The Right Hon’ble Warren Hastings, FRS , the first De-facto Governor General of the Presidency of Bengal in India , was a British statesman par excellence and the founder of East India company rule in India. He was born on 6th December 1732 at Churchill, Oxford Shire and died on 22nd August 1818 at the age of 85 at Daylesford , Gloucestersire , U.K . Born of a poor gentleman father, Penystone Hastings and a miserable mother, Hester Hastings, who died immediately after his birth, Warren Hastings was a serious student of Westminster School where he coincided with Lord Shelburne, the future Prime Minister of Britain, and William Cowper , the great English poet . He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1801 .
Warren Hastings joined the British East India company in 1750 as a clerk. He reached Calcutta ( now Kolkata ) in August 1750 and worked diligently with the Company. He built up a great respect for himself for his works there and in leisure time he learned about India and her people. He learned languages like Urdu , Persian and Bengali with fluency. He was promoted in 1752 , when he was sent to Kasimbajar, a major trading center in Bengal, to work for William Watts . His work efficiency further impressed the higher officers of the Company and he was promoted to the post of British Resident at Murshidabad in 1758 on the advice of Robert Clive, who saw in him the future Administrator of Bengal, and was empowered to give orders to the Nawab of Bengal on behalf of Robert Clive and the Company’s Authorities at Calcutta. In 1761 he was recalled from Murshidabad and was appointed to the Calcutta Council . When his Report on trade abuses in Bengal by some of the Europeans and the British-allied Indian traders was not taken into account by the Authorities in Calcutta, he resigned from the the Company’s post in December 1764 and returned to England where he started living a luxurious life spending excessively and ultimately, having run up to unlimited debt, he realized that he should returned to India again to restore his finances . As a result, he applied for the appointment to the East India Company with this expectation that he would be getting his job back in the Company, but initially he was denied job because he had made many political enemies ( like Laurence Sulivan, one of the directors in the Company ) during his last appointment . At last, with kind appeal of Robert Clive , an opponent of Laurence Sulivan, he was appointed as Deputy Ruler of Madras . At Madras, he initiated many reforms in trading practices so that scope of middle man could be curved to a considerable extent and the Company and labourers could directly be benefited from such trades. He vehemently supported Robert Clive’s views given in the past that all the three Presidencies–Culcutta, Bombay and Madras should be brought under single rule rather than governed separately as they currently were .
Warren Hastings was appointed Governor of one of the most important Presidencies, the Calcutta Presidency in the year 1771 . By that time, in England ideas were being mooted that why not all the three Presidencies— Culcutta, Bombay and Madras be ruled under one Governor General while having separate Governors at all the three Presidencies having capital at Calcutta as such. And Hastings was the first choice for the post of Governor General as his performance at Calcutta was satisfactory, as he had launched successfully a major crack down on Bandits of Calcutta and he had successfully managed the Bengal famines which had claimed life of millions of people as such.
The Regulating Act of 1773 brought the Presidencies of Bombay and Madras under the control of Bengal and Warren Hastings as Governor General. He was one of the members of five men Supreme Council, the Supreme governing body . The first thing he did was to shift the capital of Bengal from Murshidabad to Calcutta. He worked with extraordinary energy and he unified currency system, ordered for codification of the Hindu Laws , digests for Muslim Laws, fixed land revenues , reformed tax laws and eradicated the role of middle man in trade practices as such. He initiated effective postal services, built many granaries in view of the great Bengal Famine of 1770-71 ( including the granary of Patna at Gol Ghar ) and ordered for cartographic survey of India under the supervision of James Rennell, the Surveyor General of the East India Company’s Dominions in Bengal . He reminded the Governor General of Bengal till 1785 with many ups and downs …..etc.
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It is a blog for those who have interest in the Modern Indian History . It is about the Right Hon’ble Warren Hastings, the first Governor General of Bengal . Nice one. Please enjoy it .