The Great Wall of China stands till today as a historical achievement. There was another in India in the 18th century which was comparable to that. A grand hedge – starting from Maharashtra’s Barhanpur passing via Madhyapradesh, via Uttarpradesh via Punjab, via the Sindh province of Pakistan and ending almost in the Kashmir border.
It was a living fence. Grown from shrubs and tied together so that nobody can cross it. It was almost 12 feet in height. It was the largest fence in the history of the world. It almost split northern India in half. It ran across 4000 kms of vacant land, agriculture land, villages, cities and deserts. At its height, in 1872, it had 14000 full time British officers guarding and maintaining it. It lasted as a symbol of British-Indian Government’s authority for almost three-fourths of a century.
None of India’s historians have mentioned this great structure. It has not been mentioned in any book on India. There is no record of it in the official records of independent India. Even in India, no sociologist or economist had even heard about it – till 1995.
A travel writer and record-keeper of the London Library, Mr. Roy Moxham bought Major General W.H. Sleeman’s ‘Memoirs of a British Soldier’ from an old book shop in London. It was published in 1893. Sleeman had travelled across India as a British Army officer in the 1850s. In his travel notes, there were records and descriptions of kings, chieftains, robbers, holy cities, temples and the taxation system of the then British Indian Government. In this, Sleeman speaks about the great living fence.
Roy Moxham is surprised. He wonders if this were an imagination. He examines British records. Most of them were from the post-1870′s. There was no information about the great fence. He patiently searches in the well-maintained British Library in London. The fact that he is a librarian for... [continues]
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