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During the colonial rule in India under the corrupt English company prior to 1957, with some exceptions, many of the British higher-ups never paid importance to the sentiments of the Indian natives. They never realized the first and foremost step was to take the natives into confidence and run the administration effectively by striking a balance between efficient administration and satisfaction of the natives. Instead, the arrogant administrators never paid any attention to the sensitivity of the people, in particular,, in religious matter. So, the Indians lost the trust in them and this frustration led to a big rebellion against the military officials. When the British were losing ground and the rebellion had begun to take an upper hand, one British administrator patiently suppressed the bloody uprising and, in the aftermath, earned the respect of Indians because he never behaved like a vigilante. He never took revenge on the rebels who gave serious trouble to the British. Instead he introduced reforms to justify the cause of the Indian natives, giving serious considerations to their aspirations. By doing so, he touched the heart of the Indian natives and got a name for himself. Earl Canning was the man who put the British India back on the saddle and restored their name after the worst internal crisis.
Charles John Canning (1812 –1862) was an English statesman and third son of George Canning. Educated at Putney, Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, he became a successor to the peerage conferred on his mother; he took his seat as Viscount Canning in the House of Lords (1837). His foresight, excellent administrative skill, capacity for hard work and ability to take quick, but effective decision-making helped him get better positions of power in the hierarchy of British administration. He became Governor-General of India from 1856 till 1868 and during his tenure, the worst rebellion in the British Empire took place in 1857. The Sepoy Mutiny that lasted long shook the very basic foundation of the British power in India as the oppressive and dishonest rule by the East India company earned the resentment of the people. Natives despised the English company and the arrogant officials.
During the tough and tumultuous Indian rebellion, Canning carried on the Indian empire safely through the explosive situation with skill and tactics. The outbreak of the Sepoy Revolt of 1857 had an impact on the british Empire. His sagacity and fortitude became visible when dealing with enormous difficulties arising at the close of such a war. Canning, with difficulties, put down the rebellion. The Parliamentary Act of 1858 followed this great historical event. By the Proclamation of the Queen, the East India Company's rule ended and the Crown of England took over the government of India. Canning became the first viceroy of India.
|Gov. Gen. of India Charles Canning Wikipedia|
Though Canning punished those who had taken part in the uprising, being a shrewd administrator, he ruled out indiscriminate vengeance on the Indians as far as possible. His idea was to earn the trust of Indian people after this debacle caused by the English company. So he asked his officials to
go easy on the rebels in custody and thus earned the title ofClemency Canning" for his good efforts. When the rebellion was on in Oudh (now part of UP), he handled the sensitive region with skill. Both Houses of Parliament appreciated his toil and skillful handling of a delicate situation. He restored law and order in an effective way and introduced a new system of administration. He introduced a more liberal policy and a sounder financial system, and left the people more contented than they were before
His reforms included reorganization of Indian Army, introduction of Income tax to improve the financial position, introduction of the Bengal Rent Act in 1859 to safeguard tenets' security, encouragement of formation of tea and coffee plantations, Commission of inquiry to protect the peasants against exploitation by the European Indigo planters, etc. Among his reforms, the most important one is in the area of education, giving due importance to Charles Wood's recommendations on education made in 1854. This led to the founding of three universities Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in 1857. During his tenure, the Indian Penal Code framed by Lord Metcalfe, was introduced and the Criminal Procedure Code appeared in 1861.
His sustained hard and stressful work besides tough Indian hot climatic condition took a toll on his health.
Canning retired and left India on 18 March 1862 in bad health. Soon he was elevated to the status of Earl and was referred to as Earl Canning in 1859.
After a long and productive official life Earl Canning
died on 17 June 1862 and was buried in West Ministers Abbey in London.