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Motijheel Motijheel, the cradle of British rule in India, stands witness to a remarkable turning point in Indian history. A 350 acre oxbow lake formed out of an abandoned bed of river Bhagirathi, the Motijheel, derived its name from extensive pearl cultivation during the Nawabi period. The Jheel was famous for raising golden tinted pearls extracted from unino margaritifera species. Out of the black marble stones brought from the ruins of Gaur, Nawazesh Ahmed Khan built the Sangidalan or the stone palace for his wife Ghaseti Begum, the eldest daughter of Nawab Nazim Ali Verdi Khan. Siraj ud Daulah, the favourite grandson of Ali Verdi Khan was his chosen successor and ascended the throne of Bengal in 1756. Resenting his ascession, Ghaseti Begum, his maternal aunt made her palace the centre of anti-nawab intrigues. The begum used her massive wealth and influence to stitch together a coation of forces including Mir Jafar, the Jagat Seth and the British to overthrow the young Nawab. Siraj marched out to Plassey from Motijheel on 23rd june 1757. The Intrigue played out in the field as most of the army was rendered inactive under the trecherous direction of Mir Jafar, the commander-in-chief of the Nawab. The aftermath of the battle saw the transition of a trading company into a political power that sealed the fates of the new Nawabs. It is during the punya ceremony at Motijheel that Lord Clive formally assumed the reins of financial administration of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa on 29th April 1765 by the grant of diwani by the then mughal emperor. This event marks the actual beginning of the British rule in India. Between 1757- 1786, Motijheel was residence and office of different British officials including Lord Clive and Warren Hastings. Known for its magnificient palaces, gardens and the beautiful lake and its tryst with subcontinent’s history, Motiheel is sometimes compared to magna carta famed historic runnymede of London.

*** Imerial Gazetteer of India, vol xviii Bengal District Gazetteers

Motijheel THE PLOT: - The succession of Siraj ud Daulah to the Bengal caused resentment in the royal family and created enemies. His impulsive conduct coupled with aversion towards the British company united all the opoposing forces and set the stage for his removal . The key players in the plot to dethrone him were :
1. Mir Jafar: The brother-in-law of Ali Verdi Khan and the commander-in-chief of Nawab’s army. Had ambitions to the Nawabship and was finally chosen by the British as the successor. Three-fourths of the Nawab’s army were made non-participant under his direction, misled the nawab and gave false advices in the battle.
2. Ghaseti Begum::- Disgruntled aunt of Nawab Siraj ud Daulah, the eldest daughter of ali verdi khan, was wealthy and influential. Distributed funds to the opponents of the Nawab to work for the common cause.
3. Jagat Seth:- Belongs to marwari jain family. Finance minister in the Nawab’s court. Regarded as banker to the world due his financial prowess unrivalled in the whole of Mughal Empire. Humiliated by young Nawab in the open court, he joined the plot.
4. William Watst:- The chief of Cossimbazar factory by the British East India Company. Had access to the Nawab’s court. Tasked by Lord Clive to secretly forge alliances with anti-nawab forces.
5. Lord Clive:- The main architct of the battle of Plassey. Entered into an agreement with Mir Jafar on battle, his succession and fees and future privileges to the company.

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