During the time of Lord Dalhousie many small and big Kingdoms were added to the British territory.
By the policy of Doctrine of Lapse he compelled many ruling dynasties to perish in oblivion.
Doctrine of Lapse was a weapon of intelligence exercised against the weaker princes of India who lived under British supremacy.
Some of the Indian princes were loyal to the British and were good and kind towards their people. Some other princes were carelessly neglecting their duties and were rolling in luxury. Lord Dalhousie could not tolerate the existence of the native rulers within the boundaries of the British Empire.
He therefore started working on the process of annexing the territories of the Indian princes and introduced the famous Doctrine of Lapse. By the application of this policy he disallowed the Indian rajas to adopt sons and whenever he would die without a natural heir his state should be taken over by the British Government.
Any adopted son of any raja therefore should not be a raja. Under the Doctrine of Lapse Dalhousie annexed Satara, Jaitpur, Sambalpur, Bhagat, Udaipur, Jhansi and Nagpur. The Doctrine of Lapse indeed brought some of the rich and prosperous areas directly under the British.
As a political weapon it was powerful but it touched socio-religious issues of deeper significance. It also alarmed every Indian chief. No ruler felt secured that his throne would last long. Out of a feeling of discontent there sparked off a dangerous situation within the immediate future. Thus the Doctrine of Lapse was a weapon of Dalhousie’s annexationist method. He had yet another method namely annexation of territories on miscellaneous charges.
The Nizam of Hyderabad even though was a friend of the English and maintained an English army from the days of the Subsidiary Alliance. He could not make full payment towards the cost of that army. Dalhousie had no consideration and annexed Berar on account of that default.
The Nawabs of Oudh were the faithful allies of the English. Dalhousie was determined to annex Oudh on whatever ground. At last towards the close of his rule he brought serious charges against the ruling Nawab Wazid Ali that his administration had become a complete misrule. The Nawab was forced to vacate his throne and Dalhousie annexed Oudh on February 1856. This annexation of Oudh was an example of reckless imperialism.
After the Second Sikh war in 1848 Dalhousie declared by proclamation the annexation of the Punjab to the British Empire. The deposed Raja Dilip Singh was sent to England as an exile. After completing his work of expansion in the North-West Dalhousie turned his attention to the far-away eastern frontiers of the Empires.
Some years before him the English taught a war with Burma known as the First Burmese War. Since then English traders were granted many trade facilities in Burma. From the beginning the King of Burma did not treat the English well.
He considered them to be his enemies. The people of Burma also looked down upon them with contempt. By the time Dalhousie reached India the Anglo-Burmese relation was already in a breaking point. At last the British merchants of Rangoon sent a petition to the Governor General that they were being oppressed by the Burmese.
Dalhousie took up the issue immediately and sent Commoder Lambert with three battle ships to Burma to demand explanation and compensation from the king. The King Pagan of Burma did not want war and therefore accepted some of the demands.
But Lambert was not satisfied and ordered for the blockade of the port of Rangoon. The angry Burmese opened fire. Thus began the Second Anglo-Burmese War in April 1852. British army captured Prome and Pegu and thus the most fertile and prosperous areas of Burma fell into the British hands.
In December 1852 Dalhousie declared by a proclamation the annexation of Pegu or the Lower Burma area. The entire eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal came under the British administration. The Burmese War of Dalhousie is a glaring example of his necked imperialism. The posterity described Dalhousie as one of the greatest imperialists ever sent to India by England.
From Clive to Dalhousie the British administrators always remained busy for the extension and consolidation of the British Empire. Dalhousie completed the task which had its humble beginning at Plassey.