|Lord Auckland's monument, Calcutta, bl.uk/online gallery|
Above image: A hand-colored print of Lord Auckland's monument, Calcutta, from the Fiebig Collection: Views of Calcutta and Surrounding Districts, taken by Frederick Fiebig in 1851. This is a view of Lord Auckland's monument (by Henry Weekes, 1847) in the Eden Gardens, with Babu Ghat beyond. Lord Auckland was Governor-General of India from 1836 to 1842. The concept of Dak House or Travel Bungalows gained currency during his tenure in India ............
Way back in 2001 the city authorities of Kolkata (Calcutta) had a proposal to reinstate the Grand statues of India's former British rulers by February or March in that city, once the capital of the British India, now 330 years old. An ignominious uprooting of 37 statues took place in the late 1970s and it was done when the Untied Front coalition govt. led by the Communist Party of India was running the state. The total removal of colonial statues of English rulers was looked upon by the public and heritage lovers as a conspiracy to get rid of the remnants of colonial legacy for which Calcutta was quite well-known. The symbols of imperialism had to go away that was the ''mantra'' of the Communist Party of India. Many intellectuals started questioning the move taken by the state government. Among the statues that adorned the city of Calcutta was the statue of Earl of Auckland, the Indian Gov. Gen. under the English company. His statue was sent to New Zealand in 1969 as a gift from W. Bengal govt..
To please the leaders highly critical of the united front ministry, the English statues were replaced by those of Indian leaders, like Mahatma Gandhi, first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and revolutionary leader Subhash Chandra Bose. The famous statues that escaped either removal or replacement were Lord Canning, Ripon, Andrew Fraser, Lord Mayo, Bentinck, Outram, Lord Napier, Sir Lawrence, Northbrooke, Minto, Lord Curzon, John Woodburn, King George V, among others. To keep the British legacy alive in various parts of the city - roads or places named after most of these British personalities were not changed at that point of time.
|.Lord Auckland, Gov.Gen India bronze statue on Otea,New Zeland.dreamstime.com|
|Lord Auckland. Gov. Gen. India. bl.uk/onlinegallery|
George Eden Auckland,(1784-1849), Governor General of India from 1836 to 1842.born in Beckenham, Kent on 25 August 1784 was educated at Eaton, and Christchurch, Oxford. In 1836 when Lord Auckland was appointed Governor General of India by PM Lord Melbourne in 1935 itself, he decided to continue Bentinck's internal policy and one of it being taking certain steps for the promotion of education and the study of western science by the Indians and developed the irrigation policy initiated by Bentinck. Under order from the Directors, Auckland took an extraordinary step of abolishing the pilgrim tax and ended all official control over religious endowments. But on the natural disaster front, his approach was not good enough to deal with the devastating famine, which overtook northern India in 1838 and he got a bad rap for his poor handling of this serious matter. .
When dealing with natives, his policy was in question as in the case of deposition of the Rajah of Satara in favor of his brother; reason: the Raja was colluding with the Portuguese against the Company operations. Annexing of Karnal, deposition of the nawab, suppression of rebellion in Oudh (part UP), levying heavy subsidy on the new nawab were some of his acts that made the natives angry. He did not get any appreciation for his role in the first Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1842).The EIC had tough time in that rugged terrain.
Back in England on 12 March 1842, he was made Baron Eden of Norwood in the County of Surrey, and Earl of Auckland in 1839 and died
|Sister of Lord Auckland. Emily.tribuneindia.com|
Emily Eden, the elder of the two sisters who accompanied their brother George Auckland when he arrived in India to take charge of the exalted office of the Governor-General of India. never failed to note a 'total change from the life they had been used to'...., She observed:
''The red carpet welcome that was accorded to George Auckland and his two sisters left Emily totally amazed. The grandeur of government house made her proclaim that their residence looked rather like "a palace out of Arabian Nights ....................Everything is so picturesque and so utterly un-English." "Retinues of servants followed wherever they went, waiting on them hand and foot, and presenting arms every time Emily went out of the room in search of her keys or a handkerchief'' ... "He never stirs without a tail of joints after him." However, it did not take long for them to become accustomed to all the attention, and Emily soon recorded that for his part the Governor-General was "as happy as a king". An artist of no mean merit, Emily recorded everything that took her fancy, leaving behind a legacy of splendid sketches and paintings of her alien experiences in India.
Lord Auckland and his sisters left Calcutta in March 1842. Emily put together some of her drawings, and a year later they were published as a large folio volume of 24 plates entitled, Portraits of the Princes and Peoples of India. Except for one portrait, all these portraits are to be seen at the Victoria Memorial collection. (https://www.tribuneindia.com/1999/99nov27/saturday/head11.htm)