Page:Nil Durpan.djvu/9

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men who were far-sighted enough to realize the dangers of letting the peasant discontent grow. Indeed some had been even moved by the ryots' plight. Amongst them were Sir J. P. Grant, once Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, W. Seton-Karr, a high official, Mr. Eden, once Magistrate of Barasat, and many others.

Sir J. P. Grant was the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal from 1859-62 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. P. 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

"As a general rule I do not think the residence of Indigo planters has improved to any great extent the physical and moral condition of the people."

Rev. 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 1840 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.

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