Siraj-ud-Daulla সিরাজ-উদ-দৌল্লা (1756-1757 AD)

Mirza Muhammad Siraj-ud-Daulla was the grandson of Nawab Alivardi Khan and son of Amina Begum and Zainuddin Ahmed Khan or Mirza Muhammad Hashim. He was born in 1733 and soon after his birth Alivardi Khan was appointed as the deputy governor of Bihar. So Siraj-ud-Daulla was regarded as a 'fortune child' in the family and his grandfather had special affection and favour for him. It is stated that Alivardi had given his heart to Siraj-ud-Daulla from the day of his birth and 'never kept him apart from himself'.

Alivardi Khan celebrated Siraj-ud-Daulla's marriage with Umdat-un-nisa (Bahu Begum), daughter of an aristocrat, Irij Khan, in August 1746, with  great pomp and grandeur. In May 1752, the nawab declared Siraj-ud-Daulla as his successor. On this occasion the European trading companies in Bengal also greeted him. During the closing years of his reign, premature death of some family members shattered Alivardi both mentally and physically and the old nawab died on 9th April 1756 at the age of eighty. Immediately before his death the nawab advised Siraj-ud-Daulla to strive for the suppression of the enemies (of the province) and devote himself to secure the well-being of the subjects by removing all evils and disorders. He implored Siraj to nurture the goodwill of the people and follow his (Alivardi's) footsteps. Luke Scrafton (one of The East India Company directors 1765-1768) relates that Siraj-ud-Daulla swore on the Quran at the death-bed of his grandfather that he would not touch any intoxicating liquor in future and that he kept the promise ever after. Siraj-ud-Daulla ruled for little over one year (April 1756 to June 1757). During his short lived administration the young nawab faced enemies from within the family as well as from out-side.

During the reign of Alivardi Siraj-ud-Daulla built a palace named 'Heera Jheel' (lake of diamonds) on the opposite banks of the present Hazarduari Palace. About a mile to the north west of Fara Bagh (garden of pleasure), opposite to Jaffarganj, is the site of the Palace. It is said that Siraj was very jealous of his aunts palace 'Moti Jheel' and wanted a similar palace of his own. The Heera Jheel palace is also known as 'Mansurganj' Palace. Siraj-ud-Daulla erected this palace with materials brought from the ruins of Gaur. The remains of the palace no longer exists. By 1788 AD, due to the change of course of river Bhagirathi, the whole Palace has been destroyed. Here were the famous treasure vaults of Siraj-ud-Daulla, After the battle of Plassey Mr. Walsh, the Commissary of the Army, accompanied Colonel Clive, Mr. Watts, the Resident, Mr. Lushington, Ram Chand the writer, and Naba Krishna the munshi, into the vaults of the palace. They found stored up there £176,000 in silver, £230,000 in gold, two chests of gold ingots, four chests of set jewels, and two smaller ones, containing loose stones and gems. Ram Chand, at the time of the battle of Plassey, was a writer on Rs. 60 a month. He died ten years afterwards, worth £720,000 in cash and bills; and he also left 400 large pots, eighty of which contained gold and the rest silver, £180,000 in land, and jewels to the value of £200,000. The following story is told of its completion, to explain the name of Mansurganj : As the building was nearly finished Siraj-ud-Daulla invited Allvardi to see it. When he came,Siraj-ud-Daulla locked him up in a room, and refused to release him unless the "zamindars" there paid a fine for their land. This request the Nawab was compelled to grant, and also to allow to his petulant grandson the privilege of erecting a granary. This granary the people called Mansurganj, i.e., the Granary of the Victorious Siraj-ud-Daulla, who outwitted his grandfather. The abwab or extraordinary taxation, extorted on this occasion, is said to have amounted to five lakhs.
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Reign as Nawab

Siraj-ud-Daulla received the title of 'Mansur-ul-Mulk, Seraj-ud-Daulla, Hybut Jang (Victory of the Country, Light of the State, Horror in War)'. He was to succeed as the Nawab of Bengal in April 1756 AD at the age of 27. Siraj-ud-Daulla's nomination to the nawabship caused jealousy and enmity of Mehar-un-nisa Begum or Ghaseti Begum (eldest sister of Siraj's mother Amina Begum), Raja Rajballabh, Mir Jafar Ali Khan and Shaukat Jang (Siraj's cousin). Ghaseti Begum possessed huge wealth, which was the source of her influence and strength. Apprehending serious opposition from her, Siraj-ud-Daulla seized her wealth from Moti jheel Palace and placed her in confinement. The nawab also made certain changes in high government positions giving them to his own favourites. Mir Madan was appointed Bakshi (Paymaster of the army) in place of Mir Jafar (মীরজাফর). Mohanlal was elevated to the post of peshkar of his Dewan Khana and he exercised great influence in the administration. These supercessions caused great mortification to Mir Jafar and Raja Rajballabh. Eventually Siraj-ud-Daulla suppressed Shaukat Jang, governor of Purnea, who was killed in a clash.

Siraj-ud-Daulla had three main grievances against the British - i) the unauthorized fortifications of Fort William, ii) illegal private trade and shameless abuse of dastaks by the company servants, and iii) illegal shelter given to the nawab's erring subjects. The nawab asked the British to take measures to remove his grievances and sent several diplomatic missions to Calcutta for amicable settlement of the dispute. The nawab demanded the extradition of Krishna Das and asked the English to demolish the new fortifications and ordered to fill up the ditch, which surrounded the Calcutta Settlement. The English insulted nawab's special envoy, who carried his letter to Calcutta.

On receiving intimation of Governor Goger Drake's refusal to break down certain fortifications that were in progress at Calcutta, Siraj-ud-Daulla attacked the English fortification at Cossimbazar and imprisoned all the English officers. The factory chief surrendered but the company's governor at Calcutta became obstinate. He then attacked Calcutta and drove the English out, forced Fort William to surrender. The Nawab was then to be falsely implicated in the infamous episode of the 'Black Hole' of Calcutta 1756 AD, in which 146 English prisoners are said to have suffocated to death by being confined to a small and airless prison 24 by 18 feet (8 by 6 meters) in size. Only 23 were said to have survived the overnight ordeal. The verdict of modern historians has exculpated Siraj-ud-Daulla from his being an active accomplice of this cruel murder. Four of the survivors of that night of horror, that added its gloom to the sufferings of the victims, one of whom was Holwell, were sent up by boat to Murshidabad. On arrival they were being led in chains through the streets of the city. Siraj on his return, while passing in his palanquin, noticed the prisoners and at once ordered their release.

Meanwhile the news of the English reverses at Cossimbazar reached Clive at Madras. Secret Conferences were held at Jagat Seth's (Madhab Rai and Swaroop Chand) house and the deposition of Siraj-ud-Daulla was decided upon. A mutual division of the treasury was made, in which the share of Omichand [^], one of the confederates, was put down at thirty lakhs. The plan of the white and the red treaty was then devised. When everything was finalised the company's forces under Robert Clive and Charles Watson moved towards Murshidabad.

The Nawab, apprehensive of the designs of the English had located his army at Plassey (পলাশী). This greatly offended Clive who sent Luke Scrafton with a request that Siraj-ud-Daulla should no longer keep his army at Plassey, the whole of which under Mir Jafar was recalled to Murshidabad. Foolishly secure of his position, the Nawab insulted Mir Jafar (মীরজাফর) in open Durbar and replaced him by appointing Khwaja Hadi as commander-in-chief. Subsequently when the designs of the English began to ooze out, he made a reconciliation with Mir Jafar. On the 21st of June 1757, the Nawabs army took up their former positions at Plassey. On the 22nd, the English army crossed the river and advanced towards it. The battle that decided the fate of India was then fought and won by the English. Betrayed by Mir Jafar, and deserted by his army, Siraj-ud-Daulla lost the skirmish at Plassey on 23rd June 1757 which has been dignified by historians with the epithet 'battle'. The forces of The East India Company under Clive triumphed, and the administration of Bengal fell into the hands of the Company. Siraj-ud-Daulla mounting his camel and escorted by 2000 horsemen, left the field for Murshidabad, which was reached before midnight of the 24th, with his favorite wife, Lutf-un-nisa Begum. Mir Jafar reached Murshidabad on the 25th June and Clive on the 29th. Mir Jafar received him in State at the Palace of Mansurganj, where the Nawab's Durbar had assembled. Clive placed him on the throne, and as representative of the East India Company, presented him with a Nazar of gold mohars and congratulated him as Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. He informed the assembly that it was fortunate that in the place of a tyrant they had secured a good ruler.

Walsh, Clive's secretary, entered into the vaults of the Palace and found stored there Rs 17,60,000 in Silver and Rs 23,00,000 in Gold, besides chests of precious stones. The inner treasury contained eight crores. Clive and others went to Jagat Seth's house (Madhab Rai and Swaroop Chand) and there arranged for the payments of the Stipulated amounts.

On the eighth day of his flight, Siraj-ud-Daulla, was brought back to Murshidabad and put to death by Mir Jafar's son Miran. There is a controversy over Siraj's death. Some historians say He was killed by Muhammad-i-Beg under instruction from Miran, others say He was shot and killed by a British soldier. There is another opinion that Siraj-ud-Daulla was murdered by Mir Jafar's savage son, Miran. The murder, according to the most authentic accounts, took place in the compound of the Jafarganj Deorhi, known as Nimak Haram Deorhi.
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Battle of Plassey, 23rd June 1757 (Pôlashir Juddho পলাশীর যুদ্ধ)

On 18th June 1757 Clive reached Katwa, about 80 miles north of Calcutta. There was much trouble to him. He had 800 Europeans and 2200 Indians; Siraj-ud-Daulla in his entrenched camp at Plassey (পলাশী) was said to have about 50,000 trained men with heavy artillery. On the morning of 21st June Clive called a war council, with Major Kilpatrick (the second-in-command) and five seniors and put to it the question, 'Whether in our present situation, without assistance and on our bottom, it would be prudent to attack the Nawab, or whether we should wait till joined by some country power'. After discussion, Clive and twelve of his officers voted that the danger of defeat was too great if they should try to advance: they must retreat. On the other hand, seven officers, led by Major Eyre Coote, voted against this, and advised an instant attack on the Nawab's camp. By thirteen to seven the council decided not to fight. Then Clive was left by himself. He was not happy in his mind, and as he strolled about in the shade of the trees he began to think the whole question over again. Delay, he, knew, was dangerous, and would, moreover, give time for the French to come to the help of the Nawab; the more the delay, the worse the position for the English. In an hour Clive had made up his mind; he would fight.

During the day no movement was made. The little army started at sunset, and after a terrible march in pouring rain, often through water waist-deep, reached Plassey at one in the morning, utterly worn out, Here they camped in a grove of mango-trees near the river, and not more than a mile from Siraj-ud-Daulla's army. The grove was about eight hundred yards long, by three hundred broad, and round it was a ditch and a bank of earth. It was a good position to defend. Close at hand stood a little hunting-box belonging to Siraj-ud-Daulla, and which was surrounded by a strong wall. Clive at once occupied this house. At night, as Clive reflected in his tent, the monsoon burst with torrents of rain, a warning that action must be speedy or it would be impossible. Clive must have had some bad moments in the flickering candlelight beneath the thudding of the rain. The next afternoon came what he had probably been waiting for, another message from Mir Jafar. He was on the march; he would inform Clive of his arrival at the nawabs camp; the time for action had come. This was enough. Two hours after receiving the message he crossed the river and made his way in pouring rain to Plassey grove.
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The next morning, 23rd June 1757, was clear and sunny. In the hard light Clive surveyed the scene of the battle. To the north across bright green fields lay Siraj-ud-Daulla's entrenched camp projecting from a loop in the river Bhagirathi. The East India Company's army led by Robert Clive, consisting of 950 Europeans and 2100 native Indian sepoys and a small number of guns was vastly outnumbered. 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. However, 16,000 of the 50,000 were under the control of Mir Jafar. Along with Mir Jafar, the troops commanded by Yar Latif and Rai Durlabh did not take part in the battle because of a secret pact made with the British. Only 5,000 troops actually engaged in battle, which was still significantly superior to the estimated 2,500 British soldiers facing them and there was a time when Clive thought that he would be forced to retreat. About three quarters of a mile to the south of the southern portion of Siraj's entrenchment lay Plassey House, a substantial hunting lodge surrounded by a wall, standing on the river bank. Just south of the lodge was a mango grove which gave shelter for Clive's force. A mile to the south again was the village of Plassey. Spreading out east of the river was a large treeless plain giving ample space for manoeuvre. Between the hunting-lodge and the entrenchment lay two tanks or artificial ponds which were to prove important in the battle.

Clive had stationed 500 men with 2 guns at Plassey House, which was his own headquarters and from whose roof  he could survey the whole field. The rest of the force lined the edge of the groove with their 8 remaining guns in front. At dawn Siraj-ud-Daulla's army marched out of their camp, gradually forming a semi-circle from the entrenchment nearly to the mango grove, thus threatening to outflank the small British force. In determined hands this threat could have proved lethal, but the encircling division was commanded by Mir Jafar himself. They were an impressive sight, as described by a young Company's servant, Scrafton : 'What with the number of elephants, all covered with scarlet embroidery; their horse with their drawn swords glittering in the sun; their heavy cannon drawn by vast trains of oxen; and their standards flying, they made a most pompous and formidable sight.' But all the generals were disloyal except Mir Madan who commanded on the nawabs extreme right close to the river. 50 Frenchmen with four guns stood at the larger tank, with Mir Madan in support.

A cannonade began at about 8 o'clock, the heavy guns of the enemy outranging the lighter British ones. These guns began to cause execution, leading Clive to withdraw his men to the shelter of the bank bounding the mango grove. Clive was now in real danger of encirclement. By noon he had decided to maintain the defensive cannonade till dusk, and then to try a night attack on the entrenched camp. At this moment the skies darkened, the thunder echoed and 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. This ended the first part of the battle. Siraj-ud-Daulla lost his loyal officer Mir Madan, who was mortally wounded by a cannon shot either during the cannonade or the cavalry charge. His death in Siraj-ud-Daulla's presence increased that young man's terror.
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The cannonade was resumed at about one o' clock but more feebly than before, presumably because the powder was still damp. Bewildered and baffled at Mir Madan's death, Siraj-ud-Daulla called Mir Jafar and implored him to save his life and honour. Mir Jafar advised the nawab to suspend action for the day and start afresh the next morning, and soon passed on the message to Clive. At three the Indians began withdrawing to their entrenchments, probably the result of Siraj-ud-Daulla's heightened fears after the death of Mir Madan, a cold interview with Mir Jafar, and the advice of his treacherous chief minister, Rai Durlabh, who persuaded his master to give orders to his troops to retire behind their entrenchments, and advised him to leave the field while there was yet time; the English, he said, were advancing, and the day was lost. Let his Highness the Nawab quit the field and save himself; his generals would hold the English in check and prevent their further advance.

The unhappy young Nawab, in an evil hour for himself, took this advice, and getting on a swift camel, fled to Murshidabad, taking with him as a guard 2000 of his best cavalry, and the remainder of his army began to retire.
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Clive returned to Plassey House to change his drenched clothes. At this moment Major Kilpatrick noticed that the enemy were limbering up their guns and were preparing to retire; he saw, too, that the French gunners and their guns were being left unsupported in a very dangerous position, a position from which, if the English could take it, the enemy might be fired into on their flank as they retired. Kilpatrick sent a message to Clive, and at once, with 250 Europeans and two guns, moved out from the grove to attack the French. Clive, when this message reached the hunting-box was sound asleep, and he was furious that any officer should make such a movement without asking for orders. At once he ran over to the detachment and spoke angrily to Major Kilpatrick. But at a glance he saw the extreme importance of the movement that Kilpatrick had been making, and sending that officer back for reinforcements, he himself led on the troops already on the spot. The commanding officer of the French, now seeing him self entirely deserted by the Nawab's men, poured into Clive's force one heavy discharge before retreating, and the important post he had held was seized by Clive. From this spot Clive advanced still further until he could fire into the Nawab's camp. In consequence, the Indians, re-emerged from their entrenchment, and there was a short sharp burst of firing. Then they retreated again and soon all was confusion. With the nawab's commanders turning back, the British made a fresh onslaught and there followed a general rout.

The battle was over by 5 in the afternoon and victorious Clive immediately proceeded towards Murshidabad. John Wood, a British soldier, who was present at Plassey, observed: 'such was this great and decisive battle by which a kingdom was conquered without there having been a general assault'. Siraj-ud-Daulla fled, leaving a still nervous Mir Jafar to occupy the Palace and treasury, and to await Clive's return before ascending the masnad or throne. The act ended with the capture of Siraj-ud-Daulla when nearing Bihar for safety, and his murder by Mir Jafar's son Miran. After the battle was lost Monsieur Sinfray took refuge in Birbhum. He was arrested by the Raja Ram Nath, and handed over to the English.
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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. 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.'

Plassey was decisive for the British in India and for Clive, But it was not notable as a battle - the fighting was marginal and the result fortuitous. Clive's reputation, which soared when the news of success reached Britain, plummeted later when his critics realized that it was more the work of a lucky trickster than a daring military genius. It showed no sign of military genius. He was firing notes rather than cannon balls to the last moment. In the battle itself he showed courage and resource and he took advantage of the enemy's loss of nerve in the afternoon. But he had the lucky bonus of Mir Madan's death and the decisive move was made by Kilpatrick without his orders.
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Battle of Plassey - Troops

British East India Company Siraj-ud-Daulla (Nawab of Bengal) and
French East India Company
Principal officers
Major Killpatrick
Major Grant
Then Major Eyre Coote, later Sir Eyre Coote
Captain Gaupp
Captain Richard Knox, 1st CO of the 1st Bengal Native Infantry
Mir Jafar Ali Khan - commanding 16,000 cavalry
Khuda-Yar Latif
Mir Madan
Jagat Seth's (Madhab Rai and Swaroop Chand)
Umichand
Rai Durlabh
Monsieur Sinfray - French artillery officer
Strength
950 European soldiers
2,100 Indian sepoys,
100 gunners,
9 cannon (eight six-pounders and a howitzer)
50,000 soldiers initially (only 15,000 of them participated in battle),
53 cannon
Regiment
1st Bombay European Regiment (103rd Regiment of Foot)
1st Madras European Regiment (102nd Regiment of Foot)
Royal Bengal European Regiment (101st Regiment of Foot)
1st Bengal Native Infantry (BNI)
(known as the Lal Paltan or Red Platoon in Hindi)

Regular British troops :
1st Battalion 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot
9th Battery, 12th Regiment, Royal Artillery
50 naval ratings
Approximately 35,000 untrained and undisciplined soldiers. Armed with matchlocks, pikes, swords, bows and arrows.

The Nawab also had the use of 15,000 cavalry who were better organised. These were mostly Pathan tribesmen armed with swords and long spears, and riding large horses

The French troops present at Plassey were 50 artillerymen from the garrison at Chandernagore under the command of Monsieur Sinfray. They were in charge of an artillery train of 53 large guns, mainly 18, 24 and 32 pounders. They also had four of their own guns.
Casualties and losses
22 killed (7 Europeans, 16 natives)
53 wounded (13 Europeans and 36 natives)
500 killed and wounded
   
Note : Out of the initial 35,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry, 35,000 of them were withheld by Mir Jafar, leaving 15,000 men to participate in the battle.


Four regiments were awarded a battle honour for Plassey; The 39th Regiment of Foot, the Bengal European Regiment, the 1st Madras European Regiment, and the Bombay European Regiment.

[Left : A French Gun captured at Plassey, 1757 AD. Currently at the Victoria memorial Museum, Kolkata, India]
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Battle of Plassey 1757, Regiments

East India Company :: 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot
The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment was formed in May 1958 by the amalgamation of The Devonshire Regiment and The Dorset Regiment. The senior of these was The Devonshire Regiment (11th), which had been raised in June 1685 by the Duke of Beaufort as The Duke of Beaufort's Musketeers, and in October of the same year restyled The Marquess of Worcester's Regiment of Foot when Beaufort handed command to his son. The regiment was subsequently known by the names of its various colonels until 1751, when it became the 11th Regiment of Foot. In 1782 this was redesignated the 11th (or the North Devonshire) Regiment of Foot, and in 1881 The Devonshire Regiment.

The two components of The Dorset Regiment were the 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot and the 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot. The senior of these was the 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot, which had been raised in 1702 as Colonel Richard Coote's Regiment of Foot. The name of the regiment then changed with its colonels until 1751, when it became the 39th Regiment of Foot, this in turn being modified to the 39th (or East Middlesex) Regiment of Foot in 1782. The Dorset association arrived in 1809, when the regiment became the 39th (or Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot. The motto of the regiment was 'Primus in India' (First in India), in reference to the fact that this was the first British army rather than Honourable East India Company army regiment to serve in India, and the uniform was scarlet with grass green facings. The nicknames associated with the regiment were "Sankey's Horse" and "The Green Linnets".

The 39th Regiment of Foot with a detachment of Royal Artillery were dispatched to India in 1754 at the request of The East India Company. There having been little thought given to adjusting military dress for tropical wear, the men wore the uniforms they had been issued in Britain, which were the based on the regulation 1751 uniform. This consisted of a thick wool coat of scarlet, faced with pale green lapels and cuffs, and bearing white lace, with scarlet waistcoats and breeches, white gaiters (brown for marching) and buff belt, plus a black cocked hat bound with white lace. The musicians carried drums painted with '39' on them. The green regimental colour had the Union flag in the upper left and the numerals 'XXXIX' surrounded by a wreath of laurels. The main firearm was the East India flintlock musket - 46 inches in length derived from the Brown Bess. Grenadiers were also part of the detachment.

Three companies of the 39th, 224 strong were the only British regular's at Plassey.
East India Company :: Royal Artillery
The first recorded use of cannon on the Battlefield was by Edward III at the Battle of Crecy in 1346 during the Hundred Years War. Up to the 18th century, artillery 'traynes' were raised by Royal Warrant for specific campaigns and disbanded again on there conclusion. This changed on 26 May 1716, when by the Royal Warrant of George I two regular companies of field artillery, were raised at Woolwich. Each company consisted of 5 officers, 9 NCOs, 30 gunners and 50 matrosses. The duty of a matross was to assist the gunners in traversing, sponging, loading and firing the guns. The title "Royal Artillery" (RA) was first used in 1720 AD.

On 1st April 1722 these companies were expanded to four, and grouped with independent artillery companies in Gibraltar and Minorca to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery, commanded by Colonel Albert Bogard. In 1741 the Royal Military Academy formed in the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich (RWA). The regiment expanded rapidly and by 1757 there were 24 companies divided into two battalions, as well as a Cadet Company formed in 1741. During 1748 the Presidential Artilleries of Bengal, Madras and Bombay, India were formed and then in 1756 saw the creation of the Royal Irish Regiment of Artillery. It is known that at Plassey there were 171 artillerymen including 50 sailors and 7 midshipmen with 10 field pieces commanded by Lieutenant Hater of the Royal Navy.

Uniform

As seen on the picture, the gunner holds a linstock which was a pike with two arms to hold the ends of burning fuses. He filled the touch-hole with powder from the horn on his right hip and light it from a safe distance with his linstock. He wears a blue coat with red half lapels, cuffs and turnbacks. His waistcoat and breeches are blue. He has white spatterdashes on his legs which must have required frequent washing. Black ones were also worn on campaign. For parade they wore white stockings. The officer carries a flintlock musket. His uniform differs, apart from being tailored and of fine material, in that it has blue lapels with gold buttons and gold lace. His waistcoat is red with gold lace edge and his breeches are red. His crimson sash is worn on the left shoulder, in 1747 it changed to the right shoulder and in 1770 it was ordered to be worn round the waist.

Mottoes and Arms

The Regimental Mottoes and Arms were granted by King William IV in 1832.
Mottoes : Ubique - Everywhere, Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt - Where Right and Glory lead.
The Coat of Arms of the Regiment is the Royal Arms and Supporters over a gun with the mottoes Ubique and Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt on scrolls above and below the gun.

Regimental Marches

The RA Quick March. (Quick)
Royal Artillery Slow March.(Slow)
The Keel Row.(Trot past)
Bonnie Dundee.(Canter past)
East India Company :: Bengal Native infantry (BNI)
Prior to the year 1757 AD, the military establishment of Bengal consisted of only one company of Artillery and four or five companies of European Infantry, with a few hundred Natives, armed after the manner of the country, for the protection of the several factories. After Calcutta was taken by the Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulla, the Council of Madras ordered Lord Clive and; Major Kilpatrick round to Bengal, with such a detachment of their troops which could be spared without endangering the safety of their own settlement. Several companies of Sepoys accompanied that detachment, and laid the foundation of the Bengal Native Infantry.

The battalion organised was nicknamed the Lal Paltan, because its troops wore the British Red Coats. 'Platoon' is an English word. It is derived from the French word 'peloton' and both or either may be considered to be the origin of the Indian word 'paltan'. Captain Richard Knox of the Madras establishment was Lal Paltan's first commanding officer. This was the first unit of the Company's native army to be organized on a battalion basis of the British Royal Army pattern.

In January, 1757 on the retaking of Calcutta and re-establishment of the Government, a battalion of Sepoys was ordered to be raised and officered from the Madras detachment. The establishment of a battalion of Native Infantry was then one captain, one lieutenant and one ensign, who acted as field officer. There was a Native commandant who took post in front with the captain, and a Native adjutant, who remained in the rear with the subalterns (Junior Officer). The battalion consisted of ten companies, two of which were grenadiers. Each company had a subedar, three jamadars, five hawaldars, four naiks, two tom-toms (small indian drums), one trumpeter, and seventy Sepoys. Each company had a stand of colours attached to it, of the same colour as the facings of the men; in the center of which was the subedar's device or badge, such as a sabre, a dagger, a crescent, and the Grenadiers, by way of distinction, had the British Union in the upper corner.
East India Company :: Bombay European Regiment
Four English companies of foot were sent to Bombay, in the spring of 1662 AD, to garrison that island, as a part of the dowry of Charles II's queen. These companies formed the nucleus of the corps formed in the days of John Company as the 1st Bombay European Regiment of Foot, which was, in 1863, brought into the British Line as the 103rd (Royal Bombay Fusiliers[1]). When the Territorial system was introduced into the British Army in 1881, the 103rd Foot became the 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The four new companies were commanded respectively by Sir Abraham Shipman, who had been appointed Governor of Bombay; Col. John Hungerford; Captain John Shipman; and Captain Charles Povey. Each company had a lieutenant, ensign, two sergeants, three corporals, two drummers and a hundred privates.

Sir A. Shipman's subalterns (Junior officer or subordinate) were Lieutenant Price and Ensign Thomas Fowlkes; John Shipman's were Lieutenant John Cole and Ensign Squire; Povey's were Lieutenant Forster and Ensign John Thome; Hungerford's were Lieutenant Twyning and Ensign Garth. In addition to the four companies of infantry sent to Bombay, a small detail of artillery formed a part of each company. A surgeon, surgeon's mate, provost-marshal, store-keeper, a chaplain, and gunsmith accompanied the expedition.

The fleet arrived at Bombay on 18th Sept. 1662, but the Portuguese Governor "refused to surrender the island to a government and nation of heretics". Shipman was unable to take or hold Bombay. The troops were landed on the small island of Anjadiva, near Goa, and the fleet returned to England. Soon after his return from Goa, Shipman died on 6th April, 1664, and Humphrey Cooke succeeded him as Governor and commander of the troops. Under Cooke the negotiations for the surrender of Bombay were continued. In March, 1667 AD, Charles II ceded Bombay to the East India Company. Sir George Oxenden was appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief in August of the same year.

The Regiment was numbered the 1st Bombay (European) Regiment on the foundation of a second European regiment in 1839, and designated the 1st Bombay (European) Fusiliers in 1844. As with all other "European" units of the Company, they were placed under the command of the Crown in 1858, and formally moved into the British Army in 1862, ranked as the 103rd Foot.

Uniform

the Bombay Regiment at its first raising, and for nearly a hundred years, had "sea-green facings" said to be the Braganza colours.
East India Company :: Madras Regiment
The fall of the town of Madras to the French in 1746, during the time of Robert Clive necessitated the formation of an army by the English to safeguard their commercial intersts in the costal areas. When in 1746 Madras fell to the French, the Governor and the council at Cuddalore, hastily recruited some people for the defence of Fort Saint David. The Sepoys recruited at that time had still to be disciplined. They possessed matchlocks, bows, arrows, swords or nay other weapons they could get. In these first groups were also included 5000 odd sepoys who had been recruited earlier in 1739 by the French for their fight against the Marathas. It was formed as a battalion in 1748 under the command of Major Stringer Lawrence, a veteran of action in Spain, Flanders and the Highlands, hired by the East India Company to take charge of the defense of Cuddalore. He laid the foundations of what was to become the Indian Army. The battalion was involved in all the battles against the French forces in India.

In 1756, the Madras Government despatched a large number of Madras Soldiers to Bengal under Clive to aid the company when Siraj-ud-Daulla captured Calcutta. In August 1758, more soldiers were enrolled and organised into Companies of 100 men each. On 4th December 1758, the first two Battalions of 8 companies each were formed. The sepoys of those Battalions dressed in scarlet coats and trousers fringed with blue and were armed with flintlock muskets. Each Battalion had 2 flank Companies with men selected for their superior physique called Grenadiers and were afterwards employed as Shock Troops on special tasks. In 1769 the Battalions came to be designated as Coast Companies.

Uniforms


References :
  • The handbook of British regiments - By Christopher Chant
  • Discovering English County Regiments - By Ian FW Beekett
  • An historical account of the rise and progress of the Bengal Native Infantry, from its first formation in 1757, to 1796 when the present regulations took place, together with a detail of the services on which the several battalions have been employed (1817) - By Captain John Williams
  • Notes And Queries : A Medium of Intercommunication for literary men, general readers, etc. Vol 10 (July-December, 1908)
  • [1] fusilier: A 'fusilier' was originally a soldier armed with a light musket - a 'fusil' - originally tasked with escorting artillery but by the early 18th Century used simply an honorific title, like 'Guards'. Back
  • The Madras Regiment : http://madrasregiment.org/history.htm

Plassey Gallery



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Life and Character

Siraj-ud-Daulla is usually proclaimed as a freedom fighter in modern India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan for his opposition to the British annexation. 'Siraj-ud-Daulla has been pictured', says the biographer of Lord Clive, 'as a monster of vice, cruelty and depravity. But though he may have suffered from the demoralizing effects of too much wealth and power at too early an age, he was in fact no more cruel than most eighteenth-century Eastern despots. His main fault was weakness, which caused him to be fickle and indecisive; he was also arrogant, of changeable temper, and lacking in courage.' (Mark Bence-Jones, Clive of India [London: Constable, 1974], p. 89). There are few contemporary Bengali accounts of the Nawab; and almost all the principal sources for his life are the writings of such Englishmen who were responsible for his overthrow.

The verdict of history is that whatever might have been his fault, Siraj-ud-Daulla neither betrayed his master nor sold his country.'The name of Siraj-ud-Daulla stands higher in the scale of honour than does the name of Clive. He was the only one of the principal actors who did not attempt to deceive'. [Sushil Chaudhury and KM Mohsin]

David Drummond ডেভিড ড্রামন্ড (1785 - 1843 AD) a Scottish Poet, came to India in 1813 AD, describes Siraj-ud-Daulla as a Great Nawab, in his Elegy [2] (এলিজি).
[Bengali Translation]
Ye British youth! Who mark, with envious gaze,
ব্রিটিশ যুবক তোরা ঈর্ষিত দৃষ্টিতে দেখেছিলি
A great Nabob returned from India's strand;
মহান নবাব এক ফেরে ভারতের কূল থেকে -
And fancy Wealth, profus as 'Phebus' rays,
সূর্য কিরণের মতো অফুরান ঐশ্চর্য ঝলক
Spontaneous showers upon the favoured land.
স্বতস্ফুর্ত বারিধারা প্রিয়তম দেশের ওপর।
 
Ah! little reckon ye the bright, the brave-
একবার ভেবে দেখ সে প্রদীপ্তি সেই সাহসতা
Denied weven fortime's humbled height to climb
এমনকি ছেড়েছিল সৌভাগ্যের সহজ সোপানও;
Who waned and wasted, Press an early grave,
নষ্ট শুষ্ক হয়েছিল মেনেছিল অকাল সমাধি -
And Sink, unheeded, in the rolls of time!
সময়ের অনুক্রমে ডুবে যেতে অলক্ষে অস্নেহে।...

Among Siraj-ud-Daulla's acts of uniquity are related his attempts to secure Tara, the widowed daughter of Rani Bhavani (রানি ভবানি) and his walling up alive Faizy or Faizen, the Baijee [3] (dancing girl) of exquisite beauty who weighed only 22 seers (a seer was approximately 0.93310 kg) and had been procured from Delhi at a cost of one lac of rupees. "She was, says the amorous Chronicle, of that Capital, a complete Indian beauty; of that right golden hue, so much coveted all over that region, and of that delicacy of person, which weighs only two and twenty seers, or about fifty pounds avoirdupois; a small delicate woman with a cool retreat, being the summum bonum of an Indian." -- A translation of the Seir mutaqherin - By Gholam-Hoseyn Khan, Tabatabai. Although Siraj-ud-Daulla was the most beauteous youth of his time, Faizy fell in love with Syed Muhamed Khan, brother-in-law of Siraj-ud-Ddaulla. When Siraj-ud-Daulla came to know about this Faizy was shut up in a closet, and the door was walled up; and three months later her skeletons were removed.

Khosh Bagh - Grave of Siraj-ud-Daulla
Siraj had no children by his first wife Umdat-un-nisa (Bahu Begum). Lutf-un-nisa Begum née Raj Kanwar, was his second wife. Originally a Hindu slave girl in the service of Amina Begum, Siraj's mother, she was called Raj Kunwar. Her youthful beauty and pleasing manners attracted the attention of the young prince. At his request Amina Begum gave away Raj Kunwar to Siraj, who married and named her Lutf-un-nisa Begum. Lutf-un-nisa Begum gave birth to a daughter who was named Qudsia Begum. Qudsia Begum was married to Mir Asad Ali Khan. They had four daughters.

After the battle of Plassey Lutf-un-nisa and her daughter were confined in Murshidabad before they were sent to Dhaka in 1758 and interned in the Jinjira Palace on the Buriganga for seven years. In 1765 she was released and brought back to Murshidabad. For Lutf-un-nisa some more misfortunes were in store. First, her son-in-law died, and in 1774 her daughter, leaving behind four grand daughters in her guardianship. The East India Company sanctioned rupees three hundred and fifty per month for the maintenance of the graves of Nawabs Alivardi and Siraj-ud-Daulla. Lutf-un-nisa arranged for daily recitation from the holy Quran at the graves. She personally visited the graves every evening and placed candles. She died in November 1790 and was buried at Khosh Bagh by the side of her husband.
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Family Tree :: Afshar Dynasty

Siraj-ud-Daulla married (first) at Murshidabad, before 22nd March 1745 Umdat-un-nisa [Bahu Begum Sahiba] (died on 10th November 1793) She was daughter of Nawab Mirza Muhammad Iraj Khan Bahadur grandson of Nawab Mustafa Quli Khan (Wazir to Prince Muhammad Azam Shah). Married (second) Lutf-un-nisa Begum Sahiba maiden name Raj Kanwar, a former Hindu slave and dancer (She died in November 1790 and was buried at Khosh Bagh by the side of her husband). Siraj-ud-Daulla had only one daughter.
  • Qudsia Begum Sahiba born at the Palace of Mansurganj near Murshidabad was before 23rd July 1754 (d/o Lutf-un-nisa Begum). She married Mir Asad Ali Khan Bahadur. She had issue, four daughters
    • Sharaf-un-nisa Begum Sahiba
    • Asmat-un-nisa Begum Sahiba
    • Amat ul-Mahdi Begum Sahiba
Reference : Christopher Buyers, Murshidabad Genealogy, Royal Ark


References :
  • A translation of the Seir mutaqherin or View of modern times, Being an History of India, from the year 1118, to the year 1194, of the Hedjrah, containing, in General, The reigns of the seven last emperors of Hindostan, and in particular, Account of the English Wars in Bengal; with a circumstantial detail of the rise and fall of the families of Seradj-ed-dowlah, and Shudjah-ed-Dowlah, the last sovereigns of Bengal and Owd - By Gholam-Hoseyn Khan, Tabatabai
  • Murshidabader Kobitacharchar Dhara - By Sayed Khaled Nawman   [মুর্শিদাবাদের কবিতাচর্চার ধারা - সৈয়দ খালেদ নৌমান]
  • [2] An Elegy is a song or poem expressing sorrow or lamentation especially for one who is dead. Back
  • [3] Baijee :: Court musicians and dancers (usually associated with the Mughal courts). The dancing girls also known as the 'nautch', 'tawaif' or the 'Baijee' (who were mostly Muslim women) were the bearers of the popular tradition of Kathak dance in colonial India. But the social reform movement of 1892 ('anti-nautch') made dance an immoral practice and subsequently the dancers were stigmatized as prostitutes. Kathak like other Indian dance styles was revived by the upper class, Brahmin elite and sanctified as a classical, Vedic and patriarchal tradition. Back
  • [^] Plan of White & Red treaty : Omichand, a rich Hindu banker threatened to report about the secret conspiracy between Clive and Mir Jafar, to Siraj-ud-Daulla unless he received thirty lacks of rupees as blackmail. It was then that Clive stooped to deceit, meeting fraud with fraud. An agreenient was drawn up to pay to Omichand, not the sum demanded, but twenty lakhs, if the scheme was successful. This document was first drawn up on white paper, and all mention of Omichand's name was omitted. A second bond was drawn up on red paper, in almost the same terms, but with Omichand's name in it. The false red paper was shown to the blackmailer. After the battle of Plassey Omichand came to Murshidabad, hoping to receive at once a portion, of his reward, but when the chief Hindus of the city were called into the presence of Lord Clive and the Nawab Mir Jafar, he found that there was no place assigned to him. When Omichand heard that the red paper which he held was a fraud, he fainted, and fell into the arms of the bystanders. He was carried home; where he lay almost insensible for days. He died about a year-and-a-half later, during a Pilgrimage. Back

Page Updated : November 08, 2012 04:14 am