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Fuller, Sir Joseph Bampfylde


Fuller, Sir Joseph Bampfylde (1854-1935) first Lieutenant Governor of the new province of eastern bengal and assam, an effect of the partition of bengla, 1905. Educated at Marlborough College, Joseph Bampfylde Fuller began his Indian Civil Service career in 1885 as the Commissioner of Settlements and Agriculture, Central Provinces. He became Additional member of the Viceroy's Council in 1899 and served as Secretary to Government of India during the period 1901-2. Before his elevation to the Lieutenant Governorship of the new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam on 16 October 1905, Fuller served as Chief Commissioner of Assam (1902-1905).

Fuller is particularly noted in Bengal history for the role he played as the first Lt Governor of the new province. The nationalist Bengalis and the Congress had sharply reacted to the partition measure of lord curzon. They demanded for its immediate annulment. In realising their demand the anti-partitionists had launched a countrywide agitation. To counterbalance their agitation, Fuller tried to rouse the Muslims in favour of the partition. Due to socio-economic and cultural reasons, the Muslim community seemed to have rendered their support to the partition measure.

The Partition of Bengal thus divided the two communities of Bengal politically. In combating the nationalist resistance, which took the forms of swadeshi and Terrorism, Fuller took firm measures against the resisting elements. His measures, which sometimes amounted to excesses, made the nationalist Congress to believe that the government had created the communal division as a divide and rule policy. Fuller's actions and utterances were often very tactless and blunt. In one of his interviews, Fuller is said to have remarked that of his two wives, the Mohammedan one was the favourite. One of his extreme measures was his recommendation to central government for the cancellation of the affiliation of two schools of Sirajganj for their active involvement in anti-partition movement. The central government turned down his recommendation and, in reaction, he tendered his resignation at once on 20 August 1906. Thus ended his regime of less than a year unhappily and without any achievement

Bampfylde Fuller was an intellectual civilian. Alongside his civil service profession, he studied avidly and made notes of man and nature. He passed his retired life almost exclusively in writing. Among his works are Studies of Indian Life and Sentiment (1910), The Empire of India (1913), Life and Human Nature (1914), The Science of Ourselves (1921), Causes and Consequences (1923), The Law Within (1926), Etheric Energies (1928), Some Personal Experiences (1930) and the Tyranny of the Mind (1935). He died on 29 November 1935. [Sirajul Islam]