After 115 years, the scars of the non-famous Bengal partition still exist to haunt the people of the country. The decision to divide Bengal was declared in July 1905, and was implemented completely on 16 October, 1905. Though, the loss cannot be retrieved now.
The reasons for Bengal Partition
The decision to divide Bengal was completely administrative, as suggested by Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India. He claimed that Bengal was a very large state to be administered properly. The claim was not entirely false, given the 78 million (a quarter of total population) population of Bengal.
The Bengal of 1905 covered a portion of now Orissa, Bihar and Bangladesh. Hindu population was in majority and Muslim population in minority. However, the big population was not the only reason for the partition.
The increased sense of nationalism was a major reason for partition. Bengal was the most active state against British politically as people were raising their voices.
The population distribution was an easy target for Divide and Rule policy, as it was easier to control Hindus and Muslisms separately.
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“Bengal united is a power; Bengal divided will pull in several different ways,” Lord Curzon believed.
Swadeshi Movement refers to the boycott of any products made in Britain, including salt. The Indian National Congress urged the people to promote the use of Indian made products and refuse to use any other products that were imported.
The Bengal partition fuelled the Swadeshi Movement to a considerably. The partition was opposed by many Congress Nationalists. And the failure and ignorance by the British authorities added fuel to their anger. Many of them like Lala Lajpat Rai, went on tour across the country to convince people to boycott imported stuff.
The British had not only ignored the letters written to them by senior leaders, but ignored the violent riots that took place in Bengal between the announcement and execution of the order. The consequent riots, rallies and the meetings not only rose the Anti-partition Movement, but also gave the concept of Swaraj to the Congress leaders.
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The execution of the order
The state of Bengal was divided on October 16,1905. Thousands of people got displaced. They went from West Bengal to East Bengal in worse conditions. Many had to abandon their homes, properties, and even families. The partition marked a insoluble mark on the hearts of people, dividing the Hindu-Muslim eternally, sowing the seed of hatred.
Though, the states were reunited in 1911. The hatred sowed in them never left. Then Bengal was partitioned once again in 1947 on completely religious basis. Now, there is a border between the Bengali speaking population from Hindu and Muslim community that remains as a reminder of the brutal divide of the state.
Written By Rashi, She is doing her Masters in Convergent Journalism from Jamia AJK MCRC, New Delhi.
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