Earlier too, in 1874 and 1897, there was some move for reducing the size of Bengal with diverse population, using various languages, differing widely in terms of economic development.
But Curzon and his officials like Fraser and Riley had other ends in view. They were determined to use the plea for territorial readjustment to throttle the voice of nationalism.
The actual motive for partition was twofold:
1. To divide and weaken the Bengali speaking educated middle class who mainly led the national movement in the eastern part by reducing them into minority in both the newly created provinces.
2. To disrupt the Hindu-Muslim Unity in Bengal (In a speech in Dacca, Lord Curzon argued that with partition, Dacca could become the capital of the Muslim majority province, where the Muslims could get a better deal and the Eastern districts would be freed of the pernicious influence of Calcutta.)
The nationalists visualized the actual motive of the partition and took it as a challenge to Indian nationalism. They saw that it was a deliberate attempt to divide the Bengalies and to disrupt and weaken nationalism in Bengal.
In December 1903, the partition proposals became publicly known. A large number of protest meetings were organised throughout Bengal.
Surendranath Banerjea, Krishna Kumar Mitra, Prithwish Chandra Ray and other leaders launched a powerful press campaign against the partition proposals and numbers of petitions were sent to the Government of India and the Secretary of State.
Thus the period between 1903 to mid 1905 was the phase when moderate techniques (petitions; memorandums, speeches, public meetings and press campaigns) were used.
The objective as to turn public opinion in India and England against the partition proposals by preparing a foolproof case against them.
Despite all these, the decision of partition of Bengal was announced on 19th July, 1905. From then onwards a new phase started in which some new technique ‘Boycott of British goods’ and ‘Swadeshi’ came into prominence.