J. D. (John David) Rees.

India; the real India (Volume 19) online

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J . D . R E E S

G.V.O., C.I.E., M.P.







[W -D -o]











VIII UNREST (Continued) 189








Evening in the Avenue of Jaipur .... Frontispiece

Group of Hindoos, Maratta Caste 32

La Martiniere 64

Bombay from Mazaguon Hill . 96

A Native Indian Village near Calcutta 192

Golcondah Tombs with Fort in Distance .... 224




NO more competent person could be found to
describe the real India than Colonel J. D. Rees,
the author of this volume. He has lived for
over a quarter of a century in that country, has passed
through nearly all the grades of the Indian Civil Service,
and he possesses, furthermore, the high qualification of
being a master of most of the languages and dialects
spoken by the natives of that vast country, as well as of
Russian. This has enabled him to get nearer the hearts
and minds of its teeming millions than most men who
write on India have done, and his knowledge of Russian
has enabled him to fathom more completely than most
the real significance of the attitude of Russia towards
India and the Far East.

The first chapter contains a sketch of the past his-
tory of India, showing the perpetual state of warfare and
oppression which existed up to the time of the Mogul
Empire, and how little good government was enjoyed by
the people during the latter period which is now repre-
sented by agitators as the Golden Age.

The consolidation of the British Empire is hardly
noticed, since that is the most familiar period of Indian
history, but a glimpse is given of the anarchy and misery
which followed upon the break-up of the Mogul Empire
and the predatory predominance of the Mahrattas.

A brief account is then given of the land system of the



British Government, showing how much more favourable
to the landowner and cultivator it is than that of its
predecessors in title, whose system, nevertheless, it closely
follows. The constitution of the Government of India is
explained, its financial system, the policy pursued towards
the native states and on the frontier, the causes and char-
acter of the present unrest, and the connection therewith
of the Hindoo Congress, the character of the reforms sug-
gested by Mr. Morley and Lord Minto, and now under
the consideration of the local administration and of the
general public, are all fully set forth.

A chapter follows on social reform, and incidentally
some account is given of the domestic life of the Indians,
a fascinating subject, and a mirror, in many respects, of
life in the pantheistic and polytheistic times, with which
those are familiar, who read the classics in school. A
final chapter deals with the economic conditions of the
country, and the economic policy of the Government of

The work is avowedly and frankly written from the
British point of view, and this should be borne in mind
while reading the author's most instructive account of
the attitude of the English official mind towards the great
and important questions with which the English Govern-
ment has to deal in administering the affairs of the enor-
mous agglomeration of different races, for the peace and
safety of which it is responsible.

One of the greatest problems that has ever confronted
the British Government is that with which it is now called
upon to deal in India. The spirit of unrest, the desire
for greater personal liberty, the desire to take part in
the Government, has arisen in India and will not down.
The assassin has already begun his work in an attempt


to protest against conditions which are resented by many
of the natives. Only recently in London itself an English-
Indian official was assassinated by a native "student."
How this "new spirit" has been awakened and fostered
in India, and the attitude of England toward it, are dealt
with in this volume among many other matters. This
is a question of vital interest, for the teeming millions
of India may one day be threatening the peace of the
whole world.








THE poverty of language is responsible for
describing as a country the vast sub-conti-
nent which stretches from the eighth to the
thirty-sixth degree of latitude, from the roof of the
world beyond the Himalayas to the Southern Ocean,
which includes 1,766,597 of square miles, and a popu-
lation of 300,000,000. The provinces under imme-
diate British administration comprise upwards of
61, and the native states upwards of 38 per cent, of
the whole, and of the population 62,461,000 inhabit
the latter area. Of the British provinces Burma
is somewhat smaller than Austria-Hungary; Bengal
and Bombay are both bigger than Sweden, and
Madras is about the same size as Prussia and Den-
mark taken together, while, of the native states,
Hyderabad is rather larger, and Cashmere rather

1 The author's use of " we," " our," " the Government," etc., when refer-
ring to the British and the British Government, have not been changed, in
order that the point of view of the writer may be the more emphasised.
Nor has the English been changed into American money, since any one
can readily mentally multiply the English pounds by five to convert them
into American dollars.


smaller, than Great Britain. So little do different
parts of the empire resemble one another that the
density of the population varies from 11 to 1920 to
the square mile in different regions in the wide area
extending from the Persian frontier to the Chinese
march, and from the passes of eternal snow to the
burning jungles of Malabar. One male in 10, and
one woman in 144, is literate, and in educational
eminence the order of precedence is Burma, Madras,
Bombay, and Bengal. The native states of Cochin
and Travancore, however, rank higher in this respect
than any British province, and therein Christians are
25 per cent, of the population as against 1 per cent,
throughout India. Four-fifths of the Christians of
Madras are found south of that city, and of all our
co-religionists in the continent two-thirds are found
in the same Presidency. Agriculture in some form
is the occupation of about two-thirds of the whole
population, though nearly three millions are now em-
ployed in exotic occupation such as railways, tele-
graphs, cotton and jute mills, coal and gold mines,
and tea and coffee estates.

It is believed that, in the times succeeding the
stone ages, Upper India was inhabited by more or
less dark-coloured tribes, who were gradually driven
southwards by fairer peoples from the north, of
Aryan stock, but whose descendants are still found
in various remote and hilly tracts. The Hindoos
hold that the earliest of their Vedas or historic hymns
was written 3000 years before the birth of Christ,
when the eleventh dynasty was reigning in Egypt,



and the great pyramid of Cheops had already stood
1000 years, but it is considered doubtful if the book
and religion of the Vedas really existed more than
800 years before the foundation, in the sixth century,
of the religions of Zoroaster, Buddha, and Confucius.
Later Vedas describe conditions not unlike those at
present existing, with the caste system well estab-
lished, and the Brahmins occupying that position
of pre-eminence which the spread of English educa-
tion has only confirmed, albeit the recipients are now
anxious to rule India without any help from Britain
but that of her arms, and without any of that super-
vision which ensures equal justice to all castes and

The Brahmins simplified the Vedic faith, and
made it intelligible to the people as a religion of
one God in three revelations of the Creator, Pre-
server, and Destroyer, and they absorbed into the
Hindoo Pantheon the masses of the people who wor-
shipped the forces of nature and their manifestation
in man.

As long ago as the time when JSschylus, Sopho-
cles, and Euripides were writing in Greece, they had
worked out a system of philosophy, law, medicine,
and music, much of which, through the agency of
the Arab scholars at the Abbasid court at Baghdad,
was introduced into Europe. Their chief epics are
the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, the former of
which relates to contests which took place round
Delhi two or three hundred years before the date
of the epics of Homer.



The Brahmins had hardly established their ascend-
ency, when Buddha rose, about 540 B.C., to found
the religion which still, in point of numbers, is the
greatest in the world. The same century witnessed
the foundation of the system of Zoroaster, which
obtained in Persia till it was driven out by the
Mohammedans, when a small minority fled and
settled on the west coast of India, to found the com-
mercial prosperity of Bombay, to provide repre-
sentatives for the Indian Legislative Councils, and,
until the present day, two members to the British

The system of Buddha inculcated the efficacy of
works, the uselessness of priests, the futility of sac-
rifice. It flourished as a rival to Brahminism till
the eve of the Mohammedan conquests in the ninth
century, when it was driven to the north and north-
east of the Himalayas, and to the farther east, after
absorbing the indigenous tree and serpent worship,
and refining the coarser superstitions of the aborigi-
nal Indians.

To the Greeks, to whom we owe so much in so
many other directions, we also owe our earliest
accounts of India. Although the father of history
wrote of the eastern Ethiopians, and Darius, son of
Hystaspes, added part of the north-west of the sub-
continent to the Persian Empire, it was not until the
expedition of Alexander (327 B.C.) that the Greeks
came in actual contact with what is now called the
Punjaub, and the country lying between it and
Persia proper. Of the Greek writers, Ktesias (circ.



400 B.C.), survives in mere fragments. But even in
his time the indigenous Indians were subject to for-
eign domination, or were secured from subjugation
in inaccessible mountains, propitiating by presents
the kings of the immigrant Aryans. Megasthe-
nes was sent as ambassador by Seleucus, the ruler
of a fair fragment of Alexander's divided empire,
to Chandragupta, king of Palibrotha, or Patna,
about 300 B.C. His writings are of great value, and
any traveller in the Punjaub to-day can confirm his
statement that the inhabitants exceed the ordinary
stature, and are distinguished by their proud bear-
ing. Subsequent historians have noted, as he did,
that, under ordinary circumstances, during war in
India, husbandmen were regarded as a class sacred
and inviolable, whereby warfare was rendered less
terrible than it is in civilised countries. Manucci,
however, one of the best witnesses, dissipates this
comfortable theory by actual relation of what oc-
curred in the reign of Aurangzeb. At the present
day, when socialism raises its head, all may admire,
as he did, laws "which bound everyone equally, but
allowed property to be unevenly distributed."

Amateur critics of the policy of the Government
of India may learn from Megasthenes (confirmed by
Strabo, 20 A.D.) that the Indians paid land tribute
to the king, "because all India is the property of the
Crown, and no private person is permitted to own
land. The husbandman tilled the land on condition
of receiving one-fourth of the produce."

Those who think that the English introduced
:, .. 7


strong drink into India will learn with surprise from
this ancient writer that the Indians of his day drank
wine. Some light is also thrown upon a subject
which even now excites controversy by the state-
ment that women bore children at the age of seven,
and became old at forty. A Greek merchant wrote
the "Periplus of the Erythrean Sea" probably about
80 A.D., and he tells of trade in slaves, horses, mules,
butter, ivory, pearls, silk, and porphyry, besides
many kinds of plants and their produce, including
spice, indigo, and frankincense. Much business was
done too in rice, pepper, and wine, in iron, copper,
gold, precious stones, and wearing apparel. In all
these substances, the author traded, making voyages
from Berenice, in the southern extremity of Egypt,
to African, Arabian, and Indian ports.

Arrian, the pupil of Epictetus, and contemporary
of Marcus Aurelius, writing about 150 A.D., recorded
the fact that superintendents holding an office analo-
gous to that of Chinese censors, reported every-
thing that took place to the king, where the people
had such a one, or to the magistrates where they
were self -governed that is to say, where there
were independent towns like the Greek republics.
He found the caste system in full force and vigour.
If these ancient writers mixed fable and fact, the
inhabitants of India at the present day hardly dis-
tinguish between mythological and historical periods,
and it is remarkable that, with the exception of these
old Greek writings, no histories have been composed
about India until the time of the Mohammedan



conquest. The Hindoos, indeed, are not chroni-
clers, and in the past they preferred, as to a great
extent they do at present prefer, speculation and
philosophy to facts and deductions of more imme-
diate practical value. Thus peculiar importance
attaches to such information as we have regarding
the Grseco-Bactrian kingdom. It is with some
surprise we find Philostratos recording that the
Pythagorean philosopher, Apollonius, in the preced-
ing century, had been received on the banks of the
Indus by a Greek-speaking king, the simplicity of
whose life and personal appointments survives to
this day amongst the princes of south-western India,
who have never come under the immediate influence
of foreign rule. These Greek writers constantly refer
to the considerable commerce carried on between
Rome and the Malabar coast until the third cen-
tury of our era, and 600 years previously Herodotus
realised more fully than we do to-day in England
"that there are many races of Indians who do not
speak the same language as one another." Twenty
centuries ago the Romans realised the propinquity
of India better than we do to-day: "Quantum enim
est quod ab ultimis litoribus Hispance usque ab Indos
jacet. Paucissimorum dierum spatium."

These old writers describe the complex and civil-
ised character of life in ancient Indian cities, where
there were inspectors of industrial arts, and enter-
tainments, of births, deaths; of retail and barter; of
weights, measures, and manufactures, and of military
and naval affairs.



While Pliny tells us that the companions of Alex-
ander had written that India was a third part of the
world, and the multitude of its inhabitants was past
reckoning, the Census Commissioner in 1901 records
the fact that India is, in point of population, about
a fifth part of the whole world, and that its inhab-
itants number nearly 300,000,000.

To this day the Indian Peninsula deserves the
description given to it in the third century by Diony-
sius, who praises the lovely land of the Indians,
"last of all lands, upon the very lips of the ocean,
where ascends the sun, scattering heat and radiance
over the works of gods and men." The India of
classical times included, of course, Afghanistan and
the surrounding regions. Seleucus was so occupied
in founding the monarchy of Syria that he handed
over to the Chandragupta the Greek conquests in
the last-named country, and in India, and his grand-
son, Antiochus, entered into a treaty with Asoka,
the grandson of Chandragupta, in 256 B.C. For a
hundred years subsequently the Greek rulers of
Bactria fitfully invaded India, but, beyond an occa-
sional discovery of coins, little trace of their domina-
tion remains. From the time the Greek invasions
ceased, those of the Scythians or Tartars, and of
the Turks or Turkomans, commenced. The tribes
of Central Asia then began to make those descents
into the more favoured country upon the south-east
and south-west of their cold and barren home, which
culminated in the devastation of Genghis Khan and
Timour the Tartar. They drove the Greek dynasty



from Bactria, destroyed the Greek settlements of
the Punjaub, and founded a kingdom in Cashmere.

These inroads continued till the fifth century,
during which time the indigenous inhabitants strove
with varying success to withstand the invaders.
The Scythians and Tartars belonged to four great
races: the Mongolians from the country north of
the Great Wall of China; the Tungusians, to which
the present Manchu dynasty of China belongs; the
Ugrians, or Fins, who settled in the west of Asia
and the north of Europe, to which branch the
Magyars of Hungary belong, and the Turkish, the
most famous, which occupied the middle country
extending from Lake Baikal to the land of the Slavs.

In 614, Chosroes had advanced the Persian boun-
dary to the neighbourhood of Constantinople and to
the Nile, and on his return from this successful cam-
paign he was invited by an emissary of Mohammed
to embrace the religion which subsequently became
that of Persia, and also of the great swarm of bar-
barians, one branch of which founded the Mogul
Empire in India.

During the wars of the Emperor Heraclius with
the Persians, the latter joined forces with the Avars,
who, however, besieged Constantinople, whereupon
the distracted Emperor entered into alliance with the
Turks, but no sooner had he thus triumphed over
the Persians than the Arab followers of Mohammed
commenced to conquer the provinces he had hardly
rescued from the successor of Cyrus. Thus Islam
marched towards India. The prophet Mohammed,



born in 569, a homeless and friendless fugitive in
622, in 630 declared war upon Heraclius, Emperor
of the East, and within a hundred years of his death,
in 632, his successors had defeated the feeble descend-
ant of Chosroes on the field of Cadesia, in 710. The
conquest of Khorassan was followed by that of
Transoxiana, when for the first time the Crescent
appeared on the banks of the Indus, and the con-
nection of the Mohammedans with India was com-
menced, in that full tide of glory and fanaticism
which spread the faith of Islam from the Guadal-
quivir to the sands of Sind.

To the era of Mohammedan conquests succeeded
one of letters, and the rivals who divided the inheri-
tance of Islam the Fatimite in Africa, the Omme-
iad in Spain, and the Abbasid in Baghdad vied
with one another in the encouragement of learning.

Meanwhile India, whither expeditions had been
sent in the reign of Othman in 636, and later in
662 and 664, had rest till 712. Though in the ninth
century the Arabs took Crete and Sicily, and threat-
ened Rome, the adoption of a Turkish guard by the
Caliphs was only one of many signs of the seeds of
decay. Africa and Spain became independent king-
doms, Syria and Egypt were usurped by Turkish
slaves, and indigenous Persian dynasties reigned
in Persia and Khorassan.

In like manner, the loosely consolidated Empire
of the Turks lasted only from 545 to 750, though
the Emperors of Rome and China paid tribute to
its head; and its broken fragments existed as sepa-



rate and independent kingdoms, of whose history we
know very little, until Mahmud of Ghuzni (1001 to
1030) rose to power and pre-eminence, and organised
no less than thirteen invasions of India.

It was in 650 that the Caliph Othman's Governor
of Kufa reduced the Persian borders of the Caspian
Sea, and converted its inhabitants to the faith of
Islam, while the Governor of Busra subdued the
provinces of Seistan, Kohistan, Nishapur, Ghor,
Herat, Merv, and Balkh.

A further move in the direction of India was made
in 664, the Caliph Moawiya's general, penetrating
as far as Multan. In 712 the Arab General Kasim
invaded Sind and settled in the Indus valley, which
the Mohammedans retained till 828, though it was
not till the days of Mahmud of Ghuzni that any per-
manent occupation was effected. Mahmud was the
son of Sabuktegin, who was a Turk of the house-
hold of Alptegin, Governor of Khorassan, under
the Samani dynasty, which ruled over Transoxiana,
with its capital at Bokhara, and had risen to emi-
nence during the reign of Mamun, son of Harun al
Raschid. ^

Alptegin made himself independent, with a cap-
ital at Ghuzni, and Sabuktegin became his son-in-
law, and ultimately his successor. The latter prince
took Khandahar and marched to the Indus, where
he defeated the Hindoo King of Lahore, upon whom
he came down, as the historian Ferishta says, like
the wolf on the fold.

Sabuktgin died in 997, and upon his death-bed he



said that in the efforts man makes to avert disease,
with the hope of recovery, he resembles the condition
of the butcher and the sheep which is often bound
down and shorn of its fleece, so that at last, when
the moment of death arrives, it permits itself to be
bound quietly, believing the occasion to be that of
another shearing, and resigns its throat to the knife.

No sooner was he secure in the succession to his
own kingdom than Mahmud looked towards India.
In 1002, when Ethelred was massacring the Danes
in England, Mahmud was returning home from a
massacre of Hindoos, and his first invasion of India.
During successive expeditions he acquired enormous
booty, and extended his kingdom in all directions,
taking Samarcand and Bokhara, then the most
celebrated cities in Central Asia, capturing Kanouj,
upon the Ganges, and defeating the Rajah of Lahore.
But in 1030 he yielded his body to death and his
soul to immortality, after an inspection of all his
great possessions, of which he gave away nothing,
so that the poet Sadi tells of one who saw him long
after his death in a dream, his body bereft of flesh,
but the eye of covetousness burning brightly in the
sunken socket.

In Mahmud's kingdom, while the population was
chiefly Persian, the administration was chiefly Turk-
ish, and his authority in India was vague and ill-
defined. Of his successors, one caused the fables
of Pilpay, the Anwar-i-Soheili, to be translated into
Persian, thereby causing their dissemination over
most parts of the world. His dynasty ended in 1186



and the house of Ghor, which succeeded, produced
a conqueror in Mohammed, who, imitating the exam-
ple of Mahmud, made war upon the Indian rajahs.
He was assassinated in 1206, whereupon one of his
Turkish slaves, Kutub, of the Kutub Minor, made
himself independent at Delhi, and died from a fall
at polo in 1210. Other slave kings ruled over Delhi
till 1288, during which period the Moguls, under
Genghis Khan, came to the banks of the Indus,
Sind was permanently subjected to Mohammedan
rule, and Behar and Bengal were added to the crown
of Delhi. In the middle of the thirteenth century
the court at this capital was the only Mohammedan
court not overthrown by the Moguls, and it became
a place of refuge for the many princes expelled from
their thrones by Genghis Khan. One of these kings,
Ghiyas-ud-din, was a patron of letters, and a friend
of the poet Sadi. Among other wise sayings of his
is this: "that it is better for a king to be obstinate
than vacillating, as in the first case he might chance
to be right, but in the latter he is sure to be wrong. "
The Tartar house of Khilji now reigned at Delhi
(1288-1320), and of its kings one, Ala-ud-din, repulsed
the Moguls, and conquered the Deccan and Mala-
bar. Next came the house of Tughlak (1321-1414),
founded, like many another royal family, by a suc-
cessful general. Firuz Tughlak lost Bengal and the
Deccan, but he constructed the still existing Karnal
canal, abolished all petty and vexatious taxes, and
died in 1388, leaving behind him an enviable repu-
tation. His successors lost other provinces and in



1398 Timour the Tartar, commonly called Tamer-
lane, after conquering Persia and Transoxiana and
invading Georgia, Mesopotamia, and Russia, was
proclaimed Emperor of India. Genghis Khan was

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