Kharita from Viceroy to
Maharaja Partap Singh
July 25, 1888
Legal Document No
I have received your Highness's letter of the I Seth of April, informing
me of the dismissal of Diwan Lachman Das, and forwarding, for my consideration,
a scheme which you have prepared for the re-organisation of your Council.
Your Highness's letter has received my most careful attention, and I
have now to inform you of the conclusions at which I have arrived with
regard to the very important questions which you have been good enough
to refer to me.
in the first place, 1 cannot avoid informing your Highness that the
news of the sudden removal of Diwan Lachman Das was received by me with
some surprise. Your Highness appointed him to your council after consulting
me, and I hoped that your Highness would, before making another change
of Governments give me some previous intimation of your views. However,
this point has already been brought to your notice by Mr. Plowden and I
do not now desire to dwell upon it any further.
With regard to your Highness's scheme for the future administration
of Kashmir, I would ask you to consider the following observations.
Your Highness proposes that the administration should be conducted or
assisted by a council consisting of a President, .a Vice-President, three
other members, and a secretary. The presidency you would retain in your
own hands. You would appoint your brother Raja Amar Singh to be Vice-President,
and you would also make him Prime Minister with executive powers. The other
three members of the Council would be Raja Ram Singh, Babu Nilambar Mukerji,
and Diwan Janki Prasad; and they would be charged respectively with the
control of affairs in the military, revenue, and miscellaneous departments.
The Prime Minister would have special charge of the judicial and foreign
departments. Diwan Janki Prasad would be Secretary in addition to his other
duties. It is proposed that the Council should be consultative.
It appears to me that a Government constituted in this manner is open
to some criticism. In the first place, I am inclh1cd to doubt whether it
is altogether in accordance with your Highness's dignity to be President
of the Council. Secondly. your Highness's brothers are still young, and
have had little opportunity of acquiring practical experience in administrative
work. Babu Nilambar Mukerji has no knowledge of revenue matters, and is
altogether unfit to take charge of so important a department of the administration.
Of Divan Janki Prasad l know little, but I understand that he is not a
man of marked character and ability. Under these circumstances your Highness's
scheme does not appear to me to hold out any certain promise of success.
Nevertheless, I do not desire to raise any objection to the principle
of the proposed arrangements. I regard your Highness as the responsible
ruler of the State, and I wish to meet your views as far as possible, and
to afford you every assistance in carrying them out. If, therefore, your
Highness prefers to maintain a Council and to assume the presidency yourself.
I . m ready to assent to your views in this matter, and also with :regard
to the nomination of your brothers and Diwan Janki Prasad. On one point
only I feel that in your Highness's interests I must ask you to modify
your proposals. I cannot think that the appointment of Babu Nilambar Mukerji
as Revenue Minister would be desirable. I am of opinion that for the charge
of revenue affairs your Highness should secure the services of some thoroughly
competent of official with practical experience of administration. I also
think that at least one other official of similar qualifications should
be appointed to direct, either as member of Council or in some capacity,
the judicial and executive branches of your Government. If your Highness
can name any Native Officials in the British Service who seem to me to
possess the requisite qualifications I shall be glad to place them at your
disposal. If your Highness cannot suggest any names I shall be ready and
willing to make inquiries, and to supply you with the best men available
either in the Punjab or elsewhere. I have learnt with pleasure that your
Highness has already asked for the services of some four or five officers
to be employed in the accounts and forest departments. But your Highness's
government seems to require something more than the loan of a few subordinate
officials. What is wanted is that you should associate with your principal
officers two or three thoroughly trained and capable persons, who will
be able to give your Highness effective aid in directing and controlling
the main branches of the administration. I trust that your Highness will
consider these suggestions and will take such steps as may have the effect
of strengthening your government from an administrative point of view.
I need hardly add that, with regard to this question and to all other questions
of importance. Your Highness should freely consult the Resident, who will
give you every assistance in his power.
In making these observations I do not overlook the fact, that, since
the appointment of the Council of which Diwan Lachman Das was a member,
considerable progress has been made in the direction of reforms useful
work has been done with regard to the revenue administration, and in the
reorganization of the Public Works and Medical Departments. But much remains
to be done, and it is because I am deeply conscious of the importance of
the Kashmir State, and of the responsibilities of the British Government
in regard to it, that I have so carefully examined the proposals which
your Highness. has put forward.
I would particularly urge upon your Highness's attention the necessity
for a careful investigation into the condition of your Highness's finances,
and of the executive and judicial services. Until these are placed upon
a thoroughly sound footing it will be impossible to hope for any material
increase in the prosperity of the State.