"British Nabobs" who looted India in the early colonial period under EIC

Nabob (Nawab) slidetodoc.com
Above image:  Nabob is an Anglo-Indian term that came to English from Urdu, possibly from Hindustani nawāb/ navāb during British colonial rule in India.  It is likely, the word existed before the arrival of the British in India. Portuguese ''nababo'', it is believed,  having preceded the British in India.  The English use of nabob was for a person who became  wealthy over a short period in a foreign country, particularly India, and returned home with considerable, wealth  power and influence.  In England, the name was meant for men in the employ the East India Company who  earned  vast fortune far beyond their salary  and, upon return to England, was wealthy enough  to purchase seats in parliaments.  Such men with ill-gotten money used to own big mansions and estates in the country sides.................. 

John Pybus Seniorngv.vic.gov.au
Above image: A Nabob’s return -  Australia's The National Gallery of Victoria's rare  painting of British Nabob represents John Pybus Senior (1727–1789), a retired East India Company servant and his wife Martha, née Small, (1733–1802) with their children -not in the above painting.  Hailing from a  modest family, the only child of Bryan Pybus (1690–1747) aged fifteen, on 15 December 1742, John was sent to Fort St George, Madras, to take up a clerical job in  the East India Company and later held many positions during a span of 20 years. Robert Clive,  finally appointed him as the new chieftain of Masulipatan (Masuliptinam in AP) and here  Pybus must have made the fortune he had been so keen to acquire.  Subsequently,  he left the EIC and back in  England his family settled  at Brudley Street, Berkeley Square. Soon  in August, 1768, John Pybus bought the ancient property of Pricklers in East Barnet, Hertfordshire, just outside London, from Thomas Brand MP, in whose family the property had been since 1558. In true nabob fashion, the Pybus family were establishing themselves with their Indian-made money both in town and country.......There could be no better way to advertise their new wealth and prosperity than to commission a family portrait by one of the most fashionable artists of that time. https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/essay/a-nabobs-return-the-pybus-conversation-piece-by-nathaniel-dance-2 .....................
The English company  was founded in 1600 as the Company of Merchants of London Trading  in SE Asia, particularly in the East Indies. Initially, they had no intention of capturing the Indian provinces, though the land was fertile and the rulers were rich beyond description. Nor had they any modicum of desire to establish an empire. 

British  colonialism had taken roots in the Bengal province  of India in the 1700s with  the East India Company, taking complete control  over the vast region including its large revenue  under the diabolical  scheming of Robert Clive  who began his career as a clerk in Fort St. George of Madras,  now in  Chennai.   He toppled the ruling head and later killed him tactically using dissident nawabs in the court in return for power and exalted status.  The Battle of Buxar  fought between 22 and 23 October 1764, between the the command of the British East India Company, led by Hector Munro, and the combined armies of various rulers ended in favor of the British who  became the undisputed rulers of Northern India and  wielding enormous  power and supremacy throughout India.

Robert Clive played  crucial role  in the battle and  signed two important treaties with Shuja-Ud-Daula and Shah Alam-II called the Treaty of Allahabad in 1765  and this consolidated their firm hold on the Indian soil. the company's attitude started changing over a period as the prospects for revenue were enormous far beyond comprehension.  Armed with more power with support from the English company and the establishment in London, the imminent growth of company's wealth,  made the officials ill treat and oppress not only the prominent officials in the employ of Nawab, but also the poor people of Bengal, etc. The company  used the Indian revenue not to improve Bengal, but it was sent to England to revamp their quality of life and economy. 

aftermath of battle of Buxar 1764 w.slideshare.net
How did the officials of EIC make money on the sidelines? In the early period, the English  ran mercantile business without any permit from the local ruler and paid no taxes to the ruler in charge. Many officials blinded by greed to make quick money   forced the Indian artisans and peasants to sell their produce at rock-bottom price so that they could  sell them at  a huge profit their mark-up would be around 4 to 5 time times. many acted as middlemen and pocketed a part of the deal as commission from
the landlords and farmers.
The unbearable heat and other factors like tropical diseases, harsh monsoons, loneliness, working in dangerous thick jungles   prompted many young British Bobs  to make  fast bucks in a short period to get back home and live comfortably with the money they accumulated in India. The  inspiration came from the lavish lives of rich Maharajahs and Nawabs in India.   Many  company officials  without  self-esteem  shamelessly pursued a different path. They made the well-to-do Zamindars - big land owners, Nawabs and  Amirs   give expensive gifts to them in the form of gold and jewelry, etc., under coercion in return for some favor.   
Corruption in British East India co. jantoo.com
  Illegal gratification, corruption and dishonesty  became a hall- mark of British East India company's Indian operations. Corruption was institutionalized way back in the power corridors of  EIC which continues even today in modern India in the state and central levels. Thus the British who were going around the places,  making enormous  money on the side lines, besides  salary and other perks from the company became Nabobs back in their countries. Often the English Nabobs wallowing in vast money were looked upon with contempt  as Asiatic Plunderers Well-known nabobs included Robert Clive, Sir Robert Fletcher, General Richard Smith, Sir Francis Sykes, and Paul Benfield.

Robert Clive, Nabob general.nam.ac.uk

nabob Francis Sykes nam.ac.uk

Above image: Wealth accumulated in India in the 1750s allowed Sykes, first baronet (1730-1804)  to purchase an estate in Yorkshire; his service and private trade as Resident at Murshidabad in the 1760s substantially augmented this fortune....."In the 19th century the  East India Company repurposed and deployed the term to produce colonial moral authority and termed "this substantially  augmented  fortune  as moral lapse—a result of the scheming influences of the local population. On the other hand, the “native” assistants and officers were depicted as naturally corrupt and collectively immoral''

'A common fear was the nova rich nabobs, their agents, and those who took their bribes – would use their wealth and vitiate the political atmosphere by influencing to corrupt Parliament in their home land. They were  subject to  criticism and satire in high social circles of the stratified society.  Dubbed  as lazy and materialistic, with poor knowledge of Indian economy, most of them hailed from middle class families of Caledonian origin, often being seen as lower part of the social ladder far removed from  virtuous British culture.  The families of  Russell  of Swallowfield  Park, Berkshire Sir Henry Russell, 1st baronet (1751-1836) and several several of their descendants made a fortune in India and had built palatial mansions, etc., in England. Only a few families remained rich and never flaunted their ill-gotten money.

1783 engraving. rambled Nabob..sciencephoto.com

East India company,  corrupt officials. blogs.warwick.ac.uk

English company nabobs, slideshare.net
Many of the nova rich nabobs, though had risen to a decent status economically  in a conservative and status-conscious  British society,  neither developed  social skills  and norms matching  their new position nor social grace and manners of the so called aristocrats.  They  paraded  their riches  to win admiration  and in the process  they became broke in a short time. 

Hard-pressed for money in the  late 1700s and early 1900s  lots of English people heard about   stories of the  rags to riches - of the  British officials  and their  Maharaja-like cozy, carefree life in India making  big  money in a short period  that would assure them of future security and  comfortable retired life back in England.