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India, A Bird’s-eye View – Earl of Ronaldshay (1924)

SG$72.00

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India, A Bird’s-eye View – Earl of Ronaldshay (1924)

SG$72.00

Title: India, A Bird’s-eye View
Author: Lawrence Dundas (Earl of Ronaldshay)
Publisher: Constable & Company, 1924. First edition.
Condition: Hardcover, no dust jacket. Very good. One large fold-out map, detached by still present, with a small tear at t

Sold out!

SKU: ronaldshay-india Categories: , ,

Title: India, A Bird’s-eye View
Author: Lawrence Dundas (Earl of Ronaldshay)
Publisher: Constable & Company, 1924. First edition.
Condition: Hardcover, no dust jacket. Very good. One large fold-out map, detached by still present, with a small tear at the bottom. 14 beautiful photographs on individual plates. Clean except for previous owner’s inscription. 2 blank pages partially glued together in front. Clean text.

About the book

This book reeks of nobility. It was written by Lord Ronaldshay, also known as Lawrence Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland, Lord Dundas, Earl of Ronaldshay (whichever title you prefer), and previously owned by Lt.-Col. James David Bibby, a member of British nobility who was part of the British army, under the 4th Q. O. Hussars, as he states in the inscription. The photographs in the book are beautiful, and the content is very interesting. But maybe it’s best to just stick a review of this book, published in The Spectator on 5th September 1924:

THE British public is commonly accused of crass ignorance on imperial questions and especial ignorance of India, though it knows more about scattered parts of the earth than does any other nation. These two books help to disprove the charge of ignorance ; they would not have been produced were there no interested public ; once produced they throw much light on a difficult question. The two are quite different in scope, method and purpose. Lord Ronaldshay’s is at once the more ambitious and the more conventional. He does not attempt to describe the whole sub-continent even in outline, but where he has ideas or special knowledge of his own—that is in many places—he lingers and explains. He is most interesting, at least to the general reader, on the north-west frontier question, when he advocates a cautious ” forward policy ” (as it used to be called a generation ago), and on the causes of Indian pessimism. His description of the Karma doctrine, and of its results in religion and politics, is admirable, but, in fact, the whole book is interesting and sympathetic. Save at moments it eschews modern politics and concentrates on the permanent things in Indian life. Lord Ronaldshay in effect accepts Matthew Arnold’s famous lines about the East “She bowed her head before the blast In patient desp disdain. She let the legions thunder past, Then plunged in thought again.”

About the author (from Wikipedia):

Lawrence John Lumley Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland KG, GCSI, GCIE, PC, DL, JP (11 June 1876 – 6 February 1961), styled Lord Dundas until 1892 and Earl of Ronaldshay between 1892 and 1929, was a British Conservative politician. An expert on India, he served as Secretary of State for India in the late 1930s.

Zetland was returned to Parliament for Hornsey in 1907, a seat he held until 1916. Much of his public career centred around British India. In September 1912, he was appointed (with Lord Islington, Herbert Fisher, Mr Justice Abdur Rahim, and others) as a member of the Royal Commission on the Public Services in India of 1912–1915. He was Governor of Bengal between 1917 and 1922 and Secretary of State for India between 1937 and 1940. Although a member of the Conservative Party, his belief was that Indians should be allowed to take ever-increasing responsibility for the government of the country, culminating in Dominion status (enjoyed by Canada, Australia, and other formally self-governing parts of the British Empire).

Zetland played an important role in the protracted negotiations which led to the Government of India Act 1935, which began, subject to the implacable opposition of Winston Churchill and the “diehards” to anything that might imperil direct British rule over India, to implement those ideals. He was ideally placed as Secretary of State for India to implement them, although the two Viceroys with whom he served, Lords Willingdon and Linlithgow, were rather less idealistic than he. In the event, Willingdon and Linlithgow were proved right when the Congress Party won the 1937 Provincial elections, much to the dismay of Zetland. Zetland’s term as Secretary of State — and the experiment with democracy represented by the 1935 Act — came to an end with Churchill’s assumption of the Prime Ministership in 1940: Zetland then offered his resignation, feeling that his ideas and Churchill’s regarding India were so different that “I could only end by becoming an embarrassment to him.” Zetland was also an author: Rab Butler, who served under him in the India Office, records that he asked how he could understand better his chief’s thinking about the future of India and received the answer: “Read my books!”

Zetland was sworn of the Privy Council in 1922 and made a Knight of the Garter in 1942. He also bore the Sword of State at the coronation of George VI in 1937 and was Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire between 1945 and 1951.He was elected President of the Royal Geographical Society in 1922.