Battle of Buxar
The Battle of Buxar was fought between the joint forces of the Mughal emperor, the Nawabs of Bengal and Oudh, and the English forces. The battle has some historical context if one were to trace back its causes. Primarily, it was a result of the undue advantage that the British took off the trade privileges given to them, which was motivated by their imperial and colonial ambitions toward the territorial, economic and political acquisition of India.
Batlle of Buxar PDF
The Buxar Battle resulted from the East India Company's imperialist aspirations and the Nawab of Bengal's exploitation of trade privileges granted to him. Hextor Munro led the East India Company in the war.
Background of Battle of Buxar
There is a long history behind the British occupation of India. The battle of Buxar instated their dominance over the Indian subcontinent. Bengal was the first site of colonial domination. Let's review the historical background of the state and its subsequent tumbling effect, which ultimately led to the Battle of Buxar 1764.
- Mughal Period: Ever since the Mughal Period, Bengal has held great weightage and importance as a province. It was one of the most fertile provinces. It was also very wealthy. The Mughal Bengal included the states of Bihar, Orissa, and present-day Bangladesh. The power of authority was in the hands of the Nawab of Bengal.
- Economic Importance: The province of Bengal held great economic value and significance for its world-class textiles, saltpeter, and silk. A regular stream of exports from Bengal to Europe of saltpeter, indigo, rice, silk, cotton, handicrafts, etc. Nearly 60% of the British imports from Asia comprised goods from Bengal.
- British Period: Bengal was the stepping stone for the British imperial powers. It was the first kingdom to have been occupied by British forces. The East Indian Company had a good trade set up here. Bengal's enormous wealth and resources made the idea of dominating India a reality for the British. The 1690s saw the British East India Company lay the foundation in Calcutta and establish the British commercial settlement as we know it today. A sum of Rs 3,000 (roughly £ 350) per annum was paid to the Mughal emperor by the EIC for permitting their business in Bengal.
- Conflicts among Nawabs and the British: British enjoyed special privileges under the Mughal Empire, which the Nawabs of Bengal opposed because this meant losses to their provincial powers. The friction between the Nawabs and the British was motivated by commercial interests. The British saw that maintaining direct power over the provinces made the nawabs blind to the rise of indirect yet ultimate power in their hands.
Causes of Battle of Buxar
The Battle of Buxar followed an earlier Battle of Plassey, which helped the British find their footing in the Bengal province. The Battle of Plassey was fought in June 1757 between the British forces and the Nawab of Bengal with his French allies. This battle resulted in the dethroning of Siraj-Ud-Daulah as the Nawab of Bengal. Mir Jafar replaced him.
Mir Jafar was appointed as the puppet of the EIC. However, when he got involved with the Dutch East India Company, he was replaced by his son-in-law Mir Qasim. A pension of Rs 1,500 was sanctioned to Mir Jafar when he resigned in favor of Qasim.
Some of the reasons that proved to be key for the Battle of Buxar are listed below:
- Mir Qasim was driven by selfish goals when he shifted his capital to Munger Fort from Calcutta. He started building an army by providing foreign training from experts; some were in direct conflict with the British.
- There was no special treatment granted to the English merchants. To him, Indian and British merchants occupied the same ground.
- The English decided to overthrow him as he was not the puppet that they had hoped for when they appointed him. He made it difficult for the British to rule indirectly and reap the benefits of a province like Bengal. A war broke out between Qasim and the British in 1763.
- Qasim wanted to streamline his administration by functioning as an independent monarch, free from British influence and indirect control. He did not like the use and misuse of Dastak and Farman done by the British EIC. he also worked toward reducing the expenditure on palaces and administrative activities, which did not sit well with the British.
- Shah Alam II of the Mughal Empire and Shuja-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Oudh, were not happy with the EIC's expansion in the province of Bengal and their subsequent misuse of trade liberties which was hurting their commerce. This led to an alliance between their forces with Qasim for their mutual benefit and interest.
- The British wanted preferential treatment that would favor their commerce over their competitors. This was not provided by Mir Qasim, who treated the British merchants like the Indian merchants. The British started incurring huge losses because of this. This made the conquering of Bengal a necessity.
Battle of Buxar Was Fought Between
The table below provides details about the participants in the battle of Buxar and their significance in the battle:
Participants of the Battle of Buxar
Role in the Battle of Buxar
Mir Qasim (Administering Bengal in place of Mir Jafar, Nawab of Bengal)
Did not like the misuse of dastak and farms by the English making him conspire against them. Formed an alliance with the Nawab of Awadh and the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II for the Buxar War
Shuja-Ud-Daulah (Nawab of Awadh/Oudh)
Was a part of a confederacy with Mir Qasim and Shah Alam-II
Shah Alam II (Mughal Emperor)
Wanted to overthrow English from Bengal
Hector Munro (British Army Major)
Led the Battle of Buxar from the English side
Signed the treaties with Shuja-Ud-Daulah and Shah Alam-II after winning the Battle of Buxar.
Buxar War Timeline
The trajectory of the Battle of Buxar has been discussed below;
- The battle broke out in the year 1763. This resulted in the successive victory of the British EIC at Giria, Munger, Sooty, Murshidabad, and Katwah. This caused Mir Qasim to flee to Awadh and form an alliance with Shuja-Ud-Daulah (Nawab of Awadh) and Shah Alam II (Mughal Emperor).
- Mir Qasim was desperate to maintain his rule over the province of Bengal.
- He arranged for a meeting with the troops directed by Major Munrow earlier in 1764 with his own troops to strategize better.
- However, the effort was in vain as the English army, with their firearms and effective leadership, overpowered the confederacy between Qasim, the Nawab, and Shah Alam II.
- Mir Qasim could abscond from the Battle of Buxar while the other two surrendered to the English army.
- The Treaty of Allahabad marked the end of the battle of Buxar in 1765.
Impact of Battle of Buxar
The results of the Battle of Buxar have been discussed below;
- The confederacy formed by the troops of Mir Qasim, Shuja-Ud-Daula, and Shah Alam-II was defeated by the British forces on the 22nd of October 1764.
- Major Hector Munro led the British army to a victory, with Robert Clive playing a major role in that. After the Buxar war, the English became a great power in the North, with the province of Awadh and the Mughal territory under them.
- The districts of Midnapore, Burdwan, and Chittagong were handed over to the English to maintain the army by Mir Qasim.
- After the Battle of Buxar 1764, Duty-free trade permits were given to English merchants. Only salt was still taxed at 2 percent.
- The death of Mir Jafar put Najimud-Daula, his minor son, on the throne. However, this was merely a nod-off to the position as all of the administrative powers and military were in the hands of the English.
- The Treaty of Allahabad settled things with Shah Alam II and Shuja-Ud-Daula of Awadh. Robert Clive headed this.
Treaty of Allahabad
There were two important treaties that were concluded in the city of Allahabad between Robert Clive, Shuja-Ud-Daulah & Shah Aam-II. The key points of the treaty related to the Battle of Buxarhave been listed below;
Treaty of Allahabad between Robert Clive & Shuja-Ud-Daulah
- Shuja would have had to surrender Allahabad and Kara to Shah Alam II
- Shuja had to pay Rs 50 lakh to the EIC as a cost of the war indemnity
- He had to surrender his estate to Balwant Singh, a Zamindar of Benaras
Treaty of Allahabad between Robert Clive & Shah Alastrategiseer, the state of Allahabad, has been ceded to Shah Alam II by the Shuja-ud-Daulah; he had to reside there under the EICs protection.
- The Diwani of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa were handed over to the Company after a Farman had been summoned by Alam for a payment of Rs 26 lakh annually.
- For the return of the Nizamat functions like defense, police, and carrying out the course of justice, Alam had to pay Rs 53 lakhs to the Company.
Significance of Battle of Buxar
The Battle of Buxar is a very significant part of history because of the following reasons;
- The Bengal province saw colonial domination formally cemented through the Battle of Buxar. The forces of the EIC had defeated and replaced the Nawab. Now the entire province (present-day Bangladesh and states of Bihar and Orissa) were under the British. Munro defeated the troops of the confederacy, and the absconding Mir Qasim died in obscurity and poverty even when he ran with great wealth.
- The Battle of Plassey in 1757 had ended the independence of the Nawab in Bengal. Still, the Battle of Buxar saw political control and domination from the British troops over the Awadh and Mughal Empire as well.
- The Battle of Buxar was responsible for providing the British with the strong foothold that helped them colonize the entire country of India later.
Battle of Buxar UPSC Questions
Question: The first decisive military success of the English East India Company in India is marked by
- Battle of Buxar
- Battle of Plassey
- Battle of Wandiwash
- Battle of Chilianwala
Question: Who among the following joined Mir Qasim and Shuja-ud-Daula in declaring war upon the English East India Company and was later defeated by the British at the Battle of Buxar?
- Jahandar Shah
- Muhammad Shah
- Shah Alam II
Battle of Buxar UPSC
The Battle of Buxar is a relevant topic in the History syllabus for UPSC. It is a turning point of the Indian independence struggle, making it an often enquired-about topic in the UPSC Prelims, UPSC Mains and optional papers.
Candidates should brush up on their basics well and commit all the facts to their memory. Follow appropriate History books for UPSC exam preparation. You can also refer to our collection of Indian History notes for UPSC for a concise way of cracking the huge syllabus.
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