Mir Kasim also turned his attention for the economic development of the state. Old and corrupting officials were either heavily fined or replaced. Some new tax of 1-1/2 or 3/32 part of the original crown rent was originally imposed.
He also took step to suppress the refractory Zamindars of the Bengal and Bihar who had earlier unfurled the flag of allegiance to the state. The notorious, Ramnarayan, the Deputy Subedar of Bihar was conspiring with English for defiance of the Nawab’s authority.
He never tolerated the Mir Jafars ascending to power. It was due to Clive’s intervention that momentarily silenced Ramnarayan. He was most irregular in the payment of Revenue of Bihar.
Mir Kasim could not tolerate the indiscipline behaviour of Ramnarayan and fortified by the support of Governor Vansittart. Mir Kasim suspended Ramnarayan and later dismissed him and put him to death. Mir Kasim also asserted his legal rights as the Nawab and refused to remain a puppet in the hands of the company.
The company could not tolerate and that it resulted in its conflict with the Nawab. Besides many other factors were also responsible for the conflict between company and the Nawab which ultimately resulted in the Battle of Buxar.
The primary cause of the conflict between Mir Kasim and the English was the question as to who was the real power in the Bengal. The English expected that Mir should govern will but should remain a puppet in their hands.
Moreover Mir Kasim was proposed to accept the right of the company as a trading corporation but was not willing to share with in the power of the state while the English desired that the Nawab should rule as they desired.
The matter was that when Mir Kasim was conspiring with English to overthrow Mir Jafar, the Englishmen failed to recognised the inner picture of Mir Kasim.
By a Firman of 1717, the English Company had been given the privilege of Free trade. However, the servants of the company had taken advantage of the chaotic condition in the country and started abusing the privilege by extending the same to the private trade of kinds.
The Nawab did not like it. But he did not tolerate the misuse of this right by the officers of the company. The English used to sell the dustakes (free passes) to the Indian merchants who therefore were able to evade tax is on their goods as well.
The Nawab, therefore desired to some sort of settlements with the Company regarding its right to trade free of tax. But no settlement was made. The Nawab, in desperation, completely abolished the trade tax. It adversely affected the trade interest of the Company.
The Company enjoyed advantage only when it enjoyed the privilege of paying no tax while its Indian counterparts had to pay trade-tax. Therefore, the Company asked the Nawab to reimpose trade-tax on Indian merchants.
The Nawab refused to do so. It resulted in an’open conflict between the Company and Nawab. The cause of quarrel between the Nawab and the Company was because of the fact that the Company in no case was prepared to loss its privilege of free trade and faces the Indian traders on equal terms.
(iii) The Case of Shah Alam II:
The Mughal emperor Alamgir II was murdered in 1760. At that time, his son and successor prince Shahzada was immediately declared himself as the Emperor and assumed the title of Shah Alam II. The English were clandestinely planning to draw certain advantage for him.
They asked Mir Kasim to recognise Shah Alam as the Mughal emperor. Mir Kasim did not accept the proposal of the English because he feared that the English might fetch the Nawabship of Bengal.
From the Emperor and once he accepted Shah Alam as the emperor he would not be able to oppose English legally. He agreed that he would accept Shah Alam as the Emperor as soon as he left the territories of his kingdom. This created political difference and ill-will between the conflicting parties. Though Shah Alam left for Delhi and problem was solved.
(iv) Ram Narain:
Ram Narain was dismissed from the post of Naib Diwan by Mir Kasim and took shelter with the English. The Nawab asked the Company to hand him over to him. So far the English had always refused to return the fugitives. But when Vanisttart was the Governor of the Company, he handedover Ram Narain to the Nawab.
The English had reversed their policy which they had pursued so far concerning the fugitives. The Nawab, therefore, felt himself strengthened and mustered courage to oppose the English.
Mir Kasim was defeated in a series of battles between Junes to September 1763. He was finally fled to Oudh, where he sought military assistance for the Sujudaulla, the Nawab of Oudh and Wajir of Mughal emperor on the payment of rupees 11 lakh, per day.
The fate of Bengal or rather that of entire north. India now depended on the wisdom of Sujudaullah. Not only Mir Kasim was in his camp but even emperor Shah Alam was there living under his protection in Avadh, whose name he could fruitfully, utilise to gain support of other native rulers against the British. But he failed miserably.
He tried to gain advantage only for himself from these crises in Bengal and entered in the adventure right handed. He gave offence to Mir Kasim by his behaviour that left his camp before the final battle.
He offended Emperor Shah Alam who entered into secret negotiations with the English and he foolishly alienated Mir Zafar. The new Nawab of Bengal by informing him that the Mughal emperor had assigned the Nawabship of Bengal to his son Asafuddaulah.
On the other hand the English succeeded in winning over many officials and feudatory chiefs of Sujauddaulah to their side. In 1764, Sujaudaullah entered the territory of Bihar. He suffered a reverse against an English army near Patna and retreated to Buxar where he wasted nearly five months in fruitless negotiation.
The final battle at Buxar took place on October 23, 1764, where the English Commander, Hector Munro completely defeated him. Sujaudaullah then sought the support of Malhan Rao Holkar but the joint forces of the two were defeated at Kara on May 3, 1765.
That settled the fate of Wazir, who now surrendered themselves to English. The Mughal emperor, Shah Alam had already surrendered himself to the British at Banaras while Mir Kasim had fled to Delhi prior to the Battle of Buxar where he died in 1777 under extreme poverty. Thus, the English were one more the victors.
1. The Battle of Buxar was one of the decisive battles in the Indian history for it demonstrated the superiority of English army over the combined army of two of the major Indian powers. The Battle of Plassey was won over by the English more by their diplomatic skill than by their strength of arms.
But the Battle of Buxar was won by them by their strength and skill in arms. The English with army of eight thousand defeated the army of the Avadh and the Mughal emperor which consisted of only forty to six thousand soldiers. Thus, the battle was the result of the superiority of the English military skill and the arms.
2. The battle of Buxar confirmed the decisions of Plassey. Mr. M. Broom wrote “Thus ended the famous battle of Buxar, on which depended the fate of India and which was gallantly disputed as was important in results.”
The English now became the undisputed masters of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. It opened the way to extend the British frontiers towards the North East of Bengal. The prestige of English also stood very high now.
Of course, Mughal emperor was emperor in name only and weilded no power, yet he enjoyed prestige all over India. Now the English utilise his name for extension of imperial territory.
The Nawab of Avadh was not important ruler, yet he was master of an extensive and rich kingdom and enjoyed the rank of the Wazir of the Mughal emperor. His defeat was certainly creditable to the English and it enabled the British to bring Avadh under their enway though gradually.
If the Battle of Plassey had made the English a powerful factor in the politics of Bengal, the victory of Buxar made them a great power in Northern India and contenders for the supremacy of the whole country.
The English now faced the Afgans and the Marathas as serious rivals in the final struggle for the empire of Hindustan. If Plassey had imposed the European yoke on Bengal the victory of Buxar riveted the shakels of bondage.
In addition to this, the Company and its servants got intoxicated by their new found powers and’in the prospect of wealth and in their pursuit of riches, began to oppress and ill-treat the officials of the Nawab and, the poor people of Bengal.
They compelled the Indian officials and Zamindars to give them present and bribes. They forced the merchants, artisans and peasant to sell their goods cheap and to buy dear from them. These years have been described by British Historian as the period of open and unashamed plunder.