Doctrine of Lapse

Rahul and Mohit were brothers. Rahul was adopted by their parents.

One day,Their parents died suddenly in an accident.

Although they were still in deep sorrow, next day, the lawyer came with a notice.

The lawyer told them that due to absence of any will, both the brothers will be legal equal heirs to the property.

However, Mohit did not want Rahul to get equal share as he was the adopted son.

This attitude of Mohit made Rahul very upset and reminded him of famous story of Doctrine of Lapse which he studied in his school.

Let us go back to Rahul’s school days and know about Doctrine of Lapse

It was a policy formulated by British to annex the Indian states.

The Doctrine of Lapse was done under Lord Dalhousie (1848-1856)

According to the doctrine, if an Indian ruler died without a male heir his kingdom would “lapse” i.e., become a part of the company’s territory.

One kingdom after another was annexed by simply using the Doctrine of Lapse.

Rahul also remembered that how queen of Jhansi Rani Laxmibai fought against this policy.

Rani Laxmi Bai fought for her adopted child’s rightful entitlement to his father’s property”.

There is a letter written by Rani Laxmi Bai in Persian to the Lord Dalhousie.

The letter says that Laxmibai’s husband already has a suitable heir, her adopted son to which Dalhousie did not approve.

This behaviour of British, made Indians angry. They all wanted these unjust British policies to stop.

In this heated situation British annexed the last territory of India which was Awadh.

in 1856, the Company took over Awadh. This time the British had an added argument.

They said that they were entitled to take over Awadh and free people from the “misgovernance of the Nawab”.

However, the people were enraged by the humiliation that Nawab Wajid Ali Shah had to face.

Indians were enraged because, from 1757 to 1857, rarely, did the Company launched a direct military attack on any state.

This policy of British later became one of the major reasons of revolt of 1857.

Let us all revise the Doctrine of Lapse

The Doctrine of Lapse was a policy devised by Lord Dalhousie to annex Indian states without wars.

It stated that only the rightful biological male heir will succeed the throne of his father otherwise it will be the Company’s property.

Satara, Sambalpur, Nagpur, Jaitpur, Udaipur, Jhansi were the territories annexed through this policy.

Finally British annexed the last territory of India that was Awadh in 1856 and led to Revolt of 1857.

The End