Arrival of Lord Northbrook 1872

Between 1872 and 1876, India’s Viceroy was Lord Northbrook. The important events during his reign were deposition of Gaikwad of Baroda in 1875, visit of Prince of Wales, Famine in Bihar and Kuka Movement in Punjab.

Deposition of Gaekwad of Baroda 1875

Till 1870, Baroda was under the popular Raja Khanderao Gaekwad. After his death, he was supposed to be succeeded by Malharrao, his brother as he had no male heirs. But this man was a foolish and lavish spender and a gross tyrant. So, the paramount British came in action and by the orders of Lord Salisbury, he was deposed in 1875 and was exiled to Madras. Later he died in obscurity in 1882. This was one illustration of the use of paramount power in instances to punish acts of excessive or criminal misconduct committed by a chief or his ministers.

Kuka Movement 1872

The Namdhari or Kuka movement was founded by either Balak Singh or Bhagat Jawar {Jawahar} on the basis of saying only God’s name {nam} and forsaking all religious rituals in saying God’s name. While reciting the name of God, they often developed emotions, screamed and shouted, took turbans in their hands and hair streaming in the air hence called ‘Kukas’ or the shouters. This kind of behaviour was found in Muslim Dervishes also.

This movement got politicized under Baba Ram Singh. He and his followers became passionate protectors of cattle and resented the Muslims {who killed cows} and British {who allowed the cows to be killed}. A group of his followers killed four Muslim butchers in Amritsar in 1870. Due  to this, four Kukas were hanged and two others were exiled.

In 1872, there was a bigger uprising in which Kukas while returning from the Maghi festival attacked a Muslim community and killed some of them. The government took stringent action. Of the 68 Kukas caught, 50 were blown with guns same day without any legal formality, and 17 on next day. Baba Ram Singh was charged with abetting the crime and was taken to Rangoon where he died in 1885.

This movement received only limited support from mainstream Sikhs who were loyal to British.

Prince of Wales Visit to India 1876

The Prince of Wales, eldest son of Queen Victoria visited India in 1876 with a large suite. He arrived in Bombay and then travelled to Madras, Ceylon and finally Calcutta. The intent of this visit was to inspire the local princes’ loyalty to the British Empress and affirm their central role in the maintenance of the empire. Wherever he went, he was showered with valuable gifts by the “loyal” Indian feudatories. He collected so much in 6 months that one of the ships was filled with the jewels, paintings, antique weapons, live animals, embroideries brocades and all kinds of contemporary art works. He returned and the gifts went on an exhibition in England for 6 months. In return the Prince of Wales gave Indian Princes a copy of Rig-veda translated by Max Muller.

Orissa Famine of 1872

India was attacked by two great famines during the times of Lord Northbrook. One was the Bihar famine of 1873–74. Surprisingly, in this famine the British Government resorted to an extensive relief effort, organized by the Bengal government, so there was no casualty in this famine. But soon after, the 1876–78 saw another Great Famine in Southern India during Lord Lytton’s times.  This famine affected Madras and Bombay, Mysore and Hyderabad. 10 million people perished and no number was recorded for the princely states.

Indian Meteorological Department 1875

IMD was established at Kolkata on 15 January 1875. After that it was shifted to Shimla, then Pune and Finally New Delhi.

Abolition of Income tax

The income tax imposed since times of Lord Canning had become quite unpopular and was abolished by Lord Northbrook.


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