Current Affairs

History of Modern India with Emphasis upon Indian National Movement – APPSC Panchayat Secretary Study Material

Colonialism is the practice of acquiring and controlling another country. The conquered country is known as colony. Colonies are established for financial or political gains. The Industrial revolution in Europe resulted in demand for raw materials for factories. The American and European explorations led to the establishment of colonies.
A new era had started with the establishment of English East India company on 31st December, 1600 at London with the permission of Queen Elizabeth, to trade with Eastern countries for the term of fifteen years India was under the rule of Akbar at this juncture. Mughal Empire was politically  sound and economically very rich on the eve of the advent of European trading companies in India.
The death of Akbar in the year 1605.A.D and sanction of  permission to English East India Company to establish their trading centre at “Surat” by Jahangir son and successor of Akbar has inaugurated a new era in the history of India. The period between 1600 A.D. to 1757 A.D may be considered as the “Seeding stage’ in the expansion and consolidation of East India Company’s power in India. The successors of Akbar were not capable and The regular wars of successions among Mughal princes and the narrow minded polices of Jahangir, Shaha jahan and Aurangazeb proved dangerous to the integrity of Mughal power.
As the result after Aurangazeb’s death the imperial power of Mughals started crumbling like a pack of cards. The selfish Mansabdars and provincial governors of Mughal emperor revolted and declared independence. At the same time East India Company in exploiting the disunity among the native princes. It went on expanding its colonies in various parts of the country due to its success over fellow European trading companies like  Dutch, Portuguese and French.
Are brief of account of Portuguese, Dutch, French and English East India Companies and their activities in India will help us to understand the success and the growth ofEast India Company’s authority in India before the Battle of Plessey i.e. 1757 A.D
The Portuguese were the first to succeed in exploring direct sea route to India. Dom Henry, the ruler of Portugal popularly known as Henry, the navigator showed enthusiasm in starting a school for navigators.  He provided money and men to the explorers, Barthalo mew Diaz successfully reached the Southernmost tip of South Africa, the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1497 Vasco da Gama, who sailed along African Western Coast, turning round the Cape of Good Hope, guided by Abdul Mazid a Gujarati Pilot, reached Calicut in the Western coast of India on May 17, 1498. This event opened a new era not only in the history of India but also in the history of the world.
The advent of Vasco da Gama was seriously opposed by the Arabs, but Zamorin, the ruler of Calicut welcomed it. Zamorin granted the permission to trade and provided Gama the spices and medicines in exchange to the goods he brought from Portugal.
The spices carried back by Vasco da Gama were computed at sixty times cost of the entire expedition. In 1500, Portugal sent Cabral with 12 vessels and 1200 soldiers. Cabral while fighting the Arabs came into conflict with Zamorin also. Vasco da Gama revisited India in 1502.
Gradually Trade Centres were established in Cochin and Cannanore. Francis de Almaida was appointed the first governor of Portuguese in India. He and successfully defeated the Arabs and Egyptians in the naval battle at Diu in 1509. The Blue Water Policy or the naval supremacy followed by Almaida relegated the Arabs to the second position.
Alfenso de Albuquerque laid foundation to the Portuguese supremacy in India. Being most dynamic, he was instrumental in Portugal emerging as a new force in India through acquiring monopoly over the trade. He encouraged the Portuguese men to marry Indian woman and seriously involved himself in colonization and fortification.
He captured Goa in 1510 by defeating the Bijapur Sultan. Goa emerged as the headquarters of Portuguese trade in India. The Portuguese monopolized the trade of pepper and spices and collected taxes from the Asian traders.
His successors acquired Diu, Daman Salsette, Bassein and Bombay. However the Portuguese supremacy ofeastern trade started falling down as the other European Powers enter the trade during the last phase of the 16h Century,
The Dutch were the people of Holland. Unlike the Portuguese they entered into India on the eastern coast. The Dutch United East India Company was established in 1602, amalgamating the smaller companies trading with Eastern countries. Till then the Dutch concentrated their trade, in the beginning in Jawa, Malaya and Sumitra, known as “Spicy Islands “and established their first trading centre at Machilipatnam. A fortification was built in Pulicot in 1610. Trading centres of the Dutch emerged in Surat in 1616. Bhimunipatnam in 1641, Chinsura in Bengal in 1653, Kasimbazar and Patna in 1658. The credit of shifting the European trade from spices to other goods goes to the Dutch, as they have shifted their trade for the first time from spices to Indian cloths
Danish were the people of Denmark. Dutch were followed by Danish in India. Danes established their settlements in Tranquibar near Tanjore and Srirampur in Bengal. Srirampur was their headquarters.
The English East India Company was established in the year 1600 A.D, by a squad of 200 adventurous British traders. This not only  monopolized the Indian trade But also captured the Indian political sovereignty in the later stages, While it was Queen Elizabeth who authorized the company to trade with the East. During the period of James I. Captain  Hawkins was sent to Jaharmgir’s court in 1608
as the first ambas ador to establish trade relation with the Moghal Empire. Hawkins failed in his attempt due to the intervention of the influential Portuguese Sir Thomas Roe who came in 1615 AD succeeded in securing permission from Jahangir to trade with India. 
As a result the British established their first settlement at Surat in 1616 AD Ho -ver earlier to it in 1611. the British succeeded in getting permission from the Sultan of Golkonda to establish a factory at Machilipatnam. In 1639, Francis Day of East India Company secured Madras now called Chennai from the Raja of Chandragiri, where he built Fort St. George in 1641. Bombay, now called Mumbai was the Portuguese settlement which was given to the British King as he married the Portuguese princess. The king of England, in turn gave Bombay to East India Company for rent. Jerald Angier developed Bombay into great trading centre.

The French were the last to enter into India to trade. The French East India company was minister in 1664 by Colbert, the finance of Louis xIV, the French Emperor. It was a Company started by the government itself French established their first settlement at Surat in 1668. Trading centres emerged, at Machilipatnam in 1669 and at Pondicherry in 1674. The founder of Pondicherry was Francis Martin. Later Pondicherry went on to become the French headquarters in India. Factories at chanderna gore on the banks of river Hugli in 1690, Yanam in Andhra coast in 1723, Mahe on the Malabar coast in 1725 and Karaikal on the coramandal coast in 1739 were established.
It was Francis Martin who became the French Director General in India im 1701, worked hard to improve French trade centres in India. Lenoir and Duma who succeeded him kept the French nag flying. Under these circumstances, Dupleix became Director General in 1742. Dupleix, the French Director General in India between 1742 and 1755 was the founder of French Empire in India.
As the Governor General of Pondichenry in 1742 he put an end to the inefficiency and corruption in the government and improved the administration, He was ably supported in the administration by his wife popularly known as “Begum Zona”. In 1744, the population of Madras, Bombay and Calcutta reached 30,000, 70,000 and 1,00,000 respetiively.



The conflict between European trading companies reached to final stage with the exit of Dutch, Daries and Portuguese. After 1740 the French and English were involved in a series battles in India to establish their respective supremacy. The changed political situation in Ex-Mughal dominions also encouraged them to fight with each other taking the side or assistance of local mulers, Anwaruddin the new Nawab of Arcot after Dost Ali became the tool in the hands of European trading companies.

lt lasted from 1746-1749, in which Kamataka NawabAnwaruddin suffered adefeat. It ended with the t in 1748 treaty of Ais la chappell  The defeat or Anwar and French brought Madras in to the control of English.

The situation in Decean after the death of Nizam-ul mulk in 1748 led to civil war between his son Nas and grandson Muzana riung. Im the Karnataka also struggle for Nawabship tarted aner Dost Ali’s death due to the release of Chanda saheb, struggle for Karnataka started between Anwaruddin and Chanda Saheb, At this juncture Muzaffar jung and Chanda Saheb requested the assistance of French. This resulted in the defeat and death of Anwaruddin in the battle of Amboor (1749) in the fight with the combine forces of French and Muzaffar jung. The rise of French power in Deccan alarmed the English. They extended their support to Nasarjung and Mohammad-Ali (son of Anwaruddin).
This situation also dragged the Cuddapah and Kurnool nawabs to support English against Muzaffar and his friends Finally in the year 1751 Muzaffar was killed by his own people. Salabatjung was declared as the Deccan subedar by Bussy. Finally the second Karnataka war ended with Robert Clive’s success atArcot against French governor Dupleix.
It was also an echo of Seven years war out broke in Europe between England and France. In this historic war the French suffered the most humiliating defeat. English armies led by Sir Eyre Coote inflicted a rushing defeau on riench in the battle of wandiwash in 1760. The Third Karnataka war ended with the treaty of Paris, The defeat of French marked the end of its power in India
After scoring a grand success in Deccan and Karnataka English planned to conquer the Bengal state. Bengal was rich with textile Silk and Salt petre. When English began to fortity fort William at Calcutta, Nawab did not stopped this 
The battle that took place near Plessey laid the foundations of British Empire in India. Robert Clive who recaptured Calcutta went on to consolidate the British position in Bengal Having come to know that Siraj- ud-daula is favorable towards the French, Robert Clive. occupied the French settlement in Chandranagore.
The French influence in Bengal came to an end with the loss of Chandramagore Robert Clive decided to replace Siraj-ud- daula with a puppet. A conspiracy was organized. Mir Jafar, the commander of Siraj’s armies, being a traitor, joined hands with Robert Clive. Manik Chand, Siraj’s representative at Calcutta, Amin Chand a merchant, Jagat Seth a banker, Roy Durlabh a feudallord, Khadim Khan another commander of Siraj’s armies ai also joined the conspiracy.

About the author


Leave a Comment

error: Content is protected !!