This is the second volume series of a three-volume series of selected documents on Bengal politics created by the Governor of Bengal during the era of provincial autonomy, 1936 to 1947. The documents included in this series, with a few exceptions, are the fortnightly reports of the Governor to the Viceroy and Governor-General of India and deal with a variety of events that were perceived by the Governor as of supreme importance needing the personal attention of the Governor-General. In summarizing and underscoring many significant developments in the province, much of which was not otherwise reported or recorded, these fortnightly reports present, in addition to a myriad of facts and interpretations, a close look at the working of British colonialism and imperialism in Bengal. The time span of this volume is from January 1940 through December 1943. The primary foci of the documents in this volume are legislative politics, the flux in ministerial coalitions, shifting party alliances, and the exigencies of the war in the province. The documents also deal with the interplay of the European commercial interest in Bengal politics which severely affected the political process and the economic interest of the province. The documents in this volume also reveal the repeated interference by the governor in restricting the constitutional responsibilities of his ministers, and the governor's arbitrary step in dissolving the Fazlul Huq ministry even though he held the majority in the legislature, and the installation of a Muslim League ministry. The last volume of this sequel will cover the eventful period of January 1944 to August 1947, when Bengal was partitioned for the second time. The focus in the third volume is on the activities of the League ministry, Congress ineptitude, increasing communal violence, deterioration of law and order, continued economic difficulties and the emergence of the concept of a united sovereign Bengal and its ramifications. Although only representing and articulating the imperial and official series of views, the documents in the series constitute valuable primary sources to the political history of Bengal for the most momentous decade of the Raj. To examine and evaluate the subsequent movement for provincial autonomy in East Pakistan, and the Bangladesh War of Independence, materials presented in these volumes may provide critical perspectives.
Enayetur Rahim attended Rajshahi University, receiving his BA (Hons.) in 1957 and an MA in 1959. A Fulbright scholar, he received another MA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966. He obtained his Ph.D in history from Georgetown University in 1973. Dr. Rahim has taught history at Rajshahi University and the University of Minnesota. He is currently teaching South Asian history at Georgetown University. Prof. Rahim is the author of several monographs, including Provincial Autonomy in Bengal (1937-1943), Institute of Bangladesh Studies, 1981. A Bengali translation is scheduled for publication in 1999 by the Bangla Academy. He has also contributed several articles on Bangladesh's history, society, and politics. He is currently working on a book on the electoral politics in