General Knowledge for SSC Exams (Modern Indian History)


General Knowledge for SSC Exams (Modern Indian History)

The period from 1707 AD, the year when Aurangzeb died, to 1857, the year of the Indian uprising. saw the gradual increase of the European influence in India. The Europeans had been filtering into India for a long time before they actually decided to set up shop here. Even though the British got away with the jackpot. the real pioneers to reach India were the Portuguese. Full of crusading and commercial zeal, Vasco di Gama was the first known European to reach India in 1498, even before the Mughals arrived here. When Vasco di Gama docked his ship in Calicut, he announced that he came in search of “Christians and spices” and the very first people he met here were Christians, who were descendants of those who had settled in India way back in the 4th century AD.

Portuguese Rule

The Portuguese settled down to a very prosperous trade in spices with India. The Muslim rulers in Delhi and then the Mughals never really warmed up to the idea of a foreign power continuing trade on the seas under their imperial noses. What’s more, they were not exactly very honest traders too, since they thought that no word that was given to an infidel need be kept. So much so that the word phirangi. or foreigner in colloquial, came to be a hissing and a byword among locals. In fact in Goa, where the Portuguese ruled, intolerance levels ran high and even the building of Hindu temples was banned. Alberquerque (1509-1515), who was the second Portugese viceroy in India, encouraged mixed marriages with the sole object of creating a mixed race who were Portuguese Catholics, and who would be bound by race and culture to the Portuguese. They were known as Luso-Indians at one time and now simply as Goans.

Advent of Dutch

The Dutch came shipping in the East for the first time in 1595. However, they did not come to India initially, and established themselves at the helm of things in the spice trade in Jakarta. India carne into the picture for them purely as a route to Europe, as part of a great Asian trade route that they developed which went through Ceylon and Cape Town. Although the Dutch had their factories dotting all over in Cochin, Nagapatam and even up in Agra) they did not attempt to gain military power, being quite content to gain in cash.

French Invaders

Although the French King Locus XII had granted letters of monopoly to French traders in 1611, it was not until December 1667, that a French company was actually set up in India. This was at Surat (in Gujrat) with Francis Caron as its Director-General. Soon, in 1669, another French company came up in Masulipatnam, thanks to a grant by the king of Golconda. which exempted the French from paying import and export duty. In 1672, Caron’s place was taken by Francis Martin, who is regarded as the real founder of the French.

English Formed East India Company

The English, formed their East India Company on the last day of 1600 and entered the East India hand in hand with the Dutch. Their foes were common-the Portuguese and Catholic Spain and this brought them closer. However, familiarity breeds contempt, and soon the English realized that the Dutch were not willing to share their space in Spice Islands (East India) with them. Things became grim enough for the British to finally run away and find refuge in India. It was this success of the Dutch to hang on, with characteristic tenaciousness to the Spice Islands that finally made the British to settle on India as the second-best; because spices in India were essentially only in the south where the local rulers and other Europeans already had a monopoly. The naval supremacy of Britishers made them succeeded. In 1612, the Mughal emperor Jahangir received Sir Thomas Roe, the first ambassador of the British to Indian aristocracy. Roe’s diplomacy with the Mughals was so successful that by a treaty in 1618 the East India Company became their unspoken, unsaid, naval aide. By 1674, Bombay came to the British as part of the dowry of Charles II’s Portuguese queen Catherine, and from here they never looked back.

First War of Independence

Also called the Sepoy Muting or the Revolt of 1857. On 29 March 1857, during the vice-royalty of Lord Canning. an Indian Sepoy of the 34th regiment, Mangal Pandey, killed two British affairs en Parade at Barrackpore. The Indian Soldier’s Present on Parade refused to obey orders to arrest Mangal Pandey. However, he was latter arrested, and hanged. The news spread like wild fire to all contanments in the country and very soon a country wide Sepoy revolt broke out from Lucknow, Ambala, Bahampur and Meerut.

Important of the Revolt:

1. The revolt was mainly feudal in character carrying with it some nationalist elements.
2. The control of Indian administration was passed on the British crown by the Government of India Act 1858.
3. The army was carefully recognized to present the recruitment of such as event.

British Governor Generals and Viceroys of India

Bengal Governor General
Warren Hastings (1772-1785)

  •  Brought the Dual Government of Bengal to an end by the Regulating Act, 1773.• Deprived zamindars of their judicial powers and Civil and Criminal courts were established.

  •  Maintenance of records was made compulsory.

  •  Great patron of oriental learning, founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal with William Jones in 1784, wrote introduction to the first English translation of. ‘The Gita’ by Charles Wilkins.

  •  Impeachment Proceedins started against him when he returned on the charges of taking bribe. After a trial of 7 years, he was finally acqutted.

Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793)

  •  Did the Permanent Settlement of Bengal (also called Zamindari System).

  •  First person to codify laws. The code separated the revenue administration of from the administration justice.

  •  Police Reforms

  •  The civil service was brought into existence.

Lord Wellesley (1798-1805)

  •  Adopted the policy of Subsidiary Alliance- a system to keep the Indian rulers under control and to make the British, the paramount power.

  •  The states that accepted this policy were the Nizam of Hyderabad the Ruler of Mysore, the Raja of Tanjore, the Peshwa, Nawab of Awadh, the the Bhonsle Raja of Berar, the Scindia, the Rajputs of Jodhpur, Jaipur, etc.

Governor Generals of India

Lord William Bentinck (1828-1835)

  •  Carried out the social reforms like Prohibition of Seti (1829 and elimination of thugs (1830).,

  •  Made English the medium of higher education in the country (After the recommondation of Macaulay).

  •  Suppressed female infonticide and child sacrifice.

  •  Charter Act of 1833 was passed: made him the first Governor General of India. Before him, the designation was Governor General of Bengal.

Lord Dalhousie (1848-1856)

  •  Opened the first Indian Railway in 1853 (from Bombay to Thane).

  •  Laid out the telegraph lines in 1853 (First was from Calcutta to Agra).

  •  Introduced the Doctrine of Lapse and captured Satara (1848). Jaipur and Sambhalpur (1849). Udaipur (1862); Jhansi (1853) and Nagpur (1854).

  •  Established the postal system

  •  Made Shimla, the summer capital.

  •  Started Engineering college at Roorkee.

  •  In 1854, ‘Wood’s Dispatch’ was passed, which provided for the properly anticulated system of education from the primary school to university.

  •  Due to Ishwar Chandra Vidvasagar’s efforts, remarriage of widows was legalized by Widow Remarriage Act, 1856.

Lord Canning (1856-1862)

  •  The last Governor General and the first Viceroy.

  •  Mutiny took place in his time.

  •  On November 1858, the rule passed on to the crown.

  •  Withdrew Doctrine of Lapse.

  •  The Universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were established in 1857.

  •  Indian Councils Act was passed in 1861.

Lord Mayo (1869-1872)

  •  Started the process of financial decentralization in India

  •  Established the Rajkot College at Kathiarwar and Mayo College at Ajmer, for the Indian princes.

  •  Far the first time in Indian history, a census was held in 1871.

  •  Organized the Statistical

  •  Was the only Viceroy to be murdered in office by a Pathan convict in the Andamans in 1872.

Lord Lytton (1876-1880)

  •  Known as the Viceroy reverse characters

  •  Organized the Grand Delhi Durban’ in 1877 to decorate Queen Victoria with the title of ‘Kaiser-i-Hind’.

  •  Arms Act (1878), made ;t mandatory for Indians to acquire license for arms.

  •  Passed the infamous Vernacular Press Act 118’70.

Lord Ripon (1380-1884)

  •  Repeated the Vernacular Press Act (1882).

  •  Passed the local self-government Act (1882).

  •  Took steps too improve primary and secondary education (on William Hunter Commission’s recommendations),

  •  The Factory Act.. 1881.L aimed at prohibiting child labour.

  •  Passed the ilbert Bill (1883), which nabled Indian district magistrates to try European criminals. But this was withdrawn later, Lord Curzon (1899-1905)

  •  Passed the Indian Universities Act (1904). in which official control over the Universities was Increased.

  •  Partitioned Bengal (October 16, 1905) into two provinces:

1. Bengal (proper)
2. East Bengal and Assam.

  •  The risings of the frontier tribes in 1897-98 led him to create the North Western Frontier (NWFP).

  •  Passed the Ancient Monuments Protection Act (1904), to restore India’s culture heritage. Thus, the Archaeological Survey of India was established.

  •  Passed the Indian Coinage and Paper Currency Act (1899). and put India on a gold standard.

Lord Minto (1905-1910)

  •  There was great political unrest in India. Various acts were passed to curb the revolutionary activities, Extremists like Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh (in May. 1907) and Bal Gangadhar Tilak (in July, 1908) were sent to Mandalay jail in Burma.

  •  The Indian Council Act of 1909 or the Morley Minto Reforms was passed.

Lord Hardinge (1910-1916)

  •  Held a durbar in December, 1911, to celebrate the coronarioti of King George V.

  •  Partition of Bengal alas camel led (191 1): capital skilled from Calcutta to Delhi (1911).

  •  A bomb was thrown at him, but he escaped unhurt (December 23, 1912).

  •  Gandhiji came back to India from S. Africa (1915)

  •  Annie Besant announced the Home Rule Movement.

Lord Chelmsford (1916-1921)

  •  August Declaration of 1917, whereby control over the Indian government would be gradually transferred to the Indian people.

  •  The government of India Act in 1919 (Montague-Chelmsford reforms) was passed.

  •  Rowlatt Act of 1915; Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (April 1919).

  •  Non-cooperation Movement.

  •  A Women’s university was founded at Poona in 1916.

  •  Saddler Commission was appointed in 1917 to envisage nets educational policy.

Lord Reading (1921-1926)

  •  Suppressed non.-cooperation movement,

  •  Moplah-rebellion (1921) took place in Kent,),,

  •  Formation of Swaraj Party.

  •  Communist party was founded in 1921 by M.N. Roy.

  •  Kakory Train Robbery on August 9, 1925.

Lord Irwin (1926-1931)

  •  Simon commission visited India in 1928.

  •  Congress passed the Indian Resolution in 1929.

  •  Dandi March (March 12, 1930)­

  •  Civil Disobedience Movement (1930).

  •  First Round Table Conference held in England in 1930.

  •  Gandhi-Irwin Pact (March 5, 1931) was signed and Civil Disobedience Movement was withdrawn.

  •  Martyrdom of Jatin Das after 64 days hunger strike t 1929).

Lord Willingdon (1931-1936)

  •  Second Round Table Conference in London 1931

  •  On his return Gandhiji was again arrested and Civil Disobedience Movement was resumed in January 1932.

  •  Communal Awards (August 16, 1932) assigned seats to different religious communities. Gandhiji went on a epic fast in protest against this division.

  •  Third Round Table Conference in 1932.

  •  Poona Pact was signed.

  •  Government of India Act (1935) was passed.

Lord Linlithgow (1936-1944)

  •  Government of India Act enforced in the provinces. Congress ministries formed in 8 out of 11 provinces. They remained in power for about 2 years till October 1939, when they gave up offices on the issue of India having been dragged into the World War II. The Muslim League observed the day as ‘Deliverance. Day’ (22nd December).

  •  Churchill became the British Prime minister in May, 1949. He declared that the Atlantic Charter (issued jointly by the UK and IS, stating to give sovereign rights to those who have been forcibly deprived; of them) does not apply to India.

  •         Outbreak of World War II in 1939.

  •         Cripps Mission in 1942.

  •         Quit India Movement (August 8, 1942).

Lord Wavell (1944-1947)

  •  Cabinet Mission Plan (May 16, 1946).

  •  Election, to the constituent assembly held and an Interim Government was appointed under Nehru.

  •  First meeting of the constituent assembly was held on December 9, 1946.

Lord Mountbatten (March 1947-August 1947)

<< Go Back to Main Page


Get Daily Study Material via Email.



comments powered by Disqus