Vernacular Press Act The Indian Arms Act Under Lord Lytton

Vernacular Press Act and The Indian Arms Act 1878 Under Lord Lytton

After 1857 Revolt

  • After the 1857 Revolt, the responsibility of ruling India was directly assumed by the British Crown. 
  • Lord Canning became the first Viceroy of India in 1858. 
  • The Government of India Act of 1858 and the Queen’s Proclamation in the same year signify this change in the Indian administration. 
  • The Queen’s Proclamation remained the basis of the British policy in India for more than 60 years.
Vernacular Press Act Under Lytton

Lord Lytton (1876 – 1880)

  • Lord Lytton became the Viceroy of India in 1876. 
  •  He effected several administrative changes in India. They were meant only to serve the interests of Britain. 
  • Indians became dissatisfied of his measures.
  • Famine of 1876 – 1878
  • The Second Anglo Afghan War (1878-80)
  • Vernacular Press Act 1878
  • The Indian Arms Act 1878

Famine of 1876 – 1878

  • The famine of 1876-78 had resulted from the failure of two monsoons.
  • The worst affected areas were Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad, Bombay, Central India and the Punjab.
  • It took a toll of five million lives in a single year. 
  • The outbreak of cholera and fever added to the misery of the suffering population.
  • Lytton’s Government failed miserably to tackle the situation
  • Many villages were depopulated. Vast stretch of lands were left uncultivated. 
  • At that time Lord Lytton imposed Custom duty on textile goods exported to England. 
  • He also held a Durbar at Delhi in 1877 in which Queen Victoria was declared as the Empress of India. 
  • This extravagant Durbar cost millions of rupees.
  • The first Famine Commission (1878-80) under Sir Richard Strachey was appointed

The Second Anglo Afghan War (1878-80)

  • British feared the increased influence of Russia in Afghanistan. It was thought that Russia would invade India. 
  • To prevent Russian expansion, Lord Lytton decided to have a complete control over Afghanistan. 
  • So he sent the British troops to attack Afghanistan in 1878. 
  • The ruler Amir Sher Ali, fled to Russia. The British signed a treaty with the new ruler. 
  • This unnecessary war was waged when the Indian economy was in very bad shape.

Vernacular Press Act 1878

  • Indian newspapers sympathised with the grievances of the people. 
  • They wrote against Lyttons’ measures and the British rule. 
  • Therefore Lytton restricted the liberty of the Indian Press by passing the Vernacular Press Act in 1878. 
  • The vernacular newspapers and periodicals were subjected to strict censorship. 
  • This Act empowered a Magistrate to secure an undertaking from the editor.
  •  Publisher and printer of a vernacular newspaper that nothing would be published against the English Government. 
  • The equipment of the press could be seized if the offence was committed. 
  • This Act crushed the freedom of the Indian press. 
  • This created adverse public opinion against the British Government.

The Indian Arms Act 1878

  • Lytton’s Government passed the Indian Arms Act in 1878. 
  • It compelled the Indians to have licence to keep, sell or purchase arms. 
  • The offenders were to be punished both with fine and imprisonment. 
  • But the English, Anglo-Indians and government servants of certain categories were exempted from this Act. 
  • Thus most of the administrative measures of Lord Lytton were against the interests of the Indians.

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Kerala Administrative Service (KAS) Online Class Study Notes Tests | KAS Insights: Vernacular Press Act The Indian Arms Act Under Lord Lytton
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Vernacular Press Act and The Indian Arms Act 1878 Under Lord Lytton
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