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THE India of to-day is altogether a different country from the India of 1857. Much has been done since then to improve the civil administration, and to meet the legitimate demands of the Native races. India is more tranquil, more prosperous, and more civilized than it was before the Mutiny, and the discipline, efficiency, and mobility of the Native army have been greatly improved. Much, however, still remains to be done, and a good deal might with advantage be undone, to secure the contentment of the Natives with our rule.

Our position has been materially strengthened by the provision of main and subsidiary lines of communication by road and railway; by the great network of telegraphs which now intersects the country; and by the construction of canals. These great public works have largely increased the area of land under cultivation, minimized the risk of famine, equalized the prices of agricultural produce, and developed a large and lucrative export trade. Above all, while our troops can now be assembled easily and rapidly at any centre of disturbance, the number of British soldiers has been more than doubled and the number of Native soldiers has been materially reduced Moreover, as regards the Native equally with the British army of India, I believe that a better feeling never existed throughout all ranks than exists at present. Nevertheless, there are signs that the spirit of unrest and discontent which sowed the seeds of the Mutiny is being revived. To some extent this state of things is the natural result of our position in India, and is so far unavoidable, but it is also due to old faults reappearing-faults which require to be carefully watched and guarded against, for it is certain that, however well disposed as soldiers the men in our ranks may be, their attitude will inevitably be influenced by the feelings of the people generally, more especially should their hostility be aroused by any question connected with religion.

For a considerable time after the Mutiny we became more cautious and conciliatory in administrative and legislative matters, more intent on doing what would keep the Chiefs and Rulers satisfied, the masses contented, and the country quiet, than on carrying out our own ideas. Gradually this wholesome caution is being disregarded. The Government has become more and more centralized, and the departmental spirit very strong. Each department, in its laudable wish for progress and advancement, is apt to push on measures which are obnoxious to the Natives, either from their not being properly understood, or from their being opposed to their traditions and habits of life, thus entailing the sacrifice of many cherished customs and privileges. Each department admits in theory the necessity for caution, but in practice presses for liberty of action to further its own particular schemes.

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and companions. The former, perhaps not unnaturally, are interested in proving that the training of their young Ruler by his European governor or tutor has not resulted in good either to himself or his people, while the latter are too often of the lowest class of European adventurers.

The proceedings and regulations of the Forest Department, desirable as they may be from a financial and agricultural point of view, have provoked very great irritation in many parts of India. People who have been accustomed from time immemorial to pick up sticks and graze their cattle on forest lands, cannot understand why they should now be forbidden to do so, nor can they realize the necessity for preserving the trees from the chance of being destroyed by fire, a risk to which they were frequently exposed from the Native custom of making use of their shelter while cooking, and of burning the undergrowth to enrich the grazing.

The action taken by the Government in sanitary matters has also aroused much ill-feeling and apprehension. Sanitary precautions are entirely ignored in eastern countries. The great majority of the people can see no good in them, and no harm in using the same tank for drinking purposes and for bathing and washing their clothes. The immediate surroundings of their towns and villages are most offensive, being used as the general receptacles for dead animals and all kinds of filth. Cholera, fever, and other diseases, which carry off hundreds of thousands every year, are looked upon as the visitation of God, from which it is impossible, even were it not impious to try, to escape; and the precautionary measures insisted upon by us in our cantonments, and at the fairs and places of pilgrimage, are viewed with aversion and indignation. Only those who have witnessed the personal discomfort and fatigue to which Natives of all ages and both sexes willingly submit in their struggle to reach some holy shrine on the occasion of a religious festival, while dragging their weary limbs for many hundreds of miles along a hot, dusty road, or being huddled for hours together in a crammed and stifling railway carriage, can have any idea of the bitter disappointment to the pilgrims caused by their being ordered to disperse when cholera breaks out at such gatherings, without being given the opportunity of performing their vows or bathing in the sacred waters.*

* Few acts have been more keenly resented than the closing of the great Hurdwar Fair in the autumn of 1892, on account of a serious outbreak of cholera. It was looked upon by the Natives as a direct blow aimed at their religion, and as a distinct departure from the religious tolerance promised in Her Majesty's proclamation of 1858. The mysterious mud marks on mangotrees in Behar have been attributed by some to a self-interested motive on the part of certain priests to draw the attention of Hindus to the sanctity of some temple outside the limits of British jurisdiction, where the devotees would be


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249 interest for the loans with which he accommodated his customers, and that if he became too rich, some charge or other would be trumped up against him, which would force him to surrender a large share of his wealth to the officials of the State in which he was living. I do not say that the rough-and-ready methods of Native justice in dealing with money-lenders were excusable or tolerable, but at the same time I am inclined to think that, in granting these men every legal facility for enforcing their demands and carrying on their traffic, we may have neglected the interests of the agriculturists, and that it might be desirable to establish some agency under the control of Government, which would enable the poorer landholders to obtain, at a moderate rate of interest, advances proportionate to the security they had to offer.*

Another danger to our supremacy in India is the license allowed to the Native press in vilifying the Government and its officials, and persistently misrepresenting the motives and policy of the ruling Power. In a free country, where the mass of the population is well educated, independent, and self-reliant, a free press is a most valuable institution, representing as it does the requirements and aspirations of important sections of the community, and bringing to light defects and abuses in the social and political system. In a country such as Great Britain, which is well advanced in the art of self-government, intolerant and indiscriminate abuse of public men defeats its own object, and misstatements of matters of fact can be at once exposed and refuted. Like most of the developments of civilization which are worth anything, the English press is a plant of indigenous growth, whereas in India the Native press is an exotic which, under existing conditions, supplies no general want, does nothing to refine, elevate, or instruct the people, and is used by its supporters and promoters--an infinitesimal part of the population-as a means of gaining its selfish ends, and of fostering sedition, and racial and religious animosities. There are I am afraid, very few Native newspapers actuated by a friendly or impartial spirit towards the Government of India, and to Asiatics it seems incredible that we should permit such hostile publications to be scattered broadcast over the country, unless the assertions were too true to be disputed, or unless we were too weak to suppress them. We gain neither credit nor gratitude for our tolerant attitude towards the Native press-our forbearance is misunderstood; and while the well-disposed are amazed at our inaction, the disaffected rejoice at being allowed to promulgate baseless insinuations and misstatements

*The proposal would seem to be quite a practical one, for I read in the Times of the 28th November, 1894, that the Government of New Zealand invited applications for Consols in connexion with the scheme for granting loans at a reasonable rate of interest to farmers on the security of their holdings.

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