Archive / Papers / Bayley, V.

Microfilm No.57

TS. Memoir of life in India, 1933-46: One Woman’s Raj written in 1975/76. (134 pp.)

Personal background. Visits uncle, a high Court Judge in Lahore in, winter of 1933. Describes the social life of a visiting unmarried girl. Meets Vernon Bayley of the Indian Police and becomes engaged to him. His family’s background of service in India. Returns to England to be married, and goes out again in 1934 to Hangu, N.W.F.P. where her husband was in the Frontier Constabulary.

Description of life in tiny Frontier post. Touring constabulary posts and villages. Visits and comments on women in purdah. Train journeys – goes back to England for baby’s birth and returns to Delhi where her husband has been made Assistant Superintendent of Police.

Pro’s and cons of life in India. Comparison of ICS and Indian Police pay etc.

1935 Delhi. Rent house on outskirts of Old Delhi. Has Gurkha ayah. Life in Delhi. Goes to Simla for hot weather but her husband has to remain. Detailed description of life in Simla, daily, social and scenic. Monkeys, excursions back to Delhi in the heat, the rains.

1936-37 Delhi. Move to a pleasant bungalow in New Delhi.

Description of farewell banquet to Viceroy, Lord Willingdon, and arrival of Lord Linlithgow.

Further description of social occasions – decline of formality – social work. The changes in social and health attitudes brought about by the war.

May 1937. Kashmir. Description of the beauty and poverty of the Vale; house-boat on the Dhal Lake.

Returns to England for her second child’s birth, and describes voyage back to India in 1938. Husband has joined Central Intelligence Bureau specialising in Communism.

Describes and comments on dhobis, dherzis and khansamas. Life in Delhi 1938-39. Human and animal life. Observations on servants.

Delhi and beginning of war 1939-40 – Gulmarg. Delhi 1941-42. Effect of Pearl Harbour; fall of Singapore and Rangoon. Pressure of accommodation.

Works in cypher office in Delhi. Various journeys to Simla and Gulmarg. News of the war, especially in Burma.

Move to Lahore 1942-43. Wartime incidents of sharing houses in. Simla during summer. Rationing – Lahore, winter 1943-44. Gardens – The Club – Attitudes towards Anglo-Indians. American Forces in India. Work-parties at Government House for the War.

Becomes Secretary to Lady Glancy (wife of Governor of the Punjab). Smoothness and ease of life in Government House.

Simla 1944. Daily life with children and job at Government House. Acting – Annual fair at Cipi – fashions during the war – various anecdotes.

Lahore 1944-45. Beginnings of change being felt – unrest – various incidents, circus, fairs etc. Meets the Grey Ladies; Muslim and Hindu festivals. Different Europeans in India at the time.

Summer 1945. Gulmarg. Trek up to Haramak. Camp: incident of being surrounded by sick people. Feeling of helplessness against the poverty and sickness in Kashmir.

Winter 1945-46. Situation in India just before Independence. The future of British officials. Departure from India and arrival in post-war England. Husband goes back to India in High Commission, but returns, having been declared persona non grata due to his former police connections with various politicians. Recalled to the Foreign Office. Life in England.

Additional material given by Mrs. Viola Bayley

Three reprinted pages of The Onlooker of September 1944

p.l. Article: Simla Summary – by The Dowd. A social diary of Simla.

p.2 & 3. Photographic illustrations of the Poona W.V.S. at work.