Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The greatest discontinuity in the history of Bengal region occured on June, 1757 when the East India Company -a mercantile company of England became the vertual ruler of Bengalby defeating Nawab of Siraj Ul Daulahthrough conspiracy.Territorial rule by a trading company resulted in the commercialization of power. The initial effects nof the British rule were highly destructive. As the historian R.C.Dutta noted "the people of Bengal had been used to tyranny, but had never lived under an oppression so far effects, extending to every village market and every manufacturers loom. They had been used to arbitrary acts from men in power , but had never suffered from a system which touched their trades, their occupations, ttheir lives so closely.The springs of their industries were stopped, the sources of their wealth dried up, "The plunder of Bengaldirectly contributed to the industrial revolution of England.The capital ammassed in Bengal was invested in the nascent British industries. Lack of capital and fall of demand , on the other hand, resulted in the de-industrialisation in the Bangladesh region. The muslim industry virtually disappeared in the wake of British rule.

The British rule in bengal promoted simultaneously the forces of unity and division in the society. The city based Hindu middle classes became the fiery champions of all India based nationalism. At the same time, The British rule in Bengal brought to surface the rivalry between the Hindus and Muslims which lay dormant during the five hundred years of muslim rule.The class conflict between the Muslim peasantry and Hindu intermediaries during the Muslim rule was diffused by the fact that these intermediaries themselves were agents of the Muslim rulers . Furthermore, the scope of exploitation was limited in the subsistence economy of pre-British Bengal.

The conflict between Muslim peasants and Hindu landlords were reinforced by the rivalry between hindu and Muslim middle classes for the patronage of the imperial rulers. In the nineteenth century, both Hindu and muslim middle classes expanded significantly. The muslim middle class did not remain conflined to traditional aristocracy which consisted primarily of immigrants from other Muslim countries. The British rule in Bengal contributed to the emergence of a vernacular elite from among locally converted Muslims in the second half of the neneteenth century . This was facilitated by a significant expansion of jute cultivation in the angladesh region . The increase in the jute exports benefited the surplus farmers (jotedars) in the lower Bengal where theuslims were the majority. The conomic afflenceof surplus farmers encouraged the expasion of secular education among local Muslims . For example the number of Muslim students in bengal increased by 74 % between 1882-83 and 1912-13.

British india, Punjabi Regiment