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COSTUME]
417
INDIA

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.)

Indian Costume

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