PARTITION OF BENGAL – 1905


The government announced the idea for partition in January 1904.

The idea was opposed by Henry John Stedman Cotton, Chief Commissioner of Assam 1896–1902.

The Partition of Bengal in 1905 was made on October 16 by Viceroy Curzon.

The former province of Bengal was divided into two new provinces “Bengal” (comprising western Bengal as well as the province of Bihar and Orissa) and Eastern Bengal and Assam with Dacca as the capital of the latter.

The Partition of Bengal was promoted for administrative reasons.

Curzon stated the eastern region was neglected and under-governed. By splitting the province, an improved administration could be established in the east, where subsequently, the population would benefit from new schools and employment opportunities.

The partition was generally supported by the Muslims of East Bengal.

The opposition to the partition was led by the educated middle class of western Bengal.

Following the partition, an anti-British movement formed in opposition to the Partition.

This involved non-violent and violent protests, boycotts and even an assassination attempt against the Governor of the new province of West Bengal.

The main reason for the Partition was purely political.

Partition sparked an extremely major political crisis along religious lines.

Indian National Congress began the Swadeshi movement that included boycotting British goods and public institutions, meetings and processions, forming committees, propaganda through the press, and diplomatic pressure.

Hitherto untouched sections of Indian society participated in these movements, providing the base for later movements.

The richness of the movement extended to culture, science, and literature.

The Muslims in East Bengal hoped that a separate region would give them more control over education and employment; hence, they opposed those movements.

Rabindranath Tagore wrote Banglar Mati Banglar Jol as a rallying cry for proponents of the annulment of Partition.

In 1909, separate elections were established for Muslims and Hindus.

Before this, many members of both communities had advocated national solidarity of all Bengalis.

With separate electorates, distinctive political communities developed, with their own political agendas.

Due to these political protests, the two parts of Bengal were reunited in 1911.

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