ABSTRACT

By 1765, British power was clearly in the ascendant. They had squeezed their French rivals from the south-east coast and had secured a firm footing in Bengal which gave them the promise of sufficient revenues to maintain their activities elsewhere in India. The grant of diwani to the British by the Mughal Emperor, who by this point was little more than a figurehead, had effectively confirmed their position. But being in the ascendant did not mean that they did not face challenges to their authority; much of India remained in the hands of ambitious rulers who struggled to carve out kingdoms for themselves and who resented British political and commercial intrusions, while within those territories that had fallen under their authority the British lacked the knowledge and the resources to impose their authority at will.