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Battle of Buxer

The battle of Bauxer was a significant event in the history of India that proved beyond any doubt and was a demonstration of the British military superiority over the Indians. It strengthened the foundations of the company’s rule in India that was laid by the battle of Plassey. The battle of Bauxer was fought on October 22, 1764 on the bank of river Ganges in Bengal between the forces of the British East India Company and the combined strength of Mir Qasim, Nawab of Bengal, Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula, Nawab of Oudh and Shah Alam, the Mughal Emperor. However, the predominant numerical superiority of the native forces proved helpless and the British emerged victorious.


The battle was primarily the outcome of the existing tension between the company and Mir Qasim. After the battle of Plassey the throne of Bengal was handed over to Mir Jafar as earlier agreed. In 1760 Mir Jafar was replaced by son in law, Mir Qasim who handed over the districts of Chittagong, Midnapor and Burdwan to the company but at the same time tried his level best to recover Bengal from the clutches of the company and restore its independent status. He did not appear ready to accept the company’s suzerainty over him. Therefore he transferred his capital from Murshidabad to Monghyr so that he could act independently without accepting any outside interference in the running of administration. He also organized his army on the European lines besides developing the firearms. He was doing all this to overthrow the authority of the company that brought him on top of the enemy list of the company.


However, the crunch came when Mir Qasim forbade all private trade. This was resented by the company’s officials very much. The company had been enjoying the right of free trade under the imperial Farman of 1717. But the same right was being misused by the company’s officials by having their own private trade under the same privilege. It was causing enormous loss of revenues to the Nawab that he cannot afford. So, he took drastic measures and ordered his officials to capture all the boats belonging to the English merchants despite the fact they had Dastaks. The Nawab abolished Dastak and thus brought the foreign traders at par with the locals in terms of the privileges. Besides, he undertook some other measures as well to the detriment of the company’s interests. He increased the number of custom stations to check private trade. He increased the number of soldiers at chaukies to stop British boats. These measures resulted in great financial loss to the company that also reacted to foil these plans.


It was not liked by Mir Qasim. As a result a quarrel started. A meeting was arranged in 1762 between Mir Qasim the governor of Bengal but no bridging of gulf took place. The company’s officials got infuriated. The English agent at Patna occupied it provoking the wrath of the Nawab who attacked Patna. But he had to suffer three successive defeats in three successive battles namely: Katwa, Gheria and Udaynal. He fled to Oudh where he organized a confederacy against the British along with Shah Alam 2 and Shuja-ud-Daula. Behind him in Bengal, the company once again enthrones Mir Jafar to the throne of Bengal.


Shuja-ud-Daula wanted to destroy the British influence in Bengal but never had enough resources at his disposal to undertake this venture of attacking the British settlements in Bengal. Shah Alam had also retired to Oudh but was ready to pay any cost for destroying the British power in India. He was ready to afford all available resources for this purpose. Now, they united their horns against the company and formed a confederacy to wage a war against the company that was declared in 1764. Their combined army met the British forces on October 22, 1764 at Bauxer. The strength of the British forces was 10000 while that of the Muslim army was estimated to be around 40000. However, this huge army was defeated owing to the absence of any coordination among them. The British relied heavily on the gun-shooting that became their trademark in next two decades. As an outcome of the war, British paramountancy was established. But also the Diwani of Bihar, Bengal, and Orissa was got by the British.

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