I’ve been intermittently posting two series of alternate histories, one with a Pakistan where Bengal, not Punjab, experienced communal cleansing (latest post) and the other is an India that was never partitioned (latest post). As it happens, even in the unpartitioned India, I imagine Bengal partitioned on communal line.
Does that mean I believe Bengal was always destined to be divided?
No. I don’t believe there is anything inevitable about history. There are specific reasons why key players make particular choices, which together with external shocks (sometimes truly random), shape the course of history. It’s not that hard to imagine a history where Bengal remained undivided, whether as part of India or Pakistan, or as an independent, sovereign state.
So, what if Bengal had not been partitioned?
In previous instalments of the series, we saw the birth of the Commonwealth of India, and the administrations of her first two presidents: MA Jinnah and CR Das. In this post, we see the rise to power of Jawaharlal Nehru, Pundit Matilal Nehru’s son. The title of the post is taken from a caustic remark made by Subhas Bose, Joe Nehru’s arch rival.