Modern India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 495 pages of information about Modern India.
as human affections and personal regard influence official conduct, and I do not believe we would have it otherwise.  We can admire the stern sense of justice which sends a son to the scaffold or denies a brother a favor that he asks, but we do not like to have such men in our families.  There is undoubtedly more or less personal and political influence exercised in the Indian service, but I doubt if any other country is more free from those common and natural faults.

In addition to the covenanted service are the imperial service and the provincial service, which are recruited chiefly from the natives, although both are open to any subject of King Edward VII.  All these positions are secured by competitive examinations, and, as I have already intimated, the universities of India have arranged their courses of study to prepare native candidates for them.  This has been criticised as a false and injurious educational policy.  The universities are called nurseries for the unnatural propagation of candidates for the civil service, and almost every young man who enters them expects, or at least aspires, to a government position.  There is no complaint of the efficiency of the material they furnish for the public offices.  The examinations are usually sufficient to disclose the mental qualifications of the candidates and are conducted with great care and scrupulousness, but they fail to discover the most essential qualifications for official responsibility, and the greater number of native appointees are contented to settle down at a government desk and do as little work as possible.

VIII

THE RAILWAYS OF INDIA

The railways of India are many and long and useful, but still very primitive in their appointments, having been built for utility and convenience, and not for comfort.  The day will come, I suppose, when modern improvements will be introduced, and the long journeys which are necessary to reach any part of the vast empire will be made as pleasant and luxurious as transcontinental trips in the United States.  Just now, however, the equipment is on a military basis of simplicity and severity.  Passengers are furnished with what they need, and no more.  They are hauled from one place to another at reasonable rates of speed; they are given shelter from the sun and the storms en route; a place to sit in the daytime and to lie down during the night; and at proper intervals the trains stop for refreshments—­not very good nor very bad, but “fair to middling,” as the Yankees say, in quality and quantity.  If a traveler wants anything more he must provide it himself.  People who live in India and are accustomed to these things are perfectly satisfied with them, although the tourist who has just arrived is apt to criticise and condemn for the first few days.

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Modern India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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