The following article, “Came as Traders and became the Masters of the Subcontinent. Comment.“, is written by Quratulain Babar, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Sir Kazim has uploaded his students’ solved past paper questions so other thousands of aspirants can understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.
East India Company was initially incorporated into the Subcontinent using trading. Still, later, it was seen to be engaged in actual conquest and power grabbing through expanding its trade, enlarging its aggressive policy, and consolidating its authority, eventually turning the company into a governing agency of India.
2- The Reason for the Arrival of East India Company in the Subcontinent
- ✓EIC initially arrived as a trading company but later unveiled its evil intentions by intruding in political affairs and being involved in the battlefields.
3- Factors Determining the Evil Intentions of Merchants to Subjugate India
- ✓Establishment of numerous factories
- Case in point: The transformation of trading posts into the Presidency Towns in Bengal, Madras, and Bombay
- ✓Engagement in the battlefields
- Case in point: The Battle of Plassey was the beginning of the EIC’s consolidation in India
- ✓Enactment of The Doctrine of lapse
- Case in point: The extension of the British paramountcy by taking over the states of Udaipur, Nagpur, and Jhansi
- ✓Introduction of the Policy of Subsidiary Alliances
- Case in point: Loss of the sovereignty of Hyderabad Deccan, Awdh, and Tanjore to the British
4- Critical Analysis
Answer to the Question
The arrival of the East India Company (EIC) as traders in the Subcontinent was their propaganda to subjugate India, which eventually came to fruition. The conspicuous evil practices of the British merchants in the Subcontinent and the Mughal rulers’ unwilling struggle to compete for their territories’ prosperity collectively contributed to the favour of annexation by EIC. Moreover, it was not a sudden takeover by the British merchants; instead, it took them decades to capture Indians, who smoothly got into their trap. At first, the EIC merchants successfully expanded their factories in the Subcontinent and then turned them into walled forts to ensure their authority. After entering India, the company ushered into several battles to attain a stronghold. Furthermore, by enforcing draconian laws and policies over Indians, they successfully achieved dominance over the Subcontinent, resulting in the demise of the Mughal rule. The answer explains the factors that contributed to the rise of EIC as a governing agency in India.
The Reason of the Arrival of East India Company in the Subcontinent
The English merchants, after observing the profitable trade of Portuguese and Dutch in the Subcontinent, found it more attractive and were successfully granted the monopoly on all trade, which eventually served in the best of their interests. Moreover, the EIC expanded their trade to India to boost the global market economy as, for them, India was the land of lucrative goods that served as the rich source of spices, silk, saltpetre, indigo, cotton, and opium. Another motive behind their excessive interest in India was the consolidation of their colonial power and domination over India, which allowed EIC to overpower the competitive European companies in the trading expedition. Consequently, EIC stepped into the Subcontinent first in 1608 at the port of Surat and then expanded their factories to strengthen their monopoly and authority, ensuring their rule and ending up in the demise of the Mughals from the Subcontinent.
Factors Determining the Evil Intentions of EIC to Subjugate India
Establishment of numerous factories
EIC initially stepped into the Subcontinent as a trading company, established its factories there, and kept expanding them to launch their subjugation strategies smoothly and timely. At first, the purpose of the foundation of factories in India was to serve the locals. Still, later, it was seen to be converted into a network of trading stations mainly located in Surat, Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta. Further, these stations were soon transformed into the Presidency Towns, i.e. Fort William in Bengal, Fort St. George in Madras, and Bombay Castle in Bombay, where the armed forces troops were stationed. So, establishing these factories ensured the long road ahead for the accommodation of EIC in India.
Engagement in the battlefields
In the beginning, EIC emerged as a trading company only but later openly expressed its wicked intentions by directly participating in the battles with the Mughal emperors to ensure its consolidation of power in the region. Owing to the Royal Charter issued by James I in the 1670s, the company became a mighty power by having its military and the right to act independently whenever required. As a result, the Battle of Plassey in 1757 began the EIC’s actual regime over the Indian Subcontinent, which started from the capture of Bengal. Undoubtedly, this paved the path for further demolishing the Mughals through military interventions by the British, such as the Battle of Buxar, the Anglo-Mysore Wars, the Anglo-Sikh Wars, and so on.
Enactment of the Doctrine of Lapse
Moreover, to stabilise the colonial rule in India and suppress the emergence of the locals, EIC enacted some laws and regulations that were prominently seen in favour of eliminating all the possible threats to their regime. For this purpose, Lord Dalhousie in 1848 introduced the policy of Doctrine of Lapse to deal with the question of succession to Hindus to annex the lands and states of princes that were left behind without any heir. As a result, the company took over states like Udaipur, Nagpur, Jhansi, and so on. Such a bold move of the EIC merchants was solely taken to administrate a policy to extend the British paramountcy in the Subcontinent.
Introduction of the Policy of Subsidiary Alliances
Lastly, the inclusion of strategic policy like that of the Subsidiary Alliances served in the best interests of the company. This plan was brought up by Lord Wellesley, the Governor General of India, by which Indian kingdoms lost their sovereignty to the English. According to this treaty, not only were the princes of the states bound to dissolve all their armed forces and authorities, but they also had to pay the company for their army’s maintenance. As a result, states like Hyderabad, Deccan, Tanjore, and Awdh lost their independence and sovereignty, which led them under the control of the British Empire. Hence, the states that the Britishers could not easily conquer were taken over in such an undiplomatic way.
To critically analyze the debate, it was the strategic attitude and compassionate planning of the EIC merchants, along with the undeniable and long-existing faults and loopholes in the Mughal Empire, that eventually led to the supremacy of the company as a governing agency in India. It became a power behind the throne, trading and engaging in actual conquest through battles. However, the annexation of India by EIC not only provided them with authority over a vast region but also played a very profound role in smoothing the ways for the company to emerge as a dominant trading corporation worldwide.
To sum up, EIC was a corporation of English merchants who came to India for trading. However, their excessive interference in political affairs and their narcissistic strategies to uplift their authority over the Mughal rulers unveiled the hidden evil intentions behind trading. Consequently, they achieved political rule in India and economic dominancy all around the globe by using techniques and strategies like engrossing trade, consolidation of power and authority, and ensuring military dominance. By all these means, the trading company ruled over the Subcontinent for about a century and became a leading governing agency in India.
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