History Notes Part XV – Governor Generals of India (Static GK Material for Competitive Exams)

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Governor Generals of India and Reforms

Robert Clive

  • Robert Clive was appointed as the Governor of Bengal by the East India Company in 1758.
  • He is one of the creator of British power in India.
  • He led the English forces in the Battle of Plassey and became the Master of Bengal. Clive remained in England from 1760 to 1765.
  • Robert Clive returned to India in 1764 and was appointed as the Governor and Commander in Chief of Bengal.

Warren Hastings (1772-1785)

  • Warren Hastings succeeded Robert Clive in 1772 and became the first Governor General of India.
  • He took necessary steps to establish civil, criminal courts, and courts of appeal.
  • He brought the Central Government from Nawab’s court to British control.
  • Warren Hastings passed Regulating Act 1773, for giving the legalized working construction to the Company’s dominion in India.
  • Pitt’s India Act was passed in 1784 to address the shortcomings of Regulating Act of 1773.
  • A Board of Control was created for political matter and Court of Direcctors was appointed for commercial affairs.
  • Warren Hastings ended the Dual Government in 1772.

Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793)

  • Lord Cornwallis succeeded Warren Hastings in 1787.
  • He introduced a new revenue system under the Permanent Settlement of Bengal in 1793.
  • Permanent Settlement stabilized land revenue and abolished the periodic auction of Zamindari rights.
  • He defeated Tipu Sultan in third Anglo-Mysore War and signed Treaty of Srirangpatnam.

Lord Wellesly (1798-1805)

  • Lord Wellesly was the Governor General during the Fourth Mysore War of year 1799.
  • He sought an alliance with the Nizam and the Marathas and defeated Tipu Sultan, who was killed in the war.
  • Wellesly introduced Subsidiary Alliance, in which the ruler who compelled to accept permanent stationing of British force in his state and pay subsidy for its maintainence.
  • Rulers of Mysore, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bunndi, Macheri, Bharatpur, Oudh, Tanjore, Berar, Peshwa and Nizam of Hyderabad accepted this policy.
  • The subsidiary allied state lost sovereignty in external matters, while British residents inferred in internal administration.
  • Moreover ruler has to accept a British Resident inn his state.
  • If the ruler fails to pay the maintenance or subsidy then his territory would be taken away as Penalty.

Lord Hastings (1813-1823)

  • Under the Governorship of Lord Hastings Nepal was defeated in 1814 and Nepal ceded Garhwal and Kumaon to the British.
  • The Marathas weere defeated in third and last Anglo-Maratha War and Baji Rao II was removed.
  • During Lord Hastings term Ryotwari settlement was introduced in Madras by Thomas Munro under which direct settlement was made between the government and the Ryots or cultivators.

Lord William Bentinck(1828-1835)

  • He made important administrative and social reforms in Indian government and society.
  • He introduced social reforms such as abolition of Sati (1829), suppression of thuggle or ritual murder by robber gangs, suppression of female infanticide and human sacrifices.
  • English was made official language of higher courts and of higher education in place of Persian. English was introduced as a medium of higher on advice of his council member, Thomas Babington Maccaulay.
  • By Charter Act of 1833, East India Company became an Administrative power and Bentincle became the first Governor-General of India.
  • He also improved the status and salaries of Indian judges. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, a social reformer and religious man who staked a new society Brahmo Samaj in 1829 lived during his period.
  • Ram Mohan Roy helped Bentinck in abolition of Sati.

Sir Charles Metacalfe (1836-44)

  • In 1803 he served as the personal secretary to Governor General of Bengal, Lord Wellesly.
  • He was notable for removing restrictions on the press and media.

Lord Hardinge (1844-1848)

  • Lord Hardinge was the Governor General of India at the time of First Anglo-Sikh War.
  • The Sikhs were defeated and brought under British control.

Lord Dalhousie (1848-1856)

  • Lord Hardinge was succeeded by Lord Dalhousie.
  • He ruled India for about eight years and his rule was one of the greatest periods for British rule.
  • Under him the second Sikh war was fought, Sikhs were again defeated and whole of the Punjab came under the British administration.
  • The annexation policy known as Doctrine of Lapse was introduced by Lord Dalhousie.
  • According to this policy in the absence of a natural heir, the sovereignty of the Indian state was to lapse to the British and such rulers were not permitted to adopt a son to inherit their kingdom.
  • By Doctrine of Lapse policy the province of the Satara was annexed in 1848, state of Sambhalpur in 1849, the state of Jhansi in 1852 and the state of Nagpur in 1954.
  • Under Lord Dalhousie governorship the first railway line was opened between Bombay and Thane in 1853.
  • He was one of the founder of Telegraph and Postal system in India. He developed railway and road services in India and contributed to the unity and modernization of India.
  • He is also credited for setting up of P.W.D and passing of the Widow Remarriage Act.

Arya Samaj

  • Arya Samaj was founded in 1875 by Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
  • The member of the Arya Samaj believed in one God and rejected the worship of idols and images.
  • Swami Dayanand Saraswati wrote a book named Satyarth Prakash.

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