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The Great Coronation Durbar of December the 12th, 1911

Things to note : There is a Radio Tower in the right half of the picture. It was not called a "Radio Tower" then. It was not even called "Wireless Tower" . It was called a "Marconi Station". There was a Marconi Station at Red Fort. This had picked up the signal from the HMS Medina while it was 900 miles out at sea. And .. This vast assemblage had NO MICROPHONES or LOUDSPEAKERS.

The actual foldout is some 4 feet wide !!. Crystal clear. How did they do it with those cameras ? At that time it is possible mechanised shutters had not appeared(?). There is not a single blur in the picture , which was likely when the exposure timing was the result of putting the cap on and off manually. Quite obviously the sections were manually joined. Yet the entire picture seems to have a uniform exposure !!!!



The Panorama of the Amphitheatre showing their Imperial Majesties receiving the homage of the Indian Princes in the Royal Shamiana

The Speeches at the Ceremony

By King George V

His Majesty spoke as follows:-

"It is with genuine feelings of thankfulness and satisfaction that I stand here today among you. This year has been to the Queen Empress and myself one of many great ceremonies and of an unusual, though happy, burden of toil. But in spite of the time and distance, the grateful recollections of our last visit to India have drawn us again to the land which we then learned to love and we started with bright hopes on our long journey to revisit the country in which we had already met the kindness of a home. In doing so, I have fulfilled a wish, expressed in my message last July to announce to you in person my Coronation, celebrated on the 22nd of June, in Westminster Abbey, when by the Grace of God the Crown of my forefathers was placed on my head with solemn form and ancient ceremony. By my presence with the Queen Empress I am anxious to show our affection for the loyal Princes and faithful people of India and how dear to our hearts is the welfare and happiness of the Indian Empire. "

" It is moreover, my desire that those who could not be present at the solemnity of the Coronation should have the opportunity of taking part in its commemoration at Delhi. It is a sincere pleasure and gratification to myself and to the Queen Empress to behold the vast assemblage, and in it my Governors and trusty officials, my great princes, representatives of the people, and deputations from the military forces of my Indian Dominion. I shall receive in person with heartfelt satisfaction the homage and allegiance which they loyally desire to render."

" I am deeply impressed with the thought that a spirit of sympathy and affectionate goodwill unites the Princes and people with me on this historic occasion. In token of these sentiments I have decided to commemorate the event of my Coronation by certain marks of my special favour and consideration, and these I will later on today cause to be announced by the Governor-General to this assembly."

" Finally , I rejoice to have this opportunity of renewing in my own person those assurances which have been given you by my revered predecessors of the maintenance of your rights and privileges, and of my earnest concern for your welfare, peace and contentment. May the Divine favour of Providence watch over my people and assist me in my utmost endeavor to promote their happiness and prosperity."

" To all present , Feudatories and subjects, I tender my loving greetings."

The Governor-General Lord Hardinge's Speech

His Imperial Majesty had now accomplished the main purpose of his visit - he had made known, in person, to his Indian subjects his Coronation in The Mother City. To mark this climax of the Royal visit the trumpeteers sounded another flourish, the Massed Band again crashed out the familiar strains of the National Anthem( God save the King ), the troops presented arms, and all stood silently, respectfully. Barely had the last bars of the Anthem died down than, Boom! From the steel throats of a six gun Battery broke out the first stages of a Royal Salute of a hundred and one guns. Thrice whilst the salvoes were rending the air from three points outside the arena, the Gunners stood fast, whilst the honour of saluting the King Emperor was taken up by the troops. The feu do joi broke into sound at the entrance to the arena, died to the faintest whisper as it ran in spite of fire along the line to the King's Camp, then rippled back, first like a purling brook, growing stronger and stronger until it rasped out like an angry sea on the Chesil Beach. The guns sank into inaction: the troops stood at ease. A fresh phase of the Durbar was now begun.

Once more at the Heralds and the Trumpeteers raised their clarions to their lips and blew a silvery blast. His Excellency the Governor-General advanced to "make such an announcement as His Imperial Majesty may command."

This was the Durbar boon, the secret of which had been so well kept and somewhat irrational expectation based upon it. Facing the distant Spectators' mound as he had perforce to do Lord Hardinge was audible only to those in the immediate vicinity as he read the notification:-

To all to whom to these presents may come:- By the Command of His most Excellent Majesty George the Fifth, by the Grace of God, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India, I , his Governor-General, do hereby declare and notify the grants, concessions, reliefs and benefactions, which His Imperial Majesty has been graciously pleased to bestow upon this glorious and memorable occasion.
Humbly and dutifully submissive to His Most Gracious Majesty's will and pleasure, the Government of India, have resolved with the approval of His Imperial Majesty's Secretary of State, to acknowledge the predominant claims of educational advancement upon the resources of the Indian Empire, and have decided, in recognition of a very commendable demand, to set themselves to making education in India as accessible and wide as possible. With this purpose they propose at once to devote fifty lakhs to the promotion of truly popular education, and it is the firm intention of the Government to add to the grant now announced further grants in future years on a generous scale.
Graciously recognising the signal and faithful services of His forces by land and seas, the King Emperor has charged me to announce the award of half a month's pay of rank to all non-commissioned officers and men and reservists, both of His British Army in India and of His Indian Army, to to the equivalent ranks of the Royal Indian Marine, and to all permanent employees of departmental or non-combatant establishments paid from the military estimates, whose pay may not exceed the sum of fifty rupees monthly.
Furthermore, His Imperial Majesty has been graciously pleased to ordain:
That from henceforth, the loyal Native officers, men and the reservists of His Indian Army shall be eligible for the grant of the Victoria Cross for Valour;
That membership of the Order of British India shall be increased during the decade following this His Imperial Majesty's Coronation Durbar by fifty-two appointments in the first class, and by one hundred appointments in the second class, and that , in mark of these historic ceremonies, fifteen new appointments in the first class and nineteen new appointments in the second class shall forthwith be made;
That, from henceforth, Indian Officers of the Frontier Military Corps and the Military Police shall be deemed eligible to the aforesaid Order;
That special grants of land, or assignments, or remissions of land revenue, as the case may be shall now be conferred on certain Native officers of His Imperial Majesty's Indian Army who may be distinguished for long and honourable service. And that the special allowances now assigned for three years only to the widows of deceased members of the Indian Order of Merit shall, with effect for the date of this Durbar, hereafter be continued to all such widows until death or remarriage.
Graciously appreciating the devoted and successful labours of His Civil Services, His Imperial Majesty has commanded me to declare the grant of half a month's pay to all permanent servants in the civil employ of the Government whose pay may not exceed the sum of fifty rupees a month.
Further, it is Imperial Majesty's Gracious behest that all persons to whom may have been , or hereafter may be granted the titles of Dewan Bahadur, Sardar Bahadur, Khan Bahadur, Rai Bahadur, Rao Bahadur, Khan Sahib, Rai Sahib or Rao Sahib, shall receive distinctive badges as a symbol of respect and honour; and that on all holders present or to come of the venerable titles of Mahamohopadhyaya and Shams-ul-Ulama shall be conferred some pension for the good report of the ancient learning of India.
Moreover , in commemoration of this Durbar , and as a reward for conspicuous public service, certain grants of land , free of revenue, tenable for the life of the grantee, or in the discretion of the local administration for one further life shall be bestowed or restored in the North Western Frontier Province of Baluchistan.
In his gracious solitude for the welfare of his Royal Indian Princes, His Imperial Majesty has commanded me to proclaim that from henceforth no nasarana payments shall be made upon succession to their States. And sundry debts, owing to the Government by the non-jurisdictional estates in Kaathiawar and Gujarat and also by the Bhumia Chiefs of Mewar, will be cancelled and remitted in whole or in part, under the orders of the Government of India.
In token of his appreciation of the Imperial Service troops, certain supernumerary appointments of the ORder of British India will be made.
In the exercise of his Royal Imperial clemency and compassion , His Most Excellent Majesty has been graciously pleased to ordain that certain prisoners, now suffering the penalty of the law for crimes and misdemeanors, shall be released from imprisonment, and that all those civil debtors now in prison, whose debts may small and due not to fraud, but to real poverty, shall be discharged and that their debts shall be paid.
The persons by whom and the terms and conditions on which these grants, concessions, reliefs and benefactions shall be enjoyed will be hereafter declared.
GOD SAVE THE KING EMPEROR

The Announcement of the shift of Capital from Calcutta to Delhi

The Heralds and trumpeters now called attention anew, and immediately upon the clamorous command of their instruments the Chief Herald rose to his full height and in ringing tones called for three cheers for the King Emperor, then three for the Queen Empress. At this invitation the pent up emotions of the hour broke bonds. The whole vast body of the audience leapt up and roared their loyal acclaim from the heart. In deeper diapason rolled out he massive homage of the men in the King's uniform. Flags and scarves were waved frantically aloft, helmets were thrust on bayonets and twirled in the air, whilst thrice from eighty thousand liege throats, and thrice again , burst a tempest of sound which awakened the echoes in Imperial Delhi and in the Old Delhis which strew our Indian Appian Way.

The pomp and panoply , the stately ceremonial and ordered ritual - these were the trappings of kingship. The cheers which split the welkin were not only for the King Emperor and Queen Empress: they were for the man and woman, called by Providence to lofty station, striving nobly to discharge its responsibilities, who had traveled 6 thousand miles to show their deep and abiding interest in all who are doing the Empire's work in India. Their personal thought must have been to present to Their Imperial Majesties for they bowed to all again and again. They stood happy and smiling , whilst cheering was taken up by the troops outside the amphitheatre.

The sun of the Durbar had set, but there were rich colours in the afterglow. Again his Imperial Majesty took the Queen Empress by the hand: again the regal procession was formed: so it retraced the broad path to the Shamiana whilst the Massed Bands played German's Coronation March. Then occurred the most dramatic episode of the day, for after Their Imperial Majesties had again taken their seats in the Shamiana it became evident that the ceremony was not so near its conclusion as by the official programmme it should have been. The King rose holding in his hand a paper , from which evidently, he was to read again, but why and to what purpose the great audience did not know. There was some bewilderment, which increased to astonishment as in a clear voice the following message was delivered:-

We are pleased to announce to Our people that on the advice of Our Ministers, tendered after consultation with our Governor-General-in-Council, We have decided upon the transfer of the seat of the Government of India, from Calcutta to the ancient Capital of Delhi, and simultaneously, and as a consequence of that transfer, the creation at as early a date as possible of a Governorship for the Presidency of Bengal, of a new Lieutenant-Governorship-in-Council administering the areas of Behar, Chota Nagpur and Orissa, and of a Chief Commisionership of Assam, with such administrative changes and redistribution of boundaries as Our Governor-General-in-Council, with the approval of Our Secretary of State for India-in-Council, may in due course determine.
It is our earnest desire that these changes may conduce to the better administration of India, and the greater prosperity and happiness of Our beloved people.
N E X T