(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

IX
SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS
161
small, began to receive from the Finance Department a paper setting forth the exact amount of land tax he had to pay, and discovered that, having paid it, he was quit of all the time-honoured forms of exaction. No less genuine was his appreciation of the next great boon conferred upon him by the readjustment of the land tax, which put an end to its most glaring inequalities and completed the transformation of all the conditions of agricultural life.
Yet what* happened during the war when British supervision was relaxed or proved inadequate shows how quickly the old evils would revive if the fellah were left once more to the tender mercies of the petty village tyrants and local authorities. For he has remained in many ways and with rare exceptions the same totally illiterate peasant that he was, working during the critical seasons of the agricultural year as hard and with as thorough an understanding of his business as any other peasant in the world—the Chinaman himself perhaps not excepted—but otherwise abysmally ignorant and with no interests outside his village and the price of land and its produce. He has, on the whole, prospered exceedingly, but prosperity has only very superficially affected his outlook on life. The Egyptian village is still mostly a dingy collection of mud hovels, though with a larger sprinkling of two-storied houses built of sun-dried bricks. The brass pots and pans and other household furniture are more numerous and of better quality. Holiday clothes are more gaudy, gold and silver bangles and other ornaments are more abundant, and European shoes and stockings are a favourite form of extravagance. More money is spent on marriage festivals and such-like occasions of popular merrymaking. But he has only just begun to awaken even to the deplorably insanitary conditions in which he and his forebears have lived from times immemorial.
A recent report by Dr. Balfour's Commission on the future   work  and   organisation  of  the   Public  Health
Mars of the Occupation their, at first, almost incredulous joy when each landowner, howeversly  and  promptly  expended