Lesson – 19 – The British Machine Solidifies; faces Revolt, Repression and Reform (1885-1912)
- George Nathaniel Curzon, Baron of Kedleston, was a colossal failure in India and showed the inherent impossibility of sustaining British rule for too much longer.
- In foreign policy, Curzon viewed India as the spearpoint of British dominance over all of Asia.
- Curzon added Tibet to Britain’s sphere of influence, claiming that the Dalai Lama was seeking Russian military support, thereby justifying his unprovoked invasion of that peaceful hermit kingdom beyond the Himalayas.
- Curzon’s final year in India was also marked by the first eruptions of an earthquake of nationalist protest generated by the 1905 partition of Bengal.
- The first partition of Bengal inaugurated a half decade of intense revolutionary nationalist activity.
- The boycott of British goods, especially cotton, proved so successful that by 1908 imports were down by more than 25%.
- As antipartition passions grew bolder and svadeshi sales boomed in the wake of the boycott, the government attempted to crack the movement with wholesale prosecutions against its advocated and through instructions to educational institutions to prevent students from being politically active or they would lose their grants-in-aid or assistance.
- While Bengal’s partition served at once to catapult Congress to a new plateau of national popularity and internal division, it also proved a catalyst for separatist Muslim political consciousness and demands.
- Impassioned youth now turned to the cult of terrorism seeking to win by terror that which had been denied them.
- Morley’s parliamentary undersecretary of state during his last year at the India Office was Edwin Samuel Montagu who tried to pilot the next great Act of Reform, but in the end in would not be enough to maintain British rule.
- Why was the failure of Curzon a precursor to British demise.
- How did Curzon view India in relation to foreign policy?
- Why did Britain invade Tibet?
- Why did the partition of Bengal hasten British demise in India?
- What were the results of the partition of Bengal?
- How did native Indians use boycotts as a weapon against the British?
- How did the British react to the boycotts?
- How was the Muslim population affected by the partition?
- Why did the Muslim population use terrorism against the British?
- Why was Montagu important to Indian reform?
- How did the British machine solidify in India during this period?
- How did Indians revolt during this period?
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