Establishment of British Supremacy

The victory in the Carnatic war prepared the ground for the British to establish their supremacy in India and the French dream of an Indian empire disappeared forever. With the victory of Wandiwash, the British East India Company had no European rival left in India. The British became the master of this great country. Besides having skilled leaders like Sir Eyre Coote, Major Stringer Lawrence, Robert Clive on their side the British was also a strong naval power which was a decisive factor with them to become credible rulers of India.

Beginning of Struggle for Political Supremacy in India

Portuguese captured-territories along with vast Goa, Daman & Diu. But they couldn’t venture into the land to spread their political dominance. At that time the Mughal empire was very powerful. Portuguese failed to win the support of locals, their attitude towards Indians marked by extension racial hat rate.

French illustration of a soldier of the British Army requesting pardon from the Islamic Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
French illustration of a soldier of the British Army requesting pardon from the Islamic Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Portuguese lacked resources to finance a long series of politico-military conflict in India. Dutch didn’t focus on India because their main attention was Indonesia. Dense was more interested in missionary activities, they didn’t pay much attention to the politico-military matter. The England-French company fought three Carnatic Wars to establish their supremacy in India. Initially French enjoyed the upper hand but gradually the English became more powerful in India & they could successfully counter the French challenge to establish English political dominance in India.

English Victory in the Anglo-French struggle for supremacy in India

The Anglo-French rivalry was worldwide, it was not limited to India, as and when the English & French used to fight in Europe. The Englishmen & Frenchmen all over the world used to start participating in it. The Anglo-French conflict in India in India was the expression of the same. During the initial phase, the French enjoyed the upper hand in their struggle against the English but gradually the English gained an edge over the French & emerged victoriously.

Battle of Wandiwash
Battle of Wandiwash

The success of the English company & defeat of the French was not an accident but in reality, it was the outcome of the combined effect of several political-admin. The difference in the working of two companies played an important role in the success of English against French.

English company was a private entity. Its officers could decide on the spot as per need of circumstance. On the other hand, the French company was a government department. It’s a very important decision was taking in Paris. The decision-makers were completely disconnected from circumstances prevailing on the ground of India. Because of this, the French company couldn’t stand against the English in long run. The difference like the government in Britain & France also contributed to the English company.

A liberal & progressive monarchical regime in Britain in the mid of 18th century, the glorious revolution of 1688 had resulted in the replacement of despotic monarchy based on the concept of divine returns of the king by a constitutional monarchy. On other hand, a despotic monarchical regime was present in France. The French government was not accountable to anybody & because of this, it didn’t take much interest in the progress of people.

The British government provided crucial support to the English company on many occasions on other hand, the French government failed to provide any such support. Instead, the French government was bringing to extract as much as from its company. The French pre-occupation in continental matters also contributed to the defeat of the French against the English in the struggle for supremacy in India.

Improper Attention of the French Government

The French government was involved in continuous wars & battles in Europe & because of this, it could not pay attention to the development going on in India. Superior leadership of the English company also contributed to its success against the French. The duplex was one of the ability Europeans to put their feelings on Indian soil. He was a fine leader without any doubt but he lacked team spirit. Another French commander also failed to support each other when it required most.

On the other hand, the English company was lucky to have the services of several capable leaders as Clive, Eyre cot, Hector Monroe. They fought as a team as a result of this English company emerged victoriously. Naval supremacy enjoyed by Britain also contributed to success in the Anglo-French rivalry. Because of Naval supremacy, English could get extension support as & when it required on the on hand. On other hand, the English could deny such support to the French whenever the situation demanded so.

English conquest of Bengal was the most decisive factor responsible for the success of the English company against the French. The outcome of the short war was decided by the quality of leadership & strength of arm but the outcome of the long-drawn-out conflict is always decided by the strength of resources. Once the English conquered Bengal, they had huge resources at their disposal, these resources turned the table against the French forever in the Anglo-French rivalry.

Pondicherry was deficient in resources & duplex made plunder by concerting all its energy in Madras, that’s why it’s commented that duplex made a cardinal blunder by the king for the key of India in Madras, Clive sought & found it in Bengal. History of the 18th Century in India was the age of great transformation while Mughal Empire got disintegrated during the 18th Century several other forces emerged on the scene in various parts of India. These developments had triggered a very complex power struggle involving various forces at different levels. This struggle facilitated British Indian Empire both directly as well as indirectly. One dimension of this complex struggle involved central authority & regional power.

Taking advantage of the weakness of the Mughal Empire, Mughal provinces like Awadh, Bengal & Hyderabad transformed themselves into a powerful autonomous state. At the time of center were becoming weak regional forces gaining immense strength. Other regional forces like Marathas & Mysore were also trying to strengthen themselves.

Nadir Shah after winning Battle of Karnal
Nadir Shah after winning the Battle of Karnal

Indian regional forces were also involved in a serious conflict with each other. Mysore, Marathas & Hyderabad were involved struggle for supremacy in Deccan, Nadir Shah, Ruler of Persia invaded India in 1739. Mughal defeated in the battle of Karnal & he plundered Delhi and when he left the Mughal Empire lost his prestige completely. Ahmad Shah Abdali (Afghanistan) involved India seven times during 1748-61. At one time it was appearing as if the Marathas would succeed in replacing Mughal Empire. But their defeat in the 3rd battle of Panipat soiled the faith of the Maratha Empire.