Field directors and hospital workers are aided by volunteers in more than 3700 chapters and 6000 branches serving every county in the country. The Red Cross gives services too numerous to mention here - such as helping in disaster, promoting health and safety, collecting blood-plasma, and so on. But remember this: that a prime duty of the Red Cross is to aid service and ex-service men and their families - with everything from advice to a financial lift in emergency.
In 1942 field directors aided 864,000 active service men and gave loans and grants amounting to $4,500,000; local chapters aided families of 800,000 service and ex-service men; and hospital workers served 264,000 convalescents in Army and Navy hospitals.
Nearly twenty-two times the size of the British Isles, India's total area (1,575,107 square miles) is equal to that of the whole of Europe excepting Russia and is two-thirds the size of the United States. Her population is thrice that of the States, it being estimated at 388.8 millions in 1941. In other words, every fifth man in the world is an Indian.
The population density is 341.8 per square mile in British India and 130.15 in the Indian States. The average density for the whole of India is 246.37 to the square mile. Bengal is the most populated province with 778.34 people per square mile. The Indian birthrate is 33 and the death rate, 22 per 1,000.
India is a country of small villages. There are over 500,000 villages but less than 100 really big towns and cities.
India extends over 40 degrees of longitude and 30 degrees latitude and lies between 8th and 37th degrees of North latitude. The longest distance, east to west, from the border of India to Baluchistan, in the west, is over 2,500 miles. From Kashmir to the southernmost point of India the distance is more than 2,000 miles. From Calcutta to Bombay it is 1,200 miles; between Delhi and Bombay 950 miles; between Calcutta and Delhi 900 miles.
Bounded by the Himalayas on the north, and a large expanse of waters on the south, India possesses 5,000 miles of land-frontier, and about the same number of miles are on the sea-front.
Geographically speaking, India consists of three well-marked natural divisions: the Himalayan region, the Indo-Gangetic plain and the Deccan. Each has distinctive physical features. The Gangetic plains have, for centuries past, been the most thickly populated areas. The reason is simple, as India is mainly an agricultural country, and the tract watered by the Ganges and the Brahmaputra is the most fertile section and also a high-road for transport.
The country has a varied terrain, large tracts of desert, vast plains, and eleven mountain ranges - the largest of which is the Himalayas, stretching from Kashmir in the northwest to Assam in the northeast of the peninsula. The highest peak of the Himalayas is Mount Everest in the northeast, 29,141 ft., or over 5 miles high. There are about 200 peaks in the Himalayan chain over 20,000 ft. high. The Sanskrit word Himalaya means "the abode of perpetual snows."
India has 25 large rivers. The Indus, the Brahmaputra, and the Ganges, all three of which rise in the Himalayas, are the three largest and most important. The Indus and the Brahmaputra are each 1,800 miles long, the Ganges about 1,500 miles.
In a country where uniformity is rare, climate also varies. In the Himalayas it is moist and cold; in northern India it is dry with extreme heat in summer (up to 125 degrees), and extreme cold in winter (below freezing point in the Himalayan region). The climate is, however, equable in sorthern India.
India has three clearly defined seasons, the winter, the summer and the rainy season. The winter generally begins from November, the summer from March, and the rainy (monsoon) season from July. While Cherapunji in the Assam Hills has 460 inches of rain in the year, Upper Sind has about 3 inches only.
Perhaps nowhere in the world, except in Soviet Russia, can we find such a variety of human types as in India. Four main racial types are still in evidence: the Aryans, as exemplified in the high-caste Hindus; the Austrics, as illustrated in the primitive tribes like the Kols, Bhils, etc.; the Dravidians who occupy southern India; and the Mongolians who predominate in Nepal, Bhutan and Assam.
Of more than 200 different languages and dialects spoken in India, 24 account for more than 96 percent of her population. But only half-a-dozen are really important. Of these Bengali has the richest modern literature, while Hindustani is generally understood in most of India. Educated Indians, of course, know English.
India is the birth-place of two great religions of the world, Hinduism and Buddhism, and is also the chief seat of Islam and Zoroastrianism today. The Hindus and Muslims form the major communities in India. The former take the lead with 70 percent of the total population. The Islamic faith was first embraced in India in the 12th century though there were Muslim invasions as early as the 8th century. From the 12th century on, India being a country conquered and ruled by Muslims, their faith spread, until, at present, more than a fifth of the people of India follows this creed. The Muslims form the majority in Sind, the Punjab, Northwest Frontier and Bengal.
There are not many Buddhists today in India. An important religious community in India is the Sikkhs, not important in number (a little over 5 million) but important because they are a fighting race and are prominent in the Indian army. The Jains, very small in number, form, perhaps, the most wealthy religious community in India.
The Parsis, a small but cultured community found mostly in the port cities of Bombay and Karachi, are fire-worshipping Zoroastrians.
There are also in India several small groups of orthodox Jews (in Malabar) as well as one of the oldest Christian communities of the world - the Syrian Christians of south India, who are an offshoot of the Nestorian Church. Tradition places India in the map of Christianity in the first century A.D., when St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles, is said to have visited southern India.
The Roman Catholics have been busy in India since about 1500 A.D. when the Portuguese took Goa and other seaports on the western coast. The first Protestant mission came in 1706 but the Protestants did not flourish at first. There are at present a little over 6 million Christians in India, the Catholics outnumbering the Protestants.
In 1931 eight people only in one hundred could read and write in India but according to the last 1941 census 11-12 percent of the total population is now literate.
According to recent census figures the number of primary schools in India is about 200,000 with a student strength of 10,516,353. In som of the big cities in India arrangements have been made for imparting free promary education, but none of the Provincial Governments have as yet been able to provide for compulsory primary education for boys and girls of school-going age. In some of the Indian States, however, primary education is compulsory.
There are nearly 4,000 High Schools for boys with a student roll of 1,108,509, while there are not more than 500 High Schools for girls with 147,379 pupils on their rolls. Three hundred and four colleges have 109,921 students, of whom girl scholars number a little over 10,000.
Increasing facilities for professional and technical training in all the provinces of India have been a recent feature of Indian education. There are now more than four scores of such colleges.
The foundation of University Education was laid in this country with the establishment of the University of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in the year 1857. Now nearly every province has its own University. There are altogether 18 Universities with 128,678 students in them. Besides there are 5 Boards of Secondary and Intermediate Education in India.
Education generally in British India has for many years been purely literary, acting as a passport to a Government or "white collar job." Imparted until very lately through the medium of English it could not make much headway among the masses.
More than 73 percent of India's population is dependent on agriculture. The total gross cropped area sown annually is roughly 245 million acres. India supplies huge quantities of agricultural products to foreign countries. India produces jute as a monopoly and shares 50 percent of the world's production of oilseeds, 25 percent of cotton and 60 percent of tea.
The chief crops of India are: rice, wheat, sugarcane, tea, cotton, jute, linseed, groundnut, coffee and rubber. India is the world's second largest producer of cotton, the first being the United States, and is responsible for more than one-third of the entire world products of rice. India is the largest supplier of tea to the United States. India also has valuable timber tracts, including forests of teak and deodar. She also grows many spices, and it was these spices that Columbus was searching for when he discovered America.
The mineral deposits of India are almost sufficient to maintain most of the "key" industries here. Coal is her most valuable mineral product. Next in importance to coal is manganese, which accounts for about one-third of the world's output. Mica comes fourth on the list of Indian minerals, gold taking the third place. India is singularly poor in deposits of the base metals - tin, lead, zinc and copper. India's resources in high-grade iron ore are, perhaps, the largest in the world.
Although India is predominantly an agricultural country, she ranks at the International Labour Office at Geneva as one of the eight largest industrial countries of the world.
Indian industries are classified in two divisions: (1) Cottage industries and (2) Large-scale industries, carried on in workshops and factories.
Indian export exceeds her imports, and India's foreign trade is carried on mostly by sea.
Five articles - such as jute, tea, cotton, skin and rice - from more than half of the total exports of the country. About 75 percent of the imports consist of manufactured goods and half the imports come from Great Britain. Cotton dominates both imports and exports.
India is governed by England as a part of the British Empire. The supreme authority id the British Parliament, which exercises control through one of its members, a Minister with Cabinet rank, known as the Secretary of State for India.
The executive head in India is the Governor-General, who is also the Viceroy, representing the British Crown. The Governor-General is assisted by an Executive Council whose members are appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the Viceroy through the Secretary of State.
The laws of India are made by two houses of legislature - the Council of State and the Legislative Assembly, the Upper and Lower Houses respectively. The Upper House has 60 members, and the Lower House has 140. The Governor-General has the power to veto any measure passed by the Legislature. He has also the power to pass Ordinances and Acts without recourse to the Legislature. There are a large number of members in both the Houses nominated by the Government, and nearly three-fourths of the items of Indian expenditure are non-votable, i.e. the Legislature has no power to vote on them or reject them. The powers of the Viceroy are extraordinary and unlimited.
The provinces are ruled by British Governors with the help of Indian Ministers who represent the majority party in the provincial legislatures.
The day-to-day administration is carried on by the Indian Civil Service recruited in England and India, assisted by Indian subordinates.
The Indian States, or the territories ruled by Indian Princes, are 584 in number, autocratic in governmental form, and in area forming a good third of the whole of India. They have been officially classified into two divisions, with 118 in the first division and the remainder in the second. This classification means no more than that the rulers of the first division States are entitled, when they are on a visit to the British territory, or on cermonial occasions, to a salute of guns, while the second division States enjoy no such honour.
The total area of these States amounts to 712,508 square miles. The population is roughly one-fourth of the total population of India, and is twice that of Great Britain.
The Indian States have varying degrees of importance and sovereignty, from the Nizam of Hyderabad, who has his own independent system of coinage, to the chief of a principality "ruling" over a few square miles living in dingy "palace." All States do not possess uniform powers. Some have practically unrestricted rights to make their own laws and have complete power of life and death over their subjects. Others have limited powers, and others again no powers at all.
The Indian States cannot hold any political intercourse with any foreign power or have no right to make war or peace or to send ambassadors to each other or to external states. They maintain military forces with certain limits.
The Caste System:-The keystone of the social structure of the Hindus is the institution of caste. The caste system implies that birth determines irrevocably the whole course of a Hindu's social and domestic relations, and that he must through life eat, drink, marry, and give in marriage in accordance with the usages of the community into which he was born. The system was introduced by the Aryan conquerors of India after they had established themselves in this country. It began as a division of labour into priests and teachers (Brahmins), warriors and administrators (Kshatriyas) and cultivators and traders (Vaisyas). The original and conquered inhabitants formed the slave caste or Sudras (their descendants are know known as "Untouchables"). Caste was intially interchangeable, but later, when many new sub-castes came to be formed as new races and clans came to India and were absorbed into the social structure, and trades also began to become hereditary, the caste system acquired religious sanction and cast-iron rigidity, and inter-marriage and inter-dining were put under a ban.
The shackles of caste are now slowly but surely falling away, and the influence of caste on vocations is almost non-existent; a Brahmin becomes a tradesman, while a cobbler, if he receives educational opportunities, becomes a professor of philosophy or the head of a bank.
Among Muslims there is no caste system, but there are religious sects, chief among which are the Shias and Sunnis, differing in the observance of certain religious rites.
Joint Family System:-In India, both among Hindus and Muslims, the family is the economic unit of society as the individual is in the West. The watchword is "from every one according to his means, to every one according to his needs." All resources are pooled. The joint family system is now fast disappearing, notably in cities and towns.
CALCUTTA, the "Second City of the British Empire," began as three hamlets - Sutanuti, Kalikata, and Gobindapur. These were surrounded by a great jungle, haunted by wild beasts and roving bands of armed robbers, who, in broad daylight, fell on the pilgrims trudging along the road on the western skirts of the desolate tract towards the Hindu temple of Kali at Kalighat. This temple-road is now called the Chowringhee Road.
In 1690 Job Charnock settled in Sutanuti, a mart for cotton and textiles, as representative of the East India Company, and built, "as cheap as possible." mud and thatched huts to lodge the company's official staff and records. This was the nucleus of modern Calcutta. King William III then reigned in England; Emperor Aurangzeb at Delhi; and the Pilgrim Fathers had landed in New England only seventy years before.
In 1656 the nucleus of a fort was laid out on the west side of what is now Dalhousie Square on the spot occupied at present by the General Post Office, the Customs House and the East Indian Railway offices. The fortifications were completed in 1702 and named, after the reigning King of England, Fort William.
In the meanwhile, in 1698, the East India Company had obtained permission to rent the three villages, which comprised Calcutta, from the Mogul Governor of Bengal. In 1717 a British Mission brought from the Imperial Court of Delhi - after the English surgeon, Dr. Hamilton, accompanying it had successfully cured Emperor Furrukhsiyar of "a malignant distemper" - the permission to purchase thirty-eight villages surrounding the three already held by the company. The English also obtained other valuable trading privileges and further fortified Calcutta and built a ditch around a great portion of the town to keep off Maratha marauders. This ditch gave the citizens of Calcutta the epithet of "Ditchers."
In 1756, the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-dowla, attacked Calcutta to punish the English for disregarding his orders against additional fortifications. Most of the British, including the Governor, fled down the river leaving behind tham a small garrison to defend the fort as best it could (June 20, 1756). The Nawab stormed the fort, sacked the English settlement and renamed Calcutta as Alinagar. The story of the "Black Hole," which performed the amazing feat of squeezing 146 British men and women into a room in the fort measuring only 22 feet by 14 feet, of whom only 23 had survived by the next morning, stands discredited today, but it survives as a legend of this siege.
Clive and Watson, sent from the English settlement at Madras with troops and ships, retook Calcutta on January 2, 1757. A few months later, on June 23, 1757, Clive marched against the Nawab, who was betrayed by his Commander- in-Chief, Mirzafar, at the battle of Plassey. The Nawab fled and was murdered a few days after. Mirzafar, who was set up by Clive as the new Nawab, made a free gift of the town of Calcutta to the English and paid large sums of money as compensation. With part of this compensation money, one of the three villages forming part of Calcutta,-Gobindapur,-was cleared of its inhabitants, and the foundations of the second and present Fort William were laid in 1758.
Calcutta remained the capital of British India till December 12, 1911, when, at the Imperial Durbar of Delhi, King-Emperor George V announced the transfer of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi.
CLIMATE: Calcutta has a tropical climate - the maximum temerature being 106 degrees and the minimum 48 degrees. The monsoon months from June to October are not very pleasant with humid heat. The cold season from November to March is pleasant.
AREA AND POPULATION: The area of Calcutta including the suburbs is a little over 30 square miles. From the north
to the south it extends over 10 miles.
Numerically, Calcutta is, next to London, the largest and therefore the second city in the British Empire. The population in 1941, when the last census was taken, stood at 2,108,891 (Males 1,452,362; Females 659,529; Hindus 1,531,512; Muslims 497,535; rest 79,844.)
THE PORT OF CALCUTTA: Calcutta, which stands on the left bank of the River Hooghly, is one of the largest shipping centers of the world. The port extends for 9 miles above and 16 miles below the city.
COMMERCE AND TRADE: The great jute industry of Bengal, the tea industry of Assam, the coal and mica industries of Bengal and Bihar, the wheat traffic of the United Provinces and generally the agricultural areas tapped by the main lines of the East Indian and Bengal Nagpur and the Eastern Bengal Railways and by numerous waterways connecting the Gangetic delta with the interior of Bengal and Assam all converge on Calcutta. Through Calcutta passes roughly one-half of the total sea-borne traffic of India.
VICTORIA MEMORIAL : A vast treasure-house of priceless collections of relics and records, paintings and portraits, statues and sculptures relating to British-Indian history, this great memorial to Queen Victoria of England is the most imposing building in Calcutta. Conceived by Lord Curzon and erected at a cost of nearly a crore of rupees contributed by the princes and people of India, it dominates the Maidan. Built entirely of Jaipur marble, the design is chiefly Renascence with traces of Sarcenic influence.
OCHTERLONY MONUMENT : Built in 1828 in memory of Sir David Ochterlony, the British General who conquered Nepal, it stands on the western extremity of the Maidan, 165 ft. high, a towering landmark of Calcutta. Permission may be obtained from the Calcutta Police Headquarters at Lal Bazaar to ascend the monument, from which a splendid view of the city and its environs may be obtained.
THE EDEN GARDENS : A charming public garden laid out on the Strand (the river bank) by two sisters of a former Viceroy of India (Lord Auckland) in 1840, it stands at the north-west extremity of the Maidan. With its cool pools and green foliage and the quaint Burmese pagoda, it is a favorite retreat during the heat of the day or late afternoon. The Calcutta Cricket Club ground, used also for the All-India Lawn Tennis Tournament, is included in the Eden gardens.
THE HIGH COURT : Built in 1872 in Gothic style of architecture after the Town Hall at Ypres in Belgium, here is located the highest court of law in Bengal, presided over by a Chief Justice assisted by several puisne judges. There are some excellent portraits and statues inside, and from the lofty tower over the main entrance, 180 ft. high, can be obtained a splendid view of Calcutta and the River Hooghly.
THE TOWN HALL : Built in 1813 in Doric style, its costs (Rs. 7 lakhs) were met by a public lottery held in 1804 when Lord Wellesly was the Governor-General of India. It has a two-storied structure, with a teak-wood floor upper hall (172 ft. long and 65 ft. breadth) used for public meetings and other functions.
THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY HOUSE : Built in 1931 with a copper-plated dome, the building accomodates the two Houses of Bengal Legislature and stands on well laid out grounds adorned with statues, including one of Lord William Bentinck, who suppressed the Suttee, or the self-immolation of Hindu widows on the funeral pyre of their dead husbands.
GOVERNMENT HOUSE : Formerly the official residence of the Governor-General and Viceroy of India, and now of the Governor of Bengal, this palace was erected by Lord Wellesly in 1803 at a cost of Rs. 20 lakhs. With its grand staircase, Marble Hall, Throne Room - which contains the throne of Tipu Sultan, the splendid ballroom with their magnificent glass chandeliers and lustures, Government House stands on a fine enclosure of six acres beautifully laid out, with six huge entrances.
NEW MARKET : Probably the largest market in the East and one where anything under the sun can be purchased, from a baby bear to a pair of shoe laces. Situated on Lindsay Street, it comprises over 2,000 stalls with goods from nearly every country in the world. The remarkable feature of the New Market is that all the stalls, stores and shops are grouped in sections, each section selling only one particular line of goods, which makes it unnecessary for a person to wander aimlessly from one end of the market to the other seeking a particular article.
THE INDIAN MUSEUM : This immense and noble building with a frontage of over 800 ft., standing on the corner of Chowrighee Road and Sudder Street, houses a remarkable collection of Indian archaelogical antiquities and sculptures, arts and crafts and several branches of natural history. It is now closed to the public.
THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY : The oldest literary and scientific society in the East, housed at No.1 Park Street, was founded in 1781 by Sir William Jones, the great Orientalist. A "discussion meeting" is frequently held in the Society's hall, when popular lectures on different aspects of Indian life and culture are delivered by competent speakers. Members of the Allied Armed Forces are specially welcome.
ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL : The Anglican Cathedral of Calcutta and the Metropolitan Church of India occupying the south-eastern corner of the Maidan on Chowringhee Road was completed and consecrated in 1847. The Church cost L50,000, of which L20,000 was contributed by Bishop Wilson himself. There are some fine illuminated windows, statues and portraits in the Cathedral.
THE RACE COURSE : The Calcutta Race Course, situated at the southern end of the Maidan, said to be one of the finest in the world, was constructed in 1819. An uninterrupted view of the racing can be obtained from any point of the Race Course with its three enclosures. The King-Emperor's and the Viceroy's Cups are the two famous trophies of the Royal Calcutta Turf Club.
ZOO GARDENS : Situated at Alipore, opposite Belvedere House, the Gardens were opened in 1876. It comprises an area of 45 acres and contains quadrupeds, bipeds and reptiles of almost every species.
BELVEDERE HOUSE : Formerly the residence of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, Belvedere House at Alipore is now only used by the Viceroy when he visits Calcutta. The large grounds, open to visitors when the Viceroy is not in residence, once formed part of Mirzafar's estates when he resided in Calcutta.
HASTINGS HOUSE : Farther south to Belvedere House, off Judge's Court Road, stands Warren Hasting's private residence, which was sold with its fine old furniture at a public auction after his departure for England. A writing bureau containing some of his private papers was also auctioned off among the furniture sold. In vain Hastings advertised in the Calcutta Gazette for the desk which he needed for the lost papers. Legend has it that the house is periodically haunted by Warren Hasting's ghost searching for the missing documents, and his coach and pair race over the driveway!
KALI TEMPLE : The famous temple of Kali at Kalighat is one of the 52 Hindu holy places of India. According to legend, Kali, consort of Siva, the "Destroyer" of the Hindu Trinity, killed herself hearing her husband reviled by her father; and Siva, carrying her body over his shoulder, went mourning throughout the universe. Finally, Vishnu, the "Protector" of the Hindu Trinity, following Siva, cut Kali's body into bits so that Siva would be relieved of his burden. The bits fell into 52 spots in different parts of India. Kalighat, says Hindu mythology, received a toe from Kali's right foot. The temple is said to have been built about three centuries ago and is held in great sanctity by the Hindus who gather there daily by the hundreds offering sacrifices.
THE LASCAR WAR MEMORIAL : At the southern end of the Maidan, on the Strand, to the south of Fort William, stands this memorial erected to the memory of the Indian seamen who lost their lives in the Great War.
FORT WILLIAM : The present Fort William built by Clive in 1781, at an approximate cost of L2,000,000, on the southwest corner of the Maidan facing the River Hooghly, has never fired a gun except the salvoes in honor of Viceroys and rulers of Indian States. Built in the form of a rectangular hectagon, with five sides to the land and three to the river, it is surrounded by a moat which can be flooded in times of emergency. It can accomodate 10,000 men and has inside its walls, its own church, swimming bath, cinemas, firing range, parade and football grounds, boxing stadium, post and telegraph office and bazaar (market).
THE CENOTAPH : At the northern end of the Maidan, to the west of the Ochterlony Monument, the Great War Memorial of Calcutta is almost a replica of the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. It commemorates those who gave their lives for their King and country between 1914 and 1918.
ST. JOHN'S CHURCH : The old Cathedral Church of St. John on Hastings Street, was erected in 1787 on a plot of land given by a Hindu and with the money raised by a public lottery. It has a famous painting of the "Last Supper" by John Zoffany (1733-1810) in which the Apostles are all portraits of well-known contemporary European residents of Calcutta. The Charnock mausoleum stands in the church compound and also the tomb of Admiral Watson, who, with Clive, rettok Calcutta in 1757. Surgeon William Hamilton - who, having cured the Emperor Farrukhsiyar, in 1716, obtained for the East India Company the right of importing their goods free of duty and other privileges - also is buried in this churchyard.
ROMAN CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL : It stands in Portugese Church Street, north of Clive Street. It was built in 1797 on the site of the church the Portugese built in Calcutta when they first came here.
OTHER CHURCHES : The oldest place of Christian worship in Calcutta is the Armenian Church of St. Nazareth built in 1724 (a tombstone in its graveyard is dated 1630, sixty years before Job Charnock came) stands northwest of Dalhousie Square. The Old Mission Church in Mission Row (1770); the Scotch Kirk (1818), situated at the head of Old Court House Street on the spot where once stood the Mayor's Court; the Greek Church on Russa Road (Kalighat Tram Depot) are among other notable houses of prayer in Calcutta.
NAKHODA MOSQUE : It is the largest Mahomedan mosque in Calcutta situated at the junction of Lower Chitpore Road and Zakariah Street. Its prayer hall is capable of accommodating 10,000 worshippers. It is a magnificent modern specimen of Indo-Saracenic architecture with its majestic dome and its two lofty minarets, each 151 feet high.
CALCUTTA UNIVERSITY : The University of Calcutta, the first in India, was founded in 1857. The Senate House stands
on College Street, facing College Square. An imposing structure, the lofy Hall, supported by Corinthian pillars,
is used for lectures, the annual convocation and examinations. To the west of the Senate House, the Darbhanga
Buildings house the University Law College and the Registrar's offices. The Asutosh Buildings house the splendid
University Library, the Post-Graduate classes and a museum of art. The University College of Science and
Technology is located at 92 Upper Circular Road with a section at Ballygunge Circular Road.
The Medical College Hospitals, the Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine and Hospital for Tropical Diseases, the All-India Institute of Hygiene (the gift of the Rockefeller Foundation of America) are all located round about the University as also the Presidency College, the Sanskrit College and Calcutta University Institute.
MARBLE PALACE : The Marble Palace, situated at 50 Muktaram Babu Street in northern Calcutta, reached by way of Chittaranjan Avenue, is an imposing structure standing in a very large grounds dotted with statuaries and fountains, aviaries and menagerie. It contains a rich collection of paintings, two of which are said to be by Rubens. The halls are lavishly furnished and richly decorated. The palace belongs to the Bengali family of Mullicks who feed hundreds of poor every day.
THE BOSE INSTITUTE : This institute of science and research founded by the late Sir J.C. Bose, the famous Bengalee Biologist, is located at 93/1 Upper Circular Road (next door to the University College of Science) in a beautiful building with ancient Indian Architectural features, set amidst lovely grounds. Researchers are carried on here on the fundamental unity of plant and animal life.
BANGIYA SAHITYA PARISHAD : The Academy of Bengali Literature located at 243/1 Upper Circular Road houses a fine library of English and Bengali books, a rare collection of Sanskrit and Bengali manuscripts, a museum of Indian sculptures and bronzes and a portrait gallery of eminent Bengali literary men.
JAIN TEMPLE : The famous Jain Temple, better known as Parashnath Mandir, situated in Badridas Temple Street, is reached from Upper Circular Road down Halisbagan Road.
DHAKURIA LAKES : These artificial lakes on the extreme south of Calcutta, reached conveniently by way of Lansdowne Road and Southern Avenue, form one of the most popular resorts of the citizens of Calcutta.
BOTANICAL GARDENS : Located at Sibpur on the Howrah sode of the river, the Royal Botanical Gardens was founded in 1787 under the auspices of the East India Company. The area of the garden is 273 acres with a river frontage of a mile. The great Banyan tree is found here covering an area of 1,000 feet in circumference and 88 feet in height. The central column had to be cut off in 1925 to preserve the radial parts. There is a Herbarium and also a fine Botanic Library. Close by its side is the Bengal Engineering College.
NOTHING definite is known of Agra before the Muslims came to India. Sikandar Lodi set up his court here in 1501 and died here in 1517 A.D., but was buried at Delhi. He built the Baradari Palace, near Sikandra, which suburb received its name from him and where the great Mogul Emperor Akbar lies buried. Babar captured the city in 1526.
The Emperor Akbar chose Agra as his capital in the early years of his reign. For a brief period he removed it to the beautiful city he built at Fatehpur-Sikri but he returned to Agra to rule India from within its walls, and here he died in 1605.
Jahangir erected the noble mausoleum of his father at Sikandra but left Agra in 1618, and never returned. His famous Empress, Nur Jahan, built the gem-like tomb of her father I'timad-ud-Daula. Shah Jahan resided at Agra from 1632 to 1637, and renamed the city Akbarabad after his grandfather, but the new title did not endure. He built much of the fort with the principal buildings of the palace inside and the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum which has made the name of Agra known throughout the world. Deposed by his son Aurangzeb in 1658, Shah Jahan lived as a state prisoner seven years longer at Agra. Agra fell from its pride of place when Aurangzeb removed the seat of Mogul government permanently to Delhi.
In 1764 Agra was taken by Suraj Mal of Bharatpur with an army of Jats, who did much damage. In 1770 the Marathas captured it from the Jats, who recovered it but were themselves expelled in 1774. In 1784, the Marathas returned under Mahdaji Scindia and took it again and held it till it was captured for the British by Lord Lake in 1804 after a brief bombardment.
One hundred and twenty miles to the S.S.E. of Delhi, Agra with a population of 284,149 is now a busy railway and commercial center with woolen and cotton mills, gins and presses, flour mills, tanneries and an important carpet industry. It is the seat of a University with several large and important educational institutions.
THE FORT : Many magnificent Mogul buildings are situated within the Fort, which has a circuit of a mile and a half. A pass is required, obtainable from the Amar Singh Gate of the Fort itself. The walls and flanking defenses are of red sanstone, and present an imposing appearance, being nearly 70 ft. high. The ditch is 30 ft. wide and 35 ft. deep. The buildings inside the Fort include:
Moti Masjid : The "Pearl Mosque," unequalled for the beauty and purity of its proportion is described by Fergusson ("Indian Architecture") as "one of the most elegant buildings to be found anywhere." Built by Shah Jahan in 1653, it is said to have cost Rs. 300,000.
Diwan-i-Khas : Or the Emperor's Hall of Private Audience consists of an open colonnade in front and enclosed room at the back, and measures 65 ft. by 34 ft. by 22 ft. high. The carving is exquisite with flowers inlaid on the white marble with red cornelian and other valuable stones. The date of the building is 1637.
Shish Mahal : Literally "Mirror Palace." It consists of two dark chambers with fountains and an artificial cascade arranged to fall over lighted lamps. The walls and ceilings are decorated with innumerable small mirrors.
The Jahangiri Mahal : A beautiful red sandstone palace, it was built by Akbar for his Rajput consort, Jodh Bai, mother of Emperor Jahangir, who was born here, and from whom it derives its name. The general atmosphere and design of this court is predominantly Hindu, but the minute and exquisite surface-carving is Saracenic. In stately solidity and commanding symmetry it is a most noteworthy Mogul building.
JAMI MASJID : Faces the Delhi Gate of the Fort, close to the Fort Railway Station, and a good view of it is obtained from the footbridge to the station. The mosque was constructed by the Emperor Shah Jahan in 1648 in the name of his daughter, Jahanara, who afterwards shared her father's captivity. A dignified massive structure.
I'TIMAD-UD-DAULA : The mausoleum was built by the Empress Nur Jahan for her father, Mirza Ghiyas Beg, a Persian, who became high treasurer of his son-in-law Jahangir. The tomb stands in abeautiful garden, on a platform. Its architecture is transitional between the virile conceptions of Akbar and the poetic exuberance of Shah Jahan; elegant, elaborate and scolarly, it was the first triumph of inlaid work in direct imitation of Persian pottery decoration. The marble lattice-work of the passages admitting light to the interior is exquisite.
SIKANDRA : The mausoleum of the Emperor Akbar at Sikandra is 5 miles from Agra along the Muttra Road. Built of red sandstone, inlaid with white marble in various polygonal patterns, very massive, and with a splendid scroll of Arabic writing a foot broad adorning it, it is a noble building in a noble setting. The white marble sarcophagus on the roof, open to the sky, is strikingly impressive in its simple dignity.
FATEHPUR-SIKRI : The royal but long-deserted city of Fatehpur-Sikri, standing on a low sandstone ridge,
was the creation of Akbar, who built every structure in it, but later abandoned it for Agra. On account of
its perfect preservation, it is a unique specimen of a city in the exact condition in which it was occupied
by the Great Mogul and his court.
The massive Buland Durwaja, or Victory Gateway, rising to 172 ft., with its great flight of steps, leads to the cathedral mosque of Fatehpur-Sikri and is one of the noblest portals known in India or elsewhere. On the right hand archway of this gate is inscribed: "Isa (Jesus), on whom be peace said" 'The world is a bridge, pass over it, but build no house on it. The world endures but an hour, spend it in devotion'" - a remarkable testimony to Akbar's catholicity and greatness.
Though the country round Delhi is connected with the early history of India, as recorded in the Mahabharata, little is known of the place prior to the Muhammadan conquest in 1193 A.D. According to tradition, a city called Indrapastha was founded by a king called Yudhishthir; and the fort of Indrapat, also called Purana Kila, or "Old Fort," stands, perhaps, on the site, although excavations have revealed nothing which can be identified as ancient.
The extensive ruins lying south of modern Delhi, and covering an area of about 45 square miles, are the remains of many forts or cities. The oldest are the Hindu forts of "Lal Kot," built by Anangapal Tomar in A.D. 1052, and of "Rai Pithora" built in A.D. 1180 by Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the last Hindu ruler of Delhi. These two forts, the two Asoka pillars, and the iron pillar at the Qutub are the only remains of the Hindu period.
The earliest Muhammadan forts or cities were Siri (now known as Shahpur), built by Ala-ud-din in 1304 A.D.; Tughlakabad built by Tughlaq Shah in 1321 A.D.; and Jahanpanah, enclosed by Muhammad Tughlak, about 1325 A.D. Subsequently Firozabad was constructed by the Emperor Firoz Shah Tughlak, and the "Purana Qila" was founded and built by Humayun and Sher Shah. The walled city as seen today dates from the commencement of the Fort by Shah Jahan in 1639, whence it was called Shahjahanabad. Aurangzeb left Agra to make Delhi once again his seat of government, but with him came the decline.
Delhi has been frequently attacked and often captured. It was sacked by Timur, the Mughal, in 1398; by Nadir Shah, the Persian, in 1739; and by Ahmad Shah Durani, the Afghan, in 1756. In 1759 the Maratha Chief, Mahadji Scindia, captured Delhi, and the Marathas held it till September, 1803, when the British General Lord Lake gained possession of Delhi and of the family and the person of the Emperor Shah Alam. In 1804 Delhi was again besieged by the Maratha Chief, Jaswant Rao Holkar, but was successfully defended by the British garrison. From that time on to 1857 the Mogul capital of India remained in the possession of the British, although the descendants of the Great Mogul were allowed some show of royalty till the Indian Mutiny in 1857, which centered originally round Delhi. The city is strewn with its many memories.
NEW DELHI : Delhi was once more re-established as the capital city of India by the Imperial proclamation on
the 12th December, 1911, on the accasion of the Coronation Durbar of King George V. A few miles to the south
of Shah Jahan's fort in old Delhi, a new city, seventh in succession to its predecessors, has been built
according to the plan of the famous British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. He laid out a very original city
plan as large in scale and covering a larger area of organized planning than Washington, D.C.
Delhi with a population of 5,021,849 is famous for its jewelers, silversmiths, and embroiderers.
Karachi stands at the mouth of the Indus delta. To the landward, not many miles away from the city, is a thirsty plain of sandy wastes.
Eighty years ago Karachi was a town of a few mud huts with a rampart around them. The site where now stands one of the principal commercial and residential quarters of the city was occupied by a few fishermen. And now with a population of 359,492, the city has an area of 72 sq. miles. This population has doubled itself in 20 years, and the city has absorbed the outskirts lying 8½ miles away from the main town.
Situated on the Arabian Sea, Karachi has a most equable climate, its summer being neither hot nor damp and its winter cold and bracing.
The hinterland served by the port of Karachi embraces the whole of Sind, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Punjab and expanding areas in the United Provinces and Rajputana with all of which it is connected by railway. The greatest single stimulus to the growth of modern Karachi has certainly been the expansion of irrigation colonies in the Punjab, devoted primarily to raising wheat, largely for European consumption, but also yielding increasing quantities of cotton acceptable to western markets. Hides, skins, and raw wool are other characteristic exports.
In recent years Karachi has become the main gate of India for the aerial service, and before the war there were regular mail and passenger services between London and the city. It was the converging point of five air-lines serving directly 20 countries of the world. Through the air-base of this city passed all traffic between the two hemispheres. The air-port has given a great impetus towards the expansion of the city of Karachi.
KIAMARI : With its long line of wharves, connected with the Cantonment and Indian town by rail and tram, the Karachi harbor commences at Kiamari.
CLIFTON : a favorite afternoon ride and drive, it stands on the sea, and is approached by a good road. There is a fine sandy beach here extending southeast for miles.
MAGAR PIR : Eleven miles north of Karachi is well worth a visit. It is a curious place. From the roots of a clump of date trees a stream of hot water gushes out, the temperature of which is 133 degrees. One the west side of the valley is a temple surrounded by a thick grove and close to a swamp, caused by the superflous waters of the spring. A tank contains crocodiles, which, as they attract a considerable number of visitors, the Muhammadan in charge of the Pir's Tomb regards as sacred. These custodians kill goats for the visitors who wish to see the crocodiles fed.
VICTORIA MUSEUM : Situated in the Burns gardens, it houses a remarkable collection of the relics of Mohan-jo-Daro, which give an idea of the civilization of India 5000 years back.
ZOO : The Karachi Zoo is a part of the Mahatma Gandhi Gardens. The animals include the cheetah, the Bengal tiger, the lion, various types of monkeys and some Indian birds.
IN tracing the history of the name "Bombay," we are carried back to a remote period when the island was no more
than a group of seven barren rocks surrounded by marshes. The scanty population of this unhealthy place eked out
its meager subsistence by fishing in the surrounding creeks and offered prayers to the goddess "Mumba" installed
in a temple, situated somewhere in the locality where now stands the Victoria Terminus.