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A Memoir of the Mughal Empire: Events of 1757-1761

G.S. Cheema, Manohar, 2014, 327 p, maps, ISBN : 9789350980477, $55.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

A Memoir of the Mughal Empire: Events of 1757-1761

Contents: 1. Accession of Siraj ud-Daulah—he seizes the English establishments. 2. Vexations of Siraj ud-Daulah—action taken by the English—they retrieve Calcutta defeat the Nawab and impose their peace. 3. The English trust neither Siraj ud-Daulah nor the French—their intrigues against the Nawab—they attack and take Chandarnagar. 4. Some officers and soldiers escape from Chandarnagar and reach our factory at Cossimbazaar—the English demand our Surrender—the French are obliged to quit Cossimbazaar. 5. The French detachment arrives at Patna—the English plot against the Nawab—battle of Palassy—Mir Jafar becomes Subedar death of Siraj ud-Daulah—the detachment is forced to quit the dependencies of Bengal. 6. The emperor Alamgir—characters of the Wazir and Shuja ud-Daulah—their interests jats pathans.7. The detachment’s stay in the dependencies of Shuja ud-Daulah. 8. Manners and customs of the gentiles and the moors. 9. The detachment matches to Delhi--a clash with the jats—junction with the Shahzada Detachment proceeds to Chhattarpur…..

By the 1750s the Mughal Empire was but a pale shadow of its former glory. No longer the Great Mughal, of Bernier’s day except in a strictly ironic sense the emperor was now a passive non-entity, a prisoner in his own palace, and subject entirely to the will of the wazir who callously disposed of him when he ceased to be useful. He had deposed and blinded one emperor the next he would kill and the heir apparent, Ali Gauhar soon to become Shah Alam II was forced to flee the capital for fear of his life. In the course of his wanderings the fugitive prince ran into Jean Law, the author of this memoir.

Law too was a fugitive of sorts. Expelled from Bengal by the English at the start of the Seven Years War in Europe, and accompanied by a small armed detachment of about 300 men and 10 light guns, law had, instead of surrendering, retreated inland, up the Ganges, in the vague hope of finding an ally who, tempted by the wealth of Bengal and aware of the dangers posed by the revolution which the English had effected by the battle of plassey, would agree to drive the English out of Bengal and reinstate the French in their trading posts and settlements. (jacket)

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