Battle Of Plassey MPPSC Exam Notes

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The force however, was supposed to take on the French. Following the Battle of Plassey, in accordance with the treaty he had signed with Clive and the East India Company Committee in Calcutta, Mir Jafa Khan entered Murshidabad with Clive and became Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. It was however largely an empty honour as the real power in Eastern India was now the English East India Company. Those who survived to return to England, Watson and Kilpatrick, and the several others who died soon after Plassey from infectious disease brought on by the oppressive climate became known as ‘Nabobs’ from their India derived wealth. Mir Madan Khan, Siraj-ud-Daulah’s one reliable commander, commanding on the right wing by the river, assumed that the English artillery must have suffered the same catastrophe as his own and launched an attack with his cavalry. They were met with a devastating discharge of grape at short range, which decimated and repelled the charging cavalry and mortally wounded Mir Madan Khan.

Clive sent forward a party with 2 of the 6 pounders and 2 howitzers to occupy a group of brick kilns, 200 yards in front of the left flank. Contrary to the usual Indian practice of placing artillery together, Siraj-ud-Daulah’s guns were dispersed along his line in twos and threes. The illustration by Richard Caton Woodville, at the head of the site, while giving an idea of how the arrangements for Siraj-ud-Daulah’s cannon may have been made, is incorrect in that the guns shown are of the 6 pounder size. At the same time, Siraj Ud Daulah was facing conflicts on two fronts. On his Western border was the advancing army of the Afghan, Ahmad Shah Abdali who had captured and looted Delhi in 1756.

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They goaded Siraj to quit and the latter escaped on camel back to reach Murshidabad early next morning. On 21 June 1757, Clive called a Council of War to decide whether to continue with the campaign as he was unsure of the intent of Mir Jafar and his lackeys. By then, Siraj’s army of 50,000 had reached the mango plantations of Plassey . And without Mir Jafar’s express commitment, this decision was very crucial for Clive. He sent a relief force towards Chandernagore, but later withdrew it. It took almost two months for the EIC to get ready for the invasion of Bengal.

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  • A mercantile company declared war against a sovereign authority.
  • It was decided to continue with the artillery firing till the evening and attempt to attack Siraj’s camp at midnight, utilizing the element of surprise and speed at which Clive was such an expert.
  • A further party of some 160 men from the grenadier company of the 39th Foot and a sepoy grenadier company moved even closer, occupying another tank.
  • In this enterprise, Jafar was not the sole mastermind.

However, as the 7 years’ war erupted in full blaze and under the command of EIC directors from London, Watson declared war against the French in Bengal. As fallout, Watson planned to attack the French settlement atChandernagore (today’s Chandannagar, about 50 km from Kolkata). Siraj’s closest aide and commander Dost Mohammad Khan was disabled in the battle. Siraj nonetheless was petrified and retreated 10 miles away.

Indian gunners were not well drilled and produced a slow rate of fire, taking, according to Malleson, around fifteen minutes to fire each round, as against 2 or 3 rounds a minute for European gunners . The mango grove, in which the English army encamped, was 800 yards long and 300 yards wide, and comprised regular rows of mango trees. At 6 am on 22nd June 1757, the army crossed the Bhagirathi River to the east bank, using the accompanying flotilla of boats which carried the supplies.

The Charter was signed on 31 December 1600 whereupon it was emphasised that the Company was to restrict itself to trade and not to attempt colonisation or conquest. William Hawkins captained the ship HECTOR and reached India at the largest of the Mughal ports Centrally Planned Economy Definition – Surat. As Hawkins anchored offshore on 24 August 1608, began an era of British mercantilism in India which later transformed into capitalistic imperialism. No forts to be erected by the Nawab’s government on the river side, from Hooghley downwards.

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As per their agreement, Clive collected £2.5 million for the company, and £234,000 for himself from the Nawab’s treasury. In addition, Watts collected £114,000 for his efforts. The annual rent of £30,000 payable by the Company for use of the land around Fort William was also transferred to Clive for life. To put this wealth in context, an average British nobleman could live a life of luxury on an annual income of £800. Clive’s army suffered casualties of 23 dead and 49 wounded. The casualties of Siraj-ud-Daulah’s army were around 500 dead and many wounded.

It was a normal monsoon day, with occasional rain in the mango groves at the town of Plassey…… It was in those mango groves that the British forces faced the Nawab Siraj-ud-Doula’s army and convincingly defeated it. Siraj-ud-Daulah’s soldiers fought hard, but were leaderless and without direction, other than St Frais’ Frenchmen. The cannon and musket fire from Clive’s positions inflicted great loss on Siraj-ud-Daulah’s troops and the oxen towing the platforms for the heavy guns. At 11am Clive called his senior commanders to a council to decide what to do.

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Clive moved his force nearer to the camp in three detachments. One, comprising nearly half his force, moved to the mound by the smaller of the two tanks, while the other half advanced to the higher ground between the tank and the river. A further party of some 160 men from the grenadier company of the 39th Foot and a sepoy grenadier company moved even closer, occupying another tank. All the English troops and guns opened a general fire on Siraj-ud-Daulah’s army. Clive could not afford even the few casualties caused by the French and Indian gunfire.

The camp of Siraj-ud-Daulah’s large army was within earshot, about a mile up the river. At 1 am on 23rd June 1757, the army reached Plassey, a small village with a hunting lodge owned by the Nawab, Siraj-ud-Daulah. The army bivouacked in a mango grove beyond the village, placing vedettes around the grove. Clive’s army marched again at sunset on 22nd June 1757. It was now raining heavily, the earliest onset of the annual monsoon weather, and in places the river overflowed its banks, forcing the soldiers to march in water that reached up to their waists. On 12th June 1757 the remaining troops at Calcutta with 150 sailors from Admiral Watson’s squadron marched to join Clive’s force at Chandranagar.

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Nonetheless, Clive’s forces positioned themselves in a large mango orchard, surrounded by a ditch and a high bank. Clive occupied a hunting lodge between the orchard and the Bhagirathi river. It was tactically advantageous because he could have kept a watch on the proceedings of the battle from the rooftop of the lodge. On 8 March 1757, with an army of 2,700Clive and Watson began their march towards Chandernagore. Interestingly, Siraj did not intervene, with the tacit assurance of the EIC that they will help him if the Afghan marauder Ahmad Shah Abdali attacks Bengal.


At 8 am on the 23rd of June 1757, Siraj’s artillery started firing at the EIC. In 30 minutes or so, Clive lost 10 Europeans and 20 sepoys. Immediately, Clive ordered his troops to take defensive positions. Siraj’s soldiers thought the EIC men were retreating and hence kept on firing at them by moving up their heavy guns. But the shots missed the EIC, rather they hit the trees.

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On the English side, once the down pour of rain finished, Clive withdrew into the Plassey Hunting Lodge to put on dry clothes. He left instructions to be told if anything changed in the form of the battle. Encouraged by the English withdrawal, Siraj-ud-Daulah’s guns moved nearer and continued their fire.

Eventually, through the connivance of traders such as Amichand , and William Watts, Mir Jafar was brought into the British fold. The Battle of Plassey was one of the major steps that brought England to dominate and conquer India. It was not only a battle with local authorities but part of the rivalry with France over available markets. However, European colonial expansion was a part of an even bigger phenomenon that would bind the peoples and cultures of the world together through dissemination of technology and sharing among cultures. In this respect, the Battle of Plassey can be seen as one step in a sad but necessary process.

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These guns, along with their gunners were carried on six feet high platforms being driven by a group of oxen and at times pushed by elephants from behind when they were stuck. IAS officer and author NitishSengupta in his book ‘Land of Two Rivers’ writes that Mohan Lal and St Frais fought valiantly till 5 pm and thereafter left Palashi . The victory made the EIC virtual masters of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha, opines Colonel Malleson in his The Decisive Battles of India.

Siraj-ud-Daulah’s army comprised 35,000 foot soldiers, most poorly armed and lacking formal discipline. His cavalry was around 15,000 horsemen, mostly Pathans from the North-West, well mounted, armed with swords and spears. Clive halted the advance at Katwa and wrote to the Committee in Calcutta asking for their advice as to whether to proceed with the advance. This was an unusual show of hesitation in Clive, normally impetuous to the point of rashness. That evening, after writing to the Rajah of Burdwan asking him to join his army with a thousand horsemen, Clive held a Council of War with all his officers.

Soon after the council ended a heavy rainstorm came on, continuing for an hour. The English troops were used to campaigning in a country where the monsoon had such an impact. They produced tarpaulins and covered the artillery ammunition to keep it dry. Siraj-ud-Daulah’s artillery did not have tarpaulins and much of their powder was ruined by the rain and rendered unusable. In accordance with his usual tactic of showing a bold front Clive ordered his troops out of the grove to form a line, the left resting on the hunting lodge. The European troops were placed in the centre in 4 divisions, commanded by Major Kilpatrick, Major Grant, Major Coote and Captain Gaupp, with 3 of the 6 pounders on each side, and a division of the native troops on each flank.

TheBattle of Plassey was a battle that took place on June 23, 1757, on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, about 150 km north of Calcutta. It is near Murshidabad, then the capital of the Nawab of Bengal in India. Pâlāshir, an extravagant red flowering tree known as “Flame of the forest,” gives its name to a small village near the battlefield. A phonetically accurate romanizing of the Bengali name would be Battle of Palashi, but the spelling “Plassey” is now conventional. We use dedicated people and clever technology to safeguard our platform.

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