Sir Dinkar Rao - Encyclopedia

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SIR DINKAR RAO (1819-1896), Indian statesman, was born in Ratnagiri district, Bombay, on the 10th of December 1819, being a Chitpavan Brahmin. At fifteen he entered the service of the Gwalior state, in which his ancestors had served. Rapidly promoted to the responsible charge of a division, he displayed unusual talents in reorganizing the police and revenue departments, and in reducing chaos to order. In 1851 Dinkar Rao became dewan. The events which led to the British victories of Maharajpur and Panniar in 1844 had filled the state with mutinous soldiery, ruined the finances, and weakened authority. With a strong hand the dewan suppressed disorder, abolished ruinous imposts, executed public works, and by a reduction of salaries, including his own, turned a deficit into a surplus. When the contingent mutinied in 1857, he never wavered in loyalty; and although the state troops also mutinied in June 1858 on the approach of Tantia Topi, he adhered to the British cause, retiring with Maharaja Sindhia to the Agra fort. After the restoration of order he remained minister until December 1859. In 1873 he was appointed guardian to the minor Rana of Dholpur, but soon afterwards he resigned, owing to ill-health. In 1875 the viceroy selected him as a commissioner, with the Maharajas Sindhia and Jaipur, and three British colleagues, to try the Gaekwar of Baroda on a charge of attempting to poison the British resident. He also served in the legislative council of India, and was frequently consulted by viceroys on difficult questions. An estate was conferred upon him, with the hereditary title of Raja, for his eminent services, and the decoration of K.C.S.I. He died on the 9th of January 1896. No Indian statesman of the 19th century gained a higher reputation, yet he only commenced the study of English at the age of forty, and was never able to converse fluently in it; his orthodoxy resented social reforms; he kept aloof from the Indian Congress, and he had received no training in British administration.

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