Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why was Bengal partitioned in 1905? How did it lead to the growth of extremist and terrorist schools of Nationalism? Why was it annulled and with what consequences? (CSE 1993)

What led to the partition of Bengal in 1905? (CSE 2004)

Bengal was partitioned in 1905 not for the administrative reasons but for political purposes. Elucidate. (CSE 1996)


Letter and spirit of Bengal partition had divergent connotations. Going by the letter of the issue of partition, Bengal was partitioned by Lord Curzon to have greater administrative efficiency for the government. But going by the spirit of this move, Bengal was partitioned to break the Hindu- Muslim solidarity therein. Curzon was of the view that “Bengal united is a power to be reckoned and Bengal divided a non-power.” During the early phase of India’s struggle for freedom, Bengal was the cardinal place from where every political activity was controlled. The literacy rate was the highest in Bengal, it has been rightly said that as Rome was to Europe, Bengal was to India with respect to Renaissance. Therefore, Bengal was partitioned by Curzon in line with the British policy of “Divide and Rule”

Though this step of Lord Curzon partially succeeded in dividing people on communal line, yet there was a mass protest against this move and people thronged the streets of Calcutta to register their protest against the partition. People from all communities participated. At this very juncture, we find a very different blend of Indian Nationalism, not seen before, which took to extremism and terrorism. Swadeshi and boycott of anything foreign were the slogans of the day in its extreme sense. All nationalist leaders like Tilak, Pal, Aurobindo, Lala Lajpat Rai and others organized a countrywide campaign through the press and other means of communication to popularize the boycott. While Tilak was still ready for responsive cooperation, Aurobindo resolved upon an aggressive resistance of the Russian terrorist- type. What he meant became clear with the bomb attack in Muzaffarpur and discovery of the hideout of the terrorist at Maniktala. To all these activities Tilak provided his moral support through the Kesari. All these activities were aimed at coercing the government into withdrawing their ruthlessly tried to six years’ transportation to Mandalay. Nine Bengali leaders were deported. The government censored all newspapers, prohibited mass meetings and started prosecutions against the revolutionary associations. However, the extremist and terrorist school of nationalism got it name associated with India’s struggle for freedom.

The decision on Bengal Partition annulled in 1911 by the Viceroy Lord Harding and as consequences the capital of India was shifted to Delhi from Calcutta.

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