Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/183

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BATTLE OF WANDIWASH. 179 position to the nominee of Dupleix. Their candidate was Muhammad Alf, afterwards known in history as Wala-jah. Clive. — The war which ensued between the French and English in Southern India has been exhaustively described by Orme. The one incident that stands out conspicuously is the capture and subsequent defence of Arcot by Clive in 1751. This heroic feat, even more than the battle of Plassey, spread the fame of English valour throughout India. Shortly after- wards, Clive returned to England in ill-health, but the war continued fitfully for many years. On the whole, the English influence predominated in the Karnalik or Madras coast, and their candidate, Muhammad Alf, maintained his position at Arcot. But, inland, the French were supreme in Southern India, and they were also able to seize the maritime tract called 'the Northern Circars.' Battle of Wandiwash, 1760. — The final struggle did not take place until 1760. In that year, Colonel (afterwards Sir Eyre) Coote won the decisive victory of Wandiwash over the French general, Lally, and proceeded to invest Pondicherri, which was starved into capitulation in January 1761. A few months later, the hill fortress of Ginji (Gingi) also surrendered. In the words of Orme, ' that day terminated the long hostilities between the two rival European powers in Coromandel, and left not a single ensign of the French nation avowed by the authority of its Government in any part of India.' Native Rulers of Bengal, 1707-1756. — Meanwhile the narrative of British conquests shifts with Clive to Lower Bengal. At the time of Aurangzeb's death, in 1707, the Nawab or Governor of Lower Bengal was Murshid Kulf Khan, known also in European history as Jafar Khan. By birth a Brahman, and brought up as a slave in Persia, he united the administrative ability of a Hindu to the fanaticism of a renegade. Hitherto the capital of Lower Bengal had been at Dacca, on the eastern frontier of the empire, whence the piratical attacks of the Portuguese and of the Aratanese or Maghs could be most easily checked. Murshid Kulf Khan transferred his residence to Murshidabad, in the immediate neighbourhood of Kasim- bazar, which was then the river port of the Gangetic trade. The