Plassey War: A major turning point in India’s modern history that led to the consolidation of British rule in India was the Battle of Plassey. Headed by Robert Clive and his French Troop, and the Nawab of Bengal (Siraj-Ud-Daulah), this battle was fought between the East India Company.
This Battle of Plassey is often termed as the ‘decisive event’, which became the actual source of the British’s ultimate or limitless rule in India. During the late reign of the Mughal empire, or called the later Mughal Period, the BattleBattle took place. Mughal emperor named Alamgir-II was ruling the empire when the Battle of Plassey took place.
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What is the Battle of Plassey?
Headed by the Nawab of Bengal- Siraj-Ud-Daulah and Robert Clive, it is a battle fought between the East India Company force. The rampant misuse by East India Company officials of trade privileges and wealth infuriated Siraj. The Battle of Plassey was led due to continuing misconduct by EIC against Siraj-Ud-Daulah, in 1757.
What Was Robert Clive Role in the Battle?
Though the event was more of a skirmish than a battle, it was an important event for the British victory under Robert Clive at Plassey in Bengal in India’s history. A huge army in June 1756, had been taken Calcutta from the East India Company, when the notorious Black Hole episode occurred, the young Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ad-daula.
It was not until when it was August that the news has just reached the Company established in Madras and not until the month of October that Clive, now 32 years-old, left for Calcutta of some 2,500 men at the head of a mixed European-Indian force. In January 1757, he drove Siraj’s army out early.
What Was Robert Clive Next Motive?
Clive decided to replace Siraj with a new and more pliant nawab, and that was the best way to secure the interests of the Company in Bengal. He found a candidate named Mir Jafar, who was in a discontented elderly general.
After conspiratorial complicated discussions and the promise of enormous bribes to all concerned, which was being watched and a secret agreement was smuggled into the women’s quarters of Mir Jafar’s house for Siraj’s spies, and Mir Jafar did sign it.
What Nawab’s Reaction to the East India Company?
Siraj suspected or knew there was a conspiracy against him, despite Clive’s earnest protestations to the contrary, and moved south to Plassey. On June 13, Clive moved north with some 600 British infantry of the Thirty-Ninth of Foot plus close to 200 artillerymen and 2,000 Indian sepoys and with ten field pieces and two small howitzers.
Ambiguous messages were coming in from Clive, and Mir Jafar was moving into a dangerous situation and against heavy odds. He did seem to have had a crisis of summoned and confidence his officers to a council of war on June 21. The majority, including Clive, voted against the action. At that point, Clive retired into a grove of trees, according to his friend Robert Orme, where he stayed for an hour in total meditation. On his return, he gave some orders for the army to move and attack to Plassey.
Where Did the Battle Take Place?
North of the village of Plassey is situated on the bank of the Hughli river, and the confrontation came on a cloudy morning. The Nawab’s army of perhaps around 40,000 men with its war-elephants and more than 50 cannon and Clive’s army was drawn up in three divisions and commanded by Mir Jafar for one division.
After an opening cannonade, a torrential downpour of rain that lasted half an hour and a crash of thunder at noon heralded. The British artillerymen quickly covered their ammunition and cannon with tarpaulins, and their artillery was put out of action so that when the army of Nawab moved forward, but the enemy failed to do the same, assuming that Clive’s cannon were also to be out of action, it was met with a quite withering storm of fire.
The Siraj and enemy withdrew, who distrusted his generals and had already been warned of an impending defeat by his astrologer and who had possibly been bribed, Mir Jafar advised retreat and lost his nerve. When Clive’s army attacked again, and then Siraj fled on a fast camel. His demoralised army then followed suit, and when the British entered the enemy camp at about 5 pm, they found it to be abandoned.
What Were The Casualties of the Battle?
According to Clive, the British Army lost 18 men, while he estimated as around 500, the Nawab’s dead. Siraj-ad-daula was killed, and Mir Jafar replaced him and by his own people. Clive, while keeping him on leading-strings, who was now effectively master of Bengal, skilfully bolstered Mir Jafar’s apparent authority.
Over its French rivals and, the skirmish at Plassey was critical to the East India Company’s triumph and in the longer term, to the establishment of British rule in India.
What are the Causes of the Battle of Plassey?
The reasons which were major for the Battle of Plassey to happened were:
- The rampant misuse of the trade privileges and by the Nawab of Bengal given to the British.
- Non-payment of duty and tax of the British East India Company, by the workers.
Other reasons that actually supported the coming of this Plassey battle were:
- Without the Nawab’s permission, fortification of Calcutta by the British
- On various fronts misleading Nawab by British
- An asylum was provided to Krishna Das who was a Nawab’s enemy
What Were the Consequences of the Battle?
A strong presence in the country, India majorly at Fort St. George was presented by The East India Company, Bombay Castle and Fort William.
The British resorted to having a proper alliance with the princes and Nawab in exchange for security against any form of internal and external attack and in return for their safety and protection and were promised concessions.
When the alliance due to the problem arose disrupted under the rule of Siraj-Ud-Daulah, the fort of Calcutta was being seized and imprisoning many British Officials in June 1756, by the Nawab. The prisoners were kept at Fort William, in a Dungeon. This incident is known to be the Black Hole of Calcutta and since only a handful over a hundred of the prisoners survived the captivity where were kept in a cell meant for about few eight people.
Robert Clive bribed Mir Jafar, and The East India company planned an attack, the commander-in-chief of the Siraj army, and promised Mir Jafar to make him the next Nawab of Bengal.
On the banks of river Bhagirathi near Calcutta on June 23, 1757, the Battle of Plassey was fought at Palashi.
There were heavy downpour and three hours of intense fighting. The lack of planning to protect their artillery and weapons during the heavy downpour was one of the reasons for the Nawab’s defeat and apart from the major reason being the treachery of Mir Jafar, which turned the table in favour of the British army.
Siraj-Ud-Daulah’s army with 40 cannons, 10 war elephants and 50,000 soldiers was defeated by 3,000 of Robert Clive soldiers. The BattleBattle ended in around 11 hours, and from the battle post, Siraj-Ud-Daulah fled his defeat.
According to Robert Clive, 50 were injured from the British troops, and 22 men died. The Nawab army, including several key officials, lost about 500 men, and many of them even suffered several other casualties.
What Were the Signs Of The Participants of the Battle of Plassey?
The participants and their significance of the Battle of Plassey in the Battle are:
Siraj-Ud-Daulah or the Nawab of Bengal
- imprisoned 146 English persons involved in Black-Hole Tragedy to which 123 of them died of suffocation due to lodging the involved in a very tiny room.
- By the rampant misconduct and misuse of trade privileges by the EIC, left adversely affected.
- Seized and attacked the English fort at Calcutta, and brought their hostility into the public.
Robert Clive (EIC)
- Disappointing Siraj-Ud-Daulah, by giving asylum to political fugitive Krishna Das.
- Misuse of all the trade privileges
- Without the Nawab’s permission, disappointing Siraj-Ud-Daulah.
Mir Jafar (Commander-in-Chief of Nawab’s army)
- was bribed by officials of East India Company (EIC)
- Was promise to be made the Nawab for conspiring against Siraj-Ud-Daulah by EIC
- Cheated his king, Siraj-Ud-Daulah during the Plassey battle
Rai Durlabh (The Nawabs Army’s One of the Commanders)
- did not participate in the BattleBattle though joined his army with Siraj-Ud-Daulah’s.
- Betrayed the king Siraj
Jagat Seth (Influential Banker)
- Involved in the conspiracy involving the ultimate killing and imprisonment of Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daulah
Omi Chand (Bengal Merchant):
Associated secretly with the treaty negotiated by Robert Clive and one of the principal authors of the conspiracy against Nawab, before the BattleBattle in 1757.
What Were The Effects of the Battle of Plassey?
After Nawabs, there were several other effects and apart from the British getting political power of Northern India, in many forms that the British came out due to the Battle of Plassey, in 1757.
They can be categorised into:
- Economic Effects
- Political Effects
- The Battle of Plassey at the end resulted in the end of all the French forces.
- Mir Jafar was actually crowned as new the Nawab of Bengal
- Mir Jafar was actually unhappy with the position and in order to consolidate his foundation, instigated the Dutch to attack the British.
- The battle of Chinsura was fought between the Dutch and British forces on November 25, 1759.
- The British installed Mir Qasim as the Nawab of Bengal.
- The British became the paramount European power in Bengal.
- Robert Clive was titled “Lord Clive”, Baron of Plassey, and obtained a seat in the British House of Commons.
- The economy of India was affected severely.
- Post the victory; the British started imposing stringent rules and regulations on the inhabitants of Bengal in the name of tax collection.