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The Indian Census Report for 1891 has just been laid on the Table of the House of Commons. Its accuracy may be estimated from the assertion of the Census Commissioner that the final enumeration of over 250 millions of people was carried out within four hours !! This is like the talk of a former Military Secretary to the Indian Government that the taking of Kandahár by the Russians would be equivalent to their taking Calcutta, or like the tact which sent Lord Roberts of Kandahár to meet the Amir of Kabul and Kandahár.
The analysis of the Census Report in our next issue may show with what wisdom the Indian World is governed. In the meanwhile, a third edition of a pretentious and inaccurate book enlightens the British public as to the geography and politics of “ Where Three Empires do not meet.”
Dr. C. Berdoe has addressed us an article comparing the pity inculcated in Oriental writings for our fellow-creatures, the dumb animals, with the professional cruelty which dissected living human beings during the Middle Ages in Europe on precisely the same grounds of the supposed exigencies of science that are advanced now by vivisectionists in favour of subjecting live dogs and rabbits to every circumstance of sustained torture.
The brutalizing effect of such practices in India cannot be overrated. We hear of a case in which a disgrace to the medical profession insisted on a fee of Rs. 5,000 being paid down by, a dying native Chief before he would go to see him. The Government of India have not been a moment too soon in publishing a scale of fees to be charged by its Medical servants who may be called to attend native Chiefs.
Another instance is that of a vivisectionist performing an operation for the cataract before a class. He blinded the patient by mistake and then coolly told his audience “Here you see the result of a mistaken operation.” Dr. Pasteur is said to have recommended that Siam be tried for experiments in Rabies inoculation on the ground, perhaps, of fiat experimentum in corpore vilo. Why should Eastern nations be thus experimented on? We are astonished at one Muhammadan State permitting vivisection and at a Maharaja, similarly blinded by pseudo-scientific phraseology, inoculating himself and his Court against Cholera. There will not be much health and caste left in India after the natives are inoculated against Rabies, Cholera, Consumption, Small-pox and every other disease for whose prevention this doubtful process is recommended.
His Highness Sayad Abd-ul Aziz bin Saeed, sole surviving son of the late Sultan of Zanzibar is a claimant for the throne now occupied by one of his nephews. Sultan Saeed was succeeded in turn by his sons, the last dying in March last. Sayad Abd-ul Aziz was absent in Oman on the last two demises of the crown, and was consequently passed over in favour of younger scions of the family, though he claims to have been the rightful heir, according both to Zanzibar custom and his father's will. It is stated too, that the last Sultan, his brother, named him as the successor to the throne in his will. Sayad Abd-ul Aziz, in an evil moment for him
self, went to Bombay in 1890, to secure the aid of the Indian Government for his claim. That Government, while declining to help him will not allow him to quit India ; and he complains both of virtual imprisonment and of want of means for a suitable living. He has lately appealed to the Secretary of State. We hope that his case will be fully investigated, and that due redress will be given for what certainly seems, at first sight, a high-handed interference with the personal liberty of a free-born nobleman, Sayad Abd-ul Aziz, we must add, does not seek the deposition of the present Sultan, but only a declaration of his own right of succession, in case of the present Sultan pre-deceasing him.
THE BRITISH MISSION TO AFGHANISTAN. A LEADING article in the Times of September the 19th announced to the World that a British mission was on its way to Kabul, with the object of removing certain causes of uneasiness which disturbed the relations subsisting between the two Governments. The writer of the article, after recording that a similar mission had been arranged in 1888 ; that an interview between the Amir and the Indian Viceroy had afterwards been proposed ; that later, Lord Roberts was to have met the Amir at Jellalabad; that all those endeavours to obtain a conference had failed through “the dilatory diplomacy of the Afghan Court,” goes on to state that “ a strong and stable Government in Afghanistan is the keystone of our frontier policy, and that the fall of Abdarrahman and the establishment of a new order of things at Kabul would bring new dangers upon India.”
The particular matters to be discussed with the Amir are referred to in the following sentences, towards the end of the article :“The attitude of the Amir with reference to the terminus of the railway from Quetta to the Afghan frontier ; his attempted aggression in the Kussam Valley ; his endeavours to encroach on Mohmand territory ; his insidious advances on the side of Baluchistanall these are matters that must be cleared up. It ought not to be difficult to convince the Amir that he has absolutely nothing to dread from the supposed forward policy of any Anglo-Indian party.” The drift of these sentences becomes clear when we look back at our recent differences with Abdurrahman. The Amir remonstrated with us for building a railway station in his territory near Chaman ; and, on our side, we complained of annoyances offered to our troops and to the British Agent in the Zhob Valley. Our complaints failed in obtaining from the Amir the least support in favour of the military posts we had established beyond the Indian frontier; and the annoyances to our troops have greatly increased of late : our patrols have been ambuscaded, our officers attacked on their way to and from our camp, and our post at Kajuri Kach has recently been burnt, with large quanties of grain, forage, saddlery and other stores.
In short, our advance into the border-lands of Afghanistan has been objected to passively by the Amir, but with active hostility from the tribesmen; and the object of the present mission is to remove the obstacles thus raised against our military occupation and the free movements of our troops. The matter is to be presented to the Amir under various aspects : he is reminded that, in consideration of the subsidy he receives, he has undertaken to shape his external policy in consultation with us; and that “it is his interest as well as his duty to abstain from anything which would give his formidable neighbours on the North a pretext for resuming the offensive against him." He is to be told at the same time that “his susceptibilities cannot be permitted to cover proceedings that would throw all our frontier policy into confusion.”
In all this there seems a covert menace as to the action we should take, if our demands are not complied with, and as to the fatal consequences which might ensue for the Amir himself. This menace and the prominence given to the mission, cannot fail to awaken general interest and some anxiety regarding the result of this step now taken in the furtherance of “the forward policy.” What we require of the Amir is, that he will consent to our occupying Afghan tribal territory and give us at least his moral support in the matter. Abdarrahman's position is described in the Times as " the ruler of a loosely organised State, peopled by tribes who have no love of the English name." We know, moreover, that the tribes of Afghanistan are governed, each by its elected Chief and Council, but are all united by a faith which strictly enjoins the exclusion of a non-Mahomedan power from their land. Amir Yakub Khan in 1879 lost his influence the moment he consented to the permanent residence of a British Envoy at Kabul and to the temporary occupation of the Kurrum Valley by British troops. The concessions he made in the treaty of Gandamak were at once repudiated by the Afghan tribes who rallied under the standard of Islam against the common enemy.
While such conditions prevail in Afghanistan it seems vain to expect that Abdurrahman will comply with our present demands, or that his compliance, if obtained, would promote our policy. Shere Ali, when threatened and attacked by us for purposes precisely similar, retired beyond the HinduKush, and we were left to deal with the tribes, with results which it would be useful to remember at the present conjuncture.
Our readers of a recent article on "the Kelám-i-pir" and on the Head of the Ismailian community will be pleased to hear that its present Chief, H.H. Aga Khan, has rendered excellent service to the cause of peace in connexion with the late Bombay riots by“ directing all the Khojas to keep the peace and not to join the riots” as was prominently brought to notice at the Reception on the 29th August last by Lord Harris of the Muhammadans and Hindus who had assisted the police in suppressing the outbreak and in restoring order. Indeed, it is only by the co-operation of Government with the leaders of the religious communities in India that the Pax Britannica can be easily maintained.
SUMMARY OF EVENTS.
INDIA.—Sir Henry W. Norman, G.C.B., K.C.I.E., at present Governor of Queensland and formerly a member of the Council first of the Supreme and then of the India Office Council, has been announced to succeed, as Viceroy of India, Lord Lansdowne whose term of Service expires in the beginning of next year. To say that this has been a surprise to all is to say little ; nor shall we add a word on the subject beyond expressing the hope that his already advanced age may not be an impediment to his placing a worthy coping-stone on the edifice of his already acquired good reputation.* Major General C. E. Nairne, C.B., from Meerut has been nominated to the chief command in Bombay, and Major General C. Mansfield Clarke, C.B., to that of Madras. Sir A. P. MacDonnell succeeds Sir P. Hutchins in the Governor General's Council.
The closing of the Indian mints to free coinage of silver has not yet produced all the good results expected from it ; for the long delay in the signing of the report of the Herschell commission had allowed India to be flooded with enough cheap silver to swamp indefinitely the effects of the closure: practically the mints are still open and have been coining at the rate of Rs. 600,000 per day. But when this flood has been absorbed and the export season necessitates larger remittances to India which India now will decline to take in silver, a steady rise must occur in the rate of exchange. Already there are signs of this. Exchange had touched 1.4d. at the proclamation of the Indian Government; and though forced back to 1.2} by abnormal dealings in Rupee paper backed by the suicidal policy of the India Office, with its Council Bills, the exchange is already again above 1.3}. The India Office has caused severe loss to India in this matter, which we hope to see fully investigated. And here we must pointedly call attention to the important fact, that Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji, M.P. for Finsbury, who poses as the representative in Parliament of India, has remained perfectly silent, while India has been thus treated. Silent, too, have been the committee of Members of Parliament, including Sir W. Lawson, Sir W. Wedderburn, Sir J. Pease, Messrs. Caine, Paul, and others —who have undertaken to interfere in Indian affairs. The mints in the Native States are closed to silver, or soon will be.
A needless Commission has been appointed, at the outcry of a small knot of pretentious busy-bodies, to investigate the Opium question, and India is to be most unjustly saddled with half the expense—adding a grievous injury to the deliberate insult of a vexatious and uncalled-for interference with Indian administration and finance. This has already provoked adverse criticism in India, and done much to excite ill-feeling among the natives. Any attempt at suppressing the use of Opium will certainly and rightly be resisted by some of the best races of India—the Sikhs and the Rajputs. Apropos of this subject, the report of the Bombay
* As we go to press, we learn that he has withdrawn his acceptance of the offer.
Lunatic Asylums gives i inmate from opium, against 21 from alcohol and 44 from Ganja and Bhang.
The British India Association have made a formal protest against it to the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, who in his carefully worded reply pointed out that if India had (as some of the most vehement supporters of this commission pretended to wish) any extended local or representative government, that Commission and its interference with Indian affairs would be an absolute impossibility. The Hemp Drugs Commission has been a failure, as not a single witness has come forward for examination.
Numerous and important meetings of the respectable natives continue to be held all over India against the resolution of the House of Commons regarding the Civil Service Examinations being held in India, as also against the Secretary of State's action in thwarting the effects of the closure of the India mints to free coinage.
The Committee on the Indian Cantonments Contagious Diseases system have reported that the previous resolution of the House of Commonsanother of its unwarranted interferences with the internal affairs of Indiahas not been carried into effect. Even its limited application keeps 4,000 British troops continually in hospital—a serious drain on the Indian treasury for absolutely unserviceable material, which is likely to be much increased by further interference.
Very serious riots, attended with loss of life have occurred, in Rangoon, the Azimgarh district and Bombay, between Hindus and Muhammadans, owing to the opposition of the former to the sacrifice of a cow by the latter on their Id-uz-zuhá. The mutual animosity, well known to be chronic in India between the two religions, has been lately accentuated by the circulation of incendiary pamphlets by Hindus and the persistence by Muhammadans in sacrificing a cow, when other animals would better answer their purpose. We doubt not that the Government will strenuously continue their traditional and wise policy of perfect religious freedom, limited by the prohibition to do anything offensive to the religious feelings of anyone; and that while the actual offenders are punished, their instigatorsthe writers, publishers and circulators of the incendiary literature-will not be allowed to escape with impunity. These riots do much to show the necessity of the strong and impartial hand of the British Government, to withhold the heterogeneous masses in India from mutual slaughter.
The crops in India have been generally good ; but heavy floods have done damage in many places; and notably at Srinagar and in the Kashmir valley, where immense loss was caused, in Gilgit where two bridges on the lately made road were swept away, at the Mud Gorge where another slip occurred, at Hyderabad on the Nizan's Railway and several other lines.
In the native States, we have to chronicle the conferring of an honorary Colonelcy in the British Army, by an autograph letter of her most gracious Majesty the Queen-Empress, on His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore. This is a graceful act of recognition for the excellent government of that State, the character of its ruler and the ability of its Dewan. The Khan of Khelat has been allowed to abdicate, and has been succeeded by his