Modern India: Conquest of India in 18th Century

In the previous post, we have studied about Aurangzeb, the last ruler of Mughal Empire. Though in the actual sense he was not the last ruler because after him we found so many incapable rulers of Mughal Empire. So, one can say that Aurangzeb was the last capable ruler of Mughal Empire.

After Aurangzeb, later Mughals were not able to consolidate the Mughal Empire. So, Mughal Empire got disintegrated in different provinces. It is very true that when there is no powerful centre, the provinces mostly become the rebel or declare themselves as the independent.

So was true in case of India of 18th Century, which gave opportunities to European powers to come and establish their base in India. From here starts the story of Modern India.

Modern India: Conquest of India

From the ancient times, India was the land of wealth and prosperity and was known as Golden Sparrow. It was all because of its natural resources, the discovery of monsoons in 47 AD by Hippalus. All these turned India as the heart of the west and east trade. Lastly, the balance of payment was always in the favour of India.

Modern India: Golden Land
Modern India: Golden Land

This wealth and prosperity of India attracted foreigners, which led to continuous invasion on India. It was a sequential invasion series from the Aryans, Shakas, Kushanas, Hunas, Turks, Mongols, Mughals, Afghanis, Iranis (Nadir Shah) and now terrorists are threatening not only India but also this whole world.

Modern India: Coming of European Powers

World Dynamics
World Dynamics

In the 16th Century, Europeans appeared as the new contender for Indian Subcontinent and story of Modern India begins from here. The story started from Crusade leading to Renaissance. The next important development was geographical discoveries. Examples:

  • 1492, Columbus discovered North America.
  • 1498, Vasco-da-Gama got the direct sea route to Indian Subcontinent via Cape of Good Hope with the help of Indian merchant Abdul Majid.

This was the beginning of the direct connection between west and east. Portuguese were good sailors, so they grab the opportunity of east expedition first. So, Portuguese took the initiation and after their success in Indian Subcontinent Dutch, English and French came to Indian Subcontinent.

Coming of New Philosophies in India

In the 16th Century, Europeans entered in India. Actually, they were under the influence of new philosophies of Capitalism and Mercantilism. Therefore from the very beginning apart from trade and commerce these European companies had the intention political conquest. Examples:

  • In 1498 CE, Portuguese entered in India and in 1510 their Governor Albuquerque occupied Goa.
  • The year 1636 CE, Portuguese made the attempt to occupy Hooghli but they failed.
  • In 1687 CE, Britishers tried to occupy Hooghli. But they also failed because of the presence of strong Mughal rulers in India like Shahjahan and Aurangzeb.

In the last phase of 17th Century Europeans failed in their political ambitions. So, they became dormant and waited for the appropriate time. They got it on 13th February 1739. It was Battle of Karnal, which showed the loopholes to the Europeans.

Modern India: Battle of Karnal, 1739

It was the battle fought between Iranian General Nadir Shah and Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah ‘Rangeela’. In this battle, Nadir Shah not only defeated Mughal Emperor but also humiliated him. Nadir Shah plundered India, which includes 70crores in cash, Koh-i-Noor diamond and Peacock Throne (constructed by Shahjahan).

The victory of Nadir Shah over the Mughal Emperor was a good message for the European countries. They got the message that “THE BOSS OF THE COUNTRY IS DEAD”. So, once again they stood up for political ambitions. The Carnatic Wars of southern India gave them this opportunity in 18th Century.

There were four main contenders for the Indian Subcontinent in the Modern India.

Four Contenders: Portuguese v/s Dutch v/s Britishers v/s French
Four Contenders: Portuguese v/s Dutch v/s Britishers v/s French

We will have a look on Carnatic Wars in the next coming posts.

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