‘Anti-Partition day’

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Partition of bengal

CALCUTTA is the centre from which the Congress Party is manipulated throughout the whole of Bengal, and indeed the whole of India. Its best wire pullers and its most frothy orators all reside here. The perfection of their machinery, and the tyranny which it enables them to exercise are truly remarkable. They dominate public opinion in Calcutta; they affect the High Court; they frighten the local Government, and they are sometimes not without serious influence on the Government of India. The whole of their activity is directed to creating an agency so powerful that they may one day be able to force a weak government to give them what they desire. Any measure in consequence that would divide the Bengali-speaking population; that would permit independent centres of activity and influence to grow up; that would dethrone Calcutta from its place as the center of successful intrigue, or that would weaken the influence of the lawyer class, who have the entire organization in their hands, is intensely and hotly resented by them. The outcry will be loud and very fierce, but as a native gentleman said to me – ‘my countrymen always howl until a thing is settled; then they accept it’. Partition Proclamation

The text of the partition proclamation issued from Simla on 1 September 1905 is reproduced below.

THE FOLLOWING proclamation to which the sanction of His Majesty the King-Emperor of India has been signified by the Secretary of State for India in Council is published:

The Governor-General is pleased to constitute the territories at present under the administration of the Chief Commissioner of Assam to be for the purposes of the Indian Councils Act 1861 :a province to which the provisions of that Act touching the making of laws and regulations for the peace and good order of the presidencies of Fort St. George and Bombay shall be applicable and to direct that the said province shall be called and known as the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam....

2. The Governor-General in Council is pleased to specify the sixteenth day of October, 1905 as the period at which the said provisions shall take effect and 15th as the number of councillors whom the Lieutenant-Governor may nominate for his assistance in making laws and regulations.

3. The Governor-General in Council is further pleased to declare and appoint that upon the constitution of the said province of Eastern Bengal and Assam, the districts of Dacca, Mymensingh, Faridpur, Backergunge, Tippera, Noakhali, Chittagong, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Rajashahi, Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Rangpur, Bogra, Pabna, and Malda which now form part of the Bengal Division of the Presidency of Fort William shall cease to be subject to or included within the limits of that Division, and shall thenceforth be subject to and included within the limits of the Lieutenant-Governorship of the province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. Calcutta in Mourning

The first part of a news item, which appeared in the Amrita Bazar Patrika of 17 October 1905 entitled “Calcutta in Mourning-A Unique Sight”, describing the situation in Calcutta on 16 October 1905, the day Bengal was partitioned, is given below.

YESTERDAY WAS one of the most memorable days in the history of the British administration of India. It being the day on which the Bengal Partition scheme took effect, the day on which our unsympathetic government forced a measure by a proclamation in the official gazette against the wishes of the whole population, the day on which our rulers tried to separate the Bengali speaking people of the East Bengal from those of the West Bengal, the people of Calcutta, irrespective of nationality, social position, creed and sex, observed it as a day of mourning. The leaders of the Bengali community-Hindus and Mahomedans-did not however silently mourn and weep. They as a legacy to posterity and as a landmark to British administration laid the foundation of the Federation Hall. They also took a practical step towards the furtherance of the Swadeshi movement by opening the National Fund. THE SCENE ON THE BANK OF THE HOOGHLY

From the small hours in the morning till noon, the bank of the Ganges from Bagbazar to Howrah presented a unique spectacle. It looked, as if it were, a surging sea of human faces. From all streets, lanes and bye-lanes, leading to the bank a quick succession of streams of people all bare-footed-found their way to the bank to have a plunge in the sacred river.

As the day advanced, the gathering thickened more and more and by 10, about a lakh of the male population of the metropolis-all in mourning-thronged the bank and the Ghats of the Ganges besides a fair sprinkling of the tender sex. The cry of “Bande Mataram” now and then, broke the silence of the still air and reverberated through it imparting a chastening influence on the minds of those who gathered together there....Innumerable processions consisting of scores and hundreds of men, after arriving at the bank of the sacred river and wearing Rakhi (yellow thread) proceeded in procession singing ‘Bande Mataram’ all the way. Several thousands of such processions passed all over the city especially the northern quarter of it from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. They accosted on the way everyone they met with “Bande Mataram” in embracing each other and putting on “Rakhi”. It was a sight for the gods to see... ROADS AND STREETS

The scene in the roads and streets of whole Calcutta was quite novel and was perhaps never before witnessed in any Indian city.....No purchasers were there and thus no sellers had to exhibit their articles...All the mills were closed and the mill hands paraded the city in procession.... The only cry that was heard was of “Bande Mataram”. Bands of Mahomedans and Marwaris joined the processionists and greatly enhanced the enthusiasm. Rakhee Sangeet

During the Swadeshi and anti-partition agitation people in both the Bengals took out processions in the streets of towns and villages and sang Swadeshi and patriotic songs. An English version of one such song, originally composed in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, is reproduced.