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Lord Curzon

GS Paper 1

Source: Indian Express


Direction: Try to remember some reforms by the governor general and Viceroys. This is important for both Prelims and Mains.


Context: The Bardhaman municipality, West Bengal has decided to erect a statue of an erstwhile maharaja in front of the landmark Curzon Gate in the city.


About Curzon

He served as Under-Secretary of State for India (1891-1892), and for Foreign Affairs (1895-1898), before being appointed Viceroy of India in 1899.

Of all the Viceroys of India, Curzon is possibly the most criticised — he is the man who partitioned Bengal in 1905, and triggered a wave of Bengali nationalism that contributed to the wider Indian national movement. He was also one of the more openly imperialist of viceroys, and a man who saw Britain’s rule over India as critical to the survival of the empire.

In 1900, Curzon famously stated, “We could lose all our [white settlement] dominions and still survive, but if we lost India, our sun would sink to its setting.”


Reforms by Lord Curzon:

      • Educational: Curzon brought in the Indian Universities Act of 1904,which brought all the universities in India under the control of the government.
      • Scientific: The Agriculture Research Institute in Pusa (Bihar – Bengal Presidency) was established.
      • Administrative: He instituted a Police Commission in 1902 under the chairmanship of Sir Andrew Frazer.
      • During the Curzon regime, the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) was established which covered roughly the areas of the upper course of the River Indus.
      • MilitaryImperial cadet corpswas set up which became an instrument for the Indianisation of the army later.
      • Other reforms: He passed a law called the Ancient Monuments Act, 1904which made it obligatory on the part of the government and local authorities to preserve monuments of archaeological importance and their destruction an offence.


Insta Links

Mains Link

You can relate the article to an argument on Curzon’s policies, their impact (e.g. Partition of Bengal and Swadesh Movement) e.g. it is said about Curzon -“Out of his tyranny was born a stronger sense of nationhood”

Q. The Partition of Bengal was the culmination of a systemic attack on nationalists of Bengal by Curzon and was not done for administrative convenience as stated officially by the government. Analyse. 15M


Prelims Link

      1. Contributions of Governor General and Viceroys.
      2. Various Acts were passed during Lord Curzon.

The Partition of Bengal made by Lord Curzon in 1905 lasted until (UPSC 2014)

(a) the First World War when Indian troops were needed by the British and the partition was ended.

(b) King George V abrogated Curzon’s Act at the Royal Durbar in Delhi in 1911.

(c) Gandhiji launched his Civil Disobedience Movement.

(d) the Partition of India in 1947 when East Bengal became East Pakistan.

Answer: B