|Main Guard Gate, part of Tiruchirapalli Fort,Tiruchirapalli city, Tamil Nadu, commons.wikimedia.org|
|Rock fort and Clive Hostel in the background. Teppakulam ( water tank) on the left side.www.travel-pictures-gallery.com|
The siege of Tiruchirapalli fort and that of Arcot by one Chanda Sahib, son-in-law of Arcot Nawob provided an excellent chance for Clive to prove his manipulative ability in military warfare.
Tiruichirapalli fort that is located in the city of Tiruchirapalli on the banks of the river Cauvery was once an important fort after Fort St. George, Chennai and Ft. David, Cuddallore in the then Madras Presidency (now Tamil Nadu State) under the English. The fortified area far away from the Bay of Bengal, now in a dilapidated state, once covered areas that are now called Singarathope, Bishop Heber School, Teppakulam and adjacent places. Part of the fort is on a small hill, one of a few outcrops in this plain land. The rocks are of Precambrian age, being one of the oldest rocks in the world. Only the Main Guard Gate on the West Boulevard opposite to famous
St. Joseph college is the most conspicuous remnant of the ramparts of the fort. The extend of this once historical fort can be traced all along the West Boulevard road, East Boulevard Road in the east, Butter-worth Road in the north adjacent to the river and the present Gandhi Market in the South. The entire fort area now is the busiest and highly crowded part of this big city where many business establishments, well known schools and colleges are located.
|Main Guard Gate, part of Tiruchirapalli Fort, Tamil Nadu. www.trichyonline.in|
|Rock fort. Ucchipilliyar temple, Tiruchiralli City, Tamil Nadu, www.tiruchicity.com|
Though the French and the English ended the war else where, hostilities between them continued, in particular, in South India. The French openly supported and collaborated with Chanda Sahib, the son-in-law of the Nawab of Carnatic Dost Ali Khan. After Anwaruddin, Nawob of Arcot was slain, his son Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah moved over to Thiruchirapalli to save his life in the summer of 1751. He was an alley of the English company and the British Army was in disaray due to lack of proper military leader. Chanda Sahib left Arcot to besiege Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah at Trichinopoly to bring the Arcot kingdom under his control and he was well supported by the French forces under French Governor-General Dupleix.
It was in the ensuing battles, Robert Clive who joined East India company as a clerk in Madras, now Chennai, proved his military genius and led the war against the French forces and Chanda sahib. After a prolonged siege by the forces of Chanda Sahib and the French forces at Tiruchirapalli, Clive, in order to weaken the siege, mounted an attack in support of the Nawob of Arcot at Arcot which was seized by Chanda Sahib. The British wanted to restore the rule to back to Anwaruddin, Nawob of Arcot. As expected, Chanda Sahib diverted his large troop from Tiruchirapally to Arcot town. Towards the end of war, Clive's strategy worked well and he won the battle against Chanda Sahib and and his alley the French Forces with limited contingent of soldiers under his command. He captured Arcot from besiegers and at the same time put an end to the siege at Tiruchirapalli, thus setting the stage for the British company to have a firm grip on the Southern parts of India. As for Robert Clive, he never had to turn his back, it was a successful career all the way, becoming a powerful British personality and creating a vast personal wealth.
The famous historian Thomas Babington, a century late, commented on the siege as follows:
"... the commander who had to conduct the defense...was a young man of five and twenty, who had been bred as a book-keeper... Clive...had made his arrangements, and, exhausted by fatigue, had thrown himself on his bed. He was awakened by the alarm, and was instantly at his post.... After three desperate onsets, the besiegers retired behind the ditch. The struggle lasted about an hour...the garrison lost only five or six men".
Clive's smart strategic, but risky moves during the siege of Arcot and also of Tiruchirapalli won appreciation back home and made him popular in Europe. The Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder described Clive as "heaven-born general" who had received no formal military training.
Robert Clive lived in Tiruchirapally in the fort area in the early part of 1750s for a short period. Clive Hostel aross the Teppaku;am (water tank) under the control of St. Joseph College and the famous Ucchi Pilliyar Hindu temple atop the small hill are the famous land marks in this city.