Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Battle of Plassey, Bengal and the promise of riches

Battle of plassey June,1757 Bengal. wikipedia.org

Battle of plassey,Bengal,India.  visitthepat.com
The battle of Plassey (June 23,1757) in Bengal was a milestone in British East India company's growth because it was its first  ever major victory in India; a decisive victory of the British East India Company over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies.The battle was fought on the banks of the Bagirathi at Palashi (anglicized version Plassey),

The continued enmity between the Nawob, the capture of Ft.Williams and the resultant black Hole incident finally forced the British to wage a war against Siraj who had better and superior military force. Under this circumstance Robert Clive, who along with Admiral Charles Watson recaptured Ft William,Calcutta and also the French settlement at Chandranagore, decided to go after Siraj only after making him weak and helpless. He defeated Nawob signed a treaty known as ''Alinagar treaty ''(January,1757) which restored full trading rights without taxes,their captured fort,etc besides minting rights and not supporting enemies of the British.

Robert 'Commission' Clive, who started out as a clerk at the very bottom of the rung in the company at Madras, now Chennai, had finally managed to secure strategic and timely support from Mir Jafer (in whom he found a sucker), a close associate and a relative of the Nawob and other dissidents. Siraj-ud-dailah, the Nawob of Bengal  promoted somebody below Mir Jafer's rank in the administrative hierarchy as Diwan superseding him. This was unreasonable act on the part of Siraj, but the resulting dejection and hatred led Mir Jafer to take revenge on Siraj, without realizing the pros and cons and the future impact on his motherland. Sensing the rulers strength and weakness, Clive decided to topple the Nawob off the pedestal of power through conceit and deception.The British went into a conspiracy with Jafer and other dissident Amirs in the ruler's administration. As per the agreement  Jafer and his associates were  to be mere mute spectators and would not fight in the war as agreed upon before. Under the pretext of breach of treaty and supporting the French by the Nawob, Clive and his army fought a war at a place called Plassey.  Siraj was at last  defeated in the battle and later deposed. After this major victory company's territorial explosion accompanied by exploitation  was unstoppable.
French army cannon, battle of Plassey, 1757 Bengal,India. livelystories.com
Positions of two armies.Batlle of plassey,1757,Begal,India. wikipedia.org.
The territorial ambitions of the mercantile East India company using unethical tactics were viewed with distrust and doubt in England and at one point became a bone of contention and,a subject of great debate in the British Parliament in London. Several British politicians did not approve of Clive's behind the scene moves After the Battle of Plassey, Robert Clive on 07 January,1759 from Calcutta wrote to William Pitt, one of the Principal Secretaries of State to the English monarch and who was in charge of Indian matters.

'' But so large a sovereignty may possibly be an object too extensive for a mercantile Company ... I flatter myself ... that there will be little or no difficulty in obtaining the absolute possession of these rich kingdoms: ... Now I leave you to judge, whether an income yearly of two million sterling with the possession of three provinces ... be an object deserving the public attention ......''

Note: Robert Clive pointed out in a plain, prosaic language…...... ''how it is easy to squander or rip off the little rich Indian kingdoms and strip the exalted Indian Maharajahs, Nawobs and their royal higher-ups down to their under garments, nay to their raw bone.......""

After victory at Plassey Robert Clive became more popular than ever before regarding  East India company matters in the sub continent. At last the British Crown recognized his leadership, bravery and his innate ability to take proper decision on the spur of the moment.

Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Plassey