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On learning of the isolated position of the nawab's personal camp, Clive formed the bold plan to make a night attack on the enemy's artillery, spike the guns, and then, in the confusion, attack Suraj-ud-Dowlah's head-quarters, and thus strike terror into his army. The plan, though considerably altered in its execution, was entirely successful in its effect, and on the 5th of February, , was fought the last battle of Calcutta, which left the British undisputed masters of their settlement.

When the nawab's army was marching on Calcutta, Clive formed an entrenched camp near Cossipore, about half a mile inland from the river. Here he placed a small force of Europeans and three hundred sepoys, an equal number garrisoned the Fort, the remainder were available for active operations. At three o'clock on the morning of Saturday, the 5th of February, Clive marched his column from the Cossipore camp, in a dense fog such as is common in Calcutta during the cold season. Four hundred sepoys led the way, an equal number brought up the rear, in the middle were six hundred and fifty European infantry and one hundred artillery.

A body of six hundred sailors drew the guns, guarded them, and took charge of the lascars who carried the ammunition, and who would otherwise have deserted. Marching silently through the fog, the leading troops surprised the enemy's outposts, who, after a hurried discharge of matchlocks and rockets, fled in confusion. Unfortunately one of the rockets struck a sepoy, and exploded his pouch of cartridges, setting fire to some of his comrades and disorganizing the advance for a time.


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When the march was resumed the leaders had lost their bearings, and the enemy's battery was missed: Now for the first time an attempt was made to check their advance, and the Mogul horse bore down on them, but as they charged through the fog a deadly fire swept their ranks, they checked, swerved, and fled in disorder.

Clive's plan was to seize a causeway which crossed the Ditch into the town, a little to the south of Omichand's garden, on the line of the present road which passes the Gas Works, and, turning back from there, to fall on the nawab's camp. With this intention the march was continued rapidly, the guns in the middle of the column firing obliquely forward into the fog on either side, and the troops keeping up a discharge of musketry against the unseen foe.

Thus dealing dismay and death around, the British reached the causeway without a check. But then occurred a fatal blunder.

Calcutta: Past and Present/Chapter 3

As the leading troops turned upon the causeway they came into the line of the fire of their own guns, and, before the firing could be stopped, several men had been killed and the whole column thrown into confusion. By this time the fog was beginning to lighten, and, before the troops could be re-formed and led to the attack of a barricade at the end of the causeway, they were suddenly swept by a deadly fire from two heavy guns, which, mounted in a small bastion in the lines along the Ditch, had been unsuspected in the darkness.

It was impossible to assault the barricade in the face of this fire, and the column hastily resumed the march beside the Ditch, making for the next causeway—that which carried the road which, leading to the main gate of the old Fort, was known successively as the Avenue and the Great Bungalow Road before it took its present name of Bow Bazar Street. The position was now one of great peril: The enemy's guns continued to fire on the column, which as it advanced came into range of two other guns, mounted in a similar position at the other causeway, while the Mogul cavalry, emboldened by seeing the weakness of the little force, made several charges on the rear.

A happy homecoming for India's widows - BBC News

With stubborn courage the British pressed on, keeping the enemy at bay, pausing from time to time to return the fire of the guns, till at last they reached the road and formed their ranks to attack the nawab's troops, both cavalry and infantry, who held the passage of the Ditch. In this they were splendidly successful—the infantry at once gave way before the assault, the cavalry did little better, though, closing on the rear, they captured a gun, only to surrender it again to a charge led by Ensign Yorke.

Having cleared the passage, the column quickly crossed over, and marching along the Avenue—Bow Bazar—they shook off the pursuing troops, and reached the Fort before midday. From there they marched again in the evening, and returned by the river-bank to the camp at Cossipore. The scene of the last engagement with the nawab's troops lies within the boundaries of the terminus of the Eastern Bengal Railway at Sealdah. The English losses in the operations numbered twenty-seven Europeans, eighteen sepoys, and twelve sailors killed; and seventy Europeans, thirty-five sepoys, and twelve sailors wounded.

Among the killed were Clive's A.

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The nawab's casualties numbered thirteen hundred killed and wounded, besides four elephants, five hundred horses, and three hundred draught cattle. The result was all that Clive could have hoped; the nawab retired in panic from the neighbourhood of Calcutta, and, camping near Dum Dum, sent conciliatory messages to Clive, offering to make restitution for the destruction of Calcutta, and professing a desire to conclude a friendly alliance with the British—offers to which the Calcutta Government were glad to make a favourable response.

The nawab's retreat having relieved the British commanders of their immediate anxiety, they turned their thoughts to securing themselves against French hostilities. They first proposed to the Governor of Chandernagore that the French and English settlements in Bengal should remain neutral; but to this the Governor felt himself unable to agree, as he was under the orders of the Governor of Pondicherry.

The Widow of Calcutta: The Half-caste Daughter; and Other Sketches

Admiral Watson and Clive thereupon decided to take the initiative, and, obtaining a reluctant permission from Suraj-ud-Dowlah to attack Chandernagore, the British ships sailed up the Hughly, and, after some severe fighting, captured the French settlement on the 23rd of March. On the following day the English wounded were brought down to Calcutta, and most of them placed in the hospital under the care of Surgeon Ives, of H.

The hospital appears to have escaped destruction during the siege and occupation of Calcutta. It stood apart from the Fort, on the ground now occupied by Garstin's Place, in close contiguity to the burying-ground, which must have been a fruitful source of disease and death to the unfortunate patients. This inscription gives the boy's age as eighteen, whereas Ives says he was sixteen, and the date of the capture of Chandernagore is also wrongly stated, as the town was taken on the 23rd of March. Near Billy Speke's tomb is that of Admiral Watson, who died on the 16th of August, , at the early age of forty-four.

The reasons which led to this change of policy are matters of history. Suraj-ud-Dowlah, while keeping at a respectful distance from Calcutta, had broken faith with the English, and was intriguing with the French to come up from Southern India, and oust the English from Bengal. The leading nobles at Murshedabad were disgusted with the folly and tyranny of their young ruler, and the commander-in-chief of his army, Meer Jaffir, opened negotiations with Clive to overthrow the nawab, and elect him in his room. The office of nawab had never been an hereditary one, and from time immemorial might had been right in the country, so that the proposal was quite in keeping with the traditions of native government, and Clive willingly entered into a treaty which promised safety and prosperity to the country under a stable government.

In the middle of June, , Clive marched against Murshedabad. The nawab, alternating between defiance and terror, advanced with his army to meet the British, and, on the 23rd June, near the little village of Plassey, the two armies met, and the victory which made secure the foundations of the British Empire in India was won.

The defeated Suraj-ud-Dowlah mounted a swift camel, and, accompanied by some two thousand of his army, fled to Murshedabad, leaving in his camp at Plassey several hundred women, who, according to Verelst, "Meer Jaffir sent to offer to Col. From his deserted palace the stricken nawab fled again at midnight with the very few faithful women and servants who still followed his fortunes, and attempted to make his way up the river in boats, hoping to find an asylum in the northern provinces.

But past misdeeds now rose against him: The unhappy Suraj-ud-Dowlah, so long the petted and spoilt child of Fortune, was seized and carried back to Murshedabad, where, within a few days of the first anniversary of the Massacre of the Black Hole, he was murdered in cold blood as he lay fettered in a dungeon.

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With the death of Suraj-ud-Dowlah the troubles of the English were at an end. The new nawab lost no time in sending to Calcutta the indemnity promised to the inhabitants for their losses and sufferings. From the depths of poverty and humiliation they were raised at once to wealth and power. The town gave itself up to general rejoicing, and at this happy time, says Orme, "Quarrels were forgotten and enemies became friends. Retrieved from " https: Views Read Edit View history. In other languages Add links.

It was December 7, The Sepoy Mutiny was still some months away. But another revolution was brewing in the neighbourhoods of native Calcutta. On that day 12 Agrahayan, , according to Bengali calendar every road in the town seemed to lead to House No. A wedding was taking place at the house of Raj Krishna Bandhopadhyay, a professor of Presidency College.

There was a large, excitable crowd on the streets and the palanquin carrying the bridegroom faced utmost difficulty to proceed through the gathering. In the ensuing jostling quite a few people fell into the open drain along Sukeas Street, emerging mud-caked. Apprehensions of riot had led the organisers to seek help from the police.

And right through the entire route of the palanquin, constables were deployed a yard apart. A group of influential people, mostly Derozians including Ramgopal Ghosh, Harachandra Ghosh, Sambhunath Pandit, Dwarakanath Mitra and so on escorted the palanquin till the marriage venue and leading them was a Brahmin, a man of small stature yet standing tall because of his ideals.

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar who led the crusade for remarriage of Hindu widows was right at the forefront, transforming the act passed in July from just a scrap of paper into reality. The first legal remarriage of a widow, ten-yearold Kalimati was being held with Srischandra Vidyaratna, a colleague of Vidyasagar at Sanskrit College. We get a vivid account from the writings of Shibnath Shastri, a prominent Brahmo leader who witnessed the event as a child as well as from newspaper articles.


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  7. He had married the queen of Burdwan, Basanta Kumari, the widow of King Tejchandra, two decades before the enactment of the legislation. Mukhopadhyay, a Brahmin had married not only a widow but outside his caste, that too, for love.


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    The then police magistrate of Calcutta had stood witness to the civil marriage between the duo. Predictably, it had created a huge scandal in the native society and eventually forced the couple to settle in Lucknow.

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    But even before this scandal rocked the society, Raj Ballav Ray of Vikrampur, Dacca, had tried to marry off his minor widowed daughter but failed because of vehement opposition by the pundits of Nadia. Both Dakshinaranjan and Raj Ballav belonged to the moneyed class and hence could get away even after going againts society.

    However, moved by the plight of the Hindu widows in general, Vidyasagar felt that remarriage of Hindu widows should be made legal. After spending hours cooped up in his chamber in Sanskrit College, day and night reading manuscripts, he finally found in Parasara Samhita what he was looking for. His assertion was that according to the Shastras, widow remarriage was canonical.