curzon the good; the bad ;and the ugly present day politics

Reviled Curzon name wins new respect in India






Lord Ravensdale and his wife
Lord Curzon's grandson Lord Ravensdale and his wife Verity 
The Indian rehabilitation of the long-reviled Curzon family name has begun.
The grandsons of Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India from 1898 to 1905, have received an official invitation to visit the country to mark the centenary of a game reserve founded by their grandmother.
The invitation represents a remarkable reversal of history. Until recently, Indian textbooks portrayed Curzon as representing all that was bad about the Raj because he partitioned Bengal in 1905 and set the province's Hindu and Muslim populations against each other by adopting a policy of divide and rule.
Now a much more confident India is highlighting his many positive achievements, which include rescuing several historic monuments, including the Taj Mahal in Agra, and starting work on the Victoria Memorial Hall, the governor's house and Calcutta's best-loved landmark.
The turnaround is so complete that more of the former viceroy's statues are about to be brought out for prominent public display in Calcutta, where the impressive residence was built by Curzon as a copy of Kedleston Hall, his family home in Derbyshire.
The invitations from Assam are being sent to Lord Ravensdale (Sir Nicholas Moseley, son of Sir Oswald Moseley) and David Metcalfe, the sons of Curzon's middle and youngest daughters, Cynthia and Alexandra.
The initiative for what has become the Kaziranga national park, home to the one-horned rhinoceros, Indian bison, tiger, leopard, python, buffalo and other wildlife, came from Lady Curzon (the American heiress Mary Leiter before her marriage) who first visited the area in 1904.
Disappointed at finding only hoof marks when she thought she would see the one-horned rhinoceros, she persuaded her husband to save the animal. In 1905 he set aside more than 57,000 acres of Kaziranga as a reserved forest and the thick jungles were formally closed to shooting from 1908.
Lady Curzon's efforts were certainly successful: as part of the celebrations from Feb 11-18, to be inaugurated by Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, some of Kaziranga's 1,600 rhinos will be flushed out for viewing.
Speaking yesterday on a mobile telephone from somewhere deep in the Assam forests, Rajendra Agarwalla, the chief conservator of forests, said the invitations recognised Lord and Lady Curzon's "contribution" in establishing the game reserve.
At his home in north London, Lord Ravensdale, who is 82 and has to use a walking stick, said that he and his wife, Verity, would treat the trip as their "last great adventure".
He said: "Lady Curzon came back to London in 1905 and died in 1906. So the game reserve must have been her last gift to India, her bequest."
Flicking through two treasured family albums filled with evocative photographs of Curzon in India - seated with Indian princes, at tiger shoots, inspecting parades in Calcutta - Lord Ravensdale, a biographer and prize-winning novelist, said: "One knows the English were sometimes a pain in the neck but there obviously is a great bond between the English and Indians."
Lord Ravensdale, who has travelled widely in India, said: "Curzon hoped the British would always have a role overseeing the Raj. At the same time, he was noted for trying to encourage Indian civil servants so that they would be responsible for their own affairs."
He added: "I really do believe he was one of those English people who took his job very responsibly. He did have the welfare of the Indian people at heart.
"It was still in a paternalistic way, of course, which is now so much frowned upon, but at the time the best one could do."
The family link with India remains alive. Lord Ravensdale's son, Marius, now 28, went to India in his gap year a decade ago and spent most of the year working at a school for blind children in Delhi.
Then two years ago his 20-year-old grandson, Matthew, an Oxford graduate (the son of Shaun, Lord Ravensdale's eldest son from his first marriage), "taught at a school in Sikkim and thought it lovely". Lord Ravensdale did a quick calculation: "So that is Curzon, my mother, me, my son Marius and my grandson Matthew - that is the fifth generation."
The Indian point of view was given by the author Krishna Dutta, who said that in her book, Calcutta, she had described Curzon as "the most articulate, passionate, arrogant, effective and most important of all the viceroys".
She also commented: "Jawaharlal Nehru was probably right when he remarked, 'After every other viceroy has been forgotten, Curzon will be remembered because he restored all that is beautiful in India.' "
At her home in London yesterday, Mrs Dutta said: "Curzon loved Calcutta. It is a wonderful thing that his statues are being brought out."
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curzon the bad

Partition of Bengal (1905) - Wikipedia
The decision to effect the Partition of Bengal (Bengali: বঙ্গভঙ্গ) was announced in July 1905, by the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. The partition took place on 16 ...

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The decision to effect the Partition of Bengal (Bengali: বঙ্গভঙ্গ) was announced in July 1905, by the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. The partition took place on 16 October 1905and separated the largely Muslim eastern areas from the largely Hindu western areas.

Partition of Bengal (1905) - Wikipedia

The opposition to the partition was led by the educated middle class of western Bengal. Bengali Hindus were at the forefront of political agitation for greater participation in the governance under British rule, and many suspected that the partition was designed to curtail Hindu demands for political representation. Following the partition, an anti-British movement formed in opposition to the Partition. This involved non-violent and violent protests, boycotts and even an assassination attempt against the Governor of the new province of West Bengal.
The opening years of the twentieth century were stormy. The political scenario was undergoing a change, and the British were beginning to feel a bit uneasy. Discontentment was brewing. Political discontent was growing due to the inability of the government to organise effective relief during the period of plague and famine. In order to stem the discontent, the British played the political trump card with great aplomb. For the first time, they used their divide-and-rule political game with great force. From 1870 onwards, the British started inciting the Hindus and the Muslims to form their own political parties to establish their distinct religious identities. That was perhaps, the beginning of the communalisation of politics. The British not only encouraged the two communities to form political parties along religious lines, they took various constructive steps to create a situation whereby Hindus and Muslims would be forced to think in a way as if their religious identity is at peril. This effort culminated in the partition of Bengal in 1905. West Bengal, Orissa and Bihar was on one side and the erstwhile east Bengal and Assam was on the other. The partition was made along communal lines. This partition provided an impetus to the religious divide and, as a result of that, All India Muslim League and All India Hindu Mahasabha was formed. Both the organisations aimed at fanning communal passions.

In 1909, separate elections were established for Muslims and Hindus. Before this, many members of both communities had advocated national solidarity of all Bengalis. With separate electorates, distinctive political communities developed, with their own political agendas. Muslims, too, dominated the Legislature, due to their overall numerical strength of roughly twenty two to twenty eight million. Nationally, Hindus and Muslims began to demand the creation of two independent states, one to be formed in majority Hindu and one in majority Muslim areas.[6]
In 1947, Bengal was partitioned for the second time, solely on religious grounds, as part of the Partition of India following the formation of the nations India and Pakistan.[7] In 1955, East Bengal became East Pakistan, and in 1971 became the independent state of Bangladesh after a successful war of independence with West Pakistan.[8]


The partition left a significant impact on the people of Bengal as well as the political scene of the Indian subcontinent. This event also created a sense of political awareness among the Muslims of East Bengal. To mollify the people of East Bengal, Lord Curzon declared that a university as a center of excellence would be established in Dacca (which would later be named as University of Dhaka) and formed a committee in this regard consisting Khwaja Salimullah, A. K. Fazlul Huq and others. The decision was severely criticised by some Hindu leaders in West Bengal. The most significant impact of this event was greater communal dissonance between the Hindus and Muslims of Bengal.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Theme • Ennio Morricone

  • 3 years ago
The theme from the 1966 Sergio Leone film "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" with Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef & Eli Wal