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Hardinge Papers Relating To Punjab - Book By Dr. Kirpal Singh

Foreword To 'Hardinge Papers Relating To Punjab' By Dr. Kirpal Singh 

'Hardinge Papers relating to Punjab' edited by Dr. Kirpal Singh is a welcome addition to the existing studies in history of Punjab. It explores the records and enriches the source  material that play significant role in constructing an objective profile of history. Prof. Kirpal Singh has brought his ripe and comprehensive vision to locate and study the private letters of English rulers during their tenures in India. In this document he has edited the private correspondence of Governor General Sir later Lord Henry Hardinge (1844-48) and his grandson Viceroy Lord Hardinge (1910-16). The text of book brings into focus the important information which is not available anywhere else. The book offers fresh perspectives on the strategy of English rulers.

I trust this book will be welcomed by the researchers and students who are interested in the study of history.


Preface To 'Hardinge Papers Relating To Punjab' By Dr. Kirpal Singh 

The personal and private correspondence from a separate category of records. It is more revealing as compared to the official records. It plays significant role in reconstructing the history. Someimes the Governors General in India decided important issues by undertaking private correspondence with their superiors of friends and imparted important information to their near and dear ones. The private correspondence preserved with the various families in England indicates that the problems of administration, war and strategy were often discussed in these letters. Such private letters have been preserved at scattered places-in Bank lockers like that of Lord Roberts who was Commander-in-Chief in India (1887-1892),  in Military Archives in the King's College, London- contains the private letters of Lord Ismay, the Chief of Staff of Lord Mountbatten. The Mountbatten papers are preserved at Broadland, Ramsay. In 1964, the writer of these lines utilised his research tour in England in locating and studying private letters relating to the Punjab history at various places. It was an uphill task because all the private letters do not pertain to India much less the Punjab history. With the help of some British friends, I was able to locate and have access to the Family Archives preserved in the village Penshurst, south of England in Kent County.

The personal and private letters of Sir (later word) Henry Hardinge, Governor General of India (1844-1848 A.D.) are important as they give information which is not available anywhere else. For instance Henry Hardinge intimated to his wife his understanding with Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu before and during the Ist Sikh War. This is not available anywhere in the official records. For leaking out this secret understanding with Gulab Singh in his book HISTORY OF THE SIKHS, J.D. Cunningham was dismissed by Lord Dalhousie, successor of Sir Henry Hardinge. J.D Cunningham died broken hearted and was buried at Ambala Cantonment.

The letters of Henry Hardinge and his two sons (one was his A.D.C. and the other his Secretary), who were also fighting during the Ist Sikh War alongwith their father, have never seen light of the day. B.J. Hasrat only published ectracts from the "SELECTED LETTERS FROM HELEN LADY HARDINGE's" Selection of Letters in The Punjab Papers Hoshiarpur 1970). His eldest son who served in India alongwith his father was elevated to be the 2nd Viscount of Hardinge. He wrote two books on India viz. (1) RECOLLECTIONS OF INDIA, and (2) HENRY HARDINGEd. The letter was published as part of 'Rulers of India Series'. Henry Hardinge, grandson Charles Hardings was elevated to Lord Hardinge of Penshurst who became the Viceroy of India (1910-16 AD). The Viceroyalty of Lord Hardinge (1910-16 AD) has been characteristic of the removal of Lord Curzon's unpopular-partition of Bengal, transfer of India's capital from Calcutta to New Delhi, dealing with the Ghadar Movement in Punjab. The activities of Lala Lajpat Rai have been reported in those letters. Both the collections of letters relating to the Punjab are being published for the first time.

In 1964, the Punjab Government sanctioned my research tour to England as a result of writing of book entitled PUNJAB'S PIONEER FREEDOM FIGHTER in collaboration with late Prof.M.L.Ahluwalia, which was subsequently published by Orient Longman, Calcutta. Since it was first visit to England, I made an effort to get guidance from all quarters. Late Col Sir Buta Singh gave me an introductory letter from Mr. Kewal Singh, Deputy High Commissioner for India in England who helped me to have interviews with the various dignitaries involved in the process of Partition of Punjab. These have been published in my book entitled SELECT DOCUMENTS ON PARTITION OF PUNJAB. Late Master Tara Singh gave me an introductory letter for his personal friend late Major J.M. Short who had served the Sikh Regiment and had been Recruiting Officer. I met Major Short at his village and he introduced me to Lady Helen of penshurst who was the daughter-in-law of Viceroy Hardinge. The village Penshurst was near his village Birchden Corner. Major Short introduced me to lady Helen to show me their Family Archives and give me necessary facilities. This book deals with the documents preserved in the Family Archives of Penshurst. The village Penshurst has given India two Governors General - Sir Henry Hardinge, Governor General of India (1844-48) who fought the First Sikh War against the Sikhs and Viceroy Charles Hardinge (1910-16). Private letters of both the Governors General were preserved in their Family Archives. The private letters of Viceroy Hardinge had been recently donated to Cambridge University by the family. So I consulted them at the Cambridge University Library in England. I brought to India the microfilm and xerox copies of letters relating to the Sikhs and Punjab. These were subsequently deposited in the State Archives, Punjab, Patiala.

I am grateful to late S. Partap Singh Kairon, Chief Minister of Punjab (1956-64) who sanctioned my research tour to England and enabled me to consult Hardinge Papers, late Major J.M. Short who helped me to have access to these records, as also Cambridge University Library for giving me necessary facilities to consult the records. I am thankful to the Department of Development of Punjabi Language, Punjabi University, Patiala who encouraged me to edit and annotate these letters and prepare its press copy. Last but not the least I am indebted to Dr. J.S.Ahluwalia, IAS (Retd.) Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala who has sanctioned its publication and has also  written its Foreword Dr. Sukhdyal Singh took pains to get printed of S. Verpal Singh helped me in correcting the proofs and S. Ujagar Singh, typed the manuscript, I am thankful to all of them.


Table Of Contents For 'Hardinge Papers Relating To Punjab' By Dr. Kirpal Singh


Foreword III
Departmental Note VII
Preface IX
Introduction XIII

1.   Private Letters of Lord Henry Hardinge

      Governor General of India ( 1844-48 )

His sons Steward Charles Hardinge (1822-94)  
Arthur Edward Hardinge (1928-92)  

2.   Private Letters of Lord Charles Hardinge

      Viceroy of India 1910-16



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