Midnapore: The Forerunner of India's Freedom Struggle
The present volume deals with the Socio-political aspects of the district of Midnapore which would not only be found certainly as a most helpful Reference Book by the Honours Students of the Vidyasagar University (Midnapore) while studying the ‘History of South-West Bengal’ (Midnapore in general) but will also be found equally helpful by the research scholars. The British, since their early attempt to strengthen their stronghold on Bengal, had to face vehement resistance (for the first time in India) even from the Adibasis along with their jungle Chiefs of Midnapore. This struggle arose out of the encroachment upon the vast landed properties of the Midnapore people and it continued till the great Revolution of 1857 and further onwards. The author has discussed about this in first two Chapters as also in the third Chapter under the title “Agrarian Conditions”. As the educated middle-class leaders grew rapidly in the district from which the ‘Landed Gentry’ (Vide, Chapter IV of the Book “Advent of the Middle Classes”) he has vividly described that throughout Bengal, in the 19th Century, the elites had been drawn mostly on the basis of blood and wealth rather than merit and achievement. Rajnarain’s famous “Prospectus of the Society for the Promotion of National Feeling among the Educated Bengalees” was indispensable to everyone at that stage, to study intellectual-cum-moral renaissance in the then Bengal through this district. Subsequently, the great institutions, viz.; the Hindu Mela, Indian Association and Indian National Congress grew out of this and they generated National Feelings even amongst the vast rural masses who became conscious of their conditions and formed various Ryots’ Unions. Under Sri Aurovindo, the first partition of the Congress between the Extremists and Moderates was actually brought about in Midnapore and real background for the Swadeshi and Revolutionary Movement started from the base of this District (1906-07). At the later stage, the Gandhi-led Non-Co-operation Movement also got its great impetus under Birendra Nath Sashmal and even the First Nationalist Government was established at Midnapore itself in 1942. The author describes – “The Growth of Political Consciousness in this district” in the V Chapter of the book. The author has rightly concluded that Midnapore proved the real path-finder of India for achieving ultimate national goal viz freedom from foreign rule.
Dr. Gouripada Chatterjee (born 1928) obtained his M.A. Degrees (in Modern History and Political Science) and also the LL.B. Degree in 1954 from the Calcutta University. He began his teaching career as a Lecturer from 1955 and was promoted as the Heas of the History Department in 1965 at Garhbeta College (Midnapore). He worked as Professor-in-Charge and Vice-Principal from 1968 to 1980 and as Principal (Offg.) till October, 1985. Dr. Chatterjee has been engaged in serious research since 1971 and published (I) a Pre-Doctoral research study “History of Bagree Rajya” (North and North –Eastern Midnapore) in 1976 with a Foreword by renowned historian by Dr. R.C. Majumdar, and (ii) “History of South-West Bengal (from Earliest times to 1947)” as a text book for the B.A. Honours Course prescribed by the Vidyasagar University (Midnapore).
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