|Statue of Curzon in front of Victoria Memorial,Calcutta en wikipedia. org|
|Lord Curzon of Kedlestonen.wikipedia.org|
Eldest son and second of eleven children of Alfred Curzon, the 4th Baron Scarsdale (1831–1916), Rector of Kedleston in Derbyshire, and his wife Blanche (1837–1875), Curzon was born at Kedleston Hall, where his family of Norman ancestry had lived since the 12th century. George lost his mother when he was barely 16 and was taken care by a brutal, sadistic governess. As his father paid least attention to him, his governess' tyranny and intimidation in the nursery helped him develop his combative qualities and encouraged the obsessional side of his nature which stood in good stead in the later years. Educated at Wixenford School, Eton College, and Balliol College, Oxford, a spinal injury incurred, during his adolescence, while riding, left Curzon in lifelong pain. This made him quite uncomfortable as it caused insomnia, and required him to wear a metal corset for the rest of his life. In 1895 he married Mary Victoria Leiter, the daughter of Levi Ziegler Leiter, an American millionaire of German Mennonite origin and co-founder of the Chicago department store Field & Leiter (later Marshall Field) in July 1906. Unfortunately, she died pretty soon and it was a great personal loss in his early life.
|en eikipedia. orgl|
In 1898 it was announced that George would succeed Lord Elgin as viceroy of India, and, in September of that year, he was created a peer - Baron Curzon of Kedleston. In January 1899 he was appointed Viceroy of India and was the youngest Viceroy in history, The peerage would help him re-enter the House of Commons on his return to Britain. Curzon was quite happy about his highest appointment in India as it was an office filled with the pomp and ceremony which he loved very much. He remarked soon after the pageantry of his arrival in Calcutta on January 3, 1899 that India is the most-treasured jewel in Queen Victoria’s crown.
Lord Curzon served India successfully as Governor General and Viceroy of India from 6 January 1899 to 18 November 1905. During his tenure in the subcontinent he tackled with remarkable aplomb countless problems relating to governance, natural calamity, etc with skill and tactics.
The following are some of his great achievements during his tenure in India, then a vast populous land with many languages and cultures:
01. After the suppression of the frontier (now in Pakistan) risings of 1897–98, Curzon gave due importance to the independent tribes of the north-west frontier. He formed a new province called the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), and pursued a policy of forceful control mixed with conciliation.
02. Curzon diligently argued for an exclusive British presence in the Gulf, a policy originally proposed by John Malcolm, but ignored by many. Further, he had convinced his government to establish Britain as the unofficial protector of Kuwait with the Anglo-Kuwaiti Agreement of 1899.
03. The Famine of 1899-1900 in Bengal and other places caused the death of more than four million people. Undaunted Curzon immediatly took action and his appointment of Famine Commission under Sir Anthony McDonnell to alleviate the sufferings of the people was praise-worthy. He introduced a variety of measures, including opening up famine relief works that fed between 3 and 5 million people, reducing taxes and spending vast amounts of money on irrigation works. Indeed a remarkable achievement on the part of Curzon who had a pathetic childhood.
04. To improve the administration in India and to serve the people well he appointed many commissions: Commission on Police Commission under Andrew Frazer to take care of civil security etc., Irrigation under Colin Scott Moncrieff for agriculture, Education Commission (Raleigh Commission), enactment of Indian Universities Act, 1904, Land Resolution of 1902, Punjab Land Alienation Act 1900, Establishment of Imperial Departments of Agriculture and Commerce, Industry. The other commissions include Indian Coinage and Paper Currency Act, 1899; establishment of a training college for army officers at Quetta; Calcutta Corporation Act, 1899, etc.
|Viceroy Curzon's bronze lamp in the Taj. taj-mahal.net|
|Lord Curzon's brass lamp, The taj Mahal. imgpic.org|
06. To avoid Russian invasion of Tibet, he sent a Military expedition to Tibet in 1903 to control the region - occupation of Chumby Valley. A treaty was signed at Lhasa in September 1904. This frustrated Russian ambition. Here, his amazing knowledge of strategic military operation in a vulnerable, rugged terrain was in full play.
07. Reappointed Governor-General in August 1904, he presided over the 1905 partition of Bengal on the basis of religion; later, he faced a barrage of criticisms from various quarters. Though his explanation that he did it for better administrative efficiency, partition of Bengal was a blot on his political career. As his policy caused deep discontent among Indians and the upsurge of a revolutionary movement in the country from 1919 to 1924.
08. Partition of Bengal, a wrong administrative policy overshadowed all the good deeds he had done in India and he was tagged as the most unpopular Viceroy of India. After bitter opposition among the people of the province it was later revoked (1911). He created the territory of Eastern Bengal and Assam,when he was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
09. Curzon also took a keen interest in military matters. In 1901, he founded the Imperial Cadet Corps, or ICC. It was a corps d'elite, designed to give Indian princes and aristocrats military training, after which a few would be given officer commissions in the Indian Army. But these commissions were "special commissions" which did not empower their holders to command any troops. Later it was withdrawn.
10. The Delhi Durbar (meaning "Court of Delhi) of 1903 was tagged as the greatest show on earth. Also called Imperial Durbar, it was held three times, in 1877, 1903, and 1911; the venue was Coronation park, Delhi. The durbar in Imperial-Indian style was held to celebrate the succession of Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark as Emperor and Empress of India. What is so special about it? Lord Curzon, with meticulous care, arranged for the success of the Durbar, which was a a dazzling display of pomp, power and pageantry that lasted two full weeks. The other Durbars were no match for this one well organized by Curzon. He created a vast tented town complete with temporary light railway to bring crowds of spectators out from Delhi, a post office with its own stamp, telephone and telegraphic facilities, a variety of stores, a Police force with specially designed uniform. The royal couple were showered with valuable gifts, jewelry, etc. Of course, a large section of India's freedom fighters hated this pomp and show which was meant to further promote British interest in India.
|Lord and Lady Curzon at the Delhi Durbar, 1903.en.wikipedia org|
In March 1925 Curzon suffered a severe hemorrhage of the bladder and after an unsuccessful Surgery, he died in London on 20 March 1925 at the age of 66.
|Highest and oldest Golf Course,Naldehra,HM, India.topyaps.com|
|Naldehra. Holiday cottages. www.swantour.com|
02.Yet another interesting fact about Curzon is though he had differences with the then Dewan of Mysore Sir Seshadri Aiyar regarding administrative matters, he had deep respect for him. He was the one who recommended the establishment of a memorial in honor of Aiyar when some controversy came up about a memorial for Sir Seshadri Aiyar.
03. Likewise Lord Curzon, who had a good rapport with Sir C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar, a legal luminary recognized the legal heir to the throne of the Travancore Royal family upon Sir C. P's intervention and requested him to act as Dewan of Travancore Princely state.
So Lord Curzon was good at recognizing Indian talents and encouraged them to hold positions of eminence without any bias.