Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bangladesh, Bengal Pact

After the suspension of the non-cooperation movement following the incident of Chauri Chaura on 5th Feb. 1922, Congress was divided in two Camps, 1. Known as Pro-changer followers of C.R.Das and Motilal Nehru, 2. No-changer follower of Gandhi. Pro-Changers were of opinion to utilise the Legislative Council as the forum for non-cooperation movement and the No-Changers wanted to the temptations of holding ministerial office. The leaders with the former opinion formed a new party within th e Congress known as Swarajya Party to utilise the Legislative Assembly.Within a very small span of time C.R.Das was to assemble the stalwarts of Bengal on to his side, such as, J.M.Sengupts, an able lawyer of Chittagong, Naliniranjan Sarker, a self-made businessman from Mymensingh, B.N.Sasmal, a lawyer from Midnapore, Nirmal Chandra Chunder, a wealthy Calcutta barrister, Tulsi Goswami, a talented Speaker, Bose brothers.
In the 1923 election of the Bengal Legislative Council, Swarajya Party supported an independent candidate, Dr. B.C.Roy, who defeated the most famous Bengal Moderate, Surendranath Banerjee, in the 24-Parganas north Municipal constituency.Thus Sarker, Goswami, Chunder, Sarat Bose, and Dr. Roy (big five)were dubbed into Das's Party. Kiran Sankar Roy, Anil Baran Roy, Pratap chadra Guha roy, Maulana Akram Khan, and Satya ranjan Baksi were also included in Swarajya Party.
Das not only included some important persons, but he tried to give each one them responsible job suited to them.
Bengal Pact:
After finishing the organisational part he adopted another strategy for success of his programme. He felt that Muslim support was crucial in the battle between Swarajists and No-changers. Muslims were majority in Bengal and about 2o % of India's population, so the nationalists could not ignoresuch a substantial segment of the community.
Even at the time when Bengal and other parts of India weredisturbed with communal riots, he forged the Bengal Pact in 1923 with the muslim Leaders of Bengal, such as, A.K.fazlul Huq, H.S. Surawardy and others. He agreed that Muslims-who lagged in Govt. employment -would get 60 % of all new appointments in political arenaswhere the Swarajists wetre elected to power. This would continue till they hild the office. He promised even a greater share of appointments in the Calcutta Corporation if the Swarajists were successful there. an analysis of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee revealed that only 13 % of the membership were Muslim. But Das' influencewas sufficient for the Pact to secure passage. Many politically active Muslims thought it was a sign of Das' good faith and non-communal spiritduring his lifetime.Dasraised the proposal in the same ine in the Cocananda session of the congress in Dec 1923.
Under the 1919 Govt. of India Act (Montagu-Chelmsford reform), a system of dyarchy together with the expanded legislative Councils was instituted . In Bengal , the new Council was to have 140 members.114 electedand 26 nominated. Of the elected seats, 39 were for Muslims, 57 were general or Hindu Constituencies. There were also elected seats for Europeans, Anglo-Indians, Commercial Bodies, and nominated seats (not more than twenty) ina variety of categories. Dyarchy meant that there were some dept. where there would be some minister in charge of them, such finance, security etc. Swarajists contested but Congress boycotted though moderates and liberals paticipated.
In the election of 1923 Swarajists won 47 seats and many independents sympathetic to them also won. They formed a powerful Party in the Council. C.R.Das led the Swarajists in the council of chamber to block the activities of the Govt when posible.Though the Govt. tried to break the bengal Pact but their effort failed due to the Muslim backers including H.s.Surawardy.

Motilal Nehru