Bengal was a rich and flourishing region from the times of the Mughals. The East India Company was eyeing to have their foothold on this region from the day they landed in India.
Siraj-ud-Daulah was the Nawab of Bengal. British East India Company launched their offensive against the Nawab and his French allies on 23rd June 1757 under the leadership of Robert Clive.
Nawab’s army, with 50000 soldiers, 40 cannons and 10 war elephants, was defeated by only 3000 soldiers of Col Robert Clive due to the defection of Mir Jafar Ali Khan, Nawab’s commander-in-chief.
This decisive victory helped British East India Company to seize control of Bengal. After the battle was won, Robert Clive and his some 500 odd men led a route march. Robert Clive himself has mentioned somewhere that there were more than 10000 people who had gathered to watch. He felt even if those men had decided to pick up one stone each to hurl at them, they would have been decimated. But that never happened. Why? Why the people didn’t feel any remorse for being ruled by foreigners now? Was it due to lack of National Pride?
Just 4 years later, the Afghan army of Ahmad Shah Abdali, invaded India. The Maratha Peshwas, saw the same as a attack on our land. They proceeded with a large army all the way from Pune and fought one of the most bloodiest war in Indian history at Panipat. They were carrying on the legacy of Shivaji Maharaj. Though the Maratha’s were badly defeated, they inflicted severe damage to the Abdali army as well. Hence even after the victory, Abdali retreated back to Afghanistan, never to come back.
Circa 1963-64, Indian Defence Minister, Yeshwantrao Chavan was visiting Chandigarh. While returning back to Delhi by road, he insisted on visiting the site of Panipat war. There were some trees marked as makeshift memorial at Kaalaa Aamb. Mr. Chavan went and sat on the ground for some time. While getting up, he had tears in his eyes and he told his entourage - this is place where the Maratha’s have shed their blood, not for themselves but for our motherland.
If only all the kingdoms had shown such National Pride, as displayed by Maratha's, we would have never been ruled by invading foreigners for many centuries. We must learn from our history.
#Plassey #Panipat #NationalPride