Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/157

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FALL OF THE MUGHAL EMPIRE. 153 The District, which was stripped of its inhabitants in the last century, has now a new population of a million. Fall of the Empire, 1761-1765. — The other set of invaders came from over the sea. In the wars between the French and English in Southern India, the last vestiges of the Delhi authority in the Karnatik disappeared (1748-61). Bengal, Behar, and Orissa were handed over to the English by an imperial grant in 1765. We obtained these three fertile Provinces as the nominee of the emperor ; but the battle of Panfpat had already reduced the throne of Delhi to a shadow. That battle was fought in 1761, between the Afghan invader Ahmad Shah and the Maratha powers, on the memorable plain of Panfpat on which Babar and Akbar had twice won the sovereignty of India. The Afghans defeated the MaratMs; but although the Muhammadans could still win victories, they could no longer rule India. During the anarchy which followed, the British patiently built up a new power out of the wreck of the Mughal Empire. Puppet emperors continued to reign at Delhi over a numerous seraglio, under such lofty titles as Akbar II. or Alamgfr II. But their power was confined to the palace, while Marathas, Sikhs, and Englishmen were fighting for the sovereignty of India. The last of these pensioned Mughal kings of Delhi emerged for a moment as a rebel during the Mutiny of 1857, and died a State prisoner in Rangoon, the capital of British Burma, in 1862. Causes of its Fall. — Akbar had rendered a great Empire possible in India by conciliating the native Hindu races. He thus raised up a powerful third party, consisting of the native military peoples of India, which enabled him alike to prevent new Muhammadan invasions from Central Asia, and to keep in subjection his own Muhammadan Governors of Provinces. Under Aurangzeb and his miserable successors this wise policy of conciliation was given up. Accordingly, new Muhammadan hordes soon swept down from Afghanistan ; the Muhammadan Governors of Indian Provinces set up as independent potentates : and the warlike Hindu races, who had helped Akbar to create the Mughal Empire, became, under his foolish posterity, the chief agents of its ruin.