What was the plan of the White and the Red Treaty ?
White and the Red Treaty
- Robert Clive suggested that two treaties be drawn – one on white paper with no reference to Omichand and another on red paper with conditions as per Omichand’s desire. The Red treaty was prepared to deceive Omichand.
- The Select Committee of British East India Company’s servants, who were legally empowered to strike the deal, were required to sign on the real treaty i.e. the White treaty.
- They also signed on the Red treaty except Admiral Watson (who was one of the members of the select committee) whose signature was counterfeited. Hence, the Red treaty was actually a fictitious one.
- Later, when the British successfully deposed Nawab Siraj-ud-daula, Omichand was informed that he would receive nothing out of the fake treaty. This eventually drove him to insanity.
- Robert Clive defended himself in an inquiry conducted by the British Parliament into his conduct.
- He claimed that – “…and the House, I am fully persuaded, will agree with me, that, when the very existence of the Company was at stake, and the lives of these people so precariously situated, and so certain of being destroyed, it was a matter of true policy and of justice to deceive so great a villain.”
Coming back to the battlefield, here is a description of the belligerents –
English East India Company – Colonel Robert Clive was supported by men like Major Kilpatrick and the then Major Eyre Coot (who later became Sir Eyre Coot).
Nawab of Bengal – Had the support of French Artillery officer Monsieur Sinfray apart from his own courtmen and nobles like –
- Mir Jafar – The demoted army chief of Nawab
- Yar Lutuf Khan – A general in the army of Nawab
- Rai Durlabh – The Diwan of Bengal state
- Mir Madan – The Bakshi or Paymaster General of the Army appointed in place of Mir Jafar
- Mohan lal – Appointed as peshkar of his Diwan Khana (an influential post in the Nawab’s administration)
- The Nawab’s army had taken position in an entrenchment about 1 mile away from the mango grove. All of his forces had come out of the camps and arranged in a semicircle with the focus on mango grove. It was a bid to encircle Olive’s forces. What is White and the Red Treaty?
- The right arm of Nawab’s army was led by Rai Durlabh, centre by Yar Lutuf Khan and the left arm by Mir Jafar. All of them assembled their troops near the battlefield but made no move to actually join the battle. The battle started at 8:00 am with the first fire from French artillery.
- After suffering some casualties, Clive ordered his army to retreat back into the shelter of the grove which was on the embankment of the river. The cannoning went on for 3 hours without substantial progress.
- Clive called a meeting and it was decided to hold the position and attack Nawab’s camp at midnight. However, soon heavy monsoon rain started and drenched the Nawab’s artillery while the British used tarpaulins to protect their ammunition. This slowed the fire from Nawab’s side while the British maintained a continuous fire.
- As the rain subsided, Mir Madan, one of the faithful men of the Nawab’s army who commanded the extreme right flank, assumed that the British ammunition was also spoiled in the rain and therefore, charged towards the British along with his cavalry. However, he was fatally wounded by the artillery and it drove them back. The loss of Mir Madan Khan deeply saddened the
- Nawab who tried to reconcile with Mir Jafar. Nevertheless, Mir Jafar assured the Nawab of his full assistance, advising him to leave for Murshidabad and wait for the good news of victory. While immediately Jafar sent a message to Clive reporting about his meeting with the Nawab and urged them to advance.
- Moreover, the treacherous chief minister of Bengal – Rai Durlabh, advised the Nawab to order his troops to retire behind the entrenchments. He assured the Nawab to save himself while they hold the English for the day. The Nawab left for Murshidabad and the British won by 5 pm.
- Siraj-ud-Daulah’s army was defeated by roughly 3,000 soldiers of Col. Robert Clive, owing to his flight from the battlefield and the inactivity of the conspirators. As soon as they won, Clive rode to Murshidabad.
- However, Siraj-ud-daulah left Murshidabad to escape from the state but was soon captured in Bihar. He was murdered by Mir Jafar’s son, Miran. Mir Jafar was raised as the new Nawab of Bengal by the British. What is White and the Red Treaty?
- Henceforth, more and more interference of British began in political and economic affairs of the state. They had raised the new Nawab therefore according to them it was their right to interfere. This helped them secure huge commercial and political gains. These gains became instrumental in driving the French out as well as acquiring other Indian states.