The Battle of Plassey was a crucial juncture in Indian history. On June 23, 1757, in Bengal, the foundation for Hindustan’s humiliation during a two-century period was laid. 150 years after their initial arrival as a trading company, the British were aiming to rule India. The worst part was that India’s leaders were so focused on their internal issues that they were unaware of any external threats. Due to the same mistake, the Delhi Sultanate was founded in India in the 12th century.
The country and the regular people paid the price for stupidity. India evolved from the “Golden Bird of the World” to the “Golden Cash cow of Britishers.” We shall learn about the same conflict here.
Why did the war happen ?
Weakening of Mughal Empire- After Aurangzeb, a plethora of useless successors controlled the empire. This led to the rapid decline of the power of the Mughals. These rulers like Bahadur Shah I, Mohammad Shah, Farrukh Siyar, etc. were either busy safeguarding their throne or indulged in excessive pleasures.
Rise of regional nawabs: Nobles and provincial governors of the Mughal Empire began slicing the empire in half. creating a foundation for regional dominions. In 1724, Hyderabad was the first to declare its independence, followed by Bengal and Awadh. Under Baji Rao I’s direction, the Marathas advanced rapidly. So, their desire to rule the entire subcontinent appeared to be a possibility.
British abuse of commercial privileges: In 1717, the Mughal ruler Farukk Siyar granted the East India Company (EIC) free trading privileges, which came to be known as the “Magna Carta” of English trade. For just Rs 3,000 a year, they were effectively granted the permission to conduct unrestricted trade in Bengal. But by handing it to neighbourhood traders, they abused it.
British militarization: Although the EIC initially pretended to be a business, it eventually revealed its true intentions. They wanted to be in charge of the area and the profitable trade with India. As a result, the development of Fort William in Calcutta was a clear indication. They also engaged in combat with other European states in an effort to take control of more land.
Black Hole Tragedy: Siraj-Ud-Daula, the nawab of Bengal, was enraged by the fortification of Fort William and the loss of revenue. On June 20, 1757, he attacked and captured 146 British soldiers. 123 of these soldiers died while being held in the cramped space. This was the start of the war.
When Robert Clive learned of the Black Hole, he marched from Madras to Bengal. He had a tiny army, but a really clever idea. He became friends with Rai Durlabh, Jagat Seth, and Mir Jafar, the Bengal army’s supreme commander. The nawab, Siraj-d-Daula, on the other hand, made an alliance with the French. In order to drive the East India Company out of Bengal, Siraj and the French intended to conquer Fort William. The tragic Black Hole Tragedy occurred during their attempt to achieve their objective. Nevertheless, many historians question its veracity.
Finally, on June 23, 1757, the conflict broke out. The battle took place in Bengal’s Palashi area. Siraj and Fench had over 50,000 warriors, but Clive had only 3000 men under his command. But the betrayal of Mir Jafar, Rai Durlabh, and Jagat Seth forced the Nawab of Bengal to submit. Siraj’s army had more over one-third of its soldiers abstain from combat. In the meantime, Clive attacked his rivals with a calculated and successful strike. The British won the battle, which was over in a single day. Siraj-Ud-Duala attempted to flee but was apprehended and killed by Miran, Mir Jafar’s son.
After the war
- As promised before the battle, Mir Jafar was anointed as the Nawab of Bengal. The British installed him as a puppet monarch.
- A new power emerges: The British were now the only foreign power in India after successfully wooing the Europeans. They now posed a threat to the territories ruled by the Mughals, Marathas, Mysore, etc.
- Diwani rights: When the British acquired the Diwani rights in Bengal, the EIC started exploiting the peasantry. .
- Economic Colonisation: Following the battle of 1757, India was economically colonised. The East India Company asked Mir Jafar to write laws that supported their business and interests. It was difficult for other European powers to enter.
- The British substantially fortified Calcutta in order to entirely control the trade from its ports. To safeguard the Company’s assets, several troops were sent into action.
- Mir Jafar desired to be an independent leader rather than a puppet. This prompted him to revolt against the Company.
The end of Indian dominance on the international scene began with the Battle of Plassey. After Bengal, the entire Indian subcontinent suffered the same fate. Only as an offshoot from the East India Company did the Mughals, Marathas, Wodeyars, and Sikhs exist. Following the Battle of Plassey, the Company ended up acknowledged as the only power during the Battle of Buxar in 1764. Along with Bengal and Awadh, they even routed the mighty Mughal army.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Who governed the Mughals at the time of the Plassey battle?
Ans. The Mughal emperor at the time of the Battle of Plassey was Alamgir II. From 1754 until 1759, he only held power for a short period of time. Because he was a poor administrator, he chose to ignore such a serious crisis.
Q2. Exactly who took part in the Battle of Buxar?
Ans. The East India India Company under the command of Major Hector Munro engaged Mir Kasim (the Nawab of Bengal), Shuja-ud-Daula (the Nawab of Awadh), and Shah Alam II (the Mughal emperor) in battle at Buxar.
Q3. The Treaty of Allahabad was signed when?
Ans. In 1765, the three defeated monarchs were asked to sign the humiliating Treaty of Allahabad as a result of their defeat in the Battle of Buxar.
Q4.Why did the Mughal empire lose power?
Ans. Some of the main factors contributing to the decline of Mughal dominance in India include ineffective leaders, religious policies, disloyal nobility, a disregard for science and wars of succession.
Q5. What year did the Battle of Wandiwash take place?
Ans. The English and French engaged in combat at the Battle of Wandiwash in 1760. It was a battle for dominance of the Indian subcontinent in the Third Carnatic War.
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