chapter
18 Pages

Introduction

ByUma Shanker Pandey

The introduction puts the subject under study in perspective highlighting the role and presence of European adventurers, largely French, in transient 18th-century India. In the backdrop of Mughal decline, the newly emerged regional states created employment opportunities for militarily skilled Europeans who could modernise their forces. It created a flood of opportunities for many Europeans, particularly French, who began to migrate to northern India. These adventurers not only played a crucial role in the standardisation of armies of many states but they also ventured into other pursuits. In this sense, they had multi-dimensional presence in the region. However, existing historiography has zeroed in largely on the military aspect and that too pejoratively. The present book argues that a holistic approach underpinned by a diverse set of sources should be adopted to have any comprehensive understanding of these adventurers’ presence in north India. The sources, both English and French, are discussed with the aim to show how it amplifies the scope and importance of the subject. It also helps us in critical evaluation of many existing theorisations. The introduction ends with a brief discussion of the content of each chapter.