Topic outline

    • From Trade to Territory
      The Company Establishes Power

      Q49. What is the policy of paramountcy?
      Who initiated the policy of 'paramountcy'? What did the company claim through this policy?
      What was the objective behind the Company’s new policy of ‘paramountcy’?

      Ans. Under Lord Hastings a new policy of “paramountcy” was initiated. Now the Company claimed that its authority was paramount or supreme, hence its power was greater than that of Indian states. In order to protect its interests it was justified in annexing or threatening to annex any Indian kingdom. This view continued to guide later British policies as well.


      Q50. Write a short note on Warren Hastings.

      Ans. Warren Hastings

                                 i.        Warren Hastings (Governor-General from 1773 to 1785) was one of the many important figures who played a significant role in the expansion of Company power.

                                ii.        By his time the Company had acquired power not only in Bengal, but also in Bombay and Madras.

                               iii.        Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General, introduced several administrative reforms, notably in the sphere of justice.

      Q51. Explain the system of “subsidiary alliance”.

      Ans. According to the terms of this alliance, Indian rulers were not allowed to have their independent armed forces. They were to be protected by the Company, but had to pay for the “subsidiary forces” that the Company was supposed to maintain for the purpose of this protection. If the Indian rulers failed to make the payment, then part of their territory was taken away as penalty. The states which had to lose their territories on this ground were Awadh and Hyderabad.


      Q52. What was Lord Dalhousie’s Doctrine of Lapse?
      Explain Doctrine of Lapse.

      Ans. Doctrine of Lapse

                                i.        Lord Dalhousie who was the Governor-General devised a policy that came to be known as the Doctrine of Lapse.

                               ii.        The doctrine declared that if an Indian ruler died without a male heir his kingdom would “lapse”, that is, become part of Company territory.

                              iii.        One kingdom after another was annexed simply by applying this doctrine: Satara (1848), Sambalpur (1850), Udaipur (1852), Nagpur (1853) and Jhansi (1854).

      Q53. Give an account of different European trading companies besides the British East India Company that entered the Eastern markets.

      Ans. By the time the first English ships sailed down the west coast of Africa, round the Cape of Good Hope, and crossed the Indian Ocean, the Portuguese had already established their presence in the western coast of India, and had their base in Goa. In fact, it was Vascoda Gama, a Portuguese explorer, who had discovered this sea route to India in 1498. By the early seventeenth century, the Dutch too were exploring the possibilities of trade in the Indian Ocean. Soon the French traders arrived on the scene.


      Q54. Give a brief description of all the three Anglo-Maratha wars.

      Ans. The Marathas were subdued in a series of wars.

                                 i.        In the first war that ended in 1782 with the Treaty of Salbai, there was no clear victor.

                                ii.        The Second Anglo- Maratha War (1803-05) was fought on different fronts, resulting in the British gaining Orissa and the territories north of the Yamuna River including Agra and Delhi.

                               iii.        Finally, the Third Anglo-Maratha War of 1817-19 crushed Maratha power. The Peshwa was removed and sent away to Bithur near Kanpur with a pension. The Company now had complete control over the territories south of the Vindhyas.

      Q55. What administrative reformations were brought in the sphere of justice?

      Ans. From 1772 a new system of justice was established. Each district was to have two courts – a criminal court (faujdari adalat ) and a civil court (diwani adalat ). Maulvis and Hindu pandits interpreted Indian laws for the European district collectors who presided over civil courts. The criminal courts were still under a qazi and a mufti but under the supervision of the collectors. In 1775 eleven pandits were asked to compile a digest of Hindu laws. N.B. Halhed translated this digest into English. By 1778 a code of Muslim laws was also compiled for the benefit of European judges. Under the Regulating Act of 1773, a new Supreme Court was established, while a court of appeal – the Sadar Nizamat Adalat – was also set up at Calcutta.

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