chapter  4
25 Pages

Chevalier and Shah Alam

Facets of diplomatic enterprises in north India
ByUma Shanker Pandey

Chevalier’s diplomatic enterprises were an interesting historical development of the 18th century in India. Through diplomatic pursuits, Chevalier, the French governor of Chandernagore, tried to form a grand alliance of the Mughals, the Marathas, and the French to oust the English Company from Bengal. Carried out in the decade of 1770s, Chevalier wrote extensively to René Madec to persuade the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II for the alliance. He also sent adventurers and troops to upper India for the purpose. More importantly, even the Indian rulers showed their keenness for the proposed alliance and eagerly awaited the French government’s response. The Maratha ruler Mahadji Sindhia even concluded such a treaty with French adventurer Daniel Du Jarday. Later, the most famous Thatta project was mooted wherein the French forces were to land at Thatta in Sind and travel all the way up to Hindustan to join the Mughals for the clash with the English Company. The Thatta project was taken seriously by the French government as well and it sent its emissaries to assess the feasibility of the plan. Unfortunately, the plan could not materialise despite the best efforts of the Mughal Emperor and the French government on account of its feasibility. Nonetheless, these diplomatic efforts were an important development of the period. It passionately explored political and military possibilities of anti-English Company alliance.