Bengal Conquest: Establishment of East India Company

In the previous post, we have read about the Carnatic Wars. Carnatic Wars concluded by the Battle of Wandiwash in 1760. These wars decided the fate of Britishers. They were now the sole authority of Indian Subcontinent. So, from here Britishers started their imperialistic movement in Indian Subcontinent. Their first prey was Bengal.

Indian Subcontinent
Indian Subcontinent

Conquest of Bengal

Bengal: Kuber of Indian Subcontinent
Bengal: Kuber of Indian Subcontinent

The first governor of Bengal province was Murshid Quli Khan (1700 CE). Bengal was the Kuber of Indian Subcontinent because this province was full of the treasury. First British factory was established in Bengal in 1651. The factory was at Hooghly. So, from 1651 to 1717 company turned into economic cum political power in Bengal because of the following developments.

East India Company

Dr Boughton Episode, 1651

In 1651, East India Company established their first factory in Hooghly. In return for the services of Dr Boughton, Shuja-ud-Din (Governor of Bengal) gave relaxation to East India Company that for the annual payment of 3000/- company can carry its trade and commerce in Bengal.

Gift of Azim-us-Shan, 1698

In 1698, pleased with the services of East India Company Azim-us-Shan gave them zamindari of three villages Govindapur, Sutnati and Kalikat. So, in this way company became Zamindar in Bengal and they got the glimpse of prosperity and wealth of Bengal.

Dastak (Farukhshiyar, 1717)

In 1717, Mughal Emperor Farukhshiyar showed his indebtedness towards Dr Franklin of East India Company. Actually, Dr Franklin cured Farukhshiyar so as a return for this he not only renewed the previous grants but also gave the gift of Dastak to East India Company.

This became a boon for East India Company but curse for Bengal Nawabs. But this Dastak helped East India Company to establish their authority over Bengal.

About Dastak

East India Company: Dastak Pass
East India Company: Dastak Pass

Dastak meant pass under it goods of the company got an exemption from transit duty. So, the misuse of Dastak became the cause of the rift between the company and Bengal Nawabs. Employees of the Company started using Dastak for their personal purpose.

So, in some cases, they gave it to their Indian friends. This was a financial loss to the treasury of Bengal and created a rift between Bengal Nawabs and Company. From 1717-1756, Bengal was under powerful Nawabs and the company was still a trader. So, Nawabs were successful in taming the company. But the situation changed with the arrival of Siraj-ud-Daula.

We will discuss the reign of Siraj-ud-Daula and his successor in the next coming post.

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