What was Subsidiary Alliance and Doctrine of Lapse. Give examples also

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Title: An Insight into Subsidiary Alliance and Doctrine of Lapse for UPSC Aspirants

The study of Modern Indian history forms a critical part of the Civil Services Exam syllabus. Among the many policies and concepts, two significant ones that often catch the attention of UPSC aspirants include the Subsidiary Alliance and the Doctrine of Lapse. Balancing a detailed understanding of these colonial strategies will significantly aid in achieving utmost precision when answering related questions. This article aims to elucidate these concepts with historical examples.

Subsidiary Alliance

Introduced by Lord Wellesley, the then Governor-General of India (1798-1805), the Subsidiary Alliance became a significant part of the British East India Company’s expansion policy. Under this arrangement, Indian Princely States were forced to keep British troops within their boundaries, which were maintained at the state’s expense. By implementing this, the East India Company cleverly sought to impose control and diminish French influence.

The implications of joining a Subsidiary Alliance were far-reaching. The Indian state agreed to have no foreign affiliations without prior British consent along with accepting British residents in their court. In return, the British promised non-interference in internal state matters and protection from external attacks.

The state of Hyderabad in 1798 was the first to be brought under the Subsidiary Alliance. Later, it was implemented in several princely states, including Awadh, Tanjore, Peshwa, Bhonsle, and Scindia.

Doctrine of Lapse

Another important tool of colonial expansion was the Doctrine of Lapse introduced by Lord Dalhousie, who served as the Governor-General from 1848 to 1856. According to this policy, any Indian Princely State under the direct control of the East India Company would automatically be annexed if the ruler died without a male heir or was incompetent. The successor could only be acknowledged if approved by the British authorities.

The central motive of this policy was the annexation of territories, increasing British revenue, and furthering the spreading of Christianity and Western education. The implementation of this policy led to widespread discontent, significantly contributing to the Revolt of 1857.

The states affected by the Doctrine of Lapse included Satara in 1848, Jaitpur and Sambalpur in 1849, Nagpur in 1853, and Jhansi and Oudh in 1856.

In conclusion, the Subsidiary Alliance and Doctrine of Lapse both played instrumental roles in assisting the British to strengthen their hold over the subcontinent. These strategies helped them maintain authority and grow their territory by using political cunning rather than plain military aggression. Understanding these historical manipulations will undoubtedly enhance the ability of a UPSC aspirant to respond to related queries accurately and confidently.

Prince Luthra (UPSC CSE AIR 577)

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