Mains Practice Question


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A battle fought between the British and the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah, on the banks of the Hooghly River marked a watershed moment in modern Indian history. Discuss.
A Simple Introduction about the Battle of Plassey

The Battle of Plassey stands as a pivotal moment in history, etched in both cultural and literary narratives, symbolizing the British conquest of the Indian subcontinent. The conflict escalated in 1756 with the accession of Siraj-ud-Daulah, a 23-year-old ruler. Unlike his predecessor Alivardi Khan, whose reign was celebrated as a 'golden age,' Siraj-ud-Daulah faced widespread disdain from the Murshidabad court. The battle gained prominence as it marked the East India Company's initial significant triumph in India.



You may incorporate some of the following points in the body of your answer:

The Company's Administrative Evolution in Bengal

Following the Battle of Plassey, Mir Jafar ascended to the Nawab's throne, yet the East India Company remained hesitant to assume direct administrative responsibilities.

  • The Company's primary objective remained trade expansion. Instead of direct conquest, they sought to collaborate with local rulers, granting privileges to facilitate trade expansion.
  • When Mir Jafar voiced dissatisfaction, the Company replaced him with Mir Qasim. However, repeated grievances led to Mir Qasim's defeat at Buxar (1764) and his subsequent expulsion from Bengal.
  • The Company demanded substantial monthly payments from the Nawab to fund battles, meet trade requirements, and cover other expenses. Over time, it sought additional territories and revenue sources.
  • In 1765, the Mughal emperor conferred Diwani rights upon the Company, granting control over Bengal's revenue resources. This resolved a significant financial constraint for the Company.
  • The Diwani rights curtailed the outflow of gold from Britain, allowing revenues from India to fund Company expenses. These funds were allocated for various purposes, including textile procurement, military support, and infrastructure development in Calcutta.
The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach.

The Battle of Plassey opened the door for the British East India Company's transformation from a trading entity to a political and administrative power in Bengal. The Company's initial reluctance to take on administrative burdens gave way to seizing control of Bengal's revenue streams, laying the groundwork for their eventual dominance in India. While Plassey itself may be a singular event, its consequences had a long-lasting impact on the Indian subcontinent.


Other Points to Consider 


Battle of Buxar

Conflict between the Company and the Nawabs of Bengal


Previous Year Questions

1. Explain how the upraising of 1857 constitutes an important watershed in the evolution of British policies towards colonial India. (2016)

2. The third battle of Panipat was fought in 1761. Why were so many empire-shaking battles fought at Panipat? (2014)


21-May 2024