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A New Administration

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A New Administration - Lesson Summary

By 1857, about 63% of the Indian territories and 78% of the Indian population were under the direct control of the East India Company. Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General played a vital role in the expansion of the Company’s Rule in India.

Under his administration the Company gained control over three presidency units; Bengal, Madras and Bombay. The territories under the British rule were divided into administrative units known as presidencies.

He appointed a collector in each Indian district, responsible for collecting taxes and maintaining law and order. The collector’s office known as the Collectorate soon became the centre of power. Warren Hastings introduced reforms in the system of justice too.

All districts were supposed to have a criminal court or faujdari adalat and a civil court also known as the diwani adalat. Every criminal court was presided by a qazi and a mufti, who were Muslim jurists.
The civil court was directly presided over by a European district collector, who was assisted by Hindu pandits and the Maulvi’s. To ensure uniformity in law, a digest of the Hindu laws was compiled in 1775, followed by a digest of Muslim Laws in 1778.

According to the regulating act of 1773, a Supreme Court and a court of appeal – the Sadar Nizamat Adalat – were also set up in Calcutta.

The Company along with administrative reforms, also introduced changes in its military culture. It was greatly influenced by the Mughal Army which was categorized into the cavalry and the infantry. The cavalry or the sawars were trained to fight on horsebacks whereas the infantry or the foot soldiers were trained in archery and the use of swords.

The 18 th century the Company started recruiting peasants into the army to be called the sepoy army. The British needed the infantry to fight against Burma, Egypt and Afghanistan. By the early 19 th century, the Company army were exposed to European-style drills, discipline and training to create a uniform military culture. By the early 19th century, the Company had established itself as a colonial power.

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