Page:Nil Durpan.djvu/18

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home, children and relatives are pointed out in language, plain but true; it shows how arbitrary power debases the lord as well as the peasant; reference is also made to the partiality of various Magistrates in favour of Planters and to the Act of last year penally enforcing Indigo contracts.

Attention has of late years been directed by Christian Philanthropists to the condition of the ryots of Bengal, their teachers, and the oppression which they suffer, and the conclusion arrived at is, that there is little prospect or possibility of ameliorating the mental, moral, or spiritual condition of the ryot without giving him security of landed-tenure. If the Bengal ryot is to be treated as a serf, or a mere squatter or day-labourer, the missionary, the schoolmaster, even the Developer of the resources of India, will find their work like that of Sisyphus—vain and useless.

Statistics have proved that in France, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Saxony, the education of the peasant, along with the security of tenure he enjoys on his small farms, has encouraged industrious, temperate, virtuous, and cleanly habits, fostered a respect for property, increased social comforts, cherished a spirit of healthy and active independence, improved the cultivation of the land, lessened pauperism, and has rendered the people averse to revolution, and friends of order. Even Russia is carrying out a grand scheme of serf-emancipation in this spirit.

It is the earnest wish of the writer of these lines that harmony may be speedily established between the Planter and the Ryot, that mutual interests may bind the two classes together, and that the European may be in the Mofussil the protecting Aegis of the peasants, who may be able "to sit each man under his mango and tamarind tree, none daring to make him afraid."