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Monday, March 1, 2021

Warren Hastings to Donald Trump : impeachment and acquittal !!

Lot of History for understanding Current affairs !!

The Battle of Buxar was fought in Oct 1764, between the forces under the command of the British East India Company, led by Hector Munro, and the combined armies of Mir Qasim, Nawab of Bengal; the Nawab of Awadh Shuja-ud-Daula; and the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II accompanied by Raja Balwant Singh of Kashi. The battle was fought at Buxar, a "small fortified town" within the territory of Bihar, located on the banks of the Ganga river.  It was a decisive victory for the British East India Company. The war was brought to an end by the Treaty of Allahabad in 1765.

In Schools, for sure, we read British History and the Governors.  The Governor-General of India (1773-1950, from 1858 to 1947 the Viceroy and Governor-General of India, was the representative of the monarch of the United Kingdom and after Indian independence in 1947.  The office was created in 1773, with the title of Governor-general of the Presidency of Fort William. The officer had direct control only over Fort William, but supervised other East India Company officials in India. Complete authority over all of India was granted in 1833, and the official came to be known as the "governor-general of India". In 1858, as a consequence of the Indian Rebellion the previous year, the territories and assets of the East India Company came under the direct control of the British Crown.  

Hastings arrived in Madras shortly after the end of the First Anglo-Mysore War of 1767–1769, during which the forces of Hyder Ali had threatened the capture of the city. The Treaty of Madras (4 April 1769) which ended the war failed to settle the dispute and three further Anglo-Mysore Wars followed (1780–1799). During his time at Madras Hastings initiated reforms of trading practices which cut out the use of middlemen and benefited both the Company and the Indian labourers, but otherwise the period was relatively uneventful for him.   In 1771 he was appointed to be Governor of Calcutta, the most important of the Presidencies.   Hastings became the choice to be the first Governor General. While Governor, Hastings launched a major crackdown on bandits operating in Bengal, which proved largely successful. He also faced the severe Bengal Famine, which resulted in between two and ten million deaths.

Warren Hastings FRS (1732 – 1818), an English statesman, was the first Governor of the Presidency of Fort William (Bengal), the head of the Supreme Council of Bengal, and thereby the first de facto Governor-General of Bengal from 1772 to 1785. He is credited along with Robert Clive for laying the foundation of the British Empire in India.   In 1787, he was accused of corruption and impeached, but after a long trial he was acquitted in 1795. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1814.  

The impeachment of Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of Bengal, was attempted between 1787 and 1795 in the Parliament of Great Britain. Hastings was accused of misconduct during his time in Calcutta, particularly relating to mismanagement and personal corruption. The impeachment prosecution was led by Edmund Burke and became a wider debate about the role of the East India Company and the expanding empire in India. The trial became a debate between two radically opposed visions of empire—one represented by Hastings, based on ideas of absolute power and conquest in pursuit of the exclusive national interests of the colonizer, versus one represented by Burke, of sovereignty based on a recognition of the rights of the colonized. The trial did not sit continuously and the case dragged on for seven years. When the eventual verdict was given Hastings was overwhelmingly acquitted.  

Now to the present, the first day of former US president Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate revolved around the constitutionality of the case before the Upper chamber voted 56-44 in favour of the trial. House impeachment managers made their case for an impeachment trial, rejecting the argument of Trump’s defence team that a president cannot be tried after he or she has left the office.   Trump, 74, is accused of inciting the January 6 Capitol Hill riots, threatening democracy in the country. The incident left five people dead, including a police official.

Warren Hastings, the former governor-general of the British colony of Bengal, was at the centre of the argument by prosecutors while debating the constitutionality of impeachment trial. The lead House impeachment manager, Representative Jamie Raskin, highlighted that the framers of the American Constitution borrowed the idea of this institution from Britain. Allegations of corruption and misconduct were rampant during Hastings’ term in Bengal and after he returned to England, the former official was impeached by British House of Commons over mismanagement and corruption.   Raskin said that every single impeachment of a British government official that occurred during the lifetime of the framers of the Constitution concerned a former official.  The lead House impeachment manager argued that Hastings’ case played a key role in the adoption of “the high crimes and misdemeanours standard” since it was the only specific impeachment case discussed at the convention. He further stated that not a single framer raised a concern when Hastings impeachment was held up as a model for writing the American Constitution.

Hastings was financially ruined by the impeachment and was left with debts of £70,000.  Unlike many other Indian officials he had not amassed a large fortune while in India and he had to fund his legal defence, which had cost an estimated £71,000, out of his own funds.  Hastings appealed to the British government for financial assistance and was eventually compensated by the East India Company with a loan of £50,000 and a pension of £4,000 a year.    

President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial took a dramatic turn Saturday morning when House managers moved to call GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler for testimony about her stunning claims about what Trump said his supporters were ransacking the Capitol. The move prevailed on a procedural vote – with five Republicans voting to hear from the Republican lawmakers.  The move immediately threw the trial's schedule into doubt, with some lawmakers predicting it would wrap up Saturday.  

Finally, United States Senate acquitted former president Donald J Trump on the charges of inciting the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Following four days of the impeachment trial, the 100-member Senate voted to impeach Trump by 57-43 votes, 10 votes short of the two-thirds needed for conviction.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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