The post explains “The Partition Of Bengal 1905 – causes and consequences. Causes and consequences of partition of Bengal. Causes of partition of Bengal. Impact of partition of Bengal. Muslim reaction to partition of Bengal. Hindu Reaction to partition of Bengal. Partition of Bengal and Swadeshi movement.”
The Partition Of Bengal 1905 – Causes and Consequences
Bengal was the biggest province of British administered India in 1905. It had a population of more than 78 million with a vast area and an unwieldy administrative unit. The whole province was under the administration of one Lieutenant Governor who could not look after such a vast area and big population all alone. In time of disasters and other natural calamities it was not possible for the Lieutenant Governor to go around the province and look after the administrative services himself. Consequently a major portion of the province always remained neglected.
The Partition Of Bengal 1905
In 1899, Lord Curzon became the Viceroy of India. Immediately after his arrival at India, he undertook an extensive tour of the province. Being an efficient administrator he felt that the province was too big to be administered effectively. A large number of complaints about administrative difficulties were already filed by the provincial governors who had demanded the partition of the province in view of its size and population.
A number of partition proposals were viewed and discussed which however could not materialize. Lord Curzon decided to give his own proposal for the partition of the province. He prepared a comprehensive plan for the partition of Bengal in 1905 and sent it to England for approval. The British Crown gave approval to the plan. Under Lord Curzon Plan, the province of Bengal was divided into two parts on 16th October 1905, named as Eastern Bengal and Western Bengal.
Causes And Consequences Of Partition Of Bengal 1905
The causes and consequences of partition of Bengal were different for different communities of the province, particularly for Muslims and Hindus. Some of these have been highlighted in below paragraphs.
Causes of partition of Bengal
Some of the major causes of the partition of Bengal are given below.
Vastness of the province: Bengal was the biggest province of the British administered India. The land area of Bengal was nearly equal the size of France.
Administrative challenges: The administration of such a large area and huge population with one Lieutenant Governor and limited number of government officials was not possible for the government anymore.
Prosperity and welfare of the people at risk: Due to huge population, access of the people to government services was nearly impossible. In such case prosperity and welfare of the people of Bengal seemed dim.
Necessary for maintaining peace and law and order: Being a multi-communal state, maintaining peace and law and order in the province having such a huge population and vast area with limited resources was really a challenging task for the government.
Need of time: According to Hindu historians and political analysts, the real motive of the British Raj of India behind the Partition of Bengal was the division of Indian population along religious lines. Whatever was the cause of the Partition of Bengal 1905, but it was the need of the time.
Impacts Of Partition Of Bengal 1905
As Muslims and Hindus were the two main beneficiary and payer communities of the decision of the Partition of Bengal, its impacts for them were different. This was primarily because both the communities viewed the decision from their own perspective. The impacts of Partition of Bengal for each community have been discussed in below paragraphs.
Muslims Reaction To Partition Of Bengal
The new province of Eastern Bengal was Muslims majority province. Out of 31 million total population Muslims were 18 million. Its creation brought happier prospects of political and economic life for the Muslims. The partition provided them with a chance to rehabilitate their social, political and economic position. The Muslims of India in general and of Bengal in particular expressed their utmost happiness and gratification over the partition of Bengal.
Hindus Reaction To Partition Of Bengal
The Hindus on the other hand opposed the partition of Bengal all over India. They called the Partition of Bengal a malicious move of the government to strengthen their policy of ‘divide and rule’ in the subcontinent. To arouse deep opposition within Hindus masses against the government decision, religious color was given to the partition. It was called the ‘Dissection of Sacred Cow Mother’ by the Hindu Pundits.
The day of 16th October 1905, was declared as a national tragedy. Strikes were held throughout the country. Soon the Hindu agitation turned into violent reaction. Hindus refused to pay taxes and rentals. Communal riots broke out in a number of places.
Partition of Bengal And Swadeshi Movement
The Hindus of India in general and of Bengal in particular opposed the Partition of Bengal. They called the partition unethical and malicious act of the government. However the real reasons behind their opposition to the partition were as follow.
- In the new province of Eastern Bengal, Hindus overnight turned into minority. This risked their dominance in the province.
- As the provincial High Court and other judicial bodies were to be shifted to Dacca, the Hindu lawyers feared that their legal practice would be affected.
- Since Dacca was to become the center of journalistic and other academic activities, the Hindu Press and media believed that from now onward the Muslim point of view would be projected in the newspaper and magazines.
- Before the partition, Hindus were enjoying dominant position in the political sphere of the province. The partition put an end to their political superiority, which was not acceptable to them.
For a long time the government did not paid heed to the Hindus opposition and strikes against the partition of Bengal. To force the government, communal riots broke out in many parts of the country.
Not only this, some leaders of the Indian National Congress launched Swadeshi Movement. Apparently the Swadeshi Movement aimed at boycotting the foreign goods and services but in reality its objectives were hostile. Bombs were thrown and attacks were made on the lives of the British people. The train carrying the Governor of Eastern Bengal was derailed and an attempt was made on Viceroy’s life which failed.
Conclusion Of Bengal Partition
The vigorous Hindu agitation rocked the Government which could not withstand the extreme pressure of the movement. The Hindu threatened the Government to boycott the forthcoming tour of India of the King George. The threat proved successful and the British government succumbed to the Hindus agitation. The Partition of Bengal was ultimately annulled on 12th December 1911, at a Royal meeting known as Delhi Darbar.
The Hindus agitation revealed on Muslims their true face. They realized that Hindus would never allow Muslims to be prospered and developed. Their agitation furthered ‘The Two Nation Theory’. It also convinced the Muslim leaders of the need for a separate Muslim political organization which could safeguard the interest of Muslims of India and which could counter the Hindu and Congress propaganda.
Pakistan Studies by M. Ikram Rabbani
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