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British Empire and the Partition of Bengal

Fatema Miah : A chapter of book Unspoken.

A subsection of Eastern Region of Bengal, in the South East of Asia, this is roughly the perimeter of current Bangladesh, was taken into Pakistan during the partition of India in 1947, and later named East Pakistan. Verily, early in the 19th century, British Imperialist, Governor and Viceroy Lord Curzon separated this same section out of the rest of Eastern Region, when he divided the Bengal into subsections, known as partition of Bengal, during his governor post in India. Apparently, by this partition Curzon divided the Bengali Nation into subcategories. Bengali people both Hindus and Muslims strongly opposed the partition and they have protested against this partition.

Bangla literature Guru Rabindranath Thakur, who has been anglicised as Tagore, he was Bachelor of Medicine and law. He also was an artist, a poet, a novelist. Tagore, the Bangla literature Guru and a renowned polymath, was a politician, a singer and a composer as well as a Zomindar (Land Lord) of the Bengal provinces, under the Princely act during the British India. Tagore or Rabindranath Thakur strongly opposed this partition and actively participated alongside the protests and expressed his emotion against this Partition of the Nation. Expressing his love and attachment for the Bangla environment, he wrote a song, he sang, and composed it, which is the current National Anthem of Bangladesh.

The pressure from the educated and elites, their consistence resentment and disapproval of this partition, compelled the British Administration, to cancel the partition of Bengal, and two central province of Bengal were bought back into one administration in 1911. Sir Cotton who was a chief commissioner of Assam at that time, he also advocated for unified Bengal. His intention of opposing the partition was to avoid causing disturbances among Assam’s mixed tribes. Assam is a very rich of flavour and natural beauty. Cotton was in favour of Indian Nationalism and he admired the local mixed faith tribes and engaged well with them, while he was on his duty as chief commissioner. He anticipated that the Partitioning of Bengal would disadvantage Assam, as it would become a remote state from the rest.  Sir Cotton also opposed Curzon’s plan of invading Tibet and later on and after returning to England, he joined the Liberal Party as a Member of Parliament.  However, Curzon very defiantly domineering character and a passionate Imperialist, he was adamant on his decision of dividing the provincial state of Bengal into small provinces to keep them under control. This is all about control, which is hunger for power.

Contrary, this division might be as well, the policy of divide and rule that British adapted to and applied during their imperial period. Curzon the Imperialist managed to encourage grouping between Hindus and Muslims. Curzon’s initial suggestion was to divide Central Bengal into two administrative provinces and the Eastern region to be administered by Muslim Legislator and Western by Hindu Legislator. Bengal was a very diverse region, with pretty much tolerance in differences of faith.  Curzon’s adamant decision, divided Assam,

Contrary, this division might be as well, the policy of divide and rule that British adapted to and applied during their imperial period. Curzon the Imperialist managed to encourage grouping between Hindus and Muslims. Curzon’s initial suggestion was to divide Central Bengal into two administrative provinces and the Eastern region to be administered by Muslim Legislator and Western by Hindu Legislator. Bengal was a very diverse region, with pretty much tolerance in differences of faith.  Curzon’s adamant decision, divided Assam, and Orissa and Bihar out of Bengal central region. This division apparently was a separation of political literate capable from less capable! This was a separation of linguistic versus labourers, and sophisticates versus ordinary.

Sylhet was the Capital City and an Assam’s district of hierarchies, this significant rich city was a region of the sophisticates and elites that was marked out of Assam province and joined into the central province. The reconsideration of united Bengal caused disappointment in Eastern Bengali Muslims, specially, Nawab Salim-Ullah of Dhaka, the Southern eastern region of Bengal, who was in favour of this partition and he was delightedly wishing to gain an extensive ruling power. Power craving again, besides the power craving, some benefit has occurred, if not to most, at least to some people. British Imperialist Lord Curzon then established the University of Dhaka to compensate the disappointment that he caused and to maintain a diplomatic relation. Here is another Imperial diplomatic policy that Curzon tried to create a long passageway to assert the consistency of British Imperial Power in India. Curzon strived hard to tighten the grip on India because both Curzon and Sir Cotton had understanding that India the Jewel on the British Empires crown will be taken away someday, and the British Imperialists began to sense that time was nearing. The British Imperialist Lord Curzon on the first day of his Vice Roy’s post in Calcutta, while he was watching the sunset, he stated, “the day British Empire loses its power over India British Empire’s sun will sink from the horizon.” For the British Empire, the Bengal was the key for Entire India, as it was the doorway to India for British East India Dock Company. Robert Clive anticipated, before the battle of Polashi (Plassey) in 1757, once British manage to get Bengal under their control they can rule entire India and they did succeed.

Fatema Miah, Solihull, UK

fatemamiah@mail.com

 

 

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