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  4. Independence Day 2022: Why did the British initially select Kolkata as their capital?

Independence Day 2022: Why did the British initially select Kolkata as their capital?

Independence Day 2022: When a country is invaded and taken over, strategically or non-strategically, one of the most important factors is to know how to control it. Winning and taking over can be easy, but the difficult part is to conquer and rule.

India TV News Desk Edited By: India TV News Desk New Delhi Published on: August 15, 2022 22:20 IST
Victoria Memorial lit up in the colours of the Indian Flag
Image Source : AP Victoria Memorial lit up in the colours of the Indian Flag ahead of I-Day celebrations.

Independence Day 2022: India on Monday, August 15, celebrated its 76th Independence Day.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Monday, said that the completion of 75 years of Independence was a time to step towards a new direction with a new resolve. As India as a whole grows leaps and bounds, there are certain things from 200 years of our oppressive British rule that we should remember.

When a country is invaded and taken over, strategically or non-strategically, one of the most important factors is to know how to control it. Winning and taking over can be easy, but the difficult part is to conquer and rule. As we all know, the British, when it came to their decision-making, have been extremely strategic and passive. When they initially came to India, they knew some important parts of it were already under Portuguese control. However, to make things look non-invasive, the kingdom decided to select a spot that would gradually give them access to the mainland... and to do so, Kolkata (Calcutta at that time) was the most perfect location on the British-India map. 

Why the British chose Bengal as the capital of India 

When the British arrived in India, they had in mind three cities — Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata — with the potential to become the capital of British India. At that point, Mumbai was under Portuguese control, who had an alliance with the British. This, however, made it vulnerable to resistance from the Marathas, who were at that period, the strongest opposing force in the country. The British knew that Mumbai would be a weak zone for them and it would be difficult for them to expand. Chennai on the other hand was too far from the North and would have been impossible for the British to set up base and rule over the rest of the country (at that time, the map included further north) from there. 

Kolkata, which was named Calcutta by the British, however, had a comparatively weak ruler, Nawab Sirajudullah, but the region was rich and educated. The location also would have helped the British set up base easily and make inroads into Northern India without having to bother Portuguese interests in Mumbai, Goa, Cochin and Pondicherry. 

Moreover, Bengal also gave them a good potential for business. The state had significant geographical advantages. The area provided abundunt supply of fertile land, meat, and fish. The huge and swift river the Ganges opened the floodgates of opportunities. The river helped them set up ports for business through the river, which shortly connected with the Bay of Bengal. The west side of Bengal also provided the British with abundant natural resource like coal. These were some of the reasons why the British.

Also Read: Did you know the India-Pakistan border was drawn by a British lawyer during his first Indian visit?

 

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