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rested and kept in confinement without a trial. And laws were passed to restrict the liberty of the press. Magistrates were empowered to bind down editors of newspapers for good behaviour, and to send them to prison in default of security, without trial for any specific offence. Englishmen who had passed half their lifetime in India felt that the Government was acting under a needless panic, and that signs of suspicion and distrust would not strengthen the Empire. Among the people of India, the terrible year 1897–98 left other bitter memories than those of famine, war, and pestilence. When, therefore, it was announced, towards the close of 1898, that the Hon. George Curzon was to succeed Lord Elgin as Viceroy of India, the intelligence was received by the people of India with a feeling of relief and joy. And Lord Curzon was received in India with an enthusiasm which was as sincere as it was universal. For the people felt that they were at last under the rule of a strong and able ruler, who would see things with his own eyes, and act according to his own judgment. Lord Curzon had many of the qualifications of a good ruler. He had energy, industry, and intelligence of a high order, and had already made his mark in public life in England. Born in 1859, he had worked as Under Secretary of State for India in 1891–92, and as Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs from 1895 to 1898. He had travelled extensively in Asia, and had written on Central Asia, Persia, and the Far East. He had the gift of eloquence and an elegant style; he appreciated public praise; and he was responsive to public criticism. More than this, he had a real appreciation of oriental life; he felt an admiration for oriental art and literature which befitted him to be the ruler of a great oriental nation. Richly endowed with all these gifts, Lord Curzon nevertheless lacked some of the qualifications of a successful administrator. A staunch and ardent Imperialist, he neither appreciated self-government nor believed in popular co-operation. Brilliant, young, and ambitious, he evinced a high regard for British power and prestige, British interests and trade in the East; but he did not evince the same anxiety for the material improvement and the political advancement of the great eastern nation whose destinies were placed in his hands. An autocratic rule was his ideal. The time for a final judgment on Lord Curzon's Indian administration has not yet arrived. But the story of Indian administration during the Victorian Age would be incomplete without some mention of the early years of Lord Curzon's rule. And one records with pain that the first acts of Lord Curzon produced disappointment and disillusionment among the people. As far back as 1876, the Government of Bengal had introduced something like Self-Government within the Municipality of Calcutta. Fifty Municipal Commissioners were elected by the ratepayers of the town, and twenty-five were appointed by the Government. This scheme had ensured State control, while it recognised popular representation. The Municipal Commissioners had, amidst many blunders, done excellent work for the town. They had improved its drainage and water supply. They had cleansed unsanitary spots, and had made the town the resort for health-seekers from the malarial districts of Bengal. They had laid out spacious streets and improved its appearance. They had saved it from any serious attack of the plague which had raged in many other towns in India. And in the words of Sir Antony Macdonnell, who, as Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, had seen the work of the Municipal Commissioners, they had “displayed a care and attention to their duties which is very meritorious, and has in some cases risen to devotion.” But work by popular bodies was not the ideal of the closing years of the century. It was desired to restrict the powers of the elected Commissioners. Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, introduced a Bill calculated to have this effect. The people of Calcutta protested. Lord Curzon intervened and made the Bill worse. He reduced the number of elected members to twenty-five, making it equal to the number of the nominated members. The latter, with the official Chairman, obtained the controlling power. Real popular Government was at an end. The most distinguished citizens of Calcutta, who had given years of their life to municipal work, retired from the scene. The administration of Calcutta has deteriorated since this retrogade measure was passed. And Municipal Self-Government in other parts of India has also been weakened. Self-Government in districts and villages has not improved. Representative institutions in India, started under Lord Ripon's administration between 1880 to 1884, have found little encouragement since. The educated classes, who looked forward to a larger share in the administration of their country under British Rule, have been disappointed. The great mass of the agricultural population of India have fared no better. Tenant-right has not been strengthened. State-demands and Stateenhancements have not been limited by definite rules. The power of alienating holdings has been restricted in the Punjab and Bombay. The water-rate has been made compulsory in Madras. These changes will be fully described in subsequent chapters. A severe famine once more overtook India in 1900, and lasted for four years. Wast relief operations were once more undertaken. They were successful in the Central Provinces, but were badly managed in Bombay. And when the Famine Commission published its report, it was found that the rigorous collection of the Land Tax was largely accountable for the permanent indebtedness of the agricultural classes. The raising of the value of the rupee also added to the general taxation.
The year 1903 began with a Proclamation of the coronation of King Edward VII., made at the Delhi Durbar with unseasonable ostentation and expense, at a time when India was in the fourth year of a continuous famine. The year ended with a needless, cruel, and useless war in Tibet.
The closing years of Lord Curzon's administration were specially marked by reactionary measures. A University Act was passed, restricting the powers of control and management which the people of India had exercised over their universities for half a century. And a Partition of Bengal was effected, calculated to restrict the influence of the people of that advanced Province over the administration of their country.
The Thirty Years of Imperialism, which began in England and in India about 1875, came to a close in 1905, when Lord Curzon resigned his post in India, and the Tory Government fell in Great Britain. The two most beneficent measures for India, passed within this period, were Lord Ripon's Self-Government measure of 1882, and Lord Cross's India Councils Act of 1892. On the other hand, these thirty years were marked by three Acts restricting the liberty of the Press in India, three needless and wasteful wars beyond the frontiers of India, three famines, the most widespread and fatal of which history keeps any record, by a plague which has desolated towns and villages, by a surrender of Indian revenues and the imposition of an excise duty on Indian mills in the interest of Lancashire, by an increase of the Land Revenue by 50 per cent, an increase in general taxation by raising the value of the rupee, and by a marked increase in the military expenditure, the cost of the European services, the Home Charges, and the Public Debt. The period of Imperialism has not been a period of progress or of prosperity in India.
LAND ADMINISTRATION IN NORTHERN INDIA THE principles of Land Assessment in Bengal, Northern India, and the Punjab, had been settled under the administration of the East India Company. And measures had been adopted in the early years of the Crown Government to settle the relations between landlords and tenants, and to extend protection to the cultivators of the soil. The history of the last quarter of a century is therefore a history of smaller measures, and of the further development and extension of principles already laid down.
BENGAL In Bengal the Rent Act of 1859 had given security of rent and tenure to the tillers of the soil. But the cultivators of the Western districts (Behar) had not derived the same benefit from the measure as their more quick-witted brethren of the Eastern districts. The experience of twenty years suggested the necessity of a further measure, to protect them from the unjust demands of their landlords. Lord Ripon's Government undertook this useful task; and the burden of the work fell on Antony Macdonnell, who was then Revenue Secretary of Bengal.
It is needless to narrate the long discussions which were held before the proposed measure took shape. The Government gave a full and even respectful hearing to the objections of landlords. Committees were held in districts and divisions to consider and revise the proposed remedies. The draft of the Bill was modified and recast
tary of Bengal narrate the long and