Learning the tricks of the trade

Learning the tricks of the trade


Learning the tricks of the trade
The records of Princely Mysore during the second half of 19th century provide us interesting information about certain mechanisms that the British government used. One among them was the appointment of guardians and tutors to princes. The main objective was to groom princes and to acquaint them with the skills of administration. Hence, the art of grooming the princes for future endeavour was considered by the British as a priority.

The system of appointing guardians and tutors came into practice in Mysore State after the 1857 revolt. After the death of Krishnaraja Wadiyar III on March 27, 1868, this became more practical. Before his death, he had adopted Chamarajendra Wadiyar X. However, the British government refused to recognise the adoption. However, the king with the help of his friends in Mysore and England, succeeded in getting the British government to recognise the adoption.

The British government also thought that the adopted son should be handed over the responsibility of administration of Princely Mysore. At that time, L B Bowring was the Commissioner of Mysore State. On September 23, 1868, Chamarajendra Wadiyar was coronated as the Maharaja of Mysore by L B Bowring. With this, a new chapter began in the history of Princely Mysore.

The deceased king had expressed his desire that his adopted son must be provided a sound education. Hence, the idea of appointing a tutor for the prince emerged. The first tutor was Lt Colonel Frederick Paul Haines. He was appointed on September 24, 1868.
The government took much care while appointing him. His responsibility was not only extensive, but also involved risks. There was an urgent need at that time to care for the prince’s early childhood. There was also a need to impart a liberal tone to his tastes by proper education and travel, and to encourage him to participate in sports.

However, after a short period of teaching, Lt Colonel Haines resigned in May 1869. In July, Lt Colonel G B Malleson, an officer of the Indian Army, was appointed as the guardian. He was expected to cooperate with higher officials in the Commissionerate and work under L B Bowring. He devoted himself with zeal and assiduity to his role as a guardian. He was assisted by J D Gordon, who entered the service in Mysore. Letters exchanged between the guardian and higher officials throw light on the progress being made by the new king from time to time.

Tours and tutors
Though the deceased king was supportive of the grooming of the prince in a modern way, he objected to Chamarajendra Wadiyar’s shifting from Mysore to Bangalore. This sentiment was also echoed by the queen and relatives. However, the colonial rulers realised the importance of taking the prince on tours. So, he was taken to Madras, Calcutta apart from many places within the province. The tours were considered an important learning exercise that can leave a lasting impression.

After some time, tutors came to occupy an important place. W A Porter took charge in July 1878 as the king’s private tutor. He was taught translations (English to Canarese and vice versa), arithmetics, science and grammar. He was also taught administrative skills as the British government envisaged the idea of transferring the administration during the late 1870s. In this light, the instructions imparted to the prince became noteworthy. This is evident from the report submitted by W A Porter to J D Gordon, chief commissioner of Mysore and Coorg, and the guardian of Chamarajendra Wadiyar X. The report also highlights the experiences, which the prince had gained through tours and excursions.

Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar also excelled in sports and other physical exercises. Lawn tennis, cricket and driving were his afternoon amusements. One evening of a weekday was reserved for polo. In the hunting season, he was taken for hunting twice a week. On March 25, 1881, Chamarajendra Wadiyar X was handed the reins of governance of Princely Mysore.

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