Monday, November 12, 2012

Lahore Government College 25 November 1877

Here is an account from Lockwood Kipling of a prize ceremony that took place at Government College (now known as "Government College University") in November 1877. The principal of Government College at the time was G.W. Leitner, who is mentioned in biographies of Rudyard Kipling as a kind of rival of Lockwood's -- an "Orientalist" of the old school (i.e., someone to be contrasted to a more Macaulayan intellectual like Lockwood Kipling). As I understand it, the Government College was first established in 1864, and moved to an independent site around 1871. By 1877 it is evidently in a growth phase. 

In the second half of the account below there is some surprise at the presence of many "native" Indian scholars, as well as at the emerging South Asian university culture. Some of the disdainful tone towards "native" learning will also be picked up later by Rudyard in his various short stories and "Departmental Ditties": 

In emulation, I suppose, of the variously coloured hoods and gowns of English colleges, the students of some of the classes wear a kind of uniform, the most prominent feature of which is a loose collar worn round the neck, something like a chuprassy's belt--red, bordered with yellow, by pundits; and with green, by moulvies; and red and mauve by engineering students. I believe this is a novelty in Oriental schools. A mere European, occupied with modern work and modern ideas, has not often an opportunity of seeing professors of Eastern tongues learned in metaphysics and poetry. So it was with some degree of pride in Lahore that the presentation of the President of "a distinguished mathematician," "a very distinguished author," "a distinguished Sanscrit scholar," "a very learned professor of Vedantic philosophy," and a "poet laureate" in Sanscrit, were witnessed."

Lockwood Kipling on Caste/ June 1877

I have a pretty substantial backlog of topics to cover, many of them connected to my brief research trip to Sussex back in June. For a variety of reasons, I haven't been able to follow up on that work much, though I'm hoping to now make a dent in it.

We'll start small, with some clippings from Lockwood Kipling. Rudyard's father was a journalist in his own right for years in Bombay and then Lahore -- a very well-established columnist by the time his son began to write for the CMG. At Sussex, there are several scrapbook of Lockwood Kipling's own columns from several different newspapers.

Here is one scrap that caught my eye, on caste. In it, Lockwood Kipling raises an eyebrow at the growing British missionary interest in attacking the Hindu caste system. He suggests that what he sees as a somewhat crude hostility to caste might be the zealotry of new arrivants on the Indian scene.

The article begins on a somewhat smug note, noting that when Missionaries talk about caste, "although we get a great deal of sound and fury, it is seldom that we find much philosophical breadth of view, or sound reasoning, in either Dr. Duff or Dr. Duffer, who will persist in regarding it as a separate and distinct part of the system of Oriental life--a detached hydra-head, rather more important than the rest, which only needs to be lopped off by a few well-directed blows."  Lockwood Kipling then moves to suggest that a deeper understanding of the "system of Oriental life" will reveal that one cannot simply "lop off the head" of caste. In the second paragraph he then suggests that a version of caste is very much alive at home:

And yet caste, which is to be destroyed off hand in India, is in England and in the rest of Europe the bulwark of the church. We gloss this fact, but it is none the less true. To take but one instance merely, is it not an unwritten law that members of an aristocracy shall conform either to what is actually the State-Church, or to what has been the State-Church at some former period of the national history? Although England is a Protestant country, an English gentleman does not lose caste when he joins the Roman Catholic communion; but he distinctly loses caste when he becomes a Dissenter. Ask Dr. Douglas if he does not.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Edwin Arnold Remembers the Mutiny: March 4, 1886

In March of 1886, Edwin Arnold was visiting India for the first time in many years. He had been the principal of the Government Sanskrit College at Poona (Pune) during 1856-61, then gone back to England to work at the Daily Telegraph. He became famous for a book of poems he published called The Light of Asia (1879), narrating the life of the Buddha.

Here he is giving an account of the history of Delhi in the Mutiny, with an emphasis on the locations where the fighting too place -- many of them eminently visitable spots for tourist visits nearly 30 years later.

It might be interesting to compare Edwin Arnold (who was passionate about Buddhism, but evidently quite patriotic and an unrepentant Imperilaist) to others we have been discussing, such as M.A. MacAuliffe (passionate about Sikhism), or Annie Besant (the famous theosophist).

Mappila Murders (Southern India), March 2 1886

This is a case being tried in the Madras High Court. A family of "Moplahs" (Mappilas) are described as having been murdered -- four out of five children, and their mother and father, were all cut to pieces and then burned by a mob. British soldiers then shot down most of the killers, leaving three men to be tried for the murders. Here the defendants are trying various legal mechanisms and denials to protect themselves. 

The family in question is described as having converted to Islam, and then un-converted. It's also complicated by the sense of caste. I do not know a lot about the kind of violence during this period, though it does appear to  be generally part of the build-up to what would be called the Malabar Rebellion of 1921. 

Civil & Military Gazette
March 2, 1886

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Arya Samaj meeting in Lahore March 2, 1886

Report of an Arya Samaj meeting in Lahore, March 2, 1886. Alongside the Singh Sabha movement in the Sikh community, the Arya Samaj was a major reform movement within Hinduism. Since Kipling, in his accounts of life at the Civil & Military Gazette, never mentions any Indian correspondents working for the paper, one wonders who actually attended and observed the proceedings. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Watch Out for Bombay Oysters January 18, 1886

Murderous oysters, a riding accident, and a military fracas (as far as I can tell, entirely involving British / European soldiers, albeit from different parts of England.

January 18, 1886, Civil & Military Gazette

Madhava Rao on Flattery January 18 1886

From the Civil & Military Gazette of Lahore, January 18, 1886

The more I see of Madhava Rao, the less I like him. There's a whole architecture of power and social relations entailed in this little scrap. It appears to be intended for fellow "natives," though my guess is that it had far more British readers than native readers. Madhava Rao called himself "Native Thinker," but "native informant" might seem to be more salient given that dynamic.

Obituary for Baboo Harbans Sahay of Bihar 3 2 1886

Following is a long obituary for Baboo Harbans Sahay of Bihar in the Civil & Military Gazette of Lahore. The obit. sells him as a social reformer and friend of the poor, but in fact he was a major Zemindar (landlord)-- apparently the second largest landholder in the state of Bihar at the time of his death.

He's mentioned in this book as a major proponent of the Bengal Tenancy act of 1885.

A few lines from the below seem worth quoting: "It was a special triumph in India that a man of humble origin should have succeeded in becoming the trusted friend and adviser of the wealthy, and if he had done nothing more than demonstrate that there was a higher law than caste law, his life would have conveyed an important lesson. But that he should have clung to the memory of his own humble starting point in life, and should have striven earnestly to improve the lot of the masses, bespoke a noble element in the man, and a mind superior to the temptations that come with prosperity."

But others have a different perspective on Babu Harbans Sahay. According to a contemporary quoted in Sachidananda's Elite and Development, the Tenancy Act favored by Sahay "carried many amendments favourable to the zamindari cause though the Act is still more favourable--partially and unjustly more fvourable--to the tenants and 'peasant proprietors', and requires some necessary, just, and useful amendments. . . "

Maharajah Dalip Singh Leaves for Bombay: March 2 1886

Maharjah Dalip Singh, son of Ranjit Singh, lived most of his life in exile in England after the age of 13. 

In 1886 he tried to visit India via steamer after a more than 35 year gap. Here is a scrap announcing he is on his way, and speculating on his motives. According to Wikipedia (take w/grain of salt), Dalip Singh's real interest was in reconverting to Sikhism after having been raised away from any Sikh community. (Will try to verify this.) 

As the CMG speculates, the British authorities were nervous about the symbolism of an exiled king returning. The authorities would in fact bar him from proceeding any further than Aden. He would go through a symbolic re-conversion there, but then be returned to England. Dalip Singh's estate in England, Elveden Hall, still stands; it was used, in 2004, as one of the "Indian" sets in Mira Nair's Vanity Fair

Eloping with a Parsee Girl. February 24, 1886

Civil & Military Gazette, February 24, 1886.

Goan man wanted for kidnapping a 15 year old Parsee girl. He persuaded her to elope with him, but his father suspects the man only wanted her because of the jewelry she was wearing (or took from her parents' house?). The neighborhood Mazagon is mentioned, which makes me think this episode started in Bombay:

A Daring Escape Attempt February 18 1886

Setta Rao of Mysore attempts to escape from police custody by swapping clothes with his servant, who physically resembles him. Caught anyway. 

Civil & Military Gazette: February 18, 1886. 

CMG February 16 1886: Singh Sabha meeting

The first reference I've found in the Civil & Military Gazette to the Singh Sabha movement. Is the Bhai Nikka Singh the same Nikka Singh who works as an accountant for the Civil & Military Gazette?

Also interesting to see a report of another murder of an Indian person in Lahore, the third in a week. Admittedly, Mian Mir is a couple of miles away from the "white city" (British part of Lahore)... 

Tulsi Dass Arrested in England February 13 1886

A curious account of a Punjabi known as Tulsi Dass [sic], described as being arrested in West Ham, England, while attempting to address a crowd. The CMG seems to understand his grievance to be that he wants his property restored to him, and he's in England demanding a letter from the Queen Empress verifying that his property will in fact be restored.

A Google search doesn't confirm who this guy was, nor have I been able to find out more about his story. The image of a destitute Indian man being repeatedly arrested for disturbing the peace in England -- while addressing British crowds in his own language! -- is really thought provoking. Let's just say it makes for a fantastic metaphor.            

Double Murder in Lahore! February 12 1886

An Indian woman and her servant are found strangled in Lahore. February 12, 1886. The CMG surmises a link between an uptick in robberies in Lahore with the expulsion of criminals from nearby Amritsar.

Madhava Rao Defends Annexation of Burma

T. Madhava Rao, the "Pet Native" intellectual of the Anglo-Indian papers, is quoted in the Civil & Military Gazette on February 10, 1886, supporting the annexation of Burma.

T. Madhava Rao's career is summarized in detail at Wikipedia. He would join the Indian National Congress in 1887, but resign in 1889. He seems to have been one of the "native" intellectuals who knew how to say exactly what the authorities wanted to hear.

Departmental Ditties in the CMG, February 1886

The CMG publishes several of Kipling's poems in the spring of 1886, always as "Departmental Ditties."

1. Kipling's poem "Army Head Quarters" appears in the February 9 1886 edition of Civil & Military Gazette. Annotations here, the full poem is here.

Kipling's use of Hindi words is always intriguing to me. This particular poem has Khitmutgar (butler), references to deodar trees, "warbled like a bul-bul," and the Doaba region of Punjab (the Doaba is here). All of these are principally employed to suggest Anglo-Indian authenticity. His audience is always presumed to be fellow Anglo-Indians (never Indians themselves), here specifically with military or government connections. Interestingly, Kipling himself was never in the military, and is only secondarily a government employee (i.e., because the CMG is also an official government organ).

2. Kipling's poem "The Rupaiyat of Omar Kal'vin" appears in the January 30, 1886 edition of the CMG. 
David Page's notes on the poem at are here; the poem itself is here. The "Rupaiyat of Omar Kal'vin" uses very little Hindustani vocabulary, but what is interesting about it is the way it links expansion into the Northwest Frontier Provinces and Afghanistan with the British Raj's increased demand for revenue.

3. Kipling's poem, "Studies of an Elevation" appears in the February 16, 1886 edition of CMG.'s notes are here (they incorrectly mark the first date of publication as February 9). The poem itself is here. Interestingly, the 'dialect' words here are all from Hebrew -- not Hindustani. The theme is not a surprising one -- a "Gubbins" has risen through the ranks of English India ahead of the poem's speaker, and his rhetorical question is how and why.

4. Kipling's "A Legend of the Foreign Office" (first printed as "A Legend of the F.O.") appears in the February 23, 1886 issue of CMG.'s notes for the poem are here; the poem itself is here. This poem, like "Army Head Quarters," liberally uses Hindustani and Anglo-Indian words: dasturi, bakshi, thana, zenana, simpkin, peg. (The particular usage of "dasturi" to mean "bribery" here is a little questionable...)

Indian Representatives in Parliament? Feb 8 1886

Another interesting bit here -- a discussion (not taken particularly seriously by the British) of having a certain number of Indian representatives in British parliament.

Civil & Military Gazette, February 8, 1886.

The article excerpted by the CMG below is by Y.N. Ranade, who is known as the editor of a monthly journal called English Opinion on India (see this footnote in Antoinette Burton's book, Empire in Question). Also mentioned in the article by Ranade is Lalmohan Ghosh (spelled as Lalmohan Ghose below),. who would later serve as president of the Indian National Congress): see Wikipedia

Murder Averted! Woman handcuffed to rails! Feb 6 1886

Another sensationalistic story in the Civil & Military Gazette, this one printed on February 6 1886:

Kipling sometimes took these scraps of news and turned them into stories. He apparently used the story of a servant imprisoned for three months for stealing a cricket ball as the basis for his short story "The Story of Muhammad Din" (see here). I'm a little sceptical of that, frankly (because the story Kipling later wrote didn't involve a servant going to prison), though the general principle seems hard to escape: Kipling's incredibly prolific fiction writing in the late 1880s and 1890s regarding India must have been linked to the stories he heard and read about working as a journalist.

In any case, there's a story behind the account given above of a woman tied to the rails on the South Indian Railway... 

Human Sacrifice at Kali Temples? February 5 1886

From time to time there are scraps of news in the Civil & Military Gazette I find truly surprising or weird. Here is an account apparently of human sacrifice (though actually it appears to be two separate incidents, narrated here together.)

I don't know the history of this -- or the possibility that British authorities might have been misinterpreting the deaths described in the Civil & Military Gazette in a short news scrap on February 5, 1886:

Kali is one of the Hindu deities western anthropologists have long used as evidence of the "savage" underside in Hindu ritual. As recently as 2010 there were stories in the Indian media about a possible human sacrifice near Kolkata, and there was an extensive article in Time in 2002 that essentially took it for granted that these sacrifices still occur on a regular basis. The Time article is a little short on specifics, however, and I'm inclined to take its premises with a grain of salt. 

A quick search of Books.Google only affirms that the British seemed pretty confident that they were responsible for stopping regular human sacrifices at Kali temples. See this account from 1914, for example. But recent scholars who have worked on Tantra or Kali (such as Jeffrey Kripal) have largely not mentioned this, and I'm not sure why. Is it because they find it obvious that this didn't occur, and don't feel the need to address an old, self-serving British myth about Hinduism? Or is it because they presume that the British colonial accounts were correct, but would rather not dwell on this aspect of Kali worship? 

I do not know of any Hindu sources that confirm this practice. There is a fair amount of corroboration between the British sources (the account in the link above, from 1914, also names Bastar, for instance, as a place where human sacrifices had recently occurred). Several sources all seem to confirm the story that human sacrifices occurred "every Friday" until the British "put a stop to it" in the 1830s, but it's possible this is simply the recirculation of a myth taken as fact without any actual archeological evidence. 

Church Notices February 1, 1886

Most of the time, the Church notices in the Civil and Military Gazette are relatively modest in Lahore -- only two or three churches are listed as having services. For some reason, on February 1, 1886, the Church notices for the coming Sunday services are  quite extensive. 

People who know the history of Lahore know that the "Pro-Cathedral" named here is actually the tomb of Anarkali, consecrated as St. James church, and used by the British for services between 1851 and 1887, when the new Cathedral was built. A Pro-Cathedral is defined as a temporary cathedral. Thus British Anglicans, including the Kiplings, routinely worshipped at a "Church" that was originally built by the Mughals as a tomb for a slave woman, dancer, and mistress of Prince Saleem (Jahangir). (One also sees some Catholic churches and a Methodist church listed below.)

A brief sketch of the history of the Cathedral at Lahore is here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

M.A. Macauliffe Responds, Defends his Work January 23 1886

Civil & Military Gazette prints an article on "Islamism [sic] and Sikhism" on January 15, 1886, which goes unsigned (see our post on this here). It's possible that it was written by one of the editors (not likely Kipling himself, since I don't think he knew much about this stuff), or someone like Dr. Leitner, who seems to have been one of the more learned Europeans in Lahore at the time.

Here Macauliffe goes on at length to explain the ins and outs of the edition of the Nanak Janam Sakhis he had translated and published. The difficulties he describes are considerable.

On the Annexation of Upper Burma: Native Press January 21 1886

People may be familiar with the rough outlines of the story British annexation of Upper Burma from Amitav Ghosh's The Glass Palace. In January 1886, in the pages of Civil & Military Gazette of Lahore, you see most of the official government line being articulated and defended. For the CMG staff the event was unexceptional, and in any case the party line is to be sustained.

Interestingly, they do print a sampling of the "Native Press" response to the Annexation news in the CMG. Not surprisingly, the Native Press is outraged by the news of the annexation. As one of the clips below states, "We firmly believe that Burma has been annexed for the benefit of English merchants."

At times I have my doubts about the clips printed from the "Native Press" -- some of the passages relating to the Native response to the Income Tax seem a little too conveniently in line with the CMG editors own disappointment with the imposition of the new tax. But the inclusion of text clearly critical of British policy does restore one's faith in the veracity of these translated clips.

Still -- who translated them? And does anyone have access to any of the newspapers named here? Sanjibani, Bangabasi, Bharatbasi, Bharat Mihir?

On the Prospects of a Gymkhana Club in Lahore, January 1886

January 11, 1886

In Kipling's day, Lahore did have a rather minimal Officers' Club, where the constituency was mainly Civil Service Officers. It's described by Charles Allen as being rather minimal, though as an exclusionary space it obviously played a central part in organizing European attitudes towards the rest of the city. 

Here the CMG authors are contemplating a Gymkhana club, with "skillfully arranged gurrahs": "owners to compete for a tandem whip -- would give ample chance for a display of deft driving and possibly -- since leaders are sometimes fresh and saices foolish -- for one or two other things as well. 

The style of the writing is loose and digressive, with references to "Popkins" and "Pipkins," and the prospect of emulating Simla in holding "Lancers on horseback." 

Islam and Sikhism Compared in the CMG January 15 1886

Civil & Military Gaxzette. 
January 15, 1886

Unsigned essay comparing Islam and Sikhism. Starts as a review of a book by Hughes, the Dictionary of Islam (1885). Unfortunately, the columns following the first section are in the crease of the newspaper, and the person who scanned it to Microfilm did it kind of sloppily -- they are only partially legible.  

In the second image below, we see referenced a writer named Pincott, and Dr. Ernest Trumpp, author of Die Religion der Sikhs and the first translator of the Adi Granth. Ernest Trumpp is famously the figure whose translation of the Granth was so bad it provoked M.A. Macauliffe to dedicate several years of his life to doing another one (see this). The substance of the second section of the essay rehearses Trumpp's account of the influence of Bhakti figures like Kabir on Nanak. 

In the third section of the essay (also pasted below the jump, but also only partially legible), the author come around to mentioning Macauliffe by name. (In 1886, Macauliffe was mainly known as the publisher of an English version of the Janam Sakhis; his translation of the Granth would be done in the 1890s. See this

(See our earlier post on "The Mohammedans in India" in the CMG here:

(More after the jump)

Government College Cricket, Lahore Feb 2 1886

So besides the Lahore Club (English only & with limited membership), there's a Punjab Cricket Club, with European members listed on the left.

Interesting to see the "Government College" players are all Indian -- with a mix of Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh names.

Anglo-Indian Response to the Income Tax: Feb 2 1886

The imposition of the Income Tax on India in 1886 is obviously a huge deal, and the Civil & Military Gazette discusses and opines on it for weeks. One of the curious twists is the possibility of working with natives to lobby the government in London to reconsider the levying of the tax:

The most amusing idea in this is that of a "combination": "If the independent Anglo-Indians would realize that their native fellow-subjects have the same interest in economy and more desire for it, they would seek a combination. A joint movement would soon tell on statesman at home."

The thinking behind this is so surprising that I'm not sure what to do with it -- are they really suggesting a joint agitation of white Anglo-Indians with native Indians against the crown?

In any case, the income tax introduced in 1886 inspired Kipling's poem "The Rupaiyat of Omar Cal'vin," and the site also includes some additional historical material relating to the new tax (which on the whole looks pretty fair and not terribly burdensome): link

Another Rant About the Native Press: Feb 4 1886

Another rant in the Civil & Military Gazette about the "Native Press." February 4, 1886

The challenge in this particular rant is that it doesn't name exactly what's provoked it. As best I can guess, someone in the native press has gotten upset about something said about them in an English journal.

Near the beginning of the column, it's strange to see references to the Ilbert Bill and Lord Ripon -- this was a controversy that dates to the spring of 1883, so I'm surprised that it's still a 'current' point of reference even in 1886.

Interesting to see the complain that the Indian community "made a race question of it." Of course, the Ilbert Bill controversy was entirely about race -- but it's only a "race question" when the subordinate community complains. This kind of logic is still very much with us today. A black person in the U.S. has to be very cautious playing the "race card," but conservatives are only too happy to complain of "reverse racism" at the slightest pretext.

The real payoff (if it can be called that ) near the end of the column. Here we finally get a bit more of what provoked these comments.

"The Englishman enjoys humour, even directed against himself -- witness the reception in England of Max O'Rell's work 'John Bull and his Island." Even the travesty of himself which appears in the Indian Marionette Show (Kut Putli Natch) is rather enjoyed than otherwise. [...] We admit and deplore that, of late, some English journals have been provoked by the tone of the native Press, and that fair banter has occasionally degenerated into rudeness."

Again, one is very curious as to what exactly is at the root of this. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Meeting of the National Congress CMG 1 13 1886

Civil & Military Gazette
January 13, 1886

Meeting of the National Congress in Bombay in December 28-31, 1885.
This was really in fact the first meeting of the Indian National Congress: link

The CMG authors are supposedly reporting on the reports from the Indian (native) press, but the language of the column is weird, and at times it appears they are editorializing rather than reporting.

We think this was the first time in the history of India, that the accepted leaders of  Native Opinion met on a common platform to discuss political questions affecting this country. We think Bombay is regaining her good name in connection with political advancement. The proceedings of the congress distinctly make certain demands which of course cannot be and will not be complied with at once at first, but by time we shall see that the advantages to the country from the united action of the representatives will be lasting and substantial. Some writers attempt to cast ridicule on the proceedings of the Congress, but they may as well try to stop the flow a stream for what is inevitable must happen. To exactly know what the native population thinks and feels on a certain question is advantageous to both the ruler and the ruled. --Bombay Samachar

The Indian Spectator says that the proceedings of the congress constitute a record of the most brilliant achievement of British rule in the East, the dawn of a New India, from the point of view of the politicians the harbinger of indirect, if not direct representation. This glorious result was possibly only under British auspices. Whether it becomes a consummation in the practical sense, whether its operations are confined to politics and to politics alone, whether it sensibly affects the progress of the masses, whether, in brief, this national movement is to lead to a popular upheaval generally, is a question on which there may be room for difference of opinions. But one thing is certain -- and on that we heartily congratulate the leaders of Native public opinion and those truly enlightened sons of England who have contributed so largely to moulding the indigenous public opinion -- namely that representative government in India has now become one of the possibilities of the near future. 

John Bright addressing the Indian delegates: January 6 1886

A group of Indian delegates visited England around the beginning of January, 1886, and their movements and doings were closely watched in the Anglo-Indian press, including the Civil & Military Gazette in Lahore.

The most controversial event for the delegates was an address by the radical / liberal MP John Bright, who effectively called for a kind of home rule or independence for India (at just the moment that the Liberal party had recently lost the elections, slowing down the chance for home rule in Ireland). Several columns in early January in the CMG denounce John Bright's comments as irresponsible and dangerous. Here is the text of most of John Bright's speech to the delegates. I haven't included the whole speech, but there's more than enough here to get a sense of Bright's reasoning.

One key passage is near the beginning:

"We are not precisely the persons, but we are the children of those who conquered and who subjugated India; and we now, through our representatives in Parliament and our leaders in statesmanship, are doing, I will not say our best, but something in order to govern them in a rational manner. (Hear, hear.) I cannot help feeling as I stand here and these distinguished Indian gentlemen sit by me, I cannot but think that there must pass over their minds some slight feeling of humiliation in the position in which they are placed. 
Another key passage is in the third image pasted below:

When the Government determined, as far as was in its power, to promote the education of the natives of India, when schools were established, colleges were founded ,universities were planted, and the natives of India, the most intelligent of them, were invited to educate themselves just as freely and as fully as the most educated class here, then it seemed to me the question was practically decided what should be the future policy of England to her great dependency in Asia. (Cheers.) [...] Among these [millions] you must know that there are great numbers who are capable, intellectually capable, who like literature, like learning, like scholarship, like to know everything that the most educated men in this country know. You will know, for instance, that they learn our language. (Cheers.)  [...] They have a free Press now, and they are permitted to hold great meetings, and this, I say is something to the lasting honour of this country, and something that must lead necessarily to a more advanced freedom. (Cheers.) I think it was during the Governor-Generalship of Lord Ripon that the shackles which were fastened upon the native Press were removed (hear, hear); and it is not to be wondered at that the people of India should feel for Lord Ripon that sympathy and enthusiasm which were exhibited to such an extraordinary extent as he passed from Calcutta to the port from which he started for England. (cheers)
Interesting to see the reference to the "unshackling" of the native press under Lord Ripon. Perhaps this might explain something of the beleaguered tone that arises in the CMG whenever one sees references to the "Native Press."

The images from John Bright's column are pasted after the break.

Rudyard Kipling, "A New Departure"

This is a poem Rudyard Kipling published pseudonymously in 1883. It's a response to the Ilbert Bill (which I have blogged about previously). It was first published in the Saturday Evening Englishman in March 1883, and later republished in the Civil & Military Gazette on March 29.

A New Departure
by Rudyard Kipling

He had said, in a Viceregal homily,
(Alas for the sternness of rhyme!)
'I surmise British law's an anomily,
Give place to Bengal for a time.'
These words were the pith of his homily
And Calcutta considered them crime.

from the city of Baboos and bustees,
From that sorrowing city of Drains,
Came the cry:-- 'Oh my friend, let us trust he's
But mad, through long stay in the plains;
Perplexed with the stench of our bustees,
His reason has reeled in the plains.'

And the Planters who plant the Mofussil,
With Indigo, Coffee, and Tea,
Cried out, when they heard: -- 'Blow that cuss he'll
Come down on such folks as we be,
Our coolies will 'boss' the Mofussil,
With his pestilent A.C.P.C. [Amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code]

But the Baboos that browsed in each office
Of Subordinate Civil Employ
Cried 'Hurrah for our Viceregal novice!
Hurrah for the Brahminee boy!
Let the 'mean white 'be silent, and doff his
Pith hat to the Brahminee boy!'

And the papers they print in Calcutta,
And the journals men read in Madras,
Were known in their pages to utter
some hints that he might be an ...!
And this spread, from the sinks of Calcutta,
And the swamps of benighted Madras,
till the thought set the land in a flutter-
'Ye Gods! was His Lordship an ....?'

For his notions of natives were curious,
So India objected, and rose,
And, when India was properly furious,
He remarked, 'This discussion I close,
The heat to my health is injurious,
I hie to Himalayan snows.'

With the tact that belonged to his station,
With a suavity solely his own,
He had set by the ears half a nation
And left it -- to simmer alone.
With his maudlin ma-bap legislation,
He had played merry Hades and-- flown.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Where to put the statue of Lord Lawrence?

Civil & Military Gazette
January 11, 1886

Interesting to see a reference to the Zam Zama gun outside the Museum. Here the question is where to place the statue of Lord Lawrence. It could be placed near the European administrative buildings. But the CMG author suggests it might be better placed in the "native" part of Lahore instead:

Mahommedans in India

Civil & Military Gazette
January 8, 1886

References to Syed Ahmad Khan's friend a Professor Beck, the principal of M.A.O. College.
The focus seems to be on Muslim decline or "degeneration" vis a vis their former status as the rulers of India. He suggests their "decadence" is tied to their rejection of the British educational system, which other groups, Bengalis especially, have embraced.

The Professor Beck who is mentioned in the article below is Theodore Beck, a key figure in the M.A.O. College at Aligarh from the 1880s until his death in Simla 1899.

Anglo-Indian Conference at Jubbulpore

Civil & Military Gazette 
January 4 1886

Key quote: "That while for some reason the term 'Anglo-Indian' is adapted to the domiciled community, and is the best single title that could be applied to them, yet because it is not sufficiently comprehensive and expressive, and has been strongly objected to on that score 'Eurasian and Anglo-Indian' forms the most suitable title, and should be used in naming distinctive associations, &C." 

Also interesting to see references to railway jobs, which as we know were often where Eurasians worked. Also interesting to see references to differing complexions amongst Eurasians: 

Editorializing on Theosophy

Reporting on a meeting of theosophists -- with a heavy dose of editorializing on the "bunkum" of theosophy. Also describes it as a cult and so on.

Civil and Military Gazette
January 7, 1886

Native Opinion. Civil & Military Gazette. January 2 1886

One of the curious aspects of the grammar of empire is the idea that "Indian Opinion" and the "Indian Papers," in the pages of Civil & Military Gazette, refers to British India. Indians themselves are always "natives."

Thus, "native opinion":

"H.M." writes to the Bombay Gazette regarding "the defects of the British administration so exaggerated by Calcutta native papers, and in one or two books that have lately attained notoriety." Some of our readers may know to how great an extent the sentiments of "H.M." are shared by other natives of India, who deplore the wild excesses of the Native Press. It has long been a subject of wonder to us as to whom these occasionally outrageous attacks, and this constant, carping malevolence, are intended to please; and on what model they are based. That they disgust a very large section of the readers of these native papers--we mean among the natives themselves--is certain. Such readers greatly regret that they should be represented by these organs, which are naturally supposed to represent them, in such a light before the British public. They deplore that they should be represented as utterly ugrateful for benefits, utterly callous, incapable of discernment, filled only with envy, malice, and hatred. They are helpless; news they must have and news in its cheapest form: so they support these papers which they dislike, and which they feel to be doing them incaclculabe mischief. There are no doubt others among the readers of the native papers who enjoy spicy writing and slashing attacks, without troubling themselves about either the matter or the results of these diatribes. But the existing native journals will find to their cost that these clients are the minoirty, whenever respectable newspapers shall arise to compete with them on equal terms of price for the support of the native public.

On what model are the native papers based? Their editors can hardly be acquainted with the Jacobin or the Pere Duchesne of the French revolutionary era; not even, probably, with the Intransigeant or similar journals of the present day. They can hardly have formed their style upon the Louisville Roarer or the Arkansas Tomahawk; for such flowers of American journalism have for years been extinct. We can only suppose that they have taken in sober earnest,that they have taken in sober earnest, as their models, those caricatures of the provincial journalism of England fifty years ago, which Dickens has presented in the pages of Pickwick. Now, in a state of society, such as existed in Paris in the end of the last century, or in the western States of America in the early part of the present one, such writing as that of the journals mentioned was excusable. In Farance these papers were address to a society just enfranchised from a grinding oppression, which did not know how to ue its newly acquired liberty. In America they were written as suited a wild, lawless, ruffianly population, among whom liberty only meant license; and law did not exist. Which of these conditions exists in India, that the native Press should consider itself justified in endeavouring to stir up evil passions, and to inflame mens' minds against the only Government which, during two centuries past, has been capable of affording to their distracted country peace, order and prosperity; against a Government which is doing its best to educate them into fitness for political liberty, as it has already given them entire social and domestic liberty? These native journals are themselves the offspring of the civilisation bestowed upon India by that Government; they owe their existence to the liberty conferred; and the use which they make of the education which that Government has afforded, must be called unpatriotic as well as ungrateful, even if it could be admitted that an excuse existed for their conduct in existing unredressed grievance.

[...] Of course, "H.M." will be furiously attacked by the native Press; as Sir Madhava Rao is, or as Raja Siva Prosad is. But the proof of the justice of his assertion is in the very native Press which will attack him -- supposing that Press to represent, as it asserts, modern though in India. If civilization and education in India have had as yet no better result than this, India must be centuries off the capability of self-government. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Native Judge of the Chief Court, January 2 1886

Civil & Military Gazette
January 2, 1886

The Annals of this Province will doubtless be told with befitting gravity in the pages of Administration Reports. We may hope that interesting chapters will be devoted to the re-organization scheme, to the Punjab University, and to the appointment, for the first time, of a native judge to the Chief Court. It would be cruel, at this season, to raise the buried grievances of the year; especially when a salve for wounded feelings has been prescribed by a higher authority. Another year, it may be hoped, will perhaps show that the union of honest purpose and loyal service, cannot fail to be fruitful; notwithstanding apparent incompatibility of aims and objects. The progress of the Punjab during the past year is not without its lessons; surely not without hope for the future.

Reviewing the events of the Previous Year in British India CMG January 1886

Here we're going to jump back to January 2, 1886.

The internal affairs of India have been for the most part quiet. The most notable disturbance of the peace was the riot, the other day, in Broach. The earlier part of the year was marked by no little agitation over the Bengal Rent Bill: during the latter half, educated native opinion has been considerably exercised by the progress of the elections. Not only have delegates been sent home by the more advanced school to back up selected candidates, and even to stand themselves; but the natives of the old school also take a considerable interest in the result. The civil administration of the Government of India suffered in 1884 from over development--hypertrophy--in the direction of self government. This last year there has been the opposite danger; strophy, by reason of the financial straitness. Of this we have still to hear the worst; and with the rupee at a little over one shilling and five pence, it is scarcely consoling to look forward to an income tax. In the Punjab, the effects of rigid economy are particularly distressing. 

The general image is of a tough economy.

The CMG editors are really invested in dividing up the natives into two types, one more progressive and demanding, the other the docile "old school". Here the editorializing about the bad, independence minded "advanced school" is kept to a minimum.

A Decapitated Orangutang in Calcutta, April 10, 1886

Civil & Military Gazette.
April 10, 1886
Not long ago, the remains of a long deceased heifer in a packing-case horrified Calcutta for a day or two; and set agoing many theories of mysterious murder a la Wainwright. Another and more ghastly incident has followed, close upon the heels of this one, and has been disposed of equally prosaically. The headless body a child was discovered lying in the middle of a street in Calcutta. The local police tannah duly reported the matter, and there appeard on the scene two Inspectors of Police, and a crowd of constables to note down, decently and in order, the finding of the body. There they began to make enquiries for the murderer who presently gave himself up to the law. He was no other than a taxidermist attached to the Calcutta Museum. A young ourang-outangg had died. He had taken the skin for stuffing; handing the residue to an intelligent servant for disposal by the Municipality. The intelligent servant cast the body in to the open street. Hence the atrocity. After the Inspectors had made matters clear to the assembled crowd, it is written that some public indignation was manifested at the deceit. Anatomy is evidently not included in the whole duty of a policeman. 

What the British in Lahore Did for Fun, April 7 1886

Civil & Military Gazette. April 8, 1886
Engagements of the Week
 Thursday April 8
Thursday, April 8.--Police Band, Anarkulli Gardens, 6-15 P.M.
M. Volpi's Theatre des Singes, Railway Theatre, 9-15.
Friday, April 9.--Polo, Mian Mir, 4-30 P.M.
Guest night, Lawrence Hall Gardens.
Satruday, April 10.--Police Band, Lawrence Hall Gardens, 6-15 P.M.  
Last night Professor Volpi, well-known to all India as the Professor of a highly intelligent troupe of dogs, monkeys, &c., gave one of his performances to a crowded house at the Lahore Railway Theatre. The words and expression of an actor or actress may be described in black and white with advantage, but the preternatural intelligence of dumb beasts, who grotesquely parody the actions and emotions of men, is a thing that must be seen to be properly appreciated. Though, for some reasons unpleasant to look at, the performance was an intensely interesting and amusing one. 

Always interesting to see the presence of animals in everyday life in British Lahore (see the earlier scrap about cow-catchers & railway accidents for another example.

There are only a few venues available for anything British to transpire -- the Anarkali Gardens, the Railway Theatre, and the Lawrence Hall Gardens. Two of those are daytime venues. The show at the Railway Theatre is surprisingly late, 9:15 PM. 

Birth of a Son! CMG Accountant Nikka Singh April 1886

 Another actual Indian person in the Civil & Military Gazette -- this one an accountant in the office apparently:
Nikka Singh.--At Lahore, on the morning of the 8th April 1886, the wife of Bahi Nikka Singh, accountant, Civil and Military Gazette Office, of a son. 

Women Students at Lahore Medical College April 1886

Reading the Civil & Military Gazette from this period one doesn't generally get a very flattering picture of the British colonial system. However, here and there you do see some redeeming details. One of them is the earnest attempt to enroll native women in the medical college, even those that speak no English. Does that mean some instruction is being conducted in Urdu?  

April 1886: In the number of female scholars at Government schools there has been some decrease, which is matter for regret; but it is hoped that at no distant date the influence of the increasing popularity of male education will have its counterpart in a wide movement towards the education of girls. 

In special education the most striking feature of the year is that arrangements have been made in the Lahore Medical College for the admission of female students. Several of the women attending the classes know no language but the vernacular. This movement is in accordance with the wider movement now in progress throughout India for the relief of female suffering by female medical aid, and will, it is hoped, prove of much benefit. The Lieutenant-governor has recently submitted for the sanction of the Government of India and the Secretary of State a scheme for enlarging the Lahore Medical College by the appointment of two additional Professors and in other ways. The scheme is based upon contributions from Local Bodies which will be supplemented by a provincial grant-in-aid of equivalent amount. The Committees and Boards of the Provinces have readily responded to the call made upon them for help in this important undertaking. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rukhmabai & Debates over civil law in British India 1885-6

The Rukhmabai case has been written about by historians of British India on several occasions. Antoinette Burton published an essay on it, for instance, in 1998: here. Sudhir Chandra also had something about it in EPW in 1996: here, and there is a full chapter of his book, Enslaved Daughters, online on the open internet here.

In brief summary, Rukhmabai was married in a child marriage. Her family facilitated delaying the consummation of the marriage for several years, during which time she was educated. She started posting letters in the Pall Mall Gazette, and then she sued to have the marriage dissolved. The judge initially sided with her, but then reversed the decision.

Civil & Military Gazette
April 8 1886
The Chief Justice of Bombay and Mr. Justice Bayley have delivered judgment in the now famous case of Dadaji-Bhikaji v. Rukhmabai for the restitution of conjugal rights. The details of the case have more than once been fully explained here. On the first hearing in September, Mr. Justice Pinhey dismissed the suit with costs, in words which reflects the greatest credit on his sense of equity, albeit he was wrong in point of law: 'It seems to me that it would be a barbarous, a cruel and revolting thing to do, to compel a young lady under these circumstances, to go to a man whom she dislikes.' All India by this time knows the circumstances under which the unfortunate girl had been placed. A husband was chosen for her whom she felt no love on reaching years of discretion, and with whom she declined to live as a wife; preferring rather a life-long widowhood. Some months ago there appeared in a Bombay paper letters written by a "Hindu Lady" -- touching on the horrors of infant marriage. These letters were from the hand of Miss Rukhmabai. She was educated above the level of her fellows, and strove earnestly for the knowledge which is the natural right of a woman in the West. 'Without the least fault of mine,' she complains in one of the letters above mentioned, "I am doomed to seclusion. Every aspiration of mine to rise above my ignorant sisters is looked upon with suspicion and interpreted in the most uncharitable manner." Before Mr. Justice Pinhey, Miss Rukhmabai alleged, as her reasons for refusing to live with the person who had chosen for her "(1) his entire inability to provide for the proper maintenance and residence of himself and his wife, (2) the state of the plaintiff's health in consequence of asthma and other symptoms of consumption, (3) the character of the person under whose protection the plaintiff was and is living in the house in which he called on her to join him."  [...]

If Miss Rukhmabai refuses to abide by that decision, she can be imprisoned for contempt of court for six months. If her appeal succeeds, and the legislature decides that marriages contracted for children cannot be enforced, if the parties object to them when men and women, we may safely hold that infant-marriage in this country is doomed. the self-interest of the parents will prompt them not to throw away dowries on infants who may rise up later on, and call their matchmakers anything but blessed. the whole case furnishes a convincing instance of the utter rottenness of the law; and is sufficient answer for those who clamourthat the East and West shall be treated on an equal footing. A society that tolerates such a law has been expounded by the Chief Justice of Bombay to the unfortunate girl who sought relief, is a society that places itself, by the cowardly cruelty of that very law, below all civilisations. Not all the decrees that were ever engrossed on parchment, or all the suave speeches ever delivered to 'a might nation kindled with the fervour of the West and struggling to be free,' will disguise the fact, that the bases of the society which is to be painfully hoisted to the level of Western ways and thoughts, are laid on ignorance, corruption and oppression. If there be--as the native periodicals assure us daily there are--men who regard with disvaour any attempt at political reform on the part of the Hindus of India, our contemporaries may be certain that the case we have just quoted will prove a powerful weapon in their hands. 

"Vernacular" Newspapers in Punjab, 1886

April 1886.

[The following scrap is fascinating -- but not entirely legible in the microfilm I've been looking at.]

The Punjab rejoices in sixteen Vernacular newspapers and periodicals, which is rather [more] than a quarter of the number published in Bengal. The Akhbar-i-am, a bi-weekly, with a circulation of 1,880, seems to be the most flourishing vernacular print in the Punjab. Its popularity, however, can hardly be compared with that of newspapers in Bengal; where the Banga[???], for instance, has a circulation of twelve thousand. There are no vernacular dailies in the Punjab; but the Aftab-i-Punjab is published three times a week, and circulates five hundred copies. The vernacular newspaper reader, both in Bengal and the Punjab, apparently presumes a paper published once or twice a week as a daily. the number of printing presses in the Punjab, according to the latest [count] was 134; of which 39 were located in Lahore. 
How many of these have been preserved? 

Letter to the Editor regarding Exams at Punjab U. April 6-8 1886

I am especially attuned to any hints of Indian voices in the Civil & Military Gazette from this period. They are rare, but not entirely impossible to find. Here is one, from a Punjab University student who is annoyed at an examination snafu:

An Examination Difficulty
[To the Editor.]
Sir,--I hope you will kindly allow space to the following few lines in your paper. Yesterday the University examinations commenced. All the examinees got printed papers, with the excetion of six F.A. candidates. for ten minutes they were waiting for papers, but last their patience was tired and they cried out 'papers.' A few minutes after a Superintendent came to them, and told them to their mortification, that no papers were left. At this moment many thoughts came in their mind. they were conducted to a separate room and had to write the papers for themselves as an exercise in dictation. This disagreeable work took 45 minutes. What a disadvantage? Any one who has ever appeared in any examination can easily comprehend what an awkward thing this is . Such a thing is unheard of in any University examination. Irregularity which cannot be excused. In conclusion, I hope that the authorities will take notice of it, and have mercy on the fate of the poor students.

He must have passed his exams, because a "Lala Beni Pershad" shows up in the Punjab Law Reporter in 1905, pleading a Hindu law case regarding property rights: link.

Another Odd Scrap from Civil & Military Gazette April 1886

The Civil & Military Gazette can go for days on end without mentioning any specific Indian people -- it's as if the British government is the only thing whose existence matters in India. But every so often little bits of stories show up & they are sometimes quite intriguing. 

Here is one such scrap:

A RUFFIANLY SEPOY. --A native soldier strolled into the Sudder Bazaar, Kurrachee [sic], about an hour after gun-fire on the night of the 25th ultimo having with him his rifle and a few rounds of bal ammunition. He visited a few tinsmiths' shops inquiring after a certain Borah [sic] whom he said had grossly insulted him. Receiving no satisfactory reply, he threatened to shoot one of the tinsmiths unless a clock was delivered to him, but on being expostulated with, he left and proceeded to another tinsmith's shop and inquired whether the Borah he was looking for had visited that shop. the tinsmith who was leaning against the door stated he knew nothing about the Borah, upon which the sepoy pointing his rifle towards the tinsmith discharged it, the bullet lodging in a rafter about eighteen inches over the man's head. The lucky tinsmith raised an alarm, but the sepoy decamped and cannot be identified. 
"Borah" would be rendered in English today as "Bohra." The Bohras are Muslim traders largely based in India: Wikipedia

Hydropobia in Calcutta April 6-9 1886

The poor Brits., stuck in this godforsaken hot country, constantly catching malaria, typhoid, cholera, et al.

Here we have a brief scrap about a man in Calcutta catching rabies from a monkey bite, and dying:
Hydrophobia from a Monkey bite. -- A young man, named Ernest Hay, has died at the General Hospital, Calcutta, from the effects of a bit from a monkey. Some three months ago the deceased was bit by a large black monkey at Lucknow. The sore having healed, he thought nothing more of the matter, but shortly before his death he felt a severe pain in the injured part, and went to the General Hospital for treatment. while there, symptoms of hydrophobia appeared, and he had to be remove to the cells. Here the poor man imitated the antics of a monkey, and was even seen to climb the bars of his cell exactly as a monkey would. The unfortunate young man, who was only 23 years of age, died on Sunday morning. 
 Kind of a gruesome story, but I still like the detail about how he started to "imitate the antics of a monkey." If he had caught it from a dogbite, would they have said he imitated the antics of a dog? 

Sending the Thakore to England to Study Medicine. CMG April 6-9 1886

There are a few pet peeves for the Civil & Military Gazette writers we've been seeing in the 1886 original 'scraps' as well as reproduced reports from various other Indian papers. One recurring theme is a disapproval of the administration of the princely states (of which there were quite a few in and around British-administered Punjab). The CMG writers presume the Native Princes are spendthrift good-for-nothings who need to be called out and diminished wherever the possibility arises. (Though of course whenever one of the nearby native princes is having a party, journalists, Civil service members, and military officers are only too happy to take them up on their hospitality.) A second pet peeve is Indian students, especially Bengalis, who seem excessively passionate about education. (It's worth mentioning that Kipling himself never went to college, and felt the absence of that degree acutely.)

The following scrap combines both pet peeves into one economical paragraph. The Thakur of Gondal (Goindwal?) is both a spendthrift good for nothing and an over-educated dilettante.
A Medical Prince. --The Indu Prakash does not approve of the Thakore of Gondal's second visit to England, whither he has gone to study medicine. 'This seems to us,' it says, 'almost like playing with his responsibility to the State. Surely the Thakore Saheb does not mean to abdicate his rule and turn a medical practitioner among his own subjects or elsewhere? If he managed his State well, he could employ an additional medical man to teach him that science, and also to afford relief to his subjects afflicted with disease. At best his studies in medicine would be of the dilittante [sic] sort, and out of proportion to the cost of his passage. The British Government ought not to lightly allow such a thing. Native princes have need to be reminded that the days are gone when people thought they were made for princes, not the princes for them.
This seems like it could have been written by Rudyard Kipling -- especially given that his letters from these months indicate he was very much thinking about getting passage to England to further his career as a writer. 

Opium. From a Punjab Government report, April 1886

We know from Ghosh's Sea of Poppies a bit about how the opium trade evolved starting in the 1830s and 40s in India, as a direct and intentional facet of British colonialism in India and China. What's surprising to me is that the opium trade is still positively acknowledged even in 1886. Wikipedia suggests that the consumption of Opium in China continued to rise after the Opium Wars ended in 1858, though increasingly China was producing opium domestically. It's unclear to me who was the target audience the opium mentioned in the Civil & Military Gazette in 1886. It's also suggested that the British government, from London, had officially aimed to curb opium consumption and addiction in the colonies after 1880. However, the following passage suggests that policy may have been met with ambivalence by actual colonial administrators.

Here is an excerpt from a long article, summarizing a government report on the state of the government of Punjab released in 1886:

Very little is said on the subject of opium, and that little may be considered favourable. For the third year, in succession, the prospects of the opium crop are exceptional. the future of the opium revenue must, we are told, very greatly depend on the successes attending the working of the new Convention with China, by which the levy of all duty on Indian opium by provincial Governors is prohibited; the only duty allowed being that levied at the Treaty Ports. Considering the sentimental objections that are periodically raised to our deriving any revenue at all from opium, it is probably well that as little as possible should be said on this subject. We all know that the loss of the opium revenue means something very like bankruptcy to India. For the present we may console ourselves with the thought that the government of India does not consider the future of opium as depending mainly on the opinion of Exeter Hall. 

Another example, I think, showing how much the civilizing mission and Kipling's 'white man's burden' were self-serving lies to justify economic exploitation.  

Punjab University Funding April 1886

I've been especially interested in the references to Punjab University in the Civil and Military Gazette, and I'll try and transcribe any that I come across as I continue to comb through these archives.

In the lately published resolution of the Punjab Government, on the financial condition of the Punjab University, it was announced that the certain special questions relating to University management still remained for consideration--the application of trust-funds, and Oriental learning. A second Resolution by the Punjab Government will, we believe, be published almost immediately; and will doubtless deal with one or both of these subjects. The personal questions which have arisen, in connection with the University, have become somewhat tedious; and a review of the broad aspects of the case, such as the Punjab Government furnished in its first Resolution, was a welcome relief to the painful iteration of personalities and egotisms with which the public was in danger of being nauseated. An un-prejudiced account of the unviersity's application of trust funds, and in impartial statement of its proper attitude towards Oriental learning in general -- not towards one Oriental scholar in particular -- will be equally welcome. At the same time, while the Government does well to seta general exposition of its views and a broad statement of its policy before the public, it should be prepared to act on its principles and convictions. 

Curious about that one sentence "not towards one Oriental scholar in particular." Presumably this is referring to Indian students in the University. Was there one in particular whose status at the university was controversial?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

April 1886: Railway safety

The return of accidents on Indian railways for the third quarter of last year might be interesting, if it were a few months younger. About seven hundred accidents of all kinds are reported; more than a third of these being due to the presence of cattle on the line--the most fruitful source of accidents int he country. The butchers' bill, however, is extremely low; being only one railway servant killed, and fifteen servants and passengers killed. 

More statistics are given; they aren't terribly interesting or important. Following is a 'scrap' commentary about how it happens that so many cows are struck by trains:

A contemporary, writing on cows and their catchers, says that any one who has seen a cow 'airily flying off at a tangent from the cow-catcher and landing legs upward in a distant ditch, is not likely to forget the appearance of easy unconcern with which the engine comes out of the fracas.' This is a misleading statement, which must be  corrected, lest an Englishman, confiding in the Pioneer's description, should stand in the way of a cow-catcher, and expect to be landed airily 'legs upward in a distant ditch.' What really happens is this. A cow trespasses on a railway line; and is presently aware of a strange monster advancing swiftly in its direction. The trespasser ambles away, keeping between the metals; and thus clinching its doom. The locomotive comes nearer; the amble turns to a trot, a lumbering canter and finally an agonized gallop-- for the notion of turning aside from the terrible parallel lines of steel never enters the flying brute's head. Then comes the beginning of the end. The advancing locomotive smites the cow a tergo, driving it forward on its knees twenty or thirty yards ahead; catches it up again and repeats the process until the mangled mass of beef can pass between the bottom-bar of the cow-catcher and the permanent way--a space of about seven inches -- to be caught up and futher mangled amid the hurrying wheels of the carriages in rear. The cow-catcher is not a pretty sight afterwards; the shock to the train is no light one, and the carcass of a 'vagrom cow,' can derail a train very satisfactorily; especially if the train is on a curve at the time. The Report which has been noticed above bears witness to this last fact; and all the others may be proved by any man who will allow himself to be overtaken by the 'seductive cow catcher' -- which is a sausage-making machine of the grisliest type. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Civil and Military Gazette, April 9, 1886: Kipling's A Code of Morals

Rudyard Kipling's "A Code of Morals" appeared for the first time, unsigned (as "Departmental Ditties") in April 9, 1886 in the Civil & Military Gazette. It's mainly interesting because of the reference to the heliograph, a device for transmitting Morse code optically. The exuberance and the creative use of the Afghan place names adds color to the poem. And of course the larger message underlines Kipling's belief in the British / Civil Service "stiff upper lip." 

A Code of Morals

Now Jones had left his new-wed bride to keep his house in order,
And hied away to the Hurrum Hills above the Afghan border,
To sit on a rock with a heliograph; but ere he left he taught
His wife the working of the Code that sets the miles at naught.

And Love had made him very sage, as Nature made her fair;
So Cupid and Apollo linked , per heliograph, the pair.
At dawn, across the Hurrum Hills, he flashed her counsel wise --
At e'en, the dying sunset bore her husband's homilies.

He warned her 'gainst seductive youths in scarlet clad and gold,
As much as 'gainst the blandishments paternal of the old;
But kept his gravest warnings for (hereby the ditty hangs)
That snowy-haired Lothario, Lieutenant-General Bangs.

'Twas General Bangs, with Aide and Staff, who tittupped on the way,
When they beheld a heliograph tempestuously at play.
They thought of Border risings, and of stations sacked and burnt --
So stopped to take the message down -- and this is whay they learnt --

"Dash dot dot, dot, dot dash, dot dash dot" twice. The General swore.
"Was ever General Officer addressed as 'dear' before?
"'My Love,' i' faith! 'My Duck,' Gadzooks! 'My darling popsy-wop!'
"Spirit of great Lord Wolseley, who is on that mountaintop?"

The artless Aide-de-camp was mute; the gilded Staff were still,
As, dumb with pent-up mirth, they booked that message from the hill;
For clear as summer lightning-flare, the husband's warning ran: --
"Don't dance or ride with General Bangs -- a most immoral man."

[At dawn, across the Hurrum Hills, he flashed her counsel wise --
But, howsoever Love be blind, the world at large hath eyes.]
With damnatory dot and dash he heliographed his wife
Some interesting details of the General's private life.

The artless Aide-de-camp was mute, the shining Staff were still,
And red and ever redder grew the General's shaven gill.
And this is what he said at last (his feelings matter not): --
"I think we've tapped a private line. Hi! Threes about there! Trot!"

All honour unto Bangs, for ne'er did Jones thereafter know
By word or act official who read off that helio.
But the tale is on the Frontier, and from Michni to Mooltan
They know the worthy General as "that most immoral man."

Civil & Military Gazette. Reporting on the Meerut Fair April 1886

The Meerut Fair (April 2). Marked as "From a Correspondent".
The interesting part of the report comes towards the end:

In the agricultural department the show of produce was small. Somehow or other cultivators cannot or will not be induced to exhibit. The Agricultural Department, however, sent up a large number of improved implements illustrative of the processes of sugar-making, well sinking and irrigation. The cultivator was able to see for himself the cane pressed by a Bilieea mill, the juice boiled in an improved "karbao," and the sugar extracted form the rab by a newly invented machine which separates the sugar from the treacle by the action of centrifugal force. Crowds of interested spectators thronged the yard where these implements were being shown, and the Assistant Director of Agriculture, Mr. Mahmoud Hossein (a graduate of the Cirencester R.A. College) to whom indeed the whole success of the agricultural department of the show may be attributed, was indefatigable in exhibiting and explaining the working of the machines .Boring tools were at work. Bull's dredges improved pumps, maize-millers, cotton-gins, grain-crushers, chaff-cutters all showed the ryot how to do his everday work more quickly and efficiently than he is accustomed to with his imperfect methods. The "arts and manufactures" department was crowded every day and all day with crows of purchasers of pottery, rugs, durrees, chintzes, brass idols, Meradabad work and other products of the neighboruing districts, in which which improvement and invention has been encouraged by the liberal distribution of prizes. A cattle show, a poultry and dog show (into which, somehow a couple of bears and a tiger-cub found their way) a vegetable show, summed up the exhibition part of the Fair. But there were besides a couple of days of first-rate racing for the horses of native gentlemen, at which the totalizator did a tremendous business, showing that keen interest existed even among natives in the favourite pastime of the Sahibs. Of course there were fire works, Parsee theatricals, wrestling, "Tommy Dodd" (which possesses a mysterious fascination for the native youth) and all the usual adjuncts of such gatherings.  
The prizes were distrubted on the 31t March by Mr Lane, C.S. the commissinoer; Mr. Wright, the magistrate, opened the proceedings with an excellent report, setting forth the object aimed at by such Fairs, and the success obtained by the steady enouragement of the "Hakims." Alas that I should have to add that the success was not due to the spontaneous efforts of the native Committee. 

Not quite sure what "Tommy Dodd refers to. Interesting to see references to the Parsi theatricals, the horse racing, and the poulty and dog show.