This valuable translation has been lying hidden from the public gaze for the last 60 years, and we have reason to feel gratified that we have done our bit to re-discover it.
Nil Darpan, a drama depicting the pitiable condition of Bengal under the tyranny of Indigo planters, is too famous a work to need any words of introduction. Yet the readers will find exhaustive information about the drama, its social and political background etc. Let it suffice to say that Nil Darpan, apart from its dramatic quality, is a rare historical document worthy to be read by all.
As the father of the Bengali novel Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya pointed out, Nil Darpan was the first Bengali literary work to be translated into a number of European languages and to win laurels wherever it had been published.
Nil Darpan by Dinabandhu Mitra(Bangla PDF)
We take this opportunity of extending our sincerest thankfulness and gratitude to Dr. Subodh C.
Sen Gupta M. He took the trouble of going through the English rendering of Bankimchandra's biographical sketch of Dinabandhu Mitra, and found it faithful and happy. Long, the first publisher of the English version, and of the proceedings connected therewith. A high Government official under the British, the author chose to remain anonymous. The title page carried a couple of lines which in effect meant that the drama had been written by a traveller who wanted to give a message of hope to the peasants in their struggle against the poisonous reptiles in the shape of rapacious Indigo Planters.
The first English translation appeared in April or May as per statement by Mr. Manuel, the printer.
In the introduction it was pointed out that the author of the drama as well as its translator were natives; both were then in the employ of the Government. The title page of that edition is reprinted in the present edition. The second Indian edition of the English version was published in by Messrs A.
In this edition the text of the proceedings of the trial of the Rev. Long was added with all relevant documents, relating particularly to the trial and Indian and foreign newspaper comments thereon. It was compiled by Mr.
James Long. The compiler mentioned the name of the author in his preface but hastened to add that he was neither adding to, nor omitting anything from, what had emerged from the court-proceedings. The reason assigned was that he did not like to give occassion for another protracted and vexatious trial. In preparing the present edition I have followed the text of the second Indian edition of the translation. Every care, however, has been taken in the preparation of this edition to compare the text of the English version with that of the original Bengali, as published by the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad, Calcutta, which claims to have followed the text of the first edition.
Therefore, the book presented in these pages is the first ever-faithful English edition of the original Bengali drama with the names of the author and the translator printed on the title page.
This mighty upheaval was followed by a series of skrimishes between the foreign Indigo planters and Indian ryots in different parts of Bengal, Behar and U. To the planters of those days indigo was worth more than its weight in gold, as until the introduction of tea-planting it was the most important Indian staple grown by foreign capital. The Nil Darpan thus reflects a great social upheaval in Bengal.
But it is not merely an expression of the conflict between the British Indigo planters and ryots, rich and poor. The drama also brings out, subtly and yet effectively, the rift, and the division that occurred between the different classes in the society and between the different sections in Government as a result of this conflict. In fact, the rule of unmitigated tyranny unleashed by the Indigo planters on the soil of Bengal not only caused an active discontent amongst the people of Bengal; it moved the more sympathetic sections of the British in India, and met with serious opposition from the more thinking sections of the administrators here.
As a matter of fact, the issue of Indigo caused a serious unrest among the rulers and the ruled—a section of the ruling class having already begun thinking if the Indigo issue was not going to bring about the end of British rule in India.
From the very beginning, the planters were opposed by the missionaries, and later on, by a section of the civilians. The struggle that ensued and continued over a long period becomes manifest in the allegations brought by the planters against the missionaries and the British Indian civilians:.
The planters, being now deserted by those who hold bayonets at their command, are, as a matter of course, thrown into the power of a hostile race who hate civilian, missionary and planter in equal degree, or perhaps the missionary the most and the planter the least. Grant at his work. The millions of Hindusthan all bowed themselves to the dust before him.
He was taught—and how soon is such a lesson learnt—to consider himself a supreme being to those around him. As the common phrase in India runs he was one of the heaven-born. After a few years of subordinate office, with a salary greater than that of the grey-headed barrister in judicial position at home, he became in some far-away province, the pro-consul of great sovereign company. He had no knowledge of law, either in its principle or its practice, yet he sat in judgement on the millions of mankind, and the Indian princes were his suitors.
He knew little, if anything, of the principle of finance, yet he administered the finances as well as the judicial functions of his province.
He was ignorant of the habits and customs of the people, and he had a bare smattering of their language, yet his fiat was practically without appeal in all cases, from a contest between two farmers to the confiscation of the possession of an ancient line of princes.
He was irresponsible. No crime, however great, could ever be proved against him. In the history of the company there is scarcely an instance of a 'senior merchant' or a 'collector' having been publicly or privately dismissed from service. Indeed some had been even moved by the ryots' plight.
Amongst them were Sir J. Grant, once Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, W.
Seton-Karr, a high official, Mr. Eden, once Magistrate of Barasat, and many others. Sir J. Grant was the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal from and had earned great fame by helping the passing of the Widow Remarriage Bill, and by lending his support to the cause of the Bengali ryots victimized by the Indigo planters. In the words of Macaulay, J.
Nil Darpan By Dinabandhu Mitra
Grant was one of the "flowers" of the Calcutta society. According to the Hindu Patriot, "he has awakened in the raiyat a community of feeling for a community of suffering… …a spirit of independence… …".
When two of our own great Indians, Raja Rammohun Roy and Prince Dwarkanath Tagore, expressed their appreciation of the 'constructive activities' of the Indigo planters, Mr. Eden, Magistrate of Barasat, submitted before the Indigo Commission a statement which set out inter alia : the following.
James Long was the most important of those who supported the cause of the ryot. He was a missionary with a clear head, a compassionate heart and a sociologist's outlook. He came to India in after spending his childhood in Russia.
His writings reveal his concern for the poor and his love for humanity. While in Russia he took interest in her folklore. Before publishing this English version of the Nil Darpan, he collected folk songs set to tune and sung throughout Bengal, depicting the plight of the peasants engaged in Indigo plantation. He had so many pioneering works to his credit that he could claim the honour of being India's first sociologist.
Long's statement as a defendant, and the evidence of a contemporary British Magistrate of Faridpur now a district of East Pakistan before the Indigo Commission are historically important. Along with the actions of J. Grant, Seton-Karr and others these two documents serve to show the attitude of a section of honest and intelligent Britishers to the vexed and burning Indigo question.
Delatour, the then Magistrate of Faridpur, said before the Indigo Commission: "there is one thing more I wish to say; that considerable odium has been thrown on the missionaries for saying that 'not a chest of Indigo reached England without being stained with human blood.
That expression is mine and I adopt it in the fullest and broadest sense of its meaning, as the result of my experience as a magistrate in Faridpur District.
Dinabandhu Mitra and Nil Darpan (Documentary/10 min).
I have seen several ryots sent to me as a magistrate, who have been speared through the body. I have had ryots before me who have been shot down by Mr. Forde a planter.
I have put on record how others have been first speared and then kidnapped and such a system of carrying of indigo, I consider to be a system of Bloodshed". Long, in his statement to the court, put forward his reasons for publishing the Nil Darpan. As has already been said, Rev. Long's views were shared by a number of British officials who helped him to circulate the edition of the Nil Darpan among the influential circles of the day.
Speaking about W.
Nil darpan bengali pdf horror
This attempt was foiled by Rev. Long who took upon himself the full responsibility for the publication of the English version. My Lord, four years only have elapsed since Calcutta was waiting in trembling anxiety for the result of the mutiny. Few could look with calmness on the future, while watch and ward were kept all night by the citizens. Many felt then, as I had felt long before, how unsafe it was for the English to reside in India in ignorance of and indifference to the current of the native feeling.
The mutiny in common with the Afghan War has shown that the English in India were generally unacquainted with it; so a short time previous to the mutiny, the Santhal war burst out unexpectedly to the public.
For a long period, thugge and torture prevailed in India without the English knowing anything of them. Had I, as a missionary, previous to the mutiny, been able to submit to men of influence a native drama which would have thrown light on the views of the Sepoys and native chiefs how valuable..
My Lord, the mutiny has passed away; who knows what is in the future.
As a clergyman and friend of the peaceable residence of my countrymen in India, I beg to state the following as a motive for my editing such a work as the Nil Darpan. I, for years, have not been able to shut my eyes to what many able men see looming in the distance. It may be distant or it may be near; but Russia and Russian influence are rapidly approaching the frontiers of India.
Her influence so manifest in Cabul 20 years ago, as shown in a recent parliamentary blue book, was beginning to be felt in India during the last mutiny". This apart, the peasants of Bengal did not allow the tyranny of the Indigo planters go unresisted.
A missionary who lived in Nadia where the real drama of the Indigo tyranny was enacted wrote thus:. They [the peasants: Ed ] had divided themselves into about six different companies. Another company consists of brickwallas, for which purpose they have even, as I hear, collected the scattered bricks about my own compound. Another company consists of balewallas. Their business is merely to send unripe bale fruits at the heads of the lattials.
Again another division consists of thalwallas who fling their brass rice-plates in a horizontal way at the enemy which does great execution.