Important Rulers of bengal during British Period

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The history of India is replete with several dynastic rules, political intrigues, and changes that shaped the present geographical and political landscape of the country. One of the most prominent regions that has witnessed significant historical changes is Bengal. This article aims at providing a detailed overview of Bengal’s important rulers during the British rule.

The British Era in Bengal is marked by a significant transition in governance and administration from Mughal rule to the colonial era. The control of the British Empire over Bengal began with the establishment of the British East India Company. However, the significant rulers who emerged during this period are noteworthy and played substantial roles in shaping Bengal’s history.

1. Nawab Siraj Ud Daulah (1756-1757): Siraj Ud Daulah is a significant figure in the history of Bengal during the British era. He was the last independent Nawab of Bengal, who vehemently opposed the British’s undue expansion. He is known for his infamous battle against the British at the Battle of Plassey in 1757, which he lost, marking the beginning of British dominance in India.

2. Mir Jafar (1757-1760, 1763-1765): Mir Jafar served twice as the Nawab of Bengal, with periods of interruption in-between. He was a key player in the Battle of Plassey, having betrayed Nawab Siraj Ud Daulah and siding with the British, which secured them their victory. However, Mir Jafar soon realized his strategic folly when the British began to flex their powers, leading to a strained relationship.

3. Mir Qasim (1760-1763): Mir Qasim, son-in-law of Mir Jafar, carried forward his legacy and served as the Nawab of Bengal under British protection. Despite being a puppet ruler, he was known for his administrative skills and subtle defiance against British policies. His rule, however, did not last long due to his resistance against British trade monopoly, leading to the Battle of Buxar, which consolidated British rule in Bengal.

4. Nawab Nazim Humayun Jah (1824-1838): Humayun Jah was one of the nominal rulers under British control. Despite his limited political influence under colonial rule, he contributed significantly to literature, penning a historical record known as ‘Riyaz-us-Salatin’.

5. Nawab Abdul Latif (1828 –1893): Though not a ruler, he was an influential figure during the British era in Bengal, known for his educational and social reforms. He contributed immensely to Muslim education in Bengal, marking a significant socio-cultural change during the British period.

Though they appear to be small footnotes in the annals of history, these rulers played pivotal roles in the socio-political transformation of Bengal during the British era. They signified the gradual loss of indigenous sovereignty and the onset of colonial hegemony in India. Studying these rulers provides a comprehensive understanding of Bengal’s history under British rule, which is crucial for UPSC aspirants with a penchant for Indian history.

This article aims to provide UPSC aspirants with a brief insight into the rulers of Bengal during the British era in India. However, it is essential to delve deeper and refer to multiple resources for a holistic understanding, which will prove highly beneficial in the UPSC examinations.

Prince Luthra (UPSC CSE AIR 577)

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