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Eighteenth Century Political Formations Summary Class 7 History

The Crisis of the Empire and the Later Mughals

By the end of the seventeenth century, Mughal Empire was shrinking. There are various factors behind this:

  • 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.
  • Peasant and zamindari rebellions in many parts of northern and western India.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Emergence of New States

  • Through the eighteenth century, the Mughal Empire gradually divided into a number of independent, regional states. 
  • Broadly these independent states can be divided into three groups: 
    • States that were old Mughal provinces like Awadh, Bengal and Hyderabad.
    • States that had enjoyed considerable independence under the Mughals as watan jagirs. These included several Rajput principalities. 
    • States under the control of Marathas, Sikhs and others like the Jats. These had seized their independence from the Mughals after a long-drawn armed struggle.

The Old Mughal Provinces

Hyderabad

  • Founded by: Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah (1724-1748) was powerful member at the court of the Mughal Emperor Farrukh Siyar.
  • Asaf Jah brought skilled soldiers and administrators from northern India.
  • He appointed mansabdars and granted jagirs.
  • The state of Hyderabad was constantly engaged in a struggle against the Marathas to the west and with independent Telugu warrior chiefs (nayakas) of the plateau.

Awadh

  • Founded by: Burhan-ul-Mulk Sa‘adat Khan.
  • Awadh was a prosperous region, controlling the rich alluvial Ganga plain and the main trade route between north India and Bengal.
  • Sa‘adat Khan tried to decrease Mughal influence in the Awadh region.
  • He reduced the size of jagirs, and appointed his own loyal servants to vacant positions.
  • The state sold the right to collect tax to the highest bidders called ijaradars.

Bengal

  • Founded by: Murshid Quli Khan
  • He very quickly seized all the power that went with formal subadar office.
  • He commanded the revenue administration of the state.
  • Revenue was collected in cash with great strictness from all zamindars.
  • Under the rule of Alivardi Khan (r. 1740-1756), the banking house of Jagat Seth became extremely prosperous.

The Watan Jagirs of the Rajputs

  • Many Rajput kings were permitted to enjoy considerable autonomy in their watan jagirs.
  • In the eighteenth century, these rulers now attempted to extend their control over adjacent regions.
  • Raja Ajit Singh of Jodhpur held the governorship of Gujarat and Sawai Raja Jai Singh of Amber was governor of Malwa.
  • They tried to extend their territories by seizing portions of imperial territories neighbouring their watans.
  • Maratha campaigns into Rajasthan from the 1740s checked their further expansion.

Seizing Independence

The Sikhs

  • During the seventeenth century, Sikhs built regional state, Punjab.
  • Several battles were fought by Guru Gobind Singh against the Rajput and Mughal rulers.
  • After his death in 1708, the Khalsa rose in revolt against the Mughal authority under Banda Bahadur’s leadership.
    • Banda Bahadur was captured in 1715 and executed in 1716.
  • The Sikh territories in the late eighteenth century extended from the Indus to the Jamuna but they were divided under different rulers.
  • Maharaja Ranjit Singh, reunited these groups and established his capital at Lahore in 1799.

The Marathas

  • Shivaji (1627-1680) carved out a stable Maratha kingdom with the support of powerful warrior families (deshmukhs).
  • After Shivaji’s death, effective power in the Maratha state was exercises by a family of Chitpavan Brahmanas who served Shivaji’s successors as Peshwa (or principal minister).
  • Between 1720 and 1761, the Maratha empire expanded.
  • By the 1730s, the Maratha king was recognised as the overlord of the entire Deccan peninsula.
  • The Marathas developed an effective administrative system as well.
  • New trade routes emerged within the areas controlled by the Marathas.

The Jats

  • The Jats consolidated their power during the late seventeenth and eighteenth-centuries.
  • Under their leader, Churaman, they acquired control over territories situated to the west of the city of Delhi.
  • The Jats were prosperous agriculturists.
  • The important trading centres in the areas under Jats were Panipat and Ballabgarh.
The document Eighteenth Century Political Formations Summary Class 7 History is a part of the Class 7 Course Social Studies (SST) Class 7.
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FAQs on Eighteenth Century Political Formations Summary Class 7 History

1. What were the major political formations in the eighteenth century?
Ans. The major political formations in the eighteenth century included absolute monarchy, constitutional monarchy, republicanism, and colonial rule. These political formations varied in their power dynamics and governance structures.
2. How did absolute monarchy function in the eighteenth century?
Ans. Absolute monarchy in the eighteenth century was a form of government where the monarch held complete power and authority. The monarch had the final say in all political, economic, and social matters, and there were limited checks on their power.
3. What were the characteristics of constitutional monarchy in the eighteenth century?
Ans. Constitutional monarchy in the eighteenth century was a system where the monarch's powers were limited by a constitution or a set of laws. The monarch's authority was balanced by the presence of a parliament or legislative body, which had the power to make decisions and influence policy.
4. How did republicanism shape political formations in the eighteenth century?
Ans. Republicanism in the eighteenth century advocated for the establishment of a republic, where power resided with the people and their elected representatives. This led to the overthrow of monarchies and the establishment of republics in some countries, such as the United States and France.
5. How did colonial rule impact political formations in the eighteenth century?
Ans. Colonial rule in the eighteenth century saw European powers exerting control over various parts of the world, leading to the establishment of colonies. This resulted in the imposition of foreign political systems on indigenous populations, often leading to conflicts and resistance movements. Colonial rule also shaped the political landscape and power dynamics in both the colonized regions and the colonizing nations.
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