The Battle of Palssey, 1757
The Battle of Palashi (1757) was an important political event in the history of Bengal. It took place between Nawab Siraj Ud-Daulah and the British East India Company. The Company first obtained the privilege of trading in Bengal from the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Since then, till the time of Nawab Alivardi Khan, their activities were confined to trade only.
When Sirajuddowla ascended the masnad of Murshidabad the company started showing up its political ambition and it came in conflict with the Nawab. There were some causes of the conflict. It was customary that the European Companies engaged in trading activities in Bengal used to visit and salute with presents any new Nawab who came to power. But when Siraj came to the throne of Murshidabad the English kept them refrained from doing it.
Secondly, the English Company wastrying to misuse their trade privileges causing loss to the revenue income of the Nawab. Thirdly, in the wake to an Anglo-French contest for supremacy in India those two European Companies started fortification of their settlement in Bengal. Siraj ordered them to dismantle there works. The French carried his order but the English in defiance of the Nawab’s continued to do their fortification works. Fourthly, The English authority at Calcutta gave shelter to a servant of the Nawab who fled there with huge amount of the revenue collected. In spite of the Nawab’s repeated request the English refused to give him back to Nawab. They also insulted the man whom the Nawab sent there.
Nawab Siraj then became angry and with a large army he preceded the Kashim Bazar factory of the English and destroyed it. Later he marched to Calcutta: seized it and occupied Fort William. The servants of the Company fled to the river Bhagirathi. The Nawab appointed Manikchand as the governor of Calcutta and he went back to Murshidabad. But the English were reinforced from Madras and very soon they recaptured Calcutta in December, 1756. The Nawab again marched against them. But due to difficult situation he was compelled to sign a humiliating treaty with then in which the Nawab gave them many concessions.
In the meantime a few members of the Nawab’s court and some generals including the chief of his army Mir Jafar made a conspiracy to remove him from the throne. They secretly made contacts with the English and decided to replace Siraj by Mir Jafar. When all the preparations were complete Robert Clive, the company’s representative charged him with the breaking of the treaty obligations and marched against him with forces. Nawab Sirajuddowla also proceeded against them and the two armies met at Palashi, a place 23 miles away from Murshidabad. On the 23 June, 1757 the battle took place in which Sirajuddowla was defeated by the treachery of Mir Jafar, Khadim Hossain. Raj Durlab and others. The Nawab fled away from the battle field on his way to Patna he was caught and later killed by the order of Miran, son of Mir Jafar. Mir Jafar was installed as the new Nawab of Bengal by Robert Clive.
The battle of Palssey caused the fall of Nawab Siraj Ud-Daulah and the consequent loss of independence of Bengal, Bihar and Orrisa. Its result was far reaching and the English proceeded step by step towards its goal of establishing their rule in Bengal.