Beginning of French and British East India Companies – The State of Affairs in Deccan

The political history of the British in India begins with the Carnatic Wars, which were fought in the early eighteenth century.

  • The Fort St. George or Madras was the first territorial possession of the British in India acquired in 1639.
  • The First settlement of the French was 100 miles down south at Pondicherry, on the coromandal coast.

For many years, the English as well as French traded side by side without much rivalry.

The commercial and maritime quarrels in the initial decades of the 18th century gradually drew the France and England into open hostilities.

  • The English had a larger and powerful navy; the France was in dangerous position in this context.
  • But in America and West Indies, the colonial dominions of the France were more extensive than England.
  • In Indian Ocean also the French had a strategic advantage, the base of operations in the Islands of Bourbon and Mauritius.

When Aurangzeb died in 1707, the Deccan became almost sovereign from Delhi. The Governors appointed by the Mughals soon got autonomy.

  • In 1724, Asaf Jah I, who was granted the title Nizam-ul-Mulk (Governor of the country) by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, defeated a rival official to establish control over Hyderabad.
  • This began the Asaf Jahi dynasty that ruled Hyderabad until a year after India’s independence from Britain.

The Nizam-ul-Mulk exercised a nominal authority over the entire Deccan with its capital at Hyderabad. A deputy of the Nizam ruled the Carnatic, who was also known as Nawab of Arcot. The Nawab of Arcot started claiming hereditary sovereignty. The Trichurapalli was capital of a Hindu Raja. There was another Hindu fiefdom at Tanjore which was under one of the descendants of Shivaji. Mysore was also gradually growing into a Hindu State, where the Nayaks had some half independent status in some of the citadels; they were remnants of the Vijayanagar Empire.

  • Thus the whole of south was divided into small parts which claimed their own sovereignty.

In 1744, a war was declared between France and England.

  • Dupleix was the French Governor of Pondicherry and Clive was a young civil servant (Clerk) at Madras.