Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,051 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

17.  The pipal-tree (Ficus religiosa, Linn.; Urostigma religiosum, Gasp.) is sacred to Vishnu, and universally venerated throughout India.

18.  About four hundred thousand persons.

19.  Two pice x 400,000 = 800,000 pice, = 200,000 annas, = 12,500 rupees.  Even if the author’s estimate of the numbers be much too large, the pecuniary result must have been handsome, not to mention the butter and flour.

20.  Hindoo sacred books.


Pestle-and-Mortar Sugar-Mills—­Washing away of the Soil.

On the 13th [December, 1885] we came to Barwa Sagar,[1] over a road winding among small ridges and conical hills, none of them much elevated or very steep; the whole being a bed of brown syenite, generally exposed to the surface in a decomposing state, intersected by veins and beds of quartz rocks, and here and there a narrow and shallow bed of dark basalt.  One of these beds of basalt was converted into grey syenite by a large granular mixture of white quartz and feldspar with the black hornblende.  From this rock the people form their sugar-mills, which are made like a pestle and mortar, the mortar being cut out of the hornblende rock, and the pestle out of wood.[2]

We saw a great many of these mortars during the march that could not have been in use for the last half-dozen centuries, but they are precisely the same as those still used all over India.  The driver sits upon the end of the horizontal beam to which the bullocks are yoked; and in cold mornings it is very common to see him with a pair of good hot embers at his buttocks, resting upon a little projection made behind him to the beam for the purpose of sustaining it [sic].  I am disposed to think that the most productive parts of the surface of Bundelkhand, like that of some of the districts of the Nerbudda territories which repose upon the back of the sandstone of the Vindhya chain, is [sic] fast flowing off to the sea through the great rivers, which seem by degrees to extend the channels of their tributary streams into every man’s field, to drain away its substance by degrees, for the benefit of those who may in some future age occupy the islands of their delta.  I have often seen a valuable estate reduced in value to almost nothing in a few years by some new antennae, if I may so call them, thrown out from the tributary streams of great rivers into their richest and deepest soils.  Declivities are formed, the soil gets nothing from the cultivator but the mechanical aid of the plough, and the more its surface is ploughed and cross-ploughed, the more of its substance is washed away towards the Bay of Bengal in the Ganges, or the Gulf of Cambay in the Nerbudda.  In the districts of the Nerbudda, we often see these black hornblende mortars, in which sugar-canes were once pressed by a happy peasantry, now standing upon a bare and barren

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Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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