Historically, the Arcot region had been the site of several of interesting battles among many rulers, considering its proximity to Madras. A fortress was built around Arcot town, 26 km from Vellore, to retard invading army from the enemy sides. It is believed that (records are not clear) this area was captured by a Mughal Nawab of Karnataka from the Marathas. One Daud Khan Panni was made governor by Zulfikhar Ali Khan (Aurangzeb's general) in 1698. In the year 1710, Mohammed Sayyid, the last Mogul governor was appointed as Nawab of Karnatic with the title Saadatullah Khan and he, in 1710, moved his capital from Gingee to Arcot. Ironically, the same place won Robert Clive international recognition and made him a war hero. From here his string of victories in the Indian subcontinent continued unabated that ultimately led to the founding of the British Empire, symbol of power and wealth.
|Arcot in vellore dist. Tamil Nadu.mapsofindia.com|
|Delhi Gate, roadside view.Arcot.en.wikipedia.org|
|Delhi Gate, Arcot.en.wikipedia.org|
Delhi Gate, located on the banks of the Palar river in the city of Vellore, Tamil Nadu, is part of the fortification of Arcot. The gate was built by Mughal governor, Daud Khan Panni, in the first half of the 18th century. During his time Mogul's supremacy in many parts of India, including southern India was not not good enough to attract attention. except the fact that the Nizams of Hyderabad were governors under the Mogul period. Further, the Nawabs of Carnatic, whose capital was Arcot, TN were under the control of the Nizams.
Chanda Sahib, the son-in-law of the Nawab of Carnatic, Dost Ali Khan (he was the Nawab till 1740 CE), became a trouble-maker and had an eye on the throne of Arcot. Chanda Sahib, who also served as a Diwan under the Arcot Nawab, a few years later conspired against the then Nawab of Carnatic, Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan. Soon, with the unexpected death of the Nizam of Hyderabad, Asaf Jah in 1748 CE, a civil war broke out between the heirs, Nasir Jung and Muzaffar Jung over the succession.
In 1751 CE, when there was a dispute over succession between Mohamed Ali Khan Walaja, the son of Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan and Chanda Sahib, the French East India Company that was active in part of South India, led by Gov. Dupleix, who was building French influence during 1748 and 1751 sided with Chanda Sahib and Muzaffar Jung to bring them into the power in their respective regions. The British East India Company supported the rival teams. All these incidents causing political uncertainty led to the Second Carnatic War.
Initially Chanda Sahib succeeded and became the ruler of Arcot while Nawab. Wallajah, fearing death, escaped to Trichy, down south. Supported by the French Army, Chanda Sahib invaded Trichy, leaving Arcot unprotected. Since an opportunity was given on a silver platter, a small British army of about 200 soldiers, 300 Indian soldiers and 8 officers under the command of Robert Clive captured Arcot on 31st August 1751 CE. Their objective was quite clear - to get the attention of Chanda Sahib and drive him out of Trichy.
|. Delhi gate, Arcot TN. team-bhp.com|
Sahib 's attempt to reclaim Arcot with his big army of soldiers numbering 10,000 under his son Raza (Raju) Sahib was a futile one. At Arcot and Kaveripakkam his army was defeated and Raza was killed in the battle. As for Chanda Sahib, he escaped from Trichy to Thanjavur where he was beheaded in a rebellion by the Thanjavur army.
The place around the Delhi Gate was the site of a memorable defense made by Robert Clive during the Siege of Arcot. It gave Clive, then a just clerk in East India Company's office in Madras with no military experience, a chance to prove his innate skill in military leadership and mastery over manipulative strategies in a tough war situation. Being a novice in military matters with a band of several Englishmen with no exposure to war, the Siege of Arcot, between 23rd September and 14th November 1751 CE, a tactical military strategy initiated by Clive made him a hero and he had begun to grow in stature and power after this great victory. Ultimately he became the Governor General of India later. Subsequently, after the battle of Plassey - 3 June 1757 and Buxar - 22 October 1764 Clive captured Bengal in NE India, consolidated the British supremacy and laid the first foundation of the British Empire in India. The English economy, with poor GDP - around 03, had begun to grow, causing the Indian economy with strong GDP - more than 20 to slide downhill.
While in Arcot, Robert Clive camped in a room atop the gate in the fort.The gate was named as "Delhi Gate" to signify the beginning of the capture of Delhi by the British.
|Delhi gate, Arcot, plaque of Robert Clive 1751.ullekhnp.com|
The siege of Arcot (Anglo-French Wars in India (Second Carnatic War). 31st August to 15th November 1751.
The reality is the small Kingdom of Arcot and the revelry among the royal members regarding control of the state was well exploited by the East India company that had built a settlement at Ft. St. George, Madras (Chennai). The British higher-ups and Robert Clive began to use various strategies to exploit the natives and their resources. They found the suckers in the rulers of Arcot and their disunity was to the advantage of the foreigners. The Arcot rulers had been their pawn and their resources were looted over a period of time under their very nose. Thus the British successfully experimented and pioneered a subtle model of annexation in this small town of Arcot, Tamil Nadu. This strategy worked well for the English traders who later applied it in Bengal under the command of Robert Clive and ultimately became the masters in the middle of 1760s, toppling Nawabs Siraj-ud-daulah (1733 – 2 July 1757) and traitor Mir Jafer ( 1691 – 5 February 1765). Later The Emglish company became a proxy government for the British Crown in England.
|Siege of Arcot. S.India. www.britishbattles.com|
Above image: Robert Clive fires a cannon in the Siege of Arcot (now in the state of Tamil Nadu) 31st August to 15th November 1751 in the War in India: picture by Cecil Doughty
01. Size of the armies at the Siege of Arcot: The army of Raju Sahib, son of Chanda Sahib, comprised some 11,000 native troops and 150 French troops. Raju Sahib was supported by a train of French siege artillery. Clive’s force comprised 200 British and 300 Sepoy troops and 3 guns. He was able to use the guns he found in the abandoned fort at Arcot.
02. When Clive got the detailed information about the Arcot fort that it was unfortified and dilapidated containing a garrison of 1,000 native soldiers, he planned the siege accordingly, as Chanda Shahib's many troops were at Trichy (now Tiruchrapally city) to capture the Nawab of Arcot.
03. The Battle Honour of ‘Arcot’ was given to the Madras European Regiment, which became the Honourable East India Company’s Madras European Regiment in 1830. In 1862, after the Indian Mutiny, the regiment was taken into Crown service as the
|The Nawab of Arcot: britishbattles.com|
102nd (Royal Madras Fusiliers) Regiment. In 1881 the 102nd, with the 103rd (Royal Bombay Fusiliers) Regiment, became the Royal Dublin Fusiliers which retained ‘Arcot’ as a Battle Honour, the only regiment in the British or Indian Armies to carry the honour.