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Alinagar Treaty


Alinagar Treaty was concluded between the Bengal Nawab sirajuddaula and the English east india company on 9 February 1757. The nawab sacked the English settlement at Calcutta (18-20 June 1756) and drove them out of the city when they refused to redress his genuine grievances against them. He renamed the city as Alinagar. The reinforcement from Madras, sought by the English, arrived under the leadership of robert clive and charles watson and recaptured Calcutta. The nawab on his part marched to Calcutta but retreated when the English surprised him in an early dawn attack near Calcutta. The English asked him to sign a treaty, which he did as advised by his principal advisers and ministers. The main provisions of the treaty were: a) the nawab will allow the English all the privileges sanctioned to them by farrukh siyar's farman of 1717; b) all the English goods passing through Bengal with the company's dastak will be exempted from customs duties; c) the nawab will permit the English to fortify Calcutta without any hindrance; and d) the English will have the liberty to coin money in Calcutta.

The terms of the treaty were favourable to the English in Bengal and enhanced their influence. Clive wrote to the Select Committee on 22 February 1757 that the terms of the treaty were 'both honourable and advantageous to the Company'. For Sirajuddaula, the treaty was no doubt humiliating but he accepted it, not because he was afraid of English arms, but because he was scared of the threat of an impending Afghan invasion under Ahmad Shah Abdali who was reportedly moving towards Bengal after the sack of Delhi (1756). Perhaps he thought, though mistakenly as later events proved, that the Afghans, and not the English, were a greater threat to him at the time, and hence sent the best part of his troops under Raja Ram Narain to Patna to resist the Afghan army. However the treaty did not last long, mainly because the English did not adhere to the terms and it broke down leading to the battle of palashi on 23 June 1757. [Sushil Chaudhury]

Bibliography KK Datta, Siraj-ud-daulah, Calcutta, 1971; S Chaudhury, From Prosperity to Decline - Eighteenth Century Bengal, New Delhi, 1995; S Chaudhury, The Prelude to Empire: Plassey Revolution of 1757, New Delhi, 2000.