History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 2013: Q.1 (a)

Q.1 (a) “Dupleix made a cardinal blunder in looking for the key of India in Madras: Clive sought and found it in Bengal.” Critically examine.


The English occupation of Bengal in 1757 after Battle of Plassey umder Robert Clive enabled them to use the inexhaustible source of wealth and material resouces of Bengal for fighting against the French.

Bengal was rich due to fertile land and trade. Bengal was also strategically important. It gave the English a firm base of operation on the mainland.

Bengal had an excellent harbour which was useful in trade and men and military supply.

The Ganges and its tributary in Bengal offered opportunity to the British to approach its remote parts by means of boats without any hazard. Theh collected Bengal gold and sent its men continuously to fight their battle in Madras.

The Bengal Council sent financial assis­tance as well as supplies from Bengal to the Carnatic strengthening the English position there.

At that time French were facing great financial difficulties. The resources that French could get from the Deccan and Carnatic with Pondicherry as a base, were quite inadequete.  Deccan was less fertile than Bengal. It could finance neither wild political ambition of Dupleix nor the reckless military schemes of Lally.

French a harbour and sea base at Mauritius, but it was distant and ill-equipped. Both for commercial purposes and for purposes of war the French seat of power was less advantageous compared to that of the English.

Strategically and financially English position in Bengal meant inordinate accession to strength to the English Company while the French position in the Madras was far too inferior.

Hence, Dupleix made a cardinal blunder in looking for the key of India in Madras; Clive sought and found it in Bengal.

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