Darkest India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 142 pages of information about Darkest India.

It would be easy to fill many pages with a description of the internal colony, the business routine, the simple recreations, the practical system of education for the children and the lively religious services that would constitute the daily life of the City of Refuge.  Suffice it to say that we should spare no pains to promote in every way the temporal and spiritual welfare of its inhabitants, to banish drunkenness and immorality, to guard against destitution and to establish a happy holy Godfearing community, that would constitute a beacon of light and hope not only for its own immediate surroundings but far and wide for all India and the East.

CHAPTER XVII.

SUPPLEMENTARY BRANCHES OF THE COUNTRY COLONY.

(1.) Public Works—­

While the central idea of the entire system will be that of providing permanent, as contrasted with temporary work for the destitute, there is no reason why the former should not be supplemented by the latter.  The great public works which at present afford occasional relief for thousands would still be possible, only provision would be made for the redistribution of the masses of labour thus withdrawn from the ordinary channels as soon as the public work in question was completed.

For this again we possess a scriptural parallel in the “levy out of all Israel” raised by King Solomon, consisting of thirty thousand men who were sent “to Lebanon ten thousand a month by courses; a month they were in Lebanon and two months at home.”  In addition to the above we find that he employed seventy thousand “that bare burdens” and eighty thousand “hewers in the mountains, beside the officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.”  It was the elaborate organisation of these laborers, and the provision for their spending a certain proportion of their time at home, which enabled Solomon to carry out his great public works without seriously deranging the labor market, or hindering the prosperity of the nation.  I have selected this instance because it is from well authenticated sources, goes fully into details and refers to a nation and country very much resembling India.  Indeed it is almost identical with the familiar Indian institution known as “begar” or forced labour.

The weak point of such special efforts is that they tend to leave things in a worse position than ever when they are concluded.  Nobody sits down to calculate what is to become of the thousands who have been drawn together, often hundreds of miles from their homes, when the time comes for them to be paid off.  They are thrown bodily upon the labor market and left to shift for themselves as best they can, without any means of informing themselves where they ought to go, or into what other channels they can most profitably direct their labor.

This evil we hope to obviate by means of our Labor Bureaux, which will be planted in every city and district, and will keep such elaborate returns as will enable to watch all the fluctuations of the labor market.

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Darkest India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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