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Lord William Bentinck was the governor general in India from 1828 to 1835. He had worked for 7 years which was a period of great reforms in the administrative, judicial, educational and social sector. He was a firm believer of a peaceful atmosphere.
According to him ‘’Welfare of the state is based on the welfare of the people under the rule’’.
He was a capable and intelligent administrator who had taken several steps to introduce reforms for the Welfare of the people. He was able to draw proper attention to certain evil practices that were existing in Indian society for many years and nobody was willing to take any strict action against it. Some of the major social reforms introduced by him are mentioned below:
A) ABOLITION OF SATI: Sati was a cruel practice being practised in certain parts of the country. According to this system of the widow had to burn herself alive on the funeral pyre of her deceased husband. Initially, it began as a voluntary act. But later this became of force 1 by the relative and the acquaintances. Lord William Bentinck was against this practice. He introduced the Sati prohibition act in 1929 and declared this practice as an illegal offence. According to this law, anyone who forced a woman to perform Sati would be given capital punishment. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was another famous social reformer who had equal responsibility in the introduction of this act.
B) ABOLITION OF FEMALE INFANTICIDE: Another cruel practice that was existing in the Indian society was the killing of the newborn children. In some cases, it was considered a way to please God. In certain cultures, it was just an evil practice. This was particularly for the female child as she was considered an economic burden upon the family. This was particularly in Rajasthan and some parts of Western and Central India. Lord William Bentinck abolished this practice and said that anyone who would be found performing such act would be considered a murderer.
C) SUPPRESSION OF THUGS: Thugs were a gang of robbers in central India. They robbed and killed the travellers. Lord William Bentinck wanted to end this. He set up a new department under Major Sleeman. The Thugs were caught and either punished severely or killed. Their children were put to reformation programs and to industrial schools to learn useful crafts.
He had also introduced certain educational reforms.
A) Lord William Bentinck had introduced English as the main language of instruction.
B) He encouraged the Christian Missionary to establish schools and colleges in the country.
C) The Western system of education was spreading among the middle and upper-class Indians due to him.
Lord William Bentinck has always believed in the welfare of the people. According to him, the progress of the country can be achieved at a faster pace by ensuring the benefits of this progress to the common man. Thus he had said ‘’Welfare of the state is based on the welfare of the people under the rule’’.
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