Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Statement on 249th Anniversary of English East India Company’s Conquest in Battle of Buxar

October 23, 2013, on this Memorial Day, we call on citizens to beware of the ulterior motives of Companies Act, 2013, biometric identification, role of political parties that are funded by the business enterprises and the role of donor-driven NGOs; 

Recollecting that on October 23, 249 years ago, the war between the English East India Company and the combined forces Indian rulers was fought in Buxar, some 130 kilometers from Patna;
Disagreeing with the separation between rule by English East India Company and rule by British Government in India because the Company worked at the behest of the British Government;

Recalling that English East India Company first chartered by Queen Elizabeth I, the English Emperor in 1600;

Remembering that the seeds of war of Buxar were sown in war of Plassey in 1757;

Recalling how by 1759, Mir Jafar, the notorious traitor who had helped the company and betrayed Nawab Siraj – ud-daula in the battle field felt that his position as a subordinate to the company could not be tolerated. When he raised his against the company, he was deposed and Mir Qasim was installed as the Nawab of Bengal in 1760. Mir Kasim handed over the districts of Chittagong, Midnapore and Burdwan to the company. But quite soon Mir Qasim began to feel breathless under company’s domination and three unhappy rulers Shula-ud-daula, Shah Alam and Mir Kasim, united together to defeat the British East India Company. They declared war against the company in 1764;

Recalling that Mir Kasim made an attempt to recover Bengal from the hands of British, in 1764, he enlisted the help of Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II and Nawab Shuja Ud Daulah of Oudh. But their troops were defeated in the Battle of Buxar by the English East India Company troops led by Major Hector Munro;
Recollecting that the armies of Mir Kasim and his allies Emperor Shah Alam II and Shuja-ud-daula, Nawab of Avadh, out-matched the company in number, in this combat, Mir Kasim had a force of 40,000 and Major Hector Munro had a army of about 18,000 men;

Remembering that the company troops engaged in the fighting numbered 7,072 comprising of 857 British, 5,297 sepoys of Indian origin and 918 Indian cavalry;

Taking cognizance of the 2,000 dead Indians from among the allied force of Mir Kasim, the company’s losses were to the tune of 1,847 killed. Besides those there many more who were wounded;

Recollecting the tactical mistakes committed in the battle early on, company forces had to retreat across the river but they were allowed to get away twice but they were allowed to get away. But the company forces regrouped and through a naval force attacked through the river route.  The sheer power of gunfire of company forces ensured that attacking cavalry of Indian allied forces scattered and got defeated;

Recalling how the combined army of Indian allied forces met the company forces under the command of Major Munro at Buxar in October 1764 and how the former suffered a crushing defeat.

Recapitulating how Nawabs of Bengal, Awadh and Mughal emperor Shah Alam II, signed the Treaty of Allahabad that secured Diwani Rights for the company to collect and manage the revenues of almost 100,000,000 acres (400,000 km2) of real estate which form parts of the modern states of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh, as well as areas in the neighbouring Bangladesh;

Remembering that the former were forced to pay a war indemnity of five million rupees, Shah Alam II had to become a pensioner with a monthly stipend of 450,000 rupees towards upkeep of horses, sepoys, peons and household expenses. The Treaty of Allahabad laid a strong foundation for the establishment of the rule of the East India Company in one-eighth of India;

Recalling that after the battle of Buxer, Hector Munro decided to assist the Marathas who hated Mughal Empire and its Nawabs and the Sultanate of Mysore;

Underlining the significance of battle of Buxar, it should be seen in conjunction with the third battle of Panipat in January 1761 in terms of its impact on consolidating British presence in north-east India. Due to Marathas' defeat at the third battle of Panipat, and their subsequent ten-year hiatus from North Indian affairs, the company was able to establish a foothold in North Indian affairs. Buxar was an important step in that direction;

Recalling the imperial grant of the diwani or revenue authority in Bengal and Bihar to the company which was hitherto enjoyed by the nawab of Bengal;

Recapitulating how this meant emergence of a double government, the nawab retaining judicial and police functions but the company exercising the revenue power. The company acclimatized itself by becoming the Mughal revenue agent for Bengal and Bihar. There was as yet no thought of direct administration, and the revenue was collected by a company-appointed deputy-nawab, Muhammad Reza Khan.

Remembering how this arrangement made the company the virtual ruler of Bengal, since it already possessed decisive military power. All that was left to the Nawab was the control of the judicial administration. But he was later forced to hand this over to the Company in 1793. Thus the company's control was virtually complete.

Recalling how in spite of all this the company was on the verge of bankruptcy, which made a case for fresh effort at reform. On the one hand Warren Hastings was appointed with a mandate for reform; on the other an appeal was made to the British state for a loan. The result was the beginnings of state control of the company and the thirteen-year governorship of Warren Hastings.

Noting that when the Marathas finally did send a large force back into North India in 1771 and persuaded Shah Alam II to leave company’s protection and enter Maratha protection, after establishment of Maratha regency over Delhi, which they essentially held till their defeat in the second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803.
Recalling that around 1715, India was responsible for producing over 25 per cent of the world gross domestic product (GDP) and world’s total outputs. Following the defeats at Battle of Plassey and Battle of Buxer, by 1800, India’s world share had already eroded to less than a fifth, by 1860 to less than a tenth, and by 1880 to less than 3 per cent. India’s share in world manufacturing output declined precipitously in the half century 1750-1800, before company-led industrialization took hold in Britain. Currently, India's share in the world’s GDP to around five per cent now but this is at the cost of depleting Natural Capital;

Drawing the attention of legislators and fellow citizens the fact that the world order and world economy is being shaped by the big capital in possession of financial and non-financial transnational corporations, capital that uses the sovereign state only for protection, i.e., a place for securing legality of work, capital for which intergovernmental organizations (UN, IMF, WB, WTO) serve only as levers of pressure;

Informing the legislators and fellow citizens that as per the vailable aggregate data, about 78,000 companies were identified in 2006, with available assets of over 51 trillion US dollars, total sales of 25 trillion dollars and 73 million employees – compared to the aggregate GDP of all the world’s countries for that year o 48.504 trillion dollars;

Taking cognizance of a published data on a group of 2000 global companies, just the top ten non-financial transnational corporations ranked by total sales realized 2.533 trillion in sales in 2007, which is more than the aggregate GDP of 161 countries according to IMF data for 2008;.

Alarmed at the diminishing strength of Government of India in the face of the assets of the 30 largest financial transnational corporations (from the same group of 2000 global companies from 2008) amount to 48.883 trillion dollars, or more than the world’s 2007 GDP;

With the enactment of Companies Act, 2013 and callousness towards the Contesting Election on Government Expenses Bill, 2012 which is pending in the Rajya Sabha yet another opportunity has been lost to deal with the menace of black money;

Revealing their doublespeak, insincerity and inconsistency of the Indian National Congress led UPA government and the Bhartiya Janta Party led NDA, Section 182 (1) of the Act reads: "Notwithstanding anything contained in any  other provision of this Act, a company, other than a Government company and a company which has been in existence for less than three financial years, may contribute any amount directly or indirectly to any political party: Provided that the amount referred to in sub-section (1) or, as the case may be, the aggregate of the amount which may be so contributed by the company in any financial year shall not exceed seven and a half per cent of its average net profits during the three immediately preceding financial years". The Companies Act, 2013 has failed to ban corporate funding for electoral campaigns but this has not happened. This is contrary to several reports of the Parliamentary and government's committees which recommended State funding of elections to deal with black money;

Underlining  that the root of rampant corporate crimes committed with impunity, environmental destruction, poisoning of food chain and human rights violations by security forces has been traced to corporate funding of political parties, in the aftermath of industrial disasters, frauds and war crimes by companies world over, this Act merits rigorous scrutiny by all sections of legislatures and society;

In such a backdrop, on 23rd October, it may recalled that Government of India has been signing treaties with various countries and intergovernmental organizations without explicit approval or sanction of central and state legislatures;

Recalling several defections from our intelligence agencies, efforts must be made to make these agencies accountable to our democratic legislature, which is not the case at present as has been revealed starkly by Intelligence Services (Powers and Regulation) Bill, 2011;

Submitting that 23rd October is an apt day to ponder over the Statement of Concern issued in the matter of world's biggest data management project, biometric Unique Identification (UID) /Aadhaar Number scheme and related proposals like National Intelligence Grid by 17 eminent citizens to prevent ‘intrusive bullying’ by Government of India because the government intended to be the `servant’ of the citizens, and not their `master’. The statement underlines that national IDs have been abandoned in the US, Australia, France and by the British government. Based on research of UID Number related documents and advice from jurists, legal luminaries, former intelligence officials and academicians, we are convinced that UID number and related proposals pose a threat to both civil liberties as well as our natural resources;

Taking note of diminishing influence of democratic legislatures because of the financial might of the transnational business enterprises who are operate as companies and don myriad corporate veils in the face of feeble capacity of our legislatures to pierce through it and make them subservient to legislative will;

We wish to underline the need to resolve to identify the true defenders of sovereignty, the traitors and remind ourselves of the lessons 23rd October has for the Indians to ensure that history of our defeat is not repeated ever again.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), Mb: 09818089660, 08227816731, E-mail:

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