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.
- 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
- 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, 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. 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
- India Office Records Civil Service sources British Library
- “The Men Who Ruled India” by Sagarika Ghose, Outlook, 25 June 1997
- This India List post discusses the meaning of covenanted.
- Victorian Wars Forum thread in which Frogsmile identifies the uniform in a photograph to be Civil Service Levee Dress 4th Class. The subject was in the Indian Political Service.
- 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
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
- "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
- History of services of gazetted officers employed under the government of the N.-W.P. and Oudh. Corrected up to 1st Jan., 1881. Compiled in the Govt. Sectt., N-.W.P. and Oudh, Allahabad. 1881 Archive.org Index
- The Indian Civil Service List for 1880 Archive.org
- Quarterly Civil List for the Punjab: Corrected up to 1st October 1898 Archive.org
- The India List and India Office List 1905 Google Books
- Oriental Memoirs: A Narrative of Seventeen Years Residence in India by James Forbes Volume I, Volume II 2nd edition 1834, revised by his daughter. Google Books. The four volumes of the original edition, published 1813, are available to read online at Kerala State Central Library Rare Books Online (Volume 3 is catalogued Oriental Memories). The author arrived in Bombay in 1766, aged 16 to work as a writer.
- 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 to read online on the Digital Library of India website. Also available as a current reprint by Cambridge University Press Preview Google Books.
- "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 (1881) Archive.org Volume 1, Volume 2. The author commenced work in the Bengal Civil Service in 1829.
- Reynell Taylor, C.B., C.S.I. a biography by E. Gambier Parry 1888 Archive.org. The subject joined the Indian 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Memoirs of a Bengal Civilian by John Beames may be read online 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.
- Thirty-five years in the Punjab, 1858-1893 by G. R. Elsie. "The last Haileybury Civilian who worked in that Province" 1908 Archive.org
- 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
- The India We Served by Sir Walter Roper Lawrence 1928. 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.
- 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
- "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