British : British India of 18th century - Part I

Exact Match
  Indus Valley
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East India Company | French | Plassey | Anglo-French | Dupleix | Bengal | Buxar | Warren Hastings | South | Permanent Settlement | Tipu | 18th Century | Anarchy | Anglo-Maratha | Revolts | Sanyasi Vidroh | Others Revolts
When Cornwallis handed over to his lieutenant Shore in 1793 he left him an Indian state which now had a visible shape and form. It covered Bengal and Bihar as far as Benares and had dependencies of Madras and Bombay. The system of the Raj thus developed had at the top the Governor-General, now supreme in his council and subject only to the authority of the Directors and the President of the Board of council in London.

In fact he was secure so long as he had the support of the President and the cabinet. He had direct control over the Bengal presidency, which was the main block of the Company state, and supervisory and over-ruling powers in Madras and Bombay. The Company army had Indian regiments with European officers and some European troops; there were also royal troops which were called in the times of crises.

The services were now Europeanized in the middle and upper cadres and divided into the revenue, judicial, and commercial branches. The members were regularly paid and had begun to acquire standards of integrity. The country was divided into twenty three districts in which a new police force maintained law and order, a judge administered the law, and a collector was responsible for revenue collection. He worked mainly through local magnates. The land revenue, which most closely affected the life of the people, was collected along traditional lines, though with new personnel at the top and enhanced power for the Zamindars.

For the rest customary life pursued its way largely untouched, religious and social observances and occasions continued as before, commerce and industry ran in the normal channels. The ordinary Bengali might have felt that, after the troubles of the sixties and seventies, life was once more following its accustomed course. The chief difference was that the rulers were new. They were perhaps less compatible than their predecessors, but that was partly because they were strange whereas the Muslims were familiar. They were both foreign and both impure as they had been for over five hundred years.

True, there had been; some displacement of classes. The old Muslims governing class was now in retirement with broken fortunes and the mainly Hindu Zamindars were about to follow them. A new class of moneyed men had arisen in the towns, acting as the go between of the new rulers. There was a lack of such patronage of religion and art as even the late government had practiced, a rush of wealth and disregard for piety which all lovers of the old ways deplored. But these things mainly affected the; towns and life was unchanged, nor were the Indian ideas or customs dared.


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