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 Lord William Bentinck’s social and administrative reforms, end of Sati, end of cheating, end of discrimination in government services | Lord William Bentinck Reforms

  Lord William Bentinck is noted in Indian history as a respected Governor General. He put an end to the inhuman practice of Sati against Indian women. William Bentinck started a new era in India with his reforms. Today in this blog we will evaluate the reforms made by William Bentinck and his achievements.


lord william bentinck
फोटो विकिपीडिया से प्राप्त

     Lord William Bentinck began his life as an ensign in the army and soon rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He was elected a member of parliament in 1796 AD. He fought against Napoleon in northern Italy. On the basis of his military experience, he was appointed governor of Madras in 1803 AD. Due to his liberal nature, he banned the wearing of ethnic symbols on the forehead and earrings of the soldiers in the army in 1806 AD, due to which the upper caste Indian soldiers revolted in Valor. After this the Court of Director called him back to England.


Governor General Lord Lytton’s Home and Foreign Policy

First Governor General of India

        Lord William Bentinck was sent to India in 1828 as the first Governor General of India. He came to India as the successor of Amherst. Bentinck was a staunch Whig (liberal) by nature, he was greatly influenced by the reforms in England. In India he stopped the cruel customs and appointed Indians to high posts. He took a more lenient attitude towards Indian newspapers and made efforts to reform Indian education.

   The statement of P. E. Roberts is true that “Macaulay’s famous statement reflects the sacred wishes of the Governor-General and the final attitude of his policy, not his success.”

Lord William Bentinck’s Reforms

Put an end to the practice of Sati

    Before Lord William Bentinck, no other Governor-General had attempted to solve social questions so boldly. Bentinck ended cruel and inhuman practice like Sati system, as well as ended infanticide and cheating.

    What was the practice of Sati?

  Sati means “a pious and well-characterized woman” (although this is a fabricated meaning). According to Indian Hindu tradition, the relationship between husband and wife is of birth after birth and after the death of the husband, the wife also dies with her husband. Ironically, there was no such obligation for the husband. Although the tradition of burying the things dear to him with the deceased dates back to very ancient times, the Harappan civilization found many bodies with which they buried everything from food to dogs. went.

Administrative Reforms of Lord Cornwallis

      This practice (Sati) in India was probably brought by the Sakas. Apart from Ramayana and Mahabharata, there is no mention of Sati in any other text. Although there is a mention of Sati in the Eran inscription of 510 AD of the Gupta ruler Bhanugupta. In the eighteenth century, brahmins started propagating sati as scriptural, saying that if a woman was sati, seven generations of her husband’s family would attain heaven. This practice was more prevalent among the so-called upper-class Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Rajput clans. The most disgusting aspect of the practice of sati was that the widow of the deceased (irrespective of age) was forced to do sati. Many times, when the woman protested, she was unconscious and forcibly thrown into the fire.






The Mughal ruler Akbar tried to ban this practice but failed. The Maratha rulers had banned it in their territories.

The Portuguese in Goa and the French in Chandranagar tried to stop this practice. After 1800 AD, the East India Company adopted a policy of non-interference in Indian social and religious affairs. Prior to Bentinck, Cornwallis, Lord Mitten, and Lord Hastings had prohibited pregnant women from committing sati but did not succeed.

    Progressive thinkers and social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy inspired Lord William Bentinck to outlaw this practice. Rammohun Roy’s sister-in-law was also subjected to sati by his family members, due to which he was deeply saddened and came forward to stop this practice. Therefore, in December 1829, Lord William Bentinck declared it illegal to burn widows according to Rule 17. Initially this rule was made only for Bengal but from 1830 AD this rule was also implemented in Bombay and Madras Presidencies

 Similarly, Lord William Bentinck put an end to the practice of male-sacrifice, and the practice of infanticide among the Rajputs.

To end Fraud

      If the word thug is seen in today’s context, it is called thug to grab money by deception, but at that time there were organized gangs of thugs, bandits and murderers who used to rob innocent and passers-by to death. These people used to strangle their victims with handkerchiefs, for which the word ‘fancigar’ was used.

    By the end of the Mughal period, taking advantage of the weak police system, these thugs increased their gang numbers and became active in the region of Awadh, Hyderabad, Rajputana and Bundelkhand.

      There were people from both Hindu and Muslim religions in the gang of these thugs. These people used to cut the head of their victim and offer it at the feet of the goddess.

    Colonel Sleeman was appointed to put an end to the thugs. Colonel Sleeman took drastic action, arresting 1500 thugs and hanging most of them. By 1837 the thugs were almost eliminated.

End Discrimination in Government Services

        According to Section 87 of the Charter Act of 1833, merit was accepted as the basis of government service and discrimination on grounds of “caste, religion, place of birth or colour” to any Indian citizen subordinate to the Company was abolished and for government service all was given the opportunity. In this way the policy of discrimination which has been going on since the time of Lord Cornwallis has come to an end. But in practice it was very less effective.





   Liberal policy towards Indian newspapers

     Lord William Bentinck considered newspapers as a shield against discontent. Therefore, despite his criticism, he remained in favor of independence of newspapers.

  William Bentinck’s Educational Reforms

     Elphinstone said in 1825 that the most effective way of social reform is through education. And the most important work of William Bentinck was related to education. Bentinck appointed Lord Macaulay as the chairman of the Committee on Public Education and Macaulay propounded in his famous minute on 2 February 1835.

    Macaulay ridiculed the science of Ayurveda, mathematics, astrology, history and geography of India and said, “Is it we have to study history, mathematics, astrology and Ayurveda related to false religion?” According to Macaulay, one cupboard of a Western library is equal to all the literature of India and Arabia. According to Macaulay, Indian languages ​​have neither elements nor scientific information.

     Macaulay actually wanted to create a class by proposing his education policy which was Indian in blood and body but English in thought and intellect. Macaulay, in a letter to his father, expressed the hope that if his plan was successful, there would not be a single idolater in the elite section of Bengal for the next 30 years.

  Macaulay’s proposal was accepted on 7 March 1835 and it was decided that the language of the higher level of administration would be English. Since that time the English language, literature, political thought and natural science have been the basis of our policy of higher education.

In 1835, Lord William Bentinck laid the foundation of the Medical College at Calcutta. Thus English education was introduced in India by Lord Macaulay.

Financial Reforms of Lord William Bentinck

  • In 1828 the financial position of the company was very bad and expenses were more than income. The reason for this poor financial condition was the Burma War.
  • The Home Government ordered Bentinck for peace and economy in public expenditure.
  • Bentick formed two committees, one soldier and the other civilian, to handle the situation.
  • With the permission of the Court of Directors, he reduced the military allowance.
  • When posted within a radius of 400 miles from Calcutta, the allowance was halved. And thus a savings of £120,000. Similarly, the civilian allowances were also reduced.
  • Concrete steps were taken for the collection of land tax in Bengal and the North-Western Provinces. In the North-Western Provinces (present-day Uttar Pradesh), more taxes were received from Martin Bird’s land system. Bentinck also reduced the expenditure by employing skilled Indians in place of the British.
  • Trade of opium was done under regular and licensing process and allowed to be exported only from Bombay port.
  • These companies of Bentinck soon recovered from the loss and reached a profit of 2 crores per annum on 1 crore per annum.

Bentinck’s judicial reforms

   Much work remained due to increased work in the provincial appellate and circuit courts set up by Cornwallis. To get rid of this, Bentinck closed these courts and instead appointed Dandanayakos and Collectors who worked under Revenue and Traveling Commissioners. Separate Sadar Diwani and Sadar Nizamat Adalat for Delhi and present-day Uttar Pradesh were established at Allahabad. The advantage of this was that now the people of this area did not need to go to Calcutta for appeal.

 Local languages ​​were also allowed to be used in place of the Persian language of the courts. Similarly, only English language was used in the High Courts.

Eligible Indians were appointed Munsifs and these people could rise to the rank of Sadar Amin.

Bentinck’s policy towards Indian princely states

        Bentick adopted a policy of neutrality towards the Indian princely states. But Mysore in 1831, Coorg and Cachar princely states in 1834 were annexed to the British because there was a lot of disorder.

    Evaluation of Benthic

    During his 7-year tenure, Bentick pursued a policy of peace and development in place of continuous wars and a policy of reconciliation. Due to his reforms, the British state became more strengthened. Bentick’s name will always be remembered for social and administrative reforms in the history of India.

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