Plassey:A tale of Trust and Betrayal.Part II

Siraj was looking at the sunrise waiting for the good news. But Mohanlal came to inform him about the massacre. The news of the loss of men was not what he expected. Siraj could not take it. He knew he was responsible for the incident. He was responsible for all those lives. But it wasn’t defeat that was bothering him. Mir Madan was one of his very few trusted men. His death meant a huge loss. The only reliable men of calibre left with him were Mir Jafar Ali and Mohanlal.But luck did not seem to support Siraj.A messenger came to inform him about a small incident he noticed the other night. Right after the rain had stopped and when Mir Madan had come for a meeting with Siraj, the messenger promised to have seen Mir Jafar riding towards the British camp near the mangroves. The fact was clear. It was a clear act of treachery. Siraj lost his temper.

“Bring Mir Jafar right now. I will cut open his throat. Let he not witness the night.”
Seeing Siraj losing his mind, Mohanlal tried to pacify him.
“My lord, please do not make any decision in haste. Let us talk to him. There must be a reason.”
“No reason can be enough to betray your king”. Siraj was adamant.
“I understand, but we do not have many men left who can take care of the army. He was the ‘Bakshi’ before Mir Madan and he holds a very good rapport with our men. After yesterday night’s incident, the army is already dissatisfied. We need to have a strong hold on them to lead us into victory. I know it’s hard, but the situation demands the full support of Mir Jafar right now Sir.”
Siraj knew Mohanlal’s words made sense. He was a man of fewer words but whenever he spoke he made sense. Siraj realized that his ego had already led him in a situation where he was left with a little choice. The army was outside and he knew everyone was looking up to him. This may be his last chance.
After much thought and discussion Siraj decided to summon Mir Jafar.
When Siraj rose to throne Mir Jafar was the pay check or the ‘Bakshi’ of the army. He had been serving the post from Alivardi Khan’s reign. Mir Jafar expected Siraj to promote him as the supreme Dewan of the new Nawab of Bengal. But to his surprise, not only did Siraj appoint a Hindu named Mohanlal as his Dewan; he also gave away his post of “Bakshi” to Mir Madan. Mir Jafar could not take it. His insult led into jealousy and finally he became determined to overthrow Siraj-ud-Daulla and gain Nawabi for himself. It was true that he went to meet Clive the other night. But he was not alone in this conspiracy. Colonel Clive knew that Siraj was a strong Nawab to defeat. He had faced him before in Calcutta and also in the Maratha Ditch. Though he somehow managed to defeat him twice, he knew this time Siraj wanted revenge. Moreover, Siraj was not alone this time. He had the full support of the French East India Company. On learning about the dissatisfaction among his important officers, Clive decided to take advantage. His main aim was to get hold of Chandernagore, the primary French foothold in Bengal. And he knew defeating Siraj could be the key to it. So, he immediately contacted Mir Jafar, someone who was desperate to bring Siraj down. Mir Jafar along with Rai Durlabh and Yar Lutuf Khan came into a written agreement with Clive wherein Clive mentioned to make Mir Jafar the next Nawab of Bengal if he along with his accomplices helped him to take Siraj down. That night, Mir Jafar thought that nobody saw him. But little did he know that Siraj had messengers even in the army. He went to Clive to inform him about their ammunitions.
“Sire, I have got news. Our ammunitions are all wet due to the rain. This may be the right time to attack”.
“Are you sure? What if Siraj has a backup plan?” asked Clive.
“I don’t think he has one sire. He doesn’t have much idea about warfare. An idiot of his calibre seldom has plans.”
“You Indians have one common mistake Mir Madan”, replied Clive.” You always consider your enemies to be worthless in front of you. Never think your enemy to be weak because that makes you a bigger fool. Anyways, your news has been welcomed. You may leave now. I will send a messenger tomorrow. Stay close to our plans. “
Mir Jafar did his work. But Clive knew, he still could not trust him fully. Even if Mir Jafar was true, Siraj could have a second plan. Moreover, Plassey (“Palashi”, the battle ground) was 42 Kms away from Siraj’s capital Murshidabad and it will not be before morning that they get their ammunition. So, he decided to wait till the morning. He wanted Siraj to make a mistake.

to be continued…

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