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|Part of the Dominion of Pakistan|
|•||1947–1950||Sir Frederick Chalmers Bourne|
|•||1950–1953||Sir Feroz Khan Noon|
|•||1955||Iskandar Ali Mirza|
|•||1947–1948||Sir Khawaja Nazimuddin|
|•||1954–1955||A. K. Fazlul Huq|
|•||1955||Abu Hussain Sarkar|
|Historical era||Partition of Bengal|
|•||Established||15 August 1947|
|•||Language Movement||21 February 1952|
|•||Dissolution||14 October 1955|
|•||1947||147,570 km² (56,977 sq mi)|
|Today part of||Bangladesh|
|This article is part of the series|
|Former administrative units of Pakistan|
Part of a series on the
|History of Bangladesh|
East Bengal (Bengali: পূর্ব বাংলা Purbô Bangla) was the name used during two periods in the 20th century for a territory that roughly corresponded to the modern state of Bangladesh. Both instances involved a violent partition of Bengal which made one half East Bengal or Bangladesh and the other today's Indian state of West Bengal.
The area compromises roughly two-thirds of the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal.
First partition, 1905–1912 (British period)
The first instance of the name was during the British rule of India. British governance of large swathes of Indian territory began with Robert Clive's victory over the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, at the Battle of Plassey in 1757. The victory gave the British East India Company dominion over Bengal, which became the headquarters of British administration in the sub-continent. After the Indian rebellion of 1857 (known as the "Mutiny"), the British government took direct control away from the East India Co., and established its imperial capital at Calcutta, the city founded by the Company. By 1900, the British province of Bengal constituted a huge territory, stretching from the Burmese border to deep into the Ganges valley.
With the assumption of Lord Curzon to the office of Viceroy of India, British India was finally put under the charge of a man who considered himself an expert in Indian affairs. Curzon, seeing the logistical problems of administering such a large province, proposed to divide Bengal. Bengal, henceforth, would encompass Calcutta and the western territories, roughly comprising modern West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Orissa. Eastern Bengal and Assam, the new province, would roughly encompass modern Bangladesh and the northeastern states of India (then all grouped under the heading of Assam, with its capital at Dacca (Dhaka)).
While Curzon claimed the action was one merely founded upon administrative principles, the growing nationalist movement, which originated with the educated elite of Calcutta and the Bengali aristocracy, took the action as an attempt to cut off Bengal's Hindu intellectual leaders (based in Calcutta) from the majority Muslim agriculturalists of the east, dividing the nationalist movement along lines of class and religion. The partition of Bengal, effected in July 1905, sparked a firestorm in the nationalist movement. The partition was revoked in 1912, but it was accompanied by slicing off the non-Bengali portions of the province – creating two additional provinces, Assam and Bihar and Orissa (both themselves further subdivided after Indian independence) – and the shifting of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi.
In the now divided Bengal, East Bengal comprised an area of 196,540 square miles (509,000 km2) that included 18 million Muslims and 12 million Hindus. The (old) Bengal area had 141,580 square miles (366,700 km2) with a majority of 42 million Hindus and 9 million Muslims.
Second partition, 1947–1971 (Pakistani period)
Bengal was divided into two provinces on 3 July 1946 in preparation for the partition of India - the Muslim-majority East Bengal and the Hindu-majority West Bengal. The two provinces each had their own Chief Minister. In August 1947 West Bengal became part of India and East Bengal became part of Pakistan. Tensions between East Bengal and the western wing of Pakistan led to the One Unit policy. In 1955, most of the western wing was combined to form a new West Pakistan province while East Bengal became the new province of East Pakistan. This system lasted until 1971 when East Pakistan declared independence during the Liberation War of Bangladesh and the new nation of Bangladesh was formed.
After absorption into the Dominion of Pakistan, the province of East Pakistan (former East Bengal) was administered by a ceremonial Governor and an indirectly elected Chief Minister. During the year from May 1954 to August 1955, executive powers were exercised by the Governor and there was no Chief Minister.
|Tenure||Governor of East Bengal|
|15 August 1947 - 31 March 1950||Sir Frederick Chalmers Bourne|
|31 March 1950 - 31 March 1953||Sir Feroz Khan Noon|
|31 March 1953 - 29 May 1954||Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman|
|29 May 1954 - May 1955||Iskandar Ali Mirza|
|May 1955 - June 1955||Muhammad Shahabuddin (acting)|
|June 1955 - 14 October 1955||Amiruddin Ahmad|
|14 October 1955||Province of East Bengal dissolved|
|Tenure||Chief Minister of East Bengal||Political Party|
|15 August 1947 - 14 September 1948||Khawaja Nazimuddin||Muslim League|
|14 September 1948 - 3 April 1954||Nurul Amin||Muslim League|
|3 April 1954 - 29 May 1954||A. K. Fazlul Huq||United Front|
|29 May 1954 - August 1955||Governor's Rule|
|August 1955 - 14 October 1955||Abu Hussain Sarkar||Krishak Sramik Party|
|14 October 1955||Province of East Bengal dissolved|
- 'Statesmen of Bangladesh' Retrieved 18 April 2009.