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early East India trading company

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Ritu Birla

October 24 th The East India company and its early period. Benghal, the Mughal successor state is important because it’s the center of a triangular trade between Britain, India and China and also agriculturaly important. Gradually the British built up Calcutta with their trade. It comes to India, buys luxury goods and sells them in china for a profit which is used to buy tea, which is sold in Britain at an even higher profit. The company has to pay for indian goods with silver so it develops close ties with the banking houses, especially the two that are on the handout. In 1757 the Nawhab of Bengal is Siraj Uddaula, the grandson of Alivardi Khan, the one who consolidates the great successor state (as governor). The French are also there, like bankers and landlords. He demands that the English stop building fortifications in Calcutta which they had actually begun under his own grandfather who had made a subsidiary alliance. The British now begin to demand that they have more troops in the city. He also begins demanding more money from merchants and levying higher taxes to finance his own army. They are increasing the military fortifications not only because of the India people but mostly because of the French. Therefore he goes from Murshidabad to Calcutta and defeats the British army at first, but then comes Clive who allies with the merchant banker families Jagatseth and Omichand who are also disaffected with the Nawabh and also Mir Jaffer, who was the head of Uddaula’s army who was being pushed by the Nawab. There is another battle at Plassey where the British wins and the governor is installed like a British puppet. Clive collects 3 million pounds sterling for the victory (the equivalent of 300 million pounds today). The army is largely Indian except for the generals who are always british, but it is also a mercenary army so they need money to pay them, another reason why they need the bankers. The next one is Mir Kassim, successor of Uddaula. In 1764 he tries to ally with Abad, followed by another battle and the company defeats the last remaining armed control in India. 1765 the British obtain from the Mughal emperor, a symbolic authority, the right to the diwani of Bengal, its revenue and treasury. It obtains the right to collect all revenues from it. Once they have control of that, the administration of its treasury changes because they don’t have to bring in silver bullion anymore but instead they use the revenue of Bengal for trade. They are used not only to purchase the commodities of Bengal but also to finance the conquest of other parts of India as the revenues of Bengal are very substantial. They are used to counterbalance losses in trade and the more they conquer the bigger the army gets the more they have to pay. The regularization of revenue is extremely important, it’s what informs the permamnet settlement of Bengal, its about standardizing revenue, making sure that you get it at regular times so it’s also a capitalist project. The British take over old subadaris like Bengal. Informal rule is when the British keep the little kings but have in fact such control over them that it’s like conquest. It assumes power in india in 3 interconnected ways, through contradictions in the subsidiary alliance system, through direct conquest and through alliances with indigenous traders. They use their military power to back rulers who are tied to banker families. The decay of subsidiary alliances (Arcot). In 1763 Ahbad agrees to pay subsidies
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