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British rule, or of present conditions in India, in
the least comprehensible. This is the more nec-
essary when one hears, not only from those who
have never visited India, but from those who
have been there, suggestions and discussions
which might lead one to believe that India had
always been, and is to-day, a national entity like
France, or Germany, or Italy. India is not in
the least like Poland, battling for national ex-
istence against Russia and Germany; not in
the least like Italy delivering herself from

India has never had any national existence
whatsoever. India is even now, and always has
been, as much divided into nations, states, races,
religions, languages, as is Europe, or Asia, or
Africa. The Sentimentalist, who, Meredith tells
us, is "a perfectly natural growth of a fat soil.
Wealthy communities must engender them,"
speaks, and writes of India, as though it had been
enslaved by the British, robbed of its personality,
starved in its natural national growth, shorn of


its liberties, and deprived of any representation
in its own government.

It comes as a surprise therefore, particularly
to the American, who must always listen sym-
pathetically to tales of tyranny, particularly if
the Briton be the tyrant, to find that India has
never had a national personality, nor any natural
national growth, nor anything approaching na-
tional liberty, nor anything even dimly shadow-
ing forth representative institutions, nor has she
ever dreamt of individual liberty as we know it.
Moreover, out of the three hundred millions of
the population, two hundred and ninety millions
at least do not know what these things mean, and
do not care. The average Indian does not know
that America has been discovered, he has no
idea of the British constitution, or of the cabi-
net, he does not know^ that there is a British
Secretary of State for India. Such loyalty and
knowledge as he may have, centre in three
Lords: the '' Bara Laf or Viceroy, " Chota Laf
Provincial Governor, directly over him, and the
^'Jangi Laf or Commander-in-Chief in In-
dia. Most of them, however, only know the word
Sarkar or the government. He lacks even an
equivalent for the word "vote" in his language.
He recognizes power, position, but has not the
vaguest notion of "majorities." A change of


2;overnment to him means merely a chano-e of
ruler, another man in place of the old one. He
knows nothing of changes of principle, of eco-
nomic differences, of party cries. Government
to him has always meant, and means to-day, au-
tocratic power expressed in the person of a man.
Only a tiny minority in India know anything of
the whys and wherefores of the party govern-
ment in England, by which they are ruled.

Unless this profound ignorance of modern po-
litical methods in India is clearly understood,
and kept ever in the back of the brain in all dis-
cussions of India and its peoples, misapprehen-
sions and misunderstandings are sure to follow.

The discussions, experiments, and agitations
at the present time in regard to India, are lead-
ing many people, both in England, where it
is their duty to know better, and all over the
Western world, to suppose that India as a whole
is perhaps almost ready for representative gov-
ernment. Those who know the actual condi-
tions in India are trying to disabuse the minds
of people of this error, but strange to say it is

Lord Cromer said not long ago: "If they
considered the immense diversity of race, re-
ligion, and language in India, and also that
they would be endeavoring to transplant to


India a plant entirely of exotic growth and plac-
ing it in very uncongenial soil, he must confess
for his own part that he should be very much
surprised if the legislative experiment did suc-
ceed." Other experienced governors of alien
races have said the same.

Lord Curzon, whose opinion upon all matters
relating either to the Near or to the Far East,
must be received with respect, says: " The bulk
of the peoples of India want, not representative
government, but good government, and look
to the British officers for protection from the
rapacious money-lender and landlord, from the
local vakeel (attorney), and all the other sharks
in human disguise which prey upon these un-
happy people."

My own opinion as an observer from the out-
side is, that the peoples of India are no more
fit for representative government than are the
inmates of a menagerie, and that were the Brit-
ish to leave India for three months, India would
resemble a circus tent in the dark, with the me-
nagerie let loose inside. There would be no safety
except for the cruel, and those who could hide;
and there would be no security because there
would be no shame. Tooth and nail and fang
would have full play again, and that callous
cruelty, which, more than any other quality.


stamps the Oriental as different from the Oc-
cidental, would slaughter the strong, enslave the
weak, and market the women for the harem or
the plough.

The very men who study chemistry in Lon-
don, under the protection of British law, in or-
der to learn how to make bombs, to hurl at an
English Viceroy and his wife, and who are the
most vociferous pleaders for representative gov-
ernment, would be the first to hide, and the first
to suffer; aside from that I can see no advantage
in opening the doors of the cages for many years
to come.

One of their stanchest friends, and one of
their most brilliant British rulers, and a scholar
in all matters pertaining to the politics of the
East, writes out of his almost unequalled expe-
rience as traveller and ruler: "in character a gen-
eral indifference to truth and respect for suc-
cessful guile, in deportment, dignity, in society
the rigid maintenance of the family union, in
government the mute acquiescence of the gov-
erned, in administration and justice the open
corruption of administrators and judges, and in
every-day life a statuesque and inexhaustible
patience, which attaches no value to time, and
wages unappeasable warfare against hurry."

It is idle for the Westerner to attempt to form


political or social opinions about these people
till he has dwelt among them, watched them,
studied them. Their clumsy inefficiency physi-
cally, their depressed mental attitude, their shiv-
ering timidity, their sullen solemnity, I am writ-
ing, of course, of the mass of the people, are
beyond anything the Western imagination can
picture. It is not only idle to attempt to form
opinions, let me go further, and say that I hold
it cruel to the people themselves, to attempt to
irritate them into the belief that they can, for
scores of years to come, undertake to take care
of themselves politically, socially, or morally.
Every man of humane instincts ought to be
grateful that they have at last a guardian who is
honest, just, self-controlled, and lacking some-
what in sentiment and imagination.

Two hundred and fifty millions of this popu-
lation are entirely dependent upon agriculture
for a living, and Lord Curzon himself has esti-
mated the total annual income of the Indian
peasantry at a trifle over five dollars a head!

India has an area of more than one and a half
million of square miles, and a population of,
roughly, three hundred millions. Her area in
square miles is equal to the total area of Europe
less Russia, and her population is greater than
that of all Europe, less Russia. The great di-


versity of climate in India, the extremes of heat
and cold, of drought and wet, of fierce winds and
calms, and the consequent plagues, famines and
crop failures, are the result of a peculiar geo-
graphical position. If one could stand India up
on end, the Himalaya mountains, with one peak,
Mt. Everest, twenty-nine thousand feet high,
would hang over the pear-shaped peninsula like
a great, broad-brimmed hat. If you look at a
raised map of India, you will see the resemblance,
for the Himalaya mountains, which separate In-
dia on the north-east from the great, barren
plateau of Tibet, seem to hang over India like a
huge, curling parapet. It looks as though the
bare backbone of the world had protruded here.
One hundred and fifty miles from the gulf of
Bengal, where the Assam range of hills runs out
into the plain, the rain-clouds bursting against
these, give a rainfall of four hundred and fifty
inches! While to the west, in the plains of Raj-
putana, there is scarcely water enough for a
blade of grass.

When camping out with the troops on ma-
noeuvres, north of Lucknow, riding in the middle
of the day was oppressively hot, but at eleven
o'clock at night all the blankets and fur coats
one could pile on, were not too much for com-


The English have done much to bring about a
certain regularity of water supply. Taking the
country as a whole, one acre in seven is irrigated.
Thirteen million acres are watered by wells, fif-
teen million acres are watered from tanks, or
small private canals, and seventeen million acres
are watered by canals, built and maintained by
the government. I am not an authority on such
matters, but I am told that these irrigation works
in India are not only triumphs of engineering
skill, but the most beneficent works of the kind
in the world. It is easy to believe this, when
one realizes that the failure of the year's rain in
India means that two-thirds of the population
are out of employment for a year, with of course
a consequent rise in the prices of necessary

There are now in India over thirty thousand
miles of railway, more miles of railway than has
France, three times more than Italy, as much
as Austro-Hungary, and only six thousand miles
less than Germany. In 1857 there were only
three hundred miles of railway. ^Miat must
have been the helplessness of India in famine
years, when there were no means of transporta-
tion! If England had done nothing more, one
must go slow in criticising her, when these canals
and railways are remembered.


She alone has fought grim Nature in India
with the resources of science, with tlie result of a
saving of millions of lives. No other conqueror
spent his time, energy, money, and the lives of
his own people, in such enterprises. Nadir Shah
rode off with millions. Other conquerors did
the same. England has poured millions into
India, and the malcontents are grumbling be-
cause she exacts in interest far fewer sovereigns
than she has saved lives. Human beings at five
dollars a head seem cheap enough!

When we recall that crowded France has only
a population of under two hundred to the square
mile, and that even in overcrowded England
wherever the density of the population is over
two hundred to the square mile, the population
ceases to be rural and must live by manufactures,
mining, or city industries; what is the picture
presented by India, where many millions of
peasants are struggling to live off half an acre
apiece. So wholly is this population agricult-
ural, their one interest the tilling of the soil, that
less than one fifteenth of them live in tow^ns with
more than twenty thousand inhabitants.

India is a continent, and not in any sense
a nation. Travel from Bombay, let us say, to
Peshawar, and from there drive into the Khai-
bar Pass, and as you travel you see people as


different from one another as though you trav-
elled from Seville to Moscow, or from the City
of Mexico to Vancouver, and yet this is all

The error lies in confusing the idea of India,
in talking of, or discussing India, as though In-
dia were like Spain or Germany, like Mexico or
Canada. She not only has layer after layer of
races, but also layer after layer of religions, of
forms of government, of customs and of ideals,
and prejudices. You are not dealing with one
nation, nor with one religion, nor with one ethical
code, nor with one language, nor with one gen-
eral trend of social custom, but with scores and
scores of them. There are half a dozen different
languages, and over five hundred different dia-

Not to know something of all this, and some-
thing of India's previous history, is to read of
India, and to travel in India, with the mind

Social as well as all other phenomena have two
aspects, the dynamic and the static; the former
dealing with the forces which brought the phe-
nomena into existence, the latter dealing with
them as they exist. A sketch of the history of
India will help with the former, and travel in
India itself ought to tell us something of the lat-


ter. But either alone avails little to understand
the problem.

India has been the great jousting-ground of
the world. Whoever would break a lance during
the last twenty-five hundred years or more, was
tempted by the tales of fabulous wealth, of con-
cealed treasure, of rivers whose sands ran gold,
to arm himself and set out for India. Greeks,
Persians, Turks, Tartars, Mongols, Scythians,
Afghans, Arabs, the Dutch, the French, the Por-
tuguese and the English, and odd tribes besides,
have sallied into India at one time or another, to
conquer, to pillage, or to slaughter. Some of
these left traces of their blood, some of them
their buildings, and others their colonies. Till
the British came, they brought, and they took
away everything, except peace.

The British, whatever may be said of their
motives for coming, or of their methods of tak-
ing and keeping territory, were the first conquer-
ors who brought peace and administered equal
justice to all. Both justice and peace are so
new to India, that their very novelty is the foster-
mother of many of the problems which confront
England in India to-day. Alexander the Great,
Asoka, Tamerlane or Timur the Lame, Mah-
mud of Ghanzi, Babar, Akbar the Great, Nadir
Shah, and many more, are of those who have


tested themselves and their followers, by a plunge
into India. Some of the greatest names in Eng-
lish history won their first distinction in India,
and Napoleon would have followed Alexander,
and landed in India after Egypt, had not his
plans gone awry. As soon as a soldier suc-
ceeded in consolidating his power, anyw^here
from China on the East, to Persia on the west, of
the northern frontier of India, he swooped down
upon India, penetrated as far into the interior
as he dared, and made off with as much booty
as he could carry.

iVfter the Greeks under Alexander, who en-
tered India in 327 B. C, and who, by the way,
left traces of their art in the various vases, coins,
caskets, and other ornaments found since, and
also in the fine Greek features of many of the
images of Buddha, came a people from Central
Asia, whom the historians, for want of a better
name, call Scythians. They are said to have
driven out the Greek dynasty from the Bactrian
Kingdom on the northwest of the Himalayas, and
at about the beginning of the Christian era they
founded a strong monarchy in Northern India,
and just beyond. Their most famous king was
named Kanishka, and we shall hear of him later
on as an enthusiastic disciple of Buddha. These
Scythians continued to swarm across the Him-


alayas, and into Northern India for several cen-
turies, meeting and defeating, or being driven
back by one after another of the Indian kings.

As early as the middle of the seventh century,
began the invasions of a people who left their
mark upon India as no other people have done.
Muhammad, who was born in 570 A. D., left
to the world a fiery faith, with which the world
is not done yet. The Bombay coast was near
enough to tempt these religious soldiers, and on
one pretext or another they began their inva-
sions of India, which were to result finally in a
series of Muhammadan rulers in India, such as
India had not had before, nor will ever have

Mahmud of Ghanzi invaded India no less
than seventeen times. After a quarter of a cen-
tury of fighting his small kingdom of Afghanis-
tan was increased to include the Punjab. These
Muhammadan conquerors, who one after an-
other down to the time of Babar 1482-1530 A. D.,
fought their way into more and more territory
in India, were of the same religion, and the
same fanatical enthusiasm as those who had
fought their way through Asia, Africa, Spain,
and into southern France, and whose capital at
Bagdad was at one time the commercial, artis-
tic, scholarly, and political centre of the world.


Stopped at last in France, the fury of conquest
expended itself upon India. Names, dates, de-
tails of their gradual occupation of, and sover-
eignty over, almost the whole of India, will not
be necessary to the readers of these papers. I
have not the slightest intention of writing more
than the scantiest outline of history, merely trust-
ing thereby to give a setting for the rough picture
which I am painting. But of six of these Mu-
hammadan invaders, Babar, Hamayun, Akbar,
Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb, it is
necessary to know something to understand the
India of to-day, even though one be only a trav-
eller looking at monuments, and nervously trying
to keep his finger on the right page of his guide-
book as he goes along.

Their influence, their monuments, their sys-
tem of land tenure, revenue, and taxation, their
customs and habits, and even their social moral-
ity, remain visible to-day. Lucknow, Delhi,
Agra, Benares, Lahore, Peshawar, and the Khai-
bar Pass, are still all alive with their wealth,
their devotion, and their daintiness and daring
as builders.

Timur, better known as Tamerlane, at the
head of a united body of Tartars, came down
through the Afghan passes about 1400 A. D.,
entered Delhi, massacred the inhabitants for five


days, held a feast in honor of his victory, and
returned again to Central Asia. Sixth in de-
scent from him was the Mughal, Babar, who in-
vaded India in 1526. He writes in that remark-
able Diary of his: "Hindustan is a country that
has few pleasures to recommend it. The people
are not handsome. They have no idea of the
charms of friendly society, of frankly mixing to-
gether, or of familiar intercourse. They have
no genius, no politeness of manner, no kindness
or fellow-feeling, no ingenuity or mechanical in-
vention in planning or executing their handi-
craft works, no skill or knowledge in design or
architecture, they have no good horses, no good
flesh, no grapes or musk melons, no good fruits,
no ice or cold water, no good food or bread in
their bazaars, no baths or colleges, no candles, no
torches, not even a candlestick." When Babar
arrived he found India fought over by native
Indian rulers, and by numerous Muhammadan
rulers, fighting each for his own land, or joining
forces here and there in an effort to found a state
which should insure breathing space.

These kingdoms exhausted themselves in
quarrels amongst themselves, to such an extent,
that when the Mughal emperors appeared they
found them an easy prey. Changiz Khan and
Timur were both ancestors of Babar. His


grandfather the Khan of the Mongols, though
seventy years old at the time, came without
thought of age or distance, to bear his congratu-
lations on the news of his birth. The grand-
mother was likewise a woman of spirit. Her
husband was defeated in battle and she was
handed over as part of the booty to one of the
officers of the conqueror. She raised no objec-
tions, but once her new master was in her apart-
ments, the door was locked, she and her maids
stabbed him to death and flung his body into
the street. Then to the conqueror she sent the
message: "Contrary to law you gave me an-
other man, and I slew him. Come and slay me
if you choose!" Babar had forebears of spirit.
Babar kept a diary. He lived in the time of
Henry VH and Michelangelo and Copernicus.
He tells us in much detail the story of his life.
Only from 1519 till 1530 was he in India. His
early days were days of hardship, adventure,
war, and sport. He took them as they came.
He never whined, he never explained, and he
loved life in a most unoriental way, and was the
most romantic figure of his day. He was more
the type of the adventurous sailors of Queen
Elizabeth's day, than any Oriental we know. He
was a great sportsman, a bold horseman and
swimmer, and of abounding vitality and good


humor. He loved life, even the eating and
drinking part of it, and as is always the case
with such suitors, life loved him. From Babar's
coming in 1526 to the death of Aurangzeb in
1706, India was to a larger extent than ever be-
fore, under one ruler. It should be added that
at no time even then was India entirely con-
quered, or completely under the sway of one
Government, as it is to-day under the English.

Babar defeated the Delhi sovereign, entered
Delhi, received the allegiance of the Muhamma-
dans, was attacked by the Rajputs, defeated
them near Agra, and when he died his power
extended as far south as lower Bengal. His son
Humayun, who succeeded him, was obliged to
divide his inheritance with his brother, handing
over to him Kabul. It was from Afghanistan
that Babar had drawn his fighting men, and
Humayun deprived of this, the main recruiting
ground of his army, w^as attacked by the descend-
ants of those earlier Afghan invaders, who hated
the new Muhammadan rulers as much as they
hated the Hindus. Finally, after years of fight-
ing to hold his place, he was driven out of India
by the famous Sher Shah, the governor of

In 1556 the son of Humayun, then only four-
teen years old, and in many ways the greatest of


all the Mughal rulers, and the real founder of the
Mughal Empire in India, defeated the army of
the Sher Shah ruler, and his father Humayun re-
turned again to India, but only to reign for a
few months at Delhi, and to die in 1556.

Akbar succeeded his father, and reigned for
close upon fifty years, from 1556 until 1605, his
reign corresponding almost exactly to that of
Queen Elizabeth, 1558-1603. He was the great-
est ruler India has ever had. He welded a chaos
of nations, tribes, religions, and petty chiefs and
kings, into an empire. His great finance min-
ister Raja Todar Mall, who was a Hindu, made
the first survey and the first regular land settle-
ment of India, and adjusted the taxation. Ak-
bar gave the Hindus equal place and power, and
played off the Hindus against the Mughal chiefs.
He married the daughter of the Maharaja of
Jaipur, and his son married the granddaughter
of the Maharaja of Jodhpur. His careful system
of police, judges, and rulers of provinces helped
to make his rule both just and eft'ective. He
did away with the tax on non-Mussulmans, and
he and his son and grandson were the builders
of practically all the monuments which remain
to make India famous to-day.

This line of princes are as well-known in In-
dia as are the names of Elizabeth, Henry the


Eighth, Charles the First, and Cromwell in Eng-
land. They introduced Persian poets and print-
ers, and men of letters from foreign lands. They
were the Medici of India. The last of this great
line of Timur died in Rangoon, as a prisoner
of the British, in 1862. Their connection with
India lasted, therefore, for more than four hun-
dred and fifty years, or from nearly a hundred
years before America was discovered, until with-
in two years of the close of the war of secession.
The only time that India has come near being
India was under their rule.

It is along the lines laid down by Akbar that
the British have worked, in the matter of land
tenure and taxation. The total revenue of Ak-
bar was estimated at forty-two million sterling,
or about three times the amount demanded at
the present time from the land. He built the
tomb of his father Humayun near Delhi, the
town of Fatehpur-Sikri, near Agra, in many
ways the most interesting ruins in India, the
fort at Allahabad, the palace at Lahore, and the
red palace in the fort at Agra.

It was the Europeans who visited India at
this time who brought back the expression, which
still endures as a description of human splen-
dor: "The Great Mughal!" Toward the end
of his life, his tolerance drifted into scepticism,


and he promulgated a new state religion, which
was supposed to combine the best from all re-

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