Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/70

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55
PERSIA.

satisfy claims made upon him, he grants a certain time for the fulfilment of his contract. But if the person complained against be of infamous character, the darogha imposes a fine on him, and orders him to be punished or put in confinement. This magistrate also superintends the morals of the people; and if he detects any of them drinking wine, or in the society of courtesans, he compels them to purchase his connivance at no small expense.

Mr. Scott Waring mentions, as a fact within his own knowledge, that the darogha of Shiraz received fifty toomauns (above 40l.) from an unfortunate Armenian, who was caught in the house of a prostitute, and he thought he conferred a favour on the culprit by allowing him to escape at so easy a rate. Hence the office of darogha is extremely lucrative: for, in addition to the presents and bribes which he is in the habit of receiving, the shopkeepers cheerfully supply him gratuitously with every thing he requires, that they may ensure his protection and favour.

The appointment of the meer-usus, or head of the watch, who is also styled kecheekdjee-bashee, nearly resembles that of darogha, the latter superintending the police in the day-time, and the former at night. It is his office to preserve the peace of the city, to apprehend persons found in the streets at improper hours, and to prevent robberies. He has under him, for this purpose, a number of people, who patrol the streets and keep watch on the house-tops. Each shopkeeper contributes two-pence or three-pence, monthly, to defray the expenses of this establishment. If a housekeeper is robbed, the meer-usus, is accountable for the robbery, and is obliged either to recover the property stolen, or to pay the amount. The latter rarely happens; for this officer is generally connected with all the thieves in the city, and can answer for their obedience to his orders. They rob, therefore, in places not under his protection; and, as he is commonly supposed to participate in their plunder, they are connected together by a common interest.

The mohtusib is an inspector, whose business it is to regulate the price of every article which is sold in the bazar, and to see that the weights are of the proper standard. This duty is usually performed once a week; and if he convicts any person of using false weights, the punishment frequently is death.

Small towns and villages are governed by a ket-khoda, who has under him a pak-kiar, or deputy. The latter attends to the details of the duty, and reports to his principal. Lastly, there is no place how insignificant soever, but what is under the superintendence of a reis, or chief.

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