20 FEBRUARY 1886, Page 3

The Government of India has just done a very kindly

and a very odd thing for its Mussulman subjects. The Mussulmans of India proceed in thousands every year to Mecca, where they are greatly liked, being comparatively wealthy, and are most outrageously fleeced. The Government cannot help that, but it can stop the frightful misery endured by the pilgrims in their voyage in rotten Arab dhows across the Arabian Sea, and up the Red Sea to Jeddah. They are often packed like slaves, half-fed, and frequently wrecked, and the consequent loss of life is enormous. The Government has accordingly taken control of the pilgrimage, and has contracted with Messrs. Cook and Co., the well-known contractors for tourists, to convey all pilgrims in steamers to Jeddah, feed them properly, and bring them back in safety. It is not stated that Messrs. Cook will convoy them to Mecca, and certainly they will not do it personally, for they would be killed ; but they can find trusty Mussulraan agents, and have means of permanently conciliating the Grand Shereef, who can protect the pilgrims. The arrangement will be welcomed throughout India, where Mussalmana receive too little sympathy from the Government ; but it may raise a difficulty about some Hindoo pilgrimages. Are Messrs. Cook to undertake the pilgrim- ages to Juggernath, which cost annually thousands of lives P