The Empire Builder-Clive of India
Robert Clive (1725-1774) arrived in India in 1744, aged 19 to work as a junior merchant. Soon, bored, he decided to become a Company Soldier. He was popular with the Sepoy troops, and proved to be a brilliant military planner. He was quickly promoted and went on to help the British gain power in India. Clive’s job with The Company was as a junior merchant in Madras. This was the lowest rank of employee and Clive was paid very little. He began to read books at the Governor’s library, in this way he was able to catch up on the education he had missed. He studied Indian Languages and soon asked to be transferred to The Company’s army.
Clive’s Later Life:
Clive’s great military success made him a national hero in Britain, where he became known as “Life of India”. Clive was appointed as the Governor of Bengal in 1758. He returned to England in 1760 aged 35, a rich man and his Indian estates provided him with a good income. He was made Barren Clive of Plassey in 1762 and knighted in 1764. He went into politics and became a Member of Parliament but Clive’s help was declining and his mental problems returned. In 1774, at his house in London, Clive cut his own throat with a pen knife.
The Fall and Recapture of Calcutta: War with Siraj ud Daulah (1756-1757): Early in 1756, Siraj ud Daulah had succeeded his grandfather as Nawab of Bengal. In June, Clive received news that the new nawab had attacked the English Act Kasim Bazaar and he had taken the fort at Calcutta. The Company incurred huge losses because of the fall of Calcutta. Clive marched with his small force through the entire nawab’s camp, despite being under heavy fire from all sides. The sudden Britiah assault intimidated the nawab. He sought to make terms with Clive, and surrendered the control on Calcutta