The New India

The end of the mutiny saw a series of measures designed to prevent its recurrence. Lord Canning, on whom the storm had burst, stayed on to carry out the first of these, and they were completed by his two successors. We may first summarize these briefly and then consider the deeper implications of the upheaval.

The first problem was to deal with the cries for vengeance which rose from panic-stricken commercials in Calcutta and soldiers and officials up-country, distraught by hardship and harrowing experience. Executions were summary and wholesale; the whole population of Delhi, mostly innocent victims of mutineer violence and cupidity, was turned out of the city to fend for itself. There were demands for the demolition of Shah Jahan's great mosque in Delhi as a retributory act. Canning, who earned the derisory title of "Clemency" in the process, with the help of the rugged John Lawrence and later powerful support from Britain, restrained this movement and restored the north to something like normality by the end of 1859. (The south, it should be noted, true to traditional pattern, had hardly been affected by the revolution in the north.) It was a task requiring courage and resolution, for the leaders had to work through agents many of whom were themselves infected with these feelings and themselves the victims of tragic personal loss.

We can now pass to specific measures. The East India Company was deprived of its governing powers in 1858, which were assumed by the Crown. It had long been little more than an administrative corporation working under government direction, and had even lost its right of patronage when entry to the services was thrown open to competition in 1853. The directors lingered on as a sort of political appendix in the form of an advisory body called the Council of India. Control in London was now exercised by a secretary of state for India, responsible


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India: A Modern History
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