While many of us might be knowing about Lord Clive of the English East India Company who led the British forces into a decisive victory in the Battle of Plassey with Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daula of Bengal in 1757, not many would be knowing that the person who won this battle lost the battle with self when he committed suicide in 1774.
The battle of Plassey is considered to be a watershed moment in the India history as it opened the floodgates of the British conquest of the Sub-Continent. Whereas hundreds of books have been written on this incident glorifying the British might and many including Macaulay and William Pitt have also written about the bravery of Lord Clive but not many dare to mention with equal fervor the final days Lord Clive and his tragic end.
Though the battle might have been decisive in terms of its implications for the future of the sub-continent but there was no glory and no bravery in the conduct of either British forces or Lord Clive in the battlefield as they had won it not on the basis of their bravery or on fair-terms but with the help of treachery by forging secret alliances with the traitors of Bengal namely Mir Zafar, Omichand, Rai Durlabh and Jagat Seth- a powerful banker of Bengal. In this manner, the fate of the battle was already decided before it even began. Once the battle was won, the British comfortably became the king-makers of Bengal and soon started virtually controlling the vast trade and commerce of Bengal which in turn solidified their military prowess in rest of the subcontinent.
Coming back to Lord Clive, he imposed a dual administrative system in Bengal in the aftermath of the battle under which revenue and the army were controlled by the British but maintenance of law and order remained the prerogative of the puppet Nawab (ruler). This led to a huge administrative failure which later acted as a justification for the British in taking complete control of Bengal. And after the battle of Buxar in 1764, Clive had not only extended his frontiers to Allahabad and Kara in the west but had also bargained from the weak Mughal Emperor Shah Alam the right of duty-free trade and preferential treatment for company merchants in some other big provinces besides Bengal.
Clive’s policies proved disastrous for civilians living under British rule as they were slowly being robbed off their wealth and honor while company merchants and officials were busy filling their coffers by draining the great Indian wealth and taking back its riches to Britain. His destructive and exploitative tax policies are also blamed for the great Bengal famine between 1769 and 1773, which reduced the population of Bengal by a third.
As a reward for establishing British Supremacy in India, Robert Clive was again made the Governor of Bengal in 1965 but after his return to England in 1769, he was put on trial on allegations of misappropriation of huge wealth and financial frauds during his stay and campaigns in India but he was somehow successful in not only getting himself completely exonerated for his alleged crimes but also got himself commended for the “great and meritorious service” he had rendered to the Great Britain.
But his great honor for his great and meritorious achievements for Great Britain in India could not stop him from committing suicide on 22 November 1774 just at the age of 49. The reasons behind his suicide remained a mystery as some alleged that he had stabbed himself or had cut his throat with a penknife while others whispered that he had taken an overdose of Opium– the same drug with which the British had infected and robbed China and the East. While many Britishers continue to regard Clive with much honour & admiration but for many others like William Dalrymple, he remains an ‘unstable sociopath’ whose atrocious policies caused widespread poverty, death, and famines in Bengal. So this was the fate of Lord Robert Baron Clive (the forerunner of the British Empire in India according to Percival Spear) in this Duniya and the Almighty knows best about the Aakhirah. Someone has rightly said- “As you sow, so shall you reap.”
They plan and plot and Allah also plans. Surely, Allah is the best of planners.Al-Quran 8:30
And every soul will be paid in full for what it has done, and they will not be wronged.Al-Quran 16:111
If you work righteousness, you work righteousness for yourselves; and if you commit evil, you do so against yourselves.Al-Quran 17:7