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India on the Eve of British Conquest

Joe Shearer

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Some parts of the map may be incorrect, but the OP must be given credit for dispelling the myth that Muslims ruled the majority of the subcontinent until the British. The map does correctly show that the Marathas controlled the majority of the subcontinent until the second Anglo-Maratha war, with the main Muslim powers being the Durranis of the Northwest and the Nizam of hyderabad. Important to note though that the Nizam himself was paying tribute to the marathas.

@Joe Shearer @Nilgiri


The Marathas ruled Odisha until the British. In north India, the Mughals became tributaries/puppets of the Marathas.
This always happens with historical snapshots; one man's accurate capture of a moment in history is another man's hasty and premature, shallow generalisation. The parts that are difficult to reconcile are these:
  1. If you take the Second Anglo-Maratha War into consideration, you miss the dynamics of the north-west. The Durranis, after Ahmed Shah himself, very rapidly dwindled away, and lost power to the Sikh misls. That century, from the 1760s to the 1860s, was very dynamic, and should not be generalised.
  2. The nature of the east - now called the north-east in India - needs greater understanding. Even the interior of Bengal, what was later my homeland, East Bengal, was only opened up with the shifting of the waterways that unexpectedly allowed the Mughals in the 16th century to penetrate right to the heart of the former Sultanate of Bengal.
  3. Beyond that, however, that formed one of the five parts that Bengal formed before coming to be known as Bengal, the social pattern was tribal, with some nation-building going on along the line of the Brahmaputra, focussed on the immigrant war-bands of Thai ethnicity who became known as the Ahoms. Apart from this proto-state, the rest was tribal, ruled by chieftains, who wished to do as little possible with the states forming to their south and west. The only areas under Chinese-Tibetan domination were in a corner of today's Arunachal Pradesh, centred around the monastery at Tawang, itself a tributary of Shigatse (this from memory, and a long rope requested).
  4. The rest was tribal. Whether it be the six or seven tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, in their north-south running valleys running down from the high Himalayas, or the Nagas, the Kukis, the Khasis, the Mizos - I am not attempting a listing, just an attempt at showing people the incredibly diverse mix that inhabited those parts - we are talking about a Tibeto-Burmese language speaking expanse that knew the Ahom, and more or less paid them to keep them off their backs, and to keep the rest of India at bay.
What happened in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is not particularly relevant when considering the eighteenth century; things moved much faster than one imagines.

It might have been amusing to see the stilted efforts at a back-story proving that there was no India and it was the British who created one, a myth that was exposed in 1947. It isn't amusing, actually, because both sets of regressives, the ones to the west and the ones we have infesting us at the moment, both die-hard preachers of the Two Nation Theory, have attempted to establish this as the standard narratives for donkey's years (why does that phrase suddenly stir ribald thoughts?), with no success whatsoever but also with no diminution of their effervescent self-confidence.

It is pronounced Sutiya. They were a very influential power centre parallel to the Ahoms.
 

namefield_empty

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we are talking about a Tibeto-Burmese language speaking expanse that knew the Ahom,
Succinct analysis, sir. Austro Asiatic groups like the Khasis were the original inhabitants of NE, supplemented by the numerous Tibeto Burman speaking tribes later on. Our people came to the Brahmaputra valley around the same time the erstwhile Kamarupa empire began to disintegrate. Contrary to the popular opinion, Ahom is not synonymous with Assam(much to the chagrin of our Bangladeshi friends on PDF who wants us all to go back to Yunnan). It is a different thing altogether that most other tribes were assimilated into the greater Assamese identity along with us, whilst retaining their distinct ethnic characteristics. Very few Indians outside NE know this much about us, heartiest regards for you.
 

Old School

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The HIMALAYAN subcontinent turned into something similar like Europe where many princely states formed the continent following the death of Aurangzeb. The moghul provinces no longer existed as it happened following the collapse of the Roman empire in Europe and Mediterranean. The British started their expansion in Bengal and gradually annexed rest of the subcontinent which was officially renamed British India.
 

Minho

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This always happens with historical snapshots; one man's accurate capture of a moment in history is another man's hasty and premature, shallow generalisation. The parts that are difficult to reconcile are these:
  1. If you take the Second Anglo-Maratha War into consideration, you miss the dynamics of the north-west. The Durranis, after Ahmed Shah himself, very rapidly dwindled away, and lost power to the Sikh misls. That century, from the 1760s to the 1860s, was very dynamic, and should not be generalised.
  2. The nature of the east - now called the north-east in India - needs greater understanding. Even the interior of Bengal, what was later my homeland, East Bengal, was only opened up with the shifting of the waterways that unexpectedly allowed the Mughals in the 16th century to penetrate right to the heart of the former Sultanate of Bengal.
  3. Beyond that, however, that formed one of the five parts that Bengal formed before coming to be known as Bengal, the social pattern was tribal, with some nation-building going on along the line of the Brahmaputra, focussed on the immigrant war-bands of Thai ethnicity who became known as the Ahoms. Apart from this proto-state, the rest was tribal, ruled by chieftains, who wished to do as little possible with the states forming to their south and west. The only areas under Chinese-Tibetan domination were in a corner of today's Arunachal Pradesh, centred around the monastery at Tawang, itself a tributary of Shigatse (this from memory, and a long rope requested).
  4. The rest was tribal. Whether it be the six or seven tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, in their north-south running valleys running down from the high Himalayas, or the Nagas, the Kukis, the Khasis, the Mizos - I am not attempting a listing, just an attempt at showing people the incredibly diverse mix that inhabited those parts - we are talking about a Tibeto-Burmese language speaking expanse that knew the Ahom, and more or less paid them to keep them off their backs, and to keep the rest of India at bay.
What happened in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is not particularly relevant when considering the eighteenth century; things moved much faster than one imagines.

It might have been amusing to see the stilted efforts at a back-story proving that there was no India and it was the British who created one, a myth that was exposed in 1947. It isn't amusing, actually, because both sets of regressives, the ones to the west and the ones we have infesting us at the moment, both die-hard preachers of the Two Nation Theory, have attempted to establish this as the standard narratives for donkey's years (why does that phrase suddenly stir ribald thoughts?), with no success whatsoever but also with no diminution of their effervescent self-confidence.



It is pronounced Sutiya. They were a very influential power centre parallel to the Ahoms.
Very good points as always. I agree, it is easy to forget that tribes have always been a dominant force in the subcontinent. Take modern Chhattisgarh, for example. On paper, it was juggled between various empires, from the Mughals and Delhi Sultanat, to Vijayanagar to the Deccan sultanates to the Marathas. But in reality, Much of India, especially in the central and eastern parts, always remained under the sovereignty of tribal rulers and Kingdoms, such as the Gonds. Even when the British arrived, the Tribal areas of India gave the fiercest resistance. That continued past independence, with the tribal peoples of Central and Eastern India posing major challenges to the Indian security forces until very recently.

Another example of how subcontinental history isn't as black and white as some want it to be.
 

Talwar e Pakistan

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The Gandhara kingdom was Hindu, yes ??
No, and this comment shows how little you know.

I just wanted to point out to some PDF Pakistanis that however much they try to disassociate themselves from Present India, they are attached to it one way or another.
The Indus Region has always been historically distinct from modern-day India.

Even when the British arrived, the Tribal areas of India gave the fiercest resistance.
Do you have any sources for this? Not doubting your claim, would just like to read up more about it.
 

Minho

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No, and this comment shows how little you know.


The Indus Region has always been historically distinct from modern-day India.


Do you have any sources for this? Not doubting your claim, would just like to read up more about it.
Here's a general overview
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribal_revolts_in_India_before_Indian_independence

Her's a pretty good article that gives more detail
https://www.thehindu.com/news/citie...iors-against-british-rule/article29446455.ece

Some people do not want Hindus to enjoy ruling their own land for even 100 years after a thousand years.. that's so bad!
Hindus ruled in India for about 500 years before the British came through empires such as the Marathas, Vijayanagara, and the Ahoms in the Northeast.
 

Uguduwa

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I think the landmass of Pakistan and India can be efficiently managed if it were divided into smaller countries along the lines of ethnicity.
 

W.11

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durranis are massively exaggerated and the reason is obvious, if you just search the history the durranis were defeated by both maratha and the sikh alliance prior to panipath war, tht was the time when sikhs separated from the maratha alliance, durranis kept presence in punjab barely for 2 years before getting kicked out by the sikhs who advanced well into durrani territory of KPK etc.

regards
 

Juggernaut_Flat_Plane_V8

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No, and this comment shows how little you know.


The Indus Region has always been historically distinct from modern-day India.


Do you have any sources for this? Not doubting your claim, would just like to read up more about it.

The seperation of Indus Identity from the rest of India is a historical process that happened after the Mauryas and was almost final by the time of the Hepthalites--> a 700 year process..I know you posted a map by Herodotus I believe..But Arrian of Indica does define India as the country with Indus as its Western border, the Mountains of Manipur as Eastern border,The Himalayas as Northern Border and the Ocean as the Southern Border...Arrian Indica was based on Megasthene's account which stems from around 300 BCE..but within 150 years of that, the situation started changing..The NorthWest started to look itself as a bit distinct from the rest of the subcontinent..This might have been the result of heavy Greek invasion and admixture post Mauryas....You can see that from Patanjali's Mahabhasya (who was evidently from Gandhara region) which comments that a black person from modern day Bihar cannot possibly be a Brahmin, sitting in the market square like a sack of black beans. Then came the Scythians, on top of that Kushanas..These were movements of tribes who were half a million to a million in size each. enough to change the phenotype of the upper strata..The Hou Honshu written at the time of Kushnas mention North West as Tianzhu and rest of India as Juandu--North West is also mentioned as Juandu in the same text----pointing to the formation of a distinct sub-identity...After the ingress of Indo-Sassanids,Indo-Parthians and Hepthalites the process was more or less complete..You see that in Mahbharata whose final redaction date to around 400 AD..The Brahmins of the east think the land of five rivers is not fit for sacrifices anymore because of loss of caste system...But more importantly a warrior traveller from the NorthWest pines for the time he can go back home so that he can again frolick around with the big bosomed big hip women of the NW...The women who reside west of the Ravi river...Evidently the women of the East,where his present residence was could not sway his heart...The Brahmins of the East were indignant at such remarks and thought the warriors of the NW have completely given themselves over to carnal passions..(Little did they know that the same essence that makes a man ready for battle is also the same essence that incites his heart towards women---->testosterone)

of course post Mauryas till 1947, there has always been furious fighting regarding the settlement of the border between Trans Indus empires and Gangetic empires....Gangetic empires wanting to establish themselves till Sialkot/Chenab...Trans-Indus empires wanting to establish till Sutlej ......that's 2,200 year old saga..seen from that perspective, Partition makes a lot of sense, which was divided right in the middle of Chenab and Sutlej

Modern genetics suggest that the caste system is around 2300 to 1900 years old...I am of the opinion that the timespan between 185 BCE and 300 CE saw a lot of invasions from the Central Asia..enough to change the cultural,phentoype,religious characteristic of most of the NW..many (not all) in the NW started to see themselves different from their erstwhile brethren to the east...Fearing loss of kinship from NW, the Brahmins in the East launched the caste system in all earnest (in order to preserve their racial phenotype as much as possible)


I know it's a controversial take ..therefore I would proceed cautiously..if there is enough interest on your side, I would treat this initial idea to a 10,000 word essay, full with references and pictures

@Indus Pakistan @Joe Shearer @Mangus Ortus Novem
 

Juggernaut_Flat_Plane_V8

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My friend,

A good attempt. Kindly, format your qouted post for easier reading.

I just wish to raise a flag here... all of the Arabia till Morocco cann't be OneEntity...then why do you wish to force one on your own modern state... ?

Is it possible that it is just a vast region with different states... and given the isolation of the times... ended up having a simliar religion..which was never a religion to begin with... ???

Just a thought to provoke more thinking on your part or at least try a different perspective framework...

However, whatever you choose is welcome!

Looking forward to your essay!

Mangus

Modern Indian identity was forged in the same way as modern European identity formed...There was no Europe before the Crusades...The vagaries of history forced Europeans to self-organize as Christian and sub-continental people as Hindus..The Northern Crusades was launched with the explicit mission to give Whites a singular identity, given that they were locked in an epic battle with the Islamic world..Christendom was thus born..a Process more or less completed by 13th century...If there were never to be an Islam, there would be at least half a dozen large powerful nations in the subcontinent..Religion never was and never will be a binding force in itself when it comes to nationhood..Language,blood,shared culture,shared history,geography have far greater cohesive force. Prime would be language in modern context and blood in pre-modern context..Tribes and clans can always move....It is just that Hinduism seeped into the ethnic identity of the people of India during its opposition to Islam..This process was aided by the fact that 98 percent of ancestral Hindus were found in India only, making it amenable for modification from a creed to an ethnic marker
 

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