Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements; the knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order", he did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred. The Order consists of the Sovereign, the Great Master, three Classes of members: Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross Knight Commander or Dame Commander Companion Members belong to either the Civil or the Military Division. Prior to 1815, the order had Knight Companion, which no longer exists. Recipients of the Order are now senior military officers or senior civil servants. Commonwealth citizens who are not subjects of the Queen and foreign nationals may be made Honorary Members.
The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick. In the Middle Ages, knighthood was conferred with elaborate ceremonies; these involved the knight-to-be taking a bath during which he was instructed in the duties of knighthood by more senior knights. He was put to bed to dry. Clothed in a special robe, he was led with music to the chapel. At dawn he made confession and attended Mass retired to his bed to sleep until it was daylight, he was brought before the King, who after instructing two senior knights to buckle the spurs to the knight-elect's heels, fastened a belt around his waist struck him on the neck, thus making him a knight. It was this accolade, the essential act in creating a knight, a simpler ceremony developed, conferring knighthood by striking or touching the knight-to-be on the shoulder with a sword, or "dubbing" him, as is still done today.
In the early medieval period the difference seems to have been that the full ceremonies were used for men from more prominent families. From the coronation of Henry IV in 1399 the full ceremonies were restricted to major royal occasions such as coronations, investitures of the Prince of Wales or Royal dukes, royal weddings, the knights so created became known as Knights of the Bath. Knights Bachelor continued to be created with the simpler form of ceremony; the last occasion on which Knights of the Bath were created was the coronation of Charles II in 1661. From at least 1625, from the reign of James I, Knights of the Bath were using the motto Tria juncta in uno, wearing as a badge three crowns within a plain gold oval; these were both subsequently adopted by the Order of the Bath. Their symbolism however is not clear. The'three joined in one' may be a reference to the kingdoms of England and either France or Ireland, which were held by English and British monarchs; this would correspond to the three crowns in the badge.
Another explanation of the motto is. Nicolas quotes a source who claims that prior to James I the motto was Tria numina juncta in uno, but from the reign of James I the word numina was dropped and the motto understood to mean Tria juncta in uno; the prime mover in the establishment of the Order of the Bath was John Anstis, Garter King of Arms, England's highest heraldic officer. Sir Anthony Wagner, a recent holder of the office of Garter, wrote of Anstis's motivations: It was Martin Leake's opinion that the trouble and opposition Anstis met with in establishing himself as Garter so embittered him against the heralds that when at last in 1718 he succeeded, he made it his prime object to aggrandise himself and his office at their expense, it is clear at least that he set out to make himself indispensable to the Earl Marshal, not hard, their political principles being congruous and their friendship established, but to Sir Robert Walpole and the Whig ministry, which can by no means have been easy, considering his known attachment to the Pretender and the circumstances under which he came into office...
The main object of Anstis's next move, the revival or institution of the Order of the Bath was that which it in fact secured, of ingratiating him with the all-powerful Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole. The use of honours in the early eighteenth century differed from the modern honours system in which hundreds, if not thousands, of people each year receive honours on the basis of deserving accomplishments; the only honours available at that time were hereditary peerages and baronetcies and the Order of the Garter, none of which were awarded in large numbers The political environment was significantly different from today: The Sovereign still exercised a power to be reckoned with in the eighteenth century. The Court remained the centre of the political w
Siege of Seringapatam (1799)
The Siege of Seringapatam was the final confrontation of the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War between the British East India Company and the Kingdom of Mysore. The British, with the allied Nizam of Hyderabad and Maratha. Achieved a decisive victory after breaching the walls of the fortress at Seringapatam and storming the citadel. Tipu Sultan, Mysore's ruler, was killed in the action; the British restored the Wodeyar dynasty to the throne after the victory, but retained indirect control of the kingdom. The battle consisted of a series of encounters around Seringapatam in the months of April and May 1799, between the combined forces of the British East India Company and their allies, numbering over 50,000 soldiers in all, the soldiers of the Kingdom of Mysore, ruled by Tipu Sultan, numbering up to 30,000; the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War came to an end with the death of Tipu Sultan in the battle. When the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War broke out, the British assembled two large columns under General George Harris.
The first consisted of over 26,000 British East India Company troops, 4,000 of whom were European while the rest were local Indian sepoys. The second column was supplied by the Nizam of Hyderabad, consisted of ten battalions and over 16,000 cavalry. Together, the allied force numbered over 50,000 soldiers. Tipu's forces had been depleted by the Third Anglo-Mysore War and the consequent loss of half his kingdom, but he still had up to 30,000 soldiers; the British forces consisted of the following: 19th Regiment of Dragoons 25th Regiment of Dragoons 12th Regiment of Foot 33rd Regiment of Foot 73rd Regiment of Foot 74th Regiment of Foot 75th Regiment of Foot 77th Regiment of Foot Scotch Brigade Regiment de Meuron The Indian forces consisted of the following: 1st Madras Native Infantry 2nd Madras Native Infantry 1st Madras Native Cavalry 2nd Madras Native Cavalry 3rd Madras Native Cavalry 4th Madras Native Cavalry Madras Pioneers Madras Artillery 1st Bengal Native Infantry 2nd Bengal Native Infantry Bengal Artillery Seringapatam was besieged by the British forces on 5 April 1799.
The River Cauvery, which flowed around the city of Seringapatam, was at its lowest level of the year and could be forded by infantry — if an assault commenced before the monsoon. When letters were exchanged with Tipu, it seemed, he requested two persons to be sent to him for discussions and stated that he was preoccupied with hunting expeditions. Tipu Sultan's Chief Minister, Mir Sadiq, is alleged to have been bought over by the British; the Governor-General of India, Richard Wellesley, planned the opening of a breach in the walls of Seringapatam. The location of the breach, as noted by Beatson, the author of an account of the Fourth Mysore War, was'in the west curtain, a little to the right of the flank of the north-west bastion; this being the old rampart appeared weaker than the new.' The Mysorean defence succeeded in preventing the establishment of a battery on the north side of the River Cauvery on 22 April 1799. However, by 1 May, working at night, the British had completed their southern batteries and brought them up to the wall.
At sunrise on 2 May, the batteries of the Nizam of Hyderabad succeeded in opening a practical breach in the outer wall. In addition, the mines that were laid under the breach were hit by artillery and blew up prematurely; the leader of the British troops was Major General David Baird, an implacable enemy of Tipu Sultan: twenty years earlier, he had been held captive for 44 months. The storming troops, including men of the 73rd and 74th regiments, clambered up the breach and fought their way along the ramparts; the assault was to begin at 1:00 p.m. to coincide with the hottest part of the day when the defenders would be taking refreshment. Led by two forlorn-hopes, two columns would advance upon the defences around the breach wheel right and left to take over the fortifications. A third reserve column, commanded by Arthur Wellesley, would deploy as required to provide support where needed. At 11:00 a.m. on 4 May 1799, the British troops were briefed and whiskey and a biscuit issued to the European soldiers, before the signal to attack was given.
The forlorn-hopes, numbering seventy-six men, led the charge. The columns formed, were ordered to fix bayonets, began to move forward; the storming party dashed across the River Cauvery in water four feet deep, with covering fire from British batteries, within 16 minutes had scaled the ramparts and swept aside the defenders quickly. The British follow-up columns turned right and left, sweeping along the inside of the walls until they met on the far side of the city. Tipu's Tiger, an automaton now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, was captured at Seringapatam; the column that rounded the northwest corner of the outer wall was involved in a serious fight with a group of Mysorean warriors under a short fat officer, which defended every traverse. The officer was observed to be discharging hunting weapons and passed to him by servants, at the British. After the fall of the city, in the gathering dusk, some of the British officers went to look for the body of Tipu Sultan, he was identified as the fat officer who had fired hunting weapons at the attackers, his body was found in a choked tunnel-like passage near the Water Gate.
Benjamin Sydenham described the body as:'wounded a little above the right ear, the ball lodged in the left cheek, he had three wounds in the body, he was in stature about 5 ft 8 in and not fair, he was rather corpulent, had a short neck and high shoulders, but his wrists and ankle
The Durrani Empire called the Sadozai Kingdom, Afghan Empire, was founded and built by Ahmad Shah Durrani. At its maximum extent, the empire ruled over what are now the modern-day countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, as well as some parts of northeastern Iran, eastern Turkmenistan, northwestern India including the Kashmir region. After the death of Nader Shah in 1747, the region of Kandahar was claimed by Ahmad Shah Durrani. From there he began conquering Ghazni followed by Kabul. In 1749 the Mughal ruler had ceded sovereignty over what is now Pakistan and northwestern Punjab to the Afghans. Ahmad Shah set out westward to take possession of Herat, ruled by Shahrokh Shah, he next sent an army to subdue the areas north of the Hindu Kush and in short order all the different tribes began joining his cause. Ahmad Shah and his forces invaded India four times, taking control of the Kashmir and the Punjab region. Early in 1757, he sacked Delhi, but permitted the Mughal dynasty to remain in nominal control as long as the ruler acknowledged Ahmad Shah's suzerainty over the Punjab and Kashmir.
After the death of Ahmad Shah in about 1772, his son Timur Shah became the next ruler of the Durrani dynasty who decided to make Kabul the new capital of the empire, used Peshawar as the winter capital. The Durrani Empire is considered the foundation of the modern state of Afghanistan, with Ahmad Shah Durrani being credited as "Father of the Nation". In 1709 Mir Wais Hotak, chief of the Ghilji tribe of Kandahar Province, gained independence from the Safavid Persians. From 1722 to 1725, his son Mahmud Hotak ruled large parts of Iran and declared himself as Shah of Persia. However, the Hotak dynasty came to a complete end in 1738 after being toppled and banished by the Afsharids who were led by Nader Shah Afshar of Persia; the year 1747 marks the definitive appearance of an Afghan political entity independent of both the Persian and Mughal empires. In October 1747 a loya jirga concluded near the city of Kandahar with Ahmad Shah Durrani being selected as the new leader of the Afghans, thus the Durrani dynasty was founded.
Despite being younger than the other contenders, Ahmad Shah had several overriding factors in his favor. He belonged to a respectable family of political background since his father served as Governor of Herat who died in a battle defending the Afghans. One of Ahmad Shah's first military actions was to capture Ghazni from the Ghiljis, wrest Kabul from the local ruler. In 1749, the Mughal ruler was induced to cede Sindh, the Punjab region and the important trans Indus River to Ahmad Shah in order to save his capital from Afghan attack. Having thus gained substantial territories to the east without a fight, Ahmad Shah turned westward to take possession of Herat, ruled by Nader Shah Afshar's grandson, Shahrukh Afshar. Ahmad Shah next sent an army to subdue the areas north of the Hindu Kush mountains. In short order, the powerful army brought under its control the Tajik, Uzbek and other tribes of northern Afghanistan. Ahmad Shah invaded the remnants of the Mughal Empire a third time, a fourth, consolidating control over the Kashmir and Punjab regions, with Lahore being governed by Afghans.
He sacked Delhi in 1757 but permitted the Mughal dynasty to remain in nominal control of the city as long as the ruler acknowledged Ahmad Shah's suzerainty over Punjab and Kashmir. Leaving his second son Timur Shah to safeguard his interests, Ahmad Shah left India to return to Afghanistan. Alarmed by the expansion of China's Qing Dynasty up to the eastern border of Kazakhstan, Ahmad Shah attempted to rally neighboring Muslim khanates and the Kazakhs to unite and attack China, ostensibly to liberate its western Muslim subjects. Ahmad Shah dispatched troops to Kokand. However, with his campaigns in India exhausting the state treasury, with his troops stretched thin throughout Central Asia, Ahmad Shah lacked sufficient resources to do anything except to send envoys to Beijing for unsuccessful talks; the Mughal power in northern India had been declining since the reign of Aurangzeb, who died in 1707. In 1751-52, Ahamdiya treaty was signed between the Marathas and Mughals, when Balaji Bajirao was the Peshwa.
Through this treaty, the Marathas controlled the whole of India from their capital at Pune and the Mughal rule was restricted only to Delhi. Marathas were now straining to expand their area of control towards the Northwest of India. Ahmad Shah withdrew with the booty he coveted. To counter the Afghans, Peshwa Balaji Bajirao sent Raghunathrao, he defeated the Rohillas and Afghan garrisons in Punjab and succeeded in ousting Timur Shah and his court from India and brought Lahore, Multan and other subahs on the Indian side of Attock under Maratha rule. Thus, upon his return to Kandahar in 1757, Ahmad was forced to return to India and face the formidable attacks of the Maratha Confederacy. Ahmad Shah declared a jihad against the Marathas, warriors from various Afghan tribes joined his army, including the Baloch people under the command of Khan of Kalat Mir Nasir I of Kalat. Suba Khan Tanoli was selected as army chief of all military forces. Early skirmishes were followed by victory for the Afghans against the much larger Maratha garrisons in Northwest India and by 1759 Ahmad Shah and his army had reached Lahore and were poised to confront the Marathas.
Ahmad Shah Durrani was famous for winning wars much larger than his army. By 1760, the Maratha groups had coalesced into a big enough army under the command of Sadashivrao Bhau. Once again, Panip
Kandahār or Qandahār is the second-largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 557,118. Kandahar is located in the south of the country at an elevation of 1,010 m, it is the capital of Kandahar Province, the center of the larger cultural region called Loy Kandahar. In 1709, Mirwais Hotak made the region an independent kingdom and turned Kandahar into the capital of the Hotak dynasty. In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Durrani dynasty, made Kandahar the capital of the Afghan Empire. Kandahar is one of the most culturally significant cities of the Pashtuns and has been their traditional seat of power for more than 300 years, it is a major trading center for sheep, cotton, felt, food grains and dried fruit, tobacco. The region produces fine fruits pomegranates and grapes, the city has plants for canning and packing fruit, is a major source of marijuana and hashish en route to Tajikistan; the region around Kandahar is one of the oldest known human settlements. A major fortified city existed at the site of Kandahar as early as c.
1000-750 BCE, it became an important outpost of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE. Alexander the Great had laid-out the foundation of what is now Old Kandahar in the 4th century BC and gave it the Ancient Greek name Αλεξάνδρεια Aραχωσίας. Many empires have long fought over the city due to its strategic location along the trade routes of southern and western Asia. Since the 1978 Marxist revolution, the city has been a magnet for groups such as Haqqani network, Quetta Shura, Hezbi Islami, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups. From late-1996 to 2001, it served as the de facto capital of the Taliban government until the Taliban were overthrown by US-led NATO forces during Operation Enduring Freedom in late-2001 and replaced by the government of President Hamid Karzai. One hypothesis derives the name of the city from Gandhara, the name of an ancient Hindu-Buddhist kingdom located along the Kabul and Swat rivers of northern Afghanistan and Pakistan. A folk etymology offered is that the word "kand" or "qand" in Persian and Pashto means "candy".
The name "Candahar" or "Kandahar" in this form translates to candy area. This has to do with the location being fertile and known for producing fine grapes, apricots and other sweet fruits. Ernst Herzfeld claimed Kandahar perpetuated the name of the Indo-Parthian king Gondophares, who re-founded the city under the name Gundopharron. Excavations of prehistoric sites by archaeologists such as Louis Dupree and others suggest that the region around Kandahar is one of the oldest human settlements known so far. Early peasant farming villages came into existence in Afghanistan ca. 5000 B. C. or 7000 years ago. Deh Morasi Ghundai, the first prehistoric site to be excavated in Afghanistan, lies 27 km southwest of Kandahar. Another Bronze Age village mound site with multiroomed mud-brick buildings dating from the same period sits nearby at Said Qala. Second millennium B. C. Bronze Age pottery and bronze horse trappings and stone seals were found in the lowermost levels in the nearby cave called Shamshir Ghar.
In the Seistan, southwest of these Kandahar sites, two teams of American archaeologists discovered sites relating to the 2nd millennium B. C.. Stylistically the finds from Deh Morasi and Said Qala tie in with those of pre-Indus Valley sites and with those of comparable age on the Iranian Plateau and in Central Asia, indicating cultural contacts during this early age. British excavations in the 1970s discovered that Kandahar existed as a large fortified city during the early 1st millennium BCE; this fortified city became an important outpost of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th to 4th centuries BCE, formed part of the province of Arachosia. The now "Old Kandahar" was founded in 330 BC by Alexander the Great, near the site of the ancient city of Mundigak. Mundigak served as the provincial capital of Arachosia and was ruled by the Medes followed by the Achaemenids until the arrival of the Greeks from Macedonia; the main inhabitants of Arachosia were the Pactyans, an ancient Iranian tribe, who may be among the ancestors of today's Pashtuns.
Kandahar was named a name given to cities that Alexander founded during his conquests. Kandahar has been a frequent target for conquest because of its strategic location in Southern Asia, controlling the main trade route linking the Indian subcontinent with the Middle East and Central Asia; the territory became part of the Seleucid Empire after the death of Alexander. It is mentioned by Strabo that a treaty of friendship was established between the Greeks and the Mauryans; the city became part of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, continued that way for two hundred years under the Indo-Greek Kingdom. King Menander I of the Indo-Greek Kingdom practiced Greco-Buddhism and is recorded by the Mahavamsa to
First Anglo-Burmese War
The First Anglo-Burmese War known as the First Burma War, was the first of three wars fought between the British and Burmese empires in the 19th century. The war, which began over the control of Northeastern India, ended in a decisive British victory, giving the British total control of Assam, Manipur and Jaintia as well as Arakan Province and Tenasserim; the Burmese were forced to pay an indemnity of one million pounds sterling, sign a commercial treaty. This war was the longest and most expensive war in British Indian history. Fifteen thousand European and Indian soldiers died, together with an unknown number of Burmese military and civilian casualties; the high cost of the campaign to the British, 5–13 million pounds sterling, contributed to a severe economic crisis in British India which cost the East India Company its remaining privileges. For the Burmese Empire, it was the beginning of the end of their independence; the Third Burmese Empire, for a brief time the terror of British India, was crippled and no longer a threat to the eastern frontier of British India.
The Burmese would be crushed for years to come by repaying the heavy indemnity of one million pounds, a large sum at that time. The British would wage two more wars against a much-weakened Burma, swallow up the entire country by 1885. By 1822, Burmese expansion into Manipur and Assam had created a long border between British India and the Burmese Empire; the British, based in Calcutta, supported rebels from Manipur and Arakan fleeing into British territory. Calcutta unilaterally sent in troops. Cross border raids into these newly acquired territories from British territories and spheres of influence vexed the Burmese. Convinced that war was inevitable, Burmese commander-in-chief, Maha Bandula, became the main proponent of offensive policy against the British. Bandula was part of the war party at Bagyidaw's court, which included Queen Me Nu and her brother, the Lord of Salin. Bandula believed that a decisive victory could allow Ava to consolidate its gains in its new western empire in Arakan, Assam and Jaintia, as well as take over eastern Bengal.
In September 1823, the casus belli was Burma occupying Shalpuri Island near Chittagong, claimed by the East India Company. In January 1824, Burma sent one of their top generals, Thado Thiri Maha Uzana, into Cachar and Jaintia to disperse the rebels; the British sent in their own force to meet the Burmese in Cachar, resulting in the first clashes between the two. The war formally broke out on 5 March 1824, following border clashes in Arakan; the British reason for the war was, in addition to expanding British Bengal's sphere of influence, the desire for new markets for British manufacturing. The British were anxious to deny the French the use of Burmese harbours and concerned about French influence at the Court of Ava, as the kingdom was still known to them. British Ambassador Michael Symes's mission was equipped to gain as much knowledge as possible of the country for future British plans whereas previous envoys were concerned principally with trade concessions. Anglo-French rivalry had played a role during Alaungpaya's endeavours of unifying the kingdom.
The Burmese in these wars were advancing into smaller states not ruled by the British or the subject of expansionary goals by the British before the war began, the British were not so much preoccupied by the refugee problem as by the threat posed by the French until further incidents forced their hand. The commander in chief of the Burmese army, Maha Bandula, was supported by twelve of the country's best divisions, including one under his personal command, all totaling 10,000 men and 500 horses, his general staff included some of the country's most decorated soldiers, men like the Lord of Salay and the governors of Danyawaddy and Taungoo. Bandula's plan was to attack the British on two fronts: Chittagong from Arakan in the southeast, Sylhet from Cachar and Jaintia in the north. Bandula commanded the Arakan theatre while Uzana commanded Cachar and Jaintia theater. Early in the war, battle-hardened Burmese forces were able to push back the British forces because the Burmese, fighting in the jungles of Manipur and Assam for nearly a decade, was more familiar with the terrain which represented "a formidable obstacle to the march of a European force".
Uzana had defeated the British units in Cachar and Jaintia in January 1824. In May, Burmese forces led by U Sa, Lord Myawaddy fought their way into Bengal, defeating British troops at the Battle of Ramu, 10 miles east of Cox's Bazar, on 17 May 1824. Sa's column joined Bandula's column on the march to defeat British forces at Gadawpalin, went on to capture Cox's Bazar; the Burmese success caused extreme panic in Calcutta. Across the eastern Bengal, the European inhabitants formed themselves into militia forces, and a large portion of the crews of the East India Company's ships was landed to assist in the defense of Calcutta. But Bandula, not wanting to overstretch, stopped U Sa from proceeding to Chittagong. Had Bandula marched on to Chittagong, which unbeknown to him was held, he could have taken it and the way to Calcutta would have been open. Had they been able to threaten Calcutta, the Burmese could have obtained more favourable terms in the peace negotiations on. Instead of fighting in hard terrain, the British took the fight to the Burmese mainland.
On 11 May 1824, a British naval force of over 10,000 men entered the harb
First Anglo-Sikh War
The First Anglo-Sikh War was fought between the Sikh Empire and the East India Company between 1845 and 1846. It resulted in partial subjugation of the Sikh kingdom and cession of Jammu and Kashmir as a separate princely state under British suzerainty; the Sikh kingdom of Punjab was expanded and consolidated by Maharajah Ranjit Singh during the early years of the nineteenth century, about the same time as the British-controlled territories were advanced by conquest or annexation to the borders of the Punjab. Ranjit Singh maintained a policy of wary friendship with the British, ceding some territory south of the Sutlej River, while at the same time building up his military forces both to deter aggression by the British and to wage war against the Afghans, he hired American and European mercenary soldiers to train his artillery, incorporated contingents of Hindus and Muslims into his army. Aided by disunity among the Afghans, the Sikhs conquered the cities and provinces of Peshawar and Multan from them, incorporated the states of Jammu and Kashmir into their empire.
Once order was restored in Afghanistan, the British became obsessed with the idea that Emir Dost Mohammed Khan of Afghanistan was conspiring with Imperial Russia and launched the First Anglo-Afghan War to replace him with the compliant Shuja Shah Durrani. This move had Sikh support, in return for the formal cessation of Peshawar to the Sikhs by Shuja Shah. Successful, the British invasion took a disastrous turn with the Massacre of Elphinstone's Army, which lowered the prestige of the British, the Bengal Army of the British East India Company in particular; the British withdrew from Afghanistan, from Peshawar which they held as an advance base, in 1842. Ranjit Singh died in 1839, his kingdom began to fall into disorder. Ranjit's unpopular legitimate son, Kharak Singh, was removed from power within a few months, died in prison under mysterious circumstances, it was believed that he was poisoned. He was replaced by his able but estranged son Kanwar Nau Nihal Singh, who died within a few months in suspicious circumstances, after being injured by a falling archway at the Lahore Fort while returning from his father's cremation.
At the time, two major factions within the Punjab were contending for power and influence: the Sikh Sindhanwalias and the Hindu Dogras. The Dogras succeeded in raising Sher Singh, the eldest illegitimate son of Ranjit Singh, to the throne in January 1841; the most prominent Sindhanwalias took refuge on British territory, but had many adherents among the Army of the Punjab. The army was expanding in the aftermath of Ranjit Singh's death, from 29,000 in 1839 to over 80,000 in 1845 as landlords and their retainers took up arms, it proclaimed itself to be the embodiment of the Sikh nation. Its regimental panchayats formed an alternative power source within the kingdom, declaring that Guru Gobind Singh's ideal of the Sikh commonwealth had been revived, with the Sikhs as a whole assuming all executive and civil authority in the State, which British observers decried as a "dangerous military democracy". British representatives and visitors in the Punjab described the regiments as preserving "puritanical" order internally, but as being in a perpetual state of mutiny or rebellion against the central Durbar.
Maharajah Sher Singh was unable to meet the pay demands of the army, although he lavished funds on a degenerate court. In September 1843 he was murdered by an officer of the army, Ajit Singh Sindhanwalia; the Dogras took their revenge on those responsible, Jind Kaur, Ranjit Singh's youngest widow, became regent for her infant son Duleep Singh. After the vizier Hira Singh was killed, while attempting to flee the capital with loot from the royal treasury, by troops under Sham Singh Attariwala, Jind Kaur's brother Jawahar Singh became vizier in December 1844. In 1845 he arranged the assassination of Peshaura Singh. For this, he was called to account by the army. Despite attempts to bribe the army he was butchered in September 1845 in the presence of Jind Kaur and Duleep Singh. Jind Kaur publicly vowed revenge against her brother's murderers, she remained regent. Lal Singh became vizier, Tej Singh became commander of the army. Sikh historians have stressed. High caste Hindus from outside the Punjab, both had converted to Sikhism in 1818.
After the death of Ranjit Singh, the British East India Company had begun increasing its military strength in the regions adjacent to the Punjab, establishing a military cantonment at Ferozepur, only a few miles from the Sutlej River which marked the frontier between British-ruled India and the Punjab. In 1843, they conquered and annexed Sindh, to the south of the Punjab, in a move which many British people regarded as cynical and ignoble; this did not gain the British any respect in the Punjab, increased suspicions of British motives. The actions and attitudes of the British, under Governor General Lord Ellenborough and his successor, Sir Henry Hardinge, are disputed. By most British accounts, their main concern was that the Sikh army, without strong leadership to restrain them, was a serious threat to British territories along the border. Sikh and Indian historians have countered that the military preparations made by these Governors-General were offensive in nature; the British attitudes were affected by reports from their new political agent in the frontier districts, Major George Broadfoot, who stressed the disorder in the Punj
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle