Subsidiary Alliance - Modern Indian History

Subsidiary Alliance - Modern Indian History
Posted on 01-06-2022

Subsidiary Alliance

Lord Wellesley is called the father of the subsidiary alliance or the father of the subsidiary alliance. But Lord Wellesley was not the first person to use the subsidiary alliance. The subsidiary treaty was first used by the French "Duple". But this treaty was widely used by Lord Wellesley, so Lord Wellesley is called the father of subsidiary treaty.

  • At the time when Lord Wellesley became the Governor of India in 1798, the position of the English Company in India was not very strong.
  • Lord Wellesley prepared a plan to control the Indian provinces, reduce French influence and create a powerful army, which is today known in history as the Subsidiary Treaty.
  • It was a type of friendship treaty, which was used by Lord Wellesley, who was the Governor-General of India from 1798 to 1805, to establish relations with the native states of India.
  • The subsidiary treaty was based on the imperialist policy of the British. With the use of this treaty, the supremacy of British power in India was established.
  • Lord Wellesley was not the inventor of this treaty. It was first used by the French "Duple". Although it was widely used by Lord Wellesley.

The states that accepted the subsidiary treaty, the following states first adopted the subsidiary treaty –

    • Hyderabad - 1798 - The first ruler to accept the subsidiary treaty in India was the Nizam of Hyderabad.
    • Mysore - 1799
    • Tanjore - October 1799
    • Oudh - November 1801
    • Peshwa - December 1802
    • Barad's Bhosale - December 1803
    • Scindia - February 1804

This treaty was implemented in Indian states in two phases –

    • The first phase - The British lent their armies to the friendly rulers with economic benefits and other conditions.
    • The second phase - When the native states were unable to give money, then they started taking territory in return for the expenditure of the army.

Features of Subsidiary Alliance

  • The foreign relations of the Indian kings would be subject to the Company. They will not wage any war and the company will consult with other states.
  • The big states would keep the British army in their state, which would be in the hands of the British officers. While the cost of the army will have to be borne by the state.
  • States will be required to have an English resident in their state capital.
  • The State shall not employ any European in its service without the permission of the Company.
  • The company will protect the state from other enemies.
  • The company will not interfere in the internal affairs of the state.

Effects / Consequences of Subsidiary Pact

The British got a lot of benefits from this treaty, but the Indian princely states had to suffer a lot, and this arrangement had far-reaching consequences for them.

  • Their independence ended and they became dependent on the mercy of the British.
  • Had to bear more financial burden.

The British benefited from the Subsidiary Treaty

  • Expansion of the Company- The British received a huge amount of money and territories in exchange for the army from this treaty. As a result of which there was an unprecedented expansion of the company and its power also increased tremendously.
  • Acquisition of a huge army- By this treaty, the British made a huge army, whose financial burden was on the Indian states but the control was with the British.
  • Control over Indian rulers - After agreeing to this treaty, the native states came under complete British control. They could neither form any kind of organization nor could they take any decision independently.
  • End of French Influence- States adopting subsidiary treaty could not have any kind of relationship with any other foreign person or company. Due to this gradually the influence of the French in India decreased.
  • Expansion of the British Empire - Under this treaty, it was mandatory to keep an English resident in the capital of the native state. With the presence of this English resident, the British now had access to the internal and domestic affairs of the states. Taking advantage of this, the British started merging many states into their empire on the basis of mismanagement, succession disputes, etc.

Losses to Indian states due to the subsidiary treaty

  • Economic burden - the money to be given in exchange for the subsidiary treaty was very high. Due to this, the states had to bear this additional financial burden. As a result, the states were left with nothing for their own development.
  • Influence on the rulers- After this treaty, the work of the native rulers had become almost negligible. At the same time, they had also got freedom from rebellion and external attacks, as a result, the rulers became more lazy and luxuriant, and they stopped taking interest in state management. Which was taken advantage of by the British.
  • Bad effect on the people - After this treaty, the ruler lost his honor and authority. The public's faith also lost its ruler, and she went on to be buried under taxes. As a result, when the British started usurping the state, the people did not cooperate with the ruler.


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