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THE FIASCO OF ROYAL FARMAN (OF 1717)

THE FIASCO OF ROYAL FARMAN (OF 1717)

  • The English did not appreciate the Nawab’s effort to check Farman of 1717. They wanted their goods – whether for internal sale or external export – to be duty free. However, Indian merchants paid duties on their trade.
  • This was hurting the very Indian trading interests on Indian land and also depriving the state from much needed revenue. The excesses of Company were now openly visible. Percival Spear (a British historian) calls this time – ‘the period of open and unashamed plunder’.
  • The Company officials forced Nawab’s officials and zamindars to pay them bribes and also compelled Indian merchants, artisans and peasants to sell cheap and buy dear from the Company.
  • Mir Qasim found a way out of this quagmire and freed all merchants, including Indians, from paying duties. This abolition of duties led to equal treatment of both English and Indian merchants.
  • However, this led to a series of battles with the British as they could not tolerate equal treatment with Indians and wanted reimposition of duties on Indian trade. Subsequently, Mir Qasim was defeated in 1763 and he fled to Awadh to form an alliance with the then Nawab of Awadh, Shuja-ud-daula. The British restored Mir Jafar as the Nawab again.
  • Going a few years back to 1759, there was an ongoing intrigue in the Mughal court. Prince Ali Gauhar, the heir apparent had just made a daring escape from Delhi where he was kept under surveillance of his wazir imad-ul-mulk.                                    THE FIASCO OF ROYAL FARMAN (OF 1717)
  • His father, the preceding Mughal emperor Alamgir II, was killed as a result of conspiracy by Imad-ul­mulk and Maratha Peshwa’s brother Sadashivrao Bhau. Shah Jahan III was installed as the emperor while the rightful heir, Prince All Gauhar was in protection of Nawab of Awadh, Shuja-ud-daula.
  • Later, he emerged in eastern India in 1759 and sought to consolidate his position by gaining control over Bengal, Bihar and Odisha. However, lmad-ul-mulk was surrounded by Mughal forces led by Najib-ud-daula leading to ouster of Shah Jahan III as well as Imad-ul-mulk.
  • Najib-ud-Daula and Muslim nobles then planned to defeat the Marathas by maintaining correspondence with the powerful Ahmad Shah Durrani (also known as Abdali) who often raided northern India.                                         
  • After Ahmad Shah Durrani decisively defeated the Marathas in the third battle of Panipat (1761), he nominated Ali Gauhar as the emperor under the name Shah Alam II.
  • After gaining the title of Mughal emperor, Shah Alam ll appointed the Nawab of Awadh – Shuja-ud-daula as the Grand wazir (his father Safdarjung was also the wazir of Mughal court).
  • Coming back to the year 1763, Mir Qasim had fled to seek refuge in Awadh where he secured the support of Nawab Shuja-ud-daula and Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II. All three formed an alliance against the Company.                              THE FIASCO OF ROYAL FARMAN (OF 1717)
  • The combined forces of the three met the British forces in the Battle of Buxar in October, 1764. The British East India Company forces were led by Hector Munro.

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