How to Cite

Abu Tayyab Khan, M. (2012). SOCIAL AND CULTURAL LIFE OF BENGAL IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 51(2), 17–35. Retrieved from


The death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707 A.D. was a turning point in the history of Indo-Pakistan, especially in its eastern part. It was followed by two political changes in Bengal, one comparatively minor, the establishment of an independent Nizamat in 1717 A.D. and the other of a revolutionary character, the foundation of the British Empire in the country as a result of the Battle of
Plassey, 1757 A.D. Although those two political changes affected the fortunes of the Bengali people in some respect differently. They however introduced farreaching social and economic changes in the country.

In consequence of the establishment of an independent Nizamat in 1707 A.D. with Murshid Quli Khan, Bengal was cut off from the great Imperial social system of the Mughals. As the Provincial Subahdari was a replica of the Mughal Imperial system and independent Nawab Nazims maintained that structure with little or no modification, the Bengali society under the Nizamat continued to represent the characteristic of the Imperial social system reflecting its culture. The Mughal (or Persian) aristocracy and culture dominated the Bengali society in the eighteenth century. This political change was, however, associated with two different significant social development in the Bengal, the assimilation of the ruling Muslims, and the rise of a new social and political force of the Hindus in the country.

The political changes of 1757, which culminated in the establishment of the British Empire in Bengal, introduced more momentous changes in the Bengali society, the super session of the Muslim aristocracy by the new Hindu aristocracy and the break-down of the economic life of prosperous Muslim community of the country. Within a few years of the loss of political power, the Bengali Muslims found their economic life shattered and ruined on account of the severe blows they received from the newly-established British rule in the shape of the Permanent Settlement of 1793 A.D., the resumption of Holdings and the displacement of the court language, Persian, by the local languages and English in the early thirties of the nineteenth century. Being thus dispossessed of power, zamindaris, estates and employment, the Muslims fell from their positions of influence and status in society.

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Copyright (c) 2012 Mohammad Abu Tayyab Khan


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