The regular army in India is maintained at an average strength of 200,000 men. The actual number of names upon the pay rolls on the 31st of December, 1904, was 203,114. This includes several thousand non-fighting men, a signal corps, a number of officers engaged in semi-civil or semi-military duties, those on staff detail and those on leave of absence. The following is an exact statement:


  Cavalry, three regiments 2,101 
  Artillery, eighty-seven batteries 14,424 
  Infantry, forty-five battalions 42,151 
  Engineers, one battalion 204 
                     - - - - 58,880


  Cavalry, forty regiments 24,608 
  Artillery, fourteen batteries 6,235 
  Infantry, 126 battalions 108,849 
  Engineers, twenty-three battalions 3,925 
                     - - - - 143,617 
  Officers on staff duty 617 
                     - - - - 
  Grand total 203,114

This regular and permanent military force is supplemented by native armies in the various independent states, which are only indirectly under the command of the commander-in-chief and are not well organized, except in one or two of the provinces. There is a reserve corps consisting of 22,233 men who have served in the regular army and are now upon what we call the retired list. They may be called out at any time their services are needed. There is also a volunteer force numbering 29,500 men, including cavalry, artillery, infantry and marines, many of them under the command of retired officers of the regular army; and the employes of several of the great railroad companies are organized into military corps and drill frequently. There is also a military police under the control of the executive authorities of the several provinces, making altogether about 300,000 men capable of being mobilized on short notice in any emergency, about one-third of them being Englishmen and two-thirds natives.

In 1856, before the great mutiny, the British forces in India consisted of less than 40,000 Europeans and more than 220,000 natives, besides about 30,000 contingents, as they were called, maintained by the rulers of the native states and at their expense. The greater part of the artillery was manned by native soldiers under European officers. Three-fourths of the native soldiers participated in the mutiny. The Madras forces in southern India and the Sikhs in the Punjab were not only loyal but rendered valuable services in suppressing the revolt. On the reorganization of the army, after the mutiny was suppressed, it was decided that there should never be more than two natives to one European in the service; that the artillery should be manned by Europeans exclusively, and that all the arsenals and supply stations should be in their charge. Since the reorganization there has been an average of 60,000 British and 120,000 native troops in India. All the artillery has been manned by Europeans, the British troops have been garrisoned at stations where they can render the most prompt and efficient service, and all of the cantonments, as the European camps are called, all the fortresses and arsenals, are connected with each other and with Bombay and Calcutta by railway. When the mutiny broke out in 1857 there were only about 400 miles of railway in India, and it was a matter of great difficulty, delay and expense to move troops any distance. To-day India has nearly 28,000 miles of railway, which has all been planned and constructed as a part of the national defense system. In 1857 it took between three and four months for a relief party to reach Delhi from the seaboard. To-day ten times the force could be sent there from any part of India within as many days.

Another vital error demonstrated by the mutiny was the former plan of drawing soldiers from a single caste. They were all under the same influence; all had the same interests and were governed by the same prejudices, and could be easily united for the same purpose. Now caste is not recognized in the army. Recruits are drawn from every tribe and every caste, and men of different races, religions and provinces are thrown together in the same company and are not allowed to serve in the locality where they were enlisted. Enlistments are entirely voluntary. The natives are armed, equipped and clothed by the state, but provide their own food, for which they receive a proper allowance. This is necessary in order that they may regulate their own diet and obey the laws of their caste. There are also what are called "class company regiments," composed chiefly of men who are serving second enlistments. That is, men of the same race and caste are organized into separate companies, so that a regiment may have two companies of Sikhs, two companies of Brahmins, two companies of Rajputs, two companies of Mohammedans, two companies of Gurkhas and companies of other tribes or religious sects which neutralize each other and are inspired by active rivalry.

Race outbreaks and religious collisions very seldom occur in India these days, but the hostility between the several sects and races is very deep. The Mohammedan still dreams of the day when his race shall recover control of the Indian Empire and turn the Hindu temples into mosques. The Sikhs hate the Mohammedans as well as the Hindus. None of the sects is without its prejudices.

The most efficient section of the native army is composed of the Sikhs, the Gurkhas, who are enlisted in Nepaul, and the Pathans, who come from the hill tribes in the far northwest. These are all vigorous, hardy races, fearless, enduring and fond of military service. It would be difficult to find in any country better soldiers than they make, and their numerical strength in the Indian army could be doubled without difficulty in case more soldiers were needed.

All cities, towns and villages have regularly organized police forces, consisting entirely of natives and numbering about 700,000. In the larger cities and towns the chief officers are European, and throughout the entire country the preference in making appointments to this force is given to men who have served in the regular army. About 170,000 officers and men have this distinction and make very efficient police.

The supreme authority over the army in India is vested by law in the viceroy and is exercised through a member of the council of state, known as the secretary of military affairs, who corresponds to our Secretary of War. The active command is in the person of the commander-in-chief, who is also a member of the council of state by virtue of his office. The present commander-in-chief is Lord Kitchener, the hero of Khartoum and of the recent Boer war. Lord Roberts was formerly in command of the Indian army. He served in that country for thirty-eight years in various capacities. He went as a youngster during the mutiny, was with the party that relieved Delhi, and saw his first fighting and got his "baptism of blood" upon the "ridge," which was the scene of the fiercest struggle between the English rescuers and the native mutineers. He has recently published a readable book giving an account of his experience during thirty-eight years of military service in India.

Lord Kitchener is assisted by four lieutenant generals, each having command of one of the four military divisions into which the empire is divided. The Calcutta division is under the command of General Sir Alfred Gaseley, who led the combined international forces to the relief of the besieged legations in Peking. There is a general staff similar to that recently organized in the United States army, which looks after the equipment, the feeding, the clothing and the transportation of the army with an enormous corps of clerks and subordinate officers.

The officers of the staff corps number 2,700, and are appointed from the line of the native army upon the merit system. Many of them were educated at the military colleges in England; many others have seen service in the regular army of great Britain, and have sought transfer because the pay is better and promotion is more rapid in the Indian than in the British army. However, before an officer is eligible for staff employment in India he must serve at least one year with a British regiment and one year with a native regiment, and must pass examinations in the native languages and on professional subjects. This is an incentive to study, of which many young officers take advantage, and in the Indian army list are several pages of names of officers who have submitted to examinations and have demonstrated their ability to talk, read and write one or more of the native tongues. The gossips say that during his voyage from London to Bombay two years ago Lord Kitchener shut himself up in his stateroom and spent his entire time refreshing his knowledge of Hindustani.

No officer is allowed a responsible command unless he can speak the native language of the district in which he is serving, and, as there are 118 different dialects spoken in india, some of the older officers have to be familiar with several of them. Such linguistic accomplishments are to the advantage of military officers in various ways. They are not only necessary for their transfer to staff duty, but insure more rapid promotion, greater responsibilities and render them liable at any time to be called upon for important service under the civil departments. Several thousand officers are now occupying civil and diplomatic posts, and are even performing judicial functions in the frontier provinces.

The armies of the native states look formidable on paper, but most of them are simply for show, and are intended to gratify the vanity of the Hindu princes who love to be surrounded by guards and escorted by soldiers with banners. Some of the uniforms of the native armies are as picturesque and artistic as those of the papal guards at the Vatican, and on occasions of ceremony they make a brave show, but with the exception of two or three of the provinces, the native forces would be of very little value in a war.

The military authorities of India are exceedingly proud of the morale and the hygienic condition of their troops, and the records of the judge advocates and medical departments show a remarkable improvement in these respects, which is largely due to the scientific construction of barracks, to the enforcement of discipline and regulations framed to suit climatic conditions, a better knowledge of the effect of food and drink and the close observance of the laws of hygiene. The climate is very severe, particularly upon Europeans, who must take care of themselves or suffer the consequences. The death rate in all armies in time of peace should be much lower than in the ordinary community, because recruits are required to submit to physical examinations, and none but able-bodied men are enlisted. The death rate in the army of the United States before our soldiers were sent to the Philippines was remarkably low, only three or four per 1,000 per year.

Some years ago in the army of India the mortality from disease was as high as sixty-nine per 1,000, but by the introduction of the reforms mentioned the rate had been reduced to nineteen per 1,000 in 1880, and for the last ten years has been less than sixteen per 1,000. According to the opinion of those best qualified to know, this is largely due to the introduction of what are known as Regimental Institutes, or Soldiers' Clubs, corresponding closely to the canteens which were abolished in our army a few years ago, but which are considered as important a part of the military organization in India as a hospital or arsenal. After fifty years of experience in India the British military authorities gave up the attempt to prohibit drinking in the army. Lord Kitchener says: "You might as well try to hasten the millennium." And for twenty years they have been using various measures, some of which have proved practicable and others impracticable, to promote temperance. The result is an almost unanimous conclusion upon the part of those who have given the subject study that the most effective means of preventing intemperance and promoting discipline and morals are the soldiers' institutes and clubs, in which liquor is sold in small quantities under strict regulations enforced by the enlisted men themselves. In other words, they have stopped trying to prohibit drinking because they found it was impossible, and are now trying to reduce it to the minimum. The placing of the regulation of the liquor traffic very largely with the men themselves, and removing the semblance of official interference of authority, is said to be one of the most effective arrangements, and the very fact that drinking is not forbidden and that liquor can be obtained at any moment within a few steps of the barracks is of itself a most wholesome influence, because it takes away the desire, and all the spirit of adventure and risk. As long as human nature is stubborn and contrary, men will do out of pure mischief what they are told must not be done. These matters have a deep interest for the viceroy, Lord Kitchener, the commander-in-chief, and other prominent officials of the army in India. Lord Kitchener takes an active part in the temperance work and in the administration of the soldiers' institutes, and has had an officer detailed to look after their arrangement and management. Not long ago the viceroy traveled seven hundred miles to deliver an address at an anniversary of the Army Temperance Association.

Colonel De Barthe, secretary of military affairs in the cabinet of the viceroy, to whom I was sent for information on this subject, said: "The lives of the British soldiers in India are very tedious and trying, especially during the hot summers, which, in the greater part of the empire, last for several months. The climate is enervating and is apt to reduce moral as well as physical vitality. There are few diversions. The native quarters of the large cities are dreadful places, especially for young foreigners. I cannot conceive of worse, from both a sanitary and a moral point of view. But they have a certain novelty; they are picturesque and oftentimes attractive and entertaining to homesick soldiers, who, as is natural, yield easily to temptations to dissipation.

"And the best remedy is to furnish counter attractions and give the men resorts that are comfortable and attractive, where they will not be subject to the restraint of authority or come in contact with their officers too often. The government, as well as philanthropic societies, is doing everything that it can to provide such places, to protect the enlisted man as far as possible from the temptations to which he is subjected, and to furnish him a loafing place where he will feel at home, where he may do as he likes to all reasonable limits, and where he can obtain a moderate amount of pure liquor without feeling that he is violating regulations and subjecting himself to punishment.

"We formerly had bars at which soldiers could buy pure liquor, instead of the poisonous stuff that is sold them in the native quartets of Indian cities, but we soon concluded that they defeated their own purposes. Being situated at convenient locations, soldiers would patronize them for the love of liquor, and induce others to do the same for the sake of companionship. This promoted intemperance, because the soldiers went to the bar only to drink, and for no other reason. There were no reading-rooms or loafing places or attractive surroundings, and they were not permitted to remain at the bar after they had been served with one drink.

"Those bars have been abolished, and, under the present system, an effort is being made to furnish homelike, attractive club-houses, where the enlisted men may pass their leisure time in comfortable chairs, with pleasant surroundings, games, newspapers, magazines, books, writing materials and a well-filled library. We give them a lunch-room and a bar which are much more attractive than any of the native bazaars can offer. They are allowed to drink liquor on the premises in moderation, and the regulations of the institute are enforced by a committee of the men themselves, which appeals to their honor, their pride and their love for their profession. A drunken enlisted man is quite as much of a humiliation to his comrades as a drunken officer would be to his associates, and the men feel quite as much responsibility in restraining each other and in preventing their comrades from getting into trouble as their officers - perhaps more. To this spirit, this esprit de corps, we appeal, and find after several years of experience that the institutes promote temperance, health, discipline and contentment among the men.

"The surgeons of the service will tell you, and their reports contain the details, that the largest amount of disease and the worst cases are due to contact with natives in the bazaars of the cities near which our barracks are located. It is impossible to keep the men out of them, and their visits can only be lessened by furnishing counter attractions. The soldiers' institutes have proved to be the strongest ever devised. Anyone who knows India can tell instantly where soldiers' institutes have not been established by examining the sick reports of the officers of the medical corps.

"You cannot prevent men from drinking any more than you can prevent them from swearing or indulging in any other vice," continued Colonel De Barthe, "but you can diminish the amount of vice by judicious measures, and that we believe is being done by our institutes, with their libraries, reading-rooms, lunch-rooms, cafes, amusement-rooms, bars, theaters for concerts, lectures and amateur dramatic performances. The government does not put in billiard tables or any other kind of games. We allow the men to do that for themselves, and they pay for them out of the profits of the bar. Nor do we furnish newspapers. We require the soldiers to subscribe for themselves. There is a good reason for this which should be obvious to everyone who has ever had experience in such matters. We furnish the building, provide the furniture, fuel, lights, fill the shelves of the library with excellent standard books of history, travels, biography, fiction and miscellaneous works, and have a way of shifting the books between stations occasionally, so that the men will not always have the same titles before their eyes. We furnish a piano for the amusement hall, and all of the permanent fixtures of the place, but the men are required to do their share, which gives them personal interest in the institute, increases their responsibility and takes away much of the official atmosphere. If we should provide magazines and newspapers they would not be so well satisfied with them. There would always be more or less grumbling and criticism. Hence it is better for them to make their own choice. If we should provide crockery and glassware for the refreshment-rooms it would be more frequently broken. The same rule prevails in other matters, and, what is still more important, we want to remove as much of the official relation as possible. The management of the institute is in the hands of soldiers, under the supervision of officers, who simply act as checks or as inspectors to see that things go straight.

"We encourage the men to organize singing clubs, amateur theatricals and other entertainments in which they take a great interest and considerable talent is sometimes developed. They have their own committees looking after these things, which is a healthful diversion; and the institute is the headquarters of all their sporting organizations and committees. The officers of the barracks never go there unless they are invited, but when the men give an entertainment every officer and his family attend and furnish as much assistance as possible."

Colonel De Barthe showed me the rules for the government of these institutes, which may be found in paragraph 658 of the Army Regulations for India, and begin with the words: "In order to promote the comfort and provide for the rational amusement of noncommissioned officers and men, to supply them with good articles at reasonable prices and to organize and maintain the means for indoor recreation, a regimental institute shall be provided," etc. It is then provided that there shall be a library, reading-rooms, games and recreation-rooms, a theater or entertainment hall, a refreshment-room and a separate room for the use of and under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Army Temperance Association. The reading-room is to be furnished with a library and the amusement-room with a piano; card playing is permitted in the recreation-room, but not for money or other stakes of value; the discussion of religious and political subjects within the institute is forbidden, and religious exercises are not allowed to be conducted in the building except in the room of the Army Temperance Association.

Every noncommissioned officer and private is entitled to the use of the institute except when excluded for profane or other improper language, for intoxication or other misconduct, for such time as the committee in charge shall deem advisable. The management of the institute is entrusted to several committees of non-commissioned officers and soldiers and an advisory committee of three or more officers. These committees have control of all supplies, receipts and expenditures, the preservation of order, the enforcement of the rules, and are enjoined to make the institute as attractive as possible. A committee of three, of whom the chairman must be a sergeant, is authorized to purchase supplies; an inventory of the stock must be taken once a month; there may be a co-operative store if deemed advisable by the commanding officer, at which groceries, provisions and general merchandise may be sold to the men at cost price; liquor may be sold in a separate room of limited dimensions, under the supervision of a committee of which a sergeant is chairman, and that committee, by assigning good reasons, has the power to forbid its sale to any person for any length of time. No spirituous liquor except rum can be kept or sold; that must be of the best quality and no more than one dram may be sold to any person within the hour, and only one quart of malt liquor. Beside these, aerated waters and other "soft drinks" must be provided, with coffee, tea, sandwiches and other refreshments as required. The profits of the institute may be devoted to the library, reading-room and recreation department, the purchase of gymnastic apparatus, etc., and articles for the soldiers' mess, and may be contributed to the widows and orphans' fund, if so determined by the patrons of the institution.

Those, in short, are the means used by the Indian government to promote temperance and morality in its army, and everyone who has experience and knowledge of the practical operation of such affairs approves them. In addition to the institutes described, the Army Temperance Association, which is entirely unofficial and composed of benevolent people in private life, has established in several of the large cities of India, where garrisons are stationed, soldiers' clubs, which also prove very efficacious. They are located in the bazaars and other parts of the cities frequented by soldiers and where the most mischief is usually done. They are clubs pure and simple, with reading and writing-rooms, games, music, restaurants, billiard-rooms and bars at which rum, beer, ale and other liquors are sold. There is also a devotional-room, in which religious meetings are held at stated times. These clubs are managed by private individuals in connection with committees of noncommissioned officers and enlisted men, and several of them represent investments of $15,000 and $20,000. In some cases a small membership fee is charged. They have proved very effective in catching human driftwood, and provide a place where men who are tempted may have another chance to escape the consequences. They are conducted upon a very liberal plan, and after pay day soldiers who start out for a debauch, as so many regularly do, are accustomed to leave their money and valuables with the person in charge before plunging into the sinks of vice, where so many men find pleasure and diversion.