The heat he so great and the space were so small that 123 of them were suffocated to death. Only 23 survived and one of them was Holwell. This incident is known as Black Hole Tragedy.
There has been a lot of controversy us to whether the Black- hole-tragedy was a reality on a myth. It is maintained by some historians that the so called Black-hole never took place.
It was physically impossible to shut up 146 persons in a room which is only 22ft long and 14ft wide. Moreover contemporary Muslim accounts such as Seir-Mataqhrein and Riyas-us-Salation do not mention this incident at all.
It is pointed out that the story of Black- hole tragedy was looked up merely for the purpose of painting Siraj- Ud-Daulla as a monsters of cruelty and directly responsible for the tragic happenings and merely for the purpose of arousing the indignation of the Englishman.
However, this East India Company’s authorities used the episode as propaganda devise to malign the Nawab and was support of the British public opinion for the war of aggression which it was to wage almost uninterruptedly for the following seven years.
The news of Black-hole tragedy reached Madras. The Englishmen were indignant. At one admiral Watson and Clive were sent to Bengal to have revenge for Black-hole tragedy.
They were able to capture Calcutta without much difficulty. Siraj-Ud-Daulla attacked Calcutta and there was an indecisive battle. However peace was restored and Nawab restored the privelage of the English Company.
Clive was determined to take revenge for the Black-hole tragedy. He hatched a conspiracy against the Nawab. Rai Durlab, the Treasurer of the Nawab, Mir Jafar the Commander-in-Chief of the Nawab’s forces and Jagat Seth, the richest Banker of Bengal were induced to revolt against the Nawab.
The details of the conspiracy were settled through Amin Chand. It was decided that Clive was to March at once Plassey. Mir Jafar was to desert the Nawab and join Clive with all forces under his command. The Nawab was to be deposed and Mir Jafar was to be put in his place.
However Amin Chand played mischief and threatened to divulge the whole conspiracy unless he was paid a sum of Rs. 30 lakhs. When Clive came to know of this demand, he made up his mind to deal with Amin Chand in a befitting manner.
He got two copies of the treaty prepared. One was white paper and the other was on red paper. In the treaty on the red paper provided for the amount when Clive asked Admiral Watson to sign the false treaty, he refused.
The result was that Clive himself forged the signature of Watson on the false treaty. The action of Clive has been universally condemned but he defended it on the ground of expedience.