The Battle of Plassey was a decisive victory of the British East India Company over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies on 23 June 1757. The battle consolidated the Company’s presence in Bengal, which later expanded to cover much of India over the next hundred years.
Siraj-ud-Daulah became Nawab of Bengal in the year 1756. He had an overwhelming influence over the British. The British helped the competitors of Siraj-ud-Daulah by conspiring against him so that he would not remain on the throne of Bengal.
There were frequent conflicts with the British merchants regarding payment of taxes. When the British merchants failed to pay taxes,which were applicable to both Indian and foreign merchants, the situation came to a boil. He ordered that the British should not fortify the factory, pay the taxes as per the rules and trade as per the terms and conditions. This provocation was enough for Siraj to opt for war, and he succeeded in expelling the British from Calcutta.
The British counter-attacked under the leadership of Robert Clive. Clive bribed Mir Jafar, the commander in chief of Siraj-ud-Daulah, with a promise to confer the throne of Bengal to him and convinced him to join their side. With his help, Robert Clive defeated and murdered Siraj-ud-Daulah in the Battle of Plassey.
This was the first war fought by the Company in India which marked the beginning of the British rule in India. Thus, this war is considered to be a turning point in the history of India.
The date was the 23rd of June in the year 1757. There could be no comparison between the respective forces of the enemies. Because, the Nawab’s army contained 50,000 infantry and 28,000 cavalry. Clive’s army consisted of only 3,000 men, including English soldiers and Indian sepoys.
From the beginning of the battle, both Mir Jafar and Rai Durlav stood silently on with their vast forces without coming forward to fight. The two persons who fought desperately on behalf of the Nawab were the Hindu General Mohan Lal and the Muslim General Mir Madan. When Mir Madan fell dead on the field, the Nawab lost courage. But Mohan Lal continued to fight with heroic determination. For hours, the course of the war remained undecided and uncertain. Suddenly then, Mir Jafar advised the Nawab to send order to Mohan Lai to stop fighting. The dumbfounded Nawab sent that order to the fighting general. But Mohan Lal considered it a wrong order and continued to fight. Again and again the Nawab sent order to Mohan Lal to come back in order to satisfy Mir Jafar. Unable to disobey his superiors, Mohan Lal at length returned to Siraj. That was exactly what Mir Jafar wanted. When the fighting soldiers saw their leader withdrawing from the front, they lost heart and fled in all directions. In a moment’s time, the course of the battle turned for the worst. The Nawab realized his mistake. He could also know what Mir Jafar was. Amid terrible attack from Clive’s side, and with his army in panic, Siraj-ud-daulah fled from the field for life. With that ended the Battle of Plassey.
With that, too, was decided the fate of Bengal and of India. In the mango groves of Plassey was laid the foundation of the British Empire in India. The Battle of Plassey opened a new chapter in the annals of India. The ‘British Age’ in Indian history began. The defeated Siraj-ud-daulah was caught at last. He was brought as a prisoner to his capital Murshidabad. There, at the order of Mir Jafar’s son, Miran, he was killed in cold blood. Siraj was not a good Nawab. But as the last independent Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.