Black Hole of Calcutta

Siraj ud-Daulah and the Black Hole of Calcutta 1756

Siraj, a young man of 23 years sat on the throne of Nawab of Bengal amid plots and counter-plots by the friends and family members. One of the adversaries was his maternal aunt Ghaseti Beghum who was placed by him in confinement. Another adversary was the greatest traitor of all times Mir Jafar who was not appointed him Mir Bakshi.

The young Nawab was wary of the growing intervention of the British in the affairs of the province. The ungovernable temper of Siraj led to a rupture with the English within two months after his accession. He marched upon Calcutta with a large army and laid the siege of the site of the Fort William.

Many British fled down the river in their ships and the remainder 146 people were compelled to surrender. These people were stuffed for a night in a room of 18 square feet, with only two windows and 123 people (Including natives) got suffocated to death. This is called the Black Hole of Calcutta (1756), which is still doubtful on account of the number of the perished.

This news reached Madras, when Clive had already come from England. He led the troops and arrived in Bengal. After a small skirmish, the peace was restored.

Soon afterwards, Clive breached the neutrality and captured the French settlement of Chandranagar. Acting on the tactics which Clive had learnt in South from Dupleix, he contacted Mir Jafar and other people in the court of Nawab and offered him the throne if he deceives Siraj-Ud-Daulah.

In May 1757, the British Calcutta Council made a secret treaty with Mir Jafar, promising to place him on the throne of Bengal. William Watts, the chief of the British factory at Kasimbazar plotted this conspiracy.

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