Dual Government in Bengal: Complete | Introduce & Abolish

The concept of Dual Government was implemented in Bengal during the British colonial period by Robert Clive, who was associated with the British East India Company. This system remained in place from 1765 to 1772. The Dual Government framework established two distinct administrative bodies in Bengal: the Nizamat and Diwani. The East India Company assumed control of the Diwani, while the Nizamat was under the jurisdiction of the Nawab.

What is Dual Government in Bengal?

Dual Government in Bengal refers to a system of governance that was established in Bengal by the British East India Company in the mid-18th century. Under this system, the administration of Bengal was divided into two parts: Nizamat and Diwani.

The East India Company took charge of Diwani, which involved the collection of revenue and the administration of civil justice. The Nizamat, which included the maintenance of law and order and the exercise of criminal jurisdiction, was left under the control of the Nawab of Bengal. The Dual Government system lasted from 1765 to 1772, during which time the East India Company gained significant political and economic power in Bengal.

Failure of Dual Government in Bengal

  • The Dual Government in Bengal, established by the British East India Company, failed to achieve its objectives.
  • During this period, the Company’s servants engaged in private trade, which resulted in a culmination of abuses.
  • The privilege of dastans, or passes for tax-exempt trade, was widely misused, causing Indian merchants to lose competitiveness with the English and eventually go bankrupt.
  • Indian industries, including the silk and cotton cloth industries, were severely impacted by the Company’s policies.
  • The silk industry was ruined as the Company used its political power to control the industry.
  • The cotton cloth industry, which was the most developed in Bengal, was destroyed as the Company’s representatives decided the quality, quantity, and price of cloth, resulting in a decline in the interest of artisans.
  • The Company imposed severe punishments and torture on artisans or workers who protested.
  • Agriculture was also destroyed as the Company assigned land to the highest bidder every year for revenue collection.
  • The bidders, or tax collectors, collected maximum revenue from farmers to draw maximum gain for themselves within a year, leading to the peasants’ suffering.
  • The Company increased its demand every year from the contractors, who in turn demanded more from the farmers without any interest in increasing production.
  • Many peasants left their lands and became dacoits and robbers.
  • The Dual Government system implemented by the British East India Company in Bengal failed to deliver the desired results, leading to a decline in the Company’s income.
  • In an attempt to address the issue, the Company divided Bengal into thirty districts in 1769 and appointed an English Supervisor in each district.
  • However, the measure failed to produce any positive outcomes as the supervisors were only concerned with maximizing revenue for the Company and were not required to take care of the peasants’ welfare or provide them with justice or support for increasing production.
  • The supervisors were also allowed to engage in private trade, which became their primary focus, leading to the failure of the experiment.
  • Similarly, the appointment of revenue councils in 1770 was also unsuccessful in bringing any significant improvement.

Who Abolished Dual Government in Bengal?

Warren Hastings arrived in India in 1772 as the Governor-General of the East India Company. His primary mission was to abolish the Dual Government in Bengal, which was causing a decline in the Company’s income.

Hastings received clear instructions from the Court of Directors to remove the deputy Diwans, Muhammad Reza Khand and Raja Shitab Ray, from their positions and place them under trial. After his arrival, Hastings acted on these instructions and removed the deputy Diwans. He also took up the responsibility of civil justice in the hands of the Company, which further consolidated its power.

Hastings realized that the rights of Diwani and Nizamat (rights of defense, peace, and criminal justice) should not be in separate hands. Therefore, he took away the right of Nizamat from the Nawab and granted him a pension of rupees sixteen lacs annually for his personal expenses.

In this way, the Dual Government in Bengal was abolished and the Company became the de jure as well as the de facto ruler of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa.

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In conclusion, the Dual Government in Bengal was unsuccessful and gave rise to several challenges in the administration of the region. The lack of accountability on the company’s part resulted in the abuse of power and corruption.

However, the system was never meant to be a permanent solution, but rather a temporary measure to address the administrative struggles in Bengal in 1765. Warren Hastings abolished the dual system of governance in 1772, acknowledging that it had outlived its usefulness.

So, this is all about Dual Government in Bengal.

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