Administration of East India Company

The important role in the foundation of company’s rule was credited to Robert Clive. He played a key role in administration as well militarial policies of East India Company in Indian subcontinent. So it is quite important to understand role of CLive in administarion of British Indian Empire.

Clive as the founder of the British Indian Empire

British Rule Loss of Bengal, Robert Clive
Founder of East India Company’s Empire: Robert Clive

Clive fought the Battle of Plassey & England victory in this battle prepared the background for the emergence of the British Indian Empire in time to come. Clive played important role in the victory of England in the 2nd Carnatic war. His successful seize of Arcot in 1751 turned the table against the French.

Clive signed treaty Allahabad through which the company received Dewani right of Bengal, Bihar & Orissa. This treaty had legitimated England’s conquest of Bengal. During his 2nd tenure (1765-67) as the government of Bengal. Clive initiated several steps to create an efficient administrative structure.

He established a dual government in Bengal in which the company enjoyed all power without any responsibility. In 1765, he created a society of trade to established companies monopoly over spices tobacco salt pepper, etc. In 1766, he suppressed white mutiny (mutiny of European soldiers). These successes & efforts made by Clive played an important role in the emergence of the British Empire.

Limitations of Character/Act of Clive

Clive was extent greedy, he suppressed the private trade of others but he himself indulged in his private trade. He was corrupt. Clive misused his official capacity to make personal gains. The system of dual government established by Clive resulted in the all-around degeneration of Bengal.

Subsidiary Alliance System

In the history of the establishment of British Rule in India, England used several politico-military & diplomatic measures to strengthen the foundation of their authority and to wipe out various challenges. Among these instruments, the subsidiary alliance system wars of greatest significance.

This system helped the company in countering internal as well as external challenges. It was having politico-military as well as economic dimensions.

Subsidiary alliance system by East India Company
Subsidiary alliance system by East India Company

Evolution of Subsidiary Alliance System

This system was based on the idea of supporting a friendly native rule in his wars & battle. This idea was the creation of the mind of French government duplex because he was 1st in Europe to provide military assistance to friendly Native System during a succession dispute of Hyderabad & Carnatic.

From French, the idea was adopted by English Company & gradually it evolved into a full-fledged system. The historical evolution of the Subsidiary alliance system can be divided into four phases. During the 1st phase, the company supported friendly native rulers in wars & battles. During the 2nd stage, the company started playing a bigger role in wars & battle of Native State.

In the 3rd stage, the native ruler was asked to supply money not maintain Company started fighting wars for him on its own. In the 4th stage, the native ruler asked to keep a permanent subsidiary force in his capital. The small state was asked to pay for the un-keep of force. The bigger state was asked to surrender a part of its territory yielding revolution equal to the cost of maintaining the subsidiary force.

Gradually other provisions like surrounding foreign relations & maintain an England resident in the capital of the Native System were added. It revolved into a full-fledged system under Lord Wellesley.

Provisions & Principles of Subsidiary Alliance System

A permanent subsidiary force was stationed in the capital of Native State. An England resident was to stay Native State. The native ruler was to surrender his foreign relation to the English Company.

He was not to enter into offensive or defensive alliance & was not to sign any war/peace without permission of the company. No European country wasn’t having friendly relation with Britain, was not employed without permission from the company. The company was not to interfere in an international affair of Native State. The company was to protect Native State from all kinds of threats and enemies.

Benefits to English Company

The subsidiary alliance system was torsion horse tactics. It gradually & discretely disarmed Native State. The capacity of Native State to oppose English Company was taken away & the clock of paramount was put over Native State. Once native ruler signed System Alliance, there was no way to come out of it.

Native rulers were used to becoming dependent on the mercy of the company. Only friendly Native Rulers were allowed to exist the non-friendly Native Ruler was replaced. This system enabled the company to maintain a large force without encoring any additional cost. This force could be used any time against all sorts of energy at the shortest possible notice.

Force stationed at places of greatest significance i.e. capital of Native state. The subsidiary alliance system resulted in complete degeneration in the native state. This destruction was visible in the political admin socio-cultural as well as the economic life of Native State. Through the provision of the government of India act 1858, the East India Company was taken over by the British crown, as a result of which the direct British Rule commenced in India.

Hereafter every Indian decision was taken by the British government directly. India was clearly a part of the British Indian Empire. In 1877, Queen Victoria was proclaimed as the empress of India this direct British Rule continued till 1947 when British paramount lapsed.

The policy of Ring – Fence

The 1st phase in the history of the British Rule was characterized by the policy of Ring-Fence. This phrase was coined by English scholar William Lee-Warner who analyzed the history of the evolution of the British India Empire in his book “Indian Native States”.

The Policy of RIng-fence by British East India Company
The Policy of RIng-fence by British East India Company

Beginning with the East India Company victory in the battle of Plassey in 1757, the English gradually emerged as a political power at that time they were not much more powerful Indian states that could have threatened the very existence of East India Company in India.

During the period of (1757-1813), the company used friendly Indian states to create a safety ring around its territories so that conflict with Indian states could be avoided & if any conflict takes place the support of a friendly buffer state could be ensured. In North India, Awadh was used as a buffer to keep Marathas away from Bengal. In South India, Hyderabad & Carnatic were used as buffers to keep Marathas & Mysore away.

The policy of ring-fence represented a well-calculated approach. The East India Company knew that if its territories are attacked the invader would be coming through a friendly buffer state in such a scenario the fight will take place in the territories of the buffer state & the East India Company territories remained safe in war & destruction.

The policy of ring-fence allowed East India Company to strengthen its political foundation in India it was abounded by Lord Hasting because by this time the East India Company had emerged the strongest politico-military power in India.