THE ORIGIN AND GROWTH OF THE KENNEL CLUB OF INDIA
In the absence of accurate data, it is difficult to trace the origin and growth of any institution. To reconstruct from stories handed down inevitably leads to inaccuracies. The earliest records of the Club are not available as in the absence of systematic records.
How the Club originated is hidden in obscurity. As far as we know, it was in or about the year 1896 that a group of European dog-lovers joined together and started a club which they called, THE NORTHERN INDIA KENNEL ASSOCIATION. Judging from the name, it sounds like a Provincial Club although popular opinion considers it to have been an All India Club. How many members the Club had on its books, who formed the Executive Committee and what the functions of the Club were, are not known. The Club was affiliated to the Kennel Club, London, on March 20, 1900 but whether they had any embodied Rules to govern them is not known. It would not be wrong to assume that they subjected themselves only to a gentleman’s code for day to day functioning. They were undoubtedly holding dog shows at Lahore and had held at least ten such shows up to the year 1907, because from the year 1908, we find more definite and accurate records of the events. At the Annual General Meeting held at Lahore on the 22nd December 1908, the name Northern Indian Kennel Association was changed to INDIAN KENNEL ASSOCIATION, and under this name they held the 11th Lahore Dog Show on the 5th and 6th February, 1908. The office of the Northern India Kennel Association was then in Roorki, with Lord Minto the then Viceroy as President, Rev.H.W.Bush as the Chairman and Lt. Col. W.Daswon, I.M.S., the Secretary. Since then the records of events is more or less complete and accurate. It appears that with the retirement of Lord Minto in 1910, there was no President until the year 1926, when Lord Irwin became the President of the Club. In May of the same year we find for the first time that Vice-Presidents also came into being. The first two Vice-Presidents were Lady Irwin and Sir William Birdwood the C in C. In October 1926, in addition to these two Vice-Presidents, H.E. the Governor of Bengal, H.E. the Governor of the Punjab, H.E. the Governor of U.P., H.H the Maharaja of Patiala and H.H. the Maharaja of Jind also became Vice-Presidents.
The year 1926 is a red letter day in the history of the Kennel Club of India, for in the jolly issue of the Indian Kennel Gazette we find the words, “The I.K.A. is dead. Long live The Kennel Club of India”. In this year Lord Irwin, Lady Irwin and Sir William Birdwood, the Governors of three Provinces and the two Maharajas named above accepted office. The following report appears:
“Col. Marriot, Chairman of the Association and the Committee had been most conscious to revive the precedent which the late Lord Minto had established when he took over as President.”
Even in 1927 we find that the 31st Lahore Show was held on the 30th and 31st December 1927. It is quite apparent that the affairs of the Indian Kennel Association were wound up at the Annual General Meeting, because we find that on the 24th and 25th February 1928 the first Championship Dog Show of the Kennel Club of India was held in Delhi. The most notable Judge of the Show was the Countess of I Chester with a band of ten other imposing personalities.
CONSTITUTION AND RULES
Whether the Northern India Kennel Association had a regular Constitution and Rules is difficult to say, but certainly the Indian Kennel Association had, for we find a reference to Regulation 6 (8) of the Show Regulations which required a dog to obtain 3 C.Cs. under three different judges in order to be called a Champion. The operation of this rule was suspended for the year when the celebrated Judge Mr.E. Holland Buckley came to judge on a special invitation and judged a series of Shows here. It was considered that unless the operation of this particular Show Regulation was kept suspended it would cause undue hardship to the exhibitors who were all anxious to show under him.
The Kennel Club of India lost no time in framing their own Constitution and Rules by revising the old ones existing under the Indian Kennel Association. At the Annual General Meeting of the Kennel Club of India held at Lahore on the 30th December 1927 the following resolution was passed:
“The Constitution and Rules be revised by a Sub-Committee consisting of His Highness The Maharajadhiraj of Patiala, Mr. Hart and Miss Wheatley and that on approval by the Committee they shall come into force from the date of such approval.”
It appears that on the 1st February 1929 the first set of rules as revised in terms mentioned above came into force.
The above rules were altered and modified to suit the exigencies of the situation at various Annual General Meetings of the Kennel Club of India held on the 18th July 1941, 21st February 1942 and 20th February 1943, and 13th February 1954, and the present Constitution and Rules of the Kennel Club of India which we still see today are the embodiment of the various amendments made up to 1954.
It is to be noted that neither in the Northern India Kennel Association nor in their successors, the Indian Kennel Association, nor in the early years of the Kennel Club of India were they any Indian members barring a few Rajas and Maharajas. The Club membership consisted solely of Europeans save for a handful of Indians mentioned above. Membership was extremely exclusive and even in the year 1940 it did not exceed 51, the permissible limit under the Constitution and Rules being 150.
In the year 1940, at a Committee Meeting of the Kennel Club of India held in Delhi on the 23rd January 1940, it was considered most desirable that membership should be largely increased. In bringing up the membership to 150 the Committee decided that in order to be eligible for election, prospective candidates must belong either to a Provincial Kennel Club or an All India Specialist Club. It was also decided that in order to bring the management of the Club on to a wider and more democratic basis there should be a General Committee and an Executive Committee of 4 members. The General Committee was to be on a Provincial basis as follows:
|Bengal, Bengal States and Assam
|Madras Presidency, Mysore, Travancore and Hyderabad
|Bombay Presidency, Sind, Kathiawar States and Baluchisthan Agency
|Central Provinces, Central India and Rajputana Agency
|U.P.,Bihar, Orissa and Eastern States Agency
|Punjab, N.W.F.P., Punjab States and Kashmir
These Provincial representatives were to be elected by the members of the club functioning within their respective areas. Quoted below are extracts from the proceedings appearing in the Indian Kennel Gazette March / April issue of 1940.
“The General Committee, when formed, to have power to appoint an Executive Committee of four members who would normally be available to attend meetings in Delhi/Simla. These four might include members who were not on the General Committee.
The General Committee to delegate powers under Rule 32 of the Constitution and Rules of the Club to the Executive who would normally be responsible for the management of the K.C.I.
The proceedings of the Executive Committee would be circulated immediately to all members of the General Committee, and any member of that
Committee could attend meetings of the Executive Committee, all such members
being notified of the dates and times of such meetings. Replies received to this Circular signify almost unanimous approval of the scheme. Further reference to this will be made after.”
Lord Minto was the President of the Indian Kennel Association for the years 1908, 1909 and 1910, and from 1926 to 1931 Lord Irwin. From 1931 to 1936 Lord Willingdon and thereafter from 1936 to 1943 Lord Linlithgow were the Presidents. From 1943 to 1947 Viscount Wavell graced the position, and on his retirement the Rear Admiral Viscount Mountbatten of Burma was the President from April 1947. From July 1948 Sri Rajagopalachari, Governor – General of India came in his place. From now on we no longer had a President as the position was thereafter designated as “Patron-in-chief”. He continued as such till 1950 and in 1951 Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India graciously consented to become our “Patron-in-chief”, an honour which the Club still gratefully enjoys.
In May 1926 Lady Irwin and H.E. The C-in-C Sir William Bird wood accepted the office of Vice Presidents and in October of that year H.E. the Governor of Bengal, H.E. the Governor of the Punjab, H.E. the Governor of the U.P., H.H. The Maharaja of Patiala and H.H. the Maharaja of Jind became the Vice-Presidents in addition to the two other Vice Presidents. In 1926 therefore the Kennel Club of India had no less than seven Vice-Presidents. In October 1928 to the already formidable list there was the eighth added in the Hon’ble, the Chief Commissioner of Delhi. In April 1931 Lady Irwin left India and the K.C.I. therefore had seven Vice Presidents. In April 1938 H.H. The Maharaja of Patiala, and in March 1948 H.E. The Governor of Bengal also resigned and in December 1946 there remained five Vice-Presidents on the list.
The most important person in any club is the Secretary. Generally it is he who is the architect, makes the blue print, erects the framework and constructs the edifice. It is not possible to assess with any degree of certainly how much and to what extent the various Secretaries contributed to the growth of the The Kennel Club of India into its present position. Undoubtedly every one of them did his very best and contributed his mite to the construction of the Club, but the contribution of Mr.L.M.MEDLEY cannot be slurred over or ignored. Very aptly he was called in later years that he succeeded Mr.I.C.Treadway as the Secretary of the Club. The office of the Club was then situated at Rasul, District Gujarat the Punjab. Soon after taking over he transferred the office to Calcutta in 1920. Barring the years 1922/23 Mr. Medley was the Secretary till March 1940. In 1924 Mr. Medley retired from active life and lived on his wife’s property at Dehra Dun to which place the office of the Club was shifted and there it remained til March 1940, that is, for the entire period during which Mr.Medley remained the Secretary.
It would be unfair if we omitted to mention the services rendered to the Club from behind the scenes by an unostentatious lady whose name never came to light officially. This was Mrs. Barlow the Private Secretary of Mr.Medley. She helped considerably to stabilize the working of the organization.
Another person who did a great deal of waork for the KCI was Mr. Bamjee. He knew all the breeds of dogs and what was more he had a thorough knowledge of the administrative side of a Club. A wealthy man with plenty of leisure and with practically no encumbrances, he could devote his undivided attention to the well being of the Club, a duty which he undoubtedly discharges. A man advanced in years, he was still a bachelor. He was hard of hearing, a handicap which made his work difficult at times. The Club was in his thoughts and perhaps in his dreams. His acceptance of the office as Secretary immediately brought a financial relief to the Club to the tune of about Rs.1000/- per month which the Club had hitherto been incurring during the incumbency of his predecessor. The Club thus gained a financial footing once more and stood on its feet again. During the time Mr.Bamjee was the Secretary, he did his very best to retrieve the already depleted funds of the Club. It is felt that had he not stepped into the breach at the critical moment the history of the Club would have been written in a different way.
Immediately on assuming office he set about sorting out all papers and putting the records in order. It is stated that unfortunately he had not obtained complete records from his predecessor. Whatever the reason may be, the fact remains that he had to devote hour after hour in bringing order out of chaos. This naturally told upon his already failing health. A strict disciplinarian, he brooked no breach of the Rules and Regulations of the Club. He pulled up every delinquent, whether he was an individual member or whether it was a Specialist or Provincial Club. It is not very difficult to find breaches of law in some form or other with the best of intentions and with the noble object of maintaining discipline and forcing people to observe Rules and Regulations, he often used to come down heavily upon people at the slightest act of delinquency. In doings so he would often look more to the letter than to the spirit of the Rules. This naturally antagonized some of his friends who took his best intentions to be acts of undue interference. He was soon wrongly taken to be an autocrat of autocrats and gained the epithet of “The Great Moghul”. All this added to the heavy work he had imposed upon himself made his temper even more irritable which had its natural repercussion upon his health. Those who did not know him well often thought his behavior was imperious. In June 1951 Mr.Bamjee resigned his position as Secretary on grounds of health. His friends on the Committee could see that he needed a complete rest. He had already brought order in the affairs of the Club and it would therefore not be difficult for his successor to run the Club smoothly after his resignation. Mr.Bamjee’s resignation had to be accepted with great regret. The Committee, however, in recognition of his services elected him as the Chairman in place of Dr.W.D.West who had resigned on retirement from Government Service and was to go home shortly. Very unfortunately, however, Mr.Bamjee did not live long thereafter. He died on the 29th October 1951 following a heart attack. His death was a great loss to the Club.
MAJOR J.W.GOLDSMITH succeeded Mr.Bamjee. He too very sportingly offered to serve the Club without any remuneration. Like Mr.Bamjee he also gave free accommodation to the office of the Club in his house at Yercaud in South India. A renowned figure in the dog world, Major Goldsmith needs no introduction. His acceptance of office was received with very great satisfaction. He carried out his work very thoroughly and his masterly handling of various intricate and complex problems marked him out as a person of tact and ability of a high order. He succeeded in raising the standard of the Kennel Club of India and the Provincial and Specialist Clubs almost to perfection. Unfortunately, however, the Club was deprived of his services by his untimely and sudden death on the 26th May 1952 following a heart attack.
Then his French wife MRS.O. GOLDSMITH took over as the Secretary who moved the KCI office to Coonoor. Simple in manners, she was straight forward in her dealings which was characterized by thoroughness and fairness. She encouraged Baba Mathews to assist her and he too played an important role in Mrs. Goldsmith's later years and served as Assistant Secretary.
On the demise of Mrs. Goldsmith the KCI office was shifted to Madras (Chennai) with Mrs. Rukmani Sudarsan as the paid Secretary of the Club.
THE INDIAN KENNEL GAZETTE
As has already been stated above the Gazette which we see today was not originally the property of the Club. The Indian Kennel Gazette was founded in 1902. It appears that the Rev. H.W. Bush, who was then the Secretary of the Northern India Kennel Association, was the Editor of this Journal. When Mr. L.M. Medley took over charge of the Indian Kennel Association as its Secretary in 1919, he was already running the journal on his own account. It was then absolutely a private concern and whatever news or other items the Club wanted published had to be paid for it will be remembered that when Mr. Medley took over charge the Club was still known as the Indian Kennel Association. How the interest in and title to this journal devolved upon Mr. Medley is not known but the fact remains that the Gazette remained the personal property of Mr.Medley up to the year 1939 that is, until he retired from the dog world. In this year the Club purchased the assets and goodwill of the Gazette from him on payment of a royalty of Rs.10000/-. After having acquired the Gazette the Clubs started issuing a copy of the journal free to every member of the Kennel Club of India. Outsiders, of course, could enlist as subscribers and obtain their copies on payment of a subscription. This free distribution of the Gazette to the members went on for a long time but during the War, owing to the rise of prices of all commodities, especially of paper and printing materials, it was found impossible to continue this practice without causing the financial ruin of the Club. As a war-time measure only, it was decided to levy a nominal subscription upon each member for the Gazette. It was then thought that it would perhaps be possible again to issue the Gazette free to members after the termination of the War, when prices of commodities were expected to come down again to the pre-war level. Later realization belied the expectations and it was not found possible to revert to the former practice. It was found difficult to issue the Gazette to members even at the prevalent rate of subscription. The subscription of the Gazette was revised and fixed at the present rate for all making no differentiation between members and non-members. The Gazette, at the present time, is just meeting its own expenses. Ever since the year 1919 the Indian Kennel Gazette has been the official organ of the Kennel Club of India with the Secretary as its Honorary Editor.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
As a rule, Annual General Meetings followed the Annual Shows and were held at those places where shows were held, irrespective of where the office of the Club was located. The reason for this practice apparently was that at the annual shows most of the members and executives were present and therefore the dates and places where the shows were held considered the most convenient time and place for the purpose. This custom has come down to the present day and is found beneficial to all.
It will be seen that unless all the members of the Executive Committee, or at least a majority of them, live at the place where the office of the Club is situated, it is difficult to hold a Committee Meeting or even to obtain a quorum. In an All-India Club it is most essential that its executives should consist of persons representing different parts of India. If the Club was to be placed on a democratic basis, the election of persons not representative but out of a group just to help the Secretary in getting certain resolutions passed would be most harmful to the interests of the club. It is for this reason that the election to the Committee is now representative and therefore Committee decisions are now taken on Circular letters issued to Committee members who may be living in distant parts of India. This procedure has been found to be working very satisfactorily and is indeed essential for the growth of a democratic institution.
The first 31 dog shows were held in Lahore. The first 10 of these shows must have been held between 1896 and 1907 under the Northern India Kennel Association. From 1908 to 1926, the 11th to 29th Lahore Shows were held under the Indian Kennel Association. The 30th Lahore Show was held on the 29th and 30th December 1926 under the Kennel Club of India which had just Lahore Show was held in 1927. In the year 1928 a Show was held on the 24th and 25th February and this was called the 1st Championship Show of the Kennel Club of India. From 1928 to 1949 there were 21 shows under the K.C.I. and all of them were held in Delhi. In 1950, it was for the first time that the K.C.I. Show was held outside Delhi. This was the 22nd K.C.I. Show and was held at Poona on the 12th February 1950. the 23rd K.C.I. Show was held in Calcutta on the 7th and 8th march 1951 and the 24th K.C.I. Show at Ootacamund on the 4th may 1952. The 25th championship show of the club, being the silver jubilee show was celebrated on the 25th January 1953 in madras. The 26th championship show was held at Bangalore on the 14th February, 1954.
It is not quite clear whether the Northern India Kennel Association or the Indian Kennel Association ever maintained an approved panel of judges competent or authorized to judge their shows. In the year 1924, the Indian Kennel Association at a year Special Committee Meeting decided to maintain such a panel. Very likely the Committee itself suggested the approved panel of Judges and perhaps the opinions of or suggestions from Provincial and Specialist clubs were neither invited nor taken.
Whether this panel of judges was officially subject to revision or alteration cannot be confirmed, as records on the point are not available. A list of judges was undoubtedly maintained. The state of previous records suggests that a large number of persons were officiating as judges at the shows.
Judging from the impressive list of judges officiating at various shows one does not get a clear idea as to whether they were judging collectively or individually for different breeds. It appears that in the early days and even in the not so distant past, ability was not always the sole criterion on which the judges were appointed. A very old member of the Kennel Club of India and an All-breed judge of renown of the present day recalled her reminiscences to me and she said that she remembered Mr. Medley once remarking about a certain person who was judging for the first time in his life, “He knows about horses, so he must know dogs.” Another Judge (imported!) finding him self in a tight corner while judging went round furtively asking for ‘points’ of certain breeds of dogs. There was yet a third Judge, she remembered, supposed to be an “all-round” Judge who in an after-the-show burst of confidence said, “Between us, this is the first show I have ever judged, but my wife breeds dachshunds”.
PROVINCIAL AND ALL-INDIA SPECIALIST CLUBS
In line with the Kennel Club of India and its predecessor gradually sprang up various miniature Kennel Clubs all over the country miniature because they were smaller bodies all, however, owing allegiance to the supreme authority of the Kennel Club of India. They had all to be registered with the K.C.I. Some of these various Kennel Clubs although catering for all breeds of dogs have a limited territorial jurisdiction. They confine their activities within a Province (now State). These are the Provincial Kennel Clubs.
The other category of miniature Kennel Clubs is the All India Specialist Clubs. Although their territorial limits comprise the whole of India (that is Bharat) yet they cater for only one special breed of their choice.
Stated below are the names and addresses of the various subordinate clubs registered with the Kennel Club of India.
1. BOMBAY PRESIDENCY KENNEL CLUB (Founded 1924)
Secretary, Dr. V.S.Rao, 1, Petit House Annexe, Gowalia Tank, Bombay 7.
2. THE CALCUTTA KENNEL CLUB (Founded 1906),
Secretary, Mr.E.W.Roper, C/o. Messrs. Thos. Cook & Son, (C. & O.)Ltd., 4, Dalhousie Square East, Calcutta -1.
3. HYDERABAD KENNEL CLUB, (Founded 1950)
4. THE MADRAS KENNEL CLUB, (Founded 1947)
Secretary, Dr.K.B.Nair, D.V.M., 27, 2nd Main Road, Gandhinagar, Adyar, Madras-20.
5. THE MYSORE KENNEL CLUB, (Founded 1934)
Secretary, Dr.M.R.Chengeri, 39, Govindappa Road, Basavangudi, Bangalore-4.
6. THE POONA KENNEL CLUB, (Founded 1934)
Secretary, Mr.L.G.Deshpande, 232, Shukramar Peth, Poona-2.
7. THE SOUTH OF INDIA KENNEL KENNEL CLUB, (Founded 1929)
Secretary, Mr.M.Sicanesar, Bank Lane, Ootacamund, Nilgiris.
8. THE UTTAR PRADESH KENNEL CLUB, (Founded 1951),
Secretary, Mr.R.N.Seth, No.2, Walaqadar Road, Lucknow, U.P.
ALL – INDIA SPECIALIST CLUBS
1. THE ALSATIAN (G.S.D.) CLUB OF INDIA (Founded 1934)
Secretary Mr.B.C.Goho, 12, Brindaban Bose Lane, Calcutta 6.
2. THE BULL TERRIER CLUB OF INDIA (Founded 1915)
Secretary Mr.S.C.Roy, 74, Lansdowne Road, Calcutta 25.
3. THE BOXER CLUB OF INDIA (Founded 1949),
Secretary, Mr.M.H.T. Weston, C/o. I.C.I. (India) Ltd 18, Strand Road, Calcutta 1.
4. THE DACHSHUND CLUB OF INDIA (Founded 1947)
Secretary, Mr.B.C.GOHO, 12, Brindaban Bose Lane, Calcutta 6.
5. THE GREAT DANE CLUB OF INDIA (Founded 1930)
Secretary Mr.S.N.Sinha, 11, Braunfeld Row, Alipore Calcutta.
6. THE SYDNEY SILKIE AND AUSTRALIAN TERRIER SOCIETY OF INDIA,
Secretary, Mr.G.G.Ames, C/o. Lloyds Bank Ltd., Hornby Road, Bombay,
7. THE GUNDOG LEAGUE OF INDIA, (Founded 1926)
Secretary, Lt.Col. Wazirzada Ajaib Singh, Kalsian Ashram, Miller Gunj, Ludhiana, Punjab, India.
THE IRISH TERRIER CLUB OF INDIA, (Founded 19240)
THE SPANIEL CLUB OF INDIA, (Founded in 1928) and
THE FOX TERRIER CLUB OF INDIA, are three specialist Clubs that were once popular but have now ceased to function due to lack of interest by those who could have kept them active and full of life.