EARLY GOVERNOR GENERALS: LORD DALHOUSIE (1848-1856)
LORD DALHOUSIE (1848-1856)
1. Lord Dalhousie was the youngest Governor-General of India when he assumed charge at the age of 36 in 1848.
2. He studied in Christ Church, Oxford
3. He became Member of Parliament and enjoyed the confidence of Sir Robert Peel, the Prime Minister of England.
4. In 1847, he was offered the Governor-General ship of India which he accepted and arrived at Calcutta in January 1848.
Policy of Annexation
1. Although he used different reasons for annexation, his main objective was to end misrule in the annexed states, as in the case of the annexation of Oudh.
2. He aimed at providing the beneficent administration to the people of the annexed states
3. His great annexations include the Punjab, Lower Burma, most of the Central Provinces and Oudh
Annexation of Punjab
1. At the end of the second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, Punjab was annexed by Dalhousie.
2. The province was divided into small districts under the control of District Officers who were called Deputy Commissioners
3. These commissioners with the help of their assistants came into close contact with people.
4. . Revenue and judicial departments were combined to secure concentration of power and responsibility
5. The laws and procedure were simplified in accordance with the custom of the people.
6. In 1859, Sir John Lawrence became the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab
Second Burmese War and the Annexation of Lower Burma
1. In 1852, commercial disputes in Rangoon prompted new hostilities between the British and the Burmese
2. After the end of the second Burmese War (1852), Dalhousie annexed Lower Burma with its capital at Pegu.
3. Annexation of Lower Burma proved beneficial to Britain.
4. Rangoon, Britain’s most valuable acquisition from the war became one of the biggest ports in Asia
Doctrine of Lapse
1. According to the Hindu Law, one can adopt a son in case of no male heir to inherit the property.
2. The question arose whether a Hindu ruler, holding his state subordinate to the paramount power, could adopt a son to succeed his kingdom.
3. It was customary for a ruler without a natural heir to ask the British Government whether he could adopt a son to succeed him
4. According to Dalhousie, if such permission was refused by the British, the state would “lapse” and thereby become part of the British India
5. Dalhousie maintained that there was a difference in principle between the right to inherit private property and the right to govern.
6. This principle was called the Doctrine of Lapse.
7. The Doctrine of Lapse was applied by Dalhousie to Satara and it was annexed in 1848.
8. Jhansi and Nagpur were annexed in 1854
9. As a result of these annexations, a large part of the Central Provinces came under the British rule.
10. Although the Doctrine of Lapse cannot be regarded as illegal, its application by Dalhousie was disliked by Indian princes.
11. After the Mutiny of 1857, the doctrine of lapse was withdrawn.
Annexation of Oudh
1. The British relations with the state of Oudh go back to the Treaty of Allahabad in 1765
2. Right from Warren Hastings, many Governor-Generals advised the Nawab of Oudh to improve the administration.
3. After surveying the situation in Oudh, Dalhousie annexed it in 1856
4. Nawab Wajid Ali was granted a pension of 12 lakhs of rupees per year.
5. The annexed territory came under the control of a Chief Commissioner
6. Dalhousie’s annexation of Oudh, the last one among his annexations, created great political danger.
7. The annexation offended the Muslim elite
8. More dangerous was the effect on the British army’s Indian troops, many of whom came from Oudh
9. They had occupied a privileged position before its annexation.
10. Under the British Government they were treated as equals with the rest of the population
11. This is a loss of prestige for them. In these various ways, the annexation of Oudh contributed to the Mutiny of 1857.
Domestic Reforms of Dalhousie
1. The appointment of a Lieutenant-Governor to Bengal enabled Dalhousie concentrate on administration.
2. His greatest achievement was the molding of the new provinces into a modern centralized state.
3. For the newly acquired territories, he introduced the centralized control called “Non-Regulation System”.
4. Under this system a Commissioner Was appointed for a newly acquired territory.
5. Under military reforms Dalhousie shifted the headquarters of Bengal Artillery from Calcutta to Meerut. Shimla was made the permanent headquarters of the army.
1. The introduction railways in India inaugurated a new economic era
2. Three major reasons for the British to take interest in its quick development
3. The first reason was commercial.
4. The second main reason was administrative.
5. The third reason was defence
6. At the time of revolt and disturbance, movement of the forces was much easier through railways.
7. In 1853, he penned his Railway Minute formulating the future policy of railways in India.
8. He started the “guarantee system” by which the railway companies were guaranteed a minimum interest of five percent on their investment
9. The government retained the right of buying the railway at the end of the period of contract.
10. The first railway line connecting Bombay with Thane was opened in 1853.
11. Railway lines connecting from Calcutta to the Raniganj coal-fields was opened in 1854
12. From Madras to Arakkonam in 1856
13. first railway in the world was opened in 1825 in England.
1. Similarly, the use of Telegraph brought marvelous changes in communication system.
2. In 1852, O’Shaughnessy was appointed the Superintendent of Telegraph Department
3. Main cities of the country viz., Calcutta, Peshawar, Bombay and Madras were telegraphically connected.
4. About 4000 miles long Telegraph lines were laid before the departure of Dalhousie.
5. During the 1857 Revolt, the system of telegraphic communication proved a boon for the English and the military value of Dalhousie’s creation was much realized at that time.
1. The foundation of modern postal system was laid down by Lord Dalhousie.
2. A new Post Office Act was passed in 1854
3. Irrespective of the distance over which the letter was sent, a uniform rate of half an anna per post card was charged throughout India.
4. Postage stamps were introduced for the first time.
1. The educational Dispatch of Sir Charles Wood (1854) was considered the “Intellectual Charter of India”.
2. It provided an outline for the comprehensive scheme of education at primary, secondary
and collegiate levels.
3. Departments of Public Instructions were organized.
4. The Universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were founded in 1857
Public Works Department
1. Before the period of Dalhousie, the job of the Public Works Department was done by the Military Board.
2. Dalhousie created a separate Public Works Department and allotted more funds for cutting canals and roads
3. The Upper Ganges Canal was completed in 1854
4. Many bridges were constructed. By modernizing the Public Works
5. Department he laid the foundations of the engineering service in India.
Estimate of Dalhousie
1. Dalhousie left India in 1856. The outbreak of Mutiny in the following year led to a severe criticism of his policy of annexation.
2. He fell ill and died in 1860.
3. There is no doubt that Dalhousie was an able administrator and visionary
4. He was the father of Railways and Telegraphs.
5. He introduced the process of modernization of India. Hence, he is hailed as “the maker of modern India”