Bengal was partitioned in 1905 not for administrative reasons, but for political purpose. Elucidate.

The partition of Bengal was the most crucial example of Curzon’s contempt of educated public opinion. Officially treated as a measure of administration, it became a big political issue. It stirred the first great movement of 20th century in India.

Behind the partition was a political approach. Curzon wanted to split up Bengal and thereby to weaken a solid body of opponents to British rule. Bengal was at the forefront in the national struggle. He observed ‘Bengal United was a power, that power was to be broken by partition’. Calcutta was to be dethroned as the centre of growing nationalism. The growth of independent centress of influence outside Congress’s ambit like Decca was to put to break on unity of nationalist spirits.

The scheme was devised to divide the people on the basis of religion and to put the Muslims against the Hindus. Curzon even explained that by partition the Muslims were to have a province where Islam could be predominant. He tried to develop a cleavage between Hindus and Muslims by the offer to Muslims of a absolute voice in East Bengal.

This partition of Bengal (1905) was intended to undermine the solidarity of politically advanced Bengalis and lessening the political influence of Calcutta. It created a breach between the Hindus and Muslims in India. But, this cardinal blunder of Curzon gave a great fillip to national struggle. Swadeshi movement, an outcome of it, gave a sense of unity and strength to the Indians.

June 3, 2016

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