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1817-1818: The Pindari War
1816    The Pindaris plundered the Northern Sarkars
Jan 1818     The Pindaris were exterminated
18 Feb 1818    Karim Khan surrendered to the British

About the Pindaris

The Pindaris were a horde of cruel marauders, who from their headquarters in Central India ravaged and plundered the neighbouring regions as well as some distant areas. During the eighteenth century when there was political disorder, the Pindaris adopted plundering and robbery as their profession. The Pindaris were employed by the Marathas armies as auxiliary forces. They were under the protection of Marathas chiefs.

In 1794, the Maratha chief Sindhia granted the Pindaris some settlements in Malwa near Narmada. As one of the English writers puts it: "The Pindaris, who had risen, like masses of putrefaction in animal matter, out of the corruption of weak and expiring States, had fortunately none of those bonds of union which unite men in adversity. They had neither the tie of religion nor of national feeling. They were men of religion and all the lands. .... The Pindaris, when came to rich country, had neither the means nor inclination, like the Tartars, to whom also they have compared, to settle and repose."

The Pindari War Begins

The Pindaris usually avoided battles, and plunder was their main object. Under their powerful leaders, Hiru, Buran, Chitu, Wasil Muhammad and Karim Khan, they extended their depredations far and wide. In 1812, they harried the British districts of Mirzapur and Shahabad. During 1815-16 they devastated the Nizam's dominions and in 1816 plundered the Northern Sarkars.

In 1816, Lord Hastings finally decided to suppress the Pindaris. Hastings planned vigorous military preparations with a view to surrounding the Pindaris from all sides - on the north and east from Bengal, on the west from Gujarat and on the south from the Deccan. A huge army of 113,000 men and 300 guns was divided into two parts - on the northern side under Hastings' command and the southern under the control of Thomas Hislop.

End of the Pindaris

By the end of 1817, the British troops were successful in expelling the Pindaris from Malwa and across the Chambal. In January 1818, the Pindaris were practically exterminated. On February 18, 1818, Karim Khan, one of the powerful leaders of the Pindaris surrendered to the British and was given the small estate of Gawashpur in the United Provinces. Another leader Wasil Muhammad was handed over by the Maratha chief to the English and died while in captivity at Ghaziapur. Chitu was chased from place to place until he was devoured by a tiger in the jungle.

Source: An Advanced History of India by RC Majumdar, HC Raychaudhuri and Kalikinkar Datta
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