Battle of Plassey was a major turning point in modern Indian history that led to the consolidation of British rule in India. This battle was fought between the East India Company headed by Robert Clive and the Nawab of Bengal (Siraj-Ud-Daulah) and his French Troop. This battle is often termed as the ‘decisive event’ which became the source of ultimate rule of the British in India. The battle occurred during the late reign of Mughal empire (called later Mughal Period). Mughal emperor Alamgir-II was ruling the empire when the Battle of Plassey took place.
A few historians, while answering the question as to when did the British rule start in India, cite the Battle of Plassey as the source. As a component of the IAS Syllabus, the Battle of Plassey is an important topic.
This article will talk about the Battle of Plassey in detail to help IAS Exam aspirants understand it for both prelims and mains (GS-I). You can also download the Battle of Plassey notes PDF from the link provided.
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Table of Contents:
| What is the Battle of Plassey?
|Causes of the Battle of Plassey|
| Who Fought the Battle of Plassey?
|Effects of Battle of Plassey
What is the Battle of Plassey?
It is a battle fought between the East India Company force headed by Robert Clive and Siraj-Ud-Daulah (Nawab of Bengal). The rampant misuse by EIC officials of trade privileges infuriated Siraj. The continuing misconduct by EIC against Siraj-Ud-Daulah led to the battle of Plassey in 1757.
Causes of the Battle of Plassey
Majorly, the reasons for the Battle of Plassey to take place were:
- The rampant misuse of the trade privileges given to the British by the Nawab of Bengal
- Non-payment of tax and duty by the workers of the British East India Company
Other reasons that supported the coming of this battle were:
- Fortification of Calcutta by the British without the Nawab’s permission
- Misleading Nawab on various fronts by British
- An asylum was provided to Nawab’s enemy Krishna Das
The East India Company had a strong presence in India majorly at Fort St. George, Fort William and Bombay Castle.
The British resorted to having an alliance with the Nawabs and princes in exchange for security against any form of external and internal attack and were promised concessions in return for their safety and protection.
The problem arose when the alliance was disrupted under the rule of Nawab of Bengal (Siraj-Ud-Daulah). The Nawab started seizing the fort of Calcutta and imprisoning many British Officials in June 1756. The prisoners were kept in a dungeon at Fort William. This incident is called the Black Hole of Calcutta since only a handful of the prisoners survived the captivity where over a hundred people were kept in a cell meant for about 6 people. The East India company planned an attack and Robert Clive bribed Mir Jafar, the commander-in-chief of the Nawab’s army, and also promised him to make him Nawab of Bengal.
The Battle of Plassey was fought at Palashi, on the banks of Bhagirathi river near Calcutta on June 23, 1757.
After three hours of intense fighting, there was a heavy downpour. One of the reasons for the defeat of Nawab was the lack of planning to protect their weapons during the heavy downpour which turned the table in favour of the British army apart from the major reason being the treachery of Mir Jafar.
Siraj-Ud-Daulah’s army with 50,000 soldiers, 40 cannons and 10 war elephants was defeated by 3,000 soldiers of Robert Clive. The battle ended in 11 hours and Siraj-Ud-Daulah fled from the battle post his defeat.
According to Robert Clive, 22 men died and 50 were injured from the British troops. The Nawab army lost about 500 men, including several key officials and many of them even suffered several casualties.
In terms of the civil services exam, direct questions are rarely asked in the exam, especially, the IAS Prelims. Thus, candidates must be aware fo how the questions can be farmed based on this historically important battle.
Who Fought the Battle of Plassey?
The table below will inform the IAS aspirants to know the participants of the Battle of Plassey and their significance in the battle:
|Participants of Battle of Plassey||Role in the Battle of Plassey|
|Siraj-Ud-Daulah (Nawab of Bengal)||
|Robert Clive (EIC)||
|Mir Jafar (Commander-in-Chief of Nawab’s army)||
|Rai Durlabh (One of the Commanders of the Nawabs Army)||
|Jagat Seth (Influential Banker)||
|Omi Chand (Bengal Merchant)||
Effects of Battle of Plassey
Apart from the British getting political power of Northern India but only after Nawabs, there were several other effects in many forms that came out as a result of the Battle of Plassey. They can be categorised as:
- Political Effects
- Economic Effects
- The Battle of Plassey resulted at the end of the French forces.
- Mir Jafar was crowned as the Nawab of Bengal
- Mir Jafar was unhappy with the position and instigated the Dutch to attack the British in order to consolidate his foundation.
- Battle of Chinsura was fought between the Dutch and British forces on November 25, 1759.
- The British installed Mir Qasim as the Nawab of Bengal.
- The British became the paramount European power in Bengal.
- Robert Clive was titled “Lord Clive”, Baron of Plassey and also obtained a seat in the British House of Commons.
- The economy of India was affected severely.
- Post the victory, the British started imposing severe rules and regulations on the inhabitants of Bengal in the name of tax collection.
Aspirants should keep in mind to practise previous years’ questions asked in both prelims and mains examinations. To practise UPSC History Questions from Mains, one can check the linked article.
Battle of Plassey – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here
Also, get acquainted with the importance of this battle from the UPSC Mains perspective.
After Battle of Plassey, there were various other battles fought, which aspirants can read about for UPSC 2021, in the linked articles below:
|Battle of Buxar||First Anglo-Maratha War||Second Anglo-Maratha War|
|Third Anglo-Maratha War||First & Second Anglo-Mysore Wars||NCERT notes on third & fourth Anglo-Mysore Wars|
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