Posted on: 7 December 2013


On the morning of 15th December 1911 an unexpected ceremony was performed in the Government of India Camp, when Their Majesties graciously laid the stones which are to serve not merely as lasting and visible memorials of the Royal visit, but are the foundation stones of the new Imperial Capital announced by His Majesty at the Durbar. The ceremony was one of full state, and was again a brilliant spectacle.

The stones were laid with the usual ceremonv. His Majesty laying one, and Her Majesty the other. The conclusion of the ceremony was mirked by cheers for Their Majesties, and the usual salutes.

Extract from:
Supplement to Who's Who in India - Containing lives and photographs of the recipients of honours on 12th December 1911, together with an illustrated account of the visit of Their Imperial Majesties the King-Emperer and Queen-Empress to India and the Coronation Durbar
Published by Newul Kishore Press, Lucknow - 1912

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Another account of the events of the same date...a little more detailed if I may add. Excerpts from “Narrative of the visit to India of their majesties King George V and Queen Mary and of the coronation Durbar held at Delhi 12th December, 1911” by JW Fortescue and published by MacMillan AN ARCHITECT'S OPPORTUNITY Dec. 15. On the morning of the I5th at ten o'clock Their Majesties drove to the avenue of the Indian Government's camp to lay the first stone of the new capital city of Delhi. By dint of working day and night the Public Works Department had raised a wall seven feet high upon solid foundations, and over this wall were hung two huge blocks of dressed stone. The ceremony was extremely simple, and those that attended it were necessarily few, since there was no space for more. A small but very beautiful tent had been erected hard by, where Their Majesties upon arrival were received by the Viceroy and the members of the Executive Council ; a guard of honour of the Gordon Highlanders being drawn up in the avenue. The Viceroy then addressed a short allocution to the King - Emperor, dwelling upon the importance and advantages of the change of capital, and announcing at the close that the Maharaja of Gwalior had expressed his intention of presenting a statue of the King-Emperor to the new city. His Majesty, having made a brief reply, advanced to lay the first stone, after which the Queen came forward and laid the second stone. The heralds, British and Indian,then proclaimed the fact with a flourish of trumpets ; Sir Louis Dane called for three cheers for Their Majesties ; and the brief ceremony was over. The change of capital having been kept a secret until the afternoon of the 1 2th, there was no possibility of making greater preparations, and it must be confessed that the inception of the new Delhi was decidedly modest. This, however, is no great matter. What is of more importance is that its progress should be in accordance with the aspirations expressed with no uncertain voice by the King. " It is my desire," said His Majesty, " that the planning and designing of the public buildings to be erected should be considered with the greatest deliberation and care, so that the new creation may be in every way worthy of this ancient and beautiful city." Here is an opportunity indeed for a great architect of original genius and ideas, not only to give India a capital worthy of herself, but to obliterate the reproaches to British architecture which at present stand unabashed in Calcutta and Bombay. From the avenue Their Majesties drove to the polo-ground, where a force of over twentyseven hundred Indian Police had been drawn up for the King-Emperor's inspection. Considerably more than half of them were from INSPECTION OF POLICE the Panjab, about one -fifth from the United Dec. 15. rovinces, and the remainder small contingents from all the other provinces of India, all of whom had been on duty at the Durbar. Having ridden up and down the line the King dismounted, and the men filing past received each a medal from his hand ; after which His Majesty expressed to the Inspector-General, Sir E. Lee- French, his satisfaction at the arrangements made and the work done by the police during the past week. The compliment was well deserved, for, though on every occasion when His Majesty drove out at Delhi the way was lined with troops, the strain upon the police was very heavy and was admirably met. No one who had not seen it would credit how immense were the mass and variety of vehicles, and the rush of traffic with which they had to contend, and the patience and good temper with which they handled the native crowds. Privileged motors by the score were dashing along the roads at all hours, imperiously demanding passage ; and the way was always cleared somehow, without bustle and without bullying. A word, however, must be added in praise of the additional police, both mounted and afoot, which was drawn from the British regiments of cavalry and infantry. Any one might have thought that they had passed an apprenticeship in the Metropolitan Police under Sir Edward Henry, and I know of no higher praise that could be given them. by British THE MILITARY TOURNAMENT Dec. 15. As to the work done officers of the Indian police force, I saw with my own eyes during the religious processions on the 1 3th a young fellow, who could not have been more than twenty-three, gently manoeuvring a mass of from two to three thousand Sikhs into their right places, single-handed, without putting his horse into a trot, without a harsh word, without so much as a violent gesture. In the afternoon Their Majesties drove to the polo-ground to witness point-to-point races and a military tournament. The Indian cavalry may be called the creators of our military tournaments, and their feats of horsemanship, fully equal to those of many circus-riders, in leaping on and off a galloping horse, picking up objects from the ground without quitting a horse's back, and such like, are too well known to need description here. But when the whole, or at any rate the greater part, of a regiment of Sikhs charges forward together, every man galloping at the top of his speed to pick up his tent-peg this is not an ordinary spectacle. For the rest, the British Seventeenth Lancers, as usual faultlessly turned out, performed a musical ride with great skill. Possibly indeed many of the spectators did not appreciate that skill, nor realise how much more difficult it is to make two equine quadrupeds waltz together than two human bipeds. Finally, a battery of Horse-Artillery in line charged a mud-wall three feet high ; and the whole of the six teams, with their guns, jumped it simultaneously without mishap to drivers or horses. THE RULING CHIEFS' FAREWELL When one reflects that the Dec. 16. slightest mismanagement of any one of the eighteen pairs of horses would have thrown down a part, if not the whole of the team, this stands out as a great feat of driving. The last day was now come, and it began early for the King-Emperor. At half-past nine His Majesty received a number of civil and military officials who had been concerned with the arrangements for the Durbar, and distributed among them medals in honour of the occasion. At a quarter-past eleven the Ruling Chiefs came to the reception - tent to take leave of His Majesty, and among the last of them were the Maharana of Udaipur, Ruling Chief-in- Waiting, and the chiefs and distinguished Indian soldiers who are aide-de-camps to the King- Emperor. These were the Maharaja Sindia of Gwalior, the Maharaja of Bikaner, the Nawab of Rampur, Sir Pratap Singh of Jodhpur, and Colonels Sir Muhammad Aslam Khan and Nawab Sir Muhammad Abdullah Khan ; though some of them, as shall be seen, were again in waiting on the King at Calcutta. This farewell was a mere formality, as recorded in the dry official manner for readers of the newspapers, but a very different matter for those who took part in it. All felt that a great occasion, without a parallel in the history of India, was come and gone ; few could count upon seeing the King again ; and the great majority knew that they would look upon his face no more.

I thought it quite an odd decision on the part of the Indian government when it chose, in 2011, not to commemorate the centenary of " His Majesty Laying the Foundation Stone at New Delhi " in any particular way . It is entirely understandable, of course, that modern India prefers to look towards the future, rather than backwards to a past that she still struggles to accept, let alone embrace - but - the creation of New Delhi was surely an event worthy of note - by any historical standard ? Reconciliation with the more controversial aspects of a nation's history cannot be achieved by sticking one's head in the sand, and pretending that certain events never happened ....

Julian, The President did issue Commemorative Stamps on Rashtrapati Bhavan to commemarate Centenary of New Delhi. Yes, there was ambivalence on what to celebrate and how to celebrate. The Capital of delhi had about seven different sites in the neighbourhood through history. There were other commemoration but mostly low key ones. The Viceregal Lodge conceptualized in 1911, lies about 5 miles south of the site (picture enclosed) were Their Majesties laid the foundation stones . Looking for an appropriate site for the new capital, had a grueling schedule as the British administration traversed the environs around Shahjahanabad (Mughal capital). By May 1912, the committee was nearly convinced that the location should be south of Shahjahanabad, near the village Malcha. It’s altitude, water table, it’s virgin soil had passed muster for the future health of the proposed city in contrast to the area along the banks of the river Yamuna. The foundation stones of New Delhi laid by King George V and Queen Mary on December 15, 1911 at the Coronation Grounds, were shifted to Raisina Hills and now lie forgotten within locked chambers in North and South Block. “The largest mass of rock (on Raisina Hills) was chosen as the focus of the city and it’s central buildings. In the winter of 1913 I was sitting with the present Prime Minister on this rock and wondered how a beautiful city could arise from what Lord Curzon described as ‘the deserted cities of dreary and disconsolate tombs’ when the sun setting beneath the rain clouds formed a complete rainbow arching the destined central vista. The good omen then acclaimed has been triumphantly fulfilled…. The last of the Sikh Gurus who lies buried here, when condemned to death by the Emperor Aurangzeb, went to it with a prophecy on his lips that a great white race would come from the west to destroy the Empire of his executioner”. The Times, 18 February 1930 – article by Sir Herbert Baker, chief architect of New Delhi.(picture enclosed)

INTACH has submitted a plan to renovate the the park, neglected and vandalized, and it was only in 2007 that plans were first mooted to give it a facelift. However, it is still in a very forlorn state at the moment. Some of the statues removed to the Coronation Park are:Better views of Jagger's George V, Jagger's Lord Hardinge of Penhurst, Herbert Hampton's Sir John Jenkins, Hampton's Sir Guy Fleetwood Wilson, Sir Wiulliam Reid Dick's Marquess of Willingdon...

Re: " a deserted city of dreary and disconsolate tombs " A typically dismissive comment on Lord Curzon's part ! When the decision to move the capital from Calcutta to Delhi was first announced, there was considerable opposition to the idea from within the British business community in India - and also at Westminster - where the plan was considered an unnecessary, and costly, extravagance. It was Curzon who organised and led a campaign, that lobbied Parliament , with a view to having the decision reversed.

Having partitioned Bengal, he thought the Hardinge & Co. “ desired to escape the somewhat heated atmosphere of Bengal.” In his view, Delhi was far from other important centres of British India, including Madras and Rangoon. And he pointed out the Mughals, long resident in Agra, had only made Delhi the capital “in the expiring years of their regime” and that “the commercial classes view with apprehension the removal of the Government from all contact with mercantile and manufacturing interests” , claiming the government would live “shut off…from the rest of India.” Curzon,had tried to build up an “independent imperial heritage and tradition of the British Empire,” with the imposing Victoria Memorial. But Curzon, while viceroy, had seen Delhi as a place to “confer honors and baubles” to India’s princes and organised the second Durbar as an extravagant one in Delhi.

Yes - that's right - the decision to ' reinstate ' Bengal as one province was taken at the same time as the decision to transfer the capital from Calcutta to Delhi. Much to Lord Curzon's chagrin - who took the reversal of his own policy concerning Bengal as a personal affront. If you are interested (and have the time) you can read Curzon's eloquent remarks concerning both of these contentious issues, in full, via the following link - which is the transcription of a speech that he gave in the House of Lords on the 21st February 1912 :

Yes, you had provided the link earlier too. Thanks.

Oh - well, forgive my duplication in that case ... but - I think that it is a particularly powerful and well crafted speech, even by Curzon's standards, who was a man widely acclaimed for his oratorical skills. His central argument concerning the prominence of Calcutta as a commercial and communication centre is certainly convincing.... Many historians have traced Calcutta's relative decline post-1912 to that decision made one hundred years ago.

Thank you both !! For the Intresting Insight !!!

RBSI member, Sunil Raman has written a wonderful book - Delhi Durbar - couple of years back. The delhi state archives documentation which he researched to present the project management of the 1911 Durbar, are noteworthy. Many lessons for the software/outsourcing industry, so focused on PMP/Project Management & related financial management. (see -> )

An interesting article, that tells a sadly familiar tale - viz : " ... most of these monuments are not maintained in a proper manner. We lack a sense of history [in India]. In the four months I spent researching the book, I discovered that many of the documents had gone missing or become incomprehensible because of lack of care." ----------------------- Two quick points : (1) "It was the first time that a reigning British monarch was visiting a colony ... " - is this statement correct ? It could well be - Queen Victoria barely travelled abroad during her sixty-four years on the throne. Edward VII visited India - but, in 1875, as the Prince of Wales. It seems astonishing to our modern ' jet-age' eyes that the ceremonial figurehead of a sprawling international Empire should never have stepped foot in any of her dominions - but - travel was a protracted and uncomfortable business in those days. King George V travelled to India via Egypt and Aden - both under British rule in 1911 . ----------------------------------- (2) "Journalists who covered the event also had video footage of the event, which was replayed in British theatres after the king’s return to England." - ' video footage ' in 1911 ? A slip of the tongue, surely ?

1911 Film ( )

^ ' Film ' - yes ... ' Video ' - no ... There were about 90 ' official ' photographers present at the Durbar of 1911, from all over the world - along with several film companies - notably ' Gaumont ' (who first screened footage of the proceedings in Britain) and Charles Urban, the ' Kinemacolour ' pioneer. Hundreds of journalists and freelance writers were also in attendance - it was an important event - and received a lot of coverage - much more than was typical in that period - long before the proliferation of 'mass -media '.

Far too much history in India, to be able to conserve & preserve to english museum standards of today. Its a question of prioritization & cities like New Delhi are anyways eating up most of the limited resources. Just 2 days back , I was at a village in Uttar Pradesh, next to the ruins of an ancient site where a 4 year old boy was playing with a beautifully decorated terracotta elephant & horse which his brother had found in the adjacent ruins. These are pieces of history from sometime between 500 BC & 400 AD . Our museums already have hundreds of such items found at the same site ( 6 square KMs of ruins, mostly unexplored). There are over 750+ such sites of the same period, scattered across just north India. Shouldn't India be spending in preservation & exploration of such sites, over some english period durbar ruins ? Infact , isn't money better spent making toilets & providing energy/electricity to the villages around the ruins, rather than on the ruins themselves ?

Re: " Isn't money better spent making toilets & providing energy/electricity to the villages around the ruins, rather than on the ruins themselves ? " That is a perfectly valid point Mr Mathur - but - the cost of most conservation projects is not excessive, and they certainly do not require the diversion of significant sums from more pressing social schemes . Why not do both ? The amount of public money that the Indian government sets aside for heritage protection is, in fact, really quite paltry - one of the reasons that so much of India's cultural heritage is in danger of being, or already has been, lost. Further, the finance that is made available is permanently in danger of being cut and reduced. For a nation that so boldly and proudly asserts its credentials as an ancient society, it is ironic that so little attention is paid to protecting this remarkable legacy.

The issue is a lot more complex, Mr Craig. The archaeological sites in size are huge, very unlike European sites. Not possible to monitor these without a significant investment in tech & people. In most sites, you have to deal with complicated issues of rehabilitation of people living on the site ( not just in the vicinity). Then there is a Center vs State government roles & responsibility issue in terms of funding projects & ongoing maintenance. We have both central museums & state run museums. States with high populations ( UP & Bihar) are the poorest & these also have the biggest number of archaeological/heritage sites. Am not sure how much you understand of Indian central govt. budgeting process & the state-wise allocations process to be suggesting a bigger financial outlay for the bureaucratic Ministry of Culture ( under which, the ICCR, ASI & Museums work). What paltry sum are you referring to ? ASI budget ? Have you included INTACH spend ? Any different from Cunningham's budget approval woes for ASI , under the British govt. ?

Re: " The issue is a lot more complex, Mr Craig ... Am not sure how much you understand of Indian central govt. budgeting process. " etc & c. Oh, I am well aware of that Mr Mathur - and I certainly make no claim to expertise in these matters. But, then, does anybody fully understand the intricate and Byzantine inner workings of the monolithic Indian state bureaucracy ? I would like to think that I am as informed as any ' firangi ' can reasonably expect to be - certainly informed enough to hold an honest opinion. I was careful to specify ' public money ' in my previous comment, and was not including the INTACH as part of the ' paltry sum' equation. The INTACH does the best that it can under the circumstances, with the resources that are available to it (it is partially funded by the government I believe ?) But the truth is : the heritage sector faces an uphill struggle in India at present, and will continue to do so, until conservation projects are given a higher profile within the Indian public consciousness, and the government (State & National) can be persuaded to adopt a more proactive and less apathetic attitude towards heritage protection. There have been signs, in recent years, that this issue is being taken more seriously, and with a greater sense of urgency than has been the case in recent decades, and this is a very encouraging development. It is not only the government, however, that needs to pull it socks up : private philanthropy and business/ corporate sponsorship should also be encouraged - along with attempts to increase contributions from India's wealthier classes towards heritage charities and trusts, and moves to increase the membership of organisations like INTACH. In Britain more than five million people belong to the ' National Trust' (the most prominent heritage N.G.O.) - about 7% of the population - which might not sound like very much - but what is 7% of 1.2 BILLION ? Imagine membership numbers like that ! ...

Off that 1.2 billion & its 680 mn working age Indians, just 34 mn have jobs (written contracts). Merely 12 mn (including 3 mn software/outsourcing jobs created in the past decade) work for corporates/private sector. The other 22 mn are employees of the state/central government. If 7% of the 34 mn contributed to the heritage cause ( as opposed to other causes like primary education, sanitation etc.), that is still less than the UK. The success of a few corporates, rising GDP & GDP growth rates tend to hide the success of its agriculture sector & also key economic challenges being faced by the country. At a national level, we have other priorities. Nice museums, is indeed a nice to have. Much has been made in the media about the skewing of wealth in India ( India's wealthier class, you refer to). Actually in the list of countries of income inequality (UN/WB/OECD data), UK is much worse-off than India. Bankers, especially private bankers/wealth managers working in India, are well aware of the small size of wealthy people living in India.( Folks like Mittal Steel, Vedanta etc. are UK companies, not Indian). Here is a summary of India's wealth.( ) Compare this to the UK. This is an apples & oranges comparison. We cant afford to have heritage allocations like in the UK. The small bunch of wealthy & a few corporates are already doing some bit. They can do more but that is exactly where the bureaucracy & some archaic policies need to be redesigned.

Re: " Compare this to the UK. This is an apples & oranges comparison. We cant afford to have heritage allocations like in the UK. " ^ I agree, and I have not been attempting to draw a direct comparison, Mr Mathur - certainly not on financial grounds - it is you that has been endeavouring to do this. I have simply been trying to suggest that the heritage sector in India is in pretty poor shape - and that more could and should be done to rectify the current malaise. If comparisons must be made, then India might learn a good deal from observing how the heritage sector operates in the West, taking some good advice on board, and experimenting with some of these practises and procedures on her own soil. Exchange programmes - between certain institutions in India and in Europe - have already been established, with a view to training India's next generation of curators and custodians, restoration specialists etc and so on. India might also benefit from taking note of how public sector heritage agencies and private sector NGOs and philanthropic trusts are set up, and how they interact and co-operate with one another in Europe. Ultimately, of course, how (or if ) India manages to improve on the current situation will be a matter for her to decide on her own - with the resources that she has available or deems appropriate for the task. But - if a negative or defeatist attitude is adopted before any such effort has been made - then there seems very little point in expecting anything to change for the better at any stage in the near future. ---------------------- On another note, and as you have mentioned it : Re : " in the list of countries of income inequality (UN/WB/OECD data), UK is much worse-off than India." This might be true if we are to measure the gap between rich and poor in Britain purely in statistical terms - but - I think that we are all aware that the daily reality of poverty, the form in which that poverty manifests itself, and the number of people that it effects, is vastly different between our two nations. Britain is a Welfare State, that is funded by a redistributive tax system - wherein the top 10 % of income earners might control a disproportionate amount of wealth in comparison to the bottom 30 % ( or whatever the precise figures might be) - but - that top 10% also pays a highly disproportionate share of tax. For example : British citizens who earn over £ 100,000 per annum currently have their income taxed at a rate of 50 % - while those that earn £ 10,000 or less, pay no income tax whatsoever... ... but I fear that I may be drifting someway distant from the original theme of this thread.

With due respect to both these gentlemen…we need not have ended an interesting and most engaging discussion this way. You will understand if I hide the last two comments which I feel was most unnecessary.

^ As you wish , Admiral - we all play by the rules that you set for the RBSI. Although I didn't think that the final comments were particularly unsavoury - and so you certainly don't need to call them ' out of bounds ' on my account ... Mr Mathur seems to be a cultured fellow, and as such, he is entitled to his opinion. Best etc &c.

Agreed. But I wish that the readers of this post leave with a sense of admiration and respect towards both of you for such an enlightening discussion which in my opinion is truly well deserved.

Do you think that anybody actually reads these comment threads, other than the immediate participants ? Sometimes I am reminded of the Japanese proverb : " What is the sound of one hand clapping " ! ... but - I always enjoy a good chin-wag (of the virtual variety) at the RBSI ...

You will be surprised to know how many really do. They are the silent majority.

Do what you think is best , in the interest of the forum, RBSI. It'll be the forum's loss if we lose the depth of knowledge & the perspective of Mr Craig. Wish there was more participation & debate on these threads .

I guess fatigue catches up more often than not nowadays. Thats all right. But we do enjoy an interesting discussion whenever it happens.

Bringing the discussion back to the proclamation of Delhi as the future seat of British government in India, the impetus to move their political machinery, independently of it's mercantile interests, to regions of traditional native power bases, those around Delhi and Agra, was provided by William Bentinck when he was the Governor General. Such an act was, however, forbidden by the Directors of the East India Company on account their reading of the political situation of a distant land governed by a few in England with their focus on commerce. Though the British amassed huge political powers as a result of it's successes during the later half of the 18th century, it never claimed the official title of the ruler of 'India', that position still being nominally associated with the Mughal emperors due to the mystique that surrounded them and the natives. Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor, was exiled to Rangoon in October 1858 for his alleged acts of treason during the Mutiny. The void was attempted to be filled, within two weeks, by sounding out Queen Victoria's proclamation of just and inclusive rule across India. Then began the sociological arrangements of ranking Indian Princes (Rajas in their respective lands) according to their revenues, loyalties and past associations with the Mughals. Titles like Rao Sahib, Rao Bahadur, Dewan Bahadur etc. were handed out, together with spatial placements around the person of the viceroy when meetings were held. These were done to mimic the proceedings of the Mughal durbars where subordinates were handed titles, land and privileges in return for loyalty and gifts. It was to formalize the stature of the British as successors to the Mughals that the imperial assemblage was held at Delhi in 1878, in the presence of the Governors and Indian princes, to declare Queen Victoria as the Empress of India. It's success prompted Curzon to repeat the show in 1903 to commemorate the crowning of Edward VII, staging the proceedings around himself. It was at the durbar in 1911 that King George V finally proclaimed the movement of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi, which came to pass in 20 years time.

Excellent writeup Shashi Kolar!

Shashi Re : "traditional native power bases, those around Delhi and Agra, was provided by William Bentinck"..... Lord Bentinck is not known to have done so. It was through the renewal of Charter Act of 1833 , extended the life of the Company with some minor changes to the setup. He brought in more funds for the promotion of education in the land. The Charter Act was also significant, as the liberal and utilitarian philosophy of Bentham was made popular. Thus the EIC ceased to be a commercial agency in India and thereafter became a political agent of the Crown. He abolished the provincial appellate courts of Cornwallis to cut down costs and arrears of cases. Introduced the local language in lower and English in the higher courts. That's all one can say about his 'administrative reforms'. Yes his financial, social and educational reforms were more enduring. To give it to him, he did adopt a non-aggression policy with the local States. He never annexed any territory but there were interventions by him towards the State of Mysore after the peasants revolt of the 30s. Bentinck was not an original thinker - his philosophical masters were the utilitarians Jeremy Bentham and James Mill and Thomas Macaulay. During the Napoleonic Wars he was impetuous in Sicily and had bouts of ineptitude on assuming the Office in Madras. He did function to the best of his ability but his administrative skills were always clouded with the disagreements he had with the Council. (Wasn't Vellore Mutiny attributed to him?). Definitely was not the most brilliant of G-Gs in achievements and in utilizing the resources available to him, but he ranks among the most successful.

I see that the ' conversation ' has moved on ... Re: " Wish there was more participation & debate on these threads." I can remember that in the early days of the RBSI, three or four years ago - when the membership was much smaller, perhaps 3000 and not 30,000 - the various topic threads would regularly elicit one hundred comments or more. Feedback on that scale has now - alas - become a rarity. It seems strange, does it not, that as the group has increased in size - the comments have become fewer ? As a rule of thumb, the more controversial any given topic - whether it be Aurangzeb or Amritsar - the greater the response. --------------------------------------------------------- Re: " Bentinck was not an original thinker " I think that this criticism is a little bit unfair. Bentinck was certainly no intellectual - but - he was a reform-minded Whig, and something of a radical. He was a good ' chairman of the board ' and his subordinates respected his judgement. It is true, as Arindam points out , that he was perhaps overly enamoured with Utilitarian philosophy - and his diligent application of that creed's principles to his administration was probably a touch too progressive for the India of the 1830s. In this respect, his thinking was certainly not his own. Indeed - when he was appointed , he told James Mill that ( paraphrase ) : " It is I who am going to India, but it is you who will be Governor-General. " A decent biography of the man is : ' Lord William Bentinck : The Making of a Liberal Imperialist 1774 - 1839 ' by John Rosselli (Chato & Windus, 1974)

Julian Craig: I can think of a few reasons for these discussions to have become rare... - Sheer exhaustion and fatigue - Loss of novelty in expressing oneself on social media - Many of the erudite members have their own pages with a cozy circle of known friends - All that can be said has been said - Cautious to voice their opinions on such a large public forum - Offended by personal attacks and finally - simple and plain Boredom. ...any or all could be true.

Julian Craig: I can think of a few reasons for these discussions to have become rare... - Sheer exhaustion and fatigue - Loss of novelty in expressing oneself on social media - Many of the erudite members have their own pages with a cozy circle of known friends - All that can be said has been said - Cautious to voice their opinions on such a large public forum - Offended by personal attacks and finally - simple and plain Boredom. ...any or all could be true.

Re: " All that can be said has been said " ... Hardly - in point of fact - the surface has barely been scratched.

I agree…but I suspect many feel that way.

Hello Mr. Sen. Bentinck had proposed the movement of the capital in 1829, four years ahead of the Charter of 1833. He had, at first, proposed Meerut at a temporary base and later on settled upon Agra. Since the Charter of 1833 allowed for the establishment of a Presidency at Agra, Bentinck, in 1834, renewed his notion of a political capital around the traditional Mughal one. Bentinck's estimation, as of other Governor Generals, need to be done considering the circumstances he found himself in when he chose to accept the position, one that five others had refused to take on before him. The Marquess of Hastings had made the British the paramount power in the subcontinent by removing the Peshwa as a symbol of power and buffering large native States with friendly smaller ones. But this was done at the cost of draining the treasury. In view of the imminent review of the Company's Charter in 1833, Bentinck was assigned the job of balancing the books favorably so as to present a tolerable picture to Parliament so as to secure a renewal of privileges. He did not have too much room to manoeuvre; in fact, his proposal to shift the capital almost had him recalled. His policy of non-aggression was thus more or less enforced by the operating deficit. This did not stop him from annexing States though (Cachar in 1832 and Coorg in 1834). Also, the money he got to India to drive educational reforms was already earmarked when the Charter was renewed in 1813. The peace that existed during his reign gave him an opportunity to settle the manner in which it was to be used. Large scale administrative reforms were only done during years of peace, the previous one being under Lord Cornwallis under whom only one major war was fought. The era of peace after Wellesley and before the Marquess of Hastings was taken up to maintain balance among the Indian states and to secure British interests against Franco-Russian invasions. All other eras, from Hastings to the Mutiny, involved expansionist impulses, either by force or by diplomacy, during which reform wasn't a high priority.

"...but it certainly prevents many of us from taking you seriously as a historian"... - Disagree. In my opinion Shashi Kolar makes for one more sincere and impressive amateur historian that we have on RBSI.

[Removed previous comment - a poor choice of words on my part -will rephrase in due course ] Cont: Sorry about that - I have a very bad habit of wandering onto the Facebook, late an night, after several glasses of wine - in a mood when bristling belligerence might replace good judgement. The RBSI operates across all time zones. Re: " Impressive amateur historian " Yes - no offense meant - Monsieur Kolar has a certain way with words , and I read his comments with interest whenever I come across them. It's always encouraging to encounter a young man with a curious mind... However - I find his analysis too partial, too partisan, and his judgemental tone drives me up the wall (hence the late night outburst !) Historians cannot afford to wear their political opinions upon their sleeve - if they do so, they just become journalists ! Anyway, onwards & upwards.

Mr. Craig, could you point me to works that have a more even tone so I could keep that in mind the next time I comment? Most of the works I read are popular ones, carrying a lot of judgement. I guess academic works tend to be less so?

^ Well, it's not always easy to maintain an ' even tone ' , but the intention to do so should always be present. Of course, the passing of judgement can and should be part of the historians art - but it must be done judiciously and with substantial and well researched supporting evidence - otherwise such judgement is merely another opinion. It is difficult to write about history without one's own emotions interfering and clouding the process - God knows we are all guilty of it from time to time - the questions that you must constantly ask yourself are : who am I writing for ? What is the point that I wish to get across ? Why do I think that this point is important ? How can I phrase this point so that it gets across to all - without distortion ? Is this really the truth - or just my interpretation of the truth ?

Cont : A good deal of strictly academic books/journal articles etc can be quite flat and dull - they are not usually written for mass circulation and require substantial supporting knowledge. Populist histories are fine, because they are (generally) well written - designed to hold the reader - but one shouldn't depend on them too much, because they are often written from secondary sources alone, and are frequently loaded, slanted in one direction or another, and often promote a particular agenda at the expense of scholarship. The optimum is to attempt a combination of both styles, and to incorporate elements of both approaches.

Cont : Anyway - don't take my advice as sacrosanct ( I have a drawer full of unpublished, and probably unpublishable articles !) - we only learn through trial and error the style of approach that works best for each of us.... The RBSI is a good forum for sending up the odd trial balloon - one requires a thick skin from time to time - but most of the feedback is well meant, constructive criticism etc - and it all comes free of charge !

Thanks Mr. Craig. I'll look forward to your book on elements of Indian architecture in buildings of the UK. Do let us know when that's out.

^ Ha ! Slow progress I'm afraid - heavy weather - probably be ready for the summer ... of the year 2020 ! But that's alright, it's a hobby really - and the project has evolved over time ... the aim will be (eventually) to explore how the advent of conservation & archaeological societies, and heritage protection organisations on the Indian sub-continent, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, had profound implications, not only for India itself, but upon the development, expansion and consolidation of the heritage ' industry ' in Great Britain. This is a story that has yet to be widely told - but I shouldn't give away too much of the plot - ha ha - no copyright on Facebook !

Re: " elements of Indian architecture in buildings of the UK " I moved out of the city recently and now live not far from Sezincote House, in Gloucestershire - have a look, it might interest you, Mr Kolar. Built c.1800 to the designs of Samuel Pepys Cockerell - who was advised by none other than ... Thomas Daniell ! Of whom, if memory serves, you are something of an admirer :

Now that would be something to look forward to Julian Craig !...and the choice of the subject is most interesting and it has the potential to stand out in the crowded world of books. Make that 2015. : )

To describe the Sezincote House in one word...'spellbinding'! It looks almost surreal.

Re : "2015 "... Even if I chained myself to a desk, I still don't think that I could finish a book working to that timetable, RBSI. Procrastination is my middle name. Re: Sezincote Yes, the house is certainly ' spellbinding' and really quite enchanting. It is certainly an eccentric sight in the midst of the English countryside. Sezincote is open to the public during the summer months.

I see that Sezincote is mentioned by Raymond Head in "The Indian Style". His book a bit dense. I hope yours would be lighter, with some introduction to the elements of European architecture (I find it difficult to comprehend the technical terms used).

^ Ah - you've read ' The Indian Style ' have you ? No - Raymond Head is not the most inspiring writer that I have ever come across - and he manages to make a very interesting subject seem very dull ! We should not be too uncharitable, however, and extend some credit toward the man - his book was probably the first attempt to trace and describe the Indian influence on English architecture ( not a significant influence, but is does exist here and there.) Dozens of books have, of course, been written over the decades that describe the influence and the impact of English/ European architects on the Indian sub-continent, as we might expect ... but not many that deal with the subject in reverse, as it were.

This book has great potential if marketed well…especially with the huge Indian diaspora in the UK.

I wouldn't describe the " Indian diaspora in the UK " as being " huge ", RBSI - ' large ' certainly, and it is growing, doubling in size since 2001... British citizens who are either from , or who can trace their ancestry to, the Indian sub-continent constitute about 5% of the UK population. This figure does not include, of course, the tens of thousands of Indian nationals who can be found living in Britain on a temporary basis - business people, students etc &c. - at any one time.

You might hate the expression…but with the kind of subject you are dealing with, you could do a 'Dalrymple' here! (meaning a bestseller on India related books) : )

Well, thank you for the vote of confidence - but - I feel that you have a higher regard for my writing abilities than I do ! Besides, I don't think that anybody would dare to intrude upon the niche that William Dull Rumple has carved out for himself in the Indian market place....