The Annexation of Sindh & Punjab

The state of Sindh was annexed by the English Company in 1843 despite various promises of respecting the unity and integrity of Sindh. The circumstances created by England defeat in the 1st Anglo-Afghan war were responsible for the annexation of Sindh.

Nature of Anglo-Sindh Relation

For the first time company entered Sindh in 1775 and set up the 1st factory at Thatta. This factory had to be abundant in 1792 due to commercial factors. In 1809, a treaty of friendship was signed between the English Company and Amirs of Sindh. By this treaty, both agreed to respect the unity and integrity of each other & also agreed not to shelter enemies of each other.

In 1820, the company signed another treaty of friendship with Amirs & once again both promised to respect the unity & integrity of each other. In 1832, Governor-General William Bentick send Henry Pottinger a message to Amirs by using his superior military strength he forces Amirs of Sindh to sign a new treaty. Through this treaty, the company gained several commercial privileges in Sindh but now also English Company promised to respect the unity & integrity of Sindh.

In 1838, a tripartite treaty was signed by English Company, Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab & Shah Shuja of Afghan. Through this treaty, Shah Shuja was placed on the Afghan throne. Here also all three parties promised to respect the unity & integrity of Sindh. As per provisions of these treaties, the English Company wasn’t to carry its troops into Sindh but when the Anglo-Afghan war commenced company carried troops to Afghan through Sindh in violation of all treaties. Amirs of Sindh didn’t react very strongly though they object to the passage of England troops through their region. Despite all these promises, Sindh was annexed by Charles Napier in 1843.

First Afghan War

Anglo-Afghan War
Anglo-Afghan War

During the 1830s, Russian spreading its influence in Afghan, so that British Indian Empire could be threatened. To counter this Russian influence Shah Shuja was placed on the Afghan throne in 1838. Since Shah Shuja was a puppet of the English Company, a popular revolt broke out against him & England had to fight the war in Afghanistan. In this war, the English Company got badly defeated.

The defeat of the company in Afghan shattered its prestige; the myth of England invisibility was broken. Russian influence in Afghan increased enormously. Having failed to counter Russians on the Afghan border, the company needed to strengthen defense on the Afghan-Sindh border. Sindh was passing through an international crisis it could fall easily under Russian influence because of this; Sind was annexed by valeting promises.

The defeat of the English Company in Afghanistan embolden rebellions in India as well many Indians started believing that they can also prevail against the English Company. Elements of dissension invisible in the rank of Madras army & in the camp of Scindia. These challenges could be countered only by restoring the myth of England invisibility. To achieve this object a conquest was required. At that time only Punjab & Sindh were outside of company control.

Ranjit Singh died in 1839 but Punjab was still quite powerful. Sindh was passing through internal disorders. It was an easy target and therefore it was annexed by Charles Napier that’s why it commented, Annexation of Sindh was political & moral sequence of 1st Afghan war.

Annexation of Punjab

Anglo-sikh War
Anglo-Sikh War

The state of Punjab was annexed by Lord Dalhousie in 1849 by defeating Sikh forces in the 2nd Anglo-Sikh war fought during 1848-49. This annexation of Punjab was not an isolated phenomenon but in reality, it was an expansion of Victorian imperialism. With the coronation of Queen Victoria, a new phase of imperialism commenced in British history. Offensive wars & battles were fought all over the world to carry out the expansion of the British Empire. The war against Punjab was part of the same design.

Lord Dalhousie was a great imperialist. He followed the policy of annexing every such native state that he could do one ground or another. Punjab was enjoying great economic & strategic significance Governor-General Dalhousie waiting for an opportunity and this opportunity was provided by Dewan Mulraj of Multan. In April 1848, Mulraj rebelled and killed some English officials. Immediately war was declared on Punjab & by defeating Sikh it was annexed to British Imperialist.

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