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Annexation of Sind (1843)

    Annexation of Sind

    The state of Sindh, situated in the lower valley of the Indus river, the western border of India, was situated like a chain joining the Arabian Sea in the south, Rajputana in the east, Punjab in the north-east and Afghanistan and Central Asia in the north. In 1773 AD, Talpura, a branch of the Baluchi caste, defeated the Kalhora, the ruling caste of Sindh, and took control of Sindh. The head of this caste, Fatehali, had obtained a royal decree from the ruler of Kabul, Zamanshah, and had consolidated his political position. The descendants of Fatehali Talpura established independent power by expanding their kingdom to Hyderabad, Mirpur and Khairpur. Their administration was run by a group of brotherly nobles.

    In June 1807, Napoleon made a treaty of Tilsit with Alexander I of Russia. From that day onwards, the fear of Russian invasion by land route filled the mind of British India. Therefore, the British started treaty efforts with Sindh. In 1809 AD, the first regular treaty was made with Sindh during the time of Lord Minto. In 1820 AD, the treaty of 1809 AD was renewed.

    But as a real barrier between Sindh and British relations was – Ranjit Singh. When Multan was occupied by Ranjit Singh in 1818, his contact with Sindh became easy. Therefore, the terror of Ranjit Singh was over the rich. In an unauthorized area between Punjab and Sindh, Rojan Nagar was inhabited by the semi-civilized Mazari caste. These people used to plunder in the border areas of Ranjit Singh, but the nobles did not undertake to oppress them. That is why Ranjit Singh wanted to give a lesson to Sindh.

    In 1831, Alexander Burns traveled upstream from the mouth of Sindh on the pretext of gifting some horses and carts etc. to Ranjit Singh on behalf of the British government, keeping the intention of studying Sindh’s commercial utility and political importance a secret. The Amirs were skeptical, but under pressure from Ranjit Singh they had to give way to Burns.

    It was in 1831 AD that Lord William Bentinck Roper met Ranjit Singh. Ranjit Singh wanted to know the company’s position by pointing to his plan for the conquest of Sindh in front of Bentinck at Ropar. To Ranjit Singh, Bentinck indicated a policy of neutrality on the question of Sindh. A day before this (22 October) Bentinck ordered Pontigar to go to Sindh.

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    Poutinger gave full assurance of British friendship to the nobles of Sindh. Expressed sympathy on the helpless condition of the rich due to the intentions of Ranjit Singh. Made some threats too. Finally the Amirs of Hyderabad and Khairpur reluctantly signed a treaty with the British on April 20, 1832. According to this the rivers and land routes of Sindh were opened on octroi in the interest of Indian traders. But on this condition that boats, vehicles, military stores full of weapons will not be allowed to come from Sindh. It was necessary to make a treaty with Mirpur.

    In 1834 AD, the British again made a commercial treaty with the rich. According to this, a British envoy was to be appointed at the mouth of Sindh to assist Sindh in collection of tax. Now by ending the Sikh influence in Sindh, the company achieved diplomatic success in establishing its sphere of influence. In 1838, Arkland again made a treaty with Sindh and appointed a British Resident in Sindh. Only then did the Afghans become concentrated on the north-western frontier after the war. But like the British in the North-West Frontier Policy, Afghanistan was not the only focal point, the Indus was their second goal. Afghanistan was strong. So the first blow was on him, but the British had no way to go to Afghanistan.

    Auckland again made a treaty with Sindh in the month of February 1839, according to which there was a provision to give three lakh rupees annually to the rich to keep the British army in their state. English protection was duly imposed on Sindh.

    When Lord Ellenborough came to India, he was determined to complete the North-West Frontier Policy in his mind. The success of the British conquest in Afghanistan made him more excited. At the same time, the company was making efforts to remove the blockades on the northern border. The British needed some place or the other to keep an eye on the sphere of influence of Afghanistan. Although Ranjit Singh had died in 1839 AD, but the Governor General did not consider it appropriate to disturb Punjab yet. Sindh was the gateway into Central Asian policy. The British were already familiar with the scene inside by opening that door. He had yet to take possession of it.

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    Lord Ellenborough wrote to the nobles soon after reaching India that “the day you became untrustworthy of the British government, consider the sovereignty gone.” Charles Napier helped Lord Ellenborough even more. He had two objectives – one by getting Karachi. Connecting it with Bombay, taking Bhakkar and Sakkar and connecting it with British bases of Sutlej and Kandahar, Bolan Meanwhile, Major Outram, the resident of Sindh, gathered many more evidences against the Amirs-1, Diwan Mulraj by the Amir of Hyderabad. Writing letters against the treaty of 1839.

    Ontrum proposed a new treaty with the nobles to the Governor-General, but the Resident and Alle Nabers disagreed on that question. Outram was replaced by Charles Napier in Sindh.

    On September 3, 1842, Napier left for Sindh. Lord Ellenborough ordered Napier to prepare a new treaty. According to the new treaty, the right to mint coins from the rich was to be taken into the hands of the British. In addition, the nobles were supposed to fuel British ships passing through Sindh and hand over important territories to the British in exchange for an amount of three lakhs.

    The discussion of this treaty was going on that from Napier started arbitrary activities in Sindh. He forcibly took over the districts of Sabjalkot and Bhangbhura. Amir Alimurad of Khairpur, along with Napier, invited him, as he wanted to snatch the headship from his elder brother Rustam. Napier did not assure him. Anarchy started spreading all over Sindh. The rich were scattered here and there to protect their life and property.

    Napier found Imamgarh empty. But in January, 1843, he destroyed Imamgarh. According to Outram the destruction of Imamgarh was done on time. Now there was despair among the rebels of Sindh due to the elimination of one hideout.

    In 1843, on the day of 15th February, eight thousand Balochis, excited and attacked the British Residency. Outum escaped. War started between both the sides.

    On the day of February 17, 1843, at a place called Bhiyali, twenty two hundred trained soldiers of Napier conquered about thirty thousand unorganized Balochis. Napier was drowning in exasperating joy, the battle was over in about three hours. There were seven casual Balochi casualties. Sixty-two soldiers of Napier’s army were killed and two hundred were wounded.
    The Amirs of Hyderabad surrendered on the very second day of the war. On February 19, the amirs of Khairpur also laid down their arms. Sobdar and Muhammad Khan did not take the war with the hope that they would be treated well. But he was also taken prisoner along with other amirs. ‘Sher Mirpur’ Sher Muhammad still struggled. He was also defeated in ‘Dabo’ near Hyderabad on 24 March. Napier conveyed the message of his victory to Ellenborough in a Latin sentence – Peccavi, I have won Sindh. In August 1843, Sindh was merged with the British Empire.

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    Strong criticisms have been made on the justification of the Sindh conquest. Sir Charles Napier himself admits in his diary, “We have no right to take Sind and it would be a very beneficial, useful and merciful act of sinfulness.” It is said for Ellenborough that he had conquered Sindh by following the forward policy of Auckland. But there were many direct and indirect views of Vijay. The right to Sindh was the solution to the border policy arising out of the fear of Russia. Sindh was the gateway to keep an eye on Central Asian politics. Sindh was a complement to the sphere of influence of Afghanistan. The diplomatic position of Sindh was very important for building a military base. He was connected by both water and land routes. From Bombay, direct ships could go to and from Karachi. The British Empire got a natural border in the west and finally due to the passing of Sindh into the British hands, the powerful state of Punjab reached the state of a closed lake on both sides of which were the boundaries of the original British Empire and on the third side the British friend Muhammad was a friend of Kabul. Therefore, just as the First Afghan War was the role of the Sindh conquest, the annexation of Sindh was the role of the Punjab campaign.

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