Eighteenth-Century Political Formations (Class 7 History Chapter 10 Notes)

Bharatpur was the capital of Surajmal Jat Kingdom
Deeg Palace, Bharatpur/LRBurdak
In the 18th century, the power dynamics of India changed quite darastically. The power shifted its hand from the Mughals to the British within a short period of time.

The Crisis of the Empire and the Later Mughals
  1. By the end of 17th century, the Mughal Empire started shrinking. Some of the major factors behind this fall are:
  2. Depletion of Mughal financial and military resources because of constant skirmished with Deccan and other regions.
  3. Incompetent lineage of rulers after Aurangzeb.
  4. The revolt of subadars (governors) and mansabdars, alongwith internal bureaucracy.
  5. Peasant and zamindari rebellion from different part of India.
  6. The sudden and humilating defeat of Mughal emperor by Nadir Shah in 1739. Followed by a series of attacks by Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Abdali between 1748 and 1761.

Emergence of New States
  1. Through the 18th century, the Mughal Empire gradually disintregated into a number of small independent states.
  2. These states can be divided into three category. These are 1. States that were old Mughal provinces such as Awadh, Bengal and Hyderabad. 2. Watan Jagirs - States that had enjoyed considerable independence under the Mughals such as Rajputanas. and 3. States under the control of Marathas, Sikhs and others like the Jats.

The Old Mughal Provinces

  1. Hyderabad was founded by the Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah (1724-1748). He was the powerful member at the court of the Mughal Emperor Farrukh Siyar.
  2. Under Farrukh Siyar, he was first appointed as the governor of Awadh and later Deccan. He seized the power of Deccan sensing the turmoil in the Mughal empire.
  3. They still appointed several skilled mansabdar and granted them jagirs.
  4. The state was constantly engaged in struggle with the Marathas and Telugu warrior chiefs.

  1. The Awadh state was founded by the Burhan-ul-Mulk Sa‘adat Khan in 1722.
  2. It controlled the rich alluvial Ganga plain and the main trade route between north India and Bengal.
  3. Sa‘adat Khan reduced Mughal influence in Awadh court by reducing number of jagirdars (office holders). He seized a number of Rajput zamindars and Afghan landlord's holding.
  4. The state dependent upon local bankers (mahajans) for loans and sold it tax collection rights to highest bidders.

  1. The Bengal state was founded by Murshid Quli Khan. He was appointed as naib, deputy to the governor of the state. However, he seized the power seeking the turmoil in the Mughal Empire.
  2. He collected the revenue with great strictness, which eventually led to the rise of banking house such as House of Jagat Seth to the prominence.

The Common Features Among Three New States
  1. They inherited some or other form of the jagirdari system for administartion.
  2. They were dependent upon ijaradari for tax revenue rather than appointing officers for revenue collection.
  3. A class of rich merchants and bankers emerged with them.

The Watan Jagirs of the Rajputs
  1. Watan Jagirs were the subordinate to the Mughals but they enjoyed a degree of adminstrative and military freedom.
  2. In the 18th century, they attempted to extend their territories. Jodhpur annexed Nagaur and Amber seized large portions of Bundi.
  3. Their further expansion was checked by the emerging Maratha warriors.

Seizing Independence
The Sikhs

  1. By the end of 17th century, Sikhs emerged as a political entity and they built the regional state of Punjab. They fought several battles under the leadership of Guru Gobind Singh against the Rajput and Mughal rulers after the birth of Khalsa in 1699.
  2. After the death of Guru Gobind Singh in 1708, the Khalsa rose in revolt against the Mughal Empire and established their administration over the region between Sutlej and Yamuna under the leadership of Banda Bahadur. Though, he was captured in 1715 and executed by the Mughals in 1716.
  3. In 18th century, they slowly and steadily rose to the power under the combined leadership of Jathas.
  4. They introduced the system of Rakhi, offering protection to farmers on the payment of 20 percent revnue.
  5. Maharaja Ranjit Singh reunited all small khalsa groups and formed first Sikh empire.

The Marathas
  1. Shivaji (1627-1680) established a stable Maratha kingdom with the support of powerful warrior Deshmukh families.
  2. After Shivaji death, the power shifted in the hand of Chitpavan Brahmanas who served as Peshwa (Prime Minister) under Shivaji rule.
  3. Under the Peshwas, Poona became the capital of Maratha and became a force to be reckoned with.
  4. By the 1730s, they were recognized as the overlords of the Deccan region.
  5. They developed an effective administrative system. The tax system was based on the local conditions of the area. The agriculture was encouraged.

The Jats
  1. They rose to the prominence during the late 17th century.
  2. Under the leadership of Chauraman, they acquired control over the region near west of Delhi. For a while, they became virtual custodians of Agra.
  3. They were primarily agriculturist and Panipat and Ballabhgarh emerged as important trading centre in their region.
  4. Suraj Mal who established the Kingdom of Bharatpur was one of the enablest Jat King. When Nadir Shah ransacked Delhi in 1739, many took refuge under his state.
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