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Carmichael, Lord


Carmichael, Lord was the first Governor of Bengal (1912-1917) after the annulment of the partition of bengal and turning it into a Governor's province in 1912. Born in Edinburgh on 18 March 1859 Thomas David Gibson-Carmichael, educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, worked as Private Secretary to George Trevelyan and lord dalhousie and got political and intellectual training from them. He was in parliament representing Middleton from 1895 to 1900, and served as the Governor of Victoria, (in Australia, 1908-11) and Madras (1911-12) before he became the Governor of Bengal.

By virtue of its becoming a Governor’s province Bengal had now an autonomous Governor directly appointed by the India Council and an Executive Council to advise the Governor and perform executive responsibilities. The elections to the Legislative Council were held in 1913. A local representative was taken on the three-member Executive Council. Bengal Government had now also a Chief Secretary and a Secretary to enhance the efficiency of the government.

Lord Carmichael was aware of the circumstances under which Bengal was partitioned first and then reverted to old status tarnishing the image of the government. He was also conscious of the political quandary of the Muslim leadership consequent upon the annulment of the Partition. During his tenure of office, Carmichael made Dhaka the headquarters of the province once a year for a month or two and visited eastern districts of the province once a year. He was serious about founding a university in Dhaka. The war situation worked as a deterrent to the scheme. But he founded a special Public Works Division in Dhaka entrusted with the responsibility of creating necessary infrastructure for the forthcoming University. He also appointed five special Inspectors for supervising the education of the Muslims of the province. In his efforts to attract the Muslim students to education, he introduced New Scheme Madrasas under which both Islamic Studies and English were taught. The scheme was extremely successful in the expansion of education among the Muslims.

The administrative improvement under Lord Carmichael led the nationalists to believe that the colonial authorities could have made Bengal a Governor's province instead of partitioning it if their intention was not political. Carmichael's administration was, however, considerably affected adversely by the revolutionary activities, depressed jute market and general price rise due to repeated failures of winter crops and war situation. However, Lord Carmichael's determined efforts could avert a serious calamity. He died on 16 January 1926. [Sirajul Islam]