Chapter 6: CONTRIBUTION OF VARIOUS GOVERNOR GENERALS
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).
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.
Clive as the governor of Fort William. He was a reformist and the
steps he took
dual government system and the
now the Company servants collected revenue on their own.
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
of Bengal and then India.
To remove the highly
system Civil courts were created presided by the collectors and
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
adalat and criminal cases were sadar Nizamat adalat.
A bank was
established in Calcutta. Pre
paid postal system was introduced. Police too were created to stop
He was a patron of
Indian languages and
arts. He was a person of oriental tastes.
Regulating Act, 1773:
controller of East India Company [E.I.C] was the court
of proprietors and court of directors. The three presidencies were
and managed by governor and his council. The court of directors was
annually and managed the affairs of the Company. The mismanagement of
territories led to bankruptcy of the Company and the directors asked for
The government passed this act as a precondition for the loan.
foundations for a centralized administration in India.
became the Governor General of Bengal with an executive council of
assist him. Decisions would be taken by majority and governor general
only vote in case of tie. Presidencies of Madras and Bombay lost their
independence and became subordinate to Bengal.
a Supreme Court of Justice at Calcutta. It prohibited the servants
of E.I.C from accepting gifts and engaging in private trade.
Pitts Act, 1784:
control was established to control political affairs in India. So a
of dual government was created. The number of members in the
was reduced to 3. The board of control was responsible to the parliament
controlled political affairs. The court of directors was in control of
to this act in 1786 allowed the governor general to overrule the
majority of his council.
II. Lord Cornwallis
a respected aristocrat. He led the British army in the war against
Although he had to surrender he still commanded deep respect amongst his
of his rule were:
salaries of the Company servants and prohibited their private trade.
from the post of judges of the civil courts. Separated
were appointed at the lowest judicial levels. District and city courts
European judges. Provincial court of appeals had European judges.
of appeal at civil and criminal courts was governor general in council.
of the Police System: He appointed
darogas in every thanas for policing.
father of the Indian civil service.
responsible for implementing permanent settlement in Bengal and
responsible for reformation, modernization, rationalization of civil
He started the covenanted civil service with only Europeans and
civil service for others.
III. Richard Wellesley
famous for introducing the subsidiary alliance system.
rose during his regime as the thousands of
soldiers who became unemployed as they were dismissed due to the
alliance. These soldiers became dacoits.
was the maker of madras presidency and creator of
IV. Lord Hastings
features of his administration:
Nepal and British territories were bordering
each other. The Gurkha’s were aggressive and this led to confrontation.
Hastings declared war on Nepal and defeated them.
the menace of the Pindaris.
was the maker of the Bombay province.
V. William Bentinck
the first governor general to believe in serving the Indian people.
of his administration:
followed a policy of non intervention and non
aggression with Indian princely states.
abolished the provincial court of appeals.
of local languages in lower courts and English
in higher courts.
for abolition of sati, female infanticide
and suppression of thugs.
English became the official
language of India.
Calcutta medical college was established.
of English education.
Charter Act, 1813:
It reduced monopoly of EIC to trade with India. But it kept monopoly for
with china. It also allocated an amount of Rs. 1 lakh for promotion of
Charter Act, 1833:
Ended all monopolies of EIC with respect to trade. Governor General
became the Governor General of India. It laid the foundation of
of public services.
VI. Lord Dalhousie
He was the youngest governor
Salient features of his
1. He followed the
policy of annexation by
annexing Punjab, lower Burma, Oudh and central provinces to the British
He annexed the
princely states if the
rulers died without natural heirs. His doctrine of lapse was the
kingdoms were added to the British Empire. This policy was one of the
for princes joining the 1857 mutiny.
The annexation of
Oudh affected the sepoy’s
of the British army as many came from Oudh. They had privileged
the army but after the annexation they became same as the remaining
This too became a reason for 1857 mutiny.
He molded the new
provinces into a centralized
state. He shifted the Bengal artillery to Meerut and Shimla
permanent headquarters of the army.
started in India by him.
The reasons were commercial, administrative and defense.
line was laid from Calcutta to
diamond harbor. Telegraph and railways were very useful for crushing the
Post stamps were
rate of half Anna was charged on post throughout the country.
universities of Calcutta, Madras and
Mumbai were founded in 1857. John Wilson was first chancellor
of Mumbai university and KT Telang
was first Indian chancellor.
He modernized the public
department and laid foundation for engineering service in
He introduced the
process of modernization in India and is hailed as The Maker of Modern India.
Salient features of his
1. The vernacular
press act was passed to
muzzle periodicals in Indian languages and curtail freedom of the
Arms act was
passed to prevent Indians
from keeping arms without license.
Lytton's reactionary policies such as reduction of maximum
age limit for the I.C.S. examination 'from 21 years to 19 years (1876),
the grand Delhi Durbar of 1877 when the country was in the severe grip
of famine, the Vernacular Press Act (1878) and the Arms Act (1878)
provoked a storm of opposition in the country.
VIII. Lord Ripon
vernacular press act.
Father of local self
telephone in Kolkata in 1881.
expansion and improvement in elementary education for the masses.
Passed the factory
act to improve
working conditions in factory.
to pass the Illbert bill which
would have allowed Indian magistrates to try Europeans. But the bill was
rejected due to the popular protest against it. Lord Ripon took this as
a personal failure and resigned.
IX. Lord Curzon
universities act that brought
all universities under government control.
schools were started for
officers and constables.
legislation making it
mandatory for government to protect archaeological monuments.
Partition of Bengal
was done by him.
The first census and
statistical survey of India was conducted by Lord Mayo.
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