What was dual government of Bengal which ran from 1765 to 1772

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Title: Understanding the Dual Government of Bengal (1765-1772): Key Insights for UPSC Aspirants

The Dual system of Government or the Double Government was a unique system of governance established in Bengal by Lord Robert Clive, from 1765 to 1772. Understanding the Dual Government of Bengal is an important aspect of the Indian History syllabus for UPSC exams, including both the preliminary and main examinations.

1. Concept:

The dual administration, or ‘Duality of Power’, emerged out of the political quandary the British found themselves in following the Battle of Buxar in 1764. East India Company had acquired Diwani rights (rights to administer and collect revenue) over Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa, but it was reluctant to assume direct responsibility for administration due to fear of opposition from British authorities and home public. It adopted a system where it had control over the Bengal’s wealth but not the responsibility of administration.

2. Structure:

In this unique system, the virtual power was in the hands of the British East India Company. The responsibility of administration and revenue collection was with the Indian officials, under the Nawab of Bengal, although the Company had no obligations towards the welfare of the subjects. The Nawab and his officials were mere puppets and the real power was held by the Company through a deputy, who was referred to as the ‘Deputy Subahdar.’

3. Significance:

The Dual Government system is significant because it marked the beginning of British political domination in India. It provided the British with immense financial power, which was used to consolidate their military might in India. This system led to several administrative, political, and economic changes in Bengal.

4. Impact:

The Dual Government had a disastrous impact on the province. The British officials became corrupt and oppressed the local population. They mercilessly exploited Bengal’s resources for their benefit. Simultaneously, the Nawab and his officials had no real power to enforce laws, causing lawlessness and chaos.

5. Criticism:

The Dual Government has been the subject of widespread criticism in Indian history. Among other things, it has been blamed for causing tremendous economic distress in Bengal. The unchecked extraction of resources by the Company, combined with a lack of responsibility for the welfare of the public, led to significant economic decline and a severe famine in 1770, causing millions of deaths.

6. End:

The system ended in 1772 when Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of Bengal, took over. Hasting’s period saw an end to the system of Dual Government and began a process of legal, administrative, and economic reforms that transformed British rule from profit-seeking traders to direct rulers.

For the UPSC aspirants, understanding the Dual Government of Bengal is crucial to comprehend the initial scheme of British administrative organization in India and its impacts on the socio-economic fabric of Bengal. This knowledge will be particularly beneficial during the preliminary examinations and Indian History paper of the mains examination. Remember, every piece of historical information is a possible question in the UPSC examination.

Persisting with your study goals, maintaining a consistent revision plan, and having an in-depth understanding of the subject will eventually determine your success in the UPSC exam. So, keep learning, keep revising, and success will be yours.

Prince Luthra (UPSC CSE AIR 577)

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