Archive / Papers / Baker Papers


(E.B.H. Baker)

Lent by Mrs. I. Baker

Microfilm Box 6 No. 45

  1. Letters of Baker to his parents and others, 25 January 1931 to December 1932:
    1. from Madaripur where he writes he is transferred to Hijli as Governor of the Detention Camp for Political Prisoners at Kharagpur;
    2. arrives February 1931; conditions in the camp; description of detainees; comments on Gandhi;
    3. letter written on 17 September 1931 describing the incident in the camp when two detainees were killed and five wounded;
    4. the consequences;
    5. Tagore’s intervention;
    6. the Official Inquiry (Mullick and Drummond);
    7. November in Sikkim on leave;
    8. result of the Inquiry and consequences;
    9. leaves Hijli;
    10. Congress intrigue;
    11. reason for unrest – unemployment of the educated;
    12. goes to Alipur (Duar Subdivision) very quiet;
    13. description of place and work;
    14. near another detainees camp;
    15. missionaries;
    16. he feels the lack of money for social reform;
    17. tours tea gardens;
    18. at Rajshahi describes Christmas party with Anglo-Indians;
    19. description of Busca Detainees Camp.
  2. Pamphlet: ‘Chittagong and Hijli: British “Misrule” in Bengal’, published by J.M. Sen-Gupta. Foreword by Rabindranath Tagore. ‘Being the Report of the non-official Enquiry Committee on Recent Disturbances in Chittagong, and the Government Committee of Enquiry on Hijli Shooting.’
  3. ‘Travel Diary Journal’ (possibly amalgamated from diaries)
    • Volume I, November 1927 – October 1932:
      • Assistant Magistrate Dacca, 10 December 1927-25 November 1928;
      • Assistant Magistrate and Collector on Settlement Training, Burdwan District, 1928 – March 1929;
      • Sub-Divisional Officer Rampurhat, Birbhum District, 7 April – 31 October 1929;
      • Sub-Divisional Officer Madaripur, November 1929 – February 1931;
      • Commandant, Hijli Detention Camp; Kharagpur, February – October 1931; detailed account of the camp, its running, inmates, the incident of the shooting and consequences;
      • Special Officer Political Department Calcutta, November 1931 – January 1932, writing history sheets of eighty prominent Congressmen for action, under the Emergency Powers Ordinance should civil disobedience recommence; results of Gandhi’s arrival in Bombay and the Viceroy’s refusal to discuss the N.W.F.P., U.P. and Bengal ordinances with him; renewal of civil disobedience and consequences; leave. At the back of the volume are accounts.
    • ‘Volume II, October 1932 – October 1936:
      • Sub-Divisional Officer Alipur-Duar, Jalpaiguri District, November 1932 – February 1933. Very little crime and no political trouble.
      • Assistant District Magistrate Myemsingh District, February – September 1933. Account of internal running of the District.
      • District Magistrate, Myemsingh, August – October 1933.
      • Special Officer, Revenue Department, Calcutta, November 1933 – February 1934. Inside story of writing an annual Administration Report; Calcutta social life.
      • Additional District and Sessions Judge, Alipore, February – May 1934.
      • District and Sessions Judge, Burdwan, June – October 1934;
      • November – December 1934. Inexperience of civil law.
      • Joint Magistrate, Burdwan, December 1934. Inspections, etc.; few days in Calcutta; Viceregal Ball, Belvedere.
      • District and Sessions Judge, Dacca, January – September 19 35. Importance of job for which he feels inexperienced; society and social life in Dacca; describes work of district judge; assessment of his own ability; describes some unscrupulous judges.
      • Special Officer Revenue Department, Calcutta, November 1935 – February 1936. Writing administration report.
      • Special Officer Political Department, Calcutta, February 1936. Working on matters arising in connection with the new constitution; lists the social activities of the era; reaction in Bengal to king George’s death.
      • Additional District and Sessions Judge, Howrah, February – March 1936.
      • On leave.
    • ‘Travel Diary’ Volume III, October 1936 – March 1941:
      • Leave until 16 November 1936.
      • District and Sessions Judge, Noakhali, November 1936 – February 1937. Very quiet; goes on to Krishnagar for Christmas; elections for new Provincial Assembly.
      • Special Officer, Judicial Department, Calcutta, February – April 1937. Firstly to frame certain rules for the conduct of the official Assignee under the amended Presidency Towns Insolvency Act, etc.; light work; Darjeeling in hot weather.
      • Special Officer, Legislative Department, Calcutta, April – October 1937. Very little work.
      • Attaché, Legislative Department, Government of India, November 1937 – April 1938. Goes to Delhi to train in Secretariat; work more interesting; sits in on Councils of State and Legislative Assemblies.
      • District and Sessions Judge, Rajshahi and Malda, April – August 1938. Enjoys Rajshahi; floods; life on the station.
      • District and Sessions Judge, Rajshahi and Malda, October 1938.
      • Special Officer Legislative Department and Secretary, Calcutta, November 1938 – September 1940. Outline of work, social and domestic life, between Calcutta and Darjeeling, and outside world in progress of the war; picture of Darjeeling in the days of 1940, and Calcutta; work in Calcutta, Bengal Cooperative Societies Bill, etc.
      • Additional Secretary to Governor of Bengal, August 1940 – September 1943. Criticisms of the Governor; criticisms of Viceregal Staff during the war; daily life in Governor’s household; war efforts in India, 1941-42; comments on India’s production of war material, but these are brief as are comments on Burma refugees; mentions Japanese invasion of Andamans brings war nearer, and defence measures more serious; results of the war in the Far East were felt in Calcutta, great changes there; 1943 goes on tour with the Governor, inspecting A.R.P., etc., and collecting purses for war effort and attending mass meetings; March – May Constitutional muddle in Bengal, but famine beginning and Lord Wavell’s appointment as Viceroy ‘a decided shock’; the river tour proposed for Governor abandoned on police advice; famine relief and control; Sir Thomas Rutherford takes over as Acting Governor; Viceroy visits famine areas, results good; Governors conference November 1943; death of Sir John Herbert, 11 December.
      • Receives O.B.E., 1944.
      • Joint Secretary Home Department, February – June 1944. In charge of Constitution and elections, jails, etc.
      • Acts as Additional Secretary Home Department June – July 1944. Joint Secretary July – October 1944. Additional Secretary and Provincial Transport Controller November 1944 – March 1945. Obtains Government agreement to the appointment of a full time transport Commissioner.
      • Leave for England, four months.
      • Legislative Secretary, October – December 1945, Calcutta, without family. Not much work; comments on Congress and the lifting of restrictions.
      • Sent in February 1946 to Alipore as Additional District and Sessions Judge 24 Parganas. Difficulty in returning to court life and practice; April – October 1946, normal life of a magistrate, joined by his wife; October 1946 – February 1947, normal court life; to Dacca in February 1947 for trials of riot cases, the Muslim Ministry wanted a European Judge to try Communal cases.
      • The diary tails off in March – May 1947, after a note about rioting. The journal is interspersed with detailed accounts of the progress of the war, and the accounts of his journeys home on leave and what he did, also of local leave; it gives nothing like the picture of his life in India which can be drawn from his letters home.
  4. Letters home, 1927 – 1928, 1929 – 1930, 1933: these are a most vivid and interesting ‘fill-in’ to the journal; he writes as a young and inexperienced official of all the details which strike him, and thus gives a vivid picture of the life of the administrator both from the work, the people, the stations and European life there; he goes into great detail and provides most interesting sidelights.