Aligarh’s French Connection
‘Benoit De Boigne’ is not a name you’d normally think of as a jagirdar in the Doab region in Uttar Pradesh. And yet the Frenchman, and another who succeeded him, are among the men who virtually ruled the Doab from Aligarh, a historic city that lies 140 km south-east of Delhi, in the late 18th century.
In the 1780s, the Doab, the fertile region between the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, came under the possession of Maratha chief Mahadaji Scindia, who by then had become the virtual ruler of North India. Scindia had employed a number of European mercenaries in his army to train his troops in the latest military techniques.