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Mahtab, Pronoy Chand (1973) The Rajas and Nawabs of Bengal 1911-1919. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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It is attempted in this thesis to analyse the aspirations, attitudes and activities of the rajas and nawabs during the second decade of the twentieth century. It was the decade which experienced the effects of the Morley-Minto reforms on the one hand and the Delhi Darbar proclamations on the other. Within this political framework the functions of these territorial magnates are examined. At the outset the question whether the 'nobles' formed a distinct social group which could be called a nobility or, as an alternative, could be identified as a status group, is analysed. Simultaneously, the secondary question of how far their ideology was a reflection of their social position is examined. The next issue discussed is their claim to be the 'natural leaders' of the province. 'natural leader' would find it impossible to justify his claim without some basic links of communication with the local people. What were the socio-economic links which had evolved over the centuries and which made it possible for them to influence a large section of the population? That is the theme of the second chapter. Having examined these channels of influence, it is assessed in the following chapter how far such links provided them with the basis for acting as intermediaries in public affairs through. political associations and as eminent individuals, and how far their attitudes and aspirations differed from those of the 'nationalists' of the time. Their capacity to provide an alternative indigenous leadership and their distinctive approach to political issues was put to the test by the framers of the 1909 reforms in the enlarged Executive and Legislative Councils. Their efforts to become an effective counterpoise to the 'nationalists' in the Councils is the question analysed in the fourth chapter. Alongside formalised politics a series of inter-connected extra-constitutional movements - Congress, Swadeshi, Terrorist, Muslim separatist - dominated the contemporary Bengal scene. The thesis is concluded with an examination of their attitude and activities in relation to these movements. Having examined their activities from social, economic and political viewpoints, it is ultimately attempted in the thesis to draw conclusions regarding their functions and effectiveness in Bengal during the decade under review.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:27

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