NCERT Textbook - Eighteenth Century Political Formations Class 7 Notes | EduRev

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UPSC : NCERT Textbook - Eighteenth Century Political Formations Class 7 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


138 OUR PASTS – II
10
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS
I
f you look at Maps 1 and 2 closely, you will see
something significant happening in the subcontinent
during the first half of the eighteenth century. Notice
how the boundaries of the Mughal Empire were
reshaped by the emergence of a number of independent
Map 1
State formations in
the eighteenth
century.
©NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


138 OUR PASTS – II
10
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS
I
f you look at Maps 1 and 2 closely, you will see
something significant happening in the subcontinent
during the first half of the eighteenth century. Notice
how the boundaries of the Mughal Empire were
reshaped by the emergence of a number of independent
Map 1
State formations in
the eighteenth
century.
©NCERT
not to be republished
139
kingdoms. By 1765,
notice how another
power, the British, had
successfully grabbed
major chunks of
territory in eastern
India. What these maps
tell us is that political
conditions in eighteenth-
century India changed
quite dramatically and
within a relatively short
span of time.
In this chapter we
will read about the
emergence of new
political groups in the
subcontinent during
the first half of the
eighteenth century –
roughly from 1707,
when Aurangzeb died,
till the third battle of
Panipat in 1761.
The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and
the Later Mughals the Later Mughals the Later Mughals the Later Mughals the Later Mughals
In Chapter 4 you saw how the Mughal Empire reached
the height of its success and started facing a variety of
crises towards the closing years of the seventeenth
century. These were caused by a number of factors.
Emperor Aurangzeb had depleted the military and
financial resources of his empire by fighting a long
war in the Deccan.
Under his successors, the efficiency of the imperial
administration broke down. It became increasingly
difficult for the later Mughal emperors to keep a check
on their powerful mansabdars. Nobles appointed as
?
See Chapter 4,
Table 1. Which
group of people
challenged Mughal
authority for the
longest time in
Aurangzeb’s reign?
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
POLITICAL FORMATIONS
Map 2
British territories in
the mid-eighteenth
century.
©NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


138 OUR PASTS – II
10
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS
I
f you look at Maps 1 and 2 closely, you will see
something significant happening in the subcontinent
during the first half of the eighteenth century. Notice
how the boundaries of the Mughal Empire were
reshaped by the emergence of a number of independent
Map 1
State formations in
the eighteenth
century.
©NCERT
not to be republished
139
kingdoms. By 1765,
notice how another
power, the British, had
successfully grabbed
major chunks of
territory in eastern
India. What these maps
tell us is that political
conditions in eighteenth-
century India changed
quite dramatically and
within a relatively short
span of time.
In this chapter we
will read about the
emergence of new
political groups in the
subcontinent during
the first half of the
eighteenth century –
roughly from 1707,
when Aurangzeb died,
till the third battle of
Panipat in 1761.
The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and
the Later Mughals the Later Mughals the Later Mughals the Later Mughals the Later Mughals
In Chapter 4 you saw how the Mughal Empire reached
the height of its success and started facing a variety of
crises towards the closing years of the seventeenth
century. These were caused by a number of factors.
Emperor Aurangzeb had depleted the military and
financial resources of his empire by fighting a long
war in the Deccan.
Under his successors, the efficiency of the imperial
administration broke down. It became increasingly
difficult for the later Mughal emperors to keep a check
on their powerful mansabdars. Nobles appointed as
?
See Chapter 4,
Table 1. Which
group of people
challenged Mughal
authority for the
longest time in
Aurangzeb’s reign?
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
POLITICAL FORMATIONS
Map 2
British territories in
the mid-eighteenth
century.
©NCERT
not to be republished
140 OUR PASTS – II
governors (subadars) often controlled the offices of
revenue and military administration (diwani and
faujdari) as well. This gave them extraordinary
political, economic and military powers over vast
regions of the Mughal Empire. As the governors
consolidated their control over the provinces, the
periodic remission of revenue to the capital declined.
Peasant and zamindari rebellions in many parts of
northern and western India added to these problems.
These revolts were sometimes caused by the pressures
of mounting taxes. At other times they were attempts
by powerful chieftains to consolidate their own
positions. Mughal authority had been challenged by
rebellious groups in the past as well. But these groups
were now able to seize the economic resources of the
region to consolidate their positions. The Mughal
emperors after Aurangzeb were unable to arrest the
gradual shifting of political and economic authority
into the hands of provincial governors, local chieftains
and other groups.
Rich harvests and empty coffers Rich harvests and empty coffers Rich harvests and empty coffers Rich harvests and empty coffers Rich harvests and empty coffers
The following is a contemporary writer’s account of
the financial bankruptcy of the empire:
The great lords are helpless and impoverished. Their peasants
raise two crops a year, but their lords see nothing of either,
and their agents on the spot are virtual prisoners in the
peasants’ hands, like a peasant kept in his creditor’s house
until he can pay his debt. So complete is the collapse of all
order and administration that though the peasant reaps a
harvest of gold, his lord does not see so much as a wisp of
straw. How then can the lord keep the armed force he should?
How can he pay the soldiers who should go before him when
he goes out, or the horsemen who should ride behind him?
©NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


138 OUR PASTS – II
10
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS
I
f you look at Maps 1 and 2 closely, you will see
something significant happening in the subcontinent
during the first half of the eighteenth century. Notice
how the boundaries of the Mughal Empire were
reshaped by the emergence of a number of independent
Map 1
State formations in
the eighteenth
century.
©NCERT
not to be republished
139
kingdoms. By 1765,
notice how another
power, the British, had
successfully grabbed
major chunks of
territory in eastern
India. What these maps
tell us is that political
conditions in eighteenth-
century India changed
quite dramatically and
within a relatively short
span of time.
In this chapter we
will read about the
emergence of new
political groups in the
subcontinent during
the first half of the
eighteenth century –
roughly from 1707,
when Aurangzeb died,
till the third battle of
Panipat in 1761.
The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and
the Later Mughals the Later Mughals the Later Mughals the Later Mughals the Later Mughals
In Chapter 4 you saw how the Mughal Empire reached
the height of its success and started facing a variety of
crises towards the closing years of the seventeenth
century. These were caused by a number of factors.
Emperor Aurangzeb had depleted the military and
financial resources of his empire by fighting a long
war in the Deccan.
Under his successors, the efficiency of the imperial
administration broke down. It became increasingly
difficult for the later Mughal emperors to keep a check
on their powerful mansabdars. Nobles appointed as
?
See Chapter 4,
Table 1. Which
group of people
challenged Mughal
authority for the
longest time in
Aurangzeb’s reign?
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
POLITICAL FORMATIONS
Map 2
British territories in
the mid-eighteenth
century.
©NCERT
not to be republished
140 OUR PASTS – II
governors (subadars) often controlled the offices of
revenue and military administration (diwani and
faujdari) as well. This gave them extraordinary
political, economic and military powers over vast
regions of the Mughal Empire. As the governors
consolidated their control over the provinces, the
periodic remission of revenue to the capital declined.
Peasant and zamindari rebellions in many parts of
northern and western India added to these problems.
These revolts were sometimes caused by the pressures
of mounting taxes. At other times they were attempts
by powerful chieftains to consolidate their own
positions. Mughal authority had been challenged by
rebellious groups in the past as well. But these groups
were now able to seize the economic resources of the
region to consolidate their positions. The Mughal
emperors after Aurangzeb were unable to arrest the
gradual shifting of political and economic authority
into the hands of provincial governors, local chieftains
and other groups.
Rich harvests and empty coffers Rich harvests and empty coffers Rich harvests and empty coffers Rich harvests and empty coffers Rich harvests and empty coffers
The following is a contemporary writer’s account of
the financial bankruptcy of the empire:
The great lords are helpless and impoverished. Their peasants
raise two crops a year, but their lords see nothing of either,
and their agents on the spot are virtual prisoners in the
peasants’ hands, like a peasant kept in his creditor’s house
until he can pay his debt. So complete is the collapse of all
order and administration that though the peasant reaps a
harvest of gold, his lord does not see so much as a wisp of
straw. How then can the lord keep the armed force he should?
How can he pay the soldiers who should go before him when
he goes out, or the horsemen who should ride behind him?
©NCERT
not to be republished
141
In the midst of this economic and political crisis,
the ruler of Iran, Nadir Shah, sacked and plundered
the city of Delhi in 1739 and took away immense
amounts of wealth. This invasion was followed by a
series of plundering raids by the Afghan ruler Ahmad
Shah Abdali, who invaded north India five times
between 1748 and 1761.
Nadir Shah attacks Delhi Nadir Shah attacks Delhi Nadir Shah attacks Delhi Nadir Shah attacks Delhi Nadir Shah attacks Delhi
The devastation of Delhi after Nadir Shah’s invasion
was described by contemporary observers. One
described the wealth looted from the Mughal treasury
as follows:
sixty lakhs of rupees and some thousand gold coins, nearly
one crore worth of gold-ware, nearly fifty crores worth of
jewels, most of them unrivalled in the world, and the above
included the Peacock throne.
 Another account described the invasion’s impact
upon Delhi:
(those) … who had been masters were now in dire straits;
and those who had been revered couldn’t even (get water to)
quench their thirst. The recluses were pulled out of their
corners. The wealthy were turned into beggars. Those who
once set the style in clothes now went naked; and those who
owned property were now homeless … The New City
(Shahjahanabad) was turned into rubble. (Nadir Shah) then
attacked the Old quarters of the city and destroyed a whole
world that existed there …
Already under severe pressure from all sides, the
empire was further weakened by competition amongst
different groups of nobles. They were divided into two
major groups or factions, the Iranis and Turanis (nobles
of Turkish descent). For a long time, the later Mughal
emperors were puppets in the hands of either one or
the other of these two powerful groups. The worst
Fig. 1
A 1779 portrait of Nadir
Shah.
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
POLITICAL FORMATIONS
©NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


138 OUR PASTS – II
10
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS POLITICAL FORMATIONS
I
f you look at Maps 1 and 2 closely, you will see
something significant happening in the subcontinent
during the first half of the eighteenth century. Notice
how the boundaries of the Mughal Empire were
reshaped by the emergence of a number of independent
Map 1
State formations in
the eighteenth
century.
©NCERT
not to be republished
139
kingdoms. By 1765,
notice how another
power, the British, had
successfully grabbed
major chunks of
territory in eastern
India. What these maps
tell us is that political
conditions in eighteenth-
century India changed
quite dramatically and
within a relatively short
span of time.
In this chapter we
will read about the
emergence of new
political groups in the
subcontinent during
the first half of the
eighteenth century –
roughly from 1707,
when Aurangzeb died,
till the third battle of
Panipat in 1761.
The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and The Crisis of the Empire and
the Later Mughals the Later Mughals the Later Mughals the Later Mughals the Later Mughals
In Chapter 4 you saw how the Mughal Empire reached
the height of its success and started facing a variety of
crises towards the closing years of the seventeenth
century. These were caused by a number of factors.
Emperor Aurangzeb had depleted the military and
financial resources of his empire by fighting a long
war in the Deccan.
Under his successors, the efficiency of the imperial
administration broke down. It became increasingly
difficult for the later Mughal emperors to keep a check
on their powerful mansabdars. Nobles appointed as
?
See Chapter 4,
Table 1. Which
group of people
challenged Mughal
authority for the
longest time in
Aurangzeb’s reign?
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
POLITICAL FORMATIONS
Map 2
British territories in
the mid-eighteenth
century.
©NCERT
not to be republished
140 OUR PASTS – II
governors (subadars) often controlled the offices of
revenue and military administration (diwani and
faujdari) as well. This gave them extraordinary
political, economic and military powers over vast
regions of the Mughal Empire. As the governors
consolidated their control over the provinces, the
periodic remission of revenue to the capital declined.
Peasant and zamindari rebellions in many parts of
northern and western India added to these problems.
These revolts were sometimes caused by the pressures
of mounting taxes. At other times they were attempts
by powerful chieftains to consolidate their own
positions. Mughal authority had been challenged by
rebellious groups in the past as well. But these groups
were now able to seize the economic resources of the
region to consolidate their positions. The Mughal
emperors after Aurangzeb were unable to arrest the
gradual shifting of political and economic authority
into the hands of provincial governors, local chieftains
and other groups.
Rich harvests and empty coffers Rich harvests and empty coffers Rich harvests and empty coffers Rich harvests and empty coffers Rich harvests and empty coffers
The following is a contemporary writer’s account of
the financial bankruptcy of the empire:
The great lords are helpless and impoverished. Their peasants
raise two crops a year, but their lords see nothing of either,
and their agents on the spot are virtual prisoners in the
peasants’ hands, like a peasant kept in his creditor’s house
until he can pay his debt. So complete is the collapse of all
order and administration that though the peasant reaps a
harvest of gold, his lord does not see so much as a wisp of
straw. How then can the lord keep the armed force he should?
How can he pay the soldiers who should go before him when
he goes out, or the horsemen who should ride behind him?
©NCERT
not to be republished
141
In the midst of this economic and political crisis,
the ruler of Iran, Nadir Shah, sacked and plundered
the city of Delhi in 1739 and took away immense
amounts of wealth. This invasion was followed by a
series of plundering raids by the Afghan ruler Ahmad
Shah Abdali, who invaded north India five times
between 1748 and 1761.
Nadir Shah attacks Delhi Nadir Shah attacks Delhi Nadir Shah attacks Delhi Nadir Shah attacks Delhi Nadir Shah attacks Delhi
The devastation of Delhi after Nadir Shah’s invasion
was described by contemporary observers. One
described the wealth looted from the Mughal treasury
as follows:
sixty lakhs of rupees and some thousand gold coins, nearly
one crore worth of gold-ware, nearly fifty crores worth of
jewels, most of them unrivalled in the world, and the above
included the Peacock throne.
 Another account described the invasion’s impact
upon Delhi:
(those) … who had been masters were now in dire straits;
and those who had been revered couldn’t even (get water to)
quench their thirst. The recluses were pulled out of their
corners. The wealthy were turned into beggars. Those who
once set the style in clothes now went naked; and those who
owned property were now homeless … The New City
(Shahjahanabad) was turned into rubble. (Nadir Shah) then
attacked the Old quarters of the city and destroyed a whole
world that existed there …
Already under severe pressure from all sides, the
empire was further weakened by competition amongst
different groups of nobles. They were divided into two
major groups or factions, the Iranis and Turanis (nobles
of Turkish descent). For a long time, the later Mughal
emperors were puppets in the hands of either one or
the other of these two powerful groups. The worst
Fig. 1
A 1779 portrait of Nadir
Shah.
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
POLITICAL FORMATIONS
©NCERT
not to be republished
142 OUR PASTS – II
possible humiliation came when two Mughal
emperors, Farrukh Siyar (1713-1719) and
Alamgir II (1754-1759) were assassinated,
and two others Ahmad Shah (1748-1754) and
Shah Alam II (1759-1816) were blinded by
their nobles.
Emergence of New States Emergence of New States Emergence of New States Emergence of New States Emergence of New States
With the decline in the authority of the Mughal
emperors, the governors of large provinces,
subadars, and the great zamindars
consolidated their authority in different parts
of the subcontinent. Through the eighteenth
century, the Mughal Empire gradually
fragmented into a number of independent,
regional states. Broadly speaking the states
of the eighteenth century can be divided into three
overlapping groups: (1) States that were old Mughal
provinces like Awadh, Bengal and Hyderabad.
Although extremely powerful and quite independent,
the rulers of these states did not break their formal
ties with the Mughal emperor. (2) States that had
enjoyed considerable independence under the Mughals
as watan jagirs. These included several Rajput
principalities. (3) The last group included states under
the control of Marathas, Sikhs and others like the Jats.
These were of differing sizes and had seized their
independence from the Mughals after a long-drawn
armed struggle.
The Old Mughal Provinces The Old Mughal Provinces The Old Mughal Provinces The Old Mughal Provinces The Old Mughal Provinces
Amongst the states that were carved out of the old
Mughal provinces in the eighteenth century, three
stand out very prominently. These were Awadh, Bengal
and Hyderabad. All three states were founded by
members of the high Mughal nobility who had been
governors of large provinces – Sa‘adat Khan (Awadh),
Murshid Quli Khan (Bengal) and Asaf Jah (Hyderabad).
All three had occupied high mansabdari positions and
enjoyed the trust and confidence of the emperors. Both
Fig. 2
Farrukh Siyar
receiving a noble
in court.
©NCERT
not to be republished
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