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Charter Act of 1813
The Company government took its first step towards education with the Charter Act of 1813. The Company was asked to set aside a sum of rupees one lakh on education. For two decades thereafter this money lay untouched as no consensus could be reached on the medium of instruction and on whether it should be western education or traditional learning.
The Civil Service
Lord Cornwallis organised the civil service system. It became an important organ of the British administration. He laid down a rule that a civil servant should not be engaged in private trade. Officers were recruited to the Indian Civil Services through a competitive examination.
The military and police forces
The military was to protect the Indian territories under the control of the British, to secure new ones and to quell any uprisings in India against the British. The function of the police force was to maintain law and order in the country.
Judicial system introduced by the British
The British introduced a new judicial system in India, based on the one in England. Each district had a civil court for conducting civil cases and a criminal court for trying criminal cases. High Courts were established to review the judgements delivered by these District Courts.
Rise of modern industries
Modern factories were established in Kerala by the middle of the twentieth century. Majority of them were in Travancore and Kochi. The British provided technical and financial support to the industries. The establishment of Pallivasal Hydro Electric Project propelled the development of modern industries. Banks were started in Kerala as institutions for accumulating capital and dealing with financial affairs.
Decline of traditional industries
The British government used to levy heavy duties on goods exported from India to England. The goods coming from England were factory made and therefore, they could be produced on a large scale and at a low price. The Indian artisans found it difficult to compete with these inexpensive goods. As a result, some of the industries in India had to be closed down.
Provisions of the Regulating Act- 1773
i) Appointment of a Governor General in Calcutta who would be superior to the Governors of Bombay and Madras.
ii) Provision was made to set up a Supreme Court in Calcutta with a chief justice and three judges.
iii) An executive Council consisting of four members was set up to assist the Governor-General.
Defects of the Regulating Act
It did not clearly define the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or the powers of the Governor General and the members of the Executive Council. The members of the executive council often created problems. The Governors of Bombay and Madras did not obey the orders of the Governor of Bengal. This Act made the position of the Governor General weak.
Provisions of the Pitt's India Act
i) The Governor General was to be appointed with the approval of the British crown.
ii) The number of members in Governor General's Council was reduced from four to three.
iii) For administrative purposes, a Board of Control consisting of six members was established in Britain to monitor the affairs in India.
iv) The Governor-General was made the Commander-in-chief of the British troops in India and was given total control over the Presidencies of Bombay and Madras.
Lord Warren Hastings
He became the Governor General of Bengal in 1772. Later, he was raised to the position of Governor-General of India. He had to face many difficulties. In 1772, a terrible famine affected Bengal. The administration was crippled. So, the company asked for a huge loan from the British government after which the British government decided to regulate the affairs of the East India Company for which the Parliament passed the Regulating Act in 1773.
Condition of Bengal during Lord Warren Hastings
In 1772, a terrible famine affected Bengal. The Dual Government had ruined the economy of Bengal. The farmers and artisans led a miserable life. The officials of the East India Company were misusing their privileges and amassing great wealth. The administration was crippled.
Administrative reforms of Lord Warren Hastings
He put an end to the Dual Government introduced in Bengal. The East India Company took over the administration of the provinces. The treasury was shifted from Murshidabad to Calcutta.
Judicial reforms of lord Warren Hastings
Two courts of appeal namely the Sadar Diwani Adalat (Civil court) and the Sadar Nizamat Adalat (Criminal court) were established in Calcutta. Civil and criminal courts were set up in each district. A digest of Hindu and Muslim law was compiled.
Revenue and educational reforms of Lord Warren Hastings
A Board of revenue was set up at Calcutta to look into the revenue administration. English collectors were appointed in every district. The land owners got the right to collect land revenue and pay it to the government.
In 1781, he founded the Calcutta Madrassa for the promotion of Islamic studies.
Commercial reforms of Lord Warren Hastings
A Board of Trade was set up to buy quality goods for the company. Company servants were not allowed to carry on private trade. In order to encourage Indian trade, he reduced the customs duty by 2.5%. Many of the custom houses were abolished and he set up only five custom houses at Calcutta, Dacca, Hoogly, Patna and Murshidabad.
The Rohilla War
The Rohillas were Afghans and were frequently attacked by the Marathas. They sought the help of Nawab of Oudh for which the Nawab demanded 40 lakh rupees from the Rohillas. In spite of helping the Rohillas, the Nawab of Oudh did not receive the promised 40 lakhs for which he approached the British. So, Warren Hastings sent an army against the Rohillas. They were defeated and their territory was annexed to Oudh.
The Gurkha War
The Gurkhas of Nepal were a great challenge to the British. Sheoraj and Butwal were captured by the Gurkhas in 1814. The British declared a war on them in which the Gurkha leader Amar Singh was defeated. The Gurkhas were compelled to sign the treaty of Sagauli in 1816.
The Pindari War
The Pindaris were a gang of robbers in Central India. Hastings sent a huge army to subdue the Pindaris. Thus, Hastings exterminated the Pindaris and relieved the people of Central India from their suffering.
Reforms of Lord Hastings
Hastings passed the Bengal Tenancy Act in 1822 to protect the interests of the tenants. He took efforts to promote education among the people. In 1817, a college was opened for the development of English language. He removed the restrictions on the press. He appointed Indians to higher posts in the administration. During his period, the Ryotwari system of revenue collection was introduced in the Madras Presidency.
Permanent land revenue system
In 1793, Lord Cornwallis introduced the Permanent Land Revenue settlement of Bengal. The zamindars were required to pay a fixed amount of cash on a fixed date as land revenue to the treasury irrespective of what they could collect from the peasants. Many zamindars benefitted more than the peasants or the company.
Merits of permanent land revenue system
This system was beneficial to the zamindars. They were the owners of the land and they became very loyal to the Company. This system secured a fixed and stable income for the company.
Demerits of permanent land revenue system
Zamindars became the masters of the land and benefitted. Cultivators were affected the most as they were at the mercy of the zamindars. In order to meet the increasing expenses, the government had to increase tax in other provinces. The government had no direct contact with the people.
Administrative reforms of Lord Cornwallis
He introduced a new administrative civil service system. The civil servants were appointed to administer the British territories effectively in India for which he introduced strict regulations, raised their salaries and gave promotions on merit. The employees could not indulge in private trade.
Police reforms introduced by Lord Cornwallis
He created a permanent police force in India. In 1791, a Commissioner of Police was appointed in Calcutta. The districts were divided into Thanas. Each Thana was headed by a Daroga.
Judicial reforms introduced by Lord Cornwallis
He improved the judiciary. Civil and criminal courts were set up at the district level. Provincial courts of appeal were set up at Dacca, Calcutta, Murshidabad and Patna. Cornwallis increased the salary of the judges to check bribery and corruption. He abolished the court fees. A new code of regulations known as ''Cornwallis Code'' was compiled in 1793.
Revenue and commercial reforms of Lord Cornwallis
He reorganised the revenue department. In 1787, the province of Bengal was divided into many areas and each area was placed under a collector. He established the Board of Revenue to supervise the work of the collectors.
Cornwallis revived the old practice of making direct contact with the Indian merchants and improved trade and commerce.
Charter Act of 1833
According to this Act, monopoly of the East India company was abolished. The Governor General in Bengal became the Governor General of India. This Act added a law member to the executive council of the Governor General.
Indian Council Act of 1861
The aim to pass the bill was an effort to satisfy the soft faction (naram dal). Some of its rules were as follows:
According to this Act, the number of members of the Governor's Executive Council was increased to 5 instead of 4. The Governor-General was given the power to form rules and order for the smooth conduct of Executive Council. Legislative Council was given the power to form rules and laws for the whole country. It was mandatory to take the permission of the Governor-General in order to make a law from a Bill. Governor-General had the prerogative to cancel or amend any law formed by the regional governments.
Indian Council Act of 1892
The most important provision of the Act was to start an election system. Election system was completely indirect and the elected members were treated as nominated members. Through this Act, the number of members was increased in the central and regional legislative councils.
Indian Council Act of 1909
Passed by Parliament in 1909 the statue was known officially as the Indian councils act (1909) and popularly as the Morley-Minto Reforms. The number of members of the Legislative Council at the Centre increased from 16 to 60. Under this Act, a special provision was made for the Muslims. Separate voting and separate constituencies were made for the Muslims. The income qualification for Muslim voters was kept lower than that for Hindus.
Indian Government Act of 1919
Government of India Act 1919 was passed by British Parliament to further expand the participation of Indians in the Government of India. It is also called as Montague-Chelmsford Reforms or simply Mont-Ford Reforms. The Act covered ten years, from 1919 to 1929. The Act provided a dual form of government (a "dyarchy") for the major provinces. In each such province, control of some areas of government, the "transferred list", were given to a Government of ministers answerable to the Provincial Council. At the same time, all other areas of government (the 'reserved list') remained under the control of the Viceroy. The Imperial Legislative Council was enlarged and reformed. It became a bicameral legislature for all India.
Capture and recovery of Calcutta
Inspite of Siraj-ud-daulah's orders, the British were missing their trade privileges which enraged the Nawab. Siraj-ud-daulah marched with this army and captured Calcutta. One hundred and forty-six British soldiers were captured and they were locked up in a small room. Most of them died due to suffocation. On hearing about this tragedy, Admiral Watson and Robert Clive were sent to Bengal. They recaptured Calcutta.
Conspiracy to replace Siraj-ud-daulah
On 23 June 1757, the armies of Siraj-ud-daulah and the English East India Company met at Murshidabad the capital of undivided Bengal. British forces were led by Robert Clive and Mir Zafar, commander in chief of Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah's army. Mir Zafar betrayed the Nawab and remained inactive.
Results of the Battle of Plassey
Siraj-ud-daulah lost the battle. He was captured and later killed. Mir Zafar was rewarded and made the Nawab of Bengal.
Significance of the Battle of Plassey
The victory of British East India company in the Battle of Plassey is one of the important landmark in India History. The Battle of Plassey revealed the utterly corrupt political situation in Bengal. Mir Jafar became a mere puppet ruler and the power rested with the British. On every matter he depended on the English. The Battle of Plassey paved the way for beginning of their empire.
Battle of Buxar
The British declared a war against Mir Qasim. Mir Qasim lost the war and fled to Awadh soliciting support from Shuja-ud-Daula, Nawab of Awadh and Shah Alam II, the Mughal Emperor. The combined forces of these three fought with the British army in Buxar but were defeated.
Significance of the Battle of Buxar
The Battle of Buxar was a singularly important event in Indian history. The rich eastern provinces went to the British with its huge resources.
Governors of Bengal and Governors general of India from (1757 to 1856)
Robert Clive became the Governor General of Bengal in 1758. Warren Hastings became the Governor-General of Bengal from 1772 to 1785. Lord Cornwallis became the Governor General of India from 1786 to 1793. After Cornwallis, Sir John Shore became the Governor General of India. He was succeeded by Lord Wellesley who was the Governor General from 1796-1805. Warren Hastings became the Governor- General from 1813-1823. He was succeeded by Lord Amherst. He was succeeded by Lord William Bentinck. Lord Dalhousie became the Governor General of India from 1848-1855.
Treaty of Allahabad
It was signed in 1765 between the English on one side and Shah Alam II and Shuja-ud-Daulah on the other side. Shuja-ud-daulah was asked to pay a war indemnity of 50 lakhs to the British. The Mughal emperor was given an annual pension of 26 lakh rupees. Shah Alam II granted the Diwani rights of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the English.
Dual government in Bengal
Under this system, the administration of the kingdom was in the hands of the Nawab but the control of the revenue was in the hands of the Company. This meant that there were two rulers in the same administration. The Company benefitted from this.
End of dual government in Bengal (1772)
In this system of Government, neither the Nawab nor the English cared for the welfare of the people. The Dual Government was finally abolished in 1772. Bengal was brought under direct rule of the Company.
Political causes of Revolt of 1857
The political causes for the First War of Independence (1857) include:
(a) British policy of expansion
(b) Disrespect shown to Bahadur Shah
(c) Treatment given to Nana Saheb and Rani Laxmi Bai
(d) Absentee sovereignty of the British
Explain about the policy of expansion
The British tried to expand their political power in four ways, i.e., by outright wars, the Subsidiary Alliance System, the Doctrine of Lapse and on the pretext of alleged misrule.
Disrespect shown to Bahadur Shah
Bahadur Shah Zafar, The Mughal ruler was under the protection of the Company and received a pension from the British. In 1849, Lord Dalhousie announced that the successors of Bahadur Shah would not be permitted to use the Red Fort as their palace. In 1856, Lord Canning announced that after the death of Bahadur Shah, his successors would not be allowed to use the imperial titles with their names and would be known as mere princes.
Treatment given to Nana Saheb and Rani Laxmi Bai
The British refused to grant Nana Saheb, the adopted son of Peshwa Baji Rao II, the pension they were paying to Baji Rao II. Nanasaheb was forced to live at Kanpur, far away from his family seat at Poona. The adopted son of Rani Laxmi Bai was not accepted as the heir to the throne as Rani Laxmibai had become a victim of the Doctrine of Lapse.
Absentee sovereignty of the British
Absentee Sovereignty of the British rule was resented by the Indians as they felt that they were being ruled by the British government from England, at a distance of thousands of miles and India's wealth was being drained to England and not utilised for their welfare.
Brief introduction of socio-religious causes
The British government's attempt to interfere in the social and religious life of the Indians led to the widespread fear among the masses. The main socio-religious causes of the first war of independence included: (a) Interference with social customs; (b) Apprehensions about modern innovations; (c) Policy of racial discrimination; (d) Corruption in administration; (e) Oppression of the poor; (f) Activities of missionaries; (g) Fears regarding western education; (h) Taxing religious places; and (i) Law of property.
Interference with social customs
The British introduced some social reforms without taking into consideration the feelings of Indians. Reforms like abolition of Sati (1829), the introduction of the Widow Remarriage Act (1856) and the opening of the western education to girls were not welcomed by the masses.
Apprehensions about modern innovations
Orthodox Indians had apprehensions about the introduction of modern innovations like railways and telegraphs. They believed that the British had introduced such practices to challenge their caste and religion.
Policy of racial discrimination
The British officers believed that they were superior to Indians. They followed a policy of contempt towards the Indians. Some European officers ill-treated and insulted Indians. Such unjust acts of discrimination alienated the British from the Indian masses.
Corruption in administration
The police and petty officials in the British administration were corrupt. The rich got away with crime but the common man was looted, oppressed and tortured.
Oppression of the poor
The complex judicial system enabled the rich to oppress the poor. Flogging, torture and imprisonment of the cultivators for their inability to pay rent, land revenue and interest on debt were quite common.
Activities of missionaries
The British began to interfere with the the local religious and social customs. They denounced idol worship and dubbed local beliefs as ignorance. After 1813, there was an increase in the activities of the Christian missionaries. The Indians thought that the Government was supporting missionaries who would convert them into Christianity.
Fear regarding western education
The Western system of education was introduced in a number of schools. The shifting of emphasis from oriental learning to Western education was not received well by the people, especially the Pandits and the Maulvis. They saw in it an attempt to discourage traditional Islamic and Hindu studies.
Taxing religious places and law of property
Religious sentiments of the Indians were hurt by the official policy of taxing lands belonging to temples and mosques. The Religious Disabilities Act of 1850 changed the Hindu Law of Property enabling a convert from Hinduism to other religions to inherit the property of his father.
Brief introduction of economic causes
The most important reason for the popular discontent was the economic exploitation by the British. It played a major role in the uprising of 1857. The main economic causes for the First War of Indian Independence were: (a) Exploitation of economic resources; (b) Drain of wealth; (c) Decay of cottage industries and handicrafts; (d) Economic decline of peasantry; (e) Growing unemployment; (f) Inhuman treatment of Indigo cultivators; (g) Poverty and famines; and (h) Decline of landed aristocracy.
Exploitation of economic resources and drain of wealth
India was forced to export raw materials like cotton and silk at cheaper rates, plantation products which were urgently needed in Britain. India was made to accept readymade British goods either duty-free or at nominal rates. Since the Indian artisans could not compete with the machine-made goods, many of them lost their means of livelihood. The transfer of wealth from India to England for which India got no proportionate economic return, is called the Drain of Wealth. The drain included the salaries, incomes and savings of English men office establishment, interest on debts, etc.
Decay of cottage industries and handicrafts
Heavy duties on Indian silk and cotton textiles in Britain destroyed Indian industries. The art of spinning and weaving, which had given employment to thousands of artisans, became extinct. The disappearance of artisans' patrons i.e., princes, chieftains, zamindars further compounded their miseries.
Explain about economic decline of peasantry
The peasantry bore the heavy burden of taxes to provide money for the trade of the Company, for the cost of administration and the wars of British expansion in India. Increase in the land revenue forced many peasants into indebtedness or selling their lands. The economic decline of the peasants affected cultivation and led to many famines.
Discuss about growing unemployment
Scholars, preachers and men of arts were no longer patronised as many rulers who supported them declined which led to their impoverishment. When the Indian States were annexed to the British dominion, thousands of soldiers and officials in administrative, military and judicial posts became unemployed because British policies excluded Indians from high posts.
Discuss about inhuman treatment of Indigo cultivators
The peasants were forced to cultivate only Indigo in the fields chosen by the British planters. If they planted anything else, their crops were destroyed, and their cattle were carried off as punishment.
Discuss about poverty and famines
British economic exploitation, decay of indigenous industries, high taxation, the drain of wealth, stagnation of agriculture, etc. reduced the Indians to extreme poverty. Twelve major and numerous minor famines between 1770 to 1857 had also ravaged the country.
Discuss about decline of landed aristocracy
The landed aristocracy which included the taluqdars and the hereditary landlords were deprived of their estates. About 20,000 estates were confiscated when the landlords were unable to produce evidence like title-deeds by which they held the land under the Inam Commission (1852) which drove the landed aristocracy to poverty.
Brief discussion about military causes
The military causes for the First War of Independence were: ill-treatment of Indian soldiers, General Service Establishment Act, larger proportion of Indians in the British Army, bleak prospects of promotions, deprivation of allowances, faulty distribution of troops, poor performance of British troops and the lower salaries.
Discuss about ill-treatment of Indian soldiers
Despite the fact that Indian soldiers were as efficient as their British counterparts, they were poorly paid, ill-fed and badly housed. The Britishers forbade Indian soldiers from wearing caste or sectarian marks, beards or turbans.
Discuss about general service enlistment act
As per the General Service Enlistment Act of 1856, Indian soldiers could be sent overseas on duty. The Act did not take into account the sentiment of the Indian soldiers. The Brahmin soldiers saw in this a danger to their caste.
Larger proportion of Indians in the British Army
In 1856, the Company's troops comprised 2,38,000 Indians and 45,322 British soldiers. Thus, it made it easier for the large number of Indian soldiers to take up arms against the British.
Discuss about bleak prospects of promotions
All higher positions in the employment were reserved for the British, irrespective of their performance. Even the Indian soldiers formerly occupying high positions in the armies of native princes could not rise above the rank of a Subedar.
Discuss about deprivation of allowances
The extension of the British dominion in India adversely affected the service conditions of the sepoys. They were required to serve in areas away from their homes without extra payment and additional allowances.
Faulty distribution of troops and lower salaries
There were no British armies deployed in places of strategic importance like Delhi and Allahabad which were wholly held by the Indian soldiers. Since the Britishers were involved in many other wars the Indian soldiers felt that the protection of their country depended on them and they were willing to strike at them at a suitable time.
Poor performance of British troops
The British army suffered major reverses in the First Afghan War, in the Punjab wars and in the Crimean War. They also suffered disasters in the Santhal uprising that broke the myth of their invincibility.
Discuss about immediate causes
The immediate cause of the First War of Independence in 1857 was the introduction of the 'Enfield Rifle'. There was a rumour that the greased cartridge had the fat of cow or pig and was to be bitten off in order load these rifles. The Indian soldiers saw this as a deliberate move of the British to contaminate the religion of the Hindus and the Muslims.
Events in Meerut and Delhi during 1857
On May 9, eighty-five sepoys refused to touch the cartridges on the parade ground at Meerut. They were sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. On May 10, all the sepoys at Meerut rushed to the jail and set free their comrades. The next morning, they reached Delhi and seized the city and proclaimed Bahadur Shah the emperor of India. Sir John Nicholson surrounded Delhi and after four months of attack captured Delhi. Bahadur Shah's sons were shot in front of him and Bahadur Shah was deported to Yangon in Myanmar where he died in 1862.
Events in Kanpur and Lucknow during 1857 revolt
Begum Hazrat Mahal, the wife of the Nawab of Awadh, led the uprising at Lucknow on May 30, 1857. The city was recaptured by the British in March 1858. She fled towards the Nepal frontier. At Kanpur, Nana Saheb led the struggle for independence where the British initially surrendered in June 1857 but later defeated Nana Saheb in December 1857. He then fled to Nepal.
Events in Central India (Jhansi and Gwalior)
The battle began at Jhansi in June 1857. Jhansi was captured by the British. The Rani escaped from the fortress to join Tantia Tope at Kalpi. She died fighting the British on June 17, 1858 at Gwalior. Tantia Tope was betrayed by the Gwalior Chief Man Singh and was hanged on April 18, 1859.
Results of the revolt of 1857
The First War of Independence resulted in the end of the Company rule in India; Queen Victoria's proclamation; End of the Mughals and Peshwas, Change in relations with Princely states; Policy of divide and rule; Racial antagonism; Foreign policy; Religious changes; Changes in the army; Increased racial bitterness; Economic exploitation; Rise of nationalism.
Nature of the revolt of 1857
Historians and scholars have different views about the nature of the outbreak of 1857. V D Savarkar describes it as "a planned war of national independence". Noted historian S. N. Sen also believes that the uprising of 1857 was a war of independence. According to him, the uprising began as a fight for religion and ended as a war of Independence.
Discuss the consequences of the First War of Independence
The consequences of the First War of Independence include the end of the Company rule; Queen Victoria's proclamation; End of the Mughals and Peshwas, Change in relations with Princely states; Policy of divide and rule; Racial antagonism; Foreign policy; Religious changes; Changes in the army; Increased racial bitterness; Economic exploitation; Rise of nationalism.
Discuss the drawbacks of the First War of Independence
The drawbacks of the uprising of 1857 include lack of planning, organisation and leadership; lack of common cause; lack of participation of all sections of society; lack of resources; lack of nationwide dimensions; and beginning of the movement before the fixed date.