NCERT Notes: Modern History, Bipin Chandra
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.
He started his career as a writer (clerk) in the East India Company at Calcutta in 1750.
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.
During his term, the second Anglo-Mysore and the first Anglo-Maratha wars were fought.
The Regulating Act of 1773 was passed during his term.
He supported Sir William Jones in forming the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1785.
Reforms of Warren Hastings
Abolition of the Dual System
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.
The Nawab’s annual allowance of Rs.32 lakh was reduced to Rs.16 lakh.
The annual tribute paid to the Mughal Emperor was also stopped.
For revenue collection, a Board of Revenue was set up at Calcutta.
Treasury was moved from Murshidabad to Calcutta. Calcutta became Bengal’s capital in 1772.
British collectors were appointed for each district and an Accountant General was also appointed.
Unreasonable fines were done away with and restrictions were placed on the raising of rent.
The judicial powers of the Zamindars were abolished.
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.
The criminal court was to have an Indian judge.
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.
He also came down heavily on the dacoits in Bengal.
Hastings abolished the system of dastaks which were misused by company officials and traders earlier.
He enforced a uniform tariff of 2.5% for Indian and foreign goods.
Private trade by company officials was restricted.