J. D. (John David) Rees.

India; the real India (Volume 19) online

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sion of 3,500,000 acres at an outlay of 8,000,000
or 9,000,000 sterling, but there was no unlimited
and illimitable field. Irrigation works can only be
constructed out of taxes, and should only be con-
structed when a reasonable return is assured.

The opening of the Quetti-Nushki trade route,
the delimitation of the boundary of Seistan and of
the Aden Hinterland, must be put to the credit of the
Government of Lord Curzon, who broke new ground
by touring around the Persian Gulf, and visiting
ports, wherever the interests of British trade needed
attention. With his action in respect of the parti-
tion of Bengal, the north-west frontier, and Tibet,
it will be necessary to deal in other chapters, and
it remains here to refer to what was accomplished
during his viceroyalty in regard to military ad-



ministration and education. He assumed office in
1898, and in the following year severe criticisms were
passed upon the efficiency of the Indian army, not-
withstanding the fact that it had done excellent
work in China, and in South Africa had saved the
situation at the outset, before it was realised that
the campaign would be other than exceedingly brief
and uniformly successful. It was, however, admit-
tedly necessary to re-arm the native regiments,
strengthen the artillery, and add to the number of
the British officers. There were also other im-
provements and developments, which needed early
attention. Lord Kitchener since 1902 had been
Commander-in-Chief, and it was evident that mili-
tary administration would occupy a leading place
in the annals of the viceroyalty. The military
department had up till this time been managed by
the Member of Council in charge, invariably a soldier
of distinction, like Generals Sir Henry Brackenbury,
and Sir Edwin Collen, to name two recent occupants
of the post. He was the constitutional adviser of
the Viceroy on military questions, and the Com-
mander-in-Chief, who is also appointed as a matter
of course (extraordinary) Member of Council, is
responsible for discipline, promotion, mobilisation,
and other functions properly appertaining to the
head of the army. But any proposals the Com-
mander-in-Chief made had necessarily to come before
the Governor-General in Council, upon the repre-
sentation of the Military Member, and through
the Military Department. To this Lord Kitchener



objected, and in so doing he was not singular among
Commanders-in-Chief, for several of his predeces-
sors had, on public grounds, demurred to the posi-
tion in which they were placed, but either had not
the power or the will to alter it. Lord Kitchener,
however, was determined to create an army depart-
ment dealing with the whole military administra-
tion, of which he should be the head. Lord Curzon,
with the support, it must be remembered, of the
Ordinary Members of his Council, held that under
such an arrangement all military authority would
be concentrated in the Commander-in-Chief to the
practical annihilation of the necessary supremacy
of the civil power, which would thus be deprived
of independent military advice. The Secretary of
State so far amended the proposal as to retain the
Military Member of Council, while assigning to
him a position in which the Viceroy and his civil
councillors thought he would not be able to give
them independent or authoritative advice upon the
financial and administrative aspects of proposals
relating to military matters. In that case they
thought the Governor-General in Council would
be left without expert aid and information to face
the newly constituted, and largely increased, power
of the Commander-in-Chief. It followed from this
view that the new Membership of Military Supply
in their opinion should be filled by an officer they
considered competent to act as their general adviser
in military matters. Lord Curzon, who had reluct-
antly accepted the changes approved, after con-



sideration, by a committee, of which Lord Roberts
and Sir George White, ex-Commanders-in-Chief of
India, had been members, nominated as new Mem-
ber for Military Supply, who was to deal in future
with supply, contracts, military works, remounts,
and other departmental services, General Barrow,
a very able officer, then commanding at Peshawar.
The Secretary of State and the Cabinet at home,
however, did not think that an officer occupying
a high, and likely to occupy a higher, combatant
command was likely to inaugurate the new system
with an open mind, especially one who, from the
appointment he had previously held in the Military
Department, would naturally have a leaning towards
one view of the controversial position which had
been created. Lord Curzon insisted that he must
have a colleague capable of giving advice to the
Governor-General in Council on questions of general
military policy, and it was evident he meant fully to
avail himself of such advice. In short, he desired
the new Member of Military Supply to be as much
as possible like the old Military Member. The
Government at home had another object in view
and wanted to make the new policy as effectual as
possible, and the situation in India resolved itself
into a struggle between the Viceroy and Commander-
in-Chief Lord Curzon having explicitly said in
his telegram of 10th August, 1905, that, "if the view
of the Commander-in-Chief is to prevail it is useless
for me to remain in India since I could not frame a
scheme in accordance with it." In another tele-



gram he truly said "that the question was not one
of choice of an individual, but of principles under-
lying future change in the administration." There
was only one issue. The Viceroy resigned, and at
his request the telegraphic correspondence was pub-
lished, to the surprise and regret of those who realised
the effect it would inevitably have upon the public
mind in India. Into the technical questions at issue
it is difficult for others than experts to probe.
Lord Roberts had found the existing system cum-
brous, dilatory, and complicated. Sir George White
and Sir William Lockhart found the difficulties very
great. Yet the Military Member had tended every
year to become more of an expert adviser than a
civil administrator, more and more a rival of the
Commander-in-Chief, to whom he gave authorita-
tively independent opinions on purely military ques-
tions, and conveyed adverse decisions even without
reference to the Governor-General in Council. Lord
Kitchener's attitude met with the approval of pro-
fessional opinion, and it remains to see how the
new system works. It certainly was not rashly
or lightly undertaken, and the Committee which
reported to the India Office was one of unusual
strength and ability, including the then Secretary
of State, now Lord Middleton, Lords Roberts and
Salisbury, Field-Marshal Sir George White, Sir
James Mackay, Sir Edward Law, and General Sir
John Gordon. At the same time it must be owned
that opinion in India inclined to support Lord Curzon
and the dissenting Members of Council. The one



thing certain is that in the eyes of all India the
Viceroy, hitherto regarded as the outward and
visible expression of supreme power, engaged in an
administrative battle with the Commander-in-Chief,
and was beaten. It is not likely that the disaffected
and agitator elements in the community failed to
draw the obvious moral, and to regard the head of
the Indian administration as a mere mortal after all.
Mr. Morley, who took office soon after Lord Minto
became Viceroy, had to deal with the draft rules
of business proposed by the Government of India,
in connection with which many of the largest ques-
tions of military organisation were, or could have
been, raised anew or again. In a published despatch,
the tactful and skilful character of which met with
general approval, he amended the draft rules so as
to provide that all matters before they reached the
Commander-in-Chief, or member in charge of the
Army Department, should pass through the Secre-
tary to the Government of India in the Army Depart-
ment. He went far to neutralise the serious effect
upon India of this struggle and of its result, by
safeguarding the fundamental principle that the
Government of India in all its branches, aspects,
and divisions, subject to the statutory powers of
the Secretary of State, has been solemnly and delib-
erately confided by Parliament to the Governor-
General in Council. That is to say that the army
was no exception in this behalf.

Space will not allow of any detailed history of
the army of India under the East India Company,



of the armies of Bengal, Madras, and Bombay,
and of the present unified Indian army. The first
began with the enrolment of sepoys in 1784 in Madras
by Major Stringer Lawrence, in order to enable us
to fight the French, who in 1748 had captured the
southern capital. Each Presidency army was orig-
inally separate and distinct, and it was the military
genius of Robert Clive which made the native troops
into good soldiers, and enlisted all the likely material
which came to hand. The extension of the Com-
pany's rule after Plassey was accompanied by cor-
responding development in the military forces. In
1764 the Bengal sepoys mutinied for higher pay, and
in 1768 the European officers conspired because
camp allowances in cantonment were stopped. The
armies of native princes at this period were of huge
dimensions, of little cohesion, and of less training.
The Mahratta forces, which enjoyed great mobility
and powers of endurance, were, however, organised
by Sivaji into formidable foes, but even they were
hardly professional soldiers, like the Sikhs, who,
after the dissolution of their army, returned to the
plough but have ever since supplied us with soldiers,
than whom there are no better, serving any Power.
The Presidency armies, after frequent trials of
strength with loosely organised native levies, were
themselves reorganised in 1796, after which, and in
1805, further vast territories were annexed, so that
after the third Mahratta War the three Presidential
armies consisted of 24,500 British and 130,000
native troops. Then in 1806 occurred the mutiny



at Vellore, and afterwards Madras European officers
in turn conspired for higher pay.

In 1824 there was another reorganisation, and in
1846 local corps, such as the Corps of Guides, and
the Punjaub Irregular Forces, were enrolled for
duty on the frontier. On the eve of the Mutiny,
the army consisted of 39,500 British and 311,000
native troops, the latter out-numbering the former
by nearly eight to one. During the great crisis the
Punjaub frontier force, the Hyderabad contingent,
and the Madras and Bombay armies remained loyal,
and it is believed that dislike of the mutinous
Bengal army, which finds an echo in the distrust
with which the natives of other provinces regard
Bengali pretensions at the present day, was at
least one of the factors making for loyalty elsewhere.
It is the opinion of an able writer in the Imperial
Gazetteer of India, General Sir Edwin Collen, that
among the causes of the Mutiny were measures
political, domestic, and military, which were car-
ried out to satisfy the craving for improvement
according to Western ideals, and if this were so in
1857, it is certainly not less so half a century later,
when the outcry of a few denationalised extremists
is accepted far too readily in many quarters as the
voice of India. Not a fluent Bengali, who has
broken with all the ideals and habits of his own
country, and is regarded by the Hindoo masses
with dislike and suspicion, but will prate about
representative government, improvement, and
progress to willing and easily deluded ears in this



. i

country. Of course the annexation of Oudh was a
great predisposing cause, and then again the Gov-
ernment of India proceeded upon the assumption
that an administration which violated the received
ideals of Western government must necessarily
have been odious to the native population. There
is very little proof, however, that this was the
case, and it is quite certain that some of the very
features of our rule of which we are most proud are
those which are particularly unpopular with the
natives. Brahmins thought they saw signs of the
destruction of their influence in the suppression of
suttee, and the legal remarriage granted to Hindoo
widows, and of course the substance used for lubri-
cating the cartridges was made of animal fat. It
is a singular circumstance that, in spite of this,
cotton goods for India continue to be sized with
some such substance, though it is believed that
a vegetable substitute might easily be devised. In
1907 a Bengali agitator addressed a meeting at
Assansole saying that sugar was refined with pigs'
and cows' blood. It is also notorious that British
officers in India are less in touch with the natives
than they were formerly. Many indeed are wholly
dependent upon interpreters who fasten like leeches
upon men in authority and carefully keep all infor-
mation from their ears, and this is true not merely
of such travellers as are only too willing to believe
evil of their fellow-countrymen, but even of well-
disposed and moderate men who are like clay in
the hands of the potter when they fall into the



clutches of astute and intriguing Babus, with axes
to grind. Meanwhile, so little does the native of
the country agree with the said Babu, that he would
exclaim with the old Pindari:

"I had rather be robbed by a tall man who showed

me a yard of steel,

Than fleeced by a sneaking babu with a belted knave
at his heel." |

One predisposing cause towards the Mutiny in
the opinion of good soldiers was the diminution in
authority of the commanding officers, another was
the all-pervading and all-powerful influence of the
Brahmins in the Bengal army. Yet at the present
moment an agitation is proceeding in India which
is entirely caused by, and restricted to, Brahmins
and other high castes in sympathy with them, who
even now have an immense and preponderating
influence in the government of the country, but
would fain be rid of the impartial supervision of
British officers, who refuse to let them plant their
heels upon the necks of the lower castes and classes.
Again, disaster in Afghanistan had broken the charm
of invincibility, which had previously attached to
our arms, just as at the present moment the prick-
ing by Japan of the Russian bubble, which we had
always shown an obvious reluctance to try to prick,
has undoubtedly impaired the belief of the East in
the natural and inevitable superiority of Western
over Eastern arms; and just before the Mutiny,
stories were in circulation in India about our diffi-
culties in the Crimea, which had their counterpart



quite recently in the alarmist rumours regarding our
position in South Africa, nor was the existence of
secret agents, conspiring against the Government
and endeavouring to debauch the Sepoys, wanting
then, nor is it lacking at the present day. Nothing
indeed was necessary to cause the unrest, which is
now happily subsiding, to break out into overt acts
of hostility but weakness and vacillation in high
places, of which fortunately there has been none.
Mr. Morley has said that patience and firmness are
the watchwords of the present situation, and he has
shown himself not only able to formulate the right
policy, but to carry it into effect. Fortunately,
there is no doubt at all about the loyalty of the
sepoys at the present moment. Indeed, they treated
the overtures of the agitators with the utmost con-
tempt. None the less has the situation recently
been one which cannot but inspire with grave mis-
givings those who are familiar with Indian conditions,
and all must unite in thanking Heaven that the crisis
found a statesman at the helm. After the Mutiny,
the European army of the East India Company was
transferred to the Crown, and a Royal Commission
advised that the European forces should be 80,000
strong and that the Indian troops should not exceed
them by more than two to one in Bengal, and three
to one in Madras and Bombay, recommendations
which were adopted, and remain in force to the
present day. The British troops serving in India
are lent to, and paid for by, the Indian Govern-
ment, from which a capitation grant of 7 105. has



been levied since 1890. This represents the cost of
enlisting and training the recruit, and certain other
charges, but Sir Henry Brackenbury and four other
members of the Indian Expenditure Commission
thought that no charge should be made on this
account. Differences of opinion between the Home
and Indian Governments regarding allocation of
the charges have frequently been, and still are,
under consideration. In 1893 Parliament passed
an act abolishing the offices of Commander-in-Chief
in the Madras and Bombay armies, and withdrawing
the power of military control from the governments
of these Presidencies. Before this measure was car-
ried out the Bengal army had become unwieldy,
which was bad, and tended to become homogeneous,
which was worse, and it was decided to divide India
into the four territorial commands of the Punjaub,
Bengal, Madras, and Bombay, each under a lieu-
tenant-general. It was subsequent to this date, in
1899-1900, that India despatched the force which
saved Natal, the British infantry having been armed
with the Lee-Metford rifle in the previous year.
Since 1903 the army, consisting of five commands
since the separation of Burma from Madras, is
made up of 74,170 British and 157,941 native
troops, and this brings the narrative down to the
time of Lord Kitchener, who, besides initiating the
important administrative changes, of which a full
account has been given above, has also commenced
to introduce a new scheme of military organisation,
the leading features of which are recognition of the



fact that the chief function of the army is the de-
fence of the north-west frontier, and that the forces
in time of peace should be organised and trained in
units of command similar to those in which they will
take the field in time of war. In pursuance of this
policy, many small military stations are being aban-
doned and troops concentrated in large cantonments
in three Army Corps of ten Divisional Commands,
each of which will supply a full division to take the
field. Regiments are organised on the "class," or
on the "class squadron," or "class company" system.
The Gurkha regiments, for instance, are all Gurkhas,
and in some cases four companies of a regiment may
be Sikhs and four Mohammedans, and so on. Enlist-
ment is for general service within or without British
territory, and, if necessary, beyond the sea. The
volunteers in India are now 34,000 strong, including
reservists, and they may yet do, as they have done
in the past, good work at critical times. Some of
the native states maintain armies in addition to
Imperial service troops, but though these levies
number 93,000 men in all, they are not a very for-
midable force. Nepaul has an army of 45,000 men,
and could raise many more if needed, while the
standing army of Afghanistan numbers from 65,000
to 70,000 regular troops, organised more or less like
those of the British Government, and 20,000 irregu-
lars. All these troops are well armed, and every
Afghan is a first-rate fighting man.

The above brief excursus upon the army arose
out of the differences which occurred during Lord



Curzon's Viceroyalty, and in like manner it would
be difficult to appreciate the action taken by the
Government of the same Viceroy, during his term
of office, which extended to nearly twice that of the
average holder, without briefly reviewing a few of
the more salient events in the history of education.
Under the old Hindoo system, advanced instruc-
tion was strictly confined to the upper castes, and
under the Mohammedans education was inseparably
connected with mosques and shrines. Early in the
19th century a knowledge of English became a mar-
ketable acquirement, and missionaries and philan-
thropists in England and in India brought pressure
to bear on the Government in favour of popular
education. Two parties arose the Anglicists and
the Orientalists; the former contending that the
knowledge and science of the Western world should
be conveyed to the natives by the medium of Eng-
lish, and the Orientalists desiring that vernacular
education should be supplemented by the study
of the classical languages of the East. The Angli-
cists carried the day, led by Lord Macaulay, whose
famous minute, which has been so frequently eulo-
gised, in which seas of treacle and butter, and kings
thirty feet high are held up to ridicule, is really a
very shallow piece of writing and reasoning. It
would be equally easy to ridicule the beautiful
mythology of the Greeks, whose influence upon the
development of civilisation has been unequalled,
and it is very unlikely that Macaulay had read the
literature he professed to despise. The consequences



of the decision at which the Government arrived
have been, and will be still more, momentous, for
it may be regarded as certain that Orientalism will
never again have strength enough to raise its head.
In 1854 Sir Charles Wood (Lord Halifax) directed
the constitution in each province of departments
of public instruction, the creation of universities
at Presidency towns, the establishment of training
colleges, the multiplication of vernacular schools
for elementary education, and the introduction of a
system of grants in aid to schools maintained by
private bodies or persons, English being prescribed
as the medium of instruction in the higher branches.
From this date up to 1882 great progress was made,
to review which, and to criticise the whole system,
a commission was then appointed, with the result
that the general principles of the Act of 1854 were
reaffirmed, amended, and supplemented.

At the end of 1902, 4,000,000 students were under
instruction; in twenty years the number of pupils
in primary had increased by 49 and in secondary
schools by 180 per cent., and more than 23,000
undergraduates and students of various professions
were receiving instruction in 200 colleges, in spite
of which, in 1901, only 98 per 1000 in the case of
males, and 7 per 1000 in the case of females, were
able to read ana write.

Burma, the native states of Travancore and
Baroda, Madras, Bombay, and Bengal is the order
of merit for literacy, though claims, wholly unsus-
tainable as the Census shows, are frequently made



for Bengal that it is the most educated part of
India. As a matter of fact, of the greater provinces,
only two the Punjaub and the United Provinces
occupy a lower position in the list, and it is not
surprising that the more degraded, bloody, and
immoral forms of Hindooism find their home in
this province, to which fact, were proof needed,
the writings of recent travellers and observers amply
testify. It is not, however, only in Bengal that
education somewhat lags behind the ideals set
before the Government, for only one-sixth of the
boys of school-going age were following the course
of primary instruction in 1901-1902. Secondary
is more developed than primary education, and a
very valuable Resolution of the Government of
India not long since was issued deprecating the
undoubted sacrifice of the vernacular languages to
English in the secondary schools. Higher education,
such as it is, has spread far and wide, and in 1901-
1902 nearly 15,000 students became Bachelors of
Arts, but it was admitted by the Indian Universities
Commission that the acquirements of Indian gradu-
ates were in many cases inadequate and superficial.
These youths live during their university course
with their friends or in lodgings, with results which
are admittedly unsatisfactory, and to remedy which
the Indian Government is encouraging the hostel

Education has made less way amongst the Mo-
hammedans, and in the case of females presents, of
course, peculiar difficulties. The proportion of girls




under instruction is highest in Madras, and the
difference of the attitude towards this question in
different provinces is illustrated by the fact that in
Burma 74 and in Madras 52 per cent, of the girls
at school are found in boys' schools, while in the
Punjaub the like figure falls to one per cent.

Space does not allow of any consideration of the

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Online LibraryJ. D. (John David) ReesIndia; the real India (Volume 19) → online text (page 4 of 21)