Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/206

This page needs to be proofread.

202 THE CONSOLIDATION OF BRITISH INDIA. impetuous bravery of the little Gurkhas, whose heavy knives or kukris dealt terrible execution. But, in the cold weather of 1 8 1 4, General Ochterlony, who advanced 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 darbdr to sue for peace. In the following year, 18 15, the same general made his brilliant march from Patna into the lofty valley of Khatmandu, 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 south-east from Sikkim; and on the south-west, from their advanced posts in the outer ranges of the Himalayas, which have supplied to the English the health-giving stations of Naini Tal, Mussooree, and Simla. The Pindaris, 1804-1817. — Meanwhile the condition of Central India was every year becoming more unsatisfactory. The great Maratha Chiefs had learned to live as princes rather than as predatory leaders. But their old example of lawless- ness was being followed by a new set of freebooters, known as the Pindarfs. As opposed to the Marathas, who were at least a Hindu nationality bound by traditions of confederate govern- ment, the Pindarfs were merely plundering bands, corresponding to the free companies of mediaeval Europe. Of no common race, and without any common religion, they welcomed to their ranks the outlaws and broken tribes of all India — Afghans, Marathas, or Jats. They represented the debris of the Mughal Empire, the broken men who had not been incorporated by the Muhammadan or the Hindu powers which sprang out of its ruins. For a time, indeed, it seemed as if the inheritance of the Mughal might pass to these armies of banditti. In Bengal, similar hordes had formed themselves out of the disbanded Muhammadan troops and the Hindu predatory castes. But they had been dispersed under the vigorous rule of Warren Hastings. In Central India, the evil lasted longer, attained a greater scale, and was only stamped out by a regular war. Pindari War, 1817. — The Pindari headquarters were in Malwa, but their depredations were not confined to Central