Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bangladesh, Protests against the Partition, 1905

The publication of the original proposals towards the end of 1903had aroused unprecedentedopposition, especially among the influential educated middle class Hindus.The proposed territorial adjustment seemed to touch the existing interest groups and consequently led to staunch opposition. The Calcutta lawyears apprehended that the creation of a new province would mean the establishment of a new court of appeal at Dhakaand diminish the importance of their own High Court. Journalists feared that the appearence of the local news papers which would restrict the circulation of the Calcutta press. The business community of Calcutta visualised the shift of trade from Calcutta to Chittagong, which would be nearer, and logically the cheaper port. The zamindarswho owned vast landed property both in west and east Bengal foresaw the necessity of maintaining separate establishments at Dhaka that would involve extra expenditure.
The educated Bengali Hindus felt that it was a deliberate blow inflicted by Curzon at thational consciousness and growing solidarity of the Bengali- Speaking population. The Hindus of Bengal, who controlled most of the Bengal's commerceand the different professions and led the rural society , opined that the Bengalee nation would be divided, making them a minority in a province including the whole of Bihar and Orissa. They strongly believe that it was the prime object of the govt. to encourage the growth of Muslim power in eastern Bengalas a counterpoise to thwart the rapidly growing strength of the educated Hindu community. Economic, political and communal interests combined together to intensify the opposition against the partition measure. The British press , the Anglo Indian Press and even some administratorsopposed the intended measure.

In 1902, Nawab Sir Khwaja Salimullah (center in robes) with local elites In Ahsan manjil Dhaka (photo: Fritz Kapp)

In 1904, Curzon, Governor General, and viceroy of India Shahbagh on a visit with Lady curzon (photo:fritz Kapp

Elephants on the march at Peelkhana, Dhaka (photo: 1895-90, Fritz Kapp)

Viceroy Curzon's escort in Dhaka (photo; Fritz Kapp)