Hasting Road is named after Warren Hastings (1732-1818) Governor-General of British India. Hastings Road is off Dalhousine Lane next to the Tekka Mall. Hastings never saw his parents; his mother died soon after his birth and his father left him in the care of his sister and others. He began his career in the (English) East India Company (EIC) at the age of 24 in the lower grade as a writer earning 5 pounds per month plus 20 rupees per month for boarding and laundry.

Hastings rose step by step in India, first as a clerk in Calcutta, Bengal in 1756 and later as head of the factory (trading station) at Kosimbazar. He joined Robert Clive who was 7 years older than Hastings; he participated as a volunteer in an attack in Calcutta. Later, became an assistant in the Zamindar’s office.

In February 1761, Hastings was appointed as an assistant to the President of the Council. Later, was nominated to the council it self. In 1764, he went home to England and returned to Calcutta. In 1772, he became a Governor of Bengal and Governor-General from 1774 to 1785.

As a Governor-General he was a competent administrator and diplomat but not a warrior. He carried out several reforms during the period that he was Governor-General. First, he established the Board of Revenue Collection in Bengal, a significant contribution for the collection of taxes and revenue. He thus withdrew European agencies in this and provided a stable system of Indian revenue Collection.

He also added three separate Presidencies at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay, each with a President. Hastings gradually expanded British control and thus contributed to the establishment of a British Empire in India. Though he was not a warrior like Robert Clive, he nevertheless fought in various wars, notably the Mysore War II.

His lasting contributions included his admiration of Hindu sacred literature and its legal codes. He advocated that Britain govern India in accordance to Indian traditions and customs to win the support of the Indians. He had thus laid the administrative foundation for a new traditional order in Bengal.

When he returned to England after retirement, he was impeached by the British Parliament for corruption and arbitrary acts which included 15,000 pounds as entertainment allowance to Governor-General. It was a 9 years persecution from 1786-1795.

Philip Francis, a member of the Governor-General’s Council was a bitter opponent and denounced Hastings’s actions. Francis referred to an example of how ruthless Hastings could be. Nandakumar was a well-known Indian in Bengal, who was persecuted by Hastings. He made serious allegations against Nandakumar which ruined Nandakumar`s life.

There is no monument for Hastings either in England or India by the EIC but only a table in the Abbey by his wife Marion (1747-1837). Before his death, Parliament has acquitted him but ruined him financially. Hastings believed that whatever he did was for the good of the State and not for personal reasons or gains.

Hastings was, however, popular with the Indians, which no other Governor-General was. He was conversant in Persian, Arabic and Bengali languages. He laid the foundation for an Arabic Collage at Calcutta and also arranged for Sanskrit Studies. He considered Hindus “a gentle and benevolent people” and India had men of “strong intellect, sound integrity and humble”.