The Bengal Presidency encompassed Bengal, Bihar, parts of Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Assam. With a population of 78.5 million it was British India’s largest province.
The two provinces had no racial or linguistic difference but the only difference was that western part was dominated by the Hindus and Eastern Part by the Muslims.
The partition separated the largely Muslim eastern areas from the largely Hindu western areas on 16 October 1905 after being announced on 20 July 1905 by Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India. Curzon claimed that Bengal was too large to be governed effectively.
It was definitely the ‘divide and rule’ policy for the Indians and the whole population was outraged about the fact that the colonisers were turning native population against itself in order to rule.
The Hindus complained that the division would make them a minority in a province that would incorporate the province of Bihar and Orissa.
After the Muslim majority province of Eastern Bengal and Assam had been created prominent Muslims started seeing it as advantageous.
Muslims led by the Nawab Sallimullah of Dhaka supported the partition and Hindus opposed it. The partition animated the Muslims to form their own national organization on communal lines.
The partition triggered radical nationalism. Bengali Hindus were upset with their minority status in the new province. They began an angry agitation, featuring terrorism, as younger members adopted the use of bombings, shootings and assassinations in a blend of religious and political feelings.
The result of this political wave was “Boycott” and “Swadeshi Movement”.
The traditionally home-centered women of the urban middle classes joined processions and picketing. A noticeable part in the Swadeshi agitation was played by the students of Bengal. Increased demands for national education also swiftly followed partition.
In order to appease Bengali sentiment, Bengal was reunited by Lord Hardinge in 1911, in response to the Swadeshi movement’s riots in protest against the policy and the growing belief among Hindus that east Bengal would have its own courts and policies.