Modern India eBook

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

The lane from the mausoleum leads into the courtyard of the Jumma Musjid, a mosque erected by Ahmed Shah at the height of his power and glory.  It is considered one of the most stately and satisfactory examples of Saracenic architecture.

The most beautiful piece of carving, however, in this great collection is a window in a deserted mosque called Sidi Sayid.  Perhaps you are familiar with it.  It has been photographed over and over again, and has been copied in alabaster, marble, plaster and wax; it has been engraved, photographed and painted, and is used in textbooks on architecture as an illustration of the perfection reached by the sculptors of India.  The design is so complicated that I cannot describe it, but the central features are trees, with intertwining boughs, and the Hindu who made it could use his chisel with as free and delicate a hand as Raphael used his brush.  Fergusson, who is recognized as the highest authority on architecture, says that it is “more like a work of nature than any other architectural detail that has yet been designed, even by the best masters of Greece or the middle ages.”  Yet the mosque which this precious gem made famous is abandoned and deserted, and the courtyard is now a cow pasture.



A board of geographic names, similar to that we have in Washington, is badly needed in India to straighten out discrepancies in the nomenclature on the maps.  I was told that only three towns in all the vast empire have a single spelling; all the rest have several; some have many; and the name of one town—­I have forgotten which—­is given in sixty-five different ways.  Jeypore, for example, is given in fifteen.  The sign over the entrance to the railway station reads “Jeypure;” on the lamps that light the platform it is painted “Jeypoor”; on the railway ticket it was “Jaypur”; on the bill of fare in the refreshment-room of the station it was “Jaipor”; on a telegram delivered by the operator at the station it was spelled “Jaiphur.”  If the employes about a single establishment in the town can get up that number of spells, what are we to expect from the rest of the inhabitants of a city of 150,000 people, and Jeypore is one of the simplest and easiest names in the gazetteer.  The neighboring city of Jodpore, capital of the adjoining native state of Marwar, offers an even greater variety of orthoepy, for it appears in a different spelling on each of the three maps I carried around—­a railway map, a government map, and the map in Murray’s Guide Book.  This is a fair illustration of the dissensions over nomenclature, which are bewildering to a stranger, who never knows when he gets the right spelling, and sometimes cannot even find the towns he is looking for.

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Modern India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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