Friday, June 22, 2007

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In India, the difference between the army of a prince and the gang of a robber was, in general estimation of the people, only in degree - they were both driving an imperial trade, a 'paadshaahii kaam'. Both took the auspices, and set out on their expeditions after the Dasahraa, when the autumn crops were ripening; and both thought the Deity propitiated as soon as they found the omens favourable; one attacked palaces and capitals, the other villages and merchants' storerooms. The members of the army of the prince thought as little of the justice or injustice of his cause as those of the gang of the robber; the people of his capital hailed the return of the victorious prince who had contributed so much to their wealth, to his booty, and to their self-love by his victory. The village community received back the robber and his gang with the same feelings: by their skill and daring they had come back loaded with wealth, which they were always disposed to spend liberally with their neighbours. There was no more of truth in the prince and his army, in their relations with the princes and people of neighbouring principalities, than in the robber and his gang in their relations with the people robbed.

Sleeman, William. Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official (1844), OUP 1973, p. 396.

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