Robert Clive in my view is one of the greats of history. From the British perspective he is at the top, an immortal. To get a full picture of Robert Clive one must read Nirad Chowdary’s book ‘ Clive of India’. In this book Nirad has brought out the socio economic situation in India at the time of Clive and how Clive exploited the local conditions to establish the greatest empire the world has ever seen in history.
Clive came to India as a clerk and worked in the writers building at Calcutta. But the saying that history and destiny earmarkgreat people holds true. Clive was destined for greatness as he set about furthering British rule in India. The beauty of this is that the British government was a part only by proxy as the front was the East India Company. I don't think there is any example of a trading company building a large global empire.
Clive must rank as one of the greats of world history. His victory at the battle of Plessey(1757) is generally regarded as the battle that laid the foundation of the British Raj. the battle is important as clive had afotce of just about 12000 soldiers compared toNawab Siraj-ud-Dowlah who had over 100,000. But Clive's diplomacy paid out and before battle the foremost general of the Nawab, Mir Kasim came over to Clive's side. It was a diplomatic coup. The Nawab was defeated and later executed by Mir Kasim and in no time the British had become the omnipotent power in India. He left India in 1768.Clive however amassed riches , which are difficult to condone now. But in that age what Clive appropriated looks moderate compared to what the Muslim rulers looted from India.
Clive faced an inquiry into his conduct in England, but he was exonerated and offered command of the British forces in North Africa and later America. But ill health forced him to decline the offers. Perhaps in case he was fit his presence in America may have seen a different result. But he had while in India become addicted to opium. Maybe to relieve an illness for which no cure was available. He committed suicide in 1774 at the age of 49. But now researchers opine he may have died of an heart attack.Clive had 6 children and his descendants live on even today.