This article gives a brief summary for quick revision of the chapter "Advent of the Europeans into India" which is the first chapter of the History textbook (Social Science) of Class 9 under the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA).
Introduction to the chapter Advent of the Europeans into India: India has had extensive trade relations with Europe, both maritime and overland, since time immemorial. The old trade routes were closed in the seventh century when the Arabs conquered many countries and monopolised the majority of Indian trade.
- European nations saw the need for an alternate route to India that would be safe from Turkish attack.
- In 1487A.D., the Portuguese Bartolomeu Diaz reached the Cape of Good Hope, which is located in the southernmost corner of South Africa. After ten years, another sailor, Vasco-da Gama, arrived in India's Calicut port, which triggered the advent of the Europeans into India.
The advent of the Europeans and English into India
The advent of the Europeans into India was foreshadowed when Francis Drake, an English sailor, circumnavigated the globe in 1580 A.D. Another English sailor, Ralph Fitch, travelled to India and Burma in 1952 and brought honour to his country.
- The English merchants, like the Portuguese merchants, wanted to focus on trade with India. For the first time, in 1599 A.D., a sailor named John Mildenhall arrived in India with a petition letter from Elizabeth, Queen of England, and obtained certain trade privileges from Mughal Emperor Akbar.
- Through an English merchant Captain William Hawkins, the English King James I sent a petition to the Mughals in 1608 A.D. to trade with India.
- Captain Hawkins attempted to gain trade concessions from the Mughal Emperor. Captain Hawkins' request for a trade contract was rejected by Emperor Jahangir.
- In 1615, King James I of England dispatched another Englishman, Sir Thomas Roe, to meet the Emperor at Ajmer. Despite the fact that Thomas Roe was unable to sign any trade contracts, he granted permission to English merchants to establish factories in Surat.
- An English delegation led by John Surman met M Sikh Emperor Farukhsiyar in 1715.
- The chapter "Advent of the Europeans into India" mentions that the Emperor was cured of a painful disease by an English surgeon named William Hamilton. As a reward for this medical service, the company received three imperial 'firmans' from the emperor, granting the company duty-free trade in Bengal.
- Robert Clive mastered the art of diplomacy in order to establish a colonial empire in India in a relatively short period of time. Clive devised the plan of expelling other European companies from India in order to win over the native kings to his side, either through war or friendship.
- The Nawab of Bengal, the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Nawab of Oudh, the Kings of Rajputana, and others made friends with the Company and had to relinquish their authority.
- The East India Company gradually built up a colony of British imperialism throughout India from the governorship of Robert Clive to the period of Governor Generalship of Lord Dalhousie (1848-56)
- The long period of British subservience in India can be divided into two parts, according to the chapter "Advent of the Europeans into India".
- The first spans the period from the fall of the Mughal Empire to the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, while the second spans the period from 1858 to 1947 when power was transferred to Indians.
The company's policy
The second administration of Robert Clive (1765-67) was a watershed moment in the Company's rule in India. The British East India Company was legally recognised as the ruling power at the time. Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras were designated as the Company's primary administrative centres. The chief administrators of these facilities had conferred the title of 'Presidency'.
- The Acts of 1833 strengthened the central administration of India, as mentioned in the chapter "Advent of the Europeans into India".
- The Pitt's India Act of 1784 established two levels of administration in India, with the Company ruling through a board of directors and the British Home Government running the lower level.
- The Act of 1773 made the governor of Bengal the "Governor General," with the governors of Bombay and Madras reporting to him.
- From 1857 to 1859, the Indian Mutiny, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny or the First War of Independence, was a widespread but ultimately unsuccessful rebellion against British rule in India.
- It began with Indian troops (sepoys) serving for the British East India Company in Meerut and spread to Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, and Lucknow.
- Following the Sepoy Mutiny, direct rule by the British Government instilled in the Indians a sense of unity. The idea that "we are Indian people" arose in the minds of people of various races, castes, and communities.
- In contrast to the Indians' sense of unity, the English rulers implemented the main policy of Divide and Rule.
The Queen of England exercises direct rule
Following the Mutiny, Indians were barred from participating in the new administration, which was based on the Government of India Act (1858). There was no provision for the establishment of any sort of representative institutions or Councils.
- The formation of Legislative Assemblies was mandated by the Indian Councils Act of 1861. (Councils)
- The Provincial Administration Act of 1861 aimed to strengthen state governments. It delegated all legal authority to the Governor-General of Bengal.
- Despite its flaws, the Act was memorable because it marked the beginning of the representative institution and legislation in India's constitutional history.
- The Act mandated the formation of Legislative Councils in Bengal Province, the North-West Frontier Province, and Punjab.
- However, the same Act gave the Governor of Bengal unlimited powers. As a result, the legal powers of the Provincial Governments were greatly reduced.
Lord Ripon advocated for local self-government with specific goals in mind. He preferred a change in local self-government that, in addition to increasing administrative efficiency, would allow for the use of local self-government as a medium of political education.
- Lord Ripon directed that these resolutions on local self-government be implemented throughout India. Local Boards were established at the district level in some provinces and at the sub-division level in others.
- Many of Lord Ripon's important proposals on local self-government were rejected by the Secretary of State. The English government, in particular, was not in favour of the proposal.
Indianisation of Civil Services
Civil Service positions in India were only filled by Englishmen during the East India Company's rule.
- Following the transfer of power in India to the British Government, educated Indians advocated for the recruitment of natives in Civil Service positions. Observing such a proclivity in the minds of educated Indians, provisions were made to employ Indians in Civil Services as early as the 1870s.
- Since its inception, the Indian National Congress has advocated for the Civil Service Examinations to be held simultaneously in both England and India.
- Although the British Parliament passed a resolution on June 2, 1893, to hold Civil Service Examinations simultaneously in England and India, it did not carry it out due to an unfriendly environment and atmosphere.
- After gaining independence, India abolished the old system of civil service recruitment. Union Public Service Commissions have been established, as have State Public Service Commissions at the state level.