The 119-year-old Curzon Gate in Bardhaman in West Bengal is at the centre of a political row after the Trinamool Congress (TMC)-run Bardhaman municipality has decided to erect a statue of Bardhaman’s Maharaja Bijay Chand Mahatab and his wife Radharani in front of the city’s prominent landmark.
- 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 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.”
- 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.
- Curzon created a separate Muslim majority province of the North-West Frontier Province, sent a British expedition to Tibet, established a separate police service, and established the Archaological Survey of India, in order to study and protect historical monuments.