Robert Clive – History, Governor of Bengal, Achievements, UPSC Notes

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Robert Clive became the Governor of Bengal twice. He was known for his exceptional military practices. His techniques and ideas helped establish EIC’s rule in Bengal. Robert Clive was called by various names such as Lord Clive, Baron of Plassey, Governor of the Bengal Presidency, or even called corrupt ‘nabob’.

Robert Clive was also called the Clive of India. Warren Hastings and Clive are remembered for creating a strong base of British rule in India. He established the dual system in Bengal. He also established the dominance of British rule by conquering Nawab of Bengal in the Battle of Plassey. Check out the impact of Robert Clive’s activities in India and the upliftment of British rule because of his work.

Who was Robert Clive?

Robert Clive was born on 29 September 1725. In his early days, he started as a writer for EIC. He joined Fort St. David after coming to India in 1744. Robert Clive in Fort St. David was assigned as the representative legislative leader. Warren Hastings and Robert Clive are accredited for the formulation of the British Empire in India.

  • Robert Clive was allowed to recover Calcutta alongside Admiral Watson from Siraj Ud Daulah, the Nawab of the Bengal province.
  • And with the victory in the Battle of Plassey, the British army took control over the Bengal. Mir Jaffar was introduced as the Nawab after the triumph.
  • Robert Clive was then called Lord Clive, Baron of Plassey. The battle of Plassey made the British army the stronger armed force.

Robert Clive – Governor of Bengal

He was assigned as Governor from 1757 to 1760, after which he returned back to Britain. After returning, he became the Governor from 1765 to 1767 along with Commander-in-Chief. He decreased the value of a currency which became uncontrolled. The laborers were economically harmed by his rule.

  • Robert Clive is also known for his immense collection of fortune from India, which he took back to Britain. He made various changes, such as prohibiting the private Exchange of goods for the organization’s representative. He started the “General Public of Trade,” which was later banished.
  • After Mir Jaffer, Mir Qasim became the ruler of Bengal. He wanted to take control away from the British rulers. He joined forces with Shiraj-Ud-Daulah and Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II to fight against the Britishers in the Battle of Buxar. As a result of this battle, Diwani of the following was given to the British as a trade-off along with Allahabad and Kora: Bengal, Bihar, and Odisha.

Robert Clive did an exceptional thing in utilizing the Awadh as a cradle state for the relations between Marathas and Britishers.

Robert Clive and Foundation of British Power

Lord Clive was in India from 1744 to 1753. He went to Britain to uplift British predominance against France. He acquired Calcutta from Siraj-ud-Daulah the Nawab of Bengal. The Battle of Plassey was combated by Robert Clive. He also acquired French forts in Bengal. These incidents led to Robert Clive being called Lord Clive and Baron of Plassey.

The Britishers acquired supreme dominance after the Battle of Plassey and this assisted them in establishing their rule and dominance in India. They acquired authority over Bengal which added to their accomplishments. Hence, Robert Clive is also known as the “ Conqueror of India”, he played an instrumental role in establishing the British Raj.

Robert Clive and Battle of Plassey

The Battle of Plassey was fought in West Bengal in the Plassey area on 23 June 1757. Robert Clive led the British army against Bengal’s Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daula. The French troops supported the Nawabs.

  • The Battle of Plassey is one of three pioneer battles that shaped the fate of British rule in India. Military supremacy was established after this battle.
  • The Indian scholars regard this battle as the event that helped the Britishers lay their roots of dominance in India. Robert Clive’s army was outnumbered in the Battle of Plassey, but the support of Mir Jafar (betrayal against Siraj-ud-daula), Rai Durlabh, etc., led to the victory of the British army.

Political Settlements by Robert Clive

Robert Clive did various settlements after his return to India in 1765. He took the rule of Bengal as the son of Mir Jafar was a minor. After this, he arranged different settlements with the various Nawabs. Some important settlements by Robert Clive were:

  • Settlement with the Emperor
  • Settlement with the Nawab of Awadh
  • Settlement with the Nawab of Bengal or the Dual government of Robert Clive

Settlement with the Emperor

Important settlements with the Emperor are as follows which were affected by the mercy of the English as they helped in the Battle of Buxar:

  • Diwani of Bengal, Orissa, and Bihar was taken by the British. And 26 Lakhs were paid to Emperor in return.
  • Kara and Allahabad were given to Emperor.
  • Jagir of Northern Sarkar was given to the British.

Settlement with the Nawab of Awadh

The settlement with the “Nawab of Awadh” was a bit surprising. He neither gave the control of Awadh to the Mughal emperor nor took it for company. Rather he did the settlement with Shuja-ud-Daulah that has been under-noted herein.

  • Awadh was ruled by Shuja-ud-daulah.
  • Nawab had to pay 50 Lakhs.
  • English did trade without paying tax in Awadh.

Dual Government of Robert Clive

The Bengal settlement consisted of the Diwani rights taken by Britishers. But the Nizamat was not taken from the Mughals. This was the reason the Mughals paid a fixed amount. This was known as the dual government of Robert Clive.

Reforms of Robert Clive

He initiated numerous reforms, though these were unsuccessful and he was condemned for the same. It disturbed the social structure of the country. The major administrative reforms initiated by Lord Clive have been mentioned here-

Civil Reforms of Robert Clive

Robert Clive witnessed the bribery and corruption practices prevalent in the states that fuelled the civil reforms of the state. The Company’s dastaks were misused. The servants were made to sign the agreement stating not to accept any gifts and not to pursue private trade.

The society of trade was furnished with the right and monopoly of trading betelnut, salt, and tobacco. The profits obtained were dispensed amongst the servants of the company. This surged the price of the commodities, and there was a surge of problems for the people of Bengal. This reform was later scrapped.

Military Reforms of Robert Clive

Field allowances were paid to military officers during that time. Later it was declared by the court of Directors to mitigate the double bhatta. The implementation of the order was not pursued. Later Robert Clive initiated a reform that the field allowances will be paid to the military officers who were catering outside the borderline of Bengal and Bihar. The White Brigades did not approve of these.

Robert Clive’s Death

Robert Clive faced various allegations on his first return to England after 1760. He was denounced as a corrupt ‘nabob’ in British Parliament. Despite all this, he returned to India and ruled till 1767.

He was politically attacked for taking a huge fortune with him and for corrupt policies. Various British generals accused him of the same.

British parliament resolved the decision in his favor. But on 24 November 1774, he died from suicide amidst various illnesses and depression. It was evaluated that his collected fortune was £500,000.

Robert Clive UPSC

Robert Clive came to India in 1744 as the organization specialist for EIC. When he entered India, he served at Fort St. George for two years. Indian scholars highly criticized the work of Robert Clive.

The unethical work of Robert Clive led to the starvation of Indian farmers and the production of money crops. He was blamed later on for taking his fortune with him to England. This topic is important for the UPSC exam and the candidates must cover it well. Questions can be asked about this topic in the IAS exam. Complete knowledge of the subject will allow the candidates in picking the right option and performing well in the exam.

Robert Clive UPSC Questions

It is essential for the candidates to practise the questions related to the topic. Practising questions on a daily basis will assist the candidates in gaining proficiency in the topics and subjects. Gaining knowledge of the subjects will help the candidates in solving the questions accurately in the exam.

Question: Take into account the following events and identify the correct chronological order of their occurrence. [1] Robert Clive re-arrived in India [2] Treaty of Allahabad [3] Battle of Buxar [4] Warren Hastings became the Governor of India.

Which of the following sequence is correct? [A] 3,1,2,4 [B] 3,2,1,4 [C] 1,2,3,4 [D] 4,3,2,1

Answer: (Option A) 3,1,2,4 Battle of Buxar- Robert Clive re-arrived in India- Treaty of Allahabad- Warren Hastings became the Governor of India.

Question: Take into consideration the following statements. [1] Robert Clive is known to be the first Governor-General of Bengal. [2] William Bentick was accredited as the first Governor-General of India.

Which of the following statements is correct? [A] 1 only [B] 2 only [C] Neither 1 nor 2 [D] Both 1 and 2.

Answer: Option B (Only 2) William Bentick was accredited as the first Governor-General of India.

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