*HISTORY NOTES* *The British Rule in India*


After gaining political control over South India, the British tried to gain control over rich Bengal province in the later part of 18th century. The Bengal province had achieved tremendous growth in the area of agriculture, commerce and industry. The East India Company was making considerable profit from this province. The Dastakths (Licence) issued by the Mughal ruler Faruk Shiara were the main reasons for this. But, these Dastakths that were limited to the company transactions were misused by the individual officers of the company too. This resulted in huge loss to the Bengal government. Hence, all Nawabs from Murashid Ali Khan to Ali Wardhikhan were opposing such misuses. Later this led to confrontation between the Nawabs and the company. This resulted in two crucial wars which charted a decisive course to Indian history. Plassey and Buxar were those two wars. Know this: Dastakath-a license that can ensure anyone to import and export without paying any tax and transport goods anywhere. Battle of Plassey (1757): Aliwardi Khan, the Nawab of Bengal died in 1756. His grandson Siraj-ud-Daula came to throne. The Plassey Battle took place between the young Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula and the British in 1757. Reasons: 1. Misuse of Dastakaths: Siraj-ud-Daula was furious that the Dastakaths were misused by the officials of the company incurring losses to the government treasury. 2. Mending of the fort without permission: The British repaired the fort of Calcutta and placed canons in them. This further angered Siraj-ud-Daula and he ordered the removal of canons from the court. The British refused to do this angering the Nawab further. 3. Black Room Tragedy: Siraj-ud-Daula conquered the Fort Willaim easily and imprisoned some of the British. He imprisoned 146 Englishmen in a small room in the fort, of which 123 died. This is called as the Black Room Tragedy. This enraged Robert Clive and arrived in Bengal with a large army. Robert Clive attracted rich locals like Manikchand, Omichand, Jagath Seth and others towards him. He was successful in convincing Mir Jaffar, the military head of Siraj-ud-Daula to stay neutral in the battle by offering him the post of Nawab of Bengal. Encouraged by all these developments, Robert Clive declared war against Siraj-ud-Daula. Everything went according to the plan of Clive. Siraj-ud-Daula who tried to escape from the battle field was captured and killed. Outcome: 1. This war brought out the immorality, lack of unity among the Indians and the greed of Indian businessmen. 2. Mir Jaffar became the Nawab of Bengal. 3. The company gained exclusive rights to do business in Bengal. 4. Mir Jaffar had to a pay rupees seventeen corner and seventy lakh to as a relief to Sirja-ud-Dulah’s attack on the Fort William. In nutshell, Mir Jaffar became continuous victim of the company and its employees. Even though the treasury went bankrupt due to this greedy nature, the greediness of the company and its officials were never satisfied. The British projected Mir Jaffar as an inefficient Nawab and brought in his nephew Mir Qasim as the new Nawab. Battle of Buxar (1764): Mir Qasim was an efficient administrator. In the beginning he remained loyal to the company. He paid two lakh pounds to the company and gave away few places to it. Shortly, he declared himself as an independent King. After verifying the misuse of Dastakaths, he declared that the business is duty free in Bengal. As a result, the Indians competed against British in all spheres of business. As a result, the British trade suffered considerably. This was enough for the British to oppose the Nawab. They brought in Mir Jaffar again and dethroned Mir Qasim. As Mir Qasim knew about the cunningness of the British, he went for an organized war against them. He was supported by the Indian merchants and artisans. Mir Qasim entered into agreements with the Mughal ruler Sha Alam-II and Nawab of Awadh ‘Shuj-ud-daul’. The combined forces of Mir Qasim faced the British army led by Hector Munro at Buxar in 1764. Mir Qasim got defeated and ran away from the battle field. Sha Alam-II surrendered. The efforts of the combined forces to stop the British force failed completely. Outcomes: 1. Sha Alam-II accorded the Dewani rights over Bengal to the British. 2. Sha Alam-II gave away all the rights over Bengal to the British for an annual fee of rupees 26 lakhs. 3. The Nawab of Awadh had to give away a fine of rupees 50 lakh for waging a war against the company. 4. With the death of Mir Jaffar, the company paid pension to his son and took over the entire administration of Bengal. Know this:Dewani Rights: The right to collect land taxes The Buxar battle made the British as the real holders of power over Bihar, Bengal and Odisha provinces. Even Awadh remained under their control. In 1765, Robert Clive brought in ‘Dual-government’ concept. As per this concept, the British had the right to collect land taxes, whereas the Nawab had power over administrative issues like justice and others. Like this, the British gained political control over India to protect their business interest. Know this: In 1600 – The East India Company was established In 1602 – United East India Company was established in Netherlands In 1619 – The Mughal emperor Jahangir issued royal charter allowing the British to conduct trade in Surat, on the west coast and in Hugli, on the east coast. In 1639 – The English established their first warehouse in Madrass In 1664 – French East India Company was established in France

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