Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Indian Army (contd-3)

From left- Zorawar Singh, Ranjit Singh
This led to the Deccan campeign of 1803 under Wellesly, in which Pune and ahmednagar were captured by the British to support their ally , the Peshwa. Advancing further south the British defeated the Marathas in the battle of Argaon and stormed gwalior on 15 Dec to end the campaign.While the British took on the Pindaris head on , clashes took place between the Marathas and the British forces at Nagpur and and Kirkee, which endedwith the surrender of the Marathas in June 1818. It marked the end of Maratha political power . In the north, during three years of warfre between 1799-1802, maharaja Ranjit Singh united the Sikhs to control most of Punjab. In an agreement at Amritsar in 1809,by which Sutluj was accepted as the boundarybetween the Sikh territories and those the British had seized from the Marathas.
Turning to the West, Ranjit Singh conquered the whole of Punjab from the Afghans and local princes. Considering his landwith the help of French and Italian offices, he developed the most powerful and effective native Army in India. He also conquered kashmir in 1819. His able General Gulab Singh , who was given the 'jagir' or Kingdom of Jammu to rule in 1822, went on to expand his empire. One of his trustworthy and daring generals Zorwar Singh, with a modest force comprising 5000 Dogras and loyal Ladakhis , ventured into battlein 1841. After subduing Ladakh and Baltistan he conquered large tracts of Tibet upto Mount Kailash, on the banks of Lake Manas sorober and areas as close as 24 miles off Nepaland the Kumaon hills before making the supreme sacrifice. he became known as 'Mountain Fox.'
In Nov 1814, while Ranjit Singh was expanding and and consolidating his territories, expeditionary forces from British Indian Army were sent to Nepal to stop Gorkha raids into northern India. The ferocity of the Gorkhas repulsed the initial attempts but General Orchteriony campaigned systematicallyto penetrate the Kathmandu valley and forced peace in the Gorkhas after the battle of the of the Manlaun in 1816. Ever since, the Gorkhas have been at peace with India and its youth have been joining the Indian army regularly, albeit on a voluntary basis . Since the death of Ranjit Singh in 1839, friction between the British and the Sikhs in the Punjab increased and led to the first Sikh war(1845-46). A sikh army of 20,000 crossed the Sutlejand attacked the British at Mudki in Dec 1845but were repulsed with heavy losses.In February, having crossed the Sutlej , the British defeated the Sikhs inflicting heavy casualities. The final coup came in the form of the two winter campaigns fought against the Sikhs, with its capital at Lahore in 1846 and 1849.