Early Life of Lord Dalhousie
Lord Dalhousie was born as James Andrew Broun-Ramsay on April 22nd, 1812 in Scotland to the parents George Ramsay and Christina Broun. His father, George Ramsay, was the 9th Earl of Dalhousie. Lord Dalhousie spent the most of his childhood in Canada, along with his parents. In the year 1825, he was admitted to Harrow school. In 1829, he joined Christ Church, Oxford, and passed with distinction with his efforts.
Reform Policies of Lord Dalhousie
Lord Dalhousie’s chief aim was the consolidation of British rule in India. So he adopted the principle of centralization. Various reforms were brought during the rule of Lord Dalhousie to improve the conditions of India. His policy mainly focussed on seizure of different regions of India, which had still not come under the dominion of the British. The policy of annexation known as the Doctrine of Lapse was based on the forfeiture of the right to rule in the absence of a natural heir. In 1848, Satara was annexed, Sambalpur was captured in 1849 and in 1853 Jhansi was captured. Punjab was annexed to the British Rule in the year 1849. In the year 1850, Sikkim was annexed due to the alleged reasons of mistreatment and abuse of British officials. After the death of the Raja of Nagpur in 1853, Nagpur too was annexed through the policy of Lord Dalhousie. He proved his worth in the matters of administration by the demarcation of various departments of the administrative machinery and appointment of Lieutenant Governor for Bengal. He introduced the non-regulation system under which the non-regulation provinces were to be under a Chief Commissioner responsible to the Governor General in council.
Lord Dalhousie also introduced Railways and Telegraph in India with a purpose to improve communication, which was essential to administer the far, flung areas of this vast country. During his tenure, first railway line between Bombay and Thane was opened in 1853 and in the same year Calcutta and Agra were connected by telegraph. He also reformed the postal system. To undertake works for the public benefit he introduced the public works department. In the educational field, Lord Dalhousie's introduced system of vernacular education that was praise worthy; hence Anglo Vernacular Schools were established. In the matters of commerce the policy of free trade was introduced by declaring free ports.
The military reforms of Lord Dalhousie included the shift of the Bengal Artillery from Kolkata to Meerut. The Army head quarter shifted to Shimla from Kolkata. After recognising the dangers of the increasing Indian troops he proposed reduction of Indian soldiers. He encouraged the inclusion of Gurkhas to the Indian Army and organised an irregular force for Punjab.
Lord Dalhousie’s policy of annexations and reforms only appealed to the English interests in India. After Lord Dalhousie, Lord Lytton took the charge as the Governor General in the year 1876.
Death of Lord Dalhousie
In the year 1856, Lord Dalhousie returned to England, where he died on December 19th 1860, in the Dalhousie Castle.
Established in 1854 by the British Empire in India as a summer retreat for its troops and bureaucrats, the hill station of Dalhousie was named after Lord Dalhousie who was Governor General of India at that time.