Modern India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 495 pages of information about Modern India.
case containing many articles of great value, while both the men and women of the rich and noble castes own and wear on ceremonial occasions amazing collections of precious stones and gold ornaments which have been handed down by their ancestors who invested their surplus wealth in them at a time when no safe securities were to be had and savings banks had not been introduced into India.  A large proportion of the native gold is consumed by local artisans in the manufacture of these ornaments, and is not counted in the official returns.  An equal amount, perhaps, is worked up into gold foil and used for gilding temples, palaces and the houses of the rich.  Like all orientals, the Indians are very fond of gilding, and immense quantities of pure gold leaf are manufactured in little shops that may be seen in every bazaar you visit.

India now ranks second among the manganese ore producing countries of the world, and has an inexhaustible supply of the highest grade.  The quality of the ores from the central provinces permits their export in the face of a railway haul of 500 miles and sea transportation to England, Belgium, Germany and the United States, but, speaking generally, the mineral development of India has not yet begun.

V

TWO HINDU WEDDINGS

There was a notable wedding at Baroda, the capital of one of the Native States of the same name, while we were in India, and the Gaikwar, as the ruling prince is called, expressed a desire for us to be present.  He has a becoming respect for and appreciation of the influence and usefulness of the press, and it was a pleasure to find so sensible a man among the native rulers.  But, owing to circumstances over which we had no control, we had to deny ourselves the gratification of witnessing an event which few foreigners have ever been allowed to see.  It is a pity winter is so short in the East, for there are so many countries one cannot comfortably visit any other time of year.

Baroda is a non-tributary, independent native state of the first rank, lying directly north of the province of Bombay, and its ruler is called a “gaikwar,” which signifies “cowherd,” and the present possessor of that title is one of the biggest men in the empire, one of the richest and one of the greatest swells.  He is entitled to a salute of twenty-one guns, an honor conferred upon only two other native princes, the Maharajah of Mysore and the Nizam of Hyderabad.  He is one of the ablest and one of the most progressive of the native princes.  His family trace their descent back to the gods of mythology, but he is entirely human himself, and a handsome man of middle age.  When we saw him for the first time he had half a dozen garlands of flowers hanging around his neck, and three or four big bouquets in his hand, which, according to the custom of the country, had been presented to him by affectionate friends.  It was he who presented to the City of Bombay the

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Modern India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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