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When East India Company established power in India it affected the life of Indian Kings, Queens, landlords, peasants, tribals and soldiers in many ways. Many of them revolted against the policies enforced by the British.

The Nawabs, who ruled over the land till then, slowly lost their power.

  • The Nawabs and Rajas lost their authority and honour.
  • British Residents were stationed in all the courts to monitor the proceeding, thus undermining the authority of the Nawabs.
  • The Nawabs’ armies were disbanded and the freedom of the rulers was reduced.
  • The revenue collected by the Nawabs was taken by the British and their territory was also seized.

Many ruling families tried to negotiate with the Company to protect their interests.

                                                 Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi

Rani Lakshmi Bai

Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi wanted the Company to recognise her adopted son as the heir to the kingdom after the death of her husband.
                                                               Nana Saheb

Nana Saheb

Nana Saheb was the adopted son of Peshwa Baji Rao II. When Peshwa Baji Rao II died, Nana Saheb pleaded with the British to give him his father’s pension. The British refused to do so, as they had the military power to defeat Nana Saheb, in case he revolted.

The Nawab of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah

                                                The Nawab of Awadh

The Nawab of Awadh

In 1801, a subsidiary alliance was imposed on Awadh. Governor-General Dalhousie declared that the state was being misgoverned by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, and imposed British rule to ensure proper administration.

In 1856, Awadh was taken over by the British. It was one of the last territories to be annexed by the British.

                                                       The Mughal Dynasty

Bahadur Shah Zafar II

Bahadur Shah Zafar II was the last of the Mughal Emperors.

In 1849, Governor-General Dalhousie announced that after the death of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the family of the king would be shifted out of the Red Fort and given another place in Delhi to reside in.

In 1857, after the death of Bahadur Shah Zafar, Governor-General Canning decided that his descendants would not be recognised as kings but would be called only princes.

Thus, slowly but decisively, the powers of all the kings and Nawabs were taken away by the British.

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