Eighteenth Century Political Formation Class 10 Notes Social-Science History Chapter 10

Chapter at a Glance

  • With the decline of the Mughal Empire new political groups began to emerge in the sub-continent during the first half of the 18th century.
  • The Mughal Empire lost its glory and started facing a variety of crises towards the closing years of the 17th century.
  • Emperor Aurangzeb is held responsible for this. He had depleted the military and financial resources of his empire by fighting along war in the Deccan.
  • Under his successors the efficiency of the imperial administration broke down. Nobles appointed as governors became more powerful. They began to control the offices of revenue and military administration. This created political and economic crisis.
  • The attack of Nadir Shah the ruler of Iran, on Delhi in 1739 aggravated the crisis. He plundered the city of Delhi and took away immense amounts of wealth.
  • Soon Ahmad shah Abdali became active. He invaded north India five times between 1748 and 1761.
  • The competition amongst different groups of nobles further weakened the empire. These were two major groups or factions—the Iranis and Turanis (nobles of Turkish descent). For a longtime, the later mughal emperors were puppets in the hands of either one or the other of these two powerful groups.
  • Through the 18th century, the Mughal Empire gradually fragmented into a number of independent, regional states.
  • The states of the 18th century can be divided into three overlapping groups.
  • States that were old Mughal provinces such as Awadh, Bengal and Hyderabad.
  • States that had enjoyed considerable independence under theMughal as watan jagirs,
  • States under the control of Marathas, Sikhs and others like the Jats.
  • Hyderabad state (1724-1748) was founded by Nizam-ul-MulkAsaf Jah. He was one of the most powerful members at the court of the Mughal Emperor Farukh Siyar. He was given the change ofthe Deccan. Soon he became powerful there and declared himself the actual ruler of that region. Although he was still aservant of the Mughal emperor, he ruled independently.
  • The state of Awadh was founded by Burhan-ul-Mulk Sa’adatKhan in the year 1722. He did not like the Mughal influence in the Awadh region and therefore reduced the number of office holders or jagirdars appointed by the Mughals. He also reduced the size of jagirs and appointed his own loyal servants to vacant positions.
  • Murshid Quli Khan took the control of Bengal and began tocommand the revenue administration of the state. He transferred all Mughal jagirdars to Orissa in order to reduce the Mughal influence in Bengal. He ordered a major reassessment of the revenues of Bengal. Revenue was collected in cash with greatstrictness from all zamindars.
  • The Rajput Kings, of Amber and Jodhpur were given permissionby the Mughals, to enjoy considerable autonomy in their watanjagirs. Soon, these rulers began to extend their control overadjacent regions.
  • Raja Ajit Singh of Jodhpur held the governorship of Gujarat andSawai Raja Jai Singh of Amber was governor of Malwa. They also tried to extend their territories by seizing portions of imperial territories neighbouring their watans. Nagpur was conquered andannexed to the housed of Jodhpur while Amber seized largeportions of Bundi.
  • In the 18th century, the Sikhs organised themselves into anumber of bands called jathas and later on mils. Their combinedforces were known as the grand army (dal khalsa).
  • Guru Gobind Singh had inspired the Khalsa with the belief that their destiny was to rule. Their well-knit organisation enabled them to put up a successful resistance to the Mughal governors first and then to Ahmad Shah Abdali who had seized the rich province of the Punjab and the Sirhind from the Mughals. TheKhalsa declared their sovereign rule by striking in 1765.
  • The Sikh territories extended from the Indus to the Jamuna in thelate 18th century but they were divided under different rulers suchas Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
  • Shivaji carried out the Maratha Kingdom. He built a powerful Maratha army and challenged the Mughals in the peninsula.
  • After the death of Shivaji, Peshwas took the control of the Maratha Kingdom. Poona became its capital.
  • Between 1720 and 1761, the Maratha empire expanded and gradually chipped away at the authority of the Mughal Empire.Malwa and Gujarat were seized from the Mughals by the 1720s.By the 1730s the Maratha King was recognised as the overlord ofthe entire Deccan peninsula.
  • After raiding Delhi in 1737, the frontiers of Maratha domination expanded rapidly into Rajasthan and Punjab in the north, into Bengal and Orissa in the east and into Karnataka and the Tamiland Telugu countries in the south.
  • The jats consolidated their power during the late 17th and 18th centuries. Under their leader, Churaman, they accquired controlover territories situated to the west of the city of Delhi, and by the1680s they had began dominating the region between the two imperial cities of Delhi and Agra.

Related Articles: