Is there no other way of rewarding faithful or meritorious services than by bestowing empty honours? Scarcely a Gazette appears without intimation that the Viceroy has been pleased to bestow the decoration of so and so, on the zemindar of Bunderabad, on account of the public spirit he has shown in spending so many thousands of rupees in making a pucka road between two important stations, or in bridging a stream. Then we hear of similar honours being conferred because of the recipient’s general loyalty. This sort of thing is not confined to natives. After every petty engagement at the front we find the showers of honours descending on the heads of those officers engaged, and were are frequently at a loss to understand why such honours should be considered necessary. Those officers have doubtless done their duty well, but we may ask what else was expected of them, and what else they are employed and paid? We do not desire to detract from the need of praise due for acts of bravery and daring; but we fail to see why any man should be specially rewarded and honoured for doing mere that duty for which his services were originally entertained. But we are wandering from our subject. The government has lately been flooding the country with empty honours bestowed on influential natives, the honours usually consisting of Nawabships, Bahadoorships, C.I.E’s , C.S.I’s and such like, and it is a little surprisingly that the recipients should place the slightest value on them. When an honorary title becomes too common it is a distinction not to possess it, and a too free distinction not to possess it, and a too free distribution cannot fail to lead to a depreciation of its value. During the empire of the late emperor of the French, the Legion of Honour fell into disrepute in this way. We trust, now our imperialistic regime is at an end, that those honours will be more sparingly bestowed. We do not mean more grudgingly, but with more discretion. One of the leading native papers has recently been writing on this subject, and sarcastically remarks-“How many Rajas were there in India before the advent of the English-Rajahs. Roy Bahadoors, Nababs, C.S.I’s , C.I E’s, and other men of titles? But now titled men are as numerous as grogshops; they are to be found by every turn”. (Statesman. Editorial. 13 July 1880)
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