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INTRODUCTION: The partition of Bengal is one of the most important chapters in India’s freedom struggle. This partition, which occurred during the reign of Lord Curzon (1899-1905), is a historic event in the political history of India. The creation of two states by dividing the vast Bengal province stirred a national struggle against British rule in the whole of India. This event is known as the second important political upheaval in India after the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857.
In the last part of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century the national movement became very strong in the Bengal province. This consciousness and uprising among the people put the British government in a dilemma and to suppress this national uprising, Lord Curzon created a new province flamed ‘Eastern Bengal and Assam’ by adjoining East Bengal. to Assam. On the other hand by keeping the remaining west parts of Bengal with Bihar and Orissa (Odisha) as before, another province. was continued as West Bengal. The whole country stood united on the protest to this partition. It created a new era in the uprising of national sentiment in every Indian. In reality, the movement against the British policy of partition of Bengal was the first active national struggle in all Indian perspectives.
Very short answer questions
1. In which Viceroy’s time did the partition of Bengal take place?
Answer: In the time of Viceroy Lord Curzon, the partition of Bengal took place.
2. On Which date in 1905 did the partition of Bengal come into force?
Answer: On 16 October 1905, the partition of Bengal come into force.
3. In which meeting was the proposal of giving up foreign commodities accepted?
Answer: In the second protest meeting held at Dinazpur on 20th July 1905, the proposal of giving up foreign commodities was accepted.
4. Who was the editor of the journal Jugaantar published in the time of the Swadeshi movement?
Answer: Bhupendra Nath Dutta was the editor of the journal ‘Jugaantar’ or ‘Yugantar’ published at the time of the Swadeshi movement.
5. When was the institution named the National Education Council (Jatiya Siksha Parisad) established in Bengal?
Answer: On 11th March 1906, the National Education Council institution (Jatiya Siksha Parisad) was established in Bengal.
6. Who was the main introducer of the industry named Bengal Chemicals?
Answer: Acharya Prafulla Ray was the main introducer of the industry named Bengal Chemicals.
7. Under whose presidentship did the Conference of Indian National Congress accept the proposal of swaraj for Indians?
Answer: Under the presidentship of Dada Bhai Naoraji the Conference of Indian National Congress accept the proposal of swaraj for Indians.
8. When did the unification of Bengal take place?
Answer: The unification of Bengal took place on 12 December 1911.
Short long answer type questions:
1. Mention three main geographical regions of Bengal which were annexed to the province West Bengal and Assam created after the partition of Bengal.
Answer: The three main geographical regions of Bengal which were annexed to the province West Bengal and Assam created after the partition of Bengal were Dhaka, Chattagram and Rajshahi.
2. Write briefly about what were the intentions of the partition of Bengal.
Answer: In Bengal, the unity between Hindu and Muslim farmers and labourers was a threat for the British and they planned to break the unity by division. So the hidden purpose behind the partition of Bengal was to decimate the Hindu Muslim unity. To meet this vested interest, communal feelings were needed to be spread.
3. Why was the anti-partition of the Bengal movement named as Swadeshi movement? Discuss briefly.
Answer: The anti-partition of the Bengal movement was named as Swadeshi movement because it was publicly recommended that the Indians would unitedly boycott foreign goods and would start using homemade goods made by the Indians. Irrespective of caste, creed and religion people plunged into this movement.
4. Discuss the contributions of the Swadeshi movement towards national education.
Answer: The Swadeshi movement had a big influence on the prevalent educational system of Bengal. Satish Ch. Mukherjee; started a national institution named ‘Dawn Society’, with full co-operation from Rabindra Nath Tagore and Charu Das Banerjee. This society did against Curzon’s University law (1904) and Carlyle’s circular (1905) and started the movement for uprising national education. The number of students leaving government schools increased and consequently many national schools were established at many places of Bengal. During the Swadeshi movement, altogether 62 secondary schools and 3000 national primary schools were established.
5. How did the national industries develop during the Swadeshi movement? Explain in short.
Answer: On the background of the swadeshi movement, the mentality for self-development grew in Bengal and it brought a positive and congenial atmosphere for the establishment of national industries. As the demand for locally made goods grew higher, several big industries and various small scale industries came into being. As a consequence of boycotting foreign goods and productions of local industries, the number of imported goods came to be very low in India. Due to the political movement in Bengal, the foundation of modern industries was laid in various provinces of India. In short, the Swadeshi movement opened a new chapter in the progress of Indian industries and businesses.
6. What were the anti-movement measures taken by the British to dominate the Swadeshi movement?
Answer: The British Government expected support from moderate group leaders of Congress on ‘the issue of partition of Bengal. In order to keep these leaders loyal, Lord Curzon offered them various titles, posts, medals, etc. The moderate Congress members were offered the post, of judges in the high court, members of the British parliament, members in Viceroy’s Council, etc. for obtaining support towards partition.
7. Mention three results of the Swadeshi movement.
Answer: Three results of the Swadeshi movement were:
i. The Swadeshi movement had a big influence on the prevalent educational system of Bengal. The number of students leaving government schools increased and consequently many national schools were established at many places of Bengal.
ii. On the background of the swadeshi movement, the mentality for self-development grew in Bengal and it brought a positive and congenial atmosphere for the establishment of national industries. In short, the Swadeshi movement opened a new chapter in the progress of Indian industries and businesses.
iii. Keeping equal pace with the man, the middle-class urban women also took an active part in the swadeshi movement by crossing all the social barriers. This participation against the partition of Bengal led the Indian freedom struggle to a well-organized level.
8. Mention three contributions of the Swadeshi movement.
Answer: The three contributions of the Swadeshi movement were:
i. The Swadeshi movement was able to give the Indians political knowledge regarding mass movement. Indian people learned that if the majority of the people come forward for a common cause, then a mass movement would certainly become successful.
ii. The sense of nationalism stirred by the Swadeshi movement compelled the Indian National Congress for the first time to take the proposal for demanding Swaraj in its Calcutta session in 1906 under the presidentship of Dada Bhai Naoraji.
iii. The Swadeshi movement also gave birth to armed movement. The tendency to resort to violent methods occurred in some sections of activists.
Write short notes on:
1. Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore
Answer: Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore was a great Indian writer and freedom fighter who through his writings, speeches, ideas, and active involvement shaped the Swadeshi movement. On the day of implementation of the partition of Bengal i.e. 16th October 1905, at the call of Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali people of Calcutta observed Rakhibandhan. Under his leadership, thousands of people gathered at Maszids at Kalutola and Chitpur and tied rakhis to the Moulabi’s and other Muslims. In the background of the swadeshi movement, The Swadeshi Bhandar, established by Rabindranath Tagore became a reputed textile firm. He also had received Nobel Prize for literature in 1913.
2. Margaret Elizabeth Noble (Bhagini Nivedita)
Answer: Bhagini Nivedita, born in 1864, was a prominent woman who contributed a lot to creating national awareness among the youths. During her stay in Calcutta, Ireland born Margaret Elizabeth Noble was actively associated with Youngman’s Hindu Union, Vivekananda Society, Dawn Society, and Anusilan Saminltee and encouraged the youth’s and the womenfolk to be independent by involvement in indigenous industries. She died in the year 1911.
3. Nawab Salimullah
Answer: Nawab Salimullah led the creation of the Muslim League and later declared the aims and objectives of the All India Muslim League. This league soon became a big force to weaken the Indian National Congress. He was instrumental in the propaganda propagation among the Muslims against the Hindus initiated by Lord Curzon. With the help of Nawab Sallimullah Khan Lord Curzon tried to approach the Muslims of Bengal. For this purpose, he lent Rs. 14 Lacs to Nawab with minimum interest. Nawab Salimullah died in the year 1905.
Additional/extra questions and answers
1. What name did Lord Curzon give the newly formed state of Assam and East Bengal?
Answer: The new state of Assam and East Bengal was named East Bengal and Assam by Lord Curzon.
2. When was the Regulating Act introduced?
Answer: The Regulating Act was introduced in 1773.
3. What year did the Sepoy Mutiny begin?
Answer: The Sepoy Mutiny began in 1857.
4. What name was given to the proposal of the partition of Bengal by the British government?
Answer: The name given to the proposal of the partition of Bengal by the British government was the Minute on Territorial Re-distribution in India.
5. What is Risley paper?
Answer: On December 6, 1903, Hebert Risley, Secretary of State, officially declared the Minute on Territorial Re-distribution in India. Risley papers was the name given to it.
47. Write two reasons for women’s participation in the Swadeshi movement.
Answer: The Swadeshi movement sparked a desire among Bengali women to participate actively in the movement. They became involved in the movement as a result of two incidents. They were:
i. On the day of Prafulla Chaki’s execution, every Bengali family fasted. Every kitchen was shut down, and all mothers spent the day in a state of mourning.
ii. The second incident involved the police torturing of Bhupendra Nath Dutta, the editor of “Yugantor,” for his harsh criticism of Bengal’s partition. Instead of crying over the incident, his mother, Bhabaneswari Devi, called for a mass movement. Thousands of women showed up to support the cause.
48. What were Lord Curzon’s four points for the partition of Bengal?
Answer: Lord Curzon’s four points program for the partition of Bengal was as follows–
a. By annexing Rajshahi, Dhaka, and Chattagram to Assam, the new province will be known as ‘East Bengal and Assam.’
b. Dhaka will be the new province’s capital.
c. A Lieutenant Governor will take over the administration of Eastern Bengal and Assam.
d. Assam’s capital would be relocated from Shillong to Dhaka.
49. Describe the students’ role in the Swadeshi Movement.
Answer: The British government planned Bengal’s partition against the people’s wishes. This drew the attention of the student body. For the first time, Ripon College students staged a walkout from their classes to join the movement. A large student rally was organised against the partition on July 31, 1905, under the leadership of Ripon College students. They formed a central committee to launch various anti-partition movements. On the 7th of August, 1905, Maharaja Manindra Chandra Nandi presided over a large public meeting at the Town Hall of Kasimbazar, Calcutta. A unanimous decision to boycott British goods was reached after representatives from various places were summoned.
Surendranath Banarjee led the formation of a Student Union. Rabindranath Tagore, in his inspiring speech, urged people to maintain social harmony by refraining from buying and selling British goods. The students decided to continue their picketing in business institutions. Various protest rallies set fire to British goods. Students were able to contribute to the freedom movement in this way.
50. Write about women’s contributions to the Swadeshi Movement.
Answer: Middle-class urban women, keeping up with their male counterparts, took an active role in the Swadeshi movement, overcoming all social barriers. The women’s participation in the fight against the partition of Bengal catapulted the Indian independence movement to a new level of organisation. Sarala Devi Choudhurani, one of the most prominent female leaders of the Swadeshi movement, was to be recognised as a revolutionary leader of the Swadeshi movement. She taught the boys and girls how to wrestle, play stickball, and other games. She was the editor of ‘Bharati,’ a magazine that prepared Bengal’s youth to join the national movement. Sister Nibedita made a significant contribution to raising national awareness among the youth and women. During her time in Calcutta, she was active in the Youngman’s Hindu Union, Vivekananda Society, Dawn Society, and Anusilan Samity, encouraging youth and women to become self-sufficient through participation in indigenous industries.
Women leaders in Bengal such as Jyotirmoy Ganguly, Hemaprabha Mazumdar, Basanti Devi, Urmila Devi, Ashalata Sen, Manorama Mashima, and others led the Swadeshi movement. The British rulers were taken aback by the Bengal women’s bravado.
51. What public-interest projects did the British government undertake in the Brahmaputra Valley to keep people away from the Swadeshi movement?
Answer: The British government attempted to keep the Brahmaputra valley residents away from the Swadeshi movement. They did some public-interest work in the valley for this purpose. These were the following:
i. The Assamese language and literature were included in the Calcutta University Entrance Examination curriculum.
ii. To make Cotton College a standard institution, graduate classes for each subject were opened.
iii. In the Brahmaputra Valley, the Mouzadari system was implemented.
iv. A twelve-point land settlement was implemented.
52. When did Bengal become one?
Answer: Bengal became a unified state in 1911.
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