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Battle Of Plassey 1757

Battle Of Plassey 1757

Introduction

  • The Battle of Plassey became famous because it was the first major victory the Company won in India.
  • The Battle of Plassey was a decisive victory of the British East India Company over the Nawab of Bengal Siraj-ud-daula and his French allies on 23 June 1757, under the leadership of Robert Clive.
  • The war is often known for the ‘great betrayal’ to the Nawab due to the defection of Mir Jafar Ali Khan, who was Siraj-ud-daulah’s commander in chief.
  • The battle took place at Plassey on the banks of the Hooghly River, about 150 kilometres north of Calcutta and south of Murshidabad, then capital of Bengal.

Causes of the Battle of Plassey

Majorly the reasons for the Battle of Plassey to take place were:

  • Non-payment of tax and duty by the workers of the British East India Company
  • The rampant misuse of the trade privileges given to British by the Nawab of Bengal

Other reasons that supported the coming of this battle were:

  • Misleading Nawab on various fronts by British
  • Fortification of Calcutta by British without Nawab’s permission
  • An asylum was provided to Nawab’s fugitive Krishna Das

Background

  • The East India Company had a strong presence in India majorly at Fort St. George, Fort William, and Bombay Castle.
  • The British resorted to having an alliance with the Nawabs and princes in exchange for security against any form of external and internal attack and were promised concessions in return for their safety and protection.
  • The problem arose when the alliance was disrupted under the rule of Nawab of Bengal (Siraj-Ud-Daulah). The Nawab started seizing the fort of Calcutta and imprisoning many British Officials in June 1756. The prisoners were kept in a dungeon in Fort William. This incident is called the Black Hole of Calcutta since only a handful of the prisoners survived the captivity where over a hundred people were kept in a cell meant for about 6 people. The East India company planned an attack and Robert Clive bribed Mir Jafar, the commander-in-chief of the Nawab’s army, and also promised him to make him Nawab of Bengal.
  • The Battle of Plassey was fought at Palashi, on the banks of Bhagirathi river near Calcutta on June 23, 1757.
  • After three hours of intense fighting, there was a heavy downpour. The major reason for the defeat of Nawab was the lack of planning to protect their weapons during the heavy downpour which turned the table in favour of the British army.
  • Siraj-Ud-Daulah’s army with 50,000 soldiers, 40 cannons and 10 war elephants was defeated by 3,000 soldiers of Robert Clive. The battle ended in 11 hours and Siraj-Ud-Daulah fled from the battle post his defeat.
  • According to Robert Clive, 22 men died and 50 were injured from the British troops. The Nawab army lost about 500 men, including several key officials and many of them even suffered several casualties.

Who Fought the Battle of Plassey?

  • Robert Clive (EIC)
    • Gave asylum to political fugitive Krishna Das disappointing Siraj-Ud-Daulah
    • Misuse of trade privileges
    • Fortified Calcutta without the nawab’s permission
  • Siraj-Ud-Daulah (Nawab of Bengal)
    • Involved in Black-Hole Tragedy (imprisoned 146 English persons who were lodged in a very tiny room due to which 123 of them died of suffocation)
    • Adversely affected by the rampant misuse of trade privileges by the EIC
    • Attacked and seized the English fort at Calcutta, it brought their hostility into the open
  • Rai Durlabh (Hindu Ruler)
    • Joined his army with Siraj-Ud-Daulah’s but did not participate in the battle
    • Betrayed Siraj
  • Mir Jafar (Commander-in-Chief of Nawab’s army)
    • Bribed by East India Company (EIC)
    • Was to be made the Nawab by EIC for conspiring against Siraj-Ud-Daulah
    • Cheated Siraj-Ud-Daulah during the battle
  • Omi Chand (Bengal Merchant)
    • One of the principal authors of the conspiracy against Nawab and associated with the treaty negotiated by Robert Clive before the Battle of Plassey in 1757
  • Jagat Seth (Influential Banker)
    • Involved in the conspiracy involving the imprisonment and ultimate killing of Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daulah

Consequences of Battle of Plassey

  • The Battle of Plassey was a decisive victory of the British East India Company over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies on 23 June 1757.
  • Britishers gained political and economic power in Bengal which was the wealth-house of India. They could now indirectly rule their territory.
  • Company became economically strong. They no more depended on Europe for finance.
  • The Plassey war lasted only for few hours.
  • This shows Siraj-ud-daulah’s weaknesses and inability for the throne.
  • He was defeated, captured and executed in his own capital
  • Company now become more prestigious as French rule over Indian places was also vanished.
  • Company would now trade from Bengal without any restrictions.
  • The company extracted huge sums of money from Mir Jafar.
  • The company got one crore and seventy-seven lakh rupees as war compensation as well.

Conclusion

  • Battle of Plassey was of immense historical importance. It paved the way for the British mastery of Bengal and eventually whole of India.
  • As Historian Edward Thompson noted, it boosted British prestige and the rich revenues of Bengal enabled them to organize a strong army.
  • It also played a decisive role in Anglo-French rivalry and made the British the only contender of the Indian empire.

ALSO READ : https://www.brainyias.com/iasbuzz/north-east-insurgency/

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