From Subjects to Citizens: Reactions to Colonial Rule and the Changing Political Culture of Calcutta in the Mid-Nineteenth Century


  • Sekhar Bandyopadhyay


 Since   the Battle of Plassey (1757) and the subsequent reconstruction of Calcutta,   the city continually grew in size and splendour. 'It is difficult to   describe', wrote the Samachar Darpan in Apri11819, 'how Calcutta has   developed in the last sixty-two years. Today's Calcutta makes it difficult to   imagine how it looked before. The city where one could hardly find houses   worth even six thousand rupees, now can boast of buildings worth more than   three crores, not to speak of other forms of wealth.' 1 This development and   extension of Calcutta were as much due to its being a port city as to its   becoming the administrative centre of an expanding British empire in India.   It prospered as a colonial metropolis, simultaneously with the decline of the   older centres of trade and administration, such as Dacca, Murshidabad or   Hugli.