The Company Bahadur
The formation of the British Indian state, popularly known as the Company Bahadur, the valiant or exalted Company, may be said to have commenced with Clive's second governorship. Its main outlines were completed by the end of Cornwallis' tenure of power in 1793. This is not the place to trace in detail the clash of personality, the conflict of policies, and the colorful episodes which make this period the most lively of the whole Anglo-Indian era. Instead we shall try to draw out the main features of a state which seemed destined at one time to form a constituent unit of an Indian states system on the analogy of the European Concert of Powers, glancing in conclusion at some of the creative personalities of the period.
The two years of Clive's return saw a beginning of nearly every item of the new state. By his treaty with the emperor he delimited its frontiers and began the transfer of authority, by his internal measures he began the restoration of discipline and the organization of a separate administration, while the parliamentary enquiry which followed soon after began the process of enforcing responsibility for their acts upon the governors. It is true that after his departure the dismayed merchants closed their ranks and returned to exploitation. But its forms were more devious and their tone more subdued; they never recovered the boisterous buccaneering tones of the early sixties. It will now be profitable to pursue each thread of construction in turn.
The first theme is that of transfer of authority from Mughal and Nawab to the British. Until 1765 the Company had no sovereign status at all. The government was carried on by a governor acting formally under the emperor's authority. The Company was merely a trading organization. Its army was a private army which set up or pulled down nawabs according to its whim. The Company was like an overpowerful feudal baron of the Middle Ages, with a taste for kingmaking, a weakness for exploitation, and a knack of causing desolation. In 1765 Clive seized the oppor­