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An Economic History of Bengal1757-1947

Format Hardcover
Language English
ISBN 978 984 20 0274-8
Edition 1st
Pages 336

Drawing on his long years’ of teaching experience and research in the subject, Professor M. Mufakharul Islam deals in this volume with the most important aspects of the economy of undivided Bengal during 1757-1947. To begin with, however, he summaries the main features of the economy of the province at about the middle of the eighteenth century, the starting-point of British rule. Then in the subsequent chapters he discusses the battle of Palashi and the beginning of the economic drain, de-industrialisation, development of some modern industries, trends in agricultural production, land transfer, rise of the rich peasantry and sharecropping, problem of agricultural debt, impact of the Great Depression, construction of a railway network and the Bengal famine of 1943.

While some of these chapters are based on his own research other draw on a critical reading of the secondary literature. Professor Islam attempts to analyze problem like commercialisation of agricultural produce, failure of the landlords to play a transformative role in agricultural development and the under development of entrepreneurship among the Bengalis from a new perspective. His essay on the Bengal famine questions the validity of the view that Amartya Sen’s contention about the factors behind this tragedy is a novel one. In dealing with the subjects Professor Islam has presented a considerable volume of the available statistical data. The volume is primarily meant for the under-graduates students, teachers and researchers, but scholars dealing with the problems of underdevelopment should also, hopefully, find it useful.

M. Mufakharul Islam / এম. মুফাখারুল ইসলাম

Professor M. Mufakharul Islam taught Modern History at Chittagong College, Chittagong University, Dhaka University and Independent University, Bangladesh for more than four decades. At the same time he has remained engaged in research work. He has to his credit two monographs, Bengal Agriculture 1920-1946 : A Quantitative Study (Cambridge, 1978) and Irrigation, Agriculture and the Raj : Punjab 1887-1947 (New Delhi, 1997) and three edited volumes; Studies in Rural History of Bangladesh (Dhaka 1978), Essays in Memory of Momtazur Rahman Tarafdar (Dhaka, 2001) and Essays in Memory of Professor Shafiqur Rahman (Dhaka, 2004) and Dhaka : Economy and Society, vol. 2 (Bangladesh Asiatic Society, Dhaka, 2012). Moreover about 50 research papers by Prof. Islam have been published in standard journals : Modern Asian Studies, Journal of Peasant Studies, Indian Economic and Social History Review, Bangladesh Historical Studies and Dhaka University Studies. The author is currently working as an Honorary Professor in the Department of History, Dhaka University.