all facilitated the dissolution of many of the links that held the Empire
together.
Provincial governors became autonomous rulers in some of the richest
regions of the Empire including Bengal, Awadh and Hyderabad. Some
subordinates of these imperial governors similarly made their dynasties
secure in their territories, such as the Carnatic and Banaras.
Other locally based rulers sprang originally not from Mughal officials, but
rather held stronger traditional ethnic ties to the people of the regions they
ruled, whatever these rulers’ subsequent relationship with the Emperor might
have been. Such regionally based rulers included the Maharaja of the Punjab,
numerous Rajput Rajas throughout Northern India, the Amirs of Sind and
many of the disparate Maratha rulers of Central India. Additionally, these
larger powers in turn, protected several landholders of diverse sizes and
authority, like the zamindars of Malabar and of Awadh.
Out of this diversity of polities came a range of relationships with the East
India Company. These assorted Indian rulers and landholders usually dealt
individually with the British. Hardly following any coordinated set of
policies, they further weakened the Indian position.
Role of Other Sections of India Other sections in Indian society played
equally important roles in shaping the pattern of annexations, though these
roles were diverse and less easily identifiable than those of the rulers.
The various components of the service elites which managed the
administrations and armies of the Indian states played a vital role in the
ability of these indigenous polities to deal with the Company. The British
badly needed such Indian subordinates, both to guide them in their relations
with the Indian states and also to assist the British in administering the
annexed lands.
The Indian commercial classes, consisting of both merchants and producers,
also influenced and were influenced by the Company’s activities in the Indian
states before and after annexation.
Agriculturalists and labourers were adversely affected and responded in
different ways to the new political, economic and social conditions.
Causes for Expansion