ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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The Mirror of Class-Class Subjectivity and Politics in 19th Century Bengal

The political, social and cultural understanding of the Bengali middle classes originating in the terrain of colonial capital was shaped through practices and ideas that came from the bourgeois world of the nest. The incoming discourse and practices originated in a mode of production, language and worldviews which were not only alien to Bengal but also at odds with it both in terms of power of assertion and contradiction within the existing social and cultural life. The work of the new classes lay in coping creatively with the new determining forces that impacted upon them They developed a mode of doing and being, as the colonial era evolved, which provided them with a social physiognomy quite specific to themselves and distinct from other classes both in the city and country side. When we contrast the 19th century Bengali upper class society with its counterpart in 18th century Bengal, the rapidity in the reworking of the social and intellectual space seems astronomical. This was a matter both of choice and of need arising out of the actuality of colonialism, which was met both consciously and spontaneously. It illustrates the truth of Marx's statement that people make history, but not as they please.

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