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Title: The policy of Sir James Fergusson as Governor of Bombay Presidency, 1880-1885
Author: Gupta, Amitkumar
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1967
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Sir James Fergusson was appointed Governor of Bombay by Disraeli's Government in March 1880, In May Gladstone despatched Lord Ripon as Viceroy to inaugurate a liberal Indian policy. The Liberals favoured a pacific frontier policy, whereas Fergusson, a Tory expansionist and a Russophobe, manoeuvred to force changes in their proposed Afghan settlement. Seeking the security of the Indian possessions and holding an anomalous jurisdiction over the British connections in the Red Sea area, Fergusson laboured for a policy of extending Britain's influence and consolidating her strategic position on the route to India. His assiduity for interference was also reflected in his supervision of British relations with the native states of Bombay. Again, he was opposed to the views of the liberal Viceroy over the reduction and centralisation of the Indian armies. In internal administration Fergusson disapproved of Ripon's liberal policy of fostering the aspirations of the educated Indians. He disliked Ripon's concern for admitting Indians to the Indian Civil Service and resisted Ripon's scheme for extending local self-government. He was in favour of maintaining the racial character of the Indian administration. He was opposed to the introduction of the controversial Ilbert Bill, though he was largely responsible for the compromise formula which was ultimately accepted by Ripon and his adversaries. A paternalist in social and economic affairs, he was an enthusiast for factory legislation and he shared Ripon's anxiety to undertake public works in a famine-threatened country. Again, when Ripon, consistent with laissez-faire principle, advocated low taxes and the moderation of the government demand on land, Fergusson called for increased taxation and the enchancement of the land assessment. Unconcerned about the reactions of the people, Fergusson represented in India the authoritarian Tory paternalism which sought to promote the welfare of the subject race from above.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral