Partition of Bengal


7 c. The split of Congress

The Congress, in the meantime, was also dividing into the moderates and the extremists in the matters of ultimate political goals and means to be used in order to get it. The moderates, under the leadership of Gokhle wanted colonial self-government by using the method of petitioning to the Government. Their argument was that, there was still need for British Government in India, as it was not yet fully prepared to shoulder the responsibility of absolute freedom. The extremists, on the other hand, demanded nothing but the total self-government or "Swaraj", free from any British influence. They resented the very idea of passive resistance as 'begging' for something that was legally theirs.

7 d. Passive resistance

The one significant factor that led to the freedom, was the use of the method of 'passive resistance'. It was the brainchild of Arobindo Ghosh, another prominent leader of the extremist school. He developed his theory of passive resistance as:

"the object of it is to force the hands of the Govern-ment....The passive method is especially suitable to countries where the Government depends mainly for the continuance of its administration on the voluntary help and acquisition of the subject people. The first principle of passive resistance, therefore, is to make administration under present condition impossible by an organized refusal to do any thing which shall help either British commerce in the exploitation of the country or British officialdom in the administration of it, -unless and until the conditions are changed in the manner and to the extent demanded by the people. The attitude is summed up in one word, Boycott." - Arobindo Ghosh(Passive Resistance, Bande Matarm, 17April 1907)

He elaborated his idea later more clearly:

"The policy of Passive Resistance was evolved partly as the necessary complement of self-help, partly as a means of putting pressure on Government. The essence of this policy is the refusal of co-operation so long as we are not admitted to a substantial share and an effective control in legislative, finance and administration." - Arobindo Ghosh(An Open Letter to My Countrymen, 31 July 1909)

As we can see from the following events in the Indian history, Mahatma Gandhi adopted the same procedure as shown by Arobindo before him. His extensive use of this method resulted in the ultimate attainment of freedom in 1947. But along with it came another shock, the 1947 partition, though the ground was already prepared for it long ago, in 1905.

8. Conclusion

As the partition agitation, both pro- and anti-, condensed, the Simla Deputation and the founding of the Muslim League marked an undeniable change in the Indian Politics. The Muslim League, from its very birth, made it absolutely clear that its interests were separate from that of the other Indians. Although several times attempts were made for a peaceful reconciliation between the League and Congress over many arguments, the basic difference laid in the mentality was hard to overcome. This separatist attitude was the memorable standpoint in the history of India as it ultimately resulted in the 1947 partition exactly almost at the same places where the line was drawn in 1905. In a way, the Bengal partition fired the spirit of a country-wide nationalism through which gradually the freedom became a reality, it also sowed the seed of the birth of Pakistan and Bangladesh. After the turbulent years of early 1900's, life ceased to be the same peaceful one in the Indian subcontinent. The communal harmony was destroyed and for ever. Now even after 55 years, the hatred is there for all to see. The journey through what Nevinson described as the 'dangerous road' began in 1905 by the British, and still no end seems to be in sight.



Sources:
-  Mclane R. John; Bengal 1905:A Political Analysis
-  Majumder R. C; History of the Freedom Movement in India, Vol. II
-  Sastri Nilkanta; The History of India, Vol. III
-  Chaterjee Jaya; Bengal Divided

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