in India. British involvement in the northwest of India and Afghanistan came
largely as a response to this perceived Russian threat.
While the British and Russians never came to blows in Afghanistan, the
Anglo-Russian confrontation of the Crimean War (1854-56) reflected in part,
these British fears about India.
Each Governor-General of this time, tended to support some sort of
aggressive policy towards the states. Lord Auckland (1836-42) intervened
militarily in Afghanistan to reinstall a deposed king, under the guidance of
the Company (First Afghan War, 1838-42).
Lord Ellenborough (1842-44) annexed Sind (1843).
Henry Hardinge (1844-48) directed the First Sikh War (1845-46) which
resulted in the annexation of part of the Cis-Sutlej Punjab (1846). He also
threatened the Raja of Kashmir with deposition.
Dalhousie’s Policy of Annexation The Governor-General credited with the
maximum number of annexations was, however, Lord Dalhousie (1848-56).
Dalhousie used a variety of justifications for annexation, including his
judgment that a late ruler had lacked a legitimate heir, that a ruler was
misgoverning, or simply that the Company had a need for a particular
territory. The total area annexed during Dalhousie’s term came to some
quarter of a million square miles (680,000 square kilometres). This was
substantially more than that of any other Governor-General and totalled a
quarter of the entire annexations by the Company from its inception. Even
Dalhousie, however, did not move as far as some Directors wished, refusing
to annex Hyderabad completely or to intervene in Bahawalpur as some of
them urged him to.
Using the ‘Doctrine of Lapse’ (i.e., the Company named itself heir to all
rulers who lacked a male heir whom it recognised), he annexed Satara
(1848), Nagpur (1853) and Jhansi (1854), as well as eight other smaller
states. Following the second Sikh War (1848-49), he annexed the Trans-
Sutlej Punjab. Following the Second Burma War (1852-53), he annexed
Pegu. He annexed Awadh (1856) on the grounds of misgovernment.
Dalhousie also derecognised the dynasties and stopped the pensions of the
Peshwa of the Marathas (1851), the Nawab of Bengal (1854), the Nawab of
the Carnatic (1855), and the Raja of Tanjore (1855). He also in effect
annexed Berar from Hyderabad (1853) by administering it directly, in order