Curzon and the Limits of Viceregal Power: India, 1899-1905

Dhara Anjaria

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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George Curzon was post-Mutiny India’s most imperialist, zealous and youngest Viceroy. From 1899-1905, he attempted to single-handedly implement a 12 point reform programme designed to optimise the efficiency of administration, eliciting fierce opposition and support from the divers other constituents of the Government of India. This thesis examines two basic, intersecting themes that defined the course of George Curzon’s Viceroyalty of India: executive power and the checks upon it. It analyses the degree to which the major constituent components of the Government of India successfully delineated and fenced in the boundaries of Viceregal power by their own, and the extent to which they collaborated with each other to do so, with reference to internal administration. The clashes over polity in the seats of power had roots in the past intimacies of the dramatis personae; impressions gained at Eton were carried over, and influenced relationships in Whitehall. Cross-disciplinary theories of power are used to explain Curzon’s relations with his provincial governors in Madras and Bombay Presidencies, the United Provinces and Punjab, and the Indian Army, the senior Indian Civil Service, the Viceroy’s Council, the nascent Indian National Congress and public opinion in India, the British Cabinet, the India Office, the Secretary of State and the Council of India in London. The factors that helped and hindered Curzon in his quest to integrate these disparate elements into an efficient administrative framework run along the lines he wished provide clarity to the ambiguities present in official motives and actions. Underpinning the thesis as a secondary theme are Curzon’s relations with Lord Ampthill, his longest serving Governor (in Madras) and locum in 1904, which illustrate the evolution of a relationship that started off in expected acrimony, but evolved into a partnership of mutual respect and administrative collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Robinson, Francis, Supervisor
Award date1 Aug 2009
Publication statusUnpublished - 2009

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