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The culturally relatively homogeneous eastern part of the Indian subcontinent around the Ganges–Brahmaputra deltas. Under effective British rule since 1757, the nawab dynasties of Bengal, Orissa, and Bihar were united into a single province and ruled from Calcutta. In 1905 the Viceroy, Lord Curzon, proposed a division into East Bengal (majority Muslim and to be united with Assam) and the richer West Bengal (to include Orissa and Bihar). His action was violently opposed, especially among Hindus. In 1911 Britain accepted Indian criticism and reunited East and West Bengal. Assam became a separate province again, while the new provinces of Bihar and Orissa were formed. With independence the division of the Indian subcontinent between Hindus and Muslims resulted in the division of Bengal, with East Bengal becoming part of Pakistan. In 1971, East Bengal gained independence as Bangladesh.

Subjects: British History — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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