Trilogy on Administrative History of Uttarakhand

By R S Tolia • Third Innings • 7 Oct 2014

Each State of the Republic of India has had its unique trajectory of evolution and it is indeed surprising that not many States can lay a claim to have a book or a set of books which describes its gradual evolution in a chronological sequence. Broadly speaking the present States, 29 in number, including the Telengana and Andhra Pradesh, successor States of Andhra Pradesh, can broadly be divided under two categories, viz., those which were directly ruled by the British Crown and those which were either ruled by some Native Ruler or other foreign country, e.g. Goa and Sikkim. When Uttarakhand emerged as the 27th State in November, 2000 a need was felt to provide it with a set of three books which make an attempt to document its administrative evolution since its administration was taken over by the East India Company in 1815 A.D., Gazetteers of any kind simply fail to serve such a purpose. Edwin. T. Atkinson’s three volumes are one such a Gazetteer (1881, 1884 and 1886), indeed a set of monographs contributed by several subject matter specialists.

Some Aspect of Administrative History of Uttarakhand

There are many aspects of Uttarakhand especially of its immediate administrative past which confers on it a unique place in the comity of Indian States. The thirteen decades of British colonial rule (1815-1949) have left such an indelible imprint on this mountainous region that they are still discernable quite distinctly.

The four essays included in this book take the readers back to one of the three Native States of Uttar Pradesh which merged with the Indian Dominion in 1949 and shows how being a part of the Tehri State has adversely impacted on the progress of today’s Tehri and Uttarkashi districts. Readers for the first time become privy to a detailed account of the cataclysmic months of 1857 – 58 in Kumaon – Garhwal; they are also given an insight into not only the evolution of the Office of Kumaon Commissioner but the various offices appended to it, in their embryonic form. Empowerment of the village communities, in respect of their traditional rights both in land and forests, is a subject which has an abiding importance in these parts and the same has been covered in its politico-legal sequence.

Year : 2009, Pages : x, 230, ISBN-13 : 978-81-211-0700-6, Price : ` 550.00
Founders of Modern Administration in Uttarakhand : 1815-1884

Administrative history of Uttarakhand is unique in many respects. What constitutes Uttarakhand today has parts which served as a veritable crucible of innovative administrative experimentation which was carried out by the East India Company when it was faced with a sudden shortage of covenanted civil servants and the system came to be known as the Non-Regulation system. It also consists of parts, which were restored back to its erstwhile ruling dynasty after wresting it back from another foreign power. Tehri State was ruled broadly on the lines of neighbouring British Kumaon and the Commissioner doubled as the Political Agent, keeping a watch-full eye all the time.

Besides these two distinct new administrative systems the ‘hybrid’ part, not a deliberate one albeit, was represented by Dehra Dun and Jaunsar Bawur, whose complexity was not to be unearthed before the departure of the East India Company itself in 1858.

Notwithstanding the classic Gazetteer of the Himalayan Districts of E.T. Atkinson and numerous subsequent District Gazetteers brought out so far no publication has hitherto considered all these singular administrative peculiarities of this extremely fascinating region in a single volume. Certainly there is no other publication which captures graduation of a couple of old feudal mountain Kingdoms, Kumaon and Garhwal, into a modern state in a strict chronological sequence. This fascinating story is told in an episodical manner though the tenures of as many as six Commissioners, the founders of modern administration. These six Commissioners, from Edward Gardner to Sir Henry Ramsay, took up this region from the thralldom of a feudal Raj and propelled it into a modern India.

Entirely based on the archival records and authoritative official publications this book takes the readers back to the genesis and origin of many a land-mark administrative institutions and practices and connects them to their present day manifestations.

Year : 2009, Pages : xiv, 408, ISBN-13 : 978-81-211-0730-3, Price : ` 1500.00

Twilight of the British Raj

Last One and a Half Decades in Uttarakhand : 1933-49

This third part of the compendium, appearing after a gap of five years, covers the administrative tenures of the last six Kumaon Commissioners, from 1933 to 1947. The significance of this volume flows from the fact that it uses, 'Charge Notes' left behind by the Commissioners it covers. It is arguably for the first time that 'Charge Notes' are being used as a source of history. This invaluable resource is likely to shed additional light over the period covered by published accounts.

These three books are designed to serve the purpose of a Primer on Administrative History of Uttarakhand, arguably the only one of their kind in the whole of India, based entirely on the archival or primary sources. It is earnestly hoped that these three volumes will be able to trigger interest in a range of stakeholders to fill the existing gaps, which undoubtedly exist.

Year : 2014, Pages : vi, 250, ISBN-13 : 978-81-211-0902-4, Price : ` 1500.00

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Trilogy on the Administrative History of Uttarakhand

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