The British Raj

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About the author:
Elisabeth was born in 1924, the second daughter of Nora Ford and Ronald Brymer Beckett, I.C.S.,later a High Court Judge in India and after independence, a prominent art historian. She lived in India until she returned for schooling in England at Vyne Stratton and Cheltenham Ladies College before rejoining her family in India.
Elisabeth married Richard Hibbert, I.C.S., in Lahore Cathedral in 1942. After marriage they lived in Kangra district. She toured widely and chaired the welfare committee for families of Indian soldiers fighting in Burma. She returned to England in 1944 where she worked for Picture Post and BBC Publications before her husband rejoined her in 1947.
Following the breakdown of her marriage in 1956, she moved with her children to Oxford. In financial difficulties, she fed her children on home-grown food.
She joined the local Soil Association and became chairwoman of the National Council of Women Standing Committee on Animal Welfare. In that role she organised conferences and meetings in Oxford and Reading and from one such conference, the organization "Compassion in World Farming" was started.
In the late 1960s, she started the Ark Nursery School. The school followed an integrated approach to early education, which incorporated daily bread-making and gardening into the timetable. The approach used ideas from D.W. Winnicott's 'The Child, the Family and the Outside World' and Rudolph Steiner's 'Growth of the Child', but was also inspired by Elisabeth's own experience with children and her philosophy of education. The school not only catered for many Oxford children but also trained young teachers from England, Europe, and the United States. The school was described in the book 'Free Way to Learning: Educational Alternatives in Action', published by Penguin Books in 1974.
Meanwhile, her research on India resulted in drafts of two books on the British in India in which, she tried to correct what she felt were fundamental inaccuracies in previous accounts, advanced and repeated for political purposes, in contradiction to eyewitness evidence.
Elisabeth studied law for a number of years and as a result of her studies, she became increasingly concerned that the British Constitution was being progressively eroded by successive governments. She was particularly incensed by the false assertion that we do not have a written constitution. She continued her pressure on Authority right up to her death from Leukaemia on 7 February 2009.

The British Raj

Volume II Decay

Authored by Elisabeth Beckett

This book began life as a manuscript written by Elisabeth Beckett, daughter of a High Court Judge in India, married to a District Officer in the Indian Civil Service,fluent in Urdu and with many Indian friends. It was written after many years research into the events which occurred at Amritsar on 13 April 1919.
Using contemporary accounts and official documents, Elisabeth has assembled information not readily available to the generality of readers, about the people and events which culminated in the series of riots in India in 1919, of which, Amritsar was only one example. She highlights the distortion of facts which makes up the official version and which were portrayed in the Attenborough film "Gandhi".
The book centres on General Dyer, the man who ordered the firing on 13 April 1919 - an action which has been called the cause of the end of the British Empire. Dyer was vilified for his action, ordered to retire and refused the Court Martial he requested in order to clear his name. In the House of Commons debate on the disturbances, he was accused of terrorism by Edwin Montagu, the Secretary of State for India who had made friends with the Indian Nationalist politicians behind the insurrection. Elisabeth set out to restore the reputation of a brave and honest man.
The book has been edited for publication by John Wrake.

Elisabeth's MS also gave rise to vol. I, entitled 'The British Raj, Growth'. This sets out British involvement in the Indian sub-continent during the three centuries up to 1900. Editing is not yet completed and it is not yet ready to be published.

A dedicated website may be found at, containing related information and an opportunity to comment.

Publication Date:
1466369663 / 9781466369665
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8" x 10"
Black and White
Related Categories:
History / Military / World War I

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