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During the Mogul government it was considered that all the lands of the empire belonged to the sovereign, but the lands in the provinces were subject to the respective nawabs, or nabobs. With them, or their representatives, Orme observes, the farmers agreed for the cultivation of such an extent, on reserving to themselves such a proportion of the produce. This proportion was settled according to the difficulty or ease of raising the grain ; and seldom exceeded one-third.
The landed property in Guzerat was generally considered to belong to the respective governments of the province, whether English, Mogul, or Mahratta. My instructions, on being appointed collector of Dhuboy and the adjoining purgunnas, clearly authorised me so to consider them.
Bhaderpoor - Eastern Highways — Isaiah Illustrated - Beauty of the Country-Mowah-tree - Palmyra-tree - Sugar-cane
Bamboo Curious Banian-trees - Wells Simplicity of Indian Manufactures — Fraudulent Deceptions in weighing Cotton-Cunning and Duplicity of the Hindoos—Excursion in the Purgunnas-Beauties of Cachemire- Travelling BrahminAccount of British India under Mr. Hastings-Description of the Hindoo Mendicants-Anecdote of a Brahmin destroying a Microscope-Extraordinary Feats of Indian Jugglers-Hindoo Drama-Arab and Scindian Infantry in India-HawkingFighting Rams-Hospitality of the Arabs-Power of Music on Antelopes in a Spectacle at Poonah-Destruction of Monkeys by Tigers—Cruelty of Bheels and Gracias—Presentation of a Gracia’s Head-Death of an Indian Female from Futty Sihng's Seraglio-Hindoo Soothsayers, and Diviners-Wilds of Bhaderpoor-Description of a Tiger-hunt by Sir John Day,
Having described the city and inhabitants of Dhuboy, the administration of justice, and collection of the revenues in that district, I will now more briefly mention the subordinate purgunnas intrusted to my management.
The nearest of those districts was called Bhaderpoor ; it contained a small town of the same name, and sixteen inhabited villages. As the capitals were within a few miles of each other, I frequently visited it, and sometimes resided there at the commencement of the harvest immediately after the rains; when the
roads, not only in the Bhaderpoor purgunna, but many other places, were so destroyed by the preceding heavy rains and floods, that it was impossible to travel without sending precursors to see that the hills of sand and mud were levelled, and the chasms and ravines filled up, before a wheeled carriage could pass. This, by the custom of the country, is performed gratuitously for governors and persons in office; and at this season travellers of every description, whether in a palanquin or on horseback, must have the highways mended before they undertake a journey. During the rainy season they are generally impassable, and frequently invisible, from inundation. On the halcarra, or harbinger, arriving at a village with an intimation that a man of consequence is on his way thither, a proclamation is issued to repair the road as far as the next village, and so in continuance. In a light soil it is a work of no great expense, and soon accomplished.
This established custom elucidates a beautiful passage in the evangelical prophecy respecting the coming of the Messiah, preceded by John the Baptist, as a harbinger, in the spirit and power of Elias, to prepare the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight ; St. Matt. ch. iii. ver. 3, when every valley was to be exalted, and every mountain and hill to be made low; and the crooked to be made straight, and the rough places plain. Isaiah, ch. xl. ver. 4.
Another passage occurs in the same prophet, not easily comprehended by an English reader, which is clearly illustrated by a common practice among the peasants in Hindostan. At the commencement of the rainy season they plant abundance of melons, cucum
bers, and gourds, which are then the principal food of the inhabitants. They are not sown in garden-beds, as in Europe, but in open fields, and extensive plains, liable to depredation by men and beasts. In the centre of the field is an artificial mount, with a hut on the top, sufficiently large to shelter a single person from the inclemency of the weather. There, amidst heavy rain and tempestuous winds, a poor solitary being is stationed day and night, to protect the crop from thieves of various descriptions, but especially from the monkeys, who assemble in large bodies to commit depredations. From thence the centinel gives an alarm to the nearest village, and the peasants come out and drive them off. Few situations can be more unpleasant than a hovel of this kind, exposed for three or four months to thunder, lightning, and rain.
The prophet, no doubt, alludes to it in that passage deploring the desolation of Judea ; " the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard; as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers ; as a a besieged city " Isaiah, ch. i. ver. 8.*
During these periodical rains, and for a few weeks after, the aspect of the country is verdant and beautiful. At other seasons the russet hue generally prevails ; the autumnal tints, which give so much beauty to the English woods and groves, are little known in the torrid zone; but there is sufficient variety in the verdure of the trees and plants to pro
* This prediction it is well known has been literally fulfilled, and the mountain of Zion, cast out from the actual enclosure of Jerusalem, only produces cucumbers and other vegetables :-see Tillemont et Crevier, Hist. des Emp. Livre XIX. (II). Note of the Editor.
duce a pleasing contrast. In the Bhaderpoor purgunna are many noble burr-trees, extensive mango topes, and abundance of the mawah (bassia butyracea). This is a valuable tree, indigenous to many parts of India, and flourishing in my districts ; it attains the size of an English oak, grows in almost any soil, and from the beauty of the foliage, makes a conspicuous appearance in the landscape; its timber is very desirable from being proof against the destructive teeth of the termites ; those formidable ants, it is said, being unable to eat it. The leaves are large and shining ; and the flowers, which grow in full bunches, of so rich a nature, that when gathered and dried in the sun, they resemble Malaga raisins in flavour and appearance. These blossoms are eaten in various ways, either as a preserved fruit, or to give an acidity to curries and other savoury dishes; but their greatest consumption is in the distillery of arrack, of which there are many kinds, from rice, jaggaree, tari, and sugar: this, by way of distinction, is called mawah-arrack, and is so strong and cheap a spirit, that the lower class of natives drink it to great excess; its consequences are as pernicious as the same deleterious liquors in Europe. In a plentiful season, a good tree produces froin two to three hundred pounds weight of Aowers ; the proportionate quantity of spirit I cannot ascertain. The flowers are never entirely gathered ; those that remain on the tree are succeeded by a fruit, or shell containing a pulp of delicate whiteness ; from which is extracted an oily substance like butter, or ghee, which keeps a long time, and for family use answers all the purposes of those valuable articles. The kernel, or seed of the fruit, contains an oil of inferior quality