‘No matter how, Jogendranath had to be defeated’: The Scheduled Castes Federation and the making of partition in Bengal, 1945–1947

This article offers an explanation for the defeat of Jogendranath Mandal and the Scheduled Castes Federation in the context of partition-era Bengal. Departing from analyses of Scheduled Caste integration, it explores the Federation’s efforts at creating an independent political platform through a strategic alliance with the Muslim League. To this end, it traces Mandal’s and the Federation’s trajectory through the following key moments: the anti-Poona Pact day and Day of Direct Action, the 1946 election, Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s election to the Constituent Assembly, the Calcutta and East Bengal riots, Mandal’s nomination to the Interim Government and the agitation against Partition. In so doing, it tries to show how the Federation’s defeat in Bengal was at least in part a consequence of the Congress’ efforts to engineer its marginalisation, as well as the Congress’ and Hindu Mahasabha’s agitation for the Partition of that province. The Hindu majoritarian impulse that led to the Partition in Bengal thus crippled the Federation’s struggle for Dalit political autonomy.

Dwaipayan Sen
The Indian Economic and Social History Review