relatively small numbers of Company officers and Indian troops regularly
overcame the military forces of Mughal provincial governors or regional
rulers, whose military policies followed quite different principles. The
Company’s military base supported and was supported by its commercial and
political initiatives. Each new Company intervention in the Indian states,
backed by its armies, led to its further involvements in India.
Removal of French Competition The Anglo-French trade rivalry and their
subsequent attempt to interfere in the political affairs of India culminated in
the Carnatic Wars. By the end of the Third Carnatic War, the French were no
longer a threat to the British, who now became strong contenders in South
Indian politics. In the meanwhile, the political situation was undergoing
drastic changes in another important region of India, viz. Bengal, which was
one of the most fertile and prosperous parts of India.
King-Makers of Bengal Bengal, which was originally a Mughal province,
had emerged as an autonomous state in the 18th century. Siraj-ud-Daula, the
then Bengal Nawab, seeing the hostile activities of the British, was
apprehensive of the fate of Bengal and decided to take action against them.
This resulted in a series of events culminating in the so-called ‘Battle of
Plassey’, which made the British the ‘King-maker’ in Bengal. The
subsequent activities of the British there led to a final showdown in the form
of the Battle of Buxar, which proved to be a turning point, making the British
real masters of Bengal, though formal authority still remained with the
Beginning of British Ascendancy From their base here, the British began
to compete first as equals and later as superiors to the Indian power. With the
victory of the British in the Carnatic wars and more importantly, in the
Bengal battles, began the process of their conquest of India. By 1765, the
British had not only become the virtual rulers of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa,
but also begun to dictate terms to the Nawabs of both Carnatic and Awadh.
The British, however, had to contend with the Marathas for another half a
century, and also had to overcome the resistance of the Hyderabad and
Mysore states. This was a gradual process by the end of which, several parts
of India came under British control.
Overcoming Mysore Resistance          in South In South India, the Company