This article explains the origin of the Dual System of Government of Bengal and its effects.

The Dual System of Government of Bengal

Robert Clive introduces the Dual System of Government of Bengal when he became the Governor of Bengal again in May 1765. He concluded the Treaty of Allahabad in August 1765 with Mughal Emperor Shah Alam and Nawab Shuja Ud-Daula of Awadh. Thus, from this treaty, the East India Company received the right to collect revenue from Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa from the Emperor the Diwani. But, the company did not assume the responsibility of administration directly.

On the other hand, the Nawab of Bengal was allowed to retain Nizamat. That is the right to maintain peace and order. Also, to defend the frontiers against the foreign aggression and dispensation of criminal justice without money.

Thus, the ruling authority in Bengal was divided into two heads. One authority with the English company and the authority with the Nawab. This system of government of two authorities, one with power but without responsibility and other without power with responsibility has come into picture during Robert Clive. In fact, this system is popularly famous as the Dual System of Government of Bengal in the history of modern India.

Under the new system of Double or Dual Government, Robert Clive appointed two Naib or deputy Diwans. One Deputy Diwans, Raja Shitab Rai for Bihar and Orissa, and other Deputy Diwans, Muhammad Reza Khan for Bengal.

Besides, the Company appointed Muhammad Reza Khan the Deputy Nizam of Bengal as the New Nawab Nijjam Ud-Daula who was a minor. Thus, the responsibility of governing Bengal as a Deputy Diwan and Deputy Nizam passed into the hands of Md. Reza Khan who was the Indian agent/servant of the company. Thus, the English company, through him could act according to their likes and dislikes. However, they did not take the responsibility of the administration in any way.

However, the Dual System of Government, introduced by Robert Clive in Bengal fails in many ways.

The effects of the Dual System Government

Robert Clive who became the Governor of Bengal for the second term in 1765. He introduces the Dual System of Government of Bengal. The main objective of this new system is to streamline the company’s administration in Bengal. But, it fails miserably and produced disastrous effects on both the English company and the people or society of Bengal in many ways.

The System of Dual Government caused serious economic dislocations. During the period, 1756-1772, the abuse of private trade by the servants of the company reached its climax. The privileges of free passes given to the Company were misused. As a result, the Indian merchants fail to compete with the English and thus completely destroy the economy.

The handloom and cotton cloth industries which were once most developed and could compete with the British silk were also destroyed. The company’s servants begin to decide the Quality and quantity of production. Also, the company decides the prices without any care for the artisans. As a result, many of the artisan’s industries begin to change the professions and many others left Bengal.

Besides, it completely destroys the agriculture in Bengal due to the change in the method adopted under the new system. Every year land was assigned to the native highest bidders only with a view to collection of more revenue. These native tax collectors collected the maximum amount of revenue from the farmers and paid less to the company keeping more for themselves. Hence, the company increased its demand and the collected levied more and more revenue every year from the cultivator’s disregard for their interest. Many suffered loss and many others left the job and became dacoits and robbers for their livelihood.


The result of all these acts adopted carelessly under the system and policy of the Double or Dual Government was that the English company suffer to the greatest extent in the matters of both revenue and trade. It could neither receive the expected amount of revenue from land nor enjoyed better trade. In short, the consequences of the Dual System of Government, introduced by Robert Clive were too evidently exemplified in the decline of commerce and cultivation coupled with the general distress of the poor.

Source: B.Sm. Sarma & B.R. Sharma

History of Modern India, Book

Note: There are some changes in the Length and Text of the Article.

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