On June 23rd, 1757 at Plassey, a small village and mango grove between Calcutta and Murshidabad, the forces of the East India Company under Robert Clive met the army of Siraj-ud-Doula, the Nawab of Bengal.

Clive had 800 Europeans and 2200 Indians whereas Siraj-ud-doula in his entrenched camp at Plassey was said to have about 50,000 men with a train of heavy artillery. During the battle a monsoon storm, lasting nearly an hour, drenched both sides and the ground, The Indian guns slackened their fire because their powder was insufficiently protected, but when the Indian cavalry charged in the hope that the British guns had suffered similarly they were sharply repulsed by heavy fire. The battle lasted no more than a few hours, and indeed the outcome of the battle had been decided long before the soldiers came to the battlefield. The aspirant to the Nawab's throne, Mir Jafar, was induced to throw in his lot with Clive, and by far the greater number of the Nawab's soldiers were bribed to throw away their weapons, surrender prematurely, and even turn their arms against their own army. 

Siraj fled, leaving a still nervous Mir Jafar to occupy the palace and treasury, and to await Clive's coming before ascending the masnad or throne. The act ended with the capture of Siraj-ud-doula when nearing Bihar and was brutally murdered by Mir Jafar's son Miran. Plassey was decisive for the British in India, and for Clive. Jawaharlal Nehru, in The Discovery of India (1946), justly describes Clive as having won the battle "by promoting treason and forgery", and pointedly notes that British rule in India had "an unsavory beginning and something of that bitter taste has clung to it ever since."

 

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