• Monday, April 22, 2024

Bengal and it's partition An Untold Story By Bhaswati Mukherjee: Book Review

Bengal and it's partition An Untold Story By Bhaswati Mukherjee: Book Review
on Jul 06, 2021
Bengal and it's partition An Untold Story By Bhaswati Mukherjee: Book Review
In the well researched book 'Bengal & it's Partition An Untold Story' by Bhaswati Mukherjee showed the painful partition of Bengal in 1905 which had larger consequential effect on India's partition in 1947. Apprehending the capacity of Indian people to mount a massive uprising against the empire and to prevent such a possibility, the British indulged in a policy of 'divide and rule' in Bengal to start with, then elsewhere within the country. Their efforts at compartmentalising Indian history on religious lines were designed to create competitive forces that would counter-balance communities and save the empire the trouble of quelling them. Subjugating people necessitated deliberate tactics of demeaning their civilisation, culture, traditions and, above all, destroying their self esteem. The British mindset was best encapsulated by the words of arch imperialist Rudyard Kipling: The White Man-'s Burden. It is not hard to comprehend the reasons for the British inability to assimilate into Indian society, unlike their predecessors, much as art historian Percy Brown would like us to believe that The country originally possessed by the invaders, now possessed them. Mukherjee, is unforgiving of the ruthless economic exploitation by the British symbolised and spawned by the Permanent Settlement of 1793 under Cornwallis, which ruined Bengal. Millions of Bengali Farmers were rendered landless by permanent settlement that and a divide & rule policy lay at the root of partition Before the British turned rulers, India generated 27 per cent of the world GDP in 1770; by the time they left India in 1947 its share had been cut down to just 3 per cent. Veritably, Europe's share of the global GDP rose from 20 per cent to 60 per cent during the same period. The Indian renaissance and reformist movements originated out of Bengal as a response aimed at developing universal tolerance and restoring national pride. The 'Calcutta killings' in 1946-47 soon spread to other areas of Bihar and Punjab, sowing the seeds of distrust that flowered into a full-fledged demand for partition and making a case for India and Pakistan as separate nations. Acceding to this demand, the author laments, was a major strategic error by the Indian National Congress.

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