Page:Nil Durpan.djvu/17

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INTRODUCTION

by Rev. J. Long

The original Bengali of this Drama—the Nil Durpan, or Indigo Planting Mirror—having excited considerable interest, a wish was expressed by various Europeans to see a translation of it. This has been made by a Native; both the original and translation are bona fide Native productions and depict the Indigo Planting System as viewed by Natives at large.

The Drama is the favourite mode with the Hindus for describing certain states of society, manners, customs. Since the days of Sir W. Jones, by scholars at Paris, St. Petersburgh, and London, the Sanskrit Drama has, in this point of view, been highly appreciated. The Bengali Drama imitates in this respect its Sanskrit parent. The evils of Kulin Brahminism, widow marriage prohibition, quackery, fanaticism, have been depicted by it with great effect.

Nor has the system of Indigo planting escaped notice; hence the origin of this work, the Nil Durpan, which, though exhibiting no marvellous or very tragic scenes, yet, in simple homely language, gives the "annals of the poor"; pleads the cause of those who are the feeble; it describes a respectable ryot, a peasant proprietor, happy with his family in the enjoyment of his land till the Indigo System compelled him to take advances, to neglect his own land, to cultivate crops which beggared him, reducing him to the condition of a serf and a vagabond; the effect of this on his