TN Textbook Class XIl History SIVA PRASAD
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INDIA UNDER THE ENGLISH EAST INDIA COMPANY: WARREN HASTINGS (1772-1785)
The English East India Company . The English East India Company was established on 31 December 1600 as per the Royal Charter issued by the Queen of England, Elizabeth I. The Company had sent Captain Hawkins to the court of the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir in 1608 to secure permission to establish a "factory" (store house of goods) at Surat. . It was turned down initially. However, in 1613, Jahangir issued the firman permitting the East India Company to establish its first trading post at Surat. . Subsequently, Sir Thomas Roe obtained more trading rights and privileges for the East India Company. . Accordingly, the English set up business centres at Agra, Ahmedabad and Broach. Slowly the English East India Company succeeded in expanding its area of trade.
The English East India Company In 1639, Francis Day established the city of Madras and constructed the Fort St. George. On the west coast, the Company obtained Bombay on lease from their King, Charles Il for a rent of 10 pounds per annum in 1668. By the year 1690, Job Charnock, the agent of the East India Company purchased three villages namely, Sutanuti, Govindpur and Kalikatta, which, in course of time, grew into the city of Calcutta. It was fortified by Job Charnock, who named it Fort William after the English King, William l The factories and trading centres which the English established all along the sea-coast of India were grouped under three presidencies namely Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.
The English East India Company . After the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and the Battle of Buxar in 1764, the Company became a political power. . India was under the East India Company's rule till 1858 when it came under the direct administration of the British Crown. Robert Clive was the first Governor of Fort William under the Company's rule. . He was succeeded by Verelst and Cartier. . In 1772, the Company appointed Warren Hastings as the Governor of Fort William
Reforms of Warren Hastings . When Warren Hastings assumed the administration of Bengal in 1772, he found it in utter chaos. . The financial position of the Company became worse and the difficulties were intensified by famine. Therefore, Warren Hastings realized the immediate need for introducing reforms
Abolition of the Dual System The East India Company decided to act as Diwan and to undertake the collection of revenue by its own agents. Hence, the Dual System introduced by Robert Clive was abolished. . As a measure to improve the finances of the Company, Warren Hastings reduced the Nawab's allowance of 32 lakhs of rupees to half that amount. He also stopped the annual payment of 26 lakhs given to the Mughal Empero
Revenue Reforms After the abolition of the Dual System, the responsibility of collecting the revenue fell on the shoulders of the Company. For that purpose, a Board of Revenue was established at Calcutta to supervise the collection of revenue. . English Collectors were appointed in each district. The treasury was removed from Murshidabad to Calcutta and an Accountant General was appointed. Calcutta thus became the capital of Bengal in 1772 and shortly after of British India.
Revenue Reforms The Board of Revenue farmed out the lands by auction for a period of five years instead of one year in order to find out their real value. The zamindars were given priority in the auction. . However, certain good measures were taken to safeguard the interests of the peasants. Arbitrary cesses and unreasonable fines were abolished. Besides, restrictions were imposed on the enhancement of rent. Yet, the system was a failure. . Many zamindars defaulted and the arrears of revenue accumulated.
Reorganisation of the Judicial System The judicial system at the time of Warren Hastings' ascendancy was a store-house of abuses. The Nawab who was hitherto the chief administrator of justice, misused his powers. Often, his judgments were careless . The zamindars who acted as judges at lower levels within their own areas were highly corrupt and prejudiced. On the whole, the judicial institution suffered from extreme corruption
The Regulating Act of 1773 The Regulating Act of 1773 opened a new chapter in the constitutional history of the Company. Previously, the Home government in England consisted of the Court of Directors and the Court of Proprietors. The Court of Directors were elected annually and practically managed the affairs of the Company. . In India, each of the three presidencies was independent and responsible only to the Home Government. The government of the presidency was conducted by a Governor and a Council.
Provisions of the Act The term of office of the members of the Court of Directors was extended from one year to four years. One-fourth of them were to retire every year and the retiring Directors were not eligible for re-election. . The Governor of Bengal was styled the Governor-General of Fort Willianm whose tenure of office was for a period of five years. .A council of four members was appointed to assist the Governor-General. The government was to be conducted in accordance with the decision of the majority. The Governor- General had a casting vote in case of a tie.
Merits and Demerits of the Act The significance of the Regulating Act is that it brought the affairs of the Company under the control of the Parliament. Besides, it proved that the Parliament of England was concerned about the welfare of Indians. . The greatest merit of this Act is that it put an end to the arbitrary rule of the Company and provided a framework for all future enactments relating to the governing of India The main defect of the Act was that the Governor-General was made powerless because the council which was given supreme power often created deadlocks by over-ruling his decision. However, many of these defects were rectified by the Pitt's India Act of 1784.
The Rohilla War (1774) . Rohilkand was a small kingdom situated in between Oudh and the Marathas. Its ruler was Hafiz Rahmat Khan. . He concluded a defensive treaty in 1772 with the Nawab of Oudh fearing an attack by the Marathas. But no such attack took place. But, the Nawab demanded money. When Rahmat Khan evaded, the Nawab with the help of the British invaded Rohilkand. . Warren Hastings, who sent the British troops against Rohilkand was severely crticised for his policy on Rohilla affair.
First Anglo-Maratha War (1775-82) . The Marathas were largely remained disunited since the Third Battle of Panipet (1761). The internal conflict among the Marathas was best utilized by the British in their expansionist policy. . In 1775, there was a dispute for the post of Peshwa between Madhav Rao and his uncle Ragunatha Rao. The British authorities in Bombay concluded the Treaty of Surat with Raghunatha Rao in March 1775. Rahunatha Rao promised to cede Bassein and Salsette to the British but later when he was unwilling to fulfill his promise, the British captured them . This action of the Bombay Government was not approved by Warren Hastings.
First Anglo-Maratha War (1775-82) The Treaty of Salbai established the British influence in Indian politics. It provided the British twenty years of peace with the Marathas. The Treaty also enabled the British to exert pressure on Mysore with the help of the Marathas in recovering their territories from Haider Ali. Thus, the British, on the one hand, saved themselves from the combined opposition of Indian powers and on the other, succeeded in dividing the Indian powers.
The Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84) Main causes for the second Anglo-Mysore War were: The British failed to fulfill the terms of the defensive treaty with Haider when he was attacked by the Marathas in 1771. There was an outbreak of hostilities between the English and the French (an ally of Haider) during the American War of Independence. The British captured Mahe, a French settlement within Haider's territories. . Haider Ali formed a grand alliance with the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas against the British in 1779.
Pitt's India Act, 1784 . A Board of Control consisting of six members was created. They were appointed by the Crown. The Court of Directors was retained without any alteration in its composition The Act also introduced significant changes in the Indian administration. It reduced the number of the members of the Governor-General's Council from four to three including the Commander-in-Chief.
Pitt's India Act, 1784 . Pitt's India Act constitutes a significant landmark with regard to the foreign policy of the Company. A critical review of the Act reveals that it had introduced a kind of contradiction in the functions of the Company. . The Court of Directors controlled its commercial functions, whereas the Board of Control maintained its political affairs . In fact, the Board represented the King, and the Directors symbolised the Company.
Warren Hastings . The Pitt's India Act of 1784 was a rude shock and bitter disappointment for Warren Hastings. The Prime Minister's speech censuring the policy of the Government of Bengal was considered by Warren Hastings as a reflection on his personal character. His image and reputation were tarnished in England. Therefore, he resigned and left India in June 1785. . In 1787, Warren Hastings was impeached in the Parliament by Edmund Burke and the Whigs for his administrative excess.
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