Page:Malabari, Behramji M. - Gujarat and the Gujaratis (1882).djvu/52

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36
GUJARÁT AND THE GUJARÁTIS.

A Zealous Official.[1]

I was told the other day of our excellent young postmaster here. He is the very pink of a postmaster, and the way he stands on his dignity is stunning. His idea of asserting his authority is to fine the wretched peons right and left. These men are paid about seven rupees (fourteen shillings) a month, out of which the "paternal" Government makes it incumbent on each man to buy a red coat a year, a pair of shoes twice a year, turban, trousers, umbrellas, &c. Part of what remains goes towards the Good Conduct Fund. From the residue the peon has to maintain wife and family, father, mother, children, cousins, aunts, &c., in that irreproachable respectability which befits a servant of the Paternal British Government. "Hard lines," you will growl, reader. But I have not done. A peon tells me he is now fined about two rupees a month on an average. So what he earns is five rupees, out of which he has to attend to each one of the duties, private and public, that I have just enumerated. The postmaster is very likely a good man; but

  1. Written two years ago.