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Ahmed, Abul Faiz Salahuddin (1961) The Development of Public Opinion in Bengal 1818-1835. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00033863

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Abstract

This thesis is a study of the ideas which constituted public opinion in Bengal, the influences which shaped them and the effect of those ideas on Government policy. There were three distinct types of reaction to the Western impact: (i) The conservative Hindus who were anxious for practical reasons to promote English education, but were afraid of Western ideas. Their tendency was to resist Western ideas by adopting Western techniques, (ii) The reformist Hindus had imbibed the liberal ideas of the age and sought to reinterpret but not reject Hinduism, (iii) The radicals rejected Hinduism in the light of rationalist criticism. The growth of the Press helped the development of public opinion. The English Press influenced the growth of the vernacular Press. By 1835 the Bengal Press reflected the opinion of the different sections of the people. The Government policy towards the Press was not consistent. The Government's attitude of avoiding serious conflict with Indian public opinion was apparent in its social policy. It modified its policy of resuming rent-free lands with defective titles, a policy which had produced serious discontent among the zamindars. It was only when a fairly strong opinion against sati was created in Bengal, that the Government decided to act. But it needed a man of Bentinck's stature to effect the abolition of this custom. As a result of strong Indian protest, the Government also abolished the discriminatory clauses of the Indian Jury Act of 1826. The growing though predominantly Hindu demand for English education and the influence of the 'Anglicists' led the Government to change its education policy which had been to promote, traditional Indian learning. But 'Anglicism' could not go very far, Muslim fears and protest influenced the Government decision. The sources on which this thesis is based consist of unpublished and published materials - official documents and private papers, books and tracts, newspapers and periodical journals, in both English and Bengali. In using these materials emphasis has been placed on contemporary or near-contemporary sources.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00033863
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:21
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/33863

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