Vicroy Lord Ripon and his reforms that made him dear to Indians!!

Lord Ripon, Indian
lord Ripon

 Above image: Bronze statue of the Marquess of Ripon in his Garter robes and insignia by Francis Derwent. He was the Viceroy of India between 1880 and 1884. He got this covetous appointment When Gladstone returned to power in 1880. Between 1905 to 1908, he was the leader of the House of Lords, London ..........

 Lord  Ripon, KG, GCSI,(October 1827 –  July 1909), was a popular viceroy of India and he achieved success as a good and humane administrator through introduction of  various reforms, taking into account the welfare of the natives and their direct participation in a democratic institution.

Lord Ripon, Indian

Above image: In Gladstone's first administration he was Lord President of the Council (1868–73).  It was during this period he became the chairman of the joint commission for drawing up the Treaty of Washington with the United States over the Alabama Claims. For this, in 1871 he was created Marquess of Ripon, in the County of York   ...............................

Unlike many British  politicians and  administrators steeped in conservatism, Lord Ripon was a visionary, liberal democrat with faith in self government. That is the reason why he was appointed as Viceroy of India by Gladstone, the Liberal Party Prime Minister of England at that time.  When he left for England under compelling circumstances,  the Bombay harbor was thronged by lots of Indians  from all walks of life who  gave  him a warm send- off as a gesture of his humanitarian consideration for the Indians who suffered a lot under the British rule. According to P.E. Roberts:  '' He was a true liberal of Gladstone era with a strong belief in virtues if peace, laissez faire and self government.''

Ripon  believed that self-government is the  best way to run the administration and it carries the noblest principles of politics.  Hence, the growth of local bodies like the Municipal Committees in towns and the local boards in taluks and villages took place under his directions. The powers of municipalities were increased. Sanitations, roads. supply of water,maintenance of certain public buildings came under the control of the local administration.

Introduction of Local Self-Government (1882): The majority of the members of these boards should be elected non-officials, even the chairman were to be non - official. The local bodies were given executive powers with financial resources of their own. It was perhaps the desire of  Ripon that power in India should be gradually transferred to the educated Indians. He brought the administration closer to the people.

Like Lord William Bentinck, Lord Ripon  gave priority to education of the Indians and wanted to improve the literacy level of the people. Ripon wanted to reform the working of the educational system  based on  the recommendations of the Wood’s Dispatch.  Ripon appointed a Commission in 1882 under the chairmanship of Sir William Hunter. The Commission  strongly recommended for the expansion and improvement of the elementary education of the masses. The Commission suggested two types for the secondary education - one was literary  education leading up to the Entrance Examination of  the university and the other preparing the students for a vocational career. After the implementation of the new system of education, the number of educational institutions in India drastically went up . Another important feature of Ripon's policy was woman's education. It was Ripon who laid the foundation of the system which is being followed in India.

One of the hallmarks of reforms include finance. Like Lord Mayo he believed in financial decentralization, thus this way the burden financial management on the central administration was drastically reduce. He divided the sources of revenue under three categories - Imperial, Provincial and Divided. Railways, mint, military, post office, etc come under imperial resources. Provincial resources include health, roads, printing and general administration. Divided resources envisage sharing of revenue between central and provincial governments such as forest, stamp duties, registration,etc.

Thus long time ago in the colonial era Lord Ripon highlighted the importance of financial management and how best the revenue resources in the countries  could be utilized for the welfare of the people at the central  as well as provincial levels.

He repealed the Vernacular Press Act of of 1878 passed by Lord Lytton and replaced it with Act III of 1882, thus allowing full freedom to newspapers published in vernacular languages on par with the rest of Indian press. His reform won the appreciation of the people across the vast nation

During his period, numerous factories were in operation and none had good service condition for the factory workers. They did many risky jobs with poor safety measures. Safety and the working conditions of the workers were either overlooked or were given least priority by the company management. Lord Ripon was instrumental in introducing the  factory act of 1881 that banned employment of children  below the age of seven. The act insisted on fencing of dangerous factory machines to ensure security to the workers, one hour rest during working period, four days leave in a month for the workers.Such concessions, he thought could improve the efficiency of workers when they worked under a favorable conditions.

However Ripon was forced to return to England because the conservative politicians were sore about the reforms introduced by Ripon that gave him a good name and better political advantage. He made certain changes in judiciary reforms with respect to 

Lord Ripon by George Frederic Watts. Wikipedia   

white offenders who could be tried in courts presided over by native judges. These sweeping reforms became a bone of contention  a section of white settlers rebelled against them. Ultimately, their resentment saw him leaving for England with broken heart. However, he was overwhelmed by the love and affection of Indian natives that gave him a sense of fulfillment and euphoria.

He died on 9 July 1909  at the ripe age of 81. His spouse was    Henrietta Vyner (1833–1907).
Ripon building.

 In the state of Tamil Nadu the building where  the Corporation of Chennai is housed  was named after Ripon; so was  the town of Riponpet in the Shivamogga district in the state of Karnataka. In Calcutta, the Ripon Street was named for him. The Ghanta Ghar Multan or Clock Tower of Multan in Pakistan and also the hall of the building  was named  after Ribon.