Lord Dalhousie ruled India as the Governor-General from 1848 to 1856. He made his time remarkable by the introduction of the railways, the telegraphs and the modern Postal System.
During the first half of the 19th century, epoch-making scientific changes were taking Place in Europe. By the introduction of the railways, the telegraph, and the modern postal system, the Western society gained great benefits. Since India was being ruled by England, it was natural that European Modernism should influence the Indian Empire sooner or later. There British capitalists and industrialists thought of constructing railway in India for commercial purpose. They wanted to carry raw materials from the interior to the sea-ports by railways. The British rulers thought of military advantages of the railways and the telegraph. Thus from commercial and military considerations, Western modes of communications were considered necessary in India. Whatever be their motive, the introduction of modern communication became inevitable. Indirectly, India was destined to benefit from that.
By mid-nineteenth century, the Government was forced by circumstances to initiate a wider educational policy. Education of the masses of people in their own languages became the need of the time. Similarly, some of the social reforms were considered essential. Such reform measures proved beneficial to the people.
For various such reasons, the time of Dalhousie became a time of transition. The Governor-General gave a bold direction towards that newness. The authorities at home had enough regard for Dalhousie. They permitted him to work as he desired. Since Dalhousie believed in hard work, and could give a rigorous leadership to his administration, he succeeded in achieving his objects. His time, therefore, was full of activities. In political, administrative, social, economic and educational spheres, Dalhousie’s administration achieved notable results.
Reforms of Lord Dalhousie –
The faults of Dalhousie as an imperialist are counter-balanced by his achievements as a reformer. His attempts to modernize India are praiseworthy. Though no alien empire can remain permanent, yet some of its legacies become lasting. Some such permanent legacies were left by Lord Dalhousie. Of course, being a foreigner, he thought primarily of the interests of his country while working in India. But, in course of time, those very works became boons for this land. The railways, the telegraph and the modern post were three of his monumental contributions for which Dalhousie is remembered. In the field of education, too, he brought noteworthy changes. He had interest also for reform and welfare activities. Below is given a brief description of the chief reform measures of Lord Dalhousie.