Updated | June 25, 2017 16:12 IST
The battle of Plassey formed the turning point in the history of India and led to the foundation of the British Empire.
There were mainly two reasons were said to be in the history of India which led to the battle of Plassey. On the death of his grandfather, Ali Vardhi Khan in 1756, young and impetuous, Sirajuddaulah became the Nawab of Bengal. The Company was worried about his power and keen on a puppet ruler who would willingly give trade concessions and other privileges. So it tried, through without success, to help one of Sirajuddaulah’s rivals become the Nawab.
An infuriated Sirajuddaulah asked the Company to stop meddling in the political affairs of his dominion, stop fortification, and pay the revenues. After negotiations failed, the Nawab marched with 30,000 soldiers to the English factory at Kassimbazar, captured the Company officials, locked the warehouse, disarmed all Englishmen, and blockaded English ships. Then he marched to Calcutta to establish control over the Company’s fort there.
On hearing the news of the fall of Calcutta, Company officials in Madras sent forces under the command of Robert Clive, reinforced by naval fleets. Prolonged negotiations with the Nawab followed. Finally, on 23rd June 1757, Robert Clive led the Company’s army against Sirajuddaulah at Plassey(Palashi a village ninety miles from Calcutta).
One of the main reasons for the defeat of Nawab was that the forces led by Mir Jaffar, who was to have come to the Nawab’s help stood aloof with a huge army under his command after Robert Clive promised to make him Nawab after crushing Sirajuddaulah. After the defeat at Plassey, Sirajuddualah was assassinated and Mir Jafar made the Nawab. The Company’ prime objective was the expansion of the trade so it didn’t show any interest in the responsibility of the administration.
If this could be done without conquest, through the help of local rulers who were willing to grant privileges, then territories need not be taken over directly. Soon the Company discovered that this was rather difficult. For even the puppet nawabs were not always as helpful as the Company wanted them to be. After all, they had to maintain a basic appearance of dignity and sovereignty if they wanted respect from their subjects.
When Mir Jafar protested, the Company deposed him and installed Mir Qasim in his place. When Mir Qasim complained, he, in turn, was defeated in a battle fought at Buxar(1764), driven out of Bengal, and Mir Jafar was reinstalled. The Nawab had to pay Rs 500,000 every month but the Company wanted more money to finance its wars, and meet the demands of the trade and its other expenses. It wanted more territories and revenue. By the time Mir Jafar died in 1765 the mood of the Company had changed. Having failed to work with puppet nawabs, Robert Clive declared: “We must indeed become nawab ourselves.”
Finally, in 1765 the Mughal emperor appointed the Company as the Diwan of the Provinces of the Bengal. The Diwani allowed the Company to use the vast revenue resources of Bengal. This solved a major problem that the Company had earlier faced. From the early eighteenth century, its trade with India had expanded. But it had to buy most of the goods in India with gold and silver imported from Britain. This was because at this time Britain had no goods to sell in India. The outflow of gold from Britain slowed after the Battle of Plassey and entirely stopped after the assumption of Diwani. Now revenues from India could finance Company expenses. These revenues used to purchase cotton and silk textiles in India, maintain Company troops, and meet the cost of building the Company fort and officers at Calcutta.
Thus the British Empire not only led their foundation firmly in India but also started ruling by utilizing all the various resources of India to become strong economy and military. They ‘ve looted a lot of valuable things from our country by encashing the jealousy and enmity among the rulers of India.
Tags: Battle of Plassey, reasons for Battle of Plassey, British empire establishment in India, Sirajjauddualah
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