Communal and Regional Uprisings
The Sikhs History :
- Belong to a religious sect founded by Guru Nanak (1469 – 1539). His main teachings were the faith in one true Lord, the worship of the Name and the necessity of a Guru in the worship of the name.
- After his death, Guru Angad (1539 – 52) became his successor. He invented the Gurumukhi script for the Punjabi Language.
- Guru Amardas (1552 – 74) was the next guru. He reformed the institution of hangar and gave more importance to it. He divided his spiritual empire into 22 parts called Manjis. Each Manjis was put under the charge of a Sikh.
- IV guru, Guru Ramdas (1575 – 81) had very cordial relations with Akbar. He laid the foundation of Amritsar city. He dug a tank (sarovar) and it exists at Amritsar. In the midst of the tank, the Harmandir Sahib (Temple of God) was constructed.
- V guru, Guru Arjun Dev (1581 – 1606) compiled the Adi Granth. He also completed the construction of Amritsar and founded other cities like Taran Taran and Kartarpur. He was executed by Jahangir for helping his rebellious son, Khusro.
- VI guru, Guru Har Govind Rai (1606 – 44) defeated a Mughal Army at Sangrama. He transformed the Sikhs into military community, estd. Akal Takhtat the Golden Temple and held court there to conduct secular matters. He himself took up the tide of Sachcha Padshah.He also fortified Amritsar.
- Guru Har Rai (1644 – 61) and Guru Har Kishan (1661 – 64) were the VII and VIII gurus respectively.
- IX guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur (1664 – 75) revolted against Aurangzeb but was executed by him. He was beheaded at Delhi’s Chandni Chowk in November 1675. The Sis Ganj Gurudwara marks the site of his martyrdom.
- X and last guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1675 – 1708) (born in Patna) organised Sikhs as a community of warriors and called them as Khalsa (Baisakhi day, 1699). He summoned a big assembly of Sikhs at Anantpur and selected 5 persons who came to be known as Panj Piaras. They took the water of immortality.
The Sikhs were given a distinct dress and they were required to keep on their person five things beginning with K, viz., Kesh, Kripan, Kachha, Kanga and Kara. He compiled a supplementary granth called ‘Daswen Padshah ka Granth’.
After the death of Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind Singh had cordial relations with his son. Bahadur Shah I. He even agreed to accompany the new king to Deccan. But the Guru was stabbed to death by a Pathan in 1708. At his death, he declared that henceforth, the Guru shall be in the Khalsa and the Khalsa in the Guru. He declared that from now on Granth Sahib should be treated as the Guru.
The Marathas Indian History :
- Rose to prominence under Shivaji.
- He was born to Shahji Bhonsle and Jijabai in 1627 at fortress of Shivner in Poona. Shahji was a military officer in the state of Bijapur and he owned the territory of Poona as a jagir.
- He was highly impressed by his mother, Dadaji Kondadeo (his guardian), Guru Ramdas Samarth and Tuka Ram, both Bhakti saints.
- From 1656, he started capturing many forts from the local officer’s of Bijapur.
- Ali Adil Shah, sultan of Bijapur sent Afzal Khan to teach Shivaji a lesson in 1659. But Shivaji killed him in a meeting with his tiger claws.
- Ultimately, in 1662, the Sultan of Bijapur made peace with Shivaji and acknowledged him as an independent ruler of his conquered territories.
- Aurangzeb got worried by Shivaji’s extensive conquests. He sent Shaista Khan (Viceroy of Mughal Deccan) to kill him. Here again, in a daring manner, Shivaji attacked Shaista Khan’s camp in night, injuring him.
- Then Aurangzeb sent Raja Jai Singh (of Amber) who forced him to sign the Treaty of Purandar in 1665. Under the treaty, Shivaji had to surrender 23 of his major forts out of the total 35 forts. Shivaji also agreed to help the Mughals in their attack of Bijapur.
- Shivaji visited Agra with his son Sambhaji in 1666. There he was put on a house arrest. But he escaped from there, concealing in a basket of sweets.
- He very soon conquered all the forts which he had surrendered to the Mughals.
- He defeated a Mughal force in the Battle of Salher in 1672.
- He was crowned in 1674 at Raigarh and assumed the title of Chhatrapati. He became the sovereign ruler of Maharashtra.
- Unfortunately, Shivaji didn’t live long. He died in 1680 at the age of 53.
Marathas after Shivaji :
- After Shivaji, his son Sambhaji (1680 – 89) succeeded throne (although a lot many supported his step-brother, Rajaram). He was a man of loose character and spent all his time in merry – making.
- When Aurangzeb was busy in his campaigns against Bijapur and Golconda, he and his followers did not take full advantage of the opportunity. When Sambhaji gave shelter to Aurangzeb’s rebel son, Akbar, he was executed and his infant son, Shivaji II, better known as Shahu, was taken captive by Aurangzeb.
- Sambhaji was succeeded by Rajaram in 1689. Rajaram also lacked the qualities of his father. He was hardly ten when his father died and he was kept a prisoner by his brother Sambhaji. The result was that he failed to get the education which was necessary for his status.
- However, he was fortunate in having brilliant advisors and helpers. Initially, he was successful against the Mughals. But he was killed in 1700 when Aurangzeb himself conducted an expedition against him. After Raja Ram’s death, his widow Tarabai put her infant son, Shivaji III on the throne.
- After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the Mughals tried to divide the Marathas. Shahu was released by Aurangzeb’s successor, Bahadur Shah I. now he claimed the government. His release led to the Maratha civil war between Shahu and Tarabai. In the civil war Shahu emerged victorious (Battle of Khed) with the help of Balaji Vishwanath, the founder of the line of Peshwas. After the battle, Tarabai retired to Kolhapur with her son.
- In the reign of Shahu, the Peshwa or Prime Minister, Balaji Vishwanath, virtually became the ruler of the state. From now onwards began the rule of the Peshwas who had their seat of power at Poona. (Shahu’s capital was Satara).
- In all, there were seven Peshwas, namely :
- Balaji Vishwanath (1713 – 20)
- Balaji Baji Rao I (1720 – 40)
- Balaji Baji Rao (1740 – 61)
- Madho Rao (1761 – 72)
- Narayan Rao (1772 – 73)
- Madho Rao Narayan (1773 – 95)
- Baji Rao II (1795 – 1818)
- Of these seven Peshwas, the ablest was Baji Rao I and the weakest and most incompetent was Baji Rao II.
- Baji Rao II signed the Treaty of Bassein in 1802 with the British, which gave the British effective control of not only the Maratha region but also of the Deccan and western India.
- Under Peshwas, Maratha kingdom transformed into an empire based on the principle of confederacy, in which prominent Maratha chiefs were assigned a territory as their ‘sphere of influence’, which they were supposed to conquer on their own and which they can administer autonomously.
- Consequently, several Maratha families became prominent in different parts of India :
- Gaekwad in Baroda
- Bhonsle at Nagpur
- Holkar at Indore
- Scindia at Gwalior
- Peshwa at Poona
Maratha Administration :
- Besides the land revenue, Chauth or 1/4th land revenue was the main revenue.
- Sardeshmukhi was an additional levy of 10% on those lands of Maharashtra over which the Marathas claimed hereditary rights, but which formed part of the Mughal Empire.
- Shivaji was helped by 8 ministers or Ashta Pradhana.
- Peshwa or Mukhya Pradhan (Prime Minister).
- Majumdar or Amatya (Finance Minister).
- Mantri or Waqianavis (Personal safety of king).
- Sachiva or Surunavis (In charge of royal secretariat).
- Samant or Dabir (Foreign Minister) a Senapati (Commander in Chief).
- Pandit Rao (Chief Religious Advisor).
- Nyayadhish (Administration of justice).
- With the exception of Nyayadhish and Pandit Rao, all other ministers were required to command armies and lead expeditions.
- Later, Rajaram created a new post of Pratinidhi, thus taking the total ministers to nine.
The Jats Indian History :
- First revolted in 1669 under Gokla.
- Second uprising in 1685 under Rajaram and Churaman. After Aurangzeb’s death, they set up separate Jat state at Bharatpur (Churaman and Badan Singh).
- Suraj Mai (1756 – 63) took their state to glory. He is known as Plato of the Jat tribe.
Mysore India :
- In the second half of the 18th century, the rise of Mysore under Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan and their alliance with the French was seen as a danger to the British power in India.
- Mysore emerged as a powerful throne under Haider Ali who became the king in 1761.
- He used western military training to strengthen his army.
- In the I Anglo – Mysore war (1767 – 1769), Haider Ali faced the triple alliance of the English, the Nizam and the Marathas. As Haider Ali was a great diplomat, he bought off the Marathas and won over the Nizam and thus broke the alliance. The war was brought to an end by signing of the Treaty of Madras (1769).
- Hyder Ali died in 1782 during the II Anglo – Mysore war. His son Tipu Sultan carried on the war till 1784 when the two sides concluded peace by signing the Treaty of Mangalore.
- Tipu planted a tree of liberty at Srirangapatnam. He employed French officers to train his army and showed a keen interest in French Revolution and became a member of the Jacobin Club.
- He assumed the title of Padshah in 1797.
- In the III Anglo – Mysore war (1789 – 1792), he was defeated by the triple alliance of British, Nizam and the Marathas and had to sign the Treaty of Sriranagapatnam. By this treaty, Tipu ceded half of his territory to the English and paid a large amount as war indemnity.
- He was defeated and killed in the IV Anglo – Mysore war (1799) by Lord Wellesley.
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