Warren Hastings (1772 – 85): The first Governor-General of India

Warren Hastings, the experienced worker of East India Company who had joined the company in 1750 as a Clerk took 23 years to reach the top post of the time. Prior to that, he had served as a Resident of the East India Company in Murshidabad.

In 1761, he was in the British Council of Calcutta, so was well versed with the affairs of India. He had also served as the member of British Council of Madras.

In 1773, he was appointed the Governor General of Fort Williams, commonly called as Governor General of India.

Warren Hastings came to Calcutta in 1772 as Governor of the Bengal Presidency and the regulating act was passed after his arrival. When he left in 1785, the whole course and character of the British Indian History was bearing his impression and his name.

The first thing Warren Hastings did was to end the Dual System put forth by his predecessor Clive. When he abolished the system, he cut down the Nawab of Bengal’s Pension to one-half. Next step he took was to stop the payments of Tributes to the Delhi Emperor. This was because, the emperor was only a name, and his territories were sacked by Marathas. He said that since the Mughal was now not independent, paying tribute to Mughal would be like paying to the Marathas.

The next step Warren Hastings did was to shift the Treasury from Murshidabad to Calcutta, thus making it safe in a fortified place. By these measures which were purely of financial nature, he was able to better the financial position of the company.

He also compelled Raja Chait Singh of Banaras and Beghum of the Nawab to pay contributions. Chait Singh rebelled but was crushed and his nephew was placed at
Raja for an increased ransom.