Albion Rajkumar Banerjee

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Sir
Albion Rajkumar Banerjee
CSI CIE
Prime Minister of Kashmir
In office
1927–1929
Monarch Hari Singh
Preceded by Padam Deo Singh
Succeeded by G. E. C. Wakefield
Diwan of Mysore kingdom
In office
1924–1926
Monarch Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV
Preceded by M. Kantaraj Urs
Succeeded by Sir Mirza Ismail
Diwan of Cochin kingdom
In office
1907–1914
Preceded by Nemali Pattabhirama Rao
Succeeded by J. W. Bhore
Personal details
Born 10 October 1871
Bristol, United Kingdom
Died 25 February 1950(1950-02-25) (aged 78)
Calcutta, India
Alma mater University of Calcutta
Balliol College, Oxford
Occupation civil servant

Sir Albion Rajkumar Banerjee CSI CIE (10 October 1871 – d. 25 February 1950) was an Indian civil servant and administrator who served as the Diwan of Cochin from 1907 to 1914, Diwan of Mysore kingdom from 1922 to 1926 and as Prime Minister of Kashmir from 1927 to 1929.

Early life and education[edit]

Albion Banerjee was born in a Bengali Hindu Brahmin family in Bristol on 10 October 1871 to Sasipada Banerji of Baranagar near Calcutta (now Kolkata) and his wife Rajkumari Banerji. He studied at the General Assembly's Institution and graduated from the University of Calcutta and subsequently earned his master's degree at the Balliol College, Oxford.

Career[edit]

Administrative[edit]

He cleared the Indian Civil Service examinations in 1894 and was appointed Assistant Collector and Magistrate in the Madras Presidency.

Political[edit]

Banerjee was appointed Diwan of Cochin in May 1907 and served till 1914.[1] He was responsible for the introduction of The Cochin State Manual.[2]

Under Diwan Visvesvaraya he joined Mysore as a Minister (Councilors as they were known). After the resignation of Visvesvaraya as Diwan, he became the First Councillor under Diwan M. Kantaraj Urs. But for the ill health of M. Kantaraj Urs, he would have left Mysore service much earlier. But ended up as Diwan as the latter resigned. He served as Diwan of Mysore between 1922–26. Thus he ended in signing the 1924 Cauvery accord.

He was appointed as the Prime Minister of Kashmir in 1927. He resigned from his post in 1929 (being the first and only person to hold that post to do so on moral grounds) following differences with the Dogra monarch on the latter's lavish lifestyle, that was sustained by a poor population. His wrote:

Jammu and Kashmir state is labouring under many disadvantages, with a large Mohammedan population absolutely illiterate, labouring under poverty and very low economic conditions of living in the villages, and practically governed like dumb driven cattle. There is no touch between the government and the people, no suitable opportunity for representing grievances... The administration has at present no or little sympathy with people's wants and grievances...[3]

Publications[edit]

  • Indian Affairs (a quarterly journal published from London).
  • Indian Tangle (Hutchmson—London)
  • Indian Path-Finder (Kemp Hall Press—Oxford)
  • Rhythm Of Living (Ryder & Co -London)
  • Looking Ahead in Wartime (Harmony Press-London)
  • What is Wrong with India (Kitabistan—Allahabad)
  • Through an Indian Camera (Bangalore Press)

Honours[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Somerset Playne, J. W. Bond, Arnold Wright (1914, Reprint 2004). Southern India: its history, people, commerce, and industrial resources. Asian Educational Services. p. 372. 
  2. ^ Achyutha Menon, C (1911). Cochin State Manual. Cochin State. 
  3. ^ Geelani, Syed Bismillah. Kashmir, Kashmiris and Kashmiriyat in Manufacturing terrorism: Kashmiri encounters with media and the law. Promilla and Co., Publishers, page 33.

References[edit]

  • Who's who – India. Tyson & Co. 1927. p. 14.