Modern India eBook

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

When Younghusband returned to Calcutta and reported the failure of his mission and the insults offered him Lord Curzon decided that the time had come to act, and as soon as preparations could be made Colonel Younghusband started back to Lhassa escorted by 2,500 armed men and carrying provisions for two years.  He was instructed to avoid collisions, to make friends with the people, to establish permanent posts on the line of march wherever he thought necessary and to remain at Lhassa until he secured a treaty opening the markets of Thibet to British merchants.  The treaty is made, and by its terms the Thibetans are to pay England an indemnity of $3,750,000 to cover the cost of the expedition.  Until the indemnity is paid the Indian troops will continue to occupy the Churubi Valley which leads to Lhassa.

Lord Curzon did not dispatch this expedition and undertake this strategic movement without considering the present situation of Russia.  The czar took occasion to engage in negotiations not only with Thibet, but with Afghanistan also, at the very moment when England was suffering her most serious disasters and embarrassments of recent history, and is getting tit for tat.  Before Colonel Younghusband’s expedition was dispatched the British ambassador at St. Petersburg was instructed to inquire if the Russian government had any relations with Thibet or any interests there, and was officially informed that it had not, and hence the etiquette of the situation had been complied with and Lord Curzon was perfectly free to act.

XXVII

BENARES, THE SACRED CITY

No one can realize what an awful religion Brahminism is until he visits Benares, the most sacred city of India, upon the banks of the Ganges, the most sacred river, more holy to more millions of human souls than Mecca to the Moslem, Rome to the Catholic or Jerusalem to the Jew.  This marvelous city it so holy that death upon its soil is equivalent to life eternal.  It is the gate to paradise, the abundant entrance to everlasting happiness, and its blessings are comprehensive enough to include all races, all religions and all castes.  It is not necessary to be a Brahmin or to worship Siva or Krishna or any other of the Hindu gods, nor even to believe in them.  Their grace is sufficient to carry unbelievers to the Hindu heavens provided they die within the area inclosed by a boulevard encircling this city.

There are in Benares 2,000 temples and innumerable shrines, 25,000 Brahmin priests, monks, fakirs and ascetics, and it is visited annually by more than half a million pilgrims—­a larger number than may be counted at Mecca or Jerusalem, or at any other of the sacred cities of the world.  There are more than 500,000 idols established in permanent places for worship in Benares, representing every variety of god in the Hindu pantheon, so that all the pilgrims who go there may find consolation and some

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Modern India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook