Indian History is full of men who have left an indelible mark that can be appreciated. But there is one man who has not been given his due by Indian writers and Historians. He is Robert Clive, who certainly would rank higher that any of the Mughal emperors or Moslem kings.
Robert came to India as a young clerk and worked in the East India company. But his acumen was recognized by all and by dint of his ability he rose up in the hierarchy. He was subsequently inducted into the army and rose to the rank of Major General. Cliveis recognized as the epitome of the soldier politician who laid the foundations of the British Raj.
Clive (1725-1774) lived only for 49 years, but in those years he did more for India and the Raj and by corollary for the Hindus than anyone else for 600 years. A reading of Nirad C Choudhary's classic book 'Clive of India' brings out the state of Indian society at the time Clive set foot in India. The Hindus were treated like serfs and had no political power. They were also required to pay the Jizzia tax which was imposed by the Moslem rulers. Their temples were razed and Mosques built in their place. Allin all the society was divided and polarized.
Clive took full advantage of this situation and laid the foundation of the Raj, that was to endure for 200 years. He brought in a new order and India began to slowly move forward. But his biggest contribution is to the establishment of the Raj. This became a reality after his stupendous victory in the Battle of Plessay (1757) in Bengal. Clive with a very small force was able to defeat a much bigger force of the Moslem Nawab of Oudh-Siraj ud dowlah.
What was Clive's contribution to India? The Historian Lord Macaulay wrote that Robert Clive can be compared to Napoleon Bonaparte and was one step better as he gave peace, security, prosperity and such liberty as the case allowed to millions of Indians, who had for centuries been the prey of oppression. One may or may not agree with Macaulay, but there is no denying the fact that Clive set in motion the wheels of the Raj that ushered in a period of emancipation for the Hindus and other oppressed people. Clive committed suicide in 1774. But we can in hind sight, confer the title 'The Great' on him.