Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Warren Hastings (contd-5)

British East India Company. The British East India Company

controlled much of the Indian subcontinent by
 the early 1800's. The company had direct control
 over most of the northern part of the subcontinent
 and most of the coastal areas along the
 Bay of Bengal. The Indian states of Hyderabad,
 Mysore, Oudh, and Travancore were not directly
 held by the company but were allied states.
 Only the Maratha Confederacy in central
 India was not allied to the company
Hastings finslly left Indian in1785.But even before his retirement the allegations of Francis and the reports of warss, whether justly or unjustly undertaken, had damaged his reputation, and the passionate moral concern about the standards of the British in India felt by Edmund Burke, the great whig parliamentarian, had come to be focussed on Hastings. Mot historians, while recognizing Burke's absolute sincerity, now feel that Burke was attempting to pin the evils of a situation on one individualand that he had chosen the wrong one. But Hastings was vulnerable on episodes such as the execution of Nandakumar and his tratment of the Begums of Oudh and Chait Singh and even on some aspects of his personal finances, where he had acquired money  in excess of his official allownces. In 1786, when Burke introduced an impeachment process against him (  a prosecution by the House of Commons before the house of lords.), these blemishes were enough to persuade the House of Commons and in particular William Pitt the Younger, the Prime minister, Hastings ought to be sent to trial. The trial before the House of Lords lasted from 1788 to 1795, when he was acquitted.
As the first Governor-general of Bingal, Hastings was responsible for consolidating British control over the first major Inmdian province to be conquered