Book I the Sultanate Period Chapters /. The Arabs and the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent 1



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on by European adventurers. Dupleix, the governor of French possessions of Pondicherry, was the first to realise that the European intervention in the local affairs could best be accomplished by sponsoring the cause of a local potentate, amenable to European influence. He got an opportunity when the aged Nizam al-Mulk died in 1161/1748, and the succession was disputed. A similar situation existed in the Karnatic where Chanda Sahib was disputing the claims of Anwar-ud-din Khan, the local governor of Arcot. Dupleix interfered in both these disputes, and though, owing to Anglo-French rivalry, in which Clive of the East India Company emerged successful, his efforts were frustrated, and he was recalled in 1754, the pattern for successful European interference in the political affairs of the subcontinent had been laid. When, therefore, Clive weighed the pros and cons of action against Siraj-ud-Daulah, he was influenced, not only by the promptings of Hindu merchants and Mir Ja’far, but must have also been guided by the long standing policy of the East India Company and the example of successful intervention in the affairs of South India. The resultant battle which was fought at Plassey, a few miles outside Murshidabad, has been called by a modern British writer ”the most miserable skirmish ever to be called a decisive battle”.12 An army, of which the commander-in-chief had been won over and took no part in the battle can hardly offer spirited contest. Siraj-ud-Daulah’s Hindu Bakhshi, Mir Madan, however, was loyal to the Nawab, and fell in action, dive’s spirited leadership and British organisation, coupled with the help they received from powerful local elements, resulted in the rout and flight of Siraj-ud-Daulah. On 28 June

1757, Clive installed Mir Ja’far on the masnad of Murshidabad and four days later Siraj-ud-Daulah, who was captured by the new Nawab’s son, was executed.


Mir Qasim. Many forces were at work at Plassey, but inevitably Clive and the East India Company emerged as dominant factors in the affairs of Bengal. The legal position had not changed materially. Nawab Nazim continued to hold

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nominal sway, but real power was with the officers of the East India Company who appointed and removed Nawabs at their pleasure- often only for the sake of so-called ”presents” from the new nominee. The administration of Bengal from

1164/1751 to 1188/1774, i.e from t’ e battle of Plassey to the application of the Regulating Aci, has been universally condemned. Panikkar calls the regime a ”robber state” and adds: ”It is to be emphasized that at no period in the long history of India, including the reigns of Toromana and Muhammad Tughluq, did the people of any province suffer so great a misery as the people of Bengal did in the era of Clive.”13 The misfortune of the people was due, not only to the extortions of the king-makers, but also to the fact that there was really no government. What existed was even worse than an administrative vacuum. Separation of power and responsibility inevitably breeds abuses in administration, but in this case-perhaps the first instance of such a division in history, in which power lay with an alien group of adventurers, not even organised as a government-there were special features which made this division particularly harmful. A major instrument of oppression and economic ruin of Bengal was the so-called ”internal trade,” often on the Company’s account but more often on behalf of the Company’s servants or even ”the servants of the Company’s servants or anyone who could show the pass with an Englishmen’s signature”. No duty was to be levied on these transactions, while native merchants had to pay duty to the Nawab and could not possibly compete with the Company’s proteges. This ruined the law-abiding traders, but what the countryside suffered was worse. Villagers were forced to part with their produce at a fraction of their value and purchase goods from the agents of the Company at many times their real price.14


It was the question of the internal trade which created a rift between the Company and Mir Ja’far’s son-in-law, Mir Qasim, who was appointed Nawab Nazim in 1174/1760 by the acting Governor Vansittrat. As the Englishmen refused to pay
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any duty, Mir Qasim tried to restore the balance by abolishing all customs. This also was not acceptable to the Council and they decided to replace Mir Qasim who now left Bengal to seek help from other quarters. On 23 October 1764 was fought the battle of Buxar in which Mir Qasim’s army had, to quote Smith, the ”half-hearted support of the titular Emperor, Shah Alam, and the Nawab Wazir of Oudh”. Even then the battle was furiously contested. The British losses were heavy, but the battle ended in a clear victory for them.
The results of the battle of Buxar were more far-reaching than those of Plassey. Even before this battle the British had attempted to facilitate their military task by diplomatic means, and the newly crowned Shah ’Alam was only a fugitive from Delhi, but the East India Company had, after all, gained a victory against what was given out as the combined army of the Emperor and the rulers of Bengal and Oudh. It gave a much higher prestige to British arms than had the earlier victory against a provincial government. It also altered Shuja’alDaulah’s course of action. Henceforth dependence on the British became a cardinal point of his policy, and Oudh was, for all practical purposes, drawn into the orbit of British influence.
While the military organisation and diplomatic skill of the officers of the East India Company continued to win victories, as at Buxar, the depredations caused by their economic and administrative policy also remained unchecked. Such news about misrule in India was reaching the Directors of the East India Company in London that, on 26 April 1764, they averred that they were ”at a loss how to prescribe means to restore order from this confusion” and in despair sent back Clive (now Baron Clive of Plassey) to handle Indian affairs. Clive arrived at Calcutta in May 1765 and one of his earliest acts was to negotiate with Shah ’Alam, from whom he obtained the grant of Diwani (the right of revenue collection) of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa in return for the districts of Allahabad and Kara and the annual payment of 25 lacs of rupees. This gave a legal

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basis to what had already been achieved by the force of arms at Plassey, and later at Buxar,.
dive’s last years were unhappy. In February 1767, he left India for good. He had to face a Committee of the House of Commons over the large presents taken by him and the grant of the 24 Parganas to him by the helpless Mir Ja’far. He must also have been distressed by the reports of the devastating famine which raged in the Company’s possessions in 1770 and in which one-third of the inhabitants of the territory perished. The strain was too much for him, and in the end he lost his reason. In 1774, this brilliant but unscrupulous soldier and empire-builder cut his own throat.
From Kuxar (J178/1764) to Delhi (1218/1803)
An account of British expansion is outside the scope of ! this book, but a few words may be said about the modus operandi adopted in this process. The British conquest of the subcontinent was achieved in very deliberate, cautious and skillful manner. Before action with regard to an area was undertaken, long preparations would be made and information on all important points collected. Periods of rapid expansion alternated with long periods of consolidation. Military action was effectively aided by diplomatic activity. Local differences and jealousies were most skillfully exploited. Not only did this facilitate victory, but also reduced the cost of the military operations. The commander of the Company’s forces was normally able to depend on the direct or indirect co-operation of the commander or at least some major leader of the troops confronting him. At Plassey, it was Mir Ja’far; at Buxar, the differences between Shuja’ al-Daulah and Mir Qasim were fully exploited, and though no figure like that of Mir Ja’far emerged out of this battle, Najaf Khan, an important commander of Mir Qasim, must have rendered signal services to Clive to have earned an annual pension of three lakhs. A similar pattern is visible in other battles (e.g. during the Sikh wars). In fact, the British success owed more to their
DUO Fall of the Mughal Empire [ ch. 23
diplomatic skill (and the demoralised state of the Indian society) than to their valour and military organisation.
After victories the British acted with moderation and circumspection. At Buxar, they had defeated the forces of Shuja’-al-Daulah, and could have annexed Oudh, but they were finding it difficult to manage the affairs of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, and wisely curbed their ambition. This, was, however, a temporary affair. After they had consolidated their positionmainly during the governor-generalship of Warren Hastings (1772-1785) and Cornwallis (1786-1794),-a period of rapid expansion was initiated under Wellesley (1798-1805). He overthrew Tipu Sultan (1214/1799) and broke the power of the Marathas. As a result of his defeat of Sindhia, control of Delhi passed to the British (1218/1803).
Nawab Wazir of Oudh. The founder of the principality of Oudh was Burhan al-Mulk Sa’adat Khan, who sided with the Tucani nobles in the overthrow of the Sayyid brothers in

1132/1719, and was rewarded with the viceroyalty of the eastern provinces in 1137/1724. He died fifteen years later and was succeeded by his son-in-law and nephew, Safdar Jang. The disastrous role which Safdar played as wazir at Delhi has already been described, but he had the good sense to patch up relations with the Mughal court, abandon his ambitious role at the capital and withdraw to Oudh, where he died on 5 October

1754. He was succeeded by Shuja’ al-Daulah, who followed a more sensible policy and has been described by Sir Henry Lawrence as ”an able, energetic and intelligent prince”. Before the third battle of Panipat both sides tried hard to win his support. On behalf of Ahmad Shah Abdali, Malikah-i Zamani, the widow of the late Emperor Muhammad Shah, visited him, and the Maratha leader, Bhau, also sent to him special messengers, assuring him ”that it was the duty of both of them to bring about restoration of the Timurid dynasty at Delhi and that the Marathas’ sole aim was to administer the empire in c-oncert with him in the way best for all”. Shuja’ joined the Afghan king, who proved victorious, and, as a result of the

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arrangement approved by Abdali, the Emperor Shah ’Alam named Shuja’ al-Daulah as his wazir (1175/1761). Shuja’ looked after Shah ’Alam when he reached the eastern provinces after his escape from Delhi, and espoused the cause of Mir Qasim, the Nazim of Bengal, who had fled from his former British patrons. Shah ’Alam, Shuja’ al-Daulah and Mir Qasim jointly fought the battle of Buxar, where their forces were routed on 3 May 1764. The unpleasantness which occurred between the allies before and during the battle, the ease with which the British were able to corrupt commanders and generals on the royal side (including possibly Mirza Najaf Khan who later became the Regent at Delhi), and the irresistibility of the disciplined British forces marked a turning point in Shuja’ al-Daulah’s life. He came to terms with the British, and thereafter his career was that of an ally or an instrument of British policy. The most important and controversial measure in which Shuja’al-Daulah and his British allies joined hands, after signing a special treaty, was the notorious ”Rohilla war,” which, later, formed an important item of the indictment against Warren Hastings, and which led to the extinction of the Rohilla power. On 23 April 1774, the battle of Katra Miranpore was fought, in which the Rohilla chief Hafiz Rahmat Khan fell fighting bravely, and Rohilkhand was incorporated in the Oudh territory. Shuja’al-Daulah did not live long to enjoy his victory. Soon Oudh had to surrender Rohilkhand to the East India Company, but the object for which Safdar Jang had worked all his life was achieved by his son.
Shuja’al-Daulah is better remembered for laying the foundation of his family’s tradition of patronage of literature and fine arts, mainly poetry and music. Faizabad was the first capital of the Nawab Wazirs of Oudh and, owing to disorderly conditions at Delhi, many men of note took refuge there. Sauda, Ja’far ’Ali Hasrat and Ashraf ’Ali Khan Fughan adorned the court of Shuja’al-Daulah while the eminent Persian
Sfl
Fall of the Mughal Empire
[Ch.
pet S£_ Ir~ aj-ud-din ’Ali Khan Arzu (1111-1170/1689-1756) was {atrorm is «-ed ~b>y his uncle, Salar Jang.
S£» lBftai_=2j at’ -al-Daulah was succeeded in 1189/1775 by Asaf alDaula_Ufcrm wT»ose regime was marked by a much tighter British

1 «««over the affairs of Oudh. ”The Oudh ruler had become in name and in fact, of the East India Company.” mme*«c - iisBteLy on Asaf-al-Daulah’s appointment, he was

7inan «c=^=isi!sL demands increased so much that the net annual even-m - *e=~- of Oudh in 1193/1779 was only one-half of what it vas Mr oik - ir years earlier, and two years later Asaf al-Daulah inter(=» - =^d into a secret treaty with Warren Hastings to rob his nothe=i a.nid grandmother, known in Indian history as the Jegu«n~ T2ns55 off Oudh, of their treasures and Jagirs, and to deliver he par: - oc^:ee«ds to the Governor-General .
th. all his faults Asaf-al-Daulah’s name is revered at O» w . For one thing, he was the real founder of Lucknow, sit- lift ed the capital there from Faizabad, partly to be away HBhL s »nasterful mother and grandmother. He was also lavish

- sczrDna! charity and was interested in architecture. His famous .fir - tmh at Lucknow is one of the principal monuments of On the literary side, he maintained the traditions of ,. and his court was adorned by principal Urdu poets

- Sauda, Mir, Soz, Insha, Jur’at and Mushafi.
l-Daulah was succeeded after his death, on 21 crmivber 1779, by his son Nawab Wazir Ali Khan, who had ftoaw fa.ce the opposition of the British. He was deposed and c=le Sa’adat ’Ali Khan became the Nawab on 21 January
is he rom
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tmiK:e=ifhGras Replaced by Talpurs. After Nadir Shah’s assass. rrsi :a«na-t3on in 1160/1747, Nur Muhammad Kalhora became a tribu- iHKaoBBry of Ahmad Shah Abdali who conferred on him the title of St- MMiaBfa Mawaz Khan. His death in 1 167/1754 was followed by anarch - ti - -y and civil war, out of which his younger son Ghulam

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Shah, who had spent some years as a hostage at the court of Nadir, emerged successful in 1170/1157. He held power till his death in 1186/1772 and has been considered the most capable ruler of his dynasty. He extended the Kalhora rule to the south as far as the sea, and founded the sea-port of Shah Bandar. He repeatedly invaded Cutch and captured a small seaport situated on the Indus. In March 1769, he laid the foundation of the city of Hyderabad which became the provincial capital in place of Thatta.15 Ghulam Shah died in 1185/1771, and the Kalhora nobles chose his son Sarfaraz Khan to succeed him. He was a man of culture and literary gifts, but his reign was marked by sanguinary conflicts with the Talpurs, which ended after his death in the defeat of ’Abd al-Nabi Kalhora by Mir Path ’Ali Khan Talpur, who procured a farm an from Zaman Shah, the contemporary Afghan king, for the government of the province ofSind.
The Kalhora period was marked by constant warfare and Dr.Sorley, the biographer of Shah ’Abd al-Latif, says:
”The whole episode of the Kalhora supremacy makes very sad reading. It was certainly unfortunate for the masses that a dynasty of their own people, which drew its original driving force from the appeal it made to the religious predilections of the common man proved so poor a substitute for the government of the Mughal.”16
In spite of the unsettled conditions, however, the Kalhoras have much to show in the cultural and civic field. Their history has not been properly studied, but the importance they attached to irrigation, the foundation of Hyderabad, the patronage of Persian and Sindhi literature and, above all, the emergence of Shah ’Abd al-Latif, ”incomparably the greatest man whom Sind has produced in the realm of imaginative art,” make their era memorable one.
In 1197/1783, Mir Path ’AM Khan Talpur established himself as the ra’is or ruler of Sind. He had to face two Afghan expeditions for the recovery of the arrears of tribute,
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but he was able to settle dispute amicably and, before his death in 1216/1801, the Talpur ruler was firmly established in Sind. The Talpurs, who were originally from Baluchistan and did not claim any saintly descent, were not so popular as the Kalhoras but ”they did succeed in giving a distracted land peace for forty years and within the limits of their administrative ideals their government was neither inefficient nor contemptible”.17 Mir Path ’Ali’s rule was mild, and he invited his three younger brothers to share the government at Hyderabad with him. In addition, there were two other sections of the Talpurs, ruling at Khairpur and Mirpur Khas. The Mirs extended and consolidated the Sind government. In 1210/1795, they recovered Karachi, which had been given by the Kalhoras to the Khan of Kalat. In course of time, they established friendly relations with the East India Company, but in 1259/1843, their territory was annexed by the British.
Chaos in the Punjab (1167-1208/1753-1793). ’Abd alSamad Khan and, after him, his son, Zakariya Khan, had ruled Punjab with a firm hand, and kept the Sikhs in check, but the disorganisation caused by invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali, the disastrous role of Adinah Beg, ”the traitor who had for many years been at the bottom of every trouble in the Punjab,”18 and the ”war of succession” between the sons of Zakariya Khan, proved fatal to orderly government in that province and made things easy for the Sikhs. The imperial Wazir’s son Mu’in al-Mulk (Mir Mannu), who had been appointed viceroy early in 1161/1748, tried hard to restore peace and order in the province, but he was hampered by extraordinary difficulties. For a long time, he had to struggle against the intrigues of his father’s successor, Safdar Jang, who deputed one man after another to create difficulties for the Turani governor. Even more disastrous to the peace of the province were the repeated incursions of Ahmad Shah Abdali. He was defeated near Sirhind in 1161/1748, but returned to the Punjab next year, and Mu’in al-Mulk, who, on account of the hostile intrigues of Safdar Jang, received no help from Delhi,

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had to accept his demand, as successor to Nadir Shah, to the annual revenue of 14 lakhs of rupees due from the four mahals, which Muhammad Shah assigned to the Persian King by treaty. This amount could not be paid, and Abdali returned within a year and besieged Lahore. Mu’in al-Mulk defended the city valiantly for several months, but, in spite of pressing requests and the Emperor’s repeated instructions to Safdar Jang, received no reinforcement, and was ultimately forced to surrender. Abdali now became the overlord of the subahs of Lahore and Multan, but he acted with moderation, conferred the two subahs on Mu’in, accepted his advice not to strike coins at Lahore and agreed that the letters of appointment of governors of Lahore and Multan (selected by Abdali) should be issued from Delhi. He introduced no change in the administration, but, in effect, confined his claims to the surplus revenue of the two subahs. These terms were confirmed by the Emperor in April 1752.
While grappling with these problems, Mu’in al-Mulk had striven hard to deal with Sikh freebooters, who, taking advantage of the unsettled conditions, were again very active. He had already captured and destroyed the fort of Ram Raoni, which the Sikhs had erected to guard the approaches to Amritsar. He organised a ”flying column” to chase, capture, and destroy the Sikhs, who, as Zakariya Khan told Nadir Shah, ”lived in their saddles” and had proved elusive. He stationed detachments of troops in areas infested by Sikhs, with instructions to deal ruthlessly with the insurgents and gave rewards for the capture and destruction of Sikh horsemen. Hundreds of Sikhs were brought to Lahore, and put to death in the Nakhas (later known as Shahid Ganj) outside Delhi Gate. After Abdali’s departure, Mu’in personally took the field against the Sikhs, but as usually they dispersed on his arrival.
Mir Mannu’s name is execrated by Sikhs,, but ”the influence of his minister, Kaura Mai, who was himself a Sikh of the Khalsa Sect” and Adinah Beg Khan ”who saw in the turbulent tribe a means of advancing his own interests,” could
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not have been, caa^nducive to the prolonged policy of repression in the event, t±Ihe stern measures soon came to an end with the death of Mu’inr-a aJHL-Mulk on 2 November 1753.
Mu’in al M ^rmilk was the last effective Mughal viceroy of
the Punjab. HI 3s «••» ffice was conferred on his infant son with an able deputy, bu»u-t his headstrong widow, Mughlani Begum, insisted on rt-«nra»»lng the administration herself. The resultant confusion, wb*n ich«* in three years completely destroyed the fabric of government! L TM the Punjab, attracted Abdali again, and, in May 1757, he=±t apa*»pointed his son, Timur Shah, as governor with Sardar Jahan Kb-nan as wazir. Timur Shah began well, but in

1172/1758, atzz tli^ <&. invitation of Adinah Beg Khan, the Marathas invaded the p*» ?o***~j Ince, occupied Lahore, and appointed Adinah Beg Khan as gCM^wernor. The expulsion of the Afghan officers brought back Abuwirnad Shah Abdali, who, after the reconquest of Lahore and S==5irt-:lind, severed the links with Delhi which had continued unc^±ler~ Mu’in al-Mulk and completely took over the administratioKr-a «zz):f the area. In 1074/1760 and 1075/1761, Abdali was bawias^^y with all his forces round Delhi and Panipat, which left thi^ss fHL eld free for Sikhs. They rose everywhere and, in November I^WCSO, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, the founder of the Kapurthala S mataes. g came right up to Lahore and plundered its suburbs. Afte^ r tZBh e battle of Panipat, Abadli turned his attention to the affairs in -tlie Punjab. He realised that for Cis-Sutlej areas special arrana^senaan ents were desirable, and granted Ala Singh Jat a rescript conmifiic-rning his possession of the Patiala principality, in return for a tribute of five lakhs. At Lahore, he appointed his own subc^mruH^’Gir, but on his departure for Qandhar the Sikhs again came cr»ut -_„. defeated the Afghan governor, who had gone to GujranwallL a t o destroy a fort built by the Sikhs, blocked the road to Pes-. liaiwm^war, and inflicted severe defeats on Afghan faujdars of Olne J allundur Doab. Abdali’s ire was now aroused, and he rescn*lv«s«d to completely exterminate the Sikhs. He returned to nathe* Punjab and, in February 1762, inflicted such heavy casualM tie^-: * on the enemy in a running fight that some

10,000 Sikhs-s vu~*-ere slain and the day is till remembered as that

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of the Gallaghara, or the great scrimmage. Full of anger and hoping to strike terror amongst the Sikhs, Abdali razed to the ground the Sikh temple Harmandar at Amritsar and stayed in Lahore for the rest of the year to make arrangements ensuring a general peace in the area, but these sporadic attempts to deal with a deep-rooted problem by flying visits from across the border could hardly succeed. Abdali had probably the example of ’Abd al-Samad Khan before him, but the Turani governor of the Punjab had avoided unnecessarily wounding religious sentiments, and had done a tremendous amount of detailed work to sustain and consolidate the military operations.19 Abdali’s policy, dictated by anger, had actually the opposite effect, and aroused the Sikhs to unprecedented frenzy. They assembled at Amritsar, held gurumata (a council), and vowed to have their revenge. They first turned against the strong Afghan colony at Qasur, and then attacked Sirhind in a body of

40,000 strong. Zain Khan, the Afghan faujdar of Sirhind, was defeated and slain. The Sikhs entered Sirhind and ”looted and totally devastated it, turning the city upside down”. Worse cruelties took place than were perpetrated by Bandah. In February 1764, the Sikhs attacked and entered Lahore but were kept out by Kabuli Mai, the deputy governor, by cutting of the noses of the butchers who sold beef, and payment of a large contribution. Ahmad Shah rushed to Lahore next month, but, after a fortnight’s stay, he had to return to his own country to deal with a local uprising there. Immediately after his departure three Sikh leaders attacked and entered Lahore, dividing the city among themselves and each ruled and administered a portion until the city was taken over by Ranjit Singh some thirty years later.


Ahmad Shah’s last invasion took place in 1181/1767, when he tried to make arrangements for the future administration of the territories held in the Punjab. He was old and ill, and was realising the impossibility of administering the Punjab from Qandhar. So far as the eastern parts of the province were concerned, Sarkar says:
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”The Durrani king was at first asked to make Zabita the Faujdar of Sirhind, but he was induced by his grand Wazir, who had been heavily bribed by Fattu, the widow of the Ala Singh, to entrust the district to Amar Singh, the grandson of Ala, with the superlative title of the Raja-i-Rajgan, as the only man capable of keeping the trans-Sutlej Sikhs out, on his agreeing to an annual tribute. ”20
He probably wanted to come to a similar arrangement with Lahna Singh, one of the three Sikh chiefs of Lahore, who was considered impartial and sympathetic, but Lahna Singh politely declined this offer as likely to affect his standing in the eyes of the Sikhs.21
Ahmad Shah Abdali died in June 1773. His successor Timur Shah took steps for the realisation of tribute from the Kalhora rulers of Sind, but did not interfere with the Sikhs. For a quarter of a century, the three Sikh chiefs and their successors ruled over Lahore without any interruption from outside. In 1208/1793, Shah Zaman, the son of Timur Shah, ascended the throne of Kabul. He wished to revive the glories of his grandfather and in the beginning of 1797 entered Lahore, but the insurrection of his brother in Afghanistan forced him to return. He repeated his invasion next year. As usual the three Sikh chiefs left Lahore, and Shah Zaman entered the city without opposition. For one month, he remained at Lahore discussing with his wazir and local Muslims the policy towards the Sikhs and plans for the future. He was advised to hand over the government of Lahore to Nizam-ud-din Khan, a reputed Pathan chief of Qasur, but before this could be done, the Afghan king was again forced to withdraw to face trouble from his brother, Mahmud Shah.
During his return journey, Ranjit Singh was of assistance to Shah Zaman and, as reward, was invested with the government of Lahore. This was, however, a formality, as the city had to be forcibly taken from the three Sardars who controlled it. Ranjit Singh was able to do this with the help of the ara’ins of Lahore, who had some trouble with the local

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Sardars and approached Ranjit Singh, then resident at Rasulnagar (Gujranwala District), to come and capture Lahore.
Haider ’Alt Khan and Tipu Sultan. The second half of the twelfth/eighteenth century is a depressing period in the history of Muslim India, but gallant efforts were being made by some individuals like Najib-al-Daulah to revitalise the government of the country. In the south, we come across the remarkable figures of Haidar ’Ali Khan and his son Tipu, who, by dint of personal ability, carved out a large dominion, but whose efforts did not prove fruitful, owing to their clash with the rising power of the British.
Haidar ’Ali Khan rose from poverty and came to the notice of the ruler of Mysore as a brave soldier. In 1169/1755, he became faujdar of a fort in Madura District. Two years later, when Mysore was attacked by the Marathas and the internal situation in the State was chaotic, charge of the entire army was entrusted to him. He rose to the occasion and the Marathas were forced to withdraw. In course of time, the authority of the government came into his hands, although the Raja continued to occupy the throne. He discharged his responsibilities with great ability and, not only overcame the choas within the State but, took advantage of the prevailing anarchy in the south to add fresh territories to Mysore and greatly enlarged its areas. The rise of Mysore was viewed with anxiety by the Marathas and the Nizam of Hyderabad, and a pact was concluded between them and the British for a joint attack on Mysore. Haidar ’Ali was initially defeated by the Marathas, but he entered into friendly relations with French, tried to secure the alliance of the Nizam, and concentrated against the British whom he considered to be a real danger. In the First Mysore War, he marched on triumphantly against the British forces, and, defeating them time and again, reached the walls of Madras (in the beginning of 1769). The government of Madras was forced to lay down arms, this being the first occasion when the East India Company was obliged to sue an Indo-Pakistan power for peace. Haider ’Ali acted with great
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forbearance and, in March 1769, a treaty was arranged between him and the English, which provided, inter alia, for mutual military assistance in case of attack.
After this Haidar felt secure, but soon a large Maratha army arrived near Seringapatam. The British gave no help, and Haidar ’Ali was forced to cede a part of his territory to the invaders. The failure of the British to honour their commitments embittered Haidar ’Ali, but he acted with moderation, and continued negotiations with the government of Madras. They, however, formed an alliance against him with the Nizam and the Marathas, and the Second Mysore War began in 1194/1780. Haidar ’Ali fought bravely and skillfully, and captured Arcot. The struggle was, on the whole, evenly balanced, each party winning and losing battles in turn. In December 1781, Haidar ’Ali died of a carbuncle and was succeeded by his son Tipu Sultan. He was a brave fighter and maintained hostilities till they were terminated by the treaty of Bangalore, signed in March 1784, under which the opposing parties agreed to restore the conquered territories.
The Treaty of Bangalore was nothing but a temporary truce, and this was realised by both parties. Tipu sent envoys to foreign Muslim rulers to secure their assistance and started negotiations with the French. The Ottoman government replied that they considered the French worse than the British, while Tipu received no real help from the French either. He, however, tried to organise his army on modern, efficient lines and introduced many reforms in his administration and military organisation. Side by side with the reorganisation of the army, he tried to build up new indigenous industries, gave new impetus to trade and invited European craftsmen to Mysore. The Third Mysore War, for which both sides were preparing, commenced in June 1790, and as usual the British tried to isolate the enemy, and build up a front in conjunction with other powers. They had on their side the Nizam, the Marathas and the Rajas of Cochin and Travancore. They were, however, so afraid of Tipu’s army and generalship that Lord Cornwallis,

Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 516


the Governor-General, personally took over the command of the campaign. Tipu secured many successes, but, by February

1792, the British were able to reach Seringapatam and surrounded it. Tipu was forced to open negotiations and had to cede half of his territory. He, however, did not give up the struggle. He strengthened the defences of his capital and reorganised his infantry and cavalry. He sent envoys to Arabia, Kabul and Constantinople. He also sent agents to Paris to secure French help. By now Napoleon had risen to power, and the French and the British were at war. The French in the Deccan promised support and the French Governor of Mauritius sent a hundred recruits. The new Governor-General Wellesley, who was only too painfully aware of the danger, especially after Napoleon’s arrival in Egypt, decided to finish off with Tipu at all costs. The British joined forces with the Nizam arid the Fourth Mysore War started in February 1799. Tipu’s army fought with great bravery, but without success. Seringapatam was surrounded in March, and, in April, the invading forces breached a portion of the city wall by heavy bombardment. The Sultan came to the breach, and fought bravely till the end; he received two bullet wounds in the chest and met his end fighting.


With Tipu’s death, Muslim rule in Mysore came to an end. As admitted by a British writer, Tipu ”was, of course, brilliant in tactics and fertile in expedience” and was ”regarded, until the days of his death, as the most formidable power with which the Company had to deal with. Against his personal defects, his intolerance22 and his maltreatment of prisoners must be mentioned his incessant activity, his military genius which frequently baffled British generalship by the speed of his movements and the rapidity of his changes of front, and his skill as an administrator which kept his territories loyal under the severest tests and was acknowledged by the British invaders. His name dominates the writings of the time; his destruction gave to Wellesley a resounding prestige.”
517
Fall of the Mughal Empire
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