Viceroys and Governor

Governor Generals During British India

Viceroys and Governor


Robert Clive (1754-1767)

• Founder of the British Indian Empire, popularly known as “Clive of India”.
• He was British administrator and military leader to start with, however his destiny brought him to India and he worked in various capacities for British East India Company.
• He was Governor of Bengal before “Regulating Act of 1773” – which actually marks beginning of Birtish rule.
• He was involved in Battle of Plassey (1757) and consequent annexation of Bengal.
• Started Dual administration in Bengal (1765-1772), the practice was stopped by Warren Hastings.
• Civil Services were organized during Clive’s tenure.
• He prohibited employees of the company from undertaking any private or accept any gift.
• During First Anglo-Mysore War (1766-69), Robert Clive was recalled during the course of war in 1767. English were defeated by Haider Ali.


Lord Warren Hastings (1773-1785)

• Governor of Bengal was designated as Governor General of Bengal.
• He annexed Bengal, Bihar and Orissa in 1772.
• He started modern western administration in India.
• He entered into business with Egypt, Tibet and Bhutan. He stopped annual pension to Mughal Emperor and reduced the pension of the Nawab of Bengal.
• Overall administration including Civil Services was very corrupt during Hastings’s tenure.
• He initiated the Rohilla War (1774) and annexation of Rohilkhand by Nawab of Awadh, with the help of British.
• During his tenure Act of 1781 came under which the powers of jurisdiction between the Governor-General-in-council and the Supreme Court at Calcutta were clearly divided.
• He led First Anglo-Maratha War (1775-82) followed by Treaty of Salbai as Marathas were defeated.
• Pitts India Act of 1784 was enacted.
• He was involved in Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84), Haider All died and Mysore was defeated.
• During his tenure Judicial Murder of Nand Kumar in 1775 took place. Nand Kumar was critic of Warren Hastings, indicted in false case and sentenced to death.

Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793)

• He was the founding father of ‘Indian Civil Services’. (Reforms for purification of Administration).
• He was the father of modern police administration in India.
• He created the post of DSP. He believed in the separation of powers, therefore he deprived the District Collector of judicial powers and created the new post of District Judge. He also carried out gradation of courts.
• He proposed Cornwallis Code (1793) incorporating several judicial reforms. He codified the personal laws (IPC and CrPC are codified personal laws) and separation of revenue and civil administration.
• Third Anglo-Mysore War (1790-92) followed by Treaty of Seringapatnam (1792).
• Introduction of the Permanent Revenue Settlement that is Zamindari system in Bengal and Bihar (1793). It was the worst measure of Lord Cornwallis.
• Europeanization of administrative machinery and introduction of civil services.
• He established Permanent revenue settlement with a class of revenue collectors (Zamindars under Zamindari rights).

Sir John Shore (1793-1798)

• First civil servant to become Governor-General. He played important role during the introduction of Permanent revenue settlement that is Zamindari system in 1793.
• Charter act of 1793 was enacted during his period.
• He defeated Nizam of Hyderabad who later on joined Subsidiary Alliance with British during Wellesley’s tenure.
Lord Arthur Wellesley (1798-1805)
• During his tenure introduction of Subsidiary Alliance in 1798 occured. The rulers of the state of Nizam of Hyderabad, Mysore, Tanjavore, Awadh, Jodhpur, Jaipur and finally Peshwas also signed Subsidiary Alliance.
• During his tenure Fouth Anglo-Mysore war (1799) & Second Anglo-Maratha war (1803-05) occured.

Lord George Barlow (1805-1807)

• Pursued moderate policy, that is, the policy of non-intervention with princely states.
• Tried to establish peaceful relations with Marathas.
• White Mutiny at Vellore (1806) occured during his tenure.

Lord Minto-I (1807-1813)

• Concluded important Amritsar treaty (1809) with Maharaja Ranjit Singh which decided later course of Anglo-Sikh relations.
• Governor General of Bengal at the time of passage of Charter Act of 1813.
Francis Rawdon Hastings (1813-1823): (Marques of Hastings)
• Renounced the policy of non-intervention followed by his predecessor and revived aggressive imperialistic policy marking the beginning of second phase of British imperialism in India, so as to build large British Asiatic Empire by conquering territories bordeting India.
• During his tenure Anglo-Nepal War; Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1819) and Pindari War (1817-18) occured.

Lord Amherst (1823-28)

• First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826) and signed Treaty of Yaudaboo in 1826 by which British merchants were allowed to settle on southern coast of Rangoon.
• Capture of Barakhphr (1826) occured.


Lord William Bentinck (1828-1835)

• Charter Act of 1833 was enacted.
• He was the most liberal British Governor-General of India.
• Tenure coincides with socio-religious reform movements of 19th century (Abolition of Sati and other cruel rights (1829) occured during his tenure.
• Resolution of 1835 and Educational reforms.
• Suppression of `Thuge’ that is highway robbery in 1830 by Colonel Sleeman.
• Raja of Mysore was deposed and territories of kingdom were annexed (1831).
• Annexation of Cachar (1834) and Jaintia (1832) and Coorg (1834) on the charges of mal-administration.
• Formation of Agra province in 1834.
• Provincial courts of appeal and circuits were replaced by commissioners of revenue and circuit.
• Treaty of `Perpetual friendship’ with Ranjit Singh took place.

Sir Charles Metcalfe (1835-1836)

• Brief tenure marked by the liberation of Indian press of prohibitory restrictions as new press law was passed.

Lord Auckland (1836-1842)

• Disastrous First Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1842) occured during his tenure.

Lord Ellenborough (1842-1844)

• Successfully completed Afghan war and annexed Sindh province for British in 1843.
• Became first Governor General of India to be recalled for defying the orders of the Court of Directors of East India Company.
• War with Gwalior (1843) occured during his tenure.

Lord Hardinge-I (1844-1848)

• Issued orders for prohibition of female infanticide and suppression of the practice of human sacrifice among the Goads of Central India.
• Anglo-Sikh War (1845-1846) occured during his tenure.

Lord Dalhousie (1848-1856 great imperialist and colonist)

• Application of ‘Doctrine of Lapse’ (one of the principle political reasons for “Revolt of 1857) annexed Satara (1848), Jaipur and Sambalpur (1849), Bhagat (1850), Udaipur (1852), Jhansi (1853), Nagpur (1854) and Awadh (1856) under `Doctrine of Lapse’
• The introduction of Railways (first train Bombay to Thane), Telegraph and Postal systems (first telegraph line – Calcutta – Agra) in India in 1853.
• Postal reforms (Post Office Act 1854) initiated during his tenure.
• Charter- Act of 1853 passed.
• Wood’s Education Dispatch 1854 (Magna Carta of Modern Western Education in India) also passed.
• Second Anglo-Burmese War (1852) and annexation of lower Burma occured during his tenure.
• Widow Remarriage Act (1856) enacted.
• Military headquarter of British India was moved to Shimla, where summer capital of British India was also established. Headquarter of Bengal artillery was moved to Meerut.
• Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-56) and annexation of Punjab from Maharaja Dalip Singh (Maharaja Dalip Singh handed over Kohinoor diamond to British).
• Establishment of separate Public Works Department in every province.
• To bring more land under cultivation so as to earn more revenue, two canals (1854), upper Ganga canal, in western Uttar Pradesh (originating in Haridwar) and Baridoad canal in Punjab were constructed. Similarly, the harbors of Calcutta, Bombay and Karachi were modernized to receive large maritime ships.


Lord Canning (1856-1857 and 1858-1862)

(Last Governor of East India Company and first viceroy and Governor General of India)

• Establishment of three universities at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay in 1857 occured during.
• Witnessed and suppressed the Revolt of 1857.
• ‘Doctrine of Lapse’ started by Lord Dalhousie was finally withdrawn in 1859.
• Two arms of British administration originated (Secretary of State of India, Viceroy and Governor General of India to look after the administration of India)
• Regressive laws, such as Criminal Procedure Codes (CrPC) and Indian Penal Codes (IPC) were introduced.
• Introduction of new tax such as income tax, on experimental basis in 1859.
• `White Mutiny’ by European troops in 1859 occured.
• Indian Councils Act of 1861 enacted.

Lord Elgin-I (1862-1863)

• Wahabi movement occured during his tenure and get suppressed.
Lord Lawrence (1862-1869)
• Followed a policy of rigid non-interference in Afghanistan called Policy of Masterly Inactivity.
• Setting up of High Courts at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras (1865).

Lord Mayo (1869-1872)

• Opening of the Rajkot college in Kathiawar and the Mayo College at Ajmer for political training of Indian princes.
• Establishment of Statistical Survey of India occured.
• Establishment of Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
• Introduction of State Railways.

Lord North Brook (1872-1876)

• Visit of Prince of Wales in 1875 occured.
• Trial of Gaelcwar of Baroda occured.
• Kuka movement in Punjab occured during his tenure.

Lord Lytton (1876-1880)

• Famine of 1876-1878 affecting Madras,. Bombay, Mysore, Hyderabad, parts of Central India and Punjab occured. Famine commission under the presidency of Richard Strachey (1878) appointed.
• Royal Titles Act (1876), Queen Victoria assuming the title of ”Kaiser-i-hind” or “Queen Empress of India”.
• The Vernacular Press Act (1878) and the Arms Act (1878) enacted.
• The Second Afghan War (1878-1880) took place.

Lord Rippon (1880-1884)

• Repeal of the Vernacular Press Act (1882) took place.
• The first Factory Act, 1881, to improve labor conditions enacted.
• Government resolution on Local Self Government (1882) also passed.
• Continuation of Financial decentralization.
• Appointment of education commission under the chairmanship of Sir William Hunter (1882).
• The IIbert bill controversy (1883-1884) occured.

Lord Dufferin (1884-1888)

• The third Burmese war (1885-86) and establishment of Indian National Congress occured during his tenure.

Lord Lansdowne (1888-1894)

• Factory act (1891) enacted.
• Categorization of civil services as imperial, provincial and subordinate occured.
• Indian Council Act (1892) enacted.
• Setting up of Durand Commission (1893) to define the Durand line between India and Afghanistan (now between Pakistan and Afghanistan).

Lord Elgin-II (1894-1999)

• Two British officials assassinated by Chapekar brothers (1897) during his tenure.

Lord Curzon (1899-1905)

• Appointment of Police Commission (1902) under Sir Andrew Frazer to review police administration.
• Appointment of Universities Commission (1902) and passing of Indian Universities Act (1904) Establishment of department of Commerce and industry.
• Calcutta Corporation Act (1899) enacted.
• Ancient Monument Preservation act (1904) & Partition of Bengal (1905) enacted.
• Curzon-Kitchener controversy started.
• Partition Bangal (1905) of Bengal occured.
• Younghusbands mission to Tibet (1904) started.

Lord Minto-II (1905-1910)

• Popularization of Anti-partion and Swadeshi movements.
• Split in Congress in the annual session of 1907 in Surat occured.
• Establishment of Muslim League by Aga Khan (1906).

Lord Hardinge-11 (1910-1916)

• Creation of Bengal presidency (like Bombay and Madras) in 1911.
• Coronation Durbar of King George V held in Delhi 1911.
• Transfer of Capital from Calcutta to Delhi 1911.
• Establishment of Hindu Mabasabha (1915) by Madan Mohan Malavaya.

Lord Chelmsford (1916-1921)

• Formation of Home Rule Leagues by Annie Besant and Tilak (1916).
• Lucknow session of the Congress (1916).
• Lucknow pact between Congress and Muslim league (1916) signed.
• Foundation of Sabarmati Ashram (1916) after Gandhiji’s return; Launch of Champaran Satyagraha (1916), Kheda Satyagaha (1918) and Satyagraha at Ahmedabad (1918) occured.
• Montague’s August declaration (1917) proposed.
• Government of India’s Act (1919) enacted.
• The Rowlatt Act (1919) enacted.
• Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (1919) took place.
• Launch of Non-cooperation and Khilafat movement occured.
• Foundation of women’s university at Pune (1916) and appointment of Saddler’s commission (1917) for reforms in educational policy.
• Appointment of S.V. Sinha as Governor of Bihar (the first Indian to become a Governor).

Lord Reading (1921-1926)

• Chauri Chaura incident (February 5, 1922) and the subsequent withdrawal of non-cooperation movement.
• Moplah rebellion in Kerala (1921) started.
• Repeal of the Press Act of 1910 and the Rowlatt Act of 1919 occured.
• Criminal Law Amendment Act and Abolition of cotton exercise.
• Communal riots in Multan, Amritsar, Delhi, Aligarh, Arvi and Calcutta occured.
• Kakori train robbery (1925) also happened during his tenure.
• Establishment of Swaraj party by C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru (1922).
• Decision to hold simultaneous examination for the ICS both in Delhi and London with effect from 1923.

Lord Irwin (1926-1931)

• Visit of Simon Commission to India (1928) and the boycott of the commission by the Indians occured.
• An All Parties Conference held at Lucknow (1928) for suggestions for (future) Constitution of India, the report of “Nehru Report” of the ” Nehru Constitution” proposed.
• Appointment of Harcourt Butler Indian States Commission 1927.
• Murder of Saunders, the Assistant Superintendent of Police of Lahore; bomb blast in the assembly hall of Delhi; the Lahore conspiracy case and the death of Jatin Das after prolonged hunger strike (1921) and bomb accident on train in Delhi (1929).
• Lahore session of the Congress (1929); Puna Swami resolution.
• Dandi March (March 12,1930) by Gandhi to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement.
• Deepavali declaration by Lord Erwin (1929).
• Boycott of the first round table conference, Gandhi-Irwin pact (1931) and the suspension of the civil disobedience movement (March 1931).

Lord Willingdon (1931-1936)

• Second round table conference (1931) and failure .of the conference, presumption of civil disobedience.
• Announcement of communal award 1932 under which separate communal electorates were set up.
• “Fast unto Death” by Gandhi in Yeravada prison, broken after the Pune pact (1932).
• Third round table conference (1932) occured.
• Launch of individual Civil Disobedience Movement (1933).
• The Government of India Act (1935) enacted.
• Establishment of All India Kisan Sabha (1936) and Congress Socialist Party by Acharya Narendra Dev and Jayprakash Narayan (1934).
• Burma-separated from India (1935).

Lord Linlithgow (1936-1944)

• First general elections (1936-37); occured Congress gained majority in 5 provinces and formed coalition in 3 other provinces.
• Resignation of the Congress ministries after the outbreak of the World War-II (1939).
• Subash Chandra Bose elected President of Congress at the 51st session of the Congress (1938).
• Resignation of Bose in 1939 and formation of the Forward Bloc (1939) occured.
• Lahore resolution (March 1940) by the Muslim league demand for the separate state for Muslims.
• ‘August offer’ (1940) by the viceroy; criticism by the congress and the endorsement by the Muslim league.
• Vincent Churchill was elected Prime Minister of England (1940).
• Escape of Subash Chandra Bose from India (1941) and organization of the Indian National Army.
• Cripps Mission, Cripps Plan to offer dominion status to India and setting up of a constituent assembly and its rejection by the congress.
• Passing of the ‘Quit India resolutions’ by the congress (1942); outbreak of ‘August Revolution’; or Revolt of 1942 after the arrest of National leaders.
• ‘Divide and Quit’ slogan at Karachi session (1944) of the Muslim League.

Lord Wavell (1944-1947)

• C.Rajagoapalachari’s `C.R.Formula’ (1944) was proposed.
• Failure of Gandhi-Jinnah pacts (1944) occured.
• Wavell Plan and the Shimla Conference (1942) took place.
• End of World War-II (1945).
• Proposals of the Cabinet Mission (1946) and its acceptance by the Congress.
• Observance of ‘Direct action day”(August 16, 1948) by the Muslim League.
• Elections to the constituent assembly, formation of interim government by the congress (September 1946)
• Announcement of the end of British rule in India by Clement Atlee (Prime Minister of England) on February 20, 1947

Lord Mountbatten (1947-1948)

• June 3 Plan (June 3, 1947) announced.
• Introduction of Indian Independence Bill in the House of Commons.
• Appointment of two boundary commissions under Sir Cyril Radcliffe for the partition of Bengal and Punjab.