History-1996-Set II

Q.1. What is meant by the term ’succession states’ in the context of the history of India in the 18th century? How did their rise affect the Mughal Empire? (5 marks)
Ans. With the gradual weakening of the Mughal Empire, local and regional political and economic forces began to arise and assert themselves and politics began to undergo major changes from the late 17th century onwards. During the 18th century, on the debris of the Mughal Empire, arose a large number of independent and semi-independent states such as Bengal, Awadh, Hydrabad, Mysore and the Maratha kingdom. Some of these states may be characterized as succession states. They arose as a result of assertion of autonomy by governors of the Mughal provinces with the decline of the central power, earlier controlled by the Mughals. The rulers of these newly found states in the 18th century tried to legitimize their position by acknowledging the nominal supremacy of the Mughal Emperor and by seeking his approval. Nearly all of them adopted the methods of governance similar to the Mughals. The establishment of these states certainly diminished the hold of the Mughals.

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Q. Explain the reasons for the failure of the Marathas to get the support of other Indian rulers in the third battle of Panipat.
Ans. The third battle of Panipat was fought between Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Marathas. The two forces met at Panipat on January 14, 1761 to fight for the control over Northern India. The Maratha army was completely routed in the battle. They lost the cream of their army in the battle and their political prestige suffered a big blow. The main reason for the failure of Marathas were the lack of allies. Though their infantry was based on European style contingent, they failed to woo allies in North India. Their earlier behavior and their political ambitions which led them to loot and plunder, had antagonized all the powers. They had interfered in the internal affairs of the Rajputana states and levied heavy taxes and huge fines on them. They had also made huge territorial and monetary claims upon Awadh. Their raids in the Sikh territory had angered the Sikh chiefs. Similarly the Jat chiefs, on whom also they had imposed heavy fines, did not trust them. They had, therefore, to fight their enemies alone, except for the weak support of Imad -ul-Mulk. Moreover, the senior Maratha chiefs constantly bickered with one another. Each one of them had ambitions of carving out their independent states and had no interest in fighting against a common enemy.

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