Battle of Plassey
Battle fought Year: 23 June 1757
Winner: British under Clive
Loser: Siraj ud-Daulah
The Battle of Plassey was fought between the British East India Company and Siraj-ud-Daulah (Nawab of Bengal). Siraj-ud-Daulah was supported by the French. The battle took place on June 23, 1757. The victory of British East India company in the battle is one of the most important event in Indian History.
• The East India Company had established factories at Surat, Madras, Bombay and Calcutta in the 17th century.
• Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar had issued a Farman in 1717 granting the Company rights to reside and trade freely within the Mughal Empire. The Company was also accorded the right to issue dastaks for movement of goods. This right was misused by the Company officials.
• When Alivardi Khan, grandfather of Siraj-ud-daulah became the Nawab of Bengal, he took a stricter stance against the Company.
• When Siraj succeeded him as the Nawab, he ordered the company to stop their fortification activities since they didn’t have the permission to do so. But the company carried on with their fortifications.
• This led the Nawab to attack the British station in Calcutta in which they were beaten by the Nawab’s 3000-strong army.
• Calcutta was occupied by the Nawab’s forces in June 1756 and 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 hundred people were kept in a cell meant for about 6 people.
• Fort William and other British establishments in Calcutta had fallen into the hands of the Nawab.
• When news of this reached Madras in August, they sent troops under Colonel Robert Clive to win back the Bengal establishments of the British.
On the bank of the river Bhagirathi, in the mango groves of a place named Plassey, the opposite forces met each other.
The date was the 23rd of June in the year 1757. On that day was fought the Battle of Plassey between the armies of Siraj-ud-daulah and Clive. There could be no comparison between the respective forces of the enemies. Because, the Nawab’s army contained 50,000 infantry and 28,000 cavalry. Clive’s army consisted of only 3,000 men, including English soldiers and Indian sepoys.
From the beginning of the battle, both Mir Jafar and Rai Durlav stood silently on with their vast forces without coming forward to fight.
The two persons who fought desperately on behalf of the Nawab were the Hindu General Mohan Lal and the Muslim General Mir Madan.
When Mir Madan fell dead on the field, the Nawab lost courage. But Mohan Lal continued to fight with heroic determination.
For hours, the course of the war remained undecided and uncertain. Suddenly then, Mir Jafar advised the Nawab to send order to Mohan Lai to stop fighting.
The dumbfounded Nawab sent that order to the fighting general. But Mohan Lal considered it a wrong order and continued to fight. Again and again the Nawab sent order to Mohan Lal to come back in order to satisfy Mir Jafar.
Unable to disobey his superiors, Mohan Lal at length returned to Siraj. That was exactly what Mir Jafar wanted.
When the fighting soldiers saw their leader withdrawing from the front, they lost heart and fled in all directions.
In a moment’s time, the course of the battle turned for the worst. The Nawab realized his mistake. He could also know what Mir Jafar was.
Amid terrible attack from Clive’s side, and with his army in panic, Siraj-ud-daulah fled from the field for life.
With that ended the Battle of Plassey. With that, too, was decided the fate of Bengal and of India.
In the mango groves of Plassey was laid the foundation of the British Empire in India. The Battle of Plassey opened a new chapter in the annals of India. The ‘British Age’ in Indian history began.
Effects of the Battle
• Mir Jaffar became the Nawab of Bengal (Bihar and Odisha) but he was a puppet of the British.
• Siraj-ud-daulah was captured and killed.
• Clive also captured the French forts in Bengal.
• The British became the paramount power in Bengal. They successfully ousted the French and resisted the Dutch.
• The French were constrained to Pondicherry in India.
• Colonel Clive became Lord Clive, Baron of Plassey because of his exploits in the battle
Battle of Buxar
Battle fought Year: 22 October 1764
Winner: Sir Hector Munro commander of British forces
Loser: Nawab Mir Qasim, Shah Alam II and Shuja-ud-Daula
The Battle of Buxar was fought between the British Army and the combined forces of Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II, Mir Qasim (Nawab of Bengal) and Shuja-ud-daula (Nawab of Awadh). The British East India Company had defeated the combined forces in the battle.
The battle took place on 22nd October, 1764. The battle took place at Buxar. At that time Buxar was within the territories of Bengal.
Mir Qasim fled to Oudh after losing to the British at the Battles of Katwa, Gina and Udaynala. There he joined forces with Shuja-¬ud-daulah, the Nawab of Oudh, and with Shah Alam II, the Emperor of Delhi, and fought the British at the Battle of Buxar on 22 October 1764. The combined Indian army lost the battle.
The victory at Buxar allowed the British to extend their domination up to Allahabad. Mir Qasim lost all hopes of curbing the British.
In fact, with the fall of Mir Qasim, the era of independent Nawabs ended in Bengal.
The seeds of British imperialism sown at Plassey flowered after the Battle of Buxar, a fact that makes the latter battle historically more important.
It finally consolidated British rule in Bengal, the Nawab was reduced to a mere figure-head, the Company started an unchecked plundering of the wealth of Bengal, the Nawab of Oudh turned to a submissive ally and the Mughal emperor was reduced to thriving on an allowance from the Company.
These were the first steps to start off Company’s domination in the north.