Political Movement in West Bengal

At the time of Banga-Bhanga, which is also known as Partition of Bengal (1905) movement; Bengali origin people had a huge participation in that movement with a revolutionary mindset. They were hurt by the notion that their own land would be divided among them based on some tricky divide-and-rule politics of British Rulers. Legendary Rabindranath Tagore also supported it, and that took a momentum. However, the point to be noted here was that they stood for their own unity, not to rule someone out.

Bengali people had participated in the movements, revolutions for Independence for the whole country. People were hurt by the fact they had been divided in 1947 by creating East Pakistan. But it was evident that there was not much hatred among people living in West Bengal to that of people living in then created Bangladesh.

The 1960’s saw regeneration in student politics in West Bengal and it was perhaps a point of culmination in the Leftist Student movement that began in the 1950’s. The Food movement of 1966 helped in radicalization of the students so much so that Calcutta University students started demanding democratization of the Educational System and Syllabus change.

The 1970’s were also an important times as it was linked to Naxalism. It was also a time of Bengali nationalism movement in East Pakistan culminating in creation of Bangladesh. Incidentally, the student led protests against making Urdu compulsory in East Pakistan in the 1950’s is remembered as Bhasha Divas and is celebrated today as World Mother Language Day. Also the Vietnam War had immense emotional appeal to students in West Bengal campuses under the leadership of Naxalites.

But now, Regional and National political parties in West Bengal in order to build a strong support base have created student organizations. Apparently, future political leaders of West Bengal emerge from these student organizations. But the fact is that these student leaders wield immense power in campuses and can call Bandhs at their colleges for the simplest reasons.

Subhas Chandra Bose was a student when he first protested against the treatment of Indian students in the Presidency College by the British administration. The Swadeshi movement was largely carried forward by students. The Chittagong uprising was done by young students under the leadership of Surya Sen. Three revolutionary martyrs who shot dead Director General of Police (Prison) were students also members of the revolutionary Bengal Volunteers started by Subhas Chandra Bose.

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