Modern History

Warren Hastings – Introduction, Reforms and Regulations [UPSC Notes] l


Warren Hastings was the 1st Governor-General of Bengal. This article will share details about Warren Hastings and measures taken by him during his tenure; such as revenue reforms, judicial reforms, the abolition of the dual system etc. This is part of the Modern Indian History, which forms an important component of the UPSC Civil Service Exam.

Aspirants would find this article very helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam.

Aspirants should not get confused between the first governor-general of Bengal (Warren Hastings) and the governor-general of India. William Bentinck was India’s first Governor-General.

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Warren Hastings (UPSC Notes):- Download PDF Here

Warren Hastings – Brief Introduction

  1. Warren Hastings (1732 – 1818) became the first Governor of the Presidency of Fort William (Bengal) in 1772 and the first Governor-General of Bengal in 1774 till he resigned in 1785.
  2. He started his career as a writer (clerk) in the East India Company at Calcutta in 1750.
  3. In 1758, he became the British resident at Murshidabad, the capital of Bengal, after Mir Jafar was installed as the Nawab after the Battle of Plassey.
  4. During his term, the First Anglo-Maratha war and the second Anglo-Mysore war were fought.
  5. The Regulating Act of 1773 was passed during his term.
  6. He supported Sir William Jones in the formation of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1785.[/su_box]

Abolition of the Dual System

  1. Hastings abolished the Dual System that had been established by Robert Clive. In the Dual System, the company had Diwani rights (rights to collect revenue) and the Nizam or Indian chiefs had the administrative authority.
  2. The Nawab’s annual allowance of Rs.32 lakh was reduced to Rs.16 lakh.
  3. The annual tribute paid to the Mughal Emperor was also stopped.

Revenue Reforms

  1. For revenue collection, a Board of Revenue was set up at Calcutta.
  2. Treasury was moved from Murshidabad to Calcutta. Calcutta became Bengal’s capital in 1772.
  3. British collectors were appointed for each district and an Accountant General was also appointed.
  4. Unreasonable fines were done away with and restrictions were placed on the raising of rent.

Judicial Reforms

  1. The judicial powers of the Zamindars were abolished.
  2. Civil and criminal courts were established. Two appellate courts were established at Calcutta, one for civil (Sadar Diwani Adalat) and one for criminal (Sadar Nizamat Adalat) cases.
  3. The criminal court was to have an Indian judge.
  4. Muslims were to be tried according to their law in the Koran and Hindus, according to Hindu laws. A code of Hindu Law, prepared by Hindu Pandits was translated into English.
  5. He also came down heavily on the dacoits in Bengal.

Trade Regulations

  1. Hastings abolished the system of dastaks which were misused by company officials and traders earlier.
  2. He enforced a uniform tariff of 2.5% for Indian and foreign goods.
  3. Private trade by company officials was restricted.

Warren Hastings (UPSC Notes):- Download PDF Here

Additional Notes on Warren Hastings

Candidates can note down the following points about Warren Hastings:

  1. Warren Hastings impeachment was attempted between 1787 and 1795 over his misconduct during his time in Kolkata (then Calcutta).
    • He was charged with mismanagement and personal corruption.
    • Edmund Burke (MP of Great Britain Parliament) led Warren Hasting’s impeachment.
    • Warren Hastings was acquitted by the end of a sever-years long impeachment trial.
  2. Warren Hastings was the East India Company’s (EIC) representative at the Bengal Nawab courts from 1758 to 1761. He also represented the company’s Council, the controlling body for its affairs in Bengal, from 1761 to 1764.
  3. He returned to England in 1765.

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2022.

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