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.


1.  January, 1836.  The date is misprinted 20th in the original edition.

2. Ante, chapter 56 [13].

3.  ’Amongst the remains of former times in and around Meerut may be noticed the Suraj kund, commonly called by Europeans ’the monkey tank’.  It was constructed by Jawahir Mal, a wealthy merchant of Lawar, in 1714.  It was intended to keep it full of water from the Abu Nala but at present the tank is nearly dry in May and June.  There are numerous small temples, ‘dharmsalas’ [i.e. rest-houses], and ‘sati’ pillars on its banks, but none of any note.  The largest of the temples is dedicated to Manohar Nath, and is said to have been built in the reign of Shah Jahan.  Lawar, a large village . . . is distant twelve miles north of the civil station. . . .  There is a fine house here called Mahal Sarai, built about A.D. 1700 by Jawahir Singh, Mahajan, who constructed the Suraj kund near Meerut’ (N.W.P.  Gazetteer, 1st ed., vol. iii, pp. 406,400).  This information, supplied by the local officials, is more to be depended on than the author’s statement.

4.  ’The “dargah” [i.e. shrine] of Shah Pir is a fine structure of red sandstone, erected about A.D. 1620 by Nur Jahan, the wife of the Emperor Jahangir, in memory of a pious fakir named Shah Pir.  An “urs”, or religions assembly, is held here every year in the month of Ramazan.  The “dargah” is supported from the proceeds of the revenue-free village of Bhagwanpur’ (ibid., vol. iii, p. 406).  The text of the original edition gives the pilgrim’s name as ‘Gungishun’, which has no meaning.

5.  An interesting collection of modern cases of a similar kind is given in Balfour, Cyclopaedia, 3rd ed., s.v.  ‘Samadhi’.

6.  See ante, chapter 15, note l4.  Dr. W. B. O’Shaughnessy contributed many scientific papers to the J.A.S.B. (vols. viii, ix, x, xii, and xvi).


Subdivisions of Lands—­Want of Gradations of Rank—­Taxes.

The country between Delhi and Meerut is well cultivated and rich in the latent power of its soil; but there is here, as everywhere else in the Upper Provinces, a lamentable want of gradations in society, from the eternal subdivision of property in land, and the want of that concentration of capital in commerce and manufactures which characterizes European—­or I may take a wider range, and say Christian societies.[1] Where, as in India, the landlords’ share of the annual returns from the soil has been always taken by the Government as the most legitimate fund for the payment of its public establishments; and the estates of the farmers, and the holdings of the immediate cultivators of the soil, are liable to be subdivided in equal shares among the sons in every succeeding generation, the land can never aid much in giving to society that without which no society can possibly be well organized—­a gradation of rank.  Were the Government to alter

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