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LORD DALHOUSIE (1848-1856)
LORD DALHOUSIE (1848-1856) Lord Dalhousie was the youngestGovernor-General of India when he assumed charge at the age of 36 in 1848. . His early career was remarkable. He studied in Christ Church, Oxford. He became Member of Parliament and enjoyed the confidence of Sir Robert Peel, the Prime Minister of England. He did much for the progress of railway construction in England as the president of the Board of Trade. . In 1847, he was offered the Governor Generalship of India which he accepted and arrived at Calcutta in January 1848
Annexation of Punjab At the end of the second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, Punjab was annexed by Dalhousie. . He organized the administration of Punjab very efficiently. The province was divided into small districts under the control of District Officers who were called Deputy Commissioners. These commissioners with the help of their assistants came into close contact with people. Revenue and judicial departments were combined to secure concentration of power and responsibility. The laws and procedure were simplified in accordance with the custom of the people. .The overall administration of Punjab was entrusted to the Chief Commissioner.
Second Burmese War and the Annexation of Lower Burma In 1852, commercial disputes in Rangoon prompted new hostilities between the British and the Burmese. After the end of the second Burmese War (1852), Dalhousie annexed Lower Burma with its capital at Pegu. . The annexation of Lower Burma proved beneficial to Britain. . Rangoon, Britain's most valuable acquisition from the war became one of the biggest ports in Asia.
Doctrine of Lapse . Dalhousie also took advantage of every opportunity to acquire territory by peaceful means The East India Company was rapidly becoming the predominant power in India. It had concluded alliances with Indian rulers. It promised to support them and their heirs in return for various concessions. . Although this type of agreement favoured the British, Dalhousie sought to acquire even more power . According to the Hindu Law, one can adopt a son in case of no male heir to inherit the property. The question arose whether a Hindu ruler, holding his state subordinate to the paramount power, could adopt a son to succeed his kingdom.
Doctrine of Lapse It was customary for a ruler without a natural heir to ask the British Government whether he could adopt a son to succeed him. . According to Dalhousie, if such permission was refused by the British, the state would "lapse" and thereby become part of the British India. . Dalhousie maintained that there was a difference in principle between the right to inherit private property and the right to govern. This principle was called the Doctrine of Lapse
Doctrine of Lapse . The Doctrine of Lapse was applied by Dalhousie to Satara and it was annexed in 1848. Jhansi and Nagpur were annexed in 1854. . As a result of these annexations, a large part of the Central Provinces came under the British rule. The new province was governed by a Chief Commissioner from 1861. After the Mutiny of 1857, the doctrine of lapse was withdrawn.
Annexation of Oudh The British relations with the state of Oudh go back to the Treaty of Allahabad in 1765. . Right from Warren Hastings, many Governor-Generals advised the Nawab of Oudh to improve the administration. But, misrule continued there and the Nawab was under the assumption that the British would not annex Oudh because of his loyalty to them. After surveying the situation in Oudh, Dalhousie annexed it in 1856. Nawab Wajid Ali was granted a pension of 12 lakhs of rupees per year. The annexed territory came under the control of a Chief Commissioner.
Annexation of Oudh Dalhousie's annexation of Oudh, the last one among his annexations, created great political danger. The annexation offended the Muslim elite. . More dangerous was the effect on the British army's Indian troops, many of whom came from Oudh, They had occupied a privileged position before its annexation Under the British Government they were treated as equals with the rest of the population . This is a loss of prestige for them. In these various ways, the annexation of Oudh contributed to the Mutiny of 1857
RailwaysS Lord Dalhousie started the "guarantee system" by which the railway companies were guaranteed a minimum interest of five percent on their investment. . The government retained the right of buying the railway at the end of the period of contract. The first railway line connecting Bombay with Thane was opened in 1853. Railway lines connecting from Calcutta to the Raniganj coal-fields was opened in 1854 and from Madras to Arakkonam in 1856.
Postal Reform The foundation of modern postal system was laid down by Lord Dalhousie. . A new Post Office Act was passed in 1854. . Consequently, irrespective of the distance over which the letter was sent, a uniform rate of half an anna per post card was charged throughout India. . Postage stamps were introduced for the first time.