Delhi Durbar 1911. Special Official Programme for the Bengal Camp


A brief Historical Memoir of Delhi and Guide to Points of Interest together with the Official Programme in detail of the Imperial Coronation Durbar of 1911 with sketch maps, plans, and illustrations. Specially compiled for the Guests of the Government of Bengal. Printed at the Office of the Superintendent, Government Printing, Writers’ Building, Calcutta. [1911] 8vo [8¼ x 7 ins].

Title page, tipped in portraits of the Their Imperial Majesties together with a further 7 tipped in photographs of historical sites and 4 plates with tipped in photographs of the King Emperor’s and Bengal camps, massed bands, and the railway station, plan of the Amphitheatre & Spectators’ Mound, 2 plans of the seating arrangements for the Bengal Camp, 153pp. Original flexible green leather binding with art nouveau blind stamping to front cover and the title in gilt beneath a Bengal Tiger, the front cover curling from the fore edge, edges of the leather very worn where they overhang the underlying card. spine worn and very faded. However the book is completely sound and the contents very clean with no previous ownership markings apart from some pencilled initials at the bottom of the final page SH – the first initial not very clear. The reference to Maps in the title may refer to the amphitheatre plan or maps that could have been provided loose but this copy is identical in contents to the two other copies we have had over the last 30 years. a very scarce item.

The Bengal part of the book, from page 51 onwards comprises:

List of Residents in the Bengal Camp beginning with the Acting Governor, The Hon Mr F W Duke, C.S.I. and giving their tent numbers although the Nawab of Murshidabad is noted residing in Delhi. Mr & Mrs Duke had four tents.

The Staff listing 12 British officers with regiments and tent numbers, and two Indian officers – Subadar Major Hira Singh, Extra Aide-de-Camp & Subadar Harkadal Limbu, Bengal Military Police who were sharing tent 69.

List of Residents in the Bengal Provincial Camp. This lists 26 Title Holders including the Maharajas of Gidhaur, Darbhanga, & Nashipurthe Rajas of Sheohar, Balsore, Sobhar Bazar, Naldanga, Burdwan, Chainpur, Porahat, Jharia, Azimganj, Monghyr, Banaili, the Nawabs Haji Saiyid Razvi & Shams-Ul-Ulama and eight other nobles. 21 Members of the Legislative Council and 6 Service Representatives. 

The Staff 6 medical, public works, police officers.

List of Bengal Chiefs invited to the Delhi Coronation Durbar – the Maharajas of Cooch Behar, Mayurbhanj, Kalahandi, & Sonpur, the Rajas of Bamra & Dhemkanal.

Official Programme  5 pages of daily events from 5th to 17th December.

Programme of the State Entry…. 12 pages including the order of the Bengal Procession.

Arrangement of Seats This lists the Bengal occupants of seats in Blocks P Q & R and is to be viewed in relation to the block plans provided. [Invaluable for identifying people in photographs of the blocks].

Programme of the Ceremonies….December 12th, 1911 9 pages of detail.

Investiture by His Imperial Majesty…14th December, 1911, at 9-30p.m.  8 pages of detail.

Programme of the Departure of Their Imperial Majesties … 16th December. 1911.  6 pages of detail

Commanders, Staffs, and Troops at the Durbar 21 pages including a list of the volunteer units represented. Tables showing the strength of units. [The scale of the event is shown in these numbers: 1,655 British Officers, 1,006 Indian Officers, 18,143 British ORs, & 36,671 Indian ORs].

A remarkably detailed work which contains much more detail, as it relates to Bengal, than the Official Directory, which covers the whole event. A rare survival of which there is no indication of the print run but it was almost certainly only printed in a sufficient number to be given to the residents of the Bengal camps and their visitors. A similar book was produced for the King Emperor’s Camp and we once had a much smaller volume for the Madras camp but we have noticed no others. Until the announcement of the transfer of the capital to Delhi at the Durbar Bengal had a very superior feel to the other parts of India as it was the seat of Government and residence of the Viceroy and Governor General.        sep15/1

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