Reforms Under Lord Curzon and Partition of Bengal

Reforms Under Lord Curzon and Partition of Bengal 1905

Lord Curzon (1899 – 1905)

Lord Curzon had visited India several times before his appointment as Viceroy. 
He believed in the superiority of the English race and its right to rule over India.
In order to make the administration efficient, Lord Curzon overhauled the entire administrative machinery
Reforms - Famine and Plague Relief
Military Reforms
Agricultural Reforms
Ancient Monuments Preservation Act
Educational Reforms
Partition of Bengal 1905

Lord Curzon and Partition of Bengal


Reforms - Famine and Plague Relief

When Lord Curzon came to India, a severe famine affected various parts of Central and North India due to the failure of monsoons. 
In addition to that plague broke out in several parts of India. 
Curzon appointed a Famine Commission and allocated a large sum of money for relief work.

Military Reforms

Curzon reorganized the transport system of the army.  He provided new arms and guns. 
He instituted a Police Commission in 1902
The Imperial Cadet Corps was founded to train young men for military service.

Agricultural Reforms

To help the rural people, Lord Curzon introduced various agricultural reforms. 
Loans were given to peasants on easy terms of repayment. 
Co-operative societies were established in different parts of the country. 
An Agricultural Research Institute was started at Pusa in Bengal. Its aim was to carryout researches in the field of agriculture. 
Irrigation was improved and canals were dug in large numbers.

Ancient Monuments Preservation Act

In 1904, Lord Curzon passed this Act to preserve the ancient monuments. 
He established the Department of Archaeology and Epigraphy. 
The priceless treasures of Indian Art and Architecture at Nalanda, Taxila, Sanchi, Elephanta caves and Saranath were preserved.

Educational Reforms

The Indian Universities Act was passed in 1904. 
Lord Curzon revised the whole system of education. He centralized it under a Director General of Education. 
Grants were given to primary schools. A vigorous campaign was started to improve education. 
A committee was set up to improve the functions of the universities.

Partition of Bengal 1905

Lord Curzon’s decision to partition Bengal on October 16, 1905 was the greatest blow to the national aspirations of Indians.
 Bengal, which included Bihar and a part of Orissa, was a very large province. 
Administration of such a large province was difficult. 
But the problem could have been solved a it was done later by making Bihar a separate province. 

Why Partition of Bengal ?

To suppress the rising tide of nationalism. Curzon wanted to divide Bengal in order to create a socio-economic crisis
Minority consciousness should be used against the majority, and that this would then break the solidarity of Indian society
 Bengal was one of the largest states, and the most prosperous state
Bengal was a nerve-center of Indian Nationalism, and the prosperity and the balanced pattern of demography of Bengal was the biggest strength of Bengal.
Economic crippling of Bengal was also possible. Eastern Bengal, there were Muslim majority peasants, who used to cultivate jute, and in western Bengal, there were many jute processing mills that were owned by Hindu mill owners

But Curzon declared that Bengal would be partitioned by merging East Bengal and Assam into one province and West Bengal and Bihar into another. 
Dacca was the headquarters of East Bengal and Kolkata was the headquarters of West Bengal. 
The Muslims were the majority community in East Bengal and the Hindus were large in number in Western Bengal.
The main aim of Curzon was to break the solidarity of the Bengali speaking population and to check the progress of the national movement. 
He wanted to create a rift among the Hindus and Muslims. But it resulted in opposite reaction. 
The population of Bengal rose in protest as one people. Muslims, moderates and extremists made joint efforts to stop the partition. 
They called it as an introduction of the policy of Divide and Rule. 
There were a series of protests that were triggered against this announcement, not only in Bengal, but in many parts of India. 
It was beyond the imagination of any political thinker that the partition of Bengal would be opposed in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and even in Punjab.
This was a reflection of the rising trend of nationalism. 
Once the partition plan was announced, an ‘anti-partition’ movement was started in Bengal and also in many parts of India, and this expresses the solidarity of Indian nationalism.
Due to the violent criticism and agitation by the Indians Bengal was unified as one province in 1911.

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