Modern India eBook

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

The boom of a cannon in a neighboring fortress, was a signal that the obligations of Ramadan had been fulfilled, that the fast was broken, and thousands of people rushed pell-mell to the eating stands to gorge themselves with sweetmeats and other food.  The more dignified and aristocratic portion of the crowd calmly sat down again upon their rugs and mats and watched their servants unload baskets of provisions upon tablecloths, napkins and trays which they spread upon the ground.  Not less than seven or eight thousand persons indulged in this picnic, but there was no wine or beer; nothing stronger than tea or coffee, because the Koran forbids it.  And after their feast at the mosque the rest of the day was spent in rejoicing.  Gay banners of all colors were displayed from the windows of Mohammedan houses, festoons of flowers were hung over the doors, and from the windowsills; boys were seen rushing through the streets loaded with bouquets sent from friend to friend with compliments and congratulations; firecrackers were exploded in the gardens and parks, and during the evening displays of fireworks were made to entertain the Moslem population, who were assembled in each other’s houses or at their favorite cafes, or were promenading the streets, singing and shouting and behaving very much as our people do on the Fourth of July.

VII

HOW INDIA IS GOVERNED

The present form of government in India was adopted in 1858, after the terrible Sepoy mutiny had demonstrated the inability of the East India Company to control affairs.  By an act of parliament all territory, revenues, tributes and property of that great corporation, which had a monopoly of the Indian trade, and, next to the Hanseatic League of Germany, was the greatest Trust ever formed, were vested in the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, who in 1876 assumed the additional title of Empress of India.  The title and authority were inherited by Edward VII.  He governs through the Secretary of State for India, who is a Cabinet minister, and a Council of not less than ten members, nine of whom must have the practical knowledge and experience gained by a residence of at least ten years in India and not more than ten years previous to the date of their appointment.  This Council is more of an advisory than an executive body.  It has no initiative or authority, but is expected to confer with and review the acts of the Secretary of State for India, who can make no grants or appropriations from the revenues or decide any questions of importance without the concurrence of a majority of its members.  The Council meets every week in London, receives reports and communications and acts upon them.

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Modern India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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