238 INDIA UNDER THE BRITISH CROWN. expectation was not realized, and the rupee continued to fall. In 1895 it sank to about is. id. A Royal Commission was appointed in that year to inquire into Indian finances, with a view, if possible, to reducing expenditure, and especially the Home charges. Army Reforms, 1890-95. — The old system, by which the Indian armies were commanded by three separate Commanders- in-Chief in Bengal, Madras, and Bombay, had become antiquated, owing to the quicker communication between the three Presi- dencies by means of railways, steamers, and the telegraph. For a long time the Commander-in-Chief in Bengal had been also Commander-in-Chief for all India. It was therefore deter- mined to have only one central Commander-in-Chief, with four Lieutenant-Generals under him at the head of the four great military divisions of Northern and Southern India. The separate Commands-in-Chief for Madras and Bombay were abolished. The change was gradually carried out during the five years ending 1895. Religious Riots, 1893. — In 1893 the old religious strife between the Hindus and Mussalmans broke out afresh. A series of fanatical riots took place at the festivals of the two faiths in many of the British provinces and Native States of India, from Burma to the North- West and Bombay. In some of these tumults, especially in the city of Bombay, much blood was shed, men were killed, and houses were burned. By the end of 1893 the excitement had calmed down again. The Earl of Elgin, 1894. — In January, 1894, Lord Elgin succeeded Lord Lansdowne, and still remains Viceroy (1895). Owing to financial straits caused by the continued fall in the rupee, a five per cent, customs duty was imposed in 1894 on goods imported into India. After much discussion, this duty was extended to Manchester cotton-cloths of the finer qualities, with which the Indian mills do not compete. A curious panic was caused during the summer of 1894 by the secret smearing of multitudes of trees in Northern India, and hidden and ominous meanings were ascribed to it. But the practice was found to be a harmless act of certain devotees to call popular attention to the shrine of their god.
Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/242
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