The Partition of Bengal -Divide & Rule

The first partition of Bengal in 1905 brought that province to the brink of open rebellion.It was a British tactics of Divide and Rule . The British recognized that Bengal, with some 85 million people, was much too large for a single province and determined that it merited reorganization and intelligent division.

{The news that Assam with Dacca, Chittagong and Rajshahi Divisions of Bengal would
be constituted as a separate province first appeared in the Calcutta Press on 6 July 1905
and next day it was officially announced from Simla.]
The resulting changes are summed up in para 7 of the resolution which runs as

“7. The effect of the proposals thus agreed upon, and now about to be introduced
will be as follows:
A new province will be created with the status of a Lieutenant-Governorship,
consisting of the Chittagong, Dacca and Rajshahi Divisions of Bengal, the district of
Malda, the State of Hill Tipperah, and the present Chief Commissionership of Assam.
Darjeeling will remain with Bengal. In order to maintain associations which are highly
valued in both areas, the province will be entitledEastern Bengal and Assam. Its Capital
will be at Dacca with subsidiary headquarters at Chittagong.

It will comprise an area of
106,540 square miles and a population of 31 millions, of whom 18 millions is
Mohammadans and 12 millions Hindus. It will possess a Legislative Council and a
Board of Revenue of tow members and the Jurisdiction of the High Court of Calcutta is
left undisturbed.

The existing province of Bengal diminished by the surrender of these
large territories on the east and of the five HinduStates of Chhota Nagpur but increased
by the acquisition of Sambalpur and the five Uriya States before mentioned, will consist
of 141,580 square miles with a population of 54 millions of whom 42 million are Hindus
and 9 million Mohammadans. In short the territoriesnow composing Bengal and Assam
will be divided into two compact and self-contained provinces, by far the largest
constituents of each of which will be homogeneous in character, and which will possess
clearly defined boundaries and be equipped with thecomplete resources of an advanced

Divide and Rule


The provincial state of Bengal had an area of 189,000 miles2 and a population of nearly 8 crores (80 million). It included the Hindi-speaking regions of Bihar, the Odia-speaking regions of Odisha as well as the Assamese-speaking region of Assam, making it a huge administrative entity. Moreover, the capital Calcutta was the capital of the entire British India. With the growing efforts of the Indian National Congress to secure the independence of India, Lord Curzon decided to address both these problems by partitioning Bengal into two entities, which would result in a Muslim-majority in the eastern half, and a Hindu-majority in the western half. This he hoped would reduce the administrative pressures as well divide the population on religious grounds, quelling the Indian Independence Movement

The line drawn by Lord Curzon’s government, however, cut through the heart of the Bengali-speaking “nation,” leaving western Bengal’s bhadralok (“respectable people”), the intellectual Hindu leadership of Calcutta, tied to the much less politically active Bihari- and Oriya-speaking Hindus to their north and south




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