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are retailed at ridiculously low prices, while the wonderful
crops of walnuts, mulberries, peaches, cherries, pomegranates, nuts, apples, quinces, pears, and grapes are grown almost without care on flats of ground many of which bear no appearance of having been cultivated for many generations. Grapes, indeed, grow in eighteen different varieties, and may be bought at the rate of several pounds for an anna, or rather less than three-halfpence. Peaches, better flavoured than our hothouse ones, are valued at about the same price for a dozen, and other fruits can be bought in “the happy valley” about equally as cheap. The faith of so many of the Indian people forbidding the use of wine, viticulture is never likely to form
prominent branch of agriculture, unless, indeed, it taken up by Europeans. Already the beer brewed at the Hill Stations has to a great extent superseded that which was once so extensively imported, and hop-growing has likewise become common in some of the cooler mountain valleys. Light wines could also be extensively prepared in various parts of India, as, for example, in Kashmir. Wine was, indeed, at one time made from the grapes grown in the valley, and at times large jars are disinterred which are supposed to have been vessels for the reception of the generous fluid,
India fourth in the list of wheat-producing countries, placing the United States, France, and Russia before her. In the Punjab, North-Western Provinces, and Oudh, and in the Central Provinces, the average yield per acre stands at 133, 113, and 8 bushels respectively. Irrigation, the use of manures, and higher cultivation have, however, more to do with the extra out-turn of the acreage in these districts than the degrees of latitude; and as the improved system of cultivation becomes more generally known and more widely practised among the ryots, the greater advances may be expected in the Indian wheat trade.
buried for its better preservation, as is still the case in some parts of the East. Cider could also, if properly prepared, be produced in any quantity from the Kashmir apples; and though the climate is not warm enough for the sugar-cane to thrive, yet cotton of good quality can be produced without the irrigation necessary for so many other crops in that part of the country. The Deodar cedar is abundant, and the poplar, willow, and other trees grow wild, in addition to the plane or Chenar trec, which was introduced over two centuries ago, but is now well naturalised that it is to be seen everywhere, its noble expanse affording a grateful shade to the inhabitants of the villages and farms; and from their presence near the ruined palaces they seem to have been equally appreciated by the royal personages who in time past inhabited these buildings. Aloes, chiretta, rhubarb, wormwood, and other useful plants grow wild, and mile after mile of country is patched yellow with the fields of saffron, which forms a valuable crop in this favoured land.*
Kashmir has been dwelt on not only because it is typical of the Sub-Himalayan countries enjoying the same climate, but because it affords a peculiarly excellent field for European emigration, which would not only be highly beneficial to India and the people among whom the colonists would settle, but likely to be conducive to the welfare of the immigrants themselves. The climate is excellent, the soil fertile, land easily acquired, security for life and property good ; and it is evident that with proper care as to the articles grown a good market might be found in India among the European residents and troops. Meantime, owing to indifferent government, recklessness, and want of foresight, one of the richest countries in the world is subject to periodical famines, for which there is on the part of the rulers absolutely no excuse. The mango-groves afford pleasant relief to the eye wearied with gazing on the sunburnt plains of Hindostan ; and the great spreading banyan, or fig-tree, which increases by sending down subsidiary stem-like roots from the branches under it, spreads over a space sufficient for a little army to encamp on (p. 197). To the Hindoo the palm is what the bamboo is to the Chinese-food, clothing, drink, timber, shelter, shade; and as his food consists almost solely of grains and vegetables, the nature of his country's products fit in conveniently to his religion, if, indeed, his religion were not moulded by the products and climate of his country. In most parts of India there are two harvests yearly, and in some quarters there are three. Bajra, a small, round, very nourishing grain, the Holcus spicatus of botanists, jowar, or sorghum, common in the Levant, Greece, and Italy, and rice and other cereals are sown at the beginning and reaped at the end of the rainy season. Wheat, barley, and various other kinds of grain and pulses are grown during the cold weather and reaped in spring. But it is a mistake to suppose that the people of India live entirely on rice. In British Burmah, Concan (Bombay), Malabar, and the lower parts of Bengal rice is the staple crop; but in the Punjab and Hindostan proper wheat and millet constitute the main food-supplies ; and in the Deccan a poor kind of grain known as “ragee” † takes the place of the cereals grown in other parts of the country. The sugar-cane abounds in Rohilound and Madras, and the great cotton-fields of Berar, Khandesh, and Guzerat are not unknown
* Wakefield: “The Happy Valley” (1879), pp. 137--140. + Eleusine coracana. It is also cultivated in Japan and on the Coramandel coast, where it is called “ Natchnee.'
in Manchester and Liverpool. Malwa and Bengal grow the poppies which supply the opium, that yields so large an addition by dubiously moral means to the Indian revenue, and Bengal is the home of the indigo and jute which are now so indispensable to the world's comfcrt and convenience. In Coorg, Wynaad, and the Neilgherries coffee is grown, and the tea-gardens of Assam, Cachar, Sylhet, and the southern slopes of the Himalayas, from Kangra to Darjeeling, are—as we shall by-and-by see—likely before long to seriously affect the long-established monopoly of China. The quinine yielded by the cinchona-trees introduced by Mr. Markham and his assistants (p. 196) into the cool regions of the Neilgherry and Darjeeling Hills is so excellent that already we are practically independent of the precarious and ever-decreasing supplies of the Pernvian bark; while the ipecacuanha is another medicinal plant which seems to thrive in the Sikkim Terai. Finally, not to enumerate a hundred other products, cardamons and pepper abound along the Western Ghauts, hemp and linseed are largely exported, and tobacco is widely grown throughout India.*
INDIA: ITS POLITICAL DIVISIONS.
The history of this great empire is an interesting topic, but it is foreign to our subject, and even in the briefest outline would occupy more space than we can spare to it. From the remote period when it was divided into numerous aboriginal tribes, more barbarous, to the day when it fell under the control of a strong hand, its chronicles have been full of war and bloodshed. Its period of peace has been short, for when the comparatively short-lived Mohammedan empire fell to pieces, and the lieutenants of the “Great Mogul” fought amongst each other for the fragments, the country was in a continual turmoil ; and it may be safely said—without expressing any opinion on the vexed questions of Indian policy—that at no period of their existence have the Indian people enjoyed greater peace and prosperity than they do under the power which at present holds the reins of empire. The first historical account of India which we possess is contained in the Veddas, Sanscrit poems which contain the groundwork of the earliest system of philosophy known to us. These chronicles are obscure, and seem mainly to refer to the spread of the Aryans from the high plains of Asia to the lower lands of India. This must have taken centuries, but the date of the events referred to is about 1400 B.C. The march of Alexander the Great as far as the Sutlej, occurred in 350 B.C., and may be taken as the first great landmark in a period of vague, misty traditions.
* Andrews: “ India and her Neighbours,” pp. 12, 13; and the various publications of the India Muscum. See also “ Reports on the Moral and Material Progress of India,” and Birdwood : “Arts of India” (1880).
The Greek colony which he founded in Bactria was never flourishing, though it existed up almost to the period of the Christian era. In 550 B.C., in Northern India, was born the Prince Sakya, who founded that religious outcome of the Vedic theology known as Buddhism, which, spreading with almost unexampled rapidity, has become the faith of the greater portion of Asia, though it has now almost entirely disappeared from the land of its birth, in which for a time it was equally dominant.
Until we again come to tangible history in the shape of the Mohammedan invasion and conquests the annals of India consist mainly of lists of kings of various dynasties settled in different parts of the country. The native kings were in a feeble condition when, in 1526, Baber, sixth in descent from Timoor Leng, or “the Lame," commonly called by European writers Tammerlane, the scourge of a great part of Asia, seized the opportunity of making a descent through the Afghan passes on Delhi. Long before this date the Arabs had made plundering expeditions to India, and had even founded dynasties. Mahmûd of Ghuzni, in 1001, permanently established the Mohammedan power in India, and under Genghiz Khan, the Moguls, or Mongols, had as
early as 1212 arrived at the frontier, and for three hundred years rarely allowed a generation to pass without making inroads further and further into the country. Tammerlane, indeed, laid waste a great portion of Hindostan, but to Baber is due the distinction of having founded that Mogul empire which lasted until our day. Humayoon, Akbar (p. 200), Jebangir, Shah Jehan, and Arungzebe, with varying fortunes, increased and consolidated this
magnificent and dissolute Empire. But the latter, though a man of great ability, was bigoted and treacherous, and before his death he had sown those seeds of decay which under his incompetent successors brought the Mohammedan rule to a close ; though for a century after his death the empire dragged on, first under Mahratta sufferance, then under an English protectorate, until the villany of the King of Delhi at the period of the Mutiny finally ended even the nominal rule of the successors of Baber. This was in 1857, but long before that date a great portion of the country had become actually independent.