About the Book :
Sir Charles Metcalfe was one of the greatest of the East India Company's long line of able civil servants. He came to India in 1801 as an Assistant in the Political Department of Lord Wellesley's establishment at Calcutta, when he was barely sixteen years old. Later he rose to occupy the highest position in India i.e. of the Governor General in 1835. Metcalfe had passed through a most formative period of British rule making a notable contribution in the growth of Indian administrative policy. He was a contemporary of Munro, Malcolm, Elphinstone, Bentinck and Auckland, and inspired a host of younger generation of leaders. Metcalfe evolved the principles and methods of his administration in Delhi as Resident. But he was also influenced by the reform movements and reform writings of the time in the West, with which he was closely acquainted. Later during his Membership of the Supreme Council in Calcutta and his short acting Governor-Generalship, he sought to mould the policies according to his own viewpoint. An analysis of these reveals a pattern in his thought, some broad principles and ideas running through them. These ideas flowed from his understanding of Bodin, Burke and Rousseau; at the same time, they blended well with the spirit of the times, which symbolised peace, reform and an urge to initiate change in society. In this book the author has attempted to reconstruct the story of Charles Metcalfe's activities against the background of Indian society. His manifold administrative measures relating to land revenue, judiciary and government press and education, and the ideas underlying them are herein examined, and in the process, an interpretation of the then administration is undertaken. The British still felt insecure in their Indian possessions, hence a search for a social base for their rule was being made. Some among them attempted to regulate the relationship among groups and classes of people with a view to reorganizing the social forces. Also they aimed at initiating social change with a broader view. Although Metcalfe did not favour a policy to usher in change at any cost, yet the social consequences of his measures were bound to be far-reaching. In the ultimate analysis, he helped in setting a guideline for future policy.