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.

9.  The disgusting festival of the Holi, celebrated with drunkenness and obscenity, takes place in March, and is supposed to be the festival of the vernal equinox (see ante, chapter 27 note 16).  The magistrates in India have no duty which requires more tact, discretion, and firmness than the regulation of conflicting religions processions.  The general disarmament of the people has rendered collisions less dangerous and sanguinary than they used to be, but, in spite of all precautions, they still occur occasionally.  The total prohibition of processions likely to cause collisions is, of course, impracticable.

10.  Ante chapter 15 text at [9].

11.  Muslim daughters also succeed, each taking half the share of a son.

12. Tempora mutantur.  The land revenue, in the author’s time, fully preserved its character of rent, and obviously was not a tax.  Later legislation has obscured its real nature, and made it look like a tax.  When the author wrote, the only taxes levied were indirect ones, as that on salt, which was paid unconsciously.  The modern income-tax, local rates, municipal taxation, and gun licences were all unknown.

13.  The window tax was levied at varying rates from 1697 to 1851.


The Old City of Delhi.

On the 21st we went on eight miles to the Kutb Minar, across the range of sandstone hills, which rise to the height of about two hundred feet, and run north and south.  The rocks are for the most part naked, but here and there the soil between them is covered with famished grass, and a few stunted shrubs; anything more unprepossessing can hardly be conceived than the aspect of these hills, which seem to serve no other purpose than to store up heat for the people of the great city of Delhi.  We passed through a cut in this range of hills, made apparently by the stream of the river Jumna at some remote period, and about one hundred yards wide at the entrance.  This cut is crossed by an enormous stone wall running north and south, and intended to shut in the waters, and form a lake in the opening beyond it.  Along the brow of the precipice, overlooking the northern end of the wall, is the stupendous fort of Tughlakabad, built by the Emperor Tughlak the First[1] of the sandstones of the range of hills on which it stands, cut into enormous square blocks.[2]

On the brow of the opposite side of the precipice, overlooking the southern end of the wall, stands the fort of Muhammadabad, built by this Emperor’s son and successor, Muhammad, and resembling in all things that built by his father.[3] These fortresses overlooked the lake, with the old city of Delhi spread out on the opposite side of it to the west.  There is a third fortress upon an isolated hill, east of the great barrier wall, said to have been built in honour of his master by the Emperor Tughlak’s barber.[4] The Emperor’s tomb stands

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