Archive / Papers / Stewart, G.P. Papers: Box 1


Gerald Pakenham Stewart, I.C.S. Joined service 1930 and held posts in Assam; Political Agent, Manipur 1938; Prisoner of War in Japan 1942-45.


  • Letters from Elisabeth Stewart in Imphal to her parents, Sir Walter Laurence Scott, C.I.E., I.C.S., and Lady Scott (q.v.) then living in New Zealand, 20 December 1946 – 29 May 1947, noting the changes in Assam since she and her husband, G.P. Stewart, were there in 1941, and recording the life before Independence. The letters are carefully annotated in TS by G.P. Stewart and there is also a covering note.
  • Letters written by Elizabeth Stewart (wife of G.P. Stewart) to her parents from Shillong/Imphal, Assam in 1947, (again well annotated)
    • 5 June. Detailed account of daily social life while on leave in Shillong.
    • 11 June. Description of Shillong in 1947 – building etc. A lot about various civil service officers and politics – car journey Shillong-Imphal. Choice before I.C.S. officers – back in Imphal as P.A. and daily life there in detail. Comments on the future of I.C.S. members, and considerations for their personal future.
    • 17 June. Daily life in Imphal; rationing: Bishop Biswas. Political agitation beginning; future of Nagas – Preparations for the Governor’s visit.
    • 24 June. Discuss the implications of leaving after Independence with a Congress man, and others – Financial position of Government servants. Visit of H.E. The Governor, Sir Akbar and Lady Hyderi, described in detail.
    • 4 July. Continuation of Governor’s visit – Crisis between the Maharaja and the Governor, end of visit – Home industries and arts and crafts. Difficulties about leaving. Sylhet referendum; trouble in Calcutta. Question of compensation – women’s part in this. The attitude towards Independence of various groups and individuals – Tension beginning in Manipur.
    • 11 July. Domestic life and problems. Result of vote in Sylhet – joining Pakistan. Note about the siege of Kohima. More discussion on the consequences of Independence to her husband’s work. Criticism of Khasi men. Details of beginning of preparations for hand-over. Compensation petitions.
    • 18 July. The events of daily life – News of Congress meetings. Unease for the future. Delay in getting passages home – Proposed visit of a Shakespeare Company – Rumours of various States joining Pakistan. Visit of Sir Charles Pawsey – Spit in Congress Party in Manipur and consequences – Constitutional and political crises and currents in Manipur.
    • 26 July. A letter much as before, with detailed day to day events of the small world of a station like Imphal, coping with influx of visitors, political situation, rationing, servants, climate, and arrangements for going home.
    • 1 August. More about the Shakespeare players, demonstrations against them, and difficulty of getting away. Further complications of Council Members. Rumours of Naga independence. Preparations for departure.
    • 10 August. Trouble with the Maharaja. Beginnings of the change-over of power, intrigues and administrative moves. Beginning to hear of the trouble in the rest of India before Partition – in Calcutta, Alwar and Rampur – G.P. Stewart decides to leave early. More news of rioting etc. Further preparations for Independence Day. New Council takes office. Feeling of panic in Sylhet.
    • 15 August. Independence Day. Ceremony at midnight on 14th attended by H.H. The Maharaja. Followed by procession early in morning of the 15 August and other ceremonies and more processions during day
    • Further processions and rejoicing. Reaction of Calcutta and Punjab. News from Pawsey about Nagas. Difficulties over flag-flying. Resignation of Daiho, the Mao Circle Officer. Attitude of Nagas.
    • 23 August. Trip to Shillong to stay with the Governor. Meet Pawsey at Kohima. Difficulties of the journey. Life at Government House.
    • 3 September. Meeting many friends. Constant anxiety about release from service, pension, etc. Journey back from Shillong – delays and incidents. Impression of Life in Independent India – attitude of people.
    • 6 September. Packing and selling off possessions. Incident of child with tetanus. ‘Incidents’ in the rest of India as a result of Independence. Gandhi on fast because of rioting – surrender of arms to him. New Council’s difficulties.
    • 14 September. P.W.D. The Maharaja and flag-hoisting. Difficulties about getting passages to N.Z. Congress activities. Satyagraha.
    • 23 September. More about the satyagrahas round the Palace and their developments. More about flag-hoisting. Description of Manipuri boat-race.
    • 29 September. Domestic and home news. Discussion with Maharaja’s heir.
    • 6 October. Letter about routine affairs; change-over etc. House repairs. Checking claims for compensation.
    • 14 October. Arrival of new P.S., Mr. Debeswar Sarma. Farewells.
    • 25 October. Shillong. Having left Imphal. Said goodbye to the Maharaja. Further farewells. Kohima. Goodbye to Pawsey. Galaghat. Smuggling. Refugees.
    • 29 October. Changes in Shillong. Meeting old friends – social life.
    • 4 November. Buying building plot for their servant Precilla. Business connected with leaving. Exhibition of hand-craft.