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Reading, Lord


Reading, Lord (1860-1935) Viceroy and Governor General of India from 1921 to 1925. Of Jewish descent, Rufus Daniel Isaacs Reading was born on 10 October 1860 in London. Educated at University College School, London and abroad, he studied law at Middle Temple. He was elected in 1904 to the House of Commons from Reading as a Liberal Imperialist. He became attorney general in 1910 and was made the lord chief justice of England in 1913. He held this post till 1921 when he was sent to India as the Viceroy.

Lord Reading

Reading’s period of office in India coincided with the khilafat and the non-cooperation movement and other local uprisings. As the Viceroy, he reacted strongly to the growing political movements and, though preferred conciliation, increasingly resorted to summary measures. He imprisoned Ali brothers in 1921, Gandhi in 1924 and used force to put down the Sikh rebels in the Punjab and the Moplas in the Madras presidency.  

Reading's term in India expired in early 1926, and in May he was made Marquees, first commoner to be so created since the Duke of Wellington. In 1931 he was made foreign secretary in Macdonald's national government but soon vacated the post after the general election. His biography in two volumes was written by his son under the title 'Rufus Isaacs, First Marquees of Reading' during 1942-1944. He died on 30 December 1935 in London. [KM Mohsin]