Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Birth of British empire under Robert Clive and Death anniversary of Nawab ''Siraj-ud-Daulah'' (2nd July 1757)

Nawab Siraj-ud daulah,/en.wikipedia.
Do you know the 2nd of July marks the 262nd death anniversary of  Nawab Siraj-ud daulah, the man who was a semi independent ruler of Bengal in the 1700s. In the 18th century, the Mogul empire having become weak and on the decline,  the governors of certain provinces under them  became independent rulers  and ran the kingdom on their own. Nawab Siraj was one among them, taking care the entire Bengal (incluing Bangladesh) and other parts The income from the vast fertile province was substantial. Upon the death of his grand father Nawab Alivardi Khan, the responsibility to run the state fell on 23 year old Siraj.  Murshidabad was the capital of the Bengal Nawabs then and they had their own mints there.
 Clive and Mir Jafer after Plassey war.en.wikipedia.org
Above image: Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, meeting with Jafar, uncle of Nawab Siraj  after war at Plassey, Paintings by:Francis Hayman. Clive, it is said, received over two million rupees, Watts, another British conspirator  over one million rupees. ...............

In any ruling royal family, be it Maharajah's, Nawab's or a European ruler's, the crucial matter of succession to the throne is a big issue, obviously  the royal palace and related places with regal influence,  are rife with conspiracies, treason an betrayals. Such decent is part of royal life  and the ruler  has to tackle this menace carefully in the midst of enjoying the trappings that go with this coveted position. Invariably, the life of a royal head is a tough one wrought with dangers within the family as well as from outside. 
Bengal old map. i.pinimg.com
In the case of ruler Siraj, he had adversaries, at the same time,  both within his big royal family as well outside. Being independent and not flexible, Siraj earned the ire of his close relatives when he brought about certain changes in the administration. The promotion of Mir Mardan as pay master or Bakshi angered his uncle and chief of army Mir Jafer. Siraj also promoted Mohanlal, a loyal officer as Diwan.  This move by the Nawab irritated  one Jagat Seth, a shrewd banker and financier. 

On top of it, Siraj-ud-Daulah   was at loggerheads with the East India company  that got the special trade permit - free from customs duty from the Mogul ruler at Delhi  to carry on their mercantile activities in this part.  but the dishonest and corrupt British purposely engaged in private trade  activities (without the knowledge of the English company in London) and made hefty profits, causing heavy  revenue loss to the Nawab's  treasury  on account of their  illegal activites. Besides, the English company, without his consent, began fortification of Ft. William, Calcutta  and gave shelter  to his opponents. 
As the British refused to comply with the trade treaty and kept intimidating the ruler by not respecting his orders, now, Siraj suspected that the English company was ambitious to  capture productive Indian lands. Nawab Siraj in 1756 raided  Ft. William and took control over it and named the place Alipur. The Black Hole incident took place during this period and the Nawab had anything to do with the death of many English men and women in the dungeon on the Fort complex. In January 1757, Robert Clive, who had emerged victorius in the war against the French and Nana sahib in the Tiruchirapalli  region, TN,  from Madras and Adm. Charles Watson  declared war and recaptured Calcutta from the Nawab. 

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Mir Jafar (left) and his eldest son, Mir Miran (right) en.wikipedia.org
Tomb of Siraj ud-Daulah  en.wikipedia.org
Here, right on the soil of Bengal the British used their best strategy - to align  themselves with those opponents of the Bengal Nawab. Clive masterminded a conspiracy and his officials and the traitors of Siraj executed it well. Mir Jafer, Jagat Seth, Rai Durlabh (diwan) became  puppets and were ready to work  along with the British in return for peanuts  from them. The British encouraged Jafer to become the next ruler in the place of Siraj and for greedy Jafer, it was an offer on a silver platter. The Nawab was not aware of the conspiracy going on to topple him from power by the  cunning English company in collusion with his equally cunning and ungrateful relatives and well-wishers.

The Nawab, to teach a lesson to the unjust English company for not paying taxes, declared war  on 23 June 1757 that took place in a place called Plassey (Palashi). As preplanned before, Mir Jafer and others feigned that they were fighting against the British and two thirds of Nawab's Army remained mute spectators. Small forces under Mohan Lal and Mir Mardan  were not good enough against the British army who had better artillery power. Mir Mardan was accidentally killed while fighting  and things were going against the Nawab though he had a huge army and many canons (mind you, the canons did not have cover against rain, etc). Mi Jafer advised Siraj to retreat to Calcutta and so, the fighting  was stopped for the day. At the same time Jaffer informed Clive about Siraj' s retreat to Calcutta. In no matter the British army had a run on the Nawab' s army  and marched toward Murshidabad, the capital of Nawab Siraj to take it over.  


Siraj, when he came to know of his defeat, was at large and finally went to Patna where he was caught by Mir Jafer's men. Brought back to Murshidabad, on 2 July 1757 Siraj  was executed in Namah Haram Deorhi  by Mohd. Ali Beg on orders from Mir Miran, son of Mir Jafer. As for Mohanlal, he escaped from this place and went to Juranpur Kali pith, but his son was executed by Miran. His body was  buried in Khushbagh in  the capital. As for Mir Mardan, close official of Siraj, his  mortal remains were in the tomb at Faridpur (Nadia Dist. West Bengal).

Tomb of Siraj ud-Daulah  en.wikipedia.org

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Thus, the conspiracy hatched by Robert Clive, his officials and the ungrateful relatives and close associates of Siraj,  led to the death of Siraj  and the British had laid the very basic foundation of the empire on the soil of Bengal  soaked with the blood of  Nawab Siraj. The victory at the battle of Plassey was a big turning point for the British that had begun to colonize the world one by one with the vast revenue from this fertile land. In the following years, the revenue from Bengal gave a great boost to Britain's poor economy (it's GDP  was less than 3%).

Siraj-ud daulah was the earliest freedom fighter among the royals Saddest thing about this spirited ruler  was he was felled down by his own close relatives. That is the edit of God. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siraj_ud-Daulah
https://theseventhwaves.blogspot.com/2009/03/siraj-ud-daulah-nawab-of-bengal.html