DMPQ- Discuss how lord Dalhousie’s Policy of Lapse policy helped the cause of expansion of British empire.

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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