Thursday, May 3, 2012

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.

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