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Drake, Roger


Drake, Roger the governor of the Council of the fort william in Bengal from August 1752 to 1758. Roger Drake, who came to calcutta as a writer of the East India Company's service in 1737, rose to the position of the Fort William's governor by dint of his meritorious services to the company. But he was not a man of crisis. He was strengthening the fortifications of Calcutta without taking any permission from the Nawab and without trying to understand the implications of such illegal activities. Though Nawab alivardi khan's administration had ignored Drake's illegal activities, Nawab sirajuddaula on his accession to the throne issued several parwanas to dismantale all defence structures made illegally and also to stop using dastak for private trade of the company's servants. Drake ignored the nawab's orders. Exasperated Sirajuddaula led an expedition to bring the Fort William Council under the laws of the realm. On 16 June 1756 he stormed Calcutta. Two days later Roger Drake fled, leaving behind many of his countrymen and officers, to safety at Fulta, about twenty miles down the river. His cowardly flight and consequent sack of Calcutta by the nawab's sepoys had made him highly controversial. After the Battle of palashi he was sacked by the Court of Directors and replaced by william watts first and then by robert clive. [Sirajul Islam]