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BY “AL KHANZIR."
THERE is an island on the tonments. Beyond that again Ganges, lying far off the beaten a road does indeed exist, but track, a little insignificant it is the sort of road that even island only a mile or two in a Ford would hesitate to tackle; length and about half as broad, 80, for anybody who respects a mere sandbank oovered with the innards of his oar, there is grass and tamarisk; but it is nothing for it on the onward dearer to my heart than almost journey bat to hack-unless, any other spot on earth, for indeed, you would prefer to what memories it brings baok drive in a country tumtum, and of joyous days and of good to suffer a long-drawn-out friends, man and horse, memo- agony of cup-and-ball, which, ries for the most part of those once experienoed, will never be we shall not meet again till repeated. the Happy Hunting Grounds It is an afternoon in early are reached.
spring, and we have reached “Pig Island ”—for so this the point where we must leave island is well named-lies in the car. Primitive though it the country of the most famous is, the onward road we follow Indian Tent Club, and a more is one of some importance as ideal home for pig could not the direct conneoting link be. be found. Just let me try to tween the headquarters of the desoribe this Kadir country for two civil districts of Mthose who have not had the and B-lying some forty lack to know it-the “Kadir" miles apart. being, of course, the name Libellous tradition has it given to the whole wide river- that, during the régime of a bed which has been soored very celebrated civil servant across the bosom of Hindustan -still fortunately with us, by the ever-changing oourse of though in a much exalted Mother Gunga through the capacity-the projeot of metalages. Let us ride together, ling this road throughout was reader, you and I, and mark seriously disoussed, but that the varying country through he successfully opposed the which we pass to reach a Tent soheme, ostensibly on grounds Club Meet at Pig Island. of soundest polioy, but in re
From our cantonments at ality in order that his favourM- camp in the Kadir lies ito snipe-shoot, which lies in some thirty-five miles away. this direotion, should not thus A metalled road runs for the beoome accessible to all and first twelve miles out of oan- sundry.
' A Tent Club corresponds to a Hunt; the Hon. Secretary to the Master. * A two-wheeled cart.
However little trath there our horses, and, seated on its may be in this yarn, certain broad cemented brim, smoke a it is that Pig Island owes contemplative cigarette. Tomuch of its charm and much wards as down the vista of the sport it shows to its of mingled light and shade, inaccessibility; and though at and through the golden haze the close of a Meet in June of floating dust-motes -rides we may sometimes curse the an ancient grey beard on a weary miles as we hack home, sickle - hooked chestnut tat. still we all join with the ryots He dismounts stiffly beside of the district in venerating the well, and with a courteous the memory of a Collectori salute sets about watering his whose spacious methods ap- pony. But a friendly greeting pealed to the sporting instinots from us in return, and a quesalike of brown and white. tion about the looal crops, soon
We find our horses waiting break down his reserve, and he beneath a tree beside the road, begins to yarn to us as only and in five minutes they are such an old worthy oan. saddled, and we are off on our A Jat this, belonging to as steady hack towards the still stout a class of yeoman fardistant river. It is a pleasant mers as any in India, -than ride, for the weather is still whom none have done better oool, and the track is soft service in the War, and he and sandy, and well shaded tells proudly of the number of by a double row of trees. It recruite his village sent, till leads us
oross a level plain, hardly a man was left, and of studded with villages and bis own grandson who, twice smiling with crops — a rich wounded in Mesopotamia, bas
– land, watered by a multitude now been taken as orderly by of oanal-distributaries. Here his oolonel, every square yard is culti- And then he asks the latest vated, and the bright emerald news of the Panjab, expressing of rising wheat, and the golden supreme contempt for the ingleam of hemp and mustard, stigators of the recent outblend into the darker masses rages.
This subject brings of the mango - topes, those him baok to his stock topio, billowy groves of mighty the Great Mutiny-that vast fruit trees, often many acres upheaval of his childhood which in extent, where every tree is he can just remember, and spaced and lined with mathe- about whioh, after the manner matical regularity, and the of old Caspars the world over, shady aisles beneath, carpeted he loves to hold forth to any with flowers and musioal with long-suffering audience. running water, are pregnant So he points out & lofty with promise of shelter and peepul-tree in the distance, and of coolth.
smacking his lips over the deAt the outskirts of a village tails, tells the tale of the hangwe stop beside a well to water ing he there witnessed some
1 Civil official in charge of a district,
sixty years ago—the hanging tion, and Home Rale all leave of Lal Singh, the Goojr, with him very cold indeed. And his gang of merry men, who had this old Jat is typical of indulged in a brief orgy of yeoman India-which is, after robbery and murder in these all, almost the only India troublons times.
worth a second thought. Dwellers between the desert After bidding the old gentleand the sown—these Goojrs, man & fond farewell, we ride you must remember, have forward on our way. A few always been the hereditary miles on, and do you see that reivers and cattle-thieves of low mound on your left above the Kadir borderland. Likely the village ? Tradition has it enough lads they are too, and that it marks the western they are now reordited to an gate of Hastinapur, that great extent never before thought of, vanished city of the Golden so the war has brought a oer- Age of Hinduism, which in its tain modioam of respectability prime spread twelve miles eastto the olan.
ward to the Ganges, but of But in India we are as nice which to-day scarcely a soatin matters of family history tered brick remains. . and pedigree as ever they were Now & long line of trees at the court of the Habsburgs, looms ap across our front, and and our memories are long. we ride into them to find
Now the Jat is, and always ourselves on the bridge over has been in the main a law- a great canal, one of those abiding farmer, whose only stupendous works of irrigation departures from virtue arise that, had we nothing else to in the hot blood of disputes our oredit, alone would justify over women or water-rights.
or water-rights. our holding India. Then, indeed, he will indulge It is the great Ganges Canal, in a regular Donnybrook Fair, and to it all the country bat that he regards as quite a through which we have passed gentlemanly proceeding-and owes its wonderful fertility, he looks down exceedingly on Spanned by regular bridges his more picturesque neigh. and mighty as a great river, boars, for whose old-time forays it runs straight as a die between he still bears a bitter grudge, its wooded banks through the
So there has never been any breadth of a Province, bringing love lost between the clans- life to tens of thousands of # fact doubtless tending to aores along its course. sweeten the memory of that A few miles on, and all at bygone retribution; but still once it is as though we had it is easy to see that summary reached the brink of some oliffjustice such as was meted out girt coast, and that a great to Lal Singh-oombined with brown sea were stretehed out security of property and a at our feet; for the ground falls strong government—is all that steeply in front of us, the road our old friend wants, and that dives suddenly down a sandy Mr Gandhi and passive re- ravine through sorab- and sistance, politioal representa- thorn-olad banks, and below
uš, stretohing mile on mile, lies Bourh Gangas open out into a sea of grass and tamarisk- reed-grown lakes and bogs of it is the Kadir.
great extent, which autumn But to most of us it is sees alive with duek and snipe. muoh more.
To the ordinary Their quaking surface will selyoungster - of the sort who, dom support your weight, so nurtured on a diet of Surtees some sort of punt or coraole and Sorope, St John and is essential, and also a local Samuel Baker, feels himself at marshman as a guide, or you least as competent to discuss will soon find yourself lost in the points of a horso as to the maze of alleyways through expound the intrioscies of the the giant reeds. Given these, jazz, and is untrammelled by however, and you oan comany Cockney dread of solitude fortably shoot your hundred and empty spaces—to such a duck in a morning's and even
the Kadir is almost ing's flighting. Paradise,
Let us halt for a moment Along this stretch of the on the oliff - edge and look Ganges the Kadir is a low. down on the Kadir. The prelying belt of grass and gorub- vailing impression is grass, jungle, some five or six miles and still more grass. But not in width. Teeming with game grass as they know it in the of every sort, this belt is demar. Shires. This grass is of many cated on either side by a low varieties, but short springy continuous line of cliffs and turf it almost never is. To ravines, the favoured haunt of the rider it may be hoek-high, leopard and hyena.
girth-high, waist-high, headWithin the confines of these high; it grows in brakes so oliffs, the river - itself about close and fine and straight four hundred yards in width- that it has been well named pursues ever - changing “tooth-brush," and so dense course, while the whole surface that a heavy horse will force of the Kadir is seamed and his way through it only at soored by innumerable old a walk. Again, it grows in ohannels and beds, some dry single oanes, thiok and stiff as and grass-grown, but others the cane of an usher, and to the flying a danger-signal of tall galloping horseman almost as green reeds as a warning that painful. But usually it is fair any rider venturing into them galloping grass, perhaps up will find himself thoroughly to your girths, through which and completely bogged.
your horse seems literally to These marshy channels are sail in the wake of the hunted known looally as Bourh Ganga, boar. But whatever the varior the old Ganges, and cross- ety, by the season of which ings over them are few and we speak it is burnt to a far between. They form safe uniform yellow, and as dry sanotuaries for pig, and wher- as tinder, and through each ever they exist are the in- and every variety the hog. variable point of any hanted hunter must be prepared to boar.
Hore and there these follow his boar as best he oan,
for you may be sure that a Kadir, barn big stretches of hanted boar is going to take the high dry grass at this the thickest and blindest line season, to bring on short green in the countryside.
grazing; 80, between them all, There is at first something by the spring the coverts are partioularly alarming in trust- reduced to manageable size, ing oneself “all-out" through and hunting beoomes generally grass so high that the rider possible. has to be ready to guard his Bat patches of every covert eyes with his spear-arm; but will remain anhuntable right the going on the whole is to the end of the season. These sound and good, and it is patohes, of course, will invari. surprising how a well-balanced ably be the point of every horse with a good shoulder hunted boar; so the strategy stands up when not interfered of the best and the taotios of with-anless, indeed, you are the spears during the huntanlucky enough to run aeross both alike must aim at forcing one of those absolutely blind the boar away from his point, grass-covered fissures in the and in this battle of wits lies ground, or upon a blind well, much of the delight of pigboth of whioh do here and sticking. there exist, and then the olev. Here and there out of this erest of horses is helpless. Bea of grass, like occasional
But avoid a straight shoul- islands, rise small villages of der and a short rein as you mud and thatoh, each built on would the plague, or you will a low mound against the floods, fall, and fall repeatedly, and and each marked by a venerthe number of people who able peepul-tree, round which really like doing that is, after of an evening the village elders all, exceedingly small. are wont to settle the world's
Daring the monsoon rains in affairs. A few acres of clearing late summer, the Ganges over. -devoted to a field of barley, flows her banks till practioally a plot of sugar-cane, and some the whole Kadir is immersed. melon-beds-mark the extent At this season grass and weeds of civilisation, and then the spring up as if by magio, and grass shuts in again. after the water has sabsided Now look beyond the miles the oountry is quite unhantable of intervening grass at that owing to the thiokness and belt of more sandy soil by the extent of the coverts. For- banks of the sotual river, and tunately each kind of grass you will see a dark line of has its own individual ase--for distant green : it marks where bedding, thatohing, matting, the grass gives place to tam. and the like-80 that, as soon arisk. This is an evergreen as the shrinking of the floods growth, looally known has allowed of the sun's drying "jhow," that grows in great the new growth, large areas brakes like giant ling, and are rapidly out. The Goojrs, makes cool summer lying, which too, who graze their herds of the pig like well. baffaloes and oattle in the When the coverts are not too