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in its value would be remedied, and the threatened danger of further disorganization of trade and currency in the future would be removed."
He also says what I believe to be perfectly true that “in fact the wishes of the Bimetallist party are to a great extent met by the above programme, in so far as it provides for an increased use of Silver, and prevents a further depreciation of its value;" and I think all practical Bimetallists who have at heart the immediate attainment of some measure of relief, rather than the ultimate carrying out of a theoretically perfect plan of currency, will agree with me that we should all accept this most promising and liberal offer of compromise on the part of one of the most eminent of Monometallists; and that we should support it, both at the Conference and in public, most heartily, as being the greatest step towards the attainment of our objects which has been made since 1881. I have given Prof. Soetbeer's scheme in detail, because it will undoubtedly be the basis of any other proposals which would have any chance of being carried, and because it has not been published in detail in England, as far as I am aware. It is already (Dec. 11th) rumoured that Prof. Soetbeer's scheme has been rejected by the Conference ; if this is true, and the obtuse and nonpossumus speeches of Sir Chas. Rivers-Wilson and Mr. Bertram Currie make it only too probable that it is at any rate true of the Monometallist English delegates, then we have indeed reached a crisis in our Monetary affairs; and we may well despair of anything being done in time to avert the disasters, which have been impending over England and India for the last eleven years, since the Paris Conference of 1881 ended abortively, owing to the obstinacy and inveterate prejudice of the English Government and financial classes. This time again, although Mr. A. de Rothschild and Prof. Soetbeer, themselves monometallists of the highest reputation, uttered words of the most serious warning, as to the disasters, which will inevitably follow, if this Conference ends as futilely as the last, yet the English monometallist delegates were as prejudiced and shortsighted as ever; and could find nothing more apposite to say, in reply to the solemn warnings they had received, than that the English mercantile classes would never give up their dearly-loved half sovereign, even to save a world from financial ruin. (See Sir C. Rivers-Wilson's speech on Dec. 6th.)
It is not the Government of India, but the Government of England, which is bringing about by its obstinacy the disasters which are impending; and it will be but justice if the majority of the English nation, which turns a deaf ear to the cry of starving Lancashire, to the distress of the Irish nation and to the ruin of its own agricultural classes, should in the end suffer more severely and bring on itself graver and more lasting penalties than India, which has always shown herself willing, even at serious risks, to listen to reason, and to adopt new ways when their necessity and urgency are made clear. At a time when Mr. Balfour and Mr. Chaplin as leaders of the Conservatives, when Archbishop Walsh as representing Ireland and Catholic opinion, and when almost every Chamber of Commerce and Trades Council in Lancashire and the North say unanimously and positively, that the distress which is admitted on all hands to exist is mainly, if not wholly, due to the demonetization of Silver, a Liberal Government sits with folded hands, apparently supremely contented with things as they are, indifferent to the outcry of half the nation, and determined to oppose a stolid non possumus to the demands for justice and fair treatment, not only of India, but of all England except the moneyed and therefore prejudiced classes. The few bright exceptions which exist among these classes only make the surrounding darkness blacker; and if an appalling financial catastrophe, greater than anything hitherto known, should follow, as seems almost certain, the English monometallist classes will have the satisfaction of feeling that they have brought on themselves and on the nation a gigantic calamity, which they might have averted by a little more unselfishness and a little more willingness to open their minds to new ideas.
If any think that I write too strongly on this matter, let them ponder these words of Prof. Soetbeer (a Monometallist and a foreigner) on the responsibility of England. I think they bear out every word which I have said.
England more than any other country is threatened with increasing difficulties in case this new Currency Conference again ends without any practical result, and if matters are allowed to slide on in the old groove.
“The rupee is below 16 pence* and India demands a gold standard. The United States must come to a final decision as regards their Monetary policy, and they have but two alternatives : they must either declare for a Silver Currency with a premium on Gold or for a cessation of treasury purchases of Silver and a forced importation of large quantities of Gold from Europe, which would result in a further considerable premium on gold and a further fall in Silver. The dangers of the present situation are evident, and should act as a serious warning to England, and induce her to consider seriously whether it is not only advisable, but even a pressing necessity to initiate in the coming Conference some positive proposal for increasing the use of silver as money.” (Note of Aug. 5th.)
To this solemn warning from one of the greatest Monometallists, the English Monometallist Delegates reply, “We will never give up our half-sovereign, though a world should perish.”
A. COTTERELL TUPP, (Late Acct.-General, Bombay.) * Now 141d.
LEGENDS, SONGS, CUSTOMS AND HISTORY
(CHILÁS, DAREYL, TANGIR, GILGIT, HUNZA, NAGYR, YASIN,
CHITRÁL AND KAFIRISTAN.]
(Continued from the October number for 1892.)
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.
(a) AMUSEMENTS. The Chaughan Bazi or Hockey on horseback, so popular everywhere north of Kashmir, and which is called Polo by the Baltis and Ladakis, who both play it to perfection and in a manner which I shall describe elsewhere, is also well known to the Gilgiti and Astóri subdivisions of the Shink people. On great general holidays as well as on special occasions of rejoicing, the people meet on the playgrounds which are mostly near the larger villages, and pursue the game with great excitement and at the risk of casualties. The first day I was at Astor, I had the greatest difficulty in restoring to his senses a youth of the name of Rustem Ali who, like a famous player of the same name at Mardo, was passionately fond of the game, and had been thrown from his horse. The place of meeting near Astor is called the l’dgah. The game is called 'TopE in Astor, and the grounds for playing it are called SHAJARAN. At Gilgit the game is called Bulls, and the place SHAWARAN. The latter names are evidently of Tibetan origin. [A detailed account of the rules and practice of Polo will be found in my Hunza-Nagyr Handbook.]
The people are also very fond of target practice, shooting with bows, which they use dexterously, but in which they do not excel the people of Nagyr and Hunza.
Game is much stalked during the winter. At Astór any game shot on the three principal hills—Tshhamó, a high hill opposite the fort, Demideldèn and Tshólokot—belong to the Nawab of Astór—the sportsman receiving only the head, legs and a haunch-or to his representative, then the Tahsildar Munshi Rozi Khan. At Gilgit everybody claims what he may have shot, but it is customary for the Nawab to
receive some share of it. Men are especially appointed to watch and track game, and when they discover their whereabouts notice is sent to the villages from which parties issue, accompanied by musicians, and surround the game. Early in the morning, when the “ Lóhe” dawns, the musicians begin to play and a great noise is made which frightens the game into the several directions where the sportsmen are placed.
The guns are matchlocks and are called in Gilgiti “ turmàk” and in Astór“ tumák.” At Gilgit they manufacture the guns themselves or receive them from Badakhshan. The balls have only a slight coating of lead, the inside generally being a little stone. The people of Hunza and Nagyr invariably place their guns on little wooden pegs which are permanently fixed to the gun and are called “Dugazá.” The guns are much lighter than those manufactured elsewhere, much shorter and carry much smaller bullets than the matchlocks of the Maharaja's troops. They carry very much farther than any native Indian gun and are fired with almost unerring accuracy. For “small shot” little stones of any shape—the longest and oval ones being preferred—are used. There is one kind of stone especially which is much used for that purpose; it is called “ Balósh Batt,” which is found in Hunza, Nagyr, Skardo, and near the “ Demideldèn” hill already noticed, at a village called Pareshinghi near Astor. It is a very soft stone and large cooking utensils are cut out from it, whence the name, “ Balósh ” Kettle, “ Batt” stone, “ Balósh Batt.” The stone is cut out with a chisel and hammer ; the former is called “Gútt” in Astóri and “Gukk” in Gilgiti ; the hammer "toá” and “ Totshúng” and in Gilgiti “samdenn.” The gunpowder is manufactured by the people themselves. *
* “Powder" is called “ Jebati” in Astóri and in Gilgiti “Bilen,” and is, in both dialects, also the word used for medicinal powder. It is made of Sulphur, Saltpetre and coal. Sulphur = dantzil. Saltpetre = Shór in Astóri, and Shorá in Gilgiti. Coal = Kári. The general proportion of the composition is, as my informant put it, after dividing the whole into six and a half parts to give 5 of Saltpetre, i of coal, and } of Sulphur. Some put less coal in, but it is generally believed that more than the above proportion of Sulphur would make the powder too explosive.