After the Battle of Buxar, the British placed their puppet Nawab Mir Jafar on the throne of Bengal, who, by accepting the British’s proposal to reduce the number of Bengal’s army, paralyzed himself from the military point of view. It was absolutely impossible for him to play an effective role in politics and administration because of his weakness of character, which was further aggravated by his earlier political experiences, and because of his (leprosy) disease which was physically incapacitating.
The conquest of Buxar by the British and the death of Mir Jafar a few months later (February 1765) completely established the Company’s authority in Bengal. The British elected Mir Jafar’s young son Najm-ud-Daulah as his successor and made him (February 1765) agree to a treaty by which the rule of Bengal came under the control of the Company. The short-lived Nawab appointed Muhammad Raza Khan as his Naib Subedar or Deputy Governor. He was made the principal administrator of all administrative matters.
Nature of Diarchy System –
The Treaty of Allahabad in 1765 was an epoch-making event in the history of Bengal, as it gave rise to administrative changes that prepared the ground for the practice of the British administrative system in India. This brought an end to the power of the Nawab and gave rise to a system in which rights were cleverly kept free from responsibility.
Before discussing the diarchy system in Bengal, it is necessary to clarify the two words Diwani and Nizamat. There were two types of officers in the Mughal provincial administration, the Subedar or Governor, who performed the functions of Nizamat (military defense, police and administration of justice) and The Diwan was in charge of the provincial revenue and finances, both of which were responsible to the Mughal central administration and exercised control over each other, but at the time of Aurangzeb’s death, Murshid Ali Khan was serving both positions simultaneously. Was.
The British obtained the civil rights of Bengal by the treaty of Allahabad with Shah Alam II and in return the Company promised to pay 26 lakh rupees annually to the Mughal emperor and a provision of 53 lakh rupees was kept for the Nizamat works. Before this treaty, in February 1765, the British made another treaty with Nawab Najm-ud-daula, in which all the Nizamat, rights, ie military defense and foreign relations were surrendered to the company. Thus the Company acquired the civil rights of Bengal from the Mughal Emperor and the Nizamat powers from the Nawab. The Company performed civil and nizamat functions through its agents who were Indians, but the real powers remained in the hands of the Company. The system of administration by both the Company and the Nawab is called the dual or dual administration of Bengal.
At this time the company neither wanted to take the burden of collecting taxes directly nor did it have the capacity. The company appointed two Deputy Diwans for civil work—-
- Mohammad Raza Khan for Bengal and
- Raja Sitab Rai was appointed for Bihar.
Mohammad Raza Khan also served as Deputy Nizam. In this way, all the civil and nizamat work was carried out by the Indians, although the responsibility was with the company. This system was called the dual system and the two kings, the company and the nawab proved to be hollow in practice because all the power was with the company and the Indian officers were only the outer facade.
Due to this dual government system of Bengal, the administrative system started getting disturbed. The officers of the company did not use honest Indians as their employees because of their greed for money. Corrupt Indians followed their masters. Sir George Cornwall had said “I can say with certainty that there was no civilized country in the world more corrupt, false and worse than the government of the East India Company from 1765-84.” Agriculture began to decline, in Bengal the land tax on agriculture was high and its collection was also very strict.
According to William Bowles who was a worker of the company, these poor people sometimes had to sell their children and had to leave the land and run away. In 1770 there was a famine which caused great loss of life and property. Seeing it, a company official wrote in this way, “It is beyond the power of man to describe the compassionate sight that is seen today, it is certain that in some regions people have eaten the dead.” Similarly trade and commerce got disintegrated.
From 1717 onwards the British were allowed to trade in Bengal without tax. According to him, with the permission of the Governor of the Company at Calcutta, any goods could be moved without inspection and unhindered. The government suffered losses due to tax orders and Indian business was also destroyed. Similarly, industry and efficiency declined. The textile industry of Bengal suffered greatly. The Company tried to discourage the silk industry of Bengal as it harmed the silk industry of England. The moral decline of Bengali society also started. The farmer realized that if he produces more, then he has to pay more tax, then produce only that much in which he can live.
Conclusion– Thus in less than two decades the real administrative and political power of Bengal was transferred from the hands of the Nawab of Bengal to the East India Company.