First Rohilla War
The First Rohilla War of 1773–1774 was a punitive campaign by Shuja-ud-Daula, Nawab of Awadh, against the Rohillas, Afghan highlanders settled in Rohilkhand, northern India. The Nawab was supported by troops of the British East India Company, in a successful campaign brought about by the Rohillas reneging on a debt to the Nawab.
Having been driven into the mountains by the Marathas, a few years earlier, the Rohillas had appealed for aid to Shuja-ud-Daulah, at that time an ally of the British. He promised to assist them in return for a sum of money; but when the Mahrattas were driven off the Rohilla chiefs refused to pay. The Nawab then decided to annex their country, and appealed to Warren Hastings for assistance, which was given in return for a sum of forty lakhs of rupees.
Hastings justified his action on the ground that the Rohillas were a danger to the British as uncovering the flank of Awadh.
Course of the war
Rohilkhand fell to Awadh, was plundered and occupied. The majority of the Rohillas left. They fled across the Ganges in numbers, to start a guerilla war; or emigrated. A Rohilla state under British protection was set up in Rampur.
There was a Second Rohilla War, in 1794.
- John Strachey (1892), Hastings and the Rohilla War