In the later half of 19th century, the Rajputana States were being crushed by continuous subjugation of Maratha Power and attacks of Pindaris. Whenever the states of Rajasthan tried to get free from the clutches of the Marathas they were defeated repeatedly and their territories were devastated. Almost all of Rajasthan had been virtually brought under by the Marathas, who exacted tribute, annexed territory, and extorted subsidies.
Lord Wellesley (1798-1805) took interest in the Rajput- Maratha affairs to safeguard British interests in India. He wanted to curb the Maratha power in northern India and planned mutual friendship with the Rajputs against the Marathas. He succeeded in his plan but after his departure from India the British policy towards Rajputana changed.
Lord Hastings (1813-1823) sought to impose British paramountcy in India for which suppression of the Marathas and the Pindaris was essential. He looked upon the Rajputana States as his natural allies against the Marathas and the Pindaris. Charles Metcalf, the British Resident at Delhi, was entrusted with the duty of negotiating alliances with the states of Rajasthan.
Through these treaties the States of Rajasthan came under the complete subordination of the British. In principle the external affairs of these states passed into the British hands and a nominal independence was given to the rulers in internal affairs. The British were empowered to interfere in internal affairs too. In fact the Rajasthani rulers lost their freedom and power but in the colonial interests their existence was safeguarded by the British. Now the rulers became responsible to the British instead of being responsible to their people.
The treaty of Bharatpur with British
After the death of Mahraja Surajmal, Mughal ruler Alamgir II & Marathas decided to capture the Jat territories. In 1784, Scindhia attacked Bharatpur and captured a large part of Jat territory. However, Maharani Kishori appealed to Scindhia and he withdrew, after Bharatpur agreed to pay an yearly Chauth of 2 lac rupees. In 1803, the British sent a proposal to Bharatpur to offer protection against the Marathas. Consequently, a treaty was signed between Maharaja Ranjeet Singh & Lord Lake in 1803.
However, the treaty did not survive long. Yashwant Rao Holker started a series of battle against the British, on 8 July 1804, Yashwantrao Holkar defeated the army of Colonel Manson and Leukan at Mukundara and Kota. On 16 November 1804, Maharaja Holkar reached Deeg by defeating the army of Major Frazer. The Jat ruler Ranjit Singh of Bharatpur welcomed him and decided to be with Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar against the British.
Lord Lake attacked Deeg on 13 December 1804, then the army of Holkar and Jat successfully resisted and reached Bharatpur. Lord Lake again attacked on 3 January 1805, along with General Manson and others. A siege of Bharatpur followed and lasted for three months. Subsequently, Ranjit Singh was forced to sign a new treaty with the British on 17 April 1805.
Treaties/Agreements between British & Rajputana States
|S.NO||State||Date of Treaty||Ruler of the State|
|1||Bharatpur||1803, 1805||Ranjeet Singh|
|2||Karauli||15 November 1817||Harvakshpal Singh|
|3||Tonk||17 November 1817||Nawab Amir Khan|
|4||Kota||26 December 1817||Maharao Ummed Singh|
|5||Jodhpur||6 January 1818||Maharaja Mann Singh|
|6||Udaipur||13 January 1818||Maharana Bhim Singh|
|7||Bundi||10 February 1818||Rao Vishnu Singh|
|8||Bikaner||21 March 1818||Surat Singh|
|9||Kishangarh||7 April 1818||Kalyan Singh|
|10||Jaipur||15 April 1818||Sawai Jagat Singh|
|11||Jaisalmer||2 January 1819||Maharao Moolraj|
|12||Sirohi||11 September 1823||Maharao Shiv Singh|