The memoirs of Sidney Wadsworth are a vital source on Britain's colonial history during the first half of the twentieth century. Recounting his long and distinguished career in the Indian Civil Service, Wadsworth paints an entertaining picture of the many places in Madras province where he served, with illuminating portraits of the important British and Indian figures with whom he associated. Here we see through his eyes the growth of Indian nationalism and the rise of Gandhi, and the impact of the Second World War on Madras.
Reliving his journey from junior member of the ICS to High Court judge, Wadsworth displays a shrewd acumen and a keen eye for the ridiculous. By no means uncritical of British rule, he emerges from these pages as a conscientious, humane and reasonable official-unlike some of his contemporaries-and one able to accept the huge changes overtaking India. The physical and moral demands of his daily routine reveal the commitment of an administration that, for all its failings, steadily pursued the goal of good and impartial government. Also featuring excerpts from the memoirs of other civil servants then in the province, A Judge in Madras will fascinate anyone interested in the colonial encounter.