NCERT Notes on the Battle of Plassey for UPSC exam preparation

The battles and wars that is usually remembered are the ones where millions of people are killed or those instances where the history isre written because of such battles. Battle of Plassey is one such battle where the scale of the battle might be relatively small compared to other historical battles but the importance and the after-effects of these battles changed Indian history for centuries to come.

Battle of Plassey was a small battle fought between Robert Clive of the East India Company presented by the British crown and Siraj-ud-Daula from India who was the Nawab of Bengal.

It is to be noted that the British East India Company and the Nawab of Bengal had a pretty good relationship in terms of trade for many years before the Battle of Plassey but as and when the British Crown with the help of the East India company gradually started taking advantage of the trade privileges given by the Nawab of Bengal to the British, the relationship started to sour and that ultimately led to the Battle of Plassey.

In this particular article on notes on Battle of Plassey for UPSC exam preparation, we have given fundamental points that one should remember that will most likely be asked in examination such as UPSC and other competitive PSU exams. In this article one can find answers for why the Battle of Plassey was important, why was it fought, what were the causes of Battle of Plassey, what was the impact of Battle of Plassey and what can we learn in today’s India from the Battle of Plassey.

What is the battle of Plassey?

Battle of Plassey was a relatively smaller battle fought between the East India Company headed by Robert Clive and the Nawab of Bengal headed by Siraj Ud Daulah along with his French allies. This battle holds a lot of importance in the Indian modern History because it was after the defeat of Nawab of Bengal at Battle of Plassey that the East India Company and hence the British Crown started entering India with a lot more influence and power which ultimately led to the 200 years of brutal British rule in the country.

Battle of Plassey was fought on the 23rd of June in the year 1757 where the British East India company defeated a much larger Army from the Nawab of Bengal side. While the Battle of Plassey was the first important victory of British in South Asia, this victory helped the company and hence the British Crown seize control of Bengal and eventually dethrone all the kings and kingdoms in India and take control of the entire country.

What started as a purely business relationship between the administration of Bengal and the East India Company ultimately led to dethroning of the kingdoms in India and this explain a lot about how International policies and frameworks should be formulated in today’s world. Now that globalisation is an increasingly important phenomenon across the world and countries are coming closer and closer than ever before, history always teaches us a lesson on how to tread carefully and the impact of the Battle of Plassey is one such lesson that we should keep in mind that will help us in the future in terms of business and foreign policies with other countries around the world.

What were the causes for the Battle of Plassey?

While the actual and long term causes of the Battle of Plassey differ from history book to another history book, in this particular article on the notes on Battle of Plassey, we have given few such causes that gives an all-round idea for an IAS aspirant to understand why the battle of Plassey was fought and however big or small the cause is, can script the history of a country.

  1. Indian kings allowing the entry of East India Company into the Indian territory with a promise of lucrative business without proper agreements and negotiations led to a chain of events ultimately leading to the Battle of Plassey.
  2. The business relationship started becoming sour between Nawab of Bengal and East India Company when the British officers started taking advantage of the trading privileges granted to them by the Bengal kingdom.
  3. Since there were no proper trade agreements between the two, employees of the British East India company stopped paying taxes and duties to the Nawab of Bengal and started taking advantage of the Monopoly situation in the market with practices such as high pricing and black marketing.
  4. The British East India Company kept the Nawab of Bengal in dark in terms of certain business practices which irked the Bengal Presidency leading to the souring of the relationship between the two.
  5. While the relationship between the Nawab and the East India company was deteriorating by the day, the East India company started giving Asylum and other benefits to the Enemies of Nawab such as Krishna Das. This act of East India Company further detoriated the relationship ultimately leading to the battle.
  6. Given the nature of the relationship at that point of time between India and Britain, which was purely trade and commerce, was not in line with the East India Company’s ambition which wanted stakes and had an interest in the political and social environment of the country.
  7. While the Nawab of the Bengal didn’t understand the ambitions of the East India Company, the British Crown was clear of its ambition and wanted to establish their first puppet ruler in the country in Bengal and that is the reason why the Battle of Plassey was initiated by the British East India company.
  8. The first concrete step in the Battle of Plassey was the attack on English Factory at Kasim Bazar by the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj Ud Daulah. This act of Siraj Ud daulah initiated the Battle of Plassey which led to Robert Clive leading his army towards the Nawab at Plassey.

Effects of the Battle of Plassey on Indian history

The battle of Plassey, being the first step for the British crown to enter India has had a cascading effect on the country ever since.

We have made the following points for an IAS aspirant’s easy reference on the effects of the battle of Plassey.

  1. It resulted in the decline of French rule.
  2. There was a change in the nawab of Bengal.
  3. It undoubtedly lead to British entry into the Indian political scenario.
  4. The economy of Bengal, and eventually the economy of the country started to take a nosedive after the war and consolidation of British rule in the country.
  5. Tax policies and economic policies became more brutal in the country after the battle of Plassey.
  6. Personal career of Robert Clive from East India Company improved and he became a member of the British House of Commons.
  7. In a way, the entry of the British helped unite Indians from different classes, castes and religious backgrounds, with a common goal of fighting the British.
  8. After the battle of Plassey, Mir Jafar, who was the new Nawab of Bengal, came into an understanding with the Dutch and led them to attack the British to prove his leadership.
  9. Traditional Indian businesses like pottery, weaving, painting etc, took backstage as the East India Company favoured outsiders into the market and created an unfair market environment in Bengal for localites.
    10. Severe economic and social restrictions led to an uprising movement in Bengal and the rest of the country against British rule.

Frequently asked questions on battle of Plassey in UPSC examination.

1. Why is the battle of Plassey considered historic?

Answer- The battle of Plassey is considered a historic battle in modern Indian history because it was a great way for the British Crown to enter India and rule the country for the next two centuries. Although the battle started between the Nawab of Bengal and the East India Company, the cascading effect that this battle had on neighbouring states makes it an influential and historic battle in the country.

2. Who were the main people involved in the Battle of Plassey?

Answer- the Battle of Plassey mainly involved the Nawab of Bengal and the East India company. From the Bengal side, there were Siraj-Ud-Daulah, who was the Nawab of Bengal, Mir jafar was the commander in chief in the nawaab’s army who turned out to be a traitor and betrayed his own countrymen after being bribed by the British East India Company, Rai Durlabh, another commander in the nawab’s army who also betrayed him. Robert Clive was the main person from the East India Company who was the main reason for the battle. Robert Clive irked the Nawab of Bengal by taking advantage of his trading privileges and giving political Asylum to enemies of Siraj Ud Daulah such as Krishna Das. Another reason why Robert Clive was the main cause of the Battle of Plassey was that he fortified Calcutta without acknowledging nawabs presence

3. What were the main causes of the Battle of Plassey?

Answer- some of the main causes of the Battle of Plassey was the misuse of trading privileges by the East India Company given by the Nawab of Bengal, non-payment of taxes and duties by the employees of the British East India Company, ignoring nawab and his policies in certain business and economic aspects were some among many causes for the battle of Plassey.

Small essay on battle of Plassey for IAS exam preparation

Below, we have given an example of a less than 500-word essay on the battle of Plassey that students can use to prepare for the UPSC mains examination.

In the year 1757 on the 23rd of June, the British East India company waged a Battle against the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies and had a conceived a decisive victory establishing the first formal rule of the British on the Indian subcontinent. Battle of Plassey is considered as a historic battle because it is through this gateway that the British started to gain control over the Indian subcontinent and neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan and Myanmar for the next two centuries.

Battle of Plassey took place on the banks of the Hugli river around hundred miles from Calcutta. The battle was mainly fought between Robert Clive of British East India company and the then Nawab of Bengal Siraj Ud Daulah, who was also the last independent ruler of Bengal.

While the Nawab of Bengal had a good relationship with the East India company in terms of trading and business, which was one of the reasons of the the Battle of Plassey. The special trading privileges given by the Nawab of Bengal to the British East India company was misused by Robert Clive which provoked the Nawab of Bengal resulting in the battle between the two. Robert Clive, with the support of certain influential people in the Nawab of Bengal’s circle such as Mir Jafar, the commander in chief in the nawab’s army, started fortification of Calcutta and ultimately captured the city in the year 1757 after defeating Siraj Ud daulah at Plassey.

The Black Hole massacre was an important event that took place when the Nawab of Bengal attacked the British East India Company along with his french allies before the beginning of the Battle of Plassey. The black hole massacre refers to a fort in the capital city of Calcutta where the Nawab of Bengal and his Army held British prisoners of war on the night of 28th June in the year 1756. Approximately 64 prisoners were sent to the hole and more than 40 prisoners died with many historians believing that this is the reason for souring of the relationship between the British East India Company and the Nawab of Bengal.

After the black hole massacre, the British army in Calcutta received massive reinforcement from the rest of the country including Madras to recapture the city. Taking advantage of this atmosphere Robert Clive of the British East India Company started to capture the French word of Chander Nagar.

Although the British East India Company was massively out-numbered by the Nawab of Bengal, Robert Clive and his allies cleverly used certain influential people within the nawaab’s army to settle scores with the Nawab of Bengal.

At the end of the battle, around 3000 soldiers of Colonel Robert Clive defeated Siraj Ud Daula’s army of 50000 soldiers with more than 40 cannons and 15 war elephants. the battle of Plassey, being one of the most influential battles in the Indian subcontinent, helped the British wield power over the Bengal territory which was the main revenue making machine for the country. The defeat of Bengal was just a tipping point and eventually, the British East India Company started to capture neighbouring states and finally the entire country which led to 200 years of brutal British rule in India. The British used the revenues acquired from the defeat of Bengal to expand their colonial powers not just in India but in different colonies across Dutch and French territories.

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