CONTRIBUTION OF VARIOUS GOVERNOR GENERALS

Introduction

  • Till well into the twentieth century, British Government in India was basically an autocracy of hierarchically organized officials headed by the Viceroy and the Secretary of State, while the ultimate Parliamentary control was spasmodic and largely theoretical.

  • Developments after 1858 had in fact considerably enhanced the personal role of the Viceroy-Secretary of State combine, while bringing them into much closer contact with each other through the communications revolution symbolized by the submarine cable and the Suez Canal (1865-69).

  • The Indian Councils Act of 1861 had also strengthened the Viceroy's authority over his Executive Council by substituting a 'portfolio' or departmental system for corporate functioning.

  • The Imperial and local Legislative Councils enlarged or setup by the same Act included a few non-official Indians but were essentially decorative. Being entirely nominated bodies till 1892, they even lacked, before the reforms of that year, any statutory powers of discussing budgets or putting questions.

  • The political structure thus concentrated enormous powers in the hands of the Viceroy and the Secretary of State, and so some consideration of their personal attitudes and political affiliations remains relevant

  • I. Warren Hastings.

    He followed Robert Clive as the governor of Fort William. He was a reformist and the steps he took were:

    1. Abolished dual government system and the now the Company servants collected revenue on their own.

    2. Board of revenue was created and collectors were established to collect revenue. The treasury was moved to a safer location of Calcutta from murshidabad. Calcutta soon became the capital of Bengal and then India.

    3. To remove the highly corrupt judicial system Civil courts were created presided by the collectors and criminal courts by an Indian judge. Appellate courts for civil and criminal cases were there in Calcutta. Highest court of appeal for civil cases was sadar diwani adalat and criminal cases were sadar Nizamat adalat.

    4. A bank was established in Calcutta. Pre paid postal system was introduced. Police too were created to stop dacoits.

    5. He was a patron of Indian languages and arts. He was a person of oriental tastes.

    3. Regulating Act, 1773:

    The controller of East India Company [E.I.C] was the court of proprietors and court of directors. The three presidencies were independent and managed by governor and his council. The court of directors was elected annually and managed the affairs of the Company. The mismanagement of Indian territories led to bankruptcy of the Company and the directors asked for a loan. The government passed this act as a precondition for the loan.

    It laid the foundations for a centralized administration in India.

    Governor of Bengal became the Governor General of Bengal with an executive council of four to assist him. Decisions would be taken by majority and governor general could only vote in case of tie. Presidencies of Madras and Bombay lost their independence and became subordinate to Bengal.

    It established a Supreme Court of Justice at Calcutta. It prohibited the servants of E.I.C from accepting gifts and engaging in private trade.

    II. Lord Cornwallis

    He was a respected aristocrat. He led the British army in the war against America. Although he had to surrender he still commanded deep respect amongst his fellow countrymen.

    Salient points of his rule were:

    1. He increased the salaries of the Company servants and prohibited their private trade.

    2. He removed collectors from the post of judges of the civil courts. Separated judiciary and administration.

    3. Indians judges were appointed at the lowest judicial levels. District and city courts had European judges. Provincial court of appeals had European judges. Highest court of appeal at civil and criminal courts was governor general in council.

    4. Father of the Police System: He appointed darogas in every thanas for policing.

    5. He was the father of the Indian civil service.

    6. He was responsible for implementing permanent settlement in Bengal and Bihar.

    7. He was responsible for reformation, modernization, rationalization of civil service. He started the covenanted civil service with only Europeans and un-covenanted civil service for others.

    III. Richard Wellesley

    He was famous for introducing the subsidiary alliance system.

    1. Pindaris rose during his regime as the thousands of soldiers who became unemployed as they were dismissed due to the subsidiary alliance. These soldiers became dacoits.

    2. He was the maker of madras presidency and creator of Agra province.

    IV. Lord Hastings

    Salient features of his administration:

    1. The Nepal and British territories were bordering each other. The Gurkha’s were aggressive and this led to confrontation. Lord Hastings declared war on Nepal and defeated them.

    2. Ended the menace of the Pindaris.

    3. Defeated the Marathas.

    4. He was the maker of the Bombay province.

    IV. Lord Hastings

    Salient features of his administration:

    1. The Nepal and British territories were bordering each other. The Gurkha’s were aggressive and this led to confrontation. Lord Hastings declared war on Nepal and defeated them.

    2. Ended the menace of the Pindaris.

    3. Defeated the Marathas.

    4. He was the maker of the Bombay province.

    V. William Bentinck

    He was the first governor general to believe in serving the Indian people.

    Salient features of his administration:

    1. He followed a policy of non intervention and non aggression with Indian princely states.

    2. He abolished the provincial court of appeals.

    3. Introduction of local languages in lower courts and English in higher courts.

    4. Responsible for abolition of sati, female infanticide and suppression of thugs.

    5. English became the official language of India. Calcutta medical college was established.

    6. Introduction of English education.

    Charter Act, 1813: It reduced monopoly of EIC to trade with India. But it kept monopoly for trade with china. It also allocated an amount of Rs. 1 lakh for promotion of Indian education.

    Charter Act, 1833: Ended all monopolies of EIC with respect to trade. Governor General of Bengal became the Governor General of India. It laid the foundation of Indianization of public services.

    Chapter Review

    Q1:The first census and statistical survey of India was conducted by

    • Ripon
    • Mayo
    • Dalhousie
    • Bentinck


    Q2:Partition of Bengal was decided by

    • Dalhousie
    • Wellesly
    • Curzon


    Q3:Illbert bill which would have allowed Indian magistrates to try Europeans was introduced by

    • Mayo
    • Ripon
    • Dalhousie
    • Bentinck


    Q4: Supreme Court of Justice at Calcutta was established by Which Act

    • Pitts Act
    • Regulating Act
    • Lex Loci
    • Charter Act


    Q5:Lex loci Act allowed

  • only europeans could have weapons
  • europeanization of civil service
  • allowed christian converts to inherit property
  • allow indian judges to try europeans in courts