Lord Curzon served as the Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905. His policies had significant consequences on the Indian national movement in the long run.
Policies on Education and administration
- Curzon expanded the university education system but emphasized oriental literature and maintained government control.
- He also streamlined the administrative machinery but failed to include Indians in higher posts, thus restricting opportunities for Indians.
- These exclusionary policies disillusioned the educated Indians and drove them into the national movement.
Policies on Division of Bengal
- In 1905, Curzon partitioned Bengal on communal lines.
- This fomented anti-British sentiments and resentment among Bengalis.
- The partition ignited the Swadeshi movement and the beginning of revolutionary terrorism, which weakened the British rule in the long run.
- Curzon passed the Ancient Monuments Act to preserve historical monuments but his restoration works at the Taj Mahal and Victoria Memorial earned criticism.
- His extravagant Durbar in 1903 also received condemnation.
- These added to the prevailing resentment towards British rule.
Though Curzon efficient administration, his authoritarian policies excluding Indians from power and the ill-timed partition of Bengal antagonized educated Indians. Ironically, Curzon’s very reforms strengthened the national spirit and led to the intensification of the freedom struggle, undermining the British Empire in India. His policies had lasting impacts on the Indian national movement.