Mir ZAFAR Awardees

Mir ZAFAR awards for treachery were given to twelve deserving and eminent people in New Delhi on 11 August, 2007. These politicians, bureacrats and others were "awarded" for their efforts to bury Dow Chemical's liabilities in the Bhopal tragedy cases, and clear the way for Dow and Carbide to freely do business in India. Timed to mark the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Plassey, where Mir Zafar betrayed his troops and cut a deal with the British East India Company, organizers of the ceremony likened the present Government's kow-towing to US Corporations to Zafar's deal-making. Such Government's actions, they said, favoured the elite and exacted a heavy toll on the lives of common Indian citizens.

The list of award-winners include senior Ministers Kamalnath, P. Chidambaram and Manmohan
Singh, noted industrialists Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani and Ashok Punjwani, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, and senior bureaucrats such as PMO Principal Secretary T।K।A. Nair and former Cabinet Secretary B.K. Chaturvedi. Madhya Pradesh Gas Relief Minister Babu Lal Gaur came in for special mention for a lifetime spent in betraying Bhopal victims. Aside from these, Indian Ambassador to US Mr Ronen Sen, and Planning Commission Vice-chairman also were given the Mir Zafar Award.

The Battle of Plassey took place on June 23, 1757, at Palashi, India, on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, about 150 km north of Calcutta, near Murshidabad, then the capital of the Nawab of Bengal. The opponents were Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal,
and the British East India Company. The battle was waged during The Seven Years' War in Europe (1756�1763); the French East India Company sent a small contingent to fight against the British East India Company.

Siraj-ud-Daulah's army commander defected to the British, causing his army to collapse. As a result, the entire province of Bengal fell to the Company. The enormous wealth gained from the Bengal treasury allowed the Company to significantly strengthen its military might.
Today, Plassey is judged to be one of the pivotal battles leading to the formation of the British Empire in India.

Palash, an extravagant red flowering tree (Flame of the forest), gives its name to a small village near the battlefield. A phonetically accurate romanization of the Bengali name would be Battle of Palashi, but the spelling "Plassey" is now conventional.

The ostensible reason for the Battle of Plassey was Siraj-ud-Daulah's capture of Fort William, Calcutta (which he renamed Alinagar) during June, 1756, but the battle is today seen as part of the geopolitical ambition of the East India Company and the larger dynamics of colonial
conquest.

This conflict was precipitated by the illegal use of Mughal Imperial export trade permits (dastaks) granted to the British in 1717 for engaging in internal trade within India. The British cited this permit as their excuse for not paying taxes to the Bengal Nawab.

Company policy

The Company had long since decided that a change of regime would be conducive to their interests in Bengal. In 1752, Robert Orme, in a letter to Clive, noted that the company would have to remove Siraj's grandfather, Alivardi Khan, in order to prosper.

After the premature death of Alivardi Khan in April, 1756, his nominated successor was Siraj-ud-Daulah, a grandson whom Alivardi had adopted.

Instructions dated October 13, 1756 from Fort St. George instructed Robert Clive, "to effect a junction with any powers in the province of Bengal that might be dissatisfied with the violence of the Nawab's government or that might have pretensions to the Nawabship"।

Accordingly, Clive deputised William Watts, chief of the Kasimbazar factory of the Company, who was proficient in Bengali and Persian, to negotiate with two potential contenders, one of Siraj's generals, Yar Latif Khan, and Siraj's grand-uncle and army chief, Mir Jafar Ali Khan.

On April 23, 1757 the Select Committee of the Board of Directors of the British East India Company approved Coup d' tat as its policy in Bengal.

Mir Jafar was the Company's final choice. Finally, on June 5, 1757 a written agreement was signed between the Company, represented by Clive, and Mir Jafar. It ensured that Mir Jafar would be appointed Nawab of Bengal once Siraj Ud Daulah was deposed.

The British army was vastly outnumbered, consisting of 2,200 Europeans and 2,100 native Indians and a small number of guns. The Nawab had an army of about 50,000 with some heavy artillery operated by about 40 French soldiers sent by the French East India Company.

The battle opened on a very hot and humid morning at 7:00 a.m. on June 23, 1757 where the Nawab's army came out of its fortified camp and launched a massive cannonade against the British camp.

The 18th Century historian Ghulam Husain Salim describes what followed:

" Mīr Muhammad Jafar Khān, with his detachment, stood at a distance towards the left from the main army; and although Sirāju-d-daulah summoned him to his side, Mīr Jafar did not move from his position. in the thick of the fighting, and in the heat of the work of carnage,
whilst victory and triumph were visible on the side of the army of Sirāju-d-daulah, all of a sudden Mīr Madan, commander of the Artillery, fell on being hit with a cannon-ball। At the sight of this, the aspect of Sirāju-d-daulah's army changed, and the artillerymen with the corpse of Mīr Madan moved into tents. It was now midday, when the people of the tents fled. As yet Nawāb Sirāju-d-daulah was busy fighting and slaughtering, when the camp-followers decamping from Dāūdpūr went the other side, and gradually the soldiers also took to their heels. Two hours before sun-set, flight occurred in Sirāju-d-daulah's army, and Sirāju-d-daulah also being unable to stand his ground any longer fled. "

At around 11:00 a.m., Mir Madan, one of the Nawab's most loyal officers, launched an attack against the fortified grove where The East Indian Company was located, and was mortally wounded by a British cannonball. This cannonade was essentially futile in any case; the
British guns had greater range than those of the French.

At noon, a heavy rainstorm fell on the battlefield, wherein the tables were turned. The British covered their cannons and muskets for protection from the rain, whereas the French did not.

As a result, the cannonade ceased by 2:00 p.m. and the battle resumed where Clive's chief officer, Kilpatrick, launched an attack against the water ponds in between the armies. With their cannons and muskets completely useless, and with Mir Jafar's cavalry who were closest to the English refusing to attack Clive's camp, revealing his treachery, the Nawab was forced to order a retreat.

By 5:00 p.m., the Nawab's army was in full retreat and the British had command of the field.

The battle cost the British East India Company just 22 killed and ५० wounded (most of these were native sepoys), while the Nawab's army lost at least 500 men killed and wounded.

The Battle of Plassey is considered as a starting point to the events that established the era of British dominion and conquest in India.

Mir Jafar's and Robert Clive’s fate

Mir Jafar, for his betrayal of the Nawab Siraj Ud Daulah and alliance with the British, was installed as the new Nawab, while Siraj Ud Daulah was captured on July 2 in Murshidabad as he attempted to escape further north. He was later executed on the order of Mir Jafar's son.

Mir Jafar as Nawab chafed under the British supervision, and सो requested the Dutch East India Company to intervene. They sent seven ships and about 700 sailors up the Hoogley to their settlement, but the British led by Colonel Forde managed to defeat them at Chinsura on
November 25, 1759। Thereafter Mir Jafar was deposed as Nawab (1760) and they appointed Mir Kasim Ali Khan, (Mir Jafar's son-in-law) as Nawab. Mir Kasim showed signs of independence and was defeated in The Battle of Buxar (1764), after which full political control shifted to the Company. Mir Jafar was re-appointed and remained the titular Nawab until his
death in 1765, while all actual power was exercised by the Company.

Robert Clive was appointed Governor of Bengal in 1765 for his efforts. William Watts was appointed Governor of Fort William on June 22, 1758 । But he later resigned in favour of Robert Clive, who was also later appointed Baron of Plassey in 1762. Clive later committed suicide in
1774, after being addicted to opium.




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