Infomotions, Inc.Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official / Sleeman, William, 1788-1856



Author: Sleeman, William, 1788-1856
Title: Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official
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Tag(s): india; raja; shah jahan
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Title: Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official

Author: William Sleeman

Release Date: March 27, 2005 [EBook #15483]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK RECOLLECTIONS INDIAN OFFICIAL ***




Produced by Philip H Hitchcock





GENERAL SIR W. H SLEEMAN. K.C.B.

RAMBLES
AND
RECOLLECTIONS
OF AN
INDIAN OFFICIAL

BY

MAJOR-GENERAL SIR W. H. SLEEMAN, K.C.B.

REVISED ANNOTATED EDITION
BY
VINCENT A. SMITH
M.A. (DUBL. ET OXON.), M.R.A.S., F.R.N.S., LATE OF THE
INDIAN CIVIL SERVICE,
AUTHOR OF 'THE EARLY HISTORY OF INDIA'
'A HISTORY OF FINE ART IN INDIA AND CEYLON'. ETC.

HUMPHREY MILFORD
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
LONDON EDINBURGH GLASGOW
NEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE BOMBAY
1915




Transcriber's Note

In producing this e-text the numerous notes have been moved to the
end of their respective chapters and renumbered. The printed
'Additions and Corrections' have been included in the relevant text.

In the printed edition the spelling of certain words is not always
consistent. This is especially true of the use of diacritical marks
on certain words, even within a single page. This e-text attempts to
reproduce the spellings exactly as used in the printed edition.

The use of italics is shown as _italics_.




AUTHOR'S DEDICATION

MY DEAR SISTER,

Were any one to ask your countrymen in India what has been their
greatest source of pleasure while there, perhaps nine in ten would
say, the letters which they receive from their sisters at home.
These, of all things, perhaps, tend most to link our affections with
home by filling the landscapes, so dear to our recollections, with
ever varying groups of the family circles, among whom our infancy and
our boyhood have been passed; and among whom we still hope to spend
the winter of our days.

They have a very happy facility in making us familiar with the new
additions made from time to time to the _dramatis personae_ of these
scenes after we quit them, in the character of husbands, wives,
children, or friends; and, while thus contributing so much to our
happiness, they no doubt tend to make us better citizens of the
world, and servants of government, than we should otherwise be, for,
in our 'struggles through life in India', we have all, more or less,
an eye to the approbation of those circles which our kind sisters
represent--who may, therefore, be considered in the exalted light of
a valuable species of _unpaid magistracy_ to the Government of India.

No brother has ever had a kinder or better correspondent than I have
had in you, my dear sister; and it was the consciousness of having
left many of your valued letters unanswered, in the press of official
duties, that made me first think of devoting a part of my leisure to
you in these _Rambles and Recollections_, while on my way from the
banks of the Nerbudda river to the Himalaya mountains, in search of
health, in the end of 1835 and beginning of 1836. To what I wrote
during that journey I have now added a few notes, observations, and
conversations with natives, on the subjects which my narrative seemed
to embrace; and the whole will, I hope, interest and amuse you and
the other members of our family; and appear, perchance, not
altogether uninteresting or uninstructive to those who are strangers
to us both.

Of one thing I must beg you to be assured, that I have nowhere
indulged in fiction, either in the narrative, the recollections, or
the conversations. What I relate on the testimony of others I believe
to be true; and what I relate upon my own you may rely upon as being
so. Had I chosen to write a work of fiction, I might possibly have
made it a good deal more interesting; but I question whether it would
have been so much valued by you, or so useful to others; and these
are the objects I have had in view. The work may, perhaps, tend to
make the people of India better understood by those of my own
countrymen whose destinies are cast among them, and inspire more
kindly feelings towards them. Those parts which, to the general
reader, will seem dry and tedious, may be considered, by the Indian
statesman, as the most useful and important.

The opportunities of observation, which varied employment has given
me, have been such as fall to the lot of few; but, although I have
endeavoured to make the most of them, the time of public servants is
not their own; and that of few men has been more exclusively devoted
to the service of their masters than mine. It may be, however, that
the world, or that part of it which ventures to read these pages,
will think that it had been better had I not been left even the
little leisure that has been devoted to them.

Your ever affectionate brother,

 W. H. SLEEMAN.




CONTENTS

AUTHOR'S DEDICATION

EDITOR'S PREFACES

MEMOIR

BIBLIOGRAPHY

CHAPTER 1
Annual Fairs held on the Banks of Sacred Streams in India

CHAPTER 2
Hindoo System of Religion

CHAPTER 3
Legend of the Nerbudda River

CHAPTER 4
A Suttee on the Nerbudda

CHAPTER 5
Marriages of Trees--The Tank and the Plantain--Meteors--Rainbows

CHAPTER 6
Hindoo Marriages

CHAPTER 7
The Purveyance System

CHAPTER 8
Religious Sects--Self-government of the Castes--Chimneysweepers--
Washerwomen [1]--Elephant Drivers

CHAPTER 9
The Great Iconoclast--Troops routed by Hornets--The Rani of
Garha--Hornets' Nests in India

CHAPTER 10
The Peasantry and the Land Settlement

CHAPTER 11
Witchcraft

CHAPTER 12
The Silver Tree, or 'Kalpa Briksha'--The 'Singhara', or _Trapa
bispinosa_, and the Guinea-Worm

CHAPTER 13
Thugs and Poisoners

CHAPTER 14
Basaltic Cappings of the Sandstone Hills of Central India--Suspension
Bridge--Prospects of the Nerbudda Valley--Deification of a Mortal

CHAPTER 15
Legend of the Sagar Lake--Paralysis from eating the Grain of the
_Lathyrus sativus_

CHAPTER 16
Suttee Tombs--Insalubrity of deserted Fortresses

CHAPTER 17
Basaltic Cappings--Interview with a Native Chief--A Singular
Character

CHAPTER 18
Birds' Nests--Sports of Boyhood

CHAPTER 19
Feeding Pilgrims--Marriage of a Stone with a Shrub

CHAPTER 20
The Men-Tigers

CHAPTER 21
Burning of Deori by a Freebooter--A Suttee

CHAPTER 22
Interview with the Raja who marries the Stone to the Shrub--Order of
the Moon and the Fish

CHAPTER 23
The Raja of Orchha--Murder of his many Ministers

CHAPTER 24
Corn Dealers--Scarcities--Famines in India

CHAPTER 25
Epidemic Diseases--Scape-goat

CHAPTER 26
Artificial Lakes in Bundelkhand-Hindoo, Greek, and Roman Faith

CHAPTER 27
Blights

CHAPTER 28
Pestle-and-Mortar Sugar-Mills--Washing away of the Soil

CHAPTER 29
Interview with the Chiefs of Jhansi--Disputed Succession

CHAPTER 30
Haunted Villages

CHAPTER 31
Interview with the Raja of Datiya--Fiscal Errors of Statesmen--
Thieves and Robbers by Profession

CHAPTER 32
Sporting at Datiya--Fidelity of Followers to their Chiefs in India--
Law of Primogeniture wanting among Muhammadans

CHAPTER 33
'Bhumiawat'

CHAPTER 34
The Suicide-Relations between Parents and Children in India

CHAPTER 35
Gwalior Plain once the Bed of a Lake--Tameness of Peacocks

CHAPTER 36
Gwalior and its Government

CHAPTER 37 [2]
Contest for Empire between the Sons of Shah Jahan

CHAPTER 38 [2]
Aurangzeb and Murad Defeat their Father's Army near Ujain

CHAPTER 39 [2]
Dara Marches in Person against his Brothers, and is Defeated

CHAPTER 40 [2]
Dara Retreats towards Lahore--Is robbed by the Jats--Their Character

CHAPTER 41 [2]
Shah Jahan Imprisoned by his Two Sons, Aurangzeb and Murad

CHAPTER 42 [2]
Aurangzeb Throws off the Mask, Imprisons his Brother Murad, and
Assumes the Government of the Empire

CHAPTER 43 [2] Aurangzeb Meets Shuja in Bengal, and Defeats him,
after Pursuing Dara to the Hyphasis

CHAPTER 44 [2]
Aurangzeb Imprisons his Eldest Son--Shuja and all his Family are
Destroyed

CHAPTER 45 [2]
Second Defeat and Death of Dara, and Imprisonment of his Two Sons

CHAPTER 46 [2]
Death and Character of Amir Jumla

CHAPTER 47
Reflections on the Preceding History

CHAPTER 48
The Great Diamond of Kohinur

CHAPTER 49
Pindhari System--Character of the Maratha Administration--Cause of
their Dislike to the Paramount Power

CHAPTER 50
Dholpur, Capital of the Jat Chiefs of Gohad--Consequence of Obstacles
to the Prosecution of Robbers

CHAPTER 51
Influence of Electricity on Vegetation--Agra and its Buildings

CHAPTER 52
Nur Jahan, the Aunt of the Empress Nur Mahal,[3] over whose Remains
the Taj is built

CHAPTER 53
Father Gregory's Notion of the Impediments to Conversion in India--
Inability of Europeans to speak Eastern Languages

CHAPTER 54
Fathpur-Sikri--The Emperor Akbar's Pilgrimage--Birth of Jahangir

CHAPTER 55
Bharatpur--Dig--Want of Employment for the Military and the Educated
Classes under the Company's Rule

CHAPTER 56
Govardhan, the Scene of Kriahna's Dalliance with the Milkmaids

CHAPTER 57
Veracity

CHAPTER 58
Declining Fertility of the Soil--Popular Notion of the Cause

CHAPTER 59
Concentration of Capital and its Effects

CHAPTER 60
Transit Duties in India--Mode of Collecting them

CHAPTER 61
Peasantry of India attached to no existing Government--Want of Trees
in Upper India--Cause and Consequence--Wells and Groves

CHAPTER 62
Public Spirit of the Hindoos--Tree Cultivation and Suggestions for
extending it

CHAPTER 63
Cities and Towns, formed by Public Establishments, disappear as
Sovereigns and Governors change their Abodes

CHAPTER 64
Murder of Mr. Fraser, and Execution of the Nawab Shams-ud-din


CHAPTER 65
Marriage of a Jat Chief

CHAPTER 66
Collegiate Endowment of Muhammadan Tombs and Mosques

CHAPTER 67
The Old City of Delhi

CHAPTER 68
New Delhi, or Shahjahanabad

CHAPTER 69
Indian Police--Its Defects--and their Cause and Remedy

CHAPTER 70
Rent-free Tenures--Right of Government to Resume such Grants

CHAPTER 71
The Station of Meerut--'Atalis' who Dance and Sing gratuitously for
the Benefit of the Poor

CHAPTER 72
Subdivisions of Lands--Want of Gradations of Rank--Taxes

CHAPTER 73
Meerut-Anglo-Indian Society

CHAPTER 74
Pilgrims of India

CHAPTER 75
The Begam Sumroo

CHAPTER 76
ON THE SPIRIT OF MILITARY DISCIPLINE IN THE NATIVE ARMY OF INDIA
Abolition of Corporal Punishment--Increase of Pay with Length of
Service--Promotion by Seniority

CHAPTER 77
Invalid Establishment

Appendix:
Thuggee and the part taken in its Suppression by General Sir W. H.
Sleeman, K.C.B., by Captain J. L. Sleeman
Supplementary Note by the Editor
Additions and Corrections

INDEX

Notes:

1. A blunder for 'Sweepers' and 'Washermen'

2. Chapters 37 to 46, inclusive, are not reprinted in this edition.

3. A mistake. See _post_, Chapter 52, note 1.





EDITOR'S PREFACE (1893)[1]


The _Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official_, always a
costly book, has been scarce and difficult to procure for many years
past. Among the crowd of books descriptive of Indian scenery,
manners, and customs, the sterling merits of Sir William Sleeman's
work have secured it pre-eminence, and kept it in constant demand,
notwithstanding the lapse of nearly fifty years since its
publication. The high reputation of this work does not rest upon its
strictly literary qualities. The author was a busy man, immersed all
his life in the practical affairs of administration, and too full of
his subject to be careful of strict correctness of style or minute
accuracy of expression. Yet, so great is the intrinsic value of his
observations, and so attractive are the sincerity and sympathy with
which he discusses a vast range of topics, that the reader refuses to
be offended by slight formal defects in expression or arrangement,
and willingly yields to the charm of the author's genial and
unstudied conversation.

It would be difficult to name any other book so full of instruction
for the young Anglo-Indian administrator. When this work was
published in 1844 the author had had thirty-five years' varied
experience of Indian life, and had accumulated and assimilated an
immense store of knowledge concerning the history, manners, and modes
of thought of the complex population of India. He thoroughly
understood the peculiarities of the various native races, and the
characteristics which distinguish them from the nations of Europe;
while his sympathetic insight into Indian life had not orientalized
him, nor had it ever for one moment caused him to forget his position
and heritage as an Englishman. This attitude of sane and
discriminating sympathy is the right attitude for the Englishman in
India.

To enumerate the topics on which wise and profitable observations
will be found in this book would be superfluous. The wine is good,
and needs no bush. So much may be said that the book is one to
interest that nondescript person, the general reader in Europe or
America, as well as the Anglo-Indian official. Besides good advice
and sound teaching on matters of policy and administration, it
contains many charming, though inartificial, descriptions of scenery
and customs, many ingenious speculations, and some capital stories.
The ethnologist, the antiquary, the geologist, the soldier, and the
missionary will all find in it something to suit their several
tastes.

In this edition the numerous misprints of the original edition have
been all, and, for the most part, silently corrected. The extremely
erratic punctuation has been freely modified, and the spelling of
Indian words and names has been systematized. Two paragraphs,
misplaced in the original edition at the end of Chapter 48 of Volume
I, have been removed, and inserted in their proper place at the end
of Chapter 47; and the supplementary notes printed at the end of the
second volume of the original edition have been brought up to the
positions which they were intended to occupy. Chapters 37 to 46 of
the first volume, describing the contest for empire between the sons
of Shah Jahan, are in substance only a free version of Bernier's work
entitled, _The Late Revolution of the Empire of the Great Mogol_.
These chapters have not been reprinted because the history of that
revolution can now be read much more satisfactorily in Mr.
Constable's edition of Bernier's Travels. Except as above stated, the
text of the present edition of the Rambles and Recollections is a
faithful reprint of the Author's text.

In the spelling of names and other words of Oriental languages the
Editor has 'endeavoured to strike a mean between popular usage and
academic precision, preferring to incur the charge of looseness to
that of pedantry'. Diacritical marks intended to distinguish between
the various sibilants, dentals, nasals, and so forth, of the Arabic
and Sanskrit alphabets, have been purposely omitted. Long vowels are
marked by the sign ^. Except in a few familiar words, such as
Nerbudda and Hindoo, which are spelled in the traditional manner,
vowels are to be pronounced as in Italian, or as in the following
English examples, namely: a, as in 'call'; e, or e, as the medial
vowel in 'cake'; i, as in 'kill'; i, as the medial vowels in 'keel';
u, as in 'full'; u, as the medial vowels in 'fool'; o, or o, as in
'bone'; ai, or ai, as 'eye' or 'aye', respectively; and au, as the
medial sound in 'fowl'. Short a, with stress, is pronounced like the
u in 'but'; and if without stress, as an indistinct vowel, like the A
in 'America'.

The Editor's notes, being designed merely to explain and illustrate
the text, so as to render the book fully intelligible and helpful to
readers of the present day, have been compressed into the narrowest
possible limits. Even India changes, and observations and criticisms
which were perfectly true when recorded can no longer be safely
applied without explanation to the India of to-day. The Author's few
notes are distinguished by his initials.

A copious analytical index has been compiled. The bibliography is as
complete as careful inquiry could make it, but it is possible that
some anonymous papers by the Author, published in periodicals, may
have escaped notice.

The memoir of Sir William Sleeman is based on the slight sketch
prefixed to the _Journey through the Kingdom of Oude_, supplemented
by much additional matter derived from his published works and
correspondence, as well as from his unpublished letters and other
papers generously communicated by his only son, Captain Henry
Sleeman. Ample materials exist for a full account of Sir William
Sleeman's noble and interesting life, which well deserves to be
recorded in detail; but the necessary limitations of these volumes
preclude the Editor from making free use of the biographical matter
at his command.

The reproduction of the twenty-four coloured plates of varying merit
which enrich the original edition has not been considered desirable.
The map shows clearly the route taken by the Author in the journey
the description of which is the leading theme of the book.




EDITOR'S PREFACE (1915)

My edition published by Archibald Constable and Company in 1893 being
out of print but still in demand, Mr. Humphrey Milford, the present
owner of the copyright, has requested me to revise the book and bring
it up to date.

This new edition is issued uniform with Mr. Beauchamp's third edition
of _Hindu Manners, Customs, and Ceremonies_ by the Abbe J. A. Dubois
(Oxford: at the Clarendon Press, 1906), a work bearing a strong
resemblance in substance to the _Rambles and Recollections_, and,
also like Sleeman's book in that it 'is as valuable to-day as ever it
was--even more valuable in some respects'.

The labour of revision has proved to be far more onerous than was
expected. In the course of twenty-one years the numerous changes
which have occurred in India, not only in administrative
arrangements, but of various other kinds, necessitate the emendation
of notes which, although accurate when written, no longer agree with
existing facts. The appearance of many new books and improved
editions involves changes in a multitude of references. Such
alterations are most considerable in the annotations dealing with the
buildings at Agra, Sikandara, Fathpur-Sikri, and Delhi, and the
connected political history, concerning which much new information is
now available. Certain small misstatements of fact in my old notes
have been put right. Some of those errors which escaped the notice of
critics have been detected by me, and some have been rectified by the
aid of criticisms received from Sir George Grierson, C.I.E., Mr.
William Crooke, sometime President of the Folklore Society, and other
kind correspondents, to all of whom I am grateful. Naturally, the
opportunity has been taken to revise the wording throughout and to
eliminate misprints and typographical defects. The Index has been
recast so as to suit the changed paging and to include the new
matter.

Captain James Lewis Sleeman of the Royal Sussex Regiment has been
good enough to permit the reproduction of his grandfather's portrait,
and has communicated papers which have enabled me to make corrections
in and additions to the Memoir, largely enhancing the interest and
value of that section of the book.

Notes:

1. Certain small changes have been made.


MEMOIR
OF
MAJ.-GEN. SIR WILLIAM HENRY SLEEMAN, K.C.B.

The Sleemans, an ancient Cornish family, for several generations
owned the estate of Pool Park in the parish of Saint Judy, in the
county of Cornwall. Captain Philip Sleeman, who married Mary Spry, a
member of a distinguished family in the same county, was stationed at
Stratton, in Cornwall, on August 8, 1788, when his son William Henry
was born.

In 1809, at the age of twenty-one, William Henry Sleeman was
nominated, through the good offices of Lord De Dunstanville, to an
Infantry Cadetship in the Bengal army. On the 24th of March, in the
same year, he sailed from Gravesend in the ship Devonshire, and,
having touched at Madeira and the Cape, reached India towards the
close of the year. He arrived at the cantonment of Dinapore, near
Patna, on the 20th December, and on Christmas Day began his military
career as a cadet. He at once applied himself with exemplary
diligence to the study of the Arabic and Persian languages, and of
the religions and customs of India. Passing in due course through the
ordinary early stages of military life, he was promoted to the rank
of ensign on the 23rd September, 1810, and to that of lieutenant on
the 16th December, 1814.

Lieutenant Sleeman served in the war with Nepal, which began in 1814
and terminated in 1816. During the campaign he narrowly escaped death
from a violent epidemic fever, which nearly destroyed his regiment.
'Three hundred of my own regiment,' he observes, 'consisting of about
seven hundred, were obliged to be sent to their homes on sick leave.
The greater number of those who remained continued to suffer, and a
great many died. Of about ten European officers present with my
regiment, seven had the fever and five died of it, almost all in a
state of delirium. I was myself one of the two who survived, and I
was for many days delirious.[1]

The services of Lieutenant Sleeman during the war attracted
attention, and accordingly, in 1816, he was selected to report on
certain claims to prize-money. The report submitted by him in
February, 1817, was accepted as 'able, impartial, and satisfactory'.
After the termination of the war he served with his regiment at
Allahabad, and in the neighbouring district of Partabgarh, where he
laid the foundation of the intimate knowledge of Oudh affairs
displayed in his later writings.

In 1820 he was selected for civil employ, and was appointed Junior
Assistant to the Agent of the Governor-General, administering the
Sagar and Nerbudda territories. Those territories, which had been
annexed from the Marathas two years previously, are now included in
the jurisdiction of the Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces.
In such a recently-conquered country, where the sale of all widows by
auction for the benefit of the Treasury, and other strange customs
still prevailed, the abilities of an able and zealous young officer
had ample scope. Sleeman, after a brief apprenticeship, received, in
1822, the independent civil charge of the District of Narsinghpur, in
the Nerbudda valley, and there, for more than two years, 'by far the
most laborious of his life', his whole attention was engrossed in
preventing and remedying the disorders of his District.

Sleeman, during the time that he was in charge of the Narsinghpur
District, had no suspicion that it was a favourite resort of Thugs. A
few years later, in or about 1830, he was astounded to learn that a
gang of Thugs resided in the village of Kandeli, not four hundred
yards from his court-house, and that the extensive groves of Mandesar
on the Sagar road, only one stage distant from his head-quarters,
concealed one of the greatest _bhils_, or places of murder, in all
India. The arrest of Feringheea, one of the most influential Thug
leaders, having given the key to the secret, his disclosures were
followed up by Sleeman with consummate skill and untiring assiduity.
In the years 1831 and 1832 the reports submitted by him and other
officers at last opened the eyes of the superior authorities and
forced them to recognize the fact that the murderous organization
extended over every part of India. Adequate measures were then taken
for the systematic suppression of the evil. 'Thuggee Sleeman' made it
the main business of his life to hunt down the criminals and to
extirpate their secret society. He recorded his experiences in the
series of valuable publications described in the Bibliography. In
this brief memoir it is impossible to narrate in detail the thrilling
story of the suppression of Thuggee, and I must be content to pass on
and give in bare outline the main facts of Sleeman's honourable
career.[2]

While at Narsinghpur, Sleeman received on the 24th April, 1824,
brevet rank as Captain. In 1825, he was transferred, and on the 23rd
September of the following year, was gazetted Captain. In 1826,
failure of health compelled him to take leave on medical certificate.
In March, 1828, Captain Sleeman assumed civil and executive charge of
the Jabalpur (Jubbulpore) District, from which he was transferred to
Sagar in January, 1831. While stationed at Jabalpur, he married, on
the 21st June, 1829, Amelie Josephine, the daughter of Count Blondin
de Fontenne, a French nobleman, who, at the sacrifice of a
considerable property, had managed to escape from the Revolution. A
lady informs the editor that she remembers Sleeman's fine house at
Jabalpur. It stood in a large walled park, stocked with spotted deer.
Both house and park were destroyed when the railway was carried
through the site.

Mr. C. Eraser, on return from leave in January, 1832, resumed charge
of the revenue and civil duties of the Sagar district, leaving the
magisterial duties to Captain Sleeman, who continued to discharge
them till January, 1835. By the Resolution of Government dated 10th
January, 1835, Captain Sleeman was directed to fix his head-quarters
at Jabalpur, and was appointed General Superintendent of the
operations for the Suppression of Thuggee, being relieved from every
other charge. In 1835 his health again broke down, and he was obliged
to take leave on medical certificate. Accompanied by his wife and
little son, he went into camp in November, 1835, and marched through
the Jabalpur, Damoh, and Sagar districts of the Agency, and then
through the Native States of Orchha, Datiya, and Gwalior, arriving at
Agra on the 1st January, 1836. After a brief halt at Agra, he
proceeded through the Bharatpur State to Delhi and Meerut, and thence
on leave to Simla. During his march from Jabalpur to Meerut he amused
himself by keeping the journal which forms the basis of the _Rambles
and Recollections of an Indian Official_. The manuscript of this work
(except the two supplementary chapters) was completed in 1839, though
not given to the world till 1844. On the 1st of February, 1837, in
the twenty-eighth year of his service, Sleeman was gazetted Major.
During the same year he made a tour in the interior of the Himalayas,
which he described at length in an unpublished journal. Later in the
year he went down to Calcutta to see his boy started on the voyage
home.

In February, 1839, he assumed charge of the office of Commissioner
for the Suppression of Thuggee and Dacoity. Up to that date the
office of Commissioner for the Suppression of Dacoity had been
separate from that of General Superintendent of the measures for the
Suppression of Thuggee, and had been filled by another officer, Mr.
Hugh Eraser, of the Civil Service. During the next two years Sleeman
passed much of his time in the North-Western Provinces, now the Agra
Province in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, making Muradabad
his head-quarters, and thoroughly investigating the secret criminal
organizations of Upper India.

In 1841 he was offered the coveted and lucrative post of Resident at
Lucknow, vacant by the resignation of Colonel Low; but that officer,
immediately after his resignation, lost all his savings through the
failure of his bankers, and Sleeman, moved by a generous impulse,
wrote to Colonel Low, begging him to retain the appointment.

Sleeman was then deputed on special duty to Bundelkhand to
investigate the grave disorders in that province. While at Jhansi in
December, 1842, he narrowly escaped assassination by a dismissed
Afghan sepoy, who poured the contents of a blunderbuss into a native
officer in attendance.[3]

During the troubles with Sindhia which culminated in the battle of
Maharajpur, fought on the 29th December, 1843, Sleeman, who had
become a Lieut.-Colonel, was Resident at Gwalior, and was actually in
Sindhia's camp when the battle unexpectedly began. In 1848 the
Residency at Lucknow again fell vacant, and Lord Dalhousie, by a
letter dated 16th September, offered Sleeman the appointment in the
following terms:

 The high reputation you have earned, your experience of civil
administration, your knowledge of the people, and the qualifications
you possess as a public man, have led me to submit your name to the
Council of India as an officer to whom I could commit this important
charge with entire confidence that its duties would be well
performed. I do myself, therefore, the honour of proposing to you to
accept the office of Resident at Lucknow, with especial reference to
the great changes which, in all probability, will take place.
Retaining your superintendency of Thuggee affairs, it will be
manifestly necessary that you should be relieved from the duty of the
trials of Thugs usually condemned at Lucknow.
 In the hope that you will not withhold from the Government your
services in the capacity I have named, and in the further hope of
finding an opportunity of personally making your acquaintance,
 I have the honour to be,
   Dear Colonel Sleeman,
     Very faithfully yours,
       DALHOUSIE.[4]

The remainder of Sleeman's official life, from January, 1849, was
spent in Oudh, and was chiefly devoted to ceaseless and hopeless
endeavours to reform the King's administration and relieve the
sufferings of his grievously oppressed subjects. On the 1st of
December, 1849, the Resident began his memorable three months' tour
through Oudh, so vividly described in the special work devoted to the
purpose. The awful revelations of the _Journey through the Kingdom of
Oude_ largely influenced the Court of Directors and the Imperial
Government in forming their decision to annex the kingdom, although
that decision was directly opposed to the advice of Sleeman, who
consistently advocated reform of the administration, while
deprecating annexation. His views are stated with absolute precision
in a letter written in 1854 or 1855, and published in _The Times_ in
November, 1857:

 We have no right to annex or confiscate Oude; but we have a right,
under the treaty of 1837, to take the management of it, but not to
appropriate its revenues to ourselves. We can do this with honour to
our Government and benefit to the people. To confiscate would be
dishonest and dishonourable. To annex would be to give the people a
government almost as bad as their own, if we put our screw upon them
(_Journey_, ed. 1858, vol. i, Intro., p. xxi).

The earnest efforts of the Resident to suppress crime and improve the
administration of Oudh aroused the bitter resentment of a corrupt
court and exposed his life to constant danger. Three deliberate
attempts to assassinate him at Lucknow are recorded.

The first, in December, 1851, is described in detail in a letter of
Sleeman's dated the 16th of that month, and less fully by General
Hervey, in _Some Records of Crime_, vol. ii, p. 479. The Resident's
life was saved by a gallant orderly named Tikaram, who was badly
wounded. Inquiry proved that the crime was instigated by the King's
moonshee.

The second attempt, on October 9, 1853, is fully narrated in an
official letter to the Government of India (Bibliography, No. 15).
Its failure may be reasonably ascribed to a special interposition of
Providence. The Resident during all the years he had lived at Lucknow
had been in the habit of sleeping in an upper chamber approached by a
separate private staircase guarded by two sentries. On the night
mentioned the sentries were drugged and two men stole up the stairs.
They slashed at the bed with their swords, but found it empty,
because on that one occasion General Sleeman had slept in another
room.

The third attempt was not carried as far, and the exact date is not
ascertainable, but the incident is well remembered by the family and
occurred between 1853 and 1856. One day the Resident was crossing his
study when, for some reason or another, he looked behind a curtain
screening a recess. He then saw a man standing there with a large
knife in his hand. General Sleeman, who was unarmed, challenged the
man as being a Thug. He at once admitted that he was such, and under
the spell of a master-spirit allowed himself to be disarmed without
resistance. He had been employed at the Residency for some time,
unsuspected.

Such personal risks produced no effect on the stout heart of Sleeman,
who continued, unshaken and undismayed, his unselfish labours.

In 1854 the long strain of forty-five years' service broke down
Sleeman's strong constitution. He tried to regain health by a visit
to the hills, but this expedient proved ineffectual, and he was
ordered home. On the 10th of February, 1856, while on his way home on
board the Monarch, he died off Ceylon, at the age of sixty-seven, and
was buried at sea, just six days after he had been granted the
dignity of K.C.B.

Lord Dalhousie's desire to meet his trusted officer was never
gratified. The following correspondence between the Governor-General
and Sleeman, now published for the first time, is equally creditable
to both parties:

                BARRACKPORE PARK,
                January 9th, 1856.
 MY DEAR GENERAL SLEEMAN,
 I have heard to-day of your arrival in Calcutta, and have heard at
the same time with sincere concern that you are still suffering in
health. A desire to disturb you as little as possible induces me to
have recourse to my pen, in order to convey to you a communication
which I had hoped to be able to make in person.
 Some time since, when adjusting the details connected with my
retirement from the Government of India, I solicited permission to
recommend to Her Majesty's gracious consideration the names of some
who seemed to me to be worthy of Her Majesty's favour. My request was
moderate. I asked only to be allowed to submit the name of one
officer from each Presidency. The name which is selected from the
Bengal army was your own, and I ventured to express my hope that Her
Majesty would be pleased to mark her sense of the long course of
able, and honourable, and distinguished service through which you had
passed, by conferring upon you the civil cross of a Knight Commander
of the Bath.
 As yet no reply has been received to my letter. But as you have now
arrived at the Presidency, I lose no time in making known to you what
has been done; in the hope that you will receive it as a proof of the
high estimation in which your services and character arc held, as
well by myself as by the entire community of India.
            I beg to remain,
               My dear General,
                 Very truly yours,
                   DALHOUSIE.

Major-General Sleeman.

Reply to above. Dated 11th January, 1856.

MY LORD,
 I was yesterday evening favoured with your Lordship's most kind and
flattering letter of the 9th instant from Barrackpore.
 I cannot adequately express how highly honoured I feel by the
mention that you have been pleased to make of my services to Her
Majesty the Queen, and how much gratified I am by this crowning act
of kindness from your Lordship in addition to the many favours I have
received at your hands during the last eight years; and whether it
may, or may not, be my fate to live long enough to see the honourable
rank actually conferred upon me, which you have been so considerate
and generous as to ask for me, the letter now received from your
Lordship will of itself be deemed by my family as a substantial
honour, and it will so preserved, I trust, by my son, with feelings
of honest pride, at the thought that his father had merited such a
mark of distinction from so eminent a statesman as the Marquis of
Dalhousie.
 My right hand is so crippled by rheumatism that I am obliged to make
use of an amanuensis to write this letter, and my bodily strength is
so much reduced, that I cannot hope before embarking for England to
pay my personal respects to your Lordship.
 Under these unfortunate circumstances, I now beg to take my leave of
your Lordship; to offer my unfeigned and anxious wishes for your
Lordship's health and happiness, and with every sentiment of respect
and gratitude, to subscribe myself,

          Your Lordship's most faithful and
              Obedient servant,
                  W. H. SLEEMAN,
                    Major-General.

 To the Most Noble
      The Marquis of Dalhousie, K.T.,
         Governor-General, &c., &c.,
            Calcutta.

Sir William Sleeman was an accomplished Oriental linguist, well
versed in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, and also in possession of a good
working knowledge of Latin, Greek, and French. His writings afford
many proofs of his keen interest in the sciences of geology,
agricultural chemistry, and political economy, and of his intelligent
appreciation of the lessons taught by history. Nor was he insensible
to the charms of art, especially those of poetry. His favourite
authors among the poets seem to have been Shakespeare, Milton, Scott,
Wordsworth, and Cowper. His knowledge of the customs and modes of
thought of the natives of India, rarely equalled and never surpassed,
was more than half the secret of his notable success as an
administrator. The greatest achievement of his busy and unselfish
life was the suppression of the system of organized murder known as
Thuggee, and in the execution of that prolonged and onerous task he
displayed the most delicate tact, the keenest sagacity, and the
highest power of organization.

His own words are his best epitaph: 'I have gone on quietly,' he
writes, '"through evil and through good report", doing, to the best
of my ability, the duties which it has pleased the Government of
India, from time to time, to confide to me in the manner which
appeared to me most conformable to its wishes and its honour,
satisfied and grateful for the trust and confidence which enabled me
to do so much good for the people, and to secure so much of their
attachment and gratitude to their rulers.' [5]

His grandson. Captain J. L. Sleeman, who, when stationed in India
from 1903 to 1908, visited the scenes of his grandfather's labours,
states that everywhere he found the memory of his respected ancestor
revered, and was given the assurance that no Englishman had ever
understood the native of India so well, or removed so many oppressive
evils as General Sir W. H. Sleeman, and that his memory would endure
for ever in the Empire to which he devoted his life's work.

This necessarily meagre account of a life which deserves more ample
commemoration may be fitly closed by a few words concerning the
relatives and descendants of Sir William Sleeman.

His sister and regular correspondent, to whom he dedicated the
_Rambles and Recollections_, was married to Captain Furse, R.N.

 His brother's son James came out to India in 1827, joined the 73rd
Regiment of the Bengal Army, was selected for employment in the
Political Department, and was thus enabled to give valuable aid in
the campaign against Thuggee. In due course he was appointed to the
office of General Superintendent of the Operations against Thuggee,
which had been held by his uncle. He rose to the rank of Colonel, and
after a long period of excellent service, lived to enjoy nearly
thirty years of honourable retirement. He died at his residence near
Ross in 1899 at the age of eighty-one.

In 1831 Sir William's only son, Henry Arthur, was gazetted to the
16th (Queen's) Lancers, and having retired early from the army, with
the rank of Captain, died in 1905.

His elder son William Henry died while serving with the Mounted
Infantry during the South African War. His younger son, James Lewis,
a Captain in the Royal Sussex Regiment, who also saw active service
during the war, and was mentioned in dispatches, has a distinguished
African and Indian record, and recently received the honorary degree
of M.A. from the Belfast University for good work done in
establishing the first Officers' Training Corps in Ireland. The
family of Captain James Lewis Sleeman consists of two sons and a
daughter, namely, John Cuthbert, Richard Brian, and Ursula Mary.
Captain Sleeman, as the head of his family, possesses the MSS. &c. of
his distinguished grandfather. The two daughters of Sir William who
survived their father married respectively Colonel Dunbar and Colonel
Brooke.


Notes:

1. _Journey through the Kingdom of Oude_, vol. ii, p. 105.

2. The general reader may consult with advantage Meadows Taylor, _The
Confessions of a Thug_, the first edition of which appeared in 1839;
and the vivid account by Mark Twain in _More Tramps Abroad_, chapters
49,50.

3. The incident is described in detail in a letter dated December 18,
1842, from Sleeman to his sister Mrs. Furse. Captain J. L. Sleeman
has kindly furnished me with a copy of the letter, which is too long
for reproduction in this place.

4. This letter is printed in full in the _Journey through the Kingdom
of Oude_, pp. xvii-xix.

5. Letter to Lord Hardinge, dated Jhansee, 4th March, 1848, printed
in _Journey through the Kingdom of Oude_, vol. i, p. xxvii.




BIBLIOGRAPHY
OF THE
WRITINGS OF
MAJOR-GENERAL SIR W. H. SLEEMAN, K.C.B.

_I.--PRINTED_

(1.) 1819 Pamphlet.
Letter addressed to Dr. Tytler, of Allahabad, by Lieut. W. H.
Sleeman, August 20th, 1819.
Copied from the _Asiatic Mirror_ of September the 1st, 1819.
[This letter describes a great pestilence at Lucknow in 1818, and
discusses the theory that cholera may be caused by 'eating a certain
kind of rice'.]


(2.) Calcutta, 1836, 1 vol. 8vo.
_Ramaseeana_, or a Vocabulary of the Peculiar Language used by the
Thugs, with an Introduction and Appendix descriptive of the Calcutta
system pursued by that fraternity, and of the measures which have
been adopted by the Supreme Government of India for its suppression.

Calcutta, G. H. Huttmann, Military Orphan Press, 1836.
[No author's name on title-page, but most of the articles are signed
by W. H. Sleeman.]
Appendices A to Z, and A.2, contain correspondence and copious
details of particular crimes, pp. 1-515. Total pages (v,+270+515)
790.
A very roughly compiled and coarsely printed collection of valuable
documents. [A copy in the Bodleian Library and two copies in the
British Museum. One copy in India Office Library.]


(2a.) Philadelphia 1839, 1 vol. 8vo.
The work described as follows in the printed Catalogue of Printed
Books in the British Museum appears to be a pirated edition of
_Ramaseeana_:

_The Thugs or Phansigars of India: comprising a history of the rise
and progress of that extraordinary fraternity of assassins; and a
description of the system which it pursues, &c._
Carey and Hart. Philadelphia, 1839. 8vo.

 A Hindustani MS. in the India Office Library seems to be the
original of the vocabulary and is valuable as a guide to the spelling
of the words.


(3.) (?)1836 or 1837, Pamphlet.
On the Admission of Documentary Evidence.
_Extract._
[This reprint is an extract from _Ramaseeana_. The rules relating to
the admission of evidence in criminal trials are discussed. 24
pages.]


(4.) 1837, Pamphlet.
Copy of a Letter
which appeared in the _Calcutta Courier_ of the 29th March, 1837,
under the signature of 'Hirtius', relative to the Intrigues of Jotha
Ram.
[This letter deals with the intrigues and disturbances in the Jaipur
(Jyepoor) State in 1835, and the murder of Mr. Blake, the Assistant
to the Resident. (See post, chap, 67, end.) The reprint is a pamphlet
of sixteen pages. At the beginning reference is made to a previous
letter by the author on the same subject, which had been inserted in
the _Calcutta Courier_ in November, 1836.]


(5.) Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. vi. (1837), p. 621.
_History of the Gurha Mundala Rajas, by Captain W. H. Sleeman._
[An elaborate history of the Gond dynasty of Garha Mandla, 'which is
believed to be founded principally on the chronicles of the Bajpai
family, who were the hereditary prime ministers of the Gond princes.'
(_Central Provinces Gazetteer,_ 1870, p. 282, note.) The history is,
therefore, subject to the doubts which necessarily attach to all
Indian family traditions.]


(6.) W. H. Sleeman. _Analysis and Review of the Peculiar Doctrines of
the Ricardo or New School of Political Economy._
8vo, Serampore, 1837.
[A copy is entered in the printed catalogue of the library of the
Asiatic Society of Bengal.]


(7.) Calcutta (Serampore), 1839, 8vo.
A REPORT on THE SYSTEM OF MEGPUNNAISM,
or
The Murder of Indigent Parents for their Young Children (who are sold
as Slaves) as it prevails in the Delhi Territories, and the Native
States of Rajpootana, Ulwar, and Bhurtpore.
By Major W. H. Sleeman.
----
From the Serampore Press.
1839.
[Thin 8vo, pp. iv and 121.
A very curious and valuable account of a little-known variety of
Thuggee, which possibly may still be practised. Copies exist in the
British Museum and India Office Libraries, but the Bodleian has not a
copy.]


(8.) Calcutta, 1840, 8vo.
REPORT ON THE DEPREDATIONS COMMITTED BY THE THUG GANGS of UPPER AND
CENTRAL INDIA,
From the Cold Season of 1836-7, down to their Gradual Suppression,
under the operation of the measures adopted against them by the
Supreme Government in the year 1839.

By Major Sleeman
_Commissioner for the Suppression of Thuggee and Dacoitee._

Calcutta:
G. H. Huttmann, Bengal Military Orphan Press.
1840.
[Thick 8vo, pp. lviii, 549 and xxvi.
The information recorded is similar to that given in the earlier
_Ramaseeana_ volume. Pages xxv-lviii, by Captain N. Lowis, describe
River Thuggee. Copies in the British Museum and India Office, but
none in the Bodleian. This is the only work by Sleeman which has an
alphabetical index.]

(9.) Calcutta 1841, 8vo.
On the SPIRIT OF MILITARY DISCIPLINE
in our
NATIVE INDIAN ARMY.

By Major N.[_sic_] H. Sleeman, Bengal Native Infantry.
'Europaeque saccubuit Asia.'
'The misfortune of all history is, that while the motives of a few
princes and leaders in their various projects of ambition are
detailed with accuracy, the motives which crowd their standards with
military followers are totally overlooked.'--_Malthus._
 Calcutta:
Bishop's College Press.
M.DCCC.XLI.
[Thin 8vo. Introduction, pp. i-xiii; On the Spirit of Military
Discipline in the Native Army of India, pp. 1-59; page 60 blank;
Invalid Establishment, pp. 61-84. The text of these two essays is
reprinted as chapters 28 and 29 of vol. ii of _Rambles and
Recollections_ in the original edition, corresponding to Chapters 21
and 22 of the edition of 1893 and Chapters 76, 77 of this (1915)
edition. Most of the observations in the Introduction are utilized in
various places in that work. The author's remark in the Introduction
to these essays--'They may never be published, but I cannot deny
myself the gratification of printing them'--indicates that, though
printed, they were never published in their separate form. The copy
of the separately printed tract which I have seen is that in the
India Office Library. Another is in the British Museum. The pamphlet
is not in the Bodleian.]


(10.) 1841 Pamphlet.
MAJOR SLEEMAN
on the
PUBLIC SPIRIT of THE HINDOOS.
_From the Transactions of the Agricultural and Horticultural
Society,_ vol. 8.
Art. XXII, _Public Spirit among the Hindoo Race as indicated in
the flourishing condition of the Jubbulpore District in former times,
with a sketch of its present state: also on the great importance of
attending to Tree Cultivation and suggestions for extending it. By
Major Sleeman, late in charge of the Jubbulpore District._

[Read at the Meeting of the Society on the 8th September, 1841.]

[This reprint is a pamphlet of eight pages. The text was again
reprinted verbatim as Chapter 14 of vol. 2 of the _Rambles and
Recollections_ in the original edition, corresponding to Chapter 7 of
the edition of 1893, and Chapter 62 of this (1915) edition. No
contributions by the author of later date than the above to any
periodical have been traced. In a letter dated Lucknow, 12th January,
1853 (_Journey,_ vol. 2, p. 390) the author says-'I was asked by Dr.
Duff, the editor of the _Calcutta Review,_ before he went home, to
write some articles for that journal to expose the fallacies, and to
counteract the influences of this [_scil_. annexationist] school; but
I have for many years ceased to contribute to the periodical papers,
and have felt bound by my position not to write for them.']


(11.) London, 1844, 2 vols. large 8vo.
RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS OF AN INDIAN OFFICIAL
by
Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Sleeman, of the Bengal Army.
'The proper study of mankind is man.'--POPE.
In Two Volumes.
London:
J. Hatchard and Son, 187, Piccadilly.
1844.
[Vol. I, pp. v and 478. Frontispiece, in colours, a portrait of 'The
late Emperor of Delhi', namely, Akbar II. At end of volume, six full-
page coloured plates, numbered 25-30, viz. No. 25, 'Plant'; No. 26,
'Plant'; No. 27, 'Plant'; No. 28, 'Ornament'; No. 29, 'Ornament'; No.
30, 'Ornaments'.

Vol. 2, pp. vii and 459. Frontispiece, in colours, comprising five
miniatures; and Plates numbered 1-24, irregularly inserted, and with
several misprints in the titles.

The three notes printed at the close of the second volume were
brought up to their proper places in the edition of 1893, and are
there retained in this (1915) edition. The following paragraph is
prefixed to these notes in the original edition: 'In consequence of
this work not having had the advantage of the author's
superintendence while passing through the press, and of the
manuscript having reached England in insulated portions, some errors
and omissions have unavoidably taken place, a few of which the
following notes are intended to rectify or supply.' The edition of
1844 has been scarce for many years,]


(11a.) Lahore 1888, 2 vols. in one 8vo.
RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS, &o.
(Title as in edition of 1844.)
Republished by A. C, Majumdar.
Lahore:
Printed at the Mufid-i-am Press.
1888.
[Vol. 1, pp. xi and 351. Vol. 2, pp. v and 339. A very roughly
executed reprint, containing many misprints. No illustrations. This
reprint is seldom met with.]


(11b.) Westminster, 1893, 2 vols. in 8vo.
RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS, &c.
A New Edition, edited by Vincent Arthur Smith, I.C.S.; being vol. 5
of Constable's Oriental Miscellany. The book is now scarce.


(12.) Calcutta, 1849.
REPORT
On
BUDHUK
Alias
BAGREE DECOITS
and other
GANG ROBBERS BY HEREDITARY PROFESSION,
and on
The Measures adopted by the Government of India
for their Suppression.
By Lieut.-Col. W. H. Sleeman, Bengal Army.
Calcutta:
J. C. Sherriff, Bengal Military Orphan Press.
1849.
[Folio, pp. iv and 433. Map. Printed on blue paper. A valuable work.
In their Dispatch No. 27, dated 18th September, 1850, the Honourable
Court of Directors observe that 'This Report is as important and
interesting as that of the same able officer on the Thugs'. Copies
exist in the British Museum and India Office Libraries, but there is
none in the Bodleian. The work was first prepared for press in 1842
(Journey, vol. 1, p, xxvi).]


(13.) 1852, Plymouth, Pamphlet.
AN ACCOUNT of WOLVES NURTURING CHILDREN IN THEIR DENS.
By an Indian Official.
Plymouth:
Jenkin Thomas, Printer,
9, Cornwall Street.
1852.
[Octavo pamphlet. 15 pages. The cases cited are also described in the
_Journey through the Kingdom of Oude_, and are discussed in V. Ball,
_Jungle Life in India_ (De la Rue, 1880), pp. 454-66. The only copy
known to me is that in possession of the author's grandson.]


(14.)Lucknow, 1852.
Sir William Sleeman printed his _Diary of a Journey through Oude_
privately at a press in the Residency. He had purchased a small
press and type for the purpose of printing it at his own house, so
that no one but himself and the compositor might see it. He intended,
if he could find time, to give the history of the reigning family in
a third volume, which was written, but has never been published. The
title is: Diary of a Tour through Oude in December, 1849, and January
and February, 1850.

By The Resident
Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Sleeman.
Printed at Lucknow in a Parlour Press.
1852.

Two vols. large 8vo. with wide margins. Printed well on good paper.
Vol. 1 has map of Oude, 305 pp. text, and at end a printed slip of
errata. Vol. 2 has 302 pp. text, with a similar slip of errata. The
brief Preface contains the following statements:
 'I have had the Diary printed at my own expense in a small parlour
press which I purchased, with type, for the purpose. . . . The Diary
must for the present be considered as an official document, which may
be perused, but cannot be published wholly or in part without the
sanction of Government previously obtained.' [1]
 Eighteen copies of the Diary were so printed and were coarsely bound
by a local binder. Of these copies twelve were distributed as
follows, one to each person or authority: Government, Calcutta; Court
of Directors; Governor-General; Chairman of Court of Directors;
Deputy Chairman; brother of author; five children of author, one each
(5); Col. Sykes, Director E.I.C.
 A Memorandum of Errata was put up along with some of the copies
distributed. (_Private Correspondence,_ Journey, _vol._ 2, _pp._ 357,
393, _under dates 4 April, 1852, and 12 Jan., 1853._) The Bodleian
copy, purchased in June, 1891, was that belonging to Mrs, (Lady)
Sleeman, and bears her signature 'A. J. Sleeman' on the fly-leaf of
each volume. The book was handsomely bound in morocco or russia, with
gilt edges, by Martin of Calcutta. The British Museum Catalogue does
not include a copy of this issue. The India Office Library has a copy
of vol. 1 only. Captain J. L. Sleeman has both volumes.

 (15.) 1853, Pamphlet.
Reprint of letter No. 34 of 1853 from the author to J, P. Grant,
Esq., Officiating Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign
Department, Fort William. Dated Lucknow Residency, 12th October,
1853.
[Six pages. Describes another attempt to assassinate the author on
the 9th October, 1853. See ante, p. xxvi.]

(16.) London 1858, 2 vols. 8vo.
_A Journey through the Kingdom of Oude, in 1849-50, by direction of
the Right Hon. the Earl of Dalhousie, Governor-General._
With Private Correspondence relative to the Annexation of Oude to
British India, &c.
By Major-General Sir W. H. Sleeman, K.C.B., Resident at the Court of
Lucknow.

In two Volumes.
London:
Richard Bentley, Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty. 1858.
[Small 8vo. Frontispiece of vol. 1 is a Map of the Kingdom of Oude.
The contents of vol. 1 are: Title, preface, and contents, pp. i-x;
Biographical Sketch of Major-General Sir W. H. Sleeman, K.C.B., pp.
xi-xvi; Introduction, pp. xvii-xxii; Private Correspondence preceding
the Journey through the Kingdom of Oude, pp. xxiii-lxxx; Diary of a
Tour through Oude, chapters i-vi, pp. 1-337. The contents of vol. 2
are: Title and contents, pp. i-vi; Diary of a Tour through Oude, pp.
1-331; Private Correspondence relating to the Annexation of the
Kingdom of Oude to British India, pp. 332-424. The letters printed in
this volume were written between 5th Dec., 1849, and 11th Sept.,
1854, during and after the Tour. The dates of the letters in the
first volume extend from 20th Feb., 1848, to 11th Oct., 1849. The
Tour began on 1st Dec., 1849, The book, though rather scarce, is to
be found in most of the principal libraries, and may be obtained from
time to time.]



_II.--UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS_

(1.) 1809.
Two books describing author's voyage to India round the Cape.


(2.) 1837.
Journal of a Trip from Simla to Gurgoohee.
[Referred to in unpublished letters dated 5th and 30th August, 1837.]


(3.) _Circa_1824.
Preliminary Observations and Notes on Mr. Molony's Report on
Narsinghpur.
[Referred to in _Central Provinces Gazetteer_, Nagpur, 2nd ed., 1870,
pp. xcix, cii, &c. The papers seem to be preserved in the record room
at Narsinghpur.]


(4.) 1841.
History of Byza Bae (Baiza Bai).
[Not to be published till after author's death. See unpublished
_letter dated Jhansi,_ Oct. 22nd, 1841.]


(5.)
History of the Reigning Family of Oude.
[Intended to form a third volume of the _Journey._ See Author's
_Letter to Sir James Weir Hogg, Deputy Chairman, India House,_ dated
Lucknow, 4th April, 1852; printed in _Journey,_ vol. 2, p. 358.]


The manuscripts Nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5, and the printed papers Nos. 1,
3, 4, 10, 13, and 15, are in the possession of Captain J, L. Sleeman,
Royal Sussex Regiment, grandson of the author. The India Office
Library possesses copies of the printed works Nos. 2, 7, 8, 9, 11a,
12, 14 (vol. 1 only) and 16.

Notes:

1. The book was written in 1851, and the Directors' permission to
publish was given in December, 1852. (_Journey,_ ii, pp. 358, 393,
ed. 1858. The Preface to that ed. wrongly indicates December, 1851,
as the date of that permission.)






COMPARATIVE TABLE OF CHAPTERS

   _Edition_ 1844.      _Edition_ 1893.                 _Edition_
1915.
Vol. 1, chap. 1-36     Vol. 1, chap. 1-36               Chap.  1-36
 "        "  37-46       "        "  37-46 titles only     "  37-46
titles only
 "        "  47,48       "        "  47,48                 "  47,48
Vol. 2,   "   1          "        "  49                    "  49
 "        "   2          "        "  50                    "  50
 "        "   3          "        "  51                    "  51
 "        "   4          "        "  52                    "  52
 "        "   5          "        "  53                    "  53
 "        "   6          "        "  54                    "  54
 "        "   7          "        "  55                    "  55
 "        "   8        Vol. 2     "   1                    "  56
 "        "   9          "        "   2                    "  57
 "        "  10          "        "   3                    "  58
 "        "  11          "        "   4                    "  59
 "        "  12          "        "   5                    "  60
 "        "  13          "        "   6                    "  61
 "        "  14          "        "   7                    "  62
 "        "  15          "        "   8                    "  63
 "        "  16          "        "   9                    "  64
 "        "  17          "        "  10                    "  65
 "        "  18          "        "  11                    "  66
 "        "  19          "        "  12                    "  67
 "        "  20          "        "  13                    "  68
 "        "  21          "        "  14                    "  69
 "        "  22          "        "  15                    "  70
 "        "  23          "        "  16                    "  71
 "        "  24          "        "  17                    "  72
 "        "  25          "        "  18                    "  73
 "        "  26          "        "  19                    "  74
 "        "  27          "        "  20                    "  75
 "        "  28          "        "  21                    "  76
 "        "  29          "        "  22                    "  77




 ABBREVIATIONS

A.C.  After Christ.

_Ann. Rep.  Annual Report._

A.S.  Archaeological Survey.

_A.S.R.  Archaeological Survey Reports,_ by Sir Alexander Cunningham
and his assistants; 23 vols. 8vo, Simla and Calcutta, 1871-87, with
General Index (vol. xxiv, 1887) by V. A. Smith.

_A.S.W.I.  Archaeological Survey Reports, Western India._

Beale.  T. W. Beale, _Oriental Biographical Dictionary,_ ed. Keene,
1894.

C.P.  Central Provinces.

E.& D.  Sir H. M. Elliot and Professor J. Dowson, _The History of
India as told by its own Historians, Muhammadan Period;_ 8 vols. 8vo,
London, 1867-77.

_E.H.I._   V. A. Smith, _Early History of India,_ 3rd ed., Oxford,
1914.

_Ep. Ind.  Epigraphia Indica,_ Calcutta.

Fanshawe.  H. C. Fanshawe, _Delhi Past and Present,_ Murray, London,
1902.

_H.F.A._  V. A. Smith, _A History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon,_
4to, Oxford, 1911.

_I.G.  Imperial Gazetteer of India_, Oxford, 1907, 1908.

_Ind. Ant.  Indian Antiquary,_ Bombay.

_J.A.S.B.  Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal,_ Calcutta.

_J.R.A.S. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society,_ London.

_N.I.N.& Qu. North-Indian Notes and Queries,_ Allahabad, 1891-6

N.W.P. North-Western Provinces.

_Z.D.M.G. Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenlaendischen Gesellschaft,_
Leipzig.






CHAPTER 1


Annual Fairs held upon the Banks of Sacred Streams in India.

Before setting out on our journey towards the Himalaya we formed once
more an agreeable party to visit the Marble Rocks of the Nerbudda at
Bheraghat.[1] It was the end of Kartik,[2] when the Hindoos hold
fairs on all their sacred streams at places consecrated by poetry or
tradition as the scene of some divine work or manifestation. These
fairs are at once festive and holy; every person who comes enjoying
himself as much as he can, and at the same time seeking purification
from all past transgressions by bathing and praying in the holy
stream, and making laudable resolutions to be better for the future.
The ceremonies last five days, and take place at the same time upon
all the sacred rivers throughout India; and the greater part of the
whole Hindoo population, from the summits of the Himalaya mountains
to Cape Comorin, will, I believe, during these five days, be found
congregated at these fairs. In sailing down the Ganges one may pass
in the course of a day half a dozen such fairs, each with a multitude
equal to the population of a large city, and rendered beautifully
picturesque by the magnificence and variety of the tent equipages of
the great and wealthy. The preserver of the universe (_Bhagvan_)
Vishnu is supposed, on the 26th of Asarh, to descend to the world
below (_Patal_) to defend Raja Bali from the attacks of Indra, to
stay with him four months, and to come up again on the 26th
Kartik.[3] During his absence almost all kinds of worship and
festivities are suspended; and they recommence at these fairs, where
people assemble to hail his resurrection.

Our tents were pitched upon a green sward on one bank of a small
stream running into the Nerbudda close by, while the multitude
occupied the other bank. At night all the tents and booths are
illuminated, and the scene is hardly less animated by night than by
day; but what strikes a European most is the entire absence of all
tumult and disorder at such places. He not only sees no disturbance,
but feels assured that there will be none; and leaves his wife and
children in the midst of a crowd of a hundred thousand persons all
strangers to them, and all speaking a language and following a
religion different from theirs, while he goes off the whole day,
hunting and shooting in the distant jungles, without the slightest
feeling of apprehension for their safety or comfort. It is a singular
fact, which I know to be true, that during the great mutiny of our
native troops at Barrackpore in 1824, the chief leaders bound
themselves by a solemn oath not to suffer any European lady or child
to be injured or molested, happen what might to them in the collision
with their officers and the Government. My friend Captain Reid, one
of the general staff, used to allow his children, five in number, to
go into the lines and play with the soldiers of the mutinous
regiments up to the very day when the artillery opened upon them;
and, of above thirty European ladies then at the station, not one
thought of leaving the place till they heard the guns.[4] Mrs.
Colonel Faithful, with her daughter and another young lady, who had
both just arrived from England, went lately all the way from Calcutta
to Ludiana on the banks of the Hyphasis, a distance of more than
twelve hundred miles, in their palankeens with relays of bearers, and
without even a servant to attend them.[5] They were travelling night
and day for fourteen days without the slightest apprehension of
injury or of insult. Cases of ladies travelling in the same manner by
_dak_ (stages) immediately after their arrival from England to all
parts of the country occur every day, and I know of no instance of
injury or insult sustained by them.[6] Does not this speak volumes
for the character of our rule in India? Would men trust their wives
and daughters in this manner unprotected among a people that disliked
them and their rule? We have not a garrison, or walled cantonments,
or fortified position of any kind for our residence from one end of
our Eastern empire to the other, save at the three capitals of
Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay.[7] We know and feel that the people
everywhere look up to and respect us, in spite of all our faults, and
we like to let them know and feel that we have confidence in them.

Sir Thomas Munro has justly observed, 'I do not exactly know what is
meant by civilizing the people of India. In the theory and practice
of good government they may be deficient; but, if a good system of
agriculture, if unrivalled manufactures, if the establishment of
schools for reading and writing, if the general practice of kindness
and hospitality, and, above all, if a scrupulous respect and delicacy
towards the female sex are amongst the points that denote a civilized
people; then the Hindoos are not inferior in civilization to the
people of Europe'.[8]

Bishop Heber writes in the same favourable terms of the Hindoos in
the narrative of his journey through India; and where shall we find a
mind more capable of judging of the merits and demerits of a people
than his?[9]

The concourse of people at this fair was, as usual, immense; but a
great many who could not afford to provide tents for the
accommodation of their families were driven away before their time by
some heavy showers of, to them, unseasonable rains. On this and
similar occasions the people bathe in the Nerbudda without the aid of
priests, but a number of poor Brahmans attend at these festivals to
receive charity, though not to assist at the ceremonies. Those who
could afford it gave a trifle to these men as they came out of the
sacred stream, but in no case was it demanded, or even solicited with
any appearance of importunity, as it commonly is at fairs and holy
places on the Ganges. The first day, the people bathe below the rapid
over which the river falls after it emerges from its peaceful abode
among the marble rocks; on the second day, just above this rapid; and
on the third day, two miles further up at the cascade, when the whole
body of the limpid stream of the Nerbudda, confined to a narrow
channel of only a few yards wide, falls tumultuously down in a
beautiful cascade into a deep chasm of marble rocks. This fall of
their sacred stream the people call the 'Dhuandhar', or 'the smoky
fall', from the thick vapour which is always seen rising from it in
the morning. From below, the river glides quietly and imperceptibly
for a mile and a half along a deep, and, according to popular belief,
a fathomless channel of from ten to fifty yards wide, with snow-white
marble rocks rising perpendicularly on either side from a hundred to
a hundred and fifty feet high, and in some parts fearfully
overhanging. Suspended in recesses of these white rocks are numerous
large black nests of hornets ready to descend upon any unlucky wight
who may venture to disturb their repose;[10] and, as the boats of the
curious European visitors pass up and down to the sound of music,
clouds of wild pigeons rise from each side, and seem sometimes to
fill the air above them. Here, according to native legends, repose
the Pandavas, the heroes of their great Homeric poem, the
Mahabharata, whose names they have transferred to the valley of the
Nerbudda. Every fantastic appearance of the rocks, caused by those
great convulsions of nature which have so much disturbed the crust of
the globe, or by the slow and silent working of the, waters, is
attributed to the god-like power of those great heroes of Indian
romance, and is associated with the recollection of scenes in which
they are supposed to have figured.[11]

The strata of the Kaimur range of sandstone hills, which runs
diagonally across the valley of the Nerbudda, are thrown up almost
perpendicularly, in some places many hundred feet above the level of
the plain, while in others for many miles together their tops are
only visible above the surface. These are so many strings of the oxen
which the arrows of Arjun, one of the five brothers, converted into
stone; and many a stream which now waters the valley first sprang
from the surface of the earth at the touch of his lance, as his
troops wanted water. The image of the gods of a former day, which now
lie scattered among the ruins of old cities, buried in the depth of
the forest, are nothing less than the bodies of the kings of the
earth turned into stone for their temerity in contending with these
demigods in battle. Ponds among the rocks of the Nerbudda, where all
the great fairs are held, still bear the names of the five brothers,
who are the heroes of this great poem;[12] and they are every year
visited by hundreds of thousands who implicitly believe that their
waters once received upon their bosoms the wearied limbs of those
whose names they bear. What is life without the charms of fiction,
and without the leisure and recreations which these sacred imaginings
tend to give to the great mass of those who have nothing but the
labour of their hands to depend upon for their subsistence! Let no
such fictions be believed, and the holidays and pastimes of the lower
orders in every country would soon cease, for they have almost
everywhere owed their origin and support to some religious dream
which has commanded the faith and influenced the conduct of great
masses of mankind, and prevented one man from presuming to work on
the day that another wished to rest from his labours. The people were
of opinion, they told me, that the Ganges, as a sacred stream, could
last only sixty years more, when the Nerbudda would take its place.
The waters of the Nerbudda are, they say already so much more sacred
than those of the Ganges that to see them is sufficient to cleanse
men from their sins, whereas the Ganges must be touched before it can
have that effect.[13]

At the temple built on the top of a conical hill at Bheraghat,
overlooking the river, is a statue of a bull carrying Siva, the god
of destruction, and his wife Parvati seated behind him; they have
both snakes in their hands, and Siva has a large one round his loins
as a waistband. There are several demons in human shape lying
prostrate under the belly of the bull, and the whole are well cut out
of one large slab of hard basalt from a dyke in the marble rock
beneath. They call the whole group 'Gauri Sankar', and I found in the
fair, exposed for sale, a brass model of a similar one from Jeypore
(Jaipur), but not so well shaped and proportioned. On noticing this
we were told that 'such difference was to be expected, since the
brass must have been made by man, whereas the "Gauri Sankar" of the
temple above was a real Pakhan, or a conversion of living beings into
stone by the gods;[14] they were therefore the exact resemblance of
living beings, while the others could only be rude imitations'.
'Gauri', or the Fair, is the name of Parvati, or Devi, when she
appears with her husband Siva. On such occasions she is always fair
and beautiful. Sankar is another name of Siva, or Mahadeo, or Rudra.
On looking into the temple at the statue, a lady expressed her
surprise at the entireness as well as the excellence of the figures,
while all round had been so much mutilated by the Muhammadans. 'They
are quite a different thing from the others', said a respectable old
landholder; 'they are a conversion of real flesh and blood into
stone, and no human hands can either imitate or hurt them.' She
smiled incredulously, while he looked very grave, and appealed to the
whole crowd of spectators assembled, who all testified to the truth
of what he had said; and added that 'at no distant day the figures
would be all restored to life again, the deities would all come back
without doubt and reanimate their old bodies again'.

All the people who come to bathe at the fair bring chaplets of yellow
jasmine, and hang them as offerings round the necks of the god and
his consort; and at the same time they make some small offerings of
rice to each of the many images that stand within the same apartment,
and also to those which, under a stone roof supported upon stone
pillars, line the inside of the wall that surrounds the circular
area, in the centre of which the temple stands. The images inside the
temple are those of the three great gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva,
with their primaeval consorts;[15] but those that occupy the piazza
outside are the representations of the consorts of the different
incarnations of these three gods, and these consorts are themselves
the incarnations of the primaeval wives, who followed their husbands
in all their earthly ramblings. They have all the female form, and
are about the size of ordinary women, and extremely well cut out of
fine white and green sandstone; but their heads are those of the
animals in which their respective husbands became incarnate, such as
the lion, the elephant, &c., or those of the '_vahans_', or animals
on which they rode, such as the bull, the swan, the eagle, &c. But
these, I presume, are mere _capricios_ of the founder of the temple.
The figures are sixty-four in number, all mounted upon their
respective '_vahans_', but have been sadly mutilated by the pious
Muhammadans.[16]

The old 'Mahant', or high priest, told us that Mahadeo and his wife
were in reality our Adam and Eve; 'they came here together', said he,
'on a visit to the mountain Kailas,[17] and being earnestly solicited
to leave some memorial of their visit, got themselves turned into
stone'. The popular belief is that some very holy man, who had been
occupied on the top of this little conical hill, where the temple now
stands, in austere devotions for some few thousand years, was at last
honoured with a visit from Siva and his consort, who asked him what
they could do for him. He begged them to wait till he should bring
some flowers from the woods to make them a suitable offering. They
promised to do so, and he ran down, plunged into the Nerbudda and
drowned himself, in order that these august persons might for ever
remain and do honour to his residence and his name. They, however,
left only their 'mortal coil', but will one day return and resume it.
I know not whether I am singular in the notion or not, but I think
Mahadeo and his consort are really our Adam and Eve, and that the
people have converted them into the god and goddess of destruction,
from some vague idea of their original sin, which involved all their
race in destruction. The snakes, which form the only dress of
Mahadeo, would seem to confirm this notion.[18]


Notes:

1. The Nerbudda (Narbada, or Narmada) river is the boundary between
Hindustan, or Northern India, and the Deccan (Dakhin), or Southern
India. The beautiful gorge of the Marble Rocks, near Jubbulpore
(Jabalpur), is familiar to modern tourists (see _I.G._, 1908, s.v.
'Marble Rocks'). The remarkable antiquities at Bheraghat are
described and illustrated in _A.S.R._, vol. ix, pp. 60-76, pl. xii-
xvi. Additions and corrections to Cunningham's account will be found
in _A.S.W.I Progr. Rep._, 1893-4, p. 5; and _A.S. Ann. Rep., E.
Circle_, 1907-8, pp. 14-18.

2. The eighth month of the Hindoo luni-solar year, corresponding to
part of October and part of November. In Northern India the year
begins with the month Chait, in March. The most commonly used names
of the months are: (1) Chait; (2) Baisakh; (3) Jeth; (4) Asarh; (5)
Sawan; (6) Bhadon; (7) Kuar; (8) Kartik; (9) Aghan; (10) Pus; (II)
Magh; and (12) Phalgun.

3. _Bhagvan_ is often used as equivalent for the word God in its most
general sense, but is specially applicable to the Deity as manifested
in Vishnu the Preserver. _Asarh_ corresponds to June-July, _Patal_ is
the Hindoo Hades. Raja Bali is a demon, and Indra is the lord of the
heavens. The fairs take place at the time of full moon.

4. Barrackpore, fifteen miles north of Calcutta, is still a
cantonment. The Governor General has a country house there. The
mutiny of the native troops stationed there occurred on Nov. 1, 1824,
and was due to the discontent caused by orders moving the 47th Native
Infantry to Rangoon to take part in the Burmese War. The outbreak was
promptly suppressed. Captain Pogson published a _Memoir of the Mutiny
at Barrackpore_ (8vo, Serampore, 1833).

5. Ludiana, the capital of the district of the same name, now under
the Punjab Government. Hyphasis is the Greek name of the Bias river,
one of the five rivers of the Punjab.

6. Railways have rendered almost obsolete the mode of travelling
described in the text. In Northern India palankeens (palkis) are now
seldom used, even by Indians, except for purposes of ceremony.

7. This statement is no longer quite accurate, though fortified
positions are still very few.

8. The editor cannot find the exact passage quoted, but remarks to
the same effect will be found in _The Life of Sir Thomas Munro,_ by
the Rev. G. R. Gleig, in two volumes, a new edition (London, 1831),
vol. ii, p. 175.

9. _Narrative of a Journey through the Upper Provinces of India, from
Calcutta to Bombay, 1834-5, and a Journey to the Southern Provinces
in 1826_ (2nd edition, 3 vols. 8vo, London, 1828.)

10. The bees at the Marble Rocks are the _Apis dorsata_. An
Englishman named Biddington, when trying to escape from them, was
drowned, and they stung to death one of Captain Forsyth's baggage
ponies (Balfour, _Cyclopaedia of India,_ 3rd ed., 1885, s.v. Bee').

11. The vast epic poem, or collection of poems known as the
Mahabharata, consists of over 100,000 Sanskrit verses. The main
subject is the war between the five Pandavas, or sons of Pandu, and
their cousins the Kauravas, sons of Dhritarashtra. Many poems of
various origins and dates are interwoven with the main work. The best
known of the episodes is that of _Nala and Damayanti,_ which was well
translated by Dean Milman, See Macdonell, _A History of Sanskrit
Literature_ (Heinemann, 1900).

12. The five Pandava brothers were Yudhishthira, Bhimia, Arjuna,
Nakula, and Sahadeva, the children of Pandu, by his wives Kunti, or
Pritha, and Madri.

13. 'The Narbada has its special admirers, who exalt it oven above
the Ganges, . . . The sanctity of the Ganges will, they say, cease in
1895, whereas that of the Narbada will continue for ever' (Monier
Williams, _Religious Thought and Life in India,_ London, 1883, p.
348), See _post,_ Chapter 27.

14. Sleeman wrote 'Py-Khan', a corrupt spelling of pakhan, the
Sanskrit pashana or pasana, 'a stone'. The compound pashana-murti is
commonly used in the sense of 'stone image'. The sibilant _sh_ or _s_
usually is pronounced as _kh_ in Northern India (Grierson,
_J.R.A.S.,_ 1903, p. 363).

15. Sarasvati, consort of Brahma; Devi (Parvati, Durga, &c.), consort
of Siva; and Lakshmi, consort of Vishnu. All Hindoo deities have many
names.

16. The author's explanation is partly erroneous. The temple, which
is a very remarkable one, is dedicated to the sixty-four Joginis.
Only five temples in India are known to be dedicated to these demons.
For details see Cunningham, _A.S.R.,_ vol. ix, pp. 61-74, pl. xii-
xvi; vol. ii, p. 416; and vol. xxi, p. 57. The word _vahana_ means
'vehicle'. Each deity has his peculiar vehicle.

17. The heaven of Siva, as distinguished from Vaikuntha, the heaven
of Vishnu. It is supposed to be somewhere in the Himalaya mountains.
The wonderful excavated rock temple at Ellora is believed to be a
model of Kailas.

18. This 'notion' of the author's is not likely to find acceptance at
the present day.




CHAPTER 2


Hindoo System of Religion.

The Hindoo system is this. A great divine spirit or essence,
'Brahma', pervades the whole universe; and the soul of every human
being is a drop from this great ocean, to which, when it becomes
perfectly purified, it is reunited. The reunion is the eternal
beatitude to which all look forward with hope; and the soul of the
Brahman is nearest to it. If he has been a good man, his soul becomes
absorbed in the 'Brahma'; and, if a bad man, it goes to 'Narak',
hell; and after the expiration of its period there of _limited
imprisonment_, it returns to earth, and occupies the body of some
other animal. It again advances by degrees to the body of the
Brahman; and thence, when fitted for it, into the great 'Brahma'.[1]

From this great eternal essence emanate Brahma, the Creator, whose
consort is Sarasvati;[2] Vishnu, the Preserver, whose consort is
Lakshmi; and Siva, _alias_ Mahadeo, the Destroyer, whose consort is
Parvati. According to popular belief Jamraj (Yamaraja) is the
judicial deity who has been appointed by the greater powers to pass
the final judgement on the tenor of men's lives, according to
proceedings drawn up by his secretary Chitragupta. If men's actions
have been good, their souls are, as the next stage, advanced a step
towards the great essence, Brahma; and, if bad, they are thrown back,
and obliged to occupy the bodies of brutes or of people of inferior
caste, as the balance against them may be great or small. There is an
intermediate stage, a 'Narak', or hell, for bad men, and a
'Baikunth', or paradise, for the good, in which they find their
felicity in serving that god of the three to which they have
specially devoted themselves while on earth. But from this stage,
after the period of their sentence is expired, men go back to their
pilgrimage on earth again.

There are numerous Deos (Devas), or good spirits, of whom Indra is
the chief; [3] and Daityas, or bad spirits; and there have also been
a great number of incarnations from the three great gods, and their
consorts, who have made their appearance upon the earth when required
for particular purposes. All these incarnations are called 'Avatars',
or descents. Vishnu has been eleven times on the globe in different
shapes, and Siva seven times.[4] The avatars of Vishnu are celebrated
in many popular poems, such as the Ramayana, or history of the Rape
of Sita, the wife of Rama, the seventh incarnation;[5] the
Mahabharata, and the Bhagavata [Purana], which describe the wars and
amours of this god in his last human shape.[6] All these books are
believed to have been written either by the hand or by the
inspiration of the god himself thousands of years before the events
they describe actually took place. 'It was', they say, 'as easy for
the deity to write or dictate a battle, an amour, or any other
important event ten thousand years before as the day after it took
place'; and I believe nine-tenths, perhaps ninety-nine in a hundred,
of the Hindoo population believe implicitly that these accounts were
also written. It is now pretty clear that all these works are of
comparatively recent date, that the great poem of the Mahabharata
could not have been written before the year 786 of the Christian era,
and was probably written so late as A.D. 1157; that Krishna, _if born
at all_, must have been born on the 7th of August, A.D. 600, but was
most likely a mere creation of the imagination to serve the purpose
of the Brahmans of Ujain, in whom the fiction originated; that the
other incarnations were invented about the same time, and for the
same object, though the other persons described as incarnations were
real princes, Parasu Rama, before Christ 1176, and Rama, born before
Christ 961. In the Mahabharata Krishna is described as fighting in
the same army with Yudhishthira and his four brothers. Yudhishthira
was a real person, who ascended the throne at Delhi 575 B.C., or 1175
years before the birth of Krishna.[7] Bentley supposes that the
incarnations, particularly that of Krishna, were invented by the
Brahmans of Ujain with a view to check the progress of Christianity
in that part of the world (see his historical view of the Hindoo
astronomy). That we find in no history any account of the alarming
progress of Christianity about the time these fables were written is
no proof that Bentley was wrong.[8]

When Monsieur Thevenot was at Agra [in] 1666, the Christian
population was roughly estimated at twenty-five thousand families.
They had all passed away before it became one of our civil and
military stations in the beginning of the present century, and we
might search history in vain for any mention of them (see his
_Travels in India_, Part III). One single prince, well disposed to
give Christians encouragement and employment, might, in a few years,
get the same number around his capital; and it is probable that the
early Christians in India occasionally found such princes, and gave
just cause of alarm to the Brahman priests, who were then in the
infancy of their despotic power.[9]

During the war with Nepal, in 1814 and 1815,[10] the division with
which I served came upon an extremely interesting colony of about two
thousand Christian families at Betiya in the Tirhut District, on the
borders of the Tarai forest. This colony had been created by one man,
the Bishop, a Venetian by birth, under the protection of a small
Hindoo prince, the Raja, of Betiya.[11] This holy man had been some
fifty years among these people, with little or no support from Europe
or from any other quarter. The only aid he got from the Raja was a
pledge that no member of his Church should be subject to the
_Purveyance system_, under which the people everywhere suffered so
much,[12] and this pledge the Raja, though a Hindoo, had never
suffered to be violated. There were men of all trades among them, and
they formed one very large street remarkable for the superior style
of its buildings and the sober industry of its inhabitants. The
masons, carpenters, and blacksmiths of this little colony were
working in our camp every day, while we remained in the vicinity, and
better workmen I have never seen in India; but they would all insist
upon going to divine service at the prescribed hours. They had built
a splendid _pucka_[13] dwelling-house for their bishop, and a still
more splendid church, and formed for him the finest garden I have
seen in India, surrounded with a good wall, and provided with
admirable pucka wells. The native Christian servants who attended at
the old bishop's table, taught by himself, spoke Latin to him; but he
was become very feeble, and spoke himself a mixture of Latin,
Italian, his native tongue, and Hindustani. We used to have him at
our messes, and take as much care of him as of an infant, for he was
become almost as frail as one. The joy and the excitement of being
once more among Europeans, and treated by them with so much reverence
in the midst of his flock, were perhaps too much for him, for he
sickened and died soon after.

The Raja died soon after him, and in all probability the flock has
disappeared. No Europeans except a few indigo planters of the
neighbourhood had ever before known or heard of this colony; and they
seemed to consider them only as a set of great scoundrels, who had
better carts and bullocks than anybody else in the country, which
they refused to let out at the same rate as the others, and which
they (the indigo lords) were not permitted to seize and employ at
discretion. Roman Catholics have a greater facility in making
converts in India than Protestants, from having so much more in their
form of worship to win the affections through the medium of the
imagination.[14]


Notes:

1. Men are occasionally exempted from the necessity of becoming a
Brahman first. Men of low caste, if they die at particular places,
where it is the interest of the Brahmans to invite rich men to die,
are promised absorption into the great 'Brahma' at once. Immense
numbers of wealthy men go every year from the most distant parts of
India to die at Benares, where they spend large sums of money among
the Brahmans. It is by their means that this, the second city in
India, is supported. [W. H. S.] Bombay is now the second city in
India, so far as population is concerned.

2. Brahma, with the short vowel, is the eternal Essence or Spirit;
Brahma, with the long vowel, is 'the primaeval male god, the first
personal product of the purely spiritual Brahma, when overspread by
Maya, or illusory creative force', according to the Vedanta system
(Monier Williams, _Religious Thought and Life in India_, p. 44).

3. Indra was originally, in the Vedas, the Rain-god. The statement in
the text refers to modern Hinduism.

4. The incarnations of Vishnu are ordinarily reckoned as ten, namely,
(1) Fish, (2) Tortoise, (3) Boar, (4) Man-lion, (5) Dwarf, (6) Rama
with the axe, (7) Rama Chandra, (8) Krishna, (9) Buddha, (10) Kalki,
or Kalkin, who is yet to come. I do not know any authority for eleven
incarnations of Vishnu. The number is stated in some Puranas as
twenty-two, twenty-four, or even twenty-eight. Seven incarnations of
Siva are not generally recognized (see Monier Williams, _Religious
Thought and Life in India_, pp. 78-86, and 107-16). For the theory
and mystical meaning of _avatars_, see Grierson, _J.R.A.S._, 1909,
pp. 621-44. The word avatar means 'descent', _scil_. of the Deity to
earth, and covers more than the term 'incarnation'.

5. Sita was an incarnation of Lakshmi. She became incarnate again,
many centuries afterwards, as the wife of Krishna, another
incarnation of Vishnu [W. H. S.]. Reckoning by centuries is, of
course, inapplicable to pure myth. The author believed in Bentley's
baseless chronology.

6. For the Mahabharata, see _ante_, note 11, Chapter 1. The Bhagavata
Purana is the most popular of the Puranas, The Hindi version of the
tenth book (_skandha_) is known as the 'Prem Sagar'. The date of the
composition of the Puranas is uncertain.

7. The dates given in this passage are purely imaginary. Parts of the
Mahabharata are very ancient. Yudhishthira is no more an historical
personage than Achilles or Romulus. It is improbable that a 'throne
of Delhi' existed in 575 B.C., and hardly anything is known about the
state of India at that date.

8. It is hardly necessary to observe that this grotesque theory is
utterly at variance with the facts, as now known.

9. The existing settlements of native Christians at Agra are mostly
of modern origin. Very ancient Christian communities exist near
Madras, and on the Malabar coast. The travels of Jean de Thevenot
were published in 1684, under the title of _Voyage, contenant la
Relation de l'Indostan_. The English version, by A. Lovell (London,
1687), is entitled _The Travels of Monsieur de Thevenot into the
Levant, in three Parts_. Part III deals with the East Indies, The
passage referred to is: 'Some affirm that there are twenty-five
thousand Christian Families in Agra, but all do not agree in that'
(Part III, p. 35). Thevonot's statement about the Christians of Agra
is further discussed post in Chapter 52.

10. The war with Nepal began in October, 1814, and was not concluded
till 1816. During its progress the British arms suffered several
reverses.

11. The Betiya (Bettiah of _I. G_., 1908) Raj is a great estate with
an area of 1,824 square miles in the northern part of the Champaran
District of Bihar, in the Province of Bihar and Orissa. A great
portion of the estate is held (1908) on permanent leases by European
indigo-planters.

12. For discussion of this system see post, Chapter 7.

13. 'Pucka' (_pakka_) here means 'masonry', as opposed to 'Kutcha'
(_kachcha_), meaning 'earthen'.

14. Native Christians, according to the census of 1872, number 1,214
persons, who are principally found in Bettia thana [police-circle].
There are two Missions, one at Bettia, and the other at the village
of Chuhari, both supported by the Roman Catholic Church. The former
was founded in 1746 by a certain Father Joseph, from Garingano in
Italy, who went to Bettia on the invitation of the Maharaja. The
present number of converts is about 1,000 persons. Being principally
descendants of Brahmans, they hold a fair social position; but some
of them are extremely poor. About one-fourth are carpenters, one-
tenth blacksmiths, one-tenth servants, the remainder carters. The
Chuhari Mission was founded in 1770 by three Catholic priests, who
had been expelled from Nepal [after the Gorkha conquest in 1768].
There are now 283 converts, mostly descendants of Nepalis. They are
all agriculturists, and very poor (Article 'Champaran District' in
_Statistical Account of Bengal_, 1877).

 The statement in _I.G._ 1908, s.v. Bettiah, differs slightly, as
follows:

   'A Roman Catholic Mission was established about 1740 by Father
Joseph Mary, an Italian missionary of the Capuchin Order, who was
passing near Bettiah on his way to Nepal, when he was summoned by
Raja Dhruva Shah to attend his daughter, who was dangerously ill. He
succeeded in curing her, and the grateful Raja invited him to stay at
Bettiah and gave him a house and ninety acres of land.' The Bettiah
Mission still exists and maintains the Catholic Mission Press, where
publications illustrating the history of the Capuchin Missions have
been printed. Father Felix, O.C., is at work on the subject.




CHAPTER 3


Legend of the Nerbudda River.

The legend is that the Nerbudda, which flows west into the Gulf of
Cambay, was wooed and won in the usual way by the Son river, which
rises from the same tableland of Amarkantak, and flows east into the
Ganges and Bay of Bengal.[1] All the previous ceremonies having been
performed, the Son [2] came with 'due pomp and circumstance' to fetch
his bride in the procession called the 'Barat', up to which time the
bride and bridegroom are supposed never to have seen each other,
unless perchance they have met in infancy. Her Majesty the Nerbudda
became exceedingly impatient to know what sort of a personage her
destinies were to be linked to, while his Majesty the Son advanced at
a slow and stately pace. At last the Queen sent Johila, the daughter
of the barber, to take a close view of him, and to return and make a
faithful and particular report of his person. His Majesty was
captivated with the little Johila, the barber's daughter, at first
sight; and she, 'nothing loath', yielded to his caresses. Some say
that she actually pretended to be Queen herself; and that his Majesty
was no further in fault than in mistaking the humble handmaid for her
noble mistress; but, be that as it may, her Majesty no sooner heard
of the good understanding between them, than she rushed forward, and
with one foot sent the Son rolling back to the east whence he came,
and with the other kicked little Johila sprawling after him; for,
said the high priest, who told us the story, 'You see what a towering
passion she was likely to have been in under such indignities from
the furious manner in which she cuts her way through the marble rocks
beneath us, and casts huge masses right and left as she goes along,
as if they were really so many coco-nuts'. 'And was she', asked I,
'to have flown eastward with him, or was he to have flown westward
with her?' 'She was to have accompanied him eastward', said the high
priest, 'but her Majesty, after this indignity, declared that she
would not go a single pace in the same direction with such wretches,
and would flow west, though all the other rivers in India might flow
east; and west she flows accordingly, a virgin queen.' I asked some
of the Hindoos about us why they called her 'Mother Nerbudda', if she
was really never married. 'Her Majesty', said they with great
respect, 'would really never consent to be married after the
indignity she suffered from her affianced bridegroom the Son; and we
call her Mother because she blesses us all, and we are anxious to
accost her by the name which we consider to be at once the most
respectful and endearing.'

Any Englishman can easily conceive a poet in his highest 'calenture
of the brain' addressing the ocean as 'a steed that knows his rider',
and patting the crested billow as his flowing mane; but he must come
to India to understand how every individual of a whole community of
many millions can address a fine river as a living being, a sovereign
princess, who hears and understands all they say, and exercises a
kind of local superintendence over their affairs, without a single
temple in which her image is worshipped, or a single priest to profit
by the delusion. As in the case of the Ganges, it is the river itself
to whom they address themselves, and not to any deity residing in it,
or presiding over it: the stream itself is the deity which fills
their imaginations, and receives their homage.

Among the Romans and ancient Persians rivers were propitiated by
sacrifices. When Vitellius crossed the Euphrates with the Roman
legions to put Tiridates on the throne of Armenia, they propitiated
the river according to the rites of their country by the
_suovetaurilia_, the sacrifice of the hog, the ram, and the bull.
Tiridates did the same by the sacrifice of a horse. Tacitus does not
mention the river _god_, but the river _itself_, as propitiated (see
[_Annals_,] book vi, chap. 37).[3] Plato makes Socrates condemn Homer
for making Achilles behave disrespectfully towards the river Xanthus,
though acknowledged to be a divinity, in offering to fight him,[4]
and towards the river Sperchius, another acknowledged god, in
presenting to the dead body of Patroclus the locks of his hair which
he had promised to that river.[5]

The Son river, which rises near the source of the Nerbudda on the
tableland of Amarkantak, takes a westerly course for some miles, and
then turns off suddenly to the east, and is joined by the little
stream of the Johila before it descends the great cascade; and hence
the poets have created this fiction, which the mass of the population
receive as divine revelation. The statue of little Johila, the
barber's daughter, in stone, stands in the temple of the goddess
Nerbudda at Amarkantak, bound in chains.[6] It may here be remarked
that the first overtures in India must always be made through the
medium of the barber, whether they be from the prince or the
peasant.[7] If a sovereign prince sends proposals to a sovereign
princess, they must be conveyed through the medium of the barber, or
they will never be considered as done in due form, as likely to prove
propitious. The prince will, of course, send some relation or high
functionary with him; but in all the credentials the barber must be
named as the principal functionary. Hence it was that Her Majesty was
supposed to have sent a barber's daughter to meet her husband.

The 'Mahatam' (greatness or holiness) of the Ganges is said, as I
have already stated, to be on the wane, and not likely to endure
sixty years longer; while that of the Nerbudda is on the increase,
and in sixty years is entirely to supersede the sanctity of her
sister. If the valley of the Nerbudda should continue for sixty years
longer under such a government as it has enjoyed since we took
possession of it in 1817,[8] it may become infinitely more rich, more
populous, and more beautiful than that of the Nile ever was; and, if
the Hindoos there continue, as I hope they will, to acquire wealth
and honour under a rule to which they are so much attached, the
prophecy may be realized in as far as the increase of honour paid to
the Nerbudda is concerned. But I know no ground to expect that the
reverence[9] paid to the Ganges will diminish, unless education and
the concentration of capital in manufactures should work an important
change in the religious feelings and opinions of the people along the
course of that river; although this, it must be admitted, is a
consummation which may be looked for more speedily on the banks of
the Ganges than on those of a stream like the Nerbudda, which is
neither navigable at present nor, in my opinion, capable of being
rendered so. Commerce and manufactures, and the concentration of
capital in the maintenance of the new communities employed in them,
will, I think, be the great media through which this change will be
chiefly effected; and they are always more likely to follow the
course of rivers that are navigable than that of rivers which are
not.[10]


Notes:

1. Amarkantak, formerly in the Sohagpur pargana of the Bilaspur
District of the Central Provinces, is situated on a high tableland,
and is a famous place of pilgrimage. The temples are described by
Beglar in _A.S.R._, vol. vii, pp. 227-34, pl. xx, xxi. The hill has
been transferred to the Riwa State (_Central Provinces Gazetteer_
(1870), and _I.G._ (1908), s.v. Amarkantak).

2. The name is misspelled Sohan in the author's text. The Son rises
at Son Munda, about twenty miles from Amarkantak (_A.S.R._, vol. vii,
236).

3. 'Sacrificantibus, cum hic more Romano suovetaurilia daret, ille
equum placando amni adornasset.'

4. [Greek text]--_Iliad_ xx, 73.

5. _Iliad_ xxiii. 140-153.

6. Mr. Crooke observes that the binding was intended to prevent the
object of worship from deserting her shrine or possibly doing
mischief elsewhere, and refers to his article, 'The Binding of a God,
a Study of the Basis of Idolatry', in _Folklore_, vol. viii (1897),
p.134. The name is spelt Johilla in _I.G._ (1908), s.v. Son River.

7. Monier Williams denies the barber's monopoly of match-making. 'In
some parts of Northern India the match-maker for some castes is the
family barber; but for the higher castes he is more generally a
Brahman, who goes about from one house to another till he discovers a
baby-girl of suitable rank' (_Religious Thought and Life in India_,
p. 377). So far as the editor knows, the barber is ordinarily
employed in Northern India.

8. During the operations against the Pindhari freebooters. Many
treaties were negotiated with the Peshwa and other native powers in
the years 1817 and 1818.

9. The word in the text is 'revenue'.

10. Concerning the prophecy that the sanctity of the Ganges will
cease in 1895, see note to Chapter 1, _ante_, [13]. The prophecy was
much talked of some years ago, but the reverence for the Ganges
continues undiminished, while the development of commerce and
manufactures has not affected, the religious feelings and opinions of
the people. Railways, in fact, facilitate pilgrimages and increase
their popularity. The course of commerce now follows the line of
rail, not the navigable rivers. The author, when writing this book,
evidently never contemplated the possibility of railway construction
in India. Later in life, in 1852, he fully appreciated the value of
the new means of communication (_Journey_, ii, 370, &c.).




CHAPTER 4


A Suttee[1] on the Nerbudda.

We took a ride one evening to Gopalpur, a small village situated on
the same bank of the Nerbudda, about three miles up from Bheraghat.
On our way we met a party of women and girls coming to the fair.
Their legs were uncovered half-way up the thigh; but, as we passed,
they all carefully covered up their faces. 'Good God!' exclaimed one
of the ladies, 'how can these people be so very indecent?' They
thought it, no doubt, equally extraordinary that she should have her
face uncovered, while she so carefully concealed her legs; for they
were really all modest peasantry, going from the village to bathe in
the holy stream.[2]

Here there are some very pretty temples, built for the most part to
the memory of widows who have burned themselves with the remains of
their husbands, and upon the very spot where they committed
themselves to the flames. There was one which had been recently
raised over the ashes of one of the most extraordinary old ladies
that I have ever seen, who burned herself in my presence in 1829. I
prohibited the building of any temple upon the spot, but my successor
in the civil charge of the district, Major Low, was never, I believe,
made acquainted with the prohibition nor with the progress of the
work; which therefore went on to completion in my absence. As suttees
are now prohibited in our dominions[3] and cannot be often seen or
described by Europeans, I shall here relate the circumstances of this
as they were recorded by me at the time, and the reader may rely upon
the truth of the whole tale.

On the 29th November, 1829, this old woman, then about sixty-five
years of age, here mixed her ashes with those of her husband, who had
been burned alone four days before. On receiving civil charge of the
district (Jubbulpore) in March, 1828, I issued a proclamation
prohibiting any one from aiding or assisting in suttee, and
distinctly stating that to bring one ounce of wood for the purpose
would be considered as so doing. If the woman burned herself with the
body of her husband, any one who brought wood for the purpose of
burning him would become liable to punishment; consequently, the body
of the husband must be first consumed, and the widow must bring a
fresh supply for herself. On Tuesday, 24th November, 1829, I had an
application from the heads of the most respectable and most extensive
family of Brahmans in the district to suffer this old woman to burn
herself with the remains of her husband, Ummed Singh Upadhya, who had
that morning died upon the banks of the Nerbudda.[4] I threatened to
enforce my order, and punish severely any man who assisted; and
placed a police guard for the purpose of seeing that no one did so.
She remained sitting by the edge of the water without eating or
drinking. The next day the body of her husband was burned to ashes in
a small pit of about eight feet square, and three or four feet deep,
before several thousand spectators who had assembled to see the
suttee. All strangers dispersed before evening, as there seemed to be
no prospect of my yielding to the urgent solicitations of her family,
who dared not touch food till she had burned herself, or declared
herself willing to return to them. Her sons, grandsons, and some
other relations remained with her, while the rest surrounded my
house, the one urging me to allow her to burn, and the other urging
her to desist. She remained sitting on a bare rock in the bed of the
Nerbudda, refusing every kind of sustenance, and exposed to the
intense heat of the sun by day, and the severe cold of the night,
with only a thin sheet thrown over her shoulders. On Thursday, to cut
off all hope of her being moved from her purpose, she put on the
dhaja, or coarse red turban, and broke her bracelets in pieces, by
which she became dead in law, and for ever excluded from caste.
Should she choose to live after this, she could never return to her
family. Her children and grandchildren were still with her, but all
their entreaties were unavailing; and I became satisfied that she
would starve herself to death, if not allowed to burn, by which the
family would be disgraced, her miseries prolonged, and I myself
rendered liable to be charged with a wanton abuse of authority, for
no prohibition of the kind I had issued had as yet received the
formal sanction of the Government.

On Saturday, the 28th, in the morning, I rode out ten miles to the
spot, and found the poor old widow sitting with the dhaja round her
head, a brass plate before her with undressed rice and flowers, and a
coco-nut in each hand. She talked very collectedly, telling me that
'she had determined to mix her ashes with those of her departed
husband, and should patiently wait my permission to do so, assured
that God would enable her to sustain life till that was given, though
she dared not eat or drink'. Looking at the sun, then rising before
her over a long and beautiful reach of the Nerbudda river, she said
calmly, 'My soul has been for five days with my husband's near that
sun, nothing but my earthly frame is left; and this, I know, you will
in time suffer to be mixed with the ashes of his in yonder pit,
because it is not in your nature or usage wantonly to prolong the
miseries of a poor old woman'.

'Indeed, it is not,--my object and duty is to save and preserve them
[_sic_]; and I am come to dissuade you from this idle purpose, to
urge you to live, and to keep your family from the disgrace of being
thought your murderers.'

'I am not afraid of their ever being so thought: they have all, like
good children, done everything in their power to induce me to live
among them; and, if I had done so, I know they would have loved and
honoured me; but my duties to them have now ended. I commit them all
to your care, and I go to attend my husband, _Ummed Singh Upadhya_,
with whose ashes on the funeral pile mine have been already three
times mixed.'[5]

This was the first time in her long life that she had ever pronounced
the name of her husband, for in India no woman, high or low, ever
pronounces the name of her husband,--she would consider it
disrespectful towards him to do so; and it is often amusing to see
their embarrassment when asked the question by any European
gentleman. They look right and left for some one to relieve them from
the dilemma of appearing disrespectful either to the querist or to
their absent husbands--they perceive that he is unacquainted with
their duties on this point, and are afraid he will attribute their
silence to disrespect. They know that few European gentlemen are
acquainted with them; and when women go into our courts of justice,
or other places where they are liable to be asked the names of their
husbands, they commonly take one of their children or some other
relation with them to pronounce the words in their stead. When the
old lady named her husband, as she did with strong emphasis, and in a
very deliberate manner, every one present was satisfied that she had
resolved to die. 'I have', she continued, 'tasted largely of the
bounty of Government, having been maintained by it with all my large
family in ease and comfort upon our rent-free lands; and I feel
assured that my children will not be suffered to want; but with them
I have nothing more to do, our intercourse and communion here end. My
soul (_pran_) is with _Ummed Singh Upadhya_: and my ashes must here
mix with his.'


Again looking to the sun--'I see them together', said she, with a
tone and countenance that affected me a good deal, 'under the bridal
canopy!'--alluding to the ceremonies of marriage; and I am satisfied
that she at that moment really believed that she saw her own spirit
and that of her husband under the bridal canopy in paradise.

I tried to work upon her pride and her fears. I told her that it was
probable that the rent-free lands by which her family had been so
long supported might be resumed by the Government, as a mark of its
displeasure against the children for not dissuading her from the
sacrifice; that the temples over her ancestors upon the bank might be
levelled with the ground, in order to prevent their operating to
induce others to make similar sacrifices; and lastly, that not one
single brick or stone should ever mark the place where she died if
she persisted in her resolution. But, if she consented to live, a
splendid habitation should be built for her among these temples, a
handsome provision assigned for her support out of these rent-free
lands, her children should come daily to visit her, and I should
frequently do the same. She smiled, but held out her arm and said,
'My pulse has long ceased to beat, my spirit has departed, and I have
nothing left but a little _earth_, that I wish to mix with the ashes
of my husband. I shall suffer nothing in burning; and, if you wish
proof, order some fire, and you shall see this arm consumed without
giving me any pain'. I did not attempt to feel her pulse, but some of
my people did, and declared that it had ceased to be perceptible. At
this time every native present believed that she was incapable of
suffering pain; and her end confirmed them in their opinion.

Satisfied myself that it would be unavailing to attempt to save her
life, I sent for all the principal members of the family, and
consented that she should be suffered to burn herself if they would
enter into engagements that no other member of their family should
ever do the same. This they all agreed to, and the papers having been
drawn out in due form about midday, I sent down notice to the old
lady, who seemed extremely pleased and thankful. The ceremonies of
bathing were gone through before three [o'clock], while the wood and
other combustible materials for a strong fire were collected and put
into the pit. After bathing, she called for a 'pan' (betel leaf) and
ate it, then rose up, and with one arm on the shoulder of her eldest
son, and the other on that of her nephew, approached the fire. I had
sentries placed all round, and no other person was allowed to
approach within five paces. As she rose up fire was set to the pile,
and it was instantly in a blaze. The distance was about 150 yards.
She came on with a calm and cheerful countenance, stopped once, and,
casting her eyes upward, said, 'Why have they kept me five days from
thee, my husband?' On coming to the sentries her supporters stopped;
she walked once round the pit, paused a moment, and, while muttering
a prayer, threw some flowers into the fire. She then walked up
deliberately and steadily to the brink, stepped into the centre of
the flame, sat down, and leaning back in the midst as if reposing
upon a couch, was consumed without uttering a shriek or betraying one
sign of agony.

A few instruments of music had been provided, and they played, as
usual, as she approached the fire, not, as is commonly supposed, in
order to drown screams, but to prevent the last words of the victim
from being heard, as these are supposed to be prophetic, and might
become sources of pain or strife to the living.[6] It was not
expected that I should yield, and but few people had assembled to
witness the sacrifice, so that there was little or nothing in the
circumstances immediately around to stimulate her to any
extraordinary exertions; and I am persuaded that it was the desire of
again being united to her husband in the next world, and the entire
confidence that she would be so if she now burned herself, that alone
sustained her. From the morning he died (Tuesday) till Wednesday
evening she ate 'pans' or betel leaves, but nothing else; and from
Wednesday evening she ceased eating them. She drank no water from
Tuesday. She went into the fire with the same cloth about her that
she had worn in the bed of the river; but it was made wet from a
persuasion that even the shadow of any impure thing falling upon her
from going to the pile contaminates the woman unless counteracted by
the sheet moistened in the holy stream.

I must do the family the justice to say that they all exerted
themselves to dissuade the widow from her purpose, and had she lived
she would assuredly have been cherished and honoured as the first
female member of the whole house. There is no people in the world
among whom parents are more loved, honoured, and obeyed than among
the Hindoos; and the grandmother is always more honoured than the
mother. No queen upon her throne could ever have been approached with
more reverence by her subjects than was this old lady by all the
members of her family as she sat upon a naked rock in the bed of the
river, with only a red rag upon her head and a single-white sheet
over her shoulders.

Soon after the battle of Trafalgar I heard a young lady exclaim, 'I
could really wish to have had a brother killed in that action'. There
is no doubt that a family in which a suttee takes place feels a good
deal exalted in its own esteem and that of the community by the
sacrifice. The sister of the Raja of Riwa was one of four or five
wives who burned themselves with the remains of the Raja of Udaipur;
and nothing in the course of his life will ever be recollected by her
brother with so much of pride and pleasure, since the Udaipur Raja is
the head of the Rajput tribes.[7]

I asked the old lady when she had first resolved upon becoming a
suttee, and she told me that about thirteen years before, while
bathing in the river Nerbudda, near the spot where she then sat, with
many other females of the family, the resolution had fixed itself in
her mind as she looked at the splendid temples on the bank of the
river erected by the different branches of the family over the ashes
of her female relations who had at different times become suttees.
Two, I think, were over her aunts, and one over the mother of her
husband. They were very beautiful buildings, and had been erected at
great cost and kept in good repair. She told me that she had never
mentioned this her resolution to any one from that time, nor breathed
a syllable on the subject till she called out 'Sat, sat, sat',[8]
when her husband breathed his last with his head in her lap on the
bank of the Nerbudda, to which he had been taken when no hopes
remained of his surviving the fever of which he died.

Charles Harding, of the Bengal Civil Service, as magistrate of
Benares, in 1806 prevented the widow of a Brahman from being burned.
Twelve months after her husband's death she had been goaded by her
family into the expression of a wish to burn with some relic of her
husband, preserved for the purpose. The pile was raised to her at
Ramnagar,[9] some two miles above Benares, on the opposite side of
the river Ganges. She was not well secured upon the pile, and as soon
as she felt the fire she jumped off and plunged into the river. The
people all ran after her along the bank, but the current drove her
towards Benares, whence a police boat put off and took her in.

She was almost dead with the fright and the water, in which she had
been kept afloat by her clothes. She was taken to Harding; but the
whole city of Benares was in an uproar, at the rescue of a Brahman's
widow from the funeral pile, for such it had been considered, though
the man had been a year dead. Thousands surrounded his house, and his
court was filled with the principal men of the city, imploring him to
surrender the woman; and among the rest was the poor woman's father,
who declared that he could not support his daughter; and that she
had, therefore, better be burned, as her husband's family would no
longer receive her. The uproar was quite alarming to a young man, who
felt all the responsibility upon himself in such a city as[10]
Benares, with a population of three hundred thousand people,[11] so
prone to popular insurrections, or risings _en masse_ very like them.
He long argued the point of the time that had elapsed, and the
unwillingness of the woman, but in vain; until at last the thought
struck him suddenly, and he said that 'The sacrifice was manifestly
unacceptable to their God--that the sacred river, as such, had
rejected her; she had, without being able to swim, floated down two
miles upon its bosom, in the face of an immense multitude; and it was
clear that she had been rejected. Had she been an acceptable
sacrifice, after the fire had touched her, the river would have
received her'. This satisfied the whole crowd. The father said that,
after this unanswerable argument, he would receive his daughter; and
the whole crowd dispersed satisfied.[12]

The following conversation took place one morning between me and a
native gentleman at Jubbulpore soon after suttees had been prohibited
by Government:--

'What are the castes among whom women are not permitted to remarry
after the death of their husbands?'

'They are, sir, Brahmans, Rajputs, Baniyas (shopkeepers), Kayaths
(writers).'

'Why not permit them to marry, now that they are no longer permitted
to burn themselves with the dead bodies of their husbands?'

'The knowledge that they cannot unite themselves to a second husband
without degradation from caste, tends strongly to secure their
fidelity to the first, sir. Besides, if all widows were permitted to
marry again, what distinction would remain between us and people of
lower caste? We should all soon sink to a level with the lowest.'

'And so you are content to keep up your caste at the expense of the
poor widows?'

'No; they are themselves as proud of the distinction as their
husbands are.'

'And would they, do you think, like to hear the good old custom of
burning themselves restored?'

'Some of them would, no doubt.'

'Why?'

'Because they become reunited to their husbands in paradise, and are
there happy, free from all the troubles of this life.'

'But you should not let them have any troubles as widows.'

'If they behave well, they are the most honoured members of their
deceased husbands' families; nothing in such families is ever done
without consulting them, because all are proud to have the memory of
their lost fathers, sons, and brothers so honoured by their
widows.[13] But women feel that they are frail, and would often
rather burn themselves than be exposed all their lives to temptation
and suspicion.'

'And why do not the men burn themselves to avoid the troubles of
life?'

'Because they are not called to it from Heaven, as the women are.'

'And you think that the women were really called to be burned by the
Deity?'

'No doubt; we all believe that they were called and supported by the
Deity; and that no tender beings like women could otherwise
voluntarily undergo such tortures--they become inspired with
supernatural powers of courage and fortitude. When Duli Sukul, the
Sihora[14] banker's father, died, the wife of a Lodhi cultivator of
the town declared, all at once, that she had been a suttee with him
six times before; and that she would now go into paradise with him a
seventh time. Nothing could persuade her from burning herself. She
was between fifty and sixty years of age, and had grandchildren, and
all her family tried to persuade her that it must be a mistake, but
all in vain. She became a suttee, and was burnt the day after the
body of the banker.'

'Did not Duli Sukul's family, who were Brahmans, try to dissuade her
from it, she being a Lodhi, a very low caste?'

'They did; but they said all things were possible with God; and it
was generally believed that this was a call from Heaven.'

'And what became of the banker's widow?'

'She said that she felt no divine call to the flames. This was thirty
years ago; and the banker was about thirty years of age when he
died.'

'Then he will have rather an old wife in paradise?'

'No, sir; after they pass through the flames upon earth, both become
young in paradise.'

'Sometimes women used to burn themselves with any relic of a husband,
who had died far from home, did they not?'

'Yes, sir, I remember a fisherman, about twenty years ago, who went
on some business to Benares from Jubbulpore, and who was to have been
back in two months. Six months passed away without any news of him;
and at last the wife dreamed that he had died on the road, and began
forthwith, in the middle of the night, to call out "Sat, sat, sat!"
Nothing could dissuade her from burning; and in the morning a pile
was raised for her, on the north bank of the large tank of
Hanuman,[15] where you have planted an avenue of trees. There I saw
her burned with her husband's turban in her arms, and in ten days
after her husband came back.'

'Now the burning has been prohibited, a man cannot get rid of a bad
wife so easily?'

'But she was a good wife, sir, and bad ones do not often become
suttees.'

'Who made the pile for her?'

'Some of her family, but I forget who. They thought it must have been
a call from Heaven, when, in reality, it was only a dream.'

'You are a Rajput?'

'Yes.'

'Do Rajputs in this part of India now destroy their female infants?'

'Never; that practice has ceased everywhere in these parts; and is
growing into disuse in Bundelkhand, where the Rajas, at the request
of the British Government, have prohibited it among their subjects.
This was a measure of real good. You see girls now at play in
villages, where the face of one was never seen before, nor the voice
of one heard.'

'But still those who have them grumble, and say that the Government
which caused them to be preserved should undertake to provide for
their marriage. Is it not so?'

'At first they grumbled a little, sir; but as the infants grew on
their affections, they thought no more about it.'[16]


 Gurcharan Baboo, the Principal of the little Jubbulpore College,[17]
called upon me one forenoon, soon after this conversation. He was
educated in the Calcutta College; speaks and writes English
exceedingly well; is tolerably well read in English literature, and
is decidedly a _thinking man_. After talking over the matter which
caused his visit, I told him of the Lodhi woman's burning herself
with the Brahman banker at Sihora, and asked him what he thought of
it. He said that 'In all probability this woman had really been the
wife of the Brahman in some former birth--of which transposition a
singular case had occurred in his own family.


'His great-grandfather had three wives, who all burnt themselves with
his body. While they were burning, a large serpent came up, and,
ascending the pile, was burnt with them. Soon after another came up,
and did the same. They were seen by the whole multitude, who were
satisfied that they had been the wives of his great-grandfather in a
former birth, and would become so again after this sacrifice. When
the "sraddh", or funeral obsequies, were performed after the
prescribed intervals,[18] the offerings and prayers were regularly
made for _six souls_ instead of four; and, to this day, every member
of his family, and every Hindoo who had heard the story, believed
that these two serpents had a just right to be considered among his
ancestors, and to be prayed for accordingly in all "sraddh".'

A few days after this conversation with the Principal of the
Jubbulpore College, I had a visit from Bholi Sukul, the present head
of the Sihora banker's family, and youngest brother of the Brahman
with whose ashes the Lodhi woman burned herself. I requested him to
tell me all that he recollected about this singular suttee, and he
did so as follows:

'When my eldest brother, the father of the late Duli Sukul, who was
so long a native collector under you in this district, died about
twenty years ago at Sihora, a Lodhi woman, who resided two miles
distant in the village of Khitoli, which has been held by our family
for several generations, declared that she would burn herself with
him on the funeral pile; that she had been his wife in three
different births, had already burnt herself with him three times, and
had to burn with him four times more. She was then sixty years of
age, and had a husband living [of] about the same age. We were all
astounded when she came forward with this story, and told her that it
must be a mistake, as we were Brahmans, while she was a Lodhi. She
said that there was no mistake in the matter; that she, in the last
birth, resided with my brother in the sacred city of Benares, and one
day gave a holy man who came to ask charity salt, by mistake, instead
of sugar, with his food. That, in consequence, he told her she
should, in the next birth, be separated from her husband, and be of
inferior caste; but that, if she did her duty well in that state, she
should be reunited to him in the following birth. We told her that
all this must be a dream, and the widow of my brother insisted that,
if she were not allowed to burn herself, the other should not be
allowed to take her place. We prevented the widow from ascending the
pile, and she died at a good old age only two years ago at Sihora. My
brother's body was burned at Sihora, and the poor Lodhi woman came
and stole one handful of the ashes, which she placed in her bosom,
and took back with her to Khitoli. There she prevailed upon her
husband and her brother to assist her in her return to her former
husband and caste as a Brahman. No soul else would assist them, as we
got the then native chief to prohibit it; and these three persons
brought on their own heads the pile, on which she seated herself,
with the ashes in her bosom. The husband and his brother set fire to
the pile, and she was burned.'[19]

'And what is now your opinion, after a lapse of twenty years?'

'Why, that she had really been the wife of my brother; for at the
pile she prophesied that my nephew Duli should be, what his
grandfather had been, high in the service of the Government, and, as
you know, he soon after became so.'

'And what did your father think?'

'He was so satisfied that she had been the wife of his eldest son in
a former birth, that he defrayed all the expenses of her funeral
ceremonies, and had them all observed with as much magnificence as
those of any member of the family. Her tomb is still to be seen at
Khitoli, and that of my brother at Sihora.'

I went to look at these tombs with Bholi Sukul himself some short
time after this conversation, and found that all the people of the
town of Sihora and village of Khitoli really believed that the old
Lodhi woman had been his brother's wife in a former birth, and had
now burned herself as his widow for the fourth time. Her tomb is at
Khitoli, and his at Sihora.


Notes:

1. _Sati_, a virtuous woman, especially one who burns herself with
her husband. The word, in common usage, is transferred to the
sacrifice of the woman.

2. The women of Bundelkhand wear the same costume, a full loin-cloth,
as those of the Jubbulpore district. North of the Jumna an ordinary
petticoat is generally worn.

3. Suttee was prohibited during the administration of Lord William
Bentinck by the Bengal Regulation xvii, dated 4th December, 1829,
extended in 1830 to Madras and Bombay. The advocates of the practice
unsuccessfully appealed to the Privy Council. Several European
officers defended the custom. A well-written account of the suttee
legislation is given in Mr. D. Boulger's work on Lord William
Bentinck in the 'Rulers of India' series.

4. Whenever it is practicable, Hindoos are placed on the banks of
sacred rivers to die, especially in Bengal.

5. For explanation of this phrase, see the following story of the
Lodhi woman, following note [14], in this chapter. The name is
abnormal. _Upadhya_ is a Brahman title meaning 'spiritual preceptor'.
Brahmans serving in the army sometimes take the title Singh, which is
more properly assumed by Rajputs or Sikhs.

6. An instance of such a prophecy, of a favourable kind, will be
found at the end of this chapter; and another, disastrously
fulfilled, in Chapter 21, _post_.

7. Riwa (Rewah) is a considerable principality lying south of
Allahabad and Mirzapore and north of Sagar. The chiefs are Baghel
Rajputs. The proper title of the Udaipur, or Mewar, chief is Rana,
not Raja. See 'Annals of Mewar', chapters 1-18, pp. 173-401, in the
Popular Edition of Tod's _Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan_
(Routledge, 1914), an excellent and cheap reprint. The original
quarto edition is almost unobtainable.

8. The masculine form of the word sati (suttee).

9. Well known to tourists as the seat of the Maharaja of Benares.

10. 'of' in text.

11. In the author's time no regular census had been taken. His rough
estimate was excessive. The census figures, including the
cantonments, are: 1872, 175,188; 1901, 209,331; 1911, 203,804.

12. This Benares story, accidentally omitted from the author's text,
was printed as a note at the end of the second volume. It has now
been inserted in the place which seems most suitable. Interesting and
well-told narratives of several suttees will be found in Bernier,
_Travels in the Mogul Empire_, pp. 306-14, ed. Constable. See also
Dubois, _Hindu Manners_, &c., 3rd ed. (1906), chapter 19.

13. Widows are not always so well treated. Their life in Lower
Bengal, especially, is not a pleasant one,

14. Sihora, on the road from Jubbulpore to Mirzapur, twenty-seven
miles from the former, is a town with a population of more than
5,000. A smaller town with the same name exists in the Bhandara
district of the Central Provinces.

15. The monkey-god. His shrines are very numerous in the Central
Provinces and Bundelkhand.

16. Within the last hundred years more than one officer has believed
that infanticide had been suppressed by his efforts, and yet the
practice is by no means extinct. In the Agra Province the severely
inquisitorial measures adopted in 1870, and rigorously enforced, have
no doubt done much to break the custom, but, in the neighbouring
province of Oudh, the practice continued to be common for many years
later. A clear case in the Rai Bareli District came before me in
1889, though no one was punished, for lack of judicial proof against
any individual. The author discusses infanticide as practised in Oudh
in many passages of his _Journey through the Kingdom of Oudh_
(Bentley, 1858), It is possible that female infanticide may be still
prevalent in many Native States. Mr. Willoughby in the years
preceding A.D. 1849 made great progress in stamping it out among the
Jharejas of the Kathiawar States in the Bombay Presidency. There is
reason to hope that the crime will gradually disappear from all parts
of India, but it is difficult to say how far it still prevails,
though the general opinion is that it is now comparatively rare
(_Census Report, India_, 1911, p. 217).

17. A college of more pretensions now exists at Jabalpur
(Jubbulpore), and is affiliated in Arts and Law to the University of
Allahabad established in 1887. The small college alluded to in the
text was abolished in 1850.

18. For description of the tedious and complicated 'sraddh'
ceremonies see chapter 11 of Monier Williams's _Religious Thought and
Life in India_.

19. This version of the story differs in some minute particulars from
the version given _ante_, [14].




CHAPTER 5


Marriages of Trees--The Tank and the Plantain--Meteors--Rainbows.

Before quitting Jubbulpore, to which place I thought it very unlikely
that I should ever return, I went to visit the groves in the
vicinity, which, at the time I held the civil charge of the district
in 1828, had been planted by different native gentlemen upon lands
assigned to them rent-free for the purpose, on condition that the
holder should bind himself to plant trees at the rate of twenty-five
to the acre, and keep them up at that rate; and that for each grove,
however small, he should build and keep in repair a well, lined with
masonry, for watering the trees, and for the benefit of
travellers.[1]


Some of these groves had already begun to yield fruit, and all had
been _married_. Among the Hindoos, neither the man who plants a
grove, nor his wife, can taste of the fruit till he has _married_ one
of the mango-trees to some other tree (commonly the tamarind-tree)
that grows near it in the same grove. The proprietor of one of these
groves that stands between the cantonment and the town, old Barjor
Singh, had spent so much in planting and watering the grove, and
building walls and wells of _pucka_[2] masonry, that he could not
afford to defray the expense of the marriage ceremonies till one of
the trees, which was older than the rest when planted, began to bear
fruit in 1833, and poor old Barjor Singh and his wife were in great
distress that they dared not taste of the fruit whose flavour was so
much prized by their children. They began to think that they had
neglected a serious duty, and might, in consequence, be taken off
before another season could come round. They therefore sold all their
silver and gold ornaments, and borrowed all they could; and before
the next season the grove was married with all due pomp and ceremony,
to the great delight of the old pair, who tasted of the fruit in June
1834.

The larger the number of the Brahmans that are fed on the occasion of
the marriage, the greater the glory of the proprietor of the grove;
and when I asked old Barjor Singh, during my visit to his grove, how
many he had feasted, he said, with a heavy sigh, that he had been
able to feast only one hundred and fifty. He showed me the mango-tree
which had acted the part of the bridegroom on the occasion, but the
bride had disappeared from his side. 'And where is the bride, the
tamarind?' 'The only tamarind I had in the grove died', said the old
man, 'before we could bring about the wedding; and I was obliged to
get a jasmine for a wife for my mango. I planted it here, so that we
might, as required, cover both bride and bridegroom under one canopy
during the ceremonies; but, after the marriage was over, the gardener
neglected her, and she pined away and died.'

'And what made you prefer the jasmine to all other trees after the
tamarind?'

'Because it is the most celebrated of all trees, save the rose.'

'And why not have chosen the rose for a wife?'

'Because no one ever heard of marriage between the rose and the
mango; while they [_sic_] take place every day between the mango and
the _chambeli_ (jasmine).'[3]

After returning from the groves, I had a visit after breakfast from a
learned Muhammadan, now guardian to the young Raja of Uchahara,[4]
who resides part of his time at Jubbulpore. I mentioned my visit to
the groves and the curious notion of the Hindoos regarding the
necessity of marrying them; and he told me that, among Hindoos, the
man who went to the expense of making a tank dared not drink of its
waters till he had married his tank to some banana-tree, planted on
the bank for the purpose.[5]

'But what', said he with a smile, 'could you expect from men who
believe that Indra is the god who rules the heavens immediately over
the earth, that he sleeps during eight months in the year, and during
the other four his time is divided between his duties of sending down
rain upon the earth, and repelling with his arrows Raja Bali, who by
his austere devotions (_tapasya_) has received from the higher gods a
promise of the reversion of his dominions? The lightning which we
see', said the learned Maulavi, 'they believe to be nothing more than
the glittering of these arrows, as they are shot from the bow of
Indra upon his foe Raja Bali '.[6]

'But, my good friend Maulavi Sahib, there are many good Muhammadans
who believe that the meteors, which we call shooting stars, are in
reality stars which the guardian angels of men snatch from the
spheres, and throw at the devil as they see him passing through the
air, or hiding himself under one or other of the constellations. Is
it not so?'

'Yes, it is; but we have the authority of the holy prophet for this,
as delivered down to us by his companions in the sacred traditions,
and we are bound to believe it. When our holy prophet came upon the
earth, he found it to be infested with a host of magicians, who, by
their abominable rites and incantations, get into their interest
certain devils, or demons, whom they used to send up to heaven to
listen to the orders which the angels received from God regarding men
and the world below. On hearing these orders, they came off and
reported them to the magicians, who were thereby enabled to foretell
the events which the angels were ordered to bring about. In this
manner they often overheard the orders which the angel Gabriel
received from God, and communicated them to the magicians as soon as
he could deliver them to our holy prophet. Exulting in the knowledge
obtained in this diabolical manner, these wretches tried to turn his
prophecies into ridicule; and, seeing the evil effects of such
practices among men, he prayed God to put a stop to them. From that
time guardian angels have been stationed in different parts of the
heavens, to keep off the devils; and as soon as one of them sees a
devil sneaking too near the heaven of heavens, he snatches the
nearest star, and flings it at him.'[7] This, he added, was what all
true Muhammadans believed regarding the shooting of stars. He had
read nothing about them in the works of Plato, Aristotle,
Hippocrates, or Galen, all of which he had carefully studied, and
should be glad to learn from me what modern philosophers in Europe
thought about them.

I explained to him the supposed distance and bulk of the fixed stars
visible to the naked eye; their being radiant with unborrowed light,
and probably every one of them, like our own sun, the great centre of
a solar system of its own; embracing the vast orbits of numerous
planets, revolving around it with their attendant satellites; the
stars visible to the naked eye being but a very small portion of the
whole which the telescope had now made distinctly visible to us; and
those distinctly visible being one cluster among many thousand with
which the genius of Galileo, Newton, the Herschells, and many other
modern philosophers had discovered the heavens to be studded. I
remarked that the notion that these mighty suns, the centres of
planetary systems, should be made merely to be thrown at devils and
demons, appeared to us just as unaccountable as those of the Hindoos
regarding Indra's arrows.

'But', said he, 'these foolish Hindoos believe still greater
absurdities. They believe that the rainbow is nothing but the fume of
a large snake, concealed under the ground; that he vomits forth this
fume from a hole in the surface of the earth, without being himself
seen; and, when you ask them why, in that case, the rainbow should be
in the west while the sun is in the east, and in the east while the
sun is in the west, they know not what to say.'[8]

'The truth is, my friend Maulavi Sahib, the Hindoos, like a very
great part of every other nation, are very much disposed to attribute
to supernatural influences effects that the wiser portion of our
species know to rise from natural causes.'

The Maulavi was right. In the _Mishkat-ul-Masabih_,[9] the authentic
traditions of their prophet,[10] it is stated that Ayesha, the widow
of Muhammad, said, 'I heard His Majesty say, "The angels come down to
the region next the world, and mention the works that have been pre-
ordained in heaven; and the devils, who descend to the lowest region,
listen to what the angels say, and hear the orders predestined in
heaven, and carry them to fortune-tellers; therefore, they tell a
hundred lies with it from themselves "'[11]

'Ibn Abbas said, "A man of His Majesty's friends informed me, that
whilst His Majesty's friends were sitting with him one night, a very
bright star shot; and His Highness said, "What did you say in the
days of ignorance when a star shot like this?" They said, "God and
His messenger know best; we used to say, a great man was born to-
night, and a great man died."[12] Then His Majesty said, "You
mistook, because the shootings of these stars are neither for the
life nor death of any person; but when our cherisher orders a work,
the bearers of the imperial throne sing hallelujahs; and the
inhabitants of the regions who are near the bearers repeat it, till
it reaches the lowest regions. After the angels which are near the
bearers of the imperial throne say, "What did your cherisher order?"
Then they are informed; and so it is handed from one region to
another, till the information reaches the people of the lowest
region. Then the devils steal it, and carry it to their friends,
(that is) magicians; and these stars are thrown at these devils; not
for the birth or death of any person. Then the things which the
magicians tell, having heard from the devils, are true, but these
magicians tell lies, and exaggerate in what they hear".'

Kutadah said, 'God has created stars for three uses; one of them, as
a cause of ornament of the regions; the second, to stone the devil
with; the third, to direct people going through forests and on the
sea. Therefore, whoever shall explain them otherwise, does wrong, and
loses his time, and speaks from his own invention and
embellishes'.[13]

Ibn Abbas. ['The prophet said,] "Whoever attains to the knowledge of
astrology for any other explanation than the three aforementioned,
then verily he has attained to a branch of magic. An astrologer is a
magician, and a magician is a necromancer, and a necromancer is an
infidel."'[14]

This work contains the precepts and sayings of Muhammad, as declared
by his companions, who themselves heard them, or by those who heard
them immediately from those companions; and they are considered to be
binding upon the faith and conduct of Musalmans, though not all
delivered from inspiration.

Everything that is written in the Koran itself is supposed to have
been brought direct from God by the angel Gabriel.[15]


Notes:

1. In planting mango groves, it is a rule that they shall be as far
from each other as not to admit of their branches ever meeting.
'Plant trees, but let them not touch' ('_Am lagao, nis lagen nahin_')
is the maxim. [W. H. S.]

2. _Pakka_; the word here means 'cemented with lime mortar', and not
only with mud (_kachcha_).

3. The _chambeli_ is known in science as the _Jasminum grandiflorum_,
and the mango-tree as _Mangifera Indica_.

4. A small principality west of Riwa, and 110 miles north-west of
Jubbulpore. It is also known as Nagaudh, or Nagod.

5. Compare the account of the marriage of the _tulasi_ shrub (_Ocymum
sanctum_) with the salagram stone, or fossil ammonite, in Chapter 19,
_post_.

6. There is a sublime passage in the Psalms of David, where the
lightning is said to be the arrows of God. Psalm lxxvii:
 17, 'The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine
arrows also went abroad.
 18. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven; the lightnings
lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.' [W. H. S.]
 The passage is quoted from the Authorized Bible version; the Prayer
Book version is finer.

7. 'We guard them from every devil driven away with stones; except
him who listeneth by stealth, at whom a visible flame is darted.'
Koran, chapter 15, Sale's translation. See _post_, end of this
chapter.

8. Nine Hindoos out of ten, or perhaps ninety-nine in a hundred,
throughout India, believe the rainbow to arise from the breath of the
snake, thrown up from the surface of the earth, as water is thrown up
by whales from the surface of the ocean. [W. H. S,]

9. '_Mishkat_ is a hole in a wall in which a lamp is placed, and
_Masabih_ the plural of "a lamp", because traditions are compared to
lamps, and this book is like that which containeth a lamp. Another
reason is, that _Masabih_ is the name of a book, and this book
comprehends its contents' (Matthews's translation, vol. i, p. v,
note).

10. The full title is _Mishkat-ul-Masabih, or a Collection of the
most Authentic Traditions regarding the Actions and Sayings of
Muhammed; exhibiting the Origin of the Manners and Customs; the
Civil, Religious, and Military Policy of the Muslemans_. Translated
from the original Arabic by Captain A. N. Matthews, Bengal Artillery.
Two vols. 4to; Calcutta, 1809-10, This valuable work, published by
subscription, is now very scarce. A fine copy is in the India Office
Library.

11. Book xxi, chapter 3, part i; vol. ii, p. 384. The quotations as
given by the author are inexact. The editor has substituted correct
extracts from Matthews's text. Matthews spells the name of the
prophet's widow as Aayeshah.

12. In Sparta, the Ephoroi, once every nine years, watched the sky
during a whole cloudless, moonless night, in profound silence; and,
if they saw a shooting star, it was understood to indicate that the
kings of Sparta had disobeyed the gods, and their authority was, in
consequence, suspended till they had been purified by an oracle from
Delphi or Olympia. [W. H. S.] This statement rests on the authority
of Plutarch, _Agis_, 11.

13. _Mishkat_. Part iii of same chapter; vol. ii, p. 386.

14. Ibid. p. 386.

15. But the prying character of these devils is described in the
Koran itself. According to Muhammadans, they had access to all the
seven heavens till the time of Moses, who got them excluded from
three. Christ got them excluded from three more; and Muhammad managed
to get them excluded from the seventh and last. 'We have placed the
twelve signs in the heavens, and have set them out in various figures
for the observation of spectators, and we guard them from every devil
driven away with stones; except him who listeneth by stealth, at whom
a visible flame is darted' (Chapter 15).

'We have adorned the lower heaven with the ornament of stars, and we
have placed therein a guard against every rebellious devil, that they
may not listen to the discourse of exalted princes, for they are
darted at from every side, to repel them, and a lasting torment is
prepared for them; except him who catcheth a word by stealth, and is
pursued by a shining flame' (Chapter 37). [W. H. 8.] Passages of this
kind should he remembered by persons who expect orthodox Muhammadans
to accept the results of modern science.




CHAPTER 6


Hindoo Marriages.

Certain it is that no Hindoo will have a marriage in his family
during the four months of the rainy season; for among eighty millions
of souls[1] not one doubts that the Great Preserver of the universe
is, during these four months, down on a visit to Raja Bali, and,
consequently, unable to bless the contract with his presence.[2]

Marriage is a sacred duty among Hindoos, a duty which every parent
must perform for his children, otherwise they owe him no reverence. A
family with a daughter unmarried after the age of puberty is
considered to labour under the displeasure of the gods; and no member
of the other sex considers himself _respectable_ after the age of
puberty till he is married. It is the duty of his parent or elder
brothers to have him suitably married; and, if they do not do so, he
reproaches them with his _degraded condition_. The same feeling, in a
degree, pervades all the Muhammadan community; and nothing appears so
strange to them as the apparent indifference of old bachelors among
us to their _sad condition_.

Marriage, with all its ceremonies, its rights, and its duties, fills
their imagination from infancy to age; and I do not believe there is
a country upon earth in which a larger portion of the wealth of the
community is spent in the ceremonies, or where the rights are better
secured, or the duties better enforced, notwithstanding all the
disadvantages of the laws of polygamy. Not one man in ten can afford
to maintain more than one wife, and not one in ten of those who can
afford it will venture upon 'a sea of troubles' in taking a second,
if he has a child by the first. One of the evils which press most
upon Indian society is the necessity which long usage has established
of squandering large sums in marriage ceremonies. Instead of giving
what they can to their children to establish them, and enable them to
provide for their families and rise in the world, parents everywhere
feel bound to squander all they can borrow in the festivities of
their marriage. Men in India could never feel secure of being
permitted freely to enjoy their property under despotic and unsettled
governments, the only kind of governments they knew or hoped for; and
much of the means that would otherwise have been laid out in forming
substantial works, with a view to a return in income of some sort or
another, for the remainder of their own lives and of those of their
children, were expended in tombs, temples, sarais, tanks, groves, and
other works--useful and ornamental, no doubt, but from which neither
they nor their children could ever hope to derive income of any kind.
The same feeling of insecurity gave birth, no doubt, to this
preposterous usage, which tends so much to keep down the great mass
of the people of India to that grade in which they were born, and in
which they have nothing but their manual labour to depend upon for
their subsistence. Every man feels himself bound to waste all his
stock and capital, and exhaust all his credit, in feeding idlers
during the ceremonies which attend the marriage of his children,
because his ancestors squandered similar sums, and he would sink in
the estimation of society if he were to allow his children to be
married with less.

But it could not have been solely because men could not invest their
means in profitable works, with any chance of being long permitted to
enjoy the profits under such despotic and unsettled governments, that
they squandered them in feeding idle people in marriage ceremonies;
since temples, tanks, and groves secured esteem in this life, and
promised some advantage in the next, and an outlay in such works
might therefore have been preferred. But under such governments a
man's title even to the exclusive possession of his wife might not be
considered as altogether secure under the mere sanction of religion;
and the outlay in feeding the family, tribe, and neighbourhood during
the marriage ceremony seems to have been considered as a kind of
value in exchange given for her to society. There is nothing that she
and her husband recollect through life with so much pride and
pleasure as the cost of their marriage, if it happen to be large for
their condition of life; it is their _amoka_, their title of
nobility;[3] and their parents consider it their duty to make it as
large as they can. A man would hardly feel secure of the sympathy of
his family, tribe, circle of society, or rulers, for the loss of 'his
ox, or his ass, or anything that is his', if it should happen to have
cost him nothing; and, till he could feel secure of their sympathy
for the loss, he would not feel very secure in the possession. He,
therefore, or those who are interested in his welfare, strengthen his
security by an outlay which invests his wife with a tangible value in
cost, well understood by his circle and rulers. His family, tribe,
and circle have received the purchase money, and feel bound to secure
to him the commodity purchased; and, as they are in all such matters
commonly much stronger than the rulers themselves, the money spent
among them is more efficacious in securing the exclusive enjoyment of
the wife than if it had been paid in taxes or fees to them for a
marriage licence.[4] The pride of families and tribes, and the desire
of the multitude to participate in the enjoyment of such ceremonies,
tend to keep up this usage after the cause in which it originated may
have ceased to operate; but it will, it is to be hoped, gradually
decline with the increased feeling of security to person, property,
and character under our rule. Nothing is now more common than to see
an individual in the humblest rank spending all that he has, or can
borrow, in the marriage of one of many daughters, and trusting to
Providence for the means of marrying the others; nor in the higher,
to find a young man, whose estates have, during a long minority,
under the careful management of Government officers, been freed from
very heavy debts, with which an improvident father had left them
encumbered, the moment he attains his majority and enters upon the
management, borrowing three times their annual rent, at an exorbitant
interest, to marry a couple of sisters, at the same rate of outlay in
feasts and fireworks that his grandmother was married with.[5]


Notes:

1. The author's figure of 'eighty millions' was a mere guess, and
probably, even in his time, was much below the mark. The figures of
the census of 1911 are:
 Total population of India, excluding
  Burma  . . . . 301,432,623
  Hindus . . . . 217,197,213
The proportions in different provinces vary enormously.

2. See _ante_. Chapter 1, note 3.

3. The word _amoka_ is corrupt, and even Sir George Grierson cannot
suggest a plausible explanation. Can it be a misprint for _anka_, in
the sense of 'stamp'?

4. Akbar levied a tax on marriages, ranging from a single copper coin
(_dam_ = 1/40th of rupee) for poor people to 10 gold mohurs, or about
150 rupees, for high officials. Abul Fazl declares that 'the payment
of this tax is looked upon as auspicious', a statement open to doubt
(Blochmann, transl. _Ain_, vol. i, p. 278). In 1772 Warren Hastings
abolished the marriage fees levied up to that time in Bengal by the
Muhammadan law-officers. But I am disposed to think that a modern
finance minister might reconsider the propriety of imposing a
moderate tax, carefully graduated.

5. Extravagance in marriage expenses is still one of the principal
curses of Indian society. Considerable efforts to secure reform have
been made by various castes during recent years, but, as yet, small
results only have been attained. The editor has seen numerous painful
examples of the wreck of fine estates by young proprietors assuming
the management after a long term of the careful stewardship of the
Court of Wards.




CHAPTER 7


The Purveyance System,

We left Jubbulpore on the morning of the 20th November, 1835, and
came on ten miles to Baghauri. Several of our friends of the 29th
Native Infantry accompanied us this first stage, where they had a
good day's shooting. In 1830 I established here some venders in wood
to save the people from the miseries of the purveyance system; but I
now found that a native collector, soon after I had resigned the
civil charge of the district, and gone to Sagar,[1] in order to
ingratiate himself with the officers and get from them favourable
testimonials, gave two regiments, as they marched over this road,
free permission to help themselves gratis out of the store-rooms of
these poor men, whom I had set up with a loan from the public
treasury, declaring that it must be the wish and intention of
Government to supply their public officers free of cost; and
consequently that no excuses could be attended to. From that time
shops and shopkeepers have disappeared. Wood for all public officers
and establishments passing this road has ever since, as in former
times, been collected from the surrounding villages gratis, under the
purveyance system, in which all native public officers delight, and
which, I am afraid, is encouraged by European officers, either from
their ignorance or their indolence. They do not like the trouble of
seeing the men paid either for their wood or their labour; and their
head servants of the kitchen or the wardrobe weary and worry them out
of their best resolutions on the subject. They make the poor men sit
aloof by telling them that their master is a tiger before breakfast,
and will eat them if they approach; and they tell their masters that
there is no hope of getting the poor men to come for their money till
they have bathed or taken their breakfast. The latter wait in hopes
that the gentleman will come out or send for them as soon as he has
been tamed by his breakfast; but this meal has put him in good humour
with all the world, and he is now no longer unwilling to trust the
payment of the poor men to his butler, or his _valet de chambre_.
They keep the poor wretches waiting, declaring that they have as yet
received no orders to pay them, till, hungry and weary, in the
afternoon they all walk back to their homes in utter despair of
getting anything.

If, in the meantime, the gentleman comes out, and finds the men, his
servants pacify him by declaring either that they have not yet had
time to carry his orders into effect, that they could not get copper
change for silver rupees, or that they were anxious to collect all
the people together before they paid any, lest they might pay some of
them twice over. It is seldom, however, that he comes among them at
all; he takes it for granted that the people have all been paid; and
passes the charge in the account of his servants, who all get what
these porters ought to have received. Or, perhaps the gentleman may
persuade himself that, if he pays his valet or butler, these
functionaries will never pay the poor men, and think that he had
better sit quiet and keep the money in his own pocket. The native
police or revenue officer is directed by his superior to have wood
collected for the camp of a regiment or great civil officers, and he
sends out his myrmidons to employ the people around in felling trees,
and cutting up wood enough to supply not only the camp, but his own
cook-rooms and those of his friends for the next six months. The men
so employed commonly get nothing; but the native officer receives
credit for all manner of superlatively good qualities, which are
enumerated in a certificate. Many a fine tree, dear to the affections
of families and village communities, has been cut down in spite, or
redeemed from the axe by a handsome present to this officer or his
myrmidons. Lambs, kids, fowls, milk, vegetables, all come flowing in
for the great man's table from poor people, who are too hopeless to
seek for payment, or who are represented as too proud and wealthy to
receive it. Such always have been and such always will be some of the
evils of the purveyance system. If a police officer receives an order
from the magistrate to provide a regiment, detachment, or individual
with boats, carts, bullocks, or porters, he has all that can be found
within his jurisdiction forthwith seized--releases all those whose
proprietors are able and willing to pay what he demands, and
furnishes the rest, which are generally the worst, to the persons who
require them. Police officers derive so much profit from these
applications that they are always anxious they should be made; and
will privately defeat all attempts of private individuals to provide
themselves by dissuading or intimidating the proprietors of vehicles
from voluntarily furnishing them. The gentleman's servant who is sent
to procure them returns and tells his master that there are plenty of
vehicles, but that their proprietors dare not send them without
orders from the police; and that the police tell him they dare not
give such orders without the special sanction of the magistrate. The
magistrate is written to, but declares that his police have been
prohibited from interfering in such matters without special orders,
since the proprietors ought to be permitted to send their vehicles to
whom they choose, except on occasions of great public emergency; and,
as the present cannot be considered as one of these occasions, he
does not feel authorized to issue such orders. On the Ganges, many
men have made large fortunes by pretending a general authority to
seize boats for the use of the commissariat, or for other Government
purposes, on the ground of having been once or twice employed on that
duty; and what they get is but a small portion of that which the
public lose. One of these self-constituted functionaries has a boat
seized on its way down or up the river; and the crew, who are merely
hired for the occasion, and have a month's wages in advance, seeing
no prospect of getting soon out of the hands of this pretended
Government servant, desert, and leave the boat on the sands; while
the owner, if he ever learns the real state of the case, thinks it
better to put up with his loss than to seek redress through expensive
courts, and distant local authorities. If the boat happens to be
loaded and to have a supercargo, who will not or cannot bribe high
enough, he is abandoned on the sands by his crew; in his search for
aid from the neighbourhood, his helplessness becomes known--he is
perhaps murdered, or runs away in the apprehension of being so--the
boat is plundered and made a wreck. Still the dread of the delays and
costs of our courts, and the utter hopelessness of ever recovering
the lost property, prevent the proprietors from seeking redress, and
our Government authorities know nothing of the circumstances.

We remained at Baghauri the 21st to enable our people to prepare for
the long march they had before them, and to see a little more of our
Jubbulpore friends, who were to have another day's shooting, as black
partridges[2] and quail had been found abundant in the neighbourhood
of our camp.[3]


Notes:

1. Or Saugor, the head-quarters of the district of that name in the
Central Provinces. The town is 109 miles north-west of Jabalpur. The
author took charge of the Sagar district in January 1831.

2. _Francolinus vulgaris_.

3. The purveyance system (Persian _rasad rasani_) above described is
one of the necessary evils of Oriental life. It will be observed that
the author, though so keenly sensitive to the abuses attending the
system, proposes no substitute for it, and confesses that the small
attempt he made to check abuse was a failure. From time immemorial it
has been the custom for Government officials in India to be supplied
with necessaries by the people of the country through which their
camps pass. Under native Governments no officials ever dream of
paying for anything. In British territory requisitions are limited,
and in well ordered civil camps nothing is taken without payment
except wood, coarse earthen vessels, and grass. The hereditary
village potter supplies the pots, and this duty is fully recognized
as one attaching to his office. The landholders supply the wood and
grass. None of these things are ordinarily procurable by private
purchase in sufficient quantity, and in most cases could not be
bought at all. Officers commanding troops send in advance
requisitions specifying the quantities of each article needed, and
the indent is met by the civil authorities. Everything so indented
for, including wood and grass, is supposed to be paid for, but in
practice it is often impossible, with the agency available, to ensure
actual payment to the persons entitled. Troops and the people in
civil camps must live, and all that can be done is to check abuse, so
far as possible, by vigilant administration. The obligation of
landholders to supply necessaries for troops and officials on the
march is so well established that it forms one of the conditions of
the contract with Government under which proprietors in the
permanently settled province of Benares hold their lands. The extreme
abuses of which the system is capable under a lax and corrupt native
Government are abundantly illustrated in the author's _Journey
through the Kingdom of Oudh_. 'The System of Purveyance and Forced
Labour' is the subject of article xxv in the Hon. F, J, Shore's
curious book, _Notes on Indian Affairs_ (London, 1837, 2 vols. 8vo).
Many of the abuses denounced by Mr. Shore have been suppressed, but
some, unhappily, still exist, and are likely to continue for many
years.




CHAPTER 8


Religious Sects--Self-government of the Castes--Chimney-sweepers--
Washerwomen[1]--Elephant Drivers.

Mir Salamat Ali, the head native collector of the district, a
venerable old Musalman and most valuable public servant, who has been
labouring in the same vineyard with me for the last fifteen years
with great zeal, ability, and integrity, came to visit me after
breakfast with two very pretty and interesting young sons. While we
were sitting together my wife's under-woman[2] said to some one who
was talking with her outside the tent-door, 'If that were really the
case, should I not be degraded?' 'You see, Mir Sahib',[3] said I,
'that the very lowest members of society among these Hindoos still
feel the pride of caste, and dread exclusion from their own, however
low.'[4]

'Yes', said the Mir, 'they are a very strange kind of people, and I
question whether they ever had a real prophet among them.'

'I question, Mir Sahib, whether they really ever had such a person.
They of course think the incarnations of their three great divinities
were beings infinitely superior to prophets, being in all their
attributes and prerogatives equal to the divinities themselves.[5]
But we are disposed to think that these incarnations were nothing
more than great men whom their flatterers and poets have exalted into
gods--this was the way in which men made their gods in ancient Greece
and Egypt. These great men were generally conquerors whose glory
consisted in the destruction of their fellow creatures; and this is
the glory which their flatterers are most prone to extol. All that
the poets have sung of the actions of men is now received as
revelation from heaven; though nothing can be more monstrous than the
actions attributed to the best incarnation, Krishna, of the best of
their gods, Vishnu.[6]

'No doubt', said Salamat Ali; 'and had they ever had a real prophet
among them he would have revealed better things to them. Strange
people! when their women go on pilgrimages to Gaya, they have their
heads shaved before the image of their god; and the offering of the
hair is equivalent to the offer of their heads;[7] for heads, thank
God, they dare no longer offer within the Company's territories.'

'Do you. Mir Sahib, think that they continue to offer up human
sacrifices anywhere?'

'Certainly I do. There is a Raja at Ratanpur, or somewhere between
Mandla and Sambalpur, who has a man offered up to Devi every year,
and that man must be a Brahman. If he can get a Brahman traveller,
well and good; if not, he and his priests offer one of his own
subjects. Every Brahman that has to pass through this territory goes
in disguise.[8] With what energy did our emperor Aurangzeb apply
himself to put down iniquities like this in the Rajputana states, but
all in vain. If a Raja died, all his numerous wives burnt themselves
with his body--even their servants, male and female, were obliged to
do the same; for, said his friends, what is he to do in the next
world without attendants? The pile was enormous. On the top sat the
queen with the body of the prince; the servants, male and female,
according to their degree, below; and a large army stood all round to
drive into the fire again or kill all who should attempt to
escape.'[9]

'This is all very true, Mir Sahib, but you must admit that, though
there is a great deal of absurdity in their customs and opinions,
there is, on the other hand, much that we might all take an example
from. The Hindoo believes that Christians and Musalmans may be as
good men in all relations of life as himself, and in as fair a way to
heaven as he is; for he believes that my Bible and your Koran are as
much revelations framed by the Deity for our guidance, as the
Shastras are for his. He doubts not that our Christ was the Son of
God, nor that Muhammad was the prophet of God; and all that he asks
from us is to allow him freely to believe in his own gods, and to
worship in his own way. Nor does one caste or sect of Hindoos ever
believe itself to be alone in the right way, or detest any other for
not following in the same path, as they have as much of toleration
for each other as they have for us.[10]

'True,' exclaimed Salamat Ali, 'too true! we have ruined each other;
we have cut each other's throats; we have lost the empire, and we
deserve to lose it. You won it, and you preserved it by your _union_-
-ten men with one heart are equal to a hundred men with different
hearts. A Hindoo may feel himself authorized to take in a Musalman,
and might even think it _meritorious_ to do so; but he would never
think it meritorious to take in one of his own religion. There are no
less than seventy-two sects of Muhammadans; and every one of these
sects would not only take in the followers of every other religion on
earth, but every member of every one of the other seventy-one sects;
and the nearer that sect is to its own, the greater the merit in
taking in its members.'[11]

'Something has happened of late to annoy you, I fear, Mir Sahib?'

'Something happens to annoy us every day, sir, where we are more than
one sect of us together; and wherever you find Musalmans you will
find them divided into sects.'

It is not, perhaps, known to many of my countrymen in India that in
every city and town in the country the right of sweeping the houses
and streets is one of the most intolerable of monopolies, supported
entirely by the pride of caste among the scavengers, who are all of
the lowest class. The right of sweeping within a certain range is
recognized by the caste to belong to a certain member; and, if any
other member presumes to sweep within that range, he is
excommunicated--no other member will smoke out of his pipe, or drink
out of his jug; and he can get restored to caste only by a feast to
the whole body of sweepers. If any housekeeper within a particular
circle happens to offend the sweeper of that range, none of his filth
will be removed till he pacifies him, because no other sweeper will
dare to touch it; and the people of a town are often more tyrannized
over by these people than by any other.[12]

It is worthy of remark that in India the spirit of combination is
always in the inverse ratio to the rank of the class; weakest in the
highest, and strongest in the lowest class. All infringements upon
the rules of the class are punished by fines. Every fine furnishes a
feast at which every member sits and enjoys himself. Payment is
enforced by excommunication--no one of the caste will eat, drink, or
smoke with the convicted till the fine is paid; and, as every one
shares in the fine, every one does his best to enforce payment. The
fines are imposed by the elders, who know the circumstances of the
culprit, and fix the amount accordingly. Washermen will often at a
large station combine to prevent the washermen of one gentleman from
washing the clothes of the servants of any other gentleman, or the
servants of one gentleman from getting their clothes washed by any
other person than their own master's washerman. This enables them
sometimes to raise the rate of washing to double the fair or ordinary
rate; and at such places the washermen are always drunk with one
continued routine of feasts from the fines levied.[13] The cost of
these fees falls ultimately upon the poor servants or their masters.
This combination, however, is not always for bad or selfish purposes.
I was once on the staff of an officer commanding a brigade on
service, whose elephant driver exercised an influence over him that
was often mischievous and sometimes dangerous;[14] for in marching
and choosing his ground, this man was more often consulted than the
quarter-master-general. His bearing was most insolent, and became
intolerable, as well to the European gentlemen as to the people of
his caste.[15] He at last committed himself by saying that he would
spit in the face of another gentleman's elephant driver with whom he
was disputing. All the elephant drivers in our large camp were
immediately assembled, and it was determined in council to refer the
matter to the decision of the Raja of Darbhanga's driver, who was
acknowledged the head of the class. We were all breakfasting with the
brigadier after muster when the reply came-the distance to Darbhanga
from Nathpur on the Kusi river, where we then were, must have been a
hundred and fifty miles.[16] We saw men running in all directions
through the camp, without knowing why, till at last one came and
summoned the brigadier's driver. With a face of terror he came and
implored the protection of the brigadier; who got angry, and fumed a
good deal, but seeing no expression of sympathy on the faces of his
officers, he told the man to go and hear his sentence. He was
escorted to a circle formed by all the drivers in camp, who were
seated on the grass. The offender was taken into the middle of the
circle and commanded to stand on one leg[17] while the Raja's
driver's letter was read. He did so, and the letter directed him to
apologize to the offended party, pay a heavy fine for a feast, and
pledge himself to the offended drivers never to offend again. All the
officers in camp were delighted, and some, who went to hear the
sentence explained, declared that in no court in the world could the
thing have been done with more solemnity and effect. The man's
character was quite altered by it, and he became the most docile of
drivers. On the same principle here stated of enlisting the community
in the punishment of offenders, the New Zealanders, and other savage
tribes who have been fond of human flesh, have generally been found
to confine the feast to the body of those who were put to death for
offences against the state or the individual. I and all the officers
of my regiment were at one time in the habit of making every servant
who required punishment or admonition to bring immediately, and give
to the first religious mendicant we could pick up, the fine we
thought just. All the religionists in the neighbourhood declared that
justice had never been so well administered in any other regiment; no
servant got any sympathy from them--they were all told that their
masters were far too lenient.

We crossed the Hiran river[18] about ten miles from our last ground
on the 22nd,[19] and came on two miles to our tents in a mango grove
close to the town of Katangi,[20] and under the Vindhya range of
sandstone hills, which rise almost perpendicular to the height of
some eight hundred feet over the town. This range from Katangi skirts
the Nerbudda valley to the north, as the Satpura range skirts it to
the south; and both are of the same sandstone formation capped with
basalt upon which here and there are found masses of laterite, or
iron clay. Nothing has ever yet been found reposing upon this iron
clay.[21] The strata of this range have a gentle and almost
imperceptible dip to the north, at right angles to its face which
overlooks the valley, and this face has everywhere the appearance of
a range of gigantic round bastions projecting into what was perhaps a
lake, and is now a well-peopled, well-cultivated, and very happy
valley, about twenty miles wide. The river crosses and recrosses it
diagonally. Near Jubbulpore it flows along for some distance close
under the Satpura range to the south; and crossing over the valley
from Bheraghat, it reaches the Vindhya range to the north, at the
point where it reaches the Hiran river, forty miles below.


Notes:

1. This is a slip, probably due to the printer's reader. There are no
chimney-sweepers in India. The word should be 'sweepers'. The members
of this caste and a few other degraded communities, such as the Doms,
do all the sweeping, scavenging, and conservancy work in India.
'Washerwomen' is another slip: read 'Washermen'.

2. The 'under-woman', or 'second ayah', was a member of the sweeper
caste.

3. The title Mir Sahib implies that Salamat Ali was a Sayyid,
claiming descent from Ali, the cousin, son-in-law, and pupil of
Muhammad, who became Khalif  in A.D. 656.

4. The sweeper castes stand outside the Hindoo pale, and often
incline to Muhammadan practices. They worship a special form of the
Deity, under the names of Lal Beg, Lal Guru, &c.

5. No _avatar_ or incarnation of Brahma is known to most Hindoos, and
incarnations of Siva are rarely mentioned. The only _avatars_
ordinarily recognized are those of Vishnu, as enumerated ante.
Chapter 2, note 4.

6. This theory is a very inadequate explanation of the doctrine of
_avatars_.

7. 'Women . . . are most careful to preserve their hair intact. They
pride themselves on its length and weight. For a woman to have to
part with her hair is one of the greatest of degradations, and the
most terrible of all trials. It is the mark of widowhood. Yet in some
sacred places, especially at the confluence of rivers, the cutting
off and offering of a few locks of hair (_Veni-danam_) by a virtuous
wife is considered a highly meritorious act' (Monier Williams,
_Religious Thought and Life in India_, p, 375). Gaya in Bihar, fifty-
five miles south of Patna, is much frequented by pilgrims devoted to
Vishnu.

8. All the places named are in the Central Provinces. Ratanpur, in
the Bilaspur District, is a place of much antiquarian interest, full
of ruins; Mandla, in the Mandla District, was the capital of the
later Gond chiefs of Garha Mandla; and Sambalpur is the capital of
the Sambalpur District. If the story is true, the selection of a
Brahman for sacrifice is remarkable, though not without precedent.
Human sacrifice has prevailed largely in India, and is not yet quite
extinct. In 1891 some Jats in the Muzaffarnagar District of the
United Provinces sacrificed a boy in a very painful manner for some
unascertained magical purpose. It was supposed that the object was to
induce the gods to grant offspring to a childless woman. Other
similar cases have occurred in recent years. One occurred close to
Calcutta in 1892. In the hill tracts of Orissa bordering on the
Central Provinces the rite of human sacrifice was practised by the
Khonds on an awful scale, and with horrid cruelty, It was suppressed
by the special efforts of Macpherson, Campbell, MacViccar, and other
officers, between the years 1837 and 1854. Daring that period the
British officers rescued 1,506 victims intended for sacrifice
(_Narrative of Major-General John Campbell, C.B., of his Operations
in the Hill Tracts of Orissa for the Suppression of Human Sacrifices
and Female Infanticide_. Printed for private circulation. London:
Hurst and Blackett, 1861). The rite, when practised by Hindoos, may
have been borrowed from some of the aboriginal races. The practice,
however, has been so general throughout the world that few peoples
can claim the honour of freedom from the stain of adopting it at one
time or another, Much curious information on the subject, and many
modern instances of human sacrifices in India, are collected in the
article 'Sacrifice' in Balfour, _Cyclopaedia of India_, 3rd edition,
1885. Major S. C. Macpherson, _Memorials of Service in India_ (1865),
and Frazer, _Golden Bough_, 3rd edition, Part V, vol. i (1912), pp.
236 seq., may also be consulted.

9. Bernier vividly describes an 'infernal tragedy' of this kind which
he witnessed, in or about the year 1659, during Aurangzeb's reign, in
Rajputana. On that occasion five female slaves burnt themselves with
their mistress (_Travels_, ed. Constable and V. A. Smith (1914), p.
309).

10. Hinduism is a social system, not a creed, A Hindoo may believe,
or disbelieve, what speculative doctrine he chooses, but he must not
eat, drink, or marry, save in accordance with the custom of his
caste. Compare Asoka on toleration; 'The sects of other people all
deserve reverence for one reason or another' (Rock Edict xii; V. A.
Smith, _Asoka_, 2nd edition (1909), p. 170).

11. Mir Salamat Ali is a stanch Sunni, the sect of Osman; and they
are always at daggers drawn with the Shias, or the sect of Ali. He
alludes to the Shias when he says that one of the seventy-two sects
is always ready to take in the whole of the other seventy-one.
Muhammad, according to the traditions, was one day heard to say, 'The
time will come when my followers will he divided into seventy-three
sects; all of them will assuredly go to hell save one.' Every one of
the seventy-three sects believes itself to be the one happily
excepted by their prophet, and predestined to paradise. I am
sometimes disposed to think Muhammad was self-deluded, however
difficult it might be to account for so much 'method in his madness'.
It is difficult to conceive a man placed in such circumstances with
more amiable dispositions or with juster views of the rights and
duties of men in all their relations with each other, than are
exhibited by him on almost all occasions, save where the question of
_faith_ in his divine mission was concerned.

A very interesting and useful book might be made out of the history
of those men, more or less mad, by whom multitudes of mankind have
been led and perhaps governed; and a philosophical analysis of the
points on which they were really mad and really sane, would show many
of them to have been fit subjects for a madhouse during the whole
career of their glory. [W. H. S.]

For an account of Muhammadan sects, see section viii of the
Preliminary Dissertation in Sale's Koran, entitled, 'Of the Principal
Sects among the Muhammadans; and of those who have pretended to
Prophecy among the Arabs, in or since the Time of Muhammad'; and T.
P. Hughes, _Dictionary of Islam_ (1885). The chief sects of the
Sunnis, or Traditionists, are four in number. 'The principal sects of
the Shias are five, which are subdivided into an almost innumerable
number.' The court of the kings of Oudh was Shia. In most parts of
India the Sunni faith prevails.

The relation between genius and insanity is well expressed by Dryden
(_Absalom and Achitopfel_):

    Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
    And thin partitions do their bounds divide.

The treatise of Professor Cesare Lombroso, entitled _The Man of
Genius_ (London edition, 1891), is devoted to proof and illustration
of the proposition that genius is 'a special morbid condition'. He
deals briefly with the case of Muhammad at pages 31, 39, and 325,
maintaining that the prophet, like Saint Paul, Julius Caesar, and
many other men of genius, was subject to epileptic fits. The
Professor's book seems to be exactly what Sir W. H. Sleeman desired
to see.

12. In the author's time, when municipal conservancy and sanitation
were almost unknown in India, the tyranny of the sweepers' guild was
chiefly felt as a private inconvenience. It is now one of the
principal of the many difficulties, little understood in Europe,
which bar the progress of Indian sanitary reform. The sweepers cannot
be readily coerced because no Hindoo or Musalman would do their work
to save his life, nor will he pollute himself even by beating the
refractory scavenger. A strike of sweepers on the occasion of a great
fair, or of a cholera epidemic, is a most dangerous calamity. The
vested rights described in the text are so fully recognized in
practice that they are frequently the subject of sale or mortgage.

13. The low-caste Hindoos are generally fond of drink, when they can
get it, but seldom commit crime under its influence.

14. An elephant driver, by reason of his position on the animal, has
opportunities for private conversation with his master.


15. Elephant drivers (_mahouts_) are Muhammadans, who should have no
caste, but Indian Musalmans have become Hinduized, and fallen under
the dominion of caste.

16. Darbhanga is in Tirhut, seventy miles NE. of Dinapore. The Kusi
(Kosi or Koosee) river rises in the mountains of Nepal, and falls
into the Ganges after a course of about 325 miles. Nathpur, in the
Puraniya (Purneah) District, is a mart for the trade with Nepal.

17. The customary attitude of a suppliant.

18. A small river which falls into the Nerbudda on the right-hand
side, at Sankal. Its general course is south-west.

19. November, 1835.

20. Described in the _Gazetteer_ (1870) as 'a large but decaying
village in the Jabalpur district, situated at the foot of the Bhanrer
hills, twenty-two miles to the north-west of Jabalpur, on the north
side of the Hiran, and on the road to Sagar'.

21. The convenient restriction of the name Vindhya to the hills
north, and of Satpura to the hills south of the Nerbudda is of modern
origin (_Manual of the Geology of India_, 1st ed., Part I, p. iv).
The Satpura range, thus defined, separates the valley of the Nerbudda
from the valleys of the Tapti flowing west, and the Mahanadi flowing
east. The Vindhyan sandstones certainly are a formation of immense
antiquity, perhaps pre-Silurian. They are azoic, or devoid of
fossils; and it is consequently impossible to determine exactly their
geological age, or 'horizon' (ibid. p. xxiii). The cappings of
basalt, in some cases with laterite superimposed, suggest many
difficult problems, which will be briefly discussed in the notes to
Chapters 14 and 17.




CHAPTER 9


The Great Iconoclast--Troops routed by Hornets--The Rani of Garha--
Hornets' Nests in India.

On the 23rd,[1] we came on nine miles to Sangrampur, and, on the
24th, nine more to the valley of Jabera,[2] situated on the western
extremity of the bed of a large lake, which is now covered by twenty-
four villages. The waters were kept in by a large wall that united
two hills about four miles south of Jabera. This wall was built of
great cut freestone blocks from the two hills of the Vindhiya range,
which it united. It was about half a mile long, one hundred feet
broad at the base, and about one hundred feet high. The stones,
though cut, were never, apparently, cemented; and the wall has long
given way in the centre, through which now falls a small stream that
passes from east to west of what was once the bottom of the lake, and
now is the site of so many industrious and happy little village
communities.[3] The proprietor of the village of Jabera, in whose
mango grove our tents were pitched, conducted me to the ruins of the
wall; and told me that it had been broken down by the order of the
Emperor Aurangzeb.[4] History to these people is all a fairy tale;
and this emperor is the great destroyer of everything that the
Muhammadans in their fanaticism have demolished of the Hindoo
sculpture or architecture; and yet, singular as it may appear, they
never mention his name with any feelings of indignation or hatred.
With every scene of his supposed outrage against their gods or their
temples, there is always associated the recollection of some instance
of his piety, and the Hindoos' glory--of some idol, for instance, or
column, preserved from his fury by a miracle, whose divine origin he
is supposed at once to have recognized with all due reverence.

 At Bheragarh,[5] the high priest of the temple told us that
Aurangzeb and his soldiers knocked off the heads, arms, and noses of
all the idols, saying that 'if they had really any of the godhead in
them, they would assuredly now show it, and save themselves'. But
when they came to the door of Gauri Sankar's apartments, they were
attacked by a nest of hornets, that put the whole of the emperor's
army to the rout; and his imperial majesty called out: 'Here we have
really something like a god, and we shall not suffer him to be
molested; if all your gods could give us proof like this of their
divinity, not a nose of them would ever be touched'.

The popular belief, however, is that after Aurangzeb's army had
struck off all the prominent features of the other gods, one of the
soldiers entered the temple, and struck off the ear of one of the
prostrate images underneath their vehicle, the Bull. 'My dear', said
Gauri, 'do you see what these saucy men are about?' Her consort
turned round his head;[6] and, seeing the soldiers around him,
brought all the hornets up from the marble rocks below, where there
are still so many nests of them, and the whole army fled before them
to Teori, five miles.[7] It is very likely that some body of troops
by whom the rest of the images had been mutilated, may have been
driven off by a nest of hornets from within the temple where this
statue stands. I have seen six companies of infantry, with a train of
artillery and a squadron of horse, all put to the rout by a single
nest of hornets, and driven off some miles with all their horses and
bullocks. The officers generally save themselves by keeping within
their tents, and creeping under their bed-clothes, or their carpets;
and servants often escape by covering themselves up in their
blankets, and lying perfectly still. Horses are often stung to a
state of madness, in which they throw themselves over precipices and
break their limbs, or kill themselves. The grooms, in trying to save
their horses, are generally the people who suffer most in a camp
attacked by such an enemy. I have seen some so stung as to recover
with difficulty; and I believe there have been instances of people
not recovering at all. In such a frightful scene I have seen a
bullock sitting and chewing the cud as calmly as if the whole thing
had been got up for his amusement. The hornets seldom touch any
animal that remains perfectly still.

On the bank of the Bina river at Eran, in the Sagar district, is a
beautiful pillar of a single freestone, more than fifty feet high,
surmounted by a figure of Krishna, with the glory round his head.[8]
Some few of the rays of this glory have been struck off by lightning;
but the people declare that this was done by a shot fired at it from
a cannon by order of Aurangzeb, as his army was marching by on its
way to the Deccan. Before the scattered fragments, however, could
reach the ground, the air was filled, they say, by a swarm of
hornets, that put
the whole army to flight; and the emperor ordered his gunners to
desist, declaring that he was 'satisfied of the presence of the god'.
There is hardly any part of India in which, according to popular
belief, similar miracles were not worked to convince the emperor of
the peculiar merits or sanctity of particular idols or temples,
according to the traditions of the people, derived, of course, from
the inventions of priests. I should mention that these hornets
suspend their nests to the branches of the highest trees, under
rocks, or in old deserted temples. Native travellers, soldiers, and
camp followers, cook and eat their food under such trees; but they
always avoid one in which there is a nest of hornets, particularly on
a still day. Sometimes they do not discover the nest till it is too
late. The unlucky wight goes on feeding his fire, and delighting in
the prospect of the feast before him, as the smoke ascends in curling
eddies to the nest of the hornets. The moment it touches them they
sally forth and descend, and sting like mad creatures every living
thing they find in motion. Three companies of my regiment were
escorting treasure in boats from Allahabad to Cawnpore for the army
under the Marquis of Hastings, in 1817.[9] The soldiers all took
their dinners on shore every day; and one still afternoon a sipahi
(sepoy), by cooking his dinner under one of those nests without
seeing it, sent the infuriated swarm among the whole of his comrades,
who were cooking in the same grove, and undressed, as they always are
on such occasions. Treasure, food, and all were immediately deserted,
and the whole of the party, save the European officers, were up to
their noses in the river Ganges. The hornets hovered over them; and
it was amusing to see them bobbing their heads under as the insects
tried to pounce upon them. The officers covered themselves up in the
carpets of their boats; and, as the day was a hot one, their
situation was still more uncomfortable than that of the men. Darkness
alone put an end to the conflict.

I should mention that the poor old Rani, or Queen of Garha, Lachhmi
Kuar, came out as far as Katangi with us to take leave of my wife, to
whom she has always been attached. She had been in the habit of
spending a day with her at my house once a week; and being the only
European lady from whom she had ever received any attention, or
indeed ever been on terms of any intimacy with, she feels the more
sensible of the little offices of kindness and courtesy she has
received from her.[10] Her husband, Narhar Sa, was the last of the
long line of sixty-two sovereigns who reigned over these territories
from the year A.D. 358 to the Sagar conquest, A.D. 1781.[11] He died
a prisoner in the fortress of Kurai, in the Sagar district, in A. D.
1789, leaving two widows.[12] One burnt herself upon the funeral
pile, and the other was prevented from doing so, merely because she
was thought too young, as she was not then fifteen years of age. She
received a small pension from the Sagar Government, which was still
further reduced under the Nagpur Government which succeeded it in the
Jubbulpore district in which the pension had been assigned; and it
was not thought necessary to increase the amount of this pension when
the territory came under our dominion,[13] so that she has had barely
enough to subsist upon, about one hundred rupees a month. She is now
about sixty years of age, and still a very good-looking woman. In her
youth she must have been beautiful. She does not object to appear
unveiled before gentlemen on any particular occasion; and, when Lord
W. Bentinck was at Jubbulpore in 1833, I introduced, the old queen to
him. He seemed much interested, and ordered the old lady a pair of
shawls. None but very coarse ones were found in the store-rooms of
the Governor-General's representative, and his lordship said these
were not such as a Governor-General could present, or a queen,
however poor, receive; and as his own 'toshakhana' (wardrobe) had
gone on,[l4] he desired that a pair of the finest kind should be
purchased and presented to her in his name. The orders were given in
her presence and mine. I was obliged to return to Sagar before they
could be carried into effect; and, when I returned in 1835,[15] I
found that the _rejected_ shawls had been presented to her, and were
such coarse things that she was ashamed to wear them, as much, I
really believe, on account of the exalted person who had given them,
as her own. She never mentioned the subject till I asked her to let
me see the shawls, which she did reluctantly, and she was too proud
to complain. How the good intentions of the Governor-General had been
frustrated in this case I have never learned. The native officer in
charge of the store was dead, and the Governor-General's
representative had left the place. Better could not, I suppose, be
got at this time, and he did not like to defer giving them.


Notes:

1. November, 1835.

2. Sangrampur is in the Jabalpur District, thirty miles north-west of
Jabalpur, or the road to Sagar, The village of Jabera is thirty-nine
miles from Jabalpur.

3. Similar lakes, formed by means of huge dams thrown across valleys,
are numerous in the Central Provinces and Bundelkhand. The
embankments of some of these lakes are maintained by the Indian
Government, and the water is distributed for irrigation. Many of the
lakes are extremely beautiful, and the ruins of grand temples and
palaces are often found on their banks. Several of the embankments
are known to have been built by the Chandel princes between A.D. 800
and 1200, and some are believed to be the work of an earlier Parihar
dynasty.

4. A.D. 1658--1707. Aurangzeb, though possibly credited with more
destruction than he accomplished, did really destroy many hundreds of
Hindoo temples. A historian mentions the demolition of 262 at three
places in Rajputana in a single year (A.D. 1679-80) (E. and D. vii,
188).

5.  This name is used as a synonym for Bheraghat, _ante_, Chapter 1,
paragraph 1. It is written Beragur in the author's text. The author,
in _Ramaseeana_, Introduction, p. 77, note, describes the Gauri-
Sankar sculpture as being 'at Beragur on the Nerbudda river'.

6. Gauri is one of the many names of Parvati, or Devi, the consort of
the god Siva, Sankar, or Mahadeo, who rides upon the bull Nandi.

7. This village seems to be the same as Tewar, the ancient Tripura,
'six miles to the west of Jabalpur; and on the south side of the
Bombay road' (_A. S. R_., vol. ix, p. 57). The adjacent ruins are
known by the name of Karanbel.

8. The pillar bears an inscription showing that it was erected during
the reign of Budha Gupta, in the year 165 of the Gupta era,
corresponding to A.D. 484-5. This, and the other important remains of
antiquity at Eran, are fully described in _A. S. R_., vol. vii, p.
88; vol. x, pp. 76-90, pl. xxiii-xxx; and vol. xiv, p. 149, pl. xxxi;
also in Fleet, _Gupta Inscriptions_ (Calcutta, 1888). The material of
the pillar is red sandstone. According to Cunningham the total height
is 43 feet. The peculiar double-faced, two-armed image on the summit
does not seem to be intended for Krishna, but I cannot say what the
meaning is (H. F. A., p. 174, fig. 121).

9. During the wars with the Marathas and Pindharis, which ended in
1819.

10. After we left Jubbulpore, the old Rani used to receive much kind
and considerate attention from the Hon. Mrs. Shore, a very amiable
woman, the wife of the Governor-General's representative, the Hon.
Mr. Shore, a very worthy and able member of the Bengal Civil Service.
[W. H. S.] For notice of Mr. Shore, see note at end of Chapter 13.

11. See the author's paper entitled '_History of the Gurha Mundala
Rajas_', in _J. A. S. B_., vol. vi (1837), p. 621, and the article
'Mandla' in _C. P. Gazetteer_ (1870).

12. Kurai is on the route from Sagar to Nasirabad, thirty-one miles
WNW. of the former.

13. The 'Sagar and Nerbudda Territories', comprising the Sagar,
Jabalpur, Hoshangabad, Seoni, Damoh, Narsinghpur, and Baitul Mandla
Districts, are now under the Local Administration of the Chief
Commissioner of the Central Provinces, established in 1861 by Lord
Canning, who appointed Sir Richard Temple Chief Commissioner. These
territories were at first administered by a semi-political agency,
but were afterwards, in 1852, placed under the Lieutenant-Governor of
the North-Western Provinces (now the Agra Province in the United
Provinces of Agra and Oudh), to whom they remained subject until
1861. They had been ceded by the Marathas to the British in 1818, and
the cession was confirmed by the treaty of 1826.

14. All official presents given by native chiefs to the Governor-
General are credited to the 'toshakhana', from which also are taken
the official gifts bestowed in return.

15. By resolution of Government, dated January 10, 1836, the author
was appointed General Superintendent of the Operations against
Thuggee, with his head-quarters at Jubbulpore.




CHAPTER 10


The Peasantry and the Land Settlement.

The officers of the 29th had found game so plentiful, and the weather
so fine, that they came on with us as far as Jabera, where we had the
pleasure of their society on the evening of the 24th, and left them
on the morning of the 25th.[1] A great many of my native friends,
from among the native landholders and merchants of the country,
flocked to our camp at every stage to pay their respects, and bid me
farewell, for they never expected to see me back among them again.
They generally came out a mile or two to meet and escort us to our
tents; and much do I fear that my poor boy will never again, in any
part of the world, have the blessings of Heaven so fervently invoked
upon him by so many worthy and respectable men as met us at every
stage on our way from Jubbulpore. I am much attached to the
agricultural classes of India generally, and I have found among them
some of the best men I have ever known. The peasantry in India have
generally very good manners, and are exceedingly intelligent, from
having so much more leisure and unreserved and easy intercourse with
those above them. The constant habit of meeting and discussing
subjects connected with their own interests, in their own fields, and
'under their own fig-trees', with their landlords and Government
functionaries of all kinds and degrees, prevents their ever feeling
or appearing impudent or obtrusive; though it certainly tends to give
them stentorian voices, that often startle us when they come into our
houses to discuss the same points with us.

Nine-tenths of the immediate cultivators of the soil in India are
little farmers, who hold a lease for one or more years, as the case
may be, of their lands, which they cultivate with their own stock.
One of these cultivators, with a good plough and bullocks, and a good
character, can always get good land on moderate terms from holders of
villages.[2] Those cultivators are, I think, the best, who learn to
depend upon their stock and character for favourable terms, hold
themselves free to change their holdings when their leases expire,
and pretend not to any hereditary right in the soil. The lands are, I
think, best cultivated, and the society best constituted in India,
where the holders of estates of villages have a feeling of permanent
interest in them, an assurance of an hereditary right of property
which is liable only to the payment of a moderate Government demand,
descends undivided by the law of primogeniture, and is unaffected by
the common law, which prescribes the equal subdivision among children
of landed as well as other private property, among the Hindoos and
Muhammadans; and where the immediate cultivators hold the lands they
till by no other law than that of common specific contract.

When I speak of holders of villages, I mean the holders of lands that
belong to villages. The whole face of India is parcelled out into
estates of villages.[3] The village communities are composed of those
who hold and cultivate the land, the established village servants,
priest, blacksmith, carpenter, accountant, washerman, basket-maker
(whose wife is ex officio the midwife of the little village
community), potter, watchman, barber, shoemaker, &c., &c.[4] To these
may be added the little banker, or agricultural capitalist, the
shopkeeper, the brazier, the confectioner, the ironmonger, the
weaver, the dyer, the astronomer or astrologer, who points out to the
people the lucky day for every earthly undertaking, and the
prescribed times for all religious ceremonies and observances. In
some villages the whole of the lands are parcelled out among
cultivating proprietors, and are liable to eternal subdivisions by
the law of inheritance, which gives to each son the same share. In
others, the whole of the lands are parcelled out among cultivators,
who hold them on a specific lease for limited periods from a
proprietor who holds the whole collectively under Government, at a
rate of rent fixed either permanently or for limited periods. These
are the two extremes. There are but few villages in which all the
cultivators are considered as proprietors--at least but few in our
Nerbudda territories; and these will almost invariably be found of a
caste of Brahmans or a caste of Rajputs, descended from a common
ancestor, to whom the estate was originally given in rent-free
tenure, or at a quit-rent, by the existing Government for his prayers
as a priest, or his services as a soldier. Subsequent Governments,
which resumed unceremoniously the estates of others, were deterred
from resuming these by a dread of the curses of the one and the
swords of the other.[5] Such communities of cultivating proprietors
are of two kinds: those among whom the lands are parcelled out, each
member holding his share as a distinct estate, and being individually
responsible for the payment of the share of the Government demand
assessed upon it; and those among whom the lands are not parcelled
out, but the profits divided as among copartners of an estate held
jointly. They, in either case, nominate one of their members to
collect and pay the Government demand; or Government appoints a man
for this duty, either as a salaried servant or a lessee, with
authority to levy from the cultivating proprietors a certain sum over
and above what is demandable from him.

The communities in which the cultivators are considered merely as
leaseholders are far more numerous; indeed, the greater part of the
village communities in this part of India are of this description;
and, where the communities are of a mixed character, the cultivating
proprietors are considered to have merely a right of occupancy, and
are liable to have their lands assessed at the same rate as those
held on a mere lease tenure. In all parts of India the cultivating
proprietors in such mixed communities are similarly situated; they
are liable to be assessed at the same rate as others holding the same
sort of lands, and often pay a higher rate, with which others are not
encumbered. But this is not general; it is as much the interest of
the proprietor to have good cultivating tenants as it is that of the
tenants to have good proprietors; and it is felt to be the interest
of both to adjust their terms amicably among themselves, without a
reference to a third and superior party, which is always costly and
commonly ruinous.[6]

It is a question of very great importance, no less morally and
politically than fiscally, which of these systems deserves most
encouragement--that in which the Government considers the immediate
cultivators to be the hereditary proprietors, and, through its own
public officers, parcels out the lands among them, and adjusts the
rates of rent demandable from every minute partition, as the lands
become more and more subdivided by the Hindoo and Muhammadan law of
inheritance; or that in which the Government considers him who holds
the area of a whole village or estate collectively as the hereditary
proprietor, and the immediate cultivators as his lease-tenants--
leaving the rates of rent to be adjusted among the parties without
the aid of public officers, or interposing only to enforce the
fulfilment of their mutual contracts. In the latter of these two
systems the land will supply more and better members to the middle
and higher classes of the society, and create and preserve a better
feeling between them and the peasantry, or immediate cultivators of
the soil; and it will occasion the re-investment upon the soil, in
works of ornament and utility, of a greater portion of the annual
returns of rent and profit, and a less expenditure in the costs of
litigation in our civil courts, and bribery to our public officers.

Those who advocate the other system, which makes the immediate
cultivators the proprietors, will, for the most part, be found to
reason upon false premisses--upon the assumption that the rates of
rent demandable from the immediate cultivators of the soil _were
everywhere limited and established by immemorial usage, in a certain
sum of money per acre, or a certain share of the crop produced from
it_; and that 'these rates were not only so limited and fixed, but
everywhere _well known to the people_', and might, consequently, have
become well known to the Government, and recorded in public
registers. Now every practical man in India, who has had
opportunities of becoming well acquainted with the matter, knows that
_the reverse is the case_; that the rate of rent demandable from
these cultivators _never was the same upon any two estates at the
same time: nor even the same upon any one estate at different limes,
or for any consecutive number of years_.[7] The rates vary every year
on every estate, according to the varying circumstances that
influence them--such as greater or less exhaustion of the soil,
greater or less facilities of irrigation, manure, transit to market,
drainage--or from fortuitous advantages on one hand, or calamities of
season on the other; or many other circumstances which affect the
value of the land, and the abilities of the cultivators to pay. It is
not so much the proprietors of the estate or the Government as the
cultivators themselves who demand every year a readjustment of the
rate demandable upon their different holdings. This readjustment must
take place; and, if there is no landlord to effect it, Government
must effect it through its own officers. Every holding becomes
subdivided when the cultivating proprietor dies and leaves more than
one child; and, as the whole face of the country is open and without
hedges, the division is easily and speedily made. Thus the field-map
which represents an estate one year will never represent it fairly
five years after; in fact, we might almost as well attempt to map the
waves of the ocean as field-map the face of any considerable area in
any part of India.[8]

If there be any truth in my conclusions, our Government has acted
unwisely in going, as it has generally done, into [one or other of]
the two extremes, in its settlement of the land revenue.

In the Zamindari settlement of Bengal, it conferred the hereditary
right of property over areas larger than English counties on
individuals, and left the immediate cultivators mere tenants-at-
will.[9] These individuals felt no interest in promoting the comfort
and welfare of the village communities, or conciliating the
affections of the cultivators, whom they never saw or wished to see;
and they let out the village, or other subdivision of their estates,
to second parties quite as little interested, who again let them out
to others, so that the system of rack-renting went on over the whole
area of the immense possession. This was a system 'more honoured in
the breach than in the observance'; for, as the great landholders
became involved in the ruin of their cultivators, their estates were
sold for arrears of revenue due to Government, and thus the
proprietary right of one individual has become divided among many,
who will have the feelings which the larger holders wanted, and so
remedy the evil. In the other extreme, Government has constituted the
immediate cultivators the proprietors; thereby preventing any one who
is supported upon the rent of land, or the profits of agricultural
stock, from rising above the grade of a peasant, and so depriving
society of one of its best and most essential elements. The remedy of
both is in village settlements, in which the estate shall be of
moderate size, and the hereditary property of the holder, descending
on the principle of a principality, by the right of primogeniture,
unaffected by the common law. This is the system which has been
adopted in the Nerbudda territory, and which, I trust, will be always
adhered to.

When we enter upon the government of any new territorial acquisition
in India, we do not require or pretend to change the civil laws of
the people; because their civil laws and their religion are in
reality one and the same, and are contained in one and the same code,
as certainly among the Hindoos, the Muhammadans, and the Parsees, as
they were among the Israelites. By these codes, and the established
usages everywhere well understood by the people, are their rights and
duties in marriage, inheritance, succession, caste, contract, and all
the other civil relations of life, ascertained; and when we displace
another Government we do not pretend to alter such rights and duties
in relation to each other, we merely change the machinery and mode of
procedure by which these rights are secured and these duties
enforced.[10]

Of criminal law no system was ever either regularly established or
administered in any state in India, by any Government to which we
have succeeded; and the people always consider the existing
Government free to adopt that which may seem best calculated to
effect the one great object, which criminal law has everywhere in
view--_the security of life, property, and character, and the
enjoyment of all their advantages_. The actions by which these are
affected and endangered, the evidence by which such actions require
to be proved, and the penalties with which they require to be
visited, in order to prevent their recurrence, are, or ought to be,
so much the same in every society, that the people never think us
bound to search for what Muhammad and his companions thought in the
wilds of Arabia, or the Sanskrit poets sang about them in courts and
cloisters. They would be just as well pleased everywhere to find us
searching for these things in the writings of Confucius and
Zoroaster, as in those of Muhammad and Manu: and much more so, to see
us consulting our own common-sense, and forming a penal code of our
own, suitable to the wants of such a mixed community.[11]

The fiscal laws which define the rights and duties of the landed
interests and the agricultural classes in relation to each other and
to the ruling powers were also everywhere exceedingly simple and well
understood by the people. What in England is now a mere fiction of
law is still in India an essential principle. All lands are held
directly or indirectly of the sovereign: to this rule there is no
exception.[12] The reigning sovereign is essentially the proprietor
of the whole of the lands in every part of India, where he has not
voluntarily alienated them; and he holds these lands for the payment
of those public establishments which are maintained for the public
good, and are supported by the rents of the lands either directly
under assignment, or indirectly through the sovereign proprietor.
When a Muhammadan or Hindoo sovereign assigned lands rent-free in
_perpetuity_, it was always understood, both by the donor and
receiver, to be with the _small reservation_ of a right in his
successor to resume them for the public good, if he should think
fit.[13] Hindoo sovereigns, or their priests for them, often tried to
bar this right by _invoking curses_ on the head of that successor who
should exercise it.[14] It is a proverb among the people of these
territories, and, I believe, among the people of India generally,
that the lands which pay no rent to Government have no 'barkat',
blessing from above--that the man who holds them is not blessed in
their returns like the man who pays rent to Government and thereby
contributes his aid to the protection of the community. The fact is
that every family that holds rent-free lands must, in a few
generations, become miserable from the minute subdivision of the
property, and the litigation in our civil courts which it entails
upon the holders.[15] It is certainly the general opinion of the
people of India that no land should be held without paying rent to
Government, or providing for people employed in the service of
Government, for the benefit of the people in its defensive,
religious, judicial, educational, and other establishments. Nine-
tenths of the land in these Nerbudda territories are held in lease
immediately under Government by the heads of villages, whose leases
have been renewable every five years; but they are now to have a
settlement for twenty.[l6] The other tenth is held by these heads of
villages intermediately under some chief, who holds several portions
of land immediately under Government at a quit-rent, or for service
performed, or to be performed, for Government, and lets them out to
farmers. These are, for the most part, situated in the more hilly and
less cultivated parts.


Notes:

1. November, 1835.

2. This observation does not hold good in densely populated tracts,
which are now numerous.

3. These 'estates of villages' are known by the Persian name of
'mauza'. The topographical division of the country into 'mauzas',
which may be also translated by the terms 'townlands' or 'townships',
has developed spontaneously. Some 'mauzas' are uninhabited, and are
cultivated by the residents of neighbouring villages.

4. In some parts of Central and Southern India, the 'Garpagri', who
charms away hail-storms from the crops, and 'Bhumka', who charms away
tigers from the people and their cattle, are added to the number of
village servants, [W. H .S.] 'In many parts of Berar and Malwa every
village has its "bhumka", whose office it is to charm the tigers; and
its "garpagri", whose duty it is to keep off the hail-storms. They
are part of the village servants, and paid by the village community,
After a severe hail-storm took place in the district of Narsinghpur,
of which I had the civil charge in 1823, the office of "garpagri" was
restored to several villages in which it had ceased for several
generations. They are all Brahmans, and take advantage of such
calamities to impress the people with an opinion of their usefulness.
The "bhumkas" are all Gonds, or people of the woods, who worship
their own Lares and Penates' (_Ramaseeana_, Introduction, p. 13.
note).

5. Very often the Government of the country know nothing of these
tenures; the local authorities allowed them to continue as a
perquisite of their own. The holders were willing to pay them a good
share of the rent, assured that they would be resumed if reported by
the local authorities to the Government. These authorities consented
to take a moderate share of the rent, assured that they should get
little or nothing if the lands were resumed. [W. H. S.] 'Rent' here
means 'land-revenue'. Of course, under modern British administration
the particulars of all tenures are known and recorded in great
detail,

6. Since the author wrote these remarks the legal position of
cultivating proprietors and tenants has been largely modified by the
pressure of population and a long course of legislation. The Rent
Acts, which began with Act x of 1859, are now numerous, and have been
accompanied by a series of Land Revenue Acts, and many collateral
enactments. All the problems of the Irish land question are familiar
topics to the Anglo-Indian courts and legislatures.

7. This proposition no doubt was true for the 'Sagar and Nerbudda
Territories' in 1835, but it cannot be predicated of the thickly
populated and settled districts in the Gangetic valley without
considerable qualification. Examples of long-established, unchanged,
well-known rent-rates are not uncommon.

8. In recent years this task of 'mapping the waves of the ocean' has
been attempted. Every periodical settlement of the land revenue in
Northern India since 1833 has been accompanied by the preparation of
detailed village maps, showing each field, even the tiniest, a few
yards square, with a separate number. In many cases these maps were
roughly constructed under non-professional supervision, but in many
districts they have been prepared by the cadastral branch of the
Survey Department. The difficulty mentioned by the author has been
severely felt, and it constantly happens that beautiful maps become
useless in four or five years. Efforts are made to insert annual
corrections in copies of the maps through the agency of the village
accountants, and the 'kanungos', or officers who supervise them, but
the task is an enormous one, and only partial success is attained. In
addition to the maps, records of great bulk are annually prepared
which give the most minute details about every holding and each
field.

9. The Permanent Settlement of Bengal, effected under the orders of
Lord Cornwallis in 1793, was soon afterwards extended to the province
of Benares, now included in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.
Illusory provisions were made to protect the rights of tenants, but
nothing at all effectual was done till the passing of Act x of 1859,
which has been largely modified by later legislation.

10. The general principle here stated of respect for personal
substantive law in civil matters is still the guide of the Indian
Legislature, but the accumulation of Privy Council and High Court
rulings, combined with the action of codes, has effected considerable
gradual change. Direct legislation has anglicized the law of
contract, and has modified, though not so largely, the law of
marriage, inheritance, and succession.

11. In the author's time the courts of the East India Company still
followed the Muhammadan criminal law, as modified by the Regulations.
The Indian Penal Code of 1869 placed the substantive criminal law on
a thoroughly scientific basis. This code was framed with such
masterly skill that to this day it has needed little material
amendment. The first Criminal Procedure Code, passed in 1861, has
been twice recast. The law of evidence was codified by Sir James
FitzJames Stephen in the Indian Evidence Act of 1870.

12. This proposition, in the editor's opinion, truly states the
theory of land tenures in India, and it was a generally accurate
statement of actual fact in the author's time. Since then the long
continuance of settled government, by fostering the growth of private
rights, has tended to obscure the idea of state ownership. The modern
revenue codes, instead of postulating the ownership of the state,
enact that the claims of the state--that is to say, the land-revenue-
-are the first charge on the land and its produce. The Malabar coast
offers an exception to the general Hindu role of state ownership of
land. The Nairs, Coorgs, and Tulus enjoyed full proprietary rights
(Dubois, _Hindu Manners, &c_., 3rd edition (1906), p. 57).

13. Amir Khan, the Nawab of Tonk, assigned to his physician, who had
cured him of an intermittent fever, lands yielding one thousand
rupees a year, in rent-free tenure, and gave him a deed signed by
himself and his heir-apparent, declaring expressly that it should
descend to him and his heir for ever. He died lately, and his son and
successor, who had signed the deed, resumed the estate without
ceremony. On being remonstrated with, he said that 'his father, while
living, was, of course, master, and could make him sign what he
pleased, and give land rent-free to whom he pleased; but his
successor must now be considered the best judge whether they could be
spared or not; that if lands were to be alienated in perpetuity by
every reigning Nawab for every dose of medicine or dose of prayers
that he or the members of his family required, none would soon be
left for the payment of the soldiers, or other necessary public
servants of any description'. This was told me by the son of the old
physician, who was the person to whom the speech was made, his father
having died before Amir Khan. [W. H. S.] Amir Khan was the famous
Pindhari leader. H. T. Prinsep translated his Memoirs from the
Persian of Busawun Lal (Calcutta, 1832).

14. The ancient deeds of grant, engraved on copper, of which so many
have been published within the last hundred years, almost invariably
conclude with fearful curses on the head of any rash mortal who may
dare to revoke the grant. Usually the pious hope is expressed that,
if he should be guilty of such wickedness, he may rot in filth, and
be reborn a worm.

15. Revenue officers commonly observe that revenue-free grants, which
the author calls rent-free, are often ill cultivated. The simple
reason is that the stimulus of the collector's demand is wanting to
make the owner exert himself.

16. These leases now carry with them a right of ownership, involving
the power of alienation, subject to the lien of the land revenue as a
first charge. Conversely, the modern codes lay down the principle
that the revenue settlement must be made with the proprietor. The
author's rule of agricultural succession by primogeniture in the
Nerbudda territories has survived only in certain districts (see
_post_, Chapter 47). The land-revenue law and the law concerning the
relations between landlords and tenants have now been more or less
successfully codified in each province. Mr. B. H. Baden-Powell's
encyclopaedic work _The Land Systems of British India_ (3 volumes:
Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1892) gives very full information concerning
Indian tenures as now existing, and the law applicable to them at the
date of publication.




CHAPTER 11


Witchcraft.

On leaving Jabera,[1] I saw an old acquaintance from the eastern part
of the Jubbulpore district, Kehri Singh.

'I understand, Kehri Singh', said I, 'that certain men among the
Gonds of the jungle, towards the source of the Nerbudda, eat human
flesh. Is it so?'

'No, sir; the men never eat people, but the Gond women do.'

'Where?'

'Everywhere, sir; there is not a parish, nay, a village, among the
Gonds, in which you will not find one or more such women.'

'And how do they eat people?'

'They eat their livers, sir.'

'Oh, I understand; you mean witches?'

'Of course! Who ever heard of other people eating human beings?'

'And you really still think, in spite of all that we have done and
said, that there are such things as witches?'

'Of course we do--do not we find instances of it every day? European
gentlemen are too apt to believe that things like this are not to be
found here, because they are not to be found in their own country.
Major Wardlow, when in charge of the Seoni district, denied the
existence of witchcraft for a long time, but he was at last
convinced.'

'How?'

'One of his troopers, one morning after a long march, took some milk
for his master's breakfast from an old woman without paying for it.
Before the major had got over his breakfast the poor trooper was down
upon his back, screaming from the agony of internal pains. We all
knew immediately that he had been bewitched, and recommended the
major to send for some one learned in these matters to find out the
witch. He did so, and, after hearing from the trooper the story about
the milk, this person at once declared that the woman from whom he
got it was the criminal. She was searched for, found, and brought to
the trooper, and commanded to cure him. She flatly denied that she
had herself conjured him; but admitted that her household gods might,
unknown to her, have punished him for his wickedness. This, however,
would not do. She was commanded to cure the man, and she set about
collecting materials for the "puja" (worship); and before she could
get quite through the ceremonies, all his pains had left him. Had we
not been resolute with her, the man must have died before evening, so
violent were his torments.'

'Did not a similar case occur to Mr. Fraser at Jubbulpore?'

'A "chaprasi"[2] of his, while he had charge of the Jubbulpore
district, was sent out to Mandla[3] with a message of some kind or
other. He took a cock from an old Gond woman without paying for it,
and, being hungry after a long journey, ate the whole of it in a
curry. He heard the woman mutter something, but being a raw,
unsuspecting young man, he thought nothing of it, ate his cock, and
went to sleep. He had not been asleep three hours before he was
seized with internal pains, and the old cock was actually heard
crowing in his belly. He made the best of his way back to Jubbulpore,
several stages, and all the most skilful men were employed to charm
away the effect of the old woman's spell, but in vain. He died, and
the cock never ceased crowing at intervals up to the hour of his
death.'

'And was Mr. Fraser convinced?'

'I never heard, but suppose he must have been.'

'Who ate the livers of the victims? The witches themselves, or the
evil spirits with whom they had dealings?'

'The evil spirits ate the livers; but they are set on to do so by the
witches, who get them into their power by such accursed sacrifices
and offerings. They will often dig up young children from their
graves, bring them to life, and allow these devils to feed upon their
livers, as falconers allow their hawks to feed on the breasts of
pigeons. You "sahib log" (European gentlemen) will not believe all
this, but it is, nevertheless, all very true.'[4]

The belief in sorcery among these people owes its origin, in a great
measure, to the diseases of the liver and spleen to which the
natives, and particularly the children, are much subject in the
jungly parts of Central India. From these affections children pine
away and die, without showing any external marks of disease. Their
death is attributed to witchcraft, and any querulous old woman, who
has been in the habit of murmuring at slights and ill treatment in
the neighbourhood, is immediately set down as the cause. Men who
practise medicine among them are very commonly supposed to be at the
same time wizards. Seeking to inspire confidence in their
prescriptions by repeating prayers and incantations over the patient,
or over the medicine they give him, they make him believe that they
derive aid from supernatural power; and the patient concludes that
those who can command these powers to cure can, if they will, command
them to destroy. He and his friends believe that the man who can
command these powers to cure one individual can command them to cure
any other; and, if he does not do so, they believe that it arises
from a desire to destroy the patient. I have, in these territories,
known a great many instances of medical practitioners having been put
to death for not curing young people for whom they were required to
prescribe. Several cases have come before me as a magistrate in which
the father has stood over the doctor with a drawn sword by the side
of the bed of his child, and cut him down and killed him the moment
the child died, as he had sworn to do when he found the patient
sinking under his prescriptions.[5]

The town of Jubbulpore contains a population of twenty thousand
souls,[6] and they all believed in this story of the cock. I one day
asked a most respectable merchant in the town, Nadu Chaudhri, how the
people could believe in such things, when he replied that he had no
doubt witches were to be found in every part of India, though they
abounded most, no doubt, in the central parts of it, and that we
ought to consider ourselves very fortunate in having no such things
in England. 'But', added he, 'of all countries that between Mandla
and Katak (Cuttack)[7] is the worst for witches. I had once occasion
to go to the city of Ratanpur[8] on business, and was one day, about
noon, walking in the market-place and eating a very fine piece of
sugar-cane. In the crowd I happened, by accident, to jostle an old
woman as she passed me. I looked back, intending to apologize for the
accident, and heard her muttering indistinctly as she passed on.
Knowing the propensities of these old ladies, I became somewhat
uneasy, and on turning round to my cane I found, to my great terror,
that the juice had been all _turned to blood_. Not a minute had
elapsed, such were the fearful powers of this old woman. I collected
my followers, and, leaving my agents there to settle my accounts, was
beyond the boundaries of the old wretch's influence before dark; had
I remained, nothing could have saved me. I should certainly have been
a dead man before morning. It is well known', said the old gentleman,
'that their spells and curses can only reach a certain distance, ten
or twelve miles; and, if you offend one of them, the sooner you place
that distance between you the better.'

Jangbar Khan, the representative of the Shahgarh Raja,[9] as grave
and reverend an old gentleman as ever sat in the senate of Venice,
told me one day that he was himself an eye-witness of the powers of
the women of Khilauti. He was with a great concourse of people at a
fair held at the town of Raipur,[10] and, while sauntering with many
other strangers in the fair, one of them began bargaining with two
women of middle age for some very fine sugar-canes. They asked double
the fair price for their canes. The man got angry, and took up one of
them, when the women seized the other end, and a struggle ensued. The
purchaser offered a fair price, seller demanded double. The crowd
looked on, and a good deal of abuse of the female relations on both
sides took place. At last a sepoy of the governor came up, armed to
the teeth, and called out to the man, in a very imperious tone, to
let go his hold of the cane. He refused, saying that 'when people
came to the fair to sell, they should be made to sell at reasonable
prices, or be turned out'. 'I', said Jangbar Khan, 'thought the man
right, and told the sepoy that, if he took the part of this woman, we
should take that of the other, and see fair play. Without further
ceremony the functionary drew his sword, and cut the cane in two in
the middle; and, pointing to both pieces, 'There', said he, 'you see
the cause of my interference'. We looked down, and actually saw blood
running from both pieces, and forming a little pool on the ground.
The fact was that the woman was a sorceress of the very worst kind,
and was actually drawing the blood from the man through the cane, to
feed the abominable devil from whom she derived her detestable
powers. But for the timely interference of the sepoy he would have
been dead in another minute; for he no sooner saw the real state of
the case than he fainted. He had hardly any blood left in him, and I
was afterwards told that he was not able to walk for ten days. We all
went to the governor to demand justice, declaring that, unless the
women were made an example of at once, the fair would be deserted,
for no stranger's life would be safe. He consented, and they were
both sewn up in sacks and thrown into the river; but they had
conjured the water and would not sink. They ought to have been put to
death, but the governor was himself afraid of this kind of people,
and let them off. There is not', continued Jangbar, 'a village, or a
single family, without its witch in that part of the country; indeed,
no man will give his daughter in marriage to a family without one,
saying, "If my daughter has children, what will become of them
without a witch to protect them from the witches of other families in
the neighbourhood?" It is a fearful country, though the cheapest and
most fertile in India.'

We can easily understand how a man, impressed with the idea that his
blood had all been drawn from him by a sorceress, should become
faint, and remain many days in a languid state; but how the people
around should believe that they saw the blood flowing from both parts
of the cane at the place cut through, it is not so easy to conceive.

I am satisfied that old Jangbar believed the whole story to be true,
and that at the time he thought the juice of the cane red; but the
little pool of blood grew, no doubt, by degrees, as years rolled on
and he related this tale of the fearful powers of the Khilauti
witches.


Notes:

1. _Ante_, Chapter 9.

2. An orderly, or official messenger, who wears a 'chapras', or badge
of office.

3. On the Nerbudda, fifty miles south-east of Jubbulpore.

4. Of the supposed powers and dispositions of witches among the
Romans we have horrible pictures in the 5th Ode of the 6th Book of
Horace, and in the 6th Book of Lucan's _Pharsalia_. [W. H. S.] The
reference to Horace should be to the 5th Epode. The passage in the
_Pharsalia_, Book VI, lines 420-830, describes the proceedings of
Thessalian witches.

5. Such awkward incidents of medical practice are not heard of
nowadays.

6.  The population of Jabalpur (including cantonments) has increased
steadily, and in 1911 was 100,651, as compared with 84,556 in 1891,
and 76,023 in 1881.

7. Katak, or Cuttack, a district, with town of same name, in Orissa.

8. In the Bilaspur district of the Central Provinces. The distance in
a direct line between Mandla and Katak is about 400 miles.

9. Shahgarh was formerly a petty native state, with town of same
name. The chief joined the rebels in 1857, with the result that his
dominions were confiscated, and distributed between the districts of
Sagar and Damoh in the Central Provinces, and Jhansi (formerly
Lalitpur) in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. The town of
Shahgarh is in the Sagar district.

10. Raipur is the chief town of the district of the same name in the
Central Provinces, which was not finally annexed to the British
dominions until 1854, when the Nagpur State lapsed.




CHAPTER 12


The Silver Tree, or 'Kalpa Briksha'--The Singhara or _Trapa
bispinosa_, and the Guinea-Worm.

Poor old Salamat Ali wept bitterly at the last meeting in my tent,
and his two nice boys, without exactly knowing why, began to do the
same; and my little son Henry[1] caught the infection, and wept
louder than any of them. I was obliged to hurry over the interview
lest I should feel disposed to do the same. The poor old Rani,[2]
too, suffered a good deal in parting from my wife, whom, she says,
she can never hope to see again. Her fine large eyes shed many a tear
as she was getting into her palankeen to return.

Between Jabera and Hardua, the next stage, we find a great many of
those large forest trees called 'kalap', or 'Kalpa Briksha' (the same
which in the paradise of Indra grants what is desired), with a soft,
silvery bark, and scarcely any leaves. We are told that the name of
the god Ram (Rama) and his consort Sita will be found written by the
hand of God upon all.[3]

I had the curiosity to examine a good many in the forest on both
sides of the road, and found the name of this incarnation of Vishnu
written on everyone in Sanskrit characters, apparently by some
supernatural hand; that is, there was a softness in the impression,
as if the finger of some supernatural being had traced the
characters. Nathu, one of our belted attendants[4] told me that we
might search as deeply as we would in the forest, but we should
certainly find the name of God upon every one; 'for', said he, 'it is
God himself who writes it'. I tried to argue him out of this notion;
but, unfortunately, could find no tree without these characters--some
high up, and some lower down in the trunk--some large and others
small--but still to be found on every tree. I was almost in despair
when we came to a part of the wood where we found one of these trees
down in a hollow, under the road, and another upon the precipice
above. I was ready to stake my credit upon the probability that no
traveller would take the trouble to go up to the tree above, or down
to the tree below, merely to write the name of the god upon them; and
at once pledged myself to Nathu that he should find neither the god's
name nor that of his wife. I sent one man up, and another man down,
and they found no letters on the trees; but this did not alter their
opinion on the point. 'God', said one, 'had no doubt put his name on
these trees, but they had somehow or other got rubbed off. He would
in good time renew them, that men's eyes might be blessed with the
sight of His holy name, even in the deepest forest, and on the most
leafless tree.'[5] 'But', said Nathu, 'he might not have thought it
worth while to write his name upon those trees which no travellers go
to see.' 'Cannot you see', said I, 'that these letters have been
engraved by man? Are they not all to be found on the trunk within
reach of a man's hand?' 'Of course they are', replied he, 'because
people would not be able conveniently to distinguish them if God were
to write them higher up.'

Shaikh Sadi has a very pretty couplet, 'Every leaf of the foliage of
a green tree is, in the eye of a wise man, a library to teach him the
wisdom of his Creator.'[6] I may remark that, where an Englishman
would write his own name, a Hindoo would write that of his god, his
parent, or his benefactor. This difference is traceable, of course,
to the difference in their governments and institutions. If a Hindoo
built a town, he called it after his local governor; if a local
governor built it, he called it after the favourite son of the
Emperor. In well regulated Hindoo families, one cannot ask a younger
brother after his children in presence of the elder brother who
happens to be the head of the family; it would be disrespectful for
him even to speak of his children as his own in such presence--the
elder brother relieves his embarrassment by answering for him.

On the 27th[7] we reached Damoh,[8] where our friends, the Browns,
were to leave us on their return to Jubbulpore. Damoh is a pretty
place. The town contains some five or six thousand people, and has
some very handsome Hindoo temples. On a hill immediately above it is
the shrine of a Muhammadan saint, which has a very picturesque
appearance.


There are no manufactures at Damoh, except such as supply the wants
of the immediate neighbourhood; and the town is supported by the
residence of a few merchants, a few landholders, and agricultural
capitalists, and the establishment of a native collector. The people
here suffer much from the guinea-worm, and consider it to arise from
drinking the water of the old tank, which is now very dirty and full
of weeds. I have no doubt that it is occasioned either by drinking
the water of this tank, or by wading in it: for I have known European
gentlemen get the worm in their legs from wading in similar lakes or
swamps after snipes, and the servants who followed them with their
ammunition experience the same effect.[9] Here, as in most other
parts of India, the tanks get spoiled by the water-chestnut,
'singhara' (_Trapa bispinosa_), which is everywhere as regularly
planted and cultivated _in fields_ under a large surface of water, as
wheat or barley is on the dry plains. It is cultivated by a class of
men called Dhimars, who are everywhere fishermen and palankeen
bearers; and they keep boats for the planting, weeding, and gathering
the 'singhara'.[10] The holdings or tenements of each cultivator are
marked out carefully on the surface of the water by long bamboos
stuck up in it; and they pay so much the acre for the portion they
till. The long straws of the plants reach up to the surface of the
waters, upon which float their green leaves; and their pure white
flowers expand beautifully among them in the latter part of the
afternoon. The nut grows under the water after the flowers decay, and
is of a triangular shape, and covered with a tough brown integument
adhering strongly to the kernel, which is white, esculent, and of a
fine cartilaginous texture. The people are very fond of these nuts,
and they are carried often upon bullocks' backs two or three hundred
miles to market. They ripen in the latter end of the rains, or in
September, and are eatable till the end of November. The rent paid
for an ordinary tank by the cultivator is about one hundred rupees a
year. I have known two hundred rupees to be paid for a very large
one, and even three hundred, or thirty pounds a year.[11] But the mud
increases so rapidly from this cultivation that it soon destroys all
reservoirs in which it is permitted; and, where it is thought
desirable to keep up the tank for the sake of the water, it should be
carefully prohibited. This is done by stipulating with the renter of
the village, at the renewal of the lease, that no 'singhara' shall be
planted in the tank; otherwise, he will never forgo the advantage to
himself of the rent for the sake of the convenience, and that only
prospective, of the village community in general.


Notes:

1. Afterwards Captain H. A. Sleeman, He died in 1905.

2. Of Garha, see _ante_, Chapter 9, prior to note 10.

3. The real 'kalpa', which now stands in the garden of the god Indra
in the first heaven, was one of the fourteen varieties found at the
churning of the ocean by the gods and demons. It fell to the share of
Indra. [W. H. S.] The tree referred to in the text perhaps may be the
_Erythrina arborescens_, or coral-tree, which sheds its leaves after
the hot weather.

4. That is to say, orderlies, or 'chaprasis'.

5. Every Hindoo is thoroughly convinced that the names of Ram and his
consort Sita are written on this tree by the hand of God, and nine-
tenths of the Musalmans believe the same.

    Happy the man who sees a God employed
    In all the good and ill that chequer life,
    Resolving all events, with their effects
    And manifold results, into the will
    And arbitration wise of the Supreme.

                        COWPER. [W. H. S.]

The quotation is from _The Task_, Book II, line 161.

6. Sadi (Sa'di) is the poetic name, or _nom de plume_, of the
celebrated Persian poet, whose proper name is said to have been
Shaikh Maslah-ud-din, or, according to other authorities, Sharf-ud-
din Mislah. He was born about A.D. 1194, and is supposed to have
lived for more than a hundred years. Some writers say that he died in
A.D. 1292. His best known works are the _Gulistan_ and _Bustan_. The
editor has failed to trace in either of these works the couplet
quoted. Sadi says in the _Gulistan_, ii. 26, 'That heart which has an
ear is full of the divine mystery. It is not the nightingale that
alone serenades his rose; for every thorn on the rose-bush is a
tongue in his or God's praise' (Ross's translation).

7. November, 1835.

8. Spelled Dhamow in the author's text. The town, the head-quarters
of the district of the same name, is forty-five miles east of Sagar,
and fifty-five miles north-west of Jabalpur. The _C. P. Gazetteer_
(1870) states the population to be 8,563. In 1901 it had grown to
13,335; and the town is still increasing in importance (_I. G._,
1908). Inscriptions of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries at
Damoh are noticed in _A. S. R._, vol. xxi, p. 168.

9. The guinea-worm (_Filaria medinensis_) is a very troublesome
parasite, which sometimes grows to a length of three feet. It occurs
in Africa, Arabia, Persia, and Turkistan, as well as in India.

10. The Dhimars (Sanskrit _dhivara_, 'fisherman') are the same caste
as the Kahars, or 'bearers'. The boats used by them are commonly
'dugout' canoes, exactly like those used in prehistoric Europe, and
now treasured in museums.

11. In the author's time the rupee was worth two shillings, or more,
that is to say, the ninth or tenth part of a sovereign. After 1873
the gold value of the rupee fell, so that at times it was worth
little more than a shilling. Since 1899 special legislation has
succeeded in keeping the rupee practically steady at 1s. 4d. In other
words, fifteen rupees are the legal equivalent of a sovereign, and a
hundred rupees are worth 6 pounds 13s. 4d.




CHAPTER 13


Thugs and Poisoners.

Lieutenant Brown had come on to Damoh chiefly with a view to
investigate a case of murder, which had taken place at the village of
Sujaina, about ten miles from Damoh, on the road to Hatta.[1] A gang
of two hundred Thugs were encamped in the grove at Hindoria in the
cold season of 1814, when, early in the morning, seven men well armed
with swords and matchlocks passed them, bearing treasure from the
bank of Moti Kochia at Jubbulpore to their correspondents at
Banda,[2] to the value of four thousand five hundred rupees.[3] The
value of their burden was immediately perceived by these _keen-eyed_
sportsmen, and Kosari, Drigpal, and Faringia, three of the leaders,
with forty of their fleetest and stoutest followers, were immediately
selected for the pursuit. They followed seven miles unperceived; and,
coming up with the treasure-bearers in a watercourse half a mile from
the village of Sujaina, they rushed in upon them and put them all to
death with their swords.[4] While they were doing so a tanner from
Sujaina approached with his buffalo, and to prevent him giving the
alarm they put him to death also, and made off with the treasure,
leaving the bodies unburied. A heavy shower of rain fell, and none of
the village people came to the place till the next morning early;
when some females, passing it on their way to Hatta, saw the bodies,
and returning to Sujaina, reported the circumstance to their friends.
The whole village thereupon flocked to the spot, and the body of the
tanner was burned by his relations with the usual ceremonies, while
all the rest were left to be eaten by jackals, dogs and vultures, who
make short work of such things in India.[5]

We had occasion to examine a very respectable old gentleman at Damoh
upon the case, Gobind Das, a revenue officer under the former
Government,[6] and now about seventy years of age. He told us that he
had no knowledge whatever of the murder of the eight men at Sujaina;
but he well remembered another which took place seven years before
the time we mentioned at Abhana, a stage or two back, on the road to
Jubbulpore. Seventeen treasure-bearers lodged in the grove near that
town on their way from Jubbulpore to Sagar. At night they were set
upon by a large gang of Thugs, and sixteen of them strangled; but the
seventeenth laid hold of the noose before it could be brought to bear
upon his throat, pulled down the villain who held it, and made his
way good to the town. The Raja, Dharak Singh, went to the spot with
all the followers he could collect; but he found there nothing but
the sixteen naked bodies lying in the grove, with their eyes
apparently starting out of their sockets. The Thugs had all gone off
with the treasure and their clothes, and the Raja searched for them
in vain.

A native commissioned officer of a regiment of native infantry one
day told me that, while he was on duty over some Thugs at Lucknow,
one of them related with great seeming pleasure the following case,
which seemed to him one of the most remarkable that he had heard them
speak of during the time they were under his charge.

'A stout Mogul[7] officer of noble bearing and singularly handsome
countenance, on his way from the Punjab to Oudh, crossed the Ganges
at Garhmuktesar Ghat, near Meerut, to pass through Muradabad and
Bareilly.[8] He was mounted on a fine Turki horse, and attended by
his "khidmatgar" (butler) and groom. Soon after crossing the river,
he fell in with a small party of well-dressed and modest-looking men
going the same road. They accosted him in a respectful manner, and
attempted to enter into conversation with him. He had heard of Thugs,
and told them to be off. They smiled at his idle suspicions, and
tried to remove them, but in vain. The Mogul was determined; they saw
his nostrils swelling with indignation, took their leave, and
followed slowly. The next morning he overtook the same number of men,
but of a different appearance, all Musalmans. They accosted him in
the same respectful manner; talked of the danger of the road, and the
necessity of their keeping together, and taking advantage of the
protection of any mounted gentleman that happened to be going the
same way. The Mogul officer said not a word in reply, resolved to
have no companions on the road. They persisted--his nostrils began
again to swell, and putting his hand to his sword, he bid them all be
off, or he would have their heads from their shoulders. He had a bow
and quiver full of arrows over his shoulders,[9] a brace of loaded
pistols in his waist-belt, and a sword by his side, and was
altogether a very formidable-looking cavalier. In the evening another
party that lodged in the same "sarai"[10] became very intimate with
the butler and groom. They were going the same road; and, as the
Mogul overtook them in the morning, they made their bows
respectfully, and began to enter into conversation with their two
friends, the groom and butler, who were coming up behind. The Mogul's
nostrils began again to swell, and he bid the strangers be off. The
groom and butler interceded, for their master was a grave, sedate
man, and they wanted companions. All would not do, and the strangers
fell in the rear. The next day, when they had got to the middle of an
extensive and uninhabited plain, the Mogul in advance, and his two
servants a few hundred yards behind, he came up to a party of six
poor Musalmans, sitting weeping by the side of a dead companion. They
were soldiers from Lahore,[11] on their way to Lucknow, worn down by
fatigue in their anxiety to see their wives and children once more,
after a long and painful service. Their companion, the hope and prop
of his family, had sunk under the fatigue, and they had made a grave
for him; but they were poor unlettered men, and unable to repeat the
funeral service from the holy Koran-would his Highness but perform
this last office for them, he would, no doubt, find his reward in
this world and the next. The Mogul dismounted--the body had been
placed in its proper position, with its head towards Mecca. A carpet
was spread--the Mogul took off his bow and quiver, then his pistols
and sword, and placed them on the ground near the body--called for
water, and washed his feet, hands, and face, that he might not
pronounce the holy words in an unclean state. He then knelt down and
began to repeat the funeral service, in a clear, loud voice. Two of
the poor soldiers knelt by him, one on each side in silence. The
other four went off a few paces to beg that the butler and groom
would not come so near as to interrupt the good Samaritan at his
devotions.

'All being ready, one of the four, in a low undertone, gave the
"jhirni" (signal),[12] the handkerchiefs were thrown over their
necks, and in a few minutes all three--the Mogul and his servants--
were dead, and lying in the grave in the usual manner, the head of
one at the feet of the one below him. All the parties they had met on
the road belonged to a gang of Jamaldehi Thugs, of the kingdom of
Oudh.[13] In despair of being able to win the Mogul's confidence in
the usual way, and determined to have the money and jewels, which
they knew he carried with him, they had adopted this plan of
disarming him; dug the grave by the side of the road, in the open
plain, and made a handsome young Musalman of the party the dead
soldier. The Mogul, being a very stout man, died almost without a
struggle, as is usually the case with such; and his two servants made
no resistance.'

People of great sensibility, with hearts overcharged with sorrow,
often appear cold and callous to those who seem to them to feel no
interest in their afflictions. An instance of this kind I will here
mention; it is one of thousands that I have met with in my Indian
rambles. It was mentioned to me one day that an old 'fakir',[14] who
lived in a small hut close by a little shrine on the side of the road
near the town of Moradabad, had lately lost his son, poisoned by a
party of 'daturias', or professional poisoners,[15] that now infest
every road throughout India. I sent for him, and requested him to
tell me his story, as I might perhaps be able to trace the murderers.
He did so, and a Persian writer took it down while I listened with
all the coldness of a magistrate who wanted merely to learn facts and
have nothing whatever to do with feelings. This is his story
literally:

'I reside in my hut by the side of the road a mile and [a] half from
the town, and live upon the bounty of travellers, and the people of
the surrounding villages. About six weeks ago, I was sitting by the
side of my shrine after saying prayers, with my only son, about ten
years of age, when a man came up with his wife, his son, and his
daughter, the one a little older, and the other a little younger than
my boy. They baked and ate their bread near my shrine, and gave me
flour enough to make two cakes. This I prepared and baked. My boy was
hungry, and ate one cake and a half. I ate only half a one, for I was
not hungry. I had a few days before purchased a new blanket for my
boy, and it was hanging in a branch of the tree that shaded the
shrine, when these people came. My son and I soon became stupefied. I
saw him fall asleep, and I soon followed. I awoke again in the
evening, and found myself in a pool of water. I had sense enough to
crawl towards my boy. I found him still breathing, and I sat by him
with his head in my lap, where he soon died. It was now evening, and
I got up, and wandered about all night picking straws--I know not
why. I was not yet quite sensible. During the night the wolves ate my
poor boy. I heard this from travellers, and went and gathered up his
bones and buried them in the shrine. I did not quite recover till the
third day, when I found that some washerwomen had put me into the
pool, and left me there with my head out, in hopes that this would
revive me; but they had no hope of my son. I was then taken to the
police of the town; but the landholders had begged me to say nothing
about the poisoners, lest it might get them and their village
community into trouble. The man was tall and fair, and about thirty-
five; the woman short, stout, and fair, and about thirty; two of her
teeth projected a good deal; the boy's eyelids were much diseased.'

All this he told me without the slightest appearance of emotion, for
he had not seen any appearance of it in me, or my Persian writer; and
a casual European observer would perhaps have exclaimed, 'What brutes
these natives are! This fellow feels no more for the loss of his only
son than he would for that of a goat'. But I knew the feeling was
there. The Persian writer put up his paper, and closed his inkstand,
and the following dialogue, word for word, took place between me and
the old man:

_Question_.--What made you conceal the real cause of your boy's
death, and tell the police that he had been killed, as well as eaten,
by wolves?

_Answer_.--The landholders told me that they could never bring back
my boy to life, and the whole village would be worried to death by
them if I made any mention of the poison.

_Question_.--And if they were to be punished for this they would
annoy you?

_Answer_.--Certainly. But I believed they advised me for my own good
as well as their own.

_Question_.--And if they should turn you away from that place, could
you not make another?

_Answer_.-Are not the bones of my poor boy there, and the trees that
he and I planted and watched together for ten years?

_Question_.-Have you no other relations? What became of your boy's
mother?

_Answer_.-She died at that place when my boy was only three months
old. I have brought him up myself from that age; he was my only
child, and he has been poisoned for the sake of the blanket! (Here
the poor old man sobbed as if his heartstrings would break; and I was
obliged to make him sit down on the floor while I walked up and down
the room.)

_Question_.--Had you any children before?

_Answer_.--Yes, sir, we had several, but they all died before their
mother. We had been reduced to beggary by misfortunes, and I had
become too weak and ill to work. I buried my poor wife's bones by the
side of the road where she died; raised the little shrine over them,
planted the trees, and there have I sat ever since by her side, with
our poor boy in my bosom. It is a sad place for wolves, and we used
often to hear them howling outside; but my poor boy was never afraid
of them when he knew I was near him. God preserved him to me, till
the sight of the new blanket, for I had nothing else in the world,
made these people poison us. I bought it for him only a few days
before, when the rains were coming on, out of my savings-it was all I
had. (The poor old man sobbed again, and sat down while I paced the
room, lest I should sob also; my heart was becoming a little too
large for its apartment.) 'I will never', continued he, 'quit the
bones of my wife and child, and the tree that he and I watered for so
many years. I have not many years to live; there I will spend them,
whatever the landholders may do--they advised me for my own good, and
will never turn me out.'

I found all the poor man stated to be true; the man and his wife had
mixed poison with the flour to destroy the poor old man and his son
for the sake of the new blanket which they saw hanging in the branch
of the tree, and carried away with them. The poison used on such
occasions is commonly the datura, and it is sometimes given in the
hookah to be smoked, and at others in food. When they require to
poison children as well as grown-up people, or women who do not
smoke, they mix up the poison in food. The intention is almost always
to destroy life, as 'dead men tell no tales'; but the poisoned people
sometimes recover, as in the present case, and lead to the detection
of the poisoners. The cases in which they recover are, however, rare,
and of those who recover few are ever able to trace the poisoners;
and, of those who recover and trace them, very few will ever
undertake to prosecute them through the several courts of the
magistrate, the sessions, and that of last instance in a distant
district, to which the proceedings must be sent for final orders.

The impunity with which this crime is everywhere perpetrated, and its
consequent increase in every part of India, are among the greatest
evils with which the country is at this time affected. These
poisoners are spread all over India, and are as numerous over the
Bombay and Madras Presidencies as over that of Bengal. There is no
road free from them, and throughout India there must be many hundreds
who gain their subsistence by this trade alone. They put on all
manner of disguises to suit their purpose; and, as they prey chiefly
upon the poorer sort of travellers, they require to destroy the
greater number of lives to make up their incomes. A party of two or
three poisoners have very often succeeded in destroying another of
eight or ten travellers with whom they have journeyed for some days,
by pretending to give them a feast on the celebration of the
anniversary of some family event. Sometimes an old woman or man will
manage the thing alone, by gaining the confidence of travellers, and
getting near the cooking-pots while they go aside; or when employed
to bring the flour for the meal from the bazaar. The poison is put
into the flour or the pot, as opportunity offers.

People of all castes and callings take to this trade, some casually,
others for life, and others derive it from their parents or teachers.
They assume all manner of disguises to suit their purposes; and the
habits of cooking, eating, and sleeping on the side of the road, and
smoking with strangers of seemingly the same caste, greatly
facilitate their designs upon travellers. The small parties are
unconnected with each other, and two parties never unite in the same
cruise. The members of one party may be sometimes convicted and
punished, but their conviction is accidental, for the system which
has enabled us to put down the Thug associations cannot be applied,
with any fair prospect of success, to the suppression of these pests
to society.[16]

The Thugs went on their adventures in large gangs, and two or more
were commonly united in the course of an expedition in the
perpetration of many murders. Every man shared in the booty according
to the rank he held in the gang, or the part he took in the murders;
and the rank of every man and the part he took generally, or in any
particular murder, were generally well known to all. From among these
gangs, when arrested, we found the evidence we required for their
conviction--or the means of tracing it--among the families and
friends of their victims, or with persons to whom the property taken
had been disposed of, and in the graves to which the victims had been
consigned.

To give an idea of the system by which the Government of India has
been enabled to effect so great a good for the people as the
suppression of these associations, I will suppose that two sporting
gentlemen, A at Delhi, and B in Calcutta, had both described the
killing of a tiger in an island in the Ganges, near Hardwar[17] and
mentioned the names of the persons engaged with them. Among the
persons thus named were C, who had since returned to America, D, who
had retired to New South Wales, E to England, and F to Scotland.
There were four other persons named who were still in India, but they
are deeply interested in A and B's story not being believed. A says
that B got the skin of the tiger, and B states that he gave it to C,
who cut out two of the claws. Application is made to C, D, E, and F,
and without the possibility of any collusion, or even communication
between them, their statements correspond precisely with those of A
and B, as to the time, place, circumstances, and persons engaged.
Their statements are sworn to before magistrates in presence of
witnesses, and duly attested. C states that he got the skin from B,
and gave it to the Nawab of Rampur[18] for a hookah carpet, but that
he took from the left forefoot two of the claws, and gave them to the
minister of the King of Oudh for a charm for his sick child.

 The Nawab of Rampur, being applied to, states that he received the
skin from C, at the time and place mentioned, and that he still
smokes his hookah upon it; and that it had lost the two claws upon
the left forefoot. The minister of the King of Oudh states that he
received the two claws nicely set in gold; that they had cured his
boy, who still wore them round his neck to guard him from the evil
eye. The goldsmith states that he set the two claws in gold for C,
who paid him handsomely for his work. The peasantry, whose cattle
graze on the island, declare that certain gentlemen did kill a tiger
there about the time mentioned, and that they saw the body after the
skin had been taken off, and the vultures had begun to descend upon
it.

To prove that what A and B had stated could not possibly be true, the
other party appeal to some of their townsmen, who are said to be well
acquainted with their characters. They state that they really know
nothing about the matter in dispute; that their friends, who are
opposed to A and B, are much liked by their townspeople and
neighbours, as they have plenty of money, which they spend freely,
but that they are certainly very much addicted to field-sports, and
generally absent in pursuit of wild beasts for three or four months
every year; but whether they were or were not present at the killing
of the great Garhmuktesar tiger, they could not say.

Most persons would, after examining this evidence, be tolerably well
satisfied that the said tiger had really been killed at the time and
place, and by the persons mentioned by A and B; but, to establish the
fact judicially, it would be necessary to bring A, B, C, D, E, and F,
the Nawab  of Rampur, the minister of the King of Oudh, and the
goldsmith to the criminal court at Meerut, to be confronted with the
person whose interest it was that A and B should not be believed.
They would all, perhaps, come to the said court from the different
quarters of the world in which they had thought themselves snugly
settled; but the thing would annoy them so much, and be so much
talked of, that sporting gentlemen, nawabs, ministers, and goldsmiths
would in future take good care to have 'forgotten' everything
connected with the matter in dispute, should another similar
reference be made to them, and so A and B would never again have any
chance.

Thug approvers, whose evidence we required, were employed in all
parts of India, under the officers appointed to put down these
associations; and it was difficult to bring all whose evidence was
necessary at the trials to the court of the district in which the
particular murder was perpetrated. The victims were, for the most
part, money-carriers, whose masters and families resided hundreds of
miles from the place where they were murdered, or people on their way
to their distant homes from foreign service. There was no chance of
recovering any of the property taken from the victims, as Thugs were
known to spend what they got freely, and never to have money by them;
and the friends of the victims, and the bankers whose money they
carried, were everywhere found exceedingly averse to take share in
the prosecution.

To obviate all these difficulties separate courts were formed, with
permission to receive whatever evidence they might think likely to
prove valuable, attaching to each portion, whether documentary or
oral, whatever weight it might seem to deserve. Such courts were
formed at Hyderabad, Mysore, Indore, Lucknow, Gwalior, and were
presided over by our highest diplomatic functionaries, in concurrence
with the princes at whose courts they were accredited; and who at
Jubbulpore, were under the direction of the representative of the
Governor-General of India.[l9] By this means we had a most valuable
species of unpaid agency; and I believe there is no part of their
public life on which these high functionaries look back with more
pride than that spent in presiding over such courts, and assisting
the supreme Government in relieving the people of India from this
fearful evil.[20]


Notes:

1. A town on the Allahabad and Sagar road, sixty-one miles north-east
of Sagar. It was the head-quarters of the Damoh district from 1818 to
1835.

2. The chief town of the district of the same name in Bundelkhand,
situated on the Ken river, ninety-five miles south-west from
Allahabad.

3. Worth at that time 450 pounds sterling, or a little more.

4. An unusual mode of procedure for professed Thugs to adopt, who
usually strangled their victims with a cloth. Faringia (Feringheea)
Brahman was one of the most noted Thug leaders. He is frequently
mentioned in the author's _Report on the Depredations committed by
the Thug Gangs_ (1840), and the story of the Sujaina crime is fully
told in the Introduction to that volume. Faringia became a valuable
approver.

5. Lieutenant Brown was suddenly called back to Jubbulpore, and could
not himself go to Sujaina. He sent, however, an intelligent native
officer to the place, but no man could be induced to acknowledge that
he had ever seen the bodies or heard of the affair, though Faringia
pointed out to them exactly where they all lay. They said it must be
quite a mistake--that such a thing could not have taken place and
they know nothing of it. Lieutenant Brown was aware that all this
affected ignorance arose entirely from the dread these people have of
being summoned to give evidence to any of our district courts of
justice; and wrote to the officer in the civil charge of the district
to request that he would assure them that their presence would not be
required. Mr. Doolan, the assistant magistrate, happened to be going
through Sujaina from Sagar on deputation at the time; and, sending
for all the respectable old men of the place, he requested that they
would be under no apprehension, but tell him the real truth, as he
would pledge himself that not one of them should ever be summoned to
any district court to give evidence. They then took him to the spot
and pointed out to him where the bodies had been found, and mentioned
that the body of the tanner had been burned by his friends. The
banker, whose treasure they had been carrying, had an equal dislike
to be summoned to court to give evidence, now that he could no longer
hope to recover any portion of his lost money; and it was not till
after Lieutenant Brown had given him a similar assurance, that he
would consent to have his books examined. The loss of the four
thousand five hundred rupees was then found entered, with the names
of the men who had been killed at Sujaina in carrying it. These are
specimens of some of the minor difficulties we had to contend with in
our efforts to put down the most dreadful of all crimes. All the
prisoners accused of these murders had just been tried for others, or
Lieutenant Brown would not have been able to give the pledge he did.
[W. H. S.] Difficulties of the same kind beset the administration of
criminal justice in India to this day.

6. Of the Marathas. The district was ceded in 1818.

7. More correctly written Mughal. The term is properly applied to
Muhammadans of Turk (Mongol) descent. Such persons commonly affix the
title Beg to their names, and often prefix the Persian title Mirza.

8. Meerut, the well-known cantonment, in the district of the same
name. The name is written Meeruth by the author, and may be also
written Mirath. Ghat (ghaut) means a ferry, or crossing-place.
Muradabad and Bareilly (Bareli) are in Rohilkhand. The latter has a
considerable garrison. Both places are large cities, and the head-
quarter of districts.

9. The bow and quiver are now rarely seen, except, possibly, in
remote parts of Rajputana. A body of archers helped to hold the Shah
Najaf building at Lucknow against Sir Colin Campbell in 1858. Even in
1903-4 some of the Tibetans who resisted the British advance were
armed with bows and arrows.

10. An inn of the Oriental pattern, often called caravanserai in
books of travel.

11. Then the capital of Ranjit Singh, the great Sikh chief.

12. 'This is commonly given either by the leader of the gang or the
_belha_, who has chosen the place for the murder.' It was usually
some commonplace order, such as 'Bring the tobacco' (_Ramaseeana_,
p.99, &c.). See also Meadows Taylor, _Confessions of a Thug_.

13. The Jamaldehi Thugs resided 'in Oude and some other parts east of
the Ganges. They are considered very clever and expert, and more
stanch to their oath of secrecy than most other classes' (ibid. p.
97). At the time referred to Oudh was a separate kingdom, which
lasted as such until 1856. A map included in the printed Thuggee
papers reveals the appalling fact that the Thugs had 274 fixed
burying-places for their victims in the area of the small kingdom,
about half the size of Ireland.

14. Fakir (fakeer), a religious mendicant. The word properly applies
to Muhammadans only, but is often laxly used to include Hindoo
ascetics.

15. So called because the poison they use is made of the seeds of the
'datura' plant (_Datura alba_), and other species of the same genus.
It is a powerful narcotic.

16. The crime of poisoning travellers is still prevalent, and its
detection is still attended by the difficulties described in the
text. In some cases the criminals have been proved to belong to
families of Thug stranglers. The poisoning of cattle by arsenic, for
the sake of their hides, was very prevalent forty years ago,
especially in the districts near Benares, but is now believed to be
less practised. It was checked under the ordinary law by numerous
convictions and severe sentences.

17. In the Saharanpur district, where the Ganges issues from the
hills.

18. A small principality in Rohilkhand, between Muradabad and
Bareilly (Bareli).

19. The special laws on the subject, namely: Acts xxx of 1836, xviii
of 1837, xix of 1837, xviii of 1839, xviii of 1843, xxiv of 1843, xiv
of 1844, v of 1847, x of 1847, iii of 1848, and xi of 1848, are
printed in pp. 353-7 of the author's _Report on Budhuk alias Bagree
Decoits, &c._ (1849). See Bibliography, _ante._ No. 12.

20. I may here mention the names of a few diplomatic officers of
distinction who have aided in the good cause. _Of the Civil Service_-
-Mr. F. C. Smith, Mr. Martin, Mr. George Stockwell, Mr. Charles
Fraser, the Hon. Mr. Wellesley, the Hon. Mr. Shore, the Hon. Mr.
Cavendish, Mr. George Clerk, Mr. L. Wilkinson, Mr, Bax; _Majors-
General_--Cubbon and Fraser; _Colonels_--Low, Stewart, Alves, Spiers,
Caulfield, Sutherland, and Wade; Major Wilkinson; and, among the
foremost, Major Borthwick and Captain Paton. [W. H. S.]

The author's characteristic modesty has prevented him from dwelling
upon his own services, which were greater than those of any other
officer. Some idea of them may be gathered from the collection of
papers entitled _Ramaseeana_, the contents of which are enumerated in
the Bibliography, _ante._ No. 2. Colonel Meadows Taylor has given a
more popular account of the measures taken for the suppression of
Thuggee (thagi) in his _Confessions of a Thug_, written in 1837 (1st
ed. 1839). The Thug organization dated from ancient times, but
attracted little notice from the East India Company's Government
until the author, then Captain Sleeman, submitted his reports on the
subject while employed in the Sagar and Nerbudda Territories, where
he had been posted in 1820. He proved that the Thug crimes were
committed by a numerous and highly organized fraternity operating in
all parts of India. In consequence of his reports, Mr. F. C. Smith,
Agent to the Governor-General in the Sagar and Nerbudda Territories,
was invested, in the year 1829, with special powers, and the author,
then Major Sleeman, was employed, in addition to his district duties,
as Mr, Smith's coadjutor and assistant. In 1835 the author was
relieved from district work, and appointed General Superintendent of
the operations for the suppression of the Thug gangs. He went on
leave to the hills in 1836, and on resuming duty in February, 1839,
was appointed Commissioner for the suppression of Thuggee and
Dacoity, which office he continued to hold in addition to his other
appointments.

Between 1826 and 1835, 1,562 prisoners were tried for the crime of
Thuggee, of whom 1,404 were either hanged or transported for life.
Some individuals are said to have confessed to over 200 murders, and
one confessed to 719. The Thug approvers, whose lives were spared,
were detained in a special prison at Jubbulpore, where the remnant of
them, with their families, were kept under surveillance. They were
employed in a tent and carpet factory, known as the School of
Industry, founded in 1838 by the author and Captain Charles Brown. If
released, they would certainly have resumed their hereditary
occupation, which exercised an awful fascination over its votaries.
Most of the Thug gangs had been broken up by 1860, but cases of
Thuggee have occurred occasionally since that date. A gang of Kahars
(palanquin bearers) committed a series of Thug murders in, I think,
1877, at Etawa, in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. The office
of Superintendent of Thuggee and Dacoity was kept up until 1904, but
the officer in charge was more concerned with Dacoity (that is to
say, organized gang-robbery with violence) in the Native States than
with the secret crime of Thuggee. Secret crime is now watched by the
Central Criminal Intelligence Department under the direct control of
the Government of India, and has to deal with novel forms of evil-
doing. In India it is never safe to assume that any ancient practice
has been suppressed, and I have little doubt that, if administrative
pressure were relaxed, the old form of Thuggee would again be heard
of. The occasional discovery of murdered beggars, who could not have
been killed for the sake of their property, leads me to suppose that
the Megpunnia variety of Thuggee, that is to say, murder of poor
persons in order to kidnap and sell their children, is still
sometimes practised.

Among the officers named by the author the best known is Sir Mark
Cubbon, who came to India in 1800, and died at Suez in 1861. During
the interval he had never quitted India. He ruled over Mysore for
nearly thirty years with almost despotic power, and reorganized the
administration of that country with conspicuous success (Buckland,
_Dict. of Indian Biography_, Sonnenschein, 1906).

The Hon. Frederick John Shore, of the Bengal Civil Service,
officiated in 1836 as Civil Commissioner and Political Agent of the
Sagar and Nerbudda Territories. In 1837 he published his _Notes on
Indian Affairs_ (London, 2 vols. 8vo), a series of articles dealing
in the most outspoken way with the abuses and weaknesses of Anglo-
Indian administration at that time.

Mr. F. C. Smith was Agent to the Governor-General at Jubbulpore in
1830 and subsequent years. The author was then immediately
subordinate to him. Messrs. Martin and Wellesley were Residents at
Holkar's court at Indore. Mr. Stockwell tried some of the Thug
prisoners at Cawnpore and Allahabad as Special Commissioner, in
addition to his ordinary duties: correspondence between him and the
author is printed in _Ramaseeana_. Mr. Charles Fraser preceded the
author in charge of the Sagar district, and in January, 1832, resumed
charge of the revenue and civil duties of that district, leaving the
criminal work to the author. The Hon. Mr. Cavendish was Resident at
Sindhia's court at Gwalior. Mr. George Clerk became Sir George Clerk
and Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces, Governor of
Bombay, and Permanent Under-Secretary of State for India; he died at
a great age in 1889. Mr. Lancelot Wilkinson, Political Agent in
Bhopal, was considered by the author to be 'one of the most able and
estimable members of the India Civil Service' (_Journey_, ii. 403).
Mr. Bax was Resident at Indore; Colonel (afterwards Sir John) Low,
was Resident at Lucknow, and had served at Jubbulpore; Colonel
Stewart and Major-General Fraser were Residents at Hyderabad; Major
(Colonel) Alves was Political Agent in Bhopal and Agent in Rajputana;
Colonel Spiers was Agent at Nimach, and officiated as Agent in
Rajputana; Colonel Caulfield had been Political Agent at Harauti;
Colonel Sutherland was Resident at Gwalior, and afterwards Agent in
Rajputana; Colonel (Sir C. M.) Wade had been Political Agent at
Ludiana; Major Borthwick was employed at Indore; Captain Paton was
Assistant Resident at Lucknow (see _Journey through Kingdom of Oudh_,
vol. ii, pp. 152-69).

Besides the officers above named, others are specified in
_Ramaseeana_ as having done good service.

_Note._--Mr. Crooke suggests, and, I think, correctly, that the words
_Megpunnia_ and _Megpunnaism_ (_ante_, note 20, and Bibliography No.
7) are corruptions of the Hindi _Mekh-phandiya_, from _mekh_, 'a
peg', and _phanda_, 'a noose', equivalent to the Persian _tasmabaz_,
meaning 'playing tricks with a strap'. Creagh, a private in a British
regiment at Cawnpore about 1803, is said to have initiated three men
into the peg and strap trick, as practised by English rogues. These
men became the leaders of three Tasmabaz Thug gangs, whose
proceedings are described by Mr. R. Montgomery in _Selections of the
Records of Government_, N.W.P., vol. i, p. 312. A strap is doubled
and folded up in different shapes. The art consists in putting in a
stick or peg in such a way that the strap when unfolded shall come
out double. The Tasmabaz Thugs seem to be identical with the
'Megpunnia' (_N.I.N.& Qu._, vol. i, p. 108, note 721, September
1891).

 General Hervey records seven modern instances of strangulation by
Megpunnia Thugs in Rajputana (_Some Records of Crime_ (1867), vol. i,
pp. 126-31).





CHAPTER 14


Basaltic Cappings of the Sandstone Hills of Central India--Suspension
Bridge--Prospects of the Nerbudda Valley--Deification of a Mortal.

On the 29th[1] we came on to Patharia, a considerable little town
thirty miles from Sagar, supported almost entirely by a few farmers,
small agricultural capitalists, and the establishment of a native
collector,[2] On leaving Patharia, we ascend gradually along the side
of the basaltic hills on our left to the south for three miles to a
point whence we see before us this plane of basaltic cappings
extending as far as the eye can reach to the west, south, and north,
with frequent breaks, but still preserving one uniform level. On the
top of these tables are here and there little conical elevations of
laterite, or indurated iron clay.[3] The cappings everywhere repose
immediately upon the sandstone of the Vindhya range; but they have
occasional beds of limestone, formed apparently by springs rising
from their sides, and strongly impregnated with carbonic acid gas.
For the most part this is mere travertine, but in some places they
get good lime from the beds for building.

On the 1st of December we came to the pretty village of Sanoda, near
the suspension bridge built over the river Bias by Colonel Presgrave,
while he was assay master of the Sagar mint.[4] I was present at
laying the foundation-stone of this bridge in December 1827. Mr.
Maddock was the Governor-General's representative in these
territories, and the work was undertaken more with a view to show
what could be done out of their own resources, under minds capable of
developing them, than to supply any pressing or urgent want.

The work was completed in June, 1830; and I have several times seen
upon the bridge as many as it could hold of a regiment of infantry
while it moved over; and, at other times, as many of a corps of
cavalry, and often several elephants at once. The bridge is between
the points of suspension two hundred feet, and the clear portion of
the platform measures one hundred and ninety feet by eleven and a
half. The whole cost of the work amounted to about fifty thousand
rupees; and, under a less able and careful person than Colonel
Presgrave, would have cost, perhaps, double the amount. This work has
been declared by a very competent judge to be equal to any structure
of the same kind in Europe, and is eminently calculated to show what
genius and perseverance can produce out of the resources of a country
even in the rudest state of industry and the arts.

The river Nerbudda neither is nor ever can, I fear, be made
navigable, and the produce of its valley would require to find its
way to distant markets over the Vindhya range of hills to the north,
or the Satpura to the south. If the produce of the soil, mines, and
industry of the valley cannot be transported to distant markets, the
Government cannot possibly find in it any available net surplus
revenue in money; for it has no mines of the precious metals, and the
precious metals can flow in only in exchange for the produce of the
land, and the industry of the valley that flows out. If the
Government wishes to draw a net surplus revenue from the valley or
from the districts that border upon it, that is, a revenue beyond its
expenditure in support of the local public establishments, it must
either draw it in produce, or for what can be got for that produce in
distant markets.[5] Hitherto little beyond the rude produce of the
soil has been able to find its way into distant markets from the
valley of the Nerbudda; yet this valley abounds in iron mines,[6] and
its soil, where unexhausted by cropping, is of the richest
quality.[7] It is not then too much to hope that in time the iron of
the mines will be worked with machinery for manufactures; and that
multitudes, aided by this machinery, and subsisted on the rude
agricultural produce, which now flows out, will invest the value of
their labour in manufactured commodities adapted to the demand of
foreign markets and better able from their superior value, compared
with their bulk, to pay the cost of transport by land. Then, and not
till then, can we expect to see these territories pay a considerable
net surplus revenue to Government, and abound in a middle class of
merchants, manufacturers, and agricultural capitalists.[8]

At Sanoda there is a very beautiful little fortress or castle now
unoccupied, though still entire. It was built by an officer of the
Raja Chhatar Sal of Bundelkhand, about one hundred and twenty years
ago.[9] He had a grant, on the tenure of military service, of twelve
villages situated round this place; and a man who could build such a
castle to defend the surrounding country from the inroads of
freebooters, and to secure himself and his troops from any sudden
impulse of the people's resentment, was as likely to acquire an
increase of territorial possession in these parts as he would have
been in Europe during the Middle Ages. The son of this chief, by name
Rai Singh, was, soon after the castle had been completed, killed in
an attack upon a town near Chitrakot;[10] and having, in the
estimation of the people, _become a god_, he had a temple and a tomb
raised to him close to our encampment. I asked the people how he had
become a _god_; and was told that some one who had been long
suffering from a quartan ague went to the tomb one night, and
promised Rai Singh, whose ashes lay under it, that if he could
contrive to cure his ague for him, he would, during the rest of his
life, make offerings to his shrine. After that he had never another
attack, and was very punctual in his offerings. Others followed his
example, and with like success, till Rai Singh was recognized among
them universally as a god, and a temple raised to his name. This is
the way that gods were made all over the world at one time, and are
still made all over India. Happy had it been for mankind if those
only who were supposed to do good had been deified.[11]

On the 2nd we came on to the village of Khojanpur (leaving the town
and cantonments of Sagar to our left), a distance of some fourteen
miles. The road for a great part of the way was over the bare back of
the sandstone strata, the covering of basalt having been washed off.
The hills, however, are, at this distance from the city and
cantonments of Sagar, nicely wooded; and, being constantly
intersected by pretty little valleys, the country we came over was
picturesque and beautiful. The soil of all these valleys is rich from
the detritus of the basalt that forms or caps the hills; but it is
now in a bad state of cultivation, partly from several successive
seasons of great calamity, under which the people have been
suffering, and partly from over-assessment; and this posture of
affairs is continued by that loss of energy, industry, and character,
among the farmers and cultivators, which must everywhere result from
these two evils. In India, where the people have learnt so well to
govern themselves, from the want of settled government, good or bad
government really depends almost altogether upon _good or bad
settlements of the land revenue_. Where the Government demand is
imposed with moderation, and enforced with justice, there will the
people be generally found happy and contented, and disposed to
perform their duties to each other and to the state; except when they
have the misfortune to suffer from drought, blight, and other
calamities of season.[l2]

I have mentioned that the basalt in the Sagar district reposes for
the most part immediately upon the sandstone of the Vindhya range;
and it must have been deposited on the sand, while the latter was yet
at the bottom of the ocean, though this range is now, I believe,
nowhere less than from fifteen hundred to two thousand feet above the
level of the sea. The marks of the ripple of the sea may be observed
in some places where the basalt has been recently washed off,
beautifully defined, as if formed only yesterday, and there is no
other substance to be seen between the two rocks.

The texture of the sandstone at the surface, where it comes in
contact with the basalt, has in some places been altered by it, but
in others it seems to have been as little changed as the habitations
of the people who were suffocated by the ashes of Vesuvius in the
city of Pompeii. I am satisfied, from long and careful examination,
that the greater part of this basalt, which covers the tableland of
Central and Southern India, must have been held for some time in
suspension in the ocean or lake into which it was first thrown in the
shape of ashes, and then gradually deposited. This alone can account
for its frequent appearance of stratification, for the gentle
blending of its particles with those of the sand near the surface of
the latter; and, above all, for those level steps, or tables, lying
one above another horizontally in parallel bars on one range,
corresponding exactly with the same parallel lines one above another
on a range twenty or thirty miles across the valley. Mr. Scrope's
theory is, I believe, that these are all mere flowing _coulees_ of
lava, which, in their liquid state, filled hollows, but afterwards
became of a harder texture, as they dried and crystallized, than the
higher rocks around them; the consequence of which is that the latter
has been decomposed and washed away, while the basalt has been left
to form the highest elevations. My opinion is that these steps, or
stairs, at one time formed the beds of the ocean, or of great lakes,
and that the substance of which they are composed was, for the most
part, projected into the water, and there held in suspension till
gradually deposited. There are, however, amidst these steps, and
beneath them, masses of more compact and crystalline basalt, that
bear evident signs of having been flows of lava.[l3]

Reasoning from analogy at Jubbulpore, where some of the basaltic
cappings of the hills had evidently been thrown out of craters long
after this surface had been raised above the waters, and become the
habitation both of vegetable and animal life, I made the first
discovery of fossil remains in the Nerbudda valley. I went first to a
hill within sight of my house in 1828,[14] and searched exactly
between the plateau of basalt that covered it and the stratum
immediately below, and there I found several small trees with roots,
trunks, and branches, all entire, and beautifully petrified. They had
been only recently uncovered by the washing away of a part of the
basaltic plateau. I soon after found some fossil bones of
animals.[15] Going over to Sagar, in the end of 1830, and reasoning
there upon the same analogy, I searched for fossil remains along the
line of contact between the basalt and the surface upon which it had
been deposited, and I found a grove of silicified palm-trees within a
mile of the cantonments. These palm-trees had grown upon a calcareous
deposit formed from springs rising out of the basaltic range of hills
to the south. The commissariat officer had cut a road through this
grove, and all the European officers of a large military station had
been every day riding through it without observing the geological
treasure; and it was some time before I could convince them that the
stones which they had every day seen were really petrified palm-
trees. The roots and trunks were beautifully perfect.[l6]


Notes:

1. November, 1835.

2. In the Damoh District, twenty-four miles west of Damoh. The name
appears to be derived from the 'great quantity of hewn stone (Hind.
_patthar_ or _pathar_) lying about in all directions'. The _C. P.
Gazetteer_ (1870) calls the place 'a considerable village'.

3. A peculiar formation, of 'widespread occurrence in the tropical
and subtropical regions of the world'. It is ordinarily of a reddish
ferruginous or brick-dust colour, sometimes deepened into dark red.
Apparently the special character which distinguishes laterite from
other forms of red-coloured weathering is the presence of hydrous
oxide of alumina in varying proportions. . . . 'Though there is still
a great deal of uncertainty about the way in which laterite was
formed, the facts which are known of its distribution seem to show
that it is a distinct form of weathering, which is confined to low
latitudes and humid climates; its formation seems to have been a slow
process, only possible on flat or nearly flat surfaces, where surface
rain-wash could not act' (Oldham, in _The Oxford Survey of the
British Empire_, vol. ii, Asia, p. 10: Oxford, 1914). It hardens and
darkens by exposure to air, and is occasionally used as a building
stone.

4. The Sagar mint was erected in 1820 by Captain Presgrave, the assay
master, and used to employ four hundred men, but, after about ten or
twelve years, the business was transferred to Calcutta, and the
buildings converted to other uses (_C. P. Gazetteer_, 1870). Mints
are now kept up at Calcutta and Bombay only. The Bias is a small
stream flowing into the Sunar river, and belonging to the Jumna river
system. The name is printed Beeose in the original edition.

5. Since the author's time the conditions have been completely
changed by the introduction of railways. The East Indian, Great
Indian Peninsular, and other railways now enter the Nerbudda Valley,
so that the produce of most districts can be readily transported to
distant markets. A large enhancement of the land revenue has been
obtained by revisions of the settlement.

6. Details will be found in the _Central Provinces Gazetteer_ (1870).
The references are collected under the head 'Iron' in the index to
that work. Chapter VIII of _Ball's Economic Geology of India_ gives
full information concerning the iron mines of the Central Provinces
and all parts of India. That work forms Part III of the _Manual of
the Geology of India_.

7. The soil of the valley of the Nerbudda, and that of the Nerbudda
and Sagar territories generally, is formed for the most part of the
detritus of trap-rocks that everywhere covered the sandstone of the
Vindhya and Satpura ranges which run through these territories. This
basaltic detritus forms what is called the black cotton soil by the
English, for what reason I know not. [W. H. S.] The reason is that
cotton is very largely grown in the Nerbudda Valley, both on the
black soil and other soils. In Bundelkhand the black, friable soil,
often with a high proportion of organic matter, is called 'mar', and
is chiefly devoted to raising crops of wheat, gram, or chick-pea
(_Cicer arietinum_), linseed, and joar (_Holcus sorghum_). Cotton is
also sown in it, but not very generally. This black soil requires
little rain, and is fertile without manure. It absorbs water too
freely to be suitable for irrigation, and in most seasons does not
need it. The 'black cotton soil' is often known as _regur_, a
corruption of a Tamil word. 'The origin of _regur_ is a doubtful
question. . . . The dark coloration was attributed by earlier writers
to vegetable matter, and taken to indicate a large amount of humus in
the soil; more recent investigations make this doubtful, and in all
probability the colour is due to mineral constitution rather than to
the very scanty organic constituents of the soil,' It may possibly be
formed of 'wind-borne dust', like the loess plains of China (Oldham,
in _The Oxford Survey of the British Empire_, vol. ii, Asia, p. 9:
Oxford, 1914).

8. The land revenue has been largely increased, and the resources and
communications of the country have been greatly developed during the
last half-century. The formation of the Central Provinces as a
separate administration in 1861 secured for the Sagar and Nerbudda
territories the attention which they failed to obtain from the
distant Government of the North-Western Provinces. Sir Richard
Temple, the first Chief Commissioner, administered the Central
Provinces with extraordinary energy and success.

9. Raja Chhatarsal Bundela was Raja of Panna. The history of
Chhatarsal is related in _I.G._ (1908), vol. xix, p. 400, s.v. Panna
State. In 1729 he called in the Marathas to help him against Muhammad
Khan Bangash, and when he died in 1731 rewarded them by bequeathing
one-third of his dominions to the Peshwa. The correct date of his
death is Pus Badi 3, Samvat 1788 (_Hamirpur Settlement Report_
(1880), note at end of chapter 2). The date is often given
inaccurately.

10. Chitrakot, in the Banda district of Bundelkhand, under the
government of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, and seventy-one
miles distant from Allahabad, is a famous place of pilgrimage, much
frequented by the votaries of Rama. Large fairs are held there.

11. The performance of miraculous cures at the tomb is not necessary
for the deification of a person who has been specially feared in his
lifetime, or has died a violent death. Either of these conditions is
enough to render his ghost formidable, and worthy of propitiation.
Shrines to such persons are very numerous both in Bundelkhand and
other parts of India, Miracles, of course, occur at nearly every
shrine, and are too common and well attested to attract much
attention.

12. These observations are as true to-day as they were in the
author's time. Disastrous cases of over-assessment were common in the
early years of British rule, and the mischief so wrought has been
sometimes traceable for generations afterwards. Since 1833 the error,
though less common, has not been unknown.

13. Since writing the above, I have seen Colonel Sykes's notes on the
formations of Southern India in the _Indian Review_. The facts there
described seem all to support my conclusion, and his map would answer
just as well for Central as for Southern India; for the banks of the
Nerbudda and Chambal, Son, and Mahanadi, as well as for those of the
Bam and the Bima. Colonel Sykes does not, I believe, attempt to
account for the stratification of the basalt; he merely describes it.
[W. H. S.]

The author's theory of the subaqueous origin of the greater part of
the basalt of Central and Southern India, otherwise known as the
'Deccan Trap Series', had been supported by numerous excellent
geologists, but W. T. Blanford proved the theory to be untenable,
there being 'clear and unmistakable evidence that the traps were in
great part of sub-aerial formation', The intercalation of sedimentary
beds with fresh-water fossils is conclusive proof that the lava-flows
associated with such beds cannot be submarine. The hypothesis that
the lower beds of traps were poured out in a vast, but shallow,
freshwater lake extending throughout the area over which the inter-
trappean limestone formation extends appears to be extremely
improbable. The lava seems to have been poured, during a long
succession of ages, over a land surface, uneven and broken in parts,
'with intervals of rest sufficient for lakes, stocked with fresh-
water mollusca, to form on the cold surfaces of several of the lava-
flows' (Holland, in _I.G._ (1907), i. 88). A great tract of the
volcanic region appears to have remained almost undisturbed to the
present day, affected by sub-aerial erosion alone. The geological
horizon of the Deccan trap cannot be precisely defined, but is now
vaguely stated as 'the close of the cretaceous period'. The 'steps',
or conspicuous terraces, traceable on the hill-sides for great
distances, are explained as being 'due to the outcrop of the harder
basaltic strata, or of those beds which resist best the
disintegrating influences of exposure'.

The general horizontality of the Deccan trap over an area of not less
than 200,000 square miles, and the absence of volcanic hills of the
usual conical form, are difficulties which have caused much
discussion. Some of the 'old volcanic vents' appear to have existed
near Poona and Mahableshwar. The entire area has been subjected to
sub-aerial denudation on a gigantic scale, which explains the
occurrence of the basalt as the caps of isolated hills. Much further
investigation is required to clear up details (_Manual of the Geology
of India_, ed. 1, Part I, chap. 13)

14. The author took charge of the Jubbulpore District in March 1828.

15. The fossiliferous beds near Jubbulpore, described in the text,
seem to belong to the group now classed as the Lameta beds. The bones
of a large dinosaurian reptile (_Titanosaurus indicus_) have been
identified (_I.G._, 1907, vol. i, p. 88).

16. 'Many years ago Dr. Spry (_Note on the Fossil Palms and Shells
lately discovered on the Table-Land of Sagar in Central India_, in
_J.A.S.B._ for 1833, vol. ii, p. 639) and, subsequently to him,
Captain Nicholls (_Journal of Asiatic Soc. of Bombay_, vol. v, p.
614), studied and described certain trunks of palm-trees, whose
silicified remains are found imbedded in the soft intertrappean mud-
beds near Sagar. . . . The trees are imbedded in a layer of
calcareous black earth, which formed the surface soil in which they
grew; this soil rests on, and was made up of the disintegration of, a
layer of basalt. It is covered over by another and similar layer of
the same rock near where the trees occur. . . . The palm-trees, now
found fossilized, grew in the soil, which, in the condition of a
black calcareous earthy bed, we now find lying round their prostrate
stems. They fell (from whatever cause), and lay until their
silicification was complete. A slight depression of the surface, or
some local or accidental check of some drainage-course, or any other
similar and trivial cause, may have laid them under water. The
process of silicification proceeded gradually but steadily, and after
they had there, in lapse of ages, become lapidified, the next
outburst of volcanic matter overwhelmed them, broke them, partially
enveloped, and bruised them, until long subsequent denudation once
more brought them to light' (J. G. Medlicott, in _Memoirs of the
Geological Survey of India_, vol. ii. Part II, pp. 200, 203, 204,
205, 216, as quoted in _C. P. Gazetteer_ (1870), p. 435). The
intertrappean fossils are all those of organisms which would occur in
shallow fresh-water lakes or marshy ground.

Besides the author's friend and relative, Dr. H. H. Spry, Dr.
Spilsbury contributed papers on the Nerbudda fossils to vols. iii,
vi, viii, ix, x, and xiii of the _J.A.S.B._ Other writers also have
treated of the subject, but it appears to be by no means fully worked
out. James Prinsep, to whom no topic came amiss, discussed the
Jubbulpore fossil bones in the volume in which Dr. Spry's paper
appeared. Dr. Spry was the author of a work entitled _Modern India:
with Illustrations of the Resources and Capabilities of Hindustan_ (2
vols. 8vo, 1838). He became F.R.S.




CHAPTER 15


Legend of the Sagar Lake--Paralysis from eating the Grain of the
_Lathyrus sativus_.

The cantonments of Sagar are about two miles from the city and
occupied by three regiments of native infantry, one of local horse,
and a company of European artillery.[1] The city occupies two sides
of one of the most beautiful lakes of India, formed by a wall which
unites two sandstone hills on the north side. The fort and part of
the town stands upon this wall, which, according to tradition, was
built by a wealthy merchant of the Banjara caste.[2] After he had
finished it, the bed of the lake still remained dry; and he was told
in a dream, or by a priest, that it would continue so till he should
consent to sacrifice his own daughter, then a girl, and the young lad
to whom she was affianced, to the tutelary god of the place. He
accordingly built a little shrine in the centre of the valley, which
was to become the bed of the lake, put the two children in, and built
up the doorway. He had no sooner done so than the whole of the valley
became filled with water, and the old merchant, the priest, the
masons, and spectators, made their escape with much difficulty. From
that time the lake has been inexhaustible; but no living soul of the
Banjara caste has ever since been known to drink of its waters.
Certainly all of that caste at present religiously avoid drinking the
water of the lake; and the old people of the city say that they have
always done so since they can remember, and that they used to hear
from their parents that they had always done so. In nothing does the
Founder of the Christian religion appear more amiable than in His
injunction, 'Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them
not'. In nothing do the Hindoo deities appear more horrible than in
the delight they are supposed to take in their sacrifice--it is
everywhere the helpless, the female, and the infant that they seek to
devour--and so it was among the Phoenicians and their Carthaginian
colonies. Human sacrifices were certainly offered in the cities of
Sagar during the whole of the Maratha government up to the year 1800,
when they were put a stop to by the local governor, Asa Sahib, a very
humane man; and I once heard a very learned Brahman priest say that
he thought the decline of his family and government arose from this
_innovation_. 'There is', said he, 'no sin in _not_ offering human
sacrifices to the gods where none have been offered; but, where the
gods have been accustomed to them, they are naturally annoyed when
the rite is abolished, and visit the place and people with all kinds
of calamities.' He did not seem to think that there was anything
singular in this mode of reasoning, and perhaps three Brahman priests
out of four would have reasoned in the same manner.[3]

On descending into the valley of the Nerbudda over the Vindhya range
of hills from Bhopal, one may see by the side of the road, upon a
spur of the hill, a singular pillar of sandstone rising in two
spires, one turning above and rising over the other, to the height of
from twenty to thirty feet. On a spur of a hill half a mile distant
is another sandstone pillar not quite so high. The tradition is that
the smaller pillar was the affianced bride of the taller one, who was
a youth of a family of great eminence in these parts. Coming with his
uncle to pay his first visit to his bride in the procession they call
the 'barat', he grew more and more impatient as he approached nearer
and nearer, and she shared the feeling. At last, unable to restrain
himself, he jumped upon his uncle's shoulder, and looked with all his
might towards the spot where his bride was said to be seated.
Unhappily she felt no less impatient than he did, and raised 'the
fringed curtains of her eye', as he raised his, [and] they saw each
other at the same moment. In that moment the bride, bridegroom, and
uncle were all converted into stone pillars; and there they stand to
this day a monument, in the estimation of the people, to warn men and
womankind against too strong an inclination to indulge curiosity. It
is a singular fact that in one of the most extensive tribes of the
Gond population of Central India, to which this couple is said to
have belonged, the bride always goes to the bridegroom in the
procession of the 'barat', to prevent a recurrence of this calamity.
It is the bridegroom who goes to the bride among every other class of
the people of India, as well Muhammadans as Hindoos. Whether the
usage grew out of the tradition, or the tradition out of the usage,
is a question that will admit of much being said on both sides. I can
only vouch for the existence of both. I have seen the pillars, heard
the tradition from the people, and ascertained the usage; as in the
case of that of the Sagar lake.

The Mahadeo sandstone hills, which in the Satpura range overlook the
Nerbudda to the south, rise to between four and five thousand feet
above the level of the sea;[4] and in one of the highest parts a fair
was formerly, and is, perhaps, still held[5] for the enjoyment of
those who assemble to witness the self devotion of a few young men,
who offer themselves as a sacrifice to fulfil the vows of their
mothers. When a woman is without children she makes votive offerings
to all the gods, who can, she thinks, assist her, and promises of
still greater in case they should grant what she wants. Smaller
promises being found of no avail, she at last promises her first-
born, if a male, to the god of destruction, Mahadeo. If she gets a
son, she conceals from him her vows till he has attained the age of
puberty; she then communicates it [_sic_] to him, and enjoins him to
fulfil it. He believes it to be his paramount duty to obey his
mother's call; and from that moment he considers himself as devoted
to the god. Without breathing to any living soul a syllable of what
she has told him, he puts on the habit of a pilgrim or religious
mendicant, visits all the celebrated temples dedicated to this god in
different parts of India;[6] and, at the annual fair on the  Mahadeo
hills, throws himself from a perpendicular height of four or five
hundred feet, and is dashed to pieces upon the rocks below.[7] If the
youth does not feel himself quite prepared for the sacrifice on the
first visit, he spends another year in pilgrimages, and returns to
fulfil his mother's vow at the next fair. Some have, I believe, been
known to postpone the sacrifice to a third fair; but the interval is
always spent in painful pilgrimages to the celebrated temples of the
god. When Sir R. Jenkins was the Governor-General's representative at
the court of Nagpur,[8] great efforts were made by him and all the
European officers under him to put a stop to these horrors by doing
away with the fair; and their efforts were assisted by the _cholera
morbus_, which broke out among the multitude one season while they
were so employed, and carried off the greater part of them. This
seasonable visitation was, I believe, considered as an intimation on
the part of the god that the people ought to have been more attentive
to the wishes of the white men, for it so happens that Mahadeo is the
only one of the Hindoo gods who is represented with a white face.[9]
He figures among the _dramatis personae_ of the great pantomime of
the Ramlila[10] or fight for the recovery of Sita from the demon king
of Ceylon; and is the only one with a white face. I know not whether
the fair has ever been revived, but [I] think not.

In 1829 the wheat and other spring crops in this and the surrounding
villages were destroyed by a severe hail-storm; in 1830 they were
deficient from the want of seasonable rains; and in 1831 they were
destroyed by blight. During these three years the 'teori', or what in
other parts of India is called 'kesari' (the _Lathyrus sativus_ of
botanists), a kind of wild vetch, which, though not sown itself, is
left carelessly to grow among the wheat and other grain, and given in
the green and dry state to cattle, remained uninjured, and thrived
with great luxuriance.[11] In 1831 they reaped a rich crop of it from
the blighted wheat-fields, and subsisted upon its grain during that
and the following years, giving the stalks and leaves only to their
cattle. In 1833 the sad effects of this food began to manifest
themselves. The younger part of the population of this and the
surrounding villages, from the age of thirty downwards, began to be
deprived of the use of their limbs below the waist by paralytic
strokes, in all cases sudden, but in some cases more severe than in
others. About half the youth of this village of both sexes became
affected during the years 1833 and 1834, and many of them have lost
the use of their lower limbs entirely, and are unable to move. The
youth of the surrounding villages, in which the 'teori' from the same
causes formed the chief article of food during the years 1831 and
1832, have suffered to an equal degree. Since the year 1834 no new
case has occurred; but no person once attacked had been found to
recover the use of the limbs affected; and my tent was surrounded by
great numbers of the youth in different stages of the disease,
imploring my advice and assistance under this dreadful visitation.
Some of them were very fine-looking young men of good caste and
respectable families; and all stated that their pains and infirmities
were confined entirely to the parts below the waist. They described
the attack as coming on suddenly, often while the person was asleep,
and without any warning symptoms whatever; and stated that a greater
portion of the young men were attacked than of the young women. It is
the prevailing opinion of the natives throughout the country that
both horses and bullocks, which have been much fed upon 'teori', are
liable to lose the use of their limbs; but, if the poisonous
qualities abound more in the grain than in the stalk or leaves, man,
who eats nothing but the grain, must be more liable to suffer from
the use of this food than beasts, which eat it merely as they eat
grass or hay.

I sent the son of the head man of the village and another, who were
among the young people least affected, into Sagar with a letter to my
friend Dr. Foley, with a request that he would try what he could do
for them; and if he had any fair prospect of being able to restore
these people to the use of their limbs, that measures might be
adopted through the civil authorities to provide them with
accommodation and the means of subsistence, either by private
subscription, or by application to Government. The civil authorities,
however, could find neither accommodation nor funds to maintain these
people while under Dr. Foley's care; and several seasons of calamity
had deprived them of the means of maintaining themselves at a
distance from their families. Nor is a medical man in India provided
with the means found most effectual in removing such affections, such
as baths, galvanic batteries, &c. It is lamentable to think how very
little we have as yet done for the country in the healing art, that
art which, above all others, a benevolent and enlightened Government
should encourage among the people of India.

All we have as yet done has been to provide medical attendants for
our European officers; regiments, and jails. It must not, however, be
supposed that the people of India are without medical advice, for
there is not a town or considerable village in India without its
practitioners, the Hindoos following the Egyptian (Misrani), and the
Musalmans the Grecian (Yunani) practice. The first prescribe little
physic and much fasting; and the second follow the good old rules of
Hippocrates, Galen, and Avicenna, with which they are all tolerably
well acquainted. As far as the office of physician goes, the natives
of India of all classes, high and low, have much more confidence in
their own practitioners than in ours, whom they consider too reckless
and better adapted to treat diseases in a cold than a hot climate.
They cannot afford to give the only fees which European physicians
would accept; and they see them, in their hospital practice, trust
much to their native assistants, who are very few of them able to
read any book, much less to study the profound doctrines of the great
masters of the science of medicine.[12] No native ventures to offer
an opinion upon this abstruse subject in any circle where he is not
known to be profoundly read in either Arabic or Sanskrit lore; nor
would he venture to give a prescription without first consulting,
'spectacles on nose', a book as large as a church Bible. The educated
class, as indeed all classes, say that they do not want our
physicians, but stand much in need of our surgeons. Here they feel
that they are helpless, and we are strong; and they seek our aid
whenever they see any chance of obtaining it, as in the present
case.[13] Considering that every European gentleman they meet is more
or less a surgeon, or hoping to find him so, people who are
afflicted, or have children afflicted, with any kind of malformation,
or malorganization, flock round them [_sic_] wherever they go, and
implore their aid; but implore in vain, for, when they do happen to
fall in with a surgeon, he is a mere passer-by, without the means or
the time to afford relief. In travelling over India there is nothing
which distresses a benevolent man so much as the necessity he is
daily under of telling poor parents, who, with aching hearts and
tearful eyes, approach him with their suffering children in their
arms, that to relieve them requires time and means which are not at a
traveller's command, or a species of knowledge which he does not
possess; it is bitter thus to dash to the ground the cup of hope
which our approach has raised to the lip of mother, father, and
child; but he consoles himself with the prospect, that at no distant
period a benevolent and enlightened Government will distribute over
the land those from whom the afflicted will not seek relief in
vain.[14]


Notes:

1. The garrison is stated in the _Gazetteer_ (1870) to consist of a
European regiment of infantry, two batteries of European artillery,
one native cavalry and one native infantry regiment. In 1893 it
consisted of one battery of Royal Artillery, a detachment of British
Infantry, a regiment of Bengal Cavalry, and a detachment of Bengal
Infantry. According to the census of 1911, the population of Sagar
was 45,908.

2. The Banjaras, or Brinjaras, are a wandering tribe, principally
employed as carriers of grain and salt on bullocks and cows. They
used to form the transport service of the Moghal armies, and of the
Company's forces at least as late as 1819. Their organization and
customs are in many ways peculiar. The development of roads and
railways has much diminished the importance of the tribe. A good
account of it will be found in Balfour, _Cyclopaedia of India_, 3rd
ed., 1885, s. v. 'Banjara'. Dubois (_Hindu Manners, &c._, 3rd ed.
(1906), p. 70) states that 'of all the castes of the Hindus, this
particular one is acknowledged to be the most brutal'.

3. See note on human sacrifice, _ante_, Chapter 8, note 8.

4. In the Hoshangabad district of the Central Provinces. The
sandstone formation here attains its highest development, and is
known to geologists as the 'Mahadeo sandstones'. The new sanitarium
of Pachmarhi is situated in these hills.

5. It has been long since suppressed.

6. Benares is the principal seat of the worship of Mahadeo (Siva),
but his shrines are found everywhere throughout India. One hundred
and eight of these are reckoned as important. In Southern India the
most notable, perhaps, is the great temple at Tanjore (see chap. 17
of Monier Williams's _Religious Thought and Life in India_).

7. 'This mode of suicide is called Bhrigu-pata, "throwing one's self
from a precipice". It was once equally common at the rock of Girnar
[in Kathiawar], and has only recently been prohibited' (ibid. p.
349).

8. Nagpore (Nagpur) was governed by Maratha rulers, with the title of
Bhonsla, also known as the Rajas of Berar. The last Raja, Raghoji,
died without heirs in 1853. His dominions were then annexed as lapsed
territory by Lord Dalhousie. Sir Richard Jenkins was Resident at
Nagpur from 1810 to 1827. Nagpur is now the head-quarters of the
Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces.

9. 'There is a legend that Siva appeared in the Kali age, for the
good of the Brahmans, as "Sveta", "the white one", and that he had
four disciples, to all of whom the epithet "Sveta" is applied'
(Monier Williams, _Religious Thought and Life in India_, p. 80, note
2). Various explanations of the legend have been offered. Professor
A. Weber is inclined to think that the various references to white
teachers in Indian legends allude to Christian missionaries. The
Mahabharata mentions the travels of Narada and others across the sea
to 'Sveta-dwipa', the 'Island of the White Men', in order to learn
the doctrine of the unity of God. This tradition appears to be
intelligible only if understood to commemorate the journeys of pious
Indians to Alexandria, and their study of Christianity there (_Die
Griechen in Indien_, 1890, p. 34).

10. The Ramlila, a performance corresponding to the mediaeval
European 'miracle-play', is celebrated in Northern India in the month
of Kuar (or Asvin, September-October), at the same time as the Durga
Puja is solemnized in Bengal. Rama and his brother Lachhman are
impersonated by boys, who are seated on thrones in state. The
performance concludes by the burning of a wicker image of Ravana, the
demon king of Lanka (Ceylon), who had carried off Rama's queen, Sita.
The story is the leading subject of the great epic called the
Ramayana.

11. The _Lathyrus sativus_ is cultivated in the Punjab and in Tibet.
Its poisonous qualities are attributed to its excessive proportion of
nitrogenous matter, which requires dilution. Another species of the
genus, _L. cicer_, grown in Spain, has similar properties. The
distressing effects described in the text have been witnessed by
other observers (Balfour, _Cyclopaedia_, 3rd ed., 1885, s.v.
'Lathyrus').

12. One of the tent-pitchers one morning, after pitching our tent,
asked the loan of a small extra one for the use of his wife, who was
about to be confined. The basket-maker's wife of the village near
which we were encamped was called; and the poor woman, before we had
finished our breakfast, gave birth to a daughter. The charge is half
a rupee, or one shilling for a boy, and a quarter, or sixpence, for a
girl. The tent-pitcher gave her ninepence, which the poor midwife
thought very handsome, The mother had come fourteen miles upon a
loaded cart over rough roads the night before; and went the same
distance with her child the night after, upon the same cart. The
first midwife in Europe could not have done her duty better than this
poor basket-maker's wife did hers. [W. H. S.]

13. The 'present case' was of a medical, not a surgical, nature.

14. The Hindoo practitioners are called 'baid' (Sanskrit 'vaidya',
followers of the Veda, that is to say, the Ayur Veda). The Musalman
practitioners are generally called 'hakim'. The Egyptian school
(Misrani, Misri, or Suryani, that is, Syrian) never practise
bleeding, and are partial to the use of metallic oxides. The Yunani
physicians approve of bleeding, and prefer vegetable drugs. The older
writers on India fancied that the Hindoo system of medicine was of
enormous antiquity, and that the principles of Galenical medical
science were ultimately derived from India. Modern investigation has
proved that Hindoo medicine, like Hindoo astronomy, is largely of
Greek origin. This conclusion has been expressed in an exaggerated
form by some writers, but its general truth appears to be
established. The Hindoo books treating of medicine are certainly
older than Wilson supposed, for the Bower manuscript, written in the
second half of the fourth century of our era, contains three Sanskrit
medical treatises. The writers had, however, plenty of time to borrow
from Galen, who lived in the second century. The Indian aversion to
European medicine, as distinguished from surgery, still exists,
though in a degree somewhat less than in the author's time. Many
municipal boards have insisted on employing 'baids' and 'hakims' in
addition to the practitioners trained in European methods. Well-to-do
patients often delay resort to the English physician until they have
exhausted all resources of the 'hakim' and have been nearly killed by
his drastic treatment. One medical innovation, the use of quinine as
a febrifuge, has secured universal approbation. I never heard of an
Indian who disbelieved in quinine. Chlorodyne also is fully
appreciated, but most of the European medicines are regarded with
little faith.

Since the author wrote, great progress has been made in providing
hospital and dispensary accommodation. Each 'district', or unit of
civil administration, has a fairly well equipped combined hospital
and dispensary at head-quarters, and branch dispensaries exist in
almost every district. An Inspector-General of Dispensaries
supervises the medical administration of each province, and medical
schools have been organized at Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, Lahore, and
Agra. During Lord Dufferin's Viceroyalty and afterwards, energetic
steps were taken to improve the system of medical relief for females.
Pandit Madhusadan Gupta, on January 10, 1836, was the first Hindoo
who ventured to dissect a human body and teach anatomy. India can now
boast of a considerable number of Hindoo and Musalman practitioners,
trained in European methods, and skilful in their profession. Much
has been done, infinitely more remains to be done. Details will be
found in _I.G._ (1907), vol. iv, chap. 14, 'Medical Administration',
The article 'Medicine' in Balfour, _Cyclopaedia_, 3rd ed., 1885, on
which I have drawn for some of the facts above stated, gives a good
summary of the earlier history of medicine in India, but greatly
exaggerates the antiquity of the Hindoo books. On this question
Weber's paper, 'Die Griechen in Indien' (Berlin, 1890, p. 28), and
Dr. Hoernle's remarks on the Bower manuscript (in _J.A.S.B._, vol. lx
(1891), Part I, p. 145) may be consulted. Dr. Hoernle's annotated
edition and translation of the Bower MS. were completed in 1912. Part
of the work is reprinted with additions in the _Ind. Ant._ for 1913
and 1914.




CHAPTER 16


Suttee Tombs--Insalubrity of deserted Fortresses.

On the 3rd we came to Bahrol,[1] where I had encamped with Lord
William Bentinck on the last day of December, 1832, when the
quicksilver in the thermometer at sunrise, outside our tents, was
down to twenty-six degrees of Fahrenheit's thermometer. The village
stands upon a gentle swelling hill of decomposed basalt, and is
surrounded by hills of the same formation. The Dasan river flows
close under the village, and has two beautiful reaches, one above,
the other below, separated by the dyke of basalt, over which lies the
ford of the river.[2]

There are beautiful reaches of the kind in all the rivers in this
part of India, and they are almost everywhere formed in the same
manner. At Bahrol there is a very unusual number of tombs built over
the ashes of women who have burnt themselves with the remains of
their husbands. Upon each tomb stands erect a tablet of freestone,
with the sun, the new moon, and a rose engraved upon it in bas-relief
in one field;[3] and the man and woman, hand in hand, in the other.
On one stone of this kind I saw a third field below these two, with
the figure of a horse in bas-relief, and I asked one of the gentlemen
farmers, who was riding with me, what it meant. He told me that he
thought it indicated that the woman rode on horseback to bathe before
she ascended the pile.[4] I asked him whether he thought the measure
prohibiting the practice of burning good or bad.

'It is', said he, 'in some respects good, and in others bad. Widows
cannot marry among us, and those who had no prospect of a comfortable
provision among their husband's relations, or who dreaded the
possibility of going astray, and thereby sinking into contempt and
misery, were enabled in this way to relieve their minds, and follow
their husbands, under the full assurance of being happily united to
them in the next world.'

When I passed this place on horseback with Lord William Bentinck, he
asked me what these tombs were, for he had never seen any of the kind
before. When I told him what they were, he said not a word; but he
must have felt a proud consciousness of the debt of gratitude which
India owes to the statesman who had the courage to put a stop to this
great evil, in spite of all the fearful obstacles which bigotry and
prejudice opposed to the measure. The seven European functionaries in
charge of the seven districts of the newly-acquired territories were
requested, during the administration of Lord Amherst in 1826, to
state whether the burning of widows could or should be prohibited;
and I believe every one of them declared that it should not. And yet,
when it was put a stop to only a few years after by Lord William, not
a complaint or murmur was heard. The replies to the Governor-
General's inquiries were, I believe, throughout India, for the most
part, opposed to the measure.[5]

 On the 4th we came to Dhamoni, ten miles. The only thing remarkable
here is the magnificent fortress, which is built upon a small
projection of the Vindhya range, looking down on each side into two
enormously deep glens, through which the two branches of the Dasan
river descend over the tableland into the plains of Bundelkhand.[6]
The rays of the sun seldom penetrate to the bottom of these glens,
and things are, in consequence, grown there that could not be grown
in parts more exposed.

Every inch of the level ground in the bed of the streams below seems
to be cultivated with care. This fortress is said to have cost more
than a million of money, and to have been only one of fifty-two great
works, of which a former Raja of Bundelkhand, Birsingh Deo, laid the
foundation in the same _happy hour_ which had been pointed out to him
by his astrologers.[7] The works form an acute triangle, with the
base towards the tableland, and the two sides hanging perpendicularly
over the glens, while the apex points to the course of the streams as
they again unite, and pass out through a deep chasm into the plains
of Bundelkhand.

The fortress is now entirely deserted, and the town, which the
garrison supported, is occupied by only a small police-guard,
stationed here to see that robbers do not take up their abode among
the ruins. There is no fear of this. All old deserted fortresses in
India become filled by a dense stream of carbonic acid gas, which is
found so inimical to animal life that those who attempt to occupy
them become ill, and, sooner or later, almost all die of the
consequences. This gas, being specifically much heavier than common
air, descends into the bottom of such unoccupied fortresses, and
remains stagnant like water in old reservoirs. The current of pure
air continually passes over, without being able to carry off the mass
of stagnant air below; and the only way to render such places
habitable is to make large openings in the walls on all sides, from
the top to the bottom, so that the foul air may be driven out by the
current of pure atmospheric air, which will then be continually
rushing in. When these fortresses are thickly peopled, the continual
motion within tends, I think, to mix up this gas with the air above;
while the numerous fires lighted within, by rarefying that below,
tend to draw down a regular supply of the atmospheric air from above
for the benefit of the inhabitants. When natives enter upon the
occupation of an old fortress of this kind, that has remained long
unoccupied, they always make a solemn religions ceremony of it; and,
having fed the priests, the troops, and a crowd of followers, all
rush in at once with beat of drums, and as much noise as they can
make. By this rush, and the fires that follow, the bad air is,
perhaps, driven off, and never suffered to collect again while the
fortress remains fully occupied. Whatever may be the cause, the fact
is certain that these fortresses become deadly places of abode for
small detachments of troops, or small parties of any kind. They all
get ill, and few recover from the diseases they contract in them.

From the year 1817, when we first took possession of the Sagar and
Nerbudda Territories, almost all the detachments of troops we
required to keep at a distance from the headquarters of their
regiments were posted in these old deserted fortifications. Our
collections of revenue were deposited in them; and, in some cases,
they were converted into jails for the accommodation of our
prisoners. Of the soldiers so lodged, I do not believe that one in
four ever came out well; and, of those who came out ill, I do not
believe that one in four survived five years. They were all abandoned
one after the other; but it is painful to think how many hundreds, I
may say thousands, of our brave soldiers were sacrificed before this
resolution was taken. I have known the whole of the survivors of
strong detachments that went in, in robust health, three months
before, brought away mere skeletons, and in a hopeless and dying
state. All were sent to their homes on medical certificate, but they
almost all died there, or in the course of their journey.


Notes:

1. December, 1835. The name of the village is spelled Behrole by the
author.

2. The Dasan river rises in the Bhopal State, flows through the Sagar
district of the Central Provinces, and along the southern boundary of
the Lalitpur subdivision of the Jhansi District, United Provinces of
Agra and Oudh. It also forms the boundary between the Jhansi and
Hamirpur Districts, and falls into the Betwa after a course of about
220 miles. The name is often, but erroneously, written Dhasan. It is
the Sanskrit Dasarna.

3. This emblem is a lotus, not a rose flower. The latter is never
used in Hindoo symbolism. The lotus is a solar emblem, and intimately
associated with the worship of Vishnu.

4. It rather indicates that the husband was on horseback when killed.
The sculptures on sati pillars often commemorate the mode of death of
the husband. Sometimes these pillars are inscribed. They usually face
the east. An open hand is often carved in the upper compartment as
well as the sun and moon. A drawing of such a pillar will be found in
_J.A.S.B._, vol. xlvi. Part I, 1877, pl. xiv. _A.S.R._, vol. iii, p.
10; vol. vii, p. 137; vol. x, p. 75; and vol. xxi, p. 101, may be
consulted.

5. The 'newly-acquired territories' referred to are the Sagar and
Nerbudda Territories, comprising the seven districts, Sagar,
Jubbulpore, Hoshangabad, Seoni, Damoh, Narsinghpur, and Baitul, ceded
in 1818, and now included in the Central Provinces. The tenor of the
replies given to Lord Amherst's queries shows how far the process of
Hindooizing had advanced among the European officials of the Company.
Lord Amherst left India in March, 1828. See _ante._ Chapter 4 and
Chapter 8, for cases of sati (suttees). For a good account of the
suttee discussions and legislation, see D. Boulger, _Lord William
Bentinck_ (1897), chap. v, in 'Rulers of India' Series. No other
biography of Lord William Bentinck exists.

6. Dhamoni is in the Sagar district of the Central Provinces, about
twenty-nine miles north of Sagar. The fort was taken by General
Marshall in 1818. It had been rebuilt by Raja Birsingh Deo of Orchha
on an enormous scale about the end of the sixteenth century. In the
original edition, the author's march is said to have taken place 'on
the 24th'. This must be a mistake for 'on the 4th'; as the last date,
that of the march to Bahrol, was the 3rd December. The author reached
Agra on January 1, 1836,

7. The number fifty-two is one of the Hindoo favourite numbers, like
seven, twelve, and eighty-four, held sacred for astronomical or
astrological reasons. Birsingh Deo was the younger brother of
Ramchand, head of the Bundela clan. To oblige Prince Salim,
afterwards the Emperor Jahangir, he murdered Abul Fazl, the
celebrated minister and historian of Akbar, on August 12, 1602,
Jahangir, after his accession, rewarded the murderer by allowing him
to supersede his brother in the headship of his clan, and by
appointing him to the rank of 'commander of three thousand'. The
capital of Birsingh was Orchha. His successors are often spoken of as
Rajas of Tehri. The murder is fully described in _The Emperor Akbar_
by Count von Noer, translated by A. S. Beveridge, Calcutta, 1890,
vol. ii, pp. 384-404. Orchha is described _post_, Chapters 22,23.




CHAPTER 17


Basaltic Cappings--Interview with a Native Chief--A Singular
Character.

On the 5th[1] we came to the village of Seori. Soon after leaving
Dhamoni, we descended the northern face of the Vindhya range into the
plains of Bundelkhand. The face of this range overlooking the valley
of the Nerbudda to the south is, as I have before stated, a series of
mural precipices, like so many rounded bastions, the slight dip of
the strata being to the north. The northern face towards Bundelkhand,
on the contrary, here descends gradually, as the strata dip slightly
towards the north, and we pass down gently over their back. The
strata have, however, been a good deal broken, and the road was so
rugged that two of our carts broke down in descending. From the
descent over the northern face of the tableland into Bundelkhand to
the descent over the southern face into the valley of the Nerbudda
must be a distance of one hundred miles directly north and south.

The descent over the northern face is not everywhere so gradual; on
the contrary, there are but few places where it is at all feasible;
and some of the rivers of the tableland between Jubbulpore and
Mirzapore have a perpendicular fall of more than four hundred feet
over these mural precipices of the northern face of the Vindhya
range.[2] A man, if he have good nerve, may hang over the summits,
and suspend in his hand a plummet that shall reach the bottom.

I should mention that this tableland is not only intersected by
ranges, but everywhere studded with isolated hills rising suddenly
out of basins or valleys. These ranges and isolated hills are all of
the same sandstone formation, and capped with basalt, more or less
amygdaloidal. The valleys and cappings have often a substratum of
very compact basalt, which must evidently have flowed into them after
these islands were formed. The question is, how were these valleys
and basins scooped out? 'Time, time, time!' says Mr. Scrope; 'grant
me only time, and I can account for everything.' I think, however,
that I am right in considering the basaltic cappings of these ranges
and isolated hills to have once formed part of continued flat beds of
great lakes. The flat parallel planes of these cappings,
corresponding with each other, however distantly separated the hills
they cover may be, would seem to indicate that they could not all
have been subject to the convulsions of nature by which the whole
substrata were upheaved above the ocean. I am disposed to think that
such islands and ranges of the sandstone were formed before the
deposit of the basalt, and that the form of the surface is now
returning to what it then was, by the gradual decomposition and
wearing away of the latter rock. Much, however, may be said on both
sides of this, as of every other question. After descending from the
sandstone of the Vindhya[3] range into Bundelkhand, we pass over
basalt and basaltic soil, reposing immediately on syenitic granite,
with here and there beds and veins of pure feldspar, hornblende, and
quartz.

Takht Singh, the younger brother of Arjun Singh, the Raja of
Shahgarh,[4] came out several miles to meet me on his elephant.
Finding me on horseback, he got off from his elephant, and mounted
his horse, and we rode on till we met the Raja himself, about a mile
from our tents. He was on horseback, with a large and splendidly
dressed train of followers, all mounted on fine sleek horses, bred in
the Raja's own stables. He was mounted on a snow-white steed of his
own breeding (and I have rarely seen a finer animal), and dressed in
a light suit of silver brocade made to represent the scales of steel
armour, surmounted by a gold turban. Takht Singh was more plainly
dressed, but is a much finer and more intelligent-looking man. Having
escorted us to our tents, they took their leave, and returned to
their own, which were pitched on a rising ground on the other side of
a small stream, half a mile distant. Takht Singh resides here in a
very pretty fortified castle on an eminence. It is a square building,
with a round bastion at each corner, and one on each face, rising
into towers above the walls.

A little after midday the Raja and his brother came to pay us a
visit; and about four o'clock I went to return it, accompanied by
Lieutenant Thomas. As usual, he had a nautch (dance) upon carpets,
spread upon the sward under awnings in front of the pavilion in which
we were received. While the women were dancing and singing, a very
fine panther was brought in to be shown to us. He had been caught,
full-grown, two years before, and, in the hands of a skilful man, was
fit for the chase in six months. It was a very beautiful animal, but,
for the sake of the sport, kept wretchedly thin.[5] He seemed
especially indifferent to the crowd and the music, but could not bear
to see the woman whirling about in the dance with her red mantle
floating in the breeze; and, whenever his head was turned towards
her, he cropped his ears. She at last, in play, swept close by him,
and with open mouth he attempted to spring upon her, but was pulled
back by the keeper. She gave a shriek, and nearly fell upon her back
in fright.

The Raja is a man of no parts or character, and, his expenditure
being beyond his income, he is killing his goose for the sake of her
eggs--that is, he is ruining all the farmers and cultivators of his
large estate by exactions, and thereby throwing immense tracts of
fine land out of tillage. He was the heir to the fortress and
territory of Garha Kota, near Sagar, which was taken by Sindhia's
army, under the command of Jean Baptiste Filose,[6] just before our
conquest in 1817. I was then with my regiment, which was commanded by
Colonel, afterwards Major-General, G------,[7] a very singular
character. When our surgeon. Dr. E------, received the newspaper
announcing the capture of Garha Kota in Central India by _Jean-
Baptiste_, an officer of the corps was with him, who called on the
colonel on his way home, and mentioned this as a bit of news. As soon
as this officer had left him, the colonel wrote off a note to the
doctor: 'My dear Doctor,--I understand that that fellow, _John the
Baptist_, has got into Sindhia's service, and now commands an army--
do send me the newspapers.' These were certainly the words of his
note, and, at the only time I heard him speak on the subject of
religion he discomfited his adversary in an argument at the mess by
'Why, sir, you do not suppose that I believe in those fellows,
Luther, Calvin, and John the Baptist, do you?'

Nothing could stand this argument. All the party burst into a laugh,
which the old gentleman took for an unequivocal recognition of his
victory, and his adversary was silenced. He was an old man when I
first became acquainted with him. I put into his hands, when in camp,
Miss Edgeworth's novels, in the hope of being able to induce him to
read by degrees; and I have frequently seen the tears stealing down
over his furrowed cheeks, as he sat pondering over her pages in the
corner of his tent. A braver soldier never lived than old G------;
and he distinguished himself greatly in the command of his regiment,
under Lord Lake, at the battle of Laswari[8] and siege of
Bharatpur.[9] It was impossible ever to persuade him that the
characters and incidents of these novels were the mere creations of
fancy--he felt them to be true--he wished them to be true, and he
would have them to be true. We were not very anxious to undeceive
him, as the illusion gave him pleasure and did him good. Bolingbroke
says, after an ancient author, 'History is philosophy teaching by
example.'[10] With equal truth may we say that fiction, like that of
Maria Edgeworth, is philosophy teaching by emotion. It certainly
taught old G------ to be a better man, to leave much of the little
evil he had been in the habit of doing, and to do much of the good he
had been accustomed to leave undone.



Notes:

1. December 5, 1835, The date is misprinted '3rd' in the original
edition. See note 2 to last preceding chapter, p. 110.

2. A good view of the precipices of the Kaimur range, the eastern
continuation of the Vindhyan chain, is given facing page 41 of vol. i
of Hooker's _Himalayan Journals_ (ed. 1855).

3. The author's theory is untenable. He failed, to realize the vast
effects of sub-aerial denudation. All the evidence shows that the
successive lava outflows which make up the Deccan trap series
ultimately converted the surface of the land over which they welled
out into an enormous, nearly uniform, plain of basalt, resting on the
Vindhyan sandstone and other rocks. This great sheet of lava,
extending, east and west, from Nagpur to Bombay, a distance of about
five hundred miles, was then, in succeeding millenniums, subjected to
the denuding forces of air and water, until gradually huge tracts of
it were worn away, forming beds of conglomerate, gravel, and clay.
The flat-topped hills have been carved out of the basaltic surface by
the agencies which wore away the massive sheet of lava. The basaltic
cappings of the hills certainly cannot have 'formed part of continued
flat beds of great lakes'. See the notes to Chapter 14, _ante_. Mr.
Scrope was quite right. Vast periods of time must be allowed for
geological history, and millions of years must have elapsed since the
flow of the Deccan lava.

4. In the Sagar district. The last Raja joined the rebels in 1857,
and so forfeited his rank and territory.

5. The name panther is usually applied only to the large, fulvous
variety of _Felis pardus (Linn.) (F. leopardus, Leopardus varius)_.
The animal described in the text evidently was a specimen of the
hunting leopard, _Felis jubata (F. guttata, F. venatica)_.

6. This officer was one of the many '_condottieri_' of various
nationality who served the native powers during the eighteenth
century, and the early years of the nineteenth. He commanded five
infantry regiments at Gwalior. His 'kingdom-taking' raid in 1815 or
1816 is described _post_ in Chapter 49. The history of the family is
given by Compton in _European Military Adventures of Hindustan from
1784 to 1803_ (Unwin, 1892), App. pp, 352-6. In 1911 Michael Filose
of Gwalior was appointed K.C.I.E.

7.'G------' appears to have been Robert Gregory C.B.

8. The fiercely contested battle of Laswari was fought on November 1,
1803, between the British force under Lord Lake and the flower of
Sindhia's army, known as the 'Deccan Invincibles'. Sindhia's troops
lost about seven thousand killed and two thousand prisoners. The
British loss in killed and wounded amounted to more than eight
hundred. A medal to commemorate the victory was struck in London in
1851, and presented to the survivors. Laswari is a village in the
Alwar State, 128 miles south of Delhi.

9. Bharatpur (Bhurtpore), in the Jat State of the same name, is
thirty-four miles west of Agra. In January and February, 1805, Lord
Lake four times attempted to take it by assault, and each time was
repulsed with heavy loss. On January 18, 1826, Lord Combermere
stormed the fortress. The fortifications were then dismantled. A
large portion of the walls is now standing, and presents an imposing
appearance. They seem to have been repaired. See _post_, Chapter 62.

10. 'I will answer you by quoting what I have read somewhere or
other--in _Dionysius Halicarn_., I think--that history is philosophy
teaching by example' (Bolingbroke, _Letters on the Study and Use of
History_, Letter II, p. 14 of vol. viii of edition printed by T.
Cadell, London, 1770). The Greek words are. . . . . . . .




CHAPTER 18


Birds' Nests--Sports of Boyhood.

On the 6th[1] we came to Sayyidpur, ten miles, over an undulating
country, with a fine soil of decomposed basalt, reposing upon
syenite, with veins of feldspar and quartz. Cultivation partial, and
very bad; and population extremely scanty. We passed close to a
village, in which the children were all at play; while upon the
bushes over their heads were suspended an immense number of the
beautiful nests of the sagacious 'baya' bird, or Indian yellow-
hammer,[2] all within reach of a grown-up boy, and one so near the
road that a grown-up man might actually look into it as he passed
along, and could hardly help shaking it. It cannot fail to strike a
European as singular to see so many birds' nests, situated close to a
village, remain unmolested within reach of so many boisterous
children, with their little proprietors and families fluttering and
chirping among them with as great a feeling of security and gaiety of
heart as the children themselves enjoy.

In any part of Europe not a nest of such a colony could have lived an
hour within reach of such a population; for the baya bird has no
peculiar respect paid to it by the people here, like the wren and
robin-redbreast in England. No boy in India has the slightest wish to
molest birds in their nests; it enters not into their pastimes, and
they have no feeling of pride or pleasure in it. With us it is
different--to discover birds' nests is one of the first modes in
which a boy exercises his powers, and displays his love of art. Upon
his skill in finding them he is willing to rest his first claim to
superior sagacity and enterprise. His trophies are his string of
eggs; and the eggs most prized among them are those of the nests that
are discovered with most difficulty, and attained with most danger.
The same feeling of desire to display their skill and enterprise in
search after birds' nests in early life renders the youth of England
the enemy almost of the whole animal creation throughout their after
career. The boy prides himself on his dexterity in throwing a stone
or a stick; and he practises on almost every animal that comes in his
way, till he never sees one without the desire to knock it down, or
at least to hit it; and, if it is lawful to do so, he feels it to be
a most serious misfortune not to have a stone within his reach at the
time. As he grows up, he prides himself upon his dexterity in
shooting, and he never sees a member of the feathered tribe within
shot, without a desire to shoot it, or without regretting that he has
not a gun in his hand to shoot it. That he is not entirely destitute
of sympathy, however, with the animals he maims for his amusement is
sufficiently manifest from his anxiety to put them out of pain the
moment he gets them.

A friend of mine, now no more, Captain Medwin, was once looking with
me at a beautiful landscape painting through a glass. At last he put
aside the glass, saying: 'You may say what you like, S--, but the
best landscape I know is a fine black partridge[3] falling before my
Joe Manton.'

The following lines of Walter Scott, in his _Rokeby_, have always
struck me as very beautiful:-

    As yet the conscious pride of art
    Had steel'd him in his treacherous part;
    A powerful spring of force unguessed
    That hath each gentler mood suppressed,
    And reigned in many a human breast;
    From his that plans the rude campaign,
    To his that wastes the woodland reign, &c.[4]

Among the people of India it is very different. Children do not learn
to exercise their powers either in discovering and robbing the nests
of birds, or in knocking them down with stones and staves; and, as
they grow up, they hardly ever think of hunting or shooting for mere
amusement. It is with them a matter of business; the animal they
cannot eat they seldom think of molesting.

Some officers were one day pursuing a jackal, with a pack of dogs,
through my grounds. The animal passed close to one of my guard, who
cut him in two with his sword, and held up the reeking blade in
triumph to the indignant cavalcade; who, when they came up, were
ready to eat him alive. 'What have I done', said the poor man, 'to
offend you?' 'Have you not killed the jackal?' shouted the whipper-
in, in a fury.

'Of course I have; but were you not all trying to kill him?' replied
the poor man. He thought their only object had been to kill the
jackal, as they would have killed a serpent, merely because he was a
mischievous and noisy beast.

The European traveller in India is often in doubt whether the
peacocks, partridges, and ducks, which he finds round populous
villages, are tame or wild, till he asks some of the villagers
themselves, so assured of safety do these creatures become, and so
willing to take advantage of it for the food they find in the
suburbs. They very soon find the difference, however, between the
white-faced visitor and the dark-faced inhabitants. There is a fine
date-tree overhanging a kind of school at the end of one of the
streets in the town of Jubbulpore, quite covered with the nests of
the baya birds; and they are seen, every day and all day, fluttering
and chirping about there in scores, while the noisy children at their
play fill the street below, almost within arm's length of them. I
have often thought that such a tree so peopled at the door of a
school in England might work a great revolution in the early habits
and propensities of the youth educated in it. The European traveller
is often amused to see the pariah dog[5] squatted close in front of
the traveller during the whole time he is occupied in cooking and
eating his dinner, under a tree by the roadside, assured that he
shall have at least a part of the last cake thrown to him by the
stranger, instead of a stick or a stone. The stranger regards him
with complacency, as one that reposes a quiet confidence in his
charitable disposition, and flings towards him the whole or part of
his last cake, as if his meal had put him in the best possible humour
with him and all the world.


Notes:

1. December, 1835. The name of the village is given in the author's
text as Seindpore. It seems to be the place which is called Siedpore
in the next chapter.

2. The common weaver bird, _Phoceus baya, Blyth. 'Ploceinae_, the
weaver birds. . . . They build nests like a crucible, with the
opening downwards, and usually attach them to the tender branches of
a tree hanging over a well or tank. _P. baya_ is found throughout
India; its nest is made of grasses and strips of the plantain or
date-palm stripped while green. It is easily tamed and taught some
tricks, such as to load and fire a toy cannon, to pick up a ring,
&c,' (Balfour, _Cyclopaedia_, 3rd ed., 1885, s.v. 'Ploceinae').

3. _Francolinus vulgaris_; a capital game bird.

4. Canto V, stanza 22, line 3.

5. The author spells the word Pareear. The editor has used the form
now customary. The word is the Tamil appellation of a large body of
the population of Southern India, which stands outside the orthodox
Hindoo castes, but has a caste organization of its own. Europeans
apply the term to the low-caste mongrel dogs which infest villages
and towns throughout India. See Yule and Burnell, _Glossary of Anglo-
Indian Words (Hobson-Jobson)_, in either edition, s.v.; and Dubois,
_Hindu Manners, &c._, 3rd ed. (1906, index, s.v.).




CHAPTER 19


Feeding Pilgrims--Marriage of a Stone with a Shrub.

At Sayyidpur[1] we encamped in a pretty little mango grove, and here
I had a visit from my old friend Janki Sewak, the high priest of the
great temple that projects into the Sagar lake, and is called
Bindraban.[2] He has two villages rent free, worth a thousand rupees
a year; collects something more through his numerous disciples, who
wander over the country; and spends the whole in feeding all the
members of his fraternity (Bairagis), devotees of Vishnu, as they
pass his temple in their pilgrimages. Every one who comes is
considered entitled to a good meal and a night's lodging; and he has
to feed and lodge about a hundred a day. He is a man of very pleasing
manners and gentle disposition, and everybody likes him. He was on
his return from the town of Ludhaura,[3] where he had been, at the
invitation of the Raja of Orchha, to assist at the celebration of the
marriage of Salagram with the Tulasi,[4] which there takes place
every year under the auspices and at the expense of the Raja, who
must be present. 'Salagrams'[5] are rounded pebbles which contain the
impressions of ammonites, and are washed down into the plains of
India by the rivers from the limestone rocks in which these shells
are imbedded in the mountains of the Himalaya.[6] The Spiti valley[7]
contains an immense deposit of fossil ammonites and belemnites[8] in
limestone rocks, now elevated above sixteen thousand feet above the
level of the sea; and from such beds as these are brought down the
fragments, which, when rounded in their course, the poor Hindoo takes
for representatives of Vishnu, the preserving god of the Hindoo
triad. The Salagram is the only stone idol among the Hindoos that is
_essentially sacred_, and entitled to divine honours without the
ceremonies of consecration.[9] It is everywhere held most sacred.
During the war against Nepal,[10] Captain B------, who commanded a
reconnoitring party from the division in which I served, one day
brought back to camp some four or five Salagrams, which he had found
at the hut of some priest within the enemy's frontier. He called for
a large stone and hammer, and proceeded to examine them. The Hindoos
were all in a dreadful state of consternation, and expected to see
the earth open and swallow up the whole camp, while he sat calmly
cracking _their gods_ with his hammer, as he would have cracked so
many walnuts. The Tulasi is a small sacred shrub (_Ocymum sanctum_),
which is a metamorphosis of Sita, the wife of Rama, the seventh
incarnation of Vishnu.

This little _pebble_ is every year married to this little _shrub_;
and the high priest told me that on the present occasion the
procession consisted of eight elephants, twelve hundred camels, four
thousand horses, all mounted and elegantly caparisoned. On the
leading elephant of this _cortege_, and the most sumptuously
decorated, was carried the _pebble god_, who was taken to pay his
bridal visit (barat) to the little _shrub goddess_. All the
ceremonies of a regular marriage are gone through; and, when
completed, the bride and bridegroom are left to repose together in
the temple of Ludhaura[11] till the next season. 'Above a hundred
thousand people', the priest said, 'were present at the ceremony this
year at the Raja's invitation, and feasted upon his bounty.'[12]

The old man and I got into a conversation upon the characters of
different governments, and their effects upon the people; and he said
that bad governments would sooner or later be always put down by the
deity; and quoted this verse, which I took down with my pencil:

    Tulasi, gharib na satae,
    Buri gharib ki hai;
    Mari khal ke phunk se
    Loha bhasm ho jae.

'Oh, Raja Tulasi! oppress not the poor; for the groans of the
wretched bring retribution from heaven. The contemptible skin (in the
smith's bellows) in time melts away the hardest iron.'[13]

On leaving our tents in the morning, we found the ground all round
white with hoar frost, as we had found it for several mornings
before;[14] and a little canary bird, one of the two which travelled
in my wife's palankeen, having, by the carelessness of the servants
been put upon the top without any covering to the cage, was killed by
the cold, to her great affliction. All attempts to restore it to life
by the warmth of her bosom were fruitless.

On the 7th[15] we came nine miles to Bamhauri over a soil still
basaltic, though less rich, reposing upon syenite, which frequently
rises and protrudes its head above the surface, which is partially
and badly cultivated, and scantily peopled. The silent signs of bad
government could not be more manifest. All the extensive plains,
covered with fine long grass, which is rotting in the ground from
want of domestic cattle or distant markets. Here, as in every other
part of Central India, the people have a great variety of good
spontaneous, but few cultivated, grasses. They understand the
character and qualities of these grasses extremely well. They find
some thrive best in dry, and some in wet seasons; and that of
inferior quality is often prized most because it thrives best when
other kinds cannot thrive at all, from an excess or a deficiency of
rain. When cut green they all make good hay, and have the common
denomination of 'sahia'. The finest of these grasses are two which
are generally found growing spontaneously together, and are often
cultivated together-'kel' and 'musel'; the third 'parwana'; fourth
'bhawar', or 'guniar'; fifth 'saina'.[16]


Notes:

1. Spelled Siedpore in the author's text.

2. More correctly Brindaban (Vrindavana). The name originally belongs
to one of the most sacred spots in India, situated near Mathura
(Muttra) on the Jumna, and the reputed scene of the dalliance between
Krishna and the milkmaids (Gopis); also associated with the legend
Rama.

3. Twenty-seven miles north-west of Tehri in the Orchha State.

4. The Tulasi plant, or basil, _Ocymum sanctum_, is 'not merely
sacred to Vishnu or to his wife Lakshmi; it is pervaded by the
essence of these deities, and itself worshipped as a deity and prayed
to accordingly. . . . The Tulasi is the object of more adoration than
any other plant at present worshipped in India. . . .It is to be
found in almost every respectable household throughout India. It is a
small shrub, not too big to be cultivated in a good-sized flower-pot,
and often placed in rooms. Generally, however, it is planted in the
courtyard of a well-to-do man's house, with a space round it for
reverential circumambulation. In real fact the Tulasi is _par
excellence_ a domestic divinity, or rather, perhaps, a woman's
divinity' (M. Williams, _Religious Thought and Life in India_, p.
333).

5. The fossil ammonites found in India include at least fifteen
species. They occur between Trichinopoly and Pondicherry as well as
in the Himalayan rocks. They are particularly abundant in the river
Gandak, which rises near Dhaulagiri in Nepal, and falls into the
Ganges near Patna. The upper course of this river is consequently
called Salagrami. Various forms of the fossils are supposed to
represent various _avatars_ of Vishnu (Balfour, _Cyclopaedia_, 3rd
ed., s.v. 'Ammonite', 'Gandak', 'Salagrama'; M. Williams, _Religious
Thought and Life in India_, pp. 69, 349). A good account of the
reverence paid to both _salagrams_ and the _tulasi_ plant will be
found in Dubois, _Hindu Manners_, &c., 3rd ed. (1906), pp. 648-51.

6. The author writes 'Himmalah'. The current spelling Himalaya is
correct, but the word should be pronounced Himalaya. It means 'abode
of snow'.

7. The north-eastern corner of the Punjab, an elevated valley along
the course of the Spiti or the Li river, a tributary of the Satlaj.

8. Fossils of the genus Belemnites and related genera are common,
like the ammonites, near Trichinopoly, as well as in the Himalaya.

9. This statement is not quite correct. The pebbles representing the
Linga of Siva, called Bana-linga, or Vana-linga, and apparently of
white quartz, which are found in the Nerbudda river, enjoy the same
distinction. 'Both are held to be of their own nature pervaded by the
special presence of the deity, and need no consecration. Offerings
made to these pebbles--such, for instance, as Bilwa leaves laid on
the white stone of Vishnu--are believed to confer extraordinary
merit' (M. Williams, _Religious Thought and Life in India_, p. 69).

10. In 1814-16.

11. 'Sadora' in author's text, which seems to be a misprint for
Ludora or Ludhaura.

12. The Tulasi shrub is sometimes married to an image of Krishna,
instead of to the salagrama, in Western India (M. Williams,
_Religious Thought and Life in India_, p. 334). Compare the account
of the marriage between the mango-tree and the jasmine, _ante_,
Chapter 5, Note [3].

13. These Hindi verses are incorrectly printed, and loosely rendered
by the author. The translation of the text, after necessary
emendation, is: 'Tulasi, oppress not the poor; evil is the lot of the
poor. From the blast of the dead hide iron becomes ashes.' Mr. W.
Crooke informs me that the verses are found in the Kabirki Sakhi, and
are attributable to Kabir Das, rather than to Tulasi Das. But the
authorship of such verses is very uncertain. Mr. Crooke further
observes that the lines as given in the text do not scan, and that
the better version is:

    Durbal ko na sataiye,
    Jaki mati hai;
    Mue khal ke sans se
    Sar bhasm ho jae.

_Sar_ means iron. The author was, of course, mistaken in supposing
the poet Tulasi Das to be a Raja. As usual in Hindi verse, the poet
addresses himself by name.

14. Such slight frosts are common in Bundelkhand, especially near the
rivers, in January, but only last for a few mornings. They often
cause great damage to the more delicate crops. The weather becomes
hot in February.

15. December, 1835.

16. 'Musel' is a very sweet-scented grass, highly esteemed as fodder.
It belongs to the genus _Anthistiria_; the species is either
_cimicina_ or _prostrata_. 'Bhawar' is probably the 'bhaunr' of
Edgeworth's list, _Anthistiria scandens_. I cannot identify the other
grasses named in the text. The haycocks in Bundelkhand are a pleasant
sight to English eyes. Edgeworth's list of plants found in the Banda
district, as revised by Messrs. Waterfield and Atkinson, is given in
_N.W.P. Gazetteer_, 1st ed., vol. i, pp. 78-86.




CHAPTER 20


The Men-Tigers.

 Ram Chand Rao, commonly called the Sarimant, chief of Deori,[1] here
overtook me. He came out from Sagar to visit me at Dhamoni[2] and,
not reaching that place in time, came on after me. He held Deori
under the Peshwa, as the Sagar chief held Sagar, for the payment of
the public establishments kept up by the local administration. It
yielded him about ten thousand a year, and, when we took possession
of the country, he got an estate in the Sagar district, in rent-free
tenure, estimated at fifteen hundred a year. This is equal to about
six thousand pounds a year in England. The tastes of native gentlemen
lead them always to expend the greater part of their incomes in the
wages of trains of followers of all descriptions, and in horses,
elephants, &c.; and labour and the subsistence of labour are about
four times cheaper in India than in England. By the breaking up of
public establishments, and consequent diminution of the local demand
for agricultural produce, the value of land throughout all Central
India, after the termination of the Mahratha War in 1817, fell by
degrees thirty per cent.; and, among the rest, that of my poor friend
the Sarimant. While I had the civil charge of the Sagar district in
1831 I represented this case of hardship; and Government, in the
spirit of liberality which has generally characterized their measures
in this part of India, made up to him the difference between what he
actually received and what they had intended to give him; and he has
ever since felt grateful to me.[3] He is a very small man, not more
than five feet high, but he has the handsomest face I have almost
ever seen, and his manners are those of the most perfect native
gentleman. He came to call upon me after breakfast, and the
conversation turned upon the number of people that had of late been
killed by tigers between Sagar and Deori, his ancient capital, which
lies about midway between Sagar and the Nerbudda river.

One of his followers, who stood beside his chair, said[4] that 'when
a tiger had killed one man he was safe, for the spirit of the man
rode upon his head, and guided him from all danger. The spirit knew
very well that the tiger would be watched for many days at the place
where he had committed the homicide, and always guided him off to
some other more secure place, when he killed other men without any
risk to himself. He did not exactly know why the spirit of the man
should thus befriend the beast that had killed him; but', added he,
'there is a mischief inherent in spirits; and the better the man the
more mischievous is his ghost, if means are not taken to put him to
rest.' This is the popular and general belief throughout India; and
it is supposed that the only sure mode of destroying a tiger who has
killed many people is to begin by making offerings to the spirits of
his victims, and thereby depriving him of their valuable services.[5]
The belief that men are turned into tigers by eating of a root is no
less general throughout India.

The Sarimant, on being asked by me what he thought of the matter,
observed 'there was no doubt much truth in what the man said: but he
was himself of opinion that the tigers which now infest the wood from
Sagar to Deori were of a different kind--in fact, that they were
neither more nor less than men turned into tigers--a thing which took
place in the woods of Central India much more often than people were
aware of. The only visible difference between the two', added the
Sarimant, 'is that the metamorphosed tiger has _no tail_, while the
_bora_, or ordinary tiger, has a very long one. In the jungle about
Deori', continued he, 'there is a root, which, if a man eat of, he is
converted into a tiger on the spot; and if, in this state, he can eat
of another, he becomes a man again--a melancholy instance of the
former of which', said he, 'occurred, I am told, in my own father's
family when I was an infant. His washerman, Raghu, was, like all
washermen, a great drunkard; and, being seized with a violent desire
to ascertain what a man felt in the state of a tiger, he went one day
to the jungle and brought home two of these roots, and desired his
wife to stand by with one of them, and the instant she saw him assume
the tiger shape, to thrust it into his mouth. She consented, the
washerman ate his root, and became instantly a tiger; but his wife
was so terrified at the sight of her husband in this shape that she
ran off with the antidote in her hand. Poor old Raghu took to the
woods, and there ate a good many of his old friends from neighbouring
villages; but he was at last shot, and recognized from the
circumstance of his _having no tail_. You may be quite sure,'
concluded Sarimant, 'when you hear of a tiger without a tail, that it
is some unfortunate man who has eaten of that root, and of all the
tigers he will be found the most mischievous.'

How my friend had satisfied himself of the truth of this story I know
not, but he religiously believes it, and so do all his attendants and
mine; and, out of a population of thirty thousand people in the town
of Sagar, not one would doubt the story of the washerman if he heard
it.

I was one day talking with my friend the Raja of Maihar.[6] on the
road between Jubbulpore and Mirzapore, on the subject of the number
of men who had been lately killed by tigers at the Katra Pass on that
road,[7] and the best means of removing the danger. 'Nothing', said
the Raja, 'could be more easy or more cheap than the destruction of
these tigers, if they were of the ordinary sort; but the tigers that
kill men by wholesale, as these do, are, you may be sure, men
themselves converted into tigers by the force of their science, and
such animals are of all the most unmanageable.'

'And how is it. Raja Sahib, that these men convert themselves into
tigers?'

'Nothing', said he, 'is more easy than this to persons who have once
acquired the science; but how they learn it, or what it is, we
unlettered men know not.'

'There was once a high priest of a large temple, in this very valley
of Maihar, who was in the habit of getting himself converted into a
tiger by the force of this science, which he had thoroughly acquired.
He had a necklace, which one of his disciples used to throw over his
neck the moment the tiger's form became fully developed. He had,
however, long given up the practice, and all his old disciples had
gone off on their pilgrimages to distant shrines, when he was one day
seized with a violent desire to take his old form of the tiger. He
expressed the wish to one of his new disciples, and demanded whether
he thought he might rely on his courage to stand by and put on the
necklace. 'Assuredly you may', said the disciple; 'such is my faith
in you, and in the God we serve, that I fear nothing.' The high
priest upon this put the necklace into his hand with the requisite
instructions, and forthwith began to change his form. The disciple
stood trembling in every limb, till he heard him give a roar that
shook the whole edifice, when he fell flat upon his face, and dropped
the necklace on the floor. The tiger bounded over him, and out of the
door, and infested all the roads leading to the temple for many years
afterwards.'

'Do you think, Raja Sahib, that the old high priest is one of the
tigers at the Katra Pass?'

'No, I do not; but I think they may be all men who have become imbued
with a little too much of the high priest's _science_--when men once
acquire this science they can't help exercising it, though it be to
their own ruin, and that of others.'

'But, supposing them to be ordinary tigers, what is the simple plan
you propose to put a stop to their depredations, Raja Sahib?'

'I propose', said he, 'to have the spirits that guide them
propitiated by proper prayers and offerings; for the spirit of every
man or woman who has been killed by a tiger rides upon his head, or
runs before him, and tells him where to go to get prey, and to avoid
danger. Get some of the Gonds, or wild people from the jungles, who
are well skilled in these matters--give them ten or twenty rupees,
and bid them go and raise a small shrine, and there sacrifice to
these spirits. The Gonds will tell them that they shall on this
shrine have regular worship, and good sacrifices of fowls, goats, and
pigs, every year at least, if they will but relinquish their offices
with the tigers and be quiet. If this is done, I pledge myself', said
the Raja, 'that the tigers will soon get killed themselves, or cease
from killing men. If they do not, you may be quite sure that they are
not ordinary tigers, but men turned into tigers, or that the Gonds
have appropriated all you gave them to their own use, instead of
applying it to conciliate the spirits of the unfortunate people.'[8]



Notes:

1. Deori, in the Sagar district, about forty miles south-east of
Sagar. In 1767, the town and attached tract called the Panj Mahal
were bestowed by the Peshwa, rent-free, on Dhondo Dattatraya, a
Maratha pundit, ancestor of the author's friend. The Panj Mahal was
finally made part of British territory by the treaty with Sindhia in
1860, and constitutes the District called Panch Mahals in the
Northern Division of the Bombay Presidency. The vernacular word
_panch_ like the Persian _panj_, means 'five'. The title Sarimant
appears to be a popular pronunciation of the Sanskrit _srimant_ or
_sriman_, 'fortunate', and is still used by Maratha nobles.

2. _Ante_, Chapter 16, note 6. The name is here erroneously printed
'Dhamoree' in the author's text.

3. He had good reason for his gratitude, inasmuch as the depression
in rents was merely temporary.

4. An Indian chief is generally accompanied into the room by a
confidential follower, who frequently relieves his master of the
trouble of talking, and answers on his behalf all questions.

5. When Agrippina, in her rage with her son Nero, threatens to take
her stepson, Britannicus, to the camp of the Legion, and there assert
his right to the throne, she invokes the spirit of his father, whom
she had poisoned, and the manes of the Silani, whom she had murdered.
'Simul attendere manus, aggerere probra; consecratum Claudium,
infernos Silanorum manes invocare, et tot invita fari nova.'-
(Tacitus, lib, xviii, sec. 14.) [W. H. S.] The quotation is from the
_Annals_. Another reading of the concluding words is 'et tot irrita
facinora', which gives much better sense. In the author's text
'aggerere' is printed 'aggere'.

6. A small principality, detached from the Panna State. Its chief
town is about one hundred miles north-east of Jubbulpore, on the
route from Allahabad to Jubbulpore. The state is now traversed by the
East Indian Railway. It is under the superintendence of the Political
Agent of Baghelkhand, resident at Riwa.

7. This pass is sixty-three miles south-east of Allahabad, on the
road from that city to Riwa.

8. These myths are based on the well-known facts that man-eating
tigers are few, and exceptionally wary and cunning. The conditions
which predispose a tiger to man-eating have been much discussed. It
seems to be established that the animals which seek human prey are
generally, though not invariably, those which, owing to old wounds or
other physical defects, are unable to attack with confidence the
stronger animals. The conversations given in the text are excellent
illustrations of the mode of formation of modern myths, and of the
kind of reasoning which satisfies the mind of the unconscious myth-
maker.

The text may be compared with the following passage from the _Journey
through the Kingdom of Oudh_ (vol. i, p. 124): 'I asked him (the Raja
of Balrampur), whether the people in the Tarai forest were still
afraid to point out tigers to sportsmen. "I was lately out with a
party after a tiger", he said, "which had killed a cowherd, but his
companions refused to point out any trace of him, saying that their
relative's spirit must be now riding upon his head, to guide him from
all danger, and we should have no chance of shooting him. We did
shoot him, however", said the Raja exultingly, "and they were all
afterwards very glad of it. The tigers in the Tarai do not often kill
men, sir, for they find plenty of deer and cattle to eat,"'




CHAPTER 21


Burning of Deori by a Freebooter--A Suttee.

Sarimant had been one of the few who escaped from the flames which
consumed his capital of Deori in the month of April 1813, and were
supposed to have destroyed thirty thousand souls. I asked him to tell
me how this happened, and he referred me to his attendant, a learned
old pundit, Ram Chand, who stood by his side, as he was himself, he
said, then only five years of age, and could recollect nothing of it.

'Mardan Singh,' said the pundit, 'the father of Raja Arpan Singh,
whom you saw at Seori, was then our neighbour, reigning over Garha
Kota;[1] and he had a worthless nephew, Zalim Singh, who had
collected together an army of five thousand men, in the hope of
getting a little principality for himself in the general scramble for
dominion incident on the rise of the Pindharis and Amir Khan,[2] and
the destruction of all balance of power among the great sovereigns of
Central India. He came to attack our capital, which was an emporium
of considerable trade and the seat of many useful manufactures, in
the expectation of being able to squeeze out of us a good sum to aid
him in his enterprise. While his troops blocked up every gate, fire
was, by accident, set to the fence of some man's garden within. There
had been no rain for six months; and everything was so much dried up
that the flames spread rapidly; and, though there was no wind when
they began, it soon blew a gale. The Sarimant was then a little boy
with his mother in the fortress, where she lived with his father[3]
and nine other relations. The flames soon extended to the fortress,
and the powder-magazine blew up. The house in which they lived was
burned down, and every soul, except the lieutenant [_sic_] himself,
perished in it. His mother tried to bear him off in her arms, but
fell down in her struggle to get out with him and died. His nurse,
Tulsi Kurmin,[4] snatched him up, and ran with him outside of the
fortress to the bank of the river, where she made him over unhurt to
Hariram, the Marwari merchant.[5] He was mounted on a good horse,
and, making off across the river, he carried him safely to his
friends at Gaurjhamar; but poor Tulsi the Kurmin fell down exhausted
when she saw her charge safe, and died.

'The wind appeared to blow in upon the poor devoted city from every
side; and the troops of Zalim Singh, who at first prevented the
people from rushing out at the gates, made off in a panic at the
horrors before them. All our establishments had been driven into the
city at the approach of Zalim Singh's troops; and scores of
elephants, hundreds of camels, and thousands of horses and ponies
perished in the flames, besides twenty-five thousand souls. Only
about five thousand persons escaped out of thirty thousand, and these
were reduced to beggary and wretchedness by the loss of their dearest
relations and their property. At the time the flames first began to
spread, an immense crowd of people had assembled under the fortress
on the bank of the Sonar river to see the widow of a soldier burn
herself. Her husband had been shot by one of Zalim Singh's soldiers
in the morning; and before midday she was by the side of his body on
the funeral pile. People, as usual, begged her to tell them what
would happen, and she replied, "The city will know in less than four
hours"; in less than four hours the whole city had been reduced to
ashes; and we all concluded that, since the event was so clearly
foretold, it must have been decreed by God.'[6]

'No doubt it was,' said Sarimant; 'how could it otherwise happen? Do
not all events depend upon His will? Had it not been His will to save
me, how could poor Tulsi the Kurmin have carried me upon her
shoulders through such a scene as this, when every other member of
our family perished?'

'No doubt', said Ram Chand, 'all these things are brought about by
the will of God, and it is not for us to ask why.'[7]

I have heard this event described by many other people, and I believe
the account of the old pundit to be a very fair one.

One day, in October 1833, the horse of the district surgeon, Doctor
Spry, as he was mounting him, reared, fell back with his head upon a
stone, and died upon the spot. The doctor was not much hurt, and the
little Sarimant called a few days after, and offered his
congratulations upon his narrow escape. The cause of so quiet a horse
rearing at this time, when he had never been known to do so before,
was discussed; and he said that there could be no doubt that the
horse, or the doctor himself, must have seen some unlucky face before
he mounted that morning--that he had been in many places in his life,
but in none where a man was liable to see so many ugly or unfortunate
faces; and, for his part, he never left his house till an hour after
sunrise, lest he should encounter them.[8]

Many natives were present, and every one seemed to consider the
Sarimant's explanation of the cause quite satisfactory and
philosophical. Some days after, Spry was going down to sleep in the
bungalow where the accident happened. His native assistant and all
his servants came and prayed that he would not attempt to sleep in
the bungalow, as they were sure the horse must have been frightened
by a ghost, and quoted several instances of ghosts appearing to
people there. He, however, slept in the bungalow, and, to their great
astonishment, saw no ghost and suffered no evil.[9]


Notes:

1.  A fortress, twenty-five miles cast of Sagar, captured by a
British force under General Watson in October 1818, For Seori and
Raja Arjun Singh see _ante_, Chapter 17, text by notes 1 and 4.

2. Amir Khan, a leader of predatory horse, has been justly described
as 'one of the most atrocious villains that India ever produced'. He
first came into notice in 1804, as an officer in Holkar's service,
and in the following year opposed Lord Lake at Bharatpur. A treaty
made with him in 1817 put an end to his activity. The Pindharis were
organized bands of mounted robbers, who desolated Northern and
Central India during the period of anarchy which followed the
dissolution of the Moghal empire. They were associated with the
Marathas in the war which terminated with the capture of Asirgarh in
April 1819. In the same year the Pindhari forces ceased to exist as a
distinct and recognized, body.

    My father was an Afghan, and came from Kandahar:
    He rode with Nawab Amir Khan in the old Maratha war:
    From the Dekhan to the Himalay, five hundred of one clan,
    They asked no leave of prince or chief as they swept thro'
Hindusthan.

(Sir A. Lyall, 'The Old Pindaree'; in _Verses written in India_,
London, 1889).

3. Named Govind Rao. The proper name of the Sarimant was Ramchand Rao
(_C.P. Gazetteer_, 1870).

4. Kurmin is the feminine of Kurmi, the name of a widely spread and
most industrious agricultural caste, closely connected, at least in
Bundelkhand, with the similar Lodhi caste.

5. Marwar, or Jodhpur, is one of the leading states in Rajputana. It
supplies the rest of India with many of the keenest merchants and
bankers.

6. See _ante_, Chapter 4, note 6, for remarks on the supposed
prophetic gifts of sati women.

7. Such feelings of resignation to the Divine will, or fate, are
common alike to Hindoos and Musalmans.

8. 'One of a wife's duties should be to keep all bad omens out of her
husband's way, or manage to make him look at something lucky in the
early morning. . . . Different lists of inauspicious objects are
given, which, if looked upon in the early morning, might cause
disaster' (M. Williams, _Religious Thought and Life in India_, p.
397).

9. Dr. Spry died in 1842, and his estate was administered by the
author. The doctor's works are described _ante_, Chapter 14, note 16.






CHAPTER 22


Interview with the Raja who marries the Stone to the Shrub--Order of
the Moon and the Fish.

On the 8th,[1] after a march of twelve miles, we readied Tehri, the
present capital of the Raja of Orchha.[2] Our road lay over an
undulating surface of soil composed of the detritus of the syenitic
rock, and poor, both from its quality and want of depth. About three
miles from our last territory we entered the boundary of the Orchha
Raja's territory, at the village of Aslon, which has a very pretty
little fortified castle, built upon ground slightly elevated in the
midst of an open grass plain.

This, and all the villages we have lately passed, are built upon the
bare back of the syenitic rock, which seems to rise to the surface in
large but gentle swells, like the broad waves of the ocean in a calm
after a storm. A great difference appeared to me to be observable
between the minds and manners of the people among whom we were now
travelling, and those of the people of the Sagar and Nerbudda
territories. They seemed here to want the urbanity and intelligence
we find among our subjects in the latter quarters.

The apparent stupidity of the people when questioned upon points the
most interesting to them, regarding their history, their agriculture,
their tanks, and temples, was most provoking; and their manners
seemed to me more rude and clownish than those of people in any other
part of India I had travelled over. I asked my little friend the
Sarimant, who rode with me, what he thought of this.

'I think', said he, 'that it arises from the harsh character of the
government under which they live; it makes every man wish to appear a
fool, in order that he may be thought a beggar and not worth the
plundering.'

'It strikes me, my friend Sarimant, that their government has made
them in reality the beggars and the fools that they appear to be.'

'God only knows', said Sarimant; 'certain it is that they are neither
in mind nor in manners what the people of our districts are.'

The Raja had no notice of our approach till intimation of it reached
him at Ludhaura, the day before we came in. He was there resting, and
dismissing the people after the ceremonies of the marriage between
the Salagram and the Tulasi. Ludhaura is twenty-seven miles north-
west of Tehri, on the opposite side from that on which I was
approaching. He sent off two men on camels with a 'kharita'
(letter),[3] requesting that I would let him know my movements, and
arrange a meeting in a manner that might prevent his appearing
wanting in respect and hospitality; that is, in plain terms, which he
was too polite to use, that I would consent to remain one stage from
his capital, till he could return and meet me half-way, with all due
pomp and ceremony. These men reached me at Bamhauri,[4] a distance of
thirty-nine miles, in the evening, and I sent back a kharita, which
reached him by relays of camels before midnight. He set out for his
capital to receive me, and, as I would not wait to be met half-way in
due form, he reached his palace, and we reached our tents at the same
time, under a salute from his two brass field-pieces.

We halted at Tehri on the 9th, and about eleven o'clock the Raja came
to pay his visit of congratulation, with a magnificent _cortege_ of
elephants, camels, and horses, all mounted and splendidly
caparisoned, and the noise of his band was deafening. I had had both
my tents pitched, and one of them handsomely fitted up, as it always
is, for occasions of ceremony like the present. He came to within
twenty paces of the door on his elephant, and from its back, as it
sat down, he entered his splendid litter, without alighting on the
ground.[5] In this vehicle he was brought to my tent door, where I
received him, and, after the usual embraces, conducted him up through
two rows of chairs, placed for his followers of distinction and my
own, who are always anxious to assist in ceremonies like these.

 At the head of this lane we sat upon chairs placed across, and
facing down the middle of the two rows; and we conversed upon all the
subjects usually introduced on such occasions, but more especially
upon the august ceremonies of the marriage of the Salagram with the
Tulasi, in which his highness had been so _piously_ engaged at
Ludhaura.[6] After he had sat with me an hour and a half he took his
leave, and I conducted him to the door, whence he was carried to his
elephant in his litter, from which he mounted without touching the
ground.

This litter is called a 'nalki'. It is one of the three great
insignia which the Mogul Emperors of Delhi conferred upon independent
princes of the first class, and could never be used by any person
upon whom, or upon whose ancestors, they had not been so conferred.
These were the nalki, the order of the Fish, and the fan of the
peacock's feathers. These insignia could be used only by the prince
who inherited the sovereignty of the one on whom they had been
originally conferred. The order of the Fish, or Mahi Maratib, was
first instituted by Khusru Parviz, King of Persia, and grandson of
the celebrated Naushirvan the Just. Having been deposed by his
general, Bahram, Khusru fled for protection to the Greek emperor,
Maurice, whose daughter, Shirin, he married, and he was sent back to
Persia, with an army under the command of Narses, who placed him on
the throne of his ancestors in the year A.D. 591.[7] He ascertained
from his astrologer, Araz Khushasp, that when he ascended the throne
the moon was in the constellation of the Fish, and he gave orders to
have two balls made of polished steel, which were to be called
Kaukabas (planets),[8] and mounted on long poles. These two planets,
with large fish made of gold, upon a third pole in the centre, were
ordered to be carried in all regal processions immediately after the
king, and before the prime minister, whose _cortege_ always followed
immediately after that of the king. The two kaukabas are now
generally made of copper, and plated, and in the shape of a jar,
instead of quite round as at first; but the fish is still made of
gold. Two planets are always considered necessary to one fish, and
they are still carried in all processions between the prince and his
prime minister.

The court of this prince Khusru Parviz was celebrated throughout the
East for its splendour and magnificence; and the chaste love of the
poet Farhad for his beautiful queen Shirin is the theme of almost as
many poems in the East as that of Petrarch's for Laura is in the
West. Nuh Samani, who ascended the throne of Persia after the
Sassanians,[9] ascertained that the moon was in the sign Leo at the
time of his accession, and ordered that the gold head of a lion
should thenceforward accompany the fishes, and the two balls, in all
royal processions. The Persian order of knighthood is, therefore,
that of the Fish, the Moon, and the Lion, and not the Lion and Sun,
as generally supposed. The emperors of the house of Taimur in
Hindustan assumed the right of conferring the order upon all whom
they pleased, and they conferred it upon the great territorial
sovereigns of the country without distinction as to religion. He only
who inherits the sovereignty can wear the order, and I believe no
prince would venture to wear or carry the order who was not generally
reputed to have received the investiture from one of the emperors of
Delhi.[10]

As I could not wait another day, it was determined that I should
return his visit in the afternoon; and about four o'clock we set out
upon our elephant--Lieutenant Thomas, Sarimant, and myself, attended
by all my troopers and those of Sarimant. We had our silver-stick men
with us; but still all made a sorry figure compared with the splendid
_cortege_ of the Raja. We dismounted at the foot of the stairs
leading to the Raja's hall of audience, and were there met by his two
chief officers of state, who conducted us to the entrance of the
hall, when we were received by the Raja himself, who led us up
through two rows of chairs laid out exactly as mine had been in the
morning. In front were assembled a party of native comedians, who
exhibited a few scenes of the insolence of office in the attendants
of great men, and the obtrusive importunity of place-seekers, in a
manner that pleased us much more than a dance would have done.
Conversation was kept up very well, and the visit passed off without
any feeling of ennui, or anything whatever to recollect with regret.
The ladies looked at us from their apartments through gratings, and
without our being able to see them very distinctly. We were anxious
to see the tombs of the late Raja, the elder brother of the present,
who lately died, and that of his son, which are in progress in a very
fine garden outside the city walls, and, in consequence, we did not
sit above half an hour. The Raja conducted us to the head of the
stairs, and the same two officers attended us to the bottom, and
mounted their horses, and attended us to the tombs.

After the dust of the town raised by the immense crowd that attended
us, and the ceremonies of the day, a walk in this beautiful garden
was very agreeable, and I prolonged it till dark. The Raja had given
orders to have all the cisterns filled during our stay, under the
impression that we should wish to see the garden; and, as soon as we
entered, the _jets d'eau_ poured into the air their little floods
from a hundred mouths. Our old cicerone told us that, if we would
take the old capital of Orchha in our way, we might there see the
thing in perfection, and amidst the deluges of the rains of Sawan and
Bhadon (July and August) see the lightning and hear the thunder. The
Rajas of this, the oldest principality in Bundelkhand, were all
formerly buried or burned at the old capital of Orchha, even after
they had changed their residence to Tehri. These tombs over the ashes
of the Raja, his wife, and son, are the first that have been built at
Tehri, where their posterity are all to repose in future.


Notes:

1. December, 1835.

2. The State of Orchha, also known as Tehri or Tikamgarh, situated to
the south of the Jhansi district, is the oldest and the highest in
rank of the Bundela principalities. The town of Tehri is seventy-two
miles north-west of Sagar. The town of Orchha, founded in A.D. 1531,
is 131 miles north of Sagar, and about forty miles from Tehri.
Tikamgarh is the fort of Tehri.

3. A _kharita_ is a letter enclosed in a bag of rich brocade,
contained in another of fine muslin. The mouth is tied with a string
of silk, to which hangs suspended the great seal, which is a flat
round mass of sealing-wax, with the seal impressed on each side of
it. This is the kind of letter which passes between natives of great
rank in India, and between them and the public functionaries of
Government. [W. H. S.]

4. _Ante_, Chapter 19, after note [15].

5. The Raja's unwillingness to touch the ground is an example of a
very widespread and primitive belief. 'Two of those rules or taboos
by which . . . the life of divine kings or priests is regulated. The
first is . . . that the divine personage may not touch the ground
with his foot.' This prohibition applies to the Mikado of Japan and
many other sacred personages. 'The second rule is that the sun may
not shine upon the sacred person.' This second rule explains the use
of the umbrella as a royal appendage in India and Burma. (Frazer,
_The Golden Bough_, 1st ed., vol. ii, pp. 224, 225.)

6 _Ante_, Chapter 19, note 3.

7. During the time he remained the guest of the emperor he resided at
Hierapolis, and did not visit Constantinople. The Greeks do not admit
that Shirin was the daughter of Maurice, though a Roman by birth and
a Christian by religion. The Persians and Turks speak of her as the
emperor's daughter. [W. H. S.] Khusru Parviz (Eberwiz), or Khusru II,
reigned as King of Persia from A.D. 591 to 628. In the course of his
wars he took Jerusalem, and reduced Egypt, and a large part of
northern Africa, extending for a time the bounds of the Persian
empire to the Aegean and the Nile. Khusru I, surnamed Naushirvan, or
(more correctly) Anushirvan, reigned from A.D. 531 to 579. His
successful wars with the Romans and his vigorous internal
administration captivated the Oriental imagination, and he is
generally spoken of as Adil, or The Just. His name has become
proverbial, and to describe a superior as rivalling Naushirvan in
justice is a commonplace of flattery. The prophet Muhammad was born
during his reign, and was proud of the fact. The alleged expedition
of Naushirvan into India is discredited by the best modern writers.
Gibbon tells the story of the wars between the two Khusrus and the
Romans in his forty-sixth chapter, and a critical history of the
reigns of both Khusru (Khosrau) I and Khusru II will be found in
Professor Rawlinson's _Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy_ (London,
1876). European authors have, until recently, generally written the
name Khusru in its Greek form as Chosroes. The name of Shirin is also
written Sira.

'With the name of Shirin and the rock of Bahistun the Persians have
associated one of those poetic romances so dear to the national
genius. Ferhad, the most famous sculptor of his time, who was very
likely employed by Chosroes II to execute these bas-reliefs, is said
in the legend to have fallen madly in love with Shirin, and to have
received a promise of her from the king, if he would cut through the
rock of Behistun, and divert a stream to the Kermanshah plain. The
lover set to work, and had all but completed his gigantic enterprise
(of which the remains, however interpreted, are still to be seen),
when he was falsely informed by an emissary from the king of his
lady's death. In despair he leaped from the rock, and was dashed to
pieces. The legend of the unhappy lover is familiar throughout the
East, and is used to explain many traces of rock-cutting or
excavation as far east as Beluchistan' (_Persia and the Persian
Question_, by the Hon. George N. Curzon, M.P. (London, 1892), vol. i,
p. 562, note. See also Malcolm, _History of Persia_, vol. i, p. 129).

8. _Kaukab_ in Arabic means 'a star'. Steingass (_Persian
Dictionary_) defines _Kaukaba_ as 'a polished steel ball suspended to
a long pole, and carried as an ensign before the king; a star of
gold, silver, or tinsel, worn as ornament or sign of rank; a
concourse of people; a royal train, retinue, cavalcade; splendour'.

9. Yezdegird III (Isdigerd), the last of the Sassanians, was defeated
in A.D. 641 at the battle of Nahavend by the Arab Noman, general of
the Khalif Omar, and driven from his throne. The supremacy of the
Khalifs over Persia lasted till A.D. 1258. The subordinate Samani
dynasty ruled over Khurasan, Seistan, Balkh, and the countries of
Trans-Oxiana in the tenth century. Two of the princes of this line
were named Nuh, or Noah. The author probably refers to the better
known of the two, Amir Nuh II (Malcolm, _History of Persia_, ed.
1829, vol. i, pp. 158-66).

10. The poor old blind emperor. Shah Alam, when delivered from the
Marathas in 1803 by Lord Lake, did all he could to show his gratitude
by conferring on his deliverer honours and titles, and among them the
'Mahi Maratib'. The editor has been unable to discover the source of
the author's story of the origin of the Persian order of knighthood.
Malcolm, an excellent authority, gives the following very different
account: 'Their sovereigns have, for many centuries, preserved as the
peculiar arms of the country,[e] the sign or figure of Sol in the
constellation of Leo; and this device, a lion couchant and the sun
rising at his back, has not only been sculptured upon their
palaces[f] and embroidered upon their banners.[g] but has been
converted into an Order,[h] which in the form of gold and silver
medals, has been given to such as have distinguished themselves
against the enemies of their country.[i]

_Note e_. The causes which led to the sign of Sol in Leo becoming the
arms of Persia cannot be distinctly traced, but there is reason to
believe that the use of this symbol is not of very great antiquity.
We meet with it upon the coins of one of the Seljukian princes of
Iconium; and, when this family had been destroyed by Hulaku [A.D.
1258], the grandson of Chengiz, that prince, or his successors,
perhaps adopted this emblem as a trophy of their conquest, whence it
has remained ever since among the most remarkable of the royal
insignia. A learned friend, who has a valuable collection of Oriental
coins, and whose information and opinion have enabled me to make this
conjecture, believes that the emblematical representation of Sol in
Leo was first adopted by Ghias-ud-din Kai Khusru bin Kaikobad, who
began to reign A.H. 634, A.D. 1236, and died A.H. 642, A.D. 1244; and
this emblem, he adds, is supposed to have reference either to his own
horoscope or to that of his queen, who was a princess of Georgia.

_Note f_. Hanway states, vol. i, p. 199, that over the gate which
forms the entrance of the palace built by Shah Abbas the Great [A.D.
1586 to 1628] at Ashraf, in Mazenderan, are 'the arms of Persia,
being a lion, and the sun rising behind it'.

_Note g_. The emblem of the Lion and Sun is upon all the banners
given to the regular corps of infantry lately formed. They are
presented to the regiments with great ceremony. A mulla, or priest,
attends, and implores the divine blessing on them.

_Note h_. This order, with additional decorations, has been lately
conferred upon several ministers and representatives of European
Governments in alliance with Persia.

_Note i_. The medals which have been struck with this symbol upon
them have been chiefly given to the Persian officers and men of the
regular corps who have distinguished themselves in the war with the
Russians. An English officer, who served with these troops, informs
me that those on whom these medals have been conferred are very proud
of this distinction, and that all are extremely anxious to obtain
them (_History of Persia_, ed. 1829, vol. ii, p. 406).

In Curzon's figure the lion is standing, not 'couchant', as stated by
Malcolm, and grasps a scimitar in his off forepaw.




CHAPTER 23


The Raja of Orchha--Murder of his many Ministers.

The present Raja, Mathura  Das, succeeded his brother Bikramajit, who
died in 1834. He had made over the government to his only son, Raja
Bahadur, whom he almost adored; but, the young man dying some years
before him, the father resumed the reins of government, and held them
till his death. He was a man of considerable capacity, but of a harsh
and unscrupulous character. His son resembled him; but the present
Raja is a man of mild temper and disposition, though of weak
intellect. The fate of the last three prime ministers will show the
character of the Raja and his son, and the nature of their rule.

The minister at the time the old man made over the reins of
government to his son was Khanju Purohit.[1] Wishing to get rid of
him a few years after, this son, Raja Bahadur, employed Muhram Singh,
one of his feudal Rajput barons, to assassinate him. As a reward for
this service he received the seals of office; and the Raja
confiscated all the property of the deceased, amounting to four lakhs
of rupees[2] and resumed the whole of the estates held by the family.

The young Raja died soon after; and his father, when he resumed the
reins of government, wishing to remove the new minister, got him
assassinated by Gambhir Singh, another feudal Rajput baron, who, as
his reward, received in his turn the seals of office. This man was a
most atrocious villain, and employed the public establishments of his
chief to plunder travellers on the high road. In 1833 his followers
robbed four men, who were carrying treasure to the amount of ten
thousand rupees from Sagar to Jhansi through Tehri, and intended to
murder them; but, by the sagacity of one of the party, and a lucky
accident, they escaped, made their way back to Sagar, and complained
to the magistrate.[3] The[4] minister discovered the nature of their
burdens as they lodged at Tehri on their way, and sent after them a
party of soldiers, with orders to put them in the bed of a rivulet
that separated the territory of Orchha from that of the Jhansi Raja.
One of the treasure party discovered their object; and, on reaching
the bank of the rivulet in a deep grass jungle, he threw down his
bundle, dashed unperceived through the grass, and reached a party of
travellers whom he saw ascending a hill about half a mile in advance.
The myrmidons of the minister, when they found that one had escaped,
were afraid to murder the others, but took their treasure. In spite
of great obstacles, and with much danger to the families of three of
those men, who resided in the capital of Tehri, the magistrate of
Sagar brought the crime home to the minister, and the Raja, anxious
to avail himself of the occasion to fill his coffers, got him
assassinated. The Raja was then about eighty years of age, and his
minister was a strong, athletic, and brave man. One morning while he
was sitting with him in private conversation, the former pretended a
wish to drink some of the water in which his household god had been
washed (the 'chandan mirt'),[5] and begged the minister to go and
fetch it from the place where it stood by the side of the idol in the
court of the palace. As a man cannot take his sword before the idol,
the minister put it down, as the Raja knew he would, and going to the
idol, prostrated himself before it preparatory to taking away the
water. In that state he was cut down by Bihari,[6] another feudal
Rajput baron, who aspired to the seals, and some of his friends, who
had been placed there on purpose by the Raja. He obtained the seals
by his service, and, as he was allowed to place one brother in
command of the forces, and to make another chamberlain, he hoped to
retain them longer than any of his predecessors had done. Gambhir
Singh's brother, Jhujhar Singh, and the husband of his sister,
hearing of his murder, made off, but were soon pursued and put to
death. The widows were all three put into prison, and all the
property and estates were confiscated. The movable property amounted
to three lakhs of rupees.[7] The Raja boasted to the Governor-
General's representative in Bundelkhand of this act of retributive
justice, and pretended that it was executed merely as a punishment
for the robbery; but it was with infinite difficulty the merchants
could recover from him any share of the plundered property out of
that confiscated. The Raja alleged that, according to our _rules_,
the chief within whose boundary the robbery might have been
committed, was obliged to make good the property. On inspection, it
was found that the robbery was perpetrated upon the very boundary
line, and 'in spite of pride, in erring reason's spite', the Jhansi
Raja was made to pay one-half of the plundered treasure.

The old Raja, Bikramajit, died in June, 1834; and, though his death
had been some time expected, he no sooner breathed his last than
charges of 'dinai', slow poison, were got up, as usual, in the zenana
(seraglio).

Here the widow of Raja Bahadur, a violent and sanguinary woman, was
supreme; and she persuaded the present Raja, a weak old man, to take
advantage of the funeral ceremonies to avenge the death of his
brother. He did so; and Bihari, and his three brothers, with above
fifty of his relations, were murdered. The widows of the four
brothers were the only members of all the families left alive. One of
them had a son four months old; another one of two years; the four
brothers had no other children. Immediately after the death of their
husbands, the two children were snatched from their mothers' breasts,
and threatened with instant death unless their mothers pointed out
all their ornaments and other property. They did so; and the spoilers
having got from them property to the amount of one hundred and fifty
thousand rupees, and been assured that there was no more, threw the
children over the high wall, by which they were dashed to pieces. The
poor widows were tendered as wives to four sweepers, the lowest of
all low castes; but the tribe of sweepers would not suffer any of its
members to take the widows of men of such high caste and station as
wives, notwithstanding the tempting offer of five hundred rupees as a
present, and a village in rent-free tenure.[8] I secured a promise
while at Tehri that these poor widows should be provided for, as they
had, up to that time, been preserved by the good feeling of a little
community of the lowest of castes, on whom they had been bestowed as
a punishment worse than death, inasmuch as it would disgrace the
whole class to which they belonged, the Parihar Rajputs.[9]

Tehri is a wretched town, without one respectable dwelling-house
tenanted beyond the palace, or one merchant, or even shopkeeper of
capital and credit. There are some tolerable houses unoccupied and in
ruins; and there are a few neat temples built as tombs, or cenotaphs,
in or around the city, if city it can be called. The stables and
accommodations for all public establishments seem to be all in the
same ruinous state as the dwelling-houses. The revenues of the state
are spent in feeding Brahmans and religious mendicants of all kinds;
and in such idle ceremonies as those at which the Raja and all his
court have just been assisting--ceremonies which concentrate for a
few days the most useless of the people of India, the devotee
followers (Bairagis) of the god Vishnu, and tend to no purpose,
either useful or ornamental, to the state or to the people.

This marriage of a stone to a shrub, which takes place every year, is
supposed to cost the Raja, at the most moderate estimate, three lakhs
of rupees a year, or one-fourth of his annual revenue.[10] The
highest officers of which his government is composed receive small
beggarly salaries, hardly more than sufficient for their subsistence;
and the money they make by indirect means they dare not spend like
gentlemen, lest the Raja might be tempted to take their lives in
order to get hold of it. All his feudal barons are of the same tribe
as himself, that is, Rajputs; but they are divided into three clans--
Bundelas, Pawars, and Chandels. A Bundela cannot marry a woman of his
own clan, he must take a wife from the Pawars or Chandels; and so of
the other two clans--no member of one can take a wife from his own
clan, but must go to one of the other two for her. They are very much
disposed to fight with each other, but not less are they disposed to
unite against any third party, not of the same tribe. Braver men do
not, I believe, exist than the Rajputs of Bundelkhand, who all carry
their swords from their infancy.[11]

It may be said of the Rajputs of Malwa and Central India generally,
that the Mogul Emperors of Delhi made the same use of them that the
Emperors of Germany and the Popes made of the military chiefs and
classes of Europe during the Middle Ages. Industry and the peaceful
arts being reduced to agriculture alone under bad government or no
government at all, the land remained the only thing worth
appropriating; and it accordingly became appropriated by those alone
who had the power to do so--by the Hindoo military classes collected
around the heads of their clans, and powerful in their union. These
held it under the paramount power on the feudal tenure of military
service, as militia; or it was appropriated by the paramount power
itself, who let it out on allodial tenure to peaceful peasantry. The
one was the Zamindari, and the other the Malguzari tenure of
India.[12]

The military chiefs, essentially either soldiers or robbers, were
continually fighting, either against each other, or against the
peasantry, or public officers of the paramount power, like the barons
of Europe; and that paramount power, or its delegates, often found
that the easiest way to crush one of these refractory vassals was to
put him, as such men had been put in Germany, to _the ban of the
empire_, and offer his lands, his castles, and his wealth to the
victor. This victor brought his own clansmen to occupy the lands and
castles of the vanquished; and, as these were the only things thought
worth living for, the change commonly involved the utter destruction
of the former occupants. The new possessors gave the name of their
leader, their clan, or their former place of abode, to their new
possession, and the tract of country over which they spread. Thus
were founded the Bundelas, Pawars, and Chandels [_sic_] upon the ruin
of the Chandels of Bundelkhand, the Baghelas in Baghelkhand, or Riwa,
the Kachhwahas, the Sakarwars, and others along the Chambal river,
and throughout all parts of India.[13]

These classes have never learnt anything, or considered anything
worth learning, but the use of the sword; and a Rajput chief, next to
leading a gang of his own on great enterprises, delights in nothing
so much as having a gang or two under his patronage for little ones.

There is hardly a single chief of the Hindoo military class in the
Bundelkhand or Gwalior territories, who does not keep a gang of
robbers of some kind or other, and consider it as a very valuable and
legitimate source of revenue; or who would not embrace with
cordiality the leader of a gang of assassins by profession who should
bring him home from every expedition a good horse, a good sword, or a
valuable pair of shawls, taken from their victims. It is much the
same in the kingdom of Oudh, where the lands are for the most part
held by the same Hindoo military classes, who are in a continual
state of war with each other, or with the Government authorities.
Three-fourths of the recruits for native infantry regiments are from
this class of military agriculturists of Oudh, who have been trained
up in this school of contest; and many of the lads, when they enter
our ranks, are found to have marks of the cold steel upon their
persons. A braver set of men is hardly anywhere to be found; or one
trained up with finer feelings of devotion towards the power whose
salt they eat.[14] A good many of the other fourth of the recruits
for our native infantry are drawn from among the Ujaini Rajputs, or
Rajputs from Ujain,[15] who were established many generations ago in
the same manner at Bhojpur on the bank of the Ganges.[16]



Notes:

1. A purohit is a Brahman family priest.

2. Four hundred thousand rupees, worth at that time more than forty
thousand pounds sterling.

3. The magistrate was the author.

4. 'That' in author's text.

5. The water of the Ganges, with which the image of the god Vishnu
has been washed, is considered a very holy draught, fit for princes.
That with which the image of the god Siva, alias Mahadeo, is washed
must not be drunk. The popular belief is that in a dispute between
him and his wife, Parvati, alias Kali, she cursed the person that
should thenceforward dare to drink of the water that flowed over his
images on earth. The river Ganges is supposed to flow from the top-
knot of Siva's head, and no one would drink of it after this curse,
were it not that the sacred stream is supposed to come first from the
_heel_ of Vishnu, the Preserver. All the little images of Siva, that
are made out of stones taken from the bed of the Nerbudda river, are
supposed to be absolved from this curse, and water thrown upon _them_
can be drunk with impunity. [W. H. S.] The natural emblems of Siva,
the Bana-linga quartz pebbles found in the Nerbudda, have already
been referred to in the note to Chapter 19, _ante_, note 9. In the
Maratha country the 'household gods' generally comprise five sacred
symbols, namely, the _salagrama_ stone of Vishnu, the _bana-linga_ of
Siva, a metallic stone representing the female principle in nature
(Sakti), a crystal representing the sun, and a red stone representing
Ganesh, the remover of obstacles. The details of the tiresome ritual
observed in the worship of these objects occupy pp. 412 to 416 of
Monier Williams's _Religious Thought and Life in India_.

6. 'Beearee' in author's text.

7. Then worth more than thirty thousand pounds sterling.

8. On the customs of the sweeper caste, see _ante_, Chapter 8,
following note [11].

9. The Parihars were the rulers of Bundelkhand before the Chandels.
The chief of Uchhahara belongs to this clan.

10. Wealthy Hindoos, throughout India, spend money in the same
ceremonies of marrying the stone to the shrub. [W. H. S.] Three lakhs
of rupees were then worth thirty thousand pounds sterling or more.

11. The numerous clans, more or less devoted to war, grouped together
under the name of Rajputs (literally 'king's sons'), are in reality
of multifarious origin, and include representatives of many races.
They are the Kshatriyas of the law-books, and are still often called
Chhattri (_E.H.I._, 3rd ed., pp. 407-15). In some parts of the
country the word Thakur is more familiar as their general title.
Thirty-six clans are considered as specially pure-blooded and are
called, at any rate in books, the 'royal races'. All the clans follow
the custom of exogamy. The Chandels (Chandella) ruled Bundelkhand
from the ninth to the thirteenth centuries. Their capital was Mahoba,
now a station on the Midland Railway. The Bundelas became prominent
at a later date, and attained their greatest power under Chhatarsal
(_circa_ A.D. 1671-1731). Their territory is now known as
Bundelkhand. The country so designated is not an administrative
division. It is partly in the United Provinces, partly in the Central
Provinces, and partly in Native States. It is bounded on the north by
the Jumna; on the north and west by the Chambal river; on the south
by the Central Provinces, and on the south and east by Riwa and the
Kaimur hills. The traditions of both the Bundelas and Chandellas show
that there is a strain of the blood of the earlier, so--called
aboriginal, races in both clans. The Pawar (Pramara) clan ranks high,
but is now of little political importance (See _N.W.P. Gazetteer_,
1st ed., vol. vii, p. 68).

12. The paramount power often assigned a portion of its reserved
lands in 'Jagir' to public officers for the establishments they
required for the performance of the duties, military or civil, which
were expected from them. Other portions were assigned in rent-free
tenure for services already performed, or to favourites; but, in both
cases, the rights of the village or land owner, or allodial
proprietors, were supposed to be unaffected, as the Government was
presumed to assign only its own claim to a certain portion as
revenue. [W. H. S.] The term 'ryotwar' (raiyatwar) is commonly used
to designate the system under which the cultivators hold their lands
direct from the State. The subject of tenures is further discussed by
the author in Chapters 70, 71.

13. For elaborate comparisons between the Rajput policy and the
feudal system of Europe, Tod's _Rajasthan_ may be consulted. The
parallel is not really so close as it appears to be at first sight.
In some respects the organization of the Highland clans is more
similar to that of the Rajputs than the feudal system is. The Chambal
river rises in Malwa, and, after a course of some five hundred and
seventy miles, falls into the Jumna forty miles below Etawa. The
statement in the text concerning the succession of clans is confused.
The ruling family of Riwa still belongs to the Baghel clan. The
Maharaja of Jaipur (Jeypore) is a Kachhwaha.

14. The barbarous habit of alliance and connivance with robber gangs
is by no means confined to Rajput nobles and landholders. Men of all
creeds and castes yield to the temptation and magistrates are
sometimes startled to find that Honorary Magistrates, Members of
District Boards, and others of apparently the highest respectability,
are the abettors and secret organizers of robber bands. A modern
example of this fact was discovered in the Meerut and Muzaffarnagar
Districts of the United Provinces in 1890 and 1891. In this case the
wealthy supporters of the banditti were Jats and Muhammadans.

The unfortunate condition of Oudh previous to the annexation in 1856
is vividly described in the author's _Journey through the Kingdom of
Oude_, published in 1858. The tour took place in 1849-50. Some
districts of the kingdom, especially Hardoi, are still tainted by the
old lawlessness.

The remarks on the fine feelings of devotion shown by the sepoys must
now be read in the light of the events of the Mutiny. Since that time
the army has been reorganized, and depends on Oudh for its recruits
much less than it did in the author's day.

15. Ujain (Ujjain, Oojeyn) is a very ancient city, on the river
Sipra, in Malwa, in the dominions of Sindhia, the chief of Gwalior.

16. Bhajpore in the author's text. The town referred to is Bhojpur in
the Shahabad district of South Bihar.





CHAPTER 24


Corn Dealers--Scarcities--Famines in India.

Near Tehri we saw the people irrigating a field of wheat from a tank
by means of a canoe, in a mode quite new to me. The surface of the
water was about three feet below that of the field to be watered. The
inner end of the canoe was open, and placed to the mouth of a gutter
leading into the wheat-field. The outer end was closed, and suspended
by a rope to the outer end of a pole, which was again suspended to
cross-bars. On the inner end of this pole was fixed a weight of
stones sufficient to raise the canoe when filled with water; and at
the outer end stood five men, who pulled down and sank the canoe into
the water as often as it was raised by the stones, and emptied into
the gutter. The canoe was more curved at the outer end than ordinary
canoes are, and seemed to have been made for the purpose. The lands
round the town generally were watered by the Persian wheel; but,
where it [_scil._ the water] is near the surface, this [_scil._ the
canoe arrangement] I should think a better method.[1]

On the 10th[2] we came on to the village of Bilgai, twelve miles over
a bad soil, badly cultivated; the hard syenitic rock rising either
above or near to the surface all the way--in some places abruptly, in
small hills, decomposing into large rounded boulders--in others
slightly and gently, like the backs of whales in the ocean-in others,
the whole surface of the country resembled very much the face of the
sea, not after, but really in, a storm, full of waves of all sizes,
contending with each other 'in most admired disorder'. After the dust
of Tehri, and the fatiguing ceremonies of its court, the quiet
morning I spent in this secluded spot under the shade of some
beautiful trees, with the surviving canary singing, my boy playing,
and my wife sleeping off the fatigues of her journey, was to me most
delightful. Henry was extremely ill when we left Jubbulpore; but the
change of air, and all the other changes incident to a march, have
restored him to health.

During the scarcity of 1833 two hundred people died of starvation in
this village alone;[3] and were all thrown into one large well, which
has, of course, ever since remained closed. Autumn crops chiefly are
cultivated; and they depend entirely on the sky for water, while the
poor people of the village depend upon the returns of a single season
for subsistence during the whole year. They lingered on in the hope
of aid from above till the greater part had become too weak from want
of food to emigrate. The Raja gave half a crown to every family;[4]
but this served merely to kindle their hopes of more, and to prolong
their misery. Till the people have a better government they can never
be secure from frequent returns of similar calamities. Such security
must depend upon a greater variety of crops, and better means of
irrigation; better roads to bring supplies over from distant parts
which have not suffered from the same calamities; and greater means
in reserve of paying for such supplies when brought--things that can
never be hoped for under a government like this, which allows no man
the free enjoyment of property.

Close to the village a large wall has been made to unite two small
hills, and form a small lake; but the wall is formed of the rounded
boulders of the syenitic rock without cement, and does not retain the
water. The land which was to have formed the bed of the lake is all
in tillage; and I had some conversation with the man who cultivated
it. He told me that the wall had been built with the money of _sin_,
and not the money of _piety_ (_pap ke paisa se, na pun ke paisa se
bana_), that the man who built it must have laid out his money with a
_worldly_, and not a _religious_ mind (_niyat_); that on such
occasions men generally assembled Brahmans and other deserving
people, and fed and clothed them, and thereby _consecrated_ a great
work, and made it acceptable to God, and he had heard from his
ancestors that the man who had built this wall had failed to do this;
that the construction could never, of course, answer the purpose for
which it was intended--and that the builder's name had actually been
forgotten, and the work did him no good either in this world or the
next. This village, which a year or two ago was large and populous,
is now reduced to two wretched huts inhabited by two very miserable
families.

Bundelkhand suffers more often and more severely from the want of
seasonable showers of rain than any other part of India; while the
province of Malwa, which adjoins it on the west and south, hardly
ever suffers at all.[5] There is a couplet, which, like all other
good couplets on rural subjects, is attributed to Sahdeo [Sahadeva],
one of the five demigod brothers of the Mahabharata, to this effect:
'If you hear not the thunder on such a night, you, father, go to
Malwa, I to Gujarat;'--that is, there will be no rain, and we must
seek subsistence where rains never fail, and the harvests are secure.

The province of Malwa is well studded with hills and groves of fine
trees, which intercept the clouds as they are wafted by the
prevailing westerly winds, from the Gulf of Cambay to the valley of
the Ganges, and make them drop their contents upon a soil of great
natural powers, formed chiefly from the detritus of the decomposing
basaltic rocks, which cap and intersect these hills.[6]

During the famine of 1833, as on all similar occasions, grain of
every kind, attracted by high prices, flowed up in large streams from
this favoured province towards Bundelkhand; and the population of
Bundelkhand, as usual in such times of dearth and scarcity, flowed
off towards Malwa against the stream of supply, under the assurance
that the nearer they got to the source, the greater would be their
chance of employment and subsistence. Every village had its numbers
of the dead and the dying; and the roads were all strewed with them;
but they were mostly concentrated upon the great towns and civil and
military stations, where subscriptions were open[ed] for their
support, by both the European and native communities. The funds
arising from these subscriptions lasted till the rains had set fairly
in, when all able-bodied persons could easily find employment in
tillage among the agricultural communities of villages around. After
the rains have fairly set in, the _sick_ and _helpless_ only should
be kept concentrated upon large towns and stations, where little or
no employment is to be found; for the oldest and youngest of those
who are able to work can then easily find employment in weeding the
cotton, rice, sugar-cane, and other fields under autumn crops, and in
preparing the lands for the reception of the wheat, gram,[7] and
other spring seeds; and get advances from the farmers, agricultural
capitalists[8] and other members of the village communities, who are
all glad to share their superfluities with the distressed, and to pay
liberally for the little service they are able to give in return.

It is very unwise to give from such funds what may be considered a
full rate of subsistence to able-bodied persons, as it tends to keep
concentrated upon such points vast numbers who would otherwise be
scattered over the surface of the country among the village
communities, who would be glad to advance them stock and the means of
subsistence upon the pledge of their future services when the season
of tillage commences. The rate of subsistence should always be
something less than what the able-bodied person usually consumes, and
can get for his labour in the field. For the sick and feeble this
rate will be enough, and the healthy and able-bodied, with unimpaired
appetites, will seek a greater rate by the offer of their services
among the farmers and cultivators of the surrounding country. By this
precaution, the mass of suffering will be gradually diffused over the
country, so as best to receive what the country can afford to give
for its relief. As soon as the rains set in, all the able-bodied men,
women, and children should be sent off with each a good blanket, and
a rupee or two, as the funds can afford, to last them till they can
engage themselves with the farmers. Not a farthing after that day
should be given out, except to the feeble and sick, who may be
considered as hospital patients.[9]

At large places, where the greater numbers are concentrated, the
scene becomes exceedingly distressing, for, in spite of the best
dispositions and greatest efforts on the part of Government and its
officers, and the European and native communities, thousands commonly
die of starvation. At Sagar, mothers, as they lay in the streets
unable to walk, were seen holding up their infants, and imploring the
passing stranger to take them in slavery, that they might at least
live--hundreds were seen creeping into gardens, courtyards, and old
ruins, concealing themselves under shrubs, grass, mats, or straw,
where they might die quietly, without having their bodies torn by
birds and beasts before the breath had left them. Respectable
families, who left home in search of the favoured land of Malwa,
while yet a little property remained, finding all exhausted, took
opium rather than beg, and husband, wife, and children died in each
other's arms. Still more of such families lingered on in hope till
all had been expended; then shut their doors, took poison and died
all together, rather than expose their misery, and submit to the
degradation of begging. All these things I have myself known and
seen; and, in the midst of these and a hundred other harrowing scenes
which present themselves on such occasions, the European cannot fail
to remark the patient resignation with which the poor people submit
to their fate; and the absence of almost all those revolting acts
which have characterized the famines of which he has read in other
countries--such as the living feeding on the dead, and mothers
devouring their own children. No such things are witnessed in Indian
famines;[10] here all who suffer attribute the disaster to its real
cause, the want of rain in due season; and indulge in no feelings of
hatred against their rulers, superiors, or more fortunate equals in
society who happen to live beyond the range of such calamities. They
gratefully receive the superfluities which the more favoured are
always found ready to share with the afflicted in India; and, though
their sufferings often subdue the strongest of all pride, the pride
of caste, they rarely ever drive the people to acts of violence. The
stream of emigration, guided as it always is by that of the
agricultural produce flowing in from the more favoured countries,
must necessarily concentrate upon the communities along the line it
takes a greater number of people than they have the means of
relieving, however benevolent their dispositions; and I must say that
I have never either seen or read of a nobler spirit than seems to
animate all classes of these communities in India on such distressing
occasions.

In such seasons of distress, we often, in India, hear of very
injudicious interference with grain dealers on the part of civil and
military authorities, who contrive to persuade themselves that the
interest of these corn-dealers, instead of being in accordance with
the interests of the people, are entirely opposed to them; and
conclude that, whenever grain becomes dear, they have a right to make
them open their granaries, and sell their grain at such price as
they, in their wisdom, may deem reasonable. If they cannot make them
do this by persuasion, fine, or imprisonment, they cause their pits
to be opened by their own soldiers or native officers, and the grain
to be sold at an arbitrary price. If, in a hundred pits thus opened,
they find one in which the corn happens to be damaged by damp, they
come to the sage conclusion that the proprietors must be what they
have all along supposed them to be, and treated as such--_the common
enemies of mankind_--who, blind alike to their own interests and
those of the people, purchase up the superabundance of seasons of
plenty, not to sell it again in seasons of scarcity, but _to destroy
it_; and that the whole of the grain in the other ninety-nine pits,
but for their _timely interference_, must have inevitably shared the
same fate.[11]

During the season here mentioned, grain had become very dear at
Sagar, from the unusual demand in Bundelkhand and other districts to
the north. As usual, supplies of land produce flowed up from the
Nerbudda districts along the great roads to the east and west of the
city; but the military authorities in the cantonments would not be
persuaded out of their dread of a famine. There were three regiments
of infantry, a corps of cavalry, and two companies of artillery
cantoned at that time at Sagar. They were a mile from the city, and
the grain for their supply was exempted from town duties to which
that for the city was liable. The people in cantonments got their
supply, in consequence, a good deal cheaper than the people in the
city got theirs; and none but persons belonging bona fide to the
cantonments were ever allowed to purchase grain within them. When the
dread of famine began, the commissariat officer, Major Gregory,
apprehended that he might not be permitted to have recourse to the
markets of the city in times of scarcity, since the people of the
city had not been suffered to have recourse to those of the
cantonments in times of plenty; but he was told by the magistrate to
purchase as much as he liked, since he considered every man as free
to sell his grain as his cloth, or pots and pans, to whom he
chose.[12] He added that he did not share in the fears of the
military authorities--that he had no apprehension whatever of a
famine, or when prices rose high enough they would be sure to divert
away into the city, from the streams then flowing up from the valley
of the Nerbudda and the districts of Malwa towards Bundelkhand, a
supply of grain sufficient for all.

This new demand upon the city increased rapidly the price of grain,
and augmented the alarm of the people, who began to urge the
magistrate to listen to their prayers, and coerce the sordid corn-
dealers, who had, no doubt, numerous pits yet unopened. The alarm
became still greater in the cantonments, where the commanding officer
attributed all the evil to the inefficiency of the commissariat and
the villany of the corn-dealers; and Major Gregory was in dread of
being torn to pieces by the soldiery. Only one day's supply was left
in the cantonment bazaars--the troops had become clamorous almost to
a state of mutiny--the people of the town began to rush in upon every
supply that was offered for sale; and those who had grain to dispose
of could no longer venture to expose it. The magistrate was hard
pressed on all sides to have recourse to the old salutary method of
searching for and forcibly opening the grain pits, and selling the
contents at such price as might appear reasonable. The kotwal[13] of
the town declared that the lives of his police would be no longer
safe unless this great and never-failing remedy, which had now
unhappily been too long deferred, were immediately adopted.

The magistrate, who had already taken every other means of declaring
his resolution never to suffer any man's granary to be forcibly
opened, now issued a formal proclamation, pledging himself to see
that such granaries should be as much respected as any other property
in the city--that every man might keep his grain and expose it for
sale, wherever and whenever he pleased; and expressing a hope that,
as the people knew him too well not to feel assured that his word
thus solemnly pledged would never be broken, he trusted they would
sell what stores they had, and apply themselves without apprehension
to the collecting of more.

This proclamation he showed to Major Gregory, assuring him that no
degree of distress or clamour among the people of the city or the
cantonments should ever make him violate the pledge therein given to
the corn-dealers; and that he was prepared to risk his situation and
reputation as a public officer upon the result. After issuing this
proclamation about noon, he had his police establishments augmented,
and so placed and employed as to give to the people entire confidence
in the assurances conveyed in it. The grain-dealers, no longer
apprehensive of danger, opened their pits of grain, and sent off all
their available means to bring in more. In the morning the bazaars
were all supplied, and every man who had money could buy as much as
he pleased. The troops got as much as they required from the city.
Major Gregory was astonished and delighted. The colonel, a fine old
soldier from the banks of the Indus, who had commanded a corps of
horse under the former government, came to the magistrate in
amazement; every shop had become full of grain as if by supernatural
agency.

_'Kale admi ki akl kahan talak chalegi_?' said he. 'How little could
a black man's wisdom serve him in such an emergency?'

There was little wisdom in all this; but there was a firm reliance
upon the truth of the general principle which should guide all public
officers on such occasions. The magistrate judged that there were a
great many pits of grain in the town known only to their own
proprietors, who were afraid to open them, or get more grain, while
there was a chance of the civil authorities yielding to the clamours
of the people and the anxiety of the officers commanding the troops;
and that he had only to remove these fears, by offering a solemn
pledge, and manifesting the means and the will to abide by it, in
order to induce the proprietors, not only to sell what they had, but
to apply all their means to the collecting of more. But it is a
singular fact that almost all the officers of the cantonments thought
the conduct of the magistrate in refusing to have the grain pits
opened under such pressing circumstances extremely reprehensible.

Had he done so, he might have given the people of the city and the
cantonments the supply at hand; but the injury done to the corn-
dealers by so very unwise a measure would have recoiled upon the
public, since every one would have been discouraged from exerting
himself to renew the supply, and from laying up stores to meet
similar necessities in future. By acting as he did, he not only
secured for the public the best exertions of all the existing corn-
dealers of the place, but actually converted for the time a great
many to that trade from other employments, or from idleness. A great
many families, who had never traded before, employed their means in
bringing a supply of grain, and converted their dwellings into corn
shops, induced by the high profits and assurance of protection.
During the time when he was most pressed the magistrate received a
letter from Captain Robinson, who was in charge of the bazaars at
Elichpur in the Hyderabad territory,[14] where the dearth had become
even more felt than at Sagar, requesting to know what measures had
been adopted to regulate the price, and secure the supply of grain
for the city and cantonments at Sagar, since no good seemed to result
from those hitherto pursued at Elichpur. He told him in reply that
these things had hitherto been regulated at Sagar as he thought 'they
ought to be regulated everywhere else, by being left entirely to the
discretion of the corn-dealers themselves, whose self-interest will
always prompt them to have a sufficient supply, as long as they may
feel secure of being permitted to do what they please with what they
collect. The commanding officer, in his anxiety to secure food for
the people, had hitherto been continually interfering to coerce sales
and regulate prices, and continually aggravating the evils of the
dearth by so doing'. On the receipt of the Sagar magistrate's letter
a different course was adopted; the same assurances were given to the
corn-dealers, the same ability and inclination to enforce them
manifested, and the same result followed. The people and the troops
were steadily supplied; and all were astonished that so very simple a
remedy had not before been thought of.

The ignorance of the first principles of political economy among
European gentlemen of otherwise first-rate education and abilities in
India is quite lamentable, for there are really few public officers,
even in the army, who are not occasionally liable to be placed in the
situations where they may, by false measures, arising out of such
ignorance, aggravate the evils of dearth among great bodies of their
fellow men. A soldier may, however, find some excuse for such
ignorance, because a knowledge of these principles is not generally
considered to form any indispensable part of a soldier's education;
but no excuse can be admitted for a civil functionary who is so
ignorant, since a thorough acquaintance with the principles of
political economy must be, and, indeed, always is considered as an
essential branch of that knowledge which is to fit him for public
employment in India.[15]

In India unfavourable seasons produce much more disastrous
consequences than in Europe. In England not more than one-fourth of
the population derive their incomes from the cultivation of the lands
around them. Three-fourths of the people have incomes independent of
the annual returns from those lands; and with these incomes they can
purchase agricultural produce from other lands when the crops upon
them fail. The farmers, who form so large a portion of the fourth
class, have stock equal in value to _four times the amount of the
annual rent of their lands_. They have also a great variety of crops;
and it is very rare that more than one or two of them fail, or are
considerably affected, the same season. If they fail in one district
or province, the deficiency is very easily supplied to a people who
have equivalents to give for the produce of another. The sea,
navigable rivers, fine roads, all are open and ready at all times for
the transport of the superabundance of one quarter to supply the
deficiencies of another. In India, the reverse of all this is
unhappily to be found; more than three-fourths of the whole
population are engaged in the cultivation of the land, and depend
upon its annual returns for subsistence.[16] The farmers and
cultivators have none of their stock equal in value to more than
_half the amount of the annual rent of their lands_.[17] They have a
great variety of crops; but all are exposed to the same accidents,
and commonly fail at the same time. The autumn crops are sown in June
and July, and ripen in October and November; and, if seasonable
showers do not fall during July, August, and September, all fail. The
spring crops are sown in October and November, and ripen in March;
and, if seasonable showers do not happen to fall during December or
January, all, save what are artificially irrigated, fail.[18] If they
fail in one district or province, the people have few equivalents to
offer for a supply of land produce from any other. Their roads are
scarcely anywhere passable for wheeled carriages at _any season_, and
nowhere _at all seasons_--they have nowhere a navigable canal, and
only in one line a navigable river.

Their land produce is conveyed upon the backs of bullocks, that move
at the rate of six or eight miles a day, and add one hundred per
cent. to the cost of every hundred miles they carry it in the best
seasons, and more than two hundred in the worst.[19] What in Europe
is felt merely as a _dearth_, becomes in India, under all these
disadvantages, a scarcity, and what is there a _scarcity_ becomes
here a _famine_. Tens of thousands die here of starvation, under
calamities of season, which in Europe would involve little of
suffering to any class. Here man does everything, and he must have
his daily food or starve. In England machinery does more than three-
fourths of the collective work of society in the production,
preparation, and distribution of man's physical enjoyments, and it
stands in no need of this daily food to sustain its powers; they are
independent of the seasons; the water, fire, air, and other elemental
powers which they require to render them subservient to our use are
always available in abundance.

This machinery is the great assistant of the present generation,
provided for us by the wisdom and industry of the past; wanting no
food itself, it can always provide its proprietors with the means of
purchasing what they require from other countries, when the harvests
of their own fail. When calamities of season deprive men of
employment for a time in tillage, they can, in England, commonly find
it in other branches of industry, because agricultural industry forms
so small a portion of the collective industry of the nation; and
because every man can, without prejudice to his status in society,
take to what branch of industry he pleases. But, when these
calamities of season throw men out of employment in tillage for a
time in India, they cannot find it in any other branch, because
agricultural industry forms so very large a portion of the collective
industry of every part of the country; and because men are often
prevented by the prejudices of caste from taking to that which they
can find.[20]

In societies constituted like that of India the trade of the corn-
dealer is more essentially necessary for the welfare of the community
than in any other, for it is among them that the superabundance of
seasons of plenty requires most to be stored up for seasons of
scarcity; and if public functionaries will take upon themselves to
seize such stores, and sell them at their own arbitrary prices,
whenever prices happen to rise beyond the rate which they in their
short-sighted wisdom think just, no corn-dealer will ever collect
such stores. Hitherto, whenever grain has become dear at any military
or civil station, we have seen the civil functionaries urged to
prohibit its egress--to search for the hidden stores, and to coerce
the proprietors to the sale in all manner of ways; and, if they do
not yield to the ignorant clamour, they are set down as indifferent
to the sufferings of their fellow creatures around them, and as
blindly supporting the worst enemies of mankind in the worst species
of iniquity.

If those who urge them to such measures are asked whether
silversmiths or linendrapers, who should be treated in the same
manner as they wish the corn-dealers to be treated, would ever
collect and keep stores of plate and cloth for their use, they
readily answer--No; they see at once the evil effects of interfering
with the free disposal of the property of the one, but are totally
blind to that which must as surely follow any interference with that
of the other, whose entire freedom is of so much more vital
importance to the public. There was a time, and that not very remote,
when grave historians, like Smollett, could, even in England, fan the
flame of this vulgar prejudice against one of the most useful classes
of society. That day is, thank God, past; and no man can now venture
to write such trash in his history, or even utter it in any well-
informed circle of English society; and, if any man were to broach
such a subject in an English House of Commons, he would be considered
as a fit subject for a madhouse.

 But some, who retain their prejudices against corn-dealers, and are
yet ashamed to acknowledge their ignorance of the first principles of
political economy, try to persuade themselves and their friends that,
however applicable these may be to the state of society in European
or Christian countries, they are not so to countries occupied by
Hindoos and Muhammadans. This is a sad delusion, and may be a very
mischievous one, when indulged by public officers in India.[21]


Notes:


1. Irrigation by means of a 'dug-out' canoe used as a lever is
commonly practised in many parts of the country. The author gives a
rough sketch, not worth reproduction. The Persian wheel is suitable
for use in wide-mouthed wells. It may be described as a mill-wheel
with buckets on the circumference, which are filled and emptied as
the wheel revolves. It is worked by bullock-power acting on a rude
cog-wheel.

2. December, 1835.

3. A.D. 1833 corresponds to the year 1890 of the _Vikrama Samvat_, or
era, current in Bundelkhand. About 1880 the editor found this great
famine still remembered as that of the year '90.

4. Half a crown seems to be used in this passage as a synonym for the
rupee, now (1914) worth a shilling and four pence.

5. Bundelkhand seems to be the meeting-place of the east and west
monsoons, and the moist current is, in consequence, often feeble and
variable. The country suffered again from famine in 1861 and 1877,
although not so severely as in 1833. In northern Bundelkhand a canal
from the Betwa river has been constructed, but is of only very
limited use. The peculiarities of the soil and climate forbid the
wide extension of irrigation. For the prevention of acute famine in
this region the chief reliance must be on improved communications.
The country has been opened up by the Indian Midland and other
railways. In 1899-1900, notwithstanding improved communications,
Malwa suffered severely from famine. Aurangzeb considered Gujarat to
be 'the ornament and jewel of India' (Bilimoria, _Letters of
Aurungzebie_, 1908, no. lxiv).

6. The influence of trees on climate is undoubted, but the author in
this passage probably ascribes too much power to the groves of Malwa.
On the formation of the black soil see note 7 to Chapter 14, _ante_.

7. The word in the author's text is 'grain', a misprint for 'gram'
(_Cicer arietinum_), a pulse, also known as chick-pea, and very
largely grown in Bundelkhand. 'Gram' is a corruption of the
Portuguese word for grain, and, like many other Portuguese words, has
passed into the speech of Anglo-Indians. See Yule and Burnell,
_Glossary of Anglo-Indian Words_, s.v.

8. 'Agricultural capitalist' is a rather large phrase for the humble
village money-lender, whose transactions are usually on a very small
scale.

9. The author's advice on the subject of famine relief is weighty and
perfectly sound. It is in accordance with the policy formulated by
the Government of India in the Famine Relief Code, based on the
Report of the Famine Commission which followed the terrible Madras
famine of 1877.

10. This statement is too general. Examples of the horror alluded to
are recorded in several Indian famines. Cases of cannibalism occurred
during the Madras famine of 1877. But it is true that horrors of the
kind are rare in India, and the author's praise of the patient
resignation of the people is fully justified. An admirable summary of
the history of Indian famines will be found in the articles 'Famines'
and 'Food' in Balfour, _Cyclopaedia_, 3rd ed. (1885). For further and
more recent information see _I.G._ (1907), vol. iii, chap. 10.

11. No European officer, military or civil, could now venture to
adopt such arbitrary measures. In a Native State they might very
probably be enforced.

12. 'The magistrate' was the author himself.

13. The chief police officer of a town. In the modern reorganized
system he always holds the rank of either Inspector or Sub-Inspector.
Under native governments he was a more important official.

14. Elichpur (Ilichpur) is in Berar, otherwise known as the Assigned
Districts, a territory made over in Lord Dalhousie's time to British
administration in order to defray the cost of the armed force called
the Hyderabad Contingent. Since 1903 Berar has ceased to be a
separate province. It is now merely a Division attached to the
Central Provinces. From the same date the Hyderabad Contingent lost
its separate existence, being redistributed and merged in the Indian
Army.

15. Political Economy was for many years a compulsory subject for the
selected candidates for the Civil Service of India; but since 1892
its study has been optional.

16. The census of 1911 shows that about 71 per cent. of the
301,000,000 inhabiting India, excluding Burma, are supported by the
cultivation of the soil and the care of cattle. The proportion varies
widely in different provinces.

17. This proposition does not apply fully to Northern India at the
present day. The amount of capital invested is small, although not
quite so small as is stated in the text.

18. The times of harvest vary slightly with the latitude, being later
towards the north. The cold-weather rains of December and January are
variable and uncertain, and rarely last more than a few days. The
spring crops depend largely on the heavy dews which occur daring the
cold season.

19. Daring the years which have elapsed since the famine of 1833,
great changes have taken place in India, and many of the author's
remarks are only partially applicable to the present time. The great
canals, above all, the wonderful Ganges Canal, have protected immense
areas of Northern India from the possibility of absolute famine, and
Southern India has also been to a considerable, though less, extent,
protected by similar works. A few new staples, of which potatoes are
the most important, have been introduced. The whole system of
distribution has been revolutionized by the development of railways,
metalled roads, wheeled vehicles, motors, telegraphs, and navigable
canals. Carriage on the backs of animals, whether bullocks, camels,
or donkeys, now plays a very subordinate part in the distribution of
agricultural produce. Prices are, in great measure, dependent on the
rates prevailing in Liverpool, Odessa, and Chicago. Food grains now
stand ordinarily at prices which, in the author's time, would have
been reckoned famine rates. The changes which have taken place in
England are too familiar to need comment.

20. Since the author's time certain industries, the most important
being cotton-pressing, cotton-spinning, and jute-spinning, have
sprung up and assumed in Bombay, Calcutta, Cawnpore, and a few other
places, proportions which, absolutely, are large. But India is so
vast that these local developments of manufactures, large though they
are, seem to be as nothing when regarded in comparison with the
country as a whole. India is still, and, to all appearance, always
must be, essentially an agricultural country.

21. The author's teaching concerning freedom of trade in times of
famine and the function of dealers in corn is as sound as his
doctrine of famine relief. The 'vulgar prejudice', which he
denounces, still flourishes, and the 'sad delusion', which he
deplores, still obscures the truth. As each period of scarcity or
famine comes round, the old cries are again heard, and the executive
authorities are implored and adjured to forbid export, to fix fair
prices, and to clip the profits of the corn merchant. During the
Bengal famine of 1873-4, the demand for the prohibition of the export
of rice was urged by men who should have known better, and Lord
Northbrook is entitled to no small credit for having firmly withstood
the clamour. The more recent experiences of the Russian Government
should be remembered when the clamour is again raised, as it will be.
The principles on which the author acted in the crisis at Sagar in
1833 should guide every magistrate who finds himself in a similar
position, and should be applied with unhesitating firmness and
decision.




CHAPTER 25


Epidemic Diseases--Scape-goat.

In the evening, after my conversation with the cultivator upon the
wall that united the two hills,[1] I received a visit from my little
friend the Sarimant. His fine rose-coloured turban is always put on
very gracefully; every hair of his jet-black eyebrows and mustachios
seems to be kept always most religiously in the same place; and he
has always the same charming smile upon his little face, which was
never, I believe, distorted into an absolute laugh or frown. No man
was ever more perfectly master of what the natives call 'the art of
rising or sitting' (_nishisht wa barkhast_), namely, good manners. I
should as soon expect to see him set the Nerbudda on fire as commit
any infringement of the _convenances_ on this head established in
good Indian society, or be guilty of anything vulgar in speech,
sentiment, or manners. I asked him by what means it was that the old
queen of Sagar[2] drove out the influenza that afflicted the people
so much in 1832, while he was there on a visit to me. He told me that
he took no part in the ceremonies, nor was he aware of them till
awoke one night by 'the noise, when his attendants informed him that
the queen and the greater part of the city were making offerings to
the new god, Hardaul Lala. He found next morning that a goat had been
offered up with as much noise as possible, and with good effect, for
the disease was found to give way from that moment. About six years
before, when great numbers were dying in his own little capital of
Pithoria[3] from a similar epidemic, he had, he said, tried the same
thing with still greater effect; but, on that occasion, he had the
aid of a man very learned in such matters. This man caused a small
carriage to be made up after a plan of his own, for _a pair of scape-
goats_, which were harnessed to it, and driven during the ceremonies
to a wood some distance from the town, where they were let loose.
From that hour the disease entirely ceased in the town. The goats
never returned. 'Had they come back,' said Sarimant, 'the disease
must have come back with them; so he took them a long way into the
wood--indeed (he believed), the man, to make sure of them, had
afterwards caused them to be offered up as a sacrifice to the shrine
of Hardaul Lala, in that very wood. He had himself never seen a
_puja_ (religious ceremony) so entirely and immediately efficacious
as this, and much of its success was, no doubt, attributable to the
_science_ of the man who planned the carriage, and himself drove the
pair of goats to the wood. No one had ever before heard of the plan
of a pair of _scape-goats_ being driven in a carriage; but it was
likely (he thought) to be extensively adopted in future.'[4]

Sarimant's man of affairs mentioned that when Lord Hastings took the
field against the Pindharis, in 1817,[5] and the division of the
grand army under his command was encamped near the grove in
Bundelkhand, where repose the ashes of Hardaul Lala, under a small
shrine, a cow was taken into this grove to be converted into beef for
the use of the Europeans. The priest in attendance remonstrated, but
in vain--the cow was killed and eaten. The priest complained, and
from that day the cholera morbus broke out in the camp; and from this
central point it was, he said, generally understood to have spread
all over India.[6] The story of the cow travelled at the same time,
and the spirit of Hardaul Lala was everywhere supposed to be riding
in the whirlwind, and _directing the storm_. Temples were everywhere
erected, and offerings made to appease him; and in six years after,
he had himself seen them as far as Lahore, and in almost every
village throughout the whole course of his journey to that distant
capital and back. He is one of the most sensible and freely spoken
men that I have met with. 'Up to within the last few years', added
he, 'the spirit of Hardaul Lala had been propitiated only in cases of
cholera morbus; but now he is supposed to preside over all kinds of
epidemic diseases, and offerings have everywhere been made to his
shrine during late influenzas.'[7]

'This of course arises', I observed, 'from the industry of his
priests, who are now spread all over the country; and you know that
there is hardly a village or hamlet in which there are not some of
them to be found subsisting upon the fears of the people.'

'I have no doubt', replied he, 'that the cures which the people
attribute to the spirit of Hardaul Lala often arise merely from the
firmness of their faith (_itikad_) in the efficacy of their
offerings; and that any other ceremonies, that should give to their
minds the same assurance of recovery, would be of great advantage in
cases of epidemic diseases. I remember a singular instance of this,'
said he. 'When Jeswant Rao Holkar was flying before Lord Lake to the
banks of the Hyphasis,[8] a poor trooper of one of his lordship's
irregular corps, when he tied the grain-bag to his horse's mouth,
said 'Take this in the name of Jeswant Rao Holkar, for to him you and
I owe all that we have.' The poor man had been suffering from an
attack of ague and fever; but from that moment he felt himself
relieved, and the fever never returned. At that time this fever
prevailed more generally among the people of Hindustan than any I
have ever known, though I am now an old man. The speech of the
trooper and the supposed result soon spread; and others tried the
experiment with similar success, and it acted everywhere like a
charm. I had the fever myself, and, though by no means a
superstitious man, and certainly no lover of Jeswant Rao Holkar, I
tried the experiment, and the fever left me from that day. From that
time, till the epidemic disappeared, no man, from the Nerbudda to the
Indus, fed his horse without invoking the spirit of Jeswant Rao,
though the chief was then alive and well. Some one had said he found
great relief from plunging into the stream during the paroxysms of
the fever; others followed the example, and some remained for half an
hour at a time, and the sufferers generally found relief. The streams
and tanks throughout the districts between the Ganges and Jumna
became crowded, till the propitiatory offering to the spirit of the
living Jeswant Rao Holkar were [sic] found equally good, and far less
troublesome to those who had horses that must have got their grain,
whether in Holkar's name or not.'

There is no doubt that the great mass of those who had nothing but
their horses and their _good blades_ to depend upon for their
subsistence did most fervently pray throughout India for the safety
of this Maratha chief, when he fled before Lord Lake's army; for they
considered that, with his fall, the Company's dominion would become
everywhere securely established, and that good soldiers would be at a
discount. '_Company ke amal men kuchh rozgar nahin hai_,'--'There is
no employment in the Company's dominion,' is a common maxim, not only
among the men of the sword and the spear, but among those merchants
who lived by supporting native civil and military establishments with
the luxuries and elegancies which, under the new order of things,
they have no longer the means to enjoy.

The noisy _puja_ (worship), about which our conversation began, took
place at Sagar in April, 1832, while I was at that station. More than
four-fifths of the people of the city and cantonments had been
affected by a violent influenza, which commenced with a distressing
cough, was followed by fever, and, in some cases, terminated in
death. I had an application from the old Queen Dowager of Sagar, who
received a pension of ten thousand pounds a year from the British
Government,[9] and resided in the city, to allow of a _noisy_
religious procession to implore deliverance from this great calamity.
Men, women, and children in this procession were to do their utmost
to add to the noise by 'raising their voices in _psalmody_', beating
upon their brass pots and pans with all their might, and discharging
fire-arms where they could get them; and before the noisy crowd was
to be driven a buffalo, which had been purchased by a general
subscription, in order that every family might participate in the
merit. They were to follow it out for eight miles, where it was to be
turned loose for any man who would take it. If the animal returned,
the disease, it was said, must return with it, and the ceremony be
performed over again. I was requested to intimate the circumstance to
the officer commanding the troops in cantonments, in order that the
hideous noise they intended to make might not excite any alarm, and
bring down upon them the visit of the soldiery. It was, however,
subsequently determined that the animal should be a goat, and he was
driven before the crowd accordingly. I have on several occasions been
requested to allow of such noisy _pujas_ in cases of epidemics; and
the confidence they feel in their efficiency has, no doubt, a good
effect.

While in civil charge of the district of Narsinghpur, in the valley
of the Nerbudda, in April 1823, the cholera morbus raged in almost
every house of Narsinghpur and Kandeli, situated near each other,[l0]
and one of them close to my dwelling-house and court. The European
physicians lost all confidence in their prescriptions, and the people
declared that the hand of God was upon them, and by appeasing Him
could they alone hope to be saved.[11] A religious procession was
determined upon; but the population of both towns was divided upon
the point whether a silent or a noisy one would be most acceptable to
God. Hundreds were dying around me when I was applied to to settle
this knotty point between the parties. I found that both in point of
numbers and respectability the majority was in favour of the silent
procession, and I recommended that this should be adopted. The
procession took place about nine the same night, with all due
ceremony; but the advocates for noise would none of them assist in
it. Strange as it may appear, the disease abated from that moment;
and the great majority of the population of both towns believed that
their prayers had been heard; and I went to bed with a mind somewhat
relieved by the hope that this feeling of confidence might be useful.
About one o'clock I was awoke from a sound sleep by the most hideous
noise that I had ever heard; and, not at that moment recollecting the
proposal for the noisy procession, ran out of my house, in
expectation of seeing both towns in flames. I found that the
advocates for noise, resolving to have their procession, had
assembled together about midnight; and, apprehensive that they might
be borne down by the advocates for silence and my police
establishment, had determined to make the most of their time, and put
in requisition all the pots, pans, shells, trumpets, pistols, and
muskets that they could muster. All opened at once about one o'clock;
and, had there been any virtue in discord, the cholera must soon have
deserted the place, for such another hideous compound of noises I
never heard. The disease, which seemed to have subsided with the
silent procession before I went to bed, now returned with double
violence, as I was assured by numbers who flocked to my house in
terror; and the whole population became exasperated with the leaders
of the noisy faction, who had, they believed, been the means of
bringing back among them all the horrors of this dreadful scourge.

I asked the Hindoo Sadar Amin, or head native judicial officer at
Sagar, a very profound Sanskrit scholar, what he thought of the
efficacy of these processions in checking epidemic diseases. He said
that 'there could be nothing more clear than the total inefficiency
of medicine in such cases; and, when medicine failed, a man's only
resource was in prayers; that the diseases of mankind were to be
classed under three general heads: first, those suffered for sins
committed in some former births; second, those suffered for sins
committed in the present birth; third, those merely accidental. Now,'
said the old gentleman, 'it must be clear to every unprejudiced mind
that the third only can be cured or checked by the physician.'
Epidemics, he thought, must all be classed under the second head, and
as inflicted by the Deity for some very general sin; consequently, to
be removed only by prayers; and, whether silent or noisy, was, he
thought, matter of little importance, provided they were offered in
the same spirit. I believe that, among the great mass of the people
of India, three-fourths of the diseases of individuals are attributed
to evil spirits and evil eyes; and for every physician among them
there are certainly ten _exorcisers_. The faith in them is very great
and very general; and, as the gift is supposed to be supernatural, it
is commonly exercised without fee or reward. The gifted person
subsists upon some other employment, and _exorcises_ gratis.

A child of one of our servants was one day in convulsions from its
sufferings in cutting its teeth. The Civil Surgeon happened to call
that morning, and he offered to lance the child's gums. The poor
mother thanked him, but stated that there could be no possible doubt
as to the source of her child's sufferings--that the devil had got
into it during the night, and would certainly not be frightened out
by his little lancet; but she expected every moment my old tent-
pitcher, whose exorcisms no devil of this description had ever yet
been able to withstand.

The small-pox had been raging in the town of Jubbulpore for some time
during one hot season that I was there, and a great many children had
died from it. The severity of the disease was considered to have been
a good deal augmented by a very untoward circumstance that had taken
place in the family of the principal banker of the town, Khushhal
Chand. Sewa Ram Seth, the old man, had lately died, leaving two sons.
Ram Kishan, the eldest, and Khushhal Chand, the second. The eldest
gave up all the management of the sublunary concerns of the family,
and devoted his mind entirely to religious duties. They had a very
fine family temple of their own, in which they placed an image of
their god Vishnu, cut out of the choicest stone of the Nerbudda, and
consecrated after the most approved form, and with very expensive
ceremonies. This idol Ram Kishan used every day to wash with his own
hands with rosewater, and anoint with precious ointments. One day,
while he had the image in his arms, and was busily employed in
anointing it, it fell to the ground upon the stone pavement, and one
of the arms was broken. To live after such an untoward accident was
quite out of the question, and poor Ram Kishan proceeded at once
quietly to hang himself. He got a rope from the stable, and having
tied it over the beam in the room where he had let the god fall upon
the stone pavement, he was putting his head calmly into the noose,
when his brother came in, laid hold of him, called for assistance,
and put him under restraint. A conclave of the priests of that sect
was immediately held in the town, and Ram Kishan was told that
hanging himself was not absolutely necessary; that it might do if he
would take the stone image, broken arm and all, upon his own back,
and carry it two hundred and sixty miles to Benares, where resided
the high priest of the sect, who would, no doubt, be able to suggest
the proper measures for pacifying the god.

At this time, the only son of his brother, Khushhal Chand, an
interesting little boy of about four years of age, was extremely ill
of the small-pox; and it is a rule with Hindoos never to undertake
any journey, even one of pilgrimage to a holy shrine, while any
member of the family is afflicted with this disease; they must all
sit at home clothed in sackcloth and ashes. He was told that he had
better defer his journey to Benares till the child should recover;
but he could neither sleep nor eat, so great was his terror, lest
some dreadful calamity should befall the whole family before he could
expiate his crime, or take the advice of his high priest as to the
best means of doing it: and he resolved to leave the decision of the
question to God Himself. He took two pieces of paper, and having
caused Benares to be written upon one, and Jubbulpore upon the other,
he put them both into a brass vessel. After shaking the vessel well,
he drew forth that on which Benares had been written. 'It is the will
of God,' said Ram Kishan. All the family, who were interested in the
preservation of the poor boy, implored him not to set out, lest Devi,
who presides over small-pox, should become angry. It was all in vain.
He would set out with his household god; and, unable to carry it
himself, he put it into a small litter upon a pole, and hired a
bearer to carry it at one end, while he supported it at the other.
His brother, Khushhal Chand, sent his second wife at the same time
with offerings for Devi, to ward off the effects of his brother's
rashness from his child. By the time the brother had got with his god
to Adhartal, three miles from Jubbulpore, on the road to Benares, he
heard of the death of his nephew; but he seemed not to feel this
slight blow in his terror of the dreadful but undefined calamity
which he felt to be impending over him and the whole family, and he
trotted on his road. Soon after, an infant son of their uncle died of
the same disease; and the whole town became at once divided into two
parties--those who held that the children had been killed by Devi as
a punishment for Ram Kishan's presuming to leave Jubbulpore before
they recovered; and those who held that they were killed by the god
Vishnu himself, for having been so rudely deprived of one of his
arms. Khushhal Chand's wife sickened on the road, and died on
reaching Mirzapore, of fever; and, as Devi was supposed to have
nothing to do with fevers, this event greatly augmented the advocates
of Vishnu. It is a rule with the Hindoos to bury, and not to burn,
the bodies of those who die of the small-pox; 'for', say they, 'the
small-pox is not only caused by the goddess Devi, but is, in fact,
_Devi herself_', and to burn the body of the person affected with
this disease is, in reality, neither more nor less than _to burn the
goddess_'.

Khushhal Chand was strongly urged to bury, and not burn, his child,
particularly as it was usual with Hindoos to bury infants and
children of that age, of whatever disease they might die; but he
insisted upon having his boy burned with all due pomp and ceremony,
and burned he was accordingly. From that moment, it is said, the
disease began to rage with increased violence throughout the town of
Jubbulpore. At least one-half of the children affected had before
survived; but, from that hour, at least three out of four died; and,
instead of the condolence which he expected from his fellow citizens,
poor Khushhal Chand, a very amiable and worthy man, received nothing
but their execrations for bringing down so many calamities upon their
heads; first, by maltreating his own god, and then by setting fire to
theirs.

I had, a few days after, a visit from Gangadhar Rao, the Sadar Amin,
or head native judicial officer of this district, whose father had
been for a short time the ruler of the district, under the former
government; and I asked him whether the small-pox had diminished in
the town since the rains had now set in. He told me that he thought
it had, but that a great many children had been taken off by the
disease.[12]

'I understand, Rao Sahib, that Khushhal Chand, the banker, is
supposed to have augmented the virulence of the disease by burning
his boy; was it so?'

'Certainly,' said my friend, with a grave, long face; 'the disease
was much increased by this man's folly.' I looked very grave in my
turn, and he continued:- 'Not a child escaped after he had burned his
boy. Such incredible folly! To set fire to the _goddess_ in the midst
of a population of twenty thousand souls; it might have brought
destruction on us all!'

'What makes you think that the disease is itself the goddess?'

'Because we always say, when any member of a family becomes attacked
by the small-pox, "_Devi nikali_", that is, Devi has shown herself in
that family, or in that individual. And the person affected can wear
nothing but plain white clothing, not a silken or coloured garment,
nor an ornament of any kind; nor can he or any of his family
undertake a journey, or participate in any kind of rejoicings, lest
he give offence to her. They broke the arm of their god, and he drove
them all mad.[l3] The elder brother set out on a journey with it, and
his nephew, cousin, and sister-in-law fell victims to his temerity;
and then Khushhal Chand brings down the goddess upon the whole
community by burning his boy![14] No doubt he was very fond of his
child--so we all are--and wished to do him all honour; but some
regard is surely due to the people around us, and I told him so when
he was making preparations for the funeral; but he would not listen
to reason.'

A complicated religious code, like that of the Hindoos, is to the
priest what a complicated civil code, like that of the English, is to
the lawyers. A Hindoo can do nothing without consulting his priest,
and an Englishman can do nothing without consulting his lawyer.


Notes:

1. _Ante_, Chapter 24, following note [4].

2. Sagar was ceded by the Peshwa in 1818, and a yearly sum of two and
a half lakhs of rupees was allotted by Government for pensions to
Rukma Bai, Vinayak Rao, and the other officers of the Maratha
Government. A descendant of Rukma Bai continued for many years to
enjoy a pension of R.10,000 per annum (_C.P. Gazetteer_ (1870), p,
442). The lady referred to in the text seems to be Rukma Bai.

3. A village about twenty miles north-west of Sagar. The estate
consists of twenty-six revenue-free villages.

4. The Jewish ceremonial is described in Leviticus xvi. 20-26. After
completing the atonement for the impurities of the holy place, the
tabernacle, and the altar, Aaron was directed to lay 'his hands upon
the head of the live goat', so putting all the sins of the people
upon the animal, and then to 'send him away by the hand of a fit man
into the wilderness; and the goat shall bear upon him all their
iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in
the wilderness'. The subject of scape-goats is discussed at length
and copiously illustrated by Mr. Frazer in _The Golden Bough_, 1st
ed., vol. ii, section 15, pp. 182-217; 3rd ed. (1913) Part VI. The
author's stories in the text are quoted by Mr. Frazer.

5. During the season of 1816-17 the ravages of the Pindharis were
exceptionally daring and extensive. The Governor-General, the Marquis
of Hastings, organized an army in several divisions to crush the
marauders, and himself joined the central division in October 1817.
The operations were ended by the capture of Asirgarh in March 1819.

6. The people in the Sagar territories used to show several decayed
mango-trees in groves where European troops had encamped during the
campaigns of 1816 and 1817, and declared that they had been seen to
wither from the day that beef for the use of these troops had been
tied to their branches. The only coincidence was in the decay of the
trees, and the encamping of the troops in the groves; that the
withering trees were those to which the beef had been tied was of
course taken for granted. [W. H. S.] The Hindoo veneration for the
cow amounts to a passion, and its intensity is very inadequately
explained by the current utilitarian explanations. The best analysis
of the motives underlying the passionate Hindoo feeling on the
subject is to be found in Mr. William Crooke's article 'The
Veneration of the Cow in India' (_Folklore_, Sept. 1912, pp. 275-
306). In modern times an active, though absolutely hopeless,
agitation has been kept up, directed against the reasonable liberty
of those communities in India who are not members of the Hindoo
system. This agitation for the prohibition of cow-killing has caused
some riots, and has evoked much ill-feeling. The editor had to deal
with it in the Muzaffarnagar district in 1890, and had much trouble
to keep the peace. The local leaders of the movement went so far as
to send telegrams direct to the Government of India. Many other
magistrates have had similar experiences. The authorities take every
precaution to protect Hindoo susceptibilities from needless wounds,
but they are equally bound to defend the lawful liberty of subjects
who are not Hindoos. The Government of the United Provinces on one
occasion yielded to the Hindoo demands so far as to prohibit cow-
killing in at least one town where the practice was not fully
established, but the legality and expediency of such an order are
both open to criticism. The administrative difficulty is much
enhanced by the fact that the Indian Muhammadans profess to be under
a religious obligation to sacrifice cows at the Idul Bakr festival.
Cholera has been known to exist in India at least since the
seventeenth century (Balfour, _Cyclopaedia of India_, 3rd ed. (1885),
s.v.).

7. The cultus of Hardaul is further discussed _post_ in Chapter 31.
In 1875, the editor, who was then employed in the Hamirpur district
of Bundelkhand, published some popular Hindi songs in praise of the
hero, with the following abstract of the _Legend of Hardaul_:
'Hardaul, a son of the famous Bir Singh Deo Bundela of Orchha, was
born at Datiya. His brother, Jhajhar Singh, suspected him of undue
intimacy with his wife, and at a feast poisoned him with all his
followers. After this tragedy, it happened that the daughter of
Kunjavati, the sister of Jhajhar and Hardaul, was about to be
married. Kunjavati accordingly sent an invitation to Jhajhar Singh,
requesting him to attend the wedding. He refused, and mockingly
replied that she had better invite her favourite brother Hardaul.
Thereupon she went in despair to his tomb and lamented aloud. Hardaul
from below answered her cries, and said that he would come to the
wedding and make all arrangements. The ghost kept his promise, and
arranged the nuptials as befitted the honour of his house.
Subsequently, he visited at night the bedside of Akbar, and besought
the emperor to command _chabutras_ to be erected and honour paid to
him in every village throughout the empire, promising that, if he
were duly honoured, a wedding should never be marred by storm or
rain, and that no one who first presented a share of his meal to
Hardaul should ever want for food. Akbar complied with these
requests, and since that time Hardaul's ghost has been worshipped in
every village. He is chiefly honoured at weddings and in Baisakh
(April-May), during which month the women, especially those of the
lower castes, visit his _chabutra_ and eat there. His chabutra is
always built outside the village. On the day but one before the
arrival of a wedding procession, the women of the family worship the
gods and Hardaul, and invite them to the wedding. If any signs of a
storm appears, Hardaul is propitiated with songs '(_J.A.S.B._, vol.
xliv (1875), Part I, p. 389). The belief that Hardaul worship and
cholera had been introduced at the same time prevailed in Hamirpur,
as elsewhere. The _chabutra_ referred to in the above extract is a
small platform built of mud or masonry.

8. The Hyphasis is the Greek name for the river Bias in the Panjab.
Holkar's flight into the Panjab occurred in 1805, and in the same
year the long war with him was terminated by a treaty, much too
favourable to the marauding chief. He became insane a few years
later, and died in 1811.

9. See note 2,_ante_.

10. Narsinghpur and Kandeli are practically one town. The Government
offices and houses of the European residents are in Kandeli, which is
a mile east of Narsinghpur. The original name of Narsinghpur was
Gadaria Khera. The modern name is due to the erection of a large
temple to Narsingha, one of the forms of Vishnu. The district of
Narsinghpur lies in the Nerbudda valley, west and south-west of
Jubbulpore.

11. All classes of Indians still frequently refuse to employ any
medicines in cases of either cholera or small-pox, supposing that the
attempt to use ordinary human means is an insult to, and a defiance
of, the Deity.

12. Vaccination was not practised in India in those days. The
practice of it, although still unpopular in most places, has extended
sufficiently to check greatly the ravages of small-pox. In many
municipal towns vaccination is compulsory.

13._Quem deus vult perdere, prius dementat_.

14. The judge cleverly combines the opinions of the adherents of both
sects.




CHAPTER 26


Artificial Lakes in Bundelkhand--Hindoo, Greek, and Roman Faith.

On the 11th[1] we came on twelve miles to the town of Bamhauri,
whence extends to the south-west a ridge of high and bare quartz
hills, towering above all others, curling and foaming at the top,
like a wave ready to burst, when suddenly arrested by the hand of
Omnipotence, and turned into white stone. The soil all the way is
wretchedly poor in quality, being formed of the detritus of syenitic
and quartz rocks, and very thin. Bamhauri is a nice little town,[2]
beautifully situated on the bank of a fine lake, the waters of which
preserved during the late famine the population of this and six other
small towns, which are situated near its borders, and have their
lands irrigated from it. Besides water for their fields, this lake
yielded the people abundance of water-chestnuts[3] and fish. In the
driest season the water has been found sufficient to supply the wants
of all the people of those towns and villages, and those of all the
country around, as far as the people can avail themselves of it.

This large lake is formed by an artificial bank or wall at the south-
east end, which rests one arm upon the high range of quartz rocks,
which run along its south-west side for several miles, looking down
into the clear deep water, and forming a beautiful landscape.

From this pretty town, Ludhaura, where the great marriage had lately
taken place, was in sight, and only four miles distant.[4] It was, I
learnt, the residence of the present Raja of Orchha, before the death
of his brother called him to the throne. Many people were returning
from the ceremonies of the marriage of 'salagram' with 'Tulasi'; who
told me that the concourse had been immense--at least one hundred and
fifty thousand; and that the Raja had feasted them all for four days
during the progress of the ceremonies, but that they were obliged to
defray their expenses going and coming, except when they came by
special invitation to do honour to the occasion, as in the case of my
little friend the Sagar high priest, Janki Sewak. They told me that
they called this festival the 'Dhanuk jag';[5] and that Janakraj, the
father of Sita, had in his possession the 'dhanuk', or immortal bow
of Parasram, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, with which he
exterminated all the Kshatriyas, or original military class of India,
and which required no less than four thousand men to raise it on one
end.[6] The prince offered his daughter in marriage to any man who
should bend this bow. Hundreds of heroes and demigods aspired to the
hand of the fair Sita, and essayed to bend the bow; but all in vain,
till young Ram, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu,[7] then a lad of
only ten years of age, came; and at the touch of his great toe the
bow flew into a thousand pieces, which are supposed to have been all
taken up into heaven. Sita became the wife of Ram; and the popular
poem of the Ramayana describes the abduction of the heroine by the
monster king of Ceylon, Ravana, and her recovery by means of the
monkey general Hanuman. Every word of this poem, the people assured
me, was written, if not by the hand of the Deity himself, at least by
his inspiration, which was the same thing, and it must, consequently,
be true.[8] Ninety-nine out of a hundred among the Hindoos implicitly
believe, not only every word of this poem, but every word of every
poem that has ever been written in Sanskrit. If you ask a man whether
he really believes any very egregious absurdity quoted from these
books, he replies with the greatest _naivete_ in the world, 'Is it
not written in the book; and how should it be there written if not
true?' The Hindoo religion reposes upon an entire prostration of
mind, that continual and habitual surrender of the reasoning
faculties, which we are accustomed to make occasionally. While
engaged at the theatre, or in the perusal of works of fiction, we
allow the scenes, characters, and incidents to pass before 'our
mind's eye', and move our feelings, without asking, or stopping a
moment to ask, whether they are real or true. There is only this
difference that, with people of education among us, even in such
short intervals of illusion or abandon, any extravagance in acting,
or flagrant improbability in the fiction, destroys the charm, breaks
the spell by which we have been so mysteriously bound, stops the
smooth current of sympathetic emotion, and restores us to reason and
to the realities of ordinary life. With the Hindoos, on the contrary,
the greater the improbability, the more monstrous and preposterous
the fiction, the greater is the charm it has over their minds;[9] and
the greater their learning in the Sanskrit the more are they under
the influence of this charm. Believing all to be written by the
Deity, or by his inspiration, and the men and things of former days
to have been very different from the men and things of the present
day, and the heroes of these fables to have been demigods, or people
endowed with powers far superior to those of the ordinary men of
their own day, the analogies of nature are never for a moment
considered; nor do questions of probability, or possibility,
according to those analogies, ever obtrude to dispel the charm with
which they are so pleasingly bound. They go on through life reading
and talking of these monstrous fictions, which shock the taste and
understanding of other nations, without once questioning the truth of
one single incident, or hearing it questioned. There was a time, and
that not very distant, when it was the same in England, and in every
other European nation; and there are, I am afraid, some parts of
Europe where it is so still. But the Hindoo faith, so far as
religious questions are concerned, is not more capacious or absurd
than that of the Greeks and Romans in the days of Socrates and
Cicero--the only difference is, that among the Hindoos a greater
number of the questions which interest mankind are brought under the
head of religion.

There is nothing in the Hindoos more absurd than the _piety_ of
Tiberius in offering up sacrifices in the temple, and before the
image of Augustus; while he was solicited by all the great cities of
the empire to suffer temples to be built and sacrifices to be made to
himself while still living; or than Alexander's attempt to make a
goddess of his mother while yet alive, that he might feel the more
secure of being made a god himself after his death.[10] In all
religions there are points at which the professors declare that
reason must stop, and cease to be a guide to faith. The pious man
thinks that all which he cannot comprehend or reconcile to reason in
his own religion must be above it. The superstitions of the people of
India will diminish before the spread of science, art, and
literature; and good works of history and fiction would, I think,
make far greater havoc among these superstitions even than good works
in any of the sciences, save the physical, such as astronomy,
chemistry, &c.[11]

In the evening we went out with the intention of making an excursion
of the lake, in boats that had been prepared for our reception by
tying three or four fishing canoes together;[12] but, on reaching the
ridge of quartz hills which runs along the south-east side, we
preferred moving along its summit to entering the boats. The prospect
on either side of this ridge was truly beautiful. A noble sheet of
clear water, about four miles long by two broad, on our right; and on
our left a no less noble sheet of rich wheat cultivation, irrigated
from the lake by drains passing between small breaks in the ridges of
the hills. The Persian wheel is used to raise the water.[13] This
sheet of rich cultivation is beautifully studded with mango groves
and fields of sugar-cane. The lake is almost double the size of that
of Sagar, and the idea of its great utility for purposes of
irrigation made it appear to me far more beautiful; but my little
friend the Sarimant, who accompanied us in our walk, said that 'it
could not be so handsome, since it had not a fine city and castle on
two sides, and a fine Government house on the third'.

'But', said I, 'no man's field is watered from that lake.'

'No', replied he, 'but for every man that drinks of the waters of
this, fifty drink of the waters of that; from that lake thirty
thousand people get _aram_ (comfort) every day.'

This lake is called Kewlas after Kewal Varmma, the Chandel prince by
whom it was formed.[14] His palace, now in ruins, stood on the top of
the ridge of rocks in a very beautiful situation. From the summit,
about eight miles to the west, we could see a still larger lake,
called the Nandanvara Lake, extending under a similar range of quartz
hills running parallel with that on which we stood.[15] That lake, we
were told, answered upon a much larger scale the same admirable
purpose of supplying water for the fields, and securing the people
from the dreadful effects of droughts. The extensive level plains
through which the rivers of Central India[16] generally cut their way
have, for the most part, been the beds of immense natural lakes;[17]
and there rivers sink so deep into their beds, and leave such ghastly
chasms and ravines on either side, that their waters are hardly ever
available in due season for irrigation. It is this characteristic of
the rivers of Central India that makes such lakes so valuable to the
people, particularly in seasons of drought.[l8] The river Nerbudda
has been known to rise seventy feet in the course of a couple of days
in the rains; and, during the season when its waters are wanted for
irrigation, they can nowhere be found within that [distance] of the
surface; while a level piece of ground fit for irrigation is rarely
to be met with within a mile of the stream.[19]

The people appeared to improve as we advanced farther into
Bundelkhand in appearance, manners, and intelligence. There is a bold
bearing about the Bundelas, which at first one is apt to take for
rudeness or impudence, but which in time he finds not to be so.

The employes of the Raja were everywhere attentive, frank, and
polite; and the peasantry seemed no longer inferior to those of our
Sagar and Nerbudda territories. The females of almost all the
villages through which we passed came out with their _Kalas_ in
procession to meet us--one of the most affecting marks of respect
from the peasantry for their superiors that I know. One woman carries
on her head a brass jug, brightly polished, full of water; while all
the other families of the village crowd around her, and sing in
chorus some rural song, that lasts from the time the respected
visitor comes in sight till he disappears. He usually puts into the
Kalas a rupee to purchase 'gur' (coarse sugar), of which all the
females partake, as a sacred offering to the sex. No member of the
other sex presumes to partake of it, and during the chorus all the
men stand aloof in respectful silence. This custom prevails all over
India, or over all parts of it that I have seen; and yet I have
witnessed a Governor-General of India, with all his suite, passing by
this interesting group, without knowing or asking what it was. I
lingered behind, and quietly put my silver into the jug, as if from
the Governor-General.[20]

The man who administers the government over these seven villages in
all its branches, civil, criminal, and fiscal, receives a salary of
only two hundred rupees a year. He collects the revenues on the part
of Government; and, with the assistance of the heads and the elders
of the villages, adjusts all petty matters of dispute among the
people, both civil and criminal. Disputes of a more serious character
are sent to be adjusted at the capital by the Raja and his ministers.
The person who reigns over the seven villages of the lake is about
thirty years of age, of the Rajput caste, and, I think, one of the
finest young men I have ever seen. His ancestors have served the
Orchha State in the same station for seven generations; and he tells
me that he hopes his posterity will serve them [_sic_] for as many
more, provided they do not forfeit their claims to do so by their
infidelity or incapacity. This young man seemed to have the respect
and affection of every member of the little communities of the
villages through which we passed, and it was evident that he deserved
their attachment. I have rarely seen any similar signs of attachment
to one of our own native officers. This arises chiefly from the
circumstance of their being less frequently placed in authority among
those upon whose good feelings and opinions their welfare and
comfort, as those of their children, are likely permanently to
depend. In India, under native rule, office became hereditary,
because officers expended the whole of their incomes in religious
ceremonies, or works of ornament and utility, and left their families
in hopeless dependence upon the chief in whose service they had
laboured all their lives, while they had been educating their sons
exclusively with the view of serving that chief in the same capacity
that their fathers had served him before them. It is in this case,
and this alone, that the law of primogeniture is in force in
India.[21] Among Muhammadans, as well as Hindoos, all property, real
and personal, is divided equally among the children;[22] but the
duties of an office will not admit of the same subdivision; and this,
therefore, when hereditary, as it often is, descends to the eldest
son with the obligation of providing for the rest of the family. The
family consists of all the members who remain united to the parent
stock, including the widows and orphans of the sons or brothers who
were so up to the time of their death.[23]

The old 'chobdar', or silver-stick bearer, who came with us from the
Raja, gets fifteen rupees a month, and his ancestors have served the
Raja for several generations. The Diwan, who has charge of the
treasury, receives only one thousand rupees a year, and the Bakshi,
or paymaster of the army, who seems at present to rule the state as
the prime favourite, the same. These latter are at present the only
two great officers of state; and, though they are, no doubt,
realizing handsome incomes by indirect means, they dare not make any
display, lest signs of wealth might induce the Raja or his successors
to treat them as their predecessors in office were treated for some
time past.[24] The Jagirdars, or feudal chiefs, as I have before
stated, are almost all of the same family or class as the Raja, and
they spend all the revenues of their estates in the maintenance of
military retainers, upon whose courage and fidelity they can
generally rely. These Jagirdars are bound to attend the prince on all
great occasions, and at certain intervals; and are made to contribute
something to his exchequer in tribute. Almost all live beyond their
legitimate means, and make up the deficiency by maintaining upon
their estates gangs of thieves, robbers, and murderers, who extend
their depredations into the country around, and share the prey with
these chiefs, and their officers and under-tenants. They keep them as
_poachers_ keep their _dogs_; and the paramount power, whose subjects
they plunder, might as well ask them for the best horse in the stable
as for the best thief that lives under their protection.[25]

I should mention an incident that occurred during the Raja's visit to
me at Tehri. Lieutenant Thomas was sitting next to the little
Sarimant, and during the interview he asked him to allow him to look
at his beautiful little gold-hilted sword. The Sarimant held it fast,
and told him that he should do himself the honour of waiting upon him
in his tent in the course of the day, when he would show him the
sword and tell him its history. After the Raja, left me, Thomas
mentioned this, and said he felt very much hurt at the incivility of
my little friend; but I told him that he was in everything he did and
said so perfectly the gentleman, that I felt quite sure he would
explain all to his satisfaction when he called upon him. During his
visit to Thomas he apologized for not having given over his sword to
him, and said, 'You European gentlemen have such perfect confidence
in each other, that you can, at all times, and in all situations,
venture to gratify your curiosity in these matters, and draw your
swords in a crowd just as well as when alone; but, had you drawn mine
from the scabbard in such a situation, with the tent full of the
Raja's personal attendants, and surrounded by a devoted and not very
orderly soldiery, it might have been attended by very serious
consequences. Any man outside might have seen the blade gloaming,
and, not observing distinctly why it had been drawn, might have
suspected treachery, and called out "_To the rescue_", when we should
all have been cut down--the lady, child, and all.' Thomas was not
only satisfied with the Sarimant's apology, but was so much delighted
with him, that he has ever since been longing to get his portrait;
for he says it was really his intention to draw the sword had the
Sarimant given it to him. As I have said, his face is extremely
beautiful, quite a model for a painter or a statuary, and his figure,
though small, is handsome. He dresses with great elegance, mostly in
azure-coloured satin, surmounted by a rose-coloured turban and a
waistband of the same colour. All his motions are graceful, and his
manners have an exquisite polish. A greater master of all the
_convenances_ I have never seen, though he is of slender capacity,
and, as I have said, in stature less than five feet high.


A poor, half-naked man, reduced to beggary by the late famine, ran
along by my horse to show me the road, and, to the great amusement of
my attendants, exclaimed that he felt exactly as if he were always
falling down a well, meaning as if he were immersed in cold water. He
said that the cold season was suited only to gentlemen who could
afford to be well clothed; but, to a poor man like himself, and the
great mass of people, in Bundelkhand at least, the hot season was
much better. He told me that 'the late Raja, though a harsh, was
thought to be a just man;[26] and that his good sense, and, above
all, his _good fortune_ (ikbal) had preserved the principality
entire; but that God only, and the forbearance of the Honourable
Company, could now serve it under such an imbecile as the present
chief'. He seemed quite melancholy at the thought of living to see
this principality, the oldest in Bundelkhand, lose its independence.
Even this poor, unclothed, and starving wretch had a feeling of
patriotism, a pride of country, though that country had been so
wretchedly governed, and was now desolated by a famine.

Just such a feeling had the impressed seamen who fought our battles
in the great struggle. No nation has ever had a more disgraceful
institution than that of the press-gang of England. This institution,
if so it can be called, must be an eternal stain upon her glory--
posterity will never be able to read the history of her naval
victories without a blush--without reproaching her lawgivers who
could allow them to be purchased with the blood of such men as those
who fought for us the battles of the Nile and Trafalgar. '_England
expected every man to do his duty_' on that day, but had England done
her duty to every man who was on that day to fight for her? Was not
every English gentleman of the Lords and Commons a David sending his
Uriah to battle?[27]

The intellectual stock which we require in good seamen for our navy,
and which is acquired in scenes of peril 'upon the high and giddy
mast', is as much their property as that which other men acquire in
schools and colleges; and we had no more right to seize and employ
these seamen in our battles upon the wages of common, uninstructed
labour, than we should have had to seize and employ as many
clergymen, barristers, and physicians. When I have stood on the
quarter-deck of a ship in a storm, and seen the seamen covering the
yards in taking in sail, with the thunder rolling, and the lightning
flashing fearfully around them--the sea covered with foam, and each
succeeding billow, as it rushed by, seeming ready to sweep them all
from their frail footing into the fathomless abyss below--I have
asked myself, 'Are men like these to be seized like common felons,
torn from their wives and children as soon as they reach their native
land, subject every day to the lash, and put in front of those
battles on which the wealth, the honour, and the independence of the
nation depend, merely because British legislators know that when
there, a regard for their own personal character among their
companions in danger will make them fight like Englishmen?'

This feeling of nationality which exists in the little states of
Bundelkhand, arises from the circumstance that the mass of the
landholders are of the same class as the chief Bundelas; and that the
public establishments of the state are recruited almost exclusively
from that mass. The states of Jhansi[28] and Jalaun[29] are the only
exceptions. There the rulers are Brahmans and not Rajputs, and they
recruit their public establishments from all classes and all
countries. The landed aristocracy, however, there, as elsewhere, are
Rajputs-either Pawars, Chandels, or Bundelas.

The Rajput landholders of Bundelkhand are linked to the soil in all
their grades, from the prince to the peasant, as the Highlanders of
Scotland were not long ago; and the holder of a hundred acres is as
proud as the holder of a million.[30] He boasts the same descent, and
the same exclusive possession of arms and agriculture, to which
unhappily the industry of their little territories is almost
exclusively confined, for no other branch can grow up among so
turbulent a set, whose quarrels with their chiefs, or among each
other, are constantly involving them in civil wars, which render life
and property exceedingly insecure. Besides, as I have stated, their
propensity to keep bands of thieves, robbers, and murderers in their
baronial castles, as poachers keep their dogs, has scared away the
wealthy and respectable capitalist and peaceful and industrious
manufacturer.

All the landholders are uneducated, and unfit to serve in any of our
civil establishments, or in those of any very civilized Governments;
and they are just as unfitted to serve in our military
establishments, where strict discipline is required. The lands they
occupy are cultivated because they depend almost entirely upon the
rents they get from them for subsistence; and because every petty
chief and his family hold their lands rent-free, or at a trifling
quit-rent, on the tenure of military service, and their residue forms
all the market for land produce which the cultivators require. They
dread the transfer of the rule to our Government, because they now
form almost exclusively all the establishments of their domestic
chief, civil as well as military; and know that, were our rule to be
substituted, they would be almost entirely excluded from these, at
least for a generation or two. In our regiments, horse or foot, there
is hardly a man from Bundelkhand, for the reasons above stated; nor
are there any in the Gwalior regiments and contingents which are
stationed in the neighbourhood; though the land among them is become
minutely subdivided, and they are obliged to seek service or starve.
They are all too proud for manual labour, even at the plough. No
Bundelkhand Rajput will, I believe, condescend to put his hand to
one.

Among the Maratha states, Sikhs, and Muhammadans, there is no bond of
union of this kind. The establishments, military as well as civil,
are everywhere among them composed for the most part of foreigners;
and the landed interests under such Governments would dread nothing
from the prospect of a transfer to our rule; on the contrary, they
and the mass of the people would almost everywhere hail it as a
blessing.

There are two reasons why we should leave these small native states
under their own chiefs, even when the claim to the succession is
feeble or defective; first, because it tends to relieve the minds of
other native chiefs from the apprehension, already too prevalent
among them, that we desire by degrees to absorb them all, because we
think our government would do better for the people; and secondly,
because, by leaving them as a contrast, we afford to the people of
India the opportunity of observing the superior advantages of our
rule.

'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,' in governments as well
as in landscapes; and if the people of India, instead of the living
proofs of what perilous things native governments, whether Hindoo or
Muhammadan, are in reality, were acquainted with nothing but such
pictures of them as are to be found in their histories and in the
imaginations of their priests and learned men (who lose much of their
influence and importance under our rule), they would certainly, with
proneness like theirs to delight in the marvellous, be far from
satisfied, as they now are, that they never had a government so good
as ours, and that they never could hope for another so good, were
ours removed.[31]

 For the advantages which we derive from leaving them independent, we
are, no doubt, obliged to pay a heavy penalty in the plunder of our
wealthy native subjects by the gangs of robbers of all descriptions
whom they foster; but this evil may be greatly diminished by a
judicious interposition of our authority to put down such bands.[32]

In Bundelkhand, at present, the government and the lands of the
native chiefs are in the hands of three of the Hindoo military
classes, Bundelas, Dhandelas, and Pawars. The principal chiefs are of
the first, and their feudatories are chiefly of the other two. A
Bundela cannot marry the daughter of a Bundela; he must take his wife
from one or other of the other two tribes; nor can a member of either
of the other two take his wife from his own tribe; he must take her
from the Bundelas, or the other tribe. The wives of the greatest
chiefs are commonly from the poorest families of their vassals; nor
does the proud family from which she has been taken feel itself
exalted by the alliance; neither does the poorest vassal among the
Pawars and Dhandels feel that the daughter of his prince has
condescended in becoming his wife. All they expect is a service for a
few more yeomen of the family among the retainers of the sovereign.

The people are in this manner, from the prince to the peasant,
indissolubly linked to each other, and to the soil they occupy; for,
where industry is confined almost exclusively to agriculture, the
proprietors of the soil and the officers of Government, who are
maintained out of its rents, constitute nearly the whole of the
middle and higher classes. About one-half of the lands of every state
are held on service tenure by vassals of the same family or clan as
the chief; and there is hardly one of them who is not connected with
that chief by marriage. The revenue derived from the other half is
spent in the maintenance of establishments formed almost exclusively
of the members of these families.

They are none of them educated for civil offices under any other
rule, nor could they, for a generation or two, be induced to submit
to wear military uniform, or learn the drill of regular soldiers.
They are mere militia, brave as men can be, but unsusceptible of
discipline. They have, therefore, a natural horror at the thought of
their states coming under any other than a domestic rule, for they
could have no chance of employment in the civil or military
establishments of a foreign power; and their lands would, they fear,
be resumed, since the service for which they had been given would be
no longer available to the rulers. It is said that, in the long
interval from the commencement of the reign of Alexander the third to
the end of that of David the second,[33] not a single baron could be
found in Scotland able to sign his own name. The Bundelkhand barons
have never, I believe, been quite so bad as this, though they have
never yet learned enough to fit them for civil offices under us. Many
of them can write and read their own language, which is that common
to the other countries around them.[34]

Bundelkhand was formerly possessed by another tribe of Rajputs, the
proud Chandels, who have now disappeared altogether from this
province. If one of that tribe can still be found, it is in the
humblest rank of the peasant or the soldier; but its former strength
is indicated by the magnificent artificial lakes and ruined castles
which are traced to them; and by the reverence which is still felt by
the present dominant classes of [_sic_] their old capital of Mahoba.
Within a certain distance around that ruined city no one now dares to
beat the 'nakkara', or great drum used in festivals or processions,
lest the spirits of the old Chandel chiefs who there repose should be
roused to vengeance;[35] and a kingdom could not tempt one of the
Bundelas, Pawars, or Chandels to accept the government of the parish
['mauza'] in which it is situated. They will take subordinate offices
there under others with fear and trembling, but nothing could induce
one of them to meet the governor. When the deadly struggle between
these two tribes took place cannot now be discovered.[36]

In the time of Akbar, the Chandels were powerful in Mahoba, as the
celebrated Durgavati, the queen of Garha Mandla, whose reign extended
over the Sagar and Nerbudda territories and the greater part of
Berar, was a daughter of the reigning Chandel prince of Mahoba. He
condescended to give his daughter only on condition that the Gond
prince who demanded her should, to save his character, come with an
army of fifty thousand men to take her. He did so, and 'nothing
loth', Durgavati departed to reign over a country where her name is
now more revered than that of any other sovereign it has ever had.
She was killed above two hundred and fifty years ago, about twelve
miles from Jubbulpore, while gallantly leading on her troops in their
third and last attempt to stem the torrent of Muhammadan invasion.
Her tomb is still to be seen where she fell, in a narrow defile
between two hills; and a pair of large rounded stones which stand
near are, according to popular belief, her royal drums turned into
stone, which, in the dead of night, are still heard resounding
through the woods, and calling the spirits of her warriors from their
thousand graves around her. The travellers who pass this solitary
spot respectfully place upon the tomb the prettiest specimen they can
find of the crystals which abound in the neighbourhood; and, with so
much of kindly feeling had the history of Durgavati inspired me, that
I could not resist the temptation of adding one to the number when I
visited her tomb some sixteen years ago.[37]

I should mention that the Raja of Samthar in Bundelkhand.[38] is by
caste a Gujar;[39] and he has not yet any landed aristocracy like
that of the Bundelas about him. One of his ancestors, not long ago,
seized upon a fine open plain, and built a fort upon it, and the
family has ever since, by means of this fort, kept possession of the
country around, and drawn part of their revenues from depredations
upon their neighbours and travellers. The Jhansi and Jalaun chiefs
are Brahmans of the same family as the Peshwa.

In the states governed by chiefs of the military classes, nearly the
whole produce of the land goes to maintain soldiers, or military
retainers, who are always ready to fight or rob for their chief. In
those governed by the Brahmanical class, nearly the whole produce
goes to maintain priests; and the other chiefs would soon devour
them, as the black ants devour the white, were not the paramount
power to interpose and save them. While the Peshwa lived, he
interposed; but all his dominions were _running into priesthood_,
like those in Sagar and Bundelkhand, and must soon have been
swallowed up by the military chiefs around him, had we not taken his
place. Jalaun and Jhansi are preserved only by us, for, with all
their religious, it is impossible for them to maintain efficient
military establishments; and the Bundela chiefs have always a strong
desire to eat them up, since these states were all sliced out of
their principalities when the Peshwa was all-powerful in Hindustan.

The Chhatarpur Raja is a Pawar. His father had been in the service of
the Bundela Raja; but, when we entered upon our duties as the
paramount power in Bundelkhand, the son had succeeded to the little
principality seized upon by his father; and, on the principle of
respecting actual possession, he was recognized by us as the
sovereign.[40] The Bundela Rajas, east of the Dasan river, are
descended from Raja Chhatarsal, and are looked down upon by the
Bundela Rajas of Orchha, Chanderi, and Datiya, west of the Dasan, as
Chhatarsal was in the service of one of their ancestors, from whom he
wrested the estates which his descendants now enjoy. Chhatarsal, in
his will, gave one-third of the dominion he had thus acquired to the
strongest power then in India, the Peshwa, in order to secure the
other two-thirds to his two sons Hardi Sa and Jagatraj, in the same
manner as princes of the Roman empire used to bequeath a portion of
theirs to the emperor.[41] Of the Peshwa's share we have now got all,
except Jalaun. Jhansi was subsequently acquired by the Peshwa, or
rather by his subordinates, with his sanction and assistance.[42]


Notes:

1. December, 1835.

2. In the Orchha State. This seems to be the same town which the
author had already visited on his way to Tehri on the 7th December.
_Ante_, Chapter 19 note [15].

3. _Ante_, Chapter 12 following note [9].

4. Sodora in the author's text; see _ante_, Chapter 19, note 11.

5. 'Bow-sacrifice.'

6. The tradition is that a prince of this military class was sporting
in a river with his thousand wives, when Renuka, the wife of
Jamadagni, went to bring water. He offended her, and her husband
cursed the prince, but was put to death by him. His son Parasram was
no less a person than the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, who had
assumed the human shape merely to destroy these tyrants. He vowed,
now that his mother had been insulted, and his father killed, not to
leave one on the face of the earth. He destroyed them all twenty-one
times, the women with child producing a new race each time. [W. H.
S.] The legend is not narrated quite correctly.

7. Rama Chandra, son of Dasaratha.

8. When Ram set out with his army for Ceylon, he is supposed to have
worshipped the little tree called 'cheonkul', which stood near his
capital of Ajodhya. It is a wretched little thing, between a shrub
and a tree; but I have seen a procession of more than seventy
thousand persons attend their prince to the worship of it on the
festival of the Dasahara, which is held in celebration of this
expedition to Ceylon. [W. H. S.] 'As Arjuna and his brothers
worshipped the shumee-tree, the _Acacia suma_, and hung up their arms
upon it, so the Hindus go forth to worship that tree on the festival
of the Dasahara. They address the tree under the name of Aparajita,
the invincible goddess, sprinkle it with five ambrosial liquids, the
'panchamrit', a mixture of milk, curds, sugar, clarified butter, and
honey, wash it with water, and hang garments upon it. They light
lamps and burn incense before the symbol of Aparajita, make
'chandlos' upon the tree, sprinkle it with rose-coloured water, and
set offerings of food before it' (Balfour, _Cyclopaedia_, 3rd ed.,
s.v. 'Dasahara'). The 'cheonkul' is the _chhonkar_ or _chhaunkar
(Prosopis spicigera_, Linn.), described by Growse as follows:--

'Very common throughout the district; occasionally grows to quite a
large tree, as in the Dohani Kund at Chaksauli. It is used for
religious worship at the festival of the Dasahara, and considered
sacred to Siva. The pods (called _sangri_) are much used for fodder.
Probably _chhonkar_ and _sangri_, which latter is in some parts of
India the name of the tree as well as of the pod, are both
dialectical corruptions of the Sanskrit _sankara_, a name of Siva;
for the palatal and sibilant are frequently interchangeable' ('List
of Indigenous Trees' in _Mathura, A. District Memoir_, 3rd ed.,
Allahabad, 1883, p. 422). Sundry leguminous trees are used in
Dasahara ceremonies in the different parts of India, under varying
local names.

9. _Credo quia impossibile_.

10. This comparison is not a happy one. The elements in some of the
Hindoo myths specially repulsive to European taste are their
monstrosity, their inartistic and hideous exaggeration, their
accumulation of sanguinary horrors, and their childish triviality.
Few of the classical myths exhibit these characteristics. The vanity
or policy of Tiberius and Alexander in believing themselves to be, or
wishing to be believed, divine, has nothing in common with the
grotesque imagination of Puranic Hinduism.

11. The roots of Hinduism are so deeply fixed in a thick soil of
custom and inherited sentiment, the growth of thousands of years,
that English education has less effect than might be expected in
loosening the bonds of beliefs which seem to every one but a Hindoo
the merest superstition. Hindoos who can read English with fluency,
and write it with accuracy, are often extremely devout, and Hindoo
devoutness must ever appear to an outsider, even to a European as
sympathetic as the author, to be no better than superstition. A
Hindoo able to read English with ease has at his command all the rich
stores of the knowledge of the West, but very often does not care to
taste them. Enmeshed in a web of ritual and belief inseparable from
himself, he remains as much as ever a Hindoo, and uses his skill in
English merely as an article of professional equipment. 'Good works
of history and fiction' do not interest him, and he usually fails to
digest and assimilate the physical or biological science administered
to him at school or college. In fact, he does not believe it. The
monstrous legends of the Puranas continue to be for his mind the
realities; while the truths of science are to him phantoms, shadowy
and unsubstantial, the outlandish notions of alien and casteless
unbelievers. These observations, of course, are not universally true,
and a few Hindoos, growing in number, are able to heartily accept and
thoroughly assimilate the facts of history and the results of
inductive science. But such Hindoos are few, and it may well be
doubted if it is possible for a man really to believe the amount of
history and science known to an ordinary English schoolboy, and still
be a devout Hindoo. The old bottles cannot contain the new wine. The
Hindoo scriptures do not treat of history and science in a merely
incidental way; they teach, after their fashion, both history and
science formally and systematically; grammar, logic, medicine,
astronomy, the history of gods and men, are all taught in books which
form part of the sacred canon. Inductive science and matter-of-fact
history are absolutely destructive of, and irreconcilable with,
veneration for the Hindoo scriptures as authoritative and infallible
guides. It is impossible, within the narrow limits of a note, to
discuss the problems suggested by the author's remarks. Enough,
perhaps, has been said to show that the many-rooted banyan tree of
Hinduism is in little danger of overthrow from the attacks either of
history or of science, not to speak of 'good works of fiction'.

12. A 'dug-out' canoe is rather a shaky craft. When two or three are
lashed together, and a native cot (_charpai_) is stretched across,
the passenger can make himself very comfortable. The boats are poled
by men standing in the stern.

13. _Ante_, Chapter 24, note 1.

14. This prince is not included in the authentic dynastic lists given
in the Chandel inscriptions. He was probably a younger son, who never
reigned. The principal authorities for the history of the Chandel
dynasty are _A.S.R._, vol. ii, pp. 439-51; vol. xxi, pp. 77-90, and
V. A. Smith, 'Contributions to the History of Bundelkhand', in
_J.A.S.B._ vol. 1 (1881), Part I, p. 1; and 'The History and Coinage
of the Chandel (Chandella) Dynasty' in _Ind. Ant._, 1908, pp. 114-48.
A brief summary will be found in _Early History of India_, 3rd ed.
(1914), pp. 390-4. Most of the great works of the dynasty date from
the period A.D. 950-1200.

15. The long ridges of quartz traversing the gneiss are marked
features in the scenery of Bundelkhand.

16. The author always uses the phrase Central India as a vague
geographical expression. The phrase is now generally used to mean an
administrative division, namely, the group of Native States under the
Central India Agency at Indore, which deals with about 148 chiefs and
rulers of various rank. Central India in this official sense must not
be confounded with the Central Provinces, of which the capital is
Nagpur.

17. On this lake theory, see _ante_, Chapter 14, note 13.

18. During a residence of six years in Bundelkhand the editor came to
the conclusion that most of the ancient artificial lakes were not
constructed for purposes of irrigation. The embankments seem
generally to have been built as adjuncts to palaces or temples. Many
of the lakes command no considerable area of irrigable ground, and
there are no traces of ancient irrigation channels. In modern times
small canals have been drawn from some of the lakes.

19. The desolation of the ravines of the rivers of Central India and
Bundelkhand offers a very striking spectacle, presenting to the
geologist a signal example of the effects of sub-aerial denudation.

20. This pretty custom is also described, in Tod's _Rajasthan_; and
is still common in Alwar, and perhaps in other parts of Rajputana
(_N.I. Notes and Queries_, vol. ii (Dec. 1892), p. 152), It does not
seem to be now known in the Gangetic valley.

21. Principalities, and the estates of the talukdars of Oudh also
descend to the eldest son. The author states (_ante_, Chapter 10, see
text before note [10].) that the same rule applied in his time to the
small agricultural holdings in the Sagar and Nerbudda territories.

22. This statement is inexact; Hindoo daughters, as a rule, inherit
nothing from their fathers; a Muhammadan daughter takes half the
share of a son.

23. But it is only the smaller local ministerial officers who are
secure in their tenure of office under native Governments; those on
whose efficiency the well-being of village communities depends. The
greatest evil of Governments of the kind is the feeling of insecurity
which pervades all the higher officers of Government, and the
instability of all engagements made by the Government with them, and
by them with the people. [W. H. S.]

24. _Ante_, Chapter 23, text at note [8].

25. In the Gwalior territory, the Maratha 'amils' or governors of
districts, do the same, and keep gangs of robbers on purpose to
plunder their neighbours; and, if you ask them for their thieves,
they will actually tell you that to part with them would be ruin, as
they are their only defence against the thieves of their neighbours.
[W. H. S.] These notions and habits are by no means extinct. In
October, 1892, a force of about two hundred men, cavalry and
infantry, was sent into Bundelkhand to suppress robber gangs. Such
gangs are constantly breaking out in that region, in most native
states, and in many British districts. See _ante_, chapter 23, text
following note [13].

26. My poor guide had as little sympathy with the prime ministers,
whom the Tehri Raja put to death, as the peasantry of England had
with the great men and women whom Harry the Eighth sacrificed. [W. H.
S.] _Ante_, Chapter 23, beginning to note [9].

27. The cruel practice of impressment for the royal navy is
authorized by a series of statutes extending from the reign of Philip
and Mary to that of George III. Seamen of the merchant navy, and,
with few exceptions, all seafaring men between the ages of eighteen
and thirty-five, are liable, under the provisions of these harsh
statutes, to be forcibly seized by the press-gang, and compelled to
serve on board a man-of-war. The acts legalizing impressment were
freely made use of during the Napoleonic wars, but since then have
been little acted on, and no Government at the present day could
venture to use them, though they have never been repealed. The fleet
sent against the Russians in 1855 was the first English fleet ever
manned without recourse to forcible impressment: see the article
'Impressment' by David Hannay, in _Encyclopaedia Britannica_, 11th
ed., 1910. The work by J. B. Hutchinson entitled _The Press-gang
Afloat and Ashore_ (London: Nash, 1913) gives copious details of the
infamous proceedings.

28. The Brahman chief of Jhansi was originally a governor under the
Peshwa. The treaty of November 18, 1817, recognized the then chief
Ramchand Rao, his heirs and successors, as hereditary rulers of
Jhansi. Ramchand Rao was granted the title of Raja by the British
Government in 1832, and died without issue on August 20, 1835
(_N.W.P. Gazetteer_, 1st ed., vol. i, p. 296). See _post_, Chapter
29.

29. The chiefs of Jalaun also were officers under the Maratha
Government of the Peshwa up to 1817. In consequence of gross
misgovernment, an English superintendent was appointed in 1838, and
the state lapsed to the British Government, owing to failure of
heirs, in 1840 (ibid. p. 229).

30. _Ante_ Chapter 23, note 13.

31. Lapse of years has increased the distance and the enchantment, so
that modern agitators and sentimentalists discover marvellous
excellences in the native Governments of the now remote past. The
methods of government in the existing native states have been so
profoundly modified by the influence of the Imperial Government that
these states are no longer as instructive in the way of contrast as
they were in the author's day.

32. The author consistently held the views above enunciated, and
defended the policy of maintaining the native states. He was of
opinion that the system of annexation favoured by Lord Dalhousie and
his Council 'had a downward tendency, and tended to crush all the
higher and middle classes connected with the land'. He considered
that the Government of India should have undertaken the management of
Oudh, but that it had no right to annex the province, and appropriate
its revenues (_Journey through the Kingdom of Oude_, p. 22, &c.).
Since 1858 the policy of annexation has been repudiated. See Sir W.
Lee-Warner, _The Protected Princes of India_ (Macmillan, 1894), and
_The Native States of India_ (1910).

33. A.D. 1249 to A.D. 1371.

34. The Hindi spoken in different parts of Bundelkhand comprises
several distinct dialects: see Kellogg, _A Grammar of the Hindi
Language_, 2nd ed., 1893; and Grierson, _Linguistic Survey_, vol. vi
(1904), pp. 18-23, where the dialects of Eastern Bundelkhand are
discussed. Bundeli, the speech of Bundelkhand proper, will be treated
as a dialect of Western Hindi in a volume of the _Survey_ not yet
published. Sir G. Grierson has favoured me with perusal of the
proofs, and has used materials collected by me in the Hamirpur
District nearly forty years ago. Bundeli has a considerable
literature.

35. The editor was told of a case in which two chiefs suffered for
beating their drums in Mahoba.

36. See _ante_, Chapter 23 note 11, and Chapter 26 note 14, and the
authorities there cited. The Chandel history occupies an important
place in the mediaeval annals of India. Several important
inscriptions of the dynasty have been correctly edited in the
_Epigraphia Indica_. Mahoba is not now a 'ruined city'; it is a
moderately prosperous country town, with a tolerable bazaar, and
about eleven thousand inhabitants. It is the head-quarters of a
'tahsildar', or sub-collector, and a station on the Midland Railway.
The ruined temples and places in and near the town are of much
interest. For many miles round the country is full of remarkable
remains, some of which are in fairly good preservation. The published
descriptions of these works are far from being exhaustive. The author
was mistaken in supposing that the power of the Chandels was broken
by the Bundelas. The last Chandel king, who ruled over an extensive
dominion, was Paramardi Deva, or Parmal. This prince was defeated in
a pitched battle, or rather a series of battles, near the Betwa
river, by Prithiraj Chauhan, king of Kanauj, in the year 1182. A few
years later, the victor was himself vanquished and slain by the
advancing Muhammadans. Mahoba and the surrounding territories then
passed through many vicissitudes, imperfectly recorded in the pages
of history, and were ruled from time to time by Musalmans, Bhars,
Khangars, and others. The Bundelas, an offshoot of the Gaharwar clan,
did not come into notice before the middle of the fourteenth century,
and first became a power in India under the leadership of Champat
Rai, the contemporary of Jahangir and Shah Jahan, in the first half
of the seventeenth century. The line of Chandel kings was continued
in the persons of obscure local chiefs, whose very names are, for the
most part, forgotten. The story of Durgavati, briefly told in the
text, casts a momentary flash of light on their obscurity. The
principal nobleman of the Chandel race now occupying a dignified
position is the Raja of Gidhaur in the Mungir (Monghyr) district of
Bengal, whose ancestor emigrated from Mahoba.

The war between the Chandels and Chauhans is the subject of a long
section or canto of the Hindi epic, the _Chand-Raisa_, written by
Chand Bardai, the court poet of Prithiraj, of which the original MS.
in 5,000 verses still exists. It was subsequently expanded to 125,000
verses (_E.H.I._, 3rd ed., 1914, p. 387 note). The war is also the
theme of the songs of many popular rhapsodists. The story is, of
course, encrusted with a thick deposit of miraculous legend, and none
of the details can be relied on. But the fact and the date of the war
are fully proved by incontestable evidence.

37. The marriage of Durgavati is no proof that her father, the
Chandel Raja, was powerful in Mahoba in the time of Akbar. It is
rather an indication that he was poor and weak. If he had been rich
and strong, he would probably have refused his daughter to a Gond,
even though complaisant bards might invent a Rajput genealogy for the
bridegroom. The story about the army of fifty thousand men cannot be
readily accepted as sober fact. It looks like a courtly invention to
explain a mesalliance. The inducement really offered to the proud but
poor Chandel was, in all likelihood, a large sum of money, according
to the usual practice in such cases. Several indications exist of
close relations between the Gonds and Chandels in earlier times.

Early in Akbar's reign, in the year 1564, Asaf Khan, the imperial
viceroy of Karra Manikpur, obtained permission to invade the Gond
territory. The young Raja of Garha Mandla, Bir Narayan, was then a
minor, and the defence of the kingdom devolved on Durgavati, the
dowager queen. She first took up her position at the great fortress
of Singaurgarh, north-west of Jabalpur, and, being there defeated,
retired through Garha, to the south-east, towards Mandla. After an
obstinately contested fight the invaders were again successful, and
broke the queen's stout resistance. 'Mounted on an elephant, she
refused to retire, though she was severely wounded, until her troops
had time to recover the shock of the first discharge of artillery,
and, notwithstanding that she had received an arrow-wound in her eye,
bravely defended the pass in person. But, by an extraordinary
coincidence, the river in the rear of her position, which had been
nearly dry a few hours before the action commenced, began suddenly to
rise, and soon became unfordable. Finding her plan of retreat thus
frustrated, and seeing her troops give way, she snatched a dagger
from her elephant-driver, and plunged it into her bosom. . . . Of all
the sovereigns of this dynasty she lives most in the recollection of
the people; she carried out many highly useful works in different
parts of her kingdom, and one of the large reservoirs near Jabalpur
is still called the Rani Talao in memory of her. During the fifteen
years of her regency she did much for the country, and won the hearts
of the people, while her end was as noble and devoted as her life had
been useful' (_C.P. Gazetteer_ (1870), p. 283; with references to
Sleeman's article on the Rajas of Garha Mandla, and 'Briggs'
Farishta', ed. 1829, vol. ii, pp. 217, 218). A memoir of Asaf Khan
Abdul Majid, the general who overcame Durgavati, will be found in
Blochmann's translation of the _Ain-i-Akbari_, vol. i, p. 366.

38. Samthar is a small state, lying between the Betwa and Pahuj
rivers, to the south-west of the Jalaun district. It was separated
from the Datiya State only one generation previous to the British
occupation of Bundelkhand. A treaty was concluded with the Raja in
1812 (_N.W.P. Gazetteer_ (1st ed.), vol. i, p. 578).

39. Gujars occupy more than a hundred villages in the Jalaun
district, chiefly among the ravines of the Pahuj river. The Gujar
caste is most numerous in the Panjab and the upper districts of the
United Provinces. It is not very highly esteemed, being of about
equal rank with the Ahir caste and rather below the Jat. Gujar
colonies are settled in the Hoshangabad and Nimar districts of the
Central Provinces. The Gujars are inveterate cattle-lifters, and
always ready to take advantage of any relaxation of the bonds of
order to prey upon their neighbours. Many sections of the caste have
adopted the Muhammadan faith.

40. The small state of Chhatarpur lies to the south of the Hamirpur
district, between the Dasan and Ken rivers. The town of Chhatarpur,
on the military road from Banda to Sagar, is remarkable for the
mausoleum and ruined palace of Raja Chhatarsal, after whom the town
is named. Khajuraho, the ancient religious capital of the Chandel
monarchy, with its magnificent group of mediaeval Hindoo and Jain
temples, is within the limits of the state, about eighteen miles
south-east of Chhatarpur, and thirty-four miles south of Mahoba. The
Pawar adventurer, who succeeded in separating Chhatarpur from the
Panna state, was originally a common soldier.

41. Concerning Chhatarsal (A.D. 1671 to 1731), see notes _ante_,
Chapter 14 note 9, and chapter 23 note 11. He was one of the sons of
Champat Rai. The correct date of the death of Chhatarsal is Pus Badi
3, Sanwat, 1788 = A.D. 1731. Hardi (Hirdai) Sa succeeded to the Raj,
or kingdom, of Panna, and Jagatraj to that of Jaitpur. These kingdoms
quickly broke up, and the fragments are now in part native states and
in part British territory. The Orchha State was formed about the
beginning of the sixteenth century, and the Chanderi and Datiya
States are offshoots from it, which separated during the seventeenth
century.

42. As already observed (_ante_, Chapter 26, note 29), the Jalaun
State became British territory in 1840, four years after the tour
described in the text, and four years before the, publication of the
book. The Jhansi State similarly lapsed on the death of Raja
Gangadhar Rao in November, 1853. The Rani Lachhmi Bai joined the
mutineers, and was killed in battle in June, 1858.






CHAPTER 27


Blights.

I had a visit from my little friend the Sarimant, and the
conversation turned upon the causes and effects of the dreadful
blight to which the wheat crops in the Nerbudda districts had of late
years been subject. He said that 'the people at first attributed this
great calamity to an increase in the crime of adultery which had
followed the introduction of our rule, and which', he said, 'was
understood to follow it everywhere; that afterwards it was by most
people attributed to our frequent measurement of the land, and
inspection of fields, with a view to estimate their capabilities to
pay; which the people considered a kind of _incest_, and which he
himself, the Deity, can never tolerate. The land is', said he,
'considered as the _mother_ of the prince or chief who holds it--the
great parent from whom he derives all that maintains him--his family
and his establishments. If well treated, she yields this in abundance
to her son; but, if he presumes to look upon her with the eye of
desire, she ceases to be fruitful; or the Deity sends down hail or
blight to destroy all that she yields. The measuring the surface of
the fields, and the frequent inspecting the crops by the chief
himself, or by his immediate agents were considered by the people in
this light; and, in consequence, he never ventured upon these things.
They were', he thought, 'fully satisfied that we did it more with a
view to distribute the burthen of taxation equally upon the people
than to increase it collectively; still', he thought that, 'either we
should not do it at all, or delegate the duty to inferior agents,
whose close inspection of the great _parent_ could not be so
displeasing to the Deity.'[1]

Ram Chand Pundit said that 'there was no doubt much truth in what
Sarimant Sahib had stated; that the crops of late had unquestionably
suffered from the constant measuring going on upon the lands; but
that the people (as he knew) had now become unanimous in attributing
the calamities of season, under which these districts had been
suffering so much, to the _eating of beef_-this was', he thought,
'the great source of all their sufferings.'

Sarimant declared that he thought 'his Pundit was right, and that it
would, no doubt, be of great advantage to them and to their rulers if
Government could be prevailed upon to prohibit the eating of beef;
that so great and general were the sufferings of the people from
these calamities of seasons, and so firm, and now so general, the
opinion that they arose chiefly from the practice of killing and
eating cows that, in spite of all the other superior blessings of our
rule, the people were almost beginning to wish their old Maratha
rulers in power again.'

I reminded him of the still greater calamities the people of
Bundelkhand had been suffering under.

'True,' said he, 'but among them there are crimes enough of everyday
occurrence to account for these things; but, under your rule, the
Deity has only one or other of these three things to be offended
with; and, of these three, it must be admitted that the eating of
beef so near the sacred stream of the Nerbudda is the worst.'

The blight of which we were speaking had, for several seasons from
the year 1829, destroyed the greater part of the wheat crops over
extensive districts along the line of the Nerbudda, and through Malwa
generally; and old people stated that they recollected two returns of
this calamity at intervals from twenty to twenty-four years. The
pores, with which the stalks are abundantly supplied to admit of
their readily taking up the aqueous particles that float in the air,
seem to be more open in an easterly wind than in any other; and, when
this wind prevails at the same time that the air is filled with the
farina of the small parasitic fungus, whose depredations on the corn
constitute what they call the rust, mildew, or blight, the particles
penetrate into these pores, speedily sprout and spread their small
roots into the cellular texture, where they intercept, and feed on,
the sap in its ascent; and the grain in the ear, deprived of its
nourishment, becomes shrivelled, and the whole crop is often not
worth the reaping.[2] It is at first of a light, beautiful orange-
colour, and found chiefly upon the 'alsi' (linseed)[3] which it does
not seem much to injure; but, about the end of February, the fungi
ripen, and shed their seeds rapidly, and they are taken up by the
wind, and carried over the corn-fields. I have sometimes seen the air
tinted of an orange colour for many days by the quantity of these
seeds which it has contained; and that without the wheat crops
suffering at all, when any but an easterly wind has prevailed; but,
when the air is so charged with this farina, let but an easterly wind
blow for twenty-four hours, and all the wheat crops under its
influence are destroyed--nothing can save them. The stalks and leaves
become first of an orange colour from the light colour of the farina
which adheres to them, but this changes to deep brown. All that part
of the stalk that is exposed seems as if it had been pricked with
needles, and had exuded blood from every puncture; and the grain in
the ear withers in proportion to the number of fungi that intercept
and feed upon its sap; but the parts of the stalks that are covered
by the leaves remain entirely uninjured; and, when the leaves are
drawn off from them, they form a beautiful contrast to the others,
which have been exposed to the depredations of these parasitic
plants.

Every pore, it is said, may contain from twenty to forty of these
plants, and each plant may shed a hundred seeds,[4] so that a single
shrub, infected with the disease, may disseminate it over the face of
a whole district; for, in the warm month of March, when the wheat is
attaining maturity, these plants ripen and shed their seeds in a
week, and consequently increase with enormous rapidity, when they
find plants with their pores open ready to receive and nourish them.
I went over a rich sheet of wheat cultivation in the district of
Jubbulpore in January, 1836, which appeared to me devoted to
inevitable destruction. It was intersected by slips and fields of
'alsi', which the cultivators often sow along the borders of their
wheat-fields, which are exposed to the road, to prevent trespass.[5]
All this 'alsi' had become of a beautiful light orange colour from
these fungi; and the cultivators, who had had every field destroyed
the year before by the same plant, surrounded my tent in despair,
imploring me to tell them of some remedy. I knew of none; but, as the
'alsi' is not a very valuable plant, I recommended them, as their
only chance, to pull it all up by the roots, and fling it into large
tanks that were everywhere to be found. They did so, and no 'alsi'
was _intentionally_ left in the district, for, like drowning men
catching at a straw, they caught everywhere at the little gleam of
hope that my suggestion seemed to offer. Not a field of wheat was
that season injured in the district of Jubbulpore; but I was soon
satisfied that my suggestion had had nothing whatever to do with
their escape, for not a single stalk of the wheat was, I believe,
affected; while _some_ stalks of the affected 'alsi' must have been
left by accident. Besides, in several of the adjoining districts,
where the 'alsi' remained in the ground, the wheat escaped. I found
that, about the time when the blight usually attacks the wheat,
westerly winds prevailed, and that it never blew from the east for
many hours together. The common belief among the natives was that the
prevalence of an east wind was necessary to give full effect to the
attack of this disease, though they none of them pretended to know
anything of its _modus operandi_--indeed they considered the blight
to be a demon, which was to be driven off only by prayers and
sacrifices.

It is worthy of remark that hardly anything suffered from the attacks
of these fungi but the wheat. The 'alsi', upon which it always first
made its appearance, suffered something certainly, but not much,
though the stems and leaves were covered with them. The gram (_Cicer
arietinum_) suffered still less--indeed the grain in this plant often
remained uninjured, while the stems and leaves were covered with the
fungi, in the midst of fields of wheat that were entirely destroyed
by ravages of the same kind. None of the other pulses were injured,
though situated in the same manner in the midst of the fields of
wheat that were destroyed. I have seen rich fields of uninterrupted
wheat cultivation for twenty miles by ten, in the valley of the
Nerbudda, so entirely destroyed by this disease that the people would
not go to the trouble of gathering one field in four, for the stalks
and the leaves were so much injured that they were considered as
unfit or unsafe for fodder; and during the same season its ravages
were equally felt in the districts along the tablelands of the
Vindhya range, north of the valley and, I believe, those upon the
Satpura range, south. The last time I saw this blight was in March,
1832, in the Sagar district, where its ravages were very great, but
partial; and I kept bundles of the blighted wheat hanging up in my
house, for the inspection of the curious, till the beginning of
1835.[6]

When I assumed charge of the district of Sagar in 1831 the opinion
among the farmers and landholders generally was that the calamities
of season under which we had been suffering were attributable to the
increase of _adultery_, arising, as they thought, from our
indifference, as we seemed to treat it as a matter of little
importance; whereas it had always been considered under former
Governments as a case of _life and death_. The husband or his friends
waited till they caught the offending parties together in criminal
correspondence, and then put them both to death; and the death of one
pair generally acted, they thought, as a sedative upon the evil
passions of a whole district for a year or two. Nothing can be more
unsatisfactory than our laws for the punishment of adultery in India,
where the Muhammadan criminal code has been followed, though the
people subjected to it are not one-tenth Muhammadans. This law was
enacted by Muhammad on the occasion of his favourite wife Ayesha
being found under very suspicious circumstances with another man. A
special direction from heaven required that four witnesses should
swear positively to the _fact_.

Ayesha and her paramour were, of course, acquitted, and the
witnesses, being less than four, received the same punishment which
would have been inflicted upon the criminals had the fact been proved
by the direct testimony of the prescribed number--that is, eighty
stripes of the 'kora', almost equal to a sentence of death. (See
Koran, chap. 24, and chap. 4.)[7] This became the law among all
Muhammadans. Ayesha's father succeeded Muhammad, and Omar succeeded
Abu Bakr.[8] Soon after his accession to the throne, Omar had to sit
in judgement upon Mughira, a companion of the prophet, the governor
of Basrah,[9] who had been accidentally seen in an awkward position
with a lady of rank by four men while they sat in an adjoining
apartment. The door or window which concealed the criminal parties
was flung open by the wind, at the time when they wished it most to
remain closed. Three of the four men swore directly to the point.
Mughira was Omar's favourite, and had been appointed to the
government by him, Zaid, the brother of one of the three who had
sworn to the fact, hesitated to swear to the entire fact.

'I think', said Omar, 'that I see before me a man whom God would not
make the means of disgracing one of the companions of the holy
prophet.'

Zaid then described circumstantially the most unequivocal position
that was, perhaps, ever described in a public court of justice; but,
still hesitating to swear to the entire completion of the crime, the
criminals were acquitted, and his brother and the two others received
the punishment described. This decision of the _Brutus of his age_
and country settled the law of evidence in these matters; and no
Muhammadan judge would now give a verdict against any person charged
with adultery, without the four witnesses to the _entire fact_. No
man hopes for a conviction for this crime in our courts; and, as he
would have to drag his wife or paramour through no less than three--
that of the police officer, the magistrate, and the judge--to seek
it, he has recourse to poison, either secretly or with his wife's
consent. She will commonly rather die than be turned out into the
streets a degraded outcast. The seducer escapes with impunity, while
his victim suffers all that human nature is capable of enduring.
Where husbands are in the habit of poisoning their guilty wives from
the want of _legal_ means of redress, they will sometimes poison
those who are suspected upon insufficient grounds. No magistrate ever
hopes to get a conviction in the judge's court, if he commits a
criminal for trial on this charge (under Regulation 17 of 1817), and,
therefore, he never does commit. Regulation 7 of 1819 authorizes a
magistrate to punish any person convicted of enticing away a wife or
unmarried daughter for another's use; and an indignant functionary
may sometimes feel disposed to stretch a point that the guilty man
may not altogether escape.[10]

Redress for these wrongs is never sought in our courts, because they
can never hope to get it. But it is a great mistake to suppose that
the people of India want a heavier punishment for the crime than we
are disposed to inflict--all they want is a fair chance of conviction
upon such reasonable proof as cases of this nature admit of, and such
a measure of punishment as shall make it appear that their rulers
think the crime a serious one, and that they are disposed to protect
them from it. Sometimes the poorest man would refuse pecuniary
compensation; but generally husbands of the poorer classes would be
glad to get what the heads of their caste or circle of society might
consider the expenses of a second marriage. They do not dare to live
in adultery, they would be outcasts if they did; they must be married
according to the forms of their caste, and it is reasonable that the
seducer of the wife should be obliged to defray the coats of the
injured husband's second marriage. The rich will, of course, always
refuse such a compensation, but a law declaring the man convicted of
this crime liable to imprisonment in irons at hard labour for two
years, but entitled to his discharge within that time on an
application from the injured husband or father, would be extremely
popular throughout India. The poor man would make the application
when assured of the sum which the elders of his caste consider
sufficient; and they would take into consideration the means of the
offender to pay. The woman is sufficiently punished by her degraded
condition. The _fatwa_ of a Muhammadan law officer should be
dispensed with in such cases.[11]

In 1832 the people began to search for other causes [_scilicet_, of
bad seasons]. The frequent measurements of the land, with a view to
equalize the assessments, were thought of; even the operations of the
Trigonometrical Survey,[12] which were then making a great noise in
Central India, where their fires were seen every night burning upon
the peaks of the highest ranges, were supposed to have had some share
in exasperating the Deity; and the services of the most holy Brahmans
were put in requisition to exorcise the peaks from which the
engineers had taken their angles, the moment their instruments were
removed. In many places, to the great annoyance and consternation of
the engineers, the landmarks which they had left to enable them to
correct their work as they advanced, were found to have been removed
during their short intervals of absence, and they were obliged to do
their work over again. The priests encouraged the disposition on the
part of the peasantry to believe that men who required to do their
work by the aid of fires lighted in the dead of the night upon _high
places_, and work which no one but themselves seemed able to
comprehend, must hold communion with supernatural beings, a communion
which they thought might be displeasing to the Deity.

At last, in the year 1833, a very holy Brahman, who lived in his
cloister near the iron suspension bridge over the Bias river, ten
miles from Sagar, sat down with a determination to _wrestle with the
Deity_ till he should be compelled to reveal to him the real cause of
all these calamities of season under which the people were
groaning.[l3] After three days and nights of fasting and prayer, he
saw a vision which stood before him in a white mantle, and told him
that all these calamities arose from the slaughter of cows; and that
under former Governments this practice had been strictly prohibited,
and the returns of the harvest had, in consequence, been always
abundant, and subsistence cheap, in spite of invasion from without,
insurrection within, and a good deal of misrule and oppression on the
part of the local government. The holy man was enjoined by the vision
to make this revelation known to the constituted authorities, and to
persuade the people generally throughout the district to join in the
petition for the prohibition of _beef-eating_ throughout our Nerbudda
territories. He got a good many of the most respectable of the
landholders around him, and explained the wishes of the vision of the
preceding night. A petition was soon drawn up and signed by many
hundreds of the most respectable people in the district, and
presented to the Governor-General's representative in these parts,
Mr. F. C. Smith. Others were presented to the civil authorities of
the district, and all stating in the most respectful terms how
sensible the people were of the inestimable benefits of our rule, and
how grateful they all felt for the protection to life and property,
and to the free employment of all their advantages, which they had
under it; and for the frequent and large reduction in the
assessments, and remission in the demand, on account of calamities of
seasons. These, they stated, were all that Government could do to
relieve a suffering people, but they had all proved unavailing; and
yet, under this truly paternal rule, the people were suffering more
than under any former Government in its worst period of misrule--the
hand of an _incensed God_ was upon them; and, as they had now, at
last after many fruitless attempts, discovered the real cause of this
anger of the Deity, they trusted that we would listen to their
prayers, and restore plenty and all its blessings to the country by
prohibiting the _eating of beef_. All these dreadful evils had, they
said, unquestionably originated in the (Sadr Bazar) great market of
the cantonments, where, for the first time, within one hundred miles
of the sacred stream of the Nerbudda, men had purchased and eaten
cows' flesh.

These people were all much attached to us and to our rule, and were
many of them on the most intimate terms of social intercourse with
us; and, at the time they signed this petition, were entirely
satisfied that they had discovered the real cause of all their
sufferings, and impressed with the idea that we should be convinced,
and grant their prayers.[l4] The day is past. Beef continued to be
eaten with undiminished appetite, the blight, nevertheless,
disappeared, and every other sign of vengeance from above; and the
people are now, I believe, satisfied that they were mistaken. They
still think that the lands do not yield so many returns of the seed
under us as under former rulers; that they have lost some of the
_barkat_ (blessings) which they enjoyed under them--they know not
why. The fact is that under us the lands do not enjoy the salutary
fallows which frequent invasions and civil wars used to cause under
former Governments. Those who survived such civil wars and invasions
got better returns for their seed.

During the discussion of the question with the people, I had one day
a conversation with the Sadr Amin, or head native judicial officer,
whom I have already mentioned. He told me that 'there could be no
doubt of the truth of the conclusion to which the people had at
length come. 'There are', he said, 'some countries in which
punishments follow crimes after long intervals, and, indeed, do not
take place till some future birth; in others, they follow crimes
immediately; and such is the country bordering the stream of _Mother
Nerbudda_. This', said he, 'is a stream more holy than that of the
great Ganges herself, since no man is supposed to derive any benefit
from that stream unless he either bathe in it or drink from it; but
the sight of the Nerbudda from a distant hill could bless him, and
purify him. In other countries, the slaughter of cows and bullocks
might not be punished for ages; and the harvest, in such countries,
might continue good through many successive generations under such
enormities; indeed, he was not quite sure that there might not be
countries in which no punishment at all would inevitably follow; but,
so near the Nerbudda, this could not be the case.[l5] Providence
could never suffer beef to be eaten so near her sacred majesty
without visiting the crops with blight, hail, or some other calamity,
and the people with cholera morbus, small-pox, and other great
pestilences. As for himself, he should never be persuaded that all
these afflictions did not arise wholly and solely from this dreadful
habit of eating beef. I declare', concluded he, 'that if the
Government would but consent to prohibit the eating of beef, it might
levy from the lands three times the revenue that they now pay.'

The great festival of the Holi, the Saturnalia of India, terminates
on the last day of Phalgun, or 16th of March.[16] On that day the
Holi is burned; and on that day the ravages of the monster (for
monster they will have it to be) are supposed to cease. Any field
that has remained untouched up to that time is considered to be quite
secure from the moment the Holi has been committed to the flames.
What gave rise to the notion I have never been able to discover, but
such is the general belief. I suppose the siliceous epidermis must
then have become too hard, and the pores in the stem too much closed
up to admit of the further depredation of the fungi.

In the latter end of 1831, while I was at Sagar, a cowherd in driving
his cattle to water at a reach of the Bias river, called the
Nardhardhar, near the little village of Jasrathi, was reported to
have seen a vision that told him the waters of that reach, taken up
and conveyed to the fields in pitchers, would effectually keep off
the blight from the wheat, provided the pitchers were not suffered to
touch the ground on the way. On reaching the field, a small hole was
to be made in the bottom of the pitcher, so as to keep up a small but
steady stream, as the bearer carried it round the borders of the
field, that the water might fall in a complete ring, except at a
small opening--which was to be kept dry, in order that the _monster_
or _demon blight_ might make his escape through it, not being able to
cross over any part watered by the holy stream. The waters Of the
Bias river generally are not supposed to have any peculiar virtues.
The report of this vision spread rapidly over the country; and the
people who had been suffering under so many seasons of great calamity
were anxious to try anything that promised the slightest chance of
relief. Every cultivator of the district prepared pots for the
conveyance of the water, with tripods to support them while they
rested on the road, that they might not touch the ground. The spot
pointed out for taking the water was immediately under a fine large
pipal-tree[l7] which had fallen into the river, and on each bank was
seated a Bairagi, or priest of Vishnu. The blight began to manifest
itself in the alsi (linseed) in January, 1832, but the wheat is never
considered to be in danger till late in February, when it is nearly
ripe; and during that month and the following the banks of the river
were crowded with people in search of the water. Some of the people
came more than one hundred miles to fetch it, and all seemed quite
sure that the holy water would save them. Each person gave the
Bairagi priest of his own side of the river two half-pence (copper
pice), two pice weight of ghi (clarified butter), and two pounds of
flour, before he filled his pitcher, to secure his blessings from it.
These priests were strangers, and the offerings were entirely
voluntary. The roads from this reach of the Bias river, up to the
capital of the Orchha Raja, more than a hundred miles, were literally
lined with these water-carriers; and I estimated the number of
persons who passed with the water every day for six weeks at ten
thousand a day.[18] After they had ceased to take the water, the
banks were long crowded with people who flocked to see the place
where priests and waters had worked such miracles, and to try and
discover the source whence the water derived its virtues. It was
remarked by some that the pipal-tree, which had fallen from the bank
above many years before, had still continued to throw out the richest
foliage from the branches above the surface of the water. Others
declared that they saw a _monkey_ on the bank near the spot, which no
sooner perceived it was observed than it plunged into the stream and
disappeared. Others again saw some flights of steps under the water,
indicating that it had in days of yore been the site of a temple,
whose god, no doubt, gave to the waters the wonderful virtues it had
been found to possess. The priests would say nothing but that 'it was
the work of God, and, like all his works, beyond the reach of man's
understanding.' They made their fortunes, and got up the vision and
miracle, no doubt, for that especial purpose.[l9] As to the effect, I
was told by hundreds of farmers who had tried the waters that, though
it had not anywhere kept the blight entirely off from the wheat, it
was found that the fields which had not the advantages of water were
entirely destroyed; and, where the pot had been taken all round the
field without leaving any dry opening for the demon to escape
through, it was almost as bad; but, when a small opening had been
left, and the water carefully dropped around the field elsewhere, the
crops had been very little injured; which showed clearly the efficacy
of the water, when all the ceremonies and observances prescribed by
the vision had been attended to.

I could never find the cowherd who was said to have seen this vision,
and, in speaking to my old friend, the Sadr Amin, learned in the
shastras,[20] on the subject, I told him that we had a short saying
that would explain all this: 'A drowning man catches at a straw.'

'Yes,' said he, without any hesitation, 'and we have another just as
good for the occasion: "Sheep will follow each other, though it
should be into a well".'


Notes:

1. We are told in 2 Samuel, chap. xxiv, that the Deity was displeased
at a census of the people, taken by Joab by the order of David, and
destroyed of the people of Israel seventy thousand, besides women and
children. [W. H. S.] The editor, in the course of seven years'
experience in the Settlement department, six of which were agent in
Bundelkhand, never heard of the doctrine as to the incestuous
character of surveys. Probably it had died out. Even a census no
longer gives rise to alarm in most parts of the country. The wild
rumours and theories common in 1872 and 1881 did not prevail when the
census of 1891 was taken, or during subsequent operations.

2. This theory is, of course, erroneous.

3. The flax plant (_Linum usitatissimum_) is grown in India solely
for the sake of the linseed. Linen is never made, and the stalk of
the plant, as ordinarily grown, is too short for the manufacture of
fibre. The attempts to introduce flax manufacture into India, though
not ultimately successful, have proved that good flax can be made in
the country, from Riga seed. Indian linseed is very largely exported.
(Article 'Flax' in Balfour, _Cyclopaedia_, 3rd ed.)

4. Spores is the more accurate word.

5. That is to say, cattle-trespass. Cattle do not care to eat the
green flax plant. The fields are not fenced.

6. The rust, or blight, described in the text probably was a species
of _Unedo_. The gram, or chick-pea, and various kinds of pea and
vetch are grown intermixed with the wheat. They ripen earlier, and
are plucked up by the roots before the wheat is cut.

7. Chap. 4 of the Koran is entitled 'Women', and chap. 24 is entitled
'Light'. The story of Ayesha's misadventure is given in Sale's notes
to chap. 24.

8. Muhammad died A.D. 632. Abu Bakr succeeded him, and after a
khalifate of only two years, was succeeded by Omar, who was
assassinated in the twelfth year of his reign.

9. Basrah (Bassorah, Bussorah) in the province of Baghdad, on the
Shatt-ul-Arab, or combined stream of the Tigris and Euphrates, was
founded by the Khalif Omar.

10. In the author's time the Muhammadan criminal law was applied to
the whole population by Anglo-Indian judges, assisted by Muhammadan
legal assessors, who gave rulings called _fatwas_ on legal points.
The Penal Code enacted in 1859 swept away the whole jungle of
Regulations and _fatwas_, and established a scientific System of
criminal jurisprudence, which bas remained substantially unchanged to
this day. Adultery is punishable under the Code by the Court of
Session, but prosecutions for this offence are very rare. Enticing
away a married woman is also defined as an offence, and is punishable
by a magistrate. Complaints under this head are extremely numerous,
and mostly false. Secret and unpunished murders of women undoubtedly
are common, and often reported as deaths from snake-bite or cholera.
An aggrieved husband frequently tries to save his honour, and at the
same time satisfy his vengeance, by tromping up a false charge of
burglary against the suspected paramour, who generally replies by an
equally false _alibi_.

11. A prosecution under the Penal Code for adultery can be instituted
only by the husband, or the guardian representing him, and the woman
is not punishable. Although the Muhammadan law of evidence has been
got rid of, the Anglo-Indian courts are still unsuitable for the
prosecution of adultery cases, especially where Indians are
concerned. The English courts, though they do not require any
specified number of witnesses, demand strict proof given in open
court, and no Indian, whose honour has really been touched, cares to
expose his domestic troubles to be wrangled over by lawyers. Many
officers, including the editor, would be glad to see the section
which renders adultery penal struck out of the Code. The matrimonial
delinquencies of Indians are better dealt with by the caste
organizations, and those of Europeans by civil action.

12. The Trigonometrical Survey, originated by Colonel Lambton, was
begun at Cape Comorin in 1800. It is now almost, if not quite,
complete, except in Burma. See Markham, _A Memoir of the Indian
Surveys_ (2nd ed., 1878). The stations are marked by masonry pillars,
for the partial repair of which a small sum is annually allotted.

13. Hindoos believe that holy men, by means of great austerities, can
attain power to compel the gods to do their bidding.

14. For some account of the modern agitation against cow-killing. See
note _ante_, Chapter 26, note 6.

15. On the sacredness of the Nerbudda see note _ante_, Chapter 1,
note 13.

16. The Holi festival marks approximately the time of the vernal
equinox, ten days before the full moon of the Hindoo month Phalgun.
The day of the bonfire does not always fall on the 16th of March. It
is not considered lucky to begin harvest till the Holi has been
burnt. Mr. Crooke holds that 'on the whole, there seems to be some
reason to believe that the intention to promote the fertility of men,
animals, and crops, supplies the basis of the rites' ('The Holi, a
Vernal Festival of the Hindus', _Folklore_, vol. xxv (1914), p. 83).
I agree.

17. The pipal-tree (_Ficus religiosa_, Linn.; _Urostigma religiosum_,
Gasp.) is sacred to Vishnu, and universally venerated throughout
India.

18. About four hundred thousand persons.

19. Two pice x 400,000 = 800,000 pice, = 200,000 annas, = 12,500
rupees. Even if the author's estimate of the numbers be much too
large, the pecuniary result must have been handsome, not to mention
the butter and flour.

20. Hindoo sacred books.




CHAPTER 28


Pestle-and-Mortar Sugar-Mills--Washing away of the Soil.

On the 13th [December, 1885] we came to Barwa Sagar,[1] over a road
winding among small ridges and conical hills, none of them much
elevated or very steep; the whole being a bed of brown syenite,
generally exposed to the surface in a decomposing state, intersected
by veins and beds of quartz rocks, and here and there a narrow and
shallow bed of dark basalt. One of these beds of basalt was converted
into grey syenite by a large granular mixture of white quartz and
feldspar with the black hornblende. From this rock the people form
their sugar-mills, which are made like a pestle and mortar, the
mortar being cut out of the hornblende rock, and the pestle out of
wood.[2]

We saw a great many of these mortars during the march that could not
have been in use for the last half-dozen centuries, but they are
precisely the same as those still used all over India. The driver
sits upon the end of the horizontal beam to which the bullocks are
yoked; and in cold mornings it is very common to see him with a pair
of good hot embers at his buttocks, resting upon a little projection
made behind him to the beam for the purpose of sustaining it [_sic_].
I am disposed to think that the most productive parts of the surface
of Bundelkhand, like that of some of the districts of the Nerbudda
territories which repose upon the back of the sandstone of the
Vindhya chain, is [_sic_] fast flowing off to the sea through the
great rivers, which seem by degrees to extend the channels of their
tributary streams into every man's field, to drain away its substance
by degrees, for the benefit of those who may in some future age
occupy the islands of their delta. I have often seen a valuable
estate reduced in value to almost nothing in a few years by some new
_antennae_, if I may so call them, thrown out from the tributary
streams of great rivers into their richest and deepest soils.
Declivities are formed, the soil gets nothing from the cultivator but
the mechanical aid of the plough, and the more its surface is
ploughed and cross-ploughed, the more of its substance is washed away
towards the Bay of Bengal in the Ganges, or the Gulf of Cambay in the
Nerbudda. In the districts of the Nerbudda, we often see these black
hornblende mortars, in which sugar-canes were once pressed by a happy
peasantry, now standing upon a bare and barren surface of sandstone
rock, twenty feet above the present surface of the culturable lands
of the country. There are evident signs of the surface on which they
now stand having been that on which they were last worked. The people
get more juice from their small straw-coloured canes in these pestle-
and-mortar mills than they can from those with cylindrical rollers in
the present rude state of the mechanical arts all over India; and the
straw-coloured cane is the only kind that yields good sugar. The
large purple canes yield a watery and very inferior juice; and are
generally and almost universally sold in the markets as a fruit. The
straw-coloured canes, from being crowded under a very slovenly
System, with little manure and less weeding, degenerate into a mere
reed. The Otaheite cane, which was introduced into India by me in
1827, has spread over the Nerbudda, and many other territories; but
that that will degenerate in the same manner under the same slovenly
system of tillage, is too probable.[3]


Notes:

1. The lake known as Barwa Sagar was formed by a Bundela chief, who
constructed an embankment nearly three-quarters of a mile long to
retain the waters of the Barwa stream, a tributary of the Betwa. The
work was begun in 1705 and completed in 1737. The town is situated at
the north-west corner of the lake, on the road from Jhansi to the
cantonment of Nowgong (properly Naugaon, or Nayagaon), at a distance
of twelve miles from Jhansi (_N.W.P. Gazetteer_, 1st ed., vol. i, pp.
243 and 387).

2. The rude sketch given here in the author's text is not worth
reproduction.

3. The 'pestle-and-mortar' pattern of mill above described is the
indigenous model formerly in universal use in India, but, in most
parts of the country, where stone is not available, the 'mortar'
portion was made of wood. The stone mills are expensive. In the Banda
and Hamirpur districts of Bundelkhand sugar-cane is now grown only in
the small areas where good loam soil is found. The method of
cultivation differs in several respects from that practised in the
Gangetic plains, but the editor never observed the slovenliness of
which the author complains. He always found the cultivation in sugar-
cane villages to be extremely careful and laborious. Ancient stone
mills are sometimes found in black soil country, and it is difficult
to understand how sugarcane can ever have been grown there. The
author was mistaken in supposing that the indigenous pattern of mill
is superior to a good roller mill. The indigenous mill has been
completely superseded in most parts of the Panjab, United Provinces,
and Bihar, by the roller mill patented by Messrs. Mylne and Thompson
of Bihia in 1869, and largely improved by subsequent modifications.
The original patent having expired, thousands of roller mills are
annually made by native artisans, with little regard to the rights of
the Bihia firm. The iron rollers, cast in Delhi and other places, are
completed on costly lathes in many country towns. The mills are
generally hired out for the season, and kept in repair by the
speculator. The Raja of Nahan or Sirmur in the Panjab, who has a
foundry employing six hundred men, does a large business of this
kind, and finds it profitable. Since the first patent was taken out,
many improvements in the design have been effected, and the best
mills squeeze the cane absolutely dry. Messrs. Mylne and Thompson
have been successful in introducing other improved machinery for the
manufacture of sugar in villages. The Rosa factory near Shahjahanpur
in the United Provinces makes sugar on a large scale by European
methods.

When the author says that the large canes are sold 'as a fruit' he
means that the canes are used for eating, or rather sucking like a
sugar-stick. The varieties of sugar-cane are numerous, and the names
vary much in different districts. According to Balfour, the Otaheite
(Tahiti) cane is 'probably _Saccharum violaceum_'. The ordinary
Indian kinds belong to the species _Saccharum officinarum_. The
Otaheite cane was introduced into the West Indies about 1794, and
came to India from the Mauritius. It is more suitable for the roller
mill than for the indigenous mill, the stems being hard (_Cyclopaedia
of India_, 3rd ed., 1885, s.v. 'Saccharum'). In a letter dated
December 15, 1844, the author refers to his introduction of the
Otaheite cane, and mentions that the Indian Agricultural Society
awarded him a gold medal for this service. The cane was first planted
in the Government Botanical Garden at Calcutta.




CHAPTER 29


Interview with the Chiefs of Jhansi--Disputed Succession.

On the 14th[1] we came on fourteen miles to Jhansi.[2] About five
miles from our last ground we crossed the Baitanti river over a bed
of syenite. At this river we mounted our elephant to cross, as the
water was waist-deep at the ford. My wife returned to her palankeen
as soon as we had crossed, but our little boy came on with me on the
elephant, to meet the grand procession which I knew was approaching
to greet us from the city. The Raja of Jhansi, Ram Chandar Rao, died
a few months ago, leaving a young widow and a mother, but no
child.[3]

He was a young man of about twenty-eight years of age, timid, but of
good capacity, and most amiable disposition. My duties brought us
much into communication; and, though we never met, we had conceived a
mutual esteem for each other. He had been long suffering from an
affection of the liver, and had latterly persuaded himself that his
mother was practising upon his life, with a view to secure the
government to the eldest son of her daughter, which would, she
thought, ensure the real power to her for life. That she wished him
dead with this view, I had no doubt; for she had ruled the state for
several years up to 1831, during what she was pleased to consider his
minority; and she surrendered the power into his hands with great
reluctance, since it enabled her to employ her _paramour_ as
minister, and enjoy his society as much as she pleased, under the
pretence of holding _privy councils_ upon affairs of great public
interest.[4] He used to communicate his fears to me; and I was not
without apprehension that his mother might some day attempt to hasten
his death by poison. About a month before his death he wrote to me to
say that spears had been found stuck in the ground, under the water
where he was accustomed to swim, with their sharp points upwards;
and, had he not, contrary to his usual practice, walked into the
water, and struck his foot against one of them, he must have been
killed. This was, no doubt, a thing got up by some designing person
who wanted to ingratiate himself with the young man; for the mother
was too shrewd a woman ever to attempt her son's life by such awkward
means. About four months before I reached the capital, this amiable
young prince died, leaving two paternal uncles, a mother, a widow,
and one sister, the wife of one of our Sagar pensioners, Morisar Rao.
The mother claimed the inheritance for her grandson by this daughter,
a very handsome young lad, then at Jhansi, on the pretence that her
son had adopted him on his death-bed. She had his head shaved, and
made him go through all the other ceremonies of mourning, as for the
death of his real father. The eldest of his uncles, Raghunath Rao,
claimed the inheritance as the next heir; and all his party turned
the young lad out of caste as a Brahman, for daring to go into
mourning for a father who was yet alive; one of the greatest of
crimes, according to Hindoo law, for they would not admit that he had
been adopted by the deceased prince.[5]

The question of inheritance had been referred for decision to the
Supreme Government through the prescribed channel when I arrived, and
the decision was every day expected. The mother, with her daughter
and grandson, and the widow, occupied the castle, situated on a high
hill overlooking the city; while the two uncles of the deceased
occupied their private dwellings in the city below. Raghunath Rao,
the eldest, headed the procession that came out to meet me about
three miles, mounted upon a fine female elephant, with his younger
brother by his side. The minister, Naru Gopal, followed, mounted upon
another, on the part of the mother and widow. Some of the Raja's
relations were upon two of the finest male elephants I have ever
seen; and some of their friends, with the 'Bakshi', or paymaster
(always an important personage), upon two others. Raghunath Rao's
elephant drew up on the right of mine, and that of the minister on
the left; and, after the usual compliments had passed between us, all
the others fell back, and formed a line in our rear. They had about
fifty troopers mounted upon very fine horses in excellent condition,
which curvetted before and on both sides of us; together with a good
many men on camels, and some four or five hundred foot attendants,
all well dressed, but in various costumes. The elephants were so
close to each other that the conversation, which we managed to keep
up tolerably well, was general almost all the way to our tents; every
man taking a part as he found the opportunity of a pause to introduce
his little compliment to the Honourable Company or to myself, which I
did my best to answer or divert. I was glad to see the affectionate
respect with which the old man was everywhere received, for I had in
my own mind no doubt whatever that the decision of the Supreme
Government would be in his favour. The whole _cortege_ escorted me
through the town to my tent, which was pitched on the other side; and
then they took their leave, still seated on their elephants, while I
sat on mine, with my boy on my knee, till all had made their bow and
departed. The elephants, camels, and horses were all magnificently
caparisoned, and the housings of the whole were extremely rich. A
good many of the troopers were dressed in chain-armour, which, worn
outside their light-coloured quilted vests, looked very like black
gauze scarfs.

My little friend the Sarimant's own elephant had lately died; and,
being unable to go to the cost of another with all its appendages, he
had come thus far on horseback. A native gentleman can never
condescend to ride an elephant without a train of at least a dozen
attendants on horseback--he would almost as soon ride a horse
_without a tail_.[6] Having been considered at one time as the equal
of all these Rajas, I knew that he would feel a little mortified at
finding himself buried in the crowd and dust; and invited him, as we
approached the city, to take a seat by my side. This gained him
consideration, and evidently gave him great pleasure. It was late
before we reached our tents, as we were obliged to move slowly
through the streets of the city, as well for our own convenience as
for the safety of the crowd on foot before and around us. My wife,
who had gone on before to avoid the crowd and dust, reached the tents
halt an hour before us.

In the afternoon, when my second large tent had been pitched, the
minister came to pay me a visit with a large train of followers, but
with little display; and I found him a very sensible, mild, and
gentlemanly man, just as I expected from the high character he bears
with both parties, and with the people of the country generally. Any
unreserved conversation here in such a crowd was, of course, out of
the question, and I told the minister that it was my intention early
next morning to visit the tomb of his late master; where I should be
very glad to meet him, if he could make it convenient to come without
any ceremony. He seemed much pleased with the proposal, and next
morning we met a little before sunrise within the railing that
encloses the tomb or cenotaph; and there had a good deal of quiet
and, I believe, unreserved talk about the affairs of the Jhansi
state, and the family of the late prince. He told me that, a few
hours before the Raja's death, his mother had placed in his arms for
adoption the son of his sister, a very handsome lad of ten years of
age--but whether the Raja was or was not sensible at the time he
could not say, for he never after heard him speak; that the mother of
the deceased considered the adoption as complete, and made her
grandson go through the funeral ceremonies as at the death of his
father, which for nine days were performed unmolested; but, when it
came to the tenth and last--which, had it passed quietly, would have
been considered as completing the title of adoption--Raghunath Rao
and his friends interposed, and prevented further proceedings,
declaring that, while there were so many male heirs, no son could be
adopted for the deceased prince according to the usages of the
family.

The widow of the Raja, a timid, amiable young woman, of twenty-five
years of age, was by no means anxious for this adoption, having
shared the suspicions of her husband regarding the practices of his
mother; and found his sister, who now resided with them in the
castle, a most violent and overbearing woman, who would be likely to
exclude her from all share in the administration, and make her life
very miserable, were her son to be declared the Raja. Her wish was to
be allowed to adopt, in the name of her deceased husband, a young
cousin of his, Sadasheo, the son of Nana Bhao. Gangadhar, the younger
brother of Raghunath Rao, was exceedingly anxious to have his elder
brother declared Raja, because he had no sons, and from the
debilitated state of his frame, must soon die, and leave the
principality to him. Every one of the three parties had sent agents
to the Governor-General's representative in Bundelkhand to urge their
claim; and, till the final decision, the widow of the late chief was
to be considered the sovereign. The minister told me that there was
one unanswerable argument against Raghunath Rao's succeeding, which,
out of regard to his feelings, he had not yet urged, and about which
he wished to consult me as a friend of the late prince and his widow;
this was, that he was a leper, and that the signs of the disease were
becoming every day more and more manifest.

I told him that I had observed them in his face, but was not aware
that any one else had noticed them. I urged him, however, not to
advance this as a ground of exclusion, since they all knew him to be
a very worthy man, while his younger brother was said to be the
reverse; and more especially I thought it would be very cruel and
unwise to distress and exasperate him by so doing, as I had no doubt
that, before this ground could be brought to their notice, Government
would declare in his favour, right being so clearly on his side.

After an agreeable conversation with this sensible and excellent man,
I returned to my tents to prepare for the reception of Raghunath Rao
and his party. They came about nine o'clock with a much greater
display of elephants and followers than the minister had brought with
him. He and his friends kept me in close conversation till eleven
o'clock, in spite of my wife's many considerate messages to say
breakfast was waiting. He told me that the mother of the late Raja,
his nephew, was a very violent woman, who had involved the state in
much trouble during the period of her regency, which she managed to
prolong till her son was twenty-five years of age, and resigned with
infinite reluctance only three years ago; that her minister during
her regency, Gangadhar Muli, was at the same time her _paramour_, and
would be surely restored to power and to her embraces, were her
grandson's claim to the succession recognized; that it was with great
difficulty he had been able to keep this atrocious character under
surveillance pending the consideration of their claims by the Supreme
Government; that, by having the head of her grandson shaved, and
making him go through all the other funeral ceremonies with the other
members of the family, she had involved him and his young _innocent
wife_ (who had unhappily continued to drink out of the same cup with
her husband) _in the dreadful crime of mourning for a father whom
they knew to be yet alive_, a crime that must be expiated by the
'prayaschit,'[7] which-would be exacted from the young couple on
their return to Sagar before they could be restored to caste, from
which they were now considered as excommunicated. As for the young
widow, she was everything they could wish; but she was so timid that
she would be governed by the old lady, if she should have any
ostensible part assigned her in the administration.[8]

I told the old gentleman that I believed it would be my duty to pay
the first visit to the widow and mother of the late prince, as one of
pure condolence, and that I hoped my doing so would not be considered
any mark of disrespect towards him, who must now be looked up to as
the head of the family. He remonstrated against this most earnestly;
and, at last, tears came into his eyes as he told me that, if I paid
the first visit to the castle, he should never again be able to show
his face outside his door, so great would be the indignity he would
be considered to have suffered; but, rather than I should do this, he
would come to my tents, and escort me himself to the castle. Much was
to be said on both sides of the weighty question; but, at last, I
thought that the arguments were in his favour--that, if I went to the
castle first, he might possibly resent it upon the poor woman and the
prime minister when he came into power, as I had no doubt he soon
would--and that I might be consulting their interest as much as his
feelings by going to his house first. In the evening I received a
message from the old lady, urging the necessity of my paying the
first visit of condolence for the death of my young friend to the
widow and mother. 'The rights of mothers', said she, 'are respected
in all countries; and, in India, the first visit of condolence for
the death of a man is always due to the mother, if alive.' I told the
messenger that my resolution was unaltered, and would, I trusted, be
found the best for all parties under present circumstances. I told
him that I dreaded the resentment towards them of Raghunath Rao, if
he came into power.

'Never mind that,' said he: 'my mistress is of too proud a spirit to
dread resentment from any one--pay her the compliment of the first
visit, and let her enemies do their worst.' I told him that I could
leave Jhansi without visiting either of them, but could not go first
to the castle; and he said that my departing thus would please the
old lady better than the _second visit_. The minister would not have
said this--the old lady would not have ventured to send such a
message by him--the man was an understrapper; and I left him to mount
my elephant and pay my two visits.[9]

With the best _cortege_ I could muster, I went to Raghunath Rao's,
where I was received with a salute from some large guns in his
courtyard, and entertained with a party of dancing girls and
musicians in the usual manner. Attar of roses and 'pan'[10] were
given, and valuable shawls put before me, and refused in the politest
terms I could think of; such as, 'Pray do me the favour to keep these
things for me till I have the happiness of visiting Jhansi again, as
I am going through Gwalior, where nothing valuable is a moment safe
from thieves'. After sitting an hour, I mounted my elephant, and
proceeded up to the castle, where I was received with another salute
from the bastions. I sat for half an hour in the hall of audience
with the minister and all the principal men of the court, as
Raghunath Rao was to be considered as a private gentleman till the
decision of the Supreme Government should be made known; and the
handsome lad, Krishan Rao, whom the old woman wished to adopt, and
whom I had often seen at Sagar, was at my request brought in and
seated by my side. By him I sent my message of condolence to the
widow and mother of his deceased uncle, couched in the usual terms--
that the happy effects of good government in the prosperity of this
city, and the comfort and happiness of the people, had extended the
fame of the family all over India; and that I trusted the reigning
member of that family, whoever he might be, would be sensible that it
was his duty to sustain that reputation by imitating the example of
those who had gone before him. After attar of roses and pan had been
handed round in the usual manner, I went to the summit of the highest
tower in the castle, which commands an extensive view of the country
around.

The castle stands upon the summit of a small hill of syenitic rock.
The elevation of the outer wall is about one hundred feet above the
level of the plain, and the top of the tower on which I stood about
one hundred feet more, as the buildings rise gradually from the sides
to the summit of the hill. The city extends out into the plain to the
east from the foot of the hill on which the castle stands. Around the
city there is a good deal of land, irrigated from four or five tanks
in the neighbourhood, and now under rich wheat crops; and the gardens
are very numerous, and abound in all the fruit and vegetables that
the people most like. Oranges are very abundant and very fine, and
our tents have been actually buried in them and all the other fruits
and vegetables which the kind people of Jhansi have poured in upon
us. The city of Jhansi contains about sixty thousand inhabitants, and
is celebrated for its manufacture of carpets.[11] There are some very
beautiful temples in the city, all built by Gosains, one [_sic_] of
the priests of Siva who here engage in trade, and accumulate much
wealth.[12] The family of the chief do not build tombs; and that now
raised over the place where the late prince was buried is dedicated
as a temple to Siva, and was made merely with a view to secure the
place from all danger of profanation.[13]

The face of the country beyond the influence of the tanks is neither
rich nor interesting. The cultivation seemed scanty and the
population thin, owing to the irremediable sterility of soil, from
the poverty of the primitive rock from whose detritus it is chiefly
formed. Raghunath Rao told me that the wish of the people in the
castle to adopt a child as the successor to his nephew arose from the
desire to escape the scrutiny into the past accounts of disbursements
which he might be likely to order. I told him that I had myself no
doubt that he would be declared the Raja, and urged him to turn all
his thoughts to the future, and to allow no inquiries to be made into
the past, with a view to gratify either his own resentment, or that
of others; that the Rajas of Jhansi had hitherto been served by the
most respectable, able, and honourable men in the country, while the
other chiefs of Bundelkhand could get no man of this class to do
their work for them--that this was the only court in Bundelkhand in
which such men could be seen, simply because it was the only one in
which they could feel themselves secure--while other chiefs
confiscated the property of ministers who had served them with
fidelity, on the pretence of embezzlement; the wealth thus acquired,
however, soon disappearing, and its possessors being obliged either
to conceal it or go out of the country to enjoy it. Such rulers thus
found their courts and capitals deprived of all those men of wealth
and respectability who adorned the courts of princes in other
countries, and embellished, not merely their capitals, but the face
of their dominions in general with their chateaus and other works of
ornament and utility. Much more of this sort passed between us, and
seemed to make an impression upon him; for he promised to do all that
I had recommended to him. Poor man! he can have but a short and
miserable existence, for that dreadful disease, the leprosy, is
making sad inroads in his System already.[14] His uncle, Raghunath
Rao, was afflicted with it; and, having understood from the priests
that by _drowning_ himself in the Ganges (taking the 'samadh'), he
should remove all traces of it from his family, he went to Benares,
and there drowned himself, some twenty years ago. He had no children,
and is said to have been the first of his family in whom the disease
showed itself.[15]




Notes:

1. December, 1835.

2. Now the head-quarters of the British district of the same name,
and also of the Indian Midland Railway. Since the opening of this
railway and the restoration of the Gwalior fort to Sindhia in 1886,
the importance of Jhansi, both civil and military, has much
increased. The native town was given up by Sindhia in exchange for
the Gwalior stronghold.

3. This chief is called Raja Rao Ramchand in the _N.W.P. Gazetteer_,
1st ed. He died on August 20, 1835. His administration had been weak,
and his finances were left in great disorder. Under his successor the
disorder of the administration became still greater.

4. Dowagers in Indian princely families are frequently involved in
such intrigues and plots. The editor could specify instances in his
personal experience. Compare Chapter 34, _post_.

5. An adopted son passes completely out of the family of his natural,
into that of his adoptive, father, all his rights and duties as a son
being at the same time transferred. In this case, the adoption had
not really taken place, and the lad's duty to his living natural
father remained unaffected.

6. This statement will not apply to those districts in the United
Provinces where elephants are numerous and often kept by gentry of no
great rank or wealth, A Raja, of course, always likes to have a few
mounted men clattering behind him, if possible.

7. The 'prayaschit' is an expiating atonement by which the person
humbles himself in public. It is often imposed for crimes committed
in a _former birth_, as indicated by inflictions suffered in this.
[W. H. S.] The practical working of Hindoo caste rules is often
frightfully cruel. The victims of these rules in the case described
by the author were a boy ten years old, and his child-wife of still
more tender years. Yet all the penalties, including rigorous fasts,
would be mercilessly exacted from these innocent children. Leprosy
and childlessness are among the afflictions supposed to prove the
sinfulness of the sufferer in some former birth, perhaps thousands of
years ago.

8. The poor young widow died of grief some months after my visit; her
spirits never rallied after the death of her husband, and she never
ceased to regret that she had not burned herself with his remains.
The people of Jhansi generally believe that the prince's mother
brought about his death by (_dinai_) slow poison, and I am afraid
that that was the impression on the mind of the poor widow. The
minister, who was entirely on her side, and a most worthy and able
man, was quite satisfied that this suspicion was without any
foundation whatever in truth. [W. H. S.]

9. Considering the fact that, 'till the final decision, the widow of
the late chief was to be considered the sovereign', it would be
difficult to justify the anthor's decision. The reigning sovereign
was clearly entitled to the first visit. Questions of precedence,
salutes, and etiquette are as the very breath of their nostrils to
the Indian nobility.

10. The leaf of _Piper betel_, handed to guests at ceremonial
entertainments, along with the nut of _Areca catechu_, made up in a
packet of gold or silver leaf.

11. This estimate of the population was probably excessive. The
population in 1891, including the cantonments, was 53,779, and in
1911, 70,208. The fort of Gwalior and the cantonment of Morar were
surrendered by the Government of India to Sindhia in exchange for the
fort and town of Jhansi on March 10, 1886. Sindhia also relinquished
fifty-eight villages in exchange for thirty given up by the
Government of India, the difference in value being adjusted by cash
payments. The arrangements were finally sanctioned by Lord Dufferin
on June 13, 1888.

12. These buildings are both tombs and temples. The Gosains of Jhansi
do not burn, but bury their dead; and over the grave those who can
afford to do so raise a handsome temple, and dedicate it to Siva. [W.
H. S.] The custom of burial is not peculiar to the Saiva Gosains of
Jhansi. It is the ordinary practice of Gosains throughout India. Many
of the Gosains are devoted to the worship of Vishnu. Burial of the
dead is practised by a considerable number of the Hindoo castes of
the artisan grade, and by some divisions of the sweeper caste. See
Crooke, 'Primitive Rites of Disposal of the Dead' (_J. Anthrop.
Institute_, vol. xxix, N.S., vol. ii (1900), pp. 271-92).

13. This tact lends some support to W. Simpson's theory that the
Hindoo temple is derived from a sepulchral structure.

14. This chief died of leprosy in May, 1838. [W. H. S.]

15. Raghunath Rao was the first of his family invested by the Peshwa
with the government of the Jhansi territory, which he had acquired
from the Bundelkhand chiefs. He went to Benares in 1795 to drown
himself, leaving his government to his third brother, Sheoram Bhao,
as his next brother, Lachchhman Rao, was dead, and his sons were
considered incapable. Sheoram Bhao died in 1815, and his eldest son,
Krishan Rao, had died four years before him, in 1811, leaving one
son, the late Raja, and two daughters. This was a noble sacrifice to
what he had been taught by his spiritual teachers to consider as a
duty towards his family; and we must admire the man while we condemn
the religion and the priests. There is no country in the world where
parents are more reverenced than in India, or where they more readily
make sacrifices of all sorts for their children, or for those they
consider as such. We succeeded in [June] 1817 to all the rights of
the Peshwa in Bundelkhand, and, with great generosity, converted the
viceroys of Jhansi and Jalaun into independent sovereigns of
hereditary principalities, yielding each ten lakhs of rupees. [W. H.
S.] The statement in the note that Raghunath Rao I 'went to Benares
in 1795 to drown himself' is inconsistent with the statement in the
text that this event happened 'some twenty years ago'. The word
'twenty' is evidently a mistake for 'forty'. The _N. W. P.
Gazetteer_, 1st ed., names several persons who governed Jhansi on
behalf of the Peshwa between 1742 and 1770, in which latter year
Raghunath Rao I received charge. According to the same authority,
Sheo (Shio) Ram Bhao is called 'Sheo Bhao Hari, better known as Sheo
Rao Bhao', and is said to have succeeded Raghunath Rao I in 1794, and
to have died in 1814, not 1816. A few words may here be added to
complete the history. The leper Raghunath Rao II, whose claim the
author strangely favoured, was declared Raja, and died, as already
noted, in May, 1838, 'his brief period of rule being rendered unquiet
by the opposition made to him, professedly on the ground of his being
a leper'. His revenues fell from twelve lakhs (L120,000) to three
lakhs of rupees (L30,000) a year. On his death in 1838, the
succession was again contested by four claimants. Pending inquiry
into the merits of their claims, the Governor-General's Agent assumed
the administration. Ultimately, Gangadhar Rao, younger brother of the
leper, was appointed Raja. The disorder in the state rendered
administration by British officers necessary as a temporary measure,
and Gangadhar Rao did not obtain power until 1842. His rule was, on
the whole, good. He died childless in November, 1853, and Lord
Dalhousie, applying the doctrine of lapse, annexed the estate in
1854, granting a pension of five thousand rupees, or about five
hundred pounds, monthly to Lacchhmi Bai, Gangadhar Rao's widow, who
also succeeded to personal property worth about one hundred thousand
pounds. She resented the refusal of permission to adopt a son, and
the consequent annexation of the state, and was further deeply
offended by several acts of the English Administration, above all by
the permission of cow-slaughter. Accordingly, when the Mutiny broke
out, she quickly joined the rebels. On the 7th and 8th June, 1857,
all the Europeans in Jhansi, men, women, and children, to the number
of about seventy persons, were cruelly murdered by her orders, or
with her sanction. On the 9th June her authority was proclaimed. In
the prolonged fighting which ensued, she placed herself at the head
of her troops, whom she led with great gallantry. In June, 1858,
after a year's bloodstained reign, she was killed in battle. By
November, 1858, the country was pacified.




CHAPTER 30


Haunted Villages.

On the 16th[1] we came on nine miles to Amabai, the frontier village
of the Jhansi territory, bordering upon Datiya,[2] where I had to
receive the farewell visits of many members of the Jhansi parties,
who came on to have a quiet opportunity to assure me that, whatever
may be the final order of the Supreme Government, they will do their
best for the good of the people and the state; for I have always
considered Jhansi among the native states of Bundelkhand as a kind of
oasis in the desert, the only one in which a man can accumulate
property with the confidence of being permitted by its rulers freely
to display and enjoy it. I had also to receive the visit of
messengers from the Raja of Datiya, at whose capital we were to
encamp the next day, and, finally, to take leave of my amiable little
friend the Sarimant, who here left me on his return to Sagar, with a
heavy heart I really believe.

We talked of the common belief among the agricultural classes of
villages being haunted by the spirits of ancient proprietors whom it
was thought necessary to propitiate. 'He knew', he said, 'many
instances where these spirits were so very _froward_ that the present
heads of villages which they haunted, and the members of their little
communities, found it almost impossible to keep them in good humour;
and their cattle and children were, in consequence, always liable to
serious accidents of one kind or another. Sometimes they were bitten
by snakes, sometimes became possessed by devils, and, at others, were
thrown down and beaten most unmercifully. Any person who falls down
in an epileptic fit is supposed to be thrown down by a ghost, or
possessed by a devil.[3] They feel little of our mysterious dread of
ghosts; a sound _drubbing_ is what they dread from them, and he who
hurts himself in one of the fits is considered to have got it. 'As
for himself, whenever he found any one of the villages upon his
estate haunted by the spirit of an old "patel" (village proprietor),
he always made a point of giving him a _neat little shrine_, and
having it well endowed and attended, to keep him in good humour; this
he thought was a duty that every landlord owed to his tenants.'
Ramchand, the pundit, said that 'villages which had been held by old
Gond (mountaineer) proprietors were more liable than any other to
those kinds of visitations; that it was easy to say what village was
and was not haunted, but often exceedingly difficult to discover to
whom the ghost belonged. This once discovered, his nearest surviving
relation was, of course, expected to take steps to put him to rest;
but', said he, 'it is wrong to suppose that the ghost of an old
proprietor must be always doing mischief--he is often the best friend
of the cultivators, and of the present proprietor too, if he treats
him with proper respect; for he will not allow the people of any
other village to encroach upon their boundaries with impunity, and
they will be saved all the expense and annoyance of a reference to
the "adalat" (judicial tribunals) for the settlement of boundary
disputes. It will not cost much to conciliate these spirits, and the
money is generally well laid out.'

Several anecdotes were told me in illustration; and all that I could
urge against the probability or possibility of such Visitation
appeared to them very inconclusive and unsatisfactory. They mentioned
the case of the family of village proprietors in the Sagar district,
who had for several generations, at every new settlement, insisted
upon having the name of the spirit of the old proprietor inserted in
the lease instead of their own, and thereby secured his good graces
on all occasions. Mr. Fraser had before mentioned this case to me. In
August, 1834, while engaged in the settlement of the land revenue of
the Sagar district for twenty years, he was about to deliver the
lease of the estate made out in due form to the head of the family, a
very honest and respectable old gentleman, when he asked him
respectfully in whose name it had been made out. 'In yours, to be
sure; have you not renewed your lease for twenty years?' The old man,
in a state of great alarm, begged him to have it altered immediately,
or he and his family would all be destroyed--that the spirit of the
ancient proprietor presided over the village community and its
interests, and that all affairs of importance were transacted is his
name. 'He is', said the old man, 'a very jealous spirit, and will not
admit of any living man being considered for a moment as a proprietor
or joint proprietor of the estate. It has been held by me and my
ancestors immediately under Government for many generations; but the
lease deeds have always been made out in his name, and ours have been
inserted merely as his managers or bailiffs--were this good old rule,
under which we have so long prospered, to be now infringed, we should
all perish under his anger.' Mr. Fraser found, upon inquiring, that
this had really been the case; and, to relieve the old man and his
family from their fears, he had the papers made out afresh, and the
_ghost_ inserted as the proprietor. The modes of flattering and
propitiating these beings, natural and supernatural, who are supposed
to have the power to do mischief, are endless.[4]

While I was in charge of the district of Narsinghpur, in the valley
of the Nerbudda, in 1823, a cultivator of the village of Bedu, about
twelve miles distant from my court, was one day engaged in the
cultivation of his field on the border of the village of Barkhara,
which was supposed to be haunted by the spirit of an old proprietor,
whose temper was so froward and violent that the lands could hardly
be let for anything, for hardly any man would venture to cultivate
them lest he might unintentionally incur his ghostship's displeasure.
The poor cultivator, after begging his pardon in secret, ventured to
drive his plough a few yards beyond the proper line of his boundary,
and thus add half an acre of Barkhara to his own little tenement,
which was situated in Bedu. That very night his only son was bitten
by a snake, and his two bullocks were seized with the murrain. In
terror he went of to the village temple, confessed his sin, and
vowed, not only to restore the half-acre of land to the village of
Barkhara, but to build a very handsome shrine upon the spot as a
perpetual sign of his repentance. The boy and the bullocks all three
recovered, and the shrine was built; and is, I believe, still to be
seen as the boundary mark.


The fact was that the village stood upon an elevated piece of ground
rising out of a moist plain, and a colony of snakes had taken up
their abode in it. The bites of these snakes had on many occasions
proved fatal, and such accidents were all attributed to the anger of
a spirit which was supposed to haunt the village. At one time, under
the former government, no one would take a lease of the village on
any terms, and it had become almost entirely deserted, though the
soil was the finest in the whole district. With a view to remove the
whole prejudices of the people, the governor, Goroba Pundit, took the
lease himself at the rent of one thousand rupees a year; and, in the
month of June, went from his residence, twelve miles, with ten of his
own ploughs to superintend the commencement of so _perilous_ an
undertaking.

On reaching the middle of the village, situated on the top of the
little hill, he alighted from his horse, sat down upon a carpet that
had been spread for him under a large and beautiful banyan-tree, and
began to refresh himself with a pipe before going to work in the
fields. As he quaffed his hookah, and railed at the follies of the
men, 'whose absurd superstitions had made them desert so beautiful a
village with so noble a tree in its centre', his eyes fell upon an
enormous black snake, which had coiled round one of its branches
immediately over his head, and seemed as if resolved at once to
pounce down and punish him for his blasphemy. He gave his pipe to his
attendant, mounted his horse, from which the saddle had not yet been
taken, and never pulled rein till he got home. Nothing could ever
induce him to visit this village again, though he was afterwards
employed under me as a native collector; and he has often told me
that he verily believed this was the spirit of the old landlord that
he had unhappily neglected to propitiate before taking possession.

My predecessor in the civil charge of that district, the late Mr.
Lindsay of the Bengal Civil Service, again tried to remove the
prejudices of the people against the occupation and cultivation of
this fine village. It had never been measured, and all the revenue
officers, backed by all the farmers and cultivators of the
neighbourhood, declared that the spirit of the old proprietor would
never allow it to be so. Mr. Lindsay was a good geometrician, and had
long been in the habit of superintending his revenue surveys himself,
and on this occasion be thought himself particularly called upon to
do so. A new measuring cord was made for the occasion, and, with fear
and trembling, all his officers attended him to the first field; but
in measuring it the rope, by some accident, broke. Poor Lindsay was
that morning taken ill and obliged to return to Narsinghpur, where he
died soon after from fever. No man was ever more beloved by all
classes of the people of his district than he was; and I believe
there was not one person among them who did not believe him to have
fallen a victim to the resentment of the spirit of the old
proprietor. When I went to the village some years afterwards, the
people in the neighbourhood all declared to me that they saw the cord
with which he was measuring fly into a thousand pieces the moment the
men attempted to straighten it over the first field.[5]

A very respectable old gentleman from the Concan, or Malabar
coast,[6] told me one day that every man there protects his field of
corn and his fruit-tree by dedicating it to one or other of the
spirits which there abound, or confiding it to his guardianship. He
sticks up something in the field, or ties on something to the tree,
in the name of the said spirit, who from that moment feels himself
responsible for its safe keeping. If any one, without permission from
the proprietor, presumes to take either an ear of corn from the
field, or fruit from the tree, he is sure to be killed outright, or
made extremely ill. 'No other protection is required', said the old
gentleman, 'for our fields and fruit-trees in that direction, though
whole armies should have to march through them.' I once saw a man
come to the proprietor of a jack-tree,[7] embrace his feet, and in
the most piteous manner implore his protection. He asked what was the
matter. 'I took', said the man, 'a jack from your tree yonder three
days ago, as I passed at night; and I have been suffering dreadful
agony in my stomach ever since. The spirit of the tree is upon me,
and you only can pacify him.' The proprietor took up a bit of cow-
dung, moistened it, and made a mark with it upon the man's forehead,
_in the name of the spirit_, and put some of it into the knot of hair
on the top of his head. He had no sooner done this than the man's
pains all left him, and he went off, vowing never again to give
similar cause of offence to one of these guardian spirits. 'Men',
said my old friend, 'do not die there in the same regulated spirit,
with their thoughts directed exclusively towards God, as in other
parts; and whether a man's spirit is to haunt the world or not after
his death all depends on that.'


Notes:

1. December, 1835.

2. Datiya (Datia, Dutteeah) is a small state, with an area of about
911 square miles, and a cash revenue of about four lakhs of rupees.
On the east it touches the Jhansi district, but in all other
directions it is enclosed by the territories of Sindhia, the Maharaja
of Gwalior. The principality was separated from Orchha by a family
partition in the seventeenth century. The first treaty between the
Raja and the British Government was concluded on the 15th March,
1804.

3. The belief that epileptic patients are possessed by devils is, of
course, in no wise peculiar to India. It is almost universal.
Professor Lombroso discusses the belief in diabolical possession in
chap. 4 of _The Man of Genius_ (London ed., 1891).

4. 'The educated European of the nineteenth century cannot realize
the dread in which the Hindoo stands of devils. They haunt his paths
from the cradle to the grave. The Tamil proverb in fact says, "The
devil who seizes yon in the cradle, goes with you to the funeral
pile".' The fear and worship of ghosts, demons, and devils are
universal throughout India, and the rites practised are often
comical. The ghost of a bibulous European official with a hot temper,
who died at Muzaffarnagar, in the United Provinces, many years ago,
was propitiated by offerings of beer and whisky at 'his tomb. Much
information on the subject is collected in the articles 'Demon',
'Devils', 'Dehwar', and 'Deified Warriors' in Balfour, _Cyclopaedia
of India_ (3rd ed.). Almost every number of Mr. Crooke's periodical
_North Indian Notes and Queries_ (Allahabad: Pioneer Press; London:
A. Constable & Co., 5 vols., from 1891-2 to 1895-6) gave fresh
instances of the oddities of demon-worship.

5. The officials of the native Governments were content to use either
a rope or a bamboo for field measurements, and these primitive
instruments continued to satisfy the early British officers. For many
years past a proper chain has been always employed for revenue
surveys.

6. 'The author uses the term 'Concan' (Konkan) in a wide sense, so as
to cover all the territory between the Western Ghats and the sea,
including Malabar in the south. The term is often used in a more
restricted sense to mean Bombay and certain other districts, to the
north of Malabar.

7. _Artocarpus integrifolius_. The jack fruit attains an enormous
size, and sometimes weighs fifty or sixty pounds. Indians delight in
it, but to most Europeans it is extremely offensive.




CHAPTER 31

Interview with the Raja of Datiya--Fiscal Errors of Statesmen--
Thieves and Robbers by Profession.

On the 17th[1] we came to Datiya, nine miles over a dry and poor
soil, thinly, and only partially, covering a bed of brown and grey
syenite, with veins of quartz and feldspar, and here and there dykes
of basalt, and a few boulders scattered over the surface. The old
Raja, Parichhit,[2] on one elephant, and his cousin, Dalip Singh,
upon a second, and several of their relations upon others, all
splendidly caparisoned, came out two miles to meet us, with a very
large and splendid _cortege_. My wife, as usual, had gone on in her
palankeen very early, to avoid the crowd and dust of this 'istikbal',
or meeting; and my little boy, Henry, went on at the same time in the
palankeen, having got a slight fever from too much exposure to the
sun in our slow and stately entrance into Jhansi. There were more men
in steel chain armour in this _cortege_ than in that of Jhansi; and,
though the elephants were not quite so fine, they were just as
numerous, while the crowd of foot attendants was still greater. They
were in fancy dresses, individually handsome, and collectively
picturesque; though, being all soldiers, not quite pleasing to the
eye of a soldier. I remarked to the Raja, as we rode side by side on
our elephants, that we attached much importance to having our
soldiers all in uniform dresses, according to their corps, while he
seemed to care little about these matters. 'Yes,' said the old man,
with a smile, 'with me every man pleases himself in his dress, and I
care not what he wears, provided it is neat and clean.' They
certainly formed a body more picturesque from being allowed
individually to consult their own fancies in their dresses, for the
native taste in dress is generally very good. Our three elephants
came on abreast, and the Raja and I conversed as freely as men in
such situations can converse. He is a stout, cheerful old gentleman,
as careless apparently about his own dress as about that of his
soldiers, and a much more sensible and agreeable person than I
expected; and I was sorry to learn from him that he had for twelve
years been suffering from an attack of sciatica on one side, which
had deprived him of the use of one of his legs. I was obliged to
consent to halt the next day that I might hunt in his preserve
(_ramna_) in the morning, and return his visit in the evening. In the
Raja's cortege there were several men mounted on excellent horses,
who carried guitars, and played upon them, and sang in a very
agreeable style, I had never before seen or heard of such a band, and
was both surprised and pleased.

The great part of the wheat, gram,[3] and other exportable land
produce which the people consume, as far as we have yet come, is
drawn from our Nerbudda districts, and those of Malwa which border
upon them; and, _par consequent_, the price has been rapidly
increasing as we recede from them in our advance northward. Were the
soil of those Nerbudda districts, situated as they are at such a
distance from any great market for their agricultural products, as
bad as it is in the parts of Bundelkhand that I came over, no net
surplus revenue could possibly be drawn from them in the present
state of arts and industry. The high prices paid here for land
produce, arising from the necessity of drawing a great part of what
is consumed from such distant lands, enables the Rajas of these
Bundelkhand states to draw the large revenue they do. These chiefs
expend the whole of their revenue in the maintenance of public
establishments of one kind or other; and, as the essential articles
of subsistence, wheat and gram, &c., which are produced in their own
districts, or those immediately around them, are not sufficient for
the supply of these establishments, they must draw them from distant
territories. All this produce is brought on the backs of bullocks,
because there is no road from the districts whence they obtain it,
over which a wheeled carriage can be drawn with safety; and, as this
mode of transit is very expensive, the price of the produce, when it
reaches the capitals, around which these local establishments are
concentrated, becomes very high. They must pay a price equal to the
collective cost of purchasing and bringing this substance from the
most distant districts, to which they are at any time obliged to have
recourse for a supply, or they will not be supplied; and, as there
cannot be two prices for the same thing in the same market, the wheat
and gram produced in the neighbourhood of one of these Bundelkhand
capitals fetch as high a price there as that brought from the most
remote districts on the banks of the Nerbudda river; while it costs
comparatively nothing to bring it from the former lands to the
markets. Such lands, in consequence, yield a rate of rent much
greater compared with their natural powers of fertility than those of
the remotest districts whence produce is drawn for these markets or
capitals; and, as all the lands are the property of the Rajas, they
drew all those rents as revenue.[4]

Were we to take this revenue, which the Rajas now enjoy, in tribute
for the maintenance of public establishments concentrated at distant
seats, all these local establishments would, of course, be at once
disbanded; and all the effectual demand which they afford for the raw
agricultural produce of distant districts would cease. The price of
this produce would diminish in proportion, and with it the value of
the lands of the districts around such capitals. Hence the folly of
conquerors and paramount powers, from the days of the Greeks and
Romans down to those of Lord Hastings[5] and Sir John Malcolm,[6] who
were all bad political economists, supposing that conquered and ceded
territories could always be made to yield to a foreign state the same
amount of gross revenue as they had paid to their domestic
government, whatever their situation with reference to the markets
for their produce--whatever the state of their arts and their
industry--and whatever the character and extent of the local
establishments maintained out of it. The settlements of the land
revenue in all the territories acquired in Central India during the
Maratha war, which ended in 1817, were made upon the supposition that
the lands would continue to pay the same rate of rent under the new
as they had paid under the old government, uninfluenced by the
diminution of all local establishments, civil and military, to one-
tenth of what they had been; that, under the new order of things, all
the waste lands must be brought into tillage, and be able to pay as
high a rate of rent as before tillage, and, consequently, that the
aggregate available net revenue must greatly and rapidly increase.
Those who had the making of the settlements and the governing of
these new territories did not consider that the diminution of every
_establishment_ was the removal of a _market_, of an effectual demand
for land produce; and that, when all the waste lands should be
brought into tillage, the whole would deteriorate in fertility, from
the want of fallows, Under the prevailing system of agriculture,
which afforded the lands no other means of renovation from over-
cropping. The settlements of land which were made throughout our new
land acquisitions upon these fallacious assumptions of course failed.
During a series of quinquennial settlements the assessment has been
everywhere gradually reduced to about two-thirds of what it was when
our rule began, to less than one-half of what Sir John Malcolm, and
all the other local authorities, and even the worthy Marquis of
Hastings himself, under the influence of their opinions, expected it
would be. The land revenues of the native princes of Central India,
who reduced their public establishments, which the new order of
things seemed to render useless, and thereby diminished the only
markets for the raw produce of their lands, have been everywhere
falling off in the same proportion; and scarcely one of them now
draws two-thirds of the income he drew from the same lands in 1817.

There are in the valley of the Nerbudda districts that yield a great
deal more produce every year than either Orchha, Jhansi, or Datiya;
and yet, from the want of the same domestic markets, they do not
yield one-fourth of the amount of land revenue. The lands are,
however, rated equally high to the assessment, in proportion to their
value to the farmers and cultivators. To enable them to yield a
larger revenue to Government, they require to have larger
establishments as markets for land produce. These establishments may
be either public, and paid by Government; or they may be private, as
manufactories, by which the land produce of these districts would be
consumed by people employed in investing the value of their labour in
commodities suited to the demand of distant markets, and more
valuable than land produce in proportion to their weight and bulk.[7]
These are the establishments which Government should exert itself to
introduce and foster; since the valley of the Nerbudda, in addition
to a soil exceedingly fertile, has in its whole line, from its source
to its embouchure, rich beds of coal reposing for the use of future
generations, under the sandstone of the Satpura and Vindhya ranges,
and beds no less rich of very fine iron. These advantages have not
yet been justly appreciated; but they will be so by and by.[8]

About half-past four in the afternoon of the day we reached Datiya, I
had a visit from the Raja, who came in his palankeen, with a very
respectable, but not very numerous or noisy, train, and he sat with
me about an hour. My large tents were both pitched parallel to each
other, about twenty paces distant, and united to each other at both
ends by separate 'kanats', or cloth curtains. My little boy was
present, and behaved extremely well in steadily refusing, without
even a look from me, a handful of gold mohurs, which the Raja pressed
several times upon his acceptance. I received him at the door of my
tent, and supported him upon my arm to his chair, as he cannot walk
without some slight assistance, from the affection already mentioned
in his leg. A salute from the guns at his castle announced his
departure and return to it. After the audience, Lieutenant Thomas and
I ascended to the summit of a palace of the former Rajas of this
state, which stands upon a high rock close inside the eastern gate of
the city, whence we could see to the west of the city a still larger
and handsomer palace standing, I asked our conductors, the Raja's
servants, why it was unoccupied. 'No prince these degenerate days',
said they, 'could muster a family and court worthy of such a palace--
the family and court of the largest of them would, within the walls
of such a building, feel as if they were in a desert. Such palaces
were made for princes of the older times, who were quite different
beings from those of the present day.'

From the deserted palace we went to the new garden which is preparing
for the young Raja, an adopted son of about ten years of age. It is
close to the southern wall of the city, and is very extensive and
well managed. The orange-trees are all grafted, and sinking under the
weight of as fine fruit as any in India. Attempting to ascend the
steps of an empty bungalow upon a raised terrace at the southern
extremity of the garden, the attendants told us respectfully that
they hoped we would take off our shoes if we wished to enter, as the
ancestor of the Raja by whom it was built, Ram Chand, had lately
_become a god_, and was there worshipped. The roof is of stone,
supported on carved stone pillars. On the centre pillar, upon a
ground of whitewash, is a hand or trident. This is the only sign of a
sacred character the building has yet assumed; and I found that it
owed this character of sanctity to the circumstance of some one
having vowed an offering to the manes of the builder, if he obtained
what his soul most desired; and, having obtained it, all the people
believe that those who do the same at the same place in a pure spirit
of faith will obtain what they pray for.

I made some inquiries about Hardaul Lala, the son of Birsingh Deo,
who built the fort of Dhamoni, one of the ancestors of the Datiya
Raja, and found that he was as much worshipped here at his birthplace
as upon the banks of the Nerbudda as the supposed great _originator_
of the cholera morbus. There is at Datiya a temple dedicated to him
and much frequented; and one of the priests brought me a flower in
his name, and chanted something indicating that Hardaul Lala was now
worshipped even so far as the British _capital of Calcutta_, I asked
the old prince what he thought of the origin of the worship of this
his ancestor; and he told me that when the cholera broke out first in
the camp of Lord Hastings, then pitched about three stages from his
capital, on the bank of the Sindh at Chandpur Sunari, several people
recovered from the disease immediately after making votive offerings
in his name; and that he really thought the spirit of his great-
grandfather had worked some wonderful cures upon people afflicted
with this dreadful malady.[9]

The town of Datiya contains a population of between forty and fifty
thousand souls. The streets are narrow, for, in buildings, as in
dress, the Raja allows every man to consult his own inclinations.
There are, however, a great many excellent houses in Datiya, and the
appearance of the place is altogether very good. Many of his
feudatory chiefs reside occasionally in the city, and have all their
establishments with them, a practice which does not, I believe,
prevail anywhere else among these Bundelkhand chiefs, and this makes
the capital much larger, handsomer, and more populous than that of
Tehri. This indicates more of mutual confidence between the chief and
his vassals, and accords well with the character they bear in the
surrounding countries. Some of the houses occupied by these barons
are very pretty. They spend the revenue of their distant estates in
adorning them, and embellishing the capital, which they certainly
could not have ventured to do under the late Rajas of Tehri, and may
not possibly be able to do under the future Rajas of Datiya. The
present minister of Datiya, Ganesh, is a very great knave, and
encourages the residence upon his master's estate of all kinds of
thieves and robbers, who bring back from distant districts every
season vast quantities of booty, which they share with him. The chief
himself is a mild old gentleman, who would not suffer violence to be
offered to any of his nobles, though he would not, perhaps, quarrel
with his minister for getting him a little addition to his revenue
from without, by affording a sanctuary to such kind of people. As in
Tehri, so here, the pickpockets constitute the entire population of
several villages, and carry their depredations northward to the banks
of the Indus, and southward to Bombay and Madras.[10] But colonies of
thieves and robbers like these abound no less in our own territories
than in those of native states. There are more than a thousand
families of them in the districts of Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, and
Meerut in the Upper Doab,[11] all well enough known to the local
authorities, who can do nothing with them.

They extend their depredations into remote districts, and the booty
they bring home with them they share liberally with the native police
and landholders under whose protection they live. Many landholders
and police officers make large fortunes from the share they get of
this booty. Magistrates do not molest them, because they would
despair of ever finding the proprietors of the property that might be
found upon them; and, if they could trace them, they would never be
able to persuade them to come and 'enter upon a worse sea of
troubles' in prosecuting them. These thieves and robbers of the
professional classes, who have the sagacity to avoid plundering near
home, are always just as secure in our best regulated districts as
they are in the worst native states, from the only three things which
such depredators care about--the penal laws, the odium of the society
in which they move, and the vengeance of the god they worship; and
they are always well received in the society around them, as long as
they can avoid having their neighbours annoyed by summons to give
evidence for or against them in our courts. They feel quite sure of
the goodwill of the god they worship, provided they give a fair share
of their booty to his priests; and no less secure of immunity from
penal laws, except on very rare occasions when they happen to be
taken in the tact, in a country where such laws happen to be in
force.[12]



Notes:

1. December, 1835.

2. Raja Parichhit died in 1839.

3. The word gram (_Cicer arietinum_) is misprinted 'grain' in the
author's text, in this place and in many others.

4. Bundelkhand exports to the Ganges a great quantity of cotton,
which enables it to pay for the wheat, gram, and other land produce
which it draws from distant districts, [W. H. S.] Other considerable
exports from Bundelkhand used to be the root of the _Morinda
citrifolia_, yielding a dark red dye, and the coarse _kharwa_ cloth,
a kind of canvas, dyed with this dye, which is known by the name of
'_ al_'. But modern chemistry has nearly killed the trade in
vegetable dyes. The construction of railways and roads has
revolutionized the System of trade, and equalized prices.

5. Governor-General from October 4, 1813, till January 1, 1823. He
was Earl of Moira when he assumed office.

6. Sir John Malcolm was Agent to the Governor-General in Central
India from 1817 to 1822, and was appointed Governor of Bombay in
1827.

7. The construction of railways and the development of trade with
Europe have completely altered the conditions. The Nerbudda valley
can now yield a considerable revenue.

8. The iron ore no doubt is good, but the difficulties in the way of
working it profitably are so great that the author's sanguine
expectations seem unlikely to be fully realized. V. Ball, in his day
the best authority on the subject, observes, 'As will be abundantly
shown in the course of the following pages, the manufacture of iron
has, in many parts of India, been wholly crushed out of existence by
competition with English iron, while in others it is steadily
decreasing, and it seems destined to become extinct' (_Economic
Geology_ (1881), being part of the _Manual of the Geology of India_,
p. 338). Ball thought that, if improved methods of reduction should
be employed, the Chanda ore might be worked profitably. As regards
the rest of India, with the doubtful exception of Upper Assam, he had
little hope of success. Full details of the working of the mines in
the Jabalpur, Narsinghpur, and Chanda districts of the Central
Provinces are given in pp. 384 to 392 of the same work. See also _I.
G._ (1908), vol. x, p. 51; and _The Oxford Survey of the British
Empire_ (Oxford, 1914), vol. ii, Asia, pp. 143, 160. A powerful
company formed at Bombay in 1907, operating at a spot on the borders
of the Central Provinces and Orissa, hopes to turn out 7,000 tons of
'steel shapes' per month.

Coal is not found below the very ancient sandstone rocks, classed by
geologists under the name of the Vindhyan Series. The principal beds
of coal are found in the great series of rocks, known collectively as
the Gondwana System, which is supposed to range in age from the
Permian to the Upper Jurassic periods of European geologists
(_Manual_, vol. i, p. 102). This Gondwana System includes sandstones.
A coalfield at Mohpani, ninety-five miles west-south-west from
Jabalpur by rail, was worked from 1862 to 1904 by the Nerbudda Coal
and Iron Company; and is now worked by the G. I. P. Railway Company.
The principal coal-field of the Central Provinces for some years was
that near Warora in the Chanda district, but the amount which can be
extracted profitably is approaching exhaustion; in fact the colliery
was closed in 1906. Thick seams are known to exist to the south of
Chanda near the Wardha river. See _I. G._, 1907, vol. iii, chap. iii,
p. 135; vol. x. p. 51.

9. See note to Chapter 25, _ante_, note 7.

10. 'Pickpockets' is not a suitable term.

11. The Persian word 'doab' means the tract of land between two
rivers, which ultimately meet. The upper doab referred to in the text
lies between the Ganges and the Jumna.

12. These 'colonies of thieves and robbers' are still the despair of
the Indian administrator. They are known to Anglo-Indian law as
'criminal tribes', and a special Act has been passed for their
regulation. The principle of that Act is police supervision,
exercised by means of visits of inspection, and the issue of
passports. The Act has been applied from time to time to various
tribes, but has in every case failed. In 1891, Sir Auckland Colvin,
then Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces, adopted the
strong measure of suddenly capturing many hundreds of Sansias, a
troublesome criminal tribe, in the Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, and Aligarh
Districts. Some of the prisoners were sent to a special jail, or
reformatory, called a 'settlement', at Sultanpur in Oudh, and the
others were drafted off to various landlords' estates. These latter
were supposed to devote themselves to agriculture. The editor, as
Magistrate of Muzaffarnagar, effected the capture of more than seven
hundred Sansias in that district, and dispatched them in accordance
with orders. As most people expected, the agricultural pupils
promptly absconded. Multitudes of Sansias in the Panjab and elsewhere
remained unaffected by the raid, which could not have any permanent
effect. The milder expedient of settling and nursing a large colony,
organized in villages, of another criminal tribe, the Bawarias
(Boureahs), was also tried many years ago in the same district of
Muzaffarnagar. The people settled readily enough, and reclaimed a
considerable area of waste land, but were not in the least degree
reformed. At the beginning of the cold season, in October or
November, most of the able-bodied men annually leave the villages,
and remain absent on distant forays till March or April, when they
return with their booty, enjoying almost complete immunity, for the
reasons stated in the text. On one occasion some of these Bawarias of
Muzaffarnagar stole a lakh and a half of rupees (about L12,000 at
that time), in currency notes at Tuticorin, in the south of the
peninsula, 1,400 miles distant from their home. The number of such
criminal tribes, or castes, is very great, and the larger of these
communities, such as the Sansias, each comprise many thousands of
members, diffused over an enormous area in several provinces. It is,
therefore, impossible to put them down, except by the use of drastic
measures such as no civilized European Government could propose or
sanction. The criminal tribes, or castes, are, to a large extent,
races; but, in many of these castes, fresh blood is constantly
introduced by the admission of outsiders, who are willing to eat with
the members of the tribe, and so become for ever incorporated in the
brotherhood. The gipsies of Europe are closely related to certain of
these Indian tribes. The official literature on the subject is of
considerable bulk. Mr. W. Crooke's small book, _An Ethnographic
Glossary_, published in 1891 (Government Press, Allahabad), is a
convenient summary of most of the facts on record concerning the
criminal and other castes of Northern India, and gives abundant
references to other publications. See also his larger work, _Castes
and Tribes of the N. W. P. and Oudh_, 4 vols. Calcutta, 1906. The
author's folio book, _Report on the Budhuk alias Bagree Decoits and
other Gang Robbers by Hereditary Profession, and on the Measures
adopted by the Government of India for their Suppression_ (Calcutta,
1849), _ante_, Bibliography No. 12, probably is the most valuable of
the original authorities on the subject, but it is rare and seldom
consulted.




CHAPTER 32


Sporting at Datiya--Fidelity of Followers to their Chiefs in India--
Law of Primogeniture wanting among Muhammadans.

The morning after we reached Datiya, I went out with Lieutenant
Thomas to shoot and hunt in the Raja's large preserve, and with the
_humane_ and determined resolution of killing no more game than our
camp would be likely to eat; for we were told that the deer and wild
hogs were so very numerous that we might shoot just as many as we
pleased.[l] We were posted upon two terraces, one near the gateway,
and the other in the centre of the preserve; and, after waiting here
an hour, we got each a shot at a hog. Hares we saw, and might have
shot, but we had loaded all our barrels with ball for other game. We
left the 'ramna', which is a quadrangle of about one hundred acres of
thick grass, shrubs, and brushwood, enclosed by a high stone wall.
There is one gate on the west side, and this is kept open during the
night, to let the game out and in. It is shut and guarded during the
day, when the animals are left to repose in the shade, except on such
occasions as the present, when the Raja wants to give his guests a
morning's sport. On the plains and woods outside we saw a good many
large deer, but could not manage to get near them in our own way, and
had not patience to try that of the natives, so that we came back
without killing anything, or having had any occasion to exercise our
_forbearance_. The Raja's people, as soon as we left them, went about
their sport after their own fashion, and brought us a fine buck
antelope after breakfast. They have a bullock trained to go about the
fields with them, led at a quick pace by a halter, with which the
sportsman guides him, as he walks along with him by the side opposite
to that facing the deer he is in pursuit of. He goes round the deer
as he grazes in the field, shortening the distance at every circle
till he comes within shot. At the signal given the bullock stands
still, and the sportsman rests his gun upon his back and fires. They
seldom miss. Others go with a fine buck and doe antelope, tame, and
trained to browse upon the fresh bushes, which are woven for the
occasion into a kind of hand-hurdle, behind which a man creeps along
over the fields towards the herd of wild ones, or sits still with his
matchlock ready, and pointed out through the leaves. The herd seeing
the male and female strangers so very busily and agreeably employed
upon their apparently inviting repast, advance to accost them, and
are shot when they get within a secure distance.[2] The hurdle was
filled with branches from the 'dhau' (_Lythrum fructuosum_) tree, of
which the jungle is for the most part composed, plucked as we went
along; and the tame antelopes, having been kept long fasting for the
purpose, fed eagerly upon them. We had also two pairs of falcons; but
a knowledge of the brutal manner in which these birds are fed and
taught is enough to prevent any but a _brute_ from taking much
delight in the sport they afford.[3]

The officer who conducted us was evidently much disappointed, for he
was really very anxious, as he knew his master the Raja was, that we
should have a good day's sport. On our way back I made him ride by my
side, and talk to me about Datiya, since he had been unable to show
me any sport. I got his thoughts into a train that I knew would
animate him, if he had any soul at all for poetry or poetical
recollections, as I thought he had. 'The noble works in palaces and
temples,' said he, 'which you see around you, Sir, mouldering in
ruins, were built by princes who had beaten emperors in battle, and
whose spirits still hover over and protect the place. Several times,
under the late disorders which preceded your paramount rule in
Hindustan, when hostile forces assembled around us, and threatened
our capital with destruction, lights and elephants innumerable were
seen from the tops of those battlements, passing and repassing under
the walls, ready to defend them had the enemy attempted an assault.
Whenever our soldiers endeavoured to approach near them, they
disappeared; and everybody knew that they were spirits of men like
Birsingh Deo and Hardaul Lala that had come to our aid, and we never
lost confidence.' It is easy to understand the devotion of men to
their chiefs when they believe their progenitors to have been
demigods, and to have been faithfully served by their ancestors for
several generations. We neither have, nor ever can have, servants so
personally devoted to us as these men are to their chiefs, though we
have soldiers who will fight under our banners with as much courage
and fidelity. They know that their grandfathers served the
grandfathers of these chiefs, and they hope their grandchildren will
serve their grandsons. The one feels as much pride and pleasure in so
serving, as the other in being so served; and both hope that the link
which binds them may never be severed. Our servants, on the contrary,
private and public, are always in dread that some accident, some
trivial fault, or some slight offence, not to be avoided, will sever
for ever the link that binds them to their master.

The fidelity of the military classes of the people of India to their
immediate chief, or leader, whose _salt they eat_, has been always
very remarkable, and commonly bears little relation to his _moral
virtues_, or conduct to _his_ superiors. They feel that it is their
duty to serve him who feeds and protects them and their families in
all situations, and under all circumstances; and the chief feels
that, while he has a right to their services, it is his imperative
duty so to feed and protect them and their families. He may change
sides as often as he pleases, but the relations between him and his
followers remain unchanged. About the side he chooses to take in a
contest for dominion, they ask no questions, and feel no
responsibility. God has placed their destinies in dependence upon
his; and to him they cling to the last. In Malwa, Bhopal, and other
parts of Central India, the Muhammadan rule could be established over
that of the Rajput chief only by the annihilation of the entire race
of their followers.[4] In no part of the world has the devotion of
soldiers to their immediate chief been more remarkable than in India
among the Rajputs; and in no part of the world bas the fidelity of
these chiefs to the paramount power been more unsteady, or their
devotion less to be relied upon. The laws of Muhammad, which
prescribe that the property in land be divided equally among the
sons,[5] leaves no rule for succession to territorial or political
dominion. It has been justly observed by Hume: 'The right of
primogeniture was introduced with the feudal law; an institution
which is hurtful by producing and maintaining an unequal division of
property; but it is advantageous in another respect by accustoming
the people to a preference for the eldest son, and thereby preventing
a partition or disputed succession in the monarchy.'

Among the Muhammadan princes there was no law that bound the whole
members of a family to obey the eldest son of a deceased prince.
Every son of the Emperor of Hindustan considered that he had a right
to set up his claim to the throne, vacated by the death of his
father; and, in anticipation of that death, to strengthen his claim
by negotiations and intrigues with all the territorial chiefs and
influential nobles of the empire. However _prejudicial to the
interests_ of his elder brother such measures might be, they were
never considered to be an _invasion of his rights_, because such
rights had never been established by the laws of their prophet. As
all the sons considered that they had an equal right to solicit the
support of the chiefs and nobles, so all the chiefs and nobles
considered that they could adopt the cause of whichever _son_ they
chose, without incurring the reproach of either _treason_ or
dishonour. The one who succeeded thought himself justified by the law
of self-preservation to put, not only his brothers, but all their
sons, to death; so that there was, after every new succession, an
entire _clearance_ of all the male members of the imperial family.
Aurangzeb said to his pedantic tutor, who wished to be raised to high
station on his accession to the imperial throne, 'Should not you,
instead of your flattery, have taught me something of that point so
important to a king, which is, what are the reciprocal duties of a
sovereign to his subjects, and those of the subjects to their
sovereign? And ought not you to have considered that one day I should
be obliged, with the sword, to dispute my life and the crown with my
brothers? Is not that the destiny, almost of all the sons of
Hindustan?'[6] Now that they have become pensioners of the British
Government, the members increase like white ants; and, as Malthus has
it, 'press so hard against their means of subsistence' that a great
many of them are absolutely starving, in spite of the enormous
pension the head of the family receives for their maintenance.[7]

The city of Datiya is surrounded by a stone wall about thirty feet
high, with its foundation on a solid rock; but it has no ditch or
glacis, and is capable of little or no defence against cannon. In the
afternoon I went, accompanied by Lieutenant Thomas, and followed by
the best _cortege_ we could muster, to return the Raja's visit. He
resides within the walls of the city in a large square garden,
enclosed with a high wall, and filled with fine orange-trees, at this
time bending under the weight of the most delicious fruit. The old
chief received us at the bottom of a fine flight of steps leading up
to a handsome pavilion, built upon the wall of one of the faces of
this garden. It was enclosed at the back, and in front looked into
the garden through open arcades. The floors were spread with handsome
carpets of the Jhansi manufacture. In front of the pavilion was a
wide terrace of polished stone, extending to the top of the flight of
the steps; and, in the centre of this terrace, and directly opposite
to us as we looked into the garden, was a fine _jet d'eau_ in a large
basin of water in full play, and, with its shower of diamonds,
showing off the rich green and red of the orange-trees to the best
advantage.

The large quadrangle thus occupied is called the 'kila', or fort, and
the wall that surrounds it is thirty feet high, with a round
embattled tower at each corner. On the east face is a fine large
gateway for the entrance, with a curtain as high as the wall itself.
Inside the gate is a piece of ordnance painted red, with the largest
calibre I ever saw.[8] This is fired once a year, at the festival of
the Dasahra.[9]

Our arrival at the wall was announced by a salute from some fine
brass guns upon the bastions near the gateway. As we advanced from
the gateway up through the garden to the pavilion, we were again
serenaded by our friends with their guitars and excellent voices.
They were now on foot, and arranged along both sides of the walk that
we had to pass through. The open garden space within the walls
appeared to me to be about ten acres. It is crossed and recrossed at
right angles by numerous walks, having rows of plantain and other
fruit trees on each side; and orange, pomegranate, and other small
fruit trees to fill the space between; and anything more rich and
luxuriant one can hardly conceive. In the centre of the north and
west sides are pavilions with apartments for the family above,
behind, and on each side of the great reception room, exactly similar
to that in which we were received on the south face. The whole
formed, I think, the most delightful residence that I have seen for a
hot climate. There is, however, no doubt that the most healthy
stations in this, and every other hot climate, are those situated
upon dry, open, sandy plains, with neither shrubberies nor
basins.[10]

We were introduced to the young Raja, the old man's adopted son, a
lad of about ten years of age, who is to be married in February next.
He is plain in person, but has a pleasing expression of countenance;
and, if he be moulded after the old man, and not after his minister,
the country may perhaps have in him the 'lucky accident' of a good
governor.[11] I have rarely seen a finer or more prepossessing man
than the Raja, and all his subjects speak well of him. We had an
elephant, a horse, abundance of shawls, and other fine clothes placed
before us as presents; but I prayed the old gentleman to keep them
all for me till I returned, as I was a mere voyageur without the
means of carrying such valuable things in safety; but he would not be
satisfied till I had taken two plain hilts of swords and spears, the
manufacture of Datiya, and of little value, which Lieutenant Thomas
and I promised to keep for his sake. The rest of the presents were
all taken back to their places. After an hour's talk with the old man
and his ministers, attar of roses and pan were distributed, and we
took our leave to go and visit the old palace, which as yet we had
seen only from a distance. There were only two men besides the Raja,
his son, and ourselves, seated upon chairs. All the other principal
persons of the court sat around cross-legged on the carpet; but they
joined freely in the conversation, I was told by these courtiers how
often the young chief had, during the day, asked when he could have
the happiness of seeing me; and the old chief was told, in my
hearing, how many _good things_ I had said since I came into his
territories, all tending to his honour and my credit. This is a
species of barefaced flattery to which we are all doomed to submit in
our intercourse with these native chiefs; but still, to a man of
sense, it never ceases to be distressing and offensive; for he can
hardly ever help feeling that they must think him a mere child before
they could venture to treat him with it. This is, however, to put too
harsh a construction upon what in reality, the people mean only as
civility; and they, who can so easily consider the grandfathers of
their chiefs as gods, and worship them as such, may be suffered to
treat _us_ as heroes and sayers of good things without offence.[12]

We ascended to the summit of the old palace, and were well repaid for
the trouble by the view of an extremely rich sheet of wheat, gram,
and other spring crops, extending to the north and east, as far as
the eye could reach, from the dark belt of forest, three miles deep,
with which the Raja has surrounded his capital on every side as
hunting grounds. The lands comprised in this forest are, for the most
part, exceedingly poor, and water for irrigation is unattainable
within them, so that little is lost by this taste of the chief for
the sports of the field, in which, however, he cannot himself now
indulge.

On the 19th[13] we left Datiya, and, after emerging from the
surrounding forest, came over a fine plain covered with rich spring
crops for ten miles, till we entered among the ravines of the river
Sindh, whose banks are, like those of all rivers in this part of
India, bordered to a great distance by these deep and ugly
inequalities. Here they are almost without grass or shrubs to clothe
their hideous nakedness, and have been formed by the torrents, which,
in the season of the rains, rush from the extensive plain, as from a
wide ocean, down to the deep channel of the river in narrow streams.
These streams cut their way easily through the soft alluvial soil,
which must once have formed the bed of a vast lake.[14] On coming
through the forest, before sunrise we discovered our error of the day
before, for we found excellent deer-shooting in the long grass and
brushwood, which grow luxuriantly at some distance from the city. Had
we come out a couple of miles the day before, we might have had noble
sport, and really required the _forbearance and humanity_ to which we
had so magnanimously resolved to sacrifice our 'pride of art' as
sportsmen; for we saw many herds of the nilgai, antelope, and spotted
deer,[15] browsing within a few paces of us, within the long grass
and brushwood on both sides of the road. We could not stay, however,
to indulge in much sport, having a long march before us.


Notes:

1. Some readers may be shocked at the notion of the author shooting
pig, but, in Bundelkhand, where pig-sticking, or hog-hunting, as the
older writers call it, is not practised, hog-shooting is quite
legitimate.

2. The common antelope, or black buck (_Antilope bezoartica_, or
_cervicapra_) feed in herds, sometimes numbering many hundreds, in
the open plains, especially those of black soil. Men armed with
matchlocks can scarcely get a shot except by adopting artifices
similar to those described in the text.

3. Sixteen species of hawks, belonging to several genera, are trained
in India. They are often fed by being allowed to suck the blood from
the breasts of live pigeons, and their eyes are darkened by means of
a silken thread passed through holes in the eyelids. 'Hawking is a
very dull and very cruel sport. A person must become insensible to
the sufferings of the most beautiful and most inoffensive of the
brute creation before he can feel any enjoyment in it. The cruelty
lies chiefly in the mode of feeding the hawks' (_Journey through the
Kingdom of Oude_, vol. i, p, 109). Asoka forbade the practice by the
words: 'The living must not be fed with the living' (Pillar Edict V,
_c._ 243 B.C., in V. A. Smith, _Asoka_, 2nd ed. (1909), p. 188).

4. The wording of this sentence is unfortunate, and it is not easy to
understand why the author mentioned Bhopal. The principality of
Bhopal was formed by Dost Mohammed Khan, an Afghan officer of
Aurangzeb, who became independent a few years after that sovereign's
death in 1707. Since that time the dynasty has always continued to be
Muhammadan. The services of Sikandar Begam in the Mutiny are well
known. Malwa is the country lying between Bundelkhand, on the east,
and Rajputana, on the west, and includes Bhopal. Most of the states
in this region are now ruled by Hindoos, but the local dynasty which
ruled the kingdom of Malwa and Mandu from A.D. 1401 to 1531 was
Musalman. (See Thomas, _Chronicles of the Pathan Kings of Dehli_, pp.
346-53.)

5. All near relatives succeed to a Muhammadan's estate, which is
divided, under complicated rules, into the necessary number of
shares. A son's share is double that of a daughter. As between
themselves all sons share equally.

6. Bernier's _Revolutions of the Mogul Empire_. [W. H. S.] The author
seems to have used either the London edition of 1671, entitled _The
History of the Late Revolution of the Empire of the Great Mogul_, or
one of the reprints of that edition. The anecdote referred to is
called by Bernier 'an uncommonly good story'. Aurangzeb made a long
speech, ending by dismissing the unlucky pedagogue with the words:
'Go! withdraw to thy native village. Henceforth let no man know
either who thou art, or what is become of thee.' (Bernier, _Travels
in the Mogul Empire_, pp. 154-161, ed. Constable and V. A, Smith,
1914.) Manucci repeats the story with slight variations (_Storie da
Mogor_, vol. ii, pp. 29-33).

7. Compare the forcible description of the state of the Delhi royal
family in Chapter 76, _post_. The old emperor's pension was one
hundred thousand rupees a month. The events of the Mutiny effected a
considerable clearance, though the number of persons claiming
relationship with the royal house is still large. A few of these have
taken service under the British Government, but have not
distinguished themselves.

8. The author, unfortunately, does not give the dimensions of this
piece. Rumi Khan's gun at Bijapur, which was cast in the sixteenth
century at Ahmadnagar, is generally considered the largest ancient
cannon in India. It is fifteen feet long, and weighs about forty-one
tons, the calibre being two feet four inches. Like the gun at Datiya,
it is painted with red lead, and is worshipped by Hindoos, who are
always ready to worship every manifestation of power. Another big gun
at Bijapur is thirty feet in length, built up of bars bound together.
Other very large pieces exist at Gawilgarh in Berar, and Bidar in the
Nizam's dominions. (Balfour, _Cyclopaedia_, 3rd ed., s.v. Gun,
Bijapur, Gawilgarh Hill Range, and Beder.)

9. The Dasahra festival, celebrated at the beginning of October,
marks the close of the rains and the commencement of the cold season.
It is observed by all classes of Hindus, but especially by Rajas and
the military classes, for whom this festival has peculiar importance.
In the old days no prince or commander, whether his command consisted
of soldiers or robbers, ever undertook regular operations until the
Dasahra had been duly observed. All Rajas still receive valuable
offerings on this occasion, which form an important element in their
revenue. In some places buffaloes are sacrificed by the Raja in
person. The soldiers worship the weapons which they hope to use
during the coming season. Among the Marathas the ordnance received
especial attention and worship. The ceremony of worshipping certain
leguminous trees at this festival has been noticed _ante_, Chapter 26
note 8.

10. Few Europeans nowadays could join in the author's enthusiastic
admiration of the Datiya garden. The arrangements seem to have been
those usual in large formal native gardens in Northern India.

11. This lad has since succeeded his adoptive father as the chief of
the Datiya principality. The old chief found him one day lying in the
grass, as he was shooting through one of his preserves. His elephant
was very near treading upon the infant before he saw it. He brought
home the boy, adopted him as his son, and declared him his successor,
from having no son of his own. The British Government, finding that
the people generally seemed to acquiesce in the old man's wishes,
sanctioned the measure, as the paramount power. [W. H. S.] The old
Raja died in 1839, and the succession of the boy, Bijai Bahadur, thus
strangely favoured by fortune, was unsuccessfully opposed by one of
the nobles of the state. Bijai Bahadur governed the state with
sufficient success until his death in 1857. The succession was then
again disputed, and disturbances took place which were suppressed by
an armed British force. The state is still governed by its hereditary
ruler, who has been granted the privilege of adoption (_N.W.P.
Gazetteer_, 1st ed., vol. i, p. 410, s.v. Datiya).

12. The fact is that all Oriental rulers thoroughly enjoy the most
outrageous flattery, and would feel defrauded if they did not get it
in abundance. Even Akbar, the greatest of them, could enjoy it, and
allow the courtly poet to say 'See Akbar, and you see God'. Indians
find it difficult to believe that European officials really dislike
attentions which are exacted by rulers of their own races.

13. December, 1835.

14. This theory is probably incorrect. See _ante_, Chapter 14, note
7, on formation of black soil.

15. Nilgai, or 'blue-bull', a huge, heavy antelope of bovine form,
common in India, scientifically named _Portax pictus_. By 'antelope'
the author means the common antelope, or black buck, the _Antilope
bezoartica_, or _cervicapra_ of naturalists. The spotted deer, or
'chital', a very handsome creature, is the _Axis maculata_ of Gray,
the _Cervus axis_ of other zoologists.





CHAPTER 33


'Bhumiawat.'

Though no doubt very familiar to our ancestors during the Middle
Ages, this is a thing happily but little understood in Europe at the
present day. 'Bhumiawat', in Bundelkhand, signifies a war or fight
for landed inheritance, from 'bhum', the land, earth, &c.; 'bhumia',
a landed proprietor.

When a member of the landed aristocracy, no matter how small, has a
dispute with his ruler, he collects his followers, and levies
indiscriminate war upon his territories, plundering and burning his
towns and villages, and murdering their inhabitants till he is
invited back upon his own terms. During this war it is a point of
honour not to allow a single acre of land to be tilled upon the
estate which he has deserted, or from which he has been driven; and
he will murder any man who attempts to drive a plough in it, together
with all his family, if he can. The smallest member of this landed
aristocracy of the Hindoo military class will often cause a terrible
devastation during the interval that he is engaged in his bhumiawat;
for there are always vast numbers of loose characters floating upon
the surface of Indian society, ready to 'gird up their loins' and use
their sharp swords in the service of marauders of this kind, when
they cannot get employment in that of the constituted authorities of
government.

Such a marauder has generally the sympathy of nearly all the members
of his own class and clan, who are apt to think that his case may one
day be their own. He is thus looked upon as contending for the
interests of all; and, if his chief happens to be on bad terms with
other chiefs in the neighbourhood, the latter will clandestinely
support the outlaw and his cause, by giving him and his followers
shelter in the hills and jungles, and concealing their families and
stolen property in their castles. It is a maxim in India, and, in the
less settled parts of it, a very true one, that 'one Pindhara or
robber makes a hundred'; that is, where one robber, by a series of
atrocious murders and robberies, frightens the people into non-
resistance, a hundred loose characters from among the peasantry of
the country will take advantage of the occasion, and adopt his name,
in order to plunder with the smallest possible degree of personal
risk to themselves.

Some magistrates and local rulers, under such circumstances, have
very unwisely adopted the measure of prohibiting the people from
carrying or having arms in their houses, the very thing which, above
all others, such robbers most wish; for they know, though such
magistrates and rulers do not, that it is the innocent only, and the
friends to order, who will obey the command. The robber will always
be able to conceal his arms, or keep with them out of reach of the
magistrate; and he is now relieved altogether from the salutary dread
of a shot from a door or window. He may rob at his leisure, or sit
down like a gentleman and have all that the people of the surrounding
towns and villages possess brought to him, for no man can any longer
attempt to defend himself or his family.[1] Weak governments are
obliged soon to invite back the robber on his own terms, for the
people can pay them no revenue, being prevented from cultivating
their lands, and obliged to give all they have to the robbers, or
submit to be plundered of it. Jhansi and Jalaun are exceedingly weak
governments, from having their territories studded with estates held
rent-free, or at a quit-rent, by Pawar, Bundela, and Dhandel barons,
who have always the sympathy of the numerous chiefs and their barons
of the same class around.

In the year 1832, the Pawar barons of the estates of Noner, Jigni,
Udgaon, and Bilhari in Jhansi had some cause of dissatisfaction with
their chief; and this they presented to Lord William Bentinck as he
passed through the province in December. His lordship told them that
these were questions of internal administration which they must
settle among themselves, as the Supreme Government would not
interfere. They had, therefore, only one way of settling such
disputes, and that was to raise the standard of bhumiawat, and cry,
'To your tents, O Israel!' This they did; and, though the Jhansi
chief had a military force of twelve thousand men, they burnt down
every town and village in the territory that did not come into their
terms; and the chief had possession of only two, Jhansi, the capital,
and the large commercial town of Mau,[2] when the Bundela Rajas of
Orchha and Datiya, who had hitherto clandestinely supported the
insurgents, consented to become the arbitrators. A suspension of arms
followed, the barons got all they demanded, and the bhumiawat ceased.
But the Jhansi chief, who had hitherto lent large sums to the other
chiefs in the province, was reduced to the necessity of borrowing
from them all, and from Gwalior, and mortgaging to them a good
portion of his lands.[3]

Gwalior is itself weak in the same way. A great portion of its lands
are held by barons of the Hindoo military classes, equally addicted
to bhumiawat, and one or more of them is always engaged in this kind
of indiscriminate warfare; and it must be confessed that, unless they
are always considered to be ready to engage in it, they have very
little chance of retaining their possessions on moderate terms, for
these weak governments are generally the most rapacious when they
have it in their power.

A good deal of the lands of the Muhammadan sovereign of Oudh are, in
the same manner, held by barons of the Rajput tribe; and some of them
are almost always in the field engaged in the same kind of warfare
against their sovereign. The baron who pursues it with vigour is
almost sure to be invited back upon his own terms very soon. If his
lands are worth a hundred thousand a year, he will get them for ten;
and have this remitted for the next five years, until he is ready for
another bhumiawat, on the ground of the injuries sustained during the
last, from which his estate has to recover. The baron who is
peaceable and obedient soon gets rack-rented out of his estate, and
reduced to beggary.[4]

In 1818, some companies of my regiment were for several months
employed in Oudh, after a young 'bhumiawati' of this kind, Sheo Ratan
Singh. He was the nephew and heir of the Raja of Partabgarh,[5] who
wished to exclude him from his inheritance by the adoption of a
brother of his young bride. Sheo Ratan had a small village for his
maintenance, and said nothing to his old uncle till the governor of
the province, Ghulam Husani[6], accepted an invitation to be present
at the ceremony of adoption. He knew that, if he acquiesced any
longer, he would lose his inheritance, and cried, 'To your tents, 0
Israel!' He got a small band of three hundred Rajputs, with nothing
but their swords, shields, and spears, to follow him, all of the same
clan and true men. They were bivouacked in a jungle not more than
seven miles from our cantonments at Partabgarh, when Ghulam Husain
marched to attack them with three regiments of infantry, one of
cavalry, and two nine-pounders. He thought he should surprise them,
and contrived so that he should come upon them about daybreak. Sheo
Ratan knew all his plans. He placed one hundred and fifty of his men
in ambuscade at the entrance to the jungle, and kept the other
hundred and fifty by him in the centre. When they had got well in,
the party in ambush rushed upon the rear, while he attacked them in
front. After a short resistance, Ghulam Husain's force took to
flight, leaving five hundred men dead on the field, and their guns
behind them. Ghulam Husain was so ashamed of the drubbing he got that
he bribed all the news-writers[7] within twenty miles of the place to
say nothing about it in their reports to court, and he never made any
report of it himself. A detachment of my regiment passed over the
dead bodies in the course of the day, on their return to cantonments
from detached command, or we should have known nothing about it. It
is true, we heard the firing, but that we heard every day; and I have
seen from my bungalow half a dozen villages in flames, at the same
time, from this species of contest between the Rajput landholders and
the government authorities. Our cantonments were generally full of
the women and children who had been burnt out of house and home.

In Oudh such contests generally begin with the harvests. During the
season of tillage all is quiet; but, when the crops begin to ripen,
the governor begins to rise in his demands for revenue, and the
Rajput landholders and cultivators to sharpen their swords and
burnish their spears. One hundred of them always consider themselves
a match for one thousand of the king's troops in a fair field,
because they have all one heart and soul, while the king's troops
have many.[8]

While the Pawars were ravaging the Jhansi state with their bhumiawat,
a merchant of Sagar had a large convoy of valuable cloths, to the
amount, I think, of forty thousand rupees,[9] intercepted by them on
its way from Mirzapur[10] to Rajputana. I was then at Sagar, and
wrote off to the insurgents to say that they had mistaken one of our
subjects for one of the Jhansi chiefs, and must release the convoy.
They did so, and not a piece of the cloth was lost. This bhumiawat is
supposed to have cost the Jhansi chief above twenty lakhs of
rupees,[11] and his subjects double that sum.

Gopal Singh, a Bundela, who had been in the service of the chief of
Panna,[12] took to bhumiawat in 1809, and kept a large British force
employed in pursuit through Bundelkhand and the Sagar territories for
three years, till he was invited back by our Government in the year
1812, by the gift of a fine estate on the banks of the Dasan river,
yielding twenty thousand rupees[13] a year, which his son now enjoys,
and which is to descend to his posterity, many of whom will, no
doubt, animated by their fortunate ancestor's example, take to the
same trade. He had been a man of no note till he took to this trade,
but by his predatory exploits he soon became celebrated throughout
India; and, when I came to the country, no other man's chivalry was
so much talked of.

A Bundela, or other landholder of the Hindoo military class, does not
think himself, nor is he indeed thought by others, in the slightest
degree less respectable for having waged this indiscriminate war upon
the innocent and unoffending, provided he has any cause of
dissatisfaction with his liege lord; that is, provided he cannot get
his land or his appointment in his service upon his own terms,
because all others of the same class and clan feel more or less
interested in his success.

They feel that their tenure of land, or of office, is improved by the
mischief he does; because every peasant he murders, and every field
he throws out of tillage, affects their liege lord in his most tender
point, his treasury; and indisposes him to interfere with their
salaries, their privileges, or their rents. He who wages this war
goes on marrying his sisters or his daughters to the other barons or
landholders of the same clan, and receiving theirs in marriage during
the whole of his bhumiawat,[14] as if nothing at all extraordinary
had happened, and thereby strengthening his hand at the game he is
playing.

Umrao Singh of Jaklon in Chanderi, a district of Gwalior bordering
upon Sagar,[15] has been at this game for more than fifteen years out
of twenty, but his alliances among the baronial families around have
not been in the slightest degree affected by it. His sons and his
grandsons have, perhaps, made better matches than they might, had the
old man been at peace with all the world, during the time that he has
been desolating one district by his atrocities, and demoralizing all
those around it by his example, and by inviting the youth to join him
occasionally in his murderous enterprises. Neither age nor sex is
respected in their attacks upon towns or villages; and no Muhammadan
can take more pride and pleasure in defacing idols--the most
monstrous idol--than a 'bhumiawati' takes in maiming an innocent
peasant, who presumes to drive his plough in lands that he chooses to
put under the _ban_.

In the kingdom of Oudh, this bhumiawat is a kind of nursery for our
native army; for the sons of Rajput yeomen who have been trained in
it are all exceedingly anxious to enlist in our native infantry
regiments, having no dislike to their drill or their uniform. The
same class of men in Bundelkhand and the Gwalior State have a great
horror of the drill and uniform of our regular infantry, and nothing
can induce them to enlist in our ranks. Both are equally brave, and
equally faithful to their salt--that is, to the person who employs
them; but the Oudh Rajput is a much more tameable animal than the
Bundela. In Oudh this class of people have all inherited from their
fathers a respect for our rule and a love for our service. In
Bundelkhand they have not yet become reconciled to our service, and
they still look upon our rule as interfering a good deal too much
with their sporting propensities.[16]



Notes:

1. Since the author's time conditions have much changed. Then, and
for long afterwards, up to the Mutiny, every village throughout the
country was fall of arms, and almost every man was armed.
Consequently, in those tracts where the Mutiny of the native army was
accompanied by popular insurrection, the flame of rebellion burned
fiercely, and was subdued with difficulty. The painful experience of
1857 and 1858 proved the necessity of general disarmament, and nearly
the whole of British India has been disarmed under the provisions of
a series of Acts. Licences to have and carry ordinary arms and
ammunition are granted by the magistrates of districts. Licences to
possess artillery are granted only by the Governor-General in
Council. The improved organization of the police and of the executive
power generally renders possible the strict enforcement of the law.
Some arms are concealed, but very few of these are serviceable. With
rare exceptions, arms are now carried only for display, and knowledge
of the use of weapons has died out in most classes of the population.
The village forts have been everywhere dismantled. Robbery by armed
gangs still occurs in certain districts (_see ante_, Chapter 23, note
14), but is much less frequent than it used to be in the author's
days.

2. Many towns and villages bear the name of Mau (_auglice_, Mhow),
which may be, as Mr. Growse suggests, a form of the Sanskrit _mahi_,
'land' or 'ground'. The town referred to in the text is the principal
town of the Jhansi district, distinguished from its homonyms as Mau-
Ranipur, situated about east-south-east from Jhansi, at a distance of
forty miles from that city. Its special export used to be the
'kharwa' cloth, dyed with 'ai' (_see ante_., Chapter 31, note 4).

3. This insurrection continued into the year 1833. 'The inhabitants
were reduced to the greatest distress, and have, even to the present
day, scarcely recovered the losses they then sustained' (_N.W.P.
Gazetteer_, vol. i (1870), p. 296).

4. See the author's _Journey through the Kingdom of Oude, passim_.

5. Partabgarh is now a separate district in the Fyzabad Division of
Oudh. The chief town, also called Partabgarh, is thirty-two miles
north of Allahabad, and still possesses a Raja, who, at present
(1914), is a most respectable gentleman, with no thoughts of
violence. Further details about the Partabgarh family are given in
the _Journey_, vol. i, p. 231.

6. Transcriber's note:- The author then uses the spelling 'Husain'
consistently.

7. 'The news department is under a Superintendent-General, who has
sometimes contracted for it, as for the revenues of a district, but
more commonly holds it in _amani_, as a manager. . . . He nominates
his subordinates, and appoints them to their several offices, taking
from each a present gratuity and a pledge for such monthly payments
as he thinks the post will enable him to make. They receive from four
to fifteen rupees a month each, and have each to pay to their
President, for distribution among his patrons or patronesses at
Court, from one hundred to five hundred rupees a month in ordinary
times. Those to whom they are accredited have to pay them, under
ordinary circumstances, certain sums monthly, to prevent their
inventing or exaggerating cases of abuse of power or neglect of duty
on their part; but, when they happen to be really guilty of great
acts of atrocity, or great neglect of duty, they are required to pay
extraordinary sums, not only to the news-writers, who are especially
accredited to them, but to all others who happen to be in the
neighbourhood at the time. There are six hundred and sixty news-
writers of this kind employed by the king, and paid monthly three
thousand one hundred and ninety-four rupees, or, on an average,
between four and five rupees each; and the sums paid by them to their
President for distribution among influential officers and Court
favourites averages [sic] above one hundred and fifty thousand rupees
a year. . . . Such are the reporters of the circumstances in all the
cases on which the sovereign and his ministers have to pass orders
every day in Oudh. . . . the European magistrate of one of our
neighbouring districts one day, before the Oudh Frontier Police was
raised, entered the Oudh territory at the head of his police in
pursuit of some robbers, who had found an asylum in one of the King's
villages. In the attempt to secure them some lives were lost: and,
apprehensive of the consequences, he sent for the official news-
writer, and _gratified_ him in the usual way. No report of the
circumstances was made to the Oudh Darbar; and neither the King, the
President, nor the British Government ever heard anything about it'
(_Journey through the Kingdom of Oude_, vol. i, pp. 67-69). Such a
System of official news-writers was usually maintained by Asiatic
despots from the most ancient times.

8. full details of the rotten state of the king's army are given in
the _Journey through the Kingdom of Oude_.

9. Then worth L4,000, or more.

10. Mirzapur (Mirzapore) on the Ganges, twenty-seven miles from
Benares, was, in the author's time, the principal depot for the
cotton and cloth trade of Northern India. Although the East Indian
Railway passes through the city, the construction of the railway has
diverted the bulk of the trade from Mirzapur, which is now a
declining place. The population, which wag 70,621 in 1881, fell to
32,332 in 1911. The carpets made there are well known.

11. Then equal to L200,000, or more.

12. The Panna State lies between the British districts of Banda, in
the United Provinces, on the north, and Damoh and Jabalpur, in the
Central Provinces, on the south. The chief is a descendant of
Chhatarsal. For description and engraving of the diamond mines see
_Economic Geology_ (1881), p. 39.

13. Then equivalent to L2,000, or more.

14. The words 'of the same clan' are inexact. The author has shown
(_ante_, Chapter 23 following [10], and Chapter 26 following [32])
that Rajputs never marry into their own clan.

15. 'The Raja of Chanderi belonged to the same family as the Orchha
chief. Sindhia annexed a great part of the Chanderi State in 1811.
Chanderi was for a time British territory, but is now again in
Sindhia's dominions. Its vicissitudes are related in _N.W.P.
Gazetteer_ (1870), vol. i, pp. 351-8.

16. In Oudh the misgovernment, anarchy, and cruel rapine, briefly
alluded to in the text, and vividly described in detail by the author
in his _Journey through the Kingdom of Oude_, lasted until the
annexation of the kingdom by Lord Dalhousie in 1856, and, after a
brief lull, were renewed during the insurrection of 1857 and 1858.
The events of those years are a curious commentary on the author's
belief that the people of Oudh entertained 'a respect for our rule
and a love for our service'. The service of the British Government is
sought because it pays, but a foreign Government must not expect
love. Respect for the British rule depends upon the strength of that
rule. Oudh still sends many recruits to the native army, though the
young men no longer enjoy the advantage of a training in 'bhumiawat'.
An occasional gang-robbery or bludgeon fight is the meagre modern
substitute. The Rajputs or Thakurs of Bundelkhand and Gwalior still
retain their old character for turbulence, but, of course, have less
scope for what the author calls their 'sporting propensities' than
they had in his time.




CHAPTER 34


The Suicide--Relations between Parents and Children in India.

The day before we left Datiya our cook had a violent dispute with his
mother, a thing of almost daily occurrence; for though a very fat and
handsome old lady, she was a very violent one. He was a quiet man,
but, unable to bear any longer the abuse she was heaping upon him, he
first took up a pitcher of water and flung it at her head. It missed
her, and he then snatched up a stick, and, for the first time in his
life, struck her. He was her only son. She quietly took up all her
things, and, walking off towards a temple, said she would leave him
for ever; and he, having passed the Rubicon, declared that he was
resolved no longer to submit to the parental tyranny which she had
hitherto exercised over him. My water carrier, however, prevailed
upon her with much difficulty to return, and take up her quarters
with him and his wife and five children in a small tent we had given
them. Maddened at the thought of a blow from her son, the old lady
about sunset swallowed a large quantity of opium; and before the
circumstance was discovered, it was too late to apply a remedy. We
were told of it about eight o'clock at night, and found her lying in
her son's arms--tried every remedy at hand, but without success, and
about midnight she died. She loved her son, and he respected her; and
yet not a day passed without their having some desperate quarrel,
generally about the orphan daughter of her brother, who lived with
them, and was to be married, as soon as the cook could save out of
his pay enough money to defray the expenses of the ceremonies. The
old woman was always reproaching him for not saving money fast
enough. This little cousin had now stolen some of the cook's tobacco
for his young assistant; and the old lady thought it right to
admonish her. The cook likewise thought it right to add his
admonitions to those of his mother; but the old lady would have her
niece abused by nobody but herself, and she flew into a violent
passion at his presuming to interfere. This led to the son's outrage,
and the mother's suicide. The son is a mild, good-tempered young man,
who bears an excellent character among his equals, and is a very good
servant. Had he been less mild it had perhaps been better; for his
mother would by degrees have given up that despotic sway over her
child, which in infancy is necessary, in youth useful, but in manhood
becomes intolerable. 'God defend us from the anger of the mild in
spirit', said an excellent judge of human nature, Muhammad, the
founder of this cook's religion;[1] and certainly the mildest tempers
are those which become the most ungovernable when roused beyond a
certain degree; and the proud spirit of the old woman could not brook
the outrage which her son, so roused, had been guilty of. From the
time that she was discovered to have taken poison till she breathed
her last she lay in the arms of the poor man, who besought her to
live, that her only son might atone for his crime, and not be a
parricide.

There is no part of the world, I believe, where parents are so much
reverenced by their sons as they are in India, in all classes of
society. This is sufficiently evinced in the desire that parents feel
to have sons. The duty of daughters is from the day of their marriage
transferred entirely to their husbands and their husbands' parents,
on whom alone devolves the duty of protecting and supporting them
through the wedded and the widowed state. The links that united them
to their parents are broken. All the reciprocity of rights and duties
which have bound together the parent and child from infancy is
considered to end with the consummation of her marriage; nor does the
stain of any subsequent female backsliding ever affect the family of
her parents; it can affect that only of her husband, who is held
alone responsible for her conduct. If a widow inherits the property
of her husband, on her death the property would go to her husband's
brother, supposing neither had any children by their husbands, in
preference to her own brother; but between the son and his parents
this reciprocity of rights and duties follows them to the grave.[2]
One is delighted to see in sons this habitual reverence for the
mother; but, as in the present case, it is too apt to occasion a
domineering spirit, which produces much mischief even in private
families, but still more in sovereign ones. A prince, when he attains
the age of manhood, and ought to take upon himself the duties of the
government, is often obliged to witness a great deal of oppression
and misrule, from his inability to persuade his widowed mother to
resign the power willingly into his hands. He often tamely submits to
see his country ruined, and his family dishonoured, as at Jhansi,
before he can bring himself, by some act of desperate resolution, to
wrest it from her grasp.[3] In order to prevent his doing so, or to
recover the reins he has thus obtained, the mother has often been
known to poison her own son; and many a princess in India, like
Isabella of England, has, I believe, destroyed her husband, to enjoy
more freely the society of her paramour, and hold these reins during
the minority of her son.[4]

In the exercise of dominion from behind the curtain (for it is those
who live behind the curtain that seem most anxious to hold it), women
select ministers who, to secure duration to their influence, become
their paramours, or, at least, make the world believe that they are
so, to serve their own selfish purposes. The sons are tyrannized over
through youth by their mothers, who endeavour to subdue their spirit
to the yoke, which they wish to bind heavy upon their necks for life;
and they remain through manhood timid, ignorant, and altogether
unfitted for the conduct of public affairs, and for the government of
men under a despotic rule, whose essential principle is a _salutary
fear_ of the prince in all his public officers. Every unlettered
native of India is as sensible of this principle [as] Montesquieu
was; and will tell us that, in countries like India, a chief, to
govern well, must have a _smack of the devil_ ('shaitan') in him;
for, if he has not, his public servants will prey upon his innocent
and industrious subjects.[5] In India there are no universities or
public schools, in which young men might escape, as they do in
Europe, from the enervating and stultifying influence of the
zanana.[6] The state of mental imbecility to which a youth of
naturally average powers of mind, born to territorial dominion, is in
India often reduced by a haughty and ambitious mother, would be
absolutely incredible to a man bred up in such schools. They are
often utterly unable to act, think, or speak for themselves. If they
happen, as they sometimes do, to get well informed in reading and
conversation, they remain, Hamlet-like, nervous and diffident; and,
however speculatively or _ruminatively_ wise, quite unfit for action,
or for performing their part in the great drama of life.

In my evening ramble on the bank of the river, which was flowing
against the wind and rising into waves, my mind wandered back to the
hours of infancy and boyhood when I sat with my brothers watching our
little vessels as they scudded over the ponds and streams of my
native land; and then of my poor brothers John and Louis, whose bones
now he beneath the ocean. As we advance in age the dearest scenes of
early days must necessarily become more and more associated in our
recollection with painful feelings; for they who enjoyed such scenes
with us must by degrees pass away, and be remembered with sorrow even
by those who are conscious of having fulfilled all their duties in
life towards them--but with how much more by those who can never
remember them without thinking of occasions of kindness and
assistance neglected or disregarded. Many of them have perhaps left
behind them widows and children struggling with adversity, and
soliciting from us aid which we strive in vain to give.

During my visit to the Raja, a person in the disguise of one of my
sipahis[7] went to a shop and purchased for me five-and-twenty
rupees' worth of fine Europe chintz, for which he paid in good
rupees, which were forthwith assayed by a neighbouring goldsmith. The
sipahi put these rupees into his own purse, and laid it down, saying
that he should go and ascertain from me whether I wished to keep the
whole of the chintz or not; and, if not, he should require back the
same money--that I was to halt to-morrow, when he would return to the
shop again. Just as he was going away, however, he recollected that
he wanted a turban for himself, and requested the shopkeeper to bring
him one. They were sitting in the verandah, and the shopkeeper had to
go into his shop to bring out the turban. When he came out with it,
the sipahi said it would not suit his purpose, and went off, leaving
the purse where it lay, cautioning the shopkeeper against changing
any of the rupees, as he should require his own identical money back
if his master rejected any of the chintz. The shopkeeper waited till
four o'clock in the afternoon of the next day without looking into
the purse.

Hearing then that I had left Datiya, and seeing no signs of the
sipahi, he opened the purse, and found that the rupees were all
copper, with a thin coating of silver. The man had changed them while
he went into the shop for a turban, and substituted a purse exactly
the same in appearance. After ascertaining that the story was true,
and that the ingenious thief was not one of my followers, I insisted
upon the man's taking the money from me, in spite of a great deal of
remonstrance on the part of the Raja's agent, who had come on with
us.


Notes:

1. The editor has failed to trace this quotation, which may possibly
be from the _Mishkat-ul-Masabih_ (_ante_, Chapter 5, note 10).
Compare '"There is nothing more horrible than the rebellion of a
sheep", said de Marsay' (Balzac, _Lost by a Laugh_).

2. The English doggerel expresses the opposite sentiment,
     'My son's my son till he gets him a wife;
      My daughter's my daughter all her life.'

3. _Ante_, chap. 29, text at [4], and before [7].

4. Edward II, A.D. 1327.

5. The principle, so bluntly enunciated by the author, is true,
though the truth may be unpalatable to people who think they know
better, and it applies with as much force to European officials as it
does to Indian princes. The 'shaitan' is more familiar in his English
dress as Satan. The editor has failed to find any such phrase in the
works of Montesquieu. In chapter 9 of Book III of _L'Esprit des Lois_
that author lays down the principle that 'il faut de la crainte dans
un gouvernement despotique; pour la vertu, elle n'y est point
necessaire,'

6. It can no longer be said that universities do not exist, at least
in name, in India. Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Lahore, and Allahabad
are the seats of universities, and new foundations at Dacca and Patna
are promised (1914). The Indian universities, when first established,
were mere examining bodies, on the model of the University of London.
But changes, initiated by Lord Curzon, are in progress, and the
University of London is being remodelled (1914). The Indian
institutions are not frequented by young princes and nobles, and have
little influence on their education. Attempts have been made, with
partial success, to provide special boarding schools, or 'Chiefs'
Colleges', for the sons of ruling princes and native nobles. The most
notable of such institution are the colleges at Ajmer, Rajkot in
Kathiawar, and Indore. The influence of the zanana is invariably
directed against every proposal to remove a young nobleman from home
for the purpose of education, and obstacles of many kinds render the
task of rightly educating such a youth extraordinarily difficult and
unsatisfactory. In some cases a considerable degree of success has
been attained.

7. Armed follower. The word is more familiar in the corrupt form
'sepoy'.




CHAPTER 35


Gwalior Plain once the Bed of a Lake--Tameness of Peacocks.

On the 19th, 20th, and 21st[1] we came on forty miles to the village
of Antri in the Gwalior territory, over a fine plain of rich alluvial
soil under spring crops. This plain bears manifest signs of having
been at no very remote period, like the kingdom of Bohemia, the bed
of a vast lake bounded by the ranges of sandstone hills which now
seem to skirt the horizon all round; and studded with innumerable
islands of all shapes and sizes, which now rise abruptly in all
directions out of the cultivated plain.[2] The plain is still like
the unruffled surface of a vast lake; and the rich green of the
spring crops, which cover the surface in one wide sheet unintersected
by hedges, tends to keep up the illusion, which the rivers have
little tendency to dispel; for, though they have cut their way down
immense depths to their present beds through this soft alluvial
deposit, the traveller no sooner emerges from the hideous ravines,
which disfigure their banks, than he loses all trace of them. Their
course is unmarked by trees, large shrubs, or any of the signs which
mark the course of rivers in other quarters.

The soil over the vast plain is everywhere of good quality, and
everywhere cultivated, or rather worked, for we can hardly consider a
soil cultivated which is never either irrigated or manured, or
voluntarily relieved by fallows or an alternation of crops, till it
has descended to the last stage of exhaustion. The prince rack-rents
the farmer, the farmer rack-rents the cultivator, and the cultivator
rack-rents the soil. Soon after crossing the Sindh river we enter
upon the territories of the Gwalior chief, Sindhia.

The villages are everywhere few, and their communities very small.
The greater part of the produce goes for sale to the capital of
Gwalior, when the money it brings is paid into the treasury in rent,
or revenue, to the chief, who distributes it in salaries among his
establishments, who again pay it for land produce to the cultivators,
farmers, and agricultural capitalists, who again pay it back into the
treasury in land revenue. No more people reside in the villages than
are absolutely necessary to the cultivation of the land, because the
chief takes all the produce beyond what is necessary for their bare
subsistence; and, out of what he takes, maintains establishments that
reside elsewhere. There is nowhere any jungle to be seen, and very
few of the villages that are scattered over the plains have any fruit
or ornamental trees left; and, when the spring crops, to which the
tillage is chiefly confined, are taken off the ground, the face of
the country must have a very naked and dreary appearance.[3] Near one
village on the road I saw some men threshing corn in a field, and
among them a peacock (which, of course, I took to be domesticated)
breakfasting very comfortably upon the grain as it flew around him. A
little farther on I saw another quietly working his way into a stack
of corn, as if he understood it to have been made for his use alone.
It was so close to me as I passed that I put out my stick to push it
off in play, and, to my surprise, it flew off in a fright at my white
face and strange dress, and was followed by the others. I found that
they were all wild, if that term can be applied to birds that live on
such excellent terms with mankind. On reaching our tents we found
several feeding in the corn-fields close around them, undisturbed by
our host of camp-followers; and were told by the villagers, who had
assembled to greet us, that they were all wild. 'Why', said they,
'should we think of _keeping_ birds that live among us on such easy
terms without being _kept_?' I asked whether they ever shot them, and
was told that they never killed or molested them, but that any one
who wished to shoot them might do so, since they had here no
religions regard for them.[4] Like the pariah dogs the peacocks seem
to disarm the people by confiding in them--their tameness is at once
the cause and the effect of their security. The members of the little
communities among whom they live on such friendly terms would not
have the heart to shoot them; and travellers either take them to be
domesticated, or are at once disarmed by their tameness.

At Antri a sufficient quantity of salt is manufactured for the
consumption of the people of the town. The earth that contains most
salt is dug up at some distance from the town, and brought to small
reservoirs made close outside the walls. Water is here poured over
it, as over tea and coffee. Passing through the earth, it flows out
below into a small conduit, which takes it to small pits some yards'
distance, whence it is removed in buckets to small enclosed
platforms, where it is exposed to the Sun's rays, till the water
evaporates, and leaves the salt dry.[5] The want of trees over this
vast plain of fine soil from the Sindh river is quite lamentable. The
people of Antri pointed out the place close to my tents where a
beautiful grove of mango-trees had been lately taken off to Gwalior
for _gun-carriages_ and firewood, in spite of all the proprietor
could urge of the detriment to his own interest in this world, and to
those of his ancestors in that to which they had gone. Wherever the
army of this chief moved they invariably swept off the groves of
fruit-trees in the same reckless manner. Parts of the country, which
they merely passed through, have recovered their trees, because the
desire to propitiate the Deity, and to perpetuate their name by such
a work, will always operate among Hindoos as a sufficient incentive
to secure groves, wherever man has be made to feel that their rights
of property in the trees will be respected.[6] The lands around the
village, which had a well for irrigation, paid four times as much as
those of the same quality which had none, and were made to yield two
crops in the year. As everywhere else, so here, those lands into
which water flows from the town and can be made to stand for a time,
are esteemed the best, as this water brings down with it manures of
all kinds.[7] I had a good deal of talk with the cultivators as I
walked through the fields in the evenings; and they seemed to dwell
much upon the good faith which is observed by the farmers and
cultivators in the Honourable Company's territories, and the total
absence of it in those of Sindhia's, where no work, requiring an
outlay of capital from the land, is, in consequence, ever thought of-
-both farmers and cultivators engaging from year to year, and no
farmer ever feeling secure of his lease for more than one.

Notes:

1. December, 1835.

2. The anthor's favourite theory. See _ante_, Chapter 14 note 7,
Chapter 24 note 6, on the formation of black cotton soil. The Gwalior
plain is covered with this soil.

3. It has a very desolate appearance. The Indian Midland Railway now
passes through Gwalior.

4. In many parts of India, especially in Mathura (Mattra) on the
Jumna, and the neighbouring districts, the peacock is held strictly
sacred, and shooting one would be likely to cause a riot. Tavernier
relates a story of a rich Persian merchant being beaten to death by
the Hindoos of Gujarat for shooting a peacock. (Tavernier, _Travels_,
transl. Ball, vol. i, p. 70.) the bird is regarded as the vehicle of
the Hindoo god of war, variously called Kumara, Skanda, or Kartikeya.
the editor, like the author, has observed that in Bundelkhand no
objection is raised to the shooting of peacocks by any one who cares
for such poor sport.

5. In British India the manufacture of salt can be practised only by
persons  duly licensed.

6. The Revenue Settlement Regulations now in force in British India
provide liberally for the encouragement of groves, and hundred of
miles of road are annually planted with trees.

7. Sanitation did not trouble native states in those days.



CHAPTER 36

Gwalior and its Government.

On the 22nd,[1] we came on fourteen miles to Gwalior, over some
ranges of sandstone hills, which are seemingly continuations of the
Vindhyan range. Hills of indurated brown and red iron clay repose
upon and intervene between these ranges, with strata generally
horizontal, but occasionally bearing signs of having been shaken by
internal convulsions. These convulsions are also indicated by some
dykes of compact basalt which cross the road.[2]

Nothing can be more unprepossessing than the approach to Gwalior; the
hills being naked, black, and ugly, with rounded tops devoid of grass
or shrubs, and the soil of the valleys a poor red dust without any
appearance of verdure or vegetation, since the few autumn crops that
lately stood upon them have been removed.[3] From Antri to Gwalior
there is no sign of any human habitation, save that of a miserable
police guard of four or five, who occupy a wretched hut on the side
of the road midway, and seem by their presence to render the scene
around more dreary.[4] the road is a mere footpath unimproved and
unadorned by any single work of art; and, except in this footpath,
and the small police guard, there is absolutely no single sign in all
this long march to indicate the dominion, or even the presence, of
man; and yet it is between two contiguous [_sic_] capitals, one
occupied by one of the most ancient, and the other by one of the
greatest native sovereigns of Hindustan.[5] One cannot but feel that
he approaches the capital of a dynasty of barbarian princes, who,
like Attila, would choose their places of residence, as devils choose
their pandemonia, for their ugliness, and rather reside in the dreary
wastes of Tartary than on the shores of the Bosphorus. There are
within the dominions of Sindhia seats for a capital that would not
yield to any in India in convenience, beauty, and salubrity; but, in
all these dominions, there is not, perhaps, another place so
hideously ugly as Gwalior, or so hot and unhealthy. It has not one
redeeming quality that should recommend it to the choice of a
rational prince, particularly to one who still considers his capital
as his camp, and makes every officer of his army feel that he has as
little of permanent interest in his house as he would have in his
tent.[6]

Phul Bagh, or the _flower-garden_, was suggested to me as the best
place for my tents, where Sindhia had built a splendid summer-house.
As I came over this most gloomy and uninteresting march, in which the
heart of a rational man sickens, as he recollects that all the
revenues of such an enormous extent of dominion over the richest soil
and the most peaceable people in the world should have been so long
concentrated upon this point, and squandered without leaving one sign
of human art or industry, I looked forward with pleasure to a quiet
residence in the _flower-garden_, with good foliage above, and a fine
sward below, and an atmosphere free from dust, such as we find in and
around all the residences of Muhammadan princes. On reaching my tents
I found them pitched close outside the _flower-garden_, in a small
dusty plain, without a blade of grass or a shrub to hide its
deformity--just such a place as the pig-keepers occupy in the suburbs
of other towns. On one side of this little plain, and looking into
it, was the _summer-house_ of the prince, without one inch of green
sward or one small shrub before it.

Around the wretched little _flower-garden_ was a low, naked, and
shattered mud wall, such as we generally see in the suburbs thrown up
to keep out and in the pigs that usually swarm in such places--'and
the swine they crawled out, and the swine they crawled in'.[7] When I
cantered up to my tent-door, a sipahi of my guard came up, and
reported that as the day began to dawn a gang of thieves had stolen
one of my best carpets, all the brass brackets of my tent-poles, and
the brass bell with which the sentries on duty sounded the hour; all
Lieutenant Thomas's cooking utensils, and many other things, several
of which they had found lying between the tents and the prince's
_pleasure-house_, particularly the contents of a large heavy box of
geological specimens. They had, in consequence, concluded the gang to
be lodged in the prince's pleasure-house. The guard on duty at this
place would make no answer to their inquiries, and I really believe
that they were themselves the thieves. The tents of the Raja of
Raghugarh, who had come to pay his respects to the Sindhia, his liege
lord, were pitched near mine. He had the day before had five horses
stolen from him, with all the plate, jewels, and valuable clothes he
possessed; and I was told that I must move forthwith from the
_flower-garden_, or cut off the tail of every horse in my camp.
Without tails they might not be stolen, with them they certainly
would. Having had sufficient proof of their dexterity, we moved our
tents to a grove near the residency, four miles from the flower-
garden and the court.[8]

As a citizen of the world I could not help thinking that it would be
an immense blessing upon a large portion of our species if an
earthquake were to swallow up this court of Gwalior, and the army
that surrounds it. Nothing worse could possibly succeed, and
something better might. It is lamentable to think how much of evil
this court and camp inflict upon the people who are subject to them.
In January, 1828, I was passing with a party of gentlemen through the
town of Bhilsa, which belongs to this chief, and lies between Sagar
and Bhopal,[9] when we found, lying and bleeding in one of the
streets, twelve men belonging to a merchant at Mirzapore, who had the
day before been wounded and plundered by a gang of robbers close
outside the walls of the town. Those who were able ran in to the
Amil, or chief of the district, who resides in the town; and begged
him to send some horsemen after the banditti, and intercept them as
they passed over the great plains. 'Send your own people', said he,
'or hire men to send. Am I here to look after the private affairs of
merchants and travellers, or to collect the revenues of the prince?'
Neither he, nor the prince himself, nor any other officer of the
public establishments ever dreamed that it was their duty to protect
the life, property, or character of travellers, or indeed of any
other human beings, save the members of their own families. In this
pithy question the Amil of Bhilsa described the nature and character
of the government. All the revenues of his immense dominions are
spent entirely in the maintenance of the court and camps of the
prince; and every officer employed beyond the boundary of the court
and camp considers his duties to be limited to the collection of the
revenue. Protected from all external enemies by our military forces,
which surround him on every side, his whole army is left to him for
purposes of parade and display; and having, according to his notions,
no use for them elsewhere, he concentrates them around his capital,
where he lives among them in the perpetual dread of mutiny and
assassination. He has nowhere any police, nor any establishment
whatever, for the protection of the life and property of his
subjects; nor has he, any more than his predecessors, ever, I
believe, for one moment thought that those from whose industry and
frugality he draws his revenues have any right whatever to expect
from him the use of such establishments in return. They have never
formed any legitimate part of the Maratha government, and, I fear,
never will.[10]

The misrule of such states, situated in the midst of our dominions,
is not without its use. There is, as Gibbon justly observes, 'a
strong propensity in human nature to depreciate the advantages, and
to magnify the evils, of the present times'; and, if the people had
not before their eyes such specimens of native rule to contrast with
ours, they would think more highly than they do of that of their past
Muhammadan and Hindoo sovereigns; and be much less disposed than they
are to estimate fairly the advantages of being under ours. The native
governments of the present day are fair specimens of what they have
always been--grinding military despotisms--their whole history is
that of 'Saul has killed his thousands, and David his tens of
thousands'; as if rulers were made merely to slay, and the ruled to
be slain. In politics, as in landscape, ''Tis distance lends
enchantment to the view', and the past might be all _couleur de rose_
in the imaginations of the people were it not represented in these
ill-governed states, where the 'lucky accident' of a good governor is
not to be expected in a century, and where the secret of the
responsibility of ministers to the people is yet undiscovered.[11]

The fortress of Gwalior stands upon a tableland, a mile and a half
long by a quarter of a mile wide, at the north-east end of a small
insulated sandstone hill, running north-east and south-west, and
rising at both ends about three hundred and forty feet above the
level of the plain below. At the base is a kind of glacis, which runs
up at an angle of forty-five from the plain to within fifty, and, in
some places, within twenty feet of the foot of the wall.

The interval is the perpendicular face of the horizontal strata of
the sandstone rock. The glacis is formed of a bed of basalt in all
stages of decomposition, with which this, like the other sandstone
hills of Central India, was once covered, and of the debris and
chippings of the rocks above. The walls are raised a certain uniform
height all round upon the verge of the precipice, and being thus made
to correspond with the edge of the rock, the line is extremely
irregular. They are rudely built of the fine sandstone of the rock on
which they stand, and have some square and some semicircular bastions
of different sizes, few of these raised above the level of the wall
itself.[12] On the eastern face of the rock, between the glacis and
foot of the wall, are cut out, in bold relief, the colossal figures
of men sitting bareheaded under canopies, on each side of a throne or
temple; and, in another place, the colossal figure of a man standing
naked, and facing outward, which I took to be that of Buddha.[l3]

The town of Gwalior extends along the foot of the hill on one side,
and consists of a single street above a mile long. There is a very
beautiful mosque, with one end built by a Muhammad Khan, A.D. 1665,
of the white sandstone of the rock above it. It looks as fresh as if
it had not been finished a month; and struck, as I passed it, with so
noble a work, apparently new, and under such a government, I alighted
from my horse, went in, and read the inscription, which told me the
date of the building and the name of the founder. There is no stucco-
work over any part of it, nor is any required on such beautiful
materials; and the stones are all so nicely cut that cement seems to
have been considered useless. It has the usual two minarets or
towers, and over the arches and alcoves are carved, as customary,
passages from the Koran, in the beautiful Kufic characters.[14] The
court and camp of the chief extends out from the southern end of the
hill for several miles.

The whole of the hill on which the fort of Gwalior stands had
evidently, at no very distant period, been covered by a mass of
basalt, surmounted by a crust of indurated brown and red iron clay,
with lithomarge, which often assumes the appearance of common
laterite. The boulders of basalt, which still cap some part of the
hill, and form the greater part of the glacis at the bottom, are for
the most part in a state of rapid decomposition; but some of them are
still so hard and fresh that the hammer rings upon them as upon a
bell, and their fracture is brilliantly crystalline. The basalt is
the same as that which caps the sandstone hills of the Vindhya range
throughout Malwa. The sandstone hills around Gwalior all rise in the
same abrupt manner from the plain as those through Malwa generally;
and they have almost all of them the same basaltic glacis at their
base, with boulders of that rock scattered over the top, all
indicating that they were at one time buried, in the same manner
under one great mass of volcanic matter, thrown out from their
submarine craters in streams of lava, or diffused through the ocean
or lakes in ashes, and deposited in strata. The geological character
of the country about Gwalior is very similar to that of the country
about Sagar; and I may say the same of the Vindhya range generally,
as far as I have seen it, from Mirzapore on the Ganges to Bhopal in
Malwa--hills of sandstone rising suddenly from alluvial plain, and
capped, or bearing signs of having been capped, by basalt reposing
immediately upon it, and partly covered in its turn by beds of
indurated iron clay.[15]

The fortress of Gwalior was celebrated for its strength under the
Hindoo sovereigns of India; but was taken by the Muhammadans after a
long siege, A.D. 1197.[16] the Hindoos regained possession, but were
again expelled by the Emperor Iltutmish, A. D. 1235.[17] the Hindoos
again got possession, and after holding it one hundred years, again
surrendered it to the forces of the Emperor Ibrahim, A.D. 1519.[18]
In 1543 it was surrendered up by the troops of the Emperor
Humayun[19] to Sher Khan, his successful competitor for the
empire.[20] It afterwards fell into the hands of a Jat chief, the
Rana of Gohad,[21] from whom it was taken by the Marathas. While in
their possession, it was invested by our troops under the command of
Major Popham; and, on the 3rd of August, 1780, taken by escalade.[22]
The party that scaled the wall was gallantly led by a very
distinguished and most promising officer, Captain Bruce, brother of
the celebrated traveller.[23]

It was made over to us by the Rana of Gohad, who had been our ally in
the war. Failing in his engagement to us, he was afterwards abandoned
to the resentment of Madhoji Sindhia, chief of the Marathas.[24] In
1783, Gwalior was invested by Madhoji Sindhia's troops, under the
command of one of the most extraordinary men that have ever figured
in Indian history, the justly celebrated General De Boigne.[25] After
many unsuccessful attempts to take it by escalade, he bought over
part of the garrison, and made himself master of the place. Gohad
itself was taken soon after in 1784; but the Rana, Chhatarpat, made
his escape. He was closely pursued, made prisoner at Karauli, and
confined in the fortress of Gwalior, where he died in the year
1785.[26] He left no son, and his claims upon Gohad devolved upon his
nephew, Kirat Singh, who, at the close of our war with the Marathas,
got from Lord Lake, in lieu of these claims, the estate of Dholpur,
situated on the left banks of the river Chambal, which is estimated
at the annual value of three hundred thousand, or three lakhs, of
rupees. He died this year, 1835, and has been succeeded by his son,
Bhagwant Singh, a lad of seventeen years of age.[27]

Notes:

1. December, 1835.

2. Throughout the northern edge of the trap country in Rajputana,
Gwalior, and Bundelkhand, dykes are rare or wanting.' (W. T.
Blandford, in _Manual of the Geology of India_, 1st ed., Part 1, p.
328.) The dykes mentioned in the text may not have been visited by
the officers of the Geological Surrey.

3. 'Basalt generally disintegrates into a reddish soil, quite
different from _regar_ in character. This reddish soil may be seen
passing into _regar_, but, as a rule, the black soil is confined to
the flatter ground at the bottom of the valleys, or on flat hill-
tops, the brown or red soils occupying the slopes' (ibid. p. 433).

4. Johnson, in his _Journey to the Western Islands_, observes: 'Now
and then we espied a little corn-field, which served to impress more
strongly the general barrenness.' [W. H. S.] The remark referred to
the shores of Loch Ness (p. 237 of volume viii of Johnson's Works,
London, 1820).

5. By this awkward phrase the author seems to mean Lucknow, on the
east, the capital of the kingdom of Oudh, and Udaipur, to the west,
the capital of the long-descended chieftain of Mewar. Alternatively,
the author may possibly have referred to Agra and Gwalior, rather
than Lucknow and Udaipur.

6. 'The new city at Gwalior below the fortress is, like the city of
Jhansi, known as the 'Lashkar', or camp. The old city of Gwalior
encircles the north end of the fortress. The new city, or Lashkar,
lies to the south, more than a mile distant. In January, 1859, the
population of the two cities together amounted to 142,044 persons
(_A.S.R._, vol. ii, p. 331).

7. Only those readers who have lived in India can fully understand
the reasons why the pigs should frequent such a place, and how great
would be the horrors of encamping in it.

8. In the description of the author's encampment at Gwalior, he fell
into a mistake, which he discovered too late for correction in his
journal. His tents were not pitched within the Phul Bagh, as he
supposed, but without; and seeing nothing of this place, he imagined
that the dirty and naked ground outside was actually the flower-
garden. The Phul Bagh, however, is a very pleasing and well-ordered
garden, although so completely secluded from observation by lofty
walls that many other travellers must have encamped on the same spot
without being aware of its existence. (_Publishers' note at end of
volume ii of original edition_. )

9. Bhilsa is the principal town of the Isagarh subdivision in the
Gwalior State. The famous Buddhist antiquities near it are described
at length in Cunningham, _The Bhilsa Topes, or Buddhist Monuments of
Central India_ (1854), and in Maisey, _Sanchi and its Remains. A full
Description of the Ancient Buildings, Sculptures, and Inscriptions at
Sanchi, near Bhilsa, in Central India_. With an Introductory Note by
Major-General Sir Alexander Cunningham, K.C.I.E. (1892). It is
surprising that so keen an observer as the author appears not to have
noticed any of the great Buddhist buildings of Central India.

10. The government of Gwalior has improved since the author wrote.
Many reforms have been begun and more or less fully executed. In May,
1887, the vast hoard of rupees buried in pits in the fort, valued at
five millions sterling, was exhumed, and lent to the Government of
India to be usefully employed. The passive opposition of a court like
that of Gwalior to the effectual execution of reforms is continuous
and difficult to overcome.

11. The author's description of the ordinary Asiatic government at
almost all times and in all places as 'a grinding military despotism'
is correct. Sentimental persons in both India and England are apt to
forget this weighty truth. The golden age of India, excepting,
perhaps, the Gupta period between A.D. 330 and 455, is as mythical as
that of Ireland. What Persia now is, that would India be, if she had
been left to her own devices.

12. Sir A. Cunningham was stationed at Gwalior for five years, and
had thus an exceptionally accurate knowledge of the fortress. His
account, which corrects the text in some particulars, is as follows:-
'the great fortress of Gwalior is situated on a precipitous, flat-
topped, and isolated hill of sandstone, which rises 300 feet above
the town at the north end, but only 274 feet at the upper gate of the
principal entrance. The hill is long and narrow; its extreme length
from north to south being one mile and three-quarters, while its
breadth varies from 600 feet opposite the main entrance to 2,800 feet
in the middle opposite the great temple. The walls are from 30 to 35
feet in height, and the rock immediately below them is steeply, but
irregularly, scarped all round the hill. The long line of battlements
which crowns the steep scarp on the east is broken only by the lofty
towers and fretted domes of the noble palace of Raja Man Singh. On
the opposite side, the line of battlements is relieved by the deep
recess of the Urwahi valley, and by the zigzag and serrated parapets
and loopholed bastions which flank the numerous gates of the two
western entrances. At the northern end, where the rock has been
quarried for ages, the jagged masses of the overhanging cliff seem
ready to fall upon the city beneath them. To the south the hill is
less lofty, but the rock has been steeply scarped, and is generally
quite inaccessible. Midway over all towers the giant form of a
massive Hindu temple, grey with the moss of ages. Altogether, the
fort of Gwalior forms one of the most picturesque views in Northern
India' (_A.S.R._, vol. ii, p. 330).

13. The nakedness of the image in itself proves that Buddha could not
be the person represented. His statues are never nude. The Gwalior
figures are images of some of the twenty-four great saints
(Tirthankaras or Jinas) of the Digambara sect of the Jain religion.
Jain statues are frequently of colossal size. The largest of those at
Gwalior is fifty-seven feet high. The Gwalior sculptures are of late
date--the middle of the fifteenth century. The antiquities of
Gwalior, including these sculptures, are well described in _A.S.R._,
vol. ii, pp. 330-95, plates lxxxvi to xci.

14. This mosque is the Jami', or cathedral, mosque 'situated at the
eastern foot of the fortress, near the Alamgiri Darwaza (gate). It is
a neat and favourable specimen of the later Moghal architecture. Its
beauty, however, is partly due to the fine light-coloured sandstone
of which it is built. This at once attracted the notice of Sir Wm.
Sleeman, who, &c.' (_A.S.R._, vol. ii, p. 370). This mosque is in the
old city, described as 'a crowded mass of small flat-roofed stone
houses' (ibid. p. 330).

15. The Geological Survey recognizes a special group of 'transition'
rocks between the metamorphic and the Vindhyan series under the name
of the Gwalior area. 'The Gwalior area is . . . only fifty miles long
from east to west, and about fifteen miles wide. It takes its name
from the city of Gwalior, which stands upon it, surrounding the
famous fort built upon a scarped outlier of Vindhyan sandstone, which
rests upon a base of massive bedded trap belonging to the transition
period' (_Manual of Geology of India_, 1st ed., Part l, p. 56). The
writers of the manual do not notice the basaltic cap of the fort hill
described by the author, and at p. 300 use language which implies
that the hill is outside the limits of the Deccan trap. But the
author's observations seem sufficiently precise to warrant the
conclusion that he was right in believing the basaltic cap of the
Gwalior hill to be an outlying fragment of the vast Deccan trap
sheet. The relation between laterite and lithomarge is discussed in
p. 353 of the _Manual_, and the occurrence of laterite caps on the
highest ground of the country, at two places-near Gwalior, 'outside
of the trap area', is noticed (ibid. p. 356). These two places are at
Raipur hill, and on the Kaimur sandstone, about two miles to the
north-west. No doubt these two hills are outliers of the Central
India spread of laterite, which has been traced as far as Sipri,
about sixty miles south of the Raipur hill (Hacket, _Geology of
Gwalior and Vicinity_, in _Records of Geol. Survey of India_, vol.
iii, p. 41). The geology of Gwalior is also discussed in Mallet's
paper entitled 'Sketch of the Geology of Scindia's Territories'
(_Records_, vol. viii, p. 55). Neither writer refers to the basaltic
cap of Gwalior fort hill. For the refutation of the author's theory
of the subaqueous origin of the Deccan trap see notes Chapters 14,
note 13, and Chapter 17, note 3 _ante_.

16. In the reign of Muizz-ud-din, Muhammad bin Sam, also known by the
names of Shibab-ud-din, and Muhammad Ghori. He struck billon coins at
the Gwalior mint. the correct date is A.D. 1196. The Hijri year 592
began on the 6th Dec., A.D. 1195.

17. Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, 'the greatest of the Slave Kings',
reigned from A.D. 1210 to 1235 (A.H. 607-633). He besieged Gwalior in
A.H. 629 and after eleven months' resistance captured the place in
the month Safar, A.H. 630, equivalent to Nov.-Dec. A.D. 1232. The
date given in the text is wrong. The correct name of this king is
Iltutmish (_Z.D.M.G._, vol. lxi (1907), pp. 192, 193). It is written
Altumash by the author, and Altamsh by Thomas and Cunningham. A
summary of the events of his reign, based on coins and other original
documents, is given on page 45 of Thomas, _Chronicles of the Pathan
Kings of Delhi_. Iltutmish recorded an inscription dated A.H. 630 at
Gwalior (ibid. p. 80). This inscription was seen by Babur, but has
since disappeared.

18. Ibrahim Lodi, A.D. 1517-26. He was defeated and killed by Babur
at the first battle of Panipat, A.D. 1526. the correct date of his
capture of Gwalior, according to Cunningham (_A.S.R._, vol. ii, p.
340), is 1518.

19. Humayun was son of Babur, and father of Akbar the Great. His
first reign lasted from A.D. 1530 to 1540; his second brief reign of
less than six months was terminated by an accident in January A.D.
1556. The correct date of the surrender of Gwalior to Sher Shah was
A.D. 1542, corresponding to A.H. 949 (_A. S .R._, vol. ii, p. 393),
which year began 17th April, 1542.

20. Sher Khan is generally known as Sher (or Shir) Shah. A good
summary of his career from A.D. 1528 to his death in A.D. 1545 (A.H.
934 to 952) is given by Thomas (op. cit. p. 393). He struck coins at
Gwalior in A.H. 950, 951, 952 (ibid. p. 403).

21. Gohad lies between Etawah (Itawa) and Gwalior, twenty-eight miles
north-east of the latter. The chief, originally an obscure Jat
landholder, rose to power during the confusion of the eighteenth
century, and allied himself with the British in 1789 (Thornton,
_Gazetteer_, s.v. 'Gohad').

22. This memorable exploit was performed during Warren Hastings's war
with the Marathas, Sir Eyre Coote being Commander-in-Chief. Captain
Popham first stormed the fort of Lahar, a stronghold west of Kalpi
(Calpee), and then, by a cleverly arranged escalade, captured 'with
little trouble and small loss' the Gwalior fortress, which was
garrisoned by a thousand men, and commonly supposed to be
impregnable. 'Captain Popham was rewarded for his gallant services by
being promoted to the rank of Major' (Thornton, _The History of the
British Empire in India_, 2nd ed., 1859, p. 149). 'It is said that
the spot (for escalade) was pointed out to Popham by a cowherd, and
that the whole of the attacking party were supplied with grass shoes
to prevent them from slipping on the ledges of rock. There is a story
also that the cost of these grass shoes was deducted from Popham's
pay when he was about to leave India as a Major-General, nearly a
quarter of a century afterwards' (_A.S.R._, vol. ii, p. 340).

23. James Bruce, 'the celebrated traveller', was Consul at Algiers.
He explored Tripoli, Tunis, Syria, and Egypt, and travelled in
Abyssinia from November 1769 to December 1771. He returned to Egypt
by the Nile, arriving at Cairo in January 1773. His travels were
published in 1790. He died in 1794.

24. The Sindhia family of Gwalior was founded by Ranoji Sindhia, a
man of humble origin, in the service of the Peshwa. Ranoji died about
A.D. 1750, and was succeeded by one of his natural sons, Mahadaji
(corruptly Mahdaju, &c.) Sindhia, whose turbulent and chequered
career lasted till 1794, when he was succeeded by his grand-nephew,
Daulat Rao. The Maratha power under Daulat Rao was broken in 1803, by
Sir Arthur Wellesley at Assaye and Argaum, and by Lord Lake at
Laswari. Mahadaji's career is treated fully by Grant Duff, _A History
of the Mahrattas_ (1826 and reprint). Mr. H. G. Keene in his little
book (_Rulers of India_, Oxford, 1892) erroneously gives the chiefs
name as 'Madhava Rao'. The anthor's 'Madhoji' also is wrong.

25. It is impossible within the limits of a note to give an account
of the extraordinary career of General De Boigne. His Indian
adventures began in 1778, and terminated in September 1796, when he
retired from Sindhia's service, and sold his private regiment of
Persian cavalry, six hundred strong, to Lord Cornwallis, on behalf of
the East India Company, for three lakhs of rupees (about L30,000). He
settled in his native town, Chamberi in Savoy, and lived, in the
enjoyment of his great wealth, and of high honours conferred by the
sovereigns of France and Italy, until 21st June, 1830. He was created
a Count, and was succeeded in the title by his son. See G. M.
Raymond, _Memoire sur la Carriere Militaire et Politique de M. le
General Comte de Boigne, 2ieme_ ed., Chambery, 1830. Nine chapters of
Mr. Herbert Compton's book, _A Particular Account of European
Military Adventurers of Hindustan_ (London, 1892), are devoted to De
Boigne.

26. The cession of Gohad to Sindhia, sanctioned in the year 1805,
during the brief and inglorious second term of office of Lord
Cornwallis, was effected by Sir George Barlow. The transaction is
severely censured by Thornton (_History_, p. 343) as a breach of
faith. Gwalior was given up to Sindhia along with Gohad. In January
1844, shortly after the battle of Maharajpur, Gwalior was again
occupied by the forces of the Company, and the fortress (save for the
Mutiny period) continued in British occupation until the 2nd December
1885, when Lord Dufferin restored it to Sindhia in exchange for
Jhansi. In June 1857 the Gwalior soldiery mutinied and massacred the
Europeans, but the Maharaja remained throughout loyal to the English
Government.

Sir Hugh Rose recaptured the place by assault on the 28th June 1858.
In the changed circumstances of the country, and with regard to the
modern developments of the art of war, the Gwalior fortress is now of
slight military value.

27. The territory of the Dholpur chief is about fifty-four miles long
by twenty-three broad. The town of Dholpur is nearly midway between
Agra and Gwalior. The revenue is estimated by Thornton (1858) as
seven lakhs, not only three lakhs as stated by the author. It was
about eight lakhs in 1904 (_I.G._, 1908).




CHAPTER 37


 Content for Empire between the Sons of Shah Jahan.

Under the Emperors of Delhi the fortress of Gwalior was always
considered as an imperial State prison, in which they confined those
rivals and competitors for dominion whom they did not like to put to
a violent death. They kept a large menagerie, and other things, for
their amusement. Among the best of the princes who ended their days
in this great prison was Sulaiman Shikoh, the eldest son of the
unhappy Dara.[1] A narrative of the contest for empire between the
four sons of Shah Jahan may, perhaps, prove both interesting and
instructive; and, as I shall have occasion, in the course of my
rambles, to refer to the characters who figured in it, I shall
venture to give it a place. . . .[2]


Notes:

1. 'The prisons of Gwalior are situated in a small outwork on the
western side of the fortress, immediately above the Dhondha gateway.
They are called "nau chauki", or "the nine cells", and are both well
lighted and well ventilated. But in spite of their height, from
fifteen to twenty-six feet, they must be insufferably close in the
hot season. These were the State prisons in which Akbar confined his
rebellious cousins, and Aurangzeb the troublesome sons of Dara and
Murad, as well as his own more dangerous son Muhammad. During these
times the fort was strictly guarded, and no one was allowed to enter
without a pass' (_A.S.R._, vol. ii, p. 369), Sulaiman Shikoh, whom
Manucci credits with 'all the gifts of nature', was poisoned at
Gwalior early in the reign of Aurangzeb, by order of that monarch,
paternal uncle of the victim (Irvine, _Storia do Mogor_, i. 380). The
author, following Bernier, always calls Shahjahan's eldest son simply
Dara. His name really was Dara Shikoh (or Shukoh), meaning 'in
splendour like Darius'.

2. The following twelve chapters contain an historical piece, to the
personages and events of which the author will have frequent occasion
to refer; and it is introduced in this place from its connexion with
Gwalior, the State prison in which some of its actors ended their
days. [W. H. S.]

The 'historical piece' which occupies chapters 37 to 46, inclusive of
the author's text is little more than a paraphrase of _The History of
the Late Rebellion in the States of the Great Mogol_ by Bernier, as
the disquisition is called in Brock's translation. Mr. A. Constable's
revised and annotated translation of Bernier's work (Constable and
Co., 1891; reprinted with corrections. Oxford University Press, 1914)
renders superfluous the reprinting of Sleeman's paraphrase, which
would require much correction and comment before it could be
presented to readers of the present day. The main facts of the
narrative are, moreover, now easily accessible in the histories of
Elphinstone and innumerable other writers. Such explanations as may
be required to elucidate allusions to the excised portion in the
later chapters of the anthor's work will be found in the notes. The
titles of the chapters which have not been reprinted follow here for
facility of reference.


CHAPTER 38

Aurangzeb and Murad Defeat their Father's Army near Ujain.


CHAPTER 39

Dara Marches in Person against his Brothers, and is Defeated.


CHAPTER 40

Dara Retreats towards Lahore--Is robbed by the Jats--Their Character.


CHAPTER 41

Shah Jahan Imprisoned by his Two Sons, Aurangzeb and Murad.


CHAPTER 42

Aurangzeb Throws off the Mask, Imprisons his Brother Murad, and
Assumes the Government of the Empire.


CHAPTER 43

Aurangzeb Meets Shuja in Bengal and Defeats him, after Pursuing Dara
to the Hyphasis.


CHAPTER 44

Aurangzeb Imprisons his Eldest Son--Shuja and all his Family are
Destroyed.


CHAPTER 45

Second Defeat and Death of Dara, and Imprisonment of his Two Sons.


CHAPTER 46

Death and Character of Amir Jumla,




CHAPTER 47


Reflections on the Preceding History.

The contest for the empire of India here described is very like that
which preceded it, between the sons of Jahangir, in which Shah Jahan
succeeded in destroying all his brothers and nephews; and that which
succeeded it, forty years after,[1] in which Mu'azzam, the second of
the four sons of Aurangzeb, did the same;[2] and it may, like the
rest of Indian history, teach us a few useful lessons. First, we
perceive the advantages of the law of primogeniture, which accustoms
people to consider the right of the eldest son as sacred, and the
conduct of any man who attempts to violate it as criminal. Among
Muhammadans, property, as well real as personal, is divided equally
among the sons;[3] and their Koran, which is their only civil and
criminal, as well as religions, code, makes no provision for the
successions to sovereignty. The death of every sovereign is, in
consequence, followed by a contest between his sons, unless they are
overawed by some paramount power; and he who succeeds in this contest
finds it necessary, for his own security, to put all his brothers and
nephews to death, lest they should be rescued by factions, and made
the cause of future civil wars. But sons, who exercise the powers of
viceroys and command armies, cannot, where the succession is
unsettled, wait patiently for the natural death of their father--
delay may be dangerous. Circumstances, which now seem more favourable
to their views than to those of their brothers, may alter; the
military aristocracy depend upon the success of the chief they choose
in the enterprise, and the army more upon plunder than regular pay;
both may desert the cause of the more wary for that of the more
daring; each is flattered into an overweening confidence in his own
ability and good fortune; and all rush on to seize upon the throne
yet filled by their wretched parent, who, in the history of his own
crimes, now reads those of his children. Gibbon has justly observed
(chap. 7): 'the superior prerogative of birth, when it has obtained
the sanction of time and popular opinion, is the plainest and least
invidious of all distinctions among mankind. The acknowledged right
extinguishes the hopes of faction; and the conscious security disarms
the cruelty of the monarch. To the firm establishment of this idea we
owe the peaceful succession and mild administration of European
monarchies. To the defect of it we must attribute the frequent civil
wars through which an Asiatic despot is obliged to cut his way to the
throne of his fathers. Yet, even in the East, the sphere of
contention is usually limited to the princes of the reigning house;
and, as soon as the fortunate competitor has removed his brethren by
the sword and the bowstring, he no longer entertains any jealousy of
his meaner subjects.'

Among Hindoos, both real and personal property is divided in the same
manner equally among the sons;[4] but a principality is, among them,
considered as an exception to this rule; and every large estate,
within which the proprietor holds criminal jurisdiction, and
maintains a military establishment, is considered a principality. In
such cases the law of primogeniture is rigorously enforced; and the
death of the prince scarcely ever involves a contest for power and
dominion between his sons. The feelings of the people, who are
accustomed to consider the right of the eldest son to the succession
as religiously sacred, would be greatly shocked at the attempt of any
of his brothers to invade it. The younger brothers, never for a
moment supposing they could be supported in such a sacrilegious
attempt, feel for their eldest brother a reverence inferior only to
that which they feel for their father; and the eldest brother, never
supposing such attempts on their part as possible, feels towards them
as towards his own children. All the members of such a family
commonly live in the greatest harmony.[5] In the laws, usages, and
feelings of the people upon this subject we had the means of
preventing that eternal subdivision of landed property, which ever
has been, and ever will be, the bane of everything that is great and
good in India; but, unhappily, our rulers have never had the wisdom
to avail themselves of them. In a great part of India the property,
or the lease of a _village_ held in farm under Government, was
considered as a _principality_, and subject strictly to the same laws
of primogeniture--it was a _fief_, held under Government on condition
of either direct service, rendered to the State in war, in education,
or charitable or religions duties, or of furnishing the means, in
money or in kind, to provide for such service. In every part of the
Sagar and Nerbudda Territories the law of primogeniture in such
leases was in force when we took possession, and has been ever since
preserved.[6] The eldest of the sons that remain united with the
father, at his death, succeeds to the estate, and to the obligation
of maintaining all the widows and orphan children of those of his
brothers who remained united to their parent stock up to their death,
all his unmarried sisters, and, above all, his mother. All the
younger brothers aid him in the management, and are maintained by him
till they wish to separate, when a division of the stock takes place,
and is adjusted by the elders of the village. The member, who thus
separates from the parent stock, from that time forfeits for ever all
claims to support from the possessor of the ancestral estate, either
for himself, his widow, or his orphan children.[7]

Next, it is obvious that no existing Government in India could, in
case of invasion or civil war, count upon the fidelity of their
aristocracy either of land or of office. It is observed by Hume, in
treating of the reign of King John in England, that 'men easily
change sides in a civil war, especially where the power is founded
upon an hereditary and independent authority, and is not derived from
the opinion and favour of the people'--that is, upon the people
collectively or the nation; for the hereditary and independent
authority of the English baron in the time of King John was founded
upon the opinion and fidelity of only that portion of the people over
which he ruled, in the same manner as that of the Hindoo chiefs of
India in the time of Shah Jahan; but it was without reference either
to the honesty of the cause he espoused, or to the opinion and
feeling of the nation or empire generally regarding it. The Hindoo
territorial chiefs, like the feudal barons of the Middle Ages in
Europe, employed all the revenues of their estates in the maintenance
of military followers, upon whose fidelity they could entirely rely,
whatever side they might themselves take in a civil war; and the more
of these resources that were left at their disposal, the more
impatient they became of the restraints which settled governments
imposed upon them. Under such settled governments they felt that they
had an _arm_ which they could not use; and the stronger that arm, the
stronger was their desire to use it in the subjugation of their
neighbours. The reigning emperors tried to secure their fidelity by
assigning to them posts of honour about their court that required
their personal attendance in all their pomp of pride; and by taking
from each a daughter in marriage. If any one rebelled or neglected
his duties, he was either crushed by the imperial forces, or put to
the _ban of the empire_', and his territories were assigned to any
one who would undertake to conquer them.[8] Their attendance at our
viceroyal court would be a sad encumbrance;[9] and our Governor-
General could not well conciliate them by matrimonial alliances,
unless we were to alter a good deal in their favour our law against
polygamy; nor would it be desirable to 'let slip the dogs of war'
once more throughout the land by adopting the plan of putting the
refractory chiefs to the ban of the empire. Their troops would be of
no use to us in the way they are organized and disciplined, even if
we could rely upon their fidelity in time of need; and this I do not
think we ever can.[10]

If it be the duty of all such territorial chiefs to contribute to the
support of the public establishments of the paramount power by which
they are secured in the possession of their estates, and defended
from all external danger, as it most assuredly is, it is the duty of
that power to take such contribution in money, or the means of
maintaining establishments more suited to its purpose than their rude
militia can ever be; and thereby to impair the _powers_ of that arm
which they are so impatient to wield for their own aggrandizement,
and to the prejudice of their neighbours; and to strengthen that of
the paramount power by which the whole are kept in peace, harmony,
and security. We give to India what India never had before our rule,
and never could have without it, the assurance that there will always
be at the head of the Government a sensible ruler trained up to
office in the best school in the world; and that the security of the
rights, and the enforcement of the duties, presented or defined by
law, will not depend upon the will or caprice of individuals in
power. These assurances the people in India now everywhere thoroughly
understand and appreciate. They see in the native states around them
that the lucky accident of an able governor is too rare ever to be
calculated upon; while all that the people have of property, office,
or character, depends not only upon their governor, but upon every
change that he may make in his ministers.

The government of the Muhammadans was always essentially military,
and the aristocracy was always one of military office. There was
nothing else upon which an aristocracy could be formed. All high
civil offices were combined with the military commands. The emperor
was the great proprietor of all the lands, and collected and
distributed their rents through his own servants. Every Musalman with
his Koran in his hand was his own priest and his own lawyer; and the
people were nowhere represented in any municipal or legislative
assembly--there was no bar, bench, senate, corporation, art, science,
or literature by which men could rise to eminence and power. Capital
had nowhere been concentrated upon great commercial or manufacturing
establishments. There were, in short, no great men but the military
servants of Government; and all the servants of Government held their
posts at the will and pleasure of their sovereign.[11]

If a man was appointed by the emperor to the command of five
thousand, the whole of this five thousand depended entirely on his
favour for their employment, and upon their employment for their
subsistence, whether paid from the imperial treasury, or by an
assignment of land in some distant province.[12] In our armies there
is a regular gradation of rank; and every officer feels that he holds
his commission by a tenure as high in origin, as secure in
possession, and as independent in its exercise, as that of the
general who commands; and the soldiers all know and feel that the
places of those officers, who are killed or disabled in action, will
be immediately filled by those next in rank, who are equally trained
to command, and whose authority none will dispute. In the Muhammadan
armies there was no such gradation of rank. Every man held his office
at the will of the chief whom he followed, and he was every moment
made to feel that all his hopes of advancement must depend upon his
pleasure. The relation between them was that of patron and client;
the client felt bound to yield implicit obedience to the commands of
his patron, whatever they might be; and the patron, in like manner,
felt bound to protect and promote the interests of his client, as
long as he continued to do so. As often as the patron changed sides
in a civil war, his clients all blindly followed him; and when he was
killed, they instantly dispersed to serve under any other leader whom
they might find willing to take their services on the same terms.

The Hindoo chiefs of the military class had hereditary territorial
possessions; and the greater part of these possessions were commonly
distributed on conditions of military service among their followers,
who were all of the same clan. But the highest Muhammadan officers of
the empire had not an acre more of land than they required for their
dwelling-houses, gardens, and cemeteries. They had nothing but their
office to depend upon, and were always naturally anxious to hold it
under the strongest side in any competition for dominion. When the
star of the competitor under whom they served seemed to be on the
wane, they soon found some plausible excuse to make their peace with
his rival, and serve under his banners. Each competitor fought for
his own life, and those of his children; the imperial throne could be
filled by only one man; and that man dared not leave one single
brother alive. His father had taken good care to dispose of all his
own brothers and nephews in the last contest. The subsistence of the
highest, as well as that of the lowest, officer in the army depended
upon their employment in the public service, and all such employments
would be given to those who served the victor in the struggle. Under
such circumstances one is rather surprised that the history of civil
wars in India exhibits so many instances of fidelity and devotion.

The mass of the people stood aloof in such contests without any
feeling of interest, save the dread that their homes might become the
seat of the war, or the tracks of armies which were alike destructive
to the people in their course whatever side they might follow. The
result could have no effect upon their laws and institutions, and
little upon their industry and property. As ships are from necessity
formed to weather the storms to which they are constantly liable at
sea, so were the Indian village communities framed to weather those
of invasion and civil war, to which they were so much accustomed by
land; and, in the course of a year or two, no traces were found of
ravages that one might have supposed it would have taken ages to
recover from. The lands remained the same, and their fertility was
improved by the fallow; every man carried away with him the
implements of his trade, and brought them back with him when he
returned; and the industry of every village supplied every necessary
article that the community required for their food, clothing,
furniture, and accommodation. Each of these little communities, when
left unmolested, was in itself sufficient to secure the rights and
enforce the duties of all the different members; and all they wanted
from their government was moderation in the land taxes, and
protection from external violence. Arrian says: 'If any intestine war
happens to break forth among the Indians, it is deemed a heinous
crime either to seize the husbandmen or spoil their harvest. All the
rest wage war against each other, and kill and slay as they think
convenient, while they live quietly and peaceably among them, and
employ themselves at their rural affairs either in their fields or
vineyards.'[13] I am afraid armies were not much more disposed to
forbearance in the days of Alexander than at present, and that his
followers must have supposed they remained untouched, merely because
they heard of their sudden rise again from their ruins by that spirit
of moral and political vitality with which necessity seems to have
endowed them.[14]

During the early part of his life and reign, Aurangzeb was employed
in conquering and destroying the two independent kingdoms of Golconda
and Bijapur in the Deccan, which he formed into two provinces
governed by viceroys. Each had had an army of above a hundred
thousand men while independent. The officers and soldiers of these
armies had nothing but their courage and their swords to depend upon
for their subsistence. Finding no longer any employment under settled
and legitimate authority in defending the life, property, and
independence of the people, they were obliged to seek it around the
standards of lawless freebooters; and upon the ruins of these
independent kingdoms and their disbanded armies rose the Maratha
power, the hydra-headed monster which Aurangzeb thus created by his
ambition, and spent the last twenty years of his life in vain
attempts to crush.[15] The monster has been since crushed by being
deprived of its Peshwa, the head which alone could infuse into all
the members of the confederacy a feeling of nationality, and direct
all their efforts, when required, to one common object. Sindhia, the
chief of Gwalior, is one of the surviving members of this great
confederacy--the rest are the Holkars of Indore, the Bhonslas of
Nagpur, and the Gaikwars of Baroda,[16] the grandchildren of the
commandants of predatory armies, who formed capital cities out of
their standing camps in the countries they invaded and conquered in
the name of their head, the Satara Raja,[17] and afterwards in that
of his mayor of the palace, the Peshwa. There is not now the
slightest feeling of nationality left among the Maratha States,
either collectively or individually.[18] There is not the slightest
feeling of sympathy between the mass of the people and the chief who
rules over them, and his public establishments. To maintain these
public establishments he everywhere plunders the people, who most
heartily detest him and them. These public establishments are
composed of men of all religions and sects, gathered from all
quarters of India, and bound together by no common feeling, save the
hope of plunder and promotion. Not one in ten is from, or has his
family in, the country where he serves, nor is one in ten of the same
clan with his chief. Not one of them has any hope of a provision
either for himself, when disabled from wounds or old age from serving
his chief any longer, or for his family, should he lose his life in
his service.

In India[19] there are a great many native chiefs who were enabled,
during the disorders which attended the decline and fall of the
Muhammadan power and the rise and progress of the Marathas and
English, to raise and maintain armies by the plunder of their
neighbours. The paramount power of the British being now securely
established throughout the country, they are prevented from indulging
any longer in such sporting propensities; and might employ their vast
revenues in securing the blessing of good civil government for the
territories in the possession of which they are secured by our
military establishment. But these chiefs are not much disposed to
convert their swords into ploughshares; they continue to spend their
revenues on useless military establishments for purposes of parade
and show. A native prince would, they say, be as insignificant
without an army as a native gentleman upon an elephant without a
cavalcade, or upon a horse without a tail. But the said army have
learnt from their forefathers that they were to look to aggressions
upon their neighbours--to pillage, plunder, and conquest, for wealth
and promotion; and they continue to prevent their prince from
indulging in any disposition to turn his attention to the duties of
civil government. They all live in the hope of some disaster to the
paramount power which secures the increasing wealth of the
surrounding countries from their grasp; and threatened innovations
from the north-west raise their spirits and hopes in proportion as
they depress those of the classes engaged in all branches of peaceful
industry.

There are, in all parts of India, thousands and tens of thousands who
have lived by the sword, or who wish to live by the sword, but cannot
find employment suited to their tastes. These would all flock to the
standard of the first lawless chief who could offer them a fair
prospect of plunder; and to them all wars and rumours of war are
delightful. The moment they hear of a threatened invasion from the
north-west, they whet their swords, and look fiercely around upon
those from whose breasts they are 'to cut their pound of flesh'.[20]




Notes:

1. 'Fifty years after' would be more nearly correct. Aurangzeb wa
crowned 23rd July, 1658, according to the author. See end of next
note.

2. On the death of Aurangzeb, which took place in the Deccan, on the
3rd of March, 1707 (N.S.), his son 'Azam marched at the head of the
troops which he commanded in the Deccan, to meet Mu'azzam, who was
viceroy in Kabul. They met and fought near Agra. 'Azam was defeated
and killed. The victor marched to meet his other brother, Kam Baksh,
whom he killed near Hyderabad in the Deccan, and secured to himself
the empire. On his death, which took place in 1713, his four sons
contended in the same way for the throne at the head of the armies of
their respective viceroyalties. Mu'izz-ud-din, the most crafty,
persuaded his two brothers, Rafi-ash-Shan and Jahan Shah, to unite
their forces with his own against their ambitions brother, Azim-ash-
Shan, whom they defeated and killed, Mu'izz-ud-din then destroyed his
two allies. [W. H. S.]

The above note is not altogether accurate. 'Azam, the third son of
Aurangzeb, was killed in battle near Agra, in June 1707. During the
interval between Aurangzeb's death and his own, he had struck coins.
Mu'azzam, the second, and eldest then surviving son, after the defeat
of his rival, ascended the throne under the title of Shah Alam
Bahadur Shah, and is generally known as Bahadur Shah. He was then
sixty-four years of age, his father having been eighty-seven years
old when he died. The events following the death of Bahadur Shah are
narrated as follows by Mr. Lane-Poole; 'The Deccan was the weakest
point in the empire from the beginning of the reign. Hardly had
Bahadur appointed his youngest brother, Kam Baksh ('Wish-fulfiller'),
viceroy of Bijapur and Haidarabad, when that infatuated prince
rebelled and committed such atrocities that the Emperor was compelled
to attack him. Zu-l-Fikar engaged and defeated the rebel king (who
was striking coins in full assumption of sovereignty) near
Haidarabad, and Kam Baksh died of his wounds (1708, A.H. 1120).


'In the midst of this confusion, and surrounded by portents of coming
disruption, Bahadur died, 1712 (1124). He left four sons, who
immediately entered with the zest of their race upon the struggle for
the crown. The eldest, 'Azim-ash-Shan ("Strong of Heart"), first
assumed the sceptre, but Zu-l-Fikar, the prime minister, opposed and
routed him, and the prince was drowned in his flight. The successful
general next defeated and slew two other brothers, Khujistah Akhtar
Jahan-Shah and Rafi-ash-Shan, and placed the surviving of the four
sons of Bahadur [i.e. Mu'izz-ud-din] on the throne with the title of
Jahandar ("World-owner"). The new Emperor was an irredeemable
poltroon and an abandoned debauchee.' (_The History of the Moghul
Emperors of Hindustan illustrated by their Coins_, Constable, 1892,
and in Introd. to _B. M. Catal. of Moghul Emperors_, same date.)

He was killed in 1713, and was succeeded by Farrukh-siyar, the son of
Azim-ush-Shan. The chronology is as follows:-

    No.                  Sovereign.               A.H.          A.D.
     VI. Aurangzeb Alamgir, Muhayi-ud-din      .  1068          1658
        ['Azam Shah     .     .     .    .     .  1118          1707
         Kam Baksh      .     .     .    .     .  1119-20       1708]
    VII. Bahadur Shah-'Alam, Kutb-ud-din .     .  1119          1707
   VIII. Jahandar Shah, Mu'izz-ud-din    .     .  1124          1713
     IX. Farrukhsiyar   .     .     .    .     .  1124          1713

The question concerning the exact date from which the beginning of
Aurangzeb's reign should be reckoned is obscured by the conflict of
authorities and has given rise to much discussion. The results may be
stated briefly as follow:--

Aurangzeb formally took possession of the throne in a garden outside
Delhi on the 1st Zu'l Q'adah, A.H. 1068, July 31, A.D. 1658, but
subsequently orders were passed to antedate the beginning of the
reign to 1st Ramazan in the same year, equivalent to June 2, 1658.
After the destruction of Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb returned to Delhi in
May, A.D. 1659, and was again enthroned with full ceremonial on June
15, 1659 (= A.H. 1069). Some authors consequently assume the
accession to have taken place in 1659. But the reign certainly began
in A.D. 1658, and should be reckoned as running from the official
date, June 2 of that year. The dates given above are in New Style
(N.S.). If recorded in Old Style (O.S.) they would be ten days
earlier. (See Irvine and Hoernle in _J.A.S.B._, Part I, vol. lxii
(1893), pp. 256-67; and Irvine, in _Ind. Ant._, vol. xl (1911), pp.
74, 75.)

3. The author invariably ignores the fact that daughters and other
female relatives inherit under Muhammadan law.

4. Hindoo law does not ordinarily recognize any right of succession
for daughters, and so differs essentially from the law of Islam. The
exceptions to this general rule are unimportant.

5. The experience of most officials does not confirm this statement.

6. The statement now requires modification. After the Central
Provinces were constituted in 1861, the principle of succession by
primogeniture was maintained only in the Hoshangabad, Chhindwara,
Chanda, and Chhattisgarh Districts. But even there the legal effect
of the restrictions on alienation and partition is 'not quite free
from doubt' (_I.G._ 1908, x. 73). The tendency of the law courts is
to apply everywhere uniform rules taken from the Hindoo law books.

7. 'See _ante_, Chapter 10, notes 10, 16. The gradual conversion of
tenure by leases from Government into proprietary right in land has
brought the land under the operation of the ordinary Hindoo law, and
each member of a joint family can now enforce partition of the land
as well as of the stock upon it. The evils resulting from incessant
partition are obvious, but no remedy can be devised. The people
insist on partition, and will effect it privately, if the law imposes
obstacles to a formal public division.

8. These remarks attribute too much System to the disorderly working
of an Asiatic despotism. No institution resembling the formal 'ban of
the empire' ever really existed in India.

9. The Rajas at Simla might now be considered by some people as an
encumbrance.

10. The author could not foresee the gallant service to be rendered
by the Chiefs of the Panjab and other territories in the Mutiny, nor
the institution of the Imperial Service Troops. Those troops, first
organized in 1888, in response to the voluntary offers made by many
princes as a reply to the Russian aggression on Panjdeh, are select
bodies, picked from the soldiery of certain native states, and
equipped and drilled in the European manner. Cashmere (Kashmir) and
many States in the Panjab and elsewhere furnish troops of this kind,
officered by local gentlemen, under the guidance of English
inspecting officers. The Kashmir Imperial Service Troops did
excellent service during the campaign of 1892 in Hunza and Nagar. the
System so happily introduced is likely to be much further developed.
In 1907 the authorized strength was a little over 18,000 (_I.G._, iv
(1907), pp. 87, 373).

11. 'In Rome, as in Egypt and India, many of the great works which,
in modern nations, form the basis of gradations of rank in society,
were executed by Government out of public revenue, or by individuals
gratuitously for the benefit of the public; for instance, roads,
canals, aqueducts, bridges, &c., from which no one derived an income,
though all derived benefit. There was no capital invested, with a
view to profit, in machinery, railroads, canals, steam-engines, and
other great works which, in the preparation and distribution of man's
enjoyments, save the labour of so many millions to the nations of
modern Europe and America, and supply the incomes of many of the most
useful and most enlightened members of their middle and higher
classes of society. During the republic, and under the first
emperors, the laws were simple, and few derived any considerable
income from explaining them. Still fewer derived their incomes from
expounding the religion of the people till the establishment of
Christianity.

Man was the principal machine in which property was invested with a
view to profit, and the concentration of capital in hordes of slaves,
and the farm of the public revenues of conquered provinces and
tributary states, were, with the land, the great basis of the
aristocracies of Rome, and the Roman world generally. The senatorial
and equestrian orders were supported chiefly by lending out their
slaves as gladiators and artificers, and by farming the revenues, and
lending money to the oppressed subjects of the provinces, and to
vanquished princes, at an exorbitant interest, to enable them to pay
what the state or its public officers demanded. The slaves throughout
the Roman empire were about equal in number to the free population,
and they were for the most part concentrated in the hands of the
members of the upper and middle classes, who derived their incomes
from lending and employing them. They were to those classes in the
old world what canals, railroads, steam-engines, &c., are to those of
modern days. Some Roman citizens had as many as five thousand slaves
educated to the one occupation of gladiators for the public shows of
Rome. Julius Caesar had this number in Italy waiting his return from
Gaul; and Gordianus used commonly to give five hundred pair for a
public festival, and never less than one hundred and fifty.

In India slavery is happily but little known;[a] the church had no
hierarchy either among the Hindoos or Muhammadans; nor had the law
any high interpreters. In all its civil branches of marriage,
inheritance, succession, and contract, it was to the people of the
two religions as simple as the laws of the twelve tables; and
contributed just as little to the support of the aristocracy as they
did. In all these respects, China is much the same; the land belongs
to the sovereign, and is minutely subdivided among those who farm and
cultivate it--the great works in canals, aqueducts, bridges, roads,
&c., are made by Government, and yield no private income. Capital is
nowhere concentrated in expensive machinery; their church is without
a hierarchy, their law without barristers-their higher classes are
therefore composed almost exclusively of the public servants of the
Government. The rule which prescribes that princes of the blood shall
not be employed in the government of provinces and the command of
armies, and that the reigning sovereign shall have the nomination of
his successor, has saved China from a frequent return of the scenes
which I have described. None of the princes are put to death, because
it is known that all will acquiesce in the nomination when made
known, supported as it always is by the popular sentiment throughout
the empire. [W. H. S.]

a. the anthor's statement that in the year 1836 slavery was 'but
little known in India' is a truly astonishing one. Slavery of various
kinds--racial, predial, domestic--the slavery of captives, and of
debtors, had existed in India from time immemorial, and still
flourished in 1836. Slavery, so far as the law can abolish it, was
abolished by the Indian Act v of 1843, but the final blow was not
dealt until January l, 1862, when sections 370, &c., of the Indian
Penal Code came into force. In practice, domestic servitude exists to
this day in great Muhammadan households, and multitudes of
agricultural labourers have a very dim consciousness of personal
freedom. The Criminal Law Commissioners, who reported previous to the
passage of Act v of 1843, estimated that in British India, as then
constituted, the proportion of the slave to the free population
varied from one-sixth to two-fifths. Sir Bartle Frere estimated the
slave population of the territories included in British India in the
year 1841 as being between eight and nine millions. Slaves were
heritable and transferable property, and could be mortgaged or let
out on hire. The article 'Slave' in Balfour, _Cyclopaedia_ (3rd ed.),
from which most of the above particulars are taken, is copious, and
gives references to various authorities. The following works may also
be consulted: _The Law and Custom of Slavery in British India_, by
William Adam, 8vo, 1840; _An Account of Slave Population in the
Western Peninsula of India_, 1822, with an Appendix on Slavery in
Malabar; _India's Cries to British Humanity_, by J. Peggs, 8vo, 1830;
and _E.H.I._, 3rd ed. (1914), pp. 100, 178, 180, 441.

12. In Akbar's time there were thirty-three grades of official rank,
and the officers were known as 'commanders of ten thousand',
'commanders of five thousand', and so on. Only princes of the blood
royal were granted the commands of seven thousand and of ten
thousand. The number of troopers actually provided by each officer
did not correspond with the number indicated by his title. The graded
officials were called _mansabdars_, no clear distinction between
civil and military duties being drawn (_The Emperor Akbar_, by Count
Von Noer; translated by Annette S. Beveridge, Calcutta, 1890, vol. i,
p. 267).

13. Diodorus Siculus has the same observation. 'No enemy ever does
any prejudice to the husbandmen; but, out of a due regard to the
common good, forbear to injure them in the least degree; and,
therefore, the land being never spoiled or wasted, yields its fruit
in great abundance, and furnishes the inhabitants with plenty of
victual and all other provisions.' Book II, chap. 3. [W. H. S.] These
allegations certainly cannot be accepted as accurate statements of
fact, however they may be explained. See _E.H.I._, 3rd ed. (1914), p.
442.

14. The rapid recovery of Indian villages and villagers from the
effects of war does not need for its explanation the evocation of 'a
spirit of moral and political vitality'. The real explanation is to
be found in the simplicity of the village life and needs, as
expounded by the author in the preceding passage. Human societies
with a low standard of comfort and a simple scheme of life are, like
individual organisms of lowly structure and few functions, hard to
kill. Human labour, and a few cattle, with a little grain and some
sticks, are the only essential requisites for the foundation or
reconstruction of a village.

15. Golconda was taken by Aurangzeb, after a protracted siege, in
1677. Bijapur surrendered to him on the 15th October, 1686. The vast
ruins of this splendid city, which was deserted after the conquest,
occupy a space thirty miles in circumference. The town has partially
recovered, and is now the head-quarters of a Bombay District, with
about 24,000 inhabitants. Sivaji, the founder of the Maratha power,
died in 1680.

16. The Indore and Baroda States still survive, and the reigning
chiefs of both have frequently visited England, and paid their
respects to their Sovereign. Bhonsla was the family name of the
chiefs of Berar, also known as the Rajas of Nagpur. The last Raja,
Raghoji III, died in December 1853, leaving no child begotten or
adopted. Lord Dalhousie annexed the State as lapsed, and his action
was confirmed in 1864 by the Court of Directors and the Crown.

17. The State of Satara, like that of Nagpur, lapsed owing to failure
of heirs, and was annexed in 1854. It is now a district in the Bombay
Presidency.

18. During the early years of the twentieth century a spirit of
Maratha nationalism has been sedulously cultivated, with inconvenient
results.

19. This paragraph, and that next following, are, in the original
edition, printed as part of Chapter 48, 'The Great Diamond of
Kohinur', with which they have nothing to do. They seem to belong
properly to Chapter 47, and are therefore inserted here. The
observations in both paragraphs are merely repetitions of remarks
already recorded.

20. It need hardly be said that these fire-eaters no longer exist.





CHAPTER 48


The Great Diamond of Kohinur.

The foregoing historical episode occupies too large a space in what
might otherwise be termed a personal narrative; but still I am
tempted to append to it a sketch of the fortunes of that famous
diamond, called with Oriental extravagance the Mountain of Light,
which, by exciting the cupidity of Shah Jahan, played so important a
part in the drama.

After slumbering for the greater part of a century in the imperial
treasury, it was afterwards taken by Nadir Shah, the king of Persia,
who invaded India under the reign of Muhammad Shah, in the year
1738.[1] Nadir Shah, in one of his mad fits, had put out the eyes of
his son, Raza Kuli Mirza, and, when he was assassinated, the
conspirators gave the throne and the diamond to this son's son,
Shahrukh Mirza, who fixed his residence at Meshed.[2] Ahmad Shah, the
Abdali, commanded the Afghan cavalry in the service of Nadir Shah,
and had the charge of the military chest at the time he was put to
death. With this chest, he and his cavalry left the camp during the
disorders that followed the murder of the king, and returned with all
haste to Kandahar, where they met Tariki Khan, on his way to Nadir
Shah's camp with the tribute of the five provinces which he had
retained of his Indian conquests, Kandahar, Kabul, Tatta, Bakkar,
Multan, and Peshawar. They gave him the first news of the death of
the king, seized upon his treasure, and, with the aid of this and the
military chest, Ahmad Shah took possession of these five provinces,
and formed them into the little independent kingdom of Afghanistan,
over which he long reigned, and from which he occasionally invaded
India and Khurasan.[3]

Shahrukh Mirza had his eyes put out some time after by a faction.
Ahmad Shah marched to his relief, put the rebels to death, and united
his eldest son, Taimur Shah, in marriage to the daughter of the
unfortunate prince, from whom he took the diamond, since it could be
of no use to a man who could no longer see its beauties. He
established Taimur as his viceroy at Herat, and his youngest son at
Kandahar; and fixed his own residence at Kabul, where he died.[4] He
was succeeded by Taimur Shah, who was succeeded by his eldest son,
Zaman Shah, who, after a reign of a few years, was driven from his
throne by his younger brother, Mahmud. He sought an asylum with his
friend Ashik, who commanded a distant fortress, and who betrayed him
to the usurper, and put him into confinement. He concealed the great
diamond in a crevice in the wall of the room in which he was
confined; and the rest of his jewels in a hole made in the ground
with his dagger. As soon as Mahmud received intimation of the arrest
from Ashik, he sent for his brother, had his eyes put out, and
demanded the jewels, but Zaman Shah pretended that he had thrown them
into the river as he passed over. Two years after this, the third
brother, the Sultan Shuja, deposed Mahmud, ascended the throne by the
consent of his elder brother, and, as a fair specimen of his notions
of retributive justice, he blew away from the mouths of cannon, not
only Ashik himself, but his wife and all his innocent and unoffending
children.

He intended to put out the eyes of his deposed brother, Mahmud, but
was dissuaded from it by his mother and Zaman Shah, who now pointed
out to him the place where he had concealed the great diamond. Mahmud
made his escape from prison, raised a party, drove out his brothers,
and once more ascended the throne. The two brothers sought an asylum
in the Honourable Company's territories; and have from that time
resided at an out frontier station of Ludiana, upon the banks of the
Hyphasis,[5] upon a liberal pension assigned for their maintenance by
our Government. On their way through the territories of the Sikh
chief, Ranjit Singh, Shuja was discovered to have this great diamond,
the Mountain of Light, about his person; and he was, by a little
torture skilfully applied to the mind and body, made to surrender it
to his generous host.[6] Mahmud was succeeded in the government of
the fortress and province of Herat by his son Kamran; but the throne
of Kabul was seized by the mayor of the palace, who bequeathed it to
his son Dost Muhammad, a man, in all the qualities requisite in a
sovereign, immeasurably superior to any member of the house of Ahmad
Shah Abdali. Ranjit Singh had wrested from him the province of
Peshawar in times of difficulty, and, as we would not assist him in
recovering it from our old ally, he thought himself justified in
seeking the aid of those who would, the Russians and Persians, who
were eager to avail themselves of so fair an occasion to establish a
footing in India. Such a footing would have been manifestly
incompatible with the peace and security of our dominions in India,
and we were obliged, in self-defence, to give to Shuja the aid which
he had so often before in vain solicited, to enable him to recover
the throne of his very limited number of legal ancestors.[7]


Notes:

1. Nadir Shah was crowned king of Persia in 1736, entered the Panjab,
at the close of 1738, and occupied Delhi in March 1739. Having
perpetrated an awful massacre of the inhabitants, he retired after a
stay of fifty-eight days, He was assassinated in May 1747.

2. Meshed, properly Mashhad ('the place of martyrdom'), is the chief
city of Khurasan. Nadir Shah was killed while encamped there.

3. Ahmad Shah defeated the Marathas in the third great battle of
Panipat, A.D. 1761. He had conquered the Panjab in 1748. He invaded
India five times.

4. In 1773.

5. Ludiana (misspelt 'Ludhiana' in _I.G._, 1908) is named from the
Lodi Afghans, who founded it in 1481. The town is now the
headquarters of the district of the same name under the Panjab
Government. Part of the district lapsed to the British Government in
1836, other parts lapsed during the years 1846 and 1847, and the rest
came from territory already British by rearrangement of jurisdiction.
Hyphasis is the Greek name for the Bias river.

6. The above history of the Kohinur may, I believe, be relied upon. I
received a narrative of it from Shah Zaman, the blind old king
himself, through General Smith, who commanded the troops at Ludiana;
forming a detail of the several revolutions too long and too full of
new names for insertion here. [W. H. S.] The above note is, in the
original edition, misplaced, and appended to two paragraphs of the
text, which have no connexion with the story of the diamond, and
really belong to Chapter 47, to which they have been removed in this
edition.

The author assumes the identity of the Kohinur with the great diamond
found in one of the Golconda mines, and presented by Amir Jumla to
Shah Jahan. The much-disputed history of the Kohinur has been
exhaustively discussed by Valentine Ball (Tavernier's _Travels in
India_: Appendix I (1), 'The Great Mogul's Diamond and the true
History of the Koh-i-nur; and (2) 'Summary History of the Koh-i-
nur'). He has proved that the Kohinur is almost certainly the diamond
given by Amir (Mir) Jumla to Shah Jahan, though now much reduced in
weight by mutilation and repeated cutting. Assuming the identity of
the Kohinur with Amir Jumla's gift, the leading incidents in the
history of this famous jewel are as follows;--

             Event.                                   Approximate
                                                         Date.
   Found at mine of Kollur on the Kistna (Krishna)
       river  .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .Not known
   Presented to Shah Jahan by Mir Jumla, being
       uncut, and weighing about 756 English carats   1656 or 1657
   Ground by Hortensio Borgio, and greatly reduced
       in weight   .    .    .    .    .    .    .    about 1657
   Seen and weighed by Tavernier in Aurangzeb's
       treasury, its weight being 268 19/50 English
       carats .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .  1665
   Taken by Nadir Shah of Persia from Muhammad
       Shah of Delhi, and named Kohinur     .    .    .  1739
   Inherited by Shah Rukh, grandson of Nadir Shah.    .  1747
   Given up by Shah Rukh to Ahmad Shah Abdali    .    .  1751
   Inherited by Timur, son of Ahmad Shah    .    .    .  1772
   Inherited by Shah Zaman, son of Timur    .    .    .  1793
   Taken by Shah Shuja, brother of Shah Zaman    .    .  1795
   Taken by Ranjit Singh, of Lahore, from Shah Shuja  .  1813
   Inherited by Dilip (Dhuleep) Singh,
       reputed son of Ranjit Singh.    .    .    .    .  1839
   Annexed, with the Panjab, and passed, through
       John Lawrence's waistcoat pocket
       (see his _Life_), into the possession
       of H.M. the Queen, its weight then being
       186 1/16 English carats    .    .    .    .    .  1849
   Exhibited at Great Exhibition in London  .    .    .  1851
   Recut under supervision of Messrs. Garrards, and
       reduced in weight to 106 1/16 English carats   .  1852

The difference in weight between 268 19/50 carats in 1665 and 186
1/16 carats in 1849 seems to be due to mutilation of the stone during
its stay in Persia and Afghanistan.

7. The policy of the first Afghan War has been, it is hardly
necessary to observe, much disputed, and the author's confident
defence of Lord Auckland's action cannot be accepted.




CHAPTER 49


Pindhari System--Character of the Maratha Administration--Cause of
their Dislike to the Paramount Power.

The attempt of the Marquis of Hastings to rescue India from that
dreadful scourge, the Pindhari system, involved him in a war with all
the great Maratha states, except Gwalior; that is, with the Peshwa at
Puna, Holkar at Indore, and the Bhonsla at Nagpur; and Gwalior was
prevented from joining the other states in their unholy league
against us only by the presence of the grand division of the army,
under the personal command of the Marquis, in the immediate vicinity
of his capital. It was not that these chiefs liked the Pindharis, or
felt any interest in their welfare, but because they were always
anxious to crush that rising paramount authority which had the power,
and had always manifested the will, to interpose and prevent the free
indulgence of their predatory habits--the free exercise of that
weapon, a standing army, which the disorders incident upon the
decline and fall of the Muhammadan army had put into their hands, and
which a continued series of successful aggressions upon their
neighbours could alone enable them to pay or keep under control. They
seized with avidity any occasion of quarrel with the paramount power
which seemed likely to unite them all in one great effort to shake it
off; and they are still prepared to do the same, because they feel
that they could easily extend their depredations if that power were
withdrawn; and they know no other road to wealth and glory but such
successful depredations. Their ancestors rose by them, their states
were formed by them, and their armies have been maintained by them.
They look back upon them for all that seems to them honourable in the
history of their families. Their bards sing of them in all their
marriage and funeral processions; and, as their imaginations kindle
at the recollection, they detest the arm that is extended to defend
the wealth and the industry of the surrounding territories from their
grasp. As the industrious classes acquire and display their wealth in
the countries around during a long peace, under a strong and settled
government, these native chiefs, with their little disorderly armies,
feel precisely as an English country gentleman would feel with a pack
of foxhounds, in a country swarming with foxes, and without the
privilege of hunting them.[1]

Their armies always took the auspices and set out _kingdom taking_
(mulk giri) after the Dasahra,[2] in November, as regularly as
English gentlemen go partridge-shooting on the 1st of September; and
I may here give, as a specimen, the excursion of Jean Baptiste
Filose,[3] who sallied forth on such an expedition, at the head of a
division of Sindhia's army, just before this Pindhari war commenced.
From Gwalior he proceeded to Karauli,[4] and took from that chief the
district of Sabalgarh, yielding four lakhs of rupees yearly.[5] He
then took the territory of the Raja of Chanderi,[6] Mor Pahlad, one
of the oldest of the Bundelkhand chiefs, which then yielded about
seven lakhs of rupees,[7] but now yields only four. The Raja got an
allowance of forty thousand rupees a year. He then took the
territories of the Rajas of Raghugarh and Bajranggarh,[8] yielding
three lakhs a year; and Bahadurgarh, yielding two lakhs a year;[9]
and the three princes got fifty thousand rupees a year for
subsistence among them. He then took Lopar, yielding two lakhs and a
half, and assigned the Raja twenty-five thousand. He then took Garha
Kota,[10] whose chief gets subsistence from our Government. Baptiste
had just completed his kingdom taking expedition, when our armies
took the field against the Pindharis; and, on the termination of that
war in 1817, all these acquisitions were confirmed and guaranteed to
his master Sindhia by our Government. It cannot be supposed that
either he or his army can ever feel any great attachment towards a
paramount authority that has the power and the will to interpose, and
prevent their indulging in such sporting excursions as these, or any
great disinclination to take advantage of any occasion that may seem
likely to unite all the native chiefs in a common effort to crush it.
The Nepalese have the same feeling as the Marathas in a still
stronger degree, since their kingdom-taking excursions had been still
greater and more successful; and, being all soldiers from the same
soil, they were easily persuaded, by a long series of successful
aggressions, that their courage was superior to that of all other
men.[11]

In the year 1833, the Gwalior territory yielded a net revenue to the
treasury of ninety-two lakhs of rupees, after discharging all the
local costs of the civil and fiscal administration of the different
districts, in officers, establishments, charitable institutions,
religions endowments, military fiefs, &c.[12] In the remote
districts, which are much infested by the predatory tribes of
Bhils,[13] and in consequence badly peopled and cultivated, the net
revenue is estimated to be about one-third of the gross collections;
but, in the districts near the capital, which are tolerably well
cultivated, the net revenue brought to the treasury is about five-
sixths of the gross collections; and these collections are equal to
the whole annual rent of the land; for every man by whom the land is
held or cultivated is a mere tenant at will, liable every season to
be turned out, to give place to any other man that may offer more for
the holding.

There is nowhere to be seen upon the land any useful or ornamental
work, calculated to attach the people to the soil or to their
villages; and, as hardly any of the recruits for the regiments are
drawn from the peasantry of the country, the agricultural classes
have nowhere any feeling of interest in the welfare or existence of
the government. I am persuaded that there is not a single village in
all the Gwalior dominions in which nine-tenths of the people would
not be glad to see that government destroyed, under the persuasion
that they could not possibly have a worse, and would be very likely
to find a better.

The present force at Gwalior consists of three regiments of infantry,
under Colonel Alexander; six under the command of Apaji, the adopted
son of the late Bala Bai;[14] eleven under Colonel Jacobs and his
son; five under Colonel Jean Baptiste Filose; two under the command
of the Mamu Sahib, the maternal uncle of the Maharaja; three in what
is called Babu Baoli's camp; in all thirty regiments, consisting,
when complete, of six hundred men each, with four field-pieces. The
'Jinsi', or artillery, consists of two hundred guns of different
calibre. There are but few corps of cavalry, and these are not
considered very efficient, I believe.[15]

Robbers and murderers of all descriptions have always been in the
habit of taking the field in India immediately after the festival of
the Dasahra,[16] at the end of October, from the sovereign of a state
at the head of his armies, down to the leader of a little band of
pickpockets from the corner of some obscure village. All invoke the
Deity, and take the auspices to ascertain his will, nearly in the
same way; and all expect that he will guide them successfully through
their enterprises, as long as they find the omens favourable. No one
among them ever dreams that his undertaking can be less acceptable to
the Deity than that of another, provided he gives him the same due
share of what he acquires in his thefts, his robberies, or his
conquests, in sacrifices and offerings upon his shrines, and in
donations to his priests.[17] Nor does the robber often dream that he
shall be considered a less respectable citizen by the circle in which
he moves than the soldier, provided he spends his income as
liberally, and discharges all his duties in his relations with them
as well; and this he generally does to secure their goodwill,
whatever may be the character of his depredations upon distant
circles of society and communities. The man who returned to Oudh, or
Rohilkhand, after a campaign under a Pindhari chief, was as well
received as one who returned after serving one under Sindhia, Holkar,
or Ranjit Singh. A friend of mine one day asked a leader of a band of
'dacoits', or banditti, whether they did not often commit murder.
'God forbid', said he, 'that we should ever commit murder; but, if
people choose to oppose us, we, of course, _strike and kill_; but you
do the same. I hear that there is now a large assemblage of troops in
the upper provinces going to take foreign countries; if they are
opposed, they will kill people. We only do the same.'[18] The history
of the rise of every nation in the world unhappily bears out the
notion that princes are only robbers upon a large scale, till their
ambition is curbed by a balance of power among nations.

On the 25th[19] we came on to Dhamela, fourteen miles, over a plain,
with the range of sandstone hills on the left, receding from us to
the west; and that on the right receding still more to the east. Here
and there were some insulated hills of the same formation rising
abruptly from the plain to our right. All the villages we saw were
built upon masses of this sandstone rock, rising abruptly at
intervals from the surface of the plain, in horizontal strata. These
hillocks afford the people stone for building, and great facilities
for defending themselves against the inroads of freebooters. There is
not, I suppose, in the world a finer stone for building than these
sandstone hills afford; and we passed a great many carts carrying
them off to distant places in slabs or flags from ten to sixteen feet
long, two to three feet wide, and six inches thick. They are white,
with very minute pink spots, and of a texture so very fine that they
would be taken for indurated clay on a slight inspection. The houses
of the poorest peasants are here built of this beautiful freestone,
which, after two hundred years, looks as if it had been quarried only
yesterday.

About three miles from our tents we crossed over the little river
Ghorapachhar,[20] flowing over a bed of this sandstone. The soil all
the way very light, and the cultivation scanty and bad. Except within
the enclosures of men's houses, scarcely a tree to be anywhere seen
to give shelter and shade to the weary traveller; and we could find
no ground for our camp with a shrub to shelter man or beast. All are
swept away to form gun-carriages for the Gwalior artillery, with a
philosophical disregard to the comforts of the living, the repose of
the dead who planted them with a view to a comfortable berth in the
next world, and to the will of the gods to whom they are dedicated.
There is nothing left upon the land of animal or vegetable life to
enrich it; nothing of stock but what is necessary to draw from the
soil an annual crop, and which looks to one harvest for its entire
return. The sovereign proprietor of the soil lets it out by the year,
in farms or villages, to men who depend entirely upon the year's
return for the means of payment. He, in his turn, lets the lands in
detail to those who till them, and who depend for their subsistence,
and for the means of paying their rents, upon the returns of the
single harvest. There is no manufacture anywhere to be seen, save of
brass pots and rude cooking utensils; no trade or commerce, save in
the transport of the rude produce of the land to the great camp at
Gwalior, upon the backs of bullocks, for want of roads fit for
wheeled carriages. No one resides in the villages, save those whose
labour is indispensably necessary to the rudest tillage, and those
who collect the dues of government, and are paid upon the lowest
possible scale. Such is the state of the Gwalior territories in every
part of India where I have seen them.[21] The miseries and misrule of
the Oudh, Hyderabad, and other Muhammadan governments, are heard of
everywhere, because there are, under these governments, a middle and
higher class upon the land to suffer and proclaim them; but those of
the Gwalior state are never heard of, because no such classes are
ever allowed to grow up upon the land. Had Russia governed Poland,
and Turkey Greece, in the way that Gwalior has governed her conquered
territories, we should never have heard of the wrongs of the one or
the other.

In my morning's ride the day before I left Gwalior, I saw a fine
leopard standing by the side of the most frequented road, and staring
at every one who passed. It was held by two men, who sat by and
talked to it as if it had been a human being. I thought it was an
animal for show, and I was about to give them something, when they
told me that they were servants of the Maharaja, and were training
the leopard to bear the sight and society of man. 'It had', they
said, 'been caught about three months ago in the jungles, where it
could never bear the sight and society of man, or of any animal that
it could not prey upon; and must be kept upon the most frequented
road till quite tamed. Leopards taken when very young would', they
said, 'do very well as pets, but never answered for hunting; a good
leopard for hunting must, before taken, be allowed to be a season or
two providing for himself, and living upon the deer he takes in the
jungles and plains.'


Notes:

1. For the characteristics of the Marathas and Pindharis, see _ante_,
Chapter 21, note 2.

2. _Ante_, Chapter 26, note 8, and Chapter 32, note 9.

3. _Ante_, Chapter 17, note 6.

4. A small principality, about seventy miles equidistant from Agra,
Gwalior, Mathura, Alwar, Jaipur, and Tonk. The attack on Karauli
occurred in 1813. Full details are given in the author's _Report on
Budhuk alias Bagree Decoits_, pp. 99-104.

5. Four hundred thousand rupees.

6. _Ante_, Chapter 33, note 15.

7. Seven hundred thousand rupees.

8. Raghugarh is now a mediatized chiefship in the Central India
Agency, controlled by the Resident at Gwalior. Bajranggarh, a
stronghold eleven miles south of Guna (Goonah), and about 140 miles
distant from Gwalior, is in the Raghugarh territory.

9. Three hundred thousand and two hundred thousand rupees,
respectively. Bahadurgarh is now included in the Isagarh district of
the Gwalior State.

10. I cannot find any mention of Lopar, if the name is correctly
printed. Garha Kota seems to be a slip of the pen for Garha. Garha
Kota is in British territory, in the Sagar District, C. P. But Garha
is a petty state, formerly included in the Raghugarh State. The town
of Garha is on the eastern slope of the Malwa plateau in 25 deg. 2' N.
and 78 deg. 3' E. (_I.G._, 1908, s.v.).

11. On the coronation or installation of every new prince of the
house of Sindhia, orders are given to plunder a few shops in the town
as a part of the ceremony, and this they call or consider 'taking the
auspices'. Compensation is _supposed_ to be made to the proprietors,
but rarely is made. I believe the same auspices are taken at the
installation of a new prince of every other Maratha house. The Moghal
invaders of India were, in the same manner, obliged to allow their
armies to _take the auspices_ in the sack of a few towns, though they
had surrendered without resistance. They were given up to pillage as
a _religions duty_. Even the accomplished Babar was obliged to
concede this privilege to his army. [W. H. S.]

In reply to the editor's inquiries, Colonel Biddulph, officiating
Resident at Gwalior, has kindly communicated the following
information on the subject of the above note, in a letter dated 30th
December, 1892. 'The custom of looting some "Banias'" shops on the
installation of a new Maharaja in Gwalior is still observed. It was
observed when the present Madho Rao Sindhia was installed on the
_gadi_ on 3rd July, 1886, and the looting was stopped by the police
on the owners of the shops calling out "Dohai Madho Maharajki!" five
shops were looted on the occasion, and compensation to the amount of
Rs. 427, 4, 3 was paid to the owners. My informant tells me that the
custom has apparently no connexion with religion, but is believed to
refer to the days when the period between the decease of one ruler
and the accession of his successor was one of disorder and plunder.
The maintenance of the custom is supposed to notify to the people
that they must now look to the new ruler for protection.

'According to another informant, some "banias" are called by the
palace officers and directed to open their shops in the palace
precincts, and money is given them to stock their shops. The poor
people are then allowed to loot them. No shops are allowed to be
looted in the bazaar.

'I cannot learn that any particular name is given to the ceremony,
and there appears to be some doubt as to its meaning; but the best
information seems to show that the reason assigned above is the
correct one.

'I cannot give any information as to the existence of the custom in
other Mahratta states.'

The custom was observed late in the sixth century at the birth of
King Harsha-vardhana (_Harsa-Carita_, transl, Cowell and Thomas, p.
111). Anthropologists classify such practices as rites de passage,
marking a transition from the old to the new.

'Bania', or 'baniya', means shopkeeper, especially a grain dealer;
'gadi', or 'gaddi', is the cushioned seat, also known as 'masnad',
which serves a Hindoo prince as a throne; and 'dohai' is the ordinary
form of a cry for redress.

12. Ninety-two lakhs of rupees were then worth more than L920,000.
The _I.G._ (1908) states the normal revenue as 150 lakhs of rupees,
equivalent (at the rate of exchange of 1_s._ 4_d._ to the rupee, or R
15 = L1) to one million pounds sterling. The fall in exchange has
greatly lowered the sterling equivalent.

13. The Bhil tribes are included in the large group of tribes which
have been driven back by the more cultivated races into the hills and
jungles. They are found among the woods along the banks of the
Nerbudda, Tapti, and Mahi, and in many parts of Central India and
Rajputana. Of late years they have generally kept quiet; in the
earlier part of the nineteenth century they gave much trouble in
Khandesh. In Rajputana two irregular corps of Bhils have been
organized.

14. Daughter of Mahadaji Sindhia. She died in 1834. See _post_,
Chapter 70.

15. 'In 1886 the fort of Gwalior and the cantonment of Morar were
surrendered by the Government of India to Sindhia in exchange for the
fort and town of Jhansi. Both forts were mutually surrendered and
occupied on 10th March, 1886. As the occupation of the fort of
Gwalior necessitated an increase of Sindhia's army, the Maharaja was
allowed to add 3,000 men to his infantry' (_Letter of Officiating
Resident, dated 30th Dec._, 1892). In 1908 the Gwalior army,
comprising all arms, including three regiments of Imperial Service
Cavalry, numbered more than 12,000 men, described as troops of 'very
fair quality' (_I.G._, 1908).

16. _Ante_, Chapter 26, note 8; Chapter 32, note 9; Chapter 49, note
2.

17. In _Ramaseeana_ the author has fully described the practices of
the Thugs in taking omens, and the feelings with which they regarded
their profession. Similar information concerning other criminal
classes is copiously given in the _Report on Budhuk alias Bagree
Decoits_. See also Meadows Taylor, _Confessions of a Thug_, in any
edition.

18. These notions are still prevalent.

19. December, 1835, Christmas Day.

20. 'Overthrower of horses'; the same epithet is applied to the
Utangan river, south of the Agra district, owing to the difficulty
with which it is crossed when in flood (_N.W.P. Gazetteer_, 1st ed.,
vol. vii, p. 423).

21. Sindhia's territories, measuring 25,041 square miles, are in
parts intermixed with those of other princes, and so extend over a
wide space. Gwalior and its government have been discussed already in
Chapter 36.




CHAPTER 50


Dholpur, Capital of the Jat Chiefs of Gohad--Consequence of Obstacles
to the Prosecution of Robbers.

On the morning of the 26th,[1] we sent on one tent, with the
intention of following it in the afternoon; but about three o'clock a
thunder-storm came on so heavily that I was afraid that which we
occupied would come down upon us; and, putting my wife and child in a
palankeen, I took them to the dwelling of an old Bairagi, about two
hundred yards from us. He received us very kindly, and paid us many
compliments about the honour we had conferred upon him. He was a kind
and, I think, a good old man, and had six disciples who seemed to
reverence him very much. A large stone image of Hanuman, the monkey-
god, painted red, and a good store of buffaloes, very comfortably
sheltered from the pitiless storm, were in an inner court. The
peacocks in dozens sought shelter under the walls and in the tree
that stood in the courtyard; and I believe that they would have come
into the old man's apartment had they not seen our white faces there.
I had a great deal of talk with him, but did not take any notes of
it. These old Bairagis, who spend the early and middle parts of life
as disciples in pilgrimages to the celebrated temples of their god
Vishnu in all parts of India, and the latter part of it as high
priests or apostles in listening to the reports of the numerous
disciples employed in similar wanderings are, perhaps, the most
intelligent men in the country. They are from all the castes and
classes of society. The lowest Hindoo may become a Bairagi, and the
very highest are often tempted to become so; the service of the god
to which they devote themselves levelling all distinctions. Few of
them can write or read, but they are shrewd observers of men and
things, and often exceedingly agreeable and instructive companions to
those who understand them, and can make them enter into unreserved
conversation. Our tent stood out the storm pretty well, but we were
obliged to defer our march till the next day. On the afternoon of the
27th we went on twelve miles, over a plain of deep alluvion, through
which two rivers have cut their way to the Chambal; and, as usual,
the ravines along their banks are deep, long, and dreary.

About half-way we were overtaken by one of the heaviest showers of
rain I ever saw; it threatened us from neither side, but began to
descend from an apparently small bed of clouds directly over our
heads, which seemed to spread out on every side as the rain fell, and
fill the whole vault of heaven with one dark and dense mass. The wind
changed frequently; and in less than half an hour the whole surface
of the country over which we were travelling was under water. This
dense mass of clouds passed off in about two hours to the east; but
twice, when the sun opened and beamed divinely upon us in a cloudless
sky to the west, the wind changed suddenly round, and rushed back
angrily from the east, to fill up the space which had been quickly
rarefied by the genial heat of its rays, till we were again enveloped
in darkness, and began to despair of reaching any human habitation
before night. Some hail fell among the rain, but not large enough to
hurt any one. The thunder was loud and often startling to the
strongest nerves, and the lightning vivid, and almost incessant. We
managed to keep the road because it was merely a beaten pathway below
the common level of the country, and we could trace it by the greater
depth of the water, and the absence of all shrubs and grass. All
roads in India soon become watercourses--they are nowhere metalled;
and, being left for four or five months every year without rain,
their soil is reduced to powder by friction, and carried off by the
winds over the surrounding country.[2] I was on horseback, but my
wife and child were secure in a good palankeen that sheltered them
from the rain. The bearers were obliged to move with great caution
and slowly, and I sent on every person I could spare that they might
keep moving, for the cold blast blowing over their thin and wet
clothes seemed intolerable to those who were idle. My child's
playmate, Gulab, a lad of about ten years of age, resolutely kept by
the side of the palankeen, trotting through the water with his teeth
chattering as if he had been in an ague. The rain at last ceased, and
the sky in the west cleared up beautifully about half an hour before
sunset. Little Gulab threw off his stuffed and quilted vest, and got
a good dry English blanket to wrap round him from the palankeen. We
soon after reached a small village, in which I treated all who had
remained with us to as much coarse sugar (_gur_) as they could eat;
and, as people of all castes can eat of sweetmeats from the hands of
confectioners without prejudice to their caste, and this sugar is
considered to be the best of all good things for guarding against
colds in man or beast, they all ate very heartily, and went on in
high spirits. As the sun sank below us on the left, a bright moon
shone out upon us from the right, and about an hour after dark we
reached our tents on the north bank of the Kuari river, where we
found an excellent dinner for ourselves, and good fires, and good
shelter for our servants. Little rain had fallen near the tents, and
the river Kuari, over which we had to cross, had not, fortunately,
much swelled; nor did much fall on the ground we had left; and, as
the tents there had been struck and laden before it came on, they
came up the next morning early, and went on to our next ground.

On the 28th, we went on to Dholpur, the capital of the Jat chiefs of
Gohad,[3] on the left bank of the Chambal, over a plain with a
variety of crops, but not one that requires two seasons to reach
maturity. The soil excellent in quality and deep, but not a tree
anywhere to be seen, nor any such thing as a work of ornament or
general utility of any kind. We saw the fort of Dholpur at a distance
of six miles, rising apparently from the surface of the level plain,
but in reality situated on the summit of the opposite and high bank
of a large river, its foundation at least one hundred feet above the
level of the water. The immense pandemonia of ravines that separated
us from this fort were not visible till we began to descend into them
some two or three miles from the bed of the river. Like all the
ravines that border the rivers in these parts, they are naked,
gloomy, and ghastly, and the knowledge that no solitary traveller is
ever safe in them does not tend to improve the impression they make
upon us. The river is a beautiful clear stream, here flowing over a
bed of fine sand with a motion so gentle, that one can hardly
conceive it is she who has played such fantastic tricks along the
borders, and made such 'frightful gashes' in them. As we passed over
this noble reach of the river Chambal in a ferry-boat, the boatman
told us of the magnificent bridge formed here by the Baiza Bai for
Lord William Bentinck in 1832, from boats brought down from Agra for
the purpose. 'Little', said they, 'did it avail her with the
Governor-General in her hour of need.[4]

The town of Dholpur lies some short way in from the north bank of the
Chambal, at the extremity of a range of sandstone hills which runs
diagonally across that of Gwalior. This range was once capped with
basalt, and some boulders are still found upon it in a state of rapid
decomposition. It was quite refreshing to see the beautiful mango
groves on the Dholpur side of the river, after passing through a
large tract of country in which no tree of any kind was to be seen.
On returning from a long ride over the range of sandstone hills the
morning after we reached Dholpur, I passed through an encampment of
camels taking rude iron from some mines in the hills to the south
towards Agra. They waited here within the frontier of a native state
for a pass from the Agra custom house,[5] lest any one should, after
they enter our frontier, pretend that they were going to smuggle it,
and thus get them into trouble. 'Are you not', said I, 'afraid to
remain here so near the ravines of the Chambal, when thieves are said
to be so numerous?' 'Not at all,' replied they. 'I suppose thieves do
not think it worth while to steal rude iron?' 'Thieves, sir, think it
worth while to steal anything they can get, but we do not fear them
much here.' 'Where, then, do you fear them much?' 'We fear them when
we get into the Company's territories.' 'And how is this, when we
have good police establishments, and the Dholpur people none?' 'When
the Dholpur people get hold of a thief, they make him disgorge all
that he has got of our property for us, and they confiscate all the
rest that he has for themselves, and cut off his nose or his hands,
and turn him adrift to deter others. You, on the contrary, when you
get hold of a thief, worry us to death in the prosecution of your
courts; and, when we have proved the robbery to your satisfaction,
you leave all this ill-gotten wealth to his family,[6] and provide
him with good food and clothing for himself, while he works for you a
couple of years on the roads.[7] The consequence is, that here
fellows are afraid to rob a traveller, if they find him at all on his
guard, as we generally are, while in your districts they rob us where
and when they like.'

'But, my friends, you are sure to recover what we do get of your
property from the thieves.' 'Not quite sure of that neither,' said
they, 'or the greater part is generally absorbed on its way back to
us through the officers of your court; and we would always rather put
up with the first loss than run the risk of a greater by prosecution,
if we happen to get robbed within the Company's territories.'

The loss and annoyances to which prosecutors and witnesses are
subject in our courts are a source of very great evil to the country.
They enable police-officers everywhere to grow rich upon the
concealment of crimes. The man who has been robbed will bribe them to
conceal the robbery, that he may escape the further loss of the
prosecution in our courts, generally very distant; and the witnesses
will bribe them to avoid attending to give evidence; the whole
village communities bribe them, because every man feels that they
have the power of getting him summoned to the court in some capacity
or other, if they like; and that they will certainly like to do so,
if not bribed.

The obstacles which our system opposes to the successful prosecution
of robbers of all denominations and descriptions deprive our
Government of all popular support in the administration of criminal
justice; and this is considered everywhere to be the worst, and,
indeed, the only radically bad feature of our government. No
magistrate hopes to get a conviction against one in four of the most
atrocious gang of robbers and murderers of his district, and his only
resource is in the security laws, which enable him to keep them in
jail under a requisition of security for short periods. To this an
idle or apathetic magistrate will not have recourse, and under him
these robbers have a free licence.

In England, a judicial acquittal does not send back the culprit to
follow the same trade in the same field, as in India; for the
published proceedings of the court bring down upon him the
indignation of society--the moral and religions feelings of his
fellow men are arrayed against him, and from these salutary checks no
flaw in the indictment can save him. Not so in India. There no moral
or religions feelings interpose to assist or to supply the
deficiencies of the penal law. Provided he eats, drinks, smokes,
marries, and makes his offerings to his priest according to the rules
of his caste, the robber and the murderer incurs no odium in the
circle in which he moves, either religious or moral, and this is the
only circle for whose feelings he has any regard.[8]

The man who passed off his bad coin at Datiya, passed off more at
Dholpur while my advanced people were coming in, pretending that he
wanted things for me, and was in a great hurry to be ready with them
at my tents by the time I came up. The bad rupees were brought to a
native officer of my guard, who went with the shopkeepers in search
of the knave, but he could nowhere be found. The gates of the town
were shut up all night at my suggestion, and in the morning every
lodging-house in the town was searched for him in vain--he had gone
on. I had left some sharp men behind me, expecting that he would
endeavour to pass off his bad money immediately after my departure;
but in expectation of this he was now evidently keeping a little in
advance of me. I sent on some men with the shopkeepers whom he had
cheated to our next stage, in the hope of overtaking him; but he had
left the place before they arrived without passing any of his bad
coin, and gone on to Agra. The shopkeepers could not be persuaded to
go any further after him, for, if they caught him, they should, they
said, have infinite trouble in prosecuting him in our courts, without
any chance of recovering from him what they had lost.

On the 29th, we remained at Dholpur to receive and return the visits
of the young Raja, or, as he is called, the young Rana, a lad of
about fifteen years of age, very plain, and very dull. He came about
ten in the forenoon with a very respectable and well-dressed retinue,
and a tolerable show of elephants and horses. The uniforms of his
guards were made after those of our own soldiers, and did not please
me half so much as those of the Datiya guards, who were permitted to
consult their own tastes; and the music of the drums and fifes seemed
to me infinitely inferior to that of the mounted minstrels of my old
friend Parichhit.[9] The lad had with him about a dozen old public
servants entitled to chairs, some of whom had served his father above
thirty years; while the ancestors of others had served his
grandfathers and great-grandfathers, and I could not help telling the
lad in their presence that 'these were the greatest ornament of a
prince's throne and the best signs and pledges of a good government'.
They were all evidently much pleased at the compliment, and I thought
they deserved to be pleased, from the good character they bore among
the peasantry of the country. I mentioned that I had understood the
boatmen of the Chambal at Dholpur never caught or ate fish. The lad
seemed embarrassed, and the minister took upon himself to reply that
'there was no market for it, since the Hindoos of Dholpur never ate
fish, and the Muhammadans had all disappeared'. I asked the lad
whether he was fond of hunting. He seemed again confounded, and the
minister said that 'his highness never either hunted or fished, as
people of his caste were prohibited from destroying life'. 'And yet',
said I, 'they have often showed themselves good soldiers in battle.'
They were all pleased again, and said that they were not prohibited
from killing tigers; but that there was no jungle of any kind near
Dholpur, and, consequently, no tigers to be found. The Jats are
descendants of the Getae, and were people of very low caste, or
rather of no caste at all, among the Hindoos, and they are now trying
to raise themselves by abstaining from killing and eating
animals.[10] Among Hindoos this is everything; a man of low caste is
'_sab kuchh khata_', sticks at nothing in the way of eating; and a
man of high caste is a man who abstains from eating anything but
vegetable or farinaceous food; if, at the same time, he abstains from
using in his cook-room all woods but one, and has that one washed
before he uses it, he is canonized.[11] Having attained to military
renown and territorial dominion in the usual way by robbery, the Jats
naturally enough seek the distinction of high caste to enable them
the better to enjoy their position in society.

It had been stipulated that I should walk to the bottom of the steps
to receive the Rana, as is the usage on such occasions, and carpets
were accordingly spread thus far. Here he got out of his chair, and I
led him into the large room of the bungalow, which we occupied during
our stay, followed by all his and my attendants. The bungalow had
been built by the former Resident at Gwalior, the Honourable R.
Cavendish, for his residence during the latter part of the rains,
when Gwalior is considered to be unhealthy. At his departure the Rana
purchased this bungalow for the use of European gentlemen and ladies
passing through his capital.

In the afternoon, about four o'clock, I went to return his visit in a
small palace not yet finished, a pretty piece of miniature
fortification, surrounded by what they call their 'chhaoni', or
cantonments. The streets are good, and the buildings neat and
substantial; but there is nothing to strike or particularly interest
the stranger. The interview passed off without anything remarkable;
and I was more than ever pleased with the people by whom this young
chief is surrounded. Indeed, I had much reason to be pleased with the
manners of all the people on this side of the Chambal. They are those
of a people well pleased to see English gentlemen among them, and
anxious to make themselves useful and agreeable to us. They know that
their chief is indebted to the British Government for all the country
he has, and that he would be swallowed up by Sindhia's greedy army,
were not the sevenfold shield of the Honourable Company spread over
him. His establishments, civil and military, like those of the
Bundelkhand chiefs, are raised from the peasantry and yeomanry or the
country; who all, in consequence, feel an interest in the prosperity
and independent respectability of their chief. On the Gwalior side,
the members of all the public establishments know and feel that it is
we who interpose and prevent their master from swallowing up all his
neighbours, and thereby having increased means of promoting their
interest and that of their friends; and they detest us all most
cordially in consequence. The peasantry of the Gwalior territory seem
to consider their own government as a kind of minotaur, which they
would be glad to see destroyed, no matter how or by whom; since it
gives no lucrative or honourable employment to any of their members,
so as to interest either their pride or their affections; nor throws
back among them for purposes of local advantage any of the produce of
their land and labour which it exacts. It is worthy of remark that,
though the Dholpur chief is peculiarly the creature of the British
Government, and indebted to it for all he has or ever will have, and
though he has never had anything, and never can have, or can hope to
have, anything from the poor pageant of the house of Timur, who now
sits upon the throne of Delhi;[12] yet, on his seal of office he
declares himself to be the slave and creature of that imperial
'warrior for the faith of Islam'. As he abstains from eating the good
fish of the river Chambal to enhance his claim to caste among
Hindoos, so he abstains from acknowledging his deep debt of gratitude
to the Honourable Company, or the British Government, with a view to
give the rust of age to his rank and title. To acknowledge himself a
creature of the British Government were to acknowledge that he was a
man of yesterday; to acknowledge himself the slave of the Emperor is
to claim for his poor veins 'the blood of a line of kings'. The petty
chiefs of Bundelkhand, who are in the same manner especially
dependent on the British Government, do the same thing.

At Dholpur, there are some noble old mosques and mausoleums built
three hundred years ago, in the reign of the Emperor Humayun, by some
great officers of his government, whose remains still rest
undisturbed among them, though the names of their families have been
for many ages forgotten, and no men of their creed now live near to
demand for them the respect of the living. These tombs are all
elaborately built and worked out of the fine freestone of the country
and the trellis-work upon some of their stone screens is still as
beautiful as when first made. There are Persian and Arabic
inscriptions upon all of them, and I found from them that one of the
mosques had been built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in A.D. 1634,[13]
when he little dreamed that his three sons would here meet to fight
the great fight for the throne while he yet sat upon it.[14]


Notes:

1. December, 1835.

2. The author's remark that in India the roads are 'nowhere metalled'
must seem hardly credible to a modern traveller, who sees the country
intersected by thousands of miles of metalled road. The Grand Trunk
Road from Calcutta to Lahore, constructed in Lord Dalhousie's time,
alone measures about 1,200 miles. The development of roads since 1850
ha been enormous, and yet the mileage of good roads would have to be
increased tenfold to put India on an equality with the more advanced
countries of Europe.

3. _Ante_, Chanter 36, notes 26 & 27.


4. The Baiza Bai was the widow of Daulat Rao Sindhia. He had died on
March 21, 1827. With the consent of the Government of India, she
adopted a boy as his successor, but, being an ambitions and
intriguing woman, she tried to keep all power in her own hands. The
young Maharaja fled from her, and took refuge in the Residency in
October, 1832. In December of the same year Lord William Bentinck
visited Gwalior, and assumed an attitude of absolute neutrality. The
result was that trouble continued, and seven months later the
Maharaja again fled to the Residency. The troops then revolted
against the Baiza Bai, and compelled her to retire to Dholpur. This
event put an end to her political activity. Ultimately she was
allowed to return to Gwalior, and died there in 1862 (Malleson, _The
Native States of India_, pp. 160-4). The author wrote an unpublished
history of Baiza Bai (_ante_, Bibliography).

5. Long since abolished.

6. The law now permits the person injured to be compensated out of
any fine realized.

7. The system of employing gangs of prisoners on the roads was open
to great abuses, and has been long given up. The prisoners are now,
as a rule, employed only on the jail promises, and cannot be utilized
for outside work, except under special circumstances by special
sanction.

8. The notes to this edition have recorded many changes in India, but
no change has taken place in the difficulties which beset the
administration of criminal law. They are still those which the author
describes, and Police Commissions cannot remove them. The power to
exact security for good behaviour from known bad characters still
exists, and, when discreetly used, is of great value. The conviction
of atrocious robbers and murderers is, perhaps, less rare than it was
in the author's time, though many still escape even the minor penalty
of arrest. The want of a sound moral public opinion is the
fundamental difficulty in Indian police administration--a truth fully
Understood by the author, but rarely realized by members of
Parliament.

9. The title of the Dholpur chief is now Maharaja Rana. In 1905 his
reduced army numbered 1,216 of all ranks (_I. G._, 1908). The force
is not of serious military value.

10. The identification of the Jats, or Jats, with the Getae is not
even probable. The anchor exaggerates the lowness of the social rank
of the Jats, who cannot properly be described as people of 'very low
caste'. They are, and have long been, numerous and powerful in the
Panjab and the neighbouring countries. It is true that they hate
Brahmans, care little for Brahman notions of propriety, either as
regards food or marriage, and to a certain extent stand outside the
orthodox Hindoo system; but they are heterodox rather than low-caste.
The Rajas of Bharatpur, Dholpur, Nabha, Patiala, and Jind are all
Jats. The Jats are a fine and interesting people, who seem to suffer
little deterioration from the notorious laxity of their matrimonial
arrangements. They are skilled and industrious cultivators. A saying
has been current in Upper India that, if the British power is ever
broken, the succession will pass to the Jats.

11. This is the Brahman and Baniya theory. A high-spirited Rajput of
Rajputana, full of pride in his long ancestry, and yet fond of wild
boar's flesh, would indeed be wroth if denounced as a low-caste man.
It is, however, unfortunately, quite true that all races which become
entangled in the meshes of Hinduism tend to gradually surrender their
freedom, and to become proud of submission to the senseless
formalities and restrictions which the Brahman loves.

12. Akbar II. He was titular emperor from A.D. 1806 to 1837, and was
succeeded by Bahadur Shah II, the last of his line. The portrait of
Akbar II is the frontispiece to volume i of the original edition of
this work, and a miniature portrait of him is given in the
frontispiece of volume ii.

13. One of these tombs, namely, that of Bibi Zarina, dated A.H. 942 =
A.D. 1535-6, is described by Cunningham (_A.S.R._, xx, p. 113, pl.
xxxvii), who notes that according to an obviously false local popular
story, the lady was a daughter of Shah Jahan, who lived a century
later. This story seems to have misled the author. No inscription of
the reign of Shah Jahan at Dholpur is recorded.

14. The three sons were Dara Shikoh, Aurangzeb, and Murad Baksh.




CHAPTER 51


Influence of Electricity on Vegetation--Agra and its Buildings.

On the 30th and 31st,[1] we went twenty-four miles over a dry plain,
with a sandy soil covered with excellent crops where irrigated, and a
very poor one where not. We met several long strings of camels
carrying grain from Agra to Gwalior. A single man takes charge of
twenty or thirty, holding the bridle of the first, and walking on
before its nose. The bridles of all the rest are tied one after the
other to the saddles of those immediately preceding them, and all
move along after the leader in single file. Water must tend to
attract and to impart to vegetables a good deal of electricity and
other vivifying powers that would otherwise he dormant in the earth
at a distance. The mere circumstance of moistening the earth from
within reach of the roots would not be sufficient to account for the
vast difference between the crops of fields that are irrigated, and
those that are not. One day, in the middle of the season of the
rains, I asked my gardener, while walking with him over my grounds,
how it was that some of the fine clusters of bamboos had not yet
begun to throw out their shoots. 'We have not yet had a thunderstorm,
sir,' replied the gardener. 'What in the name of God has the
thunderstorm to do with the shooting of the bamboos?' asked I in
amazement. 'I don't know, sir,' said he, 'but certain it is that no
bamboos begin to throw out their shoots well till we get a good deal
of thunder and lightning.' The thunder and lightning came, and the
bamboo shoots soon followed in abundance. It might have been a mere
coincidence; or the tall bamboo may bring down from the passing
clouds, and convey to the roots, the electric fluid they require for
nourishment, or for conductors of nourishment.[2]

In the Isle of France,[3] people have a notion that the mushrooms
always come up best after a thunderstorm. Electricity has certainly
much more to do in the business of the world than we are yet aware
of, in the animal, mineral, and vegetable developments.[4]

At our ground this day, I met a very respectable and intelligent
native revenue officer who had been employed to settle some boundary
disputes between the yeomen of our territory and those of the
adjoining territory of Dholpur.

'The Honourable Company's rights and those of its yeomen must', said
he, 'be inevitably sacrificed in all such cases; for the Dholpur
chief, or his minister, says to all their witnesses, "You are, of
course, expected to speak the truth regarding the land in dispute;
but, by the sacred stream of the Ganges, if you speak so as to lose
this estate one inch of it, you lose both your ears"--and most
assuredly would they lose them,' continued he, 'if they were not to
swear most resolutely that all the land in question belonged to
Dholpur. Had I the same power to cut off the ears of witnesses on our
side, we should meet on equal terms. Were I to threaten to cut them
off, they would laugh in my face.' There was much truth in what the
poor man said, for the Dholpur witnesses always make it appear that
the claims of their yeomen are just and moderate, and a salutary
dread of losing their ears operates, no doubt, very strongly. The
threatened punishment of the prince is quick, while that of the gods,
however just, is certainly very slow--

 Ut sit magna, tamen certe lenta ira deorum est.

On the 1st of January, 1836, we went on sixteen miles to Agra, and,
when within about six miles of the city, the dome and minarets of the
Taj opened upon us from behind a small grove of fruit-trees, close by
us on the side of the road. The morning was not clear, but it was a
good one for a first sight of this building, which appeared larger
through the dusty haze than it would have done through a clear sky.
For five-and-twenty years of my life had I been looking forward to
the sight now before me. Of no building on earth had I heard so much
as of this, which contains the remains of the Emperor Shah Jahan and
his wife, the father and mother of the children whose struggles for
dominion have been already described. We had ordered our tents to be
pitched in the gardens of this splendid mausoleum, that we might have
our fill of the enjoyment which everybody seemed to derive from it;
and we reached them about eight o'clock. I went over the whole
building before I entered my tent, and, from the first sight of the
dome and minarets on the distant horizon to the last glance back from
my tent-ropes to the magnificent gateway that forms the entrance from
our camp to the quadrangle in which they stand, I can truly say that
everything surpassed my expectations. I at first thought the dome
formed too large a portion of the whole building; that its neck was
too long and too much exposed; and that the minarets were too plain
in their design; but, after going repeatedly over every part, and
examining the _tout ensemble_ from all possible positions, and in all
possible lights, from that of the full moon at midnight in a
cloudless sky to that of the noonday sun, the mind seemed to repose
in the calm persuasion that there was an entire harmony of parts, a
faultless congregation of architectural beauties, on which it could
dwell for ever without fatigue.

After my quarter of a century of anticipated pleasure, I went on from
part to part in the expectation that I must by and by come to
something that would disappoint me; but no, the emotion which one
feels at first is never impaired; on the contrary, it goes on
improving from the first _coup d'oeil_ of the dome in the distance to
the minute inspection of the last flower upon the screen round the
tomb. One returns and returns to it with undiminished pleasure; and
though at every return one's attention to the smaller parts becomes
less and less, the pleasure which he derives from the contemplation
of the greater, and of the whole collectively, seems to increase; and
he leaves with a feeling of regret that he could not have it all his
life within his reach, and of assurance that the image of what he has
seen can never be obliterated from his mind 'while memory holds her
seat'. I felt that it was to me in architecture what Kemble and his
sister, Mrs. Siddons, had been to me a quarter of a century before in
acting--something that must stand alone--something that I should
never cease to see clearly in my mind's eye, and yet never be able
clearly to describe to others.[5]

The Emperor and his Queen he buried side by side in a vault beneath
the building, to which we descend by a flight of steps. Their remains
are covered by two slabs of marble; and directly over these slabs,
upon the floor above, in the great centre room under the dome, stand
two other slabs, or cenotaphs, of the same marble exquisitely worked
in mosaic. Upon that of the Queen, amid wreaths of flowers, are
worked in black letters passages from the Koran, one of which, at the
end facing the entrance, terminates with 'And defend us from the
tribe of unbelievers'; that very tribe which is now gathered from all
quarters of the civilized world to admire the splendour of the tomb
which was raised to perpetuate her name.[6] On the slab over her
husband there are no passages from the Koran--merely mosaic work of
flowers with his name and the date of his death.[7] I asked some of
the learned Muhammadan attendants the cause of this difference, and
was told that Shah Jahan had himself designed the slab over his wife,
and saw no harm in inscribing the words of God upon it; but that the
slab over himself was designed by his more pious son, Aurangzeb, who
did not think it right to place these holy words upon a stone which
the foot of man might some day touch, though that stone covered the
remains of his own father. Such was this 'man of prayers', this
'Namazi' (as Dara called him), to the last. He knew mankind well,
and, above all, that part of them which he was called upon to govern,
and which he governed for forty years with so much ability.[8]

The slab over the Queen occupies the centre of the apartments above
and in the vault below, and that over her husband lies on the left as
we enter. At one end of the slab in the vault her name is inwrought,
'Mumtaz-i-mahal Banu Begam', the ornament of the palace, Banu Begam,
and the date of her death, 1631. That of her husband and the date of
his death, 1666, are inwrought upon the other.[9]

She died in giving birth to a daughter, who is said to have been
heard crying in the womb by herself and her other daughters. She sent
for the Emperor, and told him that she believed no mother had ever
been known to survive the birth of a child so heard, and that she
felt her end was near. She had, she said, only two requests to make;
first, that he would not marry again after her death, and get
children to contend with hers for his favour and dominions; and,
secondly, that he would build for her the tomb with which he had
promised to perpetuate her name. She died in giving birth to the
child, as might have been expected when the Emperor, in his anxiety,
called all the midwives of the city, and all his secretaries of state
and privy counsellors to prescribe for her. Both her dying requests
were granted. Her tomb was commenced upon immediately. No woman ever
pretended to supply her place in the palace; nor had Shah Jahan, that
we know of, children by any other.[10] Tavernier saw this building
completed and finished; and tells us that it occupied twenty thousand
men for twenty-two years.[11] The mausoleum itself and all the
buildings that appertain to it cost 3,17,48,026--three _karor_,
seventeen lakhs, forty-eight thousand and twenty-six rupees, or
3,174,802 pounds sterling;--three million one hundred and seventy-
four thousand eight hundred and two![12] I asked my wife, when she
had gone over it, what she thought of the building. 'I cannot', said
she, 'tell you what I think, for I know not how to criticize such a
building, but I can tell you what I feel. I would die to-morrow to
have such another over me.' This is what many a lady has felt, no
doubt.

The building stands upon the north side of a large quadrangle,
looking down into the clear blue stream of the river Jumna, while the
other three sides are enclosed with a high wall of red sandstone.[13]
The entrance to this quadrangle is through a magnificent gateway in
the south side opposite the tomb; and on the other two sides are very
beautiful mosques facing inwards, and corresponding exactly with each
other in size, design, and execution. That on the left, or west, side
is the only one that can be used as a mosque or church; because the
faces of the audience, and those of all men at their prayers, must be
turned towards the tomb of their prophet to the west. The pulpit is
always against the dead wall at the back, and the audience face
towards it, standing with their backs to the open front of the
building. The church on the east side is used for the accommodation
of visitors, or for any secular purpose, and was built merely as a
'jawab' (answer) to the real one.[14] The whole area is laid out in
square parterres, planted with flowers and shrubs in the centre, and
with fine trees, chiefly the cypress, all round the borders, forming
an avenue to every road. These roads are all paved with slabs of
freestone, and have, running along the centre, a basin, with a row of
_jets d'eau_ in the middle from one extremity to the other. These are
made to play almost every evening, when the gardens are much
frequented by the European gentlemen and ladies of the station, and
by natives of all religions and sects. The quadrangle is from east to
west nine hundred and sixty-four feet, and from north to south three
hundred and twenty-nine.[l5]

The mausoleum itself, the terrace upon which it stands, and the
minarets, are all formed of the finest white marble, inlaid with
precious stones. The wall around the quadrangle, including the river
face of the terrace, is made of red sandstone, with cupolas and
pillars of the same white marble. The insides of the churches and
apartments in and upon the walls are all lined with marble or with
stucco work that looks like marble; but, on the outside, the red
sandstone resembles uncovered bricks. The dazzling white marble of
the mausoleum itself rising over the red wall is apt, at first sight,
to make a disagreeable impression, from the idea of a whitewashed
head to an unfinished building; but this impression is very soon
removed, and tends, perhaps, to improve that which is afterwards
received from a nearer inspection. The marble was all brought from
the Jeypore territories upon wheeled carriages, a distance, I
believe, of two or three hundred miles; and the sandstone from the
neighbourhood of Dholpur and Fathpur Sikri.[16] Shah Jahan is said to
have inherited his partiality for this colour from his grandfather,
Akbar, who constructed almost all his buildings from the same stone,
though he might have had the beautiful white freestone at the same
cost. What was figuratively said of Augustus may be most literally
said of Shah Jahan; he found the cities (Agra and Delhi) all brick,
and left them all marble; for all the marble buildings, and additions
to buildings, were formed by him.[17]

This magnificent building and the palaces at Agra and Delhi were, I
believe, designed by Austin de Bordeaux, a Frenchman of great talent
and merit, in whose ability and integrity the Emperor placed much
reliance. He was called by the natives 'Ustan [_sic_] Isa, Nadir-ul-
asr', 'the wonderful of the age'; and, for his office of 'naksha
navis', or plan-drawer, he received a regular salary of one thousand
rupees a month, with occasional presents, that made his income very
large. He had finished the palace at Delhi, and the mausoleum and
palace of Agra; and was engaged in designing a silver ceiling for one
of the galleries in the latter, when he was sent by the Emperor to
settle some affairs of great importance at Goa. He died at Cochin on
his way back, and is supposed to have been poisoned by the
Portuguese, who were extremely jealous of his influence at court. He
left a son by a native, called Muhammad Sharif, who was employed as
an architect on a salary of five hundred rupees a month, and who
became, as I conclude from his name, a Musalman. Shah Jahan had
commenced his own tomb on the opposite side of the Jumna; and both
were to have been united by a bridge.[18] The death of Austin de
Bordeaux, and the wars between his [_scil._ Shah Jahan's] sons that
followed prevented the completion of these magnificent works.[19]

We were encamped upon a fine green sward outside the entrance to the
south, in a kind of large court, enclosed by a high cloistered wall,
in which all our attendants and followers found shelter. Colonel and
Mrs. King, and some other gentlemen, were encamped in the same place,
and for the same purpose; and we had a very agreeable party. The band
of our friend Major Godby's regiment played sometimes in the evening
upon the terrace of the Taj; but, of all the complicated music ever
heard upon earth, that of a flute blown gently in the vault below,
where the remains of the Emperor and his consort repose, as the sound
rises to the dome amidst a hundred arched alcoves around, and
descends in heavenly reverberations upon those who sit or recline
upon the cenotaphs above the vault, is, perhaps, the finest to an
inartificial car. We feel as if it were from heaven, and breathed by
angels; it is to the ear what the building itself is to the eye; but,
unhappily, it cannot, like the building, live in our recollections.
All that we can, in after life, remember is that it was heavenly, and
produced heavenly emotions.

 We went all over the palace in the fort, a very magnificent building
constructed by Shah Jahan within fortifications raised by his
grandfather Akbar.[20]

The fretwork and mosaic upon the marble pillars and panels are equal
to those of the Taj; or, if possible, superior; nor is the design or
execution in any respect inferior, and yet a European feels that he
could get a house much more commodious, and more to his taste, for a
much less sum than must have been expended upon it. The Marquis of
Hastings, when Governor-General of India, broke up one of the most
beautiful marble baths of this palace to send home to George IV of
England, then Prince Regent, and the rest of the marble of the suite
of apartments from which it had been taken, with all its exquisite
fretwork and mosaic, was afterwards sold by auction, on account of
our Government, by order of the then Governor-General, Lord W.
Bentinck. Had these things fetched the price expected, it is probable
that the whole of the palace, and even the Taj itself, would have
been pulled down, and sold in the same manner.[21]

We visited the Moti Masjid or Pearl Mosque. It was built by Shah
Jahan, entirely of white marble; and completed, as we learn from an
inscription on the portico, in the year A.D. 1656.[22] There is no
mosaic upon any of the pillars or panels of this mosque; but the
design and execution of the flowers in bas-relief are exceedingly
beautiful. It is a chaste, simple, and majestic building;[23] and is
by some people admired even more than the Taj, because they have
heard less of it; and their pleasure is heightened by surprise. We
feel that it is to all other mosques what the Taj is to all other
mausoleums, a _facile princeps_.

Few, however, go to see the 'mosque of pearls' more than once, stay
as long as they will at Agra; and when they go, the building appears
less and less to deserve their admiration; while they go to the Taj
as often as they can, and find new beauties in it, or new feelings of
pleasure from it, every time[24]

I went out to visit this tomb of the Emperor Akbar at Sikandara, a
magnificent building, raised over him by his son, the Emperor
Jahangir. His remains he deposited in a deep vault under the centre,
and are covered by a plain slab of marble, without fretwork or
mosaic. On the top of the building, which is three or four stories
high, is another marble slab, corresponding with the one in the vault
below.[25] This is beautifully carved, with the 'nau nauwe nam'-the
ninety-nine names, or attributes of the Deity, from the Koran.[26] It
is covered by an awning, not to protect the tomb, but to defend the
'words of God' from the rain, as my cicerone assured me.[27] He told
me that the attendants upon this tomb used to have the hay of the
large quadrangle of forty acres in which it stands,[28] in addition
to their small salaries, and that it yielded them some fifty rupees a
year; but the chief native officer of the Taj establishment demanded
half of the sum, and when they refused to give him so much, he
persuaded his master, the European engineer, _with much difficulty_,
to take all this hay for the public cattle. 'And why could you not
adjust such a matter between you, without pestering the engineer?'
'Is not this the way', said he, with emotion, 'that Hindustan has cut
its own throat, and brought in the stranger at all times? Have they
ever had, or can they ever have, confidence in each other, or let
each other alone to enjoy the little they have in peace?' Considering
all the circumstances of time and place, Akbar has always appeared to
me among sovereigns what Shakespeare was among poets; and, feeling as
a citizen of the world, I reverenced the marble slab that covers his
bones more, perhaps, than I should that over any other sovereign with
whose history I am acquainted.[29]



Notes:

1. December, 1835.

2. It is not, perhaps, generally known, though it deserves to be so,
that the bamboo seeds only once, and dies immediately after seeding.
All bamboos from the same seed die at the same time, whenever they
may have been planted. The life of the common large bamboo is about
fifty years. [W. H. S.] The period is said to vary between thirty and
sixty years. Bamboo seed is eaten as rice when obtainable. The
author's theories about electricity are more ingenious than
satisfactory.

3. Better known as the Mauritius.

4. This proposition may be accepted with confidence. Electricity is a
great mystery, which becomes more mysterious the more it is studied.

5. A letter of the author's, dated 13th March, 1809, is extant, in
which he gives a full description of the performance of _Macbeth_ at
the Haymarket by Kemble and Mrs. Siddons on Saturday, 11th March. The
author sailed in the _Devonshire_ on the 24th March.

6. No European had ever before, I believe, noted this, [W. H. S.]
Moin-ud-din (p. 49) says that this phrase, 'Thou art our patron, help
as therefore against the unbelieving nations,' is from the long
chapter 2 ('The Cow') of the Koran, but I have not succeeded in
finding the exact words in Sale's version of that chapter. I suspect
that the words have been misread. Moin-ud-din gives as the words at
the north side of the tomb, _script characters_ 'the unbelieving
nations', whereas Muh. Latif (_Agra_, p. 111) says that the words 'on
the head of the sarcophagus' are _script characters_ 'He is the
everlasting. He is sufficient.' It will be observed that the
characters in the two readings are almost identical.

7. The Empress had been a good deal exasperated against the
Portuguese and Dutch by the treatment her husband received from them
when a fugitive, after an unsuccessful rebellion against his father;
and her hatred to them extended, in some degree, to all Christians,
whom she considered to be included in the term 'Kafir', or
unbeliever. [W. H. S.] Prince Shah Jahan (Khurram) rebelled against
his father, Jahangir, in A.D. 1623, and submitted in A.D. 1625. The
terrible punishment inflicted by Shah Jahan when Emperor on the
Portuguese of Hugli (Hooghly) is related by Bernier (Constable's ed.,
pp. 177, 287). The Emperor had previously destroyed the Jesuits'
church at Lahore completely, and the greater part of the church at
Agra.

8. The cleverness, astuteness, energy, and business capacity of
Aurangzeb are undoubted, and yet his long reign was a disastrous
failure. The author reflects the praises of Muhammadans who cherish
the memory of the 'namazi'. The Emperor himself knew better when, in
his old ago, he wrote to his son Azam the pathetic words, 'I have not
done well by the country or its people. My years have gone by
profitless' (Lane-Poole's version in _Aurangzib_ (Rulers of India),
p. 203. Letter No. 72 in Bilimoria, _Letters of Aurungzbe_, Bombay,
1908. Another version in E. and D. vii, 562.) His reign lasted for
almost forty-nine years, from June 1658 to February 1707, and not for
only forty years.

9. The real tombs are in the vault below. Beautiful cenotaphs stand
under the dome. The inscription on the tomb of the Empress is exactly
repeated on her cenotaph, and runs thus:-
    'The splendid sepulchre of Arjumand Bano Begam, entitled Mumtaz
Mahall, deceased in the year 1040 Hijri.'

The epitaph on Shah Jahan's tomb is as follows:-
    'The sacred sepulchre of His Moat Exalted Majesty, nesting in
Paradise, the Second Lord of the Conjunction, Shah Jahan, the
Emperor. May his mausoleum ever flourish. Year 1076 Hijri.'

The inscription on Shah Jahan's cenotaph adds more titles and gives
the exact date of death as 'the night of Rajab 28, A.H. 1076'. 1040
Hijri corresponds with the period from July 31, A.D. 1630 to July 19,
1631; and 1076 Hijri with the period July 4, A. D. 1665 to June 23,
1666, Old Style. The dates in New Style would be ten days later.

The epithet 'nesting in Paradise' (_firdaus ashiyani_) was the
official posthumous title of Shah Jahan, frequently used by
historians instead of his name.

The title 'Second Lord of the Conjunction' means that Shah Jahan was
held to have been born under the fortunate conjunction of Venus and
Jupiter, as his ancestor Timur had been.

10. The details in the text are inaccurate. Arjumand Bano Begam,
daughter of Asaf Khan, brother of Nur Jahan, the queen of Jahangir,
was born in A.D. 1592, married in 1612, and died July 7, 1631 (o.s.),
at Burhanpur in the Deccan. After a delay of six months her remains
were removed to Agra, and there rested six months longer at a spot in
the Taj gardens still remembered, until her tomb was sufficiently
advanced for the final interment. Her titles were Mumtaz-i-Mahall,
'Exalted in the Palace'; Qudsia Begam, and Nawab Aliya Begam. She
bore her husband eight sons and six daughters, fourteen children in
all, of whom seven were alive at the time of her death. The child
whose birth cost the mother's life was Gauharara Begam, who survived
for many years (Irvine, _Storia do Mogor_, iv. 425). Beale wrongly
gives her name as Dahar Ara.

Shah Jahan, two years before his union with Arjumand Bano Begam, had
been married to a Persian princess, by whom he had a daughter who
died young. Five and a half years after his marriage to Arjumand Bano
Begam, he espoused a third wife, daughter of Shah Nawaz Khan, by whom
he had a son, who died in infancy. This third marriage was dictated
by motives of policy, and did not impair the Emperor's devotion to
his favourite consort (Muh. Latif, _Agra_, p. 101).

11. The testimony of Tavernier is doubtless correct if understood as
referring to the whole complex of buildings connected with the
mausoleum. He visited Agra several times. He left India in January,
1654, returning to the country in 1659. Work on the Taj began in
1632, and so appears to have been completed about the close of, 1653
(Tavernier, _Travels_, transl. Ball, vol. i, pp. xxi, xxii, 25, 110,
142, 149). The latest dated inscription, that of the calligraphist
Amanat Khan at the entrance to the domed mausoleum, was recorded in
the twelfth year of the reign, A.H. 1048, equivalent to A.D. 1638-9.
That year may be taken as the date of the completion of the mausoleum
itself, as distinguished from the great mass of supplementary
structures.

12. Various records of the cost differ enormously, apparently because
they refer to different things. If all the buildings and the vast
value of the materials be included, the highest estimate, namely,
four and a half millions of pounds sterling, in round numbers, is not
excessive (_H.F.A._, 1911, p. 415) The figures are recorded with
minute accuracy as 411 lakhs, 48,826 rupees, 7 annas, and 6 pies. A
_karor_ (crore) is 100 lakhs, or 10 millions.

13. The enclosure occupies a space of more than forty-two acres.

14. This statement, though commonly made, is erroneous. The building
is named the 'assembly house' (jama'at khana), or 'guest-house'
(mihman khana) and was intended as the place for the congregation to
assemble before prayers, or on the anniversaries of the deaths of the
Emperor Shah Jahan or his consort. Taj Mahal (Muh. Latif, _Agra_, p.
113). Of course, it also serves as an architectural balance for the
mosque.

15. The gardens of the Taj have been much improved since the author's
time, and are now under the care of a skilled European
superintendent, and full of beautiful shrubs and trees. The author's
measurements of the quadrangle seem to be wrong. Different figures
are given by Moin-ud-din (_Hist. of the Taj_, p. 29) and Fergusson
(ed. 1910, vol. ii, p. 313). No official survey is available.

16. The white marble that forms the substance of the building came,
Mr. Keene thinks, from Makrana near Jaipur, but according to Mr.
Hacket (_Records of the Geographical Survey of India_, x. 84), from
Raiwala in Jaipur, near the Alwar border [note]. The account of these
marbles given in the _Rajputana Gazetteer_, 1st ed. (ii. 127) favours
Mr. Keene's view' (_N.W.P. Gazetteer_, 1st ed., vol. vii, p. 707).
The ornamental stones used for the inlay work in the Taj are lapis
lazuli, jasper, heliotrope, Chalcedon agate, chalcedony, cornelian,
sarde, plasma (or quartz and chlorite), yellow and striped marble,
clay slate, and nephrite, or jade (_Dr. Voysey, in Asiatic
Researches_, vol. xv, p. 429, quoted by V. Bail in _Records of the
Geological Survey of India_, vii. 109). Moin-ud-din (pp. 27-9) gives
a longer list, from the custodians' Persian account.

17. There is some exaggeration in this statement. Shah Jahan's
concern was with his wife's tomb, and his fortified palaces, more
than with 'the cities'.

18. Sleeman's talk about Austin de Bordeaux is wholly based on his
misreading of _Ustan_ for _Ustad_, meaning 'Master', in the Persian
account, which names Muhammed-i-Isa Afandi (Effendi) as the chief
designer. He had the title of Ustad, and some versions represent
Muhammad Sharif, the second draughtsman, as his son. Muhammad, the
son of Isa ('Jesus'), apparently was a Turk. He had the Turkish title
of 'Effendi', and the Persian MS. used by Moin-ud-din asserts that he
came from Turkey. The same authority states that Muhammad Sharif was
a native of Samarkand.

Austin de Bordeaux was wholly distinct from Muhammad-i-Isa, Ustad
Afandi, and there is no reason to suppose that he had anything to do
with the Taj. Sleeman's story about his work at Agra and his death
comes from Tavernier (i. 108, transl. Ball: see next note). Austin
was in the service of Jahangir as early as 1621, and probably came
out to India from Persia in 1614. He is described as an engineer
(_ingenieur_), and is recorded to have made a golden throne for
Jahangir (_J.R.A.S._, 1910, pp. 494, 1343-5). Sleeman's misreading of
_ustad_ as _ustan_, and his consequent blunders, have misled
innumerable writers. In cursive Persian the misreading is easy and
natural. He took Ustan as intended for 'Austin'. Certain marks in the
garden on the other side of the river indicate the spot where Shah
Jahan had begun work on his own tomb. Aurangzeb, as Tavernier
observes, was 'not disposed to complete it' (see _A.S.R._, iv. 180).

For a summary of the controversy concerning the alleged share of
Geronimo Veroneo in the design of the Taj, see _H.F.A._, 1911, pp.
416-18. Personally, I am of opinion, as I was more than twenty years
ago, that 'the incomparable Taj is the product of a combination of
European and Asiatic genius'. That opinion makes some people very
angry.

19. I would not be thought very positive upon this point, I think I
am right, but feel that I may be wrong. Tavernier says that Shah
Jahan was obliged to give up his intention of completing a silver
ceiling to the great hall in the palace, because Austin de Bordeaux
had been killed, and no other person could venture to attempt it.
Ustan [_sic_] Isa, in all the Persian accounts, stands first among
the salaried architects. [W. H. S.] Tavernier's words are, 'Shah
Jahan had intended to cover the arch of a great gallery which is on
the right hand with silver, and a Frenchman, named Augustin de
Bordeaux, was to have done the work. But the Great Mogul, seeing
there was no one in his kingdom who was more capable to send to Goa
to negotiate an affair with the Portuguese, the work was not done,
for, as the ability of Augustin was feared, he was poisoned on his
return from Cochin.' (_Tavernier_, transl. Ball, vol. i, p. 108. )
The statement that Austin had 'finished the palace at Delhi, and the
mausoleum and palace of Agra' is not warranted by any evidence known
to the editor.

20. Akbar erected his works on the site of an older fort, named
Badalgarh, presumably of Hindu origin, 'which was of brick, and had
become ruinous.' No existing building within the precincts can be
referred with certainty to an earlier date than that of Akbar. The
erection began in A.H. 972, corresponding to A.D. 1564-5, and the
work continued for eight (or, according to another authority, four)
years, costing 3,500,000 rupees, or about L350,000 sterling. The
walls are of rubble, faced with red sandstone. The best account is
the article by Nur Baksh, entitled 'The Agra Fort and its Buildings',
in _A.S. Ann. Rep._, 1903-4, pp. 164-93.

21. It is difficult to understand how men like the Marquis of
Hastings and Lord William Bentinck could have been guilty of such
barbarous stupidity. But the fact is beyond doubt, and numberless
officials of less exalted rank must share the disgrace of the ruin
and spoliation, which, both at Agra and Delhi, have destroyed two
noble palaces, and left but a few disconnected fragments. Fergusson's
indignant protests (_History of Indian and Eastern Architecture_, ed.
1910, vol. ii, p. 312, &c.) are none too strong. Sir John Strachey,
who was Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces in 1876,
is entitled to the credit of having done all that lay in his power to
remedy the effects of the parsimony and neglect of his predecessors.
The buildings which remain at both Agra and Delhi are now well cared
for, and large sums are spent yearly on their reparation and
conservation. The credit for the modern policy of reverence for the
ancient monuments is due to Lord Curzon more than to any one else.

22. This date is erroneous. The inscription is dated A.H. 1063, in
the 26th year of Shah Jahan, equivalent practically to A.D. 1653. It
is given in full, with both text and translation, in _A.S. Ann. Rep._
for 1903-4, p. 183. It states that the building was erected in the
course of seven years at a cost of 300,000 rupees, which = L33,750,
at the rate of 2_s_. 3_d_. to the rupee current at the time. Errors
on the subject disfigure most of the guide-books and other works
commonly read.

23. The beauty of the Moti Masjid, like that of most mosques, is all
internal. The exterior is ugly. The interior deserves all praise.
Fergusson describes this mosque as 'one of the purest and most
elegant buildings of its class to be found anywhere', and truly
observes that 'the moment you enter by the eastern gateway the effect
of its courtyard is surpassingly beautiful'. 'I hardly know
anywhere', he adds, 'of a building so perfectly pure and elegant.'
(_Ind. and E. Arch._, ed. 1910, vol. ii, p. 317. See also _H.F.A._,
p. 412, fig. 242.)

24. I would, however, here enter my humble protest against the
quadrille and tiffin [_scil._ lunch] parties, which are sometimes
given to the European ladies and gentlemen of the station at this
imperial tomb; drinking and dancing are, no doubt, very good things
in their season, even in a hot climate, but they are sadly out of
place in a sepulchre, and never fail to shock the good feelings of
sober-minded people when given there. Good church music gives us
great pleasure, without exciting us to dancing or drinking; the Taj
does the same, at least to the sober-minded. [W. H. S.] The
regulations now in force prevent any unseemly proceedings. The
gardens at the Taj, of Itimad-ud-daula's tomb, of Akbar's mausoleum
at Sikandara, and the Ram Bagh, are kept up by means of income
derived from crown lands, aided by liberal grants from Government.

25. The anthor's curiously meagre description of the magnificent
mausoleum of Akbar is, in the original edition, supplemented by
coloured plates, prepared apparently from drawings by Indian artists.
The structure is absolutely unique, being a square pyramid of five
stories, the uppermost of which is built of pure white marble, while
the four lower ones are of red sandstone. All earlier descriptions of
the building have been superseded by the posthumous work of E. W.
Smith, a splendidly illustrated quarto, entitled, _Akbar's Tomb,
Sikandarah, Agra_, Allahabad Government Press, 1909, being vol. xxxv
of A. S. India. Work had been begun in the lifetime of Akbar. The
lower part of the enclosing wall of the park dates from his reign.
The whole of the mausoleum itself probably is to be assigned to the
reign of Jahangir, who in 1608 disapproved of the structure which had
been three or four years in course of erection, and caused the design
to be altered to please himself. The work was finished in 1613 at a
cost of five millions of rupees (50 lakhs, more than half a million
of pounds sterling). The exquisitely carved cenotaph on the top story
is inadequately described by Sleeman as 'another marble slab'. It is
a single block of marble 3 1/4 feet high. The tomb in the vault 'is
perfectly plain with the exception of a few mouldings'.

26. The ninety-nine names of God do not occur in the Koran. They are
enumerated in chapter 1 of Book X of the 'Mishkat-ul-Masabih' (see
note 10, Chapter 5 _ante_): 'Abu Hurairah said, "Verily there are
ninety-nine names for God; and whoever counts them shall enter into
paradise. He is Allaho, than which there is no other; Al-Rahman-ul-
Rahimo, the compassionate and merciful," &c., &c.' (Matthews, vol. i,
p. 542.) The list is reproduced in the introduction to Palmer's
translation of the Koran, and in Bosworth-Smith, _Muhammad and
Muhammadanism_.

27. The court, 70 feet square, of the topmost story, is open to the
sky, but the original intention was to provide a light dome,
presumably similar to that built a little later to crown the
mausoleum of Itimad-ud-daula. Finch, the traveller, who was at Agra
about 1611, was informed that the cenotaph was 'to be inarched over
with the most curious white and speckled marble, and to be seeled all
within with pure sheet gold, richly inwrought.' The reason for
omitting the dome is not recorded.

28. The area is much larger than 40 acres, being really about 150
acres. Each side is approximately 3 1/2 furlongs.

29. This remarkable eulogium is quoted with approval by another
enthusiastic admirer of Akbar, Count von Noer (Prince Frederick
Augustus of Schleswig-Holstein), who observes that 'as Akbar was
unique amongst his contemporaries, so was his place of burial among
Indian tombs--indeed, one may say with confidence, among the
sepulchres of Asia.' (_The Emperor Akbar, a Contribution towards the
History of India in the 16th Century_, by Frederick Augustus, Count
of Noer; edited from the Author's papers by Dr. Gustav von Buchwald;
translated from the German by Annette S. Beveridge. Calcutta, 1890.)
This work of Count von Noer, unsatisfactory though it is in many
respects, is still the best exiting modern account of Akbar's reign.
The competent scholar who will undertake the exhaustive treatment of
the life and reign of Akbar will be in possession of perhaps the
finest great historical subject as yet unappropriated. The editor
long cherished the idea of writing such an exhaustive work, but if he
should now attempt to deal with the fascinating theme, he must be
content with a less ambitions performance. Colonel Malleson's little
book in the 'Rulers of India' series, although serviceable as a
sketch, adds nothing to the world's knowledge. Akbar's reign (1556-
1605) was almost exactly coincident with that of Queen Elizabeth
(1558-1603). The character and deeds of the Indian monarch will bear
criticism as well as those of his great English contemporary. 'In
dealing', observes Mr. Lane-Poole, 'with the difficulties arising in
the Government of a peculiarly heterogeneous empire, he stands
absently supreme among Oriental sovereigns, and may even challenge
comparison with the greatest of European rulers.'

Unhappily, there is reason to believe that the marble slab no longer
covers the bones of Akbar. Manucci states positively that 'During the
time that Aurangzeb was actively at war with Shiva Ji [_scil._ the
Marathas], the villagers of whom I spoke before broke into the
mausoleum in the year 1691 [in words], and after stealing all the
stones and all the gold work to be found, extracted the king's bones
and had the temerity to throw them on a fire and burn them' (_Storia
do Mogor_, i. 142). The statement is repeated with some additional
particulars in a later passage, which concludes with the words:
'Dragging out the bones of Akbar, they threw them angrily into the
fire and burnt them' (ibid. ii. 320). Irvine notes that the
plundering of the tomb by the Jats is mentioned in detail by only one
other writer, Ishar Das Nagar, author of the _Fatuhat-I-Alamgiri_, a
manuscript in the British Museum. Manucci seems to be the sole
authority for the alleged burning of Akbar's bones. I should be glad
to disbelieve him, but cannot find any reason for doing so.




CHAPTER 52


Nur Jahan, the Aunt of the Empress Nur Mahal, over whose Remains the
Taj is built.[1]

I crossed over the river Jumna one morning to look at the tomb of
Itimad-ud-daula, the most remarkable mausoleum in the neighbourhood
after those of Akbar and the Taj. On my way back, I asked one of the
boatmen who was rowing me who had built what appeared to me a new
dome within the fort. 'One of the Emperors, of course,' said he.
'What makes you think so?'

'Because such things are made only by Emperors,' replied the man
quietly, without relaxing his pull at the oar.

'True, very true,' said an old Musalman trooper, with large white
whiskers and moustachios, who had dismounted to follow me across the
river, with a melancholy shake of the head, 'very true; who but
Emperors could do such things as these?'

Encouraged by the trooper, the boatman continued:--'The Jats and the
Marathas did nothing but pull down and destroy while they held their
_accursed dominion_ here; and the European gentlemen who now govern
seem to have no pleasure in building anything but _factories, courts
of justice, and jails_.'

Feeling as an Englishman, as we all must sometimes do, be where we
will, I could hardly help wishing that the beautiful panels and
pillars of the bath-room had fetched a better price, and that palace,
Taj, and all at Agra, had gone to the hammer--so sadly do they exalt
the past at the expense of the present in the imaginations of the
people.

 The tomb contains in the centre the remains of Khwaja Ghias,[2] one
of the most prominent characters of the reign of Jahangir, and those
of his wife. The remains of the other members of his family repose in
rooms all round them; and are covered with slabs of marble richly
cut. It is an exceedingly beautiful building, but a great part of the
most valuable stones of the mosaic work have been picked out and
stolen, and the whole is about to be sold by auction, by a decree of
the civil court, to pay the debt of the present proprietor, who is
entirely unconnected with the family whose members repose under it,
and especially indifferent as to what becomes of their bones. The
building and garden in which it stands were, some sixty years ago,
given away, I believe, by Najif Khan, the prime minister, to one of
his nephews, to whose family it still belongs.[3] Khwaja Ghias, a
native of Western Tartary, left that country for India, where he had
some relations at the imperial court, who seemed likely to be able to
secure his advancement. He was a man of handsome person, and of good
education and address. He set out with his wife, a bullock, and a
small sum of money, which he realized by the sale of all his other
property. The wife, who was pregnant, rode upon the bullock, while he
walked by her side. Their stock of money had become exhausted, and
they had been three days without food in the great desert, when she
was taken in labour, and gave birth to a daughter. The mother could
hardly keep her seat on the bullock, and the father had become too
exhausted to afford her any support; and in their distress they
agreed to abandon the infant. They covered it over with leaves, and
towards evening pursued their journey. When they had gone on about a
mile, and had lost sight of the solitary shrub under which they had
left their child, the mother, in an agony of grief, threw herself
from the bullock upon the ground, exclaiming, 'My child, my child!'
Ghias could not resist this appeal. He went back to the spot, took up
his child, and brought it to its mother's breast. Some travellers
soon after came up, and relieved their distress, and they reached
Lahore, where the Emperor Akbar then held his court.[4]

Asaf Khan, a distant relation of Ghias, held a high place at court,
and was much in the confidence of the Emperor. He made his kinsman
his private secretary. Much pleased with his diligence and ability,
Asaf soon brought his merits to the special notice of Akbar, who
raised him to the command of a thousand horse, and soon after
appointed him master of the household. From this he was promoted
afterwards to that of Itimad-ud-daula, or high treasurer, one of the
first ministers.[5]

The daughter who had been born in the desert became celebrated for
her great beauty, parts, and accomplishments, and won the affections
of the eldest son of the Emperor, the Prince Salim, who saw her
unveiled, by accident, at a party given by her father. She had been
betrothed before this to Sher Afgan, a Turkoman gentleman of rank at
court, and of great repute for his high spirit, strength, and
courage.[6] Salim in vain entreated his father to interpose his
authority to make him resign his claim in his favour; and she became
the wife of Sher Afgan. Salim dare not, during his father's life,
make any open attempt to revenge himself; but he, and those courtiers
who thought it their interest to worship the rising sun, soon made
his [Afgan's] residence at the capital disagreeable, and he retired
with his wife to Bengal, where he obtained from the governor the
superintendency of the district of Bardwan.

Salim succeeded his father on the throne;[7] and, no longer
restrained by his (_scil._ Akbar's) rigid sense of justice, he
recalled Sher Afgan to court at Delhi. He was promoted to high
offices, and concluded that time had removed from the Emperor's mind
all feelings of love for his wife, and of resentment against his
successful rival--but he was mistaken; Salim had never forgiven him,
nor had the desire to possess his wife at all diminished. A
Muhammadan of such high feeling and station would, the Emperor knew,
never survive the dishonour, or suspected dishonour, of his wife; and
to possess her he must make away with the husband. He dared not do
this openly, because he dreaded the universal odium in which he knew
it would involve him; and he made several unsuccessful attempts to
get him removed by means that might not appear to have been contrived
or executed by his orders. At one time he designedly, in his own
presence, placed him in a situation where the pride of the chief made
him contend, single-handed, with a large tiger, which he killed; and,
at another, with a mad elephant, whose proboscis he cut off with his
sword; but the Emperor's motives in all these attempts to put him
foremost in situations of danger became so manifest that Sher Afgan
solicited, and obtained, permission to retire with his wife to
Bengal.

The governor of this province, Kutb,[8] having been made acquainted
with the Emperor's desire to have the chief made away with, hired
forty ruffians, who stole into his house one night. There happened to
be nobody else in the house; but one of the party, touched by remorse
on seeing so fine a man about to be murdered in his sleep, called out
to him to defend himself. He seized his sword, placed himself in one
corner of the room, and defended himself so well that nearly one-half
of the party are said to have been killed or wounded. The rest all
made off, persuaded that he was endowed with supernatural force.
After this escape he retired from Tanda, the capital of Bengal,[9] to
his old residence of Bardwan. Soon after, Kutb came to the city with
a splendid retinue, on pretence of making a tour of inspection
through the provinces under his charge, but in reality for the sole
purpose of making away with Sher Afgan, who as soon as he heard of
his approach, came out some miles to meet him on horseback, attended
by only two followers. He was received with marks of great
consideration, and he and the governor rode on for some time side by
side, talking of their mutual friends, and the happy days they had
spent together at the capital. At last, as they were about to enter
the city, the governor suddenly called for his elephant of state, and
mounted, saying it would be necessary for him to pass through the
city on the first visit in some state. Sher sat on horseback while he
mounted, but one of the governor's pikemen struck his horse, and
began to drive him before them. Sher drew his sword, and, seeing all
the governor's followers with theirs ready drawn to attack him, he
concluded at once that the affront had been put upon him by the
orders of Kutb, and with the design to provoke him to an unequal
fight. Determined to have his life first, he spurred his horse upon
the elephant, and killed Kutb with his spear. He now attacked the
principal of officers, and five noblemen of the first rank fell by
his sword. All the crowd now rolled back, and formed a circle round
Sher and his two companions, and galled them with arrows and musket
balls from a distance. His horse fell under him and expired; and,
having received six balls and several arrows in his body, Sher
himself at last fell exhausted to the ground; and the crowd, seeing
the sword drop from his grasp, rushed in and cut him to pieces.[l0]

His widow was sent, 'nothing loth', to court, with her only child, a
daughter. She was graciously received by the Emperor's mother, and
had apartments assigned her in the palace; but the Emperor himself is
said not to have seen her for four years, during which time the fame
of her beauty, talents, and accomplishments filled the palace and
city. After the expiration of this time the feelings, whatever they
were, which prevented his seeing her, subsided; and when he at last
surprised her with a visit, he found her to exceed all that his
imagination had painted since their last separation. In a few days
their marriage was celebrated with great magnificence;[11] and from
that hour the Emperor resigned the reins of government almost
entirely into her hands; and, till his death, under the name first of
Nur Mahall, 'Light of the Palace', and afterwards of Nur Jahan,
'Light of the World ', she ruled the destinies of this great empire.
Her father was now raised from the station of high treasurer to that
of prime minister. Her two brothers obtained the titles of Asaf Jah
and Itikad Khan; and the relations of the family poured in from
Tartary in search of employment, as soon as they heard of their
success.[12] Nur Jahan had by Sher Afgan, as I have stated, one
daughter; but she had never any child by the Emperor Jahangir.[13]

Asaf Jah became prime minister on the death of his father; and, in
spite of his sister, he managed to secure the crown to Shah Jahan,
the third son of Jahangir, who had married his daughter, the lady
over whose remains the Taj was afterwards built. Jahangir's eldest
son, Khusru, had his eyes put out by his father's orders for repeated
rebellions, to which he had been instigated by a desire to revenge
his mother's murder, and by the ambition of her brother, the Hindoo
prince, Man Singh,[14] who wished to see his own nephew on the
throne, and by his wife's father, the prime minister of Akbar, Khan
Azam.[15] Nur Jahan had invited the mother of Khusru, the sister of
Raja Man Singh, to look with her down a well in the courtyard of her
apartments by moonlight, and as she did so she threw her in. As soon
as she saw that she had ceased to struggle she gave the alarm, and
pretended that she had fallen in by accident.[16]

By the murder of the mother of the heir-apparent she expected to
secure the throne to a creature of her own. Khusru was treated with
great kindness by his father, after he had been barbarously deprived
of sight;[17] but when his brother, Shah Jahan, was appointed to the
government of Southern India, he pretended great solicitude about the
comforts of his _poor blind brother_, which he thought would not be
attended to at court, and took him with him to his government in the
Deccan, where he got him assassinated, as the only sure mode of
securing the throne to himself.[18] Parwiz, the second son, died a
natural death;[19] so also did his only son; and so also Daniyal, the
fourth son of the Emperor.[20] Nur Jahan's daughter by Sher Afgan had
married Shahryar, a young son of the Emperor by a concubine; and,
just before his death he (the Emperor), at the instigation of Nur
Jahan, named this son as his successor in his will. He was placed
upon the throne, and put in possession of the treasury, and at the
head of a respectable army;[21] but the Empress's brother, Asaf,
designed the throne for his own son-in-law, Shah Jahan; and, as soon
as the Emperor died, he put up a puppet to amuse the people till he
could come up with his army from the Deccan--Bulaki, the eldest son
of the deceased Khusru. Shahryar's troops were defeated; he was taken
prisoner, and had his eyes put out forthwith, and the Empress was put
into close confinement. As Shah Jahan approached Lahore with his
army, Asaf put his puppet, Bulaki, and his younger brother, with the
two young sons of Daniyal, into prison, where they were strangled by
a messenger sent on for the purpose by Shah Jahan, with the sanction
of Asaf.[22] This measure left no male heir alive of the house of
Timur (Tamerlane) in Hindustan, save Shah Jahan himself and his four
sons. Dara was then thirteen years of age, Shuja twelve, Aurangzeb
ten, and Murad four;[23] and all were present to learn from their
father this sad lesson--that such of them who might be alive on his
death, save one, must, with their sons, be hunted down and destroyed
like mad dogs, lest they might get into the hands of the disaffected,
and be made the tools of faction.

Monsieur de Thevenot, who visited Agra, as I have before stated, in
1666, says, 'Some affirm that there are twenty-five thousand
Christian families in Agra; but all do not agree in that. The Dutch
have a factory in the town, but the English have now none, because it
did not turn to account.' The number must have been great, or so
sober a man as Monsieur Thevenot would not have thought such an
estimate worthy to be quoted without contradiction.[24] They were
all, except those connected with the single Dutch factory, maintained
from the salaries of office; and they gradually disappeared as their
offices became filled with Muhammadans and Hindoos. The duties of the
artillery, its arsenals, and foundries, were the chief foundation
upon which the superstructure of Christianity then stood in India.
These duties were everywhere entrusted exclusively to Europeans, and
all Europeans were Christians, and, under Shah Jahan, permitted
freely to follow their own modes of worship. They were, too. Roman
Catholic, and spent the greater part of their incomes in the
maintenance of priests. But they could never forget that they were
strangers in the land, and held their offices upon a precarious
tenure; and, consequently, they never felt disposed to expend the
little wealth they had in raising durable tombs, churches, and other
public buildings, to tell posterity who or what they were. Present
physical enjoyment, and the prayers of their priests for a good berth
in the next world, were the only objects of their ambition.
Muhammadans and Hindoos soon learned to perform duties which they saw
bring to the Christians so much of honour and emolument; and, as they
did so, they necessarily sapped the walls of the fabric. Christianity
never became independent of office in India, and, I am afraid, never
will; even under our rule, it still mainly rests upon that
foundation.[25]



Notes:

1. The names and titles of the empress 'over whose remains the Taj is
built' were Nawab Aliya Begam, Arjumand Banu, Mumtaz-i-Mahall. The
title Nur Mahall, as applied to her, is without authority: it
properly belongs to her aunt. 'It is usual in this country', Bernier
observes, 'to give similar names to the members of the reigning
family. Thus the wife of _Chah-Jehan_--so renowned for her beauty,
and whose splendid mausoleum is more worthy of a place among the
wonders of the world than the unshapen masses and heaps of stones in
Egypt--was named _Tage Mehalle_ [Mumtaz-i-Mahall], or the Crown of
the Seraglio; and the wife of Jehan-Guyre, who so long wielded the
sceptre, while her husband abandoned himself to drunkenness and
dissipation, was known first by the name of _Nour Mehalle_, the Light
of the Seraglio, and afterwards by that of _Nour-Jehan-Begum_, the
Light of the World.' (Bernier, _Travels_, ed. Constable, and V. A.
Smith, 1914, p. 5.)

2. Properly, Ghias-ud-din, meaning 'succourer of religion'. The word
Ghias cannot stand as a name by itself.

3. The author's slight description of Itimad-ud-daula's exquisite
sepulchre is, in the original edition, illustrated by two coloured
plates, one of the exterior, and the other of the interior
(restored). The lack of grandeur in this building is amply atoned for
by its elegance and marvellous beauty of detail. An inscription,
dated A.H. 1027 = A.D. 1618, alleged to exist in connexion with the
building, has not, apparently, been published. (_N.W.P. Gazetteer_,
1st ed., vol. vii, p. 687.)

Fergusson's description and just criticism deserve quotation. 'The
tomb known as that of Itimad-ud-daula, at Agra, . . . cannot be
passed over, not only from its own beauty of design, but also because
it marks an epoch in the style to which it belongs. It was erected by
Nur-Jahan in memory of her father, who died in 1621, and [it] was
completed in 1628. It is situated on the left bank of the river, in
the midst of a garden surrounded by a wall measuring 540 feet on each
side. In the centre of this, on a raised platform, stands the tomb
itself, a square measuring 69 feet on each side. It is two stories in
height, and at each angle is an octagonal tower, surmounted by an
open pavilion. The towers, however, are rather squat in proportion,
and the general design of the building very far from being so
pleasing as that of many less pretentious tombs in the neighbourhood.
Had it, indeed, been built in red sandstone, or even with an inlay of
white marble like that of Humayun, it would not have attracted much
attention, its real merit consists in being wholly in white marble,
and being covered throughout with a mosaic in 'pietra dura'--the
first, apparently, and certainly one of the most splendid, examples
of that class of ornamentation in India....

'As one of the first, the tomb of Itimad-ud-daula was certainly one
of the least successful specimens of its class. The patterns do not
quite fit the places where they are put, and the spaces are not
always those best suited for this style of decoration. [Altogether I
cannot help fancying that the Italians had more to do with the design
of this building than was at all desirable, and they are to blame for
its want of grace.[a]] But, on the other hand, the beautiful tracery
of the pierced marble slabs of its Windows, which resemble those of
Salim Chishti's tomb at Fatehpur Sikri, the beauty of its white
marble walls, and the rich colour of its decorations, make up so
beautiful a whole, that it is only on comparing it with the works of
Shah Jahan that we are justified in finding fault.' (_Indian and
Eastern Architecture_, ed. 1910, pp. 305-7.) Further details will be
found in Syad Muhammad Latif, _Agra_ (Calcutta, 1896); _A.S.R._ iv,
pp. 137-41 (Calcutta, 1874); and more satisfactorily, in E. W. Smith,
_Moghul Colour Decoration of Agra_ (Allahabad, 1901), pp. 18-20, pl.
lxv-lxxvii. Mr. E. W. Smith, if he had lived, would have produced a
separate volume descriptive of this unique building.

The building is now carefully guarded and kept in repair. The
restoration of the inlay of precious stones is so enormously
expensive that much progress in that branch of the work is
impracticable. The mausoleum contains seven tombs.

a. This sentence has been deleted by Dr. Burgess in his edition,
1910.

4. This tale is mythical. The alleged circumstances could not be
known to any person besides the father and mother, neither of whom
would be likely to make them public. Blochmann (transl. _Ain_, i.
508) gives a full account of Itimad-ud-daula and his family. The
historians state that Nur Jahan was born at Kandahar, on the way to
India. Her father was the son of a high Persian official, but for
some reason or other was obliged to quit Persia with his family. He
was a native of Teheran, not of 'Western Tartary'. The personal name
of Nur Jahan was Mihr-un-nisa.

5. This story is erroneous, and inconsistent with the correct
statement in the heading of the chapter that Nur Jahan, daughter of
Ghias-ud-din, was aunt of the Lady of the Taj. The author makes out
Ghias-ud-din (whom he corruptly calls Aeeas) to be a distant relation
of Asaf Khan. In reality, Asaf Khan (whose original name was Mirza
Abul Hasan) was the second son of Ghias-ud-din, and was elder brother
of Nur Jahan, The genealogy, so far as relevant, is best shown in a
tabular form, thus:--


                     Mirza Ghias-ud-din Beg
                    (alias Itimad-ud-daula).
                               |
                               |
           |----------------|-------------------------|
           |                |                         |
       Muhammad         Asaf Khan                 *Nur Mahall*
        Sharif.      (_alias_ Mirza            (_alias_ *Nurjaahan*),
                        Abul Hasan).           *Empress of Jahangir*
                            |                  (and widow of
                            |                      Sher Afgan).
                            |
                    *Mumtaz-i-Mahall*
               (_alias_ Arjumand Banu Begam,
                _alias_ Nawab Aliya Begam),
                 *Empress of Shah Jahan*.



6. Ali Quli Beg, from Persia entered Akbar's service, and in the war
with the Rana of Chitor, served under Prince Salim (Jahangir), who
gave him the title of Sher Afgan, 'tiger-thrower', with reverence to
his deeds of prowess. The spelling _afgan_ is correct. The word is
the radical of the Persian verb _afgandan_, 'to throw down'.

7. In October, 1605.

8. Properly Kutb-ud-din Khan. He was foster-brother of Prince Salim
(Jahangir), and his appointment as viceroy alarmed Sher Afgan, and
caused the latter to throw up his appointment in Bengal. The word
Kutb (Qutb) cannot stand alone as a name. Kutb (Qutb)-ud-din means
'pole-star of religion'.

9. Tandan, or Tanra. Ancient town, now a petty village, in Malda
District, Bengal, the capital of Bengal after the decadence of Gaur.
Its history is obscure, and the very site of the city has not been
accurately determined. It is certain that it was in the immediate
neighbourhood of Gaur, and south-west of that town beyond the
Bhagirathi. Old Tandan has been utterly swept away by the changes in
the course of the Pagla. It was occupied by the Afghan king of Bengal
in A.D. 1564, and is not mentioned after 1660. (_I.G._, 1908.)

10. This narrative, notwithstanding all the minute details with which
it is garnished, cannot be accepted as sober history; and I do not
know from what source the author obtained it. 'This lady, whose
maiden name was Muhr-un-Nisa, or "Seal of Womankind", had attracted
the admiration of Jahangir when he was crown prince, but Akbar
married her to a young Turkoman and settled them in Bengal. After
Jahangir's accession the husband was killed in a quarrel with the
governor of the province, and the wife was placed under the care of
one of Akbar's widows, with whom she remained four years, and then
married Jahangir (1610). There is nothing to justify a suspicion of
the Emperor's connivance in the husband's death; nor do Indian
historians corroborate the invidious criticisms of "Normal" by
European travellers; on the contrary, they portray Nur-Mahall as a
pattern of all the virtues, and worthy to wield the supreme influence
which she obtained over the Emperor.' (Lane-Poole, _The History of
the Moghul Emperors of Hindustan illustrated by their Coins_, p.
xix.) The authorities on which this statement is founded are given in
_E. & D._, vol. vi, pp. 397 and 402-5. See also Blochmann, _Ain_,
vol. i, pp. 496, 524. Details of such stories in the various
chronicles always differ. Jahangir openly rejoiced in the death of
Sher Afgan, and it is by no means clear that he was not responsible
for the event. He was not troubled by nice scruples. The first
element in the lady's personal name seems to be _Mihr_, 'sun', not
_Muhr_, 'seal'. The words are identical in ordinary Persian writing.

11. The long interval which elapsed between Sher Afgan's death and
the marriage with the Emperor is a fact opposed to the assumptions
which the author adopts that Nur Mahall was 'nothing loth', and that
the death of her first husband was contrived by Jahangir.

12. Quaint Sir Thomas Herbert thus expresses himself: 'Meher Metzia
[Mihr-un-nisa] is forthwith espoused with all solemnity to the King,
and her name changed to Nourshabegem [Nur Shah Begam], or Nor-mahal,
i.e., Light or Glory of the Court; her Father upon this affinity
advanced upon all the other Umbraes ['umara', or nobles]; her
brother, Assaph-Chan [Asaf Khan], and most of her kindred, smiled
upon, with the addition of Honours, Wealth, and Command. And in this
Sun-shine of content Jangheer [Jahangir] spends some years with his
lovely Queen, without regarding ought save Cupid's Currantoes'
(_Travels_, ed. 1677, p. 74). Authority exists for the title Asaf
Jah, as well as for the variant Asaf Khan.

Coins were struck in the joint names of Jahangir and his consort,
bearing a rhyming Persian couplet to the effect that

'By command of Jahangir the King, from the name of Nur Jahan his
Queen, gold gained a hundred beauties.'

The Queen's administration is censured by some of the European
travellers who visited India during Jahangir's reign as being venal
and inefficient, and she is accused of cruelty and perfidy. She died
on the 18th December (N.S.), 1645, and was buried by the aide of
Jahangir in his mausoleum at Lahore. At her death she was in her 72nd
year, according to the Muhammadan lunar reckoning, and would thus
have been thirty-four solar years of age when the Emperor married her
in 1610 (Beale: Blochmann).

13. According to Sir Thomas Herbert (_Travels_, ed. 1677, p. 99),
'Queen Normahal and her three daughters' were confined by order of
Shah Jahan in A.D. 1628.

14. Son of Bhagwan Das, of Amber or Jaipur, in Rajputana, and one of
the greatest of Akbar's officers.

15. Also known as Aziz Kokah, a foster-brother of Akbar.

16. This story may or may not be true; but a charge of this kind is
absolutely incapable of proof, and would be readily generated in the
palace atmosphere.

17. According to a contemporary authority, the blinding was only
partial, and the prince recovered the sight of one eye (_E. & D._ vi.
448). With regard to such details the discrepancies in the histories
are innumerable.

18. A.H. 1031 = A.D. 1621-2. The charge seems to be true.

19. A.H. 1036 = A.D. 1626-7.

20. This is a blunder. Jahangir's fourth son was named Jahandar, and
died in or about A.H. 1035 = A.D. 1625-6. Daniyal was third son of
Akbar, and younger brother of Jahangir. He died from _delirium
tremens_ in A.D. 1605, a few months before the death of Akbar,

21. Jahangir died, when returning from Kashmir, on the 8th November,
A.D. 1627 (N.S.), and was buried near Lahore. The fight with Shahryar
took place at Lahore.

22. Bulaki assumed the title of Dawar Baksh during his short reign,
and struck coins at Lahore. He 'vanished--probably to Persia--after
his three months' pretence of royalty; and on 25th January, 1628 (18
Jumada I, 1037), Shah-Jahan ascended at Agra the throne which he was
to occupy for thirty years'. Shahryar was known by the nickname of
_Na-shudani_, or 'Good-for-nothing' (Lane-Poole, _The History of the
Moghul Emperors of Hindustan, illustrated by their Coins_, p. xxiii).
The two nephews of Jahangir, the sons of Daniyal, slaughtered at this
time, had been, according to Herbert, baptized as Christians
(_Travels_, ed. 1677, pp. 74, 98). There are great discrepancies in
the accounts given by various authorities concerning the fate of
Bulaki and the other victims of Shah Jahan. A dissuasion of the
evidence would take too much apace, and must be inconclusive, the
fact being that the proceedings were secret, and pains were taken to
conceal the truth.

23. The dates of birth are, in Old Style:-Dara Shikoh, March 20,
1615; Sultan Shuja, May 12, 1616; Aurangzeb, October 10, 1619; and
Murad Baksh, not stated (Beale).

24. _Ante_, Chapter 2, text following [8]. The quotation is from Part
III, chap. 19, p. 35 of _The Travels of Monsieur de Thevenot, now
made English. London, Printed in the year MDCLXXXVII_. The author, in
his quotation, omits between 'that' and 'The Dutch' the clause 'This
indeed is certain that there are few Heathens and Parsis in respect
of Mahometans there, and these surpass all the other sects in power
as they do in number.'

25. During the reign of Akbar, many Christians, Portuguese, English,
and others, visited Agra, and a considerable number settled there. A
Roman Catholic church was built, the steeple of which was pulled down
by Shah Jahan. The oldest inscriptions in the cemetery adjoining the
Roman Catholic cathedral are in the Armenian character. Three
Catholic cemeteries exist at or near Agra, namely

(l) the old Catholic graveyard at the village of Lashkarpur, dating
from the time of Akbar, who made a grant of the site about A.D. 1600.
This cemetery includes the Martyrs' Chapel, also known as the Chapel
of Father Santus (Santucci), which was erected in memory of Khoja
Mortenepus, an Armenian merchant, whose epitaph is dated 1611. The
next oldest tombstone, that of Father Emmanuel d' Anhaya, who died in
prison, bears the date August, 1633. Father Joseph de Castro, who
died at Lahore, on December 15, 1646, lies in the same building.

(2) A cemetery in Padritola, the native Christian ward of the city
behind the old cathedral. Father Tieffenthaler is buried there.

(3) A cemetery in an unnamed village, granted by Jahangir, and
situated a mile north of Lashkarpur. An unpublished letter in the
British Museum shows that Jahangir closed the churches in his
dominions in 1615. Notwithstanding, the College at Agra was founded
about 1617 by an Armenian who is known by his title Mirza Zul-
Qarnain. The acute persecution by Shah Jahan occurred in 1631.

The artillery men in the Mogul service were not all European
Christians. Turks from the Ottoman Empire were freely employed. (See
_Ep. Ind._, ii, 132 note.)

The facts concerning the early history of Christianity in Northern
India have been imperfectly studied. In this note I have used chiefly
a pamphlet by Father H. Hosten, S. J., entitled _Jesuit Missionaries
in Northern India, &c._ (Catholic Orphan Press, Calcutta, 1907), and
the confused little book by Fanthome, _Reminiscences of Agra_ (2nd
ed., Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta, 1895). The Jesuit and Capuchin
Fathers are working at the subject and hope to elucidate it. From the
_A.S. Progress Rep. N. Circle, Muhammadan Monuments_, for 1911-12, p.
21, it appears that arrangements for the proper maintenance of the
Old Catholic cemetery are in hand.

The author's observations concerning the official relations of
Christianity in India do not apply at all to the very ancient
churches of the South (See _E.H.I._, 3rd ed., 1914, App. M, pp. 245-
7). Even in the north, the modern missionary operations may claim to
be 'independent of office'.





CHAPTER 53


Father Gregory's Notion of the Impediments to Conversion in India--
Inability of Europeans to speak Eastern Languages.

Father Gregory, the Roman Catholic priest, dined with us one evening,
and Major Godby took occasion to ask him at table, 'What progress our
religion was making among the people?'

'Progress!' said he; 'why, what progress can we ever hope to make
among a people who, the moment we begin to talk to them about the
miracles performed by Christ, begin to tell us of those infinitely
more wonderful performed by Krishna, who lifted a mountain upon his
little finger, as an umbrella, to defend his shepherdesses at
Govardhan from a shower of rain.[1] The Hindoos never doubt any part
of the miracles and prophecies of our scripture--they believe every
word of them; and the only thing that surprises them is that they
should be so much less wonderful than those of their own scriptures,
in which also they implicitly believe. Men who believe that the
histories of the wars and amours of Ram and Krishna, two of the
incarnations of Vishnu, were written some fifty thousand years before
these wars and amours actually took place upon the earth, would of
course easily believe in the fulfilment of any prophecy that might be
related to them out of any other book;[2] and, as to miracles, there
is absolutely nothing too extraordinary for their belief. If a
Christian of respectability were to tell a Hindoo that, to satisfy
some scruples of the Corinthians, St. Paul had brought the sun and
moon down upon the earth, and made them rebound off again into their
places, like tennis balls, without the slightest injury to any of the
three planets [_sic_], I do not think he would feel the slightest
doubt of the truth of it; but he would immediately be put in mind of
something still more extraordinary that Krishna did to amuse the
milkmaids, or to satisfy some sceptics of his day, and relate it with
all the _naivete_ imaginable.

I saw at Agra Mirza Kam Baksh, the eldest son of Sulaiman Shikoh, the
eldest son of the brother of the present Emperor. He had spent a
season with us at Jubbulpore, while prosecuting his claim to an
estate against the Raja of Riwa. The Emperor, Shah Alam, in his
flight before our troops from Bengal (1762), struck off the high road
to Delhi at Mirzapore, and came down to Riwa, where he found an
asylum during the season of the rains with the Riwa Raja, who
assigned for his residence the village of Makanpur.[3] His wife, the
Empress, was here delivered of a son, the present Emperor, of
Hindustan, Akbar Shah;[4] and the Raja assigned to him and his heirs
for ever the fee simple of this village. As the members of this
family increased in geometrical ratio, under the new system, which
gave them plenty to eat with nothing to do, the Emperor had of late
been obliged to hunt round for little additions to his income; and in
his search he found that Makanpur gave name to a 'pargana', or little
district, of which it was the capital, and that a good deal of
merchandize passed through this district, and paid heavy dues to the
Raja. Nothing, he thought, would be lost by trying to get the whole
district instead of the village; and for this purpose he sent down
Kam Baksh, the ablest man of the whole family, to urge and prosecute
his claim; but the Raja was a close, shrewd man, and not to be done
out of his revenue, and Kam Baksh was obliged to return minus some
thousand rupees, which he had spent in attempting to keep up
appearances.

The best of us Europeans feel our deficiencies in conversation with
Muhammadans of high rank and education, when we are called upon to
talk upon subjects beyond the everyday occurrences of life. A
Muhammadan gentleman of education is tolerably acquainted with
astronomy, as it was taught by Ptolemy; with the logic and ethics of
Aristotle and Plato; with the works of Hippocrates and Galen, through
those of Avicenna, or, as they call him, Abu-Alisina;[5] and he is
very capable of talking upon all subjects of philosophy, literature,
science, and the arts, and very much inclined to do so; and of
understanding the nature of the improvements that have been made in
them in modern times. But, however capable we may feel of discussing
these subjects, or explaining these improvements in our own language,
we all feel ourselves very much at a loss when we attempt to do it in
theirs. Perhaps few Europeans have mixed and conversed more freely
with all classes than I have; and yet I feel myself sadly deficient
when I enter, as I often do, into discussions with Muhammadan
gentlemen of education upon the subject of the character of the
governments and institutions of different countries--their effects
upon the character and condition of the people; the arts and the
sciences; the faculties and operations of the human mind; and the
thousand other things which are subjects of everyday conversation
among educated and thinking; men in our country. I feel that they
could understand me quite well if I could find words for my ideas;
but these I cannot find, though their languages abound in them, nor
have I ever met the European gentleman who could. East Indians
can;[6] but they commonly want the ideas as much as we want the
language. The chief cause of this deficiency is the want of
sufficient intercourse with men in whose presence we should be
ashamed to appear ignorant--this is the great secret, and all should
know and acknowledge it.

We are not ashamed to convey our orders to our native servants in a
barbarous language. Military officers seldom speak to their 'sipahis'
(sepoys) and native officers, about anything but arms, accoutrements,
and drill; or to other natives about anything but the sports of the
field; and, as long as they are understood, they care not one straw
in what language they express themselves. The conversation of the
civil servants with their native officers takes sometimes a wider
range; but they have the same philosophical indifference as to the
language in which they attempt to convey their ideas; and I have
heard some of our highest diplomatic characters talking,[7] without
the slightest feeling of shame or embarrassment, to native princes on
the most ordinary subjects of everyday interest in a language which
no human being but themselves could understand. We shall remain the
same till some change of system inspire us with stronger motives to
please and conciliate the educated classes of the native community.
They may be reconciled, but they can never be charmed out of their
prejudices or the errors of their preconceived opinions by such
language as the European gentlemen are now in the habit of speaking
to them.[8] We must learn their language better, or we must teach
them our own, before we can venture to introduce among them those
free institutions which would oblige us to meet them on equal terms
at the bar, on the bench, and in the senate.[9] Perhaps two of the
best secular works that were ever written upon the facilities and
operations of the human mind, and the duties of men in their
relations with each other, are those of Imam-ud-din Ghazzali, and
Nasir-ud-din of Tus.[10] Their idol was Plato, but their works are of
a more practical character than his, and less dry than those of
Aristotle.

I may here mention the following, among many instances that occur to
me, of the amusing mistakes into which Europeans are liable to fall
in their conversation with natives.

Mr. J. W------n, of the Bengal Civil Service, commonly known by the
name of Beau W------n,[11] was the Honourable Company's opium agent
at Patna, when I arrived at Dinapore to join my regiment in 1810.[12]
He had a splendid house, and lived in excellent style; and was never
so happy as when he had a dozen young men from the Dinapore
cantonments living with him. He complained that year, as I was told,
that he had not been able to save more than one hundred thousand
rupees that season out of his salary and commission upon the opium,
purchased by the Government from the cultivators.[13] The members of
the civil service, in the other branches of public service, were all
anxious to have it believed by their countrymen that they were well
acquainted with their duties, and able and willing to perform them;
but the Honourable Company's commercial agents were, on the contrary,
generally anxious to make their countrymen believe that they neither
knew nor cared anything about their duties, because they were ashamed
of them. They were sinecure posts for the drones of the service, or
for those who had great interest and no capacity.[14] Had any young
man made it appear that he really thought W------n knew or cared
anything about his duties, he would certainly never have been invited
to his house again; and if any one knew, certainly no one seemed to
know that he had any other duty than that of entertaining his guests.

No one ever spoke the native language so badly, because no man had
ever so little intercourse with the natives; and it was, I have been
told, to his ignorance of the native languages that his bosom friend,
Mr. P------st, owed his life on one occasion. W. sat by the sick-bed
of his friend with unwearied attention, for some days and nights,
after the doctors had declared his case entirely hopeless. He
proposed at last to try change of air, and take him on the river
Ganges. The doctors, thinking that he might as well die in his boat
on the river as in his house at Calcutta, consented to his taking him
on board. They got up as far as Hooghly, when P. said that he felt
better and thought he could eat something. What should it be? A
little roasted kid perhaps. The very thing that he was longing for!
W. went out upon the deck to give orders for the kid, that his friend
might not be disturbed by the gruff voice of the old 'khansama'
(butler). P. heard the conversation, however.

'Khansama', said the Beau W., 'you know that my friend Mr. P. is very
ill?'

'Yes, sir.'

'And that he has not eaten anything for a month?'

'A long time for a man to fast, sir.'

'Yes, Khansama, and his stomach is now become very delicate, and
could not stand anything strong.'

'Certainly not, sir.'

'Well, Khansama, then he has taken a fancy to a roasted _mare_'
('madiyan'), meaning a 'halwan', or kid.'[15]

'A roasted mare, sir?'

'Yes, Khansama, a roasted mare, which you must have nicely prepared.'

'What, the whole, sir?'

'Not the whole at one time; but have the whole ready as there is no
knowing what part he may like best.'

The old butter had heard of the Tartars eating their horses when in
robust health, but the idea of a sick man, not able to move in his
bed without assistance, taking a fancy to a roasted mare, quite
staggered him.

'But, sir, I may not be able to get such a thing as a mare at a
moment's notice; and if I get her she will be very dear.'

'Never mind, Khansama, get you the mare, cost what she will; if she
costs a thousand rupees my friend shall have her. He has taken a
fancy to the mare, and the mare he shall have, if she costs a
thousand rupees.'

The butter made his salaam, said he would do his best, and took his
leave, requesting that the boats might be kept at the bank of the
river till he came back.

W. went into his sick friend, who, with great difficulty, managed to
keep his countenance while he complained of the liberties old
servants were in the habit of taking with their masters. 'They think
themselves privileged', said W., 'to conjure up difficulties in the
way of everything that one wants to have done.'

'Yes', said P------st, 'we like to have old and faithful servants
about us, particularly when we are sick; but they are apt to take
liberties, which new ones will not.'

In about two hours the butler's approach was announced from the deck,
and W. walked out to scold him for his delay. The old gentleman was
coming down over the bank, followed by about eight men bearing the
four quarters of an old mare. The butler was very fat; and the proud
consciousness of having done his duty, and met his master's wishes in
a very difficult and important point, had made him a perfect
Falstaff. He marshalled his men in front of the cooking-boat, and
then came towards his master, who for some time stood amazed, and
unable to speak. At last he roared out, 'And what the devil have you
here?'

'Why, the _mare_ that the sick gentleman took a fancy for; and dear
enough she has cost me; not a farthing less than two hundred rupees
would the fellow take for his mare.'

P------st could contain himself no longer; he burst into an
immoderate fit of laughter, during which the abscess in his liver
burst into the intestines, and he felt himself relieved, as if by
enchantment. The mistake was rectified--he got his kid; and in ten
days he was taken back to Calcutta a sound man, to the great
astonishment of all the doctors.

During the first campaign against Nepal, in 1815, Colonel, now Major-
General, O.H., who commanded the------Regiment, N. I.,[16] had to
march with his regiment through the town of Darbhanga, the capital of
the Raja, who came to pay his respects to him. He brought a number of
presents, but the colonel, a high-minded, amiable man, never took
anything himself, nor suffered any person in his camp to do so, in
the districts they passed through without paying for it. He politely
declined to take any of the presents; but said that he 'had heard
that Darbhanga produced _crows_ ("kauwa"), and should be glad to get
some of them if the Raja could spare them,'--meaning coffee, or
'kahwa'.

The Raja stared, and said that certainly they had abundance of crows
in Darbhanga; but he thought they were equally abundant in all parts
of India.

'Quite the contrary, Raja Sahib, I assure you,' said the colonel;
'there is not such a thing as a crow to be found in any part of the
Company's dominions that I have seen, and I have been all over them.'

'Very strange!' said the Raja, turning round to his followers.

'Yes,' replied they,' it is very strange, Raja Sahib; but such is
your 'ikbal' (good fortune), that everything thrives under it; and,
if the colonel should wish to have a few crows, we could easily
collect them for him.'

'If', said the colonel, greatly delighted, 'you could provide us with
a few of these crows, we should really feel very much obliged to you;
for we have a long and cold campaign before us among the bleak hills
of Nepal; and we are all fond of crows.'

'Indeed,' returned the Raja, 'I shall be happy to send you as many as
you wish.' ('Much' and 'many' are expressed by the same term.)

'Then we should be glad to have two or three bags full, if it would
not be robbing you.'

'Not in the least,' said the Raja; 'I will go home and order them to
be collected immediately.'

In the evening, as the officers, with the colonel at their head, were
sitting down to dinner, a man came up to announce the Raja's present.
Three fine large bags were brought in, and the colonel requested that
one might be opened immediately. It was opened accordingly, and the
mess butler ('khansaman') drew out by the legs a fine old crow. The
colonel immediately saw the mistake, and laughed as heartily as the
rest at the result. A polite message was sent to the Raja, requesting
that he would excuse his having made it--for he had had half a dozen
men out shooting crows all day with their matchlocks. Few Europeans
spoke the language better than General ------, and I do not believe
that one European in a thousand, at this very moment, makes any
difference, or knows any difference, in the sound of the two terms.

Kam Baksh had one sister married to the King of Oudh, and another to
Mirza Salim, the younger son of the Emperor. Mirza Salim and his wife
could not agree, and a separation took place, and she went to reside
with her sister, the Queen of Oudh. The King saw her frequently; and,
finding her more beautiful than his wife, he demanded her also in
marriage from her father, who resided at Lucknow, the capital of
Oudh, on a pension of five thousand rupees a month from the King. He
would not consent, and demanded his daughter; the King, finding her
willing to share his bed and board with her sister, would not give
her up.[17] The father got his old friend, Colonel Gardiner, who had
married a Muhammadan woman of rank, to come down and plead his cause.
The King gave up the young woman, but at the same time stopped the
father's pension, and ordered him and all his family out of his
dominions. He set out with Colonel Gardiner and his daughter, on his
road to Delhi, through Kasganj, the residence of the colonel, who was
one day recommending the prince to seek consolation for the loss of
his pension in the proud recollection of having saved the honour of
the _house of Tamerlane_, when news was brought to them that the
daughter had run off from camp with his (Colonel Gardiner's) son
James, who had accompanied him to Lucknow. The prince and the colonel
mounted their horses, and rode after him; but they were so much
heavier and older than the young ones, that they soon gave up the
chase in despair. Sulaiman Shikoh insisted upon the colonel
immediately fighting him, after the fashion of the English, with
swords or pistols, but was soon persuaded that the honour of the
house of Timur would be much better preserved by allowing the
offending parties to marry ![18] The King of Oudh was delighted to
find that the old man had been so punished; and the Queen no less so
to find herself so suddenly and unexpectedly relieved from all dread
of her sister's return. All parties wrote to my friend Kam Baksh, who
was then at Jubbulpore;[19] and he came off with their letters to me
to ask whether I thought the incident might not be turned to account
in getting the pension for his father restored.[20]


Notes:

1. Govardhan is a very sacred place of pilgrimage, full of temples,
situated in the Mathura (Muttra) district, sixteen miles west of
Mathura, Regulation V of 1826 annexed Govardhan to the Agra district.
In 1832 Mathura was made the head-quarters of a new district,
Govardhan and other territory being transferred from Agra.

2. The Puranas, even when narrating history after a fashion, are cast
in the form of prophecies. The Bhagavat Purana is especially devoted
to the legends of Krishna. The Hindi version of the 10th Book
(_skandha_) is known as the 'Prem Sagar', or 'Ocean of Love', and is,
perhaps, the most wearisome book in the world.

3. This flight occurred during the struggles following the battle of
Plassy in 1757, which were terminated by the battle of Buxar in 1764,
and the grant to the East India Company of the civil administration
of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa in the following year. Shah Alam bore, in
weakness and misery, the burden of the imperial title from 1759 to
1806. From 1765 to 1771 he was the dependent of the English at
Allahabad. From 1771 to 1803 he was usually under the control of
Maratha chiefs, and from the time of Lord Lake's entry into Delhi, in
1803 he became simply a prisoner of the British Government. His
successors occupied the same position. In 1788 he was barbarously
blinded by the Rohilla chief, Ghulam Kadir.

4. Akbar II. His position as Emperor was purely titular.

5. The name is printed as Booalee Shina in the original edition. His
full designation is Abu Ali al-Husain ibn Abdullah ibn Sina, which
means 'that Sina was his grandfather. Avicenna is a corruption of
either Abu Sina or Ibn Sina. He lived a strenuous, passionate life,
but found time to compose about a hundred treatises on medicine and
almost every subject known to Arabian science. He died in A.D. 1037.
A good biography of him will be found in _Encyclo. Brit._, 11th ed.,
1910.

6. Otherwise called Eurasians, or, according to the latest official
decree, Anglo-Indians.

7. 'Diplomatic characters' would now be described as officers of the
Political Department.

8. These remarks of the author should help to dispel the common
delusion that the English officials of the olden time spoke the
Indian languages better than their more highly trained successors.

9. The author wrote these words at the moment of the inauguration by
Lord William Bentinck and Macaulay of the new policy which
established English as the official language of India, and the
vehicle for the higher instruction of its people, as enunciated in
the resolution dated 7th March, 1835, and described by Boulger in
_Lord William Bentinck_ (Rulers of India, 1897), chap. 8. The
decision then formed and acted on alone rendered possible the
employment of natives of India in the higher branches of the
administration. Such employment has gradually year by year increased,
and certainly will further increase, at least up to the extreme limit
of safety. Indians now (1914) occupy seats in the Council of India in
London, and in the Executive and Legislative Councils of the
Governor-General, Provincial Governors, and Lieutenant-Governors.
They hold most of the judicial appointments and fill many responsible
executive offices.

10. Khojah Nasir-ud-din of Tus in Persia was a great astronomer,
philosopher, and mathematician in the thirteenth century. The
author's Imam-ud-din Ghazzali is intended for Abu Hamid Imam al
Ghazzali, one of the most famous of Musulman doctors. He was born at
Tus, the modern Mashhad (Meshed) in Khurasan, and died in A.D. 1111.
His works are numerous. One is entitled _The Ruin of Philosophies_,
and another, the most celebrated, is _The Resuscitation of Religious
Sciences_ (F. J. Arbuthnot, _A Manual of Arabian History and
Literature_, London, 1890). These authors are again referred to in a
subsequent chapter. I am not able to judge the propriety of Sleeman's
enthusiastic praise.

11. The gentleman referred to was Mr. John Wilton, who was appointed
to the service in 1775.

12. The cantonments at Dinapore (properly Danapur) are ten miles
distant from the great city of Patna.

13. The rupee was worth more than two shillings in 1810. The
remuneration of high officials by commission has been long abolished.

14. There used to be two opium agents, one at Patna, and the other at
Ghazipur, who administered the Opium Department under the control of
the Board of Revenue in Calcutta. In deference to the demands of the
Chinese Government and of public opinion in England, the Agency at
Ghazipur has been closed, and the Government of India is withdrawing
gradually from the opium trade. Such lucrative sinecures as those
described in the text have long ceased to exist.

15. These Persian words would not now be used in orders to servants.

16. This officer was Sir Joseph O'Halloran, K.C.B., attached to the
18th Regiment, N.I. He became a Lieutenant-Colonel on June 4, 1814,
and Major-General on January 10, 1837. He is mentioned in
_Ramaseeana_ (p 59) as Brigadier-General commanding the Sagar
Division.

17. The King's demand was improper and illegal. The Muhammadan law,
like the Jewish (Leviticus xviii, 18), prohibits a man from being
married to two sisters at once. 'Ye are also forbidden to take to
wife two sisters; except what is already past: for God is gracious
and merciful' (_Koran_, chap. iv). Compare the ruling in 'Mishkat-ul-
Masabih', Book XIII, chap. v, Part II (Matthews, vol. ii, p. 94).

18. The colonel's son has succeeded to his father's estates, and he
and his wife are, I believe, very happy together. [W. H. S.] Such an
incident would, of course, be now inconceivable. The family name is
also spelled Gardner. The romantic history of the Gardners is
summarized in the appendix to _A Particular Account of the European
Military Adventures of Hindustan, from 1784 to 1803_; compiled by
Herbert Compton: London, 1892.

19. _Ante_, Chapter 53 text between [2] and [3].

20. Kasganj, the residence of Colonel Gardner, is in the Etah
district of the United Provinces. In 1911 the population was 16,429.




CHAPTER 54

Fathpur-Sikri--The Emperor Akbar's Pilgrimage--Birth of Jahangir.

On the 6th January we left Agra, which soon after became the
residence of the Governor of the North-Western Provinces, Sir Charles
Metcalfe.[1] It was, when I was there, the residence of a civil
commissioner, a judge, a magistrate, a collector of land revenue, a
collector of customs, and all their assistants and establishments. A
brigadier commands the station, which contained a park of artillery,
one regiment of European and four regiments of native infantry.[2]

Near the artillery practice-ground, we passed the tomb of Jodh Bai,
the wife of the Emperor Akbar, and the mother of Jahangir. She was of
Rajput caste, daughter of the Hindoo chief of Jodhpur, a very
beautiful, and, it is said, a very amiable woman.[3] The Mogul
Emperors, though Muhammadans, were then in the habit of taking their
wives from among the Rajput princes of the country, with a view to
secure their allegiance. The tomb itself is in ruins, having only
part of the dome standing, and the walls and magnificent gateway that
at one time surrounded it have been all taken away and sold by a
thrifty Government, or appropriated to purposes of more practical
utility.[4]




I have heard many Muhammadans say that they could trace the decline
of their empire in Hindustan to the loss of the Rajput blood in the
veins of their princes.[5] 'Better blood' than that of the Rajputs of
India certainly never flowed in the veins of any human beings; or,
what is the same thing, no blood was ever believed to be finer by the
people themselves and those they had to deal with. The difference is
all in the imagination, and the imagination is all-powerful with
nations as with individuals. The Britons thought their blood the
finest in the world till they were conquered by the Romans, the
Picts, the Scots, and the Saxons. The Saxons thought theirs the
finest in the world till they were conquered by the Danes and the
Normans. This is the history of the human race. The quality of the
blood of a whole people has depended often upon the fate of a battle,
which in the ancient world doomed the vanquished to the hammer; and
the hammer changed the blood of those sold by it from generation to
generation. How many Norman robbers got their blood ennobled, and how
many Saxon nobles got theirs plebeianized by the Battle of Hastings;
and how difficult it would be for any of us to say from which we
descended--the Britons or the Saxons, the Danes or the Normans; or in
what particular action our ancestors were the victors or the
vanquished, and became ennobled or plebeianized by the thousand
accidents which influence the fate of battles. A series of successful
aggressions upon their neighbours will commonly give a nation a
notion that they are superior in courage; and pride will make them
attribute this superiority to blood--that is, to an old date. This
was, perhaps, never more exemplified than in the case of the Gurkhas
of Nepal, a small diminutive race of men not unlike the Huns, but
certainly as brave as any men can possibly be. A Gurkha thought
himself equal to any four other men of the hills, though they were
all much stronger; just as a Dane thought himself equal to four
Saxons at one time in Britain. The other men of the hills began to
think that he really was so, and could not stand before him.[6]

We passed many wells from which the people were watering their
fields, and found those which yielded a brackish water were
considered to be much more valuable for irrigation than those which
yielded sweet water. It is the same in the valley of the Nerbudda,
but brackish water does not suit some soils and some crops. On the
8th we reached Fathpur Sikri, which lies about twenty-four miles from
Agra, and stands upon the back of a narrow range of sandstone hills,
rising abruptly from the alluvial plains to the highest, about one
hundred feet, and extends three miles north-north-east and south-
south-west. This place owes its celebrity to a Muhammadan saint, the
Shaikh Salim of Chisht, a town in Persia, who owed his to the
following circumstance:

The Emperor Akbar's sons had all died in infancy, and he made a
pilgrimage to the shrine of the celebrated Muin-ud-din of Chisht, at
Ajmer. He and his family went all the way on foot at the rate of
three 'kos', or four miles, a day, a distance of about three hundred
and fifty miles. 'Kanats', or cloth walls, were raised on each side
of the road, carpets spread over it, and high towers of burnt bricks
erected at every stage, to mark the places where he rested. On
reaching the shrine he made a supplication to the saint, who at night
appeared to him in his sleep, and recommended him to go and entreat
the intercession of a very holy old man, who lived a secluded life
upon the top of the little range of hills at Sikri. He went
accordingly, and was assured by the old man, then ninety-six years of
age, that the Empress Jodh Bai, the daughter of a Hindoo prince,
would be delivered of a son, who would live to a good old age. She
was then pregnant, and remained in the vicinity of the old man's
hermitage till her confinement, which took place 31st of August,
1569. The infant was called after the hermit, Mirza Salim, and became
in time Emperor of Hindostan, under the name of Jahangir.[7] It was
to this Emperor Jahangir that Sir Thomas Roe, the ambassador, was
sent from the English Court.[8] Akbar, in order to secure to himself,
his family, and his people, the advantage of the continued
intercessions of so holy a man, took up his residence at Sikri, and
covered the hill with magnificent buildings for himself, his
courtiers, and his public establishments.[9]

The quadrangle, which contains the mosque on the west side, and tomb
of the old hermit in the centre, was completed in the year 1578, six
years before his death; and is, perhaps, one of the finest in the
world. It is five hundred and seventy-five feet square, and
surrounded by a high wall, with a magnificent cloister all around
within.[10] On the outside is a magnificent gateway, at the top of a
noble flight of steps twenty-four feet high. The whole gateway is one
hundred and twenty feet in height, and the same in breadth, and
presents beyond the wall five sides of an octagon, of which the front
face is eighty feet wide. The arch in the centre of this space is
sixty feet high by forty wide.[11] This gateway is no doubt extremely
grand and beautiful; but what strikes one most is the disproportion
between the thing wanted and the thing provided--there seems to be
something quite preposterous in forming so enormous an entrance for a
poor diminutive man to walk through--and walk he must, unless carried
through on men's shoulders; for neither elephant, horse, nor bullock
could ascend over the flight of steps. In all these places the
staircases, on the contrary, are as disproportionately small; they
look as if they were made for rats to crawl through, while the
gateways seem as if they were made for ships to sail under.[12] One
of the most interesting sights was the immense swarms of swallows
flying round the thick bed of nests that occupy the apex of this
arch, and, to the spectators below, they look precisely like swarm of
bees round a large honeycomb. I quoted a passage in the Koran in
praise of the swallows, and asked the guardians of the place whether
they did not think themselves happy in having such swarms of sacred
birds over their heads all day long. 'Not at all,' said they; 'they
oblige us to sweep the gateway ten times a day; but there is no
getting at their nests, or we should soon get rid of them.' They then
told me that the sacred bird of the Koran was the 'ababil', or large
black swallow, and not the 'partadil', a little piebald thing of no
religious merit whatever.[13] On the right side of the entrance is
engraven on stone in large letters, standing out in bas-relief, the
following passage in Arabic: 'Jesus, on whom be peace, has said, "The
word is merely a bridge; you are to pass over it, and not to build
your dwellings upon it".' Where this saying of Christ is to be found
I know not, nor has any Muhammadan yet been able to tell me; but the
quoting of such a passage, in such a place, is a proof of the absence
of all bigotry on the part of Akbar.[14]

The tomb of Shaikh Salim, the hermit, is a very beautiful little
building, in the centre of the quadrangle.[15] The man who guards it
told me that the Jats, while they reigned, robbed this tomb, as well
as those at Agra, of some of the most beautiful and valuable portion
of the mosaic work.[16] 'But,' said he, 'they were well plundered in
their turn by your troops at Bharatpur; retribution always follows
the wicked sooner or later.'[17] He showed us the little roof of
stone tiles, close to the original little dingy mosque of the old
hermit, where the Empress gave birth to Jahangir;[18] and told us
that she was a very sensible woman, whose counsels had great weight
with the Emperor.[19] 'His majesty's only fault was', he said, 'an
inclination to learn the art of magic, which was taught him by an old
Hindoo religious mendicant,' whose apartment near the palace he
pointed out to us.

'Fortunately,' said our cicerone, 'the fellow died before the Emperor
had learnt enough to practise the art without his aid.'


Shaikh Salim had, he declared, gone more than twenty times on
pilgrimage to the tomb of the holy prophet; and was not much pleased
to have his repose so much disturbed by the noise and bustle of the
imperial court. At last, Akbar wanted to surround the hill with
regular fortifications, and the Shaikh could stand it no longer.[20]
'Either you or I must leave this hill,' said he to the Emperor; 'if
the efficacy of my prayers is no longer to be relied upon, let me
depart in peace.' 'If it be _your majesty's_ will,' replied the
Emperor, 'that one should go, let it be your slave, I pray.' The old
story: 'There is nothing like relying upon the efficacy of our
prayers,' say the priests, 'Nothing like relying upon that of our
sharp swords,' say the soldiers; and, as nations advance from
barbarism, they generally contrive to divide between them the surplus
produce of the land and labour of society.

The old hermit consented to remain, and pointed out Agra as a place
which he thought would answer the Emperor's purpose extremely well.
Agra, then an unpeopled waste, soon became a city, and Fathpur-Sikri
was deserted.[21] Cities which, like this, are maintained by the
public establishments that attend and surround the courts of
sovereign princes, must always, like this, become deserted when these
sovereigns change their resting-places. To the history of the rise
and progress, decline and fall, of how many cities is this the key?

Close to the tomb of the saint is another containing the remains of a
great number of his descendants, who continue to enjoy, under the
successors of Akbar, large grants of rent-free lands for their own
support, and for that of the mosque and mausoleum. These grants have,
by degrees, been nearly all resumed;[22] and, as the repair of the
buildings is now entrusted to the public officers of our government,
the surviving members of the saint's family, who still reside among
the ruins, are extremely poor. What strikes a European most in going
over these palaces of the Moghal Emperors is the want of what a
gentleman of fortune in his own country would consider elegantly
comfortable accommodations. Five hundred pounds a year would at the
present day secure him more of this in any civilized country of
Europe or America than the greatest of those Emperors could command.
He would, perhaps, have the same impression in going over the
domestic architecture of the most civilized nations of the ancient
world, Persia and Egypt, Greece and Rome.[23]


Notes:

1. The Act of 1833 (3 & 4 William IV, c. 85), which reconstituted the
government of India, provided that the upper Provinces should be
formed into a separate Presidency under the name of Agra, and Sir
Charles Metcalfe was nominated as the first Governor. On
reconsideration, this arrangement was modified, and instead of the
Presidency of Agra, the Lieutenant-Governorship of the North-Western
Provinces was formed, with head-quarters at Agra. Sir C. Metcalfe
became Lieutenant-Governor in 1836, but held the office for a short
time only, until January, 1838, when Lord Auckland, the Governor-
General, took over temporary charge. The seat of the Local Government
was moved to Allahabad in 1868. From 1877 the Lieutenant-Governor of
the North-Western Provinces was also Chief Commissioner of Oudh. The
name North-Western Provinces, which had become unsuitable and
misleading since the annexation of the Panjab in 1849, could not be
retained after the formation of the North-West Frontier Province in
1902. Accordingly, from that year the combined jurisdiction of the
North-Western Provinces and Oudh received the new official name of
the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. The title of Chief
Commissioner of Oudh was dropped at the same time, but the legal
System and administration of the old kingdom of Oudh continued to be
distinct in certain respects.

2. The civil establishment and garrison are still nearly the same as
in the author's time. The inland customs department is now concerned
only with the restrictions on the manufacture of salt. The offices of
district magistrate and collector of land revenue have long been
combined in a single officer.

3. Akbar married the daughter of Bihari Mal, chief of Jaipur, in A.D.
1562. There is little doubt that she, _Mariam-uz-Zamani_, was the
mother of Jahangir. See Blochmann, transl. _Ain_, vol. i, p. 619. Mr.
Beveridge has given up the opinion which he formerly advocated in
_J.A.S.B._, vol. lvi (1887), Part I, pp. 164-7.

The Jodhpur princess was given the posthumous title of 'Mariam-uz-
Zamani', or 'Mary of the age', which circumstance probably originated
the belief that Akbar had one Christian queen. Her tomb at Sikandara
is locally known simply as Rauza Maryam, 'the mausoleum of Mary', a
designation which has had much to do with the persistence of the
erroneous belief in the existence of a Christian consort of Akbar.
Mr. Beveridge holds, and I think rightly, that Jodh Bai is not a
proper name. It seems to mean merely 'princess of Jodhpur'. The only
lady really known as Jodh Bai was the daughter of Udai Singh (Moth
Raja) of Jaipur, who became a consort of Jahangir. Sleeman's notion
that Jahangir's mother also was called Jodh Bai is mistaken
(Blochmann, _ut supra_).

4. It was blown up about 1832 by order of the Government, and the
materials of the gates, walls, and outer towns were used for the
building of barracks. But the mausoleum itself resisted the spoiler
and remained 'a huge shapeless heap of massive fragments of masonry'.
The building consisted of a square room raised on a platform with a
vault below. The marble tomb or cenotaph of the queen still exists in
the vault. A fine gateway formerly stood at the entrance to the
enclosure, and there was a small mosque to the west of the tomb
(_A.S.R._ vol. iv. (1874), p. 121: Muh. Latif, _Agra_, p. 192). It is
painful to be obliged to record so many instances of vandalism
committed by English officials. This tomb is the memorial of Jodh
Bai, daughter of Udai Singh, _alias_ Moth Raja, who was married to
Jahangir in A.D. 1585, and was the mother of Shah Jahan. Her personal
names were Jagat Goshaini and Balmati. She died in A.D. 1619. Akbar's
queen, Maryam-uz-Zamani, daughter of Raja Bihari Mall of Jaipur
(Amber), who died in A.D. 1623, is buried at Sikandra. (See Beale,
s.v. 'Jodh Bai' and 'Mariam Zamani'; Blochmann, transl. _Ain_, pp.
429, 619.) The tomb of Maryam-uz-Zamani has been purchased by
Government from the missionaries, who had used it as a school, and
has been restored. (_Ann. Rep. A.S., India_, 1910-11, pp. 92-6.)

5. Although it may be admitted that the Rajput strain of blood
improved the constitution of the royal family of Delhi, the decline
and fall of the Timuride dynasty cannot be truly ascribed to 'the
loss of the Rajput blood in the veins' of the ruling princes. The
empire was tottering to its fall long before the death of Aurangzeb,
who 'had himself married two Hindoo wives; and he wedded his son
Muazzam (afterwards the Emperor Bahadur) to a Hindoo princess, as his
forefathers had done before him'. (Lane-Poole, _The History of the
Moghul Emperors of Hindustan illustrated by their Coins_, p. xviii. )
The wonder is, not that the empire of Delhi fell, but that it lasted
so long.

6. When the author wrote the above remarks, Englishmen knew the
gallant Gurkhas as enemies only; they now know them as worthy and
equal brethren in arms. The recruitment of Gurkhas for the British
service began in 1838. The spelling 'Gorkha' is more accurate.

7. The 'kos' varies much in value, but in most parts of the United
Provinces it is reckoned as equal to two miles. According to the
_N.W.P. Gazetteer_ (p. 568), the nearest approximate value for the
Agra kos is 1 3/4 mile. Three kos would, therefore, be equal to about
5 1/4 miles. Muin-ud-din died in A.D. 1236. Sleeman, on I know not
what authority, represents Akbar as resorting to Salim Chishti,
Shaikh of Fathpur-Sikri, on the advice given by a vision accorded at
Ajmer. The _Tabaqat-i-Akbari_ simply records that Akbar had visited
the Shaikh, the 'very holy old man' of Sleeman, several times, and
had obtained the promise of a son. That promise was fulfilled by the
birth of the princes Salim and Murad, who both saw the light at
Fathpur-Sikri. The pilgrimage of Akbar on foot to Ajmer, which began
on Friday, Shaban (8th month) 12, A.H. 977, took place _after_ the
birth of Prince Salim, which occurred on the 18th of Rabi-ul-auwwal
(3rd month) of the same Hijri year. Akbar travelled at the rate of 7
or 8 _kos_ a day, and spent about 25 days on the journey (E. & D. v.
333, 334). If he had moved at the rate stated by Sleeman he would
have been nearly three months on the road. He reached Ajmer about the
middle of February (N.S.). Shaikh Salim Chishti died in A.D. 1572 (A.
H. 979) aged 96 lunar years.

8. Sir Thomas Roe was sent out by James I, and arrived at Jahangir's
court in January, 1616. He remained there till 1618, and secured for
his countrymen the privilege of trading at Surat. The best edition of
his book is that by Mr. William Foster (Hakluyt Soc., 1899).

9. Fathpur-Sikri is fully described and illustrated in the late Mr.
E. W. Smith's fine work in quarto entitled _The Moghul Architecture
of Fathpur-Sikri_ (4 Parts, Allahabad Govt. Press, 1894-8), which
supersedes all other writings on the subject. The double name of the
town means 'Fathpur at Sikri' according to a familiar Indian
practice. The name Fathpur ('City of Victory') was bestowed in A.D.
1573 to commemorate the glorious campaign in Gujarat, but building on
the site had been begun in 1569. The historians usually call the town
simply Fathpur, which name also is found on the coinage, from
probably A.H. 977 (A.D. 1569-70). The mint was not in regular working
order until eight years later (A.H. 985). Coins continued to be
struck regularly at Fathpur until A.H. 989 (A.D. 1581-2). Akbar
abandoned his costly foundation a little later. The only coin from
the Fathpur mint of subsequent date is one of the first year of
Shahjahan (Wright, _Catalogue of Coins in Indian Museum, Mughal
Emperors_, 1908, p. xlvii). But Rodgers believed in the genuineness
of a zodiacal gold coin of Jahangir purporting to be struck at
Fathpur (_J.A.S.B._, vol. lvii (1888), Part I, p. 26).

10. Sleeman's dates and details require much correction. The mosque
was completed at some time in the year A.H. 979 (May 26, 1571, to May
13, 1572, o.s.), excepting the Buland Darwaza, which was erected in
A.H. 983 (1575-6). The 'old hermit', Shaikh Salim, died on February
13, 1572 (Ramazan 27, A.H. 979). E. W. Smith (_op. cit._, Part IV, p.
1) gives the correct measurements as follow: 'Exclusive of the
bastions upon the angles it measures 542' from east to west to the
outside of the _liwan_ or sanctuary, or 515' 3" to the outside of the
west main wall (which sets back from the outer wall of the liwan) and
438' from north to south. The general plan adopted by Muhammadans for
their masjids has been followed. In the centre is a vast courtyard
open to the heavens, measuring 359' 10" by 438' 9", surrounded on the
north, south, and east sides by spacious cloisters 38' 3" in depth,
and on the west by the liwan itself, 288' 2" in length by 65' deep.
It is said to be copied from one at Makka [Mecca], and was erected
according to a chronogram over the main arch in A.D. 1571, or at the
same time as Rajah Bir Bal's house.' The 'six years before his death'
of Sleeman's text should be 'six months' (Latif, _Agra_, p. 149).

11. The southern portal, known as the Buland Darwaza, or Lofty
Gateway, does not match the other gateways. It was built in A.D.
1575-6 (A.H. 983), and was adorned in A.D. 1601-2 (A.H. 1010) with an
inscription recording Akbar's triumphant return from his campaign in
the Deccan. The date is fixed by a chronogram, preserved in Beale's
work entitled _Miftah-ul-tawarikh_ (_Ann. Progr. Rep. A. S. Northern
Circle_, for 1905-6, p. 34, correcting E. W. Smith). Correct
measurements are:

      From roadway below to pavement   .    .    .   42 feet
      From pavement to top of finial   .    .    .  134  "
      Breadth across main front   .    .    .    .  130  "
      Breadth across back facing the mosque .    .  123  "
      Depth   .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .   88 1/2 feet.

Full details, with ample illustrations, are given by E. W. Smith, op.
cit., Part IV, chap. ii. In the original edition of Sleeman a
chromolithograph of the gateway is inserted. Photographs are
reproduced in _H.F.A._, Pl. xcvi, and Fergusson, _History of Indian
and E. Archit._ (ed. 1910), fig. 425.

12. Fergusson (ed. 1910, vol. ii, p. 297) successfully justifies the
vast size of the gateway. 'The semi-dome is the modulus of the
design, and its scale that by which the imagination measures its
magnificence.'

The cramped staircases criticized by Sleeman are those ascending from
the pavement to the roof, one on the north-west, and the other on the
north-east side of the gate. Each flight has 123 steep steps.

13. See the 105th chapter of the Koran. 'Hast thou not seen how thy
Lord dealt with the masters of the elephant? Did he not make their
treacherous design an occasion of drawing them into error; and send
against them flocks of _swallows_ which cast down upon them stones of
baked clay, and rendered them like the leaves of corn eaten by
cattle?' [W. H. S.] The quotation is from Sale's translation, but
Sale uses the word 'birds', and not '_swallows_'. In his note, where
he tells the whole story, he speaks of 'a large flock of birds like
swallows'. The Arabic, Persian, and Hindustani dictionaries give no
other word than 'ababil' for swallow. The word 'partadil' (purtadeel)
occurs in none of them. According to Oates, _Fauna of British India_
(London, 1890), the 'ababil' is the common swallow, _Hirundo
rustica_; and the 'mosque-swallow' ('masjid-ababil'), otherwise
called 'Sykes's striated swallow', is the _H. erythropygia, H.
Daurica_ of Balfour, _Cyclop. of India_, 3rd ed., s.v. Hirundinidae.
This latter species is the 'little piebald thing' mentioned by the
author.

14. Muh. Latif (Agra, pp. 146, 147) gives the text and English
rendering of the inscription, which is in Persian, except the
_logion_ ascribed to Jesus, which is in Arabic. His translation of
the Jesus saying is as follows:

'So said Jeans, on whom be peace! "The world is a bridge; pass over
it, but build no house on it. He who reflected on the distresses of
the Day of Judgement gained pleasure everlasting.

'"Worldly pleasures are but momentary; spend, then, thy life in
devotion and remember that what remains of it is valueless".'

Like the author, I am unable to trace the source of the quotation.
The inscription probably was recorded after Akbar's breach with
Islam, which may be dated from 1579 or 1580. When he built the
mosque, in 1571-5, he was still a devout Musalman, although
entertaining liberal opinions. He died on October 25, 1605 (N.S.;
October 15, O.S.)

15. For a full account of the exquisite sepulchre of Shaikh Salim,
see E. W. Smith, op. cit.. Part III, chap. ii. An inscription over
the doorway is dated A.H. 979 = 1571-2, the year of the saint's
death. The building, constructed regardless of expense, must be
somewhat later. 'As originally built by Akbar, the tomb was of red
sandstone, and the marble trellis-work, the chief ornament of the
tomb, was erected subsequently by the Emperor Jahangir' (Latif,
_Agra_, p. 144).

16. The first plundering of Akbar's tomb at Sikandra by the Jats
occurred in 1691 according to Manucci (_ante_, chapter 51, note 29.).
The outrages at Fathpur-Sikri seem to have been later in date, and to
have happened after the capture of Agra in 1761 by Suraj Mall, the
famous Raja of Bhurtpore (Bharatpur). The Jats retained possession of
Agra until 1774 (_I.G._, 1908, vol. viii, p. 76). That is the period
while they reigned, to use the author's words. Tradition affirms that
daring that time they shot away the tops of the minarets at the
entrance to the Sikandra park; took the armour and books of Akbar
from his tomb, and sent them to Bharatpur, and also melted down two
silver doors at the Taj, which had cost Shah Jahan more than 125,000
rupees (_N.W.P. Gazetteer_, 1st ed., vol. vii, p. 619)

17. We besieged and took Bharatpur in order to rescue the young
prince, our ally, from his uncle, who had forcibly assumed the office
of prime minister to his nephew. As soon as we got possession, all
the property we found, belonging either to the nephew or the uncle,
was declared to be prize-money, and taken for the troops. The young
prince was obliged to borrow an elephant from the prize agents to
ride upon. He has ever since enjoyed the whole of the revenue of his
large territory. [W. H. S.] The final siege and capture of Bharatpur
by Lord Combermere took place in January, 1826. The plundering, as
Metcalfe observed, 'has been very disgraceful, and has tarnished our
well-earned honours'. All the state treasures and jewels, amounting
to forty-eight lakhs of rupees, or say half a million of pounds
sterling, which should have been made over to the rightful Raja, were
treated as lawful prize, and at once distributed among the officers
and men. Lord Combermere himself took six lakhs (Marshman, _History
of India_, ed., 1869, vol. ii, p. 409).

18. The 'little dingy mosque' was built over the cave in which the
saint dwelt, and was presented to him by the local quarry-men. It is
therefore called The Stone-cutters' Mosque. It is fully described by
E. W. Smith, op. cit., Part IV. chap. iii. It is earlier in date than
any of Akbar's buildings, having been built in A. H. 945 (A.D. 1538-
9), a year after the saint had settled in the 'dangerous jungle'
(_Progr. Rep. A. S. N. Circle_, 1905-6, p. 35).

19. The people of India no doubt owed much of the good they enjoyed
under the long reign of Akbar to this most excellent woman, who
inspired not only her husband but the most able Muhammadan minister
that India has ever had, with feelings of universal benevolence. It
was from her that this great minister, Abul Fazl, derived the spirit
that dictated the following passages in his admirable work, the Ain-
i-Akbari; 'Every sect becomes infatuated with its particular
doctrines; animosity and dissension prevail, and each man deeming the
tenets of his sect to be the dictates of truth itself, aims at the
destruction of all others, vilifies reputation, stains the earth with
blood, and has the vanity to imagine that he is performing
meritorious actions. Were the voice of reason attended to, mankind
would be sensible of their error, and lament the weaknesses which led
them to interfere in the religious concerns of each other.
Persecution, after all, defeats its own end; it obliges men to
conceal their opinions, but produces no change in them.

'Summarily, the Hindoos are religious, affable, courteous to
strangers, prone to inflict austerities on themselves, lovers of
justice, given to retirement, able in business, grateful, admirers of
truth, and of unbounded fidelity in all their dealings.

'This character shines brightest in adversity. Their soldiers know
not what it is to fly from the field of battle; when the success of
the combat becomes doubtful, they dismount from their horses, and
throw away their lives in payment of the debt of valour. They have
great respect for their tutors; and make no account of their lives
when they can devote them to the service of their God.

'They consider the Supreme Being to be above all labour, and believe
Brahma to be the creator of the world, Vishnu its preserver, and Siva
its destroyer. But one sect believes that God, who hath no equal,
appeared on earth under the three above-mentioned forms, without
having been thereby polluted in the smallest degree, in the same
manner as the Christians speak of the Messiah; others hold that all
these were only human beings, who, on account of their sanctity and
righteousness, were raised to these high dignities.' [W. H. S.] The
passage quoted is from Gladwin's translation, vol. ii, p. 318 (4th
ed., London, 1800). The wording varies in different editions of
Gladwin's work. A better version will be found in Jarrett, transl.
_Ain_ (Calcutta, 1894), vol. iii, p. 8.

There is no substantial foundation for the author's statement that
Abul Fazl learned his charity and toleration from the Hindoo mother
of Jahangir. The influences which really moulded the opinions of both
Abul Fazl and his royal master are well known. When Akbar and Abul
Fazl are compared with Elizabeth and Burleigh, Philip II and Alva, or
the other sovereigns and ministers of the age in Europe, it seems to
be little less than a miracle that the Indian statesmen should have
held and practised the noble philosophy expounded in the above
quotation from the 'Institutes of Akbar'. No man has deserved better
than Akbar the stately eulogy pronounced by Wordsworth on a hero now
obscure:

    A meteor wert thou in a darksome night;
      Yet shall thy name, conspicuous and sublime,
      Stand in the spacious firmament of time,
    Fixed as a star: such glory is thy right.
            (_Sonnets dedicated to Liberty_, Part Second, No. XVII.)


20. The story is absurd, the saint having died early in 1572, when
the Fathpur-Sikri buildings were in progress.

'The city . . . is enclosed on three sides by high embattlemented
stone walls pierced by. . . gateways protected by heavy and grim
semi-circular bastions of rubble masonry. The fourth side was
protected by a large lake.' There were nine gateways (E. W. Smith,
op. cit., pp. 1, 59; pl. xci, xciii). The Sangin Burj, or Stone
Tower, is a fine unfinished fortification (ibid., p. 34). The dam of
the lake burst in the 27th year of the reign, A.D. 1582 (Latif,
_Agra_, p. 159). The circumference of the town is variously stated as
either six or seven miles.

21. Akbar began the works at the fort of Agra in A.H. 972,
corresponding to A.D. 1564-65, several years before he began those at
Fathpur in A.D. 1569-70 (E. & D., vol. v, pp. 295, 332); and the
buildings at Agra and Fathpur were carried on concurrently. He
continued building at Fathpur nearly to the close of his reign. Agra
was never 'an unpeopled waste' during Akbar's reign. Sikandar Lodi
had made it his capital in A.D. 1501.

22. That is to say, the grantees have now to pay land revenue, or
rent, to the state.

23. No good general description of the buildings at Agra, Sikandra,
and Fathpur-Sikri exists. The following list indicates the beat
treatises available.

(1) Syad Muhammad Latif--_Agra, Historical and Descriptive., &c._;
8vo, Calcutta, 1896, Useful, but crude and badly illustrated.

(2) E. W. Smith--_The Moghul Architecture of Fathpur-Sikri_; 4 Parts,
4to, Government Press, Allahabad, 1894-8.

(3) Same author--_Moghul Colour Decoration of Agra_; 4to, Government
Press, Allahabad, 1901.

(4) Same author--_Akbar's Tomb, Sikandarah_; posthumous; 4to,
Allahabad Government Press, 1909.

The three works by Mr. E. W. Smith are magnificently illustrated and
worthy of the subject.

(5) Nur Baksh--'The Agra Fort and its Buildings', in _A.S. Annual
Report_ for 1903-4, pp. 164-93.

(6) Moin-ud-din--_The History of the Taj, &c._; thin 8vo, 116 pp.;
Moon Press, Agra, 1905. Useful, as being the only book devoted to the
Taj and connected buildings, but crude and inadequate.

The Archaeological Survey of India, since its reorganization, has not
had time to study the Taj buildings, except for conservation
purposes. The report by Mr. Carlleyle on the minor remains at and
near Agra in _A.S.R._, vol. iv, 1874, is almost worthless.

In 1873 Major Cole prepared a handsome volume entitled _Illustrations
of Buildings near Muttra and Agra, &c._

Some information, to be used with caution, is to be found in
gazetteers of different dates.

The brief observations in Fergusson's _History of Indian and Eastern
Architecture_ (ed. 1910) are of permanent value. The plan of the
editor's work, _A History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon_ (H. F.
A.), Oxford, 1911, does not permit of detailed descriptions. The
well-known little Handbook by Mr. H. G. Keene contains many errors
and is unworthy of the author's reputation as an historian.

A good guide-book, prepared with knowledge and accuracy, is badly
wanted. It would be difficult to find an author possessed of the
needful local knowledge and sufficiently well read to compile a
satisfactory book. An adequate illustrated history of the Taj
buildings on the lines of Mr. E. W. Smith's work on Fathpur-Sikri is
much to be desired, but would be a formidable undertaking, and is not
likely to be written for a long time to come. Perhaps some wealthy
admirer of Akbar and his achievements may appear and provide the
considerable funds required for the preparation of the desired
treatise. The Christian antiquities of Agra also deserve systematic
treatment. At present the information on record is in a chaotic
state.




CHAPTER 55


Bharatpur--Dig--Want of employment for the Military and the Educated
Classes under the Company's Rule.

Our old friends, Mr. Charles Fraser, the Commissioner of the Agra
Division, then on his circuit, and Major Godby, had come on with us
from Agra and made our party very agreeable. On the 9th, we went
fourteen miles to Bharatpur, over a plain of alluvial, but seemingly
poor, soil, intersected by one low range of sandstone hills running
north-east and south-west. The thick belt of jungle, three miles
wide, with which the chiefs of Bharatpur used to surround their
fortress while they were freebooters, and always liable to be brought
into collision with their neighbours, has been fast diminishing since
the capture of the place by our troops in 1826; and will very soon
disappear altogether, and give place to rich sheets of cultivation,
and happy little village communities. Our tents had been pitched
close outside the Mathura gate, near a small grove of fruit-trees,
which formed the left flank of the last attack on this fortress by
Lord Combermere.[1] Major Godby had been present during the whole
siege; and, as we went round the place in the evening on our
elephants, he pointed out all the points of attack, and told all the
anecdotes of the day that were interesting enough to be remembered
for ten years. We went through the town, out at the opposite gate,
and passed along the line of Lord Lake's attack in 1805.[2] All the
points of his attack were also pointed out to us by our cicerone, an
old officer in the service of the Raja. It happened to be the
anniversary of the first attempt to storm, which was made on the 9th
of January, thirty-one years before. One old officer told us that he
remembered Lord Lake sitting with three other gentlemen on chairs not
more than half a mile from the ramparts of the fort.

The old man thought that the men of those days were quite a different
sort of thing to the men of the present day, as well those who
defended, as those who attacked the fort; and, if the truth must be
told, he thought that the European lords and gentlemen had fallen off
in the same scale as the rest.

'But', said the old man, 'all these things are matter of destiny and
providence. Upon that very bastion (pointing to the right point of
Lord Lake's attack) stood a large twenty-four pounder, which was
loaded and discharged three times by supernatural agency during one
of your attacks--not a living soul was near it.' We all smiled,
incredulous; and the old man offered to bring a score of witnesses to
the fact, men of unquestionable veracity. The left point of Lord
Lake's attack was the Baldeo bastion, so called alter Baldeo Singh,
the second son of the then reigning chief, Ranjit Singh. The feats
which Hector performed in the defence of Troy sink into utter
insignificance before those which Baldeo performed in the defence of
Bharatpur, according to the best testimony of the survivors of that
great day. 'But', said the old man, 'he was, of course, acting under
supernatural influence; he condescended to measure swords only with
Europeans'; and their bodies filled the whole bastion in which he
stood, according to the belief of the people, though no European
entered it, I believe, during the whole siege. They pointed out to us
where the different corps were posted. There was one corps which had
signalized itself a good deal, but of which I had never before heard,
though all around me seemed extremely well acquainted with it--this
was the _Anta Gurgurs_. At last Godby came to my side, and told me
this was the name by which the Bombay troops were always known in
Bengal, though no one seemed to know whence it came. I am disposed to
think that they derive it from the peculiar form of the caps of their
sepoys, which are in form like the common hookah, called a 'gurguri',
with a small ball at the top, like an 'anta', or tennis, or billiard
ball; hence 'Anta Gurgurs'. The Bombay sepoys were, I am told, always
very angry when they heard that they were known by this term--they
have always behaved like good soldiers, and need not be ashamed of
this or any other name.[3]

The water in the lake, about a mile to the west of Bharatpur, stands
higher than the ground about the fortress; and a drain had been
opened, through which the water rushed in and filled the ditch all
round the fort and great part of the plain to the south and east,
before Lord Lake undertook the siege in 1805.[4] This water might, I
believe, have been taken off to the eastward into the Jumna, had the
outlet been discovered by the engineers. An attempt was made to cut
the same drain on the approach of Lord Combermere in 1826; but a
party went on, and stopped the work before much water had passed, and
the ditch was almost dry when the siege began.

The walls being all of mud, and now dismantled, had a wretched
appearance;[5] and the town which is contained within them is, though
very populous, a mere collection of wretched hovels; the only
respectable habitation within is the palace, which consists of three
detached buildings--one for the chief, another for the females of his
family, and the third for his court of justice, I could not find a
single trace of the European officers who had been killed there,
either at the first or second siege, though I had been told that a
small tomb had been built in a neighbouring grove over the remains of
Brigadier-General Edwards, who fell in the last storm. It is, I
believe, the only one that has ever been raised. The scenes of
battles fought by the Muhammadan conquerors of India were commonly
crowded with magnificent tombs, built over the slain, and provided
for a time with the means of maintaining holy men who read the Koran
over their graves. Not that this duty was necessary for the repose of
their souls, for every Muhammadan killed in fighting against men who
believed not in his prophet went, as a matter of course, to paradise;
and every unbeliever, killed in the same action, went as surely to
hell. There are only a few hundred men, exclusive of the prophets,
who, according to Muhammad, have the first place in paradise--those
who shared in one or other of his first three battles, and believed
in his holy mission before they had the evidence of a single victory
over the unbelievers to support it. At the head of these are the men
who accompanied him in his flight from Mecca to Medina, when he had
no evidence either from _victories_ or _miracles_. In all such
matters the less the evidence adduced in proof of a mission the
greater the merit of those who believe in it, according to the person
who pretends to it; and unhappily, the less the evidence a man has
for his faith, the greater is his anger against other men for not
joining in it with him. No man gets very angry with another for not
joining with him in his faith in the demonstration of a problem in
mathematics. Man likes to think that he is on the way to heaven upon
such easy terms; but gets angry at the notion that others won't join
him, because they may consider him an imbecile for thinking that he
is so. The Muhammadan generals and historians are sometimes almost as
concise as Caesar himself in describing very conscientiously a battle
of this kind; instead of 'I came, I saw, I conquered', it is 'Ten
thousand Musalmans on that day tasted of the blessed fruit of
paradise, after sending fifty thousand unbelievers to the flames of
hell'.

On the 10th we came on twelve miles to Kumbhir, over a plain of poor
soil, much impregnated with salt, and with some works in which salt
is made, with solar evaporation. The earth is dug up, water is
filtered through it, and drawn off into small square beds, where it
is evaporated by exposure to the solar heat. The gate of this fort
leading out to the road we came is called, modestly enough, after
Kumbhir, a place only ten miles distant; that leading to Mathura,
three or four stages distant, is called the Mathura gate. At Delhi,
the gates of the city walls are called ostentatiously after distant
places--the _Kashmir_, the _Kabul_, the _Constantinople_ gates.
Outside the Kumbhir gate, I saw, for the first time in my life, the
well peculiar to Upper India. It is built up in the form of a round
tower or cylindrical shell of burnt bricks, well cemented with good
mortar, and covered inside and out with good stucco work, and let
down by degrees, as the earth is removed by men at work in digging
under the light earthy or sandy foundation inside and out. This well
is about twenty feet below and twenty feet above the surface, and had
to be built higher as it was let into the ground.[6]

On the 11th we came on twelve miles to Dig (Deeg), over a plain of
poor and badly cultivated soil, which must be almost all under water
in the rains. This was, and still is, the country seat of the Jats of
Bharatpur, who rose, as I have already stated, to wealth and power by
aggressions upon their immediate neighbours, and the plunder of
tribute on its way to the imperial capital, and of the baggage of
passing armies during the contests for dominion that followed the
death of the Emperors, and during the decline and fall of the empire.
The Jats found the morasses with which they were surrounded here a
source of strength. They emigrated from the banks of the Indus about
Multan, and took up their abode by degrees on the banks of the Jumna,
and those of the Chambal, from their confluence upwards, where they
became cultivators and robbers upon a small scale, till they had the
means to build garrisons, when they entered the lists with princes,
who were only robbers upon a large scale. The Jats, like the
Marathas, rose, by a feeling of nationality, among a people who had
none. Single landholders were every day rising to principalities by
means of their gangs of robbers; but they could seldom be cemented
under one common head by a bond of national feeling.

They have a noble quadrangular garden at Dig, surrounded by a high
wall. In the centre of each of the four faces is one of the most
beautiful Hindoo buildings for accommodation that I have ever seen,
formed of a very fine sandstone brought from the quarries of Rupbas,
which he between thirty and forty miles to the south, and eight or
ten miles west of Fathpur-Sikri. These stones are brought in in flags
some sixteen feet long, from two to three feet wide, and one thick,
with sides as flat as glass, the flags being of the natural thickness
of the strata. The garden is four hundred and seventy-five feet long,
by three hundred and fifty feet wide; and in the centre is an
octagonal pond, with openings on the four sides leading up to the
four buildings, each opening having, from the centre of the pond to
the foot of the flight of steps leading into them, an avenue of _jets
d'eau_.

Dig as much surpassed, as Bharatpur fell short of, my expectations. I
had seen nothing in India of architectural beauty to be compared with
the buildings in this garden, except at Agra. The useful and the
elegant are here everywhere happily blended; nothing seems
disproportionate, or unsuitable to the purpose for which it was
designed; and all that one regrets is that so beautiful a garden
should be situated in so vile a swamp.[7] There was a general
complaint among the people of the town of a want of 'rozgar'
(employment), and its fruit, subsistence; the taking of Bharatpur
had, they said, produced a sad change among them for the worse. Godby
observed to some of the respectable men about us, who complained of
this, that happily their chief had now no enemy to employ them
against. 'But what', said they, 'is a prince without an army? and why
do you keep up yours now that all your enemies have been subdued?'
'We want them', replied Godby, 'to prevent our friends from cutting
each other's throats, and to defend them all against a foreign
enemy.' 'True,' said they, 'but what are we to do who have nothing
but our swords to depend upon, now that our chief no longer wants us,
and you won't take us?' 'And what,' said some shopkeepers, 'are we to
do who provided these troops with clothes, food, and furniture, which
they can no longer afford to pay for?' _Company ke amal men kuchh
rozgar nahin_ ('Under the Company's dominion there is no
employment'). This is too true; we do the soldiers' work with one-
tenth of the soldiers that had before been employed in it over the
territories we acquire, and turn the other nine-tenths adrift. They
all sink into the lowest class of religions mendicants, or retainers;
or live among their friends as drones upon the land; while the
manufacturing, trading, and commercial industry that provided them
with the comforts, conveniences, and elegancies of life while they
were in a higher grade of service is in its turn thrown out of
employment; and the whole frame of society becomes, for a time,
deranged by the local diminution in the demand _for the services of
men and the produce of their industry_.

I say we do the soldiers' work with one-tenth of the numbers that
were formerly required for it. I will mention an anecdote to
illustrate this. In the year 1816 I was marching with my regiment
from the Nepal frontier, after the war, to Allahabad. We encamped
about four miles from a mud fort in the kingdom of Oudh, and heard
the guns of the Amil, or chief of the district, playing all day upon
this fort, from which his batteries were removed at least two miles.
He had three regiments of infantry, a corps or two of cavalry, and a
good park of artillery; while the garrison consisted of only about
two hundred stout Rajput landholders and cultivators, or yeomen. In
the evening, just as we had sat down to dinner, a messenger came to
the commanding officer, Colonel Gregory, who was a member of the
mess, from the said Amil, and begged permission to deliver his
message in private. I, as the senior staff officer, was requested to
hear what he had to say.

'What do you require from the commanding officer?'

'I require the loan of the regiment.'

'I know the commanding officer will not let you have the regiment.'

'If the Amil cannot get more, he will be glad to get two companies;
and I have brought with me this bag of gold, containing some two or
three hundred gold mohurs.'

I delivered the message to Colonel Gregory, before all the officers,
who desired me to say that he could not spare a single man, as he had
no authority to assist the Amil, and was merely marching through the
country to his destination, I did so. The man urged me to beg the
commanding officer, if he could do no more, merely to halt the next
day where he was, and lend the Amil the use of one of his drummers.

'And what will you do with him?'

'Why, just before daylight, we will take him down near one of the
gates of the fort, and make him beat his drum as hard as he can; and
the people within, thinking the whole regiment is upon them, will
make out as fast as possible at the opposite gate.'

'And the bag of gold--what is to become of that?'

'You and the old gentleman can divide it between you, and I will
double it for you, if you like.'

I delivered the message before all the officers to their great
amusement; and the poor man was obliged to carry back his bag of gold
to the Amil. The Amil is the collector of revenues in Oudh, and he is
armed with all the powers of government, and has generally several
regiments and a train of artillery with him.

The large landholders build these mud forts, which they defend by
their Rajput cultivators, who are among the bravest men in the world.
One hundred of them would never hesitate to attack a thousand of the
king's regular troops, because they know the Amil would be ashamed to
have any noise made about it at court; but they know also that, if
they were to beat one hundred of the Company's troops, they would
soon have a thousand upon them; and, if they were to beat one
thousand, they would soon have ten. They provide for the maintenance
of those who are wounded in their fight, and for the widows and
orphans of those who are killed. Their prince provides for neither,
and his soldiers are, consequently, somewhat chary of fighting. It is
from this peasantry, the military cultivators of Oudh, that our
Bengal native infantry draws three out of four of its recruits, and
finer young men for soldiers can hardly anywhere be found.[8]

The advantage which arises to society from doing the soldiers' duty
with a smaller number has never been sufficiently appreciated in
India; but it will become every day more manifest, as our dominion
becomes more and more stable--for men who have lived by the sword do
not in India like to live by anything else, or to see their children
anything but soldiers. Under the former government men brought their
own arms and horses to the service, and took them away with them
again when discharged. The supply always greatly exceeded the demand
for soldiers, both in the cavalry and the infantry, and a very great
portion of the men armed and accoutred as soldiers were always
without service, roaming over the country in search of it. To such
men the profession next in rank after that of the soldier robbing in
the service of the sovereign was that of the robber plundering on his
own account. '_Materia munificentiae per bella et raptus. Nec arare
terram, aut expectare annum, tam facile persuaseris, quam vocare
hostes et vulnera mereri; pigrum quinimmo et iners videtur sudore
acquirere, quod possis sanguine parare._' 'War and rapine supply the
prince with the means of his munificence. You cannot persuade the
German to cultivate the fields and wait patiently for the harvest so
easily as you can to challenge the enemy, and expose himself to
honourable wounds. They hold it to be base and dishonourable to earn
by the sweat of their brow what they might acquire by their
blood.'[9]

The equestrian robber had his horse, and was called 'ghurasi', horse-
robber, a term which he never thought disgraceful. The foot-robber
under the native government stood in the same relation to the horse-
robber as the foot-soldier to the horse-soldier, because the trooper
furnished his own horses, arms, and accoutrements, and considered
himself a man of rank and wealth compared with the foot-soldier;
both, however, had the wherewithal to rob the traveller on the
highway; and, in the intervals between wars, the high roads were
covered with them. There was a time in England, it is said, when the
supply of clergymen was so great compared with the demand for them,
from the undue stimulus given to clerical education, that it was not
thought disgraceful for them to take to robbing on the highway; and
all the high roads were, in consequence, infested by them.[10] How
much more likely is a soldier to consider himself justified in this
pursuit, and to be held so by the feelings of society in general,
when he seeks in vain for regular service under his sovereign and his
viceroys.

The individual soldiers not only armed, accoutred, and mounted
themselves, but they generally ranged themselves under leaders, and
formed well-organized bands for any purpose of war or plunder. They
followed the fortunes of such leaders whether in service or out of
it; and, when dismissed from that of their sovereign, they assisted
them in robbing on the highway, or in pillaging the country till the
sovereign was compelled to take them back, or give them estates in
rent-free tenure for their maintenance and that of their followers.

All this is reversed under our government. We do the soldiers' work
much better than it was ever before done with one-tenth--nay, I may
say, one-fiftieth--part of the numbers that were employed to do it by
our predecessors; and the whole number of the soldiers employed by us
is not equal to that of those who were under them actually in the
transition state, or on their way from the place where they had lost
service to the place where they hoped to find it; extorting the means
of subsistence either by intimidation or by open violence. Those who
are in this transition state under us are neither armed, accoutred,
nor mounted; we do not disband en masse, we only dismiss individuals
for offences, and they have no leaders to range themselves under.
Those who come to seek our service are the sons of yeomen, bred up
from their infancy with all those feelings of deference for superiors
which we require in soldiers. They have neither arms, horses, nor
accoutrements; and, when they leave us permanently or temporarily,
they take none with them--they never rob or steal--they will often
dispute with the shopkeepers on the road about the price of
provisions, or get a man to carry their bundles gratis for a few
miles, but this is the utmost of their transgressions, and for these
things they are often severely handled by our police.

It is extremely gratifying to an Englishman to hear the general
testimony borne by all classes of people to the merits of our rule in
this respect; they all say that no former government ever devoted so
much attention to the formation of good roads and to the protection
of those who travel on them; and much of the security arises from the
change I have here remarked in the character and number of our
military establishments. It is equally gratifying to reflect that the
advantages must go on increasing, as those who have been thrown out
of employment in the army find other occupations for themselves and
their children; for find them they must or turn mendicants, if India
should be blessed with a long interval of peace. All soldiers under
us who have served the government faithfully for a certain number of
years, are, when no longer fit for the active duties of their
profession, sent back with the means of subsistence in honourable
retirement for the rest of their lives among their families and
friends, where they form, as it were, fountains of good feeling
towards the government they have served. Under former governments, a
trooper was discharged as soon as his horse got disabled, and a foot-
soldier as soon as he got disabled himself--no matter how--whether in
the service of the prince, or otherwise; no matter how long they had
served, whether they were still fit for any other service or not.
Like the old soldier in _Gil Blas_, they tumed robbers on the
highway, where they could still present a spear or a matchlock at a
traveller, though no longer deemed worthy to serve in the ranks of
the army. Nothing tended so much to the civilization of Europe as the
substitution of standing armies for militia; and nothing has tended
so much to the improvement of India under our rule.

The troops to which our standing armies in India succeeded were much
the same in character as those licentious bodies to which the
standing armies of the different nations of Europe succeeded; and the
result has been, and will, I hope, continue to be the same, highly
beneficial to the great mass of the people.

By a statute of Elizabeth it was made a capital offence, felony
without benefit of clergy, for soldiers or sailors to beg on the high
roads without a pass; and I suppose this statute arose from their
frequently robbing on the highways in the character of beggars.[11]
There must at that time have been an immense number of soldiers in
the transition state in England; men who disdained the labours of
peaceful life, or had by long habit become unfitted for them.
Religions mendicity has hitherto been the great safety valve through
which the unquiet transition spirit has found vent under our strong
and settled government. A Hindoo of any caste may become a religious
mendicant of the two great monastic orders--of Gosains, who are
disciples of Siva, and Bairagis, who are disciples of Vishnu; and any
Muhammadan may become a Fakir; and Gosains, Bairagis, and Fakirs, can
always secure, or extort, food from the communities they visit.[12]

Still, however, there is enough of this unquiet transition spirit
left to give anxiety to a settled government; for the moment
insurrection breaks out at any point, from whatever cause, to that
point thousands are found flocking from north, east, west, and south,
with their arms and their horses, if they happen to have any, in the
hope of finding service either under the local authorities or the
insurgents themselves; as the troubled winds of heaven rush to the
point where the pressure of the atmosphere has been diminished.[13]


Notes:

1. On the sieges of Bharatpur see _ante_, chapter 17, note 9.

2. In the original edition the year is misprinted 1804, though the
correct date is indicated by the phrase 'thirty-one years before'.
The operations on January 9, 1805, are described in considerable
detail in Thornton's history, and Pearse, _The Life and Military
Services of Viscount Lake_ (Blackwood, 1908). Dig was taken on
December 24, 1804, and Lord Lake's army moved from Mathura towards
Bharatpur on January 1, 1805.

3. The Bombay column joined Lord Lake on February 11, and took part
in the third and fourth assaults on the fortress.

4. As in the previous passage, this date is printed 1804 in the
original edition.

5. They have been repaired to some extent, and the town has improved
much since the author's time.

6. That is to say, the well-cylinder is gradually sunk by its own
weight, aided, if necessary, by heavy additional weights piled upon
it. The sinking often takes many months, and is continued till a
suitable resting-place is found. The cylinder is built on a strong
ring of timber. Indian bridge-piers commonly rest on wells of this
kind. The ring is sometimes made of iron. Such a method of sinking is
possible only in deep alluvium, free from rock, and consequently had
not been seen in the Sagar and Nerbudda territories.

7. In the original edition Dig is illustrated by four coloured
plates. The buildings are all the work of Suraj Mal, the virtual
founder of the Bharatpur dynasty, between A.D. 1725 and 1763. The
palace wants, say Fergusson, 'the massive character of the fortified
palaces of other Rajput states, but for grandeur of conception and
beauty of detail it surpasses them all. . . . The greatest defect of
the palace is that the style, when it was erected, was losing its
true form of lithic propriety. The forms of its pillars and their
ornaments are better suited for wood or metal than for stone
architecture.' It is a 'fairy creation'. (_History of Indian and
Eastern Architecture_, ed. 1910, vol. ii, pp. 178-81.)

8. On these topics see the 'Journey through the Kingdom of Oude',
_passim_. The composition of the Bengal army has been much changed.

9. The quotation is from the end of chapter 14 of the _Germania_ of
Tacitus.

10. This picture of English roads infested by clergymen turned
highwaymen is not to be found in the ordinary histories.

11. The Act alluded to probably is 14 Elizabeth, c. 5. Other Acts of
the same reign dealing with vagrancy and the first poor-law are 39
Elizabeth, c. 3, and 43 Elizabeth, c. 2 (A.D. 1601). In 1595 vagrancy
had assumed such alarming proportions in London that a provost-
marshal was appointed to give the wanderers the short shrift of
martial law. The course of legislation on the subject is summarized
in the article 'Poor Laws' in Chambers's _Encyclopaedia_ (1904), and
the articles 'Poor-Law and Vagrancy' in the _Encyclopaedia
Britannica_, 11th ed., 1910. See also the chapter entitled 'The
England of Elizabeth' in Green's History of the English People.

12. As already observed, chapter 29, note 12, the term Gosain is by
no means restricted to the special devotees of Siva; many Gosains--
for example, those in Bengal and those at Gokul in the Mathura
district--are followers of Vishnu. The term 'fakir' is vaguely used,
and often applied to Hindoos.

13. Even still, something of this unquiet spirit hovers about India,
and the incompatibility between the ideas of twentieth-century
Englishmen and those of Indian peoples whose mental attitude
approaches that of Europeans of the twelfth century is a perennial
source of unrest.




CHAPTER 56


Govardhan, the Scene of Krishna's Dalliance with the Milkmaids.

On the 10th[1] we came on ten miles over a plain to Govardhan, a
place celebrated in ancient history as the birthplace of Krishna, the
seventh incarnation of the Hindoo god of preservation, Vishnu, and
the scene of his dalliance with the milkmaids (_gopis_); and, in
modern days, as the burial--or burning-place of the Jat chiefs of
Bharatpur and Dig, by whose tombs, with their endowments, this once
favourite abode of the god is prevented from being entirely
deserted.[2] The town stands upon a narrow ridge of sandstone hills,
about ten miles long, rising suddenly out of an alluvial plain and
running north-east and south-west. The population is now very small,
and composed chiefly of Brahmans, who are supported by the endowments
of these tombs, and the contributions of a few pilgrims. All our
Hindoo followers were much gratified as we happened to arrive on a
day of peculiar sanctity; and they were enabled to bathe and perform
their devotions to the different shrines with the prospect of great
advantage. This range of hills is believed by Hindoos to be part of a
fragment of the Himalaya mountains which Hanuman, the monkey general
of Rama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, was taking down to aid his
master in the formation of his bridge from the continent to the
island of Ceylon, when engaged in the war with the demon king of that
island for the recovery of his wife Sita. He made a false step by
some accident in passing Govardhan, and this small bit of his load
fell off. The rocks begged either to be taken on to the god Rama, or
back to their old place; but Hanuman was hard pressed for time, and
told them not to be uneasy, as they would have a comfortable resting-
place, and be worshipped by millions in future ages--thus, according
to popular belief, foretelling that it would become the residence of
a future incarnation, and the scene of Krishna's miracles. The range
was then about twenty miles long, ten having since disappeared under
the ground. It was of full length during Krishna's days; and, on one
occasion, he took up the whole upon his little finger to defend his
favourite town and its milkmaids from the wrath of Indra, who got
angry with the people, and poured down upon them a shower of burning
ashes.

As I rode along this range, which rises gently from the plains at
both ends and abruptly from the sides, with my groom by my side, I
asked him what made Hanuman drop all his burthen here.

'_All_ his burthen!' exclaimed he with a smile; 'had it been all,
would it not have been an immense mountain, with all its towns and
villages? while this is but an insignificant belt of rock. A mountain
upon the back of men of former days, sir, was no more than a bundle
of grass upon the back of one of your grass-cutters in the present
day.'

 Nathu, whose mind had been full of the wonders of this place from
his infancy, happened to be with us, and he now chimed in.

'It was night when Hanuman passed this place, and the lamps were seen
burning in a hundred towns upon the mountain he had upon his back--
the people were all at their usual occupations, quite undisturbed;
this is a mere fragment of his great burthen.'

'And how was it that the men of those towns should have been so much
smaller than the men who carried them?' 'God only knew; but the fact
of the men of the plains having been so large was undisputed--their
beards were as many miles long as those of the present day are
inches. Did not Bhim throw the forty-cubit stone pillar, that now
stands at Eran,[3] a distance of thirty miles, after the man who was
running away with his cattle?'

 I thought of poor Father Gregory at Agra, and the heavy sigh he gave
when asked by Godby what progress he was making among the people in
the way of conversion.[4] The faith of these people is certainly
larger than all the mustard-seeds in the world.

I told a very opulent and respectable Hindoo banker one day that it
seemed to us very strange that Vishnu should come upon the earth
merely to sport with milkmaids, and to hold up an umbrella, however
large, to defend them from a shower. 'The earth, sir,' said he, 'was
at that time infested with innumerable demons and giants, who
swallowed up men and women as bears swallow white ants; and his
highness, Krishna, came down to destroy them. His own mother's
brother, Kans, who then reigned at Mathura over Govardhan, was one of
these horrible demons. Hearing that his sister would give birth to a
son that was to destroy him, he put to death several of her progeny
as soon as they were born.[5] When Krishna was seven days old, he
sent a nurse, with poison on her nipple, to destroy him likewise; but
his highness gave such a pull at it, that the nurse dropped down
dead. In falling, she resumed her real shape of a she-demon, and her
body covered no less than six square miles, and it took several
thousand men to cut her up and burn her, to prevent the pestilence
that must have followed. His uncle then sent a crane, which caught up
his highness, who always looked very small for his age, and swallowed
him as he would swallow a frog. But his highness kicked up such a
rumpus in the bird's stomach that he was immediately thrown up again.
When he was seven years old his uncle invited him to a feast, and got
the largest and most ferocious elephant in India to tread him to
death as he alighted at the door. His highness, though then not
higher than my waist, took the enormous beast by one tusk, and, after
whirling him round in the air with one hand half a dozen times, he
dashed him on the ground and killed him.[6] Unable any longer to
stand the wickedness of his uncle, he seized him by the beard,
dragged him from his throne, and dashed him to the ground in the same
manner.'

I thought of poor old Father Gregory and the mustard-seeds again, and
told my rich old friend that it all appeared to us indeed passing
strange.

The orthodox belief among the Muhammadans is that Moses was sixty
yards high; that he carried a mace sixty yards long; and that he
sprang sixty yards from the ground when he aimed the fatal blow at
the giant Uj, the son of Anak, who came from the land of Canaan, with
a mountain on his back, to crush the army of Israelites. Still, the
head of his mace could reach only to the ankle-bone of the giant.
This was broken with the blow. The giant fell, and was crushed under
the weight of his own mountain. Now a person whose ankle-bone was one
hundred and eighty yards high must have been almost as prodigious as
he who carried the fragment of the Himalaya upon his back; and he who
believes in the one cannot fairly find fault with his neighbour for
believing in the other.[7] I was one day talking with a very sensible
and respectable Hindoo gentleman of Bundelkhand about the accident
which made Hanuman drop this fragment of his load at Govardhan. 'All
doubts upon that point,' said the old gentleman, 'have been put at
rest by holy writ. It is related in our scriptures.

'Bharat, the brother of Rama, was left regent of the kingdom of
Ajodhya,[8] during his absence at the conquest of Ceylon. He happened
at night to see Hanuman passing with the mountain upon his back, and
thinking he might be one of the king of Ceylon's demons about
mischief, he let fly one of his blunt arrows at him. It hit him on
the leg, and he fell, mountain and all, to the ground. As he fell, he
called out in his agony, 'Ram, Ram', from which Bharat discovered his
mistake. He went up, raised him in his arms, and with his kind
attentions restored him to his senses. Learning from him the object
of his journey, and fearing that his wounded brother Lachhman would
die before he could get to Ceylon with the requisite remedy, he
offered to send Hanuman on upon the barb of one of his arrows,
mountain and all. To try him Hanuman took up his mountain and seated
himself with it upon the barb of the arrow as desired. Bharat placed
the arrow to the string of his bow, and drawing it till the barb
touched the bow, asked Hanuman whether he was ready. 'Quite ready,'
said Hanuman, 'but I am now satisfied that you really are the brother
of our prince, and regent of his kingdom, which was all I desired.
Pray let me descend; and be sure that I shall be at Ceylon in time to
save your wounded brother.' He got off, knelt down, placed his
forehead on Bharat's feet in submission, resumed his load, and was at
Ceylon by the time the day broke next morning, leaving behind him the
small and insignificant fragment, on which the town and temples of
Govardhan now stand.

'While little Krishna was frisking about among the milkmaids of
Govardhan,' continued my old friend, 'stealing their milk, cream, and
butter, Brahma, the creator of the universe, who had heard of his
being an incarnation of Vishnu, the great preserver of the universe,
visited the place, and had some misgivings, from his size and
employment, as to his real character. To try him, he took off through
the sky a herd of cattle, on which some of his favourite playmates
were attending, old and young, boys and all. Krishna, knowing how
much the parents of the boys and owners of the cattle would be
distressed, created, in a moment, another herd and other attendants
so exactly like those that Brahma had taken, that the owners of the
one, and the parents of the other, remained ignorant of the change.
Even the new creations themselves remained equally ignorant; and the
cattle walked into their stalls, and the boys into their houses,
where they recognized and were recognized by their parents, as if
nothing had happened.

'Brahma was now satisfied that Krishna was a true incarnation of
Vishnu, and restored to him the real herd and attendants. The others
were removed out of the way by Krishna, as soon as he saw the real
ones coming back.'

'But,' said I to the good old man, who told me this with a grave
face, 'must they not have suffered in passing from the life given to
death; and why create them merely to destroy them again?'

'Was he not God the Creator himself?' said the old man; 'does he not
send one generation into the world after another to fulfil their
destiny, and then to return to the earth from which they came, just
as he spreads over the land the grass and corn? All is gathered in
its season, or withers as that passes away and dies.' The old
gentleman might have quoted Wordsworth:

                     We die, my friend,
         Nor we alone, but that which each man loved
         And prized in his peculiar nook of earth
         Dies with him, or is changed; and very soon,
         Even of the good is no memorial left.[9]

I was one day out shooting with my friend, the Raja of Maihar,[10]
under the Vindhya range, which rises five or six hundred feet, almost
perpendicularly. He was an excellent shot with an English double-
barrel, and had with him six men just as good. I asked him whether we
were likely to fall in with any hares, using the term 'khargosh', or
'ass-eared'.

'Certainly not,' said the Raja, 'if you begin by abusing them with
such a name; call them "lambkanas", sir, "long-eared", and we shall
get plenty.'

He shot one, and attributed my bad luck to the opprobrious name I had
used. While he was reloading, I took occasion to ask him how this
range of hills had grown up where it was.

'No one can say,' replied the Raja, 'but we believe that when Rama
went to recover his wife Sita from the demon king of Ceylon, Ravan,
he wanted to throw a bridge across from the continent to the island,
and sent some of his followers up to the Himalaya mountains for
stones. He had completed his bridge before they all returned, and a
messenger was sent to tell those who had not yet come to throw down
their burdens, and rejoin him in all haste. Two long lines of these
people had got thus far on their return when the messenger met them.
They threw down their loads here, and here they have remained ever
since, one forming the Vindhya range to the north of this valley, and
the other the Kaimur range to the south.'

The Vindhya range extends from Mirzapore, on the Ganges, nearly to
the Gulf of Cambay, some six or seven hundred miles, so that my
sporting friend's faith was as capacious as any priest could well
wish it; and those who have it are likely never to die, or suffer
much, from an over stretch of the reasoning faculties in a hot
climate.

The town stands upon the belt of rocks, about two miles from its
north-eastern extremity; and in the midst is the handsome tomb of
Ranjit Singh, who defended Bharatpur so bravely against Lord Lake's
army.[11] The tomb has on one side a tank filled with water, and, on
the other, another much deeper than the first, but without any water
at all. We were surprised at this, and asked what the cause could be.
The people told us, with the air of men who had never known what it
was to feel the uneasy sensation of doubt, that 'Krishna, one hot
day, after skying with the milkmaids, had drunk it all dry; and that
no water would ever stay in it, lest it might be quaffed by less
noble lips'. No orthodox Hindoo would ever for a moment doubt that
this was the real cause of the phenomenon. Happy people! How much do
they escape of that pain which in hot climates wears us all down in
our efforts to trace moral and physical phenomena to their real
causes and sources! Mind! mind! mind! without any of it, those
Europeans who eat and drink moderately might get on very well in this
climate. Much of it weighs them down.

      Oh, sir, the good die first, and those whose hearts (_brains_)
      Are dry as summer dust burn to the socket.[12]

One is apt sometimes to think that Muhammad, Manu, and Confucius
would have been great benefactors in saving so many millions of their
species from the pain of thinking too much in hot climates, if they
had only written their books in languages less difficult of
acquirement. Their works are at once 'the bane and antidote' of
despotism--the source whence it comes, and the shield which defends
the people from its consuming fire.

The tomb of Suraj Mall, the great founder of the Jat power at
Bharatpur, stands on the north-east extremity of this belt of rocks,
about two miles from the town, and is an extremely handsome building,
conceived in the very best taste, and executed in the very best
style.[13] With its appendages of temples and smaller tombs, it
occupies the whole of one side of a magnificent tank full of clear
water; and on the other side it looks into a large and beautiful
garden. All the buildings and pavements are formed of the fine white
sandstone of Rupbas, scarcely inferior either in quality or
appearance to white marble. The stone is carved in relief with
flowers in good taste. In the centre of the tomb is the small marble
slab covering the grave, with the two feet of Krishna carved in the
centre, and around them the emblems of the god, the discus, the
skull, the sword, the rosary. These emblems of the god are put on
that people may have something godly to fix their thoughts upon. It
is by degrees, and with fear and trembling, that the Hindoos imitate
the Muhammadans in the magnificence of their tombs. The object is
ostensibly to keep the ground on which the bodies have been burned
from being defiled; and generally Hindoos have been content to raise
small open terraces of brick and stucco work over the spot, with some
image or emblem of the god upon it. The Jats here, like the princes
and Gosains in Bundelkhand, have gone a stage beyond this, and raised
tombs equal in costliness and beauty to those over Muhammadans of the
highest rank; still they do not venture to leave it without a divine
image or emblem, lest the gods might become jealous, and revenge
themselves upon the souls of the deceased and the bodies of the
living. On one side of Suraj Mall's tomb is that of his wife, or some
other female member of his family; and upon the slab over her grave,
that is, over the precise spot where she was burned, are the same
emblems, except the sword, for which a necklace is substituted. At
each end of this range of tombs stands a temple dedicated to Baldeo,
the brother of Krishna; and in one of them I found his image, with
large eyes, a jet black complexion, and an _African countenance_. Why
is this that Baldeo should be always represented of this countenance
and colour, and his brother Krishna, either white, or of an azure
colour, and the _Caucasian countenance_?[14] The inside of the tomb
is covered with beautiful snow-white stucco work that resembles the
finest marble; but this is disfigured by wretched paintings,
representing, on one side of the dome, Suraj Mall in 'darbar',
smoking his hookah, and giving orders to his ministers; in another,
he is at his devotions; on the third, at his sports, shooting hogs
and deer; and on the fourth, at war, with some French officers of
distinction figuring before him. He is distinguished by his portly
person in all, and by his favourite light-brown dress in three
places. At his devotions he is standing all in white before the
tutelary god of his house, Hardeo.[15] In various parts, Krishna is
represented at his sports with the milkmaids. The colours are gaudy,
and apparently as fresh as when first put on eighty years ago; but
the paintings are all in the worst possible taste and style.[16]
Inside the dome of Ranjit Singh's tomb the siege of Bharatpur is
represented in the same rude taste and style. Lord Lake is
dismounted, and standing before his white horse giving orders to his
soldiers. On the opposite side of the dome, Ranjit Singh, in a plain
white dress, is standing erect before his idol at his devotions, with
his ministers behind him. On the other two sides he is at his
favourite field sports. What strikes one most in all this is the
entire absence of priestcraft. He wanted all his revenue for his
soldiers; and his tutelary god seems, in consequence, to have been
well pleased to dispense with the mediatory services of priests.[17]
There are few temples anywhere to be seen in the territories of these
Jat chiefs; and, as few of their subjects have yet ventured to follow
them in this innovation upon the old Hindoo usages of building
tombs,[18] the countries under their dominion are less richly
ornamented than those of their neighbours. Those who build tombs or
temples generally surround them with groves of mango and other fine
fruit-trees, with good wells to supply water for them, and, if they
have the means, they add tanks, so that every religions edifice, or
work of ornament, leads to one or more of utility. So it was in
Europe; often the Northern hordes swept away all that had grown up
under the institution of the Romans and the Saracens; for almost all
the great works of ornament and utility, by which these countries
became first adorned and enriched, had their origin in church
establishments. That portion of India, where the greater part of the
revenue goes to the priesthood, will generally be much more studded
with works of ornament and utility than that in which the greater
part goes to the soldiery. I once asked a Hindoo gentleman, who had
travelled all over India, what part of it he thought most happy and
beautiful. He mentioned some part of Southern India, about Tanjore, I
think, where you could hardly go a mile without meeting some happy
procession, or coming to a temple full of priests, or find an acre of
land uncultivated.

The countries under the Maratha Government improved much in
appearance, and in happiness, I believe, after the mayors of the
palace, who were Brahmans, assumed the Government, and put aside the
Satara Rajas, the descendants of the great Sivaji.[19] Wherever they
could, they conferred the Government of their distant territories
upon Brahmans, who filled all the high offices under them with men of
the same caste, who spent the greater part of their incomes in tombs,
temples, groves, and tanks, that embellished and enriched the face of
the country, and thereby diffused a taste for such works generally
among the people they governed. The appearance of those parts of the
Maratha dominion so governed is infinitely superior to that of the
countries governed by the leaders of the military class, such as
Sindhia, Holkar, and the Bhonsla, whose capitals are still mere
standing camps--a collection of hovels, and whose countries are
almost entirely devoid of all those works of ornament and utility
that enrich and adorn those of their neighbours.[20] They destroyed
all they found in those countries when they conquered them; and they
have had neither the wisdom nor the taste to raise others to supply
their places. The Sikh Government is of exactly the same character;
and the countries they governed have, I believe, the same wretched
appearance--they are swarms of human locusts, who prey upon all that
is calculated to enrich and embellish the face of the land they
infest, and all that can tend to improve men in their social
relations, and to link their affection to their soil and their
government.[21] A Hindoo prince is always running to the extreme; he
can never take and keep a middle course. He is either ambitious, and
therefore appropriates all his revenues to the maintenance of
soldiers, to pour out in inroads upon his neighbours; or he is
superstitions, and devotes all his revenue to his priesthood, who
embellish his country at the same time that they weaken it, and
invite invasion, as their prince becomes less and less able to repel
it.

The more popular belief regarding this range of sandstone hills at
Govardhan is that Lachhman, the brother of Rama, having been wounded
by Ravan, the demon king of Ceylon, his surgeon declared that his
wound could be cured only by a decoction of the leaves of a certain
tree, to be found in a certain hill in the Himalaya mountains.
Hanuman volunteered to go for it, but on reaching the place he found
that he had entirely forgotten the description of the tree required;
and, to prevent mistake, he took up the whole mountain upon his back,
and walked off with it to the plains. As he passed Govardhan, where
Bharat and Charat, the third and fourth brothers of Rama, then
reigned, he was seen by them.[22] It was night; and, thinking him a
strange sort of fish, Bharat let fly one of his arrows at him. It hit
him in the leg, and the sudden jerk caused this small fragment of his
huge burden to fall off. He called out in his agony, 'Ram, Ram', from
which they learned that he belonged to the army of their brother, and
let him pass on; but he remained lame for life from the wound. This
accounts very satisfactorily, according to popular belief, for the
halting gait of all the monkeys of that species;[23] those who are
descended lineally from the general inherit it, of course; and those
who are not, adopt it out of respect for his memory, as all the
soldiers of Alexander contrived to make one shoulder higher than the
other, because one of his happened to be so. When he passed,
thousands and tens of thousands of lamps were burning upon his
mountain, as the people remained entirely unconscious of the change,
and at their usual occupations. Hanuman reached Ceylon with his
mountain, the tree was found upon it, and Lachhman's wound cured.[24]

Govardhan is now within the boundary of our territory, and a native
collector resides here from Agra.[25]


Notes:

1. January, 1836.

2. See note on Govardhan, _ante_, chapter 53, note 1.

3. _Ante_, chapter 9, note 8.

4. _Ante_, beginning of chapter 53.

5. This Hindoo version of the Massacre of the Innocents necessarily
recalls to mind the story in St. Matthew's Gospel. Numerous incidents
of the Gospel narrative, including the birth among the cattle, the
stable, the manger, and the imperial census, are repeated in the
Indian legends of Krishna. The exact channel of communication is not
known, but the intercourse between Alexandria and India is, in
general terms, the explanation of the coincidences (Weber, _Die
Griechen in Indien_, 1890, and _Abh. ueber Krishna's Geburtfest_,
1868).

6. This story may be an adaptation of the similar Buddhist tale.

7. Uj is the Og, King of Bashan, of the Hebrew version of the legend.
The extravagant stories quoted in the text are not in the Koran, but
are the inventions of the commentators. Sale gives references in his
notes to chap. 5 of the Koran.

8. The kingdom included the modern Oudh (Awadh). The capital was the
ancient city, also named Ajodhya, adjoining Fyzabad, which is still a
very sacred place of pilgrimage.

9. It is, I think, absolutely impossible for the most sympathetic
European to understand, or enter into, the mental position of the
learned and devout Hindoo who implicitly believes the wild myth
related in the text, and sees no incongruity in the congeries of
inconsistent ideas which are involved in the story. We may dimly
apprehend that Brahma is conceived as a [Greek text], or Architect of
the Universe, working in subordination to an impersonal higher power,
and not as the infinite, omniscient, omnipotent Creator whom the
Hebrews reverenced, but we shall still be a long way from attaining
the Hindoo point of view. The relations of Krishna, Vishnu, Brahma,
Rama, Siva, and all the other deities, with one another and with
mankind, seem to be conceived by the Hindoo in a manner so confused
and contradictory that every attempt at elucidation or explanation
must necessarily fail. A Hindoo is born, not made, and the
'inwardness' of Hinduism is not to be penetrated, even by the most
learned of 'barbarian' pundits.

10. _Ante_, chapter 20, note 6.

11. Raja of Bharatpur, not to be confounded with the Lion of the
Panjab.

12. Wordsworth, _Excursion_, Book I.

13. The original edition gives a coloured plate of this tomb, which
is not noticed by Fergusson. That author's remarks on the palace at
Dig would apply to this tomb also; the style is good, but not quite
the best. Suraj Mall was killed in a skirmish in 1763.

14. Baldeo, or in Sanskrit Baladeva, Balabhadra, or Balarama, was the
elder brother of Krishna. His myth in some respects resembles that of
Herakles, as that of Krishna is related to the myths of Apollo. The
editor is not able to solve the queries propounded by the author.

15. i.e. Hari deva, a form of Vishnu. The temple of Hari deva at
Govardhan was built about A.D. 1560. (_N.W.P. Gazetteer_, 1st ed.,
vol. viii, p. 94.)

16. Modern India shows little appreciation of good art, and the
paintings ordinarily executed for decorative purposes are as crude as
those described by the author. A school of clever artists in Bengal
is doing something to raise the public taste. The high merit of the
ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta and elsewhere is now fully
recognized. A great revival of pictorial art took place about A.D.
1570 in the reign of Akbar. From that date the Indo-Persian and
Indian schools of painting maintained a high standard of excellence,
especially in portraiture, for a century approximately. During the
eighteenth century marked deterioration may be observed. See _A
History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon_, Oxford, 1911.

17. The Jats detest Brahmans. The members of a Jat deputation
complained one day to the editor when in the Muzaffarnagar district
that they suffered many evils by reason of the Brahmans.

18. The author's meaning seems to be that building tombs is not an
old Hindoo usage.


19. Sivaji, the indomitable opponent of Aurangzeb in the Deccan,
belonged to the agricultural Kunbi caste. He was born in May A.D.
1627, and died in April 1680. The Brahman ministers of the Rajas of
Satara were known by the title of Peshwa. Baji Rao I, who died in
1740, the second Peshwa, was the first who superseded in actual power
his nominal master. The last of the Peshwas was Baji Rao II, who
abdicated in 1818, after the termination of the great Maratha war,
and retired to Bithur near Cawnpore. His adopted son was the
notorious Nana Sahib. The Marquis of Hastings, in 1818, drew the Raja
of Satara from captivity, and re-established his dignity and power.
In 1839 the Raja's treachery compelled the Government of India to
depose him. His territory is now a district of the Bombay Presidency.
See Mankar, _The Life and Exploits of Shivaji_, 2nd ed., Bombay,
Nirnayasagar Press, 1886.

20. The Raja of Berar, also known as the Raja of Nagpur, was called
the Bhonsla. The misrule of Gwalior has been described _ante_, in
chapters 36 and 49. The condition of Gwalior and Indore, the capitals
of Sindhia and Holkar respectively, is now very different. The
Bhonsla has vanished.

21. Since the annexation of the Panjab in 1849, the Sikhs have justly
earned so much praise as loyal and gallant soldiers, the flower of
the Indian army, that their earlier less honourable reputation has
been effaced, Captain Francklin, writing in 1803, and apparently
expressing the opinion of George Thomas, declares that 'the Seiks are
false, sanguinary, and faithless; they are addicted to plunder and
the acquirement of wealth by any means, however nefarious'.
(_Military Memoirs of Mr. George Thomas, London reprint_, p. 112.)
The Sikh states of the Panjab are now sufficiently well governed.

22. I know of no authority for the name Charat (Churut), which seems
to be a blunder for Satrughna. The sons of Dasaratha were Rama, by
the chief queen; Bharat, by a second; and Lachhman (Lakshmana), and
Satrughna by a third consort.

23. The species referred to is the long-tailed monkey called
'Hanuman', and 'langur' in Hindi, the _Presbytis entellus_ of Jerdon
(=_P. anchises_, Elliot; = _Semnopithecus_, Cuvier).

24. The author seems to have forgotten that he has already told this
story, _ante_, this chapter following [8] in the text.

25. It is in the Mathura district. The town of Mathura (Muttra)
became the head-quarters of a separate District in 1832. The official
at Govardhan in 1836 must, therefore, have been subordinate to
Mathura, not to Agra.




CHAPTER 57


Veracity.

The people of Britain are described by Diodorus Siculus (Book V,
chap. 2) as in a very simple and rude state, subsisting almost
entirely on the produce of the land, but as being 'a people of much
integrity and sincerity, far from the craft and knavery of men among
us, contented with plain and homely fare, and strangers to the
luxuries and excesses of the rich'. In India we find strict veracity
most prevalent among the wildest and half-savage tribes of the hills
and jungles in Central India, or the chain of the Himalaya mountains;
and among those where we find it prevail most, we find cattle-
stealing most common; the men of one tribe not deeming it to be any
disgrace to _lift_, or steal, the cattle of another. I have known the
man among the Gonds of the woods of Central India, whom nothing could
induce to tell a lie, join a party of robbers to lift a herd of
cattle from the neighbouring plains for nothing more than as much
spirits as he could enjoy at one bout. I asked a native gentleman of
the plains, in the valley of the Nerbudda, one day, what made the
people of the woods to the north and south more disposed to speak the
truth than those more civilized of the valley itself. 'They have not
yet learned the value of a lie,' said he, with the greatest
simplicity and sincerity, for he was a very honest and plain-spoken
man.

Veracity is found to prevail most where there is least to tempt to
falsehood, and most to be feared from it. In a very rude state of
society, like that of which I have been speaking, the only shape in
which property is accumulated is in cattle; things are bartered for
each other without the use of a circulating medium, and one member of
a community has no means of concealing from the other the articles of
property he has. If they were to steal from each other, they would
not be able to conceal what they stole--to steal, therefore, would be
no advantage. In such societies every little community is left to
govern itself; to secure the rights, and enforce the duties, of all
its several members in their relations with each other; they are too
poor to pay taxes to keep up expensive establishments, and their
Governments seldom maintain among them any for the administration of
justice, or the protection of life, property, or character. All the
members of all such little communities will often unite in robbing
the members of another community of their flocks and herds, the only
kind of property they have, or in applauding those who most
distinguish themselves in such enterprises; but the well-being of the
community demands that each member should respect the property of the
others, and be punished by the odium of all if he does not.[1]

It is equally necessary to the well-being of the community that every
member should be able to rely upon the veracity of the other upon the
very few points where their rights, duties, and interests clash. In
the very rudest state of society, among the woods and hills of India,
the people have some deity whose power they dread, and whose name
they invoke when much is supposed to depend upon the truth of what
one man is about to declare. The 'pipal' tree (_Ficus religiosa_) is
everywhere sacred to the gods, who are supposed to sit among its
leaves and listen to the music of their rustling. The deponent takes
one of these leaves in his hand, and invokes the god who sits above
him to crush him, or those dear to him, as he crushes the leaf in his
hand, if he speak anything but the truth; he then plucks and crushes
the leaf, and states what he has to say.[2]

The large cotton-tree is, among the wild tribes of India, the
favourite seat of gods still more terrible,[3] because their
superintendence is confined exclusively to the neighbourhood; and
having their attention less occupied, they can venture to make a more
minute scrutiny into the conduct of the people immediately around
them. The 'pipal' is occupied by one or other of the Hindoo triad,
the god of creation, preservation, or destruction, who have the
affairs of the universe to look after;[4] but the cotton and other
trees are occupied by some minor deities, who are vested with a local
superintendence over the affairs of a district, or perhaps, of a
single village.[5] These are always in the view of the people, and
every man knows that he is every moment liable to be taken to their
court, and to be made to invoke their vengeance upon himself, or
those dear to him, if he has told a falsehood in what he has stated,
or tells one in what he is about to state. Men so situated adhere
habitually, and I may say religiously, to the truth; and I have had
before me hundreds of cases in which a man's property, liberty, or
life has depended upon his telling a lie, and he has refused to tell
it to save either; as my friend told me, 'they had not learned the
value of a lie', or rather, they had not learned with how much
impunity a lie could be told in the tribunals of civilized society.
In their own tribunals, under the pipal-tree or cotton-tree,
imagination commonly did what the deities, who were supposed to
preside, had the credit of doing; if the deponent told a lie, he
believed that the deity who sat on the sylvan throne above him, and
searched the heart of man, must know it; and from that moment he knew
no rest--he was always in dread of his vengeance; if any accident
happened to him, or to those dear to him, it was attributed to this
offended deity; and if no accident happened, some evil was brought
about by his own disordered imagination.[6]

In the tribunals we introduce among them, such people soon find that
the judges who preside can seldom search deeply into the hearts of
men, or clearly distinguish truth from falsehood in the declarations
of deponents; and when they can distinguish it, it is seldom that
they can secure their conviction for perjury. They generally learn
very soon that these judges, instead of being, like the judges of
their own woods and wilds, the only beings who can search the hearts
of men, and punish them for falsehood, are frequently the persons, of
all others, most blind to the real state of the deponent's mind, and
the degree of truth and falsehood in his narrative; that, however
well-intentioned, they are often labouring in the 'darkness visible'
created by the native officers around them. They not only learn this,
but they learn what is still worse, that they may tell what lies they
please in these tribunals; and that not one of them shall become
known to the circle in which they move, and whose good opinion they
value. If, by his lies told in such tribunals, a man has robbed
another, or caused him to be robbed, of his property, his character,
his liberty, or his life, he can easily persuade the circle in which
he resides that it has arisen, not from any false statements of his,
but from the blindness of the judge, or the wickedness of the native
officers of his court, because all circles consider the blindness of
the one, and the wickedness of the other, to be everywhere very
great.

Arrian, in speaking of the class of supervisors in India, says: 'They
may not be guilty of falsehood; and indeed none of the Indians were
ever accused of that crime.'[7] I believe that as little falsehood is
spoken by the people of India, in their village communities, as in
any part of the world with an equal area and population. It is in our
courts of justice where falsehoods prevail most, and the longer they
have been anywhere established, the greater the degree of falsehood
that prevails in them. Those entrusted with the administration of a
newly-acquired territory are surprised to find the disposition among
both principals and witnesses in cases to tell the plain and simple
truth. As magistrates, they find it very often difficult to make
thieves and robbers tell lies, according to the English fashion, to
avoid running a risk of criminating themselves. In England, this
habit of making criminals tell lies arose from the severity of the
penal code, which made the punishment so monstrously disproportionate
to the crime, that the accused, however clear and notorious his
crimes, became an object of general sympathy.[8] In India,
punishments have nowhere been, under our rule, disproportionate to
the crimes; on the contrary, they have generally been more mild than
the people would wish them to be, or think they ought to be, in order
to deter from similar crimes; and, in newly-acquired territories,
they have generally been more mild than in our old possessions. The
accused are, therefore, nowhere considered as objects of public
sympathy; and in newly-acquired territories they are willing to tell
the truth, and are allowed to do so, in order to save the people whom
they have injured, and their neighbours generally, the great loss and
annoyance unavoidably attending upon a summons to our courts. In the
native courts, to which ours succeed, the truth was seen through
immediately, the judges who presided could commonly distinguish truth
from falsehood in the evidence before them, almost as well as the
sylvan gods who sat in the pipal- or cotton-trees; though they were
seldom supposed by the people to be quite so just in their decisions.
When we take possession of such countries, they, for a time at least,
give us credit for the same sagacity, with a little more integrity.
The prisoner knows that his neighbours expect him to tell the truth
to save them trouble, and will detest him if he does not; he supposes
that we shall have the sense to find out the truth whether he tells
it or not, and then humanity to visit his crime with the punishment
it merits, and no more.

The magistrate asks the prisoner what made him steal; and the
prisoner enters at once into an explanation of the circumstances
which reduced him to the necessity of doing so, and offers to bring
witnesses to prove them; but never dreams of offering to bring
witnesses to prove that he did not steal, if he really had done so;
because the general feeling would be in favour of his doing the one,
and against his doing the other. Tavernier gives an amusing sketch of
Amir Jumla presiding in a court of justice, during a visit he paid
him in the kingdom of Golconda, in the year 1648. (See Book I, Part
II, chap. 11.)[9]

I asked a native law officer, who called on me one day, what he
thought would be the effect of an Act to dispense with oaths on the
Koran and Ganges water, and substitute a solemn declaration made in
the name of God, and under the same penal liabilities, as if the
Koran or Ganges water had been in the deponent's hand. 'I have
practised In the courts thirty years, sir,' said he, 'and during that
time I have found only three kinds of witnesses--two of whom would,
by such an Act, be left precisely where they were, while the third
would be released by it from a very salutary check.' 'And, pray, what
are the three classes into which you divide the witnesses in our
courts?'

'First, sir, are those who will always tell the truth, whether they
are required to state what they know in the form of an oath or not.'
'Do you think this a large class?'

'Yes, I think it is; and I have found among them many whom nothing on
earth could make to swerve from the truth; do what you please, you
could never frighten or bribe them into a deliberate falsehood. The
second are those who will not hesitate to tell a lie when they have a
motive for it, and are not restrained by an oath. In taking an oath
they are afraid of two things, the anger of God and the odium of men.
Only three days ago, 'continued my friend,' I required a power of
attorney from a lady of rank, to enable me to act for her in a case
pending before the court in this town. It was given to me by her
brother, and two witnesses came to declare that she had given it.
"Now," said I, "this lady is known to live under the curtain; and you
will be asked by the judge whether you saw her give this paper; what
will you say?" They both replied: "If the judge asks us the question
without an oath, we will say yes--it will save much trouble, and we
know that she did give this paper, though we did not really see her
give it; but if he puts the Koran into our hands we must say no, for
we should otherwise be pointed at by all the town as perjured
wretches--our enemies would soon tell everybody that we had taken a
false oath." Now,' my friend went on, 'the form of an oath is a great
check upon this sort of persons. The third class consists of men who
will tell lies whenever they have sufficient motive, whether they
have the Koran or Ganges water in their hands or not. Nothing will
ever prevent their doing so; and the declaration which you propose
would be just as well as any other for them.'

'Which class do you consider the most numerous of the three?'

'I consider the second the most numerous, and wish the oath to be
retained for them.'

'That is of all the men you see examined in our courts, you think the
most come under the class of those who will, under the influence of
strong motives, tell lies if they have not the Koran or Ganges water
in their hands?'

'Yes.'

'But do not a great many of those, whom you consider to be included
among the second class, come from the village communities--the
peasantry of the country?'

'Yes.'

'And do you not think that the greatest part of those men who tell
lies in the court, under the influence of strong motives, unless they
bear the Koran or Ganges water in their hands, would refuse to tell
lies, if questioned before the people of their villages among the
circle in which they live?'

'Of course I do; three-fourths of those who do not scruple to lie in
our courts, would be ashamed to be before their neighbours, or the
elders of their village.'

'You think that the people of the village communities are more
ashamed to tell lies before their neighbours than the people of
towns?'

'Much more[10] here is no comparison.'

'And the people of towns and cities bear in India but a small
proportion to the people of the village communities?'

'I should think a very small proportion indeed.'

'Then you think that in the mass of the population of India out of
our courts, and in their own circles, the first class, or those who
speak truth, whether they have the Koran or Ganges water in their
hands or not, would be found more numerous than the other two?'

'Certainly I do; if they were always to be questioned before their
neighbours or elders, or so that they could feel that their
neighbours and elders would know what they say.'

This man is a very worthy and learned Muhammadan, who has read all
the works on medicine to be found in Persian and Arabia; gives up his
time from sunrise in the morning till nine, to the indigent sick of
the town, whom he supplies gratuitously with his advice and
medicines, that cost him thirty rupees a month, out of about one
hundred and twenty that he can make by his labours all the rest of
the day.

There can be no doubt that, even in England, the fear of the odium of
society, which is sure to follow the man who has perjured himself,
acts more powerfully in making men tell the truth, when they have the
Bible in their hands before a competent and public tribunal, and with
a strong worldly motive to tell a lie, than the fear of punishment by
the Deity in the next world for having 'taken his name in vain' in
this. Christians, as well as other people, are too apt to think that
there is yet abundance of time to appease the Deity by repentance and
reformation; but they know that they cannot escape the odium of
society, with a free press and high tone of moral and religions
feeling, like those of England, if they deliberately perjure
themselves in open court, whose proceedings are watched with so much
jealousy. They learn to dread the name of 'perjured villain' or
'perjured wretch', which would embitter the rest of their lives, and
perhaps the lives of their children.[11]

In a society much advanced in arts and the refinements of life,
temptations to falsehood become very great, and require strong checks
from law, religion, or moral feeling. Religion is seldom of itself
found sufficient; for, though men cannot hope to conceal their
transgressions from the Deity, they can, as I have stated, always
hope in time to appease Him. Penal laws are not alone sufficient, for
men can always hope to conceal their trespasses from those who are
appointed to administer them, or at least to prevent their getting
that measure of judicial proof required for their conviction; the
dread of the indignation of their circle of society is everywhere the
more efficient of the three checks; and this check will generally be
found most to prevail where the community is left most to self-
government--hence the proverb, 'There is honour among thieves'. A
gang of robbers, who are outlaws, are, of course, left to govern
themselves; and, unless these could rely on each other's veracity and
honour in their relations with each other, they could do nothing. If
G