The Battle of Buxar

10 Nov 2022  Read 741 Views

The most historic battle that led the groundwork for British rule in India for almost the next 183 years. We are talking about the Battle of Buxar, fought on October 22, 1764, between the British army led by Hector Munro and an alliance of Indian rulers from Bengal, Awadh & the Mughal Empire. After winning the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the Britishers set their sights on Bengal. And the battle of Buxar was fought thereon, which ended in 1764, with the Mughal Emperor surrendering and Bengal coming under British control. This article will discuss the battle of Plassey and battle of Buxar; who fought the battle of Buxar? what were the results of battle of Buxar? And many more. So, let’s get started.

Battle of Plassey & Battle of Buxar

The popular battle of Plassey was fought before the battle of Buxar, and it was this Battle of Plassey which gave the British a strong footing in Bengal. After this, Siraj-Ud-Daulah was dethroned as the Nawab of Bengal & was replaced by Mir Jafar (Commander of Siraj’s Army). After Mir Jafar became the new Nawab of Bengal, he became a puppet in the hands of the British East India Company, but later, Mir Jafar got involved with the Dutch East India Company.  Therefore, Mir Qasim was supported by the Britishers and, under their pressure, became the new Nawab. Hence Mir Jafar decided to resign. 

  • Mir Qasim wanted independence and shifted his capital to Munger Fort from Calcutta.

  • To train his army, he hired some foreign experts. Few of them were in direct conflict with the Britishers.

  • He treated Indian merchants and Britishers as same, with no special privileges given to the English.

  • These factors outraged the English to overthrow him, and as a result, war broke out between Mir Kasim & the Company in 1763.

Causes of the Battle of Buxar

  1. Mir Qasim desired to become a monarch of Bengal Subah and rationalized his administration’s functioning. He was also against the misuse of Dastak and Farman instruments by the British East India Company. 

  2. His economic reforms reduced expenses on palaces and administration, which triggered the rage of British colonialists.

  3. Aggrieved by the British East India Company expansion in Bengal and Company’s unfair trade practices, Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II and Awadh’s Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah formed a united front with each other alongside Mir Qasim.

  4. The British East India Company expected Mir Qasim to stay loyal to them & have trade advantages vis-a-vis their competitors (Indian merchants), but the Nawab refused to agree. Due to this factor, the East India Company started incurring huge revenue losses in Bengal. 

  5. Hence, the motive of the Britishers to conquer Bengal flourished.

Who were the combatants of the Battle of Buxar?

Participants of Battle of Buxar

Role in the Battle of Buxar

Mir Qasim 

He hated the misuse of dastak, farmans by the Britishers and united with Nawab of Awadh, Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II.

Shuja-Ud-Daulah – Nawab of Awadh (Oudh)

He was a part of a confederacy with Mir Qasim and Shah Alam-II

Shah Alam II – Mughal Emperor

His aim was to overthrow the Britishers from Bengal

Hector Munro – British Army Major

He led the battle of Buxar from the Britisher's side

Robert Clive

Signed the treaties with Shuja-Ud-Daulah and Shah Alam-II after winning the battle (who supported Mir Qasim in the battle)

Who won battle of Buxar?

The battle of Buxar was fought between Mir Qasim & his united fronts against the Britishers, and the Britishers defeated them. As a result, Mir Qasim absconded from the battle, and the other two allies surrendered to the English army. Also, the battle of Buxar ended with the Treaty of Allahabad in 1765.

Consequence of Battle of Buxar

  • Mir Qasim, Shuja-Ud-Daula and Shah Alam-II lost the battle on October 22, 1764.

  • Major Hector Munro (who commanded the British East India Company) won this battle, and Robert Clive played a major role in it.

  • Britishers became a big power in northern India.

  • Mir Jafar handed over districts of Midnapore, Burdwan and Chittagong to the English to maintain their army.

  • The Britishers were allowed duty-free trade in Bengal, except for a duty of 2% on salt.

  • After Mir Jafar’s death, his minor son, Najimud-Daula, was appointed Nawab. Still, the actual administration powers were in the hands of the naib-subahdar, who could be appointed or dismissed by the Britishers.

  • Robert Clive entered into settlements via treaty with Emperor Shah Alam II & Shuja-Ud-Daula of Awadh in the Treaty of Allahabad.

Treaty of Allahabad 1765

In August 1765, Clive signed two significant treaties in Allahabad, one with the Nawab of Awadh & the other with the Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II. Under this, Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula agreed to surrender Allahabad, Kara to Emperor Shah Alam II & pay Rs 50 lakh to the Company as war indemnity and give full possession of his estate to Balwant Singh, Zamindar of Banaras, whereas; on the other hand, Shah Alam II agreed to reside in Allahabad, which was surrendered to him by the Nawab of Awadh, under the protection of the East India Company. He also issued a Farman granting the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa to the East India Company in exchange for an annual payment of Rs 26 lakh; and to provide Rs 53 lakh to the Company in lieu of the said provinces nizamat functions (military defence, police, & administration of justice).

Dual Government in Bengal (1765-72)

  • After the battle of Buxar, the East India Company became the true ruler of Bengal.

  • Robert Clive in Bengal established the dual system of government, which means the rule of the Company & the Nawab, under which both the Diwani, (revenue collection) and nizamat (military defence, police, & administration of justice) came under the control of the Company.

  • The Company exercised Diwani and nizamat rights via its right to nominate the deputy subahdar. These rights were inherited from the Emperor & the Subahdar of Bengal.

  • It just showed the Indian ruler as an authority while retaining the actual sovereign power in the hands of the Company, not the ruler.

  • The Nawab maintained peace and order, but he had to rely on the Company for funds and forces.

  • The Company appointed two deputy diwans, Mohammad Reza Khan for Bengal and Raja Sitab Roy for Bihar, to perform diwani functions.

  • This dual government led to a massive administrative breakdown, which was disastrous for the people of Bengal. Both the Company & Nawab were not concerned with the public welfare.

  • Ultimately, in 1772, Warren Hastings abolished the dual system.

 Conclusion

It is interesting to note that Robert Clive actually didn’t want to annex Awadh as it would have needed the Company to protect a wide-ranging land border from Afghan & Maratha invasions. The treaty we discussed in our article turned the Nawab into a trustworthy ally of the Company and converted Awadh into a buffer state (Shuja-ud-Daulah was the Nawab of Awadh who signed the treaty). Mir Qasim, the man behind the Battle of Buxar, ultimately was dethroned, and he spent the rest of his life in poverty before he took his last breath in June 1777. 

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 110 Post(s)

Kakoli Nath is a legal Content Curator at Finology Legal who pursued BBA.LL.B (5 years integrated course) & she is a patent analyst. She has pursued advanced certification in Forensics Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

Liked What You Just Read? Share this Post:

Finology Blog / Legal / The Battle of Buxar

Wanna Share your Views on this? Comment here: