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Full text of "Pictures of Indian life"




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PICTURES of INDIAN LIFE 

By 

SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

WITH 
A LIFE SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR 



FOREWORD BY 

Dr. Sir. RASH BEHARY GHOSE 

K.T. C.S.I. CLE., D.L., etc , 



GANESH & CO., MADRAS 






%* 







CONTENTS 

Page. 

Publishers' Note v 

Foreword vii 

Life Sketch 

The Great King on his throne 

The Baboo 

Suttee in India 

April, May and June 

One of the last Kings of Bengal 

A Story of Patriotism in Bengal 

Brahmin and a Plebian 

An Orthodox Ghost Story 

The Story of a Lunatic 

The Railway Platform 

Behari Sardar 

The Perpectual Slavery of India 

""Military Examination 

Asia the Chosen Place of God 

The Lessons to be learned from wild 
Dogs ... 225 

The Great Inventor of a Nation ... 232 



1 

43 
48 

55 
62 

67 

72 

81 

86 

99 
108 

ii5 

157 
211 

218 



IV 



1 ! 



Pelting of Stoni- I > dhi 

The Agricultural S larshi[ ... 2 

The Deterioration Indiai ... 256 



PUBLISHERS' NOTE 

This is a collection of the Life and 
select writings of Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose 
the founder of the Amrita Bazar Patrika. The 
biography of Shishir Kumar should itself prove a 
mine of Indian political information and contains 
a full account of the Indian Administration and 
the reforms introduced by Lords Northbrook.Lytton, 
Ripon, Duflerin and others ; and when one such 
comes to be written the world will see how this 
great man was able to influence all these high 
officials and thereby contributed his share to the 
building of the Indian Nation. The essays and 
anecdotes included in this volume are written on 
every conceivable subject and his political writings 
are so exhaustive and of such perennial interest 
that they are always a source of inspiration and 
guidance. A peculiar vein of humour and origi- 
nality runs through his writings and combined 
■"Wiliffreshness and vigour they are of enduring 
value. Mr. W. 8. Caine, that great friend of India, 
says "J fyeartily commend to every cultured and 
earnest Indian, to every Christian Missionary and 
also to every European who cares to look beneath the 



VI 

surface of Indian life and thought the articles from 
the 'pen of Shishir Kumar Ghose which will be ren- 
dered doubly interesting by the careful perusal." 

These articles originally appeared in the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika before the year 1898. In 
view of the permanent value of these literary gems 
and as a token of the Publishers' reverential 
admiration and tribute, this volume is presented to 
the public so that the rising generation may reap 
the benefit of them. In conclusion the Publishers 
are highly indebted to the Proprietors of the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika for having allowed them to 
present the book in this form. 



FOREWORD 

The author of these Pictures of Indian Life 
Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose was in many ways a 
most distinguished man — distinguished by quali- 
ties of mind and still more distinguished by quali- 
ties of soul. The story of the founding of the Amrita 
Bazar Patrika and the brilliant success it achieved 
under his editorship need not be repeated for it 
has passed into history. I will only say that no 
Indian newspaper was more eagerly read by the 
public or more disliked in official circles than the 
Patrika. Its articles were always full of humour 
and sparkled with wit. 

A fearless champion of the rights of his 
countrymen Babu Shishir Kumar engaged himself 
in the establishment of the Indian League— a body 
which in its time did very useful work and paved 
the way tor the present National movement. 
Politics however did not absorb all his energies. 
To borrow Disraeli's words, he affected the mind 
of his generation not in one way but in various 
dilutions. He was a man of intense spiritual 
fervour and his religious works which have 
enjoyed a wide circulation, show him perhaps at 
his best. Of Babu Shishir Kumar it may be truly 



Vlll 

said that he broke no promise, served no private 
end, gained no title and lost no friends. 

The writings of such a man deserve to be 
made known all over India and I commend the 
following- pages to my countrymen in the confi- 
dent hope that they will derive both profit and 
pleasure from them. 

Calcutta,") 
17-12-17. J RASH BEHARY GHOSE 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE. 

Ah, when shall all mew's good 
Be each man's rule, and universal peace- 
Lie like a lane of beams athwart the sea, 
Thro' all the circle of the -golden year? 

Tennyson. 
To write a history of the life of Babu Shishir 
Kumar Ghose within the small compass of a few 
pages is simply like playing 1 with an edged tool. 
This great man's life was so eventful and pregnant 
with so many activities for the good of his race 
and of mankind that it is not possible for us to give 
our readers more than a mere glimpse into his 
career. Several characteristic features governed 
his whole earthly career. They were world patrio- 
tism, complete self-effacement, unquenchable thirst 
for the love of God and firm conviction in the 
eternity of man's life. Two men were born in the 
early days of the present century that bore a 
■pc<£uiiaf resemblance to each other, — Babu Shishir 
Kumar Ghose of Bengal and Mr. William T. Stead 
of England. Both were princes of journalists, both 
were great philanthropists, and both high thinkers 
and noble spiritualists of the age. 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

• 

Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose was born in the 
year 1842 in the village of Magura (now Amrita- 
bazar), in the district of Jessore. He was the third 
of the eight sons of Babu Harinarayan Ghose, the 
leader of the local Bar. Shishir Babu s eldest 
brother was Basanta Kumar, who was a precoci- 
ous youth and latterly, an absorbent philosopher 
and strong moralist from whom the former derived 
no small inspiration. Shishir Babu was a genius 
a ready and original wit, a splendid debater and 
a man of towering intellect. He attained to a 
position, which was and still is an object of envy 
to most of his countrymen. Mr. W. S. Caine M. P., 
a devoted friend of India, wrote in 1897 in his 
short sketch of Mr. Ghose's life : — 

" In his youth, Shishir Kumar Ghose had few 
of the advantages now possessed by young 
Indians. His education was local and elementary; 
and he owes entirely to himself and his extra- 
ordinary energy of character, all the intellectual 
culture he possesses. One of his own favourite 
sayings is, "time is the best gift of God to man", 
and he has always lived up to this principle. 
From his earliest youth, he has utilised every spare 
moment, which he has seized in passing* to "pi " ir 
into his own service, for the improvement of his 
mind, or to add to that marvellous store of know- 
ledge concerning India and her people, which is 
the wonder of his friends". 

2 



LIFE SKETCH 

After receiving the rudiments of education at 
the village school, Shishir Kumar came to Cal- 
cutta. Here he was admitted to the Hare School 
and passed his Entrance examination with great 
credit standing fourth in the general list and 
obtained a scholarship. 

The early days of Shishir Kumar were spent 
in the development of physical power. While 
yet a boy, he proved himself an expert in climbing 
trees, in riding, running, fencing, swimming and 
gymnastic exercises. Here is a story illustrating 
his great energy and wonderful physical power. 
In his native village there was a reservoir, called 
"Bhola-pukur'' — a large sheet of water, which few, 
if any, villagers would venture to swim across. 
Shishir was asked to do this, and he did it more 
than creditably. Indeed, he swam across the tank 
about fifty times and for some three hours' run- 
ning, to the great pleasure and admiration of his 
friends and obtained a prize from the Magistrate 
of the district. 

At a very tender age, too, Shishir Kumar 
cultivated the art of music. He was not only 
successful in his efforts but published a book called 
'S'a'ngit Shastra". Latterly, he brought his know- 
ledge to perfection and became an excellent 
musician, both vocal and instrumental. 

At the time when Shishir was a boy, Brah- 
moism was making serious inroads upon 

3 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

Hinduism in Bengal. As a man of an intensely 
religious turn of mind, he at once adopted that 
religion, while still a youth. But in the latter 
part of his life, his views underwent a change and 
he became the shining light — the life and soul — 
of Baishnavism. He was a man of strong princi- 
ples ; and in the teeth of great opposition and 
despite all threats of excommunication, he gave 
his sister in marriage to a gentleman belonging to 
a different sect of Kayasthas. So, it was he who 
took the first step to combat the present-day social 
evils. Subsequently, he became an ardent votary 
of spiritualism and a sincere admirer and follower 
of "Sri Gauranga", — the Prophet of Naaia. Every- 
one in Bengal is well aware that it was Shishir 
Kumar who turned the tide of popular belief in 
favour of the noble teachings of this the latest 
Prophet and re-established the claims of "Bhakti- 
yoga." 

From his verv bovhood Shishir Kumar was a 
lover of humanity. In conjunction with his 
brothers he inaugurated an association called 
"Bhratri-Samaj." the chief aim of which was to 
raise subscriptions to defray the expenses of a 
dispensary and hospital, which they hao." c&a. 
blished in their native village. Indeed, his idea 
was to make his village a model one in every 
respect, to cultivate self-help, co-operation and 
brotherhood amongst the villagers. And in loving 

4 



LIFE SKETCH 

memory of his mother, he changed the name of his 
village to Amrita Bazar after the name of his 
mother " Amritamoyee." With indefatigable 
efforts, the brothers headed by Shishir Kumar also 
founded some Brahmo churches, girls schools, 
night schools for cultivators, as also a high 
English school and a post office- So greatly 
imbued were the brothers with humanitarian 
principles that careless of catching the contagion 
during epidemics of cholera, they would, under 
his leadership, go about in the village with supplies 
of medicines and thus greatly help — in lowering 
the rate of mortality. For all this, Babu Shishir 
Kumar was highly eulogised in several official 
reports of Mr. James Munro, the then Collector of 
Jessore, who was a great friend of Shishir Kumar 
and often visited the village to watch its onward 
progress. Indeed, so struck was Mr. Munro by 
the growing importance of the village, that he at 
one time agreed with Babu Shishir Kumar, when 
requested by him to remove the headquarters of 
the district to that village. 

The journalistic career of Shishir Babu com- 
menced in the small village of Magura. He was 
» L-isax^l^eighteen years old when he contributed a 
series of articles to the "Hindu Patriot" protesting 
against the oppression of ryots by the all-powerful 
indigo planters. These letters created great sensa- 
tion among the local authorities. Mr. Molony, the 

5 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

District Magistrate -of Jessore, threatened to 
prosecute him if he did not cease writing. But he 
continued his mission undauntedly, and so great 
was his desire for serving his motherland, that at 
last, he was able to liberate the helpless ryots from 
the hands of the despotic planters. Some of these 
articles of Babu Shishir Kumar found their way 
into the Indigo Commission's report, and they 
display his remarkable sagacity, strong com- 
monsense, power of expression and clear, scathing 
style and mastery over the English language even 
in those days when he was a mere stripling. 

The names of Messrs. Munro and O'Kinealy 
are very intimately connected with the life of Babu 
Shishir Kumar Ghose. It was at their instance 
and under them that Shishir Babu served for a 
time as a Deputy Collector. At this time he was 
able to introduce many valuable reforms in his 
own native district. But a man of strong in- 
dependence, he did not long find Government 
service to his liking. So he gave up his appoint- 
ment and started a newspaper, the "Amrita Bazar 
Patrika", after the name of his village. The initial 
difficulties which Shishir Babu had to contend 
with in order to make his paper a success- aflw*»«=: 
well-known to bear repetition here. However, 
if his village had so long its dispensary, post 
office, various schools and associations and a fully 
equipped market, it now had the proud distinc- 

6 



LIFE SKETCH 

tion of having a printing press and a newspaper, 
a glorious position for a Bengal village in the 
interior in those days, unconnected by railways, 
and which even many towns at the time could not 

boast of. 

It has now grown into a household story in 
this part of the country, and everyone knows that 
the "Patrika" was first started with only a wooden 
printing press, without a compositor or even a 
pressman, and that Shishir Babu had to do every- 
thing- sinsrlehanded as did Bennett in the early 
days of the "New York Herald". But still during 
the government of Lord Lytton and Sir Ashley 
Eden when the Vernacular Press Act was passed, 
—and it is an open secret now that the slowgrind- 
ing legislative machinery was thus moved to stifle 
this paper to death in infancy, — Shishir Kumar 
converted it within a single night from a heb- 
domadal to an English weekly to the mortifica- 
tion of his enemies, to his own safetv, and to the 
admiration of both the people and the Govern- 
ment. The birth of the "Amrita Bazar Patrika'' 
marks an epoch in the journalistic life of India. 
The "Patrika" may not be the oldest paper in 
^jvcTutftry, but it is undoubtedly, so far as Indian 
politics is concerned, the oldest usherer of a new 
light. The late poet Nobin Chunder Sen, wrote 
in his autobiography, "whatever heavy sighs I 
have heaved and whatever tears 1 have shed for 

7 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

the love of my motherland, in my short poems on 
Jessore and the battle of Plassey, to some extent 
they are the outcome of my association with and 
instructions from Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose. 
He and his "Patrika" are the pioneers of patriotism 
in our country". 

The "Patrika" soon grew into something- like 
a terror for the European authorities, made a name 
for itself and became noted for being honest, 
upright and independent in views. For the 
amusement of the reader, we give here a petty 
incident of its early career. It so happened once 
that a certain bund was being forcibly cut by some 
indigo planters. The ryots stood up against this, 
as it meant a great loss to them. They applied 
to the Magistrate, who appointed one Mr. Mitra, 
a police Inspector, to look into the matter. The 
latter, on reaching the spot requested the European 
planters who were disturbing the peace of the 
village, not to do so, as it was the order of the 
Magistrate. The haughty planters made light of 
Inspector Mitra's warning. There upon the officer 
arrested some of them. This greatly surprised 
them and they enquired if the Inspector belonged 
to the "Patrika" party. This story only lllust.i'aTks 
the 'fearless conduct of the " Patrika " and the 
wholesome terror it inspired in even an important 
and powerful body like the planting community. 
Such instances may be multiplied almost ad infi- 

8 



LIFE SKETCH 

nitum but our limited space does not permit this 
extravagance. 

The " Patrika " was hardly more than four 
months old, when a libel suit was instituted 
against it by a European Deputy Magistrate. It 
lasted eight months and ruined the proprietors 
financially. But the successful advocacy of that 
well-know criminal lawyer, Mr. Monmohan Ghose, 
on behalf of Shishir Babu, led to his acquittal. It, 
however, proved a blessing in disguise, for it 
secured great popularity to the paper. At this 
time malaria broke out in Jessore in so ' virulent 
a form that Shishir Babu had to leave his ever 
dear Magura for Calcutta. Notwithstanding many 
inconveniences and pecuniary difficulties, the 
" Patrika " now gradually became an influential 
organ of public opinion in Bengal and caused a 
great stir in the country. Mr. Caine wrote in his 
biography of Shishir Babu ; "The brilliant editing 
of the paper by Shishir Kumar Ghose, who almost 
killed himself by hard work and anxiety quickly 
brought it back to its old issue, and eventually 
far beyond it, until it became the most influential 
newspaper in Bengal, and probably in all India, 
"vttieYe it circulates from the Himalayas to Cape 
Comorin. For thirty years it has been one of the 
most potent factors in Indian society and politics; 
and during that period there has been no solid 
and lasting reform, which does not owe much to 

9 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

its influence and advocacy. To my mind, it is 
the most courageous and outspoken journal in all 
India. It is read by the Viceroy and his Council, 
and is alike the organ of Indian prince and Indian 
peasant." 

Under the auspices of the Strachey Brothers 
with a view evidently to undermine the Perman- 
ent Settlement in Bengal, the Government of Lord 
Mayo imposed a new cess upon the land, still 
known as the Road Cess. Sir George Campbell 
created two new classes of subordinate executive 
officers named Sub-Deputies and Kanungoes, and 
lowered the position of judges by what is known 
as the system of parallel promotion. The then 
Law Member, Sir J. Stephen, by the introduction 
of his Criminal Procedure Code, made the Police 
all-powerful in the country. All these resulted in 
violent agrarian riots in Pabna. The "Patrika" 
manfully stood against these measures; and as 
the other papers of Calcutta were quite innocent 
of any Moftussil experience, it devolved upon it 
to vehemently attack these measures and lay bare 
their hollowness and undesirability. 

It was Babu Shishir Kumar who first intro- 
duced cartoons and skits in Indian joirrn 
His skit, " Political Geometry ", created such a 
tremendous sensation that scores of Civilians 
purchased the issue in which it appeared. The 
•'Hindu Review" says: "The "Patrika" came 

10 



LIFE SKETCH 

to special prominence under the Lieutenant 
Governorship of Sir George Campbell, (1870-73), 
whose attempt to restrict higher education with 
the avowed object of diverting the public funds, 
thus set free, to the diffusion of primary education, 
aroused opposition from the educated class. And 
in their criticism of Sir George Campbell's act and 
policy, Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose and his 
brothers, — for the "Patrika" has always been a 
journalistic joint family, — adopted a tone of biting 
satire and undisguised abuse, which first shook 
people's nerves somewhat violently, and then 
gradually put a new courage and self-conscious- 
ness into them ". 

He was a past master in pun and lampoon, 
railery and repartee. Ready wit, rugged force, 
caustic satire, and native humour ran through 
all his writings, and the gems that thus glistened 
in his productions were of such real lustre as 
to have hardly their equal in the writings of any 
other we can think of. The simplicity of his style 
and the originality of happy expression were the 
marked features of his literary productions. 

His power of reply and repartee was, again, 
ma-fvo9l<5us, whether it was the "pioneer" or the 
"Times,'' no other paper ever got the better of 
the " Patrika " in this respect. In logic and, 
debating powers also he stood out unique. 

Gradually Shishir Kumar began to grow more 

11 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

and more popular in the country. He joined the 
British Indian Association and soon became 
acquainted with all its members. But very shortly 
afterwards, he found that the Association was 
more a show than a really useful institution, and 
so he made up his mind to make it truly powerful. 
He proposed to Rai Kristo Das Pal Bahadur and 
others that the subscription should be reduced 
from Rs. 50 to Rs. 5 per annum, so as to come 
within the reach of the middle classes, but his 
suggestion was not listened to. So he founded 
another Association called the "Indian League," 
with which the names of many great men, such 
as Sir Rash Behari Ghose, the late Mr. Ananda 
Mohan Bose, Babu Kali Charan Banerji, Hem 
Chunder Banerji, Grish Chunder Ghose (the 
dramatist) and Sir Romesh Chunder Mitter, were 
very closely connected. It was a creation of Mr. 
Ghose's own brain, and let a distinguished Euro- 
pean say what it achieved " 'The Indian League' 
is identified in the social and political develop- 
ment of India, with many most important reforms, 
notably that of trial by jury, and the Municipal 
system, which containing the germs of represen- 
tative government, led on to the establis-ntffui* of- 
the elective system municipally as well as in its 
higher development of elected members of the 
Provincial and Viceregal Councils." 

As will be clear from the above, Shishir Kumar 

12 



LIFE SKETCH 

was really the founder of the present system of 
Council Government in India. Let us now say 
how it came about. A grand meeting, to dis- 
cuss the advantages of the municipal elective 
system, of the Indian League was held under 
the presidency of Babu Kali Charan Banerji. 
The proceedings attracted the notice of his 
Honour Sir Richard Temple, the then Lieutenant 
Governor of Bengal. The latter called upon 
Shishir Babu and asked him it he was willing 
that the elective system should be introduced in 
the municipal bodies in the country. And this 
was the first time but by no means the last that 
Shishir Kumar had the opportunity of having an 
interview with the governor of the province. To 
make matters clear, let us quote here a few lines 
from the conversation that took place between 
Shishir Babu and His Honour on this memorable 
occasion : — 

L. G. — So you want the elective system? Do 
you think the citizens are fit for such a boon ? 
S. — Yes, your Honour, quite fit. 
L. G. — You see, I am agreeable. But if I 
grant you the privilege, there will be such astrom 
GV'opposition, that the Government of India will 
be obliged to go against me. 

S. — Will it please your Honour, if I say, that 
India must have the beginning of self-government, 
and your Honour must be the man to initiate it? 

13 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

L. G. — Well, I shall take the risk, but see that 
the middle classes join you in a body. Let us 
have the entire middle classes on our side. 

S. — I shall induce every voter in Calcutta to 
support your Honour. We have the largest house- 
owner, Hiralal Seal, on our side. 

As expected, a vehement attack was made by 
the British Indian Association and the Anglo- 
Indian community. But in the words of Mr. W. S. 
Caine, it may be said, "mainly by the help of 
Shishir and " Amrita Bazar Patrika", it was 
carried out in the face of the fierce opposition". 

Babu Shishir Kumar was the pioneer also in 
the matter of technical education in India, and 
the way in which he brought into being the Albert 
Temple of Science was something miraculous. For 
some time past Shishir Babu had been advocating 
the cause of technical education in India. Now 
somehow he had come to know that Babu Harish 
Chunder Roy of Mymensingh was willing to 
contribute Rs. 50,000 towards the improvement 
of his scheme, if only the Lieut. Governor would 
ask him to do so ; and that at Berhampur there 
were two brothers, named Lachmipat and 
Dhanpat who were being compelled "bv" Wr. 
Mackenzie, the District Magistrate, to pay Rs. 
50,000 each for the Berhampur College. Shishir 
Kumar thought over all this and began to devise 
means to secure the money so as to materialise 

14 



LIFE SKETCH 

his ideas into a fiat accompli. He at last started 
for Belvedere the residence of the Lieut. Gover- 
nor. It was 9 o'clock in a winter evening - that 
he waited upon Sir Richard. It was in fact the eve 
of Prince Albert's visit to Calcutta. Let us 
reproduce here the conversation he had with his 
host for the edification of our readers : — 

S. — The Prince is coming to-morrow early in 
the morning and your Honour is going to Diamond 
Harbour to receive him ? 

Sir Richard. — Yes. 

S. — No sooner does the Prince come, you will 
be lost to us, for you will be too busy with him. 
We want to commemorate the Royal visit by 
establishing the most needed institution in the 
country, a technical college. 

Sir Richard. — Yes, a technical college is the 
need of the country. But you will need a large 
sum of money. Have you secured it? 

S. Almost. — Only if your Honour will be so 
good as to help me. 

Sir R. — In what way ? 

S. — Babu Harish Chunder Ray of Mymen- 
singh and Messrs. Lachmipat and Dhanpat of 
BeihcuUfmr are each willing to contribute Rs. 
50,000. Your Honour may tell them that this is 
the best way to use the money. 

Sir R. — Very well, if they come to me, I may 
persuade them. 

15 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

S. — But you are going away to-morrow at 
6 A. M. My plan is this. It is now 9. 30 P. M. If 
you will kindly give me letters to the three gentle- 
men asking them to see you before 6 A. M. in the 
morning, I will arrange the rest. 

Sir Richard smiled and said : — What you 
suggest is improper from the beginning to the 
end. I don't know them. Yet I am required 
privately to ask them to come. When they come, 
I am to ask them to oblige me by contributing 
Rs 50,000/- each. It would be highly improper 
for me to interfere with the arrangements that 
Mr. Mackenzie has made with his people for the 
improvement of a college in his district. 

At last, however, Shishir Babu was able to 
prevail upon the Lieut. Governor, and a meeting 
under his presidency was held in the premises of 
the National Theatre and the former's efforts were 
crowned with success to the great mortification of 
his opponents. The Albert Temple was establish- 
ed, and got a subside of Rs. 8,000- per annum 
from the Government. 

Sir Richard Temple was succeeded by Sir 
Ashley Eden. He was a man of peculiar whims. 
He did not like the bold tone of the' "*? i rmrita 
Bazar Patrika" and so he wanted to moderate it 
by converting it into a Government paper. He 
had already won to his side Babu Kristo Das Pal 
of the "Hindu Patriot" and other Bengali leaders 

16 



LIFE SKETCH 

and he thought it quite easier to buy off Shishir 
Babu, who was then living a hand-to-mouth exist- 
ence and had to support a large family of some 30 
members. Dear readers, think for a moment the 
situation ! On the one hand was the tempi ing 
offer of Sir Ashley Eden at a time of stress and 
struggle, and on the other, his duties to his mother- 
land. He, however, never gave any thought to 
the former but decided in favour of the latter. 
Here are some extracts from the conversation that 
followed between His Honour and Shishir Babu: — 
Sir A. — I know you are a friend, and so I 
shall make no ceremony with you. I say, why 
do you abuse us in that way ? That I am a friend 
of the Bengalees is well-known. So Lord North- 
brook showed me some of your articles which were 
so abusive that I did not know what to say. I 
had to hang down my head in shame. 

S. — Your Honour says that we have been 
abusive, but pardon my impertinence. I chal- 
lenge anyone to show one abusive expression in 
our writings. Besides, the law keeps the most 
reckless newspapers in the land in check. It we 
had written anything seditious, the Government 
woulcf'lfiave pounced upon us. Since the Gov- 
ernment has not ever meddled with us, that is a 
proof that we are in our writings always within 
the bounds of law. 

Sir A. — The Government is very gencous 

17 
S— 2 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

and you take advantage of its generosity. 

S. — But can your Honor point out any expres- 
sion which is abusive, scurrilous, or even imperti- 
nent ? 

Sir A.— Oh! You mean that you don't use 
abusive terms. I know that you are very "chalak" 
(clever) in that respect. You don't call us rob- 
bers, thieves, cheats, and murderers, or as many 
other words. But one can see at a glance, by 
going through your writings, that you mean 
nothing else. Lord North brook showed me some 
of your former issues which he kept in his box. 

In this way Sir Ashley tried to seduce Shishir 
Kumar, but the latter was so strong and so deter- 
mined that it was found impossible to make him 
deviate from the right path. When the Lieutenant 
Governor received the curt reply that Shishir 
Kumar did not care for the promised privileges 
and that famous retort that there should be at 
least one honest journal in the country, he became 
sored with anger that he even did not hesitate 
to hold out threats to the latter. " Mind this," 
said he "in six months I shall drive you away from 
Calcutta." He now kept his word so far as to 
withdraw the grant that had been madefy his 
predecessor to the Albert Temple of Science, while 
it was at this time,too,that the vernacular Press Act 
(that new fetter on Sir Ashley's legislative anvil) 
was passed to ruin the editor of the "Patrika." 

18 



LIFE SKETCH 

It would, indeed, be a mistake to suppose that 
the influence of the "Patrika" was at this or any 
other time confined to Bengal alone. As the late 
Mr. Caine used to say, "the "Patrika" is alike the 
organ of Indian Prince and Indian peasant" and 
so really it was. Every educated Indian knows 
that it was Shishir Babu and his paper that came 
to the rescue of Mulhar Rao Gaekwar when he 
was sought to be ruined by Col. Phayre, by 
showing that according to its own promise the 
Government was not justified in interfering with 
the internalaffairs of a Native State. It was, again, 
Shishir Babu who wrote vigorously advocating the 
cause of the Dowagar Rani of Rewa and the 
Begum of Bhopal against Sir Lepel Griffin ; and 
he was at last successful in securing justice by 
bringing the case to the notice of Lord Dufferin. 
In short, the " Patrika " appeared to have become, 
by this time, the mouth- piece of Indian princes. 
The services of Shishir Babu in connection with 
the Beames and Gilgit affairs are too well-known 
to need repetition. It must, however, be said, 
that it was to his friend, Mr. Charles Bradlaugh, 
a distinguished and influential M. P., that some of 
the successes were due. His friends in England 
in those days were Messrs. Bradlaugh, Caine, 
William, Digby and W. T. Stead. 

When on his arrival here in India as Viceory 
and Governor General, Lord Ripon expressed his 

19 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

svmpathy with the Indian mill-owners, it was the 
"Patrika" that opposed this view of His Excellency, 
on the ground that the people of India should 
first be given the opportunity of saving their 
lives and then of saving their time. But afterwards 
Shishir Babu came to realise the noble character 
and high ideals of Lord Ripon and not ^nly 
became a great friend of His Excellency but very 
much influenced his administration. Mr. Primrose, 
his Private Secretary, was also a great friend of 
Shishir Babu. The Allahabad Criminal Case, the 
Webb Case, ' and the subsequent Viceregal 
resolution on them clearly testify to the influence 
of Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose over Lord Ripon's 
Government. It is well known that Lord Ripon 
introduced self-government in India, but very 
few people know that the subject of this sketch 
was his right-hand man in this connection: On 
the eve 01 his Lordship's departure from India» 
Shishir Kumar with folded hands, bent his knees 
before Lord Ripon, and prayed : "My Lord, you 
can oblige me eternally by granting my people 
the privilege of trial by jury." Lord Ripon replied, 
" my 'Jear sir, rise and oblige me. You pain me 
very much. I have already given up cha'^e, and 
I cannot do anything now. Very well, I promise 
I shall speak to Lord Dufferin about it." 

It is impossible to show by instances, in a 
small compass, what towering influence the 

20 



LIFE SKETCH 

-•Patrika'' used to possess at the hands of Babu 
Shishir Kumar. In the memorial meeting of Babu 
S. K. Ghose held after his death at the Town 
Hall of Calcutta, Dr. S. K. Mullick related a 
story. He said that during his long stay in London 
whenever he paid a visit to the India Office, he 
found all the Indian and English newspapers 
lying on the table, but he always missed the 
"Patrika." On enquiring this fact of Mr. Onslow, 
the then Under-Secretary, he was told that the 
"Patrika,'' as it gave a true and reliable version 
of Indian affairs from the peoples point of view 
was preserved in a special file for use of the 
Secretary of State. Indeed, the "Patrika' was 
conducted on such original lines that it always 
was a perennial source of delight not only to its 
Indian but European readers. Many Europeans 
used to read it to enjoy the wordy battles that 
continuously went on between the "Patrika'' and 
the then influential Anglo-Indian papers, and to 
their mortification the indomitable and sharp-wit- 
ted " Patrika'' could never be cornered, on the 
other hand the)* were always made the laughing 
stock of the public by superior talents of Babu 
Shishirlvumar. A beautiful skit published in the 
"Parsee (new Hindi) Punch" at the time very 
properly explained the situation. Babu Shishir 
Kumar was depicted as a snake-charmer and 
the "Pioneer" and the "Times of India'' were 

21 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

represented by two big hooded snakes who were 
being played by the charmer to the sound of his 
flute (tumri). 

When the illustrious Mr. Hume was forming 
schemes in his mind to weld India into a nation by 
the organisation of a national assembly, he came 
to Mr. Ghose to take his counsel on this matter. 
The latter requested him to infuse that idea into 
the minds of the masses, and he promised Mr. 
Hume to show the way of doing it. The Jhinker- 
gacha Mass Meeting of the 13th. March 1886, was 
a practical example of what, Shishir aimed at. It 
was quite a new departure in the politics and 
political methods of India and was so successful 
in essentially teaching the general public to learn 
to take an interest in their country and its affairs 
that it proved quite alarming to the opponents of 
Indian progress and so famous it became that 
even mention was made about it in some Ameri- 
can and English journals, at a time when Indian 
affairs scarcely came in for any notice in them. 
Mr. Ranade had come to pay a visit to the Editor 
of the "Patrika"; and he said that Lord Dufferin 
was of opinion that it was aimed at doing a great 
thing, but failed to do it owing to the ne^ject of 
his countrymen. 

The above is only a short sketch of the politi- 
cal life of Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose. It is very 
difficult to judge the man from this brief resume, 

22 



LIFE SKETCH 

but still we fervently hope, the reader will be able 
to form some slight idea of him. The biography 
of Shishir Kumar should itself prove a mine of 
Indian political information and contain a full 
account of the Indian administration and the 
reforms introduced by Lords Northbrook, Lytton, 
Ripon, Dufferin and others; and when one such 
comes to be written the world will see how this 
great man was able to influence all these high 
officials and thereby contributed his share to the 
building of the Indian nation. 

Babu Shishir Kumar was a voluminous writer. 
He has written on every conceivable subject and 
his political writings are so exhaustive and of such 
perennial interest that they are always a source 
of inspiration and guide to the present conductors 
of the "Patrika". A peculiar vein of humour and 
originality runs through his writings, and com- 
bined with freshness and vigour they are, of endur- 
ing value. Unfortunately, however only some of 
his political articles have been embodied in a 
book called the " Indian Sketches." A second 
volume of the book was being printed, but for 
obvious reasons the attempt was given up. 
Hund'/feUs of volumes of "Indian Sketches'' can 
still be published from collection of articles from 
the old files of the " Patrika ". 

. A keen observer will be able to see that a 
certain link of harmony and increasing popularity 

23 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

extends from his private to his public life, i.e. his 
life as father or guardian of a family to his life as 
a benefactor of his countrymen and guardian of 
their interests. It is true that there are some men 
in India who could claim greater erudition or 
wider knowledge of the world besides, but none 
there has been who have had greater insight into 
the pDlitical position and needs of their own native 
land. 

We shall now give only one instance to show 
how the misery of men moved the heart of Babu 
Shishir Kumar so violently that he would not 
have any rest till he found some remedy. In his 
younger days he saw a horrible death by snake- 
bite. The painful picture always troubled his mind 
till after 20 years' patient labour and investiga- 
tion he was able to unearth the available remedy 
and place it before the public in the form of a 
booklet called " Snakes : Snake-bites and their 
treatment." The book has since been translated 
into several vernacular languages and commands 
a wide sale. We cannot resist the temptation oi 
quoting the following interesting account of the 
snakes in Bengal from that book : 

"I was sitting with the Police Officer inTnarge 
of the station at Gopalnagore, then in the district 
of Nuddea, now in Jessore. It was during the 
great flood of 187 1. I had sought his protection 
to procure me a boat to convey me, across the sea 

24 



LIFE SKETCH 

of water which surrounded me, to my destination. 

Just then intelligence was brought to us, that 
a troupe of malvadyas have caught hundreds of 
snakes, in a village close by. We sent for them 
with their snakes, and they came. We saw the 
snakes that they had caught, but said they ; "Will 
you go to see, Sir ? It is a sight to see. It is snakes 
and snakes, all round. We have never seen so 
many together, no man ever did." And, as a 
matter of fact, we saw a sight which has been the 
good fortune of a few people to witness. The 
sight we saw will never fade from my memory. 

We soon organized an expedition. We took 
three mals. The Sub-Inspector of Police, a strong 
man, took his doublebarrelled gun. We entered 
the boat at about n in the morning. It was a 
small boat, and was rowed by two men. The 
current was favorable, and the boat ran like a dog 
in pursuit of a jackal. We had not to follow the 
course of a canal or a river, for we were in a vast 
sheet of water. It would have looked like a sea, 
but for the trees and huts, which yet shewed their 
heads above water. The flood was then at its 
highest, and the people in great distress. 

We took the straight course over huts and 
trees, and in this manner we crossed the village 
of Gopalnagore. We then entered an open space, 
and saw in the dim horizon the marsh of Choital, 
our destination. The place was recognized by the 

25 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

presence of a couple of tall palm trees. We rowed 
all of us, and though the tiny boat swang to and 
fro by our vigorous efforts at rowing, we had not 
much to fear. For, by a pole we kept measuring 
the water all the way, and though it was deep 
here and there, generally our passage lay over 
shallow water. 

And at last we entered the heel (marsh) of 
Choital. It is a low land and paddy is grown 
there, but here and there were high spots, where 
there were trees. This big field has a diameter 
of, say, six miles. It is all plain land, with the 
exception of a few trees which shewed their heads 
above water. On the first tree on our way, we 
saw only a few snakes and an iguana. But the 
mals told us that the grand scene was yet before 
us. 

Before us, we saw in that vast sheet of water, 
a couple of palm trees, a few date trees, and a 
banian tree. The heads of the palm trees were 
about thirty feet above water, the banian tree 
covered a large space of land, and the date trees 
only shewed their leaves. The palm trees were 
examined by us first. We saw that the snakes 
have coiled round the trunks of these trfEs from 
the bottom to the top. There was no empty space 
visible on the trunks. 

At the bottom, we saw a few kraits, and we 
saw there a black one which is the biggest we 

26 



LIFE SKETCH 

have ever seen. But though we saw a few kraits 
and a few black snakes here and there, all the 
others were only keutas. There was not cobra 
there, nor any hamadryad. The snakes not only 
coiled round the trees, but were found to have 
coiled one above the other. It was thus all black 
from bottom to top. The branches, which are 
thorny in palm trees, have been avoided, but the 
leaves had given space to as many as they could 
hold. We did not disturb them in their position 
of rest in the palm trees. 

From there we proceeded to the date trees. 
All the leaves were covered by the snakes. The 
three mals stood to catch them. The rower who 
was in the front was pushed behind, and one of 
the mals took his oar. He rowed vigorously and 
caught a branch of a date tree. As soon as he 
caught the branch, thousands of keutas fell from 
it into the water. The fellow not only caught the 
branch, but pulled it, and the head of our small 
boat was thus made to penetrate through the 
branches. It was then a truly exciting scene* 
Hundreds and thousands of snakes began to let 
themselves drop from the branches in the water, 
and our boat was soon surrounded by thousands 
of swimming keutas. 

The Police Officer shrieked in anger and 
terror, "Let go the boat, you haramjadas* cried he, 
,'they will soon fill our boat." But I was enthralled 

27 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

with the scene, and had not the power of feeling 
any terror. The mals were engrossed in the work 
before them, and they had no ear to listen to the 
commands of the officer. They buised themselves; 
in catching the snakes, and were not at all dis- 
posed to remove the boat from the position which 
it had been forced to take. 

In a second or two the swimming snakes 
invaded our boat. Of course it was not their 
object to bite or swallow us, but they found a 
floating substance in our boat, and they wanted 
to make it a resting place. The officer was stand- 
ing with his gun in his hand, and I told him to 
leave it and take a pole to protect the boat from 
the snakes. So both he and I took a pole each, 
and so also did each of the boat men. The snakes 
swam all around us with only their heads above 
water. They appeared like a shoal of fish. We 
began to splash all round our boat with the poles, 
with a view to drive them away. But their number 
was too many for us. And a good many touched 
our boat in spite of the beating of the water. 

They tried to climb the boat, but they could 
not. They could not raise their heads much 
above water; and it is altogether doubtful, 
whether, even left to themselves, they could climb 
the boat. But surely they were not given much 
time to make the effort. The boat was small ; we 
were standing and beating the water with our 

28 



LIFE SKETCH 

poles; the mals were catching the snakes ; and 
all these made the tiny thing reel like a drunken 
mehter, and prevented the snakes to gain a hold of 
the boat. But greater danger was a-head of us. 

The head of the boat had penetrated the 
dense branches of the date tree, and the mals 
were catching the snakes. They were not catch- 
ing the reptiles at random, but selecting the big- 
gest ! A keuta is a creature which is rarely met 
with. A mal will purchase one from a comrade 
for more than rupees ten. But here they had such 
a large number to select from, that they avoided 
the smaller ones, and thought only of catching 
the biggest which they could reach. 

Now their attempt to catch the biggest created 
more than one serious danger for us. If a big 
snake, which they had fixed their eyes upon to 
catch, was not accessible, they dragged the boat 
deeper, and this took our tiny vessel almost into 
the bosom of the branches of the date tree. Just 
bear in mind that all these branches had keuta 
upon them, each containing hundreds and more. 
The mals were catching the snakes; the branches 
of the tree covered the boat partially, but covered 
them completely. Keutas hung over their heads 
and licked their foreheads. Snakes came in con- 
tact with their ears, arms, and backs. But the 
viah cared not. 

When the boat came in contact with the 

29 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

branches, we raised an alarm. For there was 
nothing to prevent the snakes creeping over the 
branches and entering our boat. But we forgot 
our own danger when we saw to which the mals 
had subjected themselves. They were all " un- 
shaved" keutas, and one touch of their fang and 
the strongest man would have dropped down dead 
on the spot in five minutes ! These snakes sur- 
rounded the mals. Every one of the three mals 
might have been bitten by one thousand keutas at 
that moment. 

We forgot our danger, and indeed at that 
moment none of us, the mals included, was in his 
proper senses. I recollect seeing a keuta licking 
the fore-head of a mal, and having cried aloud 
and given him a warning. But the warning had 
not much effect. The mal only lowered his head 
an inch or so, to avoid the contact of the tongue 
of the keuta. One of them muttered, without 
however stopping in his work, "No fear, Sir: at 
such times they do not bite/'' "But they do bite," 
said I, "during inundations." "Yes, but if they 
are hurt," was the laconic reply. The mals de- 
ceived me with a view to work uninterruptedly. 
The snakes do bite during floods, button that 
occasion, th e sight produced extraordinary excite- 
ment which deprived the mals of their senses. 
When we forgot the danger, it is no wonder that 
they should. Besides, they had gone well pro vi- 

30 



LIFE SKETCH 

ded with lancets, and sone cords. Familiarity 
breeds contempt, and the mals have great con- 
tempt for these reptiles. On that occasion this 
contempt was heightened by their large number. 

We too caught the contagion, and forgot 
temporarily our fear of the snakes, and entered 
into the pleasures of the exciting work. The 
snakes swam in shoals round our boat, but we 
became indifferent to their presence. Those in 
the date tree had an easy access to our boat, but 
we gave up the thought of driving them away. 
Every minute the number of swimming snakes 
was increasing. For, hundreds were dropping 
down from the branches of the date trees every 
second, and the heads of the snakes blackened 
the water all around us. The date tree shewed 
no more snakes — on that side where our boat was 
— except a few small ones here and there. 

The mals then wanted to go to the other side 
of the date tree, but we objected and desired to see 
the banian tree. The boat was turned towards 
it, and we rowed over shoals of snakes. They 
tried to give way to our boat, but the crowd was 
so great that they could not move at their plea- 
sure. When we left the date tree, a athought struck 
us to make a search of the boat to see whether 
any snake had been able to find its way into it or 
not. It was when we had left the date tree that 
we felt, that we had been in great danger so long. 

31 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

The banian tree was quite close, and its big" 
trunk was about three feet above water. J ust 
above the trunk there were two big branches 
stretching slantingly in opposite directions. 
Between these two sat a wild cat. It was utterly- 
helpless, and was surrounded by keutas on all 
sides. But he lived in peace with them. O r 
rather the snakes lived in peace with him. As 
our boat approached towards the tree.the creatur e 
looked at us piteously, and the sight excited my 
pity. There was no ferocity of the wild cat in his 
look. But bang went the gun and the cat fell in 
the water beneath. While I was gazing at the 
cat, the Sub-Inspector was steadying his aim at it 
from behind, from the moving boat. The cat fell, 
as also a few snakes, shot dead or wounded, for 
the gun was charged with small shots. 

This exploit of the Police Officer I did net 
like,as it shewed neither courage nor any delicacy 
of feeling. But the cat was only wounded if 
wounded at all, for it reached the trunk again, 
though it took a new position which concealed it 
from our view. 

We gazed at the tree — it was a canopy of 
snakes. The metis wanted to catch more snakes 
but I opposed. They had caught enough, and no 
snake could be caught from the banian tree 
without incurring serious danger. So we only 
gazed at the snakes, at their beauty, their variety, 

32 



LIFE SKETCH 

and their movements. As for their doings, they 
did nothing. They coiled round the branches, 
sometimes one above the other, and kept quiet and 
immovable. The beauty of their heads surpasses 
description but this beauty was only seen when 
they were moving about or raising themselves 
up in anger or terror, which they only did when 
teased by us. The variety was so great that it 
seemed to us that each snake belonged to a 
separate species. One had a yellow hood, the 
next one a white, and the next a white and red- 
dish, and so on. The colour of the skin also differed 
in this manner. The kewias have no doubt more 
than a hundred variety. 

While gazing at the snakes, a vial cried in 
excitement: "Lo : there is a bara bharee samp (very 
big snake.)" The other two mals saw it at once, 
but we could not. It was on a branch high above 
our heads. We could not however identify, which 
snake was meant. But while we were looking for 
the "very big snake," one of the mals was rowing 
the boat towards the trunk. The trunk was 
reached, and he caught it, left the boat, and began 
to ascend the tree! 

No\v this we could not permit. The man 
wanted to ascend a big tree, every available space 
of which was covered bv the most deadlv of all 
snakes. There his expertness and his agility would 
avail him little. We bawled out to him in tones 

33 
S-3 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSL 

of anger to come down instantly. But the man 
said, bara bharee samp, and paid no heed whatever 
to our commands. I threatened to shoot him if he 
did not come down, but he repeated, "the snake 
was very big, Sir! ' The fact is, the temptation 
before him was great, he could not resist it. The 
mals who were in the boat were intently gazing at 
the snake, and muttering: "he won't be able to 
catch it. Its position is bad.'' 

But my eye was fixed towards whom I con- 
sidered the doomt :-d man. As he moved on the 
branches, there was a rustle amongst the snakes. 
A good many fell from the branches, and some 
moved up before the man. These disturbed the 
others, which were sleeping quietly. Some find- 
ing their progress barred, were coming back 
towards the man. The proceedings of the man 
would have caused amusement if the matter were 
not serious. He w T as moving over a branch in all 
fours. Now he sat to give the snakes an opportu- 
nity of making way for him. When the way was 
clear for a few paces, he advanced a little and 
waited again. The snakes which were coming 
towards him, he pushed away with his hands. In 
this manner he employed his feet too. But the 
snakes shewed no disposition to bite him. None 
raised its hood, or hissed in anger. It was because 
they were not touched. Those caught in the date 
tree shewed a good deal of ferocity, but then their 

34 



LIFE SKETCH 

tails had been caught. In the banian tree none 
was touched, and those which were touched were 
shoved into the water. 

The man then caught hold of another small 
branch. It was on the branch where the big snake 
was. He began to crawl over it with great care 
and difficulty, for the branch was small. And 
then we saw the big snake — it was a jet black 
keuta. At the approach of the mal, the snake 
shewed signs of uneasiness, and then it moved. 
Just as it was eluding his hand, the mal caught 
hold of the tail. If the snake had then turned 
round and attacked him, the only way of saving 
himself was to throw it down below. But the 
snake acted otherwise. There was a small branch 
before it, and it coiled its head round it, and held 
it firmly. The mal pulled it by the tail, but the 
snake shewed no signs of giving way. The man 
then held the tail by both the hands and began to 
pull with all his strength. In the struggle and 
under the excitement, he lost his balance. 

The branch was about sixteen feet above 
water, and he fell down with a splash into 
the water below. There was silence for a few 
seconds, for the water was rather deep there, 
and he had gone to the very bottom by his fall 
from such a height. I thought it was all over 
with him, but he rose again. He was not cowed, 
but was on the contrary in the highest spirits, and 

35 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

he cried : " I have it, here it is." While he said 
this lie raised his hand, which had clasped the 
tail of the snake ! Surely the tail was in his grasp! 
Another mal from the boat caught the tail and 
dragged the snake up. The third held it in the 
middle, and then it was put into a jar. Under 
ordinary circumstances a snake like that would 
have demanded the exertions of two or three men 
to catch it. But, then, fortune was against it. It 
was caught in a position where, none of its 
predecessors perhaps had ever been caught. 
Talking of position, it had every advantage over 
the mal. If the man had not fallen from the tree, 
the snake would have never been secured, for it 
was not in the power of the mal to compel a big 
snake like that to let go its hold of the branch. 
And then in the water, it could not have also been 
caught. But the fall hurt it, for, in spite of its 
strength, it is a tender creature ; and in spite of 
its ferocity, it is usually timid. The fall hurt it, 
and gave it such a fright, that it never raised its 
head when it was put into the jar. 

I came back to Gopalnagore at about 4 P. M. 
On the following day I wrote to the Lieutenant- 
Governor of Bengal, to the Commissioner of the 
Nuddea Division, and to the Magistrate of Nuddea 
to take prompt measures, for the destruction of 
the snakes. I wrote to them that at a trifling cost 
Government could destroy, millions of snakes. 

36 



LIFE SKETCH 

The Magistrate asked for permission of the 
government to do it, and the latter, wrote to 
the Magistrate for report. At last it was admitted 
that my suggestion deserved consideration, and 
the cost was sanctioned. But then the flood had 
subsided, and the snakes had entered their holes! 
The heel of Choital is to this day notorious for 
its Keutas." 

True perhaps that there are some who by 
virtue of birth and wealth, rank and riches, Govern- 
ment titles and University distinctions, scientific 
training and forensic skill, pushing nature and 
power of gal have thrust themselves so well for- 
ward either in the estimation of ihe ruling race or 
the notice of the outside world, as to throw him 
in the background ; but when it comes to the 
judging of any man by the standard of real work- 
steep, up hill, pioneer work.and of genuine untiring 
zeal and services to the cause of his country and 
country men, it is Babu Shishir Kumar's name 
that occurs first and foremost. He was a veritable 
patriarch, a veritable patriot, and a veritable 
spiritualist. Dr. James Coates a well-known author 
and spiritualist of Scotland writes in his short 
sketch of Shishir Babu : 

Perhaps one of the most interesting points in 
the Babu's career to us is that he is a veritable 
patriarch. He might have been translated from the 
plains of Mamre of the days of Abraham to the 

37 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

India of to-day. Although a modern journalist, 
business man, dealer in landed estates, and posses- 
sing several interests in public affairs, he is also 
the father — patriarch — of one of the largest fami- 
lies in India. The family of which he is the head 
consists of his brothers, their wives, children and 
grandchildren ; of his own direct descendants, 
children and grand-children. Add to these the 
servants and hand-maidens or other dependants 
of the several distinct branches, all dewelling 
within the s^me compound, sleeping there and 
messing — eating at the same tables, or whatever 
their equivalent may be in the true Indian home. 
But this is not all. This very remarkable family 
— the members of which are spiritualists — are co- 
operators, all working or interested in or depend- 
ent on the various enterprises initiated by the 
head of this — probably the largest family of the 
patriarchial order in India today- Such a farmh- 
and such a community of interests, where all are 
working in harmony, for the good of each and all 
is not thinkable by us with our ideas of family life, 
yet these Hindus do so in love and harmony. 
The secret is the binding influence of the veritable 
patriarch's moral and spiritual power. He is 
regarded by his family and by large numbers of 
the community as saint on account of his ardent 
piety and lovableness of his character. There 
have been many saints in history, and some of 

38 



LIFE SKETCH 

them have not been particularly lovable. Yet, this 
man, who has been no worker of miracles, is 
revered as a saint by his country-men, in his life 
time. Probity in his dealings, marked self-abne 
gation, devotedness to the welfare and happiness 
of those of whom he is the family head, have 
brought him the respect and high merit in which 
he is esteemed. That he was an intellectual force 
there is no doubt, or he would not have been 
honoured by the government, but it is through 
being a moral and a spiritual force that he has 

made his mark. 

" It is a strange story for us who are inclined 
to think that we excel in the excellence of the 
family, and are a pattern to the world, as far as 
the meaning of home is concerned, yet this Hindu 
proves that we have no monopoly of virtues, 
albeit we claim such high civilization and Chris- 
tian virtues.*' 

During the latter part of his life, Shishir 
Kumar founded a monthly journal, called " The 
Hindu Spiritual Magazine." It is quite a depar- 
ture from the orthodox Hindu spiritual ideas, as it 
does away with the theory of re-incarnation. Not- 
withstanding much opposition to this belief of his 
from several influential quarters, Shishir Babu 
was able to maintain his own reputation. This 
periodical is still being conducted together with 
the "Patrika" as successfully as before, especially 

39 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

through the zeal, skill and labours of Babu Moti 
Lai Ghose, a life-long co-adjutor and fourth 
brother of Babu Shishir Kumar and of Babu 
Piyush Kanti Ghose, his eldest son and a veritable 
chip of the old block. Babu Moti Lai Ghose, the 
able successor of Shishir Kumar, is now growing 
old to take any large active part in the public 
affairs of the country. So the onerous duty of 
editor has largely devolved upon Piyush Babu, 
and he has proved, during the last few years, that 
inspirations from his father far from falling flat 
upon him have entered his very blood and mar- 
row and made him a successful successor of his 
father and uncle. 

The life of Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose can 
conveniently be divided into three parts, — social, 
political, and spiritual. We have already said 
something about the first two, and we should 
now say a little about the last one. It is not an 
easy task for us to write about his spiritual life. 
We will therefore do what little we can by quota- 
tions from his life-sketches from the pens of some 
profound writers and thinkers of the day. Dr. 
J. M. Peebles, the great publicist and tourist of 
America, says ; — " Babu Shishir Kumar Ghose 
was no ordinary personage. He was not only 
an upright and conscientious man, not only 
a broad-minded thinker and reformer, but he 
was in the best sense of the word, a saint, 

40 



LIFE SKETCH 

— a saint whose soul was a fire with devotion 
to India, politically and religiously, and in a 
wider sense, to the whole world of humanity — 
symbolised, — " We are Brothers All. " Again Dr. 
Peebles says, " Never can I forget to the end 
of mortal life my close social communion, a blend- 
ing of America and India with the lamented 
originator and editor of the "Hindu Spiritual 
Magazine''. He was a thinker, a scholar, and a 
brilliant torch of intellectual progress. He was 
also an affectionate, unassuming man, and yet 
really great ; for all true greatness is based upon 
goodness, intelligence, and consecration to the 
benefit of all tribes, races and nations.'' He lived 
the life of a saint and in Vaishnava Bhajanas 
(Kirtans) he went into ecstatic trances. He has 
left behind a large number of Bhaktas (devotees) 
who worship him daily even to this day. His 
Bengali religious works are the saviours of quite 
a large number of sinners and they in a manner, 
bi ought on a new era, in the religious thoughts 
of Bengal. 

As a token of his undiminishing love and 
devotion to Lord Gauranga and for the benefit 
of mankind, Shishir Babu has left a few works 
upon His life and teachings. These works are ; — 
(i) " Lord Gauranga or Salvation for All", (in 
English) (2) " Amiya Nimai Charit", (3) " Kala- 
chand Gita", and many others in Bangali. So 

4i 



SHISHIR KUMAR GHOSE 

great was his love for the religion of Sri Gaur- 
anga that he also published a monthly journal in 
Bengali called " Vishnupriya Patrika" which was 
after some time made a weekly and named 
Vishnupriya and Ananda Bazar Patrika.'' This 
latter paper did very useful work in the field of 
Vaishnavism and politics for a large number of 
years. From a careful perusal of his books and 
articles in the " Vishnupriya " one will rise a 
better and wiser man and find himself in the 
right position to judge of Shishir Babu as a re- 
ligious preacher. His was a life truly lived for 
he began as a social reformer, developed into a 
politician and at last ended as a fervent religious 
reformer and a spiritualist. Johnson said of Gold- 
smith, that whatever he undertook he shed lustre 
on, and let us say with Johnson, that whatever 
Shishir Babu touched, he touched to better it. 



42 



THE GREAT KING ON HIS THRONE 

The irresistible King sat on His Golden 
Throne, surrounded by His beloved ministers, 
whom His subjects, divided into diverse races, 
called Prophets. He ruled with such consummate 
wisdom that every one thought that the race to 
which he belonged, was the most favourite or the 
Lord Sovereign. His laws were so simple that every 
one could know what they were. But more : He 
made the obedience to His laws a source of profit 
to His subjects, and disobedience that of loss. The 
King, however, lived at a distance, far from the 
reach of His subjects ; and this led those, who had 
foolishly created perverse tastes for themselves, to 
break the laws and bring misery upon their heads. 
When thus afflicted, they sent petitions to the 
King, and for this they had neither to pay for 
stamps nor any other fees. All their petitions 
reached the foot of the Throne direct and without 
cost. 

As the King sat, a petition reached the foot of 
th Throne, which the Private Secretary took up 
and read. It was from the Abyssinians who begged 
protection from the invasion of the Italians. No 
sooner was the petition read than another was 
taken up by the Secretary. It was from the 

43 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Italians who prayed for victory over the Abys- 
sinians. 

The King wanted to know the grounds upon 
which they prayed for His intervention. The 
Secretary said in reply that the Abyssinians 
claimed to be the only loyal subjects of His Majesty, 
while the Italians preferred the same claim. 

The King smiled, and addressing a minister 
said : "Jesus, My beloved son, they both belong to 
you. It is for you to advise Me how to satisfy both 
parties." 

Jesus said, "My revered Father, wiiy dost 
Thou call them my own ? I told them distinctly 
that it would not do to call me "good" and disobey 
the laws. I have told them that murder is murder 
whether committed on the high-ways or on the 
battle-field. I have told them that they are all 
brothers and must love one another. I cannot call 
them my own, who disobey Your laws and then 
selfishly throw all the responsibility upon my 
shoulders.'' 

The King again smiled, and ordered the peti- 
tions to be filed with the remark, that the parties 
must take the consequence of their own acts. 

Just then a petition came from Emperor 
William. Emperor William wanted to keep Alsace 
and Lorraine in his possession and prayed for the 
assistance of the King. He proposed in his petition, 
that if the King afforded the necessary help, he, 

44 



THE GREAT KING ON HIS THRONE 

the Emperor, would offer the King, in return, his 
hearty thanks, and praise Him and proclaim His 
glory. 

The King again turned to Jesus and said. — 
"How is it that Emperor William thinks me such 
an idiotic fool? His idea is to bribe me by a few 
good words to help him in pursuit of his selfish 
ends. Let the petition of Emperor William be filed 
without any order." 

The Armenians sent a petition for protection 
from the Sultan, and the Sultan did the same to 
protect himself from the Christian Powers. The 
King addressed Mahomet and said, "Beloved 
Friend, what have you to say to this?'' Mahomet 
replied : "Brother Jesus is in a better position to 
give the reply than I am. Previously my followers 
were the stronger party, but his are now the 
masters of the situation." 

Just then petitions reached the Throne from 
the battlefield in Chitral. The Christian prayed 
for victory, and the Mussalmans prayed for the 
same thing. The Christians charged the Mussal- 
mans with being followers of a pretender and false 
Prophet, and the Mussalmans charged the Christi- 
ans with being unbelievers and therefore enemies 
of the King whom it is therefore meritorious work 
to kill. 

Both Jesus and Mahomet were appointed 
arbitrators to settle this dispute. How it was clone 

45 



PICTUR1 • LIP1 

a ii, ih 
■ 
\ petiti I 

•jh-ss <.i the the 

. The I 

■ 

■ 
with ; '•' 

K iman. 11< 

- that he ha - 

rill m 

• ie King 

that ■ 
inhabite 1 ; • it <li I i 

kn- :. wh 

Pi ph< t 
I 
difttributt 

the a - I'i: 

imm< 
I infinite (»1» King \n«1 

in return what the i bum 

. ith \i 
posso 
them ; .iil.1 b ( 

The Kin . •■ I . » hat tin 

• • 
1 <!■ aJl. Fust, ;. 



THE GREAT KING ON HIS THRONE 

laid down by me and bring misery upon them- 
selves ; secondly, the}', every one of them, will 
have to come here in a short time, leaving all their 
possessions behind, to render an account for their 
actions. They will have to explain why they 
committed murder, why they stole, and why they 
did other unlawful things.'' Then turning to Jesus, 
the King said sorrowfully : "Ami was it for this 
that you, my beloved son, bled?" 



THE BABOO. 

[The following is an extract from the unpubli- 
shed diary of a globe-trotter in India.] 
It was at Cawnpore, that I first heard of that 
strange animal of Bengal, of which so much has 
been spoken and written. I was expecting every 
moment my friend with whom I was staying, for 
it was past office hours, when he rushed in, 
apparently in a great fury, and threw himself 
prostrate upon a sofa. I soothingly inquired of 
him the cause of his illhumor, and he said that his 
"Baboo would be the cause of death to him." 
"What was a Baboo?" thought I. I had heard of 
baboons and seen some of them in Africa, but 
never a baboo. I asked what was a baboo, and at 
this simple query, my friend laughed immodera- 
tely, till tears trickled down his cheeks. "Never 
heard of or saw a baboo in your life?'' said he. 
"Well, a baboo is a strange animal and very 
vicious too," I was a little annoyed at his un- 
seasonable merriment and told him so, but he 
apologised and told me that a baboo not only 
vexed but also amused him a great deal. 

* la the beginning- the Bengal Zemindar was the object of 
wrath to the average Englishman in India. When that class had 
been very much humbled, the wrath was transferred to the 
"Baboos" of Bengal, by which expression were meant those 
natives of Bengal who had learnt the English language. 

48 



THE BABOO 

I wanted to see his baboo, for I was informed 
that the baboo had its own and separate quarters. 
I requested my friend to send for its keeper to come 
along with the animal ; but to my astonishment I 
was told that his baboo roamed at large and did 
not need the services of a keeper. Well, what 
was then a baboo? I petulantly asked. My 
friend said that it was an animal from Bengal 
which was his constant tormentor. It annoyed 
and irritated him very much, and it oftentimes 
roused his worst passions, "It will approach you 
when you don't want him and stick to you, and at 
last render you a helpless idiot."— 

I interrupted him and inquired why then he 
kept a baboo at all. He said, because, he could 
not help it ; " every European has a baboo and it 
is impossible to do anything in this country with- 
out its help. Baboo labour is cheap, and the 
baboos are very useful animals." 

I did not fullv understand what my friend 
meant ; his words mystified me more than ever, 
and I inquired why he did not break those which 
proved vicious. 

Friend. — They are all vicious, and as to break- 
ing them I dare not. They have paws and teeth 
and they can both scratch and bite. 

Trotter. — Are they more ferocious than the 
Bengal tiger and the African lion? 
Fr.— The baboo is a very gentle creature, indeed. 

49 
S-4 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Tr. — Why, then, don't you shoot him down 
whenever you find him, despite his cheap and 
useful labour? 

Fr. — Shoot a baboo! I would rather cut off 
my right forefinger. I dare not even flog him, 
and I am obliged even to humour him and treat 
him as a fellow-being. Shoot a baboo! You 
don't know what would be the consequences of 
such a rash act. Shoot a baboo and he will no 
doubt be dead, but then the other baboos of the 
country, — thousands and tens of thousands, will 
join together, and raise such a piercing, terrible 
awful, unearthly howl that it will shake the nerves 
of the boldest amongst us. They will howl from 
street to street, from town to town, from province 
to province, from Calcutta to Bombay. 

Tr. — I see, I see, the baboos are then a species 
of apes which I saw in large numbers in America. 
They are called howling monkeys, of a brown 
color, with a capacious pouch under their 
chins. 

Fr. — They are not howling monkeys, my 
friend, but they more closely resemble the human 
species, though I must tell you that the lower 
orders are now and then mistaken for apes and 
shot by the Europeans. But you are going down 
to Calcutta : you will see plenty of them there. 
You will see baboos also in all the Railway 
Stations, for baboo power is absolutely necessary 

5o 



THE BABOO 

to make the cars go, but my last injunction to you 
is, avoid a baboo! 

On the following- morning I purchased a 
Calcutta ticket, and before getting into 'the train, 
closely examined the engine which waited there 
for some time, to see where the baboo power was 
applied. There the engine stood just like other 
engines I had seen in England and other places ; 
and I could not see where the baboos were yoked. 
I inquired of the engine-driver, and evidently not 
understanding me, he pointed out to me one of 
the office rooms. Just then the bell rang and I was 
obliged to go in. There were some other Euro- 
peans in the car, and, as I was putting my luggage 
into order the door of the compartment was 
violently shut by a gentleman who, evidently 
highly incensed, told to a fellow-passenger, " a 
rascally baboo was coming in." Though the 
gentleman was unknown to me, I could not help 
inquiring, with a shudder, whether the door had 
been properly shut, for I felt a little nervous. He 
said it had been shut but not locked. I then inquired 
where the baboo then was, for I longed to have a 
peep at him from such a safe place, surrounded 
as I was by my countrymen ; but he said that the 
baboo had been kicked out, and had perhaps 
entered another compartment. 

I then thought within myself that the "yahoos" 
of Swift were probably the baboos of Bengal. 

5i 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Most anxious was I to see how the baboos helped 
the motion of the train, but I could not. At 
every station the guard called out "baboo, baboo;" 
but as the car moved immediately, I thought that, 
that was an encouraging word to the baboos to 
do their duty better. There was a Civilian 
Magistrate pi up-country sitting next to me, and 
to him I confidently said how anxious I was to see 
a baboo. "Do no such a thing," said he, "his very 
touch is contamination. I have tried to close my 
doors against him. I wish I had succeeded." "Why 
do you allow them to come to you !" said I. "Very 
difficult to resist them," muttered he. 

There was a missionary gentleman in the com- 
partment who crossed himself when the name of 
the animal was mentioned, and said that it was 
on account of these baboos, that he could not 
propagate his faith. The Magistrate said that the 
baboos were the greatest foes of the Civilians ; 
they ought to be put down at all cost. There 
was a medical man who swore that he would take 
the first opportunity of transferring himself to a 
station where there were no baboos. A baboo 
had made him very uncomfortable in his present 
post and deprived him of his practice. There was 
an engineer too, who clenched his fist and well 
nigh broke the door by striking it, while he cursed 
the meddlesomeness of his baboo. 

The Magistrate hissed "baboo/ The mis- 

52 



THE BABOO 

sionary cursed the "baboo." The Doctor swore 
at the "baboo." And every one hissed "baboo'' 
between his teeth. 

All this was enough for me. I did not choose 
to encounter a baboo just then, as my revolver was 
out of order. "Well you will find plenty of baboos 
at the Howrah Station," wickedly observed the 
Magistrate, and a cold tremor came over me. 

How to avoid them, was the thought that 
engrossed my mind. Calcutta was at last reached, 
my companions boldly opened the door and came 
down upon the platform, but somehow or other 
the late talk had made me a little nervous, and I 
was not prepared to come across a baboo just then. 
So I loitered and peeped through the doors to see 
whether there were baboos on the platform, and 
what they were like ; but the porters teased me 
very much. I asked them in English whether there 
were any baboos roaming there at large, and a 
porter ran away apparently to beckon some body. 
Forthwith came a native gentleman ; and with 
that respectful demeanour which they always 
preserve before Europeans, he inquired what I 
wanted. What could I say ? I said I must alight, 
and the gentleman very obligingly helped to 
remove my luggage to the platform. But I was 
still in the car and very anxious : I was constantly 
directing my glance towards the platform. The 
gentleman again enquired to know whether I 

53 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

wanted anything more. "Well," I stammered, "my 
dear, dear — s — sir, are the b — b — baboos all gone!' : ' 
'Not all" said he. "Where are they?" I whis- 
pered in his ear. He enquired, why I asked. "My 
d-dear s-sir, not so loud, I simply want to know," 
said I. He said : "Well, sir, I am a baboo." "You, 
a baboo !" shrieked I. My brain reeled and I 
fainted awav ! 



SUTTEE IN INDIA 

It has been always assumed that Sutteeism, that 
is, the practice of a disconsolate woman burning 
herself to death with the dead body of her hus- 
band, is a barbarous institution, and the British 
Government conferred a benefit by abolishing it. 
We shall show that these assumptions have no 
basis to stand upon. A Suttee occurred but very 
rarely in India. Of course, when the institution 
was abolished, the Government had to state that 
more Suttees occurred than what actually did. 
The East India Company were deservedly un- 
popular with the people of England, and they 
wanted to stand well with their countrymen. They 
selected the Suttee question for their purpose, and 
they represented that the horrible evil was a com- 
mon spectacle. As in the case of the Age of 
Consent Act, the existence of the evil was esta- 
blished by "cases which had no real existence, 
and the East India Company took great credit 
irom the civilized world by abolishing it. 

But, as a matter of fact, Suttees occurred very 
rarely, once in, say, fifty years in a part of the 
country, with a population of several millions. 
Whenever a Suttee occurred, tombs of the hus- 
band and the Suttee were erected to commemorate 

55 



PICTURI : \N I. ll 

the g event, and these I unbs carefully 

preserved by the idantBoi tin- Suttee So it 

i> possible even now t > ascertain how m 

I u Bengal within the last two hundi 

i only " h tomb in this 

vast | s one sncfa tomb 

also in t! it ami holy cky oi Benares. The 

ent ha arred iust alter the advenl oi th»- 

tgbsh, and tin t.>ml>s <-t tht- couple nefally 

preserve I. We ha sen a ver) lew in other 

pla 

It hen th 

u omen \a an' 

• ■ n ■ mi ■ 
When a do 

c Sutfc had toui eata 

Every o ;«»i the honor tailed, 

and it « BS 00 ■ i thousand 

that had the glory. Th»- tests simply were thai 

lissuadc bet ir»m 
the sacrifice, and it was wbei ied 

in carrying all her people with he she » 

perni lie with her hits The following 

:ount of a Suttee- is taken from her friends wIm 
to >k parr in the ceremony. 

We saw in the Bankura district -mall 

tombs on the banks of a small lake We enquti 
of the man who was with us. oi the r. diis 

,v spectacle in a purely Hindoo vill ued 

5* 







SUTTEE IN INDIA 

so close to the house of the Gossains. He said : 
" The tombs contain the ashes of the Suttee and 
her husband, who were both burnt on this very- 
spot. The Suttee belonged to the family of the 
Gossains, and there may be persons yet living 
who could give you an account of the whole affair." 

On hearing this, a strange emotion seized us, 
and we knelt by the tomb of the lady, and then 
prayed with clasped hands : "Teach us, noble 
soul, Sacrifice; teach us Devotion and Fidelity; 
teach us Love." 

The village is in the district of Bankura, and 
called Gader Dehee, whe^e resides the Gossain 
family, celebrated throughout that part of the 
country. We were led to an old man who had 
himself assisted in the ceremony, being the 
younger brother of the husband of the lady. He 
was twenty-two when his brother died; 
his brother was fortv-nve, and the ladv, the 
Suttee, was twenty-five. The event happened 59 
years ago, and so the old man, who related the 
story to us, was then 81. The name of the husband 
of the lady was Brahmananda Gossain, and he 
died of fever in the morning. Now we shall speak 
in the words of the narrator : " She wept not, 
bui: sat by the dead body of my brother. How we 
: wished that she could give vent to her feelings, 
frand relieve herself. But no, she sat and uttered 

(neither a sigh nor a groan. At last she rose and 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

proceeded straightway towards the Thakur Baree 
of God Sree Krishna. There she went, followed 
by many men and women, and prostrated herself 
before the holy Image of God. There she stood, 
and began to divest herself of the ornaments, that 
she had on her person. One by one she took them 
off and placed them at the feet of the God, for the 
first time speaking in these words : "Here, my 
Lord, take them, 1 need them no longer." And 
then she slowly came back to where the body of 
her husband was lying covered. She ihen 
addressed her brother-in-law and said : "Prepare 
for the ceremony of cremation, and you know I 
can't live without him. I must accompany him." 
Though her relations, friends and neighbours 
had all suspected that something serious was 
impending, the first announcement was received 
with a shock which could not be described. Then 
followed dissuasions and they all began to 
dissuade her to no purpose. The uncle-in-law, the 
mother-in-law, whom a Hindu lady is bound to 
revere next to God, commanded, and then 
earnestly pleaded to her to forbear ; but she was 
not to be moved. Then came the Guru the 
Purohit, whom, as her spiritual guides, she was 
bound to obey ; they tried their best, but she was 
as firm as rock. 

Time rolled on, and she wavered not for a 
moment. Then the last device was resorted to 

58 



SUTTEE IN INDIA 

Her fears were appealed to ; they described 
to her the horrible and painful sufferings of a 
living being upon a funeral pile. At first she dis- 
dained to give replies to their appeals to her fears, 
but at last, when obliged to say something, she 
said : "You need not be anxious ; my soul has 
fled with my Lord. As for bodily sufferings, I shall 
shew you that I need not apprehend them." There 
was a lamp burning, according to the usual 
custom by the corpse, and she put one of her 
fingers upon the slow flame of the lamp and burnt 
it without winking. Crowds had then collected 
from all parts of the country. It was then about 
4 p. m. and the corpse was carried to the burning 
ghat on the bank of the small lake, only about a 
couple of hundred yards from the house, and the 
lady followed, followed by thousands of men and 
women, chanting "Haribole." The crowd then 
began to collect dry faggots, and heaps were 
gathered in a moment. 

While the funeral pile was in the process of 
being prepared, the corpse was bathed, and the 
lady herself performed her ablutions. She then 
put on vermillion on her forehead,* and dressed 
herself in a new Saree (cloth for ladies) and then 

* Women who have husbands alone have the privilege of 

putting on the vermillion. The vermillion shewed that she 

disdained to live as a widow. Indeed, before ascending the 

funeral pile she dressed herself as a new bride going to hrr 

husband. 

59 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

slowly ascended the funeral pile. Her hair was 
properly adjusted by her friends, and they adorn- 
ed her with garlands and wreaths of flowers. The 
crowd then, with tearful eyes, begged of her bless- 
ings and some tokens from her to be kept in 
remembrance of her self-sacrifice. She was sup- 
plied with cowries, plantains, betel-nuts, &c, and 
she began to throw handfuls of them amongst the 
crowd. She then laid herself by the corpse of her 
husband in the posture of a warm embrace. She 
gave the order, and the pile was lighted in several 
places and there was at once a blazing fire. The 
Suttee raised her right hand and began to utter 
the name of "Hari," turning her hand round and 
round. This was followed by loud responsive 
shouts of " Haribole " from the crowd. She was 
dead before the fire had reached her sacred person. 
The lady had no child." 

But we inquired: " How was it that, you 
being many thousands, you say, almost a hundred 
thousand, you could not prevent a fragile lady 
from burning herself?'' 

To this the old Brahmin replied : "It could 
not be done. She sat there as a statue, the most 
beautiful woman in the world. There was no 
sorrow on her face ; on the contrary, it beamed, 
as it were, with ecstacy ; and it seemed that light 
was emitting from her wmole body. She was 
simply unapproachable and irresistible, and the 

60 



SUTTEE IN INDIA 

seething mass stood transfixed with awe before 
her. It was not possible fof man to go against 
her wishes, the greatest of monarchs could not 
have done it." 

When the real spirit of Sutteeism descends 
to a lady she becomes irresistible, and, though the 
Government has stopped it, Suttee may occur even 
now any day. It is not, therefore, quite correct 
to say that the Government has stopped it, it has 
stopped of itself. 

The description given above of the Suttee 
tallies exactly with cases to which Europeans 
have been eye witnesses. 



APRIL, MAY AND JUNE 

In those early days when gods did not disdain 
to come down from their celestial abodes to hold 
converse with men below — that such thing's hap- 
pened, the Bible is our witness — the fishermen of 
Bengal prayed to Heaven to be protected from 
thieves. Their god, for each caste had its own, 
came down to listen to what they had to say. 
The fishermen said that their custom was to spread 
nets in rivers at night and watch. But the river- 
breeze induced sleep, and when they fell down 
overpowered by it, the thieves stole all the fishes 
that were netted. They, therefore, prayed for 
something to neutralize the effects of the river- 
breeze. Their god was moved to pity and gave 
them mosquitoes as a remedy against drowsiness. 
Thus came mosquitoes in India, says the legend 
of the fishermen. 

The Bannias amassed gold, and were, in like 
manner, robbed by thieves. They prayed to their 
god to afford them some protection from the 
robbers of their hard-earned property. The god 
came down and said that fishermen had got 
mosqaitoes, and those insects ought to be a 
sufficient protection to them also. The Bannias 
said that they had acquired a bad name for them- 

62 



APRIL, MAY AND JUNE 

selves by their economical habits. They were 
considered stingy, so stingy indeed, that even the 
mosquitoes have been affected by this foul rumour. 
Indeed, they have been so scared away by the 
rumour that they (the mosquitoes) avoided them as 
they did not expect a drop of blood from them. They 
wanted something more potent than mosquitoes. 
On reflection, the god gave them poisonous snakes. 
Thus came these reptiles in India. The terror of 
being bitten by snakes which glided about at night, 
gave, in those days, sufficient protection to the 
Bannias from thieves. 

Thus did India get its scourges, one by one, 
obtained by the people themselves, by their selfish 
folly. But, at one time, a national prayer was 
offered up to all the gods of the country. The 
gods had desired the people to live in peace, and 
treat all men as brethren and perform all religious 
sacrifices. The people followed the rule of life 
thus laid down by the thirty-threee millions of 
gods for them. The result was disastrous ; for, 
they forgot to fight and thus became objects of 
attack to all ungodly and powerful nations. 

When the entire nation prayed, all the gods 
came down, and these thirty-three millions of 
celestial beings with their consorts looked, says 
the legend, like a swarm of glow-worms. They 
filled the whole heaven, and were yet fifty miles 
deep ! The people with folded hands prayed to 

63 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

the gods to be protected from the invaders of their 

country. 

The god of the fishermen thus replied 
addressing the people,— "You ought to have no 
fear of any invader. I have given your country 
mosquito. No foreign nation will consequently 
care to come to India.'' The people submitted 
that mosquitoes would be no protection at all. 

The eod of the Bannias then said that he had 
given them poisonous snakes, and surely no nation 
would, alter that, venture to come to India. The 
people again demurred. 

The thirty-three millions of gods with their 
consorts then held a consultation amongst them- 
selves, but could arrive at no definite and 
satisfactory conclusion. One goddess interrupted 
the proceedings by declaring that she would do 
the needful. She would give cholera, and that 
would afford the most adequate protection to 
India against all invaders. The name of this ever 
to-be-feared goddess is Ola Debi or the Cholera 

Goddess. 

The deluded people of India accepted the gift 
with joy, but they were not yet satisfied. The 
gods held another conference, and they at last 
succeeded in arriving at a definite conclusion. 
Thev said that invasions of India could only be 
made by powerful nations, and powerful nations 
come from cold countries. To make India 

64 



APRIL, MAY AND JUNE 

intolerable to such people, the country ought to be 
made hot. Thus two hot months were given to 
India — the months of Baisakh and Jaishta. The 
gods calculated that any nation from the cold 
countries, however tenacious of purpose, would be 
compelled to flee from their beloved India, when 
subjected to the heat of April, May and June. 

The overpowering heat which makes the life of 
every inhabitant of the Indian plains miserable, 
reminds us of the above legend which we heard 
in our early days ; and which is still believed in 
by the ignorant masses of the country as true. If 
you ask them to explain how, in spite of the 
mosquitoes, the cobras, the cholera and the heat, 
India has been taken possession of by a nation 
hailing from a cold country, the believers in the 
above legend will tell you that, in this iron age, 
the gods have been rendered powerless by men. 
And are not the English, they will tell you, a 
nation powerful enough to defy even the ordinan- 
ces of so many gods as thirty-three millions. ? 

We are, however, disposed to agree with the 
gods that the heat of April, May and June ought 
to be sufficient terror to any people from any cold 
country. The gods were right in their calculation, 
but they had no idea of the tenacity of purpose of 
an Englishman. Many of those Englishmen and 
Scotchmen, who come to India to earn money by 
entering service, do not act wisely. They do no 

65 
S-5 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

good to themselves in any way, by coming out here. 
India is as much dreary to them, as Siberia is to 
a Russian prisoner. They have to leave society 
behind to find no society here. They have to live 
alone in the midst of millions of aliens. They 
have to leave dear surroundings of their early 
days to live amongst strangers. They have to do 
the same thing over again, all the days of their 
lives. Their pay is fat no doubt, but their work 
is hard too. They have barely time to enjoy the 
necessary sleep of seven hours. The heat is 
unbearable for a native : it can well be conceived 
how dreadful it must be to inhabitants of cold 
countries. It is true they earn some money ; but 
what of that ? When in their old age they go 
home with their bags of money, they find them- 
selves again in the midst of strangers, with no 
friends and no congenial spirits to make their 
existence bearable. All that they gain is that they 
die rich, if that is any consolation at all. The best 
thing tor them is for most of them to go home. 
Let those who can spend their days on hills alone 
remain for the purpose of ruling the country. 



ONE OF THE LAST KINGS OF 
BENGAL. 

When the Bengalees were independent, they 
were a warlike race. Martial spirit, like Goddess 
Lakshmi, is fickle, and travels from one nation to 
another. A nation which is weak now, may 
become strong under the impulse of circumstances. 
This can at once be proved by a reference to 
history. The Bengalees were at one time not 
only a warlike, but also a conquering, race. This 
was under the Sen Kings of the province. These 
Sens are Kayasthas according to Ayin Akbari, 
and Vaidyas according to popular belief. 

The most warlike of these Sen Kings was 
Vijoy. He conquered Assam, Madras and Ceylon, 
and sent a fleet to the West by the Ganges, with 
what result is not known. But the martial spirit, 
the nation began to decline after the reign of 
Vijoy. Bengal was at last wrested by the 
Mussalmans from the hands of its old King, Laksh- 
man Sen. 

He is called Lakshmania by the Mussalman 
authors. But popularly it is believed that the last 
Sen King of Bengal was Lakshman Sen who, 
when the Mussalmans came, was eighty years of 
age. When the Mussalmans invaded Bengal, he 

67 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

fled without offering them any battle. TheMussal- 
man authors refer to a legend in connection with 
this King of Bengal. It is this: Astrologers had pre- 
dicted that if his mother gave him birth at a certain 
auspicious moment, he would live to reign eighty 
years in Bengal. His mother was big with child, 
when his father died. The auspicious moment was 
approaching ; but the infant in the womb was in a 
hurry to be born, and, indeed, he would have come 
down two hours before the auspicious moment, had 
not the mother adopted a sure means of preventing 
it. She had herself hung up by the two feet, with 
the head downwards. She was taken down at the 
proper time ; and when she gave birth to her 
child (Lakshman Sen) he was immediately pro- 
claimed King. The mother, however, died of the 
means she had adopted to secure eighty years' 
reign for her son. 

After Vijoy Sen, the Bengalees devoted them- 
selves to arts, sciences, and literature. Mithila was 
the centre of the Naya philosophy, but Bengal 
soon after eclipsed that famous seat of learning. 
The Naya (logic), the Tantra (religious philo- 
sophy), literature, mathematics and poetry, etc., 
engrossed the attention of the higher classes of 
Bengalees during the days of the last Sen Kings 
01 Bengal. 

The last King, Lakshman Sen, was himself a 
great poet, and he surrounded himself by poets. 

68 



ONE OF THE LAST KINGS OF BENGAL 

His wife was a poetess, so was his son, so was his 
daughter-in-law, and so were his ministers. The 
great Jaydeva was the first poet at his court, and 
his rival was Umapati Dhar. This Umapati Dhar 
was a Suvarnabanik. Dr. Rajendra Lala Mittra 
mistook him for a Brahmin, however. Jaydeva 
talks of this Umapati in his great book, the best 
lyrical poem in the world, theGeeta Govinda. We 
said Lakshman Sen was himself a poet ; some of 
his pieces are extant, and they are written in 
Bengalee characters. 

Fancy the spectacle of a King and his cabinet 
devoting themselves to poetic pleasures ! The 
village communities took care of themselves ; and, 
being too strong for the governors, remained 
virtually independent. The King could be only 
approached by a subject with a Sloka (couplet) in 
hand. There was no other way of having access 
to him. A good sentiment, a happy simile, or an 
apt metaphor carried the day with him. 

The King had once sent his son to a distant 
part of his dominions on some business. The wife 
of his son pined away. The son could not come 
home without the permission of the King, his 
master ; nor could he himself venture to ask it. 
But the wife of his son conceived and carried out 
a bold plan. She entered the bed-chamber of the 
King, her father-in-law, when he was out, and 
wrote a couplet which is known to almost all 

69 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

pandits versed in Sanskrit. But there is no harm 
in giving a translation of the couplet. It is this : — 

"The clouds are pouring without intermission, 
and the peacocks are dancing with joy ; on such a 
day, death or my beloved alone can remove my 
suffer in gs." 

The King, on entering his room for his after- 
noon nap, saw the couplet on the wall, and was 
deeply moved. On inquiry he learnt that it was 
the work of his daughter-in-law ! He left his bed, 
and immediately sent an express for his son. 

On another occasion, the King absented him- 
self from home for a considerable time to the 
detriment of business, because of his love for a 
low-born damsel. His son sent him two couplets 
which were addressed to a river. They may be 
translated thus: "'Generally cool art thou, O river ! 
and transparent by nature. Thou art thyself not 
only pure, but makest every thing pure by thy 
touch. But more. Art not thou the life of all living 
things? Why then dost thou flow downwards?" 

The penitent King, of course, hastened to 
his capital. When the Mussalmans came, the King 
was eighty years old. It is further said he had no 
heirs. He called all the philosophers of his court 
together. They were all poets and pious men ; 
and none of them had any taste for fighting, They 
all addressed the King in these terms : Life was 
like a drop of water on a lotus leaf. The object of 

70 



ONE OF THE LAST KINGS OF BENGAL 

■life was salvation. It was only mad men who 
fought for the acquirement of earthly blessings. It 
was a horrible sin to shed the blood of an animal; 
how much more horrible then it was to shed 
human blood 1 Let the Mussalmans enjoy the 
blessings of the world. They were fools to en- 
danger their hereafter for such worthless advan- 
tages. They must endanger it, if they possessed 
them at the cost of others. "Let us." said they, 
"enjoy the nectar that flowed from the lotus feet of 
Sree Krishna." 

English education has effected a good deal of 
change in the instincts of the Hindus of Bengal. 
But yet the feelings, which guided the last Sen 
King and his advisers, have not lost their hold 
completely upon their minds. Political agitation 
and political privileges are ideas imported from 
the West, and the Bengalees have not been able 
to acclimatize them yet in their country. What 
the rulers need to keep them contented is to leave 
them alone, with the enjoyment of their simple 
food, domestic enjoyment, intellectual pleasures, 
and religious exercises. If the rulers of the land 
had not tried to interfere with the domestic 
arrangements of the Bengalees and with their 
cherished objects and notions, they would have 
grown no political institution or newspaper in our 
country. 



A STORY OF PATRIOTISM 
IN BENGAL.* 

The death of our lamented countryman, Mr. 
Ganesh Vasudev Joshi of Poona, and the attempt 
of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal (Sir Ashley 
Eden) to snub Mr. O'Donnell, a District Magis- 
trate, for directing public attention to the abuses 
of the indigo planting system in Behar, reminds 
us of a promise, we had made to a friend, of dis- 
closing to the world the secret of the origin of the 
great indigo disturbance in Bengal in which 
millions of indigo ryots and other Bengalees 
shewed a degree of patriotism, self-sacrifice and 
devotion scarcely witnessed in the annals of the 
world before. People in jail refused to sow indigo 
though solemn promises were held out by the 
authorities to set them free ; to rebuild their 
houses, which had been destroyed by their 
opponents, the planters ; and to restore to them 
their families, wives and children who had been 
roaming in the country as beggars. People refused 
to sow indigo even for a year. Thousands thus 
preferred indescribable miser yto handling indigo 
seed again. 

* This appeared in 1880 in the Ameita Bazar Patrika. 

72 



A STORY OF PATRIOTISM IN BENGAL 

The rulers of the Empire know not the origin 
of this great combination. It is yet a mystery to 
them as to how a combination of the apathetic 
Bengalee ryots, a combination in which about 
five millions of men took part, was brought about 
so secretly and so suddenly without the authorities 
knowing anything about it. We shall disclose 
the secret to-day, for the benefit of the rulers of 
the land. There is no longer any need for secrecy 
as both the noble heroes of our story are dead. 

In the village of Chougatcha, district Nadia, 
lived two gentlemen, Babus Vishnu Charan 
Biswas and Digambar Biswas. They were both 
men of some property : Babu Vishnu Charan was 
a small Zemindar, and Babu Digambar, a 
Mahajan, that is, he lent money and paddy on 
interest. They were not acquainted with the 
English language, but they were men of 
indomitable perseverence and courage. They 
were, besides, men of heart, and had a large 
share of that intelligence which generally cha- 
racterises a Bengalee gentleman. Both of them 
served as Dewans of several indigo factories in 
the district of Nadia, and they were obliged to 
leave service in disgust, as Dewans of indigo 
factories, who had hearts, had to do in those days. 

In those days, the indigo planters of Bengal 
governed the country with despotic sway. Sir 
Frederic Halliday was not aware of the real state 

73 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

of affairs, and the planters found in him a warm 
friend and supporter. So much so that the 
ignorant ryot had been led to believe that the 
Government had a share in all the indigo concerns 
of the country. The more intelligent believed 
that the Lieutenant-Governor was personally 
interested in some indigo factories. At least, the 
planters never failed to give circulation to that 
rumour, to the damage of that worthy statesman's 
character. In short, the planters obtained the- 
support of the executive, from the police constable 
to the head of the province, in their acts oM 
spoliation and oppression. 1 

They held courts, criminal and civil, andJ 
awarded all sorts of punishment. They confined 
men in their own jails, and sometimes did much 
worse. They were not respectors of persons ; and 
Zemindars and ryots trembled before them. In 
short, they were the absolute masters of the 
persons and properties of the people, and they 
never failed to exercise, to the fullest extent, the 
despotic powers they possessed. The ryots meekly 
suffered, for they had no help. If they resisted, 
their villages were plundered, and sometimes 
burnt down and some of them murdered. The 
Magistrates punished, not the planters, but 
the injured ryots. The ring-leaders were sent 
to prison on alleged charges of damaging 
indigo crops and others too numerous to 

74 



A STORY OF PATRIOTISM IN BENGAL 

mention and this kept the people in a quiet 
state. 

It was during the government of Sir Frederic 
Halliday, that this system of growing indigo 
was pushed to its uttermost limits. Previously 
the planters fought amongst themselves, and 
thus enhanced the value of the indigo ryot, and 
he obtained protection from rival planters. But 
the shrewd planters saw their mistake, and formed 
themselves into a body, for the purpose of avoid- 
ing these internal dissensions. From that day 
the indigo ryots of Bengal became utterly help- 
less. And when everything was rife for an out- 
burst, Babus Vishnu Charan and Digambar 
applied the lighted match to the fuse. It took 
however, two years to ignite the whole country. 

Babu Vishnu Charan left the planter's service 
in disgust. He saw, and was made to do, things 
which shocked his feelings ; and he at last came 
to the determination of not serving the planters, 
but to expel them from the country, if possible. 
He knew that the planters never resorted to law- 
courts unless they were forced by circumstances. 
Law was expensive ; but this deterred them not so 
much as the idea that going to the law-courts 
would cause damage to their prestige. "Why 
should I allow that damaging idea to be circulated 
that I am not strong enough to subdue refractory 
ryots and that I have a master in the hakims?" 

75 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

thought the average planter. Babu Vishnu Charan 
thought that the first thing necessary was to 
defy the planter ; the second to fight a battle and 
win it ; and the third, to rouse the whole country. 
He knew that the first battle won would secure to 
him allies. The ryots had been goaded to despera- 
tion for they were reduced almost to the condition 
of Carolina slaves in spite of the law-courts with 
which the country was studded. 

He counselled with Digambar Biswas who 
heartily entered into the plot. It was just at the 
time when Nana Saheb was organizing his revolt. 
Nana's efforts were directed against the Govern- 
ment, those of the two Biswases against the 
planters. The first thing that they did was to 
prevent the ryots of their village from sowing 
indigo, and to promise them protection. They 
sent envoys to other villages to induce the ryots to 
join in the combination, and engaged the services 
of renowned lathials (clubmen) whom they brought 
from the east, i. e., Barrisal. All the villages 
declined to join them except one, and to that 
village they sent eight spearsmen for its protection. 
The planter, who was thus defied, resolved to nip 
the rebellion in the bud, and collected about a 
thousand men, about one hundred of whom were 
regulars. Mind all these preparations were being 
made within eight to ten miles of the sudder 
station, the town of Nadia ! 

76 



A STORY OF PATRIOTISM IN BENGAL 

The planters spread a rumour to the effect 
that they would attack the village of Chougatcha 
on a certain day, and in the morning of that day 
actually advanced towards it. But wheeling 
round suddenly, they attacked the village which 
had joined the two Biswases. The villagers had 
entrenched themselves within an impenetrable 
fence ; but, deceived by the rumour of the planters, 
they had sent away four out of the eight lancers 
they had for their own protection to help the 
garrison of chougatcha. They were thus taken 
at a disadvantage, and found themselves surround- 
ed by one thousand men. The fence protected 
them for a time, but eventually the village was 
taken by assault and plundered, one of the 
Sharkiwallas or spearsmen being wounded, who 
subsequently died in the factory. 

So the first battle was lost, and the combina- 
tion might have collapsed, but for an extremely 
lucky circumstance. About that time, the district 
of Nadia was in charge of a young and zealous 
officer who, unlike the majority of his brother 
Magistrates, had no particular partiality for the 
planters. The fact of the dispute came to his 
notice, and taking an elephant, he came to make 
inquiries personally. He found that the planters 
were the aggressive party, and he began to deal 
even-handed justice. This encouraged the ryots 
a little, and Babus Vishnu Charan and Digambar 

77 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

freely supplied them with funds for law and other 
expenses. The name of this Englishman, to 
whom Bengal is for ever indebted, is Mr. R. L 
Tottenham, lately one of the Judges of the 
Calcutta High Court. 

This officer was transferred from the district, 
for evincing his zeal on behalf of the wronged, 
but the leaders of the combination tried, by all 
means in their power, to keep up the spirit of the 
ryots who had thrown off the yoke of the planters. 
It was at this time that the patience and patriotism 
of the Biswases were sorely tried. The planters* 
scouts kept watch day and night for the purpose 
of waylaying them. They could, therefore, only 
travel by night when leaving home. Thev were 
under the constant apprehension of being invaded 
in their own village by overwhelming numbers, 
and they slept with their swords drawn. They 
engaged the services of a large body of lathials, 
who kept guard over the village day and night. 
Almost all the villagers had sent away their 
families to live in the houses of relatives. 

Any ordinary man would have succumbed to 
the series of troubles which beset the Biswases, — 
troubles, a faint idea of which we have given 
above. But they had other troubles from unexpec- 
ted quarters. The ryots, for whom they were 
suffering so much in every way, did not feel that 
they were as much obliged to them, as the Biswases 

78 



A STORY OF PATRIOTISM IN BENGAL 

were to them for joining in the combination. 
Comes one ryot to say : "I owe so much to the 
planter, and I cannot pay it. If I join him, he 
will make over the bond to me. If you pay the 
amount I join you." The Biswases did pay the 
amount. The planters obtained decrees against 
many ryots, but the money was ungrudgingly paid 
by the Biswases. There were ryots who were 
rascally enough to lay blackmail upon the Biswas- 
es simply for their forbearance in not going 
against them ! 

Another village joined them, and another. 
Within the course of a year and-a-half, they found 
the factory tottering. The ryots had become then 
the stronger party. The tidings spread far and 
wide that the indigo ryots had fought and won 
against the planters. This the ryots could never 
believe before. Babus Vishnu Charan and 
Digambar shewed by their disinterested patriotism 
that it was possible, even for little men like them, 
to wage a war with the formidable planters of 
Bengal and that successfully. The prestige of 
the planters was thus utterly destroyed. The ryots 
of Lokenathpore concern in the same district were 
the next to take up arms, and within the course 
of two years, from the time the patriots had taken 
into their head to form a combination against the 
planters, the whole of Bengal was up against 
them. 

79 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

The Babus examined their accounts and 
found that the whole affair had cost them only 
seventeen thousand rupees, a large sum consider- 
ing that they were only middle-class men, but 
ridiculously small when the gigantic results 
obtained were considered. They never made 
speeches, nor did the newspapers parade their 
good works. Their names are not even known, 
and this is the first time that we are induced to 
give publicity to their doings. Both of them have 
left descendants, but babu Digambar was ruined, 
and his son is not in comfortable circumstances 
now. 



BRAHMIN AND A PLEBIAN 

India owes more to England than she can 
ever repay, is a sentiment we found in the columns 
of an Anglo-Indian paper a few days ago. This 
is very well-known to the people of this country, 
and always acknowledged by them gratefullv. 
Perhaps England also owes some obligations to 
the people of this country. They say in honest 
pride that, "we have generously given you educa- 
tion, good roads, railways, law courts and many 
other institutions." That is all true, but we shall 
here tell a nice story of a Brahmin and a plebeian, 
who met accidentally on their way to Calcutta. 
They accosted each other, and came to know that 
they were going in the same direction, for the 
same purpose, viz., to Calcutta in search of 
employment. Says the Brahmin to the other : 
f Now, as you are a low-caste man and can only 
be a menia) servant, you can be provided for at 
once. I will do it for you ; be my servant, and I 
will make you a reasonable allowance." This 
was agreed to by the other. 

The Brahmin had very dirty clothes on, while 
his servant had provided himself with clean pieces. 
Says the Brahmin again : — "Rama," (this was the 
name of his just-appointed servant) " this cannot 

81 
S— 6 



PICTURES OK INDIAN LIFE 

be. I, your master, to put on such dirty clothes 
and you to wear such clean and nice ones ! This 
won't do. People will laugh at me, but that I 
don't care, but they will laugh at you. So let us 
exchange clothes." To this very reasonable 
request, Rama, of course, gave his assent. And 
they changed their clothes, and thus attired, they 
came at last to Calcutta. 

The Brahmin rented a small hut, and asked 
Rama whether he had any money with him. "Yes, 
two rupees I brought from home for passage 
expenses," says Rama. " Well, give me these 
two rupees, we must provide for our immediate 
wants," says the Brahmin, "and besides, the land- 
lord will have to be paid one rupee in advance." 
Of course, Rama could not object to this second, 
and still more reasonable, request. 

Says the Brahmin again : " Now, Rama, you 
are servant, I am master. It is your duty to see 
that I may be put to no trouble. You must do all 
the work of the house. An indolent man never 
prospers in this world. Besides, to tell you the 
truth, I am a little strict. If I find you in fault, I 
will dismiss you immediately. Well, have you 
finished all the household work?" "Yes, Sir,'' says 
Rama. " Have you had a bellyful of rice ?'' asks 
the master. (Now, be it remembered, the market- 
ing was made with Rama's money.) "Yes, Sir," 
replies Rama again. Then the Brahmin tells him, 

82 



BRAHMIN AND A PLEBIAN 

" Now let me take my rest and afternoon nap, 
while you go to the streets to beg. Take care, 
don't loiter in the streets. I shall judge you by 
the amount you bring home." 

Rama went to beg, and his master slept. In 
the evening, Rama came back with a good many 
annas in his pocket. His pocket was heavy with 
copper. Of course, all that Rama brought was 
taken by the master. Rama worked as a servant 
when at home and left it for begging every day. 
When he came home every evening, his master, 
of course, appropriated all his earnings. And, in 
this manner, after a couple of months, the Brahmin 
found a good many rupees in his box. 

One day he had some private talk with 
his servant. " Rama," said he, " you must go 
home to my wife. I must make a remittance 
to her, for, she must be in want. I am sorry 
I can't send her much, for, you bring in a 
very small amount daily. And to tell you the 
truth, you are a very stupid servant. Indeed, 
I had intended to dismiss you, but I was loath to 
throw you adrift in the world. However, carry 
all this money that I have been able to scrape to 
xny native village to-morrow. But stop. When 
you go, what will become of me ? Besides, as I 
am sending home every pice I have, you must do 
one thing. Stop two days more, and do you beg 
from morn to midnight, so that you can leave me 

83 






PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 



provision for the few days that you will be 
absent.' 

This was settled, and when Rama was going, 
he begged of his master his passage expenses. 
The master looked angrily at him. "Rama, you 
are getting to be a very expensive luxury, you 
heartless rogue. Do you mean that I should starve 
myself to proviJe you with passage expenses ? A 
fine servant he who wants his passage expenses ! 
You ass, beg your way to my home, and don't 
trouble me with your odious selfishness again. 
Don't forget that I am your ma bap, and had I 
not puc you in the way, and had I not rented this 
house f )r you, you would have starved in the 
streets-' ' 

Aiier providing the Brahmin with expenses 
for several days, Rama left Calcutta, and begged 
his way to the native village of the Brahmin. He 
found out the house of his master, and handed 
over to his master's wife the money that he had 
brought. 

After providing Rama.with some refreshment, 
the excellent wife of the Brahmin asked him, 
" What is the nature of the service that your 
master has been able to secure so soon ? " Rama 
sail in reply : "Mother, no service in particular. 
I, as his servant, beg in the streets, from the 
proceeds of which this amount of money has been 
sent to vou." The lady paused for a moment, and 

84 



DU 
COI 



BRAHMIN AND A PLEBIAN 

said : "Then, I suppose, you go alone, and your 
master does not accompany you.'' " No, he does 
not " said Rama. " Then I suppose, when you 
come back, he takes of you an account of the 
number of houses you resorted to and the amount 
you received from each?" "No, that he does nor," 
said Rama in reply. "Is it so?— said the lady 
in reply, "I always knew him to be a foolish, 
worthless careless and generous sort of man. He 
takes no account ? I can guess, the generous fool 
will never prosper. It never strikes him that it is 
in your power to forget your obligations to him 
and conceal a portion of the day's earnings from 
him. His generosity will ruin him. But you, 
Rama, don't take advantage of it. You must 
never forget that you can never repay the debt 
you owe to your master." 

It may be objected that the story is not quite 
appropriate, for, a large amount of capital came 
to the country from England. That is quite true, 
but the story is there ; and it is too good to be 
lost and is hence put on record. 



AN ORTHODOX GHOST STORY 

IT was bitter cold, for the month was January, 
and the weather very foul. The wife of a poor 
Brahmin was shivering in her hut, for she had no 
clothes to cover herself. She advised her husband 
who was sitting by her, that he should take up a 
piece of cord and hang himself, since he could not 
provide his wife with sufficient clothing to cover 
her body. The Brahmin took this remark of his 
wife very much to heart, made a deep resolve in 
his mind, and left home immediately, although it 
was a dark night and raining, and he had no 
clothing to protect himself against the biting cold. 
His wife thought that he left her in a huff and 
would soon return ; but he did not. 

The Brahmin left the village, and entered a 
vast plain, in the middle of which there was a beet 
or marsh. He found that it was colder there than 
in the village, and that his limbs were getting 
benumbed. Indeed, he felt that he was losing all 
his strength, and had scarcely any to come back 
to his hut. In short, he felt that he would die in a 
few minutes, if he did not return. 

At this critical moment he saw a blazing fire, 
which seemed to be burning on the brink of the 
bee J referred to above. The sight revived his 

86 



AN ORTHODOX GHOST STORY 

courage, and he gave up his determination of 
seeking home again. He then dragged himself 
there with difficulty, and found that some men, as 
it were, were warming themselves before a large 
fire. The fire was in the centre, and the men sat 
around. It never occurred to him that S fire in a 
place like that, in spite of the rain that was falling, 
would be a strange affair. And stranger still 
would it be for men to be warming themselves in 
a place, and at a time, like that. But in the 
condition in which the Brahmin was, all these 
ideas never occurred to him. He saw that there 
was no place for him to sit by the fireside, so he 
gave a slight push to one of those who were 
warming themselves, with a request to move a 
little and make room for him ; and then he let 
himself drop there. What he said when he gave 
the push was in colloquial Bengalee,— for he was 
a Bengalee and had to express himself in a few 
short words, as he had no strength for a long 
speech. What he said was only — sar re bhai 
tapai. By tapai the Brahmin meant, "let me warm 
myself." Now, sar means "movest," re means 
"thou," bhai means "brother," tapai means "let 
me warm myself." In other words what the 
Brahmin meant was this,— "movest thou, brother, 
let me warm myself.'' 

The Brahmin thus seated himself before the 
fire, although he was in such a wretched plight 

87 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIP 

that he had not life enough to take note of his new 
acquaintances. But the heat of the blazing fire 
soon revived him. He also found just then that 
his new acquaintances were talking in whispers, 
and that about himself. The Brahmin now raised 
his head to take stock of the company in which 
circumstances had thrown him. To his horror he 
found that all his acquaintances had their feet 
turned backwards ! 

Now, in Europe, ghosts have hoofs instead of 
feet, but in India they have their feet no doubt, 
but with this difference that while human beings 
have their toes and feet in the front, the g 
have theirs behind. Why European ghosts should 
have hoofs and their Indian brethren feet turned 
backwards, — is a problem which is not easy of 
solution. It has been established beyond doubt 
that the Europeans must pass through a few 
hundreds of births more before they could be as 
perfect specimens of humanity as the Indians are. 
In the same manner, it may be urged, that the 
ghosts of Europe belong to an undeveloped species, 
and that if they have hoofs now, in time, after a 
few hundred births more, they may get in their 
place human feet, though turned backwards, as 
the Indian ghosts have. 

But to proceed with the story. When the 
Brahmin saw that all his acquaintances were a 
company of ghosts, every hair of his body stood 

88 



AN ORTHODOX GHOST STORY 

erect. He thought that he was lost ; and a feeling 
of faintness very naturally came over him. In 
his terror he began to invoke all the gods in the 
heavens to protect him from his dreadful 
companions; though, of course, for fear of offending 
them he was doing so in his heart, without their 
knowledge. Just then, he was roused by a 
question from one of the ghosts. 

But here some preliminary explanations are 
necessary. When the Brahmin had given a push 
to a ghost to make room for himself, our readers 
would remember that, to give emphasis to his 
motion, he had uttered some words, one of which 
was tapai. Now, the ghost to whom he had given 
the push, unluckily or luckily, bore the name of 
"Tapai.'' The matter then stood thus : What the 
Brahmin meant was "movest, thou, brother, let me 
warm myself ; " but what the ghosts understood 
was that the Brahmin knew "Tapai", and hence 
he had called him by name, and asked him to 
move to make room for him (the Brahmin). In 
short, they understood that the Brahmin had only 
addressed an old acquaintance saying, " Movest 
thou, brother Tapai." 

The ghosts wondered how the Brahmin 
could know the name of Tapai, who was a 
ghost and the Brahmin only a man ; so they 
held a conference in whispers. One wanted 
to know of Tapai himself, whether he and 

89 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

the Brahmin were previously known to each 
other. But Tapai denied all knowledge of the 
Brahmin. They then all came t » an agreement 
on this point, which was to ask the Brahmin 
himself direct, to explain how he had come to 
know the name of Tapai. S >, while the Brahmin 
was at the point of falling down in a swoon from 
bight, he was a ! It i rapai himself. I 

said, '•'/v,' Brahmin) how could you kn<>w 

that my name was Tapai I " 

The question roused tl min to a fall 

conscious oess 'this is p dm. In tin. 

of i r the mind vi h rapidity. He v 

then in desperate circumstance an 1 he found that 
he must act \vith promptitu le t<> save himself. An 
idea entered his head an 1 he wanted to put it 
into action. He did nut give any direct reply 
the question put to him, but he rose and caught 
hold of the hair of Tapai, an 1 threateningly 
addressed him thus : — " Don't I know you, Tapai, 
you rascal ? If you have forgotten me, I have not 
forgotten you. Where is my three hun ire 1 rupees 
which you owed me ? I demand instant payment. 
And if you do it not, I will make you longer by 
two cubits by a profuse beating of the shoe." Of 
course, the Brahmin had no shoes on, nor had he 
ever known what shoe-wearing was, but he used 
that expression, "shoe-beating", in order to fright- 
en the ghosts. 

90 



AN ORTHODOX GHOST STORY 

Tapai, taken aback by this sudden attack,, 
stammered out a reply to the effect that he never 
knew anything about the debt. "But, Thakoor" r 
said he, "when did I borrow money from you?" 
The Brahmin had already framed the reply. He 
said: "Of course, it was not you who borrowed the 
money but your father, and if I can get hold of 
him I will teach him a lesson which he will never 
forget." The fact was, all the ghosts that were 
sitting there were young, and the Brahmin could 
see that Tapai's father was not among them. 

When the Brahmin said that it was Tapai's 
father who had borrowed the money, they all said 
that Tapai's father was dead. This was another 
piece of good luck which the Brahmin thought of 
utilizing at once. He said, "And because your 
father is dead, am I, therefore, to lose my money? 
Is this the sense of justice of ghosts? Take that as 
an earnest," and down came the fist of the 
Brahmin upon the devoted back of poor Tapai. 
The Brahmin was strong, — desperation had made 
him stronger, and the blow fell upon the back of 
Tapai like a sledge hammer. 

Now, if the ghosts had so minded, anyone of 
them could have trampled five hundred Brahmins 
like him under foot. But it must be borne in mind 
that ghosts are a stupid race; besides, everyone of 
them was quite young, none being older than 10 
or 12. The real fact, however, was that the 

9i 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

attitude of the Brahmin confounded them and took 
away the little sense they possessed. The Brahmin 
was a great bully; everyone knows that in the 
Kali-yug, a bully, generally speaking, is always; 
the master in every situation. When the Brahmin 
looked threateningly at the friends of Tapai, they 
feared.be might let go his victim and fall upon 
them. The oldest among them, however, muttered 
that there was no law that one should be murder- 
ed for his debts, far less for those that were con- 
tracted by his father. 

The Brahmin smiled. He said, "Do you call 
this gentle touch of mine, murder? IfTapai's father 
had been here, you would have seen what a blow 
I always carry for my defaulting debtor. I am by 
nature a merciful man and, therefore, I am show- 
ing great consideration to Tapai, you ungrateful 
creatures. I am willing still to show some more 
favours to him. 1 will relinquish all my interest. 
Let him only pay the principal. But it must be 
paid cash down." 

With this the Brahmin raised his hand, as if 
to inflict another blow for the purpose of giving 
emphasis to his proposition. The blow did not 
come, though Tapai shrieked in apprehension. 
The Brahmin was a lucky individual. Tapai was 
an orphan, and had no one but his maternal 
uncle, by name Banroo, who had exactly three 
hundred rupees, which he had kept concealed 

92 



AN ORTHODOX GHOST STORY 

Underneath the roots of a palm tree. This fact 
'was known to all the ghosts ; yet nobody dared to 
'meddle with that sum. For Banroo was the most 
terrible and cruel of all the ghosts in the neighbour- 
'hood . 

The ghosts held a secret consultation, and 
one of them proposed that Banroo's three huudred 
rupees should be paid to the Brahmin. To this 
proposal Tapai did not agree; he said that he 
would rather incur the wrath of the Brahmin 
than that of his uncle. But all the ghosts assured 
Tapai that as he was Banroo's nephew, and that 
as he was going to meddle with the amount only 
to save his life, they would all combine to protect 
him from the wrath of his uncle. The money was 
dug up, counted one by one, and paid to the 
Brahmin. 

Here was, however, another difficult ; the 
Brahmin did not venture to let go the hold I e had 
upon Tapai. His idea was that it would be dan- 
gerous to release Tapai, and then carry the wuiey 
home, leaving the ghosts behind him to do the 
mischief they could. So he said in an an^ me: 
"Am I to carry all this money home? Ta] ou 

must go with me with this bag." But T • as 

afraid to .go alone, and so a few otru >re 

induce 1 to accompany him. Thus the min 

with the lock of Tapai's hair in his hands. r he 

money bag on the latter's shoulders, accc.i | led 

93 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

by half-a-dozen ghosts, returned to the village. 
The Brahmin thought that it would not be safe to 
show his house to the ghosts ; besides, his poor 
hut would go very much against his pretension of 
being a money-lender. So, he pointed out the 
house of another Brahmin instead of his own — of 
one who was comparatively in better circumstan- 
ces, — took the bag in his hands and dismissed the 
ghosts; and they fled precipitately without look- 
ing behind. The Brahmin entered his hut, threw 
the bag of money before his wife and declare I. 
"See, you wretch, whether your husband is worth 
anything or not.'' 

Banroo, who had gone on an errand to the 
South Pole, came home a few days after the inci- 
dent described above. The first thing he did on 
his arrival was to take a peep at his buried trea- 
sure. Seeing his mony gone, he flew into a fit of 
ungovernable passion, and uprooted the palm tree 
in his fury, with his pair of horns, for he had two 
of them, — short and well-pointed. 

Here parenthetically let us remark, that all 
ghosts have not horns. A few have, but the majo- 
rity are without them. In this manner some have 
their tails, others three legs, and some, though 
they have legs, do not walk with them but on their 
heads. It is also said that some have 
the shape of a dome, while others eat with their 
eyes, having no mouth. But it is a herculean 

94 



AN ORTHODOX GHOST STORY 

task to describe the peculiarities of the race of 
ghosts. 

Banroo then went straight to kill his nephew. 
But others came to the latter's rescue. In short, 
everything was fully explained to him. When 
Banroo had heard everything he burst into a loud 
fit of laughter, which sounded like the howl of a 
hyena. People in the nearest village thought that 
it was a hyena that was laughing, but it was 
Banroo. Said he, "I have heard that laughter 
sometimes follows great misery. I cannot help 
laughing at my own misery. And fools, did it 
never occur to you that the Brahmin was only a 
man that ghosts never borrow money of men, and 
that you could have killed him then and there ?" 

The oldest amongst them replied, " We know 
that you have great courage, but it would have 
oozed out before the blows of the Brahmin. If you 
were there, you would have, of your own accord, 
paid the money to appease his wrath. If we are 
ghosts, he is an — arch-ghost." 

Banroo said, "Stop fools I must recover the 
money and also teach the Brahmin a lesson. 
He must know what it is to meddle with us 
ghosts. But you must point out to me the house." 

All the ghosts, however, declined ; they 
apprehended another attack from the Brahmin. 
Banroo then caught his nephew by the neck, and 
told him that he must either pay him the money, 

95 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

or point out to him the house of the Brahmin. 
Tapai found that he must go ; so he accompanied 
his uncle, pointed out to him the house of the 
Brahmin from a distance, and fled. Of course, 
it need not be explained here that the house he 
pointed out was not that of the hero of this tale, 
but of the other and wealthier Brahmin of the 
village. 

It was at about 9 o'clock at night when Banroo 
reached the house of the Brahmin. There was big, 
bushy tamarind tree by the wall which surrounded 
the house, and he took his seat upon a projecting 
branch thereof, watching his opportunity and the 
course of events. The owner of the house was an 
old Brahmin, who had a young son. He had a 
cow which was missing and which was name 1 
"Benre." because it had somehow I i tail. 

Brahmin junior, after dinner, came out of the 
house to wash himself. He had no no that a 

terrible ghost was sitting close by, an I fiercely 
and threateningly looking at him from the pi 
jecting branch of the tamarind tree, on which he 
was perched. While washing himself, the you 
Brahmin saw before him the missing cow 'Benre.'' 
In the delight of his heart he called aloud to his 
father. "Papa," said he, "Banroo is come." Now, 
it must be borne in mind that the name of the c 
w -as "Benre" and not Banroo; but it was called 
"Banroo'' in a tone of banter. Benre, the cow, was 

96 



AN ORTHODOX GHOST STORY 

called Banroo to express indignation at her truant 
conduct. 

The young Brahmin said, "Papa, Banroo is 
at last come." No sooner had he uttered it than 
Banroo, the ghost, started. He muttered to him- 
self, "How could he know that I am here ?" But 
the young Brahmin continued, — "Banroo, I was 
expecting you. So you are come just in time.'' 
Banroo in the tree felt very uncomfortable. He 
thought that this was very queer, and the strange- 
ness of his position gave him a good deal of 
uneasiness. But the young Brahmin continued, 
"Banroo, I have this time provided myself with a 
strong piece of cord for the benefit of your fine 
horns." Banroo began to move backward slowly, 
to make his presence still more unknown if possi- 
ble. But the young Brahmin went on to say, 
"Papa, Banroo is restless and he means flight. 
Fetch me that new piece of cord so that I can 
secure him at once." Banroo felt his horns with 
his two hands, and he thought that he would never 
permit the cord to be put round them. He now 
began to retreat rather rapidly. Just then the cow 
was leaving the place. So the young Brahmin 
said, "Papa, be quick with the cord, Banro< > is 
escaping my hands." The old Brahmin thereupon 
threw a piece of cord from the house an i r'i e 
young Brahmin ran to fetch it. But Banroo the 
ghost vas not to lose this opportunity ; he c< >uld 

97 
S-7 



PICTUR1 5 01 INDIAN l.N l 

bear it no longer. By a big ghostly jump he 
reached the ground from the high branch wh< 
he had been perching, and fU-<l with a loud shriek 
towards his haunt The villagers thought that it 
was only the howl of a jackal ; but no, it was <>f 
Banroo. 









THE STORY OF A LUNATIC 

ONE-HALF of the world thinks the other half 
mad ; but there is no harm in this argument, for 
the halves are equally matched. If the man of the 
world laughs at a pious man, the pious man also 
weeps over the wretched condition of the worldly 
man. If what pious men say be true that there is 
an after world and men there will have to give an 
account of their wicked deeds, then most of the 
greatest men of the human species are mad men 
no doubt. 

But the matter assumes a quite different aspect 
when a so-called mad man is in a minority in a 
combat with another so-called lunatic ; for, the 
other party, who thinks him mad, being the 
stronger, overpowers his opponent, and puts him 
into a lunatic asylum. Kristo Sarkar, whose story 
we were just going to relate, was thus over- 
powered by a stronger party, and kept in the 
Dullanda Lunatic Asylum for eight months, and 
is being sent there again as a lunatic. 

Kristo Sarkar is now on bail ; and, on the 
expiry of its term, he will, under the orders of the 
Bengal Government, be again put into the Lunatic 
Asylum at Dullanda. Fancy the arrangement of 
setting a lunatic at liberty on bail ! He has only a 

99 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

few clays of liberty before him, and after that he 
will be incarcerated during the term of his life. 
And Kristo Sarkar takes advantage of the few 
davs he has before him to run clown to Calcutta 
and see what he can do to escape from his 
doom. 

Kristo Sarkar, who will be sent to the lunatic 
asylum on the ground of his being a dangerous 
maniac, however, sits before us, and relates his 
own story. Of course, he has given bail and he 
cannot offer any violence upon us without forfeit- 
ing his bond. The authorities, who let loose this 
dangerous lunatic in societv, know verv well that 
he being bound hand and foot by his bond, would 
not be able to do harm, and so he is allowed to 
come out of the asylum only for some weeks. But 
to proceed with his story, he says that he was 
accused of having killed an old woman by biting 
her cheek. He was hauled up on a charge of 
culpable homicide ; but the Civil Surgeon gave 
him a certificate that he was a dangerous lunatic, 
and, on that ground, he v.- as acquitted. The 
Magistrate who tried the case reported the matter 
to Go.ernment, and the Government have ordered 
the authorities to send him up to the lunatic 
asylum. 

Kristo Sarkar has all the papers of his case 
with him, and he shows us the judgment of the 
Magistrate which runs as follows : — 

ioo 



THE STORY OF A LUNATIC 

"The evidence for the prosecution leaves no- 
oubt that Kristo Sarkar bit the sick and bed- 
dden old woman Bidhu Dassi, in the cheek, and 
lereby accelerated her death. The act was done 
1 a fit of insanity and would have amounted to 
rievous hurt if Kristo Sarkar had been sane, 
kristo Sarkar is acquitted on the ground of 
isanity. The case will be reported for orders of 
le Government in due course." 

The dangerous maniac then shows to us the 
;port of the Surgeon who made the post mortem 
xamination, on the body of the old woman, and 
re extract the following from it: — 

"The probable cause of death was extensive 
emorrhage of the skin in various parts of the 
ody, effusion in the brain, discharge of blood from 
le lacerated wound in the lip coupled with a bad 
:ate of health. I did not see any 'mark of teeth in 
le lacerated wound. The deceased must have 
iceived blows on the ribs and on her head. The 
lird and fourth ribs of the left side, and the 2nd, 
rd, -Lth, and 5th ribs of the right side broken." 

Kristo Sarkar draws our attention to the 
bove, and tells us, "Now see, sir, who is the mad 
lan, I or the Magistrate ? I am accused of having 
itten the woman with my teeth, the result of 
r hich was that there were no marks of teeth on 
le person of the dead woman, but her ribs were 
roken ! Now, sir, you have a world-wide celebrity 

101 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

for being an impartial, just, frank, out-spoken 
man. Tell me, sir. I repeat, whether I or the 
Magistrate is the mad man." 

Now, this was a most difficult and delicate 
question to answer. It appeared to us that reason 
was on the side of th ealleged lunatic, but he was 
in the minority. To side with him would be 
altogether a risky business, so what we did was 
not to give any reply to his question, but we 
asked him to proceed with his story. He then 
said : " Perhaps, sir, you are not decided, but 
I shall at once settle the question for you," and 
he opened his mouth ami showed us that his 
lower jaw was devoid of nearly half-a-dozen teeth! 
• Now, sir," continued he, "how could a man 
manage to bite with one set of teeth ? The % 
Magistrate, however, adjudges that I did perform 
that impossible feat. Now, give me, sir, I entreat 
you, your frank opinion, who Is the really mad 
man — he or I ? " 

We told him, "Do not, please, press us for an 
answer. Either you or the Hakim who tried you 
must be mad, and in going to decide the 
question, — who is really the mad man, — we ma\ 
ourselves lose the balance of our head. You are 
leading us to dangerous ground, so, please, go on 
with your story." Thereupon he stopped, and 
handed over to us a copy of the deposition of 
Dr. Henry Purves, the Civil Surgeon of Burdwan, 

102 



THE STORY OF A LUNATIC 

entreating us to read it carefully. We did it, and 
for the edification of our readers, we insert it 
below : — 

" I have examined the man, Kristo Sarkar, 
now in the Burdwan Jail, on a charge of culpable 
homicide. It appears to me, from what I have 
learned of his history and what I have seen of 
him, that he is a dangerous lunatic and that he is 
unfit at present to stand his trial. Though he 
apparently gives rational answers to questions 
put to him, I believe, he is incapable of entering 
on his defence. He shows a good deal of cunning 
when being questioned and that makes him more 
dangerous. I think he ought to be detained in a 
Lunatic Asylum for observation and safe custody/ 

When we had finished reading the deposition 
of the Civil Surgeon, Kristo Sarkar said, "The 
Doctor Saheb put me down for a mad man 
because I gave rational answers. It seems the 
Doctor Saheb's idea of a sane man is that he 
must talk incoherently. Then I am, according 
to him, not only mad, but 'dangerous'; dangerous 
because I showed some ' cunning,' in giving my 
answers. The fact is, when I was put upon my 
examination, I tried my best to give intelligent 
answers, because I felt that it was within the 
power of the Doctor either to procure my release, t 
or to send me to the Lunatic Asylum. The resul 
is, that my sanity convinced the Doctor of my 

103 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

insanity, and now I am to pass my days in the 
Lunatic Asylum because I gave rational and 
cunning answers ! '' 

For ourselves we must tell what we felt on 
the occasion. We have hear J of sane men feigning 
insanity, successfully rarely, unsuccessfully gener- 
ally, but we have never heard of a lunatic 
feigning sanity and so successfully. Kristo Sarkar 
is feigning sanity, he is doing it with complete 
success, and he is a psychological phenomenon, 
the possibility of which was never admitted before. 

Kristo Sarkar thus related how he fared in 
the Lunatic Asylum. He said that the life he led 
there was horrible indeed, and he wonders that 
he did not turn mad though he was eight months 
t ere. He said, "I prefer a hundred deaths 
to the life I led in the Lunatic Asylum. 
Now just conceive my position. I was 
sourrounded on all sides by mad men. Though 
a perfectly sane man, more sane perhaps than the 
Civil Surgeon of Burdwan and the Magistrate who 
tried me, yet I was doomed to pass my time with 
companions who were most of them raving 
maniacs. I had nobody to talk to but these men 
bereft of sense. Some of them took a delight in 
thrashing me. One day a violent lunatic had 
nearly killed me. Almost not a day passed without 
my receiving* some sort of ill-treatment at their 
hands. In short, I was constantly in dread of 

104 



THE STORY OF A LUNATIC 

them, and my life was completely at their 
mercy. 

"At night I had to sleep in the same room 
with these lunatics. Fortunately, my night com- 
panions were not of a violent temper. But yet 
their strange hallucinations produced an indes- 
cribable feeling in me. I really began to be affec- 
ted by them, and sometimes doubts arose in my 
mind whether I was really a mad man or not. 
Then my thoughts ran to my persecutors, to the 
Zemindar, the Civil Surgeon and the Magistrate 
who had been the cause of my incarceration, and 
I called upon Heaven to forgive them for the 
miseries which lowed to them. Indeed, sir, can 
you tell me, why these man should combine 
against me, and subject me to the sufferings of 
hell on earth ? I do not remember to have done 
any the least harm to them." The man was 
evidently a very pious Vaishnava. 

Here the poor man turned serious, his eyes 
moistening with tears, ^and the sight of his woe- 
begone face would have perhaps melted a hard 
stone. He then said he was made to work from 
morning till 5-30 P.M., in the evening, constantly, 
getting only one hour's respite for dinner. He 
saw how the lunatics were thrashed by their 
guards for refusing to do work, and he therefore 
never neglected the task allotted to "him. But it 
was too much for him, he said, to work for 11 or 

105 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

12 hours daily. "A heart of burden," remarked 
he, "breaks down if thus worked." He was fed 
upon unhusked rice and a little vegetable, cooked 
in the most abominable fashion imaginable. The 
other lunatics had mutton every other day, but 
being a Vaishnava, unused to take meat, he 
never touched it. What pained him the most 
was the fact that he was compelled to eat his f >od 
often polluted by the touch cf lunatics, who were 
either low caste men, or Mahometans. 

But it would not have matters much if Kr 
Sarkar s sufferings were at an end, but as we said 
he is again going to be put into the asylum. This 
time it is not the Magistrate or Dr. Purves, who 
sends him there, but the Government of Bengal. 
Indeed, the Magistrate, in his report to the Gov- 
ernment, acknowledges that, since Kristo Sarkar's 
return from the asylum he is " apparently per- 
fectly sane", and "he ought not to be detained in 
an asylum.'' The Civil Surgeon of Burdwan does 
not see "the wild stare" which he used to mark in 
him whilst he was in the Burdwan jail. The wife 
of Kristo Sarkar also petitioned the Lieutenant- 
Governor, alleging that her husband was never a 
lunatic, and that it was through the machinations 
of his enemies that he had been place 1 in 
the unfortunate position he was. But all these 
appear to have gone for nothing, and the order 
comes from the Lieutenant-Governor that 

1 06 



THE STORY OF A LUNATIC 

he should be again locked up in the Lunatic 
Asylum ! 

We do not blame the Lieutenant-Governor: 
he is not acquainted with the circumstances of the 
case, and has been guided by routine merely. But 
he ought to have taken into consideration the 
remarks of the Magistrate who considers Kristo 
Sarkar to be now apparently sane, and that of the 
Civil Surgeon who says that he has no longer 
that mad stare. Indeed, with these facts and 
recommendations before His Honour, Kristo 
Sarkar should not be sent to the Lunatic Asylum 
again without a previous medical examination 
by thoroughly competent persons, by persons who 
will not put him down for a mad man by reason 
of giving rational answers.* 



* Let it be noted here that agitation in the press had its 
effect and the alleged lunatic was released. 



THE RAILWAY PLATFORM 

BHAWANEE Babu was attentively turning 
over the pages of the Gazette when he suddenly 
came cross a most important Notification, announc- 
ing the date and hour of the departure of Lord 
Lytton from Calcutta. Bhawanee Babu, being a 
little nervous, was deeply moved, and it took him 
some time to recover from the shock the announce- 
ment had given him. When his perturbed spirit 
was a little calmed, he hastily summoned his 
Dew an, who had his office downstairs. The 
Dewan heard the summons, and hurriedly present- 
ed himself before his lord, with a pen stuck in his 
ear and a bunch of keys in his left hand. "Well, 
Dewanjee," says Bhawanee Babu, "the Burra Lat 
Shaheb goes away from Calcutta seven days 
hence, you know I must bid him farewell at the 
Rationalist way." 

Dewan. — Certainlv, that vou must do, Huzoor. 
Has the Burra Shaheb written to you about it? 

Bhawanee Babu. — Well, yes and no. It is 
true he has not written to me direct, but he has 
intimated it in such a manner as 1 may know it. 
E>on't you see it would be invidious to write to me 
direct ? 

Dewan. — Certainly, Huzoor. Directly or indir- 

108 



THE RAILWAY PLATFORM 

ectly, it matters not. It is clear that it is His 
Excellency's wish that you should be present. 

B. Babu. — Of course. If I don't go, what will 
the Burra Shaheb think ? What will other Shahebs 
think? What will the public think? I, who have 
never failed in the performance of this sacred and 
solemn duty for the last twelve years, cannot stay 
in my parlour, when the Burra Shaheb himself is 
going away. Ask the family priest to make horn 
every day and to offer some thousands of toolsee 
leaves to the Thakur for my success on that day. 
I will not forget the date and the hour ; yet let it 
be recorded, and do remind me of it every day 
twice. Let the horses be well fed and taken care 
of and the big phaeton kept clean. What are 
these horses and phaetons for, if not to carry, me 
to the Railway platform on such great occasions? 
I hope, Ramanee Babu will get no intimation. I 
say this from a pure feeling of friendship for him; 
the last time, on a similar occasion, he made 
himself the laughing stock of all present by his 
awkward manner. 

The Dewan carried out the orders of his 
master, and the eventful day arrived at last. The 
phaeton was in attendance, Bhawanee Babu was 
richly and gaudily dressed, his dependants all 
stood beside him, and the family priest came with 
his offerings. The priest blessed him, bells were 
rung, conches blown, and the ladies filled the house- 

109 



PICTURES OK INDIAN LIFE 

with the joyful peal of ulu. Solemnly and sedately, 
Bhavvanee Babu advanced towards his carriage, 
there was another joyful and louder peal of ulu, 
and the big phaeton rattled along the narrow 
street towards the How rah Railway Station. 

Bhawanee Babu was punctual, that is to say, 
he arrived only two hours before the time. He 
alighted from his carriage, but his dismay knew 
no bounds when he saw that Ramanee Babu was 
already there, as richly dressed as himself. There 
was a cloud in the face of both, and they savagely 
glared at each other for a moment ; but, by super- 
human effort they mastered their feelings and 
cordially grasped each other's hands. " What 
brings you so early, Ramanee Babu ?" — Asks 
Bhawanee Babu, still hoping against hope that 
his friend perhaps knew nothing about the depar- 
ture affair, but was only going to Chandernagar 
or Burdwan. But Ramanee Babu was equal to 
the occasion, and replied to the query by a speci- 
men of his wit. "What brings you here, Bhawanee 
Babu?" They laughed, and Bhawanee Babu was 
meditating another attack when uthers arrived. 
Some came alone, some in pairs, but each with a 
peculiar head-dress. The Railway platform was 
soon filled with a sea of turbans of various shapes 
and hues. And Bhawanee Babu was lost in the 
crowd. 

Burra Shaheb comes at last and there is a rush 

no 



THE RAILWAY PLATFORM 

towards his carriage; one, whose head is too small 
for his turban, finds it under the feet of half-a- 
dozen of eager farewell-givers and trampled and 
for ever damaged. Another finds his trail suddenly 
caught from behind as if by a vice ; he looks 
behind and finds that his neighbour behind him 
was standing upon it. It is not on record that 
anybody was trampled to death on that occasion, 
but it is on record that many lost their valuable 
turbans and damaged their valuable dresses, and 
all received pushes, lateral and horizontal, from 
behind and from before, during those eventful 
moments, when the crowd rushed towards the 
carriage of the big man. 

The Burra Shaheb alighted from his carriage, 
and that event was followed by numberless 
salaams from the assembled guests or hosts, call 
them whichever you like. The big man pro- 
ceeded on straight without looking to the right or 
left, and a passage was immediately made for 
him. On the platform he accosted one or two 
men who stood close by, though there were 
hundreds before him ready to accost him and to 
be accosted in return. But the big man had only 
come three minutes before time, and he had, 
therefore, no time, even if he had the inclination, 
of addressing and receiving the salute of each. 
The assembly stood before him with their hearts 
beating, anxious to catch one glance of the big 

in 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

man. But no response came from him, and the 
assembled guests were not even sure whether the 
big - man was at all aware of their presence. 

Bhawanee Babu was standing- behind. There 
was a thick phalanx before him, and he was trying 
every posture to have a peep at the Viceroy. It 
so happened, however, that just before entering 
the car, the big man took a survey of the throng 
from one end to the other. His glance gradually, 
though with the rapidity of the lightning, came 
towards the spot where Bhawanee Babu was 
standing. That was the proudest moment in the 
life of Bhawanee Babu. He was not slow to take 
advantage of it. Like the pendulum of a clock 
from which the ball had been removed, or more 
appropriately, like the wing of the humming bee, 
the hands of Bhawanee Babu began to move 
rapidly, so that he managed twenty-five salaams 
in a second. But, alas ! for Bhawanee Babu, he 
could not detain that big man's glance even for a 
second ; and long before he had finished his 
salaams, the glance had left him far behind and 
encountered others, who were doing precisely 
what he had begun a little before. Readers, have 
you ever seen an oolloo field ? Well, when a 
strong gale passes over it, the grass, as the wind 
touches it, bends down, and continues to move 
for a time even when the gale has left it. Thus 
the Railway platform was like a oolloo field, and 

112 



THE RAILWAY PLATFORM 

the guests were like oolloos, and the glance like a 
strong" gale, and the metaphor complete. 

The Viceroy proceeded towards Simla, and 
Bhawanee Babu came home. His servants and 
dependants had already assembled at the gate to 
receive him; and the ladies, his wife and daughters, 
were peeping through the lattice, eager to learn 
his success. Bhawanee Babu alighted from his 
carriage, and his servants almost carried him 
upstairs, where he was undressed, fanned, sham- 
pooed, and tended as a delicate infant. The 
Dewan, after the lapse of half-an-hour, at last 
ventured to enquire about the result of his meet- 
ing with the Lord Shaheb. Now, Bhawanee Babu 
was a tender-hearted soul, incapable of giving 
pain to any one. He knew, if he told the bare 
truth, it would deeply disappoint his friends. 
He had, therefore, to tell them some lies. He had 
been building airy castles while proceeding to- 
wards the Railway platform, how the Viceroy 
would receive him, talk to him without taking 
any notice of Ramanee Babu. etc., etc., Now, 
poor soul ! his airy castles had been all dashed to 
the ground. " I had a hot time of it, Dewanjee," 
said the Babu, with a bold face. "There was an 
exchange of sharp words between myself and His 
Excellency.'' 

Dewan. — Sharp words ! I hope, His Excel- 
lency was not offended. 

113 
S— 8 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

B. Babu. — Ah ! no. He was in a gay humour, 
so was I. His Excellency saw me, and said to 
me, "I am much obliged to. you, Bhawanee Babu, 
for this attention," while shaking hands with me. 
I told him in reply, "My Lord, I am the most 
loyalest subject of Her Most August, September, 
November and Gracious Majesty. It is my most 
serious, and solemn, and sacred duty to be present 
on such occasions." You know, when my tongue 
is once unloosened, I can make a very good 
speech. His Excellency was mightily pleased. 

Dewan. — But what about sharp words ? 

B. Babu. — Oh, I forget. I told his Lordship 
that "the British Government with its Zulu War, 
Bengal Bank, and Post Office was a very good 
Government, but it was not particularly discrimi- 
nate in offering titles of honour. People who were 
nobodies were honoured, while men of ancient 
families were neglected. You see, Dewanjee, I 
gave him a hint, a broad hint. But, poor Rama- 
nee was standing aloof alone, unnoticed, in the 
crowd. I don't know who wanted him there. 

But while Bhawanee Babu was relating his 
adventures to his friends and relations, Ramanee 
Babu was doing the same to his, not forgetting his 
particular friend Bhawanee Babu, in the relation 
of his adventures. 



BEHARI SARDAR. 

CHAPTER I 

BEHARI Sardar was the leader of a band 
of dacoits in the village of Palua, north of Magura 
{Amritabazar), in the district of Jessore. It was at 
a time when practically there was no Government 
in the country. The English had taken possession 
of Bengal, but they had not been able to bring the 
affairs of the country under control. They had 
destroyed the influence and privileges of the 
Zemindars, who exercised both judicial and ex- 
ecutive powers, but had not been able to supply 
their place. The English rulers, few in number, 
resided in towns, the villagers had everything in 
their own way, and thus dacoits sprang up on all 
sides. Behari Sardar was one of them. 

Not that Behari Sardar < was a dacoit in the 
proper sense of the term, for he rarely committed 
midnight robberies. He was a dacoit in the same 
sense as Tipu, Sivaji, Alexander the Great, not to 
mention the name of Clive, were dacoits. Indeed, 
he rarely committed what is properly called rob- 
beries. What he did was to punish recusant sub- 
jects, for he claimed a tract of land for his territory, 
and the people inhabiting that tract for his subjects. 
What his subjects thought of his arrangement, 

115 



PICTURES <>l INDIAN LIFE 
Behari did not take int i, so long 

that he was able to < nice. 

in this matter, m not blame Behari 

>r he only adopted a common pn 

i A ■ orld, in tir- \\ s well 

in the East, [t is quite tm i i^h: upon his s 

called territory was n.>t founded up m ;m moral 

sis. But what of that ? What is the basis of 1 
Poi rights in Africa, and th« : thai 

ra! nation, tl jlish, in that 

itinent ? We hilly admit tha - r had 

hi to the territory he owned. But there 

i> mi d 'iibt that liis right w inded upon a 

better moral basis than that ol big nations, as for 

stance, of the Russians, wh m soven 

in fort § .tries. 

Behari Sardar owned a territory, which was 
14 r 28 miles in length, and 8 or 16 mi 

in breadth. He was m . ithin this tract. 

There were other irho ruled Other tracts 

in the same way as Beh ;i Sardar di ! his own. 
He impose Qtributions, but only upon the 

wealtheir portion of his subjects. In this, his ex- 
ample might be folic by the enlightened 
rnment of India, which imp dl its taxes, 
except the Income-tax, upon the poor. Sometimes 
his subjects ^ehe,. his authority and refused contri- 
butions. An J then followed speedy punishment, 
ixmetimes \i.<a^eis ombined to resist his 

1. 



BEHARI SARDAR 

authority, and then there was a regular fight. 
Some were killed and a good many wounded. The 
dacoit band, if worsted, fled; and if victorious 
they pillaged the villages and subjected the 
wealthy villagers to horrible cruelties. 

We remember an instance in which eighteen 
dacoits were killed in a village, (the name of 
which we just now forget) in the Nuddea district. 
We had the account from a fisherman who took 
part in the affray. He was about 105 years oid 
when he told us the story, and though he was 
almost blind and deaf, the remembrance of the 
event sent a glow of enthusiasm to his cheeks. 

He said that his village had resisted the 
demand of the dacoit leader, and prepared itself 
for fight. The fact must not be forgotten, that in 
those days all men trained themselves to the use 
of arms. Every village had a gymnasium ; and 
every man, rich or poor, had his arms. Some few 
had match-locks, but the weapons in general use 
were bows and arrows, swords, spears, and lathies. 

The fisherman said that his village was full of 
people of his caste, and it had also a wealthy 
fisherman who was at the head of the village. 
The village had about 75 to 80 combatants, and all 
these kept watch day and night. Information at 
last came that the dacoits were coming to the 
village, and immediately the females were remov- 
ed to a secure place, and the house of the wealthy 

IT7 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

fisherman was deserted. The old man said that 
he had 15 gold mohurs which he concealed in his 
waist-belt, and then joined the defenders with a 
fisherman's spear. The dacoits numbering about 
a hundred, rushed with the war — whoop of "Jay 
Kalee,'' and entered the court-yard (now deserted) 
of the wealthy fisherman. 

But the fisherman had devised a novel way of 
defence. They had big fishing-nets which had 
been joined together, and they enclosed the 
dacoits with them. The enemy was thus easily 
over-powered, and flei in all directions, but yet 
eighteen of them, who had been hopelessly en- 
tangled in the meshes of the net, were killed. 

One instance will shew how Behari selected 
his recruits. One morning, Behari Sardar was 
sitting on a stool in front of his house, and smok- 
ing. There was a sword by his side, and a mug 
of water before him. A young man presented 
himself and made his salam. The Sardar asked 
the visitor his business. The young man said that 
his name was Selim ; that he had come to be 
enlisted under his banner ; that he was 22, was 
not married, and had only his mother and no 
father. 

The Sardar gazed at the powerful physique 
of the recruit with admiration, and then asked 
him to come near and sit by him. Selim sat 
before the stool. The Sardar took hold of the 

118 



BEHARI SARDAR 

right arm of Selim, and began to examine his 
muscles. He then examined his chest, neck, waist 
and thighs. The examination over, he murmured 
his approval. He then looked full into the face 
of Selim, and his brow darkened. 

"You will not do, Selim,'' said the Sardar. 
"And whv, Huzoor ? " asked Selim. 
The Sardar said : "You have an effiminate 
look. Ours is a hard life and we need more 
determination than you seem to possess." 

Selim was disappointed, he persisted that he 
had it, and would willingly give proofs of it. 

"Would you ?" asked the Sardar ; and seeing 
a bull grazing close by he asked Selim to take 
the sword which was lying by, and cut off its 
head. " Go, Selim," said he. "Take this sword, 
cut off the head of the bull with one blow, and 
let us see the prowess of your arms/ 

Selim demurred. He said, he thought he could 
sever the neck of the bull with one blow, but then 
he would prefer to show the power of his muscles 
in other ways. He thought, it would not only be 
cruel but unmanly to kill an animal which had 
done him no harm. 

The Sardar smiled. The Sardar saw one of 
his men, by name Kalu, within hail, and made 
a sign to him to approach. Kalu, who had not 
heard the conversation between the Sardar and 
Selim, approached and salamed his leader. The 

119 



PICTU1 i S OF INDIAN LI1 

^ kid to Kalu : ' ; • - sword and cut 

the head of yon bull bjr one blow, it >le, 

and brinu: it here." 

klu urn-re 1 not I, bul the sword, 

and in the coun mpliahe l 

all that he « 'er. 

The S.i lim, go home and 

marry. You will m jfoo 1 hu^ 

cannot admit into <>ur Bien oj 

■ 

The writer heard the above s< from his 
grandfather ithen about and 

who ha ! se< ■' S 

ehari, I h he h • ith pea< 

: J in 
.. The circumsi h ma 

him a it, so led the villagers t 

means I >r ,; ; i' pr ;es were then 

m than I ji famine 

the last century had desolate 1 the , and 

entant Nature had . up for the 

dep she had committed in her hiry. 

The country, which - ■ ^on 

after 1 grain, an 1 cattle. Peas- 

ants, the famine was i f ' r > 

year after year, bumper har dis- 

appeared from the land : and people continue dm 
multiply fast. In these - it is difficult t i find 

a family of eight brothers : but it \\ a - a 

120 



BEHARI SARDAR 

occurrence then. Some had seven, some ten, 
some a dozen, and there was scarcely any who 
had not at least four brothers. Children never 
died then as they do now, and the number of 
widows was very small. 

This increasing population was maintained by 
the paddy that the villagers grew, and the numer- 
ous herds of cattle that they kept. Every village 
grew its own paddy, its sugar-cane or date, and 
its cotton, and preserved a wide extent of pasture 
land for its cattle. In those days, there was no 
urgent necessity to dispose of the surplus grain 
for silver, at whatever cost. If they had paddy, 
they cared not whether they had silver or not. 
They had their weavers, smiths, potters, carpen- 
ters, washermen, &c. They had no business to go 
elsewhere for their needs. It was salt which gave 
them some trouble, but they managed it somehow 
or other. At least, it has never been alleged that 
the people had ever suffered from a salt- 
famine. 

It was the landlords who controlled the foreign 
affairs of the villages' the villagers generally 
managing the domestic affairs themselves. For 
instance, when two villages quarrelled over the 
boundary of pasture or paddy lands, the zemindar 
was asked to intervene and settle the dispute. 
The landlords exercised executive and judicial 
powers, whenever they were required to do it. 

121 



PICTURES OK INDIAN LIFE 
But they had very little tO <1>> in these directions. 

The villagers themselves defended the village 
and adjusted their differences. They only sought 
the pro t ec ti on of the landlords when they could 
not help thema For instance, the vi 11 

generally defended themselves tr<>m th<- depre- 
dations of da imetimes the lati 

proved tOO powerful, and then the landlord had 
to send his to help his subjects. The 

dacoits could never cope with the village 
strengthened by Buch allii 

Then was the time when the I >vei nment of 

the British ha 1 n luce 1 the laa llor eat 

iSj but had not yet supply their 

place. Hence dacotty flourishe Previously! 
the villagers kept the dacoit ban Is in check with 
the help of the landlords. But now they found, 
that they would henceforth be required to rely 
upon their own resoun the defence of their 

hearth and home. 

Thus, the aceful vill found it 

necessary to learn to fight, 1 their j 

perty and per- rom the tS. The' had 

very few guns, and those they had were ma 
locks, short-barrelled, ma^ : things 
to kill an elephant or a buff U ., but n 
the purpose of fighting with an active I Th 

weapons in general use were, therefore, bows and 
arrows, swords, S] and bamboo clubs. The 

122 






BEHARI SARDAR 

best archer was considered stronger than a good 
many swordsmen. 

The dacoits, however, had one advantage 
over the villagers. Being always the attacking 
party, they could choose the time of attack. Thus 
strongly armed villagers would find that the 
dacoits were too agile for them. The dacoits 
would swoop with the rapidity of lightning, loot a 
few houses, and fly before the villagers had time 
to assemble for the purposes of defence. The 
villagers had thus to maintain watch day and 
night, which kept them constantly in a state of 
alarm. 

All this had the effect of making the villagers 
hardy, bold and enterprising. Indeed, in those 
days, the Bengalees had to fight constantly in 
defence of their hearth and home. One can 
understand the effect of such a mode of life upon 
their muscles and nerves. But yet the villagers 
were domestic folk. They had to maintain their 
old parents, wives, widowed relations, younger 
brothers and sisters, and little children. The 
dacoits, on the contrary, had nothing to restrain 
them. Before enlistment, they had to give up, 
under the rules which guided them, their religion 
and caste, father and mother, and cut off every 
other tie. Mussalman and Hindu dacoits had to 
eat together, and every one had to bow before their 
presiding deity, the Goddess Kalee. The domestic 

123 



PICTURES OF INDIAN I.I i 

villagers had thus to yield at last to the m il<l ban 
ofdacohs. In this manner, Behari S had 

acquin territory. 

The villagers, I ostant watching and 

Dt the - they sustaine 1 from the robi 

which they could not i ither put a stop 
Sound it to their interest t orl "t 

terms with the dacoits. 1- ery vill to 

pay a monthly contribution to the srho held 

•way <»ver it, and who. in their turn, protected the 
village Erom t and robberies, and outside 

foes. 

ehari Sardar was a superior personam 
While a young man, he had served under the 
banner of Mullook M V village had deh'd 

the authority of the latter Sa lar, and made ex- 
tensive preparaii' the pur| of del 
They had prepared a bamboo fort, which they 
considered impregnable. Of course, it was not 
strong enough to resist artillery, but the dacoit> 
were only armed with swords and spears. There 
was one door leading to this tort, and in ca- 
alarm the villagers t< ok si lure. 

The village was, howe> • withstanding its 

impregnable fort, attacked by Mullook Maidan 
one night. For he had been defie 1, and he had 
either to bring it under subjugation or to lose his 
prestige. The villagers, who kept watch day and 
night, got intimation of his approach and fled into 

124 



BEHARI SARDAR 

the strong bamboo enclosure, with their women 
and children. The defenders, armed to the teeth, 
stood to defend the bamboo ramparts, with courage 
and determination. The fort was inaccessible from 
other points — it could be only reached through 
the one gate which was, therefore, the main object 
of attack to the dacoits. The door could be reach- 
ed through a narrow lane made of bamboo walls. 
The villagers stood with spears to defend this lane. 

The dacoits made several attempts for an 
entry into this lane, but in vain. Bristling spears 
from both sides of this narrow lane defended the 
passage. It would be sure death to the man who 
ventured to enter ; indeed, he would be pierced 
by the spears from both sides of the lane. The 
dacoits, after sustaining many casualties, had to 
give up the attempt, when Behari Sardar com- 
demned such pusilanimous conduct, and promised 
to go himself! He was asked by the leader to 
desist from the mad attempt, but he did not listen 
to such counsel. The dacoits had, most of them, 
a thick piece of cloth wrapped round their bodies 
to protect themselves from spears and arrows. 
Behari, with this protection only, and a couple of 
swords rushed forward with the war-whoop of jay 
Kalee ! 

Whether it was the herculean figure of the 
man, or his unearthly war-whoop, or his (reckless- 
ness, certain it is that the villagers could not touch 

125 



PICTURJ INDIAN I.IM-. 

him, though he was Bought to be pierced 
hundredi of men from both sides of the lane. And 
thus Behari became Sardar. 

One day, at ah<>ut tight i>< luck fa the morn- 
ing, Behari Sardai came to the village, nay, to the 
bouse of the writi grandfather^ The village is 
Magma fAmritabazar) which adjoins Pah 
whcic Behari had established his head-quarters 
The grandfather oi the writer of this was then 

quite a young boy. Behari Came with about 

two dozens oi his followers, all of powerful 

make and fully armed. They had the usual 
thick cloth wrapped round their bodies, swords 
which dangled by their bfl and lon- 

lances in their right hauls. Behari Sardar w 
received with great honour . a mat was spread for 
his follow i he was given a big stool for a 

seat. Villagers all assembled to make their *<il 
and ladies a so tried to have a peep at the gr< 
Sardar from their hiding places, — that Sardar, the 
mention of whose dreaded name had the effect 
throw tag them into hysteric fits. Behari returnc 1 
the salutes with great cordiality. "Come, Bhai 
Saheb," said he to one. "Chacha, have you for- 
gotton me. to another. Indeed, he was well 
known to the village, and the villagers lcn< 
him well. Alter a good smoke, Behari began 
explain the object of his visit 

He sai ; "I do not know reading and writin 

126 



BEHARI SARDAR 

I am a dunce. But I have sense enough to know 
that it is my interest to live in peace with my 
co-villagers. For, I consider Palua and Magura to 
be one village. For my subsistence, it is true, I 
take something from you. But have I or my men 
even molested you ? Have 1 not protected your 
village from dacoits and thieves ? The other day 
I recovered the cow which had been stolen from 
this village, and carried to near Kotechandpur, 
20 miles hence. What have you to complain 
against me that the lad Ameer Sheikh should 
quarrel with me ? I appeal to you, Bhadraloge* 
(gentlemen), to bring him to his senses. For, if 
he persists in his opposition, he will come to know, 
to-day or to-morrow, that Behari Sardar's sword 
is four cubits long." 

A little explanation is here necessary. The 
lad Ameer Sheikh was a young man of about 
twenty-two, inhabiting the northern part of 
Magura. He had defied the authority of the 
Sardar. His strength lay in his bow and arrows, 
for he was reputed to be the best archer in the 
worid ! 

The village was inhabited by Hindus and 
Mussalmans. The most respected of the villagers, 
a Hindu, replied that Ameer Sheikh was not 
amenable to reason, as he was an independent 
man. He had his landed property and his tenants. 
" But,'' said he, "Ameer is a dunce and a boor. 

127 



PICTURl INDIAN 1.1! 

\ thing but punishment, I fear, will bring him to 
hi- *> Lf lai S iheb I he, 

• yon think th.it ire have anythin do 

with it. \Y ruite happy under your strength 

is. We sleep with our and 

as for the contribution, it is a trifli unpared 
with the advantages we enjoy under your 
protectioi 

Said Behari : — " 1 kn i >r 

1 would not have com I tmeer, 

however, that h ! I shall s ton mi et, i:i s;>ite 

of his charmed bow and rrows.'" 

The Fact was, this \ 9 a thorn in the 

f the Sir lar. He was a too contemptible 
: th his slim figure, ; nt following, and 

the burden of a family. But hi :ts m 

midable. The belief had obtained firm in 

the minds of the Sardar^s follow. a 1 perhaps 

:he Sardar himself , though he di 1 not like to 
acknowledge it, that he had brought under his 
subjugation an evil spirit which sat at tlv 
his arrows. B iw an 1 arrow in hand. Ameer was 
unapproachable even by Behari Sardar. Ameer 
resi ling within two miles of the camp of the 
- : lar, thus continued to defy his authority. How 

llld the Sar ar brook such an insult ? An i h 
could he rule his territory with such a rebellious 
subject, making fun of his four-cubit long sword ? 
He felt something like what was done by Lord 

128 



BEHARI SARDAR 

Lytton when the "wasps" of the Bengalee papers 
began to torment him. 

Ameer was the eldest of the three brothers in 

the Sheikh family who lived jointly, in the same 

house. Ameer, not-withstanding his youth and 

his " charmed " bow, knew very well that he 

had committed an extremely rash act by 

courting the animosity of the great Sardar. Any 

man now would think that it was extremely 

foolish on the part of the villagers to defy the 

authority of the dacoits, and excite their wrath 

But people of this generation, with a ceaseless 

struggle for existence which civilization has 

imported ; with a passion for Government service 

which corrodes the system ; with their efforts to 

master a foreign tongue and pass examinations 

in that language ; with interminable litigation ; 

with spleen and dyspepsia ; and with being 

surrounded on all sides by police constables and 

spiteful neighbours, will never be able to 

appreciate the feelings which move healthy, free 

and strong men, with a full stomach, with no 

cares, and with no courts, to control their actions. 

How could Ameer help throwing down the gauntlet 

to the Sardar? The exuberant and bouyant spirit 

within him urged him to do so ; his followers 

urged him ; and public opinion pushed him 

forward. 

Ameer knew that it would be extremely 

129 

S-9 



PICTUR1 IMDIAN LIFE 

imprudent to provoke the ire ofth< - r, bol 

there was no h«-lp for it now. His pri le would n>>\ 
permit htm to stoop and sue i"r | i. So what 

be lid was to keep watch day and night, as ha 
ha l do desire to act on 1 

his tenants an l he Irneu that it was n it possible 
tor the Sardar to take him by surprise. It only he 
could get timely informationi he felt quite com- 
petent to deal with the Sardar and hi >us 

band. 

The villagers oj slagura requ< the Sardar 

"bathe," which meant that they invited the 

Sardar and his men to stay there atvi dine. The 

Sardar demurred. Hut the villagers pressed again, 
and he yielded. The 1 i otributions which 

tlie dacohs imposed upon village itly 

levied in kind. In those days, '■ ' ; rupee) v 
a rare si^ht. Gold mohurs were more plentiful. 
The people carrie 1 on their purchases with 
(shells), and they had very little need topurchi 
anything at all. The dacoits themselves lived a 
merry life. They had neither wives and children 
to maintain, nor any desire to hoard up mon< 
Whatever they got, they spent in eating and drink- 
ing , in big feasts, where people were invited from 
neighbouring villages;in Poojas, where priests w 
brought by sheer force to perfrom the ceremonies 
and then dismissed with liberal presents ; in 
(operas), habit (songs), and military t.aimamei 

130 



BEHARI SARDAR 

In these latter exercises, all noted men were 
invited to display their strength and mastery over 
the weapons they carried. The hosts oftheSardar, 
we mean the inhabitants of Magura or Amrita- 
bazar, thought that a feast to him would save them 
from contribution for some time to come. The 
Sardar and his followers expected a very good 
dinner, and they at last agreed to stop and dine. 

A young man proposed some out-door games, 
and the proposal was received with acclamation 
by all present. It was the month of Baisakh. The 
time was about 9 A. M., and people were perspir- 
ing from heat. But out-door exercises were the 
most coveted of all amusements indulged in by 
the people of Bengal at that period. Badyakars or 
drummers were immediately sent for ; and all 
resorted to the locality, where the village gymna- 
sium was. Every village had such a place where 
the people assembled in the morning and the 
evening to practise themselves in the use of their 
weapons, to wrestle or to go through other 
exercises calculated to strengthen the muscle and 
the nerve. 

It would be news to the degenerated species 
that inhabit Bengal now, that in those days all 
the palwans (wrestlers), khaloimrs (fencers) etc,etc, 
assembled in the most important village of the 
quarter, at least five days in the year, for a trial 
of strength and skill. First, on the Charak Sank- 

131 



PICTURES OF IN: »IAN l.Il I 

'in!, on tl day ; third, 

the B% lay ; fourth, on the last day of 

Kii ind fifth, on the Sripanehami day. 

When proceeding to the gymnasium, it * 
eived that Behari Sardar hri I kept sentim 
to give him information of the approach of any 
opponent 1 fa its never stopped at 

any place without securing the ghattii »or i 

p sting sentinels. While Behari sitting 

1 talking, some haif-a his men w < 

\v i- « the i and whenthey all went 

the gymnasium, the Sardar adji the position 

of his jentinels) an( The fact w 

;e was im absolute trust between the people 
i the dacoit <"hi ( 

O, stling match between some 

\ illag"t ml the dacoits. He jocularly 

pealed to the Sardar to give s<>me lesson to the 
anda brothers, who had become inflated with 
iceit, and who fancied that they were as strong 
as Bheem was in days of yore. Now, oftht 
Chan la brothers some five or six were noted 
. rv.tel throughout the district for their 
strength, courage and skill. But the Sardar said 
he would never permit that. It would be an 
u iwise step and might lead to serious consequen- 
ces. So the dacoits shewed some of their feats of 
strength and skill in the use of arms to the 
\illagers. A good dinner was provided. A big 

'32 



BEHARI SARDAR 

goat was killed ; besides, there were fish, ddhee 
and goor, but no liquor. The dacoits feasted, and 
left for their native village Palua. 

CHAPTER II. 

We said before, that Ameer trusted his 
tenants, but there was one whom he had injured. 
He had wounded this tenant in the tenderest part. 
In short, Ameer had, at a moment of thoughtless 
passion, sullied the family honour of this man. 
The man had brought home a beautiful bride 
aged about 13. Ameer was smitten. He caused 
a divorce between the man and his wife, and then 
married the girl himself. The injured husband, 
though a tenant, vowed deep vengeance, and 
opened communications with the Sardar. Through 
him, Behari kept himself informed of the move- 
ments of Ameer, even to the minutest detail. 

The first ruse of the Sardar was to create false 
alarms in the village. This obliged Ameer to 
remain in a state of constant preparedness. On 
^very occasion, however, he found that the alarm 
was a false one. This naturally made him slacken 
his vigilance a little. He had sent his wife, 
mentioned above, to her father's house, about 
four miles from his native village. He sent a 
doolie and three bearers to fetch her. The 
conveyance, however, was returned, the relations 
sending him word that she would be sent back 
next month. 

133 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

N'-'u this was terrible news to the love-sick 
Ameer. He himself must go to fetch her. But 
how to provide against the surprises of the Sardar? 
He might come in the meantime. Yes, but his 
father-in-law's house lav only at a distance of four 
miles. Of course, he would be able to bring his 
wife home before the Sardar could know that he 
had left it. Thus thought Ameer. Of an impet- 
uous disposition, he could wait no longer. He 
assembled his principal tenants, and told them 
of his intentions, and actually ran towards the 
village where his wife was. 

Among the assembled tenants was the one 
whose wife Ameer had married. This man had 
concealed his feelings against Ameer very 
successfully and secured his complete confidence. 
While Ameer left home for his father-in-lav 
house, this man left the village to give information 
to Behari Sardar that Ameer's house was now 
absolutely at his disposal. 

Behari Sardar had no reason to distrust his 
informant, but yet he subjected the man to a 
searching cross-examination. The spy gave 
satisfactory answer which convinced the Sardar 
that he had not come to lead him into a trap, but 
to satisfy his private grudge against the man who 
had robbed him of his wife. 

The Sardar formed his plans after a short 
reflection. He asked his lieutenants to prepare 

134 



BEHARI SARDAR 

themselves for an immediate march. His orders 
were obeyed promptly, and about seventyfive of 
the dacoit band stood fully armed before him. 
This was the usual number he kept with him, 
while others he stationed at different centres. 

It was between eight or nine in the morning. 
The armed'dacoits presented a picturesque appea- 
rance. I have already said how they protected 
their chests from arrows, spears, and swords by 
wrapping tightly, layer after layer, a thick piece of 
cloth by which also they protected their faces and 
heads. This piece covered the face entirely, leaving 
only the nose and the eyes open. They stood armed 
with lathis, swords and spears to do their leader's 
bidding. They were all hardy, brave, strong and 
active, and would not have hesitated a moment 
to accomplish the plans of their leader, or go 
through any enterprise, however hazardous. 

Behari selected six out of these men to stand 
guard and prevent the entry of Ameer into the 
village from that of his father-in-law. A beel or 
marsh intervened between the two villages. The 
Sardar directed these six men to disrobe, dress 
themselves as ordinary rustics, and stand guard 
on this side of the marsh to prevent Ameer, if he 
should get the information, from coming back to 
protect his house. 

The great point of the Sardar was to secure 
the weapons of the villagers. They kept their 

135 



PICTURES OK INDIAN LIFE 

weapons, swords of various shapes, spears of all 
kinds, and lathies, — in the outer house of Ameer. 
The plan of the Sardar was to pounce upon the 
village, and at once take j >ion of the outer- 

house containing the weapons. His real object 
was net. however, so much the possession of the 
village weapons, for he regarded them with 
contempt, as the "charmed" bow and arrows oi 
Ameer, the whereabouts of which no body knew, 
not even the spy. 

We must here give an account of Ameer. 
Being a Sheikh and having landed property, he 
found himself, on the death of his father, when he 
was about I5,inthe position of a leader. He had 
a well-built, though not a very strong physique. 
He saw that as a lathial, a swordsman, or a lancer, 
he would have no chance with others. He then- 
fore, determine 1 to maintain his position by 
archerv. He feit that if he could master the art, he 
would yet be ab.'e to leal his following with 
credit. 

He soon found that he had an eye and a pair 
of arms for good archery. He rarely missed his 
aim., even in the begining of his self-education. 
He listened to accounts of the exploits of good 
archers with a leaping heart, and felt an ambition 
to imitate or perhaps to excel them. The best 
archer then was a Rajput in Krishnagore, and t" 
him Ameer went for instruction. There he learnt 

136 



BEHARI SARDAR 

much of what he was in need and ignorance of 
before. He came back home ; he improved what 
he had learnt ; and then prepared for himself his 
"charmed'' bow and arrows. 

Ameer prepared his own arrows. Those 
prepared by others were not so obedient, so 
powerful, as those prepared by himself. He 
prepared his own bow: and without that particular 
bow he was almost helpless. After repeated 
experiments, he found out how a good bow should 
be prepared. The Jaon bamboo is the best for 
the purpose. But a fully-developed and perfectly 
shaped bamboo of the necessary sort was rarely 
to be found. He found a piece, however, and 
prepared his bow with the toil of several months. 
This he painted. It was as long as himself, and 
at first glance, would appear to be a delicate 
weapon. But it was not so. The string he prepared 
of the flax beaten out of the aloe. 

The arrows too he himself prepared from reeds 
which grew in low-lying marshes. He alone knew 
how to prepare arrows. For they flew like 
lightning, and seemed to defy the laws of Conic 
Sections. One of his daily duties was to keep his 
bow and arrows before him and salaam them three 
times, while some charms or prayers were uttered* 
The public believed, both Hindus and Mussalmans, 
that Ameer had became a Siddha (adept) in arch- 
ery, and that he could do anything with his bow. 

137 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Ameer had one weak point. He was irresistible 
with the bow and arrows manufactured by him. 
He was weak, nervous, irresolute without them, 
even though in possession of a good bow and 
arrows manufactured by others. The great object 
of Behari was to possess himself ol the bow and 
arrows of Ameer. 

Ameer, on the other hand, was very particular 
about his weapons. He generally carried them in 
his hand when in the shade. Exposure to the sun 
would spoil his bow and arrows; and he never 
exposed them, when he could help it, to the blaze 
of that luminary. During the middle of the day, 
he always kept his weapons in a hiding-place 
which no body knew. So when Ameer started 
from home in the morning for his father-in-law's 
he left his bow and arrows behind, though where, 
it was not known to any. When Ameer's enemy 
gave information of Ameer's departure from his 
village to the Sardar, the first question he asked 
was, whether Ameer had taken his bow and 
arrows with him. Being assured that Ameer had 
left them behind, the Sardar thought that his game 
was safe ; and that if he could get possession of 
the bow and arrows, Ameer would be absolutely 
at his disposal. 

The order was given, " Run and surround 
Ameer's house;" and seventy men ran furiously 
towards it without uttering a sound. An open 

138 



BEHARI SARDAR 

space, about half-a-mile in length, intervened 
between Palua and Magma. Some of Ameer's 
tenants were weeding their paddy plants. They 
saw from a distance the furious rush of the dacoits. 
They knew that Ameer was not at home, and they 
at once divined the object of the rush. They held 
a hasty consultation amongst themselves, and 
devised means to give speedy information to 
Ameer, and to the village too. 

The dacoits came at double quick, but yet 
they found Ameer's house deserted. They, however 
immediately surrounded it, and stationed sentinels 
to guard the approaches. Behari stood in the 
court-yard, more than six feet high, giving direc- 
tions to his followers, his four-cubit sword in his 
hand. He posted an additional set of sentinels to- 
guard the outer-house alluded to above. This 
outer-house contained the weapons of the villagers 
and perhaps the bow and arrows of Ameer. 

The villagers had time only to remove the 
ladies from Ameer's house, but property and 
weapons were left behind. The dacoits surrounded 
the house with a rush and a loud warwhoop of 
Jay Kalee, though no one had any notion as to 
what the Sardar was aiming at. Some youthful 
villagers proposed resistance, but the elders pooh- 
poohed the idea. How could they fight without 
weapons ? "Let us send an old man to parley/' 
said the wisest amongst the villagers. And a 

139 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

very old Mussalman, with a white flowing beard, 
called Nana, was sent to the Sardar. 

He approached unarmed, bent double by age, 
and he was led to the Sardar. "Ameer is not 
here," said the old man. "If you want to loot his 
house it is at your disposal. If you want to loot 
the village you are welcome to do it. We have 
no arms. 

The Sardar reflected for a moment, and then 
assumed a jocular tone. "Nana Saheb," said he, 
"is it meet that when I come hungry you do not 
give me and my people food ?" 

Said Nana : "Yes, we were thinking of that. 
But it seemed you came angry. The attitude of 
your men is not like that of guests. Quiet your 
men, sit down, and we shall do our best to give a 
little gosta (meat) and rootee(rice or bread) to you 
and your men." 

To make a long story short, we next find 
the dacoit band sitting in rows, under half-a-dozen 
gigantic mango trees, in front of the outer-house 
of Ameer, taking their dinner. To the sentinels, 
dinners were sent at their posts. Dinners were 
also sent to the sentinels guarding against the 
approach of Ameer to the village. The dacoits 
had copiously partaken of liquor. Behari sat in 
the middle, squatting upon a broad plantain leaf. 
Every one of the dacoits had partially undressed 
himself, though they kept their respective weapons 

140 



BEHARI SARDAR 

by their side. Talking 1 of weapons those belong- 
ing to the villagers, kept in the outer-house, had 
been brought from there for their better protec- 
tion, and were seen lying in heaps under the 
mango trees, within the sight and reach of the 
dacoits. Even after a most diligent search, the 
bow and arrows of Ameer had not been 
found ! 

The disarmed villagers were freely permitted 
to see the State dinner, at their expense. And 
the warriors of the village, old and young, and 
children too, were there to witness the great feast. 
The dacoits had almost done with their dinner; 
indeed, they had gone as far as the dish of clahee y 
when the mirth of the dacoits, who were so long 
eating silently out of respect to their Sardar, 
could not be restrained. One cried "Ameer 
Sheikh ki fateh", or, in other words, "victory to 
Ameer Sheik", when fifty voices echoed the words 
in a loud shout. The Sardar himself, a little 
elated by the drink, was led to join in the mirth, 
and exclaimed in a loud voice : "Ameer, where 
art thou, our exellent host?" This was repeated 
by fifty throats, and the sound made the earth to 
tremble as it were. 

But before this sound had ceased, the Sardar 
heard a whiz and felt something touch his head. 
He quickly turned round to see what it was. He 
saw that his cap had heen carried off from his 

141 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

head, and pinned t<>the earth about a yard an<l- 
a-half from him, by an arrow ! 

But he was allowed no time to make anv 
close examination of the arrow, or think over the 
affair. Just then some »>ne appeared on the scene 
from behind a mango tree and said : "Here is 
Golam Ameer Sheik hazeer", which means, "here 
is your slave Ameer Sheik present." "What d 
huzoor demand of me?" The Sardar saw Ameer 
Sheik leaning, as if carelessly, against a mango 
tree in his front, his stringed bow hanging on hi> 
right shoulder, and the quiver of his arrows <>n 
his left, with a smile in his face, as if mocking at 
his majesty ! 

We have now to explain how Ameer succeed- 
ed in eluding the vigilance of the ghatties or 
sentries appointed by the Sardar to prevent his 
entry into the village. The fact was, the Sardar 
knew very well that it would be impossible to 
stop Ameer, in that way. For to guard a b 
village in that manner would require hundreds of 
men. The main object the Sardar tiad in view 
was to stop the passage of Ameer as long as it 
was possible to do so. 

Besides, as I said before, Ameer was power- 
less without his "charmed'' bow and arrows. 
The Sardar was convinced that they had 
been left behind by Ameer. He'had no doubt that 
the bow and arrows were either in Ameers house 

142 



BEHARI SARDAR 

or somewhere near it. He closely guarded 
Ameer's house and its surroundings; and he 
felt sure that if he could do that, he and his 
party would be absolutely safe from any outside 
attack by the latter. 

It has been already stated that the villagers, 
who were weeding paddy, (it was the end of 
Jaishta i. e. May and June) had sent information 
to Ameer as soon as they saw the approach of 
the dacoit band. Ameer had made arrangements 
to bring his wife after breakfast, and he had sat 
to it. Ameer was enjoying his breakfast, when 
the breathless messenger disturbed his enjoyment 
with the terrible news, that the dacoits, fully 
armed, were marching towards his house. 

Now, this was dreadful news to Ameer. The 
dacoits were like ordinary men, under ordinary 
circumstances ; but they wreaked fearful venge- 
ance upon those who defied their authority. His 
mother, his aunts, his sister-in-law were in the 
house. His house was thatched with straw, though 
the outer-apartment had brick walls. How could 
he know that the dacoits did not mean insult to 
the ladies ? And would they not burn the house 
down ? 

In a state of terrible anguish of mind, Ameer 
left his breakfast and ran towards his native 
village. His practised eye, however, saw at once 
that ghatties had been placed on the opposite 

H3 



PICTURES OF INDIAN Ll! 

le <>f the bee), and his passage barred. II- 
could, indeed, reach his house by a circuitous 
route, but it woul 1 take hours to The roads, 

lea ling t<> his house, were two, — one lyinpto the 
north, and the other to 1 uth, of the beel. Two 
fully-armed men guarded the two ] 
more guarded the beel, while two more 
blocked the other two p es by which he could 

vet reach his house, though by very circuitous 

- 

route. 

Fortunately, at that time, a good many men 
were < fed in fishing in the beel. They us< 
palm caii nrthe purpose. Each canoe had one 

or two occupants, and the man in the front stood 
with a fishing spear to strike at the fishes which 
might give an indication of their presence bel 
the surface of the water. Ameer joined this fishing 
party, change 1 his good clothes for the piece of 
rag which one of the party had round' ins, 

and thus disguised himself as a rustic. In short, 
he at last succeeded in deceiving the sen ho 

were guarding the beel ; and as we sail before, 
this was not altogether a difficult feat. TheSar lar 
never seriously expected that he would be able to 
prevent the approach of Ameer. 

Ameer reached his village, and was very 
much relieved to find that the dacoits were in an 
amiable mood. Thev had not onlv not used one 
word of insult, or touched one item of property, 

H4 






BEHARI SARDAR 

but had agreed to dine and make a gala-day of it. 
He sat thinking, surrounded by the elders of the 
village, in the house of a tenant, a good many 
hundred yards off from his own. 

But yet there was no knowing how the dacoits 
would act in the end. They were drinking, and 
it would be only in keeping with their character 
to change their peaceful intentions, and become 
violent. Ameer thought that the best thing for 
him would be to tender his submission. But would 
that mollify Behari? What would then prevent 
the latter from hacking to pieces his old enemy ? 
The pride of Ameer also revolted against sub- 
mission. He must first make a determined effort 
to rescue his means of attack and defence. 

He had left his bow and his leather quiver, 
concealed in the thatch of the outer-house. That 
was one of the places where he hid them now and 
then. In the morning, he had left them there, 
and he was almost absolutely sure that they had 
not been removed. He determined to reach his 
own house, disguised as a rustic, to see if he 
could get hold of them. 

Ameer formed his plan. The rustics of the 
village, one by one, i approached the dacoit camp. 
The young and the old, the children, and even 
some old women were there. The dacoits were 
cooking ; some were bathing in the tank close by, 
(the tank still exists.) The ghatties were guarding 

145 
S— 10 



1'ICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

the passages, and Behari was talking to some 
respectable villagers. Among the villagers, who 
\\ niched the doings of the dacoits, was Ameer, 
unperceived and unrecognized by the dacoits. 
Ameer was not known by sight to most of them; 
he was dressed as an ordinary dirty rustic ; and 
the dacoits had, besides, partaken much of paddy 
rum. Thus Ameer succeeded in keeping himself 
unrecognized among the crowd. 

Now, with all their efforts, the Indians have 
never been able to acclimatize drink in the country. 
Drink will never suit the stomach of an Indian. 
He can never drink without being affected. See, 
how a European will swallow a bottle of strong 
drink and remain unaffected. But a veteran Indian 
drinker will often get drunk at the sight of liquor. 
This is the case now ; the case in those days was 
worse. The sentinels were reeling under the 
influence of Dhanyeswari (paddy liquor.) 

Gradually the crowd of rustics thickened in 
that part of the outer-house where Ameer had 
hid his bow and leather arrow-bag. Ameer stood 
close to the place, — his breast heaved with excite- 
ment. He brought the bow and the leather-bag 
out of the thatch unperceived, and he left the 
place hurriedly, unperceived too. 

Ameer now felt that he was master of the 
situation. But he had no desire to present 
himself before the dacoits as a rustic. He entered 

146 



BEHARI SARDAR 

the house of a neighbour, secured a clean piece of 
cotton cloth, and tightly wrapped it round his 
narrow waist. He also procured a piece of 
leather by which he covered his left arm to protect 
it from the string of his bow. The iron ring on 
.his right thumb he never parted with ; so he had 
not to borrow it. In explanation, we may 
mention, that the iron ring is wanted for the 
purpose of drawing the bow when discharging 
an arrow ; the string will hurt the left arm and so 
archers protect it by wrapping round it a piece of 
leather. 

Ameer stood behind a mango tree. The 
dacoits were then eating, and it was within the 
power of Ameer to shoot Behari Sardar dead in a 
twinkle. But the idea was revolting to him. He 
surely was no dacoit. How could he shoot at a 
man from behind a cover? How could he shoot 
.at one who was dining. 

But it was another feeling which powerfully 
moved Ameer. Had not the Sardar treated him 
generously? He had everything belonging to 
Ameer at his absolute disposal, and yet he had 
not uttered one insulting word. This feeling of 
gratitude so completely overpowered Ameer that 
he felt something like affection for the Sardar. 
Indeed, he knew that if his presence were known, 
it would spoil the feast ; so he would have 
patiently waited till the Sardar had finished his 

H7 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

dinner. But the Sardar and his men brought 
matters to a crisis. When the band cried Fate 
(victim) to Ameer, he bore it patiently. But 
when the Sardar himself joined in the mirth and 
demanded to know where his host Ameer was, 
he could bear it no longer. He aimed at the cap 
of the Sardar, and the obedient arrow gently 
carried it off the Sardar's head, and pinned it on 
the ground behind ! 

Alter discharging the arrow, Ameer flung the 
bow on his left shoulder, advanced a step 
from behind his cover, and declared, "Golam 
Ameer Sheikh is hazeer (present). What would 
you have of me?'' 

The dacoit band sat petrified, but Behari rose 
with sword in hand ! 

He and Ameer gazed at each other ! 

A good swordsman can cut an arrow to 
pieces. But a swordsman, however expert and 
vigilant, was yet at the mercy of a swift-shooter or 
good shot. He could cut the first arrow, but he 
would have no time to defend himself from the 
second, at least from the third. Rage, disappoint- 
ment and fear alternately played on the features 
of the Sardar. But Ameer leaned against the 
mango tree, and only looked triumphantly at the 
Sard at. 

At last the Sardar found words. Said he; 
<( Young man ! you took me unawares." 

148 



BEHARI SARDAR 

"So did you!" replied Ameer. And the Sardar 
bit his lip. 

"Why delay? Send your shafts. I am ready," 
said the Sardar. 

Ameer. — "I bear you no resentment. Finish 
your dinner." 

Behari replied: "Then come; let us dine 
together," and the Sardar threw away his five — 
foot sword ! "Come now." 

Ameer.— "I cannot go into your midst, for 
though I can trust you, I cannot trust your men. 
Besides, I have taken a vow. You have respected 
my honour and property ; and, in return, I have 
respected your life. We are thus quits. lean, how- 
ever, never make friends with you unless you tell 
me the name of the spy who betrayed me to you." 

Ameer, having got no immediate reply from 
the Sardar, continued, and this time with a little 
vehemence : "If you and I must be friends, let us 
have no secrets between us. Tell me who is the 
base spy that betrayed me?" 

The countenance of the leader betrayed a 
slight frown, but he immediately assumed a cordial 
tone and said : "Sheik Ameer! You know our 
creed. We do not betray our agents ; we cannot 
do that without trampling upon honour and break- 
ing a most sacred oath. Dacoits though we are, 
you know we cannot break an oath, or commit a 
mean act." 

'49 



TICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Ameer replied, and though he tried to be 
calm, there was some bitterness in his tone. "This 
is unreasonable, Sardar Saheb. You and I are to 
be friends, and yet you will protect my deadliest 
enemy. We cannot meet breast to breast, with 
such an obstacle between us." 

The Sardar then assumed a lofty tone, and 
id : "To secure your friendship I will not commit 
a dishonourable act, — I will not doso even to save 
my life. I cannot do so what ever may happen. 
Now, this is my last word ; and, young - man, you 
can take your choice and do what you think best. 
Let not m< n say that Behari Sardar committed 
a dishonourable act to appease a wrathful 
opponent."' 

Fellu Gazee was the name of the man whose 
wife Ameer had married, and who, in revenge, 
had betrayed him to the Sardar. He was there, 
and so were all the others of Ameers men. The 
attitude of Ameer and the Sardar created a pro- 
found sensation among the two hundred men pre- 
sent, dacoits and villagers. They all apprehended 
a split, and got very much excited, though none 
ventured to utter a word. 

When the Sardar threw the gauntlet to Ameer 
and while Ameer was making up his mind, Fellu 
approached and stood before him. Said he, 
amidst breathless silence, "Sheikjee My land-lord! 
I cannot permit further mischief. It was I who 

150 






BEHARI SARDAR 

betrayed you. You deprived me of my wife, and 
I, in revenge, betrayed you. Here I am. Now, 
shoot me dead." 

All eyes were turned towards Fellu. Ameer's 
brow darkened. He was seized by a fierce passion 
and he took in his left hand, the bow which was 
hanging on his shoulders. He remembered how 
he had trusted Fellu, favoured him and loved him 
too ; and how Fellu had, with consummate hypo- 
crisy, returned the affection and won his confi- 
dence. He remembered too, how Fellu had 
brought in the dacoits and placed the property 
and honour of all the villagers at their disposal. 
He remembered all these, and lost all control over 
himself. 

'-' And so, Nimakharam" (traitor), said Ameer 
* 'for the wrong that I did, you wanted to deliver 
the entire village, your own village, over to the 
enemy?" 

He was interrupted by Fellu with these words 
"I do not justify my conduct. Here is my breast, 
send a shaft through it, and have your revenge." 
Fellu stood before Ameer and the crowd., and he 
looked like a passionless statue. His countenance 
betrayed no fear — it was calm, and so noble and 
beautiful! Ameer gazed at him in v/onder. 
Whence did Fellu get this sudden beauty?— 
thought every one. 

Ameer's face betrayed a fierce struggle within 

151 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

his breast. At last, he ended by hanging down 
his head, — in contrition. 

"Fellu," said he. "Forgive me, if you can." 

But surely, we are not going to write a novel ; 
we must, however, relate the story as we heard it. 
The Sardar came forward and embraced Ameer 
and said : " Thou art a noble fellow." 

They all sat under the mango trees surroun- 
ding the courtyard of Ameers house. Said 
Behari : "Thy fame as an archer has spread far 
and wide. It is said that there is no one in the 
world who can rival thee in archery. Show us a 
little of thy skill, so that my eyes may go from 
here delighted, as my stomach surely does." 

Ameer craved leave for a few minutes for a 
change of dress. He came back dressed in a 
moment. There was, however, nothing to protect 
his person from his enemies. But he had dressed 
tightly which displayed his well-built figure to 
great advantage. He stood before the assembled 
crowd with some of his pupils. He placed his bow 
and arrows upon the ground and salaamed them 
thrice, and then he began the exhibition. 

The first thing that Ameer showed was the 
strength of his arrows. There was a betel-nut tree 
close by. Ameer let an arrow fly at it with force, 
and it pierced the trunk through and stuck there. 
The dacoits remarked that no shield, not even one 
of rhinoceros hide, would protect a man from 

152 



BEHARI SARDAR 

a shaft, shot with so much force. The arrow 
stuck there, and was left in that position for 
several years for people to come and see, till a 
big gale or cyclone uprooted the betel-nut tree. 

One of his pupils stood at a distance of one 
hundred cubits from Ameer, with a betelnut on 
his right palm. Ameer steadied his aim and let 
fly his arrow with some care. The arrow carried 
the nut on its head a few yards from its resting 
place. The feat elicited tremendous applause. 

Another feat which Ameer showed was with 
a gonra lemon. Now, this is a degenerated species 
of the orange, even smaller than narangee. Ameer 
stood ten cubits in advance of his pupil, who sent 
the lemon with great force rolling in the courtyard. 
Ameer aimed at the rolling lemon and pinned it 
with his arrow to the great delight of the 
spectators. 

Mango plucking was the next feat shown, 
which was still more wonderful. Ameer pierced 
an unripe mango with his arrow which stuck in 
the fruit. This gave a swinging motion to the 
mango, the arrow sticking to it. When the mango 
became still, Ameer again aimed, and this time 
the shaft stuck to the tail of the first arrow ! There 
was again a swinging motion, and again Ameer 
waited until the mango became still. A third 
arrow was then shot which stuck to the tail of the 
second arrow. At the third shot the mango fell to 

153 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

the ground, with three arrows sticking to it in a 
line i 

His pupils then urged Ameer to perform the 
dig bazee (the somersault). But Ameer declined. 
The Sardar then pleaded, and all the dacoits 
pressed. A good many of them were then 
weeping in joy at the display of the wonderful 
feats of Ameer. A good many felt an irresistible 
impulse to come and embrace and kiss him, but 
the presence of the Sardar checked their ardour. 

Ameer said : "My ostad (preceptor) command- 
ed me never to attempt such a feat when there 
was the least breath of wind. I do not, as a rule 
make the attempt unless I am alone. Besides 
success is uncertain, so please excuse me." 

" But," said the Sardar, "are not your arrows 
under the control of a gin (evil spirit)? Why 
then deprive us of the pleasure ? " Ameer smiled. 
He said he did not know the gin who was said 
to be so friendly; he was certain also that a success- 
ful dig bajee was beyond its control. "However," 
continued he, "as I do not feel much wind now, 
I will try ; but success I do not guarantee. 1 ' With 
this, he salammed his bow and arrows again, and 
prepared himself for his gigantic and last effort. 
He first examined his bow carefully, and selected 
tfcree of his best arrows. He stood in the middle 
of the court-yard, then slowly and silently drew 
the string and let go an arrow, not with great 

154 



BEHARI SARDAR 



force, though yet sufficiently high to make it 
almost invisible. 

The arrow fell a few paces in front of him with 
its head downwards, penetrating the earth an 
inch or so. The arrow stood perfectly erect ! Ameer 
took a second arrow, and sent it up with great 
deliberation. The spectators watched its progress 
with intense excitement. When the arrow took a 
downward direction, the excitement increased. 
Down the arrow came amidst breathless silence 
and indescribable excitement, and it fell exactly 
upon the tail of the first arrow,— perfectly erect! 
A second or two after this occurrence, the Mussal- 
mans raised the cry of Allah, Allah, and the 
dacoits that of Kalee, Kalee, and the demonstra- 
tion of joy continued for some time. Such a feat 
was never before heard of. Ameer declined to 
discharge his third arrow; for he felt then that 
the wind had risen a little. 

Here we end our story. The dacoit rule in 
Bengal was supplanted by the planter and zemin- 
dar rule. The dacoits were subsequently extermi- 
nated with the help of the zemindars and the 
indigo-planters. In the place of the dacoits, the 
latter began to rule the country. The Magistrates 
of that period did and could do nothing. The 
police only hampered them, and the people never 
resorted to courts for the adjustment of their 
differences. 

155 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Poor Behari Sardar died a most unromantic 
death. He was apprehended in his old age, with 
the help of a treacherous comrade. When Behari 
found himself surrounded in the hut, where he 
was concealing himself and that there was no 
way of escape, he took a spear and caused a 
deep gash in his abdomen, laying his intestines 
open. In an insensible condition, he was taken to 
the Jessore hospital, where, wonder of wonders ! 
he recovered, his strong constitution helping him 
no doubt. Behari was sent across the Kalapanee, 
where he died after a very short residence. It is 
now peace in Bengal, nay, in every part of India. 
The country has been disarmed, and the result of 
that measure is that not only has all chivalry fled 
from the country but all martial spirit. Nay, we 
fear, the people are day by day losing their manli- 
ness. So, you see, even peace has its disadvan- 
tages. The people have become now so helpless 
that they find it difficult to encounter a mad jackal. 
The British Government might have strengthened 
its position by utilizing this martial spirit of the 
people. 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY 
OF INDIA 

We quoted some months ago a paragraph 
from Max Muller, in which the learned Professor 
declared that the contemplation, that the Hindus, 
so gentle, gifted and innocent, should be made 
subject to other nations, for no fault of their own 
but simply because they had not cultivated the 
art of war, filled him with profound sorrow.. Yes, 
the history of the Hindus is a history of continued 
humiliation ; but we must bear up with that. It 
is also a history of massacres of their men, women 
and children ; of outrages upon their women and 
sacred objects ; and of the plunder and burning of 
their cities which they had built with the toil of 
ages. We shall describe, in a few short sentences, 
how Hindus began their national life, and how 
they have been treated by their fellow-beings. 

Hindus lived innocent lives and respected the 
lives of the meanest creatures; they cultivated 
learning and philosophy ; they preached and 
practised spirituality, neither wishing ill to their 
fellow-beings nor apprehending ill from others. 
While thus passing their lives, they found them- 
selves suddenly confronted by an overwhelming 
force of marauders. They saw that resistance 

157 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

would be useless ; and they found also that the 
pitiless fiends who had invaded their country, had 
no human sentiments in them. So, what Hindus 
did, was to kill their women and to fall, with 
swords in hand, in the midst of the attacking 
hordes. There they were cut tp pieces ; their 
country was looted and subsequently burnt to 
ashes; and an important town and an important 
clan were for ever extinguished. 

The above is the epitome of the history of 
India. In our schools and colleges, History of 
India is taught. Of course, students must go 
through that teaching, and there is no help for it. 
But grown-up Hindus never, if they can help it, 
touch the History of India. It is not pleasant 
reading to them. It was thus that history was 
not written in India. 

Neither, we think, is the study of Hindu 
History a profitable one, for, it teaches infidelity. 
The outrages committed upon India by barbarians 
in their greed for material gains, are calculated 
to lead the Hindus to the idea that they are not 
in keeping with the character of the good God of 
the universe. That a nation so innocent, so 
gentle — a nation which has taught His worship to 
mankind — should be subjected to so gross outrages 
for no fault of their own, is no proof to the 
ordinary mind that God is good and just. 

Max Muller was profoundly affected at seeing 

158 

\ 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

the condition of innocent India, because he came 
somewhat in touch with the people through their 
literature. But do Englishmen, who are in direct 
touch with the people of this country — who are, in 
fact, in the position of their "Ma Bap'' — feel a 
similarly profound sympathy for the abject condi- 
tion of an ancient people ? Is not India, in many 
respects, the noblest and most interesting country, 
and the only country in the world which has no 
national liberty? And who are its masters now ? 
The English ! But how can this be? Englishmen 
cannot bear injustice or oppression. They paid 
from their own pockets for the liberation of slaves 
in America, and for them formed a Republic, 
called Liberia. How is it that Englishmen, who 
-are also ready to go to war with the Sultan 
because his Bulgarian subjects have no political 
liberty, have kept India in political bondage ? 
"How is it that the only subject nation in the world 
is under the sway of the most liberty loving 
nation in the world? 

When Hindus recovered from the shock of the 
Greek invasion the Mahomedans came. It took 
the Mussalmans three hundred years to obtain 
possession of the country. To ascertain how India 
fared under them, we have only to examine the 
most sacred temples of the Hindus. The Image 
•of Bishweshwar was — well, everybody knows 
what was done with the Image. The greatest 

159 



PICTURES OF INDIAN* I.I IT. 

temple in the world, that of Gobincla Deva, was 
dismantle:! by Aurungzeb, on the plea that the 
act would be pleasing- to his God. 

Hindus never cared for political power. If 
they had done so, the Khsetriyas, who supplie 1 
the country with Kings, statesmen, and soldiers, 
would have been put in the first and not in the 
second rank. The Brahmins, who forme 1 the 
first class, as a rule, never mediled with politics, 
nor served the State. Those who did, were 
considered outcastes. Chanakya, the celebrated 
Hindu statesman and minister of Chandra Gupta 
gave up the world and spent the last days of his 
life in wilderness, in order to wipe out his sins 
which he had accumulated by his contact with 
politics. 

It was not, as urged by Max Muller, that 
Hindus lost their independence because they had 
not cultivated the art of war. They lost their 
independence, because they did not put much 
value upon it. 

It was of no moment to the Hindus, who 
governed them, if they were governed well. The 
lot of Kings, ministers and generals was not 
envied by the higher classes. Fighting- and all 
political work were left to inferior classes, the 
Brahmins avoiding them as beneath their dignitv. 
Here, then we enter upon an important phase of 
this question, viz, the present abject condition of 

160 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

India. What led to this subiect condition of 
India? It was not that the Hindus did not know 
how to fight — it was because their instincts 
were opposed to those of other nations. When 
the Mussalman general invaded Bengal, the 
King and his , advisers yielded without a 
struggle. The King was old, and he had 
no thought for the world. His advisers and 
his people did not also much care as to who ruled 
them, provided they were let alone with the culti- 
vation of their learning and religion. One can 
see that the best energies of the Western nations 
are devoted to the cultivation of the art of war, 
the invention of infernal and destructive machines 
and manageable war-balloons, and the raising 
and equipment of gigantic armies. Their national 
energies are fccussed in conquests, in diplomacy, 
in arts and commerce, and so forth. 

But in India, Kings abdicated their thrones 
when they found that they were growing old, and 
statesmen did so, to wipe out their sins. Every 
man under fifty was required to lead the life of a 
religious man ; and he who did not, was consider- 
ed something like a leper. The intellectual classes 
devoted all their energies to the cultivation of the 
arts, sciences and their spiritual faculties. As for 
fighting, the shedding of blood was considered an 
inhuman practice. Surely, men were not dogs ! 
Those, who killed fellow-beings, were Ghouls, 

161 
S— n 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Rakhasas, and so forth. Indeed, the Hindus 
avoided the cares of the State, an$J they would 
have thankfully given up everything - to the Musal- 
mans if they had not committed oppressions. The 
Mussalmans fell because of their oppressions. 

The East has been called "sensuous/' because 
of the stories contained in the book, called " The 
Arabian Nights' Entertainments.'' The descrip 
tion of " black-eyed houries" and " sparkling gob- 
lets of gold " in that book, created the impression 
that the people of the East were devoted to 
" women and wine.'' But if Persia or Baghdad 
was sensuous, it would be manifestly unjust to 
call India so. Notwithstanding all the efforts of 
the Abkari Department, the people of India 
have not yet been induced to take largely to 
intoxicating liquors. It would be no exaggeration 
to say, that drinking is even now almost unknown 
in India. 

In the same manner, it may be said that the 
custom of eating meat does not obtain in this 
country. The higher classes are almost all 
vegetarians ; and even the lower classes, though 
they are permitted to taste almost only the flesh 
of goats and sheep, rarely have recourse to it. We 
have thus a rare use of meat and drink in India, 
which would never have been the case if the 
country were sensuous. 

Of course, polygamy is permitted under the 

162 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

national law of the land, in order to keep the 
balance of men and women equal in the marriage 
market ; but the custom of marrying more wives 
than one, is likewise almost unknown. On the 
other hand, widows are not permitted to re-marry. 
It has often been alleged that this is a cruel custom. 
This must seem so to those who cannot go beyond 
the flesh. It was introduced only to give every 
woman a chance of marriage ; for, re-marriage of 
widows would create an equal number of maids 
in the country. 

But it must, at the same time, be borne in 
mind, that if widows are not permitted to re- 
marry here, in India alone men also are seen 
voluntarily to give up the world and its pleasures 
for the sake of a better future. If the custom of 
prohibiting the re-marriage of widows prevailed, 
along with it also prevailed the custom, amongst 
males, of adopting the life of an ascetic. So great 
an effect had the precepts and preachings of the 
Hindu saints produced upon the people, that they 
came vividly to realize, in their minds, the worth- 
lessness of all worldly pleasures. It was thus that 
men turned ascetics in large numbers. Indeed, it 
was in India alone that people were divided into 
r/rihastas (family men) and udasins (ascetics). 
During the days of Sree Chaitanya, the Prophet of 
Nuddea, — that is, about four hundred years ago, — 
the number of ascetics, it was estimated, formed 

163 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

about one-sixteenth of the entire male population. 

It would, therefore, be manifestly unjust to 
call a people sensuous who, as a rule, never 
touched liquor or meat, and a large number of 
whom, male and female, lived the lives of ascetics. 

The matter would be made more plain when 
we come to consider the social constitution of the 
people. Here people were divided into four 
classes: (i) the spiritual and intellectual ; (2) 
warriors, statesmen, and political characters ; (3) 
merchants and trades-people; (4) mechanics, agri- 
culturists and labourers. In other words, people 
were divided into Brahmins, Kshetriyas, Vaishyas 
andSu.iras. The Brahmins as forming the spiritual 
and intellectual classes, obtained the first place. 
They had precedence over Kings, who belonged 
to the second class. Kings had to leave their 
thrones and fall at the feet of Brahmins. The 
Kshetrivas, who formed the second class, furnished 
the country with Kings, statesmen and warriors. 
The Vaishyas, who represented the wealth of the 
country, belonged to the third class only. The 
spiritual and intellectual classes, who formed the 
first class, were forbidden to meddle with property 
altogether. The Vaishyas, who forme 1 the third 
class, accumulated wealth, and were thus the 
wealthy men in the country. They had, however, 
an inferior place in society. 

In the West, however, there is a different 

164 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

arrangement. The Archbishop of Canterbury does 
not enjoy the same rank and respect as Mr. Prime 
Minister Gladstone. And the King himself is not 
only the head of the country, but also the head of 
the Church. Thus in the West, those who had 
power, that is to say, brute force and wealth, 
obtained the first place. In India, those who had 
brute force like the Kshetrivas, and wealth like the 
Vaisyas occupied only subordinate places. 

Now, if sensuousness had been the character- 
istic of India, the people would have considered 
the acquirement of wealth and brute force as the 
first objects in life; for, the gratification of the sen- 
ses can be secured only by the possession of brute 
force and wealth. The first object in life in the 
West is material prosperity; in India, it is spiritua- 
lity and learning. The allegation that India is sensu- 
ous is, therefore, absolutely without a foundation. 

When the Western hordes crossed the Indus 
and came into the country, they found themselves 
in contact with a race from whom they differed 
considerably in instincts and modes of life. India 
was not prepared for the rush of such a horde; 
and the pitiless invaders carried everything before 
them. When Porus declared that he expected, as 
a matter of course, a kingly treatment from 
Alexander the Great, the "hero" was surprised. 
He was a Western, and he knew the people 
fought only for "greed of material gain." 

165 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Greeks were followed by Persians and 
Afghans. Hindus fought bravely for their religion, 
home and hearth; but the hordes were too many 
for them. The present masters of India claim 
that they are a superior and enlightened, and the 
Indians a half-civilized and inferior, race. Their 
chief ground for this claim is, they are masters 
here and the Indians are slaves. But the argu- 
ment is not conclusive. The M irs ruled Spain, 
France and Austria. That fact does not prove 
that they were a more enlightened, or that thev 
ciime of a superior, race than the French. It was 
the barbarians who conquered Rome ; and the 
Romans had ruled the Greeks, Spartans, Athenia- 
ns, etc. The argument, therefore, that the 
English are a superior race because they hold 
sway over the Indians, is not thus conclusive. 
Nobody ventured to urge that the Mussalmans 
were a superior race to the Hindus; yet, the 
former held absolute saw ay over the latter for 
several hundred years. 

Of course, the English come of a superior race, 
and they have eminent qualities, or else they could 
never have acquired so much ascendency in the 
world. But they have yet serious defects in their 
national character. To be a really superior race, 
they must give up the practice of levelling guns 
at fellow-beings and killing them ; of seizing lands 
belonging to others ; of mowing down men who 

166 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

are defending their home, hearth, religion and 
national existence, by cannon shot or hanging 
them on a charge of disloyalty ; and, of taking 
away the political liberties of weaker nations. The 
above practices England must give up ; for, they 
are opposed to Christian religion, and are not in 
keeping with the teachings of their sweet Lord, 
on whom they depend for everlasting welfare, nor 
with those of their own instincts which are 
proverbially generous. 

The natives of India and their English rulers 
do not agree in their views about public affairs 
regarding the country. Let us see, \ however, 
where they agree and where they do not. The 
great ambition of Englishmen, at least, of most of 
them, is to hold sway over India for ever and 
ever. Of course, there are some who do not go so 
far and who think that the functions of England 
are only to prepare India for a free existence in 
future. But the number of Englishmen holding 
the latter view, is very small; and, if they venture 
to give utterance to their sentiments, they are 
persecuted by all other classes of their countrymen, 
and are called traitors to their country. Because 
somebody was supposed to have used the expres- 
sion "Perish India,"— though as a matter of fact, 
nobody had ever actually done it, — very few 
Englishmen can utter his name and sentiments 
without giving vent to a feeling of indignation. 

167 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

It is, however, a settled thing with most 
Englishmen, that the greatest object of their lives 
is to see that this Empire of India be never per- 
mitted to slip out of their hands. 

Strange as it may appear, it is a fact that 
in this view there is no difference between the 
natives of India and their rulers. If the prospect 
of a separation between India and England gives 
most Englishmen a shudder, it affects Indians 
also in a similar manner. Indians themselves 
consider that a separation, for the present, at least, 
would be a very great calamity to them. 

We shall explain why. First, there is not a 
centre for Hindus to rally round, nor a centre for 
Mussalmans in India to do so. Secondly, a perfect 
union between Hindus and Mussalmans is im- 
possible ; and, therefore, the idea of a Hindu- 
Mussalman Government is Utopian. Thirdly, all 
that man really needs, is only good rule, no matter 
from whatever source it comes. It is only vanity 
which thirsts after what is called a national 
existence. It is quite possible for England to 
give India a good rule. Fourthly, the national 
feeling is not as strong among Hindus as 
among other nations in the world. This, because 
Hindus have been moulded by their religion to the 
thought that everything pertaining to this world 
is transitory that India is not their permanent 
home, and that the chief object of human existence 

:68 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

is to secure a good place in the permanent home, 
which is in other world. Patriotism is considered 
to be the highest virtue in the world by other 
nations ; and they wdll sacrifice everything, even 
their souls, for the cause of their country. In India, 
love of country has not that all-controlling in- 
fluence. Love of country has a third place in the 
heart of a Hindu, the love of religion occupying 
the first. 

It is this peculiarity of the Hindu character, 
which led them to lose their national independence. 
It is this feeling which led the higher classes in 
India to stand aloof from public affairs of the 
country. Politics was considered beneath the 
notice of man with an immortal existence 
hereafter, because it dealt with purely worldly 
affairs. Thus the Brahmins refused to be Prime 
Ministers of Hindu Kings, and thus those Brahmins 
who agreed to serve, were considered as fallen 
beings who had to regain their previous position 
by a rigorous penance. 

Well, we see here a perfect accord between 
the natives of India and their English rulers in 
regard to English supremacy in India. If the 
English people are resolved to hold India at any 
cost, the Indians too consider British supremacy 
essential for peace, in this land of Hindus and 
Muss aim ans. 

Yet, Indians and the English people will not 

169 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

agree, and are engaged in an irreconcilable feud. 
We shall try to explain why. It is because most 
Englishmen will not only have British supremacy, 
but something more. 

What they will have is, as expressed by 
Colonel Parnell, "a perpetual military despotism 
for India/ Please mind the word "perpetual.'' 
They will not only have despotism, but one that 
must be perpetual. They will not even make a 
beginning of an eventual relaxation of their iron 
grip; and, if they were led, during the past, for 
reasons which need not be enumerated here, to 
make any provision for a future relaxation of this 
hold, they would repent, and do their utmost to 
see that such provisions were rendered a dead 
letter. 

In the above, we have laid down, we suppose, 
in clear language, why Indians and their English 
masters differ in their views about public affairs. 
What Indians expected, was British supremacy 
in the beginning, and British citizenship eventual- 
ly. What Colonel Parnell and all other English- 
men holding his views, would reserve for the 
Indians, is absolute subjection, which must be 
perpetual. But, what is absolute subjection? 
Well, it can be explained by the manner in which 
India is governed now, — that is to say, byofficials 
imported from Europe and armed with irresistible 
powers. Indians offered to provide better material 

170 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

than these imported officials at a cheaper cost 
but, the proposal of Simultaneous Examinations 
gave Englishmen here a shudder. You can offer 
the present rulers better materials at a cheaper 
cost ; but they would not accept such offers, 
because such an arrangement would run counter 
to their paramount idea of keeping India in 
perpetual despotic subjection. It is not that 
Englishmen do not know and feel the justice and 
expediency of utilising native talent, which is 
cheap, in a poor country which ought to be kept 
contented under an alien rule. But, what of that? 
A Simultaneous Examination is not compatible 
with their great idea of keeping India under abso- 
lute and perpetual sway. 

Thus it is that Indians and their rulers do not 
agree. The rulers are always for measures which 
would secure to England the perpetual and absolute 
sovereignty of India. Indians object to such 
measures, and would have seeds sown for the 
eventual attainment of British citizenship. Hence 
this perpetual feud. It is not that the rulers do 
not appreciate the advantages of cheap and 
indigenous labour, or those of economy, or the 
needless cruelty of keeping on the Statue book 
such a measure as the Age of Consent Act but 
their policy requires that officials must be imported 
from England, that oftentimes expenses are better 
than economy, \ and that it is essential that officials 

171 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

should have such weapons as the measure of the 
Age of Consent Act, to be able to keep people 
under control. 

We have now to see what this perpetual 
subjection of India means for Englishmen. To 
secure the absolute mastership of India, England 
has to induce a large number of its best men to 
come out here to rule. If these men refuse to 
come, the great idea of Englishmen, to hold, India 
in perpetual subjection, falls to the ground. Those 
Englishmen have, therefore, to be persuaded to 
come out here, with offers of divers advantages, 
namely, princely salaries, princely pensions, 
generous leave rules, absolute sway over the 
people, immunity from punishment for misdeeds, 
and so forth. Those who come out here, know 
their position of advantage. They naturally take 
advantage of their position and tyrannize over 
their countrymen at home. The Exchange 
difficulty having reduced their incomes, they 
plainly told their countrymen at home, that they 
would not come out unless their pay was increas- 
ed. Englishmen at home had to yield to this 
threat and dictation, for the purpose of carrying out 
their idea of holding India in perpetual sway. 
They further demanded that the Parliamentary 
Vote about the Simultaneous Examination should 
be set at nought ; and it was done, though it 
meant a blow at their own glorious constitution. 

172 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

At the present moment, it is exceedingly doubtful 
which is the subordinate authority — the Indian 
Government or the British Parliament. 

The authorities will thus only inaugurate such 
measures as will, in their opinion, secure to 
Englishmen this absolute and perpetual sovereign- 
ty. To this the natives of the soil object. The 
latter demand that the authorities should make a 
beginning for the eventual absorption of the peo- 
ple into the British Empire. This the authorities 
refuse to do. Hence this eternal and irreconcil- 
able feud. Englishmen should, however, take note 
of what this desire for perpetual sovereignty of 
India costs them. We fancy they lose much more 
than they gain by this desire. 

HAVE Englishmen taken stock of the losses 
that they have to sustain for the purpose of secur- 
ing the absolute and perpetual sovereignty of India? 
It is only proper that they should doit. All reason- 
able and practical men do, now and then, see 
whether they are making any profit or not in their 
occupations. We have already taken a moral 
view of the question. Englishmen, as the leading 
nation in the world, are naturally objects of imita- 
tion to others. The example, shown by England 
by extending her conquests, has demoralized 
the whole of Europe. It may be easily shown that 
the reduction of civilised Europe to the condition, 
of an armei camp; the employment of the best 

173 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

energies of the enlightened inhabitants of that 
continent to fighting ; the invention and construc- 
tion of deadly weapons ; the conversion of the 
best men in a country to something like righting 
materials, — all this is mainly due to the immoral 
example set before Europe by the leading nation 
of the world, the English. It is true that the 
Spaniards, the Portugese, and the Dutch first 
pointed out the way ; it is true also that if England 
had been worsted in its encounter with France 
the latter country would like England have con- 
quered the worll. But the stern fact remains that 
these conquests mean disruption of society, con- 
tempt for moral laws, disregard of human lives 
and rights of nations ; and are thus putting up an 
insuperable barrier to the progress of humane 
principles, which alone mark out true civilization 
from false, and the human species from the brute 
creation. 

So long the Indians are not blessed with the 
privileges of the colonials, their country will re- 
main in the condition of " a valuable property. " 
This policy of keeping the country deprived of the 
rights of self-government has created the necessity 
of guarding In 'ia against foreign invasion and in- 
ternal rebellion. We have now to see what Eng- 
land has to pay for these two possible necessities 
referred to above. It is impossible to give an ex- 
haustive account on this head; but, we can give 

174 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

-some idea to-day of the sacrifices of England for 
this purpose. 

First of all, Englishmen have to keep some 
$ixty or seventy thousands of their best men con- 
fined in this country. It may be said that there 
is no harm in that. On the other hand, it may be 
urged that these seventy thousand men, though 
imported into India and paid for by the Indians, 
could be used for the purposes of the whole 
Empire. This is true. That is, no doubt, an 
advantage, though it is one which is founded 
upon an immoral arrangement. 

But have Englishmen taken note of the miser- 
able condition of these seventy thousands of their 
countrymen ? Englishmen have the reputation of 
being very much attached to one another. Colonel 
Olcott once told us that, one great virtue of the 
English people was that they would sacrifice 
everything for the sake of a countryman. If a 
countryman of theirs were oppressed in the remo- 
test corner of the world, they would go there to 
avenge the wrong done to him, at any cost. This 
being the English instinct, how is it, then, that 
they are so callous to the miseries of their country- 
men in India? 

It is because there is no help for it. For the 
purpose of securing the absolute and perpetual 
sovereignty of India, the people of England have 
to shut their eyes to the true condition of British 

175 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

soldiers in this country. These soldiers are brought 
from their homes to a distant and foreign land, the 
climate of which does not, of course, suit them; 
housed in barracks like horses in a stable, and 
treated as prisoners, never being permitted to go 
out of the precincts of the house without permis- 
sion. Their only happiness consists in meat, drink, 
and the like, and in shooting birds; and even the 
latter pastime they are forbidden to indulge in, 
because of the danger to villagers which this pas- 
time has been found to give rise to. 

At a Railwav station, two vears ago. a few 
soldiers rested for a day. At about 4 P. M., some 
of them surrounded the clerk in charge of the Sta- 
tion, and insisted that they must have "three 
issues;'' but, the clerk in reply said not " three ''but 
"two." Of course, we could not understand what 
was the subject-matter of the dispute. On enquiry, 
however, we learnt that the "issues" meant issues 
of rum. We inquired whether Government paid 
for them; and we were told, the soldiers themsel- 
ves had to pay for the drink. We again wanted 
to know what objection Government could have if 
they drank rum thrice, since they had to pay for 
the pleasure. In reply, we were told, that if they 
were given a free hand, they would drink away 
their earnings in a week, and would remain drunk 
day and night. 

And it is not their fault that they seek to while 

176 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

away time in drink. They have nothing to do, 
day and night. Ten thousand miles away from re- 
lations, friends and home; living as semi-prisoners 
in an uncongenial climate, under strict discipline, 
anv breach of which means imprisonment and hard 
labour, there is no joy in the life of a British soldier. 
Other Englishmen who come to India may have 
their comforts for they can live an independent 
life and enjoy opportunities of making their pile. 
But the British soldier, we presume, gets only a 
shilling per day. 

When the Purity party objected to a disgust- 
ing dutv, which Government had taken upon 
itself, of supplying the animal requirements of the 
soldier, we did not, as a matter of fact, join in the 
cry with as much heart as it was our desire to do. 
For, we saw that the conditions of the existence of 
British soldiers in India required that they should 
be supplied with their animal wants. There was 
absolutely no help for it. Either the soldiers 
should be sent home, or none but married men 
should be brought here with their wives, or 
Government must take upon itself the disgusting 
duty of supplying them with "goodlooking" and 

"healthy" females. 

The task which Government took upon itself, 
however, was such a dirty one that the Purity 
party easily gained the day ; for, there was none 
who had the courage of openly supporting it. 

177 
S— 12 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Thus the Purity party gained; but the local 
authorities in India saw so much danger in the 
reform that they tried to evade the vote of 
Parliament by throwing dust in the eyes of the 
missionaries. 

How that matter stands now we do not know; 
but, Anglo-Indian papers tell us that a large 
number of young Englishmen have for life been 
disabled by disease and have to be sent home 
invalided. Have Englishmen, who lose temper 
when they are told that they should asso- 
ciate with the natives of India for the government 
of the country, taken note as to how many of their 
own countrymen are killed in battle and by divers 
diseases, and invalided for life, simply because 
they shudder at the prospect of ever loosening, 
even slightly, the tight grip with which they now 
hold Hindustan?* 

We said that Englishmen, generally speaking, 
are prepared to sacrifice everything "for their 
Empire of India and the Indians approve of this 
determination, There are, however. Englishmen 
who by this "Empire of India" mean the perpetual 
and absolute sovereignty of this country. Mere 
supremacy in India will not satisfy them ; what 
they want is absolute sway, and that for ever and 
ever. The arrangement which Indians propose, 



* As the articles with the above headings appeared in the 
Amrita Bazar Patrika the reader will excase repetition here 
and there. 

I 7 8 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

viz, supremacy for Englishmen in India and British 
citizenship for Indians, will not suit them ; hence 
this perpetual and irreconcilable feud between the 
ruled and the rulers, is unfortunately getting more 
bitter day by day. The rulers will scarcely inau- 
gurate a measure which has not for its object 
perpetual and absolute sovereignty for them ; and, 
the natives of the soil naturally view every such 
measure with alarm and sometimes with indigna- 
tion. 

We have already seen what this desire for 
perpetual and absolute sovereignty has cost 
England and India. India at present is not 
the country of a nation, but the property of 
England. This Englishmen admit by calling 
it the brightest "jewel'' in the British diadem, 
for a jewel is only a property. But so long 
India is regarded as a property, other nations will 
not cease to hanker after it. An English lord who 
had a beautiful mistress to whom he was devotedly 
attached, knew no peace on account of jealousy. He 
kept her strongly guarded, and never permitted 
her to go out of sight. He had no faith in the 
virtue of the woman ; and, then, he saw that many 
other candidates for her favour were trying to win 
her affections. All these circumstances made the 
bewitched nobleman very miserable. Seeing the 
misery of her master, the lady told him that he 
•could never hope to put any trust in her or to get 

179 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

rid of his troublesome rivals until he had married 
her. " My dear," said she, addressing her lover, 
" marrv me and then you will learn to put faith in 
me, and your rivals will consider my person sacred, 
and they will never venture to cast wistful glances 
at me." 

In the same manner, unless India be granted 
something like a national existence, other strong 
Powers will never cease to covet her possession. 
And until that is done, Englishmen will never 
learn to put any faith in the children of the soil. 
But, now, Englishmen do not trust the natives of 
India at all, and are constantly afraid of foreign 
aggression. Every movement of the natives of the 
soil, every movement of a foreign Power, creates 
a suspicion in their minds, which sometimes not 
only makes the great British nation look absurd, 
but also leads them to many suicidal and costly 
undertakings. This is only because India is re- 
garded as a property. But, if India be raised to 
the status of the country of a nation, she will not 
only cling to England with affection, as her best 
friend, but others will also consider it a sacrilege 
to try to take possession of the country. There are 
innumerable small republics in the world, and, no 
one ever thinks of taking possession of any one of 
them; it is because they have each of them a 
national existence. 

It is because India is regarded as a property 

180 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

that its rulers have to guard it against foreign 
aggressors, as also against the natives of the 
country. Make India the country of a nation, give 
it a national existence, and the Russian bug-bear 
will cease to give any trouble, — India will become 
sacred in the eyes of even all aggressive nations. 

The example shown by England and Russia 
have utterly demoralized Europe. In America, they 
do not know what it is to hold people under sub- 
jection. But, in Europe, every nation is after 
foreign conquests. In Europe, they have now all, 
generally speaking, practically become lawless. 
Lord Beaconsfield complacently remarked, " We 
have all of us room enough in Asia !" They 'are 
just now dividing Africa " as we divide a cake," 
said the American Ambassador in Paris. France 
is just now desolating Madagascar, and other 
European Powers look on unconcerned, or rather 
with envy. They are rather sorry that they them- 
selves are not in the place of France! Of course, 
amongst themselves they have laws to protect pro- 
perty and person, but they have no regard for the 
lives or rights of human beings outside Europe. 
They will seize any body's country whenever they 
can, regardless of the fact that every nation has a 
natural right to a national existence. They will 
massacre weaker nations defending their hearth 
and home. 

The piteous appeal of the Queen of Madagas- 

181 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

car is calculated to move every heart which has a 
spark of humanity in it. But what of that? Earth- 
hunger has almost uprooted the sense of justice 
and the feeling of humanity from the European 
heart. Yet they, Europe, profess to believe in a 
God and a Redeemer. They have innumerable 
churches where the} 7 sit to pray for forgiveness for 
their sins. But, what forgiveness can there be for 
those who mow down patriots with their deadly 
weapons, as the French are now doing in 
Madagascar, — patriots who are righting in defence 
nf the honour of their families, for their corn-fields, 
their cattle, their children, and their national 
existence ? Mind, in Europe, they are so just to 
themselves that they hang a man who takes the 
life of another. But, when others are concerned, 
they will not scruple to slay thousands and 
thousands, to rob them of their country and gold ! 

We are, however, only concerned with 
Englishmen who are decidedly the most moral 
and humane nation in Europe. The other day, a 
smart discussion was held by Englishmen in 
Calcutta, whether it was cruelty to cut the tail of a 
pigeon. But not a word was uttered by them 
when, say, about a thousand of the Swatis were 
killed in battle, while opposing the passage of our 
irresistible troops. 

Now, we fancy, every man killed beyond our 
borders, was, according to all right-thinking 

182 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

Englishmen, a man unjustly massacred. It must 
have given a great shock to most Englishmen that 
a cruel necessity had led them to the massacre of 
brave patriots defending their home and hearth 
with stones, by means of their weapons made under 
scientific principles. These Englishmen mourned 
in silence, though they could not venture to utter a 
word. It must have occured to most of the 
Englishmen, that such deeds could not be regarded 
by God with pleasure, and they are opposed to the 
teachings inculcated by Jesus Christ. 

A little consideration will show that it is this 
passionate desire for a perpetual and absolute 
sovereignty of India, that led to this act and others 
similar in nature. It is thus under the provision of 
God, one immoral act is followed by many 

other. 

Europe is now an armed camp. Twenty-two 
millions of its best men have been reduced to the 
condition of bull-dogs. Europeans really do not 
trust one another ; they never believe one another. 
The declarations of the highest men of a country 
will not be believed by the people of another 
country. As a matter of fact, they are all bent on 
deceiving one another. And how is this possible 
in nations, so well-blessed as Europeans are, with 
intelligence, education and the finest sentiments 
which mark out man from brutes? It is because 
earth-hunger has blunted their sentiments, and 

183 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

they can scarcely perceive the unjustifiable 
character of their acts. 

For a better appreciation of the subject we 
shall summarise the observations we have already 
made. We said that the people of India and 
their English rulers are now engaged in a cease- 
less feud. They are not on cordial terms, and the 
estrangement is getting wider day by day. The 
rulers are day by day losing their sympathy for 
the people, and the people on the other hand, are 
losing their respect for, and confidence in, their 
English masters. 

For an explanation of this condition of things, 
we said that this feud was solely due to a desire, 
on the part of the rulers, to hold an absolute and 
perpetual sway over this, what they call, "our 
Empire of India." The people, on the other hand, 
though they feel the absolute need of British 
sovereignty, also demand, along with it, British 
citizenship. Here we see a perfect accord on one 
point, viz., as to the necessity for British supre- 
macy. But there is a difference on the other point, 
viz., that of British citizenship. The rulers will 
retain British supremacy but will not grant British 
citizenship, hence this difference. 

The people of India revolted when they were 
asked to use cartridges which they believed con- 
tained the fat of the swine and the cow. The British 
people were led to come to the conclusion by that 

184 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

Mutiny, that the best course for them would be 
to grant British citizenship to Indians. And, as 
a matter of fact, it was granted to the people of 
India by a Royal Charter in 1858. But, there is 
now no longer a disposition on the part of the 
rulers of the land to abide by the Queen's Procla- 
mation. It has become now quite apparent to the 
meanest intellect, that the Proclamation is consi- 
dered, by Englishmen in general, as a mistake, 
and such as should not be given effect to. 

At the present moment, the natives of India 
do not enjoy the privileges of British citizens. 
They are not permitted to make laws, nay, not 
even to administer the laws made by their English 
masters. The laws are made by Englishmen and 
are administered by Englishmen. The people are 
taxed by Englishmen and the revenues are spent 
by Englishmen, The natives of the soil have not 
even the privilege of managing their own petty 
village affairs, or of being tried by their peers 
-even in the pettiest of cases. 

The Indians expected the great boon of British 
citizenship to come upon them in time. They 
were not in a hurry about it. They wanted a 
be-ginning. But that beginning never came. They 
formed themselves into a National Congress when, 
they saw that there was no prospect of getting 
anything without agitation. They thought that 
the organization would prove conclusively, that 

185 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

the natives of India were earnest in their demands; 
that they stuck to British rule and did not want a 
severance; and that they were competent to take 
upon themselves some share of the work of 
administration. 

The Indians in this effort expected help from 
their English masters. They had the firm con- 
viction that Englishmen who always loved fair 
play — who, in spite of a rough exterior, were 
generous at heart, and always on the side of 
struggling humanity trying to get out of their 
difficulties — would come forward to lend them a 
helping hand in their efforts. But some petty, 
immediate and fanciful advantages led them to 
range against this national movement. Instead of 
helping the disorganized Indians, — disorganised 
because of foreign rule — Englishmen here took 
upon themselves to throw obstacles in their way. 
They considered it a triumph if the Congress failed 
in any point. The rulers, in short, are not dispos- 
ed to lend the Indians any help in their efforts to 
learn some sort of self-government. 

Have Indians any prospect of getting any- 
thing twenty-five years hence? — Fifty years 
hence? — A hundred years hence? There is no such 
indication, however, on the part of the rulers to 
inspire the hope that Indians will have, at any 
future period, the prospect of enjoying any one of 
the privileges of British citizenship. No measure 

1 86 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

of Government now-a-days indicates any relaxa- 
tion of hold on tHfe people. On the other hand, al- 
most every measure of Government now a days 
shows a desire for a firmer hold, if that is possible 
upon the people. 

It is this disposition on the part of the rulers, 
that leads Indians to grumble, and it is this com- 
plaint, on the part of the Indians, which leads the 
English rulers to feel unsympathetically towards 
the people of this country. 

There are kind-hearted Englishmen who try 
to soothe the Indians by a vague assurance that 
they would be blessed with political privileges 
when they showed their fitness for them. But this 
assurance does not now carry conviction. If the 
rulers had any serious intention of gradually in- 
corporating the Indians in the ranks of British 
citizens, they would have given the latter a 
chance. They would have given them chances, 
and regarded their first failures with a lenient eye. 
When Lord Ripon inaugurated his scheme of 
local self-government, he remarked that failures on 
the part of the Indians were expected and that the 
Government should make ample allowances for 
such shortcomings in the beginning. This measure 
of local self-government,by the bye, was the last act 
of^the Government of India which showed any sym- 
pathy for the people. Lord Ripon was hissed out of 
India for his " pro-native " tendencies, and this 

187 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

suicidal act, by the Anglo-Indian rulers here, was 
a signal for the inauguration of % policy of repres- 
sion all along the line, — repression in every 
direction. 

As we said before, no chances are given now; 
on the other hand, we see an attempt everywhere 
to cry down everything done by an Indian. Mr. 
— .Commissioner of the Presidency Division, had 
to deal with two Indian Civilians when writing 
his Annual Report ; and both of them were put 
down by him as worthless. 

The hope, however, once held out that Indians 
would be treated more and more as 
fellow subjects as they advanced in the 
knowledge of European methods, was 
annihilated by the attitude of the rulers of the 
land towards the National Congress. Here was 
an honest attempt on the part of Indians to extri- 
cate themselves from an abject condition. Here 
was an honest attempt on the part of the leaders 
to throw in their lot with the British nation and 
stick to them for ever. But were these honest and 
laudable efforts hailed with joy by their rulers? 
No ! Every effort was made by the irresistible 
rulers of the land to see that Indians never suc- 
ceeded. Dissension was sown in their ranks; 
the leaders were sought to be won over by offers 
of reward and threats of punishment. Everyone 
knows that now-a-days no man of property 

188 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

ventures to show any active sympathy for the 
Congress. 

What the rulers of the land have reserved for 
the Indians is not only British sovereignty but an 
absolute rule, and not only an absolute rule but a 
perpetual one. This absolute and perpetual rule 
must endure for ever and ever; and, this is what 
the present policy of the Government clearly 
indicates. 

We have asked several Englishmen of a 
liberal mind, both here and in England, to explain 
what their real intentions are as regards India. 
We have got, however, different replies from 
different parties. One said that he could not 
justify, on moral grounds, the ostracism of the 
natives of the soil from all share in the govern- 
ment of the country; but he is only one out of 
thirty millions of Englishmen who rule India, and 
he is obliged to take his share of the responsibility 
of the moral wrong. In short, he had no hopes to 
offer us. Another said that such a state of things 
could never continue for ever, and that relief was 
bound to come in course of time. His reply also 
did not contain anything definite; he left every- 
thing to chance. Another pious Christian, a 
philanthropist, told us, in reply to our question, 
that Indians had no right to complain ; for, they 
had now a better rule than they had ever enjoyed 

before. 

189 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Now, this is exactly what we are told often, — 
not only by very good men in England but also by 
a large number of Englishmen here. We are thus 
asked to accept that we are now far better off 
than we ever were before. But, do the authorities, 
who rule India, believe it? Let them first believe 
it themselves and then it will be time for them to 
ask us to accept the view that India is better off 
now than it was ever before. 

But do they believe the statement themselves? 
Why do they, then, entertain such a profound 
distrust for the Indians? Their actions show that 
they have no faith in Indian good-will, and that they 
entertain the notion that Indians are in a state of 
deep disaffection, and are only biding their time 
for a shaking-off of the foreign rule. Every action 
of theirs proves this suspicion of the Indians. Why 
did they disarm Indians if they had any faith in 
the good-will of the people ? Can the annals of the 
world show another instance of two hundred and 
fifty millions of people disarmed and practically 
emasculated for ever? Why this terrible and 
unparalleled punishment? Englishmen are too 
intelligent not to know that, by this universal 
disarmament, they have done immense mischief to 
themselves. Indians could furnish ten millions of 
soldiers to the rulers of the land, — soldeirs, efficient 
and cheap. With such a horde, and with their 
unparalleled generalship and inexhaustible re- 

190 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF [NDIA 

sources, Englishmen could have defied the world. 
But why are they emasculating their own people 
and thus undermining their own strength ? 

They are fully aware of the mischief that thev 
are doing to themselves by this emasculating 
process. But, their unconquerable suspicion leads 
them to it. This suspicion could never have got 
such a strong hold of their minds, if they had any 
faith in their own contention that, Indians have 
got now a better rule than they ever had before, 
or a very good rule, or anything like a good rule. 

This distrust of the Indians has led the rulers 
of the land to undergo many such immense 
sacrifices. For the disarmament of the natives of 
the soil is a sacrifice, both to the ruled and rulers. 
Everyone knows that it is the forward policy of 
the Government which has almost ruined India. 
It has brought upon India an additional burden 
of twenty thousand British soldiers. To this 
forward policy we owe all our inglorious and costly 
border wars. To it we owe roads and railways 
through inaccessible regions, and forts and for- 
tresses, maintained at immense cost, in distant 
countries. This forward policy has added some- 
thing like ten millions per annum to the burdens 
of a famished people. It has been the cause of the 
loss of lives of innumerable men, Indian and 
European, and cattle, the chief wealth of the 

Indians. 

191 



PICTURES OK INDIAN LIFE 

And do you know to what mainly we owe 
this forward policy? We quote the following - sen- 
tences from the comments of an English newspaper 
on a recent paper of Col. Hanna : — 

''Colonel Hanna recommit* Is, as a line of 
defence, Jacobabad, Multan, Peshawar. As the 
writerin The United Service Magazine points out, 
'with Russia established in Afghanistan, we should 
be leaving constant intrigues and plots going on 
against us in India,' and retreat or defeat outside 
our border would raise a horde in our rear of every 
discontented man in India. Civil and Military 
Gazette recently shown 1 how necessary it is to keep 
the actual fighting away from India itself. This is 
also the view of " An officer of the Indian staff 
corps,' and, we heartily endorse it." 

So we owe this forward policy to the necessity 
of "keeping the actual fighting away from India." 
Is not this ridiculous? Is it not calculated to 
produce shrieks of laughter amongst Indians ? By 
marching forward to meet the enemy, we take 
upon ourselves all the difficulties which an 
invading army will have to overcome. By sustain- 
ing a defeat far away from our base of operations, 
we risk the animosity of the fierce and barbarous 
people in our rear through whose country we had 
marched. But, all these dangers are nothing 
compared with the other. And, what is it ? The 
danger is, as the Civil and Military Gazette has it, 

192 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

"if the English sustain a defeat on the border, the 
whole of India will rise against them ! " So the 
animosity of the blood-thirsty barbarians is 
J nothing compared to the animosity of the gentle 
I Indians, who are alleged to be enjoying a 
rule the like of which was never done before! Does 
not such 'a state of the mind show that suspicion 
has made sober and intelligent Englishmen lose 
their senses ? 

A belief, in the innate goodness of the rule 
given to India, is incompatibie with such uncon- 
querable and profound distrust of the people. It 
is not mere suspicion that the authorities feel for 
the people of India ; it is something like a mania. 
Mr. Balfour, in his speech at Glasgow, said, speak- 
ing in regard to Chitral, that "the day we lose our 
prestige will be the fore-runner of the loss of the 
Empire." Mr. Balfour, a master of the Empire, 
echoes but a generally-accepted sentiment. The 
belief is entertained almost universally, and it is 
oftentimes openly declared too, that, the British 
Government in India has no other basis to stand 
upon than its prestige. Such a view does not con- 
firm the statement that Indians have got a better 
rule now than they ever enjoyed before. On the 
other hand, the unusual importance given to what 
is called prestige, goes to suggest that British 
Government has no hold whatsoever upon the 
people on account of its intrinsic merits. So, it 

193 
S— 13 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

owes its strength and existence to decep- 
tions ! 

What does this ostracism of the natives of the 
soil from the military service prove, except that 
the rulers have no faith in them? Mussalman 
Emperors trusted Hindu Generals, and the 
Russians trust Mussalman Generals selected from 
among their Mussalman subjects; but, the English 
rulers of India will not trust an Indian in the 
military service, though they declare that they 
have given a better rule to India than the Russians 
ever gave to their Mussalman subjects, or Mussal- 
man Emperors did to their Hindu subjects. This 
does not show that they have any sincere faith in 
the excellence of their own rule. Jealous husbands 
oftentimes act in a ludicrous manner; but, the 
persecuted wife does not find anything pleasant in 
the mad pranks of her lord. The steps taken by 
the authorities to guard the Empire from their 
own people, have a ridiculous aspect ; only they 
are too serious for the people to derive any enjoy- 
ment from them. For every two Sepoys, one 
British soldier is imported to keep guard ! The 
Sepoys are wanted to keep the people under 
control, and the British soldiers are wanted to 
keep the Sepoys under control ! 

Here we have a complicated machinery, 
wheels within wheels, which not only make the 
whole thing cumbrous and costly, but almost 

194 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

worthless for the purposes of any substantial work. 
India cannot show tangible progress, because of 
this complicated machinery which leads it on. 

We said that England could raise ten millions 
of soldiers from India ; but, then there is this diffi- 
culty. Would not these ten millions require also 
the services of five millions of British soldiers? 
But, where are these five millions to be got? And 
so England cannot utilize the forces that it is 
capable of raising in India. 

Thus, what we see is suspicion everywhere, 
and that this suspicion is eating into the vitality 
of the nation. It is emasculating the Indians, — it 
is undermining the real basis of this gigantic 
Empire. 

And, do they not watch with a jealous eye the 
sale of sulphur? And, why? It is because sulphur 
forms a component part of gun-powder ! How is 
it that even their own Indian soldier is not trusted 
with artillery ? Are not these ridiculous precau- 
tions due to an unconquerable suspicion owing 
to an unalterable conviction that, Indians do not 
now enjoy as good a rule as they deserve ? 

We then come to the larger question of the 
importation of seventy-five thousand British «. 
soldiers. We implore every Englishman to think 
over the actual condition of these brave English 
soldiers, kept confined in barracks. John Brown 
relates in the Asian a story that he had heard 

195' 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

from an Indian coachman. This is what the coach- 
man, an Indian, told him : — 

" The most curious incident during - my service 
occurred when I was on the Umballa-Kalka Road. 
It was in the hot weather and in broad day-light, 
when I took up a passenger at the Umballa 
Station ; he threw away an empty bottle. Presently 
he produced another from his portmanteau, and 
finished half of it at a draught. A few miles 
further, he emptied it and commenced a third 
bottle. He then attacked the syce with his sword 
and the man jumped off the tonga, a:.d bolted. I 
felt inclined to run away myself. At the next 
stage, which was half way to Kalka, he left the 
tonga and went shrieking into the jungle. As he 
did not return for a long time, we went to look 
for him and found him gasping for breath under a 
tree. We gave him water ; but, he died before 
we could reach the tonga. I then drove the 
corpse back to Umballa to the Police Station ; and 
the Judge Sahib, who held the enquiry, was very 
severe with me. God knows why ; for, 1 had 
done my duty according to my lights. 

"What was he drinking?'' — asked the Judge 
of me. 

"Khodavvand," I said, "lam a Brahmin, and 
don't drink spirits, I don't know." 

"Was it sweet?" 

"Was it bitter?" 

196 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

"I am a Brahmin, and don't know." 

"Was it sour ?" 

"I am a Brahmin, and don't know.'' 

"Then he said I was a fool ; and when asked 
why didn't I take away the bottles, I said I was a 
coachman, small of stature, and the Sahib was a 
big man with a drawn sword. Then they said 
iau. and I went. Your Honour will see that we 
are already at Kalka, and in good time for 
the train. When your Honour comes again, 
if you will ask for Sarda Ram, it will give me 
great pleasure to drive you ; there is no one I 
would rather drive than your Honour, not even 
Lat Brassfoot himself whom your Honour much 
resembles. Khudda huzur ho Lat Karel" 

And said the coachman : " How can I tell 
what he was drinking? lam a Brahmin." What 
a commentary this upon the superior enlighten- 
ment of the Christians ! But, it is not the fault of 
the officer that he died of drinking. In India, 
British soldiers, — even officers, — have to drink, in 
order to make their existence bearable. 

Let us view this question from another stand- 
point. There are 42,000 soldiers in Bengal, who 
are unmarried and only 1,300 who are married. 
There are 14,000 in Madras and 12,000 in Bombay 
who are unmarried, and 650 in Madras, and 360 
in Bombay who are married. The percentage 
of married to the actual strength in the three 

197 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Presidencies of Bengal, Madras and Bombay, is 
thus a little more or less than 3. 4 and 2 respec- 
tively. So, here we have a total of 68,000 un- 
married British soldiers in India. It is a pity 
that the significance of this fact is ignored, 
nay, sought to be concealed. And, does not 
this perpetual political disability of Indians 
need the practical banishment of seventy-five 
thousand of Englishmen to a foreign country in an 
uncongenial climate? We see here seventy-five 
thousand Englishmen, who are young and un- 
married, kept confined in barracks in the deadly 
climate of India. The best course for Englishmen, 
who are so great patriots and who possess such 
strong humanitarian principles, is to send these 
men home at once. 

It may, however, be urged that if these 
seventy-five thousand Englishmen were sent 
home, there would be none to guard the Empire. 
Why, Indians will do it ! Why will Indians not 
do it when, by the admission of the rulers 
of the Empire themselves, the people of this 
country have now got such a good rule as 
they never enjoyed before? If Indians, under 
such circumstances, rise against British autho- 
rity, — if Hindus and Mussalmans can forget 
their mutual differences, which is an impossible 
supposition ; if they can find a centre to rally 
round, which is another impossible supposition, 

198 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

why should not they govern the country them- 
selves ? The only justification for the occupation of 
the country by the English is that the natives of 
the country win cut one another's throats, if left 
to themselves. But if the Indians can organize 
themselves into a power capable of governing 
themselves, surely England would have no excuse 
to remain in the country at all. But let not the 
big-Englander have any fear on this score; there is 
no chance whatever for Indians for an existence 
separate from the English. 

We have now to give some account of the 
people of the country, for whom the rulers of the 
land would vote eternal disability. Now, Indians 
are not barbarians, nor are they worse than the 
Chinese, Japanese, Egyptians, or Persians. It is 
altogether an absurd contention that Indians are 
not competent even to be entrusted with a small 
share in the management of their own affairs. The 
Daily News of London says : 

" After His Highness Ranjitsinhji, no triumph 
of oriental genius in a novel field can be really 
surprising. If a Rajpoot is our master at cricket, 
a Baboo may beat us in the less difficult art of 
Romance. And this is exactly what has occurred. 
According to Miss Miriam Singleton Knight, who 
expresses herself in The Indian Magazine and 
Review, the once-admired author of the 
Waverley Novels must strike his flag to ' Babu 

199 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, now, alas! no 



more. " 



Who knew before that a Hindu would excite 
the admiration of the English people for his 
triumph in cricket,— the national game of the 
English? Luckily, Ranjitsinhji had a chance. It 
is manifestly unjust to vote incompetence without 
giving a fair trial. 

For thousands of years Hindus had managed 
their own affairs and ruled their own Empires. 
Alexander found that Hindus could fight, and he 
had to give up his attempt to penetrate into the 
country. The Hindu power was brokeu by the 
Mussalman hordes from the West. For this they 
have no need to be ashamed. If the Hindus failed 
to resist the advance of the Mussalman inroad, 
so did the Christians also in Europe. It is true that 
Christians regained what they had lost ; but, so 
also did the Hindus. When the English came into 
this country, the Hindus were supreme. They 
succeeded in regaining what they had lost ; and 
just when they were founding their Empire on a 
permanent basis they were disturbed in their 
arrangements by the appearance of Europeans in 
the field. The English had to fight for the Empire 
of India with the Hindus and not with the Mussal- 
mans. 

"Pahari" thus wrote in the columns of the 
London Spectator in 1893 : 

200 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

Nominally, we took over the Empire of Hindoostan from 
the Mahomedaus ; but as a fact, our most important and hard- 
won conquests were from Hindus, such as the Mahrattas, 
Goorkhas, Rajpoots, and Sikhs. The Mahomedan empire was 
effete and a mere name when we began to advance far inland, 
and all over India the Hindus had got the upper hand. If we 
had not stepped in, it is very doubtful whether the Mahometans 
would have ever regained power ; they would certainly not 
have done so without the aid of a large Mahomedan invasion 
from beyond the Indus, and the chance which such an invasion 
would have had of success, would have been small. The old 
invasions stzcceeded because undisciplined hordes fought against 
undisciplined hordes of poorer material •, but the Mahrattas 
and Sikhs had learnt to some extent, how to drill and 
manceuver troops according to the European military system: 
The Sikhs conquered and held all the Afghan country outside 
the mountains. 

It is not, therefore, quite correct to say that 
but for the English the Mussalmans would have 
cut the Hindus to pieces! 

The English came when Hindus had not been 
able to recover completely from the shock of the 
destructive Mussalman occupation. This second 
shock broke them down completely. To ascer- 
tain what Hindus were like in the early days, 
we have to see whether there is yet any State 
in India which had not been bled and weakened 
by the Mussalman onslaught. The only State 
which escaped this destructive flood of Mussal- 
man occupation, was Nepal. So when the 
English went to fight with the Nepalese, they 
found what the Hindus were like in early days, 

201 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

not demoralized by defeat and disaster. We shall 
here describe that first brush of the English with 
a handful of Nepalese, some three hundred in 
number, badly armed, badly protected, and 
weighted with the disadvantage of the presence of 
women and children. 

War was declared against Nepal on the ist 
November, 1814. A little before this declaration, it 
was resolved to make a grand military demonstra- 
tion for the purpose of over-awing the enemy. For 
this, four separate regiments had been ordered to 
march simultaneously from four different military 
stations. Major-General Gillespi commanded one 
of them. 

On the 24th October, Gillespie's regiment 
reached Dehra Dun. Gillespie was not with his 
force. Colonel Mouli had the command. 

About three miles and a half from Dehra Dun 
was the little fortress of Kulunga, situated in a 
nook of the hills of Nalapani. It was something 
like a stone-henge, — a small table-land surroun- 
ded by large blocks of stone which acted as the 
fort- wall, — which again was protected by a thick 
range of sal trees. 

Finding the British force at his doors, Bala- 
bhadra Singh, nephew of Amar Singh, the Chief 
of Nahan, had taken refuge in this fortress of 
Nature with a few chosen followers, not exceeding 
three hundred. This was unbearable to Colonel 

202 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

Mouli, — the hill-fortress being within four miles of 
the great military station of Dehra Dun. Colonel 
Mouli had reached Dehra Dun on the 24th. On 
that very night, he had written to Balabhadra to. 
surrender, and had received a proud reply of 
meeting him on the battle-field. Next morning, 
the active British General was marching up hill. 
He reached the base of the Nalapani Hills, and 
fixed his battery there ; but, w r hen he saw that, 
with all his efforts, he could make no impression 
upon the enemy, he sent news to Gillespie at 
Saharanpur, and the Major-General made his 
appearance^ on the scene the next day, the 26th 
October. In two or three days he completed his 
preparations for the siege. Four detachments, 
under Colonel Carpenter, Captain Faust, Major 
Kelly and Captain Campbell, surrounded the 
place from four sides ; and a regiment under 
Major Ludlow was kept in reserve. 

The siege began. The discharge from the 
British battery was returned by volleys of musketry, 
which wrought immense havoc amongst British 
forces. Though the British cannons did much 
harm amongst the brave three hundred, they 
showed no sign whatever of giving way. The 
determined manner in which the post was defended 
by a small number of men against tremendous 
odds, guided by the best Generals of the age, crea- 
ted a mingled feeling of surprise and indignation 

203 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

in the minds of the besiegers. The leaders of the 
siege forgot themselves ; and, in attempting to 
scale the walls, Lieutenant Ellis and Major-General 
Gillespie lost their lives ! 

The command then devolved on Colonel 
Mouli as the senior officer. He found that it would 
be rashness to proceed further in the siege, and 
that his prudent course would be to make a hasty 
retreat. This he did, and asked for reinforce- 
ments and a battering train from Delhi. It took a 
month's time for the train to arrive; but, there was 
no help for it. The expected re-inforcements and 
battering train reaching him on the 24th Novem- 
ber, a second attack was made the next day, and 
it was repulsed for a second time. 

Meantime, the water-supply of the besieged 
had fallen short. The only supply was from the 
water-falls outside the fortress near the British 
encampment at Nalapani, and this had virtually 
been cut off. In the midst of the shots which 
were rapidly decimating their numbers, the 
groans of the wounded, the cries of the women and 
children for water, the besieged had to defend their 
apology of a fort in which breeches had been 
made on all sides, from an overwhelming force, 
thirsting for their blood. They, however, did not 
•mind the shots of the besiegers as the burning 
thirst which overcame them and all their depen- 
dants. From three hundred the number had been 

204 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

reduced to seventy. They might have then 
surrendered ; and, their generous enemy, filled 
with admiration at their noble conduct, would 
have warmly accepted it. But the besieged 
heroes disdained to yield, and admit de- 
feat! 

On the last day of the month, when the 
batteries of the British troops were hurrying on 
their work, and volleys after volleys from the 
Gurkha musketry responded to them, there was a 
pause of a few minutes in the ranks of the besieged. 
Suddenly, the iron gates were flung open, and 
out came the immortal seventy " with drawn 
swords in their hands, guns on their arms, the 
kukri or hhojali hanging from their belts, and 
the chakra or wheel resplendent on their head- 
dress, led by their chief, Balabhadra, — bravej erect, 
cheerful, and in his measured military gait:" and, 
before the astounded British force had time to 
reflect, they had cut right through the line, drank 
to their hearts' content from the springs of Nala- 
pani, and in no time disappeared without anyone 
of them being hurt ! 

The English razed Kulunga to the ground. 
The English historian 01 Dehra Dun, R. C. 
Williams, B. A., C. S., thus remarks on the in- 
cident: "Such was the conclusion of the defence 
of Kulunga, — a feat of arms worthy of the best of 
chivalry, conducted with a heroism almost suffici- 

205 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

entto palliate the disgrace of our own reverses." 
And in the silent forests at Dehra Dun, on the 
banks of the river Riechpana, stands a small 
monument, "as a tribute of respect for our gallant 
Adversary Balabhadra Singh." 

The heroism of Balabhadra could safely be 
likened to that of the English in Crimea. And, is 
it generous and worthy of the leading nation of the 
world to reserve for this unfortunate race perpetual 
disability ? 

Dr. Hunter, in his "Rural Bengal," says that 
" the conception of the Vedas regarding the 
immortality of the soul, is beautiful and sublime." 
The Vedas were written many thousands of years 
ago when the races, who would put down Hindus 
for hewers of wood and drawers of water, had no 
existence whatever. There are many eminent 
philosophers in Europe who are of opinion that 
the author of the Geeta is the greatest philosopher 
that the world has ever seen. The six schools of 
philosophy, developed in India, are so subtle and 
so deep that they are, according to Professor 
Cowell, calculated to make "the European head 
dizzy." There is no doubt of it that Hindus gave 
religion to the vast majority of mankind. It is 
known to all that they civilised China and Japan, 
the latter of which is now considered equal to any 
great Power in Europe in all those resources 
which make a nation great. 

206 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

Let us see how our forefathers left us, and 
how we have changed by contact with the Western 
people. This is what that eminent philosopher, 
Professor Max Muller, says in his "Psychological 
Religion " : — 

So far as we can judge, a large class of people in India, not 
only the priestly class but the nobility also, not only men bnt 
women also, never looked upon their life on earth as something 
real. What was real to them, was the invisible, ---the life to 
come. What formed the theme of their conversations, what 
formed the subject of their meditations, was the real, that alone 
lent some kiud of reality to this unreal phenomenal world. 
Whoever was supposed to have caught a new ray of truth, was 
visited by young and old, was honoured by princes and peasants, 
nay, was looked upon as holding a position much above that of 
kings and princes. 

In the above, Professor Max Muller describes 
the Hindus. Let us see how he describes the rest 
of the world : — 

Our idea of life on earth has always been that of struggle 
for existence, a struggle for power and dominion, for wealth 
and enjoyment. These are the ideas which dominate the history 
of all nations whose history is known to us. Our own sympa- 
thies also are almost entirely on that side. 

Below the philosopher compares the Hindus 
with the rest of the world : — 

Was it so very unnatural for the Hindus, endowed as they 
were with a transcedental intellect, to look upon this life not 
as an arena for gladiatorial strife and combat, or as a market 
for cheating and huckstering, but as a resting-place, a mere 
waiting room at a station or a journey leading them from the 
known to the unknown, but exciting, for that very reason 
their utmost curiosity as to whence they come and whither 
they were going ? 

207 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

It was, we believe, Sir Charles Elliott who 
was pleased to confess that, "he could understand 
the Mussalmans but he could not understand the 
Hindus.'' In the same manner, the Hindus cannot - 
understand their fellows in other parts of the world. 
The reason is that the instincts of the Hindus are 
quite different from those of other nations. 

The Hindus, however, suffered for being better 
than their neighbours. We quote the same philo- 
sopher : — 

I confess it has always seemed to me one of the saddest 
chapters in the history of the world to see the early inhabit- 
ants of India, who knew nothing of the rest of the world, 
of the mighty Empires of Egypt and Babylon, and of their 
wars and conquests, — who wanted nothing from the outside 
world and were happy and content in their own earthly para- 
dise, — to see these happy people suddenly overrun by foreign 
warriors, whether Persians, Greeks or Macedonians, or, at a 
later time, Scythians, Mahomedans, Mongolians and Christians, 
and conquered for no fault of theirs, except that they had 
neglected to cultivate the art of killing their neighbours. 

Why did the Hindus suffer when they harmed 
none? Says Professor Max Muller : — 

They themselves never wished for conquests, — they simply 
•wished to be left alone and to be allowed to work out their 
view of life which was contemplative and joyful, thougli 
deficient in one point, namely, the art of self-defence and 
destruction. 

From the above it will be made plain why 
Porus was surprised when Alexander asked 
him how he should be treated. Porus had no 

208 



THE PERPETUAL SLAVERY OF INDIA 

idea that kings fought for material greed like 
common robbers. The Hindus learnt from sad 
experience that it would not do to grow philosop- 
hers alone, and that they must nourish brute 
force for the purpose of their very existence. How 
they succeeded in this attempt, will appear from 
the letter of an Englishman who called him- 
self "a Pahari," which appeared in the London 
Spectator, and which is quoted in page 201. 

As a matter of fact, when the present rulers 
appeared on the scene, the Hindus were the 
paramount power in India. So, if the Hindu 
could speculate, they also subsequently learnt to 
fight. 

Now we must say that the Hindus were quite 
right in their contention that, to quote Professor 
Max Muller, "this life is not an arena for gladia- 
torial strife and combat, or a market for cheating 
and huckstering, but a resting-place, a mere wait- 
ing room at a station.on a journey" to the perman- 
ent home. 

When the vote for Simultaneous Examina- 
tions in England and India was rescinded, it 
was done under the openly-declared apprehension 
that, if Hindus and Englishmen were given equal 
chance, the former would defeat the latter all 
along the line. 

Would it not be a great pity to put such a 
nation under everlasting disability? WhatEnglish- 

209 

S— 14 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

man can contemplate, without a shudder, the idea 
of reducing hundreds of millions of human beings, 
fullv his peers in nobler qualities of man, to eternal 
political slavery ? The act would be a stupendous 
wrong and a piece of unparalleled immorality. 
An act like that would never be pleasing to the 
Father of all nations, whose active interference 
in the affairs of nations is proved by the punish- 
ment which inevitably follows, sooner or later, 
everv act of national immorality. 



MILITARY EXAMINATION 

[The Civilian officials are said to belong to species 
sub-janta. Which means that they are conceited y 
and they believe that they are not only competent 
to perform any act, from casting accounts to casting 
cannons, but they can do it better than even those 
who are trained in the particular business. Sir 
Ashley Eden, a Civilian, began life as an Assistant 
in Bengal but for some time he was put in charge of 
the salt operations in Orissa. Latterly he was raised 
to the position of the hieutenant-G- over nor of the 
province. And when an army commission was appoin- 
ted, Sir A. Eden was selected as its President and 
Captain Collen as its Secretary. It ivas to ridicule 
this arrangement that the following skit teas written 
at the time, that is, in the year 1879.^ 

Sir Ashley Eden had studied all night and 
was yet poring over a big folio, when he was 
interrupted by Captain Collen who arrived un- 
announced. The Captain had interviewed His 
Honor the day before. It is now universally 
known that an army Commission has been appoin- 
ted to inquire into the military charges of the 
Empire and to suggest means for the curtailment 
of expenditure. Sir Ashley Eden has been ap- 
pointed President, and Captain Collen, Secretary 

211 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

to the Commission. The Captain has come down 
from Simla to arrange matters with His Honor, 
the President. 

"Collen, I am glad you have come,'' says His 
Honor. "You know very well, as I told you yester- 
day, that I am not familiar with your military 
matters." Collen silent. His Honor continues : 
"I have sent for you to teach me. I know my 
duties won't require much technical knowledge of 
the military science, but yet 1 must not appear 
before my colleagues as an ignorant man, do you 
see. 1 have also no mind to be bullied by the 
witnesses I may have to examine." Collen is still 
silent. His Honor continues : "I have already 
learnt much, and, I think, I am now quite com- 
petent to undertake my duties. But 1 must first 
pass an examination before a military man clever 
like yourself." 

Secretary. — Shall I commence just now? 

President. — No, not yet — give me another 
night. Let me refresh my memory. Come early 
to-morrow, and you shall find me ready to receive 
you. 

Secretary. — Shall I come with a written set 
of questions? 

President. — No, no, don't do that. Let the 
examination be viva voce. You need not go deep 
into the matter. Ask me die meanings of terms, 
etc., etc., and that will do for my purpose. 

212 



MILITARY EXAMINATION 

Collen withdrew with a bow, and Sir Ashey 
Eden opened Dumbleton's military spelling- book- 
The subject-matter of the book was extremely dry, 
and His Honor found it a hard task to go through 
it. But Sir Ashley Eden was a man of resolution, 
and he summoned all his patience to aid him in 
his task. Time flew rapidly. The clock struck 
midnight, and he fancied that Dumbleton himself 
was standing before him with a cane in his hand. 
But suddenly his fancy took another turn. He 
fancied that he was surrounded by military 
officers, with colossal figures and angry faces, 
demanding his passport. At another time he 
fancied that a witness was laughing at his 
ignorance. In short, the matter was that, 
though His Honor fancied he was awake all 
along, he was in fact sleeping, though not 
profoundly, and dreaming upon a subject nearest 
to his heart. 

Just as the clock struck six, His Honor awoke 
with a start. He found Dumbleton lying before 
him open at page 3. He was rubbing his eyes to 
collect his scattered senses, when Collen suddenly 
appeared before him. There was confusion and 
anxiety visible in the face of His Honor, though he 
tried to conceal them. Collen himself was silent. 
"Go on, Collen, I am ready," said His Honor 
rather nervously. Collen, who said nothing, imme- 
diately put the 1st question. 

21? 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Question. — What is the number of officers in a 
regiment? 

President. — This question shews, Collen, that 
you have come deliberately with the intention of 
confusing me. What have I to do with the num- 
ber of officers? Ask me the meanings of terms. 

Q. — State the relative ranks and duties of the 
officers. 

A. — As for the duties of officers I have nothing 
to do with them. As for the relative ranks, first 
comes the Commander-in-Chief who stands in the 
position of Governor-General, at the head of all. 
The second in rank is the Lieutenant-General, 
who like myself, is the Lieutenant-Governor 
of the army. The third is the Colonel. The 
fourth is the Captain who sails ships like 
yourself. 

The fact is, whenever Sir Ashley Eden came 
to India in ships, he found them managed by an 
officer, who was called Captain. He, therefore, 
fancied that as Collen was a Captain, he was 
necessarily in charge of a ship. 

Q. — What position does a Major hold ? 

A. — You mean Surgeon Major? He ampu- 
tates arms, and extracts bullets. 

Q. — What is a regiment ? 

A. — Regimen is a grammatical term. It also 
means the systematic use of food and drugs. 

Q. — What is an adjutant ? 

214 






MILITARY EXAMINATION 

A. — The gigantic crane. We have plenty of 
them in Calcutta. 

Q. — What do you understand by a company? 

A. — When friends assemble together I call it 
a company, let others say whatever they like; 
and when there is good liquor I call it boon 
company. 

Q. — What do you understand by staff corps ? 

A. — Staff means a stick, and corps who carry 
sticks on their shoulders. 

Q. — What is a battalion ? 

A. — A male mare. 

Collen is a silent man, and very respectful. 
Hitherto he had heard his master's answers without 
any comment or even the movement of muscle. 
But when his master described a battalion to be 
only a male mare he could contain himself no 
longer. He said meekly : — "Hitherto I have at 
least understood what Your Honor said, but I do 
not understand what Your Honor means by a male 
mare, a mare being always female." 

President. — Quite true. I mean a male horse, 
though the adjective male is unnecessary, a horse 
being always male. But stop, what is the term ? 

Secretary. — Battalion. 

President. — Battalion? Well I was confound- 
ing it with the term "Stallion!" Well, I shall re- 
member the word and see if Dumbleton helps me. 

Q. — What is a brigade ? 

215 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

A. — You mean a brigand, he is a robber like 
Arabi Pasha. 

Q. — May I ask Your Honor's idea of a mess? 
A. — A mess is a confusion or an embarrass- 
ment. 

Q. — Of course, Your Honor knows the differ- 
ence between a sharpnell and a shell, a muzzle- 
loader and a breech-loader. 

A. — Wait, let me see. A shell, of course, I 
know. I have seen plenty on the sea-shore. What 
a sharpnell is I don't think I can make out. I shall 
consult Dumbleton. A breach-loader and muzzle- 
loader must be contradictory terms. For while 
the Bengalees talked of breach of faith, we muzzled 
their press. 

Q. — What are the sappers and miners? 

A. — What suppers are I shall show you this 
evening if you come hungry. As for minors, well, 
I can't make out what connection there is between 
suppers and young men who have yet to attain 
majority. 

Q. — What does Your Honor understand by a 
cadet ? 

A. — A younger brother, of a younger son. 

Q— Brevet? 

A. — I fancy it is a musical term used in mar- 
tial music. 

Q. — Who are the Field-Officers ? 

A. — I think this is a question which has no 

216 



MILITARY EXAMINATION 

bearing- upon the subject. A magistrate is a field 
officer when he is on tour, so is the Divisional 
Commissioner, and so is myself. And so are also 
other heads of departments who have to do the 
duty of inspection in the Muffasil. But a Field- 
Officer properly so-called, is a Surveyor or a 
District Engineer. 

President. — Have you any more questions to 
ask? 

Secretary. — No, I have done. 

President. — But, Collen, you did not make 
any remarks upon my answers. I think I shall 
do. What do you say ? 

But Collen was silent. 



ASIA, THE CHOSEN PLACE 
OF GOD. 

ONE grand idea occupies the minds of 
Western nations, namely, how to kill the largest 
number of men in the safest manner, and in the 
shortest time. Spencer, the great English aeronaut, 
has, it is said, beaten his Mexican rival, Santos 
Dumont, and given evidence of his perfect control 
over his air-machine. When interviewed, he said 
that "while I was proceeding in my balloon, I 
was throwing balls ; and I was convinced 
that I could thus throw bombs in a city and 
destroy it." So his success led him not to think 
of the goodness of God, who has given so many 
valuable privileges to man, but to the central idea 
round which the Western minds rotate. Ordinary 
men in Eastern countries think that aerial naviga- 
tion, when it becomes an accomplished fact, would 
mean the progress of humanity. In the west they 
are, however, perfecting the air-machine for the 
purpose of destroying cities by throwing bombs 
into them from a safe distance ! 

"Where would you like to go," asks the pious 
priest of a thoroughly worldly-minded and hard- 
hearted layman, whom he was trying to lead to 
God, — "to heaven or to hell ?'' 

218 



ASIA, THE CHOSEN PLACE OF GOD 

Layman : I can't answer your question until 
you answer mine : Where did our late king go, — 
heaven or hell? 

Priest : Certainly to hell, for he was a tyrant. 

Layman : Where did the late A. B., (a very 
rich and powerful nobleman,) go? 

Priest : He was a bad man, certainly he also 
went to hell. 

Layman : Where have Alexander, Napoleon 
and other heroes, who deluged the earth with 
human gore, gone ? 

Priest : I am sorry to say that they must have 
gone to hell, for God commands men never to kill, 
and this command is unconditional. 

Layman : And where did that great Spanish 
patriot go, who, by his bold feat, wrested Cuba 
from its native chief? He was received as a friend 
by the chief to whom he had gone to pay a visit 
on horseback. He presented a pair of bracelets 
which he kindly put on the wrists of his host, the 
chief. They were not, however, bracelets but 
hand-cuffs. He then forced the chief to mount a 
horse and thus carried him a prisoner ; and in this 
manner Cuba was won. Did he not go to Heaven 
for this eminent service to his country, for he won 
an empire for his people by this bold act ? 

Priest : No, he must have gone to hell. 

Layman : (Pondering) It seems that hell, like 
America, is the most flourishing place in God's 

219 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

creation. Since every one has gone there, surely 
I too should like to go there, and Join the great 
men of the country. 

Hell is no doubt a flourishing place now. 
And who are they that are now increasing its 
population ? They are men who, when they have 
learnt to control their air-machines, would, with- 
out humbly thanking God for His mercy to puny 
man, utilize the discovery for the destruction of 
His creatures. It is Europe mainly which is send- 
ing colony after colony to the internal region. 

In the above, we only echo the voice of one of 
the greatest of Englishmen, Beaconsfield, who is 
now no more. Eva is a Jewess and Tancred an 
English youth, a Duke's son. These are the 
two principal characters in Lord Beaconsfield's 
"Tancred"'. The Jewess and the Duke's son 
complain of their respective lots. The Jewess 
considers the lot of Asia unhappy ; the young 
Englishman considers that of Europe unhappy, 
and hence the following dialogue ensues : 

"Unhappy Asia!" said Tancred, "Do you 
call it unhappy Asia? This land of divine deeds 
and divine thoughts ! Its slumber is more vital 
than the waking life of the rest of the globe, as 
the dream of the genius is more precious than the 
vigils of ordinary men. Unhappy Asia, do you 
call it ? It is the unhappiness of Europe over 
which I mourn." 

220 



ASIA, THE CHOSEN PLACE OF GOD 

"Europe, that has conquered Hindustan, 
protects Persia and Asia Minor, affects to have 
saved Syria,' said Eva, with some bitterness, — 
4, oh ! what can we do against Europe?" 

"Save it," said Tancred. 

'* We cannot save ourselves. What means 
have we to save others ? " Said Eva. 

"The same," replied Tancred, "you have 
ever exercised, Divine Truth. Send forth a great 
thought, as you have done before from Mount 
Senai, from the villages of Gaillee, from the 
deserts of Arabia, and you may again remodel 
all their institution, change their principles of 
action, and breathe a new spirit into the whole 
scope of their existence.'' 

"I have sometimes dreamed such dreams," 
murmured Eva looking down. "No, no," she ex- 
claimed, raising her head, after a moment's pause, 
" it is impossible. Europe is too proud, with its 
new command over nature, to listen even to 
prophets. Levelling mountains, riding without 
horse, sailing without winds. How can these men 
believe that there is any power, human or divine, 
superior to themselves ? " 

"As for their command over nature," said 
Tancred, "let us see how it will operate in a second 
deluge. Command over nature ! Why the humblest 
root that serves for the food of man has mysteri- 
ously withered throughout Europe, and they are 

221 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

already pale at the possible consequences. This 
slight eccentricity of that nature, which they boast 
they can command, has already shaken empires 
and may decide the fate of nations. No, gentle 
lady, Europe is not happy. Amid its false ex- 
citement, its bustling invention, and its endless 
toil, a profound melancholy broods over its spirit 
and gnaws at its heart. In vain they baptize their 
tumult by the name of progress; the whisper of a 
demon is ever asking them, 'progress, from whence 
and to what?' Excepting those who still cling to 
your Araban creeds, Europe, that quarter of the 
globe to which God has never spoken, — Europe is 
without consolation.'' 

Europe is powerful, but it is unhappy. The 
soul of a European is like that of a tiger in a 
cage, always trying to escape through unsuccess- 
fully — always after something, what he does not 
know. At present European nations think that 
it is the conquest and maintenance of foreign 
territories which are and ought to be the sole aim 
and object of man ; while the individual thinks 
that it is money-making which is the work of his 
life. And in the pursuit of something which they 
do not know, the Europeans have forgotten that 
they have a soul and a higher destiny. Unhappy 
Europe ! 

Europe is an armed camp. Thirty millions 
of its strongest men are trained like blood-hounds 

222 



ASIA, THE CHOSEN PLACE OF GOD 

to kill their fellow-beings. The greatest statesman 
is he who can outwit his neighbour by fraud. The 
greatest hero is he who can commit the greatest 
slaughter. The greatest man is he who has the 
largest income. 

In India we have Europeans. See the lot of 
the British soldiers. Would any native of India 
like to go to a foreign country, in an uncongenial 
climate, under conditions under which European 
soldiers agree to live in India ? We have, then, 
Europeans who administer the affairs of the 
country. They have absolute power and the 
prospect of a generous pension, and it is for these 
that they have sacrificed everyting that makes life 
tolerable or enjoyable. They toil and moil till 
their heart and health are broken, and they leave 
the country with a handsome pension (if they live 
till then) at a time when they can no longer enjoy 
its fruits, sighing over their days of past glory. 

In India they are banished, far away from old 
and dear associations. The climate overpowers 
them ; and in May and June, they are roasted 
every year under a scorching sun. They live 
without society, nay, even without the society 
of their wives and children : for the latter have to 
be sent home for the sake respectively of their 
health and education. Again, their life is one 
round of incessant toil and responsibility. Yes 
they have no time even to read. 

223 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Thus according to Lord Beaconsfield, Europe 
is a continent forsaken by God, for neither God 
nor His Son nor His Servant ever spoke to a 
European. Europe is, therefore, under the protec- 
tion of the other, His enemy, who, though next 
to him in power and importance, is yet not a 
friend of man but his devourer. 



THE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED 
FROM WILD DOGS. 

THE other day, we were talking of dogs which 
hunt in packs. These dogs are to be found in 
the jungles of the Central Provinces and the 
Himalayas. In the latter place they are called 
dholes and are of a reddish colour. They are not 
big animals nor fierce in look, but yet it is said 
they are very fond of tigers' flesh. It is not known 
whether they have ever succeeded in hunting 
down elephants, but they have been seen in chas- 
ing buffaloes with success. The hungry wolves 
in Eastern and Central Europe attack their prey 
without method ; and when the quarry is big and 
powerful some of them are killed. But there is so 
much method in the way the dogs alluded to 
above proceed in their business that even in their 
rights with tigers they manage to despatch their 
victims without a scratch on their bodies. This is 
because they are led by an irresistible master, a 
despot, who is followed implicitly. 

The wild dogs are subjected to a severe coarse 
of training during their early age. A kind-hearted 
hunter suddenly found himself in possession of 
litter of wild dogs, seven in number, whose mother 
he had shot. He had to bring these helpless 

225 

S-15 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

creatures home. He sought suckling bitches and 
spent some money to procure them. But the 
bitches failed ; the little ones emited such intoler- 
able stench that no tame dog could bear it. He 
at last found a bitch to serve his purpose. When 
these young dogs grew up they began to fight 
among themselves, constantly without intermission. 
Why were they fighting ? They were fighting to 
determine which was to be the leader? One by 
one, however, they gave up the struggle, and 
eventually the fight was continued between two 
only — brothers. Neither of them was willing to 
yield. When they fought they did not spare the 
opponent ; indeed, they fought with great ferocity. 
Their bite was so severe that sometimes the 
master said that if he lifted one the other six 
would be found lifted with it. The fact is, their 
tenacity was such that they did not know to let go 
their hold. 

As he said the two fought for mastery for a 
long time and at last one was vanquished and 
thus the victor became the leader of the seven. 
The six followed him implicitly and certainly there 
was no longer any quarrel among them. These 
dogs never barked and never attacked men, but 
they killed all the dogs in the neighbourhood. 
They, however, died one after the other of 
dysentery. 

Let us now describe how they hunt in packs. 

226 



THE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM WILD DOGS 

What they do is to pursue, say, a tiger, which 
never shews fight, if it encounters a pack of these 
dogs, and then to try to catch it by the ear. If 
one succeeds in jumping up and getting at one of 
the ears of the tiger, the latter is done for. The 
persistent enemy will hang by the ear and never 
let go its hold. The tiger may run ten miles, but 
the dog will yet be seen hanging by its ear. Of 
course, the victim makes every effort to extricate 
itself from its obstinate and implacable foe, but in 
vain. 

When one ear of the tiger has been secured 
by a bold members of the pack, the other ear is 
soon after seized by another. So the tiger has 
now to run with two dogs hanging by its two 
ears. Others then get hold of its tail, and though 
these are dragged for miles they never relax 
their grip. Fancy the condition of the poor tiger. 
It is fleeing with two dogs hanging by itrUwo ears 
and half a dozen sticking to its tail. Others then 
jump on its back. In this manner the tiger is 
never given an opportunity of using its claws or 
teeth, and is soon after hunted down. 

Our Congress leaders should follow the 
methods of the wild dogs in hunting down their 
disabilities? The National Congress will be a suc- 
cess only when it has been able to develop a leader. 

The patriots, who are opposed to Police rule 
as it prevails here, may also learn from the strate- 

227 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

gy of these wild dog's, when hunting a quarry too 
strong for them, how to effect their purpose. Ii 
the pack find the tiger too strong for them they 
proceed in a more cautious way: in short, they 
try to starve it. Night and day they form a cordon 
round the unfortunate beast, and allow it no 
chance of obtaining food or rest, while every time 
the tiger essays to break through the cordon this 
is widened as the pack flees before it, only to be 
relentlessly narrowed again when the doomed 
animal is exhausted ; till at last it is easily des- 
patched. 

In the same manner, the patriots, who are 
opposed to Police rule, can manage to starve the 
Police. To starve the Police is not to permit it to 
get its prey. If men, who run, at the slightest 
provocation, to the Police, knew their own inter- 
ests and stayed at home to be cooled down, the 
Police would soon be starved to submission. So, 
what the patriots should do is to prevent people 
from going to the Police when they quarrel among 
themselves, but to persuade them to settle their 
differences by mutual forbearance. 

The finest story of dogs hunting in packs and 
in a methodical way came from an Englishman, 
though in this case the pack consisted of only two 
hounds. Those who have seen an American black 
bear know that it is a terrible fellow, possessing 
vast strength and an unlimited amount of pluck. It 

228 



THE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM WILD DOGS 

was his formidable animal that they fought. But 
let the Englishman relate his story : — 

I was staying at a farm in Virginia, and I was soon 
introduced to the "pets" of the settlements. They were two 
boar-hounds named Romeo and Juliet, splendid specimens of 
their race. These gentle creatures could only be controlled 
by their keepers, so fierce and ungovernable were they. 

One morning a Negro rushed into the house with the 
information that a bear had killed a calf and had escaped 
towards the mountains. 

Instantly every body was on the alert, and messengers were 
sent to all the neighbours round about to give the news and 
direct them to the meeting place. By the time we have 
despatched a hasty breakfast the yard was full of men and 
dogs, but the "pets" were conspicuously absent. On enquiring 
for them, I was told not to worry about it that "they would 
be on hand when wanted." 

The trail was clear and we pursued it hotly. In little more 
than half an hour the loud barking and snarling of the dogs 
told us that Bruin was at bay. 

I was the first at the spot. At the foot of an oak sat a 
magnificent black bear, his open mouth and heaving chest 
denoting his excitement. About him were lying the bodies of 
eight dogs that he had killed ; the rest of the pack had drawn 
off. They had had quite enough. 

In five minutes more most of the hunters had come up and 
formed in a semicircle abont the bear, which made no further 
effort to escape, but sat on his haunches, slowl}' swaying his 
body to and fro, and eyeing us intently. 

Suddenly there was a cry of " Here they come! " and 
pushing their way through the thickets were seen the forms 
of the two great boar hounds. I had fully expected the dogs to 
spring upon their enemy as soon as they were unleashed, but 
to my surprise they remained quiet, uttering no sound and 
showing no excitement. They looked at each other, then 

229 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

I to the left anil right, they walked some distance from 
each other. After this they quietly advanced towards Bruin 
and stood on either side of him about 20 feet away. 

The dogs now flattened themselves to the earth and slowly 
v their groat bodies forward until within about 8 feet Of 
their prey, when again rising to their full height, and trombling 
with suppressed excitement, they looked past the bear and 
npon each other. Aprain they crouched, but this time for a 
leap and in an instant they liurlol themselves on their 

Bravo old Bntin ! He fought for exactly :? minutes, and 
then died. It was not a sight T should care to witness again. 
A rifle-shot is speedier and more mercifal. 

We said above that it is not on record that an 
elephant was ever hunted down by wild dogs. 
Hut we had yet the pleasure of witnessing an 
elephant-and-dog fight. The elephant, however, 
was a tame one, and the dog an ordinary pariah 
which was called Soda. An elephant was passing 
by guided by its mahoot, when the master of the 
dog set it upon the huge animal. The dog at 
first could not believe that its master was 
serious in urging it to such a hazardous enter- 
prise, but it felt to its dismay that there was 
no mistaking about the intention of its food 
giver. So girding up its loins, as it were, it 
attacked the elephant from behind. Now, the 
latter had never been followed by such an enemy 
in its life, and, therefore, not taking any notice of 
its puny tormentor, was proceeding on its way in 
its usual calm and sedate way. But the intention 
of Sada became quite clear. It not only barked 

230 



THE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM WILD DOGS 



from behind but touched the hind legs of the ele- 
phant with its teeth. This impertinence from such 
a quarter was too much for the proud animal, and, 
in disgust, it actually turned round to meet its 
foe. And they stood face to face ! Sada's strength 
lay in its legs, and that of the elephant in its trunk 
which it stretched out to catch hold of the enemy. 
But Sada was on guard and gave such a run with 
a defiant bark that the elephant realized the 
hopeless task of pursuing it, and thus retreated in 
good order. It was a sight to see the elephant 
trembling with rage when encountering the tiny 
foe, especially when the latter insulted it with bite 
and bark. Sada yet pursued the elephant for 
sometime, but the latter had no help in the matter, 
and had to suffer the insult. 



THE GREAT INVENTOR OF A 
NATION. 

Sri Krishna is the God of Love. He is the 
Supreme Deity and does not interfere with the 
administration of mundane affairs of the universe. 
He leaves that task to some inferior deities. He 
first evolved Brahma out of Himself, and command- 
ed him to create the material world. Brahma 
began the work in right earnest, and when he had 
proceeded so far as to create the animal kingdom, 
his two sons, Rup and Sanatan, prayed to their 
father to allow them the privilege of helping him 
in the business, and Brahma agreed. As soon as 
the two brothers had created some animals, 
Brahma wanted to see the result of their labours, 
whereupon they first brought forward the elephant 
before him for inspection. 

Brahma could not help smiling at the sight of 
this huge mass of flesh. "What is this trunk toff* 
he enquired. The sons replied, that they had 
created the animal in haste, and afterwards dis- 
covered that the neck of the animal had been 
made so stiff and short as to incapacitate it from 
putting its food in its mouth ; they had, therefore, 
given it a trunk to enable it to do so. Brahma 
said : "My children, this is the result of hasty work. 

232 



THE GREAT INVENTOR OF A NATION 

Before you had constructed his body, you should 
have thought how he was to secure his food and 
preserve his life/ 

The giraffe was brought in next. Its four 
legs of unequal length made Brahma smile 
again : "How did this happen my children ?' 
he asked. They gave him the same reply : 
"This too is the result of haste, father. We 
first constructed its two hind legs, but came to 
find that if we made its two front legs but of the 
same length, the animal would not be able to 
reach the branches, the leaves of which are to 
nourish it, and keep it alive." "My children," said 
Brahma, "you should have thought of this when 
you took up the construction of the hind legs." 

The kangaroo, when exhibited, created equal 
surprise. The children explained that they had 
made the front legs of the giraffe longer than the 
hind ones. To make up for this defect, they had 
made the hind legs of the kangaroo longer than 
the front ones. "We have only sought harmony 
and equilibrium," said Rup and Sanatan. 

The sight of the ass, with its two long ears, 
made Brahma laugh out-right. Said the god to 
his sons : "You would, I see, make me an object 
of laughter to the world.'' The explanation of the 
children was that it was the result of the joint 
efforts of the two brothers — that one had made the 
body, the other the head, and when the latter was 

233 



HCTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

stuck to the former it was found to have been 
made too ridiculous! 

It was, in this manner, the came], the monkey 
etc., were brought before Brahma and criticized 
by him. He said: "Before creating- the animals 
you ought to have carefully thought whether the 
parts would harmoniously agree with each other, 
and suit the whole.'' In order to humour his 
children Brahma had to accept what they had 
done, and hence we have these unseemly and 
laughter-producing animals noted above. We 
are informed that the duck-billed quadruped of 
Australia is one of the creations of the children of 
Brahma. 

Brahma had not then created man, but he had 
already concieved the idea. He told his sons that 
they had made their creations clumsy and ugly. 
As, for instance, they had no reason to give the 
animals four legs. Saying this the god shewed 
them the sketch of a man as he had conceived 
him. "You see", said Brahma, "he will have only 
two legs." 

Rup and Sanatan. — "But the elephant is very 
heavy, while your man is very light." 

Brahma. — "Why have you given four legs to 
the mouse which is lighter than man? You have, 
besides, made the ostrich, which is heavier than 
man, a two-legged creature and one of the fleetest 
creatures on earth? 

234 



THE GREAT INVENTOR OF A NATION 

"The fact is, father," said they, "we found it 
very irksome to form a full conception of the 
whole in the beginning - . We began with the parts. 
When we found the body of the elephant too 
heavy, we had to give it thick, column-like legs; 
when two legs were found not sufficient we gave 
four ; we should have given five if necessary. 
In the same manner, we gave it a trunk 
when we found that otherwise it would die of 
hunger." 

Lord Curzon, the supreme ruler of India, 
loves the Indians, as every one knows. He has 
left the administration of the country to his 
subordinates. One of his subordinates, Mr Risley, 
wanted permission to evolve a new country with 
a new nation, and obtained it. 

The country was easily evolved. He kept a 
map before him ; he had compasses and pencils, 
and the country was marked out. He then 
followed exactly the way Rup and Sanatan had 
adopted to do their work. The cost of the 
administration was too heavy for Assam alone, 
and hence he would add Chittagong, Dacca and 
Mymensing to it. Rup and Sanatan might have 
reduced the bulk of the elephant as. Mr. Risley 
might have lightened the cost of the administration 
so as to make Assam bear it easily. Thus, if the 
brothers had given two more legs to the elephant, 
Mr. Risley added the two districts of Dacca and 

235 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

Mymensing to Assam, besides the three districts of 
the Chittagong Division. 

In the same manner, if the brothers made the 
kangaroo as it is, to remove the defect they made 
the giraffe. Mr. Risley also amalgamated the 
Bengalee-speaking peoples with those who speak 
the Assamese, and fastened two Uriyaspeaking 
districts of other provinces upon Orissa, in order 
to secure equilibrium. Besides, did not the brothers 
bring forth the creature which was a quadruped 
but had the bill of a duck? Under the same prin- 
ciple, Mr. Risley thought he was justified in 
fastening a Bengalee-speaking people upon an 
Assamese-speaking province. The brothers created 
the parts first without taking into consideration 
whether, when stuck together, they would look 
hideous or beautiful. Similarly Mr. Risley con- 
ceived the parts first, without considering whether, 
when put together, they would form a harmonious 
or an incongruous whole. 

As for evolving a new nation, Mr. Risley has 
yet something more to do. The people of Assam 
have a distinct trace of the flat nose of the Mongo- 
lian race. The nose of the Bengalee is of a 
Caucasian type. For the purposes of harmony, 
Mr. Risley will have to flatten it a little ; or, if he 
chooses, he can correct the nasal defect of the 
Assamese. Here parenthetically we can suggest 
a way how this can be done. Let the noses of the 

236 



THE GREAT INVENTOR OF A NATION 

Assamese be held by pincers firmly, and in this 
manner they can be lengthened. If the Assamese 
make wry faces under the process, he can console 
them with the remark that his great idea necessi- 
tated it. 

Then there is the language difficulty. Mr 
Risley will have to create a language which will 
suit both the Assamese and the Bengalees. We 
could here "make some suggestions, but as Mr. 
Risley possibly does not know the Assamese, we 
think it would be difficult for us to be intelligible 
to him. 



PELTING OF STONES BY-GHOSTS. 

Popular notion in India is that ghosts pelt 
stones and I had an ocular demonstration of the 
fact. It was in the month of December, eight years 
ago, that I witnessed a scene which proved that 
there are many things in earth and heaven that 
are not dreamt of in our philosophy. I was in the 
town of Deoghur in my own house situated in an 
open place. Close to my house was that of one 
Gonori Mahato which also was situated in an open 
place. It came to my notice that ghosts had appear- 
ed in his house. Shortly after I had heard this, I 
saw Gonori himself. I asked him about the ghost 
and he said, "Yes, sir, it is a 'pichash'" which 
means a ghost of very low degree. I was a little 
surprised to hear this from him. For Gonori had 
become a Christian, and was not likely to put faith 
in the existence of ghosts, lower or higher. I asked 
him what the ghost was doing in his house, but he 
was not communicative and went his way. I forgot 
all about it, when a strange incident brought the 
pranks of this ghost again to my notice. Gonori, 
being a milk-man, supplied me with milk, and an 
Ooria servant of mine w T ent to fetch it. He was 
brought back almost in an unconscious state by a 
friend of Gonori just before evening. I asked* 

238 



PELTING OF STONES BY — GHOSTS 

Shiva, the servant, to explain the reason of the 
sorrowful plight. He said, after great effort, for he 
could scarcely utter a word, that hearing that 
ghosts were playing mad pranks in the house 
of Gonori he had gone to fetch milk a little 
before the usual time he used to bring it, that is, 
before the sun had gone down. Evening was just 
setting in, and he was coming with the milk when, 
no sooner had he left Gonori's house, than a 
black and hideous "thing" pounced upon him 
and inflicted a blow upon his breast, so that 
he fell senseless with a groan. Gonori had 
invited a few friends to his house to pass the night 
with him to protect him from the "pichash," and 
thus, when they heard his groan, they came to 
his rescue and brought him home. 

On the following morning, I went to Gonori's 
house, which was about two minutes' walk from 
mine, accompanied by two friends, both of them 
highly educated and intensely intellectual. His 
house, as I said before, was situated in an open 
space only on one side of which there was a 
cluster of bamboo trees where the ghost might 
conceal himself, but even this would be impossible 
in day time if he was a fraud. On entering the 
house we found a girl of about twelve sweeping 
the yard with a broom-stick, the yard being sur- 
rounded with huts and walls. The other inmates 
of the house, Gonori himself, his mother about 

239 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

seventy, his wife about forty-five, were all absent. 
Seeing- that the girl was the only inmate of the 
house doing household work, we went outside 
chatting at random, nearly forgetting all about the 
ghost. My friends were a few yards from me 
talking together, and I took this opportunity of 
addressing the ghost in these words : "Sir Ghost, 
if you are here, please shew yourself to us, for we 
are highly respectable gentlemen and you should 
behave properly with us.'' No sooner had I said 
this than a clod of earth came rolling down the 
slope of the hut near which I was standing! This 
amused me greatly, for I could not believe that it 
was actually a ghost that had responded to my 
call. So I asked my friends to note the politeness 
of the ghost which had actually listened to my 
request. They had heard the sound of the fall of 
the clod, but had not seen it coming down. So 
they came close to me to examine the clod. I 
again addressed the ghost, I said : " Sir Ghost, 
this is highly improper, you should be impartial 
in the treatment of your guests. You have 
satisfied me but not my friends. Please shew 
yourself to them also." No sooner had I said 
this, than there rolled down another clod, and 
this time we all three saw it. Let me confess, this 
time we were all surprised. But was that girl 
doing it? No, we could see from our position 
that she was busy doing her work of sweeping. 

240 



PELTING OF STONES BY — GHOSTS 

I again addressed the ghost, "Sir Ghost, re- 
move all our doubts and do favour us again." No 
sooner said than done. Another clod of earth 
came down rolling, following the other two. We 
were petrified with astonishment. It was about 
9 in the morning, the sun was up in the skies, and 
there was not a speck of cloud. And we three 
saw this before our eyes in an open field where 
there were none besides the girl who was sweep- 
ing the yard. But no time was allowed us by 
the good ghost to speculate upon what we had 
witnessed, for the merry thing now began to roll 
down stones of its own accord, one after another, 
in rapid succession. Then clods and stones began 
to f all in the y a: d which the giri was sweeping. 
We ran there, and then commenced as it were a 
perfect rain of stones, pieces of burnt brick and 
clods of earth. Where did they come from? From 
the skies? Perhaps, Perhaps not; for, some of 
them struck the mud-walls of the huts horizontally. 
Of course, we were afraid .of being struck by these 
missiles but luckily we escaped unhurt, but some 
were hurt subsequently though slightly. For, the 
fact of this strange occurrence had gone abroad, 
and people were running to the house from all 
sides, even from the town, which was about half- 
a-mile distant from the place. The house was 
thus filled by hundreds of men in a short time. 
As I said, it was broad daylight and though 

241 
S— 16 



PICTURES OK INDIAN LIFE 

there were hundreds present, none could tell 
whence the stones came. The inmates of the hou 
had come back and they were kept in one place 
hud ( I led together so that they might play no tricks. 
Rut the scene that presented itself (it was literally 
hailing stones) convinced every one that there 
could be no trick at the bottom. The yard was 
soon filled with these clods, stones, &c, and they 
became almost knee-deep in a short time. 

But the most wonderful feats, performed by 
the ghost, yet remain to be told. A big piece of 
stone, weighing over a hundred pounds (more 
than amaund) — which it would be difficult for one 
strong man to carry, was brought out from the 
bottom of the well which stood on one side of the 
yard and thrown in the yard. A little before this 
we had heard a splashing of water in the well, and 
the big stone was brought out and made to fall 
in the yard with a thud. This so terrified the sight- 
seers, that while some fled others took shelter in 
the huts. 

I had a notion that the girl was a medium and 
it was through her that the ghost was playing his 
pranks. This notion I gathered by observing one 
fact. It was this. The clods fell most where the 
girl stood. So, 1 led her and Gonori's wife to the 
Eastern side of the house in a field where mustard 
had been grown, but gathered. It was an open 
field, filled with clods of earth among which, no 

242 



PELTING OF STONES BY— GHOSTS 

doubt the ghost had found some of his missiles. I 
made the girl and the woman sit in the field. 
There they sat, and wonder of wonders, the clods 
round them began, as it were, to dance ! Thus a 
clod would rise, say, four or five feet from the 
earth and fall down. At times more than one 
clod would thus rise up and fall down. Here then 
we had the scene of clods of earth in the midst of 
the field dancing, as if they were imbued with life, 
and this at about eleven in the day and in the 
presence of hundreds. It seemed to me that in the 
field the ghost had not power enough to be able 
to throw the clods to any distance. 

The intellectual critic, after he has read so 
far, might exclaim, aui bono ? "What do you 
prove by the incident ?" Well we have not done 
yet, we have yet to record more wonderful doings 
of this ghost. Indeed, I succeeded eventually in 
making it talk to me in its ghostly way, but of 
this in our next. Yet does not the incident, so far 
as described above, prove anything ? Does it not 
prove that there are more things in earth and 
heaven than are ever dreamt of in our philosophy, 
and that the scientists have yet much to learn? It 
proves that a thing which lias no material body can 
pelt stones and can also possess gleams of reason. 
Did not the thing, by listening to our request in 
the beginning, shew that it could hear and under- 
stand us? Does not the incident of bringing the 

243 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

big stone from the bottom of the well prove that it 
had method in its mad pranks? So the incident, 
so Ear as has been described, proves that there is 
no impossibility in a man losing his body yet 
retaining his physical powers and reasoning 
faculties. But wait till you have heard the end. 

In the midst of this scene, the thought 
troubled me that it was my duty to make the 
most of the occasion, for such experiences do not 
fall to the lot of every man. But I was be-wilder- 
ed, I could not think of a plan how to utilise the 
occasion, or how to experiment with the ghost 
who was playing the mad pranks. He was no 
doubt, we thought, one of a low degree, that is, an 
earth-bound and gross soul. Was he dense enough 
to be visible to the naked eye? I tried and tried 
a^ain to see him but I could see nothing. I then 
came to the o inclusion that I must take time to 
think over the matter and should commence my 
experiments on the next day. Yet I could not 
leave the spi t — I was so enthralled that I had to 
wait to see the end. 

Suck enly a thought struck me that I might as 
well take the giri to a closed room, and see what 
the result would be. So I took her and Gonori's 
v ite to a roo.n, which had walls on all sides but no 
\ ows -\ haiever and only a small door to enter 
b \\ i. sai all three together and kept the door 
open. Those who stiil remained— it was then 

244 



PELTING OF STONES BY— GHOSTS 

about 2 p. m. and most having left the place — 
stood outside, bewildered. For five hours the 
ghost had been pelting stones, and when I took 
the woman and the girl in, I saw that its power 
had got a little weakened. 

Well, we three sat, facing one another. There 
was almost as clear a light in the room as there 
was outside. I then addressed the ghost, and 
requested him that now was the time for him to 
shew wonders. Saying this we remained quiet. 
Of course, our people know what a shikd is — it is 
a contrivance made of jute, like a sling to hang 
pots and cups on. A shika was hanging behind 
me, on which was placed a cup made of sal leaves, 
containing a small quantity of a sort: of coarse 
pulse grown in those parts, called Kutthi. I heard 
a rustling sound behind me, and on turning my 
eyes I saw that the leaf cup, was trying, as it were, 
to leave its place. After some slight efforts it 
succeeded in raising itself and pouring its contents 
(the Kurthi) upon my "devoted" head. Of course, 
I was amused a little at this prank though 1 was 
also frightened a bit. So the ghost was a wag. 
1 told him "You have soiled my head." But the 
ghost, of course, could not speak, and so I got no 
answer. A minute or so later, I heard a noise 
proceeding again from the same spot. This time 
I saw it was a wooden bowl which produced it. 
The bowl, which had also been put on the shUc <, 

245 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

shewed signs of life, and it seemed that it was also 
trying to come out of its place of confinement. 
After some efforts it succeeded in realeasing itself 
and coming towards me. And the bowl now 
poured its contents upon my head ! 

All this while the girl and the woman were 
sitting before me in bread daylight. And what 
did this bowl cuntain ? It was salt ! So Mr. Ghost 
poured all the salt that the bowl contained upon 
my head ! 

This ' was joke number two' And we all three 
laughed. "Can you speak, even in whispers?" — 
I asked the ghost. No answer. There was a bam- 
boo stick — a lathi, in short, a bamboo club about 
5 ft. in length — in the room, leaning against 
a corner. This was the third object which was 
seen to shew signs of life. It trembled a little, 
as if some one was shaking it ; then it stood 
« rect. Next it began to move and approach 
me by short jumps as seme birds would do, when 
hopping ! And then it seemed to me as if somebody 
had grasped it with both hands and was, in that 
manner, carrying it towards me ; then it struck 
the earth with great force. My head escaped by 
few inches only! If the club had fallen upon my 
head, it would have received a serious hurt. It 
seemed to me that the ghost was giving me a hint 
to depart and thus escape worse treatment. I had, 
indeed, to put an end to my experiment imme- 

246 



PELTING OF STONES BY— GHOSTS 

diately, and come out. It was then about half past 
two the ghost had begun its manifestations a little 
before 9 a. m. I came home exhausted in body and' 
mind, though with a deep determination to con- 
tinue the experiments the following day. On the 
following morning, I went to the place and 
found that the girl had fled with her husband. 
They were Gonori's relations, and were staying 
with him as guests. They were told by some 
mischievous people, that the police would punish 
them ; and this frightened them so much that they 
fled. I searched for them and at last found their 
whereabout.but could not induce them — rather the 
husband — to come back. 

We thus witnessed what may be called an 
occult phenomenon. We saw it along with many 
hundred others in broad daylight. Any tricks, 
under the circumstances, would be impossible. 
Now the reader is left to draw his own con- 
clusions. 

We saw an invisible thing giving proofs that 
it possesse 1 enormous physical powers; that it 
had conscious' less, nay, that it understood a joke. 
Was it the sou! of a dead man that was acting 
in that way ? Of course, the evidence is not con- 
clusive that it was a dead man who was doing it. 
For to prove this conclusively the "thing" ought 
to have declared that it had been a man before, 
and then proved his identity by other unimpeach- 

247 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

able evidence. But yet the incident carries with- 
it a moral conviction which is irresistible, that it 
was done by a man who had lived on this earth 
before. 



. 



■ 
* 

( 
L 



THE AGRICULTURAL 

SCHOLARSHIPS. 

[In Three Acts.] 
ACT I. 

(The Secretary of State receiving a deputation 
from Manchester Merchants.) 

Deputation. — The true interests of India are 
thus neglected. It is the duty of the Govern- 
ment of India to make India rich and contented. 

Secretary of State. — We are always very 
glad to receive practical suggestions from you. 

Deputation. — We are all practical men, my 
Lord. We shall prove to your lordship how the 
resources of India have been frittered away. First, 
then, India is an agricultural country. Do you 
admit that, my Lord ? 

Secretary. — Certainly. 

Deputation. — Your lordship will also admit 
that cotton is indigenous in India. 

Secretary. — Yes, there cannot be any manner 
of doubt in that. 

Deputation.— That being so a is it not clear 
that India should grow cotton, only cotton, and 
nothing but cotton? 

Secretary. — I am all attention. 

Deputation. — Our second proposition is that, 

249 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

England is a manufacturing country. Can there 
be any doubt, therefore, that India should grow 
cotton and England should weave ? Is not this 
a providential arrangement ? 

Secretary. — I am hearing you with absorbing 
interest. 

Deputation. — A fish must not run, nor a dog 
fly ; Nature does not permit it. You must not, 
therefore, permit India to weave. India has a 
destiny of its own — a great destiny. We have 
conquered India for benevolent purposes. We 
must, therefore, grant her the inestimable privilege 
of growing as much cotton as we want. We 
must also grant her the additional privilege of 
purchasing the clothes manufactured in our mills. 
How is it that our manufactures are not more 
largely consumed in that country ! 

Secretary. — The men there are poor. 

Deputation. — So you must first of all make 
them rich by developing the resources of the 
country. A thorough agricultural education 
must be given. India should grow cotton, only 
cotton, and nothing but cotton, and that will 
make India rich. 

Secretary. — You forget the second part on 
your proposition, that India should use cotton 
manufactured by you only, use nothing but 
cotton, and use more cotton. 

Deputation. — Just so. 

250 



THE AGRICULTURAL SCHOLARSHIPS 

Secretary. — We shall issue instructions to 
India and we hope they will prove satisfactory 
to you. 

ACT II. 
(Present two Indian rulers.) 

Ruler ist. — We must do something to please 
Manchester, at least so we are ordered to do. 

Ruler 2nd - — It is not a hard task, for with 
all their wisdom, nothing is easier than to be foot 
them. 

Ruler ist — But the difficulty is to please them 
without creating - a howl here in India. 

Ruler 2nd. — That can be done easily enough. 
We can spend a few thousands upon some agri- 
cultural scholarships. It will help nobody ; but 
it will cost little, please Manchester and enligh- 
tened native public opinion in India. 

Ruler ist. — What do you mean by enlighten- 
ed native public opinion? 

Ruler 2nd. — The leading men in chief cities, 
who have never seen a blade of grass in their lives- 

Ruler 2nd. — Let it be done then. 
ACT III. 
(An England-returned Agricultural Professor and 

his pupils.) 

Pupil ist. — Sir, is it time that we should sow 
paddy ? 

Professor. — Don't ask me that, you can inquire 
about it of a common cultivator. That is not a 

251 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFJ 

scientific question. I did not go to England, 
interview Mr. Gladstone, and study chemistry to 
be pestered with such petty matters. Bring soils 
and I shall analyse them for you. 

Pupil 2nd. — 1 gave some the other day, for the 
purpose of analysis. 

Professor. — Yes, I found in them silica, 
allumina, vegetable and animal matter. Ask the 
cultivators of the country to come to me with 
specimens of soil, and 1 shall analyse them, — for 
a reasonable consideration. 

Pupil 2. — What will they gain by your 
analysis, Sir? 

Professor. — That, is again, a foolish question. 
They will gain knowledge. What is more valua- 
ble than knowledge itself? 

Pupil 2. — You have analysed the soils that I 
brought ; what are they fit for ? 

Professor. — Well, 1 have thrown them away 
after analysis. 

Pupil 2. — I don't mean that. You have 
analysed the soil. What crops will grow best in 
them ? 

Professor. — That, of course, you must learn 
by experiments. First, you sow the lands with, 
say, paddy. If paddy fails, sow wheat. If it fails, 
sow sugar-cane. And in this manner within the 
course of twenty to twenty-five years you shall be 
able to know, of course, if you conduct your, 

252 



THE AGRICULTURAL SCHOLARSHIPS 

experiments with care, what your lands are fit for. 

P. 3. — Sir, we have come here to learn. 
Some of us would like to learn how to cure 
tobacco, some to learn how to grow long-stapled 
cotton, and good tea. Some are for improving 
jute, and some sugar-cane. There are others who 
are for the improvement of silk, and some are for 
tussar, lac and rhea. 

P. 4. — My ambition does not go so far. I 
would like to learn how to make my lands yield 
more paddy, wheat pulses, etc., than it does now. 

Prof. — Well, you mention crops which I have 
never seen in England, and some of them I have 
never heard of in my life. Neither the savants in 
England, nor men like Bright and Gladstone 
could give me any hint as to the existence of the 
crops you mention. I cannot call, therefore, all 
these crops respectable. If you want to learn 
from me how to grow any respectable crop, I 
can teach you how to grow scotch beans and 
oats. I saw them grown in Scotland. 

P. 4. — Will you then let us know what you 
will teach us, besides the process by which soils 
are analysed ? 

Prof. — Well, if you want to know how to 
grow jute, and such other things, you can go and 
ask a common cultivator. But I shall teach you 
the curious process how the plant draws its mois- 
ture from the soil, and how the sap is beautiful ;y 

253 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

carried through meandering veins. I shall explain 
to you how the leaves and flowers get their colour. 
I shall— 

P. 5. — (Suddenly appearing).-The new plough 
that you gave me does not work. 

Prof.— What, that splendid plough constructed 
on scientific principles designed after the model 
of the latest inventions in America ! 

P. 5 — They are too heavy for the cattle to 
<lrag. 

Prof. — Is that all ? Then indent for a pair of 
bullocks from Ayrshire or Kentucky, and the 
plough will work beautifully. 

P. 6. — My father, Sir, has asked me to return 
you the harrowing machine. He says that he 
prefers his 4-anna harrow to yours which, you say, 
is worth Rs. 25. The 4-anna implement works 
less effectually, but then it costs only 4 annas. 
We cannot afford to pay Rs 25 for a harrow. 

P. 7. — Talking of implements, Sir the 
winnowing machine is broken. 

Prof. — Then have it repaired. 

P. 7. — They cannot repair it here. 

Prof. — Well, then, in that case you must send 
it to England. 

P. 7. — My father says very hard things of 
you. 

Prof. — What does he say "t 

P. 7. — He says that you are a — humbug. 

254 



THE AGRICULTURAL SCHOLARSHIPS 

Prof. — (Solus) I feel that I have yet something 
more to learn. I am extremely doubtful whether 
my pupils will stick to me to learn only vegetable 
physiology, and the analysis of soils. 



THE DETERIORATION OF THE 
INDIANS. 

ONE of the most painful and absorbing topics 
of conversation, amongst the Indians, is the 

physical deterioration of the races in this country. 
The following startling telegram came from Madr 
some years ago : 

Madras, March 21. 

'The Hon'ble Genston, presiding at the annual 
meeting" of the Physical Training Association, 
alluded to the startling fact that, out of 22 native 
candidates for Entrance to the Civil Service 
recently, 70 per cent, were rejected as physically 
unfit.' 

Thus 70 per cent, are unfit for civil employ ; 
how many more must be unfit for military employ? 
It is a fact that the races are deteriorating all 
along the line. The Government has been obliged 
to a mit this fact partially. It is now i ely 
nvtted that fighting materials are disappearing 
fast from the land. Said the Pi some years 

ag":— 

The long reign of internal peace has directly 
ai< ed the character of the population; the 
tr;. usui military supremacy among the Shikhs 
arc ^ ing out ; the Punjabi Mohamedans are more 

256 



THE DETERIORATION OF THE INDIANS 

intent on the cultivating of their lands, secure in 
the possession of such property as they can 
accumulate ; while the once restless, Pathan 
tribes within the border are not allowed to follow 
the example t'hus set them. 

The same paper continued : " Officers of long 
experience in Punjab have noticed the change 
with regret, for they cannot now choose and 
pick their men." And then it is very properly 
argued that if this be the case with people, 
"who were at the height of military strength, fifty 
years ago, how much more must be with others '' 
whose powers were broken long before !" It comes 
to this that in the whole of India, in a population 
of 250 millions, it has been found difficult to find 
men who are capable of fighting. Is this not a 
serious matter, both for the people and 
the Government? Does not this mean the 
practical emasculation of the vast majority of 
entire nation ? 

That the people are now utterly helpless, is a 
patent fact to all. A dacoit, with half-a-dozen 
following, may commit depredations for years 
together, and the people will find themselves 
unable to defend their homes and persons. A tiger 
makes the inhabitants desert their villages, and a 
leopard will compel them to go in-doors every 
evening, before the sun sets. Nay the Indian 
newspapers contain appeals to Government and 

257 
S-17 



OF IN MI AN Ui 

to sh sportsmen t" protect the people Erorri 

m:: 1 i ja< k lis. 

But only less than a hundred years ago, 
the {-• pie of India were as strong as an- 
other race in the world. It is said that the 
Bengalee e the weakest race in India, and 

the Pun jabees the strongest, except the Gurkhas. 
But that is not it. The Bengalees were as strong 
as any in India ; only being secure from external 
inv.. . which the Punjabee was not, the inhabi- 
tants oi Bengal had not been able to develop their 
material instincts to the same extent as the 
border tribes had. 

Only forty years ago we have seen plenty of 
fighting materials in Bengal, twenty-five in a 
hundred ; but it is now impossible to find half-a- 
dozen in a million ! 

The Bengalees have proved themselves to be 
an intellectual race and in this intellectual prog- 
ress they are indebted vastly to British rule. 
Intellectual they had always been even before 
the British came. But then, in 'pre-British 
days, learning was confined almost to the Brah- 
mins, and the other castes had no opportunity 
of improving themselves to the utmost of their 
capacity- But under British Rule, the Bengalees 
have now obtained this privilege ; and if the 
Brahmins yet continue to hold the first place, they 
have found formidable competitors in other castes, 

258 



THE DETERIORATION OF THE INDIANS 

such" as Kayesthas and Yaidyas. This intellectual 
superiority of the Bengalees has created for them 
enemies amongst Europeans who call them 
cowardly, effeminate, and so forth. 

We shall now show that even the Bengalees 
were a powerful race only less than a hundred 
years ago. 

The Mussalman invaders and conquerors of 
India found it to their advantage to leave the 
administration in the hands of Hindus. In Bengal, 
the country was divided and put into the charge 
of Zemindars who were sovereign Princes. And 
thus, at one time, Bengal was under twelve such 
Zemindars. 

The Moghul Sovereign exacted military 
service from these Zemindars. Thus says the 
Ayeen Ahbary : — 

" The soubah of Bengal consists of 24 Sircars 
and 487 mahals. The revenue is 14,961,482 Sicca 
rupees, and the zemindars (who are mostly 
Kayesthas) furnish 23,330: cavalry, 801,158 infantry, 
170 elephants 4,260 cannons and 4,400 boats '' 

Thus the Moghul Emperors could raise lakhs 
of men from Bengal to light for them, but the 
present rulers have not one single Bengalee 
soldier ! 

The Mussalman rule, being barbarous and 
oppressive, did not meet with the approval of the 
country ; and Protap and Shankar, two Bengalee 

259 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIKE 

tilths, formed the plan of expelling- the Maho- 
medans from India. Protap was the son of a 
wealthy Zemindar, residing- in the Sunderbans 
near Takee ; and Shankar was a Brahmin youth, 
his friend. They both proceeded to Delhi to study 
the Moghul army and their mode of warfare- 
They found that the superiorty of the Moghuls lay 
in their artillery. 

The Feringhees (Portuguese) also infested 
India, and they were invincible because of their 
fleet and cannons. Protap enlisted the services of 
a Portuguese General, who is called Ruda 
in Sanskrit books and Bengalee legends. Batteries 
of artillery and a fleet were thus constructed in the 
Sunderbans. Protap then declared his indepen- 
dence. 

Now it was a most foolhardy thing for Protap 
to do it, for the Moghuls then were in the hey- 
day of their glory. He declared his independence 
while yet the great Akbar ruled ! 

In the beginning, Protap and Shankar carried 
on a guerilla warfare. They offered no direct 
resistance to the Moghuls but fled before them, 
only to expel them, when the rainy season had 
set in. 

But gradually Protap became bolder. He 
took Gaur, the then capital city of Bengal, and 
became the absolute master of Bengal and Behar. 
Then he gave up gueri la warfare altogether, and 

260 



THE DETERIORATION OF THE INDIANS 

began to wage pitched battles with the Moghuls. 
And in every one of them, he defeated and 
sometimes exterminated the invaders of his 
country. This is what we find in the proceedings 
of the Asiatic Society of Bengal for December 
1868 with regard to the brave doings of Protap: — 
"The first general sent was Abram Khan whose 
army was nearly annihilated near the fort Mutlar 
(Mutlah, now Port Canning). Twenty-five other 
generals are stated to have been defeated in 
succession." 

Now mind, these were not skirmishes but 
regular battles, between huge armies, made up of 
infantry, artillery and cavalry. 

Protap's commanders were mostly Bengalees, 
and some of them have their descendants, but 
they are now scarcelv over five feet in height and 
are doing the business of either village school- 
masters or clerks. 

Short accounts of their battles are found in 
Sanskrit History. There, we read that, in a battle 
the Moghul General, Azim, with twenty thousand 
of his men, was killed. In another battle, ten 
thousand men of the Moghuls were destroyed. 
These details will give one an idea of the severe 
nature of the battles fought. :; 

Of the twelve Zemindars, referred to above 



* See Satya Charan Shastri'a "Life of Protapaditya." The 
author is a descendant of the great Shankara himself. 

26l 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

who ruled Bengal, one had his capital city in 
Bishnupore, now in the district of Bancoora. In 
going there, one can see even now traces of exten- 
sive fortifications and a huge cannon, perhaps the 
biggest in the world. This country was visited by 
a French traveller, and this is what he says of 
what he saw : 

" This fortunate spot, which extends about a 
hundred and sixty miles, is called Bissenpoore. It 
has been governed time immemorial by a Bramin. 
family of the tribe of Rajahputs. Here the purity 
and equal of the ancient political svstem of the 
Indians is found unadulterated. This singular 
Government, the first and most striking monu- 
ment in the world has, till now been beheld with 
too much indifference. We have no remains of 
ancient nations but brass and marble, which speak 
only to imagination and conjecture, those un- 
certain interpreters of manners and customs that 
no longer exist. Were a philosopher transported 
to Bissenpore, he would immediately be a witness 
of the life led by the first inhabitants of India many 
thousand years ago; he would converse with them 

would trace the progress of this nation 
relebrated, as it were, from its very infancy ; he 
would see the rise of a Government, which being 
founded in happy prejudices, in a simplicity and 
purity of manners, in the mild temper of the people 
and the integrity of the chieftains, has survived 

262 






THE DETERIORATION OF THE INDIANS 

those innumerable systems of legislation, which 
have made only a transitory appearance upon the 
stage of the world with the generations they were 
destined to torment. More solid and durable 
than those political structures, which, raised 
by imposture and enthusiasm, are the scourg e 
of human kind, and are doomed, to perish 
with the foolish opinions that gave them birth, the 
Government of Bissenpore, the offspring off a just 
attention to order and the laws of nature, has been 
established and maintained upon unchangeable 
principles, and has undergone no more alteration 
than those principles themselves. The singular 
situation of this country has preserved to the 
inhabitants their primitive happiness and the 
gentleness of their character, by securing them 
from the danger of being conquered, or imbruing 
their hands in the blood of their fellow-creatures. 
Nature has surrounded them with water; and they 
need only open the sluices of their rivers to over- 
flow the whole country. The armies sent to 
subdue them have so frequently been drowne d 
that the plan of enslaving them has been laid 
aside ; and the projectors of it have thought proper 
to content themselves with an appearance of 
submission. 

Liberty and property are sacred in Bissenpore 
Robbery, either public or private, is never heard 
of. As soon as any stranger enters the territory he 

263 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

comes under the protection of the laws, which 
provide for his security. He is furnished with 
guides at free cost, who conduct him from place to 
place, and are answerable for his person and 
eflects. When he changes his conductors, the new 
ones deliver to those they relieve an attestation of 
their conduct, which is registered and afterwards 
sent to the Raja. All the time he remains in the 
country he is maintained and conveyed with his 
merchandise, at the expense of the State, unless 
he desires leave to stay longer than three days in 
the same place. In that case he is obliged to 
defray his own expenses, unless he is detained by 
any disorder, or other unavoidable accident. This 
beneficence to strangers is the consequence of the 
warmth with which the citizens enter into each 
others' interests. They are so far from being 
guilty of an injury to each other, that whoever 
fin' K a purse or other thing of value, hangs it upon 
the first tree he meets with, and informs the 
nearest guard, who gives notice of it to the public 
by beat of drum. These maxims of probity are so 
generally received, that they direct even the opera- 
tions of Government. Out of between seven and 
eight millions (about 430,000?. on an average) it 
annually receives, without injury to agriculture or 
trade,what is not wanted to supply the unavoidable 
expenses of the State, is laid out in improvements- 
The Raja is enabled to engage in these humane 

264 



THE DETERIORATION OF THE INDIANS 

employments, as he pays the Moguls only what 
tribute, and at what times, he thinks proper.* 

But a still greater authority, Mr. Holwell, who 
was governor of Calcutta, speaks in the same way 
of Bishnupore in his " Interesting Historical 
Events," which was printed in 1765: — 

"To the west of Burdwan, something northerly 
lie the lands belonging to the family of Raja Gopal 
Singh, of the Rajpoot Bramin tribe ; they posses 
an extent of sixteen days' travel, this district 
produces an annual revenue of between thirty and 
forty lacs; but fromthe happiness of his situation he 
is perhaps the most independent Raja of Indostan, 
having it always in his power to overflow his 
country, and drown any enemy that comes against 
him; as happened at the beginning of Sujah Khan's 
Government, who sent a strong body of horse to 
reduce him, these he suffered to advance far into 
his country, then opening the dams of the rivers 
destroyed them to a man; this action deterred any 
subsequent attempts to reduce him ; but if the 
frontiers of the district were so invested, as to 
prevent the exit of die merchandise of his 
country, which might easily be done, he iwould 
be presently brought to obedience, and glad to 
compound for a tribute of twenty lacs per annum; 
as it is, he can hardly be said to acknowledge 

*Abbe Eajnal on East and West Indies. Translated from the 
French by J. Justamond, M. A.— 1777, Vol. L, pp. 405 to 406. 

265 



PICTURES OF INDIAN LIFE 

any allegiance to the Moghul or Sabah, he some 
years deigns to send to the Subah an acknow- 
ledgment by way of salaamy (or present) of 15,000 
rupees, sometimes 20,000, and some years not 
anything at all, as he happens to be disposed. 

But in truth, it would be almost cruelty to 
molest these happy people, for in this district, are 
the only vestiges of the beauty, purity, piety, 
regularity, equitv and strictness of the ancient 
Indostan Government. Here the propertv as well 
as the liberty of the people are inviolate, here no 
robberies are heard of, either private or public ; 
the traveller, either with, or without merchandise, 
on his entering this district, becomes the immediate 
care of Government which allots him guards 
without any expense, to conduct him from stage to 
stage, and these are accountable for the safety and 
accommodation of his person and effects. At the 
end of the first stage he is delivered over with 
certain benevolent formalities to the guards of the 
next, who after interrogating- the traveller, as to 
the usage he had received in his journey, dismisses 
the first guard with a written certificate of their 
behaviour, and a receipt for the traveller and his 
effects, which certificate and receipt are returnable 
to the commanding officer of the first stage, who 
registers the same, and regularly reports it to the 
Rajah. 

i n this form the traveller is passed through 

266 






THE DETERIORATION OF THE INDIANS 

the country, and if he only passes, he is not suffered 
to be at any expense for food, accommodation, or 
carriage for his merchandise or jpaggage; but it is 
otherwise, if he is permitted to make any residence 
in one place above three days, unless occasioned 
by sickness, or any unavoidable accident. If any* 
thing is lost in this district, for instance, a bag of 
money or other valuable, the person who finds it 
hangs it upon the next tree, and gives notice to 
the nearest chowkey or place of guard, the officer 
of which orders immediate publication of the same 
by beat of tomtom or drum. ■* 

There are in this precinct, no less than three 
hundred and sixty considerable Pagodas, or 
place of public worship, errected by this Raja, and 
his ancestors. The worship, of the cow is here 
carried to so great an extreme, that, if that 
animal meets with a violent death, the city 
or village to which it belonged, go to a general 
mourning and fast, for three days, and are obliged 
from the Rajah to the meanest of the people, to 
remain on the spot, where they first heard the 
publication of the accident ; and are employed 
during that space in performing various expiations 
as directed in the Shastra ; but more of this under 
a subsequent general head. 

Bishunpore, the capital, and chief residence 
of the Rajah, and which gives a name to the whole 
district, is also the chief seat of trade ; the produce 

267 



PICTURES OK INDIAN LIFE 

of the country consists of Sal timbers (a wood 
equal in quality to the best of our oak), dammer 
laccas, an inferior sortment of raw silk, and coposs, 
and grain safficient only for their consumption; 
it is from this district that the East India companies 
are chiefly supplied with the article of shell 
lacco. — Pages 197 to 200, Part I" 

When the English came here, they found the 
country inhabited by a strong race. So they en- 
listed Bengalees as soldiers and put them under 
Bengalee officers. With this army of Bengalees 
and with a sprinkling of British soldiers, the 
British conquered Bengal and Behar. They then 
enlisted the Beharees and conquered the North- 
West. They next availed of the Pandays of the 
North-West and conquered the Punjab. The 
Punjabees were enlisted and Afghanistan was in- 
vaded. It was thus India was conquered for 
England by the Indians themselves and originally 
with the help of the Bengalees. Mr. Hohvell says, 
" It would be almost cruelty to molest these happy 
people." We are further told that Bishnupore 
gives evidence of ,; the beauty, piety, regularity, 
and equity of ancient India.'' All have been des- 
troyed, of course, with the best of motives, by the 
present rulers in their zeal for reform. 



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The Book contains tb< last Poems the author 

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came to India, including English versions of Lyrics 
from Mirabai, Tukaram, Bharati and oilier Indian 
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CONTEN T5 



PART T: WKST 



The Higher Stoicism. 

Plight. 

-\ one-sided Conversation vfith 

■ Kieldra^Jn.S' , . 
The Haunt' . 1 Eonse : An 

Legend. 
T.ive in • 

itivo Love. 
The Spendthrift 
To the Still-Urn Chil 

Frien.l. 
Sonnets : 

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ii. The Sword of fch< I. 
Castles In Spain, 
Birds at ^ea. 



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Dswn, 
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aa. 

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i. A Goj i-xong i<> Sri Kris 
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DS Ghose, Shi shir Kumar 

421 Pictures of Indian life 

G4