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Radha Mohan Lal B.A. Diaries

Identifier: Mss. Acc. 2011.617

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The diaries were written between 1915-1922 by Munshi Radha Mohan Lal B.A., a Nazim, a city magistrate in the Princely State of Jaipur, today's state of Rajasthan in northwestern India. There are four diaries in Box 1, each spanning one year, and two short ones in Box 2. They are in great condition and all entries are legible. They are written in English, with very few words, phrases, dates, or notes written in Hindi and Urdu, the latter, one of the co-official languages in the general area today. There are entries for every day of the year, with some significant exceptions being the period from January 1917 through March 1918 and from 9 March, 1919 to 30 March, 1919. Some of the front pages contain Nazim's official, professional stamp and the last pages usually contain his random notes in English and Urdu (peoples' names, addresses, quotes, business transactions).

The Nazim led very active and intertwined professional, social, and private lives. From 1915 until circa 1917 he served in Sambhar, then through 1922 in Jaipur. He was the official ultimately responsible for the courts in those cities, which were under the authority of the Council of Regency and the Ministers in Jaipur. Thus he tended to have most contact with 'the Minister' and 'the Resident', with the former serving as his "supervisor". The Nazim also served on a working committee for the board of civil supplies and a committee to control supplies.

Radha Mohan Lal was approximatey 40-47 years old when he was writing his diaries. He had attended the Jaipur College. Religiously he and his family were Hindus, he knew Urdu, had a living father, wife, and children (two sons: Hargobind and Gobinda, and daughters). He owned land in Jaipur. His son, Hargobind, was married, had children and was part of the 7th Meerut Division, an infantry division of the British Indian Army that saw active service during WWI. Hargobind was sent to the Middle Eastern front in May of 1918 where he headed a hospital and was wounded. He survived and recovered well. He spent most of his time in Egypt. He returned to India in August of 1919.

The diaries offer great insight into professional, social, and private lives of native provincial officials in the Princely States of British India, into the relationship between native officials and British officials, into the roles rail and commodities, such as salt and sugar cane, played at the time, British India's experience of WWI, into the Satyagraha movement led by Ghandi, and into everyday life in the Sambhar and Jaipur area of the interwar period (pastimes, habits and traditions, religious ceremonies, ailments and diseases from which people suffered, weather and how it influenced agriculture, prices, etc.).


  • Creation: 1915-1922

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Administrative History:

The hierarchy of the British and native governmental bodies and officials at the time the diaries were written:

• H.M. King Emperor

• Council of Regency (Eight Members); had a Foreign Dept and a Police Dept

• H.H. the Maharaja of Jaipur/Maharajadhiraj

        Sawai Madho Singh II (1880 - 1922)

• Ministers/Dewans

        Chief Minister (Dewan) - Amar Nath Atal (1916 - 1922)

• British Resident

        Robert Arthur Edward Benn (1915/16 - 1922)


0.70 Linear Feet : 6 diaries.

Arrangement of Materials:


Physical Description

6 Volumes

Processing Information:

Accessioned and minimally processed by Benjamin Bromley in October 2011.

Being fully processed by Aneta (Ania) Leska, Swem Special Collections Research Center's volunteer.

Guide to the Radha Mohan Lal B.A. Diaries
Finding Aid Authors: Aneta (Ania) Leska, Special Collections Research Center Volunteer.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository