This is the first of four large volumes, chronologically arranged, that detail major aspects of the life and times of Allan Octavian Hume; he is better known to students of Indian history as the founder and general secretary of the Indian National Congress between 1885 and 1894. Hume joined the Indian Civil Service in 1850 and was allocated to the North-Western Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh) cadre, and served for 32 years before resigning from the Service. Little was known of Hume’s early life and upbringing in England until this painstaking research was undertaken by the editors over some 12 years. Or about his official career, which witnessed, due to his critical disposition and intellectual honesty, his humiliating demotion from being a Secretary to the Government of India, and reversion to the Board of Revenue in the North-Western Provinces; or his brief flirtation with theosophy thereafter before immersing himself in advaita philosophy; or his lifelong passion for ornithology; or his contributions to agricultural improvement that were significant. These aspects of his singular personality are the subject matter of these volumes.

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