Darkest India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 142 pages of information about Darkest India.
33. The Hawkers Brigade—­There could be no possible objection to our disposing of our goods in this way at the ordinary market rates supposing that we were in a position to manufacture more than we required for our own consumption.

    24. The Barbers Brigade—­Would also be a necessary addition to our
    forces, and would find plenty of scope for their skill among the
    unwashed multitudes who would compose our labour legions.

Such are some of the occupations which might at once be set on foot.  To these would no doubt be added many other sorts of handicraft, as our numbers and experience increased, and fresh opportunities opened up around us.

CHAPTER VII.

SHELTER FOR ALL, OR THE HOUSING OF THE DESTITUTE.

A considerable portion of General Booth’s book is devoted to the description of shelters, improved lodgings and suburban villages for the poor.  As elsewhere remarked this question is not of such vital importance for India as for England, though the dealing with it is simply a question of time.

We would therefore simply refer our readers to the admirable proposals embodied in General Booth’s book.  It is possible that there may be some who will desire that immediate steps should be taken for the preparation of similar quarters for the poor in our terribly over-crowded Indian cities.  It is in any case extremely likely that the question will be forced upon us at an early date by the people themselves.

But I have thought it best to narrow down the scheme as much as possible to those things which seem of the most absolute and immediate urgency, and I have therefore divested it as much as possible of all that could reasonably be dispensed with.

Still I see no reason why each city should not have its “Poor Man’s Metropole,” as well as its model dwellings and suburban villages, for the working classes.  I would have these, moreover, as purely oriental as possible with a careful avoidance of anything that might be European in their appearance and arrangements.  There should be tanks for bathing, and washing purposes, gardens, recreation grounds for the children, proper conveniences for cooking, and quarters in which they would not be herded together like cattle, but given the decencies of life, so necessary and helpful to the encouragement of cleanliness and morality.

Another point would be the absolute absence of anything in the shape of mere “charity” about any of the buildings.  Everybody would be made to feel happy and at home, and their self-respect would be cultivated by arranging for suitable charges to be made, payment being taken either in cash or labour.

However, these are only hints that are thrown out, to show that we are fully awake to the importance of this subject, and in order that friends who are interested in the question may feel free to communicate their wishes and give us their advice.

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Darkest India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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