George Nathaniel Curzon or Lord Curzon, was a British Conservative statesman who served as Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905, during which time he created the territory of Eastern Bengal and Assam, and as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1919 to 1924.⁣

Curzon was chosen viceroy of India in 1898. This position was perfectly suited to his desire for public attention, since he was in charge of the entire British administration of the Indian empire.

He stayed in India for 7 years, ruling firmly in matters of domestic policy and making strong appeals in matters of foreign policy. Curzon was also the kind of man who centralized power and reigned over mountains of paper. ⁣

Curzon’s most notorious move was partition of Bengal. He had already carved the North-west Frontier Province out of Punjab, and had plans for Berar, Orissa, and other provinces as well. As the cradle of Indian nationalism, however, Bengal was unique.

Despite mastering the principle of divide et impera, London warned Curzon not to proceed because “the severance of old and historic ties and the breaking up of racial unity” would backfire on the Raj. But he went ahead anyway—and lived to regret it. ⁣

A major famine coincided with Curzon’s time as viceroy in which 1 to 4.5 million people died. Large parts of India were affected and millions died, and Curzon has been criticised for allegedly having done little to fight the famine.⁣

His policy resulted in deep discontent and the upsurge of a revolutionary movement in the country, due to which he can be called most unpopular Viceroy of India. His tenure is called Curzonshahi {akin to Nadirshahi}. ⁣

Curzon returned to Britain in late 1905, out of favor with his own Conservative party leadership and, since the Liberals were coming into power, with no opportunity of remaking his reputation in another government assignment.⁣

By the time of his death this month 92 years ago, he was reduced to complaining how not enough people were visiting to check on his welfare. “I must be entirely forgotten,” he lamented, “or have no friends left.” Both were partially true.⁣