(Last Updated on : 07/02/2012)
The province of Sind was an enormous one, going back into history for thousands of years, even to pre-Christ period. Due to its richness in every sphere of daily life, it has been a point of interest to invaders, resulting in umpteen wars and capturings by royals. The British Empire
, was also no exception to this rule. Sind had been in dispute, since the arrival of the British East India Company on Asian soil. During the times of 1842-43, plans were underway to annex the province into the Bengal Presidency
. The absolute unrest which Sind faced, paved way for further British disturbances.
The British were extremely upset with the local amirs` attitude during the First Afgan War
(1839-42). As a result, Napier initially gained military control of the region by forcing an agreement with the Sindh Amirs. Thus began the annexation process of Sind.
In August 1842, Lord Ellenborough placed Major-General Sir Charles J. Napier (1782-1853) in command of Sind, with the mission of assisting the evacuation of British forces from Kandahar. On 11th January 1843, Major-General Napier detonated the desert fortress of Imamgarh in Upper Sind to which the young Amirs of Khairpur had fled.
Within the dates of 14th to 15th February, a body of Baluchis attacked the British Residence at Hyderabad
. Sir James Outram (1803-1863), a British resident, escaped by means of a steamer down the Indus River
On 17th February, with a force of 2800, Major-General Napier attacked and defeated a force of 20,000 to 30,000 near Miani. The British suffered 256 casualties against 5000 to 6000 tribesmen, representing the combined forces of Hyderabad, Khalpur, and Mrrpur. Napier`s victory was pretty decisive. It won for the British entire control of Sind. The annexation process was wrapped up.
On 5th March, Lord Ellenborough announced in general orders that from Sukkur to the sea, both banks of the Indus belonged to the British. This act was tantamount to the annexation of Sind to the British India. On 13th March, Lord Ellenborough appointed Major-General Napier as Governor of Sind, a role in which he served until 1847. He also announced reforms which included the suppression of slave trade, abolition of transit duties and open navigation of the Indus to all nations.
On 26th March, Major-General Napier defeated tribal forces led by Sher Muhammad at Hyderabad. On 13th June, Major John Jacob (1812- 1858) led his regiment in the defeat of tribesmen led by Sher Muhammad at Shahadadpur.
On 28th August, the Governor-General of India in Council formally decided on the annexation of Sind to British India. By Act V of the year 1843, the Government of India abolished slavery in India.
On 26th April, Lord Ellenborough issued a circular letter to the political agents of the Indian Government. It sought greater respect to be shown to the princely courts, the practice of justice and moderation and an avoidance of interference with family and court life. A subsequent testing of this policy regarded the administration of Brian Houghton Hodgson (1800-1894), British Resident in Nepal, which resulted in the controversial replacement of Houghton by Henry M. Lawrence.