29 July, 2021

That Unholy Cleave

A former diplomat sweeps through Bengal’s history to narrate the story of its Partition, which she deems was avoidable

That Unholy Cleave
outlookindia.com
2021-06-25T13:24:23+05:30

The painful partition of Bengal in 1905 had larger consequential effect on India’s Partition in 1947, with lasting impact on the Indian society, according to Bhaswati Mukherjee in her well-researched book Bengal and Its Partition: An Untold Story. She traces developments since the battle of Palashi (Plassey) in 1757, whose repercussions were felt 100 years later in the form of the 1857 sepoy mutiny­—the largest anti-colonisation uprising in the world in the 19th century.

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 begin with, and then elsewhere in the country. Their efforts at compartmentalising Indian ­history (and history writing) 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,...



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