To What Extent Should Curzon Be Seen As A Failure

1556 words - 7 pages

‘To what extent should Curzon be shown as a failure’?

Curzon’s journey as viceroy began on the 31st December 1898, when he arrived in Calcutta. Curzon differed from previous viceroys, as he was not reluctant to play the position of viceroy in India, but was actually eager to partake in this opportunity. Many factors contributed to his eager attitude to becoming viceroy, like the fact that he had always been interested in Indian history and his fascination of travelling also played a part in his desire to become viceroy, so much so that he described it as ‘ the greatest of his various ambitions’. Curzon had two terms as viceroy that were overall quite successful, however due to ...view middle of the document...

This is because he supported the British raj and his imperialistic personality made it easier to understand the importance of India, to Britain in terms of international status and power.

Another reason why Curzon can be seen as a success is because; he understood how fundamental the princes were in assisting and sustaining the British raj. Curzon understood that British co-operation with the princes was vital in ensuring a successful rule, so therefore Curzon wanted to improve the quality of the rule of the princes. He believed that in order to improve the Raj and the lives of its subjects, he would have to improve the lives of the rulers first. He wanted to reform their reckless ways and make sure that they behave ‘not as relics but rulers’. He wanted them to have a more optimistic outlook on their rule and use their taxes to make change that would help to improve the lives of their subjects and not just use taxes for their own personal consumption, which was often corrupt. He made sure, that the princes would improve the lives of their subjects by controlling the number of opportunities they had to go abroad as he believed that this drifted the prince’s attention away from more important issues at home. He also kept detailed reports on the personal activities of the princes, to make sure that they were not partaking in activities that could misrepresent the British raj in the eyes of the prince’s subjects. This is significant because he understood the importance of the princes and tried to use the princes as a way of engaging with Indian people, by giving them important roles in events that were fundamental in displaying British power such as the Delhi durbar. The fact that Curzon was so determined in improving the rule of the princes is important because its shows Curzon’s dedication to the raj and his eagerness to improve the lives of the subjects and in general the British rule. We can say that Curzon was a success because even after his departure, the princes remained loyal allies of the British and wanted to sustain the British raj, even when it was at the brink of disappearance.

Another reason why Curzon can be seen as a success is because of his attempts to make government more efficient. Curzon understood that if British rule was to be sustained, the administration and government of India needed to improve. It can be argued that his genuine love for Indians was a pushing factor in making government more efficient because he understood that it correlated with making the lives of Indians better and improving social conditions, and as a result make them more supportive of the raj. He was successful in doing this because he acknowledged that the ICS was over beuracratic and slow in making decisions, he reformed the way the ICS worked by making sure that the decision making process was sped up. As well as this he aimed to revolutionize public institutions, with the hope that Indian faith in the raj would be restored. Another...

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