1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/India
INDIA, a great country and empire of Asia under British rule, inhabited by a congeries of different races, speaking upwards of fifty different languages. The whole Indian empire, including Burma, has an area of 1,766,000 sq. m., and a population of 294 million inhabitants, being about equal to the area and population of the whole of Europe without Russia. The population more than doubles Gibbon’s estimate of 120 millions for all the races and nations which obeyed imperial Rome.
The natives of India can scarcely be said to have a word of their own by which to express their common country. In Sanskrit, it would be called “Bharata-varsha,” from Bharata, a legendary monarch of the Lunar line; but Sanskrit is no more the vernacular of India than Latin is of Europe. The name “Hindustan,” which was at one time adopted by European geographers, is of Persian origin, meaning “the land of the Hindus,” as Afghanistan means “the land of the Afghans.” According to native usage, however, “Hindustan” is limited either to that portion of the peninsula lying north of the Vindhya mountains, or yet more strictly to the upper basin of the Ganges where Hindi is the spoken language. The “East Indies,” as opposed to the “West Indies,” is an old-fashioned and inaccurate phrase, dating from the dawn of maritime discovery, and still lingering in certain parliamentary papers. “India,” the abstract form of a word derived through the Greeks from the Persicized form of the Sanskrit sindhu, a “river,” pre-eminently the Indus, has become familiar since the British acquired the country, and is now officially recognized in the imperial title of the sovereign.
India, as thus defined, is the middle of the three irregularly
shaped peninsulas which jut out southwards from the mainland
of Asia, thus corresponding roughly to the peninsula
of Italy in the map of Europe. Its form is that of a
great triangle, with its base Position
shape. resting upon the Himalayan range and its apex running far into the ocean. The chief part of its western side is washed by the Arabian Sea, and the chief part of its eastern side by the Bay of Bengal. It extends from the 8th to the 37th degree of north latitude, that is to say, from the hottest regions of the equator to far within the temperate zone. The capital, Calcutta, lies in 88° E., so that when the sun sets at six o’clock there, it is just past mid-day in England and early morning in New York. The length of India from north to south, and its greatest breadth from east to west, are both about 1900 m.; but the triangle tapers with a pear-shaped curve to a point at Cape Comorin, its southern extremity. To this compact dominion the British have added Burma, the strip of country on the eastern shores of the Bay of Bengal. But on the other hand the adjacent island of Ceylon has been administratively severed and placed under the Colonial Office. Two groups of islands in the Bay of Bengal, the Andamans and the Nicobars; one group in the Arabian Sea, the Laccadives; and the outlying station of Aden at the mouth of the Red Sea, with Perim, and protectorates over the island of Sokotra, along the southern coast of Arabia and in the Persian Gulf, are all politically included within the Indian empire; while on the coast of the peninsula itself, Portuguese and French settlements break at intervals the continuous line of British territory.
India is shut off from the rest of Asia on the north by a vast mountainous region, known in the aggregate as the Himalayas, amid Boundaries. which lie the independent states of Nepal and Bhutan, with the great table-land of Tibet behind. The native principality of Kashmir occupies the north-western angle of India. At this north-western angle (in 35° N., 74° E.) the mountains curve southwards, and India is separated by the well-marked ranges of the Safed Koh and Suliman from Afghanistan; and by a southern continuation of lower hills from Baluchistan. Still farther southwards, India is bounded along the W. and S.W. by the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. Turning northwards from the southern extremity at Cape Comorin (8° 4′ 20″ N., 77° 35′ 35″ E.), the long sea-line of the Bay of Bengal forms the main part of its eastern boundary. But on the north-east, as on the north-west, India has again a land frontier. The Himalayan ranges at the north-eastern angle (in about 28° N., 97° E.) throw off spurs and chains to the south-east, which separate Eastern Bengal from Assam and Burma. Stretching south-eastwards from the delta of the Irrawaddy, a confused succession of little explored ranges separates the Burmese division of Tenasserim from the native kingdom of Siam. The boundary line runs down to Point Victoria at the extremity of Tenasserim (9° 59′ N., 98° 32′ E.), following in a somewhat rough manner the watershed between the rivers of the British territory on the west and of Siam on the east.
The empire included within these boundaries is rich in varieties of scenery and climate, from the highest mountains in the world to Three regions. vast river deltas raised only a few inches above the level of the sea. It practically forms a continent rather than a country. But if we could look down on the whole from a balloon, we should find that India (apart from Burma, for which see the separate article) consists of three separate and well-defined tracts.
The first of the three regions is the Himalaya (q.v.) mountains and their offshoots to the southward, comprising a system of stupendous Himalayas. ranges, the loftiest in the world. They are the Emodus of Ptolemy (among other names), and extend in the shape of a scimitar, with its edge facing southwards, for a distance of 1500 m. along the northern frontier of India. At the north-eastern angle of that frontier, the Dihang river, the connecting link between the Tsanpo of Tibet and the Brahmaputra of Assam, bursts through the main axis of the range. At the opposite or north-western angle, the Indus in like manner pierces the Himalayas, and turns southwards on its course through the Punjab. This wild region is in many parts impenetrable to man, and nowhere yields a passage for a modern army. Ancient and well-known trade routes exist, by means of which merchandise from the Punjab finds its way over heights of 18,000 ft. into Eastern Turkestan and Tibet. The Muztagh (Snowy Mountain), the Karakoram (Black Mountain), and the Changchenmo are the most famous of these passes.
The Himalayas not only form a double wall along the north of India, but at both their eastern and western extremities send out ranges to the south, which protect its north-eastern and north-western frontiers. On the north-east, those offshoots, under the name of the Naga and Patkoi mountains, &c., form a barrier between the civilized districts of Assam and the wild tribes of Upper Burma. On the opposite or north-western frontier of India, the mountainous offshoots run down the entire length of the British boundaries from the Himalayas to the sea. As they proceed southwards, their best marked ranges are in turn known as the Safed Koh, the Suliman and the Hala mountains. These massive barriers have peaks of great height, culminating in the Takht-i-Suliman or Throne of Solomon, 11,317 ft. above the level of the sea. But the mountain wall is pierced at the corner where it strikes southwards from the Himalayas by an opening through which the Kabul river flows into India. An adjacent opening, the Khyber Pass, the Kurram Pass to the south of it, the Gomal Pass near Dera Ismail Khan, the Tochi Pass between the two last-named, and the famous Bolan Pass
still farther south, furnish the gateways between India and Afghanistan.The Hala, Brahui and Pab mountains, forming the southern hilly offshoots between India and Baluchistan, have a much less elevation.
The wide plains watered by the Himalayan rivers form the second of the three regions into which we have divided India. They extend River plains. from the Bay of Bengal on the east to the Afghan frontier and the Arabian Sea on the west, and contain the richest and most densely crowded provinces of the empire. One set of invaders after another has from prehistoric times entered by the passes at their eastern and north-western frontiers. They followed the courses of the rivers, and pushed the earlier comers southwards before them towards the sea. About 167 millions of people now live on and around these river plains, in the provinces known as the lieutenant-governorship of Bengal, Eastern Bengal and Assam, the United Provinces, the Punjab, Sind, Rajputana and other native states.
The vast level tract which thus covers northern India is watered by three distinct river systems. One of these systems takes its rise River systems. in the hollow trough beyond the Himalayas, and issues through their western ranges upon the Punjab as the Sutlej and Indus. The second of the three river systems also takes its rise beyond the double wall of the Himalayas, not very far from the sources of the Indus and the Sutlej. It turns, however, almost due east instead of west, enters India at the eastern extremity of the Himalayas, and becomes the Brahmaputra of Eastern Bengal and Assam. These rivers collect the drainage of the northern slopes of the Himalayas, and convey it, by long and tortuous although opposite routes, into India. Indeed, the special feature of the Himalayas is that they send down the rainfall from their northern as well as from their southern slopes to the Indian plains. The third river system of northern India receives the drainage of their southern slopes, and eventually unites into the mighty stream of the Ganges. In this way the rainfall, alike from the northern and southern slopes of the Himalayas, pours down into the river plains of Bengal.
The third division of India comprises the three-sided table-land which covers the southern half or more strictly peninsular portion Northern table-land. of India. This tract, known in ancient times as the Deccan (Dakshin), literally “the right hand or south,” comprises the Central Provinces and Berar, the presidencies of Madras and Bombay, and the territories of Hyderabad, Mysore and other feudatory states. It had in 1901 an aggregate population of about 100 millions.
The northern side rests on confused ranges, running with a general direction of east to west, and known in the aggregate as the Vindhya mountains. The Vindhyas, however, are made up of several distinct hill systems. Two sacred peaks guard the flanks in the extreme east and west, with a succession of ranges stretching 800 m. between. At the western extremity, Mount Abu, famous for its exquisite Jain temples, rises, as a solitary outpost of the Aravalli hills 5650 ft. above the Rajputana plain, like an island out of the sea. On the extreme east, Mount Parasnath—like Mount Abu on the extreme west, sacred to Jain rites—rises to 4400 ft. above the level of the Gangetic plains. The various ranges of the Vindhyas, from 1500 to over 4000 ft. high, form, as it were, the northern wall and buttresses which support the central table-land. Though now pierced by road and railway, they stood in former times as a barrier of mountain and jungle between northern and southern India, and formed one of the main obstructions to welding the whole into an empire. They consist of vast masses of forests, ridges and peaks, broken by cultivated valleys and broad high-lying plains.
The other two sides of the elevated southern triangle are known as the Eastern and Western Ghats. These start southwards from Ghats. the eastern and western extremities of the Vindhya system, and run along the eastern and western coasts of India. The Eastern Ghats stretch in fragmentary spurs and ranges down the Madras presidency, here and there receding inland and leaving broad level tracts between their base and the coast. The Western Ghats form the great sea-wall of the Bombay presidency, with only a narrow strip between them and the shore. In many parts they rise in magnificent precipices and headlands out of the ocean, and truly look like colossal “passes or landing-stairs” (gháts) from the sea. The Eastern Ghats have an average elevation of 1500 ft. The Western Ghats ascend more abruptly from the sea to an average height of about 3000 ft. with peaks up to 4700, along the Bombay coast, rising to 7000 and even 8760 in the upheaved angle which they unite to form with the Eastern Ghats, towards their southern extremity.
The inner triangular plateau thus enclosed lies from 1000 to 3000 ft. above the level of the sea. But it is dotted with peaks and seamed with ranges exceeding 4000 ft. in height. Its best known hills are the Nilgiris, with the summer capital of Madras, Ootacamund, 7000 ft. above the sea. The highest point is Dodabetta Peak (8760 ft.), at the upheaved southern angle.
On the eastern side of India, the Ghats form a series of spurs and buttresses for the elevated inner plateau, rather than a continuous Eastern Ghats. mountain wall. They are traversed by a number of broad and easy passages from the Madras coast. Through these openings the rainfall of the southern half of the inner plateau reaches the sea. The drainage from the northern or Vindhyan edge of the three-sided table-land falls into the Ganges. The Nerbudda and Tapti carry the rainfall of the southern slopes of the Vindhyas and of the Satpura hills, in almost parallel lines, into the Gulf of Cambay. But from Surat, in 21° 9′, to Cape Comorin, in 8° 4′, no large river succeeds in reaching the western coast from the interior table-land. The Western Ghats form, in fact, a lofty unbroken barrier between the waters of the central plateau and the Indian Ocean. The drainage has therefore to make its way across India to the eastwards, now turning sharply round projecting ranges, now tumbling down ravines, or rushing along the valleys, until the rain which the Bombay sea-breeze has dropped upon the Western Ghats finally falls into the Bay of Bengal. In this way the three great rivers of the Madras Presidency, viz., the Godavari, the Kistna and the Cauvery, rise in the mountains overhanging the western coast, and traverse the whole breadth of the central table-land before they reach the sea on the eastern shores of India.
Of the three regions of India thus briefly surveyed, the first, or the Himalayas, lies for the most part beyond the British frontier, but a knowledge of it supplies the key to the ethnology and history of India. The second region, or the great river plains in the north, formed the theatre of the ancient race-movements which shaped the civilization and the political destinies of the whole Indian peninsula. The third region, or the triangular table-land in the south, has a character quite distinct from either of the other two divisions, and a population which is now working out a separate development of its own. Broadly speaking, the Himalayas are peopled by Mongoloid tribes; the great river plains of Hindustan are still the home of the Aryan race; the triangular table-land has formed an arena for a long struggle between that gifted race from the north and what is known as the Dravidian stock in the south.
|Drawn and Engraved by Justus Perthes, Gotha, Germany.||
Geologically, as well as physically, India consists of three distinct regions, the Himalayas, the Peninsula, and—between these two—the Indo-Gangetic plain with its covering of alluvium and wind-blown sands. The contrast between the Himalayas and the Peninsula is one of fundamental importance. The former, from the Tertiary period even to the present day, has been a region of compression; the latter, since the Carboniferous period at least, has been a region of equilibrium or of tension. In the former even the Pliocene beds are crumpled and folded, over folded and over thrust in the most violent fashion; in the latter none but the oldest beds, certainly none so late as the Permian, have been crumpled or crushed—occasionally they are bent and frequently they are faulted, but the faults, though sometimes of considerable magnitude, are simple dislocations, unaccompanied by any serious disturbance of the strata. The greater part of the Himalayan region lay beneath the sea from early Palaeozoic times to the Eocene period, and the deposits are accordingly marine; the Peninsula, on the other hand, has been land since the Permian period at least—there is, indeed, no evidence that it was ever beneath the sea—only on its margins are any marine deposits to be found. It should, however, be mentioned that in the eastern part of the Himalayas some of the beds resemble those of the Peninsula, and it appears that a part of the old Indian continent has here been involved in the folds of the mountain chain.
The geology of the Himalayas being described elsewhere (see Himalayas), the following account deals only with the Indo-Gangetic plain and the Peninsula.
The Indo-Gangetic Plain covers an area of about 300,000 sq. m., and varies in width from 90 to nearly 300 m. It rises very gradually from the sea at either end; the lowest point of the watershed between the Punjab rivers and the Ganges is about 924 ft. above the sea. This point, by a line measured down the valley, but not following the winding of the river, is about 1050 m. from the mouth of the Ganges and 850 m. from the mouth of the Indus, so that the average inclination of the plain, from the central watershed to the sea, is only about 1 ft. per mile. It is less near the sea, Where for long distances there is no fall at all. Near the watershed it is generally more; but there is here no ridge of high ground between the Indus and the Ganges, and a very trifling change of level would often turn the upper waters of one river into the other. It is not unlikely that such changes have in past time occurred; and if so an explanation is afforded of the occurrence of allied forms of freshwater dolphins (Platanista) and of many other animals in the two rivers and in the Brahmaputra.
The alluvial deposits of the plain, as made known by the boring at Calcutta, prove a gradual depression of the area in recent times. There are peat and forest beds, which must have grown quietly at the surface, alternating with deposits of gravel, sand and clay. The thickness of the delta deposit is unknown; 481 ft. was proved at the bore hole, but probably this represents only a small part of the deposit. Outside the delta, in the Bay of Bengal, is a deep depression known as the “swatch of no ground”; all around it the soundings are only of 5 to 10 fathoms, but they very rapidly deepen to over 300 fathoms. Mr J. Ferguson has shown that the sediment is carried away from this area by the set of the currents; probably then it has remained free from sediment whilst the neighbouring sea bottom has gradually been filled up. If so, the thickness of the alluvium is at least 1800 ft., and may be much more. At Lucknow a boring was driven through the Gangetic alluvium to a depth of 1336 ft. from the surface, or nearly 1000 ft. below sea-level. Even at this depth there was no indication of an approach to the base of the alluvial deposits.
The deposits of the Indo-Gangetic plain are of modern date and the formation of the depression which they fill is almost certainly connected with the elevation of the Himalayas. Both movements are probably still going on. The alluvial deposits prove depression in quite recent geological times; and within the Himalayan region earthquakes are still common, whilst in Peninsular India they are rare.
|after Geological Survey of India.||Emery Walker sc.|
Peninsular India.—The oldest rocks of this region consist of gneiss, granite and other crystalline rocks. They cover a large area in Bengal and Madras and extend into Ceylon; and they are found also in Bundelkhand and in Gujarat. Upon them rest the unfossiliferous strata known to Indian geologists as the Transition and Vindhyan series. The Transition rocks are often violently folded and are frequently converted into schists. In the south, where they are known as the Dharwar series, they form long and narrow bands running from north-north-west to south-south-east across the ancient gneiss; and it is interesting to note that all the quartz-reefs which contain gold in paying quantities occur in the Dharwar series. The Transition rocks are of great but unknown age. The Vindhyan rocks which succeed them are also of ancient date. But long before the earliest Vindhyan rocks were laid down the Transition rocks had been altered and contorted. Occasionally the Vindhyan beds themselves are strongly folded, as in the east of the Cuddapah basin; but this was the last folding of any violence which has occurred in the Peninsula. In more recent times there have been local disturbances, and large faults have in places been formed; but the greater part of the Peninsula rocks are only slightly disturbed. The Vindhyan series is generally sharply marked off from older rocks; but in the Godavari valley there is no well-defined line between them and the Transition rocks. The Vindhyan beds are divided into two groups. The lower, with an estimated thickness of only 2000 ft., or slightly more, cover a large area—extending, with but little change of character, from the Sone valley in one direction to Cuddapah, and in a diverging line to near Bijapur—in each case a distance of over 700 m. The upper Vindhyans cover a much smaller area, but attain a thickness of about 12,000 ft. The Vindhyans are well-stratified beds of sandstone and shale, with some limestones. As yet they have yielded no trace of fossils, and their exact age is consequently unknown. They are however certainly Pre-Permian, and it is most probable that they belong to the early part of the Palaeozoic era. The total absence of fossils is a remarkable fact, and one for which it is difficult to account, as the beds are for the most part quite unaltered. Even if they are entirely of freshwater origin, we should expect that some traces of life from the waters or neighbouring land would be found.
The Gondwana series is in many respects the most interesting and important series of the Indian Peninsula. The beds are almost entirely of freshwater origin. Many subdivisions have been made, but here we need only note the main division into two great groups: Lower Gondwanas, 13,000 ft. thick; Upper Gondwanas, 11,000 ft. thick. The series is mainly confined to the area of country between the Nerbudda and the Sone on the north, and the Kistna on the south; but the western part of this region is in great part covered by newer beds. The lowest Gondwanas are very constant in character, wherever they are found; the upper members of the lower division show more variation, and this divergence of character in different districts becomes more marked in the Upper Gondwana series. Disturbances have occurred in the lower series before the formation of the upper.
The Gondwana beds contain fossils which are of very great interest. In large part these consist of plants which grew near the margins of the old rivers, and which were carried down by floods, and deposited in the alluvial plains, deltas and estuarine areas of the old Gondwana period. The plants of the Lower Gondwanas consist chiefly of acrogens (Equisetaceae and ferns) and gymnogens (cycads and conifers), the former being the more abundant. The same classes of plants occur in the Upper Gondwanas; but there the proportions are reversed, the conifers, and still more the cycads, being more numerous than the ferns, whilst the Equisetaceae are but sparingly found. But even within the limits of the Lower Gondwana series there are great diversities of vegetation, three distinct floras occurring in the three great divisions of that formation. In many respects the flora of the highest of these three divisions (the Panchet group) is more nearly related to that of the Upper Gondwanas than it is to the other Lower Gondwana floras. Although during the Gondwana period the flora of India differed greatly from that of Europe, it was strikingly similar to the contemporaneous floras of South America, South Africa and Australia. It is somewhat remarkable that this characteristically southern flora, known as the Glossopteris Flora (from the name of one of the most characteristic genera), has also been found in the north of Russia.
One of the most interesting facts in the history of the Gondwana series is the occurrence near the base (in the Talchir group) of large striated boulders in a fine mud or silt, the boulders in one place resting upon rock (of Vindhyan age) which is also striated. These beds are the result of ice-action, and it is interesting to note that a similar boulder bed is associated with the Glossopteris-bearing deposits of Australia, South Africa and probably South America.
The Damuda series, the middle division of the Lower Gondwanas, is the chief source of coal in Peninsular India, yielding more of that mineral than all other formations taken together. The Karharbari group is the only other coal-bearing formation of any value. The Damudas are 8400 ft. thick in the Raniganj coal-field, and about 10,000 ft. thick in the Satpura basin. They consist of three divisions; coal occurs in the upper and lower, ironstone (without coal) in the middle division. The Raniganj coal-field is the most important in India. It covers an area of about 500 sq. m. and is traversed by the Damuda river, along which run the road from Calcutta to Benares and the East Indian railway. From its situation and importance this coal-field is better known than any other in India. The upper or Raniganj series (stated by the Geological Survey to be 5000 ft. thick) contains eleven seams, having a total thickness of 120 ft., in the eastern district, and thirteen seams, 100 ft. thick, in the western district. The average thickness of the seams worked is from 12 to 18 ft., but occasionally a seam attains a great thickness—20 to 80 ft. The lower or Barakar series (2000 ft. thick) contains four seams, of a total thickness of 69 ft. Compared with English coals those of this coal-field are of but poor quality; they contain much ash, and are generally non-coking. The seams of the lower series are the best, and some of these at Sanktoria, near the Barakar river, are fairly good for coke and gas. The best coal in India is in the small coal-field at Karharbari. The beds there are lower in the series than those of the Raniganj field; they belong to the upper part of the Talchir group, the lowest of the Gondwana series. The coal-bearing beds cover an area of only about 11 sq. m.; there are three seams, varying from 9 to 33 ft. thick. The lowest seam is the best, and this is as good as English steam coal. This coal-field, now largely worked, is the property of the East Indian railway, which is thus supplied with fuel at a cheaper rate than any other railway in the world. Indian coal usually contains phosphoric acid, which greatly lessens its value for iron-smelting.
The Damuda series, which, as we have seen, is the chief source of coal in India, is also one of the most important sources of iron. The ore occurs in the middle division, coal in the highest and lowest. The ore is partly a clay ironstone, like that occurring in the Coal-measures of England, partly an oxide of iron or haematite, and it generally contains phosphorus. Excellent iron-ore occurs in the crystalline rocks south of the Damuda river as also in many other parts of India. Laterite (see below) is sometimes used as ore. It is very earthy and of a low percentage; but it contains only a comparatively small proportion of phosphorus.
The want of limestone for flux, within easy reach, is generally a great drawback as regards iron-smelting in India. Kankar or ghutin (concretionary carbonate of lime) is collected for this purpose from the river-beds and alluvial deposits. It sometimes contains as much as 70% of carbonate of lime; but generally the amount is much less and the fluxing value proportionally diminished. The real difficulty in India is to find the ore, the fuel, and the flux in sufficiently close proximity to yield a profit.
Contemporaneously with the formation of the upper part of the Gondwana series marine deposits of Jurassic age were laid down in Cutch. Cretaceous beds of marine origin are also found in Cutch, Kathiawar and the Nerbudda valley on the northern margin of the Peninsula, and near Pondicherry and Trichinopoly on its south-eastern margin. There is a striking difference between the Cretaceous faunas of the two areas, the fossils from the north being closely allied to those of Europe, while those of the south (Pondicherry and Trichinopoly) are very different and are much more nearly related to those from the Cretaceous of Natal. It is now very generally believed that in Jurassic and Cretaceous times a great land-mass stretched from South Africa through Madagascar to India, and that the Cretaceous deposits of Cutch, &c., were laid down upon its northern shore, and those of Pondicherry and Trichinopoly upon its southern shore. The land probably extended as far as Assam, for the Cretaceous fossils of Assam are similar to those of the south.
The enormous mass of basaltic rock known as the Deccan Trap is of great importance in the geological structure of the Indian Peninsula. It now covers about 200,000 sq. m., and formerly extended over a much wider area. Where thickest, the traps are at least 6000 ft. thick. They form some of the most striking physical features of the Peninsula, many of the most prominent hill ranges having been carved out of the basaltic flows. The great volcanic outbursts which produced this trap commenced in the Cretaceous period and lasted on into the Eocene period.
Laterite is a ferruginous and argillaceous rock, varying from 30 to 200 ft. thick, which often occurs over the trap area and also over the gneiss. As a rule it makes rather barren land; it is highly porous, and the rain rapidly sinks into it. Laterite may be roughly divided into two kinds, high-level and low-level laterites. It has usually been formed by the decomposition in situ of the rock on which it rests, but it is often broken up and re-deposited elsewhere.
The great peninsula of India, with its lofty mountain ranges behind and its extensive seaboard exposed to the first violence of the winds of two oceans, forms an exceptionally valuable and interesting field for the study of meteorological phenomena.
From the gorge of the Indus to that of the Brahmaputra, a distance of 1400 m., the Himalayas form an unbroken watershed, the northern flank of which is drained by the upper valleys of these two rivers; while the Sutlej, starting from the southern Himalayas. foot of the Kailas Peak, breaks through the watershed, dividing it into two very unequal portions, that to the north-west being the smaller. The average elevation of the Himalaya crest may be taken at not less than 19,000 ft., and therefore equal to the height of the lower half of the atmosphere; and indeed few of the passes are under 16,000 or 17,000 ft. Across this mountain barrier there appears to be a constant flow of air, more active in the day-time than at night, northwards to the arid plateau of Tibet. There is no reason to believe that any transfer of air takes place across the Himalayas in a southerly direction, unless indeed in those most elevated regions of the atmosphere which lie beyond the range of observation; but a nocturnal flow of cooled air, from the southern slopes, is felt as a strong wind where the rivers debouch on the plains, more especially in the early morning hours; and this probably contributes in some degree to lower the mean temperature of that belt of the plains which fringes the mountain zone.
At the foot of the great mountain barrier, and separating it from the more ancient land which now forms the highlands of the peninsula, a broad plain, for the most part alluvial, stretches from sea to sea. On the west, in the dry region, this is occupied Indus plain. partly by the alluvial deposits of the Indus and its tributaries and the saline swamps of Cutch, partly by the rolling sands and rocky surface of the desert of Jaisalmer and Bikaner, and the more fertile tracts to the eastward watered by the Luni. Over the greater part of this region rain is of rare occurrence; and not infrequently more than a year passes without a drop falling on the parched surface. On its eastern margin, however, in the neighbourhood of the Aravalli hills, and again in the northern Punjab, rain is more frequent, occurring both in the south-west monsoon and also at the opposite season in the cold weather. As far south as Sirsa and Multan the average rainfall does not much exceed 7 in.
The alluvial plain of the Punjab passes into that of the Gangetic valley without visible interruption. Up or down this plain, at opposite seasons, sweep the monsoon winds, in a direction at right angles to that of their nominal course; and thus Gangetic plain. vapour which has been brought by winds from the Bay of Bengal is discharged as snow and rain on the peaks and hillsides of the Western Himalayas. Nearly the whole surface is under cultivation, and it ranks among the most productive as well as the most densely populated regions of the world. The rainfall diminishes from 100 in. in the south-east corner of the Gangetic delta to less than 30 in. at Agra and Delhi, and there is an average difference of from 15 to 25 in. between the northern and southern borders of the plain.
Eastward from the Bengal delta, two alluvial plains stretch up between the hills which connect the Himalayan system with that of the Burmese peninsula. The first, or the valley of Assam and the Brahmaputra, is long and narrow, bordered on Eastern Bengal. the north by the Himalayas, on the south by the lower plateau of the Garo, Khasi and Naga hills. The other, short and broad, and in great part occupied by swamps and jhils, separates the Garo, Khasi and Naga hills from those of Tippera and the Lushai country. The climate of these plains is damp and equable, and the rainfall is prolonged and generally heavy, especially on the southern slopes of the hills. A meteorological peculiarity of some interest has been noticed, more especially at the stations of Sibsagar and Silchar, viz. the great range of the diurnal variation of barometric pressure during the afternoon hours,—which is the more striking, since at Rurki, Lahore, and other stations near the foot of the Western Himalayas this range is less than in the open plains.
The highlands of the peninsula, which are cut off from the encircling ranges by the broad Indo-Gangetic plain, are divided into two unequal parts by an almost continuous chain of hills running across the country from west by south to east by Central table-land. north, just south of the Tropic of Cancer. This chain may be regarded as a single geographical feature, forming one of the principal watersheds of the peninsula, the waters to the north draining chiefly into the Nerbudda and the Ganges, those to the south into the Tapti, the Mahanadi, the Godavari and some smaller streams. In a meteorological point of view it is of considerable importance. Together with the two parallel valleys of the Nerbudda and Tapti, which drain the flanks of its western half, it gives, at opposite seasons of the year, a decided easterly and westerly direction to the winds of this part of India, and condenses a tolerably copious rainfall during the south-west monsoon.
Separated from this chain by the valley of the Nerbudda on the west, and that of the Sone on the east, the plateau of Malwa and Baghelkhand occupies the space intervening between these valleys and the Gangetic plain. On the western edge of the plateau are the Aravalli hills, which run from near Ahmedabad up to the neighbourhood of Delhi, and include one hill, Mount Abu, over 5000 ft. in height. This range exerts an important influence on the direction of the wind, and also on the rainfall. At Ajmer, an old meteorological station at the eastern foot of the range, the wind is predominantly south-west, and there and at Mount Abu the south-west monsoon rains are a regularly recurrent phenomenon,—which can hardly be said of the region of scanty and uncertain rainfall that extends from the western foot of the range and merges in the Bikaner desert.
The peninsula south of the Satpura range consists chiefly of the triangular plateau of the Deccan, terminating abruptly on the west in the Sahyadri range (Western Ghats), and shelving to the east (Eastern Ghats). This plateau is swept by the Southern plateau. south-west monsoon, but not until it has surmounted the western barrier of the Ghats; and hence the rainfall is, as a rule, light at Poona and places similarly situated under the lee of the range, and but moderate over the more easterly parts of the plateau. The rains, however, are prolonged some three or four weeks later than in tracts to the north of the Satpuras, since they are also brought by the easterly winds which blow from the Bay of Bengal in October and the early part of November, when the recurved southerly wind ceases to blow up the Gangetic valley, and sets towards the south-east coast.
At the junction of the Eastern and Western Ghats rises the bold triangular plateau of the Nilgiris, and to the south of them come the Anamalais, the Palnis, and the hills of Travancore. These ranges are separated from the Nilgiris by a broad Southern India. depression or pass known as the Palghat Gap, some 25 m. wide, the highest point of which is only 1500 ft. above the sea. This gap affords a passage to the winds which elsewhere are barred by the hills of the Ghat chain. The country to the east of the gap receives the rainfall of the south-west monsoon; and during the north-east monsoon ships passing Beypur meet with a stronger wind from the land than is felt elsewhere on the Malabar coast. In the strip of low country that fringes the peninsula below the Ghats the rainfall is heavy and the climate warm and damp, the vegetation being dense and characteristically tropical, and the steep slopes of the Ghats, where they have not been artificially cleared, thickly clothed with forest.
In Lower Burma the western face of the Arakan Yoma hills, like that of the Western Ghats in India, is exposed to the full force of the south-western monsoon, and receives a very heavy Burma. rainfall. At Sandoway this amounts to an annual mean of 212 in. It diminishes to the northwards, but even at Chittagong it is over 104 in. annually.
The country around Mandalay, as well as the hill country to the north, has suffered from severe earthquakes, one of which destroyed Ava in 1839. The general meridional direction of the ranges and valleys determines the direction of the prevailing surface winds, this being, however, subject to many local modifications. But it would appear that throughout the year there is, with but slight interruption, a steady upper current from the south-west, such as has been already noticed over the Himalayas. The rainfall in the lower part of the Irrawaddy valley, viz. the delta and the neighbouring part of the province of Pegu, is very heavy; and the climate is mild and equable at all seasons. But higher up the valley, and especially north of Pegu, the country is drier, and is characterized by a less luxuriant vegetation and a retarded and more scanty rainfall.
Within the boundaries of India almost any extreme of climate that is known to the tropics or the temperate zone can be found. It is influenced from outside by two adjoining areas. On the north, the Himalaya range and the plateau of Afghanistan Climate. shut it off from the climate of central Asia, and give it a continental climate, the characteristics of which are the prevalence of land winds, great dryness of the air, large diurnal range of temperature, and little or no precipitation. On the south the ocean gives it an oceanic climate, the chief features of which are great uniformity of temperature, small diurnal range of temperature, great dampness of the air, and more or less frequent rain. The continental type of weather prevails over almost the whole of India from December to May, and the oceanic type from June to November, thus giving rise to the two great divisions of the year, the dry season or north-east monsoon, and the rainy season or south-west monsoon. India thus becomes the type of a tropical monsoon climate. For the origin of the monsoon currents and their distribution see Monsoon.
The two monsoon periods are divided by the change of temperature, due to solar action upon the earth’s surface, into two separate seasons; and thus the Indian year may be divided into four seasons: the cold season, including the months of January and February; the hot season, comprising the months of March, April and May; the south-west monsoon period, including the months of June, July, August, September and October; and the retreating monsoon period, including the months of November and December. The temperature is nearly constant in southern India the whole year round, but in northern India, where the extremes of both heat and cold are greatest, the variation is very large.
In the cold season the mean temperature averages about 30° lower in the Punjab than in southern India. In the Punjab, the United Provinces, and northern India generally the climate resembles that of the Riviera with a brilliant cloudless The cold weather.sky and cool dry weather. This is the time for the tourist to visit India. In south India it is warmer on the west coast than on the east, and the maximum temperature is found round the headwaters of the Kistna. Calcutta, Bombay and Madras all possess the equable climate that is induced by proximity to the sea, but Calcutta enjoys a cold season which is not to be found in the other presidency towns, while the hot season is more unendurable there.
The hot season begins officially in the Punjab on the 15th of March, and from that date there is a steady rise in the temperature, induced by the fiery rays of the sun upon the baking earth, until the break of the rains in June. During this season the The hot weather. interior of the peninsula and northern India is greatly heated; and the contrast of temperature is not between northern and southern India, but between the interior of India and the coast districts and adjacent seas. The greater part of the Deccan and the Central Provinces are included within the hottest area, though in May the highest temperatures are found in Upper Sind, north-west Rajputana, and south-west Punjab. At Jacobabad the thermometer sometimes rises to 125° in the shade.
The south-west monsoon currents usually set in during the first fortnight of June on the Bombay and Bengal coasts, and give more or less general rain in every part of India during the next three months. But the distribution of the rainfall is The monsoon period.very uneven. On the face of the Western Ghats, and on the Khasi hills, overlooking the Bay of Bengal, where the mountains catch the masses of vapour as it rises off the sea, the rainfall is enormous. At Cherrapunji in the Khasi hills it averages upwards of 500 in. a year. The Bombay monsoon, after surmounting the Ghats, blows across the peninsula as a west and sometimes in places a north-west wind; but it leaves with very little rain a strip 100 to 200 m. in width in the western Deccan parallel with the Ghats, and it is this part of the Deccan, together with the Mysore table-land and the Carnatic, that is most subject to drought. Similarly the Bengal monsoon passes by the Coromandel coast and the Carnatic with an occasional shower, taking a larger volume to Masulipatam and Orissa, and abundant rain to Bengal, Assam and Cachar. The same current also supplies with rain the broad band across India, which includes the Satpura range, Chota Nagpur, the greater part of the Central Provinces and Central India, Orissa and Bengal. Rainfall rapidly diminishes to the north-west from that belt. A branch of the Bombay current blows pretty steadily through Rajputana to the Punjab, carrying some rain to the latter province. But the greater part of north-west India is served as a rule by cyclonic storms between the two currents. In September the force of the monsoon begins rapidly to decline, and after about the middle of the month it ceases to carry rain to the greater part of north-western India. In its rear springs up a gentle steady north-east wind, which gradually extends over the Bay of Bengal, and is known as the north-east monsoon. A wind similar in character, but rather more easterly in direction, simultaneously takes possession of the Arabian Sea. The months of November and December form a transition period between the monsoon and the cold season. The most unhealthy period of the year follows immediately after the rains, when malaria is prevalent, especially in northern India.
Unlike many other large geographical areas, India is remarkable for having no distinctive botanical features peculiar to itself. It differs conspicuously in this respect from such countries as Australia or South Africa. Its vegetation is in point of fact of a composite character, and is constituted by the meeting and more or less blending of adjoining floras,—those of Persia and the south-eastern Mediterranean area to the north-west, of Siberia to the north, of China to the east, and of Malaya to the south-east. Regarded broadly, four tolerably distinct types present themselves.
1. The upper levels of the Himalayas slope northwards gradually to the Tibetan uplands, over which the Siberian temperate vegetation ranges. This is part of the great temperate flora which, with locally individualized species, but often with identical Himalayas. genera, ranges over the whole of the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. In the western Himalayas this upland flora is marked by a strong admixture of European species, such as the columbine (Aquilegia) and hawthorn (Crataegus Oxyacantha). These disappear rapidly eastward, and are scarcely found beyond Kumaon. The base of the Himalayas is occupied by a narrow belt forming an extreme north-western extension of the Malayan type described below. Above that there is a rich temperate flora which in the eastern chain may be regarded as forming an extension of that of northern China, gradually assuming westwards more and more of a European type. Magnolia, Aucuba, Abelia and Skimmia may be mentioned as examples of Chinese genera found in the eastern Himalayas, and the tea-tree grows wild in Assam. The same coniferous trees are common to both parts of the range. Pinus longifolia extends to the Hindu-Kush; P. excelsa is found universally except in Sikkim, and has its European analogue in P. Peuce, found in the mountains of Greece. Abies smithiana extends into Afghanistan; Abies webbiana forms dense forests at altitudes of 8000 to 12,000 ft., and ranges from Bhutan to Kashmir; several junipers and the common yew (Taxus baccata) also occur. The deodar (Cedrus Deodara), which is indigenous to the mountains of Afghanistan and the north-west Himalaya, is nearly allied to the Atlantic cedar and to the cedar of Lebanon, a form of which is found in Cyprus. A notable further instance of the connexion of the western Himalayan flora with that of Europe is the holm oak (Quercus Ilex), which is characteristic of the Mediterranean region.
2. The north-western area is best marked in Sind and the Punjab, where the climate is very dry (the rainfall averaging less than 15 in.), and where the soil, though fertile, is wholly dependent on irrigation for its cultivation. The flora is a poor one inNorth-west. number of species, and is essentially identical with that of Persia, southern Arabia and Egypt. The low scattered jungle contains such characteristic species as Capparis aphylla, Acacia arabica (babul), Populus euphratica (the “willows” of Ps. cxxxvii. 2), Salvadora persica (erroneously identified by Royle with the mustard of Matt. xiii. 31), tamarisk, Zizyphus, Lotus, &c. The dry flora extends somewhat in a south-east direction, and then blends insensibly with that of the western peninsula; some species representing it are found in the upper Gangetic plain, and a few are widely distributed in dry parts of the country.
3. For the Malayan area, which Sir Joseph Hooker describes as forming “the bulk of the flora of the perennially humid regions of India, as of the whole Malayan peninsula, UpperAssam and Malayan peninsula. Assam valley, the Khasi mountains, the forests of the base of the Himalaya from the Brahmaputra to Nepal, of the Malabar coast, and of Ceylon,” see Assam, Ceylon and Malay Peninsula.
4. The western India type is difficult to characterize, and is in many respects intermediate between the two just preceding. It occupies a comparatively dry area, with a rainfall under 75 in. In respect to positive affinities, Sir Joseph HookerWestern India. pointed out some relations with the flora of tropical Africa as evidenced by the prevalence of such genera as Grewia and Impatiens, and the absence, common to both countries, of oaks and pines which abound in the Malayan archipelago. The annual vegetation which springs up in the rainy season includes numerous genera, such as Sida and Indigofera, which are largely represented both in Africa and Hindustan. Palms also in both countries are scanty, the most notable in southern India being the wild date (Phoenix sylvestris); Borassus and the coco-nut are cultivated. The forests, though occasionally very dense, as in the Western Ghats, are usually drier and more open than those of the Malayan type, and are often scrubby. The most important timber trees are the tún (Cedrela Toona), sál (Shorea robusta), the present area of which forms two belts separated by the Gangetic plain; satin wood (Chloroxylon Swietenia), common in the drier parts of the peninsula; sandal-wood, especially characteristic of Mysore; iron-wood (Mesua ferrea), and teak (Tectona grandis).
Mammals.—First among the wild animals of India must be mentioned the lion (Felis leo), which is known to have been not uncommon within historical times in Hindustan proper and the Punjab. At present the lion is confined to the Lion. Gir, or rocky hill-desert and forest of Kathiawar. A peculiar variety is there found, marked by the absence of a mane; but whether this variety deserves to be classed as a distinct species, naturalists have not yet determined. These lions at one time were almost extinct, but after being preserved since about 1890 by the Nawab of Junagarh, they have once more become comparatively plentiful. A good lion, measures from 9 to 9½ ft. in length.
The characteristic beast of prey in India is the tiger (F. tigris), which is found in every part of the country, from the slopes of the Himalayas to the Sundarbans swamps. The average length of a tiger from nose to tip of tail is 9 ft. to 10 ft. Tiger. for tigers, and 8 ft. to 9 ft. for tigresses, but a tiger of 12 ft. 4 in. has been shot. The advance of cultivation, even more than the incessant attacks of sportsmen, has gradually caused the tiger to become a rare animal in large tracts of country; but it is scarcely probable that he will ever be exterminated from India. The malarious tarái fringing the Himalayas, the uninhabitable swamps of the Gangetic delta, and the wide jungles of the central plateau are at present the chief home of the tiger. His favourite food appears to be deer, antelope and wild hog. When these abound he will disregard domestic cattle. Indeed, the natives are disposed to consider him as in some sort their protector, as he saves their crops from destruction by the wild animals on which he feeds. But when once he develops a taste for human blood, then the slaughter he works becomes truly formidable. The confirmed man-eater, which is generally an old beast, disabled from overtaking his usual prey, seems to accumulate his tale of victims in sheer cruelty rather than for food. A single tiger is known to have killed 108 people in the course of three years. Another killed an average of about 80 persons per annum. A third caused thirteen villages to be abandoned, and 250 sq. m. of land to be thrown out of cultivation. A fourth, in 1869, killed 127 people, and stopped a public road for many weeks, until the opportune arrival of an English sportsman, who at last killed him. Such cases are, of course, exceptional, and generally refer to a period long past, but they explain and justify the superstitious awe with which the tiger is regarded by the natives. The favourite mode of shooting the tiger is from the back of elephants, or from elevated platforms (macháns) of boughs in the jungle. In Central India they are shot on foot. In Assam they are sometimes speared from boats, and in the Himalayas they are said to be ensnared by bird-lime. Rewards are given by government to native shikáris for the heads of tigers, varying in time and place according to the need. In 1903 the number of persons killed by tigers in the whole of India was 866, while forty years previously 700 people were said to be killed annually in Bengal alone.
The leopard or panther (F. pardus) is far more common than the tiger in all parts of India, and at least equally destructive to life Leopard. and property. The greatest length of the leopard is about 7 ft. 6 in. A black variety, as beautiful as it is rare, is sometimes found in the extreme south of the peninsula, and also in Java.
The cheetah or hunting leopard (Cynaelurus jubatus) must be carefully distinguished from the leopard proper. This animal appears to be a native only of the Deccan, where it is trained for hunting the antelope. In some respects it approaches the dog more nearly than the cat tribe. Its limbs are long, its hair rough, and its claws blunt and only partially retractile. The speed with which it bounds upon its prey, when loosed from the cart, exceeds the swiftness of any other mammal. If it misses its first attack, it scarcely ever attempts to follow, but returns to its master. Among other species of the family Felidae found in India may be mentioned the ounce or snow leopard (F. uncia), the clouded leopard (F. nebulosa), the marbled cat (F. marmorata), the jungle cat (F. chaus), and the viverrine cat (F. viverrina).
Wolves (Canis lupus) abound throughout the open country, but are rare in the wooded districts. Their favourite prey is sheep, but they are also said to run down antelopes and hares, or rather catch them by lying in ambush. Instances of their Wolf tribe. attacking man are not uncommon, and the story of Romulus and Remus has had its counterpart in India within comparatively recent times. The Indian wolf has a dingy reddish-white fur, some of the hairs being tipped with black. By some naturalists it is regarded as a distinct species, under the name of Canis pallipes. Three distinct varieties, the white, the red and the black wolf, are found in the Tibetan Himalayas. The Indian fox (Vulpes bengalensis) is comparatively rare, but the jackal (C. aureus) abounds everywhere, making night hideous by its never-to-be-forgotten yells. The jackal, and not the fox, is usually the animal hunted by the packs of hounds occasionally kept by Europeans.
The wild dog, or dhole (Cyon), is found in all the wilder jungles of India, including Assam and Lower Burma. Its characteristic is that it hunts in packs, sometimes containing thirty dogs, and does not give tongue. When once a pack of wild dogs Dog. has put up any animal, that animal’s doom is sealed. They do not leave it for days, and finally bring it to bay, or run it down exhausted. A peculiar variety of wild dog exists in the Karen hills of Burma, thus described from a specimen in confinement. It was black and white, as hairy as a skye-terrier, and as large as a medium-sized spaniel. It had an invariable habit of digging a hole in the ground, into which it crawled backwards, remaining there all day with only its nose and ferrety eyes visible. Among other dogs of India are the pariah, which is merely a mongrel, run wild and half starved; the poligar dog, an immense creature peculiar to the south; the greyhound, used for coursing; and the mastiff of Tibet and Bhutan. The striped hyaena (Hyaena striata) is common, being found wherever the wolf is absent. Like the wolf, it is very destructive both to the flocks and to children.
Of bears, the common black or sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is common throughout India wherever rocky hills and forests occur. It is distinguished by a white horse-shoe mark on its breast. Its food consists of ants, honey and fruit. When Bear. disturbed it will attack man, and it is a dangerous antagonist, for it always strikes at the face. The Himalayan or Tibetan sun bear (Ursus torquatus) is found along the north, from the Punjab to Assam. During the summer it remains high up in the mountains, near the limit of snow, but in the winter it descends to 5000 ft. and even lower. Its congener, the Malayan sun bear (U. malayanus), is found in Lower Burma.
The elephant (Elephas indicus) is found in many parts of India, though not in the north-west. Contrary to what might be anticipated from its size and from the habits of its African cousin, the Indian elephant is now, at any rate, an inhabitant, Elephant. not of the plains, but of the hills; and even on the hills it is usually found among the higher ridges and plateaus, and not in the valleys. From the peninsula of India the elephant has been gradually exterminated, being only found now in the primeval forests of Coorg, Mysore and Travancore, and in the tributary state of Orissa. It still exists in places along the tarái or submontane fringe of the Himalayas. The main source of supply at the present time is the confused mass of hills which forms the north-east boundary of British India, from Assam to Burma. Two varieties are there distinguished, the gunda or tusker, and the makna or hine, which has no tusks. The reports of the height of the elephant, like those of its intelligence, seem to be exaggerated. The maximum is probably 12 ft. If hunted, the elephant must be attacked on foot, and the sport is therefore dangerous, especially as the animal has but few parts vulnerable to a bullet. The regular mode of catching elephants is by means of a keddah, or gigantic stockade, into which a wild herd is driven, then starved into submission, and tamed by animals already domesticated. The practice of capturing them in pitfalls is discouraged as cruel and wasteful. Elephants now form a government monopoly everywhere in India. The shooting of them is prohibited, except when they become dangerous to man or destructive to the crops; and the right of capturing them is only leased out upon conditions. A special law, under the title of “The Elephants Preservation Act” (No. VI. of 1879), regulates this licensing system. Whoever kills, captures or injures an elephant, or attempts to do so, without a licence, is punishable by a fine of 500 rupees for the first offence; and a similar fine, together with six months’ imprisonment, for a second offence. Though the supply is decreasing, elephants continue to be in great demand. Their chief use is in the timber trade and for government transport. They are also bought up by native chiefs at high prices for purposes of ostentation.
Of the rhinoceros, three distinct varieties are enumerated, two with a single and one with a double horn. The most familiar is the Rhinoceros unicornis, commonly found in the Brahmaputra valley. It has but one horn, and is covered with massive Rhinoceros. folds of naked skin. It sometimes attains a height of 6 ft.; its horn, which is much prized by the natives for medicinal purposes, seldom exceeds 14 in. in length. It frequents swampy, shady spots, and wallows in mud like a pig. The traditional antipathy of the rhinoceros to the elephant seems to be mythical. The Javan rhinoceros (R. sondaicus) is found in the Sundarbans and also in Burma. It also has but one horn, and mainly differs from the foregoing in being smaller, and having less prominent “shields.” The Sumatran rhinoceros (R. sumatrensis) is found from Chittagong southwards through Burma. It has two horns and a bristly coat.
The wild hog (Sus cristatus) is well known as affording the most Wild hog. exciting sport in the world—“pig-sticking.” It frequents cultivated situations, and is the most mischievous enemy of the villager. A rare animal, called the pigmy hog (S. salvanius), exists in the tarái of Nepal and Sikkim, and has been shot in Assam. Its height is only 10 in., and its weight does not exceed 12 ℔.
The Wild ass.wild ass (Equus hemionus) is confined to the sandy deserts of Sind and Cutch, where, from its speed and timidity, it is almost unapproachable.
Many wild species of the sheep and goat tribe are to be found in the Himalayan ranges. The Ovis ammon and O. poli are Tibetan rather than Indian species. The urial and the shapu are kindred species of wild sheep (Ovis vignei), found respectively in Ladakh and the Suleiman range. The former Sheep and goats. comes down to 2000 ft. above the sea, the latter is never seen at altitudes lower than 12,000 ft. The barhal, or blue wild sheep (O. nahura), and the markhor and tahr (both wild goats), also inhabit the Himalayas. A variety of the ibex is also found there, as well as in the highest ranges of southern India. The sarau (Nemorhaedus bubalinus), allied to the chamois, has a wide range in the mountains of the north, from the Himalayas to Assam and Burma.
The antelope tribe is represented by comparatively few species, as compared with the great number peculiar to Africa. The antelope proper (Antilope), the “black buck” of sportsmen, is very generally distributed. Its special habitat is salt plains, Antelopes. as on the coast-line of Gujarat and Orissa, where herds of fifty does may be seen, accompanied by a single buck. The doe is of a light fawn colour and has no horns. The colour of the buck is a deep brown-black above, sharply marked off from the white of the belly. His spiral horns, twisted for three or four turns like a corkscrew, often reach the length of 30 in. The flesh is dry and unsavoury, but is permitted meat for Hindus, even of the Brahman caste. The nílgai, or blue cow (Boselaephus tragocamelus) is also widely distributed, but specially abounds in Hindustan Proper and Gujarat. As with the antelope, the male alone has the dark-blue colour. The nílgai is held peculiarly sacred by Hindus, from its fancied kinship to the cow, and on this account its destructive inroads upon the crops are tolerated. The four-horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis) and the gazelle (Gazella bennetti), the chinkara or “ravine deer” of sportsmen, are also found in India.
The king of the deer tribe is the sámbhar or jarau (Cervus unicolor), erroneously called “elk” by sportsmen. It is found on the forest-clad hills in all parts of the country. It is of a deep-brown Deer. colour, with hair on its neck almost like a mane; and it stands nearly 5 ft. high, with spreading antlers nearly 3 ft. in length. Next in size is the swamp deer or bara-singha, signifying “twelve points” (C. duvauceli), which is common in Lower Bengal and Assam. The chitál or spotted deer (C. axis) is generally admitted to be the most beautiful inhabitant of the Indian jungles. Other species include the hog deer (C. porcinus), the barking deer or muntjac (Cervulus muntjac), and the chevrotain or mouse deer (Tragulus meminna). The musk deer (Moschus moschiferus) is confined to Tibet.
The ox tribe is represented in India by some of its noblest species. The gaur (Bos gaurus), the “bison” of sportsmen, is found in all the hill jungles of the country, in the Western Ghats, in Central India, in Assam, and in Burma. This animal sometimes attains the Bison.height of 20 hands (close on 7 ft.), measuring from the hump above the shoulder. Its short curved horns and skull are enormously massive. Its colour is dark chestnut, or coffee-brown. From the difficult nature of its habitat, and from the ferocity with which it charges an enemy, the pursuit of the bison is no less dangerous and no less exciting than that of the tiger or the elephant. Akin to the gaur, though not identical, are the gayál or mithun (B. frontalis), confined to the hills of the north-east frontier, where it is domesticated for sacrificial purposes by the aboriginal tribes, and the tsine or banting (B. sondaicus), found in Burma. The wild buffalo (Bos bubalus) differs from the tame buffalo only in being larger Buffalo. and more fierce. The finest specimens come from Assam and Burma. The horns of the bull are thicker than those of the cow, but the horns of the cow are larger. A head has been known to measure 13 ft. 6 in. in circumference, and 6 ft. 6 in. between the tips. The greatest height is 6 ft. The colour is a slaty black; the hide is immensely thick, with scanty hairs. Alone perhaps of all wild animals in India, the buffalo will charge unprovoked. Even tame buffaloes seem to have an inveterate dislike to Europeans.
The rat and mouse family is only too numerous. Conspicuous in it is the loathsome bandicoot (Nesocia bandicota), which sometimes measures 2 ft. in length, including its tail, and weighs 3 ℔. It burrows under houses, and is very destructive to plants, fruit and even poultry. Rat tribe.More interesting is the tree mouse (Vandeleusia), about 7 in. long, which makes its nest in palms and bamboos. The field rats (Mus mettada) occasionally multiply so exceedingly as to diminish the out-turn of the local harvest, and to require special measures for their destruction.
Birds.—The ornithology of India, though it is not considered so rich in specimens of gorgeous and variegated plumage as that of other tropical regions, contains many splendid and curious varieties. Some are clothed in nature’s gay attire, Birds. others distinguished by strength, size and fierceness. The parrot tribe is the most remarkable for beauty. Among birds of prey, four vultures are found, including the common scavengers (Gyps indicus and G. bengalensis). The eagles comprise many species, but none to surpass the golden eagle of Europe. Of falcons, there are the peregrine (F. peregrinus), the shain (F. peregrinator), and the lagar (F. jugger), which are all trained by the natives for hawking; of hawks, the shikara (Astur badius), the goshawk (A. palumbarius), and the sparrow-hawk (Accipiter nisus). Kingfishers of various kinds and herons are sought for their plumage. No bird is more popular with natives than the maina (Acridotheres tristis), a member of the starling family, which lives contentedly in a cage, and can be taught to pronounce words, especially the name of the god Rama. Water-fowl are especially numerous. Of game-birds, the floriken (Sypheotis aurita) is valued as much for its rarity as for the delicacy of its flesh. Snipe (Gallinago coelestis) abound at certain seasons, in such numbers that one gun has been known to make a bag of one hundred brace in a day. Pigeons, partridges, quail, plover, duck, teal, sheldrake, widgeon—all of many varieties—complete the list of small game. The red jungle fowl (Gallus ferrugineus), supposed to be the ancestor of our own poultry, is not good eating; and the same may be said of the peacock (Pavo cristatus), except when young. The pheasant does not occur in India Proper, though a white variety is found in Burma.
Reptiles.—The serpent tribe in India is numerous; they swarm in all the gardens, and intrude into the dwellings of the inhabitants, especially in the rainy season. Most are comparatively harmless, but the bite of others is speedily fatal. The Reptiles. cobra di capello (Naia tripudians)—the name given to it by the Portuguese, from the appearance of a hood which it produces by the expanded skin about the neck—is the most dreaded. It seldom exceeds 3 or 4 ft. in length, and is about 11 in. thick, with a small head, covered on the forepart with large smooth scales; it is of a pale brown colour above, and the belly is of a bluish-white tinged with pale brown or yellow. The Russelian snake (Vipera russellii), about 4 ft. in length, is of a pale yellowish-brown, beautifully variegated with large oval spots of deep brown, with a white edging. Its bite is extremely fatal. Itinerant showmen carry about these serpents, and cause them to assume a dancing motion for the amusement of the spectators. They also give out that they render snakes harmless by the use of charms or music,—in reality it is by extracting the venomous fangs. But, judging from the frequent accidents which occur, they sometimes dispense with this precaution. All the salt-water snakes in India are poisonous, while the freshwater forms are wholly innocuous.
The other reptiles include two species of crocodile (C. porosus and C. palustris) and the ghariyal (Gavialis gangeticus). These are more ugly in appearance than destructive to human life. Scorpions also abound.
Fishes.—All the waters of India—the sea, the rivers and the tanks—swarm with a great variety of fishes, which are caught in every conceivable way, and furnish a considerable proportion of the food of the poorer classes. They are eaten fresh, or Fishes. as nearly fresh as may be, for the art of curing them is not generally practised, owing to the exigencies of the salt monopoly. In Burma the favourite relish of nga-pi is prepared from fish; and at Goalanda, at the junction of the Brahmaputra with the Ganges, and along the Madras coast many establishments exist for salting fish in bond. The indiscriminate slaughter of fry, and the obstacles opposed by irrigation dams to breeding fish, are said to be causing a sensible diminution in the supply in certain rivers. Measures of conservancy have been suggested, but their execution would be almost impracticable. Among Indian fishes, the Cyprinidae or carp family and the Siluridae or cat-fishes are best represented. From the angler’s point of view, by far the finest fish is the mahseer (Barbustor), found in all hill streams, whether in Assam, the Punjab or the South. One has been caught weighing 60 ℔, which gave play for more than seven hours. Though called the salmon of India, the mahseer is really a species of barbel. One of the richest and most delicious of Indian fishes is the hilsa (Clupea ilisha), which tastes and looks like a fat white salmon. But the enhanced price of fish and the decreased supply throughout the country are matters of grave concern both to the government and the people.
Insects.—The insect tribes in India may be truly said to be innumerable. The heat and the rains give incredible activity to noxious or troublesome insects, and to others of a more showy class, whose large wings surpass in brilliancy the most splendid colours of art. Mosquitoes are innumerable, and moths and ants of the most destructive kind, as well as others equally noxious and disagreeable. Amongst those which are useful are the bee, the silk-worm, and the insect that produces lac. Clouds of locusts occasionally appear, which leave no trace of green behind them, and give the country over which they pass the appearance of a desert. Their size is about that of a man’s finger, and their colour reddish. They are swept north by the wind till they strike upon the outer ranges of the Himalayas.
India (including Burma) has a total area of 1,766,597 sq. m., and a population (1901) of 294,361,056. Of this total, 1,087,204 sq. m., with a population of 231,899,515, consists of British territory, administered directly by British officers; while the remaining 679,393 sq. m., with a population of 62,461,549, is divided up among various native states, all of which acknowledge the suzerainty of the paramount power, but are directly administered by semi-independent rulers, usually assisted by a British resident.
The British possessions are distributed into thirteen provinces of varying size, each with a separate head, but all under the supreme control of the governor-general in council. These thirteen provinces or local governments are British India. Ajmer-Merwara, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, British Baluchistan, Bengal, Bombay, Burma, Central Provinces with Berar, Coorg, Eastern Bengal and Assam, Madras, North-West Frontier Province, Punjab, and the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. Each of these provinces is described under its separate name.
The native states are governed, as a rule, by native princes with the help of a political officer appointed by the British government and residing at their courts. Some of them administer the internal affairs of their states The native states. with almost complete independence; others require more assistance or a stricter control. These feudatory rulers possess revenues and armies of their own, and the more important exercise the power of life and death over their subjects; but the authority of each is limited by treaties or engagements, or recognized practice by which their subordinate dependence on the British government is determined. That government, as suzerain in India, does not allow its feudatories to form alliances with each other or with foreign states. It interferes when any chief misgoverns his people; rebukes, and if needful removes, the oppressor; protects the weak; and firmly imposes peace upon all. There are in all nearly 700 distinct units, which may be divided into the following groups.
The most important states are Hyderabad, Mysore, Baroda, Kashmir and Jammu, the Rajputana Agency, and the Central Major states. India Agency. The first four of these are single units, each under its separate ruler; but Rajputana and Central India are political groups consisting of many states, enjoying different degrees of autonomy. Rajputana is the name of a great territorial circle, containing twenty states in all; while under the Central India Agency there are grouped 148 states and petty chiefs.
Amongst the minor states, subordinate to the various provincial governments, five are controlled by Madras; 354 by Bombay, many of them being quite petty; 26 by Bengal, of Minor states. which Kuch Behar is the chief; 34 by the Punjab, amongst which the Phulkian Sikh states and Bhawalpur are the most important; 2 under Eastern Bengal and Assam; 15 under the Central Provinces; and 2 under the United Provinces. Burma contains a number of Shan states, which technically form part of British India, but are administered through their hereditary chiefs. All the most important of these native states are separately described.
In addition to the internal states, which have a fixed status, there are several frontier tracts of India, whose status is fluctuating or not strictly defined. In Baluchistan there are the native states of Kalat and Las Bela, and also Frontier states. tribal areas belonging to the Marri and Bugti tribes. On the north-west frontier, in addition to the chief ships of Chitral and Dir, there are a number of independent tribes which reside within the political frontier of British India, but over which effective control has never been exercised. The territory belonging to these tribes, of whom the chief are the Waziris, Afridis, Orakzais, Mohmands, Swatis and Bajouris, is attached to, but is not strictly within, the North-West Frontier Province. Kashmir possesses as feudatories Gilgit and a number of petty states, of which the most important are Hunza-Nagar and Chilas, but effective control over these outlying states has only been asserted in comparatively recent years for political reasons. Nepal and Bhutan, though independent, are under various commercial and other agreements with the government of India. On the north-east frontier, as on the north-west, semi-independent tribes extend across the frontier into independent country. Similarly Karenni, on the Burmese border, is not included in British territory, but the superintendent of the Shan states exercises some judicial and other powers over it.
|Drawn and Engraved by Justus Perthes, Gotha, Germany.||
According to the census of 1901 the population of India (including Burma) was 294,361,056. But this vast mass of people does not constitute a single nationality, neither is it divided into a number of different nations of distinct blood and distinct language. They are drawn, indeed, from four well-marked elements: the non-Aryan tribes or aborigines of the country; the Aryan or Sanskrit-speaking race; the great mixed population which has grown out of a fusion of the two previous elements; and the Mahommedan invaders from the north-west. These four elements, however, have become inextricably mixed together, some predominating in one portion of the country, some in another, while all are found in every province and native state. The chief modern divisions of the population, therefore, do not follow the lines of blood and language, but of religion and caste.
Of the four elements already enumerated the oldest are the wild tribes of central India, such as the Bhils and Gonds, who probably represent the original inhabitants of the country. These number some 11,000,000. Second come the Dravidians of the south, amounting to about 54,000,000. Thirdly come the Aryans, inhabiting mainly that portion of India north of the Nerbudda which is known as Hindustan proper. Of these only the Brahmans and Rajputs, about 20,000,000, are of pure Aryan blood. The remaining 135,000,000 Hindus represent the fusion of Aryan and non-Aryan elements. Fourthly come the Mahommedans, numbering some 62,000,000. Many of them are the descendents of Arab, Afghan, Mogul and Persian invaders, and the remainder are converts made to Islam in the course of the centuries of Mahommedan rule.
The census report of 1901 divided the population of India into seven distinct racial types: the Turko-Iranian type, represented by the Baluch, Brahui and Afghans of the Baluchistan Agency and the North-West Frontier Province; the Racial types. Indo-Aryan type, occupying the Punjab, Rajputana and Kashmir, and having as its characteristic members the Rajputs, Khatris and Jats; the Scytho-Dravidian type of western India, comprising the Mahrattas; the Kunbis, and the Coorgs, probably formed by a mixture of Scythian and Dravidian elements; the Aryo-Dravidian type found in the United Provinces, in parts of Rajputana, and in Behar, represented in its upper strata by the Hindustani Brahman, and in its lower by the Chamar. This type is probably the result of the intermixture, in varying proportions, of the Indo-Aryan and Dravidian types, the former element predominating in the higher groups and the latter in the lower. The fifth type is the Mongolo-Dravidian of Bengal and Orissa, comprising the Bengal Brahmans and Kayasths, the Mahommedans of Eastern Bengal, and other groups peculiar to this part of India. It is probably a blend of Dravidian and Mongoloid elements with a strain of Indo-Aryan blood in the higher groups. The sixth type is the Mongoloid of the Himalayas, Nepal, Assam and Burma, represented by the Kanets of Lahoul and Kulu, the Lepchas of Darjeeling, the Limbus, Murmis and Gurungs of Nepal, the Bodo of Assam, and the Burmese. Seventh and last comes the Dravidian type, extending from Ceylon to the valley of the Ganges, and pervading the whole of Madras and Mysore and most of Hyderabad, the Central Provinces, Central India and Chota Nagpur. Its most characteristic representatives are the Paniyans of the south Indian hills and the Santals of Chota Nagpur. This is probably the original type of the population of India, now modified to a varying extent by the admixture of Aryan, Scythian and Mongoloid elements.
It is apparently from the differences in civilization and political power resulting from these successive strata of conquerors over the conquered that the Hindu system of caste arose. A caste is defined in the census report of 1901 as a collection Caste. of families or groups of families bearing a common name, which usually denotes or is associated with a specific occupation; claiming common descent from a mythical ancestor, human or divine, professing to follow the same calling, and regarded by those who are competent to give an opinion as forming a single homogeneous community. A caste is almost invariably endogamous, in the sense that a member of the large circle denoted by the common name may not marry outside that circle, but within the circle there are usually a number of smaller circles, each of which is also endogamous. Thus it is not enough to say at the present day that a Brahman cannot marry any woman who is not a Brahman; his wife must not only be a Brahman, but must also belong to the same endogamous division of the Brahman caste. The origin of caste was described by Sir Denzil Ibbetson in the Punjab Census Report of 1881 in the following terms: “We have the following steps in the process by which caste has been evolved in the Punjab—(1) the tribal divisions common to all primitive societies; (2) the gilds based upon hereditary occupation common to the middle life of all communities; (3) the exaltation of the priestly office to a degree unexampled in other countries; (4) the exaltation of the Levitical blood by a special insistence upon the necessarily hereditary nature of occupation; (5) the preservation and support of this principle by the elaboration from the theories of the Hindu creed or cosmogony of a purely artificial set of rules regulating marriage and intermarriage, declaring certain occupations and foods to be impure and polluting, and prescribing the conditions and degree of social intercourse permitted between the several castes. Add to these the pride of social rank and the pride of blood, which are natural to man, and which alone could reconcile a nation to restrictions at once irksome from a domestic and burdensome from a material point of view, and it is hardly to be wondered at that caste should have assumed the rigidity which distinguishes it in India.” Caste has, in fact, come to be the chief dominating factor in the life of the ordinary native of India. All a man’s actions from the cradle to the grave are regulated by it; and the tendency in modern India is for tribes to turn into castes. So widespread is its influence that, though originally a purely Hindu institution, it has come to exercise considerable influence over their Mahommedan neighbours (see Caste).
The chief Indian religions with the numbers of their followers according to the census of 1901 are: Hindu (207,147,026), Mahommedan (62,458,077), Buddhist (9,476,759), Sikh (2,195,339), Jain (1,334,148), Christian (2,923,241), Religion. Parsee (94,190), and Animist (8,584,148). The oldest of these religions is Animism (q.v.), which represents the beginnings of religion in India, and is still professed by the more primitive tribes, such as Santals, Bhils and Gonds. The transition from this crude form of religion to popular Hinduism (q.v.) is comparatively easy. The most obvious characteristics of the ordinary Hindu are that he worships a plurality of gods, looks upon the cow as a sacred animal, and accepts the Brahmanical supremacy (see Brahmanism) and the caste system; and when it is a question whether one of the animistic tribes has or has not entered the fold of Hinduism, these two latter points seem to be the proper test to apply. On the other hand there are various offshoots from orthodox Hinduism, the distinguishing feature of which, in their earlier history at least, is the obliteration of caste distinctions and the rejection of the Brahmanical hierarchy. It is doubtful if Buddhism, and still more so if Jainism and Sikhism, all of which are commonly recognized as distinct religions, ever differed from Hinduism to a greater extent than did the tenets of the earlier followers of Chaitanya in Bengal or those of the Lingayats in Mysore; and yet these latter two are regarded only as sects of Hinduism. Considerations of their history and past political importance have led to the elevation of Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism to the rank of independent religions, while the numerous other schismatic bodies are held to be only sects. But there is a marked tendency both on the part of the sects and of the distinct religions to lapse into the parent religion from which they sprang. In this way both Buddhism (q.v.) and Jains (q.v.) have almost been swallowed up by Hinduism; Sikhism (q.v.) is only preserved by the military requirements of the British, and even the antagonism between Hindu and Mahommedan is much less acute than it used to be. The bewildering diversity of religious beliefs collected under the name of Hinduism has no counterpart amongst the Mahommedans (see Mahommedan Religion), who are limited as to their main tenets by the teaching of a single book, the Koran. The two main sects are the Sunnis and the Shiahs. In India the Sunnis greatly preponderate, but they usually share with the Shiahs their veneration for Hasan and Husain and strictly observe the Mohurrum.
The Mahommedans of India may be divided into two classes, pure Mahommedans from the Mogul and Pathan conquering races, and Mahommedan converts, who differ very little from the surrounding Hindu population from which they originally sprang. The pure Mahommedans may again be subdivided into four sections: Moguls, or the descendants of the last conquering race, including Persians; Afghans or Pathans, who from their proximity to the frontier are much more strongly represented, chiefly in the Punjab and in the Rohilkhand division of the United Provinces; Sayads, who claim to be lineally descended from the Prophet; and Sheikhs, which is a name often adopted by converts. The remainder are unspecified, but the following tribes or classes among Indian Mussulmans are worthy of notice. In Bengal the vast majority of the Mahommedans manifestly belong to the same race as the lowest castes of Hindus. They are themselves subdivided into many classes, which in their devotion to hereditary occupations are scarcely to be distinguished from Hindu castes. In the Punjab, besides the Pathan immigrants from across the frontier, Islam has taken a strong hold of the native population. The census returned large numbers of Jats, Rajputs and Gujars among the Mussulmans. Here, again, the Mahommedans are not strongly distinguished from their Hindu brethren. Bombay possesses three peculiar classes of Mussulmans, each of which is specially devoted to maritime trade—the Memons, chiefly in Sind; the Borahs, mainly in Gujarat; and the Khojahs, of whom half live in the island of Bombay. In southern India the majority are known as Deccani Mussulmans, being descendants of the armies led by the kings and nawabs of the Deccan. But the two peculiar races of the south are the Moplahs and the Labbays, both of which are seated along the coast and follow a seafaring life. They are descended from the Arab traders who settled there in very early times, and were recruited partly by voluntary adhesions and partly by forcible conversions during the persecutions of Hyder Ali and Tippoo Sultan. The Moplahs of Malabar are notorious for repeated outbreaks of bloody fanaticism. In proportion to the total population Islam is most strongly represented in the North-West Frontier Province, where it is the religion of 92% of the inhabitants; then follow Kashmir and Sind with about 75% each. Eastern Bengal and Assam with 58%, the Punjab with 49%, Bengal with 18%, and the United Provinces with 14%. In the great Mahommedan state of Hyderabad the proportion is only 10%. It appears that the Mahommedans generally tend to increase at a faster rate than the Hindus.
The Sikh religion is almost entirely confined to the Punjab. Of the total number of 2,195,339 Sikhs all but 64,352 are found in the Punjab, and two-thirds of the remainder are in the United Provinces and Kashmir which adjoin it.
Buddhism had disappeared from India long before the East India Company gained a foothold in the country, and at the present day there are very few Buddhists in India proper. Of the 9,476,759 enumerated in the census of 1901 all but some three hundred thousand were in Burma. The greater part of the remainder are found in Bengal on the borders of Burma, on the borders of Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, and in the Spiti, Lahul and Kanawar districts of the Punjab Himalayas, where many of the inhabitants are of Tibetan origin.
More than two-fifths of the Jains in India are found in Bombay and its native states, including Baroda. They are proportionally most numerous in central and western Rajputana and in Gujarat and Central India.
The Parsees, though influential and wealthy, are a very small community, numbering only 94,000, of whom all but 7000 are found in Bombay. The remainder are scattered all over India, but are most numerous in Hyderabad, the Central India Agency, and the Central Provinces.
The Christian community numbers 2,923,241, of whom, 2,664,313 are natives and the remainder Europeans and Eurasians. Of the native Christians about two-fifths are Roman Catholics and one-eighth Uniat Syrians; one-ninth belong to the Anglican communion, one-eleventh are Jacobite Syrians, and one-twelfth are Baptists; while Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians are also represented. Nearly two-thirds of the total number are found in the Madras Presidency, including its native states. In Cochin and Travancore, where the Syrian church has most of its adherents, nearly a quarter of the entire population profess the Christian faith. More than four-fifths of the Christians in Madras proper are found in the eight southernmost districts, the scene of the labours of St Francis Xavier and the Protestant missionary Schwarz. The adherents of the Syrian church, known as “Christians of St Thomas,” in Malabar, Travancore and Cochin are the most ancient Christian community in the south. After these come the Roman Catholics, who trace their origin to the teaching of St Francis Xavier and the Madura Jesuits. The Protestant churches date only from about the beginning of the 19th century, but their progress since that time has been considerable. As is to be expected in the case of a religion with a strong proselytizing agency, the growth of Christianity is far more rapid than that of the general population. Taking native Christians alone, their numbers increased from 1,246,288 in 1872 to 2,664,313 in 1901, and the rate of increase in the thirty years was even greater than these figures would show, because they include the Syrian church, whose numbers are practically constant. The classes most receptive of Christianity are those who are outside the Hindu system, or whom Hinduism regards as degraded. Amongst the Hindu higher castes there are serious obstacles in the way of conversion, of which family influence and the caste system are the greatest.
Languages.—According to the linguistic survey of India no fewer than 147 distinct languages are recorded as vernacular in India. These are grouped according to the following system:—
Vernaculars of India.
|Malay Group (7831)||2|
|Mon-Khmer Family (427,760)||4|
|Tibeto-Burman Sub-family (9,560,454)||79|
|Siamese-Chinese Sub-family (1,724,085)||9|
|Dravidian Family (56,514,524)||14|
|Munda Family (3,179,275)||10|
|Indo-European Family, Aryan Sub-family—|
|Iranian Branch (1,377,023)||3|
|Indo-Aryan Branch (219,780,650)||22|
|Semitic Family (42,881)||1|
|Hamitic Family (5530)||1|
|Gipsy Languages (344,143)|
|Total Vernaculars of India||147|||
The only representatives of the Malayo-Polynesian group in India are the Selungs of the Mergui Archipelago and the Nicobarese. The Mon-Khmer family, which is most numerous in Indo-China, is here represented by the Talaings of southern Burma and the Khasis of Assam. Of the Tibeto-Chinese family, the Tibeto-Burman subfamily, as its name implies, is spoken from Tibet to Burma; while the Siamese-Chinese subfamily is represented by the Karens and Shans of Burma. The Munda or Kolarian family, which is now distinguished from the Dravidian, is almost confined to Chota Nagpur, its best-known tribe being the Santals. The Dravidian family includes the four literary languages of the south, as well as many dialects spoken by hill tribes in central India, and also the isolated Brahui in Baluchistan. Of the Indo-European family, the Iranian branch inhabits Persia, Afghanistan and Baluchistan; while the Indo-Aryan branch is spoken by the great mass of the people of northern India. The only Semitic language is Arabic, found at Aden, where also the Hamitic Somali was returned. Gipsy dialects are used by the nomadic tribes of India, while Andamanese has not been connected by philologists with any recognized family of speech.
All the chief languages of India are described under their separate names.
Education.—The existing system of education in India is mainly dependent upon the government, being directly organized by the state, at least in its higher departments, assisted throughout by grants-in-aid and under careful inspection. But at no period of its history has India been an altogether unenlightened country. The origin of the Deva-Nagari alphabet is lost in antiquity, though that is generally admitted not to be of indigenous invention. Inscriptions on stone and copper, the palm-leaf records of the temples, and in later days the widespread manufacture of paper, all alike indicate, not only the general knowledge, but also the common use, of the art of writing. From the earliest times the caste of Brahmans has preserved, by oral tradition as well as in MSS., a literature unrivalled alike in its antiquity and in the intellectual subtlety of its contents. The Mahommedan invaders introduced the profession of the historian, which reached a high degree of excellence, even as compared with contemporary Europe. Through all changes of government vernacular instruction in its simplest form has always been given, at least to the children of respectable classes, in every large village. On the one hand, the tols or seminaries for teaching Sanskrit philosophy at Benares and Nadiya recall the schools of Athens and Alexandria; on the other, the importance attached to instruction in accounts reminds us of the picture which Horace has left of a Roman education. Even at the present day knowledge of reading and writing is, owing to the teaching of Buddhist monks, as widely diffused throughout Burma as it is in some countries of Europe. English efforts to stimulate education have ever been most successful when based upon the existing indigenous institutions.
During the early days of the East India Company’s rule the promotion of education was not recognized as a duty of government. The enlightened mind of Warren Hastings did indeed anticipate his age by founding the Calcutta madrasa for Mahommedan teaching, and by affording steady patronage alike to Hindu pundits and European students. But Wellesley’s schemes of imperial dominion did not extend beyond the establishment of a college for English officials. Of the Calcutta colleges, that of Sanskrit was founded in 1824, when Lord Amherst was governor-general, the medical college by Lord William Bentinck in 1835, the Hooghly madrasa by a wealthy native gentleman in 1836. The Sanskrit college at Benares had been established in 1791, the Agra college in 1823. Meanwhile the missionaries made the field of vernacular education their own. Discouraged by the official authorities, and ever liable to banishment or deportation, they not only devoted themselves with courage to their special work of evangelization, but were also the first to study the vernacular dialects spoken by the common people. Just as two centuries earlier the Jesuits at Madura, in the extreme south, composed works in Tamil, which are still acknowledged as classical by native authors, so did the Baptist mission at Serampur, near Calcutta, first raise Bengali to the rank of a literary dialect. The interest of the missionaries in education, which has never ceased to the present day, though now comparatively overshadowed by government activity, had two distinct aspects. They studied the vernacular, in order to reach the people by their preaching and to translate the Bible; and they taught English, as the channel of non-sectarian learning.
At last the government awoke to its own responsibility in the matter of education, after the long and acrimonious controversy between the advocates of English and vernacular teaching had worn itself out. The present system dates from 1854, being based upon a comprehensive despatch sent out by Sir C. Wood (afterwards Lord Halifax) in that year. At that time the three universities were founded at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay; English-teaching schools were established in every district; the benefit of grants-in-aid was extended to the lower vernacular institutions and to girls’ schools; and public instruction was erected into a department of the administration in every province, under a director, with a staff of inspectors. In some respects this scheme may have been in advance of the time; but it supplied a definite outline, which has gradually been filled up with each succeeding year of progress. A network of schools has now been spread over the country, graduated from the indigenous village institutions up to the highest colleges. All alike receive some measure of pecuniary support, which is justified by the guarantee of regular inspection; and a series of scholarships at once stimulates efficiency and opens a path to the university for children of the poor.
During Lord Curzon’s term of office the whole system of education in India was examined, reported upon and improved. The five universities of Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, Allahabad and Lahore, which were formerly merely examining bodies, had their senates reformed by the introduction of experts; while hostels or boarding-houses for the college students were founded, so as to approach more nearly to the English ideal of residential institutions. The schools for secondary education were found to be fairly prosperous, owing to the increasing demand for English education; but more teachers and more inspectors were provided. In the primary schools, however, which provide vernacular teaching for the masses, there were only 4½ million pupils to the 300 millions of India. In 1901 three out of every four country villages had no school, only 3,000,000 boys, or less than one-fifth of the total number of school-going age, were in receipt of primary education, and only one girl for every ten of the male sex, or 2½% of the female population of school-going age. In order to remedy these defects primary education was made a first charge upon provincial revenues, and a permanent annual grant of £213,000 was made from the central government, with the result that thousands of new primary schools have since been opened. The technical schools may be divided into two classes, technical colleges and schools and industrial schools. The former include colleges of engineering and agriculture, veterinary colleges, schools of art and similar institutions. Several of these, such as the Rurki and Sibpur engineering colleges, the college of science at Poona, the Victoria Jubilee Institute at Bombay and some of the schools of art, have shown excellent results. The agricultural colleges have been less successful. The industrial schools were largely engaged in 1901 in teaching carpentry and smithy-work to boys who never intended to be carpenters or smiths; but this misdirection of industry has since been remedied, and the industrial schools have been made the first stepping-stone towards a professional career. In addition a number of technical scholarships of £150 each have been founded tenable in Europe or America.
By the act of parliament which transferred the government of India from the company to the crown, the administration in England is exercised by the sovereign through a secretary of state, who inherits all the powers formerly belonging to the Court of Directors and the Board of Control, and who, as a member of the cabinet, is responsible to parliament. In administrative details he is assisted by the Council of India, an advisory body, with special control over finance. This council consists of not more than fifteen and not fewer than ten members, appointed by the secretary of state for a term of seven years, of whom at least nine must have served or resided in India for ten years. A Hindu and a Mahommedan were for the first time appointed to the council in 1907.
At the head of the government in India is the governor-general, styled also viceroy, as representative of the sovereign. He is appointed by the crown, and his tenure of office is five years. The supreme authority, civil and The Supreme Government. military, including control over all the local governments, is vested in the governor-general in council, commonly known as “the Government of India,” which has its seat at Calcutta during the cold season from November to April, and migrates to Simla in the Punjab hills for the rest of the year. The executive council of the governor-general is composed of six ordinary members, likewise appointed by the crown for a term of five years, of whom three must have served for ten years in India and one must be a barrister, together with the commander-in-chief as an extraordinary member. A Hindu barrister was first appointed a member of council in 1909. The several departments of administration—Foreign, Home, Finance, Legislative, Army, Revenue and Agriculture (with Public Works), Commerce and Industry, Education (added in 1910)—are distributed among the council after the fashion of a European cabinet, the foreign portfolio being reserved by the viceroy; but all orders and resolutions are issued in the name of the governor-general in council and must be signed by a secretary.
For legislative purposes the executive council is enlarged into a legislative council by the addition of other members, ex officio, nominated and elected. In accordance with regulations made under the Indian Councils Act The Legislative Council. 1909, these additional members number 61, making 68 in all with the viceroy, so arranged as to give an official majority of three. The only ex-officio additional member is the lieutenant-governor of the province in which the legislative council may happen to meet; nominated members number 35, of whom not more than 28 may be officials; while 25 are elected, directly or indirectly, with special representation for Mahommedans and landholders. Apart from legislation, the members of the council enjoy the right to interpellate the government on all matters of public interest, including the putting of supplementary questions; the right to move and discuss general resolutions, which, if carried, have effect only as recommendations; and the right to discuss and criticize in detail the budget, or annual financial statement.
The local or provincial governments are fifteen in all, with varying degrees of responsibility. First stand the two presidencies of Madras (officially Fort St George) and Bombay, each of which is administered by a governor and council appointed by the crown. The governor is usually sent from England; the members of council may number four, of whom two must have served in India for ten years. Next follow the five lieutenant-governorships of Bengal, the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, the Punjab, Burma, and Eastern Bengal and Assam, for each of which a council may be appointed, beginning with Bengal. Last come the chief commissionerships, of which the Central Provinces (with Berar) rank scarcely below the lieutenant-governorships, while the rest—the North-West Frontier Province, British Baluchistan, Ajmer-Merwara, Coorg and the Andamans—are minor charges, generally associated with political supervision over native states or frontier tribes. The two presidencies and also the five lieutenant-governorships each possesses a legislative council, modelled on that of the governor-general, but so that in every case there shall be a majority of non-official members, varying from 13 to 3.
Within the separate provinces the administrative unit is the district, of which there are 249 in India. In every province except Madras there are divisions, consisting of three or more districts under a commissioner. The title Districts. of the district officer varies according to whether the province is “regulation” or “non-regulation.” This is an old distinction, which now tends to become obsolete; but broadly speaking a larger measure of discretion is allowed in the non-regulation provinces, and the district officer may be a military officer, while in the regulation provinces he must be a member of the Indian civil service. In a regulation province the district officer is styled a collector, while in a non-regulation province he is called a deputy-commissioner. The chief non-regulation provinces are the Punjab, Central Provinces and Burma; but non-regulation districts are also to be found in Bengal, Eastern Bengal and Assam, the United Provinces and Sind.
The districts are partitioned out into lesser tracts, which are strictly units of administration, though subordinate ones. The system of partitioning, and also the nomenclature, vary in the different provinces; but generally it may be said that the subdivision or tahsil is the ultimate unit of administration. The double name indicates the twofold principle of separation: the subdivision is properly the charge of an assistant magistrate or executive officer, the tahsil is the charge of a deputy-collector or fiscal officer; and these two offices may or may not be in the same hands. Broadly speaking, the subdivision is characteristic of Bengal, where revenue duties are in the background, and the tahsil of Madras, where the land settlement requires attention year by year. There is no administrative unit below the subdivision or tahsil. The thana, or police division, only exists for police purposes. The pargana, or fiscal division, under native rule, has now but an historical interest. The village still remains as the agricultural unit, and preserves its independence for revenue purposes in most parts of the country. The township is peculiar to Burma.
Bengal (including Eastern Bengal and Assam), Madras, Bombay and the old North-Western Provinces each has a high court, established by charter under an act of parliament, with judges appointed by the crown. The Judicial Service. Of the other provinces the Punjab and Lower Burma have chief courts, and Oudh, the Central Provinces, Upper Burma, Sind and the North-West Frontier Province have judicial commissioners, all established by local legislation. From the high courts, chief courts and judicial commissioners an appeal lies to the judicial committee of the privy council in England. Below these courts come district and sessions judges, who perform the ordinary judicial work of the country, civil and criminal. Their jurisdictions coincide for the most part with the magisterial and fiscal boundaries. But, except in Madras, where the districts are large, a single civil and sessions judge sometimes exercises jurisdiction over more than one district. In the non-regulation territory judicial and executive functions are to a large extent combined in the same hands.
The law administered in the Indian courts is described in the article Indian Law.
The chief of the Indian services is technically known as the Indian civil service. It is limited to about a thousand members, who are chosen by open competition in England between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-four. Indian Services. Nearly all the higher appointments, administrative and judicial, are appropriated by statute to this service, with the exception of a few held by military officers on civil duty in the non-regulation provinces. Other services mainly or entirely recruited in England are the education department, police, engineering, public works, telegraph and forest services. In addition to the British officials employed in these services, there is a host of natives of India holding superior or subordinate appointments in the government service. According to a calculation made in 1904, out of 1370 appointments with a salary of £800 a year and upwards, 1263 were held by Europeans, 15 by Eurasians and 92 by natives of India. But below that line natives of India greatly preponderate; of 26,908 appointments ranging between £800 and £60 a year, only 5205 were held by Europeans, 5420 by Eurasians and 16,283 by natives.
These figures show that less than 6500 Englishmen are employed to rule over the 300 millions of India. On the other hand, natives manage the greater part of the administration of the revenue and land affairs and magisterial work. The subordinate courts throughout India are almost entirely manned by native judges, who sit also on the bench in each of the High Courts. Similarly in the other services. There are four engineering colleges in India, which furnish to natives access to the higher grades of the public works department; and the provincial education services are recruited solely in India.
Though the total strength of the army in India has undergone little change, important reforms of organization have been effected in recent years which have greatly improved its efficiency. In 1895, after long discussion, the The Army. old presidency system was abolished and the whole army was placed under one commander-in-chief, though it was not till 1904 that the native regiments of cavalry and infantry were re-numbered consecutively, and the Hyderabad contingent and a few local battalions were incorporated with the rest of the army. About the same time (1903) the designation of British officers serving with native troops was changed from “Indian Staff Corps” to “Indian Army.” The entire force, British and native, is now subdivided into a Northern and a Southern Army, with Burma as an independent command attached to the latter. Each of these armies is organized in divisions, nine in number, based on the principles that the troops in peace should be trained in units of command similar to those in which they would take the field, and that much larger powers should be entrusted to the divisional commanders. At the same time large sums of money have been expended on strategic works along the north-west frontier, supply and transport has been reorganized, rifle, gun and ammunition factories have been established, and a Staff College at Quetta.
In 1907-1908 the actual strength of the army in India numbered 227,714 officers and men, of whom 73,947 were British troops; and the total military expenditure amounted to £17,625,000, of which £2,996,000 was for non-effective charges. In addition, the reserve of the native army numbered 34,846 men, the volunteers 34,962, the frontier militia (including the Khyber Rifles) about 6000, the levies (chiefly in Baluchistan) about 6000, and the military police (chiefly in Burma) about 22,000. These figures do not include the Imperial Service troops, consisting of cavalry, infantry and transport corps, about 18,000 in all, which are paid and officered by the native states furnishing them, though supervised by British inspectors. The military forces otherwise maintained by the several native states are estimated to number about 100,000 men, of varying degrees of efficiency.
The police, it is admitted, still form an unsatisfactory part of the administration, though important reforms have recently been introduced. The present system, which is modelled somewhat on that of the Irish constabulary, Police. dates from shortly after the Mutiny, and is regulated for the greater part of the country by an act passed in 1861. It provides a regular force in each district, under a superintendent who is almost always a European, subordinate for general purposes to the district magistrate. For the preservation of order this force is by no means inefficient, but it fails as a detective agency and also in the prosecution of crime, being distrusted by the people generally. As the result of a Commission appointed in 1902, a considerable addition has been made to the expenditure on police, which is being devoted to increasing the pay of all the lower grades and to augmenting the number of investigating officers. In 1901 the total strength of the civil police force was about 145,000 men, maintained at a total cost of about £2,200,000. In addition, the village watchmen or chaukidars, a primitive institution paid from local sources but to some extent incorporated in the general system, aggregated about 700,000; while a special force of military police, numbering about 20,000 under officers seconded from the army, is maintained along the frontier, more especially in Burma.
The administration of gaols in India can be described more favourably. As a rule, there is one gaol in each district, under the management of the civil surgeon. Discipline is well maintained, though separate confinement Gaols. is practically unknown; and various industries (especially carpet-weaving) are profitably pursued wherever possible. So much attention has been directed to diet and sanitation that the death-rate compares well with that of the general working population: in 1907 it was as low as 18 per 1000. Convicts with more than six years to serve are transported to the Andaman Islands, where the penal settlement is organized on an elaborate system, permitting ultimately self-support on a ticket of leave and even marriage. In 1907 the daily average gaol population in India was 87,306, while the convicts in the Andamans numbered 14,235.
Local self-government, municipal and rural, in the form in which it now prevails in India, is essentially a product of British rule. Village communities and trade gilds in towns existed previously, but these were only rudimentary forms of Municipalities. self-government. The beginnings of municipal government occurred in the Presidency towns. Apart from these the act of 1850 respecting improvements in towns initiated consultative committees. In 1870 Lord Mayo delegated to local committees the control over these improvement funds. But the system at present in force is based upon legislation by Lord Ripon in 1882, providing for the establishment of municipal committees and local boards, whose members should be chosen by election with a preponderance of non-official members. The large towns of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras have municipalities of this character, and there are large numbers of municipal committees and local boards all over the country. There are also Port Trusts in the great maritime cities of Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Karachi and Rangoon.
As the land furnishes the main source of Indian revenue, so the assessment of the land tax is the main work of Indian administration. No technical term is more familiar to Anglo-Indians, and none more strange to the Land Settlement. English public, than that of land settlement. No subject has given rise to more voluminous controversy. It will be enough in this place to explain the general principles upon which the system is based, and to indicate the chief differences of application in the several provinces. That the state should appropriate to itself a direct share in the produce of the soil is a fundamental maxim of Indian finance that has been recognized throughout the East from time immemorial. The germs of rival systems can be traced in the old military and other service tenures of Assam, and in the poll tax of Burma, &c. The exclusive development of the land system is due to two conditions,—a comparatively high state of agriculture and an organized plan of administration,—both of which are supplied by the primitive village community. During the lapse of untold generations, despite domestic anarchy and foreign conquest, the Hindu village has in many parts preserved its simple customs, written in the imperishable tablets of traditions. The land was not held by private owners but by occupiers under the petty corporation; the revenue was not due from individuals, but from the community represented by its head-man. The aggregate harvest of the village fields was thrown into a common fund, and before the general distribution the head-man was bound to set aside the share of the state. No other system of taxation could be theoretically more just, or in practice less obnoxious to the people. Such is an outline of the land system as it may be found at the present day throughout large portions of India both under British and native rule; and such we may fancy it to have been universally before the Mahommedan conquest. The Mussulmans brought with them the avarice of conquerors, and a stringent system of revenue collection. Under the Mogul empire, as organized by Akbar the Great, the share of the state was fixed at one-third of the gross produce of the soil; and a regular army of tax-collectors was permitted to intervene between the cultivator and the supreme government. The entire vocabulary of the present land system is borrowed from the Mogul administration. The zamindar himself is a creation of the Mahommedans, unknown to the early Hindu system. He was originally a mere tax-collector, or farmer of the land revenue, who agreed to furnish a lump sum from the tract of country assigned to him. If the Hindu village system may be praised for its justice, the Mogul farming system had at least the merit of efficiency. Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb extracted a larger land revenue than the British do. When the government was first undertaken by the East India Company, no attempt was made to understand the social system upon which the land revenue was based. The zamindar was conspicuous and useful; the village community and the cultivating ryot did not force themselves into notice. The zamindar seemed a solvent person, capable of keeping a contract; and his official position as tax-collector was confused with the proprietary rights of an English landlord. The superior stability of the village system was overlooked, and in the old provinces of Bengal and Madras the village organization has gradually been suffered to fall into decay. The consistent aim of the British authorities has been to establish private property in the soil, so far as is consistent with the punctual payment of the revenue. The annual government demand, like the succession duty in England, is universally the first liability on the land; when that is satisfied, the registered landholder has powers of sale or mortgage scarcely more restricted than those of a tenant in fee-simple. At the same time the possible hardships, as regards the cultivator, of this absolute right of property vested in the owner have been anticipated by the recognition of occupancy rights or fixity of tenure, under certain conditions. Legal rights are everywhere taking the place of unwritten customs. Land, which was before merely a source of livelihood to the cultivator and of revenue to the state, has now become the subject of commercial speculation. The fixing of the revenue demand has conferred upon the owner a credit which he never before possessed, by allowing him a certain share of the unearned increment. This credit he may use improvidently, but none the less has the land system of India been raised from a lower to a higher stage of civilization.
The means by which the land revenue is assessed is known as settlement, and the assessor is styled a settlement officer. In Bengal the assessment has been accomplished once and for all, but throughout the greater part of the rest of India the process is continually going on. The details vary in the different provinces; but, broadly speaking, a settlement may be described as the ascertainment of the agricultural capacity of the land. Prior to the settlement is the work of survey, which first determines the area of every village and frequently of every field also. Then comes the settlement officer, whose duty it is to estimate the character of the soil, the kind of crop, the opportunities for irrigation, the means of communication and their probable development in the future, and all other circumstances which tend to affect the value of the produce. With these facts before him, he proceeds to assess the government demand upon the land according to certain general principles, which may vary in the several provinces. The final result is a settlement report, which records, as in a Domesday Book, the entire mass of agricultural statistics concerning the district.
Lower Bengal and a few adjoining districts of the United Provinces and of Madras have a permanent settlement, i.e. the land revenue has been fixed in perpetuity. When the Company obtained the diwání or financial administration of Bengal in 1765, the theory of a settlement, as described above, was unknown. The existing Mahommedan system was adopted in its entirety. Engagements, sometimes yearly, sometimes for a term of years, were entered into with the zamindars to pay a lump sum for the area over which they exercised control. If the offer of the zamindar was not deemed satisfactory, another contractor was substituted in his place. But no steps were taken, and perhaps no steps were possible, to ascertain in detail the amount which the country could afford to pay. For more than twenty years these temporary engagements continued, and received the sanction of Warren Hastings, the first titular governor-general of India. Hastings’ great rival, Francis, was among those who urged the superior advantages of a permanent assessment. At last, in 1789, a more accurate investigation into the agricultural resources of Bengal was commenced, and the settlement based upon this investigation was declared perpetual by Lord Cornwallis in 1793. The zamindars of that time were raised to the status of landlords, with rights of transfer and inheritance, subject always to the payment in perpetuity of a rent-charge. In default of due payment, their lands were liable to be sold to the highest bidder. The aggregate assessment was fixed at sikká Rs.26,800,989, equivalent to Co.’s Rs.28,587,722, or say 2¾ millions sterling. While the claim of Government against the zamindars was thus fixed for ever, it was intended that the rights of the zamindars over their own tenants should be equally restricted. But no detailed record of tenant-right was inserted in the settlement papers, and, as a matter of fact, the cultivators lost rather than gained in security of tenure. The same English prejudice which made a landlord of the zamindar could recognize nothing but a tenant-at-will in the ryot. By two stringent regulations of 1799 and 1812 the tenant was practically put at the mercy of a rack-renting landlord. If he failed to pay his rent, however excessive, his property was rendered liable to distraint and his person to imprisonment. At the same time the operation of the revenue sale law had introduced a new race of zamindars, who were bound to their tenants by no traditions of hereditary sympathy, but whose sole object was to make a profit out of their newly purchased property. The rack-rented peasantry found no protection in the law courts until 1859, when an act was passed which restricted the landlord’s powers of enhancement in certain specified cases. Later the Bengal Tenancy Act of 1885, since amended by an act of 1898, created various classes of privileged tenants, including one class known as “settled ryots,” in which the qualifying condition is holding land, not necessarily the same land, for twelve years continuously in one village. Outside the privileged classes of tenants the act gives valuable protection to tenants-at-will. The progress in the acquisition of occupancy rights by tenants may be judged from the fact that, whereas in 1877 it was stated of the Champaran district that the cultivator had hardly acquired any permanent interest in the soil, the settlement officer in 1900 reported that 87% of the occupied area was in the possession of tenants with occupancy rights or holding at fixed rates. It is believed that the ryots will eventually be able to secure, and to hold against all comers, the strong legal position which the Bengal Tenancy Act has given them.
The permanent settlement was confined to the three provinces of Bengal, Behar and Orissa, according to their boundaries at that time. Orissa proper, which was conquered from the Mahrattas in 1803, is subject to a temporary settlement, which expired in 1897 and a re-settlement was made in 1900. The enhancement in the revenue amounted to 52% of the previous demand; but in estates in which the increase was specially large it was decided to introduce the new rates gradually.
The prevailing system throughout the Madras presidency is the ryotwari, which takes the cultivator or peasant proprietor as its rent-paying unit, somewhat as the Bengal system takes the zamindar. This system cannot be called The Ryotwari system. indigenous to the country, any more than the zamindari of Bengal. If any system deserves that name, it is that of village assessment, which still lingers in the memories of the people in the south. When the British declared themselves heir to the nawab of the Carnatic at the opening of the 19th century, they had no adequate experience of revenue management. The authorities in England favoured the zamindari system already at work in Bengal, which appeared at least calculated to secure punctual payment. The Madras Government was accordingly instructed to enter into permanent engagements with zamindars, and, where no zamindars could be found, to create substitutes out of enterprising contractors. The attempt resulted in failure in every case, except where the zamindars happened to be the representatives of ancient lines of powerful chiefs. Several of such chiefs exist in the extreme south and in the north of the presidency. Their estates have been guaranteed to them on payment of a peshkash or permanent tribute, and are saved by the custom of primogeniture from the usual fate of subdivision. Throughout the rest of Madras there are no zamindars either in name or fact. The influence of Sir Thomas Munro afterwards led to the adoption of the ryotwari system, which will always be associated with his name. According to this system, an assessment is made with the cultivating proprietor upon the land taken up for cultivation year by year. Neither zamindar nor village officer intervenes between the cultivator and the state, which takes directly upon its own shoulders all a landlord’s responsibility. The early ryotwari settlements in Madras were based upon insufficient experience. They were preceded by no survey, but adopted the crude estimates of native officials. Since 1858 a department of revenue survey has been organized, and the old assessments have been everywhere revised.
Nothing can be more complete in theory and more difficult of exposition than a Madras ryotwari settlement. First, the entire area of the district, whether cultivated or uncultivated, and of each field within the district is accurately measured. The next step is to calculate the estimated produce of each field, having regard to every kind of both natural and artificial advantage. Lastly, a rate is fixed upon every field, which may be regarded as roughly equal to one-third of the gross and one-half of the net produce. The elaborate nature of these inquiries and calculations may be inferred from the fact that as many as thirty-five different rates are sometimes struck for a single district, ranging from 6d. to £1, 4s. per acre. The rates thus ascertained are fixed for a term of thirty years; but during that period the aggregate rent-roll of a district is liable to be affected by several considerations. New land may be taken up for cultivation, or old land may be abandoned; and occasional remissions are permitted under no less than eighteen specified heads. Such matters are discussed and decided by the collector at the jamabandi or court held every year for definitely ascertaining the amount of revenue to be paid by each ryot for the current season. This annual inquiry has sometimes been mistaken by careless passers-by for an annual reassessment of each ryot’s holding. It is not, however, a change in the rates for the land which he already holds, but an inquiry into and record of the changes in his former holding or of any new land which he may wish to take up.
In the early days of British rule no system whatever prevailed throughout the Bombay presidency; and even at the present time there are tracts where something of the old confusion survives. The modern “survey tenure,” as it is called, dates from 1838, when it was first introduced into one of the tálukas of Poona district, and it has since been gradually extended over the greater part of the presidency. As its name implies, the settlement is preceded by survey. Each field is measured, and an assessment placed upon it according to the quality of the soil without any attempt to fix the actual average produce. This assessment holds good, without any possibility of modification, for a term of thirty years. The Famine Commission of 1901 suggested the following measures with a view to improving the position of the Bombay ryot: (1) A tenancy law to protect expropriated ryots, (2) a bankruptcy law, (3) the limitation of the right of transfer, in the interests of ryots who are still in possession of their land.
In the other provinces variations of the zamindari and ryotwari systems are found. In the United Provinces and the Punjab the ascertainment of the actual rents paid is the necessary preliminary to the land revenue demand. The other Provinces. In the Central Provinces, where the landlords (malguzars) derive their title from the revenue settlements made under British rule, the rents are actually fixed by the settlement officer for varying periods. In addition nearly every province has its own laws regulating the subject of tenancy; the tenancy laws of the United Provinces and of the Central Provinces were revised and amended during the decade 1891-1901.
The principles of the land revenue settlement and administration were reviewed by the government of India in a resolution presented to parliament in 1902, in which its policy is summarised as follows:—
Land Tenures and Settlements. “In the review of their land revenue policy which has now been brought to a close, the Government of India claim to have established the following propositions, which, for convenience’ sake, it may be desirable to summarize before concluding this Resolution:—
(1) That a Permanent Settlement, whether in Bengal or elsewhere, is no protection against the incidence and consequences of famine.
(2) That in areas where the State receives its land revenue from landlords, progressive moderation is the key-note of the policy of Government, and that the standard of 50% of the assets is one which is almost uniformly observed in practice, and is more often departed from on the side of deficiency than of excess.
(3) That in the same areas the State has not objected, and does not hesitate, to interfere by legislation to protect the interests of the tenants against oppression at the hands of the landlord.
(4) That in areas where the State takes the land revenue from the cultivators, the proposal to fix the assessment at one-fifth of the gross produce would result in the imposition of a greatly increased burden upon the people.
(5) That the policy of long term settlements is gradually being extended, the exceptions being justified by conditions of local development.
(6) That a simplification and cheapening of the proceedings connected with new settlements and an avoidance of the harassing invasion of an army of subordinate officials, are a part of the deliberate policy of Government.
(7) That the principle of exempting or allowing for improvements is one of general acceptance, but may be capable of further extension.
(8) That assessments have ceased to be made upon prospective assets.
(9) That local taxation as a whole, though susceptible of some redistribution, is neither immoderate nor burdensome.
(10) That over-assessment is not, as alleged, a general or widespread source of poverty and indebtedness in India, and that it cannot fairly be regarded as a contributory cause of famine.
The Government of India have further laid down liberal principles for future guidance and will be prepared, where the necessity is established, to make further advance in respect of:—
(11) The progressive and graduated imposition of large enhancements.
(12) Greater elasticity in the revenue collection, facilitating its adjustment to the variations of the seasons, and the circumstances of the people.
(13) A more general resort to reduction of assessments in cases of local deterioration, where such reduction cannot be claimed under the terms of settlement.”
In 1900-1901 the total land revenue realized from territory under British administration in India amounted to £17,325,000, the rate per cultivated acre varying from 3s. 1d. in Madras to 10d. in the Central Provinces. The general conclusion of the Famine Commission of 1901 was that “except in Bombay, where it is full, the incidence of land revenue is low to moderate in ordinary years, and it should in no way per se be the cause of indebtedness.”
Prior to the successive reductions of the salt duty in 1903, 1905 and 1907, next to land, salt contributed the largest share to the Indian revenue; and, where salt is locally manufactured, its supervision becomes an important part of Salt Administration. administrative duty. Up to within quite recent times the tax levied upon salt varied extremely in different parts of the country, and a strong preventive staff was required to be stationed along a continuous barrier hedge, which almost cut the peninsula into two fiscal sections. The reform of Sir J. Strachey in 1878, by which the higher rates were reduced and the lower rates raised, with a view to their ultimate equalization over the whole country, effectually abolished this old engine of oppression. Communication is now free; and it has been found that prices are absolutely lowered by thus bringing the consumer nearer to his market, even though the rate of taxation be increased. Broadly speaking the salt consumed in India is derived from four sources: (1) importation by sea, chiefly from England and the Red Sea and Aden; (2) solar evaporation in shallow tanks along the seaboard; (3) the salt lakes in Rajputana; (4) quarrying in the salt hills of the northern Punjab. The salt lakes in Rajputana have been leased by the government of India from the rulers of the native states in which they lie, and the huge salt deposits of the Salt Range mines are worked under government control, as also are the brine works on the Runn of Cutch. At the Kohat mines, and in the salt evaporation works on the sea-coast, with the exception of a few of the Madras factories, the government does not come between the manufacturer and the merchant, except in so far as is necessary in order to levy the duty from the salt as it issues from the factory. The salt administration is in the hands of (1) the Northern India Salt Department, which is directly under the government of India, and controls the salt resources of Rajputana and the Punjab, and (2) the salt revenue authorities of Madras and Bombay.
The consumption of salt per head in India varies from 7 ℔ in Rajputana to 16.02 ℔ in Madras. The salt duty, which stood in 1888 at Rs.2½ per maund, was reduced in 1903 to Rs.2, in 1905 to Rs.1½ and in 1907 to R. 1 per maund, the rate being uniform all over India. In 1907-1908 the gross yield of the salt duty was £3,339,000, of which more than one-fourth was derived from imported salt.
The heading Opium in the finance accounts represents the duty on the export of the drug. The duty on local consumption, which is included under excise, yielded £981,000 in 1907-1908. The opium revenue proper is derived Opium. from two sources: (1) a monopoly of production in the valley of the Ganges, and (2) a transit duty levied on opium grown in the native states of western India, known as Malwa opium. Throughout British territory the growth of the poppy is almost universally prohibited, except in a certain tract of Bengal and the United Provinces, where it is grown with the help of advances from government and under strict supervision. The opium, known as “provision opium,” is manufactured in government factories at Patna and Ghazipur, and sold by auction at Calcutta for export to China. The net opium revenue represents the difference between the sum realized at these sales and the cost of production. Malwa opium is exported from Bombay, the duty having previously been levied on its passage into British territory. In 1907-1908 the net opium revenue from both sources amounted to £3,576,000. The Chinese government having issued an edict that the growth and consumption of opium in China should be entirely suppressed within ten years, the government of India accordingly agreed in 1908 that the export of opum from India should be reduced year by year, so that the opium revenue would henceforth rapidly decline and might be expected to cease altogether. In 1908 an international commission that met at Shanghai passed resolutions inviting all the states there represented to take measures for the gradual suppression of the manufacture, sale and distribution of opium, except for medicinal purposes.
Excise.—Excise, like salt, is not only a department of revenue collection, but also to a great extent a branch of the executive. In other words, excise duties in India are not a mere tax upon the consumer, levied for convenience through the manufacturer and retail dealer, but a species of government monopoly. The only excisable articles are intoxicants and drugs; and the avowed object of the state is to check consumption not less than to raise revenue. The limit of taxation and restriction is the point at which too great encouragement is given to smuggling. Details vary in the different provinces, but the general plan of administration is the same. The right to manufacture and the right to retail are both monopolies of government permitted to private individuals only upon terms. Distillation of country spirits is allowed according to two systems—either to the highest bidder under strict supervision, or only upon certain spots set apart for the purpose. The latter is known as the sadr or central distillery system. The right of sale is also usually farmed out to the highest bidder, subject to regulations fixing the minimum quantity of liquor that may be sold at one time. The brewing of beer from rice and other grains, which is universal among the hill tribes and other aboriginal races, is practically untaxed and unrestrained. The European breweries at several hill stations pay the same tax as imported beer. Apart from spirits, excise duties are levied upon the sale of a number of intoxicating or stimulant drugs, of which the most important are opium, bhang, ganja and charas. Opium is issued for local consumption in India from the government manufactories at Ghazipur and Patna in the Behar and Benares Agencies, and sold through private retailers at a monopoly price. Bhang, ganja and charas are three different narcotic drugs prepared from the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa, var. indica). Scientifically speaking, bhang consists of the dried leaves and small stalks, with a few fruits; ganja of the flowering and fruiting heads of the female plant; while charas is the resin itself, collected in various ways as it naturally exudes. The plant grows wild in many parts of India; but the cultivation of it for ganja is practically confined to a limited area in the Rajshahi district of eastern Bengal, and charas is mainly imported from Central Asia. The use of bhang in moderation is comparatively harmless; ganja and charas when taken in excess are undoubtedly injurious, leading to crime and sometimes to insanity. In accordance with the recommendations of the Hemp Drugs Commission, the government of India passed an act in 1896 providing that, in regard to ganja and charas, cultivation of the plants should be restricted as much as possible, and that a direct quantitative duty should be levied on the drugs on issue from the warehouse in the province of consumption; while as regards bhang, cultivation of the hemp for its production should be prohibited or taxed, and collection of the drug from wild plants permitted only under licence, a moderate quantitative duty being levied in addition to vend fees. No duty whatever is now levied upon tobacco in any part of India. The plant is universally grown by the cultivators for their own smoking, and, like everything else, was subject to taxation under native rule; but the impossibility of accurate excise supervision has caused the British government to abandon the impost. In 1907-1908 the total gross revenue from excise amounted to £6,214,000, of which more than two-thirds was derived from spirits and toddy.
Since 1894 a uniform customs duty of 5% ad valorem has been levied generally on imported goods, certain classes being placed on the free list, of which the most important are food-grains, machinery, railway material, coal, and cotton twist and yarn (exempted in 1896). Most classes of iron and steel are admitted at the lower rate of 1%. Cotton goods are taxed at 3½%, whether imported or woven in Indian mills. Special duties are imposed on liquors, arms and ammunition and petroleum, while imported salt pays the same duty as salt manufactured locally. From 1899 to 1904 a countervailing duty was imposed on bounty-fed beet sugar. There is also a customs duty at the rate of about 3d. per 82 ℔ on exported rice. In 1907-1908 the total customs revenue amounted to £4,910,000, of which £664,000 was derived from the export duty on rice and £223,730 from the excise on cotton manufactures.
Since 1886 an assessed tax has been levied on all sources of income except that derived from land. The rate is a little more than 2½% on all incomes exceeding £133 a year, and a little more than 2% on incomes exceeding £66, the minimum income liable to assessment having been raised in 1903 from £33. The total number of persons assessed is only about 260,000. In 1907-1908 the gross receipts from income tax amounted to £1,504,000.
Other sources of revenue are stamps, levied on judicial proceedings and commercial documents; registration of mortgages and other instruments; and provincial rates, chiefly in Bengal and the United Provinces for public works or rural police. The rates levied at a certain percentage of the land revenue for local purposes are now excluded from the finance accounts. In 1907-1908 the gross receipts amounted to: from stamps, £4,259,000, of which more than two-thirds was derived from the sale of court fee stamps; from registration, £415,000; and from provincial rates, £526,000.
Commerce and Industries.
India may almost be said to be a country of a single industry, that industry being agriculture. According to the census of 1901 two-thirds of the total population were employed in occupations connected with the land, while not one-tenth of that proportion were supported by any other single industry. The prosperity of agriculture therefore is of overwhelming importance to the people of India, and all other industries are only subsidiary to this main occupation. This excessive dependence upon a single industry, which is in its turn dependent upon the accident of the seasons, upon a favourable or unfavourable monsoon, has been held to be one of the main causes of the frequent famines which ravage India.
Agriculture.—The cultivation of the soil is the occupation of the Indian people in a sense which is difficult to realize in England, and which cannot be adequately expressed by figures. As the land tax forms the mainstay of the imperial revenue, so the ryot or cultivator constitutes the unit of the social system. The organized village community contains many other members besides the cultivators; but they all exist for his benefit, and all alike are directly maintained from the produce of the village fields. Even in considerable towns, the traders and handicraftsmen almost always possess plots of land of their own, on which they raise sufficient grain to supply their families with food. The operations of rural life are familiar to every class. They are enveloped in a cloud of religious sanctions, and serve to mark out by their recurring periods the annual round of common life.
But though agriculture thus forms the staple industry of the country, its practice is pursued in different provinces with infinite variety of detail. Everywhere the same perpetual assiduity is found, but the inherited experience of generations has taught the cultivators to adapt their simple methods to differing circumstances. For irrigation, native patience and ingenuity have devised means which compare not unfavourably with the colossal projects of government. Manure is copiously applied to the more valuable crops whenever manure is available, its use being limited by poverty and not by ignorance. The rotation of crops is not adopted as a principle of cultivation; but in practice it is well known that a succession of exhausting crops cannot be taken in consecutive seasons from the same field, and the advantage of fallows is widely recognized. The periodicity of the seasons usually allows two, and sometimes three, harvests in the year, but not necessarily, nor indeed usually, from the same fields. For inexhaustible fertility, and for retentiveness of moisture in a dry year, no soil in the world can surpass the “black cotton-soil” of the Deccan. In the broad river basins the inundations deposit annually a fresh top-dressing of silt, thus superseding the necessity of manures.
Wheat.—Within recent years wheat has become one of the most important crops in India, more especially for export. The canal colonies of the Punjab have turned northern India into one of the great grain-fields of the British empire; and in 1904 India took the first place in supplying wheat to the United Kingdom, sending nearly 25½ million cwts. out of a total of 97¾ millions. In 1905, however, it fell back again into the third place, being passed by Russia and Argentina. Wheat is grown chiefly in the Punjab, the United Provinces, and the Central Provinces. In 1905-1906 there were 23 million acres under wheat in the whole of India, of which 8½ million were in the Punjab alone.
Rice.—The name of rice has from time immemorial been so closely associated with Indian agriculture that it is difficult to realize how comparatively small an area is planted with this crop. With the exception of the deltas of the great rivers and the long strip of land fringing the western coast, rice may be called an occasional crop throughout the remainder of the peninsula. But where it is grown it is grown to the exclusion of all other crops. The rice crop is most important in Burma, Bengal and Madras, and there is an average of 20 million acres under rice in the other provinces of British India. In Bengal the area varies from 36 to 40 million acres according to the season. In Burma, where the large waste area is being gradually brought under cultivation, there has been an almost uninterrupted increase in the area of the rice crop, and the rice export is one of the main industries of the province. In ordinary years most of this rice goes either to Europe or to the Farther East; but in famine seasons a large part is diverted to peninsular India, and Burma is the most important of the outside sources from which the deficient crops are supplemented. In 1905-1906 the export of rice from India was valued at 12½ millions sterling.
Millets.—Taking India as a whole, the staple food grain is neither rice nor wheat, but millets, which are probably the most prolific grain in the world, and the best adapted to the vicissitudes of a tropical climate. Excluding the special rice-growing tracts, different kinds of millet are grown more extensively than any other crop from Madras in the south at least as far as Rajputana in the north. The sorghum or great millet, generally known as jowar or cholum, is the staple grain crop of southern India. The spiked millet, known as bajra or cumbu, which yields a poorer food, is grown on dry sandy soil in the Deccan and the Punjab. A third sort of millet, ragi or marua, is cultivated chiefly in Madras and Bengal. There are also other kinds, which are included as a rule under the general head of “other food grains.” Millet crops are grown for the most part on unirrigated land. In the Bombay Deccan districts they cover generally upwards of 60% of the grain area, or an even larger proportion in years of drought. In Gujarat about half the grain area is under millets or maize in ordinary years. The grain is consumed almost entirely in India, though a small amount is exported.
Pulses.—Among pulses gram covers in ordinary years more than 10 millions of acres, chiefly in the United Provinces, the Punjab and Bengal. Gram is largely eaten by the poorer classes, but it is also used as horse-food. Other pulses, lentils, &c., are extensively grown, but the area under these crops is liable to great contraction in years of drought, as it consists for the most part of unirrigated lands.
Oil-seeds.—Oil-seeds also form an important crop in all parts of the country, being perhaps more universally grown than any other, as oil is necessary, according to native custom, for application to the person, for food, and for burning in lamps. In recent years the cultivation of oil-seeds has received an extraordinary stimulus owing to the demand for export to Europe, especially to France; but as they can be grown after rice, &c., as a second crop, this increase has hardly at all tended to diminish the production of food grains. The four chief varieties grown are mustard or rape seed, linseed, til or gingelly (sesamum), and castor-oil. Bengal and the United Provinces are at present the chief sources of supply for the foreign demand, but gingelly is largely exported from Madras, and, to a smaller extent, from Burma. These seeds are for the most part pressed in India either in bullock presses or in oil-mills. The refuse or cake is of great value to agriculturists, as it forms a food for cattle, and in the case of sesamum it is eaten by the people. But a very large quantity of the seeds is exported. The total value of oils and oil-seeds exported in 1905-1906 was over 7½ millions sterling.
Vegetables.—Vegetables are everywhere cultivated in garden plots for household use, and also on a larger scale in the neighbourhood of great towns. Among favourite native vegetables, the following may be mentioned:—the egg-plant, called brinjal or baigan (Solanum Melongena), potatoes, cabbages, cauliflower, radishes, onions, garlic, turnips, yams, and a great variety of cucurbitaceous plants, including Cucumis sativus, Cucurbita maxima, Lagenaria vulgaris, Trichosanthes dioica, and Benincasa cerifera. Of these, potatoes, cabbages, and turnips are of comparatively recent introduction. Almost all English vegetables can be raised by a careful gardener. Potatoes thrive best on the higher elevations, such as the Khasi hills, the Nilgiris, the Mysore uplands, the Shan States, and the slopes of the Himalayas; but they are also grown even in lowland districts.
Fruits.—Among cultivated fruits are the following:—Mango (Mangifera indica), plantain (Musa paradisiaca), pine-apple (Ananassa sativa), pomegranate (Punica Granatum), guava (Psidium pomiferum and P. pyriferum), tamarind (Tamarindus indica), jack (Artocarpus integrifolia), custard-apple (Anona squamosa), papaw (Carica Papaya), shaddock (Citrus decumana), and several varieties of fig, melon, orange, lime and citron. According to the verdict of Europeans, no native fruits can compare with those of England. But the mangoes of Bombay, of Multan, and of Malda in Bengal, and the oranges of Nagpur and the Khasi hills, enjoy a high reputation; while the guavas of Madras are made into an excellent preserve.
Spices.—Among spices, for the preparation of curry and other hot dishes, turmeric and chillies hold the first place, being very generally cultivated. Next in importance come ginger, coriander, aniseed, black cummin, and fenugreek. Pepper proper is confined to the Malabar coast, from Kanara to Travancore. Cardamoms are a valuable crop in the same locality, and also in the Nepalese Himalayas. Pan or betel-leaf is grown by a special caste in most parts of the country. Its cultivation requires constant care, but is highly remunerative. The betel-nut or areca palm is chiefly grown in certain favoured localities, such as the deltaic districts of Bengal and the highlands of southern India.
Palms.—Besides betel-nut (Areca Catechu), the palms of India include the coco-nut (Cocos nucifera), the bastard date (Phoenix sylvestris), the palmyra (Borassus flabellifer), and the true date (Phoenix dactylifera). The coco-nut, which loves a sandy soil and a moist climate, is found in greatest perfection along the strip of coast-line that fringes the west of the peninsula, where it ranks next to rice as the staple product. The bastard date, grown chiefly in the country round Calcutta and in the north-east of the Madras presidency, supplies both the jaggery sugar of commerce and intoxicating liquors for local consumption. Spirit is also distilled from the palmyra, especially in the neighbourhood of Bombay and in the south-east of Madras. The true date is almost confined to Sind.
Sugar.—Sugar is manufactured both from the sugar-cane and from the bastard date-palm, but the total production is inadequate to the local demand. The best cane is grown in the United Provinces, on irrigated land. It is an expensive crop, requiring much attention, and not yielding a return within the year; but the profits are proportionately large. The normal area under sugar-cane in India is generally about 3 million acres, chiefly in the United Provinces, Bengal, and the Punjab. A large share of the produce is consumed in the form of gur or unrefined sugar, and the market for this preparation is independent of foreign competition. The total import of sugar in 1905-1906 was valued at £5,182,000, chiefly from Java and Mauritius.
Indigo.—Owing to the manufacture of synthetic indigo by German chemists the export trade in indigo, which was formerly the most important business carried on by European capital in India, has been almost entirely ruined. In the early years of the 19th century there were colonies of English planters in many districts of Bengal, and it was calculated that the planters of North Behar alone had a turnover of a million sterling. The industry suffered depression owing to the indigo riots of 1860 and the emancipation of the peasantry by the Land Act of 1859; but in the closing decade of the century it received a much more disastrous blow from the invention of the German chemists. In 1895-1896 the area under indigo was 1,570,000 acres, and the value of the exports £3,569,700, while in 1905-1906 the area had sunk to 383,000 acres, and the value of the exports to £390,879. The only hope of rescuing the industry from total disappearance lies in the fact that the natural indigo gives a faster dye than the manufactured product, while an effort has also been made to introduce the Java-Natal seed into India, which gives a much heavier yield, and so may be better able to compete in price with synthetic indigo.
Tea.—The cultivation of tea in India began within the memory of men still living, and now has replaced indigo as the chief article for European capital, more particularly in Assam. Unlike coffee-planting the enterprise owes its origin to the initiation of government, and has never attracted the attention of the natives. Early travellers reported that the tea-plant was indigenous to the southern valleys of the Himalayas; but they were mistaken in the identity of the shrub, which was the Osyris nepalensis. The real tea (Thea viridis), a plant akin to the camellia, grows wild in Assam, being commonly found throughout the hilly tract between the valleys of the Brahmaputra and the Barak. There it sometimes attains the dimensions of a large tree; and from that, as well as from other indications, it has been plausibly inferred that Assam is the original home of the plant, which was thence introduced at a prehistoric date into China. The real progress of tea-planting in Assam dates from about 1851, and was greatly assisted by the promulgation of the Waste-land Rules of 1854. By 1859 there were already fifty-one gardens in existence, owned by private individuals; and the enterprise had extended from its original headquarters in Lakhimpur and Sibsagar as far down the Brahmaputra as Kamrup. In 1856 the tea-plant was discovered wild in the district of Cachar in the Barak valley, and European capital was at once directed to that quarter. At about the same time tea-planting was introduced into the neighbourhood of the sanatorium of Darjeeling, among the Sikkim Himalayas. The success of these undertakings engendered a wild spirit of speculation in tea companies both in India and at home, which reached its climax in 1865. The industry recovered but slowly from the effects of this disastrous crisis, and did not again reach a stable position until 1869. Since that date it has rapidly but steadily progressed, and has been ever opening new fields of enterprise. At the head of the Bay of Bengal in Chittagong district, side by side with coffee on the Nilgiri hills, on the forest-clad slopes of Kumaon and Kangra, amid the low-lying jungle of the Bhutan Dwars, and even in Arakan, the energetic pioneers of tea-planting have established their industry. Different degrees of success may have rewarded them, but in no case have they abandoned the struggle. The area under tea, of which nine-tenths lies in the new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam, expanded by 85% during the sixteen years from 1885 to 1901, while the production increased by 167%. This great rise in the supply, unaccompanied by an equal expansion of the market for Indian tea, involved the industry in great difficulties, to meet which it became necessary to restrict the area under tea as far as possible, and to reduce the quantity of leaf taken from the plant, thus at the same time improving the quality of the tea. The area under tea in 1885 was 283,925 acres and the yield 71,525,977 ℔, while in 1905 the area had increased to 527,290 acres and the yield to 222,360,132 ℔, while the export alone was 214,223,728 ℔. As much as 92% of the export goes to the United Kingdom, where China tea has been gradually ousted by tea from India and Ceylon. The other chief countries that afford a market for Indian tea are Canada, Russia, Australia, Turkey in Asia, Persia, and the United States. India’s consumption of tea is computed to average 8¼ million pounds, of which 5½ millions are Indian and the remainder Chinese. There should therefore be considerable room for expansion in the home market. In 1905 there were 134 tea-planting companies registered in India, about 80% of the capital being held by shareholders in London.
Coffee.—The cultivation of coffee is confined to southern India, though attempts have been made to introduce the plant both into Lower Burma and into the Eastern Bengal district of Chittagong. The coffee tract may be roughly defined as a section of the landward slope of the Western Ghats, extending from Kanara in the north to Travancore in the extreme south. That tract includes almost the whole of Coorg, the districts of Kadur and Hassan in Mysore, the Nilgiri hills, and the Wynaad. The cultivation has also extended to the Shevaroy hills in Salem district and to the Palni hills in Madura.
Unlike tea, coffee was not introduced into India by European enterprise; and even to the present day its cultivation is largely followed by the natives. The Malabar coast has always enjoyed a direct commerce with Arabia, and at an early date gave many converts to Islam. One of these converts, Baba Budan by name, is said to have gone on a pilgrimage to Mecca and to have brought back with him the coffee berry, which he planted on the hill range in Mysore still called after him. According to local tradition this happened more than two centuries ago. The shrubs thus sown lived on, but the cultivation did not spread until the beginning of the 19th century. The state of Mysore and the Baba Budan range also witnessed the first opening of a coffee-garden by an English planter about 1840. The success of this experiment led to the extension of coffee cultivation into the neighbouring tract of Manjarabad, also in Mysore, and into the Wynaad subdivision of the Madras district of Malabar. From 1840 to 1860 the enterprise made slow progress; but since the latter date it has spread with great rapidity along the whole line of the Western Ghats, clearing away the primeval forest, and opening a new era of prosperity to the labouring classes. The export of coffee in 1905 was 360,000 cwt., being the highest for sixteen years. The over-supply of cheap Brazilian coffee in the consuming markets caused a heavy fall in prices at the beginning of the decade, the average price in London in 1901 being 47s. per cwt. compared with 101s. in 1894. The United Kingdom and France are the chief consumers. An agreement with France at the beginning of the decade secured to Indian produce imported into that country the benefits of the minimum tariff, thus protecting the coffee industry from taxation in French ports on a scale which would have seriously hampered the trade. There is practically no local market for coffee in India.
Cinchona.—The cultivation of cinchona was introduced into India in the year 1860 under the auspices of government, owing to the efforts of Sir Clements Markham, and a stock of plants was prepared and distributed to planters in the Nilgiris and in Coorg. At the same time governmental plantations were established in the Nilgiri hills and at Darjeeling, and these have been continued up to the present time. A considerable amount of the bark from private plantations is bought by the government and treated at the government factories. The sulphate of quinine and the cinchona febrifuge thus produced are issued for the most part to medical officers in the various provinces, to gaols, and to the authorities of native states; but a large and increasing amount is disposed of in the form of 5-grain packets, costing a farthing each, through the medium of the post-offices. This system brings the drug easily within the reach of the people.
Cattle.—Throughout the whole of India, except in Sind and the western districts of the Punjab, horned cattle are the only beasts used for ploughing. The well-known humped species of cattle predominates everywhere, being divided into many varieties. Owing partly to unfavourable conditions of climate and soil, partly to the insufficiency of grazing ground, and partly to the want of selection in breeding, the general condition of the cattle is miserably poor. As cultivation advances, the area of waste land available for grazing steadily diminishes, and the prospects of the poor beasts are becoming worse rather than better. Their only hope lies in the introduction of fodder crops as a regular stage in the agricultural course. There are, however, some fine breeds in existence. In Mysore the amrit mahal, a breed said to have been introduced by Hyder Ali for military purposes, is still kept up by the state. In the Madras districts of Nellore and Kurnool the indigenous breed has been greatly improved under the stimulus of cattle shows and prizes founded by British officials. In the Central Provinces there is a peculiar breed of trotting bullocks which is in great demand for wheeled carriages. The large and handsome oxen of Gujarat in Bombay and of Hariana in the Punjab are excellently adapted for drawing heavy loads in a sandy soil. The fodder famines that accompanied the great famines of 1897 and 1900 proved little short of disastrous to the cattle in the affected provinces. In Gujarat and the arid plains of the south-east Punjab the renowned herds almost disappeared. In the affected districts of the Punjab the loss of cattle averaged from 17 to 45% of the whole. In Rajputana more than half of its thirteen or fourteen millions of stock is said to have perished in 1900 alone. In one state the loss amounted to 90%, and in four others to 70%. In Gujarat half of its 1½ million cattle perished in spite of the utmost efforts to obtain fodder. The worst cattle are to be found always in the deltaic tracts, but there their place is to a large extent taken by buffaloes. These last are more hardy than ordinary cattle; their character is maintained by crossing the cows with wild bulls, and their milk yields the best ghi or clarified butter. Along the valley of the Indus, and in the sandy desert which stretches into Rajputana, camels supersede cattle for agricultural operations. The breed of horses has generally deteriorated since the demand for military purposes has declined with the establishment of British supremacy. In Bengal Proper, and also in Madras, it may be broadly said that horses are not bred. But horses are still required for the Indian army, the native cavalry, and the police; and in order to maintain the supply of remounts a civil veterinary department was founded in 1892, transferred in 1903 to the army remount department. Horse-breeding is carried on chiefly in the Punjab, the United Provinces, and Baluchistan, and government keep a number of stallions in the various provinces. Formerly Norfolk trotters held the first place in point of number, but their place has been taken in recent years by English thoroughbreds, Arabs, and especially Australians. For the supply of ordnance, baggage, and transport mules a large number of donkey stallions have been imported by the government annually from various European and other sources. But the supply of suitable animals is not good, and their cost is large; so the breeding of donkey stallions has been undertaken at the Hissar farm in the Punjab.
Forests.—The forests of India, both as a source of natural wealth and as a department of the administration, are beginning to receive their proper share of attention. Up to the middle of the 19th century the destruction of forests by timber-cutters, by charcoal-burners, and above all by shifting cultivation, was allowed to go on everywhere unchecked. The extension of cultivation was considered as the chief care of government, and no regard was paid to the improvident waste going on on all sides. But as the pressure of population on the soil became more dense, and the construction of railways increased the demand for fuel, the question of forest conservation forced itself into notice. It was recognized that the inheritance of future generations was being recklessly sacrificed to satisfy the immoderate desire for profit. And at the same time the importance of forests as affecting the general meteorology of a country was being learned from bitter experience in Europe. On many grounds, therefore, it became necessary to preserve what remained of the forests in India, and to repair the mischief of previous neglect even at considerable expense. In 1844 and 1847 the subject was actively taken up by the governments of Bombay and Madras. In 1864 Dr Brandis was appointed inspector-general of forests to the government of India, and in the following year an act of the legislature was passed (No. VII. of 1865). The regular training of candidates for the Forest Department in the schools of France and Germany dates from 1867. In the interval that has since elapsed, sound principles of forest administration have been gradually extended. Indiscriminate timber-cutting has been prohibited, the burning of the jungle by the hill tribes has been confined within bounds, large areas have been surveyed and demarcated, plantations have been laid out, and, generally, forest conservation has become a reality. Systematic conservancy of the Indian forests received a great impetus from the passing of the Forest Law in 1878, which gave to the government powers of dealing with private rights in the forests of which the chief proprietary right is vested in the state. The Famine Commission of 1878 urged the importance of forest conservancy as a safeguard to agriculture, pointing out that a supply of wood for fuel was necessary if cattle manure was to be used to any extent for the fields, and also that forest growth served to retain the moisture in the subsoil. They also advised the protection and extension of communal rights of pasture, and the planting of the higher slopes with forest, with a view to the possible increase of the water-supply. These recommendations embody the principle upon which the management of the state forests is based. In 1894 the government divided forests into four classes: forests the preservation of which is essential on climatic or physical grounds, forests which supply valuable timber for commercial purposes, minor forests, and pasture lands. In the first class the special purpose of the forests, such as the protection of the plains from devastation by torrents, must come before any smaller interests. The second class includes tracts of teak, sal or deodar timber and the like, where private or village rights of user are few. In these forests every reasonable facility is afforded to the people concerned for the full and easy satisfaction of their needs, which are generally for small timber for building or fuel, fodder and grazing for their cattle, and edible products for themselves; and considerations of forest income are subordinated to those purposes. Restrictions necessary for the proper conservancy of the forests are, however, imposed, and the system of shifting cultivation, which denudes a large area of forest growth in order to place a small area under crops, is held to cost more to the community than it is worth, and is only permitted, under due regulation, where forest tribes depend on it for their sustenance. In the third place, there are minor forests, which produce inferior or smaller timber. These are managed mainly in the interests of the surrounding population, and supply grazing or fuel to them at moderate rates, higher charges being levied on consumers who are not inhabitants of the locality. The fourth class includes pastures and grazing grounds. In these even more than in the third class the interests of the local community stand first. The state forests, which are under the control of the forest department, amounted in 1901-1902 to about 217,500 sq. m., or more than one-fifth of the total area of British India, varying from 61% in Burma to 4% in the United Provinces.
Timbers.—A large part of the reserved forests, where the control of the forest department is most complete, consists of valuable timber, in which the first place is held by teak, found at its best in Burma, especially in the upper division, and on the south-west coast of India, in Kanara and Malabar. It is also the most prevalent and valuable product of the forests at the foot of the Ghats in Bombay, and along the Satpura and Vindhya ranges, as far as the middle of the Central Provinces. Here it meets the sal, which however is more especially found in the sub-Himalayan tracts of the United Provinces and Eastern Bengal and Assam. In the Himalayas themselves the deodar and other conifers form the bulk of the timber, while in the lower ranges, such as the Khasi hills in Assam, and those of Burma, various pines are prominent. In the north-east of Assam and in the north of Upper Burma the Ficus elastica, a species of india-rubber tree, is found. The sandal-wood flourishes all along the southern portion of the Ghats, especially about Mysore and Coorg; and in the same regions, as well as in Upper India, the blackwood occurs. A valuable tree, known as the padouk, is at present restricted almost entirely to the Andaman Islands, with a scattering in Lower Burma. There are many other timber trees that are in general demand in different parts of India, but the above are the best known outside that country. There is also the universal bamboo, and in the north-western tracts the equally useful rattan. The annual timber yield of the Indian forests is about fifty millions of cubic feet, excluding what is used for local purposes. About half of this quantity comes from the forests of Burma, where large amounts of teak and other woods are annually extracted, chiefly through the agency of private firms. It is, however, only the more valuable of the woods, such as teak, sandal-wood, ebony and the like, which find a market abroad. The total value of the export trade in forest produce averages between 1½ and 2 millions annually.
Manufacturing industries are being slowly developed in India, though their growth has not yet materially affected the pressure on the land. Next to agriculture, weaving is the most important industry in the country, the cotton-mills of Bombay and the jute mills of Bengal having increased greatly of recent years. On the other hand, the old indigenous industries of India decayed greatly during the latter part of the 19th century. The colonies of hand-workers in silk, cotton, carpets, brass and silver ware, wood and ivory, and other skilled craftsmen, which formerly existed in various parts of India, have fallen off both in the extent of their output and in the artistic excellence of their work. An attempt has been made to remedy the evil by means of schools of art, but with little result.
Cotton.—Cotton is the staple article of clothing in Eastern countries, and Indian cotton and other piece goods used to find a ready market in Europe before the English cotton manufacturer had arisen. When European adventurers found the way to India, cotton and silk always formed part of the rich cargoes that they brought home, and the early settlers were always careful to fix their abode amid a weaving population, at Surat, Calicut, Masulipatam or Hugli. But now the larger part of the cotton goods used in India is manufactured in mills in that country or in England, and the handloom weavers’ output is confined to the coarsest kinds of cloth, or to certain special kinds of goods, such as the turbans and “saris” of Bombay, or the muslins of Arni, Cuddapah, and Madura in Madras, and of Dacca in Bengal. The extent to which village industries still survive is shown by the fact that according to the census of 1901 there were 5,800,000 hand-loom weavers in India against only 350,000 workers in cotton mills.
The present importance of the cotton crop dates only from the crisis in Lancashire caused by the American War. Prior to 1860 the exports of raw cotton from India used to average less than 3 millions sterling a year, mostly to China; but after that date they rose by leaps, until in 1866 they reached the enormous total of 37 millions. Then came the crash, caused by the restoration of peace in the United States, and the exports fell, until they now average little more than 8 millions a year. The fact is that Indian cotton has a short staple, and cannot compete with the best American cotton for spinning the finer qualities of yarn. But while the cotton famine was at its height, the cultivators were intelligent enough to make the most of their opportunity. The area under cotton increased enormously, and the growers managed to retain in their own hands a fair share of the profit. The principal cotton-growing tracts are the plains of Gujarat and Kathiawar, whence Indian cotton has received in the Liverpool market the historic name of “Surat”; the highlands of the Deccan, and the valleys of the Central Provinces and Berar. The total area under cotton in 1905-1906 was 20½ million acres, and the export was 7,396,000 cwt.
It was estimated in 1905 that the world’s output of cotton was 19,000,000 bales, of which 13¾ millions were produced in the United States, 3 millions in India, and nearly 1¼ millions in Egypt, Japan and China being India’s best customers for the raw article. At the same time the total number of spindles employed in working up the world’s raw cotton was 116 millions, of which 48 millions were in the United Kingdom, 24 millions in the United States, and a little over 5 millions in India. There were 203 cotton mills in India, employing a daily average of 196,369 persons. The Bombay Presidency possessed 70% of the mills and much the same percentage of spindles and looms. The industry dates from 1851, when the first mill was started. But though India has special advantages in home-grown cotton and cheap labour, the labour is so inefficient as to make competition with Europe difficult. It is calculated that an Indian power-loom weaver working 72 hours a week can turn out 70 ℔ of cloth, while a European working 54 hours can turn out 468 ℔, and that one Lancashire weaver can do the work of six Indian power-loom weavers and nine hand-loom weavers. While these figures hold good, India cannot be a serious competitor with Europe in the cotton industry.
Jute.—Next to cotton, jute is the most important and prosperous of Indian manufactures. With the advance of commerce it is more and more required for its best-known use, as sacking for produce. Australia and Argentina need it for wool and wheat, Chili and Brazil for nitrates and coffee, Asiatic countries for rice, and the world as a whole for its increased output of produce. The supply has not kept pace with the demand, and the consequence was a steady appreciation in price from 1901 onwards. The cultivation of jute is confined, to a comparatively restricted area, more than three-fourths of the total acreage being in eastern Bengal and Assam, while nearly the whole of the remaining fourth is in Bengal. In 1907, however, experiments were made towards growing it in other parts of India. In Behar it has begun to replace indigo, and some success was achieved in Orissa, Assam and Madras; but jute is a very exhausting crop, and requires to be planted in lands fertilized with silt or else with manure. About half the total crop is exported, and the remainder used in the jute mills centred round Calcutta, which supply cloth and bags for the grain export trade. The number of jute mills in 1904 was 38, employing 124,000 hands, and since then the number has tended constantly upwards. The export of jute in 1905-1906 was 14,480,000 cwt. with a value of £12,350,000.
Silk.—The silk industry in India has experienced many vicissitudes. Under the East India Company large quantities of mulberry silk were produced chiefly in Bengal, and exported to Europe; and Malda, Murshidabad, and other places in that province have long been famous for their silk manufactures. Other kinds of silk are native to certain parts of India, such as those produced by the “castor oil” and the muga silkworms of Assam; but the chief of the wild silks is the tussore silk, which is found in the jungles nearly throughout India. Large quantities of comparatively coarse silk are made from silk so produced. In Assam silk is still the national dress, and forms the common costume of the women, but the men are relinquishing it as an article of daily wear in favour of cotton. Amongst the Burmese, however, silk still holds its own. Owing to disease among the silk-worms the industry has declined of recent years; and in 1886 an inquiry was held, which resulted in putting the silk-rearing industry of Bengal on a better basis. The most hopeful ground, however, for the industry is Kashmir, where Sir Thomas Wardle reported that the silk was of as high a quality as from any part of the world. The most important seat of the silk-weaving industry is Bengal, but there are few parts of India where some silk fabrics are not woven. The silk weavers of India possess the very highest skill in their craft, and with competent and energetic management and increased capital the industry could be revived and extended.
Other Manufactures.—The demand of the Indian population for woollen fabrics is very small in comparison with that for cotton, and although the manufacture of blankets is carried on in many parts of India, the chief part of the indigenous woollen industry was originally concerned with shawls. Kashmir shawls were at one time famous, but the industry is practically extinct. The chief seat of the woollen industry now is the Punjab, where a considerable number of weavers, thrown out of work by the decline of the shawl industry, have taken to carpet-making. The chief centre of this industry is Amritsar. The output of the woollen mills is chiefly used for the army and the police. In addition to these and the cotton and jute mills there are indigo factories, rice mills, timber mills, coffee works, oil mills, iron and brass foundries, tile factories, printing presses, lac factories, silk mills, and paper mills. There is a large trade in wood-carving, the material being generally Indian ebony in northern India, sandal-wood in southern India, and teak in Burma and elsewhere.
From an artistic point of view the metal manufactures are one of the most important products of India.
Brass and Copper Work.—The village brazier, like the village smith, manufactures the necessary vessels for domestic use. Chief among these vessels is the lota, or globular bowl, universally used in ceremonial ablutions. The form of the lota, and even the style of ornamentation, has been handed down unaltered from the earliest times. Benares enjoys the first reputation for work in brass and copper. In the south, Madura and Tanjore have a similar fame; and in the west, Ahmedabad, Poona and Nasik. At Bombay itself large quantities of imported copper are wrought up by native braziers. The temple bells of India are well known for the depth and purity of their note. In many localities the braziers have a special repute either for a peculiar alloy or for a particular process of ornamentation. Silver is sometimes mixed with the brass, and in rarer cases gold. The brass or rather bell-metal ware of Murshidabad, known as khagrai, has more than a local reputation, owing to the large admixture of silver in it.
Pottery is made in almost every village, from the small vessels required in cooking to the large jars used for storing grain and occasionally as floats to ferry persons across a swollen stream. But, though the industry is universal, it has Pottery. hardly anywhere risen to the dignity of a fine art. Sind is the only province of India where the potter’s craft is pursued with any regard to artistic considerations; and there the industry is said to have been introduced by the Mahommedans. Sind pottery is of two kinds, encaustic tiles and vessels for domestic use. In both cases the colours are the same,—turquoise blue, copper green, dark purple or golden brown, under an exquisitely transparent glaze. The usual ornament is a conventional flower pattern, pricked in from paper and dusted along the pricking. The tiles, which are evidently of the same origin as those of Persia and Turkey, are chiefly to be found in the ruined mosques and tombs of the old Mussulman dynasties; but the industry still survives at the little towns of Saidpur and Bubri. Artistic pottery is made at Hyderabad, Karachi, Tatta and Hala, and also at Multan and Lahore in the Punjab. The Madura pottery deserves mention from the elegance of its form and the richness of its colour. The United Provinces have, among other specialties, an elegant black ware with designs in white metal worked into its surface.
Putting aside salt, which has been already treated, the chief mining resources of India at the present day are the coal mines, the gold mines, the petroleum oil-fields, the ruby mines, manganese deposits, mica mines in Bengal, and the tin ores and jade of Burma. Other minerals which exist but have not yet been developed in paying quantities are copper ore, alum, gypsum and plumbago.
Coal.—Coal has been known to exist in India since 1774. The first mine at Raniganj dates from 1820, and has been regularly worked up to the present time. Coal of varying quality exists under a very extensive area in India, being found in almost every province and native state with the exception of Bombay and Mysore. In respect, however, of both the number and size of its mines Bengal comes easily first, with seven-eighths of the total output, the largest mines being those of Raniganj, Jherria, and Giridih, while the Singareni mine in Hyderabad comes next. Many of the Bengal mines, however, are very small. There are some important mines in Assam and the Central Provinces. The importance of the Indian coal production lies in the hope that it holds out for the development of Indian industries, especially in connexion with the nascent iron and steel industry. Coal and iron are found in conjunction in the Central Provinces, and the Tata Company has recently been formed to work them on a large scale. The railways already use Indian coal almost exclusively, and Indian coal is being taken yearly in greater quantities by ships trading to Eastern ports. The total output in 1905-1906 was 8,417,739 tons; while there were 47 companies engaged in coal-mining, of which 46 were in Bengal.
Gold.—The production of gold in India is practically confined to the Kolar gold fields in Mysore. An uncertain but unimportant amount is annually procured by sand-washing in various tracts of northern India and Burma; and there have been many attempts, including the great boom of 1880, to work mines in the Wynaad district of the Madras Presidency. There are also mines in the Hyderabad state from which a small amount of gold is produced. But the output of gold in Mysore represents 99% of the annual Indian yield. Modern mining at Kolar dates from 1881, but there are extensive old workings showing that much gold had been extracted under native rule. The mines are worked under leases from the Mysore government, which secure to the state a royalty of 5% of the gold produced. Up to the end of 1903 the total output of the Kolar mines reached the value of £19,000,000.
Iron.—In purity of ore, and in antiquity of working, the iron deposits of India probably rank first in the world. They are to be found in every part of the country, from the northern mountains of Assam and Kumaun to the extreme south of the Madras Presidency. Wherever there are hills, iron is found and worked to a greater or less extent. The indigenous methods of smelting the ore, which are everywhere the same, and have been handed down unchanged through countless generations, yield a metal of the finest quality in a form well suited to native wants. But they require an extravagant supply of charcoal; and even with the cheapness of native labour the product cannot compete in price with imported iron from England. European enterprise, attracted by the richness of the ore and the low rate of wages, has repeatedly tried to establish iron-works on a large scale; but hitherto every one of these attempts has ended in failure with the exception of the iron-works at Barrakur in Bengal, first started in 1865, which after many years of struggle seem to have turned the corner of success. The principal sources of iron-stone at present are the Madras ores, chiefly at Salem, the Chanda ores in the Central Provinces, and the ores obtained at and near Raniganj in Bengal.
Petroleum.—The great oilfields of the Indian empire are in Burma, which supplies 98% of the total output. Of the remainder nearly all comes from Assam. In both provinces the growth of the yield has been very great, the total output in 1901 being six times as large as in 1892; but even so it has failed to keep pace with the demand. A regular service of steamers carries oil in bulk from Rangoon to Calcutta, and now Burmese oil competes with the Russian product, which had already driven the dearer American oil from the market (see Burma).
Other Ores.—Manganese ore is found in very large quantities on a tract on the Madras coast about midway between Calcutta and Madras. Most of the ore goes to Great Britain. There are also valuable deposits of manganese in the Central Provinces and, it is believed, in Burma. The export of manganese, which had been only about ten years in existence in 1905-1906, amounted then to 316,694 tons, with a value of £250,000. Mica has long been obtained in Bengal, chiefly in the Hazaribagh district, and there is a ruby-coloured variety which is held in great estimation. In Madras also a mica industry has recently grown up. Tin is found in the Tavoy and Mergui districts of Lower Burma, and has for many years been worked in an unprogressive manner chiefly by Chinese labour. In 1900 tin of good quality was found in the Southern Shan States. Copper ore is found in many tracts throughout India, plumbago in Madras, and corundum in southern India.
Precious Stones.—Despite its legendary wealth, which is really due to the accumulations of ages, India cannot be said to be naturally rich in precious stones. Under the Mahommedan rule diamonds were a distinct source of state revenue; and Akbar is said to have received a royalty of £80,000 a year from the mines of Panna. But at the present day the search for them, if carried on anywhere in British territory, is an insignificant occupation. The name of Golconda has passed into literature; but that city, once the Mussulman capital of the Deccan, was rather the home of diamond-cutters than the source of supply. It is believed that the far-famed diamonds of Golconda actually came from the sandstone formation which extends across the south-east borders of the nizam’s dominions into the Madras districts of Ganjam and Godavari. A few poor stones are still found in that region. Sambalpur, on the upper channel of the Mahanadi river in the Central Provinces, is another spot once famous for diamonds. So late as 1818 a stone is said to have been found there weighing 84 grains and valued at £500. The river-valleys of Chota Nagpur are also known to have yielded a tribute of diamonds to their Mahommedan conquerors. At the present day the only place where the search for diamonds is pursued as a regular industry is the native state of Panna in Bundelkhand. The stones are found by digging down through several strata of gravelly soil and washing the earth. Even there, however, the pursuit is understood to be unremunerative, and has failed to attract European capital. At the present day the only important industries are the rubies and jade of Burma. The former are worked by the Ruby Mines Company or by licensed native miners under the company. The value of the rubies found has increased rapidly, and the company, which was for some time worked unprofitably under the lease granted in 1896, has now, with the aid of favourable treatment from the government, become more prosperous. Pearls are found off the southern coast of Madras and also in the Mergui archipelago.
The trade of India with foreign countries is conducted partly by sea and partly across the land frontiers; but the frontier trade, though capable of much extension, is only a small fraction of the whole. The sea-borne trade is carried on chiefly through the four great ports of Calcutta, Bombay, Karachi, and Rangoon, of which Calcutta serves the fertile valley of the Ganges and Brahmaputra, Bombay serves the cotton-trade of western India, Karachi exports the wheat crop of the Punjab, and Rangoon the rice crop of Burma. Madras, which has been supplied with an artificial harbour, serves southern India, and Chittagong is rising into prominence as the point of departure for the tea and jute of eastern Bengal and Assam. The land trade is carried on with Persia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet and western China. The new caravan route to Persia from Quetta by way of the Nushki railway offers facilities to traders, of which increasing advantage has been taken, but the trade is still small. Afghanistan under Abdur Rahman imposed prohibitive imposts upon trade, and the present amir followed his father’s policy, but his visit to India in 1907 may result in improved relations. The trade with the tribes lying north of the Malakand Pass has improved considerably since the frontier war of 1897-98, but they are a poor community. Nepal takes the largest share of the frontier trade. The trade with Tibet has slightly improved since the treaty of Lhasa of 1904, but it still amounts to only £90,000 annually. The trade with western China is about half a million annually, and shows signs of development.
A review of Indian trade by the director-general of the statistical department in India is annually presented to parliament, and therefore it is only necessary here to mention the main channels that it has taken of recent years. The chief exports are Exports. raw cotton, cotton goods and yarn, rice, wheat, oil-seeds, raw jute and jute-manufactures, hides and skins, tea, opium and lac. In 1905-1906 there was great activity in both the cotton and jute industries. In Bombay new cotton mills were erected, and old ones extended, high-speed machinery was widely introduced, and 12,000 new looms were set up. Similarly the jute trade far surpassed all records. The crop was a record one, but the demand far exceeded the supply, the cultivators reaped profits of eight millions more than the previous year, and 2000 new looms were set up in Calcutta. The tea outlook was good, and the coffee industry was recovering from the effects of plant disease and Brazilian competition. But both the indigo and opium trades are declining industries, which mean a serious loss to the Indian exchequer. Indigo fell to about one-tenth of its value in the previous decade; and an agreement was come to with China in 1907, by which the area under opium is to be gradually reduced. The total exports for 1905-1906 were valued at £112,000,000.
The chief articles of import are cotton goods, cotton yarn, metals, sugar, mineral oils, machinery and mill-work, woollen manufactures, provisions, hardware and cutlery, silk, liquors, apparel, railway material and chemicals. Cotton manufactures Imports. and yarns are imported almost exclusively from the United Kingdom, and amount to about 40% of the total trade. Metals, including hardware and cutlery, railway material, &c., supply about a fifth. The only other important article of import is sugar, which came to about 5 millions in 1905-1906. The balance of trade is always against India, because she is a debtor country, and has to pay interest on borrowed capital, and the “home charges” for the upkeep of the civil and military services and of the secretary of state’s establishment in London. The total imports for 1905-1906 were valued at 82½ millions sterling, including 14 millions of gold and silver, which are continually hoarded by the people of India.
Broadly speaking, the greater part of the internal trade remains in the hands of the natives. Europeans control the shipping business and have a share in the collection of some of the more valuable staples of exports, such as cotton, jute, oil-seeds Trading classes. and wheat. But the work of distribution and the adaptation of the supply to the demand of the consumer naturally fall to those who are best acquainted with native wants. The Vaisya, or trading caste of Manu, has no longer any separate existence; but its place is occupied by several well-marked classes. On the western coast the Parsees, by the boldness and extent of their operations, tread close upon the heels of the most prosperous English houses. In the interior of the Bombay presidency, business is mainly divided between two classes, the Bunniahs of Gujarat and the Marwaris from Rajputana. Each of these profess a peculiar form of religion, the former being Vishnuvites of the Vallabhacharí sect, the latter Jains. In the Deccan their place is taken by Lingayats from the south, who again follow their own form of Hinduism, which is an heretical species of Siva worship. Throughout Mysore, and in the north of Madras, Lingayats are still found, but along the eastern sea-board the predominating classes of traders are those named Chetties and Komatis. In Bengal many of the upper castes of Sudras have devoted themselves to general trade; but there again the Jain Marwaris from Rajputana occupy the front rank. Their headquarters are in Murshidabad district, and their agents are to be found throughout the valley of the Brahmaputra, as far up as the unexplored frontier of China.
Local trade is conducted either at the permanent bazaars of great towns, at weekly markets held in certain villages, at annual gatherings primarily held for religious purposes, or by means of travelling brokers and agents. The cultivator himself, Local trade. who is the chief producer and also the chief customer, knows little of the great towns, and expects the dealer to come to his own door. Each village has at least one resident trader, who usually combines in his own person the functions of money-lender, grain dealer and cloth seller. The simple system of rural economy is entirely based upon the dealings of this man, whom it is the fashion sometimes to decry as a usurer, but who is really the one thrifty person among an improvident population. Abolish the money-lender, and the general body of cultivators would have nothing to depend upon but the harvest of a single year. The money-lender deals chiefly in grain and in specie. In those districts where the staples of export are largely grown, the cultivators commonly sell their crops to travelling brokers, who re-sell to larger dealers, and so on until the commodities reach the hands of the agents of the great shipping houses. The wholesale trade thus rests ultimately with a comparatively small number of persons, who have agencies, or rather corresponding firms, at the great central marts. Buying and selling in their aspects most characteristic of India are to be seen, not at these great towns, nor even at the weekly markets, but at the fairs which are held periodically at certain spots in most districts. Religion is always the original pretext of these gatherings or melás, at some of which nothing is done beyond bathing in the river, or performing various superstitious ceremonies. But in the majority of cases religion has become a mere excuse for secular business. Crowds of petty traders attend, bringing all those miscellaneous articles that can be packed into a pedlar’s wallet; and the neighbouring villagers look forward to the occasion to satisfy alike their curiosity and their household wants.
The control of the revenues of India is vested by act of parliament in the secretary of state for India in council. Subject to his control the government of India enjoys a certain discretionary power, but no new expenditure may be incurred without Finance. his sanction. There is a special member for finance in the governor-general’s council, and all important matters are brought before the council. The central government keeps in its own hands certain revenues, such as salt, the post-office, telegraphs, railways, army and Indian Marine, in addition to the districts of Coorg, Ajmere and the North-West Frontier province. The other provinces raise and administer their own revenues, subject to the central control; they are allowed a certain proportion of the revenue to meet their own administrative charges, and so have an interest in economical expenditure. The apportionment of the revenues is settled afresh every five years. In 1893 the Indian mints were closed to the free coinage of silver, and in 1899 the British sovereign was made legal tender at the rate of 1s. 4d. per rupee; so that since that year the finances of India have been practically upon a gold basis. The principal heads of revenue are land, opium, salt, stamps, excise, customs, assessed taxes, forests, registration and tributes from native states; and the chief heads of expenditure are charges of collection, interest, post-office, telegraph and mint, civil departments, famine relief and insurance, railways, irrigation, other public works and army. The point most frequently criticized in the finances of India is the “home charges” which amount on an average to about 18½ millions a year. Of this total about 9½ millions are for interest on railways and other public works, 5 millions for pensions and furlough pay for civil and military officers, 2½ millions for stores and 1½ millions miscellaneous. These charges constitute the home expenditure on revenue account, but there are also other remittances from India on capital account which bring up the total disbursements in England to an annual average of about 21¼ millions.
Public works in India fall under three categories—railways, irrigation, and roads and buildings. The railways are managed in various ways, the other two classes of works are carried out through the agency of separate departments in Madras and Bombay, and of officers of the government of India public works department, either under local or central control, in other provinces.
Railways in India serve different purposes—the ordinary purpose of trade and passenger communication, and also the special purposes pf the safeguarding the internal and external peace of the country, and of protecting Railways. special districts against famine by facilitating the movement of grain. For this reason the interest on capital expended on all the lines cannot be judged by a purely commercial standard. They are administered in three separate ways—as guaranteed, state or assisted lines. In the early days of railway enterprise the agency of private companies guaranteed by the state was exclusively employed, and nearly all the great trunk lines were made under this system, but the leases of the last three of these lines, the Great Indian Peninsula, the Bombay Baroda and Central India, and the Madras companies, fell in respectively in 1900, 1905 and 1907. In 1870 a new policy of railway development by the direct agency of the state was inaugurated; and in 1880 the system of encouraging private enterprise by state assistance was again resorted to. Both agencies are now employed side by side. The administration of railways was formerly under a secretary in the public works department; but since 1905 it has been placed in charge of a railway board, consisting of a president and two members, which is connected with, though not subordinate to, the department of commerce and industry. In 1908 the total length of railways open in India was 30,578, m., which carried 330 million passengers and 64 million tons of goods, and yielded a net profit exceeding 4%.
Facilities for irrigation (q.v.) vary widely, and irrigation works differ both in extent and in character. The main distinction arises from the fact that the rivers of northern India are fed by the Himalayan snows, and, therefore, afford Irrigation. a supply of water which surpasses in constancy and volume any of the rivers of the south. In Bombay and Madras almost all the irrigation systems, except in the deltas of the chief rivers, are dependent on reservoirs or “tanks,” which collect the rainfall of the adjacent hills. In Sind and the Punjab there are many canals which act merely as distributaries of the overflow of the great rivers at the time of inundation; but where the utility of the canals has been increased by permanent head-works the supply of water is perennial and practically inexhaustible, thus contrasting favourably with the less certain protection given by tanks. The Irrigation Commission of 1901 advised an expenditure of 30 millions sterling, spread over a term of twenty years, and irrigating 6½ million acres in addition to the 47 millions already irrigated at that time; but it was estimated that that programme would practically exhaust the irrigable land in India, and that some of the later works would be merely protective against the danger of famine, and would not be financially productive.
In addition to the provision and maintenance of roads and the construction of public buildings, the department of public works also provides all works of a public nature, such as water-supply, sanitation, embankments, lighthouses, ferries and bridges, Buildings and roads. which require technical skill. Road-making is an ordinary form of relief work in times of famine. In the famine of 1896-1897, for instance, 579 m. of new roads were made in the Central Provinces alone, and 819 m. were repaired. One of the finest roads in the world is the Grand Trunk Road which stretches across India from Calcutta to Peshawar, and which is metalled most of the way with kankar, a hard limestone outgrowth. The great buildings of ancient India are described under the names of the different cities which contain them.
The post-office of India is under the control of a director-general, in subordination to the department of commerce and industry; and this officer has under him a postmaster-general or deputy postmaster-general in each province. In 1906 the district post, Post Office. originally provided for local convenience and maintained by a local cess, was amalgamated with the imperial post. The mileage over which mails are carried by railway has been constantly increasing with the development of the railway system, but a far larger number are still carried by runners and boats. The total number of letters, &c., carried by the post exceeds 800 millions, and the service yields a small profit to the state. In connexion with the post-office there are inland money order and savings-bank businesses; and in addition the value-payable system, by which the post-office undertakes to recover from the addressee the value of an article sent by post and to remit the amount to the sender, has found great popularity.
Excluding the Indo European telegraph wire, the whole telegraph system of India forms an imperial charge, administered through a Telegraphs. director-general. The total length of line is about 69,000 m., and the net profits of the service approximately pay for new expenditure on capital account.
Telegraphic communication with Europe is maintained by the cable of the Eastern Telegraph Company via Aden, and by the Indo-European system, of which the eastern portion from Teheran and Fao to Karachi belongs to the government of India. The administration of the Indo-European department is in London under the direct control of the secretary of state. The system comprises two sections. The first, called the Persian Gulf section, runs from Karachi to Bushire, from Jask to Muscat, and from Bushire to Fao, where a connexion is made with the Ottoman government line. It includes also the Makran coast lines, running from Jask to Guadur, and thence to Karachi. The second section, known as the Persian section, consists of land lines running from Bushire to Teheran. These land lines, as well as the Makran coast lines, are worked under a treaty with the Persian government. A connexion for extending the system through Persia was signed in 1901, the route to be followed being from Kashan near Teheran to the Baluchistan frontier via Yezd and Kerman.
Bibliography.—Imperial Gazetteer of India (new edition, 1907-1909); Census of India (1901); Statistical Atlas of India (1895); G. A. Grierson, Linguistic Survey of India (1903); Sir Thomas Holdich, India (“Regions of the World” series) (1902); Sir John Strachey, India (1903); W. Crooke, Natives of Northern India (1907); W. S. Lilly, India and its Problems (1902); Sidney Low, A Vision of India (1906); R. D. Oldham, Geology of India (1893); W. T. Blanford, Geology of India (1880), and Fauna of British India (1888); R. Lydekker, Great and Small Game of India (1900); Sir J. D. Hooker, Flora of British India (1875); J. S. Gamble, Manual of Indian Timbers (1902); Indian Land Revenue Policy (Calcutta, 1902); B. H. Baden-Powell, The Indian Village Community (1896); Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Life and Labour of the People of India (1907); Theodore Morison, Industrial Organization of an Indian Province (1906); Professor Wyndham Dunstan, Coal Resources of India (Society of Arts, 1902); Sir George Watt, Dictionary of Economic Products of India (1908); Sir George Birdwood, Industrial Arts of India (1880); R. H. Mahon, Iron and Steel in India (1899); Lord Curzon in India (1906); India Office List; The Statesman’s Year-Book; and the government of India’s annual reports.
For an orthodox Hindu the history of India begins more than three thousand years before the Christian era with the events detailed in the great epic of the Mahabharata; but by the sober historian these can only be regarded as legends. See the article Inscriptions: section Indian, for a discussion of the scientific basis of the early history. It is needless to repeat here the analysis given in that article. The following account of the earlier period follows the main outlines of the traditional facts, corrected as far as possible by the inscriptional record; and further details will be found in the separate biographical, racial and linguistic articles, and those on the geographical areas into which India is administratively divided.
Our earliest glimpses of India disclose two races struggling for the soil, the Dravidians, a dark-skinned race of aborigines, and the Aryans, a fair-skinned people, descending from Legends. the north-western passes. Ultimately the Dravidians were driven back into the southern table-land, and the great plains of Hindustan were occupied by the Aryans, who dominated the history of India for many centuries thereafter.
The Rig-Veda forms the great literary memorial of the early Aryan settlements in the Punjab. The age of this primitive folk-song is unknown. The Hindus believe, without evidence, that it existed “from before all time,” or at least 3001 years B.C.—nearly 5000 years ago. European scholars have inferred from astronomical dates that its composition was going on about 1400 B.C. But these dates are themselves given in writings of later origin, and might have been calculated backwards. We only know that the Vedic religion had been at work long before the rise of Buddhism in the 6th century B.C. Nevertheless, the antiquity of the Rig-Veda, although not to be expressed in figures, is abundantly established. The earlier hymns exhibit the Aryans on the north-western frontiers of India just starting on their long journey. They show us the Aryans on the banks of the Indus, divided into various tribes, sometimes at war with each other, sometimes united against the “black-skinned” aborigines. Caste, in its later sense, is unknown. Each father of a family is the priest of his own household. The chieftain acts as father and priest to the tribe; but at the greater festivals he chooses some one specially learned in holy offerings to conduct the sacrifice in the name of the people. The chief himself seems to have been elected. Women enjoyed a high position, and some of the most beautiful hymns were composed by ladies and queens. Marriage was held sacred. Husband and wife were both “rulers of the house” (dampati), and drew near to the gods together in prayer. The burning of widows on their husbands’ funeral-pile was unknown, and the verses in the Veda which the Brahmans afterwards distorted into a sanction for the practice have the very opposite meaning.
The Aryan tribes in the Veda are acquainted with most of the metals. They have blacksmiths, coppersmiths and goldsmiths among them, besides carpenters, barbers and other artisans. They fight from chariots, and freely use the horse, although not yet the elephant, in war. They have settled down as husbandmen, till their fields with the plough, and live in villages or towns. But they also cling to their old wandering life, with their herds and “cattle-pens.” Cattle, indeed, still form their chief wealth, the coin (Lat. pecunia) in which payments of fines are made; and one of their words for war literally means “a desire for cows.” They have learned to build “ships,” perhaps large river-boats, and seem to have heard something of the sea. Unlike the modern Hindus, the Aryans of the Veda ate beef, used a fermented liquor or beer made from the soma plant, and offered the same strong meat and drink to their gods. Thus the stout Aryans spread eastwards through northern India, pushed on from behind by later arrivals of their own stock, and driving before them, or reducing to bondage, the earlier “black-skinned” races. They marched in whole communities from one river-valley to another, each house-father a warrior, husbandman and priest, with his wife and his little ones, and cattle.
About the beginning of the 6th century B.C. the settled country between the Himalaya mountains and the Nerbudda river was divided into sixteen independent states, some monarchies and some tribal republics, the most Early states. important of which were the four monarchies of Kosala, Magadha, the Vamsas and Avanti. Kosala, the modern kingdom of Oudh, appears to have been the premier state of India in 600 B.C. Later the supremacy was reft from it by the kingdom of Magadha, the modern Behar (q.v.). South of Kosala lay the kingdom of the Vamsas, and south of that again the kingdom of Avanti. In the north-west was Gandhara, on the banks of the Indus, in the neighbourhood of Peshawar. The history of these early states is only a confused record of war and intermarriages, and is still semi-mythical. The list of the sixteen states ignores everything north of the Himalayas, south of the Vindhyas, and east of the Ganges where it turns south.
The principal cities of India at this date were Ayōdhyā, the capital of Kosala at the time of the Ramayana, though it afterwards gave place to Srāvastī, which was one of the six great cities of India in the time of Buddha: Capital cities. archaeologists differ as to its position. Baranasi, the modern Benares, had in the time of Megasthenes a circuit of 25 m. Kosambi, the capital of the Vamsas, lay on the Jumna, 230 m. from Benares. Rajagriha (Rajgir), the capital of Magadha, was built by Bimbisara, the contemporary of Buddha. Roruka, the capital of Sovira, was an important centre of the coasting trade. Saketa was sometime the capital of Kosala. Ujjayini, the modern Ujjain, was the capital of Avanti. None of these great cities has as yet been properly excavated.
In those early days the Aryan tribes were divided into four social grades on a basis of colour: the Kshatriyas or nobles, who claimed descent from the early leaders; the Brahmans or sacrificing priests; the Vaisyas, the Social life. peasantry; and last of all the Sudras, the hewers of wood and drawers of water, of non-Aryan descent. Even below these there were low tribes and trades, aboriginal tribes and slaves. In later documents mention is made of eighteen gilds of work-people, whose names are nowhere given, but they probably included workers in wood, workers in metal, workers in stone, weavers, leather-workers, potters, ivory-workers, dyers, fisher-folk, butchers, hunters, cooks, barbers, flower-sellers, sailors, basket-makers and painters.
It is supposed that sea-going merchants, mostly Dravidians, and not Aryans, availing themselves of the monsoons, traded in the 7th century B.C. from the south-west ports of India to Babylon, and that there they became acquainted with a Semitic alphabet, which they brought back with them, and from which all the alphabets now used in India, Burma, Siam and Ceylon have been gradually evolved. For the early inscriptional remains, see Inscriptions: India. The earliest written records in India, however, are Buddhist. The earliest written books are in Pali and Buddhist Sanskrit.
The Buddhist Period.
The systems called Jainism (see Jains) and Buddhism (q.v.) had their roots in prehistoric philosophies, but were founded respectively by Vardhamana Mahavira and Gotama Buddha, both of whom were preaching in Magadha during the reign of Bimbisara (c. 520 B.C.).
During the next two hundred years Buddhism spread over northern India, perhaps receiving a new impulse from the Greek kingdoms in the Punjab. About the middle of the 3rd century B.C. Asoka, the king of Magadha or Behar, who reigned from 264 B.C. to 227 B.C., became a zealous convert to Buddhism. He is said to have supported 64,000 Buddhist priests; he founded many religious houses, and his kingdom is called the Land of the Monasteries (Vihara or Behar) to this day. He did for Buddhism what Constantine effected for Christianity; he organized it on the basis of a state religion. This he accomplished by five means—by a council to settle the faith, by edicts promulgating its principles, by a state department to watch over its purity, by missionaries to spread its doctrines, and by an authoritative collection of its sacred books. In 246 B.C. Asoka is said to have convened at Pataliputra (Patna) the third Buddhist council of one thousand elders (the tradition that he actually convened it rests on no actual evidence that we possess). Evil men, taking on them the yellow robe of the order, had given forth their own opinions as the teaching of Buddha. Such heresies were now corrected; and the Buddhism of southern Asia practically dates from Asoka’s council. In a number of edicts, both before and after the synod, he published throughout India the grand principles of the faith. Such edicts are still found graven deep upon pillars, in caves and on rocks, from the Yusafzai valley beyond Peshawar on the north-western frontier, through the heart of Hindustan, to Kathiawar and Mysore on the south and Orissa in the east. Tradition states that Asoka set up 64,000 memorial columns; and the thirty-five inscriptions extant in our own day show how widely these royal sermons were spread over India. In the year of the council, the king also founded a state department to watch over the purity and to direct the spread of the faith. A minister of justice and religion (Dharma Mahamatra) directed its operations; and, one of its first duties being to proselytize, he was specially charged with the welfare of the aborigines among whom its missionaries were sent. Asoka did not think it enough to convert the inferior races without looking after their material interests. Wells were to be dug and trees planted along the roads; a system of medical aid was established throughout his kingdom and the conquered provinces, as far as Ceylon, for both man and beast. Officers were appointed to watch over domestic life and public morality, and to promote instruction among the women as well as the youth.
Asoka recognized proselytism by peaceful means as a state duty. The rock inscriptions record how he sent forth missionaries “to the utmost limits of the barbarian countries,” to “intermingle among all unbelievers” for the spread of religion. They shall mix equally with Brahmans and beggars, with the dreaded and the despised, both within the kingdom “and in foreign countries, teaching better things.” Conversion is to be effected by persuasion, not by the sword. This character of a proselytizing faith which wins its victories by peaceful means has remained a prominent feature of Buddhism to the present day. Asoka, however, not only took measures to spread the religion; he also endeavoured to secure its orthodoxy. He collected the body of doctrine into an authoritative version, in the Magadhi language or dialect of his central kingdom in Behar—a version which for two thousand years has formed the canon (pitakas) of the southern Buddhists.
The fourth and last of the great councils was held in Kashmir under the Kushan king Kanishka (see below). This council, which consisted of five hundred members, compiled three commentaries on the Buddhist faith. These commentaries supplied in part materials for the Tibetan or northern canon, drawn up at a subsequent period. The northern canon, or, as the Chinese proudly call it, the “greater vehicle of the law,” includes many later corruptions or developments of the Indian faith as originally embodied by Asoka in the “lesser vehicle,” or canon of the southern Buddhists.
The Kanishka commentaries were written in the Sanskrit language, perhaps because the Kashmir and northern priests who formed his council belonged to isolated Aryan colonies, which had been little influenced by the growth of the Indian vernacular dialects. In this way Kanishka and his Kashmir council became in some degree to the northern or Tibetan Buddhists what Asoka and his council had been to the Buddhists of Ceylon and the south.
Buddhism never ousted Brahmanism from any large part of India. The two systems co-existed as popular religions during more than a thousand years (250 B.C. to about A.D. 800), and modern Hinduism is the joint product of Buddhism and Brahmanism. both. Certain kings and certain eras were intensely Buddhistic; but the continuous existence of Brahmanism is abundantly proved from the time of Alexander (327 B.C.) downwards. The historians who chronicled his march, and the Greek ambassador Megasthenes, who succeeded them (300 B.C.) in their literary labours, bear witness to the predominance of the old faith in the period immediately preceding Asoka. Inscriptions, local legends, Sanskrit literature, and the drama disclose the survival of Brahman influence during the next six centuries (250 B.C.-A.D. 400). From A.D. 400 we have the evidence of the Chinese pilgrims, who toiled through Central Asia into India as the birthplace of their faith. Fa-Hien entered India from Afghanistan, and journeyed down the whole Gangetic valley to the Bay of Bengal in A.D. 399-413. He found Brahman priests equally honoured with Buddhist monks, and temples to the Indian gods side by side with the religious houses of his own faith. Hsüan Tsang also travelled to India from China by the Central Asia route, and has left a fuller record of the state of the two religions in the 7th century. His journey extended from A.D. 629 to 645, and everywhere throughout India he found the two faiths eagerly competing for the suffrages of the people. By that time, indeed, Brahmanism was beginning to assert itself at the expense of the other religion. The monuments of the great Buddhist monarchs, Asoka and Kanishka, confronted him from the time he neared the Punjab frontier; but so also did the temples of Siva and his “dread” queen Bhima. Throughout north-western India he found Buddhist convents and monks surrounded by “swarms of heretics.” The political power was also divided, although Buddhist sovereigns predominated. A Buddhist monarch ruled over ten kingdoms in Afghanistan. At Peshawar the great monastery built by Kanishka was deserted, but the populace remained faithful. In Kashmir king and people were devout Buddhists, under the teaching of five hundred monasteries and five thousand monks. In the country identified with Jaipur, on the other hand, the inhabitants were devoted to heresy and war.
During the next few centuries Brahmanism gradually became the ruling religion. There are legends of persecutions instigated by Brahman reformers, such as Kumarila Bhatta and Sankar-Acharjya. But the downfall of Buddhism Decline of Buddhism. seems to have resulted from natural decay, and from new movements of religious thought, rather than from any general suppression by the sword. Its extinction is contemporaneous with the rise of Hinduism, and belongs to a subsequent part of this sketch. In the 11th century, only outlying states, such as Kashmir and Orissa, remained faithful; and before the Mahommedans fairly came upon the scene Buddhism as a popular faith had disappeared from India. During the last ten centuries Buddhism has been a banished religion from its native home. But it has won greater triumphs in its exile than it could ever have achieved in the land of its birth. It has created a literature and a religion for more than a third of the human race, and has profoundly affected the beliefs of the rest. Five hundred millions of men, or 35% of the inhabitants of the world, still follow the teaching of Buddha. Afghanistan, Nepal, Eastern Turkestan, Tibet, Mongolia, Manchuria, China, Japan, the Eastern Archipelago, Siam, Burma, Ceylon and India at one time marked the magnificent circumference of its conquests. Its shrines and monasteries stretched in a continuous line from the Caspian to the Pacific, and still extend from the confines of the Russian empire to the equatorial archipelago. During twenty-four centuries Buddhism has encountered and outlived a series of powerful rivals. At this day it forms one of the three great religions of the world, and is more numerously followed than either Christianity or Islam. In India its influence has survived its separate existence: it supplied a basis upon which Brahmanism finally developed from the creed of a caste into the religion of the people. The noblest survivals of Buddhism in India are to be found, not among any peculiar body, but in the religion of the people; in that principle of the brotherhood of man, with the reassertion of which each new revival of Hinduism starts; in the asylum which the great Hindu sects afford to women who have fallen victims to caste rules, to the widow and the out-caste; in the gentleness and charity to all men, which takes the place of a poor-law in India, and gives a high significance to the half satirical epithet of the “mild” Hindu.
The external history of India may be considered to begin with the Greek invasion in 327 B.C. Some indirect trade between India and the Levant seems to have existed from very ancient times. Homer was acquainted with tin and other articles of Indian merchandise by their Sanskrit names; and a long list has been made of Indian products mentioned in the Bible. In the time of Darius (see Persia) the valley of the Indus was a Persian satrapy. But the first Greek historian who speaks clearly of India was Hecataeus of Miletus (549-486 B.C.); the knowledge of Herodotus (450 B.C.) ended at the Indus; and Ctesias, the physician (401 B.C.), brought back from his residence in Persia only a few facts about the products of India, its dyes and fabrics, its monkeys and parrots. India to the east of the Indus was first made known in Europe by the historians and men of science who accompanied Alexander the Great in 327 B.C. Their narratives, although now lost, are condensed in Strabo, Pliny and Arrian. Soon afterwards Megasthenes, as Greek ambassador resident at a court in Bengal (306-298 B.C.), had opportunities for the closest observation. The knowledge of the Greeks and Romans concerning India practically dates from his researches, 300 B.C.
Alexander the Great entered India early in 327 B.C. Crossing the lofty Khawak and Kaoshan passes of the Hindu Kush, he advanced by Alexandria, a city previously founded in the Koh-i-Daman, and Nicaea, another city to Alexander’s march. the west of Jalalabad, on the road from Kabul to India. Thence he turned eastwards through the Kunar valley and Bajour, and crossed the Gouraios (Panjkora) river. Here he laid siege to Mount Aornos, which is identified by some authorities with the modern Mahaban, though this identification was rejected by Dr Stein after an exhaustive survey of Mount Mahaban in 1904. Alexander crossed the Indus at Ohind, 16 m. above Attock, receiving there the submission of the great city of Taxila, which is now represented by miles of ruins near the modern Rawalpindi. Crossing the Hydaspes (Jhelum) he defeated Porus in a great battle, and crossing the Acesines (Chenab) near the foot of the hills and the Hydraotes (Ravi), reached the Hyphasis (Beas). Here he was obliged by the temper of his army to retrace his steps, and retreat to the Jhelum, whence he sailed down the river to its confluence with the Indus, and thence to Patala, probably the modern Hyderabad. From Patala the admiral Nearchos was to sail round the coast to the Euphrates, while Alexander himself marched through the wilds of Gedrosia, or modern Makran. Ultimately, after suffering agonies of thirst in the desert, the army made its way back to the coast at the modern harbour of Pasin, whence the return to Susa in Persia was comparatively easy.
During his two years’ campaign in the Punjab and Sind, Alexander captured no province, but he made alliances, founded cities and planted garrisons. He had transferred much territory to chiefs and confederacies devoted to his cause; every petty court had its Greek faction; and the detachments which he left behind at various positions, from the Afghan frontier to the Beas, and from near the base of the Himalaya to the Sind delta, were visible pledges of his return. At Taxila (Dehri-Shahan) and Nicaea (Mong) in the northern Punjab, at Alexandria (Uchch) in the southern Punjab, at Patala (Hyderabad) in Sind, and at other points along his route, he established military settlements of Greeks or allies. A large body of his troops remained in Bactria; and, in the partition of the empire which followed Alexander’s death in 323 B.C., Bactria and India eventually fell to Seleucus Nicator, the founder of the Syrian monarchy (see Seleucid).
Meanwhile a new power had arisen in India. Among the Indian adventurers who thronged Alexander’s camp in the Punjab, each with his plot for winning a kingdom or crushing a rival, Chandragupta Maurya, an exile Chandragupta Maurya. from the Gangetic valley, seems to have played a somewhat ignominious part. He tried to tempt the wearied Greeks on the banks of the Beas with schemes of conquest in the rich south-eastern provinces; but, having personally offended their leader, he had to fly the camp (326 B.C.). In the confused years which followed, he managed with the aid of plundering bands to form a kingdom on the ruins of the Nanda dynasty in Magadha or Behar (321 B.C.). He seized the capital, Pataliputra, the modern Patna, established himself firmly in the Gangetic valley, and compelled the north-western principalities, Greeks and natives alike, to acknowledge his suzerainty. While, therefore, Seleucus was winning his way to the Syrian monarchy during the eleven years which followed Alexander’s death, Chandragupta was building up an empire in northern India. Seleucus reigned in Syria from 312 to 280 B.C., Chandragupta in the Gangetic valley from 321 to 296 B.C. In 312 B.C. the power of both had been consolidated, and the two new sovereignties were brought face to face. In that year Seleucus, having recovered Babylon, proceeded to re-establish his authority in Bactria (q.v.) and the Punjab. In the latter province he found the Greek influence decayed. Alexander had left behind a mixed force of Greeks and Indians at Taxila. No sooner was he gone than the Indians rose and slew the Greek governor; the Macedonians massacred the Indians; a new governor, sent by Alexander, murdered the friendly Punjab prince, Porus, and was himself driven out of the country by the advance of Chandragupta from the Gangetic valley. Seleucus, after a war with Chandragupta, determined to ally himself with the new power in India rather than to oppose it. In return for five hundred elephants, he ceded the Greek settlements in the Punjab and the Kabul valley, gave his daughter to Chandragupta in marriage, and stationed an ambassador, Megasthenes, at the Gangetic court (302 B.C.). Chandragupta became familiar to the Greeks as Sandrocottus, king of the Prasii; his capital, Pataliputra was called by them Palimbothra. On the other hand, the names of Greeks and kings of Grecian dynasties appear in the rock inscriptions, under Indian forms.
Previous to the time of Megasthenes the Greek idea of India was a very vague one. Their historians spoke of two classes of Indians—certain mountainous tribes who dwelt in northern Afghanistan under the Caucasus or Hindu Kush, and a maritime race living on the coast of Baluchistan. Of the India of modern geography lying beyond the Indus they practically knew nothing. It was this India to the east of the Indus that Megasthenes opened up to the western world. He describes the classification of the people, dividing them, however, into seven castes instead of four, namely, philosophers, husbandmen, shepherds, artisans, soldiers, inspectors and the counsellors of the king. The philosophers were the Brahmans, and the prescribed stages of their life are indicated. Megasthenes draws a distinction between the Brahmans (Βραχμᾶνες) and the Sarmanae (Σαρμάναι), from which some scholars have inferred that the Buddhist Sarmanas were a recognized class fifty years before the council of Asoka. But the Sarmanae also include Brahmans in the first and third stages of their life as students and forest recluses. The inspectors or sixth class of Megasthenes have been identified with Asoka’s Mahamatra and his Buddhist inspectors of morals.
The Greek ambassador observed with admiration the absence of slavery in India, the chastity of the women, and the courage of the men. In valour they excelled all other Asiatics; they required no locks to their doors; above all, no Indian was ever known to tell a lie. Sober and industrious, good farmers and skilful artisans, they scarcely ever had recourse to a lawsuit, and lived peaceably under their native chiefs. The kingly government is portrayed almost as described in Manu, with its hereditary castes of councillors and soldiers. Megasthenes mentions that India was divided into one hundred and eighteen kingdoms; some of which, such as that of the Prasii under Chandragupta, exercised suzerain powers. The village system is well described, each little rural unit seeming to be an independent republic. Megasthenes remarked the exemption of the husbandmen (Vaisyas) from war and public services, and enumerates the dyes, fibres, fabrics and products (animal, vegetable and mineral) of India. Husbandry depended on the periodical rains; and forecasts of the weather, with a view to “make adequate provision against a coming deficiency,” formed a special duty of the Brahmans. “The philosopher who errs in his predictions observes silence for the rest of his life.”
Before the year 300 B.C. two powerful monarchies had thus begun to act upon the Brahmanism of northern India, from the east and from the west. On the east, in the Gangetic valley, Chandragupta (320-296 B.C.) firmly consolidated the dynasty which during the next century produced Asoka (264-228 or 227 B.C.), and established Buddhism throughout India. On the west, the Seleucids diffused Greek influences, and sent forth Graeco-Bactrian expeditions to the Punjab. Antiochus Theos (grandson of Seleucus Nicator) and Asoka (grandson of Chandragupta), who ruled these two monarchies in the 3rd century B.C., made a treaty with each other (256). In the next century Eucratides, king of Bactria, conquered as far as Alexander’s royal city of Patala, and possibly sent expeditions into Cutch and Gujarat, 181-161 B.C. Of the Graeco-Indian monarchs, Menander (q.v.) advanced farthest into north-western India, and his coins are found from Kabul, near which he probably had his capital, as far as Muttra on the Jumna. The Buddhist dynasty of Chandragupta profoundly modified the religion of northern India from the east; the Seleucid empire, with its Bactrian and later offshoots, deeply influenced the science and art of Hindustan from the west.
Brahman astronomy owed much to the Greeks, and what the Buddhists were to the architecture of northern India, that the Greeks were to its sculpture. Greek faces and profiles constantly occur in ancient Buddhist statuary, Greek influence on art. and enrich almost all the larger museums in India. The purest specimens have been found in the North-west frontier province (the ancient Gandhara) and the Punjab, where the Greeks settled in greatest force. As we proceed eastward from the Punjab, the Greek type begins to fade. Purity of outline gives place to lusciousness of form. In the female figures, the artists trust more and more to swelling breasts and towering chignons, and load the neck with constantly accumulating jewels. Nevertheless, the Grecian type of countenance long survived in Indian art. It is entirely unlike the present coarse conventional ideal of sculptured beauty, and may even be traced in the delicate profiles on the so-called sun temple at Kanarak, built in the 12th century A.D. on the remote Orissa shore.
Chandragupta (q.v.) was one of the greatest of Indian kings. The dominions that he had won back from the Greeks he administered with equal power. He maintained an army of 600,000 infantry, 30,000 horsemen, 36,000 The Maurya Dynasty. men with the elephants, and 24,000 men with the chariots, which was controlled by an elaborate war-office system. The account given of his reign by Megasthenes makes him better known to us than any other Indian monarch down to the time of Akbar. In 297 B.C. he was succeeded by his son, Bindusara, who is supposed to have extended his dominions down to Madras. In 272 B.C. he in turn was succeeded by Asoka, the Buddhist emperor, the religious side of whose reign has already been described. Asoka’s empire included the greater part of Afghanistan, a large part of Baluchistan, Sind, Kashmir, Nepal, Bengal to the mouths of the Ganges, and peninsular India down to the Palar river. After Asoka the Mauryas dwindled away, and the last of them, Brihadratha, was treacherously assassinated in 184 B.C. by his commander-in-chief, Pushyamitra Sunga, who founded the Sunga dynasty.
During the 2nd century B.C. north-western India was invaded and partially conquered by Antiochus III. the Great, Demetrius (q.v.), Eucratides (q.v.) and Menander (q.v.). With the last of these Pushyamitra Sunga waged successful Sunga, Kanva, and Andhra Dynasties. war, driving him from the Gangetic valley and confining him to his conquests in the west. Pushyamitra established his own paramountcy over northern India; but his reign is mainly memorable as marking the beginning of the Brahmanical reaction against Buddhism, a reaction which Pushyamitra is said to have forwarded not only by the peaceful revival of Hindu rites but by a savage persecution of the Buddhist monks. The Sunga dynasty, after lasting 112 years, was succeeded by the Kanva dynasty, which lasted 45 years, i.e. until about 27 B.C., when it was overthrown by an unknown king of the Andhra dynasty of the Satavahanas, whose power, originating in the deltas of the Godavari and Kistna rivers, by A.D. 200 had spread across India to Nasik and gradually pushed its way northwards.
About A.D. 100 there appeared in the west three foreign tribes from the north, who conquered the native population and established themselves in Malwa, Gujarat and Kathiawar. These tribes were the Sakas, a horde of pastoral The Saka Satraps. nomads from Central Asia (see Saka), the Pahlavas, whose name is supposed to be a corruption of “Parthiva” (i.e. Parthians of Persia), and the Yavanas (Ionians), i.e. foreigners from the old Indo-Greek kingdoms of the north west frontier, all of whom had been driven southwards by the Yue-chi (q.v.). Their rulers, of whom the first to be mentioned is Bhumaka, of the Kshaharata family, took the Persian title of satrap (Kshatrapa). They were hated by the Hindus as barbarians who disregarded the caste system and despised the holy law, and for centuries an intermittent struggle continued between the satraps and the Andhras, with varying fortune. Finally, however, about A.D. 236, the Andhra dynasty, after an existence of some 460 years, came to an end, under circumstances of which no record remains, and their place in western India was taken by the Kshaharata satraps, until the last of them was overthrown by Chandragupta Vikramaditya at the close of the 4th century.
Meanwhile, the Yue-chi had themselves crossed the Hindu Kush to the invasion of north-western India (see Yue-Chi). They were originally divided into five tribes, which were united under the rule of Kadphises I. (? A.D. 45–85), the founder of The Kushan Dynasty A.D. 45–225. the Kushan dynasty, who conquered the Kabul valley, annihilating what remained there of the Greek dominion, and swept away the petty Indo-Greek and Indo-Parthian principalities on the Indus. His successors completed the conquest of north-western India from the delta of the Indus eastwards probably as far as Benares. One effect of the Yue-chi conquests was to open up a channel of commerce with the Roman empire by the northern trade routes; and the Indian embassy which, according to Dion. Cassius (ix. 58), visited Trajan after his arrival at Rome in A.D. 99, was probably sent by Kadphises II. (Ooemokadphises) to announce his conquest of north-western India. The most celebrated of the Kushan kings, however, was Kanishka, whose date is still a matter of controversy. From his capital at Purushapura (Peshawar) he not only maintained his hold on north-western India, but conquered Kashmir, attacked Pataliputra, carried on a successful war with the Parthians, and led an army across the appalling passes of the Taghdumbash Pamir to the conquest of Kashgar, Yarkand and Khotan. It is not, however, as a conqueror that Kanishka mainly lives on in tradition, but as a Buddhist monarch, second in reputation only to Asoka, and as the convener of the celebrated council of Kashmir already mentioned.
The dynasties of the Andhras in the centre and south and of the Kushans in the north came to an end almost at the same time (c. A.D. 236–225 respectively). The history of India during the remainder of the 3rd century is all but a blank, a confused record of meaningless names and disconnected events; and it Is not until the opening of the 4th century that the veil is lifted, with the rise to supreme power in Magadha (A.D. 320) of Chandragupta I., the founder of the Gupta dynasty and empire (see Gupta), the most extensive since the days of Asoka. He was succeeded by Chandragupta II. Vikramaditya, whose court and administration are described by the Chinese pilgrim Fa-hien, and who is supposed to have been the original of the mythical king Vikramaditya, who figures largely in Indian legends. The later Guptas were overwhelmed (c. 470) by the White Huns, or Ephthalites (q.v.), who after breaking the power of Persia and assailing the Kushan kingdom of Kabul, had poured into India, conquered Sind, and established their rule as far south as the Nerbudda. The dominion of the Huns in India, as elsewhere, was a mere organization for brigandage on an imperial scale and it did not long survive. It was shaken (c. 528) by the defeat, at the hands of tributary princes goaded to desperation, of Mihiragula, the most powerful and bloodthirsty of its rulers—the “Attila of India.” It collapsed with the overthrow of the central power of the White Huns on the Oxus (c. 565) by the Turks. Though, however, this stopped the incursions of Asiatic hordes from the north-west, and India was to remain almost exempt from foreign invasion for some 500 years, the Ephthalite conquest added new and permanent elements to the Indian population. After the fall of the central power, the scattered Hunnish settlers, like so many before them, became rapidly Hinduized, and are probably the ancestors of some of the most famous Rajput clans.
The last native monarch, prior to the Mahommedan conquest, to establish and maintain paramount power in the north was Harsha, or Harshavardhana (also known as Siladitya), for whose reign (606–648) full and trustworthy materials exist in the book of travels written by the Chinese pilgrim Hsüan Tsang and the Harsha-charita (Deeds of Harsha) composed by Bana, a Brahman who lived at the royal court. Harsha was the younger son of the raja of Thanesar, and gained his first experience of campaigning while still a boy in the successful wars waged by his father and brother against the Huns on the north-western frontier. After the treacherous murder of his brother by Sasanka, king of Central Bengal, he was confirmed as raja, though still very young, by the nobles of Thanesar in 606, though it would appear that his effective rule did not begin till six years later. His first care was to revenge his brother’s death, and though it seems that Sasanka escaped destruction for a while (he was still ruling in 619), Harsha’s experience of warfare encouraged him to make preparations for bringing all India under his sway. By the end of five and a half years he had actually conquered the north-western regions and also, probably, part of Bengal. After this he reigned for 34½ years, devoting most of his energy to perfecting the administration of his vast dominions, which he did with such wisdom and liberality as to earn the commendation of Hsüan Tsang. In his campaigns he was almost uniformly successful; but in his attempt to conquer the Deccan he was repulsed (620) by the Chalukya king, Pulikesin II., who successfully prevented him from forcing the passes of the Nerbudda. Towards the end of his reign Harsha’s empire embraced the whole basin of the Ganges from the Himalayas to the Nerbudda, including Nepal, besides Malwa, Gujarat and Surashtra (Kathiawar); while even Assam (Kamarupa) was tributary to him. The empire, however, died with its founder. His benevolent despotism had healed the wounds inflicted by the barbarian invaders, and given to his subjects a false feeling of security. For he left no heir to carry on his work; his death “loosened the bonds which restrained the disruptive forces always ready to operate in India, and allowed them to produce their normal result, a medley of petty states, with ever-varying boundaries, and engaged in unceasing internecine war.”
In the Deccan the middle of the 6th century saw the rise of the Chalukya dynasty, founded by Pulikesin I. about A.D. 550. The most famous monarch of this line was Pulikesin II., who repelled the inroads of Harsha (A.D. 620), The Deccan. and whose court was visited by Hsüan Tsang (A.D. 640); but in A.D. 642 he was defeated by the Pallavas of Conjeeveram, and though his son Vikramaditya I. restored the fallen fortunes of his family, the Chalukyas were finally superseded by the Rashtrakutas about A.D. 750. The Kailas temple at Ellora was built in the reign of Krishna I. (c. A.D. 760). The last of the Rashtrakutas was overthrown in A.D. 973 by Taila II., a scion of the old Chalukya stock, who founded a second dynasty known as the Chalukyas of Kalyani, which lasted like its predecessor for about two centuries and a quarter. About A.D. 1000 the Chalukya kingdom suffered severely from the invasion of the Chola king, Rajaraja the Great. Vikramanka, the hero of Bilhana’s historical poem, came to the throne in A.D. 1076 and reigned for fifty years. After his death the Chalukya power declined. During the 12th and 13th centuries a family called Hoysala attained considerable prominence in the Mysore country, but they were overthrown by Malik Kafur in A.D. 1310. The Yadava kings of Deogiri were descendants of feudatory nobles of the Chalukya kingdom, but they, like the Hoysalas, were overthrown by Malik Kafur, and Ramachandra, the last of the line, was the last independent Hindu sovereign of the Deccan.
According to ancient tradition the kingdoms of the south were three—Pandya, Chola and Chera. Pandya occupied the The Kingdoms of the South. extremity of the peninsula, south of Pudukottai, Chola extended northwards to Nellore, and Chera lay to the west, including Malabar, and is identified with the Kerala of Asoka. All three kingdoms were occupied by races speaking Dravidian languages. The authentic history of the south does not begin until the 9th and 10th centuries A.D., though the kingdoms are known to have existed in Asoka’s time.
The most ancient mention of the name Pandya occurs in the 4th century B.C., and in Asoka’s time the kingdom was independent, but no early records survive, the Inscriptions of the dynasty being of late date, while the long lists of kings in The Pandya Kingdom. Tamil literature are untrustworthy. During the early centuries of the Christian era the Pandya and Chera kingdoms traded with Rome. The most ancient Pandya king to whom a definite date can be ascribed is Rajasimha (c. A.D. 920). Records begin towards the end of the 12th century, and the dynasty can be traced from then till the middle of the 16th century. The most conspicuous event in its history was the invasion by the Sinhalese armies of Parakramabahu, king of Ceylon (c. A.D. 1175). The early records of the Chera kingdom are still more meagre; and the authentic list of the rajas of Travancore does not begin till A.D. 1335, and the rajas of Cochin two centuries later.
The Chola kingdom, like the Pandya, is mentioned by the Sanskrit grammarian Katyayana in the 4th century B.C., and was recognized by Asoka as independent. The dynastic history of the Cholas begins about A.D. 860, The Chola Kingdom. and is known from then until its decline in the middle of the 13th century. During those four centuries their history is intertwined with that of the Pallavas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas and other minor dynasties. In A.D. 640 the Chola country was visited by Hsüan Tsang, but the country at that time was desolate, and the dynasty of small importance. In A.D. 985 Rajaraja the Great came to the throne, and after a reign of twenty-seven years died the paramount ruler of southern India. He conquered and annexed the island of Ceylon, and was succeeded by four equally vigorous members of the dynasty; but after the time of Vikrama (A.D. 1120) the Chola power gradually declined, and was practically extinguished by Malik Kafur.
The name of the Pallavas appears to be identical with that of the Pahlavas, a foreign tribe, frequently mentioned in inscriptions and Sanskrit literature. It is supposed, therefore, that the Pallavas came from the north, The Pallava Confederacy. and gradually worked their way down to Malabar and the Coromandel coast. When first heard of in the 2nd century A.D. they are a ruling race. The Pallavas appear, like the Mahrattas in later times, to have imposed tribute on the territorial governments of the country. The first Pallava king about whom anything substantial is known was Siva-skanda-varman (c. A.D. 150), whose capital was Kanchi (Conjeeveram), his power extending into the Telugu country as far as the Kistna river. Two centuries later Samudragupta conquered eleven kings of the south, of whom three were Pallavas. It appears that in the 4th century three Pallava chiefs were established at Kanchi, Vengi and Palakkada, the latter two being subordinate to the first, and that Pallava rule extended from the Godavari on the north to the Southern Vellaru river on the south, and stretched across Mysore from sea to sea. About A.D. 609 Pulikesin II., the Chalukya king, defeated Mahendra-Varman, a Pallava chief, and drove him to take refuge behind the walls of Kanchi. About A.D. 620 a prince named Vishnuvardhana founded the Eastern Chalukya line in the province of Vengi, which was taken from the Pallavas. Hsüan Tsang visited Kanchi, the Pallava capital, in the year A.D. 640; the country was, according to his account, 1000 m. in circumference, and the capital was a large city 5 or 6 m. in circumference. In A.D. 642 the Pallavas defeated in turn Pulikesin II. The conflict became perennial, and when the Rashtrakutas supplanted the Chalukyas in the middle of the 8th century, they took up the old quarrel with the Pallavas. Towards the end of the 10th century the Pallava power, which had lasted for ten centuries, was destroyed by the Chola monarch, Rajaraja the Great. Pallava nobles existed to the end of the 17th century, and the raja of Pudukottai claims descent from the ancient royal family.
At the time that Buddhism was being crushed out of India by the Brahmanic reaction, a new faith was being born in Arabia, destined to supply a youthful fanaticism which should sweep the country from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin, and from the western to the eastern sea. Mahomet, the founder of Islam, died at Medina in A.D. 632, while the Chinese pilgrim Hsüan Tsang was still on his travels. The first Mahommedan invasion of India is placed in 664, only thirty-two years after the death of the prophet. The Punjab is said to have been ravaged on this occasion with no permanent results. The first Mahommedan conquest was the outlying province of Sind. In 711, or seventy-nine years after the death of Mahomet, an Arab army under Mahommed b. Kasim invaded and conquered the Hindus of Sind in the name of Walid I., caliph of Damascus, of the Omayyad line. In the same year Roderic, the last of the Goths, fell before the victorious Saracens in Spain. But in India the bravery of the Rajputs and the devotion of the Brahmans seem to have afforded a stronger national bulwark than existed in western Europe. In 750 the Hindus rose in rebellion and drove out the Mussulman tyrant, and the land had rest for one hundred and fifty years.
The next Mahommedan invasion of India is associated with the name of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. Mahmud was the eldest son of Sabuktagin, surnamed Nasr-ud-din, in origin a Turkish slave, who had established his rule Mahmud of Ghazni. over the greater part of modern Afghanistan and Khorassan, with Ghazni as his capital. In 977 Sabuktagin is said to have defeated Jaipal, the Hindu raja of Lahore, and to have rendered the Punjab tributary. But his son Mahmud was the first of the great Mussulman conquerors whose names still ring through Asia. Mahmud succeeded to the throne in 997. During his reign of thirty-three years he extended the limits of his father’s kingdom from Persia on the east to the Ganges on the west; and it is related that he led his armies into the plains of India no fewer than seventeen times. In 1001 he defeated Raja Jaipal a second time, and took him prisoner. But Anandpal, son of Jaipal, raised again the standard of national independence, and gathered an army of Rajput allies from the farthest corners of Hindustan. The decisive battle was fought in the valley of Peshawar. Mahmud won the day by the aid of his Turkish horsemen, and thenceforth the Punjab has been a Mahommedan province, except during the brief period of Sikh supremacy. The most famous of Mahmud’s invasions of India was that undertaken in 1025-1026 against Gujarat. The goal of this expedition was the temple dedicated to Siva at Somnath, around which so many legends have gathered. It is reported that Mahmud marched through Ajmere to avoid the desert of Sind; that he found the Hindus gathered on the neck of the peninsula of Somnath in defence of their holy city; that the battle lasted for two days; that in the end the Rajput warriors fled to their boats, while the Brahman priests retired into the inmost shrine; that Mahmud, introduced into this shrine, rejected all entreaties by the Brahmans to spare their idol, and all offers of ransom; that he smote the image with his club, and forthwith a fountain of precious stones gushed out. Until the British invasion of Afghanistan in 1839, the club of Mahmud and the wood gates of Somnath were preserved at the tomb of the great conqueror near Ghazni. The club has now disappeared, and the gates brought back to India by Lord Ellenborough are recognized to be a clumsy forgery. To Mahommedans Mahmud is known, not only as a champion of the faith, but as a munificent patron of literature. The dynasty that he founded was not long-lived. Fourteen of his descendants occupied his throne within little more than a century, but none of them achieved greatness. A blood-feud arose between them and a line of Afghan princes who had established themselves among the mountains of Ghor. In 1155 Bahram, the last of the Ghaznivide Turks, was overthrown by Ala-ud-din of Ghor, and the wealthy and populous city of Ghazni was razed to the ground. But even the Ghoride conqueror spared the tomb of Mahmud.
Khusru, the son of Bahram, fled to Lahore, and there established the first Mahommedan dynasty within India. It speedily ended with his son, also called Khusru, whom Mahommed Ghori, the relentless enemy of the Ghaznivide house, carried away into captivity in 1186.
The Afghans of Ghor thus rose to power on the downfall of the Turks of Ghazni. The founder of the family is said to have been Izzud-din al Husain, whose son Ala-ud-din destroyed Ghazni, as already mentioned. Ala-ud-din had two nephews, Ghiyas-ud-din and Muiz-ud-din, the latter of whom, also called Shahab-ud-din by Mussulman chroniclers, and generally known in history as Mahommed Ghori, is the second of the great Mahommedan conquerors of India. In 1175 he took Multan and Uchch; in 1186 Lahore fell into his hands; in 1191 he was repulsed before Delhi, but soon afterwards he redeemed this disaster. Hindustan proper was at that period divided between the two Rajput kingdoms of Kanauj and Delhi. Mahommed Ghori achieved his object by playing off the rival kings against each other. By 1193 he had extended his conquests as far east as Benares, and the defeated Rajputs migrated in a body to the hills and deserts now known as Rajputana. In 1199 one of his lieutenants, named Bakhtiyar, advanced into Bengal, and expelled by an audacious stratagem the last Hindu raja of Nadia. The entire northern plain, from the Indus to the Brahmaputra, thus lay under the Mahommedan yoke. But Mahommed Ghori never settled permanently in India. His favourite residence is said to have been the old capital of Ghazni, while he governed his Indian conquests through the agency of a favourite slave, Kutb-ud-din. Mahommed Ghori died in 1206, being assassinated by some Ghakkar tribesmen while sleeping in his tent by the bank of the Indus; on his death both Ghor and Ghazni drop out of history, and Delhi first appears as the Mahommedan capital of India.
On the death of Mahommed Ghori, Kutb-ud-din at once laid aside the title of viceroy, and proclaimed himself sultan of Delhi. He was the founder of what is known as The Slave Dynasty. the slave dynasty, which lasted for nearly a century (1206-1288). The name of Kutb is preserved in the minar, or pillar of victory, which still stands amid the ruins of ancient Delhi, towering high above all later structures. Kutb himself is said to have been successful as a general and an administrator, but none of his successors has left a mark in history.
In 1294 Ala-ud-din Khilji, the third of the great Mahommedan conquerors of India, raised himself to the throne of Delhi by the treacherous assassination of his uncle Feroz II. who had himself supplanted the last of the slave Ala-ud-din. dynasty. Ala-ud-din had already won military renown by his expeditions into the yet unsubdued south. He had plundered the temples at Bhilsa in central India, which are admired to the present day as the most interesting examples of Buddhist architecture in the country. At the head of a small band of horsemen, he had ridden as far south as Deogiri (Daulatabad) in the Deccan (q.v.), and plundered the Yadava capital. When once established as sultan, he planned more extensive schemes of conquest. One army was sent to Gujarat under Alaf Khan, who conquered and expelled the last Rajput king of Anhalwar or Patan. Another army, led by the sultan in person, marched into the heart of Rajputana, and stormed the rock-fortress of Chitor, where the Rajputs had taken refuge with their women and children. A third army, commanded by Malik Kafur, a Hindu renegade and favourite of Ala-ud-din, penetrated to the extreme south of the peninsula, scattering the unwarlike Dravidian races, and stripping every Hindu temple of its accumulations of gold and jewels. To this day the name of Malik Kafur is remembered in the remote district of Madura, in association with irresistible fate and every form of sacrilege.
Ala-ud-din died In 1316, having subjected to Islam the Deccan and Gujarat. Three successors followed him upon the throne, but their united reigns extended over only five years. In 1321 a successful revolt was headed by Ghiyas-ud-din Mahommed b. Tughlak. Tughlak, governor of the Punjab, who is said to have been of Turkish origin. The Tughlak dynasty lasted for about seventy years, until it was swept away by the invasion of Timur, the fourth Mahommedan conqueror of India, in 1398. Tughlak’s son and successor, Mahommed b. Tughlak, who reigned from 1325 to 1351, is described by Elphinstone as “one of the most accomplished princes and one of the most furious tyrants that ever adorned or disgraced human nature.” He wasted the treasure accumulated by Ala-ud-din in purchasing the retirement of the Mogul hordes, who had already made their appearance in the Punjab. When the internal circulation failed, he issued a forced currency of copper, which is said to have deranged the whole commerce of the country. At one time he raised an army for the invasion of Persia. At another he actually despatched an expedition against China, which perished miserably in the Himalayan passes. When Hindustan was thus suffering from his misgovernment, he conceived the project of transferring the seat of empire to the Deccan, and compelled the inhabitants of Delhi to remove a distance of 700 m. to Deogiri or Daulatabad. And yet during the reign of this sultan both the Tughlak dynasty and the city of Delhi are said to have attained their utmost growth. Mahommed was succeeded by his cousin Feroz, who likewise was not content without a new capital, which he placed a few miles north of Delhi, and called after his own name. He was a kind-hearted and popular, but weak, ruler. Meanwhile the remote provinces of the empire began to throw off their allegiance to the sultans of Delhi. The independence of the Afghan kings of Bengal is generally dated from 1336, when Mahommed Tughlak was yet on the throne. The commencement of the reign of Ala-ud-din, the founder of the Bahmani dynasty in the Deccan, is assigned to 1347. Zafar Khan, the first of the Ahmedabad kings, acted as an independent ruler from the time of his first appointment as governor of Gujarat in 1391. These and other revolts prepared the way for the fourth great invasion of India under Timur (Tamerlane).
Accordingly, when Timur invaded India in 1398, he encountered but little organized resistance. Mahmud, the last of the Tughlak dynasty, being defeated in a battle outside the walls of Delhi, fled into Gujarat. The city was Timur’s invasion. sacked and the inhabitants massacred by the victorious Moguls. But the invasion of Timur left no permanent impress upon the history of India, except in so far as its memory fired the imagination of Baber, the founder of the Mogul dynasty. The details of the fighting and of the atrocities may be found related in cold blood by Timur himself in the Malfuzat-i-Timuri, which has been translated in Elliot’s History of India as told by its own Historians, vol. iii. Timur marched back to Samarkand as he had come, by way of Kabul, and Mahmud Tughlak ventured to return to his desolate capital. He was succeeded by what is known as the Sayyid dynasty, which held Delhi and a few miles of surrounding country for about forty years. The Sayyids were in their turn expelled by Bahlol, an Afghan of the Lodi tribe, whose successors removed the seat of government to Agra, which thus for the first time became the imperial city. In 1526 Baber, the fifth in descent from Timur, and also the fifth Mahommedan conqueror, invaded India at the instigation of the governor of the Punjab, won the victory of Panipat over Ibrahim, the last of the Lodi dynasty, and founded the Mogul empire, which lasted, at least in name, until 1857.
In southern India at this time authentic history begins with the Hindu empire of Vijayanagar, which exercised an ill-defined Vijayanagar. sovereignty over the entire south from the 14th to the 16th century. The empire of Vijayanagar represents the last stand made by the national faith in India against conquering Islam. For at least two centuries its sway over the south was undisputed, and its rajas waged wars and concluded treaties of peace with the sultans of the Deccan on equal terms.
The earliest of the Mahommedan dynasties in the Deccan was that founded by Ala-ud-din in 1347, which has received the name of the Bahmani dynasty. The capital was first at Gulbarga, and was afterwards removed Bahmani Dynasty. to Bidar, both which places still possess magnificent palaces and mosques in ruins. Towards the close of the 14th century the Bahmani empire fell to pieces, and five independent kingdoms divided the Deccan among them. These were—(1) the Adil Shahi dynasty, with its capital at Bijapur, founded in 1490 by a Turk; (2) the Kutb Shahi dynasty, with its capital at Golconda, founded in 1512 by a Turkoman adventurer; (3) the Nizam Shahi dynasty, with its capital at Ahmednagar, founded in 1490 by a Brahman renegade; (4) the Imad Shahi dynasty of Berar, with its capital at Ellichpur, founded in 1484 also by a Hindu from Vijayanagar; (5) the Barid Shahi dynasty, with its capital at Bidar, founded about 1492 by one who is variously described as a Turk and a Georgian slave. It is, of course, impossible here to trace in detail the history of these several dynasties. In 1565 they combined against the Hindu raja of Vijayanagar, who was defeated and slain in the decisive battle of Talikota. But, though the city was sacked and the supremacy of Vijayanagar for ever destroyed, the Mahommedan victors did not themselves advance far into the south. The Naiks or feudatories of Vijayanagar everywhere asserted their independence. From them are descended the well-known Palegars of the south, and also the present raja of Mysore. One of the blood-royal of Vijayanagar fled to Chandragiri, and founded a line which exercised a prerogative of its former sovereignty by granting the site of Madras to the English in 1639. Another scion claiming the same high descent lingers to the present day near the ruins of Vijayanagar, and is known as the raja of Anagundi, a feudatory of the nizam of Hyderabad. Despite frequent internal strife, the sultans of the Deccan retained their independence until conquered by the Mogul emperor Aurangzeb in the latter half of the 17th century. To complete this sketch of India at the time of Baber’s invasion it remains to say that an independent Mahommedan dynasty reigned at Ahmedabad in Gujarat for nearly two centuries (from 1391 to 1573), until conquered by Akbar; and that Bengal was similarly independent, under a line of Afghan kings, with Gaur for their capital, from 1336 to 1573.
When, therefore, Baber invaded India in 1525, the greater part of the country was Mahommedan, but it did not recognize the authority of the Afghan sultan of the Lodi dynasty, who resided at Agra, and also ruled the historical The Mogul Dynasty. capital of Delhi. After having won the battle of Panipat (1526) Baber was no more acknowledged as emperor of India than his ancestor Timur had been. Baber, however, unlike Timur, had resolved to settle in the plains of Hindustan, and carve out for himself a new empire with the help of his Mogul followers. His first task was to repel an attack by the Rajputs of Chitor, who seem to have attempted to re-establish at this time a Hindu empire. The battle was fought at Sikri near Agra, and is memorable for the vow made by the easy-living Baber that he would never again touch wine. Baber was again victorious, but died shortly afterwards in 1530. He was succeeded by his son Humayun, who is chiefly known as being the father of Akbar. In Humayun’s reign the subject Afghans rose in revolt under Sher Shah, a native of Bengal, who for a short time established his authority over all Hindustan. Humayun was driven as an exile into Persia; and, while he was flying through the desert of Sind, his son Akbar was born to him in the petty fortress of Umarkot. But Sher Shah was killed at the storming of the rock-fortress of Kalinjar, and Humayun, after many vicissitudes, succeeded in re-establishing his authority at Lahore and Delhi.
Humayun died by an accident in 1556, leaving but a circumscribed kingdom, surrounded on every side by active foes, to his son Akbar, then a boy of only fourteen years. Akbar the Great, the real founder of the Mogul empire Akbar. as it existed for two centuries, was the contemporary of Queen Elizabeth of England. He was born in 1542, and his reign lasted from 1556 to 1605. When his father died he was absent in the Punjab, fighting the revolted Afghans, under the guardianship of Bairam Khan, a native of Badakshan, whose military skill largely contributed to recover the throne for the Mogul line. For the first seven years of his reign Akbar was perpetually engaged in warfare. His first task was to establish his authority in the Punjab, and in the country around Delhi and Agra. In 1567 he stormed the Rajput stronghold of Chitor, and conquered Ajmere. In 1570 he obtained possession of Oudh and Gwalior, In 1572 he marched in person into Gujarat, defeated the last of the independent sultans of Ahmedabad, and formed the province into a Mogul viceroyalty or subah. In the same year his generals drove out the Afghans from Bengal, and reunited the lower valley of the Ganges to Hindustan. Akbar was then the undisputed ruler of a larger portion of India than had ever before acknowledged the sway of one man. But he continued to extend his conquests throughout his lifetime. In 1578 Orissa was annexed to Bengal by his Hindu general Todar Mall, who forthwith organized a revenue survey of the whole province. Kabul submitted in 1581, Kashmir in 1587, Sind in 1592, and Kandahar in 1594. At last he turned his arms against the Mahommedan kings of the Deccan, and wrested from them Berar; but the permanent conquest of the south was reserved for Aurangzeb.
If the history of Akbar were confined to this long list of conquests, his name would on their account alone find a high place among those which mankind delights to remember. But it is as a civil administrator that his reputation is cherished in India to the present day. With regard to the land revenue, the essence of his procedure was to fix the amount which the cultivators should pay at one-third of the gross produce, leaving it to their option to pay in money or in kind. The total land revenue received by Akbar amounted to about 16½ millions sterling. Comparing the area of his empire with the corresponding area now under the British, it has been calculated that Akbar, three hundred years ago, obtained 15½ millions where they obtain only 13½ millions—an amount representing not more than one-half the purchasing power of Akbar’s 15½ millions. The distinction between khalsa land, or the imperial demesne, and jagir lands, granted revenue free or at quit rent in reward for services, also dates from the time of Akbar. As regards his military system, Akbar invented a sort of feudal organization, by which every tributary raja took his place by the side of his own Mogul nobles. In theory it was an aristocracy based only upon military command; but practically it accomplished the object at which it aimed by incorporating the hereditary chiefships of Rajputana among the mushroom creations of a Mahommedan despotism. Mussulmans and Hindus were alike known only as mansabdars or commanders of so many horse, the highest title being that of amir, of which the plural is umrah or omrah. The third and last of Akbar’s characteristic measures were those connected with religious innovation, about which it is difficult to speak with precision. The necessity of conciliating the proud warriors of Rajputana had taught him toleration from his earliest days. His favourite wife was a Rajput princess, and another wife is said to have been a Christian. Out of four hundred and fifteen of his mansabdars whose names are recorded, as many as fifty-one were Hindus. Starting from the broad ground of general toleration, Akbar was gradually led on by the stimulus of cosmopolitan discussion to question the truth of his inherited faith. The counsels of his friend Abul Fazl, coinciding with that sense of superhuman omnipotence which is bred of despotic power, led him at last to promulgate a new state religion, based upon natural theology, and comprising the best practices of all known creeds. In this strange faith Akbar himself was the prophet, or rather the head of the church. Every morning he worshipped the sun in public, as being the representative of the divine soul that animates the universe, while he was himself worshipped by the ignorant multitude.
Akbar died in 1605, in his sixty-third year. He lies buried beneath a plain slab in the magnificent mausoleum which he had reared at Sikandra, near his capital of Agra. As his name is still cherished in India, so his tomb is still honoured, being covered by a cloth presented by Lord Northbrook when viceroy in 1873.
The reign of Jahangir, his son, extended from 1605 to 1627. It is chiefly remarkable for the influence exercised over the emperor by his favourite wife, surnamed Nur Jahan. The Jahangir. currency was struck in her name, and in her hands centred all the intrigues that made up the work of administration. She lies buried by the side of her husband at Lahore, whither the seat of government had been moved by Jahangir, just as Akbar had previously transferred it from Delhi to Agra. It was in the reign of Jahangir that the English first established themselves at Surat, and also sent their first embassy to the Mogul court.
Jahangir was succeeded by his son Shah Jahan, who had rebelled against his father, as Jahangir had rebelled against Akbar. Shah Jahan’s reign is generally regarded as the period when the Mogul empire attained its greatest Shah Jahan. magnificence, though not its greatest extent of territory. He founded the existing city of Delhi, which is still known to its Mahommedan inhabitants as Shahjahanabad. At Delhi also he erected the celebrated peacock throne; but his favourite place of residence was Agra, where his name will ever be associated with the marvel of Indian architecture, the Taj Mahal. That most chaste and most ornamental of buildings was erected by Shah Jahan as the mausoleum of his favourite wife Mumtäz Mahal, and he himself lies by her side (see Agra). Shah Jahan had four sons, whose fratricidal wars for the succession during their father’s lifetime it would be tedious to dwell upon. Suffice it to say that Aurangzeb, by mingled treachery and violence, supplanted or overthrew his brothers and proclaimed himself emperor in 1658, while Shah Jahan was yet alive.
Aurangzeb’s long reign, from 1658 to 1707, may be regarded as representing both the culminating point of Mogul power and the beginning of its decay. Unattractive as his character was, it contained at least some elements Aurangzeb. of greatness. None of his successors on the throne was any thing higher than a debauchee or a puppet. He was the first to conquer the independent sultans of the Deccan, and to extend his authority to the extreme south. But even during his lifetime two new Hindu nationalities were being formed in the Mahrattas and the Sikhs; while immediately after his death the nawabs of the Deccan, of Oudh, and of Bengal raised themselves to practical independence. Aurangzeb had indeed enlarged the empire, but he had not strengthened its foundations. During the reign of his father Shah Jahan he had been viceroy of the Deccan or rather of the northern portion only, which had been annexed to the Mogul empire since the reign of Akbar. His early ambition was to conquer the Mahommedan kings of Bijapur and Golconda, who, since the downfall of Vijayanagar, had been practically supreme over the south.
This object was not accomplished without many tedious campaigns, in which Sivaji, the founder of the Mahratta confederacy, first comes upon the scene. In name Sivaji was a feudatory of the house of Bijapur, on whose Rise of Mahratta power. behalf he held the rock-forts of his native Ghats; but in fact he found his opportunity in playing off the Mahommedan powers against one another, and in rivalling Aurangzeb himself in the art of treachery. In 1680 Sivaji died, and his son and successor, Sambhaji, was betrayed to Aurangzeb and put to death. The rising Mahratta power was thus for a time checked, and the Mogul armies were set free to operate in the eastern Deccan. In 1686 the city of Bijapur was taken by Aurangzeb in person, and in the following year Golconda also fell. No independent power then remained in the south, though the numerous local chieftains, known as palegars and naiks, never formally submitted to the Mogul empire. During the early years of his reign Aurangzeb had fixed his capital at Delhi, while he kept his dethroned father, Shah Jahan, in close confinement at Agra. In 1682 he set out with his army on his victorious march into the Deccan, and from that time until his death in 1707 he never again returned to Delhi. In this camp life Aurangzeb may be taken as representative of one aspect of the Mogul rule, which has been picturesquely described by European travellers of that day. They agree in depicting the emperor as a peripatetic sovereign, and the empire as held together by its military highways no less than by the strength of its armies. The Grand Trunk road running across the north of the peninsula, is generally attributed to the Afghan usurper, Sher Shah. The other roads branching out southward from Agra, to Surat and Burhanpur and Golconda, were undoubtedly the work of Mogul times. Each of these roads was laid out with avenues of trees, with wells of water, and with frequent saráis or rest-houses. Constant communication between the capital and remote cities was maintained by a system of foot-runners, whose aggregate speed is said to have surpassed that of a horse. Commerce was conducted by means of a caste of bullock-drivers, whose occupation in India is hardly yet extinct.
On the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the decline of the Mogul empire set in with extraordinary rapidity. Ten emperors after Aurangzeb are enumerated in the chronicles, but none of them has left any mark on history. His son Decline of Mogul Empire. and successor was Bahadur Shah, who reigned only five years. Then followed in order three sons of Bahadur Shah, whose united reigns occupy only five years more. In 1739 Nadir Shah of Persia, the sixth and last of the great Mahommedan conquerors of India, swept like a whirlwind over Hindustan, and sacked the imperial city of Delhi. Thenceforth the Great Mogul became a mere name, though the hereditary succession continued unbroken down to the time of the Mutiny. Real power had passed into the hands of Mahommedan courtiers and Mahratta generals, both of whom were then carving for themselves kingdoms out of the dismembered empire, until at last British authority placed itself supreme over all. From the time of Aurangzeb no Mussulman, however powerful, dared to assume the title of sultan or emperor, with the single exception of Tippoo’s brief paroxysm of madness. The name of nawáb, corrupted by Europeans into “nabob,” appears to be an invention of the Moguls to express delegated authority, and as such it is the highest title conferred upon Mahommedans at the present day, as maharaja is the highest title conferred upon Hindus. At first nawabs were only found in important cities, such as Surat and Dacca, with the special function of administering civil justice; criminal justice was in the hands of the kotwál. The corresponding officials at that time in a large tract of country were the subahdar and the faujdar. But the title of subahdar, or viceroy, gradually dropped into desuetude, as the paramount power was shaken off, and nawab became a territorial title with some distinguishing adjunct. During the troubled period of intrigue and assassination that followed on the death of Aurangzeb, two Mahommedan foreigners rose to high position as courtiers and generals, and succeeded in transmitting their power to their sons. The one was Chin Kulich Khan, also called Asaf Jah, and still more commonly Nizam-ul-Mulk, who was of Turkoman origin, and belonged to the Sunni sect. His independence at Hyderabad in the Deccan dates from 1712. The other was Saadat Ali Khan, a Persian, and therefore a Shiah, who was appointed subahdar or nawab of Oudh about 1720. Thenceforth these two important provinces paid no more tribute to Delhi, though their hereditary rulers continued to seek formal recognition from the emperor on their succession. The Mahrattas were in possession of the entire west and great part of the centre of the peninsula; while the rich and unwarlike province of Bengal, though governed by an hereditary line of nawabs founded by Murshid Kuli Khan in 1704, still continued to pour its wealth into the imperial treasury. The central authority never recovered from the invasion of Nadir Shah in 1739, who carried off plunder variously estimated at from 8 to 30 millions sterling. The Mahrattas closed round Delhi from the south, and the Afghans from the west. The victory of Panipat, won by Ahmad Shah Durani over the united Mahratta confederacy in 1761, gave the Mahommedans one more chance of rule. But Ahmad Shah had no ambition to found a dynasty of his own, nor were the British in Bengal yet ready for territorial conquest.
Shah Alam, the lineal heir of the Mogul line, was thus permitted to ascend the throne of Delhi, where he lived during the great part of a long life as a puppet in the hands of End of Mogul line. Mahadji Sindhia. He was succeeded by Akbar II., who lived similarly under the shadow of British protection. Last of all came Bahadur Shah, who atoned for his association with the mutineers in 1857 by banishment to Burma. Thus ended the Mogul line, after a history which covers three hundred and thirty years. Mahommedan rule remodelled the revenue system, and has left behind fifty millions of Mussulmans in British India.
Early European Settlements.
Mahommedan invaders have always entered India from the north-west. Her new conquerors approached from the sea and from the south. From the time of Alexander to that of Vasco da Gama, Europe had enjoyed little direct intercourse with the East. An occasional traveller brought back stories of powerful kingdoms and of untold wealth; but the passage by sea was unthought of, and by land many wide deserts and warlike tribes lay between. Commerce, indeed, never ceased entirely, being carried on chiefly by the Italian cities on the Mediterranean, which traded to the ports of the Levant. But to the Europeans of the 15th century India was practically an unknown land, which powerfully attracted the imagination of spirits stimulated by the Renaissance and ardent for discovery. In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail under the Spanish flag to seek India beyond the Atlantic, bearing with him a letter to the great khan of Tartary. The expedition under Vasco da Gama started from Lisbon five years later, and, doubling the Cape of Good Hope, cast anchor off the city of Calicut on the 20th of May 1498, after a prolonged voyage of nearly eleven months. From the first da Gama encountered hostility from the “Moors,” or rather Arabs, who monopolized the sea-borne trade; but he seems to have found favour with the zamorin, or Hindu raja of Malabar. It may be worth while to recall the contemporary condition of India at that epoch. An Afghan of the Lodi dynasty was on the throne of Delhi, and another Afghan king was ruling over Bengal. Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Gulbarga, Bijapur, Ahmednagar and Ellichpur in the Deccan were each the capital of an independent Mahommedan kingdom; while the Hindu raja of Vijayanagar was recognized as paramount over the entire south. Neither Mogul nor Mahratta had yet appeared above the political horizon.
After staying nearly six months on the Malabar coast, da Gama returned to Europe by the same route as he had come, bearing with him the following letter from the zamorin to the king of Portugal: “Vasco da Gama, a nobleman Portuguese expeditions. of your household, has visited my kingdom and has given me great pleasure. In my kingdom there is abundance of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, pepper, and precious stones. What I seek from thy country is gold, silver, coral, and scarlet.” The arrival of da Gama at Lisbon was celebrated with national rejoicings scarcely less enthusiastic than had greeted the return of Columbus. If the West Indies belonged to Spain by priority of discovery, Portugal might claim the East Indies by the same right. Territorial ambition combined with the spirit of proselytism and with the greed of commerce to fill all Portuguese minds with the dream of a mighty Oriental empire. The early Portuguese discoverers were not traders or private adventurers, but admirals with a royal commission to conquer territory and promote the spread of Christianity. A second expedition, consisting of thirteen ships and twelve hundred soldiers, under the command of Cabral, was despatched in 1500. “The sum of his instructions was to begin with preaching, and, if that failed, to proceed to the sharp determination of the sword.” On his outward voyage Cabral was driven by stress of weather to the coast of Brazil. Ultimately he reached Calicut, and established factories both there and at Cochin, in the face of active hostility from the natives. In 1502 the king of Portugal obtained from Pope Alexander VI. a bull constituting him “lord of the navigation, conquest, and trade of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, and India.” In that year Vasco da Gama sailed again to the East, with a fleet numbering twenty vessels. He formed an alliance with the rajas of Cochin and Cannanore against the zamorin of Calicut, and bombarded the latter in his palace. In 1503 the great Alfonso d’Albuquerque is first heard of, as in command of one of three expeditions from Portugal. In 1505 a large fleet of twenty sail and fifteen hundred men was sent under Francisco de Almeida, the first Portuguese viceroy of India. In 1509 Albuquerque succeeded as governor, and widely extended the area of Portuguese influence. Having failed in an attack upon Calicut, he seized Goa, which from 1530 became the capital of Portuguese India. Then, sailing round Ceylon, he captured Malacca, the key of the navigation of the Indian archipelago, and opened a trade with Siam and the Spice Islands (Moluccas). Lastly, he sailed back westwards, and, after penetrating into the Red Sea, and building a fortress at Ormuz in the Persian Gulf, returned to Goa only to die in 1515. In 1524 Vasco da Gama came out to the East for the third time, and he too died at Cochin.
For exactly a century, from 1500 to 1600, the Portuguese enjoyed a monopoly of Oriental trade.
Their three objects were conquest, commerce and conversion, and for all three their position on the Malabar coast strip was remarkably well adapted. Shut off by the line of the Ghats from Mahommedan India of that day, they Decline of the Portuguese. were able to dominate the petty chiefs of Malabar, who welcomed maritime commerce, and allowed religious freedom in their domains. Their trade relations with Vijayanagar were very close, when that great empire was at the height of its power; but in 1564 Vijayanagar went down before the five Mahommedan states of southern India on the field of Talikota, and with its fall began the decline of Portugal. During the whole of the 16th century the Portuguese disputed with the Mahommedans the supremacy of the Indian seas, and the antagonism between Christianity and Islam became gradually more intense, until the Portuguese power assumed a purely religious aspect. In 1560 the Inquisition with all its horrors was introduced into Goa. But Portugal was too small a country to keep up the struggle for long. The drain of men told upon her vitality, their quality deteriorated, and their bigotry and intolerance raised even a fiercer opposition to them within the bounds of India; and as the Dutch and British came into prominence the Portuguese gradually faded away. In 1603 and 1639 the Dutch blockaded Goa; during the first half of the 17th century they routed the Portuguese everywhere in India, Ceylon and Java. Similarly in 1611 the British defeated them off Cambay and in 1615 won a great victory at Swally. After the middle of the 17th century the Asiatic trade of Portugal practically disappeared, and now only Goa, Daman and Diu are left to her as relics of her former greatness.
The Dutch were the first European nation to break through the Portuguese monopoly. During the 16th century Bruges, Antwerp and Amsterdam became the great emporia whence Indian produce, imported by the Portuguese, Dutch settlements. was distributed to Germany and even to England. At first the Dutch, following in the track of the English, attempted to find their way to India by sailing round the north coasts of Europe and Asia. William Barents is honourably known as the leader of three of these arctic expeditions, in the last of which he perished. The first Dutchman to double the Cape of Good Hope was Cornelius Houtman, who reached Sumatra and Bantam in 1596. Forthwith private companies for trade with the East were formed in many parts of the United Provinces, but in 1602 they were all amalgamated by the states-general into “The United East India Company of the Netherlands.” Within a few years the Dutch had established factories on the continent of India, in Ceylon, in Sumatra, on the Persian Gulf and on the Red Sea, besides having obtained exclusive possession of the Moluccas. In 1618 they laid the foundation of the city of Batavia in Java, to be the seat of the supreme government of the Dutch possessions in the East Indies. At about the same time they discovered the coast of Australia, and in North America founded the city of New Amsterdam or Manhattan, now New York. During the 17th century the Dutch maritime power was the first in the world. The massacre of Amboyna in 1623 led the English East India Company to retire from the Eastern seas to the continent of India, and thus, though indirectly, contributed to the foundation of the British Indian empire. The long naval wars and bloody battles between the English and the Dutch within the narrow seas were not terminated until William of Orange united the two crowns in 1689. In the far East the Dutch ruled without a rival, and gradually expelled the Portuguese from almost all their territorial possessions. In 1635 they occupied Formosa; in 1641 they took Malacca, a blow from which the Portuguese never recovered; in 1652 they founded a colony at the Cape of Good Hope, as a half-way station to the East; in 1658 they captured Jaffna, the last stronghold of the Portuguese in Ceylon; by 1664 they had wrested from the Portuguese all their earlier settlements on the pepper-bearing coast of Malabar.
The rapid and signal downfall of the Dutch colonial empire is to be explained by its short-sighted commercial policy. It was deliberately based upon a monopoly of the trade in spices, and remained from first to last destitute Decline of the Dutch. of the true imperial spirit. Like the Phoenicians of old, the Dutch stopped short of no acts of cruelty towards their rivals in commerce; but, unlike the Phoenicians, they failed to introduce a respect for their own higher civilization among the natives with whom they came in contact. The knell of Dutch supremacy was sounded by Clive, when in 1758 he attacked the Dutch at Chinsura both by land and water, and forced them to an ignominious capitulation. In the great French war from 1781 to 1811 England wrested from Holland every one of her colonies, though Java was restored in 1816 and Sumatra in exchange for Malacca in 1824. At the present time the Dutch flag flies nowhere on the mainland of India, though the quaint houses and regular canals at Chinsura, Negapatam, Jaffna, and many petty ports on the Coromandel and Malabar coasts remind the traveller of familiar scenes in the Netherlands.
The earliest English attempts to reach the East were the expeditions under John Cabot in 1497 and 1498. Their objective was not so much India as Japan (Cipangu), of which they only knew vaguely as a land of spices and silks, British expeditions. and which they hoped to reach by sailing westward. They failed, but discovered Newfoundland, and sailed along the coast of America from Labrador to Virginia. In 1553 the ill-fated Sir Hugh Willoughby attempted to force a passage along the north of Europe and Asia. Sir Hugh himself perished miserably, but his second in command, Chancellor, reached a harbour on the White Sea, now Archangel. Thence he penetrated by land to the court of the grand-duke of Moscow, and laid the foundation of the Russia Company for carrying on the overland trade with India through Persia, Bokhara and Moscow. Many subsequent attempts were made at the North-West Passage from 1576 to 1616, which have left on our modern maps the imperishable names of Frobisher, Davis, Hudson and Baffin. Meanwhile, in 1577, Sir Francis Drake had circumnavigated the globe, and on his way home had touched at Ternate, one of the Moluccas, the king of which island agreed to supply the English nation with all the cloves it produced. The first Englishman who actually visited India was Thomas Stephens in 1579. He had been educated at Winchester, and became rector of the Jesuits’ College in Goa. His letters to his father are said to have roused great enthusiasm in England to trade directly with India. In 1583 four English merchants, Ralph Fitch, John Newbery, William Leedes and James Story, went out to India overland as mercantile adventurers. The jealous Portuguese threw them into prison at Ormuz, and again at Goa. At length Story settled down as a shopkeeper at Goa, Leedes entered the service of the Great Mogul, Newbery died on his way home overland, and Fitch, after a lengthened peregrination in Bengal, Pegu, Siam and other parts of the East Indies, returned to England.
The defeat of the “Invincible Armada” in 1588, at which time the crowns of Spain and Portugal were united, gave a fresh stimulus to maritime enterprise in England; and the successful voyage of Cornelius Houtman in East India Company. 1596 showed the way round the Cape of Good Hope into waters hitherto monopolized by the Portuguese. The “Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies” was founded by Queen Elizabeth on the 31st of December 1600, and the first expedition of four ships under James Lancaster left Torbay towards the end of April 1601, and reached Achin in Sumatra on the 5th of June 1602, returning with a cargo of spices. Between 1600 and 1612 there were twelve separate voyages, but in the latter year a joint-stock system began involving continual communication with the Indies. At first the trade was mainly with the Indian archipelago, but soon the English began to feel their way towards the mainland of India itself. In 1608 Captain Hawkins visited Jahangir at Agra, and obtained permission to build a factory at Surat, which was subsequently revoked, and in 1609 some English merchants obtained an unstable footing at Surat. Wherever the English went they were met by the hostility of the Portuguese; and on the 29th of November 1612 the Portuguese admiral with four ships attempted to capture the English vessels under Captain Best at Swally, off the mouth of the Tapti river; but the Portuguese were severely defeated, to the great astonishment of the natives, and that action formed the beginning of British maritime supremacy in Indian seas. The first fruits of the victory were the foundation of a factory at Surat and at other places round the Gulf of Cambay and in the interior. From the imperial firman of December 1612 dates the British settlement on the mainland of India. At this point begins the Indian history of the company, for the domestic history of which see East India Company.
The ten years that elapsed between the battle of Swally in 1612 and the British capture of Ormuz in 1622 sufficed to decide the issue in the struggle for supremacy between the British and the Portuguese. The latter, unwillingly linked to the dying Rivalry with Portugal.power of Spain, were already decadent, and on the 20th of January 1615 a great Portuguese armada, consisting of six great galleons, three smaller ships, two galleys and sixty rowed barges, was defeated for the second time in Swally roads by Captain Nicholas Downton, in command of four British vessels. In 1618 the English opened trade between Surat and Jask in the Persian Gulf, and in 1620 gained a victory over the Portuguese fleet there. Early in 1622 the English fleet gained a second decisive victory, and captured Ormuz, the pearl of the Portuguese possessions in Asia. From this date onwards India and the Persian Gulf lay open to the English as far as Portugal was concerned, and before Portugal broke loose from Spain in 1640 her supremacy in Asiatic seas was hopelessly lost. In 1642 she partially and in 1654 finally accepted the situation, and opened all her Eastern possessions to English trade.
The struggle with the young and growing power of Holland was destined to be a much more serious affair than that with the exhausted power of Portugal. The Dutch had just emerged victorious from the struggle with Spain, Rivalry with the Dutch. and were pulsing with national life. In 1602 the Dutch routed the Portuguese near Bantam, and opened the road to the Spice Islands. In 1603 they threatened Goa, in 1619 they fixed their capital at Batavia, in 1638 they drove the Portuguese from Ceylon and in 1641 from Malacca. When Portugal emerged in 1640 from her sixty years’ captivity to Spain, she found that her power in the Eastern seas had passed to the Dutch, and thenceforward the struggle lay between the Dutch and the English. The Dutch were already too strongly entrenched in the Indian archipelago for English competition to avail there, and the intense rivalry between the two nations led to the tragedy of Amboyna in 1623, when Governor Van Speult put to torture and death nine Englishmen on a charge of conspiring to take the Dutch forts. This outrage was not avenged until the time of Cromwell (1654), and in the meantime the English abandoned the struggle for the Spice Islands, and turned their attention entirely to the mainland of India. In 1616 the Dutch began to compete with the English at Surat, and their piracies against native vessels led to the Mogul governor seizing English warehouses; but soon the native authorities learnt to discriminate between the different European nations, and the unscrupulous methods of the Dutch cast them into disfavour.
In 1611 Captain Hippon in the seventh separate voyage essayed a landing at Pulicat, but was driven off by the Dutch, who were already settled there, and sailed farther up the coast to Pettapoli, where he founded the first English settlement in theMadras settlements. Bay of Bengal, which finally perished through pestilence in 1687. Captain Hippon, however, also touched at Masulipatam, the chief sea-port of the kings of Golconda. In 1628 the Dutch won over the native governor there, and the English were compelled to retreat to Armagon, where they built the first English fort in India. In 1639 Francis Day, the chief at Armagon, founded Madras, building Fort St George (1640), and transferring thither the chief factory from Masulipatam. Here the English obtained their first grant of Indian soil, apart from the plots on which their factories were built. In 1653 Madras was raised to an independent presidency, and in 1658 all the settlements in Bengal and on the Coromandel coast were made subordinate to Fort St George.
In 1633 eight Englishmen from Masulipatam, under Ralph Cartwright, sailed northward to Harishpur near Cuttack on the mouth of the Mahanadi, and entered into negotiations to trade with the governor of Orissa; and in June 1633 Cartwright founded a Bengal settlements.factory at Balasore, which proved very unhealthy. In 1651 the English reached Hugli, which was at that time the chief port of Bengal; about that year Gabriel Boughton, a surgeon, obtained from the Mogul viceroy permission for the English to trade in Bengal. In 1657 Hugli became the head agency in Bengal, with Balasore and Cossimbazar in the Gangetic delta and Patna in Behar under its control. In that year the name of Job Charnock, the future founder of Calcutta, appeared in the lowest grade of the staff.
The company had long fixed an eye on Bombay. Its position half way down the Indian seaboard gave it both strategic and commercial importance, while it lay beyond the authority of the Moguls, and so could be fortified without offending them. Acquisition of Bombay.In 1626 the company joined with the Dutch under Van Speult in attacking Bombay, but could not retain possession. In 1661 Charles II. received Bombay from Portugal as part of the Infanta Catherine’s dowry, but effective possession was not taken until 1665, and in 1668 Charles handed the island over to the company. At first the loss of life, owing to the unhealthiness of the climate, was appalling; but in spite of that fact it gradually prospered, until it reached its present position as the second port and city of India. In 1670 Gerald Aungier fortified the island, and so became the true founder of its prosperity. In 1674 a treaty was entered into with Sivaji. In 1682 Sir Josiah Child at home and Sir John Child in India formed a combination, which recognized that in the struggle between the Mogul and the Mahrattas the English must meet force with force; and in 1687 Bombay supplanted Surat as the chief seat of the English in India.
In 1664 Shaista Khan, the brother of the empress Nur Jahan, became viceroy of Bengal, and though a strong and just ruler from the native point of view, was not favourable to the foreign traders. In 1677 the president of Madras had to warn himThe founding of Calcutta. that unless his exactions ceased, the company would be obliged to withdraw from Bengal. In 1679 the English obtained from the Mogul emperor a firman exempting them from dues everywhere except at Surat; but Shaista Khan refused to recognize the document, and on the 14th of January 1686 the court of directors resolved to have recourse to arms to effect what they could not obtain by treaty. This was the first formal repudiation of the doctrine of unarmed traffic laid down by Sir Thomas Roe in 1616. An expedition was despatched to India consisting of six companies of infantry and ten ships under Captain Nicholson. Two of the ships with 308 soldiers arrived at the Hugli river in the autumn of 1686. At this time Job Charnock was the chief of the Bengal council, and, owing to an affray with the Mogul troops at Hugli on the 28th of October 1686, he embarked the company’s goods and servants on board light vessels and dropped down the river to Sutanati, the site of the modern Calcutta. At this place, about 70 m. from the sea and accessible at high tide to heavily armed ships, the stream had scooped for itself a long deep pool, now Calcutta harbour, while the position was well chosen to make a stand against the Bengal viceroy. On the 20th of December 1686 Charnock first settled at Calcutta, but in the following February Shaista Khan despatched an army against him, and he was forced to drop farther down the river to Hijili. In June Charnock was obliged to make an honourable capitulation, and returned to Ulubaria, 16 m. below Calcutta, thence moving in September to Calcutta for the second time. On the 8th of November 1688 Captain Heath arrived with orders from England, and took away Charnock against his will; but after peace was restored between the Mogul emperor and the company in February 1690, Charnock returned to Calcutta for the third and last time on the 24th of August of that year. It was thus by his courage and persistence that the modern capital of India was eventually founded. As the result of the war with the Mogul empire, which lasted from 1686 to 1690, the company perceived that a land war was beyond their strength, but their sea-power could obtain them terms by blockading the customs ports and threatening the pilgrim route to Mecca. From this time onwards they saw that they could no longer trust to defenceless factories. During this first period of their dealings with India the aims of the British were purely those of traders, without any aspirations to military power or territorial aggrandizement; but in the period that followed, the gradual decay of the Mogul empire from within, and the consequent anarchy, forced the English to take up arms in their own defence, and triumphing over one enemy after another they found themselves at last in the place of the Moguls.
India under the Company.
The political history of the British in India begins in the 18th century with the French wars in the Carnatic. The British at Fort St George and the French at Pondicherry for many years traded side by side without either active rivalry or territorial ambition. The British, especially, appear to have been submissive to the native powers at Madras no less than in Bengal. They paid their annual rent of 1200 pagodas (say £500) to the deputies of the Mogul empire when Aurangzeb annexed the south, and on two several occasions bought off a besieging army with a heavy bribe.
On the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the whole of southern India became practically independent of Delhi. In the Deccan proper, the Nizam-ul-Mulk founded an independent dynasty, with Hyderabad for its capital, which exercised a nominal sovereignty over the entire south. The Carnatic, or the lowland tract between the central plateau and the eastern sea, was ruled by a deputy of the nizam, known as the nawab of Arcot, who in his turn asserted claims to hereditary sovereignty. Farther south, Trichinopoly was the capital of a Hindu raja, and Tanjore formed another Hindu kingdom under a degenerate descendant of the line of Sivaji. Inland, Mysore was gradually growing into a third Hindu state, while everywhere local chieftains, called palegars or naiks, were in semi-independent possession of citadels or hill-forts.
In that condition of affairs the flame of war was kindled between the British and the French in Europe in 1745. Dupleix was at that time governor of Pondicherry and Clive was a young writer at Madras. A British fleet first French and British wars. appeared on the Coromandel coast, but Dupleix by a judicious present induced the nawab of Arcot to interpose and prevent hostilities. In 1746 a French squadron arrived, under the command of La Bourdonnais. Madras surrendered almost without a blow, and the only settlement left to the British was Fort St David, a few miles south of Pondicherry, where Clive and a few other fugitives sought shelter. The nawab, faithful to his policy of impartiality, marched with 10,000 men to drive the French out of Madras, but he was signally defeated by a French force of only four hundred men and two guns. In 1748 a British fleet arrived under Admiral Boscawen and attempted the siege of Pondicherry, while a land force co-operated under Major Stringer Lawrence, whose name afterwards became associated with that of Clive. The French successfully repulsed all attacks, and at last peace was restored, by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which gave back Madras to the British (1748).
The first war with the French was merely an incident in the greater contest in Europe. The second war had its origin in Indian politics, while England and France were at peace. The easy success of the French arms had Clive. inspired Dupleix with the ambition of founding a French empire in India, under the shadow of the existing Mahommedan powers. Disputed successions at Hyderabad and at Arcot supplied his opportunity. On both thrones he placed nominees of his own, and for a short time posed as the supreme arbiter of the entire south. In boldness of conception, and in knowledge of Oriental diplomacy, Dupleix has had probably no rival. But he was no soldier, and he was destined in that sphere to encounter the “heaven-born genius” of Clive. For the British of Madras, under the instinct of self-preservation, were compelled to maintain the cause of another candidate to the throne of Arcot in opposition to the nominee of Dupleix. This candidate was Mahommed Ali, afterwards known in history as Wala-jah. The war that then ensued between the French and British, each with their native allies, has been exhaustively described in the pages of Orme. The one incident that stands out conspicuously is the capture and subsequent defence of Arcot by Clive in 1751. This heroic feat, even more than the battle of Plassey, established the reputation of the British for valour throughout India. Shortly afterwards Clive returned to England in ill-health, but the war continued fitfully for many years. On the whole, British Influence predominated in the Carnatic, and their candidate, Mahommed Ali, maintained his position at Arcot. But the French were no less supreme in the Deccan, whence they were able to take possession of the coast tract called “the Northern Circars.” The final struggle was postponed until 1760, when Colonel (afterwards Sir Eyre) Coote won the decisive victory of Wandiwash over the French general Lally, and proceeded to invest Pondicherry, which was starved into capitulation in January 1761. A few months later the hill-fortress of Gingee (Chenji) also surrendered. In the words of Orme, “That day terminated the long hostilities between the two rival European powers in Coromandel, and left not a single ensign of the French nation avowed by the authority of its Government in any part of India.”
Meanwhile the interest of history shifts with Clive to Bengal.
At the time of Aurangzeb’s death in 1707 the nawab or governor of Bengal was Murshid Kuli Khan, known also as Jafar Khan. By birth a Brahman, and brought up as a slave in Persia, he united the administrative Black Hole of Calcutta. ability of a Hindu to the fanaticism of a renegade. Hitherto the capital of Bengal had been at Dacca on the eastern frontier of the empire, whence the piratical attacks of the Portuguese and of the Arakanese or Mughs could be most easily checked. Murshid Kuli Khan transferred his residence to Murshidabad, in the neighbourhood of Cossimbazar, the river port of all the Ganges trade. The British, the French and the Dutch had each factories at Cossimbazar, as well as at Dacca, Patna and Malda. But Calcutta was the headquarters of the British, Chandernagore of the French, and Chinsura of the Dutch, all three towns being situated close to each other in the lower reaches of the Hugli, where the river is navigable for large ships. Murshid Kuli Khan ruled over Bengal prosperously for twenty-one years, and left his power to a son-in-law and a grandson. The hereditary succession was broken in 1740 by Ali Vardi Khan, who was the last of the great nawabs of Bengal. In his days the Mahratta horsemen began to ravage the country, and the British at Calcutta obtained permission to erect an earth-work, which is known to the present day as the Mahratta ditch. Ali Vardi Khan died in 1756, and was succeeded by his grandson, Suraj-ud-Dowlah, a youth of only nineteen years, whose ungovernable temper led to a rupture with the British within two months after his accession. In pursuit of one of his own family who had escaped from his vengeance, he marched upon Calcutta with a large army. Many of the British fled down the river in their ships. The remainder surrendered after a feeble resistance, and were thrown as prisoners into the “black hole” or military jail of Fort William, a room 18 ft. by 14 ft. 10 in. in size, with only two small windows barred with iron. It was the month of June, in which the tropical heat of Calcutta is most oppressive. When the door of the prison was opened in the morning, only twenty-three persons out of one hundred and forty-six were found alive.
The news of this disaster fortunately found Clive returned to Madras, where also was a squadron of king’s ships under Admiral Watson. Clive and Watson promptly sailed to the mouth of the Ganges with all the troops that Battle of Plassey. could be got together. Calcutta was recovered with little fighting, and the nawab consented to a peace which restored to the company all their privileges, and gave them compensation for their losses of property. It is possible that matters might have ended here if a fresh cause of hostilities had not suddenly arisen. War had just been declared between the British and French in Europe, and Clive, following the traditions of his early warfare in the Carnatic, attacked and captured Chandernagore. Suraj-ud-Dowlah, exasperated by this breach of neutrality within his own dominions, took the side of the French. But Clive, again acting upon the policy he had learned from Dupleix, had provided himself with a rival candidate to the throne. Undaunted, he marched out to the battlefield of Plassey (Palasi), at the head of about 900 Europeans and 2000 sepoys, with 8 pieces of artillery. The Mahommedan army is said to have consisted of 35,000 foot, 15,000 horse and 50 pieces of cannon. But there was a traitor in the Mahommedan camp in the person of Mir Jafar, who had married a sister of the late nawab, Ali Vardi Khan. The battle was short but decisive. After a few rounds of artillery fire, Suraj-ud-Dowlah fled, and the road to Murshidabad was left open.
The battle of Plassey was fought on the 23rd of June 1757, an anniversary afterwards remembered when the mutiny was at its height in 1857. History has agreed to adopt this date as the beginning of the British empire in the East; but the immediate results of the victory were comparatively small, and several more hard-won fights were fought before even the Bengalis would admit the superiority of the British arms. For the moment, however, all opposition was at an end. Clive, again following in the steps of Dupleix, placed his nominee, Mir Jafar, upon the masnad at Murshidabad, being careful to obtain a patent of investiture from the Mogul court. Enormous sums were exacted from Mir Jafar as the price of his elevation. The company claimed 10,000,000 rupees as compensation for losses; for the British, the Armenian and the Indian inhabitants of Calcutta there were demanded the sums of 5,000,000, 2,000,000 and 1,000,000 rupees; for the squadron 2,500,000 rupees, and an equal sum for the army. The members of the council received the following amounts: Mr Drake, the governor, and Colonel Clive 280,000 rupees each; and Mr Becher, Mr Watts and Major Kilpatrick 240,000 rupees each. The whole amounted to £2,340,000. The British, deluded by their avarice, still cherished extravagant ideas of Indian wealth; nor would they listen to the unwelcome truth. But it was found that there were no funds in the treasury to satisfy their inordinate demands, and they were obliged to be contented with one-half the stipulated sums, which, after many difficulties, were paid in specie and in jewels, with the exception of 584,905 rupees. The shares of the council were, however, paid in full. At the same time the nawab made a grant to the company of the zamindari rights over an extensive tract of country round Calcutta, now known as the district of the Twenty-four Parganas. The area of this tract was about 882 sq. m., and it paid a revenue or quit rent of about £23,000. The gross rental at first payable to the company was £53,000, but within a period of ten years it had risen to £146,000. Originally the company possessed only the zamindari rights, i.e. revenue jurisdiction. The superior lordship, or right to receive the quit rent, remained with the nawab; but in 1759 this also was parted with by the nawab in favour of Clive, who thus became the landlord of his own masters, the company. At that time also Clive was enrolled among the nobility of the Mogul empire, with the rank of commander of 6000 foot and 5000 horse. Clive’s jagir, as it was called, subsequently became a matter of inquiry in England, and on his death it passed to the company, thus merging the zamindari in the proprietary rights.
In 1758 Clive was appointed by the court of directors to be governor of all the company’s settlements in Bengal. From two quarters troubles threatened, which perhaps Clive alone was capable of overcoming. On the west the shahzada or imperial prince, known afterwards as the emperor Shah Alam, with a mixed army of Afghans and Mahrattas, and supported by the nawab wazir of Oudh, was advancing his own claims to the province of Bengal. In the south the influence of the French under Lally and Bussy was overshadowing the British at Madras. But the name of Clive exercised a decisive effect in both directions. Mir Jafar was anxious to buy off the shahzada, who had already invested Patna. But Clive in person marched to the rescue, with an army of only 450 Europeans and 2500 sepoys, and the Mogul army dispersed without striking a blow. In the same year Clive despatched a force southwards under Colonel Forde, which captured Masulipatam from the French, and permanently established British influence throughout the Northern Circars, and at the court of Hyderabad. He next attacked the Dutch, the sole European nation that might yet be a formidable rival to the English. He defeated them by both land and water; and from that time their settlement at Chinsura existed only on sufferance.
From 1760 to 1765, while Clive was at home, the history of the British in Bengal contains little that is creditable. Clive had left behind him no system of government, but merely the tradition that unlimited sums of money Massacre of Patna. might be extracted from the natives by the mere terror of the British name. In 1761 it was found expedient and profitable to dethrone Mir Jafar, the nawab of Murshidabad, and substitute his son-in-law, Mir Kasim, in his place. On that occasion, besides private donations, the British received a grant of the three districts of Burdwan, Midnapur and Chittagong, estimated to yield a net revenue of half a million sterling. But Mir Kasim proved to possess a will of his own, and to cherish dreams of independence. He retired from Murshidabad to Monghyr, a strong position on the Ganges, which commanded the only means of communication with Upper India. There he proceeded to organize an army, drilled and equipped after European models, and to carry on intrigues with the nawab wazir of Oudh. The company’s servants claimed the privilege of carrying on private trade throughout Bengal, free from inland dues and all other imposts. The assertion of this claim caused frequent affrays between the customs’ officers of the nawab and those traders who, whether falsely or not, represented that they were acting on behalf of the servants of the company. The nawab alleged that his civil authority was everywhere being set at nought. The majority of the council at Calcutta would not listen to his statements. The governor, Mr Vansittart, and Warren Hastings, then a junior member of council, attempted to effect some compromise. But the controversy had become too hot. The nawab’s officers fired upon a British boat, and forthwith all Bengal was in a blaze. A force of 2000 sepoys was cut to pieces at Patna, and about 200 Englishmen in various parts of the province fell into the hands of the Mahommedans, and were subsequently massacred. But as soon as regular warfare commenced Mir Kasim met with no more successes. His trained regiments were defeated in two pitched battles by Major Adams, at Gheria and at Udha-nala, and he himself took refuge with the nawab wazir of Oudh, who refused to deliver him up. This led to a prolongation of the war. Shah Alam, who had now succeeded his father as emperor, and Shuja-ud-Daula, the nawab wazir of Oudh, united their forces, and threatened Patna, which the British had recovered. A more formidable danger appeared in the British camp, in the form of the first sepoy mutiny. This was quelled by Major (afterwards Sir Hector) Munro, who ordered twenty-four of the ringleaders to be blown from guns, an old Mogul punishment. In 1764 Major Munro won the decisive battle of Buxar, which laid Oudh at the feet of the conquerors, and brought the Mogul emperor as a suppliant to the British camp.
Meanwhile the council at Calcutta had twice found the opportunity they desired of selling the government of Bengal to a new nawab. But in 1765 Clive (now Baron Clive of Plassey, in the peerage of Ireland) arrived at Calcutta, Clive’s reforms. as governor of Bengal for the second time, to settle the entire system of relations with the native powers. Two objects stand out conspicuously in his policy. First, he sought to acquire the substance, though not the name, of territorial power, by using the authority of the Mogul emperor for so much as he wished, and for no more; and, secondly, he desired to purify the company’s service by prohibiting illicit gains, and at the same time guaranteeing a reasonable remuneration from honest sources. In neither respect were the details of his plans carried out by his successors. But the beginning of the British administration of India dates from this second governorship of Clive, just as the origin of the British empire in India dates from his victory at Plassey. Clive’s first step was to hurry up from Calcutta to Allahabad, and there settle in person the fate of half northern India. Oudh was given back to the nawab wazir, on condition of his paying half a million sterling towards the expenses of the war. The provinces of Allahabad and Kora, forming the lower part of the Doab, were handed over to Shah Alam himself, who in his turn granted to the company the diwani or financial administration of Bengal, Behar and Orissa, together with the Northern Circars. A puppet nawab was still maintained at Murshidabad, who received an annual allowance of about half a million sterling; and half that amount was paid to the emperor as tribute from Bengal. Thus was constituted the dual system of government, by which the British received all the revenues and undertook to maintain an army for the defence of the frontier, while the criminal jurisdiction vested in the nawab. In Indian phraseology, the company was diwan and the nawab was nazim. As a matter of general administration, the actual collection of the revenues still remained for some years in the hands of native officials. In attempting to reorganize and purify the company’s service, Clive undertook a task yet more difficult than to partition the valley of the Ganges. The officers, civil and military alike, were all tainted with the common corruption. Their legal salaries were absolutely insignificant, but they had been permitted to augment them ten and a hundredfold by means of private trade and gifts from the native powers. Despite the united resistance of the civil servants, and an actual mutiny of two hundred military officers, Clive carried through his reforms. Both private trade and the receipt of presents were absolutely prohibited for the future, while a substantial increase of pay was provided out of the monopoly of salt.
Lord Clive quitted India for the third and last time in 1767. Between that date and the arrival of Warren Hastings in 1772 nothing of importance occurred in Bengal beyond the terrible famine of 1770, which is officially reported Warren Hastings. to have swept away one-third of the inhabitants. The dual system of government, however, established by Clive, had proved a failure. Warren Hastings, a tried servant of the company, distinguished alike for intelligence, for probity and for knowledge of oriental manners, was nominated governor by the court of directors, with express instructions to carry out a predetermined series of reforms. In their own words, the court had resolved to “stand forth as diwan, and to take upon themselves, by the agency of their own servants, the entire care and administration of the revenues.” In the execution of this plan, Hastings removed the exchequer from Murshidabad to Calcutta, and for the first time appointed European officers, under the now familiar title of collectors, to superintend the revenue collections and preside in the civil courts. The urgency of foreign affairs, and subsequently internal strife at the council table, hindered Hastings from developing farther the system of civil administration, a task finally accomplished by Lord Cornwallis.
Though Hastings always prided himself specially upon that reform, as well as upon the improvements he introduced into the collection of the revenues from salt and opium, his name will be remembered in history for the boldness First Governor-General. and success of his foreign policy. From 1772 to 1774 he was governor of Bengal; from 1774 to 1785 he was the first titular governor-general of India, presiding over a council nominated, like himself, not by the company, but by an act of parliament, known as the Regulating Act. In his domestic policy he was greatly hampered by the opposition of Sir Philip Francis; but, so far as regards external relations with Oudh, with the Mahrattas, and with Hyder Ali, he was generally able to compel assent to his own measures. His treatment of Oudh may here be passed over as not being material to the general history of India, while the personal aspects of his rule are discussed in a separate article (see Hastings, Warren). To explain his Mahratta policy, it will be necessary to give a short retrospective sketch of the history of that people.
Sivaji the Great, as already mentioned, died in 1680, while Aurangzeb was still on the throne. The family of Sivaji produced no great names, either among those who continued to be the nominal chiefs of the Mahratta Rise of the Mahrattas. confederacy, with their capital at Satara, or among the rajas of Kolhapur and Tanjore. All real power passed into the hands of the peshwa, or Brahman minister, who founded in his turn an hereditary dynasty at Poona, dating from the beginning of the 18th century. Next rose several Mahratta generals, who, though recognizing the suzerainty of the peshwa, carved out for themselves independent kingdoms in different parts of India, sometimes far from the original home of the Mahratta race. Chief among these generals were the gaikwar in Gujarat, Sindhia and Holkar in Malwa, and the Bhonsla raja of Berar and Nagpur. At one time it seemed probable that the Mahratta confederacy would expel the Mahommedans even from northern India; but the decisive battle of Panipat, won by the Afghans in 1761, gave a respite to the Delhi empire. The Mahratta chiefs never again united heartily for a common purpose, though they still continued to be the most formidable military power in India. In especial, they dominated over the British settlement of Bombay on the western coast, which was the last of the three presidencies to feel the lust of territorial ambition. For more than a hundred years, from its acquisition in 1661 to the outbreak of the first Mahratta war in 1775, the British on the west coast possessed no territory outside the island of Bombay and their fortified factory at Surat.
The Bombay government was naturally emulous to follow the example of Madras and Bengal, and to establish its influence at the court of Poona by placing its own nominee upon the throne. The attempt took form in 1775 in the First Mahratta War. treaty of Surat, by which Raghunath Rao, one of the claimants to the throne of the peshwa, agreed to cede Salsette and Bassein to the British, in consideration of being himself restored to Poona. The military operations that followed are known as the first Mahratta War. Warren Hastings, who in his capacity of governor-general claimed a right of control over the decisions of the Bombay government, strongly disapproved of the treaty of Surat, but, when war once broke out, he threw the whole force of the Bengal army into the scale. One of his favourite officers, General Goddard, marched across the peninsula, and conquered the rich province of Gujarat almost without a blow. Another, Captain Popham, stormed the rock-fortress of Gwalior, which was regarded as the key of Hindustan. These brilliant successes atoned for the disgrace of the convention of Wargaon in 1779, when the Mahrattas dictated terms to a Bombay force, but the war was protracted until 1782. It was then closed by the treaty of Salbai, which practically restored the status quo. Raghunath Rao, the English claimant, was set aside; Gujarat was restored, and only Salsette and some other small islands were retained by the English.
Meanwhile Warren Hastings had to deal with a more formidable enemy than the Mahratta confederacy. The reckless conduct of the Madras government had roused the hostility both of Hyder Ali of Mysore and of the nizam of the First Mysore War. Deccan, the two strongest Mussulman powers in India, who attempted to draw the Mahrattas into an alliance against the British. The diplomacy of Hastings won over the nizam and the Mahratta raja of Nagpur, but the army of Hyder Ali fell like a thunderbolt upon the British possessions in the Carnatic. A strong detachment under Colonel Baillie was cut to pieces at Perambakam, and the Mysore cavalry ravaged the country unchecked up to the walls of Madras. For the second time the Bengal army, stimulated by the energy of Hastings, saved the honour of the British name. Sir Eyre Coote, the victor of Wandiwash, was sent by sea to relieve Madras with all the men and money available, while Colonel Pearse marched south overland to overawe the raja of Berar and the nizam. The war was hotly contested, for Sir Eyre Coote was now an old man, and the Mysore army was well-disciplined and equipped, and also skilfully handled by Hyder and his son Tippoo. Hyder died in 1782, and peace was finally concluded with Tippoo in 1784, on the basis of a mutual restitution of all conquests.
It was Warren Hastings’s merit to organize the empire which Clive founded. He was governor or governor-general for thirteen years, a longer period than any of his successors. During that time the British lost the American colonies, Permanent settlement of Bengal. but in India their reputation steadily rose to its highest pitch. Within a year Hastings was succeeded by Lord Cornwallis, the first English nobleman of rank who undertook the office of governor-general. His rule lasted from 1786 to 1793, and is celebrated for two events—the introduction of the permanent settlement into Bengal and the second Mysore war. If the foundations of the system of civil administration were laid by Hastings, the superstructure was erected by Cornwallis. It was he who first entrusted criminal jurisdiction to Europeans, and established the Nizamat Sadr Adalat, or appellate court of criminal judicature, at Calcutta; and it was he who separated the functions of collector and judge. The system thus organized in Bengal was afterwards extended to Madras and Bombay, when those presidencies also acquired territorial sovereignty. But the achievement most familiarly associated with the name of Cornwallis is the permanent settlement of the land revenue of Bengal. Up to this time the revenue had been collected pretty much according to the old Mogul system. Zamindars, or government farmers, whose office always tended to become hereditary, were recognized as having a right of some sort to collect the revenue from the actual cultivators. But no principle of assessment existed, and the amount actually realized varied greatly from year to year. Hastings had the reputation of bearing hard upon the zamindars, and was absorbed in other critical affairs of state or of war. On the whole he seems to have looked to experience, as acquired from a succession of quinquennial settlements, to furnish the standard rate of the future. Francis, on the other hand, Hastings’s great rival, deserves the credit of being among the first to advocate a limitation of the state demand in perpetuity. The same view recommended itself to the authorities at home, partly because it would place their finances on a more stable basis, partly because it seemed to identify the zamindar with the more familiar landlord. Accordingly, Cornwallis took out with him in 1787 instructions to introduce a permanent settlement. The process of assessment began in 1789 and terminated in 1791. No attempt was made to measure the fields or calculate the out-turn, as had been done by Akbar, and is now done when occasion requires in the British provinces; but the amount payable was fixed by reference to what had been paid in the past. At first the settlement was called decennial, but in 1793 it was declared permanent for ever. The total assessment amounted to sikka Rs.26,800,989, or about 2¾ millions sterling. Though Lord Cornwallis carried the scheme into execution, all praise or blame, so far as details are concerned, must belong to Sir John Shore, afterwards Lord Teignmouth, whose knowledge of the country was unsurpassed by that of any civilian of his time. Shore would have proceeded more cautiously than Cornwallis’s preconceived idea of a proprietary body and the court of directors’ haste after fixity permitted.
The second Mysore War of 1790-92 is noteworthy on two accounts: Lord Cornwallis, the governor-general, led the British army in person, with a pomp and lavishness of supplies that recalled the campaigns of Aurangzeb; Second Mysore War. and the two great native powers, the nizam of the Deccan and the Mahratta confederacy, co-operated as allies of the British. In the result, Tippoo Sultan submitted when Lord Cornwallis had commenced to beleaguer his capital. He agreed to yield one-half of his dominions to be divided among the allies, and to pay three millions sterling towards the cost of the war. Those conditions he fulfilled, but ever afterwards he burned to be revenged upon his conquerors.
The period of Sir John Shore’s rule as governor-general, from 1793 to 1798, was uneventful. In 1798 Lord Mornington, better known as the marquis Wellesley, arrived in India, already inspired with imperial projects that were Wellesley. destined to change the map of the country. Mornington was the friend and favourite of Pitt, from whom he is thought to have derived the comprehensiveness of his political vision and his antipathy to the French name. From the first he laid down as his guiding principle that the British must be the one paramount power in the peninsula, and that the native princes could only retain the insignia of sovereignty by surrendering the substance of independence. The subsequent political history of India has been but the gradual development of this policy, which received its finishing touch when Queen Victoria was proclaimed empress of India in 1877.
To frustrate the possibility of a French invasion of India, led by Napoleon in person, was the governing idea of Wellesley’s foreign policy; for France at this time, and for many years later, filled the place afterwards occupied by The French Menace. Russia in the imagination of British statesmen. Nor was the possibility so remote as might now be thought. French regiments guarded and overawed the nizam of Hyderabad. The soldiers of Sindhia, the military head of the Mahratta confederacy, were disciplined and led by French adventurers. Tippoo Sultan carried on a secret correspondence with the French directorate, and allowed a tree of liberty to be planted in his dominions. The islands of Mauritius and Bourbon afforded a convenient half-way house both for French intrigue and for the assembling of a hostile expedition. Above all, Napoleon Buonaparte was then in Egypt, dreaming of the conquests of Alexander; and no man knew in what direction he might turn his hitherto unconquered legions. Wellesley first addressed himself to the nizam, where his policy prevailed without serious opposition. The French battalions at Hyderabad were disbanded and the nizam bound himself by treaty not to take any European into his service without the consent of the British government—a clause since inserted in every engagement entered into with native powers. Next, the whole weight of Wellesley’s resources was turned against Tippoo, whom Cornwallis had defeated but not subdued. His intrigues with the French were laid bare, and he was given an opportunity of adhering to the new subsidiary system. On his refusal war was declared, and Wellesley came down in state to Madras to organize the expedition in person and watch over the course of events. One British army marched into Mysore from Madras, accompanied by a contingent from the nizam. Another advanced from the western coast. Tippoo, after offering but a feeble resistance in the field, retired into Seringapatam, and, when his capital was stormed, died fighting bravely in the breach (1799). Since the battle of Plassey no event so greatly impressed the native imagination as the capture of Seringapatam, which won for General Harris a peerage and for Wellesley an Irish marquisate. In dealing with the territories of Tippoo, Wellesley acted with moderation. The central portion, forming the old state of Mysore, was restored to an infant representative of the Hindu rajas, whom Hyder Ali had dethroned, while the rest was partitioned between the nizam and the British. At about the same time the province of the Carnatic, or all that large portion of southern India ruled by the nawab of Arcot, and also the principality of Tanjore, were placed under direct British administration, thus constituting the Madras presidency almost as it has existed to the present day.
The Mahrattas had been the nominal allies of the British in both their wars with Tippoo, but they had never given active assistance, nor were they secured to the British side as the nizam now was. The Mahratta powers at this Wars with Sindhia and Holkar. time were five in number. The recognized head of the confederacy was the peshwa of Poona, who ruled the hill country of the Western Ghats, the cradle of the Mahratta race. The fertile province of Gujarat was annually harried by the horsemen of the gaekwar of Baroda. In central India two military leaders, Sindhia of Gwalior and Holkar of Indore, alternately held the pre-eminency. Towards the east the Bhonsla raja of Nagpur reigned from Berar to the coast of Orissa. Wellesley tried assiduously to bring these several Mahratta powers within the net of his subsidiary system. At last, in 1802, the necessities of the peshwa, who had been defeated by Holkar, and driven as a fugitive into British territory, induced him to sign the treaty of Bassein, by which he pledged himself to hold communications with no other power, European or native, and ceded territory for the maintenance of a subsidiary force. This greatly extended the British territorial influence in western India, but led directly to the second Mahratta war, for neither Sindhia nor the raja of Nagpur would tolerate this abandonment of Mahratta independence. The campaigns that followed are perhaps the most glorious in the history of the British arms in India. The general plan and the adequate provision of resources were due to the marquis Wellesley, as also the indomitable spirit that could not anticipate defeat. The armies were led by General Arthur Wellesley (afterwards duke of Wellington) and General (afterwards Lord) Lake. Wellesley operated in the Deccan, where, in a few short months, he won the decisive victories of Assaye and Argaum. Lake’s campaign in Hindustan was no less brilliant, though it has received less notice from historians. He won pitched battles at Aligarh and Laswari, and captured the cities of Delhi and Agra, thus scattering the French troops of Sindhia, and at the same time coming forward as the champion of the Mogul emperor in his hereditary capital. Before the year 1803 was out, both Sindhia and the Bhonsla raja were glad to sue for peace. Sindhia ceded all claims to the territory north of the Jumna, and left the blind old emperor Shah Alam once more under British protection. The Bhonsla raja forfeited Orissa to the English, who had already occupied it with a flying column, and Berar to the nizam, who gained a fresh addition by every act of complaisance to the British government. The freebooter, Jaswant Rao Holkar, alone remained in the field, supporting his troops by ravages through Malwa and Rajputana. The concluding years of Wellesley’s rule were occupied with a series of operations against Holkar, which brought no credit to the British name. The disastrous retreat of Colonel Monson through Central India (1804) recalled memories of the convention of Wargaum, and of the destruction of Colonel Baillie’s force by Hyder Ali. The repulse of Lake in person at the siege of Bharatpur (Bhurtpore) (1805) is memorable as an instance of a British army in India having to turn back with its object unaccomplished.
The ambitious policy and the continuous wars of Lord Wellesley exhausted the patience of the court of directors at home. In 1804 Lord Cornwallis was sent out as governor-general a second time, with instructions to bring about peace Barlow. at any price, while Holkar was still unsubdued, and Sindhia was threatening a fresh war. But Cornwallis was now an old man and broken down in health. Travelling up to the north-west during the rainy season, he sank and died at Ghazipur, before he had been ten weeks in the country. His immediate successor was Sir George Barlow, a civil servant of the company, who, as a locum tenens, had no alternative but to carry out faithfully the orders of his employers. He is charged with being, under these orders, the only governor-general who diminished the area of British territory, and with violating engagements by abandoning the Rajput chiefs to the tender mercies of Holkar and Sindhia. During his administration also occurred the mutiny of the Madras sepoys at Vellore, which, though promptly suppressed, sent a shock of insecurity through the empire.
Lord Minto, governor-general from 1807 to 1813, consolidated the conquests which Wellesley had acquired. His only military exploits were the occupation of the island of Mauritius, and the conquest of Java by an expedition which he accompanied in person. The condition of central India continued to be disturbed, but Lord Minto succeeded in preventing any violent outbreaks without himself having recourse to the sword. The company had ordered him to follow a policy of non-intervention, and he managed to obey his orders without injuring the prestige of the British name. In his time the Indian government first opened relations with a new set of foreign powers by sending embassies to the Punjab, to Afghanistan and to Persia. The ambassadors were all trained in the school of Wellesley, and formed perhaps the most illustrious trio of “politicals” that the Indian service has produced. Sir Charles Metcalfe was the envoy to the court of Ranjit Singh at Lahore; Mountstuart Elphinstone met the shah of Afghanistan at Peshawar; and Sir John Malcolm was despatched to Persia. If it cannot be said that any of these missions were fruitful in permanent results, at least they introduced the English to a new set of diplomatic relations, and widened the sphere of their influence.
The successor of Lord Minto was Lord Moira, better known as the marquis of Hastings, who governed India for the long period of nine years, from 1814 to 1823. This period was marked by two wars of the first magnitude, the Gurkha War. campaigns against the Gurkhas of Nepal, and the third and last Mahratta War. The Gurkhas, the present ruling race in Nepal, are Hindu immigrants who claim a Rajput origin. Their sovereignty dates only from 1767, in which year they overran the valley of Katmandu, and gradually extended their power over all the hills and valleys of Nepal. Organized upon a sort of military and feudal basis, they soon became a terror to all their neighbours, marching east into Sikkim, west into Kumaon, and south into the Gangetic plains. In the last quarter their victims were British subjects, and at last it became imperatively necessary to check their advance. Sir George Barlow and Lord Minto had remonstrated in vain, and nothing was left to Lord Moira but to take up arms. The campaign of 1814 was little short of disastrous. After overcoming the natural difficulties of a malarious climate and precipitous hills, the sepoys were on several occasions fairly worsted by the unexpected bravery of the little Gurkhas, whose heavy knives or kukris dealt terrible execution. But in 1815 General Ochterlony, who commanded the army operating by way of the Sutlej, stormed one by one the hill forts which still stud the Himalayan states now under the Punjab government, and compelled the Nepal darbar to sue for peace. In the following year the same general advanced from Patna into the valley of Katmandu, and finally dictated the terms which had before been rejected, within a few miles of the capital. By the treaty of Segauli, which defines the English relations with Nepal to the present day, the Gurkhas withdrew on the one hand from Sikkim, and on the other from those lower ranges of the western Himalayas which have supplied the health-giving stations of Naini Tal, Mussoorie and Simla.
Meanwhile the condition of central India was every year becoming more unsatisfactory. Though the great Mahratta chiefs were learning to live rather as peaceful princes than as leaders of predatory bands, the example of Pindaris. lawlessness they had set was being followed, and bettered in the following, by a new set of freebooters, known as the Pindaris. As opposed to the Mahrattas, who were at least a nationality bound by some traditions of a united government, the Pindaris were merely irregular soldiers, corresponding most nearly to the free companies of medieval Europe. Of no common race and of no common religion, they welcomed to their ranks the outlaws and broken tribes of all India—Afghans, Mahrattas or Jats. Their headquarters were in Malwa, but their depredations were not confined to central India. In bands, sometimes numbering a few hundreds, sometimes many thousands, they rode out on their forays as far as the Coromandel coast. The most powerful of the Pindari captains, Amir Khan, had an organized army of many regiments, and several batteries of cannon. Two other leaders, known as Chitu and Karim, at one time paid a ransom to Sindhia of £100,000. To suppress the Pindari hordes, who were supported by the sympathy, more or less open, of all the Mahratta chiefs, Lord Hastings (1817) collected the strongest British army that had been seen in India, numbering nearly 120,000 men, half to operate from the north, half from the south. Sindhia was overawed, and remained quiet. Amir Khan consented to disband his army, on condition of being guaranteed the possession of what is now the principality of Tonk. The remaining bodies of Pindaris were attacked in their homes, surrounded, and cut to pieces. Karim threw himself upon the mercy of the conquerors. Chitu fled to the jungles, and was killed by a tiger.
In the same year (1817) as that in which the Pindaris were crushed, and almost in the same month (November), the three great Mahratta powers at Poona, Nagpur and Indore rose against the English. The peshwa, Baji Rao, Third Mahratta War. had long been chafing under the terms imposed by the treaty of Bassein (1802), and the subsequent treaty of Poona (1817), which riveted yet closer the chains of dependence upon the paramount power. Elphinstone, then resident at his court, foresaw what was coming and ordered up a European regiment from Bombay. The next day the residency was burned down, and Kirkee was attacked by the whole army of the peshwa. The attack was bravely repulsed, and the peshwa immediately fled from his capital. Almost the same plot was enacted at Nagpur, where the honour of the British name was saved by the sepoys who defended the hill of Sitabaldi against enormous odds. The army of Holkar was defeated in the following month at the pitched battle of Mehidpur. All open resistance was now at an end. Nothing remained but to follow up the fugitives, and determine the conditions of the general pacification. In both these duties Sir John Malcolm played a prominent part. The peshwa himself surrendered, and was permitted to reside at Bithur, near Cawnpore, on a pension of £80,000 a year. His adopted son was the infamous Nana Sahib. To fill the peshwa’s place to some extent at the head of the Mahratta confederacy, the lineal descendant of Sivaji was brought forth from obscurity, and placed upon the throne of Satara. The greater part of the peshwa’s dominions was ultimately incorporated in the Bombay presidency, while the nucleus of the Central Provinces was formed out of territory taken from the peshwa and the raja of Nagpur. An infant was recognized as the heir of Holkar, and a second infant was proclaimed raja of Nagpur under British guardianship. At the same time the several states of Rajputana accepted the position of feudatories of the paramount power. The map of India, as thus drawn by Lord Hastings, remained substantially unchanged until the time of Lord Dalhousie. But the proudest boast of Lord Hastings and Sir John Malcolm was, not that they had advanced the pomoerium, but that they had conferred the blessings of peace and good government upon millions who had suffered unutterable things from Mahratta and Pindari tyranny.
The marquis of Hastings was succeeded by Lord Amherst, after the interval of a few months, during which Mr Adam, a civil servant, acted as governor-general. Lord Amherst’s administration lasted for five years, from First Burmese War. 1823 to 1828. It is known in history by two prominent events, the first Burmese War and the capture of Bharatpur. For some years past the north-east frontier had been disturbed by the restlessness of the Burmese. The successors of Alompra, after having subjugated all Burma, and overrun Assam, which was then an independent kingdom, began a series of encroachments upon British territory in Bengal. As all peaceful proposals were scornfully rejected, Lord Amherst was compelled to declare war in 1824. Little military glory could be gained by beating the Burmese, who were formidable only from the pestilential character of their country. One expedition with gunboats proceeded up the Brahmaputra into Assam; another marched by land through Chittagong into Arakan, for the Bengal sepoys refused to go by sea; a third, and the strongest, sailed from Madras direct to the mouth of the Irrawaddy. The war was protracted over two years. At last, after the loss of about 20,000 lives and an expenditure of £14,000,000, the king of Ava consented to sign the treaty of Yandabu, by which he abandoned all claim to Assam, and ceded the provinces of Arakan and Tenasserim, which were already in the military occupation of the British. He retained all the valley of the Irrawaddy, down to the sea at Rangoon. The capture of Bharatpur in central India by Lord Combermere in 1826 wiped out the repulse which Lord Lake had received before that city in January 1805. A disputed succession necessitated British intervention. Artillery could make little impression upon the massive walls of mud, but at last a breach was effected by mining, and the city was taken by storm, thus losing its general reputation throughout India for impregnability, which had threatened to become a political danger.
The next governor-general was Lord William Bentinck, who had been governor of Madras twenty years earlier at the time of the mutiny of Vellore. His seven years’ rule (from 1828 to 1835) is not signalized by any of those Bentinck. victories or extensions of territory by which chroniclers delight to measure the growth of empire. But it forms an epoch in administrative reform, and in the benign process by which the hearts of a subject population are won over to venerate as well as obey their alien rulers. The modern history of the British in India, as benevolent administrators ruling the country with an eye to the good of the natives, may be said to begin with Lord William Bentinck. According to the inscription upon his statue at Calcutta, from the pen of Macaulay: “He abolished cruel rites; he effaced humiliating distinctions; he gave liberty to the expression of public opinion; his constant study it was to elevate the intellectual and moral character of the nations committed to his charge.” His first care on arrival in India was to restore equilibrium to the finances, which were tottering under the burden imposed upon them by the Burmese War. This he effected by reductions in permanent expenditure, amounting in the aggregate to 1½ millions sterling, as well as by augmenting the revenue from land that had escaped assessment, and from the opium of Malwa. He also widened the gates by which educated natives could enter the service of the company. Some of these reforms were distasteful to the covenanted service and to the officers of the army, but Lord William was always staunchly supported by the court of directors and by the Whig ministry at home.
His two most memorable acts are the abolition of suttee and the suppression of the Thugs. At this distance of time it is difficult to realize the degree to which these two barbarous practices had corrupted the social Suttee. system of the Hindus. European research has clearly proved that the text in the Vedas adduced to authorize the immolation of widows was a wilful mistranslation. But the practice had been engrained in Hindu opinion by the authority of centuries, and had acquired the sanctity of a religious rite. The emperor Akbar is said to have prohibited it by law, but the early British rulers did not dare so far to violate the religious customs of the people. In the year 1817 no fewer than seven hundred widows are said to have been burned alive in the Bengal presidency alone. To this day the most holy spots of Hindu pilgrimage are thickly dotted with little white pillars, each commemorating a suttee. In the teeth of strenuous opposition, from both Europeans and natives, Lord William carried the regulation in council on the 4th of December 1829, by which all who abetted suttee were declared guilty of “culpable homicide.” The honour of suppressing Thuggism must be shared between Lord William and Captain Sleeman. Thuggism was an abnormal excrescence upon Hinduism, in so far as the bands of secret assassins were sworn together by an oath based on the rites of the bloody goddess Kali. Between 1826 and 1835 as many as 1562 Thugs were apprehended in different parts of British India, and by the evidence of approvers the moral plague spot was gradually stamped out.
Two other historical events are connected with the administration of Lord William Bentinck. In 1833 the charter of the East India Company was renewed for twenty years, but only upon the terms that it should abandon its trade and permit Europeans to settle freely in the country. At the same time a legal or fourth member was added to the governor-general’s council, who might not be a servant of the company, and a commission was appointed to revise and codify the law. Macaulay was the first legal member of council, and the first president of the law commission. In 1830 it was found necessary to take the state of Mysore under British administration, where it continued until 1881, when it was restored to native rule; and in 1834 the frantic misrule of the raja of Coorg brought on a short and sharp war. The raja was permitted to retire to Benares, and the brave and proud inhabitants of that mountainous little territory decided to place themselves under the rule of the company; so that the only annexation effected by Lord William Bentinck was “in consideration of the unanimous wish of the people.”
Sir Charles (afterwards Lord) Metcalfe succeeded Lord William as senior member of council. His short term of office is memorable for the measure which his predecessor had initiated, but which he willingly carried into execution, for Auckland. giving entire liberty to the press. Public opinion in India, as well as the express wish of the court of directors at home, pointed to Metcalfe as the most fit person to carry out the policy of Bentinck, not provisionally, but as governor-general for a full term. Party exigencies, however, led to the appointment of Lord Auckland. From that date commences a new era of war and conquest, which may be said to have lasted for twenty years. All looked peaceful until Lord Auckland, prompted by his evil genius, attempted by force to place Shah Shuja upon the throne of Kabul, an attempt which ended in gross mismanagement and the annihilation of the British garrison in that city. The disaster in Afghanistan was quickly followed by the conquest of Sind, the two wars in the Punjab, the second Burmese War, and last of all the Mutiny.
The attention of the British government had been directed to Afghan affairs ever since the time of Sir John Shore, who feared that Zaman Shah, then holding his court at Lahore, might follow in the path of Ahmed Shah, First Afghan War. and overrun Hindustan. The growth of the powerful Sikh kingdom of Ranjit Singh effectually dispelled any such alarms for the future. Subsequently, in 1809, while a French invasion of India was still a possibility to be guarded against, Mountstuart Elphinstone was sent by Lord Minto on a mission to Shah Shuja to form a defensive alliance. Before the year was out Shah Shuja had been driven into exile, and a third brother, Mahmud Shah, was on the throne. In 1837, when the curtain rises upon the drama of British interference in Afghanistan, the usurper, Dost Mahommed Barakzai, was firmly established at Kabul. His great ambition was to recover Peshawar from the Sikhs; and when Captain Alexander Burnes arrived on a mission from Lord Auckland, with the ostensible object of opening trade, the Dost was willing to promise everything, if only he could get Peshawar. But Lord Auckland had another and more important object in view. At this time the Russians were advancing rapidly in Central Asia, and a Persian army, not without Russian support, was besieging Herat, the traditional bulwark of Afghanistan on the east. A Russian envoy was at Kabul at the same time as Burnes. The latter was unable to satisfy the demands of Dost Mahommed in the matter of Peshawar, and returned to India unsuccessful. Lord Auckland forthwith resolved upon the hazardous plan of placing a more subservient ruler upon the throne of Kabul. Shah Shuja, now in exile at Ludhiana, was selected for the purpose. At this time both the Punjab and Sind were independent kingdoms. Sind was the less powerful of the two, and, therefore, a British army escorting Shah Shuja made its way by that route to enter Afghanistan through the Bolan Pass. Kandahar surrendered, Ghazni was taken by storm, Dost Mahommed fled across the Hindu Kush, and Shah Shuja was triumphantly led into the Bala Hissar at Kabul in August 1839. During the two years that followed Afghanistan remained in the military occupation of the British. The catastrophe occurred in November 1841, when Sir Alexander Burnes was assassinated in the city of Kabul. The troops in the cantonments were then under the command of General Elphinstone (not to be confounded with the civilian Mountstuart Elphinstone), with Sir William Macnaghten as chief political adviser. Elphinstone was an old man, unequal to the responsibilities of the position. Macnaghten was treacherously murdered at an interview with the Afghan chief, Akbar Khan, eldest son of Dost Mahommed. After lingering in their cantonments for two months, the British army set off in the depth of winter to find its way back to India through the passes. When they started they numbered 4000 fighting men, with 12,000 camp followers. A single survivor, Dr Brydon, reached the friendly walls of Jalalabad, where General Sale was gallantly holding out. The rest perished in the defiles of Khurd Kabul and Jagdalak, either from the knives and matchlocks of the Afghans or from the effects of cold. A few prisoners, mostly women, children and officers, were considerately treated by the orders of Akbar Khan. (See Afghanistan.)
Within a month after the news reached Calcutta, Lord Auckland had been superseded by Lord Ellenborough, whose first impulse was to be satisfied with drawing off in safety the garrisons from Kandahar and Jalalabad. But bolder counsels prevailed. General Pollock, who was marching straight through the Punjab to relieve General Sale, was ordered to penetrate to Kabul, while General Nott was only too glad not to be forbidden to retire from Kandahar through Kabul. After a good deal of fighting, the two British forces met at their common destination in September 1842. The great bazar at Kabul was blown up with gunpowder to fix a stigma upon the city; the prisoners were recovered; and all marched back to India, leaving Dost Mahommed to take undisputed possession of his throne. The drama closed with a bombastic proclamation from Lord Ellenborough, who had caused the gates from the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni to be carried back as a memorial of “Somnath revenged.”
Lord Ellenborough, who loved military display, had his tastes gratified by two more wars. In 1843 the Mahommedan rulers of Sind, known as the “meers” or amirs, whose only fault was that they would not surrender their Annexation of Sind. independence, were crushed by Sir Charles Napier. The victory of Meeanee, in which 3000 British troops defeated 20,000 Baluchis, is perhaps the most brilliant feat of arms in Indian history; but an honest excuse can scarcely be found for the annexation of the country. In the same year a disputed succession at Gwalior, fomented by femimine intrigue, resulted in an outbreak of the overgrown army which the Sindhia family had been allowed to maintain. Peace was restored by the battles of Maharajpur and Punniar, at the former of which Lord Ellenborough was present in person.
In 1844 Lord Ellenborough was recalled by the court of directors, who differed from him on many points of administration, and distrusted his erratic genius. He was First Sikh War. succeeded by Sir Henry (afterwards Lord) Hardinge, who had served through the Peninsular War and had lost a hand at Ligny. It was felt on all sides that a trial of strength between the British and the Sikhs was at hand. (For the origin of the Sikh power see Punjab.)
Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh kingdom in the Punjab, had faithfully fulfilled all his obligations towards the British. But on his death in 1839 no successor was left to curb the ambition of the Sikh nationality.
In 1845 the khalsa, or Sikh army, numbering 60,000 men with 150 guns, crossed the Sutlej and invaded British territory. Sir Hugh Gough, the commander-in-chief, together with the governor-general, hurried up to the frontier. Within three weeks four pitched battles were fought, at Mudki, Ferozeshah, Aliwal and Sobraon. The British loss on each occasion was heavy; but by the last victory the Sikhs were fairly driven into and across the Sutlej, and Lahore surrendered to the British. By the terms of peace then dictated the infant son of Ranjit, Dhuleep Singh, was recognized as raja; the Jullundur Doab, or tract between the Sutlej and the Ravi, was annexed; the Sikh army was limited to a specified number; Major Henry Lawrence was appointed to be resident at Lahore; and a British force was detailed to garrison the Punjab for a period of eight years.
Lord Dalhousie succeeded Lord Hardinge, and his eight years’ administration (from 1848 to 1856) was more pregnant of results than that of any governor-general since Wellesley. Though professedly a man of peace, he was compelled Dalhousie. to fight two wars, in the Punjab and in Burma. These both ended in large acquisitions of territory, while Nagpur, Oudh and several minor states also came under British rule. But Dalhousie’s own special interest lay in the advancement of the moral and material condition of the country. The system of administration carried out in the conquered Punjab by the two Lawrences and their assistants is probably the most successful piece of difficult work ever accomplished by Englishmen. Lower Burma prospered under their rule scarcely less than the Punjab. In both cases Lord Dalhousie deserves a large share of the credit. No branch of the administration escaped his reforming hand. He founded the public works department, to pay special attention to roads and canals. He opened the Ganges canal, still the largest work of the kind in the country, and he turned the sod of the first Indian railway. He promoted steam communication with England via the Red Sea, and introduced cheap postage and the electric telegraph. It is Lord Dalhousie’s misfortune that these benefits are too often forgotten in the vivid recollections of the Mutiny, which avenged his policy of annexation.
Lord Dalhousie had not been six months in India before the second Sikh war broke out. Two British officers were treacherously assassinated at Multan. Unfortunately Henry Lawrence was at home on sick leave. The British Second Sikh War. army was not ready to act in the hot season, and, despite the single-handed exertions of Lieutenant (afterwards Sir Herbert) Edwardes, this outbreak of fanaticism led to a general rising. The khalsa army again came together, and more than once fought on even terms with the British. On the fatal field of Chillianwalla, which patriotism prefers to call a drawn battle, the British lost 2400 officers and men, besides four guns and the colours of three regiments. Before reinforcements could come out from England, with Sir Charles Napier as commander-in-chief, Lord Gough had restored his own reputation by the crowning victory of Gujrat, which absolutely destroyed the Sikh army. Multan had previously fallen; and the Afghan horse under Dost Mahommed, who had forgotten their hereditary antipathy to the Sikhs in their greater hatred of the British name, were chased back with ignominy to their native hills. The Punjab henceforth became a British province, supplying a virgin field for the administrative talents of Dalhousie and the two Lawrences. Raja Dhuleep Singh received an allowance of £50,000 a year, on which he retired as a country gentleman to Norfolk in England. (See Punjab.)
The second Burmese war of 1852 was caused by the ill-treatment of European merchants at Rangoon, and the insolence Second Burmese War. offered to the captain of a frigate who had been sent to remonstrate. The whole valley of the Irrawaddy, from Rangoon to Prome, was occupied in a few months, and, as the king of Ava refused to treat, it was annexed, under the name of Pegu, to the provinces of Arakan and Tenasserim, which had been acquired in 1826.
Lord Dalhousie’s dealings with the feudatory states of India, though actuated by the highest motives, seem now to have proceeded upon mistaken lines. His policy of annexing each native state on the death of its ruler without natural heirs produced The doctrine of lapse. a general feeling of insecurity of tenure among the princes, and gave offence to the people of India. This policy was reversed when India was taken over by the crown after the Mutiny; and its reversal has led to the native princes being amongst the most loyal subjects of the British government. The first state to escheat to the British government was Satara, which had been reconstituted by Lord Hastings on the downfall of the peshwa Baji Rao in 1818. The last direct representative of Sivaji died without a male heir in 1848, and his deathbed adoption was set aside. In the same year the Rajput state of Karauli was saved by the interposition of the court of directors, who drew a fine distinction between a dependent principality and a protected ally. In 1853 Jhansi suffered the same fate as Satara. But the most conspicuous application of the doctrine of lapse was the case of Nagpur. The last of the Bhonslas, a dynasty older than the British government itself, died without a son, natural or adopted, in 1853. That year also saw British administration extended to the Berars, or the assigned districts which the nizam of Hyderabad was induced to cede as a territorial guarantee for the subsidies which he perpetually kept in arrear. Three more distinguished names likewise passed away in 1853, though without any attendant accretion to British territory. In the extreme south the titular nawab of the Carnatic and the titular raja of Tanjore both died without heirs. Their rank and their pensions died with them, though compassionate allowances were continued to their families. In the north of India, Baji Rao, the ex-peshwa who had been dethroned in 1818, lived on till 1853 in the enjoyment of his annual pension of £80,000. His adopted son, Nana Sahib, inherited his accumulated savings, but could obtain no further recognition.
The annexation of the province of Oudh was justifiable on the ground of morals, though not on that of policy. Ever since the nawab wazir, Shuja-ud-Dowlah, received back his forfeited territories from the hands of Lord Clive in Annexation of Oudh. 1765, the very existence of Oudh as an independent state had depended only upon the protection of British bayonets. Thus, preserved alike from foreign invasion and from domestic rebellion, the long line of subsequent nawabs had given way to that neglect of public affairs and those private vices which naturally flow from irresponsible power. Their only redeeming virtue was steady loyalty to the British government. Warning after warning had been given to the nawabs, who had assumed the title of king since 1819, to put their house in order; but every warning was neglected, and Lord Dalhousie at last carried into effect what both the previous governors-general had threatened. In 1856, the last year of his rule, he issued orders to General (afterwards Sir James) Outram, then resident at the court of Lucknow, to assume the direct administration of Oudh, on the ground that “the British government would be guilty in the sight of God and man, if it were any longer to aid in sustaining by its countenance an administration fraught with suffering to millions.” The king, Wajid Ali, bowed to irresistible force, though he ever refused to recognize the justice of his deposition. After a mission to England, by way of protest and appeal, he settled down in the pleasant suburb of Garden Reach near Calcutta, where he lived in the enjoyment of a pension of £120,000 a year. Oudh was thus annexed without a blow; but it may be doubted whether the one measure of Lord Dalhousie upon which he looked back himself with the clearest conscience was not the very one that most alarmed native public opinion.
Lord Dalhousie was succeeded by his friend, Lord Canning, who, at the farewell banquet in England given to him by the court of directors, uttered these prophetic words: “I wish for a peaceful term of office. But I cannot The Mutiny. forget that in the sky of India, serene as it is, a small cloud may arise, no larger than a man’s hand, but which, growing larger and larger, may at last threaten to burst and overwhelm us with ruin.” In the following year the sepoys of the Bengal army mutinied, and all the valley of the Ganges from Patna to Delhi rose in open rebellion.
The various motives assigned for the Mutiny appear inadequate to the European mind. The truth seems to be that native opinion throughout India was in a ferment, predisposing men to believe the wildest stories, and to act precipitately upon their fears. The influence of panic in an Oriental population is greater than might be readily believed. In the first place, the policy of Lord Dalhousie, exactly in proportion as it had been dictated by the most honourable considerations, was utterly distasteful to the native mind. Repeated annexations, the spread of education, the appearance of the steam engine and the telegraph wire, all alike revealed a consistent determination to substitute an English for an Indian civilization. The Bengal sepoys, especially, thought that they could see into the future farther than the rest of their countrymen. Nearly all men of high caste, and many of them recruited from Oudh, they dreaded tendencies which they deemed to be denationalizing, and they knew at first hand what annexation meant. They believed it was by their prowess that the Punjab had been conquered, and all India was held quiet. The numerous dethroned princes, their heirs and their widows, were the first to take advantage of the spirit of disaffection that was abroad. They had heard of the Crimean War, and were told that Russia was the perpetual enemy of England. Owing to the silladar system, under which the native cavalry provided their own horses and accoutrements, many of the sowars were in debt, and were in favour of a change which would wipe out the existing régime and with it the money-lender.
But in addition to these general causes of unrest the condition of the native army had long given cause for uneasiness to acute observers. During the course of its history it had broken out into mutiny at recurrent intervals, the latest occasion being the winter of 1843-1844, when there were two separate mutinies in Sind and at Ferozepur. Moreover the spirit of the sepoys during the Sikh wars was unsatisfactory, and led to excessive casualties amongst the British officers and soldiers. Both General Jacob and Sir Charles Napier had prophesied that the Mutiny would take place. Sir Hugh Gough and other commanders-in-chief had petitioned for the removal of India’s chief arsenal from Delhi to Umballa; and Lord Dalhousie himself had protested against the reduction of the British element in the army. But all these warnings were disregarded with a blindness as great as was the incapacity that allowed the Mutiny to gather head unchecked after its first outbreak at Meerut. Moreover the outbreak was immediately provoked by an unparalleled instance of carelessness. It has recently been proved by Mr G. W. Forrest’s researches in the Government of India records that the sepoys’ belief that their cartridges were greased with the fat of cows and pigs had some foundation in fact. Such a gross violation of their caste prejudices would alone be sufficient to account for the outbreak that followed. (For the military incidents of the Mutiny see Indian Mutiny.)
The Mutiny sealed the fate of the East India company, after a life of more than two and a half centuries. The Act for the Better Government of India (1858), which finally transferred the entire administration from the company Transfer to the Crown. to the crown, was not passed without an eloquent protest from the directors, nor without acrimonious party discussion in parliament. It enacts that India shall be governed by, and in the name of, the sovereign of England through a principal secretary of state, assisted by a council. The governor-general received the new title of viceroy. The European troops of the company, numbering about 24,000 officers and men, were amalgamated with the royal service, and the Indian navy was abolished. By the Indian Councils Act 1861 the governor-general’s council and also the councils at Madras and Bombay were augmented by the addition of non-official members, either natives or Europeans, for legislative purposes only; and by another act passed in the same year high courts of judicature were constituted out of the existing supreme courts and company’s courts at the presidency towns.
India under the Crown.
It fell to the lot of Lord Canning both to suppress the Mutiny and to introduce the peaceful revolution that followed. As regards his execution of the former part of his duties, it is sufficient to say that he preserved his equanimity undisturbed in the darkest hours of peril, and that the strict impartiality of his conduct incurred alternate praise and blame from the fanatics on either side. The epithet then scornfully applied to him of “Clemency” Canning is now remembered only to his honour. On November 1, 1858, at a grand durbar held at Allahabad the royal proclamation was published which announced that the queen had assumed the government of India. This document, which has been called the Magna Charta of the Indian people, went on to explain the policy of political justice and religious toleration which it was her royal pleasure to pursue, and granted an amnesty to all except those who had directly taken part in the murder of British subjects. Peace was proclaimed throughout India on the 8th of July 1859; and in the following cold season Lord Canning made a viceregal progress through the upper provinces, to receive the homage of loyal princes and chiefs, and to guarantee to them the right of adoption. The suppression of the Mutiny increased the debt of India by about 40 millions sterling, and the military changes that ensued augmented the annual expenditure by about 10 millions. To grapple with this deficit, James Wilson was sent out from the treasury as financial member of council. He reorganized the customs system, imposed an income tax and licence duty and created a state paper currency. The penal code, originally drawn up by Macaulay in 1837, passed into law in 1860, together with codes of civil and criminal procedure.
Lord Canning left India in March 1862, and died before he had been a month in England. His successor, Lord Elgin, only lived till November 1863, when he too fell a victim to the excessive work of the governor-generalship, dying at the Himalayan station of Dharmsala, where he lies buried. He was succeeded by Sir John Lawrence, the saviour of the Punjab. The chief incidents of his administration were the Bhutan war and the terrible Orissa famine of 1866. Lord Mayo, who succeeded him in 1869, carried on the permanent British policy of moral and material progress with a special degree of personal energy. The Umballa durbar, at which Shere Ali was recognized as amir of Afghanistan, though in one sense the completion of what Lord Lawrence had begun, owed much of its success to the personal influence of Lord Mayo himself. The same quality, combined with sympathy and firmness, stood him in good stead in all his dealings both with native chiefs and European officials. His example of hard work stimulated all to their best. While engaged in exploring with his own eyes the furthest corners of the empire, he fell by the hand of an assassin in the convict settlement of the Andaman islands in 1872. His successor was Lord Northbrook, whose ability showed itself chiefly in the department of finance. During the time of his administration a famine in Lower Bengal in 1874 was successfully obviated by government relief and public works, though at an enormous cost; the gaekwar of Baroda was dethroned in 1875 for misgovernment and disloyalty, while his dominions were continued to a nominated child of the family; and the prince of Wales (Edward VII.) visited the country in the cold season of 1875-1876. Lord Lytton followed Lord Northbrook in 1876. On the 1st of January 1877 Queen Victoria was proclaimed empress of India at a durbar of great magnificence, held on the historic “Ridge” overlooking the Mogul capital Delhi. But, while the princes and high officials of the country were flocking to this gorgeous scene, the shadow of famine was already darkening over the south of India. Both the monsoons of 1876 had failed to bring their due supply of rain, and the season of 1877 was little better. The consequences of this prolonged drought, which extended from Cape Comorin to the Deccan, and subsequently invaded northern India, were more disastrous than any similar calamity up to that time from the introduction of British rule. Despite unparalleled importations of grain by sea and rail, despite the most strenuous exertions of the government, which incurred a total expenditure on this account of 11 millions sterling, the loss of life from actual starvation and its attendant train of diseases was lamentable. In the autumn of 1878 the affairs of Afghanistan again forced themselves into notice. Shere Ali, the amir, who had been hospitably entertained by Lord Mayo, was found to be favouring Russian intrigues. A British envoy was refused admittance to the country, while a Russian mission was received with honour. This led to a declaration of war. British armies advanced by three routes—the Khyber, the Kurram and the Bolan—and without much opposition occupied the inner entrances of the passes. Shere Ali fled to Afghan Turkestan, and there died. A treaty was entered into with his son, Yakub Khan, at Gandamak, by which the British frontier was advanced to the crests or farther sides of the passes and a British officer was admitted to reside at Kabul. Within a few months the British resident, Sir Louis Cavagnari, was treacherously attacked and massacred, together with his escort, and a second war became necessary. Yakub Khan abdicated, and was deported to India, while Kabul was occupied in force.
At this crisis of affairs a general election in England resulted in a change of government. Lord Lytton resigned with the Conservative ministry, and the marquis of Ripon was nominated as his successor in 1880. Shortly afterwards Lord Ripon. a British brigade was defeated at Maiwand by the Herati army of Ayub Khan, a defeat promptly and completely retrieved by the brilliant march of General Sir Frederick Roberts from Kabul to Kandahar, and by the total rout of Ayub Khan’s army on the 1st of September 1880. Abdur Rahman Khan, the eldest male representative of the stock of Dost Mahommed, was then recognized as amir of Kabul. Lord Ripon was sent out to India by the Liberal ministry of 1880 for the purpose of reversing Lord Lytton’s policy in Afghanistan, and of introducing a more sympathetic system into the administration of India. The disaster at Maiwand, and the Russian advance east of the Caspian, prevented the proposed withdrawal from Quetta; but Kandahar was evacuated, Abdur Rahman was left in complete control of his country and was given an annual subsidy of twelve lakhs of rupees in 1883. In the second purpose of his administration Lord Ripon’s well-meant efforts only succeeded in setting Europeans and natives against each other. His term of office was chiefly notable for the agitation against the Ilbert Bill, which proposed to subject European offenders to trial by native magistrates. The measure aroused a storm of indignation amongst the European community which finally resulted in the bill being shorn of its most objectionable features. Lord Ripon’s good intentions and personal sympathy were recognized by the natives, and on leaving Bombay he received the greatest ovation ever accorded to an Indian viceroy.
After the arrival of Lord Dufferin as governor-general the incident known as the Panjdeh Scare brought Britain to the verge of war with Russia. During the preceding decades Russia had gradually advanced her power The Panjdeh scare. from the Caspian across the Turkoman steppes to the border of Afghanistan, and Russian intrigue was largely responsible for the second Afghan war. In February 1884 Russia annexed Merv. This action led to an arrangement in August of the same year for a joint Anglo-Russian commission to delimit the Afghan frontier. In March 1885, while the commission was at work, Lord Dufferin was entertaining the amir Abdur Rahman at a durbar at Rawalpindi. The durbar was interrupted by the news that a Russian general had attacked and routed the Afghan force holding the bridge across the river Kushk, and the incident might possibly have resulted in war between Britain and Russia but for the slight importance that Abdur Rahman attributed to what he termed a border scuffle.
The incident, however, led to military measures being taken by the government of Lord Dufferin, which had far-reaching Increase in the Army. effects on Indian finance. The total strength of the army was raised by 10,000 British and 20,000 native troops, at an annual cost of about two millions sterling; and the frontier post of Quetta, in the neighbourhood of Kandahar, was connected with the Indian railway system by a line that involved very expensive tunnelling.
The Panjdeh incident was likewise the cause of the establishment of Imperial Service troops in India. At the moment when war seemed imminent, the leading native princes made offers of pecuniary aid. These offers were Imperial Service troops. declined, but it was intimated to them at a later date that, if they would place a small military force in each state at the disposal of the British government, to be commanded by state officers, but drilled, disciplined and armed under the supervision of British officers and on British lines, the government would undertake to find the necessary supervising officer, arms and organization. The proposal was widely accepted, and the Imperial Service troops, as they are called, amount at present to some 20,000 cavalry, infantry and transport, whose efficiency is very highly thought of. They have rendered good service in the wars on the north-west frontier, and also in China and Somaliland. Later in the same year (1885) occurred the third Burmese war. For the causes of the dispute with King Thebaw, and a description of the military operations which ensued before the country was finally pacified, see Burma.
From 1885 onwards the attention of the Indian government was increasingly devoted to the north-west frontier. Between the years 1885 and 1895 there were delimited at various times by joint commissions the Russo-Afghan frontier between the Oxus and Sarakhs on the Persian frontier, the Russo-Afghan frontier from Lake Victoria to the frontier of China and the Afghan-Indian frontier from the Kunar river to a point in the neighbourhood of the Nawa Kotal. To the westward, after various disagreements and two military expeditions, the territories comprising the Zhob, Barhan and Bori valleys, occupied by Pathan tribes, were in 1890 finally incorporated in the general system of the Trans-Indus protectorate. About the same time in the extreme north the post of British resident in Gilgit was re-established, and the supremacy of Kashmir over the adjoining petty chiefships of Hunza-Nagar was enforced (1891-1892). In 1893 the frontiers of Afghanistan and British India were defined by a joint agreement between the two governments, known as the Durand agreement. There followed on the part of the British authorities, interference in Chitral, ending in an expedition in 1895 and the ejection of the local chiefs in favour of candidates amenable to British influence. A more formidable hostile combination, however, awaited the government of India. By the agreement of 1893 with the amir most of the Waziri clan and also the Afridis had been left outside the limits of the amir’s influence and transferred to the British zone. Soon after that date the establishment by the British military authorities of posts within the Waziri country led to apprehension on the part of the local tribesmen. In 1895 the occupation of points within the Swat territory for the safety of the road from India to Chitral similarly roused the suspicion of the Swatis. The Waziris and Swatis successively rose in arms, in June and July 1897, and their example was followed by the Mohmands. Finally, in August the powerful Afridi tribe joined the combination and closed the Khyber Pass, which runs through their territory, and which was held by them, on conditions, in trust for the government of India. This led to the military operations known as the Tirah campaign, which proved very costly both in men and money.
Meanwhile considerable difficulties had been experienced with the Indian currency, which was on a purely silver basis. Before 1873 the fluctuations in the value of silver as compared with gold had been comparatively small, The currency. and the exchange value of the rupee was rarely less than two shillings. But after 1873, in consequence of changes in the monetary systems of France and Germany, and the increased production of silver, this stability of exchange no longer continued, and the rupee sank steadily in value, till it was worth little more than half its face value. This great shrinkage in exchange caused considerable loss to the Indian government in remitting to Europe, and entailed hardship upon Anglo-Indians who received pensions or other payments in rupees, while on the other hand it supplied an artificial stimulus to the export trade by increasing the purchasing power of gold. This advantage, however, was outweighed by the uncertainty as to what the exchange value of the rupee might be at any particular date, which imported a gambling element into commerce. Accordingly in June 1893 an act was passed closing the Indian mints to the free coinage of silver. Six years later, in 1899, the change was completed by an act making gold legal tender at the rate of £1 for Rs.15, or at the rate of is. 4d. per rupee, and both the government and the individual now know exactly what their obligations will be.
When Lord Curzon became viceroy in 1898, he reversed the policy on the north-west frontier which had given rise to the Tirah campaign, withdrew outlying garrisons in tribal country, substituted for them tribal militia, Lord Curzon’s reforms. and created the new North-West Frontier province, for the purpose of introducing consistency of policy and firmness of control upon that disturbed border. In addition, after making careful inquiry through various commissions, he reformed the systems of education and police, laid down a comprehensive scheme of irrigation, improved the leave rules and the excessive report-writing of the civil service, encouraged the native princes by the formation of the Imperial Cadet Corps and introduced many other reforms. His term of office was also notable for the coronation durbar at Delhi in January 1903, the expedition to Lhasa in 1904, which first unveiled that forbidden city to European gaze, and the partition of Bengal in 1905. In December 1904 Lord Curzon entered upon a second term of office, which was unfortunately marred by a controversy with Lord Kitchener, the commander-in-chief, as to the position of the military member of council. Lord Curzon, finding himself at variance with the secretary of state, resigned before the end of the first year, and was succeeded by Lord Minto.
The new viceroy, who might have expected a tranquil time after the energetic reforms of his predecessor, soon found himself face to face with the most serious troubles, euphemistically called the “unrest,” that British rule has had Lord Minto. The unrest. to encounter in India since the Mutiny. For many years the educated class among the natives had been claiming for themselves a larger share in the administration, and had organized a political party under the name of the National Congress, which held annual meetings at Christmas in one or ether of the large cities of the peninsula. This class also exercised a wide influence through the press, printed both in the vernacular languages and in English, especially among young students. There is no doubt too that the adoption of Western civilization by the Japanese and their victorious war with Russia set in motion a current through all the peoples of the East. The occasion though not the cause of trouble arose from the partition of Bengal, which was represented by Bengali agitators as an insult to their mother country. While the first riots occurred in the Punjab and Madras, it is only in Bengal and eastern Bengal that the unrest has been bitter and continuous. This is the centre of the swadeshi movement for the boycott of English goods, of the most seditious speeches and writings and of conspiracies for the assassination of officials. At first the government attempted to quell the disaffection by means of the ordinary law, with fair success outside Bengal; but there, owing to the secret ramifications of the conspiracy, it has been found necessary to adopt special measures. Recourse has been had to a regulation of the year 1818, by which persons may be imprisoned or “deported” without reason assigned; and three acts of the legislature have been passed for dealing more directly with the prevalent classes of crime: (1) an Explosives Act, containing provisions similar to those in force in England; (2) a Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, which can only be applied specially by proclamation; and (3) a Criminal Law Amendment Act, of which the two chief provisions are—a magisterial inquiry in private (similar to the Scotch procedure) and a trial before three judges of the High Court without a jury.
While the law was thus sternly enforced, important acts of conciliation and measures of reform were carried out simultaneously. Reforms. In 1907 two natives, a Hindu and a Mahommedan, were appointed to the secretary of state’s council; and in 1909 another native, a Hindu barrister, was for the first time appointed, as legal member, to the council of the viceroy. Occasion was taken of the fiftieth anniversary of the assumption by the crown of the government of India to address a message (on November 2, 1908) by the king-emperor to the princes and peoples, reviewing in stately language the later development, and containing these memorable words:—
“From the first, the principle of representative institutions began to be gradually introduced, and the time has come when, in the judgment of my viceroy and governor-general and others of my counsellors, that principle may be prudently extended. Important classes among you, representing ideas that have been fostered and encouraged by British rule, claim equality of citizenship, and a greater share in legislation and government. The politic satisfaction of such a claim will strengthen, not impair, existing authority and power. Administration will be all the more efficient if the officers who conduct it have greater opportunities of regular contact with those whom it affects and with those who influence and reflect common opinion about it.”
The policy here adumbrated was (at least partly) carried into effect by parliament in the Indian Councils Act 1909, which reconstituted all the legislative councils by the addition of members directly elected, and conferred upon these councils wider powers of discussion. It further authorized the addition of two members to the executive councils at Madras and Bombay, and the creation of an executive council in Bengal and also (subject to conditions) in other provinces under a lieutenant-governor. Regulations for bringing the act into operation were issued by the governor-general in council, with the approval of the secretary of state, in November 1909. They provided (inter alia) for a non-official majority in all of the provincial councils, but not in that of the governor-general; for an elaborate system of election of members by organized constituencies; for nomination where direct election is not appropriate; and for the separate representation of Mahommedans and other special interests. They also contain provisions authorizing the asking of supplementary questions, the moving and discussion of resolutions on any matter of public interest and the annual consideration of the contents of the budget. In brief, the legislative councils were not only enlarged, but transformed into debating bodies, with the power of criticizing the executive. The first elections took place during December 1909, with results that showed widespread interest and were generally accepted as satisfactory. The new council of the governor-general met in the following month.
Authorities.—Vincent A. Smith, The Early History of India (Oxford, 1904, 2nd ed., 1908); and Asoka (“Rulers of India” series, Oxford, 1901); J. W. McCrindle, Ancient India (1901); T. W. Rhys Davids, Buddhist India (1903); Imperial Gazetteer of India (1907-1909); Sir J. Campbell, Gazetteer of Bombay (1896); Stanley Lane-Poole, Medieval India (“Story of the Nations” series, 1903); The Mohammedan Dynasties (1894) and The Mogul Emperors (1892); H. C. Fanshawe, Delhi Past and Present (1902); Sir H. M. Elliot, History of India as told by its own Historians (1867). For the “unrest,” its causation and history, see the series of articles in The Times, beginning July 16, 1910. (W. W. H.; J. S. Co.)
Personal attire in India so far resembles a uniform that a resident can tell from a garb alone the native place, religion and social standing of the wearer. This is still true, though the present facility of intercommunication has had its effect in tending to assimilate the appearance of natives. Together with costume it is necessary to study the methods of wearing the hair, for each race adopts a different method.
The population of India, of which the main divisions are religious, falls naturally into four groups, (1) Mahommedans, (2) Hindus, (3) Sikhs, (4) Parsees. To these may be added aboriginal races such as Bhils, Sonthals, Gonds, &c., whose costume is chiefly noticeable from its absence.
Mahommedan Men.—Apart from the two sects, Sunnis and Shias, whose garb differs in some respects, there are four families of Moslems, viz. Pathans, Moguls, Syeds and Sheiks. The first came to India with Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi in A.D. 1002; the second are of Tatar origin and came to India with Baber; the Syeds claim descent from Mahomet, while Sheiks comprise all other Mussulmans, including converted Hindus. It is now no longer possible to distinguish these families by their turbans as was formerly the case.
Hair.—In the hadis, or traditional sayings of Mahomet other than those to be found in the Koran, it is laid down that the head is to be shaved and the beard to be allowed to grow naturally to “a legal” length, i.e. 7 or 8 in. long. This is known as fitrah or the custom of prophets. The beard is frequently dyed with henna and indigo for much the same reasons as in Europe by elderly men; this is entirely optional. The wearing of whiskers while shaving the chin was a Mogul fashion of the 17th and 18th centuries and is now seldom seen except among Deccani Mahommedans. The mustachios must not grow below the line of the upper lip, which must be clearly seen; a division or parting is made below the nose. The lower lip is also carefully kept clear. Hair under the arms or elsewhere on the body except the breast is always removed.
Mahommedan clothing for indoor wear consists of three pieces: (a) Head-dress, (b) body-covering, (c) covering for the legs.
Head-dress.—This is of two kinds: the turban and the cap. The former is chiefly worn in northern India, the latter in Oudh and the United Provinces. What is known in Europe as a turban (from the Persian sarband, a binding for the head) is in India divided into two classes. The first, made of a single piece of cloth 20 to 30 in. wide and from 6 to 9 yds. long, is bound round the head from right to left or from left to right indifferently and quite simply, so as to form narrow angles over the forehead and at the back. This form is called amāmāh (Arabic), dastār (Persian), shimlā or shamlā, safā, lungi, selā, rumāl, or dopattā. The terms amāmāh and dastār are used chiefly with reference to the turbans of priests and ulema, that is learned and religious persons. They are usually white; formerly Syeds wore them of green colour. They are never of bright hue. The lungi is made of cloth of a special kind manufactured mostly in Ludhiana. It is generally blue and has an ornamented border. In the case of Pathans and sometimes of Punjabi Moslems it is bound round a tall red conical cap called a kullah (Plate I. fig. 1). The ends are frequently allowed to hang down over the shoulders, and are called shimla or shamla, terms which also apply to the whole head-dress. The names safa, sela, rumal and dopatta are sometimes given to this form of turban. The sela is gaudier and more ornamental generally; it is worn by the nobles and wealthier classes.
The second form of the turban is known as the pagri. This head-dress is of Hindu origin but is much worn by Mahommedans. It is a single piece of cloth 6 to 8 in. wide, and of any length from 10 to 50 yds. The methods of binding the pagri are innumerable, each method having a distinctive name as arabi (Arab fashion); mansabi (official fashion, much used in the Deccan); mushakhi (sheik fashion); chakridar (worn by hadjis, that is those who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca); khirki-dār (a fashion of piling the cloth high, adopted by retainers of great men); latudār (top-shaped, worn by kāyasths or writers); joridār (the cloth twisted into rope shape) (Plate I. fig. 6); siparali (shield-shaped, worn by the Shiā sect); murassa, or nastālikh (ornately bound), latpati (carelessly bound) (Plate I. fig. 4). Many other fashions which it would be difficult to describe can best be learned by studying pictures with the help of a competent teacher. The chīrā is a pagri of checked cloth. The mandīl is of gold or highly ornamented cloth; it is worn by nobles and persons of distinction.
The cap or topi is not bound round the head, but is placed upon it. It is made of cut and sewn cloth. Some varieties are dopallari, a skull-cap; kishtinumā, or boat-shaped cap; goltopi, a round cap of the kind known in England as “pork-pie”; bezwi, or egg-shaped cap; sigoshiā, or three-cornered cap; chaugoshiā, or four-cornered cap; tājdār, or crown-shaped cap; &c. Many other caps are named after the locality of manufacture or some peculiarity of make, e.g. Kashmīrē-kītopī; jhālardār, fringed cap, &c.
A form of cap much worn in Bengal and western India is known as Irānī kullāh, or Persian cap. It is made of goatskin and is shaped like a tārbūsh but has no tassel. The cap worn in cold weather is called top, topa, or kantop (ear-cover) (Plate I. fig. 2); these are sometimes padded with cotton. Caps are much worn by Mussulmans of Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and other cities of the United provinces.
The tārbūsh or tūrki-topī was introduced into India by Sir Sayyid Ahmad (Plate I. fig. 3). It must not be confused with the Moorish “fez,” which is skull-shaped. The tārbūsh is of Greek origin and was adopted by Sultan Mahmud of Turkey in the early part of the 19th century. To remove the head-dress of whatever kind is, in the East, an act of discourtesy; to strike it off is a deep insult.
Clothing.—The following rules from the hadith or traditional sayings of the prophet are noteworthy:—“Wear white garments, for verily they are full of cleanliness, and pleasant to the eye.” “It is lawful for the woman of my people to clothe herself in silken garments, and to wear ornaments of gold; but it is forbidden to man: any man who shall wear silken garments in this world, shall not wear them in the next.” “God will not be merciful to him who through vanity wears long trousers” (i.e. reaching below the ankle). The foregoing rules are now only observed by the ultra-orthodox, such as the Wāhabī sect and by ulemas, or learned elderly men. The Mogul court of Delhi, especially during the reign of Mahommed Shah, nicknamed Rangīla or the “dandy,” greatly influenced change in these matters. Coloured clothing, gold ornaments and silken raiment began to be worn commonly by Mussulman men in his reign.
For the upper part of the body the principal article of clothing is the kūrtā. The Persian name for this is pairahan and the Arabic kamīs, whence “chemise.” This kūrtā is the equivalent for the shirt of Europe. It is usually of white cotton, and has the opening or galā in front, at the back, or on either side indifferently. It was formerly fastened with strings, but now with the ghundi (the old form of button) and tukmah or loop. In southern India, Gujarat and in the United Provinces the kūrtā is much the same as to length and fit as the English shirt; as the traveller goes northward from Delhi to the Afghan border he sees the kūrtā becoming longer and looser till he finds the Pathan wearing it almost to his ankles, with very full wide sleeves. The sleeves are everywhere long and are sometimes fastened with one or two buttons at the wrist.
Mussulmans always wear some form of trousers. They are known as izār (Arabic) or pa’ejáma (Persian). This article of clothing is sometimes loose, sometimes tight all the way, sometimes loose as far as the knee and tight below like Jodhpur riding breeches. They are fastened round the waist with a scarf or string called kamarband (waistband) or izārband, and are usually of white cotton. The varieties of cut are sharai or canonical, orthodox, which reach to the ankles and fit as close to the leg as European trousers; rumi or gharāredār, which reach to the ankles but are much wider than European trousers (this pattern is much worn by the Shias); and tang or chust, reaching to the ankles, from which to the knee they fit quite close. When this last kind is “rucked” at the ankle it is called churidār (Plate I. fig. 4). They are sometimes buttoned at the ankle, especially in the Meerut district. The shalwār pattern, very large round the waist and hanging in folds, is worn by Pathans, Baluchis, Sindis, Multanis, &c.
The new fashion in vogue amongst the younger generation of Mussulman is called the ikbārah or patalūnnumā, which is like the European trousers. They are usually made of calico; they have no buttons but are fastened with string (kamarband). Bathing drawers are called ghutannah and reach to the knee. The tight drawers worn by wrestlers are called janghiah.
Garments for outdoor wear are the angā, or angarkhā, the chapkan, the achkan or sherwāni; the angā, a coat with full sleeves, is made of any material, white or coloured. It is slit at the sides, has perpendicularly cut side-pockets, and is fastened with strings just below the breast. It is opened on the right or left side according to local custom. The angā is now considered old-fashioned, and is chiefly worn by elderly men or religious persons. It is still not uncommon in Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and at native courts, but is being superseded by the achkan (Plate I. fig. 4), which is buttoned straight down the front. Both angā and achkan reach to a little below the knee, as also does the chapkan, a relic of Mogul court dress, best known as the shield-like and highly adorned coat worn by government chaprasis (Plate II. fig. 3). Over the angā is sometimes worn an overcoat called a chogā; this is made of any material, thick or thin, plain or ornamented; it has one or two fastenings only, loops below the breast whence it hangs loosely to below the knees. The chogā is sometimes known by its Arabic names abā or kabā, terms applied to it when worn by priests or ulemas. In cold weather Pathans and other border residents wear posteens, sleeved coats made of sheepskin with the woolly side in. In India farther south in cold weather an overcoat called daglā is worn; this is an angā padded with cotton wool. A padded chogā is called labādā; when very heavily padded farghūl. Whereas the European wears his waistcoat under his coat, the Indian wears his over his angā or chapkan (not over the achkan). A sleeveless waistcoat generally made of silk is called a sadari; when it has half sleeves it is called nimāstīn; the full-sleeved waistcoat worn in winter padded with cotton is called mirzāi. For ceremonial purposes a coat called jāmā is worn. This fits closely as to the upper part of the body, but flows loosely below the waist. It is generally white, and is fastened in front by strings.
In Gujarat and other parts of western India are to be found classes of Moslems who differ somewhat from those met with elsewhere, such as Memans, Borās and Khojās. The first are Sunnis: the two last Shias. Memans wear (1) a gold embroidered skull-cap, (2) a long kamīs fastened at the neck with 3 or 4 buttons on a gold chain, (3) sadariya, i.e. a tight waistcoat without sleeves, fastened in front with small silk buttons and loops, (4) an over-waistcoat called shāyā-sadriya instead of the angā, with sleeves, and slits at the sides (probably of Arab origin). When he does not wear a skull-cap his amāmāh is made after the arched Arab form, or is a Kashmir scarf wound round a skull-cap made of Java straw. The Borā adopts one of four forms of pagri; the Ujjain, a small neatly bound one; the Āhmadābād, a loose high one; the Surat, fuller and higher than the Ujjain pattern (Plate I. fig. 5); or the Kathiāwādā, a conical turban with a gold stripe in the middle of the cone. The Borā wears the angā, otherwise he resembles the Meman. The Khoja wears a pagri smaller than the Meman’s, called a Moghalāi phentā; this leaves a portion of the head bare at the back. The material is always of kashīda, a kind of embroidered cloth. Amongst Mahommedans only Pathans wear ear-rings.
Mahommedan Women. Head-dress.—The rupatta (also called dopatta), or veil, is of various colours and materials. Its length is about 3 yds., its width about 1½. It is worn over the head and thrown over the left shoulder. It is considered essential to modesty to cover the head. This head-dress is also known as orhna, orhni, pochan, pochni (Baluchistan and western India) chundri, reo (Sind), sipatta, takrai or chadar (Pathan). Among the poorer classes it is called pacholi. Farther south in India when of thicker material it is called chadar or chaddar. It is called pachedi, potra or malāyā by Meman, Borā and Khojā women. As a rule married women wear brighter colours than unmarried ones. In Kashmir a small round cap, goltopi, is worn. The kassawa is a handkerchief bound over the head and tied at the back, and is worn by Mahommedan women indoors to keep the hair tidy; Mahommedan women plait their hair and let it hang down behind (Plate I. fig. 6).
Clothing.—A short jacket fastened at the back and with short sleeves is worn. It may be of any material. In Sind, Gujarat and other parts of western India it is called a choli. It is also very generally known as angiyā. Other common names are mahram and sināband (breast-cover). The kūrtā is a sort of sleeveless shirt, open in front and reaching to the waist. It may be of any material. When this is worn with the angiya it is worn over it. This combination of dress is worn only by young married women. In Kashmir and northern India generally the angiya is not worn, and the kūrtā is worn instead. This is like the kamīs of the man, already described; it has full sleeves, is open at the front, which is embroidered, and reaches to the knee or lower. Among Pathans there are two kinds of kūrtā (kamīs or khat); one worn by married women called gìrādānā khat is dark red or blue, embroidered with silk in front; the jalānā khat worn by unmarried women is less conspicuous for colour and ornament. A large pocket (jeb) is often sewn on in front like the Highlander’s sporran.
The Pa’ejāmās, also called izār, are cut like those of men, and known by the same names. They differ only in being of silk or other fine material and being coloured (Plate I. fig. 6). Among Pathans they are called partog or partek (pardek), and those of unmarried girls are of white, while married women wear them of susi, a kind of coloured silk or cotton. As a general rule the wearing of paijāmās is the chief distinction between Mussulman and Hindu women. In the Shahpur and other districts, however, where Mahommedans have followed Hindu customs, Moslem women wear the majlā, a cloth about 3 yds. long by 1½ wide tied tightly round the waist so as to fall in folds over the legs. Even Mahommedan men sometimes wear the majlā in these districts. This form of dress is known among Moslems as tahband [lower binding] (Plate I. fig. 6). In Rajputana, Gujarat and the southern Punjab, Mahommedan women sometimes wear a lhenga or ghagra skirt without trousers; in the Sirsa district and parts of Gujarat the ghagra is worn over the trousers. The sadari or waistcoat is worn by women as well as men. The tillak or peshwaz is a dress or robe the skirt and bodice of which are made in one piece, usually of red or other coloured material; it is common in Gujarat, Rajputana and the Sirsa district, and is the style usually adopted by nautch girls when dancing. Meman women wear also the abā, or overcoat, which differs from that worn by men in that it has loose half sleeves, and fastens with two buttons at each side of the neck over the shoulders; it is embroidered on the breast, and adorned with gold lace on the skirts.
In Delhi, Lucknow, Agra and other towns in the Punjab and the United Provinces a special wedding dress is worn by the bride, called rīt-kājorā, the “dress of custom.” It is worn on the wedding night only; and it is a rule that no scissors are employed in making it. The trouser string of this dress is not the usual kamarband, but is made of untwisted cotton thread called kalāwā. Out of doors Mahommedan women wear the būrkā, a long loose white garment entirely covering the head and body. It has two holes for the eyes. Mahommedan women pencil the eyes with kohl or sūrmā, use missi for the teeth and colour the palms and nails of the hand with henna. A nose-ring is a sign of marriage.
Hindus.—Caste does not influence dress amongst Hindus as much as might be expected. The garment distinctive of the Hindus of all castes, men and women, all over India, is the dhoti or loin cloth. It is a very ancient dress, and their gods are represented as clothed in it in old sculptures.
The general term used for clothing is kaprā, latā or lugā. Under Mahommedan influence Hindu clothing developed into “suits,” consisting of five pieces for men, hence called pancho tuk kapra—(1) head-dress, (2) dhoti, (3) coat, (4) chaddar or sheet, (5) bathing cloth; and three for women, hence called tīn tuk—(1) dhoti, (2) jacket, (3) shawl.
Men.—The Hindu (except the Rajput) shaves his head, leaving only a top-knot on the point of the skull. He shaves the face (except the eye-brows) and his body. The Rajput wears a full beard and whiskers, usually parted in the middle. He sometimes draws the beard and whiskers to the side of the head, and to keep it tidy wraps round it a cloth called dhātā or galmochā.
Head-dress.—Hindus wear sometimes turbans and sometimes caps. When the turban is worn it is always of the pagri form, never the amāmāh. Hindus wind the pagri in various ways as described for Mussulmans, but the angles are formed over the ears and not from front to back. Mahrattas wear flat red pagris, with a small conical peak variously shaped and placed. The pagri is known in different parts of India as pāg, phentā, phag, phagdi and many other names. In Bengal a sort of turban is worn which can be taken off like a hat. When Hindus wear caps or topis they resemble those worn by Mahommedans, but they never wear the fez, tārbūsh or irāni topi. In Gaya a peculiar cap made of tāl leaves is worn in rainy weather, called ghungā. Bengalis, whether Brahmans or of other castes, frequently go bareheaded.
Body Clothing.—The dhoti is a simple piece of cloth (cotton), generally white. It is wound round the loins, the end passed between the legs from front to back and tucked in at the waist behind (Plate II. fig. 2). The small form of dhoti worn by men of the lower class is called langoti. It does not fall below mid-thigh. A Brahman’s dhoti, as also that of some other castes, reaches to a little below the knee; a Rajput’s to his ankles. The dhoti is known under many names, dhutia, pitambar, lungi, &c. In some parts of India half the dhoti only is wound round the loins, the other half being thrown over the left shoulder. Some upper classes of Hindus wear for coat the kūrtā; most wear the angharkā (Plate II. fig. 1), a short angā reaching to the waist. It is also known as kamri, baktari, badan or bandi. Hindus wear the angharkhā or angā as Mahommedans do, but whereas the Mahommedan has the opening on the left the Hindu wears it on the right. When the kūrtā is worn it is worn under the angā. The chaddar (chadar or dopatta) is of various kinds. It is a piece of cotton cloth 3 yds. long by 1 yd. wide. It is worn across the shoulders, or wrapped round the body, but when bathing, round the loins. Hindus, both men and women, wear ear-rings.
The Brahminical thread (janeo) (Plate II. fig. 2) is a cord made of twisted cotton prepared with many ceremonies. It is worn over the left shoulder and hangs down to the right hip. It is of three strands till the wearer is married, when it becomes six or nine. It is 96 handbreadths in length, and is knotted. Rajputs also wear this thread, similar in make and length, but the knots are different.
Caste and sect marks also distinguish Hindus from each other.
Women.—The hair is sometimes worn plaited (chotì), usually an odd number of thin plaits made into one large one, falling down the back and fastened at the end with ribbons. Another style is wearing it in a knot after the ancient Grecian fashion; it is always worn smooth in front and parted in the middle. Over the head is worn the orhna or veil. The end is thrown over the left shoulder in such a manner as to conceal the breast. On the upper part of the body the kūrtā is sometimes worn. A bodice called angiyā is worn. This covers the breast and shoulder; it has half sleeves, is very short, and is fastened at the back with strings.
The skirt is called lhenga or ghagra. It is worn mostly in Rajputana hanging in full flounces to the knee or a little below. In Bengal, Madras and Bombay Presidencies women do not wear a skirt, only a choli and sārī. This last is a long piece of cotton or silk cloth. Half is draped round the waist and hangs to the feet in folds; the remainder is passed over the head and thrown over the left shoulder (Plate II. fig. 4).
Sikh.—The Sikh does not shave or cut his hair. The beard is parted in the middle and carried up each side of the face to the top of the head. A piece of cloth called dhātā or galmochā is wound round the chin and head so as to keep the hair clean and tidy. The hair of the head is tied into a knot (kes) at the top of the head or at the back, a distinguishing mark of the Sikh. His religion requires the Sikh to carry five articles—kes, the knot of hair on the head; the kanga, a comb; the kard, a knife; the kach, a pair of short trousers peculiar to the Sikh; and the kharā, an iron bangle on the wrist. It is de rigueur that he should carry some piece of iron on his person. His head-dress he calls a pāg; it is a turban of amāmāh shape but enormously large. The Sikh nobility and gentry wear two turbans, either both of pagri form or one of pagri and one of amāmāh form. Each is of a different colour.
The Sikh calls his kūrtā jhaggā; it is very large and loose, bound with a scarf round the waist. The kach is a sort of knickerbockers reaching to just below the knee, which they encircle tightly. Over all the Sikh wears the choga. In outlying villages he wears instead of the kūrtā a chādar or cloth, which he calls khes, on the upper part of his body. Some village Sikhs wear a tahband or waistcloth instead of the kach. Sikhs are fond of jewelry and wear ear-rings. The dress of Sikh women does not differ greatly from that of Hindu women; but in the Sirsa district and some other parts she wears the Mahommedan sutan or trousers, under the lhenga or skirt. There is a small sect of Sikh known as Akāli or Nihang. Their dress is entirely of dark blue colour, the turban being also blue, high and pointed; on it are fastened three steel quoits. The quoit was the ancient weapon of the Sikh, who calls it chakar. Certain steel blades are stuck through the body of the turban. The Akālis also wear large flat iron rings round the neck and arms (Plate II. fig. 6).
Parsis.—When the Parsis were first admitted into India, certain conditions were imposed upon them by the Hindus; among others they were not to eat beef, and they were to follow the Hindu custom of wearing a top-knot of hair. Old-fashioned Parsis in country districts still follow these customs. To uncover the head is looked upon as a sin; hence Parsis of both sexes always wear some head covering whether indoors or out. In the house the man wears a skull cap; out of doors the older Parsis wear the khoka, a tall hat, higher in front than at the back, made of a stiff shiny material, with a diaper pattern (Plate I. fig. 7). The younger generation adopted a round pith hat with a rolled edge of felt, but, under the influence of the swadeshi movement, they have generally reverted to the older form (Plate I. fig. 10). Next to the skin the Parsi wears a sadra or sacred shirt, with a girdle called kasti. Over the sadra a white cotton coat is worn, reaching to a little below the waist. The Parsi wears loose cotton trousers like a Mussulman. In country districts he wears a jāmā, and over the jāmā a pechodi or shoulder cloth. The young Parsi in Bombay has adopted European dress to a great extent, except as to head-gear. The Parsi woman dresses her hair in the old Greek fashion with a knot behind. She also wears a sadra or sacred shirt. Country Parsis in villages wear a tight-fitting sleeveless bodice, and trousers of coloured cloth. Over all she winds a silken sari or sheet round the body; it is then passed between the legs and the end thrown over the right shoulder. Out of doors she covers her head and right temple (Plate I. fig. 8). In towns the sari is not passed between the legs, but hangs in loose folds so as to hide the trousers. The upper classes wear a sleeved polka jacket instead of the bodice. Parsi children up to the age of seven wear cotton frocks called jabhlan. They wear long white trousers of early Victorian cut, with frills at the bottom. They wear a round cap like a smoking-cap. The little girls wear their hair flowing loose (Plate I. fig. 9).
Shoes.—There is no distinction between the shoes worn by Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs or Parsis, but Hindus will not wear them when made of cow’s leather. Shoes are called juta, juti or jute by Mahommedans, and jore or zore by Hindus. Shoes are usually distinguished by the name of the material, as nāri kā jūtā, leather shoes, banati jūtā, felt shoes, and so on.
There are innumerable styles of cut of shoe, three being the commonest: (1) Salimshahi, these are shaped like English slippers, but are pointed at the toe, terminating in a thin wisp turned back and fastened to the instep. They are mostly made of thin red leather, plain in the case of poorer people and richly embroidered in the case of rich people. This cut of shoe is most in vogue amongst Moslems. (2) Gol panjē ki jūti, like English slippers, but rounded at the toes. (3) Gheltā or nāgphani (snake’s head) jutā, the toe is turned up, while the back part is folded inwards and trodden under the heel. Ladies usually wear shoes of this fashion, known as phiri juti. Women’s shoes differ only in size and in being made of finer material, and in being embroidered. Hindu women seldom wear shoes. On the northern frontier the pattern known as the kafshi is worn; this is a slipper having neither sides nor back; the sole towards the heel is narrow and raised by a small iron-shod heel. In the hills shoes resembling sandals, called chaplis, made of wood, straw or grass are worn. The soles are very thick, and are secured with straps; there is generally a loop for the big toe. They are known as phulkārru in Kashmir, and pula in Kulu and Chamba.
Shoes are invariably removed on entering mosques or other holy places. It is also customary to remove them when entering a house. Orientals sit on the floor in preference to chairs; hence it is thought very necessary by them that the carpet should be kept clean, which could not be done were persons to keep their shoes on. While it would be considered a breach of good manners to enter a room with the shoes on, an exception has been made in favour of those natives who have adopted European boots or shoes. The babus of Bengal have taken to English-made shoes of patent leather worn over white socks or stockings.
Authorities.—The Indian section of the Victoria and Albert Museum (London) includes an exhibition of oriental dress; and the library of the India Office many prints and photographs. The following books may be consulted: Coloured Drawings illustrating the Manners and Customs of Natives of India (originally prepared by order of the marquess Wellesley, Governor-General; vide Council minute dated 16th August, 1866) (1 vol.); J. Forbes Watson and J. W. Kaye, The People of India; F. Baltazar Solvyns, Les Hindous (4 vols. illustrated, Paris, 1808); India Office Library, 3 small portfolios of pictures of Katch and Bombay men and women; Costume of Bala Ghat (Carnatic), S.E. India (large water-colours, India Office Library); Illustrations of various trades in Kashmir, by Indian artists (India Office Library); R. H. Thalbhoy, Portrait Gallery of Western India (1886) (chiefly portraits of Parsi notables); Edward Tuite Dalton, C.S.I., Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal (1 vol., 1872); Talboys Wheeler, History of the Imperial Assembly at Delhi, 1st January 1877; Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, 6th February 1887 (in Urdu, illustrated); T. H. Hendley, C.I.E., V.D., Rulers of India and Chiefs of Rajputana (London, 1897)—the last three are useful for the study of ceremonial dress; G. A. Grierson, Bihar Peasant Life (Calcutta, 1885; this is a most valuable work of learning and research; in division 2, subdivision 3, chapter 1, on clothes, will be found names and descriptions of every article of clothing used in south, central and eastern India); H. B. Baden-Powell, Handbook of Manufactures and Arts of the Punjab (Lahore, 1872); W. W. Hunter, Statistical Account of Bengal (1875); Hughes’ Dictionary of Islam (London, 1895); Sir Denzil Ibbetson, Outlines of Punjab Ethnography; E. Thurston, Castes and Tribes of Southern India. It is to be hoped that steps will shortly be taken to arrange articles of costume now displayed at the Indian Section, Victoria and Albert Museum, in some systematic order so as to assist students in arriving at a scientific knowledge of the subject.
- (C. G.)
Fig. 1.—Deccan Brahman wearing pagri, dhoti or pitamber, angā and dopatta.
Fig. 2.—Brahman wearing dhoti and janeo or sacred thread. This is the dining and sacrificial dress of most Hindus.
Fig. 3.—Rajput wearing chapkan, which is worn both by Mussulmans and Hindus, buttoning on different sides.
Fig. 4.—Hindu woman showing method of wearing the sari.
Fig. 5.—Bengali Babū wearing the most popular form of the embroidered cap.
Fig. 6.—Sikh devotee, Akali or Nihung, vowed to the wearing of blue and steel, &c.
From Pen and Ink Drawings by J. Lockwood Kipling, C.I.E.
- The spelling throughout all the articles dealing with India is that adopted by the government of India, modified in special instances with deference to long-established usage.
- The historicity of this convention, not now usually admitted by scholars, is maintained by Bishop Copleston of Calcutta in his Buddhism, Primitive and Present (1908).
- In 1909 the excavation of a ruined stupa near Peshawar disclosed a casket, with an inscription of Kanishka, and containing fragments of bones believed to be those of Buddha himself.
- In 1909 an inscription in Brahmi characters was discovered near Bhilsa in Central India recording the name of a Greek, Heliodorus. He describes himself as a worshipper of Bhagavata ( = Vishnu), and states that he had come from Taxila in the name of the great king Antialcidas, who is known from his coins to have lived c. 170 B.C.
- This is the conventional European form of the name. For other forms see Yue-Chi.
- V. A. Smith, Early Hist. of India, p. 238.
- Smith, op. cit. pp. 239, &c., says that he probably succeeded Kadphises II. about A.D. 120. Dr Fleet dates the beginning of Kanishka’s reign 58 B.C. (see Inscriptions: Indian). Mr Vincent Smith (Imp. Gaz. of India, The Indian Empire, ed. 1908, vol. ii. p. 289, note) dissents from this view, which is also held by Dr Otto Franke of Berlin, stating that Dr Stein’s discoveries in Chinese Turkestan “strongly confirm the view” held by himself.
- See V. A. Smith, op. cit. pp. 297, &c.
- His era, however, is dated from 606.
- So V. A. Smith, op. cit. p. 314, who on this point differs from Sylvain Levi and Ettinghausen.
- For Harsha’s reign see Smith, op. cit. xiii. 311-331.
- This has been Englished by Anglo-Indians into “puggaree” or “pugree” and applied to a scarf of white cotton or silk wound round a hat or helmet as a protection against the sun.
- Anglicized as “pyjamas” (in America “pajamas”), the term is used of a form of night-wear for men which has now generally superseded the night-shirt. This consists of a loose coat and trousers of silk, wool or other material; the trousers are fastened by a cord round the waist.