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Governors-General of India (1772-1857)

by Vinodh Reddy

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Governors-General of India from 1772 to 1857 are Warren Hastings, Lord Cornwallis, Sir John Shore, Lord Wellesley, Lord Hastings, Lord William Bentinck, Lord Charles Metcalfe, Lord Dalhousie and Lord Canning.

Warren Hastings (1772-1785)

Warren Hastings governor General of India from 1772 to 1785
  • Warren Hastings succeeded Clive in 1772 and became the first Governor of Bengal for two years and in 1774, after enactment of Regulating Act of 1773, he became first Governor-General of Bengal.
  • He passed regulating act of 1773 and made end to the dual system of administration in 1772 set up by Clive.
  • Appointment of collectors to manage revenue and justice related to revenue affairs.
  • Transfer of the treasury from Murshidabad to Calcutta.
  • The Supreme Court was set up at Calcutta in 1774 and Calcutta Madarasa in 1781.
  • The Rohilla war between the Rohillas and the Nawab of Awadh (1774).
  • The first Anglo-Maratha war (1775-82) and the treaty of salbai in 1782.
  • Pitt’s India Act of 1784.
  • Foundation of Asiatic Society of Bengal with William Jones in 1784. It was established due to the risings interest of Englishmen into Indian Culture.
  • trained relationships with Chiat Singh, the Maharaja of Banaras, which led to Hastings subsequent impeachement in England under the charge of taking bribes, but later he was the only Governor General against him impeachement proceeding were done.
  • First English translation of Bhagawadagita was done by Charles Willkins and the introduction was written by Warren Hastings.

Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793)

Lord Cornwallis Governor general of India from 1786 to 1793
  • Lord Cornwallis established lower grade courts and Appellate courts.
  • District Judge post started.
  • The Third Anglo-Mysore war (1789-92) and the Treaty of Seringapatam in 1792.
  • To suppress the bribery, he increased the salaries of the employees of the Company and police officers.
  • In 1791/92, Sanskrit college established in Varanasi by Jonathan Duncan.
  • Introduction of the Permanent Settlement in Bengal and Bihar in 1793.
  • Introduction of civil services in India.

Sir John Shore (1793-1798)

Sir John Shore governor General of India from 1793-1798
  • Sir John Shore was famous for his polices of non-invention.
  • Charter act of 1793.
  • Battle of Kharda between Nizam and Marathas (1795).

Lord Wellesley (1798-1805)

Lord Richard Colley Wesley governor general of India from 1798 to 1805
  • Introduction of Subsidary Alliance System in 1798, to bring Indian States under the control of British political power. He converted British empire in India into British empire because he covered largest area.
  • The fourth Anglo- Mysore war (1799).
  • Treaty of Bassein between Baji Rao II and the English (1802).
  • The second Anglo – Maratha war (1803 – 1805).
  • The first subsidiary treaty was signed with the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1798 and 1800 followed by Tanjore (1799), Awadh (1801), Bhonsle (1803), Gwalior (1804), Indore (1817) and Udaipur,  Jaipur & Jodhapur (1818).
  • Formation of madras Presidency in 1801.
  • He described himself as Bengal Tiger.
  • He founded the Fort William College at Calcutta.

Lord Hastings (1813-1823)

Lord Hasting Governor General of India from 1813 to 1823
  • Ended policy of non-intervention.
  • Military operations against Pindaris (1817 – 1818).
  • The third Anglo-Maratha war (1816-1818).
  • Abolition of Peshwaship and annexation of all his territories in 1818.
  • By 1818, all the Indian territories excepting the Punjab and Sindh had been brought under British control.
  • Gurukha war or the Anglo-Nepal war (1814-1816) and the Treaty of Sugauli.
  • He abolished the censorship of press.
  • Establishment of the Ryotwari System in Madras by the Governor Thomas Munro.
  • The Ryotwari and Mahalwari system introduced in Bombay by the Governor Elphinstone.
  • In the north-western Provinces the Mahalwari system was introduced.

Lord William Bentinck (1828-1835)

Lord William Bentinck Governor General of India from 1828 to 1835
  • He was appointed as the Governor general of Bengal from 1828 to 1833 but after enactment of the Charter Act of 1833, he became the First Governor General of India. He was also known as the liberal Governor-General.
  • He was famous for the social reforms he introduced, such as abolition of Sati (1829) with the help of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Suppression of Thugi (1830) and suppression of infanticide and child sacrifices.
  • Randhakant Deb opposed abolition of Sati Pratha.
  • Macaulay report on English education was passed and English language accepted as the official language of India, after recommendations of Macaulay. This report was based on downwards filtration (it means teach some people and they will teach further many more).
  • Opium trade was regularised, licensed and duty paid.
  • Salaries of civil servants were reduced along with the bhatta of military offices.
  • In higher courts, Persian was replaced by English as the court language.
  • He established the first medical college in Calcutta.

Lord Charles Metcalfe (1835-1836)

Lord Charles Metacalfe governor general of india from 1835 to 1836
  • Lord Charles Metacalfe is called as ‘Liberator of Indian press’, as he removed all restrictions on open press in India.

Lord Dalhousie (1848-1856)

Lord Dalhousie Governor general of India from 1848 to 1956
  • Lord Dalhousie introduced ‘Doctorine of Lapse‘ for annexing the dependant States whose ruler died without a natural heir to succeed him.
  • Some important Indian States viz. Satara (1848), Udaipur (1852), Jhansi (1853), Jaitpur & Sambhalpur (1854) and Nagpur (1854) were annexed by the enforcement of the Doctorine of Lapse.
  • Lord Dalhousie also introduced Doctrine of Good of Governed under which Awadh (1856) and Punjab (1849) were annexed.
  • Charles Wood’s Dispatch on Indian education was accepted, which is called Magnacarta of British Education.
  • Railway minutes of 1853 and laying down of first connecting Bombay and Thane in 1853.
  • Post Office Act, 1854 was passed and first time postage stamps were issued, Postal and Telegraph systems were established.
  • First telegraph line was laid between Calcutta to Agra.
  • He established Public Works Department for the construction and maintenance of canals, roads, bridges, etc.
  • Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-1849) and annexation of Punjab in 1849.
  • Abolition of titles and pensions.
  • Shimla became the summer capital of India and permanent headquarters of army.
  • Competitive  examination for Indian Civil Services were started.
  • Headquarters of the Bengal Artillery were shifted from Calcutta to Meerut.
  • An Engineering college was established at Roorkee.
  • The Charter Act of 1853 passed.
  • Widow Remariage Act (1856): the main contributor to pass this act was Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

Lord Canning (1856-1857)

Lord canning last governor general and first viceroy of India
  • Universities of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras were set up in 1857.
  • The revolt of 1857.

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