Unlike Wellesley, Dalhousie wanted to extend direct rule of British over India. Satara (which was created as a state for Marathas after Second Anglo Maratha War), Jhansi, Nagpur were annexed through Doctrine of Lapse. Dalhousie also wanted to bring Awadh under British rule, but British had friendly terms with Awadh since it helped them in Battle of Buxar. They had many heirs and hence couldn’t be covered under Doctrine of Lapse. Finally, Dalhousie hit upon idea of accusing Nawab of mis-governance and annexing his territory. Awadh was thus annexed in 1856. Awadh was one of the last territories to be annexed by the British. It was brought under subsidiary alliance in 1801, and finally annexed in 1849. It was formally annexed in 1856. The conquest happened in stages.
The removal of the Nawab led to the dissolution of the court and its culture. Thus a whole range of people – musicians, dancers, poets, artisans, cooks, retainers, and administrative officials and so on – lost their livelihood. In 1849, under Dalhousie’s command, the British captured the princely state of Punjab. Jhansi was also annexed under Doctrine of Lapse. However, it was the unfair annexation of Oudh which made Dalhousie very unpopular in the region. He also commanded the Second Burmese War in 1852, resulting in the capture of parts of Myanmar.
This and other callous actions of the governor-general created bitter feelings among the Indian soldiers in the British Army, which finally led to the First War of Independence of 1857. His contribution in the development of communication – railways, roads, postal and telegraph services – contributed to the modernization and unity of India. Social legislations like Widow Remarriage Act, 1856 was also passed during his time. He is, thus, said to have laid the foundation of modern India. One unintended consequences of the policies of the Dalhousie was the administrative unification of India. It laid the foundation of a modern ‘nation’ which was hitherto scattered into pieces under local chieftans.
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