Indian Civil Service
The Indian Civil Service may be abbreviated ICS. Before 1858 it was known as the Honourable East India Company's Civil Service.
The service was a cadre of men appointed to administer India and may also known as the Covenanted Civil Service. Employees were required to pass examinations to University level and signed a covenant or 'bond' of good behaviour to serve the East India Company only, as a condition of appointment. The term 'Indian Civil Service' is also used loosely of the Indian public services in general.
Initially, the Honourable East India Company Civil Servants handled the civil administration of India, they were covenanted to provide a lifetime of service.
Civil service control was transferred to the Indian Government under the Government of India Act of 1858 afterwards new members of the service were contracted for a 10 year term. The creation of the Imperial Civil Service of India was as a result of the 1886–87 Public Service Commission recommendation.
Covenanted service was given by the elite top ranks of the Civil Service who gave a pledge good behaviour. Lower ranks that took Uncovenanted Service were recuited in India, be they English, Indian, or Anglo Indian.
A subcategory of the Indian Civil Service was the Indian Political Service whose members were responsible for the civil administration of frontier districts and also served as British Agents to rulers of Princely States.
- Assistant (to Magistrate and Collector)
- Deputy Collector
- Joint Magistrate,
- Collector-Magistrate (before 1858 known as the District Officer)
After reaching the rank of Joint Magistrate, career progessions was to become a Collector-Magistrate, or Judge. Judges, ofter went on to sit on the High Court after 20 years service. A Collector-Magistrate may become a Commissioner of a Division, or gain a seat on the Board of Revenue. Moving sideways, he may become an Under-Secretary for the Lieutenant Governor.
In the Unregulated Provinces, Deputy-Commissioners replaced the role of Collector-Magistrate.
Arriving in India in 1830, after 2 years patronage supported training at Hertford (1806-1809) and Haileybury Hertfordshire, England (1809-1858) entrants seeking to gain “Writership” became a student writer at The East India Company's Calcutta College in Fort William. Students were lavishly rewarded with ₤400 a year, and encouraged to borrow heavily to acquire high status and comfortable lifestyle - often enabling them to stable 40 horses; not unexpectedly this was reformed. Reforms still allowed students sufficient finance to keep three horses and a buggy. Club memberships and mess parties continued to allow them to gain social influence in the capital.
In 1856 the system of appointment by patronage was replaced by an open competitive examination. Courses of instruction and language training were then carried out in England. Young men were deemed to be fit for immediate service so no longer socialised in the capital unlike their predecessors. They would rely on local tutors for regional dialects.
Entrance requirements c 1872, page 158 Index Scholasticus: Sons and daughters. A guide to parents in the choice of educational institutions, preparatory to professional or other occupation of their children by R. Kemp Philp 1872 Archive.org
- FIBIS Fact File No 7: Some major sources for Ancestors in the Indian Public Services by Lawrie Butler with a contribution by Tim Thomas, published 2012, 48 pages
- It comprises a list of Abbreviations; Introduction to the L/F/10 Series at the British Library; Case study of research using the L/F/10s; an Index of the L/F/10 series; Availability of Microfilms at both the British Library and the LDS; an article about the Indian Civil Service Records held at the British Library by Tim Thomas.
- Available to buy online from the FIBIS Shop
- List of Uncovenanted Europeans Employed at Fort St George 1818, 1819 (logged in FIBIS members only), 1820 (logged in FIBIS members only) are available on the FIBIS database, transcribed by Sylvia Murphy
- "Civil Service Records in the India Office Reading Room: A Study of the L/F/10 series" by Lawrie Butler with a contribution from David Blake FIBIS Journal Number 25 (Spring 2011), pages 37-42. This article focuses on the Uncovenanted Servants Lists within this series of records.
- "The British Indian Civil Service" by Peter Bailey FIBIS Journal Number 29 (Spring 2013) pages 30- 37. "A brief history and description of the service". See FIBIS Journals for details of how to access this article.
- "Keddahs and Epigraphists : miscellaneous appointments in India and Burma in 1909" by Bill Hall FIBIS Journal Number 31 (Spring 2014), pages 26-29. For access, see FIBIS Journals
- "W. Edward Bankes, an East India Company writer in the 1720s" by Francesca Radcliffe FIBIS Journal Number 34 (Autumn 2015), pages 29-37. For details of how to access this article, see FIBIS Journals. W. Edward Bankes was a writer from c 1726 in both Bombay and Bengal, before dying in 1729 at the age of 27.
- Civil Service British Library guide on how to use sources from the India Office Records
- Alphabetical list of the Hon. East India Company’s Madras Civil Servants, from the year 1780 to the year 1839. Edward Dodwell and James Samuel Miles 1839
- Alphabetical List of the Honourable East India Company’s Bombay Civil Servants, from 1798, to 1839 ... Edward Dodwell and James Samuel Miles 1839
- A similar listing for Bengal is available online , together with a later listing for Madras and Bombay, refer below.
- India Office Serials IOR/V/6 1768-1948 This series comprises serials published or printed by, or on behalf of, the East India Company and the India Office. The serials include Lists of the Company's Servants 1768-1799, the East India Register and Directory (later India List) 1803-1895, the India Office List 1886-1947 and the India Office Establishment 1884-1948. Some are available online, refer Directories online, or on LDS microfilm, with this catalogue entry. (Ordering microfilms). These Lists usually provide short records of service, providing the date of appointment, promotions and qualifications for individuals.
- Histories of Services IOR/V/12 1875-1955. This series includes records of service for overseas Indian Civil Service personnel and for other civil servants of gazetted rank.
- Civil Lists IOR/V/13 1840-1958. This series includes all the issues of civil lists of the Government of India and of the provincial governments. Coverage is usually restricted to gazetted officers in the main series of lists, but there are a few supplementary lists of subordinate services and also some fuller departmental establishment lists which include non-gazetted appointments, in particular the Telegraph, Indo-European Telegraph, Public Works and Railways departments.
Also see FIBIS resources above.
- Returns of Deaths of Uncovenanted Servants and Other Officers IOR/L/AG/34/14A 1870-1949. The returns, which are not 100% complete, relate to Europeans born in the UK and India and to a few Eurasians. Volume 1: 1870-1876 has been transcribed and is available on the FIBIS database
- This India List post advises that a number of LDS microfilms in respect of uncovenanted servants are listed in the LDS Library catalogue under the title A return of all offices, places and pensions, civil, political, military and commercial held under the East India Company within the United Kingdom and colonies. India Office. The reference IOR/ L/AG/30/1-22/1-60 is quoted, however an examination of page 2 of the film notes for the catalogue entry shows that many of the records for uncovenanted servants are from the series IOR/L/F/10/119-188, for the period to 1900 (broken range).
See List of Indian Civil Servants for details of some individuals.
- Civil Service reading list
- Life in India-Work
- Bonds, Covenants, Indentures and Obligations, etc.
|The FIBIS Google Books Library|
has books tagged:
- Indian Civil Service and Category: Administrators in British India Wikipedia
- The Civil and Military Patronage of the East India Company, 1784-1858 by John Michael Bourne 1977 PhD thesis, University of Leicester.
- India Office Records Civil Service sources British Library
- Guide to India Office Records relating to Central Asia explains the role of the Political and Secret Department. British Library publication.
- “The Men Who Ruled India” by Sagarika Ghose, Outlook, 25 June 1997
- State Change in the Punjab: Professional and Personal Experiences of British Civil Servants over India’s independence and beyond by Catherine Eleanor Brown Coombs. Submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of PhD, The University of Leeds, School of History September 2011.
- Victorian Wars Forum
- Growing Up in Assam: A Personal Story by Amrit Baruah 2011. The author was born c. late 1920s and his father was a magistrate, then Additional Judge. scribd.com, now archived. Alternative version documents.mx
Historical books online
- Alphabetical list of the honourable East India Company's Bengal civil servants, from the year 1780, to the year 1838 etc by Edward Dodwell, James Samuel Miles (1839) Google Books
- A General Register of the Hon'ble East India Company's Civil Servants of the Bengal Establishment from 1790 to 1842 ... To which is Added a List of the Governors General of India by Rāmachandra Dāsa, Henry Thoby Prinsep 1844 Google Books. The Alphabetical List commences here
- Record of services of the Honourable East India Company's civil servants in the Madras presidency, from 1741 to 1858... by Charles Campbell Prinsep (1885) Archive.org
- Alphabetical List of the Bombay Civil Servants 1798-1839 by Dodwell and Miles googlebooks.com
- "Return of the Officers in each Court of Justice in India" in Sessional Papers Printed by the Order of the House Of Lords: Session 1852-53, Volume XIII, Accounts and Papers East India Company. Google Books
- Memorials of Old Haileybury College by Frederick Charles Danvers, Sir M Monier-Williams etc. 1894 Archive.org. An Account of the Origin of the East India Company’s Civil Service and of their College in Hertfordshire. Contains Lists and details of the men who attended the College, which closed in December 1857.
- Oriental Memoirs: A Narrative of Seventeen Years Residence in India by James Forbes Google Books. 1813 edition, in four volumes, with illustrations. Volume I, Volume II, Volume III, Volume IV. 2nd edition 1834, revised by his daughter Volume I, Volume II. The author arrived in Bombay in 1766, aged 16 to work as a writer.
- Wanderings of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque: During Four-and-twenty Years in the East With Revelations of Life in the Zenana by Fanny Parkes [Parks] (sometimes seen as Fanny Parkes Parlby). Volume I, Volume II 1850 Archive.org. She came to India in 1822 with her husband, a civil servant, probably Charles Crawford Parks, appointed a Writer in 1816. "Lady of the Raj" by William Dalrymple 10 June 2007 The Guardian.
- Fifty-Seven: Some Account of the Administration in Indian Districts during the Revolt of the Bengal Army by Henry George Keene 1883 Archive.org
- How I won the Victoria Cross by Thomas Henry Kavanagh, Assistant Commissioner in Oudh, 1860 Google Books
- Personal Adventures during the Indian Rebellion in Rohilcund, Futtehghur, and Oude by William Edwards, Judge of Benares, and late Magistrate and Collector of Budaon in Rohilcund. 1858 Google Books
- The Personal Adventures and Experiences of a Magistrate During the Rise, Progress, and Suppression of the Indian Mutiny by Mark Thornhill 1884 is available as a pdf download on the Digital Library of India website. Also available as a current reprint by Cambridge University Press Preview Google Books.
- Memorials of the life and letters of Major-General Sir Herbert B. Edwardes by his Wife 1886 Archive.org Volume I, Volume II He entered the Bengal Army 1841, and subsequently was seconded to the Civil Service where he was Commissioner of Peshawar during the Indian Mutiny.
- "The Bengal Civil Service" Chapter IV of Sketches of Social life in India by CT Buckland (1884) ex-Bengal Civil Service
- Lives of Indian Officers: Illustrative of the History of the Civil and Military Service of India Volume 1 by John William Kaye (1867) gives, from p45, the background to the Civil Service. Contents Volume 1 Google Books Contents Volume 2 Archive.org
- Thirty-eight years in India : from Juganath to the Himalaya Mountains by William Tayler, late Commissioner of Patna. 1881 Archive.org. Volume 1, Volume 2. The author commenced work in the Bengal Civil Service in 1829.
- Memorials of Service in India: from the correspondence of the late Major Samuel Charters Macpherson Political Agent at Gwalior during the Mutiny, and formerly employed in the suppression of human sacrifices in Orissa.1865 Google Books. Archive.org (has better maps) He initially joined the Madras Army in 1827. In 1831 he was appointed assistant surveyor-general and was engaged in both military and survey work. In 1841 he was appointed as Assistant to the Agent at Ganjam, Political Agent at Bhopal in 1853, and Political Agent at Gwalior in 1854.
- Reynell Taylor, C.B., C.S.I. a biography by E. Gambier Parry 1888 Archive.org. The subject joined the Bengal Army in 1840 , serving as a Cavalry Officer until c 1846. He subsequently served as Commissioner in various areas in the North West until his retirement in 1877.
- Memories of Rugby and India by Sir Alexander J. Arbuthnot 1910 Archive.org. The author was in the Madras Civil Service from 1842 for thirty years.
- A Servant of "John Company"; being the Recollections of an Indian Official by Henry George Keene 1897 Archive.org. Born 1825, he was in North West India 1847-1882 when he was obliged to retire, having served for thirty five years.
- Here and There: Memories, Indian and Other by H G Keene 1906 Archive.org.
- Thirty Years of Shikar by Sir Edward Braddon 1895 Archive.org.The author was in India from 1847, including the Civil Service, probably after the Indian Mutiny. Australian Dictionary of Biography. He left India in 1878, when his post disappeared following the amalgamation of Oudh and the North-Western Provinces, and later became a politician in Australia.
- Thirty-five years in the Punjab, 1858-1893 by G. R. Elsie. "The last Haileybury Civilian who worked in that Province" 1908 Archive.org
- Life in the Mofussil; or, The Civilian in Lower Bengal by G Graham (1878) Archive.org Volume 1, Volume 2. The author went to India c 1860.
- Sir Robert G. Sandeman K.C.S.I., peaceful conqueror of Baluchistan by A.L.P. Tucker 1921 Archive.org. Born 1835, he joined the Bengal Army in 1856 and the Civil Service in 1859, working in the North West from 1861 until his death in 1892.
- Memoirs of a Bengal Civilian by John Beames is available as a pdf download on the Digital Library of India website. He served as Collector of Cuttack from 1875 to 1878 and earlier as Collector of Balasore District from 1869 to 1873. For more details about this book, and John Beames, see the Cuttack page.
- Among Indian rajahs and ryots; a civil servant's recollections & impressions of thirty-seven years of work & sport in the Central Provinces & Bengal by Andrew H. L Fraser 1912 Archive.org. He joined the Civil Service in 1871 and became Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. Wikipedia
- The Little World of an Indian District Officer by Robert Carstairs 1912. Archive.org. He was in the Bengal Civil Service 1874-1903.
- The diary of a civilian's wife in India, 1877-1882 by Mrs. Robert Moss King 1884 Archive.org Volume I, Volume II. Her Husband was Collector at Meerut at the commencement of the book and in 1878 was appointed Officiating Judge
- After Five years in India, or, Life and Work in a Punjaub District by Anne C Wilson.1895 Archive.org. The author's husband was deputy-commissioner, magistrate and collector in the Sirsa District, part of the Hissar District.
- Letters from India by Lady Wilson (A C Macleod) [Anne Campbell] 1911 Archive.org
- The India We Served by Sir Walter Roper Lawrence 1928. Archive.org. He joined the Punjab Civil Service c 1879 He left India October 1903 but returned for the Royal visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales November 1905 to March 1906. During WW1 he was involved with setting up the hospitals in Brighton for Indian soldiers.
- Work And Sport In The Old I. C. S. by W O Horne [William Ogilvie] 1928. He was appointed to the Madras Civil Service in 1882. Pdf download, Digital Library of India.
- India as I knew it, 1885–1925 by Sir Michael Francis O’Dwyer 1925 is available as a pdf download on the Digital Library of India. Additional files are also available. In 1885 he was posted to Shahpur in the Punjab and retired as lieutenant-governor of the Punjab in 1919. His actions during the unrest of 1919 were controversial.
- And that reminds me being incidents of a life spent at sea, and in the Andaman Islands, Burma, Australia, and India Part III India (page 123) by Stanley W. Coxon 1915 Archive.org. The author, probably born c late 1850s commenced with the Civil Service in India in 1892, having previously been with the Police in Burma. He was appointed as Deputy Commissioner at Chanda, the most southerly District of Central Provinces, part of the Nagpur Division page 154 He retired on medical grounds in 1906.
- An Ignorant in India by R E Venede 1911 Archive.org The author was visiting a friend who was a Collector in an indigo region in Bengal
- Diversions of an Indian Political by Lieutenant-Colonel Roger Lloyd Kennion 1932. Pdf download, Digital Library of India. Experiences of a political officer in Northern India from 1892. He also wrote Sport and Life in the Further Himalaya 1910, serving in Kashmir, Gilgit and Leh, and a further book on Eastern Persia.
- Jungle Trails in Northern India: Reminiscences of Hunting in India by John Hewett. With 24 plates and a map 1938. Pdf download, Digital Library of India. Sir John was Governor of United Provinces with many royal friends. Hunting largely between 1907 and 1912, including tiger hunting in the jungles of Tarai, Cooch Behar, the Central Provinces, and up north in Kumaon and Garhwal. The author joined the Indian Civil Service c 1877 when he was posted to the North-Western Provinces.
- Trials in Burma by Maurice Collis 1938 may be read online on the Digital Library of India website. Pdf download. The author was a member of the Civil Service in Burma from 1912, and his autobiography covers the years 1928-1931, particularly his role as District Magistrate of Rangoon, and the riots of 1930.
- Impressions of an Indian Civil Servant by Roderick Donald Macleod 1938 is available as a pdf download on the Digital Library of India.
- The Men Who Ruled India, published in three volumes, The Founders (1953), The Guardians, Volume I and The Guardians, Volume lI (1954) by Philip Woodruff (pseudonym) are available as pdf downloads on the Digital Library of India. The author was Philip Mason who joined the Indian Civil Service in 1928, and his books are about members of the Indian Civil Service.
- Listen to the 1978 interview Philip Mason, with transcripts. He talks of his training for the ICS, his work as a court official and map surveyor, and of his life as an author.
- "Abridged Code of Regulations Affecting Civil Employees" in The Bengal and Agra annual guide and gazetteer, for 1841 Part 2, p193, Google Books
- Appointment in 1848 from The Oriental Interpreter and Treasury of East India Knowledge... by Joachim Hayward Stocqueler (1848) p284, Google Books
- The Punjab Record or Reference Book for Civil Officers Volume 3 1868 Google Books
- The Punjab Record or Reference Book for Civil Officers Volume 4 1869 Contains circulars, with indexes, for 1869. Each section is numbered separately:Financial Circular Orders; Police Department Orders, commencing here; Account Department Orders; Jail Department Orders; Registration Circular Orders; Supreme Government Orders, commencing here; Punjab Government Orders, commencing here; Selections from the records of the Office of the Financial Commissioner, Punjab 1869 Google Books
- Manual of Rules and Regulations compiled for the use of Junior Members of the Madras Civil Service. Brought up to 31st January 1870 by William Donald Google Books