(Last Updated on : 07/02/2012)
Warren Hastings was born at Churchill, Oxfordshire on 6th December in 1732. Young Warren Hastings was sent to a charity school near his native village. At the age of eight, his uncle, Howard Hastings, took possession of him after his mother, Hester Warren`s demise and his father Penyston Hasting`s sudden alienation to West Indies. Hastings was then admitted in a private school at Newington Butt and studied there for two years. After two years he was admitted to Westminister School. Lord Thurlow, Lord Shelburne, Sir Elijah Impey and the poets William Cowper and Charles Churchill were his contemporaries.
After completing his studies, Hastings moved to Calcutta and landed in October 1750 and joined the British East India Company
as a clerk. . He was made the in charge of a factory where he had to superintend the weaving of silk and cotton goods. After his arrival in India gradually he became skilled in Urdu and Hindi languages. He had immense respect for the ancient scriptures of Hinduism and he convinced the Pundits of Bengal to reveal the affluence of Sanskrit to the Europeans. He was a keen admirer of Indian literature and philosophy. On his supervision, Charles Wilkins translated Bhagavad Geeta in English.
During the time when Hastings was serving The British East India Company, he was transferred to Cossimbazar , the river port of the native capital of Murshidabad in 1953. In 1756, Siraj Ud Dowlah occupied the throne at the age of nineteen. Being passionate to drive the British away of Bengal, he occupied the factory at Cossimbazar and sent Hastings behind the bars. After his release, Hastings decided to initiate an open negotiation with the English fugitives at Falta, near the mouth of Hugli. Later he joined the main body of the English at Falta. . In 1757, he was appointed the British Resident, Administrative in charge of Murshidabad . He, at the time of residing at Falta, was married to Mrs.Buchanan, the widow of an officer. She had given birth to two children; one died in infancy at Murshidabad and another was sent to England. Mrs.Buchanan died on 11th July, 1759 and the second son also died before his father`s return to England. After the death of his sons and wife, he indulged himself in literary society and was acquainted with Samual Johnson and Lord Mansfield.
In the recovery of Calcutta, Warren Hastings, under the supervision of Colonel Clive and Admiral Watson, enrolled himself as a volunteer. Warren Hastings was appointed the member of council in Calcutta under the presidency of Mr.Vansittart. He was appointed to the Calcutta Council in 1761 and went back to England in 1764 after resigning from his position. In 1766, he was appointed to negotiate on the affairs of the Bengal before a committee of the House of Commons and in 1768 he was sent an appointment of second in council at Madras (presently known as Chennai). In 1969-1970, the year in which one third of population died from famine, portrayed the British collectors as tyrants and the harbingers of the ruin of Bengal. Hastings, after his return in India, was chosen a member of Madras council and was made the Governor of Bengal in 1772 and took his seat as President of the council at Fort William. A reformation was done by transferring the officers of administration from Murshidabad to Calcutta. In the intervening time, Parliament took the consideration of all affairs of East India Company. In 1773 Warren Hastings was appointed the Governor General of India and after the passing of The Regulating Act by Lord North; a vast change was visualized in the constitution of the Bengal Government.
A crisis in political matters and foreign affairs were about to initiate which needed Warren Hastings`s great concern to be sorted out. In 1783, the sudden ruin of the Coalition ministry was led by Charles James Fox`s India Bill. The previous situations and the later problematic situations after the introduction of the new constitution ,compelled Hastings to feel unwanted in the vicinity. Hastings finally sailed from Calcutta to England in February 1785. He was impeached which was decided upon in 1786 and in 1788 the actual trial was commenced. Finally, in 1795, Hastings was proved innocent and not guilty on the charges laid against him and was permitted by The House of Lords to leave the bar. He managed to regain his reputation as he was known to be the concerned server of the Government. He earned reverence in 1813 at time of giving the evidence upon Indian affairs before the two houses of Parliament. He was honored with the degree of D.C.L by the University of Oxford.
Warren Hastings was the founder of the Madrasa (the college for Mohamedan) at Calcutta. He also was the projector of the foundation of an Indian Institution in England. Hastings. In 1757, he was appointed the British Resident, Administrative in charge of Murshidabad patronized the establishment of The Bengal Asiatic Society, though the position of the president was yielded to Sir W. Jones.
Warren Hastings died on 22nd August in 1818 at the age of eighty six and was buried behind the chancel of the Parish Church. At St. Paul`s School, Darjeeling, India, Hastings is a senior wing houses and are named after colonial age military figures. The city of Hastings, New Zealand and the Melbourne outer suburb of Hastings , Victoria, Australia were both named after warren Hastings.