Monday, April 18, 2011

Warren Hastings (1732-1818)

Warren Hastings (1732-1818) was appointed as Governor in 1772-1774 and Governor General (1774-1785).hastings abandoned the policy of hesitation of his predecessors about the question of establishing political dominance in India, and bringing about a series of reforms and waging wars against the challengers to his expansionist plan and conquering new lands.  Robert Clive laid the foundation stone of British India and Hastings erected British Power in India. But both the persons were not unquestionable in their home land.

Being born as a son of a clergyman of the Church of England, Hastings was abondoned by his father at an early age.He was brought up by an uncle who got the boy admitted into Westminister School in London. Hastings showed great promise as a school boy. But his school days were cut short due to his uncle's death in 1749.He was then taken away from school and granted a writership (as the junior appointments in the East India Company were called), and in 1750, at the age of 17, he sailed for Bengal.
Hastings first appointments was at Kassimbazar, a major centre for procuring silk. He was at Kassimbazar in 1756 when Nawab Siraj-Ud- Daulah was provoked to attack and storm Calcutta, rounding up the British at Kassimbazar in the process. On his release Hastings joined the British refugees from Calcutta. He married one of them, Mary, widow of an officer who had been killed at Calcutta. Neither the first Mrs. Hastings nor the two children that she bore her husband were to live long.    
From 1758, Hasting served as the Company's resident at Murshibad with the new Nawab, Mir Jafar, in whose favour the British have intervened at Palashi. In 1760 a coup engineered by the British brought down Mir Jafar and replaced him with another nawab, Mir Qasim. Hastings was next appointed as a council member of a Govt. headed by Vansittart.Vanshittart returned.
Hastings served as the company's representative at the court of the nawabs of Bengal from 1758 to 1761. and then on the company's council , the controlling body for its affairs in Bengal, from 1761 to 1764. Hastings resigned from the company's service and returned to England in 1765.