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Trade Led to Battles

After the death of Emperor Aurangzeb the Nawabs of Bengal became more powerful.
  • Murshid Quli Khan
  • Alivardi Khan
  • Sirajuddaulah were the Nawabs of Bengal who raised their voice against the concessions given to East India Company, by the Mughal rulers.

The demands of the Nawabs against the East India Company

  • The Nawabs asked the Company to stop minting their own coins.

  • They wanted the company to pay revenue for the rights to trade in India.

  • They also stopped the Company from extending its fortification.

  • The Nawabs accused the Company of deceit and stated that the Bengal Government lost huge sums of money as the Company was not paying any taxes.

  • They blamed the Company for insulting the Government officials and not respecting the authority of the Nawabs.

  • All these demands and accusations turned the company against the Nawabs. The company felt that …

    • Paying taxes to the Nawabs would ruin their trade
    • They wanted to buy more villages and establish themselves more firmly in India.

    These conflicts between the Nawabs and The Company Official resulted in the famous

    Battle of Plassey.


    The Battle of Plassey
    • The battle of Plassey took place on 23 June 1757 at Palashi, West Bengal, India, on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, about 150 km north of Calcutta.

    • The opponents were Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, and the British East India Company.

    • The French East India Company sent a small contingent to fight against the British East India Company.

    • The British East India Company used Siraj-ud-Daulah’s deposed army chief - Mir Jafar, to defeat Siraj-ud-Daulah.

    • Siraj-ud-Daulah was captured and executed.

    • Having won the Battle of Plassey the entire province of Bengal was taken by the Company, with Mir Jafar appointed as their puppet Nawab.

    • The Battle of Plassey was a decisive British East India Company victory over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies, establishing British rule of India for the next 190 years.

    • This battle is regarded as one of the pivotal battles leading to the eventual formation of the British Empire in India.

    • The enormous wealth gained from the Bengal treasury, and access to a massive source of food grains and taxes allowed the Company to significantly strengthen its military might, and opened the way for eventual British domination in India.

    Robert Clive- A Brief Sketch

                                  Robert Clive and his family with an Indian maid                                                
    A painting by Francis Hayman showing Lord Clive meeting Mir Jafar after the Battle of Plassey 

    Robert Clive first arrived in India in 1743 as a civil servant of the East India Company. He later transferred to the military service of the Company. He returned to England in 1753.Meanwhile, in Bengal, where the British and the French were contesting for supremacy, the Company required the services of an able commander. Clive was summoned to serve the Company as a Commander. He arrived in India in 1756 and secured the British forces in Madras. He then moved to Calcutta, which had been captured by the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah. On June 23rd, he defeated the Nawab, largely by means of bribes, at the “Battle of Plassey".He was appointed the Governor of Bengal in 1764. He amassed a huge fortune when he was the governor. Robert Clive left India in 1767, and returned to England. In 1772 he was questioned by the British Parliament regarding his wealth. Unable to bear the humiliation, Robert Clive committed suicide in 1774.


    After the Battle of Plassey

    • After the defeat at Plassey, Sirajuddaulah was assassinated and Mir Jafar was made the Nawab.
    • When Mir Jafar protested against the dealings of the company he was deposed and Mir Qasim was made the Nawab of Bengal.
    • When Mir Qasim raised his voice against the company, he was defeated in the battle of Buxar and Mir Jafar was again made the Nawab.
    • The Company wanted the Nawab to pay them more revenue. The Company also wanted more territory from the Nawab.
    • Mir Jafar died in 1765 and the Company decided to become Nawabs themselves.
    • In 1765 the Mughal emperor appointed the Company as the Diwan of the provinces of Bengal.
    • The company expanded trade, maintained its own army, built offices and forts and amassed huge amount of wealth.

      As the Company flourished the Officials also made huge fortunes. When they returned to England after serving the Company in India, they were able to lead a very affluent life. They were called the ‘nabobs’ meaning ‘nawabs’.

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