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Lord Reading (1921-1926) - Viceroy of India UPSC and APSC

Lord Reading UPSC
  • Rufus Daniel Isaacs, the 1st Marquess of Reading, was a prominent figure in British politics and the judiciary.

  • He held esteemed positions such as Lord Chief Justice of England, Viceroy of India, and Foreign Secretary, making him the final member of the Liberal Party to serve in this capacity.

  • In 1921, Lord Reading assumed the position of Governor-General and Viceroy of India, succeeding Lord Chelmsford.

  • The individual in question originated from a socioeconomically disadvantaged Jewish household, however managed to ascend the social hierarchy and achieve the esteemed position of Chief Justice of England by virtue of their exceptional abilities and diligent efforts.

  • The British had numerous problems throughout their rule. This article aims to provide an analysis of Lord Reading's tenure as the Viceroy of India from 1921 to 1926, with a particular focus on its relevance for UPSC test candidates seeking comprehensive preparation.

Background Information

  • Lord Reading, whose lifespan was from 1860 to 1935, held the esteemed position of Viceroy and Governor General of India during the years 1921 to 1926. Rufus Daniel Isaacs Reading, who hailed from Jewish lineage, was born in London on October 10, 1860.

  • The individual received his education at University College School in London as well as in foreign countries. Subsequently, he pursued a legal education at Middle Temple.

  • In 1904, he was elected to the House of Commons from Reading, embodying the ideology of Liberal Imperialism.

  • In the year 1910, he received the appointment of Attorney General, and afterwards, in 1913, he was bestowed the prestigious position of Lord Chief Justice of England. He maintained this role until the year 1921, at which point he was designated as the Viceroy of India.

  • The period of Reading's presence in India corresponded with the concurrent occurrences of the khilafat and non-cooperation movements, with several indigenous uprisings.

  • In his capacity as Viceroy, he displayed a robust response to the burgeoning political groups, and although he generally favored conciliatory approaches, he increasingly resorted to employing summary measures.

  • During his president in Madras, he incarcerated the Ali brothers in 1921, detained Gandhi in 1924, and employed coercive measures to suppress Sikh insurgents in Punjab and the Moplas.

Important Events Under Lord Reading

Moplah Rebellion, 1921

Moplah Rebellion, 1921
Moplah Rebellion, 1921

  • In the state of Kerala, the Moplah community exhibited non-compliance with governmental directives that sought to prohibit Congress and Khilafat gatherings.

  • The situation rapidly deteriorated into a collective rebellion involving Kudiyaan tenants, predominantly Moplahs, and Jenmis Hindu landlords.

  • The movement was effectively quelled, prompting the government to establish a specialized unit referred to as the Malabar Special Police.

Chauri-Chaura Incident, 1922

Chauri-Chaura Incident,
Chauri-Chaura Incident,

  • The Chauri Chaura incident transpired on the 4th of February, 1922, within the vicinity of Chauri Chaura, situated in the Gorakhpur district of the United Provinces, which corresponds to present-day Uttar Pradesh in British India. During this event, law enforcement personnel discharged their firearms against a substantial assemblage of demonstrators who were actively engaged in the non-cooperation movement.

  • As a response, demonstrators engaged in acts of aggression by assaulting and setting ablaze a law enforcement facility, resulting in the unfortunate demise of all individuals present within the premises. The incident resulted in the unfortunate loss of three citizens and 22 police officers.

  • The national non-cooperation movement was terminated by Mahatma Gandhi on February 12, 1922, as a direct consequence of this episode, despite his strong aversion to violence.

  • In spite of Gandhi's resolution, the British colonial authorities imposed the death penalty on 19 apprehended protestors and condemned 14 others to life imprisonment.

Swaraj Party (1923)

Swaraj Party (1923)
Swaraj Party (1923)

  • The Swaraj Party was established by prominent members of the Indian National Congress, namely Moti Lal Nehru, CR Das, NC Kelkar, GS Gharpade, and S Srinivas. These Congress leaders collaborated with Khilafat leaders, including Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, as well as other notable figures such as Subhash Chandra Bose and Vithalbhai Patel. This formation of the Swaraj Party was in direct response to Gandhi's resolution to withdraw the Non-Cooperation Movement.

  • The individuals redirected their attention towards the concept of "Swaraj" during the period of British colonial rule in India. They made the decision to actively participate in political campaigns, seek election to legislative bodies, and strive for transformative reforms.

  • The conduct of these elections was mandated in accordance with the stipulations outlined in the Government of India Act of 1919. These individuals were commonly designated as proponents of change.

  • However, it should be noted that a significant number of Congress leaders temporarily shifted their focus away from agitation and instead directed their efforts towards empowering the impoverished population. This was achieved through initiatives such as providing instruction on the utilization of the Charkha, actively condemning the practice of untouchability, and promoting nonviolent approaches and strategies inspired by Mahatma Gandhi.

  • These individuals were commonly referred to as "No-changers." C. Rajagopalachari was a prominent advocate of the No-changer ideology.

Rise of Communal Politics

Rise of Communal Politics
Rise of Communal Politics

  • The sudden cessation of the Non-Cooperation Movement (NCM) led to a rift between the Indian National Congress and the Khilafat leaders.

  • Fringe sectarian forces had proliferated among both Hindu and Muslim factions. The frequency of Hindu-Muslim riots has increased in comparison to previous periods.

  • Muslims experienced a rise in the practice of tabligh and the formation of Tanzims, while Arya Samajis founded Shuddi Sangathans.

  • The assassination of Swami Shraddhanand in Delhi in 1926 serves as an illustrative instance, highlighting the enduring presence of communalism within the realm of Indian politics.

  • Maulana Mohammad Ali, the president of the Kakinada Session in 1923, tendered his resignation from the Indian National Congress, citing sectarian factors as the basis for his decision.

  • In 1923, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya revitalized the Hindu Mahasabha with the objective of safeguarding and advancing Hindu civilization. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was established in Nagpur in 1925 by its founder, Keshav Bahram Hedgewar.

  • Dr. Hedgewar, a fervent nationalist, had previously been affiliated with the Anushilan Samiti and Yugantar. Initially, he became a member of the Indian National Congress; however, he subsequently departed from the organization to establish the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

  • The objective entailed the education of Hindu adolescents with the aim of fostering cohesion within the Hindu community and facilitating the realization of an autonomous and indivisible India. The individual in question was profoundly affected by V. D. Savarkar and embraced numerous beliefs espoused by him.

Kakori Train Conspiracy, 1925

Kakori Train Conspiracy, 1925
Kakori Train Conspiracy, 1925

  • The Kakori Train Conspiracy was orchestrated by members of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA).

  • Their objective was to engage in a political theft with the aim of acquiring government monies. The act of looting yielded favorable outcomes; nonetheless, the scheme was promptly uncovered.

  • A total of thirty individuals were apprehended, leading to a subsequent trial that culminated in the capital punishment of Swaran Singh (who was Bhagat Singh's uncle), Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rajendra Lahiri, and Roshan Singh.

  • The remaining individuals were subjected to extended terms of incarceration, therefore effectively terminating the activities of the HRA.

Decision to hold Simultaneous exam for ICS

Decision to hold Simultaneous exam for ICS
Decision to hold Simultaneous exam for ICS

  • The Indian Civil Service Examination commenced in India with the foundation of the Federal Public Service Commission in 1922. Initially, the examination was conducted in Allahabad and subsequently in Delhi.

  • The Examination in London was consistently administered by the Civil Service Commission.

  • In a like vein, preceding the attainment of independence, the appointment of higher-ranking police officials was carried out by the Secretary of State via a rigorous competitive examination process.

  • The inaugural open competition for the service took place in June 1893 in England, resulting in the appointment of ten exceptional individuals as Probationary Assistant Superintendents of Police.

  • The opportunity for Indians to join the Imperial Police was granted exclusively after the year 1920, with tests for this service being conducted in both England and India in the subsequent year.


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