Lord Dalhousie (Real name James Andrew Ramsay) served as Governor General of India from 1848 to 1856. During this period, Second Anglo-Sikh War (1849) was fought in which the Sikhs were defeated again and Dalhousie was successful in annexing the whole of Punjab to the British administration. He annexed many states by doctrine of lapse. During his tenure, first railway line between Bombay and Thane was opened in 1853 and in the same year Calcutta and Agra were connected by telegraph. His other reforms include setting up of P.W.D. and passing of the Widow Remarriage Act (1856).
The accession of Lord Dalhousieinaugurated a new chapter in the history of British India. He functioned as the Governor-General of India from 1848-1856. He belonged to an aristocratic family of Scotland. Earlier he had served as the President of the Board of Trade. He is regarded as one of the greatest Governor-General of India. His eight years rules are full of important events in every sphere.
Dalhousie introduced a new system of internal communication in India. He was the father of Indian Railways. Dalhousies’ famous Railway Minute of 1853 convinced the home authorities of the need of the railways and laid down the main lines of their development.
He envisaged a network of railways connecting the main places with the ports and providing both for strategically needs and commercial development. The first railway line connecting Bombay with Thane was laid down in 1853. It covered a distance of twenty-six miles.
The following year a railway line was constructed from Calcutta to Raniganj coal-fields. Gradually all important cities and towns were linked up with railway lines. The railway lines were not built out of the Indian Exchequer but by private English Companies under a system of “Government Guarantee”. Besides facilitating trade and commerce, minimizing distances the railways have gone a long way in uniting India.