Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

41.  Concerning Chhatarsal (A.D. 1671 to 1731), see notes ante, Chapter 14 note 9, and chapter 23 note 11.  He was one of the sons of Champat Rai.  The correct date of the death of Chhatarsal is Pus Badi 3, Sanwat, 1788 = A.D. 1731.  Hardi (Hirdai) Sa succeeded to the Raj, or kingdom, of Panna, and Jagatraj to that of Jaitpur.  These kingdoms quickly broke up, and the fragments are now in part native states and in part British territory.  The Orchha State was formed about the beginning of the sixteenth century, and the Chanderi and Datiya States are offshoots from it, which separated during the seventeenth century.

42.  As already observed (ante, Chapter 26, note 29), the Jalaun State became British territory in 1840, four years after the tour described in the text, and four years before the, publication of the book.  The Jhansi State similarly lapsed on the death of Raja Gangadhar Rao in November, 1853.  The Rani Lachhmi Bai joined the mutineers, and was killed in battle in June, 1858.

CHAPTER 27

Blights.

I had a visit from my little friend the Sarimant, and the conversation turned upon the causes and effects of the dreadful blight to which the wheat crops in the Nerbudda districts had of late years been subject.  He said that ’the people at first attributed this great calamity to an increase in the crime of adultery which had followed the introduction of our rule, and which’, he said, ’was understood to follow it everywhere; that afterwards it was by most people attributed to our frequent measurement of the land, and inspection of fields, with a view to estimate their capabilities to pay; which the people considered a kind of incest, and which he himself, the Deity, can never tolerate.  The land is’, said he, ’considered as the mother of the prince or chief who holds it—­the great parent from whom he derives all that maintains him—­his family and his establishments.  If well treated, she yields this in abundance to her son; but, if he presumes to look upon her with the eye of desire, she ceases to be fruitful; or the Deity sends down hail or blight to destroy all that she yields.  The measuring the surface of the fields, and the frequent inspecting the crops by the chief himself, or by his immediate agents were considered by the people in this light; and, in consequence, he never ventured upon these things.  They were’, he thought, ’fully satisfied that we did it more with a view to distribute the burthen of taxation equally upon the people than to increase it collectively; still’, he thought that, ’either we should not do it at all, or delegate the duty to inferior agents, whose close inspection of the great parent could not be so displeasing to the Deity.’[1]

Ram Chand Pundit said that ’there was no doubt much truth in what Sarimant Sahib had stated; that the crops of late had unquestionably suffered from the constant measuring going on upon the lands; but that the people (as he knew) had now become unanimous in attributing the calamities of season, under which these districts had been suffering so much, to the eating of beef-this was’, he thought, ‘the great source of all their sufferings.’

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