(69) Improvements in manufactures, newspapers, scribes [[508-509]]
[] A person who quitted India about forty years ago, when the generality of articles of almost every description in use among Europeans were sent from England; and when only one or two European tailors were to be seen in all Bengal; when, also, a newspaper was scarcely in existence, would now, on landing in that country, be astonished at the improvements made in various branches of manufacture. He would contemplate the advance made in the mechanical arts as the certain forerunner of independence.
He would view also the several news-papers published at
magazines, &c.), whose columns teem with advertisements on a large
scale, as the paramount results of great enterprise, founded upon
extensive capitals, and backed by an almost unlimited credit.
As the type is rather large, the expense of advertisements must, in some great houses, prove a conspicuous item among the disbursements.
In this respect, the Hindoostanee, or rather the Persian,
are miserably deficient; as, indeed, they are in whatever should belong
to a publication devoted to the important purposes of mercantile, or of
political, intelligence. Far from containing a single advertisement, or
from communicating any matter relative to the arts, these bulletins,
they are no better, are penned by persons about the several native
according to the whim of a sycophant, or to the mere tattle in the
of a city. They are often manufactured hundreds of miles from the place
whence they are supposed to emanate, and contain accounts of battles
sieges, capitulations and defeats, halts and marches, known only to the
There being no presses in use among the natives, every communication, whether private, or public, must be in manuscript. Hence the profession of scribe yeilds in some places no bad livelihood; especially at Delhi, which, being the ancient seat of government, and the immediate residence of a nominal king commonly called the Great Mogul, supplies every quarter of India with akbars (newspapers) written in the Persian language and character, on long narrow slips of a paper manufactured in India either from bamboos, reeds, or cotton-wool. These slips, rolled up to about an inch in width, are enclosed in a small cover pasted together, and despatched to the several quarters of Hindoostan.