Mountstuart Elphinstone.

Selections from the minutes and other official writings of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay. With an introductory memoir online

. (page 40 of 41)
Online LibraryMountstuart ElphinstoneSelections from the minutes and other official writings of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay. With an introductory memoir → online text (page 40 of 41)
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country, and it may be necessary for the troops to
remain there also ; but when ajBfairs are once put into a
regular train, the political agent may take up a fixed
station, and it should, I conceive, be towards the south,
at an equal distance from the eastern and western ex-
tremities of the district. It is desirable that the Kaja of
Idar should be left to the exercise of his own authority ;
and, on the other hand, the Kolis bordering on our
districts require constant vigilance to repress their de-
predations. Very great attention and judgment will
always be necessary to unite that vigilance with an
abstinence from the opposite fault of our interference,
which often serves only to destroy the established
authority, without setting up anything equally efficacious
in its place.

The utmost personal attention will also be necessary
among so many chiefs, who have all disputes with their
neighbours, to prevent native agents from fostering a
litigious spirit, and producing irritation by corruption
and partiality. For this and other reasons I think it
impossible for the same officer to undertake the man-
agement of the Main Kantha and of Kathiawar. I
propose, therefore, that the whole duty of the latter
province should be made over to Captain Barnewell,
whose allowances may be increased to those of a col-
lector, which, indeed, they ought to be, on the principle
on which they were first fixed. Major Ballantyne may
then give up his whole attention to Malii Kantha, and
it may be practicable at some future period to unite his
office with that of the political agent at Palanpur,


unless the duties of the hitter shouhl be increased by
the management of the Jodhpur tributaries.

The troops ought not, I conceive, to remain in the
country after it is once settled ; but prompt measures
should be adopted from time to time to send detach-
ments from Deesa, Kaira, and Baroda, to make ex-
amples like that of Lohaur, which never fail to make a
strong and lasting impression, and which are the more
effectual because the tributaries never know when they
are safe from them. Whereas if a battalion were
stationed in the country, any circumstance that called
it off to foreign service would be the signal for general
depredation and disorder. It is not necessary or ex-
pedient to employ regular troops against small parties
of banditti on the roads. These would be put down by
the irregulars under the revenue officers, and by the
people of the country, which will always succeed, if
great attention be paid to prevent any relaxation in
their exertions. These means will, I think, be very
effectual in establishing the tranquillity of the Mahi
Kantha, which, from its contiguity to our own districts,
is of much greater consequence than that of Kathiawar
or any other tributary state.

In the course of events, it may, I think, be expected
that the southern parts of the Mahi Kantha will at no
distant period be turned into a quiet and submissive
country. The long continuance of tranquillity will turn
the attention of the Kolis to agriculture, and their pre-
datory habits and their jungles will disappear together.
If the progress of civilization be less rapid in the strong
country on the frontier, it is a satisfaction to reflect that
the nature of those fastnesses and the character of their
defenders are a protection to the peaceful inhabitants of
the plains, and that they have hitherto afforded an
effectual barrier against the hordes of freebooters, who


have so long ravaged the neighbouring provinces of

The principahty of Palanpur is included in the Main
Kantha settlement, and pays Ghasdana to the Gaikwar ;
but it could not be comprised in a general description
with the other communities, from which it differs so
much in all respects. It has owed its independence
more to distance than to natural strength, the country
being in most parts open and easy of access. It is
naturalty not unfertile, and though it has felt the effects
of the famine which was so severe in Cutch, Kathiawar,
and on the north-western frontier, it has suffered less
than its w^estern neighbours. It seems tolerably well
governed, and appears to be prosperous. The town of
Palanpur is reckoned to contain about 20,000 inhabit-
ants. The Diwan's revenue is somewhat less than
three lakhs of rupees, but this is charged with a tribute
of 50,000 rupees (^5,000), etc., a subsidy of 81,600
rupees (^8,160) to the Gaikwar. His military force
amounts to 300 horse and 500 foot, in which are
included 150 horse and 100 foot subsidized from the
Gaikwar. His debts amount to 40,000 rupees

The family of the Diwan have had possession of
Palanpur for many generations. About twenty-seven
years ago, the state fell into the hands of a rebellious
soldiery, who expelled the lawful Diwan, set up first his
relation, Shamshir Khan, the chief of Deesa, and next
Firuz Khan. They afterwards murdered Firuz Khan,
and recalled Shamshir Khan from Deesa, to which
place he had retired. Shamshir Khan was emancipated
from the control of the soldiery, and established as
guardian to Fateli Khan, the son of Firuz Khan, by a
British force acting on the part of the Gaikwar (in
1809) ; but having afterwards failed to pay his tribute.


he was removed by another in 1817, and tlie exercise
of the Government was entrusted to Fateh Khan mider
the superintendence of Captain Miles, the British
pohtical agent. At this time the Gaikwar's subsidy
was imposed. It serves to pay the salary of the
political agent, which is G,000 rupees (

Online LibraryMountstuart ElphinstoneSelections from the minutes and other official writings of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay. With an introductory memoir → online text (page 40 of 41)