmful policies and actions which resulted in famines and atrocities towards local native Indians and peasants. Changes caused by Robert Clive to the revenue system and existing agricultural practices to maximize profits for the company led to the Bengal Famine of 1770.

--- end Clive wiki extract ---

Ravi: So from trader with military facilites to support their trading outposts, the English graduated to military victor with the victor taking the spoils of victory, and becoming oppressive exploiters of Indians who burdened them with taxes, harmed Indian agriculture and industry when it went against English trade interests, and eventually became a despised occupying force.]

Another extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Plassey

Economic

The battle of Palashi and the resultant victory of the British East India company led to puppet governments instated by them in various states of India. This led to an unleashing of excesses, malpractices and atrocities by the British East India Company in the name of tax collection.

This led to largescale detrimental impact on the economy of India (the Indian subcontinent). Research by Simmons (1985) and Harvard Scholars Clingingsmith and Williamson concluded that India's share of world manufacturing output fell from 24.5% in 1750 to a paltry 2.8% in 1880, 1.4% in 1913 and a 2.4% in 1938, based on earlier findings by Simmons (1985).
--- end Battle of Plassey wiki extract ---


Ravi: While the British did have to engage in many other battles to increase their dominance and colonization efforts all over India, the above contents give the important initial forays and victories that the English had.


3) Tipu Sultan of Mysore (South India) perhaps was the biggest thorn in the British flesh till he was eventually defeated and killed by the British. Tipu Sultan, in great contrast with Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah and Nawab Anwaruddin was familiar with gun warfare and even rocket warfare. So he could match the British somewhat in weaponry. 

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipu_Sultan:

Early military service

Tipu Sultan was instructed in military tactics by French officers in the employment of his father. At age 15, he accompanied his father against the British in the First Mysore War in 1766. He commanded a corps of cavalry in the invasion of Carnatic in 1767 at age 16. He also distinguished himself in the First Anglo-Maratha War of 1775–1779.

...

Second Anglo-Mysore War

In 1779, the British captured the French-controlled port of Mahé, which Tipu had placed under his protection, providing some troops for its defence. In response, Hyder launched an invasion of the Carnatic, with the aim of driving the British out of Madras. During this campaign in September 1780, Tipu Sultan was dispatched by Hyder Ali with 10,000 men and 18 guns to intercept Colonel Baillie who was on his way to join Sir Hector Munro. In the Battle of Pollilur, Tipu decisively defeated Baillie. Out of 360 Europeans, about 200 were captured alive, and the sepoys, who were about 3800 men, suffered very high casualties. Munro was moving south with a separate force to join Baillie, but on hearing the news of the defeat he was forced to retreat to Madras, abandoning his artillery in a water tank at Kanchipuram.

Tipu Sultan defeated Colonel Braithwaite at Annagudi near Tanjore on 18 February 1782. Braithwaite's forces, consisting of 100 Europeans, 300 cavalry, 1400 sepoys and 10 field pieces, was the standard size of the colonial armies. Tipu Sultan seized all the guns and took the entire detachment prisoner. In December 1781 Tipu Sultan successfully seized Chittur from the British. Tipu Sultan had thus gained sufficient military experience by the time Hyder Ali died on Friday, 6 December 1782 – some historians put it at 2 or 3 days later or before, (Hijri date being 1 Muharram, 1197 as per some records in Persian – there may be a difference of 1 to 3 days due to the Lunar Calendar). Tipu Sultan realised that the British were a new kind of threat in India. He became the ruler of Mysore on Sunday, 22 December 1782 (The inscriptions in some of Tipu's regalia showing it as 20 Muharram, 1197 Hijri – Sunday), in a simple coronation ceremony. He then worked to check the advances of the British by making alliances with the Marathas and the Mughals.
The Second Mysore War came to an end with the 1784 Treaty of Mangalore. It was the last occasion when an Indian king dictated terms to the British, and the treaty is a prestigious document in the history of India.

[Ravi: So Tipu Sultan BEAT the British and dictated terms to the British in 1782!]
...
Tipu sought support from the French, who had been his traditional allies, aimed at driving his main rivals, the British East India Company, out of the subcontinent. But back in France, the French revolution had broken out, the ruling Bourbon family was executed and the country was in chaos, hence the French did not support him. Napoleon, while still not the Emperor of France, sought an alliance with Tipu Sultan. Napoleon came as far as conquering Egypt in an attempt to link with Tipu Sultan against the British, their common enemy. In February 1798, Napoleon wrote a letter to Tipu Sultan appreciating his efforts of resisting the British annexation and plans, but this letter never reached Tipu and was seized by a British spy in Muscat. The idea of a possible Tipu-Napoleon alliance alarmed the British Governor General Sir Richard Wellesley (also known as Lord Wellesley) so much that he immediately started large scale preparations for a final battle against Tipu Sultan.

Tipu Sultan's forces during the Siege of Srirangapatna.
Both Tipu Sultan and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte were defeated by the same person. In the Final siege and fall of Srirangapatna in 1799, General Arthur Wellesley led the British army into the City after the fall of Tipu Sultan. Arthur was the younger brother of Richard Wellesley, and was one of the British Generals in the Fourth Mysore War. Several years later in Europe, the same Arthur Wellesley, now the Duke of Wellington, led the armies of the Seventh Coalition and defeated the Imperial French army led by Napoleon Bonaparte in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
...
In 1789, Tipu Sultan disputed the acquisition by Dharma Raja of Travancore of two Dutch-held fortresses in Cochin. In December 1789 he massed troops at Coimbatore, and on 28 December made an attack on the lines of Travancore, knowing that Travancore was (according to the Treaty of Mangalore) an ally of the British East India Company. On account of the staunch resistance by the Travancore army, Tipu was unable to break through the Tranvancore lines and the Maharajah of Travancore appealed to the East India Company for help. In response, Lord Cornwallis mobilised company and British military forces, and formed alliances with the Marathas and the Nizam of Hyderabad to oppose Tipu. In 1790 the company forces advanced, taking control of much of the Coimbatore district. Tipu counterattacked, regaining much of the territory, although the British continued to hold Coimbatore itself. He then descended into the Carnatic, eventually reaching Pondicherry, where he attempted without success to draw the French into the conflict.

In 1791 his opponents advanced on all fronts, with the main British force under Cornwallis taking Bangalore and threatening Srirangapatna. Tipu harassed the British supply and communication and embarked on a "scorched earth" policy of denying local resources to the invaders. In this last effort he was successful, as the lack of provisions forced Cornwallis to withdraw to Bangalore rather than attempt a siege of Srirangapatna. Following the withdrawal, Tipu sent forces to Coimbatore, which they retook after a lengthy siege.

The 1792 campaign was a failure for Tipu. The allied army was well-supplied, and Tipu was unable to prevent the junction of forces from Bangalore and Bombay before Srirangapatna. After about two weeks of siege, Tipu opened negotiations for terms of surrender. In the ensuing treaty, he was forced to cede half his territories to the allies, and deliver two of his sons as hostages until he paid in full three crores and thirty lakhs rupees fixed as war indemnity to the British for the campaign against him. He paid the amount in two instalments and got back his sons from Madras.

...
After Horatio Nelson had defeated François-Paul Brueys D'Aigalliers at the Battle of the Nile in Egypt in 1798, three armies, one from Bombay, and two British (one of which included Arthur Wellesley), marched into Mysore in 1799 and besieged the capital Srirangapatna in the Fourth Mysore War.

There were over 26,000 soldiers of the British East India Company comprising about 4000 Europeans and the rest Indians. A column was supplied by the Nizam of Hyderabad consisting of ten battalions and over 16,000 cavalry, and many soldiers were sent by the Marathas. Thus the soldiers in the British force numbered over 50,000 soldiers whereas Tipu Sultan had only about 30,000 soldiers. The British broke through the city walls, French Military advisers advised Tipu Sultan[citation needed] to escape from secret passages and live to fight another day but to their astonishment Tipu replied "One day of life as a Tiger is far better than thousand years of living as a Sheep".[citation needed] Tipu Sultan died defending his capital on 4 May. When the fallen Tipu was identified, Wellesley felt his pulse and confirmed that he was dead.
...
Mysorean rockets
Tipu Sultan's father had expanded on Mysore's use of rocketry, making critical innovations in the rockets themselves and the military logistics of their use. He deployed as many as 1,200 specialised troops in his army to operate rocket launchers. These men were skilled in operating the weapons and were trained to launch their rockets at an angle calculated from the diameter of the cylinder and the distance to the target. The rockets had blades mounted on them, and could wreak significant damage when fired en masse against a large army. Tipu greatly expanded the use of rockets after Hyder's death, deploying as many as 5,000 rocketeers at a time. The rockets deployed by Tipu during the Battle of Pollilur were much more advanced than those the British East India Company had previously seen, chiefly because of the use of iron tubes for holding the propellant; this enabled higher thrust and longer range for the missiles (up to 2 km range).

British accounts describe the use of the rockets during the third and fourth wars. During the climactic battle at Srirangapatna in 1799, British shells struck a magazine containing rockets, causing it to explode and send a towering cloud of black smoke with cascades of exploding white light rising up from the battlements. After Tipu's defeat in the fourth war the British captured a number of the Mysorean rockets. These became influential in British rocket development, inspiring the Congreve rocket, which was soon put into use in the Napoleonic Wars.

[Ravi: As Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali had these rockets and also guns and training from the French they were a match for the British! Weaponry wise they were at the same generation level.]

Mysorean Navy

In 1786 Tipu Sultan, again following the lead of his father, decided to build a navy consisting of 20 battleships of 72 cannons and 20 frigates of 62 cannons. In the year 1790 he appointed Kamaluddin as his Mir Bahar and established massive dockyards at Jamalabad and Majidabad. Tipu Sultan's board of admiralty consisted of 11 commanders in service of a Mir Yam. A Mir Yam led 30 admirals and each one of them had two ships. By the year 1789 most of Tipu Sultan's ships had copper-bottoms, an idea that increased the longevity of the ships and was introduced to Tipu by Admiral Suffren.

[Ravi: The navy of Mysore may have contributed significantly in denting English fleet attacks.]

--- end Tipu Sultan wiki extracts ----

4) Maratha empire and Anglo-Maratha wars.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maratha_Empire:

The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an Indian power that existed from 1674 to 1818. At its peak, the empire covered a territory of over 2.8 million km². The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending the Mughal rule in India.

[Ravi: The very significant point to note from the above is that it was not the British who were the major cause for the end of the Mughal empire. It was the Marathas. The Carnatic wars including the Battle of Plassey (1746 to 1763) including the Battle of Plassey (1757) saw the British getting militarily involved in succession struggles in South India kingdoms held by Mughal feudatories (Nawab of Carnatic & Nawab of Arcot), and defeat the Nawab of Bengal and place the man who betrayed teh Nawab of Bengal as the new Nawab. But they did not involve the centre of Mughal power - Delhi. So most of Central India, West India and North India seem to have been completely outside of British military interference during this time i.e. till 1763 (at least).

Another point to note is that in 1746 which saw the first significant military involvement of the British in Indian kingdom(s), the Mughal power had weakened significantly and perhaps it was the Marathas who were the bigger power at that time.]

The Marathas are the Hindu warrior group from the western Deccan Plateau (present day Maharashtra) that rose to prominence by establishing a Hindavi Swarajya. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The Maratha group of castes is a largely rural class of peasant cultivators, landowners, and soldiers". The Marathas became prominent in the 17th century under the leadership of Shivaji who revolted against the Adil Shahi dynasty and the Mughal Empire and carved out a rebel territory with Raigad as his capital. The Marathas had learned Mughal military skills from Shivaji's father who acquired this knowledge and skills through his time serving as a mandsabdar under Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan. Known for their mobility, the Marathas were able to consolidate their territory during the Mughal–Maratha Wars and later controlled a large part of India.

Chhattrapati Shahu, a grandson of Shivaji, was released by the Mughals after the death of Emperor Aurangzeb. Following a brief struggle with his aunt Tarabai, Shahu became ruler. During this period, he appointed a Chitpavan Brahmin, Balaji Vishwanath, and later, his descendants, as the peshwas or prime ministers of the empire. Balaji and his descendants played a stellar role in expansion of Maratha rule. The empire at its peak stretched from Tamil Nadu in the south, to Peshawar (modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) in the north, and Bengal and Andaman Islands in the east. In 1761, the Maratha army lost the Third Battle of Panipat to Ahmad Shah Durrani of the Afghan Durrani Empire which halted their imperial expansion in northwestern India.

[Ravi: The loss of the Marathas to the Afghan Ahmad Shah Durrani (and his allies) in 1761 seems to have been the start of the decline of the Marathas. This would have been an opportunity for the British to start challenging the Marathas for influence/control over West, Central and North India.]

Ten years after Panipat, the young Peshwa Madhavrao I's Maratha Resurrection reinstated Maratha authority over North India.

In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, he gave semi-autonomy to the strongest of the knights, which created a confederacy of Maratha states. They became known as the Gaekwads of Baroda, the Holkars of Indore and Malwa, the Scindias of Gwalior and Ujjain, the Bhonsales of the Nagpur and the Puars of Dhar & Dewas. In 1775, the East India Company intervened in a Peshwa family succession struggle in Pune, which became the First Anglo-Maratha War.

[Ravi: The first attempt by the British to interfere with Maratha succession struggle in 1775 seems to have ended in failure, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Anglo-Maratha_War.]

The Marathas remained the preeminent power in India until their defeat in the Second and Third Anglo-Maratha Wars (1805–1818), which left the East India Company in control of most of India.

[Ravi: 1818 seems to be the BIG YEAR for the British in terms of achieving military dominance of some sort over most of India as they defeated the Marathas. Tipu Sultan of Mysore had been defeated (& killed) earlier. After 1818 there seems to have been nobody powerful enough to challenge the British militarily in India.

Some details about the second and third Anglo-Maratha wars. 
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Anglo-Maratha_War:

The Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803–1805) was the second conflict between the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire in India.

Background

The English had supported the "fugitive" Peshwa Raghunathrao in the First Anglo-Maratha War, continued with his "fugitive" son, Baji Rao II. Though not as martial in his courage as his father, the son was "a past master in deceit and intrigue." Coupled with his "cruel streak", Baji Rao II soon invoked the enmity of Malhar Rao Holkar when he had one of Holkar's relatives killed.

In October 1802, Peshwa Baji Rao II was defeated by Yashwantrao Holkar, ruler of Indore, at the Battle of Poona. He fled to British protection, and in December the same year concluded the Treaty of Bassein with the British East India Company, ceding territory for the maintenance of a subsidiary force and agreeing to treaty with no other power. The treaty would become the "death knell of the Maratha Confederacy."

After the fall of Mysore in 1799-1800, the Marathas were the only major power left outside British control in India. The Maratha empire at that time consisted of a confederacy of five major chiefs: the Peshwa at Poona, Gaekwad of Baroda, Scindia of Gwalior, Holkar of Indore, and Bhonsale of Nagpur. The Maratha chiefs were engaged in internal quarrels among themselves. Wellesley had repeatedly offered a subsidiary treaty to the Peshwa and Scindia but Nana Fadnavis refused strongly. However, in 1802 when Holkar defeated the combined armies of Peshwa and Scindia, Peshwa Baji Rao II signed the Subsidiary treaty at Bassein in 1802.

[Ravi: Infighting between the Maratha chiefs allowed the British to interfere. It has to be noted here that the Mughal empire under Aurangzeb was a far more unified and stable empire. In contrast the relatively new Maratha empire seems to have lacked the sophistication of large empire administration that the Mughals had, leading to the empire not being able to sustain itself for long, and becoming easy prey to British exploiting the infighting and succession struggles among the Maratha chiefs.]

War

This act on the part of the Peshwa, their nominal overlord, horrified and disgusted the Maratha chieftains; in particular, the Scindia rulers of Gwalior and the Bhonsale rulers of Nagpur and Berar contested the agreement.
The British strategy included Wellesley securing the Deccan Plateau, Lake taking Doab and then Delhi, Powell entering Bundelkhand, Murray taking Badoch, and Harcourt neutralizing Bihar. The British had available over 53,000 men to help accomplish their goals.

In September 1803, Scindia forces lost to Lord Gerard Lake at Delhi and to Lord Arthur Wellesley at Assaye. On 18 October, British forces took the pettah of Asirgarh Fort with a loss of two killed and five wounded. The fort's garrison subsequently surrendered on the 21st after the attackers had erected a battery. British artillery pounded ancient ruins used by Scindia forces as forward operating bases, eroding their control. In November, Lake defeated another Scindia force at Laswari, followed by Wellesley's victory over Bhonsale forces at Argaon (now Adgaon) on 29 November 1803. The Holkar rulers of Indore belatedly joined the fray and compelled the British to make peace. Wellesley, who went on to defeat Napoleon at Waterloo, would later remark that Assaye was tougher than Waterloo.

Conclusion

On December 17, 1803, Raghoji II Bhonsale of Nagpur signed the Treaty of Deogaon in Odisha with the British after the Battle of Argaon and gave up the province of Cuttack (which included Mughalbandi/the coastal part of Odisha, Garjat/the princely states of Odisha, Balasore Port, parts of Midnapore district of West Bengal).

On 30 December 1803, the Daulat Scindia signed the Treaty of Surji-Anjangaon with the British after the Battle of Assaye and Battle of Laswari and ceded to the British Rohtak, Gurgaon, Ganges-Jumna Doab, the Delhi-Agra region, parts of Bundelkhand, Broach, some districts of Gujarat, fort of Ahmmadnagar.

The British started hostilities against Yashwantrao Holkar on 6 April 1804. The Treaty of Rajghat, signed on 24 December 1805, forced Holkar to give up Tonk, Rampura, and Bundi.

[Ravi: So the second Anglo-Maratha war resulted in the British not only winning the war and establishing military superiority over the Marathas but also in gaining territory from the Maratha chiefs. Perhaps after this military victory over the Marathas, it was just a matter of time before the militarilty and organizationally superior British would control all of India.]
--- end extracts from second Anglo-Maratha war wiki ---

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Anglo-Maratha_War

The Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817–1818) was the final and decisive conflict between the British East India Company (EIC) and the Maratha Empire in India. The war left the Company in control of most of India. It began with an invasion of the Maratha territory by British East India Company troops, the largest such British controlled force massed in India. The troops were led by the Governor General Hastings (no relation to Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of Bengal) supported by a force under General Thomas Hislop. Operations began against the Pindaris, a band of Muslims and Marathas from central India.

Peshwa Baji Rao II's forces, supported by those of Mudhoji II Bhonsle of Nagpur and Malharrao Holkar III of Indore, rose against the EIC. Pressure and diplomacy convinced the fourth major Maratha leader, Daulatrao Shinde of Gwalior, to remain neutral even though he lost control of Rajasthan.

British victories were swift, resulting in the breakup of the Maratha Empire and the loss of Maratha independence. The Peshwa was defeated in the battles of Khadki and Koregaon. Several minor battles were fought by the Peshwa's forces to prevent his capture.

The Peshwa was eventually captured and placed on a small estate at Bithur, near Kanpur. Most of his territory was annexed and became part of the Bombay Presidency. The Maharaja of Satara was restored as the ruler of his territory as a princely state. In 1848 this territory was also annexed by the Bombay Presidency under the doctrine of lapse policy of Lord Dalhousie. Bhonsle was defeated in the battle of Sitabuldi and Holkar in the battle of Mahidpur. The northern portion of Bhonsle's dominions in and around Nagpur, together with the Peshwa's territories in Bundelkhand, were annexed by British India as the Saugor and Nerbudda Territories. The defeat of the Bhonsle and Holkar also resulted in the acquisition of the Maratha kingdoms of Nagpur and Indore by the British. Along with Gwalior from Shinde and Jhansi from the Peshwa, all of these territories became princely states acknowledging British control. The British proficiency in Indian war-making was demonstrated through their rapid victories in Khadki, Sitabuldi, Mahidpur, Koregaon, and Satara.

[Ravi: British military superiority is clearly evident from the above description.]

...

The Maratha Empire had failed to upgrade its guerrilla warfare tactics as their Empire grew. Efforts to modernize the armies were half-hearted and undisciplined: newer techniques were not absorbed by the soldiers while the older methods and experience were lost. The Maratha Empire lacked an efficient spy system, and they were poor students of diplomacy. Maratha artillery was outdated, and they did not manufacture their own guns. Weapons were imported and the supply often failed. Foreign officers were responsible for the handling of the imported guns; the Marathas never trained their own men in any considerable numbers for the purpose. Military movements were made without knowledge of local geography; when moving troops or retreating, they would suddenly come across a river and be trapped when they were unable to locate boats or a crossing. The enemy would take advantage of this to gain the best position, and the Marathas would lose the battle or would be overtaken and slaughtered while fleeing.

[Ravi: The above paragraph clearly shows why the Marathas could not militarily match the British. The Marathas were able to defeat the Mughals as they were both using same generation warfare. But with the British, the Marathas found an opponent who was using a higher generation of warfare including being far more organized. Science & Technology of the British was way superior to the Indians in general and Marathas in particular, and that seems to have led to this difference in generation of warfare.]
...
End of the war and its effects

At the end of the war, all of the Maratha powers had surrendered to the British. Shinde and the Afghan Amir Khan were subdued by the use of diplomacy and pressure, which resulted in the Treaty of Gwailor on 5 November 1817. Under this treaty, Shinde surrendered Rajasthan to the British and agreed to help them fight the Pindaris. Amir Khan agreed to sell his guns to the British and received a land grant at Tonk in Rajuptana. Holkar was defeated on 21 December 1817 and signed the Treaty of Mandeswar on 6 January 1818. Under this treaty the Holkar state became subsidiary to the British. The young Malhar Rao was raised to the throne. Bhonsle was defeated on 26 November 1817 and was captured but he escaped to live out his life in Jodhpur. The Peshwa surrendered on 3 June 1818 and was sent off to Bithur near Kanpur under the terms of the treaty signed on 3 June 1818.[90] Of the Pindari leaders, Karim Khan surrendered to Malcolm in February 1818; Wasim Mohammad surrendered to Shinde and eventually poisoned himself; and Setu was killed by a tiger.

The war left the British, under the auspices of the British East India Company, in control of virtually all of present-day India south of the Sutlej River. The famed Nassak Diamond was acquired by the Company as part of the spoils of the war. The British acquired large chunks of territory from the Maratha Empire and in effect put an end to their most dynamic opposition. The terms of surrender Malcolm offered to the Peshwa were controversial amongst the British for being too liberal: The Peshwa was offered a luxurious life near Kanpur and given a pension of about 80,000 pounds. A comparison was drawn with Napoleon, who was confined to a small rock in the south Atlantic and given a small sum for his maintenance. Trimbakji Dengale was captured after the war and was sent to the fortress of Chunarin Bengal where he spent the rest of his life. With all active resistance over, John Malcolm played a prominent part in capturing and pacifying the remaining fugitives.

The Peshwa's territories were absorbed into the Bombay Presidency and the territory seized from the Pindaris became the Central Provinces of British India. The princes of Rajputana became symbolic feudal lords who accepted the British as the paramount power. Thus Francis Rawdon-Hastings redrew the map of India to a state which remained more or less unaltered until the time of Lord Dalhousie. The British brought an obscure descendant of Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire, to be the ceremonial head of the Maratha Confederacy to replace the seat of the Peshwa. An infant from the Holkar family was appointed as the ruler of Nagpur under British guardianship. The Peshwa adopted a son, Nana Sahib, who went on to be one of the leaders of the Rebellion of 1857. After 1818, Montstuart Elphinstone reorganized the administrative divisions for revenue collection, thus reducing the importance of the Patil, the Deshmukh, and the Deshpande. The new government felt a need to communicate with the local Marathi-speaking population; Elphinstone pursued a policy of planned standardization of the Marathi language in the Bombay Presidency starting after 1820.

[Ravi: That's it. The British were in control of most of India. The north-west had a Sikh kingdom which took longer to come under British control. But the most of the rest of India was in British hands.

So it took the period from 1746, the first significant military involvement of the British in India to 1818, a period of 72 years for the British to militarily dominate most of India.]

--- end wiki extracts from third Anglo-Maratha War ----

]

A large portion of the Maratha empire was coastline, which had been secured by a potent navy under commanders such as Kanhoji Angre. He was very successful at keeping foreign naval ships, particularly of the Portuguese and British, at bay. Securing the coastal areas and building land-based fortifications were crucial aspects of the Maratha's defensive strategy and regional military history.

[Ravi: Very interesting to note that the Marathas had a potent Navy which could keep the Portuguese and the British at bay.]

Factors which allowed the British to colonize India (as it seems to me)

Ravi: The above post contents gives a fair idea, IMHO, of how the British colonized India. The factors which allowed the British to colonize India seem to me to be [note that this summary has also been provided at the beginning of this post]:

a) The mastery of the British over the sea as compared to Indians, allowed them to engage in trade between Europe & India with no competition from Indians (competition from other European powers was there but the British were able to prevail over this competition eventually). I mean, the Europeans discovered new sea routes from Europe to India, China, and also to the Americas. They sailed all over the world. In comparison, at that time, Indians would have sailed from Indian coast to Arabia on one side and to East Asia on the other, but surely not all over the world. Indian ship quality and capability, I guess, would have been no match to ocean faring ships of the Europeans.

b) East India Company got permission from Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1612 to engage in trade, and was promised protection for their trading facilities and men. The first Carnatic War was in 1746 which seems to have seen the first serious military engagement of the British to support one claimant in a succession struggle for a South Indian kingdom. In between in 1690 under command from Emperor Aurangzeb, one of his generals had defeated the English in Bombay and got control of Bombay. East India Company had to seek pardon from Emperor Aurangzeb, pay indemnity and promise better behaviour before it was given back control of Bombay! So for one hundred and thirty four (134) years after Mughal Emperor Jahangir gave the East India company (the English) permission to set up trading outposts and conduct trade, the English did not get involved seriously in any military interference in Indian kingdoms.

c) The period of over a century of trade, with trading towns under their control (Bombay, Madras, Calcutta) before 1746 gave the English tremendous amount of money and great knowledge of Indian natives. They would have employed Indian natives for lot of work including using them as security guards for their "factories" (storehouses). The Indian natives, living in a feudal kingdoms India as against a unified country India, would have been mainly concerned about the pay they were receiving from the English for their services and not bothered about the colour of their skin or the strange language they spoke amongst themselves. The great money power that East India Company had acquired through trade would have made them quite influential among Indian traders and even Indian kings. Graduating from that position to enlisting Indian natives as paid and trained soldiers loyal to the English and under English/British officers would have been quite a natural and easy step.

d) The English military weaponry, tactics and strategy were a generation ahead of Indian kingdoms. So even a smaller English force assisted by Indian natives trained and paid by the English could defeat larger forces of Indian kingdoms. The Carnatic wars including the very important Battle of Plassey demonstrate this.

e) Vastly superior European Science & technology (to Indian science & technology then), I guess, would have contributed significantly to better military weaponry, tactics and strategy. I mean, even the printing presses that were in operation throughout Western Europe in 1500, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printing_press, would have had no proper equivalent in most of India in 1750! I mean, the European trading towns in India (Madras, Bombay, Calcutta) may have had it and they may have given it to some friendly kings but that's it.

f) The English were far better organized and had a unified country as compared to Indian kingdoms which had rampant treachery both within the kingdom and across kingdoms. The English would have had such treachery in past centuries in England but they had developed beyond that to become a unified and well organized country. This along with their money power and superior military weaponry, tactics and strategy allowed the English to exploit treachery faultlines in Indian kingdoms and play kingmaker. Graduating from kingmaker to become ruler with puppet kings paying taxes/tribute to the British was a natural next step over time.

g) The British were able to force other European colonizer competition mainly the French but also the Dutch to keep out of India. To achieve this the British had to fight battles in India with the French and also the Dutch, and defeat them.

Given the analysis above, I find the view that a lack of cohesiveness and unity as a country allowed 300 Brits to divide and conquer India, to be a false and ridiculous Western-world-centric and Western-world-hero-worshipping view of how the British colonized India.

=====================================================
An interesting link with input on this matter from various persons is: How did the British colonize India?, https://www.quora.com/How-did-the-British-colonize-India

[I thank Wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

3 comments:

  1. I remember my childhood days, I was good at History but not good at remembering dates and years. I mean I'm really poor at that. My father has a very strong command over History and he finds it interesting. I find History boring from the point that we have to recall years and dates. Story wise it is interesting but I feel History is not useful if we don't pick up valuable lessons from there. The comment which you got at Facebook was Truth/True indeed. You see I prepared for UPSC Exams and we were supposed to prepare for History as well. So, I read all CBSE books up to XII Grade. The higher classes books which I read were quite old books, I don't know if they are available these days because we got them from Delhi. In those books it was mentioned in one chapter that one main reason for India getting colonized was that India had some traitors who being Indians sided with Britishers. So, such traitors revealed the secrets or loop-holes about Indian Kingdoms and States to the Britishers in exchange of pecuniary benefits...

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    1. The 300 Brits part of the Facebook comment was CERTAINLY FALSE. I agree that the divide and rule strategy due to India not being a unified country then but a set of warring kingdoms, made it easy for the British.

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  2. You have done a great job by coming up with this insightful topic...

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