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British Bengal from 1757 to 1947: Impacts

Mohammad Morad Hossain Khan Assistant Professor General Education Department

Arrival of the Europeans to India

Portuguese East India Company, 1628 Dutch East India Company, 1602 French East India Company, 1664 English East India Company, 1600



followed in Vasco




voyage (1497 -


The World

The World

The (British) East India Company

The East India Company (EIC), originally chartered as the Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies, and often called the Honourable East India Company, was an English and later (from 1707) British joint-stock

company and megacorporation formed for pursuing trade with the East Indies but which

ended up trading mainly with only the Indian

subcontinent, North-west frontier province and Balochistan.

The (British) East India Company (cont.)

The East India Company traded mainly in cotton, silk, indigo

dye, salt, saltpetre, tea and opium.

The Company was granted a Royal

Charter by Queen Elizabeth in 1600, making it the oldest among several similarly formed

European East India Companies.

Robert Clive

Robert Clive

British Policy: Divide and Rule

Bangla Punjab Kashmir

Permanent Settlement 1793

Permanent Settlement Concluded by the Cornwallis administration in 1793, Permanent Settlement was a grand contract between the EAST INDIA COMPANY government and the Bengal landholders (ZAMINDARs and independent talukdars of all denominations).

General Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793)

General Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793)

Partition of Bengal (1905)

The government announced the idea for partition in January 1904. The idea was opposed by Henry

John Stedman Cotton, Chief Commissioner of Assam 1896-1902.

The Partition of Bengal in 1905 was made on October 16 by Viceroy Curzon. The former province of Bengal was divided into two new provinces "Bengal" (comprising western Bengal, Bihar and Odisha) and "East Bengal and Assam" with Dacca (Dhaka) being the capital of the latter.

Background/Causes of the Partition

The province of Bengal had an area of 189,000 miles 2 and a population of nearly 8 crores (80 million). Eastern Bengal was almost isolated from the western part by geography and poor

communications. It was hard to manage a

province as large as Bengal with this large population.

Partition of Bengal (1905)

Partition of Bengal (1905)

Annulment/Reaction of the partition

Partition sparked a major political crisis along religious lines. Hindu resistance exploded as the Indian National Congress began the swadeshi movement that included boycotting British goods, terrorism, and diplomatic pressure.

The Muslims in East Bengal hoped that a separate region would give them more control over for

education and employment, but they instead lost ground.

In 1906, Rabindranath Tagore wrote Amar Shonar Bangla as a rallying cry for proponents of annulment of Partition; in 1972, it became the national anthem of Bangladesh.

Partition of Bengal (1947)

The Partition of Bengal in 1947, part of the Partition of India, was a religiously based partition that divided the British Indian province of Bengal between India and Pakistan. Predominantly Hindu West Bengal became a province of India, and predominantly Muslim East Bengal became a province of Pakistan.

The partition, with the power transferred to Pakistan and

India on 1415 August 1947, was done according to what has come to be known as the "3 June Plan" or

"Mountbatten Plan". India’s freedom on 15 August 1947 ended over 150 years of British rule in the Indian subcontinent.

East Bengal, which became a province of Pakistan according

to the provisions set forth the Mountbatten Plan, later became the independent country of Bangladesh after the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

In 1947 Clement Attlee selected Mountbatten as

Viceroy of India and he oversaw the creation of the


states of India and


Results/Impacts of the British Rule in Bangla


Bangali nationalism developed in 19 th century. Bangla was divided into two: East & West. Political Parties were formed, i.e. the Muslim League on 30 December 1906, the Krishak Proja

Party founded in 1936 and so on.

Dhaka became the capital of East Bangla.

East Bangla became a part of Pakistan in 1947.

Monarchy was abolished during the British Period.

Economic Impacts

Rich or affluent Bangla became one of the poorest regions in the world. Backbone of the economy of

Bangla was broken down in different ways like

forceful indigo cultivation, destroying muslin cottage industry and so on.

Huge tax or revenues were imposed on the farmers and local business classes in Bangla.

Two famines occurred in Bangla, one in 1770-71 and another one in 1943-44 during the Second

World War (1939-1945) in which about 3 million

people died.

Communication system like railway developed a lots.

Social Impacts

The middle class developed in Bangla. Hindu-Muslim relations became fragile or bitter.

Due to poverty, begging, prostitution, cheating and so on increased very much.

Bentinck turned to social reforms and abolished the practice of SATI, i.e. burning of Hindu windows on funeral pyres of their dead husbands, a long standing

practice among the Hindus who regarded it as an act of conjugal piety. Bentinck made the practice illegal

and suppressed it firmly though many orthodox

Hindus regarded it as an interference with their religion.

Bentinck suppressed child sacrifice and infanticides.

Cultural Impacts

English becomes one of the main languages in Bangla.

Western education i.e. school, college (Dhaka College established in 1841) or university (Dhaka University estd in 1921) started developing in Bangla.

Under Lord Bentinck, schools were opened in many places and a medical college was established in 1835 at Calcutta to train Indian doctors. Superstitions

started reducing in medical sector.

Western cultural influence through media like Radio and television became very dominant in Bangla.

Cultural Impacts (cont.)

Bengal Renaissance started in the 19 th century. Bengali literature started booming under the scholars like Ram Mohan Roy, Iswar Chandra

Vidyasagar, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838- 1894), and later Saratchandra Chatterjee (1876-

1938)and so on.

With a specific interest in educational reform, the Tagore family was very influential and active in the Bengal Renaissance. Rabindranath Tagore

became the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for

Literature, awarded to him in 1913 for his English translation of poems titled the Gitanjali.

Lord William Bentinck, Governor-General of India,

from 1828 to 1835.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy (22 May 1772 27 September 1833)

Raja Ram Mohan Roy ( 22 May 1772 – 27 September 1833)

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (26 Sept. 1820 29 July 1891)

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (26 Sept. 1820 – 29 July 1891)

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (27 June 18388 April 1894)

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (27 June 1838 – 8 April 1894)

Nawab Abdul Latif (18281893), educator and social worker

Nawab Abdul Latif (1828 – 1893), educator and social worker

Syed Ameer Ali (18491928),

Syed Ameer Ali (1849 – 1928),

Jagadish Chandra Bose

(30 November 1858 23 November 1937)

Jagadish Chandra Bose (30 November 1858 – 23 November 1937)

Rabindranath Tagore (born on May 7, 1861,

death on 7 August 1941 (aged 80)

Rabindranath Tagore (born on May 7, 1861, death on 7 August 1941 (aged 80)

Kazi Nazrul Islam, National Poet of Bangladesh (1899-1976)

Kazi Nazrul Islam, National Poet of Bangladesh (1899-1976)