Though some of his early measures restored faith among the indians in the liberal tradition of England, Lord Ripon’s tenure did not bring about significant changes in the conservative mindset of the colonial bureaucracy. Comment.

Lord Ripon was the viceroy of India from 1880-1883. His tenure saw many significant steps. Measures that restored faith among Indians in the liberal tradition of Britain:

  • Local governance reforms – Ripon’s reforms led to him being called as “father of local governance in India”. He brought greater autonomy to then bodies and ensured increased participation of local people instead of bureaucracy.
  • Liberating the Indian press by removing the reactionary vernacular press act 1878, which had introduced pre-censorship.
  • Reforms in education – a body formed during this time suggested the division of education into vocational and professional as per the student’s intellect.
  • Factory laws of 1881 reduced the work hours of women and increased the age of child labor.

However, these measures did not bring significant changes in the conservative mindset of colonial bureaucracy:

  • Ilbert bill controversy – A bill that held that Europeans could be tried by Indian judges, was severely opposed by Britishers and was not allowed to be passed.
  • Recruitment of Europeans to higher posts of bureaucracy and army was continued.
  • Absence of progressive laws for the empowerment of women

Thus, Ripon’s tenure brought meaningful reforms but fell short of reforms needed in society.


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