Monday, July 24, 2017

Institution of Peshwas Under Maratha Empire

The literal meaning of Peshwa is Prime Minister.

The Peshwa rule in India started after the Marathas.

These Peshwas were initially Prime Ministers to the Maratha rulers and commanded the armies.

Their rule started in the year 1749 AD until 1818.

The original purpose of the Peshwas was to monitor the administration and military of the Maratha Empire.

They were also responsible for managing foreign affairs with other states.

After the golden period of the Maratha kingdom which was during the reign of Shivaji Maharaj none of the other Maratha rulers were competent enough to keep their empire consolidated and under control.

Therefore after his reign the Maratha power was basically controlled by the Peshwas.

The word Peshwa was first introduced in the Deccan region by the Muslim rulers.

The very first Peshwa was Moropant Trimbak Pingle who was appointed by Chhatrapati Shivaji during his reign.

The word Peshwa is derived from the Persian language which means ‘foremost’.

According to historical findings, Peshwa Sonopant Dabir was appointed to assist Shivaji by Shaji and given the power of a Prime Minister.

Ramchandra Neelkanth Bahutkar


Ramachandra Neelkanth was one of the best administrators and foreign negotiators that the Maratha Kingdom has ever had.

He was also known as Ram Chandrapant Amarthya Bavadekar.

He was appointed in the service of Chhatrapati Shivaji and was the youngest member of his Council.

He also served Chhatrapati Sambhaji, Sambhaji II and Raja Ram.

During the period of 1618 to 1699 he received the title of a king from Chhatrapati Rajaram as ‘Hukumatpanha’.

He was also the author of the famous code of civil and military administration known as ‘Ananya Patra’.

Ramchandra was also a great Warrior and helped the Maratha rulers recapture several forts from the Mughal Empire during the period of 1690 to 1694.

He was skilled in Guerrilla warfare techniques and received the support of Great Maratha Warriors like Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav.

He even took part in wars during the years 1690 to 1694.

Ramchandra Neelkanth acted as a shadow king of the Maratha Empire in the absence of Chhatrapati Rajaram.

Tarabai was appointed after Ramchandra Neelkanth Bahutkar as the Maratha Peshwa.

The Bhat family of Shrivardhan


In the Konkan region the Bhat family of Shrivardhan was appointed as the Peshwas.

When Chhatrapati Shahu was the Maratha ruler he appointed Balaji Vishwanath Bhat as Peshwa in 1713 A.D.

Balaji Vishwanath Bhat was a chitpavan Brahmin and he was the first Peshwa who made the office of Peshwa, hereditary.

He was very cunning as far as diplomacy was concerned and also a great military general.

Under his leadership, he raise the Marathas from a micro minority to great power.

He was succeeded by his son Baji Rao who was also a great military leader and a diplomat just like his father.

He freed several Maratha provinces which were under the power of Mughal Supremacy and also expanded the Maratha dominance in the Deccan region.

Baji Rao I expanded the Maratha territory by including the areas of Gujarat, Malwa and parts of Bundelkhand into the empire.

The last Peshwa was Bajirao II who was defeated by the British East India Company in the third Anglo Maratha war which was fought in 1817-1818, in the battle of Khadki.

The East India Company conquered the parts of the Peshwa territories in Central Maharashtra and included them in the Bombay province.

Dispute in the Peshwas


When Chhatrapati Shahu made Baji Rao I as the Peshwa in the year 1793, he informally made the position of Peshwas hereditary.

This event was not received very well by the general Trimbak Rao Dabhade who was the commander in chief of the Maratha Army.

Trimbak was later killed in the battle of Bijapur on April 1st 1731 after which the Bhat family was given absolute control over the Maratha Empire.

Baji Rao’s son was appointed as Peshwa by Chhatrapati Shahu in the year 1740.

As the Peshwas were already imparted with significant authority to lead the Maratha army, Shahu made them his successors before his demise in the year 1749.

When the Maratha Kingdom came under the Peshwas, they called the direct descendants of Chhatrapati Shivaji as ‘swami’ which means ‘the real owner’ in Marathi.

After the death of Madhav Rao in the battle of Panipat, the Peshwas were left as only ceremonial head of state.

Struggle of Shivaji and Aurungzeb, Shivaji's Successors, Treaty of Purandar

Shivaji’s Encounter with Raja Jai Singh


When Shaista Khan failed to kill Shivaji, Aurangzeb was restless and sent another one of his generals named Mirza Raja Jai Singh.

Raja Jai Singh was a Hindu general who was the scion of the Suryavanshi Kachhawa.

On Aurangzeb’s orders, he along with his general Diler Khan laid siege to Purandar while also causing a systematic loot and destruction of Maharashtra.

At that time, Murar Baji was the Maratha commandant at Purandar.

Diler Khan launched vigorous attack on the Fort of Purandar in order to break the spirit of the Maratha troops and hence he successfully forced his way through the outer defences of Purandar.

However the Maratha forces were not intimidated easily.

They piled their defences to the inner fort while simultaneously continuing their attacks on the Mughals.

One fine day, the fort commander Murar Baji decided to go out with full force and hence attacked the Mughal forces which had captured the outer fort.

The Mughal forces were taken aback by surprise attack as they were not expecting an attack of this magnitude and hence they broke ranks and rant to their camp where Diler Khan was .

This Fearless attack cost the Purandar commandant his life and hence he passed away.

With the death of Murar Baji and the dragged on Siege, forced Shivaji to arrange a compromise with Raja Jai Singh in order to protect the population of Maharashtra and end their suffering.

The Treaty of Purandar


This Treaty was signed between Mirza Jai Singh and Shivaji Maharaj.

Among many other aspects and conditions of this treaty, one which was most significant was that Shivaji was to accompany Mirza to Agra where he would be presented before Aurangzeb.

Therefore  Shivaji decided to go to Agra in the year 1666.

Shivaji’s visit to Agra


When Shivaji arrived at Agra, he was presented to the court of Aurangzeb where he was humiliated when Aurangzeb deliberately made him stand behind a lesser noble person, who was defeated by Shivaji in battle.

Aurangzeb had pre-arranged this scenario.

Consequently Shivaji left the court furious which gave Aurangzeb the excuse he was looking for to declare Shivaji of having committed the crime of contempt in the Mughal court.

Shivaji was detained in Mirza Raja Jai Singh’s house where Shivaji was originally staying.

Shivaji sensed that something was going on in Aurangzeb’s mind and he wanted to kill Shivaji and he was right because Aurangzeb had made plans to move Shivaji to the Mughal Dungeons.

Shivaji's Escape


Shivaji escaped the Mughal prison in a spectacular manner by hiding in large baskets which were meant to hold fruits and sweetmeats.

These baskets were used to send food to Brahmins and holy men every day from the prison.

Shivaji’s general, Netaji Palkar was also captured by the Mughals and was forced to convert to Islam and even change his name to Quli Mohammed Khan.

He was forced to serve as a Mughal soldier in the Afghanistan region until he also escaped and re-joined with Shivaji.

He converted to Hinduism and joined the cause of Swaraj once again.

Shivaji Coronated as Chhatrapati


After his brave escape from the Mughal clutches, he returned to Deccan where he again raised an army and recaptured all the forts which the Mughals had made him surrender according to the Treaty of Purandar.

Tanaji Malusare, was one of his brave generals and during this phase of Shivaji's might, he wreaked heaven on Mughal forces.

But while recapturing the indispensable Fort of Kondana from Uday Bhan, who was a betrayer Rajput and also the Mughal commander of the Fort, he lost his life.

Once Shivaji had recaptured all his forts, he was convinced by the Banaras Brahmin Gaga Bhatt and his mother Jijabai to formally announce himself as the king of the Marathas.

The coronation ceremony took place at Raigad on the 6th of June 1674 which was attended by the representatives of the British and other foreign powers.

Southern Campaigns of Shivaji


Shivaji launched several campaigns in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

He expanded his influence to Thanjavur in Tamilnadu.

From 1674 to 1680, it was a peaceful period for the Marathas because the Mughals had taken a step back and did not make any more attempts to disturb the might of the Marathas.

In the year 1680, when Shivaji finally died, Aurangzeb once again dared to invade Maharashtra.

Even then he was aware of the mighty Maratha forces and hence did not assign this task to any of his generals.

He himself came to Maratha in the year 1682 and stayed on in the Deccan region until he died in the year 1707.

The State of Marathas after Shivaji


After Shivaji's death, the Marathas fell into disarray.

His successor was his eldest son Sambhaji who proved inadequate to the responsibilities of the Maratha Kingdom.

He was unable to keep up the flame of Independence which was started by his father.

Although Sambhaji was extremely brave and fearless but he was very often defeated by his own vices.

He was very short tempered and indulged in activities like wine and women.

All the incredible things that Shivaji Maharaj had done in his life, it seems that he did not have enough time to groom his successor.

When Shivaji was king, his son Sambhaji quarrelled with him and left the kingdom to join with the Mughal forces to become one of their Mansabdars.

But he realised his mistakes and came back to his father to repent.

Shivaji forgave him but was extremely hurt as the chimerical nature of Sambhaji had been exposed to him.

When Sambhaji was crowned as Chhatrapati, he blindly followed policies which later on proved to be detrimental to the Maratha power.

He often took advice which was nothing but short sighted, from his friend Kavi Kailash.

In the end, he was captured by Aurangzeb and due to his outspoken nature, Aurangzeb sentenced him to death by torture.

His eyes were gouged, his tongue cut off clean along with his arms and legs.

Sambhaji suffered a very cruel death but till his last moment never released his faith to the Mughals who were trying to make him convert to Islam.

Evolution of Marathas, Shivaji, Afzal Khan, Shaista Khan & the Siege of Panhalgad

The Marathas were a proud race which were mostly found in Maharashtra, as early as the 7th century.

They are first mentioned in the army of Chalukya king Pulikeshin who fought the emperor Harsha in the 7th century and checked his southward expansion.

Before the Muslim era, the Maratha dynasty included the Chalukyas from 580 AD to 750 AD, the Rashtrakutas from 758 AD to 978 AD and the Yadavas from 1175 AD to 1318 AD.

Ramdev Rai Yadav was the last ruler of the Yadav dynasty who ruled from Devagiri.

In the year 1314 when Malik Kafur invaded the Deccan region, Ramdev Rai Yadav fought him but was defeated and hence ended the Muslim free era of the Marathas after which the Marathas accepted their status as being mercenaries under the Muslim overlords.

Marathas before Shivaji


Before the era of Shivaji began, the Marathas were simply mercenaries and revenue collectors for the Muslim rulers.

However, they constantly shifted their loyalties from one Muslim ruler to another such as Adil Shah at Bijapur, the Nizam Shahi at Ahmednagar and the Qutub shahi at Golconda.

Shivaji's father, Shahaji Bhosale also used this strategy to shift loyalties from one Muslim ruler to another.

From time to time he was under the service of the Mughals, the Adil Shahis and the Nizam Shahis but the thought of an independent Maratha Kingdom was always in his mind.

Although he did not work towards achieving that goal but this idea was inseminated into his son’s mind by Shahaji Bhosale’d wife, Jijabai, who was the mother of Shivaji.

Shivaji Maharaj - The Visionary


Shivaji was born at Shivneri Fort in Maharashtra in western parts of India in the year 1627.

His mother Jija Bai was a direct descendant of the Royal Yadav family which ruled before the Mughal Era.

Deep in her mind, she was always convinced and consumed with the idea of an independent state which was lost by her forefathers in the year 1318.

She implanted this idea in Shivaji’s mind right from his childhood and encouraged him to put his efforts towards achieving this goal.

With his mother’s support and the support of his friends, he decided to take an oath to free his country from the clutches of the Muslim rulers.

This oath was taken by him in the year 1645 in a dark cavern which had a small Hindu temple of Lord Shiva and hence marked the beginning of a long and difficult Maratha-Mughal struggle which dragged on for about a century and a half.

This struggle ended with the shifting of power from the Mughal Empire to the Marathas.

Afzal Khan


Following up on his oath of an independent state, Shivaji captured the Fort of Tarana which sent ripples in the Adil Shah’s court at Bijapur.

The ego of the Muslim rulers was displaced because a local Hindu chieftain had dared to challenge the ultimate might of the Muslims.

Therefore, Adil Shah sent his most fearsome general Afzal Khan to either capture Shivaji or kill him.

Afzal Khan had a reputation to be ruthless.

He was of a stout built and to accomplish his mission of bringing down Shivaji he tried to lure him into the plains by destroying the Hindu temples at Tuljapur, Pandharpur and Shikhar Shinganapur.

But Shivaji was more cunning then he thought and he did not fall in his trap.

So Afzal Khan had to go up the Hills of Pratapgarh to battle Shivaji.

Before the battle began, a meeting took place between Shivaji along with his close group of bodyguards and Afzal Khan.

During this meeting,when Afzal khan who was more than 6 feet tall, hugged Shivaji, who stood at about 5 feet, Afzal Khan tried to stab Shivaji in the back.

But Shivaji sensed that something was wrong and hence using his tiger claws stabbed Khan in the belly and pulled out his intestines.

Afzal Khan screamed in pain and yelled ‘Daga’, which means betrayal.

Seeing this, Khan's bodyguard, Sayed Banda tried to come to his general’s rescue and raised his sword at Shivaji.

However Shivaji’s bodyguard Jiva Mahalya swiped off Banda’s arm.

Santaji Kawji then finished off Afzal Khan and sent him to his final resting place.

Afzal Khan’s army was then massacred in the valley by the Marathan troops which was hiding behind every crevice and bush in the jungles around Pratapgarh Fort.

This shows the intelligence level of Shivaji who knew that as long as he stayed at Pratapgarh fort and used the jungles around it, Afzal Khan's army won’t stand a chance.

For this reason he did not budge from Pratapgarh even when Afzal Khan tried to lure him away into the valley by destroying Hindu temples.

This battle was fought on 10th November 1659 and a ‘Kabar’ or grave was erected by Shivaji for Afzal Khan.

The Siege of Panhalgad


Afzal Khan was one of the most fearsome generals of Adil Shah.

Even after his defeat at Pratapgarh Fort, Adil Shah was still set up on killing Shivaji and hence he sent another general Siddi Johar after him.

Siddhi decided to launch a siege on Panhalgarh which went on for several months starting from summers and till after the monsoons.

However, Shivaji Maharaj managed to escape Panhalgarh and reached safely at Vishalgad.

Now the stories of Shivaji’s escapades had reached Aurangzeb’s ears and he was furious.

He ordered his maternal uncle Shaista Khan to crush Shivaji.

Shaista Khan was accompanied by a huge and powerful army to Maharashtra where he started destruction of towns, fields, temples and every other thing that came in his path.

He provoked Shivaji by setting up camp in Shivaji’s hometown in Pune which was known as Lal Mahal.

On top of this, he also set up his harem in Shivaji’s prayer room known as Devgad.

Shivaji, although infuriated, but he bid his time for several months and one fine night he put together a small band of Marathan troops and sneaked into the Lal Mahal.

He found Shaista Khan sleeping on his bed.

When Khan saw Shivaji he tried to jump out the window but Shivaji cut off the fingers with which Shaista Khan was holding the window sill.

Moved by the pleadings of Shaista Khan's wife, Shivaji spared his life.

When Shivaji was returning from Lal Mahal, Khan ordered his troops to go after him and capture Shivaji but he was unsuccessful.

After this incident Shaista Khan had had enough and hence returned to Delhi in April 1663.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Reasons of Why the Great Mughal Empire Declined in its Power & Glory??

The Mughal Empire was at the peak of its glory during the reign of Akbar and Shahjahan.

On one hand, Akbar did a fine job expanding the territories and boundaries of the Empire with his witty military tactics combined with matrimonial associations with the neighbouring states, on the other hand Shajahan did an excellent job of consolidating and maintaining the glory of the empire.

The real downfall of the Mughal Empire began in the last days of Aurangzeb which was caused by a number of discrete reasons which we will discuss in this article.

Reasons for Mughal Decline 1 - Aurangzeb’s responsibilities


Aurangzeb’s policies and his intolerance was the main reason which led to the decline of Mughal Empire.

His forefathers had worked extremely hard to earn the loyalty and support of their subjects, especially the Rajputs and the Hindus.

But Aurangzeb paid no respect or heed to the rituals and status of the people who belonged to these communities.

He even imposed special taxes known as Jazia on people who belonged to religions other than Islam.

He put a ban on the celebration of Hindu festivals which ultimately led to the Rajput and the Hindus removing their support and loyalties.

If this was not enough, he even went as far as to execute the Sikh guru and made an enemy out of the Marathas.

This pompous attitude of his was not taken very kindly by the Marathas and they were forced to take up arms against him.

Aurangzeb was also obsessed with the southern kingdoms or the Deccan.

He spent huge resources including his army and heaps of financial support from the treasury on his Southern campaigns, which ultimately drained his empire’s economy and military leaving him exposed and vulnerable.

He was a Sunni Muslim and could not even tolerate the Shias and hence turned a big part of the Muslim community against himself.

He focused his energy a little too much on simplicity and despised singing, dancing and drinking.

These three things or activities were common habits among the people of different religions.

All these things combined, nobody liked the idea of a king who went out of his way to make the lives of the general public as difficult as possible.

In a way, Aurangzeb himself carved the coffin of the Mughal Empire.

Soon after his death the Mughal Empire crumpled.

Reasons for Mughal Decline 2 - Weak Successors of Aurungzeb


Apart from Bahadur Shah Zafar II, none of Aurangzeb’s successes were competent enough to protect Mughal Empire’s territories from hostiles.

It's not like there were no threats during the times of Akbar or Babur or Shahjahan, but they were competent enough to deal with such threats gracefully and effectively.

Aurangzeb’s successors spent most of the time enjoying the perks of the royal harems and drinking wine.

Their lavish lifestyles did not go well with the shrinking size of the empire’s treasury and also the starving public.

Reasons for Mughal Decline 3 - No definite law of succession


There was no clear cut rule as to who would inherit the throne from a Mughal emperor.

Therefore, every time an Emperor either died or was imprisoned by one of his own sons, there would follow a bloody war of succession among the sons of the Emperor.

Each one would try to influence the members of the court in their  favor so that they could put a greater claim to the throne, which ultimately divided the royal court on the basis of favouritism.

These subjects worked out of their own self interest and hence gave birth to countless conspiracies which ultimately made the Mughal Empire hollow from the inside and vulnerable to external threats

Reasons for Mughal Decline 4 - Poor economy


During Aurangzeb’s time, his obsession with the Deccan drained the treasury of the Empire and hence affected the economic stability.

The constant pressure of war was draining the empire’s resources which might be justified if the results were mostly in the Mughals favour.

However this was not the case and some of the wars did not even add the smallest of pieces of land to the Empire’s territories.

Apart from this, Aurangzeb’s successors spent their lives living lavishly on the expense of the taxes paid by the suffering peasants and merchants.

They spent the Empire’s fortune building monuments in their names and as a result, foreign invasions absolutely crumbled the economy of the state.

Reasons for Mughal Decline 5 - Low morale of the soldiers


Everywhere the Mughal Army went, they were rewarded with the spoils of war.

Given the number of wars which the Mughal army fought, they quickly became lazy, corrupt and inefficient.

The inefficiency in the ranks of the Mughal military had spread so far that sometimes they even succumbed to bribes.

The army generals refused to march on a campaign without the royal squires and constant supply of women.

These are the signs of an army which has been so corrupted and spoiled, that it could not even fulfil the purpose for which it was constituted.

Reasons for Mughal Decline 6 - Rise of new powers


As expected, different territories and communities decided break away from the main Mughal Empire and established their own kingdoms.

These powers included the Sikhs, Jats and Marathas, who ultimately settled their own independent States.

Reasons for Mughal Decline 7 - Arrival of the Europeans


The Europeans first arrived in India as simple traders and gradually started to interfere with the internal politics of India.

As we all know, the British Empire lasted for 200 years and this colonisation of India was a result of the complete destruction of the Mughal Empire by the British Empire.

The Mughal did not make enough efforts to bring India out of the medieval age and still used primitive weapons in their military whereas the British army had advanced weaponry and superior war tactics which give them an unprecedented edge in Indian history and hence brought down the last of the Mughal Emperors.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Important Facts about Mughals Lineage from Babar to Aurungzeb in Medieval India

The Mughal Empire was one of the most significant Empires that ever ruled the Indian subcontinent.

It is quite evident that apart from the British Empire, every aspect of our nation, whether it be art, culture, education, administration or security has been affected in some way by the Mughal influence.
At its peak, the Mughal Empire included parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and most of the Indian subcontinent.

It was founded by Babur in 1526, who was a Timurid leader.

He defeated Ibrahim Lodi, who was the last Sultan of the Delhi sultanate, in the first battle of Panipat.

The word Mughal is a loose Persian interpretation of the word Mangol.

The most prominent religion which was followed during the Mughal period was Islam.

Most of the part of the Mughal Empire during Humayun was conquered by the Afghan leader Sher Shah Suri when Humayun the son of Babur was king of the Mughal Empire.

But during Akbar's time, the Empire grew significantly and continue to do so until Aurangzeb’s time.

Akbar's reign was followed by his son Jahangir who ruled during the period 1605 to 1627.

In October 1627, Shah Jahan, son of Jahangir inherited a vast and rich empire which was considered to be the greatest empires in the world at that time.

He also constructed the famous Taj Mahal between the years 1630 to 1653 at the bank of river Yamuna in Agra.

The Mughals had many enemies and faced very tough competition from the Marathas.

When Aurangzeb died in 1707, the Mughal Empire started to decline which made way for the rise of Maratha Empire.

Still the Mughals managed to have some sort of Control for the next 150 years in India.

But in 1739 they were completely defeated by Nadir Shah, a Persian leader.

Ahmed Shah Abdali retook control of Delhi in 1750 with a small army but the British Empire finally put an end to the Mughal Era in 1857.

Foundation of the Mughal Empire 


In 1526, Babur invaded India while taking advantage of internal disturbances in the Delhi sultanate which was being ruled by Ibrahim Lodi at that time.

He received significant help from the governor of Punjab, Daulat Khan Lodi and also Alam Khan who was the uncle of Ibrahim Lodi.

Babar belong to a Royal Mongol family.

He was the great grandson of Mongol ruler named the Taimur Lenk who had first invaded India in the year 1398 before he retired to Samarkand.

During the 16th century, different Muslim armies which consisted of Mongol, the Uzbecks and Mongol soldiers attacked India under the leadership of the Timurid Prince Zaheer Ud-din Muhammad Babar.

Babar was exiled from Samarkand by the Uzbeks when he fled to Kabul in the year 1504.

He grew his military power in Kabul itself and finally invaded India in the year 1526 as an experienced military leader with a well-trained army of 12000 soldiers.

But he was to face the colossal army of 100000 men led by Ibrahim Lodi.

He still managed to defeat the Sultan in a decisive manner at the first battle of Panipat by using gun carts, artillery and his infamous cavalry tactics.

In the year 1527, at the battle of Khanwa he again defeated the Rajput confederation, led by Rana Sanga of Chittoor.

Third major battle which was fought by Babur in his lifetime was in the year 1529 in which he fought the combined forces of the Nawabs and Sultan of Bengal in the battle of Gogra.

He died at Agra in the year 1530 before he could consolidate his military conquests and achieve his dream of a consolidated Empire in the Indian subcontinent.

The reign of Humayun


Humayun inherited the throne in the year 1530 but under very difficult circumstances.

He was facing aggression from all possible sides including the Afghan claims to the throne of Delhi and disputes over his own succession.

Therefore he fled to Persia and spent about 10 years of his life as a guest of the Safarvid when Sher Shah Suri ruled at Delhi.(Actually he was defeated by Sher Shah Suri and ran away for his life only to return later)

But after Sher Shah's death in May 1545, Humayun, after having gained quite a following in Kabul with the assistance from Safavid came back to Delhi and took control of the Sultanate in the year 1555.

He died only 6 months later because of falling down from the steps of his library.

The reign of Akbar


After Humayun’s sudden death in 1556, his 13 year old son Akbar was left with the huge task of consolidating the Mughal Empire.

When Akbar came of age, he freed himself from the influences of Bairam Khan who had previously and successfully expanded the Mughal Empire on Akbar's behalf.

He proved his leadership and judgement skills to the overbearing ministers.

He became a workaholic who rarely slept more than 3 hours a night and personally monitored that his policies were implemented.

These policies remained the backbone of the Mughal Empire for more than 200 years.

Akbar built his capital at Fatehpur Sikri near Agra in 1571.

He adopted very varied policies when it came to administering a large territory and an area with a diverse ethnic community.

Apart from administration and expansion of his vast Empire, Akbar also paid enough attention to the Empire’s economic status.

In the year 1580, he asked for the revenue statistics of the past 10 years so that he could understand better the details of fluctuations in the price of different crops.

He was assisted by Todar Mal, who was a Hindu scholar and hence released a revenue schedule which was in favour of the peasants and also considered the need of the Empire.

During the end of Akbar's reign the Mughal Empire had already extended throughout the Northern India even up to the southern area of Narmada River.

Some exceptions included Gondwana in the central India which paid taxes to the Mughals, Assam in the Northeast and significant part of the Deccan.

When compared with the British Empire, in 1600, the net revenues of the Mughal Empire were 17.5 million pounds whereas in the year 1800, the entire treasury of the British only totalled up to 16 million pounds.

Reign of Jahangir and Shah Jahan


The notable points of the Mughal Empire during the rule of Jahangir and Shah Jahan were the political stability, growing economic activity, promotion of art and architecture etc.

Jahangir was married to a Persian princess who was renamed as Noor Jahan which meant ‘light of the world’.

Noor Jahan became the most powerful member of Jahangir’s Court.

Therefore, Persian poets, artists and other officers which included members of her own family found their habitat in India.

Corruption began to decline and unproductive officials were weeded out but due to the inclusion of Persian representatives the delicate balance of impartiality at Jahangir’s court was shaken.

As far as religion is concerned, Jahangir liked the Hindu festivals but he promoted Islam extensively and also persecuted Jains.

He even executed Guru Arjun Dev who was the fifth Sikh guru in the year 1606 because the Guru refused to make changes to the Guru Granth Sahib.

In the year 1622, with the support of Noor Jahan, his son Shah Jahan rebelled against Jahangir.

Taking advantage of the situation, the Persians conquered Kandahar in the southern parts of Afghanistan which struck a very significant blow to the Mughal Prestige.

During the year 1636 to 1646, Shahjahan sent different convoys to the southern parts of India and to the North Western parts of the Mughal Empire beyond the Khyber Pass.

This put a very significant toll on the empire’ss treasury.

Shahjahan also built Taj Mahal in Agra as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal which symbolised the beauty of Mughal architecture and huge expenditures at a time when the economy was shrinking.

Reign of Aurangzeb


Aurangzeb was the last of the great Mughal emperors who ruled for over 50 years.

During his reign, the Mughal Empire achieved its biggest physical size but had also started to show signs of decline.

The Emperor's Court was corrupt and the army was outdated with weapons and tactics.

Although Aurangzeb restored Supremacy and dominance to the army, but it was short lived as he was engaged in wars against the Pathans in Afghanistan, the Sultan of Bijapur, Golconda in the Deccan, Marathas in Maharashtra and Ahoms in Assam.

Revolts by the farmers and the local leaders were pretty common in his reign which was weakening the Mughal Empire from within.

The increasing Association of the Mughal Empire with Islam also put a wedge between Aurangzeb and the Hindu community.

There was a lot of competition for the throne of Delhi and after Aurangzeb’s death, there was not a single significant successor who had managed to keep everyone at bay for longer periods of time.

Regional Nawabs and governors were breaking away from the empire to establish their own kingdoms.

The Marathas were constantly giving the Mughals a big trouble and after 27 years of war from 1680 to 1707, the Mughals finally lost and had to make peace with the Maratha Army.

Swami Dayanand Saraswati Important Information & Facts

Swami Dayanand Saraswati was born on February 12th, 1824 in Tankara, Gujarat in a Brahmin family.

His parents, Lalji Tiwari and Yashodhabai were orthodox Brahmin.

He was a self-taught man and a great leader of India leaving a significant impact on the Indian society.

During his life, he made a prominent name for himself and was known among a wide array of Princes and the public.

He was against Idol worship and considered it as pointless.

He supported the idea of women empowerment and condemned all the misconceptions which did not allow women access to the Vedas.

He brought about a radical change in the educational system of that time by establishing Anglo Vedic Schools in which the Indian students were taught about the Vedas along with English education.

He was never directly involved in the political scenario of the country at that time but his views and opinions inspired a lot of political leaders to strive for India's Independence.

He was given the title of Maharshi and was thought of as one of the makers of modern India.

His real name was Mool Shankar and his family was a strong follower of Lord Shiva.

His family was extremely religious and Mool Shankar was taught all about piousness and purity with the importance of fasting right from the beginning.

The ritual of Yajnopavita Sanskara was performed on Mool Shankar when he was 8 years old.

Yagnopavita means the twice-born ritual which is performed to introduce a child into the world of Brahmanism.

From a very early age he observed and performed usual Brahmin rituals with much intent and honesty for example on Shivratri, he used to stay awake for the whole night to honour Lord Shiva.

On one such Shivratri, he witnessed a mouse eating the offerings of Lord Shiva and then the mouse started to move on the idol.

This made him realise that if God cannot even defend himself against a tiny mouse, then how can he defend the whole world.

When Mool Shankar was 14 years old, his sister died which made him question death and the afterlife.

It was evident that his parents had no answers.

When he was old enough and his parents pressured him to get married according to societal rituals, he decided to run away from home and for the next 20 years, he visited the temples all over the country.

He met with the Yogis who lived in the mountains and told them about his dilemma over Idol worship and his questions about life and death.

Even they could not answer him to his satisfaction and he moved to Mathura where he met Swami Virajananda.

Mool Shankar became his disciple and Swami Virajananda pointed him towards the Vedas.

In the Vedas, he finally got his answers regarding life, death and afterlife and hence was trusted by Swami Virajananda to spread the knowledge of the Vedas throughout the society.

He even christened him as Rishi Dayanand.

As far as Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s spiritual beliefs go, he believed in Hinduism, according to the guidelines which have been outlined in the Vedas.

He believed that Hinduism has been corrupted over the years and the pure form of the Hindu religion rested in the Vedas.

He made efforts to preserve the purity of the faith in Vedas and advocated Dharma.

According to him, Dharma was anything that is written in the Vedas and works in favour of the Indian society.

Adharma was anything that wasn’t outlined in the Vedas and did not work for welfare of the general public.

He believed in the importance of life, irrespective of anything else and supported the concept of Ahimsha or nonviolence.

In his preaching, he asked his followers not to waste their energy and resources in performing useless rituals and instead use them for the betterment of lives of fellow countryman as a whole.

He condemned the practice of Idol worship and depicted them as a corruption which was introduced by the priest community to fulfil their own benefits.

He also spoke against other prominent social evils at that time like division of the society based on caste.

He supported the concept of Swaraj which means the country to be free of any foreign influence.

The views of Swami Dayanand Saraswati inspired a lot of future Indian leaders who fought for the independence of the country.

Swami Dayanand established the Arya Samaj on 7 April 1875 in Bombay.

It was established with the sole purpose to reform the Hindu religion and rid it of any corruption.

Meaning of Arya Samaj is Society of the nobles.

The motto of this organisation was ‘Krinvan to Vishwam Aryam’ meaning make this work Nobel.

Maharshi Dayanand introduced the Shuddhi movement in order to bring back the Hindu individuals who had converted to other religion like Islam and Christianity either voluntarily or involuntarily.

The Arya Samaj imparted Shuddhi or purification to people who wanted to come back to Hinduism and the Arya Samaj did an excellent job by penetrating different levels of the society.

Maharshi Dayanand realised that the cause of corruption in the Hindu religion was the lack of knowledge.

He established a number of Gurukuls in which he taught the students about the Vedas and encouraged them to spread this knowledge further.

The students were so inspired by Dayanand’s beliefs, his teachings and his ideas that they established the Dayanand Anglo Vedic College Trust and Management society after his death in 1883.

The first Dayanand Anglo Vedic High School was founded on 1st June 1886 whose headmaster was Lala Hansraj.

Views and beliefs of Swami Dayanand Saraswati were firmly radical at that point which condemned the most prominent social issues and practices of contemporary times which earned him a lot of enemies.

In October 1883, on the occasion of Diwali, Jaswant Singh II, who was the Maharaja of Jodhpur at that time, invited Maharshi Dayanand to his palace to seek his blessings.

Dayanand offended the court dancer by giving the king advice to get rid of her and follow the life of Dharma.

The court dancer conspired with the royal cook and mixed pieces of glass in Dayanand’s milk.

He suffered extreme pain but before he succumbed to death, he forgave the coke and everyone involved.

He died on October 30, 1883 at Ajmer.

The Arya Samaj founded by him is still very active even in other countries like the United States of America, Canada, Trinidad, Mexico, United Kingdom, Netherlands etcetera.

He was never directly involved in any politics but his teachings had significant influence in several prominent personalities which include Ram Prasad Bismil, Subhash Chandra Bose, Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Lala Lajpat Rai.

Bhagat Singh was even educated at the Dayanand Anglo Vedic School in Lahore.

To quote the famous American spiritualist, Andrew Jackson Davis, Swami Dayanand was a “son of god”.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Contributions of Raja Ram Mohan Roy to Enlighten Medieval Bengal and India

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born in a small village in the district of Hoogly in West Bengal named Radha Nagar.

He was born on 22nd May 1772.

His father Ramakanto Roy, belonged to Vaishnavite faith and his Mother Tarini, belonged to Shakta.

He was sent to Patna for higher studies and by the age of 15 years, he had already learnt different languages which included Bangla, Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was known as the maker of modern India.

He founded the Brahmo Samaj, which was one of the first Indian social and religious reform institute.

He was known as the first great leader of the modern Indian society and also a great scholar.

The title of Raja was given to him by the Mughal Emperor Akbar II.

He published his first book named as ‘tuhfat ul mohiddin’ in 1803.

In this book, he harshly criticized the practice of idol worship based on his thoughts that all religions had faith in one single God.

He purchased a Zamindari in Kolkata in the year 1814 and settled permanently.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a social activist who educated the public on various political issues while condemning the dominating practices the Bengal Zamindars which had reduced the condition of the local peasants’ to misery.

By using the Permanent Settlement Act of 1793, he fought for the rights of the peasants by demanding a fixed maximum amount of rent paid by the cultivators to the land owners on which the peasants used to farm.

He also demanded the abolishment of the special privileges which the British East India Company enjoyed in trade and also the removal of the heavy tax duties which the Indian merchants had to pay to export their goods.

It was a great step towards the betterment of the quality of life of the local merchants and handloom industries.

He demanded that Indians should be allowed to be recruited in the superior services as he wanted the native residents of the territory to have a better say as to how the province was run.

Apart from these issues, he also fought for of the separation of the Executive and Judiciary bodies of the administration, a jury system in the judiciary body and legal equality between Indians and Europeans.

Brahmo Samaj was founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy which played a very significant role in the abolishment of various social evils like the Sati Pratha.

While working for the East India Company he studied Christianity and other religions extensively which made him come to the conclusion that some of the traditions of the Hindu religion were in serious need to be reformed.

He was against the traditional ways and superstitions and hence raised his voice against the Sati Pratha, multiple marriages, the caste system and child marriage.

His main motivation behind going against the Sati Pratha, which was a prominent practice at that time, was the death of his sister in law who had become Sati.

Social Reforms by Raja Ram Mohan Roy


Raja Ram Mohan Roy spent his life as a social reformer.

He refused to accept the barriers which had been created by the caste system in the Indian Hindu society and stood forth as a light bearing man as a symbol of universalism and love.

He spent his life by standing up against social evils by constantly agitating the public against inhuman customs of Sati Pratha.

So, when Lord William Bentinck showed his desire to weed out this cruel action from the Indian society, he gave him his full support and rallied alongside him.

It was his crucial input that Lord Bentinck used to finally come to the conclusion that the company's traditional policy of not to interfere in the Indian social traditions, to be put on hold.

That's why he finally declared Sati Pratha illegal in all forms.

When the traditional orthodox Hindus tried to protest by submitting a petition to the parliament which demanded a stay on the approval of Lord William Bentinck’s act, Raja Ram Mohan Roy organised another petition which included some of the enlightened Hindus demanding that Lord Bentink’s act against Sati Pratha be passed.

He was always in the favour of women's rights.

After the declaration of Sati Pratha being illegal, he went after polygamy and the degraded state of Hindu widows.

He also demanded that women should also be given the right to inherit property.

When in 1828 he founded the Brahmo Samaj, it was with the sole purpose to expose the irregularities of the Hindu religion in a way where he also opposed the growing influence of Christianity on the Hindu society.

Religious Reforms of Raja Ram Mohan Roy


Religious reforms by Raja Ram Mohan Roy have had a significant impact on the Indian society.

They have helped the country to get rid of several religious superstitions.

He had very different views as far as religion was concerned.

He constantly opposed idol worship and other meaningless rituals.

He was of the view that all the Hindu religious books talk about one single God and he is the one who should be worshipped.

According to Raja Ram Mohan Roy, truth lands with the way humans interpreted the words in the books.

He opined that the philosophy of Vedanta was precisely based on reason.

He was a strong objector of the Hindu religious practices but he did not confine his opinions solely to the Hindus.

He also insisted that his rational approach also applied to Christianity as well.

He could never digest the concept of blind faith even in the practices of Christians.

This made the Christian missionaries oppose his theories which in turn made him defend the Hindu religion and its policies from the constant attacks of the Christians.

He was of the opinion that all the religions preach and worship a common God.

Educational Reforms of Raja Ram Mohan Roy


Raja Ram Mohan Roy's views on education were clear.

He was an avid supporter of modern education and whole heartedly provided his cooperation when David Hare wanted to establish the famous Hindu College at Kolkata.

He also maintained an English school in Kolkata from 1818 from his own pocket.

By using his pamphlets and magazines, he helped in the evolution of a modern and graceful prose style for Bengali.

He took a keen interest in the events around the world.

He always supported democracy and nationalism and constantly opposed against injustice, oppression and tyranny.

His fights against the social injustice and inequality cost him a great deal personally and made his life a lot more difficult than the average Indian.

We all can imagine that standing up against religious traditions often results in clashes with the members of the family.

Apart from these he also had constant bouts with the rich Zamindars and powerful missionaries who's pockets were about to get lighter in light of his activities.

Lord Dalhousie Governor General of India (1848-56) Important Events

Lord Dalhousie was the Governor General of India from the year 1848 to 1856.

His real name was James Andrew Ramsay.

During his time, the second Anglo Sikh war was fought between the Sikhs and the British East India Company.

In this war, the Sikhs were defeated once again and Lord Dalhousie successfully conquered the whole province of Punjab for the British administration.

He was able to conquer many provinces using the Doctrine of Lapse policy.

He did some significant reform works in his time like he opened the first railway line in India between Bombay and Thane in 1853. 

In the very same year, he connected the cities of Calcutta and Agra by telegraph line. 

He also set up a public welfare department and also passed the widow remarriage act of 1856.

Second Anglo Sikh war


One of the major conflicts when Lord Dalhousie took office as the Governor General of India was the  ongoing second Anglo Sikh war in 1848- 49.

In this battle, the Sikh were defeated and hence came the end of the Sikh kingdom.

To control the area of Lahore in a better manner, sir Henry Lawrence was appointed at the Lahore Darbar but he had to leave for England because of some disease and a lawyer was appointed in his place at the durbar.

His name was Sir Frederick Currie.

Now, Sir Frederick Currie was a legal and puritan person.

At that time Mul Raj was the governor of Multan.

He was asked by Sir Frederick Currie to pay his outstanding taxes.

He sent some British officers to collect the money from his fort.

The British officers were wounded when Mul Raj protested.

These officers were saved by some people but the very next day they were killed by the angry mob.

This lead to a full-fledged war in which the small army of Mul Raj was defeated.

But things did not end here and again there was a revolt that stretched for several months at the end of which the Sikhs were completely defeated.

Punjab was therefore conquered by the British on 29th March 1849.

Rani Jind Kaur was taken captive and her young 11 year old son Raja Duleep Singh was sent off to London.

Punjab came as a major feat for British administration which was accomplished by them under Lord Dalhousie’s command.

This event subdued the protest in the neighbouring regions.

Second Anglo Burmese war 1852-53


The Treaty of Yandaboo was signed between the East India Company and the Burmese Kings on February 24th, 1826, immediately after the Anglo Burmese war concluded.

Things ran smooth and fine for the next 20 years and gradually the Burmese Kings were getting tired of the cocky attitude of the English merchants who started flooding into the country and getting settled over there by taking over the lands of the local people.

When these merchants were stopped from doing so, they complained to the directors of the East India Company who were sitting in Calcutta in 1851.

They informed the officials about the operation of the Burmese offices at Rangoon and this issue was taken very seriously.

Lord Dalhousie, who was the Governor General at that time asked the Burmese kings for compensation to which he received no answer from the other end.

Now Lord Dalhousie had a reason to impose a war on Burma.

There were several other minor issues regarding the Treaty of Yandaboo, but the exact reasons which led to the second Anglo Burmese war of 1852, were not made public.

The war commenced on April 5th 1852 and immediately the British took control of the Maraton port on the very first day.

On 12th April, they conquered Rangoon and in June, they took control of Pegu.

This war finally ended in 1853 when a proclamation of annexation was read out without any proposition for any sort of treaty between the two sides.

Pegu was renamed as lower Burma and as a result of this war, the British territory expanded from Chittagong to Singapore in the East.

Doctrine of Lapse


The policy of Doctrine of Lapse was applied by Lord Dalhousie according to which, if a natural heir is absent in any princely state of India, the sovereignty of that state shall be liable to the decision of the British directors.

This policy was not formulated by Lord Dalhousie himself but was first introduced in 1844 by the then directors of the company which stated that any ruler should not be given the permission to adopt an heir, but adoption should be treated as an exception and not a rule.

Special permission from the British directors must be received before a king was allowed to adopt an heir.

However, this policy was never imposed before Lord Dalhousie's time, he saw it as an opportunity to increase the British territories.

Lord Dalhousie only imposed this policy on dependent States.

At that time there were three different categories of States in India. They are as follows:

Independent States:  Those states which did not pay any taxes to the British government or administration and also, they did not accept the supremacy of British power in India.

Protected Allies:  The states which had accepted the supremacy of the British government in India and also paid a regular tax to them as a tribute.

Dependent States: Those states whose rulers were appointed by the British government through a letter of authority in which the terms for their installation as Rajas were described are known as Dependent States.

The rulers of the protected allies needed to take mandatory permission from the officers of the East India Company in order to adopt a son who could succeed their throne.

There were no specific rules as to which rulers would be allowed to adopt.

It was totally based on the personal opinions of the British officials.

The rulers of the dependent states were not allowed to adopt a son at all.

Thoughts on Doctrine of Lapse

The doctrine of lapse prove to be a boon for the expansion of the British Empire.

The areas of Satara, Nagpur, Jhansi, Sambalpur, Jaipur, Bhagat and Udaipur were brought under the control of the British Administration by using the Doctrine of Lapse policy only.

This policy was highly criticized by the rulers and the general public of the states in question.

The British could declare any area as a dependent state if there was a strategic advantage in it for them.

Once it was declared as dependent state, Doctrine of Lapse Policy was implemented on it.

There was no judicial authority where the rulers affected from this policy could go and hence the decision of the directors of the company could not be challenged at all.

Lord Dalhousie used this policy to architect the expansion of the British Empire in India.

Although some of his decisions and proposals were rejected by the court of directors of the British government, like they refused to conquer the state of Kasauli, but this did not mean that he did not use the Doctrine of Lapse as his personal weapon to serve only one single purpose which was to expand the British territories.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Events During Reign of Lord Canning, the First Viceroy of India

Lord Canning was the Governor General of India from 1856 to 1862 during which time the Government of India Act 1858 was passed.

In this act, a new position was created in the Indian Administration known as the office of the Viceroy.

The position of Viceroy was held by the Governor General of India hence making Lord Canning the first viceroy of India.

We all know that the great mutiny known as the Sepoy mutiny happened in 1857.

This was one of the significant events during the tenure of Lord Canning.

Apart from this, some important events which happened were the passing of the Indian councils act 1861, withdrawal of the  Doctrine of Lapse, introduction of Indian Penal Code 1858, establishment of the High Courts of India, Bengal rent act of 1859, collection of experimental income tax etc.

Queen Victoria’s Proclamation, 1858


In November 1858, a royal proclamation from the Queen of England was sent to the grand Darbar of Allahabad by Lord Canning.

This proclamation stated that Queen Victoria had taken direct control of the Government of India.

It also established principles upon which the governing of India shall be conducted in the future.

Some of the key features of this Queen's Proclamation of 1858 are as follows:


1. Treaties and agreements which were negotiated and made by the East India Company with Indian princely states would still be valid and honoured.

2. East India Company will not be allowed to extend its territories and neither would any Indian state allowed to intrude on British territories.

3. The status and dignity of the native Indian princess would be honoured.

4. Queen Victoria through this proclamation stated a desire that British people in India should enjoy prosperity and social advancement which could only be achieved by a state of internal peace and good government.

5. There will be no discrimination on the basis of race or otherwise for admission to various services or offices of the government. This meant that Indians as well as British nationals hold equal status when it comes to recruitment offices.

6. The people of India who did not directly partake in the murder of a British national during the sepoy mutiny will receive complete amnesty.

7. This proclamation was known as the Magna Carta of the people of India.

The end of the company’s Army


Once the government of India came directly under the Crown, the army of the East India Company was dissolved.

The last assembly of the company's Army was held on 1st September 1858.

Any members of its army which were still left in India were incorporated as a part of the British royal Army.

Indian sepoys were also recruited in the regular service of British army.

Government of India Act 1858


The Government of India Act received ascent from Queen Victoria on August 2nd 1858 and came into force on November 1st 1858.

This act provided for the liquidation of the assets of East India Company so that they could be transferred and taken under the control of the British government.

The key points for this are:

1. The secretary of state of India now held the powers of the Board of Control and court of directors of the East India Company. Taking the full control and authority of the Indian Administration was the whole purpose behind creating this office.

2. The secretary of state of India was accountable to the British Parliament and was also a member of the British Parliament.

3. The secretary of state for India had 15 members out of which more than 50% of the members must have lived in India for at least 10 years

4. As the secretary of state of India was accountable to the British Parliament, the members could ask him on any matters related to the Indian Administration.

5. The Governor General or the viceroy was a representative of the British parliament in India. The office of Viceroy was created to act as a diplomat so that he could negotiate with other princely states in India. Both the offices of governor general and the viceroy were held by a single person. The viceroy was responsible to the secretary of state for India

6. The Government of India Act centralised the structure of administration but it was only a formal change and it did not cause any significant changes in the lives of the general public of India.

Indian Councils Act 1861


In 1861, the British Parliament passed the Indian Councils act which provided for the addition of a fifth member to the governor general’s council.

By doing this, the burdened office of the governor general finally had some adequate help.

Apart from this, about 6 to 12 members were also added for the sole purpose of making laws.

The governor general was also empowered with some special powers so that he could easily perform his duties without going through lengthy channels.

He now had the power to delegate some of his tasks to the individual members of his executive Council.

The Indian Councils Act also provided the governments of Bombay and Madras with legislative powers.

Indian Civil Services Act 1861


This act stated that any person, Indian or otherwise could be recruited to any of those offices which were mentioned in the Act.

The only condition was that he must have been a resident of India for at least 7 years.

Any candidate who wished to be recruited, had to pass an exam in the local language of the district in which he wants to be employed.

But this act also maintained that some of the principal civil offices in India were reserved for people who had serviced in the covenanted Civil Service means that only British people were eligible for these offices.

When Indians demanded to be recruited in the covenanted Civil Services, they were turned down.

Indian High Courts Act 1861


By this act, the Supreme Courts, Sadar Diwani Adalat, and Sadar Faujdari Adalat were combined and High Courts were established in India.

The jurisdiction of above mentioned courts was absorbed by the High Courts.

Every High Court composed of one chief justice and 15 judges at the most.

The high court of judicature of Fort Williams was established on 1st July 1862, the first chief justice of this court was Sir Barnes peacock.

This court was later named as the Calcutta High Court and was the first High Court of India whose first Indian judge was Justice Shambhu Nath Pandit.

The Bombay High Court was established on 14th August 1862.

Madras High Court was established on 26th June 1862.

On 17th March 1866, a High Court of judicature came into existence at Agra for the North Western provinces. It was shifted from Agra to Allahabad in 1869 and it later became the High Court of Allahabad on 11th March 1919.

Indian Penal code 1862

The Indian Penal Code was drafted in 1860 and was enacted in 1862.

Before this time, justice was served on the basis of “the English criminal law”.

One more important thing about the Indian penal code is that the initial sketch was drawn by Lord Macaulay in 1830s.

Introduction of Income Tax


As mentioned above by the Indian Council act 1861, a fifth member was added to the executive Council of the governor general.

This member was added as a finance member.

James Wilson was the first finance member of governor generals Council.

Initially he proposed three different types of taxes but his successor was the one who introduced the income tax.

His name was Laing.

A person who had an income of more than rupees 500 had to pay 5% tax per year.

Among other financial reforms, the government significantly reduced its expenditure on military.

Salt taxes were also increase in order to boost the revenue from the Indian states.

Mild policy of Lord Canning


Lord Canning was given the title of ‘Clemency Canning’.

After the mutiny of 1857, he did not seek vengeance from the Indian Sepoys.

His Policy was liberal and tolerant which is why he imparted some level of faith in the Indian community at that time.

He provided the Indian princes with different favours who had helped the British during the revolution.

He also was a part of the abolishment of the doctrine of lapse which finally made it clear that the British government shall not interfere unless it's a case of misgovernance and once the situation was back to normal the British shall withdraw from that it.

Canning died within a month of leaving India in March 1862. He was succeeded by Lord Elgin.

Social Reforms of Lord William Bentinck (Sati, Infanticide & Thugs) in Indian Society

Lord Bentinck became the governor general of India after Lord Amherst.

He took office in the year 1828.

Bentinck was the first governor general who took significant steps to weed out the social evils that plagued the country at that time like sati pratha and infanticide.

Lord Bentinck was a compassionate leader and administrator.

He reorganised the law and order of the country and established several new laws and reforms.

He controlled the activities of the thugs, distributed the Subordinate Services among the Indians, established freedom of press and also made several reforms in order to improve the prevailing educational system.

Before Lord Bentinck became the Governor General of India, none of his predecessors paid any attention to the prevailing social evils in the Indian society.

Lord Bentinck tried to change several cruel rituals of the Hindu society which included sati pratha and killing of infants.

In the 19th century, the ritual of sati pratha was dominantly practised in Bengal.

According to this ritual, a devoted wife had to burn herself with the dead body of her husband.

It was considered to be an act which symbolised an uninterrupted and never ending union of the couple.

The reason behind the popularity of this ritual was a false degree of devotion by a wife to her husband.

Apart from Lord Bentinck, several princes and foreign mercenaries had also taken several steps to remove such rituals from the prevailing society.

But these measures were not applicable by law and therefore failed miserably.

Before Bentinck’s time, the East India Company had stuck to its previous policy according to which it had to stay away from the social and religious ways of the Indian people.

But Lord Bentinck looked down at the cult of sati pratha and declared this ritual as illegal.

Following his predetermined aim to reform the Indian society, he sought guidance and assistance from elite Indians like Raja Ram Mohan Roy who himself was trying to condemn the practice of Sati by publishing and distributing pamphlets among the general people.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy agreed to assist Lord Benitink in his attempts and provided him with all the help he needed.

Before Lord Bentinck initiated the process for the introduction of anti-Sati laws, he collected data about all the prominent cases which had emerged at that time and took the opinions of army officers, the judges of the nizamat Adalat and the superintendent of the police which represented different provinces in Bengal.

After a proper discussion with all of these people, he finally declared the practice of Sati illegal by the regulation number XVII of December 1829.

In this regulation he declared that the practice of Sati in any form was illegal and the practitioners would be liable to be incriminated by the courts.

Initially this regulation was only applied in the Bengal presidency but later on in 1830, this regulation was also applied in different forms to Madras and Bombay Presidencies.

Although there was no public disorder or riots of any sort, some orthodox Bengali people made an unsuccessful appeal to the privy Council which protested the interference of the East India company in the religious rituals.

But ultimately, sati pratha was completely eradicated from the society due to the significant steps taken by William Cavendish Bentinck.

In the 19th Century Bengal, infanticide was also one of the bigger problems of the society.

Killing of girl babies was pretty common in those days and it was mostly popular among the Rajput.

A girl child was considered to be evil and the mother who bore a girl child was cursed for her mistake.

This practice was quite common in Gujarat and Banaras where the tribes like Jharija Rajput, Jats and Mewati.

It's not like that these practices were legal at that time but the laws and measures which were applicable had proven inadequate and unsuccessful.

Lord Bentinck recognised this practice as inhumane and immoral and therefore took strict steps in order to suppress it.

He reorganised Bengal regulation XXI of 1795 and regulation III of 1804.

He put a ban on sacrificing of children at special occasions which was being practised in the Saugar islands in Bengal at that time.

Lord Bentinck was a true social worker even though he was a British Governor General.

He took significant and effective steps to reduce the growing number of thugs day by day.

These thugs belonged to a section of the society which descended from Assassin's and robbers who preyed on travellers.

When the Mughal Empire fell, the administration of Bengal was left in ruins which directly led to an increase in the number of thieves and thugs.

Although there were some officials who were given the duty to control the activities and movements of these criminals but instead, they started helping them in exchange of a small part of their spoils.

Lord Bentinck had had enough of these petty crimes and hence decided to deal with this problem once and for all.

He declared harsh punishments for those who provided these thugs protection.

Now, when Bentinck passed laws banning infanticide and sati pratha, there were some people who did not support these actions but when he took measures against thievery, the public opinion changed in his favour.

After this law was passed, 1500 thugs were captured and sentenced to death.

This brought a quick end to organised thugs.

Bentinck remained Governor General of India for 7 years in which he achieved amazing levels of social and economic progress for the Indian society.

William Bentink objectively worked for legislative, financial and educational reforms while giving less priority to administrative reforms.

This sort of dedicated work liberated India from different social evils.

Bentinck was very farsighted and he abolished transit duties in order to encourage free trade.

He also developed and enhanced steam transport by river and ocean.

As far as production industry is concerned, he encouraged the production and cultivation of tea and coffee, iron and coal et cetera.

After centuries of the rule of the Mughals and several years of abuse from the East India Company, Lord Bentinck was the first who actually worked for the betterment of the Indian society and improve their quality of living.

For this he attracted a lot of admirers even from the Indian society.