Monday, 27 October 2014

Hyder Ali - the bete noire of the British establishment - 1782

Hyder Ali, aka Hyder Shah, Hyder Ally

(courtesy @ghaffar12) 
Rarely, has anyone evoked so much interest among the British people in England as Hyder Ali, who stood steadfast in his determination to annex and control British possessions in the Deccan as also of every adversary kingdom that bordered his dominion.  Too very often adversary kings joined hands with the British establishment to prevent takeover or lose parcels of lands to Hyder Ali.
But these exploits could not succeed without Hyder Ali's strategic military plans and tactical operations* during the battles!
Here are a few newspaper reports as informed to the House of Commons in 1782 of the affairs in India!
"To turn the thoughts of the House to the state of affairs in India, at the time the enquiry was set on foot, he (Lord Advocate of Scotland, Chairman, Committee of Secrecy) begged that Gentlemen would recollect, that Hyder Ally, a powerful and formidable Prince, by care and unremitted attention, brought his vast army to such a degree of discipline, as had never been known before in the army of any Indian power"
"He had then poured like a torrent into the Carnatic; fought and defeated our troops, and brought disgrace on the British arms in the East Indies as had never been experienced in India"
"This defeat and this disgrace had awakened that House to a sense of the danger with which some of the most valuable possessions of the British Crown was menaced; the disgrace and discomfiture were felt by everyone"
 The British settlements were surrounded by very powerful 'nations':
The Marattas Dominions
The Hyder Ally Dominions
The Nysiam (Nizam) and his Dominions
The Nabob of Arcot and his Dominions
The Rajah of Tanjore and his Dominions
The British affairs at that time:
"With the Marattas they were at open war, and to that war they attributed all their disasters in India;
With Hyder Ally they were at open war, and they hoped that the battle arrangements made by Sir Eyre Coote, would signal victory, and that Hyder Ally would no longer be an alarm to this country (England).  However he (Lord Advocate) had no more than hopes, and so justified himself by saying, that Hyder Ally was still in the heart of the Carnatic"
The Battle Plan of Sir Eyre Coote:

*To briefly mention of Hyder Ali's tactical battle plans (as mentioned in 1880 - Hon W. Egerton's Handbook of Indian Arms), on one occasion, to deceive the English as to the number of his forces, which was really small, he provided 20,000 of the peasantry whom he assembled together with wooden muskets of ebony, and furnished them with standards of black, white, and yellow cloth, one flag or 'beiruk' being assigned for every 1000 men. With these he marched and countermarched his troops before the English!


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