The Battle of Plassey was a significant event in the “history of India” and is considered the starting point of “British rule in India.” It happened under the administration of Emperor “Alamgir II” in the final years of the Mughal era. It took place in 1757 between the “East India Company,” led by “Robert Clive,” and “the Nawab of Bengal,” named “Siraj-Ud-Daulah,” and his “French Troop.”
The “Battle of Plassey” in Bengal, led by Robert Clive, was a significant event despite being more of a skirmish than a battle. Calcutta had been stolen from the “East India Company” by the young “Nawab of Bengal,” “Siraj ad-Doula,” which sparked the infamous Black Hole episode. It took a while for the word to get to the company in Madras, and it took even longer for Clive and his 2,500-man army of mixed European and Indian soldiers to reach Calcutta. In January 1757, he was able to drive Siraj’s forces from the area.
The history of India was significantly influenced by the Battle of Plassey. Siraj ad-Doula had seized Calcutta from the East India Company. Robert Clive was sent with a force to defeat Siraj’s army, and after complicated negotiations with discontented general Mir Jafar, a secret agreement was signed with the promise of bribes.
On the day of the battle, Clive’s army of sepoys and British infantry, plus artillery, faced Siraj ad-Doula’s army of 40,000 with elephants and 50 cannons. A torrential downpour put the enemy’s artillery out of action, and when Clive’s army attacked, Siraj ad-Doula fled and his army withdrew. After Siraj was killed, Mir Jafar became the new Nawab. The fight was essential to the East India Company’s victory over the French and the eventual establishment of British administration in India because Clive was now practically in charge of Bengal.
In 1757, the “Nawab of Bengal” and the “British East India Company” engaged in combat at the “Battle of Plassey”, which resulted in a victory for the British and marked the beginning of almost two centuries of “British rule in India.” While the French East India Company had a similar mandate, the British monarch gave the East India Company permission to do trade in the East Indies and the authority to create an army.
In the Carnatic Wars, the two companies battled for dominance in India. When Sirajud-Daulah assumed the position of Nawab of Bengal and took a pro-French posture, British trading posts, including Calcutta, were taken over. Robert Clive was assigned to reclaim Calcutta and ultimately hatched a plan to depose the Nawab. He persuaded Mir Jafar, one of Nawab’s disgruntled loyalists, to support the British, which helped the British win the “Battle of Plassey.”
Reasons behind the Battle of Plassey
There were some basic causes behind this event. A few reasons are discussed below:
The widespread misuse of trade privileges
One of the primary reasons for the “Battle of Plassey” was the widespread misuse of “trade privileges” given to the “British” by the “Nawab of Bengal.”
The “British East India Company” was granted certain privileges of trade, such as the right to trade tax-free, by the Nawab of Bengal. However, the company soon began to abuse these privileges, engaging in trade activities that were not authorized and failing to pay the taxes that were due. This led to growing tensions between the British and the Nawab, which eventually culminated in “the Battle of Plassey.”
Non-payment of taxes and duties by British East India Company workers
The workers of “the British East India Company” were not paying the taxes and duties that were owed to the local authorities, which was a major source of revenue for the Nawab of Bengal. This added to the already growing tensions between the British and the Nawab and contributed to the conflict that ultimately led to “the Battle of Plassey.”
It was not only a financial issue, but it also challenged the authority of the Nawab and was seen as a direct insult to his power and rule. This was a significant factor that contributed to the outbreak of hostilities and the eventual conflict between the “British” and the “Nawab of Bengal.”
Fortification of Calcutta
In 1756, the British fortified the city of Calcutta, which was then the capital of “the British East India Company” in India, without the permission of the “Nawab of Bengal.” This fortification was seen as a direct challenge to the authority of the Nawab and was interpreted as a clear sign of British aggression.
The fortification of Calcutta was seen as a direct affront to the sovereignty of the Nawab and was a significant factor in the deteriorating relationship between the British and the Nawab. This, combined with the widespread misuse of trade privileges and the non-payment of taxes and duties, was a major cause of the “Battle of Plassey.”
Beginning of British colonial rule
“The Battle of Plassey,” which started British colonial control in India and had significant ramifications for the future of the region, was a turning point in the subcontinent’s history.
The British employed many tactics to deceive and mislead the Nawab of Bengal, including using false promises, spreading rumors, and creating divisions within his court. These tactics weakened the Nawab’s position and allowed the British to gain the upper hand in the conflict.
One particularly notable example of British deception was the manipulation of the Nawab’s trusted advisor, Mir Jafar, who was promised money and power if he betrayed the Nawab and supported the British in the Battle of Plassey. This treachery played a significant role in the outcome of the battle, as the Nawab’s forces were weakened by the absence of Mir Jafar’s support.
In addition to this, the British also created divisions among different factions within the Nawab’s court, further undermining his position and increasing the likelihood of conflict. The use of these deceptive tactics was a major cause of the Battle of Plassey and demonstrated the British willingness to employ underhanded methods to achieve their goals.
Asylum for Krishna Das
Krishna Das was a wealthy merchant and a rival of the Nawab of Bengal. When he was persecuted by the Nawab, he sought refuge with the British, who provided him with asylum. This was seen as a direct challenge to the authority of the Nawab and was interpreted as a clear sign of British aggression.
The decision to provide asylum to Krishna Das was a significant factor in the deteriorating relationship between the British and the Nawab. It added to the growing tensions between the two sides and was a major cause of the conflict that eventually led to the Battle of Plassey.
By providing asylum to Krishna Das, the British demonstrated their willingness to interfere in local affairs and challenge the authority of the Nawab. This was a significant factor in the outbreak of hostilities and the eventual conflict between the British and the “Nawab of Bengal,” which resulted in the “Battle of Plassey.”
The “Battle of Plassey” marked an important change in the historical process of India, as it paved the way for British colonial rule that lasted for almost two centuries. The underlying causes of the conflict were rooted in political, economic, and military factors, which created an environment of tension and instability. The British victory at Plassey can be attributed to a combination of strategic planning, military superiority, and alliances with local Indian rulers. While the Battle of Plassey was a tragic event for the Indian people, it also serves as a powerful reminder of the complex and interconnected nature of historical events and how the actions of individuals and nations can have far-reaching consequences.