CBSE Class 8 NCERT History Chapter 2 “From Trade to Territory: The Company Establishes Power” Question Answers given here include the Intext Questions and Activities as well as the Textbook exercise solutions. Click here for more study resources
Intext Activity Question
Q. Imagine that you are a young Company official who has been in India for a few months. Write a letter home to your mother telling her about your luxurious life and contrasting it with your earlier life in Britain.
I hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits. I am writing to share my experiences here in India, serving as a Company official for the past few months. I have joined the Company about a month ago. The Indian officers of the Company are regarded as royalty by the local population, who are predominantly uncivilized and illiterate. They are bound by strict restrictions and remain largely unaware of the outside world. Conversely, in London, people are treated with equality, regardless of their wealth or social status. Here in India, company officials enjoy unrestricted freedom to pursue their desires. Personally, I have experienced a significant upgrade in my living conditions, having moved from a one-room apartment in London to a spacious bungalow with numerous servants at my disposal. This exemplifies the luxurious life we lead in this part of the world. My earnings have soared to thousands of pounds, and I am willing to send you money so that you can acquire a decent house in London, enabling you to escape a life of poverty. I am certain this news will bring you joy, and our circumstances are bound to improve for the better. Sending my love and regards.
Your loving son John
Q. Imagine that you have come across two old newspapers reporting on the Battle of Seringapatam and the death of Tipu Sultan. One is a British paper and the other is from Mysore. Write the headline for each of the two newspapers.
Answer: (i) Headlines in the British newspapers: “The company kills its most dangerous enemy.”
(ii) Headlines in the newspaper from Mysore: “We lost a patriotic brave king.”
Q. Imagine that you are a nawab’s nephew and have been brought up thinking that you will one day be king. Now you find that this will not be allowed by the British because of the new Doctrine of Lapse. What will be your feelings? What will you plan to do so that you can inherit the crown?
Answer: (i) Throughout countless years, I nurtured a deep-seated aspiration to ascend the throne, only to have my dreams shattered by the Doctrine of Lapse. The prospect of my opulent lifestyle coming to an abrupt halt leaves me feeling uneasy, as I will likely be subjected to the whims of the British. There is a possibility that the ancestral properties amassed by my predecessors will be claimed by foreign hands. If this unfortunate fate is inevitable, I would much rather see these possessions in the possession of the common people rather than falling into British hands.
(ii) Undoubtedly, the Doctrine of Lapse is fundamentally unjust. The inherent right to inherit ancestral property is a natural entitlement that cannot be compromised by British interference. Such actions are intolerable to us, and we must take a stand against them. I am determined to forge alliances with other affected princes, collectively engaging in a resilient struggle against the British. This battle is not only about safeguarding our prestige but also securing our rightful properties. Our ultimate aim is to break free from the clutches of the autocratic British empire.
Let’s Imagine (Page-24)
Q. You are living in England in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. How would you have reacted to the stories of British conquests? Remember that you would have read about the immense fortunes that many of the officials were making.
Ans. As Englishmen, we consider ourselves a highly cultured people, and it is our duty to bring civilization to those who have not yet experienced its light. Thus, I am in favour of the British conquests, as it provides a means to administer the uncivilized regions. I take great pride in hearing stories of British conquests all over the world and wish I could be a part of such endeavours. These conquests not only bring glory to our nation but also bestow fortune upon the brave soldiers, thereby increasing the wealth and power of our country.
Textbook Exercise Answers
Let’s Recall (Page – 24)
1. Match the Following
|Column ‘A’||Column ‘B’|
|Diwani||Right to collect land revenue|
|“Tiger of Mysore”||Tipu Sultan|
|faujdari adalat||Criminal court|
|Rani Channamma||Led an Anti-British movement in Kitoor|
2. Fill in the blanks:
(a) The British conquest of Bengal began with the Battle of ________
(b) Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan were the rulers of ________
(c) Dalhousie implemented the Doctrine of ________
(d) Maratha kingdoms were located mainly in the ________ part of India
(a) The British conquest of Bengal began with the Battle of Plassey.
(b) Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan were the rulers of Mysore.
(c) Dalhousie implemented the Doctrine of Lapse.
(d) Maratha kingdoms were located mainly in the western part of India.
3. State whether true or false:
(a) The Mughal empire became stronger in the eighteenth century.
(b) The English East India Company was the only European company that traded with India.
(c) Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the ruler of Punjab.
(d) The British did not introduce administrative changes in the territories they conquered.
(a) The Mughal empire became stronger in the eighteenth century. [False]
(b) The English East India Company was the only European company that traded with India. [True]
(c) Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the ruler of Punjab. [True]
(d) The British did not introduce administrative changes in the territories they conquered. [False]
Let’s discuss (Page – 24 and 25)
4. What attracted European trading companies to India?
Ans. European trading companies were attracted to India for the following reasons:
- Highly profitable trade opportunities with India.
- Goods could be purchased at cheaper rates in India and sold at higher prices in Europe.
- Indian textiles, such as cotton and silk, had a significant market in Europe due to their fine qualities.
- European demand for Indian spices, including pepper, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon, was substantial.
5. What were the areas of conflict between the Bengal nawabs and the East India Company?
Ans. The areas of conflict between the Bengal nawabs and the East India Company were as follows:
- (a) The Bengal nawabs asserted their power and autonomy and refused to grant the company concessions.
- (b) They demanded large tributes for the Company’s right to trade.
- (c) They denied the Company any right to mint coins.
- (d) They stopped the Company from extending its fortifications.
- (e) Accusing the Company of deceit, they claimed that the Company was depriving the Bengal government of huge amounts of revenue and undermining the authority of the nawab. It was refusing to pay taxes, writing disrespectful letters, and trying to humiliate the nawab and his officials.
6. How did the assumption of Diwani benefit the East India Company?
Ans. Assumption of Diwani benefited in the following ways:
- The Diwani allowed the East India Company to access Bengal’s extensive revenue resources, resolving a significant issue they faced earlier.
- However, the Company had to buy most goods in India using gold and silver imported from Britain, as Britain had little to sell in India at that time.
- The Battle of Plassey and the assumption of Diwani slowed and eventually halted the outflow of gold from Britain, enabling Indian revenues to cover the Company’s expenses.
- These revenues were utilized to purchase cotton and silk textiles from India, maintain Company troops, and finance the construction of the Company’s fort and offices in Calcutta.
7. Explain the system of “subsidiary alliance”.
Ans. Formulated by Lord Wellesley, the policy of ‘subsidiary alliance’ offered British protection to Indian kingdoms on the condition that they hosted and funded British troops on their soil.
- The ‘subsidiary alliance’ system deprived Indian rulers of their independent armed forces.
- The East India Company took on the responsibility of protecting these rulers.
- The Indian rulers were required to pay for the maintenance of the ‘subsidiary forces’ provided by the Company for their protection.
- Failure to make these payments resulted in the penalty of losing a part of their territory.
- The states of Awadh and Hyderabad lost territories as a consequence of their failure to meet the payment obligations under the ‘subsidiary alliance’.
8. In what way was the administration of the Company different from that of Indian rulers?
Ans. The following explains how the administration of the Company different from that of Indian rulers.
|Aspect||Pre-British Rule in India||British Rule in India|
|Political Structure||Divided into kingdoms||Broadly divided into Presidencies (e.g., Bengal, Madras, and Bombay)|
|Supreme Head of Administration||The ruler (King/Sultan/Nawab etc)||Governor General.|
|Administrative Units||Different rulers with their own policies||Each presidency ruled by a Governor; Supreme head of administration was the Governor General|
|Justice System||Varies in different kingdoms||Established a new system with two courts in each district: criminal court (faujdar adalat) and civil court (diwani adalat)|
|Legal Interpretation||Laws interpreted by local Maulvis and Hindu pandits for European district collectors||Maulvis and Hindu pandits assisted European district collectors in interpreting Indian laws.|
Criminal courts under a quazi and a mufti, supervised by collectors
|Principal Figure||No specific mention||The collector, responsible for collecting revenues, taxes, and maintaining law and order with the help of judges, police officers, and darogas|
9. Describe the changes that occurred in the composition of the Company’s army.
Ans. Several changes occurred in the composition of the Company’s army:
(a) The Company began recruitment for its own army, which came to be known as the sepoy army.
(b) As the warfare technology changed from the 1820s, the cavalry recruitment of the Company’s army declined.
(c) The soldiers of the Company’s army had to keep pace with changing military requirements, and its infantry regiments now became more important.
(d) In the early 19th century, the British began to develop a uniform military culture. Soldiers were increasingly subjected to European-style training, drill, and discipline that regulated their life more than before.
Lets’ do (Page – 25)
10. After the British conquest of Bengal, Calcutta grew from small village to a big city. Find out about the culture, architecture and the life of Europeans and Indians of the city during the colonial period.
Ans. We have found a lot of information b about the culture, architecture, and life of Europeans and Indians in Calcutta during the colonial period:
- Culture: Calcutta was a melting pot of cultures during the colonial period. The British brought their own culture with them, and it mixed with the local Bengali culture to create a unique hybrid. This can be seen in the city’s architecture, food, and festivals. For example, the Victoria Memorial is a British-style building, but it also incorporates elements of Mughal and Islamic architecture. Similarly, the city’s cuisine is a mix of British, Bengali, and other Indian cuisines. And the city’s festivals, such as Durga Puja and Kali Puja, are a blend of Hindu and British traditions.
- Architecture: The architecture of Calcutta is a testament to the city’s rich history. The city is home to a wide variety of buildings, from the grand neoclassical buildings of the British Raj to the more modest Bengali-style homes. Some of the most famous colonial-era buildings in Calcutta include:
- The Old Fort William
- The Writers’ Building
- The General Post Office
- The Victoria Memorial
- The Indian Museum
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- The High Court
- Life of Europeans and Indians: The life of Europeans and Indians in Calcutta during the colonial period was very different. The Europeans lived in a privileged position, with access to the best schools, hospitals, and amenities. They also had more freedom to move around the city and to travel abroad. The Indians, on the other hand, were subject to British rule and were often discriminated against. They lived in poorer areas of the city and had less access to education and healthcare.
The colonial period was a time of great change for Calcutta. The city grew rapidly, and its culture and architecture were transformed. The lives of Europeans and Indians were also changed, with the Europeans becoming more powerful and the Indians becoming more marginalized. However, the colonial period also left a legacy of cultural exchange and hybridity that can still be seen in Calcutta today.
11. Collect pictures, stories, poems and information about any of the following – the Rani of Jhansi, Mahadji Sindhia, Haidar Ali, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lord Dalhousie or any other contemporary ruler of your region.
Ans. Students should attempt this project by themselves. We are giving here just brief overviews of some of the historical figures mentioned. You can find more detailed information about them, along with pictures, stories, and poems related to their lives and contributions, in historical books, articles, and other reliable sources.
1. Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, one of the most famous Indian freedom fighters:
- Early life: Lakshmibai was born on November 19, 1828, in Varanasi, India. She was the daughter of Moropant Tambe, a commander in the army of the Peshwa, and Bhagirathi Sapre. Lakshmibai was given the name Manikarnika, which means “jewel of the lake.”
- Marriage and rule: Lakshmibai married Gangadhar Rao Newalkar, the Maharaja of Jhansi, in 1842. They had one son, Damodar Rao, who was born in 1851. When Gangadhar Rao died in 1853, the British refused to recognize Damodar Rao as the heir to the throne, claiming that Jhansi was a “lapse” state and would therefore be annexed by the British.
- Rebellion: Lakshmibai refused to accept the British decision and took up arms against them. She led her troops in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, which was a major uprising against British rule in India. Lakshmibai was a skilled warrior and a fierce leader. She fought bravely in several battles, including the Battle of Jhansi, where she was killed.
- Legacy: Lakshmibai is remembered as a national hero in India. She is seen as a symbol of resistance to British rule and of women’s empowerment. Her bravery and determination inspired many other Indians to fight for their independence.
Here are some poems about Rani Lakshmibai:
- “Rani of Jhansi” by Sarojini Naidu
Jhansi ki Rani, bold and brave, With flashing eyes and fearless mien, Thou hast roused the nation’s soul to save Her honour and her right to be.
- “The Rani of Jhansi” by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan
‘बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुंह हमने सुनी कहानी थी, खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झांसी वाली रानी थी’
She fought for her land, she fought for her home, She fought for her honour and her pride, And she fell in the battle, but her name Shall live for ever in Indian story.
- “Rani Lakshmibai” by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar
Rani Lakshmibai, the flame of Jhansi, Daughter of India, mother of valor, The spark you lit in 1857 Still burns in the hearts of India’s people.
2. Mahadji Sindhia (Mahadji Shinde):
Mahadji Sindhia was a Maratha ruler and a prominent figure in the 18th century. He served as the Maharaja of Gwalior and played a crucial role in the political affairs of northern India during the decline of the Mughal Empire.
3. Haidar Ali:
Haidar Ali was a ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India during the 18th century. He was a skilled military commander and expanded the territory of Mysore through various military campaigns.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh:
Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the founder and leader of the Sikh Empire in the early 19th century. He was known as the “Lion of Punjab” and was a brilliant military strategist and statesman. He unified several Sikh clans and territories to establish a powerful Sikh kingdom in the region.
Lord Dalhousie (James Andrew Broun-Ramsay):
Lord Dalhousie was the Governor-General of India from 1848 to 1856. He implemented various modernization policies and infrastructure projects in India, such as the construction of railways and telegraph lines. He was also known for the Doctrine of Lapse, which led to the annexation of several princely states to British India.