The Indian Biographical Dictionary (1915)/Preface


In this book an attempt has been made to present the general public in this country with succinct biographies of most, if not all, living persons who have had a direct connection with India either as officials or non-officials. In the majority of cases these biographies are based on materials very kindly furnished by the persons themselves: the rest are compiled from authoritative sources of information. The main object kept in view has been to produce a comprehensive work useful to busy people. Few care to wade through pages of writing to pick out the main incidents of a notable’s life. The British “Who’s Who” which has supplied the model to the Japanese “Who’s Who”, and the American “Who’s Who”, is an invaluable work, and covers a field as wide as the world itself. Its utility as a book of reference is beyond praise, while its general accuracy has been a matter for wonder with most people who have had occasion to use it. It has many Indian and Anglo-Indian names included in it, but in the nature of things it cannot be expected that it can deal with all personages whom India knows or delights to honour. It is the purpose of the book to fill in this gap. In its main design it follows that excellent book of reference, and it will be apparent to those glancing through its pages that it covers a wide ground. The name of almost every man and woman who has worked or is working for the good of India, in the moral or material, religious or political spheres has been, it is thought, included in it. Every endeavour has been made to include the names of all title-holders in India, but it is possible that owing to non-receipt of replies or from the paucity of information available, there are occasional omissions. In the next edition of the Dictionary, it is hoped to make good this short coming. A work like this depends very largely for its accuracy and comprehensiveness on the help that the general public render its Editor. It is hoped that many more will respond in the years to come to the appeals for information sent to them. In order to facilitate the work of giving accurate addresses, a desideratum, in a reference book of this kind, those sending back proofs will help the Editor very much, indeed, if they will add an address or check the one already inserted and supplement the same with the name of the club or clubs to which they may belong, so that correspondence may be easily directed to them. Clubs in India are very numerous and there are few who do not belong to one or other of these. To facilitate their work a list of clubs is included in the appendices printed at the end of this volume to which reference is solicited.

In the preparation of this book, histories of gazetted officers issued by the Government of India and the various local Governments and Administrations, and the Feudatory States of India, the India Office List, Debrett’s Baronetage and Peerage, 1914; Dodd’s Peerage, 1914; Who’s Who, 1914; Sir Roper Lethbridge’s The Golden Book of India; Mr. Buckland’s Dictionary of Indian Biography, Whittaker’s Almanac, 1914, and many other official and non-official publications have been consulted and to publishers and authors of these the Editor would here express his great indebtedness.

It is inevitable that a work of this kind, passed through the press under difficulties and during intervals of time snatched from a busy working day, should contain some typographical errors. The errata issued will, it is hoped, tend to clear most of these. The Editor craves the indulgence of the public in this matter. Every practicable suggestion intended to improve the utility of the book will, the Editor wishes to add here, receive his best attention when the time comes to issue the next edition.

In conclusion the Editor would tender his thanks to the many gentlemen who have helped him in any way in bringing out the work. He would specially thank those who have readily responded to his call for information. Also, those who have very considerately tendered suggestions to increase the utility of the book. He would also express his thanks to Messrs. K. V. Raja Rao and T. Raja Rao who have assisted him in the preparation of the volume and to Mr. L. Swami Rao, b.a., in reading the proofs.

The Editor.