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Economic Life in 18th Cenury3

Economic Life in 18th Cenury3

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Published by Vinod Gandhi

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Published by: Vinod Gandhi on May 20, 2011
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1 INDIA IN THE 18TH CENTURY Why is the period of 18th century considered a period of stagnation in Indian History?


Ans.: Main features of the Indian Economic Life in the 18th Century. (1) India a Land of Contrasts. The society was divided into two groups. One group was that of the chiefs and their stooges who were fully enjoying and the other group was oppressed group who were deprived of every amenity, irrespective of their hard labour. (2) Backward and Stagnant Agriculture. Agriculture was the main source for livelihood during the 18th century. But due to the old method of cultivation and outdated implements the land had gone infertile. (3) Self-sufficient Villages. The villages were self-sufficient and most of the needs of the villages were fulfilled in the village itself. (4) Decline in the Internal Trade. The trade was hindered due to poor communication on the one hand and on the other hand, it got a set-back due to internal disturbances. There was hardly any security on the roads. The people were often robbed on the way. It was thus very difficult to send commodities from one place to another. (5) Activities of the foreign Trading Companies. The foreign trading companies were hankering after the Indian trade. The British, the French, the Portugese, the Dutch etc. all joined hands to undermine the economic condition of India. Q.2 What were the two achievements of the Nawabs of Bengal in the 18th Century? particularly Murshid-Quali-Khand crushed the rebels and established peace and order in the country. (2) They treated alike both their Hindus and Muslim subjects and gave them equal opportunities. Q.3 Describe the political condition of India at the beginning of the 18th century. after the downfall of the Mughal Empire there ensured a struggle for supremacy not only between the native powers, but also between the native powers and foreigners. Taking full advantage of the weakness of the Mughal Empire, various states like Hyderabad, Bengal, Qudh, Mysore etc. became independent in different parts of India. These states are sometimes called ‘Succession States’. Ans.: The 18th century is generally regarded as the darkest period in the History of India because Ans.: (1) The Nawabs of Bengal (murshid-Quli-Khand, Ali Vardi Khand and Siraj-ud-Daula)


-2– INDIA IN THE 18TH CENTURY Particularly, the rise of the so-called succestion states (Hyderabad, Bengal, Oudh, Mysore etc.) proved very disastrous for the Mughal Empire. It tore the Mughal empire into pieces and led to anarchy throughout India. It encouraged the powers like the Rajputs, Jats, Sikhs, Marathas, etc. to make the best use of anarchy and make the confusion more confounded. Not only this, even, the foreign powers like the Portugese, the Dutch, the French, the English etc. were also encouraged to fish in trouble waters.


Discuss the Ranjit Singh’s Administration of the Punjab. Punjab and is taken to be one of the few Indian administrators. He was born in 1780 A.D. at Gujaranwala in the Sukharchakia Misl, which was being headed by S.Mohan Singh at that time. He learnt more of the sword, horse-riding and other fighting activities instead of reading and writing. He was hardly 12 when his father died and he was made the ruler. He was married in the Kanhaiya Misl which greatly strengthened his position. Conquests. He started his conquests in 1799 A.D. by winning over Lahore. He got Amritsar in 1802 A.D. from the Bhangi Misl. He became the ruler of the entire area upto the Satluj by the year1806 A.D. Then he tried to capture Patiala and Jind after crossing over the river Satluj. He had to enter into a treaty at Amritsar with the English in 1809 A.D. according to which the river Satluj was fixed as the eastern boundary of his kingdom. Upto his death in 1839 A.D. there were many ups and downs in their relations but on the whole they maintained good relations. After the treaty of Amritsar he fixed his attention towards the west and within a short period he conquered Kangra, Multan, Attock, Kashmir, Hazara, Derajat, Peshawar, Ladakh and Jamrud etc. In this way, he founded a vast kingdom due to his ability and power which was not an easy task.

Ans.: Early life and Accession. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the founder of the Sikh state in the


Give a critical appreciation of the character and achievements Hyder Ali of Mysore. which came into being in the south were Hyderabad and Mysore. After the fall of Vijaynagar, Mysore maintained its identity. During the 18th century two minister Nanjaraj and Devraj took powers in their hands and the emperor Chikka Krishna Raj became a puppet in their hands. Hyder Ali, in those days, was quite an unknown person. He was born in 1721 A.D. He was merely seven when his father

Ans.: Establishment of the State of Mysore. During the 18th century the two important states


-3– INDIA IN THE 18TH CENTURY died. The difficulties at the beginning gave him the qualities of confidence, enthusiasm and wisdom. He became a helper of Nanjaraj while the serving in the army. He took over all the powers from Nanjaraj in 1761 A.D. and became an independent ruler in 1766 A.D. after the King’s death. Hyder Ali an Administrator. Although he was an illiterate person, he was an able man. He was much above the caste distinctions. He appointed many Hindus on higher ranks. His first Dewan and many other officers were the Hindus. He loved his people and was always ready to help them.


Describe the expansion of the Maratha power under the first three Peshwas. Shambhaji was caught and killed in 1689 A.D. The Peshwas soon became popular and thus started their regime. Balaji Vishwanath (1712 – 20 A.D.) He was the founder of Peshwasship. He was very able and an intelligent person. Slowly and slowly, he assumed all the powers in his hands and made Peshwaship hereditary. He changed his capital from Sitara to Poona and put in many other reforms but the important task undertaken by him was the help he rendered to the sayyid Brothers (Hussain Ali and Abdullah Khan). The Sayyed Brothers, with his help, dethroned the Mughal emperor Farrukh Siyar and chose rulers according to their sweet will. Besides this the Marathas got the right to collect Chauth and Sardeshmukhi (Only for 10 lakh rupees per years) from the six Subhas of the Deccan. This was not a small success of Balaji Vishwanth as it resulted in spreading the Maratha influence in the entire area of the Deccan. Baji Rao I (1720 – 40 A.D.). After Balaji’s death in 1720 A.D., his 20 year old son Baji Rao became the Peshwa. He proved an efficient solider and a clever administrator. Baji Rao was perhaps the bravest Maratha chief after Shivaji. He is known as the ablest of all the Peshwas due to his wisdom and bravery. His father had done a lot to increase the Maratha influence in the South; likewise he did the same in the North. He sent the Maratha army first of all to win Malwa and Gujrat in 1724 A.D., which they easily did. He invaded Delhi himself in 1737 A.D.

Ans.: After Shivaji’s death his son Shambhaji and Grandson Sahu proved incompetent.


-4– INDIA IN THE 18TH CENTURY Balaji Baji Rao (1740 – 61 A.D.) After the death of Balaji I, his 18 years old son Balaji Baji Rao became the Peshwa in 1740 A.D. Although he was not as powerful as his father, he managed his affairs with the help of his cousin Sadashiv Rao who was a very wise man. During his regime the Maratha power touched its peak. They regined from Bihar and Orrisa in the East to Punjab in the West.

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