Linlithgow, Marquis

Linlithgow, Marquis Governor General of India from April 1936 to April 1943. Born in 1887 and educated at Eton, Lord (Marquis) Linlithgow was a member of the Round Table Conference and actively participated in all its three sessions held in 1930, 1932 and 1933. He guided the proceedings of the concluding and most successful session of 1933 as its chairman and earned a reputation as a great specialist in Indian politics.

Lord Marquis Linlithgow

Lord Linlithgow was duly chosen by the British Cabinet to succeed lord willingdon as the Governor General of India and Crown Representative in 1936. He launched the operation of the India Act of 1935 by smoothly holding the general elections in all provinces of British India in 1937. Responsible governments were established with elected representatives in all the provinces including Bengal. Linlithgow made several changes of great constitutional and political significance. Sind was separated from Bombay and made a separate province. Orissa was declared a new governor’s province. Burma was separated from India and a separate constitution was enacted for Burma.

The most striking innovation of Linlithgow's administration was the introduction of the federal principle. The eleven provinces of British India were made autonomous units of the federation. But the differences of opinion among the indian national congress and the muslim league nearly wrecked the scheme. The federation scheme could never be implemented fully. The introduction of responsible governments in the provinces had kept the Indian leaders engaged in provincial matters and consequently the British Raj could concentrate its energies on the Second World War as one of the Allied Powers.

A strong believer in preserving and protecting steadfastly the interests of the minority communities, his attitude led to the presence of minority representatives in all governments in Bengal and other provinces during his regime and after. With all these reforms Linlithgow opened a new era in relations between the British and the Indians. India was now set for complete independence without any armed conflict. [Sirajul Islam]