Leaving Buckingham Palace for India

A wet November day - the 11th

They reached here on 2nd December
with many stops and receptions on the way

"As one newspaper put it 'When it comes to participating in the glory of the Empire, Englishmen are apt to leave us in the cold'. And who can say this feeling is unwarranted , when at Imperial conferences India is never directly represented, and when in pursuit of their racial and economic interests the Dominions take measures to exclude undesirable immigrants - a policy which in principle is not attacked - they ignore Indian sentiment? It was felt that His Majesty had recognised the position of India, and adapted the most effective means of asserting its foremost place in his thoughts.

This was the spirit in which India made ready to receive the King. There was a momentary discussion as to the fitting theatre for the scene. Calcutta put in a word for herself, but it was a forlorn hope. Great as is the commercial city which has risen on the muddy banks of the Hughli, marked out by Job Charnock (? Note: it was already there ), with the prescience which belongs to genius, and splendid as is the mighty capital which the enterprise of Englishmen has raised on this unpromising foreshore, there is only ONE Imperial city and that is Delhi".

"It has been foremost in Indian History since the earliest period of Aryan colonisation of India. It was the capital of successive dynasties, each one of which embellished it with architectural monuments , until the last of the Moguls passed into obscurity half a century ago; in the neighbourhood have been fought the most decisive battles in the annals of Hindustan, and every foot of the city and its environs is historic ground. Even Calcutta was forced to acquiesce in the logic of events, and to agree that there was no real competitior with Delhi."

"The Government of India made adequate provision out of the handsome budget surpluses of 1911 for the celebration of the Durbar on a fitting scale, setting aside six hundred thousand pounds for the Durbar and the great gathering of the various Governments( a lot of Rajahs and Maharajahs were still around) it entailed, and another three hundred thousand pounds for the concentration of eighty thousand troops and prolonged manúuvers which would assist to train the Indian army on a grand scale.*"

"Large as the sum was , none in India questioned the importance of making a proper provision for the reception of the Monarch : that was a graceless task reserved for a few who would, neither directly nor indirectly, bear a farthing of the burden. It was moreover provided out of abundant surpluses , and in a year when no additions to a light burden of taxation and special grants were made for education and sanitation (SURE :). Even alien rulers tried to justify abnormal expenses. Wish current ones did the same. ). Then casting round the ranks of the Civil Service for one who might be placed in general control of the Durbar arrangements, the Viceroy decided upon Sir John Hewett, the Lieutant - Governor of the United Provinces, who had established his reputation as a brilliant administrator with both courage and imagination. With him were associated a Durbar Committe with four of the most progressive (read: those who understood our peculiar ways) Indian Princes, the Maharajahs of Gwalior, Bikanir and Idar, and the Nawab of Rampur, and a band of capable officials, each an expert in his own department. They had not only to prepare the State pageants, but for the accomodation of a city of at least a quarter of a million souls at a centre where the ordinary provision is so scanty that the unexpected arrival of fifty visitors would throw railways and hoteliers into confusion. With this machinery the task of preparation went so smoothly forward that it was almost forgotten until the actual arrival of the King and Queen revealed the great work that had been acomplished."

*The actual expenditure was a total of £560,000 (including the acquisition of the regalia for India) and £207,000 or a total of £767,000.