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How the Treaty of Alinagar set the stage for the English East India Company’s political rise

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Modern Indian History from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

  

Source: IE

 Context: The Treaty of Alinagar strengthened the position of the British in Bengal and laid foundations for the Battle of Plassey a few months later.

  • The treaty was the prelude to the British seizure of Bengal.

 

The Treaty of Alinagar:

  • It was signed on 9 February 1757 between the British East India Company (Robert Clive) and the Nawab of Bengal (Siraj ud-Daulah).
  • Alinagar was the short-lived name given to Calcutta by the Nawab after it was captured by him.
  • Although the Nawab had taken control of the English fort in Calcutta, he signed the pact in response to the English military might and the threat posed by Afghans (under Ahmad Shah Abdali).

 

Terms of the treaty: The Nawab would recognize all the provisions of Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar’s farman of 1717 – exempt from paying duties on goods passed through Bengal, can fortify Calcutta, mint coins in Calcutta, etc.

 

Significance of the treaty:  The signing of the treaty was one of the events leading up to the famous Battle of Plassey, which set the stage for British colonial expansion in India.

 

Timeline of the initial phase of British Imperialism in India:
  • 1600 – The English East India Company was formed by a royal charter – A monopoly of all trade from England in the East.
  • 1613 – A royal Farman from Mughal emperor Jehangir allowed the Company to open its factories and warehouses.
    • The Company worked subservient to local rulers and established a thriving business.
    • The three primary trading towns where the British trade thrived were Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta (which account for 60% of all English imports from Asia).
  • After 1707 (the death of Aurangzeb) – The Mughal emperor remained the symbolic head, however, his actual power was fast diminishing.
  • 1717 – The Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar’s farman gave favourable terms to the Company to trade in Bengal, this was met with local opposition.
  • 1717 -1727 – Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, the new autonomous ruler of Bengal, refused to extend the 1917 farmaan.
  • 1755 – Worried about French competition, the English began renovating the fortifications in Calcutta without Nawab’s permission.
  • 1756 – Nawab Siraj ud Daula’s forces captured Fort William, Calcutta, and renamed it Alinagar.
  • February 9, 1757: Treaty of Alinagar – the eventual rise of the East India Company as a political force to be reckoned with.
  • June 23, 1757 – Battle of Plassey. The Company began territorial control that would serve its economic interests.

 

Insta Links:

Rise of East India Company

  

Mains Links:

Why did the armies of the British East India Company – mostly comprising of Indian Soldiers – win consistently against the more numerous and better-equipped armies of the then-Indian rulers? Give reasons. (UPSC 2022)

  

Prelims Links:

Economically, one of the results of British rule in India in the 19th century was the

    1. Increase in the export of Indian handicrafts
    2. Growth in the number of Indian-owned factories
    3. Commercialization of Indian agriculture
    4. The rapid increase in the urban population

 

Ans: 3