Nature Of Conquest : Understanding The East India Company 's Role Of Bengal

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Nature of Conquest: Understanding the East India Company 's role in Bengal
A reassessment of the eighteenth century in Indian politics goes hand-in-glove with a discussion of the EIC 's intrusion. Before that, a few words are in order regarding Bengal during this period. Referred to as Subah Jannat-i-Bilad-Bangla by Aurangzeb, the province of Bengal proved to be one of the most successful experiments of successor states in eighteenth-century India.1 The efficiency in administration brought about by Murshid Quli Khan in his capacity first as the Diwan (civil and revenue administrator) and later, as the Nazim (governor) in 1717, on the one hand, met the needs of the decadent Mughal state for revenues, whilst on the other hand, laid the
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Thereafter, Siraj 's defeat in Plassey as a result of the coalition of indigenous and British interests, and the sequence of events that followed, are too well-known to be recapitulated here.4 Studying the EIC 's conquests, P. J. Marshall argues that there were no conscious attempts towards political dominance of India on the part of Britain until the the passage of the Pitt 's India Act in 1784. Though the connections between trade and politics in this age can not be ignored, the EIC 's acts should be seen as a response to the political and economic conditions in eighteenth-century India. According to him, the British were active participants in struggles for power in the regional polities. This involvement in local politics later gave way to empire. This was the handiwork of the men on the spot. Lack of proper communication, and knowledge about conditions in India made the exercise of effective control from home impossible, thus leading to a classic instance of what has been referred to as 'sub-imperialism '. The company servants placed the directives from Britain at their own discretion, exploited the opportunities of territorial and commercial gains that came their way, and guarded their hard-won victories by the use of force.5 Whilst this emphasis on local interests is useful in understanding the historical context in India as a prelude to the EIC 's intervention, it altogether denies the
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