Was the partition of Bengal in 1905 really for administrative efficiency? If not then write the real reasons for it.

Was the partition of Bengal in 1905 really for administrative efficiency? If not then write the real reasons for it.

 Approach:

  • In the introduction part-set the context and date of the partition of Bengal
  • Then write the reasons given by the Curzon government
  • After that write the real reasons like- weaken the Bengali community by dividing them on religious line, to weaken the congress etc
  • At the end write that it was failed and the British government decided to annul the Partition
Model Answer :

The partition of Bengal marked a decisive phase in the history of our freedom struggle. It not only revolutionized the political life of Bengal, but also led to the emergence of Extremist politics and violent revolutionary movements in India. On December 3, 1903, Lord Curzon announced the scheme of territorial redistribution which came into effect on October 16, 1905.

The real purpose of partition was to thwart the rising tide of nationalism among the Bengali people, but administrative reasons were given by the Curzon government for the partition of Bengal.

 Those reasons were as follows:

 

  1. It would reduce the excessive administrative burden of the Bengal government. As Bengal was a big province, it had an area of 189,000 miles. And in terms of population, it comprised almost 78 million-consisting a quarter of the population of British India, making it a huge administrative entity.
  2. Since 1874, Assam was separated from Bengal. So this division would also solve the problem of Assam which would become a Lieutenant Governor’s Province with a separate civil services cadre.
  3. There would be substantial commercial benefits, as the interest of the tea gardens, oil and coal industries would be safeguarded.
  4. The Assam planters would be having a cheaper maritime outlet through the port of Chittagong.

 

However, the real reasons of partition are:

 

  1. To weaken the Bengali community: The partition was a desire to weaken the politically articulated Bengali community. It was done on the religious as well as linguistic line. This was evident from the note of Home secretary Herbert Risley. He said- Bengal united as a power and Bengal divided will pull it in several different ways.  After division Bengal would be having a population of 54 million, 42 million Hindus and 9 million Muslims. But Bengali community would be a linguistic minority here, because after division it would contain large numbers of Hindi and Oriya speaking population.

 

  1. To weaken the congress:Curzon believed that any measure to dethrone Calcutta and encourage alternative centers of activity would weaken the Congress.

 

  1. To encourage Muslims:The partition would destroy the virtual class rule by the Bengali Bhadralok. So the antidote to Bhadraloke power was to encourage the development of other communities, in this case it was the muslims who captured the attention of the colonial rulers. As in the new province of East Bengal and Assam the Muslim had a population of 18 million, out of total population of 31 million. So here the Bengali Hindus would be outnumbered by the Muslims. Also the British wanted to diminish the role of Calcutta in national politics and build up Dacca as an alternative centre of political power.

However, the partition instead of dividing and weakening the Bengalees, further united them through an anti partition agitation. The initial aim of the nationalist leader was to secure the annulment of partition, but it soon enlarged into a more broad based movement known as the Swadeshi movement touching upon wider political and social issues. So the British government decided to annul the Partition of Bengal, and ending of the partition and reunification of Bengal was done on 1 April 1912.

 

Subjects : History Modern

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