Page:Malabari, Behramji M. - Gujarat and the Gujaratis (1882).djvu/30

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
14
GUJARÁT AND THE GUJARÁTIS.

glory. But "something ails it now."

Its rapid ruin since can be traced to disastrous fires and floods, to the drying up of the Tápti, and to the rise and prosperity of the island town of Bombay. Surat of to-day is a shadow of its old self, its stout commercial spirit gone, the well-to-do of its citizens grovelling in indolence or pleasure, its social morality decayed and still decaying. The British are doing much to infuse new life into this prostrate capital of their original possessions in the Western Presidency. Enlightened and equitable administration of justice, well-worked medical and educational agencies, wise schemes of municipal impovement; these are all tangible reforms, and have a leavening tendency on the almost deadened national conscience. But the instincts of the people seek repose: it is incompatible with a true Surti[1] nature to keep pace with the march of progress. The labouring and agricultural classeshave ample security of person and property; but I doubt if they enjoy that progressive prosperity which is the true criterion of a settled and enlightened rule. The fact seems to be that England is losing India

  1. Native of Surat.