Resident of British India was a senior official of the British administration, who positioned in the capital of the Princely States of India, to conduct consular duties as well as liaison functions. The British Resident, also known as Political Agents of the British East India Company, was a government official who took up residence in a princely state and conducted several official diplomatic functions that aided in the British indirect rule. He was also responsible for making the ruler to sustain the association and alliance. The Residencies of British India primarily was developed as a system of indirect rule which was cautiously managed and administered by the Resident of British India. The various roles and functions of the Resident included intervening in succession disputes, forming diplomatic alliances with other states and advising in governance. Further more the Resident also had to ensure that the native ruler did not retain military forces, but only for internal policing. The Residents also tried to develop the princely states by propagation of European concept and philosophy of progressive government.
The Resident of British India conducted consular duties and maintained political contacts with local monarchs, nizams, Maharajas, sultans, nawabs, chiefs and others. The British Residents were posted in the Indian Princely states and were appointed to a single state often, such as the Resident in Lucknow, the capital of Oudh; to the Maharaja Gaekwad of the princely state of Baroda; to the Maharaja Scindia of Gwalior state; to the Nizam al-Molk of Hyderabad; to the Maharaja Rana of Jhalawar; to the reinstated Maharaja of Princely State of Mysore, after the fall of Tipu Sultan; to the Maharaja Sena Sahib Subah of the Maratha state of Nagpur; to the Raja of Manipur; to the Maharaja of Travancore; to the Maharana of Mewar in Udaipur.
After Lord Lake defeated the Maratha Empire in the year 1803, the Mughal emperor took protection of the British East India Company. The districts of Hisar and Delhi were allocated for the maintenance of the royal family, and were managed and supervised by a British Resident. In the year 1832, the entire region was annexed to the North Western Provinces. A British Resident was also assigned to a group of princely states of India, particularly to those regions that were regarded as unimportant or formed a geographical group. The Resident of British India played a significant role in the indirect rule of princely India by the British administration.
The list of the Residents of British India to the court of the Mughal emperor in Delhi, from the period 1803 to 1857, is mentioned below-
* David Ochterlony- 1st Tenure in Office (1803- 1806)
* Archibald Seton (1806- 1811)
* Charles Theophilus Metcalfe- 1st Tenure in Office (1811- 1818)
* Sir David Ochterlony- 2nd Tenure in Office (1818- 1820)
* Alexander Ross (1820- 1823)
* William Fraser-1st Tenure in Office (1823)
* C. Elliott (1823- 1825)
* Sir Charles Theophilus Metcalfe- 2nd Tenure in Office (1825- 1827)
* Sir Edward Colebrooke (1827- 1828)
* William Fraser- 2nd Tenure in Office (1828- 1829)
* Francis James Hawkins (1829- 1830)
* W.B. Martin (1830- 1832)
* William Fraser- 3rd Tenure in Office (1832- 1835)
* Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe (1835- 1853)
* Simon Fraser (1853- 1857)
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