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- Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet - 40/42 -


unfortunately paid the penalty of their too ardent desires to show themselves off to "a gallant and magnificent army," for "one of the elephants fell back upon him that was next, and he upon the next, and so on to the fifteenth, so that they did all tumble to the bottom of the precipice. It was the good fortune of those poor women, however, that there were but three or four of them killed; but the fifteen elephants remained upon the place." The historian rather ungallantly adds, "When these bulky masses do once fall under THOSE VAST BURDENS they never rise again, though the way be ever so fair."

On reaching the summit of the pass after this accident, the expedition appears to have encountered more misfortunes, for "there blew a wind so cold that all people shook and ran away, especially the silly Indians, who never had seen ice or snow, or felt such cold."

Aurungzib appears to have remained three months in the valley on this occasion.

After his death there is no mention of his successors having visited Cashmere, and the local governors became in consequence, in common with those of other provinces of the tottering Mogul throne, little short of independent rulers. Under the tender mercies of most of these, the unfortunate Cashmeeries appear to have fared but badly.

In 1745, however, a series of misfortunes from another source burst forth upon the inhabitants of the happy valley. A dreadful famine first broke out, during which it is said that slaves sold for four pice (three half-pence) each. The famine produced its natural result, a pestilence, which swept away many thousands of the people; an eclipse also added to their terror, and storms of rain followed by floods carried away all the bridges.

In the year 1752, the country passed from the possession of the Mogul throne, and fell under the rule of the Duranees, and during many years was convulsed by a series of wars and rebellions, and subject to numerous different governors. In A.D. 1801, Runjeet Singh began to come into notice, and, having consolidated the nation of the Sikhs, had, in the year 1813 become one of the recognised princes of India. In that year Futteh Shah entered into a treaty with him for a subsidiary force for the invasion of Cashmere. The price of this accommodation was fixed at 80,000L. yearly; but, before the expiration of the second year, the Lion of the Punjab, on pretence of the non-fulfilment of the treaty, invaded the valley on his own account at the head of a considerable army. He was repulsed, however, and forced to retreat to Lahore with the loss of his entire baggage. In A.D. 1819, encouraged by recent successes against Moultan, Runjeet Singh collected an army "as numerous as ants and locusts," and invaded the valley a second time, and being successful, the country again fell under the sway of a Hindoo Sovereign.

It, however, remained for some time afterwards in a disturbed state; and for signal services against the rebellious frontier chiefs, who were averse to Runjeet Singh's rule, Gulab Singh (the late Maharajah) obtained possession of the territory of Jumoo, now included in the kingdom of Cashmere.

Runjeet Singh, dying in 1839, was succeeded by his son and grandson, successively, both of whom died shortly after their accession; and the state of anarchy and confusion which ensued among the Sikh Sirdars was terminated by Shere Singh being installed as Maharajah of Lahore.

Under his rule, in 1842, Gulab Singh further brought himself into notice by reducing the kingdom of little Thibet with the army under Zorawur Singh, and on the termination of the Sikh Campaign of the Sutlej -- Duleep Singh being established on the throne of Lahore -- he was admitted, "in consideration of his good conduct," to the privileges of a separate treaty with the British Government.

The result of these privileges was, that he was shortly afterwards put in possession, for "a consideration," of the entire kingdom of Cashmere.

As indemnification for the expenses of the Sikh Campaign, the British Government had demanded from the Lahore State the sum of a crore and a half of rupees, or 1,500,000L. The whole of this amount, however, was not forthcoming, and it was agreed by Article 4 of the treaty of 9th March, 1846, with the Maharajah Duleep Singh, that all the hill-country between the rivers Indus and Beas, including the province of Cashmere, should be ceded to the Honourable East India Company, in perpetual sovereignty, as an equivalent for one million sterling.

Article 12 of the same treaty guaranteed to Gulab Singh, in consequence of his services to the Lahore State, its recognition of his independence in such territories as might afterwards be agreed upon; and on the 16th March, 1846, the British Government, by special treaty, made over for ever, in independent possession to Maharajah Gulab Singh and the heirs male of his body, the greater part of the territories previously mentioned in Article 4. In consideration of this transfer, the Maharajah was to pay to the British Government, within the year, the sum of seventy-five lakhs of rupees (750,000L.). To acknowledge the supremacy of that Government, and, in token of such supremacy, to present it annually the following tribute, viz.: -- One horse, twelve perfect shawl goats of approved breed (six male and six female), and three pairs of Cashmere shawls.

Thus, "on the 16th day of March, in the year of our Lord 1846, corresponding with the 17th day of Rubbeeoolawul, 1262, Hijree, was DONE at Umritsur," the treaty of ten articles, by which Gulab Singh was raised to the rank and dignity of an independent ruler.

For seventy-five lakhs of rupees the unfortunate Cashmeeries were handed over to the tender mercies of "the most thorough ruffian that ever was created -- a villain from a kingdom down to a half-penny," and the "Paradise of the Indies," after remaining rather less than a week a British possession, was relinquished by England for ever.

The End.

NOTES

[1] -- VIDE Appendix A

[2] -- ROADS -- I. There are four authorized routes for European visitors to Cashmere.

FIRST. The principal road from the plains by Bimbhur and Rajaoree. This road over the "Peer Punjal" range is not open until May, and is closed by snow at the beginning of November: it is the old imperial route, and the stages are marked by the remains of serais.

[3] -- A hill conveyance something similar to a hammock, suspended from a pole, with straps for the feet and back, and carried by two bearers.

[4] -- M. Jacquemont, in his "Letters from Kashmir and Thibet," carried away no doubt by the ardour of Botanical research, mentions having made a similar discovery, in the following glowing terms: -- "The mountains here produce rhubarb; celestial happiness!"

[5] -- The Pass of the Peer Punjal is 13,000 feet above the level of the sea; the highest peak of the range being 15,000.

[6] -- Supposed to designate "The City of the Sun;" Surya meaning in Sanscrit "the Sun," and Nugger "a City."

[7] -- Cashmere seems to have been regarded for many ages merely as a source of wealth to its absentee lords or present governors, and to have suffered more than ever, since falling under the dominion of Hindoo rulers.

Of the first of this dynasty, who subdued and took possession of the valley in the year 1819, Vigne remarks, in his Travels, "Runjeet Singh assuredly well knew that the greater the prosperity of Kashmir, the stronger would be the inducement to invasion by the East India Company. 'Apres moi le deluge' has been his motto, and its ruin has been accelerated not less by his rapacity than by his political jealousy, which suggested to him at any cost the merciless removal of its wealth and the reckless havoc he has made in its resources."

[8] -- The Tukt-i-Suliman, an old Hindoo temple, the throne of Solomon the magnificent, the prophet, the mighty magician, whom all pious Mussulmans believe to have been carried through the air on a throne supported by Dives or Afrites, whom the Almighty had made subservient to His will. -- Vigne. The summit stands 1,000 feet above the level of the plain, and the date of its erection is believed to be 220 B.C. VIDE Appendix A.

[9] -- "There is no God but God;" "In the name of God."

[10] -- This was written without being aware that the native name of Mutton is a corruption of Martund, by which name the temple is also designated.

The meaning of Martund being in Sanscrit "the Sun," additional grounds have thus been furnished for determining the origin of the ruin. VIDE Appendix A.

[11] -- On this subject a good deal of difference of opinion seems to exist, and from Moore's descriptions of the furniture of his terrestrial paradise, which have added so much to the fame of the valley, it appears probable that his "muse," thinking it useless to search abroad for materials which existed in abundance at home, supplied him with what he supposed to be Eastern celestial creations, entirely from his native shores. Vigne, however, says, "I do not think that the beauty of the Kashmirian women has been overrated. They are, of course, wholly deficient in the graces and fascinations derivable from cultivation and accomplishment; but for mere uneducated eyes, I know of none that surpass those of Kashmir." On the other hand, M. Jacquemont, who found "celestial happiness" in a plant of rhubarb, is unable to discover any beauty whatever in the Cashmerian ladies, and has no patience with his neighbour's little flights of fancy in depicting their perfections. "Moore," he writes, in his "Letters from India," "is a perfumer, and a liar to boot. Know that I have never seen anywhere such hideous witches as in Cashmere. The female race is remarkably ugly." Instead of adding to such conflicting evidence, I have endeavoured to subpoena a credible witness to speak for herself; and the right of private judgment being thus reserved to the reader, Gulabie will no doubt be charitably dealt with, and will find her proper position somewhere within the limits of a "hideous witch" and a "celestial being."

[12] -- This place is mentioned in the "Tuzuk Jehangeery," or "Precepts of Jehangeer," in a way which shows that the Conqueror of the World had not included himself among his victories.

The name appears on a Persian inscription as Wurnagh, but is called


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