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Introduction ..... 


Administrative Changes .... 


Partition of Bengal . 


Eeconstitution of the Patna Division 


Eelations with Sikkim . 


Political Movements . 


Boycott and stvadeshi . . • 


Movements following the Partition 


The National Volunteers 


" Bande Mataram''' 


Swaraj ..... 


Moderates and Extremists . 


Seditious speeches 


The Calcutta riots .... 


Seditious writings 


Press prosecutions .... 


E evolutionary movement 


Industrial Unrest . 


Kconomic Conditions .... 


Famine . * 


Finance ...... 


General Administration .... 


The Board of Eevenue . 


Commissioners .... 


Commissioners' Conferences 


Heads of Departments 


Co-operation of branches of the public service 


Eelations with non-officials . 


The Judicial Service 


Calcutta Police Courts 


Eeorganisation of the Provincial and Subordi 

oate Civil 

Services .... 


Eeorganisation of .Registration Department 


Increase of cadre .... 


Feudatory States .... 


Agrarian Measures ..... 


Amendment of the Bengal Tenancy Act 


Chota Nagpur Tenancy legislation 


Encumbered estates 


Sonthal Parganas Begulations 


~ ' 9 



Surveys and Settlements 

Separation of the Settlement Department 

Extension of operations 

Maintenance of records 

Supervising agency . 

Training of Munsifs 
Economic Enquibies .... 

Fisheries . • • 

Labour supply- 
Factory labour 


The police libel suits 

Administrative clianges 

Criminal Investigation Department 

Village police 

Calcutta police 

Eiver police 


Sanitary progress 
CTnder-trial prisoners 
Subsidiary jails . 
Juvenile convicts 


Juvenile offenders 


Mofussil hospitals 
Calcutta hospitals 
Administrative changes 
Medical Schools 
Lunatic asylums 
Leper asylums 

Sanitation .. • • 

Plague measures 
Prevention of malaria 
Septic tanks 
Eailway Bazars 
Cinchona Department 


Opium . 

Salt Depaement . ' 


Navigation . 

Railways . 



MlBINB ..... 

Legislative Depaetment . 
Social Measures 

Protection of children 
Fobests ..... 
Drainage . 

Embankments .... 
Boads and Buildings 
Agbicultubb «... 

Eeorganisation of the Department 

Agricultural Association 

The Provincial College . 

Experimental and demonstration farms 

Special enquiries . 

Veterinary Department . 

Civil Veterinary Department 

The Bengal Veterinary College . 
Co-opbbative Credit Societies 
Education ..... 

Collegiate education . 

Eanchi College . 

Presidency College . 

Patna College 

Other colleges ' . 

Secondary education 

Primary education . 

Muhammadan education 

Education of special classes . 

Female education 

Professional and technical education 

Phjsical and moral training 

European education . 

Controlling agencies 

Co-operation of Executive Officers . 
Local Self-Government 

Amendment of Local Self-Government Act 

District Boards . 


Calcutta Corporation 

Calcutta Improvement Soheme 










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Sir Andrew Henderson Leith Fraser, k.c.s.i., was appoint- 
ed to the Indian Civil Service after the examination of 1869, and 
on arriving in India in 1871, was posted to the Central Provinces. 
After holding various subordinate offices, he was appointed 
Commissioner of Excise in 1881, Director of Agriculture in 
1882, and Secretary to the Chief Commissioner in 1890. In 
1891 he was made a Commissioner; and in 1893-94 he served 
as a member of the Hemp Drugs Commission. The value 
of his services was recognized by the bestowal of the decora- 
tion of a Companion of the Order of the Star of India in 
1897. In 1898 he was appointed to officiate as Secretary 
to the Government of India in the Home Department ; and 
next year he returned to the Central Provinces as Chief 
Commissioner, an office which he held till 1902, when he 
was appointed President of the Police Commission. The 
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal at that time was Sir John 
Woodburn, k.c.s.i.; and on his death in November 1902 Sir 
Andrew Fraser, who was created a Knight Commander of 
the Star of India in January 1903, was appointed to be 
Lieutenant-Governor. Mr. (now Sir James) Bourdillon was 
appointed to officiate, until the work of the Police Commis- 
sion was completed ; and Sir Andrew assumed charge of the 
office on the 2nd November 1903. In 1906 he went to 
England on six months' leave, when Mr. (now Sir Lancelot) Hare 
was appointed to officiate. Consequent on the resignation by 
Sir Bamfylde Fuller of the lieutenant-Governorship of Eastern 
Bengal and Assam, Mr. Hare was appointed to that office, and 
Mr. F. A. Slacke, c.s.i., officiated as Lieutenant-Governor of 
Bengal till the return of Sir Andrew Fraser in October 1906. 


Partition of When Sir Andrew Fraser became Lieutenant-Governor, the 

eD gal- Province of Bengal extended over an area of 196,408 

square miles and contained a population of 78,493,410 
souls: an area but little less than that of France or of the 
German Empire, and a population exceeding that of the 
United States. It had been felt that the administration 
of this vast area and teeming population was beyond the 
powers of a single individual. This statement does not 
mean merely that no Lieutenant-Governor could cope satis- 
factorily with the work of this enormous Province. It means 
much more than that. It means that no head of a Depart- 
ment could grapple with' the mass of business with which he 
had to deal or become acquainted with the area of his charge. 
There was no department that was not overburdened, and 
that did not show in some part of the Province the natural 
results of attempting too much. 

In 1853, before the creation of a Lieutenant-Governorship, 
Lord Dalhousie had expressed his conviction that the Govern- 
ment of Bengal alone imposed upon the Governor-General 
"a burden which in its present mass is more than mortal 
man can fitly bear"; and twenty years later Sir George 
Campbell, then Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, wrote: — "It 
is totally impossible that any man can properly perform 
single-handed the work of this great Government." Since 
.1873, however, the population of the Province had increased 
by over 26 millions; the increase of population had been 
accompanied by a remarkable development of the resources of 
the country ; while the spread of English education and the 
wider diffusion of the native press had tended to demand more 
precise methods of administration, and in every way to place 
a heavier strain upon the head of the Government and upon all 
ranks of his subordinates. It was felt that the burden was 
excessive, and there was accumulating evidence of a consequent 
deterioration in the standards of government, notably in portions 
of Eastern Bengal. The Government of India accordingly came 
to the conclusion that the relief of the Bengal Government 
was an administrative necessity of the first order, and that 
relief could only be effected by reducing the territory under 
the Lieutenant-Governor and not by organic changes in the 
form of government. At the same time, they were impressed 
with the importance of making Assam a self-contained and 
independent administration with a service of its own, and of 
providing for its future commercial and industrial expansion. 


Accordingly, in December 1903, they formulated proposals 
for the reconstitution of the Province, of which the main 
features were:— (1) The transfer from Bengal to Assam 
of the Chittagong Division, the districts of Dacca and 
Mymensingh, and the State of Hill Tippera; (2) the transfer 
from Bengal to the Central Provinces of the greater part 
of Chota Nagpur ; (3) the transfer to Bengal from the Central 
Provinces of the Sambalpur district and of five Feudatory 
States, viz., Patna, Bamra, Sonpur, Kalahandi and Kairakhol; 
and (4) the transfer to Bengal from Madras of the Ganjam 
district and the Ganjam and Vizagapatam Agency Tracts. 
The object of the first two of these four proposals was 
to reduce the area of Bengal; and the object of the last 
two was to bring into the Orissa Division fragments 
of the Uriya country too small to be governed properly in 
the Provinces to which they belonged. It soon became 
clear that these proposals, so far as they affected Eastern 
Bengal, were not large enough, and in February 1904 
the Viceroy, Lord Curzon, in a series of speeches delivered 
in Eastern Bengal, foreshadowed the willingness of Govern- 
ment to consider a wider scheme, involving the creation of 
a Lieutenant-Governorship, with a Legislative Council and an 
independent revenue authority, and the transfer of as much 
territory as would be required to justify this larger project. 
Sir Andrew Fraser had held several large conferences with 
representatives of all sections of the community, so as to 
ascertain public opinion as to the principal features required 
in a sound scheme of redistribution; and Lord Curzon 's tour, 
made with the same object, resulted in the wider scheme. The 
scheme emanated from public discussion and public opinion 
rather than from the Government itself. 

In considering these proposals, Sir Andrew Fraser kept 
two considerations steadily in view. He agreed that, under 
the altered circumstances of the country, the territory under 
his control was too large for a Local Government to admin- 
ister properly, and he held that the primary object to be 
aimed at was to improve administration in Bengal by reducing 
its area. The next object, he urged, was to select the 
districts to be transferred in such a manner as to secure the 
best interests of the people and efficiency of administration. 
Holding these views, he was unable to accept the proposals 
of the Government of India in their entirety. He was 
opposed to the transfer of Ganjam and the Agency Tracts 
from Madras, because the Uriya element in these tracts was 
comparatively insignia cant, because strong ties of interest 
and administrative expediency bound them to Madras, and 

b 2 


because lie was assured that their transfer was not only 
unnecessary, but would throw an additional burden on the 
already overburdened administration of Bengal — a burden that 
would be all the greater because of their peculiar linguistic 
and racial conditions. He was also opposed to the transfer 
of any of the districts of Chota Nagpur to the Central 
Provinces. He pointed out that they were practically inaccessible 
from the Central Provinces, whereas they were already 
connected by railway with Bengal and Bihar; that it was 
desirable that the Bengal Government should carry out and 
complete the measures already initiated by it for improving 
the administration in this part of the country; and that the 
mining and industrial interests involved demanded tbeir reten- 
tion as part of Bengal. This last consideration was also 
urged by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce. 

At the same time, Sir Andrew was of opinion that 
it was desirable for the five Hindi-speaking Feudatory 
States of Chota Nagpur, viz., Jashpur, Sirguja, Udaipur, 
Korea and Changbhakar, to be transferred to Chhattisgarh 
in the Central Provinces, and for the five Uriya-speaking 
States of the Central Provinces to be transferred to Orissa 
in Bengal. This exchange he advocated on grounds of 
administrative convenience, as securing the consolidation of 
the Feudatory States into two large groups, each speaking 
one language: the Hindi group to belong to the Central 
Provinces and the Uriya group to Bengal. His Honour 
also agreed to the proposal that Sambalpur — a district 
of which he had special knowledge— should be trans- 
ferred to Bengal. The administration of that district had 
long presented grave difficulties, owing to its being the only 
part of the Central Provinces in which Uriya was spoken. 
In 1901, when Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces, 
he had recommended its transfer to the Orissa Division ; and 
the same reasons now actuated him to urge this measure on 
the Government of India. 

As regards Eastern Bengal, Sir Andrew Fraser held that 
the main objects to be pursued were to secure both substantial 
and permanent relief to the overburdened administration of 
Bengal and to arrange for the transfer of a homogeneous 
area. The original proposal of the Government of India, he 
pointed out, did not go far enough. It would be better to 
constitute a new Province, comprising Assam, the Chittagong 
and Dacca Divisions, and the districts of Pabna, Bogra and 
Eangpur. The new Province should be given both a Legis- 
lative Council and a Board of Eevenue, and should have 
a complete administration of its own. It should be of 


sufficient size and importance to justify such an organization; 
and this was all the more necessary because the districts of 
Eastern Bengal had suffered from neglect in the past, and 
had been under-officered to such an extent, that it was a 
matter for wonder, not that the administration had failed to 
be as efficient as it should be, but that it had been as 
efficient as it was. 

Subsequently, the Government of India suggested that the 
main object of the scheme of reconstruction would be more 
certainly attained, and the scheme itself placed on a more 
permanent footing, if the area transferred were to be enlarged 
by adding to it the districts of Eajshahi, Dinajpur, Malda and 
the State of Cooch Behar. Sir Andrew Fraser discussed 
these enlarged proposals fully with the Members of the Board 
of Revenue and the most senior officers in the Province; and, 
with the exception of one officer, who was inclined to 
advocate the retention in Bengal of the district of Jalpai- 
guri, there was complete unanimity in accepting them. His 
Honour himself was also in favour of the enlarged scheme. 
He had already recommended that the well-defined and 
clearly recognized area of Eastern Bengal should be handed 
over, and the addition of the closely connected area of 
Northern Bengal appeared equally desirable. Its effect 
would be to bring within the new Province all the districts 
in which the Muhammadans were in a majority. Their power 
and influence would thus enable them much more easily to 
attract attention to their necessities and their rights. Not 
only was the population of the transferred area homogeneous, 
but the transfer of such a large area would also tend to 
mitigate the feeling of severance and to reconcile the people 
to the change. On these grounds, Sir Andrew Fraser supported 
the proposals of the Government of India. 

Eventually, in July 1905, the Government of India 
announced the decision arrived at, viz., that the Divisions of 
Dacca, Chittagong and Eajshahi (except Darjeeling), the dis- 
trict of Malda and the State of Hill Tippera should be 
transferred to the newly-formed Province of Eastern Bengal 
and Assam, the area under the jurisdiction of the Bengal 
Government being thus reduced by 50,000 square miles and 
its population by 25,000,000. The five Hindi-speaking 
Native States of Jashpur, Sirguja, Udaipur, Korea and 
Changbhakar were at the same time to be transferred to the 
Central Provinces; and the district of Sambalpur (with the 
exception of two Hindi-speaking zamindaris) and the Uriya- 
s peaking States of Patna, Kalahandi, Sonpur, Banna and 
Rairakhol were to be attached to Bengal. This decision 


was carried into effect on the 16th October 1905," the result 
of these transfers of territory being that the Province of 
Bengal comprised an area of 148,592 square miles with a 
population of 54,662,529 persons. 

After the announcement of the first proposals of the 
Government of India, His Honour soon found that the 
leaders of Bengali opinion had formed the mistaken impres- 
sion that the transferred districts were to lose their own 
identity by being merged in Assam, which was represented 
as a backward tract — a land of hobgoblins — and that they 
would lose the benefit of the laws and privileges they had 
hitherto enjoyed. Sir Andrew Fraser promptly reassured 
those who held this view, and obtained an authoritative as- 
surance from the Government of India that the jurisdiction 
of the High Court would remain unaltered, and that transfer 
would not affect the laws in force. This view, however, 
formed the basis of the first agitation; and those interested 
in fomenting that agitation did their best, by exaggerated 
reiterations of it, to affect the popular mind. Subsequently, 
when it was made clear that the real design was to create 
a new Province in which Eastern Bengal would have an 
influential and prominent part, the attitude of the public 
was greatly altered. Many supported the enlarged scheme, 
and there were many others who would have given it 
their support openly, if they had not been pledged to 
the opposition already organized. Strong pressure was 
brought to bear on those who favoured the scheme, or were 
lukewarm, to join in the opposition; while those who had 
given it their outspoken support were so treated that many 
who shared their views kept silence. This opposition was 
evoked and organized by certain influential Bengali Hindus, 
especially members of the legal profession, who were influ- 
enced, in part at least, by the consideration that their 
personal interests were at stake. Most of them were not 
residents of the districts concerned, but had their head- 
quarters and interests in Calcutta. 

The common people took no interest in the proposed 
reconstitution of the Province until its opponents made strenuous 
efforts to enlist their sympathies. As regards the educated 
classes, there can be no doubt that the expanded 
proposal would have been accepted by many of those 
who opposed the original scheme, had it not been for the 
tactics of those who were interested in keeping up the con- 
nection with Calcutta. This was no matter for wonder, 
considering the manner in which men of influence, who either 
publicly favoured, or even professed indifference to, the 


scheme, were attacked in the Press and subjected to annoy- 
ance in society. Several gentlemen of high position, while 
expressing to the Lieutenant-Governor in private their thorough 
acceptance of the scheme as likely to be most advantageous 
to the districts concerned, asked him to excuse their desire 
not to make their views public; while the opinion of certain 
large landholders in Eastern Bengal in favour of the redis- 
tribution of districts only came to notice incidentally through 
a reference in a letter from the Bengal Chamber of Com- 
merce. The whole agitation, in fact, showed clearly the 
tyranny of the professional wire-puller : the organization of a 
system under which a particular set of opinions expressed 
practically in the same words was sent out with a mandate 
from Calcutta to be echoed in the form of telegraphic 
protests and formal memorials from a number of different 
places in Bengal. In this movement the Muhammadans took no 
part, for they were convinced of the advantages of the 
creation of the new Province. 

An account will be given later of the agitation which followed 
the announcement of that measure, and for which it was the 
occasion rather than the cause. It is referred to as the Partition 
of Bengal, that being a common and well-understood term for 
what was not a dismemberment of one Province, but rather the 
reconstruction of the two Provinces of Bengal and Assam by 
a readjustment of administrative boundaries and a duplication 
of administrative machinery. 

Another important administrative change was the recons- Reconstitu- 
titution of the Patna Division, which was sanctioned with *j on oi J^ e . 
the approval of its inhabitants. This measure affected 8 j ont 
a tract with nearly half the area of Eastern Bengal, while 
the population was over three-fifths of that of the trans- 
ferred districts. In other words, the Patna Division had an 
area of 23,748 square miles and a population, according to 
the census of 1901, of over 15J million souls. It was almost 
co-extensive in area with Belgium and Holland combined, 
and it had more inhabitants than Spain and Portugal com- 
bined. It had long been recognized that this charge was an 
impossible one for a single Commissioner, and for many 
years past that officer, while remaining responsible for its 
administration, had been assisted by an Additional Commis- 
sioner. This arrangement, however, was not satisfactory, for the 
Commissioner could not hold in his hands all the threads of 
work and had not that complete control of the Division 
which is essential for efficient administration. The Addi- 
tional Commissioner was a colleague to whom certain branches 
of work were allotted; and the result was that, so far 


at least as those branches were concerned, the Commissioner 
himself lost grasp of his charge. He thus became 
unacquainted with work not only important in itself, but also 
most important from . the light it might throw on the 
general administration of the different districts. 

Sir Andrew Fraser accordingly agreed with his predecessor 
that, while the work of the Division was too heavy for 
one man to cope with and two officers were necessary for 
its administration, that administration could not be effective 
under the system of dual control. The Division, he felt, 
would never be administered with real efficiency until each 
officer had his own charge to administer for himself. On 
these grounds His Honour was convinced that it was a 
matter of administrative necessity to divide the Patna Divi- 
sion into two charges. He proposed therefore to form the 
South Gangetic districts of Patna, Gaya and Shahabad into a 
Commissionership to be known as the Patna Division, while 
the districts of Saran, Champaran, Muzaffarpur and Dar- 
bhanga, north of the Ganges, would be formed into a 
separate Commissionership with headquarters at Muzaffarpur, 
to be known as the Tirhut Division. The population of the 
northern portion is very much larger than that of the 
southern portion. On the other hand, as regards area, the 
two portions are not unequal; while the work of each of 
the three southern districts is individually heavier than that 
of any of the districts to the north, and the southern 
districts include the very important municipality of Patna. 
The result is that the work of the three southern districts 
is very nearly equal to that of the four northern districts. 

Sir Andrew found that public opinion was also in 
favour of the reconstitution of the Division; but, as the 
matter was an important one affecting the interests of 
Bihar, it was decided to publish the scheme formally, to 
explain its purpose, and afford the people concerned an 
opportunity to criticize it and offer suggestions. The result 
showed that public feeling had been rightly interpreted; for 
with only one dissentient voice the people of the Division 
approved the scheme. The proposals of His Honour were 
accordingly sanctioned in June 1908. 

Shortly after Sir Andrew Fraser assumed charge of his 
wTtTsikkim, office, the Tibetan expedition took place. It was then decided, 
as a matter of political expediency, that the Political Officer 
of Sikkim should be subject* to the Government of India in 
matters affecting Tibet, but should continue to be under the 
jcontrol of the Government of Bengal in matters concerning 
the internal administration of Sikkim and its relations with 



British India. Sir Andrew Fraser considered that this 
system of dual control was not altogether satisfactory. It 
was, in his opinion, desirable that the complete political 
charge of this frontier State should be transferred permanently 
to the Government of India, because, situated as Sikkim is 
on the borders of Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal, political ques- 
tions connected with it are of more than provincial importance. 
These views were accepted by the Government of India, and 
the control of Sikkim was taken over by that Government 
with effect from 1st April 1906. 

The area under the administration of the Lieutenant- 
Governor, as constituted after this change, is 146,774 square 
miles with a population of 54,603,515. Altogether 115,819 
square miles, with a population of 50,772,067, are in British 
territory, and 29,955 square miles, with a population of 
3,931,448, are comprised in Native States. 


The quinquennium during which Sir Andrew Fraser was 
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal was a period of unrest and 
political agitation. There had long been much latent 
discontent among the educated classes in Bengal,* especially 
among those who had received their education in England 
or America, where they had become imbued with ideas of 
liberty and equality. The discontent had found expression 
in an organized but constitutional agitation, of which the 
main object was to secure for Indians a larger share in 
the government of the country. With this object the 
National Congress had been established some twenty years 
ago, but there was a growing feeling that that institution 
had failed to produce any substantial change in the system 
of administration. Some Bengalis, indeed, went further and 
set up complete self-government as their aim„ They refused 
to admit that in having such an aspiration they were * a people 
crying for the moon,' and they were induced to think 
that they had 'rulers mothering them with promises.' 
Unfortunately, too, the discontent of the educated classes 
had been to some extent aggravated by want of sympathy 

* The census statistics of 1901 show that in Bengal as then constituted, 
i.e., the present Bengal and Eastern Bengal, 4i million persons or 5 5 per cent, 
of the population were literate, i.e., could read and write some language, while 
89 males and 6 females out of every 10,000 of each sex could read and write 


between them and the official classes, by the thoughtless 
and inconsiderate behaviour of a few Europeans in their 
intercourse with them, and by the constant and gross 
exaggeration in certain papers of every incident that might 
be regarded as indicating or likely to cause ill-feeling. 

When first established, the vernacular papers — and they 
were few — devoted but small space to the discussion of 
political questions or large administrative measures, and 
items of news and speculations on religious and social 
subjects constituted the major portion of their contents. 
Political questions received very meagre treatment: the 
writers offered their opinions with diffidence, and their tone 
was respectful. A change was soon noticeable ; and 
as early as 1878 the then Lieutenant-Governor, Sir 
Ashley Eden, complained in no uncertain terms of the 
sedition and gross disloyalty of some of the vernacular 
papers, and of their attempts to sow the seeds of disaffection 
to the British rule in the minds of ignorant people. "They 
habitually attack and misrepresent the Government in terms 
intended to weaken the authority of Government, and with 
a reckless disregard of truth and fact which would not be 
tolerated in any country in the world. The personal abuse, 
the falsehoods, the scurrility and the exaggerations which 
are applied to individual officers may well, as heretofore, be 
left to the ordinary action of the law courts, or be treated 
with the contempt they deserve. What I do recognize, and 
long have recognized, as a fact, is, that the licentiousness 
of the Press has, under false ideas of freedom and indepen- 
dence, been allowed to reach a stage which promptly calls, 
in the interests of the public at large, for the interference 
of the Legislature." To check the evil, the Vernacular 
Press Act, IX of 1878, was passed, its main object being 
to place newspapers published in the vernacular languages 
of India under better control, and to furnish the Govern- 
ment with more effective means than the existing law 
provided of punishing and repressing seditious writings which 
were calculated to produce disaffection towards the Govern- 
ment in the minds of an ignorant population. In 1880 
a Liberal Government came into power in England under 
Mr. Gladstone, who had denounced the Act. It was therefore 
repealed in 1882, but its repeal was generally attributed to 
the agitation which had been maintained. 

For some time after the enactment of this Act, the tone 
of the Native Press improved, subjects of public interest 
being discussed in more temperate language; but when Sir 
Andrew Fraser assumed charge of the Province, its principal 


characteristics were the increasing prominence given to political 
and administrative questions, and a reckless, exaggerated, 
and occasionally disloyal tone. Though good was sometimes 
done by bringing to light a case of oppression or abuse, or 
by giving indication of the trend of public opinion among 
the Indian educated community, the general attitude of a 
considerable section of the Press was merely one of hostility 
to Government and its measures. There were some notable 
exceptions ; but in too many cases the motives of Government 
were misrepresented and its officers attacked, while the more 
virulent papers lost no opportunity of fostering racial hatred. 
They! represented that the law was not administered justly 
between Indians and Europeans, they denounced the latter as 
monopolizing the offices of State and draining the country of 
its wealth, and they drew imaginary pictures of the hardships 
and misery of the Indian people. These attacks were not 
without effect in stimulating discontent among the educated 

The vernacular papers also laid stress on the success of 
the Japanese in the Eusso-Japanese war, and drew the moral 
that other Asiatics might have similar success in maintaining 
themselves against Europeans. Their insinuations were not 
lost on their readers, who began to feel the effervescence 
of the spirit of nationalization fermenting in Asia. Further, 
the discontent among the educated middle classes was aggra- 
vated by economic causes. For years past the bhadralok, as 
they are called in Bengal, have been hard hit by the steady 
rise in the price of food and other necessaries of life. Those 
having small fixed salaries have felt this most severely for 
they do not easily alter their traditional style of living or 
take up new and more lucrative methods of earning their 
livelihood. This state of things was attributed in some vague 
way to the system of Government and, by the disaffected, 
to the British exploiting the country. 

In this connection, the readiness with which extravagant 
statements or wild rumours are accepted by a credulous 
people must be noted. Two instances of their proneness 
to believe such statements and rumours may be mentioned. 
The first was what was known as the " Head Scare," which 
occurred a few years ago. It was the result of a rumour 
that a sacrifice of human heads was required for the con- 
struction of a bridge near Howrah and that any one found in 
the streets after 9 p.m. would be carried away and have his 
head cut off. This wild rumour was believed in, and a 
number of natives employed in the mills near Howrah fled 
away to their homes. Some features of this panio are not 


without significance. The rumour was spread by means of a 
Bengali pamphlet distributed in Calcutta. It was spread at the 
same time as another rumour that the Eussians threatened to 
invade India. The educated classes made no efforts to expose 
its falsity. And it was believed by at least one thoughtful 
observer to have been an attempt to work on the superstition 
of the lower classes and stir up in them a hatred of 

The second panic, which was due to an equally absurd 
rumour, gave rise in August 1906 to what was commonly 
called the "Kidnapping Scare;" because there was a general 
belief that a number of men were going about trying to 
kidnap any young Bengali boys they could catch and carrying 
them off to the tea gardens in Assam, the Mauritius, and 
elsewhere. It arose out of a trumped-up story that he had 
been kidnapped, told by a youth to his father, in order 
to conceal the fact that he had got into bad company 
and suffered in consequence. The story was accepted by certain 
Indian newspapers, and a panic ensued among the Bengali 
population in Calcutta, leading to unprovoked assaults on 
various innocent persons on the suspicion that they were 
kidnappers. Some Punjabi football players, a European Assis- 
tant to a firm, a Bengali gentleman in his carriage, a Punjabi 
traveller, and others were attacked and beaten as kidnappers 
by mobs of educated as well as uneducated Bengalis. Two 
hackney carriages also were overturned and set fire to in 
different parts of the town. This scare showed the extreme 
eagerness with which even the wildest rumour may be seized 
upon and believed by the Indian population in Calcutta, and 
the degree of excitement that can be produced on the 
slenderest grounds among the lower classes of the people. It 
is only fair to add, however, that considerable help in 
allaying the panic was afforded by a number of Indian 
gentlemen, including the editor of an influential newspaper. 

The discontent engendered by the influences mentioned 
above remained more or less latent until the announcement of 
the Partition of Bengal. There had been an organized opposi- 
tion to that measure, emanating from Calcutta and supported 
by the legal profession, which in Bengal is composed mainly 
of Bengali Hindus and forms an influential though numeri- 
cally small body. The paucity of the numbers of those 
opposed to the Partition was, however, made up by their 
activity and powers of organization; and a widespread but 
constitutional agitation was started. When the Partition of 
Bengal was announced in July 1905, the failure of this agi- 
tation enabled the malcontents to persuade others that 


constitutional agitation was a failure, and that more vigorous 
measures should he taken. 

The first effort of the agitators was to inaugurate a Boycott and 
boycott movement, i.e., a movement to boycott European *w»dethu 
goods, and in particular Manchester piece-goods, sugar 
and salt. These tactics were designed to attract attention to 
the alleged grievances of the Bengali Hindus, for it was 
hoped that the stoppage of the sale of Manchester goods 
would so affect the interests of the English mercantile com- 
munity, that they would bring pressure to bear on the Home 
Government to annul the Partition. In this the agitators 
appear to have imitated the Chinese, who, in May 1905, had 
started a boycott of American goods as a protest against an 
Exclusion Treaty proposed by the United States. Closely 
connected with this movement was another called the swadeshi 
movement, the object of which was to encourage indigenous 
industries by starting new ones and reviving extinct or 
moribund handicrafts and manufactures: — generally to develop 
the resources of the country by and through the people, and 
in particular to substitute home-made for imported goods. 
The two movements were really distinct, though an effort 
was made to work them as part of one movement. For 
the sicadeshi movement aimed at developing Indian industries 
for the supply of the home market, in competition with all 
other countries ; while the boycott was intended to enforce 
a prohibition of the produce of certain European countries and 
especially British goods. 

The swadeshi movement undoubtedly appealed to the 
better classes-, whose interest in politics was not great ; but 
though it obtained much sympathy, .it made little headway, 
because the industries it sought to develop were nearly all in 
their infancy. The main efforts of the agitators, therefore, 
were directed not to the slow and laborious work of building 
up home industries, but to enforcing the boycott. In this 
they met at first with some success, for the Marwari 
merchants — one of the most important sections of the 
mercantile community — were induced by commercial considera- 
tions to suspend orders for a short time. The agitators 
also sought to enlist the sympathy of Muhammadans; but 
here their efforts ended in failure, for the Muhammadans 
refused to make common cause with the Bengali Hindus 
in the matter. Recourse was also had to other and more un- 
scrupulous methods. The interest of some landlords was 
enlisted, and the boycott was enforced on their tenants, 
many of whom were coerced into buying no imported 
goods. The services of schoolboys were also enlisted. They 


were induced to picket shops and prevent, by force, if 
necessary, the purchase of any but madeshi goods. 

Another and more dangerous expedient was an attempt 
to give a religious sanction to the movement. In some 
places the ban of religious and social ostracism was laid on 
those Hindus who stood aloof. Eeports were circulated that 
the blood and bones of cows and pigs were used to purify 
English salt and sugar, and that their fat formed part of the 
starch used for sizing piece-goods. Meetings were held in 
Hindu temples, and vows to boycott foreign goods were 
sworn in the name of Kali. 
Movements The Partition took effect On the 16th October 1905, and 

Partition. it cannot be denied that the measure was most unpopular 
with a section of the Bengali Hindus. It was stated that 
the measure had been decided upon without full opportuni- 
ties for public criticism, though there had probably hardly 
ever been a measure more fully discussed before its adoption. 
Strenuous efforts were made to create an impression that the 
Bengali race was being divided in some way which has never 
been clearly stated. The more highly educated classes realized 
that their interests were affected, because the Muhammadans 
were now likely to exercise more influence on the administra- 
tion and to obtain a fairer number of appointments. Lastly, 
but not least, there was a sentimental objection to the change ; 
and the Bengali Hindu is an emotional person, with 
emotions easily roused and as easily played upon. Their 
sentiments and credulity had been taken advantage of by the 
agitators, and on the 16th October there was a remarkable 
demonstration. In Calcutta a large part of the Bengali Hindu 
population fasted throughout the day, shops were closed, and 
the fish-supply was stopped. The foundation-stone of a 
building called the National Federal Hall was laid; a fund 
was started for building the Hall — an abortive project — and 
for developing home industries and industrial education. The 
Hindus tied rakhis or yellow threads on their arms as a 
symbol of unity; and a vow was taken to continue the 
opposition to the Partition. 

Though the Partition had been carried into effect, the 
agitation did not cease. In December 1905 a Liberal 
Ministry was formed, Mr. (now Lord) Morley being Secre- 
tary of State for India. The leaders of the movement 
thought that, if the opposition was persistent and vociferous 
enough, the Liberal Party might be induced to annul the 
measure. Meetings of protest were accordingly held ; memorials 
were drawn up; the swadeshi and boycott movements were 
vigorously pushed. Various illegalities and acts of oppression 


were committed by students, who were taught to resist force 
by force; and a general spirit of lawlessness was engendered. 
Government issued a circular instructing JDistrict Magistrates 
to utilize the services of the educational authorities in supress- 
ing this abuse. They were to appoint, if necessary, school- 
masters as special constables, so as to strengthen their 
authority over the students, and to warn the managing bodies 
and teachers of the danger of disaffiliation of their schools 
if they failed to stop the employment of the students in 
political agitation. Briefly, the object of these orders was 
to deal firmly but kindly with those school-boys and 
students who were being induced to leave their studies and 
betake themselves to political work, which, in some cases, 
had led to breaches of the peace and acts of violence. It was 
desired that they should not be dealt with by the police, so 
as to be carried to the jail or to the whipping triangle, but by 
the educational authorities themselves, who should exercise 
proper discipline in the institutions under, their control. The 
orders were, in fact, designed to secure the public peace> 
as against school-boys and students, by school discipline rather 
than by the police; but their tenor was grossly misrepresented. 
Other action taken by the authorities to maintain law and 
order was similarly misconstrued, . being represented as an 
attack on home industries inspired by a desire to bolster 
up English trade; and the Magistrates were held up to 

Reference may suitably be made here to the manner in The National 
which young men and school-boys were organized to promote Volunteers - 
the propaganda of the movement. It had for some time past 
been the custom for young Bengali men and college students, 
who were known collectively as swadeshi volunteers, to per- 
form various services at political meetings, e.g , in forming 
escorts for the speakers, seeing ticket-holders to their seats, 
and keeping order. After the celebration of the Sivaji 
festival at Calcutta in 1902, a desire for physical development 
set in among educated Bengali Hindus, and the young 
men began to practise fencing, lat/ri-Tpl&y, etc. So far the 
students took no active part in politics. But when the 
anti-Partition movement was in progress, its leaders began to 
make use of bands of students, in order to swell the number 
of persons attending their meetings and processions, and 
also in order to enforce the boycott by picketting. A 
number of eamUis or ak/iras, (i.e., practically, athletic clubs), 
now sprung up in Calcutta and some places in the 
adjoining districts of Bengal. In these clubs young men 
and boys went through a course of physical training, drill 



" Bande 


and discipline, and set to work to train themselves in lathi- 
exercises and wrestling. The members of these clubs were 
called National Volunteers; and the idea seems to have 
been that they would form a trained body able to resist 
force with force, and available for purposes of offence and 
defence. They were also used for other purposes, some being 
sent as messengers between those interested in keeping up 
the movement, others to collect funds, and others as emissaries 
to spread their propaganda. The National Volunteers were, 
however, neither so numerous, nor so active and mischievous 
as in Eastern Bengal. And the body of Volunteers 
organized in connection with the Ardhodaya Yoga in 
February 1908 worked cordially with the police and rendered 
good service in assisting the many thousands of pilgrims 
who came to Calcutta during that festival. 

Strenuous efforts were made to give the movement an air 
of national unity, and a watchword was found in the expres- 
sion Bands Mataram. This was the refrain of a song in a 
Bengali novel Ananda-math written by one of the best Bengal, 
novelists, Bankim Chandra Chatarji, and published in 1883 
The name of the novel means "the monastery of happiness," 
and its subject was the revolt of a number of sannyasis or 
Hindu ascetics against the Muhammadans. The former were 
represented as having, in the course of their revolt, 
defeated some sepoys under an English commander, and 
after the action the Bande Mataram song was sung by their 
leader. The meaning of the expression has formed the sub- 
ject of considerable speculation, some maintaining that it is 
an invocation of Kali, meaning "Hail Mother," others that 
it merely means "Hail Motherland," and that it is an 
invocation of bharatmata y i.e.. Mother India. There is no 
doubt that while many, accepting the latter meaning, used 
the phrase quite innocently as an expression of their love of 
country, it also came to be used in an aggressive and tur- 
bulent manner in processions and meetings. It became 
a common practice in certain localities to shout it in an 
offensive manner at Europeans — the Firing hit, as they were 
now called — much in the same way as "foreign devil" by 
the Chinese. And in several instances it was so shouted 
when assaults were committed on Europeans or those who 
did not fall in with the agitators. 

Another expression which became common was sicaraj, as 
a definition of the system of government demanded by the 
agitators. The meaning of this expression also was open to 
more than one interpretation. In one case it was held by 
the High Court that "the word swaraj does not necessarily 


mean government of the country to the exclusion of the 
present government, hut its ordinary acceptance is 'Home 
Rule' under the Government. The vernacular word, if 
literally translated, would mean self-government, hut self- 
government would not necessarily mean the exclusion of the 
present Government or independence. It may mean, as it 
is now well understood, government "by the people themselves 
under the King and under British sovereignty." This ruling 
was given in August 1907; hut suhsequent events clearly 
showed that the ideal of a section of the Bengali Hindus 
was complete independence and suhversion of the British 
rule; and the word was used almost exclusively hy that 

Generally speaking, the Bengali Hindus became divided Moderates 
into two classes with different aims. One section called J^st^*** 8 " 
Extremists believed that the Indians should work out 
their own salvation and attain independence. The other 
section, known as Moderates, put forward as their aim the 
attainment of a system of government similar to that 
enjoyed by the self-governing members of the British 
Empire. This object was to be pursued by constitutional 
means, by gradually bringing about a change in the existing 
system of administration, and by promoting national unity. 

In the meantime, the tone of the speeches which various Seditious 
agitators delivered in the public squares in the north of speeches. 
Calcutta became more and more violent and inflammatory. 
They were known to be seditious; but it was impossible to 
institute prosecutions with any hope of success, owing to the 
difficulty of securing satisfactory evidence of the actual 
words used in each oase. Similar speeches in the districts 
outside Calcutta led to the institution of proceedings under 
section 108, Criminal Procedure Code, but in only one case 
was any one bound down to keep the peace; and then 
the Magistrate's order was set aside by the High Court. 
After the institution of that case, orders were passed by the 
Lieutenant-Governor that no further proceedings under the 
section quoted should be taken without the permission of 
the Local Government. This order was passed on the 
analogy of section 196, Criminal Procedure Code, whioh 
requires the sanction of the Local Government to be given to 
prosecutions for sedition. Sir Andrew Fraser felt that there 
was a great difference between offences of a political nature 
and ordinary criminal offences, and that it was not the 
intention of the law that prosecution in connection with the 
former should be left to the initiative of local officers. 
They were to be dealt with in accordance with the 



general policy of Government and the advice of the law 
officers of the Crown, and not to depend on the idiosyncracies 
of individual officers. 
The Calcutta The danger of the inflammatory speeches and writing, 

which had been freely indulged in by agitators, became 
apparent in October 1907, when there were serious riots for 
two nights in Calcutta. These riots arose out of the action 
of the police in breaking up a meeting in Beadon Square, 
and led to a wholesale condemnation of the Calcutta Police 
in the Vernacular and Anglo-Vernacular Press. It was 
alleged that the meeting was dispersed without any ade- 
quate reason, that the police afterwards got entirely out of 
hand, assaulting innocent passers-by, attacking tram-cars, 
and looting shops, or at least encouraging or permitting 
gundas, i.e., professional rogues, to loot them. These charges 
were so serious that the Lieutenant-Governor at once directed 
the Commissioner of the Presidency Division to enquire into 
them. This enquiry being in some respects incomplete, His 
Honour directed a sifting enquiry to be held by an officer 
specially deputed for the purpose. The result was to estab- 
lish clearly the facts that the police were justified in break- 
ing up the meeting, that Bengali Hindus of the respectable 
classes took a prominent part in the disturbances, and that a 
determined attack was made by them upon the police. 
Though the latter, as a whole, behaved remarkably well, 
some of the rank-and-file got out of hand and roughly handled 
some innocent persons. But the main fact remained that 
the disturbances took origin in the riotous conduct of a class 
which is usually orderly and well behaved. His Honour's 
conclusion was that this was the direct outcome of the vio- 
lent writing and speaking which had been indulged in for 
months past by irresponsible agitators. He pointed out the 
danger attendant on all incitements to race-hatred and 
violence; and urged the more respectable and law-abiding 
sections of the community to use their influence, and support 
the Government in taking suitable measures to preserve the 

As it was known that these riots were the direct result 
of seditious speeches, an application was made to the Chief 
Presidency Magistrate under section 144, Criminal Procedure 
Code, and an order was obtained authorizing the closure of 
the squares to meetings for a period of two months. 
Immediately after the expiry of that period fresh speeches 
of a similar character were delivered. A second application 
was therefore made to the Magistrate by the Commissioner 
of Police, and a fresh order was passed closing the squares 


for a further period of two months. Since the expiry 
of that period few seditious speeches have been delivered in 
public in Calcutta. 

For some time past, however, the malcontents had not Seditious 
confined themselves to seditious speeches. Immediately after wn ing *' 
the announcement of the Partition a seditious pamphlet had 
been circulated urging the Bengalis to rise en masse fearing 
neither guns nor bayonets, nor — the police! Some of the 
newspapers also adopted a frankly disloyal tone, and several 
were started with the express object of spreading a spirit 
of disaffection, and propagating revolutionary ideas. The 
Bihari and Uriya papers, and the organs of the Muham- 
madan community, with two exceptions, continued to be loyal 
and moderate. But the majority of the Bengali papers, 
particularly those written in the vernacular, assumed a more 
violent tone, and some of them openly aimed at the 
complete subversion of the authority of Government. Of 
those written in English, two — the Indian Mirror and the 
Indian Nation — continued to show sobriety, and to maintain a 
loyal and moderate attitude. One or two more occasionally 
gave a sober review of politics, and made genuine suggestions 
for reform, but also took every opportunity to declaim upon 
and magnify alleged abuses or acts of injustice. Others 
were less restrained ; and, generally speaking, the most 
prominent characteristics of the Bengali Press were destructive 
criticism and open hostility to Government. Among these 
papers several came into special prominence from their 
seditious tone ; and the Bande Mataram, established in 1906, 
and written in English, consistently advocated swaraj in 
the form of complete independence : — " the absolute right of 
self -taxation, self- legislation and self- administration for the 
people of India." Certain vernacular papers went further. 
They urged the adoption of revolutionary methods as the 
means of securing complete political independence. Their 
tone was generally bitter and violent, scurrilous and abusive, 
and it was uniformly seditious. Their object was to stir 
up disaffection and incite to acts of violence regardless 
of consequences. They inculcated a feeling of hatred 
for the English, and a spirit of aggressive nationalism; and 
they endeavoured to arouse the religious prejudices and passions 
of the Hindus. 

For some time the violent writing in the newspapers Pre8 * 
was ignored. It was hoped that their virulence would pr ° 8 * 
gradually die away when it became apparent that the 
Partition was a settled fact, and the feeling of bitterness 
regarding it wore itself out. This hope was disappointed ; 



for experience snowed that immunity from prosecution 
merely led to more and more violent writing. *The Lieute- 
nant-Grovernor, at last, reluctantly came to the conclusion 
that legal proceedings must be taken under section 124A of 
the Indian Penal Code against the worst of the newspapers. 
Before this was done, a warning was given, but the warning 
proved ineffectual. Prosecutions were accordingly instituted 
against the Yugantar, Bande Mataram, Sandhya and Navasakti. 
These prosecutions were on the whole successful inasmuch 
as convictions were obtained and without much excitement ; 
but it cannot be pretended that they succeeded in checking 
the mischief. The Yugantar openly declared that no number 
of prosecutions would prevent it from publishing inflamma- 
tory articles. Those who were convicted were held up to 
public admiration as martyrs ; and a fresh printer was regis- 
tered after each conviction. This attitude of persistent con- 
tumacy and the essential failure of the prosecutions to secure 
their object were due to inherent defects in the law ; for the 
provisions of the Press and Eegistration of Books Act (XXV 
of 1867) required only the printer to be registered. It was 
not possible to discover the authors of the offending articles, 
for editors and managers divested themselves of their func- 
tions. The only person against whom evidence could be 
given was the printer, and this was generally some youthful 
enthusiast, only too glad to assume the role of a patriot and 
martyr, who was merely a tool used by others who remained 
in the back ground. 
Eevolutionary A further development in the campaign of sedition took 

movement. plftce &i ihe end of m7 ftnd {r ^ firgt ^alf of 1908. 

Early in November 1907, two unsuccessful attempts were 
made between Chandernagore and Maukundu to wreck, by 
means of explosives, trains in which the Lieutenant-Governor 
was travelling. A third attempt to blow up His Honour's 
train was made on the 6th December at Narayangarh in 
the Midnapore district; but the explosion only caused some 
slight damage to the engine and line. On the 11th 
April 1908, a bomb was thrown at M. Tardivel, the Maire 
-of Chandernagore, while he was at dinner, but fortunately 
no damage was done. The Maire, it may be explained, 
had incurred the displeasure of the conspirators by prohi- 
biting some so-called swadeshi meetings. 

On the night of the 30th April, there was another das- 
tardly outrage at Muzaffarpur. A bomb was thrown into a 
carriage in which Mrs. and Miss Kennedy, the wife and 
daughter of an esteemed member of the local Bar, were 
returning home, It exploded with deadly effect causing 


frightful injuries to the two ladies, the younger of whom 
died within an hour, and the other next morning. One of 
the murderers was arrested within fourteen hours and was 
eventually sentenced to death. The other shot himself to 
escape arrest. Ttey were two young Bengali Hindus, whose 
object was to kill the District Judge of Muzaffarpur, 
Mr. D. H. Kingsford, i.c.s., who had till recently been 
Chief Presidency Magistrate at Calcutta, and in that capacity 
had convicted several printers of seditious newspapers. They 
mistook, however, the carriage of Mrs. and Miss Kennedy for 
that of Mr. Kingsford. It may or may not be a coinci- 
dence that the murder was committed on Amabasya night, 
which is an auspicious night for the worship of Kali. It 
is, however, noticeable that the murderers had waited twenty 
days in Miizaffarpur before throwing the bomb; and that 
some time before a speech had been delivered advocating 
the sacrifice to Kali of white goats — a thinly veiled allusion 
to Europeans. As is well known, Kali is the principal 
goddess worshipped by the Saktas, a prominent sect among 
Bengali Hindus, . and one of their Tantras recommends the 
sacrifice of human beings as 8n offering pleasing in her 
sight. However this may be, it is at least certain that this 
was the first day of the new (Hindi) year; and it is most 
probable that the conspirators waited for it in order that 
the murder might usher in the year. 

Scarcely had the news of this outrage been received, 
when a number of conspirators were arrested in Calcutta. 
After the attempt to blow up the Lieutenant-Governor's 
train in Midnapore, the police had been busily investigating 
clues, and obtained evidence of the existence of a secret 
society engaged in making bombs and explosives intended for 
the murder of Europeans. They discovered a regular factory 
for bomb-making and a number of infernal machines of a 
very destructive type, varying in size from small assassina- 
tion bombs to large shells intended for crowds and street- 
fighting. They were copies of bombs well known in 
Anarchist history ; and in some respects the arrangements 
for their manufacture were as complete as in a Q-overnment 
explosive factory. It was soon clear that all the bombs had 
not been seized; for on the 15th May, a bomb, laid on 
the tram line in Grey Street, Calcutta, and evidently 
intended for the destruction of a tram car, was exploded by 
a municipal cart, and injured a few persons close by. Two 
days later another bomb of great power was found on the 
steps of St. Andrew's Church in Circular Eoad, Calcutta, a 
church chiefly frequented by native Christians. 


Enquiry showed that young Bengali Hindus had been incited 
to these outrages and inspired with a fanatical hatred of Europeans 
not only by the violent writings in the Bengali newspapers, but 
also by influences with which they had come in contact in 
Europe and America. It was found that a conspiracy had 
been organized with a definite scheme for the assassination of 
Europeans. There were regular seminaries of sedition and 
schools for the study of anarchical principles and the 
preparation of anarchical instruments. Funds were raised by 
subscription, and were supplemented or sought to be supple- 
mented by dacoities. To deal with this situation, two Acts — 
the Explosive Substances Act and the Newspapers (Incite- 
ment to Offences) Act — were passed in June 1908 by the 
Governor-General's Council. 

The former Act was designed to remedy the inadequacy of the 
existing law to deal with crimes committed by means of 
explosive substances, and was framed on the lines of the 
English Explosive Substances Act, 1883, which was enacted 
for the express purpose of dealing with anarchist crimes. It 
provides for the punishment of any person who causes an 
explosion likely to endanger life or property, or who attempts 
to cause such an explosion, or makes or has in his possession 
any explosive substance with intent to endanger life or property. 
It further makes the manufacture or possession of explosive 
substances for any other than a lawful object a substantive 
offence, and it throws on the person who makes or is in 
possession of any explosive substance the onus of proving that 
the making or possession is lawful. It also provides adequately 
for the punishment both of principals and accessories. 

The latter Act was passed expressly because of the close 
connexion which had been shown to exist between the perpetra- 
tors of criminal outrages and the newspapers which published 
criminal incitements; and because experience had shown that 
prosecution under the existing law was inadequate to prevent 
the publication of such incitements. Its scope is confined 
to incitements to murder, to offences under the Explosive 
Substances Act, and to acts of violence. It gives power in 
such cases to confiscate the printing press used in the produc- 
tion of the newspaper, and to stop the lawful issue of the 
newspaper. In this Act a newspaper was defined as "any 
periodical work containing public news or comments on public 
news." It was soon clear that this definition afforded a loophole 
to the conspirators; for within a fortnight after the Act was 
passed, a leaflet was published in Calcutta bearing the name 
of a newspaper which had been most virulent and most promi- 
nent in the campaign of sedition. This leaflet contained passages 

Political movements. 23 

inciting to wholesale murder and assassination, and gave 

instructions as to the manufacture of explosives. 

Another bomb outrage occurred on the 22nd June, when 
a bomb was thrown at Kankinara on the Eastern Bengal State 
Bailway into a railway carriage in which three European 
mill assistants were travelling. Two of them were slightly 
injured, and the third seriously, one arm being so shattered 
that it had to be amputated. On the 12th August, on the 
day after the execution of the murderer of Mrs. and Miss 
Kennedy, a bomb was thrown at a train on the Eastern 
Bengal State Railway between Shamnagar and Kankinara, 
but fell short and burst harmlessly. Two more exploded 
on the East Indian Railway near Chandernagore, where they 
were found by some railway workmen. 

Two bombs were also discovered at Midnapore, which had 
for some time been notorious as a centre of the extremists, 
and evidence was obtained of a conspiracy to murder 
European officials there. On the 31st August two of the 
prisoners under trial in connection with the conspiracy in 
Calcutta murdered the approver in the Alipore jail. In 
November the Chief Presidency Magistrate passed orders under 
the Newspapers (Incitement to Offences) Aot confiscating the 
printing press of the Bande Mataram, holding that an article 
commenting on this murder was an incitement to murder 
or other acts of violence. 

In conclusion, it may be pointed out that so far as 
Bengal is concerned the agitation has been practically confined 
to Calcutta and to the Presidency and Burdwan Divisions, i.e., 
to Lower Bengal proper. In Bihar, Chota Nagpur and 
Orissa it was noticeable only in places where there were 
Bengali Hindu settlements; and it may be added that in 
these large sub-Provinces there is no love lost between the 
native, whether Hindu, Muhammadan, or Animist, and the 
Bengali immigrant. Calcutta was the centre of the agitation. 
It was from Calcutta that the leaders of the agitation 
took their clue, and in most places where it had any 
strength, it was kept up by visits from Bengali agitators. 
It was moreover confined to Bengali Hindus, to retain whose 
adherence appeals to religious sentiment were constantly made. 
Though individual Muhammadans — some of them, it is 
believed, paid agents — joined in the agitation, they were 
not representative of the Islamic community, which almost 
to a man kept aloof from and condemned the agitation. 

It is not at present possible to give an account of the 
policy pursued by Sir Andrew Fraser in dealing with the 
movements, briefly sketched above. The measures of whioh he 
urged the adoption, in order to put a stop to seditious 


propaganda, have formed the subject of prolonged disoussion 
with the Government of India, the nature of which it is not 
permissible to disclose. It may, however, be stated generally 
that the main features of the line of polioy which commended 
itself to His Honour were: — (1) a conciliatory policy towards 
all who are well affected and a consistent endeavour to 
remove all genuine grievances ; and (2) the rigorous repression 
of all outward manifestations of disloyalty. To quote from 
a reply made by His Honour in July 1908 to an assurance 
of loyalty on the part of an influential body of Bengali 
Hindus : — " There is no intention on the part of Government 
to make concessions to disorder ; but there is a determination 
not to allow the crimes of a few to divert it from its 
policy of just and progressive administration. For my own 
part, I feel that the police must be called on to take 
special precautions for the prevention of crimes contemplated 
by a certain section of the community, and that every 
effort must be made by the Government, in the interests 
of sound administration and in the interests of the people 
themselves, to crush and punish these efforts to disturb the 
public peace and to incite to, or to commit, acts of 
lawlessness and wicked violence. But, at the same time, I 
cannot admit that my opinion of, or my regard for, the 
people of India, as a whole, has undergone any very serious 
change from the events which have occurred. I do not 
attribute these events to the people generally; and I deoline 
to condemn the whole population for the crimes of a few." 


The political agitation, of which a sketch is given above, 
played also a large part in the industrial unrest which was 
a marked feature of the quinquennium. That industrial 
unrest .found expression in a series of strikes affecting the 
most important industries of Bengal. In many of the 
strikes professional agitators were prominent, and the power 
of organization which was so apparent in the political 
agitation was equally noticeable. Both were new factors 
in the industrial history of the Province. The industrial 
agitators were mostly briefless Bengali Hindu barristers, who 
made it their business to found and preside over Unions, 
and by that means to lay down the law as to the terms 
on which masters and men are to work together. Such 
Unions were formed for Indian press employes, mill-hands 
and railway servants; strikes were started or encouraged; and 
the strikers were backed up as long as their funds lasted. 


There oan be little doubt that their object was not to 
promote the interest of employes, but, by fomenting imaginary 
grievances, to create a widespread spirit of disaffection 
against European superiors in the world of industry, just 
as political agitators sought to stir up a spirit of revolt 
against the constituted authorities of Government. This 
however was only one factor. In some cases strikes appear 
to have been due to the unrest caused among a large body 
of labourers by hearing of strikes elsewhere, at a time 
when their resources were strained by the high prices 
prevalent. In other cases the strikes were mainly due to 
economic causes; and in others to grievances caused by 
changes in the system of work. 

In the mills, in particular, strikes were due to a number 
of different causes and to peculiar circumstances, the nature 
of which it is often difficult to understand. To quote from 
the Report of the Factory Labour Commission recently pub- 
lished: — "One of the main difficulties experienced at present, 
when unrest appears among the workers, is in ascertaining 
the causes of that unrest. Frequently no definite demands are 
formulated, no grievances are stated, no indication is given 
as to the cause of the discontent; the operatives simply 
leave work in a body, or more commonly they drop off one 
by one without explanation, and accept employment under 
more congenial conditions in other factories." The strikes 
among mill-hands have, however, so far not been general. 
" While the operatives fully understand the machinery of 
local strikes, and have repeatedly forced employers to comply 
with their demands in isolated cases, they are as yet unable 
to combine over any large area with the object of securing 
a common end by concerted action." The following brief 
account of some of the strikes will serve to show what 
varied influences were at work. 

In 1905 perhaps the most noticeable strikes were those 
which took place among the printers and compositors in the 
printing presses of the Grovernment of India and the Bengal 
Secretariat in September and October. The first strike 
occurred in September and was due to certain grievances 
regarding the conditions of work, aided and inflamed by 
the excited state of Bengali Hindus at the time. It is 
needless perhaps to say that if there had been no discontent 
about the method of work, there would have been no 
strike. But it is equally true that the discontent would 
not have produced a strike but for the publio excitement 
and the intervention of Bengali Hindu agitators. For 
instance, it may be mentioned that on the day when the 
strike in the Bengal Press started, two notices were posted, 


One began with the invocation "Hail Mother," and gave a 
warning that any man who failed to attend a meeting of 
the compositors of the Government of India press would be 
under the curse of having killed a thousand Brahmans. 
The other interdicted the use of foreign articles, directed 
that 10 hand-bills of the same tenor should be distributed 
by the reader, and said that otherwise he would draw on 
his head the curse of 100,000 Brahmans. The alleged 
grievances were of no urgency, and none justified the 
strikers in attempting to force the hand of Government by 
a strike. The second strike, which took place in October 
1905, was equally wanton and unprovoked; and during this 
strike also agitators availed themselves of the opportunity to 
stir up discontent and embitter the relations between the 
British employer and the Indian employe. The inconvenience 
caused by these strikes was great. Sir Andrew Eraser 
consequently made arrangements to get as much of the 
Government printing done in jails as will enable it to print 
all very urgent matters in the event of a strike in the 

The G-overnment press strikes were followed by a number 
of strikes in private concerns. Six private presses in 
Calcutta were inconvenienced by their men going out tempor- 
arily, and there was an epidemic of strikes outside Calcutta. 
The first was a strike of the clerks and Indian assistants 
in some large iron works at Howrah. The ostensible cause 
was their dislike of a machine for registering attendance, 
but enquiry showed that the strike was directly organized 
by political agitators and that the strikers were supported 
from funds raised by them. It was only when those funds 
were exhausted that work was resumed. Next there were 
three strikes of workmen in a jute mill in the Howrah 
district, in which the operatives were mostly Bengalis, and 
not up-countrymen as in other mills. The first strike arose 
out of the objection taken by the mill authorities to the 
insubordinate behaviour of their workmen in connection with 
tbe political agitation. "When this had been settled, the 
workmen were insolent, coming up to the European assistants 
with shouts of Bande Mataram and then running away. The 
second strike followed the seizure of two men out of a 
gang of 200 who were provoking the assistants in this way. 
Next year there was another strike in the same mill owing 
to the introduction of a system by which operatives worked 
from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., instead of by electric light at night. 
However little real sympathy may have been felt for this 
grievance, the strikers were bocked by influential persons in 
Calcutta connected with the political agitation. Another 


strike at a jute mill at Serampore, in July 1906, was due 
apparently to measures taken by the Manager to ensure 
punctuality in attendance and to punish, late-comers. In a 
mill at Naihati, again, the workmen struck in October 1905 
because an European assistant, in trying to shoot a dog, 
accidentally injured two of the operatives. Next year the 
strikes of mill-hands were even more numerous, occurring at the 
Hastings, Clive, "Wellington, Arathoon, Soorah, Bengal Cotton 
and Upper Hooghly Mills. 

The railways also began to be affected in 1906. In 
July two strikes of native workmen of the Trafiio Depart- 
ment of the East Indian Railway occurred on the Loop 
Line and in the Dinapore district, which were instigated 
and engineered by disaffected Calcutta agitators. They were 
soon brought to a satisfactory termination by the prompt 
action of the railway authorities ; but they were followed by 
a far more serious strike. The political agitation had been 
revived as a counterblast to Mr. (now Lord) Morley's 
declaration that he regarded the Partition as a settled fact ; 
and on the 21st July, the day after a large protest meeting 
held in Calcutta, the Indian employes of the East Indian 
Railway from Howrah to Bandel struck. Failing in their 
attempts to coerce the Company into granting the extra- 
vagant demands made by them on behalf of the strikers, 
the agitators began work at railway centres up the line. 
Week after week, first at one centre and then at another, 
the Indian railway employes were urged to join the Union 
already started and to co-operate with their brethren in the 
Howrah district in forcing the Company to accede to their 
demands. The strike spread to Asansol and the adjoining 
stations, where most of the clerks of the Traffic and Loco- 
motive Departments struck work. Their ostensible grievance 
was that the Howrah strikers had not been reinstated by 
the Company, but the real reason appears to have been the 
influence of Calcutta agitators. The latter were equally 
successful at Jamalpur, where the Bihari workmen were 
practically forced or tricked into opposition to the Company, 
and appear to have had no grievances to put forward. The 
agitators, however, played upon their feelings, reminding them 
that they numbered 14,000, and that their power would be 
irresistible if they joined the strikers. Finally, at the end 
of August, 10,000 workmen broke out, on being refused 
permission to attend a meeting ; and the European mechanics 
were obliged to fire on them in self-defence. After this, 
things quieted down, and the workmen, who felt the high 
prices prevailing, were only too glad to return to work. No 


grievances were formulated, but the proceedings led even- 
tually to some improvement in the arrangements for working 
overtime and to the grant of compensation for the dearness 
of food. About the same time too there was a strike in 
the workshops of the Bengal-Nagpur Kailway at Kharagpur, 
which was not organized by agitators, but was believed to 
be -due to the example of the strikes already set on foot 
by them and to inflammatory articles in vernacular papers. 
So far with the exception of a strike of short duration 
which occurred in 1905 among the guards of the East 
Indian E ail way, the strikes had been confined to Indian 
employes. But in November 1907 there was a strike 
among the European and Eurasian guards and drivers of 
that railway, who had been for some time discontented with 
their pay, prospects and conditions of work. The strike 
was carried out with practical unanimity and great promp- 
titude, and took the authorities by surprise. It extended 
over the whole line, but the headquarters of the strikers 
were at Asansol. Traffic was practically at a standstill 
throughout the system, but the greatest congestion of traffic 
took place at that station, where the strikers took possession 
of the engine sheds and held up no less than eleven 
passenger trains with about 150 European and 5,000 Indian 
passengers. The passengers were eventually sent to their 
destinations through the Bengal-Nagpur Kailway system, the 
authorities of which made arrangements to run special trains. 
The strike lasted from the 19th November to the 28th 
November, and came to a close largely through the inter- 
vention of Sir Charles Allen, Chairman of the Calcutta 
Corporation, Mr. Dumayne, Vice-Chairman of the Calcutta 
Port Trust, and Mr. Monteith, a representative of a leading 
Calcutta firm, who went to Asansol on the third day of the 
strike in order to effect a conciliation. A settlement was 
eventually made on the understanding that the grievances of 
the strikers would be submitted to a Board of Conciliation 
to be appointed by Government. 

This serious strike led to others. On the 24th November 
a number of guards of the Bengal-Nagpur Eailway also 
went out on strike, apparently out of sympathy with the 
strikers on the East Indian Railway, but were soon induced 
by the railway authorities to resume work. The pointsmen 
at Chakradharpur also struck, but the firmness of the 
authorities and the dismissal of the ring-leaders brought the 
strike to a speedy termination, Besides this, there was a 
strike in the Bengal and North-Western Eailway workshops 
at Samastipur. It subsided, however, within a week. Next 


month (on the 7th December) a strike occurred among the 
Indian drivers and firemen on the Eastern Bengal State 
Bail way. Goods trains were cancelled; and a number of 
European and Eurasian drivers being thus set free, and 
European soldier drivers being brought in, the majority of 
the trains were kept running. Seeing this, the strikers 
expressed their willingness to return. 

In 1908 the most important strikes occurred in the 
Telegraph Department. The first occurred at the end of 
February among the telegraph delivery peons in Calcutta, 
who demanded higher wages. They were joined in a few 
days even by the boy peons; but the strike was a small 
affair, in spite of the strikers' cause being advocated by 
Bengali Hindu outsiders. In April the telegraph signallers 
struck work in a body. There had for some time been discon- 
tent among them; and during the railway strike in Novem- 
ber 1907 they had slowed down work on the plea that they 
wanted some definite assurance that their claims and demands 
for increased pay would receive early attention. The strike, 
however, was not due to the question of pay, but to the 
introduction of a new system of work, which was designed 
to lessen the burden of night work, and also to accelerate 
the despatch of messages by adjusting the number of the 
staff on duty to the traffic at each period of the day: — in 
other words, to secure quicker, better organized, and more 
regular work. The new system was introduced on 1st April 
and was bitterly resented by the signallers. They first 
adopted a policy of passive resistance, their tactics being to 
work slowly and so delay traffic. By the 3rd there was 
such congestion, that the transmission of deferred messages 
was stopped, and business was paralyzed in the gunny and 
jute, trades On the 7th the Bengal Chamber of Commerce 
represented that business was practically suspended, and 
strongly urged the appointment of a Board of Conciliation 
to deal with the whole question. On the 8th the Director- 
Greneral of Telegraphs issued a notice that, because of 
wilful delay and obstruction to traflfio in Calcutta and other 
central offices, the Superintendents concerned were authorized 
to dismiss summarily 10 per cent, of the staff. Next day 
the signallers in Calcutta struck, and there was a general 
strike over the system. On the 15th April the Viceroy 
accepted the recommendation of the Bengal Chamber of 
Commerce that a definite period (settled later at five weeks) 
should be fixed for the trial of the new system and that 
a representative Committee should watch its working. Also 
on the same day the men in the Calcutta Central Telegraph 


Office were informed that an improved scale of pay for 
signallers would take effect from the 12th July. Within a 
few days after the issue of these orders the strike was at 
an end. 


During Sir Andrew's administration the Province was 
fortunate in not having to bear the brunt of famine, except 
in Darbhanga during 1907 and in some small scattered 
tracts in 1908. But in the closing years of the quinquen- 
nium there was scarcity in some parts, and certain sections 
of the community suffered from the high price of food. 
While the average price of food varied little from the 
normal during the six years 1900 to 1905, it suddenly rose 
in 1906 in a very remarkable manner, this rise becoming 
accentuated in 1907 till in August the average price of rice 
was 58 per cent, and of maize 70 per cent, above the 
previous normal. The crops of 1907-08 being also short, 
there has been no appreciable reduction in the price of 
these cereals, the first of which is the great food staple of 
the Province, while the latter is consumed largely in Bihar. 
This extraordinary rise in the prices of food grains has not 
been confined to this Province and cannot be ascribed to 
any single cause. Prices have risen all over India; and the 
rapidity of the rise has attracted attention in other 
Provinces as well as in Bengal. It is obvious that with 
the present facilities of intercommunication between all parts 
of the country, a general rise of prices in other Provinces 
must inevitably lead to a corresponding rise in this Pro- 
vince. But special enquiry has shown that in Bengal several 
causes combined to produce this effect. 

In the first place, the outturn of the harvests of food 
grains in general and of rice in particular was poor in four 
successive years (1904-07). At the same time, there was a 
rapid rise in the price of jute. Indeed, it is estimated that 
at least 40 crores were paid in Bengal and Eastern Bengal 
for the crop of one year (1906), and that of this sum 15^ 
crores were clear profit. A large proportion of the popula- 
tion were thus enabled to raise their standard of living, to 
purchase more of the food they relish most, (e.g., rice and 
fish), and to pay more for such food. The result of defi- 
ciency in the staple food grain of the people, combined with 
an enormous increase in the buying power of a large pro- 
portion, was that an unprecedented demand arose for rice, 


prices went up accordingly, and large quantities of rice were 
exported. The exceptionally high prices, further, induced 
those who had stores of rice to sell whatever they could, 
keeping only the minimum required to carry them on till 
the next harvest. Another important factor has been a 
general rise in the standard of living all over the Province. 
Of this there is abundant evidence in many directions. 
Many things which were formerly regarded as luxuries are 
now treated as articles of ordinary and every-day use even 
by the peasantry. Not the least significant change is the 
way in which rice is displacing coarser grains as a daily 
food. Formerly in many rural tracts of Bihar and Chota 
Nagpur the lowest classes seldom had a meal of rice, but 
what with migration to the tea districts and the mills, the 
advent of railways and the spread of intercommunication 
between all parts of the Province, even these classes are 
known to be taking to eating rice. 

Last, but perhaps not least, the greatly increased facili- 
ties in communication by rail enable the big dealers and 
merchants to control a larger proportion of the grain trade 
of the country. Much of the grain trade, which used to be 
carried on locally between the actual cultivators, middlemen 
and grain dealers in the local mofussil bazars, and which 
used not to go beyond those parties, has now come under 
the control of large capitalists at more important centres. 
Agents of such capitalists and of Calcutta firms now pene^ 
trate into rural tracts where they were unheard of 10 or 
20 years ago, and buy up surplus stocks of grain before 
even the dealers in the nearest towns can make a bid. 
The influence, moreover, of large transactions in grain must 
necessarily now spread further and more rapidly than before. 
Modern conditions, in fact, tend more and more to form a 
world-wide market — to expose the grain markets of this 
country to international influences ; and this phase of the 
economic development of the country has no doubt largely 
contributed to a general rise in the price of food grains. 
These considerations, moreover, seem to lead to the conclu- 
sion that the rise must to some degree be permanent. 

Generally speaking, the economic changes sketched above 
have been favourable to the cultivating classes, who in Bengal 
form the vast majority of the population. Though landless 
field labourers are no better off, the labouring classes, as a 
whole, have benefited from the growing demand for labour, 
which has been created by the expansion of the coal trade, the 
increase in the number of factories, and the establishment 
of new industries. But it is different with those who have 


to depend entirely on small . fixed salaries in clerical and 
professional employment. They do not reduce their expendi- 
ture on social and religious ceremonies incidental to their 
position, though the expense of maintaining that position has 
increased; while their ranks are swelled, and competition is 
rendered keener year after year, by the growing number of 
recruits from school and university. Debarred by custom and 
tradition from other means of livelihood, with prices rising, and 
the purchasing power of the rupee declining, the struggle for 
existence in this section of the community has grown harder ; 
and in many eases they find it difficult to make ends meet. 
This has been recognized by Government, which, in order to 
alleviate distress among ministerial o (Beers and menial servants 
on low pay, has granted compensation to all such of its 
employes as draw pay of Es. 30 or less a month. These 
oharges entailed an expenditure of 9| lakhs in 1907-08, and 
8J lakhs had to be provided in the Budget for 1908-09. 

One of the results of the hard times which the poorer 
members of the educated classes have had to face — and a 
large proportion of them are poor — has been a discontented 
feeling. This smouldering discontent has been fanned by 
wild charges made against the system of British administra- 
tion, such as overtaxation, the draining of the resources of the 
country by its rulers, eto. Consequently, high prices have had 
indirectly a share in the political unrest which has prevailed. 

The rise in the cost of living has also rendered it 
necessary to revise the rates of diet allowance for complainants 
and witnesses in the Courts. They were prescribed nearly 
35 years ago, and with the lapse of years had become 
inadequate. The rules were therefore revised in 1907 so 
as to allow of more liberal rates, the increased oost being 
met by the State. Further measures for improving the pay 
and prospects of clerks in the employment of Government are 
in contemplation. The Grovernment of India having made an 
assignment of four lakhs of rupees to be devoted to this 
purpose, temporary arrangements were sanctioned in 1905 for 
improving the pay of the establishment in Judicial Courts, and 
in the offices of Commissioners, District Officers and Sub- 
divisional Officers. The object of these concessions was to aiford 
immediate and substantial relief ; and they were sanctioned 
as an ad interim measure, pending a thorough examination 
of the whole question by a special Committee. A Committee, 
known as the Ministerial Officers' Salaries Committee, was 
accordingly appointed in 1905 ; and as a result of their 
enquiries a comprehensive scheme has been drawn up for 
improving the pay and prospects of ministerial officers in 

FAMINE. • 33 

both, exeoutive and judicial offices. The scheme is under 
the consideration of the G-overnment of India, and it is not 
therefore possible to give details; but it may be stated that 
it % is intended to provide for each district a staff that will 
not only be adequate, in point of numbers, for the work to 
be performed, but will also be adequately paid. 


Until the closing m years of Sir Andrew Fraser's adminis- 
tration the Province remained immune from famine. In 
1906-07 however .there was considerable distress in North 
Bihar owing to the destruction of crops by heavy floods. 
In Darbhanga the distress affected an area of about 1,690 
square miles, or one-half of the district, with a population 
of nearly 1| million, and here distress culminated in famine. 
In the middle of July 1906 the rivers overflowed their banks, 
causing considerable damage to the crops. The first flood 
had scarcely subsided, when it was followed by another of 
unprecedented height and duration. Almost the whole 
area was submerged for about a fortnight. The bhadoi 
crop was thus destroyed, and the paddy seedlings were 
swept away. By the time the water had subsided, it was 
too late to plant out fresh seedlings, except in the Madhu- 
bani subdivision, where the crop suffered greatly from the 
subsequent drought. The harvests of 1905-06, moreover, 
had been poor ; and it was estimated that, on the whole, 
the total yield was only two-thirds of the normal. In 
1906-07, owing to the floods, the bhadoi crop yielded only 
12 per cent, of the normal, and the winter rice only 27 
per cent. Babi crops were sown over a larger area than 
usual, but the prolonged drought which followed the floods, 
and the heavy rainfall at harvest time, reduced the yield to 
barely half the average. The total outturn of crops for 
the year is estimated to have been hardly one-third of the 
normal. The result was "widespread scarcity ; but it was 
acute enough to necessitate the declaration of famine only 
in five thanas. 

The immediate result of the floods was to stop all 
demand for labour and to bring the labouring classes almost 
to the verge of starvation. It was impossible, till the 
floods subsided, to organize relief work. All that could be 
done was to send out parties in boats, supplied with grain 
and cash, and to give doles to starving persons in the 


submerged villages. As communications improved, kitohens 
were opened in the areas in which acute distress prevailed ; 
and by the middle of September, the floods had subsided 
sufficiently to enable test works to be opened. The daily 
attendance on these works grew steadily until, at the end of 
November, it was 56,880. Meanwhile, the Lieutenant-Governor 
had visited the district and toured through the affected tracts. 
During this tour final arrangements were made for the 
conduct of famine relief operations. The famine continued 
till August 1907, when a bumper bhadoi crop brought the 
distress to a close. From beginning to end, 13,123,151 
units were relieved, viz., 6,577,791 on works and 6,545,360 
by gratuitous relief. Sir Andrew paid, in all, three 
visits to the distressed area, and obtained personal evidence 
of the eminently successful and energetic manner in which 
the relief operations were carried on by the Collector, 
Mr. W. Egerton, i.c.s. 

Scarcity followed next year in some parts of the Province 
owing to the failure of the winter rains, During the early 
part of the season, the rainfall was favourable, and the 
bhadoi crop was, in most districts, a very good one. Ex- 
cept in parts of Orissa, where damage was done by floods, 
the prospects of winter rice were also very favourable until 
the end of September 1907. The rainfall in October, however, 
failed altogether in many districts, while in others, it was 
seriously in defect. The result was a serious shortage 
in the outturn of winter rice, while the situation was 
complicated by the abnormally high price of food-grains. 
Distress was particularly felt in some parts of Orissa, which 
suffered not only from deficient rainfall in October, but 
also from floods, which affected an area containing a 
population of more than 400,000 persons. In many parts 
of this area, fresh seedlings were planted out when the 
floods subsided, and there was every prospect of their doing 
well till the end of September, when the rain ceased and 
the seedlings withered away. In areas not affected by the 
floods, the crops did exceedingly well in low lands and 
places where irrigation was possible ; but on the higher 
lands the outturn was very poor. 

Taking the Province as a whole, actual distress was con- 
fined to a comparatively small area and relief operations 
were called for on a restricted scale. Famine relief works had 
to be started in Ranchi, but it was found possible to close 
them at the end of September. By the close of that month 
gratuitous relief was being given to 21,500 persons, of whom 
17,700 were in Orissa, where the men emigrated from the affeoted 


tract to a much greater extent than usual, in many cases 
leaving their families without means of support. Test works 
were opened in seven districts, but were attended by com- 
paratively few persons, the reason apparently being that 
many of the men, who on previous occasions would have 
sought . employment on test works, now emigrate instead to 
Calcutta and other labour centres, where they can obtain 
employment on more profitable terms than on test or relief 
works. The labouring classes are, in fact, less affected than 
they would have been 20 or even 10 years ago. On the 
other hand, owing to the high prices prevailing for some 
time past, the pinch of scarcity is felt by the poorer 
bhadralok, or people of good caste who depend for their 
support on small fixed wages. 

At the close of the rains of 1908 serious apprehensions 
were felt for some p arts of North Bihar, where the rainfal 
had been very deficient. As a preliminary measure, the 
Government of India sanctioned a grant of 12 lakhs for 
the advance of tahkavi loans to cultivators. 


The most important event in the financial history of the 
Province during the quinquennium of Sir Andrew Fraser's 
administration was the financial settlement concluded in 1904, 
which marked a great advance in decentralization. Before 
that year there had been a series of settlements of five 
years; and this meant that at the end of every five years 
the expenditure was cut down, and income was allotted 
sufficient to cover the expenditure on the revised scale. 
The position of the Local Government in each case depended 
upon the extent to which it had been cut down, and upon 
its recuperative power, i.e., upon the extent to which its 
new income was made up of expanding revenue. One 
drawback of this system was that as the period for which 
the Local Government was free to enjoy the fruits of its 
economy, or of the successful nursing of its revenue, was 
limited to five years — or more correctly, to the last two or 
three years of the term of the settlement, for during the 
earlier years it had usually but a small surplus to spend — 
it was under constant temptation to spend its money not to 
the best advantage, but on such improvements as could be 
carried through before the close of the settlement, in order 
to leave as small a surplus as possible of the assigned 
revenue for resumption, at the impending revision. 



On the other hand, the Government of India were no more 
willing to allow the Local Government to undertake recurring 
expenditure than if no financial settlements had existed. 
The reason of this was that at the end of five years it was 
practically impossible for the Government of India to cut 
down recurring expenditure, for which the Local Government 
had made itself liable. Consequently, at the end of five 
years, the liability for the new expenditure had to be allowed 
for in the new settlement, and practically it was passed on 
to the Government of India. On the other hand, they 
appropriated any recurring income created by the Local 
Government. Thus, an ordinary remunerative investment had 
no attractions for a Local Government, because at the end 
of the five years the revenues would be taken into account 
in the new settlement. For example, if the Local Government 
built houses for its officers, the rent received would, when 
a new settlement was concluded at the end of the five years, 
be counted as part of the resources made over to it for the 
purpose of meeting the expenditure under that new settlement. 

The difficulty was to devise a scheme . which should be 
permanent, but which should not involve unfairness, or risk 
of unfairness after a lapse of five years, to the Government 
of India or to the Local Government. To this problem a 
curiously simple solution was found. It was decided that 
the new settlement should be neither for five years nor 
should it be permanent, but that it should last for an 
indefinite period, and be subject to revision, if over a long 
period of years it was found to be unfair to one side or 
the other. Another principle laid down was that, when 
heads of revenue or expenditure were divided, the Local 
Government should have the same share both of the revenue 
and of the expenditure under the same head. It got the 
whole of the receipts under registration, one-half of those 
under stamps, seven-sixteenths of those under excise and 
one-fourth of those under assessed taxes and forests ; and it 
bore the same proportion of expenditure in each case. This 
principle was, however, departed from in the case of land 
Tevenue, the expenditure on which was made wholly Pro- 
vincial (except in the cases of large surveys and settements, 
which were made wholly Imperial), although the Local 
Got eminent got only one-fourth of the receipts. At the same 
time, as the proportion of expanding revenue had been cut 
down, and as the Local Government would not benefit from 
the absence of revision until the expiry of five years (when 
the revision would otherwise have taken place), the Govern- 
ment of India made it a grant of a lump sum of 50 lakhs 


on condition that its expenditure was to be spread "over 
several years. The Local Government was thus able to enter 
on the new settlement without disadvantage. 

Subsequently, in 1906, a new settlement was concluded 
in consequence of the transfer of a number of districts to 
the new Province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. By this 
settlement the position of the Local Government was improved. 
As explained above, when making a financial settlement the 
Government of India scrutinize the estimates, decide what 
total expenditure may fairly be taken as the necessary 
expenditure of the Province, and make over receipts 
sufficient just to meet that expenditure. On previous occasions 
the revised estimates were made the basis of the scale of 
expenditure, but all non-recurring expenditure included in 
the estimate was eliminated before the scale was calculated. 
The new settlement, however, was based on the budget 
estimates^ for 1905-06, except in regard to Public Works. 
It was therefore more favourable to the Local Government, 
inasmuch as the Government of India practically treated about 
4£ lakhs of non-recurring expenditure included in the budget 
as though it Were recurring, and made over recurring 
revenue to meet it. They also left the Public Works grant 
as settled in the last contract untouched, although the separa- 
tion of Eastern Bengal relieved the Local Government of 
charges amounting to Es. 5,22,000. Still the assignment 
for Public Works was much below the average expenditure 
in the . past, and its smallness was keenly felt after the 
depletion of the accumulated balance of earlier years. The 
Local Government was also allowed a larger share of the 
divided heads of revenue. In other words, a larger proportion 
of the revenue made over to it was expanding revenue, and 
the non-expanding assignment was reduced from Es. 73,70,000 
to Es. 5,72,000. The following were the changes made : — 
The Local Government received one-half instead of seven- 
sixteenths of excise receipts, one-half instead of one-fourth of 
the income from forests, one-half instead of one-fourth of 
assessed taxes, the whole instead of one-fourth of the receipts 
from Government estates, and one-half instead of one-fourth 
of the remainder of land revenue. 


One of the first measures taken by Sir Andrew Fraser The Board of 
to improve the machinery of general administration Was to Keverme. 


inaugurate a system by which the Members of the Board 
of BevenUe were brought into closer association with the 
Lieutenant-Governor. He soon realized that the Members 
of the Board, while exercising important powers in revenue 
and other matters, had not that close connection with general 
administration for which they were qualified by their seni- 
ority, experience and capacity. Not only so, but there 
was much unnecessary correspondence .between the Board and 
the Secretariat. It is unnecessary to give details of the 
scheme introduced by His Honour to remedy this state of 
affairs. It will be sufficient to state that it involved no 
organic and constitutional change, and to mention briefly 
its beneficial results. It has brought the Board into much 
closer touch with Government. It has prevented misunder- 
standing. And it has certainly reduced correspondence and 
expedited work. To the Lieutenant-Governor it has proved 
of great advantage to have two officers of wide experience, 
selected for their capacity and judgment, at hand to advise 
him when he requires their advice. There are now few 
questions of importance in any branch of administration 
in which the Members are not consulted by the Lieutenant- 
Governor. They constantly render valuable help in the 
work of Government ; and their position as colleagues and 
advisors of the Lieutenant-Governor is a valuable feature in 
the administration, as the system is now worked. 
Commis- Sir Andrew also did much to strengthen the position of 

Commissioners. Soon after his appointment as Lieutenant- 
Governor, he introduced a system of placing allotments at 
the disposal of Commissioners of Divisions from which they 
might make grants on the spot for purposes of a publio 
nature, or to remedy small defects brought to their notice 
at time of inspection, thereby avoiding much correspondence 
and delay. During each of the last three years, each 
Commissioner has received an average allotment of about 
Rs. 10,000 for the above purpose. This measure has worked 
very satisfactorily. It has reduced correspondence regarding 
small matters, and it has added to the prestige of the Com- 
missioners. Much has also been done in a practical way to 
effect a certain measure of decentralization by delegating to 
Commissioners and also to Heads of Departments a number of 
funotions previously exercised by Government or by the Board 
of Revenue and by giving them fuller financial powers. 

Another matter to which Sir Andrew gave his attention 
was the position of the Commissioner in relation to matters 
not falling within his official duties as defined by law and 
rule. This question was referred to a Conference, at whioh 



all the Commissioners and Heads of Departments, and some 
senior judicial officers, were present. It was unanimously 
agreed that as the senior officer in his Division, the Com- 
missioner must be regarded as responsible for doing all he 
can to ensure that public business is conducted with efficiency 
and without friction, the Heads of Departments being consult- 
ed in all important matters : this, indeed, has been the view 
generally accepted in the past by officers serving in Bengal. 
And they were unanimously of opinion that the Commis- 
sioner's position, responsibility and authority ought to be 
maintained, and that in social matters he must be looked 
upon as the Head of the Division. As regards judicial 
officers, however, the Conference held that the executive 
must avoid any attempt at, or appearance of, interference 
with a Judge's work, except through the High Court. 
Their view was that, while in social matters the Commis- 
sioner, aa Head of the Division, occupies towards judicial 
officers the same position as towards officers of the other 
Departments, he does not occupy this position towards the 
Judges in matters connected with their judicial work, in 
respect of which they are under the High Court alone. 
These .views were approved by the Lieutenant-Governor and 
accepted by the High Court. 

Orders were accordingly issued that the Commissioner of 
Division, as a senior officer and as an officer selected from 
amongst his fellows on account of his special capacity for 
high office, should himself deal with social questions, such 
as cases of personal misconduct, quarrels between officers, 
improper treatment of the people and the like, and that such 
questions should only be referred to the head of the Govern- 
ment when, owing to recalcitrancy of one of the parties, it 
was impossible to settle it on the spot. It was distinctly 
pointed out that the greatest care must be taken in the case 
of judicial officers that there should be no sort of interference 
in regard to their judicial work. The orders aimed at a 
suitable settlement of social questions by an officer of stand- 
ing on the spot; but distinct exception was made in respect 
of judicial officers in regard to their judicial work, lest 
there should be any appearance of interference with the 
judicial by the executive. 

Another measure introduced by Sir Andrew Fraser in Commit- 
order to bring Commissioners into closer association with the f er ences. 
Government, as well as with the Heads of Departments and 
with one another, was the institution of annual conferences. It 
scarcely needs demonstration that, unless the officers at the 
headquarters of Government occasionally meet Commissioners 


of Divisions and discuss administrative arrangements and 
proposed reforms with them, there is a tendency for these 
two "branches of the administration to drift apart and get 
out of touch. On the one side, there is a tendency in the 
Secretariat to deal with references made by local officers in 
a somewhat narrow and unsympathetic manner ; and, on the 
other hand, there is a tendency on the part of the local 
officers to think that their recommendations are not treated 
with sufficient consideration at headquarters. In order to 
prevent such cleavage, Sir Andrew Fraser, when he was 
Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces, introduced a 
system of annual conferences which were attended by the 
Commissioners, Secretaries to Government and Heads 
of Departments. At these conferences, all administrative 
measures of general importance were discussed ; and the results 
were so satisfactory that, when he came to Bengal as 
Lieutenant-Governor, he decided to introduce the same system 
in this Province. Conferences have accordingly been held 
annually at Darjeeling towards the close of the rainy season, 
attended by the Commissioners and some representatives of 
the Judicial Branch of the Service, by the Government 
Secretaries and by the Heads of Departments interested in 
the subjects discussed. Selected non-official gentlemen have 
also been invited to attend the conferences for the discus- 
sion of such questions as could usefully ' be referred to 

At these conferences, many important questions have been 
discussed and threshed out, with the result that numerous 
improvements have been effected in different branches of the 
administration. Amongst other matters, they have given an 
impetus to decentralization ; and powers have been delegated 
"to Commissioners and other local officers, thereby avoiding 
the necessity for many references to higher authority and 
much needless correspondence. There can be no doubt that 
these annual conferences have been of the greatest benefit, 
not only because they have greatly reduced correspondence 
and yet ensured a more thorough examination of the measures 
which were discussed at them, but, also, because they have 
brought the headquarters administration and the local officers 
much more closely into touch. It has, in short, been made 
clear that frank conference promotes good feeling. Apart, too, 
from the matters dealt with in conference, the opportunity 
has been taken to consult personally individual Commissioners 
regarding important pending matters affecting their Divisions. 
"With the cordial consent of the Commissioners, who recognised 
the great value of the Provincial Conferences, the same 


system has been extended to the Divisions, each Commis- 
sioner presiding at an annual conference of all his Collectors. 

To such personal discussion great value was attached by H eads of Dc 
Sir Andrew Fraser, who- made constant use of it to establish r artn,ents - 
closer relations between Heads of Departments and the Govern- 
ment. As regards his own relations with such officers, he 
made it a point to be accessible to them. They were 
encouraged to come and see him, and discuss with him 
personally important questions affecting the Departments of 
which they are in charge. As regards official correspon- 
dence, there was a tendency for proposals sent up by them 
to be examined at length in the Secretariat, noted on, 
adversely criticized, and either negatived altogether or sent 
back for further consideration, without personal communica- 
tion between the Head of the Department and the Secre- 
tary dealing with the case. The system was apt to cause 
delay and involve misunderstanding. This was avoided by 
frequent personal discussion and conference between Heads 
of Departments, Secretaries and other persons with special 
knowledge of the subject. In all cases, however, it was 
clearly understood that such personal discussion does not 
supersede, or render unnecessary, a regular official reference 
through the ordinary channel. 

As regards the different branches of the public service, His Co-operation 
Honour did his best to counteract the growing tendency °f the pubitc 
towards " departmentalism." This is, no doubt, a natural service, 
result of administrative development and a desire for greater 
efficiency and uniformity in special branches of Government. 
But the result has frequently been to dissociate the work of 
special departments from the control of the local officers, and 
also to establish separate staffs in each district who do not 
always realize the importance of working in concord. His 
Honour did his best to improve this state of affairs by 
establishing friendly relations between different branches of the 
public service. The measures which he took to remove 
friction and introduce co-operation and mutual assistance are 
. referred to elsewhere, and need not be mentioned here. 

In his relations with non-officials Sir Andrew endeavoured Relations 
to give no ground for the complaint often made against witl ! " ou * 
the system of British administration that, however well- 
meaning its measures may be, they are carried out without 
any adequate attempt to ascertain the trend of educated 
Indian opinion. His Honour was careful to avoid this 
mistake, and made a point of consulting Indian gentlemen 
Of standing and experience regarding important measures 
contemplated by him. In addition to numerous informal 


consultations, many conferences were held which were attended 
by Indian members of Council and other gentlemen of position 
regarding the following, among other, subjects: — the establish- 
ment of Advisory Councils ; the enlargement of Legislative 
Councils; the revision of the system of village self- 
government ; the introduction of an Irrigation Bill ; the 
amendment of section 147, Criminal Procedure Code, of the 
Bengal Tenancy Act, and of the Chota Nagpur Tenancy 
Act ; the measures to be taken for the social evil in 
Calcutta; the revision of the system of election to District 
Boards, etc. * 

The same policy was also pursued in regard to non- 
official members of the Bengal Council. From the first 
Sir Andrew made clear his readiness to receive and 
consider their suggestions. In his first speech on the 
Budget he gave them an assurance that : — " From the more 
important suggestions which have been made down to the 
very smallest which have been made, none will escape notice 
or fail to receive due attention." He also attached great 
importance to frankness of interpellation, and allowed 
members as much freedom as possible in their exercise of 
this right. He even went so far as to adopt the device 
of announcing purely formal business, so that there might 
be a meeting of Council at which they might exercise it ; 
for the law as it stands does not "allow a meeting solely 
for the purpose of interpellations. Sir Andrew further put 
as little restriction as possible upon the speeches of members 
in the Budget debate, which, as is well known, is regarded 
as an opportunity to review the whole administration of 
the year. He welcomed frank discussion of administrative 
measures and questions of general policy at this debate, and 
expressed his conviction that : — " It is desirable that members 
should have the opportunity of placing clearly before 
Government and the public, anything that they wish to say 
in the way of criticism, suggestion or advice, in regard to 
the income, expenditure and general administration of the 

Lastly, Sir Andrew introduced an important change by 
allowing non-official members to assist in the preparation of 
the Budget. Selected members of Council have for the last 
two years been invited to attend an informal discussion of 
the Budget before it is finally settled. Under the old 
system, the discussion of the Budget in Council was 
necessarily infructuous, so far as the Budget for that 
particular year was concerned ; because the details had already 
been settled and orders had been passed by the Government 


of India. The informal discussion which is held at an 
earlier date makes it possible for effect to be given to some, 
at least, of the recommendations of the non-official members, 
before the Budget is submitted to the Government of India 
for approval. 

Of all the features of Sir Andrew Fraser's administra- The Judicial 
tion the one which was perhaps most subject to misrepre- Service « 
sentation was his policy regarding the Judicial Service and, 
in particular, the High Court. A charge, or at least an 
insinuation, commonly brought against Sir Andrew Fraser 
was that he desired to undermine the authority of that 
tribunal. No charge could have been more baseless; and 
yet that charge was made even after an authoritative 
pronouncement of His Honour's attitude to the High Court 
had been published in the Blue Book on the reconstitution 
of the Provinces of Bengal and Assam. In this it was 
stated: — "The mischievous idea which some men try to 
propagate that the Government resents the interference of 
the High Court with executive matters, and desires to 
undermine its authority and curtail its jurisdiction, is alto- 
gether without foundation. It is merely an illustration of 
the unscrupulous manner in which the opposition to the 
Government proposals has sometimes been conducted. The 
High Court owes its existence to the genius of the British 
Government in India, which desires that the administration 
of India should be in accordance with justice and right- 
eousness, and which has accordingly established an indepen- 
dent judicial authority for the disposal of judicial business. 
There is no inclination on the part of the Government to 
set aside the authority of the High Court." So far, indeed, 
from doing anything to weaken the High Court, Sir Andrew 
sought, as far as possible, to maintain its dignity. In 
particular, he was careful to consult it on matters affecting, 
or likely to affect, the administration of justice or of the 
law. The recommendations of the Judges were scrupulously 
sought, and, when given, as scrupulously considered by His 

As regards the Judicial Service generally, it was the 
aim of Sir Andrew to bring it into closer touch with other 
branches of the administration. He found that there was a 
good deal of friction between it and the Executive Service 
instead of harmony and co-operation. There was a feeling 
that the interests of the Judicial Department were not 
represented in the Government of the Province. Judicial 
officers felt that their views and concerns were not known 
directly to the Lieutenant-Governor, and that they were 


kept too much apart and too little considered. As one 
means of improving this unsatisfactory state of things 
Sir Andrew made it a practice to appoint, whenever possible, 
a member of the Judicial Servioe as Judicial Secretary. 
This was an innovation ; for though the appointments of 
Secretaries to the Government of Bengal are regarded as 
open to officers in either the Executive or the Judicial 
branch of the Indian Civil Service, in practice these appoint- 
ments had been filled by members of the Executive branch 
only. It was also a successful innovation, His Honour find- 
ing it of great value to have the advice and assistance of 
an officer of ripe judicial experience in dealing with* the 
many important judicial questions which arise in Bengal. 

In this connection a brief reference may be made to the 
inspection of subordinate Courts by Judges of the High Court. 
When the High Court was constituted, provision was made 
for its exercising supervision over such courts, as calculated 
to "improve the administration of justice, strengthen the 
highest court of judicature in the country, and elevate the 
character of the other courts." But the powers thus con- 
ferred had lost in the past a large proportion of their value 
for want of personal inspection; and it seemed to His 
Honour that they would continue to be to a certain extent 
ineffective, unless individual Judges went periodically into the 
interior of Bengal, and examined for themselves the state of 
the courts for which they were responsible. To enable such 
inspection to be made, the temporary appointment of an 
Additional Acting Judge of the High Court was sanctioned, 
at His Honour's instance, in 1904 and again in 1905; and 
the personal examination of subordinate courts has become a 
more regular practice. 

Among other administrative changes in the Judicial 
Service may be mentioned the creation in 1905 of the district 
of Darbhanga into a separate Judgeship, the transfer at the 
same time of the district of Champaran from the jurisdic- 
tion of the District and Sessions Judge of Saran to that of 
the District and Sessions Judge of Muzaffarpur, and the 
extension of the trial by jury system to Khulna. A separate 
Judge has also been appointed for the district last named. 
Calcutta As regards the Calcutta Police Courts, several reforms 

Police Courts. ^^ t> eeil ma d e shortly before Sir Andrew Fraser beoame 
Lieutenant-Governor. Complaints of delay in the disposal of 
cases had been frequent for some years past; and as the 
congestion was largely due to a great number of municipal 
cases, a Municipal Magistrate, with a separate establishment, 
was appointed by Sir John Woodburn in 1901 for the trial 


of municipal offences in Calcutta and its suburbs. Complaints 
of delay, however, still continued. An inspection of the Courts 
was made by two Judges of the High Court, whose report 
largely influenced the measures taken by Sir James Bourdillon 
in 1903. A member of the Indian Civil Service was appointed 
to the post of Chief Presidency Magistrate ; the work of 
reorganizing the courts was entrusted to him ; and all 
Presidency Magistrates were declared subordinate to him. A 
third Presidency Magistrate was also appointed temporarily. 

During the quinquennium of Sir Andrew Fraser's admin- 
istration, the work of the Police Courts continued to 
increase ; and the appointment of the third Presidency 
Magistrate was accordingly made permanent in 1906. It 
had by this time become apparent that, a larger staff than 
three Stipendiary Magistrates was necessary for this great 
city with a population of nearly a million souls. The 
number of cases tried by the Courts had risen between 1901 
and 1906 from 20,137 to 30,028, or by 50 per cent. ; and 
the existing three Magistrates were overburdened with work. 
Apart,, moreover, from these considerations, Sir Andrew 
keenly desired that all juvenile cases should be tried by one 
stipendiary court. In these circumstances, His Honour 
urged the necessity for the permanent appointment of a 
fourth Presidency Magistrate ; and this appointment was 
sanctioned in 1907. 

It remains to note the policy pursued by Sir Andrew 
regarding the appointment of the Chief Presidency Magistrate. 
•His predecessor, Sir James Bourdillon, had appointed a 
member of the Indian Civil Service to that office. The state 
of the Police Courts at that time was not satisfactory owing 
to want of organization and absence of adequate control. 
It was recognized as essential that whoever was appointed 
should possess not only judicial knowledge and ability, but 
also administrative capacity and experience sufficient to enable 
him first to organize and then to supervise the working 
of the Courts. After carefully considering the claims and 
qualifications of various members of the Bar, Sir James 
Bourdillon was unable to find any barrister, possessing these 
qualifications, who would accept the post on the pay fixed. 
He therefore appointed Mr. D. Weston, i.c.s., to the post 
in October 1903. When that officer vacated the post owing 
to ill-health in August 1904, Sir Andrew Fraser selected 
as his successor another member of the Indian Civil Service, 
Mr. D. H. Kingsford, in order that the reforms initiated 
might be successfully carried through. The appointments 
jvere iully justified by the increased efficiency of the Courts 



tion of the 
and Subordi- 
nate Civil 

and by the improvements eeffcted in the despatch of business. 
There was, however, a strong feeling in Calcuta in favour of 
the appointment of a barrister as Chief Presidency Magistrate. 
A promise was therefore given that when Mr. Kingford's 
tenure of the appointment was over, Government would be 
willing to appoint a barrister, if a suitable man could be 
found ; and this promise was fulfilled in 1908. 

In 1904 Sir Andrew Fraser introduced an important 
change in the method of appointing members of the Provincial 
Executive and Subordinate Civil Services. Under the system 
in force since 1893 the Lieutenant-Governor made appoint- 
ments to these services (1) on the results of a competitive 
examination held expressly for the purpose; (2) by selection 
from among candidates appearing at that examination ; and 
(3) in the case of the Provincial Service, by promoting selected 
officers already serving in the Subordinate Civil Service. It 
was also open to the Lieutenant-Governor to appoint in 
exceptional cases any person whom he might consider to be 
specially qualified for either service by nomination, pure and 
simple. This system, in the opinion of Sir Andrew Fraser, 
had failed to secure what should be the aim of Government 
in making appointments to its service, viz., to reconcile the 
conflicting claims of different races, of rival religions, and of 
varying decrees of intellectual and administrative aptitude 
and adaptability: in other words, to ensure that appointments 
in Government service should be open to men of all castes 
and creeds in different parts of the Province. The actual 
state of affairs was far different, for important but compara- 
tively backward communities, such as Biharis, Uriyas and 
Muhammadans, were not fairly represented. 

Sir Andrew Fraser did not lay the blame for this state 
of affairs entirely, or even mainly, on the system of compe- 
tition. Out of an annual average of 18 appointments, only 
three had been made as the result of the competitive 
examination, and then only after necessary enquiries had been 
made in regard to the physical fitness and moral character 
of the candidates. Four other candidates were appointed not 
by competition, but by selection from among candidates who 
had qualified at this examination, and two more appointments 
were made by nomination pure and simple. Both selection 
and nomination, however, had been conducted in a way 
which could not secure a just comparison of the claims of 
candidates. The selection was made at Calcutta; and it had 
been too often made without the possibility of judging of 
the special fitness of the selected candidate. As regards the 
method of appointment on the results of a competitive 


examination, the Government of India had recently laid down 
that this was not a suitable or satisfactory system of admis- 
sion to Government service in India. Apart, moreover, from 
this general principle, actual experience had shown that 
members of the more highly educated classes who happened 
to have a peculiar aptitude for passing examinations were 
unduly predominant, while members of less advanced races or 
creeds felt that competition was hopeless: the system, in 
fact, deprived them of the hope of getting into Government 
service. On these grounds, Sir Andrew Fraser was con- 
vinced that the whole system of recruitment was unsuitable 
as a means of selecting candidates for the public service, and 
required revision. 

It seemed to him, and to a large body of officials and 
non-official (mostly Indian) gentlemen whom he consulted, 
that it was quite unnecessary to have a special competitive 
examination in a Province where there was only one 
University, and that it would be a far better plan to 
appoint candidates not because they had qualified in a 
special test of this kind, but because they had qualified in 
the University. While realizing that the progress of educa- 
tion has rendered it necessary to demand high educational 
qualifications from candidates for the public service, it was, 
he considered, far better evidence of educational fitness and 
of strength of character to hold a degree in a University 
than to qualify in a single competitive examination. The 
Lieutenant-Governor decided, therefore, to request the Syndicate 
of the University to assist . him by nominating every year 
six men who had been the most distinguished students of 
that year, and who were believed to be of good moral 
character and physically fit for employment in Government 
service. From among these the Lieutenant-Governor, after 
making a careful enquiry as to their character, and after 
ascertaining that they were willing to accept the appointment, 
and were physically fit for the Government service, would 
select three, reserving the power, if necessary, to make his 
selection not merely from the six candidates nominated in 
a single year, but also from any of those nominated from 
time to time by the Syndicate, who had not passed the age 
of twenty-five years. As the grant of this privilege to the 
Syndicate was a novel experiment, it was decided that it should 
be a temporary arrangement in the first instance, until such 
time as experience should have been gained of its working; 
and it was therefore introduced for a period of five years only. 
Five other appointments were to be made by promotion 
from among Sub-Deputy Collectors, including excise officers of 


corresponding rank, the "basis of selection being not seniority, 
but merit as proved by good work and high character. One 
appointment' was to be given to a student of the Agricultural 
College, and two other appointments were reserved to be made 
* by the Lieutenant-Governor himself. For the rest, instead of 
leaving the selection to the Lieutenant-Governor and his staff 
at headquarters, it was decided that the Commissioners should 
nominate candidates who had obtained University degrees, so 
that men might be appointed who had not only a better 
educational qualification than the mere passing of a competitive 
examination, but who were known to responsible officers as men 
likely to make good public servants. As regards the Subordinate 
> Civil Service, nine appointments were to be made from among 

candidates nominated by Commissioners, three by the Board 
of Revenue by selection from among the officers employed 
in the Departments under it, and one by selection from 
among students in the Provincial College of Agriculture. 

This change was introduced with the full approval of 
the Government of India, and it is expected that the result 
will be to encourage education, and also, in all probability, 
to secure a better class of Government servants. 
Reorgaaiza- Next year (in 1905) sanction was given to a scheme 

tion of Regis- f or the reorganization of the Registration Department, which 
payment. 6 na d been initiated by Sir James Bourdillon. Under the 
system till then in force Rural Sub-Registrars were supposed 
to be respeotable residents of the places in which the registry 
offices were situated, men of mature age fitted for sedentary 
work, who would perform the work of registration in their 
leisure hours in return for a certain percentage of fees. 
In practice, however, it was found impossible to obtain a 
sufficient supply of officers of this class, and a system grew 
up of appointing as "special apprentices" a certain number 
of young men, who learnt the work as unpaid apprentices 
in the hope of obtaining later on appointments as Rural 
Sub-Registrars. This system proved a failure. With the 
growing popularity of registration, the work in nearly every 
place occupied the whole time of the Sub-Registrars. The 
methods of recruitment often failed to supply officers of the 
stamp necessary to conduct the business of a large public 
department, and for many years complaints were common 
that corruption was rife in registration offices. The system 
of payment by fees also led to great administrative incon- 
venience ; for the emoluments were attached to the offices, and 
promotion necessarily involved a transfer with all its incon- 
veniences, while, on the other hand, it might sometimes be 
expedient, in the^ interests of the public service, to transfer 


an officer, but impossible to do so without deoreasing his 
remuneration. Lastly, the calculation of the fees was a 
very cumbrous process and opened a wide door to fraud 
It was felt therefore that it was essential to adopt a new 
method of recruitment, to offer fair and certain prospects, to' 
recognize the Sub-Registrars as Government officers, and to 
establish a properly organized cadre. 

The main features of the scheme introduced to effect these 
reforms are as follows : — (1) Special Sub-Registrars at the 
headquarters stations, who used to be remunerated partly by 
commission and partly by fixed salaries, were divided into 
four grades on fixed salaries personal to them, and their 
service continued to be pensionable. (2) Rural Sub-Regis- 
trars at outlying stations, who were remunerated entirely by 
commission, were divided into four grades on fixed salaries 
personal to them, and their service was made pensionable 
from the date of the introduction of the scheme. Sub- 
Registrars over the age of 45 were given the option of 
remaining under the old system of payment by commission, 
with the result that only a few continued to be paid by 
commission. (3) A grade of officers was formed for filling 
leave vacancies, and another grade of officers called "proba- 
tioners" was constituted for filling up vacancies on account 
of casualties. (4) The salaries of the clerks and muharrirs 
of the rural offices were raised, and their payment was 
undertaken by Government. Their service also was made pen- 
sionable. Previous to the introduction of the scheme, these 
men used to be paid by the Sub-Registrars themselves out 
of an establishment allowance granted by Government, and 
their service was not pensionable. 

The Registration Department has thus been placed on an 
entirely different footing, and is no longer "the refuge of 
old worn-out pensioners." It has been organized as a regular 
Government Department; and the Sub-Registrars and their 
establishments have been admitted to the benefits and privi- 
leges of leave and pension rules, and a better system of 
recruitment has been introduced. 

A considerable increase in the staff of Deputy Magistrate- increase of 
Collectors and Sub-Deputy Collectors was also sanctioned in cadre - 
1906. The rapid development of the Province had naturally 
brought with it a large increase of work, but there had been no 
corresponding increase in the number of officers available for 
the ordinary duties of district administration. Many districts 
were consequently undermanned, and the - staff overworked, and 
this in spite of the higher standard of efficiency required. The 
results were apparent in many directions, and not the least 


noticeable was the way in which the district staff were pre- 
vented from coming into contact with and obtaining a full 
knowledge of the people under them. Exoept in the smaller 
districts, the time of the District Officer was unduly occupied by 
the drudgery of office and routine work, the senior officer at 
headquarters could not be spared for work outside the station, 
and other officers were equally tied to their desks. Consequently, 
less touring in the interior was done than formerly, and in 
the absence of an organization of village officials, such as 
exists in other Provinces, much was necessarily left to the 
police. Sir Andrew Fraser, convinced of the importance of 
free and frequent communication between the officials and the, 
people, could not but view this state of affairs with grave 
concern; at the same time he was prevented by the 
iD adequacy of the staff from carrying into effect a reform 
he had in contemplation, viz., the employment of separate 
officers on criminal work and of others solely on revenue 
and administrative duties. He accordingly made strong repre- 
sentations as to the urgent necessity for a substantial increase 
of the cadre of the Provincial Executive and Subordinate 
Civil Services in the interests of efficient administration. As 
a result of these representations, an increase of 78 additional 
appointments in the cadre of the Provincial and of 25 
appointments in the Subordinate Executive Service was sanc- 
tioned in 1906. 


In the Central Provinces Sir Andrew Fraser had had a 
long and pleasant experience of the administration of Feuda- 
tory States, first during the five years he spent in Chhattis- 
garh, and later when he was Chief Commissioner. Keenly 
interested in this branch of government, he took measures 
to ascertain how far the system in force in Bengal was 
efficient and to the interest of the British Government, the 
Chiefs and their people. From the first, he took special 
care to deal personally with questions concerned with the 
management of the States, to visit them on tour, to become 
acquainted with the Chiefs, and to learn at first hand their 
circumstances. These personal enquiries he supplemented by 
deputing, in November 1904, an officer to tour through the 
Chota Nagpur States (except Saraikela and Kharsawan, which 
are directly under the Deputy Commissioner of Singhbhum), 
with orders to make a detailed report concerning the material 


condition, of the people, the mode of administration obtaining 
in each State, and the relations existing between the Chiefs 
and their subjects. As a result of the enquiries made both 
by himself and by the special officer, His Honour came to the 
conclusion that not only was the administration of Feudatory 
States more efficiently conducted in the Cfentral Provinces, 
but that the Chiefs were on better terms with the officers of 
Government than in Bengal. He decided therefore to take 
measures to encourage the Chiefs to administer their States 
more efficiently and to recognize more fully their duties and 

As a means to this end, Sir Andrew was convinced that 
he could not do better than introduce the system he had 
himself helped to work in the Chhattisgarh Division of the 
Central Provinces, where there were a number of States 
under a Political Agent, who was himself subordinate to the 
Commissioner. Each State was under the influence of the 
Political Agent, who did not unduly interfere with the 
administration of the State, but visited it every year, was on 
terms of kindly familiarity with the Chief, and assisted him 
with advice in regard to his administration. When for any 
reason it was impossible to carry on the administration 
through the ruler of the State himself, an officer of Govern- 
ment was appointed as Manager, and the State was thus 
brought more directly under the Political Agent. But suoh 
cases were exceptional. His Honour knew from experience 
that this arrangement worked most successfully. He was 
strongly of opinion that a similar system should be introduced 
for the Feudatory States of Bengal. 

Sir Andrew Fraser received very striking corroboration of 
his view on this point in an interesting memorial presented 
to him by the Uriya Chiefs of the Central Provinces, whose 
States it was proposed to transfer to Bengal (Orissa). These 
Chiefs, all of whom he knew personally, stated that, apart 
from considerations affecting their status and powers, in 
regard to which their anxiety was easily set at rest, they 
had one serious objection to the transfer. This was that 
there was no Political Agent in Bengal. They pointed out 
how the Political Agent in the Central Provinces had always 
been their friend and adviser and how useful he had been 
to them in their administration. His Honour assured them 
that it was his intention to ask for a Political Agent for 
the Uriya States. When therefore the reconstitution of the 
Province was settled, and there had been created a 
homogeneous group of States, by transferring the Hindi- 
speaking States of Chota Nagpiff to the Chhattisgarh Dvision 



in the Central Provinces and the IJriya-speaking States of 
the Central Provinces to Bengal, he strongly recommended the 
appointment of a Political Agent. Sir Andrew's recommen- 
dation was accepted by the Government of India. In October 
1905 the two States of Gangpur and Bonai were transferred 
from the Chota Nagpur Division to Orissa, and the five Uriya 
. States — Patna, Kalahandi, Sonpur, Bamra and Eairakhol — 
.were transferred to Orissa from the Central Provinces. This 
measure amalgamated the TTriya-speaking races of the 
.Feudatory States into a compact whole, over which it was 
resolved to place a Political Agent. 

By thus welding together a tract of country with 
common interests and common sentiments, facilities were 
afforded for the development of the States. As a preliminary 
measure to their further development, an officer was placed 
;On special duty to enquire into and ascertain the needs and 
condition of the transferred States, to associate with the 
Chiefs, and to win their co-operation. Shortly afterwards, 
.in April 1906, this officer, Mr. Cobden-Eamsay, i.c.s., was 
appointed Political Agent for the Tributary and Feudatory 
States of Orissa, subject to the control of the Commissioner. 
The general lines of policy laid down for the guidance of 
the Agent were that the Chiefs should be taught to under- 
stand their responsibility for the administration of their 
States ; efforts should be made to render them capable of 
efficient administration ; and the supervision exercised over 
them should be only such as might be necessary to keep 
the British Government in touch with their administration. 
Briefly, the Chiefs were to be left to manage the affairs 
of their own States without interference, so long as they 
worked on reasonable lines of progress, and refrained from 
oppression and injustice. The Political Agent was to be 
the friend, adviser, and colleague of each Chief. And the 
Commissioner was to be the official superior of both. The 
wisdom of His Honour's policy was soon apparent. Hitherto 
little had been done to encourage the Chiefs; and a 
spirit, if not of actual mistrust, at any rate of aloofness . and 
suspicion had been engendered. They were now assured of 
the friendly attentions and good- will of Government, . and 
their confidence was gained. 

Nothing perhaps has done more to establish the self- 
respect of the Chiefs, and thereby induce them to take a 
keener interest in their administration, than the principle, 
established for the first time during the Lieutenant-Governor- 
ship of Sir Andrew Fraser, that no Chief could be sued as 
-a party in . a case either in his own State < or before the 


Courts of the Political Officers. It had hitherto been the 
custom for the Chiefs to appear as parties in suits and eases 
before the Commissioner. This procedure was highly deroga^ 
tory to; the status of the Chiefs; it was contrary to the 
terms of their nanads ; and its prohibition was regarded as 
one of the greatest boons conferred on them by Government, 
They were set free from litigation with its expenses and 
worries, and were required, in terms of their sanads, merely 
to submit disputes to the friendly advice of the Commissioner 
and Political Agent. 

The next step taken to improve the status of the Chiefs,, 
and to ensure a better administration of their States, was 
the preparation of a Feudatory States Manual. Every care 
Was taken to ascertain the actual facts governing the relations 
between the British Grovernment and the States, and between 
the Chiefs and their subjects; and those facts were carefully 
recorded. Without going into too much detail, the main 
principles laid down were that: — (1) interference with the 
administrative action of the Chiefs was to be carefully refrained 
from, except in cases of real oppression and injustice ; (2) 
difference of opinion in civil suits was not to justify 
interference ; (3) the Chiefs' subjects were not to be 
encouraged to petition British officers; and the latter were 
not. to institute enquiries, except in special cases, until the 
Chief had been given an opportunity of dealing with the 
case himself ; and (4) no Chief should be made a party to 
a. suit or case. The Chiefs for their part were placed 
for the first time in possession of a clear record showing; 
the lines of policy on which they should work and the 
standard which they were expected to reach in their 
administration. They found that their social status and 
official position were carefully protected, and that no Feuda- 
tory Chief, however small his domain or however limited 
his powers, was to be belittled in his own State. They 
felt secure in their dealings with the representatives of the 
paramount power ; and they realized that, in future, the 
personal views of any particular officer could not cause 
a;' .sudden change in their position and in the system of. 
administration. It was, in fact, made clear to the Chiefs 
that they were looked • upon, as a valuable asset in the 
administration of the Province. 

Another important measure taken by Sir Andrew, was 
to increase the powers of some of the Chiefs. The Feuda- 
tory: States, it may be ' explained, after the traDsfer of five 
States -from the Central Provinces, consisted of three groups 
of which the Chiefs had varying degrees of powers. The 


Chiefs of the Sambalpur group, i.e., of the States transferred 
from the Central Provinces, had full powers in criminal 
cases, except that capital sentences required confirmation by 
a British officer. The Chiefs of the States of Chota Nagpur 
had powers to pass sentences of imprisonment up to five 
years, while the powers of the Chiefs of the Tributary 
Mahals of Orissa were ordinarily limited to passing sentences 
of two years' imprisonment, a fine of Es. 2,000 and whipping. 
The difference in powers was probably due originally to 
mere chance at the time when the powers were recognized. 
But, however this may be, the creation of the Political 
Agency naturally brought these variations into prominence; 
and Chiefs with smaller powers felt their status to be 
inferior, complained that the distinction was invidious, and 
requested that they might be granted fuller powers. 

Sir Andrew gave them a sympathetic hearing. He had 
an examination made of their sanads and of the history of 
their States, and found that the distinction was not justified 
on historical grounds. It appeared also to be unsound on 
other grounds. It threw unnecessary work upon British 
officers outside the States, who had to deal with cases which 
the Chiefs could not dispose of. It was opposed to the 
policy of Government, viz., not to withhold from the Feuda- 
tory Chiefs plenary powers in the administration of justice, 
when their personal character and the resources of their 
States 'showed that they were capable of maintaining an 
advanced standard of administration. He therefore recom- 
mended to the Government of India that the Chiefs of the 
old Chota Nagpur States and of the original Orissa Tribu- 
tary Mahals should be granted such powers as the 
administration of the State warranted in each case. The 
Government of India sanctioned the proposal. This measure 
has given the Chiefs in question an incentive to good 
administration, and at the same time they fully understand 
that any failure to keep up the standard of their administra- 
tion, or any abuse of their powers, will entail the' loss of the 
privileges conferred upon them. 

In conclusion, the principal features of Sir Andrew's 
policy in regard to the Feudatory States may be briefly 
summarized. He endeavoured to- Kelp the Chiefs to realize 
their dignity ; for unless they realized their dignity, they 
would not realize their responsibilities. He considered it a 
matter of the utmost importance to let them see that the 
British Government is interested in their" welfare and in 
maintaining their prestige with their subjects. And he 
deprecated any interference with their internal administration 


which was not necessary for the protection of their subjects. 
On no part of his administration does Sir Andrew look back 
with greater pleasure. 


In no direction perhaps has administrative progress been 
more marked during recent years than in the improvement 
of the legislative machinery which controls the relations of 
landlords and tenants in the Province. These relations are 
mainly regulated in Bihar, Lower Bengal, and largely also 
in Orissa, by the Bengal Tenancy Act, VIII of 1885; in 
the Chota Nagpur Division by Act I of 1879; and in 
the peculiar district of the Sonthal Parganas, which is 
wedged in between Chota Nagpur and the rest of Bengal, 
by Eegulation III of 1872. Far-reaching changes have been 
or are being made in each of these legislative enactments, 
so as to bring their provisions into closer accord with the 
developments and requirements of agrarian life in the areas 
governed by them. The following is an account of the 
measures taken to improve these enactments and of the 
circumstances which necessitated their revision. 

The most important agrarian measure carried out during Amendment 
the Lieutenant- Governorship of Sir Andrew Eraser was the T^nc^Ac? 1 
amendment of the Bengal Tenancy Act. The necessity of 
amending that Act in the interests of both landlords and 
tenants had been urged some years before. In December 1900 
the British Indian Association had submitted a representation 
suggesting a number of amendments of the Tenancy Act in 
view of the difficulties which landlords encountered, and the 
losses they suffered in realizing rents and cesses. Subsequently, 
in September 1902, the Board of Eevenue drew attention to 
the rarity of cases in which the records of survey and settle- 
ment proceedings were examined before decrees were given by 
Civil Courts for rents higher than those recorded after careful 
enquiries by Eevenue Officers. Further investigation followed 
on this point and on the necessity of legislation to proteot 
raiyats from illegal or undue enhancement of rents ; and 
eventually in September 1904 the question of amending the 
Tenanoy Act was considered at a conference attended by 
all the Commissioners of the Province. The great majority 
were of opinion that it was necessary to give weak and 
subservient tenants increased protection from illegal and undue 
enhancement of rents in Court and out of Court j and after 


further enquiry a short draft Bill dealing with the mainten- 
ance of the record- of -rights, the enhancement of rents, and 
the preparation of a record-of -rights in water used for 
agricultural purposes, was drawn up and circulated for 
opinion. This Bill was subjected to a good deal of hostile 

The Lieutenant-Governor called together some of his most 
experienced Eevenue and Settlement Officers and a considerable 
number of the most influential and intelligent of the zamindars, 
and had several prolonged conferences with them. Certain 
points were fully discussed ; and it was decided, before proceeding 
further, to appoint a smaller Committee to consider the 
important questions raised in connection with the amendment 
of the Act. A representative Committee was accordingly 
appointed, presided over by Mr. (now Sir Lancelot) Hare, 
then Senior Member of the Board of Eevenue, on which 
four Hindu non- official members served. The members of 
this Committee were unanimously of opinion that the amend- 
ment of the Bengal Tenancy Act should be effected by 
a comprehensive measure dealing not only with the 
questions referred to them, but with all the defects and 
difficulties that had from time to time been brought to light 
in the working of the Act. Their recommendation was 
accepted by His Honour, and a draft Bill, dealing with all 
the points thought worthy of consideration, was prepared. 
This Bill was expounded by the Lieutenant-Governor to a 
meeting of zamindars at Belvedere, and was then submitted 
for report to a strong Committee appointed in 1906 to 
assist Government with its advice. The Committee was 
presided over by the Hon'ble Mr. Justice Eampini, a Judge 
of the High Court, and amongst its nine members included 
four influential non-officials who were representative of the 
landholding interest. 

The Bill as it left the hands of the Committee was a 
compromise which attempted to deal fairly with the conflict- 
ing interests involved. Melancholy evidence had been obtained 
of the extent to which zamindars had abused their powers ; 
and, on the other hand, Government desired to do all in its 
power to meet the reasonable demands of the zamindars and 
to facilitate the collection of their dues. The Bill was, 
therefore, designed to protect weak tenantry from unscrupulous 
landlords, and at the same time to protect good landlords 
against intractable tenants, and to secure them in the just 
enjoyment of their rights. Thanks to this spirit of compro- 
mise, and to the careful preliminary consideration and discus- 
sion which it received, the Bill met with little opposition of 


a serious nature in Council, and was very slightly altered 
before it passed into law as Bengal Act I of 1907. 

The objects of the -Act are briefly as follow :— (1) to 
give greater facilities to landlords for the collection of rent, 
and at the same time to discourage evasion of the law by 
collusive compromises; (2) to give greater authority to the 
settlement records; (3) to enable Government to deal more 
effectively with oppressive landlords; and (4) to remove other 
defects and difficulties in the working of the Act. The first 
object was attained by empowering the Local Government to 
extend to the estates of approved landlords, under certain 
restrictions, the summary procedure for the recovery of rents 
known as the "certificate procedure." Hitherto competent 
authorities had declared that it was impossible to devise a 
solution of the problem how to give landlords a summary 
procedure for the recovery of rents without danger of serious 
oppression to their raiyats by dishonest and unscrupulous land- 
lords. It was realized that this danger was a real one, and 
that such powers could only be given to landlords if carefully 
safeguarded. The concession was, therefore, hedged in by 
important limitations and conditions. It was laid down that 
the procedure was t© be allowed only to landlords whose 
accounts were properly kept, and only in areas in which a 
record-of-rights had not only already been prepared and 
published, but was being periodically revised. Another import- 
ant amendment was that which made it possible for a co- 
sharer landlord, who complied with certain conditions, to obtain 
a decree which would have the force of a rent decree, and 
not of a. mere money decree, as under the former law. 

On the other hand, raiyats were protected from ex-parte 
decrees and from illegal compromises by provisions which 
made it. necessary for plaintiffs in rent-suits to produce 
extracts from the record-of-rights, and which prevented Civil 
Courts from accepting compromises embodying agreements 
which would be illegal if embodied in contracts between the 
parties. This was a most important provision, for it had 
been found that one of the commonest devices by which 
landlords obtained unduly enhanced rents was to force their 
raiyats to agree to a compromise in the Civil Court, by 
which they obtained an enhanced rent far larger than could 
have been obtained by a contract. In this way the Courts 
were used to enforce a demand which the landlord knew 
he could not obtain in fair fight, and to give a legal 
colouring to an improper enhancement ; and this was .facilitated 
by the fact that the Civil Courts, as a rule, took no notice 
of the record-of-rights, unless the parties to a case put them in 




The second object of the Act, viz., giving greater authority 
to the record- of-rights, when such a record had been duly- 
prepared and published, was obtained by an emphatic 
statement of the proviso that every entry in a record-of-rights 
duly published shall be presumed to be correct until it is 
proved by evidence to be .incorrect. This proviso was 
necessary in view of the fact that, though enormous expen- 
diture had been incurred in having an elaborate and accurate 
record-of-rights prepared on the spot, in presence of the 
interested parties, by a trained and competent staff, the 
record had been neglected or overridden, as if it were 
absolutely useless, and rents enhanced without reference to or 
in spite of it. 

The third object was attained by additions to the Act 
which rendered it possible to deal more stringently with 
landlords who failed to grant proper rent receipts, and which 
empowered Government of its own initiative, with the sanction 
of the Governor-General in Council, to settle rents, and, if 
need be, to reduce them, in areas where rents had been 
illegally enhanced. 

One of the most important miscellaneous amendments of 
the Act is that contained in new sections 109B and 109C, 
which instruct Revenue Officers employed on settlement work 
how to deal with rent compromises tendered in the course of 
the operations. While all compromises that would be illegal, 
if embodied in contract, may be rejected, specially empowered 
Revenue Officers may be allowed discretion in the settlement, 
by agreement, of rents which to their satisfaction are fair and 
equitable. The value of this enactment has recently been 
proved in South Monghyr, where, without it, the thorny 
question of illegal rent enhancement in certain large estates 
could never have been dealt with satisfactorily. Another 
important addition to the law is a section which makes it 
possible to prepare a record cf water rights in areas where 
disputes regarding these have arisen or are likely to arise. 
Among the minor amendments of the Act may be noted the 
addition to sections 18A and 18B to facilitate the registration 
of the transfer of permanent tenures; the revision of section 
22 to discourage the acquisition of occupancy holdings by 
landlords; the alteration in section 52, which makes it easier 
for landlords to prove excess area; and the modification of 
section 69 which affects distraint and appraisement proceedings. 

Another important subject which received special attention 
from Sir Andrew Fraser was the necessity of a sound agra- 
rian policy for the inhabitants of Chota Nagpur, a people 
at once conservative, excitable and tenacious of their rights. 


Owing to the aggression of landlords, there has been agra- 
rian trouble, more or less acute, in Chota Nagpur since the 
Kol rebellion of 1831. The disturbances were renewed in 
1858, and after much agitation the first remedial measure 
was passed in the Chota Nagpur Tenures Act of 1869, of 
which the object was to ascertain, record, and regulate the 
lands belonging to the tenures under which land in Chota 
Nagpur falls for the most part, viz., bhuinhari, i.e., held by 
persons claiming to be descendants of the original founders 
of the village; majahas, i.e., reserved for the absolute use 
of the village zamindars; and rajahas, or ordinary rent- 
paying land. The Act of 1869 did not provide for a record 
of the rajahas land, and the Special Commissioner appointed 
under it dealt only with the bhuinhari and majahas land. 

Ten years later the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1879 
was passed, which was based upon Act X of 1859, formerly 
the rent law for the whole of Upper India. It did not, 
however, go to the root of the troubles, nor did the land 
have rest after it. The raiyats specially complained of 
exactions made by the landlords in the matter of services 
and cesses. From 1887 to 1890 there was agitation con- 
nected with claims made by the landlords for services, claims 
made by the tenants to hold land at quit-rents, petitions 
made by zamindars and raiyats for the assistance of the autho- 
rities, etc. Rents were withheld, and meetings were held 
at which leaders of the raiyats incited them to take possession 
of majahas land. Government recognized that there was a 
deep-rooted spirit of .antagonism between landlord and tenant, 
the chief causes of dispute being the system of beihbegari, by 
which the tenant was bound to perform a certain amount of 
unpaid labour for the landlord, and the levy, in addition to 
rent, of numerous rakumats or cesses, in money and kind, 
uncertain in their incidence. Finally, after much discussion, 
it was decided to pass an Act for the record and commuta- 
tion of predial services into an equivalent cash rent. This 
Act was Act II of 1897, known as the Commutation Act, 
which is confined to the record of predial services, i.e., 
services of ploughing, digging, sowing, and reaping for the 
landlord and carrying his burdens on journeys, and to their 
commutation into cash payments. 

Two years later the disputes, which had continued during 
the decade, culminated in the disturbances of 1899-1900, when 
troops and armed police had to be called out to put down 
acts of violence in the Munda country in Eanchi. These 
outrages were committed at the instigation of religious 
fanatics, but were intimately connected with the agrarian 


dissensions." The rising was, in fact, the result of the 
long smouldering disaffection which existed among the Mundas 
owing to the non-recognition of their rights. The Chota 
Nagpur Tenures Act of 1869 had, indeed, effected some 
improvement, hut it did not go far enough, as it took no- 
notice of intact Mundari khuntkatti villages. The land- 
lords continued to oust the tenants from khuntkatti tenancies, 
and the khuntkattidars to struggle to retain them. Mund- 
ari khuntkattidars, it may be explained, are Mundari culti- 
vators descended from the original founders of a village, who 
by local custom have special and peculiar rights. 

The then Lieutenant-Governor, Sir John Woodbum, came 
to the conclusion that "the essenoe of the whole business is 
to get a correct record of existing facts in tenants' holdings " ; 
and it was decided in 1901 to effect a survey and settle- 
ment of the Munda tract in the Eanchi district, which 
extends over about 1,850 square miles. It was, however, 
recognized that, if steps were not taken to safeguard by 
legislation the rights of these people and to secure the 
finality of the record-of -rights, the latter alone would not 
suffice to allay agitation. Accordingly, in the Chota 
Nagpur Tenancy (Amendment) Act of 1903, which was 
introduced to amend the law of landlord and tenant in 
Chota Nagpur except Manbhum, special provisions were 
inserted in respect of khuntkatti tenures. Among them may 
be mentioned section 164, which provides that the record- 
of-rights, when published, shall be conclusive evidence on the 
question whether a tenancy is a Mundari khuntkattidari 
tenancy, and section 152, which provides restrictions on the 
transfer of Mundari khuntkattidari tenancies. 

Briefly, the position when Sir Andrew Eraser assumed charge 
of the Province was as follows. For generations the aborigines 
of Chota Nagpur had been in a state of unrest owing to their 
inability to protect what they believe to be their rights in 
the land. They enjoy special rights and privileges in respect 
of the lands cultivated by them, and these are recognized by 
the indigenous landlords. But for many years past, these 
landlords had gradually been losing their estates to aliens,., 
chiefly of the money-lender class; and the latter, when they 
came into possession, always endeavoured to break down the 
rights of the cultivators and to enchance their rents. 
The result was that there had been constant disputes 
between landlords and tenants and, occasionally, armed risings 
of the latter. To remedy this state of affairs the Tenures 
Act o£ 1869 and the Landlord and. Tenant Procedure Aofc 
of 1879 were passed; but subsequent events, culminating- in 


.another uprising of this clan, showed that further measures 
were required to put an end to the legitimate grievances of 
the Mundas. Government accordingly determined to have a 
record- of-rights prepared for the Eanchi district, and the 

.enquiries thereby originated showed that the aborigines had 
no confidence or trust in the Courts, owing chiefly to their 
mental inferiority as compared with the Aryans opposed to 
them. They were therefore made to understand that 
Government would, as far as possible, deal with their claims 
by special enquiry on the spot, so that there should be no 
doubt in the future in regard to those that were recognized. 
Accordingly, Bengal Act V of 1903 was passed, and a part 

,of that Act dealt with the subject of Mundari khuntkatti 
tenancies. The Settlement Officer began operations in the 

-most disturbed portion of the Eanchi district, and succeeded 
in restoring, to some extent, confidence in the minds of 
the aborigines, who had unfortunately been made most sus- 
picious by past events. 

At his first visit to Eanchi in September 1905, Sir Andrew 
Fraser made special enquiries regarding the progress of the 
settlement and the working of the laws above mentioned. 
He found that through the ignorance of the Courts, 
aided by the apathy of local officers until more recent years, 
immense injustice had been done to the Mundas by. the 
agency of the law. The feeling created in the minds of many 
of them was one of great bitterness against the Government, 
whose failure to interfere on their behalf they had not 
been able to understand. This feeling had been fomented 
by unscrupulous men, who, for their own purposes and 
pecuniary gain, assisted in overreaching the Mundas, while 
pretending to be their friends. 

Special laws had been made, and an expensive settlement 
undertaken in order to check this mischief. But there was 
a danger of the former being rendered fruitless by the 

•entire ignoring of it by officers trying suits between land- 
lords and tenants and by their want of knowledge of the peculiar 

• customs and tenures existing in Chota Nagpur. His 
Honour, therefore, requested Mr. H. W. C. Carnduff, c.i.e., 
whom he had appointed to be Judicial Commissioner of Chota 
Nagpur, to bring out an annotated edition of the Local 
Tenancy Act and publish, as an appendix, a paper by 
Mr. E. Lister, i.c.s., the Settlement Officer, and the Revd. 
Father Hoffmann, s.j., a local missionary with great know- 
ledge of the people, in which a full account was given .of 
the land system - of the Mundari country in Eanchi. . At the 

.same time, Mr.- Carnduff directed the . Courts io .make all 


possible use of the Settlement Eecords; and Mr. Lister 
instructed Judicial Officers in the nature and contents of those 
records and arranged to keep them aware of the progress 
of his work. Arrangements were also made to bring the 
Settlement Officers and the ordinary district staff into closer 
touch, so that the latter might be better acquainted with what 
the former were doing. These measures have been attended 
with excellent results. 

The enquiries made by Sir Andrew Fraser also showed 
that, although much good was being done by the settlement, 
other measures were still necessary; and it was arranged 
that Mr. F. A. Slaoke, c.s.i., the Commissioner, should draw 
up with Mr. Lister a joint note showing what further 
remedial action was required. This note was received by 
His Honour in August 1905; and the measures therein 
indicated as necessary are now in course of being taken 
One new subdivision has already been opened at Khunti; 
and it is in contemplation to open two others in the north 
and south-west of the Eanchi district. 

Finally, Sir Andrew Fraser was satisfied that the agrarian 
law of Chota Nagpur needed thorough revision. The 
experience gained in the settlement made it clear that the local 
Tenancy Act failed in various important respects to take due 
account of the rights enjoyed by the aboriginal cultivators. 
A Bill to amend both the Chota Nagpur Landlord and 
Tenant Procedure Act and the Chota Nagpur Commutation 
Act, was accordingly drafted, introduced in Council, and 
referred to a Select Committee. Some of its provisions, 
however, were strongly objected to in Select Committee, 
while the reports of the . local officers showed the necessity 
for further amendments not contemplated by the Bill, 
including the importation from the Bengal Tenancy Act of 
the law regarding settled raiyats, the provisions relating to 
non-occupancy raiyats, and a section saving local customs. In 
these circumstances, the Lieutenant-Governor decided to with- 
draw the Bill from Council with a view to further revision. 
A rough draft of a revised Bill was prepared in consulta- 
tion with the officers possessing most knowledge of agrarian 
conditions in Chota Nagpur; and its provisions were dis- 
cussed in detail, during a visit of His Honour to Eanchi 
in August 1907, at a series of conferences attended by the 
local officers and selected representatives of the landlords 
and tenants of Chota Nagpur. The last conference was 
presided over by His Honour; and the Bill was discussed 
in every detail in respect of which there remained any 
difference of opinion. The result of these conferences was 


most gratifying, for practical unanimity was obtained regarding 
most of the matters dealt with in the revised Bill. This 
Bill was further revised in accordance with the conclusions 
then arrived at; but it was found that by this time the 
number of amendments had become excessive, and that it 
would be very difficult to fit the alterations and additions 
into the framework of the existing Act I (B.C.) of 1879. 
It had long been recognized that this Act was very 
badly drafted. It was, therefore, decided to take the 
opportunity to re-arrange and consolidate the whole of the 
principal enactments relating to landlord and tenant in 
Chota Nagpur in an entirely new amending Bill. The 
Bill was introduced in Council and passed into law in 1908. 

This Act is intended for the protection of the aboriginal Encumbered 
peasantry of Chota Nagpur against alien adventurers. 
Another measure has been brought forward for preserving 
the status of the large hereditary landlords. They are 
at present protected to some extent by the Chota Nagpur 
Encumbered Estates Act, which was passed to meet the 
constant danger of their being sold up for indebtedness 
and of their estates passing into the hands of usurers. 
The Act provides for the management of the encumbered 
estates by the civil authorities ; but there is a serious 
obstacle in the way of its successful working, viz., that an 
estate can only be brought under protection on the applica- 
tion of the proprietor or his heir, or when it has been 
attached in execution of a decree of a Civil Court. Experienoe 
has shown that the proprietors of estates are often so 
short-sighted as to postpone applying for protection until 
their debts have become so heavy, that it is no longer 
possible to save their property. The result is that protection 
has to be refused, their estates are sold up, and the family 
sinks into oblivion. This is the more serious because the 
leading zamindars were all of them at one time indepen- 
dent or semi-independent Chiefs, and it is politically most 
undesirable that they should be exposed to the risk of dis- 

The ruin of the old hereditary families also reacts on the 
peasantry. In Chota Nagpur the landlord is not the 
absolute owner of the land. The aboriginal raiyats enjoy 
special rights in respect of the enjoyment of forest produce, 
the clearing of waste, and the like. Their rents, also, 
are very low. The hereditary landlords acquiesce in their 
enjoyment of these customary rights. But when estates 
fall into the hands of aliens, the latter invariably claim 
full proprietary rights, and do all they can to enhance 


rents. The cultivators are unable to hold their own in 
the law courts or to cope with the chicanery brought 
to bear against them. They give way for a time, but at 
last turn on their oppressors and on other foreigners. There 
have been repeated instances of this in the history of 
Chota Nagpur, the last being the Mundari rising of 1899- 
1900. In circumstances like this, the case for special legis- 
lation appeared to the Lieutenant-Governor to be . over- 
whelmingly strong. A Bill to amend the Encumbered Estates 
Act has accordingly been introduced with provisions enabling 
Government to assume the management of estates in such 
cases. At the same time, it is proposed that the consent of 
the Lieutenant-Governor to such assumption of management 
should not be given, unless either (1) the holder of the estate 
belongs to a family of political or social importance, or (2) 
the lieutenant-Governor is satisfied that the application of the 
Act is desirable in the interests of the tenants. 

The opportunity has also been taken to remedy certain 
defects which the practical working of the Act has brought 
to light. For instance, it often happens that encumbered 
.proprietors incur fresh debts during the period of manage- 
ment. These debts, in themselves, cannot legally be 
recovered, but they are usually validated by the proprietors 
.as soon as their estates, are released. The result is that 
the proprietors again become embarrassed, and have once 
more to apply for protection. It is therefore proposed to 
take power .to retain under management for an extended 
period estates which are brought under protection a second 
time. Again, the Act, unlike the Court of "Wards Act of 
,1879, fails to empower the authorities to provide for the 
proper education of the children of disqualified proprie- 
cors. Another defect brought to light is the difficulty 
which the Act places in the way of raising loans from 
Trust Eunds for the benefit of encumbered estates. Pro- 
visions to remedy these and other defects have been inserted 
in the Bill which is before the Bengal Legislative Council. 
Sonthal For the last 50 years the administration of the Sonthal 

Relations. P a *g ailas nas keen governed by special Regulations. The 
first of these was Regulation XXXVII of 1855, passed after 
the Sonthal rebellion of that year, by which the area of 
the present district was separated from the ordinary adminis- 
tration and placed under the control of special officers. In 
spite of this, the district drifted more or less under the 
ordinary law and procedure, with unfortunate results. The 
discontent of the Sonthals came to a head in 1871, when 
they began to gather in large numbers with the avowed 


object of obtaining redress for their grievances. Enquiry 
showed that their grievances were real. There had been 
extensive rack-renting, ejectment of village headmen, seizure 
of rent-free lands of village priests and others, breaking up 
of the village community system so much cherished by the 
Sonthals, and other acts of oppression by zamindars. This 
state of affairs was attributed to the gradual weakening 
of the discretionary powers of the Sonthal officers resulting 
from the indiscriminate introduction of laws, current in the 
Eegulation districts, which were unsuited to the circumstances 
of the Sonthal population. Chief among these was Act X 
of 1859, which completely tied the hands of the local officers, 
and enabled zamindars to enhance rents largely and turn out 
village headmen at their pleasure, while still keeping within 
the letter of the law. The then Lieutenant-Governor, Sir 
George Campbell, considered that it would be almost impossible 
to define by an exact law the rights to which the people 
have an equitable claim, and that the only satisfactory course 
would be to put the whole matter in the hands of an able 
and judicious officer, acting on general principles laid down 
for his guidance. It was decided, therefore, that a rough 
settlement of the Sonthal Parganas should be carried out by 
a Settlement Officer untramelled by detailed laws, who would 
record the rights of all parties as determined by himself. 

This object was secured by the enactment of Eegulation 
III of 1872 "for the peace and good government of the 
Sonthal Parganas." That Eegulation 'gave the Lieutenant- 
Governor full power to appoint officers to make a settlement 
of landed rights, to restore dispossessed headmen and others, 
to settle rents, and to record the customs and usages of the 
people. ' It also introduced a usury law limiting the accumu- 
lation of interest on debts, and it laid down what laws 
were to be in force and what left to the discretion of 
Government to introduce or withdraw from time to time. 
Under the provisions of the Eegulation, Mr. Browne Wood, 
Deputy Commissioner and Settlement Officer, made a settle- 
ment of the whole district between the years 1873 and 1879, 
defining and recording the rights and duties of landlords and 
tenants, and, where necessary, fixing fair rents. One of 
the results of this settlement >was to preserve the Sonthal 
village community system, under which the village community, 
as a whole, holds the village lands and has collective 
rights over the village waste. These rights, which have 
failed to secure recognition elsewhere in Bengal, were recorded 
and saved from encroachment. The settlement also established 
on a firm footing the status of the headman, and restrained 



the zamindars from interfering with the management and 
internal economy of the villages. 

Subsequently, doubts began to be entertained whether the 
Eegulation of 1872 authorized settlements to be made from 
time to time. Certain officers ' held that it was a measure 
introduced for the settlement of the district once for all, 
ceasing to have any force as a settlement law as soon as 
the special settlement was concluded. It was feared that 
complications would arise on the expiry of the leases 
granted by the Settlement Officer; tenants might be 
induced or compelled to accept private engagements for 
higher rates; the rents might gradually become equalized at 
a higher figure; and this process of enhancement might bring 
about the unsatisfactory state of feeling which existed before 
1872. It was, therefore, considered necessary that Govern- 
ment should keep the process of rent enhancement under its 
own control. It was also felt that it was necessary to 
furnish the zamindars with the means of obtaining, at their 
own expense, a resettlement of rent. Accordingly, Eegula- 
tion II of 1886 was enacted with four objects: — (1) to make 
it clear that Government could, at any time, order a fresh 
settlement and revision of the record-of-rights ; (2) to allow 
the zamindars reasonable facilities for obtaining, at their own 
expense, enhancements of rents after the expiry of the period 
of seven years, which had been fixed as the term of the 
settlement by Eegulation III of 1872; (3) to permit of rents 
being determined, oif the application of zamindars, in tracts 
which had not been settled under that Eegulation ; and 
(4) to prescribe that rents settled in future under Eegulation 
III of ' 1872 or the new Eegulation should hold good for 
15 years or until they should be altered again under- either 
Eegulation. In 1888 the revision of the settlement of 1873-79 
iu certain estates was undertaken, and, after an interval of 
five years, was resumed in 1898. 

This settlement was in progress when Sir Andrew Fraser 
assumed charge of the Province. It was, and is, being carried 
on with much more elaboration than the original settlements; 
and its progress brought to light certain defects in the 
Eegulations. The first defect which required remedy was con- 
nected with the question of apportioning and recovering the cost 
incurred by Government in settlement proceedings. The Sonthal 
Parganas Eent Eegulation, II of 1886, enabled settlements of rent 
to be made on the application of landlords or raiyats, and provided 
for the recovery by Government of the expenses incurred by 
it in connection with such proceedings. It did not, however, 
admit of the preparation of a record-of-rights at the same time 


as a settlement of rents, and experience had shown that its 
provisions could be conveniently applied only when small areas 
are concerned. On the other hand, the Sonthal Parganas 
Settlement Eegulation of 1872 provided for the preparation of 
a record-of-rights, as well as for a determination of rents, and 
had been found to be more suitable in cases in which con- 
siderable areas come under settlement. The latter Eegulation, 
however, contained no" provisions whereby costs could be 
recovered from parties benefited by the proceedings initiated 
under it. This defect was brought to notice shortly before 
Sir Andrew Fraser became Lieutenant-Governor, and a draft 
Regulation was drawn up to remedy it. The provisions of 
the Eegulation were settled during the first year of his 
administration and were finally embodied in Eegulation II 
of 1904. 

The next matter taken in hand was the amendment of the 
Sonthal Parganas Eent Eegulation, II of 1886, so as to provide 
for the enhancement of rent upon improvements effected by, 
or at the expense of, zamindars, and for the acquisition of lands 
required for the construction of works of improvement, buildings, 
etc. The Sonthal, it may be explained, is an active, irrigator. 
As he reclaims land from the jungle, he terraces the slopes, 
throws embankments across the depressions, and dams the streams, 
thereby diverting the water on to his fields. The development 
of the irrigation system has further been facilitated by the 
system" of village communes. Works that have been beyond 
the means and enterprise of the individual cultivator have been 
successfully carried through by the united efforts of the com- 
munity, each member of which has shared in the general 
resultant good. Still, though much has been done by the 
village communities, their interest is confined to single villages, 
and they labour under the difficulty that, while their own 
resources are small, they cannot pledge their united security 
to obtain capital, inasmuch as the lands of the district are 
not transferable by mortgage or sale. Irrigation works, carried 
out by individual raiyats or village communities, are, therefore' 
necessarily of a minor character. Eeservoirs and channels, 
affecting more villages than one and involving considerable 
outlay, can only be constructed and maintained by the zamindars. 
But, unlike the proprietors of permanently-settled estates in other 
districts, the zamindars of the Sonthal Parganas were, under 
the laws in force in that district, unable to obtain an immediate 
and fair return for money spent by them on works of improve- 
ment. . They belong, moreover, to a class who are not likely 
to lay out capital on improvements unless they see a fair chance 
of obtaining a reasonable return for it. The law as it stood 

f 2 


gave them no prospect of such a return. In order, therefore, 
to encourage these zamindars to carry out irrigation Iworks which 
cannot be undertaken by the raiyats themselves, Sir Andrew 
Fraser considered that, in this respect, they should be placed 
on a footing similar to that of their brethren in other districts. 
This object was secured by the enactment of Regulation III 
of 1907. 

A revision of Regulation III of 1872 is also in contemplation, 
which involves several important principles. Chief among 
these is the principle emphasized by the settlement, and 
accepted by the ordinary Courts of the Sonthal Parganas 
in the disposal of agrarian cases, that raiyati land and the 
office of headman cannot be made the subject of transfer. 
The rulings of the local Civil Courts established under 
Act XXXVII of 1855, which like the Settlement Courts, are 
subject to the control of the Commissioner and of Govern- 
ment, have been from time to time referred to Government 
and been embodied in Government orders, which have upheld 
the policy of non- alienation and have given the Deputy 
Commissioner and other local officers, as guardians of the 
settlement, full powers to interfere with and set aside whatever 
is subversive of settlement rights and to enforce the obligations 
imposed by the record-of-rights. There has, however, always 
been a danger that suits valued at more than Rs. 1,000 
may be filed by illicit transferees in the Courts established 
under Act XII of 1887, which are subject to the control 
of the High Court of Calcutta, and that the rulings of the 
loeal Courts, the orders of Government, and the provisions 
of the settlement records may not be regarded as binding 
by the Act XII Courts. It has, therefore, been regarded as 
essential that the nontransferability of raiyati lands, and the 
power of the Deputy Commissioner to interfere with illegal 
alienations and generally to enforce the provisions of the 
settlement records, should be definitely declared in the law. 
An amending Regulation has been drawn up embodying 
provisions to this effect, and other provisions intended to 
remedy defects in the machinery of Regulation III of 1872, 
viz., for the regulation of the transfer of suits to and from 
Civil and Settlement Courts, for the speedier disposal of 
objections to the published records, and for other miscellaneous 


The quinquennium of Sir Andrew Fraser's administration Separation of 
was marked by several important changes in the Settlement m ent e Dep*a^t. , 
Department. This Department had been controlled since meut. 
1884 by the Director of Agriculture, or, as he was called 
later, the Director of Land Eecords and Agriculture. His 
duties in connection with settlements were at first light, but 
became heavier year after year. At the same time, the work 
connected with agricultural research increased steadily, till it 
became impossible for one man to deal adequately with both 
branches. The necessity of dividing the Department in two 
was recognized; and in 1905 a Department of Agriculture 
was constituted, leaving the Director of Land Eecords free to 
devote his whole attention to the supervision of the important 
settlements in progress. 

The gradual extension of settlement operation to the whole Extension of 
Province was an object that l^ad been steadily kept in view, P eratlons# 
ever since the Famine Commission of 1880 proposed that a 
general field survey should be undertaken, and a system of- 
village records and accounts introduced in Bengal. "There 
are," they said, " special circumstances, which seem to us to 
render this administrative improvement particularly necessary 
in the Lower Provinces. Nowhere are the condition of the 
tenantry and their relations with the landlords questions of 
so great complexity ; nowhere have they a more important 
bearing upon the public welfare. The land question, it 
will be admitted, is the great administrative problem in 
Bengal. Yet nowhere is the Government at a greater dis- 
advantage in considering it." 

In 1885 experimental operations were commenced in the 
district of Muzaffarpur, simultaneously with the passing of 
the Bengal Tenancy Act ; and in 1891 orders were issued 
for a survey of the four districts of Muzaffarpur, Champaran, 
Saran and Darbhanga. Operations were next extended to 
North Monghyr and North Bhagalpur, and to the Munda 
country in the district of Eanchi ; while in 1903 sanction was 
given to the survey and settlement of Purnea. The success 
of the operations was beyond question. The advantages 
secured by the preparation of a trustworthy map and record- 
# of-rights were acknowledged not only by Government and its 
officers, but also by the landlords and their tenants. These 
considerations led to the proposal that all the districts of 
Bengal should be gradually brought under survey and settle- 
ment. The proposal was sanctioned in 1906, and work is now 
in progress. 


Maintenance Another important decision arrived at during the admin- 

istration of Sir Andrew Fraser is that settlement records are 
to be maintained, i.e., kept regularly up to date, in districts 

► already brought under settlement. This question had engaged 

the attention of Government for several years, Bengal officers 
advocating periodical revision rather than annual maintenance. 
The Government of India, however, were in favour of a 
system of continuous maintenance, and Sir Andrew held the 
same views. They pointed out that it served four purposes, 
viz., (1) to protect the rights of those who possess interests 
in the land; (2) to furnish information which will form the 
basis of the assessment of land revenue at the next settlement ; 
(3) to provide information for various administrative purposes ; 
and (4) to supply annual agricultural statistics. Another 
important consideration was the value of maintaining the 
secord for purposes of general administration. For many 
- years past officers in Bengal have laboured under the 
disadvantage of having no other agency than the police 
through which to communicate with the people ; and the police 
consequently collect information required for revenue purposes. 
Both the Government of India and His Honour considered 
this system very unsatisfactory, and regarded it as an urgent 
necessity to have a revenue establishment through whom 
District Officers can get into closer touch with the rural 
population. It was accordingly decided that the system 
should be introduced as an experimental measure in the 
temporarily-settled districts of Orissa, where it was most 
likely to have a practical and educative value, and where 
arrangements for maintenance could most easily be made ; 
and that, if successful there, it should be extended to the 
permanently-settled districts, as they come under settlement. 
This decision is of extreme importance, as it means that 
ultimately the rights of landlords and tenants in every acre 
of land, and the legality of every anna of rent, will be 
made the subject of annual or biennial scrutiny. 

In order to give effect to this decision, an initial revi- 
sion of the records was necessary. Even though the settle- 
ment of Orissa was only 10 or 12 years old, the record 
had already become largely obsolete ; and it was necessary to 
bring it up to date and record the changes which had 
taken place before any scheme of continuous maintenance^ 
could be introduced. The work of revision was accordingly 
started in 1906 in the district of Balasore, and is now in 
progress. A draft Bill to provide for the maintenance of 
the record in Orissa has also been drawn up and circulated 
for the opinion and criticism of public bodies in Orissa. In 

svurzrs and settlements. n 

circulating ' this Bill, an ■ authoritative assurance has' been 
given that no interference whatever is contemplated with the 
terms of the last revenue settlement in Orissa. The same 
assurance had already been given in unmistakeable language 
with regard to the revision proceedings ; but in spite of this, 
attempts were made to insinuate that, in the shape of 
record revision and maintenance, a disguised attack was 
being made upon the principles of the late revenue settle- 
ment. The opportunity was therefore taken to explain that 
nothing could be further from the intention of Government. 

An important change which has recently taken place in the Supervising 
working of the Settlement Department is the abolition of the agency# 
system of dual control under which the field work of settle- 
ment was jointly supervised by the Survey of India Depart- 
ment and the Settlement Department. This system has 
gradually been given up, and from the beginning of the 
field season of 1907-08, the latter Department has had every- 
where sole charge of the operations from the cadastral 
survey stage onwards. The new" system was first introduced 
on a large scale in 1899 in the Sonthal Parganas settle- 
ment, where about 5,000 square miles have been surveyed 
during the past 8 years under the direct supervision of the 
Settlement Department. The extension of the system to 
other tracts was one of the results of the deliberations of 
the Survey Committee in 1904. On their recommendation, 
the Government of India decided that the Survey of India 
should withdraw from Provincial revenue surveys and confine 
its attention to strictly professional work. Accordingly, 
the control of cadastral survey was taken over by the 
Settlement Department in Chota Nagpur in 1905; and the 
new system was introduced in Bihar in 1907-08. 

One notable result, of this change has been the necessity 
for organizing a Provincial Survey Service. Proposals for the 
constitution of such a service have consequently been submitted 
to the Government of India. 

Lastly, reference may be made to an interesting innova- Training of 
tion in connection with settlement work. One of the Muns,f8, 
outstanding features of Sir Andrew's policy was to associate 
the executive and judicial officers more closely in the 
general administration of the Province, the basis of the 
association being mutual understanding. This policy was 
applied, with good re&ults, to the Settlement Department 
by adopting a scheme for training Munsifs in settlement 
work. The principle underlying the scheme is that officers who 
discharge judicial functions should npt only know the Acts 
borne on the statute-book and the commentaries on the law, 


but also understand the system of revenue administration and 
have a practical knowledge of revenue procedure. If it is 
important that revenue officers should have some knowledge 
of civil and criminal law and procedure, it is certainly not 
less necessary that judicial officers should have some know- 
ledge of revenue law and procedure and of the varied pro- 
blems of district administration. A training of Munsifs 
in settlement work seemed most likely to secure this object. 
At the same time, His Honour believed that the officers so 
trained could hardly fail to derive benefit in their ordinary 
work from the knowledge of the records, and of agrarian 
conditions generally, which settlement experience would give 
them, and that the Judicial Department would thereby obtain 
a clear acquaintance with the work of the Eevenue Department. 
These views were accepted by the High Court ; and with its 
consent arrangements were made for the temporary deputation 
of Munsifs to settlement work. 

Under this scheme six of the younger Munsifs are selected 
every year to undergo a course of training in settlement 
lasting for 18 months. The course is a practical one, 
beginning with cadastral survey and ending with the 
disposal of rent settlement cases and title disputes filed 
after final publication. During their training, the deputed 
Munsifs make acquaintance with every branch of settlement 
work and see in detail how the settlement record is 
prepared. At the end of their training, care is taken to post 
them to districts already brought under settlement, where 
their special knowledge is likely to be most useful. So far 
the experiment has been attended with fliarked success. The 
selected Munsifs have usually been officers with more than 
average physical and mental capacity, who have readily 
volunteered to undergo the course of 'training. They have 
nearly all done well on settlement ; and it is certain that, 
on their reversion to general duty, they have carried back 
with them a fuller appreciation of the value and accuracy 
of the settlement record than was commonly entertained by 
their brother Munsifs a decade ago. 


Fisheries. Of all the enquiries initiated by Sir Andrew Fraser, that 

concerned with the possibility of improving and developing 
the fisheries of Bengal, is perhaps likely to bear most fruit. 
The importance of the subject can, at any rate, scarcely be 


overestimated. For in Bengal fish largely takes the place 
of meat, and the number of fish-eaters in the Province is 
estimated at 40 millions or four-fifths of the total population. 
Fish is especially necessary as an article of food among a 
people whose principal food-grain is rice; and there are 
thousands of people who do not taste meat even once in 
a year, but who have fish, whenever they can get it, 
with their principal meals, twice a day. For their 
supply there is every natural advantage. Not only are 
there numerous great rivers, lakes, jhik and tanks, but, in 
the rains, the whole country may be regarded practically 
as a vast inland fishery. The estuaries of the rivers 
and tidal creeks in the Sundarbans are an additional 
source of fish supply; and there is also an extensive sea- 
board. In spite of these natural advantages, the supply of 
fish in this Province is unequal to the demand, and is 
far smaller than it is in the British Isles. Not only so, 
but there is reason to fear that the supply is actually 
diminishing. This is due partly to the reclamation of jhih 
for cultivation and to the deterioration of tanks, and partly 
to the wasteful destruction of breeding fish and fry, and 
the absence of attempts at artificial propagation. No system- 
atic efforts have hitherto been made to conserve and develop 
the fisheries on modern and scientific lines; nor have all the 
available sources of supply been exploited. The present supply 
eomes almost entirely from the inland fisheries, and the 
magnificent fishing grounds in the estuaries and the open 
sea remain practically untouched. 

In order to ascertain what could be done to remedy this 
unsatisfactory state of affairs, Sir Andrew Fraser placed 
Mr. K. G. Gupta, then Member of the Board of Eevenue, 
on special duty in August 1906. Mr. Gupta made exten- 
sive enquiries throughout the Province, and subsequently was 
placed on special duty to study in Europe and America 
various important questions connected with fishery administra- 
tion, and especially the measures which are there taken to 
improve, by artificial means, the natural supply of fish. 
The results of his enquiries in Bengal, Europe and America 
are embodied in two valuable reports, which are a store- 
house of information on the subjeot. Briefly, it may be 
stated that Mr. Grupta has shown that for the fresh water 
fisheries no new methods of capture are needed. What is 
here required is artificial propagation coupled perhaps with 
a system of short close seasons and* other protective measures. 
In the estuaries and open sea, on the other hand, it is 
necessary for Government to lead the way, and to find out 


wnere the fish are to be found and how they should he 
caught and brought to market. This pioneer action is being 
taken by Government ; and to encourage private enterprise, 
sanction has been obtained to a rebate of the duty on 
salt used for fish-curing. A steam trawler, the Golden Croicn y 
has been brought out from England and is now carrying 
on the work of exploration and investigation in the Bay 
of Bengal. It is hoped by this means to ascertain where 
the more valuable bottom fish congregate, and where and at 
what seasons the shoals- of migratory fish appear. The 
enquiries begun by Mr. K. G. Ghrpta are being continued 
under Mr. A. Ahmad, an experienced District Officer, and 
an Advisory Board on Fisheries has been constituted. 
Arrangements are also being made for experiments in the 
artificial propagation, by European methods', of rahu, katla 
and other members of the carp family in Bengal. In order 
to assist in this work and in other matters of a technical 
nature, a fishery expert is being obtained from America, 
and it is proposed to send two young men, one to Europe 
and the other to America, to study fishery under competent 
Labour- Another important economic matter which came into 

supply- prominence during Sir Andrew Fraser's administration was 

the question of labour supply. Complaints were general that 
there was shortness of labour for the large industries in 
Calcutta and its neighbourhood ; and His Honour felt that 
more might be done by Government to make known in the 
congested districts of Bengal the great market available for 
their surplus labour. Accordingly, in his first year of office, 
His Honour promised to assist the mercantile community, if 
his assistance was required, to solve the difficulty of the 
labour question and advance the cause of industrial progress 
and development. It was, however, decided to wait until the 
matter had been discussed at a Conference of the Indian 
and Ceylon Chambers of Commerce held early in 1905. The 
• members of that Conference came to the conclusion that the 

supply of labour for organized industries was inadequate in 
many parts, and that the deficiency seriously restricted the 
productive power of a large number of manufacturing concerns. 
They therefore recommended that an enquiry should be made 
by Government to ascertain the causes of the scarcity of 
labour. The Government of India accepted their proposal, 
so far as it affected the supply of labour for handling goods 
in Calcutta, and for mines, mills, factories and similar indus- 
tries in Bengal, and asked the Lieutenant-Governor to depute 
an officer to conduct the enquiry. Sir Andrew was entirely 


in accord with this decision, and (in 1905) appointed, a 
special officer, Mr. B. Foley, i.c.s., to make the investiga- 
tion required. 

The result of the enquiry was to show that, on the whole, 
the supply of unskilled labour was equal to the demand 
except during the three hot weather months, when the 
labourers return to their homes; but in the case of coal 
mines the supply was inadequate, chiefly at the seasons when 
paddy is being transplanted and reaped. With regard to 
skilled labour, there was evidence of the insufficiency of the 
number, and the inefficiency of the work, of the local 
artizans, the enormous industrial expansion of Calcutta and 
its neighbourhood having created a demand which the supply 
had failed to meet. A number of workmen from China, 
the Punjab and "other parts of India have consequently to 
be employed at high wages. 

This change of personnel is a noticeable feature of the 
altering conditions of industrial labour in Bengal. To quote 
from the remarks which a Member of Council, well qualified 
to speak on the subject, made in the last Budget Debate 
presided over by Sir Andrew: — "It is certainly a fact, which 
my experience has proved, that the Bengali carpenter is being 
slowly, but surely, supplanted by his Chinese competitor. 
Again, speaking from my own experience, this gradual dying 
out of the Bengali carpenter is very materially due not only 
to his lack of training, but also to the disinclination of 
parents to let their children follow the calling of mechanics. 
I have known several instances of Bengali carpenters, in 
my own employ, bringing their sons to me to be taken 
on as clerks in my office, with an Entrance or First Arts 
qualification. Twenty-five years ago, our workmen were 
nearly all Bengali Hindus, and there was not a single 
Chinaman in our employ and only one or two Muham- 
madans. Now we have a large number of Chinamen, and 
among the Indians the Bengalis are in a very small mino- 
rity. The Chinaman, it is true, gets larger wages, but .he 
earns his money to the hilt ; works steadily ; takes only one or 
at most two holidays in the year; is sober, punctual and 
intelligent, and does not need to be continually urged to 
his work. The Bengali, I am constrained to say, is very 
much to the contiary. He gets small wages certainly, but 
he earns for his employer even less than he gets. As a 
rule, he takes little or no real interest in his work, and if 
not carefully watched, will scamp his job." The same failure 
on the part of the Bengali to hold his own in large indus- 
tries is apparent in the jute mills. " Twenty years ago," writes 


Mr. Foley, "all the hands were Bengalis, but they have 
gradually been replaced by Hindustanis from the United 
Provinces and Bihar. These men have been found more 
regular, stronger, steadier and more satisfactory generally, so 
that at present in most of the mills two-thirds of the hands 
are composed of up-country men." In cotton mills, however, 
the Bengali and Uriya still hold their own. 

As regards the means of obtaining a solution of the 
labour difficulty, Government held that its active association 
in the direct recruitment of labour would be looked upon 
with suspicion by the labourer, and that it would be 
impossible for it to guarantee the promises of recruiters without 
' an amount of intervention which would be objectionable. 
There would be the further difficulty of holding the balance 
fairly % between the different industries and between different 
employers engaged in the same industry. They were there- 
fore strongly of the opinion that there should be no direct 
interference by Government in the supply of labour. At the 
same time, it was decided that Government should assist the 
mercantile community by collecting information to be placed 
at the disposal of the industries concerned as to the condi- 
tions obtaining in the labour-recruiting districts. A close 
examination of those conditions had already been made by 
the special officer, the areas favourable for recruitment had 
been pointed out, and suggestions made as to the best means 
of attracting and retaining labour. This information was of 
value, for the difficulties experienced in obtaining and keep- 
ing an adequate supply of labour were largely due to the 
fact that employers of labour were not aware of the most 
suitable places in which to recruit their men, and were not 
always sufficiently alive to the need for adopting necessary 
precautions in order to retain them after recruitment. To 
supplement this information and to bring it up to date, 
orders were passed that the Bengal and Upper India Cham- 
bers of Commerce should be supplied with half-yearly 
bulletins or statements showing for each district the state of 
the local labour market, and also with statements showing, 
in the case of impending scarcity or famine, in what 
districts it is apprehended, what classes are likely to be 
most affected, and how long the distress will probably last. 
Factory ^ ^^ an( ^ within its limited sphere, most important 

labour. economic enquiry was made in the cold weather of 1907-08 

by the Indian Factory Labour Commission appointed by the 
Secretary of State for India. The enquiry of the Commis- 
sion extended to all factories in India; but the following 
extract from their report, which is particularly applicable to 


Bengal, may be quoted as illustrating the conditions of 
factory life in this Province : — " The habits of the Indian 
factory operative are determined by the fact that he is 
primarily an agriculturist, or a labourer on the land. In 
almost all cases his hereditary occupation is agriculture ; 
his home is in the village from which he comes, not 
in the city in which he labours; his wife and family 
ordinarily continue to live in that village; he regularly 
remits a portion of his wages there ; and he returns there 
periodically to look after his affairs, and to obtain rest after 
the strain of factory life. There is as yet practically no 
factory population, such as exists in European countries, 
consisting of a large number of operatives trained from 
their youth to one particular class of work, and dependent 
upon employment at that work for their livelihood. It 
follows that the Indian operative is, in general, independent 
of factory work, to the extent that he does not rely ex- 
clusively upon factory employment in order to obtain a 
livelihood ; at most seasons he can command a wage suffi- 
cient to keep him, probably on a somewhat lower scale of 
comfort, by accepting work on the land ; and there are also 
numerous other avenues of employment, more remunerative 
than agricultural labour, which are open to every worker 
in any large industrial centre. If the operative is not 
merely a landless labourer, he will in general be bound by 
strong ties to the land and to the village from which he 
originally came ; he can at any time abandon factory life 
in order to revert to agriculture ; and the claims of the 
village where he has a definite and accepted position are 
in practice, as experience has shown, sufficiently powerful to 
recall him from city life for a period which extends, on the 
average, to at least a month in each year. The Bombay 
operative, resident in the Konkan, probably returns to his 
village for one month each year ; and the jute weaver of 
Bengal working longer hours and earning higher wages, is 
not content with less than two or three months. Whenever 
factory life becomes irksome, the operative can return to his 
village; there is probably always work of some kind for 
him there if he wishes it; and in most cases he is secured 
against want by the joint family system. The position of 
the operative has been greatly strengthened by the fact that 
the supply of factory labour undoubtedly is, and has been, 
inadequate ; and there is, and has been, the keenest competi* 
tion among employers to secure a full labour-supply. These 
two main causes — the independence of the Indian labourer, 
owing to the fact that he possesses other and congenial 


means of earning a livelihood, and the deficient labour- 
supply — govern the whole situation." 

To this it should be added that of late years large 
employers of labour in Bengal have begun to establish small 
colonies of employes near the mills, and these should serve 
to secure at least a permanent nucleus of their labour force. 
To quote again from the Factory Labour Commission's 
Report : — " In Calcutta most of the textile mills have built 
commodious settlements near the mill premises for large 
numbers " of their operatives. In these settlements the 
workers are comfortably housed at rents which average only 
12 annas a room per month, and the general opinion, which 
is supported in the case of one mill by actual statistics, is 
that the provision of house accommodation undoubtedly renders 
the labour-supply more regular and forms a considerable 
attraction to new recruits." 


It is on record that Sir Andrew Fraser's predecessor, 
Sir John Woodburn, was convinced that in no branch of 
the administration of Bengal was improvement so impera- 
tively required as in the police. "There is," he said, 
"no part of our system of government of which such 
universal and bitter complaint is made, and none in which, 
for the relief of the people and the reputation of govern- 
ment, is reform in anything like the same degree so 
urgently called for. . . The improvement of the police 
must, in the interests of the people and of good govern- 
ment, take precedence of every other project in Bengal." 
It was therefore fortunate for the Province that Sir 
Andrew, who had been President of the Police Commission, 
should, as Lieutenant-Governor, be in a position to introduce 
the reforms which the* Commission had recommended. 

The principal objects of the recommendations made 
by the Commission were (1) so to improve the pay of the 
police as to place them above pressing temptation to wrong- 
doing; (2) to secure better material, especially in the 
higher ranks of the service ; and (3) to strengthen and 
improve the supervising and controlling establishment. Their 
recommendations were accepted in the main by the Viceroy, 
Lord Curzon, with whose policy they were in accord — " a 
policy that will raise the standard of the only emblem of 
authority that the majority of the people see, and will free 


them from petty diurnal tyranny and oppression." To quote 
again from one of Lord Curzon's speeches, this ideal was to 
be attained by having a "police force, which is free from 
the temptation to corruption and iniquity, and which must 
therefore be reasonably well paid, which must be intelligent, 
orderly and efficient, and which will make its motto pro- 
tection instead of oppression." It is unnecessary to enter 
into details regarding the administrative changes introduced 
in order to give effect to this policy ; but their general 
nature may be indicated. The pay of the force has been 
increased, especially in the lower ranks; a better class of 
officer has been recruited, particularly in the higher ranks ; 
and the supervising and controlling establishment has been 
strengthened. Briefly, the service has been rendered more 
attractive and, at the same time, more efficient. 

The interest which Sir Andrew showed in the reform of 
the police and his efforts to promote their best interests 
earned for him in .Bengal the title of "the friend of the 
police." Only a year before this name was applied to him, 
His Honour had been greeted by a representative body of 
his old Province as "the friend of the people," one whom 
they loved and who loved them. He accepted both titles 
as implying a verbal distinction and no difference, because 
in the administration of the police he aimed at securing the 
good of the people, by purifying it, by removing its 
defects, and by making it a worthy instrument of Govern- 
ment. This was the consideration he kept in view in 
regulating the relations between the police and the judicial 
courts. He made it a practice personally to consider any 
remarks regarding the conduct of the police in investiga- 
tions that -might be made in any judgment by any court 
and forwarded to the Magistrate of any district in the 
Province. While realizing that such criticism was often 
valuable in bringing to notice mistakes and misconduct on 
the part of the police, he found that in some cases it was 
vague and based on inadequate data. Such hasty con- 
demnation or denunciation of the police tended to rouse 
feelings of resentment in the minds of the superior officers 
of those attacked, and so, by creating friction between the 
judicial and executive services defeated the object His Honour 
aimed at, viz., that misconduct on the part of the police 
should be brought promptly to notice, the guilty as promptly 
punished, and malpractices removed. 

For such friction His Honour desired to substitute 
cordial co-operation between these important services, in order 
to improve the standard of criminal justice, to improve the 


purity and efficiency of police administration, and also to 
ensure and maintain the confidence of the public in that 
administration. Accordingly, after consulting the High 
Court, His Honour issued orders calculated to secure the 
objects in view. He pointed out that he had no desire to 
suggest that criticisms on the conduct of the police made 
by judicial officers in their judgments should be discouraged 
when made on good grounds and with a due sense of 
responsibility. He expressed his full recognition of the fact 
that, when it appeared to a judicial officer in the course 
of a trial that the conduct of a police officer was open to 
suspicion, called for explanation, or demanded enquiry, it 
was often necessary that the circumstances should be noticed 
in the judgment. But it was equally necessary that there 
should be an improvement in the procedure by which such 
remarks were brought to the notice of the executive authori- 
ties, so that the latter might have definite facts on which 
they might base a sifting enquiry. 

The steps taken to improve the existing procedure and 
the policy underlying them cannot be better summarized 
than by quoting the following remarks made on this subject 
by Sir Andrew in a recent speech : — " I value very highly 
the criticism of the Judges, not of -the Judges merely who 
speak smooth things, but of the Judges who are able to 
bring to notice real defects or malpractices. I desire that 
the criticism of the courts should be effective and that it 
should not be trifled with. I have stated the value that 
I attach to the criticism of the courts; I have expressed 
my opinion that, when it is necessary to make such criti- 
cism in the judgment, it should be made, and I have added 
that when a Judge does not regard it as necessary to make 
such criticism in the judgment, he should then communicate 
separately with the executive as to any doubts that he may 
have regarding the action of the police. Another sugges- 
tion that I have made is this — that any remarks made by 
the courts should not be finally dealt with by the execu- 
tive until the Judge has again seen the explanation offered 
and made any remarks that he thinks necessary to make. 
The reason why I have done this is that, seeing, as I have 
seen, all the remarks made by the Judges, I have known 
these remarks are sometimes vague and end in no definite 
enquiry, and that the matter is often disposed of practically 
without anything being done. 1 also find that the explan- 
ation of the police officer is forwarded by the Magistrate 
to higher executive authority without the Judge having 
seen it at all. This sometimes leads to the police being 


absolved of blame when a fuller enquiry might have led 
to different results. It manifestly prevents the Government 
from deriving the advantage which it ought to derive from 
the criticism of the courts. The object of the criminal 
courts is the efficient administration of criminal justice. 
The police are deeply concerned in the same great object. 
There is something . utterly wrong somewhere, if . these two 
authorities, aiming at the same object, cannot work together. 
I want to see the assistance of the courts made more valu- 
able and effective; and I want to see it cordially welcomed 
by those who are responsible for the efficiency of the 

The intentions of His Honour in this matter were much The police 
misrepresented at the time, and there was a similar mis- 1,bel su,fc8, 
conception regarding his action in connection with what were 
known as the Police libel suits. These suits arose as fol- 
lows. In May 1905 there was a murder case in Calcutta 
known as the Sova Bazar murder case, in connection with 
which the investigating officers were severely criticized by 
the press, though the Judge who tried the case had not 
condemned them. Certain newspapers went further, and 
published articles of a defamatory character charging them 
with acts amounting to criminal offences, e.g., suborning of 
witnesses, perjury, corruption, conspiracy, etc. The Commis- 
sioner of Police was thereupon called for a report on the 
matter ; and his report was examined by two of the lieu- 
tenant-Governor's legal advisers, who also made an indepen- 
dent and careful examination of all the facts of the case. 
Both were of opinion that the police were not guilty of 
the offences charged against them. His Honour also was con- 
vinced that the charges were baseless ; and, when the police 
officers concerned applied for permission to vindicate their 
characters publicly by bringing suits for libel against the 
newspapers, he sanctioned their request, on condition that the 
papers were first allowed an opportunity of apologising. At 
the same time, he directed that the police officers should 
in the first instance be left to institute the suits at their 
own expense, but promised that, if the suits were decided 
in their favour, they would be reimbursed. 

The papers declined to make any apology which it • was 
possible to accept. They prepared to fight the case; and, 
apparently trusting to the fact that the police officers con- 
cerned were men of small means, they fought in a manner 
which involved much expense. In consequence of this, 
after the suits had commenced, the police officers represented 
that they were unable to bear the cost of the proceedings. 


Government then undertook to meet their legal expenses in 
consideration of the fact that the charges made against 
them referred to acts done in the execution of their duty 
and were of such a character as to impair their efficiency 
if not rebutted. The outcome of the suit which was 
brought to trial fully justified the action of Government. 
The Judge of the High Court who tried the case gave 
judgment condemning this style of criticism, and deciding 
in favour of the police officers. He awarded them reasonable 
damages and costs. There had been no suggestion that 
heavy damages should be given. On appeal, his finding 
was confirmed by a full bench of the High Court. 

After the suits had been decided, an attempt was made 
by a section of the press to stir up a campaign against 
the Government for guarding the interests of its officers. 
The attempt failed. But in spite of this, some newspapers 
continued to misrepresent the action of Sir Andrew Fraser 
and to insinuate that he was prompted by a desire to stifle 
public criticism. The latter insinuation was particularly 
unfair. For, «ever since he assumed charge of his office, 
His Honour had been careful to invite criticism and to 
study public opinion. Apart from this, Sir Andrew made 
it a regular practice to have allegations against Government 
officers, whether in the police or other departments, made 
the subject of careful enquiry, if prima facie they appeared 
to require investigation. And when the officer concerned 
was found guilty, he did not fail to inflict appropriate 
punishment. Some idea of the extent to which discipline 
in the police force was enforced may be • gathered from 
the fact that, in the three years 1904-06, 108 officers and 
1,554 men were dismissed, and 1,078 officers and 7,115 men 
received other punishment. 

As regards the action of Government in meeting the 
expenses of litigation, it may be pointed out that the 
matter had been carefully enquired, into by the Lieutenant- 
Governor's legal advisers, who expressed the decided opinion 
that the police officers concerned were innocent of the 
charges which had been made against them. It was quite 
clear that, unless Government assisted the police officers, .want 
of funds would prevent them from pursuing the suits and 
clearing their characters of the aspersions which had been 
cast upon them. As the action which formed the basis of 
these unfounded allegations had been taken by them in the 
execution of their duty, and in their official capacity as 
Government servants, it appeared to the Lieutenant-Governor 
to be incumbent on Government to assist them : and this 


action was in accordance with the rules issued mauy years 

The preceding account indicates the general lines of Sir Administra- 
Andrew's t policy in the administration of the police; and it 
will suffice to mention briefly some of the more important 
measures by which it was brought into effect. Those 
measures necessitated a large increase in the cadre and a 
revision of the pay of all ranks, the annual cost of the 
changes effected up to January 1908 being, in round figures, 
15| lakhs (3 lakhs for the superior cadre and 12| lakhs 
for the subordinate ranks), while the annual cost of the 
changes still to be effected is 8| lakhs. In the superior 
cadre a third post of Deputy Inspector-General has been 
created, and the districts of Bengal have been divided into 
three Ranges known as the Presidency, Burdwan and Bihar 
Ranges, with headquarters at Cuttack, Ranchi and Bankipore, 
respectively. The appointment of Deputy Inspector-General 
of Crimes and Railways has also been created, and the 
oontrol , of the Railway Police has been transferred to him 
from the Deputy Inspectors-General of the different Ranges. 
In accordance with the recommendations of the Police 
Commission, a grade of Deputy Superintendent has been 
included in the superior cadre, the officers appointed to 
this post being statutory natives of India drawn from two 
classes, viz., (1) Inspectors of Police and (2) candidates for 
direct appointment, who are selected from the nominations 
made by Commissioners of Divisions, and who must have 
an University degree. In the subordinate ranks, the system 
of recruiting Sub-Inspectors by means of a competitive 
examination has been abolished. Candidates are now 
nominated in the first instance by District Nomination 
Committees, consisting of the District Magistrate, Deputy 
Inspector-General of the Range, and Superintendent of 
Police; and a list of selected candidates is finally placed 
before the Inspector-General, who personally selects the cadets. 
The appointments are distributed among the Divisions in 
proportion to the strength of the investigating force 
entertained, and preference is given to natives of each, and also 
to graduates and undergraduates with special regard to their 
family and respectability. A certain proportion (15 per cent.), 
however, of the vacancies are filled by promotion from the ranks. 

For the training of constables and head-constables three 
training schools were established in 1905 on the lines 
recommended by the Police Commission, one at Nathnagar 
in the Bhagalpur district for the training of up-country men, * 

and the other at Purulia for the training of Bengalis ; the 



latter was removed to Berhampore in 1907. In 1907 a third 
school intended primarily for recruits from the aboriginal 
tribes of Chota Nagpur was established at Eanchi. The 
training school for Assistant Superintendents and Sub- 
Inspectors of Police was also removed to Ranchi in the same 
year and placed in charge of an officer of the rank of 
Superintendent of Police. Two other important reforms may 
be mentioned. Firstly, the armed police in the districts has 
been strengthened and placed under European Inspectors, 
who have served in the British army, with a consequent 
increase of efficiency. Secondly, the force of town chaukidars 
in municipalities is being replaced by constables of -the 
regular force. The system previously in force was very 
unsatisfactory. The town chaukidars did constables' work, but 
were unsuitable substitutes, especially in Bengal proper. The 
so-called chaukidars in ; many municipalities were foreigners 
without any local knowledge ; while they tad frequently as 
hard work to do as ordinary constables, but were paid less, 
were supervised less, and were less efficiently trained. 

Perhaps however the most important administrative reform 
has been the establishment, of the Criminal Investigation 
Department, the duties of which are the collection and 
dissemination of information regarding professional crime and 
criminals, assisting in the local investigation of such crime 
and the detection of such criminals, etc. The inadequacy of 
the arrangements previously made may be realized from the 
fact that up to 1903 work of this class was done only by 
a reserve of police officers, insufficient both in* strength and 
constitution, attached to the office of the Inspector-General, 
which undertook investigation of serious cases which the 
District Police were unable to deal with. What valuable 
work has been done by the Department since its establishment 
may be realized from the annual administration reports:— In one 
small district alone eight gangs of professional dacoits have 
been broken up, one of which, with 76 members, dated 
back to the Mutiny, when it waylaid a body of mutineers 
and stripped them of their arms and loot. Recently, too, 
work of incalculable value has been done in detecting gangs 
of anarchists and embryo rebels. 

As President of the • Police Commission Sir Andrew 
Fraser had occasion to review the system of village police 
in Bengal. It appeared to him to have many defects. In 
his opinion, the system was not a system of village police 
as generally understood, but was "more of the nature of a 
low-paid regular constabulary with the one small redeeming 
feature that each constable resides in his own village and 


must be more or less subject to the influence of village 
opinion." At the same time, His Honour made allowance 
for the peculiar circumstances of Bengal, in which the 
problem of village government differs materially from that 
affecting other parts of India. The village community has 
not been maintained as it has elsewhere ; and owing to the 
Permanent Settlement, Bengal has a very much smaller 
revenue establishment than any other Province. In respect 
of police administration, in particular, village government in 
Bengal is represented by the panchayat appointed to the 
local unit constituting a village as defined in Act YI (B.C.) 
of 1870, together with the force of chaukidars serving 
therein under the intermediate supervision of a dafadar, The 
connection between the regular police force and the rural 
watch has always been a close one ; and the tendency of 
later legislation has been to render the control of the 
District Magistrate, usually as exercised through the police, 
more effective and direct. In fact, apart from the police, the 
District Officer has hitherto had no readily available agency 
through which to exercise the supervision which experience has 
shown to be required. The system appeared to Sir Andrew 
to be defective in that it failed to secure the co-operation 
of the people ; it set aside the panchayat from control of the 
village police ; and it made the latter not the servants of the 
village but the instruments of the constabulary. 

Influenced by these considerations, Sir Andrew announced 
at an early period in his administration that he regarded 
the development of village government as probably the most 
important reform to be undertaken in the Province. He had 
the whole question examined by the Commissioners' Confer- 
ence, and placed a senior officer, Mr. H. Savage, c.s.i., and 
on his departure from the Province, one of his ablest 
ofificers, Mr. H. "Wheeler, i.c.s., on special duty to make 
enquiries into the existing state of affairs and the reforms 
practicable. As a result of these enquiries, steps have been 
taken to reorganize the village police, so as to place them 
more directly under representatives of the villagers, by a 
tax on whom they are paid. The main principles kept in 
view have been the selection of the most reliable represen- 
tatives of the locality as members of the village panchayat; 
their sympathetic supervision, both in order to ensure the 
equitable exercise of the considerable powers for good or ill 
given them over their fellow villagers, and to obtain their 
assistance in collecting local information and managing local 
affairs ; the fuller utilization of the dafadar as a link 
between the chaukidars and the police; and a more effective 

86 . POLICE. 

control over the chaukidar, especially in the matter of 
watch and ward. Also, a revised Chaukidari Manual has 
been issued, in order that a more definite procedure in the 
administration of the system may be adopted in place of 
the varying practices which were previously current, partly 
owing to the discretion which the law left in some respects 
to local officers, but also to the absence of explicit instruc- 
tions of Government on various points of which actual 
experience has demonstrated the necessity. 

The most important measure taken to improve the system 
of rural police, and to resuscitate the system of village 
government, consists in the development of the village 
panchayat. Sir Andrew's view was that if village govern- 
ment is ever to be developed into a reality, it will be by 
securing the services of the most trustworthy local talent 
which may be forthcoming and by developing its utility 
under sympathetic supervision. More influential men have 
been appointed to the panchayats ; their status has been 
raised ; and their position as -assistants of Government officers 
in village affairs has been recognized. The Presidents have 
been appointed cx-officio visitors of those piimary schools 
which are aided from public funds or are under public manage- 
ment, of pounds, public ferries and public sarais in the 
Union. In more advanced districts, where the standard 
of local intelligence is higher, much of the control hitherto 
exercised by the police has been transferred to the pancha- 
yats, and qualified Presidents have been vested with magis- 
terial powers. The result of the experiment in these dis- 
tricts is awaited before the system is extended further. 

Separate measures are in contemplation for the improve- 
ment of village police in Chota Nagpur, where conditions 
are very different from those prevailing in the rest of the 
Province. It is peopled mainly by aboriginal tribes and the 
lower Hindu castes. In the great majority of villages it 
would be impossible to find persons suitable to serve on 
panchayats. This fact has always been recognised ; and the 
Chota Nagpur Eural Police Act, V (B. C.) of 1887, provides 
for the assessment and collection of the chaukidari tax, not 
by local panchayats but by tahsildars of whom there are 
usually from one to three in a thana, drawing a salary ranging 
from Es. 15 to Rs. 25 per mensem, and collecting from 
R,s. 1,900 to Es. 5,000 per annum. It is now proposed to 
amend that Act so as to improve the method of grouping 
villages for the purposes of assessment and the distribution 
of village policemen, to render the assessment more equitable, 
and to give legal sanction to certain procedure and rules 

POLICE. „ pf 

which, in practice have been found necessary for the proper 
working of the Act. 

A scheme for the reorganization of the Calcutta police, Calcutta 
based on the recommendations of the Indian Police Commis- po lce " 
sion was sanctioned provisionally by the Government of 
India in 1905 and finally by the Secretary of State in 1906. 
Under this scheme the force has been strengthened, and the 
pay and prospects of its members have been improved. Some 
of the chief reforms that have been effected are the increase 
of the pay of Indian constables and of the European con- 
stables, now called Sergeants; the increase in the number of 
Sergeants, Indian constables and Indian officers, who are now 
called Head-Constables; and the abolition of the system by 
which deductions were made from the pay of members of the 
force on account of the Superannuation Pension Fund. Such 
deductions ceased at the end of 1905, when by Bengal Act 
VI of 1905 (Calcutta and Suburban Police Superannuation 
Fund Act) all sums standing to the credit of the Fund 
were vested in Government, which has undertaken to pay 
all pensions and gratuities from general revenues. The 
number of Sub-Inspectors has been increased, and both they 
and the Inspectors have been regradod. The most important 
measures of reorganization pending are the substitution of 
Deputy Commissioners of Police for Superintendents of Divisions, 
the redivision of Calcutta into four instead of five districts, 
and the introduction of circles with Circle Inspectors in charge. 
A beginning has, however, been made by the appointment 
of a Deputy Commissioner in charge of the Port Police 
and of an Additional Deputy Commissioner.- The whole 
question of the redistribution of beats and the allocation and 
augmentation of the force in such a way as to give each 
man one night in bed after two nights on duty, and to 
provide for the very heavy miscellaneous work, in addition 
to night watch, that the police have to perform in Calcutta, 
is also under consideration. 

Another matter taken in hand during the quinquennium River police* 
of Sir Andrew's administration was the question of establishing 
a body of police to prevent and detect crime on the waterways 
of Bengal. Such crime has been common for centuries past, 
especially in the labyrinth of wood and water known as the 
Sundarbans: even at the close of the 16th century the first 
Jesuit missionaries that visited Bengal described this tract 
as infested by dacoits, and said that they encountered great 
dangers both from them and from tigers. Coming to more 
recent times, we find it stated in Hamilton's Description of 
Hindostan (1820) that dacoity or gang robbery, "the scourge 

88 . POLICE. 

under which Bengal suffered from the first acquisition of the 
Provinoe," had, "for an astonishing period of time, baffled 
the united efforts of eve*ry department of the service." It 
was claimed that, if not eradicated, it had been greatly 
diminished, even in the Sundarbans, which were " peculiarly 
adapted for the reception and concealment of river pirates." 
Yet in 1823, Bishop Heber relates, "a numerous band of 
dacoits or river pirates" attacked and looted Serampore, not 
without loss, for the Danish Colonel took some prisoners, 
whom he hanged next morning. Between 1830 and 1836 
several dangerous gangs of river pirates were broken up by 
the Thuggi and Dacoity Department, but in 1858 it was 
found necessary to appoint a board of itinerant Magistrates 
styled the Dacoity Commissioners, who moved about the 
country in boats dealing summary justice to all river thieves. 
In 1860 the Commissioners were abolished on the ground 
that the newly-raised police force should be able to deal 
efficiently with the evil. But this hope was .disappointed, 
and owing to the frequency of robberies on the Hooghly 
and in the Sundarbans, a special body of river police force 
had to be organized. This also was abolished in 1867, and 
though a force of patrol boats was maintained as part of 
the regular police establishment, robbery and murder on the 
water routes continued. 

The subject of river crime does not appear to have 
attracted much notice till 1899, when certain newspapers 
drew attention to it. A scries of important Conferences were 
then held in 1900 and 1901 ; and next year two special 
officers were deputed to make enquiries. The result of their 
enquiries may be gathered from the remarks of the Police 
Commission: — "It has recently been brought to light that a 
great mass of dacoity and other serious crime is committed 
upon the large navigable rivers of Bengal and Assam. Very 
little of this crime is reported to the police, partly owing to 
the fear of the criminals, partly owing to an unwillingness to 
break a journey, and partly because the sufferers have no 
confidence in the ability of the police to help them and are 
unwilling to devote time and trouble to assisting in enquiries 
which they feel will prove fruitless. This serious blot upon 
police administration must be removed and the rivers must be 
made as safe as the public highways." No complete scheme, 
however, had been worked out, and the Government of India 
therefore directed that the Governments concerned should 
examine the whole question with a view to formulating a 
practicable scheme. In 1904 Mr. Bramley of the United 
Provinces Police and Mr. Macnaruaia of the Bengal Police 


Were placed on special duty to follow up the enquiries previ- 
ously made. Their investigations disclosed a serious state of 
affairs; among other things, it came to light that about 2,500 
criminals resident in the United Provinces came habitually 
into Bengal, in the guise of peaceful river traders, in order 
to commit crime ranging from theft to dacoity. And there 
were only 31 patrol boats, most of which were useless to check 
crime, being so slow and unwieldy that it was practically 
impossible to take river pirates unawares. 

It was recognized that further action was imperative; and 
the Bengal Government determined to cope with the evil 
vigorously. A scheme involving an expenditure of nearly 
two lakhs a year was accordingly drawn up, in consultation 
with the Governments of the United Provinces and Assam, 
and submitted (in August 1904) to the Government of India. 
That Government held that the scheme was deficient in two 
respects. The registration of trade boats had not been fully 
considered, nor had the river steamer companies been 
approached. In both directions commercial interests of 
importance were involved, which called for careful consideration. 
They directed that further enquiries should be made, and in 
the meantime sanctioned, as a provisional and temporary 
measure, the appointment of a force to form the nucleus of 
an effective river police. 

Mr. Bramley and Mr. Plowden of the Bengal Police were 
now deputed to make further investigations and assist in 
maturing detailed proposals. Exhaustive enquiries were made 
in Assam, Bengal and the United Provinces ; and the Bengal 
Chamber of Commerce, the Bengal National Chamber of Com- 
merce, the Marwari Association, the Agents of the Eiver 
Steamer Companies and the Insurance Companies were freely 
consulted. Before the enquiries were concluded, however, the 
new Province of Eastern Bengal and Assam was created. 
The police establishments had to be redistributed; and, as 
there was nothing to be gained by enlisting a special force 
without adequate equipment, before appropriate rules and 
regulations could be framed for their guidance, the raising of 
the proposed nucleus force was kept in abeyance. The whole 
situation moreover was changed, so far as Bengal was 
concerned, the localities chiefly affected being included in 
the new Province. The completion of the report giving the 
result of the enquiries made was delayed by other causes, 
which need not be mentioned here; and it will suffice to say 
that in January 1908 a Conference, presided over by the 
Chief Secretary, and attended, among others, by the Inspectors 
General of Bengal, the United Provinces, and Eastern Bengal 



and Assam, was held to discuss Mr. Bramley's report and to 
consider the question of reorganizing the river police. The 
most important decision arrived at was that the principle 
of Provincial boundaries was to he maintained and that 
each Province should recruit a force of river police according 
to its requirements. In Bengal this matter has already been 
taken in hand, and a detailed 3cheme is under preparation. 


Death-bate per mille. 

In jails (daily 

In Bengal. 

1875-1879 ... 
188D-18S4 ... 
1885-1889 ... 
1890—1894 ... 
1895-1899 ... 
19)0—1904 ... 



17 5 



One of the most satisfactory features of jail administration 
during the quinquennium was the steady decrease in the 

death-rate among the inmates 
of jails. The marginal table 
will show sufficiently how 
continuously mortality has 
decreased in the last 30 years ; 
but two points call for special 
notice. (1) The decrease has 
been specially marked during 
the last four years, the jail 
mortality for 1907 being the 
lowest on record; and (2) the 
death-rate has been far below 
that for the Province as a 
whole." It is of some interest 
in this connection to recall the fact that nearly half a century 
ago Dr. F. J. Mouat, the then head of the Jail Depart- 
ment and the foremost sanitarian in India at that time, stated 
that he looked forward to the time when the death-rate of 
the prison population in malarious Bengal would be reduced 
to 50 per mille. The death-rate passed this modest limit 
more than twenty years ago. Its diminution is due to the 
introduction of common sense hygiene into jails by Dr. Mouat, 
whose work was carried on by Sir Alfred Lethbridge and 
his successors, aided, and indeed rendered only possible, by 
the care and attention given to their jails by the Jail 
Superintendents. The result is testimony to the unremitting 
attention paid to sanitation, and affords an object lesson of 
what persistent and common sense sanitation can effect even 
in a malarious tropical province. 

The marked decrease in recent years may be fairly 
ascribed -to the numerous sanitary improvements effected 

JAILS. 91 

during this quinquennium, in which Lieutenant-Colonel 
W. J. Buchanan, i.m.s., held office. Sir Andrew, in the course 
of his early tours, visited all the central and district jails in the 
Province and many of the subsidiary jails. He was generally 
accompanied by Colonel Buchanan, especially if there was 
any special defect suspected in regard to any jail. The im- 
provements introduced included the provision of a better water- 
supply, better arrangements for segregation and quarantine, 
improved cook-houses, latrines of an improved pattern, better 
ventilation of barracks, etc. Owing to such reforms, plague has 
been practically kept out of the jails, and also cholera and 
small-pox; although every year a few eases occur among 
under-trial prisoners and newly-admitted prisoners, who have 
become infected before they come inside the jail. This is 
unavoidable; but in no case have any of these diseases been 
able to get a footing. The imported cases have been 
promptly isolated, and the diseases have not been allowed to 
spread. Malarial fevers also have become much less fatal, 
and strenuous endeavours have been and are being made in 
all jails to combat malaria by modern methods. The incidence 
of dysentery, once the bugbear and also the opprobrium 
of jails in Bengal, has been very considerably reduced, and 
the mortality has largely decreased. The decline has been 
especially noticeable in the Midnapore jail, where investiga- 
tions into the causation of dysentery have been carried out, 
and the method of vaccine therapy has been introduced (in 
1907). The results give good grounds for the hope that it 
may be possible to limit, in future, the incidence of this 
disease, of which Bengal seems peculiarly the hot-bed. 

Besides helping to advance the cause of jail sanitation, Under -tHa' 
Sir Andrew Fraser introduced several important changes in ' P r,soners * 
the system of jail administration. One of the first matters 
taken up by His Honour was the separation of under-trial 
from recently-convicted prisoners. A certain laxity had crept 
in with regard to this important matter, owing to certain 
special circumstances. The outbreak of plague had led to the 
issue of stricter orders for the separation of newly-admitted 
prisoners from the general body of convicts. The only place, 
however, which could be found for the separation of one 
class of male adult convicts from the rest, was the under- 
trial prisoners' ward. Consequently, as it was then considered 
more important to keep out plague than to separate 
prisoners recently convicted from prisoners awaiting trial, the 
practice grew up of keeping prisoners under trial and prisoners 
just convicted in the same ward or enclosure, for the first' 
ten days of their detention.. 

92 JAILS. 

His Honour noticed this practice during his visits to 
district jails. He pointed out that it was not a satisfactory- 
arrangement and that prisoners awaiting trial should always 
be kept apart from convicted prisoners. At the same time, 
segregation on medical grounds was also imperative on account 
of the danger threatening from plague; and it was necessary 
therefore to set apart wards and enclosures entirely for the 
use of convicts newly received into jail, either on conviction 
in the local courts or on transfer from other jails. Steps 
to remedy this defect were at once taken; and arrangements 
have now been made in all jails for the separation of 
prisoners awaiting trial from those who have been convicted. 
Another reform carried out has been the separation of 
different classes of prisoners. When the majority of the 
jails in Bengal were built 30 or 40 years ago, no 
attempt was made to provide separate accommodation for the 
different classes of prisoners. Arrangements were made only 
to separate males from females, and convicts from prisoners 
under trial. But within the last five years arrangments 
have been made for the separation of A class (or casual) 
convicts from B class (or habitual) convicts,^ and juvenile 
prisoners from both. Such separation is now well carried 
out in the majority of jails; but in a few smaller jails it 
is still impossible at times of overcrowding. Difficult as it 
was to carry out this reform in the sleeping wards and 
barracks, it was even more difficult in the workshops; but in 
this direction also .much has been done, and in many jails 
new workshops have been built for the purpose. Incidentally, 
it may be mentioned that the erection of new workshops and 
of new buildings for the purpose of segregation, etc., has, in 
a large number of jails, led to the extension of the outer 
walls, and to an increased area being provided within the 
four walls of the jail — an important sanitary matter not 
always insisted upon when the jails were built, many being, 
in consequence, 'site crowded.' 
Subsidiary In addition to these measures for the improvement of 

jails. district jails, Sir Andrew Fraser introduced an important 

change in the management of subsidiary jails. In the course 
of his first cold-weather tour through the Province, His 
Honour's attention was drawn to their state, which in many 
cases was very unsatisfactory. He also found that Magis- 
trates generally condemned the system of subsidiary jails, as 
a relic of times when facilities for communications were very 
muoh less than they are at present. There was, moreover, 
great difficulty in giving work to prisoners and in enforcing 
discipline: the result being that short-term prisoners, who 

JAILS. 93 

should find jails especially irksome, were not subjected to 
rigorous imprisonment at all. Lastly, the subsidiary jails 
were generally overcrowded, and chiefly by prisoners await- 
ing trial. 

As a remedial measure His Honour proposed that arrange- 
ments should be made to send all convicted prisoners to the 
headquarters jail of the district, where alone they could be 
brought under jail discipline and penal labour. The proposal 
was discussed by a Conference of Commissioners and Heads 
of Departments, and was generally approved. The main 
difficulty was a police one, viz., the provision of more 
frequent escorts to remove convicts from the subsidiary jails to 
the District Jails. This difficulty has, however, been overcome; 
and convicts are now removed daily, or thrice or twice a 
week, as circumstances permit, instead of only once a week 
as formerly. The system has worked well, and has certainly 
relieved the congestion in subsidiary jails; but, nevertheless, 
owing to the large number of prisoners awaiting trial, the 
latter are still often overcrowded. Many of them have, it is 
true, been rebuilt or enlarged, but others are still in great 
need of alteration. New subsidiary jails have been built for 
the reoently constituted subdivisions at the headquarters stations 
of Asansol, Dhanbaid and Khunti; those at Madhubani an$ 
Tamluk have been rebuilt; and in at least a dozen others 
extensive alterations have been completed or are in progress. 
A standard type-plan has also been brought out, providing for 
separate accommodation for male and female convicts, a large 
ward for under-trial prisoners, a couple of cells for refractory 
prisoners, or prisoners under medical examination for alleged 
lunacy, and a small hospital — all features marking a great 
advance over the accommodation provided in the old single- 
ward subsidiary jails. 

Another matter which came to His Honour's notice in 
connection with jail administration was the necessity of 
providing for the helpless beggars sent to prison in Calcutta 
— a class hitherto neglected. This question arose in conse- 
quence of a vigorous campaign against the numerous beg- 
gars who made themselves a nuisance in the metropolis. 
Numbers were committed to jail, and while most were 
sturdy rogues, others were miserable wretches, halt, maim 
or blind, unable either to earn a livelihood or perform 
prison tasks. In prison they were merely kept and fed 
at Government expense, and their association with real 
criminals did them no good. His Honour felt that some- 
thing should be done for this class, and sanctioned an 
annual grant to a charitable institution called "The Kefuge," 

94 JAILS. 

which had been, recently established in Calcutta for the 
reception of helpless beggars, in addition to a monthly 
stipend for the support of each beggar sent there by the 
Juvenile cou- Perhaps the most interesting feature, however, of jail 
victs. administration in the quinquennium was the increasing 

attention paid to the proper treatment of juvenile convicts. 
The importance of this question can scarcely be over- 
estimated ; for if youths, who are only commencing a career 
of crime and are of an impressionable age, are allowed to 
associate with adult criminals, they rapidly deteriorate aud, 
assimilating the vices of their older companions, become 
habitual criminals. To prevent this, it is necessary to 
separate boys and youths sent to prison from adult convicts, 
to protect them from contaminating influences, and to bring 
better influences to bear on them. This is not a difficult 
matter in the case of girl prisoners ; for they are few in 
number, and for some years past there has been a separate 
juvenile depot for them at Bhagalpur. Attention has 
therefore been specially devoted to juvenile male offenders, 
of whom there are two main classes — (1) boys under 15 
years of age, mostly boys sentenced to detention in reform- 
atory schools and kept in jail till they can be transferred, 
and (2) youths and young men- between 16 and 23 years 
of age, who are too old for a reformatory. For prisoners 
of these two classes juvenile wards have been established, in 
which they are kept separate from older prisoners. Special 
steps have also been taken to improve the method of treat- 
ment in such wards, particularly at Hazaribagh and Bhagal- 
pur, the inmates being given an elementary education and 
taught drill and gymnastics, in addition to ordinary jail 
industries. Still, for want of accommodation, boys under 
16 years of age,- youths of 16 to 18, and young men of 1$ 
to 22 have to be kept together in some jails. The young 
men or " adolescents " last mentioned are a particularly 
difficult class to provide for; but in all the larger jails 
they are kept in a separate ward and made to work in a 
separate work-shed. • 

Further measures for the treatment of youthful prisoners 
on advanced lines are shortly to be taken by the establish- 
ment of a special juvenile jail. This will be similar to 
the "juvenile adult" prison at Borstal near Chatham, which 
has recently been set apart for the reception of juvenile 
prisoners only, i.e., youths past the age for reformatories 
or industrial schools, yet not fit to be associated with adult 
convicts. The need of such a jail in Bengal, and the 

JAILS. 96 

principles on which it will be managed, may be^ gathered 
from the remarks recorded by the Inspector-General in April 
1907: — "What is wanted in Bengal is not a jail for boys 
of the reformatory age, but a large industrial school situated 
on a large farm without walls and with little more 
restraint than exists in a well-managed public school. Such 
is impossible in the walled-in small jail which now does 
duty for a Beformatory in Calcutta. These buildings 
formerly were part of the Alipore Central Jail, and I have 
asked for them to be returned to this Department. If 
this were done, we could at once start a juvenile jail for 
boys from 16 to 23 years ; we could teach them modern trades 
and even jute-spinning and weaving ; and in the neighbour- 
hood of Calcutta it * should not be difficult to get employ- 
ment for such youths. . . .It has always seemed to 
me a great pity to see the procession of youths who pass 
from the Courts of the Presidency Magistrates to the jails 
in Calcutta. Such youths often get very short sentences, 
and the same boy may come back three or four times in 
a year. Imprisonment of this sort is worse than useless, 
and only leads to the manufacture of criminals. If a 
juvenile jail were at. hand and such boys got sufficiently 
long sentences, they would be taken hold of, taught trades, 
and an endeavour made to get them work on release. At 
present, by a system of repeated petty sentences for repeated 
petty offences, these boys are manufactured into criminals, 
and year after year recruit the ranks of the Calcutta 
habitual thief. The time has certainly come for the taking 
up of this question, and a beginning can at once be made 
as soon as the present obsolete reformatory buildings are 
made over to the Jail Department." 

This proposal was considered by a special Committee 
appointed by Sir Andrew and was again discussed at 
Hazaribagh during a visit which His Honour paid to that 
place. It was decided to hand over the buildings and 
grounds of the Reformatory School at Alipore to the 
Jail Department, and to convert them into a Juvenile Jail 
for the reception of youths too old for a Reformatory and 
too young to be allowed to live and associate with adult 
prisoners in a criminal jail. This is a new departure in t 
jail management in India, and it is hoped that it may 
meet with the same success as in England. 



There have hitherto been two reformatory schools in 
Bengal situated at Alipore and Hazaribagh. The former was 
established in 1878, the building allotted for it being the old 
jail hospital of the Alipore Jail. The latter was opened in 
1882 for boys resident in Bihar and Chota Nagpur, the 
school at Alipore being reserved for boys from Bengal 
proper. They were each placed under a Board of Management 
and were managed by the Jail Department till 1900, when they 
were transferred to the control of the Education Department. 
This change was made because it was thought that the Educa- 
tion Department would be more successful in managing reform- 
atory schools, in that the latter are intended for education 
and reform, and not merely for punishment. At the same 
time, it was believed that the Department would be in a 
better position to help the boys to earn an honest living 
after they left the school, e.g., by teaching them suitable 
handicrafts while in the school, by apprenticing them before 
release, and by finding employment for them after release. 
Closely connected • with this object was the maintenance of 
a watch over their subsequent careers. It was felt that 
such surveillance was necessary in the interests of the boys 
themselves, in order that they might not be left entirely 
without help and guidance, and also in the interests of the 
schools, in order that it might be known how far their 
reforming influences had had a good effect. But year after 
year it became apparent that these objects were not being 
fully attained. A large proportion of the boys did not follow - 
the trades taught them, a number of those licensed out 
proved failures, and the percentage of those who could not 
be traced, were unemployed, or had resumed a criminal 
career, was not satisfactory. 

His Honour referred the question of what measures 
should be taken to improve the system to the Commissioners' 
Conference ; and then, in 1905, appointed a strong Com- 
mittee consisting of Government officers and representative 
European and Indian gentlemen (presided over by the Hon'ble 
•Mr. Justice Pargiter), to consider the policy to be adopted 
with regard both to reformatory schools and the treatment 
of juvenile offenders, particularly in respect of the class of 
oriminals to be sent to the schools, their management there, 
and their treatment after discharge. The Committee held 
an exhaustive enquiry and submitted a valuable report in 


which a number" of important suggestions were made for 
the reform of the system. As regards the management of 
boys while in the schools, sound principles were laid down 
for improving their training. In the case of boys licensed 
out during the -latter years of their detention, one chief 
cause of failure was the fact that they earned wages too 
small for their support. The result was that this system, 
which is intended to prepare them for full freedom and 
help them to procure employment on release, was not as 
successful as could be desired. This defect has now been 
removed by the grant of allowances sufficient, with their 
earnings, to give them at least a living wage. 

On the important question of the after careers of the 
boys, the Committee found that the expectations entertained 
when the reformatories were' transferred to the Education 
Department had not been fulfilled. It had been hoped 
that the change would enlist more sympathy for the boys 
among the public, and render it easier for them to obtain 
employment on their release ; that the reformatory schools 
would be better able to assist them ; that the boys would 
feel less shame at their connection with the schools and be 
more willing to accept help from the schools ; that the 
subsequent surveillance over them would be easier, and 
better information would be obtained about their subsequent 
careers. The Committee found that, though the Education 
Department had done its best, it had been hampered by 
great difficulties and limitations. "None of the anticipa- 
tions," they remarked, " appear to have been realized, 
except perhaps the belief that the boys' feelings would be 
less characterized by shame. The change does not appear 
to have made any material difference in the business of 
surveillance and the procuring of better information about 
the boys. The other expectations have failed, because it 
has not been possible for the reformatories to give the boys 
any substantial help towards finding employment on their 
release, and public sympathy has not been aroused more 
than before. There are no private philanthropic agencies 
in this country, as in England, to which appeal might be 

Steps are now being taken to improve the system of 
surveillance over released boys. The principles governing 
surveillance have been laid down, viz., police agency should 
never be employed ; the surveillance should be as unobtru- 
sive and as little inquisitorial as possible ; in order to make 
the system a source of actual benefit, efforts should be made 
to keep every boy in view under all circumstances, e.g., 



where the officer charged with the duty of surveillance 
ascertains that a boy is out of employment, he should not 
be content merely to report the fact, but should use every 
effort to find him employment. As regards the means of 
making such surveillance effective and of real benefit, there 
has been for some time past a special Sub-Inspector of Schools 
to assist in maintaining a watch over such boys in 
Calcutta. A small special staff is also to be appointed, whose 
duty it will be to make themselves acquainted with the 
histories of released and licensed boys ; to visit such boys 
in a friendly way as often as practicable ; and to help the 
officers of the Education Department in aiding released 
boys. The system under which educational officers are 
primarily responsible for the watch over released boys will 
be maintained ; but this staff will form a connecting link 
between th6 Superintendents of Eeformatory Schools and the 
local educational officers, and help the former to keep in 
real touch with the boys. Monthly allowances and presents 
are further to be made to boys whose conduct and character 
are satisfactory, and the allowances are to be on a graduated 
scale, according to character, as an incentive to honest 

It remains to note an important change recently decided 
upon with regard to the Alipore reformatory school. 
Shortly before Sir Andrew Fraser became Lieutenant- 
Governor, the Board of Management called attention to the 
cubicle system of this school, which was better suited for 
adult criminals than for boys in a reformatory. The 
cubicles had been built for jail prisoners ; they resembled 
solitary cells ; they were unsuitable for the purposes of a 
reformatory. In December 1903 the then Director of 
Public Instruction, Sir A. Pedler, inspected the school and 
reported that the area of the land was limited, the build- 
ings unsuitable, and the cubicles insanitary. He recom- 
mended the removal of the school to a larger site in the 
outskirts of Calcutta, considering that no alterations or 
improvements could make the buildings suitable or alter 
their prison-like character. Sir Andrew appointed a Com- 
mittee, with the Commissioner of the Presidency Division 
as President, to consider the question in all its bearings. 
This Committee agreed with the conclusions already arrived 
at and recommended the abandonment of the site and 
buildings at Alipore and the establishment of a new school 
on a new site. His Honour accepted their finding as to 
the unsuitability of the site and buildings, and came to the 
conclusion that the two schools should be amalgamated 


As a preliminary measure, they are to be located at Hazari- 
bagh, until a suitable site is selected and a new school 
built, the old buildings being converted into the juvenile 
adult jail already mentioned. ' 

An important corollary to the reforms mentioned above Juvenile 
was the action taken by Sir Andrew with regard to juve- offem,er9 ' 
nile offenders, i.e., offenders under 15 years of age, appear- 
ing in the Criminal Courts. Their treatment was, he felt, 
far from being on the right lines, and Magistrates too 
often failed to realize their responsibilities in trying such 
cases. In order to improve the existing state of affairs, 
His Honour gave comprehensive directions regarding the 
procedure to be adopted in such cases. He laid it down 
as a principle, to be observed in the case of every youthful 
offender, that the main object was to prevent his falling 
into habitually criminal -courses or to reclaim him from 
such courses if he has already adopted them. To ensure 
its attainment, he directed that children should be tried as 
quickly as possible, that the utmost care should be taken to 
protect them while under trial from any contact with 
criminals, whether in Court or under detention elsewhere, 
and that in order to prevent such contact, bail should be 
freely accepted. In the next place, His Honour drew 
attention to the mischief done by short terms of imprison- 
ment as a punishment for young offenders. Such sentences 
had been far too common. Boys of tender age were fre- 
quently found in jail sentenced to short terms ; and it was 
a matter of common knowledge that they left jail worse 
than when they entered it. Nor could it be said that, in 
view of the powers vested in Magistrates to deal on other 
lines with this class of offenders, such a sentence was neces- 
sary for the ends of justice in any but exceptional cases. 

His Honour's view was that such sentences were the worst 
form of punishment for youthful criminals, and he announced 
his sincere hope that they would seldom, if ever, be 
inflicted in Bengal. Apart, moreover, from this, he endeav- 
oured to reduce the number of cases in which sentences 
of confinement were passed at all. With this object he 
directed a discriminating use of the powers conferred by 
section 562 of the Criminal Procedure Code and by the 
Whipping Act \ and pointed out that where confinement is 
necessary, detention in a reformatory school is always 
preferable to imprisonment. Lastly, in order to ensure that 
cases against juvenile offenders should be treated with 
proper care and intelligence, His Honour directed that 
arrangements should, if possible, be made at every district 



headquarters to have all cases of this kind tried by one 
and the same Magistrate, who should be one of the most 
responsible and experienced officers of the regular magis- 
terial staff. 


Not the least noticeable feature of Sir Andrew's adminis- 
tration was the greater activity of the Medical Department. 
Such progress was eminently desirable. A Committee 
appointed by Sir Ashley Eden, in 1878, to consider, among 
other matters connected with medical administration, the 
question of hospital management in Bengal had inaugurated 
an era of economy. Some years later, on the passing of the 
Municipal and Local Self- Government Acts, the management 
of mofussil hospitals and dispensaries was, to a large extent, 
handed over to local bodies, which were not only hampered 
by want of funds, but also in some measure unacquainted 
with the needs of medical institutions. Progress was 
consequently slow, in spite of the exertions- of District 
Officers and Civil Surgeons. Still, much was done, though 
circumstances prevented many dispensaries being properly 
equipped and up to date, particularly in outlying places. 
Both Sir John Woodburn and Sir James Bourdillon had the 
medical cause muoh at heart; but they also were handi- 
capped by financial stringency and were unable to effect as 
many reforms as they desired. 

The general state of affairs in the interior, as seen by 
Sir Andrew immediately after he became Lieutenant-Governor, 
may be gathered from the remarks recorded by the Inspector- 
General of Civil Hopitals in 1904: "At my inspections I 
found in many instances the hospitals very defective as 
regards building and equipment. I found them in some 
cases located in old magazines, in shops, and in buildings 
which had been condemned for other purposes. In very 
many cases also the equipment was composed of obsolete 
apparatus such as was in use half a century ago. In every 
direction, however, improvements, both in buildings and equip- 
ment, are being carried out, a great deal having been done 
already through the exertions of District Officers and Civil 
Surgeons, whilst the assistance recently given by Government 
will do much towards modernizing the principal district 
hospitals. The condition of the principal hospitals at present 
is one of transition, much having been done towards bringing 


them up to modern standards, whilst much remains to be 

As regards the Calcutta hospitals, there can be no doubt 
that they were not worthy of the capital, and that with the 
great advance made in European countries, their defects had 
become accentuated. These defects were a legacy of the 
past, a fact which may be illustrated by one instance — that 
of the Presidency General Hospital. The three blocks of 
this hospital had been built nearly 150 years ago (between 
1758 and 1768) by Kiernander, the first Protestant missionary 
to Bengal. The central block had been his garden-house, 
and, with the eastern and western blocks, was handed over 
in 1769-70 to the East India Company for use as a civil 
hospital, an European military hospital, and a hospital for 
sepoys. It was not till 1896 that the then Lieutenant- 
Governor, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, sanctioned, on the recom- 
mendation of a special Committee, a scheme for the demolition 
of most of these antiquated buildings and the complete 
reconstruction of the hospital, as soon as funds permitted. 
The demolition of the last of Kiernander's buildings, involved 
by this scheme, was only completed during the quinquennium 
under review. 

From the first, Sir Andrew Fraser interested himself 
personally in the improvement of the hospitals of the Province. 
Having attended, at one time, some of the medical classes in the 
Edinburgh University, he was much interested in medical and 
sanitary matters ; and the large resources at his disposal, due 
to a series of prosperous years and a more liberal Provincial 
contract, enabled him to give this interest a practical shape 
by executing a number of long needed reforms. The local 
officers of Government and wealthy private individuals 
responded to his appeals; and this was all the more 
important, because in Bengal the duty of bringing medical 
relief to the sick poor falls mainly on the District Boards 
and, to a certain extent, on the people themselves. A spirit of 
progress was abroad. Not only were funds provided, but there 
was a marked increase of interest in hospital work and a 
greater pride in their medical institutions on the part of the 
more enlightened sections of the community. In Calcutta 
itself most of the hospitals were improved almost beyond 
recognition. In the mofussil, with the assistance of Govern- 
ment, local bodies and the public, there was a real advance, 
the larger institutions being modernized and rendered more 
efficient in respect of accommodation, equipment and methods. 

During the course of his tours through the Province, Mofussil 
Sir Andrew made a point of visiting district dispensaries and ■ hospital*. 






Number of 

Number of 

1904 ... 
1907 ... 




of enquiring personally into their requirements. The defects 
brought to his notice were remedied as far as possible ; and 
efforts were made to bring the hospitals in each district up to 
date in equipment, to provide sufficient accommodation for the 
patients resorting to them, and generally to make them more 
efficient. In order, moreover, to bring medical relief to the 
villagers themselves, medical officers in charge of dispensaries 

were deputed to visit outlying - 
markets ; and arrangements 
have recently been made for 
the deputation of Civil Hospital 
Assistants to travel systemati- 
cally in the worst fever- 
stricken areas during the fever 
season and give medical aid on the spot. The increase in 
the number of dispensaries, and in the attendance at them, 
during the quinquennium is shown in the marginal table. 

The general effect of the measures taken may be gathered 
from the remarks recorded by the Inspector- General, Colonel 
R. Macrae, i.m.s., in the last Triennial (1905 — 1907) Keport 
on the Hospitals and Dispensaries of Bengal: "Owing to the 
wise and unprecedented liberality of Government, the triennium 
under report has been one of exceptional progress in every 
direction. Throughout the Province many new hospitals have 
been completed or are under construction, or have been 
sanctioned ; all have been greatly improved and well equipped ; 
type-plans of operation-rooms and of outdoor departments of 
hospitals on modern lines have been issued, and many 
hospitals have already adopted them. In short, the medical 
institutions of the Province generally have been very largely 
brought up to date during the past three years. But there 
still remains much to be done before the medical needs of 
Bengal are adequately met." 

The Calcutta hospitals, again, have been altered almost 
beyond recognition, owing to a series of improvements, 
effected at great cost, which have brought these important 
institutions into line with ' modem requirements, and havo also 
made them more attractive and popular. At the same time, 
owing to the zeal and energy of the officers concerned, the 
standard of efficiency has greatly improved. It would be 
beyond the scope of this report to give a detailed account 
of the improvements effected ; but a brief mention may be 
made of some of the most important changes. 

Sir Andrew Fraser devoted special attention to the Medical 
College Hospital; firstly, because it is a great hospital for 
Indians and therefore demands special attention from the 


Government ; and, secondly, because it is the great medical 
teaching institution of the Province and sends out its students 
to do medical work in all parts of Bengal as well as in 
other parts of India. This hospital was founded by means 
of public subscriptions and a sum of money raised by lottery 
for the improvement of Calcutta, the foundation-stone being 
laid by Lord Dalhousie, with masonic honours, in 1848. In 
the course of half a century its equipment had fallen behind 
modern requirements; but steps have now been taken to 
reorganize and bring it up to date. A large surgical hospital 
is being constructed, the foundation-stone being laid by Lord 
Minto in 1906, also with masonic honours; and Indian 
paying-patients' wards are in course of construction. New 
nurses' quarters have been built ; the staff has been increased ; 
new pathological and physiological laboratories have been 
completed and equipped. An isolation hospital and anatomical 
museum are also being built ; and the construction of a fourth 
block is contemplated, thus completing the scheme of 

The changes made in the Campbell Medical School and 
Hospital have been scarcely less important. Three years ago 
the hospital was referred to officially as "that ancient and 
extraordinary edifice." It was stated that the necessity for 
its reconstruction had been recognized for many years past; 
"and with its completion one of the most glaring defects in 
the medical arrangements of Calcutta will disappear." The 
scheme is now approaching completion, the most important 
ohanges being the construction of a new single-storeyed ward 
for male patients, the remodelling of the central portion of 
the old main building, and the acquisition of a neighbouring 
insanitary basti. The additional space so obtained is to be 
utilized in building, among other structures, a hostel for 300 
male students with teachers' quarters. Other improvements 
are also in progress in connection with the old main 
building, which was a great shed without proper ventilation 
and very unsuitable for a hospital ward, where hundreds of 
patients lay in view of each other in all stages of disease 
and suffering. Sir Andrew Fraser, after visiting the hospital, 
directed that this building should be demolished; that, in its 
place, two double-storeyed wards containing about 200 beds 
should be erected to the north and south; and that the central 
portion should be reconstructed and made an examination 
hall. The new central hall is complete, and the two double- 
storeyed wards are under construction, but will probably 
both be occupied by the beginning of the cold weather of 


The Presidency General Hospital has also been greatly 
improved, the most important addition being the construction of 
a new paying-patients' block. A large tract of basti land to 
the east of the hospital has also been acquired by Government, 
the basti removed and the tanks filled up, thus greatly 
improving the sanitary condition of the surroundings of the 
hospital. The Howrah General Hospital is another ancient 
edifice that has been greatly improved lately, and further 
improvements are being carried out, by the construction of a 
ward, known as the Devi Prashad Ward, and of new nurses' 
quarters. The addition of an outdoor dispensary is also 
contemplated — a matter of especial importance, for the hospital 
serves a large local manufacturing area, and the railway 
terminus brings in large numbers of pilgrims and unemployed, 
often in an advanced state of disease. In the Sambhu Nath 
Pandit Hospital at Bhawanipur more nurses on better pay 
have been appointed, new quarters for them have been built, 
land for a new surgical ward has been purchased, and the 
staff has been increased. The North Suburban Hospital at 
Cossipore has also been greatly improved; and a grant has 
been given towards the construction of a suitable building 
for a branch institution of the Mayo Hospital known as the 
Chandney Hospital. 

The improvements above mentioned have entailed heavy 
expenditure on the part of 
Government, as will be apparent 
from the marginal table show- 
ing the grants made by it 
during the last four years. The income of the hospitals has 
also been increased by a donation of one lakh received 
through H. E. H. the Prince of Wales and^ of Es. 1,40,000 
from the Lady Minto Pete Fund ; but Government contribu- 
tions represent nearly three-fourths of their total income. 

One interesting innovation has been the institution of 
wards for paying patients. The first of such wards was 
started in the Presidency General Hospital for European 
patients. This was a matter in which His Honour's 
predecessor, Sir John Woodburn, was very deeply interested; 
and with substantial financial assistance from the European 
community the project was carried out during Sir Andrew's 
administration. Subsequently, in 1905, it was suggested that a 
similar paying ward should be attached to one of the Calcutta 
hospitals for the reception of Indian patients. His Honour 
received the suggestion sympathetically, for he knew, from 
enquiries whioh he had already made, the difficulties of many 
patients coming in from the country for treatment in Calcutta. 


... 9,89,825 


... 8,42,294 


... 9,34,743 


... 13,12,957 


They are compelled to incur heavy expenditure for house 
accommodation, as well as for professional fees. They are also 
exposed to very undesirable conditions in respect of their 
surroundings while under treatment ; for they have to engage 
a house or room, usually at short notice, at a high rent and 
frequently in an unsuitable neighbourhood. He promptly 
appointed a Committee of European doctors and representa- 
tive Indian gentlemen to consider the whole question, and 
himself presided over one of their meetings. A workable 
scheme was devised ; land was acquired ; and, through the 
liberality of some Indian gentlemen, paying wards for 
Indian patients are being constructed at the Medical College 

Lastly may be mentioned the important question of 
nursing in which Sir Andrew took a deep personal interest. 
Impressed with the need of an increased nursing staff, he 
increased the Government grant to the Calcutta Hospital 
Nurses' Institution to Es. 50,000, subject to the pre-existing 
condition that Government pays Rs. 3 for every rupee 
subscribed. Further measures are in contemplation for 
improving the efficiency of the nursing system. 

A number of administrative changes in the Medical Admmistra. 
Department have taken place during the quinquennium. tive chan s es 
In 1905 a scheme was sanctioned for improving the position 
of officers of the Indian Medical Service by raising the 
pay of different ranks according to length of service. 
This reform, which was strongly supported by His Honour, 
has made the Indian Medical Service more popular and 
is much appreciated by its officers. The pay and pros- 
pects of compounders in dispensaries under Government 
supervision have also been improved; and proposals for 
improving the pay and prospects of the Subordinate Medical 
Service, in which for years past there has been much discon- 
tent, are under consideration. Several new posts have also 
been created, e.g., in the Calcutta Medical College a separate 
Professor of Physiology, an Assistant Professor of Pathology, 
and a Demonstrator of Chemistry have been appointed, while 
the creation of separate chairs of Professors of Anatomy 
and Biology is proposed. Another important new appoint- 
ment is that of a separate Police Surgeon for Calcutta. 
Until 1906 the post of the Police Surgeon, Coroner's 
Surgeon, and Professor of Medical Jurisprudence in the 
Medical College was combined with that of Superintendent of 
the Campbell Medical School and Hospital — an unsatisfactory 
arrangement, because it was impossible for one man to 
combine all his duties without detriment to the work of one 




Lunatic asy- 

or the other. Sir Andrew Fraser accordingly proposed and 
obtained sanction to the separation of the appointments. 
There is now a whole-time Police Surgeon for Calcutta, which 
is a much better arrangement in the interests both of police 
work and of the students of the Campbell Medical School, 
to whom the Superintendent can now devote more time and 
attention, as well .as to the hospital attached to the school. 

There has been a great advance in the efficiency of the 
Medical Sohools in Bengal during the quinquennium, a 
number of improvements having been effected in accommoda- 
tion, teaching and equipment, in raising the standard of 
preliminary education required from candidates for admission, 
and in the very important matter of modernizing the 
hospitals attached to the schools, so as to render them more 
suitable for clinical teaching as well as for the treatment 
of the sick. Personally, Sir Andrew Fraser has taken 
special interest in the moral and physical well-being of the 
medical students ; and he has inaugurated measures to have 
them suitably housed and protected, as far as possible, from 
evil surroundings. In the Campbell Medical School, which 
is the chief medical school in Bengal, sites for a large 
hostel and play-ground have been acquired. For the 
Cuttack Medical School a hostel with a gymnasium and 
teachers' quarters is to be built ; and at Patna new barracks 
and a gymnasium have been constructed for the students of 
the Temple Medical School. Special arrangements have also 
been made for the training of hill boys to enable them to 
work among their own people in the hills. They now 
receive such a training at the Patna Medical School in the 
winter and at Kalimpong in the hot weather. Sir Andrew 
has taken special interest in this scheme, and the results so 
far have been very encouraging. 

When Sir Andrew Fraser became Lieutenant-Governor, 
there were 5 lunatic asylums in Bengal as now constituted, 
viz., the European and Native Asylums in Calcutta — the 
former at Bhawanipur, while the latter was called the 
Dullunda Asylum— and the asylums at Berhampore, Cuttack 
and Patna. The three last named were in charge of the 
district Civil Surgeons, while a resident surgeon of the 
Presidency General Hospital was Superintendent of the 
Calcutta European and Native Asylums. A Central Asylum 
was also under construction. In the five years of His 
Honour's administration the radical changes, suggested by 
him when a member of the Hemp Drugs Commission in 
1893-94 and accepted by the Government of India, have 
been made. The Cuttack and Dullunda Asylums have been 


closed, aud their inmates transferred to the asylum at Berham- 
pore. A separate Medical Officer, Major 0. J. Eobertson 
Milne, i.m.s., has been appointed Superintendent of the 
Berhampore Asylum, which is temporarily the Central Lunatic 
Asylum. And the whole system of treatment of lunatics 
has been changed, the conditions of asylum life being 
improved, and the warder staff made to realize their respon- 
sibilities towards the insane — a most important element in 
asylum administration. 

Previously, lunatics were treated more as criminals than 
as unfortunates ; the asylum was a jail rather than a 
hospital for the mentally diseased. It has now been 
recognized that the influence of suggestion is one of the 
most powerful agents in mental cases, and that the " non- 
restraint " system of English asylums should be adopted. 
These principles are to be given effect in a large Central 
Asylum for Indians, which is to be erected at Eanchi. 
This asylum, for which land has already been acquired, 
will be under the management and supervision of an expert 
alienist. It has been planned on the Villa Colony system, 
which His Honour had seen so successful at home, and 
will be far in advance of any similar institution in Asia. 
It has also been arranged to establish a lunatic asylum for 
Europeans and Eurasians at the same place, and managed 
on the same lines, for the lunatics of Northern India. 

Most of the leper asylums in Bengal are maintained by Leper asy- 
the Mission to Lepers in India and the East. That lums# 
Mission maintains asylums at Lohardaga, Purulia, Eanchi, 
Eaniganj, Asansol, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur and Bankura ; 
there is another asylum at Deoghar maintained from private 
charity and managed by a local committee ; and only one 
asylum is maintained by Government, viz., the Albert 
Victor Asylum at Gobra (Calcutta). Sir Andrew Fraser 
gave liberal assistance to the Mission both by means of 
building grants and, in the case of three asylums, by annual 
capitation grants; for his view was that, by assisting the 
Mission asylums, Government would be able to accomplish „ 
much more than it could by establishing asylums of its own. 


The views of Sir Andrew Fraser on sanitation" were 
expressed by him as follows in the Legislative Council in 
1907: "What we want in this matter, more than anything 


else, is the dissemination of correct views in regard to 
sanitation among the people. However anxious Government 
may be to secure sanitary improvement, its efforts must 
be futile without the co-operation of the great mass of the 
people. Government can direct and advise. It can undertake 
a few large schemes. It can give contributions to 
District Boards, Municipalities and other local bodies, to 
assist them in oarrying out schemes of their own. But 
for real and effective progress throughout the Province 
reliance must be placed mainly on the people themselves. 
Government cannot possibly take in hand schemes for cleans- 
ing and freeing from jungle every village of the Province, 
or for filling up or otherwise dealing with all the little 
breeding places for mosquitoes, which exist without number 
in oertain districts. Grovernment may be able to conduct 
here and there experiments on approved lines as an induce- 
ment to the people to take the matter up for themselves; 
but after all, it is to the people that wej must look for 
oarrying out detailed sanitary works." 

Unfortunately in Bengal it is difficult to realize this 
ideal. While there is a high standard of personal cleanliness, 
the people are indifferent to the cleanliness of their sur- 
roundings. They cling to the insanitary ways of their fore- 
fathers, and the labourers in the cause of sanitary science 
are few. The officers of Grovernment have, consequently, to 
struggle against the vis inertia of a people who neither know 
nor care for the lessons of communal hygiene, with but little 
assistance or co-operation from the people themselves. Among 
the educated classes, there are not a few ready enough for 
other and less salutary propaganda, but the number of those 
willing to practise and preach the doctrine of cleanliness, 
light and air is small. In spite, however, of these draw- 
backs, fair sanitary progress has been made during the 

The development of sanitary schemes has been facili- 
tated by the administrative changes effected within the 
first year of Sir Andrew's administration. In December 
1903 His Honour expressed his strong approval of a 
proposal to create a separate Sanitary Department for 
the whole of India; and in 1904 the first step in that 
direction was taken by the appointment of a Sanitary 
Commissioner with the Government of India distinct from, 
and independent of, the Director-General, Indian Medical 
Service. The separation of the Sanitary Department in 
this Province from the Medical Department was a natural 


corollary of that measure. Sir Andrew Eraser therefore pro- 
posed that the Sanitary Commissioner should be given an 
independent position with a separate office establishment, and 
that he should cease to be subordinate to the Inspector- 
General of Civil Hospitals, as he had been since 1898. This 
proposal was sanctioned in 1905. Since that time, the Sani- 
tary Commissioner has been directly subordinate to Govern- 
ment, and solely responsible for the efficient management of 
his Department, as the expert sanitary adviser of Govern- 
ment, and also of local bodies, such as Municipalities and 
District Boards, in regard to water-supply and conservancy 
arrangements. In regard to the latter matter, much useful 
work has been done; and apart from that, several important 
sanitary enquiries, surveys and schemes have been under- 
taken with the expert advice and assistance of the Sanitary 
Commissioner and Sanitary Engineer. It would be beyond 
the scope of this report to give an account of all the 
improvements effected or in progress. Details of these 
improvements will be found in the annual departmental 
reports ; and all that can be attempted here is to give a 
brief sketch of the more important measures and enquiries 
connected with sanitation. 

One of the most important* of these was the improve- Water-supply, 
ment of the sources of village water-supply. This question 
was no new one. The difficulties connected with an ade- 
quate supply of wholesome drinking water in rural areas had 
engaged the attention of successive Lieutenant-Governors 
for many years past. Enquiries had been made and volu- 
minous correspondence had passed, but it was apparent 
that it was the quality rather than the quantity of 
water that was in fault. In Bengal the construction of 
tanks and wells has for many centuries been regarded as a 
becoming act of piety; but their maintenance and proper 
preservation are apt to be neglected. Not only so, but the 
people are habitually careless as to the necessity for keeping 
their tanks and wells free from pollution. In these circum- 
stances, Sir Andrew Fraser, after satisfying himself, by 
means of enquiries in every district, that a deficiency of 
the quantity of water available for drinking purposes in 
villages is altogether exceptional, decided that the efforts of 
Government should be directed chiefly to improving the 
sources of supply and removing the causes of contamination. 
A promise was therefore given that, if in any case the local 
authorities would contribute one-third of the cost of effect- 
ing such improvements, and the public another third, 
Government would contribute the remaining third up to a 



limit of Es. 5,000 for any one district, and of Bs. 50,000 
for the whole Province. These conditions were imposed in 
order that the gifts of Government might take a form 
which would encourage the villagers to help themselves, and 
foster a spirit of co-operation between the Government and 
the people. The offer was taken advantage of, Government 
contributing Es. 42,000 in 1904-05 and smaller sums in 
subsequent years. 

Plague The same considerations governed Sir Andrew Fraser's 

policy in the campaign against plague. This policy briefly 
was that the Government must act with and through the 
people it endeavoured to save. For this purpose, in spite 
of the difficulty of dealing with their apathy, it was 
necessary to try to make the people realize the principles 
of prevention, viz., that admission of light and air into 
their houses will drive away rats and plague; that, when 
rats begin to die in or near their houses, they must evacuate 
them ; that they must build their new houses so as to admit 
plenty of light and air; that they must not be too crowded ; 
that destruction of rats is a positive duty, for every in- 
fected rat destroyed means the removal of a source of 
infection; and that the chances of attack after inoculation 
are very greatly minimized. These principles had been 
enumerated over and over again ; but there was a tendency 
for the suggestions made to become gradually forgotten or 

In order to revive practical interest, His Honour convened 
and presided over an important Conference at Bankipore in 
1907. There were present at that Conference the Sani- 
tary Officers of Government, the Commissioner of the Divi- 
sion, all the Magistrates and Civil Surgeons of the Bihar 
districts, and a number of non-official gentlemen, both 
medical men and laymen, all deeply interested in the 
subject. There was a valuable discussion of the whole 
matter, and some useful notes were circulated afterwards. 
The relative importance of inoculation, evacuation of houses, 
rat-killing and the like were all discussed, as well as the 
times and places at which these measures would best be adopt- 
ed, and the best method of medical relief. Letters from 
His Majesty the King-Emperor and the Viceroy were trans- 
lated into the vernacular and widely circulated for the 
encouragement of the people. The instructions of the 
Government of India regarding the prevention of the spread 
of plague, and a leaflet prepared by the Sanitary Commis- 
sioner, Bengal, containing instructions for its prevention and 
.treatment, were circulated to all Commissioners. An officer 


of wide sanitary experience was specially deputed to the 
plague-infected districts .in Bihar, to give instructions to 
selected medical officers, of the Assistant Surgeon and 
Hospital Assistant classes, in the most approved methods of 
inoculation, and to explain to the people the prophylactic 
benefit of this treatment. At the same time, District Officers 
and Civil Surgeons convened meetings of the people, and 
explained to them the measures advised by Government. 
Three officers of the Indian Medical Service, 7 Civil 
Assistant Surgeons and 18 Civil Hospital Assistants were also 
specially deputed to Bihar for plague work; and, in addi- 
tion to the cost of their salaries, grants amounting to over 
Rs. 70,000 were made for helping the people to resist the 
epidemic. Every effort was made to secure the co-opera- 
tion of the people, meetings being held at which the 
programme and scope of work were fully explained, and 
considerable success was attained. 

The quinquennium also witnessed a strenuous endeavour Prevention 
to advance the campaign against malaria. The first step maam - 
taken was to cheapen the price of quinine, packets con- 
taining 7 grains being sold for one pice instead of 5 
grains as formerly. The reduction of price took effect in 
1904, and in the same year further measures were taken 
to ensure a wider distribution of the drug. It had 
hitherto been distributed by means of post offices and local 
dispensaries, but this system failed to afford full facilities 
for m ita purchase. It was therefore decided to employ the 
agency of village school-masters for its sale, and to open 
new distributing centres, so that no area in the Province 
should be more than 5 miles from a place where a supply 
of good and cheap quinine could be obtained. At the 
same time, drainage schemes in fever-ridden areas were 
pushed on, the most important being the Magra Hat drain- 
age scheme. This is a work of great magnitude, for it 
involves the drainage of a swampy area of about 290 square 
miles in the 24-Parganas, and the estimated total cost is 17 
lakhs. More recently (*>., since 1906), anti-malarial opera- 
tions have been begun in certain selected towns as an object- 
lesson to other Municipalities. 

Perhaps the most important of all the measures taken 
in recent years to combat malaria has been the appointment 
of a Drainage Committee. It had been suggested that a 
Commission or Committee should be appointed to enquire 
into the cause of the malarial fevers prevalent in Bengal 
and their remedies. Sir Andrew had the question considered 
-by the Commissioners' Conference and subsequently by a 


small special committee. He came to the conclusion that 
little advantage would be gained Jrom the appointment of 
a Commission with a mandate of so general a character, 
and that a general enquiry regarding remedial measures 
would tend to be infructuous. But His Honour felt that 
much good might be done by a Committee investigating a 
narrower field. It was well known that in Bengal, and 
especially in the Presidency Division, one of the factors in 
the causation of malarial disease is the obstruction of 
drainage due to the gradual rise of the delta, owing to 
which the rivers have in many cases abandoned their beds and 
sought new courses elsewhere. This seemed to His Honour 
the area in which an enquiry was most likely to have good 
results, in order that a list of practicable drainage schemes 
might be drawn up and a definite programme adopted. 

Accordingly, in 1906, he appointed a Committee of 
experts, which held an exhaustive enquiry and submitted a 
valuable report. Briefly, they found that the main causes 
of malaria were the insanitary state of the village sites and 
the water-logged condition of the country. They considered 
that further enquiry of a systematic and organized character 
should be made regarding local medical conditions and the 
existing obstructions to drainage, in order to determine the 
exact prevalence of malaria, the causes to which it is attribut- 
able, and the measures necessary for its prevention. They 
therefore proposed the creation 1 of a special Engineering 
Division consisting of an Executive Engineer and subordi- 
nates, who should be charged with the examination of the 
drainage conditions of specified areas and with the preparation 
of projects for the improvement of drainage where necessary. 
In dealing with the medical aspect of the question, they 
recommended systematic and continuous enquiry into the 
causes of malaria during each fever season, and proposed 
that selected Hospital Assistants should be deputed to travel 
systematically in the most affected areas during the fever 
season to distribute medical aid. At the same time, they 
pointed out, as has often been pointed out in the past, 
that the sanitary improvement of the village sites can only 
be carried out by the people themselves : that until the 
villagers are educated up to a point at which they under- 
stand the benefits of ordinary common-sense sanitary 
precautions, little progress can be hoped for. 

Sir Andrew Fraser accepted the recommendations of the 
Committee, and measures have been taken to give effect to 
them. Some, indeed, had already been anticipated. For 
instance, the main remedy suggested by the Committee for 


improving the condition of village sites was the creation of 
local bodies having the necessary powers to enforce local 
sanitation ; but provision had already been made in the Bill 
to amend the Local Self-Government Act (since passed 
into law) for the creation of such local sanitary authorities. 
It was also suggested that Government should, as an 
object-lesson, take action in a selected area. But, as stated 
above, this is already being done, and experiments have for 
some time past been carried on in several places for the 
destruction of mosquitoes. As regards other recommendations, 
it will suffice to say that action has already been taken to 
carry out most of them. The Government of India have 
sanctioned the deputation of a special Indian Medical Service 
officer for the purpose of conducting a systematic and 
continuous enquiry into the causes of malaria and the extent 
to which it prevails ; while the question of creating a special 
Engineering Division for the examination of the drainage 
conditions of specified areas is under the consideration of that 
Government, His Honour also sanctioned a scheme for the 
deputation of a large number, of selected Civil Hospital 
Assistants during the fever season to distribute medical 
aid in specially malarious tracts. A leaflet containing instruc- 
tions for self-treatment with quinine, and stating where 
pice packets can be obtained, has recently been widely distributed 
in English and in the vernaculars. And further efforts are 
to be made to popularize, as widely as possible, the use of 
quinine as a febrifuge amongst the mass of the people. 

Another enquiry of considerable importance instituted by ^ tic tankgt 
Sir Andrew was in connection with the system of septic 
tanks. Shortly after his assumption of office his attention 
was drawn to the question of the efficiency of the system of 
septic tanks, a number of which had in recent years been 
built along the banks of the Hooghly. Complaints were 
made that, in some of these installations, the method of 
disposing of the effluent was of an objectionable character; and 
Bengali Hindu residents along the banks of the Hooghly 
represented that the water of that sacred river was being 
polluted. In brief, it was stated not only that religious 
susceptibilities were touched, but also that the discharge from 
the tanks constituted a public nuisance and a sanitary 
danger. Sir Andrew Fraser found that the objections which 
had been raised were, to some extent, well-founded, and 
decided that an enquiry was necessary in order to ascertain 
whether, and if so under what conditions, the discharge of the 
effluent into the Hooghly might be permitted. His Honour 
accordingly appointed, in April 1904, a Committee to examine 



the working of the septic tank system in Bengal, to 
investigate the different methods by which the effluent 
could he disposed of, to report on the various questions 
raised, and generally to advise what changes should be 
made in the existing installations and in their methods of 
working, so that the best results might be obtained. 

The Committee held an exhaustive enquiry and arrived 
at some important conclusions. As regards the pollution of 
the Hooghly, it was found that there was a difference of 
opinion among representatives of the Bengali Hindu community. 
The real objection to the discharge of the effluent into it 
appeared to be sentimental, rather than religious, and to be 
largely due to ignorance of the transformation effected in the 
nature of the sewage by its passage through the septic 
tanks. The Committee concluded therefore that the opposi- 
tion would probably subside if the real facts were brought 
home to the public, so that the great utility of the new 
system might be recognized. They were unable, however, to 
submit a final opinion on the question whether the effluent 
might be so purified, both chemically and bacteriologically, 
that its discharge into the river Hooghly at any point 
might be safely permitted, and recommended that further 
observations and experiments should be made before a final 
decision was arrived at. These were satisfactorily carried 
out, and it was apparent that if the installations were con- 
structed and worked in accordance with certain definite 
principles, and the effluent suitably treated, the resulting 
discharge would be free from objection both from a chemical 
and from a bacteriological point of view. The Lieutenant- 
Governor accepted the conclusion that if these conditions were 
complied with, there would no longer be any sanitary 
ground for opposing the construction of new installations, or 
the continuance of those already built on suitable lines. 
After further experiments instructions were issued , regarding 
the methods to be adopted to ensure a proper sterilization 
of the effluent from septic tanks; and rules were laid down, 
under the Factories Act, to regulate such installations and to 
prevent pollution, by ensuring that the effluent is sterilized 
before being discharged into the Hooghly. It may be added 
that Dr. Fowler, a sanitary expert, was brought out from 
England in connection with this large question. 

This enquiry was of importance because the interests 
involved were great, viz., those of the public, which was 
vitally interested in the possibility of the pollution of the 
Hooghly; those of the mill-owners, who had sunk large sums 
of money in these installations; and, not least, those of the 


municipalities of Bengal, for it was felt that if the system 
could be made efficient and unobjectionable, it would do 
much to remove one of the greatest difficulties of municipal 
administration. The enquiry had also a good effect in 
indicating a readiness on the part of the Bengal Government 
to study popular opinion and to take the public into 

Another matter of considerable importance from a sani- Railway 
tary point of view which was taken up by Sir Andrew Bazars - 
was the question of regulating, from the beginning, the 
bazars or townlets which are rapidly springing into existence 
in connection with railway stations. In recent years there 
has been a rapid extension of railway enterprise, which has 
resulted in the construction of new lines of railway and in 
the opening, both on these and upon the older lines, of 
new railway stations. In many cases bazars have grown 
up in the neighbourhood of the stations by gradual accretion 
in a haphazard manner, and without regard to the primary 
principles of sanitation. In some cases, it is true, proper 
provision for their sanitation has been made by the railway 
authorities ; but in others the result has been the creation 
of overcrowded bastu, whose insanitary condition endangers 
the health both of the people who live in them and 
of the railway employes who reside in the vicinity. 
Several such cases came to the notice of His Honour, who 
observed that the principal difficulties would never have 
arisen, if at the outset care had been taken to make a proper 
alignment of streets and roads. He therefore issued orders 
directing that special attention should be paid to this matter, 
that an examination should be made of the railway stations 
in each Division, that a suitable alignment of streets and 
roads should be made, and that the bazars should be inspected 
periodically in order to make sure that the alignments are 
adhered to. Further provisions to ensure the proper sanitation 
of such places have been inserted in the Act amending 
the Local Self- Government Act recently passed by Council, 
of which an account will be found in the section dealing 
with Local Self-Government. 

Several useful reforms have also been introduced into Vaccination, 
the Vaccination Department, which have tended to better 
work and greater efficiency. The pay of the subordinate 
inspecting staff has been increased ; arrangements have been 
made to give the inspecting and vaccinating staff instruction 
in the most approved inodern methods of vaccination at 
selected centres ; and the system of granting rewards to vaooi- 
nators has been generally introduced. Antiseptic vaccination. 


116 EXCISE. 

has been employed throughout the Province ; and the change 
has been attended with satisfactory results. 
Cinchona Of reoent years the consumption of quinine has grown 

Department. verv ra pidly, owing both to the cheapening of its prioe 
and to the measures adopted by His Honour to ensure a 
wider distribution of the drug. The consequent growth in 
consumption necessitated some important changes in the 
Cinchona Department, in order to keep pace with the increasing 
demand on the factory, to carry out the more careful culti- 
vation required to meet that demand, and to secure a better 
return. The systematic analysis of bark discontinued in 1879 
has, accordingly, been resumed, the factory constituted a 
separate charge from the plantation, the buildings enlarged, 
and the staff reorganized. A comprehensive scheme for the 
expansion and fuller development of the cinchona plantations 
has also been prepared. 


At the first meeting of the Bengal Legislative Council 
at which Sir Andrew Fraser presided (in December 1903), 
a Bill to consolidate and amend the excise law of Bengal 
was introduced. After the Select Committee had reported on 
the Bill, an important debate was held, at which the then 
Advocate-General, the Hon'ble Mr. J. T. Woodroffe, urged 
inter alia that a strict limitation should be imposed on the 
number of places at which liquors or drugs can be purchased; 
that efforts should be made to ascertain the existence of local 
opinion and local public sentiment, and a reasonable amount 
of deference should be paid to such opinion when ascertained ; 
and also that, where municipalities exist, Municipal Commis- 
sioners should be consulted in determining the location 
of shops. He further moved that the Bill should be so 
amended as to provide that intoxicating liquors and drugs 
should not be sold, at any house licensed for the sale of such 
liquors and drugs, to women or to children under the age of 
14; and that reasonably adequate provision should be made 
therein so as to prevent, as far as possible, the spread of 
drunkenness in Bengal. Eecognizing the importance of the 
principles involved, and desirous that no hasty decision should 
be come to on so far-reaching a measure, His Honour accepted 
the motion, and the questions raised were referred back to the 
Select Committee. Shortly afterwards, the Government of 
India issued a circular letter laying down the general 
principles on which the action of Government in respect to 

EXCISE. il7 

the consumption of liquor should be based. They disclaimed 
any desire to interfere with the habits of those who use 
alcohol in moderation as being outside the duty of the 
Government. They announced that it was their settled policy 
to minimize temptation to those who do not drink and to 
discourage excess among those who do ; and that all consi- 
derations of revenue must be absolutely subordinated to the 
furtherance of that policy. The most effective method of 
furthering it would be, they held, to make the tax upon 
liquor as high as it is possible to raise it without stimulating 
illicit production to a degree which would increase instead 
of diminishing the total consumption, and without driving 
people to substitute deleterious drugs for alcohol or a more 
or less harmful form of liquor. Subject to the same consi- 
derations, the number of liquor shops should be restricted as 
far as possible and their location should be periodically 
subject to strict examination in order to minimize the 
temptation to drink and to conform as far as is reasonable 
to public opinion. These principles had the full support and 
concurrence of His Honour. 

The introduction of new provisions into the Excise Bill 
required further reference to District Officers and to the 
Government of India; and in the meantime that Government 
appointed the Indian Excise Committee to consider the 
progress of excise administration in each Province in respect 
of intoxicating liquors, to consider how far it was calculated 
to give the fullest practical effect to the general policy laid 
down, and to devise any reforms that might be necessary. 
This Committee visited the Province during the year 1905-06, 
and held sittings in Calcutta, Bankipore, Darjeeling, Cuttack 
and Burdwan, visited the local distilleries, recorded evidence, 
and conferred with the local Government on excise matters. 
They submitted their report to the Government of India in 
July 1906 ; and during the next 12 months the Government 
of India dealt with their recommendations in a series of 
Eesolutions. Some of the principal recommendations of the 
Indian Excise Committee, affecting this Province, which have 
been approved by the Government of India, are as follows : — 
(1) gradual restriction of the privileges relating to pachwai 
allowed in Bengal to aboriginal tribes and better regulations 
for its manufacture and sale ; (2) restriction of the outstill 
system to exceptional areas; (3) gradual introduction of the 
contract distillery system; (4) enhancement of rates of duty 
on country liquor; (5) revision of the limits of retail sale 
and possession of country spirit ; (6) better control of the 
trade in imported spirit; (7) recasting of the excise law 


and rules ; (8) reorganization and strengthening of excise 
establishments. Action has been and is being taken on these 
recommendations. The amendment of the excise law for the 
Province, which was held in abeyance until receipt of the 
orders of the Government of India on the Indian Excise 
Committee's Eeport, has now been again taken in hand; and 
a revised Bill has been prepared and is under discussion with 
the Government of India. 

The introduction of the contract distillery system has been 
the most important reform in excise work carried out during 
His Honour's administration, and it may be noticed at some 
length. The question of reforming the existing systems of 
manufacture and supply of country spirit in Bengal had 
long engaged the attention of the authorities in the Province; 
and early in the year 1904 Mr. K. Badshah, then Commis- 
sioner of Excise, was deputed to Madras and Bombay to 
enquire into, and report upon, the methods of manufacture and 
taxation of country spirit in those Provinces. Mr. Badshah's 
report was discussed by the Members of the Board of 
Eevenue with the Divisional Commissioners, and the proposals 
formulated were accepted by the Lieutenant-Governor. It was 
decided that reform of the existing system of manufacture 
and supply was urgently necessary ; that strenuous efforts 
should be made to improve the quality of country spirit ; that 
the outstill system should be gradually withdrawn except 
from isolated tracts ; that small extensions of the central 
distillery areas should be made from April 1905 ; that the 
contract distillery system should, as a preliminary measure, 
be introduced into the Orissa Division and Midnapore, and 
be extended to other Divisions year after year ; and that the 
preventive establishment should be strengthened. 

The main features of the contract system, it may be 
explained, are separation of the rights of manufacture and 
vend, fixation of a wholesale rate and maximum retail prices, 
and retail of liquor at fixed strengths only. None of these 
conditions were existent in Bengal or could be secured under 
the outstill system and the central distillery system. It has 
been held that only under the contract system, and after the 
establishment of modern scientific distilleries, will it be 
possible to provide liquor of good quality in remote localities 
at reasonable prices — a condition precedent to the complete 
abolition of outstills; and that only under this system will it 
be possible to ascertain the actual consumption of country 
spirit in the Province, and to secure that further necessary 
reforms shall not be hampered, as hitherto, by want of 
knowledge. Further, it was shown by Mr. Badshah that, 

EXCISE. 119 

under the contract distillery system in the Presidency districts, 
the high prices of country spirit infringed the canon laid 
down by the Government of India that the taxation of 
country spirit should approximate to the tariff rate of duty 
for imported spirit; that in consequence drinkers were having 
recourse to cheap foreign liquor; and that this result was 
inevitable under a' system in which the wholesale dealers, 
and, in their turn, the retail dealers, charged whatever prices 
they pleased. It was one of the aims of the introduction of 
the contract distillery system to make it possible for country 
liquor to be sold at known strengths, and at maximum prices 
which would compare favourably with the prices of imported 

This system was first introduced into the districts of 
Midnapore, Cuttack, Balasore and Puri in the year 1905-06; 
in the following year it was extended to the districts of 
Darjeeling, Murshidabad, Jessore and Khulna ; during the 
year 1907-08 the system was further extended to the 
districts of Burdwan, Birbhum, Bankura,! Hooghly, Howrah, 
Nadia and Manbhum, to the Barasat, Basirhat, Barrackpore 
and Diamond Harbour subdivisions of the district of the 
24-Parganas, to the Deoghar, Jamtara, Bajmahal and Pakaur 
subdivisions of the district of the Sonthal Parganas, and to 
the distillery area of the Giridih subdivision in the district 
of Hazaribagh. In other words, the system has already 
been introduced into 18 districts or parts of districts; and 
it is proposed further to extend the system from 1909-10 
to the districts of Monghyr, Bhagalpur and Purnea. At 
present, the contract liquor is, for the most part, supplied 
from outside the Province ; but two well-equipped distil- 
leries employing European methods have been established in 
Bengal and have been at work since 1907-08, and another 
is being constructed in Bihar and will work from 1909-10. 
These three distilleries are all owned by European firms ; for 
though continuous efforts have been made by the Commis- 
sioner of Excise to attract Indian enterprise and capital to 
this business, those efforts have up till now met with but 
indifferent success. The only noticeable case of Indian 
enterprise in this direction has bee a at Ranchi, where, on the 
introduction of the distillery system into a pajt of the 
district, a local distiller was induced to set up stills worked 
according to European methods. Indian distillers of means 
have, however, been given leases of the Bihar distilleries 
with monopolies of supply in distillery areas; and the 
distillers working at the Government distillery at Russa, who 
supply Calcutta with country spirit, have been reduced in 

120 EXCISE. 

number in order that they may improve their methods of 
fermentation and manufacture. 

This policy has given to Government a more definite 
control over the consumption of liquor. "While it has cheapened 
the cost of liquor for the retail vendors throughout the 
districts mentioned above, it has enabled Government to 
enhance the rates of duty ; and in future the effects of 
taxation upon the consumption of liquor will be judged with 
greater precision. Incidentally, the result of its introduc- 
tion and of abolishing a large number of outstills in 
Sambalpur has been to reduce the total number of outstills 
in the Province from 2,141 in 1903-04 to 1,659 in 
1907-08. The whole number of country spirit shops has 
been reduced from 3,214 to 3,039 in the same period, and 
further reductions are being made. Much has also been 
done to remove outstills from objectionable sites. It may 
be added that the rate of duty on country spirit has been 
raised during the quinquennium in 19 districts, and further 
increases are being considered; the limits of retail sale have 
been reduced in 18 districts; issue strengths have been 
reduced in number throughout the distillery areas; and in 
some districts the strength of liquor has been diminished 
and preferential rates of duty in favour of the weaker 
strengths have been sanctioned. 

At the same time, the policy of reducing temptations to 
Indians to drink foreign spirit has been steadily kept in 
view. In the mofussil districts the country spirit and 
foreign spirit businesses are now entirely separate ; and the 
sale of foreign liquor is allowed only where there is a 
considerable number of persons accustomed to take such 
liquor. The duty on imported liquors and on country 
rum was also raised from Es. 6 to Ks. 7 per proof gallon 
in 1906 and 1907, respectively, and the duty on beer from 
one anri a to two annas a gallon in 1908. As regards 
Calcutta, where the communities are much intermixed, a 
special Committee, which was appointed at the end of 1907 
to advise on the measures to be taken with regard to the 
liquor traffic of that city, has recently found that it is not 
possible lo separate the vend of country spirit and foreign 
spirit without an undesirable increase in the total number 
of liquor shops ; but a considerable number of foreign 
spirit licenses have been cancelled, and further action in this 
direction is under consideration. In accordance with the 
recommendations of the Committee on other points, the 
number of liquor shops has already been diminished, the 
limit of possession and retail sale of country spirit and the 

bpitrk. i$i 

issue strength of such spirit have been reduced, late-closing 
will be further regulated, and other reforms will be 

Among other changes effected during the last five years 
may be mentioned the enhancement of the treasury price 
of opium in Orissa, which was sanctioned with the object 
of checking the increase of consumption, the fixation of a 
uniform rate of duty on ganja, and the imposition of 
restrictions on the possession and sale of morphia and novo- 
cain and of further restrictions on the possession and sale of 
cocaine. Some strengthening of the excise establishment of 
the Province for the better performance of their duties of 
inspection, prevention and detection has been effected, but a 
matured scheme of reorganization has yet to be prepared 
and approved. The excise revenue has risen during the 
five years from 187 lakhs to 170 lakhs. Of this increase 
nearly 23 lakhs has been derived from country spirits, 5 
lakhs from opium, and 3| lakhs from hemp drugs. There 
has no doubt been some increase of consumption of liquor 
due to the increase of the working population and the 
higher wages drawn in the collieries, in the factories and in 
Calcutta ; but the increase of revenue is largely due to the 
substitution of licit for illicit liquor, to the imposition of 
higher duty and license fees, and to more efficient 


' As a result of the negotiations between British and 
Chinese Governments, and of a Eesolution passed in the 
House of Commons on the 30th May 1906, it was decided 
in that year by the Secretary of State that the number of 
chests of opium offered for sale in Calcutta for export 
should be restricted and the area under poppy cultivation 
in the Bihar and Benares Agencies reduced. Effect was 
given to these orders in the season of 1906-07, when the 
area under opium cultivation was limited to 928,638 big has, 
as against the limit of 1,022,000 Ughas previously prescribed ; 
in 1907-08 it was further reduced to 809,530 bighas ; 
and it has been decided that for 1908-09 the area should 
not exceed 800,000 Ughas. These reductions were made 
for the most part in Bihar, where opium cultivation has 
now been reduced to 200,000 bighas, and were effected by 
abandoning less profitable cultivation in outlying districts 


and by ' concentrating the remaining cultivation in more 
compact areas. 

In 1904, on the recommendation of the Lieutenant- 
Governor some important changes were made in the condi- 
tions of service of officers of the Opium Department. These 
changes were due to the necessity of remedying the grievances 
of a Department known to be underpaid and generally 
discontented. Owing to a serious block of promotion, 
senior officers, whose salaries had been barely sufficient for 
their expenses during a long period of service, found their 
emoluments stationary at the end of it, and that at a time 
when their needs were often greater. In order to improve 
their position, the scale of personal salaries up to Rs. 600 
a month was revised, so as to accelerate promotion, and 
the system of personal salaries was extended up to the 
grade of Rs. 900. In the case of junior officers, it was 
decided to raise the pay of probationers to Rs. 200 a 
month until they passed their departmental examinations and 
thereafter to Rs. 250 a month, and to allow them, on being 
appointed to a substantive post, to count service for promo- 
tion from the date of passing the examinations. Supplemen- 
tary orders have also been issued that when an Assistant 
Opium Agent, whose salary is less than Rs. 500 a month, 
is placed in charge of a division, he may be granted a 
charge allowance of an amount, not exceeding Rs. 100 a 
month, that will raise his salary to not more than Rs. 500 
a month. These changes have done much to improve the 
pay and prospects of the Opium Department. 


The most important measure connected with the adminis- 
tration of the Salt Department during the Lieutenant-Gover- 
norship of Sir Andrew Fraser was the abolition of the 
salt rawana system. This system dates from a time when 
there was extensive manufacture of salt on behalf of 
Government. Until the year 1863, Government retained the 
monopoly of manufacture, but in 1864 this was abandoned, 
and the salt trade was left to private enterprise under a 
system of excise. The factories were scattered over a 
large area ; and in order to guard against the threefold 
danger of illicit manufacture, smuggling from the factories, 
and smuggling of imported salt from sailing ships, a large 
preventive force was maintained. The rawana system formed 
a seoond line of defence. Under this system, the purohaser 


of a consignment of salt above five seers, after payment of 
duty, was obliged to obtain a permit, or raivana, to convey 
the salt to its destination by a specified route; and while the 
purchaser was within certain defined limits, conterminous with 
the salt-producing districts, he had to tender his raivana for 
inspection at pass-stations. On the destination being finally 
reached, the preventive officer issued retail rawanas to cover the 
transport of any salt sold until the entire consignment was 
disposed of. Gradually, as the conditions of the salt supply 
and trade changed, the above arrangements were modified, 
the rawana system being abolished in Puri in 1877, and 
in the rest of Orissa in 1885. The salt limits were also 
gradually contracted elsewhere, till the protected area was 
confined to the sea-board of Lower Bengal, from Chittagong 
to Midnapore, excluding Calcutta ; and the rules for the grant 
of rawanas were made less stringent. 

It is possible that the rawana system may have helped 
at one time to check smuggling, which was chiefly confined 
to manufacturing areas ; but the case is very different now 
that the licit manufacture of salt has been discontinued, and 
practically all the salt used in Bengal is imported in 
steamers, is shown in their manifests, and either pays duty 
at onoe or is passed into bond. Since the year 1874 the 
merits of the system have been constantly called in ques- 
tion, experienced officers holding that it was not worked 
effectively, that it afforded no protection to the salt revenue 
from illicit manufacture, and that the returns of consump- 
tion under it were untrustworthy, as the salt-traders could 
so manipulate statistics as to screen illicit manufacture and 
the trade in untaxed salt. Of recent years fresh evidence 
has been obtained of the inefficiency of rawanas for protec- 
tive purposes. It was found that the system favoured 
smuggling and illicit manufacture, hampered trade, inter- 
fered with the distribution of salt, and restricted consump- 
tion by raising prices; for, every application for a raivana 
having to be presented on stamped paper of the value of 
Be. 1, and to be accompanied by a fee, the extra expense 
involved tended to raise the price of salt. In 1905, therefore, 
the Board of Eevenue proposed the abolition of the system, 
and His Honour, accepting their recommendation, obtained 
the sanction of the Government of India to that measure. 

The duty on salt was reduced in 1905 from Es. 2 to 
Ee. 1-8 per maund, and in 1907 there was a further 
reduction to Ee. 1 per maund. These reductions have 
brought about a fall in retail prices and benefited all 
classes of the population. 



During the administration of Sir Andrew Fraser important 
reforms were introduced in the system of inland emigration. 
For many years past it had been a matter of common 
knowledge that that system was not successful. The tea 
gardens of Assam complained of shortness of labour; the 
relations between employer and employed were not satisfac- 
tory ; in the recruiting districts of Bengal grave abuses were 
committed in obtaining emigrants. In order to devise some 
solution of the difficulties which had arisen, the Government 
of India in February 1906 appointed a representative Com- 
mittee to examine exhaustively the whole question of labour 
supply to A.ssam. The Committee visited the more important 
recruiting districts in Bengal and other Provinces and the 
labour districts of Assam, and submitted a valuable report. 
Briefly, they attributed the shortness of labour in the tea 
gardens of Assam mainly to two causes — (1) the odium attach- 
ing in recruiting districts to emigration to Assam, and (2) the 
growing competition of other industries. They made a number 
of recommendations for the removal of the unpopularity clinging 
to emigration, and advocated various measures to enable planters 
to meet the competition of other industries requiring a large 
labour force. It is unnecessary here to give a detailed account 
of those recommendations, and it will be sufficient to say that, 
as a whole, they received the support of Sir Andrew Fraser. 

The most important part of the Committee's report, as 
far as this Province is concerned, consisted of their recom- 
mendations for the removal of the unpopularity which clings 
to emigration to Assam. On this point, the opinion of His 
Honour was that the true solution of the problem lay in the 
encouragement of free labour. He pointed out that, though 
it may be long before the Assam tea planter can come into 
the labour market on the same footing as other employers, 
and obtain his labour without the present enormous initial 
cost, that is the goal to be aimed at; and the most promis- 
ing way of reaching it is the elimination of the contractor 
and the encouragement of recruiting by garden sardars. 
While admitting that under present conditions it is not 
possible to get rid of contractors, he felt that they should 
be brought under closer control, and that only contractors 
licensed under the Act should be permitted to recruit emi- 
grants for Assam. Sir Andrew, therefore, urged that the 
first step to be taken to render emigration less unpopular, 
and to prevent malpractices, was to abolish the system of 
unlicensed recruitment known as "free emigration." 


Previous to the year 1901, it may be explained, grave 
abuses existed in connection with this system. When, there- 
fore, Act YI of 1901 was passed, free emigration was 
prohibited from the Chota Nagpur Division and the district 
of the Sonthal Parganas, where, owing to the backward 
state of the population, abuses were most common. It was, 
however, considered inadvisable to prohibit free emigration 
from the rest of Bengal, for fear that bona fide voluntary 
emigration might be prevented altogether. Unlicensed re- 
cruiters soon found means of evading the law by smug- 
gling in coolies from prohibited areas to the free depots. 
Not only was the law broken as regards the area in which 
recruitment takes place, but in many cases recourse was had to 
force, fraud and intimidation, in order to get coolies and 
to compel them to allow themselves to be registered as 
emigrants to Assam under false names, descriptions and 
addresses. Every effort was made to put a stop to these 
malpractices, though, owing to misdescription and falsification 
of books, it was next to impossible to trace a cooly when 
once he had been got inside the depot. Numerous prosecutions 
were instituted ; but the proportion of convictions was neces- 
sarily small, because of the difficulties in the way of tracing 
emigrants, and, when they were traced, of preventing the 
corruption of witnesses ; for the price paid for coolies is suffi- 
ciently high to compensate for a certain risk, even of imprison- 
ment. The result was that, after months of patient enquiry, 
the accused might be acquitted ; and even if he was 
convicted, he was only an irresponsible underling, the tool of 
a contractor with large resources who escaped detection. 

Sir Andrew Praser was convinced from the enquiries he 
had made that the so-called free depots were not only cen- 
tres of abuses, which it was the duty of Government to 
suppress ; but, since they helped to perpetuate the bad name 
which emigration to Assam has acquired, the worst enemies 
of the tea industry. They had the effect of stifling lawful 
and licensed recruitment, inasmuch as it was impossible 
for licensed contractors, hampered by the expense and 
supervision involved by licenses for themselves and their 
recruiters, to compete with the irresponsible and uncon- 
trolled operations of the unlicensed recruiters of "free" 
contractors, by whom the best recruiting districts were over- 
run. Recruiting by sardars was also seriously affected by this 
system, for the high prices offered by the free contractors 
led to many coolies who were originally recruited by garden 
sardars finding their way to the depots. In these cir- 
cumstances, His Honour strongly urged that immediate 


measures of prevention should be taken, even before orders 
were passed on the Committee's report,. This proposal was 
sanctioned by the Government of India ; and from the 1st 
November 1907 free or unlicensed recruitment has been 
prohibited throughout the Province. 

As another means of limiting the field of contractors, 
Sir Andrew advocated the adoption of special measures to 
encourage recruiting by means of garden sardars, i.e., emi- 
grants who have been to Assam and return to their country 
to enlist fresh emigrants. This policy had been recom- 
mended both by the Labour Enquiry Commission appointed 
in 1896 and the Labour Enquiry Committee of 1906 ; and 
the latter suggested that, as a means of bringing it into 
practical effect, certain districts should be closed altogether 
to licensed contractors and thrown open to sardars alone. 
Their proposal was accepted by the Government of India ; 
and a notification was issued prohibiting recruitment except 
by garden sardars from any of the districts of the Bhagalpur 
and Patna Divisions. The Committee further recommended 
that, to encourage the sardari system of recruitment, the regis- 
tration of intending emigrants before a Magistrate should be 
dispensed with in the case of emigrants recruited by garden 
sardars, provided that the emigrant was not put under contract, 
and that a system of control by local agents, without the 
intervention of the Magistrates, should be introduced. It was 
suggested at the same time that the concession should be 
confined to approved agencies and associations. The Lieutenant- 
Governor accepted this proposal and granted the concession to 
the Tea Districts Labour Supply Association, on condition that 
the local agents of that Association should be held responsible 
for the working of the garden sardars accredited to them. 
At first, it was proposed to make local agents absolutely 
responsible for the working of the garden sardars and to 
enforce that responsibility by rendering their licenses liable 
to cancellation for the malpractices of sardars. Subsequently, 
as the result of a representation made by the Secretaries 
to the Tea Districts Labour Supply Association, the matter 
was reconsidered ; and as the conditions appeared to have 
been unduly strict, they were relaxed to the extent that the 
local agent has now to prevent, to the best of his ability, 
all misconduct on the part of the garden sardars accredited to 
him and to bring all illegal acts committed by them to the 
notice of the District Magistrate. 

Another important matter dealt with was the recruitment 
of emigrants from districts adjoining Native States. The 
Chiefs of those States strongly object to emigration and do 


their best to prevent it ; but nevertheless, as their subordinates 
wink at it, there is a large and important business in Native 
State coolies. The absence of supervision over this form of 
recruitment has led to great abuses in the neighbouring 
districts in British territory, from which the most valuable 
aboriginal labour for the tea-gardens is obtained. The 
recruiter, as a rule, has his headquarters in British 
territory, and does not go into the Native States more than 
he can help. He is afraid to do so, for the Chief is 
opposed to him. It is easier, therefore, and in many ways 
safer, for him to recruit inhabitants of British districts and 
pass them off there as coolies from Native States. They are 
entered in no register ; and once they have been sent up to 
Assam or to a free depot, it is practically impossible to trace 
them. The protection afforded by the Act is thus rendered 
nugatory. It has now been held that this practice is an 
evasion of the law, and that as the districts on the borders 
of the Native States have all been notified under section 3 
of the Act as closed to recruitment except under it, emigra- 
tion must be governed by its provisions. Contractors are, 
therefore, prohibited from assisting any one to emigrate 
therefrom, whether inhabitants of British territory or of Native 
States, except in accordance with the provisions of the Act. 
Orders have accordingly been issued that all such breaches of 
the law should be followed by prosecution. 


Of recent years increasing attention has been paid to the 
waterways of Bengal and, in particular, to the routes 
connecting Calcutta with Eastern Bengal and Assam. The 
chief of these routes is that provided by the Calcutta and 
Eastern Canals. These so-called canals are a system of 
navigable channels, chiefly natural but partly artificial, the 
natural portions of the route being the tidal channels and 
rivers of the Sundarbans, and the artificial portions being cuts 
connecting the tidal channels. They provide a continuous 
interior line of communication between Calcutta and Barisal, 
and it is along them that the rice, jute and oil-seeds of 
Eastern and Northern Bengal, the tea of Assam and 
Cachar, and the products of the Sundarbans pour into 
Calcutta. They constitute one of the most important systems 
of inland navigation in the world, for they extend over a 
length of 1,127 miles ; the tonnage of cargo and passenger 


boats plying along them averages a million tons per annum; 
and the value of the traffic is ' estimated at nearly four 
millions sterling. This system was devised and has steadily 
beeni developed for boat traffic. 

There are not the same facilities of communication for 
the inland steamer traffic plying between Calcutta and the 
districts of Eastern Bengal and Assam, where there are 
hundreds of miles of fine waterways for the most part 
uninfluenced by the tides. The whole of the steamer traffic 
from these fertile districts has to find its way to Calcutta 
by a long circuitous route through the Sundarbans and 
round by Saugor Island. The idea of building a steamer 
canal between Calcutta and Eastern Bengal has been mooted 
several times in the last half century, and some 30 years 
ago the Bengal Government was prepared to construct a 
direct steamer canal between Calcutta and the eastern 
districts. The steamer companies, however, were not in favour 
of the scheme. At that time the water-borne traffic to Calcutta 
was seven times greater than that carried by the Eastern 
Bengal State Eailway; and the steamer companies could 
dictate their own terms for the carriage of goods. They 
consequently preferred the long route through the Sundarbans, 
which was free from tolls, to a direct canal, for the use of 
which considerable tollage would have had to be paid. 

With the development of railways in Bengal and Assam, 
the Agents of the inland steamer companies have realized 
that the long circuitous route through the Sundarbans is a 
great disadvantage ; and the question of providing a short 
direct route has therefore been taken up. Two schemes have 
been put forward, viz., the improvement of the route 
through the Madaripur Bil and the canalization of Tolly's 
Nullah. The effect of these schemes would be to reduce 
the distance to Calcutta from (roalundo and Narayanganj 
by 260 and 186 miles respectively. A further advantage 
to trade would be that instead of passing through an 
uninhabited region, which gains nothing from them, the 
steamers would traverse cultivated tracts, which would take 
advantage of their opportunities, and increase the volume 
of imports and exports. 

The Madaripur Bil is a large depression in the Faridpur 
district, between the Kumar and Madhumati rivers, which is 
practically dry for a large portion of the year, but in the 
rains forms a direct means of communication between Madari- 
pur and other jute centres and the terminus of the Eastern 
Bengal State Eailway at Khulna. The improvement of this 
route was taken in hand under the orders of Sir John 


Woodburn, and estimates aggregating over 5 lakhs of rupees 
were sanctioned. The scheme has since gradually expanded. 
During the administration of Sir James Bourdillon sanction 
was given to another estimate of A\ lakhs (raised later to 5| 
lakhs) for further improvements to the channel. With this 
outlay the channel was made efficient during the rains, and 
it has consequently been used largely at that season by 
steamers and flats. The question of widening and deepening 
the channel, so as to provide a safe and direct route for 
steamers and flats all through the year, was next taken up. 
The scheme, which involves a further outlay of over 17 
lakhs, has received the sanction of the Secretary of State. 
It has been arranged with the Grovernment of Eastern 
Bengal and Assam that half the further capital cost will 
be met by each Province, the net revenue being shared 
between them in proportion to the capital outlay. The 
Bengal G-overnment will, for the present, retain control 
of the channel, the Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam 
being consulted with regard to its management and develop- 
ment. Work is about to be commenced with a large suction 
dredger recently purchased by the Grovernment of Bengal. 

The second scheme known as the canalization of Tolly's 
Nullah is a corollary of the first. This scheme is proposed 
in order to bring the river steamers which run to Eastern 
Bengal and Assam into closer and more direct touch with the 
trade centres of Calcutta. Up to Samukpota, at the junction 
of Tolly's Nullah with the Bidyadhari river, there exists for 
about three months in the year fairly direct and efficient 
water communication with Eastern Bengal and Assam, but at 
that place river steamers are blocked from access to Calcutta. 
They cannot pass through the Dhappa lock into the Calcutta 
canals, and they are similarly debarred from entry into Tolly's 
Nullah, as it is now an insignificant creek, which runs almost 
dry at low tide. They are consequently shut off from direct 
connection with the two great markets of Calcutta, viz., 
Chitpur on the north and Kidderpore on the south; and in 
order to obtain access to the Hooghly river, and so to them, 
they have to follow, instead of the route vid Samukpota, 
a circuitous course through the Sundarbans and Channel 
Creek, which adds no less than 200 miles to the length 
of the journey. Thus, a merchant desirous of conveying a 
cargo of tea by river steamer from some place in Assam 
would find that a series of fairly direct and serviceable water 
channels were available until close to Calcutta, when 10 miles 
of unnavigable channels would remain to shut his cargo out 
from the market and necessitate a detour of 200 miles 



The soheme proposed to remedy this state of affairs is to 
canalize Tolly's Nullah so as to provide a channel, from the 
Bidyadhari river to the Hooghly, which can Toe used by the 
large inland steamers and flats employed in the trade with 
Assam and Narayanganj. Tolly's Nullah would be used for 
a part of the distance, being widened and deepened. The 
scheme involves large locks at either end and a smaller lock 
at Hastings. The line of canal is crossed by two lines of 
rail and by several important roads; and for a part of the 
way the land is very valuable. The cost of the scheme is 
therefore great, and it is doubtful if the revenue which can 
be hoped for is sufficient to make the project remunerative. 
It was proposed first by Mr. 0. C. Lees in 1902; and in 
1903 a preliminary estimate was submitted, which amounted 
to Es. 69,00,000. Next year the proposals were placed 
before the Government of India, the total cost of the project, 
including dredging plant, being estimated at Es. 1,19,79,320. 
That Government, ^ while agreeing that the improvement of 
Tolly's Nullah is very desirable in order to provide direct 
access to Calcutta, held that the provision of funds for so 
costly an undertaking prevented its acceptance. Subsequently 
in 1906 the discussion was reopened, and since that time 
various proposals have been considered. Eevised estimates are 
now being prepared. 

Another measure which will be of service to the large 
traffic in boats from the eastern districts is the cons- 
truction of a canal from "Ultadanga to Bamanghata. This 
work, which is in progress, will save their having to come 
from Bamanghata to Dhappa through the congested Salt Lake 
channel; and on entering the canal at Kulti the boats will 
be able to come into Calcutta without any further lockage. 
The new canal will pass round the Northern Salt Lake, 
and will receive and pass out by means of a large sluice 
the drainage of the country near Dum-Dum. It will thus 
facilitate drainage as well as navigation. It was at first 
proposed to align it across the tidal channel which supplies 
the Northern Salt Lake, but it was found that it would 
be necessary to pay heavy compensation for injury to 
fisheries, and the route round the lake was therefore adopted. 
It takes off the New Cut Canal, near where the railway 
crosses and alongside the Arathoon Mills, and it falls into 
the Bamanghata-Kulti canal not far from the former place. 
The detailed estimate for this work amounts to Es. 9,10,014. 

For the further improvement of the natural and artificial 
channels connecting Calcutta with the districts of Eastern 
Bengal and Assam, a Standing Committee was appointed in 


1906. On this Committee the Governments of both Provinces 
and the Agents of the Steamer Companies are represented. 
Its President is the Chief Engineer and Secretary to the 
Government of Bengal in the Irrigation Department, while 
its members are the Superintending Engineer of the South- 
Western Circle of Bengal, the Superintending Engineer of the 
Eastern Bengal Circle of Eastern Bengal and Assam, and a 
representative of the Steamer Companies nominated by the 
Managing Agents of the India General Navigation and 
Bail way Company and the Agents of the Rivers Steam 
Navigation Company, acting jointly. For the present the 
scope of the Committee is limited to the channels from 
Calcutta as far east as Barisal and Madaripur, and its duties 
are to inspect them periodically and suggest measures of 
improvement, e,g., any measures of construction and mainten- 
ance that may be required to give greater facilities of 
traffic and measures to control or regulate traffic. 

It remains to note the action taken with regard to other 
natural channels, such as the main stream of the Ganges, 
with its tributaries and effluents or spill channels, which 
are largely used both by country boats and by steamers 
and flats. This matter is one of no little importance, for, 
whatever extension may be made to railways, the waterways 
of Bengal must always remain an important means of 
communication for heavy goods on the main channels, and 
for general traffic on smaller channels, whether as independent 
routes or as feeders to the railways. The Public Works 
Department has for many years endeavoured to improve the 
low water or dry weather channels of the effluents of the 
Ganges known as the Nadia rivers, viz., the Bhagirathi, 
the Jalangi and the Matabhanga, which, when they reunite, 
form the Hooghly. A considerable sum has been spent 
annually in endeavouring to effect improvement by means 
of bamboo and mat spurs or wing dams (known locally as 
bandels), but with little success, as- the volume of water 
passing down the channels is too small to give much 
scouring power on the shoals. Recently also for three seasons 
similar works were tried in the main stream of the Ganges 
between Patna and Goalundo, where navigation is rendered 
difficult from the presence of shoals. These works have met 
with a fair amount of success, quite sufficient to show that 
in this manner or with suitable dredging plant the low water 
channel could be much improved without any great outlay.. 

It was felt, however, that the work could be done 
much more efficiently by dredgers as in the Mississippi. 
Before finally deciding on the size and particular type of 



dredger to be used, Mr. 0. 0. Lees, Superintending Engineer 
of the South-Western Circle (where all the main navigable 
channels are situated), who had made a special study of the 
question, visited Europe and America to see the dredging 
plant in use. A large suction dredger of a modern type 
(the Foyers) was finally sent out in parts and reconstructed 
in 1907. On being put to work, it was found that certain 
alterations were necessary, and these are now being made. 
The dredger, which promises to be a very powerful and 
effective machine, is intended primarily for deepening the 
steamer channel through the Madaripur Bil, but it will also be 
of service in dealing with shoals in other navigable channels; 
and it should render the improvement of existing channels 
and the construction of new ones a comparatively easy task. 

An important enquiry regarding the measures to be 
taken for the development of waterways is also to be 
instituted. Hitherto, though there has been much discussion, 
no definite line of action has been adopted owing to the 
absence of detailed knowledge of their regime and of the 
conditions governing traffic. It has now been decided to 
take up this matter systematically by instituting a detailed 
enquiry, the object of which will be, inter alia, to ascertain 
what traffic there is on the various waterways ; what 
difficulties there are in the use of the waterways in their 
present state ; whether the removal of difficulties and the 
establishment of deeper water in the channels are likely to 
lead to any material increase in the traffic; to ascertain 
what methods are suggested for the improvement of the 
channels, and what the probable cost will be. As a prelimi- 
nary measure, maps are being prepared showing the existing 
waterways used for navigation throughout the Province, 
whether throughout the year or in the rains only. 

Another measure affecting the use of the waterways of 
Bengal is the reduction of the tolls levied by Government 
on boats plying on the canals and Nadia rivers. Partly to 
meet the competition of railways with the canals, and partly as 
a general administrative measure in the interests of the 
districts served by the canals, considerable reductions have 
been made in the rates of tolls charged on the Orissa Canals, 
the Coast Canal, the Midnapore Canal and the Nadia rivers. 


With the exception of some small railways constructed 
by private enterprise, over which the Bengal Government 


exercises a certain measure of control, the railways of the 
Province are. administered by the Government of India and 
the Eailway Board. It would therefore be beyond the scope 
'of this review to deal with the extension of railways during 
the quinquennium or with administrative matters, such as the 
constitution of the Eailway Board in 1905, the important 
enquiry held in the cold weather of 1906-07 regarding the 
building of a bridge over the Lower Ganges at Sara Ghat 
or other sites, and the subsidiary enquiry regarding its pro- 
posed location held in the rains of 1908. 

One matter only calls for special notice, viz., the construc- 
tion of a railway from Purulia to Eanchi, which was due 
to the personal intervention of Sir Andrew Fraser. Within 
a few months after his assumption of office, His Honour 
visited Eanchi and was greatly impressed with its potential 
value as a sanitarium and as a centre for educational 
.institutions. But it was over 70 miles away from any line 
of railway, and a tedious, wearisome journey in primitive 
"push-pushes" had to be faced by any one wishing to visit 
or leave the place. This absence of quick communication 
with the outer world not only made the station itself 
practically inaccessible, but also hindered the development of 
the district, and indeed oi the whole Chota Nagpur plateau ; 
and it was a serious obstacle to administrative efficiency. 
Urged by these considerations, and fully persuaded that the 
railway would pay, His Honour determined that Eanchi 
should be linked to the line of railway and earnestly 
devoted himself to securing the construction of a light line. 
After a number cf initial difficulties the Eailway Board were 
approached and agreed to the project. The construction of a 
2 feet 6 inches gauge line was rapidly carried through by the 
Bengal-Nagpur Eailway, and His Honour himself had the 
pleasure of opening it in November 1907. The prospects of 
the line are excellent, the traffic on the line having 
exceeded anticipations, for though the net income of the 
present year is estimated at 2 lakhs oi 5*1 per cent, on the 
capital outlay, the actual earnings in one quarter only have 
been over one lakh. 


The history of the Irrigation Department during " the 
quinquennium was one of quiet but steady progress. The 
most important work was the construction of the Tribeni 

1*4 MAXltiE. 

Canal in the north of Champaran, which was proceeded with 
in the face of great difficulties due to want of labour and a 
bad climate. The Dhaka Canal, a small work in the same 
district, was completed and opened for irrigation. Two 
important enquiries were also held, one concerning a proposal 
to construct -a canal from the Kamla river in North Bihar, 
the other regarding the proposals of the Irrigation Commission 
for the use of the embanked reservoirs called ah or as in 
conjunction with the Son Canals. A history of irrigation 
projects in Bengal is being prepared by the Chief Engineer, 
Mr. W. A. Inglis, c.s.i., which will be of great value to 
his successors and to members of this important branch of 
the Public Works Department, as well as to other Govern- 
ment officers concerned with land administration. 


Details of the administration of the Marine Department 
will be found in the annual administration reports; and it 
will suffice to notice only a few of its more interesting 
features. Among these may be mentioned the establishment 
of wireless telegraphic communication with the pilot vessel 
off the Sandheads. The system has been working since 
November 1905, and vessels are now reported 50 miles 
distant from Saugor to the general advantage of the 
mercantile community and the shipping agents. The ins- 
tallation of the system has been rendered possible by the 
purchase of a steam pilot vessel, called the Fraser; the 
pilot brigs, owing to their yards, sails and want of 
accommodation, being unable to carry the necessary wires, 
apparatus and staff. This steamer, which has been in use 
since April 1905, has also greatly contributed to the efficiency 
of the pilot service, supplying "pilots to vessels on many 
occasions when it would have been hardly possible for the 
brigs to do so. It has been found that one such vessel is 
not enough It has to put into Calcutta periodically for 
coaling, watering, and overhauling of machinery ; and then 
not only does wireless telegraphic communication cease, but 
the brig which takes its place is not able to keep the 
station in all weathers. A sister vessel, the Lady Fraser, 
has __ accordingly been purchased and has recently arrived 
at Calcutta. With the introduction of these two steamers 
it will be possible to do away with the antiquated pilot 


With the exception of the assistance which has been given 
to shipping by the reduction of hospital port dues levied 
on ships entering the port L of Calcutta (first in 1906 from 9 
pies to 6 pies and then in 1908 to 4£ pies), the only other 
important matter connected with the Marine Department 
which need be noticed is the appointment of a Commission 
to consider the question of opening a coal port at Luff 
Point on the Hooghly. The question of providing facilities 
for the shipment of coal on the right bank of the river 
Hooghly below the James and Mary shoals was first put 
forward in 1897 by a Calcutta firm which proposed to 
build a dock at Gaonkhali. The rapid expansion of the 
coal trade led to a revival of the scheme in 1900 by the 
Agent of the Bengal-Nagpur Railway, who suggested the 
establishment of an export coal depot at Luff Point 
connected by a line of railway with the Bengal-Nagpur 
Railway at Panchkura station. As it was of great im- 
portance that the scheme should not be undertaken without 
a full investigation of its far-reaching effects, the Govern- 
ment of India assembled a Commission at Calcutta in 
November 1903 for the purpose of enquiring into and 
advising upon— (1) the facilities required at Luff Point on the 
right bank of the Hooghly river for the accommodation and 
shipment of coal ; (2) whether they can be provided ; and (3) 
the agency which should provide the works and control the 
business at Luff Point. The findings of the Commission 
were briefly that— (1) A coal depot at Luff Point would be 
of little use to the industry as a whole, and it is not desirable 
to establish one there at present. (2) It would be practicable 
to establish a coal depot if required, but it would probably 
be costly. (3) If established, it should be in the hands of the 
Port Commissioners of Calcutta. Sir Andrew Fraser concurred 
generally with the recommendations of the Commission, and 
they were also accepted by the Government of India. 


An account of the more important legislative enactments 
passed during the administration of Sir Andrew Eraser will be 
found in other sections, and it is proposed to give here only 
a brief sketch of the measures taken to improve legislative 
machinery. In December 1904, His Honour appointed a 
Committee to consider what action should be taken to place 
on a satisfactory footing the arrangements for conducting the 


legal business of the Government of Bengal. The Committee 
submitted its report in 1905 recommending certain changes 
of system; and these changes were sanctioned in 1906. 
Briefly, they are as follows. So far as the Legislative 
Department is concerned, it was felt that more use should 
be made of that Department as legal adviser to the Secre- 
tariat, and it was arranged that the Department should take 
over much of the work of advising upon and drafting 
statutory rules, bye-laws, notifications and orders, which had 
formerly been done by the Legal Eemembrancer and the 
Government Solicitor. It was also decided to enlarge the 
advisory functions of the Legislative Department in other 
classes of cases arising in the administrative departments, as 
well as its responsibility in the matter of (a) initiating, codify- 
ing and consolidating Bills and Statute Law Eevision Bills, 
and (b) legal publications. It has accordingly been arranged 
that the Legislative Department shall publish periodically 
Addenda lists for, and new editions of, the Bengal Code and 
the Bengal Local Statutory Eules and Orders. To admit 
of this extra work being undertaken, an Assistant Secretary 
has been added to the staff. As regards .other law officers of 
Government, (1) the Government Solicitor has been relieved 
of responsibility for, and connection with, criminal prosecutions 
in Calcutta; (2) the Public Prosecutor, Calcutta, has been 
attached to the office of the Legal Remembrancer; (3) the 
Legal Eemembrancer has been authorized to refer to the 
Government Solicitor for the settlement of conveyances and 
leases of a complicated character; (4) it has been directed that 
the Deputy Legal Eemembrancer should render more help to 
the Legal Eemembrancer; (5) definite rules have been laid 
down regarding references made by local officers. 

As regards the Legislative Council, amendments in the 
Eules of Business were made in 1904 at His Honour's 
instance in order to expedite and improve its work. Their 
main object was to save unnecessary delay and formalities 
in. the early stages of introduction of Bills and reference of 
them to Select Committees It was formerly a common 
practice to suspend the Eules in order to expedite business 
at these stages and to save Members the trouble of attendance 
at merely formal sittings. But frequent suspensions of Eules 
are open to obvious objection, and it was felt to be better to 
amend them. This was done by authorizing the introduction 
of a Bill and its advancement by a further stage at the 
same meeting at which leave to introduce it is obtained. 
At the same time, power was taken to authorize the 
re-commitment of a Bill to a Select Committee. 


Another matter taken up by His Honour was the pro- 
cedure followed by Municipalities and District Boards in 
making recommendations for the nomination of Members of 
Council. Experience had shown that ignorance of the names 
of all the candidates standing for nomination at the time 
of appointment of representatives may practically disfranchise 
one or more Boards or Corporations. For instance, a case 
came to His Honour's notice in which the District Board of 
a certain district appointed a representative, knowing him to 
be likely to give his votes for a certain candidate whom the 
majority wished to see nominated. At the time of the 
appointment of the representative, the names of all the 
candidates had not been put before the Board. At the 
meeting of representatives the representative of the Board 
in question considered that a candidate, whose name had not 
been before his Board, was more suitable for membership 
of the Council than the candidate for whom he was intended 
to vote; and he therefore gave his votes for that candidate, 
not being able to consult his Board in the matter. Sir 
Andrew Fraser considered it very inexpedient that a re- 
presentative should * vote for any person whose candidature 
had not been considered by the body which he is appointed 
to represent, and was of opinion that each Municipal 
Corporation or District Board should, at the time of appoint- 
ing a representative, have the names of all candidates for 
nomination before it. For, though not allowed to instruct 
the representative as to the candidate for whom he is to 
vote, it is not unreasonable that the Board or Corporation 
should desire to appoint a representative likely to vote 
for the candidate whom the majority wish to be nominated. 
His Honour therefore had a resolution issued suggesting 
a procedure by which such bodies may be able to see 
exactly who the candidates are. At the same time, in order 
to make it clear that District Boards and Municipalities are 
empowered to bind their delegates to vote for candidates in 
a definite order, it was laid down that it would "rest with 
public bodies, if they see fit, to give clear and definite 
instructions to their representatives as to the way in. which 
they should vote, i.e., as to the candidate for whom they 
should vote, declaring the name of the candidate to whom 
all their votes should be given or, if to be given to more 
than one candidate, the order and manner in which such 
votes should be given." 

A more important change was the introduction of a 
system by which non-official Members of Council have been 
admitted to unofficial consultation on the Budget. This 


matter, however, is dealt with in the section dealing with 
General Administration. 

In conclusion, mention may be made of the steps taken 
to secure prompt publication of the Council .Proceedings in 
the Calcutta Gazette. Such publication was formerly greatly 
delayed by Members keeping proofs of their speeches for 
long periods. His Honour directed in 1903-04 that the 
proceedings should be published, whenever possible, on the 
first Wednesday, and never later than the second Wednesday, 
after the meeting; and in 1908 fresh rules were framed to 
secure the publication of the debate on the Budget on the 
first Wednesday after it takes places. 


In the forefront of the social measures carried through 
by Sir Andrew Fraser must be placed the Disorderly Houses 
Act, which provides for the discontinuance of brothels and 
disorderly houses in the vicinity of educational institutions 
in the mofussil or in the immediate neighbourhood of can- 
tonments. Enquiry had shown that houses of ill-fame were 
frequently found in close proximity to colleges, schools and 
hostels in a number of mofussil stations, and that the evil 
was of sufficient magnitude and importance to call for serious 
action. As the law stood, however, the authorities were 
practically powerless to cope with it. Efforts were made 
from time to time to abate nuisances of this character, but, 
except in rare instances, in which the landlords of the houses 
concerned personally interested themselves, all such endeavours 
were fruitless. The legal difficulty in coping with the evil 
consisted in the fact that the Courts had held that a pros- 
titute cannot be interfered with simply on the ground of 
her profession, so long as she behaves herself in an orderly 
and quiet manner and creates no open scandal by riotous 
living. Consequently, if brothels were kept in a quiet and 
orderly manner — and they frequently were so kept, though 
they were none the less a source of temptation to students 
attending schools or colleges in the neighbourhood— neither 
they nor their inmates could be interfered with. The 
practical difficulty was that, even if interference was possible, 
it rested with private persons to take the initiative, and 
respectable men and women were naturally reluctant to come 
forward as complainants or witnesses in such cases. 


Sir Andrew Fraser recognized the necessity of dealing with 
the evil by legislation ; and, under his orders, a Bill was 
drawn up, the opportunity being taken to include within its 
scope brothels .in the immediate neighbourhood of military 
cantonments. The Bill was circulated for criticism, and it 
was found that there was a general consensus of opinion on 
the part of all persons consulted, whether Government officers, 
Municipal Commissioners or non-official gentlemen, that legisla- 
tion on the lines proposed was very desirable. The Bill 
also received a warm welcome from the non-official Mem- 
bers of Council, and, after certain alterations, was passed 
into law as Bengal Act III of 1906. Briefly, the provisions 
of the Act are that a Magistrate of the first class may 
order the discontinuance of the use of any house (1) in the 
vicinity of any educational institution, or of any boarding- 
house, hostel or mess used or occupied by students, if it is 
used as a brothel or for the purpose of habitual prostitution, 
or is used by disorderly persons, or to the annoyance of 
respectable inhabitants of the vicinity; (2) in the immediate 
neighbourhood of a cantonment, if it is used as a brothel 
or for the purpose .of habitual prostitution. An important 
proviso is added that such action can be taken only (1) 
with the sanction or by the order of the District Magis- 
trate; or (2) on the report of the Commissioners of the 
municipality concerned; or (3) on the complaint of three or 
more persons resident in the immediate vicinity of the house 
to which the complaint refers. The Act applies, in the first 
instance, to all Provincial municipalities, but power is taken 
to extend it, as occasion requires, to other (non-municipal) 
areas outside Calcutta. 

As soon as this Act had been passed, the question of 
legislating on similar lines for Calcutta was taken up; for 
owing to the peculiar circumstances of Calcutta, it was 
impossible to provide for that city in the general Act for 
Bengal. The census of 1901 had shown that, in Calcutta 
proper, one out of every 14 females over 10 years of age, 
is a prostitute. Prostitution was unpleasantly obtrusive, some 
of the most crowded streets being notoriously the haunts of 
fallen women and fall of brothels. The trade in women was 
well organized; and it had large vested interests. In these 
circumstances, the necessity for legislation had been realized 
for some time past by Sir Andrew, who had himself had 
ocular evidence of the extent of the evil in Calcutta, while 
passing through one of its busiest streets. In 1904 he 
appointed a small Committee of selected officers to advise 
what measures should be taken. Next year His Honour 


consulted those best qualified to advise among the citizens of 
Calcutta, including Christian, Muhammadan and Hindu gentle- 
men. In 1906 he appointed an influential Committee, presided 
over by Mr. Justice Geidt, to consider the whole question; 
and in 1907 a Bill, drafted on the lines recommended by that 
Committee, was introduced in Council. 

The Bill took the form of an amendment of the Calcutta , 
Police Act IV of 1866 and of the Calcutta Suburban Police 
Act II of 1866, the opportunity being taken to make certain 
amendments in those Acts which experience had shown to be 
necessary. As regards the general principle of the Bill, there 
was no dissentient voice; it was approved of by all sections 
and classes. The only adverse criticisms which were received 
regarding the actual provisions of the Bill referred to matters 
of detail, and chiefly to the powers which it was proposed 
to confer on the Commissioner of Police and his subordi- 
nates. These criticisms were carefully considered by the 
Select Committee; and several clauses of the Bill having 
been modified accordingly, the Bill passed into law as the 
Calcutta and Suburban Police (Amendment) Act III of 

Briefly, the Act confers on the Commissioner of Police 
power to order the discontinuance of the use of any house, 
room or place which (1) is used as a brothel or disorderly 
house, or for carrying on the business of a common prostitute, 
in the vicinity of any educational institution or of any 
boarding-house, hostel or mess used or occupied by students, 
or of any place of public worship or recreation; or (2) is 
so used to the annoyance of respectable inhabitants of the 
vicinity; or (3) is so used on any main thoroughfare which 
has been notified by the Lieutenant-Governor on the recom- 
mendation of the Municipal Commissioners; or (4) is used 
as a common place of assignation. The scope of the Act, 
it will be observed, is more comprehensive than that of the 
Disorderly Houses Act, owing to the ingenious devices for 
facilitating vice in Calcutta. One of these is specially 
provided for in the clause dealing with common places of 
assignation. Such places are simply empty houses in which 
women rarely live. They are hired by Indian pr6curers, 
who merely keep them in fair order, and have rooms ready 
for any one who chooses to come in, either on an assignation 
or after an agreement with the procurer to bring in a 
woman from outside. It is obvious that such houses are a 
source of the greatest moral danger. 

It will not be out of place to quote the following 
extract from a speech delivered by a non-official Member 


of Council as showing the necessity of such legislation and 
the manner in which it was regarded by the publio: — 
"For a long time past the people of Calcutta, as well as 
of the mofussil, have submitted representations to Government, 
both in public meetings as well as by memorials, that some 
summary power should be vested in the executive authorities 
to deal with this class of nuisance. In the city of Calcutta 
itself, this nuisance - has been recognized for a long time 
past as a grave and a serious danger. I have been told 
by friends and guardians of boys in the mofussil that they 
find it very difficult to send their young boys to Calcutta 
to attend schools, where they find the thoroughfares leading 
to the schools and colleges so beset with temptations. This 
measure, if passed into law, will place in the hands of the 
police an effective weapon in dealing with this class of 
nuisances, and I hope at no distant time it will free those 
streets of Calcutta from one of the greatest blots. It is 
intolerable that our schools, colleges and hostels, which, under 
the new system of University education, must be a feature 
of education, should be surrounded, as they are at present, 
by these houses of ill-fame, and that our young men should 
be exposed to all the temptations of such life away from 
parental control. Therefore, on behalf of the interests which 
I have the honour to represent in this Council, as well as 
on behalf of the public, I welcome the introduction of this 

A few days before the above Act was passed, a memorial p ro tection of 
was received from the Society for the Protection of Children children, 
in India, strongly representing the urgent necessity of more 
comprehensive measures, and stating that the Act did not 
go to the root of the evil, which is the supply of infant 
girl life to the brothels 'of Calcutta, In most brothels, it 
was said, one, and in many cases two and even three 
infant girls were to be found ; and it was urged that power 
should be taken to remove children, particularly girls of 
tender years, from houses of ill-fame, and to place them 
under proper guardians and in surroundings where they 
would at least have the chance of living clean and healthy 
lives. This memorial was received too late for action to be 
taken in the Bill then before Council. Sir Andrew there- 
fore decided to deal with it separately and appointed a 
small representative Committee to consider the question in all 
its bearings. 

The Committee received full corroboration of the truth 
of the statements made in the memorial. It was clearly 
proved that there are a large number of girls living in 


Calcutta brothels under circumstances which leave no doubt 
that they are being brought up to a life of vice : — enquiry 
disclosed the fact that there are, at least, more than 1,000 
girls under 14 years of age in brothels. And there was, 
the Committee found, ample evidence to demonstrate the 
existence of a regular traffic having for its object the procure- 
ment of female children by purchase from indigent parents 
and guardians. The necessity of taking action to protect 
innocent children from a life of shame and degradation was 
established ; and such action could only be taken by means 
of legislation. A draft Bill has therefore been framed with 
the object of protecting minor girls from being brought up 
to a life of prostitution. It will not be proceeded -with, 
however, unless the people themselves show a desire for such 
legislation. It is essential that such a measure should have 
public support, especially in India. 


The history of the Forest Department during the quin- 
quennium was one of steady development. Considerable 
progress was made in opening out forests, by improving 
means of communication, as far as funds would permit, and 
in developing them so as to place at the disposal of the 
public as large quantities as possible of the kinds of produce 
that are in demand, and also so as to provide for increased 
or continuous future supplies. Most of the forests, however, 
were more or less ruined before being placed in charge 
of the Department, and the area under its control is 
comparatively small. Before the reconstitution of the Province 
the area of reserved forests was 6,409 square miles, and of 
protected forests, 3,428 square miles. The area of the former 
has now been reduced to 4,240 square miles, while that of 
the latter is 3,392 square miles, representing 3'43 and 2'74 
per cent., respectively, of the total area of the Province. 

Apart from the administration of the Government forests, 
efforts have been made to conserve and develop the forests in 
Feudatory States, which have hitherto suffered from reckless 
exploitation, as well as in private estates managed by the Court 
of Wards. Steps have also been taken to improve the 
management of protected forests in Grovernment estates, with 
the object of supplying more fully the wants of the raiyats; 
and though it is difficult in such a short time to point to 
very decisive results, their management has been placed on a 


better footing than .five years ago. The only other matter 
which calls for notice under this head is the establishment 
in 1906-07 of a training school at Kurseong for selected 
Foresters and Deputy Eangers. At this school they go through 
a brief practical course, and it is hoped that its establishment 
will not only lead to an increase of efficiency, but also help 
to produce a better class of recruits for the lower grades of 
Forest Eangers. 


In the section dealing with Sanitation an account has been 
given of the enquiry held by the Drainage Committee, and 
reference has been made to their examination of schemes for 
the drainage of malarious areas in the Presidency Division. 
Mention will here be made only of the drainage schemes at 
work or prepared during the quinquennium. These come 
under four main heads. The first class consists of schemes 
under the Bengal Drainage Act, intended for the benefit of 
agriculture by the drainage of swampy areas, which are under- 
taken at the initiative of landlords. No schemes of this class 
were taken up during the quinquennium ; but Drainage Com- 
missioners were appointed for the Amta drainage scheme in the 
Howrah district, a scheme proposed over 30 years ago. The 
second class consists of works undertaken under the Bengal 
Sanitary Drainage Act in cases in which it can be shown 
that drainage will be beneficial to public health. Here, the 
initiative rests with the District Board, and the scheme, if 
accepted by the Board, is carried out at the cost of the owners 
and occupiers of lands which are held to be beneficially 
affected ; but, as the economic benefit is more remote, grant- 
in-aid may be given from general revenues. 

The only scheme which has actually been accepted so 
far under this latter Act is that known as the Magra Hat 
scheme, which deals with a tract of 290 square miles in 
the southern part of the 24-Parganas district, and is now 
in progress. The estimated cost is a little over 20 lakhs, 
and, to meet this, Government has agreed to contribute 
5 lakhs in cash, making no charge for the executive 
and supervising staff employed on the work, and to advance 
the remainder to the District Board, which will be allowed 
to defer payment of interest and repayment of principal until 
the charges have been apportioned, and reoovery is being 
made from the proprietors of the tract affected. When 


complete, the work will be maintained by Government, which 
will receive any income derivable from it in the shape of 
navigation tolls and fishery rents. The necessity of the 
scheme may be gathered from a. report submitted nearly 
30 years ago in which it was stated:— " From want of 
drainage and protection, the productiveness of the locality 
is only a fraction of what it should be; and the inhabitants, 
although they may be supposed to be inured to their 
semi-amphibious condition by a long course of preparation 
resulting in the survival of the fittest, are affected similarly 
to those living in the vicinity of the permanent bils. Fever 
is constantly present in every village, and other classes of 
sickness find a congenial home in the unwholesome atmos- 
phere prevailing in this extensive locality." Two other 
schemes of this nature are at present in the initial stage, 
i.e., they are being considered by Drainage Commissioners 
and the District Boards. They contemplate the drainage of 
the country near Barasat in the 24-Parganas and near the 
head-quarters of the Jessore district, the former being known 
as the Nawai and Sunti scheme and the second as the Bhairab 

The third class consists of schemes for the drainage of 
municipal areas. In such cases Government gives from Pro- 
vincial revenues a grant-in-aid to' a municipality, and the 
municipal area benefited is assessed under the Municipal Act 
for its share of the cost. One scheme of this nature is the 
Baghjola scheme, which has been prepared for the benefit of a 
number of municipalities on the eastern bank of the Hooghly 
to the north of Calcutta. It is proposed to effect the drainage 
of those municipalities by means of the Ultadanga-Bamanghata 
Canal already referred to. A somewhat similar scheme is 
being worked out for Berhampore in the Murshidabad district, 
where it is proposed that Government should construct an 
outfall channel, which will lower the level of the water in the 
large depressions near the town. 

The fourth class of drainage schemes consists of projects 
carried out under the Bengal Embankment Act. The 'most 
important scheme of this class undertaken during the quinquen- 
nium was the drainage of the Argoal circuit, a tract of land, 
extending over nearly 19 square miles, in the low-lying part 
of the Contai subdivision of Midnapore. This area is enclosed 
by an embankment, the lands outside which have been raised 
by deposits of * silt to a much higher level than the interior 
lands. The lower lands are water-logged even in ordinary 
years, and when the embankment breaches, as it does occa« 
gionally, the enclosed lands are devastated and the homesteads 


flooded. A scheme for the drainage of this tract was therefore 
prepared at an estimated cost of Es. 1,29,000, the arrange- 
ment being that the cost should be advanced by Government 
and then apportioned between it and the zamindars according 
as they are benefited by the work. It has now been practically 
completed, and will, it is hoped, improve materially the 
conditions of this water-logged tract. 


There is little of special importance to notice under this 
heading. The embankment system in the deltaic districts of 
Orissa, a tract specially liable to disastrous floods, has been 
developed as far as possible ; and the policy of providing 
escapes in embankments, which has been successful in Cuttack, 
is gradually being given effect to in Puri. A scheme for 
moderating the spill from the Damodar river through the 
Begua breach has been prepared, and it has been decided to 
carry it out as soon as funds are available. The object of 
this scheme is to afford some relief to the country on 
the right bank of the Damodar, which is at present always 
liable to inundation, and also to restore in the dry season 
a supply of water for domestic purposes to villages along 
the banks of the original channel of the river in its lower 
portion. The embankment known as the Gupta Bandh in 
the Monghyr district has been taken under the charge of 
Government, and is to be remodelled in order to protect 
a portion of the Begusarai subdivision from the floods of 
the Ganges. 


The administration of Sir Andrew Fraser was marked by 
great activity in the Eoads and Buildings branch of the 
Public Works Department, the outlay on communications and 
miscellaneous public improvements (under the head "Provincial 
—Civil Buildings") being Es. 2,82,97,359 in the quinquennium 
ending in 1907-08 (as shown in the margin), as against 
Es. 1,65,49,583 in the previous quin- 
ts 04, KJMie quennium; while contributions rose 

IK ::: ::: £;K2 f ™m Es. 10,31,262 to Es. 12,13,198. 

1907-us I" ::: Km -A- 8 re g ar( ls communications, the most 

important work undertaken was the 

construction of the High Level Tisfca Valley road in the 


Darjeeling district, which will form the main route to Sikldm. 
This was determined upon because the low level road was 
unsafe when the turbulent Tista was in high flood. Construc- 
tion was commenced in January 1904, and the total expen- 
diture up to the end of 1907-08 was 9| lakhs. Much has 
also been done to open out the Sambalpur group of Feuda- 
tory States by improving old roads and constructing new 
ones, e.g., the road from Sambalpur to Sonpur is being 
improved and realigned, a new road is being constructed from 
Sambalpur to Bolangir, the headquarters of the Patna State, 
and the Cuttack-Sambalpur road is being improved. Also in 
Chota-Nagpur, feeder roads have been extended in Palamau ; 
the Eanchi-Daltonganj road has been taken over by the Depart- 
ment and is being reconstructed in parts ; the Eanchi-Chaibassa 
road has been improved ; and a road, 103 miles long, from 
Khunti to Kolunga has been projected, in order to provide 
the south-west portion of the Eanchi district, which is at 
present without roads, with an outlet to the Bengal-Nagpur 
Eailway, and also to make it accessible to relief in time of 

Among other miscellaneous works taken in hand may 
be mentioned the improvement of Dalhousie Square, the 
maintenance and management of which were taken over by 
Government from the Calcutta Corporation in 1905. Eupees 
1,34,000 were spent on the improvement of the square; and 
after its completion an equestrian statue of the late Lieute- 
nant-Governor Sir John Woodburn was erected on the northern 
side of the square. A further improvement was also made in 
the Calcutta Maidan, at a cost of over, a lakh, by laying out 
the Curzon Gardens. 

A long list of the buildings erected during the quin- 
quennium, jails, hospitals, public offices, etc., will be found in 
the different annual administration reports and need not be 
repeated here. Mention, however, should be made of one 
prominent feature of His Honour's administration, viz., the 
acquisition of land for, < and the construction of, official resi- 
dences. The necessity of such residences is well-known to 
those who have experience of mofussil stations, in some of 
which officials and their wives have before now had to live 
in tents or dak bungalows, or live out of the station altoge- 
ther for want of houses in it. Even where there are sufficient 
houses, they often are not only ill-built, cramped and unhealthy, 
but have insanitary surroundings It appeared to Sir Andrew 
to be the manifest duty of Government to provide its officers 
with houses which should at least be well-built and healthy. 
There is another aspect of this question which seemed to His 


Honour to be of almost equal importance, viz., the necessity 
of preserving the civil stations of Bengal. In many cases the 
station has been split up and dispersed over a considerable 
area, officers being spread all over it in such houses as they 
are able to secure. The result is that there is nothing left 
in the shape of a civil station, and that Government officers lose 
that sense of cohesion which is so valuable a factor in mofussil 
life. To remedy this state of affairs, His Honour endeavoured 
to secure, as far as possible, in each station a compact central 
site, which would be the civil station proper and in which 
the officers of Government could live and work together. 


In a previous section it has been explained that the Reorganize 
Department of Agriculture was first constituted in 1885, and Department, 
was under the supervision of the Director of Land Records, 
who was also responsible for the control of settlement opera- 
tions throughout the Province. The Department was thus 
divided into two branches, one concerned with agriculture 
and the other with settlements. The system imposed a heavy 
burden on the Director; and as the volume of settlement 
work increased year by year, it became more and more 
difficult for him to give adequate attention to the agricultural • 

development of Bengal. Some measure of relief was given in 
1904 by the appointment, so necessary from a practical point 
of view, of an expert agriculturist as Deputy Director in 
order to assist the Director in the supervision of experimental 
farms and agricultural experiments, besides four travelling 
overseers, whose duty it was to superintend the experimental 
work carried on in Government and Wards' estates; but owing 
to lack of funds further advance was not possible. In 1905, 
however, the Government of India promised to make a special 
annual grant for the improvement of agriculture ; and the 
financial difficulty having disappeared, an entirely separate 
Department of Agriculture was constituted in October 1905, 
the first Director being Mr. C. E. A. W. Oldham, i.c.s., who 
was well fitted to organize the new Department. 

A staff of qualified officers has also been appointed ; and 
the Director i« now assisted by a Deputy Director, Assistant 
Director, and three European experts, viz., an agricultural 
chemist, an economic botanist, who is assisted by an entomo- 
logical assistant and a mycological assistant, and an agricul- 
turist, who is to be Principal of the Provincial Agricultural 



College. There are also three Assistant Professors or Super- 
intendents of Farms, and each Division has been given 
an Agricultural Inspector. Proposals are, moreover, under 
consideration for the establishment of a regular Agricultural 
Service, so as to afford trained agricultural students definite 
prospects of employment, and attract a good class of officers. 
Agricultural Before proceeding to mention the reforms which have 

followed the reorganization of the Department, reference may 
be made to the steps taken by Sir Andrew, before that 
measure, to create an agency by which agricultural progress 
might be advanced by and through the people themselves. 
His Honour found, when he became Lieutenant-Governor, 
that the Agricultural Department had admittedly failed to 
make known among the people the results which had been 
attained by experiment. Accounts of the various operations 
undertaken were published annually, but they did not reach 
the cultivating classes ; and, even in the vicinity of the various 
agricultural farms, improved methods of cultivation were not 
adopted. There were many zamindars and merchants keenly 
interested in agriculture, but their sympathy and co-operation 
had not been enlisted. 

In these circumstances, it seemed to His Honour that 
an agency was wanted to disseminate agricultural knowledge 
and to awaken further interest in, and discussion of, the 
agricultural development of the Province. Experience in 
the Central Provinces had shown him what immense 
advantage followed the creation of advisory Agricultural 
Associations ; and he was convinced that ther^ was a great 
field of work open to such Associations in Bengal. He 
therefore decided, as a first step, to establish a Provincial 
Agricultural Association at Calcutta to co-operate with the 
Director in connection with agricultural experiments and the 
dissemination of the results of such experiments. It would 
also advise Government as regards the programme of work 
of the Agricultural Department, as well as concerning all 
matters affecting the improvement of agriculture and the 
best method of reclaiming waste lands. With these objects, 
a Provincial Agricultural Association was formed in 1904 ; 
and this was followed by the establishment of Divisional 
Associations in each Division and of District Associations in 
most districts. 
The Provin. Of the reforms which followed the reorganization of the 

cial College. Department the most important is the foundation of a Pro- 
vincial Agricultural College, i.e., a Central College for the 
training of suitable men to carry on the work of the 
^Department. Some years ago an attempt was made to do 


something in the way of agricultural education by sending 
officers of the Provincial Service to be trained at Cirencester 
in England. The scheme was not very successful owing to 
the want of a suitable organization; and the result was that 
many of the students trained in England took up other 
branches of work on their return. An attempt was also 
made to give students a two years' training in agricultural 
subjects at the Civil Engineering College, Sibpur, but the 
best men were given appointments in the Provincial and 
Subordinate Civil Services, and their services were lost to agri- 
culture. Neither schemes therefore were successful; and His 
Honour recognized that other arrangements must be made if 
the Department was to attain its full development. That 
could be done only by recruiting local men of the best of 
the classes which aspire to appointments in the public service, 
and by training them as experts in agricultural science. 

It was at first thought that the agricultural students of 
Bengal might be trained at the Imperial Agricultural Re- 
search Institute at Pusa in the Darbhanga district ; but this 
idea was abandoned, as the object of that institution being 
mainly research work, it was decided that the experts on the 
staff should not be engaged in teaching the elements of agri- 
culture, and that whatever teaching they undertook should be 
of an advanced kind. Eventually, it was determined that 
Bengal should have a Provincial College of its own, where 
natives of the Province could receive a sound elementary 
training in agriculture, and from which the best graduates could 
go to the Imperial Institution at Pusa and so be fitted for the 
highest appointments in the Province. A suitable site for the . 
college was found at Sabaur, 4 miles from Bhagalpur, and 
the foundation stone was laid by Sir Andrew Fraser in 
August 1908. 

The oollege is designed to fulfil two distinct objects, viz., 

(1) to train men in scientific and practical agriculture, and 

(2) to provide a research station for Provincial problems. 
Research and experimental work will be carried on, and at 
the same time students will be trained, who will be able to 
diffuse through the Province its results. It is hoped that 
in this way there will be an ample supply of Indians 
equipped with a scientific and practical knowledge of agricul- 
ture and! able to supply the staff of all other agricultural 
institutions in the Province. The underlying principle is that 
the ultimate development of the agricultural resources of the 
land must be in the hands of Indians trained in their own 
country. In time, qualified men will be in a position to take 
the place of the present European experts ; and meanwhile 



and demons- 

in order to assist the Director in guiding the development of 
agriculture, eight men, who have received a preliminary 
training at the Civil Engineering College, Sibpur, have been 
sent to the Cornell University in the United States for 
further training in scientific and practical agriculture. 

A necessary corollary to this scheme is the establishment of 
experimental farms at selected centres. A portion of each 
farm is devoted to experiments undertaken with special 
reference to the wants of the tract within which it is 
situated ; and a portion serves as a seed farm for distribution 
of seed to the public. For this purpose, each administrative 
Division" has been taken as constituting an -agricultural tract, 
for in no two Divisions are agricultural conditions exactly 
similar. Over 200 acres of land were taken up at Bankipore 
in 1906, and considerable progress has been made in 
establishing an experimental station with suitable buildings. 
The site of the College at Sabaur includes an area of over 
200 acres representative of the Bhagalpur Division. In 1908 
over 200 acres were acquired at Chinsura representative of 
the G-angetic alluvium ; and arrangements are being made 
to acquire additional land at Cuttack, where a small farm was 
established in 1904 to demonstrate the value of irrigation. 
Sites for farms representative of the laterite area and of the 
Chota Nagpur plateau have been chosen at Kharagpur and 
Eanchi respectively, and steps will shortly be taken for the 
acquisition of the land. In addition to these representative 
stations, some 50 acres of land were taken up in Chaibasa 
for a tusser silk farm, and small temporary jute seed farms 
. were established at Berhampore and Purnea. Lately, an area 
of some 50 acres has been taken up at Fraserganj for 
demonstration purposes, and a hill farm at Kalimpong has 
been subsidized by Government. 

It is intended that the experimental farms shall be 
manned, in the main, by passed students of the Provincial 
College, and serve as the field in which the science 
acquired there will be put to a severe practical test before 
it is offered to the cultivators. They are to be supplemented 
by small demonstration farms, which are intended to bring 
home to the peasantry any improvements effected in the 
experimental farm that may be suited to the tract of which 
it forms the centre. Such farms cannot be started till the 
experimental farms have got definite facts to demonstrate, 
and will therefore be opened gradually. In the meantime, 
the farms already existing in Grovernment, Wards' and private 
estates are being used to demonstrate such improvements as 
have been or are being established. 


Among miscellaneous measures adopted for the dis- 
semination of agricultural knowledge a leading place must 
be given to the steps taken in collating and publishing for 
practical use the experience already gained — a matter in 
which Bengal was very backward. Though many experiments 
had been made for several years before the reorganization 
of the Agricultural Department, the results were not available 
in a handy form. Though notes on particular crops had 
been prepared, they had not been worked up for publication 
and distribution. The publication of agricultural literature 
has now been put on a new footing. Leaflets in English 
and the vernaculars have been distributed widely ; and since 
1907 a Quarterly Journal has been published for the benefit 
of members of Agricultural Associations. By these means 
the work of the Department has been brought to the notice 
of those directly connected with the cultivator. The work 
in connection with agricultural fairs and shows has also been 
reorganized, this being an easy and attractive means of 
showing cultivators what they can do to improve their crops. 
Another important development has been the establishment 
in Calcutta of a central store for the supply of different 
varieties of guaranteed seed and improved agricultural 
implements. In this way the Director has become a merchant 
on a considerable scale, but the seeds and implements are 
issued at the bare cost price. A manual of arboriculture 
has also been prepared; and a class of arboriculture has been 
instituted at the Royal Botanic Garden at Sibpur for the 
training of overseers and others deputed each year by the 
different District Boards. 

A number of enquiries were made during the quinquennium Special 
in regard to the cultivation of special crops, such as indigo and 
jute. A subsidy of Es. 50,000 per annum was granted for 
the improvement of the indigo industry, and research work 
was steadily carried on. Valuable experiments in the cultiva- 
tion of jute were instituted, a special officer being appointed 
Fibre Expert in 1904 ; and on his transfer to Eastern Bengal 
and Assam, the Department continued to carry on the produc- 
tion of good seed. For the purpose of demonstrating the 
value of nurseries with mulberry plantations for the production 
of pure seed, a subsidy was granted to the Bengal Silk 
Committee until 1908. In that year Government, accepting* 
the proposals of a special Silk Committee appointed to 
consider the causes of the decline of the silk industry and 
the measures required for its revival, itself undertook a 
scheme devised for restoring its prosperity; and to carry it 
into effect appointed a Sericultural Superintendent with an 


adequate staff at Berhampore in Murshidabad. In order to 
assist the tusser silk industry a farm was, as already stated, 
established at Chaibasa ; and the subsidy to the Tea 
Association was continued. In 1905 an officer was placed 
on special duty in connection with well-irrigation. He 
visited the United Provinces, and made himself acquainted 
with the practice of irrigation from temporary wells, which 
have proved in famine years so valuable a resource in the 
eastern districts of those Provinces. He then toured round the 
districts of the Patna, Bhagalpur and Chota Nagpur Divisions 
in order to ascertain whether there are any insuperable 
obstacles to the extension to those districts of the methods 
of well- irrigation which prevail in the United Provinces, and 
to indicate localities in which the sinking of wells may be 
beneficial. As a result of this enquiry, Government has 
sanctioned the entertainment of a staff of well-borers, under 
an expert, to make trial borings and to improve the water- 
supply of existing wells by boring through strata impervious 
to the tools of the ordinary cultivator. An officer, with 
headquarters at Bankipore, has been specially appointed for 
training borers, and is now at work in the districts of 
the Patna and Bhalgalpur Divisions. 
Miscellaneous. Among other miscellaneous duties undertaken by the 
Department may be mentioned the preparation of rainfall 
statistics and the weekly weather and crop reports. The 
Department has also been engaged in making a census of 
wages in urban and rural tracts, the statistics at present 
obtained being inaccurate. Lastly, it may be mentioned that 
a ten years' programme of work has been drawn up, and that, 
whereas the budget allotment for 1902-03 was Rs. 1,21,700, 
that for the present year is 5 lakhs. 


Civil Similar progress has been made in the Veterinary Depart* 

Deo°irtment ' men ^> an "nportant scheme of reorganization being sanctioned 
in 1907. This scheme provides for a large increase in the 
veterinary staff of the Province, in order that its needs may 
•be adequately met. It is to be introduced gradually, as 
funds and trained men become available, and when it is in 
full operation, the strength of the Provincial and Subordinate 
Civil Veterinary Service will be 9 Deputy Superintendents, 30 
Inspectors and 229 Veterinary Assistants, the posts being 
pensionable* In this way a staff will be gradually formed, 


capable ultimately of supplying every subdivision of the 
Province with one stationary and one itinerant Veterinary 
Assistant. Another reform carried out in 1908 was the 
separation of the Bengal Veterinary College from the Civil 
Veterinary Department, a separate officer being appointed in 
charge of each. The Principal of the College has con- 
sequently been relieved of peripatetic work in the interior, 
and is now in a position to give full attention to that 
institution, which has expanded in a remarkable way of late 
years, to exercise closer supervision over the working of the 
Glanders and Farcy Act, the contagious diseases hospital, 
veterinary laboratory and hostels, and to take a more active 
personal interest in the training of students than has hitherto 
been possible. The Superintendent of the Civil Veterinary 
Department has been placed in sole charge of the work of 
inspection and control in the mofussil, which includes touring, 
inspection of veterinary dispensaries, improvement of cattle 
breeding, prevention of animal diseases, etc. As showing 
how much the operations of the Department have expanded, 
it may be mentioned that 9 new dispensaries have been 
founded and 19 itinerant Veterinary Assistants appointed since 
1903. A herd of dehati cattle has also been established at 
Pusa and a herd of Siri cattle at Kalimpong, and much has 
been done to improve cattle breeding at the Sripur farm of 
the Hathwa Raj. Further advance may be expected to 
follow the recent amendment of the Local Self-Grovernment 
Act, by which District Boards have been authorized to incur 
expenditure on veterinary work. 

In no branch of veterinary work, however, has progress The Bengal 
been more marked than in the Bengal Veterinary College, Veterinary 
which is the central institution for all veterinary work in 
the Province and the recruiting ground of the veterinary 
staff of Bengal, Eastern Bengal and Assam. Sir Andrew 
Fraser took a keen personal interest in the future of the 
college, and with his assistance a comprehensive scheme was 
drawn up for its development and for the erection of the 
buildings necessary to make it worthy of the Province. 
This scheme was followed until the present year, when unfor- 
tunately funds were not available to carry out the building 
projects. During the previous four years, however, the . 
following buildings were erected: — a research laboratory (called 
the Raymond Eesearch Laboratory), a new hostel to 
accommodate 156 boarders (called the Fraser Hostel), a 
dissection room, a new post-mortem room, a large operat- 
ing theatre for horses, three cattle wards, an operation 
hall for cattle, and quarters for the Senior Hospital Surgeon, 


Junior Hospital Surgeon, Stable Overseer and 200 menials. 
The site upon which the college stands has been rendered 
more sanitary by the clearing of jungle and filling in of six 
large tanks in the vicinity. The staff has been strengthened 
by the addition of two lecturers, one Hospital Surgeon, one 
Veterinary Assistant, one Assistant Manager for the hostel, 
a riding master, a compounder and a large menial staff. 

As a proof of the remarkable expansion of the college, 
may be mentioned the fact that the applications of students 
have been greater than the number of vacancies ; that they 
have come not only from the Provinces of Bengal and 
Eastern Bengal and Assam, but also from the United 
Provinces, Central Provinces, Madras, Burma, and even from 
the Punjab; and that the number of students on the college 
rolls was 137 last year as against 30 in 1902-03. The 
hospital attached to the college has also increased in usefulness, 
as is shown by the fact that last year 4,132 cases were 
admitted against 2,385 in 1902-03. During the last 4 years 
94. veterinary graduates have passed through the college. Of 
these, 11 have been employed by the Bengal Government, 
and 39 by District and Local Boards. Of the remainder, 
32 have been employed by other Administrations and 6 by 
private individuals. The Glanders and Farcy Act was also 
introduced into Calcutta and suburbs during the lieutenant- 
Governorship of Sir Andrew Fraser, and there are at present 
8 Inspectors and 12 constables employed on this work. 


The problem of establishing some organization or method 
by which the peasantry can obtain the advances necessary for 
carrying on cultivation, without having to pay usurious rates 
of interest and without being given undue facilities for 
incurring debt, had been under consideration some time before 
Sir Andrew Fraser became Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. 
During his tenure of office a notable advance was made 
towards its solution by the enactment of the Co-operative 
Credit Societies Act (X of 1904), which provides for the 
constitution and control of co-operative credit societies. The 
principle underlying that Act may be gathered from the 
remarks made by the Viceroy, Lord Curzon : — " The 
promotion of agricultural enterprise by an increase in the 
available capital may be described as a prime duty of any 
Government administering a large rural population. All 


producers, even the poorest, require capital, and the Indian 
raiyat by no means least. But the conditions under which 
alone he can procure it in this country are so onerous, he 
is so apt to dissipate it when acquired by a sort of 
traditional improvidence, and the consequences of his indebted- 
ness are so disastrous and even appalling, that there seems 
to be a special obligation upon the Government of India 
to come to his assistance in such ways as we legitimately can. 
. . . We are initiating an experiment, which is to make the 
cultivating classes themselves the borrowers, improving their 
credit, developing their thrift, and training them to utilize for 
their own benefit the great advantage which the experience 
of other countries has shown to lie in the principle of 
mutual co-operation." 

Sir Andrew Fraser selected Mr. W. E. Gourlay, i.c.s., to 
administer the Act in Bengal; and that officer, after visiting 
Ireland, Germany, Italy and Egypt, seeing the working of 
co-operative credit societies, and consulting the leaders of the 
co-operative movements in those countries, began his work as 
Eegistrar in the winter of 1904. Subsequently, in 1907, on 
his appointment as Director of Agriculture, he was made 
Director of Co-operative Credit Societies with a Eegistrar 
working under his supervision, in order to bring the 
Departments of Agriculture and Co-operative Credit into 
closer association. Sir Andrew Fraser thought that the union 
of these two offices in one officer, who understands the 
people and their agricultural conditions,- was sure to be of 
advantage. Mr. Grourlay is a young man and ought to 
stay in these offices for some time and push the work of 
both Departments. 

When a Eegistrar was first appointed, there were only 58 
pioneer societies, founded mainly through the energy of 
Mr. P. C. Lyon, i.c.s., who was on special duty with this 
object in 1901-02. Of these more than one-third have since 
disappeared, for many of them were founded by men anxious 
to assist the raiyat, but whose knowledge did not equal their 
enthusiasm ; while others were established under the orders of 
officers anxious to do their duty, but unable to attend to the 
details themselves. Many societies thus formed died after a 
short period through want of interest, or became institutions 
where a few men paid a tax each year into the treasury on 
account of a sum of money borrowed by them some years 
before. To-day there are nearly 400 societies with assets of 
Es. 2,44,000 and liabilities of Es. 2,31,000 ; while the number 
of members has risen to 1,350. This is only a beginning, 
but it has at least been made clear that co-operative credit 


societies will flourish in any part of Bengal, given two condi- 
tions, viz., the bond of a village community and one literate 
member to keep the records of the society. 

The societies are founded on Baiffeisen principles, viz., 
(1) unlimited liability; (2) operations restricted to a small 
area ; (3) no shares and consequently no dividends ; (4) no 
payments for services rendered ; (5) repayment of the loan 
from the profits or savings effected ; (6) an indivisible reserve 
fund; (7) the moral as well as the material benefit of the 
members. They are small democratically managed groups of 
agriculturists joined together for the purpose of making their 
individual securities of greater value and of enabling each 
member to obtain benefits which, though possible for all 
when united, are impossible for each individually. All those 
who know rural India know well that a character for honesty 
exists in the villages, and it is this character for honesty 
which forms the security of the society. " The work," 
writes Mr. (rourlay, "of establishing these societies in indi- 
vidual villages has succeeded, and there seems no reason why 
similar societies should not be founded in any village in 
Bengal. One thing, however, remains to be done. These 
village societies must be organised into unions before they 
can be controlled and financed on a large scale, and this 
work is at' present occupying the attention of the officers 
concerned. As soon as this problem has been solved, we 
shall have gone a long way towards solving the great problem 
of Indian indebtedness, and it only remains for the people 
of India themselves to make known the principles cf 
co-operation and assist their less informed brethren by teaching 
them self-help and thrift." 


Collegiate During the administration of Sir Andrew Fraser the 

e uca ion. w h o l course of collegiate education was affected by the 
enactment of the Universities Act of 1904, to give effect 
to which the Calcutta University promulgated revised regula- 
tions in 1906. It is unnecessary to give a detailed account 
of the changes involved by the Act or of the constitution 
of the Calcutta University. It will be sufficient to say 
that the object aimed at, so far as collegiate education 
is concerned, was "a University which shall gather round 
it collegiate institutions proud of affiliation and worthy to 
enjoy it; whose students, housed in residential quarters in 


close connection with the parent University, shall feel the 
inner meaning of a corporate life." To Bengal educationalists 
the Act embodied what is frequently described as "the new 
ideal," though it is old and familiar enough. As explained 
in the report of a Commission recently appointed by the 
Calcutta University to inspect mofussil colleges, the Univer- 
sity in the beginning ostensibly aimed at nothing but 
examining, though it recoginized affiliated colleges, and 
more or less rigidly required that candidates should be sent 
up by affiliated colleges, "This involved as at least latent 
a conception of education distinct from mere examination. . • 
The movement which has resulted in the reconstruction of 
the Universities by the new Act is virtually the explioit 
definition of the new educational ideal. Every tendency of 
the time points to the residential college with its full social 
life, which has superseded the original conception of the 
college as a place where students are prepared for examina- 
tions by means of lectures. The University is no longer 
content with lectures; it requires a collegiate life." Two 
years before the University issued their revised regulations, 
Sir Andrew Fraser was endeavouring to translate the "new 
ideal" into practice by the establishment of a residential 
college which should serve as a model for all other colleges 
in Bengal. 

His Honour found during his tours throughout the Prov- Ranchi 
ince that there was a great desire on the part of many College, 
influential zamindars, Indian gentlemen serving Government 
in such offices as those of Senior Deputy Collectors, District 
Officers or Subordinate Judges, professional men such as 
barristers, pleaders and doctors practising in the interior, and 
other gentlemen of similar position and circumstances, to have 
a college healthy in its physical and moral surroundings, 
to which they could send their boys. Over and over again 
he found that zamindars who resided on their estates and not 
in Calcutta, had felt the need of an institution where their 
sons would be under proper discipline and receive a sound 
education. These zamindars represented how unsatisfactory 
were the arrangements which they found it possible to make 
for the private tuition of their boys at home, and on the 
other hand how difficult it was to make anything like satis- 
factory arrangements for sending them to any of the existing 
colleges. Muhammadan gentlemen, who are much attracted 
by the system at Aligarh, but do not like to send their sons 
to a college outside the Province, where they lose touch 
with the concerns of their homes, were also very anxious 
for the establishment of a somewhat similar institution ia 


this Province. In the same way, several Indian District 
Officers and Judges, and professional and business men, whoso 
life's work has to be done in the interior, urged that some 
scheme should be devised which would hold out the hope of 
their sons being educated in a morally and physically healthy 
atmosphere under proper discipline and supervision. 

The various means which suggested themselves to the 
Lieutenant-Governor and to such gentlemen were discussed 
over and over again. The claims of the Presidency College 
were fully considered; but in the interior, among many 
zamindars and other Indian gentlemen of high position, there 
is a strong prejudice against sending their sons to Calcutta 
for education, unless they happen themselves to have a home 
in Calcutta to which their sons can go. The root of this 
objection is that the climate of Calcutta is not a bracing 
climate physically or morally. Physically it is not such a 
climate as a man would choose for his son in the years when 
his constitution is being formed. Morally the dangers arising 
from the immorality which seems inseparable from the life of a 
great city, and from the distractions of all kinds which tend to 
draw students from their studies, are real and well recognized. 

Gradually it became clear to the Lieutenant-Governor 
that the best solution of the problem would be to have a 
good residential college at Eanchi, where the students would 
be in a healthy climate. This proposal commended itself to 
all the gentlemen who were privately consulted ; and many 
of them promised to co-operate heartily in carrying out 
the scheme. In order further to ventilate the proposal, the 
Lieutenant-Governor in 1904 held a meeting at Belvedere 
which was attended by sixty-five representatives of the 
classes indicated ; fifty-nine more wrote letters expressing 
their warm sympathy with the scheme, which had previously 
been outlined. At the meeting, His Honour more fully 
expounded his views and these were most cordially received. 
The Lieutenant-Governor then left the meeting; and the 
matter was placed entirely in the hands of those present. 
A Committee was immediately formed independently to 
raise subscriptions. A number of gentlemen subsequently 
came forward offering large sums for the provision of hostel 
accommodation in connection with the proposed college ; 
and a sum of over three lakhs of rupees was subscribed. 
After much discussion the scheme has received the sanction 
of the Secretary of State. 

The objects of the college are briefly as follow. As a 
residential college well equipped, well staffed and managed 
on advanced lines, in which the students will lead a corporate 


life, it is intended to promote the interests of University 
education throughout Bengal. It is intended to supply a local 
want by providing a Government college for Chota Nagpur, 
the only Division in which there is' no Government college- 
And it is to supply a long-felt want for the Province as a 
whole, viz., that of a college for the sons of the nobility, 
the zamindars and the professional classes. This last feature 
is of especial importance, for under present conditions in 
Bengal landholders and other well-to-do sections of the com- 
munity have no regularly constituted college to which to send 
their sons, and do not like to send them to middle class insti- 
tutions intended for boys of a social standing lower than their 
own. Consequently, private tuition with all its disadvantages 
often takes the place of collegiate education. 

As regards the location of the new college, Eanchi has 
been fixed on after an exhaustive examination of other possible 
sites owing to its many natural advantages. As is well known, 
its climate is excellent. While there is a strong disinclination 
on the part of parents resident in Bengal proper to send their 
sons to either Bihar or Orissa, and vice versa, there does not 
appear to be the same disinclination to send them, to Chota 
Nagpur. There is a marked tendency on the part of the upper 
and middle classes in Bengal to settle there ; and already 
several gentlemen have set themselves to acquire plots of 
land at Eanchi, with a view to having their sons educated 
at the college. Lastly, the one difficulty which some gentle- 
men felt in regard to sending their sons to Eanchi, viz., 
the distance from the line of rail, has been removed by 
the construction of the railway from Purulia. 

The college will aim for the present at providing accom- 
modation for about 150 or 200 students. Provision will be made 
for teaching the Arts course up to the B. A. standard, 
arrangements being made for instruction in Physics as a 
part of that course. In order to deal effectively with the 
subjects in which instruction will be given to students who 
undertake a Government course, and also in order to main- 
tain a proportion of one professor to 15 students, there will 
be a staff of ten professors. It has further been decided to 
have four hostels attached to the college, each supervised by 
an European find Indian officer jointly. Three of these will 
each contain about 40 or 45 students, two of them being 
for Hindus and one for Muhamtnadans. The remaining 
hostel, which will be especially reserved for sons of zamindars, 
will accommodate about 30 students and will consist of two 
separate parts, for Hindus and Muhammadans, respectively. 
The hostels will be constructed from funds privately contributed 


and will be maintained entirely from fees levied from the 
students, It is not intended that these hostels shall in any 
way be regarded as private buildings, and they will therefore 
be the property of Government. 

A special feature of the college will be the arrange- 
ments made for religious instruction. There is a strong 
desire expressed by thoughtful men of all classes throughout 
the Province that, while their sons are being educated, 
their religious instruction should not be wholly intermitted 
or abandoned. Parents, both Hindu and Muhammadan, realize 
that it is disastrous for their sons to be brought up with 
no thought of religion. It is urged that young men, 
while they secure great intellectual advantages at school 
or college, too frequently see that religion is practically 
ignored, and that they not unnaturally come to think that 
religion belongs only to the inferior classes of intellect or 
the more backward stages of education'. Parents, and especial- 
ly mothers, are utterly dissatisfied with this state of 
things. Sir Andrew Fraser felt great sympathy with them 
in their dissatisfaction ; and a scheme has been framed for 
enabling the students to receive religious instruction without 
infringing on the recognized principle that Government 
shall not interfere in religious matters. 

Briefly, facilities are to be afforded in the hostels for giving 
religious instruction out of lecture hours to such students as 
wish to receive it ; but their attendance must be voluntary. 
No rule is to be made restricting admission to the hostels 
to those who *are willing to receive such instruction, 
or requiring the students either to attend or to offer 
reasons for non-attendance. No member of the staff of 
the college will be chosen with reference to his fitness or 
willingness to give religious instruction. The Principal will not 
have the power of approving any teacher for such a 
purpose ; though he will have the power of excluding from a 
hostel any person who, for disciplinary reasons, is considered 
an undesirable person for the students to associate with. 
It has further been decided that there shall be Visiting 
Committees, the members of which will be selected by the 
Lieutenant-Governor from among persons interested in edu- 
cation generally or especially interested in the* college itself. 
These Visiting Committees will be allowed to visit the 
hostels, and to make any suggestions to the college authori- 
ties in regard to them. All arrangements connected with 
the religious instruction < ; to be given on the lines sketched 
above, will be entrusted to the members professing the reli- 
gion of the students attending the hostels in question, i.e. t 


the Hindu members of the Visiting Commitee will arrange 
for the Hindu Hostel, and the Muhammadan members for 
the Muhammadan Hostel. The instruction will be of a very 
general nature, to which no Hindu or Muhammadan, of 
whatever sect he may be, can take exception. It will be 
confined to prayer and the delivery of addresses in a room set 
apart for the purpose; and no publio celebration of festivals 
or public acts of worship will be allowed within the college 
precincts. The Principal will be responsible that nothing 
takes place which could possibly offend the reli'gious feelings 
of students, but otherwise G-overnment will have no direot 
responsibility, financial or administrative, for the religious 

The extension of the Presidency College in Calcutta was Presidency 
another scheme of the first importance initiated by Sir Andrew Colle s e - 
Fraser. Such extension has been rendered necessary by the 
introduction of the new University regulations, which require 
that due provision shall be made for properly equipped 
laboratories in connection with the teaching of science, for 
residences for the head of a college and some members of 
the teaching staff, and for hostel accommodation for students 
not residing with their parents or guardians. It was urged 
by some that the college should be transferred to a better 
site in the suburbs of Calcutta, where ample space would be 
available for new buildings, hostels and recreation grounds. 
Others preferred the present site on account of the traditions 
with which it is associated and because of its accessibility in 
the case of students living with parents and guardians in 
Calcutta. On these and other grounds they urged that the 
college should not be moved, but improved in its present 
central situation close to the University. In order to ascertain 
the trend of public opinion and to give a wide publicity to 
the discussion, His Honour had the whole question laid before 
the public, and invited an expression of opinion from all 
officers, gentlemen, public bodies and associations interested in 
education and in the college. After careful consideration of 
the views expressed, Sir Andrew decided that the college 
should be kept in its present site and improved as money 
became available. Before proceeding further, he convened a 
representative "conference to draw up a de6nite scheme of 
improvements. The conference agreed as to the necessity for 
improving the college, and determined on a scheme, which is 
to be gradually carried out as funds permit. 

Financial difficulties prevented His Honour from bringing p a tn» 
into effect the improvements decided upon in the Presidency Col,e ? e 
College before he left India; but he was able to initiate 


the "new ideal" above referred to in the case of the Patna 
College, which next to the Presidency College is the most 
important Government college in Bengal. Here extensive im- 
provements have been or are being made, a large area having 
been acquired in order to make the college more compact and 
to provide room for additional buildings. These will include 
new soience laboratories, a house for the Principal, a residence 
for a professor, a gymnasium, a hostel for Muhammadan 
students, and a hostel for Hindu students to be called the 
Minto Hindu Hostel. The latter hostel is being erected with 
money subscribed by the leading Hindu noblemen of Bihar in 
honour of the visit of the Viceroy to Bankipore in 1905-06. 
Building operations are in progress, and when complete the 
Patna College will be the first Government Arts College in 
Bengal that will possess in anything like a complete form 
the essential features of a residential college. 
Other It remains to note the other steps taken or proposed to 

colleges. improve the standard of collegiate education. In the first 

instance may be mentioned the liberality with which His 
Honour has assisted private colleges to attain the. standard 
set up by the University regulations. Generally speaking, it 
may be said that colleges will not be able to satisfy the 
requirements of those regulations unless there is one teacher 
to every 15 students. Private colleges have been helped to 
increase their staff to this degree ; and it is not too much 
to say that without such help many of them would have 
collapsed or acted as a drag upon reform. The duty of 
Government to set its own house in order has. also been 
borne in mind, and it is proposed to increase the staff of 
Government colleges to the same extent. As the scheme is 
under consideration by superior authorities, its details cannot 
be made public. It is, however, permissible to state that 
hitherto the Government colleges have, in many cases, 
produced an undesirable type of students— neither good 
citizens nor good scholars — and that the object of the scheme 
now proposed is to maintain the Government colleges in a 
high state of efficiency, so that they may realize the old 
ideal of their being models for the whole Province. 

As^a minor matter, it may be mentioned that schemes are 
in progress for the removal of the collegiate schools from the 
eolleges, in the case of the Patna, Krishnagar and Hooghly 
Colleges and the Eavenshaw College, Cuttack, in accordance 
with the recommendation made on the subject by the 
Universities Commission. In all these cases the provision of 
adequate hostel accommodation both for college and school 
students forms a prominent feature. 


The improvement of secondary schools in Bengal was also Secondary 
taken up by His Honour, who realized that, as the colleges 
are dependent for their material upon the high schools, no 
real progress can be made in collegiate education, unless the 
high schools, which feed the colleges, are 'in a satisfactory 
condition. Unfortunately this is very far from being the 
case. The Anglo-vernacular schools of Bengal have grown 
up indiscriminately without adequate direction or assistance. 
The majority are badly managed, staffed and equipped, and 
are incapable of affording a sound education. The deplorable 
effects of their inefficiency are only too apparent in the 
increasing evidence of a semi-educated class of Bengali 
Hindus and in the political movements supported by them in 
the last few years. It is well known that the chief defect 
in both Government and private schools of this kind is the 
inadequate pay and inferior qualifications of the staff. 
Generally speaking, only men of poor attainments adopt the 
profession of teaching ; the few young men of good 
qualifications, who take up posts in high schools, merely 
doing so for the purpose of using them as a stepping-stone 
to some more remunerative career. The rates of pay offered 
are so low that an inferior class of Bengali Hindus is 
recruited, while educated Muhammadan and Bihari Hindu 
teachers are obtained with difficulty. 

Even in the Government high schools, which are supposed 
to serve as a model, the teachers are under-paid, judged by 
the modern standard of professional remuneration, and their 
qualifications leave much to be desired^ They are much better 
paid and better qualified, however, than the teachers in private 
schools, which constitute the vast majority of secondary educa- 
tional institutions. Enquiry has shown that out of 3,054 
teachers in private high schools, over 2,100 receive less than 
Rs. 30 and nearly 2,700 less than Rs. 50 a month. The 
standard of teaching and the standard of discipline are both 
bad. Two circumstanoes have hitherto prevented any serious 
attempt at reform. First, the squalid unaided schools, which 
the University allowed to grow up unchecked, and which it 
was nobody's business to control, have debased the tone of 
secondary education. Secondly, the number of inferior schools 
is so great that the provision of funds sufficient for their 
improvement has hitherto been deemed a hopeless task. 

Both Sir Andrew Fraser .and Sir Lancelot Hare were 
deeply impressed with the importance of arriving at some 
solution of this vital but difficult problem, as it affects the 
Provinces of Bengal and of Eastern Bengal and Assam, and 
placed the whole subject before a conference of administrative 



and educational officers. On the basis of the report presented 
by the conference, detailed proposals have been submitted to 
the Government of India for the improvement of secondary 

The question of giving teachers in secondary schools a 
* sound training is scarcely less important. " The dictum, " 

writes Mr. Hornell in the recent quinquennial Review of the 
Progress of Education in Bengal, "that efficient schools are 
not possible without efficient teachers is so universally 
accepted, that even to enunciate it savours of platitude, but 
the general inefficiency of the teachers now employed in 
secondary schools is attested with such unanimity, that the 
statement of the defect is becoming almost as much a 
commonplace as the general maxim quoted above. And 
yet the present deplorable state of affairs is surely nothing 
but what one would expect, the conditions of secondary 
education being what they are. Some institutions, it is 
true, exist for the training of vernacular teachers, but there 
is not at present a single institution in the Province for 
the training of English teachers." 

Some years ago a scheme was prepared for establishing 
institutions in which teachers in secondary schools might be 
trained ; and this scheme received the sanction of the Secretary 
of State shortly after Sir Andrew Fraser assumed the office of 
Lieutenant-Governor. Unfortunately, however, it was found 
impossible, owing to radical defects in the scheme, to bring 
it into operation. His Honour had -the whole question of 
the training of teachqrs thoroughly examined, and, as a 
result of a conference held in Calcutta in the cold weather 
of 1907-08, revised proposals have been submitted for the 
opening of a training college in Calcutta for teachers who 
teach through the medium of English in secondary schools 
and for the establishment of two model training schools for 
vernacular teachers in Patna and Calcutta. In the mean- 
time, a beginning has been made by utilizing the services 
of special officers in giving lectures on methods of teaching; 
and a small training class has been opened in Calcutta (in 
July 1908) for secondary school teachers who teach through 
the medium of English. 
Primary edu- The need of training teachers in primary schools is 
catiou. equally great. Writing in 1902, the Director stated that 

the qualiBcations of no less, than 50,000 such teachers 
(nearly 40,000 in Bengal as now constituted) were so meagre 
that " it was almost impossible to convey to the ordinary 
educated Englishman or European even an idea of them. 
To say that the majority of these men were able to read 


and' write, and to do a little arithmetic, was to rehearse the 
sum total of their accomplishments." In that year a scheme 
was evolved for opening in each subdivision an upper 
primary school designed not only for the instruction of 
children, but also for the training of gurus or primary 
teachers. During the two years which they spent there, the 
latter were expected to continue their general education and, 
at the same time, undergo some practical training in teaching, 
i.e., each student spent a certain amount of time working 
in the school as a kind of pupil teacher. This scheme was 
reviewed by a special Committee convened by Government 
in 1905 and was condemned by it. In particular, the Com- 
mittee pointed out how useless it was to pretend to train 
a guru who, concurrently with his training course, was 
working his own school. Wnat this really meant was that 
the guru presented himself daily at the training school 
for about an hour and attempted to do in that time a 
full day's work. As a result of elaborate enquiries, an 
improved scheme has been introduced, which is in full 
working order and promises to be a great success. 

Other important measures taken for the improvement of 
primary education have been (1) the revision of the Vernacular 
Scheme of Education of 1901, i.e., of the education given in 
primary schools and in all classes up to Standard "VI (inclu- 
sive) of middle and high schools, and (2) the revision of the 
text-books in use in such schools. The main defect in the 
scheme of 1901 was the attempt to teach science through 
the medium of science primers, and at the same time to 
prescribe those books as literature readers. The result was 
that the children learned neither science nor their own 
vernacular. The curriculum has now been revised as regards 
Standards I and II, and new text-books are in process of 
preparation, while the syllabus for Standards III to VI is 
under discussion. Prosaic as these details may seem, the 
sohemes of revision are of vital importance to the efficiency 
of primary schools. The subject was first considered in 1904 
by a Conference specially convened by the Lieutenant- 
Governor. The recommendations of the Conference formed 
the subject of a Eesolution of Government published in 
February 1905, in which the public was invited to submit 
oritioisms in regard to the scheme proposed. The replies 
received were then considered by a further Conference, appointed 
by His Honour, and the working out of the details of the 
scheme, as provisionally approved by that Conference, was 
referred to a special Committee, which brought its labours 
to a conclusion in 1906, 


Something has also been done to provide better build- 
ings for primary schools : — a most necessary reform, for 
Bengal has the unenviable reputation of being, in this 
respect, the most backward province in India. Most upper 
primary schools are accommodated in separate buildings, but 
it is only in rare cases that lower primary schools have 
premises of their own. No one can fail to be struck 
with the miserable character of the buildings in which these 
schools are held. The rooms are cramped and dark, ill- 
ventilated and cheerless. The little boys are often crowded 
into verandahs opening on to the village street ; and, where 
this is the case, they are exposed to the gaze of the 
passers-by, the dust from the road, and the exhalations from 
the neighbouring drain. During the stress of the monsoon, 
the verandahs are often closed in so as to keep out wind 
and rain ; and at such times they are dark and the atmos- 
phere close and unhealthy. In order that better school 
houses might be provided, Government assigned 5 lakhs in 
1905-06, and made a smaller grant next year, for the 
construction of suitable buildings, on condition that a reason- 
able proportion of the total cost was contributed from local 
sources. Owing, however, to lack of funds and want of 
local interest, not so much progress has been made as could 
be desired. 
MuhammadHu The important problem of Muhammadan education also 
education. received sympathetic consideration from Sir Andrew Fraser. 
The first step taken to improve the standard of efficiency 
was in 1905, when Government introduced a scheme of giving 
grants-in-aid to maktabs, i.e., Muhammadan indigenous primary 
schools, on condition that they conformed to simple depart- 
mental standards. It was felt, however, that the whole system 
oi Muhammadan education in Bengal and the system of re- 
cruiting Muhammadans for the Government services required 
careful examination. Sir Andrew Fraser accordingly authorized 
the summoning of a representative Conference of Muhamma- 
dan gentlemen in the cold weather of 1907-08, and recom- 
mendations based on the resolutions of the Conference have 
recently been submitted. The proposals put forward consti- 
tute a complement to the scheme for the improvement of 
secondary education in Bengal, to which reference has already- 
been made; they provide for a large extension of the system" 
of giving grants-in-aid to maktabs ; and they provide for the 
institution of a title examination for proficiency in the 
highest branches of Arabic learning at the Calcutta Madrasa. 
Tha question of diffusing education more widely among. 
Muhammadan women and girls has also -been taken up- 


This is a problem even more difficult, for though there axe 
over three quarters of a million Muhammadan girls of school- 
going age, less than 10,000 attend school and only about 
5,000 study in girls' schools. There are practically no 
special schools for them and but little zanana education. 
The difficulty is how to find a means of attracting the girls 
to school and of inducing zanana women to accept instruc- 
tion. A Conference of leading Muhammadans was therefore 
convened in 1907 in order to consider what could be done 
to promote education among this class ; and a syllabus 
prepared by them has been adopted for use both in special 
schools for Muhammadan girls and in zanana instruction. 
It is hoped that its introduction will lead to the opening 
of more such special schools and also encourage education in 
Muhammadan zananas. 

The two most important schemes for the education of Education of ■ 
special classes introduced during the quinquennium were the Masses, 
amalgamation of the reformatory schools at Alipore and 
Hazaribagh and a scheme for extending primary education 
among the tea-plantation labourers in the Darjeeling hills. 
The transfer of the Alipore reformatory had become an 
urgent need, as the nature of the buildings and want of 
space precluded its development on modern lines, ?'.<?, by 
treating the boys as if they were at school and not as if 
they were in jail. It was proposed at first to combine the 
two schools at Hazaribagh, where there is ample accom- 
modation. The buildings there are not, however, consi- 
dered suitable for the permanent location of the school, and 
a new site will be selected and new buildings constructed 
on modern lines as soon as practicable. 

As regards the tea-garden population, there were no 
systematic arrangements for the instruction of labourers' 
children. The managers of tea estates feared that English 
might be taught in the schools, and in consequence the 
labourers might become over-educated. A Conference of 
officials and representatives of the planting community was 
held in Darjeeling in 1906, and it was explained that 
nothing but primary education was contemplated. The 
policy agreed upon at this Conference was that Grovernment 
should give liberal grants-in-aid, and that the tea-garden 
managers on the other hand should be invited to provide 
the sites and school buildings, and keep the latter in 
repair. A scheme based on these lines is now in operation 
and has been taken advantage of by the planters, the 
majority of whom seem to be alive to their responsibilities 
regarding the education of the children of their labourers. 


A third special class consists of the noblemen and zamindars 
of the Province. As regards this class one of the objects 
of the Eanchi College is to secure for the sons of 
nobles and zamindars, by means of special hostels, a home 
life suitable to their position and at the same time to give 
them the benefit of the common life of a vigorous college. 
Female edu. Hitherto the chief cause operating to hinder progress in 

cation. ^ e e( j uca tioii of Indian women and girls in Bengal has 

been the want of qualified female teachers and inspecting 
agents. For want of such a staff it has not been possible 
to organize the kind of schools or the type of education 
the people require. Government has sanctioned schemes for 
peripatetic teaching by lady teachers, and another scheme by 
which such teachers instruct girls in towns and villages at 
central places. Not only, however, are properly qualified 
teachers not available, but it is impossible to obtain the 
services of ladies with even passable qualifications except at 
a cost incommensurate with their value. Good work has, 
it is true, been done by Christian mission training schools, 
but they provide only for Christian girls' schools. The 
existing aided classes for training Muhammadan, Hindu and 
Brahmo girls are not capable of turning out teachers 
competent to impart a good primary education to girls, while 
no attempt has been made to train teachers qualified to 
teach in secondary schools. 

Eepresentations on the inadequacy of the existing arrange- 
ments were made to His Honour in different parts of the 
Province. It was apparent that much interest was taken 
in the subject, especially in Bihar, and that there was a 
strong feeling that a forward movement should be made. 
Sir Andrew therefore appointed a representative Committee 
to consider the whole question; and in accordance with their 
recommendations, schemes have been prepared for the estab- 
lishment of training colleges for women teachers, the main 
object of which is to train vernacular teachers for female 
primary schools. It is proposed to open one such school 
at Bankipore for the Hindi-speaking part of Bengal and 
another at Calcutta for the Bengali community. The former 
scheme has met with the general approval of the Govern- 
ment of India, and the latter is under consideration. 

There is a strong feeling among intelligent representa- 
tives of the Indian community that in the expansion of 
female education the pardah system should be kept steadily 
in view : — that zariana education should be advanced, if not 
instead of, at least as complementary to, the education of girls 
in schools. Apart from the fact that there are many girls 


whose parents and guardians do not like them to attend a 
school at all, the greater number of those who do so have 
to leave when very young ; and, in the homes to which 
they go, there is so little enoouragement to keep up their 
studies, that, unless some effort is made to reach them in 
their homes, their education is not likely to survive very 
long. Consequently, the education of Indian women cannot 
proceed far while it is confined to education in schools. A 
zanana education is, therefore, necessary both to assist girls 
who have been at school in keeping up their studies and 
prevent them from falling back into ignorance, and also, to 
teach married girls or young women who have not been to 
school at all. 

To meet this want, a system was introduced in 1902 by 
which a certain number of Hindu and Muhammadan women 
give instruction to zanana women and girls by house-to- 
house visitation. In 1903 that modest scheme was supple- 
mented by another, the main feature of which is that such 
females are collected together in selected houses belonging 
to respectable persons and there receive instruction. During 
His Honour's administration a further advance was made by 
providing aim or Muhammadan lady teachers for Bihar, the 
scheme including the appointment of a lady superintendent 
to train them and supervise their work. For the further 
development and organization of an efficient system of zanana 
education, a supply of qualified female teachers is necessary; 
but meanwhile, in order to pave the way, Government has 
sanctioned a suitable syllabus , of instruction and a list of 
text-books, for the guidance of teachers in Muhammadan 
schools and zananas, which were drawn up by a conference 
of Muhammadan gentlemen convened in 1907. Sanction has 
also been given to a system of scholarships tenable at Islamic 
girls' schools, and liberal grants have been made to enable 
those institutions to offer teachers salaries which educated 
Muhammadan women will accept. The difficulty is still, 
however, not merely to obtain trained teachers, but teachers 
of suitable character, position and qualifications, who will 
command respect and by their capabilities justify the educa- 
tion they themselves have received. 

Every opportunity has also been taken to give liberal 
assistance to Indian girls' schools, wherever it appeared that 
there was any chance of successful work being done. For 
instance, a monthly grant has been given to the Mohita 
Shilpa Samiti, or Ladies' Industrial League, a society of 
Indian ladies in .Calcutta which aims at training women of 
the middle and upper classes of Bengali society, especially 


Hindu widows, to do industrial work. Aid has been 
given to a wool-dyeing and weaving school established at 
Kalimpong for hill women. The Brahmo Girls' High School 
in Calcutta was remodelled in 1906, and a complete staff 
of- female teachers appointed, with the help of an annual 
grant from Government. A clearer idea, however, of the 
extent to which financial assistance has been given may be 
gathered from the fact that during the quinquennium ending 
in 1908 the direct expenditure of Government on girls' 
schools increased by Rs. 1,12,900 or by 60 per cent. 

Among other measures taken to improve female education 
may be mentioned the increase of the inspecting agency. 
Until 1904 an Inspectress of Sohools represented the whole 
inspecting staff of Bengal. With the rapid increase of 
girls' schools whioh has taken place in recent years, the 
inadequacy of the inspecting agency became accentuated ; 
and many schools and much zanana teaching work remained 
uninspected. To remedy this state of affairs, the staff has 
been largely increased, and there are now two Inspectresses 
and six Assistant Inspectresses. 
Professional The premier technical and industrial institution in the 

educS. 1 ^ 1 Provillce is ihQ Owil Engineering College at Sibpur. It has 
long suffered, however, from several disadvantages, the chief of 
which is its unhealthiness both for students and professors, 
whether European or Indian. The unhealthiness of the climate 
of Sibpur is notorious ; and many parents hesitate to send their 
sons to the college on that account. The majority of the 
students come from the deltaic tracts of Bengal, while many 
young men who reside in the healthier parts of the Province, 
as well as European and Eurasian lads, are deterred from 
seeking admission. Those who do go suffer in health, often 
leaving with their constitutions undermined ; and the prevalence 
of sickness among professors and instructors is detrimental to 
efficiency. Apart from that, the climate is too enervating 
either for satisfactory study or for vigorous and energetio work 
in the workshops and laboratories, round which the scheme 
of education revolves. Other disadvantages of the site are its 
proximity to Calcutta, which affects the morals and discipline 
of the students, the character of the surrounding country, 
which has no geologieal interest and is too congested to be 
suitable for the teaching of surveying, and the inadequacy 
of the buildings. 

These considerations led Sir Andrew Fraser to advocate 
the removal of the college from Sibpur. At his first visit 
to the oollege in March 1904 he announced that its removal 
to a healthier site would be necessary; and, after muoh 


discussion, the proposal has received the provisional sanotion 
of the Government of India. The site to whioh it is to be 
removed is Banchi, which enjoys an ideal climate for the 
practical eduoation given in the college. The college will not 
only be in a healthy locality, but, now that the railway has 
been constructed, in a locality easily accessible from the mining 
tracts, where there is ample room for a college built and 
equipped on modern lines. Sir Lancelot Hare, Lieutenant- 
Governor of Eastern Bengal and Assam, strongly supported the 
removal of this College from Sibpur and its establishment 
at Ranchi. 

Pending the removal of the college, its expansion has been 
checked and its work hampered by want of adequate accom- 
modation. But there has been one development of consider- 
able importance, viz., the opening of classes for students who 
intend to take up mining as a profession, and the introduction 
of a system of practical instruction for persons actually engaged 
in the industry, lectures being given at different centres 
in the mining tracts by a professor. A certain number of 
students are also sent every year to the Birmingham 
University to go through a course of mining instruction. A 
measure of less importance but of some practical value has been 
the introduction of a class for training motor driver mechanics 
at the college. 

The only other subjeot which need be mentioned under the 
head of professional education is the introduction of a new 
scheme of commercial eduoation. Commercial classes had, it 
is true, been opened at the Presidency College in 1903, but 
they were not a success. Complaints were frequent that there 
was no proper -provision for training young men in business 
Ways. Applicants for posts in offices had University degrees, 
but had not received even an elementary commercial training. 
They knew nothing about the work of a business establish- 
ment, and were of little use until a long time after they 
had been in an office. Sir Andrew Fraser's attention was 
drawn to these complaints, and, after consulting the Bengal 
Chamber of Commerce and several gentlemen interested in 
commercial education, he decided to refer the subjeot to the 
consideration of a Committee of practical men, on which the 
Bengal Chamber of Commerce, the Bengal National Chamber 
of Commerce and the Calcutta Trades Association, were; 
represented. The Committee devised a greatly improved 
scheme, which was approved by the Lieutenant-Governor and 
introduced in July 1905. 

-The principal measures taken for the development of indus- 
trial education during the quinquennium were as follows. . A; 


careful examination of the relative importance of the various 
industries was made, a definite scheme was formulated for the 
improvement of the leading cottage industry (weaving), and, 
in connection with higher technical education, a scheme for 
teaching industrial chemistry was prepared in consultation with 
a representative body of educated Indians. In 1904 His 
Honour convened a Conference, consisting of representatives 
of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce, the Bengal National 
Chamber of Commerce, and the Indian Industrial Association, 
in addition to selected Grovernment officers, to consider the 
whole question of the development of industrial education, 
and in particular what industries and rnanufactureB should be 
selected for special attention. The Committee recommended 
that attention should be confined to silk, wool and cotton 
weaving, and that a school should be established at Serampore, 
at which practical instruction should be given in the best and 
latest methods of weaving. His Honour accepted their 
recommendation, and a scheme was prepared, of which the 
main objects were (1) to bring home to the ordinary artisans 
the latest improvements in weaving apparatus, and, after 
instructing them in their use, to give them advances of 
money in order to enable them to purchase the necessary 
applianoes; and (2) to train up higher class students with 
the object of enabling them to become teachers of improved 
methods in outlying centres or to start business on their own 
account. The scheme was submitted to the Grovernment of 
India, and the sanction of the Secretary of State to the 
appointment of a Principal and Assistant Principal for the 
school was given in 1907. 

While this matter was pending, the question of the im- 
provement of technical education was again examined by a 
Committee appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in 1906 to 
consider a scheme for the establishment of a Technical College. 
This question was raised by the Association for the Advance- 
ment of Scientific and Industrial Education of Indians, which 
recommended the establishment of classes in a number of dif- 
ferent subjects. As a result of the Committee's recommenda- 
tions, proposals have been made that classes in technological 
chemistry and in dyeing and the chemistry of dyeing should 
be opened at the Sibpur College, that instruction should be 
given in the scientific principles underlying the chief indus- 
tries of the country, and that facilities should be afforded 
for research work. This matter is still under discussion. 

A special enquiry into the question of curing and' 
tanning leather was held in 1907 ; and at the close of that 
year a most important enquiry into the industries of 


the Province was made by Mr. J. G. Cumming, i.c.s., who 
was deputed to bring up to date the industrial survey of 
Bengal made by Mr. Collin in 1890, and to report what can 
be done for the development of its most important industries. 
The result of the latter enquiry has been a comprehensive and 
most valuable review of the present condition and future 
prospects of the industries of Bengal. Proposals have also been 
submitted for the appointment of a Superintendent of Indus- 
tries and Inspector of Technical and Industrial Institutions, in 
order that there may be a more effective agency for the direc- 
tion and supervision of this important branch of education. 

A fuller account of the measures taken for the develop- 
ment of technical and industrial education will be found in 
Mr. Cumming's recent report on Technical Mid Industrial In- 
struction tn Bengal. 

In no branch of educational work did Sir Andrew Fraser Physical 
take more interest, and in no branch was reform perhaps training* 
more necessary, than in the provision, by means of properly 
controlled hostels and messes, of suitable accommodation for 
college students who do not reside with parents or guardians. 
For some years before His Honour became Lieutenant- 
Governor, there had been a considerable extension of the 
system of hostels. In Calcutta a number of new hostels 
had been established, such as the Eden Hindu Hostel and 
the Elliott Hostel, and in the mofussil Government had 
given subsidies to such institutions. Private persons, however, 
as a rule, did not come forward to establish or endow them ; 
and the number of hostels was far too small to accommo- 
date all the students who should be under supervision and 
control. As regards students' messes, a Conference Jield in 
Calcutta in 1900 drew up rules for their regulation, which 
the heads of colleges undertook to enforce. These rules were 
published in September 1900, but later enquiries showed that 
they were not observed and that the interest in keeping them 
in operation had died out. One reason for this was that the 
heads of colleges had allowed a large number of students 
from other colleges to join one mess, and it was impossible to 
maintain proper control over a heterogenous mass of students 
belonging to many different colleges. To check this, the rules 
were revised so as to make it obligatory for all the members 
of a mess to belong to the same college. 

In his first year of office Sir Andrew's attention was 
drawn to the way in which the rules had become practically 
a dead letter in Calcutta. An enquiry was : held in 1904 
by the Assistant Director of Public Instruction and disclosed 
an unsatisfactory state of affairs. "It is plain," wrote 


the Assistant Direotor, "that, in the life of these students 
outside the college leoture-room, there is no semblance what- 
ever of order, discipline or authority; and the amount of evil 
for which this state of things is responsible would, I am 
afraid, be difficult to exaggerate. Apart from the feebleness 
of character, slovenliness and incompetence which shows itself 
in their oollege work and is the natural outcome of a 
slipshod and wholly undisciplined mode of life, there are 
positive moral evils of a more serious nature. Some of the 
-messes are almost next door to brothels; and I have been 
told by a trustworthy person of instances where students for 
the sake of economy have actually lived in brothels. The 
servants employed in the messes, I am told, are commonly 
women of loose character. That evil of this kind is deplor- 
ably prevalent among Calcutta students cannot, I am afraid, 
be doubted; and its physical consequences are most serious." 
Enquiry in the mofussil showed almost as bad a state of 
affairs, brothels being found close to colleges, schools and 
hostels in many stations. The sanitary condition of such 
hostels and messes may be gathered from the remarks of 
• the Director of Public Instruction. " It is scarcely con- 
ceivable that parents can know of the squalid dens in which 
their sons reside; and, whether they know or not, a very 
large measure of responsibility in this matter rests on the 
authorities conducting schools. The fact cannot be blinked 
that infinitely more harm may be done to boys in these 
so-called messes, than good can be done to them in the 
colleges or schools." 

Some important measures of reform have now been 
introduced. As regards the vicious influences to whioh 
students were frequently exposed, a reference to the section 
!on Social Measures will show that two Acts have been 
passed, one for the mofussil and the other for Calcutta, 
empowering the authorities to close brothels in the neigh- 
bourhood of educational institutions. For the further im- 
provement of the residence of students in Calcutta it was 
decided, after the question had been considered by a Con- 
ference of the heads of educational institutions in that city, 
that Government itself should step in and take upon itself 
the responsibility of finding mess accommodation for college 
students, who are not certified by the Principals of their 
colleges to be living either with their parents or recognized 
guardians. According to this scheme, each college has its 
own mess or messes, i.e., students from different colleges are 
not allowed to congregate together where they please, but are 
told off to messes which are supervised by the Principals of 


their colleges. The messes, moreover, are under the control 
of Superintendents, the officers selected being professors of 
colleges, teachers, graduates, or other qualified persons approved 
by the Principals. 

A similar scheme was initiated in 1905-06 for the more 
important colleges in the mofussil ; and the construction of 
good hostels in connection with Government colleges forms 
a prominent feature in all projects for their improvement. The 
necessity of providing in this way for the students in the 
mofussil may be gathered from the preceding account and 
also from the experience gained when Government introduced 
the Calcutta scheme. For, when it became known that in 
future students in that city would have to lead regular lives 
in hostels and messes, more than half the students shrunk 
from the mild discipline that this system involved and betook 
themselves to insanitary houses in the mofussil, where they 
could live without control. 

From the above account it will be seen that the working 
out of a scheme of residence for college students — a matter 
which primarily concerns the University — devolved upon the 
Education Department owing to the inability of the University 
to deal with the matter; but in 1907, with the consent of 
that body, Government handed over to the University the 
control of the students' messes in Calcutta, made an annual 
grant to ensure the success of the scheme, and lent the services 
of an educational officer to act as Inspector of Hostels. 

The most important work done during the quinquennium European 
in connection with European education consisted of the educatlon « 
revision of the Code of Eegulations for European schools, an 
appropriate classification of European schools, and the pre- 
paration of a suitable curriculum. In 1902 the revision of 
the Code was entrusted to a Committee consisting of all the 
Inspectors of European Schools in India ; and next year a 
Committee of Directors of Public Instruction, which had been 
appointed to enquire into the financial condition of hill 
schools, gave a sketch of what they considered the ordinary 
curriculum of an European hill school should be, and criti- 
cized the system which the Code enjoined. In 1905 the 
Government of India brought out a revised uniform Code 
for general adoption, but stated that they were not satisfied 
with the curriculum prescribed, and asked that it might be 
examined in the light of the views expressed by the last 
Committee. The question was one of importance, for a 
good curriculum is the mainspring of such a Code, many 
of the rules in which depend on the character of the 
curriculum it establishes. For its satisfactory solution a 


Conference of persons connected with or interested in the 
education of Europeans was convened in 1906 ; and the 
recommended that European schools should be classified in 
two grades, secondary and elementary, and suggested a 
course of studies for each grade. Proposals to this effect 
were submitted to and sanctioned by the Government of 
India ; and as they involved considerable modifications of the 
Code, a revised Code has been prepared — a matter of no 
little importance to European schools, for on it their educa- 
tional welfare largely depends. 

For the further improvement of European education a 
supply of qualified and well-trained teachers is necessary. 
The existing arrangements for training female teachers are 
inadequate, and a good training college is an urgent want. 
It is accordingly proposed to establish a thoroughly well- 
organized training college for such teachers with an indepen- 
dent staff. For the training of male teachers it has been 
decided to open a class in connection with the Lawrence 
Military Asylnm, Sanawar. For the rest, a large measure of 
increased assistance has been given to European schools, the 
grants-in-aid increasing from 1£ lakhs to 3 \ lakhs in the 
quinquennium ending in 1906-07. In particular, material 
help has been given to La Martiniere College, Calcutta, to 
the Goethal's Memorial Orphanage, Kurseong, to St. Paul's 
School, Darjeeling and to the Diocesan Girls' School, Dar- 
jeeling, the two schools last named being, practically speaking, 
saved from collapse by Government. Further, a new scheme 
of management for St Paul's School, Darjeeling, was intro- 
duced in 1908, provision for its endowment and maintenance 
being made under the Charitable Endowments Act of 1890. 
Liberal assistance has also been given to the St. Andrew's 
Colonial Homes at Kalimpong, which are intended for the 
education and training of poor European and Eurasian 
children in a healthy climate and in favourable environments. 

Last, but not least, among the steps taken in the interests 
of European education may be mentioned a scheme inaugu- 
rated by His Honour for facilitating the employment in 
Government service of European and Eurasian boys of the 
better classes educated in this country. As is well-known, 
some services in which they formerly obtained employment 
have become more or less closed to them of late years. Com- 
plaints on this account have been many and bitter; and Sir 
Andrew recognized their force. A conference was accordingly 
held, at which the- Director-General of Education, the Secre- 
tary to Government in the General Department, the Director 
of Public Instruction, and the Eectors of the two principal 


European hill schools were present; and the heads of all 
the principal Departments were consulted. It was not found 
possible -to frame one special system of recruitment for all 
Departments ; hut lines were finally laid down by most of the 
Departments . which will be of great advantage both to the 
schools and to the public service. It has been decided that in 
future, the Collector of Customs shall always intimate the 
vacancies that exist and the fact that he is willing to consider 
applications for the appointments. The Excise Commissioner 
and the Port Trust authorities in Calcutta will also in future 
make appointments solely by reference to the Director of 
Public Instruction, who will call for nominations from the 
managers of European schools through the Inspectors of 
European schools. Then the schools, on receiving such • intima- 
tion, will be able to nominate their best boys. In making 
these arrangements His Honour did all that was at the time 
possible in the way of securing appointments for boys of the 
European schools of the Province. The Government, it may 
be "added, is endeavouring to follow a similar policy in 
regard .to the services to which appointments are made in 
the Secretariat, 

The most important administrative changes affecting the Controlling 
cadre of the service during the quinquennium were the 8 8 enc,C8, 
reorganization of the Provincial Educational Service and of 
the Subordinate Educational Service, and the constitution of 
the Lower Subordinate Eudcational Service. The pay and 
prospects of educational officers have been considerably im- 
proved by these measures; and the inspecting staff has also . 
been largely increased in order to enable the Department 
to cope with the growing burden of work. Details of these 
ohanges will be found in the departmental reports, and it need 
only be stated that the schemes, which had been initiated 
before Sir Andrew Fraser became Lieutenant-Governor, were 
matured and carried through during his administration. 

Another change which was carried through on the initia- 
tive of Sir Andrew was the transfer of Sub-Inspectors of 
Schools from the service of District Boards to the direct 
control of the Education Department. It may be explained 
that on the formation of District Boards under the Local 
Self -Grovernment Act of 1885, the control of Government 
middle and primary schools was vested in those bodies; and 
for their supervision the services of Sub-Inspectors were 
placed at the disposal of the District Boards, together with 
a Government grant sufficient to meet their pay and travel- 
ling allowances. The Educational Conference held at Simla in 
1901 suggested that, where primary schools were maintained 


by District Boards, they should, as far as possible, be under 
the financial and general supervision of the Education Depart- 
ment. The Government of India, accepting their suggestion, 
recommended the adoption, as far as possible, of the Bombay 
system, under which almost the entire control of primary 
education is in the hands of the Education Department. Sub- 
sequently, in 1904, they explained that it was essential that 
Government, in withdrawing from direct management Of schools, 
should retain a general control by means of efficient inspec- 
tion. Local bodies might, no doubt, well be entrusted with 
the direct management of schools; but the State ought, on the 
one hand, to set up a standard of its own, and on the other, 
to ascertain through inspection how far that standard was being 

Such a responsibility could, Sir Andrew felt, only be 
discharged if the State employed and depended upon officers 
of its own; and this involved giving up the system of 
having the Sub-Inspectors under the District Boards, an 
arrangement which not only differed from that adopted else- 
where in India, but was also at variance with that in vogue 
in England. Accordingly, after most careful consideration 
of the question, and after consulting all Commissioners of 
Divisions and the principal educational officers in the Province, 
His Honour came to the conclusion that the transfer of the 
inspecting agency to the Education Department was unavoid- 
able in the interests of primary education and of the officers 
themselves. This measure was carried out in 1906. 

It is undesirable to stir the dregs of old controversies, but 
a brief reference may be made to the appointment by His 
Honour of a member of the Indian Civil Service to be Direc- 
tor of Public Instruction, an appointment which aroused much 
hostile criticism. On this point it need merely be said that 
it was a recognized principle that the right rests with the 
Government, after full consideration of all the circumstances 
of the case, to appoint as the head of any department the 
man whose appointment will be most in the interests of the 
public service. It had also been distinctly laid down that 
while, it is desirable, other things being equal, to appoint an 
educational officer to be Director of Public Instruction, the 
Education Department has no right to claim the appointment. 
It appeared to Sir Andrew that there was at the time no 
member of that Department whom he cculd appoint with con- 
fidence that he would be able to carry out the work of 
reorganization known to be urgently necessary. He accordingly 
appointed Mr. A. Earle, i.c.s., late a Secretary to Government, 
who, by his training, exparienee and administrative capacity, 


possessed the necessary qualifications. The appointment was 
due to special circumstances ; it was only a temporary one ; 
and it was justified by its success. 

In the course of his tours through the Province Sir Andrew Co-operation 
Fraser was impressed with the want of co-operation between offi^r, # cutlve 
officers of the Education Department and the officers entrusted 
with the administration of divisions and districts. This state 
of affairs was unsatisfactory in itself, and was also opposed to 
the long standing policy of Government and its orders on the 
subject. When systematic measures for the development of 
primary and other education were taken by Sir George 
Campbell in 1872, the executive officers of Government were 
practically placed in responsible charge of the education of 
the whole Province. This arrangement continued till 1877, 
when questions relating to education, whether primary or 
secondary, had, under the orders of Government, to be con- 
sidered both by the executive and educational authorities, and 
almost all questions had finally to be referred to the Commis- 
sioner, or to pass through him to the Director of Public 
Instruction. This system was found to be too cumbrous; and 
in 1878 Sir Ashley Eden revised the organization of the 
Education Department, so as to ensure a better distribution 
of the duties of supervision and to define more precisely the 
powers exercised by Magistrates and Commissioners. It is 
unnecessary to give details of this scheme ; and it will suffice 
to say that it was definitely laid down that the responsibility 
of fostering and superintending primary education in each 
district was to rest with the local executive officer, i.e., with 
the Magistrate and Collector. As regards secondary education, 
it was recognized that, while the direct control and manage- 
ment of secondary schools must necessarily remain in the 
hands of the departmental officers, the District Officers could 
give substantial help. The latter were accordingly authorized 
*to inspect schools of all classes as ex-officio visitors, and to 
make suggestions to educational officers. When the Local 
Self-Government Act was passed in 1885, the responsibility 
for primary education was committed directly to the District 
Board and its Chairman. But this did not really alter the 
position of the District Magistrate, both because he is respon- 
sible for seeing that the District Board does its work properly, 
and also because the Magistrate is invariably the Chairman 
of the District Board and its executive authority. Subse- 
quently, in 1894, the principles laid down in 1878 were 
reaffirmed by Government. 

Sir Andrew Fraser found that these orders had been 
generally lost sight of, and in too many cases had almost 



become a dead letter. Officers who were "or had been Com- 
missioners informed .him, one after another, that Inspectors 
of Schools seldom, if ever, asked for the help and advice of 
the Commissioner, or referred to him at 'all except when they 
wanted money ; that the Commissioners were not informed of 
the measures taken by the Education Department; that even 
when a Commissioner recorded an inspection note, he did 
not hear of the result of his suggestions ; and that while 
the Commissioner had much to- do with education in 
Tributary States, he had no voice in educational matters in 
British territory. District Officers, with whom His Honour 
discussed the matter, made similar complaints. But while 
many of them regretted that they were kept entirely apart 
from the educational interests of their divisions and districts, 
none of them seemed to know that the standing orders gave 
them authority to take their part in educational work. To 
Sir Andrew, convinced of the value of the influence of 
Magistrates and other executive officers in fostering and 
developing primary education in their districts, it seemed 
lamentable that this influence should have been so little 
exercised of laj;e years. He accordingly addressed all Com- 
missioners of Divisions and District Officers requesting them 
to visit colleges and high schools more frequently, to enter 
more fully into consultation with head-masters and. 
Inspectors regarding the advancement of education, to offer 
suggestions for improvements in the accommodation provided 
for students and teachers and in the moral and sanitary 
aspects of their surroundings, to encourage sports, to be 
present at the distribution of prizes, and in similar ways to 
evince a deeper personal interest in the matter of education, 
At the same time, though the matter was one more directly 
concerning executive officers, he made it clear that he would 
welcome the establishment of similar kindly relations between 
District Judges and the Education Department. Both execu- 
tive and educational officers were also reminded of the 
standing orders of Government and were directed to co- 
operate heartily with one another. 

The respective duties of the educational and civil officers 
were clearly defined, viz., (1) the Magistrates and Collectors 
and other executive officers in their districts, and Commissioners 
in their Divisions, are charged with the responsibility of 
fostering and developing primary education, and of seeing 
that a sufficient proportion of funds is devoted to this 
purpose ; (2) the educational officers, on the other hand, aro 
charged with the duty of helping them, and of consulting 
theim in all efforts made to improve primary education, while 


they are responsible for the educational standards, the teaching 
and the expert inspection of such schools. 

These' orders were at the time much misrepresented, and it 
was alleged that they aimed at placing the whole control of 
education in the hands of the District Magistrate. But 
educational officers were merely urged to take advantage of 
the local knowledge and influence of executive officers and 
also of judicial officers, so as to push forward the cause of 
education In no way were the officers of the Educational 
Department subordinated to the executive officers, though 
they were certainly urged to go to them for advice and help. 
The purely educational work was left entirely in the hands 
of the educational officers; but they were called upon to take 
advantage of the local knowledge and experience of the 
District Officers in deciding on the educational claims or 
necessities of different localities, and also to take advantage of 
the influence of the same officers in seeking to make the 
cause more popular. 

These orders, moreover, did not mark a new policy, for 
Government had emphasized over and over again the concern 
of the Magistrate with education as the oflicer in charge of 
the district, viz., that he is bound to do all that he can for 
the cause of education, and specially bound to see to the 
efficiency of primary education. These orders, however, were 
being neglected, and there was a widening breach between 
him and the educational officers. It fell to Sir Andrew 
Fraser to detect this state of affairs. His object briefly was 
to bring the officers of two important branches of administra- 
tion into closer touch, to secure not only the absence of 
friction, but a real co-operation, and thus strengthen the 
hands of the Education Department in their efforts to develop 
a sound and efficient system of primary [education. This 
object is already being realized; and recent reports are 
eloquent as to the happy results obtained. 


In any account of the history of local self-government Amendment 
during the quinquennium first place must be given to the Q 0V L e ° r ^ a me S n e t lf " 
amendment in 1908 of the Bengal Local Self -Government Act. 
Act of 1885. The Bill which was then passed into law was 
the result of the deliberations of over 12 years. Originally, 
a Bill with a few clauses framed merely for the purpose of 
enabling District Boards to contribute towards measures of 
veterinary relief, it developed into a long Bill containing 


many provisions of far-reaching importance and dealing with, 
almost every portion of the Act. 

In 1896 a Bill had been introduced with provisions 
enabling District Boards to devote some portion of their funds 
to the establishment and maintenance of veterinary dispen- 
saries, the improvement of the breed of horses and cattle, 
the prevention and cure of horse and cattle diseases, and 
also empowering District Boards to spend money on the train- 
ing and employment of medical practitioners and the promo- 
tion of free vaccination. The Bill, however, was not proceeded 
with, in consideration, among other reasons, of the famine 
and scarcity of 1896-97, and the possibility, which was then 
being considered, of the separation of Local from Provincial 
finance. The question of amending the Act was again taken 
up in 1901, in connection with a proposal to authorize the 
levy of tolls on new bridges, until the initial cost and 
capitalized value of the cost of maintenance or renewal had 
been recovered. In 1902, a fresh draft Bill was prepared* 
incorporating provisions with this object, and including the 
provisions in the Bill introduced in 1896, as well as others. 
This Bill was again revised and expanded in accordance with 
certain suggestions made by the Government of India; and 
a fresh Bill was introduced in 1904. Owing to the large 
number of additional amendments subsequently found neces- 
sary, it was decided not to proceed further with this Bill, 
and it was accordingly withdrawn. 

In 1905 another Bill was prepared, containing a number 
of further provisions, of which the most important were: — 
(1) to prohibit the diversion of the road cess to purposes other 
than those enumerated in section 109 of the Cess Act; (2) to 
authorize the imposition of a cess for the purpose of guaran- 
teeing intorest on money borrowed for the construction of 
railways ; (3) to delegate formally to Commissioners of Divi- 
sions certain powers which practically, though not nominally, 
were already exercised by them ; (4) to improve the position 
of Union Committees; and (5) to legalize expenditure from 
the District Fund on minor works of irrigation. After further 
correspondence with the Government of India, certain modi- 
fications were made in the Bill. The provisions in regard to 
ear-marking the road cess were omitted, and a new Bill .was 
drawn up and introduced in 1906. The Bill was referred 
to a Select Committee, which reoommended that, in view of 
the very decided opposition to the provisions empowering the 
Boards to impose a cess to meet payments due in respect 
of a railway or tramway, those clauses should be omitted. 
They were accordingly excluded from the Bill. 


After the Select Committee had presented their report, Sir 
Andrew Fraser decided to postpone the consideration of the 
Bill. There were two principal reasons which led to this 
decision. In the first place, it appeared to be the unanimous 
opinion of the non-official Members of Council that the road 
cess should be devoted to the objects for which it is collected ; 
and with this view the Lieutenant-Governor entirely agreed. 
Secondly, strong representations were made that the Bill 
should include provisions giving fuller powers to local bodies 
with regard to sanitation. Amendments were consequently 
drafted — (1) ear-marking the road cess for the objects for which 
it is collected, and (2) giving local Union Committees certain 
powers in respect of measures of sanitation, conservancy, drain- 
age and water-supply, subject in certain cases to the control 
of the District Board and the Commissioner, and empowering 
them to supplement the funds available for such local improve- 
ments by permissive local taxation. The insertion of such 
provisions having been sanctioned by the Government of India, 
the Bill was recommitted to the Select Committee in July 
1908, and was passed in September 1908 as the Bengal 
Local Self-Go vernment (Amendment) Act, 1908. The new 
provisions contained in the Act call for some explanation. 

When the Distriet Boards were formed in 1887, they 
inherited from their predecessors — the District Eoad Cess 
Committees — the work and the revenue of those bodies, the 
principal source of income being the road cess. At the 
same time, to enable them to meet the new duties which 
were imposed upon them, the entire receipts under the 
Cattle Trespass Act and the income from certain ferries 
were transferred to them from the Provincial account, any 
excess of expenditure over income being made good by a 
fixed grant from Government. It was believed that the 
revenue from pounds and ferries was susceptible of consider- 
able improvement, and that, from the expansion of income 
under those heads, the Boards would be able to provide 
for the medical and educational needs of their districts 
and for other local requirements. These anticipations were 
only partially fulfilled, for though in some cases the gain 
from ferries has been substantial, the increase under pounds 
has been trifling; and in any case the receipts from other 
sources were comparatively small. The road cess, it is true 
showed some expansion, but this was far from sufficient to 
meet the growing demand for improved communications, and 
especially for feeder roads. 

Consequently, many of the District Boards were com- 
pelled by the inelasticity of their general income to maintain 


their -educational and medical institutions partly from their 
receipts on account of road cess. Such expenditure was not 
illegal, for by the Local Self- Government Act of 1885 
the road cess was merged in the District Fund, and since 
that date could legally be spent on any of the objects to 
which the District Fund may be devoted. The Bengal 
Grovernment, however, has always been opposed to such 
diversion ; and it was laid down by Sir Alexander Mackenzie 
in 1896 that, on the ground of expediency and quite apart 
from any legal obligation, it was desirable, as a general 
rule, that an amount approximately equivalent to the pro- 
ceeds of the road cess should be devoted to the objects 
which the Legislature had in view when Bengal Act IX 
of 1880 was passed. The District Boards found it im- 
possible to give full effect to these instructions; and in 1901 
'Sir John Woodburn's Grovernment, in order to redress the 
balance, made a grant of five lakhs, which was renewed in 
the two subsequent years, for the improvement of communi- 
cations. Subsequently, the Government of India made a 
special assignment for the purpose of placing the finances of 
the Boards on a proper footing. 

The state of affairs when the Bill to amend the Local 
Self- Government Act was introduced, was briefly as follows. 
The inelasticity of the general income of the District Boards : 
and circumstances beyond the control of the Government 
had prevented the latter from giving full effect to its 
policy, which was entirely opposed to the diversion of the 
road cess. The result was that for many years past the 
Government had been charged by many sections of the public 
with breach of faith in not fulfilling the pledge given by a 
former Lieutenant-Governor. The introduction of the Bill 
into Council without any provisions for ear-marking the road 
cess caused the re-asseveration of the charge of breach of; 
faith ; and non-official Members of Council begged earnestly 
that such provisions might be added to the Bill. Sir 
Andrew Fraser could not fail to take notice of this general 
unanimity of public opinion. He accordingly announced in 
Council that he would postpone the consideration of the 
Bill ; and, in so doing, sought to give a public assurance 
through the Legislature that the policy openly and repeat- 
edly affirmed by the Government was a real and earnest, 
policy, and at the same time to remove once for all the. 
cause of, or it might bo, in some cases, the excuse for,' 
agitation against the Government. 

■ Its financial policy in recent years had shown the ground- 
lessness of . the charge of breach of faith brought against it ; 


but Sir Andrew desired to take the opportunity to- place 
clearly on record a proof of its earnestness in this matter, 
and to set at rest the persistent agitation, from which 
nothing but evil resulted. Apart, moreover, from this general 
aspect, it seemed to His Honour to be beyond doubt that, 
to meet present and future requirements, so far as they 
could be foreseen, no sum short of the proceeds of the road 
cess would be in any way adequate to the needs of the 
Province in the way of communications. Internal communi- 
cations in the districts were, it was generally admitted, 
bad ; the state of affairs that had been tolerated in the 
past could not be allowed to continue much longer ; and 
the time had come when an earnest and sustained effort 
must be made to remove this blot on the administration. 
The representations of the Lieutenant-Governor were accepted 
by the Government of India, which sanctioned the ear- 
marking of the road cess solely for the extension and 
maintenance of • communications and the prohibition of its 
diversion to other purposes, subject to the proviso that power 
to condone any temporary or accidental deviation from the 
rule should be expressly reserved to Government. 

The second important addition to the Act consists of the 
provisions relating to sanitation. The old Municipal Act (V 
of 1876), it may be explained, provided for four different 
stages of urban growth, viz., first and second class municipa- 
lities, unions and stations. There was an elaborate law for 
the larger municipalities and a less elaborate one for the 
smaller; while still simpler arrangements were provided for 
petty townships, which were described, respectively, as unions 
and stations. When the present Municipal Act was passed in 
1884, these distinctions were swept away, and only one kind 
of municipality was provided for. The smaller places which 
had previously been classed as unions and stations were left 
out of account. It was proposed to provide for these in the 
Local Self- Government Act, which was passed into law a year 
later. That Act provided for three bodies, viz , the Union 
Committee, the Local Board, and the District Board. It was 
contemplated that the whole of the area of a subdivision (i.e., 
the area of the Local Board) should be divided off into unions, 
and that each union should be administered by a local Com- 
mittee appointed for the purpose. Experience, however, proved 
that the provisions regarding unions were unworkable. No 
proper scheme of taxation was provided, nor was there any 
adequate control. These unions, therefore, failed to take the 
place of the municipal unions and stations dealt with in the 
old Municipal Act of 1876. 


A notable instance of this defect in the law regulating 
local self-government came to Sir Andrew Fraser's notice 
when he became Lieutenant-Governor, viz., the way in which 
crowded bazars were springing up at railway centres and 
elsewhere without any kind of control. No attempt was 
made to lay out roads and apportion sites, or to make any 
provision for the sanitary requirements of the people, the 
reason being that there was no law under which control 
over these places could be exercised. After carefully consider- 
ing the question whether the requirements of railway bazars 
and other townlets in the mofussil should be dealt with by 
means of a special Act similar to the Village Sanitation Act 
of the Central Provinces or whether the provisions regarding 
unions in the Local Self-Government Act should bo amended 
so as to create the necessary legal machinery, it was decided 
to adopt the latter course. 

Under the new Act power is given, inter alia, to a 
Union Committee to undertake works of sanitation mo motu, 
subject to the control of the District Board and of rules 
made by the Lieutenant-Governor; to deal with insanitary 
villages, or insanitary blocks in villages, in accordance with 
a scheme to be approved by the District Board and the Com- 
missioner; to employ special establishments for the cleansing 
of villages and to require occupiers of houses to cleanse 
their holdings ; to control the construction of new buildings ; 
and to supplement their income by levying light taxation 
from the owners or occupiers of property within the union. 
Appeals to the District Magistrate and the Commissioner of 
the Division have also been provided for as a safeguard. 

Omitting the numerous provisions inserted with the object 
of removing defects and supplying omissions which many 
years' experience of the working of the Local Self-Government 
Act has brought to light, the more important provisions of 
the new Act (1) legalize the expenditure of District Board 
Funds on the establishment and maintenance of veterinary 
dispensaries, the entertainment of Veterinary Assistants, and 
the improvement of the breed of cattle and horses; (2) permit 
District Boards to contribute towards the training and employ- 
ment of medical practitioners, and the promoting of free 
vaccination ; (3) authorize the levy of tolls on newly con- 
structed bridges ; (4) formally delegate to Commissioners powers 
which they practically, though not nominally, exercised 
already; (5) enable District Boards to spend money on tanks 
and wells which are not the property or under the control of 
the Board, and, in the case of famine or scarcity, on minor 
works of irrigation; (6) permit District Boards to contribute 


towards the construction and maintenance of hostels attached 
to private educational institutions of all kinds, and to 
constitute Education Committees, and also enable Government 
to transfer funds to District Boards for this purpose ; (7) 
legalize the expenditure of the District Fund on the construc- 
tion of residences for District Engineers, and the payment of 
advances to members of their establishment for the acquisition 
or construction of residences ; (8) make it obligatory for every 
District Board to form a Sanitation Committee and appoint 
a Sanitary Inspector; (9) give to "Union Committees certain 
important powers in respect of local sanitation, drainage and 
water-supply; and (10) prevent the diversion of the road cess 
to purposes other than those enumerated in the Cess Act. 

An important feature in the administration of District District 
Boards during the quinquennium was the establishment of Board8 « 
financial equilibrium. Until recently- their financial history 
has shown clearly the danger of assigning stationary or 
inelastic revenues to meet expanding charges. The cesses 
are limited by law, and the other sources of revenue from 
ferries, pounds and the like are small. On the other hand, 
there was a tendency to impose new duties on the Boards 
without providing additional revenue to enable them to meet 
their responsibilities. They were therefore starved, and the 
results were seen in all directions. Roads were imper- 
fectly maintained, bridges were left unbuilt or unrepaired, 
hospitals and dispensaries were bad, little progress was made 
in the improvement of the water-supply or village sanita- 
tion. Briefly, the financial position of many Boards was 
exceedingly unsatisfactory ; and this led them to divert the 
road cess to purposes for which it was not intended. As 
stated above, the Bengal Government was opposed to such 
diversion and endeavoured to ensure that an amount approxi- 
mately equal to the proceeds of the road cess should be 
devoted to the maintenance and extension of communica- 
tions. Grants were therefore given to the Boards, which 
during recent years amounted in the aggregate to more 
than the sums thus diverted. But the grants were not 
systematically made ; nor was it possible to resist the diver- 
sion of funds by some of the Boards. In 1901 and in 
two subsequent years the resources of the Boards were 
augmented by an annual grant of five lakhs from Provin- 
cial revenues, but it was then found necessary to discon- 
tinue that grant. In 1905 the Government of India 
increased the Provincial assignment, and since then the 
Bengal Government has made an annual grant to District 
Boards of sums amounting in the aggregate to one-fourth 


of their receipts from road cess and now averaging 9 lakhs 
per annum. A new and growing source of income has 
thus been placed at their disposal ; and they are now in a 
position to make adequate provision for their various needs, 
not only in respect of roads and bridges, but also in other 
directions, e.g., to take up veterinary work, where they had 
not already done so, and to increase their expenditure on 
schools and hospitals, on water-supply and sanitation. 

Another matter of the highest importance attracted Sir 
Andrew Fraser's attention ; but he was not able to dispose of 
it during his tenure of office. This was the constitution of 
the District and Local Boards. His Honour felt that the 
great object of the Local Self-Grovernment policy, to give the 
people political education and train them for real political life, 
was to a great extent frustrated by the practical exclusion 
of the classes whom it was most essential to enlist in the 
work of Local Self-Grovernment. His Honour devoted himself 
to an inquiry into the causes of this "exclusion, discussing it 
with Grovernment officers, zamindars, non-officials interested in 
local self-government and others, in the course of his tours 
throughout the province. He then had a conference of 
officials and non-officials at Belvedere, which included all the 
non-official members of the Bengal Council, and drew up a 
Bill which received practically unanimous approval. This 
Bill, with a full expression of His Honour's views, was laid 
before the Grovernment of India in September 1907 ; but it 
was deemed expedient to postpone the consideration of it 
until the scheme for the enlargement of Councils had been 
disposed of. Sir Andrew Fraser attached the greatest import- 
ance to this matter. He strongly insisted on the view that 
the local bodies must supply the training of Indian politicians 
and statesmen, that the men to receive that training must 
be those who have a stake in the country, and that there 
can be no safe and consistent progress in devolution of work 
and responsibility on any other system. These principles 
formed the basis of his proposals j and they Were unanimously 
Municipals At an early stage in his administration Sir Andrew Fraser 

ties * announced his views with regard to municipal administration 

as follows: — " The great object of local self-government is 
to bring the people generally into thorough co-operation with 
the Grovernment in advancing local interests. The work is 
better done if the people take their share in doing it ; and 
it is only where the people fail to rise io their responsi- 
bilities in i the matter that Grovernment would desire in any 
way to interfere with their administration of local affairs." 


These principles were observed during the quinquennium; and 
public interest in municipal administration was maintained, if 
it Was not actually on the increase, the tax-payers realizing that 
they must themselves be mainly responsible for the condition 
of the towns in which they reside. There was, in fact, a 
growing recognition of the fact that without their co-operation 
and assistance efficient administration is an impossibility' — that, 
though Government can advise and assist the municipalities 
both through the local officers and by the advice of the 
experts employed under it, the responsibility for the success 
Or failure of municipal administration must ultimately rest 
with the people themselves, i.e., with the general body of rate- 
payers and their representatives. 

One noticeable feature of the quinquennium was the 
increasing attention paid to drainage. As a necessary pre- 
liminary, surface drainage schemes have been prepared or are 
in various stages of preparation for nearly all the important 
municipalities and some of the smaller towns also are becoming 
alive to their responsibilities in this matter. The work of the 
Sanitary Engineer has consequently increased considerably, and 
the demand for his services became so great, that it was found 
necessary in 1904 to place an Assistant Engineer on special 
duty to supervise the preparation of such drainage schemes, and 
to move the Grovernment of India to sanction the appointment 
of an Assistant Sanitary Engineer. This recommendation 
was accepted, and an Assistant Sanitary Engineer appointed 
in May 1906. Grreat difficulty also having been experienced 
in obtaining the services of properly qualified surveyors for 
the preparation of drainage schemes, it was decided in 1907 
to entertain a staff of six Grovernment surveyors to work under 
the Assistant Sanitary Engineer. The surveyors have all 
been fully employed since they were entertained, and. are 
likely to be for some years to come. No less than 36 
drainage schemes have been either under preparation or under 
consideration during the past five years. For want, of funds 
not a single one has yet been carried out in its entirety; 
but it is almost superfluous to point out that drainage schemes 
can be carried out bit by bit as funds become available, so that 
it may be a question of years before any one drainage scheme 
ean be said to be finally complete. 

Perhaps the most important of these schemes is the Puri 
drainage scheme. The Puri Municipality itself is a com- 
paratively small one, with a population of some 31,000 souls, 
Which is, however, doubled, trebled and even quadrupled by 
the influx of pilgrims to the shrine of Jagannath at certain 
periods of the year. This fluctuating population renders 


the municipal administration of the town one of grave and 
ever-increasing difficulty, and adds enormously to the task of 
providing and enforcing proper means of sanitation. The ques- 
tion, moreover, is not a merely local one, for pilgrims come 
from all parts of India; and unfortunately they not infre- 
quently carry away cholera to their homes. It affects therefore 
not only Puri, but also the whole Province and its sanitary 
interests. Steps have been and are being taken to remove the 
evil reputation of this sacred city. A special sanitary survey 
of the town was carried out in 1904, and schemes have been 
prepared for efficient surface drainage and a pure water-supply 
at an aggregate estimated cost of Es. 5,13,000. The former 
scheme has been taken in hand, and the latter, it is hoped, 
will be commenced at the close of the year. Both these 
schemes have received considerable financial aid from Govern- 
ment, which has agreed to bear the whole cost of the water- 
supply scheme, while a grant of Es. 75,000 has been sanc- 
tioned for the drainage scheme. 

Many sanitary improvements have also been effected in 
Howrah, but the most important of them is the provision of 
a scheme of masonry surface drains for the removal of rain 
and sullage water. Up to the present nearly nine miles of 
drains have been sanctioned, and those that have been con- 
structed are proving most satisfactory. 

No large waterworks schemes have actually been carried 
qut during the past five years, but some will, it is hoped, 
shortly be brought into operation. The principal of these is 
the scheme for waterworks at Q-aya, which when completed will 
be the largest waterworks in any Bengal municipality except 
Howrah. The estimated cost of the scheme is Es. 6,30,000, 
of which 2 lakhs have been raised locally, while a grant of 
Es. 75,000 has been promised by Government. An important 
scheme for the water-supply of Monghyr at an estimated cost 
of nearly 3 J lakhs has been prepared, Government agreeing 
to give a grant equal to one-third of the amount raised by 
subscriptions. A loan of Es. 85,000 has also been given for 
improving the Bhagalpur waterworks In these and other 
directions the Lieutenant-Governor gave all the financial assist- 
ance possible to municipalities. 

His Honour, it may be added, made it a point, in the 
course of his tours through the Province, to discuss privately 
municipal affairs with the leading non-official members of the 
Municipal Boards, besides meeting the members as a body in 
a public way; and he took every opportunity to acknowledge 
good work done by individual Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and 
Municipal Commissioners. 


The question of amending the Bengal Municipal Act was 
also taken up during His Honour's administration. It was 
generally agreed that the amendment of the Act was neces- 
sary; for since it was last amended in 1896, numerous defects 
had been brought to notice, and many suggestions for its 
improvement had been made After consulting representa- 
tive members of the Indian community, Sir Andrew Fraser 
came to the conclusion that instead of introducing an amend- 
ing Act it would be better to re-enact the Act as a whole 
on more modern lines. 

Little more than three years had elapsed since the introduc- Calcutta 
tion of the Calcutta Municipal Act of 1899 when Sir Andrew Corporation. 
Fraser assumed the reins of office. The echoes of the contro- 
versy which the Bill had evoked had scarcely died away, and 
the machinery of administration had not completely adjusted 
itself to the new conditions. The changes introduced into the 
law had been of a character to challenge uncompromising 
opposition. The proportion of elected representatives had been 
reduced from two-thirds to but half the whole body, and this 
element had thus been deprived of their commanding majority. 
The General Committee, from being merely a standing Com- 
mittee of the Corporation, had become a separate authority 
co-ordinate with it, only one-third of its members being appoint- 
ed by the elected Commissioners, while one third were appoint- 
ed by the nominated Commissioners and the remainder nomi- 
nated directly by the Government. Moreover, the Chairman 
had been freed from the control of the Corporation in the 
exercise of his executive functions These changes had been 
strenuously opposed, and so bitter was the feeling, that 28 
Commissioners had resigned when the Bill became law in 1899, 
and it had been by no means easy to find suitable men to 
take their place; for many good men had held aloof in the 
belief, which was freely expressed, that the new constitution 
was unworkable and was foredoomed to failure 

In spite of these gloomy prognostications, the new Corpora- 
tion had got promptly to work. The difficulties which had 
occurred in carrying out the Suburban Drainage Scheme had 
been surmounted and work resumed. A scheme of decentrali- 
zation by districts had been worked out by a strong Committee, 
and the four districts were already at work, each with a 
separate organization equipped for dealing with engineering, 
conservancy and sanitation The income-raising establishments 
had been reorganized, with the result that heavy arrear 
balances had been collected, while the Corporation dues were 
punctually realized. Establishments, formerly too weak, had 
been strengthened up to a level of efficiency; the city waa> 


cleaner and the roads better kept; while new thoroughfares had 
been projected and partly constructed 'in the suburbs. New 
squares -had .been, opened ; carriage stands of patent stone had 
been laid down all over the city ; fine ranges of municipal offices 
had been constructed ; the conservancy stables had been re-built ; 
and the slaughter-houses, wash-houses and market had been 
improved out of all recognition. Besides this, an establishment 
had been organized and equipped to check the waste of drinking 
water. The General Committee had proved itself an extremely 
active and useful body, and had indeed tended to encroach upon 
the functions of the Corporation, as it had become the practice 
for the. General Committee to deal, in a preliminary way, with 
all the business that came before the Corporation. And lastly, 
some . of the more active spirits, who had left the Corporation 
when the new Act came into force, had returned to the fold. 
Such was the state of affairs when Sir Andrew Fraser assumed 
office. The new Corporation was still upon its trial, but it. 
had passed through the first three years of its existence, with 
happy augury for future success. 

, The five years of Sir Andrew Fraser's regime have 
witnessed a consolidation of the ground which had been 
gained, and a further advance along the lines already laid 
down in the direction of improved efficiency. At the same 
time extended opportunities have been afforded to the Com- 
missioners of controlling the business of the Corporation. 
The system of decentralization of the work into four districts 
has already been mentioned, and this has proved a very 
convenient and effective arrangement. At first applied only 
to health, engineering, conservancy, and, to a limited extent, 
to waterworks, it has been gradually extended by the dele- 
gation to district engineers of the supervision of street 
lighting, the control of the building department, and the 
administration of waterworks generally, including the check 
of waste. The scheme of decentralization has also been 
rendered effective by giving the district engineers power to 
deal finally with most ordinary matters, so that it is no 
longer necessary for the rate-payer to run backwards and 
forwards between the district office and headquarters. 

This scheme of decentralization depends largely for its 
success upon an effective system of inspection and control ; 
and this has been secured, partly by periodical inspections, 
which are now made by the Deputy Chairman, and partly 
by the codification of the work in various departments. 
Manuals have been published for the accounts, records, 
license, assessment, collection, suit, building and basti { 
departments; while they are under preparation for thei 


health department, and for the various offices under the 
control of the Chief Engineer. The opportunity of the 
compilation of these manuals has been taken for a close 
scrutiny and standardization of office methods throughout the 
numerous departments. A complete record system has also 
been ofganized. The records, when first brought from the 
Town Hall to the new offices, were in a deplorable 
condition. There was no arrangement and no classification, 
with the result that important papers were constantly 
missing and great delay occurred in handling old papers. 
The work has now been organized upon a proper basis. 
The old records have all been examined, classified, arranged 
and indexed, and useless papers have been destroyed. 
Current records are now regularly received from the several 
departments, which have been taught to classify them, and 
the record rooms are a model of orderly arrangement. In 
the printing department, a system of annual indents has 
been introduced, and forms have been standardized, with the 
result that much saving of time and labour has been effected. 

One of the most far-reaching reforms effected of recent 
years has been the appointment of standing committees to 
discuss all Corporation business in a preliminary way before it 
comes up for debate in full meeting. In the early days of 
the new Corporation a practice had grown up by which the 
General Committee, through its' sub-committees, considered a 
quantity of business which properly lay within the sphere of 
the Corporation; but in November 1903 this practice was 
.abandoned. Some of the sub-committees were abolished, and 
the remainder were reconstituted, so as to confine their atten- 
tion to matters within the purview of the General Committee. 
The Corporation thereupon appointed standing committees to 
deal with certain important matters, and the remainder of their 
business was either transacted in full meeting or was consi- 
dered by committees appointed ad hoc for dealing with parti- 
cular questions. This procedure proved unsatisfactory, and in 
1906 the present system was introduced under which the Cor- 
poration annually appoints standing committees to deal in a 
preliminary way with all the business that comes before it. 
The result is that the business receives much fuller and more 
detailed consideration, while Commissioners are placed in a 
better position to control the work for which they are respon- 
sible. Matters of local interest are now dealt with by a 
.standing committee in each district composed of the resident 
Commissioners, each presided over by an elected president. 
The introduction of these committees marks a long step forward 
in the direction of r«al self-government, 



The control of the Commissioners has thus been strengthen- 
ed over the conduct of business coming before the Corpora- 
tion for disposal, and at the same time efforts have been 
made to facilitate the registration of voters so as to render 
the elective system more effective. Since the introduction of 
the new Act, but little interest has been taken • in the 
triennial elections, an insignificant proportion of the persons 
entitled to vote appearing at the polls. This result is largely 
due to a change in the system of registration introduced with 
the new Act, which made it compulsory for would-be voters 
to make special application in order to get their names entered 
upon the election roll The ordinary voter was too apathetio 
to exert himself to this extent, and the majority consequently 
did not avail themselves of the franchise. The schedules of 
the Act have now been revised so as to make it incumbent 
upon the Chairman to prepare the election roll direct from 
the assessment and license registers, and the rolls will now be 
complete, so that any elector who * wishes to vote can do so 
with a minimum of personal effort. 

In none of the departments of the Corporation has im- 
provement been more manifest than in account-keeping. This 
department had become dangerously weak, and matters had 
not been improved by an attempt to remodel the accounts 
upon the Government system, which was inconsistent with the 
Act and unsuited to the special conditions of the municipal 
administration of Calcutta. Under this system the integrity of 
the four separate municipal funds had not been maintained, 
while the account forms adopted afforded insufficient information. 
All this has been changed. The department has been strength- 
ened, and is now able to work punctually and efficiently, under 
a capable Chief Accountant ; and the forms and methods have 
been recast, in compliance with the law, so as to meet the 
special conditions prevailing. Efficient control has been estab- 
lished over stores, and the department has been equipped with 
sufficient information to enable it to forecast accurately financial 
requirements. One of the most useful reforms has been the 
reappointment of the Yice-Chairman as controller of the 
accounts and financial adviser to the Chairman — capacities in 
which he has rendered services of the greatest value. 

The several departments responsible for the realization of 
revenue have shown steady improvement, and are now remark- 
ably effioient. A good deal of trouble has been experienced 
in the recovery of old arrears, owing to the defective nature 
of the system formerly followed, as well as the delays inci- 
dental to the transaction of legal business; but these difficul- 
ties have been cleared away, and a useful change has been 


introduced in the appointment of a Corporation Solicitor, who 
not only gives close attention to the prosecution of suits, but 
is always at hand to guide the administration with legaL 
advice. Special attention has been given to the development 
of the Corporation's landed property, which has been accurately 
scheduled. Considerable areas, which were no longer required, 
have been sold at good prices, while others have been leased 
out on advantageous terms. 

Close attention has also been paid to the city finances. 
The Commissioners are engaged in carrying out extensive 
drainage and water-supply schemes, which have entailed 
heavy capital expenditure; and the ever-mounting charges for 
interest and sinking' fund press hardly in spite of a rapid 
growth of revenue. The situation will be greatly relieved 
at the close of the current year when the Government con- 
solidated loan of 78 lakhs will be liquidated. Though the 
period under review has been marked by increased efficiency 
in the municipal services rendered, this has not been attained 
without a large increase in the cost of establishment. The 
financial situation has not been of a character to occasion 
anxiety, but it has called for the exercise of prudenco and 
strict economy, especially in view of the impending demands 
of the Improvement Scheme. The Commissioners have set 
on foot a close scrutiny into the causes of the increase in 
the cost of establishment, which has for some time attracted 
special notioe ; and as a result of these enquiries, substantial 
economies have been effected. 

A highly satisfactory feature has been the rapid increase 
of revenue, which is mainly due to the growing prosperity 
of the city and the more punctual recovery of dues. During 
the five years under review, the revenue has grown from 
62 to 74 lakhs, or by nearly 20 per cent. Unfortunately, 
there has been a still heavier increase in expenditure due to 
the causes above stated, with the result that the accumulated 
balances have been correspondingly reduced. As has been 
already mentioned, very heavy expenditure has been incurred, 
and has yet to be faced, on account of water and drainage 
schemes. The water-supply has been a matter of constant 
anxiety for several years, as the population has outgrown 
the supply; and the consequent strain upon the system has 
thrown into relief the defects in the present method of 
distribution by direct pumping into the mains from under- 
ground reservoirs. 

So far back as 1901, a proposal was brought forward 
for remodelling the system of distribution by pumping into 
elevated reservoirs; but this suggestion was negatived in the 


following year, when the Commissioners preferred a scheme 
f6r enlarging the mains and reservoir accommodation, and for 
increasing the pumping power at the distributing stations, 
reliance being placed on the check of waste to equalize the 
supply and demand. At the end of 1903, however, fresh 
proposals were brought forward on a much larger scale for 
increasing the supply, while the scheme for constructing a 
huge elevated reservoir, from which the distribution should 
take place by gravitation, was revived in a modified form. 
These proposals led to a prolonged discussion, and were 
ultimately sanctioned by Government in January 1907, but 
it was not until November of that year that detailed 
estimates and plans were forthcoming.* These have since 
been sanctioned, and tenders have been invited for the 
execution of the work, the total cost of which amounts to 69 

Meanwhile, a considerable portion of the scheme has been 
carried into effect. The principal reservoir has been enlarged, 
and additional plant has been installed at one of the distri- 
buting centres. Many miles of trunk mains have been laid, 
and the consumption through the city has been brought under 
control by an elaborate organization of waste prevention based 
upon the metre system. Additional filters have been construct- 
ed, and an increase of 6 million gallons in the daily supply 
has been secured, as a first instalment of the # 20 millions which 
will eventually be required. Eiver water is used without filter- 
ing for street watering, and for drain and privy flushing; but 
the pressure was formerly insufficient for this purpose, with the 
result that dangerous breakdowns occurred. The supply has 
now been put on a satisfactory , footing by the renovation of 
the engines at the principal pumping station, by laying a large 
trunk main to serve the northern wards, and by linking up the 
system of distribution from the two pumping stations. 

The drainage works which have been executed are of a 
highly important character. The Suburban Scheme, which 
included the remodelling of the city outfall works, as well 
as the sewerage of the eastern and southern suburbs, at a 
cost of some 68 lakhs, has been completed, with the excep- 
tion of a syphon under Tolly's Nullah. The principal works 
constructed during the quinquennium are the storm water 
reservoir, the Makalpotta sluice, the sewers east of Tolly's 
Nullah, and -the Ballygunge and Budge-Budge pumping 
stations. Another useful scheme which has been completed 
is the drainage of Beliaghata, which is really a portion of 
the Fringe Area, the sewerage of which is now being 
commenced, A project, to which the Government has 


contributed, for the drainage of the Maidan into Tolly's 
Nullah, is also approaching completion. t 

The scheme of decentralization requires separate offices in 
the four districts. The new central buildings were opened 
in 1905, and provide accommodation for one of the districts. 
Fine offices have also been erected in the north and south 
of the city, while a convenient house has been purchased 
for the remaining district. 

The upkeep of the Calcutta roads is a matter of great 
difficulty owing to the high cost of metal and the destruc- 
tive character of the traffic. A noticeable improvement of 
late years has been the kerbing and . channelling of the 
principal roads, while many of the footpaths have been 
stone-paved, this improvement adding greatly to .the con- 
venience of foot passengers and to the appearance of the. 
streets. The streets are also kept very much cleaner than 
formerly, when the equipment was wholly insufficient to stand 
any strain, and no attempt was made to remove the refuse 
from the streets in the afternoon. The number of animals 
used for street cleaning has been largely increased, and is 
now. kept up to the standard which has been fixed with 
reference to the requirements for a double service through- 
out the city; a sufficient reserve is also maintained. The 
stables at Alipore have been properly equipped, contract 
carts and labour being no longer employed ; while house- 
holders have been prohibited from throwing out refuse 
into the streets except during certain hours of the day. 
The effect of these measures is very observable, the enor- 
mous heaps of refuse which formerly littered the streets 
throughout the day being no longer in evidence. 

The building department has greatly improved in morale 
and efficiency. This department formerly bore a bad name 
for venality, owing largely to the employment of a class 
of low-paid sircars. The latter were abolished in 1905, 
their place being taken by overseers trained at the Sibpur 
Civil Engineering College. 

A marked feature of the hygienic history of this period 
has been a decline in plague, which had reached its maxi- 
mum in 1901. Since that year the mortality has dropped 
in every alternate year, and in 1907 it fell far below any 
figures recorded since the first outbreak in 1899. Plague 
measures, are_ still separately, administered, though both the 
plague and health departments are now in charge of one 
Health Officer. The health department has made a steady 
progress in its campaign against nuisances, which are now 
dealt with far more effectively than was formerly the oase. 


Special action has Been taken to compel the improvement 
of insanitary cowsheds and stables ; and food supplies generally, 
and milk in particular, have been brought under more effective 
supervision, while the efforts of the department have been 
successful in inducing the owners of private markets to im- 
prove them. A large addition is being made to the Sir 
Stuart Hogg Market, a very paying property of the Commis- 
sioners, which is now one of the finest markets in the East. 

Excellent progress has been made in improving the 
numerous bast is, though it was not until the owners were 
prosecuted for failing to carry out requisitions, that they could 
be induced to move. The Corporation has assisted towards 
this result by widening a number of public lanes which 
traverse the bastis. A marked tendency is now observable 
to replace these collections of huts by masonry buildings, 
and many of the old plague-spots have disappeared. In 
numerous instances huts have been removed wholesale; in 
others, while the huts have been retained, roads have been 
opened out, blocks have been drained, and sanitary conve- 
niences have been provided. The result has been a marked 
improvement in the sanitary conditions of these bastis, 
which have long been a reproach * to Calcutta. Action has 
also been taken to block out the unbuilt areas of the 
city, so as to control the future erection of huts, according 
to proper alignments, with sufficient road spaces. 

Briefly the history of the Corporation during the quin- 
quennium has been one of steady progress in every depart- 
ment. Many important reforms have been introduced; and 
the Commissioners and their staff are to be congratulated 
upon the success of their administration. 
Calcutta Im- "Pot the further improvement of Calcutta it is proposed 

Scheme! *° introduce a scheme for constructing new streets and 
opening up congested areas within the city itself, and also 
providing for the expansion of its population into localities 
not yet fully occupied both* within and without municipal 
limits. This project was the outcome of a sanitary survey 
of the town conducted in 1896 by a number of medical 
officers under the direction of the local Plague Commission. 
Their enquiries called prominent attention to the overcrowding 
of the northern portion of the town. It was pointed out 
that in one ward the population amounted to 145,000 per 
square mile as against 36,000 in the city of London ; and 
it was calculated that, in the northern wards generally, 80 
per cent, of the total space available was occupied by solid 
masonry buildings. In 1897 the then Lieutenant-Governor, 
Sir Alexander Mackenzie, appointed a Building Commission, 


whioh accepted the views of the sanitary officers, and 
emphasized the fact that the only remedy lay in extensive 
structural alterations involving the opening up of new roads 
and the provision of open spaces. Acting upon their report, 
the Lieutenant-Governor in 1899 submitted proposals •for a 
scheme of urban improvement. 

For several years after this, the subject was discussed 
in all its aspects by a variety of authorities, but no appre- 
ciable advance was made towards the production of a prac- 
ticable scheme ; and, when Sir Andrew Fraser became Lieu- 
tenant-Governor, matters stood very much where they did in 
1899. In view of this fact, and feeling that the machinery 
of official correspondence was in some respects ill adapted to 
effect an expeditious settlement of the intricate questions 
involved, His Honour called together an advisory Conference. 
On this Conference, which was presided over by Sir Andrew, 
the Government of India, the Bengal Government, and the 
Corporation were represented. It was also representative of 
the interests of the different classes of rate-payers and of 
commerce ; and it included the best expert knowledge obtain- 
able on questions of urban improvement and local finance. 
After exhaustive consideration, a scheme was evolved and 
submitted to the Government of India, which, after making 
certain modiBcations, directed that it should be laid before 
the Corporation, other representative bodies, and the public 
generally for examination and opinion. The views of publio 
bodies and associations in Calcutta were accordingly obtained; 
and the scheme having been further considered by a Con- 
ference, which included representatives of the Government of 
India, the Government of Bengal, the non-official community 
of Calcutta, and the Municipal Corporation, detailed proposals 
were submitted in 1907 to the Government of India and 
by them to the Secretary of State. That authority has 
recently sanctioned the scheme. 

The object of the scheme is much the same as that of 
the English Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890. 
Briefly, it is chiefly a sanitary measure, the details of which 
are largely based upun the precedent of the City of Bombay 
Improvement Act, J. 898. It provides for the improvement 
and expansion of Calcutta by opening out congested areas, 
laying out or altering the alignment of streets, providing 
open spaces for purposes of ventilation or recreation, demo- 
lishing or altering insanitary buildings, and acquiring land 
for these several purposes and for the housing of persons 
dislodged by the execution of the improvement scheme or 
otherwise. The scheme also oontemplates the provision of 


transport at cheap rates to enable the working classes to travel 
from the suburbs to their place of employment. In order to 
provide for those who will be displaced, and also in order to 
provide for the probable normal growth of population and thus 
control the expansion of the city, blocks of unoccupied land 
on the outskirts are to be acquired and laid out for building. 
The migration of population to the suburbs is an essential part 
of the scheme. It will fail to attain its main object unless the 
inhabitants of congested areas can be not merely displaced but 
also attracted to the outskirts of the town. For, ez hypothesi, 
there will be no room in the immediate neighbourhood of 
the new roads and open spaces for these people; and if left to 
themselves, they will merely move to another part of the town, 
as near to their work as possible, and will reproduce in new 
areas of the city precisely the same congestion and the same 
insanitary conditions as the improvement scheme has been 
designed to remove. 

The improvements will be carried out by a Board of 
Trustees, which will sell or lease for building the acquired 
land, but will not actually build houses thereon except on 
a very limited scale, provided that private enterprise is 
willing and able to undertake this work subject to the 
Board's control. In the remaining part of the extension the 
Trust will have no proprietary rights over the land, but 
they will administer the building regulations, and by this 
means will secure that all houses erected by private owners 
are constructed on a standard plan and in conformity with 
sanitary requirements. 

The scheme of improvement is on a very large scale, 
involving a capital expenditure of 822 lakhs. It is estimated 
that 336 lakhs will be recouped by the sale or settlement of 
•excess lands. .For the rest it is proposed to raise 436 lakhs 
by loans, and the Secretary of State has agreed to make a 
grant-in-aid of 50 lakhs. The annual charges are estimated 
at nearly 21 lakhs, including interest on the loan of 436 
lakhs, a sinking fund on that loan, working expenses, etc. 
It is estimated that 3 lakhs will be obtained as a return 
from land, and the remainder is to be made up by means 
of a transfer duty, Corporation grant, jute tax, terminal tax, 
and an annual Government contribution, as explained below. 

The scheme provides for the levy of a jute tax subject to a 
maximum of two annas per bale of 5 maunds, which is less 
than a quarter per cent, ad valorem. The terminal tax is 
to be a tax levied at the rate of half an anna per passenger 
on all passengers coming into or leaving Calcutta by railway 
or by river steamer from outside a radius of 30 miles. It 


is proposed, however, that power should be taken by law to 
extend the terminal tax to passengers coming from a shorter 
distance, should this be found necessary. It is proposed to 
enhance by 2 per cent, the duty imposed by the Stamp Act on 
certain transfers of immoveable property; while the Corporation 
of Calcutta will be under obligation to contribute an amount 
equal to 2 per cent, of the general rate, which, together with 
the proceeds of the transfer duty, shall be subject to a mini- 
mum of 7| lakhs a year. The Secretary of State has also 
promised a grant of Es. 1,50,000 per annum for 60 years 
on condition that the scheme of taxation mentioned above 
becomes law in its entirety and is made effective for the 
full term of 60 years. That scheme, it will be noticed, has 
been framed so as to secure contributions from all classes 
of the community, and only one, the terminal tax, will fall 
on the poorer classes. 


Fraserganj is the headquarters of an island owned by Fraserganjo 
Government in the extreme south-west of the Sundarbans. 
The island, which is marked on the Admiralty Charts as 
Mecklinburg Island, is 9 miles long from north to south, 
and 3 miles broad from east to west, its area being 
9,439 acres or a little over 15 square miles. It faces the 
Bay of Bengal, and is protected from encroachment and from 
storm-waves by a long belt of sand dunes to the south and 
by a large well- wooded island to the east. Unlike other • 
islands in the Sundarbans, there is a considerable area 
devoid of salt. Not only is cultivation possible, but the 
island has the advantage of a good climate. In the 
cold weather, indeed, the climate leaves little to be desired ; 
for one enjoys bright clear' weather, often when Calcutta 
is under cloud, cool days and nights, and soft breezes from 
the sea. Added to this, there is a beautiful sandy beach 
stretching towards the Bay of Bengal. 

Sir Andrew Eraser, realizing the capabilities of the place, 
determined to turn them to account for the good of the 
public, and initiated a scheme for the reclamation and 
development of the island. Sir Andrew* had two objects 
m view : — (1) the colonization of the island by industrious 
cultivators, and (2) its development as a health resort for 
the inhabitants of Calcutta and its neighbourhood. As 
regards the first object, it may be stated that soon after 


he assumed office the system of administration in the 
Sundarbans, by which land was leased out to capitalists, was 
revised. It was condemned on three principal grounds. It 
caused a heavy loss of revenue ; it afforded no adequate control 
over the landlord ; and it encouraged the custom of sub- 
infeudation, by which middlemen are introduced between the 
original grantee and the cultivator. It was, accordingly, 
decided that the leasing of lands to capitalists should be 
stopped and that a system of raiyatwari settlement, i.e., 
settlement with actual cultivators, should be introduced as 
an experimental measure. In other words, a system of 
peasant colonization financed by the State was to be adopted 
for the reclamation of the waste lands in the Sundarbans. 
His Honour selected Fraserganj as the place on which 
to carry out this scheme of colonization. 

His • Honour also had in view the benefit of Calcutta. 
At present, its residents requiring change of air and scenery 
have to make a long railway journey to reach Puri or 
Darjeeling ; and the climate of the latter place does not 
suit all constitutions. Fraserganj, however, is not far from 
Calcutta, the journey by steamer occupying only about 9 
or 10 hours ; and it has many natural advantages as a 
health resort. But, before these natural facilities could be 
utilized, it was necessary to improve communications, to 
clear jungle, to construct protective embankments, to build 
roads, to lay out sites, etc. Work was begun in November 
1904, and already much has been done in the way of 
reclamation, in spite of unfavourable seasons and difficulties 
in obtaining labour. The sea-face has been greatly 
improved, a dispensary, dak bungalow and two pavilions have 
been erected, tanks excavated, and protective embankments 
constructed. A golf course has also been laid out, and a 
steamer has till recently been subsidized to make trips to 
the place every week-end. 

Sir Andrew Fraser has throughout taken a personal in- 
terest in this scheme. It owes its inception to him; and 
ho has exercised a close supervision over its development. 
Fraserganj may, indeed, be said to owe its creation to him 
and it was felt to be only fitting that the place should bear 
his name. For the island was formerly a barren waste known 
by fishermen as Narayantola— a name so common that the 
post office authorities, to prevent confusiorj, asked that it 
should be changed; and His Honour acceded to the 
request that the place should be called after him. 



On the 7th November 1908, while the preoeding pages 
were passing through the press, there was another determined 
attempt to murder Sir Andrew Fraser. His Honour had prom- 
ised to preside at a lecture in the Overtoun Hall, Calcutta. 
While he was walking towards the platform, a young Bengali 
student rushed forward with a loaded revolver. When within 
a foot or less of His Honour, he twice attempted to shoot 
him; hut providentially the weapon missed fire each time. 
The would-be assassin was seized after a short struggle; and 
Sir Andrew proceeded to preside over the meeting with charac- 
teristic calmness. Two days later an Inspector of Police, who 
had some months before succeeded in tracking down one of 
the murderers of Mrs. and Miss Kennedy, was shot dead in 
one of the lanes of Calcutta, revolvers again being used. It 
is significant of the state of public feeling that these outrages 
were at once recognized and denounced as the work of the 
section of BeDgali Hindus whose methods had earned for them 
the sobriquet of the terrorist or anarchist party. 

B. 8, Press— 26.11- J 908— 1062 J— 620— C. W. and others. 





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