Print edition : May 12, 2017

J.H.A. Tremenheere.

JAMES Henry Apperley Tremenheere, who was the Acting Collector of Chengleput in 1891, scripted the epoch-making report on the status of Pariahs in Chengleput. The report led to the historical British Government Order of Revenue 1010/1892 being passed, which empowered Dalits with landholding rights. The land that was assigned to Dalits was identified as Depressed Class conditional lands, and later came to be called “panchami” land in Tamil.

A. Ashok, a Chengleput-based Dalit activist and advocate who is also the trustee of the J.H.A. Tremenheere Foundation, told Frontline that while many activists had forgotten the British official’s stupendous contribution to the empowerment of Dalits, he and the foundation were observing his birth anniversary every year as a token of gratitude.

Tremenheere was born on October 30, 1853, in Poona (now Pune) as the third son of Major General Charles William Tremenheere, who worked in the Public Works Department, and Cammilla Elizabeth Grieg. He studied at Lancing College and Cheltenham College. He married the American Jessie Retallack van Auken on October 18, 1887, in New York.

He joined the Indian Civil Service in 1873, completed his training in 1875, and was first appointed to the Madras Presidency in 1878. He served in various places in various capacities as an official of the British government before retiring in 1901. Tremenheere died on October 28, 1912, at Inglismaldie Castle, Kincardineshire, Scotland.

Ilangovan Rajasekaran