BATTLE for India

British ruled India for nearly two hundered years. Do you know how they gained their entry?

Published - June 23, 2017 12:28 pm IST

T he Third Carnatic War also known as the Anglo-French Wars in India was fought in Palashi (Plassey) on June 23, 1757 in Bengal, on the Bhagirathi river, north of Calcutta. The battle was fought between British East India Company under Colonel Robert Clive and Siraj-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, and a small French force. This battle was crucial as it changed the course of history and it is determined that British rule in India began with this war.

Tracing back

In August 1756, the news that the young Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ad-daula, had taken back Calcutta from the East India Company with his huge army in June 1756 reached the Company in Madras. It was this Black Hole episode, that Clive left for Calcutta with a mixed European-Indian force of some 2,500 men. With just eight pieces of artillery he managed to defeat the Nawab’s 50,000 soldiers and the 50 French-manned cannons of his opponent Siraj-ud-Daula. Clive sought to replace Siraj-ud-Daulah with a more docile nawab — Mir Jafar, with whom he discussed the conspiracy and paid him huge bribes.

On the battle field

The Indian soldiers of Siraj-ud-Daulah’s army were armed with bows, swords and spears. His cavalry consisted of Afghans and Pathans from the north-west and seasoned soldiers. The battle lasted only for a few hours. However, the outcome of the battle had been decided long before the soldiers came into the battlefield. The Nawab’s soldiers had been bribed and they threw away their weapons and surrendered much before the battle began.


Siraj-ud-daulah was killed by his own people. Clive became master of Bengal and skilfully manipulated Mir Jafar. The conflict at Plassey was also a triumph of the East India Company over its French. This battle changed the status of British East India Company from a trading company to a governing power paving the way for the Company to conquer the rest of the country.

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