_MISS CAYLEY'S ADVENTURES_ (1899), ch. 9 by Grant Allen published by Grant Richards IX THE ADVENTURES OF THE MAGNIFICENT MAHARAJAH OUR arrival at Bombay was a triumphal entry. We were received like royalty. Indeed, to tell you the truth, Elsie and I were beginning to get just a leetle bit spoiled. It struck us now that our casual connection with the Ashurst family in its various branches had succeeded in saddling us like the Lady of Burleigh, 'with the burden of an honour unto which we were not born.' We were everywhere treated as persons of importance; and, oh dear, by dint of such treatment we began to feel at last almost as if we had been raised in the purple. I felt that when we got back to England we should turn up our noses at plain bread and butter. Yes, life has been kind to me. Have your researches into English literature ever chanced to lead you into reading Horace Walpole, I wonder? That polite trifler is fond of a word which he coined himself--'Serendipity.' It derives from the name of a certain happy Indian Prince Serendip, whom he unearthed (or invented) in some obscure Oriental story; a prince for whom the fairies or the genii always managed to make everything pleasant. It implies the faculty, which a few of us possess, of finding whatever we want turn up accidentally at the exact right moment. Well, I believe I must have been born with serendipity in my mouth, in place of the proverbial silver spoon, for wherever I go, all things seem to come out exactly right for me. The Jumna, for example, had hardly heaved to in Bombay Harbour when we noticed on the quay a very distinguished-looking Oriental potentate, in a large, white turban with a particularly big diamond stuck ostentatiously in its front. He stalked on board with a political weapon to uncover the ways in which patriarchal society has structured the sexual subject. This essay takes as a starting point the way in which cinema Hollywood style represents sexual differences ad sexual pleasure. According to Mulvey, the patriarchal society is a phallocentric society. This means that it recognizes the male gender and the sexuality of men as the dominant norm. But phallocentrism depends, in Freudian terms, on the image of a castrated woman. This image gives order to the world, that is to say, the male dominated conception of society, postulates a masculine subject at the core of all social interchanges, including language itself. Since women represent the absence of a penis, she embodies the fear of castration which is so fundamental for the constitution of the male subject. Mulvey is saying that language as a symbolic system presupposes some kind of reference to itself just as say, a computer program includes some reference to its identity and procedures. Yet, in the linguistic sphere, it is the male gender the one with power over the word, and it is presence and signature is that which sustains our linguistic order. Thus, Mulvey says: "The paradox of phallocentrism in all its manifestation is that it depends on the image of the castrated woman to give order and meaning to its world." She adds that the idea of woman as lack (of a phallus) drives the production of meaning. The symbolic order of phallocentric culture asserts itself through the image of the castrated woman. Women exist only in relation to castration, or to castration fear, or a source of maternal nurturing. Her child, is the only way in she can participate in the Symbolic Order. Mulvey says: Women then, stands in the patriarchal culture as a signifier for the male other, bound by a symbolic order in which man can live out his phantasies and obsessions through linguistic command by imposing them in the silent image of woman still tied to her place as a bearer of meaning. (140) Cinema as a system of representation poses the question of the form and manner in which the collective subconscious structures ways of seeing and pleasure of looking. Mainstream Hollywood cinema has represented the erotic realm using the language and images of the patriarchal culture. It satisfies and reinforces the masculine ego and represses the desire of women. Cinema offers a number of possible sensual pleasures, among them, scopophilia, or love of looking and its opposite the pleasure derived from being be looked at. Mulvey relies on Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality because in these essays Freud says that scopophilia is one of the components of sexuality. Although scopophilia responds to our sexual drives, its existence is independent of the erotogenic zones. Scopohilia is part of our sexuality because through it we derive erotic pleasure. Scopohilia is also associated with taking people as objects, and to subjecting them to a curious gaze. Freud's says that this pleasure from looking at others is present in children. Thus, children manifest voyeuristic tendencies in their "desire to see and make sure of the private and the forbidden (142)" Also, Freud associates scopohilia with pre-genital auto-eroticism. All these psycho-sexual processes are fundamental for the formation of the ego. According to Mulvey, the screen plays with our scopophilia and voyeuristic phantasies. It give us a world in which to submerge in which our gaze wonders free. The audience also represses its exhibitionism and projects the repressed desire to the performer. Cinema, she feels, satisfies our basic need for pleasurable looking. It also develops scopophilia in its narcissistic aspects. We love looking at ourselves in a narcissistic fashion. The conventions of mainstream cinema focus attention in the human form. The space, the stories the scales are anthropomorphic, that is to say, adjust to the human form. In film our scopophilia and our narcissism intermingle for our needs for likeness and recognition. Cinema plays for the audience a function similar to the joyous encounter of an infant with his/her image in the mirror. This encounter is fundamental for the formation of identity (Lacan's mirror) Mulvey says that the mirror phase occurs at time when the child's desire of movement is bigger that his actual motor capabilities. His images in the mirror is, for the child, more complete and perfect that his body since his body still cannot move as he desires. In a way the recognition the child has of his image in the mirror is a misrecognition. The ego in the mirror is not the real one but an ideal one. Yet, that image is re-introjected as an ego ideal gives rise to the future identification with others. This mirror moment in which identity and subjectivity are born predates language. For Mulvey, this encounter of the child with is image is the matrix of the imaginary, that is to say, of all the mental images and representations we will form. But at the very core of that which allow us to form images to interprets the world, there is a process of recognition and misrecognition of ourselves. This is a moment in which there is a collision between what we see and the way we see ourselves. Previous to the recognition of his/herself in the mirror the child was fascinated by the mother's face and his surroundings but had no clear self-awareness. there is both joy and despair in the recognition of our individuality, joy because, we discover ourselves, despair, because we are severed from our attachment (engulfment) to our surroundings. By the same token, the screen works as a mirror for us. It probably plays with that primeval sense of joy of individuality and despair of separation of the moment of image recognition. While watching the screen we simultaneously lose the ego while we reinforce our ego. also, in the persona of stars and the star system in general function to produce ego ideals.
There are, then, two contradictory aspects in the act of deriving pleasure from the screen: 1.the scopophilia aspect or the act of deriving pleasure from looking at another person as an object of sexual stimulation, 2. the narcissistic identification with the image in the screen. Active scopophilia implies a separation from the erotic object on the screen, narcissistic identification demands identification with the object on the screen through the spectator's fascination with the recognition of his/her likeness. Active scopophila derives from sexual instinct, narcissistic identification with ego libido or sexual wants and processes associated to the ego. Mulvey goes on to say that in our society pleasure of looking shows the very imbalance of the patriarchal system. The male gaze is active and the female gaze is passive. Women, in the world of images ,are displayed as sexual objects. The presence of women is an indispensable element in spectacle. Traditionally, the displaying of women in the world of cimema has functioned at two levels. 1. as erotic object for male characters in the screen story, and 2. as an erotic object for the spectator in the auditorium.
The active male gaze/ passive male gaze dichotomy also affects the narrative structure of movies. The narrative prevents the male figure from the burden of objectification. Hence, men need to make things happen, they are active, they forward the story. The man controls the film phanstasy and is the representative of power as the beraer of the look. The man carries this look behind the screen into the film. The spectator identifies with the male protagonist and projects his look to this protagonist that he takes to be his like or his screen surrogate.. Mulvey says that "the power of the male protagonist as he controls events coincides with the active power of the erotic look both giving a satisfying sense of omnipotence." (145) A male movie star who is a glamorous does not have characteristics of the erotic object of the gaze but is looked at as 'the more powerful ego conceived in the original moment of recognition in front of the mirror." (145)
From the point of view of pyschoanlysis, the female figure is presented in images as a lack of phallus. She represents the castration thereat. Although men enjoy looking at the female figure, she also signifies the anxiety of castration . The male unconscious has different avenues to deal with these anxieties. The male unconscious can re-enact the original trauma of castration, investigating the woman, exploring her body, demystifying her mystery. This is done through fetishistic scopophilia, that is to say by making of the body of woman something satisfying in itself. The other avenue is making her, like Eve, the bearer of the guilt. This second avenue is typical of film noir. In film noir the anxieties of the often immature masculine hero are blamed on a femme fatale. The gaze that assigns guilt is more like voyeurism because in this case the male asserts his control and subjects the guilty femme fatale to punishment or forgiveness. This is usually associated with sadism. This sadistic side fits well with narrative because sadism demands to take control, to make things happen, something that the apparently goes well with traditional representations of masculinity.
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martial air, as soon as we stopped, and made inquiries from our captain after someone he expected. The captain received him with that odd mixture of respect for rank and wealth, combined with true British contempt for the inferior black-man, which is universal among his class in their dealings with native Indian nobility. The Oriental potentate, however, who was accompanied by a gorgeous suite like that of the Wise Men in Italian pictures, seemed satisfied with his information, and moved over with his stately glide in our direction. Elsie and I were standing near the gangway among our rugs and bundles, in the hopeless helplessness of disembarkation. He approached us respectfully, and, bowing with extended hands and a deferential air, asked, in excellent English, 'May I venture to inquire which of you two ladies is Miss Lois Cayley?' 'I am,' I replied, my breath taken away by this unexpected greeting. 'May I venture to inquire in return how you came to know I was arriving by this steamer?' He held out his hand, with a courteous inclination. 'I am the Maharajah of Moozuffernuggar,' he answered in an impressive tone, as if everybody knew of the Maharajah of Moozuffernuggar as familiarly as they knew of the Duke of Cambridge. 'Moozuffernuggar in Rajputana-- not the one in the Doab. You must have heard my name from Mr. Harold Tillington.' I had not; but I dissembled, so as to salve his pride. 'Mr. Tillington's friends are our friends,' I answered, sententiously. 'And Mr. Tillington's friends are my friends,' the Maharajah retorted, with a low bow to Elsie. 'This is no doubt, Miss Petheridge. I have heard of your expected arrival, as you will guess, from Tillington. He and I were at Oxford together; I am a Merton man. It was Tillington who first taught me all I know of cricket. He took me to stop at his father's place in Dumfriesshire. I owe much to his friendship; and when he wrote me that friends of his were arriving by the Jumna, why, I made haste to run down to Bombay to greet them.' The episode was one of those topsy-turvy mixtures of all places and ages which only this jumbled century of ours has witnessed; it impressed me deeply. Here was this Indian prince, a feudal Rajput chief, living practically among his vassals in the Middle Ages when at home in India; yet he said 'I am a Merton man,' as Harold himself might have said it; and he talked about cricket as naturally as Lord Southminster talked about the noble quadruped. The oddest part of it all was, we alone felt the incongruity; to the Maharajah, the change from Moozuffernuggar to Oxford and from Oxford back again to Moozuffernuggar seemed perfectly natural. They were but two alternative phases in a modern Indian gentleman's education and experience. Still, what were we to do with him? If Harold had presented me with a white elephant I could hardly have been more embarrassed than I was at the apparition of this urbane and magnificent Hindoo prince. He was young; he was handsome; he was slim, for a rajah; he wore European costume, save for the huge white turban with its obtrusive diamond; and he spoke English much better than a great many Englishmen. Yet what place could he fill in my life and Elsie's? For once, I felt almost angry with Harold. Why couldn't he have allowed us to go quietly through India, two simple unofficial journalistic pilgrims, in our native obscurity? His Highness of Moozuffernuggar, however, had his own views on this question. With a courteous wave of one dusky hand, he motioned us gracefully into somebody else's deck chairs and then sat down on another beside us, while the gorgeous suite stood by in respectful silence--unctuous gentlemen in pink-and-gold brocade--forming a court all round us. Elsie and I, unaccustomed to be so observed, grew conscious of our hands, our skirts, our postures. But the Maharajah posed himself with perfect unconcern, like one well used to the fierce light of royalty. 'I have come,' he said, with simple dignity, 'to superintend the preparations for your reception.' 'Gracious heavens!' I exclaimed. 'Our reception, Maharajah? I think you misunderstand. We are two ordinary English ladies of the proletariat, accustomed to the level plain of professional society. We expect no reception.' He bowed again, with stately Eastern deference. 'Friends of Tillington's,' he said shortly, 'are persons of distinction. Besides, I have heard of you from Lady Georgina Fawley.' 'Lady Georgina is too good,' I answered, though inwardly I raged against her. Why couldn't she leave us alone, to feed in peace on dak-bungalow chicken, instead of sending this regal-mannered heathen to bother us? 'So I have come down to Bombay to make sure that you are met in the style that befits your importance in society,' he went on, waving his suite away with one careless hand, for he saw it fussed us. 'I mentioned you to His Honour the Acting-Governor, who had not heard you were coming. His Honour's aide-de-camp will follow shortly with an invitation to Government House while you remain in Bombay--which will not be many days, I don't doubt, for there is nothing in this city of plague to stop for. Later on, during your progress up country, I do myself the honour to hope that you will stay as my guests for as long as you choose at Moozuffernuggar.' My first impulse was to answer: 'Impossible, Maharajah; we couldn't dream of accepting your kind invitation.' But on second thoughts, I remembered my duty to my proprietor. Journalism first; inclination afterwards! My letter from Egypt on the rescue of the Englishwoman who escaped from Khartoum had brought me great éclat as a special correspondent, and the Daily Telephone now billed my name in big letters on its placards, so Mr. Elworthy wrote me. Here was another noble chance; must I not strive to rise to it? Two English ladies at a native court in Rajputana! that ought to afford scope for some rattling journalism! 'It is extremely kind of you,' I said, hesitating, 'and it would give us great pleasure, were it feasible, to accept your friendly offer. But--English ideas, you know, prince! Two unprotected women! I hardly see how we could come alone to Moozuffernuggar, unchaperoned.' The Maharajah's face lighted up; he was evidently flattered that we should even thus dubiously entertain his proposal. 'Oh, I've thought about that, too,' he answered, growing more colloquial in tone. 'I've been some days in Bombay, making inquiries and preparations. You see, you had not informed the authorities of your intended visit, so that you were travelling incognito--or should it be incognita?--and if Tillington hadn't written to let me know your movements, you might have arrived at this port without anybody's knowing it, and have been compelled to take refuge in an hotel on landing.' He spoke as if we had been accustomed all our lives long to be received with red cloth by the Mayor and Corporation, and presented with illuminated addresses and the freedom of the city in a gold snuff-box. 'But I have seen to all that. The Acting-Governor's aide-de-camp will be down before long, and I have arranged that if you consent a little later to honour my humble roof in Rajputana with your august presence, Major Balmossie and his wife will accompany you and chaperon you. I have lived in England: of course I understand that two English ladies of your rank and position cannot travel alone--as if you were Americans. But Mrs. Balmossie is a nice little soul, of unblemished character'--that sweet touch charmed me--'received at Government House'--he had learned the respect due to Mrs. Grundy--'so that if you will accept my invitation, you may rest assured that everything will be done with the utmost regard to the--the unaccountable prejudices of Europeans.' His thoughtfulness took me aback. I thanked him warmly. He unbent at my thanks. 'And I am obliged to you in return,' he said. 'It gives me real pleasure to be able through you, to repay Harold Tillington part of the debt I owe him. He was so good to me at Oxford. Miss Cayley, you are new to India, and therefore--as yet--no doubt unprejudiced. You treat a native gentleman, I see, like a human being. I hope you will not stop long enough in our country to get over that stage--as happens to most of your countrymen and countrywomen. In England, a man like myself is an Indian prince; in India, to ninety-nine out of a hundred Europeans, he is just "a damned nigger."' I smiled sympathetically. 'I think,' I said, venturing under these circumstances on a harmless little swear-word--of course, in quotation marks--'you may trust me never to reach "damn-nigger" point.' 'So I believe,' he answered, 'if you are a friend of Harold Tillington's. Ebony or ivory, he never forgot we were two men together.' Five minutes later, when the Maharajah had gone to inquire about our luggage, Lord Southminster strolled up. 'Oh, I say, Miss Cayley,' he burst out, 'I'm off now ; ta-ta: but remembah, that offah's always open. By the way, who is your black friend? I couldn't help laughing at the airs the fellah gave himself. To see a niggah sitting theah, with his suite all round him, waving his hands and sunning his rings, and behaving for all the world as if he were a gentleman; it's reahly too ridiculous. Harold Tillington picked up with a fellah-like that at Oxford--doosid good cricketer too, wondah if this is the same one?" 'Good-bye, Lord Southminster,' I said, quietly, with a stiff little bow. 'Remember, on your side, that your "offer" was rejected once for all last night. Yes, the Indian prince is Harold Tillington's friend, the Maharajah of Moozuffernuggar--whose ancestors were princes while ours were dressed in woad and oak-leaves. But you were right about one thing; he behaves--like a gentleman.' 'Oh, I say,' the pea-green young man ejaculated, drawing back; 'that's anothah in the eye for me. You're a good 'un at facers. You gave me one for a welcome, and you give me one now for a parting shot. Nevah mind though, I can wait; you're backing the wrong fellah--but you're not the Ethels, and you're well worth waiting for.' He waved his hand. 'So-long! See yah again in London.' And he retired, with that fatuous smile still absorbing his features. Our three days in Bombay were uneventful; we merely waited to get rid of the roll of the ship, which continued to haunt us for hours after we landed--the floor of our bed-rooms having acquired an ugly trick of rising in long undulations, as if Bombay were suffering from chronic earth-quake. We made the acquaintance of His Honour the Acting Governor, and His Honour's consort. We were also introduced to Mrs. Balmossie, the lady who was to chaperon us to Moozuffernuggar. Her husband was a soldierly Scotchman from Forfarshire, but she herself was English--a flighty little body with a perpetual giggle. She giggled so much over the idea of the Maharajah's inviting us to his palace that I wondered why on earth she accepted his invitation. At this she seemed surprised. 'Why, it's one of the jolliest places in Rajputana,' she answered, with a bland Simla smile; 'so picturesque--he, he, he--and so delightful. Simpkin flows like water--Simpkin's baboo English for champagne, you know--he, he, he; and though of course the Maharajah's only a native like the rest of them--he, he, he--still, he's been educated at Oxford, and has mixed with Europeans, and he knows how to make one--he, he, he--well, thoroughly comfortable.' 'But what shall we eat?' I asked. 'Rice, ghee, and chupatties?' 'Oh dear no--he, he, he--Europe food, every bit of it. Foie gras, and York ham, and wine ad lib. His hospitality's massive. If it weren't for that, of course, one wouldn't dream of going there. But Archie hopes some day to be made Resident, don't you know; and it will do him no harm--he, he, he-- with the Foreign Office, to have cultivated friendly relations beforehand with His Highness of Moozuffernuggar. These natives--he, he, he--so absurdly sensitive!' For myself, the Maharajah interested me, and I rather liked him. Besides, he was Harold's friend, and that was in itself sufficient recommendation. So I determined to push straight into the heart of native India first, and only afterwards to do the regulation tourist round of Agra and Delhi, the Taj and the mosques, Benares and Allahabad, leaving the English and Calcutta for the tail-end of my journey. It was better journalism; as I thought that thought, I began to fear that Mr. Elworthy was right after all, and that I was a born journalist. On the day fixed for our leaving Bombay, whom should I meet but Lord Southminster--with the Maharajah--at the railway station! He lounged up to me with that eternal smile still vaguely pervading his empty features. 'Well, we shall have a jolly party, I gathah,' he said. 'They tell me this niggah is famous for his tigahs.' I gazed at him, positively taken aback. 'You mean to tell me,' I cried, 'you actually propose to accept the Maharajah's hospitality?' His smile absorbed him. 'Yaas,' he answered, twirling his yellow moustache, and gazing across at the unconscious prince, who was engaged in overlooking the arrangements for our saloon carriage. 'The black fellah discovahed I was a cousin of Harold's, so he came to call upon me at the club, of which some Johnnies heah made me an honorary membah. He's offahed me the run of his place while I'm in Indiah; and, of course, I've accepted. Eccentric sort of chap; can't make him out myself: says anyone connected with Harold Tillington is always deah to him. Rum start, isn't it?' 'He is a mere Oriental,' I answered, 'unused to the ways of civilised life. He cherishes the superannuated virtue of gratitude.' 'Yaas; no doubt--so I'm coming along with you.' I drew back, horrified. 'Now? While I am there? After what I told you last week on the steamer?' 'Oh, that's all right. I bear yah no malice. If I want any fun, of course I must go while you're at Moozuffernuggar.' 'Why so?' 'Yah see, this black boundah means to get up some big things at his place in your honah; and one naturally goes to stop with anyone who has big things to offah. Hang it all, what does it mattah who a fellah is if he can give yah good shooting? It's shooting, don't yah know, that keeps society in England togethah!' 'And therefore you propose to stop in the same house with me!' I exclaimed, 'in spite of what I have told you! Well, Lord Southminster, I should have thought there were limits which even your taste----" He cut me short with an inane grin. 'There you make your blooming little erraw,' he answered, airily. 'I told yah, I keep my offah still open; and, hang it all, I don't mean to lose sight of yah in a hurry. Some other fellah might come along and pick you up when I wasn't looking; and I don't want to miss yah. In point of fact, I don't mind telling yah, I back myself still for a couple of thou' soonah or latah to marry yah. It's dogged as does it; faint heart, they say nevah won fair lady!' If it had not been that I could not bear to disappoint my Indian prince, I think, when I heard this, I should have turned back then and there at the station. The journey up country was uneventful, but dusty. The Mofussil appears to consist mainly of dust; indeed, I can now recall nothing of it but one pervading white cloud which has blotted from my memory all its other components. The dust clung to my hair after many washings, and was never really beaten out of my travelling clothes; I believe part of it thus went round the world with me to England. When at last we reached Moozuffernuggar, after two days' and a night's hard travelling, we were met by a crowd of local grandees; who looked as if they had spent the greater part of their lives in brushing back their whiskers, and we drove up at once, in European carriages, to the Maharajah's palace. The look of it astonished me. It was a strange and rambling old Hindoo hill-fort, high perched on a scarped crag, like Edinburgh Castle, and accessible only on one side, up a gigantic staircase, guarded on either hand by sculptured elephants cut in the living sandstone. Below clustered the town, an intricate mass of tangled alleys. I had never seen anything so picturesque or so dirty in my life; as for Elsie, she was divided between admiration for its beauty and terror at the big-whiskered and white-turbaned attendants. 'What sort of rooms shall we have?' I whispered to our moral guarantee, Mrs. Balmossie. 'Oh, beautiful, dear,' the little lady smirked back. 'Furnished throughout--he, he, he--by Liberty. The Maharajah wants to do honour to his European guests--he,he, he--he fancies, poor man, he's quite European. That's what comes of sending these creatures to Oxford! So he's had suites of rooms furnished for any white visitors who may chance to come his way. Ridiculous, isn't it? And champagne--oh, gallons of it! He's quite proud of his rooms, he, he, he--he's always asking people to come and occupy them; he thinks he's done them up in the best style of decoration.' He had reason, for they were as tasteful as they were dainty and comfortable. And I could not for the life of me make out why his hospitable inclination should be voted 'ridiculous.' But Mrs. Balmossie appeared to find all natives alike a huge joke together. She never even spoke of them without a condescending smile of distant compassion. Indeed, most Anglo-Indians seem first to do their best to Anglicise the Hindoo, and then to laugh at him for aping the Englishman. After we had been three days at the palace and had spent hours in the wonderful temples and ruins, the Maharajah announced with considerable pride at breakfast one morning that he had got up a tiger-hunt in our special honour. Lord Southminster rubbed his hands. 'Ha, that's right, Maharaj,' he said, briskly. 'I do love big game. To tell yah the truth, old man, that's just what I came heah for.' 'You do me too much honour,' the Hindoo answered, with quiet sarcasm. 'My town and palace may have little to offer that is worth your attention; but I am glad that my big game, at least, has been lucky enough to attract you.' The remark was thrown away on the pea-green young man. He had described his host to me as 'a black boundah.' Out of his own mouth I condemned him--he supplied the very word--he was himself nothing more than a born bounder. During the next few days, the preparations for the tiger-hunt occupied all the Maharajah's energies. 'You know, Miss Cayley,' he said to me, as we stood upon the big stairs, looking down on the Hindoo city, 'a tiger-hunt is not a thing to be got up lightly. Our people themselves don't like killing a tiger. They reverence it too much. They're afraid its spirit might haunt them afterwards and bring them bad luck. That's one of our superstitions.' 'You do not share it yourself, then?' I asked. He drew himself up and opened his palms, with a twinkling of pendant emeralds. 'I am royal,' he answered, with naive dignity, 'and the tiger is a royal beast. Kings know the ways of kings. If a king kills what is kingly, it owes him no grudge for it. But if a common man or a low caste man were to kill a tiger--who can say what might happen?' I saw he was not himself quite free from the superstition. 'Our peasants,' he went on, fixing me with his great black eyes, 'won't even mention the tiger by name, for fear of offending him: they believe him to be the dwelling-place of a powerful spirit. If they wish to speak of him, they say, "the great beast," or "my lord, the striped one." Some think the spirit is immortal except at the hands of a king. But they have no objection to see him destroyed by others. They will even point out his whereabouts, and rejoice over his death; for it relieves the village of a serious enemy, and they believe the spirit will only haunt the huts of those who actually kill him.' 'Then you know where each tiger lives?' I asked. 'As well as your gamekeepers in England know which covert may be drawn for foxes. Yes; 'tis a royal sport, and we keep it for Maharajahs. I myself never hunt a tiger till some European visitor of distinction comes to Moozuffernuggar, that I may show him good sport. This tiger we shall hunt to-morrow, for example, he is a bad old hand. He has carried off the buffaloes of my villagers over yonder for years and years, and of late he has also become a man-eater. He once ate a whole family at a meal--a man, his wife, and his three children. The people at Janwargurh have been pestering me for weeks to come and shoot him; and each week he has eaten somebody--a child or a woman; the last was yesterday--but I waited till you came, because I thought it would be something to show you that you would not be likely to see elsewhere.' 'And you let the poor people go on being eaten that we might enjoy this sport!' I cried. He shrugged his shoulders, and opened his hands. 'They were villagers, you know--ryots: mere tillers of the soil--poor naked peasants. I have thousands of them to spare. If a tiger eats ten of them, they only say, "It was written upon their foreheads." One woman more or less, who would notice her at Moozuffernuggar?' Then I perceived that the Maharajah was but still a barbarian. The eventful morning arrived at last, and we started, all agog, for the jungle where the tiger was known to live. Elsie excused herself. She remarked to me the night before as I brushed her back hair for her, that she had 'half a mind' not to go. 'My dear,' I answered, giving the brush a good dash, 'for a higher mathematician, that phrase lacks accuracy. If you were to say 'seven-eighths of a mind' it would be nearer the mark. In point of fact, if you ask my opinion, your inclination to go is a vanishing quantity.' She admitted the impeachment with an accusing blush. 'You're quite right, Brownie; to tell you the truth, I am afraid of it.' 'So am I, dear; horribly afraid. Between ourselves I'm in a deadly funk of it. But "the brave man is not one that feels no fear"; and I believe the same principle applies almost equally to the brave woman. I mean "that **** subdue" as far as I am able. The Maharajah's guest shall be the first girl who has ever gone tiger-hunting. I am frightened out of my life. I never held a gun in my born days before. But, Elsie, recollect, this is splendid journalism. I intend to go through with it.' 'You offer yourself on the altar, Brownie.' 'I do, dear; I propose to die in the cause. I expect the proprietor to carve on my tomb, "Sacred to the memory of the martyr of journalism. She was killed, in the act of taking shorthand notes, by a Bengal tiger."' We started at early dawn, a motley mixture. My short cycling skirt did beautifully for tiger- hunting. There was a vast company of native swells, nawabs and ranas, in gorgeous costumes, whose precise names and titles I do not pretend to remember; there were also Major Balmossie, Lord Southminster, the Maharajah, and myself--all mounted on gaily-parisoned elephants. We had likewise, on foot, a miserable crowd of wretched beaters, with dirty while loin-cloths. We were all very brave of course--demonstratively brave--and we talked a great deal at the start about the exhilaration given by 'the spice of danger.' But it somehow truck me that the poor beaters on foot had the majority of the danger and extremely little exhilaration. Each of us great folks was mounted on his own elephant, which carried a light basket- work howdah in two compartments: the front one intended for the noble sportsman, the back one for a servant with extra guns and ammunition. I pretended to like it, but I fear I trembled visibly. Our mahouts sat on the giants' necks, each armed with a pointed goad, to whose admonition the huge beasts answered like clock-work. A good journalist always pretends to know everything before hand, so I speak carelessly of the 'mahout,' as if he were a dear acquaintance. But I don't mind telling you aside, in confidence, that I had only just learnt the word that morning. The Maharajah protested at first against my taking part in the actual hunt, but I believe he was proud that the first lady tiger-hunter should have joined his party. Dusty and shadeless, the road from Moozuffernuggar fares straight across the plain towards the crumbling mountains. Behind, in the heat mist, the castle and palace on their steeply-scarped crag, with the squalid town that clustered at their feet, reminded me once more most strangely of Edinburgh, where I used to spend my vacations from Girton. But the pitiless sun differed greatly from the gray haar of the northern metropolis. It warmed into intense white the little temples of the wayside, and beat on our heads with tropical garishness. I am bound to admit also that tiger-hunting is not quite all it is cracked up to be. In my fancy I had pictured the gallant and bloodthirsty beast rushing out upon us full pelt from some grass-grown nullah at the first sniff of our presence and fiercely attacking both men and elephants. Instead of that, I will confess the whole truth: frightened as at least one of us was of the tiger, the tiger was still more desperately frightened of his human assailants. I could see clearly that so far from rushing out of his own accord to attack us, his one desire was to be let alone. He was horribly afraid; he skulked in the jungle like a wary old fox in a trusty spinney. There was no nullah (whatever a nullah may be), there was only a waste of dusty cane-brake. We encircled the tall grass patch where he lurked, forming a big round with a ring-fence of elephants. The beaters on foot, advancing, half naked, with a caution with which I could fully sympathise, endeavoured by loud shouts and gesticulations to rouse the royal beast to a sense of his position. Not a bit of it; the royal beast declined to be drawn; he preferred retirement. The Maharajah, whose elephant was stationed next to mine, even apologised for the resolute cowardice with which he clung to his ignoble lurking-place. The beaters drew in: the elephants, raising their trunks in air and sniffing suspicion, moved slowly inward. We had girt him round now with a perfect ring, through which he could not possibly break without attacking somebody. The Maharajah kept a fixed eye on my personal safety. But still the royal animal crouched and skulked, and still the black beaters shrieked, howled, and gesticulated. At last, among the tall perpendicular lights and shadows of the big grasses and bamboos, I seemed to see something move--something striped like the stems, yet passing slowly, slowly, slowly between them. It moved in a stealthy undulating line. No one could believe till he saw it how the bright flame-coloured bands of vivid orange-yellow on the monster's flanks, and the interspersed black stripes, could fade away and harmonise, in their native surroundings, with the lights and shades of the upright jungle. It was a marvel of mimicry. 'Look there!' I cried to the Maharajah, pointing one eager hand. 'What is that thing there, moving?' He stared where I pointed. 'By Jove,' he cried, raising his rifle with a sportsman's quickness, 'you have spotted him first! The tiger!' The terrified beast stole slowly and cautiously through the tall grasses, his lithe, silken side gliding in and out snakewise, and only his fierce eyes burning bright with gleaming flashes between the gloom of the jungle. Once I had seen him, I could follow with ease his sinuous path among the tangled bamboos, a waving line of beauty in perpetual motion. The Maharajah followed him too, with his keen eyes, and pointed his rifle hastily. But, quick as he was, Lord Southminster was before him. I had half expected to find the pea-green young man turn coward at the last moment; but in that I was mistaken: I will do him the justice to say, whatever else he was, he was a born sportsman. The gleam of joy in his leaden eye when he caught sight of the tiger, the flush of excitement on his pasty face, the eagerness of his alert attitude, were things to see and remember. That moment almost ennobled him. In sight of danger, the best instincts of the savage seemed to revive within him. In civilised life he was a poor creature; face to face with a wild beast he became a mighty shikari. Perhaps that was why he was so fond of big-game shooting. He may have felt it raised him in the scale of being. He lifted his rifle and fired. He was a cool shot, and he wounded the beast upon its left shoulder. I could see the great crimson stream gush out all at once across the shapely sides, staining the flame-coloured stripes and reddening the black shadows. The tiger drew back, gave a low, fierce growl, and then crouched among the jungle. I saw he was going to leap; he bent his huge backbone into a strong downward curve, took in a deep breath, and stood at bay, glaring at us. Which elephant would he attack? That was what he was now debating. Next moment, with a frightful R'-r'-r'-r', he had straightened out his muscles, and, like a bolt from a bow, had launched his huge bulk forward. I never saw his charge. I never knew he had leapt upon me. I only felt my elephant rock from side to side like a ship in a storm. He was trumpeting, shaking, roaring with rage and pain, for the tiger was on his flanks, its claws buried deep in the skin of his forehead. I could not keep my seat; I felt myself tossed about in the frail howdah like a pill in a pill-box. The elephant, in a death grapple, was trying to shake off his ghastly enemy. For a minute or two, I was conscious of nothing save this swinging movement. Then, opening my eyes for a second, I saw the tiger, in all his terrible beauty, clinging to the elephant's head by the claws of his fore paws, and struggling for a foothold on its trunk with his mighty hind legs, in a wounded agony of despair and vengeance. He would sell his life dear; he would have one or other of us. Lord Southminster raised his rifle again; but the Maharajah shouted aloud in an angry voice: 'Don't fire! Don't fire! You will kill the lady! You can't aim at him like that. The beast is rocking so that no one can say where a shot will take effect. Down with your gun, sir, instantly!' My mahout, unable to keep his seat with the rocking, now dropped off his cushion among the scrub below. He could speak a few words of English. 'Shoot, Mem Sahib, shoot!' he cried, flinging his hands up. But I was tossed to and fro, from side to side, with my rifle under my arm. It was impossible to aim. Yet in sheer terror I tried to draw the trigger. I failed; but somehow I caught my rifle against the side of my cage. Something snapped in it somewhere. It went off unexpectedly, without my aiming or firing. I shut my eyes. When I opened them again, I saw a swimming picture of the great sullen beast, loosing his hold on the elephant. I saw his brindled face; I saw his white tusks. But his gleaming pupils burned bright no longer. His jaw was full towards me: I had shot him between the eyes. He fell, slowly, with blood streaming from his nostrils, and his tongue lolling out. His muscles relaxed; his huge limbs grew limp. In a minute, he lay stretched at full length on the ground, with his head on one side, a grand, terrible picture. My mahout flung up his hands in wonder and amazement. 'My father!' he cried aloud. 'Truly, the Mem Sahib is a great shikari!' The Maharajah stretched across to me. 'That was a wonderful shot!' he exclaimed. 'I could never have believed a woman could show such nerve and coolness.' Nerve and coolness, indeed! I was trembling all over like an Italian greyhound, every limb a jelly; and I had not even fired: the rifle went off of itself without me. I am innocent of having ever endangered the life of a haycock. But once more I dissembled. 'Yes, it was a difficult shot,' I said jauntily, as if I rather liked tiger-hunting. 'I didn't think I'd hit him.' Still the effect of my speech was somewhat marred, I fear, by the tears that in spite of me rolled down my cheek silently. Pon honah, I nevah saw a finah piece of shooting in my life,' Lord Southminster drawled out. Then he added aside, in an undertone, 'Makes a fellow moah determined to annex her than evah!' I sat in my howdah, half dazed. I hardly heard what they were saying. My heart danced like the elephant. Then it stood still within me. I was only aware of a feeling of faintness. Luckily for my reputation as a mighty sportswoman, however, I just managed to keep up, and did not actually faint, as I was more than half inclined to do. Next followed the native pæan. The beaters crowded round the fallen beast in a chorus of congratulation. Many of the villagers also ran out, with prayers and ejaculations, to swell our triumph. It was all like a dream. They hustled round me and salaamed to me. A woman had shot him! Wonderful! A babel of voices resounded in my ears. I was aware that pure accident had elevated me into a heroine. 'Put the beast on a pad elephant,' the Maharajah called out. The beaters tied ropes round his body and raised him with difficulty. The Maharajah's face grew stern. 'Where are the whiskers?' he asked, fiercely, in his own tongue, which Major Balmossie interpreted for me. The beaters and the villagers, bowing low and expanding their hands, made profuse expressions of ignorance and innocence. But the fact was patent--the grand face had been mangled. While they had crowded in a dense group round the fallen carcass, somebody had cut off the lips and whiskers and secreted them. 'They have ruined the skin!' the Maharajah cried out in angry tones. 'I intended it for the lady. I shall have them all searched, and the man who has done this thing----' He broke off, and looked around him. His silence was more terrible by far than the fiercest threat. I saw him now the Oriental despot. All the natives drew back, awestruck. 'The voice of a king is the voice of a great god,' my mahout murmured, in a solemn whisper. Then nobody else said anything. 'Why do they want the whiskers?' I asked, just to set things straight again. 'They seem to have been in a precious hurry to take them!' The Maharajah's brow cleared. He turned to me once more with his European manner. 'A tiger's body has wonderful power after his death,' he answered. 'His fangs and his claws are very potent charms. His heart gives courage. Whoever eats of it will never know fear. His liver preserves against death and pestilence. But the highest virtue of all exists in his whiskers. They are mighty talismans. Chopped up in food, they act as a slow poison, which no doctor can detect, no antidote guard against. They are also a sovereign remedy against magic or the evil eye. And administered to women, they make an irresistible philtre, a puissant love-potion. They secure you the heart of whoever drinks them.' 'I'd give a couple of monkeys for those whiskahs,' Lord Southminster murmured, half unnoticed. We began to move again. 'We'll go on to where we know there is another tiger,' the Maharajah said, lightly, as if tigers were partridges. 'Miss Cayley, you will come with us?' I rested on my laurels. (I was quivering still from head to foot.) 'No, thank you, Maharajah,' as unconcernedly as I could; 'I've had quite enough sport for my first day's tiger-hunting. I think I'll go back now, and write a newspaper account of this little adventure.' 'You have had luck,' he put in. 'Not everyone kills a tiger his first day out. This will make good reading.' 'I wouldn't have missed it for a hundred pounds,' I answered. 'Then try another.' 'I wouldn't try another for a thousand,' I cried, fervently. That evening, at the palace, I was the heroine of the day. They toasted me in a bumper of Heidsieck's dry monopole. The men made speeches. Everybody talked gushingly of my splendid courage and my steadiness of hand. It was a brilliant shot, under such difficult circumstances. For myself, I said nothing. I pretended to look modest. I dared not confess the truth--that I never fired at all. And from that day to this I have never confessed it, till I write it down now in these confiding memoirs. One episode cast a gloom over my ill-deserved triumph. In the course of the evening, a telegram arrived for the pea-green young man by a white-turbaned messenger. He read it, and crumpled it up carelessly in his hand. I looked inquiry. 'Yaas,' he answered, nodding. 'You're quite right. It's that! Pooah old Marmy has gone, aftah all! Ezekiel and Habakkuk have carried off his sixteen stone at last! And I don't mind telling yah now--though it was a neah thing--it's I who am the winnah!' (End.)
PROFESSOR OF SANSKRIT, BENGALI, AND MARATHI 1801-1830 Carey the only Sanskrit scholar in India besides Colebrooke--The motive of the missionary scholar--Plans translation of the sacred books of the East--Comparative philology from Leibniz to Carey--Hindoo and Mohammedan codes and colleges of Warren Hastings--The Marquis Wellesley--The College of Fort William founded--Character of the Company’s civil and military servants--Curriculum of study, professors and teachers--The vernacular languages--Carey’s account of the college and his appointment--How he studied Sanskrit--College Disputation Day in the new Government House--Carey’s Sanskrit speech--Lord Wellesley’s eulogy--Sir James Mackintosh--Carey’s pundits--He projects the Bibliotheca Asiatica--On the Committee of the Bengal Asiatic Society--Edition and translation of the Ramayana epic--The Hitopadesa--His Universal Dictionary--Influence of Carey on the civil and military services--W. B. Bayley; B. H. Hodgson; R. Jenkins; R. M. and W. Bird; John Lawrence.
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WHEN, in the opening days of the nineteenth century, William Carey was driven to settle in Danish Serampore, he was the only member of the governing race in North India who knew the language of the people so as to teach it; the only scholar, with the exception of Colebrooke, who could speak Sanskrit as fluently as the Brahmans. The Bengali language he had made the vehicle of the teaching of Christ, of the thought of Paul, of the revelation of John. Of the Sanskrit, hitherto concealed from alien eyes or diluted only through the Persian, he had prepared a grammar and begun a dictionary, while he had continually used its great epics in preaching to the Brahmans, as Paul had quoted the Greek poets on the Areopagus. And all this he had done as the missionary of Christ and the scholar afterwards. Reporting to Ryland, in August 1800, the publication of the Gospels and of "several small pieces" in Bengali, he excused his irregularity in keeping a journal, "for in the printing I have to look over the copy and correct the press, which is much more laborious than it would be in England, because spelling, writing, printing, etc., in Bengali is almost a new thing, and we have in a manner to fix the orthography." A little later, in a letter to Sutcliff, he used language regarding the sacred books of the Hindoos which finds a parallel more than eighty years after in Professor Max Müller’s preface to his series of the sacred books of the East, the translation of which Carey was the first to plan and to begin from the highest of all motives. Mr. Max Müller calls attention to the "real mischief that has been and is still being done by the enthusiasm of those pioneers who have opened the first avenues through the bewildering forests of the sacred literature of the East." He declares that "Eastern nations themselves would not tolerate, in any of their classical literary compositions, such violations of the simplest rules of taste as they have accustomed themselves to tolerate, if not to admire, in their sacred books." And he is compelled to leave untranslated, while he apologises for them, the frequent allusions to the sexual aspects of nature, "particularly in religious books." The revelations of the Maharaj trial in Bombay are the practical fruit of all this.
"CALCUTTA, 17th March 1802.--I have been much astonished lately at the malignity of some of the infidel opposers of the Gospel, to see how ready they are to pick every flaw they can in the inspired writings, and even to distort the meaning, that they may make it appear inconsistent; while these very persons will labour to reconcile the grossest contradictions in the writings accounted sacred by the Hindoos, and will stoop to the meanest artifices in order to apologise for the numerous glaring falsehoods and horrid violations of all decency and decorum, which abound in almost every page. Any thing, it seems, will do with these men but the word of God. They ridicule the figurative language of Scripture, but will run allegory-mad in support of the most worthless productions that ever were published. I should think it time lost to translate any of them; and only a sense of duty excites me to read them. An idea, however, of the advantage which the friends of Christianity may obtain by having these mysterious sacred nothings (which have maintained their celebrity so long merely by being kept from the inspection of any but interested Brahmans) exposed to view, has induced me, among other things, to write the Sanskrit grammar, and to begin a dictionary of that language. I sincerely pity the poor people, who are held by the chains of an implicit faith in the grossest of lies; and can scarcely help despising the wretched infidel who pleads in their favour and tries to vindicate them. I have long wished to obtain a copy of the Veda; and am now in hopes I shall be able to procure all that are extant. A Brahman this morning offered to get them for me for the sake of money. If I succeed, I shall be strongly tempted to publish them with a translation, pro bono publico."
It was not surprising that the Governor-General, even if he had been less enlightened than Lord Wellesley, found in this missionary interloper, as the East India Company officially termed the class to which he belonged, the only man fit to be Professor of Bengali, Sanskrit, and Marathi in the College of Fort William, and also translator of the laws and regulations of the Government.
In a memoir read before the Berlin Academy of Sciences, which he had founded in the first year of the eighteenth century, Leibniz first sowed the seed of the twin sciences of comparative philology and ethnology, to which we owe the fruitful results of the historical and critical school. That century was passed in the necessary collection of facts, of data. Carey introduced the second period, so far as the learned and vernacular languages of North India are concerned--of developing from the body of facts which his industry enormously extended, the principles upon which these languages were constructed, besides applying these principles, in the shape of grammars, dictionaries, and translations, to the instruction and Christian civilisation alike of the learned and of the millions of the people. To the last, as at the first, he was undoubtedly only what he called himself, a pioneer to prepare the way for more successful civilisers and scholars. But his pioneering was acknowledged by contemporary14 and later Orientalists, like Colebrooke and H. H. Wilson, to be of unexampled value in the history of scientific research and industry, while the succeeding pages will show that in its practical results the pioneering came as nearly to victory as is possible, until native India lives its own national Christian life.
When India first became a united British Empire under one Governor-General and the Regulating Act of Parliament of 1773, Warren Hastings had at once carried out the provision he himself had suggested for using the moulavies and pundits in the administration of Mussulman and Hindoo law. Besides colleges in Calcutta and Benares to train such, he caused those codes of Mohammedan and Brahmanical law to be prepared which afterwards appeared as The Hedaya and The Code of Gentoo Laws. The last was compiled in Sanskrit by pundits summoned from all Bengal and maintained in Calcutta at the public cost, each at a rupee a day. It was translated through the Persian, the language of the courts, by the elder Halhed into English in 1776. That was the first step in English Orientalism. The second was taken by Sir William Jones, a predecessor worthy of Carey, but cut off all too soon while still a young man of thirty-four, when he founded the Bengal Asiatic Society in 1784 on the model of Boyle’s Royal Society. The code of Warren Hastings had to be arranged and supplemented into a reliable digest of the original texts, and the translation of this work, as done by pundit Jaganatha, was left, by the death of Jones, to Colebrooke, who completed it in 1797. Charles Wilkins had made the first direct translation from the Sanskrit into English in 1785, when he published in London The Bhagavat-Geeta or Dialogue of Krishna and Arjoon, and his is the imperishable honour thus chronicled by a contemporary poetaster:--
"But he performed a yet more noble part,
He gave to Asia typographic art."
In Bengali Halhed had printed at Hoogli in 1783, with types cut by Wilkins, the first grammar, but it had become obsolete and was imperfect. Such had been the tentative efforts of the civilians and officials of the Company when Carey began anew the work from the only secure foundation, the level of daily sympathetic intercourse with the people and their Brahmans, with the young as well as the old.
The Marquis Wellesley was of nearly the same age as Carey, whom he soon learned to appreciate and to use for the highest good of the empire. Of the same name and original English descent as John and Charles Wesley, the Governor-General was the eldest and not the least brilliant of the Irish family which, besides him, gave to the country the Duke of Wellington and Lord Cowley. While Carey was cobbling shoes in an unknown hamlet of the Midlands and was aspiring to convert the world, young Wellesley was at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, acquiring the classical scholarship which, as we find its fruits in his Primitiœ et Reliquiœ, extorted the praise of De Quincey. When Carey was starving in Calcutta unknown the young lord was making his mark in the House of Commons by a speech against the Jacobins of France in the style of Burke. The friend of Pitt, he served his apprenticeship to Indian affairs in the Board of Control, where he learned to fight the directors of the East India Company, and he landed at Calcutta in 1798, just in time to save the nascent empire from ruin by the second Mysore war and the fall of Tipoo at Seringapatam. Like that other marquis who most closely resembled him half a century after, the Scottish Dalhousie, his hands were no sooner freed from the uncongenial bonds of war than he became even more illustrious by his devotion to the progress which peace makes possible. He created the College of Fort William, dating the foundation of what was fitted and intended to be the greatest seat of learning in the East from the first anniversary of the victory of Seringapatam. So splendidly did he plan, so wisely did he organise, and with such lofty aims did he select the teachers of the college, that long after his death he won from De Quincey the impartial eulogy, that of his three services to his country and India this was the "first, to pave the way for the propagation of Christianity--mighty service, stretching to the clouds, and which in the hour of death must have given him consolation."
When Wellesley arrived at Calcutta he had been shocked by the sensual ignorance of the Company’s servants. Sunday was universally given up to horse-racing and gambling. Boys of sixteen were removed from the English public schools where they had hardly mastered the rudiments of education to become the magistrates, judges, revenue collectors, and governors of millions of natives recently brought under British sway. At a time when the passions most need regulation and the conscience training, these lads found themselves in India with large incomes, flattered by native subordinates, encouraged by their superiors to lead lives of dissipation, and without the moral control even of the weakest public opinion. The Eton boy and Oxford man was himself still young, and he knew the world, but he saw that all this meant ruin to both the civil and military services, and to the Company’s system. The directors addressed in a public letter, dated 25th May 1798, "an objurgation on the character and conduct" of their servants. They re-echoed the words of the new Governor-General in their condemnation of a state of things, "highly discreditable to our Government, and totally incompatible with the religion we profess." Such a service as this, preceding the creation of the college, led Pitt’s other friend, Wilberforce, in the discussions on the charter of 1813, to ascribe to Lord Wellesley, when summoning him to confirm and revise it, the system of diffusing useful knowledge of all sorts as the true foe not only of ignorance but of vice and of political and social decay.
Called upon to prevent the evils he had been the first to denounce officially, Lord Wellesley wrote his magnificent state paper of 1800, which he simply termed Notes on the necessity of a special collegiate training of Civil Servants. The Company’s factories had grown into the Indian Empire of Great Britain. The tradesmen and clerks, whom the Company still called "writer," "factor," and "merchant," in their several grades, had, since Clive obtained a military commission in disgust at such duties, become the judges and rulers of millions, responsible to Parliament. They must be educated in India itself, and trained to be equal to the responsibilities and temptations of their position. If appointed by patronage at home when still at school, they must be tested after training in India so that promotion shall depend on degrees of merit. Lord Wellesley anticipated the modified system of competition which Macaulay offered to the Company in 1853, and the refusal of which led to the unrestricted system which has prevailed with varying results since that time. Nor was the college only for the young civilians as they arrived. Those already at work were to be encouraged to study. Military officers were to he invited to take advantage of an institution which was intended to be "the university of Calcutta," "a light amid the darkness of Asia," and that at a time when in all England there was not a military college. Finally, the college was designed to be a centre of Western learning in an Eastern dress for the natives of India and Southern Asia, alike as students and teachers. A noble site was marked out for it on the stately sweep of Garden Reach, where every East Indiaman first dropped its anchor, and the building was to be worthy of the founder who erected Government House.
The curriculum of study included Arabic, Persian, and Sanskrit; Bengali, Marathi, Hindostani (Hindi), Telugoo, Tamil, and Kanarese; English, the Company’s, Mohammedan and Hindoo law, civil jurisprudence, and the law of nations; ethics; political economy, history, geography, and mathematics; the Greek, Latin, and English classics, and the modern languages of Europe; the history and antiquities of India; natural history, botany, chemistry, and astronomy. The discipline was that of the English universities as they then were, under the Governor-General himself, his colleagues, and the appellate judges. The senior chaplain, the Rev. David Brown, was provost in charge of the discipline; and Dr. Claudius Buchanan was vice-provost in charge of the studies, as well as professor of Greek, Latin, and English. Dr. Gilchrist was professor of Hindostani, in teaching which he had already made a fortune; Lieutenant J. Baillie of Arabic; and Mr. H. B. Edmonstone of Persian. Sir George Barlow expounded the laws or regulations of the British Government in India. The Church of England constitution of the college at first, to which Buchanan had applied the English Test Act, and his own modesty, led Carey to accept of his appointment, which was thus gazetted:--"The Rev. William Carey, teacher of the Bengali and Sanskrit languages."
The first notice of the new college which we find in Carey’s correspondence is this, in a letter to Sutcliff dated 27th November 1800:--"There is a college erected at Fort William, of which the Rev. D. Brown is appointed provost, and C. Buchanan classical tutor: all the Eastern languages are to be taught in it." "All" the languages of India were to be taught, the vernacular as well as the classical and purely official. This was a reform not less radical and beneficial in its far-reaching influence, and not less honourable to the scholarly foresight of Lord Wellesley, than Lord William Bentinck’s new era of the English language thirty-five years after. The rulers and administrators of the new empire were to begin their career by a three years’ study of the mother tongue of the people, to whom justice was administered in a language foreign alike to them and their governors, and of the Persian language of their foreign Mohammedan conquerors. That the peoples of India, "every man in his own language," might hear and read the story of what the one true and living God had done for us men and our salvation, Carey had nine years before given himself to acquire Bengali and the Sanskrit of which it is one of a numerous family of daughters, as the tongues of the Latin nations of Europe and South America are of the offspring of the speech of Caesar and Cicero. Now, following the missionary pioneer, as educational, scientific, and even political progress has ever since done in the India which would have kept him out, Lord Wellesley decreed that, like the missionary, the administrator and the military officer shall master the language of the people. The five great vernaculars of India were accordingly named, and the greatest of all, the Hindi, which was not scientifically elaborated till long after, was provided for under the mixed dialect or lingua franca known as Hindostani.
When Carey and his colleagues were congratulating themselves on a reform which has already proved as fruitful of results as the first century of the Renascence of Europe, he little thought, in his modesty, that he would be recognised as the only man who was fit to carry it out. Having guarded the college, as they thought, by a test, Brown and Buchanan urged Carey to take charge of the Bengali and Sanskrit classes as "teacher" on Rs. 500 a month or £700 a year. Such an office was entirely in the line of the constitution of the missionary brotherhood. But would the Government which had banished it to Serampore recognise the aggressively missionary character of Carey, who would not degrade his high calling by even the suspicion of a compromise? To be called and paid as a teacher rather than as the professor whose double work he was asked to do, was nothing to the modesty of the scholar who pleaded his sense of unfitness for the duties. His Master, not himself, was ever Carey’s first thought, and the full professorship, rising to £1800 a year, was soon conferred on the man who proved himself to be almost as much the college in his own person as were the other professors put together. A month after his appointment he thus told the story to Dr. Ryland in the course of a long letter devoted chiefly to the first native converts:--
"SERAMPORE, 15th June 1801...We sent you some time ago a box full of gods and butterflies, etc., and another box containing a hundred copies of the New Testament in Bengali...Mr. Lang is studying Bengali, under me, in the college. What I have last mentioned requires some explanation, though you will probably hear of it before this reaches you. You must know, then, that a college was founded last year in Fort William, for the instruction of the junior civil servants of the Company, who are obliged to study in it three years after their arrival. I always highly approved of the institution, but never entertained a thought that I should be called to fill a station in it. To my great surprise I was asked to undertake the Bengali professorship. One morning a letter from Mr. Brown came, inviting me to cross the water, to have some conversation with him upon this subject. I had but just time to call our brethren together, who were of opinion that, for several reasons, I ought to accept it, provided it did not interfere with the work of the mission. I also knew myself to be incapable of filling such a station with reputation and propriety. I, however, went over, and honestly proposed all my fears and objections. Both Mr. Brown and Mr. Buchanan were of opinion that the cause of the mission would be furthered by it; and I was not able to reply to their arguments. I was convinced that it might. As to my ability, they could not satisfy me; but they insisted upon it that they must be the judges of that. I therefore consented, with fear and trembling. They proposed me that day, or the next, to the Governor-General, who is patron and visitor of the college. They told him that I had been a missionary in the country for seven years or more; and as a missionary I was appointed to the office. A clause had been inserted in the statutes to accommodate those who are not of the Church of England (for all professors are to take certain oaths, and make declarations); but, for the accommodation of such, two other names were inserted, viz., lecturers and teachers, who are not included under that obligation. When I was proposed, his lordship asked if I was well affected to the state, and capable of fulfilling the duties of the station; to which Mr. B. replied that he should never have proposed me if he had had the smallest doubt on those heads. I wonder how people can have such favourable ideas of me. I certainly am not disaffected to the state; but the other is not clear to me.
"When the appointment was made, I saw that I had a very important charge committed to me, and no books or helps of any kind to assist me. I therefore set about compiling a grammar, which is now half printed. I got Ram Basu to compose a history of one of their kings, the first prose book ever written in the Bengali language; which we are also printing. Our pundit has also nearly translated the Sanskrit fables, one or two of which Brother Thomas sent you, which we are also going to publish, These, with Mr. Foster’s vocabulary, will prepare the way to reading their poetical books; so that I hope this difficulty will be gotten through. But my ignorance of the way of conducting collegiate exercises is a great weight upon my mind. I have thirteen students in my class; I lecture twice a week, and have nearly gone through one term, not quite two months. It began 4th May. Most of the students have gotten through the accidents, and some have begun to translate Bengali into English. The examination begins this week. I am also appointed teacher of the Sanskrit language; and though no students have yet entered in that class, yet I must prepare for it. I am, therefore, writing a grammar of that language, which I must also print, if I should be able to get through with it, and perhaps a dictionary, which I began some years ago. I say all this, my dear brother, to induce you to give me your advice about the best manner of conducting myself in this station, and to induce you to pray much for me, that God may, in all things, be glorified by me. We presented a copy of the Bengali New Testament to Lord Wellesley, after the appointment, through the medium of the Rev. D. Brown, which was graciously received. We also presented Governor Bie with one.
"Serampore is now in the hands of the English. It was taken while we were in bed and asleep; you may therefore suppose that it was done without bloodshed. You may be perfectly easy about us: we are equally secure under the English or Danish Government, and I am sure well disposed to both."
For seven years, since his first settlement in the Dinapoor district, Carey had given one-third of his long working day to the study of Sanskrit. In 1796 he reported:--"I am now learning the Sanskrit language, that I may be able to read their Shasters for myself; and I have acquired so much of the Hindi or Hindostani as to converse in it and speak for some time intelligibly...Even the language of Ceylon has so much affinity with that of Bengal that out of twelve words, with the little Sanskrit that I know, I can understand five or six." In 1798 he wrote:--"I constantly employ the forenoon in temporal affairs; the afternoon in reading, writing, learning Sanskrit, etc.; and the evening by candle light in translating the Scriptures...Except I go out to preach, which is often the case, I never deviate from this rule." Three years before that he had been able to confute the Brahmans from their own writings; in 1798 he quoted and translated the Rig Veda and the Purana in reply to a request for an account of the beliefs of the priesthood, apologising, however, with his usual self-depreciation:--"I am just beginning to see for myself by reading the original Shasters." In 1799 we find him reading the Mahabharata epic with the hope of finding some allusion or fact which might enable him to equate Hindoo chronology with reliable history, as Dr. John Wilson of Bombay and James Prinsep did a generation later, by the discovery of the name of Antiochus the Great in two of the edicts of Asoka, written on the Girnar rock.
By September 1804 Carey had completed the first three years’ course of collegiate training in Sanskrit. The Governor-General summoned a brilliant assembly to listen to the disputations and declamations of the students who were passing out, and of their professors, in the various Oriental languages. The new Government House, as it was still called, having been completed only the year before at a cost of £140,000, was the scene, in "the southern room on the marble floor," where, ever since, all through the century, the Sovereign’s Viceroys have received the homage of the tributary kings of our Indian empire. There, from Dalhousie and Canning to Lawrence and Mayo, and their still surviving successors, we have seen pageants and durbars more splendid, and representing a wider extent of territory, from Yarkand to Bangkok, than even the Sultanised Englishman as Sir James Mackintosh called Wellesley, ever dreamed of in his most imperial aspirations. There councils have ever since been held, and laws have been passed affecting the weal of from two to three hundred millions of our fellow-subjects. There, too, we have stood with Duff and Cotton, Ritchie and Outram, representing the later University of Calcutta which Wellesley would have anticipated. But we question if, ever since, the marble hall of the Governor-General’s palace has witnessed a sight more profoundly significant than that of William Carey addressing the Marquis Wellesley in Sanskrit, and in the presence of the future Duke of Wellington, in such words as follow.
The seventy students, their governors, officers, and professors, rose to their feet, when, at ten o’clock on Thursday the 20th of September 1804, His Excellency the Visitor entered the room, accompanied, as the official gazette duly chronicles, by "the Honourable the Chief Justice, the judges of the Supreme Court, the members of the Supreme Council, the members of the Council of the College, Major-General Cameron, Major-General the Honourable Arthur Wellesley, Major-General Dowdeswell, and Solyman Aga, the envoy from Baghdad. All the principal civil and military officers at the Presidency, and many of the British inhabitants, were present on this occasion; and also many learned natives."
After Romer had defended, in Hindostani, the thesis that the Sanskrit is the parent language in India, and Swinton, in Persian, that the poems of Hafiz are to be understood in a figurative or mystical sense, there came a Bengali declamation by Tod senior on the position that the translations of the best works extant in the Sanskrit with the popular languages of India would promote the extension of science and civilisation, opposed by Hayes; then Carey, as moderator, made an appropriate Bengali speech. A similar disputation in Arabic and a Sanskrit declamation followed, when Carey was called on to conclude with a speech in Sanskrit. Two days after, at a second assemblage of the same kind, followed by a state dinner. Lord Wellesley presented the best students with degrees of merit inscribed on vellum in Oriental characters, and delivered an oration, in which he specially complimented the Sanskrit classes, urged more general attention to the Bengali language, and expressed satisfaction that a successful beginning had been made in the study of Marathi.
It was considered a dangerous experiment for a missionary, speaking in Sanskrit, to avow himself such not only before the Governor-General in official state but before the Hindoo and Mohammedan nobles who surrounded him. We may be sure that Carey would not show less of his Master’s charity and wisdom than he had always striven to do. But the necessity was the more laid on him that he should openly confess his great calling, for he had told Fuller on Lord Wellesley’s arrival he would do so if it were possible. Buchanan, being quite as anxious to bring the mission forward on this occasion, added much to the English draft--"the whole of the flattery is his," wrote Carey to Fuller--and sent it on to Lord Wellesley with apprehension. This answer came back from the great Proconsul:--"I am much pleased with Mr. Carey’s truly original and excellent speech. I would not wish to have a word altered. I esteem such a testimony from such a man a greater honour than the applause of Courts and Parliaments."
"MY LORD, it is just that the language which has been first cultivated under your auspices should primarily be employed in gratefully acknowledging the benefit, and in speaking your praise. This ancient language, which refused to disclose itself to the former Governors of India, unlocks its treasures at your command, and enriches the world with the history, learning, and science of a distant age. The rising importance of our collegiate institution has never been more clearly demonstrated than on the present occasion; and thousands of the learned in distant nations will exult in this triumph of literature.
"What a singular exhibition has been this day presented to us! In presence of the supreme Governor of India, and of its most learned and illustrious characters, Asiatic and European, an assembly is convened, in which no word of our native tongue is spoken, but public discourse is maintained on interesting subjects in the languages of Asia. The colloquial Hindostani, the classic Persian, the commercial Bengali, the learned Arabic, and the primæval Sanskrit are spoken fluently, after having been studied grammatically, by English youth. Did ever any university in Europe, or any literary institution in any other age or country, exhibit a scene so interesting as this? And what are the circumstances of these youth? They are not students who prosecute a dead language with uncertain purpose, impelled only by natural genius or love of fame. But having been appointed to the important offices of administering the government of the country in which these languages are spoken, they apply their acquisitions immediately to useful purpose; in distributing justice to the inhabitants; in transacting the business of the state, revenual and commercial; and in maintaining official intercourse with the people, in their own tongue, and not, as hitherto, by an interpreter. The acquisitions of our students may be appreciated by their affording to the suppliant native immediate access to his principal; and by their elucidating the spirit of the regulations of our Government by oral communication, and by written explanations, varied according to the circumstances and capacities of the people.
"The acquisitions of our students are appreciated at this moment by those learned Asiatics now present in this assembly, some of them strangers from distant provinces; who wonder every man to hear in his own tongue important subjects discussed, and new and noble principles asserted, by the youth of a foreign land. The literary proceedings of this day amply repay all the solicitude, labour, and expense that have been bestowed on this institution. If the expense had been a thousand times greater, it would not have equalled the immensity of the advantage, moral and political, that will ensue.
"I, now an old man, have lived for a long series of years among the Hindoos. I have been in the habit of preaching to multitudes daily, of discoursing with the Brahmans on every subject, and of superintending schools for the instruction of the Hindoo youth. Their language is nearly as familiar to me as my own. This close intercourse with the natives for so long a period, and in different parts of our empire, has afforded me opportunities of information not inferior to those which have hitherto been presented to any other person. I may say indeed that their manners, customs, habits, and sentiments are as obvious to me as if I was myself a native. And knowing them as I do, and hearing as I do their daily observations on our government, character, and principles, I am warranted to say (and I deem it my duty to embrace the public opportunity now afforded me of saying it) that the institution of this college was wanting to complete the happiness of the natives under our dominion; for this institution will break down that barrier (our ignorance of their language) which has ever opposed the influence of our laws and principles, and has despoiled our administration of its energy and effect.
"Were the institution to cease from this moment, its salutary effects would yet remain. Good has been done, which cannot be undone. Sources of useful knowledge, moral instruction, and political utility have been opened to the natives of India which can never be closed; and their civil improvement, like the gradual civilisation of our own country, will advance in progression for ages to come.
"One hundred original volumes in the Oriental languages and literature will preserve for ever in Asia the name of the founder of this institution. Nor are the examples frequent of a renown, possessing such utility for its basis, or pervading such a vast portion of the habitable globe. My lord, you have raised a monument of fame which no length of time or reverse of fortune is able to destroy; not chiefly because it is inscribed with Maratha and Mysore, with the trophies of war and the emblems of victory, but because there are inscribed on it the names of those learned youth who have obtained degrees of honour for high proficiency in the Oriental tongues.
"These youth will rise in regular succession to the Government of this country. They will extend the domain of British civilisation, security, and happiness, by enlarging the bounds of Oriental literature and thereby diffusing the spirit of Christian principles throughout the nations of Asia. These youth, who have lived so long amongst us, whose unwearied application to their studies we have all witnessed, whose moral and exemplary conduct has, in so solemn a manner, been publicly declared before this august assembly, on this day; and who, at the moment of entering on the public service, enjoy the fame of possessing qualities (rarely combined) constituting a reputation of threefold strength for public men, genius, industry, and virtue;--these illustrious scholars, my lord, the pride of their country, and the pillars of this empire, will record your name in many a language and secure your fame for ever. Your fame is already recorded in their hearts. The whole body of youth of this service hail you as their father and their friend. Your honour will ever be safe in their hands. No revolution of opinion or change of circumstances can rob you of the solid glory derived from the humane, just, liberal, and magnanimous principles which have been embodied by your administration.
"To whatever situation the course of future events may call you, the youth of this service will ever remain the pledges of the wisdom and purity of your government. Your evening of life will be constantly cheered with new testimonies of their reverence and affection, with new proofs of the advantages of the education you have afforded them, and with a demonstration of the numerous benefits, moral, religious, and political, resulting from this institution;--benefits which will consolidate the happiness of millions of Asia, with the glory and welfare of our country."
The Court of Directors had never liked Lord Wellesley, and he had, in common with Colebrooke, keenly wounded them by proposing a free trade movement against their monopoly. They ordered that his favourite college should be immediately abolished. He took good care so to protract the operation as to give him time to call in the aid of the Board of Control, which saved the institution, but confined it to the teaching of languages to the civilians of the Bengal Presidency only. The Directors, when thus overruled chiefly by Pitt, created a similar college at Haileybury, which continued till the open competitive system of 1854 swept that also away; and the Company itself soon followed, as the march of events had made it an anachronism.
The first law professor at Haileybury was James Mackintosh, an Aberdeen student who had leaped into the front rank of publicists and scholars by his answer to Burke, in the Vindiciœ Gallicœ, and his famous defence of M. Peltier accused of a libel on Napoleon Buonaparte. Knighted and sent out to Bombay as its first recorder, Sir James Mackintosh became the centre of scholarly society in Western India, as Sir William Jones had been in Bengal. He was the friend of Robert Hall, the younger, who was filling Carey’s pulpit in Leicester, and he soon became the admiring correspondent of Carey himself. His first act during his seven years’ residence in Bombay was to establish the "Literary Society." He drew up a "Plan of a comparative vocabulary of Indian languages," to be filled up by the officials of every district, like that which Carey had long been elaborating for his own use as a philologist and Bible translator. In his first address to the Literary Society he thus eulogised the College of Fort William, though fresh from a chair in its English rival, Haileybury:--"The original plan was the most magnificent attempt ever made for the promotion of learning in the East...Even in its present mutilated state we have seen, at the last public exhibition, Sanskrit declamation by English youth, a circumstance so extraordinary, that if it be followed by suitable advances it will mark an epoch in the history of learning."
Carey continued till 1831 to be the most notable figure in the College of Fort William. He was the centre of the learned natives whom it attracted, as pundits and moonshees, as inquirers and visitors. His own special pundit was the chief one, Mrityunjaya Vidyalankar, whom Home has immortalised in Carey’s portrait. In the college for more than half the week, as in his study at Serampore, Carey exhausted three pundits daily. His college-room was the centre of incessant literary work, as his Serampore study was of Bible translation. When he declared that the college staff had sent forth one hundred original volumes in the Oriental languages and literature, he referred to the grammars and dictionaries, the reading-books, compilations, and editions prepared for the students by the professors and their native assistants. But he contributed the largest share, and of all his contributions the most laborious and valuable was this project of the Bibliotheca Asiatica.
"24th July, 1805.--By the enclosed Gazette you will see that the Asiatic Society and the College have agreed to allow us a yearly stipend for translating Sanskrit works: this will maintain three missionary stations, and we intend to apply it to that purpose. An augmentation of my salary has been warmly recommended by the College Council, but has not yet taken place, and as Lord Cornwallis is now arrived and Lord Wellesley going away, it may not take place. If it should, it will be a further assistance. The business of the translation of Sanskrit works is as follows: About two years ago I presented proposals (to the Council of the College) to print the Sanskrit books at a fixed price, with a certain indemnity for 100 copies. The plan was thought too extensive by some, and was therefore laid by. A few months ago Dr. Francis Buchanan came to me, by desire of Marquis Wellesley, about the translation of his manuscripts. In the course of conversation I mentioned the proposal I had made, of which he much approved, and immediately communicated the matter to Sir John Anstruther, who is president of the Asiatic Society. Sir John had then been drawing out a proposal to Lord Wellesley to form a catalogue raisonnè of the ancient Hindoo books, which he sent to me, and entering warmly into my plan, desired that I would send in a set of proposals. After some amendments it was agreed that the College of Fort William and the Asiatic Society should subscribe in equal shares 300 rupees a month to defray the current expenses, that we should undertake any work approved of by them, and print the original with an English translation on such paper and with such a type as they shall approve; the copy to be ours. They have agreed to recommend the work to all the learned bodies in Europe. I have recommended the Ramayana to begin with, it being one of the most popular of all the Hindoo books accounted sacred. The Veda are so excessively insipid that, had we begun with them, we should have sickened the public at the outset. The Ramayana will furnish the best account of Hindoo mythology that any one book will, and has extravagancy enough to excite a wish to read it through."
In 1807 Carey became one of the most active members of the Bengal Asiatic Society. His name at once appears as one of the Committee of Papers. In the ninth volume of the Asiatic Researches for that year, scholars were invited to communicate translations and descriptive accounts of Asiatic books. Carey’s edition of The Ramayana of Valmeeki, in the original Sanskrit, with a prose translation and explanatory notes, appeared from the Serampore press in three successive quartos from 1806 to 1810. The translation was done by "Dr. Carey and Joshua Marshman." Until Gorresio published his edition and Italian translation of the whole poem this was the first and only attempt to open the seal of the second great Sankrit epic to the European world. In 1802 Carey had encouraged the publication at his own press of translations of both the Mahabharata and the Ramayana into Bengali. Carey’s Ramayana excited a keen interest not only among the learned of Europe, but among poetical students. Southey eagerly turned to it for materials for his Curse of Kehama, in the notes to which he makes long quotations from "the excellent and learned Baptist missionaries of Serampore." Dean Milman, when professor of poetry in Oxford, drew from the same storehouse many of the notes with which he enriched his verse translations from both epics. A. W. von Schlegel, the death of whose eldest brother at Madras early led him to Oriental studies, published two books with a Latin translation. Mr. Ralph T. H. Griffith most pleasantly opened the treasures of this epic to English readers in his verse translations published since 1868. Carey’s translation has always been the more rare that the edition despatched for sale in England was lost at sea, and only a few presentation copies are extant, one of which is in the British Museum.
Carey’s contributions to Sanskrit scholarship were not confined to what he published or to what appeared under his own name. We are told by H. H. Wilson that he had prepared for the press translations of treatises on the metaphysical system called Sankhya. "It was not in Dr. Carey’s nature to volunteer a display of his erudition, and the literary labours already adverted to arose in a great measure out of his connection with the college of Calcutta, or were suggested to him by those whose authority he respected, and to whose wishes he thought it incumbent upon him to attend. It may be added that Dr. Carey spoke Sanskrit with fluency and correctness."
He edited for the college the Sanskrit text of the Hitopadesa, from six MSS. recensions of this the first revelation to Europe of the fountain of Aryan folk-tales, of the original of Pilpay’s Fables.15 H. H. Wilson remarks that the errors are not more than might have been expected from the variations and defects of the manuscripts and the novelty of the task, for this was the first Sanskrit book ever printed in the Devanagari character. To this famous work Carey added an abridgment of the prose Adventures of Ten Princes (the Dasa Kumara Carita), and of Bhartri-hari’s Apophthegms. Colebrooke records his debt to Carey for carrying through the Serampore press the Sanskrit dictionary of Amara Sinha, the oldest native lexicographer, with an English interpretation and annotations. But the magnum opus of Carey was what in 1811 he described as A Universal Dictionary of the Oriental Languages, derived from the Sanskrit, of which that language is to be the groundwork. The object for which he had been long collecting the materials of this mighty work was the assisting of "Biblical students to correct the translation of the Bible in the Oriental languages after we are dead."
Through the College of Fort William during thirty long years Carey influenced the ablest men in the Bengal Civil Service, and not a few in Madras and Bombay. "The college must stand or the empire must fall," its founder had written to his friends in the Government, so convinced was he that only thus could proper men be trained for the public service and the welfare of our native subjects be secured. How right he was Carey’s experience proved. The young civilians turned out after the first three years’ course introduced that new era in the administration of India which has converted traders into statesmen and filibusters into soldier-politicals, so that the East Indian services stand alone in the history of the administration of imperial dependencies for spotless integrity and high average ability. Contrast with the work of these men, from the days of Wellesley, the first Minto, and Dalhousie, from the time of Canning to Lawrence and the second Minto, the provincial administration of imperial Rome, of Spain and Portugal at their best, of even the Netherlands and France. For a whole generation of thirty years the civilians who studied Sanskrit, Bengali, and Marathi came daily under the gentle spell of Carey, who, though he had failed to keep the village school of Moulton in order, manifested the learning and the modesty, the efficiency and the geniality, which won the affectionate admiration of his students in Calcutta.
A glance at the register of the college for its first five years reveals such men as these among his best students. The first Bengali prizeman of Carey was W. Butterworth Bayley, whose long career of blameless uprightness and marked ability culminated in the temporary seat of Governor-General, and who was followed in the service by a son worthy of him. The second was that Brian H. Hodgson who, when Resident of Nepal, of all his contemporaries won for himself the greatest reputation as a scholar, who fought side by side with the Serampore brotherhood the battle of the vernaculars of the people. Charles, afterwards Lord Metcalfe, had been the first student to enter the college. He was on its Persian side, and he learned while still under its discipline that "humility, patience, and obedience to the divine will" which unostentatiously marked his brilliant life and soothed his spirit in the agonies of a fatal disease. He and Bayley were inseparable. Of the first set, too, were Richard Jenkins, who was to leave his mark on history as Nagpoor Resident and author of the Report of 1826; and Romer, who rose to be Governor of Bombay for a time. In those early years the two Birds passed through the classes--Robert Mertins Bird, who was to found the great land revenue school of Hindostan; and Wilberforce Bird, who governed India while Lord Ellenborough played at soldiers, and to whom the legal suppression of slavery in Southern Asia is due. Names of men second to those, such as Elliot and Thackeray, Hamilton and Martin, the Shakespeares and Plowdens, the Moneys, the Rosses and Keenes, crowd the honour lists. One of the last to enjoy the advantages of the college before its abolition was John Lawrence, who used to confess that he was never good at languages, but whose vigorous Hindostani made many an ill-doing Raja tremble, while his homely conversation, interspersed with jokes, encouraged the toiling ryot.
These, and men like these, sat at the feet of Carey, where they learned not only to be scholars but to treat the natives kindly, and--some of them--even as brethren in Christ. Then from teaching the future rulers of the East, the missionary-professor turned to his Bengali preaching and his Benevolent Institution, to his visits to the prisoners and his intercourse with the British soldiers in Fort William. And when the four days’ work in Calcutta was over, the early tide bore him swiftly up the Hoogli to the study where, for the rest of the week, he gave himself to the translation of the Bible into the languages of the people and of their leaders.
Criminality and Colonial Anthropology by Vinay Lal [Originally published as my introduction to the reprint edition (Gurgaon, Haryana: Vintage Press, 1995, pp. i-xxvii, of Rai Bahadur M. Pauparao Naidu, The History of Railway Thieves, with Illustrations and Hints on Detection, 4th ed. (Madras: Higginbothams Limited, 1915).] This rather unusual work, bearing the curious title of "A History of Railway Thieves", appears to have been of sufficient interest to the reading public to warrant a fourth edition in 1915. Its author, M. Pauparao Naidu, joined the Madras Police in 1888, and quickly rose through the ranks. He was described by the Governor of Madras, who conferred the title of Rai Bahadur upon Naidu in 1914, as having "succeeded in putting down dacoity" merely two years after joining the force, and in this endeavor he appears to have "severely injured [himself] in a hand-to-hand encounter with dacoits." At what time Naidu became associated with the Special Branch of the Madras Police it is not known, but upon the establishment of the Criminal Intelligence Department in 1906, he was attached to this department. That same year he received "the thanks of the Director for work in connection with counterfeiting coins and again in 1910 for good work in Pondicherry." Naidu was one of the earliest recipients of the King's Police Medal for distinguished service, which had been inaugurated by royal warrant in 1909, and in 1914 he was presented the Sanad of Rai Bahadur. Though Naidu's name is not mentioned in the History of the Madras Police, published in 1959 on the occasion of its centenary, he had clearly established something of a reputation for himself. The title page of The History of Railway Thieves indicates that he also authored the three previous volumes in the "Criminal Tribes of India Series", and it cannot be doubted that, in the long years of his service, he had come to acquire an intimate acquaintance with the 'characteristics' of the so-called criminal tribes and classes. His 'expertise', though not uncontested by his contemporaries, was widely acknowledged. Thus, for example, W. J. Hatch, in his account of the Kuravers, allegedly a class of "hereditary criminals", was to describe Naidu as having preceded him in offering a "valuable" description of the Kuravers. What might interest us about the History of Railway Thieves today? The Government of India has persisted with the dubious, not to mention odious, classification of 'criminal' tribes and castes, and works like these might help us understand better the sociological and political thinking to which bureaucrats, civil servants, and indeed many Indian penologists remain bound. Even more so, large chunks of the Indian middle classes swear by the idea of 'habitual', 'hereditary', and 'congenital' criminals. Someone could even well claim that the modus operandi of railway thieves remains astonishingly similar one hundred years later, and indeed the adept ways of swindlers at Mughal Serai, one of the largest railway junctions in the world, are reminiscent of the machinations used by the railway thieves described by Naidu. But these can scarcely be the reasons that commend the History of Railway Thieves to our attention. Naidu's little work owed a great deal to the colonial anthropology and to what we could describe as the 'epistemological imperatives' of the colonial state. Naidu's "history" stands at the intersection of several developments that have engaged the student of colonialism and that might interest the student of independent India, and it provides a curious and engaging narrative touching upon the history of the police, the development and uses of fingerprinting, the colonial systems of classification, the colonial apparatus and machinery of 'law and order', notions of criminality, the advent of photography, and the development of the railways. It is to some of these matters that I shall be adverting in this introduction, though very briefly and only by way of pointing to some of the more arresting associations raised by Naidu's book. II Though British rule was founded on naked power, and India continued to be ruled by the sword, the British also achieved in India a conquest of knowledge. It was by means of this conquest that the British governed India and held it subject to their whims. There were numerous theories on how India might be governed: while some colonial rulers advocated a Platonic model of guardianship, and the evangelicals conceived it as Britain's preeminent mission to civilise and Christianise the heathen, the utilitarians sought mainly to introduce an efficient administration and encourage habits of scientific and rational thinking among the 'superstitious' people of the land. The so-called romantics fought for the preservation of Indian customs and institutions, in the belief that these were most appropriate for Indians at their stage of development, and that any attempt to tamper with indigenous customs and beliefs would be received with hostility. There were advocates of despotism too, except that the enlightened despotism of the British was to be substituted for Oriental Despotism. What was common to all these schools of thought was the supposition that it was Britain's mission to rule, and India's duty to submit; and that just as Indians were incapable of governing themselves, much less anyone else, so the British had been gifted with eminently good sense, courage, manliness, a sense of action, and active habits of thought to preside over the destinies of a nation far removed from their shores. To effect the conquest of knowledge that would gain them the acquiescence of their subjects and enable their rule, the British put into place a set of epistemological imperatives. The battles of Plassey and Buxar had no sooner been fought than that the British sought to consolidate their gains in the realm of knowledge. As the collection of revenue became the responsibility of the East India Company, it became perforce necessary to chart and survey the land. So came into birth the Survey of India, and henceforth the surveyors were to do invaluable work for the colonial state in opening up the land, introducing new methods of surveillance, and mapping sacred and profane territories. But the enterprise of mapping India stood at the conjunction of time and space, and alongside the surveyors the historians were set to work. In 1763 Robert Orme had already published the first volume of his History of the Military Transactions of the British Nation in Indostan; and as James Rennell, Surveyor General of the East India Company Territories of Bengal, was to become the father of English geography, so Robert Orme was in time to become one of the first professional historians in England, and Historiographer to the East India Company. By 1770, there had also appeared the first part of John Zephaniah Holwell's Interesting Historical Events relative to the Provinces of Bengal and the Empire of Indostan, and Alexander Dow's History of Indostan. History and geography were only two domains which the British sought to shape. The governance of India having become their responsibility, they were compelled to acquaint themselves with the myriad languages spoken by Indians, and throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there appeared a stream of grammars and dictionaries of Tamil, Bengali, Telugu, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Kannada, and other Indian languages. These tasks assumed a particular importance in the years of the expansion and strengthening of colonial rule; and as the Company gave way to the Crown, and the conquest of territories yielded to the necessity of settling them, endowing them with proper administrations, and introducing the regime of law and order, so by the late nineteenth century numerous mechanisms that would enable the state to know, measure, count, and control its subjects were brought to the fore. Though every Indian could not be known, that was scarcely necessary, as the individual among them did not exist; in the British conception of Indian society, only collectivities existed, and of these communities in which membership was gained by virtue of religion were primordial. It was sufficient, then, to know every type of Indian, an aspiration attempted to be fulfilled in the massive project, undertaken at the behest of the Government of India shortly after the Rebellion of 1857-58, entitled The People of India. That fetish for numbers which had overtaken England and Europe earlier in the nineteenth century was soon to inflect the work of the colonial administrator, who was joined in his pursuits by the anthropometrist and the anthropologist. In 1882 the Census Commissioner proposed that "steps should be taken to collect full information regarding castes and occupations throughout British India", and over the next twenty to thirty years, a massive series of tomes, containing an ethnographic inquiry into all the important castes and tribes, and an anthropometric survey of the physical characteristics of tribesmen, were to serve as testimony to the assiduous if mistaken labour of colonial officials and their 'native informants'. What was derived from all these projects of the state, from the establishment of the Trigonometrical Survey and the Botanical Survey to the Census of India and the Ethnographic Survey, was a certain conception of Indian society. Some of these tropes by which India was to understood, indeed ossified, were already present in the writings of seventeenth-century travellers, but in the writings of Dow, Orme, and others a century later they received a fresh impetus from their nexus with colonial adventurism, and finally in the nineteenth century they received a more elaborate, complex, politically insidious, and epistemologically bound representation. The first elements of an Orientalist grammar of India were 'despotism' and 'effeminacy'; to these were added the idea of the 'lazy native', the scheming and villainous 'Brahmin', 'unchanging India', the primordial 'village community', and the invidious distinction between 'martial' and 'non-martial' races. The 'thuggee and dacoity' department under Colonel William Sleeman and his successors had already fixed upon the idea of 'hereditary criminals', and this was to be the partial backdrop for the emergence of 'criminal tribes' and 'criminal castes', whose conduct and movements would then be regulated through legislation. By the middle of the nineteenth century, 'caste' was beginning to emerge as the central organizing principle of Indian society, something that no Indian was without, something that fixed the occupation of each generation, and to this would be added the notion that there were in India such irreconcilable religious communities of people such as 'Hindus', 'Muslims', and 'Sikhs'. These representations were to form the backdrop to almost every work of colonial ethnography, anthropology, and history, and were just as present, as we shall see, in Naidu's History of Railway Thieves. III The History of Railway Thieves, let us recall, appeared as a monograph in a series on "The Criminal Tribes of India", and throughout Naidu is at pains to establish that the railway thieves are hereditary criminals, who follow "no other occupation that of crime for a livelihood" (p. ii). Of each of these tribes he says that they were declared to be criminal tribes under the Criminal Tribes Act (Act III of 1911), and their designation no doubt appeared to have vindicated Naidu in the belief that these thieves, being criminals by birth or nature, were beyond the pale of redemption (pp. 97, 119, 126, 131). Writing of the Telaga Pachipollus, a division of the Takku Waddars, Naidu says that jail "has no terror or share for them." Four boys of this class were trained at a reformatory school, and taught how to read and write, but upon their release they at once "resumed their hereditary thieving" (p. 131). Elsewhere, as he remarks, these thieves associated with each other "for the purpose of habitual theft" (p. 88), and that evidence of previous conviction was important in illustrating their proclivity towards "habitual theft" (p. 23). Though confessions that Naidu himself recorded revealed that many thieves came from broken homes, or had lost their father in early childhood, and were in either case actuated by "‘chill penury’" (p. 174), he seldom allows himself to be deflected into taking a sociological view of crime (pp. 150, 153, and 158). Throughout Naidu appears to endorse the colonial view that their habit of thieving was derived from the fact of their birth itself. Though this is the view that the judge refused to take in the case of a gang of Bhamptas, saying they could not be "convicted merely because they were born into a certain class of people", the judge went on to say, as though there was no contradiction, that "their connection with this particular tribe is a fact in favour of the prosecution" (p. 21). Why should the connection of the accused with the tribe of Bhamptas have ipso facto been deemed to pronounce their guilt, but not for the assumption that as a class of people, the Bhamptas were criminally inclined? Their very names, Naidu strongly suggests, often condemned these railway thieves: thus the Waddars, to whom the epithet Takku (meaning "tricky") is attached, are "false, cunning and deceitful" (p. 120), "the word Kepmari means a cheat or thief" and adequately describes the tribe so named (p. 42), and Barwars are by definition "men of violence" (p. 70). In another case that Naidu commends to the reader's attention, the judge observed that the accused were Barwars, and that a Barwar, in his very "own country", "means a thief by profession" (p. 88). Though the judge was cognizant of the fact that the accused could not stand condemned merely by virtue of belonging to a gang of thieves "by birth and early training", and that proof of "habit" was never easily established, why then was it necessary to impose a certain purported semantic 'truth'? Though Naidu assumes the naturalness of received categories of knowledge, and takes for granted that one could speak of 'criminal tribes' and 'criminal castes', that very assumption must constitute the point of departure for any sustained interrogation of the colonial sociology of knowledge and the colonial apparatus of law. Who and what were the 'criminal tribes', and what gave rise to such a system of enumeration and classification? The codification of law under the British began to take place under the inspiration of Warren Hastings, who ordained that in suits pertaining to marriages, religious customs, inheritance, and other "native usages", "the laws of the Koran with respect to Mahometans, and those of the Shaster [i.e., shastras] with respect to the Gentoos [i.e., Hindus] shall invariably be adhered to." The difficulty consisted in determining what constituted Hindu law, and what was the law appertaining to the Muslims, for in this domain as in all others the British encountered a bewildering array of texts, contaminated by -- as the British believed -- later accretions and interpolations, whose responsibility lay in the hands of pandits and maulvis moved by no greater aspiration than that of deceiving their ignorant laity. Thus it became necessary to codify the law and produce compendiums of laws which were believed to hearken back to the remote customs of Indians. But though the keen desire was to avoid the imposition of an English legal system, the entrenching of "English law as the law of India", colonial law had an inexorable force of its own. The Evangelicals and Utilitarians had been agitating for the imposition of an English system of law in India, and after the Rebellion of 1857-58, this impulse could no longer be resisted. The uniformity that had been the cornerstone behind the tendency to codify Hindu and Islamic law led to enhanced steps for the achievement of a single system of law. The Civil Code was adopted in 1859, the Criminal Code in 1860, and the Code of Criminal Procedure and Police Act in 1861; and so, it was believed, the nefarious influence of the Brahmins and maulvis was decisively removed. It is partially against this backdrop that we must view the codification of the category 'criminal tribes' contained in the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871. Two other considerations, however, demand our attention. First, though the criminal tribes and castes were held to be criminally inclined by birth, it is notable that, in the colonial view, India was as a whole a country devoid of 'law and order' until the coming of the British, and Indians could not be described as a people given to a respect for law, or animated by a profound respect for the spirit (if not the letter) of law. Sir Henry Sumner Maine, Law Member of the Viceroy's Council in the 1860s, went so far as to describe India, before the coming of the British, as "a country singularly empty of law." India needed no laws as customs and religious observances were sufficient to provide all the regulations that Indians required; and, in any case, India being the preeminent land of 'Oriental Despotism', the only law that had ever prevailed was the law of the despot, which was no law at all. It became, in these circumstances, England's special mission to instill in India the 'rule of law', to impregnate an 'empty' country with the seed of the 'rule of law' (and thus 'civilization), and throughout the claim that they had provided India, an endemically anarchic land, with the only semblance of 'law and order' that she had ever known (and never more was a nation a feminine entity), was to serve the British as the bedrock of their rule. The Government of India would always be characterized as a government "duly established by law". It is, of course, as part of this endeavor to bring the 'rule of law' to India that the British justified their attempts to suppress crime and other forms of public disorder, and it is within the ambit of this enterprise that we must locate the quest to identify those alleged to be habituated to crime by birth. What greater service could be performed by a colonial state than suppressing crime and criminality? Secondly, in certain respects the idea of 'criminal tribes' was already contained in the notion of thuggee, the elimination of which first received the concerted attention of the Governor-General, William Bentinck, in 1830. Thugs were described as 'hereditary criminals', largely of "Hindoo origins" who worshipped at the altar of the goddess, and they were believed to be members of a cult spread throughout the land. Their modus operandi consisted in befriending travellers on the high road; when their trust had been gained, they were, usually at night, ritually throttled or strangulated, and the thugs then decamped with whatever booty they could find. One contemporary journal, taking note of the phenomenon of thuggee as described in one work, said that "the revelation of actual deeds done by these remorseless villains, so strikingly embodied by the author under the form of the confessions of a leader, are enough to freeze the blood in our veins." Colonial officials gave a figure of 40,000 strangulations every year over the last three centuries. In 1835, Captain Sleeman was placed in charge of anti-thuggee operations, and anti-dacoity operations were added to his mandate in 1839; and such "was the success achieved", noted one official, "that in a comparatively short space of time thagi ceased to exist as an organized and widely spread crime." The operations of the Thuggee and Dacoity Department in British India ceased in 1863, and the department henceforth functioned only in the Native States under the Foreign Department; twenty years later, its operations were further confined to Rajputana, Central India, and Hyderabad, but by this time the notion of 'criminal tribes' and 'criminal castes' had taken the place, not coincidentally, of thugs and dacoits. Finally, in 1904, the Thuggee and Dacoity Department was altogether abolished, making way for a central Criminal Intelligence Department (CID). It is for the CID in Madras that Naidu worked for much of his life. In referring to the castes and tribes whose identity had been encoded in the Criminal Tribes Act, colonial officials almost invariably traced their origins to the thugs. The Commissioner of East Berar, whose views were embraced by the Home Member in the Government of India, gave it as his considered opinion in 1871 that "professional criminals" referred to "a tribe whose ancestors were criminals from time immemorials [sic] who are themselves destined by the usage of caste to commit crime and whose dependents will be offenders against the law, until the whole tribe is exterminated or accounted for in the manner of the thugs." One other official noted that though the crimes committed by the criminal tribes and castes were less "murderous than that of the thugs", they were "more insidious, more universal and equally demoralising to themselves." Much like the thugs, the criminal tribes were said to be endowed with an innate criminality, and as another official stated apropos the Bawarias, one could easily gain an estimate of the "conditions under which their natural aptitude for thieving has been fostered until the practice of it has become ingrained into their daily life as to assume the features of a hereditary and criminal profession." Colonial officials had little more to do than to assert this genealogy for the criminal tribes, and as Sanjay Nigam has aptly noted, once the incidence of crime associated with the criminal tribes had been understood "as a species of a well-known, dangerous genus, empirical detail counted for little." So much for the much-vaunted regime of fact, the dedication to empiricism, on which the English prided themselves. Consequent to the criminal tribes and castes being conflated with the thugs, it was also possible to see them as a confederation of inestimably large number of people spread throughout the land, whose activities commensurably took on huge and forbidding dimensions. The members of such a confederation were to be closely watched, regulated, and monitored, disciplined, and -- insofar as that was possible -- reclaimed for society. Nigam points out that once the standardization of the idea of criminal tribes had taken place, "each subsequent phenomenon of large-scale criminality was viewed through the epistemes and policing procedures fashioned to 'account for' the thugs", except that by the last quarter of the nineteenth century, methods of classification and enumeration, surveillance techniques, and disciplinary mechanisms were all considerably advanced. He further states that the establishment of a school of industry for thug approvers at Jabalpur and an agricultural society for the Buddhuks at Gorakhpur were two such attempts "to control and reshape these groups into hardworking subjects." Whereas the thugs were sought to be completely eliminated, an objective more easily achieved by their demonization, the criminal tribes were mainly hounded and pursued, and following the passage of the Criminal Tribes Act in 1871, subjected to a strict regime of discipline, which required them to register with official authorities, report for roll-call, and be in possession of passes without which they were almost certainly liable to arrest and punishment. Shortly thereafter, such innovations as photography and fingerprinting would further aid in the identification, surveillance, and monitoring of the habitually criminal classes, and it is to the place of these developments in Naidu's history of "railway thieves", whose apparently 'natural' proclivities towards crime were displayed in trains and railway stations and platforms, and who as a consequence were brought under the provisions of the Criminal Tribes Act, as amended and modified in 1911, that we now turn. IV Every now and then, Naidu adverts to the place of fingerprinting in determining the identity and criminal record of apprehended suspects, and in establishing their propensity towards a life of habitual crime. Naidu notes that among the Telaga Pachipollus, each convict changed his name after release from prison, and some men had been convicted so often and consequently adopted so many aliases, that their identity would have been all but impossible to establish but for the efforts of the Finger Print Bureau (p. 131). Most frequently, fingerprints were used by the police to procure an enhanced punishment for convicted criminals. One Deen Mahomed alias Sheik Abdullah, "a noted railway thief" living in Madras who was caught with a stolen bag of money, was brought before a First Class Magistrate, for Naidu thought that the maximum term of six months that could have been given to him by a Sub-Magistrate would have been inadequate for him. His fingerprints revealed, in any case, that the man had been convicted thrice before, and the Magistrate proceeded to award him a sentence of eighteen months' rigorous imprisonment (pp. 147-48). In the case of another suspect, who went by thirteen different names, a reference to the Finger Print Bureau established that the same man had six other convictions standing against him. He was sentenced to two years' rigorous imprisonment, and as Naidu notes placidly, "this is another confirmed criminal" (p. 157). Naidu's matter-of-fact references to fingerprinting scarcely reveal the manner in which fingerprinting came to be developed and the extraordinary role of the Indian police in enabling its use as the most reliable method for the detection of criminals the world over. It is just shortly after the Rebellion of 1857-58 that William Herschel, Magistrate at Jungipoor on the upper reaches of the Hooghly, realized its uses as a method of identification. When Herschel was transferred to Nuddea in 1860, he found that the decline of the indigo trade and the consequent loss of employment had led to an increase in violence, increased litigation, and impersonation in courts. "Faced with this situation", says one text, "Herschel accelerated his fingerprint studies." As Magistrate and Collector at Hooghly in 1877-78, Herschel introduced fingerprints in the criminal courts and prisons. Herschel then left for England, but in India fingerprinting had another proponent, Edward Henry, who in 1891 was appointed Inspector-General of Police for the Lower Provinces, Bengal. Henry first experimented with the anthropometric system, but was not satisfied with the accuracy of the measurements. In a report submitted to the Government of Bengal in 1896, Henry detailed the experiments he had conducted with fingerprints, which he observed were not only inexpensive to obtain, but also a surer means of detecting and confirming the identity of any given person. Henry is then said, with the aid of a team of Indian assistants, to have developed a system of classification under which 1,024 primary positions were identified, which when considered along with secondary and tertiary subdivisions, made fingerprinting a fool-proof form of fixing identity. At Henry's behest, the Government of India appointed a committee of inquiry to report on the relative merits of the anthropometric and fingerprinting systems. The Committee came to the conclusion that "the method of identification of habitual criminals by means of finger-prints . . . may be safely adopted as being superior to the anthropometric method", and by a resolution of the Government of India on 12 June 1897, the system of fingerprinting was adopted throughout India. Meanwhile, in 1895, a provincial fingerprint bureau had already been established in Madras, and in 1898, the first national fingerprint bureau in the world was set up at the police headquarters in Calcutta. The Indian Evidence Act of 1872 was amended by Act V of 1899 to admit of fingerprint evidence, and as Henry was to remark in a lecture delivered before the British Association for the Advancement of Science, before the turn of the century fingerprinting had been adopted by virtually all other departments of the Government of India. In England, by contrast, the system was not introduced until 1901 when Henry returned to England to take up the position of Assistant Commissioner of Metropolitan Police in London. Though Henry continued to be credited with the invention of the system of fingerprint classification, it appears quite certain that his Indian subordinates had made the more vital contributions in perfecting and possibly even originating the system. The committee appointed by the Government of India in 1897 at Henry's urging to consider the uses and efficacy of fingerprinting had made no mention of the work done by Henry's subordinates, and Henry certainly did little to clear the confusion. When asked on 12 July 1900 by Lord Belper, the Chairman of the Committee appointed by the Secretary of State to inquire into the identification of criminals by measurements and fingerprints, "Is this system an invention of your own?", Henry replied simply, "Yes." On the other hand, replying to a claim made by Henry Faulds that he had discovered the mode of the classification of fingerprints, Henry wrote: "In 1897 I had elaborated the system of classification in use in India and now in use everywhere and I had never heard of Mr. Fauld's name or labour in this field of research." It appears, if Henry merely "elaborated" the system, that the system had been devised by someone else, but it is possible that he may have "elaborated" a system that he had, in the first place, discovered. Much later, a former member of the Indian Police Service stated that at a dinner given for Henry and some others during Henry's visit to India in 1911-12 as a member of the King's Staff for the Royal Tour, Henry had greeted the assembled company and turned to introduce them to a certain Indian who Henry claimed had been mainly responsible for the fingerprinting system. As events in the 1920s were to establish, Azizul Haq and Hem Chandra Bose, two men in the employ of the Bengal Police and once attached to Henry, had perfected the system of fingerprinting classification, and whether their role was any greater has not so far been determined. Henry himself, in a letter to the Secretary in the India Office, was to admit that Haq had "contributed more than other members of [his] staff and contributed in a conspicuous degree in bringing about the perfecting of a system of classification that has stood the test of time and has been accepted by most countries." Shortly before his retirement, Haq petitioned that his services in working out a system of fingerprints be recognized, and the Government of India granted him a honorarium of Rs. 5,000. His colleague in the Bengal Police, Hem Chandra Bose, was similarly recognized for his services in creating a system of single digit impression and for creating a telegraphic code for communicating fingerprint classification. This work involved "arduous labour", and though Scotland Yard itself published a similar telegraphic code in 1921, Bose's work had clearly anticipated that code in virtually every respect. As Henry himself conceded, "The Bengal Police originated the system of identification by finger prints, a system which has been adopted by all Police Forces throughout the world and which on the experience of its working through a period of 30 years is, by general consent, admitted to be one of great importance to all engaged in the investigation of crime." What is at least incontestable is that the work of Indian officers in the Bengal Police, though critical in allowing the development of fingerprinting as the principal mode for the identification of criminals, was never publicly acknowledged. The colonial state generated a great deal of information and knowledge about Indian society, and though this knowledge rested largely on the work of 'native informants', these informants have remained invisible and at best shadowy figures. The colonial master authors the discourse, the native is relegated to the role of an informant: this was to be the predominant form of colonial anthropology, and indeed of anthropology as a field practice and academic discipline. The history of fingerprinting is no different in this respect. Secondly, a popular impression was sought to be conveyed that the development of fingerprinting owed really nothing to the work done in India, an impression that, as one English police officer admitted, Scotland Yard had "never done a thing to correct." In the first instance, as the derision with which Henry was greeted as a "fingerprint fool" by his own subordinates in London suggests, no one thought it conceivable that a major development could take place in India. If the English police in England had been unable to devise such a system, clearly fingerprinting could be of no great use. This was put bluntly in a letter appearing in an English newspaper, signed by one "disgusted Magistrate": "Scotland Yard, once known as the world's finest police organization, will be the laughing stock of Europe if it insisted on trying to trace criminals by odd ridges on their own skins. I, for one, am firmly convinced that no British jury will ever convict a man on 'evidence' produced by the half-baked theories some officials happened to pick up in India." The new fingerprinting system was described as "hopelessly inaccurate, ludicrous, dangerous and completely un-British." Then, when the accuracy of fingerprinting had been universally accepted, and every police force in the world had adopted the system, the credit had perforce to go to Scotland Yard, for where in India were there policemen capable of revolutionizing the mode of identifying and apprehending criminals? V There are nine illustrations accompanying the text, which tell their own tale about the colonial anthropology of knowledge, the advent of photography, and railway thieves. The frontispiece stands in singular and splendid isolation, and not merely because it is the frontispiece, or because it is a photograph of the book's author. The inscription below the photograph, which shows Naidu adorned with the honors he had received from the government, states that in a hand-to-hand encounter with dacoits in 1890, he was severely injured. Towards the end of his own text, Naidu also relates how he was once, while in pursuit of a gang, badly beaten up and "left for dead"; and though his assailants were given three years of rigorous imprisonment, the prejudices against the police prevailed upon the High Court judges, who reduced the sentences to eighteen months. The Medical Officer's report on Naidu related that he had found "forty contusions and abrasions on his person, caused probably by sticks and stones"; the inspector's left thumb was "both fractured and dislocated", indeed "permanently injured"; and his very life had, for some days, been "in danger" (pp. 210-12). As the intrepid hero of his own narrative, Naidu emerges as the solitary individual in a society where, on the British view, one could only speak of 'types' of Indians. Thus, in the other eight photographs, a number of men are bunched together: since, by a principle of infinite substitutability, one could easily stand in place of another, they could be rendered nameless, as indeed they are in all but two photographs. Though anthropometry furnished a fairly comprehensive knowledge of Indians and assisted in the development of a system of surveillance, a more accurate representation of the people was desired. Fingerprinting made possible the identification of criminals, and photography further enhanced the means of representation, besides furnishing the greatest possible likeness of the various types of Indians. The pioneers of photography in India were military men, and it is apposite that the massive photographic exercise in typology, The People of India, initiated at the behest of Governor-General Canning, was transformed by the Rebellion of 1857-58 into an official project of the state, and placed under the control of the Political and Secret Department. One scholar has argued that it is "hierarchical observation" and "normalizing judgment" which predominate in the People of India. The Gujars, for instance, are pictured as a "dishonest, untrustworthy and lawless [people] in a high degree", addicted (as signified by the hookah) to ganja, and requiring "constant and unremitting supervision". But these judgments could be modified, if the people in question displayed certain redeeming characteristics. Thus the much-ridiculed "Bunnea" [Bania], who is pictured in the art of cheating, is at once rescued with the observation that he is a "useful person, and contributes very largely to the furtherance of the general trade of India". A nation of shopkeepers, the English recognized their own kith and kin; and, moreover, the "Bunnea" had perforce to be retained as an icon of whatever is useful and necessary, for on the English view, wherever there is commerce, there flourishes the 'rule of law'. It is 'types', not 'individuals', which emerge in these photographs of Indians in colonial photography, and in the History of Railway Thieves -- not surprising, when we consider than the Indian exists only as a member of a collectivity. This point cannot be emphasized enough; and we see this binarism developed in a variety of colonial texts and practices. In John McCosh's album of photographs in the National Army Museum, "British officers and their wives are represented very much as individuals", as in "Captain Jones, Madras" and "Miss Kitten Cloette Cape", though a "Miss Kitten" was perhaps not the happiest example of a person meant to be taken seriously as an individual; Indians, by way of contrast, are represented in ethnic or racial terms: hence a "Burmese Beauty", "Madras Man", and so on. As Indian society was a conglomeration of 'types', photography was to be used to elicit and document these 'types'. Photographers were to be commissioned by the state to take the 'likenesses' of their subjects, the various castes and tribes of India. This was the gist of the directive issued by the Government of India's Foreign Department: "Each Local Government is expected to collect into one collection such photographic likenesses of the races and classes within its borders as it may obtain and furnish a very brief notice of each. The likenesses are to be sent to the Central Committee of the London Exhibition in Calcutta." It is the likenesses of the Bhamptas, Barwars, Kepmaries, Mallahs, and Donga Dasaries that are shown in the photographs in History of Railway Thieves. But besides these, there were numerous other types of railway thieves, and it the likeness of each type that is shown on the photograph facing page 145, where passport-size shots of six men draw attention to the peculiarities of each type. The caption beneath the photograph states, "Types of railway thieves of different classes", but it is scarcely clear what we are to make of these "types". How different is one type from another, and what essential difference helped to demarcate one type from the others? If the man in the coat and tie appears to be something of an oddity, we have only to turn to Naidu's observation, at several points in the text, that many swindlers and railway thieves had made it a point to be disguised in European clothes (p. 154). A Gujarati Brahmin, "dressed in European clothes of the best quality" (p. 162), might have well escaped apprehension but for the vigilance of the railway police. The Brahmins certainly had no more scruples than anyone else, and Naidu found Brahmins resorting to "coffee clubs and pimping houses" in Madras' George Town, while another Brahmin he knew had developed excellent skills, which he deployed with great success to rob fellow Brahmins and Sadhus, as a poisoner (pp. 159-60, 165). Perhaps, indeed, it was easier to be a railway thief as a Brahmin, as one was more likely to escape suspicion, and those who were not Brahmins found that masquerading as one gave them an unexpected measure of safety. Disguised as Brahmins, the Dasaries took employment in Brahmin homes, and would decamp when opportunity presented itself with valuable property (p. 78, 137). The Sanauriyas went so far as to "claim a Brahminical origin", and when arrested for theft, would suggest to their victims that in having been robbed by a Brahmin, they had gained spiritually even while incurring material loss (p. 75). In turning to the text, we find Naidu eager to identify characteristics of conduct and action common to all "railway thieves", and just as pointedly he notes the peculiarities of each class of these criminals. A number of these common features are easily identified. First, almost all the gangs Naidu encountered in his long years of service included a few boys and women; many adult members had first been recruited in their childhood, often by the expedient of having them kidnapped (p. 71). Among the Bhamptas, a boy was generally employed to keep a watch and give signals to his adult compatriots; often the boy was used as a decoy, thereby enabling the real thieves to run away, though among the Barwars, the boys "usually do the actual thieving" (p. 33, 79). When caught, the boy would be "pitied by the other passengers or bystanders owing to his tender age, and upon their interference [be] let off with a slap or two" (p. 33); and similarly the Koravars, suggests Naidu, presumed that the "natural softness of the Indians will generally prevail, making them reluctant" to hand over the "juvenile offender" to the police (p. 50). These boys had been so trained so that they never betrayed their elders, and would refuse to state "their places of abode or the names of [their] parents" (p. 33). Secondly, just as indispensable to the gangs of thieves were women, who more easily gained the confidence of female passengers, more successfully deceived with sweet words, and were less liable to attract suspicion. Naidu was inclined to the view that women thieves were just as wicked as the men, and they had "proved to be so dangerous with their frequent convictions for thefts, that they [were] bound over for good behaviour like their male members" (p. 59). He recommended that the women among apprehended gang members were to be searched thoroughly, though they were "so troublesome that no ordinary timid woman will dare search their persons properly; some bold, forward and intrepid woman of another caste must therefore be specially selected for the purpose" (p. 142). Among all classes of railway thieves, the women used their "private parts" to conceal jewels or other stolen property (p. 52, 135, 142); and as Naidu added, by way of recommendation, the women were to be asked to jump, "so that the jewel may drop in the act of jumping" (p. 52). Any woman asking to be allowed to leave "on the plea of answering the calls of nature" was to be prevented from allowing such "possible exit of the property" (p. 40). Thus the women were to be subjected to a microscopic examination, and in the form of a benevolent gynecological inquisition, their private parts were to be brought under surveillance. Thirdly, much like the thugs from whom, in a manner of speaking, the 'criminal tribes' and perhaps even 'railway thieves' were said to be descended, many of the railway thieves had their distinct forms of communication and secret language. Colonel Sleeman, who had been put in charge of the East India Company's operations against the thugs, had claimed to have deciphered the secret language purportedly spoken by them, the decoding of which led to their apprehension, conviction, and eventual elimination. No such tall claims are advanced by Naidu, though he does note that members of each criminal class communicated amongst themselves by means of sign languages and codes, and that he gained some knowledge of these secret modes of communication. He says of the Bhamptas that they "make certain signs with their eye-lids and fingers which are totally unintelligible to others"; the "Barwars belonging to a criminal gang have a code of their own"; and the Koravars make use, particularly "in the presence of strangers", of "certain expressions, words and signals, whose meaning is known only to themselves" (p. 5, 73, 58). Criminality among these criminal classes had developed to the extent that each group had developed its own language, howsoever primitive, and the prevalence of such secret languages clearly demonstrated the presence of gangs given to organized crime. Notwithstanding the fact that different classes of railway thieves had different origins, and that the language of one gang was incomprehensible to members of another gang, Naidu did not doubt that these gangs associated with each other for the purpose of theft. Such criminal association was clearly established among members of the same gang (p. 94, 96), but what was there to associate the Yerragollas, whose preferred way of swindling others was to disappear from the villages from whose wealthy residents they had taken loans, with the Pamulavallus, who pretended to be snake-charmers, or indeed with the Jathipallis, who rolled down the streets "begging in the name of Venkataramana" (p. 132, 129, 138)? Naidu found that several gangs had "conjointly committed seven house dacoities in the bordering taluqs" of several districts in Mysore, Madras, and Bombay", and he was to come to the conclusion that "in the course of their common predatory excursions carried far and wide, they began to appreciate the artful manoeuvres of their fraternity, and, as time wore on, commenced intermarrying with them." It is this "matrimonial connection" that cemented the "link that already existed in the oneness of their criminal pursuits, rowing as they were in the same boat on the ocean of life" (pp. 141-42). Naidu does not ask how it is that Indians, who were held by the very colonial writers for whom Naidu had intense admiration, and whose authority he would have trembled to question, to be intensely parochial and tyrannized by caste distinctions, could abandon their supposedly insurmountable taboos in consorting with each other. How is it that Indians, again described as exceedingly 'conservative' in their social observances and religious customs, could forge such marriage alliances? Nor does he pause to consider, if only ironically, that such a life of crime had a great deal in it that was commendable if it could lead even Indians, who were said to be notoriously exclusive in their associations, to forgo their reservations. It is not with approbation, but merely as a matter of fact, that Naidu records that among the Koravars, though marriages were performed "under the auspices of a Brahmin priest", widow remarriages were common, and there was "no enforced widowhood"; and likewise among the Waddars "widows and divorced women" could "remarry in the same or neighbouring gang without any compunction" (p. 47, 143). That the 'criminal classes' should not have been afflicted by the restraints imposed upon themselves by the upper castes is a matter that Naidu evidently did not think was worthy of comment. If, on the one hand, it is the element of commonalty among the different classes of railway thieves, and their sense of belonging to a brotherhood, that Naidu sought to convey, equally striking is his delineation, again in a purely descriptive mode, of some of the peculiarities of each type of these criminal tribes. Three examples, one relating to their forms of worship, and the other to their modes of hiding stolen property and committing theft, can be furnished. He describes the Mallahs as worshippers of Kali, in whose presence the gang members, after sacrificing goats, "eat meat, drink liquor and make merry" (p. 110); much more strikingly, he says of the Koravars that they are followers of Shiva, and that they also worship Kali and Betala; but the deity they most propitiate is "Moothevi", the goddess of sleep, "whom they dread and worship, male and female, more than any other god or goddess of the Hindu Pantheon." In so worshipping and invoking the goddess, they sought the strength to remain sleepless "while on nefarious purpose bent", and contrariwise to "make their victims sufficiently sleepy over their property" (p. 45). All this is recorded without a trace of humour, and one can only surmise what Naidu would have thought of Edison's invention of the light bulb as an object designed to obviate the necessity of sleep! It is in the manner in which thieves hid and removed their stolen property that they displayed more considerable differences. While it was common among all of them to pass stolen booty from one set of hands to another, particularly when the threat of being found out loomed large, and most would also swallow smaller jewels (p. 52, 146), the Koravars had struck upon the ingenious mechanism of defecating upon stolen property (p. 50). The Mallahs would throw valuable goods out of the train at pre-arranged spots "where camels, donkeys, and ponies were in attendance to carry the stolen property miles away" into another territory (p. 107), while other pick-pockets had shoes with specially designed receptacles (p. 146). Among another class of professional thieves, the method chosen to conceal stolen goods, and jewelry in particular, was to have an artificial cavity developed in the throat. A lead bullet would be lowered by means of a string attached to the neck of the "patient" into his throat, and over the course of the next six weeks this lead would corrode the surrounding tissues, thereby creating a cavity. After six weeks this bullet would be replaced with a gold one, which would prevent the cavity from filling up; and into this cavity could be placed small jewels, gold coins, and other valuable items of a small size (p. 169). Naidu notes that the procedure "is tedious and painful and it is only a few who go through the whole course." Finally, in the matter of committing theft, some of the peculiarities that Naidu describes are striking. The Bhamptas, before the advent of the railways, carried on their trade "only by day, never after dark"; but after the introduction of trains, they appear to have come to the realization that "darkness favoured their designs on the persons or property of travellers", and henceforth they commenced their operations only under cover of darkness (p. 9). While less particular about the time of day, the Koravars intoxicated themselves before setting out on their excursions, "but not to such an extent as to lose control over hand or head", though the Donga Dasaries, while similarly fortifying themselves with arrack or toddy before going out to loot the innocents, did so to "harden their feelings and make them[selves] bold and callous" (p. 52, 126). But it is the methods of the Aheriyas of the United Provinces that Naidu found "artistic in the extreme". Getting close to their victims lying asleep outside their homes or on rooftops, they would insert pincers between the knots of anklets, necklaces, and armlets, and pry loose the jewelry; and if their victim should be lying on their stomach, rendering their jewelry inaccessible, the Aheriyas would tickle them with fingers or a feather as to make them turn over (p. 118). VI One might suppose that the various "railway thieves" are so characterized by Naidu because they made their living by committing theft on trains, at railway stations and platforms, and at railway junctions. To a not inconsiderable extent, Naidu's description of their modus operandi, and their theatre of operations, appears to bear out this assumption. As an itinerant and vagrant people, railway thieves would have found that trains facilitated their criminal activities, allowing them to commit depredations over the length and breadth of the land. Thus the Bhamptas, Koravars, and other "railway thieves", though they had traditionally made their living by picking pockets at festivals, fairs, and other places where people gathered in large numbers, found that trains afforded them an easier, and as Naidu would suggest, more 'natural' opportunity of adding to their income (p. 9, 44). In time the Bhamptas came to acquire a certain distinctiveness because of their thefts on running trains (p. 21), while other professional railway pick-pockets of diverse origins were so daring as to walk along the foot board while the train was in motion to the first and second class cabins, whence they proceeded to "remove through the windows small hand bags hung from the hat-pegs" (p. 148). The Koravars, however, preferred to confine their operations largely to railway platforms, using the tools of their trade to cut open bags, break open boxes, and substitute canvas bags filled with rags and rubbish for the bags of their victims (p. 55). The Mallahs, whom Naidu describes as the dacoits of the waterways, continued their activities on rivers and in riverine settlements, but found that "full advantage" could be taken of the railways "as an auxiliary in respect of rapid retreats or as a means of transporting the proceeds of their raids to their homes with security and despatch" (p. 99). Evidently, then, the various classes of "railway thieves" had varying associations with trains and railway platforms, and for many of them trains and stations were the principal places for their operations. But Naidu's designation of them as "railway thieves" remains somewhat ambiguous, particularly when we consider that, on his own admission, some groups, such as the Dumpa Chenchus, while committing "thefts and highway robberies" would "never approach a railway station", (p. 140), while others, such as the Koravars, continued to frequent fairs and festivals (p. 51). Certainly none of the "railway thieves" Naidu describes confined their activities exclusively to trains, stations, and railway junctions, and though these "railway thieves" may, as Naidu appears to suggest, have had a 'natural' proclivity towards these arenas of activity, clearly numerous other classes of criminals found railway thievery a profitable profession. Thus the latter part of the History of Railway Thieves is given over to a discussion of robberies committed by employees of the railway, whom Naidu describes as a more reprehensible lot because they betrayed the trust reposed in them (p. 173). Numerous cases of the theft of liquor, and of the discovery of stolen property in the residences of station masters, are recounted (pp. 180-86). Long service in the railways furnished no assurance that employees would remain loyal and trustworthy (p. 180), and the burden of Naidu's narrative is to establish not merely the "dare-devil character of this class of servants" (p. 188), but the difficulty of detecting crime when railway employees themselves were implicated in criminal activities. Accordingly the ingenuity of the police force, and of officers like Naidu, was always being put to the test. It is to the detection of crime and its perpetrators that Naidu devotes the last few pages of his history. Detectives are likened to soldiers, as bound not to question the orders of their superiors, or to ponder over the course of contemplated action, but merely (in Tennyson's words) "to do and die" (p. 195). Naidu makes a rather pathetic attempt at imagining himself as something of a figure with literary accomplishments, most certainly as one educated in Western classics and history, and a few platitudes, such as the motto ascribed to Napoleon, "Nothing is impossible for man", are allowed to give shape to the argument that, with proper training and perseverance, the police can invariably resolve railway thefts (p. 196). Among the qualifications that the police officer who aims at being a "successful detective" must possess are patience, promptitude, and affability, as these furnish him with the greatest potential for gaining valuable clues and winning the confidence of the public. The detective, predictably, must have an exemplary facility for observation, and it is essential that he learn to "listen carefully," "consider deeply," and "judge calmly"; and perhaps even more singularly, he must not rely upon the constables -- invariably Indians, needless to say -- "for information, for their interest towards public property and safety is clearly at a discount" (pp. 198-99). Though Naidu would have been loathe to take subordinates, and indeed any manner of Indians, into his confidence, the indispensability of his countrymen for successful police work is grudgingly accepted. At a few pages in the main body of the text, Naidu had noted the use of informants to forge arrests and gain convictions (pp. 9-10), but he seeks to issue a warning, by way of setting out a typology of informants, that not all informants are reliable. Thus the "innocent or artless informants" are misled into providing false testimony. The "accomplice informants", on the other hand, provide useful information that must not be hastily discarded, but this information has to be taken cum grano salis, or with a grain of salt, for they are liable to "twist and distort the real facts so as to throw suspicion off themselves"; and much more vigilant must the police officer be against "false informants", a "most detestable type of men" entirely "dead to all scruples of conscience, and to the calls of humanity", who will not shirk from telling the most vile falsehoods, and whose false testimony often sends innocent men to prison (pp. 201-3). Most informants squeak on their associates in crime out of spite (thus "the spiteful informants), or out of a deeply held sense of having been overlooked when the booty was being parceled out (pp. 202-3), but Naidu also recognized a class of "honourable informants", men moved not only by the letter of the law, but so actuated by the desire of wishing to see justice vindicated, that they would "nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice" (p. 200). If Naidu pretty much ends on the note of informants, it is on that very note that we can end too, with the suggestion that Naidu is most appropriately seen as a native informant serving the colonial police and echoing a colonial epistemology, doing the work of both dominance and hegemony. Undoubtedly informants were seldom merely informants, and the history of the subversion of 'master discourse' at the hands of informants is only now beginning to be understood and written. Naidu's work, to the contrary, appears to exemplify all the characteristics of what colonial officials might well have termed 'babu subservience'. His acknowledgments as a police officer are all to British officers, mainly to his superiors; as a scholar (for so he might have thought of himself), it is again colonial officials, such as William Sleeman and William Crooke, whose "unflinching and persevering enquiries" are appreciated and celebrated as having provided him with the inspiration to lay his humble work before the public. No flashes of brilliance or wondrous insight adorn this work; the prose almost never sparkles, nor does it rattle much; and the tone is 'scientific', anthropological, investigative, and classificatory to the point of being dull. It is, to put it plainly and yet paradoxically, the shattering ordinariness of a curious work, and the sheer prosaicness of the colonialism of which it is a product, that commends The History of Railway Thieves to our attention. The representatives of that colonial order looked upon India as a 'curiosity'; and so it is in the fitness of things that the History of Railway Thieves should itself engage our attention as a curious specimen of a colonial form of knowledge.
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15TH CENTURY During the 15th century, Gainsborough painted many landscapes (perhaps for Alberti) on glass and made similar apparatti (show boxes) to that of Alberti. These boxes were wooden and had peep-holes at one side. The opposite end was open and had the glass-painted slide inserted and lit from behind by candles. A Gainsborough showbox is at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.