First Governor-General of India: Agent of British Crown

India’s first governor-general was Lord William Bentinck. The Governor-General of India was appointed by the British government to look after the administration of India.

 First governor general of India Lord William Bentinck
Lord William Bentinck,
Source: Indianetzone.com

Though Lord Warren Hastings became the first Governor-General of Fort William in Calcutta(now Kolkata).

The post of Governor-General of India was created through the Charter Act of 1833. Earlier the name of this was Governor-General of Bengal.

So by default Lord William Bentinck became the first person to hold this post because just before the implementation of Charter Act of 1833 he was the Governor-General of Bengal

He is known for many reforms carried out by him.

  1. Abolition of Sati
  2. Introduction of English as a medium of instruction in India.
  3. Suppression of Thug
  4. Indian Education Act of 1935.

Till 1958 the administration was India was in the hand of East India Company. But after the Government of India Act 1858, the administration of India was transferred to the British Crown so Governor-General became responsible to the British Government.

The time during which he assumed the charge of Governor-General of Bengal, his main attention was to make East India Company profitable, because at this time the company was making a loss.

Lord William Bentinck took the active effort to reform the Indian society for that he made the practice of Sati illegal. He also implemented the Macaulay Reform through which he introduced English as a medium of instruction in India.

He also suppressed the Thug. The Thug(robber) was active in central India and was a reason for concern. Because they used to kill and rob the traders passing through the forest patch of central India.

He called William Henery Sleeman from Britain to suppress the Thugi because the general police administration was not able to control this menace. The nature of the operation by thug was very cruel and secretive.