The Battle of Plassey was the decisive victory of the British East India over the ruler of the Bengal Nawab Siraj-ud-daula and his French partner’s troop on 23rd June 1757.
The battle took place on the banks of River Bhagirathi at Plassey which was at a distance of 150 kilometers from the north of Calcutta and south of Murshidabad. Murshidabad was the then capital of Bengal. This battle is a part of the Seven Years War.
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Reasons of Battle of Plassey
The unstable political conditions in Bengal provided an opportunity to East India Company for interference in their matters. They knew Bengal was a rewarding territory for its rich lands and booming economy.
After Siraj-ud-daula’s father’s death – Nawab Alivardi Khan and the power struggle among the three contenders for the ruling post aroused British’s interest in them. Britishers could see an opportunity of divide and rule. They wanted to conquer Bengal by taking advantage of its weak times.
Siraj-ud-daula’s succession on the throne was opposed by his aunt Ghasti Begum and his cousin Shaukat Jang who was the Nawab of Purnia.
The conflict between the East India company and the Nawab of Bengal over trading was also increasing day by day.
Siraj-ud-daula thought that Frenchmen are more trustworthy as compared to Britishers. He had also allowed some Frenchmen to trade under his territory. It infuriated the Britishers most. They wanted Siraj-ud-daula to stop allowing trade of Frenchmen. Siraj-ud-daula himself was shattered emotionally and harmed gravely due to his defeat in Chandernagar by Britishers.
Siraj-ud-daula’s court was full of traitors and conspirators like Mir Jafar, jagat Seth, Omi chand, Manik Chand who were all working for their own benefits and had no interests in serving the Nawab. This gave Britishers an easy way into the internal secrets, giveaways and loopholes of many aspects concerning his life.
Lord Clive had deep hatred and dissatisfaction for Siraj-ud-daula for ignoring the English was prisoners who were captured by him during Calcutta War and caused the mishappening of ‘The Black Hole’.
The company suspected Siraj-ud-daula’s loyalty towards them. They thought that Nawab would cut down the privileges of the company due to his friendship with French. This stemmed the company’s already growing insecurities.
Event of the battle of Plassey
Lord Clive was very experienced and a talented General. He had great experience in manipulating the leaders and plotting conspiracies whereas Siraj-ud-daula was a spoilt and inexperienced Nawab.
The nawab’s huge army comprised of 35,000 soldiers, 15,000 horses and 50 canon where as Lord Clive’s army was only having 1000 Europeans and 2000 Indian soldiers and 8 pieces of artillery.
Britishers wanted to remove Siraj-ud-daula from his throne but they were aware of his powerful army. His army was too strong to defeat and Lord Clive was a cunning General.
He knew the haphazard consequences if in case a war breaks out. Lord Clive knew that Nawab’s court was full of disloyal ministers. So he conspired against him with the support of these disloyal ministers and officials.
Mir Jafar, the brother-in-law of Alivardi Khan (father of Siraj-ud-daula) who was the commander-in-chief of Nawab’s army shook hands with Britishers and signed an agreement.
Lord Clive decided to bribe many discontented officials of Nawab’s court. He tempted Mir Jafar to help them in exchange of Nawab’s throne.
List of traitors of nawab’s court
- Mir Jafar- the commander of Siraj-ud-daula’s army who was promised the throne by Britishers.
- Jagat Seth- a Marwari banker.
- Omi Chand or Amir Chand- He tried to get 5% of Nawab’s treasure in exchange of helping Britishers but Britishers deceived him after the battle.
- Manik Chand- an official in Calcutta
- Rai Durlab- treasurer of Nawab
- Ghasiti Begum- maternal aunt of nawab
In Nawab’s army only two commanders were loyal to him. One was the Mir Madan and second was the Mohan lal. The right flank of Nawab’s army was headed by Rai Durlabh a traitor, center was headed by Yar Lutuf Khan and left was headed by Mir Jafar but all of them were traitors.
Lord Clive kept his ammunitions in reserve when Nawab’s army attacked them vigorously. Suddenly the rainfall started and all the gunpowder of Nawab’s army was drenched. But Britishers had used tarpaulins to cover their fire-arms. Nawab’s army didn’t know the truth.
They thought that Britishers would also have drenched their firearms but in actual the reality was something else. The rain reduced the effectiveness of the Nawab’s army. Nawab ordered his cavalry to attack on Britishers in different of actual facts.
On the other hand Britishers canon opened their mouth and caused heavy causalities. Mir Madan Khan a general of Nawab’s army was also killed. Mir Jafar with one third of Nawab’s army remained isolated from the war. The Nawab panicked at the great loss of his General.
He ordered his army to move back and forwarded French army troop to combat the Britishers. Britishers soon captured and took control over Frenchmen army. Soon the tables turned and an army of thousands of soldiers was defeated by few thousand people.
Mir Jafar fled the war front on a camel and Mir Jafar was installed by Britishers in his place. Siraj-ud-daula later was killed by his own people.
Outcome or consequences of Battle of Plassesy
- The Plassey war lasted only for few hours. This shows Siraj-ud-daula’s weaknesses and inability for the throne. He was defeated, captured and executed in his own capital Murshidabad.
- Britishers gained political and economical power in Bengal which was the wealth-house of India. They could now indirectly rule their territory.
- Siraj-ud-daula was replaced by Mir Jafar who was a puppet in the hands of company and did not have any independents power of his own.
- The Company got twenty-four Paraganas in Bengal from Mir Jafar. This made them more prosperous.
- Company would now trade from Bengal without any restrictions.
- Company now become more prestigious as French rule over Indian places was also vanished.
- Company became economically strong. They no more depended on Europe for finance.
- The company extracted huge sums of money from Mir Jafar. The company got one crore and seventy seven lakh rupees as war compensation as well.