Modern India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 495 pages of information about Modern India.

The palaces, temples and tombs in northern India are unequaled examples of the architectural and decorative arts.  Nothing more beautiful or more costly has ever been built by human hands than the residences and the sepulchers of the Moguls, while their audience chambers, their baths and pavilions are not surpassed, and are not even equaled in any of the imperial capitals of Europe.  The oriental artists and architects of the Mohammedan dynasties lavished money upon their homes and tombs in the most generous manner, and the refinement of their taste was equal to their extravagance.  And where do you suppose they obtained all the money for these buildings, which cost millions upon millions of dollars?  The architectural remains of Akbar and Shah Jehan, the two most splendid of the Moguls, represent an expenditure of several hundred millions, even though the labor of construction was unpaid, and where did they get the funds to pay for them?  Lieutenant Governor La Touche, who has been collecting the records of the Mogul dynasty and having them carefully examined, discovers that their revenues average about $100,000,000 a year for a hundred years or more.  In 1664 the land taxes amounted to L26,743,000, in 1665 they amounted to L24,056,000, while in 1697, during the reign of the Mogul Aurangzeb, they reached their highest figure, which was L38,719,000.  With these funds they were required to keep up their palaces, pay their officials, maintain their armies and provide for the luxurious tastes of their courtiers.

XVI

THE QUAINT OLD CITY OF DELHI

Wherever the viceroy may hold court, wherever the government may sit, Delhi always has been and always will be the capital of India, for have not the prophets foretold that the gilded marble palaces of the Moguls will stand forever?  Although Benares and Lucknow have a larger population, Delhi is regarded as the metropolis of Northern India, and in commerce and manufactures stands fourth in the list of cities, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras only surpassing it in wealth, industry and trade.  If you will look at the map for a moment you will notice its unusually favorable location, both from a commercial and military standpoint.  It occupies a central place in northern India, has railway connections with the frontier and is equidistant from Bombay and Calcutta, the principal ports of the empire.  It receives raw materials from the northern provinces and from mysterious regions beyond the boundary.  Its cunning artisans convert them into finished products and ship them to all the markets of the world.  Being of great strategic importance, a large military garrison is maintained there, and the walls of an ancient fort shelter arsenals filled with guns and magazines filled with ammunition, which may be promptly distributed by railway throughout the empire on demand.  It is the capital of one of the richest and most productive

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Modern India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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