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Bhagwangola


Bhagwangola an important river port of Bengal in the 18th century. Situated on the bank of the Ganges and about 28.96km away from the capital city of murshidabad, Bhagwangola was a hub of trade and commerce of Bengal. Because of its navigability all round the year and because of its accessibility to all waterways leading to Murshidabad and Patna, Bhagwangola flourished under the patronage of the nawabs as a river port linking Bengal with north India commercially. This port was particularly important for grain trade. The records of the European traders visiting the mart and contemporary Bengali literature indicate that the area for grain transactions of the port extended to several kilometres along the river.

For reasons of profit and security this mart was controlled as a khas mahal of the government, that is, the mart was owned and managed by government directly. The significance of the port further increased when north and north-west Indian cotton trade was linked up with it in the second half of the eighteenth century under the impact of the increasing European trading activities. In view of the supreme importance of this great grain and cotton market the Bengal nawabs gave highest priority to its defense and internal management.

The Marathas raided the mart four times in 1743 and tried to ravage it, but huge defensive preparations of the government foiled their attempts. Traders from all parts of Bengal and north and northwestern India kept their agents at Bhagwangola in order to gather information about the state of the market. European merchants also kept their agents there for the same purpose. It is said that Bhagwangola controlled the trends of the market prices down in the country down to the end of the eighteenth century when Calcutta Port replaced it. [Sirajul Islam]