Oude or Oudh
Oude Or Oudh (Sanscrit, Ayodha, i.e. "invincible"), a province of British India, separated on the north from Nepaul by the lower ranges of the Himalayas, whence it gradually slopes to the Ganges, which forms its boundary on the south and south-west, is situated in lat. 25° 34'-29° 6' N., long. 79° 45'-83° 11' E., and has an area of 27,890 square miles, or rather less than that of Scotland, with a population in 1872 of 11,220,747. It is one great plain, the slope of which from north-west to south-east indicates also the direction of the principal rivers. These are the Gumti, the Ghagra (Ghogra), and the Rapti, which swarm with alligators. The northern part, on the edge of the Himalayas, is not very well known. It forms a portion of the Terai, a vast unhealthy tract stretching along the borders of Nepaul, and covered with impassable forests. The climate is cool and pleasant from November to March; during the next four months it is hot and sultry, after, which follows the long rainy season, but in general it is considered the healthiest along the whole valley of the Ganges. The soil is light, and. except small nodules of chalk and oolite called kankars, there is hardly a loose stone to be seen. Formerly it was more copiously watered than it is now, the clearing of the jungles having greatly decreased the moisture of the land. The chief crops are wheat, barley, gram, masure, mustard, rice (of the finest quality), millet, maize, joar, bajra, various kinds of pulse and oil- seeds, sugar-cane, tobacco, indigo, hemp, and cotton. In 1872 there were 12,673 square miles of cultivated lands in Ouqe, and 5588 additional capable of cultivation. The manufacturing industry is not much developed; soda, saltpetre, and salt are the only articles of which more is produced than is requisite for home consumption. Gunpowder, and all kinds of military weapons, guns, swords, spears, shields, and bows of bamboo, or Lucknow steel, are, however. also made, besides some woolen goods, paper, etc. The principal towns are Lucknow, Fyzabad, Oude, or Ayodha, Roy Bareily, and Shahabad.
The people are of a decidedly warlike disposition. The bulk of the inhabitants are Hindus, though the dominant race for centuries, until the British annexation, was Mohammedan. The Brahmans are now the most numerous class, but there are twenty-nine different Rajput tribes. It is these two classes that mainly supplied the famous (or infamous) sepoys of the Bengal army. In 1869 Oude contained 7767 Christians, 9,713,730 Hinduls, 1,011,110 Mohammedans, 56 Buddhists, and 487.884 persons of all other creeds. Hindostanee is the language most in use, with a greater admixture of Persianand Arabic and less of Hindu than in the more easterly provinces. The houses of the people are generally of mud or unburnt brick, and the walls are carried up six or seven feet above the roof, to form a sort of enclosed court for the women, which is covered during the rains by a light temporary roofing of bamboo and grass. The rooms have no ceilings, and the floors are of earth, well packed and smooth.
The most characteristic feature in the social economy of Oude is that of the village communities, each of which constitutes a little republic of itself. The payment of a land-tax is one of the oldest institutions of the country. At the time of the British annexation it was supposed that the chiefs known as talukdars, who received this tax from the immediate cultivators of the soil, and paid a fixed sum on account thereof to the native government, were merely middlemen, who exacted from the villagers as much as possible, but themselves possessed no proprietary rights whatever. Acting on the assumption that they were only collectors of revenue, the first land settlement made under British rule, in 1856-57, dispossessed the talukdars of nearly all their villages, and provided for the payment of the land-tax by the actual occupants of the soil directly to the government. The injustice of this settlement led to great dissatisfaction, and was ultimately admitted by the British authorities. The talukdars were in fact an ancient landed nobility, with well-established rights of property in the soil, which were entitled to recognition, notwithstanding the frequent extortion which had been practiced upon the subordinate proprietors. The present land settlement, completed in 1859, recognizes the rights of both classes, confirming to each their possessions as they existed at the time of the annexation in 1856. According to the parliamentary accounts for 1871-72, it is so framed as to secure village occupants from extortion, and to exact certain duties and responsibilities from the talukdars. Half the gross rental is paid to the government. The net land revenue in 1871-72 amounted to £1,207,902. In the same year the licenses for the sale of spirits and drugs, and the excise on opium, yielded £78,106. The total revenue in 1872-73 amounted to £1,656,602; expenditures, £626,519. The total number of educational institutions in 1871-72 was 1548, with an average daily attendance of 37,720 pupils. They comprise the Canning College at Lucknow, with 720 students, of whom 56 were in the college department; 11 high schools and 747 village schools; 81 schools for girls, with 1908 pupils. The expenditure for the support of schools amounted to £47,420. In each school district a library is maintained for the use of the schoolmaster; and there is said to be a school within four antia half miles of every child in Oude. There is a museum at Lucknow. Seven newspapers, four English and three native, are published in the province.
Oude is believed by Saniscrit scholars to be the ancient Kosala, the oldest seat of civilization in India. The country was conquered by a Mohammedan army in 1195, and made a province of the Mogul empire. In 1753 the vizier of Oude, Saffdar-Jung, rebelled against his imperial master, Ahmed Shah, and forced the latter to make the governorship hereditary in his family. His son, Sujah-ud-Dowlah, became entirely independent, and founded a dynasty which ruled the country, generally in a most deplorable manner, until the East India Company found itself forced to adopt the extreme measure of annexation, Feb. 7, 1856. The necessity for this highhanded but most beneficent act is claimed by the British to be interpreted by the statistics of crime in Oude during the last years of its independence. One item will suffice: from 1848 to 1854, there were, on an average, no fewer than 78 villages burned and plundered every year, while murders. robberies, abductions, and extortions were every-day occurrences. A feeble king, a blackguard soldiery, and a lawless peasantry had brought about a most helpless and ruinous anarchy. Many British residents in India, however, disclaimed this state of affairs, and regretted the step as unjust towards the people of Oude, and as impolitic for Britain. When the mutiny of 1857 broke out, Oude became one of the great centers of rebellion. Upon this the confiscation of all the estates of the talukdars was proclaimed by lord Canning; but when the country was subdued by force of British arms the estates of all such as laid down their arms and swore fealty to the British government were restored. The forts of the petty chiefs, however, were dismantled and the inhabitants disarmed. The province is now administered by a chief commissioner. The principal feature of the present condition of affairs in Oude is the preservation in their integrity of the estates of the talukdars.
Missionary labors have been extensively carried on in Oude, and have been crowned with great success. Thus the Methodist Episcopal Church, which has by far the most flourishing mission, has is headquarters at Lucknow, and supports an English and native church; a press, which sent out 3,000,000 pages in 1875; a religious newspaper called the Witness, with 656 subscribers; a boarding-school, and 1000 Sunday-school-scholars. We have not room here to "give further details, but refer the reader to the article INDIA SEE INDIA and the books mentioned below.
One of the principal towns of Oude, of like name, is noted on account of a temple erected there in honor of Hanumat, the fabled monkey-ally of Rama, an incarnation of the god Vishnu. The ancient city of that name was situated opposite the modern Oude, where its ruins may still be seen. Ayodhya was one of the oldest seats of civilization in India; it was the residence of the solar dynasty, or one of the two oldest dynasties of India, deriving its descent from the sun; but it obtained special renown through Rama, the son of Dasaratha, a king of that dynasty. Its great beauty and immense size are dwelt upon in several of the Puranas and modern poems; but more especially in the Ramayana, the first and last books of which contain a description of it. According to some Puranas, Ayodhya was one of the seven sacred cities, the living at which was supposed to free . man from all sin, and the dying at which to secure eternal bliss. It was also called Saketa, Kosala, and Uttara-kosala. See Goldstucker's Sanscrit Dictionary, s.v. Ayodhya; Chambers, Cyclop. s.v.; The American Cyclop. s.v.; Bishop Thomson, Our Oriental Missions, 1:104 sq.; Bohn's India, p. 236 sq., 360 sq.; Butler, Land of the Veda, s.v.