Relationship between Mughal Emperor and British Monarch

There was only one documented interaction between the British Empress Ellizebeth-1 and the Mughal King Akbar when the former sent a personal letter to the latter for providing security to the delegation visiting India in the summer of 1585
to introduce the trade of marchandize of al nations whatsoever they can, by which meanes the mutual and friendly trafique of mar- chandize on both sides may come”
Letter to Emperor Akbar by Queen Elizabeth I – Summer of 1585, Fatehpur Sikri
Afterwards, there is no record of any direct interaction between the British Empire and the Mughal Emperor ruling India throughout the 17th to 20th century; it was the East India Company, chartered by the British Emperor to do business in India ,which was dealing with the Indian rulers at the centre and in the states/ provinces. And these kept on changing with the change in the respective power positions of the parties involved.
East India Company of Britain entered the Indian Subcontinent in 1600 as a trading corporation but within one hundred and fifty years ended as an imperial war machine, more by default and less as a deliberate policy of colonial expansion on behalf of its mother country.
Mughal Empire reached its peak under Aurangzeb when almost whole of South Asia was under their suzerainty but within 50 years after his death in 1707, it was in shambles. While vast swathes of India passed from Mughal to Maratha hands, invasion of Nadir Shah shattered the remnants of Mughal Empire accelerating its decline. Many of the rulers of states broke away to form independent kingdoms.
One of the reasons for this cataclysmic change of destinies was the inherent weakness of a decaying agricultural empire of the Mughals which after more than two hundred years of rule over vast areas of India, was at its terminal stage and needed a small push to crumble like a house of cards.
That push was given by six East India Companies of different European countries which had extracted rights to trade with India from the Mughals but transformed themselves as the arbiters and protectors of several Indian states. In this process they not only became rich but also militarily strong because in the twilight years of the Mughal empire, deteriorating security environment necessitated to arm themselves to protect their economic interests.
Because of their inherent superiority as representatives of rising industrial powers, they had access to modern techniques and technology of warfare, which turned out to be the decisive factor in capturing vast territories in India.
British turned out to be smarter than others in this process and they not only coerced the local princess into submission but also defeated their European rivals convincingly in this Indian game of thrones. In his futile efforts to reverse the Mughal decline, the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II sought the protection of outside powers and in 1784; the Marathas became the protectors of the emperor in Delhi.
This state of affairs continued till 1805 when after their victory in Second Anglo-Maratha War, the British East India Company replaced the Marathas as the protectors of the Mughal dynasty in Delhi. The Mughal Emperor, however, continued to be the highest manifestation of sovereignty. Not only the Muslim gentry, but the Maratha, Hindu, and Sikh leaders took part in ceremonial acknowledgement of the emperor as the sovereign of India.
The French, the arch rivals of the British for regional hegemony in Europe and global imperialism, had been defeated on two frontsat Waterloo and in India. Thus the British, who were now consolidating their position as a paramount imperial power all over the world, became colonizers of the jewel in their crown-India.
During this process of gradual colonization, the British East India Company had been carrying out socioeconomic reforms which had transformed the Indian society in multiple ways. One manifestation of that transformation was the rise of nationalist sentiments among the Indians, not only as a result of but also as a reaction against these reforms. India had never been a unified country in the modern sense with two or three exceptions in its OR1`10,000 years of recorded history.
While the introduction of modern system of government by the British throughout the country unified it administratively, the destruction of the rural and local self-sufficient economy and the introduction of modern trade and industries on an all- India scale had increasingly made India’s economic life a single whole. This integration was cemented by the introduction of the railways, telegraph and unified postal systems which brought the different parts of the country together and promoted mutual contact among the people.
The spread of western education and ideas, infrastructural developments, technological advancements and a new system of governance introduced by the East India Company in the Indian Subcontinent had facilitated connectivity of hence isolated communities, and had created a sense of unity among the Indians. With the emergence of the modern press, both English and Vernacular, saw an unprecedented growth of Indian-owned English and Vernacular newspapers which played a notable role in mobilising public opinion and promoting nationalism.
Revolutions of 1840s in Europe had kindled the nationalistic feelings among the Indians educated from the same institutions the Company established to get a regular supply of ministerial staff for running India.People came to realise that colonial rule was the major cause of India’s economic backwardness. The tone of racial superiority adopted by many Englishmen in their dealings with Indians created a reaction among the educated elite inspiring them with a new spirit of patriotism and nationalism. The theory put forward by European scholars that the Indo-Aryans belonged to the same ethnic group of mankind from which stemmed all the nations of Europe gave a psychological boost to educated Indians.
On April 27, 1857, eighty-five soldiers of a Bengal regiment of British East India Company, posted in Meerut, disobeyed the command of their senior British officer, to use the new cartridges for newly introduced En-field rifles, allegedly encased in cow and pig grease. Harsh punishment meted out to the disobedient soldiers, and that too in front of their colleagues, resulted in the mutiny of several regiments and ultimately became a general uprising of the Indian people. It was ruthlessly quelled by the British with the help of their superior technology and support of local elites.

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