fortifying their factories at Calcutta and
his youngest daughter. He refused to pay any tribute to the Mughal emperor
when the latter demanded (1746).
He wrote letters to the British governor of Calcutta to demolish additional
fortifications, and also to stop hostile activities such as their support to
Shaukat Jang (son of Ghasiti Begum and cousin brother of Siraj) who wanted
to become the nawab, and giving protection to Rajballabh’s family
(supporters of Shaukat).
The British refused to comply with his orders, and he seized the English
factory at Kasimbazar (June 4, 1756) and then Calcutta (June 15). The
English escaped to Futla and Siraj returned to MurshidabAD, leaving Calcutta
in charge of Manikchand.
BLACK HOLE EPISODE (JUNE 20, 1756)
According to Holwell (an Englishman), 146 English prisoners were
confined during the night in a small room but only 23 survived, the rest
dying of suffocation in the night. This version has been questioned on
several grounds. In any case, Siraj is no more held personally responsible
This incident was followed by Siraj’s defeat and execution of Shaukat
Jang, who had recently acquired the farman for the governorship of Bengal
from the titular Mughal Emperor, Alamgir II. Shaukat Jang had been
conspiring with some Bengal chiefs and the English to occupy the throne of
Bengal. Soon after the British conspired with some leading men of the
nawab’s court (Mir Jafar—the mir bakshi, Manikchand—officer in charge of
Calcutta, Omichand-a rich merchant of Calcutta, Jagat Seth—the famous
banker of Bengal, and Rai Durlabh and Khadim Khan—important nobles).
Arrival of a strong contingent from Madras under Colonel Clive and
Admiral Watson (December 14, 1756) resulted in the recovery of Calcutta by
Clive (January 2, 1757) without any serious fighting.
Treaty of Alinagar (1757) Calcutta was renamed Alinagar after its capture