BLTC Press Titles


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Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle


Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe


Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett


Our faithful ally, the Nizam

by Hastings Fraser

Excerpt:

THE DECCAN AND ITS RULERS.

Geography of the Deccan—the Great Rivers of India—the Nizam's Capital—Hindoo Principalities—Invasion of the Deccan by the Mohammedan Kings of Delhi—Complete Success of Mohammed Toghlak—Rebellion at Dowlatabad—Foundation of tho Bahmani Dynasty—Change of the Seat of Government—The last King of the Deccan—The Independent Kingdoms of Berar, Beejapore, Ahmednuggur, Ahmedabad, and Golconda—Second Conquest of tho Deccan by the Mogul Empire—Rise of the Mahratta Power under Sevaji—Career and Death of the Popular Chief.

An irregular line drawn across the map of India, from the Gulf of Cambay on the Western coast, to the mouth of the Hooghley on the Eastern, may be taken to represent the Northern boundary of the large tract of country called by the general name of the Deccan. This line is not altogether imaginary, but it represents, along a great part of its course, the range of the Vindhya mountains, northward of which lies the great valley of the Jumna and the Ganges, or Hindostan Proper. The mountain range forms the base of the triangle of Southern India; its highest point may be roughly estimated at 2,000 feet above the level of the Nerbudda, which flows from east to west, almost parallel with the mountains, and empties itself into the Gulf of Cambay.

South of the Nerbudda the land rises again, and forms another range of hills, to which succeeds a second deeply cut river valley—that of the Tapty— which falls into the Gulf of Cambay or Surat. This is the last great river that flows from east to west. A little beyond it is the commencement of the mountain chain, which extends to Cape Comorin at the point of the Peninsula, and forms the western embankment of the Deccan plateau.

The third side of the triangle is formed by the eastern or Coromandel coast, parallel to which there also runs a chain of mountains, inferior in height, and more broken in their aspect, than those of the Malabar coast. The average height of thesa Eastern Ghauts does not exceed 1,500 feet, while the average elevation of those on the Western side is about 4,000 feet. The area thus supported may be described as a vast water-shed, sloping from west to east, and intersected in that direction by numerous streams which have their outlet in the Bay of Bengal. Its highest part is in the south-western corner, say in Mysore, from which point the land falls by abrupt steps to the plains of Salem eastward, and by a succession of vast terraces to the valley of the Tapty northward.

From the summits of the rocky embankment on the western side we look down the rugged precipices and "ghauts" upon a narrow strip of country stretching over more than ten degrees of latitude, and so separated by the natural barrier of the mountains from the plateau of the Deccan, that each may be described as a'separate world—so separate that scarcely any intercourse took place between the inhabitants of the Malabar coast and those of the Deccan, before the arrival of the British in India. On those heights, however, the robber-chiefs of the Deccan erected their droogs or fortresses, from which they issued forth upon the plains to visit with fire and sword the luckless inhabitants of the peaceful towns and villages with which the Deccan was studded. On the eastern coast the population from an early period assumed a different character. The fruitful plains of Tanjore, and of the Carnatic generally, invited a more peaceful settlement, and access to the sea was rendered easy by the broken character of the mountains and their inferior elevation. Traders from other parts of the world were attracted to the coast, and towns flourished there even at the commencement of the Christian era.

It has been remarked above, that all the great rivers of India, south of the Tapty, flow from west to east, the fall of the land from the great embankment of the Malabar coast being in that direction. The first of these rivers, south of the Ganges, and therefore proper to the Deccan, is the Mahanuddy, a noble stream, navigable, between July and February, to a distance of 450 miles from its mouth, and no less than 4,500 feet wide as high up the stream as Sumbulpoor. Cuttack, at the head of the Delta formed by these waters, is the capital of" a province of the same name. It has a population of 40,000 persons, and is a place of great commercial and political importance.


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