The Impeachment of Warren Hastings
The Pitt's India Act of 1784 was a rude shock and bitter disappointment for Warren Hastings. The Prime Minister's speech censuring the policy of the Government of Bengal was considered by Warren Hastings as a reflection on his personal character. His image and reputation were tarnished in England. Therefore, he resigned and left India in June 1785.
In 1787, Warren Hastings was impeached in the Parliament by Edmund Burke and the Whigs for his administrative excess. Burke brought forward 22 charges against him. The most important of them were related to the Rohilla War, the Case of Nanda Kumar, the treatment of Raja Chait Singh of Benares and the pressures on the Begums of Oudh. After a long trail which lasted till 1795, Warren Hastings was completely acquitted. He received pension from the Company and lived till 1818.
Estimate of Warren Hastings
He was a gifted personality endowed with 'strong will, great energy and resourcefulness'. His long stay in Bengal 'in the shadow of the Mughal cultural tradition' gave him, enough opportunity to learn oriental languages such as Bengali (the local language) and Persian (the diplomatic language) and to develop 'oriental tastes'. Since he considered Indian culture as a basis for sound Indian administration, he patronised the learning of Indian languages and arts. His task was a challenging one since he was surrounded by hostile forces. 'He faced his external enemies with unflinching courage and unfailing resource, and his internal opponents with extraordinary patience and firmness.' It was on the foundation which Warren Hastings laid down, that others erected a 'stately edifice'.
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