The Movement against the East India Company and the British rule
The rule of the East India Company came to an end with the promulgation of the Indian Rule Act. State power of India was given to the British king. One minister of the British cabinet was appointed as the secretary of state for India. He would run the administration of India with the help and suggestion of a 15-member advisory board.
According to this law, the governor-general was called ‘Viceroy’. The Viceroy was representative of the British King. Lord Canning was appointed as the first Viceroy. In this way, the British Govt. established its total control over India in 1861. The British parliament instructed the Indian Govt. to form a representative parliament. A declaration was also made to form a Bengal parliament.
The function of the Bengal parliament started on 1st February 1862. At first, this parliament had 12 -members; the number of members was increased to 21 in 1892. During the initial stage, there was no provision for these members to be elected by voting.
Later on, this parliament became a democratic institution and this system was then introduced throughout India including Bengal. But, the control of the British Govt. over this parliament remained intact.
In 1853 the British Govt. decided to divide Bengal into two provinces. Demarcation was made to this effect in 1903. The division of Bengal in 1905 is the result of this plan.
East Bengal got a separate identity from this date. A great majority number of people during the British rule (1858-1947) were farmers; on the other hand, a small minority was the privileged Zamindar class.
The number of people connected with cottage and small industries was very few. Agriculture, the backbone of the economy was almost ruined during British rule.
The same was the case with the weaving industry which was once very famous. The business community of Bengal was not organized.
The condition of Bengal in the industry was also not worth mentioning. The women-folk lagged due to social norms and superstitions. The middle-class society also could not become powerful. At that time, Britain was the richest country in the world while India was a British colony and a place of exploitation.