Volume: 16, No: 11 ; November-2022
As the Sangam city celebrates November 1 as the day when Prayagraj (then Allahabad) was made the nation’s capital for a day on November 1, 1858, few would know that it was in 1836 that a proposal was moved to make it the capital of the entire North-West Province the present-day Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
“After suppressing the uprising of 1857, ‘Allahabad’ became the capital for a day on November 1, 1858. The East India Company entrusted the administration of the nation in the city to the British monarchy. Meerut, Agra and Delhi were burning, so Prayagraj, which was under the British rule, was made the capital by the British to announce the transfer of power,” said former head of the department of Medieval and Modern History at Allahabad University, Prof Heramb Chaturvedi.
He added that although 22 years before this, it was in 1836 that the East India Company had planned to make Prayagraj the capital of the entire North-West Province but due to the circumstances, the move was not approved. Due to the Mughal rulers living in Delhi-Agra, the company moved to Agra with equipment.
“The British East India company wanted to have its capital in Delhi but since the place was being ruled by Mughals, the next option was to have the capital in Allahabad. This was mulled over by the company but later on they dropped the idea and chose Agra as the capital of North-West province as it was near to Delhi so it was the ideal place for the company and it remained the capital of North-West province till 1857”, explains Prof Chaturvedi.
Prof Chaturvedi said that the situation in Delhi, Agra and Meerut was very volatile because of the uprising and in such circumstances; it was not possible to read the proclamation about the transfer of power there. “At the same time, Allahabad was completely under the control of British rule. This is the reason why it was chosen as the one-day capital to read the manifesto of Queen Victoria. Viceroy Lord Canning read out the queen’s manifesto at the place where present-day Minto Park is located on the banks of the Yamuna,” he added. He further informed that with this, the rule of the Queen was established in place of the East India Company in India.
Another former HOD of the same department, Prof Yogeshwar Tiwari, said: “The Viceroy read the proclamation of Lord Canning. In its true sense, it was more an apology to the British than a transfer of power, which was done to heal the people’s anger by the company’s atrocities on Indians.”
Credits : Rajiv Mani (The Times of India)
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