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rees," and every other appliance and form of reservoir of which it was possible to avail themselves, either for the purposes of irrigation or for the preservation of water. All this was, in his position, attended with peculiar difficulty. The peasants he had to deal with were at that period, idle, indolent, untrained to labour, and without confidence in themselves, and he knew that the Government would not at first sanction any large outlay on tank-embankments, or other public works which they might require as experi
A tank in Mairwara is a very different thing from what it is in Europe, or even in Bengal. In Europe, it means a small reservoir for holding water, known chiefly in ships and manufac tories. In Bengal, it is a rectangular excavation, of no great size, filled by rain, and used either for ornament or for bathing. In Mairwara it is a lakean artificial lake or spread of water, -formed by embanking up a stream with earth or masonry, or both combined, for the purposes of irrigation, or to serve as a fountain-head to the springs of wells. The native name is tulao, or tulab, and tulaos are distinguished from the smaller reservoirs of Bengal by the circumstance, that the latter are excavations, while in Mairwara the water is retained by a bund or embankment, and spreads over and above the land. It is remarkable that Mairwara, where such works are indispensable, is admirably adapted for their construction. To the making of a tulao, it is necessary that the face of the country should possess an irregular, uneven surface, traversed by hollows and corresponding elevations. The bund is thrown across the low grounds, whereby the water is obstructed in its passage, and being collected into a
body, it constitutes a tulao, or tank. Mairwara has precisely the features here described, and, besides, usually affords other facilities, in the provision of stone and lime, and a supply of wood for calcining. Still, though these needful works are happily attended in that country with less than their ordinary cost elsewhere, they necessarily involve, in labour and other ways, a large expenditure, which as we have intimated, Colonel Hall could hardly expect the Government to authorise very freely, until he was enabled to exhibit their value and importance. Under these circumstances, he was obliged to proceed more gradually than he could have wished, and the marvel is, how he advanced the industry of the country so rapidly as materially to aid him in carrying out his reforms, and raising its character and condition.
During the time he was in Mairwara, Colonel Hall constructed seven of these vast irrigation lakes, or tankembankments, besides repairing others of large extent, which had never been available for agricultural purposes; and he succeeded in leading the people to sink wells, and to avail themselves of smaller works, and inexpensive contrivances for husbanding the rain. His great tank-embankments are models of work of that description. One of these, the "Gohana tank-embankment," was selected by the Government of Agra for an example, and its plans and details are given in the "Sketch" (p. 164). "It forms," says Captain Baird Smith, "a very beautiful lake, securing 250 acres of cultivation, giving food and occupation to fifty-nine families, and amply repaying the State's outlay." It has now stood five-and-twenty years, in a climate well calculated to test its stability, and is likely to last as long as the hills around it. The Mairs saw by the result of these works that it was in their own power to guard against the hazards of the seasons; and learned to expect with confidence the return for their labours. Thus was the main impediment to their industry removed; and thus, with ancillary reforms, and the constant inspection and unfailing encouragement of their benevolent governor, and supported by the convic
*V. the valuable and interesting work on "Italian Irrigation," by Captain R. Baird Smith. Vol. i. p. 418.
tion that the East India Company was interested in their advancement, were these wild mountaineers of 1820-these Ishmaels of the hills, these outlaws, uncivilised, half-famished, and unclad, transformed into peaceful, happy peasants, living in security and comfort on the fruits of their own industry; and when, after thirteen years of incessant labour, Colonel Hall was warned by broken health to bid them a long farewell, he had the deep satisfaction of knowing that he left the poor Mair trained to good habits, formed to good principles, "clothed, and in his right mind:"
" Thirteen years' continued and undivided attention to the affairs of the district had," says Colonel Dixon, "impaired Colonel Hall's health. Taking into consideration the great anxiety of mind which was induced, and the constant labour and expense that were necessarily imposed on him in training the wild tribes of the hills, and substituting regularity and order for anarchy and disorder, the result was by no means a matter of surprise. A more arduous undertaking, in which the exercise of temper and conciliation, combined with firmness, were essentially requisite, could not be well imagined. The reform he had to introduce could not be effected in a moment. and confidence were indispensable to its gradual advance and ultimate permanency. The customs of a country had to be changed; and honest labour and settled habits of thrift to be exchanged for an uncertain, predatory life. The difficulties to be encountered were extremely formidable; yet, all were met with patience, and subdued through perseverance. His exertions had been attended with signal success. The regret of the people was great on hearing that he was about to leave them. The question in their minds was, who should take the kind interest
in their welfare that had been manifested by him, during the thirteen years of his adininistration.
"Whatever may have been since effected in ameliorating the condition of the people, or in advancing them in the arts of civilised life, it is to Colonel Hall that the credit is due for having laid the foundation of these good works." Sketch, p. 82.
Colonel Hall gave up his charge in 1835, and the East India Company, with their customary judgment, selected in Captain, since Colonel Dix
on, the person who, of all others, was probably the best qualified to succeed him. The new superintendent applied himself at once to working out the measures and developing the plans of his predecessor; and as the Indian Government was, by this time, well acquainted with their advantageous results, there was but little difficulty in obtaining its sanction to the construction of large tulaos at the public expense, and to making advances in certain cases for minor improvements. In his first year Colonel Dixon erected two tulaos, and as he evinced the zeal and ability that were expected from him, he was soon enabled to proceed more rapidly; so that up to 1847, the date of his last report, the number of tank-embankments and weirs in Mairwara, amounted to 290of these seven were constructed, and some others repaired by Colonel Hall; the remainder being all erected under the direction of his successor. This refers only to works of the larger class, besides which there was, since the date of Colonel Dixon's appointment, a positive increase of 3915 in the number of wells, and a like progress in the minor appliances for irrigation. Thus was the primary object of Colonel Hall carried out, and the province prepared against the contingencies of famine.
The attention of Colonel Dixon was not confined to irrigation works. converted wide tracts of jungle land into fruitful fields, and observing that the improved condition of the people rendered it desirable that an impulse should be given to the encouragement of trade, that there was scarcely a merRajpoot towns monopolised the dealchant settled in Mairwara, that the ings of the peasantry, to their serious loss, that an open market and a bazaar were needed, and that capital, whereby cultivators might procure advances of cash on fair terms and so accelerate advancement, was much required, he came to the resolution of meeting these wants by building a town. Accordingly, in 1836, he founded the town of Nya Nuggur (new city), which has answered all his expectations. Traders and mechanics flocked to oc
The "Sketch," in several places, states that Colonel Hall made or repaired several tanks. This is a mistake. He constructed seven tank-embankments of the larger class, and, besides, repaired others.
cupy his handsome shops, neighbouring villages replaced their mud hovels by solid habitations resembling those of the new city; and rival bazaars arose in various parts of the country. The population in 1847 consisted of 1955 families, and the average annual value of the merchandize imported, exported, and passed through the city in the three preceding years, amounted to £147,191. Provision has been made for amply supplying the inhabitants with water; trees give their refreshing shade in the chief streets, at the gateways, and in the roads which approach the town; and by having broad streets parallel to each other, intersecting the town from north to south and from east to west, ventilation has been ensured, and health preserved. Uniformity in the buildings, and regularity in their construction have been attended to; and in 1838, a rampart wall, six feet wide, twelve in the bastions, seventeen feet high, and twenty-one in the bastions, and two miles in circuit, was carried round the town. The work of all this rampart is so good, that Colonel Sutherland, on seeing it in his tour of inspection, observed that "the building the town wall of Nya Nuggur was enough to immortalise one man.'
Another of Colonel Dixon's many successful efforts was the establishment of an annual fair at Nya Nuggur, by which an opportunity for more general intercourse was afforded to those secluded mountaineers. We can imagine the interest with which he and his predecessor must alike regard this picture of the first fair :
"The fair was numerously attended by the people, decked out in their best attire, and accompanied by their minstrels. Clans, kept apart by the feuds of ages, now met on one neutral spot, and greeted each other. Opportunity was then afforded for forming a judgment as to the industry or sloth of particular sections. The dress of the industrious shone conspicuous, while shame and a firm resolution to amend, characterised those whose appearance was shabby. The females of the industrious classes were extremely well dressed. Seated on the flat roofs of the bazaars in clusters, or moving about the fair, they more resembled the wives of Sahookars in appearance and attire than the matrons and daughters of the wild predatory race of Mairs. By this simple ex
* Vide "Sketch," p. 118.
pedient of holding a fair, were the people of two purgunahs gathered together at one spot; the condition of each village, indeed of each separate family, was freely imparted to each other; the sedulous had their reward in self-approbation, in having made so good an appearance, and then returned home confirmed in their habits of thrift. The wives of the slothful were the only sufferers amidst the gay and happy multitude. Plunder and robbery were interdicted, and the only certain road to independence was application to labour. Their lords and masters were importuned to improve their condition, and thus example had been highly beneficial. Much good feeling had thus been generated amongst the people; while all returned home, intent on amendment."-Sketch, pp. 120-1.
The fair is regularly maintained, and is attended by 8,000 or 10,000 Mairs as well as by Rajpoots, and others from the adjoining provinces.
The building of a town and the establishment of the fair were so far successful movements; but there is a circumstance connected with them which leaves our praises not unmingled with regret. Colonel Dixon
the subject," as he says, "having received mature deliberation"-thought proper to dedicate the fair to an Hindoo idol, "in whose wonderful deeds," as he again says, "the people place implicit faith," and moreover, he erected the effigies of this idol, or hero-saint, mounted on a horse, sculptured in stone, in the centre of his town. If Colonel Dixon could do nothing for the furtherance of true religion, he ought not, at all events, to have lent the sanction of his station and of the Government he represents to the encouragement of idolatry. This was, according to the phrase of a great diplomatist, "not only a crime, but an indiscretion." Nothing has so strongly excited public feeling against the East India Company, nothing in their near hour of trial will so much endanger their continuance, as their alleged discouragement of Christianity; and the mere fact of their uncalled-for idol at Nya Nuggur may be a fresh item in the long list of charges against them.
The progress of the Mairs was not unheeded by their neighbours. The Ajmeer chiefs complained that their tenants were leaving them, tempted by better terms in Mairwara. Their su
perintendent wrote to this effect to Colonel Dixon, who, in reply, showed that the cause of these emigrations lay not in invitations from him, or reduction in assessments, but in irrigation works and field improvements; and that, if the Ajmeer chiefs adopted these, their people would not leave them. Eventually Colonel Dixon was directed to proceed to Ajmeer, and introduce there the irrigation works and field improvements which had been so successful in Mairwara. This he did, to the great advantage of the district, although from the inferior fertility of Ajmeer, and other causes, the results were not altogether so striking, either in production or in revenue, as in Mair
"The Mairs," says the "Sketch," "have been singularly fortunate in the authorities who have been appointed to rule over them. Colonel Hall, C.B., devoted thirteen years to the amelioration of their condition. He taught them the arts of civilised life, and the duties of a soldier. The present incumbent has striven to follow in the steps of that able officer."
Colonel Dixon is truly entitled to the high praise of having emulated alike the zeal and the success of his predecessor, and it is manifest that the Mairs have been fortunate in their rulers; both in having two successive superintendents of rare administrative talents, and, during so long a period, but the two. One of the infirmities of our Asiatic empire-incidental in a great measure to its being ruled by Europeans is the frequency of change in its provincial governments. A superintendent has hardly become acquainted with his position, when he is transferred by promotion, or compelled to leave by sickness. Thus, Ajmeer has had its rulers changed eleven times in twenty-three years, while the happier Mairwara has, in thirty-one years, known no other governors than Colonels Hall and Dixon.
It is, we trust, evident that we have no desire to disparage the high claims of Colonel Dixon, but there are in his quarto volume some perplexing passages to which it is right to refer, especially as they have already occasioned overt misapprehension.
Colonel Dixon embodies in his text, and adopts the following extract from a report made by Colonel Sutherland,
a high authority, who visited Mairwara on a tour of inspection in 1841, and wrote as follows for the information of the Governor-General of India
"Much was achieved for the peace and agricultural prosperity of Mairwara by Colonel Hall, C.B., and the people have a lively sense of the benefits which they derived from his administration. The high degree of prosperity which it has now attained, arises, however, from the system introduced by Captain Dixon. He may be said to live amongst the people. He knows minutely the condition of each village, and almost of its inhabitants individually; is ready to redress not only every man's grievances, but to assist them to recover from any pecuniary or other difficulty in which they may be involved. It may be supposed that such a system could not be of any extensive application; but from what I have seen here, and from my experience elsewhere, I am satisfied, that in unimproved countries, if men of Captain Dixon's energies and disposition could be found, this system of management may be of very extensive application. Captain Dixon has no European assistance, but his native establishment is so admirably disciplined and controlled, that whether in the construction of tanks, in the assessment of the revenue, or the administration of justice amongst this simple and primitive people, these establishments conduct all matters to almost as happy an issue as he could himself. I described at some length, in the fifteenth paragraph of my Khalsa report on the condition of Ajmeer, the system pursued by Colonel Dixon, and I need here only repeat, that it is simply to take from all classes alike the money value of a third share of the produce, to assist them to the utmost extent, on the part of Government, to obtain water for irrigation, and to assist them individually with money, or by a remission in the share of produce, according to the work to be done in the accomplishment of all objects acknowledgedly remunerative and useful."-Sketch, p. 72.
This passage is sufficiently perplexing. It speaks of a system introduced by Colonel Dixon, to which the prosperity of the district is ascribed, while it names, expressly, two systems, and describes a third. Our complaint concerns not style, but facts, and, in making it, we join in every eulogy on the energy of Colonel Dixon. He did all that might become a man, and all that was left for him to do; but he did not introduce either of the two systems named, or the third, described in this extract they being all in successful operation when he took charge of Mair
As we impugn this passage, we desire to be distinct.
First, we are told that the prosperity of Mairwara arises "from the system. introduced by Captain Dixon. He may be said to live amongst the people. He knows minutely," &c. Surely, Colonel Dixon knows, and Colonel Sutherland ought to have known, that all this was, for thirteen years, the system and practice of Colonel Hall.
Secondly, as to the system, not expressly named, but described. Captain Dixon has no European assistance; but his native establishment is so admirably disciplined," &c. Now, Colonel Dixon knows perfectly well that this identical establishment was trained to his hand by Colonel Hall; trained, too, from a class who were, at that time, habituated to falsehood and fraud, and that-what is unusual in administrative changes in India-he had not to part with a single member of it.
Thirdly, the second system actually named, and the third, described above, is-"
"To take from all classes alike the money value of a third share of the produce; to assist them to the utmost extent on the part of Government to obtain water for irrigation," &c.
The money advances for irrigation works were, as we have seen, greatly extended in the time of Colonel Dixon, and he was thereby enabled to accomplish all that he did so well; but public works of the same description had been erected, and advances made, in like manner, in the time of Colonel Hall; and it was in consequence of the beneficial operation of these works, and their proved results, that the system of advances was extended. It was a rule of the Indian Government at that time, not to sanction advances for agricultural improvements, until their value and importance had been thoroughly ascertained. On this account, Colonel Hall was not enabled
to proceed as rapidly with irrigation works as his successor; but the system was the same, and its value was tried, established, and strikingly exhibited, in the improved condition both of country and people, before Colonel Dixon ever built a tank.
Thus are the three averments in that short extract all inaccurate. Colonel Sutherland was, no doubt, justly pleased with the activity of Colonel Dixon, and the condition of his province, and possibly, in an excess of official felicity, forgot for a moment that he ever had a predecessor.
We have good reason for remarking on this extract. Mr. Kaye, in his recent book* on "The Administration of the East India Company," takes his account of Mairwara from the "Sketch;" does much injustice to the claims of Colonel Hall; and cites this passage in a note, as one of his main authorities. In the heading of his chapter on the "Progress of Civilisation," we have "Dixon and the Mairs,' but not the name of Colonel Hall. The latter is afterwards introduced to us as Captain Hall, of the 16th Bengal Native Infantry,† an officer who, in the Quartermaster's department, had exhibited considerable ability and force of character," and the moral and administrative reforms are mostly referred to him; but the irrigation-works are as wholly ascribed to Colonel Dixon as if his predecessor had never once thought about them. "He (Dixon) saw at once what was the great want of the country. Eager to develop the productiveness of an unyielding soil, and to stimulate the industry of an unyielding people, he addressed himself to this great matter of the water supply, and left untried no effort to secure it." "The financial results of the experiment were highly favourable: the moral results were more favourable still."Ş "His (Dixon's) name will live as the regenerator of the Mairs. It is no
"History of the Aministration of the East India Company." By John William Kaye. One vol. 8vo. Bentley, London, 1853.
† Had it been "Bengal Artillery," it would seem that Colonel Hall might have had a better chance of a good word from Mr. Kaye. That gentleman thinks proper to inform us, in a note (p. 472), that it has been hinted to him "from more quarters than one, that he has displayed something like a tendency to overrate the achievements of officers belonging to the Bengal Artillery;" and expresses a natural presentiment that the charge will be brought against him, in reference to Colonel Dixon.
Kaye's "History of the Administration of the East India Company."-p. 468-9. § Ibid. p. 469.