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The first five years of the twentieth century were the years of the repressive rule of Lord Curzon. The powers of the Calcutta Corporation were reduced, a law against secret societies was enacted by the government , universities were brought under the government control which made education costlier , many Indians were charged with having an untruthful character , a budget for twelve reforms were passed . Tibet was attacked and last of all Bengal was divided. All these acts were performed by Lord Curzon. These acts broke back of the loyalists and led to the creation of a new spirit.

There was already a growing anger against the repression loot and exploitation being carried on by foreign rule. Lord Curzon plan for the partition of Bengal added fuel to this smouldering fire. Under the plan the Bengali speaking province was divided into two parts. This led to a conflagration in which the people of other provinces also joined to fight for their problems. According to Dr. Pattabi Sitaramayya the whole country made the partition of Bengal a National issue. The agitation was made stronger by raising of other states also along with the issue of partition. The Canal colonization bill led to the creation of a storm among the militant people of Punjab. As a result of the agitation there lala lajpat rai and Ajit singh were expelled from the country.
The repressive policy adopted by the government proved to be counterproductive. The agitation gained momentum as repression increased. In 1908 the situation reached a climax. Prosecution of newspapers became a common happening Yugantar Sandhya Bande Mataram which were the newspapers spreading the message of new awakening were closed down. Brahmobandhab , the patriotic editor of Sandhya died in the hospital . Lokmanya Tilak was arrested in Maharastra on 13th july 1908. He was awarded a sentence of six years in jail after a trail lasting five days. Harisaruttam Rao of Andhra was sentenced to nine months, on an appeal by the government the High court enhanced the punishment to three years imprisonment. It became a general practice to award a sentence of five years in jail sedition. However soon the seditious activities went underground and reappeared in the form of bombs and pistols. Political assasinations also started taking place occasionally and among them the most daring act was the assassination of Sir lord Curson Wily in London in 1907 . It was executed by Madan Lal Dhingra who was later sentenced to death. The parsee gentleman Dr Lala Kaka who tried to save him was also hanged afterwards.

A secret revolutionary organization called Anusheelan Samithi was formed in 1908 , Sister Nivedita , the Irish Disciple of Vivekananda and Auribindo Ghose were among its founder members. In the same year Khudiram Bose became a martyr after being hanged. He had thrown two bombs to Kill Kingsford, the district judge of Mujaffarpur. His picture adorned the homes of people all over india. Vivekananda’s younger brother, . Bhupendranath was the editor of Yuganatar which was the journal of the revolutionaries. When he was sentenced to a long term of jail sentence for spreading the cult of violence, his own mother expressed her happiness when 500 women went to congratulate her son’s patriotism. Bhupendranath himself courageously declared in the court that he was leaving behind him 30 crore people who would keep his journal going.

The Gorkha Regiment was deployed in East Bengal and repressive laws such as the one prohibiting seditious meetings , the press Act and Criminal Law Amendment Act were passed. But despite all this, the open as well as the secret struggle continued to gather strength.Although the struggle started on the issue of partition of Bengal , it soon became a countrywide movement which was based on a four point programme of boycott of foreign goods , Swadeshi (use of national goods), Swarajya (self government) and national education. The Belur monastery of Calcutta became the center of revolutionary activites and government strated thinking of closing it down. Romain Rolland has given the credit for this movement to Vivekanada. There is no doubt that the message of Vivekananda spread all over the country and events that he had predicted not only started happening but assumed the form of a strong movement in the face of which the British Government had to blend and the partition of Bengal was annulled. This was the first struggle, after the war of independence in 1857 that became successful which brought glory to the whole nation.

Posted by: Vamsi      Date: 2016-02-16

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