Dow entered the Indian Civil Service in 1909 and served in various senior administrative and advisory capacities in pre-war India. From 1939 to 1941, he was Director-General of Supply and President of the War Supply Board, India; and from 1941 to 1946, Governor of Sind. He became Governor of Bihar in 1946. He was appointed a CIE in 1932, a CSI in 1937, knighted with the KCSI in 1940 and appointed a GCIE in 1947.
Dow served as the second Governor of Sindh from 1 April 1941 to 14 January 1946 succeeding Sir Lancelot Graham. He laid the foundation stone of Dow Medical College, now a constituent college of the Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi in December 1945. A resolution stated that the Hugh Dow, the governor of Bihar and the Indian National Congress were responsible for the massacre. The Muslim League stated that Hindu mobs had killed 30,000 people in the province. Historians such as Suranjan Das have referred to the Great Calcutta Killings of 1946 as the first explicitly political communal violence in the region.
He died in November 1978 in London. He passed in his sleep. He had married Annie Sheffield, who died of cancer in 1956 after that he never married again or had another woman, spending 22 years as a widower in his central London Flat. Annie Sheffield was appointed a CBE in 1948 for welfare work.
They had a son Hugh Peter and a daughter Dorothea Dow, who married an Australian doctor and spent the rest of her life in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.
He and his wife refused to use rickshaws because they thought it was degrading for the men. Instead, they walked and had shelters built for the rickshaw men so that they had a place to sleep and to get out of the rain.
Sir Hugh Dow did brilliantly at school and was awarded scholarships which funded his studies. As he did not come from an elite family, he was sometimes looked down on by those who did. Although his father became a Methodist Christian minister around the age of forty he was not at all interested in any kind of church. He set himself extremely high standards in all aspects of his life and was described as very kind, gentle and generous, but not out-going and rather serious by his granddaughter in a letter to the Dow College.
Dying at 92 years of age, he was still very fit and died without a state of illness going ahead. He did daily physical exercises until he was 85 years old, saying he did not want to end as an bent old man with shuffling feet.
- "No. 33831". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 May 1932. p. 3573.
- "No. 34396". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 May 1937. p. 3080.
- "No. 38161". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1947. p. 7.
- "List of Governors". Sindh Governor House. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- "Introduction". Dow University of Health Sciences. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- Dow, Hugh (1976). "A note on the Sindhi alphabet". Asian Affairs. 7 (1): 54–56.
Letter from his granddaughter http://www.thedowdays.com/wp/2017/12/12/the-letter-from-the-grand-daughter-of-sir-hugh-dow/
Sir Lancelot Graham
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Sir Robert Francis Mudie