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Lawrence, John Laird Mair, 1st Baron

Lawrence, John Laird Mair, 1st Baron (1811–79). Lawrence was born in Yorkshire, educated at Haileybury School, and joined the East India Company service in 1830. He achieved celebrity during and after the Sikh wars (1845–6 and 1848–9) which brought the company possession of the Punjab. As the first commissioner of Jullundur district, he laid the foundations of ‘the Punjab school’ of administration which identified closely with the interests of the peasantry and sought to preserve traditional forms of society and law. In this, he clashed fiercely both with his brother and fellow Punjab commissioner, Henry, who favoured the Indian aristocracy, and with prevailing government policies which, under Lord Dalhousie, strongly promoted westernization. However, he proved his point during the 1857 Indian mutiny when he kept the Punjab ‘loyal’ and was able to send troops to relieve Delhi. Subsequently, the Punjab became the principal recruiting base for the Indian army and the influence of his ‘school’ was established. He was viceroy of India from 1864 to 1869, and was given his barony on leaving office.

David Anthony Washbrook

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