What were the immediate changes introduced by the British following the suppression of the Great Revolt of 1857? Mention a few administrative changes.
The year 1858 marks a new phase in the history of British rule in India. Even before the suppression of the great uprising, British Parliament by an act ended the rule of the East India Company on 2 August 1858 and transferred power to the British Crown. The authority of the British Government was now exercised by a British Minister, called the Secretary of State for India. Improvements in communication made it possible for him to control from London every detail of administration in India. The colonial administration in India was headed by the Governor General, who also became viceroy by the Queen’s proclamation on 1 November, 1858 with the Executive Council and the Imperial Legislative Council performing advisory functions. The Princely States were assured of their continued existence and became loyal allies of the British. They were completely subordinated and were preserved as a bulwark of the Empire. In a darbar held at Delhi in 1877 Queen Victoria was proclaimed the Empress of India. The zamindars and landlords, their position, secured, also supported the colonial rule. Towards the educated and other sections of Indians, the British attitude was hostile and marked by a racial arrogance. This became clear by the Vernacular Press Act and the controversy over the Ilbert Bill. The strength of the army and of its British component were increased to secure the British rule in India and for colonial expansion. The vast army was maintained by Indian resources besides dividing the country into British India and princely States, the policy of divide-and rule fostered communal hatred by favouring the Hindus and Muslims by turns and by calling the people of different regions `martial’ and `non martial’ races. The colonial exploitation of the country was intensified and the pattern of agriculture was changed to suit the requirements of the British industry. The private British investments in Railways, necessary to open the hinterland to the ports, and in plantations and industries, brought in a new element of exploitation. The growth of Indian Industries was hampered by a deliberate policy. For the people of India the British rule after 1857 was one of increasing misery. Between 1857 and 1900, about 30 million Indians perished in famines.