Lord Rippon, Lord Lansdowne, Lord Curzon & Partition of Bengal

Lord Rippon 1880 – 1884

  • Most Popular Governor General in India known as Rippon the Good
  • Reversed the Afghan policy of Lytton & made peace with Afghanistan
  • Repealed vernacular press act of Lytton
  • Rendition of Mysore
  • Introduced local self-Government
  • Helped the growth of local bodies like the Municipal Committees in towns and the local boards in taluks and villages
  • Entrusted them with care of local amenities, sanitation, drainage and water-supply and also primary education
  • Appointed Hunter Commission in 1882 under the chairmanship of Sir William Hunter
  • For expansion and improvement of the elementary education of the masses
  • Primary education should be imparted through vernacular languages
  • Recommended transfer of control of primary education to newly set up district and municipal boards.
  • Commission suggested two channels for the secondary education
  • One was literary education leading up to the Entrance Examination of the university
  • And the other preparing the students for a vocational career
  • Drew attention to inadequate facilities for female education, especially outside presidency towns and made recommendations for its spread.


First Factory Act (1881)

  • Enacted to improve the service condition of the factory workers in India
  • Act banned the appointment of children below the age of seven in factories & reduced the working hours for children
  • Made compulsory for all dangerous machines in the factories to be properly fenced to ensure security to the workers


Ilbert Bill Controversy (1884)

  • According to law, a European could be tried only by a European Judge
  • Which Rippon thought was unjust & needless dishonor upon the Indian-born members of the judiciary
  • Hence he tried to abolish this law C P Ilbert, Law Member of his council, introduced a bill in 1883 to abolish this discrimination in judiciary
  • But Europeans opposed this Bill strongly & raised a fund of one lakh fifty thousand rupees to establish an organisation called the Defence Association
  • Britishers suggested that it was better to end the English rule in India than to allow the English to be subjected to the Indian Judges
  • The press in England joined the issue.
  • Hence, Ripon amended the bill to satisfy the English in India and England
  • The Ilbert Bill controversy helped the cause of Indian nationalism but Ripon was totally disillusioned and heartbroken and tendered his resignation and left for England
  • The immediate result of this awakening of India was the birth of the Indian National Congress in 1885, the very next year of Ripon’s departure.


Lord Dufferin (1884-1888)

  • His period witnessed the third Anglo Burmese war which led to the accession of upper Burma.
  • Three Tenancy Acts were passed to give greater security of tenure or to the tenants.
  • Formation of Indian National Congress in 1885


Lord Lansdowne 1888-1894

  • Famous for categorisation of civil services into imperial, provisional and subordinate.
  • Setting up of Durand Commission (1893) to define the Durand Line between India and Afghanistan (now between Pakistan and Afghanistan)
  • Second Indian council Act (1892) – increased the number of “additional members” in the Central Legislative Council & provincial councils


The Indian Factory Act, 1891

  • Increased the minimum age (from 7 to 9 years) and the maximum (from 12 to 14 years) for children
  • Reduced maximum working hours for children to 7 hours a day
  • Fixed maximum working hours for women at 11 hours per day with an one and- a-half hour interval
  • working hours for men were left unregulated
  • Provided weekly holiday for all.


But these laws did not apply to British-owned tea and coffee plantations where the labour was exploited ruthlessly and treated like slaves. The Government helped these planters by passing laws such as those which made it virtually impossible for a labourer to refuse to work once a contract was entered into. A breach of contract was a criminal offence, with a planter having the right to get the defaulting labourer arrested.

Lord Curzon (1899-1905)

Calcutta Corporation Act (1899)

  • Strength of the elected members was reduced and that of the official members increased
  • Curzon gave more representations to the English people as against the Indians in the Calcutta Corporation


Police Commission (1902)

  • Instituted Police Commission in 1902 under the chairmanship of Sir Andrew Frazer
  • On its recommendations set up training schools for both the officers and the constables
  • Introduced provincial police service


Indian Universities Act of 1904

  • Believed that the universities had degenerated into factories for producing political revolutionaries
  • Hence to set the educational system in order, he instituted Raleigh Commission to go through the entire university education in the country
  • On commissions recommendation Curzon brought in the Indian Universities Act of 1904
  • This brought all the universities in India under the control of the government
  • Key Provisions of Indian Universities Act of 1904 were –
  • Universities were to give more attention to study and research;
  • the number of fellows of a university and their period in office were reduced and most fellows were to be nominated by the Government;
  • Government was to have powers to veto universities senate regulations and could amend these regulations or pass regulations on its own;
  • Conditions were to be made stricter for affiliation of private colleges; and
  • five lakh rupees were to be sanctioned per annum for five years for improvement of higher education and universities.

Curzon justified greater control over universities in the name of quality and efficiency, but actually sought to restrict education and to discipline the educated towards loyalty to the Government.

Agricultural Reforms

  • Set up a Famine Commission
  • The Punjab Land Alienation Act of 1900, prohibited the sale of agricultural lands for its attachment in execution of a decree
  • Agricultural banks were established
  • In 1904, the cooperative credit societies act was passed
  • The Department of agriculture was established in 1901
  • He founded on agriculture research Institute at Pusa


Crime & Investigation

  • A Criminal Investigation Department was opened in each district
  • In 1901 the Imperial Cadet Corps was set up.


Ancient Monuments Act, 1904

  • Passed Ancient Monuments Act, 1904
  • Made it obligatory to government & local bodies to preserve monuments of archaeological importance


Sedition Act and the Official Secrets Act (1904)

  • This act was passed mainly to curtail Indian press
  • No work procedure of government can be leaked to public
  • If anyone divulges government secrets they were to be punished under this act


Partition of Bengal, 1905

  • Partition of Bengal in Western Bengal & Eastern Bengal
  • Eastern Bengal consisted of Assam with Headquarter at Dacca
  • Partition divided the Hindus & Muslims in Bengal led to the anti-partition agitation

Partition of Bengal

Partition of Bengal in 1905 provided a spark for the rise of extremism in the Indian National Movement. The official reason given for the decision was that Bengal with a population of 78 million (about a quarter of the population of British India) had become too big to be administered. This was true to some extent but Curzon’s real motives were –

  • To break the growing strength of Bengali nationalism since Bengal was the base of Indian nationalism.
  • To divide the Hindus and Muslims in Bengal.
  • To show the enormous power of the British Government in doing whatever it liked
India Yearbook English India Yearbook Hindi Economic Survey 2017

1 Comment

  1. thankyou very much to share the knowledge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>