WHAT ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES WERE INTRODUCED IN INDIA AFTER 1858? WHAT WERE THE OBJECTIVES OF THESE CHANGES? (CSE 2001)
For more reasons than one, the revolt of 1857 marks a turning point in the history of India.
In a sense it demonstrated that the hold of the company on was still rather weak, and its lessons continued to influence British administration in India for several generations. It directly produced three important changes in the system of administration and the policy of government.
· Firstly, the control of the Indian Government was finally assumed by the crown. The Governor-General received the new title of viceroy. The assumption of the government of India by the sovereign of Great Britain was announced by Lord Canning at a darbar of Allahabad in a proclamation issued on 1st November, 1858, in the name of Queen. The Queen’s proclamation, described as the magna Carta of the Indian people, disclaimed all desire for the extension of British territorial possession in India.
· Secondly, the army which took the initiative in the out-break was thoroughly reorganized; and for the next fifty years, “The idea of division and counterpoise” dominated the British military policy in India. The presidency armies were kept entirely separate till 1893; the European element in them was strengthened and placed in sole charge of some essential services; and the number of European soldiers was increased.
· Thirdly, the British government now took up a new attitude towards the Indian states. These states were henceforth to recognize the paramount of the British crown and were to be considered as parts of a single charge.
The revolt of 1857 though completely suppressed had shaken the British rule in India. From now on the reactionary and vested interest were well protected and encouraged and became pillars of British rule in India. The policy of divide and rule was deliberately perused and made the main prop of British control; tight European control over key position both in civil and military administration was maintained.
The revolt of 1857 ended an era and sowed the seeds of different era. The era of territorial aggrandizement gave place to the era of economic exploitation.