He gave to the administrative system, the shape which it still preserves, the centralising imperial control over postal and other communications but permitting freedom to the local administrations in other directions. He laid the foundation stone on which modern India has been build up.
Five principles of his Annexation policy-Lord Dalhousie’s annexation policy was based on the following five principles:
(a) Annexation by conquests.
(b) Doctrine of Lapse.
(c) The desire to extend the benefit of British rule of provinces misgoverned by Indian rulers.
(d) Abolition of purely titular sovereignty.
(a) Annexation by Conquests:
1. Annexation of Punjab:
Though the British had defeated the Sikhs in the first Sikh War yet Lord Hardinge had not annexed Punjab to the British Empire. Although the Sikhs were defeated, their power was not completely crushed and there was still war fever among the Sikh soldiers who were determined to take revenge of their defeat. Soon after coming to India. Lord Daihousie was dragged into the second Sikh War.
The sikhs were given a crushing defeat and Punjab was annexed to the British Empire. Maharaja Dilip Singh was granted a pension and sent to England. Sir John Lawrence was appointed the Chief Commissioner who made the settlement of the province on sound footing and also made the Sikhs loyal to the British.
2. Annexation of a part of Sikkim:
Two British Officers were seized by the Raja of Sikkim, Daihousie asked him to release the officers. On his refusal to do so, he attacked Sikkim and defeated the Raja and a part of Sikkim was annexed by Daihousie.
3. Annexation of Lower Burma:
The English had defeated the Burrmese in the first Burmese War (1824). Since then, the English developed trade relation with Burma and a British resident was appointed at Rangoon.
Causes of Second Burmese War:
1. Burmese had been forced to sign the treaty of Yandaboo. They were not satisfied and wanted to take the revenge. They disliked the behaviour of the English resident. The English living in Burma sent false complaints against the Burmese Government and thus helped in developing a feeling of animosity between the two.
2. Daihousie was an annexationist and wanted to expand the British Empire at the cost of Burma. He wanted to make safe and secure the eastern frontier of British Empire. After the annexation of Sikkim in 1849 he decided to annex Burma also.
Burmese Government avoided war. But Lord Daihousie was waiting for an opportunity and a pretext to annex Burma. Two Britishers were found guilty for murdering two Burmese working on the English ship.
The Burmese Government simply fined them for such a serious offence. Lord Daihousie got the pretext and declared that the Burmese Government had violated the treaty of Yandaboo. He claimed heavy damages for the wrorjg done to the English merchants. The Burmese Government could not satisfy the haughty English officer was sent to demand explanation.
There was exchange of guns and it led to war. The Burmese were defeated and lower Burma was annexed to the British Empire by a proclamation of 1852.
According to Arnold; “The Second Burmese War was neither just in its origin nor marked by strict equality in its conduct or issue”.
(b) Annexations by the Treaty of Doctrine of Lapse:
The name of Lord Daihousie is specially associated with the ‘Doctrine of Lapse’. But he was not its author. As early as 1844 the Directors of the English company had declared that permission to adopt on the failure of natural heirs, should be the exception not the rule and should never be granted but as a special mark of favour or approbation. Daihousie applied the doctrine of lapse only to the dependent states.
According to this doctrine on the failure of natural heirs, the sovereignty passed on the paramount power. The policy of Dalhousie’s predecessors was not to interfere in such matters. But Daihousie found it a convenient means of extending company’s territories.
Three Categories of States:
(i) Those Hindu rulers who did not pay tribute to the British Government and never accepted the paramount of the British power in India. There were the independent states.
(ii) Those Hindu states and Raja’s who had accepted the paramounty of the British Government and paid a regular tribute. They were called protected allies,
(iii) Those Rajas and Hindu Sardars who had been placed or installed on the throne by the British Government and had been given letter of authority for their re-installation as Rajas. These states were called dependent states.
The Doctrine of Lapse did not apply in the case of the first category of state. In the case of second category of Hindu rulers, it was necessary for them to obtain Government permission for adopting a son to succeed to the throne; the growing or otherwise of which depend upon the personal wish of the British Government. In the third category of the Hindu Rajas, the permission to adopt sons was not given at all.
Application of the Theory:
Raja of Satara died in 1898 without leaving any natural heir. He had adopted a so on before his death. This adoption of son was declared invalid on the ground that he had not taken the sanction for the same.
The Court of Directors declared that, a dependent principality like that of Satara could not pass on to an adopted son without the consent of the Paramount power. Satara was thus annexed to the British Empire. The annexation of Satara cannot be justified in any way. The English had entered into a treaty on the basis of equality.
The Raja of Nagpur died in 1853. Before his death he had directed his Rani to adopt a son. The Rani adopted Yashwant Rao. The adoption was perfectly valid according to the Hindu Law and customs. But Daihousie did not recognise the adopted son as the Raja of Nagpur. Hence, Nagpur was annexed to the British Empire.
After the death of Rao Ram Chandra in 1835 his adopted son and not been recognised by the British who placed Raghunath Rao on the throne of Jhansi. Raghunath Rao was succeeded by Gangadhar Rao who died in 1853. Before his death he had adopted Anand Rao as his son.
Daihousie refused to recognise him and annexed the state of Jhansi. The immediate effect of this annexation was that Laxmi Bai of Jhansi played a very prominent role in the mutiny of 1857 in order to take her revenge.
In the case of Sambhalpur the deceased Raja had not adopted any son. In 1849 before his death he had expressed the view that his people might obtain the protection of the British after his death. Dalhousei annexed the state Sambhalpur also.
5. Jaitpur in Bundelkhand:
The state of Jaitpur was also annexed to the British dominion because its ruler died in 1849 without leaving an issue.
It was a petty hill state in Punjab and was annexed for want of natural heir to the throne after the death of its ruler in 1850.
The state was annexed to British dominion in 1852 when its ruler died leaving no heir to the throne.
Criticism of the Doctrine of Lapse:
The distinction between independent allies, dependent and subordinate state was only an artificial one. Any state could be annexed by merely stating that it was a dependent state. There was no court of appeal to challenge the decision of the court of Directors of the Company.
Lord Daihousie applied the doctrine to serve the imperial designs. His high handedness becomes quite evident from the fact that some of his decisions were set aside by the Court of Directors. They did not allow the annexation of state of Kasouli. The states of Bhagat and Udaipur were also restored to their former Rajas by Lord Canning.
(a) Abolition of Purely Titular Sovereignty:
Under this category the following states was annexed to the British dominions:
(1) Carnatic, (2) Tanjore; (3) Poona Peshwaship was abolished; (4) Bahadur Shah the Mughal Emperor.
(b) Annexation on the Ground of Misgovernment:
This principle was applied in the case of Oudh. Wajid Ali Shah the Nawab of Oudh led a dissipated life and it was rumoured that the state of administration was utterly rotten during his reign.
The British resident at Lucknow reported that the condition of the province was deteriorating day by day on account of misrule. Daihousie was waiting for such an opportunity. He did not lose time and annexed the kingdom inspite of the treaty of 1801.
(c) Annexation by Assignment:
This principle was applied in the case of Berar. A lot of money had become due on Nizam on account of expenses on contingent forces of the English company. He was compelled to enter into a new treaty with the English. Which he gave Berar to the English in the payment of the debts. Berar was annexed by Daihousie in 1853.
Lord Dalhousie’s Reforms:
Lord Dalhousie’s conquests and annexations brought the whole subs-continent of India under one control and his reforms on the modern lines prove that he was “The Maker of the Modem India”. Sir Richard Temple says as an imperial administrator, he has never been surpassed and seldom equalled by any of the illustrious men whom England has sent forth to govern India.
So he is really remembered not merely for his wars, conquests and annexations, but also indicated the lines on which modern India was to be built.
Lord Daihousie had a wider vision while introducing multi- charter of his administrative reforms. Past conquests of his territories resulted the need for some organisations which would take the place of the destroyed administrative structures of the conquered province.
This was known as Non-regulation system. Under this system he appointed a commissioner over a newly acquired territory that was made directly responsible to the Governor-General. These commissioners were appointed in various divisions throughout India.
Its aim was to maintain peace, the collection of revenue and the administration of a crude form of criminal Justice. Secondly, Governor-General was relieved of his duties as the head of the Bengal presidency by the appointment of a Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. Bengal, Bombay and Madras were supposed to have a regulated administration by local usages and custom combined with simple British law.
With the conquests and annexations by Lord Daihousie the frontiers of British India had extended from Bengal in the east to Punjab and Sindh in the west. This changed condition of India’s defence necessitates the initiation of services of military reforms which were essential for external as well as internal safety of India. Thus headquarter of the Bengal artillery was shifted from Calcutta to Meerut. The army headquarter was also shifted to Simla.
Daihousie saw the danger in the great numerical increase of the Indian army particularly during the Anglo-Sikh War. He proposed reduction in the strength of Indian elephants in the army which stood 233,000 men in 1856 against 45,000 Europeans.
He impressed upon home authority the necessity of the strength of Europeans soldiers in India so that equipoise could be kept between the British and Indian troops. He described the European force in India “as the essential element of our strength”. Three regiments were added to the army.
He encouraged the formation of Gurkha regiments and a new irregular force in Punjab. These regiments proved of great value to the British during the crises of 1857-58.
Dalhousie’s Educational Reforms:
The company’s charter had been renewed in 1833 for another twenty years. As time for renewal approached the authorities at home and in India were attracted towards education and moral progress of Indians committed to their charge.
This attraction was not altruistic it was an attempt at presenting a bright picture of their administration to a not very favourable House of Commons. The Progress of education since the day of Macaulay had been little and expenditure on it was negligible. Vernacular education had ceased to be any concern of the Government ever since the venomous, though puerile outburst of Macaulay. English education which the
Government supported furnished for lack of fund. The filtration theory had been a failure and there were many and varied recommendations on the re-organisation of the whole system.
A parliamentary committee was appointed on whose report Sir Charles Wood, afterwards Lord Halifax then President of Board of Control, prepared a scheme re-organising the whole structure, better known as “Wood’s Despatch of 1854”.
Among many subjects of importance’s ran the Despatch of 1854, “none can have a stronger claim than that of education”. It is one of our most sacred duties to be the means as far as in us lies, of conferring upon natives of India those vast moral and material blessings which flow from the diffusion of useful knowledge. Heroic though shallow words, for nothing has been more criminally neglect than education.
At the Apex of the structure outlined by Wood, were to be the universities at the presidencies, which however, were not to be teaching institution but mere examining bodies. Under them were to be colleges affiliated to them.
The colleges imparted knowledge from the intermediate to the degree classes. Below the Colleges were to be a network of Anglo- Vernacular and High Schools. In these the medium of instruction was to be the vernacular of the province in the lower classes.
In this way the old contraversary of the Anglicists and the Orientalists was for ever buried. Private enterprise and the indigenous system were to be encouraged by grants from the Government.
The whole system was to be inspected by a re-vitalised education department under the care of a Director-General of Education. Education was to be entirely secular and even between English and the study of the Vernaculars.
As a result of the Despatch, department of education reorganised and by the Act of 1857 Universities were established in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. .The next time English attention was drawn to education, it was again discovered that the progress had been negligible in the years that followed the introduction of Wood’s Despatch of 1854.
Lord Daihousie may be regarded as father of Indian railway.
The board outlines of the scheme were laid down by Lord Daihousie in his famous Railway Minute of 1853 which formed the basis for the future railway extension in India. The first railway line connecting Bombay with Thane was laid down in 1853.
The following years a railway line was built from Calcutta to the Raniganj Coal-fields. A few miles of railway line were also built in the Madras presidency. By 1855 various routes were being surveyed and constructed.
The railway lines were not built out of the Indian exchequer but by private enterprise. Besides relieving the Indian exchequer of the expense it could not have borne. It gave the English capital and enterprise a chance of investment. Subsequently railway lines in India were mostly built by public companies under a system of Government guarantee on the lines indicated by Lord Daihousie.
Besides encouraging trade and facilitating commerce and annihilating distances the railways have gone a long way in uniting India. As early as 1856 Sir Edwin Arnold wrote; “Railway may do for India what dynasties have never done- what the genies of Akbar the Magnificent could not affect by Governments, or the cruelty of Tipu Sahib by violence-they may make India a nation”.
The Electric Telegraph:
Lord Daihousie is responsible for opening modern telegraphic age in India. O’shanghnessy was appointed the Superintendent of the Electric Telegraph Department in 1852.
Obstacles seemed insurmountable, but were overcome by the untiring zeal and energy of O’shanghnessy. Nearly 4,000 miles of electric telegraph lines were constructed connecting Calcutta with Peshawar, Bombay and Madras and other parts of the country.
In Burma a line was laid down from Rangoon to Nandalay. The Telegraph department proved of great assistance during the great rebellion of 1857-58. “It is that accessed string that strangled us”- acclaimed a rebel at the time of his execution.
The organisation of the postal system which Daihousie founded was defective. There was no uniform mate. The fees was realised from the receiver. So Daihousie appointed a commission on whose report the whole system was organised.
A new post office Act was passed in 1854. A Director-General was appointed to Superintendent, the work of post offices in all the presidencies; a uniform rate of half an anna per letter; irrespective of the distance over which it might be sent, was introduced, Postage stamps were issued for the first time.
As a result of these reforms the post office which had so far been a drain on the treasury became a source of revenue. The social, administrative, financial and educational developments resultant from the extension and improvement of this system speak volumes for Dalhousie’s desire for promoting the material progress of India.
Public Works Department:
Before Daihousie the public works department was under the charge of the over worked Military Board, with the result the public works other than military and civil were neglected ‘Daihousie,’ who was averse to Boards and favoured individual responsibilities as the surety of success viewed with hostility the continuance of the Military Board itself, and by systematic onslaughts on its powers abolished it in the end.
In accordance with the orders of the court of Directors a commission was appointed in each of the presidencies, on whose report public works were withdrawn from the control of the Military Board; and a separate Public Work Department was set up in each of the presidencies.
At the head was the Chief Engineer assisted by Executive officers and subordinates, all imported from England. The Engineering service was organised and indigenous talent was sought to be developed by the encouragement of engineering colleges at Roorkee and the presidencies. The recognised department took in hand the construction of Roads, canals, bridges and other works of public utility.
Dalhousie’s commercial reforms were designed to throw upon the product and market of India to the exploitation of English capital. In this he was successful beyond his expectations. His reforms were inlets through which economic imperialism riveted its hold upon India.
They reflect the evaluation of a military imperialism into an economic imperialism; the doctrine of free trade was introduced and proclaimed as one of the maxims of truth applicable to every country and every claim. All parts in India were declared free.
The necessary improvements in lighthouses and harbour accommodation were undertaken. All checks and hindrances that impeded the flew of goods and capital were removed. The result was that all the wasting industry of India slipped into the hands of English capitalists.
Indian capital and enterprise, already shy due to the constant wars of British aggression was blighted by Dalhousie’s commercial and trade innovations.
Their ultimate results were, however, more for reaching and they are writing large upon the face of Indian industrial poverty, extreme dependence on agriculture and an unbalanced economy.
The following figures quoted by Sir W.W. Hunter. One of the apologists as indicating the success of Dalhousie’s commercial reforms tells their own tale of economic exploitation from the Indian point of view.
Export raw cotton rose from 1-1/2 million sterling to 3-1/2, export of grain rose from 89 million sterling to 290 millions. The total exports of merchandise rose from 13-1/2 million sterling in 184§ to over 23 million in 1856. On the other hand the total imports of English manufactured goods rose 10-1/2 to 24-1/4 millions during the same years.
Lord Daihousie left a mark upon India inferior to none of his predecessor and acquired a reputation second only to that of Warren Hastings. The distinctive feature of modern India has been far more influenced by Dalhousie’s work than by the mutiny itself or by the constitutional adjustments which followed it. Sir Richard Temple wrote”
As an imperial administrator Daihousie has never been surpassed and seldom equaled to any of the illustrious men whom England has sent forth to Govern India”. But, it is not to be forgotten that Daihousie was an imperialist.
He achieved many things in India but his primary motive had been to safeguard land strengthened the British Empire in India. He did not care for the wishes and sentiments of the Indians. Therefore, some extent responsible for the revolt of 1857.