Robert Clive

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Robert Clive

  • In this article, we will talk about Robert Clive as it is an important topic for the IAS exam aspirants. He was responsible for the East India Company getting control of Bengal, therefore, led to the conquest of the totality of the Indian subcontinent later on. We can say that Robert Clive laid the foundation of the British Raj in India.

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  • The first British Governor of the Bengal Presidency, Robert Clive began as a writer for the East India Company.
  • He was born in England in 1725 and established the military and political supremacy of the East India Company by securing a decisive Viceroy at the battle of Plassey in Bengal.
  • In 1744, he reached Fort St. George (Madras) to work for the East India Company as a company agent. he enlisted in the company army where he was able to prove his ability and earn great fame for his role in the siege of Arcot which saw a British Viceroy against the larger forces of Chanda Sahib, The Nawab of the Carnatic and French East India company’s force. Robert Clive is also known as Clive of India
  • Initially, he stayed in India from 1744 to 1753 and was called back to India in 1775 again to ensure British supremacy in the subcontinent against the French.
  • Now, he became the Deputy Governor of Fort St. David at Cuddalore.
  • Robert Clive along with Admiral Watson was able to recapture Calcutta from the Nawab of Bengal Siraj Ud Daulah in 1757.
  • Bengal Nawab had a larger force but he was defeated by the British in the battle of Plassey. Clive induced the Nawab’s army commander Mir Jaffar who was installed as Bengal’s Nawab after the battle and thus delivered a decisive English victory. He was also able to capture some French Forts in Bengal.
  • Clive was made Lord Clive, Baron of Plassey for these exploits and after this battle, the British became the supreme power in the Indian subcontinent and this increased the fortune of the company because Bengal became theirs and was richer than Britain at the time. This war also opened up other parts of India to the British and led to the rise of the British Raj in India ultimately. That is why Robert Clive is also known as the ‘Conqueror of India’.

Clive’s Rule of Bengal

  • Robert Clive was the Governor of Bengal from 1757 to 1760 initially and during his first tenure as Bengal’s governor, under the Nawab Mir Jaffar, corruption was widespread.
  • The company’s main aim was to increase revenue at the expense of the peasants. He earned a great personal fortune in India and went back to Britain in 1760.
  • In 1765, he came back to India as governor and Commander-in-chief of Bengal.
  • There was rampant corruption in the company at this time. Therefore, Clive prohibited the employees of the company from engaging in private trade.
  • He also forbade them from accepting gifts and started a ‘Society of Trade’ in 1765 but it was terminated later.
  • Mir Qasim, the son in law of Mr Zafar ascended the royal seat of Bengal.
  • The Battle of Buxar was won by the British and it was fought between the British and the joint forces of Mir Qasim, Siraj- Ud-Daula and Shah Alam II, the Mughal Emperor.
  • Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha was granted to the British by the Mughal Emperor in return for an annual sum of money and Allahabad and Kora districts as a result of the Buxar Battle.
  • Clive refrained from annexing it, who could have had Awadh as well. He wanted to use it as a ‘buffer’ state between the British and the Marathas.
  • Although the Nizamat of Bengal remained with the nawab, the English held this power in reality.
  • The company was the Diwan and the Nawab had the Nizamat; this was the dual system of Clive.
  • Many Indians denounced him for the atrocities heaped upon its peasantry. He imposed high taxes and forced them to cultivate only cash crops leading to famines.
  • He earned a mass amount of personal fortune during his stay in India therefore he faced censure in England upon his return.

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