Bengal Divided: The Unmaking of a Nation (1905-1971)

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Penguin, Viking, 2007 - Bangladesh - 260 pages
In 1905, The People Of Bengal Rejected The British-Directed Division Of Their Land And Fought Against It. Yet Just Four Decades Later, In 1947, They Asked For A Partition Between Muslim Majority And Hindu Majority Areas.

The Roots Of Alienation Of Two Communities That Spoke The Same Language Went Deep. Was It Because Socially The Bengali Hindu Bhadralok Looked Down Upon Their Muslim Neighbours? Or That The Great Intellectual Awakening In Bengal In The Nineteenth Century Left The Muslim Community Largely Untouched? Why Did Things Come To Such A Pass That When The British Partitioned The Province In 1905, While Kolkata Protested Vigorously, There Was Celebration In Dhaka?

The Author Brings Alive The Personalities That Dominated Politics In The Years That Followed, Throwing New Light On Historical Facts And Events In The Turbulent Pre-Independence Period. He Dissects The Process By Which Two Separate Identities Were Forged, Culminating In The Creation Of East Pakistan In 1947 And Bangladesh In 1971. As The Tale Unfolds, So Do The Roles Of Personalities Such As Chittaranjan Das, Subhas Chandra Bose, Nazrul Islam, Fazlul Huq, H.S. Suhrawardy And Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.

The Underlying Sentiment Of The Book Is A Desire To See Even If Political Separation Continues Much Greater Interaction In Terms Of Common Culture, Shared History And Geography And Economic Complementarity. By Offering Insights Into The Bengali Psyche, Bengal Divided Holds Out Hope For A Less Fractious Future.

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This is a well researched account describing the making of East Pakistan in 1947 and later Bangladesh in 1971. British colonial rulers tried to divide the Bengal province in 1905, but without any success. The unfortunate event of creation of East Pakistan in 1947, bifurcating the Indian nation, bled us profusely with several thousands deaths across the borders. This book narrates grieves and sorrows in the process of making of Bangladesh nation. A must read for scholars of South Asian studies. 

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