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15 December, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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From Panipath to Palashi

Part 2
From Panipath to Palashi

Md Habib Mansur

In the Indian Subcontinent, so many battles between the British Afghans and Mughals were fought for gaining control of it. Out of those, the pivotal battles of Panipath have been mentioned in the first part.The Mughal rulers of Bengal allowed the East India Company to trade, free of duty, on payment of an annual sum of Tk 3,000. But day by day, its intrusion into the internal trade of Bengal, violating the trading permit, became a cause of conflict between Shaista Khan, the Mughal Subahdar, and the Company.
The East India Company took advantage of the declining Mughal Dynasty. After Shaista Khan left Bengal, the British were allowed to settle in Calcutta. They purchased zamindari rights over the three villages of Kalikata, Govindapur and Sutanuti. They built a fort at Calcutta and named it Fort William.
The Company, in its attempt to secure more privileges, approached the Mughal Emperor, Farrukh Siyar, who through a decree in 1717 granted it privileges that included establishment of a mint at Calcutta and the right to purchase 38 villages.
Nawab  Murshid Quli Khan obstructed the implementation of the decree as he realised that the privileges would deprive the government of revenues from internal trade, as well as from mint duties. The Company, for the sake of its business, was maintaining relations with a section of the influential members of the Nawab’s court at Murshidabad. Also, it manipulated palace politics and utilised it for their own interest.
When it was certain that Sirajuddaula was going to succeed his maternal grandfather Alivardi Khan as the  Nawab, those who were indulging in illegal money-making became afraid. Rai Durlav, who made a fortune in collaboration with Ghaseti Begum, one of the main palace conspirators, sent his son Krishna Das with the illegally gotten money to  Calcutta, where he took shelter with the Company.  Durlav made money while working in the revenue department with Nawab Nowzesh Mohammad, the late husband of Ghaseti Begum, who was also Sirajuddaula’s maternal aunt.
After sitting on the throne, Sirajuddaula asked the Company to extradite Krishna Das. He sent letters twice to the Company and after getting no response, the Nawab marched upon and sacked the English illegal settlements at Calcutta (June 18-20, 1756) and drove them out. He renamed the city as Alinagar. The Company appealed for urgent reinforcements to Fort St George in Madras. In response to that, Robert Clive was sent to Bengal from Madras. Clive recaptured Calcutta in January 1757, and Nawab Sirajuddaula was compelled to sign the Alinagar Treaty on February 9, 1757. However, the Company did not adhere to the terms of the treaty.
On the above pretext, the decisive Battle of Palashi was fought. Clive started for Murshidabad from Calcutta on June 13 and reached Katoa on June 19. On June 21, after getting clearance from Mir Jafar, the main conspirator, Clive moved forward and reached Palashi at midnight where Nawab Sirajuddaula was camped. The battle started on the morning of June 23. As a part of the conspiracy, two-thirds of the soldiers under Mir Jafar, Yar Latif and Rai Durlav did not take part in the battle and were mere spectators. But Mir Madan and Mohan Lal fought bravely. At about 3pm, Mir Madan was unfortunately wounded in a shell attack and died. At this point, the Nawab requested Mir Jafar to continue the battle in which they were in a better position. Mir Jafar suggested to stop fighting for the day, and falsely assured Sirajuddaula that he would join in the next day’s battle. Rai Durlav also said so. Mohan Lal, who took the place of Mir Madan, was against the break, fearing it  may allow the opponents to regroup and re-attack. But after several requests from the Nawab, Mohan Lal agreed to halt the fighting. This information was passed on to Clive and the British took the chance and re-attacked. Within hours, the scenario of the battle changed and it was over by 5pm. Nawab Sirajuddaula was defeated.     
From Palashi, Sirajuddaula went first to Murshidabad and then to Patna by boat. But unfortunately, he was captured by Mir Jafar’s soldiers. He was executed on July 2, 1757 at Nimak Haram Deori as part of an agreement between Mir Jafar and the Company.

To be continued.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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