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Antiquarian Books, Maps, Prints & Photographs - I Antiquarian Books, Maps, Prints & Photographs - I PROCLAMATION DURBAR (1877)
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A very fine hand colored lithograph depicting the arrival of the Indian Maharaja’s on caparisoned state Elephants , In the background is the Juma Masjid Delhi. Copyrighted, Printed & Publish by A Vivian Mansell & Co. London mounted glazed and framed.
Durbar of 1877
Called the “Proclamation Durbar”, the Durbar of 1877 was held beginning on 1 January 1877 to mark the coronation and proclaim Queen Victoria as Empress of India. The 1877 Durbar was largely an official event and not a popular occasion with mass appeal like 1903 and 1911. It was attended by the 1st Earl of Lytton–Viceroy of India, maharajas, nawabs and intellectuals. This was the culmination of transfer of control of much of India from the British East India Company to the Government of Great Britain.
The Durbar was the beginning of a great transformation for India where the campaign for a free India was formally launched. Inside Victoria Memorial in Kolkata is an inscription taken from the Message of Queen Victoria presented at the 1877 Durbar to the people of India:
“We trust that the present occasion may tend to unite in bonds of close affection ourselves and our subjects; that from the highest to the humblest, all may feel that under our rule the great principles of liberty, equity, and justice are secured to them; and to promote their happiness, to add to their prosperity, and advance their welfare, are the ever present aims and objects of our Empire.”
A medal to commemorate the Proclamation of the Queen as Empress of India was struck and distributed to honored guests. Ramanath Tagore was made a Maharaja by Lord Lytton, viceroy of India.
It was at this glittering durbar that a man in “homespun spotless white khadi” rose to read a citation on behalf of the Pune Sarvajanik Sabha. Ganesh Vasudeo Joshi put forth a demand couched in very polite language:
“We beg of Her Majesty to grant to India the same political and social status as is enjoyed by her British subjects.”
With this demand, it can be said that the campaign for a free India was formally launched.