CONQUEST OF BENGAL

conquest of Bengal
conquest of Bengal

CONQUEST OF BENGAL

The British wanted control of the rich province of Be. Alwatdi Khan, the Nawab of Bengal, was an able administrator. He had followed a policy of keeping the European merchants under control but after his death, his grandson, Siraj-ud-Daulah became the Nawab. The British started extending the fortification of Calcutta (now Kolkata). Meanwhile, Siraj-ud-Daulah’s troops took over Calcutta. Robert Clive set out from Madras with an army of 900 European and 1,200 sepoys, armed and trained in the European style of warfare and recaptured Calcutta.

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BATTLE OF PLASSEY (1757)

It was fought between the forces of East India Company under Robert Clive and the army Siraj-ud-Daulah at Plassey between Calcutta and Murshidabad. Mir Jafar, who wanted to become the Nawab, bribed Indian soldiers to throw away their weapons. Clive easily won the battle.

The British consolidated their position in Bengal by making Mir Jafar, the Nawab of Bengal. He gifted large sums of money and 24 Parganas of Bengal to the British.

   But Mir Jafar could not fulfill the constant demands of the British. So, they installed his son-in-law, Mir Qasim, as the Nawab. He granted equal trade facilities to the British and the Indian merchants. This annoyed the British and they attacked him. Mir Qasim took refuge at Awadh with Shuja-ud-Daulah where Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam, was also taking refuge.

Also, read The Carnatic Wars

BATTLE OF BUXAR (1764)

The Battle of Buxar was very important in the history of India. The East India Company’s victory in this battle established British colonial rule in Bengal Presidency and subsequent expansion of British control all over India.

     Mir Qasim, the Nawab of Bengal, refused to be a puppet in the hands of the British. He wanted complete control of Bengal. He wanted to check the growing power of the officials of the East India Company. It resulted in conflict and led to the Battle of Buxar (now in Bihar).

    The battle was fought between the British East India Company led by Major Hector Munro and the armies of Mir Qasim, Shah Alam II (Mughal Emperor) and Shuja-ud-Daulah (Nawab of Awadh) of Buxar.

   The battle was beneficial for the expansion of the power of the East India Company. It gained the rule and the Diwani – the right to collect the revenue from Bengal, which included Bihar and Orissa (now Odisha).

Also, read British trading companies and East India Company

DUAL GOVERNMENT IN BENGAL (1765-72)

The right to collect Diwani by the British began a Dual Government in Bengal. The Nawab looked after the administration and the company controlled the army, the judiciary and the revenue collection of Bengal. This arrangement gave immense power to the British without any responsibility. But the general public suffered. Thousand of people died in the Bengal famine in 1770 but the company did not help the victims and the Nawab did not have the resources.

    In 1772, Warren Hastings, Governor of Bengal, abolished the Dual Government and gained complete control over Bengal.

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