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CUREENT TOPICS., Star, Issue 6552, 1 August 1899
♦_ c. - A month ago a very riots in brief cable message informed india. us that there had been caste riots in Southern India, and thafc the disorder was being suppressed. In reality the disturbance was an extensive one, affecting the extreme south of the Indian peninsula, and its history shows how incompetent are many of the Indian, civil servants, how lax is police supervision in some districts, and how grave a danger may even now be simmering in some out-of-the-way corner of the great empire. The riots proper broke out in a large village called Sivakasi, inhabited chiefly ".by Shanars, a tribe of apparently lowcaste Hindoos. The Shanars have always asserted that they were of loftier birth than their neighbours, and have made several attempts to worship in temples managed .by Maravars, who claim to be of high caste. In March last some wealthy Shanars brought matters to a head by forcibly entering a Maravar temple. This led to an action for unlawful" trespass, and the Deputy Magistrate, a Mohammedan, gave a decision in favour of the Shanars. The _laravars retaliated by shutting up the temple, and thus preventing all worship in it. Naturally feeling ran. high after this, and blows ivere frequently exchanged. The officials seem to have taken no notice of the gathering storm, although during tha month of April the whole district was simply seething with excitement, and placards were posted in various places inciting the Maravars to revenge themselves on the Shanars. The sack of Sivakasi was deliberately planned and earned out, and although missionaries and others knew of the impending hostilities a fortnight before they actually commenced, the police made no attempt to procure assistance or to organise themselves for preserving order. On June 6 Maravars began to assemble n* the neighbourhood of Sivakasi, and by ten o'clock were ready to attack the town. They numbered between 4000 and 5000, and were opposed by some 1500 Shanars, who wero rapidly driven through the streets and into the open. Then the Shanar huts were set on fire, and the women and children driven into the. flames or butchered in .the streets. Seeing these outrages, the Shanars returned, and bravely drove the Maravars out of the town. It is curious that Christian Shanars and high-caste Hindoos had been warned to leave the town, and had done so, and the police, who were armed with fire-arms, seem actually to have sided with the Maravars. The fire thus lighted, rapidly spread, and within a week villages had been sacked and looted over a district containing 100 square miles. Then bands of marauders made excursions into neighbouring districts, and the whole country around Tranvancore < and Tinnevelly was soon in a state of uproar. It is a feature of Hindoo risings .of this kind that they seem to die out soon after the passions of the people have found vent, and it therefore required only a small show of force to restore peace and order. In a recent number of the Abyssinia "North American Review" and the Colonel C. C. Long, who so .dan. was with General Gordon in I " the Soudan, describes the aims of Britain in the Soudan. Incidentally j he tells the story of Abyssinian and French designs on the Soudan, which he himself had attempted to bring to a head. On returning from Egypt in December, 1883, he sent a note to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, proposing to assume command jointly with King John of Abyssinia, of an Abyssinian army of 200,000 men, which he should lead against Khartoum. After crushing the Mahdi, he proposed to declare King j John Sultan of the Soudan, under the protectorate of France. The note was ignored, perhaps thrown aside, but a translation appeared in a London journal, and immediately Admiral Hewett headed a British mission to King John, urging him to march upon Khartoum. However, that design also came to nothing, and the king tried to carry out a similar project on his own account in 1889, but was defeated by. the Mahdists and slain. Again, in 1894, Colonel Long returned to the subject, this time suggesting to M. Casimer Perier, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, the possibility of taking Khartoum. He was granted a private audience, and .the Minister listened with earnest attention to the proposition, which was to do with King Menelik what M. Ferry had failed to do with King John. M. Casimir Perier objected that both England and Italy had secured a footing on the Abyssinian coast since 1883, and that any expedition from the Red Sea, by way of Obok, might cause complications with Italy. Colonel Long, however, waa asked by a member of the Senate whether he would lead an expedition to' Khartoum from the Congo territory, but this he refused to do, and, as events liave proved, the mission was entrusted to Major Marchand. Naturally, Colonel Long expresses surprise that the French Government could have been so foolish as to refuse the support of a strong Abyssinian army for an expedition to the Nile, and yet send Marchand in an almost defenceless condition across Africa. , As for -his general subject, the Colonel thinks that the project of a British belt of territory from Cairo to the Cape dates from Nelson's destruction of the French fleet at Aboukir in 1798, and. the -recapture of the Cape in 1806, but he holds that " Europe is the arbiter of tie destinies of Egypt," and that she wiH not permit Britain to realise her ambition there. The list of the Cambridge the Mathematical Tripos, which : oambhtdgb "was published; in Jane, is ft tripos. very interesting V document. The history of the word ; " tripos " is a. curious instance of the change in meaning uiukrgra-ne by 4edmiixA'. wards.
In the sense in. which Cajritbridge.Univfcrsity has made it famous, it dates back through! a variety of meanings to tbe sixteenth century. The " tripod " originally was a stool on whicli the champion of the university sat at the disputations held at the admission of Bachelors of Arts to their degrees ; later it was transferred to tbe champion himself, who became "Mr Tripos;", then to the speech with which this gentleman opened the proceedings, and in time to the verses of the Bachelors with which they enlivened the presentation ceremony. In the middle of last century the honours lists were printed on the backs of the sheets containing the songs, and so tripos came to mean an honour list, and finally the .examination itself. Until 1824 there was only the mathematical tripos at Cambridge, and even up to 1850, only those who had obtained honours in this examination were admitted to the classical tripos. The mathematical tripos this year resulted in a triumph of mind over circumstance. Raghiunath Parangpye, a native of Bombay, was bracketed Senior Wrangler •with,Mr G. Birtwistle, who began his education in a Wesleyan day school in Burnley, Lancashire. The greatest prize in British education was thus shared by a member of a subject race, alien in language, in thought and in disposition with one of the dominant race, who was handicapped by his early surroundings. It is not the first time that the public elementary schools have furnished a Senior Wrangler, but it was never expected that au Indian would attain such a distinction. People have assumed that the Hindoo, though successful in examinations by reason of his retentive memory, would never succeed ih intellectual pursuits requiring originality. A Cambridge Senior Wrangler must be gifted with more than a long memory, and, perhaps, the success of Parangpye will dispel the mistaken ide* of his countrymen's mental ability as effectually as Ranjitsinhji's' brilliancy on the cricket field has upset time-honoured notions regarding Indian nerve and skill in manly exercises. Another pleasing feature of the list was tbat the fourth place was taken by Mr P. V. Bevan, a son of the well-known Melbourne divine. Mr C. B. Fry's performance in the examination is probably eclipsed at present by lus more widely advertised doings in test matches. As to the cud of Senior Wranglers, the "Chronicle" remarks on the small number of these brilliant university men who succeed in the storm and stress of life. Whether they have tired their brains in the struggle for the academic prize, or whether their faculties have reached such, critical perfection as to place them above ordinary humanity, more and more of them seem to shun active life, and to drift into the leisurely existence of an academic career, outside of which they are rarely known.
CUREENT TOPICS., Star, Issue 6552, 1 August 1899
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