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Rambles and recollections of an Indian official!
Major-General Sir W. H. Sleeman, K.C.B.

I had a visit from my little friend the Sarīmant, and the conversation turned upon the causes and effects of the dreadful blight to which the wheat crops in the Nerbudda districts had of late years been subject.

He said that 'the people at first attributed this great calamity to an increase in the crime of adultery which had followed the introduction of our rule, and which', he said, 'was understood to follow it everywhere; that afterwards it was by most people attributed to our frequent measurement of the land, and inspection of fields, with a view to estimate their capabilities to pay; which the people considered a kind of incest, and which he himself, the Deity, can never tolerate.

'The land is', said he, 'considered as the mother of the prince or chief who holds it—the great parent from whom he derives all that maintains him—his family and his establishments. If well treated, she yields this in abundance to her son; but, if he presumes to look upon her with the eye of desire, she ceases to be fruitful; or the Deity sends down hail or blight to destroy all that she yields. The measuring the surface of the fields, and the frequent inspecting the crops by the chief himself, or by his immediate agents were considered by the people in this light; and, in consequence, he never ventured upon these things.

'They were', he thought, 'fully satisfied that we did it more with a view to distribute the burthen of taxation equally upon the people than to increase it collectively; still', he thought that, 'either we should not do it at all, or delegate the duty to inferior agents, whose close inspection of the great parent could not be so displeasing to the Deity.'[1]

Rām Chand Pundit said that 'there was no doubt much truth in what Sarīmant Sāhib had stated; that the crops of late had unquestionably suffered from the constant measuring going on upon the lands; but that the people (as he knew) had now become unanimous in attributing the calamities of season, under which these districts had been suffering so much, to the eating of beef- this was', he thought, 'the great source of all their sufferings.'

Sarīmant declared that he thought 'his Pundit was right, and that it would, no doubt, be of great advantage to them and to their rulers if Government could be prevailed upon to prohibit the eating of beef; that so great and general were the sufferings of the people from these calamities of seasons, and so firm, and now so general, the opinion that they arose chiefly from the practice of killing and eating cows that, in spite of all the other superior blessings of our rule, the people were almost beginning to wish their old Marāthā rulers in power again.'

I reminded him of the still greater calamities the people of Bundēlkhand had been suffering under.

'True,' said he, 'but among them there are crimes enough of everyday occurrence to account for these things; but, under your rule, the Deity has only one or other of these three things to be offended with; and, of these three, it must be admitted that the eating of beef so near the sacred stream of the Nerbudda is the worst.'

The blight of which we were speaking had, for several seasons from the year 1829, destroyed the greater part of the wheat crops over extensive districts along the line of the Nerbudda, and through Mālwā generally; and old people stated that they recollected two returns of this calamity at intervals from twenty to twenty-four years.

The pores, with which the stalks are abundantly supplied to admit of their readily taking up the aqueous particles that float in the air, seem to be more open in an easterly wind than in any other; and, when this wind prevails at the same time that the air is filled with the farina of the small parasitic fungus, whose depredations on the corn constitute what they call the rust, mildew, or blight, the particles penetrate into these pores, speedily sprout and spread their small roots into the cellular texture, where they intercept, and feed on, the sap in its ascent; and the grain in the ear, deprived of its nourishment, becomes shrivelled, and the whole crop is often not worth the reaping.[2]

It is at first of a light, beautiful orange-colour, and found chiefly upon the 'alsī' (linseed)[3] which it does not seem much to injure; but, about the end of February, the fungi ripen, and shed their seeds rapidly, and they are taken up by the wind, and carried over the corn-fields.

I have sometimes seen the air tinted of an orange colour for many days by the quantity of these seeds which it has contained; and that without the wheat crops suffering at all, when any but an easterly wind has prevailed; but, when the air is so charged with this farina, let but an easterly wind blow for twenty-four hours, and all the wheat crops under its influence are destroyed—nothing can save them.

The stalks and leaves become first of an orange colour from the light colour of the farina which adheres to them, but this changes to deep brown. All that part of the stalk that is exposed seems as if it had been pricked with needles, and had exuded blood from every puncture; and the grain in the ear withers in proportion to the number of fungi that intercept and feed upon its sap; but the parts of the stalks that are covered by the leaves remain entirely uninjured; and, when the leaves are drawn off from them, they form a beautiful contrast to the others, which have been exposed to the depredations of these parasitic plants.

Every pore, it is said, may contain from twenty to forty of these plants, and each plant may shed a hundred seeds,[4] so that a single shrub, infected with the disease, may disseminate it over the face of a whole district; for, in the warm month of March, when the wheat is attaining maturity, these plants ripen and shed their seeds in a week, and consequently increase with enormous rapidity, when they find plants with their pores open ready to receive and nourish them.

I went over a rich sheet of wheat cultivation in the district of Jubbulpore in January, 1836, which appeared to me devoted to inevitable destruction. It was intersected by slips and fields of 'alsī', which the cultivators often sow along the borders of their wheat-fields, which are exposed to the road, to prevent trespass.[5] All this 'alsī' had become of a beautiful light orange colour from these fungi; and the cultivators, who had had every field destroyed the year before by the same plant, surrounded my tent in despair, imploring me to tell them of some remedy.

I knew of none; but, as the 'alsī' is not a very valuable plant, I recommended them, as their only chance, to pull it all up by the roots, and fling it into large tanks that were everywhere to be found. They did so, and no 'alsī' was intentionally left in the district, for, like drowning men catching at a straw, they caught everywhere at the little gleam of hope that my suggestion seemed to offer.

Not a field of wheat was that season injured in the district of Jubbulpore; but I was soon satisfied that my suggestion had had nothing whatever to do with their escape, for not a single stalk of the wheat was, I believe, affected; while some stalks of the affected 'alsī' must have been left by accident. Besides, in several of the adjoining districts, where the 'alsī' remained in the ground, the wheat escaped.

I found that, about the time when the blight usually attacks the wheat, westerly winds prevailed, and that it never blew from the east for many hours together. The common belief among the natives was that the prevalence of an east wind was necessary to give full effect to the attack of this disease, though they none of them pretended to know anything of its modus operandi—indeed they considered the blight to be a demon, which was to be driven off only by prayers and sacrifices.

It is worthy of remark that hardly anything suffered from the attacks of these fungi but the wheat. The 'alsī', upon which it always first made its appearance, suffered something certainly, but not much, though the stems and leaves were covered with them. The gram (Cicer arietinum) suffered still less—indeed the grain in this plant often remained uninjured, while the stems and leaves were covered with the fungi, in the midst of fields of wheat that were entirely destroyed by ravages of the same kind.

None of the other pulses were injured, though situated in the same manner in the midst of the fields of wheat that were destroyed. I have seen rich fields of uninterrupted wheat cultivation for twenty miles by ten, in the valley of the Nerbudda, so entirely destroyed by this disease that the people would not go to the trouble of gathering one field in four, for the stalks and the leaves were so much injured that they were considered as unfit or unsafe for fodder; and during the same season its ravages were equally felt in the districts along the tablelands of the Vindhya range, north of the valley and, I believe, those upon the Sātpura range, south.

The last time I saw this blight was in March, 1832, in the Sāgar district, where its ravages were very great, but partial; and I kept bundles of the blighted wheat hanging up in my house, for the inspection of the curious, till the beginning of 1835.[6]

When I assumed charge of the district of Sāgar in 1831 the opinion among the farmers and landholders generally was that the calamities of season under which we had been suffering were attributable to the increase of adultery, arising, as they thought, from our indifference, as we seemed to treat it as a matter of little importance; whereas it had always been considered under former Governments as a case of life and death.

The husband or his friends waited till they caught the offending parties together in criminal correspondence, and then put them both to death; and the death of one pair generally acted, they thought, as a sedative upon the evil passions of a whole district for a year or two. Nothing can be more unsatisfactory than our laws for the punishment of adultery in India, where the Muhammadan criminal code has been followed, though the people subjected to it are not one-tenth Muhammadans.

This law was enacted by Muhammad on the occasion of his favourite wife Ayesha being found under very suspicious circumstances with another man. A special direction from heaven required that four witnesses should swear positively to the fact.

Ayesha and her paramour were, of course, acquitted, and the witnesses, being less than four, received the same punishment which would have been inflicted upon the criminals had the fact been proved by the direct testimony of the prescribed number—that is, eighty stripes of the 'korā', almost equal to a sentence of death. (See Korān, chap. 24, and chap. 4.)[7]

This became the law among all Muhammadans. Ayesha's father succeeded Muhammad, and Omar succeeded Abū Bakr.[8] Soon after his accession to the throne, Omar had to sit in judgement upon Mughīra, a companion of the prophet, the governor of Basrah,[9] who had been accidentally seen in an awkward position with a lady of rank by four men while they sat in an adjoining apartment. The door or window which concealed the criminal parties was flung open by the wind, at the time when they wished it most to remain closed. Three of the four men swore directly to the point. Mughīra was Omar's favourite, and had been appointed to the government by him, Zāid, the brother of one of the three who had sworn to the fact, hesitated to swear to the entire fact.

'I think', said Omar, 'that I see before me a man whom God would not make the means of disgracing one of the companions of the holy prophet.'

Zāid then described circumstantially the most unequivocal position that was, perhaps, ever described in a public court of justice; but, still hesitating to swear to the entire completion of the crime, the criminals were acquitted, and his brother and the two others received the punishment described. This decision of the Brutus of his age and country settled the law of evidence in these matters; and no Muhammadan judge would now give a verdict against any person charged with adultery, without the four witnesses to the entire fact.

No man hopes for a conviction for this crime in our courts; and, as he would have to drag his wife or paramour through no less than three—that of the police officer, the magistrate, and the judge—to seek it, he has recourse to poison, either secretly or with his wife's consent. She will commonly rather die than be turned out into the streets a degraded outcast. The seducer escapes with impunity, while his victim suffers all that human nature is capable of enduring.

Where husbands are in the habit of poisoning their guilty wives from the want of legal means of redress, they will sometimes poison those who are suspected upon insufficient grounds. No magistrate ever hopes to get a conviction in the judge's court, if he commits a criminal for trial on this charge (under Regulation 17 of 1817), and, therefore, he never does commit. Regulation 7 of 1819 authorizes a magistrate to punish any person convicted of enticing away a wife or unmarried daughter for another's use; and an indignant functionary may sometimes feel disposed to stretch a point that the guilty man may not altogether escape.[10]

Redress for these wrongs is never sought in our courts, because they can never hope to get it. But it is a great mistake to suppose that the people of India want a heavier punishment for the crime than we are disposed to inflict—all they want is a fair chance of conviction upon such reasonable proof as cases of this nature admit of, and such a measure of punishment as shall make it appear that their rulers think the crime a serious one, and that they are disposed to protect them from it.

Sometimes the poorest man would refuse pecuniary compensation; but generally husbands of the poorer classes would be glad to get what the heads of their caste or circle of society might consider the expenses of a second marriage. They do not dare to live in adultery, they would be outcasts if they did; they must be married according to the forms of their caste, and it is reasonable that the seducer of the wife should be obliged to defray the coats of the injured husband's second marriage.

The rich will, of course, always refuse such a compensation, but a law declaring the man convicted of this crime liable to imprisonment in irons at hard labour for two years, but entitled to his discharge within that time on an application from the injured husband or father, would be extremely popular throughout India. The poor man would make the application when assured of the sum which the elders of his caste consider sufficient; and they would take into consideration the means of the offender to pay. The woman is sufficiently punished by her degraded condition. The fatwa of a Muhammadan law officer should be dispensed with in such cases.[11]

In 1832 the people began to search for other causes [scilicet, of bad seasons]. The frequent measurements of the land, with a view to equalize the assessments, were thought of; even the operations of the Trigonometrical Survey,[12] which were then making a great noise in Central India, where their fires were seen every night burning upon the peaks of the highest ranges, were supposed to have had some share in exasperating the Deity; and the services of the most holy Brahmans were put in requisition to exorcise the peaks from which the engineers had taken their angles, the moment their instruments were removed.

In many places, to the great annoyance and consternation of the engineers, the landmarks which they had left to enable them to correct their work as they advanced, were found to have been removed during their short intervals of absence, and they were obliged to do their work over again.

The priests encouraged the disposition on the part of the peasantry to believe that men who required to do their work by the aid of fires lighted in the dead of the night upon high places, and work which no one but themselves seemed able to comprehend, must hold communion with supernatural beings, a communion which they thought might be displeasing to the Deity.

At last, in the year 1833, a very holy Brahman, who lived in his cloister near the iron suspension bridge over the Biās river, ten miles from Sāgar, sat down with a determination to wrestle with the Deity till he should be compelled to reveal to him the real cause of all these calamities of season under which the people were groaning.[l3]

After three days and nights of fasting and prayer, he saw a vision which stood before him in a white mantle, and told him that all these calamities arose from the slaughter of cows; and that under former Governments this practice had been strictly prohibited, and the returns of the harvest had, in consequence, been always abundant, and subsistence cheap, in spite of invasion from without, insurrection within, and a good deal of misrule and oppression on the part of the local government.

The holy man was enjoined by the vision to make this revelation known to the constituted authorities, and to persuade the people generally throughout the district to join in the petition for the prohibition of beef-eating throughout our Nerbudda territories. He got a good many of the most respectable of the landholders around him, and explained the wishes of the vision of the preceding night. A petition was soon drawn up and signed by many hundreds of the most respectable people in the district, and presented to the Governor-General's representative in these parts, Mr. F. C. Smith.

Others were presented to the civil authorities of the district, and all stating in the most respectful terms how sensible the people were of the inestimable benefits of our rule, and how grateful they all felt for the protection to life and property, and to the free employment of all their advantages, which they had under it; and for the frequent and large reduction in the assessments, and remission in the demand, on account of calamities of seasons.

These, they stated, were all that Government could do to relieve a suffering people, but they had all proved unavailing; and yet, under this truly paternal rule, the people were suffering more than under any former Government in its worst period of misrule—the hand of an incensed God was upon them; and, as they had now, at last after many fruitless attempts, discovered the real cause of this anger of the Deity, they trusted that we would listen to their prayers, and restore plenty and all its blessings to the country by prohibiting the eating of beef.

All these dreadful evils had, they said, unquestionably originated in the (Sadr Bāzār) great market of the cantonments, where, for the first time, within one hundred miles of the sacred stream of the Nerbudda, men had purchased and eaten cows' flesh.

These people were all much attached to us and to our rule, and were many of them on the most intimate terms of social intercourse with us; and, at the time they signed this petition, were entirely satisfied that they had discovered the real cause of all their sufferings, and impressed with the idea that we should be convinced, and grant their prayers.[l4]

The day is past. Beef continued to be eaten with undiminished appetite, the blight, nevertheless, disappeared, and every other sign of vengeance from above; and the people are now, I believe, satisfied that they were mistaken. They still think that the lands do not yield so many returns of the seed under us as under former rulers; that they have lost some of the barkat (blessings) which they enjoyed under them—they know not why.

The fact is that under us the lands do not enjoy the salutary fallows which frequent invasions and civil wars used to cause under former Governments. Those who survived such civil wars and invasions got better returns for their seed.

During the discussion of the question with the people, I had one day a conversation with the Sadr Amīn, or head native judicial officer, whom I have already mentioned. He told me that 'there could be no doubt of the truth of the conclusion to which the people had at length come.

'There are', he said, 'some countries in which punishments follow crimes after long intervals, and, indeed, do not take place till some future birth; in others, they follow crimes immediately; and such is the country bordering the stream of Mother Nerbudda. This', said he, 'is a stream more holy than that of the great Ganges herself, since no man is supposed to derive any benefit from that stream unless he either bathe in it or drink from it; but the sight of the Nerbudda from a distant hill could bless him, and purify him.

'In other countries, the slaughter of cows and bullocks might not be punished for ages; and the harvest, in such countries, might continue good through many successive generations under such enormities; indeed, he was not quite sure that there might not be countries in which no punishment at all would inevitably follow; but, so near the Nerbudda, this could not be the case.[l5]

'Providence could never suffer beef to be eaten so near her sacred majesty without visiting the crops with blight, hail, or some other calamity, and the people with cholera morbus, small-pox, and other great pestilences. As for himself, he should never be persuaded that all these afflictions did not arise wholly and solely from this dreadful habit of eating beef. I declare', concluded he, 'that if the Government would but consent to prohibit the eating of beef, it might levy from the lands three times the revenue that they now pay.'

The great festival of the Holī, the Saturnalia of India, terminates on the last day of Phālgun, or 16th of March.[16] On that day the Holī is burned; and on that day the ravages of the monster (for monster they will have it to be) are supposed to cease.

Any field that has remained untouched up to that time is considered to be quite secure from the moment the Holī has been committed to the flames. What gave rise to the notion I have never been able to discover, but such is the general belief. I suppose the siliceous epidermis must then have become too hard, and the pores in the stem too much closed up to admit of the further depredation of the fungi.

In the latter end of 1831, while I was at Sāgar, a cowherd in driving his cattle to water at a reach of the Biās river, called the Nardhardhār, near the little village of Jasrathī, was reported to have seen a vision that told him the waters of that reach, taken up and conveyed to the fields in pitchers, would effectually keep off the blight from the wheat, provided the pitchers were not suffered to touch the ground on the way.

On reaching the field, a small hole was to be made in the bottom of the pitcher, so as to keep up a small but steady stream, as the bearer carried it round the borders of the field, that the water might fall in a complete ring, except at a small opening—which was to be kept dry, in order that the monster or demon blight might make his escape through it, not being able to cross over any part watered by the holy stream. The waters Of the Bias river generally are not supposed to have any peculiar virtues.

The report of this vision spread rapidly over the country; and the people who had been suffering under so many seasons of great calamity were anxious to try anything that promised the slightest chance of relief. Every cultivator of the district prepared pots for the conveyance of the water, with tripods to support them while they rested on the road, that they might not touch the ground. The spot pointed out for taking the water was immediately under a fine large pīpal- tree[l7] which had fallen into the river, and on each bank was seated a Bairāgī, or priest of Vishnu.

The blight began to manifest itself in the alsī (linseed) in January, 1832, but the wheat is never considered to be in danger till late in February, when it is nearly ripe; and during that month and the following the banks of the river were crowded with people in search of the water. Some of the people came more than one hundred miles to fetch it, and all seemed quite sure that the holy water would save them. Each person gave the Bairāgī priest of his own side of the river two half-pence (copper pice), two pice weight of ghī (clarified butter), and two pounds of flour, before he filled his pitcher, to secure his blessings from it. These priests were strangers, and the offerings were entirely voluntary.

The roads from this reach of the Bias river, up to the capital of the Orchhā Rājā, more than a hundred miles, were literally lined with these water-carriers; and I estimated the number of persons who passed with the water every day for six weeks at ten thousand a day.[18] After they had ceased to take the water, the banks were long crowded with people who flocked to see the place where priests and waters had worked such miracles, and to try and discover the source whence the water derived its virtues.

It was remarked by some that the pīpal-tree, which had fallen from the bank above many years before, had still continued to throw out the richest foliage from the branches above the surface of the water. Others declared that they saw a monkey on the bank near the spot, which no sooner perceived it was observed than it plunged into the stream and disappeared. Others again saw some flights of steps under the water, indicating that it had in days of yore been the site of a temple, whose god, no doubt, gave to the waters the wonderful virtues it had been found to possess.

The priests would say nothing but that 'it was the work of God, and, like all his works, beyond the reach of man's understanding.' They made their fortunes, and got up the vision and miracle, no doubt, for that especial purpose.[l9] As to the effect, I was told by hundreds of farmers who had tried the waters that, though it had not anywhere kept the blight entirely off from the wheat, it was found that the fields which had not the advantages of water were entirely destroyed; and, where the pot had been taken all round the field without leaving any dry opening for the demon to escape through, it was almost as bad; but, when a small opening had been left, and the water carefully dropped around the field elsewhere, the crops had been very little injured; which showed clearly the efficacy of the water, when all the ceremonies and observances prescribed by the vision had been attended to.

I could never find the cowherd who was said to have seen this vision, and, in speaking to my old friend, the Sadr Amīn, learned in the shāstras,[20] on the subject, I told him that we had a short saying that would explain all this: 'A drowning man catches at a straw.'

'Yes,' said he, without any hesitation, 'and we have another just as good for the occasion: "Sheep will follow each other, though it should be into a well".'


1. We are told in 2 Samuel, chap. xxiv, that the Deity was displeased at a census of the people, taken by Joab by the order of David, and destroyed of the people of Israel seventy thousand, besides women and children. [W. H. S.] The editor, in the course of seven years' experience in the Settlement department, six of which were agent in Bundēlkhand, never heard of the doctrine as to the incestuous character of surveys. Probably it had died out. Even a census no longer gives rise to alarm in most parts of the country. The wild rumours and theories common in 1872 and 1881 did not prevail when the census of 1891 was taken, or during subsequent operations.

2. This theory is, of course, erroneous.

3. The flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) is grown in India solely for the sake of the linseed. Linen is never made, and the stalk of the plant, as ordinarily grown, is too short for the manufacture of fibre. The attempts to introduce flax manufacture into India, though not ultimately successful, have proved that good flax can be made in the country, from Riga seed. Indian linseed is very largely exported. (Article 'Flax' in Balfour, Cyclopaedia, 3rd ed.)

4. Spores is the more accurate word.

5. That is to say, cattle-trespass. Cattle do not care to eat the green flax plant. The fields are not fenced.

6. The rust, or blight, described in the text probably was a species of Unedo. The gram, or chick-pea, and various kinds of pea and vetch are grown intermixed with the wheat. They ripen earlier, and are plucked up by the roots before the wheat is cut.

7. Chap. 4 of the Korān is entitled 'Women', and chap. 24 is entitled 'Light'. The story of Ayesha's misadventure is given in Sale's notes to chap. 24.

8. Muhammad died A.D. 632. Abū Bakr succeeded him, and after a khalīfate of only two years, was succeeded by Omar, who was assassinated in the twelfth year of his reign.

9. Basrah (Bassorah, Bussorah) in the province of Baghdad, on the Shatt-ul-Arab, or combined stream of the Tigris and Euphrates, was founded by the Khalīf Omar.

10. In the author's time the Muhammadan criminal law was applied to the whole population by Anglo-Indian judges, assisted by Muhammadan legal assessors, who gave rulings called fatwas on legal points. The Penal Code enacted in 1859 swept away the whole jungle of Regulations and fatwas, and established a scientific System of criminal jurisprudence, which bas remained substantially unchanged to this day. Adultery is punishable under the Code by the Court of Session, but prosecutions for this offence are very rare.

Enticing away a married woman is also defined as an offence, and is punishable by a magistrate. Complaints under this head are extremely numerous, and mostly false. Secret and unpunished murders of women undoubtedly are common, and often reported as deaths from snake-bite or cholera. An aggrieved husband frequently tries to save his honour, and at the same time satisfy his vengeance, by tromping up a false charge of burglary against the suspected paramour, who generally replies by an equally false alibi.

11. A prosecution under the Penal Code for adultery can be instituted only by the husband, or the guardian representing him, and the woman is not punishable. Although the Muhammadan law of evidence has been got rid of, the Anglo-Indian courts are still unsuitable for the prosecution of adultery cases, especially where Indians are concerned.

The English courts, though they do not require any specified number of witnesses, demand strict proof given in open court, and no Indian, whose honour has really been touched, cares to expose his domestic troubles to be wrangled over by lawyers. Many officers, including the editor, would be glad to see the section which renders adultery penal struck out of the Code. The matrimonial delinquencies of Indians are better dealt with by the caste organizations, and those of Europeans by civil action.

12. The Trigonometrical Survey, originated by Colonel Lambton, was begun at Cape Comōrin in 1800. It is now almost, if not quite, complete, except in Burma. See Markham, A Memoir of the Indian Surveys (2nd ed., 1878). The stations are marked by masonry pillars, for the partial repair of which a small sum is annually allotted.

13. Hindoos believe that holy men, by means of great austerities, can attain power to compel the gods to do their bidding.

14. For some account of the modern agitation against cow-killing. See note ante, Chapter 26, note 6.

15. On the sacredness of the Nerbudda see note ante, Chapter 1, note 13.

16. The Holī festival marks approximately the time of the vernal equinox, ten days before the full moon of the Hindoo month Phālgun. The day of the bonfire does not always fall on the 16th of March. It is not considered lucky to begin harvest till the Holī has been burnt. Mr. Crooke holds that 'on the whole, there seems to be some reason to believe that the intention to promote the fertility of men, animals, and crops, supplies the basis of the rites' ('The Holī, a Vernal Festival of the Hindus', Folklore, vol. xxv (1914), p. 83). I agree.

17. The pīpal-tree (Ficus religiosa, Linn.; Urostigma religiosum, Gasp.) is sacred to Vishnu, and universally venerated throughout India.

18. About four hundred thousand persons.

19. Two pice x 400,000 = 800,000 pice, = 200,000 annas, = 12,500 rupees. Even if the author's estimate of the numbers be much too large, the pecuniary result must have been handsome, not to mention the butter and flour.

20. Hindoo sacred books.

The book




1893 1915




Annual Fairs held on the Banks of Sacred Streams in India


Hindoo System of Religion


Legend of the Nerbudda River


A Suttee on the Nerbudda


Marriages of Trees—The Tank and the Plantain—Meteors—Rainbows


Hindoo Marriages


The Purveyance System


Religious Sects—Self-government of the Castes—Chimneysweepers—Washerwomen —Elephant Drivers


The Great Iconoclast—Troops routed by Hornets—The Rānī of Garhā—Hornets' Nests in India


The Peasantry and the Land Settlement




The Silver Tree, or 'Kalpa Briksha'—The 'Singhāra', or Trapa bispinosa, and the Guinea-Worm


Thugs and Poisoners


Basaltic Cappings of the Sandstone Hills of Central India—Suspension Bridge—Prospects of the Nerbudda Valley—Deification of a Mortal


Legend of the Sāgar Lake—Paralysis from eating the Grain of the Lathyrus sativus


Suttee Tombs—Insalubrity of deserted Fortresses


Basaltic Cappings—Interview with a Native Chief—A Singular Character


Birds' Nests—Sports of Boyhood


Feeding Pilgrims—Marriage of a Stone with a Shrub


The Men-Tigers


Burning of Deorī by a Freebooter—A Suttee


Interview with the Rājā who marries the Stone to the Shrub—Order of the Moon and the Fish


The Rājā of Orchhā—Murder of his many Ministers


Corn Dealers—Scarcities—Famines in India


Epidemic Diseases—Scape-goat


Artificial Lakes in Bundēlkhand-Hindoo, Greek, and Roman Faith




Pestle-and-Mortar Sugar-Mills—Washing away of the Soil


Interview with the Chiefs of Jhānsī—Disputed Succession


Haunted Villages


Interview with the Rājā of Datiyā—Fiscal Errors of Statesmen—Thieves and Robbers by Profession


Sporting at Datiyā—Fidelity of Followers to their Chiefs in India—Law of Primogeniture wanting among Muhammadans




The Suicide-Relations between Parents and Children in India


Gwālior Plain once the Bed of a Lake—Tameness of Peacocks


Gwālior and its Government


Contest for Empire between the Sons of Shah Jahān


Aurangzēb and Murād Defeat their Father's Army near Ujain


Dārā Marches in Person against his Brothers, and is Defeated


Dārā Retreats towards Lahore—Is robbed by the Jāts—Their Character


Shāh Jahān Imprisoned by his Two Sons, Aurangzēb and Murād


Aurangzēb Throws off the Mask, Imprisons his Brother Murād, and Assumes the Government of the Empire


Aurangzēb Meets Shujā in Bengal, and Defeats him, after Pursuing Dārā to the Hyphasis


Aurangzēb Imprisons his Eldest Son—Shujā and all his Family are Destroyed


Second Defeat and Death of Dārā, and Imprisonment of his Two Sons


Death and Character of Amīr Jumla


Reflections on the Preceding History


The Great Diamond of Kohinūr


Pindhārī System—Character of the Marāthā Administration—Cause of their Dislike to the Paramount Power


Dhōlpur, Capital of the Jāt Chiefs of Gohad—Consequence of Obstacles to the Prosecution of Robbers


Influence of Electricity on Vegetation—Agra and its Buildings


Nūr Jahān, the Aunt of the Empress Nūr Mahal, over whose Remains the Tāj is built


Father Gregory's Notion of the Impediments to Conversion in India—Inability of Europeans to speak Eastern Languages


Fathpur-Sīkrī—The Emperor Akbar's Pilgrimage—Birth of Jahāngīr


Bharatpur—Dīg—Want of Employment for the Military and the Educated Classes under the Company's Rule


Govardhan, the Scene of Kriahna's Dalliance with the Milkmaids




Declining Fertility of the Soil—Popular Notion of the Cause


Concentration of Capital and its Effects


Transit Duties in India—Mode of Collecting them


Peasantry of India attached to no existing Government—Want of Trees in Upper India—Cause and Consequence—Wells and Groves


Public Spirit of the Hindoos—Tree Cultivation and Suggestions for extending it


Cities and Towns, formed by Public Establishments, disappear as Sovereigns and Governors change their Abodes


Murder of Mr. Fraser, and Execution of the Nawāb Shams-ud- dīn


Marriage of a Jāt Chief


Collegiate Endowment of Muhammadan Tombs and Mosques


The Old City of Delhi


New Delhi, or Shāhjahānābād


Indian Police—Its Defects—and their Cause and Remedy


Rent-free Tenures—Right of Government to Resume such Grants


The Station of Meerut—'Atālīs' who Dance and Sing gratuitously for the Benefit of the Poor


Subdivisions of Lands—Want of Gradations of Rank—Taxes


Meerut-Anglo-Indian Society


Pilgrims of India


The Bēgam Sumroo



Abolition of Corporal Punishment—Increase of Pay with Length of Service—Promotion by Seniority


Invalid Establishment


Thuggee and the part taken in its Suppression by General Sir W. H. Sleeman, K.C.B., by Captain J. L. Sleeman

Supplementary Note by the Editor

Additions and Corrections

Maps Showing Author's Route


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