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Bangladesh and Global Studies

Causes of victory of colonial powers in Bengal

After the death of Nawab Alibardee Khan, his grandson, Sirajuddawla, was crowned Nawab at the age of 22. Just after his coronation, he had to face two major problems.

One was the difficult task of facing the English with their increasing power and addressing the attacks of Marathas; the other was to resist the conspiracy of his Eldest-maternal aunt Ghasety Begum, the commander-in-chief Mir Jafar Ali Khan, and some other close associates.

Siraj had also to face the third opposition. A power-greedy Indian business community emerged at big business centers with the expansion of economic activities. The Marwaris who came to Bengal from Rajputna belonged to this community.

They also joined the English in the plot against the Nawab for their commercial benefit. The result of this was the defeat and tragic death of Nawab of Bengal-Bihar and Orissa at the battle of Plassey and the defeat of Bengal at the o hands of the English.

Thus began the era of direct colonial rule in Bengal. Now we need to look back once again to understand the causes of colonial rule.

  • The people of Bengal had been the victim of oppression and exploitation during the long reign of foreign rulers except for 200 years of Sultanate rule. So they held negative attitudes and indifference to their rulers. The death of the Nawab and the end of independence had no impact on them.
  • As a result of capital outflow, the poverty of the people was very acute and prevailed in the village communities. So, the people had no interest in utilizing the opportunities created by the expansion of trade.
  • The people had neither political nor social ability to comprehend the increasing economic and military power of the English.
  • The internal intrigue and conspiracy among rulers of Bengal were too deep-rooted for the young and inexperienced Nawab to face.

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