TN History Textbook: British India After 1858 - Lord Lytton, Lord Ripon And Lord Curzon Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

UPSC: TN History Textbook: British India After 1858 - Lord Lytton, Lord Ripon And Lord Curzon Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

The document TN History Textbook: British India After 1858 - Lord Lytton, Lord Ripon And Lord Curzon Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation.
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 Page 1


115 114
the North West Frontier caused a great worry to the British at that
time.
Famine Policy
The famine of 1876-78 had resulted from the failure of two
monsoons. It covered an area of two lakh fifty thousand square miles
and affected fifty eight million people. The worst affected areas were
Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad, Bombay, Central India and the Punjab.
It took a toll of five million lives in a single year. The outbreak of
cholera and fever added to the misery of the suffering population.
Lytton’s Government failed miserably to tackle the situation. The
government’s relief measures seemed to be inadequate. The first
Famine Commission (1878-80) under Sir Richard Strachey was
appointed and it made many commendable recommendations. They
include provision of funds for famine relief and construction work in
the annual budget. The Famine Code came into existence in 1883.
The Vernacular Press Act and the Arms Act (1878)
In 1878, the Vernacular Press Act was passed. This Act
empowered a Magistrate to secure an undertaking from the editor,
publisher and printer of a vernacular newspaper that nothing would
be published against the English Government. The equipment of the
press could be seized if the offence was committed.  This Act crushed
the freedom of the Indian press. This created adverse public opinion
against the British Government. In the same year, the Arms Act
was passed. This Act prevented the Indians to keep arms without
appropriate license. Its violation would be a criminal offence. The
Europeans and the Anglo- Indians were exempted from the operation
of these legislations.
Other Reforms
Lord Lytton introduced uniform salt tax throughout British India.
He also abolished many import duties and supported the Free Trade
After the 1857 Revolt, the responsibility of
ruling India was directly assumed by the British
Crown. Lord Canning became the first Viceroy of
India in 1858. The Government of India Act of 1858
and the Queen’s Proclamation in the same year
signify this change in the Indian administration. The
Queen’s Proclamation remained the basis of the
British policy in India for more than 60 years. The administrations of
Lord Lytton, Lord Ripon and Lord Curzon were important during this
period.
Lord Lytton (1876-1880)
Lord Lytton was an experienced diplomat and a
man of striking ability and  brilliance. The British Prime
Minister, Disraeli appointed him as the Viceroy of India.
The prevailing famine and the political disturbances in
LESSON 12
BRITISH INDIA AFTER 1858:
LORD LYTTON (1876-1880), LORD RIPON (1880-1884)
AND LORD CURZON (1899-1905)
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Lord Lytton’s policies on famine, the Indian Press and trade.
2. Second Afghan War.
3. Lord Ripon’s reforms in the field of education and Local-
Self Government.
4. The Ilbert Bill controversy and Ripon’s attitude towards
Indians.
5. Lord Curzon’s reforms and the Partition of Bengal.
QUEEN VICTORIA 
LORD LYTTON 
Page 2


115 114
the North West Frontier caused a great worry to the British at that
time.
Famine Policy
The famine of 1876-78 had resulted from the failure of two
monsoons. It covered an area of two lakh fifty thousand square miles
and affected fifty eight million people. The worst affected areas were
Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad, Bombay, Central India and the Punjab.
It took a toll of five million lives in a single year. The outbreak of
cholera and fever added to the misery of the suffering population.
Lytton’s Government failed miserably to tackle the situation. The
government’s relief measures seemed to be inadequate. The first
Famine Commission (1878-80) under Sir Richard Strachey was
appointed and it made many commendable recommendations. They
include provision of funds for famine relief and construction work in
the annual budget. The Famine Code came into existence in 1883.
The Vernacular Press Act and the Arms Act (1878)
In 1878, the Vernacular Press Act was passed. This Act
empowered a Magistrate to secure an undertaking from the editor,
publisher and printer of a vernacular newspaper that nothing would
be published against the English Government. The equipment of the
press could be seized if the offence was committed.  This Act crushed
the freedom of the Indian press. This created adverse public opinion
against the British Government. In the same year, the Arms Act
was passed. This Act prevented the Indians to keep arms without
appropriate license. Its violation would be a criminal offence. The
Europeans and the Anglo- Indians were exempted from the operation
of these legislations.
Other Reforms
Lord Lytton introduced uniform salt tax throughout British India.
He also abolished many import duties and supported the Free Trade
After the 1857 Revolt, the responsibility of
ruling India was directly assumed by the British
Crown. Lord Canning became the first Viceroy of
India in 1858. The Government of India Act of 1858
and the Queen’s Proclamation in the same year
signify this change in the Indian administration. The
Queen’s Proclamation remained the basis of the
British policy in India for more than 60 years. The administrations of
Lord Lytton, Lord Ripon and Lord Curzon were important during this
period.
Lord Lytton (1876-1880)
Lord Lytton was an experienced diplomat and a
man of striking ability and  brilliance. The British Prime
Minister, Disraeli appointed him as the Viceroy of India.
The prevailing famine and the political disturbances in
LESSON 12
BRITISH INDIA AFTER 1858:
LORD LYTTON (1876-1880), LORD RIPON (1880-1884)
AND LORD CURZON (1899-1905)
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Lord Lytton’s policies on famine, the Indian Press and trade.
2. Second Afghan War.
3. Lord Ripon’s reforms in the field of education and Local-
Self Government.
4. The Ilbert Bill controversy and Ripon’s attitude towards
Indians.
5. Lord Curzon’s reforms and the Partition of Bengal.
QUEEN VICTORIA 
LORD LYTTON 
117 116
Lord Ripon (1880-84)
Lord Ripon was a staunch Liberal democrat with faith in self-
government. He was appointed as the Viceroy of India by Gladstone,
the Liberal Party Prime Minister of England. Ripon
was instructed to reverse the Afghan policy of Lytton.
Therefore, as soon as he came to India, peace was
made with Afghanistan without affecting the British
prestige. The proposal of appointing a Resident in
Kabul was dropped. He was also responsible for the
rendition of Mysore to its Hindu ruler. Moreover, he
repealed the Vernacular Press Act and earned much
popularity among Indians. Then, he devoted himself to task of
liberalising the Indian administration.
Introduction of Local Self-Government (1882)
Ripon believed that self-government is the highest and noblest
principles of politics. Therefore, Ripon helped the growth of local bodies
like the Municipal Committees in towns and the local boards in taluks
and villages. The powers of municipalities were increased. Their chairmen
were to be non-officials. They were entrusted the care of local amenities,
sanitation, drainage and water-supply and also primary education. District
and taluk boards were created. It was insisted that the majority of the
members of these boards should be elected non-officials. The local bodies
were given executive powers with financial resources of their own. It
was perhaps the desire of Ripon that power in India should be gradually
transferred to the educated Indians. He also insisted on the election of
local bodies as against selection by the government. In all these measures,
Ripon’s concern was not so much for efficiency in administration. Instead,
Ripon diffused the administration and brought the government closer to
the people. This was his most important achievement. It was Ripon who
laid the foundations of the system which functions today.
LORD RIPON 
Policy. This had seriously affected the Indian economic interest. The
system of decentralisation of finance that had begun in the time of
Lord Mayo was continued during the time of Lord Lytton. The
provincial governments were empowered with some control over the
expenditure of all provincial matters like land-revenue, excise, stamps,
law and justice. Lytton wanted to encourage the provinces in collecting
the revenue and thereby strengthen the financial power and position
of the provinces.  In 1878, the Statutory Civil Service was established
exclusively for Indians but this was abolished later.
Lytton and the Second Afghan War (1878-80)
The Afghan policy of the British was based on the assumed
threat of Russian invasion of India. The first Afghan War (1838-42)
proved to be a disastrous one for the British in India. When Lord
Lytton was appointed the Viceroy of India, he was instructed by the
home government to follow a forward policy. The Russian attempt to
send a mission to Afghanistan was the main cause of the Second
Afghan War.
Soon after the outbreak of the war in 1878, the British troops
captured the territory between Kabul and Kandahar. The ruler of
Afghanistan, Sher Ali fled from his country and died in 1879. His son
Yakub Khan became the ruler and the British concluded the Treaty
of Gandamak with him. A British Resident was sent to Kabul but
soon he was murdered along with other British officers by the Afghan
rebels. Although the British troops were able to recapture Kabul, the
difficulties in holding it increased due to the activities of the rebels.
Suddenly in 1780, Lytton was forced to resign by the new government
in England.
Lytton’s Afghan policy was severely crticised because he
was responsible for the murder of the British officers including the
Resident in Kabul. During his administration, millions died due to
famine. The Vernacular Press Act undermined his credit.
Page 3


115 114
the North West Frontier caused a great worry to the British at that
time.
Famine Policy
The famine of 1876-78 had resulted from the failure of two
monsoons. It covered an area of two lakh fifty thousand square miles
and affected fifty eight million people. The worst affected areas were
Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad, Bombay, Central India and the Punjab.
It took a toll of five million lives in a single year. The outbreak of
cholera and fever added to the misery of the suffering population.
Lytton’s Government failed miserably to tackle the situation. The
government’s relief measures seemed to be inadequate. The first
Famine Commission (1878-80) under Sir Richard Strachey was
appointed and it made many commendable recommendations. They
include provision of funds for famine relief and construction work in
the annual budget. The Famine Code came into existence in 1883.
The Vernacular Press Act and the Arms Act (1878)
In 1878, the Vernacular Press Act was passed. This Act
empowered a Magistrate to secure an undertaking from the editor,
publisher and printer of a vernacular newspaper that nothing would
be published against the English Government. The equipment of the
press could be seized if the offence was committed.  This Act crushed
the freedom of the Indian press. This created adverse public opinion
against the British Government. In the same year, the Arms Act
was passed. This Act prevented the Indians to keep arms without
appropriate license. Its violation would be a criminal offence. The
Europeans and the Anglo- Indians were exempted from the operation
of these legislations.
Other Reforms
Lord Lytton introduced uniform salt tax throughout British India.
He also abolished many import duties and supported the Free Trade
After the 1857 Revolt, the responsibility of
ruling India was directly assumed by the British
Crown. Lord Canning became the first Viceroy of
India in 1858. The Government of India Act of 1858
and the Queen’s Proclamation in the same year
signify this change in the Indian administration. The
Queen’s Proclamation remained the basis of the
British policy in India for more than 60 years. The administrations of
Lord Lytton, Lord Ripon and Lord Curzon were important during this
period.
Lord Lytton (1876-1880)
Lord Lytton was an experienced diplomat and a
man of striking ability and  brilliance. The British Prime
Minister, Disraeli appointed him as the Viceroy of India.
The prevailing famine and the political disturbances in
LESSON 12
BRITISH INDIA AFTER 1858:
LORD LYTTON (1876-1880), LORD RIPON (1880-1884)
AND LORD CURZON (1899-1905)
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Lord Lytton’s policies on famine, the Indian Press and trade.
2. Second Afghan War.
3. Lord Ripon’s reforms in the field of education and Local-
Self Government.
4. The Ilbert Bill controversy and Ripon’s attitude towards
Indians.
5. Lord Curzon’s reforms and the Partition of Bengal.
QUEEN VICTORIA 
LORD LYTTON 
117 116
Lord Ripon (1880-84)
Lord Ripon was a staunch Liberal democrat with faith in self-
government. He was appointed as the Viceroy of India by Gladstone,
the Liberal Party Prime Minister of England. Ripon
was instructed to reverse the Afghan policy of Lytton.
Therefore, as soon as he came to India, peace was
made with Afghanistan without affecting the British
prestige. The proposal of appointing a Resident in
Kabul was dropped. He was also responsible for the
rendition of Mysore to its Hindu ruler. Moreover, he
repealed the Vernacular Press Act and earned much
popularity among Indians. Then, he devoted himself to task of
liberalising the Indian administration.
Introduction of Local Self-Government (1882)
Ripon believed that self-government is the highest and noblest
principles of politics. Therefore, Ripon helped the growth of local bodies
like the Municipal Committees in towns and the local boards in taluks
and villages. The powers of municipalities were increased. Their chairmen
were to be non-officials. They were entrusted the care of local amenities,
sanitation, drainage and water-supply and also primary education. District
and taluk boards were created. It was insisted that the majority of the
members of these boards should be elected non-officials. The local bodies
were given executive powers with financial resources of their own. It
was perhaps the desire of Ripon that power in India should be gradually
transferred to the educated Indians. He also insisted on the election of
local bodies as against selection by the government. In all these measures,
Ripon’s concern was not so much for efficiency in administration. Instead,
Ripon diffused the administration and brought the government closer to
the people. This was his most important achievement. It was Ripon who
laid the foundations of the system which functions today.
LORD RIPON 
Policy. This had seriously affected the Indian economic interest. The
system of decentralisation of finance that had begun in the time of
Lord Mayo was continued during the time of Lord Lytton. The
provincial governments were empowered with some control over the
expenditure of all provincial matters like land-revenue, excise, stamps,
law and justice. Lytton wanted to encourage the provinces in collecting
the revenue and thereby strengthen the financial power and position
of the provinces.  In 1878, the Statutory Civil Service was established
exclusively for Indians but this was abolished later.
Lytton and the Second Afghan War (1878-80)
The Afghan policy of the British was based on the assumed
threat of Russian invasion of India. The first Afghan War (1838-42)
proved to be a disastrous one for the British in India. When Lord
Lytton was appointed the Viceroy of India, he was instructed by the
home government to follow a forward policy. The Russian attempt to
send a mission to Afghanistan was the main cause of the Second
Afghan War.
Soon after the outbreak of the war in 1878, the British troops
captured the territory between Kabul and Kandahar. The ruler of
Afghanistan, Sher Ali fled from his country and died in 1879. His son
Yakub Khan became the ruler and the British concluded the Treaty
of Gandamak with him. A British Resident was sent to Kabul but
soon he was murdered along with other British officers by the Afghan
rebels. Although the British troops were able to recapture Kabul, the
difficulties in holding it increased due to the activities of the rebels.
Suddenly in 1780, Lytton was forced to resign by the new government
in England.
Lytton’s Afghan policy was severely crticised because he
was responsible for the murder of the British officers including the
Resident in Kabul. During his administration, millions died due to
famine. The Vernacular Press Act undermined his credit.
119 118
discrimination in judiciary. But Europeans opposed this Bill strongly.
They even raised a fund of one lakh fifty thousand rupees and
established an organisation called the Defence Association. They
also suggested that it was better to end the English rule in India than
to allow the English to be subjected to the Indian Judges and
Magistrates. The press in England joined the issue. Hence, Ripon
amended the bill to satisfy the English in India and England.
The Ilbert Bill controversy helped the cause of Indian nationalism.
The Ilbert Bill Controversy is a high watermark in the history of Indian
National Movement. Ripon was totally disillusioned and heartbroken and
he tendered his resignation and left for England. The immediate result of
this awakening of India was the birth of the Indian National Congress in
1885, the very next year of Ripon’s departure.
Estimate of Lord Ripon
Lord Ripon was the most popular Viceroy that England ever sent
to India. The Indians by and large hailed him as “Ripon the Good”, because
he was the only Viceroy who handled the Indian problems with
compassion and sympathy. His attempt to remove racial distinction in
the judiciary, the repeal of the Vernacular Press Act, the rendition of
Mysore and the introduction of the Local-Self Government increased
his popularity among Indians. His resignation was deeply regretted by
Indians who cherished his memory with gratitude.
Lord Curzon (1899-1905)
Lord Curzon occupies a high place among the
rulers of British India like Lord Wellesley and Lord
Dalhousie. He was a thorough imperialist. In order
to make the administration efficient, Lord Curzon
overhauled the entire administrative machinery. His
internal administration may be studied under the
following heads.
LORD CURZON 
Educational Reforms
Like Lord William Bentinck, Lord Ripon was a champion of
education of the Indians. Ripon wanted to review the working of the
educational system on the basis of the recommendations of the Wood’s
Despatch. For further improvement of the system Ripon appointed a
Commission in 1882 under the chairmanship of Sir William Hunter.
The Commission came to be known as the Hunter Commission. The
Commission recommended for the expansion and improvement of
the elementary education of the masses. The Commission suggested
two channels for the secondary education-one was literary education
leading up to the Entrance Examination of the university and the
other preparing the students for a vocational career. The Commission
noted the poor status of women education. It encouraged the local
bodies in the villages and towns to manage the elementary education.
This had resulted in the extraordinary rise in the number of educational
institutions in India.
First Factory Act (1881)
Lord Ripon introduced the Factory Act of 1881 to improve the
service condition of the factory workers in India. The Act banned
the appointment of children below the age of seven in factories. It
reduced the working hours for children. It made compulsory for all
dangerous machines in the factories to be properly fenced to ensure
security to the workers.
Ilbert Bill Agitation (1884)
Lord Ripon wanted to remove two kinds of law that had been
prevalent in India. According to the system of law, a European could
be tried only by a European Judge or a European Magistrate. The
disqualification was unjust and it was sought to cast a needless
discredit and dishonour upon the Indian-born members of the judiciary.
C.P. Ilbert, Law Member, introduced a bill in 1883 to abolish this
Page 4


115 114
the North West Frontier caused a great worry to the British at that
time.
Famine Policy
The famine of 1876-78 had resulted from the failure of two
monsoons. It covered an area of two lakh fifty thousand square miles
and affected fifty eight million people. The worst affected areas were
Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad, Bombay, Central India and the Punjab.
It took a toll of five million lives in a single year. The outbreak of
cholera and fever added to the misery of the suffering population.
Lytton’s Government failed miserably to tackle the situation. The
government’s relief measures seemed to be inadequate. The first
Famine Commission (1878-80) under Sir Richard Strachey was
appointed and it made many commendable recommendations. They
include provision of funds for famine relief and construction work in
the annual budget. The Famine Code came into existence in 1883.
The Vernacular Press Act and the Arms Act (1878)
In 1878, the Vernacular Press Act was passed. This Act
empowered a Magistrate to secure an undertaking from the editor,
publisher and printer of a vernacular newspaper that nothing would
be published against the English Government. The equipment of the
press could be seized if the offence was committed.  This Act crushed
the freedom of the Indian press. This created adverse public opinion
against the British Government. In the same year, the Arms Act
was passed. This Act prevented the Indians to keep arms without
appropriate license. Its violation would be a criminal offence. The
Europeans and the Anglo- Indians were exempted from the operation
of these legislations.
Other Reforms
Lord Lytton introduced uniform salt tax throughout British India.
He also abolished many import duties and supported the Free Trade
After the 1857 Revolt, the responsibility of
ruling India was directly assumed by the British
Crown. Lord Canning became the first Viceroy of
India in 1858. The Government of India Act of 1858
and the Queen’s Proclamation in the same year
signify this change in the Indian administration. The
Queen’s Proclamation remained the basis of the
British policy in India for more than 60 years. The administrations of
Lord Lytton, Lord Ripon and Lord Curzon were important during this
period.
Lord Lytton (1876-1880)
Lord Lytton was an experienced diplomat and a
man of striking ability and  brilliance. The British Prime
Minister, Disraeli appointed him as the Viceroy of India.
The prevailing famine and the political disturbances in
LESSON 12
BRITISH INDIA AFTER 1858:
LORD LYTTON (1876-1880), LORD RIPON (1880-1884)
AND LORD CURZON (1899-1905)
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Lord Lytton’s policies on famine, the Indian Press and trade.
2. Second Afghan War.
3. Lord Ripon’s reforms in the field of education and Local-
Self Government.
4. The Ilbert Bill controversy and Ripon’s attitude towards
Indians.
5. Lord Curzon’s reforms and the Partition of Bengal.
QUEEN VICTORIA 
LORD LYTTON 
117 116
Lord Ripon (1880-84)
Lord Ripon was a staunch Liberal democrat with faith in self-
government. He was appointed as the Viceroy of India by Gladstone,
the Liberal Party Prime Minister of England. Ripon
was instructed to reverse the Afghan policy of Lytton.
Therefore, as soon as he came to India, peace was
made with Afghanistan without affecting the British
prestige. The proposal of appointing a Resident in
Kabul was dropped. He was also responsible for the
rendition of Mysore to its Hindu ruler. Moreover, he
repealed the Vernacular Press Act and earned much
popularity among Indians. Then, he devoted himself to task of
liberalising the Indian administration.
Introduction of Local Self-Government (1882)
Ripon believed that self-government is the highest and noblest
principles of politics. Therefore, Ripon helped the growth of local bodies
like the Municipal Committees in towns and the local boards in taluks
and villages. The powers of municipalities were increased. Their chairmen
were to be non-officials. They were entrusted the care of local amenities,
sanitation, drainage and water-supply and also primary education. District
and taluk boards were created. It was insisted that the majority of the
members of these boards should be elected non-officials. The local bodies
were given executive powers with financial resources of their own. It
was perhaps the desire of Ripon that power in India should be gradually
transferred to the educated Indians. He also insisted on the election of
local bodies as against selection by the government. In all these measures,
Ripon’s concern was not so much for efficiency in administration. Instead,
Ripon diffused the administration and brought the government closer to
the people. This was his most important achievement. It was Ripon who
laid the foundations of the system which functions today.
LORD RIPON 
Policy. This had seriously affected the Indian economic interest. The
system of decentralisation of finance that had begun in the time of
Lord Mayo was continued during the time of Lord Lytton. The
provincial governments were empowered with some control over the
expenditure of all provincial matters like land-revenue, excise, stamps,
law and justice. Lytton wanted to encourage the provinces in collecting
the revenue and thereby strengthen the financial power and position
of the provinces.  In 1878, the Statutory Civil Service was established
exclusively for Indians but this was abolished later.
Lytton and the Second Afghan War (1878-80)
The Afghan policy of the British was based on the assumed
threat of Russian invasion of India. The first Afghan War (1838-42)
proved to be a disastrous one for the British in India. When Lord
Lytton was appointed the Viceroy of India, he was instructed by the
home government to follow a forward policy. The Russian attempt to
send a mission to Afghanistan was the main cause of the Second
Afghan War.
Soon after the outbreak of the war in 1878, the British troops
captured the territory between Kabul and Kandahar. The ruler of
Afghanistan, Sher Ali fled from his country and died in 1879. His son
Yakub Khan became the ruler and the British concluded the Treaty
of Gandamak with him. A British Resident was sent to Kabul but
soon he was murdered along with other British officers by the Afghan
rebels. Although the British troops were able to recapture Kabul, the
difficulties in holding it increased due to the activities of the rebels.
Suddenly in 1780, Lytton was forced to resign by the new government
in England.
Lytton’s Afghan policy was severely crticised because he
was responsible for the murder of the British officers including the
Resident in Kabul. During his administration, millions died due to
famine. The Vernacular Press Act undermined his credit.
119 118
discrimination in judiciary. But Europeans opposed this Bill strongly.
They even raised a fund of one lakh fifty thousand rupees and
established an organisation called the Defence Association. They
also suggested that it was better to end the English rule in India than
to allow the English to be subjected to the Indian Judges and
Magistrates. The press in England joined the issue. Hence, Ripon
amended the bill to satisfy the English in India and England.
The Ilbert Bill controversy helped the cause of Indian nationalism.
The Ilbert Bill Controversy is a high watermark in the history of Indian
National Movement. Ripon was totally disillusioned and heartbroken and
he tendered his resignation and left for England. The immediate result of
this awakening of India was the birth of the Indian National Congress in
1885, the very next year of Ripon’s departure.
Estimate of Lord Ripon
Lord Ripon was the most popular Viceroy that England ever sent
to India. The Indians by and large hailed him as “Ripon the Good”, because
he was the only Viceroy who handled the Indian problems with
compassion and sympathy. His attempt to remove racial distinction in
the judiciary, the repeal of the Vernacular Press Act, the rendition of
Mysore and the introduction of the Local-Self Government increased
his popularity among Indians. His resignation was deeply regretted by
Indians who cherished his memory with gratitude.
Lord Curzon (1899-1905)
Lord Curzon occupies a high place among the
rulers of British India like Lord Wellesley and Lord
Dalhousie. He was a thorough imperialist. In order
to make the administration efficient, Lord Curzon
overhauled the entire administrative machinery. His
internal administration may be studied under the
following heads.
LORD CURZON 
Educational Reforms
Like Lord William Bentinck, Lord Ripon was a champion of
education of the Indians. Ripon wanted to review the working of the
educational system on the basis of the recommendations of the Wood’s
Despatch. For further improvement of the system Ripon appointed a
Commission in 1882 under the chairmanship of Sir William Hunter.
The Commission came to be known as the Hunter Commission. The
Commission recommended for the expansion and improvement of
the elementary education of the masses. The Commission suggested
two channels for the secondary education-one was literary education
leading up to the Entrance Examination of the university and the
other preparing the students for a vocational career. The Commission
noted the poor status of women education. It encouraged the local
bodies in the villages and towns to manage the elementary education.
This had resulted in the extraordinary rise in the number of educational
institutions in India.
First Factory Act (1881)
Lord Ripon introduced the Factory Act of 1881 to improve the
service condition of the factory workers in India. The Act banned
the appointment of children below the age of seven in factories. It
reduced the working hours for children. It made compulsory for all
dangerous machines in the factories to be properly fenced to ensure
security to the workers.
Ilbert Bill Agitation (1884)
Lord Ripon wanted to remove two kinds of law that had been
prevalent in India. According to the system of law, a European could
be tried only by a European Judge or a European Magistrate. The
disqualification was unjust and it was sought to cast a needless
discredit and dishonour upon the Indian-born members of the judiciary.
C.P. Ilbert, Law Member, introduced a bill in 1883 to abolish this
121 120
law called the Ancient Monuments Act, 1904 which made it obligatory
on the part of the government and local authorities to preserve the
monuments of archaeological importance and their destruction an
offence.
Partition of Bengal, 1905
The Partition of Bengal into two provinces was effected on 4
July 1905. The new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam included
the whole of Assam and the Dacca, Rajshahi and Chittagong divisions
of Bengal with headquarters at Dacca. Though Curzon justified his
action on administrative lines, partition divided the Hindus and Muslims
in Bengal. This led to the anti-partition agitation all over the country.
This had also intensified the National Movement.
Estimate of Lord Curzon
Lord Curzon assumed his office, when he was forty years old.
All his reform measures were preceded by an expert Commission
and its recommendations. He made a serious study of the Indian
problems in all their aspects. At the beginning Curzon earned the
popularity and admiration of the Indian people. He lost the popularity
by the act of Partition of Bengal.
Educational Reforms
Curzon took a serious view of the fall in the standard of
education and discipline in the educational institutions. In his view
the universities had degenerated into factories for producing political
revolutionaries. To set the educational system in order, he instituted
in 1902, a Universities Commission to go into the entire question
of university education in the country. On the basis of the findings
and recommendations of the Commission, Curzon brought in the Indian
Universities Act of 1904, which brought all the universities in India
under the control of the government.
Police and Military Reforms
Curzon believed in efficiency and discipline. He instituted a
Police Commission in 1902 under the chairmanship of Sir Andrew
Frazer. Curzon accepted all the recommendations and implemented
them. He set up training schools for both the officers and the
constables and introduced provincial police service. As for the
remodeling of the army, it was by and large done by Lord Kitchener,
the Commander-in-Chief in India in Curzon’s time.
Calcutta Corporation Act (1899)
 The Viceroy brought in a new legislative measure namely the
Calcutta Corporation Act in 1899 by which the strength of the elected
members was reduced and that of the official members increased.
Curzon gave more representations to the English people as against
the Indians in the Calcutta Corporation. There was strong resentment
by the Indian members against Curzon’s anti-people measures.
Preservation of Archaeological objects
Curzon had a passion for preserving the ancient monuments of
historical importance in India. No Viceroy in India before or after
him took such a keen interest in archaeological objects. He passed a
Page 5


115 114
the North West Frontier caused a great worry to the British at that
time.
Famine Policy
The famine of 1876-78 had resulted from the failure of two
monsoons. It covered an area of two lakh fifty thousand square miles
and affected fifty eight million people. The worst affected areas were
Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad, Bombay, Central India and the Punjab.
It took a toll of five million lives in a single year. The outbreak of
cholera and fever added to the misery of the suffering population.
Lytton’s Government failed miserably to tackle the situation. The
government’s relief measures seemed to be inadequate. The first
Famine Commission (1878-80) under Sir Richard Strachey was
appointed and it made many commendable recommendations. They
include provision of funds for famine relief and construction work in
the annual budget. The Famine Code came into existence in 1883.
The Vernacular Press Act and the Arms Act (1878)
In 1878, the Vernacular Press Act was passed. This Act
empowered a Magistrate to secure an undertaking from the editor,
publisher and printer of a vernacular newspaper that nothing would
be published against the English Government. The equipment of the
press could be seized if the offence was committed.  This Act crushed
the freedom of the Indian press. This created adverse public opinion
against the British Government. In the same year, the Arms Act
was passed. This Act prevented the Indians to keep arms without
appropriate license. Its violation would be a criminal offence. The
Europeans and the Anglo- Indians were exempted from the operation
of these legislations.
Other Reforms
Lord Lytton introduced uniform salt tax throughout British India.
He also abolished many import duties and supported the Free Trade
After the 1857 Revolt, the responsibility of
ruling India was directly assumed by the British
Crown. Lord Canning became the first Viceroy of
India in 1858. The Government of India Act of 1858
and the Queen’s Proclamation in the same year
signify this change in the Indian administration. The
Queen’s Proclamation remained the basis of the
British policy in India for more than 60 years. The administrations of
Lord Lytton, Lord Ripon and Lord Curzon were important during this
period.
Lord Lytton (1876-1880)
Lord Lytton was an experienced diplomat and a
man of striking ability and  brilliance. The British Prime
Minister, Disraeli appointed him as the Viceroy of India.
The prevailing famine and the political disturbances in
LESSON 12
BRITISH INDIA AFTER 1858:
LORD LYTTON (1876-1880), LORD RIPON (1880-1884)
AND LORD CURZON (1899-1905)
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Lord Lytton’s policies on famine, the Indian Press and trade.
2. Second Afghan War.
3. Lord Ripon’s reforms in the field of education and Local-
Self Government.
4. The Ilbert Bill controversy and Ripon’s attitude towards
Indians.
5. Lord Curzon’s reforms and the Partition of Bengal.
QUEEN VICTORIA 
LORD LYTTON 
117 116
Lord Ripon (1880-84)
Lord Ripon was a staunch Liberal democrat with faith in self-
government. He was appointed as the Viceroy of India by Gladstone,
the Liberal Party Prime Minister of England. Ripon
was instructed to reverse the Afghan policy of Lytton.
Therefore, as soon as he came to India, peace was
made with Afghanistan without affecting the British
prestige. The proposal of appointing a Resident in
Kabul was dropped. He was also responsible for the
rendition of Mysore to its Hindu ruler. Moreover, he
repealed the Vernacular Press Act and earned much
popularity among Indians. Then, he devoted himself to task of
liberalising the Indian administration.
Introduction of Local Self-Government (1882)
Ripon believed that self-government is the highest and noblest
principles of politics. Therefore, Ripon helped the growth of local bodies
like the Municipal Committees in towns and the local boards in taluks
and villages. The powers of municipalities were increased. Their chairmen
were to be non-officials. They were entrusted the care of local amenities,
sanitation, drainage and water-supply and also primary education. District
and taluk boards were created. It was insisted that the majority of the
members of these boards should be elected non-officials. The local bodies
were given executive powers with financial resources of their own. It
was perhaps the desire of Ripon that power in India should be gradually
transferred to the educated Indians. He also insisted on the election of
local bodies as against selection by the government. In all these measures,
Ripon’s concern was not so much for efficiency in administration. Instead,
Ripon diffused the administration and brought the government closer to
the people. This was his most important achievement. It was Ripon who
laid the foundations of the system which functions today.
LORD RIPON 
Policy. This had seriously affected the Indian economic interest. The
system of decentralisation of finance that had begun in the time of
Lord Mayo was continued during the time of Lord Lytton. The
provincial governments were empowered with some control over the
expenditure of all provincial matters like land-revenue, excise, stamps,
law and justice. Lytton wanted to encourage the provinces in collecting
the revenue and thereby strengthen the financial power and position
of the provinces.  In 1878, the Statutory Civil Service was established
exclusively for Indians but this was abolished later.
Lytton and the Second Afghan War (1878-80)
The Afghan policy of the British was based on the assumed
threat of Russian invasion of India. The first Afghan War (1838-42)
proved to be a disastrous one for the British in India. When Lord
Lytton was appointed the Viceroy of India, he was instructed by the
home government to follow a forward policy. The Russian attempt to
send a mission to Afghanistan was the main cause of the Second
Afghan War.
Soon after the outbreak of the war in 1878, the British troops
captured the territory between Kabul and Kandahar. The ruler of
Afghanistan, Sher Ali fled from his country and died in 1879. His son
Yakub Khan became the ruler and the British concluded the Treaty
of Gandamak with him. A British Resident was sent to Kabul but
soon he was murdered along with other British officers by the Afghan
rebels. Although the British troops were able to recapture Kabul, the
difficulties in holding it increased due to the activities of the rebels.
Suddenly in 1780, Lytton was forced to resign by the new government
in England.
Lytton’s Afghan policy was severely crticised because he
was responsible for the murder of the British officers including the
Resident in Kabul. During his administration, millions died due to
famine. The Vernacular Press Act undermined his credit.
119 118
discrimination in judiciary. But Europeans opposed this Bill strongly.
They even raised a fund of one lakh fifty thousand rupees and
established an organisation called the Defence Association. They
also suggested that it was better to end the English rule in India than
to allow the English to be subjected to the Indian Judges and
Magistrates. The press in England joined the issue. Hence, Ripon
amended the bill to satisfy the English in India and England.
The Ilbert Bill controversy helped the cause of Indian nationalism.
The Ilbert Bill Controversy is a high watermark in the history of Indian
National Movement. Ripon was totally disillusioned and heartbroken and
he tendered his resignation and left for England. The immediate result of
this awakening of India was the birth of the Indian National Congress in
1885, the very next year of Ripon’s departure.
Estimate of Lord Ripon
Lord Ripon was the most popular Viceroy that England ever sent
to India. The Indians by and large hailed him as “Ripon the Good”, because
he was the only Viceroy who handled the Indian problems with
compassion and sympathy. His attempt to remove racial distinction in
the judiciary, the repeal of the Vernacular Press Act, the rendition of
Mysore and the introduction of the Local-Self Government increased
his popularity among Indians. His resignation was deeply regretted by
Indians who cherished his memory with gratitude.
Lord Curzon (1899-1905)
Lord Curzon occupies a high place among the
rulers of British India like Lord Wellesley and Lord
Dalhousie. He was a thorough imperialist. In order
to make the administration efficient, Lord Curzon
overhauled the entire administrative machinery. His
internal administration may be studied under the
following heads.
LORD CURZON 
Educational Reforms
Like Lord William Bentinck, Lord Ripon was a champion of
education of the Indians. Ripon wanted to review the working of the
educational system on the basis of the recommendations of the Wood’s
Despatch. For further improvement of the system Ripon appointed a
Commission in 1882 under the chairmanship of Sir William Hunter.
The Commission came to be known as the Hunter Commission. The
Commission recommended for the expansion and improvement of
the elementary education of the masses. The Commission suggested
two channels for the secondary education-one was literary education
leading up to the Entrance Examination of the university and the
other preparing the students for a vocational career. The Commission
noted the poor status of women education. It encouraged the local
bodies in the villages and towns to manage the elementary education.
This had resulted in the extraordinary rise in the number of educational
institutions in India.
First Factory Act (1881)
Lord Ripon introduced the Factory Act of 1881 to improve the
service condition of the factory workers in India. The Act banned
the appointment of children below the age of seven in factories. It
reduced the working hours for children. It made compulsory for all
dangerous machines in the factories to be properly fenced to ensure
security to the workers.
Ilbert Bill Agitation (1884)
Lord Ripon wanted to remove two kinds of law that had been
prevalent in India. According to the system of law, a European could
be tried only by a European Judge or a European Magistrate. The
disqualification was unjust and it was sought to cast a needless
discredit and dishonour upon the Indian-born members of the judiciary.
C.P. Ilbert, Law Member, introduced a bill in 1883 to abolish this
121 120
law called the Ancient Monuments Act, 1904 which made it obligatory
on the part of the government and local authorities to preserve the
monuments of archaeological importance and their destruction an
offence.
Partition of Bengal, 1905
The Partition of Bengal into two provinces was effected on 4
July 1905. The new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam included
the whole of Assam and the Dacca, Rajshahi and Chittagong divisions
of Bengal with headquarters at Dacca. Though Curzon justified his
action on administrative lines, partition divided the Hindus and Muslims
in Bengal. This led to the anti-partition agitation all over the country.
This had also intensified the National Movement.
Estimate of Lord Curzon
Lord Curzon assumed his office, when he was forty years old.
All his reform measures were preceded by an expert Commission
and its recommendations. He made a serious study of the Indian
problems in all their aspects. At the beginning Curzon earned the
popularity and admiration of the Indian people. He lost the popularity
by the act of Partition of Bengal.
Educational Reforms
Curzon took a serious view of the fall in the standard of
education and discipline in the educational institutions. In his view
the universities had degenerated into factories for producing political
revolutionaries. To set the educational system in order, he instituted
in 1902, a Universities Commission to go into the entire question
of university education in the country. On the basis of the findings
and recommendations of the Commission, Curzon brought in the Indian
Universities Act of 1904, which brought all the universities in India
under the control of the government.
Police and Military Reforms
Curzon believed in efficiency and discipline. He instituted a
Police Commission in 1902 under the chairmanship of Sir Andrew
Frazer. Curzon accepted all the recommendations and implemented
them. He set up training schools for both the officers and the
constables and introduced provincial police service. As for the
remodeling of the army, it was by and large done by Lord Kitchener,
the Commander-in-Chief in India in Curzon’s time.
Calcutta Corporation Act (1899)
 The Viceroy brought in a new legislative measure namely the
Calcutta Corporation Act in 1899 by which the strength of the elected
members was reduced and that of the official members increased.
Curzon gave more representations to the English people as against
the Indians in the Calcutta Corporation. There was strong resentment
by the Indian members against Curzon’s anti-people measures.
Preservation of Archaeological objects
Curzon had a passion for preserving the ancient monuments of
historical importance in India. No Viceroy in India before or after
him took such a keen interest in archaeological objects. He passed a
123 122
MODEL QUESTIONS
I. Choose the correct answer.
1. Name the first Viceroy of India.
(a) Warren Hastings (b) Lord Dalhousie
(c) Lord Canning (d) Lord Ripon
2. In which year the Vernacular Press Act was passed?
(a) 1878 (b) 1882
(c) 1898 (d) 1902
II. Fill in the blanks.
1. The first Famine Commission was appointed under the
chairmanship of …….
2. The Indian Universities Act was passed in the year …….
III. Match the following.
1. Arms Act a. Andrew Fraser
2. Local Self-Government b. Lord Curzon
3. Education Commission c. Lord Ripon
4. Partition of Bengal d. William Hunter
5. Police Commission e. Lord Lytton
IV. Find out the correct statement. One statement alone is
correct.
a) Lord Ripon was asked to follow the Afghan policy of Lord
Lytton.
b) Lord Ripon earned popularity among the Indians by repealing
the Vernacular Press Act.
Learning Outcome
After studying this lesson students would acquire knowledge about
1. Lytton’s unpopular measures such as the Vernacular Press
Act and inadequate handling of the famine situation.
2. His failure in Afghan policy which led to the murder of
English officers.
3. Lord Ripon’s liberal reforms in the sphere of education,
local-self government and labour welfare.
4. His efforts to end the racial discrimination in the judiciary
and that the Ilbert Bill issue was also responsible for the
rise of national movement.
5. Lord Curzon’s reforms and also his anti-Indian measure of
the Partition of Bengal and its impact.
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