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|03-24-2010, 09:19 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Chapter 5 - Downfall of Muslim Rule
Chapter 5 - Downfall of Muslim Rule
* Causes of Decline of Muslim Society
* Causes of War of Independence
* Causes of failure of the War
* Condition of Muslims after the War
Q.1. What are the causes of the Downfall of Muslim Society?
Causes of Decline of Muslim Society
By the opening of the eighteenth century when Europe was ruled by Strong monarchies and the European merchant communities were well on the read to prosperity the Muslim powers everywhere showed a rapid decline. The empire of the Muslims began to weaken rapidly after the death of the great Emperor Alamgir-I in 1707. The causes of the decline and disintegration of the empire is generally regarded as the weakness of the successors of Alamgir-I but really the loss of feeling of solidarity among the Muslims was one of the principal causes of Muslims decadence.
The unity of faith gave a unity of feeling to the Muslims. It was this sense of belonging to the same faith that enabled this numerically small minority to rule the teeming millions of the non-Muslim population. Various historians have arrived at the following main causes of the disintegration of the Muslim Society in Indo-Pakistan.
1. Weak Successors of Aurangzeb
The successors of Auranzeb were incapable, worthless and unsuited to the job of Kingship. Most of them were devoted to merry making and neglected the affairs of the state. They left their work to their Wazirs who eventually became all powerful.
2. Vastness of the Empire
During the reign of Aurangzeb the Muslim Empire had become very vast and unwiedly. It became practically impossible for one ruler to control far flung provinces without any effective means of communication and transport.
3. Absence of a Definite Law of Succession
There was no definite law of primogeniture. Consequently a war of succession was the only means to decide the successor of an Emperor. According to Erskine, "The sword was the grand arbiter of right and every son was prepared to try his fortune against his brothers." The result was that widespread bloodshed weakened the foundations of the Empire and provided opportunities to other adventures to interfere in the matters of state.
4. Deterioration of Morality of Mughal Emperors
With the passage of time the character of the Muslim Emperors deteriorated quickly. Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb were all physically very strong. Some of them were reckless drinkers while the others were fond of women. Deterioration of character of the rulers expedited the disintegration of the Mughal Empire.
5. Degeneration of Nobility
The character of the Rulers nobility also degenerated with their rulers. Abundance of wealth, leisure and luxury rendered them inefficient and incompetent. This affected the administration of the State.
6. Deterioration of Army
Hot climate, abundance of wealth and comforts deteriorated the standards of Mughal army. The soldiers became easy going with the result that by the 18th century they began to avoid the hardships of battlefields. The invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali demolished the army. The soldiers lost their ancestral confidence of victories. The army ceased to be what it had been; a terror for the enemies. The invaders plundered the country at will. Demoralized army could not keep the provinces together.
7. Intellectual Bankruptcy
The latter Muslim Rulers and nobility suffered from intellectual bankruptcy because there was no proper system of education in the country. Lack of proper training resulted in the production of rulers who were not competent to face the challenges of their jobs.
8. Mughal Rule Alien, to Indian Soil
The Mughals had come from the countries of Central Asia. They brought their own culture and customs to Indo-Pakistan. The demands of their religion clashed with the tenets of Hinduism. Thus, the alien Mughal rule remained different throughout and could not provide homogeneous nature to all the castes, creeds and religious of the Sub-Continent.
9. Corrupt Administration
With the weakening of the hold of the rulers the Muslim administration became corrupt. The ministers, courtiers, nobles and officials accepted bribes. Such a situation weakened the foundations of the Muslim Society.
10. Stoppage of Adventures from Persia, Afghanistan and Turkistan
The Muslim leaders with the passage of time became habitual of luxurious living. There was a dearth of good administration and fighters. Previously this vacuum was filled by adventures from neighboring states. The stoppage of their influx resulted in deterioration of military and civil standards.
11. Invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali
The invasions of Nadir Shah (1739) and Ahmed Shah Abdali (1754-67) not only exposed the hollowness of the Muslim rulers but also created a stale of anarchy in the country. Such situation proved ideal for the rise of Marathas and Sikhs as new powers.
12. Aurangzeb's Policy in Deccan
Aurangzeb spent the last 25 years of his rule in the Deccan. Continuous fighting told upon the efficiency and the morale of the army. The conquest of Bijapur and Golkonda finished the two states which served as a check to the Marathas.
13. Absence of Naval Power
The Muslim rulers did not develop their Navy whereas the European nations possessed modern naval fleets. It proved a weak point of the rulers when they had to fight the British and the Portuguese.
14. Plight of the Common People and Peasants
The condition of the common people and Peasants worsened in the 17th and 18th centuries. Bad economic conditions led to discontentment among the classes which resulted in uprisings like the revolts of Satnamis, Jats and Sikhs.
15. Rise of Marathas
Second half of the 17th century saw the growth of Maratha nationalism. Later on in the 18th century they were able to extend their influence to Delhi. The emergence of Maralha power contributed to the downfall of Muslim rule.
16. Rise of Sikhs
Rise of Sikhs in the 18th century was another factor which contributed to the downfall of the Muslim Society. After the death of Aurangzeb the weak Muslim rulers could not check the emergence of Sikhs as a power in Punjab. During the reign of Jahandar Shah (1712-13) and Farrukhsiyar (1713-19) Banda Bahadur (the Sikh Leader) captured Sirhindi and killed its Governor Wazir Khan. The rise of Sikhs also contributed to the downfall of Muslim Society.
17. Rise of Hindus of Rajputana
The religious policy of Aurangzeb was not liberal like his predecessors. Besides he re-imposed Jazia on the Hindus. These acts created certain doubts in the minds of Hindus. Especially the Rajputs of Mewar and Marwar fought a prolonged war against the Muslim. Thus, they were deprived of the services of their centuries old friends.
18. Backwardness in Science and Technology
The rulers failed to keep pace with the developments in science and technology. Thus they could not equip their army with the latest weapons. As a result they could not effectively face the European nations in the battles of Plassey and Buxer which ultimately decided the tale of the country.
19. Advent of English East India Company
The advent of Europeans like Portuguese and the English is an event of great significance in the Muslim rule. The Portuguese and the British (The English East India Company) came in the guise of traders but developed factories and forts which ultimately became centre of their subversive activities. Their clever maneuverings and the weaknesses of the Muslim Rulers enabled the British to seize control of the country by 1857.
|03-24-2010, 09:20 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Re: Chapter 5 - Downfall of Muslim Rule
Causes of War of Independence
It is now an admitted fact that th mass uprising of the people of Indo-Pakistan against the British rule in 1857 was not a spontaneous reaction of alien rule but the emption of the volcano of discontent which had kept smoldering for about a century. The causes of the War of Independence were political, economic, religious, social and military.
(A). Political Causes
The English East India company got strongly implanted in the Sub-Continent after its historic victory over Nawab of Bengal in the Battle of Plassey fought in 1757. Soon after wards in 1764 the British recorded another important triumph in the Battle of Buxar. They annexed many states.
1. Doctrine of Lapse
Lord Dalhousie applied Doctrine of Lapse for the expansion of the British Empire. According to this doctrine the rulers of the states were not allowed to adopt sons. As a result their states were annexed when they died.
2. Annoyance of Rules of States Lord Dalhousie left no stone unturned for the expansion of the English territory. He annexed states on the grounds of Doctrine of Lapse and misgovernment. As such the rulers of the affected states like Sindh, Punjab, Jhansi and Oudh became sworn enemies of the Company.
3. Confiscation of Estates
It was a convention of the past rulers that the nobles were granted large estates. The British Government reversed this policy and confiscated thousands of such estates.
(B). Economic Causes of War
The new agrarian policy of the British, destruction of local industry, permanent settlements, large scale unemployment, monopoly of trade by the English and the Stamp Act were some important economic causes of the war.
1. New Agrarian Policy
In the agrarian the Zamindars were asked to provide documentary proof of their holdings. They were deprived of their lands when they failed to furnish documentary proof of their ancestral estates. In addition the rate of taxes on the lands was increased. This class was in the front rank when he war of Independence broke out in 1857.
2. Destruction of Local Industry
As a result of the Industrial revolution of England cheaper and superior goods flowed into the markets of the Sub-Continent. The local industry could not compete with the imported stuff. As a result the local industry suffered badly. This resulted in frustration among the lower classes.
3. Permanent Settlement
The after effects of the permanent settlement of land were very disastrous for the land owners. They had to deposit regularly a fixed amount which was not always possible. The defaulters were very often degraded.
4. Unemployment The British did not trust the Indians. As a result they were not appointed on important jobs. This policy resulted in unemployment for the educated classes.
5. Domination of Trade by the English
The British enacted such tows which facilitated their trade in Indo-Pakistan. Many sea ports were declared free ports and custom duty on imported goods was wiredrawn. These steps mined the local industry.
6. Court Fee Stamps
The English Government declared court fee compulsory to be paid in the form of court stamps. Thus the people were denied the right of free justice.
(C). Religious Causes
1. Propagation of Christianity
Although at the outset the English had shown respect towards all religions yet with the passage of time they changed their mind and devised ways and means for the propagation of Christianity in Indo-Pakistan.
2. Introduction of New Inventions
In the first half of the 19th century the British introduced in Indo-Pakistan many inventions like railway, post and telegraph. Moreover they made English as medium of education. These inventions made the Indians suspicious of the intentions of the British.
3. Jihad Movement
Syed Ahmed Shaheed launched die Jihad Movement in the second decade of the 19th century. It was a sort of large scale effort by the Muslims to snatch freedom from alien rule. The Jihad Movement though failed to achieve immediate aims yet it succeeded in Kindling a flame of freedom.
4. Anti-Religion Laws
The British Government enacted many laws which were contradictory to the fundamentals of various religions of Indo-Pakistan.
(D). Social Causes
1. Mockery of Cultural Heritage
The British were afraid of the Muslim cultural heritage which was very rich in all aspects. The English wanted to prove their culture as superior to others. Thus they adopted a policy of ridiculing the Muslim culture. This attitude greatly agitated Muslim religious feelings.
2. Insulting treatment with the People
A hundred year rule over the Sub-Continent had given the English an air of superiority. They considered themselves a super creation and often resorted to insulting attitude towards the people of the Sub-Continent.
(E). Military Causes
1. Disbanded armies of annexed slates
The British disbanded the armies of the annexed states. This action left thousands of the local soldiers unemployed.
2. Dearth of English Troops
It is estimated that before the start of the war of Independence there were 3,11,000 native troops as against 40,000 European troops. This ratio tilted the balance in favor of the natives. As a result they were encouraged to launch the war of Independence.
3. Greased Cartridge
The use of greased cartridge proved as the immediate cause of the war of Independence. It was rumored that the cartridges were greased with the fat of the cow or pig. This situation agitated the religious feelings of both the Muslims and Hindu Soldiers.
Events of the War
The first incident of the war took place on 26th February 1857 when the native soldiers of the 19th Native infantry at Behrampur refused to used the greased cartridges. Then no 29th March 1857, Mangal Panda a native soldier of the 34th native infantry fired at his British officers. His fellows did not join him. As a result he was caught and hanged. However, all the 34th native infantry was disbanded on 6th May 1857. Thus the war was triggered on and the flames of war soon spread to all puts of the country.
1. Disputed Cartridges
In January 1857 the British announced that they were introducing a new rifle with a paper cartridge covered in grease to keep the powder dry. Before the cartridge could be loaded, the end had to be bitten off. However, it was rumoured the grease on the cartridge was made from the fat of both cows and pigs. The sepoys were so angered by this that they refused to use the new cartridges. In March a sepoy named Mangal Pandey defied his British officers and when his officers ordered to arrest him, he shot the major. Consequently he was executed. But the real trouble began two months later.
2. Meerut Rebellion
On April 24, 1857 sepoys in Meerut refused to use the new cartridges. It was treated as army rebellion and they were court martialled and put into prison, but their fellow soldiers broke into prison and freed them. Meerut was sacked and British officers and other Europeans were put to death. Then the soldiers marched to Delhi and captured it. The Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar became unifying symbol for the uprising, winning the support of both Muslim and Hindu.
3. Punjab, Frontiers and Sindh
As the reaction of Meerut rebellion, British rulers disarmed the local army people but the condition continued to deteriorate persistently. Unrest was spread in Punjab, Frontiers and Sindh. English killed thousands of local soldiers indiscriminately in Multan, Sahiwal, Jehlum, Hyderabad, Karachi, Pindi, Peshawar, Mardan and Hazara districts. The freedom fighters set British homes and offices to the fire. Sialkot prison was broken and the prisoners were freed. The fighters were assembled on the bank of Ravi and fought with the British troops under the command of Nicholson at Trimu Ghaat. Unfortunately the freedom fighters were defeated. In Punjab Rae Ahmed Kharal, Nizam Lohar, Jaggey and Jeony fought against British bravely.
4. Ceased British Rule
The revolt spread quickly and the British lost control of Mathura, Kanpur, Jhansi and Allahabad as well as Delhi. Lucknow was also taken and British rule ceased to exist throughout what is now called Uttar Pradesh.
5. Retrieval of Power
However British proved to be too powerful to be defeated by an uncoordinated uprising across many areas. In September 1857 Delhi was regained. Bahadur Shah surrendered peacefully, but his sons Mirza Mughal, Mirza Sultan and Mirza Abu Bakar were brutally murdered. Their heads were then presented to the Emperor as a lesson. Lucknow was also regained by the British in September 1857.
After the fall of Lucknow, the main centre of rebellion was Jhansi. Here the sepoys were led by Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi. She was assisted by Tatya Topee, an Indian general of great ability. But in June 1958 the British killed Lakshmibai (dressed as a man) in battle. Although Tatya Topee escaped, he was later captured and executed.
Canner Singh was the leader of war of Independence in Bihar. Although he was 80 years old but he defeated English troops badly near Arrah but he died as a result of fatal wound.
The rulers of the states of Jind, Patiala, Gawaliar and Hyderabad and also some rich Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs helped British in taking the War of Independence to such tragic end.
Consequences of the War
Followings were the consequences of the war.
1. After the war the number of Europeans soldiers was increased in Indo Pakistan. A ratio of one and two was maintained with the native soldiers.
2. One ugly effect of the war of Independence was that the Muslims were subjected to oppression by the English. The British thought that the Muslims were responsible for the war or Independence. Accordingly the hand of repression fell more heavily on the Muslims than on the Hindus. Many of the leading Muslims were hanged.
3. The failure of the war greatly encouraged the Christian missionaries to resume the propagation of their religion.
|03-24-2010, 09:20 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Re: Chapter 5 - Downfall of Muslim Rule
Causes of failure of the War
Q.1. What are the causes of failure of the War of Independence?
Causes of Failure of the War
The war of Independence of 1857 failed to achieve its immediate political objectives. There were many causes of this failure. Some are being detailed as follows:
1. Lack of Leadership and Discipline
The freedom fighters fought mostly in independent groups at different places. They were led by leaders of their particular regions like Nana Saheb, Rani Jhansi, Tatya Topee, Bahadur Khan, Bakht Khan and Kanwar Singh. There was no leader who could single handed lead all the groups. As a result the revolutionaries lacked discipline. Thus their efforts could not get the required momentum of the national level.
2. Lack of Unity
There was no unity among the freedom fighters. They fought independent of one another. As a result they could not assemble their resources against a common enemy. They were defeated at different places. Bakht Khan was defeated at Delhi, Begum Hazrat Mahal lost at Oudh, Rani Jhansi was routed at Jhansi. Nana Sahib lost at Kanpur and Bahadur Khan was defeated at Baraille. On the other hand the British fought the war of their survival with dedication and purpose.
3. Lack of Resources
The freedom fighters lacked resources of all types. They were short of not only war equipment but food stuffs also. They had to face an enemy which was well equipped and well organized. The Mughal Emperor had no treasury to support the war.
4. Lack of Popular Support
It is a stark fact that the war of independence never assumed the shape of a concerted national struggle. It lacked popular support. Although it spread to various parts of the country yet some places like the Punjab, Hyderabad, Gwalior and Nepal did not take part in the war.
5. Superior Technology of English Troops
The British fought with latest weapons. They had the backing of the latest technology. They were led by capable and experienced generals like Outram, Campbell etc.
6. Non-Cooperation of the Rulers of the States
The rulers of different states of Indo-Pakistan did not come to the help of the freedom fighters. Thus, die war of Independence remained confined to a few centers.
7. Non-Cooperation of Sikhs and Punjab
The Sikhs of the Province of Punjab considered the Muslims as their traditional enemies. Thus they decided to support the British in the war of Independence. The Sikhs soldiers played a decisive role in the recovery of Delhi from the freedom fighters. It is contended that had the Sikhs not assisted the English in the war the history of Indo-Pakistan would have been written differently.
8. Role of Traitors
The British succeeded in finding certain traitors in the ranks of the freedom fighters. For Example Maulvi Rajab Ali and Hakeem Ehsan Ullah blew off the royal ammunition depot at Delhi. Thus the revolutionaries suffered a great set back.
9. Return of British Troops from Crimea
The war of Crimea ended in 1856. Thus the British troops fighting there were then free to return to the Sub-Continent. The war of Independence started in 1857. In the beginning the Company had to depend on the few soldiers present in the country. But soon afterwards the surplus troops from Crimea started.
|03-24-2010, 09:21 AM||#4 (permalink)|
Re: Chapter 5 - Downfall of Muslim Rule
Q.4. What were the Condition of Muslims after the war?
Condition of Muslims after the War
The war of Independence of 1857 was conducted mainly by the Muslims. Its failure started a new era of alien rule in the Sub-Continent. Although the war was ill planned and short lived yet it shock the British Imperialism to its foundations. The concern of the British Government can be judged from the fact that immediately after the war the crown took over the control of the country from the English East India Company. The British Government took stock of the entire situation and held the Muslims of the Country responsible for the 1857 catastrophe. This attitude turned all the British wrath and anger against the Muslims. Thus the Muslims were subjected to all sorts of oppression and repression. Leading Muslims were hanged or sentenced to jails. The properties of the Muslims were confiscated. They were denied important jobs under the crown. Sir William Hunter's book "The Indian Mussalmans" published in 1871 gives a lot of information about the pitiable conditions of the Muslims of India after the 1857 upheaval. Although the observations of William Hunter are confined only to the Muslims of Bengal yet the condition of the Muslims of rest of India was not different. The following extracts from his book illustrate the conditions of the Muslims.
About the landowning classes of Eastern Bengal he writes, At Murshidabad a Mohammadan Court still plays its force of mimic state and in every district the descendent of some line of princes suddenly and proudly eats his heart out among roofless palaces and weed chocked tanks....... if any statesman wishes to make a sensation in the House of Commons he has only to truly narrate the history of these Mohammadan families of Bengal.
Then W. Hunter gives the position of the Muslims in the public services in these words, "In the three grades of Assistant Government Engineers there were fourteen Hindus and not one Muslim; among die apprentices there were four Hindus and two Englishmen and not one Muslim. Among me Sub-Engineers there were 24 Hindus to one Muslim and in the upper Subordinate Department there were 22 Hindus and again not one Muslim." About the causes of the whole state of affairs Hunter writes. "The truth is that when the country passed under our rule the Muslims were the superior race and superiour not only in the stoutness of me heart and strength of arm but in power of political organization and the science of political government." Later on W. Hunter writes, "All sorts of employments great and small are being gradually snatched away from me Mohammadans and bestowed on men of other races particularly the Hindus."
According to another survey in 1871 out of a total of 2141 persons employed by the Bengal Government there were only 92 Muslims, 711 Hindus and 1338 Europeans. Moreover it is stated that between 1852 and 1862 out of 240 natives admitted as the pleaders of the High Court there was only one Muslim.
An Indian socialist leader Asoka-Mehta in his book "The Communal Triangle" throws light on the status enjoyed by Muslims in public offices. "Not only were the Muslims economically crushed, educationally and socially also their position was deliberately depressed by the government. In 1870 the Mohammadan pleaders presented two memorials to the High Court pointing out that while closed holidays allowed to the Christians were sixty two and those to Hindus fifty two, only eleven were granted to the Muhammadans...... In the government offices, no Muhammadan holiday was sanctioned at all."
These details clearly demonstrate the awe-fully pitiable condition of the Muslims of India after the war. The British were hostile to Muslims and took all steps to ensure that they could not rise in future. In addition to these misfortunes the Muslims refused to learn Western education and sciences. They were not prepared to part with their age old customs and manners. The Muslims considered the acquisition of modern education as a step contrary to their religion. They hated English language and decided to continue with Persian. But unconsciously, in this manner they were slowly but surely leaving the field open for the Hindus. This gradual decline in the status of the Muslims as a community was first diagnosed and checked by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.