Previse 2024: Policies and Doctrines: British India

Previse 2024: Policies and Doctrines: British India

GS1 | History

Table of contents

Permanent settlement of Bengal 1793

Permanent Settlement act 1793 | UPSC
  • The Permanent Settlement was established by Cornwallis in 1793 in Odisha, Bihar, and Bengal and later extended to Varanasi.
  • It was an agreement between the East India Company and landlords in Bengal.
  • Under this, the government of Bengal adopted a system where landowners had to pay a fixed amount of money to the government. 
  • The landowners or zamindars or talukdars had the power to decide how much rent to charge and could even remove tenants from the land.

Policy of Ring of Fence (1765-1813)

Policy of Ring of Fence (1765-1813) | UPSC
  • This policy was reflected in the wars against the Marathas and Mysore by Warren Hastings with the idea to create buffer zones and defend the Company's frontiers.
  • Wellesley's subsidiary alliance policy was an extension of the ring fence policy.
  • The East India Company would send troops to aid allies and the cost of the upkeep of troops being borne by the rulers of the state

Subsidiary Alliance 

Subsidiary Alliance | UPSC
  • Clive's successor Richard Wellesley followed a non-interventionist approach but subsequently adopted and developed the subsidiary alliance.
  • Though Wellesley started the subsidiary alliance, it was French Governor Dupleix who coined the name.
  • The Allied Indian State had to approve permanent stationing of a British force within the territory, pay a subsidy for its maintenance and disband its own military force.
  • The State also had to pay for the upkeep of the British troops and the British promised to defend the Indian state from any foreign attack.\
  • The Indian States' Subsidiary Alliances were formed in this order- Hyderabad (1798), Mysore (1799), Tanjore (1799), Awadh (1801), Peshwa (Marathas) (1802), Scindia (Marathas) (1803) and Gaekwad (Marathas) (1803).

Policy of Subordinate Isolation (1813-1857)

Policy of Subordinate Isolation (1813-1857) | UPSC
  • When imperialism grew, the Indian states worked in subordinate cooperation acknowledging the supremacy of the British government.
  • British Residents were elevated from diplomatic agents of a foreign power to executive and command officers of a superior government which was aided by the Charter Act of 1833.
  • The Board of Directors issued guidelines in 1834 to annex states whenever and wherever possible which resulted in Dalhousie's annexation policy 

Doctrine of Lapse

Doctrine of Lapse | UPSC
  • This doctrine was based on a pro-imperialist approach and it meant that if there is no heir or ruler, the state must be given up to the British and no adopted child be considered as heir.
  • Only the ruler's personal possessions would be passed down to the adopted successor.
  • Any princely state under the direct or indirect sovereignty of the East India Company would be annexed if the ruler did not produce a legal male successor.
  • By this, the Company took over the princely states of Satara (1848), Jaitpur, Sambalpur (1849), Baghat (1850), Udaipur (Chhattisgarh State) (1852), Jhansi (1854), Nagpur (1854), Tanjore and Arcot (1855).

Policy of Masterly Inactivity

Policy of Masterly Inactivity | UPSC | Bookstawa
  • This policy was initiated by John Lawrence (1864–69) in response to the disasters of the First Afghan War.
  • There was no intervention in the succession war even after Dost Mohammed died in 1863.
  • The policy was based on two conditions: that the peace at the border was not disturbed and no candidate sought foreign assistance.
  • His foreign policy was of self-reliance and self-restraint rather than defiance.

Policy of Proud Reserve

Why was a letter about the assassination bid on British viceroy Lytton  removed from public archives?
  • Lytton the Viceroy initiated a new foreign policy of 'proud reserve,' to establish scientific frontiers and preserve 'spheres of influence.'
  • He was against ambiguity in relations with Afghanistan and wanted to pursue an aggressive approach.
  • Lytton wanted to bring about the slow breakdown and weakening of Afghan power by conquering and annexing specific regions..
  • This policy resulted in the Second Afghan War (1878–1880) and the signing of the Treaty of Gandamak.

Policy of Subordinate Union (1857-1935)

1857 mutiny: Britain's divide and rule policy has been institutionalised in  India, Pakistan | UPSC
  • This policy came into force when the Crown assumed direct responsibility in the year 1858.
  • The policy of annexation was abandoned due to the states' loyalty during the 1857 revolt.
  • The idea of Indian states as independent, sovereign states on equal footing with the Crown ended with the Queen adopting the title of 'Kaiser-i-Hind'.
  • The British government intervened in the internal affairs of states.
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