HotFreeBooks.com
A Journey through the Kingdom of Oude, Volumes I & II
by William Sleeman
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Among the people no man feels mortified, or apprehends that he shall stand the worse in the estimation of the Government or its officers, for being called and proved to be a robber. It is the trade of every considerable landholder in the country occasionally, and that of a great many of them perpetually; the murder of men, women, and children generally attends their depredations. A few days ago, when requested by the King to apply to officers commanding stations, and magistrates of bordering districts, for aid in the arrest of some of the most atrocious of these rebels and robbers, I told his Majesty, that out of consideration for the poor people who suffered, I had made a requisition for that aid for the arrest of three of the worst of them; but that I could make no further requisition until he did something to remove the impression now universal over Oude, that those who protected their peasantry managed their estates well, obeyed the Government in all things, and paid the revenue punctually, were sure to be oppressed, and ultimately ruined by the Government and its officers, while those who did the reverse in all these things were equally sure to be favoured and courted.

As an instance, I mentioned Gholam Huzrut, who never paid his revenues, oppressed his peasantry, murdered his neighbours, and robbed them of their estates, attacked and plundered the towns around with his large band of robbers, and kept the country in a perpetual state of disorder; yet, when seized and sent in a prisoner to Lucknow by Captain Bunbury, he managed to bribe courtiers, and get orders sent out to the local authorities to have his son kept in possession of all his ill-gotten lands, and favoured and protected in all possible ways. I knew that such orders had been obtained by bribery; and the Minister told me, that he had ordered nothing more than that the son should have the little land which had been held of old by the family, and should be required to give up all that he had usurped. I showed him a copy of the order issued by his confidential servant, Abid Allee, to all commanders of troops in the district, which had been obtained for me for the occasion of the Minister's visit to my camp; and he seemed much ashamed to see that his subordinates should so abase the confidence he placed in them. The order was as follows:-

"To the Officers commanding the Forces in the District of Sidhore, Nawabgunge, Dewa, &c.

"By Order of the Minister.—The King's chuprassies have been sent to Para to invite in Bhikaree the son of Gholam Huzrut; and you all are informed that the said Bhikaree is to be honoured and cherished by the favour of the King; and if any of you should presume to prevent his coming in, or molest him in the possession of any of the lands he holds, you will incur the severe displeasure of his Majesty. You are, on no account, to molest or annoy him in any way connected with his affairs.

(Signed) "ABID ALLEE."

The thing necessary in Oude is a system and a machinery that shall inspire all with a feeling-first, of security in their tenure in office so long as the duties of it are performed ably and honestly; second, in their tenure in their lands assessed at moderate rates, as long as the rents and revenues so assessed are fully and punctually paid, and the duties of the holders towards the Government, their tenants, and the public, are faithfully discharged; third, in the safety of life, person, and property on the roads and in the towns, villages, and hamlets scattered over the country. This good can never be effected with the present system and machinery, whatever be the ability and diligence of the King, the Minister, and the Resident; be they of the highest possible order, the good they can effect must be small and temporary; there can be, under such a system, no stability in any rule, no feeling of security in any person or thing!

A tribunal, formed under the guarantee of the British Government, might, possibly—first, form a settlement of the land revenue of the whole country, and effectually enforce from all parties, the fulfilment of the conditions it imposed; second, decide, finally, upon all charges against public officers—protect the able and honest, and punish all those who neglect their duties or abuse their authority; third, reform the military force in all its branches—give it the greatest possible efficiency, compatible with the outlay— concentrate it at five or six stations, and protect the people of the country from its rapacity; fourth, raise and form a police, distinct altogether from this military force, and efficient for all the duties required from it; fifth, create and maintain judicial courts to which all classes might look up with confidence and respect. But to effect all this it would require to transfer at least twenty-five lacs of rupees a-year from the pockets of official absorbants and Court favourites to those of efficient public officers; and, finally, to set aside the present King, Minister, and Commander-in-Chief, and take all the executive upon itself.

The expenditure is now about twenty lacs of rupees a-year above the income, and the excess is paid out of the reserved treasury. This reserved treasury was first established by Saadut Allee Khan in A.D. 1801, when he had serious thoughts of resigning the government of his country into the hands of the Honourable Company, and retiring into private life. Up to this time he used to drink hard, and to indulge in other pleasures, which tended to unfit him for the cares and duties of sovereignty; but, in 1801, he made a solemn vow at the shrine of Huzrut Abbas at Lucknow to cease from all such indulgences, and devote all his time and attention to his public duties. This vow he kept, and no Sovereign of Oude has ever conducted the Government with so much ability as he did for the remaining fourteen years of his life. On his death, which took place on the 12th of July, 1814, he left in this reserved treasury the sum of fourteen crores of rupees, or fourteen millions sterling, with all his establishments paid up, and his just debts liquidated. When he ascended the musnud on the 21st January, 1798, he found nothing in the Treasury, and the public establishments all much in arrears.

Out of this reserved treasure, the zukaat, or two and a-half per cent., is every year paid to the mojtahid for distribution among the poor of the Sheea sect at Lucknow. No person of the Sonnee sect is permitted to partake of this charity. Syuds or lineal descendants of the Prophet are not permitted to take any part of this charity, except for the bona fide payment of debt due. The mojtahid is, at the same time, the high priest and the highest judicial functionary in the State. Being a Syud, neither he nor any member of his family can legally take any part of this charity for themselves, except for the bona fide purpose of paying debts; but they get over the difficulty by borrowing large sums before the money is given out, and appropriate the greater part of the money to the liquidation of these debts, though they all hold large sums in our Government securities. To his friends at Court he sends a large share, with a request that they will do him the favour to undertake the distribution among the poor of their neighbourhood. To prevent popular clamour, a small portion of the money given out is actually distributed among the poor of the Sheea sect at Lucknow; but that portion is always small.

Saadut Allee's son and successor, Ghazee-od Deen Hyder, spent four crores out of the reserved treasury over and above the whole income of the State; and when he died, on the 20th of October, 1827, he left ten crores of rupees in that treasury. His son and successor, Nusseer-od Deen Hyder, spent nine crores and thirty lacs; and when he died, on the 7th of July, 1837, he left only seventy lacs in the reserved treasury. His successor, Mahommed Allee Shah, died on the 16th of May, 1842, leaving in the reserved treasury thirty-five lacs of rupees, one hundred and twenty-four thousand gold mohurs, and twenty-four lacs in our Government securities—total, seventy-eight lacs and eighty-four thousand rupees. His son and successor, Amjud Allee Shah, died on the 13th of February, 1847, leaving in the reserved treasury ninety-two lacs of rupees, one hundred and twenty- four thousand gold-mohurs, and twenty-four lacs in our Government securities—total, one crore and thirty-six lacs. His son and successor, his present Majesty, Wajid Allee Shah, is spending out of this reserved treasury, over and above the whole income of the country, above twenty lacs of rupees a-year; and the treasury must soon become exhausted. His public establishments, and the stipendiary members of the royal family, are, at the same time, kept greatly in arrears.*

[* November 30, 1851.—The gold-mohurs have been all melted down, and the promissory notes of our Government all, save four lacs, given away; and of the rupees, I believe, only three lacs remain; so that the reserved treasury must be entirely exhausted before the end of 1851; while the establishments and stipendiary members of the royal family are in arrears for from one to three years. Fifty lacs of rupees would hardly suffice to pay off these arrears. The troops on detached duty, in the provinces with local officers, are not so much in arrears as those in and about the capital. They are paid out of the revenues as they are collected, and their receipts sent in to the treasury. For some good or pleasing services rendered by him to the minister this year, in the trial of offenders whom that minister wished to screen, three lacs of rupees have been paid to the mojtahid as zukaat for distribution to the poor. This has all been appropriated by the mojtahid, the minister, and Court favourites.

The State, like individuals, is bound to pay this zukaat only when it is free from debts of all kinds. The present King's father was free from debt, and had his establishments always paid up; and he always paid this charity punctually. The present King is not bound to pay it, but the high-priest, minister, and Court favourites are too deeply interested in its payment to permit its discontinuance; and the king, like a mere child in their hands, acquiesces in all they propose. The zukaat has, in consequence, increased as the treasury has become exhausted.]

January 13, 1850.—Russoolabad, twelve miles, over a country better peopled and cultivated than usual, where the soil admits of tillage. There is a good deal that requires drainage, and still more that is too poor to be tilled without great labour and outlay in irrigation, manure, &c. The villages are, however, much nearer to each other than in any other part of the country that we have passed over; and the lands, close around every village, are well cultivated. The landholders and cultivators told me, that the heavy rain we have had has done a vast deal of good to the crops; and, as it has been followed by a clear sky and fine westerly wind, they have no fear of the blight which might have followed had the sky continued cloudy, and the winds easterly. Certainly nothing could look better than the crops of all kinds do now, and the people are busily engaged in ploughing the land for sugar-cane, and for the autumn crops of next season.

I had some talk with the head zumeendar of Naraenpoor about midway. He is of the Ditchit family of Rajpoots, who abound in the district we have now entered. We passed over the boundary of Byswara, about three miles from our last encampment, and beyond that district there are but few Rajpoots of the Bys clan. These Ditchits give their daughters in marriage to the Bys Rajpoots, but cannot get any of theirs in return. Gunga Sing, the zumeendar, with whom I was talking, told me that both the Ditchits and Byses put their infant daughters to death, and that the practice prevailed more or less in all families of these and, he believed, all other clans of Rajpoots in Oude, save the Sengers.* I asked him whether it prevailed in his own family, and he told me that it did, more or less, as in all others. I bade him leave me, as I could not hold converse with a person guilty of such atrocities, and told him that they would be all punished for them in the next world, if not in this.

[* The Sengers are almost the only class of Rajpoots in Bundelkund, and Boghilcund, Rewa, and the Saugor territories, who used to put their female infants to death; and here, in Oude, they are almost the only class who do not.]

Rajah Bukhtawar Sing, who was on his horse beside my elephant, said, "They are all punished in this world, and will, no doubt, be punished still more in the next. Scarcely any of the heads of these landed aristocracy are the legitimate sons of their predecessors; they are all adopted, or born of women of inferior grade. The heads of families who commit or tolerate such atrocities become leprous, blind, deaf or dumb, or are carried off in early life by some terrible disease. Hardly any of them attain a good old age, nor can they boast of an untainted line of ancestors like other men. If they get sons, they commonly die young. They unite themselves to women of inferior castes for want of daughters in families of their own ranks, and there is hardly a family among these proud Rajpoots unstained by such connections.* Even the reptile Pausies become Rajpoots by giving their daughters to Powars and other Rajpoot families, when by robbery and murder they have acquired wealth and landed property. The sister of Gunga Buksh, of Kasimgunge, was married to the Rajah of Etondeea, a Powar Rajpoot in Mahona; and the present Rajah—Jode Sing—is her son. Gunga Buksh is a Pausee, but the family call themselves Rawats, and are considered to be Rajpoots, since they have acquired landed possessions by the murder and ruin of the old proprietors. They all delight in murder and rapine—the curse of God is upon them, sir, for the murder of their own innocent children!"

[* A great number of girls are purchased and stolen from our territories, brought into Oude, and sold to Rajpoot families, as wives for their sons, on the assurance, that they are of the same or higher caste, and that their parents have been induced to part with them from poverty. A great many of our native officers and sipahees, who marry while home on furlough, and are pressed for time, get such wives. Some of their neighbours are always bribed by the traders in such girls, to pledge themselves for the purity of their blood. If they ever find out the imposition, they say nothing about it.]

"When I was sent out to inquire into the case of Brigadier Webber, who had been attacked and robbed while travelling in his palkee, with relays of bearers, from Lucknow to Seetapoor, I entered a house to make some inquiries, and found the mistress weeping. I asked the cause, and she told me that she had had four children, and lost all— that three of them were girls, who had been put to death in infancy, and the last was a fine boy, who had just died! I told her that this was a just punishment from God for the iniquities of her family, and that I would neither wash my hands nor drink water under her roof. I never do under the roof of any family in which such a cruel practice prevails. These Rajpoots are all a bad set, sir. When men murder their own children, how can they scruple to murder other people? The curse of God is upon them, sir.

"In the district of Byswara," he continued, "through which we have just passed, you will find at least fifty thousand men armed to fight against each other, or their government and its officers: in such a space, under the Honourable Company's dominion, you would not find one thousand armed men of the same class. Why is this, but because you do not allow such crimes to be perpetrated? Why do you go on acquiring dominion over one country after another with your handful of European troops and small force of native sipahees, but because God sees that your rule is just, and that you have an earnest desire to benefit the people and improve the countries you take?"

He told me that he had charge of the cattle under Saadut Allee Khan when Lord Lake took the field at the first siege of Bhurtpoor; that his master lent his Lordship five hundred elephants, eight thousand artillery bullocks, and five hundred horses; that two hundred and fifty of the elephants returned; but whether any of the bullocks and horses came back or not he could not say.

The country we came over to-day is well studded with groves and fine single trees, but the soil is generally of the lighter doomuteea kind, which requires much labour and outlay in water and manure. The irrigation is all from wells and pools. In the villages we came through, we saw but few of the sipahees of our army home on furlough; they are chiefly from the Byswara and Bunoda districts. We found our tents pitched upon a high and dry spot, with a tight soil of clay and sand. After the heavy rain we have had, it looked as if no shower had fallen upon it for an age. The mud walls of the houses we saw on the road were naked, as usual. The rapacity of the King's troops is everywhere, directly or indirectly, the cause of this: and till they are better provided and disciplined the houses in the towns and villages can never improve.

The commandant, Imdad Hoseyn, of the Akberee or Telinga Regiment, on duty with the Amil of the Poorwa district, in which our camp was last pitched, followed me a few miles this morning to beg that I would try to prevail upon the Durbar to serve out clothing for his corps. He told me that the last clothing it got from the Government was on the occasion of Lord Hastings' visit to Lucknow, some thirty-three years ago, in 1817; that many orders had been given since that time for new clothing, but there was always some one about Court to counteract them, from malice or selfishness; that his father, Zakir Allee, commanded the corps when it got the last clothing, and he succeeded him many years ago. The Telinga Regiments are provided with arms, accoutrements, and clothing by Government. The sipahees formerly got five rupees a-month, but for only ten months in the year; they now get four rupees and three and a-half annas a-month for all the twelve months. 'He is, he says, obliged to take a great many sufarashies, or men put in by persons of influence at Court, out of favour, or for the purpose of sharing in their pay; and, under the deductions and other disadvantages to which they are liable, he could get no good men to enlist. The corps, in consequence, has a wretched appearance, and certainly could not be made formidable to an enemy. The "Akbery" is one of the Telinga corps of infantry, and was intended to be, in all things, like those of Captains Barlow, Bunbury, and Magness; but Imdad Hoseyn told me that they had a certain weight at Court, which secured for their regiments many advantages necessary to make the corps efficient, while he had none: that they had occasional intercourse with the Resident, and were all at Court for some months in the year to make friends, while he was always detached.

January 14, 1850.—Halted at Russoolabad, for our second set of tents, which did not come up till night, when it was too late to send them on to our next ground. We have two sets of sleeping and dining tents—one to go on and the other to remain during the night—but only one set of office tents. They are struck in the afternoon, when the office duties of the day are over, and are ready by the time we reach our ground the next morning. This is the way in which all public functionaries march in India. Almost all officers who have revenue charges march through the districts under their jurisdiction during the cold season, and so do many political officers who have control over more than one native principality. I have had charges that require such moving ever since the year 1822, or for some twenty-eight years; and with the exception of two intervals of absence on medical certificate in 1826 and 1836, I have been every cold season moving in the way I describe.

No Resident at the Court of Lucknow ever before moved, over the country as I am doing to inquire into the condition of the people, the state of the country, and character of the administration; nor would it be desirable for them to do so unless trained to civil business, and able and disposed to commune freely with the people of all classes. The advantages would hardly counterbalance the disadvantages. When I apologize to the peasantry for the unavoidable trespasses of my camp, they always reply good-humouredly, "The losses we suffer from them are small and temporary, while the good we hope from your visit is great and permanent." Would that I could realize the hopes to which my visit gives rise.

January 15, 1850.—To Meeangunge, five miles, over a plain of good doomuteea soil, well studded with trees; but much of the land lies waste, and many of the villages and hamlets are unoccupied and in ruins. We passed the boundary of the Russoolabad district, about two miles from our last ground, and crossed into that of Meeangunge or Safeepoor. The Russoolabad district was held in contract for some years by one of the greatest knaves in Oude, Buksh Allee, a dome by caste, whose rise to wealth and influence may be described as illustrative of the manners and customs of the Lucknow Court and Government. This man and his deputy, Munsab Allee, reduced a good deal of the land of the district to waste, and depopulated many of its villages and hamlets by over-exactions and by an utter disregard of their engagements with the landholders and cultivators; and they were in league with many atrocious highway robbers, who plundered and murdered so many travellers along the high road leading from Lucknow to Cawnpoor, which runs through the district, that it was deemed unsafe to pass it except in strong bodies.

When I took charge of my office in January last, they used to seize every good-looking girl or young woman, passing the roads with parents and husbands, who were too poor to purchase redress at Court, and make slaves or concubines of them; and, feeling strong in the assurance of protection from the fiddlers in the palace, who are of the same caste—domes—Buksh Allee defied all authority, and kept those girls and women in his camp and house at Lucknow, while their parents and husbands, for months and years, in vain besought all who were likely to have the least influence or authority to interpose for their release. Some of them came to me soon after I took charge, and, having collected sufficient proof of these atrocities, and of some robberies which he had committed or caused to be committed along the high road, I insisted upon his being deprived of his charges and punished. He remained for many months concealed in the city, but was at last seized by some of the Frontier Police, under the guidance of an excellent officer, Lieutenant Weston, the Superintendent.

I had prevailed on the King to offer two thousand rupees for his apprehension, and the two thousand rupees were distributed among the captors. The girls and young women were released, their parents and husbands compensated for the sufferings they had endured, and many of the persons who had been robbed by him and his deputy had the value of their lost property made good. Great impediments were thrown in the way of all this by people of influence about Court; but they were all surmounted by great skill and energy on the part of Lieutenant Weston and steady perseverance on mine; and Buksh Allee remained in gaol, treated as a common felon, till all was effected. All had, in appearance, been done by the King's officers, but in reality by ours, under his Majesty's sanction, for it was clear that nothing would be done unless we supervised and guided their proceedings. The district is now held in contract by a very respectable man, Mahommed Uskaree, who has taken it for four years.

The district of Safeepoor, in which we are now encamped, has been held in contract for five years by Budreenath, a merchant of Lucknow, who had given security for the former contractor. He could not fulfil his engagements to Government, and the contract was made over to him as surety, on condition that he paid the balance. He has held it ever since, while his younger brother, Kiddernath, has conducted their mercantile affairs at Lucknow. Budreenath has always considered the affair as a mercantile speculation, and thought of nothing but the amount he has to pay to Government and that which he can squeeze out of the landholders and cultivators. He is a bad manager; the lands are badly tilled, and the towns, villages, and hamlets are scantily peopled and most wretched in appearance.

Near the border, we passed one village, Mahommedpoor, entirely in ruins. After some search we found a solitary man of the Pausee tribe, who told us that it had been held for many generations by the family of Rugonath, a Gouree Rajpoot, who paid for it at an uniform rate of six hundred rupees a-year. About three years ago the contractor demanded from him an increased rate, which he could not pay. Being sorely pressed, he fled to the jungles with the few of his clan that he could collect, and ordered all the cultivators to follow his fortunes. They were of a different clan—mostly Bagheelas—and declined the honour. He urged that, if they followed him for a season or two, the village would be left untilled, and yield nothing to the contractor, who would be constrained to restore him to possession at the rate which his ancestors had paid; that his family had nothing else to depend upon, and if they did not desert the land and take to the jungles and plunder with him, he must, of necessity, plunder them. They had never done so, and would not do so now. He attacked and plundered the village three times, killed three men, and drove all the rest to seek shelter and employment in other villages around. Not a soul but himself, our informant, was left, and the lands lay waste. Rogonath Sing rented a little land in the village of Gouree, many miles off, and in another district, still determined to allow no man but himself to hold the village or restore its tillage and population. This, said the Pausee, is the usage of the country, and the only way in which a landholder can honestly or effectually defend himself against the contractor, who would never regard his rights unless he saw that he was prepared to defend them in this way, and determined to involve all under him in his own ruin, depopulate his estate, and lay waste his lands.

Meean Almas, after whom this place, Meeangunge, takes his name, was an eunuch. He had a brother, Rahmut, after whom the town of Rahmutgunge, which we passed some days ago, took its name. Meean Almas was the greatest and best man of any note that Oude has produced. He held for about forty years this and other districts, yielding to the Oude Government an annual revenue of about eighty lacs of rupees. During all this time he kept the people secure in life and property, and as happy as people in such a state of society can be; and the whole country under his charge was, during his life- time, a garden. He lived here in a style of great magnificence, and was often visited by his sovereign, who used occasionally to spend a month at a time with him at Meeangunge. A great portion of the lands held by him were among those made over to the British Government, on the division of the Oude territory, by the treaty of 1801, concluded between Saadut Allee Khan and the then Governor-General Lord Wellesley.

The country was then divided into equal shares, according to the rent-roll at the time. The half made over to the British Government has been ever since yielding more revenue to us, while that retained by the sovereign of Oude has been yielding less and less to him; and ours now yields, in land-revenue, stamp-duty, and the tax on spirits, two crore and twelve lacs a-year, while the reserved half now yields to Oude only about one crore, or one crore and ten lacs. When the cession took place, each half was estimated at one crore and thirty- three lacs. Under good management the Oude share might, in a few years, be made equal to ours, and perhaps better, for the greater part of the lands in our share have been a good deal impoverished by over-cropping, while those of the Oude share have been improved by long fallows. Lands of the same natural quality in Oude, under good tillage, now pay a much higher rate of rent than they do in our half of the estate.

Almas Allee Khan, at the close of his life, was supposed to have accumulated immense wealth; but when he died he was found to have nothing, to the great mortification of his sovereign, who seized upon all. Large sums of money had been lent by him to the European merchants at Lucknow, as well as to native merchants all over the country. When he found his end approaching, he called for all their bonds and destroyed them. Mr. Ousely and Mr. Paul were said to have at that time owed to him more than three lacs of rupees each. His immense income he had expended in useful works, liberal hospitality, and charity. He systematically kept in check the tallookdars, or great landholders; fostered the smaller, and encouraged and protected the better classes of cultivators, such as Lodhies, Koormies, and Kachies, whom he called and considered his children. His reign over the large extent of country under his jurisdiction is considered to have been its golden age. Many of the districts which he held were among those transferred to the British Government by the treaty of 1801; and they were estimated at the revenue which he had paid for them to the Oude Government. This was much less than any other servant of the Oude Government would have been made to pay for them; and this accounts, in some measure, for the now increased rate they yield to us. Others pledged themselves to pay rates which they never did or could pay; and the nominal rates in the accounts were always greater than the real rates. He never pledged himself to pay higher rates than he could and really did pay.

Now the tallookdars keep the country in a perpetual state of disturbance, and render life, property, and industry everywhere insecure. Whenever they quarrel with each other, or with the local authorities of the Government, from whatever cause, they take to indiscriminate plunder and murder over all lands not held by men of the same class; no road, town, village, or hamlet is secure from their merciless attacks; robbery and murder become their diversion— their sport; and they think no more of taking the lives of men, women, and children who never offended them, than those of deer or wild hogs. They not only rob and murder, but seize, confine, and torture all whom they seize, and suppose to have money or credit, till they ransom themselves with all they have, or can beg or borrow. Hardly a day has passed since I left Lucknow in which I have not had abundant proof of numerous atrocities of this kind committed by landholders within the district through which I was passing, year by year, up to the present day. The same system is followed by landholders of smaller degrees and of this military class—some holders of single villages or co-sharers in a village. This class comprises Rajpoots of all denominations, Mussulmans, and Pausies. Where one co-sharer in a village quarrels with another, or with the Government authorities, on whatever subject, he declares himself in a state of war, and adopts the same system of indiscriminate plunder and reckless murder. He first robs the house and murders all he can of the family of the co-sharer with whom he has quarrelled, or whose tenement he wishes to seize upon; and then gets together all he can of the loose characters around, employs them in indiscriminate plunder, and subsists them upon the booty, without the slightest apprehension that he shall thereby stand less high in the estimation of his neighbours, or that of the officers of Government; on the contrary, he expects, when his pastime is over, to be at least more feared and courted, and more secure in the possession of increased lands, held at lower rates.

All this terrible state of disorder arises from the Government not keeping faith with its subjects, and not making them keep faith with each other. I one day asked Rajah Hunmunt Sing how it was that men guilty of such crimes were tolerated in society, and he answered by quoting the following Hindee couplet:—"Men reverence the man whose heart is wicked, as they adore and make offerings to the evil planet, while they let the good pass unnoticed, or with a simple salute of courtesy."*

[* There is another Hindee verse to the same effect. "Man dreads a crooked thing—the demon Rahoo dares not seize the moon till he sees her full." They consider the eclipse to be caused by the demon Rahoo seizing the moon in his mouth.]

The contractor for this district, Budreenath, came to call in the afternoon, though he is suffering much from disease. He bears a good character with the Government, because he contrives to pay its demand; but a very bad one among the people, from whom he extorts the means. He does not adhere to his engagements with the landholders and cultivators, but exacts, when the crops are ripe, a higher rate than they had engaged to pay at the commencement of tillage; and the people suffer not only from what he takes over and above what is due, but from the depredations of those whom such proceedings drive into rebellion. Against such persons he is too weak to protect them; and as soon as the rebels show that they can reduce his income by plundering and murdering the peasantry, and all who have property in the towns and villages, he re-establishes them on their lands on their own terms. He had lately, however, by great good luck, seized two very atrocious characters of this description, who had plundered and burnt down several villages, and murdered some of their inhabitants; and as he knew that they would be released on the first occasion of thanksgiving at Lucknow, having the means to bribe Court favourites, he begged my permission to make them over to Lieutenant Weston, superintendent of the Frontier Police, as robbers by profession. "If they come back, sir, they will murder all who have aided in their capture, or given evidence against them, and no village or road will be safe."

Some shopkeepers in the town complained that the contractor was in the habit of forcing them to stand sureties for the fulfilment, on the part of landholders, of any engagements they might make, to pay him certain sums, or to make over to him certain land produce at the harvest. This, they said, often involved them in heavy losses, as the landholders frequently could not, or would not, do either when the time came, and they were made to pay. This is a frequent practice throughout Oude. Shopkeepers and merchants who have property are often compelled by the contractors and other local officers to give such security for bad or doubtful paymasters with whom they may happen to have had dealings or intercourse, and by this means robbed of all they have. All manner of means are resorted to to compel them: they and their families are seized and confined, and harshly or disgracefully treated, till they consent to sign the security bonds. The plea that the bonds had been forced from them would not avail in any tribunal to which they might appeal: it would be urged against them that the money was for the State; and this would be considered as quite sufficient to justify the Government officer who had robbed them. The brief history which I propose to give of Buksh Allee, the late contractor for the Russoolabad district, is as follows:—

Mokuddera Ouleea, one of the consorts of the King, Nuseer-od Deen Hyder, was the daughter of Mr. George Hopkins Walters, a half-pay officer of one of the regiments of British Dragoons, who came to Lucknow as an adventurer. He there united himself (though not in marriage) to the widow of Mr. Whearty, an English merchant or shopkeeper of that city, who had recently died, leaving this widow, who was the daughter of Mr. Culloden, an English merchant of Lucknow, and one son, now called Ameer Mirza, and one daughter, now called Shurf-on Nissa. By Mr. Walters this widow had one daughter, who afterwards became united to the King in marriage (in 1827), under the title of "Mokuddera Ouleea." Mr. Walters died at Lucknow, and the widow and two daughters went to reside at Cawnpoor. The daughters were good-looking, and the mother was disposed to make the most of their charms, without regard to creed or colour.

Buksh Allee, a dome by caste, who had been by profession a drummer to a party of dancing-girls, served them as a coachman and table attendant. At Cawnpoor he cohabited with Mrs. Walters, and prevailed upon her to take her children back to Lucknow as the best possible market for them, as he had friends at Court who would be able to bring them to the notice of the sovereign. They were shown to the King as soon as he succeeded his father on the throne in 1827. He was captivated with the charms of Miss Walters, though they were not great, demanded her hand from the mother, and was soon after united to her in marriage according to the Mahommedan law. A suitable establishment was provided by the King for her mother, father-in-law, brother, and sister; and as his Majesty considered that the manner in which Buksh Allee and her mother had hitherto lived together was unsuitable to the connection which now subsisted between them, he caused them to be married in due form according to the Mahommedan law. The mother and her three children now changed their creed for that of Islamism, and took Mahommedan names.

By a deed of engagement with the British Government, hearing date the 1st of March 1829, the King contributed to the five per cent loan the sum of sixty-two lacs and forty thousand rupees, the interest of which, at five per cent., our Government pledged itself to pay to the four females.*

[* Mulika Zumanee, 10,000; Taj Mahal, 6,000; Mokuddera Ouleea, 6,000; Zeenut-on Nissa, the daughter of Mulika Zumanee, 4,000.]

These pensions were to descend in perpetuity to their heirs, if they left any; and if they left none, they were to have the power to bequeath them by will to whomsoever and for what purposes soever they chose, the British Government reserving to itself the power to pay to the heirs the principal from which the pensions arose, instead of continuing the pensions.

The King died in July 1837, and Mokuddera Ouleea went to reside near her mother and Buksh Allee, taking with her great wealth in jewels and other things, which she had accumulated during the King's lifetime. Her sister, Ashrof—alias Shurf-on Nissa—resided in the same house with her mother and Buksh Allee. Mokuddera Ouleea had from the time she became estranged from her husband, the King, led a very profligate life, and she continued to do the same in her widowhood. On the 14th of September 1839, the mother died; and the sister, Shurf-on Nissa, supplied her place, as the wife or concubine of Buksh Allee.

Mokuddera Ouleea became pregnant, and on the 9th of November 1840, she was taken very ill from some violent attempt to produce abortion. She continued insensible and speechless till the evening of the 12th of that month, when she expired. The house which Buksh Allee occupied at that time is within the Residency compound, and had been purchased by Mr. John Culloden, the father of Mrs. Walters, from Mr. George Prendergast on the 22nd of February 1802. Mr. Prendergast purchased the house from Mr. S. M. Taylor, an English merchant at Lucknow, who obtained it from the Nawab Assuf-od Dowlah, as a residence. The Nawab afterwards, on the 5th of January 1797, gave him, through the Resident, Mr. J. Lumsden, permission to sell it to Mr. Prendergast. The remains of Mokuddera Ouleea were interred within the compound of that house, near those of her mother, though the King, Mahommed Allee Shah, wished to have them buried by the side of those of her husband, the late King. The house is still occupied by Shurf-on Nissa, who succeeded to her sister's pension and property, under the sanction of the British Government, and has built, or completed within the enclosure, a handsome mosque and mausoleum.

On the death of Mr. Walters, Mrs. Whearty made application, through the house of Colvin and Co., for the arrears of pension or half-pay due to him up to the time of his death, and for some provision for herself as his widow; but she was told that unless she could produce the usual certificate, or proof of her marriage with him, she could get neither. No proof whatever of the marriage was forthcoming, and the claim was prosecuted no further. Shurf-on Nissa, and her brother and his son, continued to live with Buksh Allee, who, upon the wealth and pension left by Mokuddera Ouleea to her sister, kept up splendid establishments both at Lucknow and Cawnpoor.

At the latter place he associated on terms of great intimacy with the European gentlemen, and is said to have received visits from the Major-General commanding the Division and his lady. With the aid of his wealth and the influence of his brother domes (the singers and fiddlers who surround the throne of his present Majesty), Buksh Allee secured and held for some years the charge of this fertile and populous district of Russoolabad, through which passes the road from Lucknow to Cawnpoor, where, as I have already stated, he kept up bands of myrmidons to rob and murder travellers, and commit all kinds of atrocities. This road became, in consequence, the most unsafe of all the roads in Oude, and hardly a day passed in which murders and robberies were not perpetrated upon it. Proof of his participation in these atrocities having been collected, Buksh Allee was, in October 1849, seized by order of the Resident, tried before the King's Courts, convicted and sentenced to imprisonment, and ordered to restore or make good the property which he was proved to have taken, or caused to be taken, from travellers. His house had become filled with girls of all ages, whom he had taken from poor parents, as they passed over this road, and converted into slaves for his seraglio. They were all restored to their parents, with suitable compensation; and the Cawnpoor road has become the most safe, as well as the best, road in Oude.

On the death of Mokuddera Ouleea, a will was sent to the Resident by her sister, who declared that it had been under her sister's pillow for a year, and that she had taken it out on finding her end approaching, and made it over to her, declaring it to contain her last wishes. By this document pensions were bequeathed to the persons mentioned in the note below* out of one-third, and the other two- thirds were bequeathed to her sister and brother. In submitting this document to Government, the Resident declared that he believed it to be a forgery; and in reply he was instructed to ascertain whether the persons named in the document had any objections to consider Shurf-on Nissa sole heir to her sister's property and pension. Should they have none to urge, he was directed to consider her as sole heir, and the pretended will as of no avail. They all agreed to consider her as sole heir; and the Resident was directed to make over to her the property, and pay to her the pension or the principal from which it arose. The Resident considered the continuance of the pension as the best arrangement for the present, and of this Government approved.

[* Buksh Allee, 1,000 rupees per month; Allee Hoseyn, 75; Sooraj Bhan, 40; Syud Hoseyn, 30; Sheik Hingun, 20; Mirza Allee, 30; Ram Deen, 12; Meea Sultan, 15; Sudharee, 10; Imam Buksh, 3; Ala Rukhee, 10; Sadoo Begum, 20; Akbar, 15; Mahdee Begum, 30.]

Shurf-on Nissa has no recognised children, and her brother and his reputed son are her sole heirs, so that no injury can arise to him from the omission, on the part of Government and the Resident, of all mention of his right as co-sharer in the inheritance. Neither brother nor sister had really any legal right whatever to succeed to this pension, for Mokuddera Ouleea was an illegitimate child, and had no legal heirs according to either English or Mahommedan law. This fact seems to have been concealed from the Resident, for he never mentioned it to Government. It was the dread that this fact would cause the whole pension to be sent to the shrines in Turkish Arabia, that made them forge the will. All readily consented to consider Shurf-on Nissa the heir, when they found that our Government had no objection to consider her as such. The King wished to have the money to lay out on bridges and roads in Oude, and the Resident advocated this wish; but our Government, ignorant of the fact of the illegitimacy of the deceased, and with the guaranteed bequest of the late King before them, could not consent to any such arrangement.

Government has long been strongly and justly opposed to all such guarantees, and the Resident was told on the 14th November 1840, "that the Governor-General in Council could not consent to grant the absolute and unqualified pledge of protection which the King was solicitous of obtaining in favour of four other females; and directed to state to his Majesty that, although in the instances he had cited, such guarantees had certainly been afforded in former times, yet they were always given either under the impression of an overruling necessity, or in consequence of some acknowledged claims, or previously existing engagements, the force of which could not be avoided; that their existence had often operated practically in the most embarrassing manner, while it constituted a standing and perpetual infringement of the rights of the Government of Oude; and that his Lordship in Council was, consequently, decidedly opposed to the continuance of a system so plainly at variance with every just principle of policy." The objections of the British Government to such guarantees are stated in letters dated 18th February, 28th March, 20th May, 3rd October, and 19th December 1839, and 11th May 1848.

In a despatch from the Honourable the Court of Directors, dated 4th March 1840, their just disapprobation of such guarantees is expressed; and reference is made to former strong expressions of disapprobation. In their despatch of the 28th March 1843, the Honourable Court again express their disapprobation of such guarantees; and refer to their letter of the 16th March, in which they gave positive orders that no such engagement should ever be concluded without a previous reference to the Court. The argument that the arrangement did not, in any particular case, add to the number of guaranteed persons, such persons being already under guarantee, did not in the opinion of the Court touch the stronger objection to such a measure, that of the impropriety of our aiding, especially by the grant of peculiar privileges, the appropriation of the resources of the State to the advantage of individuals. The Court expresses a hope that they shall never have occasion to notice any future violation of their orders as respects such engagements.

January 16, 1850.—We were to have gone this morning to Ouras, but were obliged to encamp at Burra, eight miles from Meeangunge, on the left bank of the Saee river, which had been too much increased by the late rains to admit of our baggage and tents passing over immediately on anything but elephants. As we have but few of them, our tents were pitched on this side of the river, that our things might have the whole day before them to pass over on carts and camels, as the river subsided. Ouras is three miles from our camp, and we are to pass through it and go on to Sundeela to-morrow. There is no bridge, and boats are not procurable on this small river, which we have to cross and recross several times.

The country from Meeangunge is scantily cultivated, but well studded with trees, and generally fertile under good tillage. The soil is the light doomuteea, but here and there very sandy and poor, running into what is called bhoor. The villages and hamlets which we could see are few and wretched. We have few native officers and sipahees in our army from the districts we are now in, and I am in consequence less oppressed with complaints from this class of the Oude subjects.

We met, near our tents, a party of soldiers belonging to Rajah Ghalib Jung, a person already mentioned, and at present superintendent of police, along the Cawnpoor road, escorting a band of thieves, who robbed Major Scott some ten months ago on his way, by dawk, from Lucknow, and an European merchant, two months ago, on his way, by dawk, from Cawnpoor to Lucknow. They had been seized in the Sundeela districts, and the greater part of the stolen property found in their houses. They are of the Pausie tribe, and told me that thieving was their hereditary trade, and that they had long followed it on the Cawnpoor road with success. The landholder, who kept them upon his estate and shared in their booty, was also seized, but made over to the revenue contractor, who released him after a few days' imprisonment for a gratuity.

Of these Pausies there are supposed to be about one hundred thousand families in Oude. They are employed as village watchmen, but, with few exceptions, are thieves and robbers by hereditary profession. Many of them adopt poisoning as a trade, and the numbers who did so were rapidly increasing when Captain Hollings, the superintendent of the Oude Frontier Police, arrested a great many of them, and proceeded against them as Thugs by profession, under Act III. of 1848. His measures have been successfully followed up by Captain Weston, his successor, and this crime has been greatly diminished in Oude. It prevails still, however, more or less, in all parts of India.

These Pausies of Oude generally form the worst part of the gangs of refractory tallookdars in their indiscriminate plunder. They use the bow and arrow expertly, and are said to be able to send an arrow through a man at the distance of one hundred yards. There is no species of theft or robbery in which they are not experienced and skilful, and they increase and prosper in proportion as the disorders in the country grow worse. They serve any refractory landholder, or enterprising gang-robber, without wages, for the sake of the booty to be acquired.

Many of the sipahees of the Mobarick Pultun, on detached duty with the king's wakeel in attendance upon me, were this morning arrested, while taking off the choppers from the houses of villages along the road and around my camp, for fuel and fodder, in what they called the "usual way." The best beams and rafters and the whole of the straw were fast moving off to my camp; and when seized, the sipahees seemed much surprised, and asked me what they were to do, as they had not received any pay for six months, and the Government expected that they would help themselves to straw and timber wherever they could most conveniently find it. All were fined; but the hope to put a stop to this intolerable evil, under the present system, is a vain one. The evil has the acquiescence and encouragement of the Government and its functionaries of all kinds and grades throughout the country. It is distressing to witness every day such melancholy proofs of how much is done that ought not to be done, and how much that ought to be done is left undone, in so fine a country.

A want of sympathy or fellow-feeling between the governing and governed is common in all parts of India, but in no part that I have seen is it so marked as in Oude. The officers of the Government delight in plundering the peasantry, and upon every local Governor who kills a landholder of any mark, rewards and honours are instantly bestowed, without the slightest inquiry as to the cause or mode. They know that no inquiry will be made, and therefore kill them when they can; no matter how, or for what cause. The great landholders would kill the local Governors with just as little scruple, did they not fear that it might make the British Government interpose and aid in the pursuit after them.

January 17, 1850.—Sundeela, about thirteen miles from our last camp, on the bank of the little River Saee, over a plain of good doomuteea soil, very fertile, and well cultivated in the neighbourhood of villages. The greater portion of the plain is, however, uncultivated, though capable of the best tillage, and shows more than the usual signs of maladministration. In this district there are only three tallookdars, and they do not rob or resist the Government at present. They distrust the Government authorities, however, and never have any personal intercourse with them. The waste is entirely owing to the bad character of the contractors, and the license given to the troops and establishments under them. The district is now held in amanee tenure, and under the management of Hoseyn Buksh, who entered into his charge only six weeks ago. He is without any experience in, or knowledge of, his duties; he has three regiments of Nujeebs on duty under him, and all who are present came out to meet me. Anything more unlike soldiers it would be difficult to conceive. They are feared only by the honest and industrious. Wherever the Amil goes they go with him, and are a terrible scourge to the country—by far the worst that the country suffers under.

The first thing necessary to effect a reform is—to form out of these disorderly and useless bodies a few efficient regiments; do away with the purveyance system, on which, they are now provided with fuel, fodder, carriage, &c.; pay them liberally and punctually; supply them with good clothing, arms, accoutrements, and ammunition; and concentrate them at five or six points in good cantonments, whence they can move quickly to any part where their services may be required. No more than are indispensably required should attend the local authorities in their circuits. All the rest should remain in cantonments till called for on emergency; and when so called for, they should have all the conveyance they require, and the supplies provided for them—the conveyance at fixed rates, and the supplies at the market price, in good bazaars. For police duties and revenue collections there should be a sufficient body of men kept up, and at the disposal of the revenue and police authorities. The military establishments should be under the control of a different authority. But all this would be of no avail unless the corps were under able commanders, relieved from the fear of Court favourites, and under a Commander-in-Chief who understood his duty and had influence enough to secure all that the troops required to render them efficient, and not a child of seven years of age.

Several of the villages of Sundeela are held by Syud zumeendars, who are peaceable and industrious subjects, and were generally better protected than others under the influence of Chowdhere, Sheik Hushmut Allee, of Sundeela, an agricultural capitalist and landholder, whom no local authority could offend with impunity. His proper trade was to aid landholders of high and low degree, by becoming surety for their punctual payment of the Government demand, and advancing the instalments of that demand himself when they had not the means, and thereby saving them from the visits of the local authorities and their rapacious and disorderly troops: but in an evil hour he ventured to extend his protection a little further, and, to save them from the oppressions of an unscrupulous contractor, he undertook to manage the district himself, and make good all the Government demand upon it. He was unable to pay all that he had bound himself to pay. His brother was first seized by the troops and taken to Lucknow. He languished under the discipline to which he was there subjected, and when on the point of death from what his friends call a broken heart, and the Government authorities cholera-morbus, he was released. He died immediately after his return home, and Hushmut Allee was then seized and taken to Lucknow, where he is now confined. The people here lament his absence as a great misfortune to the district, as he was the only one among them who ever had authority and influence, united with a fellow-feeling for the people, and a disposition to promote their welfare and happiness.*

[* Hushmut Allee is still in confinement, but under the troops at Sundeela, and not at Lucknow. July 20, 1851.]

END OF VOL. 1.



A JOURNEY

THROUGH THE

KINGDOM OF OUDE

IN 1849—1850;

BY DIRECTION OF THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF DALHOUSIE, GOVERNOR-GENERAL.

WITH PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE RELATIVE TO THE ANNEXATION OF OUDE TO BRITISH INDIA, &c.

BY MAJOR-GENERAL SIR W. H. SLEEMAN, K.C.B.

Resident at the Court of Lucknow

IN TWO VOLUMES. VOL. II.

LONDON: RICHARD BENTLEY Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty. 1858.

CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME.



CHAPTER 1.

Sundeela—The large landholders of the district—Forces with the Amil—Tallookdars, of the district—Ground suited for cantonments and civil offices—Places consecrated to worship—Kutteea Huron—Neem Sarang, traditions regarding—Landholders and peasantry of Sundeela— Banger and Sandee Palee, strong against the Government authorities from their union—Nankar and Seer. Nature and character of— Jungle—Leaves of the peepul, bur, &c., used as fodder—Want of good houses and all kinds of public edifices—Infanticide—Sandee district—Security of tenure in groves—River Gurra—Hafiz Abdulla, the governor—Runjeet Sing, of Kutteearee—Thieves in the Banger district—Infanticide—How to put down the crime—Palee—Richness of the foliage, and carpeting of spring-crops—Kunojee Brahmins—Success of the robber's trade in Oude—Shahabad—Timber taken down the little river Gurra to the Ganges, from the Tarae forest—Fanaticism of the Moosulman population of Shahabad; and insolence and impunity with which they oppress the Hindoos of the town.



CHAPTER II.

Infanticide—Nekomee Rajpoots—Fallows in Oude created by disorders— Their cause and effect—Tillage goes on in the midst of sanguinary conflicts—Runjeet Sing, of Kutteearee—Mahomdee district—White Ants—Traditional decrease in the fertility of the Oude soil—Risks to which cultivators are exposed—Obligations which these risks impose upon them—Infanticide—The Amil of Mahomdee's narrow escape— An infant disinterred and preserved by the father after having been buried alive—Insecurity of life and property—Beauty of the surface of the country, and richness of its foliage—Mahomdee district—State and recent history of—Relative fertility of British and Oude soil— Native notions of our laws and their administration—Of the value of evidence in our Courts—Infanticide—Boys only saved—Girls destroyed in Oude—The priests who give absolution for the crime abhorred by the people of all other classes—Lands in our districts becoming more and more exhausted from over-cropping—Probable consequences to the Government and people of India—Political and social error of considering land private property—Hakeem Mehndee and subsequent managers of Mahomdee—Frauds on the King in charges for the keep of animals—Kunojee Brahmins—Unsuccessful attempt to appropriate the lands of weaker neighbours—Gokurnath, on the border of the Tarae— The sakhoo or saul trees of the forest.



CHAPTER III.

Lonee Sing, of the Ahbun Rajpoot tribe—Dispute between Rajah Bukhtawar Sing, and a servant of one of his relatives—Cultivation along the border of the Tarae forest—Subdivision of land among the Ahbun families—Rapacity of the king's troops, and establishments of all kinds—Climate near the Tarae—Goitres—Not one-tenth of the cultivable lands cultivated, nor one-tenth of the villages peopled— Criterion of good tillage—Ratoon crops—Manure available—Khyrabad district better peopled and cultivated than that of Mahomdee, but the soil over-cropped—Blight—Rajah Ajeet Sing and his estate of Khymara—Ousted by collusion and bribery—Anrod Sing of Oel, and Lonee Sing—State of Oude forty years ago compared with its present state—The Nazim of the Khyrabad district—Trespasses of his followers—Oel Dhukooa—Khalsa lands absorbed by the Rajpoot barons—Salarpoor—Sheobuksh Sing of Kuteysura—Bhulmunsee, or property-tax—Beautiful groves of Lahurpoor—Residence of the Nazim— Wretched state of the force with the Nazim—Gratuities paid by officers in charge of districts, whether in contract or trust—Rajah Arjun Sing's estate of Dhorehra—Hereditary gang-robbers of the Oude Tarae suppressed—Mutiny of two of the King's regiments at Bhitolee— Their rapacity and oppression—Singers and fiddlers who govern the King—Why the Amils take all their troops with them when they move— Seetapoor, the cantonment of one of the two regiments of Oude Local Infantry—Sipahees not equal to those in Magness's, Barlow's, and Bunbury's, or in our native regiments of the line—Why—The prince Momtaz-od Dowlah—Evil effects of shooting monkeys—Doolaree, alias Mulika Zumanee—Her history, and that of her son and daughter.



CHAPTER IV.

Nuseer-od Deen Hyder's death—His repudiation of his son, Moona Jan, leads to the succession of his uncle, Nuseer-od Dowlah—Contest for the succession between these two persons—The Resident supports the uncle, and the Padshah Begum supports the son—The ministers supposed to have poisoned the King—Made to disgorge their ill-gotten wealth by his successor—Obligations of the treaty of 1801, by which Oude was divided into two equal shares—One transferred to the British Government, one reserved by Oude—Estimated value of each at the time of treaty—Present value of each—The sovereign often warned that unless he governs as he ought, the British Government cannot support him, but must interpose and take the administration upon itself—All such warnings have been utterly disregarded—No security to life or property in any part of Oude—Fifty years of experience has proved, that we cannot make the government of Oude fulfil its duties to its people—The alternative left appears to be to take the management upon ourselves, and give the surplus revenue to the sovereign and royal family of Oude—Probable effects of such a change on the feelings and interests of the people of Oude.



CHAPTER V.

Baree-Biswa district—Force with the Nazim, Lal Bahader—Town of Peernuggur—Dacoitee by Lal and Dhokul Partuks—Gangs of robbers easily formed out of the loose characters which abound in Oude—The lands tilled in spite of all disorders—Delta between the Chouka and Ghagra rivers—Seed sown and produce yielded on land—Rent and stock —Nawab Allee, the holder of the Mahmoodabad estate—Mode of augmenting his estate—Insecurity of marriage processions—Belt of jungle, fourteen miles west from the Lucknow cantonments—Gungabuksh Rawat—His attack on Dewa—The family inveterate robbers—Bhurs, once a civilized and ruling people in Oude—Extirpated systematically in the fourteenth century—Depredations of Passees—Infanticide—How maintained—Want of influential middle class of merchants and manufacturers—Suttee—Troops with the Amil—Seizure of a marriage procession by Imambuksh, a gang leader—Perquisites and allowances of Passee watchmen over corn-fields—Their fidelity to trusts—Ahbun Sing, of Kyampoor, murders his father—Rajah Singjoo of Soorujpoor— Seodeen, another leader of the same tribe—Principal gang-leaders of the Dureeabad Rodowlee district—Jugurnath Chuprassie—Bhooree Khan— How these gangs escape punishment—Twenty-four belts of jungle preserved by landholders always, or occasionally, refractory in Oude —Cover eight hundred and eighty-six square miles of good land—How such atrocious characters find followers, and landholders of high degree to screen, shelter, and aid them.



CHAPTER VI.

Adventures of Maheput Sing of Bhowaneepoor—Advantages of a good road from Lucknow to Fyzabad—Excellent condition of the artillery bullocks with the Frontier Police—Get all that Government allows for them—Bred in the Tarae—Dacoits of Soorujpoor Bareyla—The Amil connives at all their depredations, and thrives in consequence—The Amil of the adjoining districts does not, and ruined in consequence— His weakness—Seetaram, a capitalist—His account of a singular Suttee—Bukhtawar Sing's notions of Suttee, and of the reason why Rajpoot widows seldom become Suttees—Why local authorities carry about prisoners with them—Condition of prisoners—No taxes on mangoe-trees—Cow-dung cheaper than wood for fuel—Shrine of "Shaikh Salar" at Sutrik—Bridge over the small river Rete—Recollection of the ascent of a balloon at Lucknow—End of the pilgrimage.



Private Correspondence subsequent to the Journey through the Kingdom of Oude, and relating to the Annexation of Oude to British India.



DIARY

A TOUR THROUGH OUDE.



CHAPTER I.

Sundeela—The large landholders of the district—Forces with the Amil—Tallookdars, of the district—Ground suited for cantonments and civil offices—Places consecrated to worship—Kutteea Huron—Neem Sarang, traditions regarding—Landholders and peasantry of Sundeela— Banger and Sandee Palee, strong against the Government authorities from their union—Nankar and Seer. Nature and character of— Jungle—Leaves of the peepul, bur, &c., used as fodder—Want of good houses and all kinds of public edifices—Infanticide—Sandee district—Security of tenure in groves—River Gurra—Hafiz Abdulla, the governor—Runjeet Sing, of Kutteearee—Thieves in the Banger district—Infanticide—How to put down the crime—Palee—Richness of the foliage, and carpeting of spring crops—Kunojee Brahmins—Success of the robber's trade in Oude—Shahabad—Timber taken down the little river Gurra to the Ganges, from the Tarae forest—Fanaticism of the Moosulman population of Shahabad; and insolence and impunity with which they oppress the Hindoos of the town.

The baronial proprietors in the Sundeela district are Murdun Sing, of Dhurawun, with a rent-roll of 38,000; Gunga Buksh, of Atwa, with one of 25,000; Chundeeka Buksh, of Birwa, with one of 25,000; and Somere Sing, of Rodamow, with one of 34,000. This is the rent-roll declared and entered in the accounts; but it is much below the real one. The Government officers are afraid to measure their lands, or to make any inquiries on the estates into their value, lest they should turn robbers and plunder the country, as they are always prepared to do. They have always a number of armed and brave retainers, ready to support them in any enterprise, and can always add to their number on emergency. There is never any want of loose characters ready to fight for the sake of plunder alone. A tallookdar, however, when opposed to his government, does not venture to attack another tallookdar or his tenants. He stands too much in need of his aid, or at least of his neutrality and forbearance.

January 18, 1850.—Halted at Sundeela. To the north of the town there is a large uncultivated plain of oosur land, that would answer for cantonments; but the water lies, for some time after rain, in many places. The drainage is defective, but might be made good towards a rivulet to the north and west. There is another open plain to the west of the town, between the suburbs and the small village of Ausoo Serae, where the Trigonometrical Survey has one of its towers. It is about a mile from east to west, and more from north to south, and well adapted for the location of troops and civil establishments. The climate is said to be very good. The town is large and still populous, but the best families seem to be going to decay, or leaving the place. Many educated persons from Sundeela in our civil establishments used to leave their families here; but life and property have become so very insecure, that they now always take them with them to the districts in which they are employed, or send them to others. I observed many good houses of burnt brick and cement, but they are going fast to decay, and are all surrounded by numerous mud- houses without coverings, or with coverings of the same material, which are hidden from view by low parapets. These houses have a wretched appearance.

The Amil has twelve guns with him; but the bullocks are all so much out of condition from want of food that they can scarcely walk; and the Amil was obliged to hire a few plough-bullocks from the cultivators, to draw out two guns to my camp to fire the salute. They get no grain, and there is little or no grass anywhere on the fallow and waste lands, from the want of rain during June, July, and August. The Amil told me, that he had no stores or ammunition for the guns; and that their carriages were all gone, or going, to pieces, and had received no repairs whatever for the last twelve years. I had in the evening a visit from Rajah Murdun Sing, of Dharawun, a stout and fat man, who bears a fair character. He is of the Tilokchundee Bys clan, who cannot intermarry with each other, as they are all of the sama gote or family. It would, according to their notions, be incestuous.

January 19, 1850.—Hutteeah Hurrun, thirteen miles. The plain level as usual, and of the loose doomuteea soil, fertile in natural powers everywhere, and well tilled around the villages, which are more numerous than in any other part that we have passed over. The water is everywhere near the surface, and wells are made at little cost. A well is dug at a cost of from five to ten rupees; and in the muteear, or argillaceous soil, will last for irrigation for forty years. To line it with burnt bricks without cement will cost from one to two hundred rupees; and to add cement will cost a hundred more. Such lining is necessary in light soil, and still more so in sandy or bhoor. They frequently line their wells at little cost with long thick cables, made of straw and twigs, and twisted round the surface inside. The fields are everywhere irrigated from wells or pools, and near villages well manured; and the wheat and other spring crops are excellent. They have been greatly benefited by the late rains, and in no case injured. The ground all the way covered with white hoar frost, and the dews heavy in a cloudless sky. Finer weather I have never known in any quarter of the world.

This place is held sacred from a tradition, that Ram, after his expedition against Cylone, came here to bathe in a small tank near our present camp, in order to wash away the sin of having killed a Brahmin in the person of Rawun, the monster king of that island, who had taken away his wife, Seeta. Till he had done so, he could not venture to revisit his capital, Ajoodheea. There are many legends regarding the origin of the sanctity of this and the many other places around, which pilgrims must visit to complete the pykurma, or holy circuit. The most popular seems to be this. Twenty-eight thousand sages of great sanctity were deputed, with the god Indur at their head, on a mission to present an address to Brimha, as he reposed upon the mountain Kylas, praying that he would vouchsafe to point out to them the place in Hindoostan most worthy to be consecrated to religious worship. He took a discus from the top-knot on his head, and, whirling it in the air, directed it to proceed in search. After much search it rested at a place near the river Goomtee, which it deemed to be most fitted for the purification of one's faith, and which thenceforth took the name of Neem Sarung, a place of devotion. The twenty-eight thousand sages followed, and were accompanied by Brimha himself, attended by the Deotas, or subordinate gods. He then summoned to the place no less than three crores and half, or thirty millions and half of teeruts, or angels, who preside each over his special place of religions worship. All settled down at places within ten miles of the central point, Neem Sarung; but their departure does not seem to have impaired the sanctity of the places whence they came. The angels, or spirits, who presided over them sent out these offshoots to preside at Neemsar and the consecrated places around it, as trees send off their grafts without impairing their own powers and virtues.

Misrik, a few miles from this, and one of the places thus consecrated, is celebrated as the residence of a very holy sage, named Dudeej. In a great battle between the Deotas and the Giants, the Deotas were defeated. They went to implore the aid of the drowsy god, Brimha, upon his snowy mountain top. He told them to go to Misrik and arm themselves with the bones of the old sage, Dudeej. They found Dudeej alive and in excellent health; but they thought it their duty to explain to him their orders. He told them, that he should be very proud indeed to have his bones used as arms in so holy a cause; but he had unfortunately vowed to bathe at all the sacred shrines in India before he died, and must perform his vow. Grievously perplexed, the Deotas all went and submitted their case to their leader, the god Indur. Indur consulted his chaplain, Brisput, who told him, that there was really no difficulty whatever in the case— that the angels of all the holy shrines in India had been established at and around Neemsar by Brimha himself; and the Deotas had only to take water from all the sacred places over which they presided, and pour it over the old sage, to get both him and themselves out of the dilemma. They did so, and the old sage, expressing himself satisfied, gave up his life. In what mode it was taken no one can tell me. The Deotas armed themselves with his bones, attacked the Giants forthwith, and gained an easy and complete victory. The wisdom of the orders of drowsy old Brimha, in this case, is as little questioned by the Hindoos of the present day as that of the orders of drunken old Jupiter was in the case of Troy, by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Millions, "wise in their generation," have spent their lives in the reverence of both.

There is hardly any sin that the waters of these dirty little ponds are not supposed to be capable of washing away; and, over and above this, they are supposed to improve all the good, and reduce to order all the bad passions and emotions of those who bathe in them, by propitiating the aid of the deity, and those who have influence over him.

A good deal of the land, distant from villages, lies waste, though capable of good tillage; and from the all pervading cause, the want of confidence in the Government and its officers, and of any feeling of security to life, property, and industry. Should this cause be removed, the whole surface of the country would become the beautiful garden which the parts well cultivated and peopled now are. It is all well studded with fine trees—single and in clusters and groves. The soil is good, the water near the surface, and to be obtained in any abundance at little outlay, and the peasantry are industrious, brave, and robust. Nothing is wanted but good and efficient government, which might be easily secured. I found many Kunojee Brahmins in the villages along the road, who tilled their own fields without the aid of ploughmen; and they told me, that when they had no longer the means to hire ploughmen, they were permitted to hold their own ploughs—that is, they were not excommunicated for doing so.

In passing along, with wheat-fields close by on our left, while the sun is a little above the horizon on the right, we see a glory round the shadows of our heads as they extend into the fields. All see these glories around their own heads, but cannot see them around those of their neighbours. They stretch out from the head and shoulders, with gradually-diminished splendour, to some short distance. This beautiful and interesting appearance arises from the leaves and stalks of the wheat being thickly bespangled with dew. The observer's head being in the direct rays of the sun, as they pass over him to that of his shadow in the field, he carries the glory with him. Those before and behind him see the same glory around the shadows of their own heads, but cannot see it round that of the head of any other person before or behind; because he is on one or other side of the direct rays which pass over them. It is best seen when the sky is most clear, and the dew most heavy. It is not seen over bushy crops such as the arahur, nor on the grass plains.

January 20, 1850.—Beneegunge, eight miles, over a slightly- undulating plain of light sandy soil, scantily cultivated, but well studded with fine trees of the best kind. Near villages, where the land is well watered and manured, the crops are fine and well varied. All the pools are full from the late rain, and they are numerous and sufficient to water the whole surface of the country, with a moderate fall of rain in December or January. If they are not available, the water is always very near the surface, and wells can be made for irrigation at a small cost. The many rivers and rivulets which enter Oude from the Himmalaya chain and Tarae forest, and flow gently through the country towards the Ganges, without cutting very deeply into the soil, always keep the water near the surface, and available in all quarters and in any quantity for purposes of irrigation. Never was country more favoured, by nature, or more susceptible of improvement under judicious management. There is really hardly an acre of land that is not capable of good culture, or that need be left waste, except for the sites of towns and villages, and ponds for irrigation, or that would be left waste under good government. The people understand tillage well, and are industrious and robust, capable of any exertion under protection and due encouragement.

The Government has all the revenues to itself, having no public debt and paying no tribute to any one, while the country receives from the British Government alone fifty lacs, or half a million a-year; first, in the incomes of guaranteed pensioners, whose stipends are the interest of loans received by our Government at different times from the sovereigns of Oude, as a provision for their relatives and dependents in perpetuity, and as endowments for their mausoleums and mosques, and other religious and eleemosynary establishments; second, in the interest paid for Government securities held by people residing in Oude; third, in the payment of pensions to the families of men who have been killed in our service, and to invalid native officers and sipahees of our army residing there, fourth, in the savings of others who still serve in our army, while their families reside in Oude; and those of the native officers of our civil establishments, whose families remain at their homes in Oude; fifth, in the interest on a large amount of our Government securities held by people at Lucknow, who draw the interest not from the Resident's Treasury, but from the General Treasury in Calcutta, or the Treasuries of our bordering districts, in order to conceal their wealth from the King and his officers. Over and above all this our Government has to send into Oude, to be expended there, the pay of five regiments of infantry and a company of artillery, which amounts to some six or seven lacs more. Oude has so many places of pilgrimage, that it receives more in the purchase of the food and other necessaries required by the pilgrims, during their transit and residence, than it sends out with pilgrims who visit shrines and holy places in other countries. It requires little from other countries but a few luxuries for the rich—in shawls from Kashmere and the Punjab, silks, satins, broad-cloth, muslins, guns, watches, &c. from England.

A great portion of the salt and saltpetre required is raised within Oude, and so is all the agricultural produce, except in seasons of drought; and the arms required for the troops are manufactured in Oude, with the exception of some few cannon and shells, and the muskets and bayonets for the few disciplined regiments. The royal family and some of the Mahommedan gentlemen at Lucknow send money occasionally to the shrines of Mecca, Medina, Kurbala, and Nujuf Ashruf, in Turkish Arabia; and some Hindoos send some to Benares and other places of worship, to be distributed in charity or laid out in useful works in their name. Some of the large pensions enjoyed by the relatives and dependents of former sovereigns, under the guarantee of our Government, go in perpetuity to the shrines in Turkish Arabia, in default of both will and heir. When Ghazee-od Deen succeeded his father on the musnud in 1814, contrary to his expectation and to his father's wish, he gave the minister about fifty lacs of rupees to be expended in charity at those shrines, and in canals, saraees, and other works of utility. Letters, full of expressions of gratitude and descriptions of these useful works, were often shown to him; but the minister, Aga Meer, is said to have kept the whole fifty lacs to himself, and got all these letters written by his private secretaries. Some few Hindoo and Mahommedan gentlemen, when they have lost their places and favour at the Oude Court, go and reside at Cawnpoor, and some few other places in the British territory for greater security; but generally it may be said, that in spite of all disadvantages Mahommedan gentlemen from Oude, in whatever country they may serve, like to leave their families in Oude, and to return and spend what they acquire among them. They find better society there than in our own territories, or society more to their tastes; better means for educating their sons; more splendid processions, festivals, and other inviting sights, in which they and their families can participate without cost; more consideration for rank and learning, and more attractive places for worship and religious observances. The little town of Karoree, about ten or twelve miles from Lucknow, has, I believe, more educated men, filling high and lucrative offices in our civil establishments, than any other town in India except Calcutta. They owe the greater security which they there enjoy, compared with other small towns in Oude, chiefly to the respect in which they are known to be held by the British Government and its officers, and to the influence of their friends and relatives who hold office about the Court of Lucknow.

January 21, 1849.—Sakin, ten miles north-west. The country well studded with fine trees, and pretty well cultivated, but the soil is light from a superabundance of sand; and the crops are chiefly autumn, except in the immediate vicinity of villages, and cut in December. The surface on which they stood this season appears to be waste, except where the stalks of the jowar and bajara, are left standing for sale and use, as fodder for cattle. These stalks are called kurbee, and form good fodder for elephants, bullocks, &c., during the cold, hot, and rainy season. They are said to keep better when left on the ground, after the heads have been gathered, than when stacked. The sandy soil, in the vicinity of villages, produces fine spring crops of all kinds, wheat, gram, sugarcane, arahur, tobacco, &c., being well manured by drainage from the villages, and by the dung stored and spread over it; and that more distant would produce the same, if manured and irrigated in the same way.

The head men or proprietors of some villages along the road mentioned, "that the fine state in which we saw them was owing to their being strong, and able to resist the Government authorities when disposed, as they generally were, to oppress or rack-rent them; that the landholders owed their strength to their union, for all were bound to turn out and afford aid to their neighbour on hearing the concerted signal of distress; that this league, 'offensive and defensive,' extended all over the Baugur district, into which we entered about midway between this and our last stage; and that we should see how much better it was peopled and cultivated in consequence than the district of Mahomdee, to which we were going; that the strong only could keep anything under the Oude Government; and as they could not be strong without union, all landholders were solemnly pledged to aid each other, to the death, when oppressed or attacked by the local officers." They asked Captain Weston, who was some miles behind me, what was the Resident's object in this tour, whether the Honourable Company's Government was to be introduced into Oude? He told them that the object was solely to see the state of the country and condition of the people, with a view to suggest to the King's Government any measures that might seem calculated to improve both; and asked them whether they wished to come under the British rule? They told him, "that they should like much to have the British rule introduced, if it could be done without worrying them with its complicated laws and formal and distant courts of justice, of which they had heard terrible accounts."

The Nazim of the Tundeeawun or Baugur district met me on his border, and told me, "that he was too weak to enforce the King's orders, or to collect his revenues; that he had with him one efficient company of Captain Bunbury's corps, with one gun in good repair, and provided with draft-bullocks, in good condition; and that this was the only force he could rely upon; while the landholders were strong, and so leagued together for mutual defence, that, at the sound of a matchlock, or any other concerted signal, all the men of a dozen large villages would, in an hour, concentrate upon and defeat the largest force the King's officers could assemble; that they did so almost every year, and often frequently within the same year; that he had nominally eight guns on duty with him, but the carriage of one had already gone to pieces; and those of the rest had been so long without repair that they would go to pieces with very little firing, that the draft-bullocks had not had any grain for many years, and were hardly able to walk; and he was in consequence obliged to hire plough-bullocks, to draw the gun required to salute the Resident; but he had only ten days ago received an order to give them grain himself, charge for it in his accounts, and hold himself responsible for their condition; that they had been so starved, that he was obliged to restrict them to a few ounces a-day at first, or they would have all died from over-eating." This order has arisen from my earnest intercession in favour of the artillery draft-bullocks; but so many are interested in the abuse, that the order will not be long enforced. Though the grain will, as heretofore, be paid for from the Treasury, it will, I hear, be given to the bullocks only while I am out on this tour.

In the evening some cultivators came to complain that they had been robbed of all their bhoosa (chaff) by a sipahee from my camp. I found, on inquiry, that the sipahee belonged to Captain Hearsey's five companies of Frontier Police; that these companies had sixteen four-bullock hackeries attached to them for the carriage of their tents and luggage; and that these hackeries had gone to the village, and taken all that the complainants had laid up for their own cattle for the season; that such hackeries formerly received twenty-seven rupees eight annas a-month each, and their owners were expected to purchase their own fodder; but that this allowance had for some years been cut down to fourteen rupees a-month, and they were told to help themselves to fodder wherever they could find it; that all the hackeries hired by the King and his local officers, for the use of troops, establishments, &c. had been reduced at the same rate, from twenty-seven eight annas a-month to fourteen, and their owners received the same order. All villages near the roads along which the troops and establishments move are plundered of their bhoosa, and all those within ten miles of the place, where they may be detained for a week or fortnight, are plundered in the same way.

The Telinga corps and Frontier Police are alone provided with tents and hackeries by Government. The Nujeeb corps are provided with neither. The Oude Government formerly allowed for each four-bullock hackery thirty rupees a-month, from which two rupees and half were deducted for the perquisites of office. The owners of the hackeries were expected to purchase bhoosa and other fodder for their bullocks at the market price; but they took what they required without payment, in collusion with the officers under whom they were employed, or in spite of them; and the Oude Government in 1845 cut the allowance down to seventeen rupees and half, out of which three rupees and half are cut for perquisites, leaving fourteen rupees for the hackeries: and their owners and drivers have the free privilege of helping themselves to bhoosa and other fodder wherever they can find them. Some fifty or sixty of these hackeries were formerly allowed for each Telinga corps with guns, now only twenty-two are allowed; and when they move they must, like Nujeeb corps, seize what more they require. They are allowed to charge nothing for their extra carriage, and therefore pay nothing.

January 22, 1849.—Tundeeawun, eight miles west. The country level, and something between doomuteen and muteear, very good, and in parts well cultivated, particularly in the vicinity of villages; but a large portion of the surface is covered with jungle, useful only to robbers and refractory landholders, who abound in the purgunnah of Bangur. In this respect it is reputed one of the worst districts in Oude. Within the last few years the King's troops have been frequently beaten and driven out with loss, even when commanded by an European officer. The landholders and armed peasantry of the different villages unite their quotas of auxiliaries, and concentrate upon them on a concerted signal, when they are in pursuit of robbers and rebels. Almost every able-bodied man of every village in Bangur is trained to the use of arms of one kind or another, and none of the King's troops, save those who are disciplined and commanded by European officers, will venture to move against a landholder of this district; and when the local authorities cannot obtain the aid of such troops, they are obliged to conciliate the most powerful and unscrupulous by reductions in the assessment of the lands or additions to their nankar.

To illustrate the spirit and system of union among the chief landholders of the Bangur district, I may here mention a few facts within my own knowledge, and of recent date. Bhugwunt Singh, who held the estate of Etwa Peepureea, had been for some time in rebellion against his sovereign; and he had committed many murders and robberies, and lifted many herds of cattle within our bordering district of Shajehanpoor; and he had given shelter, on his own estate, to a good many atrocious criminals, from that and others of our bordering district. He had, too, aided and screened many gangs of Budhuks, or dacoits by hereditary profession. The Resident, Colonel Low, in 1841, directed every possible effort to be made for the arrest of this formidable offender, and Captain Hollings, the second in command of the 2nd battalion of Oude local infantry, sent intelligencers to trace him.

They ascertained that he had, with a few followers, taken up a position two hundred yards to the north of the village of Ahroree, in a jungle of palas-trees and brushwood in the Bangur district, about twenty-eight miles to the south-west of Seetapoor, where that battalion was cantoned, and about fourteen miles west from Neemkar. Captain Hollings made his arrangements to surprise this party; and on the evening of the 3rd of July 1841, he marched from Neemkar at the head of three companies of that battalion, and a little before midnight he came within three-quarters of a mile of the rebel's post. After halting his party for a short time, to enable the officers and sipahees to throw off all superfluous clothing and utensils, Captain Hollings moved on to the attack. When the advanced guard reached the outskirts of the robber's position about midnight, they were first challenged and then fired upon by the sentries. The subadar in command of this advance guard fell dead, and a non-commissioned officer and a sipahee severely wounded.

The whole party now fired in upon the gang and rushed on. One of the robbers was shot, and the rest all escaped out on the opposite side of the jungle. The sipahees believing, since the surprise had been complete, that the robbers must have left all their wealth behind them, dispersed, as soon as the firing ceased and the robbers disappeared, to get every man as much as he could. While thus engaged they were surrounded by the Gohar, (or body of auxiliaries which these landholders send to each other's aid on the concerted signal,) and fired in upon from the front, and both right and left flanks. Taken by surprise, they collected together in disorder, while the assailants from the front and sides continued to pour in their fire upon them; and they were obliged to retire in haste and confusion, closely followed by the auxiliaries, who gained confidence, and pressed closer as their number increased by the quotas they received from the villages the detachment had to pass in their retreat.

All efforts on the part of Captain Hollings to preserve order in the ranks were vain. His men returned the fire of their pursuers, but without aim or effect. At the head of the auxiliaries were Punchum Sing, of Ahroree, and Mirza Akbar Beg, of Deureea; and they were fast closing in upon the party, and might have destroyed it, when Girwur Sing, tomandar, came up with a detachment of the Special Police of the Thuggee and Dacoitee Department. At this time the three companies were altogether disorganized and disheartened, as the firing and pursuit had lasted from midnight to daybreak; but on seeing the Special Police come up and join with spirit in the defence, they rallied, and the assailants, thinking the reinforcement more formidable than it really was, lost confidence and held back. Captain Hollings mounted the fresh horse of the tomandar, and led his detachment without further loss or molestation back to Neemkar. His loss had been one subadar, one havildar, and three sipahees killed; one subadar, two havildars, one naik, and fourteen sipahees wounded and missing. Captain Hollings' groom was shot dead, and one of his palankeen-bearers was wounded. His horse, palankeen, desk, clothes, and all the superfluous clothing and utensils, which the sipahees had thrown off preparatory to the attack fell into the hands of the assailants. Attempts were made to take up and carry off the killed and wounded; but the detachment was so sorely pressed that they were obliged to leave both on the ground. The loss would have been much greater than it was, but for the darkness of the night, which prevented the assailants from taking good aim; and the detachment would, in all probability, have been cut to pieces, but for the timely arrival of the Special Police under Girwur Sing.

Such attacks are usually made upon robber bands about the first dawn of day; and this attack at midnight was a great error. Had they not been assailed by the auxiliaries, they could not, in the darkness, have secured one of the gang. It was known, that at the first shot from either the assailing or defending party in that district, all the villages around concentrate their quotas upon the spot, to fight to the death against the King's troops, whatever might be their object; and the detachment ought to have been prepared for such concentration when the firing began, and returned as quickly as possible from the place when they saw that by staying they could not succeed in the object.

Four months after, in November, Punchum Sing, of Ahroree, himself cut off the head of the robber, Bhugwunt Sing, with his own hand, and sent it to the governor, Furreed-od Deen, with an apology for having by mistake attacked Captain Hollings' detachment. The governor sent the head to the King, with a report stating that he had, at the peril of his life, and after immense toil, hunted down and destroyed this formidable rebel; and his Majesty, as a reward for his valuable services, conferred upon Furreed-od Deen a title and a first-rate dress of honour. Soon after, in the same month of July 1841, his Majesty the King of Oude's second regiment of infantry, under the command of a very gallant officer, Captain W. D. Bunbury, was encamped near the village of Belagraon, when information was brought that certain convicts, who had escaped from the gaol at Bareilly, had taken refuge in the village of Parakurown, about fifty miles to the north-west of his camp. Captain Bunbury immediately detached three companies, with two six-pounders, under his brother, Lieutenant A. C. Bunbury, to arrest them. After halting for a short time at Gopamow, to allow his men to take breath. Lieutenant Bunbury pushed on, and reached the place a little before the dawn of day. He demanded the surrender of the outlaws from the chief of the village, named Ajrael Sing, a notoriously bad character, who insolently refused to give them up. A fight commenced, in which one of the convicts, and some others, were killed; but at last Lieutenant Bunbury succeeded in securing Arjael Sing himself, with some few of his followers, and the outlaws.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17     Next Part
Home - Random Browse