The Greatest Civil Servants -

who redefined the way we live.

SIR THOMAS MUNRO

Sir Thomas Munro
- The Stirrupless Majesty

Munro was all for administration in the local language. He deplored the practice of appointing those who were not fluent with the local lexicon to Administrative posts and the Judiciary. He felt that Indians ought to be allowed to dispense Justice by themselves and wrote:

"I have never seen any European whom I thought competent, from his knowledge of the language and the people, to ascertain the value of the evidence given before him. The proceedings in our courts of judicature, which in our reports make a grave and respectable appearance, are, I know, frequently the subject of derision among the natives.

You are not here to turn India into England or Scotland. Work through, not in spite of, native systems and native ways, with a prejudice in their favour rather than against them; and when in the fullness of time your subjects can frame and maintain a worthy Government for themselves, get out and take the glory of achievement and the sense of having done your duty as the chief reward for your exertions."

Some of the lasting contributions of Sir Thomas Munro to the Madras Presidency are:
  • Ryotwari Settlement, which enabled the ordinary cultivators to enter into an agreement with the State, for the annual tax payable and thereof eliminating the Zamindari System.
  • He advocated for reduction in import duty for Indian Goods to Great Britain and introduction of uniform taxation rate for both British and Indian goods. His evidence before the British Parliamentary Standing Committee in 1823, an Import and Export of Goods with India are noteworthy and filled with passion to promote Indian trade.
  • As Commissioner of Judicial Reforms Commission, he ensured the Executive Magisterial Powers be conferred on the District Collector and brought the District Police under the supervision of the Collector. Hence, Sir Thomas Munro redefined the role of Executive and Judicial wings at the field level which went on to survive till date with minor modifications.Read More