A good primer on the political history of Bengal in the last century Of course all history is someone s point of view Interesting to think that a decision here or there could have seen Kolkata as a capital of an Independent nation The tragic story of the separation of the East Pakistan from West Pakistan is tremendously streamlined by the writer What Jinnah co and army Bhuttoo failed to realize was Bengali Nationalism Had
Bengali been declared National Language in the 1948 the economic exploitation been declared National Language in the 1948 the economic exploitation Bengal had been stopped and political freedom of Bengal had been ensured Pakistan might not have lost its other partSimilarly the writer has eagerly emphasized on the Independence of the Subcontinent from the British and its division into India and Pakistan Moreover the role and struggle of Bengali Nationalists such as Chittaranjan Das Subhash Chandra Bose HS Suhrawerdy Khwaja Nazimuddin and others for an independent India is splendidly elaborated in the book and how the Muslim vs Hindu card on communal basis was played in Bengal to separate this piece of land forever by those who once fought for a united India and peace Those who want to understand the reasons behind the tragic event of 1971 in detail the evolvement of Bengal on communal basis and Bengali Nationalism must read this book However the writer has dismally failed in explaining the hidden agenda of Indian government that played a nefarious role in buttressing the seed of separation in East Bengal Overall it was a fantastic read An unbiased no nonsense narrative that ends on a very optimistic note For those unfamiliar with the history of Bengal and its unity even after being divided this book can prove to be very insightful A must read for scholars of South Asian StudiesThis is a well researched account describing the
making of East Pakistan in 1947 and later Bangladesh in 1971 British colonial rulers tried of East Pakistan in 1947 and later Bangladesh in 1971 British colonial rulers tried divide the Bengal province in 1905 but without any success The unfortunate event of creation of East Pakistan in 1947 bifurcating the Indian nation bled us profusely with several thousands deaths across the borders This book narrates grieves and sorrows in the process of making of Bangladesh nation A must read for scholars of South Asian studies Nitish Sengupta was an IAS officer who after his retirement joined politics and became a Member of Parliement He has written a number of books including Land of Two Rivers A History of Bengal from the Mahabharata to Mujib In Bengal Divided he recounts the history of Bengal of 20th century till birth of Bangladesh History of 20th century Bengal unfailingly makes for a sad reading A people who has attained great heights of civilizational glory are divided in two peoples based on religion a division that has been effected by the self serving politicians aided by alien rulers People of two different faith systems who have lived side by side for over thousand years have decided in the space of a few decades that they cannot live as neighbours any longer The result is a mind blowing tragedy the aftershocks of which are still being felt 75 years later Sengupta in this short 240 page book has narrated that history in broad brush strokes The agony of the pre partition days The famine of 1943 The Great Calcutta Killings of 1946 And the heartless manner in which the land was vivisected by the British bureaucrates by far the strangest most illogical and arbitrarily drawn boundary line in history between two countries The events of the twenty five years leading to the liberation of Bangladesh which in itself is a history shaping event has been however dealt with rather summarily possibly because of space constraints Sengupta ends the book with a very perceptive observation In the case of Bangladesh while they are very proud of their own language and cultural identity they have to guard against two powerful pulls first pan Islamic Wahabi Islamic fundamentalism and jehadi fanaticism and second the powerful pan Indian cultural and social system Naturally they have to strike a balance in the face of these strong pulls While they are proud of their Bengali cultural identity they are also proud of their Islamic heritage but would not like to see their Bengali identity being swamped by either of these two Similarly Bengalis in India have to balance their trans national Bengali cultural identity with the very powerful force of pan Indian identity of which they are also partners As the second decade of the the millenium rolls into the third the later trends appear to be winning on both sided of the porous border Even though the language has a somewhat bureaucratic stiffness and the book has a feel of high school history textbook Bengal Divided In 1905 all of Bengal rose in uproar because the British had partitioned the state Yet in 1947 the same people insisted on a partition alo.
Nitish Sengupta ✓ 8 Summary.
That perhaps if the partition of Bengal in 1905 was allowed to stand Hindus and Muslims would have been happy in their respective provinces and the fateful partition of 1947 could ve been avoidedThe author notes that the unmaking of the nation began in the period 1927 37 Muslim mass organizations like the Krishak Praja Party KPP earned the support of workers and peasants while the bhadralok was marginalized further and further When election to the provincial assembly was carried out according to the provisions of the Government of India Act 1935 the Congress refused to ally with the KPP to form a government Sengupta suggests that this decision was taken by Gandhiji himself under the selfish influence of the well nown industrialist G D Birla He reproduces a letter written by Subhas Chandra Bose rebuking Gandhi for this irrational decision The reason for Birla s aversion to KPP was their orientation to the workers against the class interests of the zamindars and large businessmenThis book provides ample proof to denote the Congress party as a Hindu outfit prior to independence after which they donned the mantle of secularism Its early leaders like Tilak organized Ganapati and Shivaji festivals on behalf of the party The Pirpur Committee 1938 commissioned by the Muslim League to study the atrocities against Muslims in Congress ruled states reported that the Congress insisted on singing Vande Mataram which they alleged to be an anti Islamic and idolatrous song It also accused the Congress of withholding licenses for cow slaughter in provinces which they ruled Doing politics was a tiresome occupation in those days as the politicians were always on tenterhooks to ensure that their every action was to promote cordiality and amity between the two communities which fought against each other at the slightest pretext Reading these lines we might wonder that partition
of the country on religious lines ensured somethe country on religious lines ensured some on this front However the Fazlul Ha Shyama Prasad Mukherjee coalition government in 1941 43 provided a great example of accommodation between the two communitiesEven though Bengal excelled other Indian provinces in literary and social reforms the Bengali society was riddled with communalism of the worst Insurgence kind The atmosphere was always explosive waiting for the slightest spark The author mentions that between the five years from 1922 to 1927 a total of 112 communal riots occurred in which 450 people wereilled and about 5000 were injured Hindu processions which played music near mosues automatically
Triggered Riots While Theriots while the slaughter of cows engendered retaliatory strikes Sometimes the hatred surpassed all rational barriers such as the Muslim opposition to the word shri and the symbol of the lotus in Calcutta University s motif Riots in Dhaka saw hundreds illed and tens of thousands fleeing to West Bengal The Direct Action Day August 1946 and Noakhali Riots October 1946 were the two large scale riots before independenceThe book is uite interesting to read only in Part 1 which covers till 1947 and the remaining part is included only as an afterthought as to cover the history of the Bengali nation in an afterthought as to cover the history of the Bengali nation in The narration is left open in the present age A major point reiterated by the author is that the destiny of Bengal was not decided by its own leaders At the end of the freedom struggle the partition of the province was finalized by a committee which didn t include a single Bengali leader both on the Hindu and Muslim sides Subhas Chandra Bose was its tallest leader after the death of C R Das but he fell foul with Gandhiji over finer points of the way forward in the struggle His exit left the way clear for Nehru and his cronies to make a mess of free India Another factor to note is the sad predicament of the Dalit leadership during partition Arraigning fellow Hindus for the discrimination they suffered Dalits established alliance with the Muslim leaders and followed them to East Pakistan Jogender Nath Mandal became the first law minister of Pakistan However his disillusionment after just two years at the sad plight of Dalits and Hindus in general was pathetic He ran back for his life to India and sought asylum This book reproduces the letter of resignation written by him to Pakistan s president Today s Dalit leaders should read this at least once In the letter Mandal voices concern about the status of Dhimmis assigned to Hindus as per Islamic law It negates all civic rights to minorities as citizens of the nation but offers basic protection to life upon payment of a taxThe book is very attention grabbing and the narration is uncluttered It includes a good bibliography and a commendable indexThe book is highly recommended. Light on the roles of figures such as Chittaranjan Das Subhas Chandra Bose Nazrul Islam Fazlul Ha HS Suhrawardy and Shyama Prasad mukherj. S usefully readable Sengupta sets out to untie what seems like a historical paradox a people who protested a partition in 1905 ended up getting permanently partitioned in only 65 years later As one learns very early it is less of a paradox than one might believe Layers of division already ran through Bengali society way before Curzon s notorious mandate Thanks to Sengupta s steady magnifying glass we see the differences between the Muslim and the Hindu between the Bhadralok and the peasant and the Dalit we see the suabble as well as the argument around Cornwallis Permanent Settlement and Hunter s prejudice against educating the Hindu Sengupta clears the undergrowth to shed light on the zealot in Fazlul Hu and the savant in Chittaranjan Das without ever valourising them A history buff must not this book which is both fastidious as well as decisive India s partition in 1947 basically involved the division of the two provinces of Bengal and the Punjab as the other provinces went in as a whole to either of the two sister nations Large scale violence erupted in Punjab and minority populations were exchanged across the new border Bengal remained calm but tense due to the healing touch provided by Gandhiji s physical presence there As a result of this a large number of Muslims stayed on in Indian Bengal and a similar number of Hindus in East Pakistan Cultural social and industrial interactions were subseuently active in Bengal than Punjab If we look back in history the partition of Bengal occurred first in 1905 and then in 1971 when the region obtained independence from Pakistan after an armed struggle with the help of Indian arms This book covers a period of 66 years from 1905 to 1971 that unmade the nation of Bengal on religious lines It follows the events when the two parts of Bengal stayed united and when they were separated Nitish Sengupta is an academician administrator politician and writer who was a member of the Indian Administrative Service IAS from 1957 to 1992 After retirement he headed
the International Management Institute in New Delhi and has been director on the boards of several private andInternational Management Institute in New Delhi and has been director on the boards of several private and sector companies He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1999 and served on several committees of Parliament He has authored many books and is currently based in
DelhiThe turn of fortunes for the religious communities of Bengal inturn of fortunes for the religious communities of Bengal in nineteenth century was dramatic Till 1871 when the first ever census was conducted in India everyone thought that Bengal was a Hindu majority province The census report came as a surprise to all to learn that the Muslim community enjoyed a numerical supremacy among the people Conversion to Islam had begun in Bengal in the twelfth century itself and had continued in full swing for another three centuries Sengupta notes with secularist relish that the lower castes changed their religion to get out of the concentration camp type existence in Hindu society He accuses the orthodox Hindus of not admitting women forcibly abducted by Muslims back to the fold as one of the reasons for the drop in numbers If this is true the perpetual fear and threat under which the Hindu community stayed under Muslim rule is terrifying The Muslims wanted to have greater control of the administrative machinery as a corollary to their superiority in numberThis presented another problem After the British had defeated the sultans and usurped power the Muslims withdrew into a cocoon and harboured separatist visions of a free Muslim state With the loss of political economic social and educational prominence they had begun wholesale downgrading of the emerging society They were averse to English which rose to occupy the position which Persian had adorned as the state language The Bengali Hindus uickly stepped in to exploit the available opportunities to the full and replace Muslims in the revenue taxation police judiciary and army departments which were till then monopolized by them Bengal was partitioned in 1905 between Hindu and Muslim majority areas which was strangely opposed by the nationalists but supported by Muslims It annulment in response to vociferous protests alienated the Muslims in East Bengal It was only natural then to extend privileges to Muslims in the re integrated Bengal Irrational opposition emerged from the Hindus as well who even opposed provision of financial assistance to the newly constituted Dhaka University Chittaranjan Das was a respected leader whose admirers were in both communities He introduced the Bengal Pact in 1923 under which 55 per cent of the jobs were reserved for Muslims Congress vehemently rejected it and after Das death in 1925 it was no longer an item in the political agenda We get a feeling. Ng communal lines Why did this happen Nitish Sengupta peels of the layers of events in this pivotal period in Bengal's history casting new. ,