The author of that book prophesied with remarkable accuracy the various so-called
political reform schemes which were going to come subsequently in the next 30 years and whichwere to become the stepping stones on the road to India's freedom in 1983.
The only weakpoint in the book was the Englishman's optimistic attitude towards the duration of theirstay in India. He had expected the British rule to last in India till 1983!
The book depicted ina humorous way the imaginary chaotic functioning of the Parliament (
our Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha of today!!
) that was to be created in India after independence in 1983, if the dreams ofthe Indian nationalistic leaders of 1888 were to become a reality in 1983 in the fullness of time.
Lord Ripon was the Viceroy of India in 1883
.He was known for his liberal attitude towardsIndians and their aspirations.
Sir Courtenay Ilbert
, the then Law Member of Viceroy Ripon'sCouncil, introduced a bill in the Imperial Legislative Council in 1883. In those days no English orEuropean or white citizen in India could be tried by any Indian judge for his offences in India. Thebill sought to do away with that privilege of the whites.
There was a great public outcry fromthe British trading and commercial community in all parts of India
and more particularlyin Calcutta and Bengal--- against the introduction of the Ilbert Bill.
All the local vernacularnewspapers were vehemently in favour of the Ilbert Bill.
Lot of dirty linen was washed bymany Englishmen against the so called native Indians and vice versa. In such an atmosphere ofvituperative public controversy and high public tension, a new book entitled
INDIA IN 1983
What is interesting historically is that this book forecasting the attainment ofIndian independence in 1983, was published in 1888, three years after the founding of theIndian National Congress in December 1885
.The new book created a great public sensation and unprecedented consternation in official circlesat Calcutta. In view of the author's official position, the book was published anonymously, but thegentry of that time guessed correctly who had written it. It was
T. Harte-Davies (1849- 1920), ofthe Indian Civil Service
, a man of versatile talents, the District Judge of Karachi at that time. Hewas an accomplished pianist and a talented linguist.
He knew French, German, Italian andRussian, in addition to three Indian languages. He was a frequent contributor to
The Pioneer of Allahabad,
a leading English newspaper of that time.
Upon his retirement in 1894, he returnedto England only to plunge into active politics there. He was elected as MP for Hackney in1895. He was also an active member of the British Committee of the Indian NationalCongress. He was an enthusiastic champion of the political aspirations of the Indians. Hewas a close associate of Mr. A.O.Hume and Mr. Wedderburn, of the Indian NationalCongress.
In his book
INDIA IN 1983,
described the departure of the
in the following words:
It was a still and broiling day in April 1983 when the last vessel sailed out of Bombay harbour with the English troops on board. The vast bay, which for a month before had been crowded with huge transports and resounded with the rattle of shipping cargo and stores, was now deserted, except for the picturesque native boats and the Mail Steamer which was to convey the Viceroy, the Commander-in-Chief, and the Governors of Madras and Bombay from the shores of India.
caricatured the lawless and unruly Parliament that was going to be established inIndia after independence in 1983. The
President of this new Parliament was Babu Joy KissenChunder Sen.
, this is how he came to the Parliament and started hisproceedings in 1983:
He took his seat, and having just finished his breakfast, proceeded toeructate violently three or four times; he then blew his nose on the floor, holding that organbetween his fore-finger and thumb for the purpose, cleared his throat, expectorated, and finallyrose and burst into a flood of typical oriental eloquence
Gentlemen, fellow-countrymen, shall Inot say fellow-members of Parliament and Romans, lend me your ears. This is theproudest moment of my life, my vita, ars longa, vita brevis, as the poet says, when I see