Partition of Bengal & Swadeshi Movement in 1905 & Muslim league in 1906

Partition of Bengal, 1905

  • Lord Curzon on 16th October, 1905, through a royal proclamation reducing the old province of Bengal in size by creating East Bengal and Assam out of rest of Bengal.
  • It is known as the “partition of Bengal” in 1905 provided a spark for the rise of extremism in the Indian National Movement.
  • Rabindranath Tagore composed the national song ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’.
  • Ceremony of “Raksha Bandhan” was observed on 16th October, 1905 where Hindus & Muslims tied rakhis to each other to show commonality.
  • Newspapers like K.K. Mitra’s Sanjeevani, S.N. Banerjee’s Bengali, Motilal Ghosh’s Amrit Bazaar Patrika, B.B. Upadhyaya’s Yugantar, Bipin Chandra Pal’s New India, Aurobindo Ghosh’s Bande Mataram and Ajit Singh’s Bharat Mata played a significant role in the movement.

Curzon’s real motives were:

  • To break the growing strength of Bengali nationalism since Bengal was the base of Indian nationalism. To divide the Hindus & Muslims in Bengal.
  • To show the enormous power of the British Government.

Rise of Extremism, 1905

  • A section of Congress lost faith in moderate programme & moved towards militant nationalism.
  • The aggressive nationalists forced Dadabhai Naoroji to speak of Swaraj (which was not a Moderate demand) in the Calcutta Session of Congress in 1906.
  • They adopted the resolutions of Boycott & Swadeshi & the Moderate Congressmen were unhappy. They wanted Swaraj” to be achieved through constitutional methods.
  • The differences led to a split in the Congress at the Surat session in 1907 & popularly known as the famous “Surat Split.”
  • Ashwini Kumar Datt said that the Amravati session was a “three day tamasha”.
  • Lala Lajpat Rai regarded the congress as a factious annual festival of British educated elites.
  • Extremists aimed at achieving Swaraj that meant complete independence from British rule.
  • They advocated boycott of foreign goods, use of Swadeshi goods, national education & passive resistance.

Swadeshi Movement,1905

  • It had its origin in the anti-partition movement of Bengal.
  • The leaders of Bengal felt that mere demonstrations, public meetings & resolutions were not enough & something more was needed; the answer was felt as Swadeshi & Boycott.
  • Important aspect of the movement was emphasis placed on self-reliance.
  • Lal, Bal and Pal & Aurobindo Ghosh played an important role.
  • The INC took the Swadeshi call first at the Benaras Session, 1905 presided over by G.K. Gokhale.
  • It was both a political & economic movement.
  • In Bengal, even the landlords joined the movement.
  • Students refused using books made of foreign paper.
  • Volunteers were beaten badly & cry of Bande Mataram was forbidden.
  • Schools and colleges were warned not to allow their students to take part in the movement or else their, aid would be stopped.
  • Some Indian government employees lost their jobs.
  • Extremist leaders Bala Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipin Chandra Pal & Aurobindo Ghosh were imprisoned and deported.


  • Boycott of government service, courts, schools and colleges.
  • Boycott of foreign goods.
  • Promotion of Swadeshi goods & National Education through the establishment of national schools and colleges.


  • The Swadeshi Movement was a great success.
  • First to demand Swaraj as a matter of birth right.
  • Involved the masses in the freedom struggle & broadened the social base of the National Movement.
  • First to organize an all-India political movement.
Muslim LeagueMuslim League, 1906
  • In Dec 1906, Muslim delegates from all over India met at Dacca for the Muslim Educational Conference.
  • Taking advantage of this occasion, Nawab Salimullah of Dacca proposed the setting up of an organisation to look after the Muslim interests & the proposal was accepted.
  • The All-India Muslim League was finally set up on December 30, 1906 under the leadership of Aga Khan, Nawab Salimullah of Dhaka & Nawab Mohsinul Mulk.
  • Supported the partition of Bengal & opposed the Swadeshi movement.
  • Demanded special safeguards of its community and a separate electorate for Muslims.
  • Enjoyed the support of the British.
  • First achievement was the separate electorates for the Muslims in the Minto-Morley reforms.

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