The conquest of territories, expansion policy, agrarian relations, land revenue system, judicial administration, disrupted agrarian economy made people unrest.
People from all classes from disposed of kings and their descendants, to zamindars, palayakarars, peasants, tribals, artisans etc to revolt against the East India Company.
In this article, we are going to see revolts or early uprisings against the British rule before the great revolt of 1857.
Mysore Sultans and Their Resistance
Mysore was a small feudal kingdom under the Vijayanagar Empire. Vijayanagar fell in 1565, the Wodeyars the ruling dynasty asserted their independence and Raja Wodeyar took the throne in 1578.
The Srirangapatnam was made capital from Mysore in 1610. The wodeyar dynasty continues to rule until 1760. The real power went to Haider Ali who was Dalwai or Prime Minister.
Fateh Muhammad who was the father of Haider Ali was the Faujdar or Garrison commander of Kolar.
After the death of Fateh Muhammad, Haider Ali’s military qualities helped him to rise through the military ranks. In 1755 Haider secured powerful military rank, commanding 100 horsemen and 2000 infantrymen.
Haider Ali restored the Mysore Kingdom occupied by the Marathas. He received the title “Fateh Haider Bahadur” or “the brave and victorious Lion”.
In 1760 Haider allied with the French at Pondicherry against the English, but was endangered by the Marathas at his home. Haider Ali handled the situation successfully, he became not only Dalawai but the de facto ruler of Mysore.
In 1770, Nanjaraja king of Mysore was poisoned to death, where Haider was suspected. Thereafter Wodeyar Kings functioned only as nominal rulers, the real authority was in the hands of Haider.
Haider and the British
The company has to safeguard its territories after obtaining the Diwani rights of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa from the Mughal ruler.
The company was not strong and it avoided the internal affairs of Indian states. Warren Hasting maintained buffer states to live within a “Ring Fence”. But the company interfere with the internal politics of Carnatic ruler Nawabs after his successive struggles.
The English trader saw the struggles of Nawabship as a great opportunity to interfere in the internal politics of India.
But the two strong powers of Haider Ali and Nizam of Hyderabad are seen as a threat to the Company.
First Mysore War (1767-69)
Masulipatnam was captured in 1759 by Colonel Forde in the third Carnatic war by conducting the forces from Bengal.
By this victory, the Company led to a treaty with Salabad Jung who ceded the Northern Sarkars to the company. The districts of Ganjam, Vizagapatnam, Godavari, Krishna and Guntur went to English as a result of a treaty with Salabad Jung.
The acquisition of the Northern Sarkars was legalized by the treaty of Allahabad in 1765 by the Mughal emperor.
Even after the treaty of Allahabad, these areas received trouble by Nizam Ali who also acquiesced to the session. In return, the English promised Nizam Ali to help in case of any danger from the enemies.
This laid the foundation for the Subsidiary System. Despite the treaty with the English, Nizam and Haider went into an understanding in 1767.
Therefore British declared war against Haider. This is called the first Mysore war or the First Anglo Mysore war.
A British army from Bombay captured Mangalore and West coast surrounding places but later Haider recovered both. The English failed to capture Mangalore.
In 1768 Haider captured Baramahal (Salem) and captured Karur, Erode by defeating Captain Nixon.
In the meantime, Haider’s general Fazalullah Khan marched on Madurai and Tirunelveli. Haider marched to Thanjavur and from there to Cuddalore. Even Though Haider was successful against the English, was forced to negotiate with the English due to the invasion of Marathas.
Haider and the English made the Treaty of Madras. As per the Treaty of Madras, the conquered territories were to be given back to the English except for Karur.
This meant the English will help Haider against Marathas.