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Partition of Bengal 1905 [1903-1911]

Lord Curzon1899-1905Partition of Bengal (1905) into two provinces- Bengal and East Bengal was done during his time.   Passed the Ancient Monuments Act (1904), to restore India’s cultural heritage. ASI was founded by Alexander Cunninghum in 1861 when Lord Canning was Viceroy. (1856-1862)Lord Curzon
Lord Minto1905-1910Morley-Minto reform was passed in 1909. Partition actually happened during his tenure.Lord Minto

1. 1903

Curzon proposed the partition of Bengal which was emerging as a centre of nationalism.
Curzon argued that Bengal was too large an administrative entity, to be administered by one centre and hence proposed its partition into 2 i.e. East and West.
Congress was against it as it was seen as an attempt to weaken growth of nationalism and divide Bengal along religion and linguistic lines.

2. 1904

Congress was under Moderate leadership. They wrote repeated letters and articles against proposed partition but Curzon went ahead nonetheless.

3. 1905

Extremists assumed charge of the movement against Partition of Bengal as moderate leadership had failed to yield any results.
Under extremists, Congress launched its 1st ever mass struggle and relied upon public speeches, door to door political campaigns.
Promotion of Boycott of British goods and adoption of Swadeshi etc.
Tagore wrote ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’.
However, despite a year of protests under extremist leadership, partition happened.
/ Swadeshi, Gandhian concept is to promote self sufficiency at 3 levels.
At level of Individual, Committee, Nation.
Individual – labour intensive enterprise to generate employment.
Community – Environmental sustainability / Sustainable Development.
Nation – Reduce import dependence. Enterprises must procure indigenous raw material and employs indigenous technology.
Khadi. It fits all 3 criterias.

4. Gandhi’s views on technology

There are two types of technologies
Labour displacing technology.
It is motivated by personal gains and profits and will lead to unemployment and is a social evil.
Technology which reduced the drudgery of labour.
Gandhi welcomes this type of technology.
Ganshi’s position on technology is not just a blanket ban on technology.

5. 1906

While moderates criticized extremists leadership for failing to produce any output, extremists argued for extension of movement against partition of Bengal to other areas like Bombay etc.
Moreover, they argued for giving a call for overthrow of British if they refuse to call off the partition.
/ Gopal Krishna Gokhale was president in INC 1905 at Benaras and no concrete output was achieved. This upset extremist leadership.
Dadabhai Nairoji was appointed as president of INC in 1906 to act as mediator between two factions and to avoid split of Congress.

1906 Session gave

a. A call for Swaraj on lines of White British colonies to be achieved through legal constitutional means.
b. Movement would remain restricted to Bengal.
The demand for Swaraj in 1906 session and the insistence of extremist leadership over Swaraj represented an evolution of Congress, a broadening of scope of its demands and strategy or forward evolution of Indian Freedom Struggle.

6. 1906 Shimla Deputation

The Shimla deputation composed of Muslim landed elites from East Bengal offered their written support to the partition. They expected that the British would repay their loyalty by granting assured political representation to Muslims.
Shimla deputation included Nawab Salimulla of Dacca, Aga Khan and Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk. These landed elites also formed Muslim League on 30 Dec 1906 at Dacca, which began with a loyalist outlook.

7. 1907

British promised an early devolution of power and announced appointment of Morley Minto Committee.
The moderates were thus hopeful of further council reforms.
The extremists insisted upon extending the movement beyond Bengal and providing leadership of Tilak for widening the struggle.
However, the moderates were opposed to extending the movement beyond Bengal, also were opposed to granting the presidency to Tilak.
And thus, deliberately organized the 1907 session in Surat so that Tilak cannot become president.
The Surat session was led by Rasbihari Ghosh, and witnessed the split of Congress which ultimately weakened the freedom struggle.

8. 1907

The Surat split of Congress was soon followed by a brutal crackdown on the extremist leadership with Tilak being jailed for 6 years from 1908 – 1914.
Aurobindo Ghosh, forced to retire from politics.
Lala Lajapatrai forced into exile in London.
The moderate leadership which was hopeful of further devolution of power soon found itself dissatisfied with the Council Act of 1909.
Thus the split of Congress considerably weakened the freedom struggle during 1907 – 1914 period.

9. 1908-1911 The Growth of Militant Nationalism

The crackdown on extremist leadership left the youth largely leaderless, who now took the path of militancy against the partition
e.g.  Alipore bombing case.
Anushilan Samiti (Manicktolla Samiti) founded by Barindra Kumar Ghosh (Barin Ghosh) and Bhupendra Nath Dutta. It was a secret society.
They also published Journal by name of Yugantar.
Prafull Chaki and Khudiram Bose carried out attack on Magistrate Douglas Kingsford in Muzaffarpur. But Magistrate was not killed but two ladies.
Khudiram Bose was hanged and Prafulla killed himself.
British started crackdown on Anushilan Samiti and Barindra Kumar Ghosh (Younger bro of Aurobindo) was arrested.
The attack failed, following which Barindra Kumar Ghosh was given life imprisonment (1908-1920 released).
In Alipore bombing case which was the name of case, Narain, who was a trator was killed in Jail rendering his testimony useless. This helped in release of Aurobindo.
Aurobindo was forced to stay away from all political activities. He retired to take sanyas.

Rasbihari Bose – also an militant involved in Alipore bombing case.
He moved out of Bengal, played imp role in planning Ghadar party movement.
He also played imp role in Delhi Conspiracy case in 1912. But Viceroy Hardinge closely escaped while his elephant was hurt. This was done in a procession to shift capital from Calcutta to Delhi.
When Ghadar party movement failed, he escaped to France where he met Madam Bhikaji Cama. She was based in France, and member of Abhinav Bharat society founded by V D Savarkar along with his brother Ganesh D Savarkar. It started as Mitra Mela.
Abhinav Bharat was also secret militant society founded in 1903.
Madam Bhikaji Cama gave training in bomb making to militant nationalists including Rasbihari Bose.
Eventually when WW I began, Britain and France were on one side, Rasbihari Bose escaped to Japan and helped in organization of INA during 1940s i.e. WW II.

Madan Lal Dhingra was also part of Abhinav Bharat. Assasinated Curzon Wyllie in Britain in 1909 and was given death Sentence. From Akola, MH.
The phase of militant nationalism in Bengal largely ended with the partition of Bengal being called off in 1911.
The objective of militant nationalism was to overthrow the unjust British rule by striking terror in the minds of British rulers by assasinating unpopular British officials.
Despite their failures in Alipore bombing case, 1907, the militant nationalist inspired the future generations of Indian nationalists.

10. 1911

British called off (revoked) Partition of Bengal and British capital was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi. King George V had came to India for a visit.
Bipin Chandra argues that calling off the partition of Bengal did not harm the British rule, it only aided it further as calling off the partition was a long standing demand & addressing it would only increase the legitimacy of British rule.
British strategy of dealing with the Partition of Bengal.

  1. RCS Strategy
    Repression – British suppressed political uprisings or mass protests.
    Conciliation – offered concession to moderates by promising them reforms.
    Suppression – supressing extremists leadership.
    Aka – Carrot and stick policy.
  2. Divide and Rule Strategy

11. 1911

Second Delhi Darbar (Royal Darbar) was organized. And at the end of the visit, King George V formally announced revoking partition and also shifting of capital from Calcutta to Delhi.

11.1 Press

Period from 1870 to 1918s was a time when mass agitation was not common phenomeno and nation buidling phase in nascent phase.
Press was chief instrument of carrying out this task.
Hindu &Swadeshmitran – G Subramaniam Aiyar.
Kesari & Mahratta – Tilak.
Amrit Bazar Patrika – Sisir Kumar Ghosh and Motilal Ghosh.
Sudharak – G K Gokhale.
Indian Mirror – N N Sen.
Voice of India – Dadabhai Nairoji.

11.2 Ahrar Momvent

Lead by Maulana Mohamed Ali, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Hasan Imam, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and Mazhar-ul-Haq.
Militant nationalist organization.
/ Aligarh school took loyalist position.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
Started newspaper Al Hilal in 1912 @ young age of 24.
Comrade was started by Maulana Mohammad Ali.
1st session of All India Hindu Mahasabha took place in 1915 under presidentship of Maharaja of Kasim Bazar, but it remained a weak organization.
Punjab Hindu Sabha was founded in 1909. One of its leader Lal Chand declared that Hindu should believe that he is a Hindu 1st and Indian later.

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