History of the *Bijnor* Rebellion (1858)
APPENDIX -- Translation of a Persian notice, issued by H. H. the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal
His Honor the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, having heard that the people of the country are unnecessarily apprehensive and uneasy on account of certain unreasonable and unfounded stories, fabricated and spread by people equally unreasonable and prejudiced, with regards to the religious rites and ceremonies of the Hindus and Muhammadans, hereby notifies that Government has no intention of interfering in the matters of religion, rites and ceremonies of the country, nor can it ever have such an intention. His Honor is sorry to find that the people of this country are unnecessarily alarmed at stories invented by seditious persons, and that they do not try to ascertain the truth. He hopes that when the facts are made known to them, all suspicions will be removed from their minds, and that they will rest assured as regards the intentions of the Government towards them. The principal objection of the Government is and ever shall be to protect the life, honor and property of its subjects, to respect their laws and customs and to do what it can to promote their welfare.
Some of the Calcutta missionaries have, as is their wont, but without the sanction of the Government, published religious discourses and circulated them amongst the natives who have wrongly understood them to have come indirectly from the Government. The Government has, however, had no hand in the affair. No attempt was ever made on behalf of Government to persuade the natives to embrace the faith professed by the Government. It is evident that the inhabitants of this country belong to different races and profess different creeds and religions, and are governed by different laws. They have now been long living under the protection of the Government, but the Government, instead of interfering in the religious rites and ceremonies of any class of its subjects, always regard them all as equal in its sight. The proceedings of the Christian ministers above alluded to are part of their ordinary duties. They are in fact lectures of the same kind as are generally delivered in Muhammadan mosques and Hindu temples on subjects bearing upon faith. A little consideration will show that there is nothing new in the matter, that discussions on religious subjects are common amongst the votaries of different faiths, and that the Government has no concern with them.
The reports spread in some newspapers that all the Muhurram ceremonies, the pardah system of the zananah [Muslim custom of secluding women from men], the rite of circumcision, and other rites and ceremonies practised under Muhammadan and Hindu Laws, are soon to be done away with by orders of Government must be considered as false and fabricated stories. These reports have no ground whatever. The Government cannot possibly meddle with these ceremonies.
To distinguish the jail from the home, certain Jail Superintendents, ignorant of the customs and creeds of the country, divested prisoners of their necessary utensils used in eating and drinking, and of course without the knowledge and consent of the Government. But no sooner was this brought to notice of Government than orders were telegraphed to put a stop to their proceedings.
His Honor has been further given to understand that the inhabitants of this country regard the establishment of schools and colleges for the education of the natives in arts and sciences and in the English language as a means to mislead them from their faith, and that for this reason they are disinclined to send their children to school. This is undoubtedly a great mistake of theirs. The step has been misunderstood by the people. Knowing that the natives of India are generally ignorant and therefore live in want, the Supreme Government has been pleased to establish schools and colleges for their education in sciences and arts of life, and for the amelioration of their conditions in general, and to appoint inspectors and native subordinates to superintend the work, so that the people may earn their bread more comfortably and live in a better style.
It is a well known fact that the people of England by their advancement in learning are able to do everything properly, whereas the people of India owing to their ignorance can do nothing. If knowledge be generally diffused among them, all would live much more comfortably than they do now. It is a matter of great regret that the people have misunderstood the policy and the good intentions of Government in matters of education. His Honor, however, believes that the origin of all these evils is a misapprehension on the part of the natives, and that they do not proceed from prejudices or ill feelings.
Be it known that by the spread of English education Government is simply desirious of opening to the people of India a path to all arts and sciences, and not to mislead them from their religion and time-honoured customs and habits. It must however be well borne in mind that works relating to all arts and sciences at present exist only in English language, and new discoveries and inventions are every day being brought to light. Moreover, English being the language of the rulers of the country, it is one of the duties of the subjects to learn it along with Urdu or Bengali, so that they may rise in honor and live in greater ease and comfort. The native tongue of the country has been adopted as the language of the Court, with a view that the common people may be able to understand their proceedings.
His Honor the lieutenant Governor, having seen and heard much about
the state of the country and the condition of the people, is determined
to do his best in their behalf and to raise all classes of His majesty's
subjects in honor and respectability by means of their education, and His
Honour therefore notifies the above to Her Majesty's loyal subjects so
that they may rest well assured of the good intentions of the Government
towards them, and take heart and work contentedly praying to God sincerely
for the prosperity of their benign Government.