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Basu, P. (1938) The relations between Oudh and the East India Company from 1785 to 1801. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London.

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Abstract

No specific history of Oudh has been written, except a recent work on the first two Nawabs by Dr. Ashirbadi Lai Srivastava, but none since Oudh came in contact with the English. General historians have dealt at some length with its relations with the Company during the periods of Warren Hastings and Wellesley, but only in general manner with the intervening period. I have endeavoured to trace, from both English and Persian sources, the state of Oudh in 1785 and during the fifteen following years, the character of its Nawab and his principal officers, its administration and relations with the neighbouring states. By 1785 Oudh had had 20 years of British connexion and had become dependent on them, in theory only in the matter of defence and foreign policy, in fact in every respect. In 1785 Oudh was in a degenerated state, politically, financially and in military strength. I have tried to trace the causes of this degeneration, which can be ascribed to, besides the general decay of the native Indian states at that time, the character of the Nawab and to a certain extent to his connexion with the Company. The India Act of 1784 prescribed a policy of non-interference with respect to the native Indian states. I have tried to show how Cornwallis and Shore, despite their desire to see Oudh improved, failed to achieve anything as a result of following that policy. The condition of Oudh, during just over ten years of non-interference by the English, but under the latter/s' protection, became worse than before. I have also endeavoured to show how much the security of the Company's dominions depended upon the security and prosperity of Oudh, which led Shore ultimately to abandon the policy of non-interference. His first act of interference was to induce the Nawab Asafuddaula to banish his favourite minister and appoint one friendly to the English; the second was to depose Asafuddaula's reputed son and successor, Wazir Ali, and raise Saadt Ali, a half-brother of Asafuddaula, to the masnad. The same considerations guided Wellesley, a much more vigorous and practical man, in his policy towards Oudh. He believed that it was the Company'ss interest to strengthen Oudh, and that it could only be achieved by the complete assumption of control over the latter by the former. He there fore offerred two alteraatives to the Nawab: (i) perpetual and ' unconditional transfer of the sovereignty of Oudh to the Company, or (ii) dismissal of all his array, except a small body necessary for the collections and purposes of state, maintenance in their place a very large body of the Company's army, and, as security for the army subsidy, the cession of about half his territories, thus surrounding himself completely by the Company's possessions. A protracted tussle between the two followed, during which the Nawab offerred to abdicate but later withdraw the offer. Wellesley, convinced of the utter necessitji of speedily assiduously his object, assiduously pushed oh his point, and in 1801 succeeded in securing the second alternative. Much odium has been attached to both Wellesley and Saadat Ali's conduct by partisan writers, and I have tried to get at the exact motives guiding the two.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:29
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/29766

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