Archive / Papers / Corfield Papers


Given by Sir Conrad Corfield

Punjab, Delhi, Baluchistan, Western Indian States, Rajputana, Hyderabad, Simla Hill States 1921-1947

  1. TS copy of autobiographical memoir: The Princely India I knew
    • Preamble on the Indian States and their government.
    • Ch. 1 How the choice of I.C.S. was. made. Influences and attitudes.
    • Ch. 2 Punjab: 1921 Lahore. British officials discussing Jallianwalla Bagh and the new Government of India Act. Sent to Kasur under Charles Ogilvie, and rediscovers ‘the real India’ he remembered by touring on horseback. Incidents indicative of difficulties governing India. Sees Ruling Princes for first time at a Durbar. Importance of precedence. Arrival of Lord Reading as Viceroy. Corfield seconded as Assistant Private Secretary – Comfortable life, but full of unaccustomed intricacies.
    • Ch. 3 Viceregal circles. Provincial consultation. Gandhi visits Lord Reading. Rapid Indianisation of services. Viceregal anecdotes. Visit to Alwar. Visit of Prince of Wales. Increase in disorder. Decision to cancel Gandhi’s arrest before the Prince’s visit to Delhi. Attends Lord Reading at the annual meeting of the Chamber of Princes. Sir Geoffrey de Montmorency becomes Private Secretary. Marriage, December 1922. Has to pay ‘disparity’ fine into I.C.S. Family Pension Fund. Appointed Assistant Commissioner. Rawalpindi.
    • Ch. 4 Punjab and The Political. Various jobs in Rawalpindi and neighbouring country and in Murree. Under Secretary to Indian I.C.S. Secretary in charge of Departments under Indian Ministers. To Simla – Amateur theatricals as pastime. Applies for Political Service in Punjab. Appointed Secretary to Sir Charles Watson in charge of Western Indian States, H.Q. Rajkot in Kathiawar. Many visitors to the Jam Sahib (or Maharaja of Nawanagar of Jamnagar). Rajkumar College. Individuals. Maharajas of Gondal and Dhrangadhra. 1926 First leave for 6 years under free Lee Commission passages. Can only afford 6 months. Returns to N.W.F. to Baluchistan.
    • Ch. 5 Baluchistan. Appointed Assistant P.A. for Kalat State. Interesting problems of indirect rule, influence of Sir Robert Sandeman. Works under Terence Keyes, P.A. Success in modifying penalties for adultery and abolishing slavery and slave gangs. Corfield’s dealing with a Sardar reputed to be a slave received. Visit of King Amanullah and Queen Sourya of Afghanistan embarking on a train for the first time at Chaman on their visit to Europe. Affection for Baluchistan. Ajmer. As Secretary to the Chief Commissioner.
    • Ch. 6 Back to the States 1930. Irwin – Viceroy – Simon Commission and its results. Round Table Conferences and the States. Returns after leave to the Malwa Agency in temporary control of 13 States. Establishment of Praja Mandals in the States and their connection with Congress – the Rulers’ attitude towards them. Calls conference of Dewans for the first time to discuss Praja Mandals and related matters. Sent as Secretary, Hyderabad, 1933. Resident was Keyes – Nizam’s attitude to the rise of democratic rule. Marriage of Nizam’s two sons to the daughter and niece of ex-Sultan of Turkey and Khedive of Islam. Change in purdah rules. Dinner party at the Residency for all. Great beauty of the Nizam’s wife. Does not like life as Secretary because of intrigue. After six months asked to serve as adviser to the Maharaja of Rewa.
    • Ch. 7 Visits Maharaja. Reason for railway station being 30 miles from the capital. Finds serious trouble brewing. Great discontent with administration. Prepares plan to combat political agitation. Maharaja agrees eventually. Praja Mandal plans disclosed by infiltration on to Committee. Leaders arrested, crowds disperse. Counter attack also dispersed.After uprising attempt to get administration righted. Some suggestions accepted, others refused. Maharaja attends Third Round Table Conference in London and takes Corfield as his representative attached to Hyderabad delegation. Difference in attitude to Conference of Lords Peel, Winterton, Reading and Irwin. India Bill of 1934 passed as a result. Lord Linlithgow goes out in 1935 as Viceroy, to implement the Federation. Corfield returns to Rewa summer 1934, and works ors recommendations of Pawaidars’ rights. Abolition of Narwahi. Development plan. Obstacle of State reserves. Pawai Rules finally sanctioned. Rewa not a typical Indian State.
    • Ch. 8 Sport and Shikar. Great labour and cost of a tiger shoot for a V.I.P. Beating methods described. Game reserve at Dholpur. Dislikes shooting birds, but not big game. Political implications of shikar.
    • Ch. 9 Illegal gratification. Bribery and corruption. Difference between that and ‘customary payments’. Examples of the difficulty of assessing. Case of bribery in Indore State. Examples of favours given and received, or not received. Official presents. Rumours of bribery.
    • Ch. 10 Political Department. Profile of Sir Bertrand Glancy and Eric Melville. Order of the Black Heart.Reasons for non-success of Federation, 1937-39, largely through impersonal approach. 1937 Acting Political Secretary in place of Sir Bertram Glancy, dealing directly with Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow. Foresight over invasion through Burma, also elimination of malaria in Delhi. Returns to routine duties. Idea of Registration of Societies Act for Praja Mandals. Appointed Resident at Jaipur.
    • Ch. 11 Back to Rajputana. Begins after leave in autumn 1938. Pedestal of British Raj beginning to sway. In States the Ruler’s authority being questioned and defied. Authority of the Ruler based on the development of the word Durbar, in the meaning of a Ruler in court or in audience. The result on durbars (and therefore Rulers’ powers) of the British Raj. Example of this in defiance of Maharajah by the Rao of Sikar. Description of the Residency at Jaipur; Tonk; Kishengarh; Shahpura and Alwar. The latter very difficult. Had a British officer as his Prime Minister.Congress movement in Jaipur. Jamnalal Bajaj, and attempts to get into Jaipur frustrated. Spring 1939 – deputises for the Resident at Abu (Arthur Lothian). Maharaja of Bundi. Wartime India. Attempts to tackle problems of democracy in the States, and mergers of small units with neighbouring states. Daughter comes out from England. Transfers to Baluchistan 1940 for her sake (climate and schools).
    • Ch. 12 Back to Lahore (via Baluchistan) after twenty one years. Chief Commissioner – Aubrey Metcalfe. Corfield Political Agent in charge of Quetta District. Dealing with Pathans, and mixed population of down country Hindus and Sikhs. Consequences of 1941 German advance into Russia – defence of India. Transfer back to Punjab States. Residence at Lahore. Dislikes the large and pretentious Residency. Cuts out shooting, banquets and garden parties on tours of States. Instead, visits outlying areas of the States and interviews heads of departments and Ministers, thus assessing Ruler’s competence and authority. Position of Dewans in Punjab States. Situation in India in mid 1942. Calls Dewans Conference; circulates measures to be taken for the Punjab’s defence. Recruitment in Punjab. Attempted rebellion in Sind by Pir Pagard and the Hurs. Chief of Police in Khairpur State murdered. Takes two years to restore order. Dewans Conference attends meeting of Punjab Government Officials about plans to aid situation in the winter of 1942-43. Lord Linlithgow leaves. Problem of the very small states unsolved. The Rulers and their revenues: allocation of development and reserve funds. Attempt to ensure just distribution. Rulers’ apprehension for future of States after Cripp’s visit. 1943-44 Atmosphere more peaceful. Tours Simla Hill States. In Bilaspur discusses with Raja the proposed Bhakra Dam. Example of special advantages of good hereditary personal rule. Protocol: Various amusing examples.
    • Ch. 13 Farewell to the Punjab States. April 1945 Interview with Lord Wavell. Appointed as Political Adviser, United Provinces – Leave – Has an audience.with King George VI. .Gets K.C.I.E.
    • Ch. 14 The last two years Part I. Returns to Delhi to deal with loss of confidence of the Chamber of Princes due to the negotiations for Indian Independence. Resignation of their Standing Committee. Compromise arrangement arrived at by Lord Wavell and the Nawab of Bhopal (Chancellor). Role as Political Adviser on the Governor General’s Council. Difficulty in protecting the rights of the States. Proposes a Joint Consultative Council – rejected by Congress and Muslim League. March 1946 Arrival of Cabinet Mission. Discussion on the future of the States resulting in Memorandum on Treaties and Paramountcy. Effect on States. Formation of States Negotiating Committee which met Nehru and Vallabhai Patel – Gradual breakdown of this Committee after meetings Lord Wavell’s replacement by Lord Mountbatten. Corfield calls Residents Conference to consider local problems of the lapse of paramountcy.

      Last Two Years Part II. Lord Mountbatten arrives 22 March 1947. Residents’ Conference April. Decisions made there. Accompanies Lord Ismay to England to discuss the proceedings of the Conference with him as Lord Mountbatten and Advisers were too preoccupied. Discusses proceedings with Lord Listowel, Secretary of State. Cabinet approves new Plan. Endorsed the Cabinet Mission Memorandum. Standstill Agreement. Difficulty of the office records. Nehru and paramountcy. Description of meeting held between Congress, Nehru, Vallabhai Patel, Kripalani: Muslim League. Jinnah, Liaqat Ali Khan, Abdur Rab Nishtar: Lord Mountbatten: Sir Conrad Corfield, to discuss this problem. Corfield overruled, States Department Set up. Discussion of Nehru’s attitude, and subsequent events. States Department set up 27 June 1947. Lord Mountbatten calls conference of Rulers to accept the new offer. Corfield returns home before the conference which he refuses to attend.

    • Ch. 15 Some interesting personalities. Vignettes of Lord Northcliffe, Sir William Robertson, Lord Allenby, Mrs. Ronnie Greville, Melba (in Simla), Lord Casey when Governor of Bengal: Maharaja of Gwalior: Maharaja of Rajputana; et al.
    • Ch. 16 The Kashmir Problem. Importance of Kashmir and its problems discussed especially with reference to the Ruler.
    • Ch. 17 Postscript. Summary of Corfield’s attitude to the Princely States especially in their relations with the British Government and the new Indian and Pakistan Governments.
  2. The same memoir, but in greater political detail, with no personal element included.
  3. Ticket for Indian Round-Table Conference, 1932.

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