Why did Indian kings failed in stopping the Britishers?

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Title: Reasons for the Failure of Indian Kings against the Britishers

India’s tumultuous past is rich with countless battles for sovereignty and control. Numerous Indian Kings and Emperors fiercely resisted the establishment of British rule, but were eventually overpowered. Here, we will delve into why Indian Kings failed to resist the force of the British Empire effectively.

1. Lack of Unity among Indian Kings: Undeniably, one of the strongest reasons for the failure of Indian Kings in resisting British colonisation was the lack of unity among themselves. India was divided among various empires and regional powers, each with its own strategic interests. For example, when the British East India Company was establishing its control in Bengal, the other Indian powers such as the Mughals, the Marathas, and the Nizam didn’t intervene, allowing the British to consolidate their power.

2. Superior Military Tactics of the Britishers: The British possessed superior military strategies and advanced weaponry compared to the Indian King’s armies. This disparity was reflected in battles like the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and the Battle of Buxar in 1764, where the British East India Company was able to defeat vastly larger Indian forces.

3. Policy of Divide and Rule: The British strategically utilised the policy of divide and rule to subjugate the Indian Kings. They exploited the religious, linguistic, and cultural differences among Indians to their advantage. For instance, they pitched Hindus and Muslims against each other, leading to a weakening of resistance against them.

4. Treaty Violations and Diplomacy: Britishers were notorious for violating the terms of treaties and exploiting diplomatic relationships to their advantage. Unjust treaties like the Treaty of Allahabad not only reduced Indian Kings to mere agents of the British, but also crippled their financial strength through the imposition of hefty fines and levies.

5. Superior Economic Strength of the British: The Industrial Revolution in Britain had significantly bolstered their economic power. This economic power translated into military prowess. It enabled them to hire armies, procure modern weapons and fund their colonial activities around the world. In contrast, Indian Kings were saddled with internal economic burdens and could not match the British in terms of resources.

6. Misuse of Doctrine of Lapse: Lord Dalhousie’s Doctrine of Lapse, which essentially allowed the British to annex any princely state that did not have a direct male heir, was a major tool in the expansion of British Empire in India. For instance, the Kingdom of Jhansi was unjustly usurped under this policy, triggering the revolt of 1857.

MCQs with solutions

1. The Battle of Plassey took place in _____.
a) 1756
b) 1757
c) 1758
d) 1759
(Solution: b)

2. Who introduced the Doctrine of Lapse policy?
a) Lord Curzon
b) Lord Minto
c) Lord Dalhousie
d) Lord Canning
(Solution: c)

3. What was the major tool in the expansion of the British Empire in India?
a) Doctrine of Lapse
b) Treaty of Yandabo
c) Treaty of Surat
d) Brown Bill
(Solution: a)

4. The superior military strategies of the Britishers led to their victory in the Battle of _____.
a) Buxar
b) Panipat
c) Haldighati
d) Kurukshetra
(Solution: a)

5. The Treaty of Allahabad was signed in the year _____.
a) 1752
b) 1765
c) 1774
d) 1783
(Solution: b)

A thorough understanding of the past will not only aid UPSC aspirants in acing their examinations but will also provide better insights into the intricacies of Indian history and its impact on present-day India.

Prince Luthra (UPSC CSE AIR 577)

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