TWENTIETH CENTURY IMPRESSIONS OF BURMA. 409
In 1886, when Upper Burma was annexed, the Shan country was little better than a wilderness, where bands of marauders plundered one another, because all the respectable, property-owning people had either been killed or had migrated elsewhere. A British column marched up in January, 1887, and in that and the succeeding year took possession of the whole country by the mere process of walking through it. A few shots were exchanged at Nankon, on the edge of the plateau, and at Kugyo, a few miles from Taunggyi, but British authority was practically accepted without opposition. Within little over a year the ruler of every state had made personal submission to the Superintendent, and had agreed to accept his position as a tributary of the British Government on fixed conditions. Dispossessed claimants made a little trouble in a few places, but in the chief of these two British officers and five mounted British soldiers, after a rapid march, snatched the rebel and all his chief officers out of the middle of his force and put an immediate end to the warfare. The chief difficulty was the state of the country. All bridges had been broken down, the paths which did duty for roads were overgrown with jungle, and the paddy lands had become morasses. Karen-ni gave more military excitement. The Burmese had never been able to subdue the ruler of Gan-tarawadi, the capital of Eastern Karen-ni. Sawlapan, the chief, not only wrote insolent
hundred of them with a loss to themselves of four killed and eight wounded. Not long afterwards Sawlon the capital was taken, Sawlapan was a fugitive, and Karen-ni has been quiet ever since.
They are less bullet-headed than the former, and distinctly taller and more muscular thar the latter, and are, as a general rule, fairer than both. They also differ from both in wearing trousers instead of the petticoat
letters, but actually raided the Shan States. On January 1, 1889, a handful of British mounted infantry rode backwards and forwards through the Red Karen force and killed between a hundred and fifty and two
PAGUS (WHITE KARENS) AND MUHSOS.
The Shan States Act of 1888 vests the criminal, civil, and revenue administration in the chief of the state, subject to the restrictions specified in the satiad, or patent, granted to him. The law to be administered in each state is the Shan customary law, so far as it is in accordance with justice, equity, and good conscience, and not opposed to the spirit of the law in the rest of British India. The superintendents exercise general control over the administration of criminal justice, and have power to call for cases and to exercise wide powers of revision. Criminal jurisdiction in cases in which either the complainant or the defendant is a European, or American, or a Government servant, or a British subject, not a native of a Shan State, is withdrawn from the chiefs and vested in the superintendent and assistant superintendents.
T.iere are very few Shans in the Myelat, the border country between the Shan States and Burma. The people are very mixed and have many dialects. In fact they are a sort of dish-clout, full of traces of everything they come in contact with. Here, therefore, the criminal law is practically the same as the law in force in Burma, and the chiefs have the powers of a magistrate of the second class.
The Shans do not vary greatly in appearance from the Burmese, or from the Siamese.
paso of the Burmese, or the dhoti panung of the Siamese. A great characteristic is the broad-brimmed, limp, grass-woven hat. This is confined to the British Shans. Their cousins in China and Siam do not wear it. This is all the more curious because the hats come from China and are not made in the Shan States. They vary almost as much in price and texture as a Panama hat, of which they may be considered a theatrical exaggeration.
They are a quiet, good-tempered race, and are better workers and better traders than the easy-going Burman. So far, however, their trading does not go very far beyond pedlaring. There are bullock caravan traders in a fairly large way of business, but they do not own so many cattle as in the days before the anarchy, which preceded their taking over the country. Outside of their own country the Shans are considered to be hillmen. They themselves scout this view and call themselves plainsmen, or at any rate valley-dwellers. The hillmen, they say, are the tribes that live on the ranges which seam the whole country like a rough harrowed field.
These hill-tribes are one of the most interesting features of the Shan States. They are most picturesque in their variety of dress, and it may be asserted with some confidence that there is no other equal area in the worldThese hill-tribes are one of the most interesting features of the Shan States. They are most picturesque in their variety of dress, and it may be asserted with some confidence that there is no other equal area in the world