When we analyze the results of the Dual Government in Bengal we can well visualize that it was beneficial for company’s administration In Bengal under the prevailing circumstances and injurious to the people of Bengal who were administrated by such system.
Merits of the Dual Government:
Clive showed his sagacity by following the policy of decentralization in the matter of Company’s administration in Bengal. By this policy he could safely avert possible combined attack from the side of the Indian princes. He could save the British in India from the wrath of the Indian rulers who might have taken drastic steps to oust the British from India had it been done otherwise.
By the dual system of Government in Bengal Clive could save the company from the jealousy of the other European powers like the French, the Dutch and the Portuguese. These European powers would have withdrawn their payment of tariff to the servants of the Company on the event of Clive’s occupation of Bengal.
Clive was wise enough not to take upon the administration of Bengal directly. He knew fully well that the servants of the company were not conversant with the languages, customs, traditions and laws prevailing among the people of Bengal.
They were merely writers in the Company’s service. They would have cut a very sorry figure had they been entrusted with the administration of Bengal in the event of Clive’s occupation of the state. In addition to their ignorance of the task of administration, their number was also too small to manage it.
Both the Board of Directors and the British Parliament were not in favour of direct administration in Bengal. Clive did not like to insure displeasure of the home authority by taking over the administration of Bengal directly. By establishing Dual Government in Bengal Clive showed his honour to the Board of Directors on the one hand and saved the Company from the wrath of British parliament on the other.
The dual Government in Bengal helped the East India Company to remain free from the real responsibility of the administration of Bengal. The English Company got power and pelf by this system of Government by successfully keeping themselves away from the hazards of administration. For every omission and commission in the Government the Nawab of Bengal was to Bengal held responsible.
Lastly, Clive established Dual Government in Bengal because the exigencies of time demanded it. It provided a conducive atmosphere for the growth of British power in India under the prevailing circumstances. Any alternative would have led the company to disaster. It was stop-gap arrangement. It was make-shift agreement which aimed at tiding over the difficulties confronting the English in 1765.
Demerits of the Dual Government:
The Dual Government of Clive has been criticized in various ways. It led to disastrous results. The administration in Bengal almost collapsed. Power was divorced from the responsibility. The British were in possession of power and money where as the Nawab had neither power nor money. He had only the responsibility of running the administration. The Nawab failed to manage the administration smoothly with a small annual grant of rupees 50 lakhs only. The company tried to improve its own lot by the revenue it collected from Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The Nawab could not do any work of public utility due to paucity of fund. The Nawab also had no power to enforce law.
As a result lawlessness prevailed in most parts of Bengal. The cases of theft and rubbery increased by lips and bounds. The common people had to suffer a lot due to want of justice. They suffered to such an extent that they preferred even to leave their home and heart.
The condition of agriculture in Bengal gradually deteriorated under the Dual Government of Clive. The power of collection of revenue rested in the hands of the company only. So, the Nawab could not make any provision like irrigation for the development of agriculture in Bengal. He also failed to advance loan to the needy farmers due to shortage of fund. The great famine of 1770 was an indirect outcome of the above difficulties.
The poor administration in Bengal led to rapid increase of private trade. The servants of the East India Company carried on trade and commerce privately without paying any tax. They earned a lot of profit out of this illegal trade. But on the other hand the merchants of Bengal suffered a lot, because they were over burdened with tax. Thus, the Dual Government dealt a terrible blow to the local trade and commerce.
The servants of the Nawab became wayward and oppressive when they came to know that the Nawab was a great puppet in the hands of the English company. This led to the suffering of the people of Bengal. It was another drawback of the Dual Government.
The Dual Government of Clive was further responsible for the downfall of local industries. The company’s people forced the local weavers to work exclusively for the company. Many other small local industries also were brought under the control of the company.
People failed to get proper justice under the Dual system of Government. The judges of the Nawab were influenced by British authority, because the latter played vital role in their appointment. Thus, the judges failed to give impartial verdict which was detrimental to the interest of the public.
The downfall of agriculture under the Dual Government ultimately led to the downfall of Company’s income. The English Company became apathetic to agriculture in Bengal which led to loss of production in the field. It ultimately resulted in decrease of revenue collection.
Thus, the Dual Government of Clive proved to Bengal a failure. It gave rise to several complicacies in the administration of Bengal. The absence of responsibility on the part of the company led to abuses of power and corruption.
The separation of power from responsibility led Bengal towards its ruin. The Dual Government was avowedly a device for hoodwinking the country powers and the foreign nations whom Clive did not like to give umbrage. Though the Nawab , under this set up, “had nothing but the name and shadow of authority, yet that name and shadow were to Bengal preserved and outwardly venerated as a convenient mask which it would Bengal dangerous to throw off.”