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Ah yes, the rubbish

The brilliant John Derbyshire reports:

A newspaper editor’s worst nightmare is that his scribbled instructions to journalists (“insert usual blather abt need 2 fix schools etc …”) might end up in the finished copy.

It happened last week on Britain’s National Health Service website. A job ad for an anesthetist included the line:

Usual rubbish about equal opportunities employer etc …

In 1853 Parliament broke the powers of nepotism and patronage in the Indian Civil Service by passing the Government of India Act. No longer would civil service positions be bought and sold. They would be obtained by merit only.

In 1863, the Indian Civil Service, jokingly but also admiringly called the "heaven born", consisted of Brits who could pass an exam so rigorous it is doubtful that more than one hundred persons could pass it today.

One thousand British civil servants were said to "rule" 400 million Indians. In fact they handled legal disputes, the fight against cholera, the paving of roads, the establishment of water supplies, and irrigation, to name a few items, and as a result often worked to the point of exhaustion.

They were called "the incorruptible" because they were immune to bribes. Working with them, and key to day-day-day administration in each District, were 4,000 Indians and an army of Indian employees.

Queen Victoria had promised that the Indian Civil Service would be open to any applicant regardless of colour. In 1863, Satyendernath Tagore became the first of a number of Indians to pass the exam.

So once again, we find some of the past more truly progressive than our enlightened modern times.

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