Expansion of British
Power in India
Choose the correct option:
The first foreign power to come to
India by sea route was the:
(a) Dutch (b) French (c). Portuguese d. British
He established the judicial system in
Warren Hastings b. Robert Clive c. Lord Cornwallis d. Lord Wellesley
The first Governor General of India:
(a) Warren Hastings (b) Lord Cornwallis
(c) Robert Clive (d) Sir Charles Napier
This state was annexed on the pretext
(a) Awadh (b) Jhansi
(c) Punjab (d)
He established the dual system of
government in Bengal:
(a) Robert Clive (b) Nawab of Bengal
(c) Lord Cornwallis (d)
None of them
Match the following:
1. Battle of Plassey a. 1757
2. First Carnatic War b. 1746
3. Battle of Buxar c.
4. Treaty of Amritsar d. 1809
5. Annexation of Awadh e. 1856
Fill in the blanks:
of Lapse was the brainchild of Lord Dalhousie.
The Nizam of
Hyderabad was the first to enter into the subsidiary alliance.
Nawab Sirajuddindaulah was betrayed
by Mir Jafar the commander in chief of his army.
The first English East India Company
was set up at Surat.
Give one word answers:
The last Sikh ruler – Duleep Singh
He introduced the Subsidiary Alliance
– Lord Wellesley
The highest rank of an Indian soldier
in the British Army – Subedar
The ambitious French Governor – J.F Dupleix
Short answer questions:
Why did Europeans want to find a sea
route to India?
ANS- European trading
companies were looking for new lands from which they could buy goods at a cheap
price and carry them back to Europe to sell at higher prices. The fine
qualities of cotton and silk produced in India had a big market in Europe.
Spices like Pepper, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon too were in great demand.
These were the reasons that attracted European trading companies to find a sea
route to India.
When was the English East India
Company chartered and why?
Ans -The English East India Company was chartered by Queen
Elizabeth in 1600 for developing trade with Asia for a period of 15 years.
What were the commodities which the
Europeans wanted to trade in?
Ans -The Company wanted to trade in commodities like pepper,
cinnamon cloves, cardamom, cotton, silk, indigo, saltpeter, tea and opium.
What was the reason for the first Carnatic War?
Ans- The main cause of the war was the
conflict of imperialist interests between British and
France. It was fought to curb the growing
power of each other.
What were the reasons for the Conflict between the
Nawab of Bengal and the British?
Ans-The reasons for the conflict the Nawab of Bengal and the British
are as discussed below:
1. The east India Company fortified Calcutta without the permission
2. They stocked ammunition within the fort without the Nawab’s
3. The company stopped paying
6. What was the doctrine of
Ans -The Doctrine of Lapse was introduced by
Lord Dalhousie. According to this doctrine, if any ruler dies without leaving
behind a male heir, his kingdom would automatically pass over to the British.
What was the purpose of the subsidiary alliance?
Ans. The policy of subsidiary alliance was
introduced by Lord Wellesley. It was introduced to bring Indian States within
the British dominion. Due to this policy, many new territories were added to
the Company’s possession.
How were the Indians at a disadvantage in the Civil
Ans -The Indians were always at a
disadvantage in the Civil Services because of the following reasons:-
1. It was very difficult for the Indians to
qualify for the civil services because the examination
was taken in English language.
2. Indians were never given the higher posts
in the civil services as those were reserved
for British officers.
Long- answer questions:
What is the significance of the
(a) Battle Of Plassey (b)
Battle of Buxar
Battle of Plassey
Battle of Plassey was with great significance as after this battle, the Company
got control over the rich province of Bengal. The British now monopolized
Bengal’s trade and commerce and plundered the province. Thus, we can say that
the Battle of Plassey had far reaching consequences.
Battle of Buxar
significance of the Battle of Buxar is as mentioned below:-
1. The victory of the British in the Battle of Buxar established
them as masters of Bengal, Bihar and
2. It gave them political influence and control over Awadh and the Mughal Emperor.
3. Therefore it laid down the foundation of British rule in India.
What were the terms of the Subsidiary
Subsidiary alliance is a
system developed by the East India Company mainly by Lord Wellesley. It solved
the problem of ruling a nation which is under the rule of a king.
An Indian ruler entering into a subsidiary alliance with the British
had to accept British forces in his territory and also agreed to pay for their
Such a ruler would not form an alliance with any other power, nor
would he declare war against any power without the permission of the British.
The ruler would not employ any Europeans other than the British, and
if anyone had already got appointed he would be dismissed.
In case of a conflict with any other state, the British would decide
what to do, and he would accept their solution.
The ruler would acknowledge the East India Company as the power in
In return for the ruler accepting its conditions, the Company
undertook to protect the state from external dangers and internal disorders.
If the Indian rulers failed to make the payments required by the
alliance, then part of their territory was to be taken away as a penalty.
Under this doctrine, the British were allowed to maintain their army
at the expense of local rulers.
3. How did British annex Bengal?
Ans -The British annexed Bengal by adopting the following
1. The British annexed Bengal as a result of the Battle of
2. Since the Bengalis had been a great resistance to the
British. British divided the masses on the
basis of religion and annexed the state by manipulation.
3. The British had better military resources and strategies as
compared to those of Bengal. This
helped them to emerge victorious.
4. What was the system of justice introduced
Lord Cornwallis set up a
proper judicial system in India which is as discussed below:-
1. Two types of courts were
set up- the civil courts called the diwani adalat and the criminal courts
called the faujdari adalat.
2. The civil court was
headed by the district collector while the criminal courts were under a Qazi
3. The Supreme Court was
set up at the highest level. Below this, High courts were set up in the three
4. A law commission was
appointed to finalise and write down the laws.
5. The concept of ‘Rule of
Law’ was introduced.
5. Had the British not won the Battle of
Buxar, the course of history would have been different. Discuss.
Ans -The above statement
can be justified on the basis of the following arguments:-
If the Britishers had not won the battle of Buxar, then the course
of history would have been different. It is due to the Battle of Buxar British
got a firm control to the East India Company in Bengal.
If they had lost this battle, this would have caused them heavy
casualties and they had to return to England.
6. Clive is claimed to be the founder of
the British Empire in India. Justify.
Major-General Robert Clive was the first British Governor of the
He began as a British military officer and East India Company
official who established the military and political supremacy of the EIC by
seizing control of Bengal and eventually the whole of the Indian subcontinent
and Myanmar – and briefly Afghanistan.
He is credited with seizing control of a large parts of India (now
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and parts
of Southeast Asia.
He earned wealth for the Company and in this process he turned
himself into a multi-millionaire.
Together with Warren Hastings he was considered to be one of the key
early figures setting British India.
Clive improvised a military expedition that ultimately enabled the
EIC to adopt the French strategy of indirect rule via puppet government.
Hired by the EIC to return a second time to India, Clive conspired
to secure the Company’s trade interests by overthrowing the Ruler of Bengal,
the richest state in India.
Clive was one of the most controversial figures in all British
military history. Modern historians have criticised him for atrocities, for
high taxes, and for the forced cultivation of crops which exacerbated famines.
7. How did the administrative changes brought about by the British help
Ans. The administrative changes brought about by the British
greatly helped India are as follows
1. When they come to India, India was very back in
administration, power and military strength.
2. They built our army and made constitution.
3. They introduced Railway in India.
4. They built many colleges and universities and gave us the
concept of modern education.
5. They set up a proper judicial system in India.
Write short notes on the following:
The annexation of Punjab.
The dual government of Bengal.
The Doctrine of Paramountcy.
The annexation of Punjab.
Ans. In 1846, the Sikhs were defeated and the British captured
Lahore. As per treaty of Lahore signed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, all
the territories lying south of the Sutlej were given to the British. The Second
Anglo- Sikh war began in 1848 as the Sikhs wanted to avenge their defeat in the
first war. The Sikhs were defeated by the British and Punjab was annexed in
The dual government of Bengal.
Ans. Robert Clive
established a dual system of government in Bengal in 1765. The Nawabs was
merely a puppet in the hands of the Company, which had both the diwani and
Nizamat rights. Thus all the powers were concentrated in the hands of the
company while the responsibility of administration rested on the Nawab. This
system proved disastrous for Bengal, as neither side was concerned for the
welfare of the people. The Nawab could not assist the people even if he wanted
to, as all the state’s resources were controlled by the Company. The company
was only concerned with maximizing its profits.
The Doctrine of Paramountcy.
Ans. This was another tool
invented by the British to expand its territory started under Lord Hastings.
Under this doctrine, the Company claimed that it was the supreme power in India
and it could annex any state to protect its interest. All Indians states had to
acknowledge the keep Suzerainty of the British Empire.
Give reasons for the following:
The Nawab of Bengal lost in the first
Battle of Plassey
The British wanted to annex India.
1. The Nawab of Bengal lost in the
Battle of Plassey
Ans. The Nawab of Bengal
lost in the Battle of Plassey because of the following reasons:-
1. The Nawab was betrayed
by Mir Jafar, the commander in chief of his army. He was in charge of a large
section of the army and refused to fight as he had been bribed by Robert Clive.
2. Also. Rainfall had made
the Nawab’s artillery unfit for use.
3. Thus, the Nawab was
defeated by the British army and captured.
2. The British wanted to annex India.
The Britishers wanted to
annex Sindh because of the following reasons:-
1. Sindh was an enormous
province, so the British wanted to annex it into their Bombay
2. Another reason was that
the British wanted more control over Afghanistan, as they were scared of
Russian invasion through Afghanistan.
3. The Chiefs of Sindh
signed the subsidiary alliance and it became a part of the British dominion in
Carnatic Wars between two foreign powers were fought on the Indian soil. What
does this tell us about the Indian rulers and politics of those times?
Ans-In the 18th century, three Carnatic Wars were fought majorly between
British and French East India Company on either side. These wars resulted in
establishment of political supremacy of British East India Company. The French
company was reduced in the areas around Pondicherry only. Commercial and
maritime rivalry between France and England was the primary reason behind these
wars. The entire south India was divided into minor Rajas, Nawabs and petty
chieftains who fought with each other for
supremacy. The Indian kingdoms were numerous and above all there was no unity
it was easy for British to get control over India after defeating others.
lost the Battle of Plassey because he was betrayed by Mir Jafar, the commander
of his army. He was in charge of a large section of the army and refused to
fight as he had been bribed by Robert Clive.
1. Did the British win the war by fair
Ans -The Battle of Plassey was a decisive victory of the British
East India Company over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies on 23 June
1757, under the leadership of Robert Clive which was possible due to the
defection of Mir Jafar Ali Khan, who was Siraj-ud-Daulah’s commander in chief.
The battle helped the Company seize control of Bengal. Over the next hundred
years, they seized control of the entire Indian subcontinent and Myanmar – and
2. What values did Robert Clive lack?
Robert Clive attracted great controversy in his life
time. While still a schoolboy, growing up in the midlands and northwest of
England, his uncle complained that he was “out of measure addicted to
fighting”. Wherever he went to school, he made trouble and later joined a gang
of youths who forced local merchants to pay them protection money or risk
having their premises ransacked. He joined as a “writer” — a junior clerk — in
the East India Company.
Founded in 1600, by Clive’s time the Company had become
Britain’s largest and most important trading company. Later in his life he was
blamed for acquiring great wealth for himself.
3. What values did Mir Zafar lack?
Syed Mir Zafar Ali Khan Bahadur or Mir Zafar was
not a trustworthy man. He was a military general who became the first
dependent Nawab of Bengal of the British East India Company. Mir Jafar served
as the commander of Bengali forces under Siraj ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal,
but betrayed him during the Battle of Plassey and succeeded him after the British
victory in 1757.