COMMUNAL ATTITUDES TO BRITISH POLICY 35
and dissension". At the same time, the transfer of these parts of Bengal to Assam, he believed, would result in the reinvigoration of the so far neglected Assam. Thus, from the government's point of view, the two main objects of the partition were the relief of Bengal and the reinvigoration of Assam.
Lord Curzon's original scheme for the partition published in the Gazette of India on December 12, 1903, proposed to transfer the Chitta-gong Division, Dacca and Mymensingh districts and Hill Tippera to Assam, and Ghota Nagpur to the central provinces. It proposed to compensate Bengal to some extent by adding some Oriya-speaking areas from Madras and the Central Provinces to Bengal. This scheme, if carried out, would have relieved the Bengal government of the burden of administering eleven million people. The scheme, however, aroused the anger of the Hindu community of Bengal and drew no support from the Muslim community. Further, the scheme was unacceptable to the Muslims of the Eastern part of Bengal because they feared that the government wanted to turn them into Assamese.2
Curzon obviously had no doubt in his mind that his partition scheme would meet with the opposition of the Hindus of Bengal. But the government could not afford to be alienated from both the communities - Hindus and Muslims. If one was angry, the other's support must be sought, if necessary, by modifying the partition scheme. With this object in view, Curzon undertook a tour of the Muslim majority districts of Eastern Bengal in February 1904. During his visit to Dacca, he openly hinted that he was thinking of creating a new province out of Bengal whose capital would be Dacca which he emphasized, ^would invest the Mohamedans in Eastern Bengal with a unity which they have not enjoyed since the days of old Musalman Viceroys and Kings'53. He also made it understood that Assam would be '"an adjunct rather than the most prominent feature".4 Lord Curzon was thus able to allay the Muslim suspicion and win over the Naw^b of Dacca, the leader of Muslims, to the cause of partition.5
Assured of Muslim support, Curzon decided to ignore the Hindu opposition and took the firm decision of creating a new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam, almost equal in size to that of Bengal, by drawing a new boundary line through central Bengal. A larger area than proposed in the original scheme was transferred to the new province with its capital at Dacca.6
This raises doubts regarding the British claim that their intention was purely one of ensuring administrative efficiency. Such efficiency would have been ensured by accepting either of the two alternative proposals suggested by the nationalist Hindu leaders of Bengal. The fust recommended the separation of non-Bengali areas such as Orissa, Chota Nagpur