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Home » » The British and Sikhs [1849 - 1947]

The British and Sikhs [1849 - 1947] (55)
The British and Sikhs [1849 - 1947]
ANGLOSIKH RELATIONS need to be traced to the transformation of the British East India Company, a commercial organization, into a political power in India . Victory at Plassey (23 June 1757) brought Bengal under the de facto control of the British, and that at Buxar (22 October 1764) made Oudh a British protectorate. By August 1765, the grant of the diwani rights to the Company by the Mughal Emperor Shah `Alam made them the virtual rulers of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Robert Clive (1725-74), the victor of Plassey and governor of Bengal during 1765-67, watched with interest the repeated invasions of India by Ahmad Shah Durrani and rejoiced at his final repulse at the hands of the Sikhs in 1766-67.
The British and Sikhs [1849 - 1947]
ANGLOSIKH TREATY (1806) followed Jasvant Rao Holkar`s crossing over into the Punjab in 1805 after he was defeated at Fateh garh and Dig in December 1804 by the British. Accompanied by his Ruhila ally, Amir Khan, and a Maratha force estimated at 15,000. Holkar arrived at Patiala, but on hearing the news that the British general, Lake, was in hot pursuit, both the refugees fled northwards, entered the Jalandhar Doab, and ultimately reached Amritsar. Ranjit Singh, then camping near Multan, hastened to Amritsar to meet Holkar.He was hospitable and sympathetic towards the Maratha chief, but was shrewd enough not to espouse a forlorn cause and come into conflict with the British, especially when he was far from securely established on the throne.
The British and Sikhs [1849 - 1947]
ANGLOSIKH TREATY (AMRITSAR, 1809). Napoleon`s victories in Europe had alarmed the British, who, fearing a French attack on the country through Afghanistan, decided to win the Sikhs over to their side and sent a young officer, Charles Theophilus Met caife, to Maharaja Ranjit Singh`s court with an offer of friendship. Metcaife met the Maharaja in his camp at Khem Karan, near Kasur, on 12 September 1808, taking with him a large number of presents sent by the Governor General of India. He told him how the English wished to have friendly relations with him and presented to him the draft of a treaty.Ranjit Singh did not credit the theory that the British had made the proposal to him because of the danger from Napoleon. On the other hand, he showed his willingness to cooperate with the British, provided the latter recognized his claim of paramountcy over all the Majha and Malva Sikhs.
The British and Sikhs [1849 - 1947]
ANGLOSIKH TREATY (1840). In 1832, a treaty was executed by Lord William Bentinck, the Governor General of India, through Col. C.M. Wade, with the Lahore Darbar concerning navigation through the Sutlej and the Indus rivers within the Khalsa territory. Another treaty on the subject was subsequently executed in 1834, fixing a duty on every mercantile boat, independent of its freight and of the nature of its merchandise.A third treaty was executed on this subject on the arrival of George Russell Clerk, agent to the Governor General, at the Sikh Darbar, in May 1839, adjusting the rate of duties on merchandise, according to quantity and kind.
The British and Sikhs [1849 - 1947]
ANGLOSIKH TREATIES (LAHORE, 9 and 11 March 1846). After the end of the first Anglo Sikh war, the British governor general, Lord Harding, entered the Sikh capital on 20 February 1846, and on 9 March imposed upon the young Maharaja Duleep Singh, then aged seven and a half years, a treaty of peace. The preamble to the treaty accused the Lahore government and the Sikh army of having violated the terms of the treaty of 1809 by unprovoked aggression on British provinces. The territories of Maharaja Duleep Singh, situated on the left bank of the Sutlej, were confiscated and annexed.
The British and Sikhs [1849 - 1947]
ANGLOSIKH TREATY (BHYROWAL/ BHAROVAL, December 1846), signed on 16 December 1846 between the East India Company and the minor Maharaja Duleep Singh, provided for a Britishcontrolled regency till the Maharaja came of age. Maharani Jind Kaur, who was acting as regent other son, Duleep Singh, had believed that, as stipulated in the treaty of Lahore (11 March 1846), the British force would leave Lahore. But she was soon disillusioned as the British, instead of quitting, started strengthening their authority over Lahore administration. GovernorGeneral Henry Hardinge sent to Lahore his secretary, Frederick Currie, who isolating Maharani Jind Kaur, manipulated the leading sardars and chiefs into requesting the British for a fresh treaty.
The British and Sikhs [1849 - 1947]
ANGLOSIKH WAR I, 1845-46, resulting in the partial subjugation of the Sikh kingdom, was the outcome of British expansionism and the near anarchical conditions that overtook the Lahore court after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in June 1839. The English, by then firmly installed in Firozpur on the Sikh frontier, about 70 km from Lahore, the Sikh capital, were watching the happenings across the border with more than a neighbour`s interest. The disorder that prevailed there promised them a good opportunity for direct intervention. Up to 1838, the British troops on the Sikh frontier had amounted to one regiment at Sabathu in the hills and two at Ludhiana, with six pieces of artillery, equalling in all about 2,500 men.
The British and Sikhs [1849 - 1947]
ANGLOSIKH WAR II, 1848-49, which resulted in the abrogation of the Sikh kingdom of the Punjab, was virtually a campaign by the victors of the first Anglo Sikh war (1945-46) and since then the de facto rulers of the State finally to overcome the resistance of some of the sardars who chafed at the defeat in the earlier war which, they believed, had been lost owing to the treachery on the part of the commanders at the top and not to any lack of fighting strength of the Sikh army.
The British and Sikhs [1849 - 1947]
ANNEXATION OF THE PUNJAB to British dominions in India in 1849 by Lord Dalhousie, the British governor general, which finally put an end to the sovereignty of the Sikhs over northwestern India, was the sequel to a chain of events that had followed the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh ten years earlier. Internal dissensions and treachery had caused the defeat of the Sikh army at the hands of the British in the first Anglo Sikh war (1845-46). When on 16 December 1846, the Lahore Darbar was forced to sign the treaty of Bhyrowal (Bharoval), the kingdom of the Punjab was made a virtual British protectorate.
The British and Sikhs [1849 - 1947]
AUCKLAND PAPERS, comprising private correspondence and letters of Lord Auckland, governor general of India (1836-42), now available in the British Library and Museum, London, provide interesting sidelights on political affairs in the Punjab (1836-1841), Sindh and Afghanistan, and also furnish useful information on the military power of the Sikhs, and persons and politics at the court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Some of these letters were used by LJ.

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