Page images
PDF
EPUB

meant and to mean Murder, when employed as the means of committing Sugh Child stealing or such Robbery by a Thug.”—A legal difference existing between the crimes of Thuggee, Dacoity, and Robbery by any other, “wandering gang of persons associated for the purposes of theft or robbery, not being a gang of Thugs or Dacoits,” the Act No. XI, of 1848-passed by the G. G. in Council on the 20th of May 1848, entitled “An Act for the punishment of wandering gangs of Thieves and Robbers"—extends some of the Provisions of the Law for the conviction of Thugs and Dacoits to offenders of the other class referred to ; 1st, in Subjecting them, on conviction, to “imprisonment with hard labour for any term not exceeding seven years.” 2nd. in enacting that any person accused “ of belonging to any such gang,” or “of knowingly receiving or buying property stolen or plundered by any such gang, may be commit. ted by any Magistrate within the Territories of the E. I. C.” and be tried by any Court which would be competent to try him, if his offence were committed within the Zillah where that Court sits, 3rd, in enacting that “No Court shall on the trial of any offence under this Act, require any Futwa from any Law Officer."—There are fair reasons to justify the belief “that the system of Thuggee (more correctly Thug'a'ee, f) or Phanseegaree, originated with some parties of vagrant Mahommuduns, who infested the roads about the ancient capital of India,” where it “found a congenial soil, and flourished with rank luxuriance for more than two Centuries, till its roots had penetrated and spread over almost every district within the limits of the E. I. Co.'s dominions :” that the British Government knew little or nothing of the Thugs “until shortly after the conquest of Seringapatam, in 1799, when about a hundred were apprehended in the vicinity of Bangalore ;” and that it was not until 1807, when several Thugs were apprehended between Chittoor and Arcot, that information was obtained, which ultimately led to the development of the habits, artifices, and combinations of these atrocious delinquents.” The development referred to was the labour of years, and “up to 1829 these assassins traversed every great and much frequented road from the Himaleh Mountains to the Nerbudda River, and from the Ganges to the Indus, without the fear of punishment from divine or human laws.” But in 1830, Lord William Bentinck, the then Governor General, with that judgment and decision which characterized his rule, adopted the plan of operations which has been so ably and successfully carried out for the suppression of the Thug associations by Major Sleeman and others, whose services have been dedicated to that object. In 1840, the only parts of India in which there were any Thugs at large, and not entered in the proscription lists of those gentlemen, were believed to be the Eastern Districts of Bengal, and between Midnapore and Nagpore, along the road leading from Calcutta to Bombay ; and as measures were then in operation for the detection and apprehension of the Supposed offenders, it is now (March, 1849) more than probable that in the Co.'s Territories, the crime has ceased—and that the only Thugs remaining are those who have deserted the evil practices of their caste, or are otherwise expiating their past wickedness by hard labour, as felons, on the Coast of Martaban. Like most other crimes indigenous to India—Thuggism has the sanction of Religion, so called, for all its diabolical practices:—Thugs, Hindoos and Moossulmans (Par nobile fratrum !) alike professing in all their deeds and practices, to act under the direct Sanction and patronage of Dev'ee or Bhu'wa'nee, the wife of Siva (or Doorga in her pacific form 1)

to whose divine will they attribute its origin, and whose favour they conjointly propitiate by rites, sacrifices, and offerings —For full details of this iniquitous system, the reader is referred to Major W. H. Sleeman's “Ramaseena, or a Vocabulary of the peculiar Language used by the Thugs, with an Introduction and Appendix, descriptive of the system pursued by that fraternity, and of the measures which have been adopted by the Supreme Government of India for its suppression.” Calcutta, 1836.-The same author’s “Report of the depredations committed by the Thug gangs of Upper and Central India, from the cold season of 1836-37, down to their gradual suppression, under the operation of the measures adopted against them by the Supreme Government in 1839." Calcutta, 1840.-And “ Illustrations of the History and Practices of the

Thugs, and notices of some of the Proceedings of the Government of India, for the suppression of the crime of Thugge6.” London, 1837 ;

from which works (the 3rd a compilation chiefly from the 1st) this

article has largely quoted.—See also the article Kalee, p. 261, of this

work. Thuggee, robbery, theft, cheating, (hin.) Thug'a'ee, f.-See the foregoing article.

#;" } (hin.) a female Thug. Altogether we regard the Anglo-Hindustani Hand-Book as a valuable work. Perhaps it would have been all the better, had it been somewhat shorter ; but it would be difficult to say what portion of the matter could have been omitted without detriment, and still more difficult to say how so much matter could have been compressed into a smaller space. Our best wish for the author,” to whom we feel ourselves in no small degree indebted, (and he will admit that his best friend could not form for him a better wish) is, that he may speedily see “ the long-promised conclusion of an Equity Suit, in which, unhappily, he is an interested party.” In our ignorance of the merits of the case, we will not so far prejudge it, according to the newspaper phrase, as to express a wish that it may be decided in his favour; but we may well hope that the “glorious uncertainty of law " may not add so worthy and so talented a man to the list of its martyrs.

* We have sometimes, in the course of this article, spoken of the Author, and sometimes of the Authors, of this work. The reason is that the first part of the work was, as explained in the Preface, prepared by two gentlemen, and the second part by one, who expresses very cordial acknowledgment of the aid received from his co-adjutor.

ART. VI.-1. Resolution by the Hon'ble the Lieutenant-Governor, N. W. P., General Department, dated 9th February, 1850. Published in the Agra Government Gazette of 19th February, 1850.

2. General Reports on Public Instruction in the N. W. P. of the Bengal Presidency, from the year 1843-44 to the year 1848-49 (inclusive ).

3. Report on Native Schools of the Futtehpore District, by Wm. Muir, Esq., B. C. S., 1846. Published by order of Government, N. W. P. Batract from Third Report on the state of Indigenous Education in Bengal and Behar, by

Holliam Adam. Published originally in 1838, and re-pubdished by order of Government, N. W. P., 1845.

4. An Educational course for Village Accountants (Putwaris), *n sour parts, by Ram Surrun Doss, Deputy Collector at Delhi, in Urdu and Hindi. Agra. 1844.

5. The Social Condition and Education of the people, by J. Kay, M. A. 2 Vols. Longman and Co. London. 1850.

WE purpose in the present article to give some account of the new scheme of village schools and of vernacular education, in connection with the Land Revenue system as it prevails in the North Western Provinces. The Resolution, in which this educational scheme is embodied, forms our first heading. The Reports, enumerated in the second, contain the history of past efforts for the attainment of the end, which, it is hoped, will be accomplished by the present scheme. The third heading comprises one detailed, though isolated, report, which greatly tends to elucidate the internal working of indigenous native schools. It also includes one of Mr. Adam's famous reports. This report, though it treats of the Lower Provinces, yet stands in a peculiar relation to our present subject, Mr. A.'s statements are patterns for educational enquirers in this country. The present extract was republished by the Governor of the North Western Provinces, seven years after its first publication, in order that it might form a model for the investigations into indigenous education in these provinces, which were then commencing; and its arrangement and method have been generally followed in the preparations of the reports, from which the bulk of our information regarding village schools is drawn. The treatises, which are embraced in the fourth heading, form a course of professional instruction intended for a class of village accountants, whose functions will be described hereafter. In

the volumes, mentioned under the last heading, are to be found the latest and fullest accounts of the results, which have attended educational efforts on the continent of Europe. * We believe that Peasant Proprietorship existed originally throughout a great part of India; that a succession of conquering dynasties, and some of the earlier fiscal arrangements enforced by the British Government, have tended to submerge and even obliterate this class of tenures; but that all the settlements of the North Western Provinces of this Presidency, and especially the last, have uniformly raised peasant proprietors wherever they existed, have consolidated their position, and protected their rights. So far then the course pursued by the Government of these provinces is analogous to that adopted with such success by the continental Governments of Europe. And now, that there is announced a plan, having for its object the intellectual advancement of the agricultural community, it is to be devoutly hoped that this scheme may be the first step in a progressing and ascending course, by which the members of this class (who form the thews and sinews of the bodypolitic in this country) may be led on to intelligence and prosperity. The precise scope and intention of this educational scheme are set forth in the opening paragraphs of the Resolution :“The present scheme contemplates the employment of an agency, which shall rouse the people to a sense of the evils resulting from ignorance, and which shall stimulate them to exertions on their own part to remove this ignorance.” (Par. 2). “The means of effecting this object will be sought in that feature of the existing revenue system, which provides for the annual registration of all landed property throughout the country." (Par. 4). It is well known that the land is minutely divided amongst the people; and that there are few of the agricultural classes, who are not possessed of some rights of property in the soil. It is then stated that for the protection of these rights a system of registration has been devised ; that it is necessary that the parties, whose rights are recorded, should be able to consult the register; and that this involves a know. ledge of reading and writing, of the simple rules of arithmetic, and of land measurement. Then (in Par. 5) we find—“The means are thus afforded for setting before the people the practigal bearing of learning on the safety of the rights in land which they most highly prize; and it is hoped that, when the powers of the mind have been once excited into action, the pupils may be often induced to advance farther, and to perseVere, till they reach a higher state of intellectual cultivation "

We solicit special attention to these extracts. They contain the very germ and essence of the plan. It is clear from them that a two-fold object is proposed—first, that plain prac. tical every-day knowledge should be imparted to a class, which forms by far the larger and more important portion of the whole population—and, secondly, that the popular mind having been roused by the keen sense of personal interest, a higher system of intellectual culture may be universally introduced. The primary end is, as it were, within sight, and to be immediately pursued by direct means. The secondary end is essentially prospective : it is far off, and but dimly discernible in the vista of futurity. It must be followed by indirect and varied means. Its attainment is not possible for years and years to come. By that time Missionary exertions may, by Divine blessing, have made vast progress: and it is hardly chimerical to hope that the efforts of Government to civilize and elevate the people may, in some measure, pave the way for the reception of Christian truth. But we have now to deal with the primary object of the scheme, which is simply this, that every member of the landed and agricultural community, whether proprietor or cultivator, should be able to keep his own accounts, to measure his own lands, and to read the register of his own rights. It will be a great day for the North Western Provinces when this, which is at present a desideratum, shall have become “un fait accompli.” A vast diminution of fraud and oppression, a greater security of property, intelligence in the internal management of estates, and improvements in cultivation, will all follow in its train. To lay before our readers this primary object in all its bearings, let us look first to the class to be educated in its condition, its necessities, and its capabilities; and secondly, to the nature of the education to be given. To render the position and prospects of this class in any way intelligible, it will be necessary to recapitulate briefly the judicial results of the last settlement. Recent publications have thrown so much light on its system and principles, that it will be sufficient to remind the general reader that this is the settlement, which has maintained the village communities in their full integrity. The term “village communities" is fraught with historical and political associations of the highest interest. In the whole range of Indian affairs, there is no term which has been the theme of more descriptive eloquence than this. Suffice it here to say, that this wonderful institution has successfully resisted the different and opposite dangers, which have threatened its existence under the native and British rule. Its most immi

« PreviousContinue »