THE EAST INDIA COMPANY: Trade, Profit, Dominion & Disgrace

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The Dutch were quite successful in challenging the claim of the Portuguese and fought a number of naval battles. The Dutch entered into this subcontinent with great zeal to get a share in the eastern trade by the turn of the seventeenth century.

Sharma, Mughal Empire in India: a systematic study including source material, Vol. They consisted of several ports with commercial and strategic importance. At the turn of the sixteenth century, the Dutch appeared on the coastal regions to check the monopoly of the Portuguese in the eastern coast. The Emperor stood at the top of the political system.

Akbar the Great — 8 was succeeded by Jahangir — ,9 Shah Jahan — and Aurangzeb — The Qutub Shahi kingdom of Golconda, which came into existence in the early sixteenth century, emerged as the strongest power in peninsular India in the early part of the seventeenth century.

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With its capital in the fortress of Golconda, later shifted to the newly built city of Hyderabad, in , the sultanate expanded into central and eastern Deccan and controlled the eastern seaboard beyond the Andhra delta. To the north of its boundary located the Orissan foothills. Further, southward expansion brought them up to the Palar River and gave them control over the fertile regions around Poonamallee, Chengalpet and Kanchipuram. Bijapur then commenced its expansion to the southern parts and took the lands south of the Palar River up to the frontiers of Thanjavur.

Although both were under Muslim rulers, they had their own personal rivalries, as a result of which they occasionally met each other in the battlefield. The king was assisted by a number of high functionaries with wide powers but ill-defined functions. Sensu stricto, his office was that of finance minister, but his duties often embraced police and military functions. Similarly, the sar-i-khail, or chief of cavalry, had to discharge civil and revenue functions as well. Thus, there was no clear demarcation between the functions of the three highest officers of the state and occasionally the same person simultaneously held more than one of these offices.

Such a system could lead to an extreme concentration of authority and render one man all-powerful in the kingdom for a time, as was the case when the famous Mir Muhammad Sayyid became mir jumla. Then there was the larger body of courtiers or attendants called mulaziman, many of whom enjoyed considerable power and influence in proportion to the degree of royal favour bestowed on them. For administrative purposes, the country was divided into districts, or mahals, administered by governors called sar-samts.

Apparently, there were exceptions to this system and some regions were placed under the authority of military commandants called sar-i-lashkar. The districts were divided into smaller administrative units governed by havaldars, or local governors. Founded a little earlier than the Bahmani Kingdom in the first half of the fourteenth century, this Hindu empire of the south became the traditional enemy of the Muslim kingdom and its five successor states, some of whom, in their mutual struggles, formed an occasional alliance with the Hindu rulers.

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The Nayaks the term Nayaka in Sanskrit means leader or chief are provincial and district governors, the commanders of fortresses, the poligars or local chiefs vested with administrative authority, and other hereditary chieftains who gathered power during the anarchy that followed the disastrous battle. Pre-eminent among such semi-independent feudatories were the Nayaks of Gingi, Tanjore Thanjavur and Madura Madurai , part of whose territories covered a wide tract of south 17 J. In the course of his long reign, King Venkata II — succeeded in instilling once more some vigour into the decadent empire.

The attempts of many nobles and poligars to carve out independent kingdoms were also crushed. So great indeed was his power that du Jarric, quoting Pimenta, described him as still one of the most powerful monarchs of Asia. But, this was really an exaggeration, for his success was by no means unqualified. The Kondavidu district still remained in the hands of Golconda. The Vijayanagar Empire still remained a congeries of semi-independent principalities loosely held together by the suzerainty of an ineffectual overlord, who had only a small territory under his direct control.

While 20 Bishop, R.

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Majumdar, ed. I, pp. These were the core elements of Vijayanagara power in the southern peninsula and the means of imperial control over the macro- region Under them, the practice gained currency of granting nayakattanams to subordinate chiefs for supervision over the territory. Nayakattanam was hereditary in Gingee, Thanjavur, etc.

The East India Company -- 400 Years: Britain & India -- Episode 1

It would thus appear that there existed multiple and differential patterns of distribution of local power. Other divisions, such as parru and nadu, granted to nayaks, were only called nayakattanams It would appear that the Vijayanagara kings never interfered with the internal politics of any area in the Tamil country and gave the nayakas a free hand.

The nayaks, in their turn, seem to have accepted the Vijayanagara king as their superior. Epigraphs demonstrate that the Vijayanagara rulers directly appointed and removed the local rulers. Thus, Kempadeva Annagal was deprived of Senalur nayakattanam which was given to Kalama nayaka of Vellore in Also, the king ordered the surrender of 24 Tapan Raychaudhuri and Irfan Habib, eds. I , New Delhi, Orient Longman, , p. Krishnaswamy Ayyengar, ed. Corporation, , p. E, , p. Thus, the general of the Vijayanagara ruler invaded Tamil country to suppress the tyrannical activities of Koneti raja Achyutadevaraya suppressed the revolt of Saluva Chellappa nayaka in and King Venkatapatidevaraya defeated Lingama nayaka of Perumbedu simai.

According to Nuniz, nayakas had appointed a secretary at the court of Vijayanagara who always kept the nayakas informed of the happenings at the capital city. The Vijayanagara Empire covered a vast area of South India and administration under a heavily centralised authority would have been difficult. Much easier was a system of polity with indirect taxation. In this system, the right to rule portions of the territory of the kingdom were farmed out to individuals in return for assured collection of revenue.

This relieved the central government of the problem and expense of raising revenue through personal taxation from among a heterogeneous population with its diversity of customs. In return for the share in the right to rule over a particular 29 Ibid. Nilakanta Sastri, and N. III, p. Krishnaswamy Ayyengar, Op. In turn, this shaped the nature of the Vijayanagara state. Thus, it appears reasonable to assume that revenue farming was the single most important feature of the political economy of the Coromandel in the seventeenth century.

Many of the problems which the Dutch had to face in Coromandel are traceable to the administrative conditions of the region. Here, again, there were basic differences between the southern and northern parts of the coast. Besides the kingdoms of Golconda and Vijayanagar, the Dutch had also to reckon with the Portuguese settlements of San Thome and Nagapattinam, situated in the territories of the nayaks of Gingi and Thanjavur respectively In the sixteenth century, the Portuguese sought to dominate the Asian sea trade by acquiring possession of a few strategic outposts, whence their fleets could control the main sea routes.

Their colonies at Malacca in the east and at Goa, Cochin and Colombo in the west were considered adequate for dominating the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, so that no territories were acquired on the east coast of India. Still, in the early decades of the sixteenth century, some Portuguese trading settlements grew up along the coast which, if not subject to, were at least inhabited and defended by the Portuguese. Nominally subject to the authority of the local Indian governments, these settlements, of which only San Thome and Nagapattinam survived till the early years of the seventeenth century, were independent for all practical purposes and even had fortresses of their own.

Besides, there were groups of Portuguese settlers in important centres of trade like Masulipatnam. The small-scale peasants used the productive forces of their own family members in the process of production. They attained self-sufficiency in labour force because of their personal involvement. This group of peasants had complete proprietorship over lands The second category of peasants constituted average or middle-class people. They were partly dependent on their personal labour and partly on the work of hired labourers The hired labourers were taken in for seasonal work on land during seasons of transplantation and harvest and were paid daily wages either in kind or in cash.

But sometimes the middle-class peasants followed the practice of joint cultivation to avoid the problem of labour force. According to this system, the said group pooled their resources in the process of cultivation. At the time of harvest, they had their share of income in proportion to the size of the land In the South Coromandel, rice being the staple food of the people, paddy cultivation was done on a large scale.

It was cultivated on the wetlands. The intensive and productive method of paddy cultivation was based on the transplantation of seedlings. There were two main seasons of rice cultivation, kuddappa-kar and samha- pashnam, named after the varieties of paddy, cultivated during the summer and winter months.

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Two types of land prevalent in the south are dry fields punchai and 38 Tapan Raychaudhuri and Irfan Habib, eds. I, Op. Among the types of rice cultivated girasal, asal, auavagas, paccar and kuruvai were important. The Pulicat, Cauvery delta, specialized in abundant rice cultivation because of the fertility of the soil and irrigation facilities available this region. The cereals such as varagu and tinai occupied the place of importance in agriculture as far as cereals were concerned Sugarcane was grown wherever the soil was suitable and water was available. Among the oil seeds that were grown, gingelly, sesame and castor were the chief ones.

The important fibres that were produced were hemp and cotton. The latter appears to have been largely cultivated. It was mostly found in the black and red soil regions of the coast like the areas around Madras and Chengalpet The availability of good cotton textiles in this region attracted the European companies in the early part of the seventeenth century.

The production of cotton was of particular importance for the Southern Coromandel plain44, another non-food crop of importance, although its cultivation was far less widespread, indigo avari. There is evidence of the cultivation of indigo in three separate areas: the Arcot region45, in the neighbourhood of Devanampatnam46 and Pulicat. They were pepper, cinnamon, cloves, mace, cardamom, mustard and ginger.