Saturday, 11 January 2020

Queen Victoria declared the Empress of India - January 1877!!

"Jan. 1877. Empress of India"Queen Victoria. en.wikipedia.org
A great event took place in January 1877 roughly 143 years ago  in the British Parliament that changed the British India history. In the 1900s, the  unjust colonial rule culminated in India's freedom in August 1947. Earlier India suffered a lot under the proxy rule of  East India Company  that took away many kingdoms and rendered many rulers landless and powerless.  Using tricky stratagems such as the subsidiary alliance and doctrine of lapse, the company knocked many rich rulers off the pedestal and took away the lands and vast revenue. They also murdered/ massacred  countless innocent people  and those who raised their voice against them had to face the gallows. At stake were the religious freedom, Indian culture   and Indian natural resources. Racial discrimination ruled the roost.  Indeed,  the rigorous freedom struggle against the colonial oppression took a serious course and gripped the central and  northern states.   It became violent and hell-bent in places like Lucknow, Delhi, Awadh and Kanpur. The soldiers in the British army became freedom  fighters along with common people and others, fully supported by many rulers and land owners.
1957 great Indian rebellion. .slideshare.net
1957 great Indian rebellion. .slideshare.net

first war oh inpedendence 1857. bollykiwood.blogspot.com
Above images: The Indian Rebellion of 1857:: It was a major political upheaval against the East India company's unbearable atrocities on Indian natives, and this long- drawn struggle  dominated the central and  northern states and finally in 1958 came under the control. The English company had been  a sovereign power on behalf of the British Crown when the took away Bengal province from the ruler in the 18th century. The rebellion began on 10 May 1857  as a small protest in the Company's army in the garrison town of Meerut town close to Delhi (now Old Delhi). It then  snowballed into big rebellion  mainly in the upper Gangetic plain and central India,  Finally, it was contained  with the rebels' defeat in Gwalior on 20 June 1858.  Natives in ten of thousands thousand  were killed by the British army. The rebels also killed a 100 plus British soldiers and others.   Though on 1 November 1858, the British granted amnesty to all rebels not involved in murder,  hostilities  came to an end  only on 8 July 1859.  The Great Rebellion  often referred to as  the Sepoy Mutiny and  the First War of Independence impacted the continuation of company's rule in India.
The final spark was  triggered  by the ammunition for the new model Enfield P-53 rifles that  fired Minié balls. They  had a tighter fit than the earlier muskets, and used paper cartridges that came pre-greased. To load the rifle, Indian soldier had to bite the cartridge open to release the powder.  The grease on these cartridges was said  to include tallow derived from beef, which would be offensive to Hindus, and pork, which would be offensive to Muslims.  The refusal by the native soldiers provoked the British military officers that caused a huge 
protest. The other causes added fuel to the fire. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Rebellion. ....................................... 
When the first war of independence in 1857 that began in Meerut, MP,  that  caused a severe headache to the British because of EIC's misrule  and land-grabbing binge, was finally suppressed the British East India Company, which had ruled much of India, was dissolved. India became part of the British Empire, a huge source of income  went directly  to the British treasury and India Govt.'d coffers were  almost empty.  

In 1877, Benjamin Disraeli, Conservative Prime Minister, had Queen Victoria proclaimed as Empress of India and the purpose was to link the monarchy  to become closer with the Indian subcontinent. The Queen  took a balanced view of the conflict, and  spoke against the atrocities on both sides.  She wrote of "her feelings of horror and regret at the result of this bloody civil war", and insisted, urged on by Albert, that an official proclamation announcing the transfer of power from the company to the state "should breathe feelings of generosity, benevolence and religious toleration".  The Indian natives were assured of, at her personal request,  safeguarding native religions and customs"  and guaranteeing religious freedom.
first  Earl of Lytton.,viceroy of British India 1877
When the  Royal Titles Bill was brought before Parliament in 1876, it faced opposition from Liberals who feared that the title was synonymous with absolutism. At that time Queen Victoria appeared before  Parliament in person for the first time after the death of  Prince Albert, to announce the change in royal title.  This change of head in the royal family  was celebrated  Delhi by the British officials  which was dubbed as  the Delhi Durbar. On 1 January 1877, the celebration was headed by  none other than  Viceroy, the first  Earl of Lytton.  It was attended by others -Maharajahs,  Nawabs and intellectuals.  It was the  official  transfer of control of British India from the EIC to the Crown administration.
The Delhi Durbar of 1877, Viceroy of India is seated on the dais to the left wikipedia.
In the 1874 general election, Disraeli was returned to power. The passage of the Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 removed Catholic rituals from the Anglican liturgy.  Victoria herself  preferred short, simple services' he wanted to be more aligned with the Presbyterian Church of Scotland than the episcopal Church of England.  It was Disraeli  who also pushed the Royal Titles Act 1876 through Parliament, so that Victoria took the title "Empress of India" from 1 May 1876. The new title was proclaimed at the Delhi Durbar of 1 January 1877.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Victoria