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11. Your next proposition involves the creation of a Lieutenant-Governorship in Council for Behar, Chota Nagpur, and Orissa. I observe that you have considered and dismissed a number of alternative suggestions for dealing with these three important and interesting Divisions. Some of these schemes, as Your Excellency is aware, have at different times been the subjects of discussion when a rearrangement of boundaries has been contemplated, and I refrain from commenting on any of them at this moment, holding as I do that you have offered the plainest and most reasonable solution, if any substantial change is to be made at all. The three sub-Provinces above named, while differing inter se some marked features, are alike loosely connected with Bengal proper, and their complete administrative severance would involve no hardship to the Presidency. You describe the desire of the hardy and law-abiding inhabitants of Behar for a clearer expression of their local individuality, differing from the Bengalis as they largely do in origin, in language, in proclivities, and in the nature of the soil they cultivate. Orissa, again, with its variety of races and physical conditions, with its considerable seaboard, invested with a peculiar sanctity of religious tradition, prefers a code of land legislation founded on a system of tenure differing in the main from those both of Bengal and of the Central Provinces, and has long felt uneasiness at a possible loss of identity as a distinct community. The highlands of Chota Nagpur, far less densely populated than Bengal, and containing a large aboriginal element, also possess ancestral and historical claims for separate treatment in various respects. These three sub-Provinces with their combined population of some thirty-five millions, would form a charge well within the compass of a Lieutenant-Governorship, and it may be assumed that the controlling officer would be able to bestow continuous care and attention upon each of the divisions within his area.

12. The concluding suggestion which you put forward is that the Chief Commissionership of Assam should be revived. I attach weight to your argument that the political conditions on the north-eastern frontier of India render it desirable that, like the North-West, it should be the immediate concern of Your Excellency's. Government, rather than of a local administration, and I note your belief, which I trust may prove to be well-founded, that the inhabitants of this Province, of first-rate importance in industry and commerce, are not likely to offer any opposition to the change. On the contrary, they may be disposed to welcome it, since I am confident that the Supreme Government would assiduously preserve all local interests, either material or of sentiment, from any possible detriment attributable to the altered system.


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