Dalhousie Governor General -Doctrine of Lapse-Charter Act of 1853

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Dalhousie Governor General

Dalhousie Governor General

In 1848, Lord Dalhousie arrived in India as Governor-General. He succeeded to Henry Hardinge.   He was keen from the start to expand direct British rule over as big an area as feasible. Dalhousie claimed that “the extinction of all native States is just a matter of time.” He started many instituted in the subcontinent. Public works department, telegram, and railway were introduced in his era.

Doctrine of Lapse of Lord Dalhousie

The ‘Doctrine of Lapse’ was the primary tool used by Lord Dalhousie to carry out his conquest agenda. In Indian history, the doctrine of lapse is a concept devised by Lord Dalhousie, governor-general of India, to cope with succession difficulties to Hindu Indian governments. It was a sequel to the idea of sovereign power, under which Great Britain, as the leading power of the Indian subcontinent, claimed general supervision over the subordinate Indian nations and control over their future.

In India, there were many princely states which local rulers governed. In Doctrine of Lapse, all states were annexed by the East India Company directly.

Dalhousie occupied states by applying ‘Doctrine of Lapse’

  1. The States of Satara (1848 AD)
  2. Jaipur (1849 AD)
  3. Sambhalpur (1849 AD)
  4. Punjab (1849)
  5. Bahat (1850 A.D)
  6. Udaipur (1852 AD)
  7. Jhansi (1853 AD)
  8. Nagpur (1854 AD) and so on

Charter Act of 1853

The British East India Company was empowered by the Charter Act of 1853 to maintain the territories and earnings in India in trust for the Crown, not for any specific duration as previous Charter Acts had given, but merely until Parliament otherwise directed.

Key Features of Charter Act

  1. It divided the judicial and administrative duties of the Governor- General’s council for the first time.
  2. They made a covenant civil service was thus made available to Indians as well. As a result, in 1854, the Macaulay Committee was formed.
  3. It prolonged the Company’s rule and permitted it to keep Indian territory in trust for the British Crown.
  4. It established local representation in the Indian Legislative Council for the first time.

Charles Wood Despatch (1854)

For the first time, the Wood’s Despatch of 1854 advocated the establishment of a Department of Public Instruction in each of Bengal’s five provinces: Bombay, Madras, Punjab, and  in the North-Western provinces. The Department’s leader would be known as the Director, and several investigators would assist him. The D.P.I. was required to submit to the government an annual report on educational development in his jurisdiction.

Main Aim of charles wood despatch 

The charles wood despatch of 1854 is the first to provide insight on the East India Company’s educational policy goals and objectives.

  • To provide Indians with Western knowledge and information about Western culture.
  • To educate Indian indigenous to develop a class of public workers.
  • To foster intellectual development as well as moral development in the next generation.
  • To improve the practical and technical abilities of Indians so that more and more things can be created, as well as to create a good marketplace for the consumption of such commodities.
charles wood despatch

 Second Anglo-Burmese War

Second Anglo-Burmese War

In 1852, the second Anglo Burmese War was fought between Burma and the British in the century.  Commercial issues were the direct reasons for the Second Anglo-Burmese War. The British claimed that the Burmese government levied a higher trade tax on goods which was decided in the Yandabo Treaty. After this, the British advanced towards Burma and fought. British defeated the Burma army and captured the area of Burma.

First Passenger train

Charter Act of 1853 upsc

 First Passenger train

The first passenger train operated 34 kilometers from Bori Bunder (Bombay)and Thane in 1853. It had fourteen carriages and was driven by three steam locomotives, Sahib, Sultan, and Sindh. It took off at 3.35 p.m., carrying 400 passengers. Lord Dalhousie   built it.

First telegraph connection in India

In October 1851, the first telegraph connection in India was established between Calcutta and Diamond Harbour. The distance between them is 30 miles. However, the official opening of this line occurred on November 1, 1851. By 1854, a telegraph network connected Calcutta to Agra, Bombay, and Madras.

Post office act 1854


The countryside was scattered with tall iron rods supported by bamboo posts and linked by copper wires. As an icon of Imperial control, that telegraph line was regarded with distrust. Until 1912, the telegraph was managed by an autonomous department. The telegraph was merged with the postal service on April 1, 1914.

Post office act 1854

Dalhousie established standard postage rates and aided in making the Post Office Act 1854. By this act, officially, post offices were established in India. It found a seat of Director General of Posts in India. The key features of Post office act 1854 were delivering posts, Sending money,  accepting deposits and providing life insurance.

Later, Public Works Departments were established in all provinces and placed under centralized authority. In response to the Public demand, three branches were made in 1866:

  • Military Branch
  • Civil Works Branch like Irrigation etc.
  • Railways Branch

Second Anglo-Sikh War

The Second Anglo-Sikh War was fought in 1848-49. After this war Sikh Empire was ended in Punjab.


When the first Anglo-Sikh war has fought, a treaty was signed between Sikhs and the British. According to that Treaty, the British could live in Lahore till 1952, and later they must leave this area. But in 1848, the second Anglo-Sikh was started, and it ended the Sikh Empire ultimately

He got retired as Governor-General of India in 1856. Lord Viscount Canning succeeded him.


Charter Act of 1853 upsc,Charter Act of 1853 upsc,Charter Act of 1853 upsc

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