Three Hours of Destiny
This is not the story of Shiraj-Clive Meerjaffar. It is of those 3 hours that forever shaped the destiny of a billion people of today, including us. How? Words are not enough; we have to see the drama ourselves. Let us go there, to " Lokkho - Baag", the Mango-orchard of Palassey, on 22nd June 1757.
Lord Clive, not “Lord” yet, is there, anxious, restless, under great tension and stress. Starting as a clerk in East India Company, he emerged as the founder of an enormous British Empire of India. Now with his tiny strength he is face to face with the huge army of the Nabab Shiraj-Ud- Doulla.
Clive has only 3000 soldiers, the Nabab has 30,000. He has only 8 Kamans of 6 pounds each, the Nabab has 53 Kamans of 18, 24 and 32 pounds. It is no match ! Is he going to commit suicide? No, he is not. He and his stars know it very well that his real strength is not the number of soldiers or mortarss. His real strength is the group of Meerjaffar, Manikchand, Umichand, Rajballav, Raydurlav, Krishnaballav, Nandakumar, Jagatsheth gong. The snake is waiting for a perfect bite. The air of Bengal is heavily polluted with the deep conspiracy of these people against the Nabab.
You can no blame them. Isn’t it the Nabab himself who slapped Jagatsheth to the ground right in the Darbar in front of everybody? Isn’t it him who removed his aged father-in-law Meerjaffar from the position of Army-chief? And put a much younger Mohanlal in that position? Isn’t it he who ordered everybody including Meerjaffar to salute Mohanlal in Darbar? Is this not the reason why Meerjaffar stopped coming to the Darber?
And according to "Siarul Mutakhkharin" of Golam Hosain, the authentic book referred to in many books,
""The character of this Nabab was not any better than that of Nero, the torturous king of Rome. And what says Jinn Law’, the French warrior, who himself tried to save the Nabab ? "His character was the worst….famous for womanizing, …..everybody knew about his extreme cruelty…..used to drown the boats in the river….with women and children…used to enjoy it sitting on the bank…….." ( See ref ). In the destined footsteps of time, a boat was drowned in the midnight of June, 1760 in the Buriganga, killing 70 relatives of the Nabab including his wife Lutfunnesa and mother Amena Begum. It was deliberately done by the order of Meerjaffar. Let us come back to Palassey.
Morning of 23rd June, 1757. The battle started at 8 AM. The big chunk of the army under Meerjaffar stood idle, the smaller ones under Mirmadan, Mohanlal and in their support the small French army under Sinfrey totally cornered Clive’s soldiers in the orchard. And then it rained heavily. This is the rain in Bengal which turned the history upside down. All the gun powder of the winning team got wet, they had to pause. But even then, Clive’s defeat was definite and visible. The conspirators did not sit idle. They convinced the Nabab to stop the fighting for the day. Nabab agreed. He ordered his winning soldiers to stop.
Do you remember the disaster of British Army in Dunkirk in 2nd world-war ? When Paris fell to Hitler in 17 /or 19 days ( The plan was to take Paris in 90 days !), the best of British Army, 300,000 soldiers with huge ammunition were sent under the command of Lord Gort to recapture France from Germany. The moment they crossed the English Channel and landed in Dunkirk, they unexpectedly saw themselves absolutely surrounded by Germans, under the paw of death. The only way to save life was to run back to England, crossing the English Channel again, leaving everything behind. The way the British nation used everything possible to save their soldiers, is written brightly in the history. The amount of ammunitions they had to leave behind was enormous. ( A whole war could be fought by those…- Churchill ). Hitler could have killed them by bombing on the English Channel. But surprisingly he stopped the attacking German bombers from doing that. This is one of the mysteries of world-war 2. Long back I went through a voluminous research of Sayad Muztaba Ali on this mystery ( He studied in Germany to get his PhD ). Also many others worked on this issue.
For the Nabab, the fight of "next day" never came. In the midnight, Lord Clive, major Watson and major Kilpatric launched a sudden unexpected attack, Meerjaffar and Co. joined them, Nabab's soldiers became scattered, The Nabab ran away in panic. He straight ran to the Palace of Murshidabad, took wife Lutfa and daughter Zahoora with him and started to north in a boat in the river Mahananda. From the unseen the destiny of Bengal / India was looking at him in the shape of his golden shoe which he put on. ( He was identified due to this shoe, and got captured, a popular story says).
He started towards north. Why to north? Because he was trying to reach Patna. Why Patna ? Because few months back he had sent and posted his loyal 50,000 soldiers there. Why he did that ? Because at that time, Ahmad Shah Abdali from Iran attacked and captured Dilli. Nabab had a plan to resist him in Patna in case Abdali attacks Bengal. Now he was trying to reach his loyal soldiers there in Patna. By then the news of Palassey reached everywhere. From Bhagalpur, Bihar, French captain Lalley had already started for Murshidabad with his troop to help the Nabab. Before some months, Clive cunningly had convinced the Nabab to exile Lalley to Bhagalpur. Before leaving, Lalley told the Nabab in tears,
" Nabab, you are heading to a wrong direction of politics".
The time-distance between the soldiers of Lalley and the Nabab to meet each other was only 3 hours. After that Shiraj would get the strong shelter of Lalley. Lalley would reach him to his loyal cheerful 50,000 soldiers in Patna. With a tremendous strength the Nabab would come back like a devastating storm.
No further mistake he would do, no more blunder he would commit. Because by then he knew all the faces of friends and foes. Like a wild buffalo he would crush the palace of conspiracy of Clive-Meerjaffar. He would uproot the East India Company from Bengal, for ever. Bengal would not be a British colony. The whole India would not be molested under British-boots for 190 years. The mass-killing of Jalianwalabag would not happen, Hundreds of Ram Muhammad Sing Azads would not be born. Thousands of Rashid Alis, Shurjya Shens, Matongini Hazras and Fuleshwaris would not be killed. Netaji would not leave in darkness to snatch the sun of independence. Millions of "Mukti- Pagol" patriots, both men and women, would not be burnt in the huge fire of tremendous effort of freeing the motherland. The ‘Keyamat’ of ‘Neel’ would not destroy the peasants, thumbs of Moslin-weavers would not be cut in Bengal. We would not have a blood-bath in 1971.
Centuries have passed. Those spellbound, anxious 3 hours are still waiting on the bank of Mahananda in search of the lost Nabab.
Replies Name/Email Yahoo! ID Date 7413 Re: Three Hours of Destiny Kaushik Sat 8/24/2002 7414 Re: Three Hours of Destiny paramanab Sun 8/25/2002 7460 Re: Three Hours of Destiny Partha Sircar Wed 8/28/2002