East India House

East India House headquarters of the east india company and 'Home Government'; of the company's Indian empire during the company period. In 1784, when the company';s state began to emerge slowly, it was a shapeless four-storeyed stone building situated on the south side of the busy Ladenhall Street in London. It had a narrow frontage of only 21.336m extending backwards for over 91.44m. It contained a spacious hall, a garden and a courtyard, rooms for the Directors and offices for the staff and several large warehouses in the rear. The building was enlarged in 1799 in order to accommodate the imperial needs. After 1858, the East India House became only India House headed by a cabinet member with the designation of the secretary of state for india. The 'Home Government'; was then shifted to a new office at Westminster.

At downstairs, The East India House had a large and lofty Proprietors' General Court Room, a Directors'; Court Room, Sale Room, and various Committee Rooms. Most of the offices, including the important department of the Examiner of Indian Correspondence were on the upper floors. On the extreme right of the house an additional two-storey building was erected for housing the offices of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the company. The meetings of the Proprietors were normally held quarterly in the General Court Room. Up to 1784, the Court of Proprietors had the power to reverse the decisions of the court of directors. Under the pitt's india act (1784) a board of control consisting of parliamentary representatives was constituted to oversee the activities of the Court of Directors. From that time onward the most powerful body next to the Board of Control was the Court of Directors. The most important function of the Proprietors was to elect annually the 24 Directors, who constituted the executive body of the company in England. A seat on the Court became so covetous that the proprietors fiercely competed to get elected to the Court. It is said that Proprietors used to express their desire for candidature several years ahead and for that purpose they tried to make a lot of money for using it at times of elections.

The Directors appointed a Secret Committee, usually of three or four members, to deal with highly important political matters. The Chairman exerted enormous power both in the Court of Directors and in the Committee of Correspondence through which issued all directives to the Calcutta government. The greatest privilege of the Court of Directors was the patronage, which the members applied to nominate their men to the services of the East India Company in India and elsewhere in the east. All dispatches to India were prepared in the department of the Examiner of Indian Correspondence. While replying to the letters from India the Examiner and his chief assistants used to exert great influence in the determination of contents. Though drafts of letters were distributed among all members before meeting, resolutions were seldom taken against the main arguments of the Examiner. All together it looks so fantastic that a great empire like India was governed through a remote control system developed at the four-storied building at Ladenhall Street in London. [Sirajul Islam]