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Title: Observations on the Mussulmauns of India
Author: Ali, Mrs. Meer Hassan
Language: English
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INDIA***


OBSERVATIONS ON THE MUSSULMAUNS OF INDIA

Descriptive of Their Manners, Customs, Habits and Religious Opinions
Made During a Twelve Years' Residence in Their Immediate Society

by

MRS. MEER HASSAN ALI

Second Edition, Edited with Notes and an Introduction by W. Crooke

1917



WITH SENTIMENTS OF GRATITUDE
AND PROFOUND RESPECT
THE FOLLOWING PAGES ARE HUMBLY DEDICATED,
WITH PERMISSION,

TO HER ROYAL HIGHNESS
THE PRINCESS AUGUSTA;

BY HER ROYAL HIGHNESS'S
MOST OBEDIENT,
FAITHFULLY ATTACHED,
AND VERY HUMBLE SERVANT,

B. MEER HASSAN ALI.

[1832.]



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

In the present reprint the text of the original edition of this work has
been reproduced without change, even the curious transliterations of the
vernacular words and phrases having been preserved. The correct forms of
these, so far as they have been ascertained, have been given in the Notes
and in the Index-Glossary. I have added an Introduction containing an
account of the authoress based on the scanty information available, and I
have compiled some notes illustrating questions connected with Islam
and Musalman usages. I have not thought it necessary to give detailed
references in the notes, but a list of the works which have been used will
be found at the end of the text. As in other volumes of this series, the
diacritical marks indicating the varieties of the sound of certain letters
in the Arabic and Devanagari alphabets have not been given: they are
unnecessary for the scholar and serve only to embarrass the general reader.

I have to acknowledge help from several friends in the preparation of this
edition. Mr. W. Foster, C.I.E., has supplied valuable notes from the India
Office records on Mir Hasan 'Ali and his family; Dr. W. Hoey, late
I.C.S., and Mr. L.N. Jopling, I.C.S., Deputy-Commissioner, Lucknow, have
made inquiries on the same subject. Mr. H.C. Irwin, late I.C.S., has
furnished much information on Oudh affairs in the time of the Nawabi.
Sir C.J. Lyall, K.C.S.I, C.I.E., and Professor E.G. Browne, M.A., have
permitted me to consult them on certain obscure words in the text.

W. CROOKE.



INTRODUCTION


Very little is known about the authoress of this interesting book. She is
reticent about the affairs of her husband and of herself, and inquiries
recently made at Lucknow, at the India Office, and in other likely
quarters in England, have added little to the scanty information we
possess about her.

The family of her husband claimed to be of Sayyid origin, that is to say,
to be descended from the martyrs, Hasan and Husain, the sons of Fatimah,
daughter of the Prophet, by her marriage with her cousin-german, 'Ali.
The father-in-law of the authoress, Mir Haji Shah, of whom she
speaks with affection and respect, was the son of the Qazi, or
Muhammadan law-officer, of Ludhiana, in the Panjab. During his
boyhood the Panjab was exposed to raids by the Mahrattas and incursions of
the Sikhs. He therefore abandoned his studies, wandered about for a time,
and finally took service with a certain Raja--where she does not tell
us--who was then raising a force in expectation of an attack by the Sikhs.
He served in at least one campaign, and then, while still a young man,
made a pilgrimage thrice to Mecca and Kerbela, which gained him the title
of Haji, or pilgrim. While he was in Arabia he fell short of funds,
but he succeeded in curing the wife of a rich merchant who had long
suffered from a serious disease. She provided him with money to continue
his journey. He married under romantic circumstances an Arab girl named
Fatimah as his second wife, and then went to Lucknow, which, under the
rule of the Nawabs, was the centre in Northern India of the Shi'ah
sect, to which he belonged. Here he had an exciting adventure with a tiger
during a hunting party, at which the Nawab, Shuja-ud-daula, was
present. He is believed to have held the post of Peshnamaz, or 'leader
in prayer', in the household of the eunuch, Almas 'Ali Khan, who
is referred to by the authoress.

His son was Mir Hasan 'Ali, the husband of the authoress. The
tradition in Lucknow is that he quarrelled with his father and went to
Calcutta, where he taught Arabic to some British officers and gained a
knowledge of English. We next hear of him in England, when in May 1810 he
was appointed assistant to the well-known oriental scholar, John
Shakespear, professor of Hindustani at the Military College, Addiscombe,
from 1807 to 1830, author of a dictionary of Hindustani and other
educational works. Mention is made of two cadets boarding with Mir
Hasan 'Ali, but it does not appear from the records where he lived.
After remaining at the College for six years he resigned his appointment
on the ground of ill-health, with the intention of returning to India. He
must have been an efficient teacher, because, on his resignation, the East
India Company treated him with liberality. He received a gift of £50 as a
reward for his translation of the Gospel of St. Matthew, and from the
Court minutes it appears that on December 17, 1816, it was resolved to
grant him 100 guineas to provide his passage and £100 for equipment.
Further, the Bengal Government was instructed to furnish him on his
arrival with means to reach his native place, and to pay him a pension of
Rs. 100 _per mensem_ for the rest of his life.[1]

A tradition from Lucknow states that he was sent to England on a secret
mission, 'to ask the Home authorities to accept a contract of Oudh direct
from Nasir-ud-din Haidar, who was quite willing to remit the money
of contract direct to England instead of settling the matter with the
British Resident at Lucknow'. It is not clear what this exactly means. It
may be that the King of Oudh, thinking that annexation was inevitable, may
have been inclined to attempt to secure some private arrangement with the
East India Company, under which he would remain titular sovereign, paying
a tribute direct to the authorities in England, and that he wished to
conduct these negotiations without the knowledge of the Resident at
Lucknow. There does not seem to be independent evidence of this mission of
Mir Hasan 'Ali, and we are told that it was, as might have been
expected, unsuccessful.

No mention is made of his wife in the official records, and I have been
unable to trace her family name or the date and place of her marriage.
Mir Hasan 'Ali and his wife sailed for Calcutta, and travelled to
Lucknow via Patna. She tells little of her career in India, save that she
lived there for twelve years, presumably from 1816 to 1828, and that
eleven years of that time were spent in the house of her father-in-law at
Lucknow. In the course of her book she gives only one date, September 18,
1825, when her husband held the post of Tahsildar, or sub-collector
of revenue, at Kanauj in the British district of Farrukhabad. No
records bearing on his career as a British official are forthcoming.
Another Lucknow tradition states that on his arrival at the Court of Oudh
from England he was, on the recommendation of the Resident, appointed to a
post in the King's service on a salary of Rs. 300 per annum. Subsequently
he fell into disgrace and was obliged to retire to Farrukhabad with
the court eunuch, Nawab Mu'tamad-ud-daula, Agha Mir.

With the restoration of Agha Mir to power, Hasan 'Ali returned
to Lucknow, and was granted a life pension of Rs. 100 _per mensem_ for his
services as Darogha at the Residency, and in consideration of his
negotiations between the King and the British Government or the East India
Company.

From the information collected at Lucknow it appears that he was known as
Mir Londoni, 'the London gentleman', and that he was appointed
Safir, or Attaché, at the court of King Ghazi-ud-din Haidar,
who conferred upon him the title of Maslaha-ud-daula, 'Counsellor of
State'. By another account he held the post of Mir Munshi, head
native clerk or secretary to the British Resident.

One of the most influential personages in the court of Oudh during this
period was that stormy petrel of politics, Nawab Hakim Mehndi. He
had been the right-hand man of the Nawab Sa'adat Ali, and on the
accession of his son Ghazi-ud-din Haidar in 1814 he was dismissed on
the ground that he had incited the King to protest against interference in
Oudh affairs by the Resident, Colonel Baillie. The King at the last moment
became frightened at the prospect of an open rupture with the Resident.
Nawab Hakim Mehndi was deprived of all his public offices and of
much of his property, and he was imprisoned for a time. On his release he
retired into British territory, and in 1824 he was living in magnificent
style at Fatehgarh. In that year Bishop Heber visited Lucknow and received
a courteous letter from the Nawab inviting him to his house at
Fatehgarh. He gave the Bishop an assurance 'that he had an English
housekeeper, who knew perfectly well how to do the honours of his
establishment to gentlemen of her own nation. (She is, in fact, a singular
female, who became the wife of one of the Hindustani professors at
Hertford, now the Hukeem's dewan,[2] and bears, I believe, a very
respectable character.)' The authoress makes no reference to Hakim
Mehndi, nor to the fact that she and her husband were in his employment.

The cause of her final departure from India is stated by W. Knighton in a
highly coloured sketch of court life in the days of King Nasir-ud-daula,
_The Private Life of an Eastern King_, published in 1855. 'Mrs. Meer
Hassan was an English lady who married a Lucknow noble during a visit to
England. She spent twelve years with him in India, and did not allow him
to exercise a Moslem's privilege of a plurality of wives. Returning to
England afterwards on account of her health, she did not again rejoin
him.'[3] The jealousy between rival wives in a polygamous Musalman
household is notorious. 'A rival may be good, but her son never: a rival
even if she be made of dough is intolerable: the malice of a rival is
known to everybody: wife upon wife and heartburnings'--such are the common
proverbs which define the situation. But if her separation from her
husband was really due to this cause, it is curious that in her book she
notes as a mark of a good wife that she is tolerant of such arrangements.
'She receives him [her husband] with undisguised pleasure, although she
has just before learned that another member has been added to his
well-peopled harem. The good and forbearing wife, by this line of conduct,
secures to herself the confidence of her husband, who, feeling assured
that the amiable woman has an interest in his happiness, will consult her
and take her advice in the domestic affairs of his children by other wives,
and even arrange by her judgement all the settlements for their marriages,
&c. He can speak of other wives without restraint--for she knows he has
others--and her education has taught her that they deserve her respect in
proportion as they contribute to her husband's happiness.'[4]

It is certainly noticeable that she says very little about her husband
beyond calling him in a conventional way 'an excellent husband' and 'a
dutiful, affectionate son'. There is no indication that her husband
accompanied her on her undated visit to Delhi, when she was received in
audience by the King, Akbar II, and the Queen, who were then living in a
state of semi-poverty. She tells us that they 'both appeared, and
expressed themselves, highly gratified with the visit of an English lady,
who could explain herself in their language without embarrassment, or the
assistance of an interpreter, and who was the more interesting to them
from the circumstance of being the wife of a Syaad'.[5]

From inquiries made at Lucknow it has been ascertained that Mir
Hasan 'Ali had no children by his English wife. By one or more native
wives he had three children: a daughter, Fatimah Begam, who married a
certain Mir Sher 'Ali, of which marriage one or more descendants
are believed to be alive; and two sons, Mir Sayyid 'Ali or Miran
Sahib, said to have served the British Government as a Tahsildar,
whose grandson is now living at Lucknow, and Mir Sayyid Husain, who
became a Risaldar, or commander of a troop, in one of the Oudh
Irregular Cavalry Regiments. One of his descendants, Mir Agha 'Ali
Sahib, possesses some landed property which was probably acquired by
the Risaldar. After the annexation of Oudh Mir Hasan 'Ali is
said to have been paid a pension of Rs. 100 _per mensem_ till his death in
1863.

It is also worthy of remark that she carefully avoids any reference to the
palace intrigues and maladministration which prevailed in Oudh during the
reigns of Ghazi-ud-din Haidar and Nasir-ud-din Haidar, who
occupied the throne during her residence at Lucknow. She makes a vague
apology for the disorganized state of the country: 'Acts of oppression may
sometimes occur in Native States without the knowledge even, and much less
by the command of, the Sovereign ruler, since the good order of the
government mainly depends on the disposition of the Prime Minister for the
time being'[6]--a true remark, but no defence for the conduct of the weak
princes who did nothing to suppress corruption and save their subjects
from oppression.

Little is known of the history of Mrs. Mir Hasan 'Ali after her
arrival in England. It has been stated that she was attached in some
capacity to the household of the Princess Augusta, who died unmarried on
September 22, 1840.[7] This is probable, because the list of subscribers
to her book is headed by Queen Adelaide, the Princess Augusta, and other
ladies of the Royal Family. She must have been in good repute among
Anglo-Indians, because several well-known names appear in the list: H.T.
Colebrooke, G.C. Haughton, Mordaunt Ricketts and his wife, and Colonel J.
Tod.

The value of the book rests on the fact that it is a record of the
first-hand experiences of an English lady who occupied the exceptional
position of membership of a Musalman family. She tells us nothing of
her friends in Lucknow, but she had free access to the houses of
respectable Sayyids, and thus gained ample facilities for the study of the
manners and customs of Musalman families. Much of her information on
Islam was obtained from her husband and his father, both learned,
travelled gentlemen, and by them she was treated with a degree of
toleration unusual in a Shi'ah household, this sect being rigid and
often fanatical followers of Islam. She was allowed to retain a firm
belief in the Christian religion, and she tells us that Mir Haji
Shah delighted in conversing on religious topics, and that his happiest
time was spent in the quiet of night when his son translated to him the
Bible as she read it.[8]

Her picture of zenana life is obviously coloured by her frank admiration
for the people amongst whom she lived, who treated her with respect and
consideration. It is thus to some extent idyllic. At the same time, it may
be admitted that she was exceptionally fortunate in her friends. Her
sketch may be usefully compared with that of Mrs. Fanny Parks in her
charming book, _The Wanderings of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque_.
Mrs. Parks had the advantage of having acquired a literary knowledge of
Hindustani, while Mrs. Mir Hasan 'Ali, to judge from the way in
which she transliterates native words, can have been able to speak little
more than a broken patois, knew little of grammar, and was probably unable
to read or write the Arabic character. Colonel Gardner, who had wide and
peculiar experience, said to Mrs. Parks: 'Nothing can exceed the quarrels
that go on in the zenana, or the complaints the begams make against each
other. A common complaint is "Such a one has been practising witchcraft
against me". If the husband make a present to one wife, if it be only a
basket of mangoes, he must make the same exactly to all the other wives to
keep the peace. A wife, when in a rage with her husband, if on account of
jealousy, often says, "I wish I were married to a grass-cutter," i.e.
because a grass-cutter is so poor that he can only afford to have one
wife.'[9] Mrs. Parks from her own experience calls the zenana 'a place of
intrigue, and those who live within four walls cannot pursue a straight
path; how can it be otherwise, when so many conflicting passions are
called forth?'[10] She adds that 'Musalmani ladies generally forget
their learning when they grow up, or they neglect it. Everything that
passes without the four walls is repeated to them by their spies; never
was any place so full of intrigue, scandal, and chit-chat as a zenana.'[11]
When she visited the Delhi palace she remarks: 'As for beauty, in a whole
zenana there may be two or three handsome women, and all the rest
remarkably ugly.'[12] European officers at the present day have no
opportunities for acquiring a knowledge of the conditions of zenana life;
but from the rumours that reach them they would probably accept the views
of Mrs. Parks in preference to those of Mrs. Mir Hasan 'Ali.

Though her opinions on the life of Musalman ladies is to some extent
open to criticism, and must be taken to apply only to the exceptional
society in which she moved, her account of the religious feasts and fasts,
the description of the marriage ceremonies and that of the surroundings of
a native household are trustworthy and valuable. Some errors, not of much
importance and probably largely due to her imperfect knowledge of the
language, have been corrected in the notes of the present edition. It must
also be understood that her knowledge of native life was confined to that
of the Musalmans, and she displays no accurate acquaintance with the
religion, life or customs of the Hindus. The account in the text displays
a bias in favour of the Shi'ah sect of Musalmans, as contrasted with
that of the Sunnis. For a more impartial study of the question the
reader is referred to Sir W. Muir, _Annals of the Early Caliphate, The
Caliphate_, and to Major R.D. Osborn, _Islam under the Khalifs of Baghdad_.


[1] Col. H.M. Vibart, _Addiscombe_, pp. 39, 41, 42.

[2] _Diwan_, chief agent, manager.

[3] p. 208.

[4] p. 182.

[5] p. 290.

[6] p. 227.

[7] _Calcutta Review_, ii. 387.

[8] pp. 80, 422.

[9] Vol. i, pp. 230, 453.

[10] i. 391.

[11] i. 450.

[12] ii. 215.



CONTENTS

INTRODUCTORY LETTER


LETTER I

  Introductory Remarks.--The characteristic simplicity of manners
  exhibited in Native families.--Their munificent charity.--The Syaads.
  Their descent, and the veneration paid to them.--Their pride of
  birth.--Fast of Mahurrum.--Its origin.--The Sheahs and
  Soonies.--Memorandum of distances.--Mount Judee (Judea), the
  attributed burying-place of Adam and Noah.--Mausoleum of Ali.--Tomb
  of Eve.--Meer Hadjee Shah.


LETTER II

  Celebration of Mahurrum.--The Tazia.--Mussulmaun Cemeteries.--An
  Emaum-baarah.--Piety of the ladies.--Self-inflicted abstinence and
  privations endured by each sex.--Instances of the devotional zeal of
  the Mussulmauns.--Attempted infringement on their religious
  formalities.--The Resident at Lucknow.--Enthusiastic ardour of the
  poor.--Manner of celebrating the Mahurrum in opposition to the
  precepts of the Khoraun.--Mosque and Emaum-baarah contrasted.--The
  supposition of Mussulmauns practising idolatry confuted.


LETTER III

  Continuation of Mahurrum.--Consecration of Banners.--Durgah at
  Lucknow.--Its origin explained.--Regarded with peculiar
  veneration.--The Nuwaub vows to build a new one.--Its
  description.--Procession to the Durgah.--Najoomies.--Influence
  possessed and practised by them.--Eunuchs.--Anecdotes of some having
  attained great honours and wealth.--Presents bestowed upon them
  generally revert to the donor.--Rich attire of male and female
  slaves...Page 32


LETTER IV

  Mahurrum concluded.--Night of Mayndhie.--Emaum-baarah of the King of
  Oude.--Procession to Shaah Nudghiff.--Last day of
  Mahurrum.--Chattahs.--Musical instruments.--Zeal of the Native
  gentlemen.--Funeral obsequies over the Tazia at
  Kraabaallah.--Sentiments of devout Mussulmauns.--The fast followed by
  acts of charity.--Remarks on the observance of Mahurrum...Page 42


LETTER V

  Time.--How divided in Hindoostaun.--Observances after
  Mahurrum--Luxuries and enjoyments resumed.--Black dye used by the
  ladies.--Their nose-ring.--Number of rings worn in their ears.--Mode
  of dressing their hair.--Aversion to our tooth-brushes.--Toilet of
  the ladies.--The Pyjaamahs.--The Ungeeah (bodice).--The Courtie.--The
  Deputtah.--Reception of a superior or elder amongst the
  ladies.--Their fondness for jewels.--Their shoes.--The state of
  society amongst the Mussulmaun ladies.--Their conversational
  endowments.--Remark upon the fashion and duty of beards...Page 55


LETTER VI

  The Mussulmaun religion.--Sectarians.--Their difference of
  faith.--History of the Soonies.--The Caliphas Omir, Osman, Aboubuker,
  &c.--Mahumud's parting charge to Ali.--Omir's jealousy of Ali.--The
  Khoraun.--How compiled.--The Calipha Omir held in detestation.--Creed
  of the Sheahs.--Funeral service.--Opinions of the Mussulmauns
  respecting the Millennium.--The foundation of their faith
  exhibited.--Sentiments of the most devout followers of
  Mahumud.--Bridge of Sirraat, the Scales, &c., explained.--Emaum
  Mhidhie.--Prophecy of his reappearance.--Its early fulfilment
  anticipated.--Discourse with Meer Hadjee Shaah on this
  subject...Page 66


LETTER VII

  Namaaz (daily prayer).--The Mussulmaun prayers.--Their different
  names and times.--Extra prayer-service.--The Mosque.--Ablutions
  requisite previous to devotion.--Prostrations at prayers.--Mosque
  described.--The Mussulmaun's Sabbath.--Its partial observance.--The
  amusements of this life not discontinued on the Sabbath.--Employment
  of domestics undiminished on this day.--Works of importance then
  commenced.--Reasons for appropriating Friday to the Sabbath.--The
  Jews opposed to Mahumud.--The Prophet receives instructions from the
  angel Gabriel.--Their import and definition.--Remarks of a
  Commentator on the Khoraun.--Prayer of intercession.--Pious
  observance of Christmas day by a Native Lady.--Opinions entertained
  of our Saviour.--Additional motives for prayer.--David's Mother's
  prayer.--Anecdote of Moses and a Woodcutter.--Remarks upon the piety
  and devotion of the female Mussulmauns...Page 82


LETTER VIII

  The Fast of Rumzaun.--Motives for its strict observance.--Its
  commencement and duration.--Sentiments of Meer Hadjee Shaah on the
  day of fasting.--Adherence of the females to the observing this
  fast.--How first broken.--Devout persons extend the term to forty
  days.--Children permitted to try their zeal.--Calamitous effects of
  the experiment.--Exemptions from this duty.--Joyful termination of
  the fast.--Celebration of Eade on the last day.--The
  Nuzza.--Nautchwomen and Domenie.--Surprise of the Natives at European
  dancing.--Remarks on their Music.--Anecdotes of Fatima.--The
  Chuckee...Page 98


LETTER IX

  The Hadje (Pilgrimage to Mecca).--Commanded to be performed by
  Mahumud.--Eagerness of both, sexes to visit the Prophet's
  tomb.--Qualifications requisite for the undertaking.--Different
  routes from India to Mecca.--Duties of the pilgrims at the Holy
  House.--Mecca and its environs.--Place of Abraham.--The
  Bedouins.--Anecdote of a devotee and two pilgrims.--A Bedouin Arab
  and the travellers to Mecca.--The Kaabah (Holy
  House).--Superstitious regard to a chain suspended there.--Account of
  the gold water-spout.--Tax levied on pilgrims visiting the tomb of
  Mahumud by the Sheruff of Mecca.--Sacred visit to the tombs of Ali,
  Hasan, and Hosein.--The importance attached to this duty.--Travellers
  annoyed by the Arabs.--An instance recorded.--The Nudghiff
  Usheruff.--Anecdotes of Syaad Harshim...Page 112


LETTER X

  The Zuckhaut (God's portion).--Syaads restricted the benefit of this
  charity.--The Sutkah.--The Emaum's Zaumunee (protection).--The Tenths,
  or Syaads' Due.--Mussulmauns attribute thanks to God only, for all
  benefits conferred.--Extracts from the 'Hyaatool Kaaloob'.--Mahumud's
  advice.--His precepts tend to inculcate and encourage
  charity.--Remarks on the benevolence of Mussulmauns...Page 135


LETTER XI

  Mussulmaun festivals.--Buckrah Eade.--Ishmael believed to have been
  offered in sacrifice by Abraham and not Isaac.--Descent of the
  Mussulmauns from Abraham.--The Eade-gaarh.--Presentation of
  Nuzzas.--Elephants.--Description of the Khillaut (robe of
  honour).--Customs on the day of Buckrah Eade.--Nou-Roze (New Year's
  Day).--Manner of its celebration.--The Bussund (Spring-colour).--The
  Sah-bund.--Observances during this month.--Festival of the New
  Moon.--Superstition of the Natives respecting the influence of the
  Moon.--Their practices during an eclipse.--Supposed effects of the
  Moon on a wound.--Medicinal application of lime in
  Hindoostaun.--Observance of Shubh-burraat.


LETTER XII

  The Zeenahnah.--Its interior described.--Furniture, decorations,
  &c.--The Purdah (curtains).--Bedstead.--The Musnud (seat of
  honour).--Mirrors and ornamental furniture disused.--Display on
  occasions of festivity.--Observations on the Mussulmaun
  Ladies.--Happiness in their state of seclusion.--Origin of secluding
  females by Mahumud.--Anecdote.--Tamerlane's command prohibiting
  females being seen in public.--The Palankeen.--Bearers.--Their
  general utility and contentedness of disposition.--Habits peculiar to
  Mussulmaun Ladies.--Domestic arrangements of a Zeenahnah.--Dinner
  and its accompanying observances.--The Lota and Lugguns.--The
  Hookha.--Further investigation of the customs adopted in
  Zeenahnahs...Page 163


LETTER XIII

  Plurality of wives.--Mahumud's motive for permitting this
  privilege.--State of society at the commencement of the Prophet's
  mission.--His injunctions respecting marriage.--Parents invariably
  determine on the selection of a husband.--First marriages attended by
  a public ceremony.--The first wife takes precedence of all
  others.--Generosity of disposition evinced by the Mussulmaun
  ladies.--Divorces obtained under certain restrictions.--Period of
  solemnizing marriage.--Method adopted in choosing a husband or
  wife.--Overtures and contracts of marriage, how regulated.--Mugganee,
  the first contract.--Dress of the bride elect on this occasion.--The
  ceremonies described as witnessed.--Remarks on the bride.--Present
  from the bridegroom on Buckrah Eade... Page 179


LETTER XIV

  Wedding ceremonies of the Mussulmauns.--The new or full moon
  propitious to the rites being concluded.--Marriage settlements
  unknown.--Control of the wife over her own property.--Three days and
  nights occupied in celebrating the wedding.--Preparations previously
  made by both families.--Ostentatious display on these occasions.--Day
  of Sarchuck.--Customs on the day of Mayndhie.--Sending Presents.--Day
  of Baarraat.--Procession of the bridegroom to fetch the bride.--The
  bride's departure to her new home.--Attendant ceremonies
  explained.--Similarity of the Mussulmaun and Hindoo
  ceremonies.--Anecdote of a Moollah.--Tying the Narrah to the
  Moosul...Page 195


LETTER XV

  On the birth and management of children in Hindoostaun.--Increase of
  joy on the birth of a Son.--Preference generally shown to male
  children.--Treatment of Infants.--Day of Purification.--Offerings
  presented on this occasion to the child.--The anniversary of the
  birthday celebrated.--Visit of the father to the Durgah.--Pastimes of
  boys.--Kites.--Pigeons.--The Mhogdhur.--Sword-exercise.--The Bow and
  Arrows.--The Pellet-bow.--Crows.--Sports of Native
  gentlemen.--Cock-fighting.--Remarks upon horses, elephants, tigers,
  and leopards.--Pigeon-shooting.--Birds released from captivity on
  particular occasions.--Reasons for the extension of the royal
  clemency in Native Courts.--Influence of the Prime Minister in the
  administration of justice...Page 210


LETTER XVI

  Remarks on the trades and professions of Hindoostaun.--The
  Bazaars.--Naunbye (Bazaar cook).--The Butcher, and other
  trades.--Shroffs (Money-changers).--Popular cries in Native
  cities.--The articles enumerated and the venders of them
  described.--The Cuppers.--Leechwomen.--Ear-cleaners.--Old
  silver.--Pickles.--Confectionery.--Toys.--Fans.--Vegetables and
  fruit.--Mangoes.--Melons.--Melon-cyder.--Fish.--Bird-catcher.--The
  Butcher-bird, the Coel, and Lollah.--Fireworks.--Parched
  corn.--Wonder-workers.--Snakes.--Anecdote of the Moonshie and the
  Snake-catcher.--The Cutler.--Sour curds.--Clotted
  cream.--Butter.--Singular process of the Natives in making
  butter.--Ice.--How procured in India.--Ink.--All writing dedicated to
  God by the Mussulmauns.--The reverence for the name of God.--The
  Mayndhie and Sulmah...Page 228


LETTER XVII

  Seclusion of Females.--Paadshah Begum.--The Suwaarree.--Female
  Bearers.--Eunuchs.--Rutts.--Partiality of the Ladies to Large
  retinues.--Female Companions.--Telling the Khaunie.--Games of the
  Zeenahnah.--Shampooing.--The Punkah.--Slaves and
  slavery.--Anecdote.--The Persian Poets.--Fierdowsee.--Saadie, his
  'Goolistaun'.--Haafiz.--Mahumud Baarkur.--'Hyaatool
  Kaaloob'.--Different manner of pronouncing Scripture names...Page 248


LETTER XVIII

  Evils attending a residence in India.--Frogs.--Flies.--Blains.--
  Musquitoes.--The White Ant.--The Red Ant.--Their destructive
  habits.--A Tarantula.--Black Ants.--Locusts.--Superstition of the
  Natives upon their appearance.--The Tufaun, or Haundhie
  (tempest).--The rainy season.--Thunder and lightning.--Meteors.--
  Earthquakes.--A city ruined by them.--Reverence of the Mussulmauns
  for saints.--Prickly heat.--Cholera Morbus.--Mode of
  Treatment.--Temperance the best remedy.--Recipe...Page 258


LETTER XIX

  Kannoge.--Formerly the capital of Hindoostaun.--Ancient
  castle.--Durability of the bricks made by the aborigines.--Prospect
  from the Killaah (castle).--Ruins.--Treasures found therein.--The
  Durgah Baallee Peer Kee.--Mukhburrahs.--Ancient Mosque.--Singular
  structure of some stone pillars.--The Durgah Mukdoom
  Jhaunneer.--Conversions to the Mussulmaun Faith.--Anecdote.--Ignorance
  of the Hindoos.--Sculpture of the Ancients.--Mosque inhabited by
  thieves.--Discovery of Nitre.--Method of extracting it.--Conjectures
  of its produce.--Residence in the castle.--Reflections...Page 274


LETTER XX

  Delhi.--Description of the city.--Marble hall--The Queen's Mahul
  (palace).--Audience with the King and Queen.--Conversation with
  them.--Character of their Majesties.--Visit to a
  Muckburrah.--Soobadhaars.--The nature of the office.--Durgah of Shah
  Nizaam ood deen.--Tomb of Shah Allum.--Ruins in the vicinity of Delhi.
  --Antique pillars (Kootub).--Prospect from its galleries.--Anecdotes
  of Juangheer and Khareem Zund...Page 289


LETTER XXI

  Natural Productions of India.--Trees, shrubs, plants, fruits,
  &c.--Their different uses and medicinal qualities.--The Rose.--Native
  medical practice.--Antidote to Hydrophobia.--Remedy for the venom of
  the Snake.--The Chitcherah (Inverted thorn).--The Neam-tree.--The
  Hurrundh (Castor-tree).--The Umultass (Cassia-tree).--The
  Myrtle.--The Pomegranate.--The Tamarind.--The Jahmun.--The
  Mango.--The Sherrefah.--White and red Guavers.--The Damascus Fig.--The
  Peach, and other Fruits.--The Mahdhaar (Fire-plant).--The Sirrakee and
  Sainturh (Jungle-grass).--The Bamboo, and its various uses
  enumerated...Page 304


LETTER XXII

  Monkeys.--Hindoo opinions of their Nature.--Instances of their
  sagacity.--Rooted animosity of the Monkey tribe to the
  snake.--Cruelty to each other when maimed.--The female remarkable for
  affection to its young.--Anecdotes descriptive of the belief of the
  Natives in the Monkey being endowed with reason.--The Monkeys and the
  Alligator.--The Traveller and the Monkeys.--The Hindoo and the
  Monkey...Page 324


LETTER XXIII

  The Soofies.--Opinion of the Mussulmauns concerning Solomon.--The
  Ood-ood.--Description of the Soofies and their sect.--Regarded with
  great reverence.--Their protracted fasts.--Their opinion esteemed by
  the Natives.--Instance of the truth of their predictions.--The Saalik
  and Majoob Soofies.--The poets Haafiz and Saadie.--Character and
  attainments of Saadie.--His 'Goolistaun'.--Anecdotes descriptive of
  the origin of that work.--Farther remarks on the character and
  history of Saadie.--Interesting anecdotes illustrative of his virtues
  and the distinguishing characteristics of the Soofies...Page 331


LETTER XXIV

  The Soofies continued.--Eloy Bauxh.--Assembly of Saalik
  Soofies.--Singular exhibition of their zeal.--Mystery of Soofeism.--The
  terms Soofie and Durweish explained.--Anecdote of Shah Sherif.--Shah
  Jee and the Paltaan.--Dialogue on death between Shah Jee and his
  wife.--Exemplary life of his grandson.--Anecdote of a Mussulmaun
  lady.--Reflections on modern Hindoos.--Anecdotes of Shah ood Dowlah
  and Meer Nizaam...Page 348


LETTER XXV

  Mussulmaun Devotees.--The Chillubdhaars.--Peculiar mode of
  worship.--Propitiatory offerings.--Supposed to be invulnerable to
  fire.--The Maadhaars or Duffelees.--Character of the
  founder.--Pilgrimage to his tomb.--Females afflicted on visiting
  it.--Effects attributed to the violation of the sanctuary by a
  foreigner.--Superstition of the Natives.--Anecdote of Sheikh Suddoo
  and the Genii.--The way of the world exemplified, a Khaunie
  (Hindoostaunie fable).--Moral fable.--The King who longed for
  fruit...Page 370


LETTER XXVI

  Superstition of the Natives.--Fair annually kept by Hindoos.--Supposed
  practice of witchcraft by an old woman.--Assaulted by an infuriated
  populace.--Rescued by a Native gentleman.--He inquires their reasons
  for persecuting her.--Is instrumental in appeasing their
  malignity.--Endeavours to remove their prejudice.--Proneness of
  Asiatics to superstition.--Opinion of a Mussulmaun on the influence
  of evil spirits.--Account of a woman possessed by an evil
  spirit.--Dialogue with her during the paroxysms of her
  affliction.--Means used for her recovery.--Further allusions to the
  false notions of the Natives respecting supernatural agency...Page 387


LETTER XXVII

  Memoir of the life of Meer Hadjee Shah.--His descent.--Anecdote of a
  youthful exploit.--His predilection for the army.--Leaves his home to
  join the army of a neighbouring Rajah.--Adventures on the way.--Is
  favourably received and fostered by the Rajah.--His first pilgrimage
  to Mecca.--Occurrences during his stay in Arabia.--Description of a
  tiger-hunt.--Detail of events during his subsequent pilgrimages.--The
  plague.--Seizure by pirates.--Sketch of the life of Fatima, an
  Arabian lady.--Relieved from slavery by Meer Hadjee Shah.--He marries
  her.--Observations on the piety of his life.--Concluding
  remarks...Page 400


INDEX...Page 427



INTRODUCTORY LETTER


Actuated by a sense of duty to the people with whom twelve years of my
life were passed on terms of intimacy and kindness, I was induced to write
the principal number of the following Letters as faithful sketches of the
Manners, Customs, and Habits of a people but little known to the European
reader. They were at first designed merely for the perusal of private
friends; who, viewing them with interest, recommended my bringing them
before the public, considering that the information they contained would
be acceptable from its originality, as presenting a more familiar view of
the opinions and the domestic habits of the Mussulmaun community of
Hindoostaun than any hitherto presented through other channels.

I have found (and I believe many will coincide with me in the opinion)
that it is far easier to think with propriety than to write our thoughts
with perspicuity and correctness; but when the object in view is one which
conscience dictates, the humblest effort of a female pen advances with
courage; and thus influenced, I venture to present my work to the public,
respectfully trusting they will extend their usual indulgence to a first
attempt, from the pen of a very humble scribe, more solicitous for
approbation than applause.

The orthography of Asiatic words may differ in some instances in my pages
from those of other writers--this, however, is from error, not design, and
may be justly attributed to my own faulty pronunciation.

I have inserted in these Letters many anecdotes and fables, which at the
first view, may be considered as mere nursery tales. My object, however,
will I trust plead my excuse: they are introduced in order to illustrate
the people whom I have undertaken to describe; and, primarily strengthened
by the moral tendency of each anecdote or fable selected for my pages, I
cannot but consider them as well suited to the purpose.

Without farther apology, but with very great deference, I leave these
imperfect attempts to the liberality of my readers, acknowledging with
gratitude the condescending patronage I have been honoured with, and
sincerely desiring wherever anticipations of amusement or information from
my observations have been formed, that the following pages may fulfil
those expectations, and thus gratify my wish to be in the smallest degree
useful in my generation.

[B. MEER HASSAN ALI]



OBSERVATIONS, ETC.

LETTER I

  Introductory Remarks.--The characteristic simplicity of manners
  exhibited in Native families.--Their munificent charity.--The
  Syaads.--Their descent, and the veneration paid to them.--Their pride
  of birth.--Fast of Mahurrum.--Its origin.--The Sheahs and
  Soonies.--Memorandum of distances.--Mount Judee (Judea), the
  attributed burying-place of Adam and Noah.--Mausoleum of Ali.--The
  tomb of Eve.--Meer Hadjee Shaah.


I have promised to give you, my friends, occasional sketches of men and
manners, comprising the society of the Mussulmauns in India. Aware of the
difficulty of my task, I must entreat your kind indulgence to the
weaknesses of a female pen, thus exercised for your amusement, during my
twelve years' domicile in their immediate society.

Every one who sojourns in India for any lengthened period, will, I believe,
agree with me, that in order to promote health of body, the mind must be
employed in active pursuits. The constitutionally idle persons, of either
sex, amongst Europeans, are invariably most subject to feel distressed by
the prevailing annoyances of an Indian climate: from a listless life
results discontent, apathy, and often disease. I have found, by experience,
the salutary effects of employing time, as regards, generally, healthiness
of body and of mind. The hours devoted to this occupation (tracing remarks
for the perusal of far distant friends) have passed by without a murmur or
a sigh, at the height of the thermometer, or the length of a day during
the season of hot winds, or of that humid heat which prevails throughout
the periodical rains. Time flies quickly with useful employment in all
places; in this exhausting climate every one has to seek amusement in
their own resources, from sunrise to sunset, during which period there is
no moving from home for, at least, eight months out of the twelve. I have
not found any occupation so pleasant as talking to my friends, on paper,
upon such subjects as may admit of the transfer for their acceptance--and
may I not hope, for their gratification also?

The patriarchal manners are so often pictured to me, in many of the
every-day occurrences exhibited in the several families I have been most
acquainted with in India, that I seem to have gone back to that ancient
period with my new-sought home and new friends. Here I find the master and
mistress of a family receiving the utmost veneration from their slaves and
domestics, whilst the latter are permitted to converse and give their
opinions with a freedom (always respectful), that at the first view would
lead a stranger to imagine there could be no great inequality of station
between the persons conversing. The undeviating kindness to aged servants,
no longer capable of rendering their accustomed services; the remarkable
attention paid to the convenience and comfort of poor relatives, even to
the most remote in consanguinity; the beamings of universal charity; the
tenderness of parents; and the implicit obedience of children, are a few
of those amiable traits of character from whence my allusions are drawn,
and I will add, by which my respect has been commanded. In their
reverential homage towards parents, and in affectionate solicitude for the
happiness of those venerated authors of their existence, I consider them
the most praiseworthy people existing.

On the spirit of philanthropy exhibited in their general charity, I may
here remark, that they possess an injunction from their Lawgiver, 'to be
universally charitable'.[1] This command is reverenced and obeyed by all
who are his faithful followers. They are persuaded that almsgiving
propitiates the favour of Heaven, consequently this belief is the inducing
medium for clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, supporting the weak,
consoling the afflicted, protecting the fatherless, sheltering the
houseless traveller, and rendering the ear and the heart alive to the
distresses of the poor in all situations. A good Mussulmaun never allows
the voice to pass unheeded where the suppliant applies, 'In the name of
God', or 'For the love of God'.

I have often been obliged to hear the Mussulmauns accused of an
ostentatious display of their frequent acts of charity. It may be so in
some instances; human nature has failings common to all complexions. Pride
may sometimes open the purse of the affluent to the poor man's petition;
but when the needy benefit by the rich, it is unjust to scrutinize the
heart's motive, where the act itself alleviates the present sufferings of
a fellow-creature.

Imposition is doubtless often practised with success by the indolent, who
excite the good feelings of the wealthy by a tale of woe; the sin rests
with him who begs unworthily, not with him who relieves the supposed
distresses of his poorer neighbour. The very best of human beings will
acknowledge they derive benefits from the bounty of their Maker, not
because they are deserving, but that 'He is merciful'.

I shall have occasion to detail in my Letters some of the Mussulmaun
observances, festivals, &c., which cannot be accomplished without feeding
the poor; and, in justice to their general character, be it acknowledged,
their liberality is not confined to those stated periods.

The Syaads[2] (Meers[3]) are descendants from Mahumud, the acknowledged
Prophet and Lawgiver of the Mussulmauns; and, as might be expected, are
peculiar objects of respect and favour amongst the true believers (as
those who hold their faith are designated). 'The poor Syaad's family' are
the first to be considered when the rich have determined on dispensing
gifts in charity. The Syaads, however, are under peculiar restrictions as
regards the nature of those gifts which they are permitted to accept.
Money obtained by unlawful means, as forbidden in the Khoraun[4] (usury
for instance[5]), is deemed polluted, and must neither be offered to, nor
accepted by, these 'children of the Prophet'.

The Syaads are the Lords of Mussulmaun society, and every female born to
them is a Lady (Begum[6]). Heralds' offices they have none, but genealogy
is strictly kept in each Mussulmaun family, who can boast the high
privilege of bearing the Prophet's blood in their veins. The children of
both sexes are taught, from the time of their first speaking intelligibly,
to recount their pedigree, up to Hasan, or Hosein, the two sons of Ali, by
his cousin Fatima, the daughter of their Prophet: this forms a striking
part of their daily education, whilst they continue in their mother's
zeenahnah[7] (lady's apartment); and, from the frequent repetition, is so
firmly fixed in the memory, that they have no difficulty in tracing their
pedigree whenever called upon to do so, unaided by the manuscript
genealogy kept with care in the parental treasury.

This method of retaining lineage is not always a check against impostors;
many have taken upon themselves the honourable distinction of the Syaad,
without having the slightest claim to the title; but when the cheat is
discovered such persons are disgraced, and become aliens to the
respectable. So many advantages are enjoyed by Syaads, that it is not
surprising there should be some, which have no right, anxious to be
numbered with those who are truly the Mussulmaun lords; though such men
are taught to believe that, by the usurpation, they shut themselves out
from the advantages of their Prophet's intercession at the great day of
judgment.

The Syaads are very tenacious in retaining the purity of their race
unsullied, particularly with respect to their daughters; a conscientious
Syaad regards birth before wealth in negotiations for marriage: many a
poor lady, in consequence of this prejudice, lives out her numbered days
in single blessedness, although--to their honour be it told--many
charitably disposed amongst the rich men of the country have, within my
recollection of Indian society, granted from their abundance sufficient
sums to defray the expenses of a union, and given the marriage portion,
unsolicited, to the daughters of the poorer members of this venerated race.
A Syaad rarely speaks of his pecuniary distresses, but is most grateful
when relieved.

I am intimately acquainted with a family in which this pride of birth
predominates over every advantage of interest. There are three unmarried
daughters, remarkable for their industrious habits, morality, and strict
observance of their religious duties; they are handsome, well-formed women,
polite and sensible, and to all this they add an accomplishment which is
not by any means general amongst the females of Hindoostaun, they have
been taught by their excellent father to read the Khoraun in Arabic--it is
not allowed to be translated,[8]--and the Commentary in Persian. The fame
of their superiority has brought many applications from the heads of
families possessing wealth, and desirous to secure for their sons wives so
eminently endowed, who would waive all considerations of the marriage
dowry, for the sake of the Begum who might thus adorn their untitled house.
All these offers, however, have been promptly rejected, and the young
ladies themselves are satisfied in procuring a scanty subsistence by the
labour of their hands. I have known them to be employed in working the
jaullie[9] (netting) for courties[10] (a part of the female dress), which,
after six days' close application, at the utmost could not realize three
shillings each; yet I never saw them other than contented, happy, and
cheerful,--a family of love, and patterns of sincere piety.

The titles and distinctions conferred by sovereigns, or the Hon. East
India Company in India, as Khaun,[11] Bahadhoor,[12] Nuwaub,[13] &c., are
not actually hereditary honours, though often presumed on, and indulged in,
by successors. The Syaads, on the contrary, are the Meers and Begums
(nobility) throughout their generations to the end of time, or at any rate,
with the continuance of the Mussulmaun religion.

Having thus far explained the honourable distinction of the Syaads, I
propose giving you some account of the Mahurrum,[14] a celebrated mourning
festival in remembrance of their first martyrs, and which occupies the
attention of the Mussulmauns annually to a degree of zeal that has always
attracted the surprise of our countrymen in India; some of whom, I trust,
will not be dissatisfied with the observations of an individual, who
having spent many years of her life with those who are chief actors in
these scenes, it may be expected, is the better able to explain the nature
of that Mahurrum which they see commemorated every year, yet many, perhaps,
without comprehending exactly why. Those strong expressions of grief--the
sombre cast of countenance,--the mourning garb,--the self-inflicted
abstinence, submitted to by the Mussulmaun population, during the ten days
set apart for the fulfilment of the mourning festival, all must have
witnessed who have been in Hindoostaun for any period.

I must first endeavour to represent the principal causes for the observance
of Mahurrum; and for the information of those who have witnessed its
celebration, as well as for the benefit of others who have not had the same
opportunity, describe the manner of celebrating the event, which occurred
more than twelve hundred years ago.

Hasan and Hosein were the two sons of Fatima and Ali, from whom the whole
Syaad race have generated; Hasan was poisoned by an emissary of the
usurping Calipha's;[15] and Hosein, the last sad victim of the family to
the King Yuzeed's[16] fury, suffered a cruel death, after the most severe
trials, on the plains of Kraabaallah,[17] on the tenth day of the Arabian
month Mahurrum; the anniversary of which catastrophe is solemnized with
the most devoted zeal.

This brief sketch constitutes the origin of the festival; but I deem it
necessary to detail at some length the history of that period, which may
the better explain the motives assigned by the Mussulmauns, for the deep
grief exhibited every year, as the anniversary of Mahurrum returns to
these faithful followers of their martyred leaders, Hasan and Hosein, who,
with their devoted families, suffered innocently by the hands of the
guilty.

Yuzeed, the King of Shawm,[18] it appears, was the person in power,
amongst the followers of Mahumud, at that early period of Mussulmaun
history. Of the Soonie sect,[19] his hatred to the descendants of Mahumud
was of the most inveterate kind; jealousy, it is supposed, aided by a very
wicked heart, led him to desire the extirpation of the whole race,
particularly as he knew that, generally, the Mussulmaun people secretly
desired the immediate descendants of their Prophet to be their rulers.
They were, however, intimidated by Yuzeed's authority; whilst he, ever
fearing the possibility of the Syaads' restoration to their rights,
resolved, if possible, on sacrificing the whole family, to secure himself
in his illegal power.

Ali had been treacherously murdered through the contrivances of the
usurping Calipha; after his death, the whole family removed from Shawm,
the capital, to Medina, where they lived some years in tranquillity,
making many converts to their faith, and exercising themselves in the
service of God and virtuous living. Unostentatious in their habits and
manners, they enjoyed the affection of their neighbours, their own good
name increasing daily, to the utter dismay of their subtle enemy.

In the course of time, the devout people of Shawm, being heartily tired of
Yuzeed's tyrannical rule, and fearing the true faith would be defamed by
the excesses and abuses of power committed by him, they were desirous of
calling to their aid a leader from the Prophet's family, who would secure,
in its original purity, the performance of that religion which Mahumud had
taught. Some thousands of respectable Mussulmauns, it is related, signed a
petition to Hosein, requesting his immediate presence at Shawm, in order,
as the petition stated, 'that the religion his grandsire taught might be
supported and promoted'; and declaring 'the voluptuousness and infamy of
Yuzeed's life to be so offensive and glaring, that the true faith was
endangered by his vicious examples'; and entreating him to accept his
lawful rights as 'Emaum'[20] (Leader of the Faithful).

Hosein received the petition, but declined accepting the proposed
restitution of his family's rights at that time; yet he held out hopes in
his reply, that he might eventually listen to their entreaties, should he
be convinced his presence was essential to their welfare; and, as a
prelude to this, he sent his cousin Moslem,[21] on whom he could rely, to
make personal observation of the real state of things at Shawm; expecting
to learn, from his matured knowledge, the real causes of complaint, and
the wishes of the people, and by whose report he would be guided, as to
his final acceptance or rejection of the proposed measure for his becoming
their leader.

Moslem, accompanied by his two sons, mere youths, left Medina on this
important mission, and having accomplished the tedious march without
accident or interruption, he delivered Hosein's letters to those persons
of consequence in Shawm, who were at the head of the party petitioning his
appearance there, and who proffered their influence and support for the
recovery of the rights and privileges so long withheld from the
descendants of Mahumud.

Moslem was kindly greeted by them, and multitudes flocked to his quarters,
declaring Hosein the lawful leader of true Mussulmauns. Elated with these
flattering indications, he too promptly despatched his messengers to
Hosein, urging his immediate return to Shawm.

In the mean time, and long before the messengers could reach Medina,
Yuzeed, learning the state of things in the capital, was seriously alarmed
and greatly enraged; he issued orders for the seizure of Moslem and his
children, and desiring to have them brought to his presence, offered
immense sums of money for their capture. The friends of Moslem, however,
succeeded, for a time, in secreting his person from King Yuzeed's
emissaries, trusting the darkness of night would enable him to escape. But
the slaves and dependants of the tyrant being despatched into all quarters
of the city, Moslem's retreat was eventually discovered; and, through the
influence of a purse of gold, his person was given up to the King's
partizans.

The unfortunate agent of Hosein had confided the charge of his two sons to
the Kauzy[22] of the city, when the first report reached him of the tyrant
Yuzeed's fury. This faithful Kauzy, as the night advanced, intended to get
the poor boys conveyed to the halting place of a Kaarawaun,[23] which he
knew was but a few miles off, on their route for Medina. The guide, to
whom the youths were intrusted, either by design or mistake, took the
wrong road; and, after wandering through the dreary night, and suffering
many severe trials, they were taken prisoners by the cruel husband of a
very amiable female, who had compassionately, at first, given them shelter
as weary travellers only; but, on discovering whose children they were,
she had secreted them in her house. Her husband, however, having
discovered the place of their concealment, and identified them as the sons
of Moslem, cruelly murdered the innocent boys for the sake of the reward
offered for their heads. In his fury and thirst for gold, this wicked
husband of the kind-hearted woman spared not his own wife and son, who
strove by their united efforts, alternately pleading and resisting, to
save the poor boys from his barbarous hands.

This tragic event is conveyed into pathetic verse, and as often as it is
repeated in the families of the Mussulmauns, tears of fresh sympathy are
evinced, and bewailings renewed. This forms the subject for one day's
celebration during Mahurrum; the boys are described to have been most
beautiful in person, and amiable in disposition.

After enduring ignominy and torture, and without even being brought to
trial, Moslem was cast from a precipice, by Yuzeed's orders, and his life
speedily terminated, to glut the vengeance of the tyrant King.

As the disastrous conclusion of Moslem's mission had not reached the ear
of Hosein, he, elated with the favourable reception of his cousin, and the
prospect of being received at Shawm in peace and good will, had without
delay commenced his journey, accompanied by the females of his family, his
relations, and a few steady friends who had long devoted themselves to his
person and cause. The written documents of that remarkable period notice,
that the whole party of Hosein, travelling from Medina towards Shawm,
consisted only of seventy-two souls: Hosein having no intention to force
his way to the post of leader, had not deemed it necessary to set out with
an army to aid him, which he undoubtedly might have commanded by his
influence with the people professing 'the Faith'.

Yuzeed, in the mean time, having by his power destroyed Moslem and the two
youths his sons, and receiving positive intelligence that Hosein had
quitted Medina to march for Shawm, as his fears suggested, with an army of
some magnitude, he ordered out an immense force to meet Hosein on the way,
setting a price on his head, and proclaiming promises of honours and
rewards, of the most tempting nature, to the fortunate man who should
succeed in the arduous enterprise.

The first detachment of the Shawmies (as they are designated in the
manuscript of Arabia), under a resolute chief named Hurrh,[24] fell in
with Hosein's camp, one day's march beyond the far-famed ground, amongst
Mussulmauns, of Kraabaallah, or Hurth Maaree,[25] as it was originally
called.

Hurrh's heart was subdued when he entered the tent of the peaceable Hosein,
in whose person he discovered the exact resemblance of the Prophet; and
perceiving that his small camp indicated a quiet family party journeying
on their way, instead of the formidable force Yuzeed's fears had
anticipated, this chief was surprised and confounded, confessed his shame
to Hosein that he had been induced to accept the command of the force
despatched against the children of the Prophet, and urged, in mitigation
of his offences, that he had long been in Yuzeed's service, whose
commission he still bore; but his heart now yearning to aid, rather than
persecute the Prophet's family, he resolved on giving them an opportunity
to escape the threatened vengeance of their bitterest enemy. With this
view, he advised Hosein to fall with his party into the rear of his force,
until the main body of the Shawmies had passed by; and as they were then
on the margin of a forest, there to separate and secrete themselves till
the road was again clear, and afterwards to take a different route from
the proposed one to Shawm.

Hosein felt, as may be supposed, grateful to his preserver; and, following
his directions, succeeded in reaching the confines of Kraabaallah
unmolested.

The ancient writings of Arabia say, Mahumud had predicted the death of
Hosein, by the hands of men professing to be of 'the true faith', at this
very place Kraabaallah, or Hurth Maaree.

Hosein and his family having concluded their morning devotions, he first
inquired and learned the name of the place on which their tents were
pitched, and then imparted the subject of his last night's dream, 'that
his grandsire had appeared to him, and pronounced that his soul would be
at peace with him ere that day closed'. Again he fell on his knees in
devout prayer, from which he rose only to observe the first warnings of an
approaching army, by the thick clouds of dust which darkened the horizon;
and before the evening closed upon the scene, Hosein, with every male of
his small party capable of bearing arms, had been hurried to their final
rest. One son of Hosein's, insensible from fever at the time, was spared
from the sacrifice, and, with the females and young children, taken
prisoners to the King's palace at Shawm.

The account given by historians of this awful battle, describes the
courage and intrepidity of Hosein's small band, in glowing terms of praise;
having fought singly, and by their desperate bravery 'each arm (they say)
levelled his hundreds with their kindred dust ere his own gave way to the
sway of death'.

Amongst the number of Hosein's brave defenders was a nephew, the son of
Hasan: this young man, named Cossum,[26] was the affianced husband of
Hosein's favourite daughter, Sakeena Koobraah;[27] and previous to his
going to the combat on that eventful day, Hosein read the marriage lines
between the young couple, in the tent of the females. I mention this here,
as it points to one particular part of the celebration of Mahurrum, which
I shall have occasion to mention in due order, wherein all the outward
forms of the wedding ceremony are strictly performed, annually.

During the whole of this terrible day, at Kraabaallah, the family party of
Hosein had been entirely deprived of water; and the river Fraught[28]
(Euphrates) being blockaded by their enemies, they suffered exceedingly
from thirst. The handsome Abass,[29] another nephew of Hosein, and his
standard-bearer, made many efforts to procure water for the relief of the
almost famishing females; he had, at one attempt, succeeded in filling the
mushukh,[30] when, retreating from the river, he was discovered by the
enemy, was pursued and severely wounded, the mushukh pierced by arrows,
and the water entirely lost ere he could reach the camp.

In remembrance of this privation of the sufferers at Kraabaallah, every
good Mussulmaun, at Mahurrum, distributes sherbet in abundance, to all
persons who choose to accept this their favourite beverage (sugar and
water, with a little rosewater, or kurah,[31] to flavour it); and some
charitable females expend large sums in milk, to be distributed in the
public streets; for these purposes, there are neat little huts of
sirrakee[32] (a reed, or grass, resembling bright straw) erected by the
road side of the Mussulmauns' houses; they are called saabeels,[33] where
the red earthen cups of milk, sherbet, or pure water are seen ranged in
rows, for all who choose to call for drink.

Hosein, say their historians, was the last of the party who suffered on
the day of battle; he was surrounded in his own camp--where, by the usage
of war, at that time, they had no right to enter--and when there was not
one friendly arm left to ward the blow. They relate 'that his body was
literally mangled, before he was released from his unmerited sufferings'.
He had mounted his favourite horse, which, as well as himself, was pierced
by arrows innumerable; together they sank on the earth from loss of blood,
the cowardly spearmen piercing his wounded body as if in sport; and whilst,
with his last breath, 'Hosein prayed for mercy on his destroyers,
Shimeear[34] ended his sufferings by severing the already prostrate head
from the mutilated trunk'.--'Thus they sealed (say those writers) the
lasting disgrace of a people, who, calling themselves Mussulmauns, were
the murderers of their Prophet's descendants.'

This slight sketch gives but the outline of those events which are every
year commemorated amongst the zealous followers of Ali, the class
denominated Sheahs.

The Mussulmaun people, I must here observe, are divided into two distinct
sects, viz. the Sheahs and the Soonies. The former believe Ali and his
descendants were the lawful leaders after Mahumud; the latter are
persuaded that the Caliphas, as Aboubuker, Omir, &c., were the leaders to
be accredited 'lawful'; but of this I shall speak more fully in another
Letter.

Perhaps the violence of party spirit may have acted as an inducement to
the Sheahs, for the zealous annual observance of this period, so
interesting to that sect; whatever the motive, we very often find the two
sects hoard up their private animosities and dislikes until the return of
Mahurrum, which scarcely ever passes over, in any extensively populated
city of Hindoostaun, without a serious quarrel, often terminating in
bloodshed.[35]

I could have given a more lengthened account of the events which led to
the solemnization of this fast, but I believe the present is sufficient to
explain the motives by which the Mussulmauns are actuated, and my next
Letter must be devoted to the description of the rites performed upon the
celebration of these events in India.

P.S. I have a memorandum in my collection which may here be copied as its
proper place.

From Mecca, 'The Holy City', to Medina the distance is twelve stages (a
day's march is one stage, about twenty miles of English measurement). From
Medina to Kraabaallah there are twenty-one stages; this distance is
travelled only by those who can endure great difficulties; neither water
nor provisions are to be met with on the whole journey, excepting at one
halt, the name of which is Shimmaar. From Kraabaallah to Koofah is two
stages.

In the vicinity of Koofah[36] stands Mount Judee[37] (Judea), on which is
built, over the remains of Ali, the mausoleum called Nudghiff Usheruff.[38]
On this Mount, it is said, Adam and Noah were buried. Ali being aware of
this, gave directions to his family and friends, that whenever his soul
should be recalled from earth, his mortal remains were to be deposited
near those graves venerated and held sacred 'by the faithful'. The ancient
writers of Arabia authorise the opinion that Ali's body was entombed by
the hands of his sons, Hasan and Hosein, who found the earth open to
receive their sire, and which closed immediately on his remains being
deposited.

Here, too, it is believed Noah's ark rested after the Deluge. When
pilgrims to Mecca make their zeearut[39] (all sacred visits are so called)
to this Mount, they offer three prayers, in memory of Adam, Noah, and All.

The grave of Eve is also frequently visited by pilgrims, which is said to
be situated near Jeddah; this, however, is not considered an indispensable
duty, but, as they say, prompted by 'respect for the Mother of men'.[40]

These remarks, and many others of an interesting nature, I have been
favoured with from the most venerable aged man I ever knew, Meer Hadjee
Shaah,[41] the revered father of my excellent husband; who having
performed the Hadje[42] (pilgrimage) three several times, at different
periods of his eventful life--returning after each pilgrimage to his home
in Lucknow--and being a person of strict veracity, with a remarkably
intelligent mind and retentive memory, I have profited largely by his
information, and derived from it both amusement and instruction, through
many years of social intercourse. When he had numbered more than eighty
years he dwelt with hope on again performing the Hadje, where it was his
intention to rest his earthly substance until the great day of restitution,
and often expressed his wishes to have me and mine to share with him the
pilgrimage he desired to make. But this was not allowed to his prayer; his
summons arrived rather unexpectedly to those who loved and revered him for
virtues rarely equalled; happily for him, his pure soul was prepared to
meet his Creator, in whose service he had passed this life, with all
humility, and in whose mercy alone his hopes for the future were centred.


[1] 'Whatsoever alms ye shall give, of a truth God knoweth it.... Give ye
    your alms openly? it is well. Do ye conceal them and give them to the
    poor? This, too, will be of advantage to you, and will do away your
    sins: and God is cognizant of your actions' (_Koran_, ii. 274-5).

[2] _Sayyid_, 'lord', 'chief, the class of Musalmans who claim descent
    from Fatimah, daughter of the Prophet, and 'Ali, his
    cousin-german and adopted son; they are divided into two branches
    descended from Hasan and Husain, sons of 'Ali and Fatimah.

[3] _Mir_, a contraction of _Amir_, 'lord'.

[4] _Koran, Qur'an_.

[5] 'They who swallow down usury shall arise in the resurrection only as
    he ariseth whom Satan hath infected by his touch' (_Koran_, ii.
    276). But this is rather theory than practice, and many ingenious
    methods are adopted to avoid the prohibition.

[6] _Begam_, feminine of _Beg_, 'lord', used to denote a Sayyid lady, like
    Khanam among Pathans.

[7] Here, as elsewhere, _zenanah, zananah_, Persian _zan_, 'woman'.

[8] This is incorrect. The Koran has been translated into various
    languages, but the translation is always interlineary with the
    original text. In Central Asia the Musalman conquerors allowed the
    Koran to be recited in Persian, instead of Arabic, in order that it
    might be intelligible to all (Arnold, _The Preaching of Islam_, 183).

[9] _Jali_.

[10] _Kurti_, a loose, long-sleeved jacket of muslin or net, among rich
    women embroidered on the neck and shoulders with gold, and draped down
    to the ankles in full, loose folds. It is made of red or other
    light-coloured fabrics for girls and married women; dark blue, bronze,
    or white for old ladies; bronze or black for widows.

[11] _Khan_, 'lord', 'prince', specially applied to persons of Mughal
    or Pathan descent.

[12] _Bahadur_, 'champion', a Mongol term; see Yule,
     _Hobson-Jobson_[2], 48 ff.

[13] _Nawab_, 'a deputy, delegate': the Anglo-Indian Nabob (ibid.,
    610 ff.).

[14] _Muharram_, 'that which is forbidden', the first month of the
    Musalman year, the first ten days of which are occupied with this
    mourning festival.

[15] By his wife Ja'dah, who was suborned to commit the deed by Yazid.

[16] Yazid, son of Mu'awiyah, the second Caliph of the house of
    Umaiyah, who reigned from A.D. 679 to 683. Gibbon (_Decline and Fall_,
    ed. W. Smith, vi. 278) calls him 'a feeble and dissolute youth'.

[17] Kerbala, Karbala, a city of Iraq, 50 miles south-west of Baghdad,
    and about 6 miles from the Euphrates.

[18] Syria.

[19] _Sunni_, Ahlu's-Sunnah, 'one of the Path', a traditionalist. The
    Sunnis accept the first four Caliphs, Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Usman,
    'Ali, as the rightful successors of Muhammad, and follow the six
    authentic books of the traditions. The Shi'ahs, 'followers' of
    'Ali, maintain that he was the first legitimate Imam or Caliph,
    i.e. successor of the Prophet. For a full account of the martyrdom of
    Husain see Simon Ockley, _History of the Saracens_ (1848), 287 ff.;
    Sir L. Pelly, _The Miracle Play of Hasan and Husain_ (1879), Preface,
    v ff.

[20] _Imam._

[21] Muslim.

[22] _Qazi_, a Muhammadan law officer.

[23] _Karwan_, a caravan.

[24] al-Hurr.

[25] This term is obscure. Jaffur Shurreef (_Qanoon-e-Islam_, 107) says
    the plain of the martyrdom was called 'Mareea'. For 'Hurth' Prof. E.G.
    Browne suggests _hirth_, 'a ploughed field', or _ard_, 'land'. Sir C.
    Lyall suggests Al-hirah, the old Arabian capital which stood near
    the site of the later Kufah.

[26] Qasim.

[27] Sakinah, Hebrew Shechinah; Koobraah, _Kibriya_, 'noble'.

[28] The Euphrates is called in Sumerian _pura-num_, 'Great water', whence
    Purat, Purattu in Semitic Babylonian; Perath in Hebrew; Frat or
    Furat in Arabic.

[29] 'Abbas, son of 'Ali.

[30] _Mashk_, _Mashak_, the Anglo-Indian Mussuck, a leathern skin for
    conveying water, in general use amongst Musalmans at this day in
    India; it is composed of the entire skin of a goat, properly prepared.
    When filled with water it resembles a huge porpoise, on the back of
    the beeshtie [Bhishti] (water-carrier). [_Author._]

[31] _Kora_, the fresh juice of _Aloe vera_, said to be cathartic and
    cooling.

[32] _Sirki_ (_Saccharum ciliare_).

[33] _Sabil_: see Burton, _Pilgrimage_, Memorial ed., i. 286.

[34] Shimar, whose name now means 'contemptible' among Shi'ahs.

[35] This statement is too wide. 'Among Muhammadans themselves there is
    very little religious discussion, and Sunnis and Shi'ahs, who
    are at such deadly feud in many parts of Asia, including the Punjab
    and Kashmir, have, in Oudh, always freely intermarried' (H.C. Irwin,
    _The Garden of India_, 45).

[36] Kufah, four miles from Najaf, the capital of the Caliph 'Ali,
    which fell into decay when the government was removed to Baghdad.

[37] Confused with Al-judi, Mt. Ararat, on which the Ark
    rested.--_Koran_, xi. 46.

[38] Najaf al Sharif, or Mashhad 'Ali, 50 miles south of Karbala,
    the tomb and shrine of 'Ali.

[39] _Ziyarat_, 'visitation', especially to the tomb of the Prophet or
    that of a Muhammadan saint. The pilgrim says, not 'I have visited the
    Prophet's tomb', but 'I have visited the Prophet'. (Burton,
    _Pilgrimage_, i. 305.)

[40] The grave is said to be nine yards long: according to others, much
    longer. See the flippant remark of Burton, ibid., ii. 273 ff.

[41] Mir Haji Shah.

[42] _Hajj_, 'setting out'.



LETTER II

  Celebration of Mahurrum.--The Tazia.--Mussulmaun Cemeteries.--An
  Emaum-baarah.--Piety of the ladies.--Self-inflicted abstinence and
  privations endured by each sex.--Instances of the devotional zeal of
  the Mussulmauns.--Attempted infringement on their religious
  formalities.--The Resident at Lucknow.--Enthusiastic ardour of the
  poor.--Manner of celebrating the Mahurrum in opposition to the
  precepts of the Khoraun.--Mosque and Emaum-baarah contrasted.--The
  supposition of Mussulmauns practising idolatry confuted.


My former Letter prepares you for the celebration of Mahurrum, the
observance of which is at this time going forward here (at Lucknow) with
all that zealous emulative spirit and enthusiasm which I have before
remarked the Mussulmaun population of India entertain for their Emaums
(leaders), and their religion.

This annual solemn display of the regret and veneration they consider due
to the memory of departed excellence, commences on the first day of the
Moon (Mahurrum). The Mussulmaun year has twelve moons; every third year
one moon is added, which regulation, I fancy, renders their years, in a
chronological point of view, very nearly equal with those of Europe. Their
day commences and ends when the stars are first visible after sunset.

The first day of Mahurrum invariably brings to my recollection the
strongly impressed ideas of 'The Deserted Village'. The profound quiet and
solemn stillness of an extensively populated native city, contrasted with
the incessant bustle usual at all other times, are too striking to
Europeans to pass by unheeded. This cessation of the animated scene,
however, is not of long duration; the second day presents to the view vast
multitudes of people parading backwards and forwards, on horseback, in
palkies, and on foot, through the broad streets and roadways, arrayed in
their several mourning garbs, speeding their way to the Emaum-baarahs[1]
of the great men, and the houses of friends, to pay the visit of respect
(zeearut), wherever a Tazia is set up to the remembrance of Hasan and
Hosein.

The word Tazia[2] signifies grief. The term is applied to a representation
of the mausoleum at Kraabaallah, erected by their friends and followers,
over the remains of Hasan and Hosein. It is formed of every variety of
material, according to the wealth, rank, or preference, of the person
exhibiting, from the purest silver down to bamboo and paper, strict
attention being always paid to preserve the model of Kraabaallah, in the
exact pattern with the original building. Some people have them of ivory,
ebony, sandal-wood, cedar, &c., and I have seen some beautifully wrought
in silver filigree. The handsomest of the kind, to my taste, is in the
possession of his Majesty the King of Oude, composed of green glass, with
brass mouldings, manufactured in England (by whom I could not learn). All
these expensive Tazias are fixtures, but there are temporary ones required
for the out-door ceremony, which, like those available to the poor and
middling classes, are composed of bamboo frames, over which is fixed
coloured uberuck[3] (lapis specularum, or tulk); these are made in the
bazaar, of various sizes and qualities, to suit the views of purchasers,
from two rupees to two hundred each.

The more common Tazias are conveyed in the procession on the tenth day,
and finally deposited with funeral rites in the public burial-grounds, of
which there are several outside the town. These cemeteries are denominated
Kraabaallah,[4] and the population of a large city may be presumed on by
the number of these dispersed in the suburbs. They do not bury their dead
in the vicinity of a mosque, which is held too sacred to be allowed the
pollution. Any one having only touched a dead body, must bathe prior to
entering the mosque, or performing their usual prayer-service at
home;--such is the veneration they entertain for the name of God.

The opulent people of Mussulmaun society have an Emaum-baarah erected in
the range of buildings exclusively denominated murdanah[5] (men's abode).
The habitation of all Mussulmauns being composed of separate departments
for the males and the females, communicating by private entrances, as will
be explained hereafter.

The Emaum-baarah is a sacred place, erected for the express purpose of
commemorating Mahurrum; the founder not unfrequently intends this also as
the mausoleum for himself and family. But we generally find Mukhburrahs[6]
(mausoleums) built in conspicuous situations, for the remains of kings,
princes, nobles, and sainted persons. Of the latter, many are visited, at
stated periods, by the multitude, with religious veneration, the
illiterate attaching considerable importance to the annual pilgrimage to
them; and where--to secure the influence of the particular saint's spirit,
in furthering their views--mothers present their children, in numbers
beyond all calculation; and each having something to hope for who visits
the shrine, presents offerings of money and sweetmeats, which become the
property of the person in charge of the tomb, thus yielding him a
profitable sinecure, in proportion as the saint is popular amongst the
ignorant.

An Emaum-baarah is a square building, generally erected with a cupola top,
the dimensions guided by the circumstances of the founder. The floor is
matted with the date-leaf mats, in common use in India, on which is spread
a shutteringhie[7] (cotton carpet), and over this a clean white calico
covering, on which the assembled party are seated, during the several
periods of collecting together to remember their leaders: these meetings
are termed Mudgelluss[8] (mourning assemblies). It would be esteemed
indecorous or disrespectful to the Emaums, if any one in error called
these assemblies Moollakhaut,[9] the usual term for mere worldly visiting.

The Tazia is placed against the wall on the side facing Mecca, under a
canopy of rich embroidery. A reading-desk or pulpit (mhembur[10]) is
placed in a convenient situation, for the reader to face Mecca, and his
voice to be heard by the whole assembly of people; it is constructed of
silver, ivory, ebony, &c. to correspond with the Tazia, if possible: the
steps are covered sometimes with gold-cloth, or broad-cloth of black, or
green,[11] if a Syaad's property, being the colour worn by that race for
mourning. The shape of a mhembur is a flight of steps with a flat top,
without any railing or enclosed place; the reader, in his recitings,
occasionally sitting on the steps, or standing, as may be most convenient
to himself.

On the walls of the Emaum-baarah, mirrors and looking-glasses are fixed in
suitable situations to give effect to the brilliant display of light, from
the magnificent chandeliers suspended from the cupola and cornices. The
nobles and the wealthy are excited with a desire to emulate each other in
the splendour of their display on these occasions;--all the mirrors, glass,
lustres, chandeliers, &c. are brought together to this place, from their
several stations in the mansion; and it is due to them to admit the effect
to be often imposingly grand, and the blaze of light splendid. I have
frequently been reminded in these scenes of the visionary castles conjured
to the imagination, whilst reading 'The Arabian Nights' Entertainments'.

On each side the Tazia--the whole length of the wall--banners are ranged,
in great variety of colour and fabric; some of them are costly and
splendid. I have seen many constructed of the richest embroidery, on silk
grounds, of gold and silver, with massy gold fringes, cords, and tassels;
the staff is cased with gold or silver, worked into figures of birds and
other animals, in every variety; the top of which has a crest, in some a
spread hand,[12] in others a sort of plume, and not unfrequently a crest
resembling a grenade, formed of the precious metals, and set with stones
of great value.

On the base of the Tazia the several articles are placed conceived likely
to have been used by Hosein at Kraabaallah; a turban of gold or silver
tissue, a splendid sword and belt, the handle and hilt set with precious
stones, a shield, the Arabian bow and arrows. These ancient emblems of
royalty are indispensable in order to do honour to Hosein, in the view
they take of his sovereign right to be the head or leader of the true
Mussulmauns. Wax lights, red and green, are also placed in great numbers
about its base, in silver or glass candlesticks; and censers of gold and
silver, burning incense perpetually during Mahurrum. Many other minor
tributes to the Emaums are discovered near the Tazia, as choice fruits and
garlands of sweet-scented flowers, the offerings of ladies of the family
to their relative's Tazia.

Amongst the poorer classes of the people an equal proportion of zealous
spirit is evinced; and according to their several abilities, so they
commemorate the period, interesting alike to all. Those who cannot compass
the real splendour of an Emaum-baarah, are satisfied with an imitative one
in the best hall their habitation affords; and, where mirrors and
chandeliers are not available, they are content to do honour to the Emaums
with lamps of uberuck, which in truth are pleasing substitutes at a small
price: these lamps are made in a variety of pretty shapes, curiously
painted, and ingeniously ornamented with cut paper; they burn oil in them,
and, when well arranged, and diversified with their wonted taste, produce
a good light, and pleasing effect.

The banners of Hosein, in the houses of the poor, are formed of materials
according to their humble means, from tinsel imitations down to dyed
muslin; and a similar difference is to be perceived in their selection of
the metal of which their crests are made.

Mourning assemblies are held in the Emaum-baarahs twice every day during
Mahurrum; those of the evening, however, are the most attractive, and have
the fullest attendance of visitors. The master of the house, at the
appointed hour, takes his seat on the floor near the pulpit, surrounded by
the males of his family and intimate friends, and the crowd of strangers
arrange themselves--wherever there is sitting room--without impeding the
view of the Tazia.

One of the most popular Maulvees[13] of the age is engaged to recite the
particular portion appointed for each day, from the manuscript documents,
called Dhie Mudgelluss,[14] in the Persian language. This work is in ten
parts and contains a subject for each day's service, descriptive of the
life and sufferings of the Emaums, their friends, and children,
particularly as regards the eventful period of Mahurrum in which they were
engaged. It is, I am assured, a pathetic, fine composition, and a faithful
narrative of each particular circumstance in the history of their leaders,
the heroic bravery of their friends, &c. They are particularly anxious to
engage an eloquent reader for this part of the performance, who by his
impressive manner compels his hearers to sympathise in the affecting
incidents which are recited by him.

I have been present when the effect produced by the superior oratory and
gestures of a Maulvee has almost terrified me, the profound grief, evinced
in his tears and groans, being piercing and apparently sincere. I have
even witnessed blood issuing from the breast of sturdy men, who beat
themselves simultaneously as they ejaculated the names 'Hasan!'
'Hosein!'[15] for ten minutes, and occasionally during a longer period, in
that part of the service called Mortem.[16]

The portion of Dhie Mudgelluss concluded, sherbet is handed round to the
assembly; and as they voluntarily abstain from luxuries at this season, a
substitute for pawn[17]--the green leaf in general use amongst the
natives--has been introduced, consisting of dried coffee, cocoa-nut shreds,
betel-nut, cardimuns,[18] dunyah,[19] and a proportionate quantity of
tobacco-leaf and lime; these are mixed together and handed to the
visitors, on small silver trays. The hookha[20] is introduced to the
superiors of the assembly; you are perhaps aware that inferiors do not
smoke in the presence of superiors without their command or permission.

This ceremony terminated, the Murseeah[21] is chanted, by several
well-practised voices, with good effect. This part of the service is,
perhaps, the most impressive, as the very ignorant, even, can comprehend
every word,--the Murseeah being in the Hindoostanic tongue, a poetical
composition of great merit, and embracing all the subjects they meet to
commemorate. The whole assembly rise up afterwards, and, as with one voice,
recount the names of the lawful leaders after Mahumud, entreating
blessings and peace to their souls. They then repeat the names of the
hated usurpers (Caliphas), on whose memory they invoke curses, &c. Mortem
follows, beating of breasts in unison with the voices, and uttering the
names of Hasan and Hosein; this performance concludes each day's
Mudgelluss, either of the morning or evening.

The ladies celebrate the returning season of Mahurrum with as much spirit
and zeal as the confinement, in which they exist, can possibly admit of.
There are but few, and those chiefly princesses, who have Emaum-baarahs at
command, within the boundary of the zeenahnah; the largest and best
apartment in their establishment is therefore selected for the purpose of
an Emaum-baarah, into which none but females are admitted, excepting the
husband, father, son, or brother, of the lady; who having, on this
occasion, full liberty to invite her female acquaintance, those who are
her nearest male relatives even are not admitted until previous notice is
given, in order that the female guests may secrete themselves from the
sight of these relatives of their hostess.

In commemorating this remarkable event in Mussulmaun history, the
expressions of grief, manifested by the ladies, are far greater, and
appear to me more lasting than with the other sex; indeed, I never could
have given credit to the extent of their bewailings, without witnessing,
as I have done for many years, the season for tears and profound grief
return with the month of Mahurrum. In sorrowing for the martyred Emaums,
they seem to forget their private griefs; the bereavement of a beloved
object even is almost overlooked in the dutiful remembrance of Hasan and
Hosein at this period; and I have had opportunities of observing this
triumph of religious feeling in women, who are remarkable for their
affectionate attachment to their children, husbands, and parents;--they
tell me, 'We must not indulge selfish sorrows of our own, whilst the
Prophet's family alone have a right to our tears'.

The religious zeal of these people is evinced, likewise, in a stern,
systematic, line of privations, during the period of Mahurrum; no one is
obliged by any law or command; it is voluntary abstinence on the part of
each individual--they impose it on themselves, out of pure pity and
respect for their Emaums' well-remembered sufferings. Every thing which
constitutes comfort, luxury, or even convenience at other times, on these
occasions are rigidly laid aside. The pallungh and the charpoy[22] (the
two descriptions of bedsteads in general use), on which the females love
to lounge for some hours in the day and night, are removed from their
standings, and, in lieu of this comfort, they take their rest on a common
date mat, on the floor. The musnud,[23] and all its cushioned luxuries,
give place, on this occasion, to the simply matted floor. The indulgence
in choice dainties, at other times so necessary to their happiness, is now
foregone, and their meal limited, throughout Mahurrum, to the coarsest
food--such as barley bread, rice and peas boiled together (called
kutcher),[24] without even the usual additions to make it palatable
ketcherie,[25] as ghee, salt, pepper, and spices; these ingredients being
considered by the zealous females too indulgent and luxurious for humble
mourners during Muhurrum.

The pawn leaf, another luxury of no small moment to Asiatic tastes, is now
banished for the ten days' mourning. A very poor substitute has been
adopted, in the mixture described at the gentlemen's assembly--it is
called goattur.[26] The truth is, their health would suffer from any long
disuse of tobacco-leaf, lime, and a bitter gum,[27] which are in general
use with the pawn; the latter is of a warm aromatic nature, and imparts a
fine flavour to the other ingredients; but, as it is considered a great
indulgence to eat pawn, they abstain from it altogether during
Mahurrum;--the mixture, they say, is only allowed for health's sake.

When visitors call on the Mussulmaun ladies at Mahurrum, the goattur is
presented on trays, accompanied by bags, neatly embroidered in silver and
gold, of many different shapes and patterns, mostly their own work and
invention; they are called buttooah[28] and jhaumdanies.[29]

The variety of ornaments, which constitute the great delight of all
classes of females in India, are entirely laid aside, from the first hour
of Mahurrum, until the period for mourning concludes. I never heard of any
people so thoroughly attached to ornaments as the females of India are
generally. They are indulged in this foible--pardonable it may be--by
their husbands and parents. The wealthiness of a family may often be
judged by a single glance at the principal lady of the zeenahnah, who
seldom omits doing honour to her husband, by a full display of the
precious metals, with a great variety of gems or jewels on ordinary
occasions. The men of all ranks are proud of their wives' finery; even the
poorest hold in derision all ornament that is not composed of sterling
metal, of which they seem excellent judges. The massy chains of gold or
silver, the solid bangles for the arms and ancles, the nut[30] (nose-ring)
of gold wire, on which is strung a ruby between two pearls, worn only by
married women; the joshun[31] (armlet), of silver or gold, often set with
precious stones; the many rings for the fingers, thumbs, and toes, form
the daily dress of a lady;--but I must not digress further. These are all
removed from the person, as soon as the moon is seen, when the first day
of Mahurrum commences; the hair is unloosed from its usual confinement,
and allowed to flow in disorder about the person; the coloured
pyjaamahs[32] and deputtahs[33] are removed, with every other article of
their usual costume, for a suit that, with them, constitutes
mourning--some choose black, others grey, slate, or green, and the widow
wears white from the day her husband dies.

A widow never alters her style of dress, neither does she wear a single
ornament, during her widowhood, which generally lasts with her life. I
never heard of one single instance, during my twelve years' residence
amongst them, of a widow marrying again--they have no law to prohibit it;
and I have known some ladies, whose affianced husbands died before the
marriage was concluded, who preferred a life of solitude and prayer,
although many other overtures were made.[34]

Many of the rigidly zealous, among the females, mortify themselves by
wearing their suit of mourning, during the ten days, without changing; the
dress is worn next the skin, and, in very warm weather, must be
comfortless after the first day--but so it is; and so many are the
varieties of self-inflicted privations, at this period, that my letter
might be filled with the observations I have made. I cannot, however, omit
to mention my old woman-servant (ayah[35]), whose mode of abstinence, in
remembrance of Hosein, is rigidly severe; my influence does not prevail in
dissuading her, although I fear the consequences to her health will be
seriously felt if she persist in the fulfilment of her self-imposed trial.
This poor old creature resolves on not allowing one drop of water, or any
liquid, to pass her lips during the ten days' mourning; as she says, 'her
Emaum, Hosein, and his family, suffered from thirst at Kraabaallah, why
should such a creature as she is be indulged with water?' This shows the
temper of the people generally; my ayah is a very ignorant old woman, yet
she respects her Emaum's memory.[36]

The Tazia, you are to understand, graces the houses of all good
Mussulmauns in India, who are not of the sect called Soonies. This model
of their Emaum's tomb is an object of profound respect. Hindoos, even, on
approaching the shrine, bow their heads with much solemn gravity; I often
fancied they mistook the Tazia for a Bootkhanah[37] (the house of an idol).

It is creditable to the Mussulmauns, that they do not restrict any
profession of people from visiting their assemblies; there is free
admission granted when the Emaum-baarah is first lighted up, until the
hour of performing the service, when strangers, that is the multitude, are
civilly requested to retire. Every one is expected, on entering the
outward verandah, to leave their shoes at the threshold of the
sanctuary;[38] none but Europeans have any occasion to be reminded of this,
as it is a well known and general observance with all degrees of natives
in Asia. The servants, in charge of the Emaum-baarah, are responsible for
the due observance of respect to the place, and when any foreigners are
advancing, they are politely requested to leave their shoes outside; which
must be complied with, or they cannot possibly be admitted.

Some few years since, a party of young gentlemen, from cantonments, had
made up their minds to evade the necessity for removing their boots, on
the occasion of a visit to one of the great men's Emaum-baarahs, at a
Native city; they had provided themselves with white socks, which they
drew over their boots before leaving their palkies. The cheat was
discovered by the servants in attendance, after they had been admitted;
they made a precipitate retreat to avoid the consequences of a
representation to the Resident, by the proprietor of the Emaum-baarah; who,
hearing of the circumstance, made all possible inquiry, without, however,
discovering the names of the gentlemen, who had thus, in his opinion,
violated the sanctuary.

The Natives are aware that the Resident sets the bright example of
conforming to the observances of the people, over whom he is placed as
governor and guardian; and that he very properly discountenances every
attempt of his countrymen to infringe on their rights, prejudices, or
privileges; and they have, to my knowledge, always looked up to him as to
a parent and a friend, from the first to the last day of his exalted
station amongst them. Many a tear marked the regret of the Natives, when
their best, their kindest, earthly friend quitted the city he had blessed
by his presence; and to the latest page of their history, his memory will
doubtless be cherished with sincere veneration and respectful
attachment.[39]

The poor people vie with their rich neighbours, in making a brilliant
light in their little halls containing the Tazia; the very poorest are
liberal in the expenditure of oil and tallow candles--I might say
extravagantly so, but for the purity of their intentions, supposing it to
be a duty--and they certainly manifest their zeal and respect to the
utmost of their power; although many, to my knowledge, live all the year
round on the very coarsest fare, to enable them to show this reverence to
their Emaum's memory.

The ladies assemble, in the evening, round the Tazia they have set up in
their purdahed privacy--female friends, slaves, and servants, surrounding
the mistress of the house, in solemn gravity.

The few females who have been educated are in great request at this season;
they read the Dhie Mudgelluss, and chant the Musseeah with good effect.
These women, being hired for the purpose, are detained during the ten days;
when the Mahurrum ceases, they are dismissed to their own homes, loaded
with the best gifts the good lady their employer can conveniently spare,
commensurate with the services performed. These educated females are
chiefly daughters of poor Syaads, who have not been married for the lack
of a dowry; they live devoutly in the service of God, according to their
faith. They are sometimes required, in the families of the nobility, to
teach the Khoraun to the young ladies, and, in that capacity, they are
called Oustaardie, or more familiarly Artoojee.[40]

As I have mentioned before, the Musseeah narrative of the sufferings at
Kraabaallah is a really pathetic and interesting composition; the work
being conveyed in the language of the country, every word is understood,
and very deeply felt, by the females in all these assemblies, who, having
their hearts softened by the emphatic chantings of the readers, burst into
violent tears and sobbings of the most heart-rending description. As in
the gentlemen's assembly, they conclude with Mortem, in which they
exercise themselves until they are actually exhausted; indeed, many
delicate females injure their health by the violence and energy of their
exertions, which they nevertheless deem a most essential duty to perform,
at all hazards, during the continuance of Mahurrum.

This method of keeping Mahurrum is not in strict obedience to the
Mahumudan laws; in which code may be found prohibitions against all
violent and excessive grief--tearing the hair, or other expressions of
ungovernable sorrow.[41]

I have observed that the Maulvees, Moollahs,[42] and devoutly religious
persons, although mixing with the enthusiasts on these occasions, abstain
from the violent exhibition of sorrows which the uninformed are so prone
to indulge in. The most religious men of that faith feel equal, perhaps
greater sympathy, for the sufferings of the Emaums, than those who are
less acquainted with the precepts of the Khoraun; they commemorate the
Mahurrum without parade or ostentatious display, and apparently wear
mourning on their hearts, with their garb, the full term of forty
days--the common period of mourning for a beloved object; but these
persons never join in Mortem, beating breasts, or other outward show of
sadness, although they are present when it is exercised; but their quiet
grief is evidently more sincere.

I have conversed with many sensible men of the Mussulmaun persuasion on
the subject of celebrating Mahurrum, and from all I can learn, the pompous
display is grown into a habit, by a long residence amongst people, who
make a merit of showy parades at all their festivals. Foreign Mussulmauns
are equally surprised as Europeans, when they visit Hindoostaun, and first
see the Tazia conveyed about in procession, which would be counted
sacrilegious in Persia or Arabia; but here, the ceremony is not complete
without a mixture of pageantry with, the deeply expressed and public
exposure of their grief.[43]

The remarkable plainness of the mosque, contrasted with the superb
decorations of an Emaum-baarah, excited my surprise. I am told by the most
venerable of Syaads, 'The Mosque is devoted only to the service of God,
where it is commanded no worldly attractions or ornaments shall appear, to
draw off the mind, or divert the attention, from that one great object for
which the house of prayer is intended'. An Emaum-baarah is erected for the
purpose of doing honour to the memory of the Emaums, and of late years the
emulative spirit of individuals has been the great inducement to the
display of ornamental decorations.

It is rather from their respect to the Founder of their religion and his
descendants, than any part of their profession of faith, that the
Mussulmaun population of Hindoostaun are guided by in these displays,
which are merely the fashion of other people whom they imitate; and with
far different motives to the weak-minded Hindoos, who exalt their idols,
whilst the former thus testify their respect to worthy mortals only. This
is the explanation I have received from devout Mussulmauns, who direct me
to remark the strong similarity--in habit only, where 'the faith' is not
liable to innovations--between themselves and the Hindoo population;--the
out-of-door celebrations of marriage festivals, for instance, which are so
nearly resembling each other, in the same classes of society, that
scarcely any difference can be discovered by the common observer.

Idolatry is hateful to a Mussulmaun, who acknowledges 'one only true God',
and 'Him alone to be worshipped'.[44] They respect, venerate, love, and
would imitate, their acknowledged Prophet and the Emaums (who succeeded
Mahumud in the mission), but they never worship them, as has been often
imagined. On the contrary, they declare to me that their faith compels
them 'to believe in one God, and that He alone is to be worshipped by the
creature; and that Mahumud is a creature, the Prophet sent by God to make
His will known, and declare His power. That to bow down and worship
Mahumud would be gross idolatry; and, although he is often mentioned in
their prayers, yet he is never prayed to. They believe their Prophet is
sensible of whatever passes amongst his true disciples; and that, in
proportion as they fulfil the commands he was instructed by God to leave
with them, so will they derive benefit from his intercession, on that
great and awful day, when all mankind shall appear before the judgment
seat of God.'


[1] _Imambara_, 'enclosure of the Imam', the place where the
    Muharram rites are performed, as contrasted with Masjid, a mosque, and
    'Idgah, where the service at the 'Id festivals is conducted.

[2] _Ta'ziya_, 'consoling'. The use of these miniature tombs is said to
    date from the time of Amir Taimur (A.D. 1336-1405), who on his
    return from Karbala made a model of Husain's tomb. See a good account
    of them in Sir G. Birdwood, _Sva_, 173 ff.

[3] _Abrak_, tale.

[4] From Karbala, the place of pilgrimage.

[5] _Mardanah_.

[6] _Maqbarah_, 'place of graves'.

[7] _Shatranj[-i]_, a chequered cloth, from _shatrang_, the game of chess.

[8] _Majlis_.

[9] _Mulaqat_.

[10] _Mimbar_, sometimes a wooden structure, sometimes of masonry.

[11] Green is the Sayyid colour (E.W. Lane, _Modern Egyptians_, i. 38).
    But it is an innovation in Islam, and Sayyids in Al-Hijaz, as a
    general rule, do not wear a green turban (Burton, _Pilgrimage_, ii. 4).

[12] The spread hand designates the Sheah sect. There are times when
    holding up the spread hand declares the Sheah, whilst the Soonie is
    distinguished by his holding up three fingers only. In villages, the
    spread hand is marked on the walls where Sheahs reside during Mahurrum.
    [_Author_.]

    [The five spread fingers are regarded as emblematical of the Prophet,
    Fâtimah, 'Ali, Hasan, and Husain. The Sunnis prefer three
    fingers, signifying the first three Caliphs. In its ultimate origin,
    the spread hand is a charm against demons and evil spirits.]

[13] _Maulavi_, a Muhammadan doctor of law, a judge.

[14] From Dhie, ten; Mudgelluss, assembling together for sacred purposes.
    [_Author_.] or [_Dah_, or _Dahha majlis_ denotes the ten days of
    Muharram; see Sir L. Pelly, _The Miracle Play of Hasan and Husain_,
    i. 74.]

[15] Corrupted by Anglo-Indians into _Hobson-Jobson_, the title of Sir H.
    Yule's _Anglo-Indian Glossary_.

[16] _Matam_, 'mourning'.

[17] _Pan_, 'betel leaf'.

[18] Cardamom.

[19] _Dhaniya_ (_Coriandrum sativitm_).

[20] _Huqqah_, 'a water tobacco pipe'.

[21] _Marsiyah_, 'a funeral elegy'.

[22] _Palang_, a more pretentious piece of furniture than the
    _charpai_, or common 'cot'.

[23] _Masnad_, 'a thing leaned on', a pile of cushions; the throne of a
    sovereign.

[24] _Khichar_.

[25] _Khichri_, the 'Kedgeree' of Anglo-Indians.

[26] _Gota_.

[27] Catechu, Hindi _Kath_.

[28] _Batua_.

[29] _Jamdani_, properly a portmanteau for holding clothes
    (_Jama_): a kind of flowered cloth.

[30] _Nath_.

[31] _Joshan_, an ornament worn on the upper arm.

[32] _Pa[~e]jama_, 'leg clothing', drawers.

[33] _Dopatta_, a sheet made of two breadths of cloth.

[34] Amongst the Muhammadans the proportion of widows has declined
    steadily since 1881, and is now only 143 per mille compared with 170
    in that year. It would seem that the prejudices against
    widow-marriages are gradually becoming weaker.--_Report Census of
    India_, 1911, i. 273.

[35] [~A]y[~a], from Portuguese _aia_, 'a nurse'.

[36] After much, entreaty, this humble zealot was induced to take a sweet
    lime, occasionally, to cool her poor parched mouth. She survived the
    trial, and lived many years to repeat her practised abstinence at the
    return of Mahurrum. [_Author_.]

[37] _Butkhanah_.

[38] This was a primitive Semitic taboo (Exodus iii. 5; Joshua v. 15, &c.).
    The reason of this prohibition is that shoes could not be easily
    washed.--W.R. Smith, _Religion of the Semites_[2], 453.

[39] Mordaunt Ricketts was Resident at Lucknow between 1821 and 1830, when
    he was 'superannuated' owing to financial scandals, for the details of
    which see Sir G. Trevelyan, _Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay_, cap.
    x; H.G. Keene, _Here and There_, 10; on November 1, 1824, he was
    married at Lucknow by Bishop Heber to the widow of George Ravenscroft,
    the civilian who was Collector of Cawnpore, and there embezzled large
    sums of money, the property of Government. He fled with his wife and
    child to Bhinga in Oudh, where, on May 6, 1823, he was murdered by
    Dacoits. The strange story is well told by Sleeman, _A Journey through
    the Kingdom of Oudh_, i. 112 ff.

[40] Persian _ustad, ustadji_, 'an instructor'.

[41] Lamentation for the dead was strictly prohibited by the Prophet; but,
    like all orientals, the Indian Musalmans indulge in it.
    (_Mishkat_, i, chap, vii.)

[42] _Mulla_, the Persian form of Maulavi, 'a doctor of law'.

[43] It is a mistake to suppose that the procession of the Ta'ziya or
    Tabut is peculiar to India. It is practised in Persia and Egypt.

[44] The Prophet was obliged to make some compromise with idolatry, as in
    the case of the Black Stone at Mecca. But he protested against idols
    in one of the earliest Suurahs of the Koraan (lii 35-43), and in
    other passages.



LETTER III

  Continuation of Mahurrum.--Consecration of Banners.--Durgah at
  Lucknow.--Its origin explained.--Regarded with peculiar
  veneration.--The Nuwaub vows to build a new one.--Its
  description.--Procession to the Durgah.--Najoomies.--Influence
  possessed and practised by them.--Eunuchs.--Anecdotes of some having
  attained great honours and wealth.--Presents bestowed upon them
  generally revert to the donor.--Rich attire of male and female slaves.


After the Tazia is brought home (as the temporary ones are from the bazaar
on the eve of Mahurrum, attended by a ceremonious display of persons,
music, flags, flambeaux, &c.), there is little to remark of out-door
parade beyond the continual activity of the multitude making the sacred
visits to their several Emaum-baarahs, until the fifth day, when the
banners are conveyed from each of them in solemn procession, to be
consecrated at the Durgah[1] (literally translated, 'The threshold' or
'Entrance to a sanctified place').

This custom is perhaps exclusively observed by the inhabitants of Lucknow,
where I have had the privilege of acquiring a knowledge of the motives
which guide most of their proceedings; and as there is a story attached to
the Durgah, not generally known to European visitors, I propose relating
it here, as it particularly tends to explain the reasons for the
Mussulmauns conveying their banners for consecration to that celebrated
shrine.

'A native of India--I forget his name--remarkable for his devotion and
holy life, undertook the pilgrimage to Mecca; whilst engaged in these
duties at the "holy house", he was visited with a prophetic dream. Abass
Ali (the standard-bearer and relation of Hosein) appeared to him in his
dream, commanding him, that as soon as his duties at Mecca were fulfilled
he should, without delay, proceed to Kraabaallah, to the tomb of Hosein;
directing him, with great precision, how he was to find the exact spot of
earth where was deposited the very Allum[2] (banner) of Hosein, which he
(Abass Ali) had, on the great day of Kraabaallah, carried to the field.
The man was further instructed to possess himself of this relic secretly,
and convey it about his person until he should reach his native country,
when he would be more fully directed by the orderings of Providence how
the relic should be disposed of.

'The Hadjee followed all the injunctions he had received punctually; the
exact spot was easily discovered, by the impressions from his dream; and,
fearing the jealousy of the Arabs, he used the utmost precaution, working
by night, to secure to himself the possession of so inestimable a prize,
without exciting their suspicion, or attracting the notice of the numerous
pilgrims who thronged the shrine by day. After several nights of severe
labour he discovered, to his great joy, the metal crest of the banner; and
concluding the banner and staff to have mouldered away, from their having
been so long entombed in the earth, he cautiously secreted the crest about
his person, and after enduring the many vicissitudes and privations,
attendant on the long journey from Arabia to India, he finally succeeded
in reaching Lucknow in safety with his prize.

'The Nuwaub Asof ood Duolah[3] ruled at this period in Oude; the pilgrim
made his adventures known to him, narrating his dream, and the
circumstances which led to his gaining possession of the crest. The Nuwaub
gave full credence to his story, and became the holder of the relic
himself, rewarding the Hadjee handsomely for his trouble, and gave
immediate orders for a small building to be erected under the denomination
of "Huzerut Abass Ali Ke Durgah",[4] in which the crest was safely
deposited with due honours, and the fortunate pilgrim was appointed
guardian with a liberal salary.

'In the course of time, this Durgah grew into great repute amongst the
general classes of the Mussulmaun population, who, venerating their Emaum
Hosein, had more than common respect for this trifle, which they believed
had been used in his personal service. Here the public were permitted to
offer their sacrifices and oblations to God, on occasions of importance to
themselves; as after the performance of the rite of circumcision in
particular, grand processions were formed conveying the youthful
Mussulmaun, richly attired, attended by music, &c. and offering presents
of money and sweetmeats at the shrine which contains their Emaum's sacred
relic. On these occasions the beggars of every denomination were benefited
by the liberality of the grateful father, and the offerings at the shrine
became the property of the guardian of the Durgah, who, it was expected,
would deal out from his receipts to the necessitous as occasions served.'

This custom is still observed, with equal veneration for the shrine and
its deposit; and when a lady recovers from the perils attendant on giving
to her husband's house a desired heir, she is conveyed, with all the pomp
and parade due to her rank in life, to this Durgah, attended by her female
relatives, friends, domestics, eunuchs, and slaves, in covered conveyances;
in her train are gentlemen on horseback, in palkies, or on elephants, to
do honour to the joyful event; the Guardian's wife having charge on these
occasions of the ladies' visits; and the Guardian, with the gentlemen and
all the males, guarding the sanctuary outside; for they are not permitted
to enter whilst it is occupied by the ladies, the eunuchs alone having
that privilege where females congregate.

Recovery from sickness, preservation from any grievous calamity, danger,
or other event which excites grateful feelings, are the usual inducements
to visiting the Durgah, with both males and females, amongst the
Mussulmaun population of Lucknow. These recurrences yield ample stores of
cash, clothes, &c. left at the disposal of the Guardian, who, if a good
man, disperses these charitable donations amongst the indigent with a
liberality equal to that of the donors in their various offerings.

The Durgah had grown into general respect, when a certain reigning Nuwaub
was afflicted by a severe and tedious illness, which baffled the skill of
his physicians, and resisted the power of the medicine resorted to for his
recovery. A confidential Najoom[5] (astrologer), in the service of his
Highness, of great repute in his profession, advised his master to make a
vow, that 'If in the wisdom of Divine Providence his health should be
restored, he would build a new Durgah on the site of the old one, to be
dedicated to Abass Ali, and to be the shrine for the sacred deposit of the
crest of Hosein'. The Nuwaub, it appears, recovered rapidly after the vow
had been made, and he went in great pomp and state to return thanks to God
in this Durgah, surrounded by the nobles and officers of his Court, and
the whole strength of his establishment accompanied him on the occasion.
So grand was the spectacle, that the old people of the city talk of it at
this day as a scene never equalled in the annals of Lucknow, for splendour
and magnificence; immense sums of money were distributed on the road to
the populace, and at the Durgah; the multitude, of all classes, hailing
his emancipation from the couch of sickness with deafening cheers of
vociferous exultation.

In fulfilment of his vow, the Nuwaub gave immediate orders for erecting
the magnificent edifice, which now graces the suburbs of Lucknow, about
five miles from that part of the city usually occupied by the Sovereign
Ruler of the province of Oude. By virtue of the Nuwaub's vow and recovery,
the before-respected Durgah has, thus newly built, increased in favour
with the public; and, on account of the veneration they have for all that
concerns their Emaums, the banners which adorn the Tazias of Hosein must
be consecrated by being brought to this sacred edifice; where, by the
condescending permission of the Sovereign, both the rich and the poor are
with equal favour admitted, at that interesting period of Mahurrum, to
view the crest of their Leader, and present their own banners to be
touched and thus hallowed by the, to them, sacred relic. The crest is
fixed to a staff, but no banner attached to it; this is placed within a
high railing, supported by a platform, in the centre of the building; on
either side splendid banners are exhibited on these occasions.

The Durgah is a square building, entered by flights of steps from the
court-yard; the banner of each person is conveyed through the right
entrance, opposite the platform, where it is immediately presented to
touch the revered crest; this is only the work of a few seconds; that
party walks on, and moves out to the left again into the court-yard; the
next follows in rapid succession, and so on till all have performed this
duty: by this arrangement, confusion is obviated; and, in the course of
the day, perhaps forty or fifty thousand banners[6] may have touched the
Emaum's consecrated crest. On these occasions, the vast population of
Lucknow may be imagined by the almost countless multitude, of every rank,
who visit this Durgah: there is no tax levied on the people, but the sums
collected must be immense, since every one conscientiously offers
something, according to his inclination or his means, out of pure respect
to the memory of Hosein.

The order of procession, appointed by each noble proprietor of banners, to
be consecrated at the Durgah, forms a grand spectacle. There is no
material difference in their countless numbers; the most wealthy and the
meanest subjects of the province make displays commensurate with their
ability, whilst those persons who make the most costly exhibitions enjoy
the greatest share of popular favour, as it is considered a proof of their
desire to do honour to the memory of Hosein and Hasan, their venerated
Emaums.

A description of one, just passing my house, will give you a general idea
of these processions,--it belongs to a rich man of the city:--A guard of
soldiers surrounds four elephants on which several men are seated, on pads
or cushions, supporting the banners; the staffs of several are of
silver,--the spread hand, and other crests, are formed of the same metal,
set with precious stones. Each banner--they all resemble--is in the shape
of a long scarf of rich silk, of bright florid colours, embroidered very
deep at the ends, which are finished with gold and silver bullion fringes;
it is caught together near the middle, and tied with rich gold and silver
cords and tassels to the top of the staff, just under the hand or crest.
The silks, I observe, are of many different colours, forming an agreeable
variety, some blue, purple, green, yellow, &c. Red is not used; being the
Soonies' distinguishing colour at Mahurrum it is carefully avoided by the
zealous Sheahs--the Soonies are violently opposed to the celebration of
this festival. After the elephants, a band of music follows, composed of
every variety of Native instruments, with drums and fifes; the trumpets
strike me as the greatest novelty in their band; some of them are very
long and powerful in their effect.

Next in the order of procession I observe a man in deep mourning,
supporting a black pole, on which two swords are suspended from a bow
reversed--the swords unsheathed glittering in the sun. The person who owns
the banners, or his deputy, follows next on foot, attended by readers of
the Musseeah, and a large party of friends in mourning. The readers select
such passages as are particularly applicable to the part Abass Ali took in
the affair at Kraabaallah, which is chanted at intervals, the procession
pausing for that purpose.

Then comes Dhull Dhull,[7]--the name of Hosein's horse at
Kraabaallah;--that selected for the present purpose is a handsome white
Arab, caparisoned according to the olden style of Arabia: due care is
taken to represent the probable sufferings of both animal and rider, by
the bloody horsecloth--the red-stained legs--and the arrows apparently
sticking in several parts of his body; on the saddle is fixed a turban in
the Arabian style, with the bow and arrows;--the bridle, &c. are of very
rich embroidery; the stirrups and mountings of solid silver. The horse and
all its attire are given after Mahurrum, in charity, to a poor Syaad.
Footmen, with the afthaadah[8] and chowrie[9]--peculiar emblems of royalty
in India--attend Dhull Dhull. The friends of the family walk near the
horse; then servants of all classes, to fill up the parade, and many
foot-soldiers, who occasionally fire singly, giving to the whole
description a military effect.

I have seen many other processions on these fifth days of Mahurrum--they
all partake of one style,--some more splendid than others; and the very
poor people parade their banners, with, perhaps, no other accompaniment
than a single drum and fife, and the owner supporting his own banner.

My next letter will contain the procession of Mayndhie, which forms a
grand feature of Mahurrum display on the seventh night.

P.S.--The Najoomee are men generally with some learning, who, for their
supposed skill in astrology, have, in all ages since Mahumud's death, been
more or less courted and venerated by the Mussulmaun people;--I should say,
with those who have not the fear of God stronger in their hearts than the
love of the world and its vanities;--the really religious people
discountenance the whole system and pretended art of the astrologer.

It is wonderful the influence a Najoom acquires in the houses of many
great men in India;--wherever one of these idlers is entertained he is the
oracle to be consulted on all occasions, whether the required solution be
of the utmost importance, or the merest trifling subject. I know those who
submit, with a childlike docility, to the Najoom's opinion, when their
better reason, if allowed to sway, would decide against the astrologer's
prediction. If Najoom says it is not proper for Nuwaub Sahib, or his Begum,
to eat, to drink, to sleep, to take medicine, to go from home, to give
away or accept a gift, or any other action which human reason is the best
guide to decide upon, Najoom has said it,--and Najoom must be right.
Najoom can make peace or war, in the family he overrules, at his pleasure;
and many are the houses divided against themselves by the wicked influence
of a bad man, thus exercising his crafty wiles over the weakness of his
credulous master.--So much for Najoomee; and now for my second notice of
the Eunuchs:--[10]

They are in great request among the highest order of people, and from
their long sojourn in a family, this class of beings are generally
faithfully attached to the interest and welfare of their employer; they
are much in the confidence of their master and mistress, and very seldom
betray their trust. Being frequently purchased, whilst children, from the
base wretches who have stolen them in infancy from the parental roof, they
often grow up to a good old age with the family by whom they are adopted;
they enjoy many privileges denied to other classes of slaves;--are
admitted at all hours and seasons to the zeenahnahs; and often, by the
liberality of their patrons, become rich and honourable;--still 'he is but
a slave', and when he dies, his property reverts to his owner.

In Oude there have been many instances of Eunuchs arriving to great honour,
distinctions, and vast possessions. Al Mauss Ali Khaun[11] was of the
number, within the recollection of many who survive him; he was the
favoured Eunuch of the House of Oude; a person of great attainments, and
gifted with a remarkably superior mind, he was appointed Collector over an
immense tract of country, by the then reigning Nuwaub, whose councils he
benefited by his great judgment. He lived to a good old age, in the
unlimited confidence of his prince, and enjoyed the good will and
affection of all who could appreciate what is valuable in honest integrity.
He died as he had lived, in the most perfect resignation to whatever was
the will of God, in whose mercy he trusted through time, and for eternity.
Many of the old inhabitants speak of him with veneration and respect,
declaring he was the perfect pattern for good Mussulmauns to imitate.

Another remarkable Eunuch, Affrine Khaun,[12] of the Court of Oude, is
well remembered in the present generation also,--the poor having lost a
kind benefactor, and the rich a sensible companion, by his death. His vast
property he had willed to others than the sovereign ruler of Oude (whose
property he actually was), who sent, as is usual in these cases, to take
possession of his estate, immediately after his death; the gates were
barred, and the heirs the Eunuch had chosen to his immense wealth had
taken possession; which I am not aware was disputed afterwards by the
reigning Nuwaub, although by right of the Mussulmaun law, the Nuwaub owned
both the slave and the slave's wealth.

This accounts, perhaps, for the common practice in the higher circles of
the Mussulmaun population, of heaping ornaments and riches on favourite
slaves; the wealth thus expended at one time, is but a loan in the hands
of safe keepers, to revert again to the original proprietor whenever
required by the master, or no longer of service to the slave, who has
neither power to bestow, nor heirs to benefit from the property he may
leave when he dies.

I have frequently observed, among the most exalted ladies, that their
female slaves are very often superbly dressed; and, on occasions of
marriage ceremonies, or other scenes of festivity, they seem proud of
taking them in their suite, handsomely dressed, and richly adorned with
the precious metals, in armlets, bangles, chains, &c.; the lady thus
adding to her own consequence by the display of her attendant slaves. The
same may be observed with regard to gentlemen, who have men-slaves
attending them, and who are very frequently attired in costly dresses,
expensive shawls, and gold ornaments.


[1] _Dargah_, '(sacred) door-place'.

[2] '_Alam_. For illustrations of those banners see Hughes,
    _Dictionary of Islam_, 408 ff.; Mrs. Parks, _Wanderings of a
    Pilgrim_, ii. 18.

[3] Asaf-ud-daula, eldest son of Nawab Shuja'-ud-daula, on whose
    death in 1775 he succeeded. He changed the seat of government
    from Faizabad to Lucknow, where he died in 1797, and was
    buried in the Imambara. He is principally remembered for
    his liberality. The merchants, on opening their shops, used to
    sing:

      _Jisko na de Maula,
      Tisko de Asaf-ud-daula_.
      Who from Heaven nought receiveth,
      To him Asaf-ud-daula giveth.

[4] Mr. H.C. Irwin informs me that the Dargah is situated on the
    Crommelin Road, rather more than a mile south-west of the
    Machhi Bhawan fort. It was here that Nawab Sa'adat
    'Al'i, on his accession, vowed that he would reform his
    ways--an intention which was not realized.

[5] _Nujumi_, 'an astrologer'; '_ilm-i-nujum_, 'astrology,
    astronomy'.

[6] The numbers are greatly exaggerated.

[7] Duldul was the name of the Prophet's mule which he gave to
    'Ali. It is often confounded with Buraq, the
    Assyrian-looking gryphon on which he alleged that he flew to
    Mecca.

[8] _Aftabgir_, 'a sun-screen'; see p. 47.

[9] _Chaunri_, the bushy tail of the yak, used as a fly-flapper.

[10] Writing in 1849, General Sleeman remarks that Dom singers and eunuchs
    are the virtual rulers of Oudh.--_A Journey through Oudh_, i, introd.
    lxi, 178.

[11] Almas ['the diamond'] 'Ali Khan, known as Miyan ['Master']
    Almas, according to General Sleeman, was 'the greatest and best man
    of any note that Oude has produced. He held for about forty years
    Miyanganj and other districts, yielding to the Oude  Government an
    annual revenue of more than eighty lacs of rupees [about £850,000].
    During this time he kept the people secure in life and property, and
    as happy as people in such a state of society can be; and the whole
    country under his charge was during his lifetime a garden. He lived
    here in great magnificence, and was often visited by his sovereign.'
    (Ibid., i. 320 f.). Lord Valentia more than once speaks highly of him
    (_Travels_, i. 136, 241). He also notes that the Nawab was
    anxiously watching for his death, because, being a slave, under
    Muhammadan law his estates reverted to the Crown.--See N.B.E. Baillie,
    _Digest of Moohummudan Law_ (1875), 367 f.

[12] Afrin Khan, 'lord of praise', Mr. Irwin informs me, is
    mentioned in the _Tarikh Farahbakhsh_ (tr. W. Hoey, 129) as
    engaged in negotiations when Nawab Asaf-ud-daula, at the
    instigation of Warren Hastings and Haidar Beg, was attempting to
    extort money from the Nawab Begam.



LETTER IV

  Mahurrum concluded.--Night of Mayndhie.--Emaum-baarah of the King of
  Oude.--Procession to Shaah Nudghiff.--Last day of Mahurrum.--Chattahs.
  --Musical instruments.--Zeal of the Native gentlemen.--Funeral
  obsequies over the Tazia at Kraabaallah.--Sentiments of devout
  Mussulmauns.--The fast followed by acts of charity.--Remarks on the
  observance of Mahurrum.


The public display on the seventh Mahurrum is by torch-light, and called
the night of Mayndhie,[1] intending to represent the marriage ceremony for
Cossum, who, it will be remembered, in the sketch of the events of
Kraabaallah, was married to his cousin Sakeena Koobraah, the favourite
daughter of Hosein, on the morning of the celebrated battle.

This night presents to the public all the outward and showy parade which
marks the Mayndhie procession of a real wedding ceremony, of which I
propose speaking further in another place. This display at Mahurrum is
attended with considerable expense; consequently, the very rich only
observe the out-door formalities to be exhibited on this occasion; yet all
classes, according to their means, remember the event, and celebrate it at
home.

The Mayndhie procession of one great personage, in Native cities, is
directed--by previous arrangement--to the Emaum-baarah of a superior. I
was present, on one occasion, when the Mayndhie of the Prime Minister of
Oude was sent to the King's Emaum-baarah, called Shaah Nudghiff,[2]--from
the mausoleum of Ali, of which it is an exact representation, on a small
scale.

It is situated near the banks of the river Goomtie,[3] some distance from
the palace at Lucknow; the entrance to the outer court, or quadrangle, is
by a handsome gateway of brickwork plastered and polished, resembling
marble. On each side of the gateway, and carried up the two sides, in a
line with the building, are distinct apartments, designed for the abode of
the distressed and houseless poor; the back of these apartments forms a
substantial wall or enclosure. The Shaah Nudghiff faces the gateway, and
appears to be a square building, on a broad base of flights of steps, with
a cupola roof; the interior is paved with black and white marble
tesselated, the walls and dome neatly ornamented with plaster and gold in
relief, the beading, cornices, &c. of gold, to correspond on a
stone-colour ground. The cupola and cornices on the outside are richly
ornamented with plaster designs, relieved with gold; on the summit of the
dome is placed a crown, of pure silver, gilt, of an immense size.

The decorations of the interior, for the season of Mahurrum, were on a
scale of grandeur not easily to be conveyed by description. The walls were
well covered with handsome glasses and mirrors; the splendid
chandeliers,--one containing a hundred wax lights,--in every variety, and
relieved with coloured lamps--amber, blue, and green,--mellowing the light,
and giving a fairy-like effect to the brilliant scene. In the centre of
the building stood the green glass Tazia, surrounded by wax lights; on
the right of which was placed an immense lion, and on the left, a fish,[4]
both formed of the same bright emerald-green glass as the Tazia. The
richness and elegance of the banners,--which were numerous and well
arranged,--could be equalled only by the costliness of their several
mountings.

In Asiatic buildings niches and recesses prevail in all convenient
situations, and here they are appropriated for the reception of the relics
of antiquity and curiosities; such as models of Mecca, the tent of Hosein,
the gate of Kraabaallah, &c.; these three are made of pure silver, and
rest on tables of the same metal. Many curious sabres, of all ages,
shields, chain armour of the ancients, lances, &c., arranged with much
taste, adorn the interior.

The pulpit (mhembur) is of silver, and of very handsome workmanship; the
whole of the fitting up and arrangements had been made under the eye of
his Majesty, and to his good taste may be ascribed all the merit of the
well-ordered display for these occasions. He delighted in visiting this
place, which he not only designed as a tribute of his respect to the
Emaums, but as the future repository for his own remains, when this world
should cease to be his place of joy, or anxious care. His intention has
been fulfilled--he died in 1827, aged fifty years, much and justly beloved
and regretted by all who knew him; his funeral obsequies were impressively
grand, according to Mussulmaun custom. This good and amiable King was
succeeded by his only son Nusseer ood deen Hyder,[5] who had just
completed his twenty-second year when he began to reign.

On the evening of Mayndhie, the crowds of admiring people were admitted to
view their Paidshah's (King's) exhibition; until the distant sounds of
musketry announced the approach of the spectacle, when the multitude were
desired to quit the Emaum-baarah. Hundreds still lingering, could not be
prevailed on to depart, except by the stripes dealt out unsparingly from
the whips of the hurkaarahs[6] and peons, appointed to keep order on the
occasion. The place cleared, and quiet restored, I had leisure to view the
fairy-like palace of splendour, before the bustle of the procession
reached the building. I could hardly persuade myself the picture before me
was not a dream, instead of a reality.

I stood at the entrance to watch the approach of the minister's train,
through the gateway into the illuminated quadrangle. Spacious as this
court-yard is, it was nearly filled with the many people forming the
Mayndhie parade. I should imagine there could not be less than three
thousand souls engaged in this service, including the match-lock soldiery.
Several trays of Mayndhie are brought, with the other requisites for the
usual forms of marriage gifts, such as sweetmeats, dried fruits, garlands
of sweet jasmine, imitative beds of flowers, composed of uberuck: in some
of the flowers, fireworks were concealed, to be let off in the quadrangle.
An imitative tomb on a bier is also paraded, together with the palkie and
chundole of silver, which are the covered conveyances for females of the
royal family, or such of the nobility as are privileged by grants from the
crown; all other females use the covered palkie, mahanah, dhollee, and the
rutt.[7] Several bands of music follow, and torches out of number. The
elephants, camels, cavalry, &c., are left in the open space, outside the
gateway--the gentlemen, dismounting, enter with Dhull Dhull and the trays
of Mayndhie.

I trembled for the probable destruction of the brilliant ornaments in the
Emaum-baarah, when I heard the noble animal was to make the circuit round
the Tazia. Dhull Dhull, being led in, went up the steps with little
difficulty; and to my astonishment, the gentle creature paced the
tesselated floor, in very slow time, without once slipping, or seeming
concerned at the novelty of his situation; indeed, this docile animal
seemed to me the only living thing present that felt no interest in the
scene--rendered more attractive and conspicuous by the gentle manners of
the pretty Dhull Dhull himself. The circuit being made, he was conducted
back into the court-yard, without the slightest accident or confusion
occurring during his visit to the Emaum-baarah.

The model of the tomb of Cossum, the chundole and palkie, the trays of
Mayndhie, sweetmeats, &c. were deposited here until the tenth day, when
they accompany the King's temporary Tazia cavalcade to Kraabaallah for
interment.

The ceremonies performed on this night of Mayndhie resemble, in every
particular, those of the same rank of persons on the actual solemnization
of a wedding, even to the distribution of money amongst the populace who
crowd in multitudes on such occasions, though apparently more eager for
the prize than the sight.

The most imposing spectacle in the celebration of Mahurrum, is reserved
for the last day;[8] and, judging from the activity of all classes, the
zealous exertions of the multitude, the deep interest marked on every face,
male and female, a mere spectator might well imagine this morning to be of
more importance than any other in the Mussulmaun's catalogue of days.

At the earliest hour of the dawning day, the preparations for the march
being complete,--which had occupied the hours usually devoted to
sleep,--the streets and roads present a very animated picture. From the
bustle and outpouring of the multitude, on this one absorbing engagement,
a stranger might be led back in imagination to the flight from Egypt; the
object, however, is very different from that of the children of Israel.
The order of the day being to commemorate the death of Hosein, a grand
military funeral is pourtrayed in each person's cavalcade, all pressing
forward to their chosen Kraabaallah,--the poor man, with his humble Tazia
and flags, falling in the rear of the more affluent person's display, as
well for protection as for speed. There is so much of similarity in these
processions, that the description of one will be sufficient to convey the
idea of the whole, as they pass on in succession to the chosen place of
burial.[9]

The consecrated banners take the precedence, in the order of march,
carried by men on elephants; then a band of music. Next comes the
jillewdhar[10] (sword-bearer), supporting, on a black staff, the bow
reversed, with brilliant swords suspended; on each side of him are men
bearing black poles, on which are fixed immense long streamers of black
unspun silk,--designed to symbolize grief, despair, &c.

Then follows the horse, caparisoned as on the day of consecrating the
banners; it is attended by servants, in the same order as when a prince
rides out,--viz. a man with the afthaadah[11] (or sun),--the well-dressed
grooms, holding the bridle rein on either side,--a man with the chowrie of
peacock's feathers in a silver handle,--chobdhaahs[12] with long silver
and gold staffs,--sota badhaahs,[13] with short staffs resembling fish, of
the same materials,--hurkaarahs (running-footmen, or messengers), bearing
small triangular banners with silver handles,--shoe-bearers, &c.

The royal chattah[14] (umbrella), of embroidered velvet, is supported over
the head of Dhull Dhull. This article in its plain garb, so generally used
in Europe, is, in Hindoostaun, an original distinguishing mark of royalty,
gracing the King's throne in lieu of a canopy. In Oude, the chattah cannot
be used by the subject when in view of the sovereign; if the King's
dunkah[15] be heard abroad, the people hide their chattahs, and even
descend from their carriages, elephants, horses, or palkies, standing with
their hands folded, in all humility, to make obeisance to the
King,--resuming them only when the royal cortège has moved out of sight. I
have known many of the first nobility in the Court of Oude, and English
gentlemen in the King's suite, exposed to the rays of the morning sun,
during the hottest season of the year; in these airings, the King alone
has the benefit of a chattah, except the Resident happens to be of the
party, who being always received as an equal, is privileged to the chattah,
the chowrie, and the hookha; indulgences of which those only who have
lived in India can possibly estimate the true value.

But to my subject:--The saddle is adorned with Hosein's chain armour, gold
turban, a richly set sword, with an embroidered belt: some of the family
and friends attend respectfully near the horse. Then follow the bearers of
incense, in gold censers, suspended to chains, which they wave about,
fumigating the air with the refreshing smell of lahbaun,[16]--a
sweet-scented resin from the cedar of Lebanon, I imagine, though some
suppose it to be the frankincense noticed in Scripture.

Next in the cavalcade is a chanter or reader of the Musseeah, who selects
passages from that well-arranged work suited to the time when Hosein's
person was the mark for Yuzeed's arrows, and which describe his conduct on
the trying occasion; one or two couplets being chanted, the procession
advances in slow time, halting every five minutes on the way from the
beginning to the end of the march. The reader is attended by the
proprietor of the Tazia display, and his many relatives and friends,
bare-footed, and without any covering on their heads;--many of these
persons throw chaff on their heads,[17] expressive of grief, and whilst
the Musseeah is chanted, their boisterous expressions of sorrow are
painfully severe to the mere observer of the scene.

The Tazia then follows, surrounded by banners, and covered with a canopy
upheld by silver poles in the hands of the supporters, according to the
general style of conveying their dead at the funerals of the Mussulmauns.
The canopy is of green, bordered and embroidered with gold. The model of
Cossum's tomb follows in succession, which is covered with gold cloth, and
has a canopy also supported over it, in the same way, by poles carried by
several men. The palkie and chundole of silver and tissue are next seen;
the trays of Mayndhie, the flowers of uberuck, and the other paraphernalia
of the marriage ceremony, follow in due order. Then the camels and
elephants, conveying the tent equipage and luggage of Hosein, form a long
train, representing the supposed style of his march from Medina to
Kraabaallah.

The last and most judicious feature in the arrangement is the several
elephants with confidential servants, distributing bread and money to the
poor, who are thus attracted to the rear in countless numbers, leaving the
cavalcade in quiet possession of the space of roadway uncrowded by the
multitude. The bread given on these occasions is in great esteem amongst
the females, who receive a small portion from the followers on their
return from Kraabaallah with veneration, for the Emaum's sake, in whose
name it is given. I have often been led to the remembrance of past times
by this act of theirs, when the cross-buns of Good-Friday were esteemed by
the aged women as possessing virtues beyond the mere substance of the cake.

The whole line of march is guarded in each procession by burkhandhars[18]
(matchlock men), who fire singly, at intervals on the way. Several bands
of music are dispersed in the cavalcade, performing solemn dirge-like airs,
peculiar to the style of composition in Hindoostaun and well-suited to the
occasion--muffled drums and shrill trumpets, imitating the reiteration of
'Hasan, Hosein', when Mortem is performed. I remember a fine female
elephant, belonging to King Ghauzee ood deen Hyder, which had been so well
instructed, as to keep time with the soundings from her proboscis with the
occasional Mortems. I cannot say that she clearly pronounced the names of
the two sons of Ali, yet the regularity of keeping time with the music and
the human voices was of itself sufficient to excite admiration--the
Natives declare that she pronounces the names distinctly. Her name is
Hoseinie, the feminine of Hosein.

Amongst the many varieties of Native musical instruments I have seen in
India, the kettle-drum is the most simple and singular, which I will take
the liberty of describing:--It is of well-baked earth, moulded in the
usual way, and very similar in shape to those of the Royal Horse Guards. A
globe of the common size, divided into exact halves, would be about the
dimension and shape of a pair of Indian manufacture; the parchment is
strained over the open mouth, with a thin hoop to fix it firm; the
slightest pressure with the fingers on this hoop draws it into tune. The
simplicity of this accompaniment to the human voice, when touched by the
fingers, very much in the way Europeans use the tambourine, is only to be
appreciated by those who have been long acquainted with the sound. The
only time when it is beaten with sticks is, when used as dunkahs, before
the King and Queen, on their appearing in public--a sort of alarum to warn
obstructing hackeries, or carriages, to move out of the way.

I have occasionally observed a singular mode of imitating the sound of
cavalry going over hard ground, adopted in the processions of great men on
the tenth of Mahurrum; the contrivance is called chuckee,[19] and composed
of ebony, or some equally hard wood, the shape and size of a pocket globe,
divided into halves; each person, having the pair, beats them with a
particular tact on the flat surface, so as to produce the desired sound of
horses galloping; and where from fifty to a hundred men, or more, are
engaged in this performance, the resemblance may be easily conceived.

There are many little observances, not of sufficient importance to make
them general to all who keep Mahurrum, that need not here be
detailed;--but one must not be omitted, as it is a feature in the domestic
observances of Mussulmauns. On the Tazias, when about to be conveyed to
Kraabaallah, I discovered small portions of corn, rice, bread, fruits,
flowers, cups of water, &c.;--this is in keeping with the Mussulmaun
funerals, who invariably convey food to the tomb with their dead.[1] For
the same reason, at Mahurrum, camphor and rosewater are always carried
with the Tazia to Kraabaallah, although there is not the same occasion for
the articles, as will be observed when the burial service is explained.

I have seen females of rank, with their own hands, place red and green wax
lights in front of the Tazia in their halls, on the night of Mayndhie. I
was told, in answer to my inquiry, What was meant by the solemn process I
had witnessed?--that these ladies had some petition to make, for which
they sought the Emaum's intercession at the throne of mercy. The red light
was for Hosein, who died in battle; the green for Hasan, who died by
poison,--which these colours symbolize; and that those females place great
dependance on the fulfilment of their desires, who thus present to their
Emaums the wax lights on the night of Mayndhie.

I have remarked that the noblemen and gentlemen generally engaged in the
service of celebrating Mahurrum, walk on the tenth morning with their
heads bare and their feet uncovered from their homes to the burial
ground[2] called Kraabaallah, whatever may be the distance,--perhaps four
or five miles,--exposed to the fiery rays of the sun: some persons, who on
this occasion are very scrupulous in thus humbling their nature, walk back
again in the same manner, after the funeral ceremony has been duly gone
through at Kraabaallah. The magnitude of this undertaking can be only well
understood by those who have experienced the state of an atmosphere in the
shady rooms of a large house, when the thermometer ranges from eighty-four
to eighty-eight, or even ninety degrees; and when, if you venture to the
verandah for a few seconds, the flames of heated wind are not only
insupportable to Europeans, but frequently produce severe attacks of fever.
The luxurious habits of the Eastern great men may be well recollected when
counting over the proofs of zeal exhibited in this undertaking, where
every selfish consideration for the time is banished. The nobility (or
indeed any one who lays the slightest claim to gentility) never walk from
one house to another during their lives, but at this particular season;
even in their gardens indulging in whatever luxury they may boast, by
being conveyed round in their palkie, or thonjaun[22]--a chair with poles,
supported by bearers. On the tenth day, the good Mussulmauns rigidly fast
until after the third watch; not even a drop of water, or the hookha,
enters their mouths;--as they believe Hosein's sufferings only concluded
just before the third watch, they cautiously abstain from indulgences,
until that hour has passed.

The procession having reached Kraabaallah, the whole ceremony of a funeral
is gone through. The Tazia is committed to the grave with equal solemnity
to that which is observed when their dead are deposited in the tomb: this
occupies some time. I never witnessed the movements at Kraabaallah,--the
season of the year, the confusion, and the anticipated feuds between
Sheahs and Soonies, ever deterred me from gratifying my curiosity. It is
always expected that the bad feelings between the two sects, amongst the
lower orders of the people, may produce a real battle on the imitative
ground of Kraabaallah; and I have heard of many such terminations of the
Mahurrum at Lucknow, where the enthusiastic Sheahs and Soonies--having
reserved their long hatred for a favourable opportunity of giving it
vent,[23]--have found an early grave on the very ground to which their
Tazia has been consigned. Private quarrels are often reserved for decision
on the field of Kraabaallah.

I may here remark, swords form a part of every man's daily costume, from
the king to the poorest peasant; save only the devout men, who having
forsaken the world have no occasion for a sword. I have often heard them
say, 'My trust is not resting on a morsel of steel, but on the great mercy
of my God'.--'What shall I defend? my life? Where is the arm that can
assault me without the permission of my God; if He ordains it, should I
murmur, or ward off the blow?'--'Is it my worldly goods I am to defend?
From whose bounty have I received them? Is not the great Giver able to
defend His gifts? and if He wills that I should lose them, what shall I
say, but as Yoube[24] (Job) said, "It is the Lord, to do His own will";
blessed be His great name for ever.' These are the sentiments of the
devout men of all creeds; and these are likewise the exemplary opinions of
some good Mussulmauns I have known in India.

Returned to their home, the rich men are occupied in dispensing benefits
among the poor. Food, money, and clothes, are distributed in nearly as
great proportions as when they have to mourn over a recent separation by
death from a beloved relative. The clothes worn during Mahurrum are never
retained for the next occasion, but always distributed amongst the poor,
who derive so many advantages from the annual commemoration of Mahurrum,
that the philanthropic heart will rather be pleased than vexed at the zeal
which produces such a harvest of benefits to the necessitous.

The riches of a native city may be calculated by the immense sums expended
at Mahurrum every year; and if no greater advantage be derived from the
gorgeous display of the wealthy, than the stimulus to honest industry
amongst the several trades, whose labour is brought into use on these
occasions, there is enough in the result to excuse the expenditure of
surplus cash in apparent trifles. This, however, is strictly the result,
not the design, of those expensive displayers at Mahurrum, who are
actuated solely by fervent zeal, in keeping a continued remembrance of the
sufferings of their Emaums, and doing honour to their memory.

It is not my province either to praise or condemn, but merely to mark out
what I observe of singularity in the habits, manners, and customs of the
Mussulmauns, in whose domestic circles I have been so many years a
sojourner. On the subject which my pen has faintly traced to your
view,--the celebration of Mahurrum,--I cannot refrain from offering one
remark; I think them to be actuated by so fervent a zeal, that if they
could believe with me, that whatever we do in this life is for Eternity,
they would still persevere in this their supposed duty of honouring their
Emaums.


[1] _Mendhi_ in its primary sense is the plant _Lawsonia alba_, the
    leaves of which are used for dyeing the hands and feet of the bride
    and bridegroom; hence, the marriage rites on this occasion.

[2] This edifice was built under the superintendence of Ghauzee ood deen
    Hyder, first King of Oude; and it is here his remains are deposited.
    May his soul rest in peace! [_Author_.] [This building was named after
    Shah Najaf or Najaf Ashraf, the scene of the martyrdom of 'Ali,
    120 miles south-west of Baghdad. The capture of the Shah Najaf, in
    which the guns of Captain Peel played a leading part, was a notable
    incident in the relief of Lucknow by Sir Colin Campbell.--T.R.E.
    Holmes, _History of the Indian Mutiny_ (1885), 398 ff.]

[3] The Gumti, Gomati, 'abounding in cattle'.

[4] The fish is a symbol of sovereignty, or authority emanating from the
    sovereign, in Hindoostaun, since the period of Timour.--Possessors of
    Jaghires, Collectors of Districts, &c., have permission to use the
    fish, in the decorations on their flags, in the way similar to our
    armorial bearings. In Oude the fish is represented in many useful
    articles--pleasure boats, carriages, &c. Some of the King's Chobdhaars
    carry a staff representing a gold or silver fish. [_Author_.] [The
    Order of the Fish (_mahi maratib_) is said to have been founded
    by Khusru Parviz, King of Persia (A.D. 591-628), and thence
    passed to the Moghul Emperors of Delhi and to the Court of Oudh.--W.H.
    Sleeman, _Rambles and Recollections_, ed. V.A. Smith, 135 ff.]

[5] Nasir-ud-din Haidar, son of Ghazi-ud-din Haidar, whom
    he succeeded in 1827, died, poisoned by his own family, in 1837. 'He
    differed from his father, Ghazi-ud-din Haidar, in being
    considerably more debauched and disreputable. His father had been an
    outwardly decent hedonist and voluptuary, but the son was under no
    restraints of any sort or kind, and it is probable that his character
    was not unfavourably depicted in that highly coloured sketch, "The
    Private Life of an Eastern King" (by W. Knighton, 1855). "Any one", we
    are told, "was his friend who would drink with him," and his whole
    reign was one continued satire upon the subsidiary and protected
    system.'--H.C. Irwin, _The Garden of India_, p. 117.

[6] _Harkara_, 'a messenger, orderly'.

[7] _Palki_, the common palanquin or litter; _chandol_, usually carried
    by four men at each end (a drawing representing one carried by twelve
    men will be found in N. Manucci, _Storia do Mogor_, iv. 32, and see ii.
    76 f.;) _miyana_, a middle-sized litter out of which the type used
    by Europeans was developed; the Anglo-Indian 'dhooly', properly
    _duli_; the _rath_ is a kind of bullock-carriage, often with
    four wheels, used by women and by portly merchants.

[8] Known as 'Ashura.

[9] See a graphic account of the procession at Bombay in Sir G. Birdwood,
    _Sva_, 177 ff.

[10] _Jilaudar, Jalaudar_, properly an attendant holding the bridle
    of a mounted officer or magnate.

[11] The afthaadah is a sun embroidered on crimson velvet, both sides the
    same, and fixed on a circular framework, about two yards in
    circumference; this is attached to a silver or gold staff, the circle
    deeply and fully flounced with gold brocade, or rich silk bound with
    silver ribands. The person riding is sheltered from the rays of the
    sun by the afthaadah being carried in an elevated position.
    [_Author_.] (See p. 38.)

[12] _Chobdar_, 'a stick-or staff-bearer'.

[13] _Sontabardar_, 'a bearer of the silver stick or mace'.

[14] _Chhata_, a mark of dignity in the East.

[15] _Danka_, 'a kettle-drum'.

[16] _Loban_, _luban_, frankincense, olibanum, procured from various
    species of _Boswellia_.

[17] As early as A.D. 1000 the people of Baghdad used to throw dust and
    ashes about the streets, and dress in black sackcloth on the
    anniversary of the death of Husain (Ockley, _History of the Saracens_,
    418). The custom was common among the Hebrews (Isaiah iii. 26, xlvii.
    1; Job ii. 8, & c.). Robertson Smith suggests that the dust was
    originally taken from the grave, and the ashes from the funeral pyre
    (_Religion, of the Semites_, 413).

[18] _Barqandaz_, 'lightning-darter'.

[19] _Charkhi_; the description is reproduced, without acknowledgement,
    by Mrs. Parks, _Wanderings of a Pilgrim_, i. 299.

[20] The practice of offering food to the dead is an Indian innovation on
    Musalman practice; it is based on the Hindu custom of offering
    flour-balls (_pinda_) to the spirit of the dead man.

[21] This was a Hebrew practice, condemned by the prophets (2 Samuel
    xv. 30; Ezekiel xxiv. 17).

[22] _Tamjhan, thamjan_, the Anglo-Indian 'tonjon' or
    'tomjohn', the derivation of which is obscure. See Yule,
    _Hobson-Jobson_[2], 930 f.

[23] Ill-feeling between Sunnis and Shi'ahs is not universal in
    India. 'Though the Sunnis consider the Shi'ah observances as
    impious, they look on with the contempt of indifference. The fact that
    the British Government punishes all who break the peace may have
    something to do with this. Still the Sunni and the Shi'ah in
    India live on much better terms, and have more respect for each other
    than the Turk has for the Persian, or the Persian for the Turk. Some
    Musalman poets, indeed, are both Sunnis and Shi'ahs.'--E.
    Sell, _The Faith of Islam_, 292 f.; cf. p. 14.

[24] Aiyub.



LETTER V

  Time.--How divided in Hindoostaun.--Observances after
  Mahurrum.--Luxuries and enjoyments resumed.--Black dye used by the
  ladies.--Their nose-ring.--Number of rings worn in their ears.--Mode
  of dressing their hair.--Aversion to our tooth-brushes.--Toilet of
  the ladies.--The Pyjaamahs.--The Ungeeah (bodice).--The Courtie.--The
  Deputtah.--Reception of a superior or elder amongst the
  ladies.--Their fondness for jewels.--Their shoes.--The state of
  society amongst the Mussulmaun ladies.--Their conversational
  endowments.--Remarks upon the fashion and duty of beards.


In my last I alluded to the 'third watch'; it will now, perhaps, be
necessary to explain the divisions of time, as observed by the Mussulmauns
of Hindoostaun.

The day is divided into four equal parts, or watches, denominated
purrhs[1]; as, first purrh, second purrh, &c. The night is also divided
into four purrhs, each of which is subdivided into ghurries[2] (hours),
varying in number with the changes of season; the longest days require
eight ghurries to one purrh; the shortest, only six. The same division is
observed for the night. The day is reckoned from the earliest dawn to the
last decline of light:--there is very little twilight in the Upper
Provinces of India.

By this method of calculating time, you will understand that they have no
occasion for those useful, correct, mechanical time-keepers, in general
use in Europe; but they have a simple method of measuring the hour, by
means of a brass vessel, with a small aperture at the bottom, which, being
floated on a tank or large pan of water, one drop to a second of time
forces its way through the aperture into the floating vessel, on which
marks are made outside and in, to direct the number of ghurries by the
depth of water drawn into it; and in some places, a certain division of
time is marked by the sinking of the vessel. Each hour, as it passes, is
struck by the man on duty with a hammer on a broad plate of bell-metal,
suspended to the branch of a tree, or to a rail;--the gong of an English
showman at the country fairs is the exact resemblance of the metal plates
used in India for striking the hours on, and must, I think, have been
introduced into England from the East.

The durwaun (gate-keeper), or the chokeedhars (watchmen), keep the time.[3]
In most establishments the watchmen are on guard two at a time, and are
relieved at every watch, day and night. On these men devolves the care of
observing the advance of time by the floating vessel, and striking the
hour, in which duty they are required to be punctual, as many of the
Mussulmauns' services of prayer are scrupulously performed at the
appointed hours, which will be more particularly explained when their
creed is brought forward in a future Letter; and now, after this
digression, I will pursue my subject.

When a member of the Mussulmaun family dies, the master of the house
mourns forty days, during which period the razor is laid aside.[4] In the
same manner the devout Mussulmaun mourns every year for his martyred
Emaums; this, however, is confined to the most religious men; the general
practice of the many is to throw off their mourning garb and restore the
razor to its duties on the third day after the observances of Mahurrum
have terminated.

It is stated, on the authority of ancient Arabian writers, on whose
veracity all Mussulmauns rely, that the head of Hosein being taken to
Yuzeed, one of his many wives solicited and received the head, which she
gave to the family of the martyred leader, who were prisoners to the King,
and that they contrived to have it conveyed to Kraabaallah, where it was
deposited in the same grave with his body on the fortieth day after the
battle.[5]

When a death occurs in a Mussulmaun family, the survivor provides dinners
on the third, seventh, and fortieth days succeeding, in memory of the
deceased person; these dinners are sent in trays to the immediate
relatives and friends of the party,--on which sacred occasion all the poor
and the beggars are sought to share the rich food provided. The like
customs are observed for Hosein every year. The third day offering is
chiefly composed of sugar, ghee, and flour, and called meetah[6]; it is of
the consistence of our rice-puddings, and whether the dainty is sent to a
king or a beggar there is but one style in the presentation--all is served
in the common brown earthen dish,--in imitation of the humility of Hosein
and his family, who seldom used any other in their domestic circle. The
dishes of meetah are accompanied with the many varieties of bread common
to Hindoostaun, without leaven, as sheah-maul,[7] bacherkaunie,[8]
chapaatie,[9] &c.; the first two have milk and ghee mixed with the flour,
and nearly resemble our pie-crust. I must here stay to remark one custom I
have observed amongst Natives: they never cook food whilst a dead body
remains in the house;[10] as soon as it is known amongst a circle of
friends that a person is dead, ready-dressed dinners are forwarded to the
house for them, no one fancying he is conferring a kindness, but
fulfilling a duty.

The third day after the accomplishment of the Mahurrum ceremonies is a
busy time with the inmates of zeenahnahs, when generally the mourning garb
is thrown off, and preparations commence at an early hour in the morning
for bathing and replacing the banished ornaments. Abstinence and privation
being no longer deemed meritorious by the Mussulmauns, the pawn--the dear
delightful pawn, which constitutes the greatest possible luxury to the
Natives,--pours in from the bazaar, to gladden the eye and rejoice the
heart of all classes, who after this temporary self-denial enjoy the
luxury with increased zest.

Again the missee[11] (a preparation of antimony) is applied to the lips,
the gums, and occasionally to the teeth of every married lady, who emulate
each other in the rich black produced;--such is the difference of taste as
regards beauty;--where we admire the coral hue, with the females of
Hindoostaun, Nature is defaced by the application of black dye. The eyelid
also is pencilled afresh with prepared black, called kaarjil[12]: the
chief ingredient in this preparation is lampblack. The eyebrow is well
examined for fear an ill-shaped hair should impair the symmetry of that
arch esteemed a beauty in every clime, though all do not, perhaps,
exercise an equal care with Eastern dames to preserve order in its growth.
The mayndhie is again applied to the hands and feet, which restores the
bright red hue deemed so becoming and healthy.

The nose once more is destined to receive the nutt[13] (ring) which
designates the married lady; this ring, I have before mentioned, is of
gold wire, the pearls and ruby between them are of great value, and I have
seen many ladies wear the nutt as large in circumference as the bangle on
her wrist, though of course much lighter; it is often worn so large, that
at meals they are obliged to hold it apart from the face with the left
hand, whilst conveying food to the mouth with the other. This nutt,
however, from ancient custom, is indispensable with married women, and
though they may find it disagreeable and inconvenient, it cannot possibly
be removed, except for Mahurrum, from the day of their marriage until
their death or widowhood, without infringing on the originality of their
customs, in adhering to which they take so much pride.

The ears of the females are pierced in many places; the gold or silver
rings return to their several stations after Mahurrum, forming a broad
fringe of the precious metals on each side the head; but when they dress
for great events,--as paying visits or receiving company,--these give
place to strings of pearls and emeralds, which fall in rows from the upper
part of the ear to the shoulder in a graceful, elegant style. My ayah, a
very plain old woman, has no less than ten silver rings in one ear and
nine in the other,[15] each of them having pendant ornaments; indeed, her
ears are literally fringed with silver.

After the hair has undergone all the ceremonies of washing, drying, and
anointing with the sweet jessamine oil of India, it is drawn with great
precision from the forehead to the back, where it is twisted into a queue
which generally reaches below the waist; the ends are finished with strips
of red silk and silver ribands entwined with the hair, and terminating
with a good-sized rosette. The hair is jet black, without a single
variation of tinge, and luxuriantly long and thick, and thus dressed
remains for the week,--about the usual interval between their laborious
process of bathing;--nor can they conceive the comfort other people find
in frequent brushing and combing the hair. Brushes for the head and the
teeth have not yet been introduced into Native families, nor is it ever
likely they will, unless some other material than pigs' bristles can be
rendered available by the manufacturers for the present purposes of
brushes. The swine is altogether considered abominable to Mussulmauns; and
such is their detestation of the unclean animal that the most angry
epithet from a master to a slave would be to call him 'seur'[15] (swine).

It must not, however, be supposed that the Natives neglect their teeth;
they are the most particular people living in this respect, as they never
eat or drink without washing their mouths before and after meals; and as a
substitute for our tooth-brush, they make a new one every day from the
tender branch of a tree or shrub,--as the pomegranate, the neem,[16]
babool,[17] &c. The fresh-broken twig is bruised and made pliant at the
extremity, after the bark or rind is stripped from it, and with this the
men preserve the enamelled-looking white teeth which excite the admiration
of strangers; and which, though often envied, I fancy, are never surpassed
by European ingenuity.

As I have rather prematurely introduced the Native ladies' style of dress
into this Letter, I may as well conclude the whole business of their
toilet under the present head, instead of reserving the detail of the
subject for a future Letter when the zeenahnah is to be described, and
accordingly proceed to tell you that the ladies' pyjaamahs are formed of
rich satin, or gold cloth, goolbudden,[18] or mussheroo[19] (striped
washing silks manufactured at Benares), fine chintz,--English manufacture
having the preference,--silk or cotton ginghams,--in short, all such
materials are used for this article of female dress as are of sufficiently
firm texture, down to the white calico of the country, suited to the means
of the wearer. By the most fashionable females they are worn very full
below the knee, and reach to the feet, which are partially covered by the
fulness, the extremity finished and the seams are bound with silver riband;
a very broad silver riband binds the top of the pyjaamah; this being
double has a zarbund[20] (a silk net cord) run through, by which this part
of the dress is confined at the waist. The ends of the zarbund are
finished with rich tassels of gold and silver, curiously and expressly
made for this purpose, which extend below the knees: for full dress, these
tassels are rendered magnificent with pearls and jewels.

One universal shape is adopted in the form of the ungeeah[21] (bodice),
which is, however, much varied in the material and ornamental part; some
are of gauze or net, muslin, &c., the more transparent in texture the more
agreeable to taste, and all are more or less ornamented with spangles and
silver trimmings. It is made to fit the bust with great exactness, and to
fasten behind with strong cotton cords; the sleeves are very short and
tight, and finished with some fanciful embroidery or silver riband. Even
the women servants pride themselves on pretty ungeeahs, and all will
strive to have a little finery about them, however coarse the material it
is formed of may happen to be. They are never removed at night but
continue to be worn a week together, unless its beauty fades earlier, or
the ornamental parts tarnish through extreme heat.

With the ungeeah is worn a transparent courtie (literally translated shirt)
of thread net; this covers the waistband of the pyjaamah but does not
screen it; the seams and hems are trimmed with silver or gold ribands.

The deputtah is a useful envelope, and the most graceful part of the whole
female costume. In shape and size, a large sheet will convey an idea of
the deputtah's dimensions; the quality depends on choice or circumstances;
the preference is given to our light English manufacture of leno or muslin
for every-day wear by gentlewomen; but on gala days, gold and silver gauze
tissues are in great request, as is also fine India muslin manufactured at
Decca--transparent and soft as the web of the gossamer spider;--this is
called shubnum[22] (night dew), from its delicate texture, and is procured
at a great expense, even in India; some deputtahs are formed of
gold-worked muslin, English crape, coloured gauze, &c. On ordinary
occasions ladies wear them simply bound with silver riband, but for dress
they are richly trimmed with embroidery and bullion fringes, which add
much to the splendour of the scene, when two or three hundred females are
collected together in their assemblies. The deputtah is worn with much
original taste on the back of the head, and falls in graceful folds over
the person; when standing, it is crossed in front, one end partially
screening the figure, the other thrown over the opposite shoulder.

I should say they rarely stand; but when distinguished guests, or their
elders amongst relatives, are announced, this mark of respect is never
omitted. It is an interesting sight, as they have much ease and grace in
their manner, which no tutoring could impart; they rise and arrange their
drapery, advance a few steps from their place in the hall, and embrace
their visitor thrice in due form, ending by salaaming, with the head bowed
very low towards the ground and the open hand raised to the forehead,
three times in succession, with solemnity and dignity.

I have told you, in a former Letter, how many precious ornaments were laid
aside on the eve of Mahurrum, and need hardly describe them again. Their
fondness for good jewellery perhaps exceeds the same propensity in any
other females on the globe: the rude workmanship of Native jewellers is
never an object of weighty consideration, provided the precious metals are
unalloyed in quality. The same may be remarked in their selection of
jewels: pearls of the largest size, even when discoloured or misshapen,
are selected in preference to the most regular in form and colour, of a
smaller size; large diamonds, having flaws, are often preferred to smaller
ones most perfect. The gentlemen are good judges of precious stones, and
evince some taste in their style of ornaments; they are worn on their
turbans, and in necklaces or harrhs[23]--rings, armlets, &c.; but these
are all laid aside at seasons of devotion, when they are restricted
wearing, not only ornaments, but mixed articles of silk and wool in their
apparel. The most religious men and women invariably abstain from
ornamental dress in every way, deeming it frivolous vanity, and
inconsistent with that they profess--'to be seeking God, and forsaking
worldly things'.

The ladies never wear stockings,[24] and only cover the feet with shoes
when pacing across their court-yard, which bounds their view and their
walks. Nevertheless, there is a fashion and taste about the ladies' shoes,
which is productive of much emulation in zeenahnah life;--they are
splendidly worked in many patterns, with gold and silver spangles,
variously-coloured small seed beads and embroidery--the whole one mass of
glittering metal;--they are made with sharp points curling upwards, some
nearly reaching half-way to the knees, and always worn down at the heel,
as dressing slippers; the least costly for their every-day wear are of
gold embroidery on velvet; the less opulent condescend to wear tinsel work,
and the meanest servants yellow or red cloth with silver binding. The same
style of shoes are worn by the males as by the females; I have seen some
young men with green shagreen slippers for the rainy season; these are
made with a high heel and look unseemly. The fashion of shoes varies with
the times in this country, as well as in others--sometimes it is genteel
to have small points to the shoes; at another, the points are long and
much curled; but they still retain the preference for pointed shoes
whatever be the fashion adopted.

The greatest novelty in the way of shoes, which came under my observation
in India, was a pair of silver embroidery, small pointed, and very neatly
made: on the points and round the instep small silver bells were fastened,
which produced harmony with every step, varied by the quick or more gentle
paces of the wearer; these were a present to me from a lady of distinction
in Oude. Upon visiting this lady on one occasion, my black silk slippers,
which I had left at the entrance (as is the custom here), had most likely
attracted the curiosity of the Begum's slaves, for when that lady attended
me to the threshold, they could nowhere be found; and I was in danger of
being obliged to soil my stockings by walking shoeless to my palkie,
across the court-yard. In this dilemma the lady proffered me the pair here
described; I was much amused with the novelty of the exchange, upon
stepping into the musical shoes, which, however they may be prized by
Native ladies, did not exactly suit my style of dress, nor convenience in
walking, although I must always remember the Begum's attention with
gratitude.


The ladies' society is by no means insipid or without interest; they are
naturally gifted with good sense and politeness, fond of conversation,
shrewd in their remarks, and their language is both correct and refined.
This, at first, was an enigma to me, considering that their lives are
spent in seclusion, and that their education was not conducted on European
principles; the mystery, however, has passed away upon an intimate
acquaintance with the domestic habits of the people. The men with whom
genteel women converse, are generally well educated, and from the
naturally inquisitive disposition of the females, not a word escapes the
lips of a father, husband, or brother, without an inquiry as to its
meaning, which having once ascertained, is never forgotten, because their
attention is not diverted by a variety of pursuits, or vain amusements.
The women look up to the opinions of their male relatives with the same
respect as children of other climes are accustomed to regard their tutor
or governess,--considering every word pronounced as worthy of imitation,
and every sentiment expressed, as a guide to their own. Thus the habit of
speaking correctly is so familiar to the females of Mussulmaun society,
that even women servants, long accustomed to serve in zeenahnahs, may be
readily distinguished by their language from the same class of people in
attendance on European ladies.

P.S. All good Mussulmauns are expected to wear their beards, by command of
the Prophet; so says my informant, who is of 'the faith', and wears his
beard, in accordance with the injunction of his Lawgiver. In modern times,
however, the Mussulmauns have seen fit to modify the strict letter of the
law, and we perceive generally, mustachios only reserved on the upper lip.
This ornament is trained with the nicest care amongst the fashionable
young men of the present day, and made to creep over the lip at each
corner of the mouth with curling points; well-trained mustachios being
with them much esteemed.

The religious Mussulmauns become more scrupulous as they advance in
knowledge of their faith, when they allow their beards to grow and their
heads to be shaven; if the hair turns white--while to look well is an
object of interest--a dye is resorted to, composed of mayndhie and indigo,
which restores its youthful appearance, and the beard retains its black
glossy hue for about six weeks, when the process of dyeing is again made
the business of a convenient hour.[25] The vanities of the world ceasing
to charm (the heart being fixed on more important subjects), the beard is
permitted to retain its natural colour; and, truly, the venerable
countenance of an aged Mussulmaun, with a silvery-white beard flowing
nearly to his girdle, is a picture that would interest every beholder well
acquainted with Bible history.

When the Mussulmaun determines on fulfilling the command of his Lawgiver,
in making the pilgrimage to Mecca, the beard is allowed to grow whatever
be his age; and this may be considered a badge of their faith, none being
admitted at 'the Holy House' who have not this passport on their chin.


[1] _Pahar_.

[2] _Ghari_, about twenty-four minutes.

[3] _Darwan, chaukidar_.

[4] See p. 64.

[5] According to the Shi'ahs, Zainu-l-'Abidin obtained from Yazid,
    after forty days, the head of Husain, and brought it to Karbala. They
    deny that the head is at Cairo and the body at Karbala. Others say
    that the head was sent to Medina, and buried near the grave of
    Fatimah.--Burton, _Pilgrimage_, ii. 40; Ockley, _History of the
    Saracens_, 412, 415 note.

[6] _Mitha_, 'sweet'.

[7] _Shirmal_, bread made with milk.

[8] _Baqirkhani_, a kind of crisp bread or cake, like piecrust,
    made of milk, sugar, and flour.

[9] _Chapati_, the griddle cake, the standard food of the people.

[10] No food should be cooked in the house of a Musalman during the
    forty days of mourning. Sir J.G. Frazer thinks that this is due to
    the risk of eating the ghost clinging to the food (_Journal
    Anthropological Institute_, xv. (1886) 92 ff.).

[11] _Missi_, from _mis_, 'copper', because copper-filings form its
    chief ingredient, to which are added myrobalan, gall-nuts, vitriol, &c.
    The custom is based on the Arab admiration for the rose-red colour of
    the inner lip.--Burton, _A Thousand Nights and A Night_, iii. 365.

[12] _Kajal_.

[13] _Nath_, a love-token presented to the bride by the bridegroom. The
    very mention of it is considered indelicate.


[14] They generally adopt an odd number.

[15] _Suar_.

[16] _Nim_ (_Melia Azidirachta_).

[17] _Babul_ (_Acacia arabica_).

[18] _Gulbadan_, 'with body like a rose', a fine silk fabric.

[19] _Mashru_ 'conformable to law', a silk-cotton cloth, which--but not
    pure silk--a Musulman can wear during prayer.

[20] _Zerband_, 'fastening below', 'a girth'.

[21] _Angiya_.

[22] _Shabnam_. The finest varieties of these cloths were made at Dacca.
    Aurungzeb is said to have remonstrated with his daughter for wearing
    what he thought to be a _Coa vestis_. She answered that she wore seven
    folds of this cloth.

[23] _Har_, a necklace, an embroidered garland thrown round the neck of
    a visitor on his departure, as a mark of respect. These garlands were
    substituted for the pearl necklaces which, in former days, were
    presented to guests.

[24] 'Stockings are never worn [in the Zenana]: but I have seen little
    coloured stockings, made of the wool from Cashmir, worn at times
    during the cold season.'--Mrs. Parks, _Wanderings of a Pilgrim_,
     i. 456.

[25] According to the traditions, the Prophet said, 'Change the whiteness
    of your hair, but not with anything black'. The first Caliph is said
    to have dyed his beard red with henna. Nowadays indigo is largely used.



LETTER VI

  The Mussulmaun religion.--Sectarians.--Their difference of
  faith.--History of the Soonies.--The Caliphas Omir, Osman, Aboubuker,
  &c.--Mahumud's parting charge to Ali.--Omir's jealousy of Ali.--The
  Khoraun.--How compiled.--The Calipha Omir held in detestation.--Creed
  of the Sheahs.--Funeral service.--Opinions of the Mussulmauns
  respecting the Millennium.--The foundation of their faith
  exhibited.--Sentiments of the most devout followers of
  Mahumud.--Bridge of Sirraat, the Scales, &c. explained.--Emaum
  Mhidhie.--Prophecy of his reappearance.--Its early fulfilment
  anticipated.--Discourse with the Meer Hadjee Shaah on this subject.


I do not presume to offer opinions on the nature, substance, or character,
of the Mussulmaun Faith; but confine myself to the mere relation of such
facts as I have received from the best possible authority, viz. the
religious men who are of that faith, and live in strict accordance with
the tenets they profess.

There are two sects of the Mussulmaun persuasion, as I have before
remarked, viz. the Sheahs and the Soonies. The leaders of the former are
called Emaums; and those of the latter Caliphas. The Sheahs acknowledge
Ali and his immediate descendants (eleven in number) 'the right and only
lawful Emaums', in succession, after Mahumud. The Soonies declare the
Caliphas--as Omir, Aboubuker, &c.--to be their lawful leaders after
Mahumud.

I do not find that there is any great difference in the points of faith
between the two sects; they are equally guided by the same laws and
ordinances inculcated by Mahumud in the Khoraun;--the Sheahs pursuing the
pattern of observances traced out in the life and manners of Ali and his
descendants;--and the Soonies taking their examples from the manners of
the Caliphas. There is a distinguishing method in ablutions before prayers,
and also in the manner of bowing and prostrating in their devotional
exercises;[1] this difference, however, has nothing to do with their
faith,--the subject and form of their daily prayer is one; but both sects
have extra services for particular occasions, agreeable to the instruction
of their favourite leaders. The Namaaz (daily prayer) was taught by
Mahumud to his followers, every line of which is religiously reverenced by
Mussulmauns, and cannot be altered by sectarian principles.

The Mussulmaun faith is founded on three roots; from these spring, with
the Sheahs, six branches; with the Soonies, five. The roots are as
follows:--

First.--'There is but one God, self existing; ever was, and ever will be;
in Whom is all Power, Majesty, and Dominion; by Whom all things are, and
were created. With Whom is neither partner or substance:[2] and He alone
is to be worshipped.'

Second.--'The Prophets were all true; and all their writings to be relied
on, with a true faith.'

Third.--'The resurrection of the dead is certain.'

The Sheahs' branches, or emanations, from the three roots of their faith,
are as follow:--

1st.--'Namaaz,'[3] (prayer five times daily); a necessary duty, never to
be omitted.

2nd.--'Rumzaun,'[4] (fasting) the whole thirty days of that month; a
service acceptable to God from His humble creatures.

3rd.--'The Hadje,'[5] (pilgrimage to Mecca); commanded by Mahumud, and
therefore to be obeyed.

4th.--'Zuckhaut;'[6] the fortieth portion of all worldly goods to be set
apart every year (an offering to God) for the service of the poor.

5th.--To fight in the road of God, or in His service, against the
idolaters.

6th.--To believe that the twelve Emaums were the true and lawful leaders,
after Mahumud; to follow in their path, or example, and to succour and
defend the Syaads, their descendants.

The Soonies omit the last branch in their profession of faith; with this
solitary exception, the creed of the two sects, from all I can understand,
is the same. The Sheahs are those who celebrate Mahurrum: in my
description of that event will be seen the zealous partizans of the sect;
and here may be introduced with propriety, some account of the opposite
party denominated Soonies.

The word Calipha[7] implies the master or head of any trade, profession,
or calling,--as the master of the tailors, the head master of a college or
school, &c. Omir was the first to usurp the title after Mahumud's death,
and to him succeeded Aboubuker, and then Ausmaun (Osman).[8]

Aboubuker may have claimed some relationship to Mahumud;--he was converted
by his preaching from idolatry to the faith;--he gave his daughter in
marriage to Mahumud, by whom two sons were born to him, Ishmael and
Ibrahim.[9] 'An angel appeared to Mahumud, saying, Which of thy family
shall be taken from thee, Oh, Mahumud! such is the command of God; two of
thy youth must die, and I am sent to demand of thee whether it is thy wish
Ishmael and Ibrahim, thine own sons, shall be taken from this world, or
Hasan and Hosein, the sons of Fatima thy daughter?' The historian
continues, after dwelling much on the virtues of the Prophet's only
daughter, 'Such was the affection of Mahumud for his daughter Fatima and
her children, and so well he knew the purity of their hearts, that he
hesitated not a moment in replying, "If the Lord graciously permits His
servant to choose, I freely offer my two sons Ishmael and Ibrahim; that
Hasan and Hosein may live by His mercy "'.

Omir was also a convert to the faith Mahumud taught: he likewise gave a
daughter in marriage to Mahumud;[10] by whom, however, the same historian
remarks, his house was not peopled. His only daughter, Fatima, lived to
add numbers to his family: she was born to him by the pious female (a
widow) who was his first wife[11] and to whom he was united before he
commenced his work of conversion. Ali, to whom Fatima was married, was the
nephew of Mahumud, and from this union the Syaad race descend to the
present day. The Prophet observing real piety in Ali, designed him not
only to be the most suitable husband for his amiable daughter, but the
best qualified person to be chosen as his successor, when he should be
called by 'the hand of death'; and in the most public manner gave charge
of his flock to Ali, not long before that event occurred. Mahumud's speech
to Ali on that occasion is much reverenced by the Sheah sect;--it has been
translated for me by my husband, and is as follows:--

'You, my son, will suffer many persecutions in the cause of religion; many
will be the obstructions to your preaching, for I see they are not all as
obedient and faithful as yourself. Usurpers of the authority, delegated to
you, will arise, whose views are not pure and holy as your own; but let my
admonitions dwell on your mind, remember my advice without swerving. The
religion I have laboured to teach, is, as yet, but as the buds shooting
forth from the tree; tender as they are, the rude blasts of dissension may
scatter them to the winds, and leave the parent tree without a leaf:--but
suffered to push forth its produce quietly, the hand of Time will ripen
and bring to perfection that which has been the business of my awakened
life to cultivate. Never, my son, suffer your sword to be unsheathed in
the justice of your cause; I exhort you to bear this injunction on your
mind faithfully; whatever may be the provocations you receive, or insults
offered to your person,--I know this trial is in store for my
son,--remember the cause you are engaged in; suffer patiently; never draw
your sword against the people who profess the true faith, even though they
are but by name Mussulmauns.

'Against the enemies of God, I have already given you directions; you may
fight for Him--the only true God,--but never against Him, or His faithful
servants.'

When Mahumud was numbered with the dead, Omir soon set himself forward as
the lawful successor; he was of good address, and insinuating manners, and
succeeded in drawing 'numbers to his threshold'. He preached the same
doctrine Mahumud had taught, but sensual indulgence and early developed
ambition were more strong in his heart than the faith he preached. Omir
grew jealous of Ali's virtues and forbearance, under the various trials of
oppression and injustice he chose to visit him with; and resolved that, if
possible, he would destroy not only Ali, but his whole family. Omir caused
his house to be fired treacherously, but as the historians say, 'the mercy
of God watched over the sanctified family'; they escaped from the flames,
with no other loss than that of their small property.

The Khoraun was not the work of any particular period in the life of
Mahumud. It was not compiled into a book until after Mahumud's death, who
was totally unacquainted with letters; each chapter having been conveyed
by the angel Gabriel[12] to Mahumud, his inspired memory enabled him to
repeat, verbatim, the holy messenger's words to his disciples and converts
when assembled as was their daily custom. To as many as committed verse,
chapter, or portion to memory, by this oral communication, Mahumud
rewarded with the highest seats in his assembly (meaning nearest his
person); and to those who wished for employment, he gave the command of
detachments sent out against the infidels.

The whole Khoraun was thus conveyed to Mahumud by the angel Gabriel, at
many different periods of his mission; and by daily repetition, did he
instil into the memory of his followers that mental scripture. But when
Omir usurped the right to lead, he ambitiously planned for himself a large
share of popularity by causing the Khoraun to be committed to paper, and
he accordingly gave orders, that the best scribes should be employed to
convey its precepts to writing.

Ali had been engaged in the same employment for some time, perceiving the
future benefit to the faith which would accrue from such a labour, and on
the very day, when Omir was seated in form to receive the work of his
scribes, Ali also presented himself with his version of the Khoraun. It is
asserted that Omir treated him with some indignity, and gave the
preference to the volume his own scribes had prepared, desiring Ali,
nevertheless, to leave that he had transcribed with him, though he
candidly told him he never intended it should be 'the Book for the People'.
Ali found, on this trying occasion, the benefit of Mahumud's advice, to
keep his temper subdued for the trial, and withdrew with his book clasped
to his heart, assuring Omir, that the volume should only be the property
of his descendants; and that when the twelfth Emaum, prophesied by Mahumud,
should disappear from the eye of man, the Khoraun he had written should
also disappear, until that Emaum returned, with whom the book he had
written should again be found.

The name of Omir is detestable to all lovers of literature, or admirers of
ancient history and valuable records. By his orders, the bath was heated
with the valuable collection of manuscripts, which it had been the work of
ages to complete.[13] Omir was told that the people valued the writings of
the ancients, and that they were displeased at this irreparable
destruction of valuable records; he asked if the people were not satisfied
with the Khoraun? and if satisfied, why should they seek for other
knowledge than that book contained? declaring it to be an useless
employment of time, to be engaged in any other readings. They say the
collection of books thus destroyed was so vast, that it served the purpose,
to which it was applied, for many successive days. I have thus far given
the accounts I have received of the origin of the two sects amongst the
Mussulmauns from good authority. My husband says, that in Hindoostaun the
two sects may be nearly equal in number;[14] in Persia the Sheahs
certainly prevail; in Turkey all are Soonies; and in Arabia the Sheahs are
supposed to preponderate. On the whole, perhaps, the two sects are about
equally divided.

The Mussulmauns' Creed, of the Sheah sect, is as follows:--

'I believe in one God, supreme over all, and Him alone do I worship.

'I believe that Mahumud was the creature of God, the Creator; I believe
that Mahumud was the messenger of God, (the Lord of messengers); and that
he was the last of the prophets. I believe that Ali was the chief of the
faithful, the head of all the inheritors of the law, and the true leader
appointed of God; consequently to be obeyed by the faithful. Also I
believe that Hasan and Hosein, the sons of Ali, and Ali son of Hosein, and
Mahumud son of Ali, and Jaufur son of Mahumud, and Moosa son of Jaufur,
and Ali son of Moosa, and Mahumud son of Ali, and Ali son of Mahumud, and
Hasan son of Ali, and Mhidhie (the standing proof) son of Hasan; the mercy
of God be upon them! these were the true leaders of the faithful, and the
proof of God was conveyed by them to the people.'[15]

This creed is taught to the children of both sexes, in Mussulmaun families,
as soon as they are able to talk; and, from the daily repetition, is
perfectly familiar to them at an early age.

I propose describing the funeral service here, as the substance of their
particular faith is so intimately connected with the appointed service for
the dead.

The dead body of a Mussulmaun, in about six hours after life is extinct,
is placed in a kuffin[16] (coffin) and conveyed to the place of burial,
with parade suited to the rank he held in life.

A tent, or the kaanaut[17] (screen), is pitched in a convenient place,
where water is available near to the tomb, for the purpose of washing and
preparing the dead body for interment. They then take the corpse out of
the coffin and thoroughly bathe it; when dry, they rub pounded camphor on
the hands, feet, knees, and forehead, these parts having, in the method of
prostrating at prayer, daily touched the ground; the body is then wrapped
neatly in a winding-sheet of white calico, on which has been written
particular chapters from the Khoraun:[18] this done, it is taken up with
great gentleness and laid in the grave on the side, with the face towards
Mecca. The officiating Maulvee steps solemnly into the grave (which is
much deeper and wider than ours), and with a loud voice repeats the creed,
as before described; after which he says, 'These were thy good and holy
leaders, O son of Adam! (here he repeats the person's names). Now when the
two angels come unto thee, who are the Maccurrub[19] (messengers) from thy
great and mighty God, they will ask of thee, "Who is thy Lord? Who is thy
Prophet? What is thy faith? Which is thy book? Where is thy Kiblaah?[20]
Who is thy Leader?"

'Then shalt thou answer the Maccurrub thus:--

  '"God, greatest in glory, is my only Lord; Mahumud, my Prophet; Islaaim,
  my faith, (Islaaim means true faith); the Khoraun, my book; the Kaubah
  (Holy House at Mecca), my Kiblaah;

  '"Emaum Ali, son of Aboutalib,
    "   Hasan and Hosein,
    "   Ali, surnamed Zynool Auberdene,
    "   Mahumud,  "   Baakur,
    "   Jaufur,   "   Saadick,
    "   Moosa,    "   Khazim,
    "   Ali,      "   Reezah,
    "   Mahumud,  "   Ul Jawaad,
    "   Ali,      "   Ul Hoodah,
    "   Hasan,    "   Ul Ushkeree,
    "   Mhidhie, the standing proof that we are waiting for.[21]

  '"These are all my leaders, and they are my intercessors, with them is my
  love, with their enemies is my hatred, in the world of earth and in the
  world to come eternal."'

Then the Maulvee says:--

'Know ye for a truth, O man (repeating his name), that the God we worship
is One only, Great and Glorious, Most High and Mighty God, who is above
all lords, the only true God.

'Know ye also, That Mahumud is the best of the Lord's messengers.

'That Ali and his successors (before enumerated, but always here repeated)
were the best of all leaders.

'That whatever came with Mahumud is true, (meaning the whole work of his
mission);--Death is true; the Interrogation by Moonkih and Nykee[22] (the
two angels) is true; the Resurrection is true; Destruction is true; the
Bridge of Sirraat[23] is true; the Scales are true; Looking into the Book
is true; Heaven and Earth are true; Hell is true; the Day of Judgment is
true.

'Of these things there is no doubt--all are true; and, further, that God,
the great and glorious God, will raise all the dead bodies from their
graves.'

Then the Maulvee reads the following prayer or benediction, which is
called Dooar[24] prayer:--

'May the Lord God, abundant in mercy, keep you with the true speech; may
He lead you to the perfect path; may He grant you knowledge of Him, and of
His prophets.

'May the mercy of God be fixed upon you for ever. Ameen.'

This concluded, the Maulvee quits the grave, and slowly moves forty
measured paces in a line with it; then turning round, he comes again to
the grave, with the same solemnity in his steps, and standing on the edge,
he prays,

'O great and glorious God, we beseech Thee with humility make the earth
comfortable to this Thy servant's side, and raise his soul to Thee, and
with Thee may he find mercy and forgiveness.'

'Ameen, Ameen,' is responded by all present.

This ends the funeral service: the earth is closed over by the servants,
&c. and, except with the very poor, the grave is never entirely forsaken
day or night, during the forty days of mourning; readers of the Khoraun
are paid for this service, and in the families of the nobility the grave
is attended for years by those hired, who are engaged to read from that
book perpetually, relieving each other at intervals day and night.

They believe that when the Maulvee quits the grave, the angels enter to
interrogate the dead body, and receive the confession of his particular
faith; this is the object of the Maulvee's retiring forty paces, to give
the angels time to enter on their mission to the dead.

The Mussulmauns all believe that Mhidhie, the standing proof as he is
called, will visit the earth at a future period; they are said to possess
prophecies, that lead them to expect the twelve hundred and sixtieth year
of the Hegirah, as the time for his coming. The Soonies say, this Emaum
has yet to be born:--the Sheahs believe that Emaum Mhidhie is the person
to reappear. Some believe he is still on earth, dwelling, as they
conjecture, in the wilds and forests; and many go so far as to assert,
that Mhidhie visits (without being recognized) the Holy House of Mecca
annually, on the great day of sacrifice; but I cannot find any grounds
they have for this opinion.[25]

They also possess a prophecy, on which much dependance is placed, that
'When the four quarters of the globe contain Christian inhabitants, and
when the Christians approach the confines of Kaabah, then may men look for
that Emaum who is to come'. And it is the general belief amongst
Mussulmauns, founded on the authority of their most revered and valued
writers, that Emaum Mhidhie will appear with Jesus Christ at his second
coming; and with whom, they declare and firmly believe, he will act in
concert to purge the world of sin and wickedness. When, they add, 'all men
shall be of one mind and one faith'.

Of the three principal Roots of the Mussulmauns' faith, little need be
further said in explanation. I have had various opportunities of learning
their undisguised thoughts, and wish only to impart what the people are,
who are so little known to the world in general. All persons having had
the opportunity of studying the peculiarities of their particular faith,
will, I think, give them due credit, that reverence for, and belief in God,
forms a prominent trait in their character and faith: 'The English
translation of the Khoraun by Sale, (imperfect as all works must be, where
the two languages are inadequate to speak each other's meaning,) will tell
without a commentary, that the worship of God was the foundation on which
Mahumud built his code of laws; and that the prophets were all
acknowledged by him as messengers sent from God to His people, in every
age of the world; and, lastly, that Mahumud was the Prophet, who came when
the people of the earth, vicious and profane, had fallen into the most
dissolute habits, worshipping idols instead of God.' This passage is the
sentiment expressed to me by a worthy man, and a true Mussulmaun; I have
traced it out for the sake of explaining what is in the hearts of the
Mussulmauns of the present day.

When I have conversed with some of them on the improbability of Mahumud's
prophetic mission, I have been silenced by a few words, 'How many prophets
were sent to the Israelites?'--'Many.'--'You cannot enumerate them? then,
is it too much to be probable that God's mercy should have been graciously
extended to the children of Ishmael? they also are Abraham's seed. The
Israelites had many prophets, in all of whom we believe; the Ishmaelites
have one Prophet only, whose mission was to draw men from idolatry to the
true God. All men, they add will be judged according to their fidelity in
the faith they have professed. It is not the outward sign which makes a
man the true Mussulmaun; neither is it the mere profession of Christianity
which will clear the man at the last day. Religion and faith are of the
heart.'

In their collection of writings, I have had access to a voluminous work,
entitled 'Hyaatool Kaaloob'[26] (Enlightener of the Heart). My husband has
translated for me, occasionally, portions of this valuable work, which
bears a striking similarity to our Holy Scriptures, though collected after
a different manner; I have acquired, by this means, a more intimate
acquaintance with the general character of the Mussulmaun's belief. This
book contains all the prophets' lives, at every age of the world. It was
compiled by Mahumud Baakur, first in Arabic, and afterwards translated by
him into the Persian language, for the benefit of the public; and is of
great antiquity--I cannot now ascertain the exact date.

The Mussulmaun belief on the subject of the resurrection is, 'When the
fulness of time cometh, of which no man knoweth, then shall the earth be
destroyed by fire--and after this will be the resurrection of the dead'.

The branches emanating from the roots of the Mussulmaun faith will require
further explanation which shall follow in due course. I will in this
letter merely add what is meant by the Bridge of Sirraat,[27] the
Scales,[28] and Looking into the Book as noted in the burial service.

'The Bridge of Sirraat', they understand, is to be passed over by every
person in their passage to eternity, and is represented sharp as the
keenest sword.[29] The righteous will be gifted with power to pass over
with the rapidity of lightning, neither harm nor inconvenience will attend
them on the passage. The wicked, on the contrary, will be without help,
and must be many times injured and cut down in the attempt. An idea has
crept into the minds of some, that whoever offers up to God, at different
periods of his life, such animals as are deemed clean and fitting for
sacrifice, the same number and kind, on their day of passing Sirraat,
shall be in readiness to assist them on the passage over.

On this supposition is grounded the object of princes and nobles in India
offering camels in sacrifice on the day of Buckrah Eade.[30] This event
answers our Scripture account of Abraham's offering, but the Mussulmauns
say, the son of Abraham so offered was Ishmael, and not Isaac. I have
disputed the point with some of their learned men, and brought them to
search through their authorities; in some one or two there is a doubt as
to which was the son offered, but the general writers and most of the
Mussulmauns themselves believe Ishmael was the offering made by Abraham.

'The Scales are true;' the Mussulmauns believe, that on the day of
judgment, the good and the bad deeds of every mortal will be submitted to
the scales prepared in Heaven for that purpose.

'Looking into the Book is true;' the Mussulmauns believe that every human
being from their birth is attended by two angels,[31] one resting on the
right shoulder the other on the left, continually; their business is to
register every action of the individual they attend; when a good action is
to be recorded, they beseech the Almighty in His mercy to keep the person
in the good and perfect way; when evil ways are to be registered, they
mourn with intercessions to God that His mercy may be extended, by
granting them repentant hearts, and then, His forgiveness. Thus they
explain 'Looking into the Book is true', that whatever is contained in
this book will be looked into on the day of judgment, and by their deeds
therein registered shall they be judged.

In the 'Hyaatool Kaaloob' is to be found the lives of the Emaums, from
which is gleaned the following remarks:--

The Emaum Mhidhie was an orphan at nine years old. Alrouschid,[32] the
King of Bagdad, advised by his wicked minister, resolved on destroying
this boy (the last of the Emaums), fearing as he grew into favour with the
people, that the power of his sovereignty would decrease.

The King sent certain soldiers to seize Mhidhie, who was at prayers in an
inner room when they arrived. The soldiers demanded and were refused
admittance they then forced an entrance and proceeded to the room in which
the Emaum was supposed to be at prayers, they discovered him immersed to
the waist in a tank of water; the soldiers desired him to get out of the
water and surrender himself, he continued repeating his prayer, and
appeared to take no notice of the men nor their demand. After some
deliberations amongst the soldiers, they thought the water was too shallow
to endanger their lives, and one entered the tank intending to take the
Emaum prisoner, he sank instantly to rise no more, a second followed who
shared the same fate; and the rest, deterred by the example of their
brother soldiers, fled from the place, to report the failure of their plan
to the King at Bagdad.

This writer reports that Emaum Mhidhie was secretly conveyed away,
supposed by the interposition of Divine Providence, and was not again seen,
to be recognized, on earth; yet it is believed he still lives and will
remain for the fulfilment of that prophecy which sayeth:--'When Mecca is
filled with Christian people Emaum Mhidhie will appear, to draw men to the
true faith; and then also, Jesus Christ will descend from heaven to Mecca,
there will be great slaughter amongst men; after which there will be but
one faith--and then shall there be perfect peace and happiness over all
the world.'

The Mussulmauns of the present age discourse much on the subject of that
prophecy--particularly during the contest between the Greeks and Turks, of
which however they had no very correct information, yet they fancied the
time must be fast approaching, by these leading events, to the fuller
accomplishment; often, when in conversation with the most religious men of
the country, I have heard them declare it as their firm belief that the
time was fast approaching when there should be but one mind amongst all
men. 'There is but little more to finish;' 'The time draws near;' are
expressions of the Mussulmauns' belief, when discoursing of the period
anticipated, as prophesied in their sacred writings;--so persuaded are
they of the nearness of that time. In relating the substance of my last
serious conversation with the devout Meer Hadjee Shaah, I shall disclose
the real sentiments of most, if not every religious reflecting, true
Mussulmaun of his sect in India.

Meer Hadjee Shaah delighted in religious conversations; it was his
happiest time when, in the quiet of night, the Meer, his son, translated,
as I read, the Holy Bible to him. We have often been thus engaged until
one or two, and even to a later hour in the morning; he remembered all he
heard, and drew comparisons, in his own mind, between the two authorities
of sacred writings--the Khoraun and Bible; the one he had studied through
his long life, the other, he was now equally satisfied, contained the word
of God; he received them both, and as the 'two witnesses' of God. The last
serious conversation I had with him, was a very few days before his death;
he was then nearly in as good health as he had been for the last year; his
great age had weakened his frame, but he walked about the grounds with his
staff, as erect as when I first saw him, and evinced nothing in his
general manner that could excite a suspicion that his hours had so nearly
run their course.

We had been talking of the time when peace on earth should be universal;
'My time, dear baittie[33] (daughter), is drawing to a quick conclusion.
You may live to see the events foretold, I shall be in my grave; but
remember, I tell you now, though I am dead, yet when Jesus Christ returns
to earth, at His coming, I shall rise again from my grave; and I shall be
with Him, and with Emaum Mhidhie also.'

This was the substance of his last serious conversation with me, and
within one short week he was removed from those who loved to hear his
voice; but he still lives in the memory of many, and those who knew his
worth are reconciled by reflecting on the 'joy that awaits the righteous'.

'Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring,
and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one
shepherd.' Also, 'In My Father's house are many mansions'. These were
particularly pleasing passages to him, and often referred to in our
scriptural conversations.


[1] The Shi'ahs only wipe or rub the feet, instead of washing them, as
    do the Sunnis. In the standing posture (_qiyam_) in prayer, the
    Sunnis place the right hand over the left below the navel; the
    Shi'ahs keep their hands hanging on both sides of the body.

[2] I have met with the creed of the modern Jews, some time in the course
    of my life, in Hurd's _History of all Religions_; the belief of the
    Mussulmauns, as regards the unity of God, strictly coincides with that
    of the Jews, described in the first four articles of their creed.
    [_Author_.]

[3] _Namaz_, liturgical prayer, as contrasted with _du'a_, ordinary
    prayer.

[4] _Ramzan, Ramazan_.

[5] _Hajj_.

[6] _Zakat_.

[7] Khalifah, 'successor,' 'lieutenant,' 'viceregent.'

[8] 'Umar, Abu Bakr, 'Usman.

[9] No son named Ishmail is recorded. Ibrahim, his son from
    his slave girl, Mary the Copt, died A.D. 631, and was buried at Medina.
    The daughter of Abu Bakr was 'Ayishah.

[10] The Prophet married Hafsah, daughter of 'Umar, as his third wife.

[11] Khadijah.

[12] 'Whoso is the enemy of Gabriel--for he has by God's leave caused to
    descend on thy heart the confirmation of previous
    revelations.'--_Koran_, ii. 91.

[13] 'The story of the destruction of the library at Alexandria is first
    told by Bar-hebraeus (Abulfaragius), a Christian writer who lived six
    centuries later: it is of very doubtful authority.'--_Encyclopaedia
    Britannica_, i. 570.

[14] This is incorrect, Sunnis very largely preponderating over
    Shi'ahs. According to the latest information there were in the
    United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, nearly 6-1/2 million Sunnis and
    183,000 Shi'ahs (_Imperial Gazetteer_ (1908), xxiv. 172). This
    information was not collected in recent census reports. In the whole
    of India, in 1881, there were 46-3/4 million Sunnis, as compared
    with 809,561 Shi'ahs.

[15] The correct list of the Imams recognized by the Imamiya or
    orthodox Shi'ahs is as follows: 'Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet;
    Al-Hasan, son of 'Ali, Al-Husain, second son of 'Ali; 'Ali
    Zain-ul-'Abidin, son of Al-Husain; Muhammad Al-Baqir, son of
    Zain-ul-'Abidin; Ja'afar as-Sadiq, son of Muhammad Al-Baqir;
    Ar-Raza, son of Musa; Muhammad At-Taqi, son of Ar-Raza;
    'Ali-an Naqi, son of Muhammad At-Taqi; Al-Hasan Al-Askari,
    son of 'Ali-an Naqi; Muhammad, son of Al-Hasan Al-Askari, or
    the Imam Al-Mahdi, who is believed to be still alive, and will
    appear in the last days as the Mahdi.

[16] _Kafn_, properly 'a winding-sheet'.

[17] _Qanat_.

[18] The religious man generally prepares his own winding-sheet, keeping
    it always ready, and occasionally taking out this monitor to add
    another verse or chapter, as the train of thought may have urged at
    the time. I have seen this done by the Meer Hadjee Shaah, who
    appropriated a piece of fine white cambric muslin, he had received
    from me, to this sacred purpose. I have often been a silent observer
    of my revered friend whilst he was engaged in writing passages from
    the book whose rules he lived by. The anticipated moment when he
    should require this his kuffin dress, was never clouded by dread, but
    always looked forward to with cheerfulness and fervent hope; for he
    trusted in the mercy of God whom he loved and worshipped. [_Author_.]
    [Many pilgrims buy at Mecca the shroud in which they desire to be
    buried, and wash it in the well Zamzam, supposing that the holy water
    will secure the repose of the soul after death.]

[19] Maccurrub means those angels who are at all times privileged to
    appear in the presence of God;--they are supposed to have eyes of
    great brilliance. In order that the Mussulmauns may have the reply
    ready for that awful moment, they have a custom of repeating the
    responses to the angel every evening, when the lamp is first lighted,
    as they say this sudden light resembles the angels' eyes. I had
    noticed the custom for some time, and fancied the Mussulmaun people
    worshipped light, until I was made acquainted with the real motive for
    this general observance both with the men and women. [_Author._]
    [_Muqarrab_, 'those allowed to come near'.]

[20] Kiblaah is the holy place to which men turn their face when offering
    up their prayer to God, as the Jews face Jerusalem. Literally,
    'worshipping place'. [_Author._] [_Qiblah_: the direction of prayer
    was changed by the Prophet from Jerusalem to Mecca (_Koran_, ii.
    138-9, with Sale's note).]

[21] See p. 72.

[22] Munkir, or Munkar, and Nakir are the two recording angels.

[23] See p. 78.

[24] _Du'a_.

[25] Al-Mahdi, 'the directed one', who will appear in the last day.
    According to the Shi'ahs, he has already appeared in the person of
    Muhammad Abu'l-Qasim, the 12th Imam. Later claimants are
    Sayyid Ahmad, who fought against the Sikhs in 1826; Muhammad Ahmad ibn
    Sayyid Abdulla, who fled after the fatal day of Omdurman, and was
    killed in battle in 1899.

[26] _Hayat[u']l-Qulub_ compiled by Muhammad Baqir, whose last
    work was published A.D. 1627. It has been partly translated into
    English by J.L. Morrick, Boston, 1850.

[27] Sirat, the bridge over which the soul must cross on its way to
    Paradise.

[28] Mizan, the Balance, with which the deeds of the dead man are
    weighed.--_Koran_, xxi. 47.

[29] May not this be a poetical symbol, similar to the scythe? [_Author._]

[30] Baqarah 'Id, 'cow festival,' held on the 10th of the month
    Zu'l-Hijjah, the month of pilgrimage, the attempted sacrifice of
    Ishmael having, it is said, occurred at Mount Mina, near Mecca.

[31] Kiramu'l-Katibin, one recording the good, the other the
    evil actions of the dead.

[32] Harun-al-Rashid, 'Aaron the Orthodox', fifth Abbasid Caliph,
    of Baghdad (A.D. 763 or 776-809), best known from _The Arabian Nights_.

[33] _Beti_.



LETTER VII

  Namaaz (daily prayer).--The Mussulmaun prayers.--Their different names
  and times.--Extra prayer-service.--The Mosque.--Ablutions requisite
  previous to devotion.--Prostrations at prayers.--Mosque
  described.--The Mussulmauns' Sabbath.--Its partial observance.--The
  amusements of this life not discontinued on the Sabbath.--Employment
  of domestics undiminished on this day.--Works of importance then
  commenced.--Reasons for appropriating Friday to the Sabbath.--The Jews
  opposed to Mahumud.--The Prophet receives instructions from the angel
  Gabriel.--Their import and definition. Remarks of a Commentator on the
  Khoraun.--Prayer of intercession.--Pious observance of Christmas Day
  by a Native Lady.--Opinions entertained of our Saviour.--Additional
  motives for prayer.--David's Mother's prayer.--Anecdote of Moses and
  a Woodcutter.--Remarks upon the piety and devotion of the female
  Mussulmauns.


The Mussulmaun Lawgiver commanded Namaaz (daily prayer) five times a day:

1st. 'The Soobhoo Namaaz,' to commence at the dawn of day.

2nd. 'The Zohur,' at the second watch of the day, or mid-day.

3rd. 'The Ausur,' at the third day watch.

4th. 'The Muggrib,' at sunset; and,

5th. 'The Eshaa,' at the fourth ghurrie of the night.[1]

These are the commanded hours for prayer. Mahumud himself observed an
additional service very strictly, at the third watch of the night, which
was called by him, 'Tahujjoot,'[2] and the most devout men, in all ages of
their faith, have imitated this example scrupulously.

'The Soobhoo Namaaz' is deemed a necessary duty, and commences with the
earliest dawn of day. The several prayers and prostrations occupy the
greatest part of an hour, with those who are devout in their religious
exercises; many extend the service by readings from an excellent
collection, very similar to our Psalms, called 'The Vazefah'.[3]

'The Zohur Namaaz', an equally essential duty, commences at mid-day, and
occupies about the same time as 'The Soobhoo'.

'The Ausur Namaaz' commences at the third day watch. The religious men are
not tempted to excuse themselves from the due observance of this hour; but
the mere people of the world, or those whose business requires their time,
attach this service to the next, and satisfy their conscience with
thinking that the prayer-hours combined, answers the same purpose as when
separately performed.

'The Muggrib Namaaz'. This is rigidly observed at sunset; even those who
cannot make it convenient at other hours, will leave their most urgent
employment to perform this duty at sunset. Who that has lived any time in
India, cannot call to mind the interesting sight of the labouring classes,
returning to their home after the business of the day is over? The sun
sinking below the Western horizon, the poor man unbinds his waist, and
spreads his cummerbund on the side of the road; he performs his ablutions
from his brass lota of water, and facing Mecca, bows himself down under
the canopy of heaven, to fulfil what he believes to be his duty at that
hour to his merciful God.

'The Eshaa Namaaz' commences at the fourth ghurrie of the night. The form
of prayer for this Namaaz is much longer than the rest. The devout men
extend their prayers at this still hour of the night; they tell me that
they feel more disposed at this time to pour out their hearts to God in
praise and thanksgiving, than at any other period of the day or night; and
I have known many of them to be at silent prayer for hours together.

Many persons in their early life may have neglected that due obedience
expected in the commanded daily prayers; in after life, they endeavour to
make up the deficiency, by imposing on themselves extra services, to
fulfil the number omitted. By the same rule, when a member of the family
dies, and it is suspected the due performance of Namaaz had been neglected
by him, the survivor, who loved him or her in life, is anxious for the
soul's rest, and thus proves it by performing additional prayers for the
benefit of the soul of that beloved individual.

If a Mussulmaun falls from affluence to penury, twelve devout men of his
faith engage to fast and pray, on a day fixed by themselves, to make
intercession for their friend:--they believe in the efficacy of good men's
prayers; and Meer Hadjee Shaah has often declared to me, that he has
witnessed the benefit of this exercise by the happiest results, in many
such cases.

The Khoraun, it is commanded, shall be read. A person perhaps dies before
he has been awakened to a love of sacred things; his friends therefore
engage readers to attend his grave, and there to read the Khoraun for the
benefit of the departed soul.[4]

They have a firm belief in the efficacy of prayer by proxy; and the view
they have of departed spirits is still more singular. They believe the
soul hovers over the body in the grave for some time, and that the body is
so far animated, as to be sensible of what is passing; as when the Maulvee
is repeating the service, the angels visit in the grave, or when the
Khoraun is read; hence the belief in the efficacy of prayer and reading as
substitutes for neglected or omitted duties whilst on earth. There are in
all the mosques men retained to do the requisite service there,[5] that is,
to keep it clean, and to prevent any thing that could pollute the
sanctuary from entering; to call at the stated hours for Namaaz, with a
loud voice, so that all the neighbourhood may hear and go to prayers; he
mounts the minaret as the hour is striking, and pronounces, 'Allah wo
uckbaar!' 'Mahumudoon Russool Allah!'[6]--God alone is true! Mahumud is
God's Prophet!--with a voice, the extent of which can only be imagined by
those who have heard it; this summons is repeated many times over.

The mosque is open day and night for all who choose to enter for the
purpose of prayer. The Mussulmauns, however, in their prayer-services are
not restricted to the mosques; all places are deemed holy where no unclean
animal has been to defile the spot, as dogs or swine, nor any idol been
set up for worship. The person coming to Namaaz must not have contaminated
himself by touching the dead, or any other thing accounted unclean, until
he has bathed his whole body and changed his clothes. This resembles the
Mosaic law.

Ablutions are regarded as essentially necessary: if any one is ill, and to
use water would be dangerous, or if there be no water to be found where
the Mussulmaun is about to pray, there is an allowed substitute, merely to
rub the hands, feet, knees, and head with the dry dust of clay, and this
is counted to them for ablutions. Thus prepared, the devotee spreads his
prayer-carpet[7] (generally of fine matting) in the most convenient place
to himself, if not in the mosque;--perhaps under a tree, in the verandah,
or in a room, no matter where, taking care, under all circumstances, that
the carpet is spread to face the Kaabah (Holy House at Mecca).

At the commencement of his prayers, he stands erect, his hands lifted up,
the palms held out towards heaven, where the eyes are also turned whilst
expressing adoration and praise to God. This ended, he prostrates himself
before the Almighty, his forehead touching the ground; the form of words
here used expresses the unworthiness of the creature permitted to approach
and worship the Creator; again he stands to repeat the glorious
perfections of God; he then kneels in worship and prayer, after which
prostrations are resumed, &c. In the performance of some of the services
they prostrate five times, standing up and kneeling an equal number of
times; the shortest services have three, and all the prayers and praises
are arranged in Arabic,--that most expressive language,--which to
translate, they say, is to corrupt the meaning of the prayers. For this
reason the Khoraun is not allowed in any other than the original language;
and for the benefit of the unlearned in Arabic, it is commented upon,
passage by passage, in the Persian language.

The mosques are all erected on one plan; the entrance to the outer court
is secured by a gate or door always on the latch, without locks, bars, or
bolts; in the paved yard a tank or reservoir for bathing or ablutions is
usually provided. The mosque itself is square, with a dome and two
minarets; the side next the court-yard is the entrance, and generally this
front is entirely open; the back of the mosque faces Mecca, in which
direction the prayer must be offered to be effectual. These houses of
prayer are generally kept clean and neat, but not the slightest ornament
allowed within the walls; the floor is matted, and a plain wooden mhembur
(pulpit) is provided. Shoes never enter within the precincts of the mosque;
'Put off thy shoes' is strictly observed by Mussulmauns in all sacred
places--a man praying with shoes on his feet would be accounted mad or a
heathen.[8]

The Sabbath of the Mussulmauns is kept on Friday, commencing on the
preceding night, after the manner of the Jews, only with the difference of
the day.[9]

As a religious rest, the Sabbath is but partially observed with
Mussulmauns. The Soonies, I have remarked, pay much more attention to its
institutions than the Sheahs; but with either sect, the day is less
strictly kept, than might have been expected from people who really seem
to make religion their study, and the great business of their lives. Both
sects have extra prayers for the day besides the usual Namaaz, which, the
religious people perform with, great punctuality, whether they carry their
devotions to the mosque, or offer their prayers in due form in their own
abode. On the Sabbath they make it a point to bathe and change their
apparel; the public offices are closed, and the shops partially shut until
mid-day; the rulers,--as Kings or Nuwaubs,--distinguish the day by not
receiving their courtiers and the public visitors, as on other days.
Charitable donations are likewise more bountifully dispensed from the rich
to the poor on Friday.

These observances serve to convince us that they believe in the
constituted Sabbath; still there is not that strict respect for the holy
day which could satisfy the scrupulous feelings of a Christian; the
servants are quite as much employed on Friday as on any other day;--the
dhurzie[10] (tailor), dhobhie[11] (washerman), and indeed the whole
establishment of servants and slaves, male and female, find their work
undiminished on the Sabbath. The ladies amuse themselves with cards or
dice, the singing women even are quite as much in request as on other days;
and all the amusements of life are indulged in without once seeming to
suspect that they are disobeying the law of God, or infringing on their
actual duties. Indeed, I believe they would keep the day strictly, if they
thought doing so was a necessary duty: but I have often observed, that as
Friday is one of their 'fortunate days', works of any importance are
commenced on this day;--whether it be building a house,--planting a garden
or field,--writing a book,--negotiating a marriage,--going a
journey,--making a garment, or any other business of this life which they
wish should prosper. With them, therefore, the day of rest is made one of
the busiest in the calendar; but I must do them the justice to say, that
they believe their hearts are more pure after the ablutions and prayers
have been performed. And that as nothing, however trifling or important,
according to their praiseworthy ideas, should ever be commenced without
being first dedicated to God,--from whose mercy they implore aid and
blessings on the labour of their hands,--they set apart Friday for
commencing whatever business they are anxious should prosper. This was the
excuse made by the pious Meer Hadjee Shaah.

Mahumud's biographers notice in many instances the strict observance of
the Sabbath, at the period in which he flourished; they also say he
selected Friday to be observed as the Mussulmaun Sabbath in distinction
from the Jews, who it would seem were jealous of Mahumud's teaching, and
annoyed both him and his followers in every way they could possibly devise.
And the Khoraun commentators, on the subject of Mahumud's mission, declare,
when speaking of the place to which the Mussulmaun bow in prayer, 'That
when Mahumud first commenced his task of teaching the ignorant Arabians to
forsake their idol worship, and to turn to the only true God, he was often
reviled and insulted by the Jews; who even ridiculed the presumption of
the Mussulmauns in daring to bow down, in their worship, towards Jerusalem,
in the same direction with them. Mahumud was sadly perplexed whether to
abstain or continue the practice, as he was unwilling to offend the Jews:
in this trial he was visited by the angel Gabriel, who brought the
following command to him from God:--

'Turn from Jerusalem; and when thou bowest down to Me, face that Holy
House of Abraham, the place of sacrifice: that shall be thy Kiblaah, O
Mahumud.'

Kiblaah is the point to which men bow in worship.[12] Kaabah is the 'Holy
House' where Abraham's sacrifice was offered. Mecca is the city or tract
of country surrounding the house.

Thus they will say: 'I am making my pilgrimage to Mecca, to visit the
Kaabah, which in my Namaaz, has been my Kiblaah when worshipping my God.'

A Commentator on the Khoraun writes, in allusion to the prevailing
worldly-minded men of his day, the following expressive definition of the
objects most worshipped by them, and concludes with the one only Kiblaah
deserving men's attention.

'The Sovereign's Kiblaah is His well-ornamented crown.'

'The Sensualist's Kiblaah, The gratification of his appetites.'

'The Lover's Kiblaah, The mistress of his heart.'

'The Miser's Kiblaah, His hoards of gold and silver.'

'The Ambitious Man's Kiblaah, This world's honours and possessions.'

'The mere Professor's Kiblaah, The arch of the Holy House.'

And

'The Righteous Man's Kiblaah, The pure love of God,--which may all men
learn and practise.'

The Mussulmaun Faith directs them to believe, not only in the prophets and
their writings, but also that they are intercessors at the throne of grace;
for this reason Mahumud taught his followers to call on God to hear them
for the sake of,--

'1st. Adam, Suffee Ali ("the Pure" is the nearest possible translation).'

'2nd. Noah, the Prophet of God.'

'3rd. Abraham, the Friend of God.'

'4th. Moses, who Conversed with God.'

'5th. Jesus, the Soul of God.'

'6th. Mahumud, the Prophet of God.'[13]

Those persons who are devout in the exercise of their religious duties day
by day, in the concluding part of the morning Namaaz strictly observe the
practice of Mahumud and the Emaums, in the prayers of intercession; and
the 'Salaam-oon-ali Khoom',[14] (peace or rest be with thee) O Adam Suffee
Ali! and to thee, O Noah, the Prophet of God! and to thee, O Abraham! &c.
&c. going through the line in the manner and rotation above-described,
concluding with the several Emaums, twelve in number (as in their Creed).

It will be seen by this, that they have reverence for all who came from
God, to teach mankind His will. They believe also, that the Holy Prophets
are sensible of the respect paid to them by existing mortals, as also when
on earth they knew what was in the hearts of those men they conversed with.
I have the honour to be acquainted with a lady of the Mussulmaun Religion,
who lives in accordance with the Faith she professes. There was a period
in her life, within my recollection, when she had very severe trials of a
domestic nature. She trusted in God for relief, and followed in the way
she had been instructed, keeping fasts and holy days; testifying her
respect for the prophets, by observing those days for extra prayer and
giving alms, which the Khoraun and commentaries represent as worthy to be
done, by the devout Mussulmauns.

Amongst the number of days strictly observed by this pious lady during her
troubles, was the Nativity of Jesus Christ, for whose sake she fed the
hungry, clothed the naked, and gave alms to the necessitous. I was the
more delighted when first hearing of this circumstance, because I had
judged of the Mussulmaun faith by common report, and fancied they rejected,
with the Jews, our Redeemer having come. They, on the contrary, believe,
according to their Prophet's words, 'that He was born of the Virgin Mary;
that He worked miracles; that He ascended after His earthly commission had
ceased, to the seventh heaven; that He will again visit the earth (when
their Emaum Mhidhie will also appear), to cleanse the world of its corrupt
wickedness, when all men shall live in peace, and but one faith shall
prevail, in the worship of the true God'.

The Mussulmaun work, 'Hyaatool Kaloob' (which I have so often referred to),
contains, with the lives of all the prophets, the Life of Jesus Christ,
His acts, and the Ungeel[15] (Gospel). The Gospel they have is in many
things different from ours; it is not formed into books by the apostles,
neither are the miracles united with the Gospel, but are detailed as the
acts of Christ Jesus. What they understand by the Ungeel, is, 'the Word of
God by the mouth of Jesus';--for instance, the Sermon on the Mount, or, in
other words, the precepts of Jesus. I am indebted to the Meer for this
information.

The Mussulmauns say, 'All power belongs to God.--Who would dare dispute
the miracle of Christ's birth? Is there any thing difficult with God? God
first formed Adam from the dust; and by His word all things were created.
Is there any thing too great for His power? Let no man, then, dispute the
birth of Christ by a pure Virgin.' They believe that Jesus Christ was the
Prophet of God, but they believe not that He is God; and they deem all who
thus declare Christ to be God, as unfaithful both to God and to Christ.

I have said the Mussulmauns of each sect have extra prayers, beside the
Namaaz, or daily services of prayer. I suppose there are a greater variety
of prayers amongst these people than with those of any other religion.
Very few, if any, of the devout men, in the early ages of their religion,
have omitted to leave behind them some testimony of their regard for
posterity in the form of 'prayers', dictating the words most likely to
lead the heart of the creature to the worship of the Creator; and also
directions how to pray for any particular object they may desire to
accomplish by the aid of God, in whom they are instructed and believe the
fulness of power, as of glory, ever was, is, and will be to all eternity.

If the Mussulmaun suffers by persecution, by sickness, by loss of property,
or any other distress of mind or body, he applies himself to the
particular prayer of a favourite Emaum, or holy scribe, suited to his
exact case. I cannot do better here than copy the translation my husband
has made of the leading causes for the use of that prayer called
'Daaood's[16] (David's) Mother's Prayer', in which I have known so many
people to be engaged, when under difficulties, at the appointed period,
viz. the fifteenth day of the month Rujub. The prayer itself occupies
about sixteen closely written pages, and the person intending to make use
of it, is expected to bathe and fast, as commanded by Mahumud, who
instructed his followers in this prayer, which was then called 'The
Opening of Difficulties',[17] afterwards, and to the present day 'David's
Mother's Prayer', by reason of a miraculous occurrence which followed her
having fulfilled the task of fasting, preparation, and the prayer alluded
to.

'A very poor woman had been engaged in the family of the Emaum Jaffur
Saadick,[18] as wet-nurse to his son; she was much respected in the family,
who wished to have retained her with them, when the child was weaned; but
she would return to her own village, where her son was living, at some
distance from the city of Koofah.

'Her son, named Daaood, grew up under her maternal care, and proved the
great comfort and solace of her life, by his dutiful and affectionate
bearing towards her. At that period the reigning King of Arabia was a most
cruel man, and an idolater; he persecuted all the professors of the "True
Faith" whenever they came within his reach, with the most barbarous
brutality.

'One day, at an early hour, Daaood's mother presented herself at the house
of the Emaum, in great distress of mind, and related the heavy affliction
which had befallen her, in the loss of her dearly loved son (then a fine
youth), who had been decoyed by the wicked emissaries of the King, for the
purpose, it was feared, of immolation--as it was known to be his custom,
when, laying the foundation of a building, to deposit living victims of
the Mussulmaun faith beneath it. The poor woman had no hope her eyes would
ever again be blessed with the sight of her fondly-loved son, and still
more agonizing were her fears, that his protracted sufferings would be of
the same terrible description with numbers of the faithful who had fallen
into the hands of that wretched heathen King.

'Her friends in the Emaum's family grieved over the sad affliction with
which their favourite had been visited. The Emaum strove to comfort her,
and proposed that she should perform the prayer in which Mahumud had
instructed his followers for "The Opening of Difficulties". "Alas!"
replied the woman, "poor ignorant that I am, how shall I repeat that
prayer; I cannot read: knowest thou not, my Emaum, that I am not
acquainted with letters?" "But I will teach you the prayer," answered the
Emaum; "you shall repeat it after me, and by diligence you will acquire it
perfectly by that day, on which our Prophet commanded his followers to
perform the fast and offer this prayer, that God might be pleased to
remove their calamities."

'The poor woman obeyed all the injunctions and advice of the Emaum Jaffur
Saadick punctually; acquired, by her diligence, the words of the prayer;
strictly observed the preparation by fast; and, on the fifteenth "day of
Rujub", the prayer was duly performed, with sincere devotion and perfect
faith in God's power, and His infinite mercy.

'In the mean time, it appears, the King having been much troubled in a
dream, he was warned to release his prisoner from captivity without delay,
at the peril of destruction to himself and all he possessed. The warning
dream presented him with a view of the gulf to which he was condemned, if
he delayed the release of Daaood from his confinement. The person of the
youth was so clearly represented to the King in his dream, that there
could be no possible mistake in the particular captive to be freed, out of
the many he held in bondage. The King awakening from his troubled sleep,
demanded of his attendants where the young man was confined; and learning
from the chief officer of his court that Daaood was sent to a distant
place, to be the offering buried under the foundation of a house, erecting
by his command: the swiftest camels were ordered immediately, to convey
messengers with two bags of gold, and the King's mandate, peremptorily
ordering the release of the youth, if happily he yet existed; and if the
building was proceeding with, the superintendent was cautioned to pull it
down with the utmost care and dispatch, so that nothing should be omitted
which could be done to preserve that life now so dear to the hopes of the
King.

'The messengers reached the place on the third day after Daaood had been
immured in the foundation of the building. Small, indeed, were the hopes
that the King's desires would be gratified. The builder, however, more
humane than his employer, had so raised the work round the person of
Daaood, as to leave him unhurt by its pressure, and having left a small
aperture for air, his life was preserved;--the masonry being removed
promptly, and with caution, the youth was discovered not only alive, but
even uninjured by the confinement. The courier mounted the boy on the
camel, with the present of gold contained in two bags, and conveyed Daaood,
without loss of time, to his mother's abode.

'All the particulars having undergone due investigation, it was clearly
proved that it was on that very day when the poor woman was occupied in
her fast and prayer, that her son Daaood was released from the foundation
of the King's house and restored to his home. From this time forward the
prayer of "Opening Difficulties" was denominated "Or of Daaood's Mother".'

Turning over my collection of curiosities for the story of Daaood's Mother,
which the Meer translated for me many years since, I met with an ancient
anecdote which. I received from the same dear revered friend I must often
quote as my author when I am detailing the particulars of things which I
have heard and not seen,--Meer Hadjee Shaah,--who tells me he has found
the following anecdote in the 'Commentary on The History of Moses'.--It is
translated by my husband.

'When Huzerut[19] Moosa (Moses), "to whose spirit be peace!" was on earth,
there lived near him a poor yet remarkably religious man, who had for many
years supported himself and his wife by the daily occupation of cutting
wood for his richer neighbours; four small copper coins (equivalent to our
halfpence) proved the reward of his toil, which at best afforded the poor
couple but a scanty meal after his day's exertions.

'The prophet Moosa passed the Woodcutter one morning, who accosted him
with "O Moosa! Prophet of the Most High; behold I labour each day for my
coarse and scanty meal; may it please thee, O Huzerut! to make a petition
for me to our gracious God, that He may in His mercy grant me at once the
whole supply for my remaining years, so that I shall enjoy one day of
earthly happiness, and then, with my wife, be transferred to the place of
eternal rest". Moosa promised and made the required petition; his prayer
was answered from Mount Tor, thus:--

'"This man's life is long, O Moses! nevertheless, if he be willing to
surrender life when his supply is exhausted, tell him thy prayer is heard,
the petition accepted, and the whole amount shall be found beneath his
jhaawn namaaz[20] (prayer-carpet) after his early prayers."

'The Woodcutter was satisfied when Moosa told him the result of his
petition, and when the first duties of the morning were concluded, he
failed not in looking for the promised remittance, where, to his surprise,
he found a heap of silver coins. Calling his wife, the Woodcutter told her
what he had required of the Lord through his Holy Prophet Moosa; pointing
to the result, they both agreed it was very good to enjoy a short life of
happiness on earth and depart in peace; although they could not help again
and again recurring to the number of years on earth they had thus
sacrificed. "We will make as many hearts rejoice as this the Lord's gift
will admit," they both agreed, "and thus we shall secure in our future
state the blessed abode promised to those who fulfil the commands of God
in this, since to-morrow our term of life must close."

'The day was spent in providing and preparing provisions for the meal. The
whole sum was expended on the best sorts of food, and the poor made
acquainted with the rich treat the Woodcutter and his wife were cooking
for their benefit. The food was cooked for the indigent, and allotments
made to each hungry applicant, reserving for themselves one good
substantial meal, to be eaten only when the poor were all served and
satisfied. It happened at the very moment they were seated to enjoy this
their last meal, as they believed, a voice was heard, "O friend! I have
heard of your feast,--I am late, yet may it be that you have a little to
spare, for I am hungry to my very heart. The blessing of God be on him who
relieves my present sufferings from hunger!" The Woodcutter and his wife
agreed that it would be much, better for them to go to heaven with half a
bellyful, than leave one fellow-creature on earth famishing for a meal;
they, therefore, determined on sharing their own portion with him who had
none, and he went away from them rejoicing. "Now," said the happy pair,
"we shall eat our half-share with unmixed delight, and with thankful
hearts. By to-morrow eve we shall be transferred to paradise."

'They had scarcely raised the savoury food to their opening mouths, when a
voice of melancholy bewailing arrested their attention, and stayed the
hands already charged with food;--a poor wretched creature, who had not
tasted food for two whole days, moaned his piteous tale in accents that
drew tears from the Woodcutter and his wife--their eyes met and the
sympathy was mutual; they were more willing to depart for heaven without
the promised benefit of one earthly enjoyment, than suffer the hungry
creature to die from want of that meal they had before them. The dish was
promptly tendered to the bewailing subject, and the Woodcutter and his
wife consoled each other by thinking that, as their time of departure was
now so near at hand, the temporary enjoyment of a meal was not worth one
moment's consideration. "To-morrow we die, then of what consequence to us
whether we depart with full or empty stomachs!" And now their thoughts
were set on the place of eternal rest. They slept, and arose to their
morning orisons with hearts resting humbly on their God, in the fullest
expectation that this was their last day on earth: the prayer was
concluded, and the Woodcutter in the act of rolling up his carpet, on
which he had bowed with gratitude, reverence, and love to his Creator,
when he perceived a fresh heap of silver on the floor;--he could scarcely
believe it was not a dream. "How wonderful art Thou, O God!" cried the
poor Woodcutter; "this is Thy bounteous gift that I may indeed enjoy one
day before I quit this earth." And when Moosa came to him, he (Moosa) was
satisfied with the goodness and power of God; but he retired again to the
Mount to inquire of God the cause of the Woodcutter's respite. The reply
given to Moosa was, "That man has faithfully applied the wealth given in
answer to his petition. He is worthy to live out his numbered years on
earth, who, receiving My bounty, thought not of his own enjoyments whilst
his fellow men had wants he could supply." And to the end of the
Woodcutter's long life, God's bounty lessened not in substance; neither
did the pious man relax in his charitable duties of sharing with the
indigent all that he had, and with the same disregard to his own
enjoyments.'

I have but little to add, as regards the manner of worship amongst my
Mussulmaun acquaintance; but here I cannot omit remarking, that the women
are devout in their prayers and strict in their observance of ordinances.
That they are not more generally educated is much to be regretted; this,
however, is their misfortune, not their fault. The Mussulmaun faith does
not exclude the females from a participation in the Eternal world,[21]--as
has so often been assorted by people who could not have known them,--and
the good Mussulmaun proves it by his instruction of the females under his
control in the doctrines of Mahumud, and who he believes to be as much
dependent on him for guidance on the road to heaven, as for personal
protection from want or worldly dangers.

The pure life of Fatima, Mahumud's only daughter, is greatly esteemed as
an example of female excellence, whom they strive to imitate as much as
possible, as well in religious as in moral or domestic duties. They are
zealous to fulfil all the ordinances of their particular faith,--and I
have had the best possible opportunity of studying their
character,--devotion to God being the foundation on which every principal
action of their lives seems to rest.

In my delineation of character, whether male or female, I must not be
supposed to mean the whole mass of the Mussulmaun population. There are
good and bad of every class or profession of people; it has been my good
fortune to be an inmate with the pious of that faith, and from their
practice I have been aided in acquiring a knowledge of what constitutes a
true disciple of Mahumud.


[1] The writer mixes up the Persian and Arabic names of the hours of
    prayer. The proper names, according to this list, are: i,
    Namaz-i-Subh, from dawn to sunrise; ii, Salatu'l-Zuhr, when the
    sun has begun to decline; iii, Salatu'l 'Asr, midway between
    Nos. ii and iv; iv, Sala tu'l-Maghrib, a few minutes after sunset;
    v, Salatu'l 'Isha, when night has closed in.

[2] _Namaz-i-Tahajjid_, the prayer after midnight.


[3] _Wazifah_, 'a daily ration of food', a term used for the daily
    lesson or portion of the _Koran_ read by devout Musalmans. The
    _Koran_ is divided into thirty lessons (_siparah_) for use
    during the month Ramazan.

[4] Special readers (_muqri_) of the _Koran_ are needed, owing to
    the want of vowels in the Arabic character (Sale, _Preliminary
    Discourse_, 47). Readers are often employed to recite the _Koran_
    over a corpse on the way to Karbala.

[5] Known as Khadim.

[6] _Allahu akbar ... Muhammadan rasulu'llah._ In English the
    entire call runs: 'Allah is most great (four times), I testify that
    there is no God but Allah (twice), I testify that Muhammad is the
    Apostle of Allah (twice), Come to prayer (twice), Come to salvation
    (twice), Allah is most great (twice), There is no God but Allah!'

[7] Known as _Ja'e-namaz,_ 'place of prayer'.

[8] See p. 27.

[9] The _Salatu'l-Juma'_, the Friday prayer, is obligatory. Friday was
    appointed a Sabbath to distinguish Musalmans from Jews and
    Christians.

[10] _Darzi_.

[11] _Dhobi_.

[12] See p. 74.

[13] The correct titles are as follows: Adam, _Safiyu'llah,_ 'The
    Chosen One of God'; Noah, _Nabiyu'llah_, 'The Prophet of God';
    Abraham, _Khalilu'llah_, 'The Friend of God'; Moses,
    _Kalimu'llah_, 'He that spoke with God'; Jesus, _Ruhu'llah_,
    'A Spirit from God'; Muhammad, _Rasulu 'Illah,_ 'The Prophet of
    God'.

[14] _Salam-'alai-kum._


[15] _Injil, [Greek: e'uaggélion]_, the Gospel, as opposed to
    _taurat_, the Pentateuch.

[16] Daud.

[17] The Fatiha, or opening chapter of the _Koran_, used like the
    Pator-noster.

[18] Ja'afar as-Sadiq.

[19] _Hazrat_, 'Reverend', or 'Superior'.

[20] _Ja'e-namaz_, known also as _sajjadah_, or _musalla_.

[21] The assertion that the Koran teaches that women have no souls is
    incorrect. See the texts collected by Hughes, _Dictionary of Islam_,
    pp. 677 ff.



LETTER VIII

  The Fast of Rumzaun.--Motives for its strict observance.--Its
  commencement and duration.--Sentiments of Meer Hadjee Shaah on the
  duty of fasting.--Adherence of the females to the observing this
  fast.--How first broken.--Devout persons extend the term to forty
  days.--Children permitted to try their zeal.--Calamitous effects of the
  experiment.--Exemptions from this duty.--Joyful termination of the
  fast.--Celebration of Eade on the last day.--The Nuzza.--Nautchwomen
  and Domenie.--Surprise of the Natives at European dancing.--Remarks on
  their Music.--Anecdotes of Fatima.--The Chuckee.


  'The poor man fasts, because he wanteth meat;
  The sick man fasts, because he cannot eat.
  The miser fasts, with greedy mind, to spare;
  The glutton fasts, to eat a greater share.
  The hypocrite, he fasts to seem more holy;
  The righteous man, to punish sinful folly.'

The secret motive of the heart, man cannot fathom in his neighbour's deeds.
There are some actions so praiseworthy in themselves, that the charitably
disposed will pass over the probable actuating motive, when looking only
to the fair example. I have, however, reason to think that the Mussulmauns
generally, in fulfilling the commanded fast of Rumzaun, have an
unexceptionable motive. They are taught by their Lawgiver, that the due
performance of this rigid fast is an acceptable service to God the Creator,
from man the creature: they believe this, and therefore they fast?

Amongst the well-informed it is persevered in as a duty delightful to be
permitted to perform; the ignorant take some merit to themselves in having
faithfully observed the command; yet all the fasting population are
actuated more or less by the same motive,---the desire to please God by
fulfilling His commands, delivered to them by their acknowledged Prophet.

The severity of a Mussulmaun's fast can alone be understood by those who
have made the trial, as I frequently have, of the strict rules of
abstinence which they observe; and with the additional privations to be
endured at the period of the hottest months and the longest days in the
same climate, as will sometimes be the case with all their movable fasts.

The Mussulmaun fast commences when the first streak of light borders the
Eastern horizon, and continues until the stars are clearly discerned in
the heavens. During this period not the slightest particle of food, not
one single drop of water, or any other liquid, passes the lips; the hookha,
even, is disallowed during the continuance of the fast, which of itself
forms not only a luxury of great value, but an excellent antidote to
hunger.

Amongst the really religious Mussulmauns the day is passed in occasional
prayer, besides the usual Namaaz, reading the Khoraun, or the Lives of the
Prophets. I have witnessed some, in their happy employment of these
fatiguing days, who evinced even greater animation in their conversation
than at other times; towards the decline of a day, when the thermometer
has stood at eighty-nine in the shade of a closed house, they have looked
a little anxious for the stars appearing, but,--to their credit be it
told,--without the slightest symptom of impatience or fretfulness at the
tardy approach of evening.

My revered friend, Meer Hadjee Shaah, always told me that the great secret
of a fast, to be beneficial, was to employ time well, which benefited both
soul and body; employment suited to the object of the fast being the best
possible alleviation to the fatigue of fasting. He adds, if the temper be
soured either by the abstinence or the petty ills of life, the good
effects of the fast are gone with the ruffled spirit, and that the person
thus disturbed had much better break his fast, since it ceases to be of
any value in the sight of Him to whom the service is dedicated; the
institution of the fast having for its object to render men more humble,
more obedient to their God; all dissensions must be forgotten; all vicious
pursuits abandoned, to render the service of a fast an acceptable offering
to God.

In the zeenahnah, the females fast with zealous rigidness; and those who
have not the happiness to possess a knowledge of books, or a husband or
father disposed to read to them, will still find the benefit of employment
in their gold embroidery of bags and trimmings, or other ornamental
needle-work; some will listen to the Khaaunie[1] (tales), related by their
attendants; others will overlook, and even assist in the preparations
going forward for opening the fast. Ladies of the first quality do not
think it a degradation to assist in the cooking of choice dishes. It is
one of the highest favours a lady can confer on her friends, when she
sends a tray of delicate viands cooked by her own hands. So that with the
prayers, usual and occasional, the daily nap of two hours, indulged in
throughout the year, occupation is made to fill up the day between dawn
and evening; and they bear the fatigue with praiseworthy fortitude. Those
who are acquainted with letters, or can afford to maintain hired readers,
pass this month of trials in the happiest manner.

The fast is first broken by a cooling draught called tundhie[2]; the same
draught is usually resorted to in attacks of fever. The tundhie is
composed of the seeds of lettuce, cucumber, and melon, with coriander, all
well pounded and diluted with cold water, and then strained through muslin,
to which is added rose-water, sugar, syrup of pomegranate, and kurah[3] (a
pleasant-flavoured distilled water from the blossom of a species of aloe).
This cooling draught is drank by basins' full amongst the Rozedhaars[4]
(fasters), and it is generally prepared in the zeenahnah apartments for
the whole establishment, male and female. Some of the aged and more
delicate people break their fast with the juice of spinach[5] only, others
choose a cup of boiling water to sip from. My aged friend, Meer Hadjee
Shaah, has acquired a taste for tea, by partaking of it so often with me;
and with this he has broken his fast for several years, as he says, with
the most comforting sensations to himself. I have seen some people take a
small quantity of salt in the first instance, preparatory to a draught of
any kind of liquid. Without some such prelude to a meal, after the day's
fast, the most serious consequences are to be apprehended.

After indulging freely in the simple liquids, and deriving great benefit
and comfort from a hookha, the appetite for food is generally stayed for
some time: many persons prefer a rest of two hours before they can
conveniently touch the food prepared for them, and even then, seldom eat
in the same proportion as they do at other meals. Many suffice themselves
with the one meal, and indulge in that very sparingly. The servants and
labouring classes, however, find a second meal urgently necessary, which
they are careful to take before the dawning day advances. In most families,
cold rice-milk is eaten at that early hour. Meer Hadjee Shaah, I have
before noticed, found tea to be the best antidote to extreme thirst, and
many are the times I have had the honour to present him with this beverage
at the third watch of the night, which he could enjoy without fear of the
first streaks of light on the horizon arriving before he had benefited by
this luxury.

The good things provided for dinner after the fast are (according to the
means of the party) of the best, and in all varieties; and from the
abundance prepared, a looker-on would pronounce a feast at hand; and so it
is, if to feed the hungry be a feast to the liberal-hearted bestower,
which with these people I have found to be a part and parcel of their
nature. They are instructed from their infancy to know all men as brothers
who are in any strait for food; and they are taught by the same code, that
for every gift of charity they dispense with a free good will, they shall
have the blessing and favour of their Creator abundantly in return. On the
present occasion, they cook choice viands to be distributed to the poor,
their fellow-labourers in the harvest; and in proportion to the number fed,
so are their expectations of blessings from the great Giver of all good,
in whose service it is performed. In my postscript you will find several
anecdotes of the daughter of Mahumud on the subject of charity.

When any one is prevented fulfilling the fast of Rumzaun in his own person
he is instructed to consider himself bound to provide food for opening the
fast of a certain number of poor men who are Rozedhaars. The general food
of the peasantry and lower orders of the people--bread and dhall[6]--is
deemed sufficient, if unable to afford anything better.

When any one dies without having duly observed the fast, pious relatives
engage some devout person to perform a month's fast, which they believe
will be accepted for the neglectful person. Many devout Mussulmauns extend
the fast from thirty to full forty days, by the example of Mahumud and his
family; and it is no unusual thing to meet with others who, in addition to
this month, fast every Thursday through the year; some very rigid persons
even fast the month preceding and the following month, as well as the
month of Rumzaun.

Some very young people (children we should call them in happy England) are
permitted to try their fasting powers, perhaps for a day or two during the
month of Rumzaun. The first fast of the noviciate is an event of no small
moment to the mother, and gives rise to a little festival in the zeenahnah;
the females of the family use every sort of encouragement to induce the
young zealot to persevere in the trial when once commenced, and many are
the preparations for the opening last with due éclat in their
circle--sending trays of the young person's good things to intimate
friends, in remembrance of the interesting event; and generally with a
parade of servants and music, when the child (I must have it so) belongs
to the nobility, or persons of consequence, who at the same time
distribute money and food to the poor.

These first fasts of the young must be severe trials, particularly in the
hot season. I have heard, it is no uncommon thing for the young sufferers
to sink under the fatigue, rather than break the fast they have had
courage to commence. The consolation to the parents in such a case would
be, that their child was the willing sacrifice, and had died 'in the road
of God', as all deaths occurring under performances of a known duty are
termed.

Within my recollection a distressing calamity of this nature occurred at
Lucknow, in a very respectable family. I did not know the party personally,
but it was the topic in all the houses I visited at that period. I made a
memorandum of the circumstance at the time, from which the following is
copied:

'Two children, a son and daughter of respectable parents, the eldest
thirteen and the youngest eleven years of age, were permitted to prove
their faith by the fast, on one of the days of Rumzaun; the parents,
anxious to honour their fidelity, expended a considerable sum of money in
the preparations for celebrating the event amongst their circle of friends.
Every delicacy was provided for opening their fast, and all sorts of
dainties prepared to suit the Epicurean palates of the Asiatics, who when
receiving the trays at night would know that this was the testimony of the
children's perseverance in that duty they all hold sacred.

'The children bore the trial well throughout the morning, and even until
the third watch of the day had passed, their firmness would have reflected
credit on people twice their age, making their first fast. After the third
watch, the day was oppressively hot, and the children evinced symptoms of
weariness and fatigue; they were advised to try and compose themselves to
sleep; this lulled them for a short time, but their thirst was more acute
when they awoke than before. The mother and her friends endeavoured to
divert their attention by amusing stories, praising their perseverance, &c.
The poor weak lady was anxious that they should persevere; as the day was
now so far gone, she did not like her children to lose the benefit of
their fast, nor the credit due to them for their forbearance. The children
endeavoured to support with patience the agony that bowed them down--they
fainted, and then the mother was almost frantic, blaming herself for
having encouraged them to prolong their fast against their strength. Cold
water was thrown over them; attempts were made to force water into their
mouths; but, alas! their tender throats were so swollen, that not a drop
passed beyond their mouths. They died within a few minutes of each other;
and the poor wretched parents were left childless through their own
weakness and mistaken zeal. The costly viands destined for the testimony
of these children's faith, it may be supposed, were served out to the
hungry mendicants as the first offerings dedicated to the now happy
spirits of immortality.'

This is a sad picture of the distressing event, but I have not clothed it
in the exaggerated garb some versions bore at the time the circumstance
happened.

There are some few who are exempt from the actual necessity of fasting
during Rumzaun; the sick, the aged, women giving nourishment to infants,
and those in expectation of adding to the members of the family, and very
young children, these are all commanded not to fast.[7] There is a
latitude granted to travellers also; but many a weary pilgrim whose heart
is bent heavenward will be found taking his rank amongst the Rozedhaars of
the time, without deeming he has any merit in refraining from the
privileges his code has conferred upon him; such men will fast whilst
their strength permits them to pursue their way.

Towards the last week of Rumzaun the haggard countenances and less
cheerful manners of the fasting multitude seem to increase, but they
seldom relax unless their health is likely to be much endangered by its
continuance.

The conclusion of the month Rumzaun is celebrated as an Eade[8] (festival),
and, if not more splendid than any other in the Mussulmaun calendar, it is
one of the greatest heart-rejoicing days. It is a sort of thanksgiving day
amongst the devout people who have been permitted to accomplish the task;
and with the vulgar and ignorant, it is hailed with delight as the season
of merriment and good living--a sort of reward for their month's severe
abstinence.

The namaaz of the morning, and the prayer for Eade, commence with the dawn;
after which the early meal of Eade is looked forward to with some anxiety.
In every house the same dainties are provided with great exactness (for
they adhere to custom as to a law): plain boiled rice, with dhie[9] (sour
curd) and sugar, forms the first morning repast of this Eade; dried dates
are eaten with it (in remembrance of the Prophet's family, whose greatest
luxury was supposed to be the dates of Arabia).[10] A preparation of flour
(similar to our vermicelli)[11] eaten with cold milk and sugar, is amongst
the good things of this day, and trifling as it may appear, the indulgence
is so great to the native population, that they would consider themselves
unfortunate Rozedhaars, if they were not gratified, on this occasion, with
these simple emblems of long-used custom. The very same articles are in
request in Mussulmaun society, by this custom, from the King to the
meanest of his subjects.

The ladies' assemblies, on this Eade, are marked by all the amusements and
indulgences they can possibly invent or enjoy, in their secluded state.
Some receiving, others paying visits in covered conveyances; all doing
honour to the day by wearing their best jewellery and splendid dresses.
The zeenahnah rings with the festive songs and loud music, the cheerful
meeting of friends, the distribution of presents to dependants, and
remembrances to the poor; all is life and joy, cheerful bustle and
amusement, on this happy day of Eade, when the good lady of the mansion
sits in state to receive nuzzas from inferiors, and granting proofs of her
favour to others.

Nuzza[12] is an offering of money from inferiors to those who rank in
society above the person presenting; there is so much of etiquette
observed in Native manners, that a first visit to a superior is never made
without presenting a nuzza. When we arrived in India, an old servant of my
husband's family, named Muckabeg, was sent to meet us at Patna to escort
us to Lucknow; on entering our budgerow[13] he presented fourteen rupees
to me, which were laid on a folded handkerchief. I did not then understand
what was intended, and looked to the Meer for explanation; he told me to
accept Muckabeg's 'Nuzza'. I hesitated, remarking that it seemed a great
deal more than a man in his situation could afford to give away. My
husband silenced my scruples by observing, 'You will learn in good time
that these offerings are made to do you honour, together with the certain
anticipation of greater benefits in return; Muckabeg tenders this nuzza to
you, perhaps it is all the money he possesses, but he feels assured it
will be more than doubly repaid to him in the value of a khillaut[14]
(dress of honour) he expects from your hands to-day. He would have behaved
himself disrespectfully in appearing before you without a nuzza, and had
you declined accepting it, he would have thought that you were either
displeased with him, or did not approve of his coming.' This little
incident will perhaps explain the general nature of all the nuzzas better
than any other description I could offer.

Kings and Nuwaubs keep the festival in due form, seated on the throne or
musnud, to receive the congratulations and nuzzas of courtiers and
dependants, and presenting khillauts to ministers, officers of state, and
favourites. The gentlemen manage to pass the day in receiving and paying
visits, all in their several grades having some inferiors to honour them
in the presentation of offerings, and on whom they can confer favours and
benefits; feasting, music, and dancing-women, filling up the measure of
their enjoyments without even thinking of wine, or any substitute stronger
than such pure liquids as graced the feasts of the first inhabitants of
the world.

The Nautchwomen in the apartments of the gentlemen, and the Domenie[15] in
the zeenahnahs are in great request on this day of festivity, in every
house where the pleasures and the follies of this world are not banished
by hearts devoted solely to the service of God. 'The Nautch' has been, so
often described that it would here be superfluous to add to the
description, feeling as I do an utter dislike both to the amusement and
the performers. The nautchunies are entirely excluded from the female
apartments of the better sort of people; no respectable Mussulmaun would
allow these impudent women to perform before their wives and daughters.

But I must speak of the Domenie, who are the singers and dancers admitted
within the pale of zeenahnah life; these, on the contrary, are women of
good character, and their songs are of the most chaste description,
chiefly in the Hindoostaunie tongue. They are instructed in Native music
and play on the instruments in common use with some taste,--as the
saattarah[16] (guitar), with three wire strings; the surringhee[17]
(rude-shaped violin); the dhome or dholle[18] (drum), in many varieties,
beaten with the fingers, never with sticks. The harmony produced is
melancholy and not unpleasing, but at best all who form the several
classes of professors in Native societies are indifferent musicians.

Amateur performers are very rare amongst the Mussulmauns; indeed, it is
considered indecorous in either sex to practise music, singing, or dancing;
and such is the prejudice on their minds against this happy resource
amongst genteel people of other climates, that they never can reconcile
themselves to the propriety of 'The Sahib Logue',--a term in general use
for the English people visiting India,--figuring away in a quadrille or
country dance. The nobles and gentlemen are frequently invited to witness
a 'station-ball'; they look with surprise at the dancers, and I have often
been asked why I did not persuade my countrywomen that they were doing
wrong. 'Why do the people fatigue themselves, who can so well afford to
hire dancers for their amusement?' Such is the difference between people
of opposite views in their modes of pleasing themselves: a Native
gentleman would consider himself disgraced or insulted by the simple
inquiry, 'Can you dance, sing, or play?'

The female slaves are sometimes taught to sing for their ladies' amusement,
and amongst the many Hindoostanie airs there are some that would please
even the most scientific ear; although, perhaps, they are as old as the
country in which they were invented, since here there are neither
composers of modern music, nor competitors for fame to bring the amusement
to a science. Prejudice will be a continual barrier to improvement in
music with the natives of India; the most homely of their national airs
are preferred at the present day to the finest composition of modern
Europe.

My promised postscript is a translation from the Persian, extracted from
'The Hyaatool Kaaloob'. The author is detailing the manner of living
habitual to Mahumud and his family, and gives the following anecdotes
'hudeeth' [19] (to be relied on), which occurred at the season of Rumzaun;
the writer says:--

'It is well known that they (Mahumud's family) were poor in worldly wealth;
that they set no other value on temporal riches (which occasionally passed
through their hands) but as loans from the great Giver of all good, to be
by them distributed amongst the poor, and this was done faithfully; they
kept not in their hands the gifts due to the necessitous. The members of
Mahumud's family invariably lived on the most simple diet, even when they
could have commanded luxuries.

'At one season of Rumzaun,--it was in the lifetime of Mahumud,--Fatima,
her husband Ali, and their two sons, Hasan and Hosein, had fasted two days
and nights, not having, at that period, the means of procuring the
smallest quantity of food to break their fast with. Habitually and from,
principle, they disguised from the world or their friends all such
temporal trials as it seemed good in the wisdom of Divine Providence to
place in their chequered path; preferring under any circumstances of need,
to fix their sole trust in the mercy and goodness of God for relief,
rather than by seeking aid from their fellow-creatures lessening their
dependence on Him.

'On the evening above mentioned, Mahumud went to the cottage of Fatima,
and said, "Daughter, I am come to open my fast with thee."--"In the name
of the most merciful God, be it so," was the reply of Fatima; yet secretly
she sorrowed, that the poverty of her house must now be exposed to her
beloved father.

'Fatima spread the dustha-khawn[20] (a large square of calico) on the
floor of the room near her father, placed empty plates before him, then
retired to her station for prayers; spreading her mat in the direction of
Kaabah, she prostrated herself to the earth before God in the humblest
attitude, imploring His merciful aid, in this her moment of trial.
Fatima's fervent prayer was scarcely finished, when a savoury smell of
food attracted her attention; raising her head from the earth, her anxious
eye was greeted with the view of a large bowl or basin filled with
sulleed[21] (the Arabian food of that period). Fatima again bowed down her
head, and poured out in humble strains that gratitude to God with which
her heart overflowed. Then rising from her devotions, she took up the
savoury food and hurried with it to her father's presence, and summoned
her husband and the children to partake of this joyous meal, without even
hinting her thoughts that it was the gift of Heaven.

'Ali had been some time seated at the meal, when he, knowing they had no
means of procuring it, looked steadily on Fatima, and inquired where she
had secreted this delicious food; at the same time recurring to the two
days' fast they had endured. "Rebuke her not, my son," said Mahumud;
"Fatima is the favoured of Heaven, as was Myriam[22] (Mary), the mother of
Esaee[23] (Jesus), who, living in her uncle Zechareah's[24] (Zachariah's)
house, was provided by God with the choicest of fruits. Zechareah was poor,
and oft he hungered for a meal; but when he entered Myriam's apartment, a
fresh supply of rare fruits was wont to greet his eye. Zechareah asked,
Whence had ye these precious gifts? Myriam answered, An angel from God
places the fruit before me; eat, my uncle, and be satisfied."'

The writer thus leaves the story of the miraculous food to Fatima's prayer,
and goes on as follows:--

'At another season of the fast, this family of charity endured a severe
trial, which was miraculously and graciously rewarded. Fatima had a female
slave, who shared with her equally the comforts and the toils of life.

'The food allotted to every member of Ali's family was two small barley
cakes for each day; none had more or less throughout the family. The
labour of domestic affairs was shared by Fatima with her female slave, and
each took their day for grinding the barley at the chuckee,[25] with which
the cakes were made.

'On the--day of Rumzaun, the corn was ground as usual, the cakes made, and
the moment for opening the fast anxiously anticipated, by this abstemious
family. The evening arrived, and when the family had fulfilled their
prayer-duty, the party assembled round the homely dustha-khawn with
thankful hearts, and countenances beaming with perfect content. All had
their allotted portions, but none had yet tasted of their cakes, when the
voice of distress caught their ears. "Give me, oh, give me, for the love
of God! something to relieve my hunger and save my famishing family from
perishing." Fatima caught up her barley cakes, and ran out to the
supplicant, followed by her husband, the two children, and the slave. The
cakes were given to the distressed creature, and as they comprised their
whole stock, no further supply awaited their returning steps, nor even a
substitute within the bare walls of their cottage; a few grains of salt
had been left from cooking the barley cakes, and each took a little of the
small quantity, to give a relish to the water they now partook of freely;
and then retired to sleep away the remembrance of hunger.

'The next day found them all in health, and with hearts at peace; the day
was passed in useful occupation, and when evening drew nigh, the same
humble fare was ready for the fasting family, whose appetites were doubly
keen by the lengthened abstinence. Again they meet to partake in gratitude
the great gift of Divine goodness, wholesome sustenance; when, lo! the
sound of sorrowing distress, petitioning in the holy name adored by these
pious souls,--"For the Love of God!"--arrested their attention. An appeal
so urgently made carried with it a command to their devout hearts, and the
meal so long delayed to their own necessities was again surrendered to the
beggar's prayers.

'This family of charity had returned to their empty hut, and were seated
in pious conversation to beguile their sufferings; not a murmuring word or
sigh escaped their sanctified mouths. As the evening advanced thus
occupied, a pleasing joy seemed to fill the heart of Fatima, who secretly
had sorrowed for her good dear children's privations; presently a bright
and powerful light filled the room, an angel stood before them; his
appearance gave them no alarm;--they beheld his presence with humility.
"Thy good deeds", said the angel (Gabriel), "are acceptable to God, the
All Merciful! by whose command I come to satisfy the demands of mortal
nature; this fruit (dates) is the gift of Him you serve; eat and be at
peace." The meal was ample which the angel brought to this virtuous family,
and having placed it before them, he vanished from their sight.'

The Chuckee, before mentioned, is two flat circular stones (resembling
grindstones in England), the upper stone has a peg or handle fixed in it,
near the edge, with which it is forced round, by the person grinding, who
is seated on the floor; the corn is thrown in through a circular hole on
the upper stone, and the flour works out at the edges between the two
stones. This is the only method of grinding corn for the immense
population throughout Oude, and most other parts of Hindoostaun even to
the present day. The late King of Oude, Ghauzieood deen Hyder, was at one
time much pressed by some English friends of his, to introduce water-mills,
for the purpose of grinding corn; he often spoke of the proposed plan to
the Meer, and declared his sole motive for declining the improvement was
the consideration he had for the poor women, who by this employment made
an excellent living in every town and village, and who must, by the
introduction of mills, be distressed for the means of support. 'My poor
women', he would often say, 'shall never have cause to reproach me, for
depriving them of the use and benefit of their chuckee.'

I have before said it is not my intention to offer opinions on the
character of the Mussulmaun people, my business being merely to relate
such things as I have heard and seen amongst them. The several
translations and anecdotes I take the opportunity of placing in these
letters, are from authorities the Mussulmauns style, hudeeth
(authentic),--that are not, cannot, be doubted, as they have been handed
down either by Mahumud or by the Emaums, whose words are equally to be
relied on. When any passages in their sacred writings are commented on by
different authors, they give their authority for the opinion offered, as
Emaum Such-a-one explains it thus. You understand, therefore, that the
Mussulmauns believe these miracles to have occurred to the members of
their Prophet's family as firmly as we believe in the truth of our Holy
Scripture.


[1] _Kahani_.

[2] _Thandi_.

[3] See p. 13.

[4] _Rozadar_, 'one who keeps fast' (_roza_).

[5] _Spinacea oleracea_, or _Basella alba_.

[6] Dhall [_dal_] is a sort of pea, sometimes cooked in a savoury way
    with garlic, salt, ghee, pepper and herbs. It is about the consistence
    of thick pea-soup--but without meat. [_Author_.]

[7] But it is directed that infirm people, unable to fast, should feed a
    poor person when the fast is over. Women in child and those suckling
    children are advised to fast at some other more convenient season.

[8] 'Idu'l-fitr, 'the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast'.

[9] _Dahi_.

[10] The Ajwah date is never sold in Arabia, because the Prophet advised
    that whosoever break the fast every day with, six or seven of those
    fruits need fear neither poison nor magic.--Burton, _Pilgrimage_,
    i. 401 f.

[11] Known as _siwayan_, which Musalman servants present on this day
    to their European masters in India.

[12] _Nazr, nazar_.

[13] A lumbering, keelless barge, formerly much used by Europeans
    travelling on the Ganges and its tributaries: _bajra_ meaning
    'heavy'.

[14] _Khil'at._

[15] _Domni_, a woman of the Dom or singer class.

[16] _Sitara_, 'three-stringed', but often possessing four or more
    strings of steel and brass wire, played with a steel wire frame.

[17] _Saranyi_.

[18] _Dhol_: 'dhome' is a mistake.

[19] _Hadis_, the sayings of the Prophet, not of an uninspired divine or
    teacher.

[20] _Dastarkhwan_, a modification of the Arab leathern table-spread
    (_sufra_).


[21] _Tharid_, bread moistened with broth and mixed with scraps of meat.

[22] Maryam.

[23] 'Isa'l-Masih.

[24] Zakariya (_Koran_, iii. 32, vi. 85, xix. 1-12, xxi. 89).

[25] _Chakki_.



LETTER IX

  The Hadje (Pilgrimage to Mecca).--Commanded to be performed by
  Mahumud.--Eagerness of both sexes to visit the Prophet's
  tomb.--Qualifications requisite for the undertaking.--Different
  routes from India to Mecca.--Duties of the pilgrims at the Holy
  House.--Mecca and its environs.--Place of Abraham.--The
  Bedouins.--Anecdote of a devotee and two pilgrims.--A Bedouin Arab,
  and the travellers to Mecca.--The Kaabah (Holy House).--Superstitious
  regard to a chain suspended there.--Account of the gold
  water-spout.--Tax levied on pilgrims visiting the tomb of Mahumud by
  the Sheruff of Mecca.--Sacred visit to the tombs of Ali, Hasan, and
  Hosein.--The importance attached to this duty.--Travellers annoyed by
  the Arabs.--An instance recorded.--The Nudghiff Usheruff.--Anecdotes
  of Syaad Harshim.


'The Pilgrimage to Mecca' is commanded by Mahumud to his followers at
least once during their lifetime, provided the obstacles are not
insurmountable. Indulgences are made for the sick, or individual poverty.
All who have the means at command, whatever may be their distance from the
place, are expected to perform the Hadje themselves if possible; or, if
prevented by any circumstances they cannot control, they are required to
pay the expenses of other persons willing to be their proxies.

Whatever information I have acquired on the subject of this pilgrimage has
been gleaned from frequent conversations with Meer Hadjee Shaah, who, as I
have before remarked, performed the Hadje from Hindoostaun to Mecca, at
three different periods of his eventful life.

If the fatigues, privations, and difficulties of the pilgrimage to Mecca
be considered, the distance from Hindoostaun must indeed render the Hadje
a formidable undertaking; yet, the piously disposed of both sexes yearn
for the opportunity of fulfilling the injunctions of their Lawgiver, and
at the same time, gratifying their laudable feelings of sympathy and
curiosity--their sympathy, as regards the religious veneration for the
place and its purposes; their curiosity, to witness with their own eyes
those places rendered sacred by the words of the Khoraun in one instance,
and also for the deposits contained in the several tombs of prophets, whom
they have been taught to reverence and respect as the servants of God.

Every year may be witnessed in India the Mussulmauns of both sexes forming
themselves into Kauflaahs[1] (parties of pilgrims) to pursue their march
on this joyous expedition, believing, as they do, that they are fulfilling
a sacred duty. The number of women is comparatively few, and those chiefly
from the middling and lower classes of the people, whose expenses are
generally paid by the rich females. The great obstacle to the higher
classes performing the pilgrimage themselves is, that the person must at
times be necessarily exposed to the view of the males. The lower orders
are less scrupulous in this respect, who, whilst on the pilgrimage, wear a
hooded cloak[2] of white calico, by which the person is tolerably well
secreted, so that the aged and youthful have but one appearance; the
better sort of people, however, cannot reconcile themselves to go abroad,
unless they could be permitted to have their covered conveyances, which in
this case is impossible.

The qualifications necessary for all to possess, ere they can be deemed
fit subjects for the Hadje, are, as I learn, the following:

'They must be true Mussulmauns in their faith; that is, believe in one
only true God, and that Mahumud is His Prophet.

'They must strictly obey the duties commanded by Mahumud; that is, prayer
five times daily, the fast of Rumzaun, &c.

'They must be free from the world; that is, all their debts must be paid,
and their family so well provided for, according to their station, that no
one dependent on them may be in want of the necessaries of life during the
absence of the pilgrim from his home and country.

'They must abstain from all fermented or intoxicating liquors, and also
from all things forbidden to be eaten by the law (which is strictly on the
Mosaic principle).

'They must freely forgive their enemies; and if they have given any one
cause of offence, they must humble themselves, and seek to be forgiven.

'They must repent of every evil they have committed, either in thought,
word, or deed, against God or their neighbour.'

Thus prepared, the pious Mussulmaun sets out on his supposed duty, with
faith in its efficacy, and reliance on the goodness of Divine Providence
to prosper him in the arduous undertaking.

Many Kauflaahs from the Upper Provinces of India, travel overland to
Bombay; others make Calcutta their place of embarkation, in the Arab ships,
which visit those ports annually with returning pilgrims from Arabia,
cargoes of coffee, Arabian fruits, and drugs. Some few enterprising people
make the whole pilgrimage by land; this is, however, attended with so many
and severe difficulties, that but few of the present day have courage to
attempt it. In those cases their road would be from Delhie to Cashmire,
through Buckaria,[3] making a wide circuit to get into Persia. This is the
most tedious route, but possesses the advantages of more inhabited places
on the line of march, and therefore provisions are the more readily
procured. There is one route from the Lahore Province,--the English
territory here is bounded by the river Suttledge, which the traveller
crosses into the Sikh country,--through Afghastaan and Persia. I have not
heard of the Kauflaahs making this their road of late; there seems to be
always a disposition to fear the Sikhs,[4] who are become a powerful
nation under Runjeet Singh; but I am not aware what ground the pilgrims
have for their distrust, except that they can scarcely expect the same
courtesy from these people as from the Mussulmauns, who would naturally
aid and assist the pilgrims, and respect the persons thus labouring to
accomplish the command of their Prophet.

Whatever may be the chosen route, the pilgrims must make up their minds to
many trials necessarily incident to the undertaking; and to the habits of
the Mussulmauns of India, I cannot suppose any fatigue or trial greater
than the voyage by sea, in an Arab vessel. It is well for those persons
whose hearts have undergone that thorough change, which by the law fits
them for the Hadje; with such men, earthly calamities, privations, or any
other mere mortal annoyances, are met with pious fortitude, having
consolations within which strengthen the outward man: in all their trials
they will say, 'It is in the road of God, by Him cometh our reward'.

The duty of the pilgrims, on their arrival at the Holy Place, is to
worship God, and visit the tombs of the Prophets. There are forms and
regulations to be observed in the manner of worship; certain circuits to
be made round the Kaabah; saluting with the lips the sacred stone therein
deposited; and calling to remembrance the past wonders of God, with
reverence and piety of heart. I have often heard Meer Hadjee Shaah speak
of the comfort a humble-minded pilgrim enjoys at the time he is making his
visit to the Holy House; he says, 'There the heart of the faithful servant
of God is enlightened and comforted; but the wicked finds no rest near
Kaabah'.

The pilgrims visit the tombs of every prophet of their faith within their
reach; as the mausoleum of Hasan and Hosein, the Nudghiff Usheruff of Ali,
and, if it be possible, Jerusalem also. At Dimishk (Damascus) they pay
respect to the burying-place of Yieyah[5] (St. John), over whose earthly
remains is erected, they say, the Jumna Musjud[6] (mosque), to which the
faithful resort on Fridays (their Sabbath) to prayer.

Within the confines of the Holy House, life is held so sacred that not the
meanest living thing is allowed to be destroyed; and if even by accident
the smallest insect is killed, the person who has caused the death is
obliged to offer in atonement, at the appointed place for sacrificing to
God, sheep or goats according to his means.[7]

According to the description of Meer Hadjee Shaah the city of Mecca is
situated in the midst of a partially barren country; but at the spot
called Taaif,[8]--only one day's journey from Mecca,--the soil is
particularly fertile, producing all kinds of fruit and vegetables in great
abundance, and the air remarkably pure and healthy. The word Taaif implies
in the Arabic 'the circuits completed'. It is recorded 'that the angel
Gabriel brought this productive soil, by God's command, and placed it at a
convenient distance from Mecca, in order that the pilgrims and sojourners
at the Holy House might be benefited by the produce of the earth, without
having them sufficiently near to call off their attention from the solemn
duty of worshipping their God, which they are expressly called upon to
perform at Mecca'.

My informant tells me that there is a stone at Mecca known by the
appellation of 'Ibraahim Mukhaun' (Place of Abraham):[9] on this is seen
the mark of a human foot, and believed by pilgrims, on good authority, to
be the very stone on which Abraham rested his foot when making occasional
visits to his son Ishmael: at the performance of this duty he never
dismounted from his camel, in compliance with his sacred promise made to
Sarah the mother of Isaac.

The pilgrimage to Mecca is most securely performed by those persons who
travel in a humble way; riches are sure to attract the cupidity of the
Bedouins. A poor pilgrim they respect, and with him they will share their
last meal or coin. The Bedouin Arab delights in hospitably entertaining
men of his own faith, provided they are really distressed; but the
consequence of deception would be a severe visitation on the delinquent.
The two following stories I have received from Meer Hadjee Shaah,
descriptive of some of the incidents that occur to pilgrims, and therefore
may be acceptable here.

'A good Mussulmaun of Hindoostaun resolved on undertaking the Hadje, being
under the strong impression of a warning dream that his earthly career
would speedily terminate. He travelled on foot, with one companion only,
who was a faithfully-attached friend; they had no worldly wealth, and
journeyed on their way as mendicants, trusting for each day's food to the
bountiful care of Divine Providence: nor was their trust in vain, since
the hearts of all who saw these pious travellers were moved by the power
of God to yield them present relief.

'On a certain day these pilgrims had journeyed from the dawn until eve
without a meal, or meeting any one to assist them, when they were at last
encountered by a religious devotee of another nation, with whom they
conversed for some time. Their new acquaintance having found they were
indeed poor, not even possessed of a single coin to purchase corn or food
of any kind, expressed his hearty sympathy, and desired to be of service
to the pilgrims; he therefore disclosed to them that he was in possession
of a secret for the transmutation of metals,[10] and offered some of his
prepared powder to the elder Hadjee, by which he would have persuaded him
want should never again intrude; adding, "You will with this be
independent of all future care about subsistence on your pilgrimage."

'The pious Hadjee, however, was of a different mind from the devotee, and
politely rejected the offer of the powder by which he was to acquire
riches, declaring that the possession of such an article would rob him of
the best treasure he enjoyed, namely, the most perfect reliance on Him, by
whom the birds of the air are fed from day to day without labour or care,
and who had hitherto fed him both in the city and in the desert; and that
in this trust he had comforts and consolations which the whole world could
not grant him: "My God, in whom I trust, will never desert me whilst I
rely on Him alone for succour and support."'

My excellent friend says, such pilgrims as the one described may pass
through the haunts of the Bedouins without fear or sorrow, and they are
always respected. The next anecdote I am about to relate will develop more
particularly the Arab's natural disposition, and how necessary it is for
men really to be that they would seem, when placed by circumstances within
their reach. Some of the parties were known to my venerable relative.

'Six Mussulmauns from India were travelling on foot in Arabia; they
assumed the title of pilgrim mendicants. On a certain day they drew nigh
to the tent of a Bedouin Arab, who went out to meet them, and entering
into conversation, soon discovered by their talk that they were poor
pilgrims from India, who depended on casual bounties from men of their
faith for their daily meal. The Bedouin, though a robber, had respect for
the commands of his religion; and with that respect he boasted a due share
of hospitable feeling towards all who were of his own faith; he
accordingly told them they were welcome to his home, and the best meal he
could provide for them, which offers they very gladly accepted, and
followed him to the tent.

'The Arab desired his wife to take water to his guests and wash their feet
after the fatigue of their day's march, and told her in secret to divert
their attention whilst he went out in search of plunder, that the
hospitality of an Arab might be shown to the strangers. Then mounting his
fleet-camel, he was quickly out of sight. Many a weary circuit the Arab
made, his ill stars prevailed; not a Kauflaah nor a traveller could he
meet, whence a supply might be extracted, to be the means of providing for
his guests; his home was penniless, and with the Bedouins, none give
credit. His bad success dispirited him, and he returned to the back of his
tent, to consult what was best to be done in this emergency. The only
thing he possessed in the world fit for food was the animal on which he
rode, from day to day, to levy contributions upon the passing traveller.

'His only immediate resource was to kill his favourite camel. His honour
was at stake; the sacrifice would be great; he was attached to the beast;
the loss would be irreparable, he thought:--yet every weighty argument on
one side to preserve the camel's life, was as quickly overturned in the
reflection of his Arabian honour;--his visitors must be fed, and this was
the only way he could contrive the meal. With trembling hands and
half-averted eyes, the camel's blood was shed; with one plunge his
favourite ceased to breathe. For some minutes, the Arab could not look on
his poor faithful servant; but pride drove pity from her haunt, and the
animal was quickly skinned and dressed in savoury dishes, with his wife's
assistance. At length, the food prepared, the Arab and his wife placed the
most choice portions before their guests, and whilst they dined attended
them with respectful assiduity; selecting for each the most delicate
pieces, to induce the travellers to eat, and evince the cordial welcome
tendered by the host.[11]

'The travellers having dined; the Arab and his wife took their turn at the
feast with appetites most keen,--forgetful even, for the time, whence the
savoury dishes were procured; and if an intruding thought of his favourite
camel shot across the mind of the Arab, it was quickly chased in the
reflection that his prided honour was secured by the sacrifice, and that
reflection was to him a sufficient compensation.

'The pilgrims, refreshed by food, were not inclined to depart, and as they
were urged to stay by their friendly host, they slept comfortably in the
Arab's tent, on coarse mats, the only bed known to the wandering Bedouins.
The morning found them preparing to pursue their march; but the Arab
pressed their continuance another day, to share with him in the abundance
his camel afforded for the whole of the party. The travellers were not
unwilling to delay their departure, for they had journeyed many days
without much ease, and with very little food; their host's conversation
also was amusing, and this second day of hospitality by the Arab was an
addition to the comfort and convenience of the weary pilgrims.

'The following morning, as was fixed, the travellers rose to take leave of
their benevolent host and his attentive wife; each as he embraced the Arab,
had some grateful word to add, for the good they had received at his hands.
The last of the pilgrims, having embraced the Arab, was walking from the
tent, when the dog belonging to the host seized the man by his garment and
held him fast. "What is this?" inquired the Arab, "surely you must have
deceived me; my dog is wise as he is trusty,--he never yet lied to his
master. This labaadhar of yours he has taken a fancy to it seems; but you
shall have my coat of better-looking stuff for your old chintz garment. We
will exchange labaadhars,[12] my friend," said the Arab, throwing his own
towards the hesitating traveller. His fellow-pilgrims, hearing altercation,
advanced, and with surprise listened to the parley going on between the
host and guest.--"I have a veneration for my chintz, old as it is," said
the pilgrim; "it has been my companion for many years, brother; indeed I
cannot part with it." The dog held fast the garment, and the Arab, finding
persuasion was but loss of words, cast a frown of deep meaning on the
travellers, and addressed them:--"Ye came to me beggars, hungry and
fatigued; I believed ye were poor, and I sheltered ye these two days, and
fed ye with my best; nay, more, I even killed my useful camel, that your
hunger might be appeased. Had I known there was money with any of ye, my
poor beast's life might yet have been spared; but it is too late to repent
the sacrifice I made to serve you," Then, looking steadfastly at the
chintz-robed traveller, he added, in a tone of sharp authority, "Come,
change garments!--here, no one disputes my commands!"

'The trembling pilgrim reluctantly obeyed. The Arab took up the garment
and proceeded with it to where the fire was kindled. "Now we shall see
what my trusty dog discovered in your tattered chintz," said the Arab, as
he threw it on the fire. All the pilgrims hovered round the flames to
watch what would result from the consuming garment, with intense anxiety.
The Arab drew from the embers one hundred gold mohurs, to the surprise and
wonder of all the travellers, save him who owned the chintz garment; he
had kept his treasures so secretly, that even in their greatest distress
he allowed his brother pilgrims to suffer, with himself, want and
privations which, owing to his lust for gold, he had no heart to relieve.

'The Arab selected from the prize he had obtained, by the exchange of
garments, ten gold mohurs, and presented them to the owner with a sharp
rebuke for his duplicity, alluding to the meanness he had been guilty of
in seeking and accepting a meal from a Bedouin, whilst he possessed so
much wealth about his person; then adding,--"There is nothing hidden from
God; I killed my sole treasure to give food to the poor hungry travellers;
my deed of charity is rewarded; deceit in you is punished by the loss of
that wealth you deserved not to possess.--Depart, and be thankful that
your life is spared; there are some of my tribe who would not have
permitted you to go so easily: you have enough spared to you for your
journey; in future, avoid base deceptions."'

Of the Kaabah (Holy House) many wonderful things are recorded in the
several commentaries on the Khoraun, and other ancient authorities, which
it would fill my letter to detail. I will, however, make mention of the
mystic chain as a sample of the many superstitious habits of that age.

It is said, 'A chain was suspended from the roof of Kaabah, whither the
people assembled to settle (by the touch) disputed rights in any case of
doubt between contending parties.'

Many curious things are related as having been decided by this mystic
chain,[13] which it should seem, by their description, could only be
reached by the just person in the cause to be decided, since, however long
the arm of the faulty person, he could never reach the chain; and however
short the person's arm who was in the right, he always touched the chain
without difficulty. I will here relate one of the anecdotes on this
subject.

'Two pilgrims travelled together in Arabia; on the way one robbed the
other of his gold coins, and secreted them carefully in the hollow of his
cane or staff. His companion missing his cash, accused him of the theft,
and when disputes had risen high between them, they agreed to visit the
mystic chain to settle their difference. Arriving at Kaabah, their
intentions being disclosed to the keepers of the place, the thief claimed
the privilege, being the accused, of first reaching to touch the chain; he
then gave the staff in which he had deposited the money into his
fellow-pilgrim's hands, saying, "Keep this, whilst I go to prove my
innocence." He next advanced and made the usual prayer, adding to which,
"Lord, whatever I have done amiss I strive to remedy; I repent, and I
restore"; then raising his arm, he touched the chain without difficulty.
The spectators were much surprised, because all believed he was actually
the thief. The man who lost his gold, freely forgave his fellow-traveller,
and expressed sorrow that he had accused him wrongfully; yet he wished to
prove that he was not guilty of falsehood--having really lost his
gold,--and declared he also would approach the chain to clear himself from
such a suspicion. "Here," said he to the criminal, "take back your staff;"
and he advanced within the Kaabah, making the required prayer, and adding,
"Now my Creator will grant me mercy and favour, for He knoweth my gold was
stolen, and I have not spoken falsely in that, yet I know not who is the
thief." He raised his hand and grasped the chain, at which the people were
much amazed.'

It is presumed, by writers of a later period, that this circumstance threw
the mystic properties of the chain out of favour; for it was soon after
removed secretly, these writers add, and its disappearance made the
subject of much conjecture; no one could ever ascertain by whom it was
taken, but the general belief is, that it was conveyed away by
supernatural agency. Another marvellous story is recorded of the Kaabah,
as follows:

'A poor pilgrim, nearly famishing with hunger, while encircling the Holy
House, on looking up towards the building observed the water-spout of
gold[14] hanging over his head. He prayed that his wants might be relieved,
adding, "To Thee, O God, nothing is difficult. At thy command, that spout
of gold may descend to my relief;" holding the skirt of his garment to
receive it, in answer to his faithful address. The spout had been firmly
fixed for ages, yet it fell as the pilgrim finished his prayer. He lost no
time in walking away with his valuable gift, and offered it to a merchant
for sale, who immediately recognizing the gold spout of Kaabah, accused
the pilgrim of sacrilege, and without delay handed him over to the
Sheruff[15] of Mecca, to answer for his crime. He declared his innocence
to the Sheruff, and told him how he became possessed of the treasure. The
Sheruff had some difficulty in believing his confession, yet perceiving he
had not the appearance of a common thief, he told him, if what he had
declared was true, the goodness of God would again be extended towards him
on the trial he proposed to institute. The spout was restored to its
original position on the Kaabah, and made secure. This done, the pilgrim
was required to repeat his faithful address to God, in the presence of the
assembled multitude; when, to their astonishment, it again descended at
the instant his prayer was finished. Taking up the spout without
hesitation, he was walking away with it very quietly, when the people
flocked round him, believing him to be some sainted person, and earnestly
requested him to bestow on them small portions of his raiment as relics of
his holy person. The Sheruff then clothed him in rich garments, and in
lieu of the gold spout--which none could now dispute his right to,--the
same weight of gold in the current coin of Arabia was given to him, thus
raising him from beggary to affluence.'

I have often heard Meer Hadjee Shaah speak of this gold spout which adorns
the Kaabah, being held in great veneration by the pilgrims who make the
Hadje to that place.

All Mussulmauns performing the pilgrimage pay a kind of tax to the Sheruff
of Mecca. The present possessors of power in Mecca are of the Soonie sect.
The admission money, in consequence, falls heavy on the Sheahs, from whom
they exact heavy sums, out of jealousy and prejudice. This renders it
difficult for the poor Sheah pilgrim to gain admittance, and it is even
suspected that in many cases they are induced to falsify themselves, when
it is demanded of them what sect they belong to, rather than be denied
entrance after their severe trial to reach the confines of Mecca. The tax
levied on the Soonies is said to be trifling in proportion to that of the
Sheahs.

Amongst the different places visited by each Hadjee,--after the circuit is
made,--a zeearut to the tomb of Ali at Nudghiff Usheruff, and the
far-famed Kraabaallah of Hasan and Hosein are esteemed indispensable
engagements, if it be possible; there is not, however, any command to this
effect in the Mussulmaun law, but the Sheahs, zealous for their leaders,
are willing to think they do honour to their memory, by visiting those
tombs which contain the mortal remains of their respected Emaums.

Travelling through this part of Arabia, Meer Hadjee Shaah says, is
attended with much inconvenience and fatigue; but he failed not at each
pilgrimage he made, to pay a visit to the mausoleums of his forefathers.
He tells me that Kraabaallah was for a long time almost an interdicted
visit, through the power of the Soonies, who were so jealous of the
respect paid to the Emaums, that the Turks (who are Soonies) raised the
price of admission within the gates to one hundred gold pieces. At that
time very few people could gratify their yearnings beyond the outside view
of the mausoleum; and even now that the entrance-money is much reduced the
sums so collected yield a handsome revenue to the Turks.

I will here introduce an anecdote which proves the value certain
individuals set on the zeearut (sacred visit) to Kraabaallah, which I have
received from my revered pilgrim-friend and relative.

'Amongst the applicants for admission at the gates of Kraabaallah was an
aged woman clothed in ragged garments. The gate-keeper, judging from her
appearance, that she was destitute of money, scoffed at her presumption;
she, however, produced the price of admission with much confidence of
manner, and demanded entrance without further delay. The keepers now
suspected the old woman to be a thief, and commenced interrogating her how
she became possessed of so large a sum. The poor old woman answered them,
"I have laboured hard for thirty years at my spinning-wheel, and have
debarred myself during those years of all superfluities, contenting myself
with a bare subsistence; I have done this that the dearest wish of my
heart might once in my lifetime be gratified, to visit and weep over the
tomb of my Emaums. Here, take the fruits of my labour, and let me have my
reward; every moment delayed is agony to me."'

In journeying through Arabia, pilgrims are much annoyed with the intrusion
they so frequently meet with from the idle Arabs, who force their way into
every stranger's place of sojourn without ceremony, to strain the nerves
of charity from 'brethren of the faith'.

There is a maxim well known amongst Mussulmauns,--the words of
Mahumud,--'With the faithful, all are brothers'; and this is the pass-word
with those idle men who pretend to have too much pride to beg, and are yet
too indolent to labour for their support.

A Mussulmaun,--however great his rank,--is seated with his friends and
attendants; an Arab, who lives by this method, stalks into the tent or
apartment, salutes the master with, 'Salaam-oon-ali Koom!' (health or
peace be with you!) and unbidden takes his seat on the nearest vacant spot
to the head person of the assembly. After the first surprise excited by
the stranger's intrusion, he looks at the master and says, 'I claim the
privilege of a brother'; by which it is to be understood the Arab requires
money from the richer man of his faith. A small sum is tendered, he
receives it without indicating any sense of obligation, rises from his
seat, and moves off with no other than the familiar salute which marked
his entrance, 'Salaam-oon-ali Koom!'[16]

A rich Eunuch, of Lucknow, accompanied Meer Hadjee Shaah on one of his
pilgrimages, with a large Kauflaah. Upon one occasion, when the whole
party were seated in friendly conclave, some of these idle Arabs entered
in the way described; the Eunuch was unacquainted with the language, or
the manners of Arabia, and expressed his dislike to their freedom in warm
language, and evident anger in his countenance; many had claimed the
tribute of brotherhood, when the Eunuch, who was accustomed in his own
country to receive respect and deference from inferiors, lost all patience
with the uncourtly intrusion of the Arabs, and evinced his wrath to the
proud Arab then present, who understood by his violent manners, if not by
his language, that he was offended with him. The good sense and kindly
manner of Meer Hadjee Shaah restored tranquillity in the assembly; he gave
money to the man, and apologized for his friend's ignorance of the customs
of Arabia: thus preventing the enraged Arab from fulfilling his threat of
forcing the Eunuch to appear before the Sheruff of Mecca.

Nudghiff Usheruff, the burying-place of Ali, is the resort of many pious
men of the Mussulmaun persuasion, as well as the shrine to be visited by
'the faithful' of the Sheah sect. Amongst the many singular stories I have
heard of the devout men of that religion, I select one from the number
relating to a man whose abode was--through choice--near the shrine of
their beloved Emaum Ali. I shall give it in exactly the style I have
received it, through my husband's translation, from an old work in the
Persian language.

'In the reign of Nadir Shaah,[17] a devout man of the faith took up his
abode in the vicinity of Nudghiff Usheruff in Arabia. He was a Syaad,
named Harshim;[18] a man of great learning, whose heart was set on seeking
with love the most merciful God, whom he served faithfully. Syaad Harshim,
conscious that the riches and honours of this world are inadequate to
procure eternal happiness, and feeling convinced that the more humble a
man's mode of living is, the greater are the prospects of escaping
temptations in this life of probation, resolved on labouring for his daily
bread, and relinquished with his paternal home, the abundance and riches
which his ancient house had long boasted.

'Syaad Harshim selected Nudghiff Usheruff for his sojourn, and the
business of a woodman for a calling. The piety of his life, and the
goodness of his heart, drew upon him the respect of the inhabitants of the
city. It was his practice to spend every day in the jungle (wilderness)
cutting fire-wood, of which he gave a light burthen to his ass; and
returning towards evening to the populated city, he found ready customers
for the load which his day's labour produced. His honesty and love of
truth were proverbial: he asked the price for his wood which he intended
to take; if more was offered, it was rejected,--if less, he would not
accept it.

'One evening, a man of superior address to his usual customers, but poorly
clad, met him at the entrance of the street, and bargained for the load of
wood. Syaad Harshim was penetrating, and could not help expressing his
surprise at the circumstance of one, evidently moving in a higher sphere,
being there to purchase wood. "I see," said the Syaad to the purchaser,
"that your station is superior to your circumstances!--How is this?"--"My
story," replied the stranger, "is not, I fear, uncommon in this age of the
world. I will relate it briefly:--I was once a rich man, and my mind was
set on making the pilgrimage. Aware that valuables and money would be an
incumbrance to me on my journey, I applied to the Kauzy of this city to
take charge of all my worldly riches during my absence, to which he
readily consented, and having packed my jewels, money, and valuables in a
strong chest with a good lock, I gave it into his charge and departed.

'"My pilgrimage accomplished, and tired of a wandering life, I returned
home after a few years' absence, waited on the Kauzy, and applied for the
treasure I had deposited in his care; he denied all knowledge of me or my
valuables, pretended not to understand me, called me an impostor, and
eventually drove me from his house with violence. I again tried the Kauzy
by expostulation, and sent my friends to him, but all without benefit; for
here I am as you see me, Syaad Harshim, reduced to penury by the Kauzy's
injustice. The world esteems him a person of great character, and condemns
me as the unjust one. Well! I can say no more; I know that God is merciful,
I put my trust in Him!" "Ameen," responded the Syaad, "do you so, and it
will yet be well with you."

'The stranger lingered with the sympathizing Woodman, and after some time
had elapsed he asked him if he would interest himself with the Kauzy to
effect a restitution of his rights, adding, "All are willing to give you,
O Syaad, great credit for superior virtues." Harshim replied he had no
merit to call for his fellow-mortals' good opinion, but as he felt
interested in the affair he would certainly visit the unjust man, and
requested the stranger to meet him at the Kauzy's door on the following
morning.

'Arrived at the Kauzy's residence, Harshim was received with evident
pleasure, for though but a woodman, he yet was known to be a person of
superior rank, and a man universally respected for his great piety. After
the common salutations, the Syaad stated the object of his visit, assuring
the Kauzy he was actuated purely by good feelings towards him in the part
he had undertaken;--being desirous only of preserving his soul from the
evil that attended the unjust men of this world, who die without
repentance and restitution to those whom they have injured. Then calling
the stranger forward, he said with firmness of voice and manner, "Behold
this man! he left money and jewels in your charge whilst he went on his
duty to the pilgrimage; he comes now to demand his property, give back his
chest of treasures without delay, honestly and justly, as you hope for
mercy in a future state!"

'The Kauzy answered, "I have it not, Syaad Harshim, you may believe me;
this fellow wickedly raises the falsehood to injure me, and it is as much
to his own dishonour as to my discredit. I beg, therefore, you will
neither give credit to his base assertions, nor think so meanly of me; my
station as Kauzy of this district should, methinks, screen me from such
imputations."--"True," said Harshim, "the station you occupy in the world,
and the place you hold as Kauzy, prevent suspicion from attaching to you;
hence this poor man has not yet found redress to the justice of his claims.
I would have you believe me sincerely your friend, in desiring to bring
your heart to repentance, and thus only can your soul's safety be secured.
I know you to have this man's property, and your own heart even now
convicts you of the injustice you practise. Nothing is hidden from
God;--reflect on the punishment prepared for the unrepenting hypocrite.
Listen, whilst I relate to you my own convictions, or rather experience,
of that terrible punishment which is prepared for the impenitent hardened
sinner beyond the grave.

'"I have been a woodman for several years, and by my daily labour have
earned my coarse food. Some years since, I was sick and unable to pursue
my usual occupation; my supply was thus cut off. Requiring temporary
relief, I applied to a rich Banker of this city for a trifling loan; my
request was promptly complied with, and I engaged to repay the sum by two
pice each day upon again resuming my employment. By the mercy of God I
recovered; and on the evening of each day, as I sold the wood my day's
labour produced in the market, I paid the Banker two pice. On the very day,
however, that the last two were to have been paid, the Banker died. Thus I
remained his debtor still. Often had I thought of the circumstance that I
was his debtor, and with real regret; yet the sum was small, and with this
I became reconciled.

'"Not long after his decease I was visited with a dream, important to all
the world to know, and I therefore desire to make it public. Judgement was
opened to my view; the beauty of heaven was displayed on one side, and the
torments of hell on the other. My dream presented many people waiting
their award, whom I had known in life, and amongst the number my creditor
the Banker; he was standing on the brink of that fiery yawning gulf which
is prepared for the wicked and unjust. His attendant angels produced the
documents of their faithful keeping,--good and evil actions of every
mortal are thus registered,--one exhibited a small blank book in which not
one good deed had been recorded, and that presented by the other,
containing the evils of his ways on earth, appeared to me an immense
volume filled throughout.

'"'Take him to his merited torments!' was pronounced in an awful tone of
command.--'Have mercy! have pity!' cried the Banker, in a supplicating
voice.--'Produce one claim for pity,' was heard.--The Banker in agony
looked wildly round, as if in search of something he might urge in
extenuation, when casting his eyes on me he exclaimed, 'There! oh, there
is one! who when in trouble I relieved, and he is still my debtor!'

'"In my dream this appeared too slender a benefit to draw forth the
slightest remission of the punishments awarded to his deserts. 'Away with
him!' was heard.--'Oh!' cried the Banker's soul, 'draw near to me, thou
good, virtuous, and humble Woodman, that the reflected light of thy
virtues may give one instant's ease to my present torture. Let me but
touch the righteous Harshim, and I will depart to my just punishment with
submission!'

'"I was permitted to gratify the unhappy spirit, wondering at the same
time what benefit he could derive from touching me. Advancing near the
tortured soul he stretched forth his hand and touched me on the knee; it
was like a firebrand; I drew back hastily and found my knee was scorched.
'Return to men with warnings,' said the wretched spirit. 'Tell them of my
unhappy state; tell them what are the tortures of the wicked; that touch
you have received on your knee, is of the same nature my whole body
suffers in eternal flames.'--The pain I suffered in my knee disordered my
sleep; I awoke in agony, and here it is to this day," said the Woodman,
untying a bandage from his knee. "Examine the place, and be warned, O
Kauzy, by the terrible certainty I have brought from that Banker whom you
knew, and who is now suffering for his injustice on earth. I have been
lame from that night of my dream," continued Syaad Harshim, "but I shall
rejoice in the pain, if the example influence one hardened sinner to
repent, whilst repentance may avail."

'During the recital of the dream, Syaad Harshim watched the countenance of
the Kauzy, who tried in vain to hide the guilty changes of his face. The
Syaad at last fixed his keen eyes on him, "Now, friend," said he, "it
would be great folly to add guilt to guilt by farther subterfuge. I know
the day, the hour, you ingeniously substituted a false key to this man's
chest; I could tell you what you wickedly took out; the place where it is
secreted, even, is not hidden from my knowledge; go, bring it from your
wife's apartment; a little labour will remove it from the corner near the
bedstead."

'The Kauzy was now subdued by the commanding truths of the Syaad, and his
heart being softened by the fearful relation of the Banker's torment, he
sank to the earth with shame and remorse,--"I acknowledge my sin, thou
holy man of truth;--forgive me!" he cried, "forgive me, oh my God! I am
indeed repentant, and by this holy man's means I am brought to a sense of
my guilt!" He then went to the women's apartment, brought out the chest
and delivered it to the owner, entreating Syaad Harshim to forgive him.

'The Syaad replied, "I have nothing to forgive, nor power to remit; my
advice you have freely, and may it serve you! Seek pardon from God who
loves to be sought, and whose mercy never faileth. He is not the God of
revenge, where repentance is sincere; but He is the God of mercy to all
who seek Him faithfully. His mercy is already extended to you, for He has
given you time to repent:--but for His mercy, you had been taken to your
punishment, whilst you had no thoughts of repentance in your guilty heart.
Farewell! let me know by your future life, that Syaad Harshim's lost
labour in the jungle of this day, has produced something to the better
harvest--awakening one sinner to a sense of his danger."'

Meer Hadjee Shaah has related to me many singular anecdotes of this Syaad
Harshim, which are generally spoken of, and believed to be true by the
sojourners at Nudghiff Usheruff. His memory is much respected by the
Mussulmauns, and the acts of his life are registered with the veneration
paid to saints, amongst people of more enlightened nations. They
confidently assert, that whenever Syaad Harshim presented himself at the
entrance to Nudghiff Usheruff, the gates, which are always kept locked,
flew open to receive him.

In proof that he disregarded worldly possessions, the following is related
of him in the ancient works both of Arabia and Persia:--

'The great conqueror, Nadir Shaah, on one occasion visited the shrine of
Ali, with a vast retinue of his chiefs, courtiers, and followers. The King
heard, whilst at Nudghiff Usheruff, of the sainted life led by the Woodman,
Syaad Harshim, in that neighbourhood, and he felt disposed to tender a
present of money and valuables, to induce the Syaad's prayer for his
future prosperity. Accordingly, the King commanded trays to be filled from
his Indian spoils, which were sent with a message, humbly couched,
entreating the good Syaad would accept his offering of respect, and make
prayers to God for him.

'The trays were conveyed by servants of the King, who arrived at the
Syaad's hut at the moment he was satisfying the demands of nature with a
meal of coarse barley bread and pure water. "What is all this?" inquired
the Syaad, on seeing the valuables before him. "An humble offering from
the great Nadir Shaah," replied the messenger, "who entreats you will
honour him by the acceptance of his presents, and offer your pious prayer
for God's mercy in his behalf." "My prayers", said the Syaad, "I can
promise shall be made duly and truly, but not my acceptance of his gifts.
Take back these hateful, useless things! Tell Nadir Shaah, Syaad Harshim
will not even touch them." The messenger tried persuasions without avail;
he was constrained to return to his royal master, with his loaded trays.

'No sooner were the King's servants out of sight, than the wife of Syaad
Harshim vented her disappointment in no measured strain of anger towards
her husband. "Here am I," said the old lady, "a very slave in consequence
of our poverty, a very beggar in appearance, and my scanty meal of coarse
bread is scarce sufficient to keep me in bodily strength; surely you ought
to have remembered me, when the King's offering was before you--even if
you liked not to accept it for yourself."--"I might indeed", he replied,
"have done as you say, wife, had I known your sentiments sooner; but I
believed you were as contented as myself with homely fare and honest
labour; but be comforted, you shall have a share of the next offering made
by the King to Syaad Harshim, provided your present inclination remains
unchanged by time." This promise quieted the wife's angry humour, and
peace was again restored between them.

'"Wife," said the Syaad, "this al-kaulock[19] (Arab's coat of calico) of
mine requires a little of thy labour: as I have now no other garment to
change with, I trust you may please to wash it whilst I take my
sleep;--one caution you must observe,--I have occasion for the water in
which this dress is to be washed; preserve it carefully for me, my good
wife;" and he laid him down on his mat to sleep. The wife, obedient to her
husband's wishes, washed his dress, and took care to preserve the dirty
water; when he awoke, she brought him the clean garment, and received his
warm commendations for her diligence. She then produced the pan of dirty
water, in which she had cleansed the garment, saying, "There, Syaad
Harshim, I have done as you desired."--"Very good," replied her husband,
"now you must farther oblige me by drinking it--you know there is nothing
in this water but the sweat of my body produced by my daily labour." The
wife, disgusted at the strange request of her husband, looked with
amazement, and fancied he must have lost his senses. "What is this you
require of me? would you poison your wife, O Syaad Harshim, with the filth
from your skin, the accumulation of many days' labour in the jungles? art
thou mad, to ask thy wife a request so unheard of?"

'"Listen to me, wife," said the Syaad, in gentle terms; "you profess to
love, honour, and respect me, as your faithful, lawful husband; pray can
the dirt from my body be more offensive to your palate than the scum of
Nadir Shaah, whom you only know by name? You would have accepted the
filthy offerings of a cruel man, who plundered and sacrificed his victims
to obtain the treasures he possesses;--you would not have scrupled to
obtain your future sustenance by the coins of Nadir Shaah, gained as they
were by the spilling of human blood? Is this your love for Syaad Harshim?"
The wife threw herself at her husband's feet, when his speech was finished:
"Pardon me, my dear husband! pardon my ignorance and self-love; I see
myself disgraced by harbouring one wish for more than is gained by honest
industry. No longer have I any desire for the gold of Nadir Shaah.
Contented as yourself, my dear, good husband! I will continue to labour
for the honest bread that sustains, nor ever again desire my condition to
be changed."'

The Woodman, Syaad Harshim, lived to a great age; many a tear hath fallen
on his grave from the good pilgrims visiting the shrine of Ali, near which
he was buried; and his resting place is reverenced to this day by the
passing traveller of his own faith.


[1] _Kafilah_.

[2] The _burqa'_: see drawing in Hughes, _Dictionary of Islam_, p. 95.

[3] Bokhara.

[4] _The Origin of the Sikhs_, by H. Colebrooke, Esq., gives a faithful
    picture of those warlike people. [The best account of their beliefs
    is by M. Macauliffe, _The Sikh Religion_, Oxford, 1909.]


[5]  Yahya. On the capture of Damascus by the Muhammadans, the
    churches were equally divided between the Christians and their
    conquerors. The great Cathedral of St. John was similarly divided,
    and for eighty years the two religions worshipped under the same
    roof.--Arnold, _The Preaching of Islam_, p. 50.

[6] A vulgar corruption of Jame' Masjid, the Cathedral Mosque.

[7] On the taboos attached to the sanctuary, see Burton, _Pilgrimage_,
    i. 379 f.

[8] At-Ta'if, meaning 'circumambulation'. When Adam settled at Mecca,
    finding the country barren, he prayed to Allah to supply him with a
    piece of fertile land. Immediately a mountain appeared, which, having
    circumambulated the Ka'aba, settled itself down eastward of Mecca.
    Hence it was called Kita min Sham, 'a piece of Syria,' whence it
    came. (Burton, ii. 336.) 'Its fertile lands produce the fruits of
    Syria in the midst of the Arabian desert' ( Gibbon, _Decline and Fall_,
    vi. 255).

[9] At Mecca are 'evident signs, with the standing place of Abraham; and
    he who enters it is safe' _(Koran_, iii. 90). On the north side of
    the Ka'aba, just by its door, is a slight hollow in the ground, lined
    with marble. The spot is called Mi'jan, and it is supposed to be the
    place where Abraham and Ishmael kneaded the chalk which they used in
    building the Ka'aba: the stone, with the mark of Abraham's feet, is
    shown.--Burckhardt, quoted by Hughes, _Dictionary of Islam_, p. 337;
    Burton, ii. 311; Sale, _Preliminary Discourse_, p. 84.

[10] The Asiatics, generally, have faith in certain properties of chemical
    productions to alter the nature of the common to the precious metals.
    I have often witnessed the anxious exertions of Natives in India, who
    try all sorts of experiments in alchemy, expecting to succeed; but I
    have never known any other issue from the many laborious efforts of
    individuals than waste of time and property in these absurd schemes.
    [_Author_.]

[11] One of the best-known versions of this famous tale is found in _The
    Decameron_ of Boccaccio, Day 5, novel 9. It goes back to Buddhist
    times, and is told of Hatim Tai, the model of Oriental
    liberality. For numerous parallels, see A.C. Lee, _The Decameron of
    Boccaccio, its Sources and Analogues_, 1909, pp. 170 ff.

[12] _Labada_, 'a rain coat, wrapper'.


[13] This is probably some local tradition, of which no record appears in
    travellers' accounts of the Ka'aba.

[14] On the north-west side of the Ka'aba is a water-spout, called
    Mi'zabu'r-Rahmah, 'the spout of Mercy'. It is made of gold, and was
    sent from Constantinople in A.D. 1573. It carries the rain-water from
    the roof, and discharges it on the grave of Ishmael.--Hughes,
    _Dictionary of Islam_, pp. 257, 337.

[15] The Sharif, 'honourable,' is the local ruler of Mecca and the
    Hajaz: see _Encyclopaedia Britannica_, xvii. 952; Burton,
    _Pilgrimage_, ii. 3.

[16] _As-Salamu-'alai-kum_, 'Peace be with you!'

[17] Nadir Shah, born a shepherd, A.D. 1687, aided Shah Tahmasp
    against Ashraf, leader of the Afghans, defeated him, and restored
    his master in 1730. Afterwards he deposed Tahmasp, and raised his
    infant son to the throne of Persia, under the title of 'Abbas III.
    But he continued to rule the country, and on the death of 'Abbas in
    1736 he became king. He marched on India in 1739, defeated the Emperor
    Muhammad on the historic field of Panipat, sacked Delhi, and
    perpetrated a horrible massacre. He returned to Persia laden with
    spoil, but his tyranny excited the hostility of the nobles, and he was
    assassinated in 1747, and buried at Mashhad.

[18] Sayyid Hashim.

[19] _Alkhalaq_, Turkish, 'a coat with sleeves'.



LETTER X

  The Zuckhaut (God's portion).--Syaads restricted the benefit of this
  charity.--The Sutkah.--The Emaum's Zaumunee (protection).--The Tenths,
  or Syaads' Due.--Mussulmauns attribute thanks to God only, for all
  benefits conferred.--Extracts from the 'Hyaatool Kaaloob'.--Mahumud's
  advice.--His precepts tend to inculcate and encourage
  charity.--Remarks on the benevolence of Mussulmauns.


On the subject of Zuckhaut, commanded by Mahumud to his followers, I shall
have little to remark;--the nature of the institute is intended to oblige
mankind to share with the poor a due portion of those benefits they have
received through the bounty of Divine Providence. Every Mussulmaun is
expected by this law to set apart from his annual income one-fortieth part,
denominated Zuckhaut (God's portion), for the sole benefit of the poor. I
believe there are not many,--judging by what I have witnessed among the
Mussulmaun population of Hindoostaun,--who do not expend a much larger
portion of their yearly income in charitable donations, than the enjoined
fortieth part.

The poor Syaads are not allowed to receive any relief from 'the
Zuckhaut'[1]; they being of the Prophet's blood, are not to be included
with the indigent for whom these donations are generally set apart. The
strict Mussulmaun of the Sheah sect usually deducts one-tenth[2] from
whatever money comes into his possession as 'the Syaads' due', to whom it
is distributed, as proper objects present themselves to his knowledge;
much in the same way as the tribe of Levi are entitled to the tenth of the
produce from their brethren of Israel by the Mosaic law.

The Syaads are likewise restricted from accepting many other charitable
offerings,--sutkah for instance--by which is meant the several things
composing peace-offerings, offerings in atonement, &c. The better to
explain this I must here describe some of the habits of the Mussulmaun
population:--When any person escapes from a threatened danger, or accident,
their friends send offerings of corn, oil, and money; all that is thus
sent to the person preserved, must be touched by his hand and then
distributed amongst the poor and needy.

If any member of a family be ill, a tray is filled with corn, and some
money laid on it: it is then placed under the bed of the sick person for
the night; in the morning this is to be distributed amongst the poor. Some
people cook bread, and place it in the same way with money under the bed
of the sick. All these things are called Sutkah[3] in whatever form they
are planned, which is done in a variety of ways; and, when distributed to
the poor, are never to be offered to, nor allowed to be accepted by, the
Syaad race. The scapegoat, an animal in good health and without blemish,
is another offering of the Sutkah denomination: a Syaad is not allowed to
be one of the number to run after the goat released from the sick chamber.

When any one is going a journey, the friends send bands of silk or riband,
in the folds of which are secured silver or gold coins; these are to be
tied on the arm of the person projecting the journey, and such offerings
are called 'Emaum Zaumunee',[4] or the Emaum's protection. Should the
traveller be distressed on his journey, he may, without blame, make use of
any such deposits tied on his arm, but only in emergencies; none such
occurring, he is expected, when his journey is accomplished in safety, to
divide all these offerings of his friends amongst righteous people. The
Syaads may accept these gifts, such being considered holy,--paak[5] is the
original word used, literally clean.

They believe the Emaums have knowledge of such things as pertain to the
followers of Mahumud and his descendants. Thus they will say, when
desiring blessings and comforts for another person, 'Emaum Zaumunee,
Zaumunee toom kero!'[6] may the Emaums protect you, and give you their
safe support!

The tenths, or Syaads' dues, are never appropriated to any other use than
the one designed. Thus they evince their respect to the descendants of
Mahumud; by these tenths the poorer race of Syaads are mainly supported;
they rarely embark in trade, and never can have any share in banking, or
such professions as would draw them into dealings of usury. They are
chiefly employed as writers, moonshies,[7] maulvees, and moollahs, doctors
of law, and readers of the Khoraun; they are allowed to enter the army, to
accept offices of state; and if they possess any employment sufficient to
support themselves and family, the true Syaad will not accept from his
neighbours such charitable donations as may be of service to the poor
brethren of his race. The Syaads, however poor, are seldom known to
intrude their distresses, patiently abiding until relief be sent through
the interposing power of divine goodness.

Such is the way in which they receive the blessings showered by the
orderings of the Almighty, that one never hears a Mussulmaun offer thanks
to his earthly benefactor, in return for present benefits; but 'Shooghur
Allah!'[8] all thanks to God! I was somewhat surprised when first
acquainted with these people, that they accepted any kind of service done
them with the same salutation as when first meeting in the morning, viz.
salaam, and a bow. I inquired of the Meer if there was no word in
Hindoostaunie that could express the 'Thank you!' so common to us in
England? He bade me remark that the Mussulmauns return thanks to God
whenever they receive a benefit from mortals, whom they consider but as
the agents appointed by God to distribute His gifts. 'All thanks to God!'
is repeated with every benefit received; and this follows every meal or
cup of water as naturally, as to eat or to drink is preceded by 'Bis ma
Allah!'[9]--In the name, or to the praise of God!

Amongst the many choice things I have gleaned from the work so often
quoted in my Letters, viz. 'Hyaatool Kaaloob', the following, through my
Meer's aid in translation, may here be inserted.

MAHUMUD'S ADVICE

'Observe, ye faithful, there are five things most acceptable to God the
Creator, from man, His creature:--

1st. 'A generous gift, made when you have the greatest necessity yourself
for that which you give away.

2nd. 'All gifts that are free-will offerings of the heart, neither
expecting nor desiring your bounty, should be rewarded, either by returns
or acknowledgements.

3rd. 'To be most humble, when in the enjoyment of the greatest prosperity.

4th. 'To promote peace, when the reason for indulging your anger is most
enticing.

5th. 'To forgive freely from the heart, when the power to revenge is
present with you.'

You perceive a system of charitable feeling is inculcated by the laws of
Mahumud; and in every-day practice it is found to be the prominent feature
in their general habits. It is common with the meanest of the people to
offer a share of their food to any one calling upon them at meal-time. I
have seen this amiable trait of character in all classes of the people;
and often on a river voyage, or a land journey, when the servants cook
their dinner under a tree or by the bank of the river, if a dog, which
they consider an unclean animal, advances within their reach, a portion of
their food is thrown to him with that kindliness of feeling which induces
them to share with the hungry, whatever gifts they receive from the Author
of all good.[10] Except in seasons of famine, no one need despair of
having sufficient to support nature, wherever the Mussulmauns congregate.
I speak it to their credit, and in justice to their character.


[1] See p. 67.

[2] Known among Indian Musalmans as _dasaundh_, 'tithes'.

[3] _Sadaqah_, used in the Koran (ii. 265) for almsgiving. In India the
    term is applied to the custom by which money, clothes, grain, &c., are
    waved over a patient, or only shown to him, and then given away to
    beggars; or they are placed near the foot of a tree, on the bank of a
    river, or where four roads meet, and are then supposed to carry away
    the disease with them.--Jaffur Shurreef, _Qanoon-e-Islam_, p. 252.

[4] _Imam zamini_, 'a gift to the guardian saint'. When about to
    go on a journey, or when any misfortune befalls a person, a coin or
    metal ring is tied up in a cloth coloured with turmeric, in the name
    of the Imam Zamin, and worn on his left arm. When the traveller
    reaches his destination, or gets rid of his affliction, it is taken
    off, and its value, with some money in addition, is spent in food or
    sweetmeats, which are offered in the name of the saint.--Jaffur
    Shurreef, p. 182.

[5] _Pak_.

[6] _Imam Zamani, Zamani tum karo_.

[7] _Munshi_, 'a writer, secretary'.

[8] _Shukr Allah_.

[9] _Bi'smi'llah_: the full form is
    _bi'smi'llah'r-rahmani'r-rahim_, 'In the name of Allah,
    the Compassionate, the Merciful!' These latter titles are omitted when
    going into battle, or when slaughtering animals.

[10] The Prophet ordered that when a dog drinks from a vessel, it must be
    washed seven times, the first cleansing being with earth. But the dog
    of the Seven Sleepers will be admitted into Heaven.--_Koran_,
    xviii. 17.



LETTER XI

  Mussulmaun festivals.--Buckrah Eade.--Ishmael believed to have been
  offered in sacrifice by Abraham and not Isaac.--Descent of the
  Mussulmauns from Abraham.--The Eade-gaarh.--Presentation of
  Nuzzas.--Elephants.--Description of the Khillaut (robe of
  honour).--Customs on the day of Buckrah Eade.--Nou-Roze (New Year's
  Day).--Manner of its celebration.--The Bussund (Spring-colour).--The
  Sah-bund.--Observances during this month.--Festival of the New
  Moon.--Superstition of the Natives respecting the influence of the
  Moon.--Their practices during an eclipse.--Supposed effects of the
  Moon on a wound.--Medicinal application of lime in
  Hindoostaun.--Observance of Shubh-burraat.


An account of the Mussulmaun festivals, I imagine, deserves a Letter; for
in many of them I have been able to trace, not only the habits and manners
of the people with whom I was sojourning, but occasionally marks of their
particular faith have been strongly developed in these observances, to
most of which they attach considerable importance. Buckrah Eade, for
instance, is a festival about as interesting to the Natives, as
Christmas-day is to the good people of England; and the day is celebrated
amongst all classes and denominations of Mussulmauns with remarkable zeal
and energy.

The particular event which gives rise to Buckrah Eade[1] is the well-known
circumstance of Abraham offering his son in sacrifice to God. The
Mussulmauns, however, insist that the son so offered was Ishmael, and not
Isaac, as our Scriptures declare. I have before remarked that I had
frequent arguments with the learned men of that persuasion on this subject,
which provoked a minute investigation of their most esteemed authors, to
decide between our opinions. The author of 'The Hyaatool Kaaloob' advances
many authorities, which the Mussulmauns deem conclusive, all of whom
declare that Ishmael was the son demanded and offered in sacrifice; and
two only, I think, of the many names that author quotes, were disposed to
doubt whether it was Isaac or Ishmael. An evident proof, I think, that on
some former occasion there had existed a difference of opinion on this
subject among men of their persuasion. The result of the present inquiry,
however, is that they believe Ishmael was the offering and not Isaac;
whilst I remain equally convinced of the correctness of our sacred book.

The Mussulmauns, I should remark, as well as the Jews, trace their origin
to Abraham, the former through Ishmael, and the latter through Isaac; and
it is more than probable that to this circumstance may be attributed the
decided prejudice of opinion, in favour of Ishmael being the person
offered in sacrifice. Whether this be the case or not, these children of
Abraham annually testify their reverence for their progenitor, and respect
for his faith towards God, in the way most congenial to their particular
ideas of honouring the memory of their forefathers.

I have thus attempted to sketch the origin of the festival, it shall now
be my task to describe the way in which the Mussulmauns of Hindoostaun
celebrate Buckrah Eade.

On this day all classes of people, professing 'the faith' sacrifice
animals, according to their circumstances; some offer up camels, others
sheep and goats, lambs or kids. It is a day of religious veneration, and
therefore by the pious prayers are added to sacrifice;--it is also a day
of joyful remembrances, consequently one of festivity amongst all ranks of
the Mussulmaun population.

Kings, Princes, or Nuwaubs, with the whole strength of their
establishments, celebrate the event, by going in great state to an
appointed place, which is designated 'The Eade-Gaarh'[2] where the animals
designed for immediate sacrifice are previously conveyed. On the arrival
of the cavalcade at the Eade-gaarh, the head Moollah reads the form of
prayer appointed for the occasion, and then presents the knife to the
royal personage, who with his own hand sheds the blood of the camel he
offers in sacrifice, repeating an impressive prayer as he presents the
steel to the throat of the animal. The exact moment of the King's
sacrifice is announced by signal, when a grand salute from the artillery
and infantry commences the day's rejoicing.

An account of the procession on these occasions may be interesting to my
readers, though no description can give an adequate idea of its imposing
appearance. I have witnessed the Buckrah Eade celebrations at Lucknow,
where expense and good taste are neither wanted nor spared, to do honour
to the great occasion.

The several persons forming the King's suite, whether nobles or menials,
together with the military, both horse and foot, are all dressed in their
best apparel. The elephants have undergone a thorough cleansing in the
river, their hides have been well oiled, which gives a jetty hue to the
surface, and their heads painted with bright colours, according to the
fancy of their keepers; their housings and trappings are the most costly
and brilliant the possessors can procure, some with gold, others with
silver howdahs (seats), and draperies of velvet or fine cloth embroidered
and fringed with gold.

The horses of individuals, and those of the irregular troops, are, on this
occasion, caparisoned with embroidered horsecloths and silver ornaments,
necklaces of silver or gold; or in the absence of these costly adornings,
the less affluent substitute large coloured beads and tufts of variegated
silk on their horses' necks. Many of the horses have stars and crescents
painted upon the chest and haunches: the tail and mane are dyed red with
mayndhie.[3]

The procession is formed in the following order: Fifty camels, in pairs,
carrying swivels, and each attended by two gunners and a camel-driver; the
men dressed in clean white dresses, with turbans and sashes of red and
green: the trappings of the camel are composed of broadcloth of the same
colours. Next to these is a park of artillery, the men in new regimentals
of blue, faced with red and yellow lace. Two troops of horse soldiers, in
new regimentals, scarlet cloth unrurkas[4] (coats) and white trousers,
with high-crowned caps of lambskin, similar to the Persian caps: these
horsemen have black belts, and are armed with pistols in the holsters, a
sabre and lance.

Then follows a regiment of nujeebs[5] (foot soldiers), their jackets red,
with small cap turban of black leather ornamented with the kirrich[6] or
dirk (part of the armorial bearings of the House of Oude): their trousers
reach no lower than the hams, where they are ornamented with black points
turning upwards on the white, leaving the thighs and legs perfectly bare.
The dunkah[7] (kettle drums) on a horse, richly ornamented with scarlet
cloth drapery, embroidered and fringed with gold, the rider dressed in
scarlet and gold, with a turban to correspond, both being ornamented with
the royal insignia,--a fish.[8]

The elephant carriages, containing first his Majesty and the Resident, the
others conveying the Prime Minister and the favoured nobles of his
Majesty's suite, form an impressive feature in the cortège, from their
splendour and novelty. The King's carriage is composed chiefly of silver,
open on every side, with a canopy of crimson velvet, embroidered and
fringed with gold, the curtains and lining to correspond; this carriage is
drawn by four elephants, exactly of one size (the rest have but two), each
very richly attired in velvet and gold coverings. The King and his suite
are very splendidly dressed in the Native costume. The chowries and
afthaadah are flourished before him, and on each side; the royal carriage
is guarded by the irregular horse in great numbers, and immediately
followed by led horses, very richly caparisoned, their grooms neatly
dressed in white, with turbans of red and green. To these succeed the
royal naalkie,[9] a species of conveyance supported by bearers,
constructed of beautifully wrought gold; the bearers in loose scarlet
coats, embroidered with gold, bearing the royal insignia on their coats
and turbans. A gold palkie, supported in the same style; an elegant state
carriage, with eight black horses in hand, the coachman (a European)
dressed in scarlet, with a cocked-hat and staff feather.


Hurkaarahs (running messengers), chobdhaahs with gold and silver staffs,
are seen on either side and in front of the King's carriage, reiterating
the King's titles and honours as they proceed. Then follow the English
gentlemen composing the King's suite, in their court dresses, on elephants.
To them succeed the Native nobility, great officers of state, &c., on many
elephants,--I should think more than fifty,--and the whole followed by
military, both horse and foot. The procession has an imposing effect,
particularly when viewed from an open space. The regiments have each their
colours unfurled, and their bands of music playing English pieces. I have
often thought if our theatrical managers could witness some of these
splendid processions, they might profit by representing on the stage the
grand exhibition of an Eastern monarch, which loses much of its splendour
by my indifferent powers of description.

After the ceremony at the Eade-gaarh has concluded, the King and his suite
return in the same well-arranged order, and arriving at his palace, enters
the throne-room, where being seated, he receives nuzzas in due form,
presented in turn by every person belonging to the court, whether
relations, nobles, courtiers, dependants, servants, or slaves; every
person observing a proper etiquette in their approach to the throne, the
inferiors keeping back until their superiors retire,--which each one does
immediately after presenting his nuzza; thus confusion is prevented in the
hall of audience.

As a description of the ceremony of presenting nuzzas, on such occasions,
may be acceptable to some of my friends, I will describe that which I
witnessed at the Court of Oude.

The King was seated on his throne of pure gold, dressed in a very costly
habit of Persian velvet, embroidered with gold; on his neck, valuable
haarhs (necklaces) of diamonds, pearls, rubies and emeralds, were
suspended in many rows, reaching from the neck nearly to the waist.

The throne is a flat surface, about two yards square, raised about two
feet from the floor, upon three sides of it is a railing; a square canopy,
supported by poles, is attached to the four corners of the throne, which,
together with the poles, are formed of wood, and cased over with pure gold,
into which are set precious stones of great value. The canopy and cushions,
on which the King takes his seat, are of crimson velvet, very richly
embroidered with gold and pearls; a deep fringe of pearls of a good size
finishes the border of the canopy. The chattah is of corresponding costly
materials (crimson velvet and gold), fringed also with red pearls.

The King's crown is elegantly formed, richly studded with diamonds, and
ornamented with handsome plumes of the birds of Paradise. Over his head
was supported the velvet chattah. On either side of the throne stood a
nobleman with chowries of peacock's-feathers in gold handles, which they
kept waving continually over the King's person.

To the right of the throne were gilt chairs with velvet seats placed for
the accommodation of the Resident and his lady, who were accompanied by
many English ladies and gentlemen standing, as also by the European
gentlemen attached to the King's suite: the latter, in their court dresses
of puce cloth, richly embroidered with gold, had a very good effect,
mingled with the well-dressed lady-visitors of the Resident.

To the left of the throne stood the Native gentlemen holding high offices
in the Court of Oude, each richly dressed in the Asiatic costume.

At the King's feet stood the Vizier (Prime Minister), whose business it is,
on such occasions, to deposit the nuzzas on the throne after they have
been accepted by his Majesty.

As the company advanced the head Chamberlain announced the name and rank
of each person in the presence of the King. The second Chamberlain
directed such persons, after presenting the nuzza, the way they must
retire from the hall.

The nuzzas of the first nobility consisted of twenty-one gold mohurs[10];
those of less exalted persons were proportioned to their rank and
circumstances; whilst servants and slaves, with inferior dependants of the
Court, tendered their humble tribute of respect in rupees of silver.

The person presenting has the offering placed on a clean white folded
kerchief; he advances with his head bowed low, until within ten paces of
the throne; he then stands erect for a few seconds, with his hands folded
and held forward, after which he bows his head very low three times, and
each time places his open hand to his forehead,--this is called
'salaaming'; this done, he advances to the foot of the throne, repeats the
three salaams, then presents with both hands the nuzza on the kerchief,
which the King touches with, his hand, and the Vizier receives and
deposits with the collected heap by the side of his Majesty.

When the ceremony of presenting nuzzas has concluded, the King rises and
advances with the Resident to the centre of the audience hall, where the
person in charge of the haarhs[11] is in attendance with several of these
marks of distinction, one of which the King selects and places with his
own hands over the head of the Resident; the Resident then takes one and
places it on the King in a similar way. Should the Vizier be in favour at
this time, he is invested with the haarh, both by his Majesty and the
Resident; but if, unfortunately for him, he does not enjoy his royal
master's confidence, he takes this opportunity of testifying his
dissatisfaction by omitting the favour to his Vizier. The haarh is
actually of very little value but as a badge of distinction peculiar to
Native courts, to which the Natives attach so much importance, that I
wonder not at their anxiety to be honoured with this distinguishing mark
of the King's satisfaction.

European visitors, both male and female, are generally adorned with haarhs
on these occasions. The King then conducts the Resident to the
entrance,--when taking leave, he pours otta[12] on his hands, with the
'Khodah Afiz!'[13] (God be with you!) and sometimes out of compliment to
the Resident, his Majesty offers otta also to each of the English visitors,
as they pass him at the door.

On these great court days, the Vizier's nuzza is usually of great
value,--sometimes a lac of rupees has been presented, when the Vizier is
much in favour, who is sure to receive ten times the value of his nuzza
ere the day is passed. When this large sum is presented, the Minister has
his one hundred bags (each containing a thousand rupees), covered with
crimson silk, and tied with silver ribands, placed on each side the throne
prior to the King's arrival; who, on seeing this proof of his faithful
servant's attachment, condescends to embrace him in the presence of the
assembled court--an honour of vast magnitude in the estimation of Natives.

The King confers favour on, as well as receives homage from, his subjects,
on the day of Buckrah Eade. On some, titles or other distinctions are
conferred; to others presents, according to his good will and pleasure:
many receive khillauts; and should there be an unfortunate omission, in
the distribution of princely munificence, that person understands to his
sorrow, that he is out of favour, without needing to be told so by word of
mouth.

The title of Khaun, Nuwaub, Rajah, or any other distinction conferred by
the King, is accompanied by the dress of honour, and often by elephants,
horses, or the particular kind of Native palkie which are alone used by
princes and the nobility. The elephant is always given ready furnished
with the several necessary appendages, as silver howdah, embroidered
jhewls[14] (draperies), &c.; and the horse richly caparisoned for riding.

The naalkie and palkie are vehicles conferred on Native gentlemen with
their titles, which cannot be used by any persons than those who have
received the grant from their Sovereign; and there is quite as much
ambition to be thus distinguished in a Native Court, as may be traced
amongst the aspirants for 'the orders' in the several European states.

Though the naalkie and palkie are restricted to the use of privileged
persons, all are allowed the services of the elephant. I knew a professed
beggar, who made his diurnal tour through the city of Lucknow on one. A
beggar, however, in Native estimation, is not the despicable creature he
is in European opinion; a degree of veneration is always evinced towards
men, who live on the casual bounty of their fellow mortals, and profess
not to have either a worldly calling or other means of support. The beggar,
I allude to, was called Shaah Jhee[15]; he had originally been a
travelling mendicant, and made a visit to Lucknow, when the late King was
a young man, whom he met by accident outside the town; and, I believe,
without knowing to whom he was speaking, predicted some favourable
circumstances which should attend him eventually; the young prince then
disclosed himself to the beggar, and promised him if his predictions were
verified, he would reward him in the way he wished. Shaah Jhee left the
Oude district, and travelled over most parts of Hindoostaun. Returning
after many years' absence to Lucknow, he found the prince seated on the
throne of his ancestors, and watching for a favourable opportunity to
present himself, made his claims to the sovereign, who, remembering the
circumstance and his promise, conferred the required reward--to be allowed
to demand five cowries daily from every shopkeeper in the city of Lucknow.
The King added to this humble demand a house to reside in, and the
elephant on which he went to collect his revenue. Eighty-five cowries
(shells) are valued at one pice, or a halfpenny; yet so vast is this
capital of Oude, that Shaah Jhee was in the receipt of a handsome daily
allowance, by this apparently trifling collection.

Most of the respectable gentlemen in Lucknow maintain an elephant for
their own use, where it is almost as common to meet them as horses. Though
most persons, I observe, avoid falling in with, the royal cortège, (which
is always announced by the sound of the dunkah), unless they are disposed
to court the King's observation; then they draw up their elephant, and
oblige the animal to kneel down whilst the King passes on, the owner
standing in his howdah to make salaams; others, I have seen, dismount in
time, and stand in a humble posture, with the hands folded and the head
bowed low, doing reverence and attracting his Majesty's notice as he
passes on. These little acts of ceremonious respect are gratifying to the
King, and are frequently the means of advancing the views of the subject
to his favour.

The khillauts, presented by the King, vary in the number of the articles
composing the gift, as well as in the quality. The personal rank, and
sometimes the degree of estimation in which the receiver is held, is
defined by the value and number of an individual's khillaut. I have known
some gentlemen tenacious to a foible, about the nature of the khillaut
that could consistently be accepted; I have heard it even expressed, 'I
shall be disgraced in the eyes of the world, if my khillaut has not the
full complement usually conferred on men of my rank'. It is the honour
they value, not the intrinsic worth of the articles, for it is no uncommon
thing to find them distributing the dress of honour amongst their
dependants, on the same day they have received it.

The splendid articles composing khillauts are as follows: swords with
embroidered belts, the handle and scabbard either enamelled or embossed
silver, often set with precious stones; the most inferior have silver
mountings and velvet scabbards; shields studded with silver; kirrich
(dirk), the handle and sheath equally as rich as the swords; embroidered
or gold cloth chupkunds[16] (coats); shawl-stuff labaadahs[17] (pelisses),
trimmed with sable; turbans of shawl or muslin; ornaments for the turban
of diamonds and emeralds, the inferior of paste; strings of pearls and
emeralds for the neck; shawls, always in pairs, of more or less value;
shawl-kerchiefs; shawl cummerbunds[18] (girdles); shawl lahaafs[19]
(counterpanes); gold cloth, gold and silver muslins, and shawl stuff, in
pieces, each being sufficient to form a dress; Benares silks, or rich
satin for trousers; pieces of fine embroidered muslin for shirts. These
are the usual articles of value given in khillauts to the most exalted
favourites. In some instances the King confers one hundred and one pieces
in a khillaut; in others seventy-five, and down to five articles, which is
the lowest number given in this much-prized dress of honour. In a khillaut
of five pieces, I have observed, generally, a coarser kind of gold cloth
dress, a coloured muslin turban, a pair of coarse shawls, a coarse shawl
romall[20] (kerchief), and a girdle. I have also observed, that the higher
the numbers rise, the quality of the articles increased in value;
consequently, when we hear of any one being invested with the highest
number, we calculate that each piece is of the very best quality and
fabric.

When khillauts are conferred, the investiture usually takes place in the
King's presence, who sometimes condescends to place one of the articles on
the receiver with his own hands; at other times he merely touches the
turban with his hand, and the individuals are clothed by the Prime
Minister. After receiving the khillaut, each person approaches the throne
and does homage to the King, presenting a nuzza in accordance with his
rank, and the value of the khillaut.

The Revenue Collectors and Zemindhaars[21] (landlords of farms) crowd to
the Court on these days, to testify their respect and share in the honours
distributed with a liberal hand. These persons may well be solicitous to
receive this badge of distinction, which they find increases their
influence over the Ryotts[22] (cultivators).

On the morning of Buckrah Eade, the King gives a public breakfast at
Lucknow, to the Resident and his suite, and to such of the Native nobility
as are privileged to 'the chair'[23] at the royal banquets. The breakfast
concluded, many varieties of sports commence, as elephant-fighting, tiger
sports, &c.[24] The entertainment is got up with great magnificence,
neither expense nor trouble being spared to render the festivities of the
day conspicuous.

After the Resident and his party have retired, the King returns to his
private apartments, where the forms of state are thrown aside with the
splendid robes; and the ease and comfort of real Asiatic life is again
indulged in, without the parade so studiously observed in public, as being
essential to the sovereign's dignity. The trammels of state must indeed be
irksome to those who indulge in that sort of luxurious ease which forms
the chief comfort of Native life.

The evening at Court is passed by the King and his favourite courtiers,
with music and the performances of dancing-girls; a variety of fire-work
exhibitions; the witticisms of the Court-jesters, and such other
amusements as are suited to Asiatic taste.

The magnificent style of celebrating Buckrah Eade at Lucknow is perhaps
unequalled by any other Native Court now existing in Hindoostaun. The
rejoicings on this festival are not confined to the higher classes alone;
but it is a period of equal interest to every individual of the Mussulmaun
community. The custom of the Court is imitated by the subjects in their
several grades, each striving to do honour to the day according to their
ability. The religious classes add, to their usual Namaaz, the appointed
prayer for the occasion of Buckrah Eade.

The rich send presents of goats and sheep to their neighbours and to the
poor, so that the meanest of the people are enabled to offer sacrifice and
rejoice in the good things of which they partake: new suits of clothes are
also distributed to the dependants of the family and to the poor. In short,
on this day, there seems a spirit of benevolence abroad, that is even
remarkable beyond the general generosity of their natural character, as
all who have any thing to share will assuredly, on this occasion, impart a
blessing to the needy, and gratify their friends and acquaintances.

The bride and bridegroom elect exchange presents of goats, &c.; the tutor
writes a copy of verses on the day, and presents it to his pupil; the
pupil in return sends his tutor a dress and money to enable him to keep
Eade with his family.

The ladies dress in their most costly jewels and apparel to receive or pay
visits. The children have their sports and amusements. Whenever I have
entered a Native house on these days, all seemed cheerful and happy, and
enjoying themselves in whatever way was most congenial to their particular
tastes; 'every one must be cheerful (they say) on Buckrah Eade'.

On this day, millions of animals are sacrificed in remembrance of
Abraham's faith. I have often thought how striking is the similarity
between the Mosaic and Mussulmaun institutes,--indeed my recollections of
Scripture history have frequently been realized in the views I have had of
the domestic habits of the Mussulmauns. They are forbidden the use of
unclean animals; the swine is equally abominable to Mussulmauns as to the
Jews; neither are they less scrupulous in discarding from their kitchen
any kind of animal food prohibited by their laws, or which has not been
killed by one of their faith. In this process the person, who is to slay,
turns the animal's head towards Mecca, repeats the short appointed prayer,
and with one plunge the animal has ceased to feel: they are expert in the
art of despatching life, so that the animal's sufferings may not be
protracted unnecessarily;--an amiable trait of character and worthy of
imitation.

       *       *       *       *       *

'Nou-Roze'[25] (New Year's Day) is a Festival of Eade of no mean
importance in the estimation of Mussulmaun society.

The exact period of commencing the Mussulmaun new year is the very moment
of the sun's entering the sign Aries. This is calculated by those
practical astronomers, who are in the service of most great men in Native
cities;--I should tell you they have not the benefit of published
almanacks as in England,--and according to the hour of the day or night
when the sun passes into that particular sign, so are they directed in the
choice of a colour to be worn in their garments on this Eade: if at
midnight, the colour would be dark puce, almost a black; if at mid-day,
the colour would be the brightest crimson. Thus to the intermediate hours
are given a shade of either colour applicable to the time of the night or
the day when the sun enters the sign Aries; and whatever be the colour to
suit the hour of Nou-Roze, all classes wear the day's livery, from the
King to the meanest subject in the city. The King, on his throne, sits in
state to receive congratulations and nuzzas from his nobles, courtiers and
dependants. 'Mabaarukh Nou-Roze!'[26] (May the New Year be fortunate!) are
the terms of salutation exchanged by all classes of society, the King
himself setting the example. The day is devoted to amusements, a public
breakfast at the palace, sending presents, exchanging visits, &c.

The trays of presents prepared by the ladies for their friends are
tastefully set out, and the work of many days' previous arrangement. Eggs
are boiled hard, some of these are stained in colours resembling our
mottled papers; others are neatly painted in figures and devices; many are
ornamented with gilding; every lady evincing her own peculiar taste in the
prepared eggs for 'Nou-Roze'. All kinds of dried fruits and nuts,
confectionary and cakes, are numbered amongst the necessary articles for
this day's offering: they are set out in small earthen plates, lacquered
over to resemble silver, on which is placed coloured paper, cut out in
curious devices (an excellent substitute for vine leaves) laid on the
plate to receive the several articles forming 'Nou-Roze' presents.

Amongst the young people these trays are looked forward to with child-like
anxiety. The ladies rival each other in their display of novelty and good
taste, both in the eatables and the manner of setting them off with effect.

The religious community have prayers read in their family, and by them it
is considered both a necessary duty and a propitious commencement to bring
in the new year by 'prayer and praises'.

When it is known that the Nou-Roze will occur by daylight, the ladies have
a custom of watching for the moment the year shall commence by a fresh
rose, which being plucked from the stalk is thrown into a basin of water,
the eye downwards. They say, this rose turns over of itself towards the
sun at the very moment of that luminary passing into the sign Aries. I
have often found them thus engaged; but I never could say I witnessed the
actual accomplishment of their prediction.

The Nou-Roze teems with friendly tokens between the two families of a
bride and bridegroom elect, whose interchange of presents are also
strictly observed. The children receive gifts from their elders; their
nurses reap a harvest from the day; the tutor writes an ode in praise of
his pupil, and receives gifts from the child's parents; the servants and
slaves are regaled with dainties and with presents from the superiors of
the establishment; the poor are remembered with clothes, money and food;
the ladies make and receive visits; and the domenie attend to play and
sing in the zeenahnah. In short, the whole day is passed in cheerful
amusements, suited to the retirement of a zeenahnah and the habits of the
people.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a festival observed at Lucknow called Bussund[27] (spring-colour).
I should remark here, that almost all the trees of India have perpetual
foliage; as the season approaches for the new leaves to sprout, the young
buds force off the old leaves; and when the trees are thus clothed in
their first delicate foliage, there is a yellow tinge in the colour which
is denominated Bussund (Spring). A day is appointed to be kept under this
title, and then every one wears the Bussund colour: no one would be
admitted at Court without this badge of the day. The elephants, horses and
camels of the King, or of his nobles, are all ornamented with the same
colour on their trappings.

The King holds a Court, gives a public breakfast, and exhibits sports with
ferocious animals. The amusements of this day are chiefly confined to the
Court: I have not observed much notice taken of it in private life.

The last month of the periodical rains is called Sahbaund.[28] There is a
custom observed by the Mussulmaun population, the origin of which has
never been clearly explained to me; some say it is in remembrance of the
Prophet Elisha or Elijah, and commences the first Friday of Sahbaund, and
is followed up every succeeding Friday through this concluding month of
the rainy season.[29]

This ceremony may have had its origin with devout persons willing to
honour or to invoke the Prophet Elijah, who, as our Scripture informs us,
'prayed, and the clouds gave no rain for the space of three years; and
again he prayed and the heavens were opened to his prayer'. Or in that of
Elisha parting the waters with the mantle of Elijah, after succeeding him
in the Prophetic office, 2 Kings ii. 14; or a still more probable event,
calculated to excite the pious to some such annual notice as is observed
with these people, in the same chapter, the twentieth and following verses,
where we find it said of Elisha, 'And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and
put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the
spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the
Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more
dearth or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according
to the saying of Elisha which he spake.'

The learned men call it a zeenahnah, or children's custom; but it is
common to see children of all ages amongst the males, partake of, and
enjoy the festival with as much glee as the females or their juniors.

A bamboo frame is formed to the shape of a Chinese boat: this frame-work
is hidden by a covering of gold and silver tissue, silk, or coloured
muslin, bordered and neatly ornamented with silver paper. In this light
bark many lamps are secreted, of common earthenware. A procession is
formed to convey the tribute, called 'Elias ky Kishtee[30]', to the river.
The servants of the family, soldiers, and a band of Native music attend in
due order of march: the crowd attracted by this childish play is immense,
increasing as they advance through the several streets on the way to the
river, by all the idlers of the place.

The kishtee (boat) is launched amidst a flourish of trumpets and drums,
and the shouts of the populace; the small vessel, being first well lighted,
by means of the secreted lamps, moves down gently with the stream. When at
a little distance, on a broad river, in the stillness of evening, any
one--who did not previously know how these little moving bodies of light
were produced--might fancy such fairy scenes as are to be met with in the
well-told fables of children's books in happy England.

This custom, though strongly partaking of the superstitious, is not so
blameable as that which I have known practised by some men of esteemed
good understanding, who having a particular object in view, which they
cannot attain by any human stratagem or contrivance, write petitions to
the Emaum Mhidhie on Fridays, and by their own hands commit the paper to
the river, with as much reverence as if they thought him present in the
water to receive it. The petition is always written in the same respectful
terms, as inferiors here well know how to address their superiors; and
every succeeding Friday the petition is repeated until the object is
accomplished, or the petitioner has no further inducement to offer one.

I have made particular inquiries whether such sensible people (as I have
seen thus engaged) placed any dependence on this mode of petitioning. The
only answer I have received, is, 'Those who think proper thus to petition,
certainly believe that it will be effectual, if they persevere in it.'

The New Moon is a festival in the family of every good Mussulmaun.[31]
They date the new moon from the evening it first become visible, and not
as we do--from the moment it changes. The event is announced in Native
cities by firing salutes from the field-pieces of Kings, Nuwaubs, &c.

Amongst the religious people there is much preparation in bathing and
changing the dress against the evening the moon is expected to be visible,
and when the guns have announced that it is visible, they have the Khoraun
brought, which they open at the passage where Mahumud praises God for this
particular blessing. A small looking glass is then brought, on which
passage it is placed, and the book held in such a position that the moon
may be first seen by the person reflected in the glass. They then repeat
the prayer, expressly appointed for this occasion, and that done, the
whole family rise and embrace each other, making salaams and reverence to
their superiors and elders. The servants and slaves advance for the same
purpose, and nothing is heard for some minutes, but 'May the new moon be
fortunate!' reiterated from every mouth of the assembled family.

I cannot answer for the motives which actuate the ignorant people to bow
when they first see the new moon; but the pious Mussulmaun, I am assured,
bows to the Creator for the visible blessing, and not to the object.

The first eatables handed round to secure good luck and health throughout
the month are sugar-candy and cheese. I fancy this is a mere zeenahnah
custom, for I do not find the males so particular about eating this most
extraordinary mixture as the females.

The servants' wages are paid by the month, and in well-regulated families
the first day of the moon is hailed by dependants and domestics with no
small share of anxiety. Indeed, these people make the moon of much more
importance in the regulation of domestic affairs than the inhabitants of
more polished countries, for they attribute the influence of that planet
over the inhabitants of the earth in many extraordinary ways. It may be
deemed superstitious, but as my business is to relate the most material
ceremonies among this people, I cannot well omit noticing some of their
observances at this time.

If any person is ill, and bleeding is the only good remedy to be pursued,
the age of the moon is first discussed, and if it happens to be near the
full, they are inflexibly resolute that the patient shall not lose blood
until her influence is lessened. And should it happen at the commencement
of the second quarter, or a few days after the full, the difficulty is to
be overcome by deprecating the evil influence of the moon over the patient,
by burning a brand of straw which is flourished about the sick person's
head, who is brought out into the moon's presence for this important
operation.[32] Many equally extraordinary things of this sort I have been
obliged to witness in the zeenahnah.

The full moon is deemed propitious for celebrating the marriage festivals.
If this be not possible, care is always to be taken that the ceremony does
not fall at the period when she is in the unfavourable sign; they say the
happiness of the young couple depends on this being carefully avoided, as
in the opinion of every Mussulmaun 'the moon in Scorpio' is unpropitious
for any business of moment.[33]

When a journey is contemplated the moon's age is the first consideration;
indeed, the favourable signs of Madam Luna's movements are not only
selected for commencing a journey, but for all undertakings of like
importance;--whether to build, to write, to plant, to take medicine, &c.

What will be said of the singular custom, 'drinking the moon at a
draught'? A silver basin being filled with water is held in such a
situation that the full moon may be reflected in it; the person to be
benefited by this draught is required to look steadfastly at the moon in
the basin, then shut his eyes and quaff the liquid at one draught.[34]
This remedy is advised by medical professors in nervous cases, and also
for palpitations of the heart. I have seen this practised, but I am not
aware of any real benefit derived by the patient from the prescription.

When the planet Venus is in conjunction with the moon, they say the time
is most favourable to offer prayers to God for any particular object they
may have in view. At this time they write charms or talismans to be worn
by children. I remember having witnessed a gentleman thus occupied, who
wrote little scraps in the Arabic character to distribute amongst the
children of his friends, who wore them enclosed in silver cases on their
arms.

An eclipse of the moon is an event of great interest, both with the
Mussulmaun and the Hindoo population, although they have very opposite
ideas of the causes of an eclipse.

Many of the notions entertained by the lower classes of Mussulmauns upon
the nature of an eclipse are borrowed from the Hindoos.[34] Some think
that it is caused by the anger of God towards the people of the earth;
others say the moon is in debt, and many other equally odd conceits exist
amongst the ignorant people, and among them only. Yet a sensation of awe
is felt by most; and where is the intelligent creature who can view an
eclipse or any other phenomenon of Nature without the same feeling of awe,
although all are not equally ready to express the sensation?

Loud cries from the mixed population, Mussulmauns and Hindoos, announce
the commencement of an eclipse, whether it be of the sun or the moon. The
voice of the Mussulmaun is distinguished by the Namaazies'[35] call to
prayers--'Allah wo uckbaar![36] (God alone is great!) To this summons the
faithful attend diligently, and they are generally occupied in the form of
prayer appointed by Mahumud until the shadow has passed over the sun or
moon eclipsed.

The ladies prepare offerings of corn, oil, and money to be distributed
amongst the poor. The gentlemen give presents to the needy. The astronomer
who predicts to his royal or noble master the exact period of an eclipse,
is rewarded, when it is over, with money, a dress, and a crescent of pure
gold in some instances. A bride elect sends sutkah[38] to her intended
husband, accompanied by a goat or kid, which must be tied to the leg of
his bedstead during the continuance of an eclipse: these offerings are
afterwards distributed in charity. Women expecting to become mothers are
carefully kept awake during an eclipse, as they declare the infant's
security depends on the mother being kept from sleep; they are not allowed
to use a needle, scissors, knife, or any other instrument during an
eclipse, for fear of drawing blood, which would be injurious at that
period, both to the mother and child; neither are the animals in a similar
state neglected; a mixture of cow-dung and drugs is rubbed over the belly
of such animals, whether cows, sheep, goats, &c., and all these are
securely housed until the planet is again resplendent: they fancy that
both the animal and its young would be endangered by exposure during the
time of the eclipse.

The power of the moon on wounded persons is believed universally to be of
dangerous tendency. I have heard many extraordinary relations by people
who, as they tell me, have suffered from exposure to the moon whilst a
wound was fresh. One person had received a severe sabre-cut on his arm;
the place was sewed up by the barber (the only surgeon amongst the
Natives), and being much exhausted he laid down to sleep in the open air.
The moon was near the full, and after some hours' exposure to her
influence he awoke in great agony; the barber examined the arm early in
the morning and found the cut in a state of corruption, the sewing having
burst; the wound was cleansed, and dressed with pounded camphor; the place
eventually healed, and the man lived many years to tell his story, always
declaring his belief that the moon had been the cause of his sufferings;
he was the more certain of this as he dreamed whilst exposed to her
influence, that a large black woman (an inhabitant of the moon) had
wrestled with him, and hurt his wound.

The usual application in India to a fresh wound is that of slacked lime. A
man in our employ was breaking wood, the head of the hatchet came off, and
the sharp edge fell with considerable force on the poor creature's foot;
he bled profusely and fainted, lime was unsparingly applied, to the wound,
the foot carefully wrapped up, and the man conveyed to his hut on a
charpoy (bedstead), where he was kept quiet without disturbing the wound;
at the end of a fortnight he walked about, and in another week returned to
his labour.[39]

Lime is an article of great service in the domestic economy of the Natives.
I have experienced the good effects of this simple remedy for burns or
scalds: equal proportions of lime, water, and any kind of oil, made into a
thin paste, and immediately applied and repeatedly moistened, will
speedily remove the effects of a burn; and if applied later, even when a
blister has risen, the remedy never fails: I cannot say how it might act
on a wound, the consequence of a neglected burn.

The lime used with pawn by the natives of India is considered very
beneficial to health; and they use it in great quantities, considering
that they never eat pawn without lime, and the most moderate pawn eaters
indulge in the luxury at least eight times in the course of the day. The
benefit of lime is worth the consideration of the medical world--as a
preventive in some climates, as a renovater in others.

Shubh-burraat,[40] is the designation of one of the months of the
Mussulmauns (you are aware their month is the duration of the moon). The
night of the full moon Shubh-burraat is a period of great and interesting
importance to the Mussulmaun people of every degree; for on this night
they are persuaded the fate of every human being is fixed in heaven; and
that whatever is to be their doom is then registered in the Book of Life.
Those who are to retain health, life, prosperity, or any other blessing,
and those who are to be visited by sickness, sorrows, adversity or death;
in short, whatever is to occur throughout the year is on this night
assuredly noted in heaven for each individual on earth.

On this night they are instructed also to remember their friends and
relatives who have been separated from them by death, and the injunction
is followed up with much pious respect and marked veneration. Food is
cooked and portioned out in the name of each departed object of their
regard, over which the elder of the family,--if a Maulvee is not
available,--reads a certain form of prayer called Fahteeah[41]; this done,
each portion (if convenient) is conveyed to the several tombs wherein
those friends are deposited; or if not convenient to send the food to the
burying ground, it is distributed amongst the poor of the city and the
suburbs; the beggars congregating in those places to indulge in the
luxuries prepared to the memory of the dead. The food prepared on this
occasion must not contain any animal food. Bread of various kinds, sweet
rice, and meetah[42] (a mixture of sugar, ghee, and flour), are the usual
dainties I have observed in these offerings. Fireworks are in universal
request on the night of Shubh-burraat, which is required to be passed in
wakefulness; and to this may be ascribed the never-varying custom of
letting them off: it is an amusement these people take delight in at all
times, and on this occasion most usefully, to keep them awake. The younger
branches, at all events, derive this benefit from the pastime.

The religious community make it a night of strict devotion; they offer
prayers and intercessions for the souls of their departed friends, since
they imagine that this period, of all others, is most favourable to prayer,
as they believe the heart is more open to the throne of mercy, the prayer
more effectual, and that the real penitent suing for pardon on the night
of Shubh-burraat, is certainly heard and his sins forgiven.

The Sheah sect attach still greater importance to this night, as the
anniversary of the birth of Emaum Mhidhie.[43] They also remember Hasan
and Hosein as martyrs; and in memory of their sufferings the zeearut[44]
(circuit as at Mahurrum), is performed by walking round the ground in front
of their apartments, repeating the burial service, with some trifling
alterations; likewise the salaams to the Prophets and Emaums are duly
performed during this night of fate.

There is a singular opinion current amongst the Mussulmauns, that the
trees hold converse at this momentous period.[45] The really pious
characters amongst the Mussulmauns declare that they discountenance
superstition in every way; but they strictly adhere to every habit or
custom on record which was the practice of Mahumud and his family, the
Emaums. Of course, they do not think the observances of Shubh-burraat are
at all bordering on superstition, whatever may be thought of the practice
by others.


[1] See p. 78.

[2] 'Idgah, the place where the rites of the 'Id festival are
    conducted. It generally consists of a pavement, with a wall to the
    west, facing east.

[3] See p. 42.

[4] _Angarkha_.

[5] _Najib_, 'noble'; the half-disciplined militia of Native States.

[6] _Kirch_, a straight thrusting sword.

[7] See p. 48.

[8] See p. 43.

[9] _Nalki_, a kind of litter, the use of which was regarded as a
    mark of dignity: see Sleeman, _Rambles_, p. 135.

[10] A coin worth, about Rs. 16.

[11] Haarh is a name given to any sort of ornament which we should
    designate a necklace. The haarhs presented on these occasions at the
    Oude court are composed of silver ribands very prettily platted and
    confined at each division of plats by knobs covered with silver riband.
    The prices of these haarhs are from five to twenty-five rupees each,
    depending on the size. [_Author_.] See p. 62.

[12] _'Itr_, essence of roses.

[13]_Khuda hafiz_.

[14] _Jhul_.

[15] _Shahji_, 'my lord'.

[16] _Chapkan_, the cassock-like frock, which is the usual dress of
    respectable natives.

[17] _Labada_, a sort of overcoat.

[18] _Kamarband_, 'loin-band'.

[19] _Lahaf_, a corruption of _ghilaf_, 'a wrapper'.

[20] _Rumal_, 'face-wiper'.

[21] _Zamindar_, 'a landowner'.

[22] _Ra'iyat_.

[23] Many native gentlemen are allowed to be seated in the king's presence
    at court daily, but not at the banquet, which is a distinction
    reserved only for the nobility and favourites. [_Author_.]

[24] For an account of the animal fights before Lord W. Bentinck in 1831
    see Mrs. F. Parks, _Wanderings of a Pilgrim_, i. 176 ff.; W. Knighton,
    _Private Life of an Eastern King_, p. 147 ff.

[25] _Nauroz_. Specially a Persian feast: see Sir J. Malcolm, _History of
    Persia_,[2] ii. 341 _n_., 404; S.G.W. Benjamin, _Persia and the
    Persians_, p. 198; O.J. Wills, _The Land of the Lion and the Sun_, ed.
    1891, p. 48.

[26] _Nauroz mubarak_.

[27] Basant or spring feast, held at the vernal equinox.

[28] Sawan, the fourth month of the Hindu year, July-August.

[29] The feast is held in honour of the mythical Khwaja Khizr, 'the
    green one', a water spirit identified with the Prophet Elisha (see
    Sale on _Koran_, xviii. 63). The launching of the little boats is,
    in essence, a form of magic intended to carry away the evils which
    menace the community, and to secure abundant rainfall.

[30] _Ilyas ki kishti_.

[31] This is known as Hilal.

[32] The Semites, like other races, believed in the influence of the moon.
    'The sun shall not strike thee by day, nor the moon by night' (Ps.
    cxxi. 6). It was believed to cause blindness and epilepsy. Sir J.G.
    Frazer has exhaustively discussed the question of the influence of the
    moon. The harvest moon, in particular, brings fertility, and hears the
    prayers of women in travail: the moon causes growth and decay, and she
    is dangerous to children. Many practical rules are based on her
    influence at the various phases (_The Golden Bough_[3] Part I, vol. ii,
    p. 128; Part IV, vol. ii, p. 132 ff.).

[33] 'The sixth house is Scorpio, which is that of slaves and servants,
    and of diseases' (Abul Fazl, _Akbarnama_, tr. H. Beveridge, ii. 12).

[34] Here the moon is supposed to exert a curative influence.

[35] Hindus believe that during an eclipse the moon is being strangled by
    a demon, Rahu. Cries are raised, drums and brazen pans are beaten
    to scare him.

[36] Properly the Mu'azzin or official summoner to prayer.

[37] _Allahu akbar_.

[38] All offerings of intercession or thanksgivings are denominated sutkah
    [_Author_] (_sadaqah_, see p. 136).

[39] Lime liniment, composed of equal parts of lime-water and a bland oil,
    is recognized in surgical practice.

[40] _Shab-i-bara'at_, 'the night of record', is a feast held on the
    15th of the month Sha'ban, when a vigil is kept, with prayers and
    illuminations. On this occasion service in memory of the deceased
    ancestors of the family is performed. On this night the fortunes of
    mortals during the coming year are said to be recorded in Heaven. See
    p. 51.

[41] Al-Fatihah, 'the opening one', the first chapter of the Koran.

[42] _Mitha, mithai_, 'sweetmeats'.

[43] Imam Mahdi, see pp. 72, 76.

[44] _Ziyarat_, see p. 15.

[45] Compare the oracular trees of the Greeks (Sir J.G. Frazer,
    _Pausanias_, ii. 160). For legends of speaking trees in India,
    W. Crooke, _Popular Religion and Folklore of N. India_,[2] ii. 89.



LETTER XII

  The Zeenahnah.--Its interior described.--Furniture, decorations,
  &c.--The Purdah (curtains).--Bedstead.--The Musnud (seat of
  honour).--Mirrors and ornamental furniture disused.--Display on
  occasions of festivity.--Observations on the Mussulmaun
  Ladies.--Happiness in their state of seclusion.--Origin of secluding
  females by Mahumud.--Anecdote.--Tamerlane's command prohibiting
  females being seen in public.--The Palankeen.--Bearers.--Their
  general utility and contentedness of disposition.--Habits peculiar
  to Mussulmaun Ladies.--Domestic arrangements of a Zeenahnah.--Dinner
  and its accompanying observances.--The Lota and Lugguns.--The
  Hookha.--Further investigation of the customs adopted in Zeenahnahs.


Before I introduce the ladies of a Mussulmaun zeenahnah to your notice, I
propose giving you a description of their apartments.

Imagine to yourself a tolerably sized quadrangle, three sides of which is
occupied by habitable buildings, and the fourth by kitchens, offices,
lumber rooms, &c.; leaving in the centre an open court-yard. The habitable
buildings are raised a few steps from the court; a line of pillars forms
the front of the building, which has no upper rooms; the roof is flat, and
the sides and back without windows, or any aperture through which air can
be received. The sides and back are merely high walls forming an enclosure,
and the only air is admitted from the fronts of the dwelling-place facing
the court-yard. The apartments are divided into long halls, the extreme
corners having small rooms or dark closets purposely built for the
repository of valuables or stores; doors are fixed to these closets, which
are the only places I have seen with them in a zeenahnah or mahul[1]
(house or palace occupied by females); the floor is either of beaten earth,
bricks, or stones; boarded floors are not yet introduced.

As they have neither doors nor windows to the halls, warmth or privacy is
secured by means of thick wadded curtains, made to fit each opening
between the pillars. Some zeenahnahs have two rows of pillars in the halls
with wadded curtains to each, thus forming two distinct halls, as occasion
may serve, or greater warmth be required: this is a convenient arrangement
where the establishment of servants, slaves, &c., is extensive.

The wadded curtains are called purdahs[2]; these are sometimes made of
woollen cloth, but more generally of coarse calico, of two colours, in
patchwork style, striped, vandyked, or in some other ingeniously contrived
and ornamented way, according to their individual taste.

Besides the purdahs, the openings between the pillars have blinds neatly
made of bamboo strips, wove together with coloured cords: these are called
jhillmuns or cheeks.[3] Many of them are painted green; others are more
gaudy both in colour and variety of patterns. These blinds constitute a
real comfort to every one in India, as they admit air when let down, and
at the same time shut out flies and other annoying insects; besides which
the extreme glare is shaded by them,--a desirable object to foreigners in
particular.

The floors of the halls are first matted with the coarse date-leaf matting
of the country, over which is spread shutteringhies[4] (thick cotton
carpets, peculiarly the manufacture of the Upper Provinces of India, wove
in stripes of blue and white, or shades of blue); a white calico carpet
covers the shutteringhie, on which the females take their seat.

The bedsteads of the family are placed, during the day, in lines at the
back of the halls, to be moved at pleasure to any chosen spot for the
night's repose; often into the open courtyard, for the benefit of the pure
air. They are all formed on one principle, differing only in size and
quality; they stand about half-a-yard from the floor, the legs round and
broad at bottom, narrowing as they rise towards the frame, which is laced
over with a thick cotton tape, made for the purpose, and platted in
checquers, and thus rendered soft, or rather elastic, and very pleasant to
recline upon. The legs of these bedsteads are in some instances gold,
silver gilt, or pure silver; others have enamel paintings on fine wood;
the inferior grades have them merely of wood painted plain and varnished;
the servants' bedsteads are of the common mango-wood without ornament, the
lacing of these for the sacking being of elastic string manufactured from
the fibre of the cocoa-nut.

Such are the bedsteads of every class of people. They seldom have
mattresses; a soojinee[5] (white quilt) is spread on the lacing, over
which a calico sheet, tied at each corner of the bedstead with cords and
tassels; several thin flat pillows of beaten cotton for the head,--a
muslin sheet for warm weather, and a well wadded ruzzie[6] (coverlid) for
winter, is all these children of Nature deem essential to their comfort in
the way of sleeping. They have no idea of night dresses; the same suit
that adorns a lady, is retained both night and day, until a change be
needed. The single article exchanged at night is the deputtah,[7] and that
only when it happens to be of silver tissue or embroidery, for which a
muslin or calico sheet is substituted.

The very highest circles have the same habits in common with the meanest,
but those who can afford shawls of cashmere prefer them for sleeping in,
when the cold weather renders them bearable. Blankets are never used
except by the poorest peasantry, who wear them in lieu of better garments
night and day in the winter season: they are always black, the natural
colour of the wool. The ruzzies of the higher orders are generally made of
silk of the brightest hues, well wadded, and lined with dyed muslin of
assimilating colour; they are usually bound with broad silver ribands, and
sometimes bordered with gold brocaded trimmings. The middling classes have
fine chintz ruzzies, and the servants and slaves coarse ones of the same
material; but all are on the same plan, whether for a queen or the meanest
of her slaves, differing only in the quality of the material.

The mistress of the house is easily distinguished by her seat of honour in
the hall of a zeenahnah; a musnud[8] not being allowed to any other person
but the lady of the mansion.

The musnud carpet is spread on the floor if possible near to a pillar
about the centre of the hall, and is made of many varieties of
fabric,--gold cloth, quilted silk, brocaded silk, velvet, fine chintz, or
whatever may suit the lady's taste, circumstances, or convenience. It is
about two yards square, and generally bordered or fringed, on which is
placed the all-important musnud. This article may be understood by those
who have seen a lace-maker's pillow in England, excepting only that the
musnud is about twenty times the size of that useful little article in the
hands of our industrious villagers. The musnud is covered with gold cloth,
silk, velvet, or calico, with square pillows to correspond, for the elbows,
the knees, &c. This is the seat of honour, to be invited to share which,
with the lady-owner, is a mark of favour to an equal or inferior: when a
superior pays a visit of honour, the prided seat is usually surrendered to
her, and the lady of the house takes her place most humbly on the very
edge of her own carpet.

Looking-glasses or ornamental furniture are very rarely to be seen in the
zeenahnahs, even of the very richest females. Chairs and sofas are
produced when English visitors are expected; but the ladies of Hindoostaun
prefer the usual mode of sitting and lounging on the carpet; and as for
tables, I suppose not one gentlewoman of the whole country has ever been
seated at one; and very few, perhaps, have any idea of their useful
purposes, all their meals being served on the floor, where dusthakhawns[9]
(table-cloths we should call them) are spread, but neither knives, forks,
spoons, glasses, or napkins, so essential to the comfortable enjoyment of
a meal amongst Europeans. But those who never knew such comforts have no
desire for the indulgence, nor taste to appreciate them.

On the several occasions, amongst Native society, of assembling in large
parties, as at births and marriages, the halls, although extensive, would
be inadequate to accommodate the whole party. They then have awnings of
white calico, neatly flounced with muslin, supported on poles fixed in the
courtyard, and connecting the open space with the great hall, by wooden
platforms which are brought to a line with the building, and covered with
shutteringhie and white carpets to correspond with the floor-furniture of
the hall; and here the ladies sit by day and sleep by night very
comfortably, without feeling any great inconvenience from the absence of
their bedsteads, which could never be arranged for the accommodation of so
large an assemblage--nor is it ever expected.

The usually barren look of these almost unfurnished halls is on such
occasions quite changed, when the ladies are assembled in their various
dresses; the brilliant display of jewels, the glittering drapery of their
dress, the various expressions of countenance, and different figures, the
multitude of female attendants and slaves, the children of all ages and
sizes in their variously ornamented dresses, are subjects to attract both
the eye and the mind of an observing visitor; and the hall, which when
empty appeared desolate and comfortless, thus filled, leaves nothing
wanting to render the scene attractive.

The buzz of human voices, the happy playfulness of the children, the
chaste singing of the domenies fill up the animated picture. I have
sometimes passed an hour or two in witnessing their innocent amusements,
without any feeling of regret for the brief sacrifice of time I had made. I
am free to confess, however, that I have returned to my tranquil home with
increased delight after having witnessed the bustle of a zeenahnah
assembly. At first I pitied the apparent monotony of their lives; but this
feeling has worn away by intimacy with the people, who are thus precluded
from mixing generally with the world. They are happy in their confinement;
and never having felt the sweets of liberty, would not know how to use the
boon if it were to be granted them. As the bird from the nest immured in a
cage is both cheerful and contented, so are these females. They have not,
it is true, many intellectual resources, but they have naturally good
understandings, and having learned their duty they strive to fulfil it. So
far as I have had any opportunity of making personal observations on their
general character they appear to me obedient wives, dutiful daughters,
affectionate mothers, kind mistresses, sincere friends, and liberal
benefactresses to the distressed poor. These are their moral
qualifications, and in their religious duties they are zealous in
performing the several ordinances which they have been instructed by their
parents or husbands to observe. If there be any merit in obeying the
injunctions of their Lawgiver, those whom I have known most intimately
deserve praise, since 'they are faithful in that they profess'.

To ladies accustomed from infancy to confinement this is by no means
irksome; they have their employments and their amusements, and though
these are not exactly to our taste, nor suited to our mode of education,
they are not the less relished by those for whom they were invented. They
perhaps wonder equally at some of our modes of dissipating time, and fancy
we might spend it more profitably. Be that as it may, the Mussulmaun
ladies, with whom I have been long intimate, appear to me always happy,
contented, and satisfied with the seclusion to which they were born; they
desire no other, and I have ceased to regret they cannot be made partakers
of that freedom of intercourse with the world we deem so essential to our
happiness, since their health suffers nothing from that confinement, by
which they are preserved from a variety of snares and temptations; besides
which, they would deem it disgraceful in the highest degree to mix
indiscriminately with men who are not relations. They are educated from
infancy for retirement, and they can have no wish that the custom should
be changed, which keeps them apart from the society of men who are not
very nearly related to them. Female society is unlimited, and that they
enjoy without restraint.

A lady whose friendship I have enjoyed from my first arrival in India,
heard me very often speak of the different places I had visited, and she
fancied her happiness very much depended on seeing a river and a bridge. I
undertook to gain permission from her husband and father, that the treat
might be permitted; they, however, did not approve of the lady being
gratified, and I was vexed to be obliged to convey the disappointment to
my friend. She very mildly answered me, 'I was much to blame to request
what I knew was improper for me to be indulged in; I hope my husband and
family will not be displeased with me for my childish wish; pray make them
understand how much I repent of my folly. I shall be ashamed to speak on
the subject when we meet.'

I was anxious to find out the origin of secluding females in the
Mussulmaun societies of Hindoostaun, as I could find no example in the
Mosaic law, which appears to have been the pattern Muhumud followed
generally in domestic habits. I am told by the best possible authority,
that the first step towards the seclusion of females occurred in the life
of Mahumud, by whose command the face and figure of women were veiled on
their going from home, in consequence of some departure from strict
propriety in one of his wives (Ayashur,[10] the daughter of Omir); she is
represented to have been a very beautiful woman, and was travelling with
Mahumud on a journey in Arabia.

'The beautiful Ayashur, on her camel, was separated from the party; she
arrived at the serai (inn, or halting-place) several hours after they had
encamped, and declared that her delay was occasioned by the loss of a
silver bangle from her ankle, which after some trouble she had discovered,
and which she produced in a bruised state in testimony of her assertion.
Mahumud was displeased, and her father enraged beyond measure at his
daughter's exposing herself to the censure of the public, by allowing any
thing to detach her from the party.' Mahumud assuaged Omir's anger by a
command then first issued, 'That all females, belonging to the faithful,
should be compelled to wear a close veil over their face and figure
whenever they went abroad.'

In Arabia and Persia the females are allowed to walk or ride out with a
sort of hooded cloak, which falls over the face, and has two eye-holes for
the purpose of seeing their way.[11] They are to be met with in the streets
of those countries without a suspicion of impropriety when thus habited.

The habit of strict seclusion, however, originated in Hindoostaun with
Tamerlane the conqueror of India.

When Tamerlane[12] with his powerful army entered India, he issued a
proclamation to all his followers to the following purport, 'As they were
now in the land of idolatry and amongst a strange people, the females of
their families should be strictly concealed from the view of strangers';
and Tamerlane himself invented the several covered conveyances which are
to the present period of the Mussulmaun history in use, suited to each
grade of female rank in society. And the better to secure them from all
possibility of contamination by their new neighbours, he commanded that
they should be confined to their own apartments and behind the purdah,
disallowing any intercourse with males of their own persuasion even, who
were not related by the nearest ties, and making it a crime in any female
who should willingly suffer her person to be seen by men out of the
prescribed limits of consanguinity.

Tamerlane, it may be presumed, was then ignorant of the religious
principles of the Hindoos. They are strictly forbidden to have intercourse
or intermarry with females who are not strictly of their own caste or
tribe, under the severe penalty of losing that caste which they value as
their life. To this may be attributed, in a great degree, the safety with
which female foreigners travel daak[13] (post) in their palankeens, from
one point of the Indian continent to another, without the knowledge of
five words of the Hindoostaunie tongue, and with no other servant or
guardian but the daak-bearers, who carry them at the rate of four miles an
hour, travelling day and night successively.

The palankeen is supported on the shoulders of four bearers at once,--two
having the front pole attached to the vehicle, and two supporting the pole
behind. The four bearers are relieved every five or six minutes by other
four, making the set of eight to each palankeen,--this set conveys their
burden from eight to ten miles, where a fresh party are in waiting to
relieve them, and so on to the extent of the projected journey; much in
the same way as relays of horses are stationed for post-travelling in
England. Perhaps the tract of country passed through may not present a
single hut or habitation for miles together, often through jungles of
gloomy aspect; yet with all these obstacles, which would excite fear or
distrust in more civilized parts of the world, females travel in India
with as perfect security from insult as if they were guarded by a company
of sepoys, or a troop of cavalry.

I am disposed to think that the invention of covered conveyances by
Tamerlane first gave rise to the bearers. It seems so probable that the
conqueror of the Hindoos should have been the first to degrade human
nature, by compelling them to bear the burden of their fellow-creatures. I
can never forget the first impression, on my mind, when witnessing this
mode of conveyance on my landing at Calcutta; and although I am willing to
agree that the measure is one of vast utility in this climate, and to
acknowledge with gratitude the benefit I have derived by this personal
convenience, yet I never seat myself in the palankeen or thonjaun[14]
without a feeling bordering on self-reproach, as being one amongst the
number to perpetuate the degradation of my fellow-mortals. They, however,
feel nothing of this sentiment themselves, for they are trained from
boyhood to the toil, as the young ox to the yoke. It is their business;
the means of comfort is derived to them by this service; they are happy in
the employment, and generally cheerful, and form a class of people in
themselves respected by every other both for their services and for their
general good behaviour. In the houses of foreigners they are the most
useful amongst the whole establishment; they have charge of property, keep
the furniture in exact order, prepare the beds, the lamps, and the candles,
where wax is used. Tallow having beef-fat in its manufacture is an
abomination, to the Hindoos, by whom it is considered unholy to slay, or
even to touch any portion of the slaughtered cattle of their respect: for
believing in transmigration, they affirm that these animals receive the
souls of their departed relations. The bearers make the best of nurses to
children, and contribute to the comfort of their employer by pulling the
punkah night and day: in short, so necessary are these servants to the
domestic economy of sojourners in the East, that their merits as a people
must be a continual theme of praise; for I know not how an English
establishment could be concluded with any degree of comfort without these
most useful domestics. But I have allowed my pen to stray from the subject
of female seclusion, and will here bring that part of my history to a
close in very few words.

Those females who rank above peasants or inferior servants, are disposed
from principle to keep themselves strictly from observation; all who have
any regard for the character or the honour of their house, seclude
themselves from the eye of strangers, carefully instructing their young
daughters to a rigid observance of their own prudent example. Little girls,
when four years old, are kept strictly behind the purdah, and when they
move abroad it is always in covered conveyances, and under the
guardianship of a faithful female domestic, who is equally tenacious us
the mother to preserve the young lady's reputation unblemished by
concealing her from the gaze of men.

The ladies of zeenahnah life are not restricted from the society of their
own sex; they are, as I have before remarked, extravagantly fond of
company, and equally as hospitable when entertainers. To be alone is a
trial to which they are seldom exposed, every lady having companions
amongst her dependants; and according to her means the number in her
establishment is regulated. Some ladies of rank have from two to ten
companions, independent of slaves and domestics; and there are some of the
Royal family at Lucknow who entertain in their service two or three
hundred female dependants, of all classes. A well-filled zeenahnah is a
mark of gentility; and even the poorest lady in the country will retain a
number of slaves and domestics, if she cannot afford companions; besides
which they are miserable without society, the habit of associating with
numbers having grown up with infancy to maturity: 'to be alone' is
considered, with women thus situated, a real calamity.

On occasions of assembling in large parties, each lady takes with her a
companion besides two or three slaves to attend upon her, no one expecting
to be served by the servants of the house at which they are visiting. This
swells the numbers to be provided for; and as the visit is always for
three days and three nights (except on Eades, when the visit is confined
to one day), some forethought must be exercised by the lady of the house,
that all may be accommodated in such a manner as may secure to her the
reputation of hospitality.

The kitchen and offices to the zeenahnah, I have remarked, occupy one side
of the quadrangle; they face the great or centre hall appropriated to the
assembly. These kitchens, however, are sufficiently distant to prevent any
great annoyance from the smoke;--I say smoke, because chimneys have not
yet been introduced into the kitchens of the Natives. The fire-places are
all on the ground, something resembling stoves, each admitting one
saucepan, the Asiastic style of cooking requiring no other contrivance.
Roast or boiled joints are never seen at the dinner of a Native: a leg of
mutton or sirloin of beef would place the hostess under all sorts of
difficulties, where knives and forks are not understood to be amongst the
useful appendages of a meal. The variety of their dishes are countless,
but stews and curries are the chief; all the others are mere varieties.
The only thing in the shape of roast meats, are small lean cutlets bruised,
seasoned and cemented with pounded poppy-seed, several being fastened
together on skewers: they are grilled or roasted over a charcoal fire
spread on the ground, and then called keebaab,[15] which word implies,
roast meat.

The kitchen of a zeenahnah would be inadequate to the business of cooking
for a large assembly; the most choice dishes only (for the highly favoured
guests), are cooked by the servants of the establishment. The needed
abundance required on entertaining a large party is provided by a regular
bazaar cook, several of whom establish themselves in Native cities, or
wherever there is a Mussulmaun population. Orders being previously given,
the morning and evening dinners are punctually forwarded at the appointed
hours in covered trays, each tray having portions of the several good
things ordered, so that there is no confusion in serving out the feast on
its arrival at the mansion. The food thus prepared by the bazaar cook
(naunbye,[16] he is called), is plain boiled-rice, sweet-rice, kheer[17]
(rice-milk), mautungun[18] (rice sweetened with the addition of preserved
fruits, raisins, &c., coloured with saffron), sallons[19] (curries) of
many varieties, some cooked with vegetables, others with unripe fruits
with or without meat; pillaus of many sorts, keebaabs, preserves, pickles,
chatnees, and many other things too tedious to admit of detail.

The bread in general use amongst Natives is chiefly unleavened; nothing in
the likeness of English bread is to be seen at their meals; and many
object to its being fermented with the intoxicating toddy (extracted from
a tree). Most of the Native bread is baked on iron plates over a charcoal
fire. They have many varieties, both plain and rich, and some of the
latter resembles our pastry, both in quality and flavour.

The dinners, I have said, are brought into the zeenahnah ready dished in
the Native earthenware, on trays; and as they neither use spoons or forks,
there is no great delay in setting out the meal where nothing is required
for display or effect, beyond the excellent quality of the food and its
being well cooked. In a large assembly all cannot dine at the dustha-khawn
of the lady-hostess, even if privileged by their rank; they are, therefore,
accommodated in groups of ten, fifteen, or more, as may be convenient;
each lady having her companion at the meal, and her slaves to brush off
the intruding flies with a chowrie, to hand water, or to fetch or carry
any article of delicacy from or to a neighbouring group. The slaves and
servants dine in parties after their ladies have finished, in any retired
corner of the court-yard--always avoiding as much as possible the presence
of their superiors.

Before any one touches the meal, water is carried round for each lady to
wash the hand and rinse the mouth. It is deemed unclean to eat without
this form of ablution, and the person neglecting it would he held unholy;
this done, the lady turns to her meal, saying, 'Bis ma Allah!'--(In the
name or to the praise of God!) and with the right hand conveys the food to
her mouth, (the left is never used at meals)[20]; and although they
partake of every variety of food placed before them with no other aid than
their fingers, yet the mechanical habit is so perfect, that they neither
drop a grain of rice, soil the dress, nor retain any of the food on their
fingers. The custom must always be offensive to a foreign eye, and the
habit none would wish to copy; yet every one who witnesses must admire the
neat way in which eating is accomplished by these really 'children of
Nature'.

The repast concluded, the lota[21] (vessel with water), and the luggun[22]
(to receive the water in after rinsing the hands and mouth), are passed
round to every person, who having announced by the 'Shuggur Allah!'--All
thanks to God!--that she has finished, the attendants present first the
powdered peas, culled basun,[23]--which answers the purpose of soap in
removing grease, &c., from the fingers,--and then the water in due course.
Soap has not even yet been brought into fashion by the Natives, except by
the washermen; I have often been surprised that they have not found the
use of soap a necessary article in the nursery, where the only substitute
I have seen is the powdered pea.

Lotas and lugguns are articles in use with all classes of people; they
must be poor indeed who do not boast of one, at least, in their family.
They are always of metal, either brass, or copper lacquered over, or zinc;
in some cases, as with the nobility, silver and even gold are converted
into these useful articles of Native comfort.

China or glass is comparatively but little used; water is their only
beverage, and this is preferred, in the absence of metal basins, out of
the common red earthen katorah[24] (cup shaped like a vase).

China dishes, bowls, and basins, are used for serving many of the savoury
articles of food in; but it is as common in the privacy of the palace, as
well as in the huts of the peasantry, to see many choice things introduced
at meals served up in the rude red earthen platter; many of the delicacies
of Asiatic cookery being esteemed more palatable from the earthen flavour
of the new vessel in which it is served.

I very well remember the first few days of my sojourn at Lucknow, feeling
something bordering on dissatisfaction, at the rude appearance of the
dishes containing choice specimens of Indian cookery, which poured in (as
is customary upon fresh arrivals) from the friends of the family I had
become a member of. I fancied, in my ignorance, that the Mussulmaun people
perpetuated their prejudices even to me, and that they must fear I should
contaminate their china dishes; but I was soon satisfied on this point: I
found, by experience, that brown earthen platters were used by the
nobility from choice; and in some instances, the viand would have wanted
its greatest relish if served in China or silver vessels. Custom
reconciles every thing: I can drink a draught of pure water now from the
earthen katorah of the Natives with as much pleasure as from a glass or a
silver cup, and feel as well satisfied with their dainties out of an
earthen platter, as when conveyed in silver or China dishes.

China tea sets are very rarely found in the zeenahnah; tea being used by
the Natives more as a medicine than a refreshment, except by such
gentlemen as have frequent intercourse with the 'Sahib Logue' (English
gentry), among whom they acquire a taste for this delightful beverage. The
ladies, however, must have a severe cold to induce them to partake of the
beverage even as a remedy, but by no means as a luxury.[25] I imagined
that the inhabitants of a zeenahnah were sadly deficient in actual
comforts, when I found, upon my first arrival in India, that there were no
preparations for breakfast going forward: every one seemed engaged in pawn
eating, and smoking the hookha, but no breakfast after the morning Namaaz.
I was, however, soon satisfied that they felt no sort of privation, as the
early meal so common in Europe has never been introduced in Eastern
circles. Their first meal is a good substantial dinner, at ten, eleven, or
twelve o'clock, after which follow pawn and the hookha; to this succeeds a
sleep of two or three hours, providing it does not impede the duty of
prayer;--the pious, I ought to remark, would give up every indulgence
which would prevent the discharge of this duty. The second meal follows in
twelve hours from the first, and consists of the same substantial fare;
after which they usually sleep again until the dawn of day is near at hand.

It is the custom amongst Natives to eat fruit after the morning sleep,
when dried fruits, confectionery, radishes, carrots, sugar-cane, green
peas, and other such delicacies, are likewise considered wholesome
luxuries, both with the ladies and the children. A dessert immediately
after dinner is considered so unwholesome, that they deem our practice
extremely injudicious. Such is the difference of custom; and I am disposed
to think their fashion, in this instance, would be worth imitating by
Europeans whilst residing in India.

I have been much amused with the curious inquiries of a zeenahnah family
when the gardener's dhaullie is introduced. A dhaullie,[26] I must first
tell you, is a flat basket, on which is arranged, in neat order, whatever
fruit, vegetables, or herbs are at the time in season, with a nosegay of
flowers placed in the centre. They will often ask with wonder--'How do
these things grow?'--'How do they look in the ground?'--and many such
child-like remarks have I listened to with pity, whilst I have relieved my
heart by explaining the operations of Nature in the vegetable kingdom, a
subject on which they are perfectly ignorant, and, from the habits of
seclusion in which they live, can never properly be made to understand or
enjoy.

I have said water is the only beverage in general use amongst the
Mussulmaun Natives. They have sherbet, however, as a luxury on occasions
of festivals, marriages, &c. This sherbet is simply sugar and water, with
a flavour of rose-water, or kurah[27] added to it.

The hookha is almost in general use with females. It is a common practice
with the lady of the house to present the hookha she is smoking to her
favoured guest. This mark of attention is always to be duly appreciated;
but such is the deference paid to parents, that a son can rarely be
persuaded by an indulgent father or mother to smoke a hookha in their
revered presence;--this praiseworthy feeling originates not in fear, but
real genuine respect. The parents entertain for their son the most tender
regard; and the father makes him both his companion and his friend; yet
the most familiar endearments do not lessen the feeling of reverence a
good son entertains for his father. This is one among the many samples of
patriarchal life, my first Letter alluded to, and which I can never
witness in real life, without feeling respect for the persons who follow
up the patterns I have been taught to venerate in our Holy Scripture.

The hookha, as an indulgence of a privilege, is a great definer of
etiquette. In the presence of the King or reigning Nuwaub, no subject,
however high he may rank in blood or royal favour, can presume to smoke.
In Native courts, on state occasions, hookhas are presented only to the
Governor-General, the Commander-in-Chief, or the Resident at his Court,
who are considered equals in rank, and therefore entitled to the privilege
of smoking with him; and they cannot consistently resist the intended
honour. Should they dislike smoking, a hint is readily understood by the
hookha-bahdhaar[28] to bring the hookha, charged with the materials,
without the addition of fire. Application of the munall[29] (mouth-piece)
to the month indicates a sense of the honour conferred.


[1] _Mahall._

[2] _Parda._

[3] _Jhilmil, chiq,_ the Anglo-Indian 'chick'.

[4] _Shatranji_, see p. 19.

[5] _Sozani_ (_sozan_, 'a needle'), an embroidered quilt.

[6] _Razai_, a counterpane padded with cotton.

[7] _Dopatta_, a double sheet: see p. 26.

[8] See p. 24.

[9] _Dastarkhwan_, see p. 108.

[10] 'Ayishah, daughter of Abubakr, third and best loved wife of the
    Prophet, though she bore him no child. The tale of the scandal about
    her is historical, but it is treated as a calumny (_Koran_, xxiv.
    II, 22, with Sale's note).

[11] Known as the _burqa_.

[12] Amir Taimur, known as Taimur Lang, 'the lame', was born A.D.
    1336; ascended the throne at Balkh, 1370; invaded India and captured
    Delhi, 1398; died 1405, and was buried at Samarkand. There seems to be
    no evidence that he introduced the practice of the seclusion of women,
    an ancient Semitic custom, which, however, was probably enforced on
    the people of India by the brutality of foreign invaders.

[13] _Dak_.

[14] See p. 32.

[15] _Kabab_, properly, small pieces of meat roasted on skewers.


[16] _Nanbai_, a baker of bread _(nan)_.

[17] _Khir_, milk boiled with rice, sugar, and spices.

[18] _Mutanjan_, a corruption of _muttajjan_, 'fried in a pan'; usually in
    the form _mutanjan pulao_, meat boiled with rice, sugar, butter,
    and sometimes pine-apples or nuts.

[19] _Salan_, a curry of meat, fish, or vegetables.

[20] The left hand is used for purposes of ablution.

[21] The Musalman _lota_, properly called _badhna_, differs from
    that used by Hindus in having a spout like that of a teapot.

[22] _Lagan_, a brass or copper pan in which the hands are washed: also
    used for kneading dough.

[23] _Besan_, flour, properly that of gram (_chana_). The prejudice
    against soap is largely due to imitation of Hindus, who believe
    themselves to be polluted by fat. Arabs, after a meal, wash their
    hands and mouths with soap (Burton, _Pilgrimage_, ii. 257). Sir G.
    Watt (_Economic Dictionary_, iii. 84 ff.) gives a long list of other
    detergents and substitutes for soap.

[24] _Katora_.

[25] The prejudice against the use of tea has much decreased since this
    book was written, owing to its cultivation in India. Musalmans and
    many Hindus now drink it freely.

[26] _Dali_, the 'dolly' of Anglo-Indians.

[27] See p. 13.

[28] _Huqqahbardar_.

[29] _Munhnal_.



LETTER XIII

  Plurality of wives.--Mahumud's motive for permitting this
  privilege.--State of society at the commencement of the Prophet's
  mission.--His injunctions respecting marriage.--Parents invariably
  determine on the selection of a husband.--First marriages attended by
  a public ceremony.--The first wife takes precedence of all
  others.--Generosity of deposition evinced by the Mussulmaun
  ladies.--Divorces obtained under certain restrictions.--Period of
  solemnizing marriage.--Method adopted in choosing a husband or
  wife.--Overtures and contracts of marriage, how regulated.--Mugganee,
  the first contract.--Dress of the bride elect on this occasion.--The
  ceremonies described as witnessed.--Remarks on the bride.--Present
  from the bridegroom on Buckrah Eade.


The Mussulmauns have permission from their Lawgiver to be pluralists in
wives, as well as the Israelites of old.[1] Mahumud's motive for
restricting the number of wives each man might lawfully marry, was, say
his biographers, for the purpose of reforming the then existing state of
society, and correcting abuses of long standing amongst the Arabians.

My authority tells me, that at the period of Mahumud's commencing his
mission, the Arabians were a most abandoned and dissolute people, guilty
of every excess that can debase the character of man: drunkards,
profligate, and overbearing barbarians, both in principle and action.
Mahumud is said unvariedly to have manifested kindly feelings towards the
weaker sex, who, he considered, were intended to be the companion and
solace of man, and not the slave of his ungovernable sensuality or caprice;
he set the best possible example in his own domestic circle, and
instituted such laws as were then needed to restrain vice and promote the
happiness of those Arabians who had received him as a Prophet. He forbade
all kinds of fermented liquors, which were then in common use; and to the
frequent intoxication of the men, were attributed their vicious habits,
base pursuits, and unmanly cruelty to the poor females. Mahumud's code of
laws relating to marriage restricted them to a limited number of wives;
for at that period they all possessed crowded harems, many of the
inhabitants of which were the victims of their reckless persecution; young
females torn from the bosom of their families and immured in the vilest
state of bondage, to be cast out upon the wide world to starvation and
misery, whenever the base master of the house or tent desired to make room
for a fresh supply, often the spoils of his predatory excursions.

By the laws of Mahumud his followers are restrained from concubinage; they
are equally restricted from forced marriages. The number of their wives
must be regulated by their means of supporting them, the law strictly
forbidding neglect, or unkind treatment of any one of the number his
followers may deem it convenient to marry.

At the period when Mahumud issued these necessary laws for the security of
female comfort and the moral habits of the males, there existed a practice
with the Arabs of forcing young women to marry against their inclination,
adding, year by year, to the many wretched creatures doomed, for a time,
to all the miseries of a crowded hut; and at last, when tired of their
persons or unable to provide them with sustenance, turning them adrift
without a home, a friend, or a meal. To the present day the law against
forced marriages is revered, and no marriage contract can be deemed lawful
without the necessary form of inquiry by the Maulvee, who, in the presence
of witnesses, demands of the young lady, 'whether the contract is by her
own free will and consent?' This, however, I am disposed to think, in the
present age, is little else than a mere form of 'fulfilling the law' since
the engagement is made by the parents of both parties, the young couple
being passive subjects to the parental arrangement, for their benefit as
they are assured. The young lady, from her rigid seclusion, has no prior
attachment, and she is educated to be 'obedient to her husband'. She is
taught from her earliest youth to look forward to such match as her kind
parents may think proper to provide for her; and, therefore, can have no
objection to accepting the husband selected for her by them. The parents,
loving their daughter, and aware of the responsibility resting on them,
are cautious in selecting for their girls suitable husbands, according to
their particular view of the eligibility of the suitor.

The first marriage of a Mussulmaun is the only one where a public display
of the ceremony is deemed necessary, and the first wife is always
considered the head of his female establishment. Although he may be the
husband of many wives in the course of time, and some of them prove
greater favourites, yet the first wife takes precedence in all matters
where dignity is to be preserved. And when the several wives meet--each
have separate habitations if possible--all the rest pay to the first wife
that deference which superiority exacts from inferiors; not only do the
secondary wives pay this respect to the first, but the whole circle of
relations and friends make the same distinction, as a matter of course;
for the first wife takes precedence in every way.

Should the first wife fortunately present her husband with a son, he is
the undisputed heir; but the children of every subsequent wife are equals
in the father's estimation. Should the husband be dissolute and have
offspring by concubines--which is not very common,--those children are
remembered and provided for in the distribution of his property; and, as
very often occurs, they are cherished by the wives with nearly as much
care as their own children; but illegitimate offspring very seldom marry
in the same rank their father held in society.

The latitude allowed by 'the law' preserves the many-wived Mussulmaun from
the world's censure; and his conscience rests unaccused when he adds to
his numbers, if he cannot reproach himself with having neglected or
unkindly treated any of the number bound to him, or their children. But
the privilege is not always indulged in by the Mussulmauns; much depends
on circumstances, and more on the man's disposition. If it be the happy
lot of a kind-hearted, good man to be married to a woman of assimilating
mind, possessing the needful requisites to render home agreeable, and a
prospect of an increasing family, then the husband has no motive to draw
him into further engagements, and he is satisfied with one wife. Many such
men I have known in Hindoostaun, particularly among the Syaads and
religious characters, who deem a plurality of wives a plague to the
possessors in proportion to their numbers.

The affluent, the sensualist, and the ambitious, are most prone to swell
the numbers in their harem. With some men, who are not highly gifted
intellectually, it is esteemed a mark of gentility to have several wives.

There are some instances of remarkable generosity in the conduct of good
wives (which would hardly gain credit with females differently educated),
not necessary to the subject before me; but I may here add to the praise
of a good wife among these people, that she never utters a reproach, nor
gives evidence by word or manner in her husband's presence that she has
any cause for regret; she receives him with undisguised pleasure, although
she has just before learned that another member has been added to his
well-peopled harem. The good and forbearing wife, by this line of conduct,
secures to herself the confidence of her husband; who, feeling assured
that the amiable woman has an interest in his happiness, will consult her
and take her advice in the domestic affairs of his children by other wives,
and even arrange by her judgment all the settlements for their marriages,
&c. He can speak of other wives without restraint,--for she knows he has
others,--and her education has taught her, that they deserve her respect
in proportion as they contribute to her husband's happiness. The children
of her husband are admitted at all times and seasons, without restraint or
prejudice; she loves them next to her own, because they are her husband's.
She receives the mothers of such children without a shade of jealousy in
her manner, and delights in distinguishing them by favours and presents
according to their several merits. From this picture of many living wives
in Mussulmaun society, it must not be supposed I am speaking of women
without attachment to their husbands; on the contrary, they are persons
who are really susceptible of pure love, and the generosity of their
conduct is one of the ways in which they prove themselves devoted to their
husband's happiness. This, they say, was the lesson taught them by their
amiable mother, and this is the example they would set for the imitation
of their daughters.

I do not mean to say this is a faithful picture of all the females of
zeenahnah life. The mixture of good and bad tempers or dispositions is not
confined to any class or complexion of people, but is to be met with in
every quarter of the globe. In general, I have observed those females of
the Mussulmaun population who have any claim to genteel life, and whose
habits are guided by religious principles, evince such traits of character
as would constitute the virtuous and thoroughly obedient wife in any
country; and many, whom I have had the honour to know personally, would do
credit to the most enlightened people in the world.

Should the first wife prove a termagant or unfaithful--rare occurrences
amongst the inmates of the harem,--the husband has the liberty of
divorcing her by paying down her stipulated dowry. This dowry is an
engagement made by the husband on the night of Baarraat[2] (when the
bridegroom is about to take his bride from her parents to his own home).
On which occasion the Maulvee asks the bridegroom to name the amount of
his wife's dowry, in the event of separation; the young man is at liberty
to name any sum he pleases. It would not prevent the marriage if the
smallest amount were promised; but he is in the presence of his bride's
family, and within her hearing also, though he has not yet seen her;--it
is a critical moment for him, thus surrounded. Besides, as he never
intends to separate from the lady, in the strict letter of the law, he
cannot refrain from gratifying those interested in the honour he is about
to confer by the value of the promised dowry, and, therefore, he names a
very heavy sum, which perhaps his whole generation never could have
collected in their joint lives. This sum would of itself be a barrier to
divorce; but that is not the only object which influences the Mussulmaun
generally to waive the divorce; it is because they would not publish their
own disgrace, by divorcing an unfaithful or undutiful wife.

If the first wife dies, a second is sought after on the same principle
which guided the first--'a superior to head his house'. In this case there
would be the same public display which marked the first wife's marriage;
all the minor or secondary wives being introduced to the zeenahnah
privately; they are in consequence termed Dhollie[3] wives, or brought
home under cover.

Many great men appear to be close imitators of King Solomon, with whose
history they are perfectly conversant, for I have heard of the sovereign
princes in Hindoostaun having seven or eight hundred wives at one time in
their palaces. This is hearsay report only, and I should hope an
exaggeration.[4]

The first marriage is usually solemnized when the youth is eighteen, and
the young lady thirteen, or fourteen at the most; many are married at an
earlier age, when, in the opinion of the parents, an eligible match is to
be secured. And in some cases, where the parents on both sides have the
union of their children at heart, they contract them at six or seven years
old, which marriage they solemnly bind themselves to fulfil when the
children have reached a proper age; under these circumstances the children
are allowed to live in the same house, and often form an attachment for
each other, which renders their union a life of real happiness.

There are to be found in Mussulmaun society parents of mercenary minds,
who prefer giving their daughters in marriage as dhollie wives to noblemen
or men of property, to the preferable plan of uniting them with a husband
of their own grade, with whom the girl would most likely live without a
rival in the mud-walled tenement; this will explain the facilities offered
to a sovereign or nobleman in extending the numbers of his harem.

Some parents excuse themselves in thus disposing of their daughters on the
score of poverty, and the difficulty they find in defraying the expenses
of a wedding: this I conceive to be one great error in the economy of the
Mussulmaun people,--unnecessary expense incurred in their marriage
ceremonies, which hampers them through life in their circumstances.
Parents, however poor, will not allow their daughter to be conveyed from
their home, where the projected union is with an equal, without a
seemingly needless parade of music, and a marriage-portion in goods and
chattels, if they have no fortune to give beside; then the expense of
providing dinners for friends to make the event conspicuous, and the
useless articles of finery for the girl's person, with many other ways of
expending money, to the detriment of the parents' finances, without any
very substantial benefit to the young couple. But this dearly-loved custom
cannot be passed over; and if the parents find it impossible to meet the
pecuniary demands of these ceremonies, the girl has no alternative but to
live out her days singly, unless by an agent's influence she is accepted
as a dhollie wife to some man of wealth.

Girls are considered to have passed their prime when they number from
sixteen to eighteen years; even the poorest peasant would object to a wife
of eighteen.

There has been the same difficulty to encounter in every age of Mussulmaun
history in Hindoostaun; and in the darker periods of civilization, the
obstacles to settling their daughters to advantage induced the villagers
and the uneducated to follow the example of the Rajpoots, viz., to destroy
the greater proportion of females at their birth. In the present age, this
horrid custom is never heard of amongst any classes of the Mussulmaun
population[5]; but by the Rajpoot Hindoos it is still practised, as one of
their chiefs very lately acknowledged in the presence of a friend of mine.
I have often heard Meer Hadjee Shaah declare that it was a common
occurrence within his recollection, among the lower classes of the people
in the immediate vicinity of Loodeeanah,[6] where he lived when a boy; and
that the same practice existed in the Oude territory, amongst the
peasantry even at a much later date. One of the Nuwaubs of Oude,--I think
Asoof ood Dowlah,--hearing with horror of the frequent recurrence of this
atrocity in the remote parts of his province, issued a proclamation to his
subjects, commanding them to desist from the barbarous custom[7]; and, as
an inducement to the wicked parents to preserve their female offspring
alive, grants of land were to be awarded to every female as a
marriage-portion on her arriving at a proper age.

It is generally to be observed in a Mussulmaun's family, even at this day,
that the birth of a girl produces a temporary gloom, whilst the birth of a
boy gives rise to a festival in the zeenahnah. Some are wicked enough to
say, 'It is more honourable to have sons than daughters', but I believe
the real cause is the difficulty to be encountered in settling the latter
suitably.

The important affair of fixing upon a desirable match for their sons and
daughters is the source of constant anxiety in the family of every
Mussulmaun, from the children's earliest years to the period of its
accomplishment.

There is a class of people who make it the business of their lives to
negotiate marriages. Both men and women of this description are of course
ingeniously expert in the art of talking, and able to put the best
colouring on the affair they undertake; they occupy every day of their
lives in roving about from house to house, and, as they have always
something entertaining to say, they generally gain easy admittance; they
make themselves acquainted with the domestic affairs of one family in
order to convey them to another, and so continue in their line of
gossiping, until the economy of every person's house is familiar to all.
The female gossip in her researches in zeenahnahs, finds out all the
expectations a mother entertains for her marriageable sons or daughters,
and details whatever she learns in such or such a zeenahnah, as likely to
meet the views of her present hostess. Every one knows the object of these
visits, and if they have any secret that the world may not participate in,
there is due caution observed that it may not transpire before this Mrs.
Gad-about.

When intelligence is brought, by means of such agency, to the mother of a
son who happens to be marriageable, that a lady of proper rank has a
daughter to be sought, she consults with her husband, and further
inquiries are instituted amongst their several friends, male and female;
after due deliberation, the connexion being found desirable, the father
will consult an omen before negotiations are commenced. The omen to decide
the important step is as follows:--Several slips of paper are cut up, on
half the number is written 'to be', on the other half, 'not to be'; these
papers are mixed together and placed under the prayer-carpet. When the
good Mussulmaun is preparing for his evening Namaaz he fails not in his
devotions to ask for help and guidance in an affair of so much importance
to the father as the happiness and well-being of his son. At the portion
of the service when he bows down his head to God, he beseeches with much
humility, calling on the great power and goodness of God to instruct and
guide him for the best interest of his child; and then he repeats a short
prayer expressive of his reliance on the wisdom of God, and his perfect
submission to whatever may be His wise decree in this important business.
The prayer concluded, he seats himself with solemn gravity on the
prayer-carpet, again and again imploring Divine guidance, without which he
is sure nothing good can accrue: he then draws one slip from under his
carpet; if 'to be' is produced, he places it by his left side;--a second
slip is drawn out, should that also bear the words 'to be' the business is
so far decided. He then offers thanks and praises to God, congratulates
his wife on the successful issue of the omen, and discusses those plans
which appear most likely to further the prospects of their dearly-loved
son. But should the second and third papers say 'not to be' he is assured
in his heart it was so decided by 'that Wisdom which cannot err:' to whom
he gives praise and glory for all mercies received at His hand: after this
no overture or negotiation would be listened to by the pious father from
the same quarter.[8]

The omen, however, proving favourable, the affair is decided; and in order
to gain the best possible information of the real disposition of all
parties concerned, a confidential friend is sent to the zeenahnah of the
young lady's mother to make her own observations on what passes within;
and to ascertain, if possible, whether the report brought by the female
agent was true or exaggerated; and finally, to learn if their son would be
received or rejected as a suitor, provided advances were made.

The female friend returns, after a day or two's absence, to the anxious
parents of the youth, and details all she has seen or heard during her
visit. The young lady may, perhaps, have been seen (this is not always
conceded to such visitors), in which case her person, her manners, her
apparent disposition, the hospitality and good breeding of the mother and
other members of the zeenahnah, are described; and lastly, it is hinted
that, all other things suiting, the young lady being yet disengaged, the
projected offer would not be disagreeable to her parents.

The father of the youth then resolves on sending a male agent in due form
to negotiate a marriage, unless he happens to be personally acquainted
with the girl's father; in which case the lady is desired to send her
female agent on the embassy, and the father of the youth speaks on the
subject in the meantime to the girl's father.

A very intimate friend of mine was seeking for a suitable match for her
son, and being much in her confidence, I was initiated in all the
mysteries and arrangements (according to Mussulmaun rule) of the affair
pending the marriage of her son.

The young lady to be sought (wooed we should have it), had been described
as amiable and pretty--advantages as much esteemed as her rank;--fortune
she had none worth mentioning, but it was what is termed in Indian society
a good and equal match. The overture was, therefore, to be made from the
youth's family in the following manner:

On a silver tray covered with gold brocade and fringed with silver, was
laid the youth's pedigree, traced by a neat writer in the Persian
character, on richly embossed paper ornamented and emblazoned with gold
figures. The youth being a Syaad, his pedigree was traced up to Mahumud,
in both paternal and maternal lines, and many a hero and Begum of their
noble blood filled up the space from the Prophet down to the youthful Meer
Mahumud, my friend's son.

On the tray, with the pedigree, was laid a nuzza, or offering of five gold
mohurs, and twenty-one (the lucky number) rupees; a brocaded cover,
fringed with silver, was spread over the whole, and this was conveyed by
the male agent to the young Begum's father. The tray and its contents are
retained for ever, if the proposal is accepted: if rejected, the parties
return the whole without delay, which is received as a tacit proof that
the suitor is rejected: no further explanation is ever given or required.

In the present instance the tray was detained, and in a few days after a
female from their family was sent to my friend's house to make a general
scrutiny of the zeenahnah and its inmates. This female was pressed to stay
a day or two, and in that time many important subjects underwent
discussion. The youth was introduced, and everything according with the
views entertained by both parties, the fathers met, and the marriage, it
was decided, should take place within a twelvemonth, when the young lady
would have accomplished her thirteenth year.

'Do you decide on having Mugganee[9] performed?' is the question proposed
by the father of the youth to the father of the young maiden. In the
present case it was chosen, and great were the preparations of my friend
to do all possible honour to the future bride of her son.

Mugganee is the first contract, by which the parties are bound to fulfil
their engagement at an appointed time.

The dress for a bride[10] differs in one material point from the general
style of Hindoostaunie costume: a sort of gown is worn, made of silver
tissue, or some equally expensive article, about the walking length of an
English dress; the skirt is open in front, and contains about twenty
breadths of the material, a tight body and long sleeves. The whole dress
is trimmed very richly with embroidered trimming and silver riband; the
deputtah (drapery) is made to correspond. This style of dress is the
original Hindoo fashion, and was worn at the Court of Delhi for many
centuries; but of late years it has been used only on marriage festivals
amongst the better sort of people in Hindoostaun, except Kings or Nuwaubs
sending khillauts to females, when this dress, called a jhammah,[11] is
invariably one of the articles.

The costly dresses for the present Mugganee my friend prepared at a great
expense, and with much good taste; to which were added a ruby ring of
great value, large gold ear-rings, offerings of money, the flower-garlands
for the head, neck, wrists, and ankles, formed of the sweet-scented
jessamine; choice confectionery set out in trays with the pawns and fruits;
the whole conveyed under an escort of soldiers and servants with a band of
music, from the residence of Meer Mahumud to that of his bride elect,
accompanied by many friends of the family. These offerings from the youth
bind the contract with the young lady, who wears his ring from that day to
the end of her life.

The poorer sort of people perform Mugganee by the youth simply sending a
rupee in a silk band, to be tied on the girl's arm.

Being curious to know the whole business of a wedding ceremony amongst the
Mussulmaun people, I was allowed to perform the part of 'officiating
friend' on this occasion of celebrating the Mugganee. The parents of the
young lady having been consulted, my visit was a source of solicitude to
the whole family, who made every possible preparation to receive me with
becoming respect; I went just in time to reach the gate at the moment the
parade arrived. I was handed to the door of the zeenahnah by the girl's
father, and was soon surrounded by the young members of the family,
together with many lady-visitors, slaves, and women-servants of the
establishment. They had never before seen an English-woman, and the
novelty, I fancy, surprised the whole group; they examined my dress,
my complexion, hair, hands, &c., and looked the wonder they could not
express in words. The young Begum was not amongst the gazing throng;
some preliminary customs detained her behind the purdah, where it may
be supposed she endured all the agony of suspense and curiosity by her
compliance with the prescribed forms.

The lady of the mansion waited my approach to the dulhaun[12] (great hall)
with all due etiquette, standing to receive and embrace me on my advancing
towards her. This ceremony performed, I was invited to take a seat on the
musnud-carpet with her on the ground; a chair had been provided for me,
but I chose to respect the lady's preference, and the seat on the floor
suited me for the time without much inconvenience.

After some time had been passed in conversation on such subjects as suited
the taste of the lady of the house, I was surprised at the servants
entering with trays, which they placed immediately before me, containing a
full-dress suit in the costume of Hindoostaun. The hostess told me she had
prepared this dress for me, and I must condescend to wear it. I would have
declined the gaudy array, but one of her friends whispered me, 'The custom
is of long standing; when the face of a stranger is first seen a dress is
always presented; I should displease Sumdun Begum by my refusal;--besides,
it would be deemed an ill omen at the Mugganee of the young Bohue[13] Begum
if I did not put on the Native dress before I saw the face of the bride
elect.' These I found to be weighty arguments, and felt constrained to
quiet their apprehensions of ill-luck by compliance; I therefore forced
the gold dress and the glittering drapery over my other clothes, at the
expense of some suffering from the heat, for it was at the very hottest
season of the year, and the dulhaun was crowded with visitors.

This important point conceded to them, I was led to a side hall, where the
little girl was seated on her carpet of rich embroidery, her face resting
on her knees in apparent bashfulness. I could not directly ascertain
whether she was plain, or pretty as the female agent had represented. I
was allowed the privilege of decorating the young lady with the sweet
jessamine guinahs,[14] and placing the ring on the forefinger of the right
hand; after which, the ear-rings, the gold-tissue dress, the deputtah were
all in their turn put on, the offering of money presented, and then I had
the first embrace before her mother. She looked very pretty, just turned
twelve. If I could have prevailed on her to be cheerful, I should have
been much gratified to have extended my visit in her apartment, but the
poor child seemed ready to sink with timidity; and out of compassion to
the dear girl, I hurried away from the hall, to relieve her from the
burden my presence seemed to inflict, the moment I had accomplished my
last duty, which was to feed her with my own hand, giving her seven pieces
of sugar-candy; seven, on this occasion, is the lucky number, I presume,
as I was particularly cautioned to feed her with exactly that number of
pieces.

Returning to the assembly in the dulhaun, I would have gladly taken leave;
but there was yet one other custom to be observed to secure a happy omen
to the young people's union. Once again seated on the musnud with Sumdun
Begum,[15] the female slaves entered with sherbet in silver basins. Each
person taking sherbet is expected to deposit gold or silver coins in the
tray; the sherbet-money at this house is collected for the bride; and when
during the three days' performance of the marriage ceremony at the
bridegroom's house sherbet is presented to the guests, the money collected
there is reserved for him. The produce of the two houses is afterwards
compared, and conclusions drawn as to the greatest portion of respect paid
by the friends on either side. The poor people find the sherbet-money a
useful fund to help them to keep house; but with the rich it is a mere
matter to boast of, that so much money was collected in consequence of the
number of visitors who attended the nuptials.

After the Mugganee ceremony had been performed, and before the marriage
was solemnized, the festival of Buckrah Eade occurred;--in the eleventh
Letter you will find it remarked, the bride and bridegroom elect then
exchange presents;--my friend was resolved her son's presents should do
honour to both houses, and the following may give you an idea of an
Eade-gift.

Thirty-five goats and sheep of the finest breed procurable, which I
succeeded in having sent in their natural dress, instead of being adorned
with gold-cloth and painted horns: it was, however, with some persuasion
the folly of this general practice was omitted in this instance.

The guinah or garland, of flowers on a tray covered with brocade. The
guinah are sweet-scented flowers without stalks, threaded into garlands in
many pretty ways, with great taste and ingenuity, intermixed with silver
ribands; they are formed into bracelets, necklaces, armlets, chaplets for
the head, and bangles for the legs. There are people in Lucknow who make
the preparing of guinahs a profitable business, as the population is so
extensive as to render these flower-ornaments articles of great request.

A tray filled with pawns, prepared with the usual ingredients, as lime,
cuttie[16] (a bitter gum), betel-nut, tobacco, spices, &c.; these pawns
are tied up in packets of a triangular form and covered with enamelled
foil of many bright colours. Several trays of ripe fruits of the season,
viz., kurbootahs[17] (shaddock), kabooza[18] (melons), ununas[19] (pine
apple), guavers,[20] sherreefha[21] (custard-apple), kummeruck,[22]
jarmun[23] (purple olives), orme[24] (mango), falsah,[25] kirhnee,[26]
baer,[27] leechie,[28] ormpeach,[29] carounder,[30] and many other kinds
of less repute.

Confectionery and sweetmeats, on trays, in all the varieties of Indian
invention; a full-dress suit for the young lady; and on a silver tray the
youth's nuzza of five gold mohurs, and twenty-one rupees.

The Eade offering of Meer Mahumud was escorted by servants, soldiers, and
a band of music; and the young lady returned a present to the bridegroom
elect of thirty-five goats and sheep, and a variety of undress skull-caps,
supposed to be her own work, in spangles and embroidery. I may state here,
that the Natives of India never go bare-headed in the house. The turban is
always worn in company, whatever may be the inconvenience from heat; and
in private life, a small skull-cap, often of plain white muslin, just
covers the head. It is considered disgraceful in men to expose the head
bare; removing the turban from the head of an individual would be deemed
as insulting as pulling a nose in Europe.

Whatever Eade or festival may occur between the Mugganee and the final
celebration of nuptials, presents are always interchanged by the young
bride and bridegroom; and with all such observances there is one
prevailing custom, which is, that though there should be nothing at hand
but part of their own gifts, the trays are not allowed to go back without
some trifling things to keep the custom in full force.


[1] The _Koran_ (iv. 3) allows Musalmans to marry 'by twos, or
    threes, or fours'; but the passage has been interpreted in various
    ways.

[2] _Barat_.

[3] _Duli_, 'the Anglo-Indian 'dhooly'. Such wives are so called
    because they are brought to the houses of their husbands in an
    informal way, without a regular marriage procession.

[4] The King of Vijayanagar had twelve thousand wives: four thousand
    followed him on foot and served in the kitchen; the same number
    marched with him on horseback; the remainder in litters, and two or
    three thousand of them were bound to burn themselves with his corpse
    (Nicolo Conti, _India in the Fifteenth Century_, part iii, p. 6). In
    Orissa a palm-leaf record states that one monarch died prematurely
    just as he had married his sixty-thousandth wife, and a European
    traveller speaks of a later prince who had four thousand ladies (Sir
    W. Hunter, _Orissa_. ii, 132 f.). Manucci states that there were more
    than thirty thousand women in the palace of Shah Jahan at Dheli,
    and that he usually had two thousand women of different races in his
    zenana (_Storia de Major_, i. 195, ii. 330). Tippoo Sultan of
    Mysore married nine hundred women (Jaffur Shurreef, _Qanoon-e-Islam_,
    93).

[5] There in evidence that infanticide did prevail among some Musalman
    tribes. Where actual infanticide has disappeared, it has often been
    replaced by neglect of female infants, except in those castes where,
    owing to a scarcity of girls, they command a high price.--_Reports
    Census of India_, 1911, i. 216 ff; _Panjab_, 1911, i. 231.

[6] Ludhiana.

[7] No record of this proclamation has been traced in the histories of the
    time.

[8] The bride is often selected by praying for a dream in sleep, by
    manipulating the rosary, or by opening the _Koran_ at random, and
    reading the first verse which comes under the eye. Another method is
    to ascertain to which of the elements--fire, air, earth, water--the
    initials of the names of the pair correspond. If these agree, it is
    believed that the engagement will be prosperous.--Jaffur Shurreef,
    _Qanoon-e-Islam_, 37.

[9] _Mangni_, 'the asking'.

[10] Compare the full account of brides' dress in Mrs. F. Parks,
    _Wanderings of a Pilgrim_, i. 425.

[11] _Jama_.

[12] _Dalan_.

[13] _Bahu_, properly a son's wife or daughter-in-law: commonly applied
    to a bride or young wife.

[14] Probably the _genda_ or French marigold (_Tagetes erecta_).

[15] Sumdun is always the title of the bride's mamma; Bohue, that of the
    young wife, and, therefore, my thus designating her here is premature.
    [_Samdhan_ means a connexion by marriage. The mothers of bride and
    bridegroom are _samdhan_ to each other.]

[16] _Kuth, kuttha_, the gum of _Acacia catechu_.

[17] The shaddock (_Citrus decumana_) is called _chakoira_; possibly
    confused with the next.

[18] _Kharbuzah, Cucumis melo_.

[19] _Ananas, Ananassa saliva_.

[20] Guava.

[21] _Sharifah, Anona squamosa_.

[22] _Kamrak, Averrhoa Carambola_.

[23] _Jamun, jaman, Eugenia Jambolana_.

[24] _Am, Mangifera indica_.

[25] _Falsa, phalsa, Greuria asiatica_.

[26] _Kirni, Canthium parviflorum_.

[27] _Ber, Zizyphus Jujuba_.

[28] _Lichi, Nephelium Lichi_.

[29] Possibly some confusion between _um_, the mango, and _alu,
    aru_, the peach.

[30] _Karaunda, Carissa Carandas_.



LETTER XIV

  Wedding ceremonies of the Mussulmauns.--The new or full moon
  propitious to the rites being concluded.--Marriage settlements
  unknown.--Control of the wife over her own property.--Three days and
  nights occupied in celebrating the wedding.--Preparations previously
  made by both families.--Ostentatious display on those occasions.--Day
  of Sarchuck.--Customs on the day of Mayndhie.--Sending presents.--Day
  of Baarraat.--Procession of the bridegroom to fetch the bride.--The
  bride's departure to her new home.--Attendant ceremonies
  explained.--Similarity of the Mussulmaun and Hindu
  ceremonies.--Anecdote of a Moollah.--Tying the Narrah to the Moosul.


When the young lady's family have made all the necessary arrangements for
that important event (their daughter's nuptials), notice is sent to the
friends of the intended bridegroom, and the gentlemen of both families
meet to settle on what day the celebration is to take place. They are
guided in the final arrangement by the state of the moon--the new or full
moon has the preference; she must, however, be clear of Scorpio, which, as
I have before stated, they consider the unfortunate sign.[1] There are
some moons in the year considered very unpropitious to marry in. At
Mahurrum, for instance, no emergency as to time or circumstance would
induce the female party to consent to the marriage solemnities taking
place. In Rumzaun they have scruples, though not equal to those which they
entertain against fulfilling the contract in Mahurrum, the month of
mourning.

Marriage settlements are not known in Mussulmaun society. All contracts
are made by word of mouth; and to their credit, honourable reliance is
usually followed by honourable fulfilment of agreements. The husband is
expected to be satisfied with whatever portion of his wife's fortune the
friends may deem consistent or prudent to grant with their daughter. The
wife is at liberty to keep under her own control any separate sum or
allowance her parents may be pleased to give her, over and above the
marriage portion granted to the husband with his wife.[2]

The husband rarely knows the value of his wife's private property unless,
as sometimes happens, the couple in after years have perfect confidence in
each other, and make no separate interests in worldly matters.
Occasionally, when the married couple have not lived happily together, the
wife has been known to bury her cash secretly; and perhaps she may die
without disclosing the secret of her treasure to any one.

In India the practice of burying treasure is very common with females,
particularly in villages, or where there are fears entertained of robbers.
There is no difficulty in burying cash or other treasure, where the ground
floors of the houses are merely beaten earth--boarded floors, indeed, are
never seen in Hindoostaun--in the houses of the first classes of Natives
they sometimes have them bricked and plastered, or paved with marble.
During the rainy season I have sometimes observed the wooden tuckht[3] (a
portable platform) in use with aged or delicate females, on which they
make their seats from fear of the damp from the mud floor; but they
complain that these accommodations are not half so comfortable as their
ordinary seat.

The division of personal property between married people has the effect of
rendering the wife much more independent than the married lady of other
countries. The plan is a judicious one in the existing state of Mussulmaun
society, for since the husband could at his pleasure add other wives, the
whole property of the first wife might be squandered on these additions.
In the middling classes of society, and where the husband is a religious
person, this division of property is not so strictly maintained; yet every
wife has the privilege, if she chooses to exercise it, of keeping a
private purse, which the good wife will produce unasked to meet her
husband's emergencies; and which the good husband is never known to demand,
however great may be his necessities. There are many traits of character
in the Mussulmaun world that render them both amiable and happy, wherever
politeness of behaviour is brought to bear. I have seen some bright
examples of forbearance and affectionate solicitude in both sexes, which
would do honour to the most refined societies of the civilized world.

The marriage ceremony occupies three days and nights:--The first is called,
Sarchuck;[4] the second, Mayndhie;[5] and the third, Baarraat,[6] (fate or
destiny is the meaning of this word).

I am not aware that three days are required to accomplish the nuptials of
the young couple in any other society of Mussulmauns distinct from those
of Hindoostaun. Judging by similar usages among the Hindoo population, I
am rather disposed to conjecture that this is one of the customs of the
aborigines, imitated by the invaders, as the outward parade and publicity
given to the event by the Mussulmauns greatly resemble those of the
surrounding Hindoos.

There are no licences granted, nor any form of registry kept of marriages.
Any person who is acquainted with the Khoraun may read the marriage
ceremony, in the presence of witnesses if it be possible; but they usually
employ a professed Moollah or Maulvee, in consideration of such persons
being the most righteous in their lives; for they make this engagement a
religious, as well as a civil contract.[7]

The day being fixed, the elders, male and female, of the two families,
invite their several relatives, friends, and acquaintances to assemble,
according to their means and convenience for entertaining visitors. The
invitations are written in the Persian character on red paper, describing
the particular event which they are expected to honour. During the week
previous to Sarchuck, both families are busily engaged in sending round to
their several friends trays of ready-cooked dinners. Rich and poor share
equally on these occasions; the reason assigned for which is, that the
persons' nuptials may be registered in the minds of those who partake of
the food, who in the course of time, might otherwise forget that they had
ever heard of the young couple's nuptials.

The mother of Bohue Begum actively employed the intervening time, in
finishing her preparations for the young lady's departure from the
parental roof with suitable articles, which might prove the bride was not
sent forth to her new family without a proper provision. There is
certainly too much ostentation evinced on these occasions; but custom,
prided custom, bids defiance to every better argument; and thus the mother,
full of solicitude that her daughter should carry with her evident marks
of parental affection, and be able to sustain her rank in life, loads her
child with a profusion of worldly goods. The poorest people, in this
instance, imitate their superiors with a blameable disregard to
consequences. Many parents among the lower orders incur heavy debts to
enable them to make a parade at their children's wedding, which proves a
source of misery to themselves as long as they live.

It may be presumed the Sumdun Begum prepared more suits of finery than her
daughter could wear out for years. A silver bedstead with the necessary
furniture, as before described; a silver pawn-dawn,[8] round, and shaped
very like a modern spice-box in England; a silver chillumchee[9]
(wash-hand basin), and lota (water-jug with a spout, nearly resembling an
old-fashioned coffee-pot); a silver luggun[10] (spittoon); silver
surraie[11] (water-bottle); silver basins for water; several dozens of
copper saucepans, plates and spoons for cooking; dishes, plates, and
platters in all variety needful for the house, of metal or of stone. China
or glass is rarely amongst the bride's portion, the only articles of glass
I remember to have seen was the looking-glass for the bride's toilette,
and that was framed and cased in pure silver. Stone dishes are a curious
and expensive article, brought from Persia and Arabia, of a greenish
colour, highly polished; the Natives call them racaab-puttie,[12] and
prefer them to silver at their meals, having an idea that poisoned food
would break them; and he who should live in fear of such a calamity, feels
secure that the food is pure when the dish of this rare stone is placed
before him perfect.

Amongst the various articles sent with the bride to her new home is the
much prized musnud, cushions and carpet to correspond; shutteringhies, and
calico carpets, together with the most minute article used in Native
houses, whether for the kitchen, or for the accommodation of the young
lady in her apartments; all these are conveyed in the lady's train when
she leaves her father's house to enter that of her husband. I am afraid my
descriptions will be deemed tediously particular, so apt are we to take
the contagion of example from those we associate with; and as things
unimportant in other societies are made of so much consequence to these
people, I am in danger of giving to trifles more importance than may be
agreeable to my readers.

On the day of Sarchuck the zeenahnahs of both houses are completely filled
with visitors of all grades, from the wives and mothers of noblemen, down
to the humblest acquaintance of the family. To do honour to the hostess,
the guests appear in their best attire and most valuable ornaments.

A wedding in the family of a respectable Mussulmaun is very often the
medium of reconciling long standing estrangements between friends. Human
nature has the same failings in every climate; there will be some who
entertain jealousies and envyings in all societies, but a wedding with
these people is a perfect peace-maker, since none of the invited can
consistently stay away; and in such an assembly, where is the evil mind to
disturb harmony, or recur to past grievances?

The day of Sarchuck is the first time the young lady receives the
appellation of Dullun,[13] at which time also the bridegroom is designated
Dullha.[14] Dullun is kept in strict confinement, in a dark room or closet,
during the whole three days' merriment going forward under the parental
roof; whilst the bridegroom is the most prominent person in the assembly
of the males, where amusements are contrived to please and divert him, the
whole party vieing in personal attentions to him. The ladies are occupied
in conversation and merriment, and amused with the native songs and music
of the dominie, smoking the hookha, eating pawn, dinner, &c. Company is
their delight, and time passes pleasantly with them in such an assembly.

The second day, Mayndhie, is one of bustle and preparation in the Sumdun
Begum's department; it is spent in arranging the various articles that are
to accompany the bride's Mayndhie, which is forwarded in the evening to
the bridegroom with great parade.

It is so well known that I need hardly mention the fact, that the herb
mayndhie[15] is in general request amongst the natives of India, for the
purpose of dyeing the hands and feet; it is considered by them an
indispensable article to their comfort, keeping those members cool and a
great ornament to the person.

Long established custom obliges the bride to send mayndhie on the second
night of the nuptials to the bridegroom; and, to make the event more
conspicuous, presents proportioned to the means of the party accompany the
trays of prepared mayndhie.

The female friends of the bride's family attend the Mayndhie procession in
covered conveyances, and the male guests on horses, elephants, and in
palkies; trains of soldiers, servants, and bands of music swell the
procession (among people of distinction) to a magnitude inconceivable to
those who have not visited the Native cities of Hindoostaun, or witnessed
the parade of a marriage ceremony.

Amongst the bride's presents with mayndhie, may be noticed every thing
requisite for a full-dress suit for the bridegroom, and the etceteras of
his toilette; confectionery, dried fruits, preserves, the prepared pawns,
and a multitude of trifles too tedious to enumerate, but which are
nevertheless esteemed luxuries with the Native young people, and are
considered essential to the occasion. One thing I must not omit, the
sugar-candy, which forms the source of amusement when the bridegroom is
under the dominion of the females in his mother's zeenahnah. The artush
bajie,[16] (fireworks) sent with the presents, are concealed in flowers
formed of the transparent uberuck:[17] these flowers are set out in frames,
called chumund,[18] and represent beds of flowers in their varied forms
and colours; these in their number and gay appearance have a pretty effect
in the procession, interspersed with the trays containing the dresses, &c.
All the trays are first covered with basket-work raised in domes, and over
these are thrown draperies of broadcloth, gold-cloth, and brocade, neatly
fringed in bright colours.

The Mayndhie procession having reached the bridegroom's house, bustle and
excitement pervade through every department of the mansion. The gentlemen
are introduced to the father's hall; the ladies to the youth's mother, who
in all possible state is prepared to receive the bride's friends.

The interior of a zeenahnah has been already described; the ladies crowd
into the centre hall to witness, through the blinds of bamboo, the
important process of dressing the young bridegroom in his bride's presents.
The centre purdah is let down, in which are openings to admit the hands
and feet; and close to this purdah a low stool is placed. When all these
preliminary preparations are made, and the ladies securely under cover,
notice is sent to the male assembly that, 'Dullha is wanted'; and he then
enters the zeenahnah court-yard, amidst the deafening sounds of trumpets
and drums from without, and a serenade from the female singers within. He
seats himself on the stool placed for him close to the purdah, and obeys
the several commands he receives from the hidden females, with childlike
docility. The moist mayndhie is then tied on with bandages by hands he
cannot see, and, if time admits, one hour is requisite to fix the dye
bright and permanent on the hands and feet. During this delay, the hour is
passed in lively dialogues with the several purdahed dames, who have all
the advantage of seeing though themselves unseen; the singers occasionally
lauding his praise in extempore strains, after describing the loveliness
of his bride, (whom they know nothing about), and foretelling the
happiness which awaits him in his marriage, but which, in the lottery, may
perhaps prove a blank. The sugar-candy, broken into small lumps, is
presented by the ladies whilst his hands and feet are fast bound in the
bandages of mayndhie; but as he cannot help himself, and it is an omen of
good to eat the bride's sweets at this ceremony, they are sure he will try
to catch the morsels which they present to his mouth and then draw back,
teasing the youth with their banterings, until at last he may successfully
snap at the candy, and seize the fingers also with the dainty, to the
general amusement of the whole party and the youth's entire satisfaction.

The mayndhie supposed to have done its duty, the bandages are removed; his
old unnah,[19] the nurse of his infancy (always retained for life),
assists him with water to wash off the leaves, dries his feet and hands,
rubs him with otta,[20] robes him in his bride's presents, and ornaments
him with the guinah. Thus attired he takes leave of his tormentors, sends
respectful messages to his bride's family, and bows his way from their
guardianship to the male apartment, where he is greeted by a flourish of
trumpets and the congratulations of the guests, many of whom present
nuzzas and embrace him cordially.

The dinner is introduced at twelve amongst the bridegroom's guests, and
the night passed in good-humoured conviviality, although the strongest
beverage at the feast consists of sugar and water sherbet. The
dancing-women's performances, the display of fireworks, the dinner, pawn,
and hookha, form the chief amusements of the night, and they break up only
when the dawn of morning approaches.

The bride's female friends take sherbet and pawn after the bridegroom's
departure from the zeenahnah, after which they hasten away to the bride's
assembly, to detail the whole business of their mission.

I have often heard the ladies complain, that the time hangs very heavy on
their hands whilst the party have gone to perform Mayndhie, until the
good ladies return with their budget of particulars. Hundreds of questions
are then put to them by the inquisitive dames, how the procession passed
off?--whether accident or adventure befel them on the march?--what remarks
were made on the bride's gifts?---but most of all they want to know, how
the bridegroom looked, and how he behaved under their hands? The events of
the evening take up the night in detailing, with the occasional
interruptions of dinner, pawn, and sherbet; and so well are they amused,
that they seldom feel disposed to sleep until the crowing of the cock
warns them that the night has escaped with their diversified amusements.

The eventful Baarraat arrives to awaken in the heart of a tender mother
all the good feelings of fond affection; she is, perhaps, about to part
with the great solace of her life under many domestic trials; at any rate,
she transfers her beloved child to another protection. All marriages are
not equally happy in their termination; it is a lottery, a fate, in the
good mother's calculation. Her darling child may be the favoured of Heaven
for which she prays; she may be, however, the miserable first wife of a
licentious pluralist; nothing is certain, but she will strive to trust in
God's mercy, that the event prove a happy one to her dearly-loved girl.

I have said the young bride is in close confinement during the days of
celebrating her nuptials; on the third she is tormented with the
preparations for her departure. The mayndhie must be applied to her hands
and feet, the formidable operations of bathing, drying her hair, oiling
and dressing her head, dyeing her lips, gums, and teeth with antimony,
fixing on her the wedding ornaments, the nut (nose-ring) presented by her
husband's family: the many rings to be placed on her fingers and toes, the
rings fixed in her ears, are all so many new trials to her, which though a
complication of inconveniences, she cannot venture to murmur at, and
therefore submits to with the passive meekness of a lamb.

Towards the close of the evening, all this preparation being fulfilled,
the marriage portion is set in order to accompany the bride. The guests
make their own amusements for the day; the mother is too much occupied
with her daughter's affairs to give much of her time or attention to them;
nor do they expect it, for they all know by experience the nature of a
mother's duties at such an interesting period.

The bridegroom's house is nearly in the same state of bustle as the
bride's, though of a very different, description, as the preparing for the
reception of a bride is an event of vast importance in the opinion of a
Mussulmaun. The gentlemen assemble in the evening, and are regaled with
sherbet and the hookha, and entertained with the nuutch-singing and
fireworks until the appointed hour for setting out in the procession to
fetch the bride to her new home.

The procession is on a grand scale; every friend or acquaintance, together
with their elephants, are pressed into the service of the bridegroom on
this night of Baarraat. The young man himself is mounted on a handsome
charger, the legs, tail, and mane of which are dyed with mayndhie, whilst
the ornamental furniture of the horse is splendid with spangles and
embroidery. The dress of the bridegroom is of gold-cloth, richly trimmed
with a turban to correspond, to the top of which is fastened an immense
bunch of silver trimming, that falls over his face to his waist, and
answers the purpose of a veil,[21] (this is in strict keeping with the
Hindoo custom at their marriage processions). A select few of the females
from the bridegroom's house attend in his train to bring home the bride,
accompanied by innumerable torches, with bands of music, soldiers, and
servants, to give effect to the procession. On their arrival at the gate
of the bride's residence, the gentlemen are introduced to the father's
apartments, where fireworks, music, and singing, occupy their time and
attention until the hour for departure arrives.

The marriage ceremony is performed in the presence of witnesses, although
the bride is not seen by any of the males at the time, not even by her
husband, until they have been lawfully united according to the common form.

In the centre of the hall, in the zeenahnah, a tuckht (platform) six feet
square is placed, on which the musnud of gold brocade is set. This is the
bride's seat when dressed for her nuptials; she is surrounded by ladies
who bear witness to the marriage ceremony. The purdahs are let down, and
the Maulvee, the bridegroom, the two fathers, and a few male friends are
introduced to the zeenahnah court-yard, with a flourish of trumpets and
deafening sounds of drums. They advance with much gravity towards the
purdahs, and arrange themselves close to this slender partition between
the two sexes.

The Maulvee commences by calling on the young maiden by name, to answer to
his demand, 'Is it by your own consent this marriage takes place
with ----?' naming the person who is the bridegroom; the bride answers,
'It is by my consent.' The Maulvee then explains the law of Mahumud, and
reads a certain chapter from that portion of the Khoraun which binds the
parties in holy wedlock.[22] He then turns to the young man, and asks him
to name the sum he proposes as his wife's dowry. The bridegroom thus
called upon, names ten, twenty, or perhaps a hundred lacs of rupees; the
Maulvee repeats to all present the amount proposed, and then prays that
the young couple thus united may be blessed in this world and in eternity.
All the gentlemen then retire, except the bridegroom, who is delayed, as
soon as this is accomplished, entering the hall until the bride's guests
have retreated into the side rooms: as soon as this is accomplished he is
introduced into the presence of his mother-in-law and her daughter by the
women servants. He studiously avoids looking up as he enters the hall,
because, according to the custom of this people, he must first see his
wife's face in a looking-glass, which is placed before the young couple,
when he is seated on the musnud by his bride. Happy for him if he then
beholds a face that bespeaks the gentle being he hopes Fate has destined
to make him happy; if otherwise he must submit; there is no untying the
sacred contract.

Many absurd customs follow this first introduction of the bride and
bridegroom. When the procession is all formed, the goods and chattels of
the bride are loaded on the heads of the carriers; the bridegroom conveys
his young wife in his arms to the chundole (covered palankeen), which is
in readiness within the court, and the procession moves off in grand style,
with a perpetual din of noisy music until they arrive at the bridegroom's
mansion.

The poor mother has perhaps had many struggles with her own heart to save
her daughter's feelings during the preparation for departure; but when the
separation takes place the scene is affecting beyond description. I never
witnessed anything to equal it in other societies: indeed, so powerfully
are the feelings of the mother excited, that she rarely acquires her usual
composure until her daughter is allowed to revisit her, which is generally
within a week after her marriage.

P.S.--I have remarked that, in important things which have nothing to do
with the religion of the Mussulmauns, they are disposed to imitate the
habits of the Hindoos; this is more particularly to be traced in many of
their wedding customs.

In villages where there are a greater proportion of Hindoos than
Mussulmauns the females of the two people mix more generally than is
usually allowed in cities or large towns; and it is among this mingled
population that we find the spirit of superstition influencing the female
character in more marked manner than it does in more populous places,
which the following anecdote, will illustrate. The parties were known to
the person who related the circumstance to me.

'A learned man, a moollah[23] or head-teacher and expounder of the
Mahumudan law, resided in a village six koss (twelve miles English)
distant from Lucknow, the capital of Oude. This moollah was married to a
woman of good family, by whom he had a large progeny of daughters. He
lived in great respect, and cultivated his land with success, the produce
of his farm not only supporting his own family, but enabling the good
moollah to distribute largely amongst the poor, his neighbours, and the
passing traveller. A hungry applicant never left his door without a meal
of the same wholesome, yet humble fare, which formed his own daily
sustenance. Bread and dhall he preferred to the most choice delicacies, as
by this abstemious mode of living, he was enabled to feed and comfort the
afflicted with the residue of his income.

'This moollah was one of the most pious men of the age, and alive to the
interests of his fellow-mortals, both temporal and eternal. He gave
instruction gratis to as many pupils as chose to attend his lectures, and
desired to acquire from his matured knowledge an introduction to the
points of faith, and instruction in the Mussulmaun laws. Numbers of young
students attended his hall daily, to listen to the expounding of the rules
and maxims he had acquired by a long life devoted to the service of God,
and his duty to mankind. In him, many young men found a benefactor who
blended instruction with temporal benefits; so mild and persuasive were
this good moollah's monitions, that he lived in the affection, venerations
and respect of his pupils, as a fond father in the love of his children.

'The wife of this good man managed the domestic affairs of the family,
which were very little controlled by her husband's interference. On an
occasion of solemnizing the nuptials of one of their daughters, the wife
sent a message to the moollah, by a female slave, requiring his immediate
presence in the zeenahnah, that he might perform his allotted part in the
ceremony, which, as elder of the house, could not be confided to any other
hands but his. This was to "tie the naarah to the moosul".[24]

'The moollah was deeply engaged in expounding to his pupils a difficult
passage of the Khoraun when the slave entered and delivered her message.
"Coming", he answered, without looking at the messenger, and continued his
exposition.

'The good woman of the house was in momentary expectation of her husband's
arrival, but when one hour had elapsed, her impatience overcame her
discretion, and she dispatched the slave a second time to summon the
moollah, who, in his anxiety to promote a better work, had forgotten the
subject of tying the naarah to the moosul. The slave again entered the
hall, and delivered her lady's message; he was then engaged in a fresh
exposition, and, as before, replied "coming", but still proceeding with
his subject as if he heard not the summons.

'Another hour elapsed, and the wife's ordinary patience was exhausted; "Go
to your master, slave!" she said with authority in her voice and manner;
"go ask your master from me, whether it is his intention to destroy the
peace of his house, and the happiness of his family. Ask him, why he
should delay performing so important a duty at this ceremony, when his own
daughter's interest and welfare are at stake?"

'The slave faithfully conveyed the message, and the moollah, finding that
his domestic peace depended on submitting to the superstitious notions of
his wife, accompanied the slave to the zeenahnah without further delay.

'The moollah's compliance with the absurd desires of his wife surprised
the students, who discussed the subject freely in his absence. He having
always taught them the folly of prejudice and the absurdity of
superstition, they could not, comprehend how it was the moollah had been
led to comply with a request so much at variance with the principles he
endeavoured to impress upon them.

'On his return, after a short absence, to his pupils, he was about to
re-commence the passage at which he had left off to attend his wife's
summons; one of the young men, however, interrupted him by the inquiry,
"Whether he had performed the important business of tying the naarah to the
moosul?"--"Yes," answered the moollah, very mildly, "and by so doing I
have secured peace to my wife's disturbed mind."--"But how is it, reverend
Sir," rejoined the student, "that your actions and your precepts are at
variance? You caution us against every species of superstition, and yet
that you have in this instance complied with one, is very evident."--"I
grant you, my young friend," said the moollah, "that I have indeed done so,
but my motive for this deviation is, I trust, correct. I could have argued
with you on the folly of tying the naarah to the moosul, and you would
have been convinced by my arguments; but my wife, alas! would not listen
to anything but the custom--the custom of the whole village. I went with
reluctance, I performed the ceremony with still greater; yet I had no
alternative if I valued harmony in my household: this I have now secured
by my acquiescence in the simple desire of my wife. Should any evil
accident befall my daughter or her husband, I am spared the reproaches
that would have been heaped upon me, as being the cause of the evil, from
my refusal to tie the naarah to the moosul. The mere compliance with this
absurd custom, to secure peace and harmony, does not alter my faith; I
have saved others from greater offences, by my passive obedience to the
wishes of my wife, who ignorantly places dependance on the act, as
necessary to her daughter's welfare."

'The students were satisfied with his explanation, and their respect was
increased for the good man who had thus taught them to see and to cherish
the means of living peaceably with all mankind, whenever their actions do
not tend to injure their religious faith, or infringe on the principles of
morality and virtue.'


[1] See p. 158.

[2] For the right of the bride to her private property, see N.E.B. Baillie,
    _Digest of Moohummudan Law_ (1875), 146 ff.

[3] _Takht._

[4] _Sachaq_, the fruits and other gifts carried in procession in
  earthen pots ornamented with various devices.--Jaffur Shurreef,
  _Qanoon-e-Islam_, 73.

[5] _Menhdi_.

[6] _Barat, barat_: meaning 'bridegroom's procession'.

[7] Among the Khojas of West India a person from the lodge to which the
    parties belong recites the names of the Panjtan-i-pak, the five
    holy ones--Muhammad, 'Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, Husain--with the
    invocation: 'I begin the wedding of ---- with ----, to wed as did
    Fatimah, the bright-faced Lady (on whom be peace!) with the Lord and
    Leader, the Receiver of the Testament of the Chosen and Pure, the Lord
    'Ali, the son of Abu-Talib.'--_Bombay Gazetteer_, ix, part ii,
    45.

[8] _Pandan_.

[9] _Chilamchi_.

[10] _Lagan_.

[11] _Surahi_.

[12] _Rikab_, 'a cup'; _patthari_, 'made of stone'. China dishes are
    also supposed to betray poison: see J. Fryer, _A New Account of East
    India and Persia_ (Hakluyt Society's edition), i. 87.

[13] _Dulhin_.

[14] _Dulha_.

[15] _Menhdi_: the henna plant, _Lawsonia alba_.

[16] _Atishbazi_, fire-play.

[17] _Abrak_, talc.

[18] _Chaman_, a flower-bed.

[19] _Anna_.

[20] Otto, _'itr_ of roses.

[21] 'The dress of the bridegroom consisted entirely of cloth of gold;
    and across his forehead was bound a sort of fillet made of an
    embroidery of pearls, from which, long strings of gold hung down all
    over his face to his saddle-bow; and to his mouth he kept a red silk
    handkerchief closely pressed to prevent devils entering his
    mouth.'--Mrs. F. Parks, _Wanderings of a Pilgrim_, i. 438 f. This
    fillet is called _sihra_, and it is intended to avert the influence
    of the Evil Eye and of demons.


[22] The officiating Mulla or Qazi lifts the bridegroom's veil,
    makes him gargle his throat three times with water, and seating him
    facing Mecca, requires him to repeat a prayer to Allah for forgiveness
    (_istighfarullah_); the four Qul, or chapters of the _Koran_
    commencing with the word _qul_, 'say' (cix, cxii, cxiii, cxiv); the
    Kalima or Creed: 'There is no deity but Allah: Muhammad is the
    Apostle of Allah'; the Articles of Belief (_Sifat-i-iman_) in
    Allah, his Angels, the Scriptures, the Prophets, the Resurrection,
    and Day of Judgement. His absolute decree and predestination of Good
    and Evil; the Prayer of Obedience, said standing
    (_du'a'l-qunut_). If he be illiterate, the meaning of all these
    should be explained to him.--Jafnir Shurreef, _Qanoon-e-Islam_, 86.

[23] Mulla.

[24] The naarah is a cord of many threads dyed red and yellow; the moosul
    the heavy beam in use where rice is to be cleansed from the husks. The
    custom is altogether of Hindoo origin. [_Author_.] [When the condiment
    (_ubtan_), made of the flour of gram, mixed with oil and perfumes,
    which is rubbed on the bride and bridegroom, is being ground, the
    handle of the hand-mill is smeared with sandalwood paste, powder of a
    kind of nut ( _Vangueira spinosa_), and some betel leaves; betel-nuts
    wrapped in a piece of new red cloth are tied to it. Then seven women,
    whose husbands are living, sit down to grind the condiment. Some raw
    rice is put in a red cloth, and with a parcel of betel-leaf is tied to
    the mill-handle with a thread (_nara_). Women pretend to beat it,
    and sing a marriage song. The rite is a form of fertility magic. The
    handle of the mill here represents the rice-pounder (_musal_) in
    the rite described in the text.--_Bombay Gazetteer_, ix, part i, 101;
    part ii, 163 f.[7]]



LETTER XV

  On the birth and management of children in Hindoostaun.--Increase of
  joy on the birth of a Son.--Preference generally shown to male
  children.--Treatment of Infants.--Day of Purification.--Offerings
  presented on this occasion to the child.--The anniversary of the
  birthday celebrated.--Visit of the father to the Durgah.--Pastimes of
  boys.--Kites.--Pigeons.--The Mhogdhur.--Sword-exercise.--The Bow and
  Arrows.--The Pellet-bow.--Crows.--Sports of Native
  gentlemen.--Cock-fighting.--Remarks upon horses, elephants, tigers,
  and leopards.--Pigeon-shooting.--Birds released from captivity on
  particular occasions.--Reasons for the extension of the royal
  clemency in Native Courts.--Influence of the Prime Minister in the
  administration of justice.


The bustle of a wedding in the family of a Mussulmaun having subsided, and
the bride become familiar with her new relatives, the mother also
reconciled to the separation from her child by the knowledge of her
happiness,--for they are allowed frequent intercourse,--the next important
subject which fills their whole hearts with hope and anxiety, is the
expected addition to the living members of the family. Should this occur
within the first year of their union, it is included in the catalogue of
'Fortune's favours', as an event of no small magnitude to call forth their
joy and gratitude. Many are the trifling ceremonies observed by the
females of this uneducated people, important in their view to the
well-being of both mother and infant, but so strongly partaking of
superstition that time would be wasted in speaking of them; I will
therefore hasten to the period of the infant's birth, which, if a boy, is
greeted by the warmest demonstrations of unaffected joy in the houses both
of the parents of the bride and bridegroom. When a female child is born,
there is much less clamourous rejoicing at its birth than when a son is
added to honour the family;[1] but the good mother will never be
dissatisfied with the nature of the gift, who can appreciate the source
whence she receives the blessing. She rests satisfied that unerring Wisdom
hath thus ordained, and bows with submission to His decree. She desires
sons only as they are coveted by the father, and procure for the mother
increased respect from the world, but she cannot actually love her infant
less because it is a female.

The birth of a son is immediately announced by a discharge of artillery,
where cannon are kept; or by musketry in the lower grades of the Native
population, even to the meanest peasant, with whom a single match-lock
proclaims the honour as effectually as the volley of his superiors. The
women say the object in firing at the moment the child is born, is to
prevent his being startled at sounds by giving him so early an
introduction to the report of muskets; but in this they are evidently
mistaken, since we never find a musket announcing the birth of a female
child.[2] They fancy there is more honour attached to a house where are
many sons. The men make them their companions, which in the present state
of Mussulmaun society, girls cannot be at any age. Besides which, so great
is the trouble and anxiety in getting suitable matches for their daughters,
that they are disposed to be more solicitous for male than female children.

Amongst the better sort of people the mother very rarely nourishes her own
infant; and I have known instances, when a wet-nurse could not be procured,
where the infant has been reared by goals' milk, rather than the good lady
should be obliged to fatigue herself with her infant. The great objection
is, that in Mussulmaun families nurses are required to be abstemious in
their diet, by no means an object of choice amongst so luxurious a people.
A nurse is not allowed for the first month or more to taste animal food,
and even during the two years--the usual period of supporting infancy by
this nourishment--the nurse lives by rule both in quality and quantity of
such food only as may be deemed essential to the well-being of the child.

The lower orders of the people benefit by their superiors' prejudices
against nursing, and a wet-nurse once engaged in a family becomes a member
of that house to the end of her days, unless she chooses to quit it
herself.

On the fourth day after the birth of a son, the friends of both families
are invited to share in the general joy testified by a noisy assembly of
singing-women, people chattering, smell of savoury dishes, and constant
bustle; which, to any other females in the world would be considered
annoyances, but in their estimation are agreeable additions to the
happiness of the mother, who is in most cases screened only by a curtain
from the multitude of noisy visitors assembled to rejoice on the important
event. I could not refrain, on one of these occasions, remarking on the
injudicious arrangement at such a time, when I thought quiet was really
needed to the invalid's comfort. The lady thought otherwise; she was too
much rejoiced at this moment of her exaltation to think of quiet; all the
world would know she was the mother of a son; this satisfied her for all
that she suffered from the noisy mirth and increased heat arising from the
multitude of her visitors, who stayed the usual time, three days and
nights. The ladies, however, recover their strength rapidly. They are
attended by females in their time of peril, and with scarcely an instance
of failure. Nature is kind. Science has not yet stepped within the
confines of the zeenahnah. All is Nature with these uneducated females,
and as they are under no apprehension, the hour arrives without terror,
and passes over without weakening fears. They trust in God, and suffer
patiently. It may be questioned, however, whether their pains at that
juncture equal those of females in Europe. Their figure has never been
tortured by stays and whalebone; indeed, I do not recollect having met
with an instance of deformity in the shape of any inhabitant of a
zeenahnah.

On the ninth day the infant is well bathed,--I cannot call any of its
previous ablutions a bath,[3]--then its little head is well oiled, and the
fillet thrown aside, which is deemed necessary from the first to the ninth
day. The infant from its birth is laid in soft beaten cotton, with but
little clothing until it has been well bathed, and even then the dress
would deserve to be considered more as ornamental covering than useful
clothing; a thin muslin loose shirt, edged and bordered with silver
ribands, and a small skull-cap to correspond, comprises their dress.
Blankets, robes, and sleeping-dresses, are things unknown in the nursery
of a zeenahnah. The baby is kept during the month in a reclining position,
except when the nurse receives it in her arms to nourish it; indeed for
many months the infant is but sparingly removed from its reclining
position. They would consider it a most cruel disturbance of a baby's
tranquillity, to set it up or hold it in the arms, except for the purpose
of giving it nourishment.

The infant's first nourishment is of a medicinal kind, composed of
umultass[4](cassia), a vegetable aperient, with sugar, and distilled water
of aniseed; this is called gootlie,[5] and the baby has no other food for
the first three days, after which it receives the nurse's aid. After the
third day a small proportion of opium is administered, which practice is
continued daily until the child is three or four years old.

The very little clothing on infants in India would of itself teach the
propriety of keeping them in a reclining position, as the mere natural
strength of the poor baby has nothing to support it by the aid of bandages
or clothing. The nurse receives the baby on a thin pillow of calico
quilted together, called gooderie;[6] it is changed us often us required,
and is the only method as yet introduced amongst the Natives to secure
cleanliness and comfort to their infants. In the cold season, when the
thermometer may range from forty-five to fifty, the method of inducing
warmth is by means of cotton or wadded quilts; flannel, as I have said
before, they know not the use of. The children, however, thrive without
any of those things we deem essential to the comfort of infancy, and the
mamma is satisfied with the original customs, which, it may be supposed,
are (without a single innovation) unchanged since the period of Abraham,
their boasted forefather.

On the fortieth day after the infant's birth, the same rites are observed
as by the Jews (with the exception of circumcision), and denominated, as
with them, the Day of Purification. On this day the infant is submitted to
the hands of the barber, who shaves the head, as commanded by their law.
The mother bathes and dresses in her most costly attire. Dinner is cooked
for the poor in abundance. Friends and relatives call on the mother to
present nuzzas and offerings, and to bring presents to the child, after
the manner of the wise men's offerings, so familiar to us in our
Scriptures. The offerings to the child are often costly and pretty;
bangles and various ornaments of the precious metals. The taawees[7] of
gold and silver are tablets on which engraved verses from the Khoraun are
inscribed in Arabic characters; these are strung on cords of gold thread,
and suspended, when the child is old enough to bear their weight, over one
shoulder, crossing the back and chest, and reaching below the hip on the
opposite side; they have a remarkably good effect with the rich style of
dressing Native children. In some of the offerings from the great people
are to be observed precious stones set in necklaces, and bangles for the
arms and ankles. All who visit at these times take something for the baby;
it would be deemed an omen of evil in any one neglecting to follow this
immemorial custom; not that they are avaricious, but that they are anxious
for their infant's prosperity, which these tributes are supposed to
indicate.[8]

The mother thus blessed with a darling son is almost the idol of the new
family she has honoured; and when such a person happens to be an agreeable,
prudent woman, she is likely to remain without a rival in her husband's
heart, who has no inducement to add dhollie[9] wives to his establishment
when his home is made happy to him by the only wife who can do him honour
by the alliance.

The birthday of each son in a family is regularly kept. The term used for
the occasion is Saul-girrah[10]--derived, from saul, a year, girrah, to
tie a knot. The custom is duly maintained by tying a knot on a string kept
for the purpose by the mother, on the return of her boy's birthday. The
girls' years are numbered by a silver loop or ring being added yearly to
the gurdonie,[11] or silver neck-ring. These are the only methods of
registering the ages of Mussulmaun children.

The Saul-girrah is a day of annual rejoicing through the whole house of
which the boy is a member; music, fireworks, toys, and whatever amusement
suits his age and taste, are liberally granted to fill up the measure of
his happiness; whilst his father and mother have each their assemblies to
the fullest extent of their means. Dinner is provided liberally for the
guests, and the poor are not neglected, whose prayers and blessings are
coveted by the parents for their offspring's benefit; and they believe the
blessings of the poor are certain mediations at the throne of mercy which
cannot fail to produce benefits on the person in whose favour they are
invoked.

The boy's nurse is on all occasions of rejoicing the first person to be
considered in the distribution of gifts; she is, indeed, only second in
the estimation of the parents to the child she has reared and nourished;
and with the child, she is of more consequence even than his natural
parents. The wet-nurse, I have said, is retained in the family to the end
of her days, and whatever children she may have of her own, they are
received into the family of her employer without reserve, either as
servants or companions, and their interest in life regarded and watched
over with the solicitude of relations, by the parents of the boy she has
nursed.

At seven years old the boys are circumcised, as by their law directed. The
thanksgiving when the child is allowed to emerge from confinement, gives
rise to another jubilee in the family.

At Lucknow we see, almost daily, processions on their way to the Durgah
(before described),[12] where the father conveys the young Mussulmaun to
return thanks and public acknowledgements at the sainted shrine. The
procession is planned on a grand scale, and all the male friends that can
be collected attend in the cavalcade to do honour to so interesting an
occasion.

When the prayer and thanksgiving have been duly offered in the boy's name
at the Durgah, money is distributed amongst the assembled poor; and on the
way home, silver and copper coins are thrown to the multitude who crowd
around the procession. The scrambling and tumult on these occasions can
only be relished by the Natives, who thus court popularity; but they
rarely move in state without these scenes of confusion following in their
train. I have witnessed thousands of people following the King's train, on
his visiting the Durgah at Lucknow, when his Majesty and his Prime
Minister scattered several thousands of rupees amongst the populace. The
noise was deafening, some calling blessings on the King, others
quarrelling and struggling to force away the prize from the happy one who
had caught, in the passing shower, a rupee or two in his drapery. Some of
the most cunning secure the prize in their mouths to save themselves from
the plunderer; some are thrown down and trampled under foot; the sandy
soil, however, renders their situation less alarming than such a calamity
would be in London, but it is altogether a scene of confusion sufficient
to terrify any one, except those who delight in their ancient customs
without regarding consequences to individuals.

The amusements of boys in India differ widely from the juvenile sports of
the English youth; here there are neither matches at cricket nor races;
neither hoops nor any other game which requires exercise on foot. Marbles
they have, and such other sports as suit their habits and climate, and can
be indulged in without too much bodily exertion. They fly kites at all
ages. I have seen men in years, even, engaged in this amusement, alike
unconscious that they were wasting time, or employing it in pursuits
fitted only for children. They are flown from the flat roofs of the houses,
where it is common with the men to take their seat at sunset. They are
much amused by a kind of contest with kites, which is carried on in the
following manner. The neighbouring gentlemen, having provided themselves
with lines, previously rubbed with paste and covered with pounded glass,
raise their kites, which, when brought in contact with each other by a
current of air, the topmost string cuts through the under one, when down
falls the kite, to the evident amusement of the idlers in the streets or
roadway, who with shouts and hurrahs seek to gain possession of the toy,
with as much avidity as if it were a prize of the greatest value: however,
from the numerous competitors, and their great zeal to obtain possession
of it, it is usually torn to pieces. Much skill is shown in the endeavours
of each party to keep his string uppermost, by which he is enabled to cut
that of his adversary's kite.

The male population are great pigeon-fanciers, and are very choice in
their breed, having every variety of the species they can possibly procure;
some are brought from different parts of the world at an enormous expense.
Each proprietor of a flock of pigeons knows his own birds from every other.
They are generally confined in bamboo houses erected on the flat roofs of
the mansions, where at early dawn and at sunset the owner takes his
station to feed his pets and give them a short airing. Perhaps a
neighbour's flock have also emerged from their cages at the same time,
when mingling in the circuit round and round the buildings (as often
happens), one or more from one person's flock will return home with those
of another; in which case, they are his lawful prize for ever, unless his
neighbour wishes to redeem the captives by a price, or by an exchange of
prisoners. The fortunate holder, however, of such prize makes his own
terms, which are perhaps exorbitant, particularly if he have any ill-will
against the proprietor, or the stray pigeon happen to be of a peculiarly
rare kind.[13] Many are the proofs of good breeding and civility, elicited
on such occasions between gentlemen; and many, also, are the perpetuated
quarrels where such a collision of interests happens between young men of
bad feelings, or with persons having any previous dislike to each other.

The chief out-door exercise taken by the youth of India, is an occasional
ride on horseback or the elephant. They do not consider walking necessary
to health; besides which, it is plebeian, and few ever walk who can
maintain a conveyance. They exercise the moghdhur[14] (dumb-bell) as the
means of strengthening the muscles and opening the chest. These moghdhurs,
much resembling the club of Hercules, are used in pairs, each weighing
from eight to twenty pounds; they are brandished in various ways over the
head, crossed behind, and back again, with great ease and rapidity by
those with whom the art has become familiar by long use. Those who would
excel in the use of the moghdhurs practise every evening regularly; when,
after the exercise, they have their arms and shoulders plastered with a
moist clay, which they suppose strengthens the muscles and prevents them
from taking cold after so violent an exercise. The young men who are
solicitous to wield the sabre with effect and grace, declare this practice
to be of the greatest service to them in their sword exercise: they go so
far as to say, that they only use the sword well who have practised the
moghdhur for several years.

At their sword exercise, they practise 'the stroke' on the hide of a
buffalo, or on a fish called rooey,[15] the scales of which form an
excellent coat of mail, each being the size of a crown-piece, and the
substance sufficient to turn the edge of a good sabre. The fish is
produced alive from the river for this purpose; however revolting as the
practice may appear to the European, it does not offend the feelings of
the Natives, who consider the fish incapable of feeling after the first
stroke; but, as regards the buffalo, I am told the most cruel inflictions
have been made, by men who would try their blade and their skill on the
staked animal without mercy.

The lance is practised by young men of good family as an exercise; and by
the common people, as the means of rendering them eligible to the Native
military service of India. It is surprising to witness the agility of some
of the Natives in the exercise of the lance; they are generally good
horsemen, and at full speed will throw the lance, dismount to recover it,
and remount, often without stirrups, with a celerity inconceivable. I have
seen them at these exercises with surprise, remembering the little
activity they exhibit in their ordinary habits.

The Indian bow and arrow has greatly diminished as a weapon of defence in
modern times; but all practise the use of the bow, as they fancy it opens
the chest and gives ease and grace to the figure; things of no trifling
importance with the Mussulmaun youth. I have seen some persons seated
practising the bow, who were unable to bear the fatigue of standing; in
those cases, a heavy weight and pulley are attached to the bow, which
requires as much force in pulling as it would require to send an arrow
from sixty to a hundred yards from the place they occupy.[16]

The pellet-bow is in daily use to frighten away the crows from the
vicinity of man's abode; the pellets are made of clay baked in the sun,
and although they do not wound they bruise most desperately. Were it not
for this means of annoying these winged pests, they would prove a perfect
nuisance to the inhabitants, particularly within the confines of a
zeenahnah, where these impudent birds assemble at cooking-time, to the
great annoyance of the cooks, watching their opportunity to pounce upon
anything they may incautiously leave uncovered. I have often seen women
placed as watchers with the pellet-bow, to deter the marauders the whole
time dinner was preparing in the kitchen. The front of these cooking-rooms
are open to the zeenahnah court-yard, neither doors, windows, nor curtains
being deemed necessary, where the smoke has no other vent than through the
open front into the court-yard.

The crows are so daring that they will enter the yard, where any of the
children may be taking their meals (which they often do in preference to
eating them under the confinement of the hall), and frequently seize the
bread from the hands of the children, unless narrowly watched by the
servants, or deterred by the pellet-bow. And at the season of building
their nests, these birds will plunder from the habitations of man,
whatever may be met with likely to make a soft lining for their nests;
often, I am told, carrying off the skull-cap from the children's heads,
and the women's pieces of calico or muslin from their laps when seated in
the open air at work.

Many of the Natives are strongly attached to the brutal practice of
cock-fighting; they are very choice in their breed of that gallant bird,
and pride themselves on possessing the finest specimens in the world. The
gay young men expend much money in these low contests: the birds are
fought with or without artificial spurs, according to the views of the
contending parties.[17] They have also a small bird which they call 'the
buttaire',[18] a species of quail, which I hear are most valiant
combatants; they are fed and trained for sport with much care and
attention. I am told these poor little birds, when once brought to the
contest, fight until they die. Many are the victims sacrificed to one
mornings amusement of their cruel owners, who wager upon the favourite
bird with a spirit and interest equal to that which may be found in more
polished countries among the gentlemen of the turf.

Horse-racing has very lately been introduced at Lucknow, but I fancy the
Natives have not yet acquired sufficient taste for the sport to take any
great delight in it. As long as it is fashionable with European society,
so long it may be viewed with comparative interest by the few. But their
views of the breed and utility of a stud differ so much from those of a
European, that there is but little probability of the sport of
horse-racing ever becoming a favourite amusement with them,[19] When they
are disposed to hunt, it is always on elephants, both for security and to
save fatigue.

A horse of the finest temper, form, or breed, one that would be counted
the most perfect animal by an English connoisseur, would be rejected by a
Native if it possessed the slightest mark by them deemed 'unfortunate'. If
the legs are not all of a colour, the horse is not worthy; if an unlucky
turn of the hair, or a serpentine wave of another colour appears on any
part of the animal, it is an 'omen of ill-luck' to the possessor, and must
not be retained on the premises. A single blemish of the sort would be
deemed by a Native gentleman as great a fault in an otherwise perfect
animal, as if it could only move on three legs. The prejudice is so
strongly grounded in their minds to these trifling marks, that they would
not keep such horses in their stables one hour, even if it belonged to
their dearest friend, fearing the evil consequences that might befall
their house.[20]

The swiftness of a good English hunter would be no recommendation to a
Native gentleman; he rides for pleasant exercise and amusement, and the
pace therefore never exceeds the gentlest canter of an English lady's
jennet. Many of their horses are trained to a pace I have never remarked
in other countries; it is more than a walk but not quite a canter, the
steps are taken very short, and is, I am assured, an agreeable exercise to
the rider. I was once in possession of a strong hill pony, whose walk was
as quick as the swiftest elephant; very few horses could keep up with him
at a trot. The motion was very easy and agreeable, particularly suited to
invalids in that trying climate.

The Native method of confining horses in their sheds or stables appears
somewhat remarkable to a European. The halter is staked in the ground, and
the two hind legs have a rope fastened to each; this is also staked in the
ground behind. The ropes are left sufficiently long to allow of the animal
lying down at his pleasure.

The food of horses is fresh grass, brought from the jungles daily, by the
grass-cutters, who are kept solely for this purpose. In consequence of
these men having to walk a distance of four or more miles before they
reach the jungles, and the difficulty of finding sufficient grass when
there, one man cannot procure more grass in a day than will suffice for
one horse; the consequence is, that if a gentleman keep twenty horses,
there are forty men to attend them; viz., twenty grooms, and as many
grass-cutters. The grass of India, excepting only during the rainy season,
is burnt up by the heat of the sun, in all exposed situations. In the
jungles and forests of mango-trees, wherever there is any shade, the men
search for grass, which is of a different species to any I have seen in
Europe, called doob-grass,[21] a dwarf creeper, common throughout India;
every other kind of grass is rejected by the horse; they would rather eat
chaff in the absence of the doob-grass. The refuse of the grass given for
food, answers the purpose of bedding; for in India straw is never brought
into use, but as food for the cows, buffaloes, and oxen. The nature of
straw is friable in India, perhaps induced by climate by the wise ordering
of Divine Providence, of which indeed a reflecting mind must be convinced,
since it is so essential an article for food to the cattle where grass is
very scarce, excepting only during the season of rain.

When the corn is cut, the whole produce of a field is brought to one open
spot, where the surface of the ground is hard and smooth; the oxen and
their drivers trample in a continued circuit over the whole mass, until
the corn is not only threshed from the husks, but the straw broken into
fine chaff. They winnow it with their coarse blankets, or chuddahs[22]
(the usual wrapper of a Native, resembling a coarse sheet), and house the
separate articles in pits, dug in the earth, close to their habitations.
Such things as barns, granaries, or stacks, are never seen to mark the
abode of the Native farmers as in Europe.

An invading party could never discover the deposits of corn, whilst the
Natives chose to keep their own secret. This method of depositing the corn
and chaff in the earth, is the only secure way of preserving these
valuable articles from the encroachment of white ants, whose visits to the
grain are nearly as destructive, and quite as much dreaded, as the flights
of locusts to the green blades.

The corn in general use for horses, sheep, and cattle, in called gram;[23]
the flavour resembles our field pea much more than grain. It is produced
on creepers, with pods; and bears a pretty lilac blossom, not unlike peas,
or rather vetches, but smaller; the grain, however, is as large as a pea,
irregularly shaped, of a dark brown skin, and pale yellow within. There
are several other kinds of grain in use amongst the Natives for the use of
cattle; one called moat,[24] of an olive green colour. It is considered
very cooling in its nature, at certain seasons of the year, and is greatly
preferred both for young horses and for cows giving milk.

Horses are subject to an infectious disease, which generally makes its
appearance in the rainy season, and therefore called burrhsaatie.[25] Once
in the stable, the disorder prevails through the stud, unless timely
precautions are taken to prevent them being infected--removal from the
stable is the most usual mode adopted--so easy is the infection conveyed
from one animal to the other, that if the groom of the sick horse enters
the stable of the healthy they rarely escape contagion. It is a tedious
and painful disorder and in nine cases out of ten the infected animal
either dies, or is rendered useless for the saddle. The legs break out in
ulcers, and, I am informed, without the greatest care on the part of the
groom, he is also liable to imbibe the corruption; if he has any cut or
scratch on his hands, the disease may be received as by inoculation.

The Natives have the greatest aversion to docked-tailed horses, and will
never permit the animals to be shorn of the beauty with which Nature has
adorned them, either in length or fulness; besides which, they think it a
barbarous want of taste in those who differ from them, though they fancy
Nature is improved when the long tail and mane of a beautiful white Arab
are dyed with mayndhie; his legs, up to the knees, stained with the same
colour, and divers stars, crescents, &c., painted on the haunches, chest,
and throat of the pretty gentle creature.[26]

When the horses are looking rough, the Natives feed them with a mixture of
coarse brown sugar and ghee, which they say gives sleekness to the skin,
and improves the constitution of the horse. When their horses grow old,
they boil the gram with which they feed them, to make it easy of digestion;
very few people, indeed, give corn at any age to the animal unsoaked, as
they consider it injudicious to give dry corn to horses, which swells in
the stomach of the animal and cannot digest: the grain swells exceedingly
by soaking, and thus moistened, the horse requires less water than would
be necessary with dry corn.

The numberless Native sports I have heard related in this country would
take me too long to repeat at present; describe them I could not, for my
feelings and views are at variance with the painful tortures inflicted on
the brute creation for the perverted amusements of man, consisting of many
unequal contests, which have sickened me to think they were viewed by
mortals with pleasure or satisfaction. A poor unoffending antelope or stag,
perhaps confined from the hour of its quitting its dam in a paddock,
turned out in a confined space to the fury of a cheetah[27] (leopard) to
make his morning's repast. Tigers and elephants are often made to combat
for the amusement of spectators; also, tigers and buffaloes, or alligators.
The battle between intoxicated elephants is a sport suited only for the
cruel-hearted, and too often indulged. The mahouts[28] (the men who sit as
drivers on the neck of the elephant) have frequently been the victims of
the ignoble amusement of their noble masters; indeed, the danger they are
exposed to is so great, that to escape is deemed a miracle. The
fighting-elephants are males, and they are prepared for the sport by
certain drugs mixed up with the wax from the human ear. The method of
training elephants for fighting must be left to abler hands to describe. I
have passed by places where the animal was firmly chained to a tree, in
situations remote from the population of a city, as danger is always
anticipated from their vicinity; and when one of these infuriated beasts
break from their bonds, serious accidents often occur to individuals
before they can again be secured.

Amongst the higher classes tigers and leopards are retained for field
sports, under the charge of regular keepers. In many instances these wild
inhabitants of the jungle are tamed to the obedience of dogs, or other
domestic animals. I have often seen the young cubs sucking the teats of a
goat, with which they play as familiarly as a kitten with its mother. A
very intimate acquaintance of ours has several tigers and leopards, which
are perfectly obedient to his command; they are led out by their keepers
night and morning, but he always feeds them with his own hands, that he
may thereby make them obedient to himself, when he sports in the jungles,
which he often does with success, bringing home stags and antelopes to
grace the board, and distribute amongst his English friends.

The tigers and cheetahs are very generally introduced after breakfast,
when Native noblemen have European visitors. I remember on one of these
occasions, these animals were brought into the banqueting-room, just as
the self-performing cabinet organ had commenced a grand overture. The
creatures' countenances were terrifying to the beholder, and one in
particular could with great difficulty be reined in by his keepers. The
Natives are, however, so accustomed to the society of tigers, that they
smiled at my apprehension of mischief. I was only satisfied when they were
forced away from the sounds that seemed to fill them with wonder, and
perhaps with rage.

Pigeon-shooting is another amusement practised among the sporting men of
Hindoostaun. I, of course, allude to the Mussulmauns, for most Hindoos
hold it criminal to kill a crow, or even the meanest insect; and I have
known them carry the principle of preserving life to the minutest insects,
wearing crape or muslin over their mouths and noses in the open air,
fearing a single animalcule that floats in the air should be destroyed by
their breath. For the same reason, these men have every drop of water
strained through muslin before it is used either for drinking or for
cooking.[29]

There are people who make it a profitable means of subsistence to visit
the jungles with nets, in order to collect birds, as pigeons, parrots,
minas, &c.; these are brought in covered baskets to the towns, where they
meet with a ready sale.

Many a basket have I delighted in purchasing, designing to rescue the
pretty creatures from present danger. I am annoyed whenever I see birds
immured in cages. If they could be trained to live with us, enjoying the
same liberty, I should gladly court society with these innocent creatures;
but a bird confined vexes me, my fingers itch to open the wicket and give
the prisoner liberty. How have I delighted in seeing the pretty variegated
parrots, minas, and pigeons fly from the basket when opened in my verandah!
I have sometimes fancied in my evening walk that I could recognize the
birds again in the gardens and grounds, which had been set at liberty in
the morning by my hand.

The good ladies of India, from whom I have copied the practice of giving
liberty to the captive birds, although different motives direct the action,
believe, that if a member of their family is ill, such a release
propitiates the favour of Heavenly mercy towards them.[30] A sovereign
(amongst the Mussulmauns) will give liberty to a certain number of
prisoners, confined in the common gaol, when he is anxious for the
recovery of a sick member of his family; and so great is the merit of
mercy esteemed in the creature to his fellow-mortal, that the birth of a
son, a recovery from severe illness, accession to the throne, &c., are the
precursors to royal clemency, when all prisoners are set at liberty whose
return to society may not be deemed cruelty to the individual, or a
calamity to his neighbours. I may here remark, the Mussulmaun laws do not
allow of men being confined in prison for debt.[31] The government of Oude
is absolute, yet to its praise be it said, during the first eight years of
my sojourn I never heard of but one execution by the King's command; and
that was for crimes of the greatest enormity, where to have been sparing
would have been unjust.[32] In cases of crime such as murder, the nearest
relative surviving is appealed to by the court of justice; if he demand
the culprit's life, the court cannot save him from execution. But it is
rarely demanded; they are by no means a revengeful people generally; there
are ambitious, cruel tyrants to be found, but these individuals are
exceptions to the mass of the people. Examples of mercy set by the King in
all countries have an influence upon his subjects; and here the family of
a murdered man, if poor, is maintained by the guilty party or else
relieved by royal munificence, as the case may require. Acts of oppression
may sometimes occur in Native States without the knowledge even, and much
less by the command, of the Sovereign ruler, since the good order of the
government mainly depends on the disposition of the Prime Minister for the
time being. There is no check placed in the constitution of a Native
government between the Prime Minister and his natural passions. If cruel,
ambitious, or crafty, he practises all his art to keep his master in
ignorance of his daily enormities; if the Prime Minister be a
virtuous-minded person, he is subjected to innumerable trials, from the
wiles of the designing and the ambitious, who strive by intrigue to root
him from the favour and confidence of his sovereign, under the hope of
acquiring for themselves the power they covet by his removal from office.


[1] When, a boy is born, the midwife, in order to avert the Evil Eye and
    evil spirits, says: 'It is only a girl blind of one eye!' If a girl is
    born, the fact is stated, because she excites no jealousy, and is thus
    protected from spirit attacks.

[2] This is intended to scare evil spirits, but has become a mere form of
    announcing the joyful event.

[3] After the first bath pieces of black thread are tied round the child's
    wrist and ankle as protection.

[4] _Amaltas, Cassia fistula_

[5] The purgative draught (_guthl_) is usually made of aniseed,
    myro-bolans, dried red rose leaves, senna, and the droppings of mice
    or goats.--_Bombay Gazetteer_, ix, part ii, 153.

[6] _Gudri_.

[7] _Ta'awiz_.

[8] Among the Khojahs of Bombay a stool is placed near the mother's bed,
    and as each, of the female relatives comes in she strews a little rice
    on the stool, lays on the ground a gold or silver anklet as a gift for
    the child, and bending over mother and baby, passes her hands over
    them, and cracks her finger-joints against her own temples, in order
    to take all their ill luck upon herself.--_Bombay Gazetteer_, ix, part
    ii, 45.

[9] _Duli_: see p. 184.

[10] _Salgirah_ or _barasganth_, 'year-knot'.

[11] _Gardani_.

[12] P. 36.

[13] The Mahomedans are very keen on breeding pigeons in large numbers;
    they make them fly all together, calling out, whistling, and waving
    with a cloth fastened to the end of a stick, running and making
    signals from the terraced roofs, with a view of encouraging the
    pigeons to attack the flock of some one else.... Every owner is
    overjoyed in seeing his own pigeons the most dexterous in misleading
    their opponents.'--Manucci, _Storia do Mogor_, i. 107 f.

[14] _Mugdar_.

[15] _Rohu_, a kind of carp, _Labeo rohita_.

[16] The use of the bow and arrow has now disappeared in northern India,
    and survives only among some of the jungle tribes.

[17] A curious relic of the custom of cock-fighting at Lucknow survives in
    the picture by Zoffany of the famous match between the Nawab
    Asaf-ud-daula and Col. Mordaunt in 1786. The figures in the picture are
    portraits of the celebrities at the Court of Oudh, whose names are
    given by Smith, _Catalogue of British Mezzotint Portrait_, i. 273.

[18] _Bater, Coturnix communis_.

[19] Lucknow is now an important racing centre, and the Civil Service Cup
    for ponies has been won several times by native gentlemen.

[20] The feather or curl is one of the most important marks. If it faces
    towards the head, this is a horse to buy; if it points towards the
    tail, it is a 'female snake' (_sampan_), a bad blemish, as is a
    small star on the forehead. A curl at the bottom of the throat is very
    lucky, and cancels other blemishes. A piebald horse or one with five
    white points, a white face and four white stockings, is highly valued.
    The European who understands the rules can often buy an 'unlucky'
    horse at a bargain.

[21] _Dub, Cynodon Dactylon_.

[22] _Chadar._

[23] _Cicer arietinum_: the word comes from Port, _grão_, a grain.

[24] _Moth_, the aconite-leaved kidney-bean, _Phaseolus aconitifolius_.

[25] _Barsati_ from _barsat_, the rainy season; a pustular
    eruption breaking out on the head and fore parts of the body.

[26] The Native gentleman's charger, with his trained paces, his
    henna-stained crimson mane, tail, and fetlocks, is a picturesque sight
    now less common than it used to be.

[27] _Chita_, the hunting leopard. _Felis jubata_.

[28] _Mahawat_, originally meaning 'a high officer'.

[29] This specially applies to the Jain ascetics, who keep a brush to
    remove insects from their path, and cover their mouths with linen.

[30]  A common piece of imitative magic: as the bird flies away it carries
    the disease with it. The practice of releasing prisoners when the King
    or a member of his family was sick, or as a thanksgiving on recovery,
    was common.--Sleeman, _Journey_, ii. 41.

[31] This is incorrect. Imprisonment for debt is allowed by Muhammadan
    Law.--Hughes, _Dictionary of Islam_, 82.

[32] This gives a too favourable account of the administration of justice
    in Oudh. 'A powerful landlord during the Nawabi could evict a
    tenant, or enhance his rent, or take away his wife from him, or cut
    his head off, with as much, or as little, likelihood of being called
    to account by Na zim or Chakladar for one act as for another'
    (H.C. Irwin, _The Garden of India_, 258). Gen. Sleeman points out that
    Musalmans wore practically immune from the death penalty,
    particularly if they happened to kill a Sunni. A Hindu, consenting
    after conviction to become a Musalman, was also immune (_Journey
    Through Oudh_, i. 135). Executions used constantly to occur in Lucknow
    under Nasir-ud-din (W. Knighton, _Private Life of an Eastern
    King_, 104).



LETTER XVI

  Remarks on the trades and professions of Hindoostaun.--The
  Bazaars.--Naunbye (Bazaar cook).--The Butcher, and other
  trades.--Shroffs (Money-changers).--Popular cries in Native
  cities.--The articles enumerated and the venders of them
  described.--The Cuppers.--Leechwomen.--Ear-cleaners.--Old
  silver.--Pickles.--Confectionery.--Toys.--Fans.--Vegetables and
  fruit.--Mangoes.--Melons.--Melon-cyder.--Fish.--Bird-catcher.--The
  Butcher-bird, the Coel, and Lollah.--Fireworks.--Parched
  corn.--Wonder-workers.--Snakes.--Anecdote of the Moonshie and the
  Snake-catcher.--The Cutler.--Sour curds.--Clotted
  cream.--Butter.--Singular process of the Natives in making
  butter.--Ice.--How procured in India.--Ink.--All writing dedicated to
  God by the Mussulmauns.--The reverence for the name of God.--The
  Mayndhie and Sulmah.


The various trades of a Native city in Hindoostaun are almost generally
carried on in the open air. The streets are narrow, and usually unpaved;
the dukhauns[1] (shops) small, with the whole front open towards the
street; a tattie[2] of coarse grass forming an awning to shelter the
shopkeeper and his goods from the weather. In the long lines of dukhauns
the open fronts exhibit to the view the manufacturer, the artisan, the
vender, in every variety of useful and ornamental articles for general use
and consumption. In one may be seen the naunbye[3] (bazaar cook) basting
keebaubs[3] over a charcoal fire on the ground with one hand, and beating
off the flies with a bunch of date-leaves in the other; beside him may be
seen assistant cooks kneading dough for sheermaul[3] or other bread, or
superintending sundry kettles and cauldrons of currie, pillau, matunjun,[3]
&c., whilst others are equally active in preparing platters and trays, in
order to forward the delicacies at the appointed hour to some great
assembly.

The shop adjoining may probably be occupied by a butcher, his meat exposed
for sale in little lean morsels carefully separated from every vestige of
fat[4] or skin; the butcher's assistant is occupied in chopping up the
coarser pieces of lean meat into mince meat.[5] Such shops as these are
actually in a state of siege by the flies; there is, however, no remedy
for the butcher but patience; his customers always wash their meat before
it is cooked, so he never fails to sell even with all these disadvantages.
But it is well for the venders of more delicate articles when neither of
these fly-attracting emporiums are next door neighbours, or immediately
opposite; yet if it even should be so, the merchant will bear with
equanimity an evil he cannot control, and persuade his customers for
silver shoes or other ornamental articles, that if they are not tarnished
a fly spit or two cannot lessen their value.

The very next door to a working goldsmith may be occupied by a weaver of
muslin; the first with his furnace and crucible, the latter with his loom,
in constant employ. Then the snake-hookha manufacturer,[6] opposed to a
mixer of tobacco, aiding each other's trade in their separate articles.
The makers and venders of punkahs of all sorts and sizes, children's toys,
of earth, wood, or lakh; milk and cream shops; jewellers, mercers,
druggists selling tea, with other medicinal herbs. The bunyah[7]
(corn-dealer) with large open baskets of sugar and flour, whose whiteness
resembles each other so narrowly, that he is sometimes suspected of mixing
the two articles by mistake, when certain sediments in sherbet indicate
adulterated sugar.

It would take me too long were I to attempt enumerating all the varieties
exposed in a Native street of shops. It may be presumed these people make
no mystery of their several arts in manufacturing, by their choice of
situation for carrying on their trades. The confectioner, for instance,
prepares his dainties in despite of dust and flies, and pass by at what
hour of the day you please, his stoves are hot, and the sugar simmering
with ghee sends forth a savour to the air, inviting only to those who
delight in the delicacies he prepares in countless varieties.


The most singular exhibitions in these cities are the several shroffs[8]
(money-changers, or bankers), dispersed in every public bazaar, or line of
shops. These men, who are chiefly Hindoos, and whose credit may perhaps
extend throughout the continent of Asia for any reasonable amount, take
their station in this humble line of buildings, having on their right and
left, piles of copper coins and cowries.[9] These shroffs are occupied the
whole day in exchanging pice for rupees or rupees for pice, selling or
buying gold mohurs, and examining rupees; and to all such demands upon him
he is entitled to exact a regulated per centage, about half a pice in a
rupee. Small as this sum may seem yet the profits produce a handsome
remuneration for his day's attention, as many thousands of rupees may have
passed under his critical eye for examination, it being a common practice,
both with shopkeepers and individuals, to send their rupees to the shroff
for his inspection, always fearing imposition from the passers of base
coin. These shroffs transact remittances to any part of India by
hoondies,[10] which are equivalent to our bills of exchange, and on which
the usual demand is two and a half per cent at ninety days, if required
for any distant station.

The European order is here completely reversed, for the shopkeeper sits
whilst the purchasers are compelled to stand. The bazaar merchant is
seated on the floor of his dukhaun, near enough to the open front to
enable him to transact business with his customers, who, one and all,
stand in the street to examine the goods and to be served; let the weather
be bad or good, none are admitted within the threshold of the dukhaun. In
most places the shops are small, and look crowded with the articles for
sale, and those where manufactories are carried on have not space to spare
to their customers.

Very few gentlemen condescend to make their own purchases; they generally
employ their confidential domestic to go to market for them; and with the
ladies their women servants are deputed. In rich families it is an office
of great trust, as they expend large sums and might be much imposed upon
were their servants faithless. The servants always claim dustoor[11]
(custom) from the shopkeepers, of one pice for every rupee they lay out;
and when the merchants are sent for to the houses with their goods, the
principal servant in the family is sure to exact his dustoor from the
merchant; and this is often produced only after a war of words between the
crafty and the thrifty.

The diversity of cries from those who hawk about their goods and wares in
streets and roadways, is a feature in the general economy of the Natives
not to be overlooked in my brief description of their habits. The
following list of daily announcements by the several sonorous claimants on
the public attention, may not be unacceptable with their translated
accompaniments.

'Seepie wallah deelie sukha'[12] (Moist or dry cuppers).--Moist and dry
cupping is performed both by men and women; the latter are most in request.
They carry their instruments about with them, and traverse all parts of
the city. The dry cupping is effected by a buffalo's horn and resorted to
by patients suffering under rheumatic pains, and often in cases of fever,
when to lose blood is either inconvenient on account of the moon's age, or
not desirable by reason of the complaint or constitution of the patient.

'Jonk, or keerah luggarny wallie'[13] (The woman with leeches).--Women
with leeches attend to apply the required remedy, and are allowed to take
away the leeches after they have done their office. These women by a
particular pressure on the leech oblige it to disgorge the blood, when
they immediately place it in fresh water; by this practice the leeches
continue healthy, and may be brought to use again the following day if
required.

'Kaan sarf kerna wallah'[14] (Ear-cleaner).--The cleansing of ears is
chiefly performed by men, who collecting this article make great profits
from the sale of it, independent of the sums obtained from their employers.
It is the chief ingredient in use for intoxicating elephants previous to
the furious contests so often described as the amusement of Native Courts.

'Goatah chandnie bickhow'[15] (Sell your old silver trimmings).--The
several articles of silver trimmings are invariably manufactured of the
purest metal without any alloy, and when they have served their first
purposes the old silver procures its weight in current rupees.

'Tale kee archah wallah'[16] (Oil pickles).--The method of pickling in oil
is of all others in most request with the common people, who eat the
greasy substance as a relish to their bread and dhall. The mustard-oil
used in the preparation of this dainty is often preferred to ghee in
curries.

The better sort of people prefer water pickle, which is made in most
families during the hot and dry weather by a simple method; exposure to
the sun being the chemical process to the parboiled carrots, turnips,
radishes, &c., immersed in boiling water, with red pepper, green ginger,
mustard-seed, and garlic. The flavour of this water pickle is superior to
any other acid, and possesses the property of purifying the blood.

'Mittie wallah'[17] (Man with sweetmeats).--The many varieties of
sweetmeats, or rather confectionery, in general estimation with the
natives, are chiefly composed of sugar and ghee, prepared in countless
ways, with occasional additions of cocoa-nut, pistachias, cardimuns,
rose-water, &c., and constantly hawked about the streets on trays by men.

'Kallonie wallah'[18] (Man with toys).--Toys of every kind, of which no
country in the world I suppose exhibits greater variety, in wood, lakh,
uberuck[19] (tulk), paper, bamboo, clay, &c., are constantly cried in the
streets and roadways of a Native city.

'Punkah wallah'[20] (Vender of fans).--The punkahs are of all descriptions
in general use, their shape and material varying with taste and
circumstances, the general form resembling hand-screens: they are made for
common use of date-leaf, platted as the common mats are; some are formed
of a single leaf from the tor[21]-tree, large or small, the largest would
cover a tolerable sized round table; many have painted figures and devices,
and from their lightness may be waved by children without much labour. I
have seen very pretty punkahs made of sweet-scented flowers over a frame
of bamboo. This, however, is a temporary indulgence, as the flowers soon
lose their fragrance.

'Turkaaree', 'Mayvour'[22] (The first is vegetables; the last,
fruit).--Vegetables of every kind and many sorts of fruits are carried
about by men and women, who describe the name and quality of the articles
they have to sell. It would occupy too large a space to enumerate here the
several productions, indigenous and foreign, of the vegetable world in
India. The Natives in their cookery, use every kind of vegetable and fruit
in its unripe state. Two pounds of meat is in general all that is required
to form a meal for twenty people, and with this they will cook several
dishes by addition of as many different sorts of vegetables.

Herbs, or green leaves, are always denominated saag,[23] these are
produced at all seasons of the year, in many varieties; the more
substantial vegetables, as potatoes, turnips, carrots, &c., are called
turkaaree.

The red and green spinach is brought to the market throughout the year,
and a rich-flavoured sorrel, so delicious in curries, is cultivated in
most months. Green peas, or, indeed, vegetables in general, are never
served in the plain way in which we see them at our tables, but always in
stews or curries. The green mango is used invariably to flavour their
several dishes, and, at the proper season, they are peeled, cut, and dried
for the year's consumption. They dislike the acid of the lemon in their
stews, which is never resorted to when the green mango or tamarind can be
procured.

The fruits of India in general estimation with the Natives are the mango
and the melon. Mangoes are luscious and enticing fruit; the Natives eat
them to an excess when they have been some hours soaked in water, which,
they say, takes away from the fruit its detrimental quality; without this
preparatory precaution those who indulge in a feast of mango are subject
to fevers, and an increase of prickly heat, (a fiery irritable rash, which
few persons are exempt from, more or less, in the hot weather); even biles,
which equally prevail, are less troublesome to those persons who are
careful only to eat mangoes that have been well soaked in water. The
Natives have a practice, which is common among all classes, and therefore
worthy the notice of foreigners, of drinking milk immediately after eating
mangoes. It should be remembered that they never eat their fruit after
dinner, nor do they at any time indulge in wine, spirits, or beer.

The mango in appearance and flavour has no resemblance to any of the
fruits of England; they vary in weight from half an ounce to half a seer,
nearly a pound; the skin is smooth, tough, and of the thickness of leather,
strongly impregnated with a flavour of turpentine; the colour, when ripe,
is grass green, or yellow in many shades, with occasional tinges and
streaks of bright red; the pulp is as juicy as our wall-fruit, and the
kernel protected by a hard shell, to which fine strong silky fibres are
firmly attached. The kernel of the mango is of a hot and rather offensive
flavour; the poor people, however, collect it, and when dried grind it
into flour for bread, which is more wholesome than agreeable; in seasons
of scarcity, however, it is a useful addition to the then scanty means of
the lower orders of the people. The flavour of the fruit itself differs so
much, that no description can be given of the taste of a mango--even the
fruit of one tree vary in their flavour. A tope (orchard) of mango-trees
is a little fortune to the possessor, and when in bloom a luxurious resort
to the lovers of Nature.

The melon is cultivated in fields with great ease and little labour, due
care always being taken to water the plants in their early growth. The
varieties are countless, but the kind most esteemed, and known only in the
Upper Provinces, are called chitlahs,[24] from their being spotted green
on a surface of bright yellow; the skin is smooth and of the thickness of
that of an apple; the fruit weighing from half-a-pound to three pounds.
The flavour may be compared to our finest peaches, partaking of the same
moist quality, and literally melting in the mouth.

The juice of the melon makes a delicious cider; I once tried the
experiment with success. The Natives being prohibited from the use of all
fermented liquors, I was induced by that consideration to be satisfied
with the one experiment; but with persons who are differently situated the
practice might be pursued with very little trouble, and a rich beverage
produced, much more healthy than the usual arrack that is now distilled,
to the deterioration of the health and morals of the several classes under
the British rule, who are prone to indulge in the exhilarating draughts of
fermented liquors.

At present my list of the indigenous vegetables of India must be short; so
great, however, is the variety in Hindoostaun, both in their quality and
properties, and so many are the benefits derived from their several uses
in this wonderful country, that at some future time I may be induced to
follow, with humility, in the path trodden by the more scientific
naturalists who have laboured to enrich the minds of mankind by their
researches.

The natives are herbalists in their medical practice. The properties of
minerals are chiefly studied with the view to become the lucky discoverer
of the means of transmuting metals; seldom with reference to their
medicinal qualities. Quicksilver, however, in its unchanged state, is
sometimes taken to renew the constitution.[25] One gentleman, whom I well
knew, commenced with a single grain, increasing the number progressively,
until his daily close was the contents of a large table-spoon; he
certainly appeared to have benefited by the practice, for his appetite and
spirits were those of a man at thirty, when he had counted eighty years.

'Muchullee'[26] (Fish).--Fish of several kinds are caught in the rivers
and tanks; the flavour I can hardly describe, for, since I knew the
practice of the Hindoos of throwing their dead bodies into the rivers the
idea of fish as an article of food was too revolting to my taste. The
Natives, however, have none of these qualms; even the Hindoos enjoy a
currie of fish as a real delicacy, although it may be presumed some of
their friends or neighbours have aided that identical fish in becoming a
delicacy for the table.

There are some kinds of fish forbidden by the Mussulmaun law, which are,
of course, never brought to their kitchens, as the eel, or any other fish
having a smooth skin;[27] all sorts of shell-fish are likewise prohibited
by their code. Those fish which have scales are the only sort allowable to
them for food.

The rooey[28] is a large fish, and in Native families is much admired for
its rich flavour; the size is about that of a salmon, the shape that of a
carp; the flesh is white, and not unlike the silver mullet. The scales of
this fish are extremely useful; which, on a tolerable sized fish, are in
many parts as large as a crown-piece, and of a substance firmer than horn.
It is not uncommon to see a suit of armour formed of these scales, which,
they affirm, will turn the edge of the best metal, and from its lightness,
compared with the chain armour, more advantageous to the wearer, though
the appearance is not so agreeable to the eye.

'Chirryah wallah'[29] (Bird-man).--The bird-catcher cries his live birds
fresh caught from the jungles: they seldom remain long on hand. I have
before described the practice of letting off the birds, in cases of
illness, as propitiatory sacrifices. The Natives take delight in petting
talking-birds, minas and parrots particularly; and the bull-bull,[30] the
subzah,[31] and many others for their sweet songs.

The numberless varieties of birds I have seen in India, together with
their qualities, plumage, and habits, would occupy too much of my time at
present to describe. I will here only remark a few of the most singular as
they appeared to me. The butcher-bird,[32] so called from its habit, is
known to live on seeds; yet it caters for the mina and others of the
carnivorous feathered family, by collecting grasshoppers, which they
convey in the beak to the thorny bushes, and there fix them on sharp
thorns, (some of which are nearly two inches in length), and would almost
seem to have been formed by Nature for this use only. The mina[33] follows
his little friend's flight as if in the full assurance of the feast
prepared for him.

The coel[34] is a small black bird, of extreme beauty in make and plumage;
this bird's note is the harbinger of rain, and although one of the
smallest of the feathered race, it is heard at a considerable distance.[35]
The coel's food is simply the suction from the petals of sweet-scented
flowers.

The lollah,[36] known to many by the name of haverdewatt, is a beautiful
little creature, about one-third the size of a hedge sparrow. The great
novelty in this pretty bird is, that the spots of white on its brown
plumage change to a deep red at the approach of the rainy season; the
Natives keep them by dozens in cages with a religious veneration, as their
single note describes one of the terms in use to express an attribute of
the Almighty.

But enough--I must hasten to finish my list of popular cries by the Indian
pedlars, who roar out their merchandize and their calling to the inmates
of dwellings bounded by high walls, whose principal views of the works of
Nature and art are thus aided by those casual criers of the day.

'Artush-baajie'[37] (Fireworks).--Fireworks are considered here to be very
well made, and the Native style much extolled by foreigners; every year
they add some fresh novelty to their amusing pastime. They are hawked
about at certain seasons, particularly at the Holie[38] (a festival of the
Hindoos,) and the Shubh-burraat[39] of the Mussulmauns. Saltpetre being
very reasonable, fireworks are sold for a small price. Most of the
ingenious young men exercise their inventive powers to produce novelties
in fireworks for any great season of rejoicing in their families.

'Chubbaynee'[40] (Parched corn).--The corn of which we have occasionally
specimens in English gardens, known by the name of Indian corn, is here
used as a sort of intermediate meal, particularly amongst the labouring
classes, who cook but once a day, and that when the day's toil is over.
This corn is placed in a sort of furnace with sand, and kept constantly
moved about. By this process it is rendered as white as magnesia, crisp,
and of a sweet flavour; a hungry man could not eat more than half-a-pound
of this corn at once, yet it is not as nutritious as barley or wheat. I
have never heard that the Natives use this corn for making bread.

'Tumaushbeen'[41] (Wonder-workers).--This call announces the rope-dancers
and sleight-of-hand company; eating fire, swallowing pen-knives, spinning
coloured yarn through the nose, tricks with cups and balls, and all the
arts of the well-known jugglers. I have seen both men and women attached
to these travelling companies perform extraordinary feats of agility and
skill, also most surprising vaultings, by the aid of bamboos, and a
frightful method of whirling round on the top of a pole or mast. This pole
is from twenty to thirty feet high; on the top is a swivel hook, which
fastens to a loop in a small piece of wood tied fast to the middle of the
performer, who climbs the pole without any assistance, and catches the
hook to the loop; at first he swings himself round very gently, but
increasing gradually in swiftness, until the velocity is equal to that of
a wheel set in motion by steam. This feat is sometimes continued for ten
or fifteen minutes together, when his strength does not fail him; but it
is too frightful a performance to give pleasure to a feeling audience.

'Samp-wallah'[42] (Snake-catchers).--These men blow a shrill pipe in
addition to calling out the honourable profession of snake-catcher. I
fancy it is all pretence with these fellows; if they catch a snake on the
premises, it is probably one they have let loose secretly, and which they
have tutored to come and go at the signal given: they profess to draw
snakes from their hiding-place, and make a good living by duping the
credulous.

The best proof I can offer of the impositions practised by these men on
the weakness and credulity of their neighbours, may be conveyed in the
following anecdote, with which I have been favoured by a very intelligent
Mussulmaun gentleman, on whom the cheat was attempted during my residence
in his neighbourhood at Lucknow.

'Moonshie Sahib,[43] as he is familiarly called by his friends, was absent
from home on a certain day, during which period his wife and family
fancied they heard the frightful sound of a snake, apparently as if it was
very near to them in the compound (court-yard) of the zeenahnah. They were
too much alarmed to venture from the hall to the compound to satisfy
themselves or take steps to destroy the intruder if actually there. Whilst
in this state of mental torture it happened (as they thought very
fortunately) that a snake-catcher's shrill pipe was heard at no great
distance, to whom a servant was sent; and when the ladies had shut
themselves up securely in their purdahed apartment, the men servants were
desired to introduce the samp-wallahs into the compound, to search for and
secure this enemy to their repose.

'The snake-catcher made, to all appearance, a very minute scrutiny into
every corner or aperture of the compound, as if in search of the reptile's
retreat; and at last a moderate sized snake was seen moving across the
open space in an opposite direction to the spot they were intent on
examining. The greatest possible satisfaction was of course expressed by
the whole of the servants and slaves assembled; the lady of the house was
more than gratified at the reported success of "the charmers" and sent
proofs of her gratitude to the men in a sum of money, proportioned to her
sense of the service rendered on the occasion; the head samp-wallah placed
the snake in his basket, (they always carry a covered basket about with
them) and they departed well satisfied with the profits of this day's
employment.

'The Moonshie says, he returned home soon after, and listened to his
wife's account of the event of the morning, and her warm commendation of
the skilful samp-wallahs; but although the servants confirmed all the lady
had told her husband of the snake-charmers' diligence, still he could not
but believe that these idle fellows had practised an imposition on his
unwary lady by their pretended powers in charming the snake. But here it
rested for the time; he could not decide without an opportunity of
witnessing the samp-wallahs at their employment, which he resolved to do
the next convenient opportunity.

'As might have been anticipated, the very same snake-catcher and his
attendant returned to the Moonshie's gateway a very few days after their
former success; Moonshie Sahib was at home, and, concealing his real
intentions, he gave orders that the two men should be admitted; on their
entrance, he said to them, "You say you can catch snakes; now, friends, if
any of the same family remain of which you caught one the other day in
this compound, I beg you will have the civility to draw them out from
their hiding-places."[44]

'The Moonshie watched the fellows narrowly, that they might not have a
chance of escaping detection, if it was, as he had always suspected, that
the snakes are first let loose by the men, who pretend to attract them
from their hiding-places. The two men being bare-headed, and in a state of
almost perfect nudity (the common usage of the very lowest class of Hindoo
labourers), wearing only a small wrapper which could not contain, he
thought, the least of this class of reptiles, he felt certain there could
not now be any deception.

'The samp-wallah and his assistant, pretending to search every hole and
crevice of the compound, seemed busy and anxious in their employment,
which occupied them for a long time without success. Tired at last with
the labour, the men sat down on the ground to rest; the pipe was resorted
to, with which they pretend to attract the snake; this was, however,
sounded again and again, without the desired effect.

'From the apparent impossibility of any cheat being practised on him, the
Moonshie rather relaxed in his strict observance of the men: he had turned
his back but for an instant only, when the two fellows burst out in an
ecstasy of delight, exclaiming, "They are come! they are come!"--and on
the Moonshie turning quickly round, he was not a little staggered to find
three small snakes on the ground, at no great distance from the men, who,
he was convinced, had not moved from the place. They seemed to have no
dread of the reptiles, and accounted for it by saying they were
invulnerable to the snakes' venom; the creatures were then fearlessly
seized one by one by the men, and finally deposited in their basket.

'"They appear very tame," thought the Moonshie, as he observed the men's
actions: "I am outwitted at last, I believe, with all my boasted vigilance;
but I will yet endeavour to find them out.--Friend," said he aloud, "here
is your reward," holding the promised money towards the principal; "take
it, and away with you both; the snakes are mine, and I shall not allow you
to remove them hence."

'"Why, Sahib," replied the man, "what will you do with the creatures? they
cannot be worth your keeping; besides, it is the dustoor[45] (custom); we
always have the snakes we catch for our perquisite."--"It is of no
consequence to you, friend, how I may dispose of the snakes," said the
Moonshie; "I am to suppose they have been bred in my house, and having
done no injury to my people, I may be allowed to have respect for their
forbearance; at any rate, I am not disposed to part with these guests, who
could have injured me if they would."

'The principal samp-wallah, perceiving it was the Moonshie's intention to
detain the snakes, in a perfect agony of distress for the loss he was
likely to sustain, then commenced by expostulation, ending with threats
and abuse, to induce the Moonshie to give them up; who, for his part, kept
his temper within bounds, having resolved in his own mind not to be
outwitted a second time; the fellow's insolence and impertinent speeches
were, therefore, neither chastised nor resented. The samp-wallah strove to
wrest the basket from the Moonshie's strong grasp, without succeeding; and
when he found his duplicity was so completely exposed, he altered his
course, and commenced by entreaties and supplications, confessing at last,
with all humility, that the reptiles were his own well-instructed snakes
that he had let loose to catch again at pleasure. Then appealing to the
Moonshie's well-known charitable temper, besought him that the snakes
might be restored, as by their aid he earned his precarious livelihood.

'"That they are yours, I cannot doubt," replied the Moonshie, "and,
therefore, my conscience will not allow me to detain them from you; but
the promised reward I of course keep back. Your insolence and duplicity
deserve chastisement, nevertheless I promise to forgive you, if you will
explain to me how you managed to introduce these snakes."

'The man, thankful that he should escape without further loss or
punishment, showed the harmless snakes, which, it appears, had been
deprived of their fangs and poison, and were so well instructed and docile,
that they obeyed their keeper as readily as the best-tutored domestic
animal. They coiled up their supple bodies into the smallest compass
possible, and allowed their keeper to deposit them each in a separate bag
of calico, which was fastened under his wrapper, where it would have been
impossible, the Moonshie declares, for the quickest eye to discover that
anything was secreted.'

'Sickley ghur'[46] (Cutler and knife-grinder).--These most useful artisans
are in great request, polishing articles of rusty steel, giving a new edge
to the knives, scissors, razors, or swords of their employer, in a
masterly manner, for a very small price.

'Dhie cuttie'[47] (Sour curds).--This article is in great request by
scientific cooks, who use it in many of their dainty dishes. The method of
making sour curd is peculiarly Indian: it is made of good sweet milk, by
some secret process which I could never acquire, and in a few hours the
whole is coagulated to a curd of a sharp acidity, that renders it equally
useful with other acids in flavouring their curries. The Natives use it
with pepper, pounded green ginger, and the shreds of pumpkins or radishes,
as a relish to their savoury dishes, in lieu of chatnee; it is considered
cooling in its quality, and delicious as an accompaniment to their
favourite viands.

'Mullie'[48] (Clotted cream).---This article is much esteemed by the
Natives. I was anxious to know how clotted cream could be procured at
seasons when milk from the cow would be sour in a few hours, and am told
that the milk when brought in fresh from the dairy is placed over the fire
in large iron skillets; the skin (as we call it on boiled milk) is taken
off with a skimmer, and placed in a basket, which allows all the milk to
be drained from it; the skin again engendered on the surface is taken off
in the same way, and so they continue, watching and skimming until the
milk has nearly boiled away. This collection of skin is the clotted cream
of Hindoostaun.

'Mukhun'[49] (Butter).--Butter is very partially used by the Natives; they
use ghee, which is a sort of clarified butter, chiefly produced from the
buffalo's milk. The method of obtaining butter in India is singular to a
European. The milk is made warm over the fire, then poured into a large
earthen jar, and allowed to stand for a few hours. A piece of bamboo is
split at the bottom, and four small pieces of wood inserted as stretchers
to these splits. A leather strap is twisted over the middle of the bamboo,
and the butter-maker with this keeps the bamboo in constant motion; the
particles of butter swimming at the top are taken off and thrown into
water, and the process of churning is resumed; this method continues until
by the quantity collected, these nice judges have ascertained there is no
more butter remaining in the milk. When the butter is to be sold, it is
beaten up into round balls out of the water. When ghee is intended to be
made, the butter is simmered over a slow fire for a given time, and poured
into the ghee pot, which perhaps may contain the produce of the week
before they convey it to the market for sale; in this state the greasy
substance will keep good for months, but in its natural state, as butter,
the second day it is offensive to have it in the room, much less to be
used as an article of food.

'Burruff wallah'[50] (The man with ice).--The ice is usually carried about
in the evening, and considered a great indulgence by the Natives. The
ice-men bring round both iced creams, and sherbet ices, in many varieties;
some flavoured with oranges, pomegranates, pine-apple, rose-water, &c.

They can produce ices at any season, by saltpetre, which is here abundant
and procured at a small price; but strange as it may appear, considering
the climate, we have regular collections of ice made in January, in most
of the stations in the Upper Provinces, generally under the
superintendence of an English gentleman, who condescends to be the
comptroller. The expenses are paid by subscribers, who, according to the
value of their subscription, are entitled to a given quantity of ice, to
be conveyed by each person's servant from the deposit an hour before
day-break, in baskets made for the purpose well wadded with cotton and
woollen blankets; conveyed home, the basket is placed where neither air
nor light can intrude. Zinc bottles, filled with pure water, are placed
round the ice in the basket, and the water is thus cooled for the day's
supply, an indulgence of great value to the sojourners in the East.

The method of collecting ice is tedious and laborious, but where labour is
cheap and the hands plenty the attempt has always been repaid by the
advantages. As the sun declines, the labourers commence their work; flat
earthen platters are laid out, in exposed situations, in square
departments, upon dried sugar-cane leaves very lightly spread, that the
frosty air may pass inside the platters. A small quantity of water is
poured into the platter; as fast as they freeze their contents are
collected and conveyed, during the night, to the pit prepared for the
reception of ice. The rising sun disperses the labourers with the ice, and
they seek their rest by day, and return again to their employ; as the lion,
when the sun disappears, prowls out to seek his food from the bounty of
his Creator. The hoar frost seldom commences until the first of January,
and lasts throughout that month.

'Roshunie'[51] (Ink).---Ink, that most useful auxiliary in rendering the
thoughts of one mortal serviceable to his fellow-creatures through many
ages, is here an article of very simple manufacture. The composition is
prepared from lampblack and gum-arabic; how it is made, I have yet to
learn.

The ink of the Natives is not durable; with a wet sponge may be erased the
labour of a man's life. They have not yet acquired the art of printing,[52]
and as they still write with reeds instead of feathers, an ink, permanent
as our own, is neither agreeable nor desirable.

There is one beautiful trait in the habits of the Mussulmauns: when about
to write they not only make the prayer which precedes every important
action of their lives, but they dedicate the writing to God, by a
character on the first page, which, as in short-hand writing, implies the
whole sentence.[53] A man would be deemed heathenish amongst Mussulmauns,
who by neglect or accident omitted this mark on whatever subject he is
about to write.

Another of their habits is equally praiseworthy:--out of reverence for
God's holy name (always expressed in their letters) written paper to be
destroyed is first torn and then washed in water before the whole is
scattered abroad; they would think it a sinful act to burn a piece of
paper on which that Holy name has been inscribed. How often have I
reflected whilst observing this praiseworthy feature in the character of a
comparatively unenlightened people, on the little respect paid to the
sacred writings amongst a population who have had greater opportunities of
acquiring wisdom and knowledge.[54]

The culpable habit of chandlers in England is fresh in my memory, who
without a scruple tear up Bibles and religious works to parcel out their
pounds of butter and bacon, without a feeling of remorse on the sacrilege
they have committed.

How careless are children in their school-days of the sacred volume which
contains the word of God to His creatures. Such improper uses, I might say
abuses, of that Holy Book, would draw upon them the censure of a people
who have not benefited by the contents, but who nevertheless respect the
volume purely because it speaks the word 'of that God whom they worship'.

'Mayndhie' (A shrub).--The mayndhie and its uses have been so fully
explained in the letters on Mahurrum, that I shall here merely remark,
that the shrub is of quick growth, nearly resembling the small-leafed
myrtle; the Natives make hedge-rows of it in their grounds, the blossom is
very simple, and the shrub itself hardy: the dye is permanent.

'Sulmah.'[55]--A prepared permanent black dye, from antimony. This is used
with hair-pencils to the circle of the eye at the root of the eye-lashes
by the Native ladies and often by gentlemen, and is deemed both of service
to the sight and an ornament to the person. It certainly gives the
appearance of large eyes, if there can be any beauty in altering the
natural countenance, which is an absurd idea, in my opinion. Nature is
perfect in all her works; and whatever best accords with each feature of a
countenance I think she best determines; I am sure that no attempt to
disguise or alter Nature in the human face ever yet succeeded, independent
of the presumption in venturing to improve that which in His wisdom, the
Creator has deemed sufficient.

It would occupy my pages beyond the limits I can conveniently spare to the
subject, were I to pursue remarks on the popular cries of a Native city to
their fullest extent; scarcely any article that is vended at the bazaars,
but is also hawked about the streets. This is a measure of necessity
growing out of the state of Mussulmaun society, by which the females are
enabled to purchase at their own doors all that can be absolutely
requisite for domestic purposes, without the obligation of sending to the
markets or the shops, when either not convenient, or not agreeable. And
the better to aid both purchasers and venders, these hawkers pronounce
their several articles for sale, with voices that cannot fail to impress
the inhabitants enclosed within high walls, with a full knowledge of the
articles proclaimed without need of interpreters.


[1] _Dukan_.

[2] _Tatti_.

[3] See pp. 57, 173, 174.

[4] The fat of meat is never eaten by the Natives, who view our joints
of meat with astonishment, bordering on disgust. [_Author_.]

[5] Many Hindoostaunie dishes require the meat to be finely minced.
    [_Author_.]

[6] Known as _gargarasaz_.

[7] Baniya.

[8] _Sarraf_.

[9]: Cowries are small shells imported from the Eastern isles, which pass
    in India as current coin, their value fluctuating with the price of
    corn, from, sixty to ninety for one pice. [_Author_.]

[10] _Hundi_.

[11] _Dasturi_.

[12] _Sipiwala gila sukha_.

[13] _Jonk_, a leech; _kira_, a worm, _laganewali_.

[14] _Kan saf karnewala_: more usually _Kanmailiya,
    kan_, the ear; _maila_, dirt.

[15] _Gota, chandni bikau_, silver lace to sell! The dealer is
    _Gota, kinari farosh_.

[16] _Tel ka acharwala_.

[17] _Mithaiwala_.

[18] _Khilaunewala_.

[19] _Abrak_, talc.

[20] _Pankahwala_.

[21] _Tar_, the palmyra palm.

[22] _Tarkari, mewa_.

[23] _Sag_.

[24] _Chitra_, spotted, speckled.

[25] Quicksilver is used by Native physicians as the first of alternative
    tonics.

[26] _Machhli_.

[27] Being considered to be like snakes.

[28] _Rohu_, a kind of carp, _Labeo rohita_.

[29] _Chiryawala_.

[30] _Bulbul, Daulias hafizi_, the true Persian nightingale.

[31] _Sabza, sabzak_, green bird, usually a jay, _coracias_.

[32] A shrike, one of the _laniadae_.

[33] _Maina_, a starling, _Aeridotheres tristis_.

[34] The black cuckoo, _Eudynamys orientalis_.

[35] The note of the bird at night, detested by Anglo-Indians, gives it
    the name of the brain-fever bird.

[36] _Lal, Estrelda amandava_, the avadavat, is so called because it
    was brought to Europe from Ahmadabad.

[37] _Atishbazi_, fire-play.

[38] Holi, the spring festival of the Hindus, at which bonfires are
    lighted, coloured water thrown about, and much obscenity is practiced.

[39] See p. 161.

[40] _Chabena, chabeni_, what is munched or chewed (_chabna_).

[41] _Tamashawala: tamashabin_, a spectator of wonders.

[42] _Sampwala_.

[43] 'Mr. Secretary.'

[44] It is generally believed snakes do not live apart from their species;
    if one is destroyed in a house, a second is anticipated and generally
    discovered. [_Author_.]

[45] _Dastur, dasturi_, the percentage appropriated on purchase
    by servants.

[46] _Saiqalgar_, corrupted into _sikligar_, a polisher.

[47] _Dahi khatai_. There is no mystery about the preparation.
    Milk is boiled and soured by being poured into an earthen vessel in
    which curds have previously been kept. Sometimes, but less frequently,
    an acid or rennet is added to precipitate the solid ingredients of the
    milk.

[48] _Malai_.

[49] _Makkhan_.

[50] _Burfwala_.

[51] _Roshanai_, 'brightness', made of lampblack, gum-arabic, and
    aloe juice. Elaborate prescriptions are given by Jaffur Shurreef
    (_Qanoon-e-Islam_ 150 f.).

[52] Lithography and printing are now commonly done by natives.

[53] Letters usually begin with, the invocation,
    _Bi'-smi'illahi'r-rahmani'r-rahim_, 'In the name of Allah,
    the Compassionate, the Merciful.' The monogram 'I' is often
    substituted, as being the initial of Allah, and the first letter of
    the alphabet.

[54] If the Koran were wrapped in a skin and thrown into fire, it would
    not burn, say the Traditions (Hughes, _Dictionary of Islam_, 521).
    Compare the care taken by the Chinese to save paper on which writing
    appears (J.H. Gray, _China_, i. 178).

[55] _Surma_, a black ore of antimony, a tersulphide found in the
    Panjab, often confused by natives with galena, and most of that
    sold in bazars is really galena. It is used as a tonic to the nerves
    of the eye, and to strengthen the sight.



LETTER XVII

  Seclusion of Females.--Paadshah Begum.--The Suwaarree.--Female
  Bearers.--Eunuchs.--Rutts.--Partiality of the Ladies to Large
  retinues.--Female Companions.--Telling the Khaunie.--Games of the
  Zeenahnah.--Shampooing.--The Punkah.--Slaves and
  slavery.--Anecdote.--The Persian Poets.--Fierdowsee.--Saadie, his
  'Goolistaun'.--Haafiz.--Mahumud Baarkur.--'Hyaatool
  Kaaloob'.--Different manner of pronouncing Scripture names...Page 248


The strict seclusion which forms so conspicuous a feature in the female
society of the Mussulmauns in India, renders the temporary migration of
ladies from their domicile an event of great interest to each individual
of the zeenahnah, whether the mistress or her many dependants be
considered.

The superior classes seldom quit their habitation but on the most
important occasions; they, therefore, make it a matter of necessity to
move out in such style as is most likely to proclaim their exalted station
in life. I cannot, perhaps, explain this part of my subject better than by
giving a brief description of the suwaarree[1] (travelling retinue) of the
Paadshah Begum[2] which passed my house at Lucknow on the occasion of her
visit to the Durgah of Huzerut Abas Ali Kee, after several years strictly
confining herself to the palace.

By Paadshah is meant 'King';--Begum, 'Lady.' The first wife of the King is
distinguished by this title from every other he may have married; it is
equivalent to that of 'Queen' in other countries. With this title the
Paadshah Begum enjoys also many other marks of royal distinction; as, for
instance, the dunkah (kettle-drums) preceding her suwaarree; a privilege,
I believe, never allowed by the King to any other female of his family.
The embroidered chattah (umbrella); the afthaadah (embroidered sun); and
chowries of the peacock's feathers, are also out-of-door distinctions
allowed only to this lady and the members of the royal family. But to my
description:--

First, in the Paadshah Begum's suwaarree I observed a guard of cavalry
soldiers in full dress, with their colours unfurled; these were followed
by two battalions of infantry, with their bands of music and colours. A
company of spearmen on foot, in neat white dresses and turbans, their
spears of silver, rich and massive. Thirty-six men in white dresses and
turbans, each having a small triangular flag of crimson silk, on which
were embroidered the royal arms (two fish and a dirk of a peculiar shape).
The staffs of these flags are of silver, about three feet long; in the
lower part of the handle a small bayonet is secreted, which can be
produced at will by pressure on a secret spring. Next followed a full band
of music, drums, fifes, &c.; then the important dunkah, which announces to
the public the lady's rank: she is enclosed within the elevated towering
chundole, on each side of which the afthaadah and chowries are carried by
well-dressed men, generally confidential servants, appointed to this
service.

The chundole is a conveyance resembling a palankeen, but much larger and
more lofty; it is, in fact, a small silver room, six feet long, five broad,
and four feet high, supported by the aid of four silver poles on the
shoulders of twenty bearers. These bearers are relieved every quarter of a
mile by a second set in attendance: the two sets change alternately to the
end of the journey. The bearers are dressed in a handsome royal livery of
white calico made to sit close to the person; over which are worn scarlet
loose coats of fine English broad-cloth, edged and bordered with gold
embroidery: on the back of the coat a fish is embroidered in gold. Their
turbans correspond in colour with the coats; on the front of the turban is
fixed diagonally a fish of wrought gold, to the tail of which a rich gold
tassel is attached; this readies to the shoulder of the bearer, and gives
a remarkable air of grandeur to the person.

The chundole is surrounded by very powerful women bearers, whose business
it is to convey the vehicle within the compound (court-yard) of the
private apartments, or wherever men are not admitted at the same time with
females. Chobdhaars and soota-badhaars walk near the chundole carrying
gold and silver staffs or wands, and vociferating the rank and honours of
the lady they attend with loud voices the whole way to and from the Durgah.
These men likewise keep off the crowds of beggars attracted on such
occasions by the known liberality of the ladies, who, according to
established custom, make distributions to a large amount, which are
scattered amongst the populace by several of the Queen's eunuchs, who walk
near the chundole for that purpose.

The chief of the eunuchs followed the Queen's chundole on an elephant,
seated in a gold howdah; the trappings of which were of velvet, richly
embroidered in gold; the eunuch very elegantly dressed in a suit of
gold-cloth, a brilliant turban, and attired in expensive shawls. After the
eunuch, follow the Paadshah Begum's ladies of quality, in covered
palankeens, each taking precedence according to the station or the favour
she may enjoy; they are well guarded by soldiers, spearmen, and chobdhaars.
Next in the train, follow the several officers of the Queen's household,
on elephants, richly caparisoned. And, lastly, the women of inferior rank
and female slaves, in rutts (covered carriages) such as are in general use
throughout India. These rutts are drawn by bullocks, having bells of a
small size strung round their neck, which as they move have a novel and
not unpleasing sound, from the variety of tones produced. The rutt is a
broad-wheeled carriage, the body and roof forming two cones, one smaller
than the other, covered with scarlet cloth, edged, fringed, and bordered
with gold or amber silk trimmings. The persons riding in rutts are seated
on cushions placed flat on the surface of the carriage (the Asiatic style
of sitting at all times) and not on raised seats, the usual custom in
Europe. The entrance to these rutts is from the front, like the tilted
carts of England, where a thick curtain of corresponding colour and
material conceals the inmates from the public gaze; a small space is left
between this curtain and the driver, where one or two women servants are
seated as guards, who are privileged by age and ugliness to indulge in the
liberty of seeing the passing gaiety, and of enjoying, without a screen,
the pure air; benefits which their superiors in rank are excluded from at
all ages.

In the Paadshah Begum's suwaarree, I counted fifty of these Native
carriages, into each of which from four to six females are usually crowded,
comprising the members of the household establishment of the great lady;
such as companions, readers of the Khoraum, kaawauses[3] (the higher
classes of female-slaves), muggalanie[4] (needle-women), &c. This will
give you a tolerable idea of the number and variety of females attached to
the suite of a lady of consequence in India. The procession, at a walking
pace, occupied nearly half an hour in passing the road opposite to my
house: it was well conducted, and the effect imposing, both from its
novelty and splendour.

A lady here would be the most unhappy creature existing, unless surrounded
by a multitude of attendants suitable to her rank in life. They have often
expressed surprise and astonishment at my want of taste in keeping only
two women servants in my employ, and having neither a companion nor a
slave in my whole establishment; they cannot imagine anything so stupid as
my preference to a quiet study, rather than the constant bustle of a
well-filled zeenahnah.

Many of the Mussulmaun ladies entertain women companions, whose chief
business is to tell stories and fables to their employer, while she is
composing herself to sleep; many of their tales partake of the romantic
cast which characterizes the well-remembered 'Arabian Nights'
Entertainments', one story begetting another to the end of the collection.
When the lady is fairly asleep the story is stayed, and the companion
resumes her employment when the next nap is sought by her mistress.

Amongst the higher classes the males also indulge in the same practice of
being talked to sleep by their men slaves; and it is a certain
introduction with either sex to the favour of their employer, when one of
these dependants has acquired the happy art of 'telling the khaunie'[5]
(fable) with an agreeable voice and manner. The more they embellish a tale
by flights of their versatile imaginations, so much greater the merit of
the rehearser in the opinion of the listeners.

The inmates of zeenahnahs occasionally indulge in games of chance: their
dice are called chowsah (four sides), or chuhsah[6] (six sides); these
dice are about four inches long and half an inch thick on every side,
numbered much in the same way as the European dice. They are thrown by the
hand, not from boxes, and fall lengthways.

They have many different games which I never learned, disliking such modes
of trifling away valuable time; I am not, therefore, prepared to describe
them accurately. One of their games has a resemblance to draughts, and is
played on a chequered cloth carpet, with red and white ivory cones.[7]
They have also circular cards, six suits to a pack, very neatly painted,
with which they play many (to me) indescribable games; but oftener, to
their credit be it said, for amusement than for gain. The gentlemen,
however, are not always equally disinterested; they frequently play for
large sums of money. I do not, however, find the habit so general with the
Natives as it is with Europeans. The religious community deem all games of
chance unholy, and therefore incompatible with their mode of living. I am
not aware that gaming is prohibited by their law in a direct way,[8] but
all practices tending to covetousness are strictly forbidden; and, surely,
those who can touch the money called 'winnings' at any game, must be more
or less exposed to the accusation of desiring other men's goods.

Shampooing has been so often described as to leave little by way of
novelty for me to remark on the subject; it is a general indulgence with
all classes in India, whatever may be their age or circumstances. The
comfort derived from the pressure of the hands on the limbs, by a clever
shampooer, is alone to be estimated by those who have experienced the
benefits derived from this luxurious habit, in a climate where such
indulgences are needed to assist in creating a free circulation of the
blood, which is very seldom induced by exercise as in more Northern
latitudes. Persons of rank are shampooed by their slaves during the hours
of sleep, whether it be by day or by night; if through any accidental
circumstance the pressure is discontinued, even for a few seconds only,
the sleep is immediately broken: such is the power of habit.

The punkah (fan) is in constant use by day and night, during eight months
of the year. In the houses of the Natives, the slaves have ample
employment in administering to the several indulgences which their ladies
require at their hands; for with them fixed punkahs have not been
introduced into the zeenahnah:[9] the only punkah in their apartments is
moved by the hand, immediately over or in front of the person for whose
use it is designed. In the gentlemen's apartments, however, and in the
houses of all Europeans, punkahs are suspended from the ceiling, to which
a rope is fastened and passed through an aperture in the wall into the
verandah, where a man is seated who keeps it constantly waving, by pulling
the rope, so that the largest rooms, and even churches, are filled with
wind, to the great comfort of all present.

The female slaves, although constantly required about the lady's person,
are nevertheless tenderly treated, and have every proper indulgence
afforded them. They discharge in rotation the required duties of their
stations, and appear as much the objects of the lady's care as any other
people in her establishment. Slavery with them is without severity; and in
the existing state of Mussulmaun society, they declare the women slaves to
be necessary appendages to their rank and respectability. The liberal
proprietors of slaves give them suitable matches in marriage when they
have arrived at a proper age, and even foster their children with the
greatest care; often granting them a salary, and sometimes their freedom,
if required to make them happy. Indeed, generally speaking the slaves in a
Mussulmaun's house must be vicious and unworthy, who are not considered
members of the family.

It is an indisputable fact that the welfare of their slaves is an object
of unceasing interest with their owners, if they are really good
Mussulmauns; indeed, it is second only to the regard which they manifest
to their own children.

Many persons have been known, in making their will, to decree the liberty
of their slaves. They are not, however, always willing to accept the boon.
'To whom shall I go?'--'Where shall I meet a home like my master's house?'
are appeals that endear the slave to the survivors of the first proprietor,
and prove that their bondage has not been a very painful one. It is an
amiable trait of character amongst the Mussulmauns, with whom I have been
intimate, and which I can never forget, that the dependence of their
slaves is made easy; that they enjoy every comfort compatible with their
station; and that their health, morals, clothing, and general happiness,
are as much attended to as that of their own relatives. But slavery is a
harsh term between man and man, and however mitigated its state, is still
degrading to him. I heartily trust there will be a time when this badge of
disgrace shall be wiped away from every human being. He that made man,
designed him for higher purposes than to be the slave of his fellow-mortal;
but I should be unjust to the people of India, if I did not remark, that
having the uncontrolled power in their hands, they abstain from the
exercise of any such severity as has disgraced the owners of slaves in
other places, where even the laws have failed to protect them from cruelty
and oppression. Indeed, wherever an instance has occurred of unfeeling
conduct towards these helpless beings, the most marked detestation has
invariably been evinced towards the authors by the real Mussulmaun.

I have heard of a very beautiful female slave who had been fostered by a
Native lady of high rank, from her infancy. In the course of time, this
female had arrived to the honour of being made the companion of her young
master, still, however, by her Begum's consent, residing with her lady,
who was much attached to her. The freedom of intercourse, occasioned by
the slave's exaltation, had the effect of lessening the young creature's
former respect for her still kind mistress, to whom she evinced some
ungrateful returns for the many indulgences she had through life received
at her hands. The exact nature of her offences I never heard, but it was
deemed requisite, for the sake of example in a house where some hundreds
of female slaves were maintained, that the lady should adopt some such
method of testifying her displeasure towards this pretty favourite, as
would be consistent with her present elevated station. A stout silver
chain was therefore made, by the Begum's orders, and with this the slave
was linked to her bedstead a certain number of hours every day, in the
view of the whole congregated family of slaves. This punishment would be
felt as a degradation by the slave; not the confinement to her bedstead,
where she would perhaps have seated herself from choice, had she not been
in disgrace.

'Once a slave, and always a slave,' says Fierdowsee the great poet of
Persia; but this apophthegm was in allusion to the 'mean mind' of the King
who treated him scurvily after his immense labour in that noble work, 'The
Shah Namah.' I have a sketch of Fierdowsee's life, which my husband
translated for me; but I must forbear giving it here, as I have heard the
whole work itself is undergoing a translation by an able Oriental scholar,
who will doubtless do justice both to 'The Shah Namah' and the character
of Fierdowsee, who is in so great estimation with the learned Asiatics.[10]

The Mussulmauns quote their favourite poets with much the same freedom
that the more enlightened nations are wont to use with their famed authors.
The moral precepts of Saadie[11] are often introduced with good effect,
both in writing and speaking, as beacons to the inexperienced.

Haafiz[12] has benefited the Mussulmaun world by bright effusions of
genius, which speak to successive generations the wonders of his
extraordinary mind. He was a poet of great merit; his style is esteemed
superior to the writers of any other age; and, notwithstanding the world
is rich with the beauties of his almost inspired mind, yet, strange as it
may appear, he never compiled a single volume. Even in the age in which he
lived his merit as a poet was in great estimation; but he never thought of
either benefit or amusement to the world or to himself beyond the present
time. He wrote the thoughts of his inspired moments on pieces of broken
pitchers or pans, with charcoal; some of his admirers were sure to follow
his footsteps narrowly, and to their vigilance in securing those scraps
strewed about, wherever Haafiz had made his sojourn, may to this day be
ascribed the benefit derived by the public from his superior writings.
Saadie, however, is the standard favourite of all good Mussulmauns; his
'Goolistaun'[13] (Garden of Roses), is placed in the hands of every youth
when consigned to the dominion of a master, as being the most worthy book
in the Persian language for his study, whether the beauty of his diction
or the morality of his subjects be considered.

The 'Hyaatool Kaaloob'[14] (Enlightener of the Heart), is another Persian
work, in prose, by Mirza Mahumud Baakur, greatly esteemed by the learned
Mussulmauns. This work contains the life and acts of every known prophet
from the Creation, including also Mahumud and the twelve Emaums. The
learned Maulvee, it appears, first wrote it in the Arabic language, but
afterwards translated it into Persian, with the praiseworthy motive of
rendering his invaluable work available to those Mussulmauns who were not
acquainted with Arabic.

I have some extracts from this voluminous work, translated for me by my
husband, which interested me on account of the great similarity to our
Scripture history; and if permitted at some future time, I propose
offering them to the public in our own language, conceiving they may be as
interesting to others as they have been to me.

The Persian and Arabic authors, I have remarked, substitute Y for J in
Scripture names; for instance, Jacob and Joseph are pronounced Yaacoob and
Yeusuf.[15] They also differ from us in some names commencing with A, as
in Abba, which they pronounce Ubba (Father); for Amen, they say Aameen[16]
(the meaning strictly coinciding with ours); for Aaron, Aaroon; for Moses,
Moosa.[17] I am told by those who are intimate with both languages, that
there is a great similarity between the Hebrew and Arabic. The passage in
our Scripture 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabaethani,' was interpreted to me by an
Arabic scholar, as it is rendered in that well-remembered verse in the
English translation.


[1] _Sawari_.

[2] The Padshah Begam was the widow of Ghazi-ud-din Haidar,
    King of Oudh. On his death, in 1837, she contrived a plot to place his
    putative son, Munna Jan, on the throne. After a fierce struggle in
    the palace, the revolt was suppressed by the Resident, Colonel Low,
    and his assistants, Captains Paton and Shakespear. The pair were
    confined in the Chunar Fort till their deaths. See the graphic
    narrative by Gen. Sleeman (_Journey Through Oudh_, ii. 172 ff.); also
    H.C. Irwin (_The Garden of India_, 127 f.); Mrs. F. Parks (_Wanderings
    of a Pilgrim_, ii. 114).

[3] _Khawass_, 'distinguished': special attendants.

[4] _Mughlani_, a Moghul woman: an attendant in a zenana, a
    sempstress.

[5] _Kahani_.

[6] _Chausa, chhahsa_, not to be found in Platt's _Hindustani
    Dictionary_.

[7] The game of Pachisi, played on a cloth marked in squares: see
    _Bombay Gazetteer_, ix, part ii, 173.

[8] Gambling is one of the greater sins.--Sale, _Koran: Preliminary
    Discourse_, 89; Sells, _Faith of Islam_, 155.

[9] Fixed punkahs were introduced early in the nineteenth century.--Yule,
    _Hobson-Jobson_, 744.

[10] Firdausi, author of the Shahnama, died A.D. 1020 or 1025,
    aged 89 years. An abridged translation, to which reference is made, by
    J. Atkinson, was published in 1832. It has since been translated by
    A.G. and E. Warner (1905), and by A. Rogers (1907).

[11] Shaikh Sa'di, born at Shiraz A.D. 1175, died 1292, aged 120
    lunar years. His chief works are the _Gulistan_ and the _Bostan_.

[12] Khwaja Hafiz, Shams-ud-din Muhammad, author of the
    Diwan Hafiz, died at Shiraz A.D. 1389, where his tomb at
    Musalla is the scene of pilgrimage; see E.G. Browne, _A Year amongst
    the Persians_, 280 f.

[13] _Gulistan_.

[14] See p. 77.

[15] Ya'qub, Yusuf.

[16] _Amin_.

[17] Harun, Musa.



LETTER XVIII

  Evils attending a residence in India.--Frogs.--Flies.--Blains.--
  Musquitoes.--The White Ant.--The Red Ant.--Their destructive
  habits.--A Tarantula.--Black Ants.--Locusts.--Superstition of the
  Natives upon their appearance.--The Tufaun, or Haundhie
  (tempest).--The rainy season.--Thunder and lightning.--Meteors.--
  Earthquakes.--A city ruined by them.--Reverence of the Mussulmauns
  for saints.--Prickly heat.--Cholera Morbus.--Mode of
  Treatment.--Temperance the best remedy.--Recipe.


A residence in India, productive as it may be (to many) of pecuniary
benefits, presents, however, a few inconveniences to Europeans independent
of climate,--which, in the absence of more severe trials, frequently
become a source of disquiet, until habit has reconciled, or reflection
disposed the mind to receive the mixture of evil and good which is the
common lot of man in every situation of life. I might moralise on the duty
of intelligent beings suffering patiently those trials which human
ingenuity cannot avert, even if this world's happiness were the only
advantage to be gained; but when we reflect on the account we have to give
hereafter, for every thought, word, or action, I am induced to believe,
the well-regulated mind must view with dismay a retrospect of the past
murmurings of which it has been guilty. But I must bring into view the
trials of patience which our countrymen meet while in India, to those who
have neither witnessed nor [Transcriber's note: illegible] them; many of
them present slight, but living, op[Transcriber's note: illegible] those
evils with which the Egyptians were visited for their impiety to Heaven.

Frogs, for instance, harmless as these creatures are in their nature,
occasion no slight inconvenience to the inhabitants of India. They enter
their house in great numbers and, without much care, would make their way
to the beds, as they do to the chambers; the croaking during the rainy
season is almost deafening, particularly towards the evening and during
the night. Before the morning has well dawned, these creatures creep into
every open doorway, and throughout the day secrete themselves under the
edges of mattings and carpets, to the annoyance of those who have an
antipathy to these unsightly looking creatures.

The myriads of flies which fill the rooms, and try the patience of every
observer of nice order in an English establishment, may bear some likeness
to the plague which was inflicted on Pharaoh and his people, as a
punishment for their hardness of heart. The flies of India have a property
not common to those of Europe, but very similar to the green fly of Spain:
when bruised, they will raise a blister on the skin, and, I am told, are
frequently made use of by medical gentlemen as a substitute for the
Spanish fly.[1]

If but one wing or leg of a fly is by any accident dropped into the food
of an individual, and swallowed, the consequence is an immediate
irritation of the stomach, answering the purpose of a powerful emetic. At
meals the flies are a pest, which most people say they abhor, knowing the
consequences of an unlucky admission into the stomach of the smallest
particle of the insect. Their numbers exceed all calculation; the table is
actually darkened by the myriads, particularly in the season of the
periodical rains. The Natives of India use muslin curtains suspended from
the ceiling of their hall at meal times, which are made very full and long,
so as to enclose the whole dinner party and exclude their tormentors.

The biles or blains, which all classes of people in India are subject to,
may be counted as amongst the catalogue of Pharaoh's plagues. The most
healthy and the most delicate, whether Europeans or Natives, are equally
liable to be visited by these eruptions, which are of a painful and
tedious nature. The causes inducing these biles no one, as yet, I believe,
has been able to discover, and therefore a preventive has not been found.
I have known people who have suffered every year from these attacks, with
scarce a day's intermission during the hot weather.[2]

The musquitoes, a species of gnat, tries the patience of the public in no
very measured degree; their malignant sting is painful, and their attacks
incessant; against which there is no remedy but patience, and a good gauze
curtain to the beds. Without some such barrier, foreigners could hardly
exist; certainly they never could enjoy a night's repose. Even the mere
buzzing of musquitoes is a source of much annoyance to Europeans: I have
heard many declare the bite was not half so distressing as the sound. The
Natives, both male and female, habitually wrap themselves up so entirely
in their chuddah[3] (sheet) that they escape from these voracious insects,
whose sounds are so familiar to them that it may be presumed they lull to,
rather than disturb their sleep.

The white ant is a cruel destroyer of goods: where it has once made its
domicile, a real misfortune may be considered to have visited the house.
They are the most destructive little insects in the world doing as much
injury in one hour as a man might labour through a long life to redeem.
These ants, it would seem, have no small share of animosity to ladies'
finery, for many a wardrobe have they demolished, well filled with
valuable dresses and millinery, before their vicinity has even been
suspected, or their traces discovered. They destroy beams in the roofs of
houses, chests of valuable papers, carpets, mats, and furniture, with a
dispatch which renders them the most formidable of enemies, although to
appearance but a mean little insect.

There is one season of the year when they take flight, having four
beautiful transparent wings; this occurs during the periodical rains, when
they are attracted by the lights of the houses, which they enter in
countless numbers, filling the tables, and whilst flitting before the
lights disencumber themselves of their wings. They then become, to
appearance, a fat maggot, and make their way to the floors and walls,
where it is supposed they secrete themselves for a season, and are
increasing in numbers whilst in this stage of existence. At the period of
their migration in search of food, they will devour any perishable
materials within their reach. It is probable, however, that they first
send out scouts to discover food for the family, for the traces of white
ants are discovered by a sort of clay-covered passage, formed as they
proceed on their march in almost a direct line, which often extends a
great distance from their nest.

To mark the economy of ants has sometimes formed a part of my amusements
in Hindoostaun.[4] I find they all have wings at certain seasons of the
year; and more industrious little creatures cannot exist than the small
red ants, which are so abundant in India. I have watched them at their
labours for hours without tiring; they are so small that from eight to
twelve in number labour with great difficulty to convey a grain of wheat
or barley; yet these are not more than half the size of a grain of English
wheat. I have known them to carry one of these grains to their nest at a
distance of from six hundred to a thousand yards; they travel in two
distinct lines over rough or smooth ground, as it may happen, even up and
down steps, at one regular pace. The returning unladen ants invariably
salute the burthened ones, who are making their way to the general
storehouse; but it is done so promptly that the line is neither broken nor
their progress impeded by the salutation.

I was surprised one morning in my breakfast parlour to discover something
moving slowly up the wall; on approaching near to examine what it was, I
discovered a dead wasp, which the khidmutghar[5] (footman) had destroyed
with his chowrie during breakfast, and which, falling on the floor, had
become the prize of my little friends (a vast multitude), who were
labouring with their tiny strength to convey it to their nest in the
ceiling. The weight was either too great, or they had quarrelled over the
burthen,--I know not which,--but the wasp fell to the ground when they had
made more than half the journey of the wall; the courageous little
creatures, however, were nothing daunted, they resumed their labour, and
before evening their prize was safely housed.

These ants are particularly fond of animal food. I once caught a tarantula;
it was evening, and I wished to examine it by daylight. I placed it for
this purpose in a recess of the wall, under a tumbler, leaving just
breathing room. In the morning I went to examine my curiosity, when to my
surprise it was dead and swarming with red ants, who had been its
destroyers, and were busily engaged in making a feast on the (to them)
huge carcass of the tarantula.

These small creatures often prove a great annoyance by their nocturnal
visits to the beds of individuals, unless the precaution be taken of
having brass vessels, filled with water, to each of the bed-feet; the only
method of effectually preventing their approach to the beds. I was once
much annoyed by a visit from these bold insects, when reclining on a couch
during the extreme heat of the day. I awoke by an uneasy sensation from
their bite or sting about my ears and face, and found they had assembled
by millions on my head; the bath was my immediate resource. The Natives
tell me these little pests will feed on the human body if they are not
disturbed: when any one is sick there is always great anxiety to keep them
away.

The large black ant is also an enemy to man; its sharp pincers inflict
wounds of no trifling consequence; it is much larger than the common fly,
has long legs, is swift of foot, and feeds chiefly on animal substances. I
fancy all the ant species are more or less carnivorous, but strictly
epicurean in their choice of food, avoiding tainted or decomposed
substances with the nicest discrimination. Sweetmeats are alluring to them;
there is also some difficulty in keeping them from jars of sugar or
preserves; and when swallowed in food, are the cause of much personal
inconvenience.

I have often witnessed the Hindoos, male and female, depositing small
portions of sugar near ants' nests, as acts of charity to commence the day
with;[6] and it is the common opinion with the Natives generally, that
wherever the red ants colonize prosperity attends the owners of that house.
They destroy the white ants, though the difference in their size is as a
grain of sand to a barley-corn; and on that account only may be viewed
rather as friends than enemies to man, provided by the same Divine source
from whence all other benefits proceed.

The locusts, so familiar by name to the readers of Scripture, are here
seen to advantage in their occasional visits. I had, however, been some
years in India before I was gratified by the sight of these wonderful
insects; not because of their rarity, as I had frequently heard of their
appearance and ravages, but not immediately in the place where I was
residing, until the year 1825, which the following memorandum made at the
time will describe.

On the third of July, between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, I
observed a dusky brown cloud bordering the Eastern horizon, at the
distance of about four miles from my house, which stands on an elevated
situation; the colour was so unusual that I resolved on inquiring from my
oracle, Meer Hadjee Shaah, to whom I generally applied for elucidations of
the remarkable, what such an appearance portended. He informed me it was a
flight of locusts.

I had long felt anxious to witness those insects, that had been the food
of St. John in the Desert, and which are so familiar by name from their
frequent mention in Scripture; and now that I was about to be gratified, I
am not ashamed to confess my heart bounded with delight, yet with an
occasional feeling of sympathy for the poor people, whose property would
probably become the prey of this devouring cloud of insects before the
morning's dawn. Long before they had time to advance, I was seated in an
open space in the shade of my house to watch them more minutely. The first
sound I could distinguish was as the gentlest breeze, increasing as the
living cloud approached; and as they moved over my head, the sound was
like the rustling of the wind through the foliage of many pepul-trees.[7]

It was with a feeling of gratitude that I mentally thanked God at the time
that they were a stingless body of insects, and that I could look on them
without the slightest apprehension of injury. Had this wondrous cloud of
insects been the promised locust described in the Apocalypse, which shall
follow the fifth angel's trumpet; had they been hornets, wasps, or even
the little venomous musquito, I had not then dared to retain my position
to watch with eager eyes the progress of this insect family as they
advanced, spreading for miles on every side with something approaching the
sublime, and presenting a most imposing spectacle. So steady and orderly
was their pace, having neither confusion nor disorder in their line of
march through the air, that I could not help comparing them to the
well-trained horses of the English cavalry.[8] 'Who gave them this order
in their flight?' was in my heart and on my tongue.

I think the main body of this army of locusts must have occupied thirty
minutes in passing over my head, but my attention was too deeply engrossed
to afford me time to consult my time-piece. Stragglers there were many,
separated from the flight by the noises made by the servants and people to
deter them from settling; some were caught, and, no doubt, converted into
currie for a Mussulmaun's meal. They say it is no common delicacy, and is
ranked among the allowed animal food.

The Natives anticipate earthquakes after the visitation or appearance of
locusts. They are said to generate in mountains, but I cannot find any one
here able to give me an authentic account of their natural history.

On the 18th of September, 1825, another flight of these wonderful insects
passed over my house in exactly a contrary direction from those which
appeared in July, viz. from the West towards the East. The idea struck me
that they might be the same swarm, returning after fulfilling the object
of their visit to the West: but I have no authority on which to ground my
supposition. The Natives have never made natural history even an amusement,
much less a study, although their habits are purely those of Nature; they
know the property of most herbs, roots, and flowers, which they cultivate,
not for their beauty, but for the benefit they render to man and beast.[9]

I could not learn that the flight had rested anywhere near Futtyghur, at
which place I was then living. They are of all creatures the most
destructive to vegetation, licking with their rough tongue the blades of
grass, the leaves of trees, and green herbage of all kinds. Wherever they
settle for the night, vegetation is completely destroyed; and a day of
mournful consequences is sure to follow their appearance in the poor
farmer's fields of green com.

But that which bears the most awful resemblance to the visitations of God's
wrath on Pharaoh and the Egyptians, is, I think, the frightful storm of
wind which brings thick darkness over the earth at noonday, and which
often occurs from the Tufaun or Haundhie,[10] as it is called by the
Natives. Its approach is first discerned by dark columns of yellow clouds,
bordering the horizon; the alarm is instantly given by the Natives, who
hasten to put out the fires in the kitchens, and close the doors and
windows in European houses, or with the Natives to let down the purdahs.
No sound that can be conceived by persons who have not witnessed this
phenomenon of Nature, is capable of conveying an idea of the tempest. In a
few minutes total darkness is produced by the thick cloud of dust; and the
tremendous rushing wind carries the fine sand, which produces the darkness,
through every cranny and crevice to all parts of the house; so that in the
best secured rooms every article of furniture is covered with sand, and
the room filled as with a dense fog: the person, dresses, furniture, and
the food (if at meal times), are all of one dusky colour; and though
candles are lighted to lessen the horror of the darkness, they only tend
to make the scene of confusion more visible.

Fortunately the tempest is not of very long continuance. I have never
known it to last more than half an hour; yet in that time how much might
have been destroyed of life and property, but for the interposing care of
Divine mercy, whose gracious Providence over the works of His hand is seen
in such seasons as these! The sound of thunder is hailed as a messenger of
peace; the Natives are then aware that the fury of the tempest is spent,
as a few drops of rain indicate a speedy termination; and when it has
subsided they run to see what damage has been done to the premises without.
It often occurs, that trees are torn up by their roots, the thatched
houses and huts unroofed, and, if due care has not been taken to quench
the fires in time, huts and bungalows are frequently found burnt, by the
sparks conveyed in the dense clouds of sand which pass with the rapidity
of lightning.

These tufauns occur generally in April, May, and June, before the
commencement of the periodical rains. I shall never forget the awe I felt
upon witnessing the first after my arrival, nor the gratitude which filled
my heart when the light reappeared. The Natives on such occasions gave me
a bright example: they ceased not in the hour of peril to call on God for
safety and protection; and when refreshed by the return of calm, they
forgot not that their helper was the merciful Being in whom they had
trusted, and to whom they gave praise and thanksgiving.

The rainy season is at first hailed with a delight not easily to be
explained. The long continuance of the hot winds,--during which period
(three months or more) the sky is of the colour of copper, without the
shadow of a cloud to shield the earth from the fiery heat of the sun,
which has, in that time, scorched the earth and its inhabitants, stunted
vegetation, and even affected the very houses--renders the season when the
clouds pour out their welcome moisture a period which is looked forward to
with anxiety, and received with universal joy.

The smell of the earth after the first shower is more dearly loved than
the finest aromatics or the purest otta. Vegetation revives and human
nature exults in the favourable shower. As long as the novelty lasts, and
the benefit is sensibly felt, all seem to rejoice; but when the intervals
of clouds without rain occur, and send forth, as they separate, the bright
glare untempered by a passing breeze, poor weak human nature is too apt to
revolt against the season they cannot control, and sometimes a murmuring
voice is heard to cry out, 'Oh, when will the rainy season end!'

The thunder and lightning during the rainy season are beyond my ability to
describe. The loud peals of thunder roll for several minutes in succession,
magnificently, awfully grand. The lightning is proportionably vivid, yet
with fewer instances of conveying the electric fluid to houses than might
be expected when the combustible nature of the roofs is considered; the
chief of which are thatched with coarse dry grass. The casualties are by
no means frequent; and although trees surround most of the dwellings, yet
we seldom hear of any injury by lightning befalling them or their
habitations. Fiery meteors frequently fall; one within my recollection was
a superb phenomenon, and was visible for several seconds.

The shocks from earthquakes are frequently felt in the Upper Provinces of
India;[11] I was sensible of the motion on one occasion (rather a severe
one), for at least twenty seconds. The effect on me, however, was attended
with no inconvenience beyond a sensation of giddiness, as if on board ship
in a calm, when the vessel rolls from side to side.

At Kannoge, now little more than a village in population, between Cawnpore
and Futtyghur, I have rambled amongst the ruins of what formerly was an
immense city, but which was overturned by an earthquake some centuries
past. At the present period numerous relics of antiquity, as coins, jewels,
&c., are occasionally discovered, particularly after the rains, when the
torrents break down fragments of the ruins, and carry with the streams of
water the long-buried mementos of the riches of former generations to the
profit of the researching villagers, and to the gratification of curious
travellers, who generally prove willing purchasers.[12]

I propose giving in another letter the remarks I was led to make on
Kannoge during my pleasant sojourn in that retired situation, as it
possesses many singular antiquities and contains the ashes of many holy
Mussulmaun saints. The Mussulmauns, I may here observe, reverence the
memory of the good and the pious of all persuasions, but more particularly
those of their own faith. I have sketches of the lives and actions of many
of their sainted characters, received through the medium of my husband and
his most amiable father, that are both amusing and instructive; and
notwithstanding their particular faith be not in accordance with our own,
it is only an act of justice to admit, that they were men who lived in the
fear of God, and obeyed his commandments according to the instruction they
had received; and which, I hope, may prove agreeable to my readers when
they come to those pages I have set apart for such articles.

My catalogue of the trying circumstances attached to the comforts which
are to be met with in India are nearly brought to a close; but I must not
omit mentioning one 'blessing in disguise' which occurs annually, and
which affects Natives and Europeans indiscriminately, during the hot winds
and the rainy season: the name of this common visitor is, by Europeans,
called 'the prickly heat'; by Natives it is denominated 'Gurhum dahnie'[13]
(warm rash). It is a painful irritating rash, often spreading over the
whole body, mostly prevailing, however, wherever the clothes screen the
body from the power of the air; we rarely find it on the hands or face. I
suppose it to be induced by excessive perspiration, more particularly as
those persons who are deficient in this freedom of the pores, so essential
to healthiness, are not liable to be distressed by the rash; but then they
suffer more severely in their constitution by many other painful attacks
of fever, &c. So greatly is this rash esteemed the harbinger of good
health, that they say in India, 'the person so afflicted has received his
life-lease for the year'; and wherever it does not make its appearance, a
sort of apprehension is entertained of some latent illness.

Children suffer exceedingly from the irritation, which to scratch is
dangerous. In Native nurseries I have seen applications used of pounded
sandal-wood, camphor, and rose-water; with the peasantry a cooling earth,
called mooltanie mittee,[14] similar to our fuller's-earth, is moistened
with water and plastered over the back and stomach, or wherever the rash
mostly prevails; all this is but a temporary relief, for as soon as it is
dry, the irritation and burning are as bad as ever.

The best remedy I have met with, beyond patient endurance of the evil, is
bathing in rain-water, which soothes the violent sensations, and
eventually cools the body. Those people who indulge most in the good
things of this life are the greatest sufferers by this annual attack. The
benefits attending temperance are sure to bring an ample reward to the
possessors of that virtue under all circumstances, but in India more
particularly; I have invariably observed the most abstemious people are
the least subject to attacks from the prevailing complaints of the country,
whether fever or cholera, and when attacked the most likely subjects to
recover from those alarming disorders.

At this moment of anxious solicitude throughout Europe, when that awful
malady, the cholera, is spreading from city to city with rapid strides,
the observations I have been enabled to make by personal acquaintance with
afflicted subjects in India, may be acceptable to my readers; although I
heartily pray our Heavenly Father may in His goodness and mercy preserve
our country from that awful calamity, which has been so generally fatal in
other parts of the world.

The Natives of India designate cholera by the word 'Hyza', which with them
signifies 'the plague'. By this term, however, they do not mean that
direful disorder so well known to us by the same appellation; as, if I
except the Mussulmaun pilgrims, who have seen, felt, and described its
ravages on their journey to Mecca, that complaint seems to be unknown to
the present race of Native inhabitants of Hindoostaun. The word 'hyza', or
'plague', would be applied by them to all complaints of an epidemic or
contagious nature by which the population were suddenly attacked, and
death ensued. When the cholera first appeared in India (which I believe
was in 1817), it was considered by the Natives a new complaint.[15]

In all cases of irritation of the stomach, disordered bowels, or severe
feverish symptoms, the Mussulmaun doctors strongly urge the adoption of
'starving out the complaint'. This has become a law of Nature with all the
sensible part of the community; and when the cholera first made its
appearance in the Upper Provinces of Hindoostaun, those Natives who
observed their prescribed temperance were, when attacked, most generally
preserved from the fatal consequences of the disorder.

On the very first symptom of cholera occurring in a member of a Mussulmaun
family, a small portion of zahur morah[16] (derived from zahur, poison;
morah, to kill or destroy, and thence understood as an antidote to poison,
some specimens of which I have brought with me to England) moistened with
rosewater, is promptly administered, and, if necessary, repeated at short
intervals; due care being taken to prevent the patient from receiving
anything into the stomach, excepting rosewater, the older the more
efficacious in its property to remove the malady. Wherever zahur morah was
not available, secun-gebeen[17] (syrup of vinegar) was administered with
much the same effect. The person once attacked, although the symptoms
should have subsided by this application, is rigidly deprived of
nourishment for two or three days, and even longer if deemed expedient;
occasionally allowing only a small quantity of rose-water, which they say
effectually removes from the stomach and bowels those corrupt adhesions
which, in their opinion, is the primary cause of the complaint.

The cholera, I observed, seldom attacked abstemious people; when, however,
this was the case, it generally followed a full meal; whether of rice or
bread made but little difference, much I believe depending on the general
habit of the subject; as among the peasantry and their superiors the
complaint raged with equal malignity, wherever a second meal was resorted
to whilst the person had reason to believe the former one had not been
well digested. An instance of this occurred under my own immediate
observation in a woman, the wife of an old and favourite servant. She had
imprudently eaten a second dinner, before her stomach, by her own account,
had digested the preceding meal. She was not a strong woman, but in
tolerable good health; and but a few hours previous to the attack I saw
her in excellent spirits, without the most remote appearance of
indisposition. The usual applications failed of success, and she died in a
few hours. This poor woman never could be persuaded to abstain from food
at the stated period of meals; and the Natives were disposed to conclude
that this had been the actual cause of her sufferings and dissolution.

In 1821 the cholera raged with even greater violence than on its first
appearance in Hindoostaun; by that time many remedies had been suggested,
through the medium of the press, by the philanthropy and skill of European
medical practitioners, the chief of whom recommended calomel in large
doses, from twenty to thirty grains, and opium proportioned to the age and
strength of the patient. I never found the Natives, however, willing to
accept this as a remedy, but I have heard that amongst Europeans it was
practised with success. From a paragraph which I read in the Bengal papers,
I prepared a mixture that I have reason to think, through the goodness of
Divine Providence, was beneficial to many poor people who applied for it
in the early stages of the complaint, and who followed the rule laid down
of complete abstinence, until they were out of danger from a relapse, and
even then for a long time to be cautious in the quantity and digestible
quality of their daily meal. The mixture was as follows:

Brandy, one pint; oil or spirit of peppermint, if the former half an
ounce--if the latter, one ounce; ground black pepper, two ounces; yellow
rind of oranges grated, without any of the white, one ounce; these were
kept closely stopped and occasionally shook, a table-spoonful administered
for each dose, the patient well covered up from the air, and warmth
created by blankets or any other means within their power, repeating the
close as the case required.

Of the many individuals who were attacked with this severe malady in our
house very few died, and those, it was believed, were victims to an
imprudent determination to partake of food before they were
convalescent,--individuals who never could be prevailed on to practise
abstemious habits, which we had good reason for believing was the best
preventive against the complaint during those sickly seasons. The general
opinion entertained both by Natives and Europeans, at those awful periods,
was, that the cholera was conveyed in the air; very few imagined that it
was infectious, as it frequently attacked some members of a family and the
rest escaped, although in close attendance--even such as failed not to pay
the last duties to the deceased according to Mussulmaun custom, which
exposed them more immediately to danger if infection existed;--yet no
fears were ever entertained, nor did I ever hear an opinion expressed
amongst them, that it had been or could be conveyed from one person to
another.

Native children generally escaped the attack, and I never heard of an
infant being in the slightest degree visited by this malady. It is,
however, expedient, to use such precautionary measures as sound sense and
reason may suggest, since wherever the cholera has appeared, it has proved
a national calamity, and not a partial scourge to a few individuals; all
are alike in danger of its consequences, whether the disorder be
considered infectious or not, and therefore the precautions I have urged
in India, amongst the Native communities, I recommend with all humility
here, that cleanliness and abstemious diet be observed among all classes
of people.

In accordance with the prescribed antidote to infection from scarlet fever
in England, I gave camphor (to be worn about the person) to the poor in my
vicinity, and to all the Natives over whom I had either influence or
control; I caused the rooms to be frequently fumigated with vinegar or
tobacco, and labaun[18] (frankincense) burnt occasionally. I would not,
however, be so presumptuous to insinuate even that these were preventives
to cholera, yet in such cases of universal terror as the one in question,
there can be no impropriety in recommending measures which cannot injure,
and may benefit, if only by giving a purer atmosphere to the room
inhabited by individuals either in sickness or in health. But above all
things, aware that human aid or skill can never effect a remedy unaided by
the mercy and power of Divine Providence, let our trust be properly placed
in His goodness, 'who giveth medicine to heal our sickness', and humbly
intreat that He may be pleased to avert the awful calamity from our shores
which threatens and disturbs Europe generally at this moment.

Were we to consult Nature rather than inordinate gratifications, we should
find in following her dictates the best security to health at all times,
but more particularly in seasons of prevailing sickness. Upon the first
indications of cholera, I have observed the stomach becomes irritable, the
bowels are attacked by griping pains, and unnatural evacuations; then
follow sensations of faintness, weakness, excessive thirst, the pulse
becomes languid, the surface of the body cold and clammy, whilst the
patient feels inward burning heat, with spasms in the legs and arms.

In the practice of Native doctors, I have noticed that they administer
saffron to alleviate violent sickness with the best possible effect. A
case came under my immediate observation, of a young female who had
suffered from a severe illness similar in every way to the cholera; it was
not, however, suspected to be that complaint, because it was not then
prevailing at Lucknow: after some days the symptoms subsided, excepting
the irritation of her stomach, which, by her father's account, obstinately
rejected everything offered for eleven days. When I saw her, she was
apparently sinking under exhaustion; I immediately tendered the remedy
recommended by my husband, viz. twelve grains of saffron, moistened with a
little rose-water; and found with real joy that it proved efficacious;
half the quantity in doses were twice repeated that night, and in the
morning the patient was enabled to take a little gruel, and in a
reasonable time entirely recovered her usual health and strength.

I have heard of people being frightened into an attack of cholera by
apprehending the evil: this, however, can only occur with very weak minds,
and such as have neglected in prosperity to prepare their hearts for
adversity. When I first reached India, the fear of snakes, which I
expected to find in every path, embittered my existence. This weakness was
effectually corrected by the wise admonitions of Meer Hadjee Shaah, 'If
you trust in God, he will preserve you from every evil; be assured the
snake has no power to wound without permission.'


[1] The _Cantharis resicatoria_ is imported into India for use in blisters.
    But there is a local substitute, _mylabris_, of which there are
    several varieties (Watt, _Economic Dictionary_, ii. 128, v. 309).

[2] The reference is perhaps to what is known as the Dehli Boil, a form
    of oriental sore, like the Biskra Button, Aleppo Evil, Lahore and
    Multan Sore (Yule, _Hobson-Jobson_, 302); possibly only to
    hot-weather boils.

[3] _Chadar_.

[4] For a good account of the ways of Indian ants, see M. Thornton,
    _Haunts and Hobbies of an Indian Official,_ 2 ff.

[5] _Khidmatgar_.

[6] The habit of laying sugar near ants' nests is a piece of fertility
    magic, and common to Jains and Vishnu-worshippers; see J. Fryor, _A
    New Account of East India and Persia_, Hakluyt Society ed., I, 278.

[7] _Pipal, Ficus religiosa_.

[8] An esteemed friend has since referred me to the second chapter of the
    prophet Joel, part of the seventh and eighth verses, as a better
    comparison. [_Author._]

[9] The variety of locust seen in India is _acridium peregrinum_, which is
    said to range throughout the arid region from Algeria to N.W. India.
    They have extended as far south as the Kistna District of Madras (Watt,
    _Economic Dictionary_, VI, part i, 154).

[10] _Tufan_, storm, _andhi_, darkness.

[11] Earthquakes tend generally to be more frequent in the regions of
    extra-peninsular India, where the rocks have been more recently folded,
    than in the more stable Peninsula. Serious earthquakes have occurred
    recently in Assam, June, 1897, and in Kangra, Panjab, April,
    1907. (_Imperial Gazetteer of India_, 1907, i. 98 f.)

[12] Kanauj, in the Farrukhabad District, United Provinces of Agra
    and Oudh. The ruin of the great city was due to attacks by Mahmud
    of Ghazni, A.D. 1019, and by Shihab-ud-din, Muhammad Ghori,
    in 1194.

[13] _Garm dahani_, hot inflammation, prickly heat.

[14] _Multani mitti_, 'Multan Earth', a soft, drab-coloured
    saponaceous earth, like fuller's earth, used in medicine and for
    cleansing the hair.

[15] Cholera (_haiza_) was known to the Hindus long before the arrival of
    the Portuguese, who first described it (Yule, _Hobson-Jobson_[2], 586
    ff.). The attention of English physicians was first seriously called
    to it in 1817, when it broke out in the Jessore District of Bengal,
    and in the camp of Marquess Hastings in the Datiya State, Central
    India. (See Sleeman, _Rambles_, 163, 232.)

[16] _Zahr-mohra_, 'poison vanguard': the bezoar stone, believed to be
    an antidote to poison (Yule, _Hobson-Jobson_[2], 90 f.).

[17] _Sikanjabin_, oxymel, vinegar, lime-juice, or other acid, mixed
    with sugar or honey.

[18] _Loban_.



LETTER XIX

  Kannoge.--Formerly the capital of Hindoostaun.--Ancient
  castle.--Durability of the bricks made by the aborigines.--Prospect
  from the Killaah (castle).--Ruins.--Treasures found therein.--The
  Durgah Baallee Peer Kee.--Mukhburrahs.--Ancient Mosque.--Singular
  structure of some stone pillars.--The Durgah Mukdoom
  Jhaunneer.--Conversions to the Mussulmaun Faith.--Anecdote.--Ignorance
  of the Hindoos.--Sculpture of the Ancients.--Mosque inhabited by
  thieves.--Discovery of Nitre.--Method of extracting it.--Conjectures
  of its produce.--Residence in the castle.--Reflections.


Kannoge, now comparatively a Native village, situated about midway between
Cawnpore and Futtyghur, is said to have been the capital of Hindoostaun,
and according to Hindoo tradition was the seat of the reigning Rajahs two
thousand years prior to the invasion of India by the Sultaun Timoor. If
credit be given to current report, the Hindoos deny that the Deluge
extended to India[1] as confidently as the Chinese declare that it never
reached China.

These accounts I merely state as the belief of the Hindoos, and those
the least educated persons of the population. The Mussulmauns, however,
are of a different opinion; the account they give of the Deluge
resembles the Jewish, and doubtless the information Mahumud has conveyed
to his followers was derived from that source.

Some of the people are weak enough to conjecture that Kannoge was founded
by Cain.[2] It bears, however, striking features of great antiquity, and
possesses many sufficient evidences of its former extent and splendour to
warrant the belief that it has been the capital of no mean kingdom in ages
past. The remarks I was enabled to make during a residence of two years at
Kannoge may not be deemed altogether uninteresting to my readers, although
my descriptions may be 'clouded with imperfections'. I will not, therefore,
offer any useless apologies for introducing them in my present Letter.

Kannoge, known as the oldest capital of the far-famed kingdom of
Hindoostaun, is now a heap upon heap of ruins, proclaiming to the present
generation, even in her humility, how vast in extent and magnificent in
style she once was, when inhabited by the rulers of that great empire. The
earth entombs emblems of greatness, of riches, and of man's vain-glorious
possessions; buildings have been reared by successive generations on
mounds which embowelled the ruined mansions of predecessors.

The killaah[3] (castle) in which during two years we shared an abode with
sundry crows, bats, scorpions, centipedes, and other living things, was
rebuilt about seven hundred years ago, on the original foundation which,
as tradition states, has continued for more than two thousand years. The
materials of which the walls are constructed are chiefly bricks.

It is worthy of remark, that the bricks of ancient manufacture in India
give evidence of remarkable durability, and are very similar in quality to
the Roman bricks occasionally discovered in England. At Delhi I have met
with bricks that have been undoubtedly standing six or seven centuries;
and at Kannoge, if tradition speak true, the same articles which were
manufactured upwards of two thousand years ago, and which retain the
colour of the brightest red, resemble more the hardest stone than the
things we call bricks of the present day. After the minutest examination
of these relics of ancient labour, I am disposed to think that the clay
must have been more closely kneaded, and the bricks longer exposed to the
action of fire than they are by the present mode of manufacturing them;
and such is their durability, that they are only broken with the greatest
difficulty.

The killaah was originally a fortified castle, and is situated near the
river Kaullee Nuddie,[4] a branch or arm of the Ganges, the main stream of
which flows about two miles distant. During the periodical rains, the
Ganges overflows its banks, and inundates the whole tract of land
intervening between the two rivers, forming an extent of water more
resembling a sea than a river.

At the time we occupied the old castle, scarcely one room could be called
habitable; and I learned with regret after the rains of 1826 and 1827,
which were unusually heavy, that the apartments occupied since the
Honourable East India Company's rule by their taasseel-dhaars,[5]
(sub-collectors of the revenue), were rendered entirely useless as a
residence.

The comfortless interior of that well-remembered place was more than
compensated by the situation. Many of my English acquaintance, who
honoured me by visits at Kannoge, will, I think, agree with me, that the
prospect from the killaah was indescribably grand. The Ganges and the
Kaullee Nuddee were presented at one view; and at certain seasons of the
year, as far as the eye could reach, their banks, and well-cultivated
fields, clothed in a variety of green, seemed to recall the mind to the
rivers of England, and their precious borders of grateful herbage. Turning
in another direction, the eye was met by an impenetrable boundary of
forest trees, magnificent in growth, and rich in foliage; at another
glance, ruins of antiquity, or the still remaining tributes to saints; the
detached villages; the sugar plantations; the agriculturists at their
labour; the happy peasantry laden with their purchases from the bazaars;
the Hindoo women and children, bearing their earthen-vessels to and from
the river for supplies of water:--each in their turn formed objects of
attraction from without, that more than repaid the absence of ordinary
comforts in the apartment from which they were viewed. The quiet calm of
this habitation, unbroken by the tumultuous sounds of a city, was so
congenial to my taste, that when obliged to quit it, I felt almost as much
regret as when I heard that the rains had destroyed the place which had
been to me a home of peaceful enjoyment.

The city of Kannoge has evidently suffered the severities of a shock from
an earthquake: the present inhabitants cannot tell at what period this
occurred, but it must have been some centuries since, for the earth is
grown over immense ruins, in an extensive circuit, forming a strong but
coarse carpet of grass on the uneven mounds containing the long-buried
mansions of the great. The rapid streams from the periodical rains forcing
passages between the ruins, has in many places formed deep and frightful
ravines, as well as rugged roads and pathways for the cattle and the
traveller.

After each heavy fall of rain, the peasantry and children are observed
minutely searching among the ruins for valuables washed out with the loose
earth and bricks by the force of the streams, and, I am told, with
successful returns for their toil; jewels, gold and silver ornaments,
coins of gold and silver, all of great antiquity, are thus secured; these
are bought by certain merchants of the city, by whom they are retailed to
English travellers, who generally when on a river voyage to or from the
Upper Provinces, contrive, if possible, to visit Kannoge to inspect the
ruins, and purchase curiosities.

There is a stately range of buildings at no great distance from the
killaah (castle), in a tolerable state of preservation, called 'Baallee
Peer Kee Durgah'.[6] The entrance is by a stone gateway of very superior
but ancient workmanship, and the gates of massy wood studded with iron. I
observed that on the wood framework over the entrance, many a stray
horseshoe has been nailed, which served to remind me of Wales, where it is
so commonly seen on the doors of the peasantry.[7] I am not aware but that
the same motives may have influenced the two people in common.

To the right of the entrance stands a large mosque, which, I am told, was
built by Baallee himself; who, it is related, was a remarkably pious man
of the Mussulmaun persuasion, and had acquired so great celebrity amongst
his countrymen as a perfect durweish, as to be surnamed peer[8] (saint).
The exact time when he flourished at Kannoge, I am unable to say; but
judging from the style of architecture, and other concurring circumstances,
it must have been built at different periods, some parts being evidently
of very ancient structure.

There are two mukhburrahs,[9] within the range, which viewed from the main
road, stand in a prominent situation: one of these mukhburrahs was built
by command, or in the reign (I could not learn which), of Shah Allumgeer
[10] over the remains of Ballee Peer; and the second contains some of the
peer's immediate relatives.

From the expensive manner in which these buildings are constructed, some
idea may be formed of the estimation this pious man was held in by his
countrymen. The mausoleums are of stone, and elevated on a base of the
same material, with broad flights of steps to ascend by. The stone must
have been brought hither from a great distance, as I do not find there is
a single quarry nearer than Delhi or Agra. There are people in charge of
this Durgah who voluntarily exile themselves from the society of the world,
in order to lead lives of strict devotion and under the imagined presiding
influence of the saint's pure spirit; they keep the sanctuary from
pollution, burn lamps nightly on the tomb, and subsist by the occasional
contributions of the charitable visitors and their neighbours.

Within the boundary of the Durgah, I remarked a very neat stone tomb, in
good preservation: this, I was told, was the burying-place of the Kalipha
[11] (head servant) who had attended on and survived Baallee Peer; this man
had saved money in the service of the saint, which he left to be devoted
to the repairs of the Durgah; premising that his tomb should be erected
near that of his sainted master, and lamps burned every night over the
graves, which is faithfully performed by the people in charge of the
Durgah.

After visiting the ruins of Hindoo temples, which skirt the borders of the
river in many parts of the district of Kannoge, the eye turns with
satisfaction to the ancient mosques of the Mussulmauns, which convey
conviction to the mind, that even in the remote ages of Hindoostaun, there
have been men who worshipped God; whilst the piles of mutilated stone
idols also declare the zealous Mussulmaun to have been jealous for his
Creator's glory. I have noticed about Kannoge hundreds of these broken or
defaced images collected together in heaps (generally under trees), which
were formerly the objects to which the superstitious Hindoos bowed in
worship, until the more intelligent Mussulmauns strayed into the recesses
of the deepest darkness to show the idolaters that God could not be
represented by a block of stone.

In a retired part of Kannoge, I was induced to visit the remains of an
immense building[12], expecting the gratification of a fine prospect from
its towering elevation; my surprise, however, on entering the portal drove
from my thoughts the first object of my visit.

The whole building is on a large scale, and is, together with the gateway,
steps, roof, pillars, and offices, composed entirely of stone: from what I
had previously conceived of the ancient Jewish temples, this erection
struck me as bearing a strong resemblance. It appears that there is not
the slightest portion of either wood or metal used in the whole
construction; and, except where some sort of cement was indispensable, not
a trace of mortar is to be discovered in the whole fabric. The pillars of
the colonnade, which form three sides of the square, are singular piles of
stone, erected with great exactness in the following order:--

A broad block of stone forms the base; on the centre is raised a pillar of
six feet by two square, on this rests a circular stone, resembling a
grindstone, on which is placed another upright pillar, and again a
circular, until five of each are made to rest on the base to form a pillar;
the top circulars or caps are much larger than the rest; and on these the
massy stone beams for the roof are supported. How these ponderous stones
forming the whole roof were raised, unacquainted as these people ever have
been with machinery, is indeed a mystery sufficient to impress on the
weak-minded a current report amongst the Natives, that the whole building
was erected in one night by supernatural agency, from materials which had
formerly been used in the construction of a Hindoo temple, but destroyed
by the zeal of the Mussulmauns soon after their invasion of Hindoostaun.

The pillars I examined narrowly, and could not find any traces of cement
or fastening; yet, excepting two or three which exhibit a slight curve,
the whole colonnade is in a perfect state. The hall, including the
colonnade, measures one hundred and eighty feel by thirty, and has
doubtless been, at some time or other, a place of worship, in all
probability for the Mussulmauns, there being still within the edifice a
sort of pulpit of stone evidently intended for the reader, both from its
situation and construction; this has sustained many rude efforts from the
chisel in the way of ornament not strictly in accordance with the temple
itself; besides which, there are certain tablets engraved in the Persian
and Arabic character, which contain verses or chapters from the Khoraun;
so that it may be concluded, whatever was the original design of the
building, it has in later periods served the purposes of a mosque.

In some parts of this building traces exist to prove that the materials of
which it has been formed originally belonged to the Hindoos, for upon many
of the stones there are carved figures according with their mythology;
such stones, however, have been placed generally upside down, and attempts
to deface the graven figures are conspicuous,--they are all turned inside,
whilst the exterior appearance is rough and uneven. It may be presumed
they were formerly outward ornaments to a temple of some sort, most likely
a 'Bootkhanah'[13] (the house for idols).

I have visited the Durgah, called Mukhdoom Jhaaunneer[14], situated in the
heart of the present city, which is said to have been erected nearly a
thousand years ago, by the order of a Mussulmaun King; whether of
Hindoostaun or not, I could not learn. It bears in its present dilapidated
state, evidences both of good taste and superior skill in architecture, as
well as of costliness in the erection, superior to any thing I expected to
find amongst the ancient edifices of Hindoostaun.

The antique arches supporting the roof, rest on pillars of a good size;
the whole are beautifully carved. The dome, which was originally in the
centre of this pavilion, has been nearly destroyed by time; and although
the light thus thrown into the interior through the aperture, has a good
effect, it pained me to see this noble edifice falling to decay for the
want of timely repairs. Notwithstanding this Durgah is said to have been
built so many years, the stone-work, both of the interior and exterior, is
remarkably fresh in appearance, and would almost discredit its reputed age.
The walls and bastions of the enclosure appear firm on their foundations;
the upper part only seems at all decayed.

The side rooms to the Durgah, of which there are several on each side of
the building, have all a fretwork of stone very curiously cut, which
serves for windows, and admits light and air to the apartments, and
presents a good screen to persons within; this it should seem was the only
contrivance for windows in general use by the ancient inhabitants of
Hindoostaun; and even at the present day (excepting a few Native gentlemen
who have benefited by English example), glazed windows are not seen in any
of the mansions in the Upper Provinces of India.

I noticed that in a few places in these buildings, where the prospect is
particularly fine, small arches were left open, from whence the eye is
directed to grand and superb scenery, afforded by the surrounding country,
and the remains of stately buildings. From one of these arches the killaah
is seen to great advantage, at the distance of two miles: both the Durgah
and the killaah are erected on high points of land. I have often, whilst
wandering outside the killaah, looked up at the elevation with sensations
of mistrust, that whilst doing so it might, from its known insecure state,
fall and bury me in its ruins; but viewing it from that distance, and on a
level with the Durgah, the appearance was really gratifying.

At Kannoge are to be seen many mukhburrahs, said to have been erected over
the remains of those Hindoos who at different periods had been converted
to the Mussulmaun faith. This city, I am informed, has been the chosen
spot of righteous men and sainted characters during all periods of the
Mussulmaun rule in Hindoostaun, by whose example many idolators were
brought to have respect for the name of God, and in some instances even to
embrace the Mahumudan faith. Amongst the many accounts of remarkable
conversions related to me by the old inhabitants of that city, I shall
select one which, however marvellous in some points, is nevertheless
received with full credit by the faithful of the present day:--

'A very pious Syaad took up his residence many hundred years since at
Kannoge, when the chief part of the inhabitants were Hindoos, and, as
might be expected, many of them were Brahmins. He saw with grief the state
of darkness with which the minds of so many human beings were imbued, and
without exercising any sort of authority over them, he endeavoured by the
mildest persuasions to convince these people that the adoration they paid
to graven images, and the views they entertained of the river Ganges
possessing divine properties, were both absurd and wicked.

'The Syaad used his best arguments to explain to them the power and
attributes of the only true God; and though his labours were unceasing,
and his exemplary life made him beloved, yet for a long period all his
endeavours proved unsuccessful. His advice, however, was at all times
tendered with mildness, his manners so humble, and his devotion so
remarkable, that in the course of time the people flocked around him,
whenever he was visible, to listen to his discourse, which generally
contained some words of well-timed exhortation and kind instruction. His
great aim was directed towards enlightening the Brahmins, by whom, he was
aware, the opinions of the whole population were influenced, and to whom
alone was confined such knowledge as at that remote period was conveyed by
education.

'Ardently zealous in the great work he had commenced, the Syaad seemed
undaunted by the many obstacles he had to contend with. Always retaining
his temper unruffled, he combined perseverance with his solicitude, and
trusted in God for a happy result in His good time. On an occasion of a
great Hindoo festival the population of the then immense city were
preparing to visit the Ganges, where they expected to be purified from
their sins by ablution in that holy river, as they term it. The Ganges, at
that period, I understand, flowed some miles distant from the city.

'The Syaad took this occasion to exhort the multitude to believe in God;
and after a preliminary discourse, explaining the power of Him whom he
alone worshipped, he asked the people if they would be persuaded to follow
the only true God, if His power should be demonstrated to them by the
appearance of the river they adored flowing past the city of Kannoge,
instead of, as at that moment, many miles distant. Some of his auditory
laughed at the idea, and derided the speaker; others doubted, and asked
whether the God whom the Mussulmauns worshipped possessed such power as
the Syaad had attributed to Him; many Brahmins, however, agreed to the
terms proposed, solemnly assuring the holy man he should find them
converts to his faith if this miracle should be effected by the God he
worshipped.

'It is related that the Syaad passed the whole day and night in devout
prayers; and when the morning dawned the idolators saw the river Ganges
flowing past the city in all the majesty of that mighty stream.[15] The
Brahmins were at once convinced, and this evidence of God's power worked
the way to the conversion of nearly the whole population of Kannoge.'

The number of the inhabitants may be supposed to have been immensely great
at the period in question, as it is related that on the occasion of their
conversion the Brahmins threw away the cords which distinguish them from
other castes of Hindoos, (each cord weighing about a drachm English),
which when collected together to be consigned to the flames, were weighed,
and found to be upwards of forty-five seers; a seer in that province being
nearly equal to two pounds English.[16]

The Brahmins, it will be recollected, form but a small portion of that
community, and are the priesthood of the Hindoos, very similar in their
order to the Levites among the children of Israel.

There are still remaining traces of monuments erected over the remains of
converted Hindoos, which have been particularly pointed out to me by
intelligent men, from whom I have received information of that great work
which alone would render Kannoge a place of interest without another
object to attract the observation of a reflecting mind.

Notwithstanding that the Ganges continues to water the banks of Kannoge,
and that other proofs exist of idolatry having ceased for a considerable
time to disgrace the inhabitants, it is still partially occupied by
Hindoos, who retain the custom of their forefathers according to the
original, whether descendants of the converted, or fresh settlers is not
in my power to determine; but I may remark, without prejudice, from what I
have been enabled to glean in conversation with a few Hindoos of this city,
that they have a better idea of one over-ruling Supreme power than I have
ever been able to find elsewhere in the same class of people.

I was much interested with an old blacksmith, who was employed at the
killaah. On one occasion I asked him what views he entertained of the
Source from whence all good proceeds--whether he believed in God? He
replied promptly, and as if surprised that such a doubt could exist, 'Yes,
surely; it is to Allah (God) the supreme, I am indebted for my existence;
Allah created all things, the world and all that is in it: I could not
have been here at this moment, but for the goodness of Allah!'

There are amongst them men of good moral character, yet in a state of
deplorable ignorance, a specimen of which may be here noticed in a person
of property employed in the service of Government, at the killaah; he is
of the caste denominated Burghutt[17],--one of the tribe which professes
so great reverence for life, as to hold it sinful to destroy the meanest
reptile or insect; and, therefore, entirely abstain from eating either
fish, flesh, or fowl:--yet, when I pressed for his undisguised opinion, I
found that he not only denied the existence of God, but declared it was
his belief the world formed itself.

I was induced to walk three miles from the killaah, on a cool day in
December, to view the remains of a piece of sculpture of great antiquity.
I confess myself but little acquainted with Hindoo mythology, and
therefore my description will necessarily be imperfect. The figure of
Luchmee is represented in relief, on a slab of stone eight feet by four,
surrounded by about a hundred figures in different attitudes. Luchmee, who
is of course the most prominent, is figured with eight arms; in his right
hands, are sabres, in his left, shields; his left foot upon the hand of a
female, and the right on a snake.[18] This figure is about four feet high,
and finely formed, standing in a martial attitude; his dress (unlike that
of the modern Hindoo) is represented very tight, and, altogether, struck
me as more resembling the European than the Asiatic: on his head I
remarked a high-crowned military cap without a peak: the feet were bare.
There can be no doubt this figure is emblematical; the Hindoos, however,
make it an object of their impure and degrading worship.

I could not help expressing my surprise on finding this idol in such
excellent condition, having had so many samples throughout Kannoge of the
vengeance exercised by Mussulmaun zeal, on the idols of the Hindoos. My
guide assured me, that this relic of antiquity had only been spared from
the general destruction of by-gone periods by its having been buried,
through the supposed influence of unconverted venerating Brahmins; but
that within the last thirty years it had been discovered and dug out of
the earth, to become once more an ornament to the place. My own ideas lead
me to suppose that it might have been buried by the same convulsion of the
earth which overturned the idolatrous city.

I observed that a very neat little building, of modern date, was erected
over this antiquity, and on inquiry found that the Hindoos were indebted
to the liberality of a lady for the means of preserving this relic from
the ravages of the seasons.

There is in the same vicinity a second piece of mythological sculpture, in
a less perfect state than Luchmee, the sabred arm of which has been struck
off, and the figure otherwise mutilated by the zealous Mussulmauns, who
have invariably defaced or broken the idols wherever they have been able
to do so with impunity. On a platform of stone and earth, near this place,
a finely-formed head of stone is placed, which my guide gravely assured me
was of very ancient date, and represented Adam, the father of men!

I heard with pain during my sojourn at Kannoge, that the house of God had
been made the resort of thieves; a well-known passage of Scripture struck
me forcibly when the transaction was related.

I have before stated that the mosque is never allowed to be locked or
closed to the public. Beneath the one I am about to speak of (a very
ancient building near to Baallee Peer's Durgah), is a vaulted suite of
rooms denominated taarkhanah[19], intended as a retreat from the intense
heat of the day; such as is to be met with in most great men's residences
in India. In this place, a gang of thieves from the city had long found a
secure and unsuspected spot wherein to deposit their plunder. It happened,
however, that very strict search was instituted after some stolen property
belonging to an individual of Kannoge; whether any suspicions had been
excited about the place in question, I do not recollect, but thither the
police directed their steps, and after removing some loose earth they
discovered many valuable articles,--shawls, gold ornaments, sabres, and
other costly articles of plunder. It is presumed,--for the thieves were
not known or discovered,--that they could not possibly be Mussulmauns,
since the very worst characters among this people hold the house of God in
such strict veneration, that they, of all persons, could not be suspected
of having selected so sacred a place to deposit the spoils of the
plunderer.

The process of obtaining nitre from the earth is practised at Kannoge by
the Natives in the most simple way imaginable, without any assistance from
art. They discover the spot where nitre is deposited by the small white
particles which work through the strata of earth to the surface. When a
vein is discovered, to separate the nitre from the earth, the following
simple method is resorted to:--large troughs filled with water are
prepared, into which the masses of earth containing nitre are thrown; the
earth is allowed to remain undisturbed for some time, after which it is
well stirred, and then allowed to settle; the water by this means becomes
impregnated with the nitre, and is afterwards boiled in large iron pans,
from which all the dirt is carefully skimmed, until the water is
completely evaporated, and the nitre deposited in the pans.

I know not how far the admixture of animal bodies with the soil may tend
to produce this article, but it is a fact, that those places which bear
the strongest proofs of having received the bodies of both men and beasts,
produce it in the greatest abundance.[20]

The retirement of Kannoge afforded me so many pleasant ways of occupying
time, that I always look back to the period of my sojourn at the old
killaah with satisfaction. The city is sufficiently distant from the
killaah to leave the latter within reach of supplies, without the
annoyance of the bustle and confusion inseparable from a Native city. In
my daily wanderings a few peasantry only crossed my path; the farmers and
citizens were always attentive, and willing to do us such kind offices as
we at any time required. They respected, I may say venerated my husband;
and I must own that my feelings oblige me to remember with gratitude the
place and the people whence I drew so many benefits.

Here I could indulge in long walks without incurring the penalty of a
departure from established custom, which in most well-populated parts of
Hindoostaun restrains European ladies from the exercise so congenial to
their health and cherished habits. Should any English-woman venture to
walk abroad in the city of Lucknow, for instance,--to express their most
liberal opinion of the act,--she would be judged by the Natives as a
person careless of the world's opinion. But here I was under no such
constraint; my walks were daily recreations after hours of quiet study in
the most romantic retirement of a ruined killaah, where, if luxury
consists in perfect satisfaction with the objects by which we are
surrounded, I may boast that it was found here during my two years'
residence.


[1] This is incorrect. Hindu traditions refer to a deluge, in which Manu,
    with the help of a fish, makes a ship, and fastening her cable to the
    fish's horn, is guided to the mountain, and then he, alone of human
    beings, is saved.--J. Muir, _Original Sanskrit Texts_, part ii (1860),
    p. 324.

[2] This is merely a stupid folk etymology, comparing Kanauj with Cain.

[3] _Qil'a_.

[4] Kali Nadi, 'black stream', a corruption of the original
    name, Kalindi.

[5] _Tahsildar_.

[6] In the southern centre of the ruined citadel stand the tombs of
    Bala Pir and his son, Shaikh Mahdi. Shaikh Kabir,
    commonly called Bala Pir, is said to have been the tutor of
    the brother Nawabs, Dalel and Bahadur Khan. The former
    ruled Kanauj in the time of Shah Jahan (A.D. 1628-1651), and
    died after his deposition in 1666.--A. Führer, _Monumental Antiquities
    and Inscriptions of the N.W. Provinces and Oudh_, 1891, p. 80.

[7]  Horseshoes are often nailed on the gates of the tombs of Musalman
    saints, as at the mosque of Fatehpur Sikri.

[8] _Pir_, 'a saint, a holy man'.

[9] _Maqbara_, 'a sepulchre'.

[10] The Emperor Aurangzeb, A.D. 1658-1707.

[11] Khalifah, Caliph, one of the terms which have suffered degradation,
    often applied to cooks, tailors, barbers, or other Musalman
    servants.

[12] This may be the building known as Sita ki Rasoi, the kitchen
    of Sita, heroine of the Ramayana epic. It is described and
    drawn by Mrs. F. Parks (_Wanderings of a Pilgrim_, ii. 143).

[13] Butkhana.

[14] The tomb of the Saint Sa'id Shaikh Makhdum Jahaniya
    Jahangasht of Multan (A.D. 1308-81). Führer, _op. cit._, p. 81.

[15] Many saints are credited with the power of changing the courses of
    rivers: see instances in W. Crooke, _Popular Religion and Folklore of
    N. India_, 2nd ed., ii. 218.

[16] This may be a variant of the story that after the capture of Chitor,
    Akbar weighed 74-1/2 _man_ (8 lbs. each) of cords belonging to the
    slain Rajputs.--J. Tod, _Annals of Rajasthan_, 1884, i. 349.

[17] The name has not been traced. The reference is to Jains, who are
    specially careful of animal life.

[18] If this is a male figure it cannot represent the goddess Lakshmi.
    Mrs. Parks (_Wanderings of a Pilgrim_, ii. 144) speaks of images of
    Rama and his brother Lakshmana, one of which may possibly be that
    referred to in the text.

[19] _Tahkhana_, an underground cellar.


[20] This account is fairly correct. 'Although active saltpetre is met
    with under a variety of conditions, they all agree in this particular,
    that the salt is formed under the influence of organic matter.'--(G.
    Watt, _Economic Dictionary_, VI, part ii, 431 _ff_).



LETTER XX

  Delhi.--Description of the city.--Marble hall--The Queen's Mahul
  (palace).--Audience with the King and Queen.--Conversation with
  them.--Character of their Majesties.--Visit to a
  Muckburrah.--Soobadhaars.--The nature of the office.--Durgah of Shah
  Nizaam ood deen.--Tomb of Shah Allum.--Ruins in the vicinity of Delhi.
  --Antique pillars (Kootub) .--Prospect from its galleries.--Anecdotes
  of Juangheer and Khareem Zund...Page 289


My visit to Delhi, once the great capital of Hindoostaun, and the
residence of the great Sultauns, has made impressions of a lasting kind,
and presented a moral lesson to my mind, I should be sorry to forget in
after years; for there I witnessed the tombs of righteous men in perfect
repair after the lapse of many centuries, standing in the midst of the
mouldering relics of kings, princes, and nobles, many of whose careers, we
learn from history, was comparatively of recent date; yet, excepting in
one solitary instance of Shah Allum's grave, without so much of order
remaining as would tell to the passing traveller the rank of each
individual's mausoleum, now either entirely a ruin or fast mouldering to
decay.

The original city of Delhi presents to view one vast extent of ruins;
abounding in mementos of departed worth, as well as in wrecks of greatness,
ingenuity, and magnificence. Why the present city was erected or the
former one deserted, I cannot venture an opinion, neither can I remember
correctly in what reign the royal residence was changed; but judging from
the remnants of the old, I should imagine it to have been equally
extensive with the modern Delhi. A part of the old palace is still
standing, whither the present King, Akbaar Shah,[1] occasionally resorts
for days together, attracted perhaps by sympathy for his ancestors, or by
that desire for change inherent in human nature, and often deemed
essential to health in the climate of Hindoostaun.

The city of Delhi is enclosed by a wall; the houses, which are generally
of brick or red stone, appear to good advantage, being generally elevated
a story or two from the ground-floor, and more regularly constructed than
is usual in Native cities. Mosques, mukhburrahs, and emaum-baarahs, in all
directions, diversify the scene with good effect; whilst the various shops
and bazaars, together with the outpourings of the population to and from
the markets, give an animation to the whole view which would not be
complete without them.

The palace occupies an immense space of ground, enclosed by high walls,
and entered by a gateway of grand architecture. On either side the
entrance I noticed lines of compact buildings, occupied by the military,
reaching to the second gateway, which is but little inferior in style and
strength to the grand entrance; and here again appear long lines of
buildings similarly occupied. I passed through several of these formidable
barriers before I reached the marble hall, where the King holds his durbar
(court) at stated times; but as mine was a mere unceremonious visit to the
King and Queen, it was not at the usual hour of durbar, and I passed
through the hall without making any particular observations, although I
could perceive it was not deficient in the costliness and splendour suited
to the former greatness of the Indian empire.

After being conveyed through several splendid apartments, I was conducted
to the Queen's mahul[2] (palace for females), where his Majesty and the
Queen were awaiting my arrival. I found on my entrance the King seated in
the open air in an arm chair enjoying his hookha; the Queen's musnud was
on the ground, close by the side of her venerable husband. Being
accustomed to Native society, I knew how to render the respect due from an
humble individual to personages of their exalted rank. After having left
my shoes at the entrance and advanced towards them, my salaams were
tendered, and then the usual offering of nuzzas, first to the King and
then to the Queen, who invited me to a seat on her own carpet,--an honour
I knew how to appreciate from my acquaintance with the etiquette observed
on such occasions.

The whole period of my visit was occupied in very interesting conversation;
eager inquiries were made respecting England, the Government, the manners
of the Court, the habits of the people, my own family affairs, my husband's
views in travelling, and his adventures in England, my own satisfaction
as regarded climate, and the people with whom I was so immediately
connected by marriage;--the conversation, indeed, never flagged an instant,
for the condescending courtesy of their Majesties encouraged me to add to
their entertainment, by details which seemed to interest and delight them
greatly.

On taking leave his Majesty very cordially shook me by the hand, and the
Queen embraced me with warmth. Both appeared, and expressed themselves,
highly gratified with the visit of an English lady who could explain
herself in their language without embarrassment, or the assistance of an
interpreter, and who was the more interesting to them from the
circumstance of being the wife of a Syaad; the Queen indeed was particular
in reminding me that 'the Syaads were in a religious point of view, the
nobles of the Mussulmauns, and reverenced as such far more than those
titled characters who receive their distinction from their fellow-mortals'.

I was grieved to be obliged to accept the Queen's parting present of an
embroidered scarf, because I knew her means were exceedingly limited
compared with the demands upon her bounty; but I could not refuse that
which was intended to do me honour at the risk of wounding those feelings
I so greatly respected. A small ring, of trifling value, was then placed
by the Queen on my finger, as she remarked, 'to remind me of the giver.'

The King's countenance, dignified by age, possesses traces of extreme
beauty; he is much fairer than Asiatics usually are; his features are
still fine, his hair silvery white; intelligence beams upon his brow, his
conversation gentle and refined, and his condescending manners hardly to
be surpassed by the most refined gentleman of Europe. I am told by those
who have been long intimate with his habits in private, that he leads a
life of strict piety and temperance, equal to that of a durweish[3] of his
faith, whom he imitates in expending his income on others without
indulging in a single luxury himself.

The Queen's manners are very amiable and condescending; she is reported to
be as highly gifted with intellectual endowments as I can affirm she is
with genuine politeness.

I was induced to visit the mukhburrah of the great-great-grandfather of the
present King of Oude,[4] who, at his death,--which occurred at Delhi, I
believe,--was one of the Soobadhaars[5] of the sovereign ruler of India.
This nobleman, in his time, had been a staunch adherent to the descendants
of Timoor, and had been rewarded for his fidelity by public honours and
the private friendship of the King. The monument erected over his remains,
is in a costly style of magnificence, and in the best possible condition,
standing in the centre of a flower-garden which is enclosed by a stone
wall, with a grand gateway of good architecture. The mukhburrah is
spacious, and in the usual Mussulmaun style of building mausoleums; viz.,
a square, with a dome, and is ascended by a flight of broad steps. This
building stands about three miles from the city, in a good situation to be
seen from the road. I was told that the family of Oude kept readers of the
Khoraun in constant attendance at the mukhburrah; and I observed several
soldiers, whose duty it was to guard the sacred spot, at the expense of
the Oude government.

In explanation of the word Soobadhaar, it may not be uninteresting to
remark in this place, that when the government of Hindoostaun flourished
under the descendants of Timoor, Soobadhaars were appointed over districts,
whose duty, in some respects, bore resemblance to that of a Governor; with
this difference, that the soobadhaaries were gifts, not only for the life
of the individuals, but to their posterity for ever, under certain
restrictions and stipulations which made them tributary to, and retained
them as dependants of, the reigning sovereign:--as for instance, a certain
annual amount was to be punctually transferred to the treasury at Delhi;
the province to be governed by the same laws, and the subjects to be under
the same control in each Soobadhaarie as those of the parent sovereignty;
the revenue exacted in the very same way,; each Soobadhaar was bound to
retain in his employ a given number of soldiers, horse and foot, fully
equipped for the field, with perfect liberty to employ them as occasion
served in the territory which he governed, whether against refractory
subjects, or encroachments from neighbouring provinces; but in any
emergency from the Court at Delhi, the forces to be, at all times, in
readiness for the Sultaun's service at a moment's notice.

The gift of a Soobadhaarie was originally conferred on men who had
distinguished themselves, either in the army, or in civil capacities, as
faithful friends and servants of the Sultaun. In the course of time, some
of these Soobadhaars, probably from just causes, threw off their strict
allegiance to their Sovereign, abandoned the title of Soobadhaar, and
adopted that of Nuwaub in its stead, either with or without the consent of
the Court of Delhi.

As it is not my intention to give a precise history of the Indian empire,
but merely to touch on generalities, I have confined my remarks to a brief
explanation of the nature of this office; and will only add, that whilst
the Soobadhaars (afterwards the Nuwaubs) of Oude swayed over that
beautiful province under these titles, they continued to send their usual
nuzzas to the King of Delhi, although no longer considered under his
dominion; thus acknowledging his superiority, because inferiors only
present nuzzas. But when Ghauzee ood deen Hyder was created King of Oude,
he could no longer be considered tributary to the House of Timoor, and the
annual ceremony of sending a nuzza, I understood, was discontinued. The
first King of Oude issued coins from his new mint almost immediately after
his coronation, prior to which period the current money of that province
bore the stamp of Delhi.[6]

Shah Nizaam ood deen[7] was one of the many Mussulmaun saints, whose
history has interested me much. He is said to have been dead about five
hundred years, yet his memory is cherished by the Mussulmauns of the
present day with veneration unabated by the lapse of years, thus giving to
the world a moral and a religious lesson, 'The great and the ambitious
perish, and their glory dieth with them; but the righteous have a name
amongst their posterity for ever.'

I was familiar with the character of Nizaam ood deen long prior to my
visit at the Court of Delhi, and, as maybe supposed, it was with no common
feeling of pleasure I embraced the opportunity of visiting the mausoleum
erected over the remains of that righteous man.

The building originally was composed of the hard red stone, common to the
neighbourhood of Delhi, with an occasional mixture of red bricks of a very
superior quality; but considerable additions and ornamental improvements
of pure white marble have been added to the edifice, from time to time, by
different monarchs and nobles of Hindoostaun, whose pious respect for the
memory of the righteous Shah Nizaam ood deen is testified by these
additions, which render the mausoleum at the present time as fresh and
orderly as if but newly erected.

The style of the building is on the original, I might say, only plan of
Mussulmaun mukhburrahs--square, with a cupola. It is a beautiful structure
on a scale of moderate size. The pavements are of marble, as are also the
pillars, which are fluted and inlaid with pure gold; the ceiling is of
chaste enamel painting (peculiarly an Indian art, I fancy,) of the
brightest colours. The cupola is of pure white marble, of exquisite
workmanship and in good taste; its erection is of recent date, I
understand, and the pious offering of the good Akbaar Shah, who, being
himself a very religions personage, was determined out of his limited
income to add this proof of his veneration for the sainted Nizaam to the
many which his ancestors had shown.[8]

The marble tomb enclosing the ashes of Shah Nizaam ood deen is in the
centre of the building immediately under the cupola; this tomb is about
seven feet long by two, raised about a foot from the pavement; on the
marble sides are engraved chapters from the Khoraun in the Arabic
character, filled up with black; the tomb itself has a covering of very
rich gold cloth, resembling a pall.

This tranquil spot is held sacred by all Mussulmauns. Here the sound of
human feet are never heard; 'Put off thy shoes', being quite as strictly
observed near this venerated place, as when the mosque and emaum-baarah
are visited by 'the faithful'; who, as I have before remarked, whenever a
prayer is about to be offered to God, cast off their shoes with scrupulous
care, whether the place chosen for worship be in the mosque, the abode of
men, or the wilderness.

I was permitted to examine the interior of the mausoleum. The calm
stillness, which seemed hardly earthly; the neatness which pervaded every
corner of the interior; the recollection of those virtues, which I so
often heard had distinguished Shah Nizaam's career on earth, impressed me
with feelings at that moment I cannot forget; and it was with reluctance I
turned from this object to wander among the surrounding splendid ruins,
the only emblems left of departed greatness; where not even a tablet
exists to mark the affection of survivors, or to point to the passing
traveller the tomb of the monarch, the prince, or the noble,--except in
the instance of Shah Allum,--whilst the humble-minded man's place of
sepulture is kept repaired from age to age, and still retains the
freshness of a modern structure in its five hundredth year.

There are men in charge of Shah Nizaam ood deen's mausoleum who lead
devout lives, and subsist on the casual bounties gleaned from the
charitable visitors to his shrine. Their time is passed in religious
duties, reading the Khoraun over the ashes of the saint, and keeping the
place clean and free from unholy intrusions. They do not deem this mode of
existence derogatory; for to hold the situation of darogahs, or keepers of
the tombs of the saints, who are held in universal veneration amongst
Mussulmauns, is esteemed an honourable privilege.

In this sketch of my visit to the tombs at Delhi, I must not omit one very
remarkable cemetery, which, as the resting place of the last reigning
sovereign of Hindoostaun, excited in me no small degree of interest,
whilst contrasting the view it exhibited of fallen greatness, with the
many evidences of royal magnificence.

The tomb I am about to describe is that erected over the remains of Shah
Allum;[9] and situated within view of the mausoleum of the righteous
plebeian, Shah Nizaam. It is a simple, unadorned grave; no canopy of
marble, or decorated hall, marks here the peaceful rest of a monarch, who
in his life-time was celebrated for the splendour of his Court; a small
square spot of earth, enclosed with iron railings, is all that remains to
point to posterity the final resting place of the last monarch of
Hindoostaun. His grave is made by his favourite daughter's side, whose
affection had been his only solace in the last years of his earthly
sufferings; a little masonry of brick and plaster supports the mound of
earth over his remains, on which I observed the grass was growing,
apparently cultured by some friendly hand. At the period of my visit, the
solitary ornament to this last terrestrial abode of a King was a luxuriant
white jessamine tree, beautifully studded with blossoms, which scented the
air around with a delightful fragrance, and scattered many a flower over
the grave which it graced by its remarkable beauty, height, and luxuriance.
The sole canopy that adorns Shah Allum's grave is the rich sky, with all
its resplendent orbs of day and night, or clouds teeming with beneficent
showers. Who then could be ambitious, vain, or proud, after viewing this
striking contrast to the grave of Shah Nizaam? The vain-glorious humbled
even in the tomb;--the humble minded exalted by the veneration ever paid
to the righteous.

I was persuaded to visit the ruins of antiquity which are within a morning'
s drive of Delhi. Nothing that I there witnessed gave me so much pleasure
as the far-famed Kootub, a monument or pillar, of great antiquity, claimed
equally by the Hindoo and Mussulmaun as due to their respective periods of
sovereign rule. The site is an elevated spot, and from the traces of
former buildings, I am disposed to believe this pillar, standing now erect
and imposing, was one of the minarets of a mosque, and the only remains of
such a building, which must have been very extensive, if the height and
dimensions of the minaret be taken as a criterion of the whole.[10]

This pillar has circular stairs within, leading to galleries extending all
round, at stated distances, and forming five tiers from the first gallery
to the top, which finishes with a circular room, and a canopy of stone,
open on every side for the advantage of an extensive prospect. Verses from
the Khoraun are cut out in large Arabic characters on the stones, which
form portions of the pillar from the base to the summit in regular
divisions; this could only be done with great labour, and, I should
imagine, whilst the blocks of stone were on the level surface of the earth,
which renders it still more probable that it was a Mussulmaun erection.

The view from the first gallery was really so magnificent, that I was
induced to ascend to the second for a still bolder extent of prospect,
which more than repaid me the task. I never remember to have seen so
picturesque a panorama in any other place. Some of my party, better able
to bear the fatigue, ascended to the third and fourth gallery. From them I
learned that the beauty and extent of the view progressively increased
until they reached the summit, from whence the landscape which fell
beneath the eye surpassed description.

On the road back to Delhi, we passed some extensive remains of buildings,
which I found on inquiry had been designed for an observatory by Jhy
Sing,[11]--whose extraordinary mind has rendered his name conspicuous in
the annals of Hindoostaun,--but which was not completed while he lived. It
may be presumed, since the work was never finished, that his countrymen
either have not the talent, or the means to accomplish the scientific plan
his superior mind had contemplated.

At the time I visited Delhi, I had but recently recovered from a serious
and tedious illness; I was therefore ill-fitted to pursue those researches
which might have afforded entertaining material for my pen, and must, on
that account, take my leave of this subject with regret, for the present,
and merely add my acknowledgments to those kind friends who aided my
endeavours in the little I was enabled to witness of that remarkable place,
which to have viewed entirely would have taken more time and better health
than I could command at that period. I could have desired to search out
amongst the ruined mausoleums for those which contain the ashes of
illustrious characters, rendered familiar and interesting by the several
anecdotes current in Native society, to many of which I have listened with
pleasure, as each possessed some good moral for the mind.

It is my intention to select two anecdotes for my present Letter, which
will, I trust, prove amusing to my readers; one relates to Jhaungeer,[12]
King of India; the other to Kaareem Zund, King of Persia. I am not aware
that either has appeared before the public in our language, although they
are so frequently related by the Natives in their domestic circles. If
they have not, I need hardly apologise for introducing them, and on the
other hand, if they have before been seen, I may plead my ignorance of the
circumstance in excuse for their insertion here.

I have already noticed that, among the true Mussulmauns, there are no
religious observances more strictly enforced than the keeping the fast of
Rumzaun, and the abstaining from fermented liquors. It is related, however,
that 'A certain king of India, named Jhaungeer, was instructed by his
tutors in the belief, that on the day of judgment, kings and rulers will
not have to answer either for the sin of omission or commission, as
regards these two commands; but that the due administration of justice to
the subjects over whom they are placed, will be required at the hands of
every king, ruler, or governor, on the face of the earth.

'Jhaungeer was determined to walk strictly in the path which he was
assured would lead him to a happy eternity; and, therefore, in his reign
every claim of justice was most punctiliously discharged. Each case
requiring decision was immediately brought to the foot of the throne; for
the King would not allow business of such importance to his soul's best
interest to be delegated to the guardianship of his Vizier, or other of
his servants; and in order to give greater facility to complainants of
every degree, the King invented the novel contrivance of a large bell,
which was fixed immediately over his usual seat on the musnud, which bell
could be sounded by any one outside the palace gate, by means of a stout
rope staked to the ground. Whenever this alarum of justice was sounded in
the King's ear, he sent a trusty messenger to conduct the complainant into
his presence.[13]

'One day, upon the bell being violently rung, the messenger was commanded
to bring in the person requiring justice. When the messenger reached the
gate, he found no other creature near the place but a poor sickly-looking
ass, in search of a scanty meal from the stunted grass, which was dried up
by the scorching sun, and blasts of hot wind which at that season
prevailed. The man returned and reported to the King that there was no
person at the gate.

'The King was much surprised at the singularity of the circumstance, and
whilst he was talking of the subject with his nobles and courtiers, the
bell was again rung with increased violence. The messenger being a second
time despatched, returned with the same answer, assuring the King that
there was not any person at or within sight of the gate. The King,
suspecting him to be a perverter of justice, was displeased with the man,
and even accused him of keeping back a complainant from interested motives.
It was in vain the messenger declared himself innocent of so foul a crime;
a third time the bell rang, "Go," said the King to his attendants, "and
bring the supplicant into my presence immediately!" The men went, and on
their return informed the King that the only living creature near the gate
was an ass, poor and manged, seeking a scanty meal from the parched blades
of grass. "Then let the ass be brought hither!" said the King; "perhaps
_he_ may have some complaint to prefer against his owner."

'The courtiers smiled when the ass was brought into the presence of the
monarch, who upon seeing the poor half-starved beast covered with sores,
was at no loss for a solution of the mysterious ringing at the bell, for
the animal not finding a tree or post against which he could rub himself,
had made use of the bell-rope for that purpose.

"Enquire for the owner of the ass!" commanded the King, "and let him be
brought before me without delay!" The order promptly given, was as readily
obeyed; and the hurkaarahs (messengers, or running footmen) in a short
time introduced a poor Dhobhie[14] (washerman) who had owned the ass from a
foal. The plaintiff and defendant were then placed side by side before the
throne, when the King demanded, "Why the sick ass was cast out to provide
for itself a precarious subsistence?" The Dhobhie replied, "In truth, O
Jahaum-punah![15] (Protector or Ruler of the World), because he is grown
old and unserviceable, afflicted with mange, and being no longer able to
convey my loads of linen to the river, I gave him his liberty."

'"Friend," said the King, "when this thine ass was young and healthy,
strong and lusty, didst thou not derive benefits from his services? Now
that he is old, and unable from sickness to render thee further benefits,
thou hast cast him from thy protection, and sent him adrift on the wide
world; gratitude should have moved thee to succour and feed so old and
faithful a servant, rather than forsake him in his infirmities. Thou hast
dealt unjustly with this thy creature; but, mark me, I hold thee
responsible to repair the injury thou hast done the ass. Take him to thy
home, and at the end of forty days attend again at this place, accompanied
by the ass, and compensate to the best of thy power, by kind treatment,
for the injury thou hast done him by thy late hard-hearted conduct."

'The Dhobhie, glad to escape so well, went away leading the ass to his
home, fed him with well-soaked gram (grain in general use for cattle), and
nicely-picked grass, sheltered him from the burning sun, poured healing
oil into his wounds, and covered his back to keep off the flies; once a
day he bathed him in the river. In short, such expedients were resorted to
for the comfort and relief of the ass, as were ultimately attended with
the happiest effects.

'At the expiration of the forty days, the Dhobhie set off from his home to
the palace, leading his now lively ass by a cord. On the road the
passers-by were filled with amazement and mirth, at the manners and
expressions of the Dhobhie towards his led ass. "Come along,
brother!--Make haste, son!--Let us be quick, father!--Take care, uncle!"

'"What means the old fool?" was asked by some; "does he make his ass a
relation?"--"In truth," replied the Dhobhie, "my ass is a very dear old
friend, and what is more, he has been a greater expense to me than all my
relations latterly: believe me, it has cost me much care and pains to
bring this ass into his present excellent condition." Then relating the
orders of the King, and his own subsequent treatment of the beast, the
people no longer wondered at the simple Dhobhie's expressions which had
prompted them at first to believe he was mad.

'The King, it is related, received the Dhobhie graciously, and commended
and rewarded him for his careful attention to the animal; which in his
improved condition became more useful to his master than he had ever been,
through the King's determination to enforce justice even to the brute
creation.'

The second anecdote, translated for me by the same kind hand, is often
related, with numerous embellishments, under the title of 'Khareem
Zund'.[16]

'Khareem Zund ruled in Persia. One day he was seated in the verandah of
his palace smoking his hookha, and, at the same time, as was his frequent
practice, overlooking the improvements carried on by masons and labourers,
under the superintendence of a trusty servant. One of the labourers, who
was also named Khareem, had toiled long, and sought to refresh himself
with a pipe. The overseer of the work, seeing the poor man thus engaged,
approached him in great wrath, rated him severely for his presumption in
smoking whilst he stood in the presence of his sovereign, and striking him
severely with a stick, snatched the pipe from the labourer and threw it
away. The poor wretch cared not for the weight of the blow so much as for
the loss of his pipe: his heart was oppressed with the weight of his
sorrows, and raising his eyes to Heaven he cried aloud, "Allah
Khareem!"[17] (God is merciful!), then lowering his eyes, his glance
rested on the King, "App Khareem!" (thou art named merciful!), from whom
withdrawing his eyes slowly he looked at his own mean body, and added,
"Myn Khareem!" (I am called merciful!).

'The King, who had heard the labourer's words, and witnessed with emotion
the impressive manner of lifting his eyes to Heaven, had also seen the
severity of the overseer to the unoffending labourer; he therefore
commanded that the man should be brought into his presence without delay,
who went trembling, and full of fear that his speech had drawn some heavy
punishment on his head.

'"Sit down," said the King.--"My sovereign pardon his slave!" replied the
labourer.--"I do not jest; it is my pleasure that you sit down," repeated
the King; and when he saw his humble guest seated, he ordered his own
silver hookha to be brought and placed before the poor man, who hesitated
to accept the gracious offer; but the King assured him in the kindest
manner possible it was his wish and his command. The labourer enjoyed the
luxury of a good hookha, and by the condescending behaviour of the King
his composure gradually returned.

'This King, who it would seem delighted in every opportunity that offered
of imparting pleasure and comfort to his subjects of all ranks and degrees,
seeing the labourer had finished his second chillum[18] (contents of a
pipe) told him he had permission to depart, and desired him to take the
hookha and keep it for his sake. "Alas, my King!" said the labourer, "this
costly silver pipe will soon be stolen from me; my mud hut cannot safely
retain so valuable a gift; the poor mazoor[19] inhabits but a chupha (or
coarse grass-roofed) hut."--"Then take materials from my store-houses to
build a house suited to your hookha," was the order he received from the
King; "and let it be promptly done! I design to make you one of my
overseers; for _you_, Khareem, have been the instrument to rouse _me_ to
be Khareem (merciful); and I can now approach Allah with increased
confidence. Who is the only true Khareem!"'


[1] Akbar Shah II, King of Delhi, A.D. 1806-37.

[2] _Mahall_.

[3] _Darvesh_, 'a religious mendicant'.

[4] Mansur 'Ali Khan, Safdar Jang, Nawab of Oudh
    (A.D. 1739-56), his successors being--his son, Shuja-ud-daula
    (1756-75); his son, Asaf-ud-daula (1775-97); his reputed son Wazir
    'Ali (1797-8); Sa'a dat 'Ali Khan, half-brother of
    Asaf-ud-daula (1798-1814); his son, Ghazi-ud-din Haidar
    (1814-37). The tomb of Safdar Jang is near that of the Emperor
    Humayun. 'This tomb in one of the last great Muhammadan
    architectural efforts in India, and for its age it deserves perhaps
    more commendation than is usually accorded to it. Though the general
    arrangement of the tomb in the same as that of the Taj, it was not
    intended to be a copy of the latter' (H.C. Fanshawe, _Delhi Past and
    Present_, 1902, 246 f., with a photograph). For a different
    appreciation, see Sleeman, _Rambles_, p. 507.

[5] _Subahdar_, the Viceroy or Governor of a Subah or Province of
    the Moghul Empire.

[6] Ghazi-ud-din announced his independence of Delhi under the
    advice of his Minister, Agha Mir.

[7] Shaikh Nizam-ud-din. Auliya, one of the noblest disciples of
    Shaikh Farid-ud-din Shakkarganj; born at Budaun, A.D. 1236,
    died at Delhi, 1325.

[8] The entrance to the Dargah was built by Firoz Shah, and bears
    the date A.D. 1378. The structure over the tomb has been rebuilt by
    many pious donors, and little of the original work is left (Fanshawe,
    op. cit., 235 ff.; Sleeman, _Rambles_, 490 ff., 507).

[9] Shah 'Alam II, King of Delhi, A.D. 1759-1806. 'Three royal graves
    in the little court to the south side of the mosque lie within a
    single marble enclosure--that on the last is the resting-place of
    Akbar Shah II (died 1837 A.D.); the next to it is that of Shah
    Alam II (died 1806), and then beyond an empty space, intended for
    the grave of Bahadur Shah, [the last King of Delhi], buried at
    Rangoon, comes the tomb of Shah Alam Bahadur Shah, a plain
    stone with grass on it' (Fanshawe, 281 f.; Sleeman, _Rambles_, 500).

[10] Qutb, 'the polar star'. The pillar, 238 feet in height, was begun by
    Qutb-ud-di Aibak (A.D. 1206-10), and there are inscriptions of
    Altamsh or Iltutmish, his son-in-law. It is entirely of Muhammadan
    origin, and was primarily intended to serve as a minaret to
    Qutb-ud-din's mosque adjoining it; but its name refers to the saint
    Qutb-ud-din, buried close by. (Fanshawe, 265 ff.; Sleeman,
    _Rambles_, 492 ff.)

[11] This observatory was built by Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur (A.D.
    1693-1743) in 1724. He also erected similar observatories at Benares,
    Multan, Ujjain, and Jaipur (Fanshawe, 247).

[12] Jahangir, eldest son of the Emperor Akbar, reigned A.D. 1605-27.

[13] 'The first order that I issued was for the setting up of a Chain of
    Justice, so that if the Officers of the Courts of Justice should fail
    in the investigation of the complaints of the oppressed, the injured
    person might come to this chain and shake it, and so give notice of
    their wrongs. I ordered that the chain should be made of pure gold,
    and be thirty _gaz_ [yards] long, with sixty bells upon it. The
    weight of it was four Hindustani _mans_ [8 lb.] of 'Irak.
    One end was firmly attached to a battlement of the fort of Agra, the
    other to a stone column on the bank of the river' (_Memoirs of
    Jahangir_ in Sir H.M. Elliot, _History of India_, vi. 284). It
    does not appear that this silly contrivance was ever used, and it was
    meant only for parade. Raja Anangpal had already set up a
    similar bell at Delhi (ibid. vi. 262, iii. 565).

[14] _Dhobi_.

[15] _Jahan-panah_.


[16] Karim Khan, of the Zand tribe, defeated the Afghans and
    secured the Kingdom of Fars or Southern Persia, with his capital at
    Shiraz. He died at an advanced age, A.D. 1779 (Sir J. Malcolm,
    _History of Persia_, 1829, ii. 58 ff.).

[17] _Allah Karim, Ap Karim, Main Karim_.


[18] _Chilam_, the clay bowl of a water-pipe: its contents.

[19] _Mazdur_, a day labourer.



LETTER XXI

  Natural Productions of India.--Trees, shrubs, plants, fruits,
  &c.--Their different uses and medicinal qualities.--The Rose.--Native
  medical practice.--Antidote to Hydrophobia.--Remedy for the venom of
  the Snake.--The Chitcherah (Inverted thorn).--The Neam-tree.--The
  Hurrundh (Castor-tree).--The Umultass (Cassia-tree).--The
  Myrtle.--The Pomegranate.--The Tamarind.--The Jahmun.--The
  Mango.--The Sherrefah.--White and red Guavers.--The Damascus Fig.--The
  Peach, and other Fruits.--The Mahdhaar (Fire-plant).--The Sirrakee and
  Sainturh (Jungle-grass).--The Bamboo, and its various uses
  enumerated.


In Europe we are accustomed to cultivate the rose merely as an ornament of
the garden. This is not the case with my Indian acquaintance; they
cultivate the rose as a useful article, essential to their health, and
conducive to their comfort.

The only rose I have ever seen them solicitous about is the old-fashioned
'hundred-leaf' or cabbage-rose'.[1] Where-ever a Mussulmaun population
congregate these are found planted in enclosed fields. In the month of
September, the rose trees are cut down to within eight inches of the
surface of the earth, and the cuttings carefully planted in a sheltered
situation for striking, to keep up a succession of young trees. By the
first or second week in December the earliest roses of the season are in
bloom on the new wood, which has made its way from the old stock in this
short period. Great care is taken in gathering the roses to preserve every
bud for a succession. A gardener in India is distressed when the Beeby
Sahibs[2] (English ladies) pluck roses, aware that buds and all are
sacrificed at once. I shall here give a brief account of the several
purposes to which the rose is applied.

Rose-water is distilled in most Mussulmaun families as a medicine and an
indispensable luxury. For medicine, it is administered in all cases of
indigestion and pains of the stomach or bowels,--the older the rose-water
the more effectual the remedy. I have been accustomed to see very old
rose-water administered in doses of a wine-glass full, repeated frequently,
in cases of cholera morbus and generally with good effect, when the
patient has applied the remedy in time and due care has been observed in
preventing the afflicted person from taking any other liquid until the
worst symptoms have subsided. This method of treatment may not accord with
the views of professional men generally; however, I only assert what I
have repeatedly seen, that it has been administered to many members of my
husband's family with the best possible effect. On one occasion, after
eating a hearty dinner, Meer Hadjee Shaah was attacked with cholera;
rose-water was administered, with a small portion of the stone called zahur
morah. In his agony, he complained of great thirst, when rose-water was
again handed to him, and continued at intervals of half-an-hour during the
day and part of the night. In the morning, the pain and symptoms had
greatly subsided; he was, notwithstanding, restrained from taking any
liquid or food for more than forty-eight hours, except occasionally a
little rose-water; and when his Native doctors permitted him to receive
nourishment, he was kept on very limited portions of arrow-root for
several days together. At the end of about eight days (the fever having
been entirely removed) chicken-broth was allowed, and at first without
bread; solids, indeed, were only permitted when all fears of a relapse had
ceased, and even then but partially for some time, fearing the
consequences to the tender state of the bowels. Such persons as are
abstemious and regard the quality of their daily food are most likely to
recover from the attack of this awful scourge. Very young children are
rarely amongst the sufferers by cholera; the adults of all classes are
most subject to it in India; indeed, I do not find the aged or the
youthful, either male or female, preponderate in the number attacked; but
those who live luxuriously suffer most. Amongst the Natives, it is
difficult to prevail on them to forego their usual meals, particularly
amongst the lower orders: if they feel rather inconvenienced by heartburns
or other indications of a disordered stomach, they cannot resist eating
again and again at the appointed hours, after which strong symptoms of
cholera usually commence. I never heard of one case occurring after a good
night's rest, but invariably after eating, either in the morning or the
evening.

My remarks have drawn me from my subject, by explaining the supposed
medicinal benefits of rose-water, which as a luxury is highly valued in
India. It is frequently used by the Natives in preparing their sweet
dishes, is added to their sherbet, sprinkled over favoured guests, used to
cleanse the mouth-piece of the hookha, and to cool the face and hands in
very hot weather. Although they abstain from the use of rose-water,
externally and internally, when suffering from a cold,--they fancy
smelling a rose will produce a cold, and I have often observed in India,
that smelling a fresh rose induces sneezing,[3]--yet, at all other times,
this article is in general use in respectable Mussulmaun families. Dried
rose-leaves and cassia added to infusions of senna, is a family medicine
in general request.

The fresh rose-leaves are converted by a very simple process into a
conserve, which is also used as a medicine; it is likewise an essential
article, with other ingredients, in the preparation of tobacco for their
luxurious hookha.

A syrup is extracted from the fresh rose, suited admirably to the climate
of India as an aperient medicine, pleasant to the taste and mild in its
effects. A table-spoon full is considered a sufficient dose for adults.

The seed of the rose is a powerful astringent, and often brought into use
in cases of extreme weakness of the bowels. The green leaves are
frequently applied pounded as a cold poultice to inflamed places with much
the same effect as is produced in England from golard-water.[4]

The oil or otta of roses is collected from the rose-water when first
distilled. Persons intending to procure the otta, have the rose-water
poured into dishes while warm from the still: this remains undisturbed
twenty-four hours, when the oily substance is discovered on the surface as
cream on milk; this is carefully taken off, bottled, the mouth closed with
wax, and then exposed to the burning rays of the sun for several days. The
rose-water is kept in thin white glass bottles, and placed in baskets for
a fortnight, either on the roofs of houses or on a grass-plot; or wherever
the sun by day and the dew by night may be calculated on, which act on the
rose-water and induce that fragrant smell so peculiar to that of India.

I have elsewhere remarked that the Native medical practice is strictly
herbal; minerals are strongly objected to as pernicious in after
consequences, although they may prove effectual in removing present
inconvenience. Quicksilver[5] is sometimes resorted to by individuals, but
without the sanction of their medical practitioners. They have no notion
of the anatomy of the human body, beyond a few ideas suggested in the old
Grecian school of medicine, in favour of which they are strongly
prejudiced. They, however, are said to perform extraordinary cures by
simple treatment, many cases of severe fever occurred under my own
observation, which were removed, I really believe, by strict attention to
diet, or rather starving the enemy from its strong hold, than by any of
the medicines administered to the patients. If any one is attacked by
fever, his medical adviser inquires the day and the hour it commenced, by
which he is guided in prescribing for the patient. On the borehaun[6]
(critical days) as the third, fifth, and seventh, after the fever
commences, nothing could induce the medical doctor to let blood or
administer active medicines; there only remains then for the patient to be
debarred any kind of food or nourishment, and that duly observed, the
fever is often thrown off without a single dose of medicine. By three or
four days of most strict abstinence, and such simple nourishment as the
thinnest gruel or barley water,--the latter made from the common field
barley, very sparingly allowed, the patient is rendered convalescent.

The Natives of India profess to have found an antidote to, and cure for,
hydrophobia in the reetah[7] berry, described as a saponaceous nut. I have
never seen a case of hydrophobia, but it is by no means uncommon, I
understand. They always advise that the person bitten by a rabid animal,
should have the limb promptly tied up with a bandage above and below the
bite; the wound, as speedily as possible, to be seared with a red-hot iron,
and a few doses of the reetah berry with a portion of soap administered.
The berry is well known for its good property in cleansing and softening
the hair, for which purpose it is generally found in the bathing-rooms
both of the European and Native ladies.

The Native remedy for snake bites, is called neellah tootee[8] (blue
vitrol): if from eight to twelve grains be administered in ghee or butter
immediately after the bite is received, the happiest results will follow.
A person in our family was bitten by a snake, but neglected to apply for
the remedy for more than half an hour after the accident, when his own
expressions were, that 'he suffered great uneasiness in his body, and his
faculties seemed darkened;' half a masha, about eight grains of blue stone,
was now given in ghee. In a few hours he was apparently quite well again,
and for several days he found no other inconvenience than a slight
numbness in the hand which had been bitten by the snake.

This person had occasion soon after to leave home, and had exerted himself
unusually by walking, when he found the same symptoms of uneasiness return;
he hurried to a house where he was known, and requested to be supplied
with a certain quantity of blue stone without delay. He had sense enough
remaining to explain for what purpose he required it, when the person
applied to objected to furnish him with the poisonous article. The remedy,
however, was ultimately procured, taken, and in a few hours he was
recovered sufficiently to return home. He never found the symptoms return
again to my recollection.

The chitcherah[9] (inverted thorn), is a shrub common to India, which
bears small grains not unlike rice; these seeds are poisonous in their
natural state, but when properly prepared with a portion of
urzeez[10]--(tin), it becomes a useful medicine; and in particular cases
of scrofula, which have resisted all other remedies offered by the medical
practitioners, the Natives tell me this has proved an effectual remedy;
and my informant, a Native doctor, assures me that three doses, of three
grains each, is all he finds necessary to give his patient in scrofula
cases.

The chitcherah in its green state is resorted to as a remedy for the sting
of scorpions: when applied to the wound, which is often much inflamed and
very painful, the cure is prompt. The scorpion runs from this shrub when
held to it, as if it were frightened: many people declare scorpions are
never met with in the grounds where the chitcherah grows.

The neam-tree[11] is cultivated near the houses of Natives generally, in
the Upper Provinces, because, as they affirm, it is very conducive to
health, to breathe the air through the neam-trees. This tree is not very
quick of growth, but reaches a good size. When it has attained its full
height, the branches spread out as luxuriantly as the oak and supplies an
agreeable shelter from the sun. The bark is rough; the leaves long, narrow,
curved, pointed, and with saw teeth edges; both the wood and leaves
partake of the same disagreeable bitter flavour. The green leaves are used
medicinally as a remedy for biles; after being pounded they are mixed with
water and taken as a draught; they are also esteemed efficacious as
poultices and fomentations for tumours, &c. The young twigs are preferred
by all classes of the Natives for tooth-brushes.

The hurrundh,[12] or castor-tree, is cultivated by farmers in their
corn-fields throughout Hindoostaun. This tree seldom exceeds in its growth
the height of an English shrub. The bark is smooth; the leaf, in shape,
resembles the sycamore, but of a darker green. The pods containing the
seed grow in clusters like grapes, but of a very different appearance, the
surface of each pod being rough, thorny, and of a dingy red cast when ripe.
The seed produces the oil, which is in common use as a powerful medicine,
for men and animals. In remote stations, where any difficulty exists in
procuring cocoa-nut oil, the castor oil is often rendered useful for
burning in lamps; the light, however, produced by it is very inferior to
the oil of cocoa-nut. The green leaves are considered cooling to wounds or
inflamed places, and therefore used with ointment after the
blister-plaster is removed.

As I have seen this tree growing in corn-fields, I may here remark that
the farmer's motives for cultivating it originate in the idea that his
crops are benefited by a near vicinity to the hurrundh. It is also very
common to observe a good row of the plant called ulsee[13](linseed),
bordering a plantation of wheat or barley: they fancy this herb preserves
the blade healthy, and the corn from blight.

The umultass[14] (cassia) is a large and handsome forest tree, producing
that most useful drug in long dark pods, several inches long, which hang
from the branches in all directions, giving a most extraordinary
appearance to the tree. The seed is small and mixed with the pulp, which
dissolves in water, and is in general use with the Natives as a powerful
and active medicine in bilious cases. I am not, however, aware that the
seed possesses any medicinal property: it certainly is not appropriated to
such cases in Hindoostaun.

Myrtle-trees,[15] under many different names, and of several kinds, are
met with in India, of an immense size compared with those grown in Europe.
They are cultivated for their known properties, rather than as mere
ornaments to the garden. The leaves, boiled in water, are said to be of
service to the hair; the root and branches are considered medicinal.

The pomegranate-tree[16] may be ranked amongst the choicest beauties of
Asiatic horticulture; and when its benefits are understood, no one wonders
that a tree or two is to be seen in almost every garden and compound of
the Mussulmaun population in India.

The finest fruit of this sort is brought, however, from Persia and Cabul,
at a great expense; and from the general estimation in which it is held,
the merchants annually import the fruit in large quantities. There are two
sorts, the sweet and the acid pomegranate, each possessing medicinal
properties peculiar to itself. Sherbet is made from the juice, which is
pressed out, and boiled up with sugar or honey to a syrup; thus prepared
it keeps good for any length of time, and very few families omit making
their yearly supply, as it constitutes a great luxury in health, and a
real benefit in particular disorders. The Natives make many varieties of
sherbet from the juices of their fruits, as the pine-apple, falsah,[17]
mango, or any other of the same succulent nature, each having properties
to recommend it beyond the mere pleasantness of its flavour.

An admirer of Nature must be struck with the singular beauty of the
pomegranate-tree, so commonly cultivated in India. The leaves are of a
rich dark green, very glossy, and adorned at the same time with every
variety of bud, bloom, and fruit, in the several stages of vegetation,
from the first bud to the ripe fruit in rich luxuriance, and this in
succession nearly throughout the year. The bright scarlet colour of the
buds and blossoms seldom vary in their shades; but contrasted with the
glossy dark green foliage, the effect excites wonder and admiration. There
is a medicinal benefit to be derived from every part of this tree from its
root upwards, each part possessing a distinct property, which is employed
according to the Native knowledge and practice of medicine.

Even the falling blossoms are carefully collected, and when made into a
conserve, are administered successfully in cases of blood-spitting.

The tamarind-tree may often be discovered sheltering the tomb of revered
or sainted characters; but I am not aware of any particular veneration
entertained towards this tree by the general population of India, beyond
the benefit derived from the medicinal properties of the fruit and the
leaves.[18]

The ripe fruit, soaked in salt and water, to extract the juices, is
strained, and administered as a useful aperient; and from its quality in
cleansing the blood, many families prefer this fruit in their curries to
other acids. From the tamarind-tree, preserves are made for the affluent,
and chatnee for the poor, to season their coarse barley unleavened cakes,
which form their daily meal, and with which they seem thoroughly contented.

From what cause I know not, but it is generally understood that vegetation
does not thrive in the vicinity of the tamarind-tree. Indeed, I have
frequently heard the Natives account for the tamarind being so often
planted apart from other trees, because they fancy vegetation is always
retarded in their vicinity.

The jahmun-tree[19] is also held in general estimation for the benefit of
the fruit, which, when ripe, is eaten with salt, and esteemed a great
luxury, and in every respect preferable to olives. The fruit, in its raw
state, is a powerful astringent, and possesses many properties not
generally known out of Native society, which may excuse my mentioning them
here. The fruit, which is about the size and colour of the damson-plum,
when ripe is very juicy, and makes an excellent wine, not inferior in
quality to port. The Natives, however, are not permitted by their law to
drink wine, and therefore this property in the fruit is of no benefit to
them; but they encourage the practice of extracting the juice of jahmun
for vinegar, which is believed to be the most powerful of all vegetable
acids. The Native medical practitioners declare, that if by accident a
hair has been introduced with food into the stomach, it can never digest
of itself, and will produce both pain and nausea to the individual. On
such occasions they administer jahmun vinegar, which has the property of
dissolving any kind of hair, and the only thing they are aware of that
will. Sherbet is made of this vinegar, and is often taken in water either
immediately after dinner, or when digestion is tardy.

The skin of the jahmun produces a permanent dye of a bright lilac colour,
and with the addition of urzeez (tin), a rich violet. The effect on wool I
have never tried, but on silks and muslins the most beautiful shades have
been produced by the simplest process possible, and so permanent, that the
colour resisted every attempt to remove it by washing, &c.[20]

The mango-tree stands pre-eminently high in the estimation of the Natives,
and this is not to be wondered at when the various benefits derived from
it are brought under consideration. It is magnificent in its growth, and
splendid in its foliage, and where a plantation of mango-trees, called 'a
tope', is met with, that spot is preferred by travellers on which to pitch
their tent. The season of blooming is about February and March; the
aromatic scent from the flowers is delightful, and the beautiful
clustering of the blossoms is not very unlike the horse-chestnut in
appearance and size, but branching horizontally. The young mangoes are
gathered for preserves and pickles before the stone is formed; the
full-grown unripe fruit is peeled, split, and dried, for seasoning curries,
&c. The ripe fruit spoken of in a former Letter requires no further
commendation, neither will it admit of comparison with any European fruits.
The kernels, when ripe, are often dried and ground into flour for bread in
seasons of scarcity. The wood is useful as timber for doors, rafters, &c.,
and the branches and leaves for fuel; in short, there is no part of the
whole tree but is made useful in some way to man.

The sherrefah[21] (custard-apple) is produced on a very graceful tree, not,
however, of any great size; the blossom nearly resembles that of the
orange in colour and shape; the fruit ripens in the hottest months, and is
similar in flavour to well-made custards. The skin is of a dusky pea-green
rough surface, in regular compartments; each division or part containing a
glossy black seed covered with the custard. This seed is of some utility
amongst the lower order of Natives who have occasion to rid themselves of
vermin at the expense of little labour; the seed is pounded fine and when
mixed in the hair destroys the living plague almost instantly. The same
article is often used with a hair-pencil to remove a cataract of the eye
(they have no idea of surgical operations on the eye). There is one thing
worthy of remark in this tree and its fruit, that flies are never known to
settle on either; ants of every description feed on the fruit without
injury, so that it cannot be imagined there is anything poisonous to
insects, generally, in the quality of the fruit; yet, certain it is, the
sherrefah is equally obnoxious to flies as the seed is destructive to
vermin. The leaves and tender twigs are considered detrimental to health,
if not actually poisonous to cattle.

The guaver,[23] white and red, are produced in the Upper Provinces; but
the fruit is seldom so fine as in the Bengal district. The strong aromatic
smell and flavour of this fruit is not agreeable to all tastes; in size
and shape it resembles the quince.

The Damascus fig ripens well, and the fruit is superior to any I have met
with in other countries. The indigenous fig-tree of Hindoostaun is one of
the objects of Hindoo veneration. It has always been described to me by
those Natives, as the sacred burbut,[24]--why? they could not explain. The
fruit is very inferior.

The peach is cultivated in many varieties, and every new introduction
repays the careful gardener's skill by a rich and beautiful produce. They
have a flat peach,[24] with a small round kernel (a native of China), the
flavour of which is delicious, and the tree prolific.

I may here remark, that all those trees we are accustomed in Europe to
designate wall-fruit, are in India pruned for standards. The only fruit
allowed to trail on frames is the vine, of which they have many choice
varieties; one in particular, of late introduction from Persia, has the
remarkable peculiarity of being seedless, called 'Ba daanah'[25] (without
seeds); the fruit is purple, round, and sweet as honey.

Peach, nectarine, and apricot trees, are cut down early in February, much
in the same way as willows are docked in England: the new wood grows
rapidly, and the fruit is ready for the table in the month of June. A tree
neglected to be pruned in this way annually, would the first year yield
but little, and that indifferent fruit, the tree become unhealthy, and, in
most cases, never again restored to its former vigour.

Apple-trees are found chiefly in the gardens of Europeans; they are not
perhaps as yet understood by Native gardeners, or it may be the climate is
not favourable to them; certain it is, that the apples produced in
Hindoostaun are not to be compared with those of other countries. Singular
as it may seem, yet I have never met with more than one species of apple
in my visits to the gardens of India. I have often fancied a fresh
importation of English apple-trees would be worth the trouble of the
transfer.[26]

The apple-trees grow tall and slender, the blossoms break out on the top
of each branch in a cluster; the fruit, when ripe, is about the size of
small crabs, and shaped like golden-pippins, without any acidity, but the
sweetness rather resembles turnips than the well-flavoured apple. In the
bazaars are to be met with what is called apple-preserve, which, however,
is often a deception,--turnips substituted for apples.

Mulberries are indigenous, and of several varieties. The Native gardeners,
however, take so little pains to assist or improve the operations of
Nature, that the mulberry here is seldom so fine as in other countries.
The common sort is produced on an immense tree with small leaves; the
berry is long, and when ripe, of a yellow-green, very much resembling
caterpillars in colour and form.

Plum-trees would thrive in Hindoostaun if introduced and cultivated,[27]
since the few, chiefly the bullace-plum, I have seen, produce tolerably
good fruit.

Cherries, I have never observed; they are known, however, by the name of
'glass'[28] to the travelling Natives, who describe them as common to
Cashmire, Cabul, and Persia.

Gooseberries and currants are not known in India, but they have many good
substitutes in the falsah, American sorrel, puppayah,[29] and a great
variety of Chinese fruits--all of which make excellent tarts, preserves,
and jellies. Strawberries and raspberries repay their cultivation in the
Upper Provinces: they thrive well with proper care and attention.

The melon I have described elsewhere as an indigenous fruit greatly valued
by the Natives, who cultivate the plant in the open fields without much
trouble, and with very little expense; the varieties are countless, and
every year adds to the number amongst the curious, who pride themselves on
novelty in this article of general estimation.

The pine-apple requires very little pains to produce, and little demand on
art in bringing it to perfection. The Bengal climate, however, suits it
better than the dry soil of the Upper Provinces. I have frequently heard a
superstitious objection urged by the Natives against this fruit being
planted in their regular gardens; they fancy prosperity is checked by its
introduction, or to use their own words,--'It is unfortunate to the
proprietor of the garden.'

There is a beautiful shrub, called by the Natives, mahdhaar, or
arg,[30]--literally, fire-plant,--met with in the Upper Provinces of India,
inhabiting every wild spot where the soil is sandy, as generally as the
thistle on neglected grounds in England.

The mahdhaar-plant seldom exceeds four feet in height, the branches spread
out widely, the leaves are thick, round, and broad; the blossom resembles
our dark auricula. When the seed is ripe, the pod presents a real treat to
the lover of Nature. The mahdhaar pod may be designated a vegetable bag of
pure white silk, about the size of large walnuts. The skin or bag being
removed, flat seeds are discovered in layers over each other, resembling
scales of fish; to each seed is affixed very fine white silk, about two
inches long; this silk is defended from the air by the seed; the texture
greatly resembles the silky hair of the Cashmire goat. I once had the
mahdhaar silk collected, spun, and wove, merely as an experiment, which
answered my full expectation: the article thus produced might readily be
mistaken for the shawl stuff of Cashmire.[31]

The stalks of mahdhaar, when broken, pour out a milky juice at all seasons
of the year, which falling on the skin produces blisters. The Natives
bring this juice into use both for medicine and alchymy in a variety of
ways.

The mahdhaar, as a remedy for asthma, is in great repute with the Natives;
it is prepared in the following way:--The plants are collected, root,
stalks, and leaves, and well dried by exposure to the sun; they are then
burnt on iron plates, and the ashes thrown into a pan of water, where they
remain for some days, until the water has imbibed the saline particles; it
is then boiled in an iron vessel, until the moisture is entirely absorbed,
and the salt only left at the bottom. The salt is administered in
half-grain doses at the first, and increasing the quantity when the
patient has become accustomed to its influence: it would be dangerous to
add to the quantity suddenly.[32]

Another efficient remedy, both for asthma and obstinate continuance of a
cough, is found in the salt extracted from tobacco-leaves, by a similar
process, which is administered with the like precaution, and in the same
quantities.

The sirrakee and sainturh[33] are two specimens of one genus of
jungle-grass, the roots of which are called secundah,[34] or khus-khus,[35]
and are collected on account of their aromatic smell, to form thatch
tatties, or screens for the doors and windows; which being kept constantly
watered, the strong wind rushing through the wet khus-khus is rendered
agreeably cool, and produces a real luxury at the season of the hot winds,
when every puff resembles a furnace-heat to those exposed to it by
out-of-door occupation.

This grass presents so many proofs of the beneficent care of Divine
Providence to the creatures of His hand, that the heart must be
ungratefully cold which neglects praise and thanksgiving to the Creator,
whose power and mercy bestows so great a benefit. The same might be justly
urged against our insensibility, if the meanest herb or weed could speak
to our hearts, each possessing, as it surely does, in its nature a
beneficial property peculiar to itself. But here the blessing is brought
home to every considerate mind, since a substitute for this article does
not appear to exist in India.

I have seen the sainturh stalks, on which the bloom gracefully moves as
feathers, sixteen feet high. The sirrakee has a more delicate blossom,
finer stalk, and seldom, I believe, exceeds ten feet; the stalk resembles
a reed, full of pith, without a single joint from the shoot upwards; the
colour is that of clean wheat straw, but even more glossy. The blossom is
of a silky nature possessing every variety of shade, from pure white to
the rainbow's tints, as viewed in the distance at sunrise; and when
plucked the separated blossoms have many varieties of hue from brown and
yellow, to purple.

The head or blossom is too light to weigh down the firm but flexible stalk;
but as the wind presses against each patch of grass, it is moved in a mass,
and returns to its erect position with a dignity and grace not to be
described.

I have watched for the approaching season of the blooming sirrakee with an
anxiety almost childish; my attention never tired with observing the
progressive advances from the first show of blossom, to the period of its
arriving at full perfection; at which time, the rude sickle of the
industrious labourer levels the majestic grass to the earth for domestic
purposes. The benefits it then produces would take me very long to
describe.

The sirrakee and sainturh are stripped from the outward sheltering blades,
and wove together at the ends; in this way they are used for bordering
tatties, or thatched roofs; sometimes they are formed into screens for
doors, others line their mud-huts with them. They are found useful in
constructing accommodations after the manner of bulk-heads on boats for
the river voyagers, and make a good covering for loaded waggons. For most
of these purposes the article is well suited, as it resists moisture and
swells as the wet falls on it, so that the heaviest rain may descend on a
frame of sirrakee without one drop penetrating, if it be properly placed
in a slanting position.

I cannot afford space to enumerate here the variety of purposes which this
production of Nature is both adapted for and appropriated to; every part
of the grass being carefully stored by the thrifty husbandman, even to the
tops of the reed, which, when the blossom is rubbed off, is rendered
serviceable, and proves an excellent substitute for that useful invention,
a birch-broom. The coarse parent grass, which shelters the sirrakee, is
the only article yet found to answer the purposes for thatching the
bungalows of the rich, the huts of the poor, the sheds for cattle, and
roofs for boats. The religious devotee sets up a chupha-hut,[36] without
expense,--(all the house he requires,)--on any waste spot of land most
convenient to himself, away from the busy haunts of the tumultuous world,
since bamboo and grass are the common property of all who choose to take
the trouble of gathering it from the wilderness. And here neither rent or
taxes are levied on the inhabitant, who thus appropriates to himself a
home from the bounteous provision prepared by Divine goodness for the
children of Nature.

This grass is spontaneous in its growth, neither receiving or requiring
aid from human cultivation. It is found in every waste throughout
Hindoostaun, and is the prominent feature of the jungle, into which the
wild animals usually resort for shelter from the heat of the day, or make
their covert when pursued by man, their natural enemy.

The beneficence of Heaven has also exacted but little labour from the
husbandman of India in procuring his daily provision. Indeed the actual
wants of the lower order of Natives are few, compared with those of the
same class in England; exertion has not, therefore, been called forth by
necessity in a climate which induces habits of indulgence, ease, and quiet;
where, however it may have surprised me at first, that I found not one
single Native disposed to delight in the neat ordering of a flower-garden,
I have since ascertained it is from their unwillingness to labour without
a stronger motive than the mere gratification of taste.[37] Hence the
uncultivated ground surrounding the cottages in India, which must
naturally strike the mind of strangers with mingled feelings of pity and
regret, when comparing the cottages of the English peasantry with those of
the same classes of people in Hindoostaun.

The bamboo presents to the admirer of Nature no common specimen of her
beautiful productions; and to the contemplating mind a wide field for
wonder, praise, and gratitude. The graceful movements of a whole forest of
these slender trees surpass all description; they must be witnessed in
their uncultivated ground, as I have seen them, to be thoroughly
understood or appreciated, for I do not recollect wood scenery in any
other place that could convey the idea of a forest of bamboo.

The bamboos are seen in clusters, striking from the parent root by suckers,
perhaps from fifty to a hundred in a patch, of all sizes; the tallest in
many instances exceed sixty feet, with slender branches, and leaves in
pairs, which are long, narrow, and pointed. The body of each bamboo is
hollow and jointed, in a similar way to wheat stalks, with bands or knots,
by which wonderful contrivance both are rendered strong and flexible,
suited to the several designs of creative Wisdom. The bamboo imperceptibly
tapers from the earth upwards. It is the variety of sizes in each cluster,
however, which gives grace and beauty to the whole as they move with every
breath of air, or are swayed by the strong wind.

Where space allows the experiment, the tallest bamboo may be brought down
to a level with the earth, without snapping asunder. In the strong tempest
the supple bamboo may be seen to bow submissively,--as the self-subdued
and pliant mind in affliction,--and again rear its head uninjured by the
storm, as the righteous man 'preserved by faith' revives after each trial,
or temptation.

The wood of the bamboo is hard, yet light, and possesses a fine grain,
though fibrous. The outward surface is smooth and highly polished by
Nature, and the knot very difficult to penetrate by any other means than a
saw. The twigs or branches are covered with sharp thorns, in all
probability a natural provision to defend the young trees from herbaceous
animals. I have heard of the bamboo blossoming when arrived at full age;
this I have, however, never seen, and cannot therefore presume to
describe.[38]

In the hollow divisions of the bamboo is found, in small quantities, a
pure white tasteless substance, called tawurshear,[39] which as a medicine
is in great request with the Native doctors, who administer it as a
sovereign remedy for lowness of spirits, and every disease of the heart,
such as palpitations, &c. The tawurshear when used medicinally is pounded
fine, and mixed up with gold and silver leaf, preserved quinces and apples,
and the syrup of pomegranates, which is simmered over a slow fire until it
becomes of the consistence of jam. It is taken before meals by the patient.

The bamboo is rendered serviceable to man in a countless variety of ways,
both for use and ornament. The chuphas (thatched-roofs) of huts, cottages,
or bungalows, are all constructed on frames of bamboo, to which each layer
of grass is firmly fixed by laths formed of the same wood.

The only doors in poor people's habitations are contrived from the same
materials as the roof: viz., grass on bamboo frames, just sufficient to
secure privacy and defend the inmates from cold air, or the nightly
incursions of wolves and jackals. For the warm weather, screens are
invented of split bamboos, either fine or coarse, as circumstances permit,
to answer the purpose of doors, both for the rich and poor, whenever the
house is so situated that these intruders may be anticipated at night.

The bamboo is made useful also in the kitchen as bellows by the aid of the
cook's breath; in the stable, to administer medicine to horses; and to the
poor traveller, as a deposit for his oil, either for cooking or his lamp.
To the boatman as sculls, masts, yards, and poles; besides affording him a
covering to his boat, which could not be constructed with any other wood
equally answering the same varied purpose of durability and lightness.

The carriers (generally of the bearer caste), by the help of a split
bamboo over the shoulder, convey heavy loads suspended by cords at each
end, from one part of India to the other, many hundred miles distant. No
other wood could answer this purpose so well; the bamboo being remarkably
light and of a very pliant nature lessens the fatigue to the bearer,
whilst almost any wood sufficiently strong to bear the packages would fret
the man's shoulder and add burden to burden. The bearers do not like to
carry more than twelve seer (twenty-four pounds) slung by ropes at each
end of their bamboo for any great distance; but, I fear, they are not
always allowed the privilege of thinking for themselves in these matters.

When a hackery[40] (sort of waggon) is about to be loaded with of corn or
goods, a railing is formed by means of bamboos to admit the luggage; thus
rendering the waggon itself much lighter than if built of solid wood, an
object of some moment, when considering the smallness of the cattle used
for draught, oxen of a small breed being in general use for waggons, carts,
ploughs, &c. I have never seen horses harnessed to any vehicle in India,
except to such gentlemen's carriages as are built on the English principle.

The Native carriages of ladies and travellers are indebted to the bamboo
for all the wood used in the construction of the body, which is merely a
frame covered with cloth, shaped in several different ways,--some square,
others double cones, &c.

Baskets of every shape and size, coarse or fine, are made of the split
bamboo; covers for dinner trays, on which the food is sent from the
kitchen to the hall; cheese-presses, punkahs, and screens, ingeniously
contrived in great varieties; netting-needles and pins, latches and bolts
for doors; skewers and spits; umbrella sticks, and walking canes; toys in
countless ways, and frames for needle-work.

A long line of etceteras might here be added as to the number of good
purposes to which the bamboo is adapted and appropriated in Native economy;
I must not omit that even the writing-paper on which I first practised the
Persian character was manufactured from the bamboo, which is esteemed more
durable, but not so smooth as their paper made from cotton. The young
shoots of bamboo are both pickled and preserved by the Natives, and
esteemed a great luxury when produced at meals with savoury pillaus, &c.

I am told, a whole forest of bamboo has sometimes been consumed by fire,
ignited by their own friction in a heavy storm, and the blaze fanned by
the opposing wind; the devouring element, under such circumstances, could
be stayed only when there ceased to be a tree to feed the flame.


[1] The Indian rose-water is made principally from _Rosa damascena_ about
    Ghazipur in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. It has no
    medicinal value, but is used as a vehicle for other mixtures (Watt,
    _Economic Dictionary_, VI, part i. 560 ff.).

[2] _Bibi Sahiba_. 'On the principle of the degradation of titles
    which is general, this word in application to European ladies has been
    superseded  by the hybrid _Mem Sahib_ or Madam Sahib, though it
    is often applied to European maid-servants or other Englishwomen of
    that rank of life' (Yule, _Hobson-Jobson_[2], 78).

[3] It is one of the flowers which produce pollen catarrh. Pope's
    suggestion that a man with a hypersensitive nervous system might 'die
    of a rose in aromatic pain', is not an impossible contingency.

[4] Goulard water, named after Thomas Goulard, a French surgeon: a
    solution of sub-acetate of lead, used as a lotion in cases of
    inflammation (_New English Dictionary, s.v._).

[5] P. 235.

[6] Not in Platts' _Hindustani Dictionary_: probably _barhan_,
    increasing.

[7] _Ritha_, the berry of the soap-nut tree, _Sapindus trifoliatus_
    or _mukorossi_. (Watt, _Economic Dict_., vol. vi, part ii, 468.)

[8] _Nila tutiya_, copper sulphate: used as an emetic in cases
    of poisoning, but not now recognized as a remedy for snake-bite.

[9] _Chichra, Achryanthes aspera_ (Watt, i. 81).

[10] _Arziz_.

[11] _Nim, Melia Azadirachta_. The belief that it is a prophylactic
    against fever and cholera is held even by some Europeans
    (Watt, v. 217).

[12] _Arand, Ricinus communis_.

[13]  Alsi, _Linum usitatissimum._

[14] _Amaltas, Cassia fistula_. The pulp of the fruit and the root-bark
    form the most useful domestic medicine, a simple purgative.

[15] _Myrtus communis_.

[16] _Punica Granatum_. The best varieties of the fruit come from
    Afghanistan and Persia.

[17] _Phalsa, falsa, Grewia asiatica_.

[18] The shade of the tree is supposed to be unhealthy to men, animals,
    and plants, as it is believed to be haunted by spirits, and it is
    worshipped on a day known as 'Tamarind Eleventh'.

[19] See p. 194.

[20] Watt, however, writes: 'Tin is a highly important metal in dyeing as
    practised in Europe, but in this respect is apparently unknown to the
    natives of India.' (Watt, _Economic Dictionary_, vol. vi, part iv, 60.)

[21] _Sharifa, Anona squamosa_.

[22] Guava.

[23] _Bargat_, the banyan-tree.

[24] _Pyrus persica_.

[25] _Be-danah._

[26] Excellent apples are now grown on the lower Himalayas.

[27] _Prunus communis_ grows in the lower Himalayas and as far down as
    Saharanpur, but the fruit is inferior.

[28] The sweet or wild cherry, _Prunus avium_, is called _gilas_ in the
    Hills.

[29] _Papaiya_, the papau tree, _Carica papaya_, has the curious
    property of making meat tender, if placed near it.

[30] _Madar, ak._ The latter term is derived from Sanskrit _arka_,
    'the sun', on account of the fiery colour of its flowers.

[31] The plant yields a silk cotton from the seeds and a rich white bass
    fibre from the bark, both likely to be of commercial value (Watt, ii.
    38 ff.)

[32] Used in equal proportions with black pepper, the fresh blossoms are a
    useful and cheap remedy for asthma, hysteria, and epilepsy (_ibid_. ii.
    44 ff).

[33] _Sirki_ is the upper portion of the blossoming stem, and
    _sentha_ the lower portion of the reed grass _Saccharum ciliare_
    (_ibid_. vi, part ii, 2.)

[34] _Sarkanda_ is the Panjab name for the grass _Saccharum
    arundinaceum_, but it is also applied to _Saccharum ciliare_ in last
    note (_ibid_. vi, part ii, 1 f.).

[35] _Khaskhas_, used for screens, is the root of the grass _Andropogon
    muricatus_ (_ibid_. i, 245 ff.)

[36] _Chhappar_.

[37] This is true of the higher class Musalmans; but there were
    splendid gardens in the palaces of the Moghul Emperors: see C.M.
    Villiers Stuart, _The Gardens of the Great Mughals_, 1913.

[38] The subject of the flowering of the bamboo has been investigated by
    Sir G. Watt, who writes: 'A bamboo may not flower before it has
    attained a certain age, but its blossoming is not fixed so arbitrarily
    that it cannot be retarded or accelerated by climatic influences. It
    is an undoubted fact that the flowering of the bamboo is decided by
    causes which bring about famine, for the providential supply of food
    from this source has saved the lives of thousands of persons during
    several of the great famines of India.' Hence the provision of the
    edible seeds by the extension of bamboo cultivation has been
    recommended as a means of mitigating distress (_Economic Dictionary_,
    vol. i, 373 ff., 386).

[39] _Tabashir_, bamboo manna, is a siliceous substance found in the
    joints of the bamboo: considered cooling, toxic, aphrodisiac and
    pectoral, but as a medicinal agent it is inert (_ibid_. i. 384, Yule,
    _Hobson-Jobson_[2], 887).

[40] A bullock carriage, Hindustani _chhakra_ (Yule,
    _Hobson-Jobson_[2], 407 f.).



LETTER XXII

  Monkeys.--Hindoo opinions of their Nature.--Instances of their
  sagacity.--Rooted animosity of the Monkey tribe to the
  snake.--Cruelty to each other when maimed.--The female remarkable for
  affection to its young.--Anecdotes descriptive of the belief of the
  Natives in the Monkey being endowed with reason.--The Monkeys and the
  Alligator.--The Traveller and the Monkeys.--The Hindoo and the
  Monkey.


The Natives of India, more particularly the Hindoos, are accustomed to pay
particular attention to the habits of the varied monkey race, conceiving
them to be connecting links in the order of Nature between brutes and
rational creatures; or, as some imagine and assert, (without any other
foundation than conjecture and fancy), that they were originally a race of
human beings, who for their wicked deeds have been doomed to perpetuate
their disgrace and punishment to the end of time in the form and manner we
see them, inhabiting forests, and separated from their superior man.

I have had very few opportunities of acquainting myself with the general
principles of the Hindoo belief, but I am told, there are amongst them
those who assert that one of their deities was transformed to a particular
kind of monkey, since designated Hummoomaun,[1] after the object of their
adoration; whence arises the marked veneration paid by Hindoos of certain
sects to this class of monkeys.

The Natives firmly believe the whole monkey race to be gifted with reason
to a certain extent, never accounting for the sagacity and cunning they
are known to possess by instinctive habits; arguing from their own
observations, that the monkeys are peaceable neighbours, or inveterate
enemies to man, in proportion as their good will is cultivated by kindness
and hospitality, or their propensity to revenge roused by an opposite line
of conduct towards them.

The husbandman, whose land is in the vicinity of a forest, and the abode
of monkeys, secures safety to his crops, by planting a patch of ground
with that species of grain which these animals are known to prefer. Here
they assemble, as appetite calls, and feast themselves upon their own
allotment; and, as if they appreciated the hospitality of the landlord,
not a blade is broken, or a seed destroyed in the fields of corn to the
right and left of their plantation. But woe to the farmer who neglects
this provision; his fields will not only be visited by the marauders, but
their vengeance will be displayed in the wasteful destruction of his
cultivation. This undoubtedly looks more like reason than instinct; and if
credit could be given to half the extraordinary tales that are told of
them, the monkeys of India might justly be entitled to a higher claim than
that of instinct for their actions.

Monkeys seem to be aware that snakes are their natural enemies. They never
advance in pursuit of, yet they rarely run from a snake; unless its size
renders it too formidable an object for their strength and courage to
attack with anything like a prospect of success in destroying it. So great
is the animosity of the monkey race to these reptiles, that they attack
them systematically, after the following manner:--

When a snake is observed by a monkey, he depends on his remarkable agility
as a safeguard from the enemy. At the most favourable opportunity he
seizes the reptile just below the head with a firm grasp, then springs to
a tree, if available, or to any hard substance near at hand, on which he
rubs the snake's head with all his strength until life is extinct; at
intervals smelling the fresh blood as it oozes from the wounds of his
victim. When success has crowned his labour, the monkey capers about his
prostrate enemy, as if in triumph at the victory he has won; developing,
as the Natives say, in this, a striking resemblance to man.

Very few monkeys, in their wild state, ever recover from inflicted wounds;
the reason assigned by those who have studied their usual habits is, that
whenever a poor monkey has been wounded, even in the most trifling way,
his associates visit him by turns, when each visitor, without a single
exception, is observed to scratch the wound smartly with their nails. A
wound left to itself might be expected to heal in a short time, but thus
irritated by a successive application of their sharp nails, it inflames
and increases. Mortification is early induced by the heated atmosphere,
and death rapidly follows.

The monkeys' motives for adding to their neighbour's anguish, is accounted
for by some speculators on the score of their aversion to the unnatural
smell of blood; or they are supposed to be actuated by a natural
abhorrence to the appearance of the wound, not by any means against the
wounded; since in their domestic habits, they are considered to be
peaceable and affectionate in their bearings towards each other. The
strong will exercise mastery over the weak where food is scarce, but, in a
general way, they are by no means quarrelsome or revengeful amongst
themselves. They are known to hold by each other in defending rights and
privileges, if the accounts given by credible Natives be true, who add
that a whole colony of monkeys have been known to issue forth in a body to
revenge an injury sustained by an individual of their tribe; often firing
a whole village of chupha-roofs, where the aggressor is known to be a
resident, who in his anger may have maimed or chastised one of their
colony.

The female monkey is remarkable for her attachment to her progeny, which
she suckles until it is able to procure food for its own sustenance. When
one of her young dies, the mother is observed to keep it closely encircled
in her arms, moaning piteously with true maternal feelings of regret, and
never parting with it from her embrace until the dead body becomes an
offensive mass: and when at last she quits her hold, she lays it on the
ground before her, at no great distance, watching with intense anxiety the
dead body before her, which she can no longer fold in her embrace, until
the work of decomposing has altered the form of the creature that claimed
her tender attachment. What an example is here given to unnatural mothers
who neglect or forsake their offspring!

I shall here insert a few anecdotes illustrative of the opinions of the
Natives on the subject of monkeys being possessed of reasoning faculties.
They shall be given exactly as I have received them, not expecting my
readers will give to them more credit than I am disposed to yield to most
of these tales; but as they are really believed to be true by the Natives
who relate them, I feel bound to afford them a place in my work, which is
intended rather to describe men as they are, than men as I wish to see
them.

In the neighbourhood of Muttra is an immense jungle or forest, where
monkeys abound in great numbers and variety. Near a village bordering this
forest, is a large natural lake which is said to abound with every sort of
fish and alligators. On the banks of this lake are many trees, some of
which branch out a great distance over the water. On these trees monkeys
of a large description, called Lungoor,[2] gambol from spray to spray in
happy amusement: sometimes they crowd in numbers on one branch, by which
means their weight nearly brings the end of the bough to the surface of
the water; on which occasion it is by no means unusual for one or more of
their number to be lessened.

Whether the monkeys told their thoughts or not, my informant did not say,
but the retailers of this story assert, that the oldest monkey was aware
that his missing brethren had been seized by an alligator from the branch
of the tree, whilst they were enjoying their amusement. This old monkey,
it would seem, resolved on revenging the injury done to his tribe, and
formed a plan for retaliating on the common enemy of his race.

The monkeys were observed by the villagers, for many successive days,
actively occupied in collecting the fibrous bark of certain trees, which
they were converting into a thick rope. The novelty of this employment
surprised the peasants and induced them to watch daily for the result.
When the rope was completed, from sixty to seventy of the strongest
monkeys conveyed it to the tree: having formed a noose at one end with the
nicest care, the other end was secured by them to the overhanging arm of
the tree. This ready, they commenced their former gambols, jumping about
and crowding on the same branch which had been so fatal to many of their
brethren.

The alligator, unconscious of the stratagem thus prepared to secure him,
sprang from the water as the branch descended but instead of catching the
monkey he expected, he was himself caught in the noose; and the monkeys
moving away rather precipitately, the alligator was drawn considerably
above the surface of the water. The more he struggled the firmer he was
held by the noose; and here was his skeleton to be seen many years after,
suspended from the tree over the water, until time and the changes of
season released the blanched bones from their exalted situation, to
consign them to their more natural element in the lake below.

On one occasion, a Hindoo traveller on his way to Muttra, from his place
of residence, drew down the resentment of the monkeys inhabiting the same
forest, by his inattention to their well-known habits. The story is told
as follows:--

'The man was travelling with all his worldly wealth about his person: viz.,
fifty gold mohurs, (each nearly equal to two pounds in value[3]), and a
few rupees, the savings of many a year's hard service, which were secreted
in the folds of his turban; a good suit of clothes on his back; a few gold
ornaments on his neck and arms; and a bundle of sundries and cooking
vessels.

'The Hindoo was on foot, without companions, making his way towards the
home of his forefathers, where he hoped with his little treasury to be
able to spend his remaining years in peace with his family and friends,
after many years' toil and absence from his home. He stopped near to the
lake in question, after a long and fatiguing march, to rest himself
beneath the shade of the trees, and cook his humble meal of bread and
dhall. I ought here, perhaps, to say, that this class of Natives always
cook in the open air, and, if possible, near a river, or large body of
water, for the purpose of bathing before meals, and having water for
purifying their cooking utensils, &c.

'The man having undressed himself, and carefully piled his wardrobe
beneath the tree he had selected for shelter, went to the lake and bathed;
after which he prepared his bread, and sat himself down to dine. As soon
as he was comfortably seated, several large monkeys advanced and squatted
themselves at a respectful distance from him, doubtless expecting to share
in the good things he was enjoying. But, no: the traveller was either too
hungry or inhospitable, for he finished his meal, without tendering the
smallest portion to his uninvited visitors, who kept their station
watching every mouthful until he had finished.

'The meal concluded, the traveller gathered his cooking vessels together
and went to the bank of the lake, in order to wash them, as is customary,
and to cleanse his mouth after eating; his clothes and valuables were left
securely under the tree as he imagined,--if he thought at all about
them,--for he never dreamed of having offended the monkeys by eating all
he had cooked, without making them partakers. He was no sooner gone,
however, than the monkeys assembled round his valuables; each took
something from the collection; the oldest among them having secured the
purse of gold, away they ran to the tree over the very spot where the man
was engaged in polishing his brass vessels.

The Hindoo had soon completed his business at the lake, and unconscious of
their movements, he had returned to the tree, where to his surprise and
sorrow, he discovered his loss. Nearly frantic, the Hindoo doubted not
some sly thief had watched his motions and removed his treasures, when he
heard certain horrid yells from the monkeys which attracted his attention:
he returned hastily to the lake, and on looking up to the tree, he
discovered his enemies in the monkeys. They tantalized him for some time
by holding up the several articles to his view, and when the old monkey
shook the bag of gold, the poor man was in an agony; they then threw the
whole into the lake, the coins, one by one, were cast into the deep water,
where not a shadow of hope could be entertained of their restoration, as
the lake was deep and known to be infested with alligators.

'The man was almost driven mad by this unlooked-for calamity, by which he
was deprived of the many comforts his nursed treasure had so fairly
promised him for the remainder of life. He could devise no plan for
recovering his lost valuables, and resolved on hastening to the nearest
village, there to seek advice and assistance from his fellow-men; where
having related his unfortunate adventures, and declaring he had done
nothing to anger the creatures, he was asked if he had dined, and if so,
had he given them a share? He said, he had indeed cooked his dinner, and
observed the monkeys seated before him whilst he dined, but he did not
offer them any.

'"That, that, is your offence!" cried the villagers in a breath; "who
would ever think of eating without sharing his meal with men or with
animals? You are punished for your greediness, friend."--"Be it so," said
the traveller; "I am severely used by the brutes, and am now resolved on
punishing them effectually in return for the ill they have done me."

'He accordingly sold the gold ornaments from his arms and neck, purchased
a quantity of sugar, ghee, flour, and arsenic, returned to his old
quarters, prepared everything for cooking, and, in a short time, had a
large dish filled with rich-looking cakes, to tempt his enemies to their
own ruin.

'The feast was prepared in the presence of the assembled multitude of
monkeys. The Hindoo placed the dish before his guests, saying, "There, my
lords! your food is ready!" The old monkey advanced towards the dish, took
up a cake, raised it to his nose, and then returning it to the dish,
immediately ran off, followed by the whole of his associates into the
thick jungle.

'The man began to despair, and thought himself the most unlucky creature
existing; when, at length, he saw them returning with augmented numbers;
he watched them narrowly, and observed each monkey had a green leaf in his
paw, in which he folded a cake and devoured the whole speedily. The man
expected of course to see them sicken immediately, for the quantity of
arsenic he had used was sufficient, he imagined to have killed twenty
times their number. But, no: his stratagem entirely failed; for the leaf
they had provided themselves was an antidote to the poison put into their
food. The traveller thus sacrificed even that little which would have
carried him on his journey, had he been satisfied with his first loss; but
the Hindoo cherished a revengeful disposition, and thereby was obliged to
beg his way to his family.'

The next monkey story is equally marvellous, the Natives believe that it
actually occurred; I am disposed, however, to think all these stories were
originally fables to impress a moral upon the ignorant.

'Near a small town in the province of Oude there is a jungle of some
extent, inhabited by monkeys. A certain man of the Hindoo class, residing
in the town, resolved upon enjoying himself one day with a bottle of
arrack he had procured by stealth, and since it is well known that spirits
or fermented liquors are prohibited articles in the territories governed
by Mussulmaun rulers, the man betook himself with his treat to the
neighbouring jungle, where in private he might drink the spirit he loved,
and escape the vigilance of the police.

'Arriving at a convenient spot, the Hindoo seated himself under a tree,
prepared his hookha, drew from his wrapper the bottle of spirits, and a
small cup he had provided; and if ever he knew what happiness was in his
life, this moment was surely his happiest.

'He drank a cup of his liquor, smoked his hookha with increased relish,
and thought of nothing but his present enjoyment. Presently he heard the
sound of rustling in the trees, and in a few minutes after, a fine sturdy
monkey, of the Lungoor tribe, placed himself very near to him and his
bottle.

'The Hindoo was of a lively temper, and withal kindly disposed towards the
living, though not of his own species. Having a cake of dry bread in his
waistband, he broke off a piece and threw it to his visitor; the monkey
took the bread and sniffed at the cup. "Perhaps you may like to taste as
well as to smell," thought the Hindoo, as he poured out the liquor into
the cup, and presented it to his guest.

'The monkey raised the cup with both paws to his mouth, sipped of its
contents, winked his eyes, appeared well satisfied with the flavour, and
to the surprise of the Hindoo, finished the cup, which was no sooner done,
than away he sprang up the tree again.

'"Had I known you would run away so soon, my guest, I should have spared
my arrack;" thought the Hindoo. But the monkey quickly returned to his old
position, threw down a gold mohur to his entertainer, and sat grinning
with apparent satisfaction. The Hindoo, astonished at the sight of gold,
thought to repay his benefactor by another cup of spirits, which he placed
before the monkey, who drank it off, and again mounted the tree, and
shortly returned with a second gold mohur.

'Delighted with the profit his arrack produced, the Hindoo drank sparingly
himself, for each time the monkey took a cup, a gold mohur was produced,
until the man counted eight of these valuable coins on his palm. By this
time, however, the monkey was completely overcome by the strength of his
potations, and lay apparently senseless before the Hindoo, who fancied now
was his turn to mount the tree, where he found, on diligent search, in a
hollow place, a small bag of gold mohurs, with which he walked off,
leaving the monkey prostrate on the earth.

'The Hindoo determined on going some distance from his home, in a
different direction, fearing his secret treasure might be the means of
drawing him into difficulties amongst the people of his own town, who had
probably been robbed by the monkey at some previous period.

'In the meanwhile the monkey is supposed to have recovered from his stupor,
and the next morning on discovering his loss, he set up a horrid yell,
which brought together all his fellow-inhabitants of the jungle; and some
neighbouring villagers saw an immense number of monkeys of all sorts and
sizes, collected together in a body. The story runs that this army of
monkeys was headed by the one who had recovered from his drunken fit, and
that they marched away from the jungle in pursuit of the robber.

'Their first march was to the adjacent village, where every house was
visited in turn by the monkeys, without success; no one ever venturing to
obstruct or drive away the intruders, fearing their resentment. After
which they sallied out of the village to the main road, minutely looking
for footsteps, as a clue, on the sandy pathway; and by this means
discovering the track of the Hindoo, they pursued the road they had
entered throughout the day and night. Early in the morning of the
following day, the monkeys advanced to the serai (inn, or halting place
for travellers) soon after the Hindoo himself had quitted it, who had
actually sojourned there the previous night.

'On the road, when the horde of monkeys met any traveller, he was detained
by them until the chief of them had scrutinized his features, and he was
then liberated on finding he was not the person they were in pursuit of.
After having marched nearly forty miles from their home, they entered one
of the halting places for travellers, where the Hindoo was resting after
his day's journey.

'The monkey having recognized the robber, immediately grasped him by the
arm, and others entering, the frightened robber was searched, the purse
discovered in his wrapper, which the chief monkey angrily seized, and then
counted over its contents, piece by piece. This done, finding the number
correct, the monkey selected eight pieces, and threw them towards the
Hindoo; and distributing the remaining number of gold mohurs amongst the
monkeys, who placed each his coin in the hollow of his cheek, the whole
body retired from the serai to retrace their steps to the jungle.'


[1] Hanuman, the divine monkey of the Ramayana epic, who helped
    Rama to recover his abducted wife, Sita.

[2] _Langur, Semnopithecus entellus_.

[3] Now worth a little more than a sovereign.



LETTER XXIII

  The Soofies.--Opinion of the Mussulmauns concerning Solomon.--The
  Ood-ood.--Description of the Soofies and their sect.--Regarded with
  great reverence.--Their protracted fasts.--Their opinion esteemed by
  the Natives.--Instance of the truth of their predictions.--The Saalik
  and Majoob Soofies.--The poets Haafiz and Saadie.--Character and
  attainments of Saadie.--His 'Goolistaun'.--Anecdotes descriptive of
  the origin of that work.--Farther remarks on the character and
  history of Saadie.--Interesting anecdotes illustrative of his virtues
  and the distinguishing characteristics of the Soofies.


The life of King Solomon, with all his acts, is the subject of many an
author's pen, both in the Arabic and Persian languages; consequently the
learned Mussulmauns of Hindoostaun are intimately acquainted with his
virtues, his talent, and the favour with which he was visited by the great
goodness of the Almighty. In the course of my sojourn amongst them, I have
heard many remarkable and some interesting anecdotes relating to Solomon,
which the learned men assure me are drawn from sources of unquestionable
authority.

They affirm that the wisdom of Solomon not only enabled him to search into
the most hidden thoughts of men, and to hold converse with them in their
respective languages, but that the gift extended even to the whole brute
creation; by which means he could hold unlimited converse, not only with
the animate, as birds, beasts, and fish, but with inanimate objects, as
shrubs, trees, and, indeed, the whole tribe of vegetable nature; and,
further, that he was permitted to discern and control aerial spirits, as
demons, genii, &c.

The pretty bird, known in India by the name of Ood-ood,[1] is much
regarded by the Mussulmauns, as by their tradition this bird was the
hurkaarah of King Solomon; and entrusted with his most important
commissions whenever he required intelligence to be conveyed to or from a
far distant place, because he could place greater confidence in the
veracity of this bird, and rely on more certain dispatch, than when
entrusting his commands to the most worthy of his men servants.

The ood-ood is beautifully formed, has a variegated plumage of black,
yellow, and white, with a high tuft of feathers on its head, through which
is a spear of long feathers protruding directly across the head for
several inches, and is of the woodpecker species. The princes, Nuwaubs,
and nobility of Hindoostaun, keep hurkaarahs for the purpose of conveying
and obtaining intelligence, who are distinguished by a short spear, with a
tuft of silk or worsted about the middle of the handle, and the tail of
the ood-ood in the front of their turban, to remind them of this bird,
which they are expected to imitate both in dispatch and fidelity. I am
told, these men (from their early training) are enabled to run from fifty
to sixty miles bare-footed, and return the same distance without halting
on the same day.

The religious devotees of the Mussulmaun persuasion, who are denominated
Soofies,[1] are conjectured, by many, to have a similar gift with Solomon
of understanding the thoughts of other men. By some it is imagined that
Solomon was the first Soofie; by others, that Ali, the husband of Fatima,
imparted the knowledge of that mystery which constitutes the real Soofie.
I am acquainted with some Natives who designate the Soofies 'Freemasons'
but I imagine this to be rather on account of both possessing a secret,
than for any similarity in other respects, between the two orders of
people.

My business, however, is to describe. The Soofies then are, as far as I
can comprehend, strictly religious men, who have forsaken entirely all
attachment to earthly things, in their adoration of the one supreme God.
They are sometimes found dwelling in the midst of a populous city, yet,
even there they are wholly detached from the world, in heart, soul, and
mind, exercising themselves in constant adoration of, and application to
God; occasionally shutting themselves up for several weeks together in a
hut of mud, thatched with coarse grass, with scarce sufficient provision
to support the smallest living animal, and water barely enough to moisten
their parched lips during the weeks thus devoted to solitary retirement
and prayer.

When these recluses can no longer support their self-inflicted privation,
they open the door of their hut, a signal anxiously watched for by such
persons as have a desire to meet the eye of the holy man, of whom they
would inquire on some (to them) interesting matter; probably regarding
their future prospects in the world, the cause of the ill-health and
prospects of recovery of a diseased member of their family, or any like
subject of interest to the inquirer.

The Soofie, I am told, does not approve of being thus teased by the
importunities of the thronging crowd, who beset his threshold the instant
his door is heard to open. Being weak in body, after the fatigue of a
protracted fast of weeks together, his replies to the questions (preferred
always with remarkable humility) are brief and prompt; and the Natives
assure me dependence may always be placed on the good Soofie's reply being
strictly the words of truth. On this account, even if the oracle's reply
disappoint the hopes of the questioner, he retires without a murmur, for
then he knows the worst of his calamity, and if God orders it so, he must
not complain, because Infinite Wisdom cannot err, and the holy man will
assuredly speak the truth.

The practice so long prevailing in Europe of visiting the cunning man, to
have the hidden mysteries of fate solved, occurred to my recollection when
I first heard of this custom in India.

'Will my son return from his travels during my lifetime?'--was the inquiry
of a truly religious man, whom I knew very intimately, to one of the
professed Soofie class, on his emerging from his hut. The reply was as
follows:--'Go home!--be happy;--comfort your heart;--he is coming!' By a
singular coincidence it happened, that the following day's daak produced a
letter, announcing to him that his son was on his way returning to his
home and his father, who had for some years despaired of ever again seeing
his son in this life.

It is needless to say, that the veneration shown to this Soofie was much
increased by the singular coincidence, because the person who consulted
him was a man of remarkable probity, and not given to indulge in idle
conversations with the worldly-minded of that city.

There are many men in this country, I am told, who make Soofieism their
profession, but who are in reality hypocrites to the world, and their
Maker: actuated sometimes by the love of applause from the multitude, but
oftener, I am assured, by mercenary motives. A Soofie enjoying public
favour may, if he choose, command any man's wealth who gives credit to his
supposed power. All men pay a marked deference to his holy character, and
few would have the temerity to withhold the desired sum, however
inconvenient to bestow, should the demand be made by one professing to be
a Soofie.

The real Soofie is, however, a very different character, and an object of
deserved veneration, if only for the virtue of perfect content with which
his humble mind is endued: respect cannot be withheld by the reflecting
part of the world, when contemplating a fellow-creature (even of a
different faith) whose life is passed in sincere devotion to God, and
strictly conforming to the faith he has embraced. My Native friends inform
me,--and many reprobate the notion,--that the Soofies believe they resolve
into the Divine essence when their souls are purified from the animal
propensities of this life by severe privations, fervent and continual
prayer, watchings, resisting temptations, and profound meditation in
solitude. When they have acquired the perfection they aim at, and are
really and truly the perfect Soofie, they rarely quit the hut they have
first selected for their retirement, and into which no one ever attempts
to intrude, without the Soofie commands it. He enjoys the universal
respect and veneration of all classes of people; he has no worldly rewards
to bestow, yet there are servants always ready to do him any kindness,
amongst the number of his admirers who flock to catch but a glimpse of the
holy man, and fancy themselves better when but the light of his
countenance has beamed upon them. Proudly pre-eminent, in his own eyes, is
the one amongst the multitude who may be so far honoured as to be allowed
to place a platter of food before the Soofie, when the imperative demands
of Nature prevail over his self-inflicted abstinence.

Some Soofies shut themselves in their hut for a few days, and others for
weeks together, without seeing or being seen by a human being. Their
general clothing is simply a wrapper of calico, and their only furniture a
coarse mat. They are said to be alike insensible to heat or cold, so
entirely are their hearts weaned from the indulgence of earthly comforts.

I must explain, however, that there are two classes of the professedly
devout Soofies, viz. the Saalik, and the Majoob.[3] The true Saalik
Soofies are those who give up the world and its allurements, abstain from
all sensual enjoyments, rarely associate with their fellow-men, devote
themselves entirely to their Creator, and are insensible to any other
enjoyments but such as they derive from their devotional exercises.

The Majoob Soofies have no established home nor earthly possessions; they
drink wine and spirits freely, when they can obtain them. Many people
suppose this class have lost the possession of their reason, and make
excuse for their departure from the law on that score. Both classes are
nevertheless in great respect, because the latter are not deemed guilty of
breaking the law, since they are supposed to be insensible of their
actions whilst indulging in the forbidden juice of the grape.

Haafiz,[4] the celebrated poet of Persia, it is related, was a Soofie of
the Majoob class, he lived without a thought of providing for future
exigencies, accepted the offerings of food from his neighbour, drank wine
freely when offered to him, and slept under any shed or hovel he met with,
as contented as if he was in the palace of a king.

Saadie,[5] the Persian poet, was, during the latter years of his life, a
Saalik Soofie of the most perfect kind. Many of the inspirations of his
pen, however, were written in that part of his life which was devoted to
the world and its enjoyments; yet most of these indicate purity of thought
in a remarkable degree. Saadie's life was subject to the most
extraordinary vicissitudes; he possessed an independent mind, scorning
every allurement of wealth which might tend to shackle his principles. He
is said to have repeatedly rejected offers of patronage and pecuniary
assistance from many noblemen, whilst he still loved the world's
enticements, declaring he never could submit to confine himself to
attendance on an earthly master for any lengthened period. His wit,
pleasing deportment, and polite manners, together with the amiable
qualities of his heart, rendered him a general favourite, and they who
could boast most intimacy with Saadie were the most honoured by the world;
for, though but the poor Saadie, he shed a lustre over the assemblies of
the great and noble in birth or station, by his brilliant mind.

The 'Goolistaun'[6] of Saadie has been so often eulogized, as to render it
unnecessary for me to add a single word in commendation of its style and
morality; but I will here take leave to insert an anecdote translated for
me by my husband, in allusion to the incident which prompted Saadie to
write that work, under the title of 'Goolistaun' (Garden of Roses). I will
also here remark, that in the principal cities of Persia, the Mussulmauns
of that age were not equally rigid in their observance of the law
interdicting the use of fermented liquors, as are those of the present day
in Hindoostaun. Many young men among the higher orders indulged freely in
the 'life-inspiring draught', as they were wont to call the juice of the
grape.

'Shiraaz was the abode and the presumptive birth-place of Saadie. In his
early years he was led by a love of society to depart from the rigid
customs of his forefathers, and with the wild youth of his acquaintance to
indulge freely in nightly potations of the forbidden juice of the grape.
He had long delighted his friends and favourites by sharing in their
nocturnal revels, and adding by his wit and pleasantry to the mirthful
moments as they flew by unheeded.

'At a particular season of the year, a convivial party were accustomed to
assemble in a garden of roses, from midnight to the rising sun, to indulge
in the luxury of wine during that refreshing season; as to receive the
first scent from the opening roses as they expand with the dawn of the
morning, constituted a delight, proverbially intoxicating, amongst the
sons of Persia. Saadie composed many airs for the occasion, and gifted by
Nature with a voice equalled only by his wit, he sang them with a melody
so sweet as to render him almost the idol of his companions.

'At one of these seasons of enjoyment, the festival was prepared by his
circle of friends as usual, but Saadie delayed his visit. The whole party
were lost in surprise and regret at an absence as unexpected as deplored.
Some time was passed in fruitless conjecture on the cause of his delay,
and at last it was agreed that a deputation from his well-beloved
associates should go in quest of their favourite. They accordingly went,
and knocked at the door of his room, which they found was securely
fastened within. The poet inquired "Who is it that disturbs my repose, at
this hour, when all good subjects of the King should be at rest?"--"Why,
Saadie, Saadie!" they replied, "it is your friends and associates, your
favourites!--have you forgotten our enjoyments and this season of bliss?
Come, come, open the door, Saadie! away with us! our revels await your
presence. Nothing gives enjoyment to our party until you add your smiles
to our mirth."

'"Let me alone," replied Saadie; "enjoy your pastime, if such it be to ye;
but for me, I am heartily ashamed of my late wanton pursuits. I have
resolved on mending my ways, whilst yet I have time; and be ye also wise,
my friends; follow Saadie's example. Go home to your beds, and forsake the
sinful habits of the world!"

'"Why Saadie, what aileth thee! art thou mad?--or has the study of
philosophy drawn thee from thy former self, whilst yet thine hairs are jet
with youth? These reflections of thine will suit us till far better when
time hath frosted our beards. Come, come, Saadie, away with us! let not
the precious moments escape in this unprofitable converse. You must come,
Saadie; our hearts will break without you!"

'"Nay, nay," responded Saadie, "my conscience smites me that I have erred
too long. It suits not my present temper to join in your mirth."--"Open
the door to us at any rate," sounded from the many voices without; "speak
to us face to face, our dear and well-beloved friend! let us have
admission, and we will argue the subject coolly."--Saadie's good-nature
could not resist the appeal, the door was unbarred, and the young men
entered in a body.

'"We have all wickedly broken the law of the faithful," said Saadie to his
guests; and he tried to reason with his unreasonable favourites, who, on
their part, used raillery, bantering, argument, and every power of speech,
to turn Saadie from his steady purpose of now fulfilling the law he had
wilfully violated. They effected nothing in moving him from his purpose,
until one of the young men, to whom Saadie was much attached, spoke
tenderly to him of the affection both himself and friends entertained for
him, adding, "It is written in our law, that if a Mussulmaun be guilty of
any sin, however great, (and all kinds of sin are therein enumerated), and
he afterwards sincerely repents before God, with fasting and prayer, his
sins shall be forgiven. Now you, Saadie, who are deeply versed in the way
of wisdom, and better acquainted with the words of the Khoraun than any
other man on earth, tell me, is there in that holy book a promise made of
forgiveness for that man who breaks the hearts of his fellow-creatures?
With us there are many hearts so devotedly attached to you, that must
assuredly burst the bonds of life by your complete and sudden desertion of
them, so that not one sin but many shall be hurled by their deaths on your
conscience, to be atoned for how you may."

'Saadie loved them all too dearly to resist their persevering proofs of
affection, and he suffered himself, after a little more argument, to be
led forth to the scene of their revels, where, however, he argued strongly
on the impropriety of their habits and refused to be tempted by the
alluring wine. He then promised to prepare for them a never-fading garden
of roses which should last with the world; every leaf of which, if plucked
with attention, should create a greater and more lasting bliss about their
hearts than the best wine of Shiraaz, or the most refined aromatic had
hitherto conveyed to their sensual appetites.'

After the evening in question, Saadie abstained from all participation in
the revels of his friends, and devoted his hours to retirement that he
might accomplish the 'Goolistaun' he had pledged himself to cultivate for
their more substantial benefit and perpetual enjoyment. The simplicity,
elegance, purity of style, and moral precepts conveyed in this work, prove
the author to have been worthy the respect with which his name has been
reverenced through all ages, and to this day, by the virtuously disposed
his work is read with unabated interest.

Saadie did not remain very long at Shiraaz after his conversion, nor did
he settle any where for any long period. The Persian writers assert that
he disliked the importunities of the world, which, sensible of his merits
as a poet and companion, constantly urged him to associate with them. He,
therefore, lived a wandering life for many years, carefully concealing his
name, which had then become so celebrated by his writings, that even
beyond the boundaries of Persia his fame was known.

As his manner of life was simple, his wants were few; he depended solely
on the care of Divine Providence for his daily meal, avoiding every thing
like laying by from to-day's produce for the morrow's sustenance. He
considered that provision alone acceptable, which the bounty of Divine
Providence daily provided for his need, by disposing the hearts of others
to tender a suitable supply. In fact, he is said to have been of opinion
that the store laid up by men for future exigencies lessened the
delightful feeling of dependance on the bounty of God, who faileth not,
day by day, to provide for the birds and beasts of the forest with equal
care as for the prince on his throne; he would say, 'I shall be tempted to
forget from whom my bread is received, if I have coins in my purse to
purchase from the vender. Sweet is the daily bread granted to my prayers
and dependance on the sole Giver of all good!'

To illustrate the necessity of perfect content, he relates, in his
writings, the following interesting anecdote:--'I was once travelling on
foot, where the roads were rugged, my shoes worn out, and my feet cut by
the stones. I was desirous of pursuing my journey quickly, and secretly
mourned that my feet pained me, and that my shoes were now rendered
useless; often wishing, as I stepped with caution, that I possessed the
means of replenishing these articles so useful to a traveller.

'With these feelings of dissatisfaction, I approached the spot where a
poor beggar was seated, who, by some calamity, had been deprived of both
his feet. I viewed this sad object with much commiseration, for he was
dependant on the kindness of his fellow-beggars to convey him daily to
that public spot, where the passing traveller, seeing his misery, might be
induced to bestow upon him a few coins to provide for his subsistence.
"Alas! alas!" said I, "how have I suffered my mind to be disturbed because
my feet pained me, and were shoeless. Ungrateful being that I am! rather
ought I to rejoice with an humble heart, that my gracious Benefactor hath
granted me the blessing of feet, and sound health. Never let me again
murmur or repine for the absence of a luxury, whilst my real wants are
amply supplied."'

One of my objects in detailing the anecdotes of Saadie in this place, is
to give a more correct idea of the Soofie character of that particular
class called Saalik, to which he ultimately belonged.

The next translation from the life of Saadie will show how beautifully his
well-tempered spirit soared above those difficulties which the common mind
would have sunk under. His fame, his superior manners, were of that rare
kind, that distance from his birth-place could be no obstacle to his
making friends, if he chose to disclose his name in any city of Asia.

I have no dates to guide me in placing the several anecdotes in their
proper order; this, however, will be excused, as I do not pretend to give
his history.

'On one occasion, Saadie was journeying on foot, and being overtaken by
the Arabs, (who, or a party of, it may be presumed, were at war with
Persia), he was taken prisoner, and conveyed by them, with many others, to
Aleppo. The prisoners, as they arrived, were all devoted to the public
works (fortifying the city), and obliged to labour according to their
ability.

'Saadie, unused to any branch of mechanical labour, could only be employed
in conveying mortar to the more scientific workmen. For many months he
laboured in this way, degrading as the employment was, without a murmur,
or a desire that his fate had been otherways ordained. Hundreds of men
then living in Aleppo would have been proud of the honour and the good
name they must have acquired from the world, by delivering the Poet from
his thraldom, had they known he was amongst them, a slave to the Arabs;
for Saadie was revered as a saint by those who had either read his works,
or heard of his name, extolled as it was for his virtues. But Saadie
placed his trust in God alone, and his confidence never for an instant
forsook him; he kept his name concealed from all around him, laboured as
commanded, and was contented.

'Many months of degrading servitude had passed by, when one day, it so
happened that a rich Jew merchant, who had formerly lived at Shiraaz, and
there had been honoured by the regard of the idolized Saadie, visited
Aleppo, on his mercantile concerns. Curiosity led him to survey the
improvements going on in the city; and passing the spot where Saadie was
then presenting his load of mortar to the mason, he thought he recognized
the Poet, yet deemed it impossible that he should be engaged in so
degrading an employment, who was the object of universal veneration in
Persia. Still the likeness to his former friend was so striking, that he
felt no trifling degree of pleasure, whilst contemplating those features
whose resemblance recalled the image of that holy man who was so dear to
him, and brought back to his recollection many delightful hours of
friendly converse, which at Shiraaz had cheated time of its weight, and
left impressions on his heart to profit by during life.

'"I will talk with this man," thought the Jew; "surely he must be related
to my friend; the face, the form, the graceful manner, and even in that
rude garb and occupation, he so strongly resembles my friend, that I
cannot doubt he must be of the same kindred."

'Drawing near to Saadie, the Jew accosted him with, "Who are you,
friend,--and whence do you come?" Saadie's voice dispelled every doubt of
the Jew, their eyes met, and in a few seconds they were clasped in each
other's warm embrace, the Jew lamenting, in terms of warm sympathy, the
degradation of the immortalized poet, and sainted man; whilst he in turn
checked his friend's murmurings, by expressing his conviction that the
wisdom of God knew best how to lead his confiding servants to himself,
declaring his present occupation did not render him discontented.

'The Jew went without delay to the superintendant of the public works, and
inquired the sum he would be willing to receive in lieu of the labourer
whom he desired to purchase, carefully avoiding the name of Saadie lest
the ransom should be proportioned to the real value of such a slave. The
man agreed to take one hundred and ten pieces of silver (each in value
half a dollar). The sum was promptly paid, and the Jew received an order
to take away his purchase when and wherever he pleased. He lost no time in
possessing himself of his treasured friend, conveyed him to the city,
where he clothed him in apparel better suited to his friend, and on the
same day Saadie accompanied the benevolent Israelite to his country
residence, some miles distant from the city of Aleppo.

'Arrived here, Saadie enjoyed uninterrupted peace of mind for a long
season, his heart bounding with gratitude to God, who had, he felt assured,
worked out his deliverance from slavery and its consequences; and as may
be supposed from such a heart, Saadie was truly sensible of the benevolent
Jew's kindness, with whom he was constrained to remain a considerable time,
for the Jew indeed loved him as a brother, and always grieved at the bare
probability that they might ever again be separated; and desiring to
secure his continuance with him during their joint lives, he proposed that
Saadie should accept his only daughter in marriage with a handsome dowry.

'Saadie resisted his friend's offer for some time, using arguments which,
instead of altering his friend's purpose, only strengthened the desire to
secure this amiable man as the husband of his daughter. Saadie assured him
he was sensible of the offence his friend might give to the opinions of
his people, by the proposal of uniting his daughter to a man of another
faith, and that their prejudices would bring innumerable evils on his good
name by such an alliance. "No," said Saadie, "I cannot consent to such a
measure. I have already been a great trouble to you, if not a burden; let
me depart, for I cannot consent to draw down on the head of my friend the
censures of his tribe, and, perhaps, in after-time, disappointments. I
have, indeed, no desire to marry; my heart and mind are otherways engaged."

'The friends often discussed the subject ere Saadie gave way to the
earnest solicitations of the Jew, to whose happiness the grateful heart of
Saadie was about to be sacrificed when he reluctantly consented to become
the husband of the young Jewess. The marriage ceremony was performed
according to the Jewish rites, when Saadie was overpowered with the
caresses and munificence of his friend and father-in-law.

'A very short season of domestic peace resulted to him from the alliance.
The young lady had been spoiled by the over-indulgence of her doating
parent, her errors of temper and mind having never been corrected. Proud,
vindictive, and arrogant, she played the part of tyrant to her meek and
faultless husband. She strove to rouse his temper by taunts, revilings,
and indignities that required more than mortal nature to withstand
replying to, or bear with composure.

'Still Saadie went on suffering in silence; although the trials he had to
endure undermined his health, he never allowed her father to know the
misery he had entailed on himself by this compliance with his well-meant
wishes; nor was the secret cause of his altered appearance suspected by
the kind-hearted Jew, until by common report his daughter's base behaviour
was disclosed to the wretched father, who grieved for the misfortunes he
had innocently prepared for the friend of his heart.

'Saadie, it is said, entreated the good Jew to allow of a divorce from the
Jewess, which, however, was not agreed to; and when his sufferings had so
increased that his tranquillity was destroyed, fearing the loss of reason
would follow, he fled from Aleppo in disguise and retraced his steps to
Shiraaz, where in solitude his peace of mind was again restored, for there
he could converse with his merciful Creator and Protector uninterrupted by
the strife of tongues.'


[1] _Hudhud_, the lapwing, hoopoe. In the Koran (xxvii. 20, with Sale's
    note) the bird is described as carrying a letter from Solomon to the
    Queen of Sheba. On another occasion, when Solomon was lost in the
    desert, he sent it to procure for him water for ablution.

[2] The term _sufi_, derived from _suf_, 'wool', in allusion to
    the garments worn by them, was applied in the second century of Islam
    to men or women who adopted the ascetic or quietistic way of life. See
    Hughes, _Dictionary of Islam_, 608 ff.: D.B. Macdonald, _The
    Development of Muslim Theology_, 1903: E.G. Browne, _A Year Amongst
    the Persians_, 1893.

[3] If a Sufi becomes, by devotion, attracted to God, he is called
    _Salik-i-majzub_, 'an attracted devotee': if he practises
    complete devotion, but is not influenced by the special attraction of
    God, he is called _Salik_, 'a devotee' (Hughes, _Dictionary of
    Islam_, 612: Jaffur Shurreef, _Qanoon-e-Islam_, 197).

[4] See p. 255.

[5] See p. 255.

[6] Gulistan.



LETTER XXIV

  The Soofies continued.--Eloy Bauxh.--Assembly of Saalik
  Soofies.--Singular exhibition of their zeal.--Mystery of Soofeism.--The
  terms Soofie and Durweish explained.--Anecdote of Shah Sherif.--Shah
  Jee and the Paltaan.--Dialogue on death between Shah Jee and his
  wife.--Exemplary life of his grandson.--Anecdote of a Mussulmaun
  lady.--Reflections on modern Hindoos.--Anecdotes of Shah ood Dowlah
  and Meer Nizaam...Page 348


My last Letter introduced the Soofies to your notice, the present shall
convey a further account of some of these remarkable characters who have
obtained so great celebrity among the Mussulmauns of India, as to form the
subjects of daily conversation. I have heard some rigid Mussulmauns
declare they discredit the mysterious knowledge a Soofie is said to
possess, yet the same persons confess themselves staggered by the singular
circumstances attending the practice of Soofies living in their vicinity,
which they have either witnessed or heard related by men whose veracity
they cannot doubt; amongst the number I may quote an intimate acquaintance
of my husband's, a very venerable Syaad of Lucknow, who relates an
anecdote of Saalik Soofies, which I will here introduce.

'Meer Eloy Bauxh,[1] a Mussulmaun of distinguished piety, who has devoted
a long life to the service of God, and in doing good to his fellow-men,
tells me, that being curious to witness the effect of an assembly of
Saalik Soofies, he went with a party of friends, all equally disposed with
himself to be amused by the eccentricities of the Soofies, whose practice
they ridiculed as at least absurd,--to speak in no harsher terms of their
pretended supernatural gifts.

'This assembly consisted of more than a hundred persons, who by agreement
met at a large hall in the city of Lucknow, for the purpose of
"remembering the period of absence", as they term the death of a highly
revered Soofie of their particular class. The room being large, and free
admittance allowed to all persons choosing to attend the assembly, Meer
Eloy Bauxh and his party entered, and seated themselves in a convenient
place for the more strict scrutiny of the passing-scene.

'The service for the occasion began with a solemn strain by the musical
performers, when one of the inspired Soofies commenced singing in a voice
of remarkable melody. The subject was a hymn of praise to the great
Creator, most impressively composed in the Persian language. Whilst the
Soofie was singing, one of the elders in particular,--though all seemed
sensibly affected by the strain,--rose from his seat, in what the Soofies
themselves call, "the condition changed," which signifies, by what I could
learn, a religious ecstasy. This person joined in the same melody which
the other Soofie had begun, and at the same time accompanied the music by
capering and sobbing in the wildest manner imaginable. His example had the
effect of exciting all the Soofies on whom his eyes were cast to rise also
and join him in the hymn and dance.

'The singularity of this scene seemed, to Meer Eloy Bauxh and his party,
so ludicrous that they could not refrain from laughing in an audible
manner, which attracted the attention of the principal Soofie engaged in
the dance, who cast his eyes upon the merry party, not, however,
apparently in anger. Strange as he confesses it to be,--and even now it
seems more like a dream than a reality,--at the moment he met the eye of
the Soofie, there was an instant glow of pure happiness on his heart, a
sensation of fervent love to God, which he had never before felt, in his
most devout moments of prayer and praise; his companions were similarly
affected, their eyes filled with tears, their very souls seemed elevated
from earth to heaven in the rapture of their songs of adoration, which
burst forth from their lips in unison with the whole Soofie assemblage.

'Before they had finished their song of praise, which lasted a
considerable time, the chief of the Soofie party sunk exhausted on the
carpet, whilst the extraordinary display of devotion continued in full
force on the whole assembly, whether Soofies or mere visitors, for many
minutes after the principal devotee had fallen to the floor. Water was
then procured, and animation gradually returned to the poor exhausted
devotee, but with considerable delay. Meer Eloy Bauxh says he waited until
the Soofie was perfectly restored to sense, and saw him taken to his place
of abode; he then returned to his own home to meditate on the events of a
day he never can forget.'

Soofeism, it appears, (by the accounts I have received,) is a mystery; the
secret of which can only be imparted by the professor to such persons as
have been prepared for its reception, by a course of religious instruction.
No one can be initiated into the mystery who has not first renounced all
worldly vanities and ambitious projects--who is not sincerely repentant of
past offences--who has not acquired perfect humility of heart, and an
entire resignation to the Divine Will--a lively faith in God, and a firm
determination to love and serve Him, from a conviction, 'That God alone is
worthy to be served, loved, and worshipped by His creatures.' Thus
prepared, the person is to receive instruction from a Calipha, (head or
leader of the Soofies), who directs the pupil in certain exercises of the
heart, which constitute the secrets of their profession. What these
exercises are, I am not competent to give an opinion, but judging by the
way a real Soofie conducts himself, it may be presumed his practices are
purely religious; for I am assured that he is devoted to all good ways;
that he carefully avoids worldly vanities, and every species of temptation
and alluring gratification of the senses; that he is incessant in prayer,
and in fasting severe; free from all prejudice, as regards the belief or
persuasion of other men, so long as they worship God alone; regarding all
mankind as brothers, himself the humblest of the race; claiming no merit
for the ascendancy he has acquired over earthly wishes, he gives glory
alone to God, whom he loves and worships.

All the Durweish are of the Mussulmaun persuasion. Many are devout
Durweish, who are, nevertheless, unacquainted with the mystery of Soofeism;
and, to use their own words, (by which the Natives distinguish them),
'Every real Soofie is undoubtedly a Durweish, but all Durweishes are not
Soofies,' although their lives may be devoted much in the same holy way,
both in the practice of religion and abstinence from worldly enjoyments;
and if the writers on these subjects may be believed, many wonderful cures
have been effected by the prayers of the devout Durweish.

There are some pretenders, I am told, who put themselves forth to the
world in the character of a Durweish, who are not, in fact, entitled to
the appellation,--hypocritical devotees, who wear the outward garb of
humility, without the feeling of that inward virtue which is the
characteristic principle of the true Durweish. The distinction between the
real and the pretended Durweish, may be illustrated by the following
anecdote which I have received from the mouth of Meer Hadjee Shaah:--

'In the last century,' he says, 'there lived at or near Delhi, a very
pure-minded Durweish, named Shah Sherif ood deen Mah-mood,[2] (he was
known in his latter years by several of my aged acquaintance at Lucknow,
and his son and grandson both lived, at different periods, in that city).
This person forsook the world whilst in the prime of manhood, and devoted
himself to prayer, fasting, and good deeds. He was esteemed the most
humble-minded of human beings, and his devotion to his Maker sincere and
ardent. His principal abode was Delhi, where his wife and children also
resided, to whom he was tenderly attached; yet so tempered were his
affections, that he never allowed any earthly endearments to interfere
with his devotions, or to separate him from his love to his Creator.

'It was announced by the Soofies and Durweish, that on a certain day a
festival or assembly of holy men would meet for the service of God, at the
Jummah musjud[3] (Friday mosque), situated in the city of Delhi.

'Shah Sherif ood deen was disposed to attend the meeting, which consisted
of the heads or superiors of several classes of the religious, with their
disciples and followers. At this meeting, as was expected, were assembled
the Soofies, Durweish, and religious mendicants of all ranks and
conditions, from those clothed in gold-cloth and brocade, down to the
almost naked Faakeer;[4] and amongst the latter number may be classed the
humble-minded Shah Sherif ood deen. A small wrapper girt about his loins
by a girdle of black wool spun into small ropes, and a similar article
wound round his head, with a coarse white sheet over his shoulders for his
summer apparel; and a black blanket to shelter his naked limbs from the
cold winter, formed his sole wardrobe.

'This holy man took his station in the most humble spot of the assembly,
"sitting amongst the shoes" of the more esteemed or more aspiring
personages. As there was nothing remarkable in his appearance, he remained
unobserved, or unnoticed by the multitude present. Many of the assembly
made great display of their right to pre-eminence, by the costliness of
their robes, the splendour of their equipage, and the number of their
servants; striving to command respect, if possible, by their superior
external habiliments.

'This meeting had been convened to celebrate the death of one of their
order, which had occurred some years prior. After prayers had been read,
suited to the occasion, a poor man, whose very appearance might excite
compassion, addressed the heads of the devotees with folded hands,
beseeching them, who were accounted so truly holy in their lives, to offer
up a prayer for him who had so long suffered severe affliction, by reason
of his neck and face being drawn awry, from a paralytic attack, or some
like calamity. The sufferer said, "I am a poor merchant, and have a large
family dependant altogether on my personal exertions for support; but,
alas! this illness prevents me from attending to the business of life. I
am wasting both in body and in substance through this grievous affliction."

'The sick man's address was heard by the whole assembly in silence; many
present, both Soofies and Durweish, were really pious men, and were
willing to allow the person who seemed to be the head of this assembly, to
intercede in behalf of the sufferer. To him they all looked, expecting he
would commence a prayer in which they might join; but he, it is suspected,
conscious of his own duplicity in assuming only the character of a Soofie
without the virtues, was anxious to dismiss the supplicant, with a promise
that prayer should certainly be made for him in private, adding, "This is
not a proper season for your application; it is disrespectful to disturb
our meeting with your requests; we came not here to listen to your
importunities, but on more important, business."

'"True, my Lord," answered the afflicted man; "I am sensible of all you
say; but, I do assure you, private prayer has been tried for my relief by
many individuals of your holy profession, and I have still to mourn my
calamity. I thought when so many holy persons were assembled together, the
united prayer--in accordance with our Prophet's commands--offered up at
this time, would certainly be received at the throne of Mercy. I entreat
then, at the hands of this venerable assembly, the aid I require."

'The pretended Soofie looked haughtily on the sick man, and bade him
retire to his home; he should have a prayer offered, he might depend, but
it must be in private. The sufferer was still importunate, and urged every
argument he could command, to induce the inexorable Soofie to allow the
present assembly to offer a prayer on the spot for his recovery; but
nothing he could urge availed with the proud Soofie, who at length grew
angry even to the use of bitter words.

'Shah Sherif ood deen observed in silence the scene before him; at length
he ventured (in the most respectful terms) to suggest to the heads of the
assembly the propriety of vouchsafing the poor man's request; and hinted
that, the prayer of some one more pure of heart than the rest might
effectually reach the throne of Mercy in behalf of the supplicant.

'"And pray," said the leader, rising haughtily, "who gave you leave to
suggest or recommend to your superiors in knowledge and virtue? Is not our
determination sufficient, that you, insignificant being! should presume to
teach us what we ought to do?--you can know nothing of the Durweish's
powerful prayers, nor the mystery of a Soofie's holy calling."

'"I am, indeed, a very ignorant and unworthy creature," replied Shah
Sherif, "and acknowledge my great presumption in daring to speak before so
many of my superiors in knowledge and virtue; but we are told in our
hudeeths (true speech) that the prayers of many hearts may prevail in a
good cause, whilst singly offered the same prayer might fail," The proud
Soofie's anger seemed to increase as the Durweish spoke; he bade him keep
silence, and reviled him with many bitter words, which the good Shah
received with his usual humility and forbearance. At length, the Shah
looked attentively at the Soofie, who had thus rebuked and insulted him,
and said, "I will believe, Sir, you are the Soofie you aspire to be
thought among your fellow-men, if you will immediately offer up your
single prayer, by which the suffering man may be relieved; for we know
such prayers have been answered by the gracious Giver of all good."

'"What do you know of the powerful prayer of the Soofie?" replied the
proud man, "I suspect you to be an impostor in your humble exterior."--"No,
" said the Shah, "I am but a poor beggar, and a humble, the very humblest
servant of God."--"You pretend to much humility," retorted the Soofie,
"suppose we see one of your miraculous works in answer to your prayer; it
would please us to witness what you can do."

'Shah Sherif ood deen raised his eyes to Heaven, his heart went with his
prayer, and in a dignified manner he stretched forth his hand towards the
afflicted person. The man was instantly restored; then drawing his hand
into a direct line with the proud Soofie, and pointing his finger to him,
he said, "What more, friend, dost them now require of me? The man's
affliction is removed, but the power which is delegated to me rests still
on my finger; command me, to whom shall I present it; to you, or any one
of your people?"

'The proud Soofie hung his head abashed and confounded, he had not power
to answer. The Shah observed his confusion and said, "It is not well to
pray for relief to one poor weak fellow-creature, and then to afflict
another; to the mountain's retreat, I will consign this malady." Then
shaking his hand as if to relieve himself from a heavy weight, he uttered
in a solemn tone, "Go to the mountains!" and resumed that humble seat he
had first chosen with a smile of composure beaming on his countenance.'
This miracle is actually believed by the Natives to be true.

Shah Sherif ood deen, say the people who know him, spent the principal
part of each day and night in silent prayer and meditation; no one ever
ventured to intrude within his small sanctuary, but hundreds of people
would assemble outside the building, in front of which he occasionally sat
for an hour, but scarcely ever conversed with any one of his visitors.
During the time he was thus seated, he generally raised his eyes once or
twice, and looked round on the faces of his audience. It was generally
remarked, that no one could meet the eye of Shah Jee--that familiar
appellation by which he was known--without an indescribable sensation of
reverential awe, which irresistibly compelled them to withdraw their eyes.
The talismanic power of Shah Jee's eyes had become proverbial throughout
the city of Delhi. A certain Pattaan,[5] however, of warlike appearance, a
man remarkable for his bravery, declared amongst his associates that he
would certainly out-stare Shah Jee, if ever they met, which he was
resolved should be the very first opportunity; he accordingly went with
his companions at a time when this Durweish was expected to appear in
public.

The Pattaan was seated on the floor with many other people; when the Shah
issued from his sanctuary, the people rose to make their salaams, which
Shah Jee either did not, or would not observe, but seated himself
according to his custom on the mat which had been spread for him; where,
his eyes fixed on the ground, he seemed for some time to be wholly
absorbed in silent meditation. At length, raising his head, he turned his
face to the long line of spectators, saluting with his eyes each person in
the row, until he came to the Pattaan, who, according to his vow, kept his
large eyes fixed on the Durweish. Shah Jee went on with his survey, and a
second time cast a glance along the whole line, not omitting the Pattaan
as before, whose gaze, his companions observed, was as firmly settled on
the Durweish as at the first. A third time the eyes of the Shah went round
the assembly and rested again on the Pattaan.

Observing the immoveable eyes of their Pattaan acquaintance, the visitors
smiled at each other, and secretly gave him credit for a piety and
pureness of heart which he was not before supposed to be blessed with;
'How else,' said they, 'would he have been able to withstand the
penetrating glance of the revered Durweish.' Shah Jee rose from his seat,
and retired, thus giving to the company a signal for their departure from
the place.

The associates of the Pattaan congratulated him on his success, and
inquired by what stratagem he had so well succeeded in fulfilling his
promise; but his eyes being still fixed in a wild stare, he replied not to
his questioners. They rallied him, and tried by a variety of means to
dissolve his reverie; but the Pattaan was insensible, all the boasted
energies of his mind having forsaken him. His friends were now alarmed at
his abstractedness, and with considerable difficulty removed him from the
place to his own home, where his family received him, for the first time,
with grief, as he was their whole stay and support, and the kind head of a
large family.

The Pattaan continued staring in the same state throughout the night and
following day, talking wildly and incoherently. 'The Pattaan is paid for
his presumption,' said some; others recommended application to be made to
the Durweish, Shah Jee, who could alone remove the calamity. The wife and
mother, with many female dependants, resolved on pleading his case with
the benevolent Shah Jee; but as access to him would be difficult, they
conceived the idea of making their petition through the agency of the wife
of the Durweish, to whom they accordingly went in a body at night, and
related their distress, and the manner in which they supposed it to have
originated, declaring, in conclusion, that as the excellent Durweish had
been pleased to cast this affliction on their guardian, they must become
slaves to his family, since bread could no longer be provided by the
labour of him who had hitherto been their support.

The wife of the Durweish comforted the women by kind words, desiring them
to wait patiently until her dear lord could be spoken with, as she never
ventured to intrude on his privacy at an improper moment, however urgent
the necessity. After a few hours' delay, passed with impatient feeling by
the group of petitioning females, they were at length repaid by the voice
of Shah Jee. His wife going to the door of his apartment, told him of the
circumstance attending the Pattaan, and the distressed condition of the
females of his family, who came to supplicate his aid in restoring their
relative to reason; adding, 'What commands will you be pleased to convey
by me? What remedy do you propose for the suffering Pattaan?'

The Durweish answered, 'His impure heart, then, could not withstand the
reflected light. Well, well! tell the poor women to be comforted, and as
they desire to have the Pattaan restored to his former state, they need
only purchase some sweetmeats from the bazaar, which the man being induced
to eat, he will speedily be restored to his wonted bodily and mental
powers.'

Upon hearing the commands of Shah Jee, the women speedily departed,
ejaculating blessings on the Durweish, his wife, and family. On their
return they purchased the sweetmeats and presented them to the Pattaan,
who devoured them with eagerness, and immediately afterwards his former
senses returned, to the no small joy of his family circle. They inquired
of him, what had been the state of his feelings during the time he was in
that insensible state from which he was now happily relieved? He replied,
that the first gaze of the Durweish had fixed his eyes so firmly that he
could by no means close or withdraw them from the object; the second
glance detached his thoughts from every earthly vanity or wish; and that
the third look from the same holy person, fixed him in unspeakable joys,
transports pure and heavenly, which continued until he had eaten the
sweetmeats they had presented, with a kind intention, he had no doubt, but
which nevertheless, must be ever regretted by him whilst life remained;
for no earthly joy could be compared with that which he had experienced in
his trance.

The Durweish Shah Sherif ood deen, was asked by some one why he had
selected the bazaar sweetmeats as a remedy in the Pattaan's case? He
answered, 'Because I knew the man's heart was corrupt. The light which had
been imparted to him could alone be removed by his partaking of the
dirtiest thing mortals hold good for food, and surely there cannot be any
thing more dirty than the bazaar sweetmeats, exposed as they are to the
flies and dust of the city; and how filthily they are manufactured
requires not my aid in exposing.'

This Durweish is said,--and believed by the good Mussulmaun people I have
conversed with,--to have foreseen the hour when he should be summoned from
this life into eternity; and three weeks prior to the appointed time, he
endeavoured to fortify the minds of his wife and family, to bear with
resignation that separation he had been warned should take place. He
assembled his affectionate relatives on the occasion, and thus addressed
them, 'My dear family, it is the will of God that we should part; on such
a day (mentioning the time), my soul will take flight from its earthly
mansion. Be ye all comforted, and hereafter, if ye obey God's holy law, ye
shall meet me again in a blessed eternity.'

As may be supposed, the females wept bitterly; they were distressed,
because the good Durweish had ever been kind, indulgent, affectionate, and
tender in all the relative situations he held amongst them. He tried many
soothing arguments to comfort and console them for some hours, but without
in the least reducing their grief, or moderating their bewailings: they
could not, and would not be comforted.

'Well,' said the Durweish, 'since the separation I have predicted causes
you all so much sorrow, it would be better, perhaps, that we part not. I
have thought of another method to avoid the pangs of separation; I will
offer my prayers this night to the gracious Giver of all good, that He may
be pleased to permit ye all to bear me company in death.'

'Oh! stay your prayer!' said the wife of the Durweish; 'this must not be;
for if we all die at once, who will perform the funeral rites, and deposit
our bodies in the earth?' The Durweish smiled at his wife's objection, and
answered, 'This is of no consequence to us, dear wife: the body may be
likened to a garment that is thrown off when old; the soul having worn its
earthly covering for a season, at the appointed time shakes off the
perishable piece of corruption, to enter into a purer state of existence.
It matters not if the body have a burial or not; the soul takes no
cognizance of the clay it has quitted. Yet, if it be a matter of great
consideration with you, be assured that many pious men and Durweish, whose
respect we have enjoyed in life, will not fail to give decent interment to
the remains of those they have loved and respected.'

This for a moment baffled the wife in her argument; but presently she
persuasively urged that her daughters were all young, that they had as yet
seen but little of this world, and therefore it would be cruel to take
them away so soon; they must desire to see more of this life ere they
entered on another state of existence. 'Oh, my wife,' said the Durweish,
'you reason badly; this life hath no joys to be compared with those which
the righteous man's hopes lead him to expect in the world beyond the grave.
I will assuredly make my promised prayer, if I find a semblance of
remaining grief upon separating from me at the appointed time, for our
removal to perfect happiness.'

'No, no!' was cried by all the assembled family; 'do let us remain a
little longer here, we are not in a hurry to quit this world.'--'Well,
well, be satisfied then,' responded the Durweish, 'if such is your desire;
and hereafter let me not hear a sigh or a murmur from one of you, for my
appointed time is drawing to a close; if you will not accompany me, let me,
at least, depart in peace.'

The people who relate this (and I have heard the anecdote from many) add,
that the Durweish Shah Sherif ood deen Mah-mood died at the close of the
third week, and on the day and hour he had predicted.

A grandson of this Durweish I have been writing about is still living in
India, remarkable for a very retentive memory and propriety of life. I
have not met with this gentleman during my residence in India, but have
often heard his name mentioned with respect by Meer Hadjee Shaah who knew
him well. He says that this Syaad, when but a boy, learned the whole
Khoraun by heart[6] in the short space of forty days; he adds, that this
person is exemplary in his life, and in his habits and manners humble;
that he is truly a servant of God; rejects the mystic tenets of Soofieism;
possesses an enlightened mind, and is a Moollah or Doctor of the
Mussulmaun law. I have heard many singular anecdotes of his life, proving
his disregard for riches, honours, and the vain pursuits of the
worldly-minded. If I recollect right, he once was engaged in the
confidential office of Moonshie to a highly talented gentleman at Fort
William, from which employment he retired and took up his abode for some
time at Lucknow; from whence, it was said, he went to Hydrabaad, where, it
is probable, he may still be found in the exercise of a religious course
of life. His name is respected by all the good men of his own persuasion,
with whom I have been most intimately acquainted.

Conceiving the subject may be interesting to my friends, I will not offer
any apology for introducing to your notice a female character of great
merit, whose death occurred during my residence in the vicinity of her
abode. I was induced to make memorandums of the circumstances which
brought the knowledge of her virtues more immediately before the public.

Maulvee Meer Syaad Mahumud[7] succeeded, on the death of his father, in
1822, to the exalted position amongst Mussulmauns of head leader and
expounder of the Mahumudan law in the city of Lucknow; he is a person of
unassuming manners and extreme good sense, is an upright, honest-hearted,
religious man, meriting and receiving the respect and good opinion of all
his countrymen capable of appreciating the worthiness of his general
deportment. He is esteemed the most learned person of the present age
amongst Asiatic scholars; and occupies his time in study and devotion, and
in giving gratuitous instruction to youth, at stated hours, in those laws
which he makes his own rule of life. Neither is the good Maulvee's fame
confined to the city in which he sojourns, as may be gathered from the
following anecdote, which exhibits the upright principles of this worthy
man, at the same time that it discloses the character of a very amiable
female, whose charity was as unbounded as her memory is revered in
Furrukhabaad.

'The late Nuwaub of Furrukhabaad[8] was first married to a lady of birth
and good fortune, Villoiettee Begum,[9] by whom he was not blessed with a
son; but he had other wives, one of whom bore him an heir, who at the
present time enjoys the musnud of his father.

'Villoiettee Begum was beautiful in person, and possessed a heart of the
most benevolent and rare kind; her whole delight was centred in the
exercises of those duties which her religion inculcated; she spent much of
her time in prayer, in acquiring a knowledge of the Khoraun, in acts of
kindness to her fellow-creatures, and in strict abstinence.

'It was her unvaried custom at meals before she touched a morsel herself,
to have twelve portions of food, selected from the choicest viands
provided for her use, set apart for as many poor people; and when they had
been served, she humbly and sparingly partook of the meal before her. She
was possessed of great wealth, yet never expended any portion of it in the
extravagances of dress; indeed, so humble was her appearance, that she
might have been mistaken for the meanest of her slaves or domestics. It
was her usual custom, whenever she purchased new clothing for her own wear,
to lay in a large store for the poor; and it is affirmed, by those who
were long intimate with the family, that a supplicant was never known to
pass her door without relief. She even sought out, with the aid of a
faithful domestic, the modest poor who were restrained by their feelings
from intruding their necessities; and her liberal donations were
distributed in so kind a manner, that even the pride of birth could never
feel distressed when receiving her charitable assistance.

'This lady was much attached to the duties of her religion, and delighted
in acquiring instruction from righteous persons of her own faith. She
showered favours on all the poor who were reported to live in the fear of
God; indeed, such was the liberality, benevolence, and unvaried charity of
this good lady, that the news of her death was received by hundreds of
people as their greatest earthly calamity. The example of this lady's
character is the more enhanced by reflecting on the retired way in which
she was reared and lived, restrained by the customs of her people within
the high walls of a zeenahnah, without the advantages of a liberal
education or the immediate society of intelligent people. She seems, by
all accounts, to have been a most perfect pattern of human excellence.

'In forming her will (Villoiettee Begum had been a widow several years
before her death), she does not appear to have wished a single thing to be
done towards perpetuating her name,--as is usual with the great, in
erecting lofty domes over the deposited clay of the Mussulmaun,--but her
immense wealth was chiefly bequeathed in charitable gifts. The holy and
the humble were equally remembered in its distribution. She had been
acquainted with the virtues of the good Maulvee of Lucknow, to whom she
left a handsome sum of money for his own use, and many valuable articles
to fit up the Emaum-baarah for the service of Mahurrum, with a, desire
that the same should be conveyed to him as soon after her death as
convenient. Her vakeel (agent) wrote to Meer Syaad Mahumud very soon after
the lady's death, to apprise him of the bequest Villoiettee Begum had
willed to him, and at the same time forwarded the portable articles to him
at Lucknow.

'The Maulvee was much surprised, and fancied there must be some mistake in
the person for whom this legacy was intended, as the lady herself was
entirely unknown to him, and an inhabitant of a station so remote from his
own residence as not likely ever to have heard of him. He, however,
replied to the vakeel, and wrote also to a gentleman in the neighbourhood,
desiring to have a strict inquiry instituted before he could venture to
accept the riches of this lady's bounty, presuming that even if he was the
person alluded to in her will, that the Begum must have intended him as
her almoner to the poor of Lucknow. The good, upright Maulvee acted on the
integrity of his heart and desired a strict scrutiny might be instituted
into the will of the deceased, which was accordingly made, and he was
assured in reply, that Villoiettee Begum had been long acquainted with his
worth, and in her liberal bequest she had decidedly intended the money for
his sole use and benefit, in testimony of her respect for his virtuous
character. The Maulvee again wrote and requested to be informed by those
most intimate with the Begum's way of life, whether she had left
unperformed any of the duties incumbent on a member of the faithful, as
regards zuckhaut[10], pilgrimage, the fast, &c.? which not having
accomplished, and having ample means, he felt himself bound, in the
situation he held, to devote her legacy to the purpose of such duties by
proxy (which their law commands) in her name. He was in reply assured that
the good Begum had not omitted any part of her duty; she had regularly
applied zuckhaut, duly performed the fast, had paid the expenses for poor
pilgrims to Mecca (her substitutes); and not until all the scruples of the
just Maulvec had been removed would he hear of, or accept the Begum's
legacy.'

The anecdote I have now given will serve to illustrate the character of
some good people of Hindoostaun of the present day; indeed, the veneration
and respect paid by all classes to those men who lead religious lives, is
but little changed from the earlier pages of the Mussulmaun history. I
have just met with a Durweish anecdote, of former times, that may be worth
transcribing, as I have received it from Meer Hadjee Shaah, whose aid I am
so much indebted to for subjects with which to amuse my friends.

'Shaah ood Dowlah[11] was a Durweish who flourished in the reign of King
Shah Jaluui at Delhi, but whose fame is known throughout India to the
present day. The Durweish was remarkable for his activity of body. It is
related, that he was often to be seen at prayer in Delhi, and in three
hours after he had transported himself eighty miles oil without any
visible assistance but his own personal activity on foot. This
extraordinary rapidity of movement rendered him an object of veneration;
and the general belief was, that he was highly favoured of Heaven, and
gifted with supernatural power; the life he led was purely religious, with
a total disregard of earthly riches.

'The King, Shah Jahan, was a very sensible person, and a great admirer of
all that is counted good and excellent in his fellow-men; he was
particularly friendly to such men as the Durweish, or others who devoted
their lives to religious exercises. He had often heard of Shah ood Dowlah,
without ever meeting with him, and on hearing of some singular acts of
this Durweish, he was desirous of seeing him, and gave orders accordingly
to his Minister, that messengers should be sent in search of the holy man,
but as often as they appeared before the Durweish's hut he was invisible;
this statement even added to the King's curiosity. On a certain day the
King was seated on the story of his palace which overlooked the town and
the outskirts beyond the walls, in conversation with his Minister and
favourites, when the Durweish was espied at no great distance standing on
the broadway; which, when the King knew, he desired messengers might be
dispatched to convey the holy man to his presence. "Your royal will shall
be obeyed", replied the Minister; "but your Majesty must be aware that the
extent of the circuit from the palace to the outer gate is so great that
long before a slave can get to that road, Shah ood Dowlah will be beyond
the reach of our summons. With all due submission to your Majesty's better
judgement, would it not be more prudent to call him from hence, and
persuade him to ascend the wall in a basket suspended to a rope." The King
agreed, and the Durweish was hailed. "Our King, the Protector of the World,
commands Shah ood Dowlah's attendance?"--The Durweish, looking up at the
summoner, inquired, "Where is the King?"--"In this apartment," he was
answered.--"How am I to get near him? he is too far off: an old man does
not well to climb."--"Wait a minute", replied the servant, "your
conveyance shall be prepared."

'In a few minutes the basket descended from the upper story, by a strong
rope, well secured against the probability of accident. The Durweish,--who
was covered with a chudha[12], or sheet, to keep him from giddiness in the
ascent,--seated himself firmly in the basket, and the servants drew him up
in safety. He was immediately conveyed to the King's apartment; who,
contrary to precedent, rose at his entrance to receive this respected and
much-desired guest.

'"Pray be seated, my friend", said the King, leading him to the most
honoured part of the royal carpet. The Durweish obeyed without a moment's
hesitation, to the astonishment of the Vizier, nobles, courtiers, &c., who
had never before seen a human being seated in the King's presence, not
even one of the most exalted of the nobles. "I have long desired this
happiness," said the King to the Durweish, "that I might converse with you.
"--"Your Majesty is very gracious to the poor Durweish", was responded. "I
hear much of your great virtue and good life," said the King, "from the
world, my subjects."--"They do but flatter the poor Durweish," was his
reply; adding, "none can tell what passes in my heart, when they view only
my face. I am but a poor Durweish."

'"I have many questions to ask you," said the King, "which I hope to have
resolved from your own mouth; but, first, I beg to be informed, what
methods you have used in order to acquire that command over selfish
feelings, which is displayed in your intercourse with the world? and by
what means you have become so enlightened in the ways pleasing to God?"

'The Durweish with a smile of pleasure, and in language calm as respectful,
answered in the following words:--"Your Majesty, the Protector of the
World, was desirous of becoming personally known to the very meanest of
your subjects, the poor Durweish; the opportunity arrived, and you
condescended to let down a line of rope to assist your poor subject in the
ascent to your presence. With equal condescension you have seated me by
your side; and I, the poor Durweish, feel a due sense of the honour
conferred on me. Had I been anxious to gain admittance to the Protector of
the World, many would have been the difficulties to surmount; your castle
is well guarded, your gates innumerable to be passed ere this place could
be reached, and who would have aided the poor Durweish's wishes? But your
Majesty had the will, and the power to effect that will; whilst I, who had
neither, might have exerted myself for ages without effect. Such then, O
King! is the way God draws those whom He wills unto Him. He sees into the
hidden recesses of the human heart, and knows every working of mortal
minds; He has no difficulty to surmount; for to whom in His mercy He
grants evidence of His love, He draws them to Himself in heart, in soul,
in mind, with infinitely less effort than thou hast exerted to draw my
mortal body within thy palace. It is God who in love and mercy throws the
line to man; happy that soul who accepts the offered means, by which he
may ascend!"'

Meer Nizaam ood deen[13] lived many years at Lucknow, where he was much
esteemed by the religious men of the time; some who survived him have
frequently entertained me with anecdotes of that respected Durweish. Out
of the many I have heard detailed by them, I have selected for this place
a few of the most interesting:--

A certain King of Delhi (whose name has escaped my recollection) having
heard of the remarkable piety of this Durweish, expressed a great desire
to see him, and the message was conveyed by a confidential person,
instructed to say to the holy man, that his presence was solicited as a
favour at Court. The person intrusted with the royal message, remarked to
Meer Nizaam, when he had agreed to accompany him, that his mean apparel
was not suited to appear in the presence of majesty, and offered to
provide him with a superior dress.

The Durweish looked steadily in the face of the proposer, and addressed
him, 'Friend! know you not, that clad in these very garments you deride, I
make my daily prayers to Him who is the Creator and Lord of the whole
earth, and all that therein is? If I am not ashamed to appear in the
presence of my God thus habited, canst thou think I shall deem it needful
to change my garments for one who is, at best but the creature of my
Creator? Thinkest thou I would pay more deference to my fellow-man than I
have done to my God? No, no; be assured the clothes I wear will not be
changed for earthly visits.'

This Durweish had a mind and heart so entirely devoted to his Creator, and
was so thoroughly purified from earthly vanity, that his every wish was
granted as soon as it had been formed in his heart, says one of his many
admirers, Meer Eloy Bauxh[14]; who, in proof that he was so gifted, relates
the following anecdote which I give in his own words:--

'One day I was conversing with the Durweish, Meer Nizaam, when he told me
he could bring me to his door, from my own home, at any hour or time he
pleased. I was a little wavering in my belief of his power to do so, and
offered some remarks that indicated my doubts. "Well," said he in reply,
"you shall be convinced, my friend, ere long, I promise you."

'A few evenings after this conversation had been held, I was seated on my
charpoy, in meditation,--my usual practice after the evening namaaz,--when
a sudden impulse seized my mind, that I must immediately go off to the
Durweish who lived at the opposite extremity of this large city (Lucknow).
I prepared to set out, and by the time I was ready, the rain burst forth
in torrents from the over-charged clouds. Still the impulse was so strong
that I cared not for this impediment even, which under ordinary
circumstances would have deterred me from venturing out on a dark evening
of storm; I wrapped myself up in my labaadah[15], took a stick and
umbrella, and sallied forth in great haste. On reaching the outer gate of
my premises, the strong, feeling that had impelled me to proceed, vanished
from my mind, and I was as strongly urged by an opposite impulse to retire
again within my own habitation, where, if I reasoned at all, it was on the
unusual changeableness of my fixed resolution, for I never thought about
the subject of the Durweish's prediction at the time.

'Some few days after this, I paid Meer Nizaam a visit, and after our usual
embrace and salutations were over, he said to me, "Well, my friend, are
you convinced by this time, that I have the power to bring you to me
whenever I wish, by the preparations you made for coming on the evening of
such a day?" (mentioning the time and hour accurately).

'"I remember well my desire to visit you, but why was I deterred from my
purpose?" I asked. The Durweish replied, "Out of pure compassion for the
fatigue and pains it would have given you, had you come so far on such a
night of rain and tempest. My pity for you altered my wishes, and thereby
your purposes. I only wished you to be convinced, and perhaps you are so
now."'

Meer Eloy Bauxh often speaks of this circumstance, and declares he has
full confidence that the Durweish in question possessed the power of
influencing the minds of others, or attracting them by his wishes to
appear before him.

'This Durweish was once applied to by a Mussulmaun, who went regularly for
many days in succession, to watch a favourable moment for soliciting
advice and assistance in his then uneasy state of mind. The Mussulmaun's
name was Hummoon[16], since designated Shah, a native of the Upper
Provinces of Hindoostaun, in the Lahore district. Hummoon occasionally
passing near the river, had frequently observed, amongst, the number of
Hindoo women, on their way to and from the place of bathing, one young
female whose charms riveted his attention. He sometimes fancied that the
girl smiled on him; but aware of the strong prejudices of her caste, which
prohibits intercourse even, much less marriage, with men of another
persuasion, he loved therefore without hope; yet he could not resist, as
the opportunity offered, of again and again watching for a glance at the
beautiful Hindoo whose person had won his entire affections. Not a word
had ever passed between them, but he fancied she sometimes returned his
looks of love in her smiles.

'The passion of Hummoon increased daily; he could with difficulty restrain
himself within the prescribed bounds; he longed to address her, and in
vain puzzled his imagination for the proper means to adopt, for he knew
the edict of her caste had placed a barrier between them of an
insurmountable nature. For months he endured all the torments of his
perplexing state, and at last resolved on applying to the good Durweish
for advice and assistance, whose famed powers had been long the subject of
admiration among the Mussulmauns.

Hummoon went daily to the threshold of the Durweish, and seated himself
among the many who, like him, had some favour to ask of the holy man, at
the propitious moment when he chose to be visible and disposed to look
round upon his petitioning visitors. All waited for a look with the most
intense anxiety (for a Durweish does not always notice his courtiers), and
happy did he deem himself who was encouraged by the recognition of his eye,
to offer his petition by word of mouth. Many such applicants had been
favoured by the Durweish, yet Hummoon visited daily without being noticed
by the holy man. At length, however, a look of inquiry was given to the
almost despairing Hummoon; thus encouraged, he folded his hands, and bent
them forward in a supplicating attitude, told his distresses as briefly as
the subject would permit, and concluded his tale of sorrow, by entreating
the Durweish would instruct him in the exercise of some prayer by which he
might be made happy with the object of his love.

'The Durweish listened attentively to Hummoon's tale; and more, he pitied
him, for he felt at all times a due proportion of sympathy for the misery
of his fellow-creatures, and the singularity of Hummoon's case affected
him. He told him he could teach the way to become deserving of having his
wishes in this world granted to him, but more he could not answer for; but
it would take him a considerable time to practise the devotions necessary
to his future peace, which were of the heart, not the mere repetition of a
prayer by the lips. Hummoon readily assured the Durweish, he was willing
to be guided by his advice and instruction; adding, that he would
patiently persevere for any length of time necessary, so that at last his
object might be accomplished.

'Hummoon commenced under the tuition of the Durweish the practice of
devotional exercises. He forsook (as was required of him) all vain
pursuits, worldly desires, or selfish gratifications; day and night was
devoted to religious study and prayer, and such was the good effect of his
perseverance and progressive increase of faith, that at the end of some
few months he had entirely left off thinking of the first object of his
adoration, his whole heart and soul being absorbed in contemplation of,
and devotion to, his Creator. At the end of a year, no trace or
remembrance of his old passion existed; he became a perfect Durweish,
retired to a solitary place, where under the shade of trees he would sit
alone for days and nights in calm composure, abstracted from every other
thought but that of his God, to whom he was now entirely devoted.'

I am told that this Durweish, Hummoon Shah, is still living
in the Lahore province, a pattern of all that is excellent in
virtue and devotion.


[1] Mir Ilahi Bakhsh.

[2] Shah Sharif-ud-din, Mahmud.

[3] Jame' Masjid, the Congregational mosque.

[4] Faqir, a poor man, one poor in the sight of God.

[5] Pathan, a frontier tribe, many of which reside in British India.

[6] Such a person is called Hafiz.

[7] Maulavi Mir Sayyid Muhammad.

[8] Early in the eighteenth century Farrukhabad, now a district of
    this name in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, became an
    independent State during the decay of the Moghul Empire. The line of
    Nawabs was founded by Muhammad Khan, an Afghan of the Bangash
    tribe. It was annexed by Oudh in 1749 and ceded to the British in 1801,
    on which event the Nawab ceased to be independent. The last Nawa
    b joined the rebels in the mutiny of 1857.

[9] Wilayati Begam, the foreign lady.

[10] See p. 67.

[11] Shah-ud-daula.

[12] _Chadar_.

[13] Mir Nizam-ud-din.

[14] Mir Ilahi Bakhsh.

[15] _Labada_, a rain-coat.

[16] Hamun.



LETTER XXV

  Mussulmaun Devotees.--The Chillubdhaars.--Peculiar mode of
  worship.--Propitiatory offerings.--Supposed to be invulnerable to
  fire.--The Maadhaars or Duffelees.--Character of the
  founder.--Pilgrimage to his tomb.--Females afflicted on visiting
  it.--Effects attributed to the violation of the sanctuary by a
  foreigner.--Superstition of the Natives.--Anecdote of Sheikh Suddoo
  and the Genii.--The way of the world exemplified, a Khaunie
  (Hindoostaunie fable).--Moral fable.--The King who longed for
  fruit...Page 370


There are many classes of men amongst the Mussulmauns, who either abjure
the world or seem to do so, independent of those denominated Durweish;--
such us the religions mendicants, &c., who have no earthly calling, and
derive their subsistence from the free-will offerings of their neighbours,
or the bounty of the rich, who from respect for their humble calling, and
a hope of benefit from their prayers, or rather from the veneration of
Mussulmauns towards such of their faith as have renounced the world for
the service of God.

The Chillubdhaars[1] are a well-known class of wanderers; their founder
was a Syaad, Ahmud Kaabeer,[2] of whom many wonderful things are related
sufficient to impress on the weak mind a belief in his supernatural
ascendancy. His presumed powers are said to have been chiefly instrumental
in curing the sick or in removing temporal afflictions; but his effectual
prayers in behalf of people in difficulty, they say, surpassed those of
any other of the whole tribes of devotees that have at any age existed.
His admirers and followers speak of him as having been invulnerable to
fire. In his lifetime he had forty disciples or pupils constantly with him;
at his death these forty separated, each in the course of time
accumulating his forty pupils, after the pattern of their founder, who
also eventually became leaders, and so on, until at the present time, it
is conjectured, there are few places in Asia exempt from one or more
detachments of these Chillubdhaar practical beggars who are much admired
by the weak; and although they profess the same tenets and rules of life
with their founder, Syaad Ahmud Kaabeer, yet, I believe, no one gives the
Chillubdhaars of the present period credit for possessing either the
virtues or the power of that man who set them so many bright examples;
nevertheless, they are applied to on emergencies by the ignorant and the
credulous of the present day, courted by the weak, and tolerated by all.

They all practise one plan whenever called upon to remove the difficulty
of any person who places sufficient confidence in their ability. On such
occasions, a young heifer, two years old, is supplied by the person having
a request to make, after which a fire of charcoal is made in an open space
of ground, and the animal sacrificed according to Mussulmaun form. The
tender pieces of meat are selected, spitted, and roasted over the fire, of
which when cooked, all present are requested to partake. Whilst the meat
is roasting, the Chillubdhaars beat time with a small tambourine to a song
or dirge expressive of their love and respect to the memory of the
departed saint, their founder and patron, and a hymn of praise to the
Creator.

The feast concluded, whilst the fire of charcoal retains a lively heat,
these devotees commence dancing, still beating their tambourines and
calling out with an audible voice, 'There is but one God!--Mahumud is the
Prophet of God!' Then they sing in praise of Ali, the descendants of the
Prophet, and, lastly, of Syaad Ahmud Kaabeer their beloved saint. Each
then puts his naked foot in the fire: some even throw themselves upon
it,--their associates taking care to catch them before they are well
down,--others jump into the fire and out again instantly; lastly, the whole
assembly trample and kick the remaining embers about, whilst a spark
remains to be quenched by this means.[3] These efforts, it is pretended,
are sufficient to remove the difficulties of the persons supplying
the heifer and the charcoal.

These mendicants live on public favour and contributions; they wear
clothes, are deemed harmless, never ask alms, but are always willing to
accept them, and have no laws of celibacy, as is the case with some
wandering beggars in India, who are naked except the wrapper; sometimes
they settle, making fresh converts, but many wander from city to city,
always finding people disposed to administer to their necessities. They
are distinguished from other sects, by each individual carrying a small
tambourine, and wearing clothing of a deep buff colour.

There are another set of wandering mendicants, who are called Madhaar[4]
beggars, or the Duffelees,[5] by reason of the small hand-drum they carry
with them. These are the disciples of the sainted Maadhaar, whose tomb is
visited annually by little short of a million of people, men, women, and
children, at a place called Muckunpore, about twenty koss from Cawnpore.

Maadhaar was esteemed in his lifetime a most perfect Durweish, and his
admirers speak of the power he then possessed as still existing; in that
his pure spirit at stated periods hovers near his last earthly remains,
where the common people make a sort of pilgrimage to entreat his influence
in their behalf. A mayllah[6] (fair) is the consequence of this annual
pilgrimage, which continues, I think, seventeen days in succession, and
brings together, from many miles distant, the men of business, the
weak-minded, and the faithful devotees of every class in the Upper
Provinces.

From the respect paid to the memory of Maadhaar, and the expected
influence of his spirit at the shrine, the ignorant people bring their
sons to receive the saint's blessing on their tender years. The man of
business also presents himself before it, desirous to insure a share of
success at the fair, and ultimate prosperity at home. The devotee visits
the shrine from a desire to increase in true wisdom by the reflected light
of the Maadhaar Durweish's purer spirit. Women having made vows to visit
the shrine, come to fulfil it at this period, if their hopes be realized
in the birth of a son; and others to entreat his influence that their
daughters may be suitably married; in short, all who assemble at this
mayllah have some prayer to offer, or acknowledgments to make, for they
depend on the abundant power and influence of the saint's spirit to supply
their several wants or desires.

At the shrine of this saint, a descendant, or as is suspected often in
such cases, a pretended relative, takes his station to collect, with all
the appearance of sanctity and humility, the nuzzas offered at the shrine
of Maadhaar. The amount so collected is enormous, if credit be given to
the reports in circulation; for all visitors are expected to present an
offering, and most of the pilgrims do it for conscience sake. I knew a
Mussulmaun who went from curiosity to this mayllah; he was accosted rather
rudely as he was quitting the tomb, without leaving a nuzza; he told the
guardian of the tomb he had presented the best nuzza he possessed, in a
prayer for the soul of the departed; (as commanded every Mussulmaun should
offer when drawing near the tomb of one of his own faith).

I have conversed with a remarkably devout person, on the numerous
extraordinary stories related of Maadhaar's life, and the subsequent
influence of his tomb. He told me that women can never, with safety to
themselves, enter the mausoleum containing his ashes; they are immediately
seized with violent pains as if their whole body was immersed in flames of
fire. I spoke rather doubtingly on this subject, upon which he assured me
that he had known instances of one or two women who had imprudently defied
the danger, and intruded within the mausoleum, when their agony was
extreme, and their sufferings for a long time protracted, although they
eventually recovered.

Another still more remarkable circumstance has been related to me by the
Natives, for the truth of which I cannot venture to vouch, although I have
no reason to doubt the veracity of the narrators.

'A party of foreigners, encamped near the fair, wished to see what was
going on at this far-famed mayllah, and for the purpose of gratifying
their curiosity, halted on a certain day in the vicinity of the Durgah,
when the place was much thronged by the various pilgrims to that shrine.
The party dined in their tent, but drank more wine than was consistent
with propriety, and one was particularly overcome. When they sallied forth,
at the close of the day, to visit this saint's tomb, their approach was
observed by the keepers, who observing how very unfit the strangers
appeared to enter the sanctuary of other men's devotions,--the hallowed
ground that was by them respected,--the head-keeper very civilly advanced
as they moved towards the entrance, requesting that they would desist from
entering in their apparent condition, contrary to the rules of the place
and people. The convivial party then drew back, without contesting the
point, excepting the one most disguised in liquor, who asserted his right
to enter wherever and whenever he thought good, nor would he be controlled
by any man in India.

'The keepers spoke very mildly to the tipsy foreigner, and would have
persuaded him he was doing wrong, but he was not in a state to listen to
any argument dissuading him from his determined purpose; they warned him
that a severe punishment must follow his daring, as he pushed past them
and reeled into the mausoleum, triumphing at his success. He had
approached the tomb, when he was immediately seized with trembling, and
sank senseless on the floor; his friends without, observing his situation,
advanced and were assisted by the keepers in removing the apparently
inanimate body to the open air: water was procured, and after considerable
delay, returning symptoms of life were discovered. When able to speak, he
declared himself to be on the eve of death, and in a few short hours he
breathed his last.' The unhappy man may have died of apoplexy.

The ignorant part of the population of Hindoostaun hold a superstitious
belief in the occasional visitations of the spirit of Sheikh Suddoo.[7] It
is very common to hear the vulgar people say if any one of their friends
is afflicted with melancholy, hypochondria, &c., 'Ay, it is the spirit of
Sheikh Suddoo has possessed him.' In such cases the spirit is to be
dislodged from the afflicted person by sweetmeats, to be distributed among
the poor; to which is added, if possible, the sacrifice of a black goat. I
am not quite sure that the night blindness, with which the lower orders of
Natives are frequently attacked, has not some superstitious allusion
attached to it; but the only remedy I have ever heard prescribed for it is,
that the patient should procure the liver of a young kid, which must be
grilled over the fire, and eaten by the afflicted person. The story of
this Sheikh Suddoo, which is often related in the zeenahnahs of the
Mussulmauns, is as follows:--

'Sheikh Suddoo was a very learned man, but a great hypocrite, who passed
days and nights in the mosque, and was fed by the charitable, his
neighbours, from such viands as they provided daily for the poor traveller,
and those men who forsake the world. The Sheikh sometimes wandered into a
forest seldom penetrated by the foot of man, where, on a certain day, he
discovered a copper cup, curiously engraved with characters which he tried
in vain with all his learning to decipher. The Sheikh returned with the
cup to the mosque, regretting that the characters were unknown to him; but
as he had long desired to have a good-sized lamp, he fancied from the
peculiar shape of his prize, that it would answer the very purpose, and
the same night he exultingly prepared his charaagh[8] (a light) in the
engraved vessel.

'The moment he had ignited one wick, he was surprised by the appearance of
a figure, resembling a human being, standing before him, "Who art thou,"
he demanded, "intruding at this hour on the privacy of a
hermit?"--"I come", replied the figure, "on the summons from your lamp.
That vessel, and whoever possesses it, has four attendants, one of whom
you see before you, your slave. We are Genii, and can only be summoned by
the lighting up of the vessel now before you; the number of your slaves
will be in due attendance, always guided by as many wicks as it may be
your pleasure to light up for our summons. Demand our attendance, at any
hour you please, we are bound to obey."

'The Sheikh inquired if he or his companions possessed any power. "Power",
replied the Genii, "belongs to God alone, the Creator of all things
visible and invisible; but by His permission we are enabled to perform, to
a certain extent, any reasonable service our master requires."

'The Sheikh soon put their abilities to the test, and satisfied himself
that these agents would aid and assist him in raising his character with
the world (for he coveted their praise), "They would", he thought,
"assuredly believe he was a pious Durweish, when he could convince them by
a ready compliance with their requests, which must seem to follow his
prayers, and which he should be able to further now by the aid of the
Genii."

'The pretended holy man employed his attendant Genii fully; many of his
demands on their services were difficult, and too often revolting to them;
yet whilst he retained the lamp in his possession, they were bound to obey
his commands. He once heard of a king's daughter, who was young and
beautiful; he therewith summoned the Genii, and required that they should
convey the princess to him. They reluctantly obeyed his command, and the
princess was the Sheikh's unwilling companion in the mosque. On another
occasion, he desired the Genii to bring without delay, to the ground in
front of his present abiding place, a very curious mosque situated many
leagues distant, the stones of which were so nicely cemented together,
that no trace of the joining could be discovered. The Genii received this
command with regret, but they were obliged to obey, and departed from the
Sheikh's presence to execute his unworthy orders.

'It happened that the mosque which the Sheikh coveted was the retreat of a
righteous man, who had separated from the world to serve his God,
venerable in years and devout in his duties. The Genii commenced their
labour of removing the mosque; the good man who was at his devotions
within, fancied an earthquake was shaking the building to its foundation,
but as he trusted in God for preservation, he breathed a fervent prayer as
he remained prostrate before Him.

'The shaking of the mosque continued, and he was inspired by a sudden
thought that induced him to believe some supernatural agency was employed
against the holy house; he therefore called out, "Who and what are ye, who
thus sacrilegiously disturb the house of God!" The Genii appeared, and
made known to what order of beings they belonged, whose servants they were,
and the purpose of their mission.

'"Begone this instant!" replied the pious man, with a tone of authority
that deprived them of strength: "a moment's delay, and I will pray that
you be consumed by fire! Know ye not that this is a mosque, holy, and
erected wherein to do service to the great and only God? Would Sheikh
Suddoo add to his enormities by forcing the house of God from its
foundation? Away, ye servants of the wicked Sheikh, or meet the fire that
awaits you by a moment's further delay!"

'The Genii fled in haste to their profane employer, whose rage was
unbounded at their disobedience, as he termed their return without the
mosque; he raved, stormed, and reviled his slaves in bitter sarcasms, when
they, heartily tired of the Sheikh's servitude, caught up the copper
vessel, and, in his struggle to resist the Genii, he was thrown with
violence on the ground, when his wicked soul was suddenly separated from
his most impure body.'

This story receives many alterations and additions, agreeable to the
talent and the inclination of the person relating it in Native society;
but as there once was a person on whose history it has been founded, they
do not denominate it fabulous or khaunie.[9] The following, which I am
about to copy from a translation of my husband's, is really a mere fable;
and, however trifling and childish it may appear, I feel bound to insert
it, as one among those things which serves to illustrate the character of
the people I have undertaken to describe; merely adding, that all these
fables prove an unceasing entertainment in the zeenahnah, with females who
cannot themselves read, either for amusement or instruction:--

'A certain man was travelling on horseback through an immense forest; and
when he came to a particular spot, he observed fire consuming some bushes,
in the centre of which was a monstrous large snake. The Snake was in
danger of being destroyed by the flames, so he called to the Traveller, in
a voice of despair--"Oh! good Sahib, save me, or I perish!"[10]

'The Traveller was a very tender-hearted creature, prone to pity the
painful sufferings of every living creature, whether man or animal; and
therefore began to devise some scheme for liberating the Snake from the
devouring flames. His horse's corn bag, which was made of leather, hung
dangling by a rope from the crupper; this, he thought, would be the best
thing he could offer to the distressed Snake. Accordingly, holding fast by
the rope, he threw the bag towards the flames, and desired the Snake to
hasten into it, who immediately accepted the offered aid, and the
Traveller drew him out of his perilous situation.

'No sooner was the Snake released from danger, than, ungrateful for the
services he had received from the Traveller, he sprang towards him, with
the purpose of wounding his deliverer. This, however, he failed to
accomplish, for the Traveller drew back in time to escape the attack; and
demanded of his enemy his reasons for such base ingratitude, saying--"Have
I not saved your life by my prompt assistance? What a worthless reptile
art thou! Is this thy mode of rewarding benefits?"--"Oh!" said the Snake,
"I am only imitating the way of the world; who ever thinks of returning
good for good? No, no! every benefit received by the creature of this
world is rewarded to the donor by an ungrateful return. I tell you, good
Traveller, I am only following the example set me in the way of the world."

'"I shall not take your word for it," said the Traveller in reply; "but if
I can be convinced that what you say is true, you shall be welcome to bite
me."--"Agreed," said the Snake; and off they set together in search of
adventures.

'The first object they met was a large Pepul-tree[11] whose branches spread
out an inviting shelter to the weary traveller to repose under, without
rent or tax. The Pepul-tree was asked, "Whether it was consistent with the
way of the world for the Snake to try to wound the man who had preserved
him from destruction."

'The Pepul-tree replied, "To follow in the way of the world, I should say
the Snake was justified. A good return is never now-a-days tendered for a
benefit received by mere worldlings, as I can bear witness by my own
sufferings. Listen to my complaint:--Here in this solitary jungle, where
neither hut nor mansion is to be found, I spread forth my well-clothed
branches,--a welcome shelter to the passing traveller from the burning
heat of the noontide sun, or the deluge poured out from the over-charged
cloud;---under my cover they cook their meal, and my falling leaves supply
them with fuel, as also with a bed on which they may recline their weary
limbs. Think you, when they have thus profited by the good I have done
them, that they are grateful for my services?--Oh, no! the ingrates
despoil the symmetry of my form, break off my branches with violence, and
trudge off triumphantly with the spoil which may serve them for fuel for
cooking at their next stage. So you see the Snake is right; he has but
followed the way of the world."

'The Snake exultingly led the way in search of other proofs by which he
should be justified. They fell in with a man who was by occupation a
camel-driver. The Man being made acquainted with the point at issue,
desired to be heard, as he could prove by his own tale that the Snake's
ingratitude was a true picture of the way of the world:--"I was the sole
proprietor of a very fine strong camel, by whose labour I earned a
handsome competence for each day's provision of myself and family, in
conveying goods and sometimes travellers from place to place, as my good
fortune served me. On a certain day, returning home through an intricate
wood, I drew near to a poor blind man who was seated on the ground
lamenting his hard fate. Hearing my camel's feet advance, he redoubled his
cries of distress, calling loudly for help and assistance. His piteous
cries won upon the tender feelings of my heart; so I drew near to inquire
into his situation, he told me with tears and sobs, that he was travelling
on foot from his home to visit his relations at the next town; that he had
been attacked by robbers, his property taken from him by violence, and
that the boy, his guide, was forced from him by the banditti as a slave;
and here, added the blind man, must I perish, for I can neither see my way
home, nor search for food; in this lone place my friends will never think
to seek me, and my body will be the feast for jackals ere the morning
dawns.

'"The poor man's story made so deep an impression on my mind, that I
resolved on assisting him; accordingly my camel was made to kneel down, I
seated the blind man safely on my beast, and set off with him to the city
he called his home. Arrived at the city gates, I lowered my camel, and
offered to assist the poor man in descending from his seat; but, to my
astonishment, he commenced abusing me for my barefaced wickedness,
collected a mob around us, by his cries for help from his persecutor,
declared himself the master of the camel, and accused me of attempting to
rob him now as I had done his brother before.

'"So plausible was his speech--so apparently innocent and just his
demands--that the whole collected populace believed I was actually
attempting to defraud the blind man of his property, and treated me in
consequence with great severity. I demanded to be taken before the Kauzy
of the city. 'Yes yes,' said the blind man, 'we will have you before the
Kauzy'; and away we went, accompanied by the crowd who had espoused the
blind man's cause against me.

'"The blind man preferred his claim, and advocated his own cause with so
many arguments of apparent justice, that I was not allowed a voice in the
business; and in the end I was sentenced to be thrust out of the city as a
thief and vagabond, with a threat of still greater punishment if I dared
to return. Here ends my sad tale; and you may judge for yourself, oh,
Traveller! how truly the Snake has proved to you that he follows but the
way of the world!"

       *       *       *       *       *

'As they pursued their way in search of further conviction, they met a Fox,
whose wisdom and sagacity was consulted on the important question. Having
heard the whole history with becoming gravity, the Fox addressed the
Traveller:--"You can have no good reason to suppose, Mr. Traveller, that
in your case there should be any deviation from the general rule. I have
often been obliged to suffer the vilest returns from friends whom I have
been active to oblige; but I am rather curious to see the way you effected
the release of the Snake from the fire, for I will candidly confess myself
so stupid as not clearly to understand the description you have both
attempted to give. I shall judge the merits of the case better if I see it
performed."

'To this proposal the Snake and Traveller agreed: and when the corn bag
was thrown towards the Snake, he crept into it as before. The Fox then
called out to the Traveller "Draw quickly!" he did so, and the Snake was
caught by a noose in the cord which the Fox had contrived unperceived, by
which the Snake was secured fast round the middle. "Now," said the Fox,
"bruise your enemy, and thus relieve the world of one base
inhabitant!"'[12]

This fable is frequently enlarged and embellished by the reciter to a
considerable extent, by introducing many different objects animate and
inanimate, to elucidate the question before the Fox arrives, who is
generally brought in to moral the fable.

I trust to be excused for transcribing the following moral fable which was
translated from the Persian by my husband for my amusement, bearing the
title of 'The King who longed for an unknown fruit:'--

'A certain King was so great a tyrant, that his servants and subjects
dreaded each burst of anger, as it were the prelude to their own
annihilation. The exercise of his will was as absolute as his power; he
had only to command, and obedience followed, however difficult or
inconvenient to the people who served under him.

'This tyrant dreamed one night that he was eating fruit of an
extraordinary flavour and quality. He had never in his whole life seen
fruit of the kind, neither had he heard such described by travellers; yet
when he ruminated on the subject in the morning he was resolved to have
fruit of the same sort his dream presented, or his people should suffer
for his disappointment.

'The King related his dream, and with it his commands to his Vizier, his
courtiers, and attendants, that fruit of the same description should be
brought before him within seven days; in default of which he vowed
solemnly that death should be the portion of his Vizier, his courtiers,
and servants. They all knew the King meant to be obeyed, by the
earnestness of his manner, and they trembled under the weight of his
perplexing orders; each, therefore, was speedily engaged in the
all-important search. The whole empire was canvassed, and all the business
of the Court was suspended to satisfy the whim of the Monarch, without
avail; terror and dismay marked the countenance of the whole city--for
certain death awaited these servants of the Court--and there was but now
one day left to their hopes. The city, the suburbs, the provinces, had
been searched; disappointment followed from every quarter, and the
threatened party gave up their hearts to despair.

'A certain Durweish, knowing the consternation of the people, and feeling
pity for their unmerited sufferings, sent for the Vizier privately. "I am
not", said the Durweish, "by any means anxious to please the vanity and
silly wishes of your master, the King, but I do hear with pity the state
of despair you and your fellows are reduced to, by the unsuccessful
results of your search after the fruit, and the certain consequences which
are to follow your failure."

'Then giving the Vizier a fragment of a broken pitcher, on which was
ciphered unknown characters, he told him to take it with him to a certain
tomb, situated in the suburbs of the royal city, (directing him to the
spot with great exactness), and casting the fragment on the tomb, to
follow the directions he would there receive; he further desired him to be
secret, to go alone, and at midnight.

'The now hope-inspired Vizier went as desired at midnight, and cast the
fragment on the tomb, which instantly opened to him. He then descended a
flight of steps, from the foot of which, at a little distance, he first
espied a light not larger than a taper, but which increased as he went on
until the full splendour of noonday succeeded. Proceeding with confidence,
revived hope cheered his heart, anticipating that by success so many lives
besides his own would be preserved through his humble endeavours; and that
life would be more than doubly dear, as the prospect of losing the gift
had embittered the last few days so severely.

'The Vizier passed on courageously through halls, corridors, and
apartments of magnificent structure, decorated and furnished in the most
perfect style of elegant neatness. Everything he saw bore marks of
splendour. The King's palace was then remembered in all its costliness, to
be as much inferior to the present scene as could be detected by the
lapidary's correct eye, when comparing the diamond with the pebble.

'He was perfectly entranced as he gazed on the emerald gate, through which
he had to pass to enter a garden of luxuriant beauty, where every shrub,
plant, flower, and fruit teemed with richness. In the centre of a walk an
old man was seated in a chair of burnished gold, clad in the costume of
the country, who seemed to be engaged in breathing the sweet odours by
which he was surrounded with a calm and tranquil countenance of joy. "I
know your business," said the possessor of this paradise, to the Vizier as
he advanced towards him; "you are come to obtain fruit from this tree,
which bows its branches to the earth with the weight and number of its
burden. Take one only; this is the fruit your master's dream pictured to
his fancy."

'Full of joy at the prospect of release from the dreaded anger of his
royal master, the Vizier hastily plucked the fruit, and retreated by the
way he came, without waiting to inquire what the old man meant by an
exclamation he uttered at parting, which at the time seemed of lesser
import than he afterwards imagined; but "Alas, the world" was recalled to
his memory on his way back to the palace, and haunted his mind so strongly
that he became restless and uneasy, even after the King had conferred
honours and favours innumerable on him for his successful efforts in
procuring that fruit which had never before been seen by any creature on
earth but by the King, and by him only in a dream. "Alas, the world!" was
like a dark envelope over every attempt to be cheerful; an impenetrable
cloud seemed to pervade the Vizier's mind; he could think of nothing but
the parting words of the old man, and his own folly in not inquiring his
meaning.

'The Vizier at last went to the same Durweish who had befriended him in
his hour of need, and related to him the obstacle to his enjoyment of the
blessings and honours which had crowned his success, and hoped from this
holy-minded man to ascertain the meaning of that perplexing sentence,
"Alas, the world!" The Durweish could not, or would not explain the old
man's meaning; but willing to do the Vizier all possible service, he
proposed giving him again the necessary passport to the inhabitant of the
garden.

'The fragment of a pitcher was again traced with the mystic characters,
and with this in his hand the Vizier at midnight sought the tomb, where he
found as easy access as on the former occasion. Everything he saw seemed
doubly beautiful to his imagination since his former visit. He entered by
the emerald gate and found the old man enjoying the magnificent and
sense-devouring scene, with as much delight as mortals are wont to show
when content fills the heart of man.

'"I know your second errand, my friend," said the old man, "and am quite
as willing to oblige you as on your first visit. Know then, Vizier, that
whilst an inhabitant of earth, I followed the humble occupation of a
village barber; by shaving and paring nails I earned my daily bread, and
maintained my family. Sometimes I collected ten pice in my day of labour
from house to house, and if twelve crowned my efforts I was fortunate.

'"Many years passed over my head in this way, when one day I was less
successful in my calling, and but half my usual earnings was all I had
gained. On my way home I was ruminating on the scantiness of the meal
likely to be procured by five pice for my family of seven people; the
season was one of such great scarcity, that ten pice on other days had
been of late barely sufficient to procure our daily food; and even with
twelve we thought our wants had been but inadequately supplied. I went on
grieving,--more for my family than myself, it is true,--and could have
cried at the thought of the small portion of bread and dhall I should see
allotted to each individual dependant on me.

'"In my progress towards home, whilst regretting my poverty, I saw an
unfortunate beggar, whose earnest entreaty seemed to make no impression on
those who passed him by; for, in truth, when money is scarce and corn dear,
people's hearts grow somewhat cold to the distresses of those who have no
claim by kindred ties. But with me it was otherways: my scantiness seemed
to make me more tender to the sorrows of my fellow-creatures. Poor soul,
said I to myself, thou art starving, and no one gives ear to thy
complaints; now if I take home this scanty produce of my day's labour, it
will not give a meal to all my household; besides, they dined with me
tolerably well yesterday. We shall not starve by one day's fasting;
to-morrow Divine Providence may send me in the way of more bearded men
than I have met to-day. I am resolved this poor man shall have the
benefit of a good meal for once, which he supplicates for in the name of
God.

'"I then went to the beggar and threw the five pice into his upheld
wrapper. 'There, brother,' said I, 'it is all I have; go, make yourself
happy in a good meal, and remember me in your prayers.' 'May Heaven give
you plenty in this world and bless your soul in the next!' was his only
response. That prayer was heard, for during my further sojourn on earth
abundance crowned my board; and here, it is unnecessary to remark on the
bounties by which you perceive I am surrounded.

'"That I said _Alas, the world!_ was from the reflection that I did but
one act of real charity whilst I remained in it, and see what an abundance
rewards me here. Had I known how such things are rewarded hereafter, I
should have been more careful to have embraced the passing opportunities,
while I walked with my fellow-man on earth. That I said, _Alas, the
world_! to you, was an intended admonition to mankind; to convince them of
the blessings bestowed in this world of bliss eternal, in reward for every
proper use to which the benefits they received in their probationary state
of existence may have been devoted. Go, friend! and profit by the example
I present of heavenly rewards! Persevere in a course of practical charity
in that world you still inhabit; and secure, whilst you may, the blessed
rewards of eternity!"'


[1] This term does not appear in the ordinary dictionaries or Census
    reports. Sir C. Lyall, with much probability, suggests that the
    correct form is Chalapdar, 'a cymbal player'.


[2] A saint, Sayyid Ahmad Kabir, is buried at Bijaimandil, Delhi.
    T.W. Beale, _Oriental Biographical Dictionary, s.v._

[3] Fire-walking is practised by many Musalman devotees. In a case
    recorded on the NW. frontier, a fakir and other persons walked
    through a fire-trench and showed no signs of injury; others came out
    with blistered feet and were jeered at as unorthodox Musalmans; a
    young Sikh, shouting his Sikh battle-cry, performed the feat, and as
    he escaped uninjured, a riot was with difficulty prevented.--T.L.
    Pennell, _Among the Wild Tribes of the Afghan Frontier_, 1909, p. 37,
    See M.L. Dames, 'Ordeals by Fire in the Punjab' (_Journal
    Anthropological Society, Bombay_, vol. iv). The subject is fully
    discussed by Sir J. Frazer, _The Golden Bough_[3], part vii, vol. ii,
    1913, pp. 5 ff.

[4] Madari fakirs, who take their names from Badi-ud-din Madar
    Shah, a disciple of Shaikh Muhammad Taifuri Bastami, who
    died A.D. 1434 at the ago of 124 years, and is buried at Makanpur in
    the Cawnpur District, where an annual fair is held at his tomb. On the
    anniversary of his death food is offered here, and amulets
    _(baddhi)_ are hung round the necks of children. Some light a
    charcoal fire, sprinkle ground sandalwood on it, and jumping into it,
    tread out the embers with their feet, shouting out _dam Madar_, 'by
    the breath of Madar!' the phrase being regarded as a charm against
    snake-bite and scorpion stings. After the fire-walk the feet of the
    performers are washed and are found to be uninjured. Others vow a
    black cow, sacrifice it, and distribute the meat to beggars. The rite
    is of Hindu origin, and Hindus believe that the saint is an
    incarnation of their god Lakshmana.--Jaffur Sharreef, _Qanoon-e-Islam_,
    158 f.: W. Crooke, _Tribes and Castes of the NW. P. and Oudh_, iii.
    397 ff.

[5] Dafali, from _daf_, a drum.

[6] _Mela_.

[7] Shaikh Saddu is the special saint of women. His name was
    Muhi-ud-din, and he lived at Amroha or Sambhal, in the United
    Provinces of Agra and Oudh. Some unorthodox Musalmans offer food in
    the name, and hold a session, in which a female devotee becomes
    possessed. A woman who wants a child says to her: 'Lady! I offer my
    life to you that I may have a child', whereupon the devotee gives her
    betel which she has chewed, or sweets, and this is supposed to bring
    about the desired result (Jaffur Shurreef, _Qanoon-e-Islam_, 184 f: W.
    Crooke, _Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India_, i. 204). In
    Bihar it is said that he had a lamp with four wicks, on lighting
    which, four Jinns appeared, and he used them for the purpose of
    debauchery. Finally, another Jinn slew him. People become possessed in
    his name, and when summoned in cases of illness or trouble, announce
    that a goat or a cock must be sacrificed to the saint (_Census Report,
    Bengal_, 1901, i. 180).

[8] _Chiragh_, an earthenware cup in which a wick is lighted.

[9] _Kahani_, a folk-tale.

[10] This tale comes from the Nala-Damayanti Saga. Nala finds a snake
    in danger of death from a jungle fire, saves it, and is bitten by the
    reptile, in the forehead, which causes him to become weak, deformed,
    and black in colour. The snake turns out to be the King Snake,
    Karkotaka. He says to Nala: 'I gave you this bite for your good, as
    you will soon learn, in order that your deformity may conceal you in
    carrying out your plans' (C.H. Tawney, _Katha-saral-Sagara_, i.
    564 f.: C.H. Bompas, _Folklore of the Santal Parganas_, 149 ff.).

[11] _Pipal, Ficus religiosa_.

[12] A common Indian folk-tale. In one of the most common versions the
    jackal tricks the ungrateful tiger, and induces him to go back to his
    cage.



LETTER XXVI

  Superstition of the Natives.--Fair annually kept by Hindoos.--Supposed
  practice of witchcraft by an old woman.--Assaulted by an infuriated
  populace.--Rescued by a Native gentleman.--He inquires their reasons
  for persecuting her.--Is instrumental in appeasing their
  malignity.--Endeavours to remove their prejudice.--Proneness of
  Asiatics to superstition.--Opinion of a Mussulmaun on the influence
  of evil spirits.--Account of a woman possessed by an evil
  spirit.--Dialogue with her during the paroxysms of her
  affliction.--Means used for her recovery.--Further allusions to the
  false notions of the Natives respecting supernatural agency...Page 387


All the Natives of Hindoostaun appear to me to be, more or less, tinctured
with superstitious notions, which, in many instances, are so grafted in
their nature as to resist every attempt made to root out by arguments the
folly of this great weakness.

I hope to be forgiven for introducing in this Letter a few anecdotes and
occurrences, which may illustrate that faulty side of the character of a
people who have not derived those advantages which are calculated to
displace superstition from the mind of man;--in a word, they are strangers
to that Holy volume which teaches better things.

A fair had been held at Lucknow one afternoon, not immediately within our
view, but the holiday folks passed our house on the road to and from the
scene of action. This fair or mayllah is visited by all ranks and classes
of Natives; but it is strictly a Hindoo festival annually kept up in
remembrance of the celebrated Kornea,[1] of Hindoo mythologic celebrity,
who according to their tradition, when but a child, on a certain day
killed with his slender arm a great tyrant, the giant Khaunce. Had there
ever existed a suspicion that the Hindoos sprang from any of the tribes of
Israel, I should have imagined the event they celebrate might have
reference to the act of David, who with his single arm destroyed Goliath
of Gath. This, however, can hardly be supposed, although the similarity is
remarkably striking.

The figure of Khaunce is made up of bamboo and paper, representing a human
being of gigantic stature, and bearing a most fierce countenance, with
some certain appendages, as horns, tail, &c., to render the figure more
disgusting. It is placed near the bank of the river Goomtie, in a
conspicuous situation, for the wonder and admiration of some, the terror
of the weak, and the satisfaction of the believers in the fabled story of
Kornea and his supposed supernatural power.

Kornea is represented by a little boy, dressed in costly apparel, who is
conveyed in grand procession, seated on an elephant, and surrounded by
attendants on horseback, with bands of music and a multitude of followers,
through the principal streets of the city to the chosen spot where Khaunce
is placed to be attacked by the child.

When the farce is properly prepared for the attack, the child, I am
told,--for I have never seen the ceremony,--takes aim from his
well-ornamented bow, and with a single arrow sends the monstrous giant
into the river, whilst the shouts of the multitude declare the victory of
Kornea, and the destruction of the enemy to the repose of mankind. The
figure, I should have remarked, is made up of parts merely placed on each
other, so that the force of an arrow is sufficient to dislodge the lofty
erection as readily as a pack of cards in a mimic castle may be levelled
by a breath. The mayllah concludes when the floating members of the figure
have glided with the stream out of sight.

A party of poor weak-minded mortals, pedestrians, but by their dress
respectable people, returning from this day's mayllah when the evening was
well advanced, suddenly halted near my house; my attention was soon
aroused by violent screams, and exclamations of 'Seize her! seize her! she
is eating my heart!' accompanied by all those indications of fear and pain,
that did not fail to excite my sympathy; for I could not comprehend what
was the matter and imagined the poor man had been wounded by the hand of
an assassin.

A crowd quickly assembled, and a great bustle ensued; I was really alarmed,
and the tumult of voices continuing for some minutes, we distinctly heard
the loud cries of a coarse female voice who seemed to be in great danger
of losing her life by the rough treatment of a lawless rabble; this
induced a Native gentleman of our family to venture out, to ascertain if
possible the cause of the excitement, and also to endeavour to assuage the
angry feelings of the turbulent party. His appearance amongst them
produced the desired effect, they were silenced by his command; and when
the man whose alarming screams had first assailed us, was brought before
him, he found that he was a man of great respectability amongst the
shop-keepers of the city, with a child of four years old in his arms, or
rather I should say the child was seated astride on his father's hip, the
arm encircling the child's body, as is the general manner of nursing
amongst all classes of the Natives.

On being questioned as to the cause of his raising the tumult, he declared
that he was walking quietly on the roadway with his party, when the old
woman (who was in custody) had touched him as he passed, when immediately
his heart sickened, and he was sensible she had bewitched him, for she was
still devouring his heart and feasting on his vitals.[2] 'I will certainly
kill her!' he added, 'if she does not restore me to myself and my child
likewise!'--'When was your child attacked?'--'About four days since,'
answered the angry father.

'Good man!' replied my friend; 'you must be under the influence of
delusion, since you told me just now, the woman is a stranger to you, and
that you never saw her before; how could she have bewitched your child
then four days ago? I am sure weakening fears or illness has taken
possession of your better feelings; the poor creature looks not like one
who possesses the power you ascribe to her.'

The old woman threw herself at the feet of my friend, and implored his
protection, reiterating her gratitude to him as her preserver from the
fury of an angry populace, who had already beaten her with slippers on her
head, as a prelude to their future harsh intentions towards her. She
stretched out her hands to touch him and bless him, as is the custom with
the lower orders of women to their superior of either sex, but the
multitude insisted she should not be allowed to let her unhallowed hands
fall on the good Mussulmaun gentleman; in a second was to be heard the
invocations of Hindoos and Mussulmauns, on their several sources of
supreme aid, to save the gentleman from her power, for all the mob felt
persuaded the old woman was a witch.

'Be assured you are mistaken, I, at least, have no fears that her touch
can harm me;' responded my friend. 'Exercise your reason--is she not a
human being like ourselves? True she is old and ugly, but you are really
wicked in accusing and ill-treating the poor wretch.' They were silenced
for a few minutes, then declared she must be a witch, for her feet were
crooked, she was desired to exhibit them, and they were found to be
perfectly good straight feet.

My friend inquired of the old woman who she was; she answered, 'A poor
mazoorie[3] (corn-grinder), my husband and my sons are grass-cutters, our
abode is in the serai (inn for travellers), we are poor, but honest
people.' 'You see, Sir,' said my friend to the accusing person, 'your own
weak fears have imposed upon your mind. This woman cannot have done you any
injury; let her depart quietly to her home without farther annoyance.'

'No!' replied the accuser, 'she must satisfy me she is not a witch, or
worse than that, by allowing me to pluck a few hairs from her head.'--'
What benefit do you propose to yourself by this measure?'--'Why I shall
relieve myself from her power over me, by possessing hairs plucked from
her head, on which my friends will exercise certain prayers, and thus the
craft she has used to bewitch me will be dissolved, and I shall be
restored to myself again.'[4]

Willing as my friend was to get the poor woman released from the hands of
the accusing party, and finding reason or argument of no avail in turning
them from their purpose to detain her, the terms were acceded to on the
one part, provided the woman herself was willing to comply, to which, when
she was asked, she replied, 'I am not the wretched creature my accuser
imagines, and therefore can have no objection, on condition that I may be
allowed afterwards to return to my home in peace.'

The poor old head was now in danger of being plucked of its white hairs by
the surrounding crowd, whose extravagant desire to possess the, to them,
invaluable specific against witchcraft--for they still believed she was
actually a witch--led them to overlook humanity and feeling; but the
peacemaker's voice was again heard, commanding the crowd to desist, and
they should all be gratified, when the scissors he had sent a servant to
fetch, might enable them to possess the prize without inflicting pain on
the poor persecuted woman.

Whilst this was in agitation, and before the scissors were used, several
well-armed soldiers, attracted by the appearance of a riot, had made their
way to the scene of contention, who recognizing the old woman as the
mother and wife of their three grass-cutters, immediately took the poor
old soul under their protection, and conveyed her safely from her
tormentors. My friend was very well satisfied to resign his charge to
their guardianship, and not a little pleased that he had been instrumental
in preserving a fellow-creature from the lawless hands of the foolishly
superstitious of his countrymen.

It is lamentable to witness how powerful an ascendancy superstition sways
over the minds of Asiatics generally. The very wisest, most learned, most
religious, even, are more or less tinctured with this weakness; and, I may
add, that I have hardly met with one person entirely free from the opinion
that witchcraft and evil agency are in the hands of some, and often
permitted to be exercised on their neighbours. The truly religious people
declare to me, that they only are preserved from such calamities who can
place their whole reliance on the power and goodness of God alone; Who,
they are persuaded, will never suffer His faithful servants to be
persecuted by the evil one in any shape, or under any mysterious agency.
Perfect dependance on Divine Providence is the Mussulmaun's only safeguard,
for they declare it to be their belief that evil agency exists still, as
it did in the first ages of the world. Faith and trust in God can alone
preserve them; when that fails, or if they have never learned to rely on
Him for protection, they are necessarily exposed to the influence of that
evil agency by which so many have suffered both in body and soul amongst
their country-people.

The return of our friend, with the explanation of the scene I had
witnessed from my window, led me to inquire very minutely into the opinion
and general belief of the Mussulmauns on such subjects. A sensible, clever
gentleman of that persuasion then present, told me that there could be no
doubt witchcraft was often practised in Lucknow, detailing things he had
often heard, about the wicked amongst human beings who practised muntah[5]
(incantations); and perhaps would have explained the motives and the
acquired power if I had been disposed to listen. I inquired of my friend,
as he had always appeared a religious person, whether he really believed
in magic, genii, evil agency, &c. He told me, that he did believe
certainly that such things still existed; but he added, 'such power can
only work on the weak or the wicked, for that heart whose dependance is
wholly fixed on God, has a sure protection from every evil, whether of man
or spirit. You have in your sacred book a full and ample delineation of
the works of magic, in the period of Moses, and also of Saul. In later
periods you have proofs of greater weight with you, where Christ cast out
devils and gave the same power to His disciples. My opinion,' he added,
'will not alter yours, nor do I wish it; neither would I argue or dispute
with you on subjects become obsolete in the enlightened world of which you
are a member, but as far as my own individual opinion is concerned, it is
my belief that all things are possible to the Almighty power and will of
God. And I see no right we have either to inquire why, or to dispute about
the motives by which His wisdom permits the weak to be afflicted for a
season, or the wicked to be punished in this life.'

I inquired if he had ever witnessed any of the strange events I
continually heard his people speak of, as having occurred in their
neighbourhood, such as people possessed with unclean spirits, sufficient
to confirm his belief in their probability. He replied, 'I have not only
witnessed but have, under Divine Providence, been the instrument to convey
relief to several different women, who suffered from being possessed by
evil spirits.' He then related the following, which I copy from the notes
I took at the time of his relation:--

'When I was a very young man, my mind was bent on inquiring into the truth
of the generally believed opinion, that some righteous men of our faith
had power granted to them to remove evil spirits from their victims. I
took the advice of a certain venerable person, who was willing to impart
his knowledge to me. Preparatory to my own practice, I was instructed to
forsake the haunts of man, and give myself wholly to prayer. Accordingly I
absented myself from my home, family, and friends, and led the life you
would call a hermit's; my food was simply herbs and fruits, and
occasionally an unleavened cake of my own preparing, whilst the nearest
tank of water supplied me with the only beverage I required; my clothing a
single wrapper of calico; my house a solitary chupha (a thatch of coarse
grass tied over a frame of bamboo), and this placed on the margin of a
wood, where seldom the feet of man strayed to interfere with, or disturb
my devotion. My days and nights were given to earnest prayer; seeking God
and offering praises with my mouth to Him, constituted my business and my
delight for nearly two whole years, during which time my friends had
sought me in vain, and many a tear I fear was shed at the uncertain fate
of one they loved so well in my father's house.'

'The simplicity of my mode of life, added to the veneration and respect
always paid to the Durweish's character, raised me in the opinion of the
few who from time to time had intruded on my privacy, to ask some boon
within my limits to give as a taawise[6] (talisman), which is in fact a
prayer, or else one of the names or attributes of God, in such a character
as best suited the service they required; for you must be told, in the
Mussulmaun faith, we count ninety-nine different names or titles to the
great merciful Creator and only true God. In many cases the taawise I had
so given, had been supposed by the party receiving them, to have been
instrumental in drawing down upon them the favour of God, and thus having
their difficulties removed; this induced others influenced by their report,
to apply to me, and at last my retirement was no longer the hermit's cell,
but thronged as the courtyard of a king's palace. My own family in this
way discovered my retreat, they urged and prevailed on me to return
amongst them, and by degrees to give up my abstemious course of life.

'The fame of my devotion, however, was soon conveyed to the world; it was
a task to shake off the entreaties of my poor fellow-mortals who gave me
more credit for holiness of life than I felt myself deserving of. Yet
sympathy prevailed on me to comfort when I could, although I never dared
to think myself deserving the implicit confidence they placed in me.

'On one occasion I was induced, at the urgent entreaties of an old and
valued friend, to try the effects of my acquired knowledge in favour of a
respectable female, whose family, and her husband in particular, were in
great distress at the violence of her sufferings. They fancied she was
troubled by a demon, who visited her regularly every eighth day; her
ravings when so possessed endangered her health, and destroyed the
domestic harmony of the house.

'The day was fixed for my visit, and the first exercise of my acquirements;
even then I had doubts on my mind whether the demons so often quoted did
really exist, or were but the disordered wanderings of imagination; and if
they did exist, I still was doubtful as to the extent of my knowledge
being sufficient to enable me to be the instrument for effecting the
desired benefit. Trusting faithfully, however, in God's help, and desiring
nothing but His glory, I commenced my operations. The woman was seated on
a charpoy (bedstead) behind a wadded curtain, which hid her from my view.
Respectable females, you are aware, are not allowed to be seen by any
males except very near relatives. I took my seat opposite the curtain with
the husband of the suffering woman, and entered into conversation with him
on general subjects.

'I soon heard the wild speeches of the woman, and my heart fully
sympathized in her sufferings. After preparing the sweet-scented flowers
for my purpose (it is believed all aerial beings feed on the scent of
flowers), fire was brought in a chafing-dish, at my request, and a copper
plate was placed on this fire, on which I strewed my prepared flowers
mixed up with drugs. Instantly the demon became furious in the woman,
calling out to me, "Spare me! spare me!"

'I should remark that the woman was so entirely hidden by the curtain as
to leave it beyond a doubt that she could not see what I was doing on the
other side, but she seemed, by the instinct of the evil spirit which
possessed her, to be thoroughly acquainted with the nature of my visit,
and the exertion I was making by prayer, for her release from the intruder.
The women attending her, her friends and relatives, had no power to
restrain her in the violence of her paroxysms; she tore the curtain with
more than human force, and it gave way, leaving her and the other women
exposed to my gaze.

'I would, from modesty, have retired, but her husband, having confidence
in my ability to help his afflicted wife, whom he loved most tenderly,
entreated me not to retire, but to think of the woman as my own sister.
The woman, or rather the demon in the woman, told me what I was going to
do was not withheld from her knowledge, desiring me immediately to leave
the place.

'"Who are you?" I inquired.--"I am the spirit of an old woman, who once
inhabited this house;" was answered by a coarse harsh voice.--"Why have
you dared to possess yourself of this poor female? she never could have
done you any injury."--"No," was answered, "not the female, but her
husband has taken possession of this house, and I am here to torment him
for it, by visiting his wife."

'"Do you know that I am permitted to have power to destroy you in this
fire?"--"Yes, but I hope you will shew mercy; let me escape and I will
flee to the forest."--"I cannot agree to this, you would then, being at
liberty, fasten yourself on some other poor mortal, who may not find one
to release him from your tyranny; I shall destroy you now;" and I was
actually preparing my methods for this purpose, when the screaming became
so violent, the poor woman's agony so terrific, that I dreaded her instant
death from the present agony of her ravings.

'"How am I to know you are what you represent yourself to be?" said I,
trying the softest manner of speech; (the poor victim appeared at ease
immediately).--"Ask me any question you please," was replied, apparently
by the woman, "and I will answer you." I rose and went into the front
entrance of the house, which is divided from the zeenahnah by a high wall,
as are all our Mussulmaun houses, and returned with something closely
concealed in my hand. I asked, "What is enclosed in my clenched hand?"--"A
piece of charcoal," was the prompt reply. It was so in truth; I could no
longer doubt.

'Another of the party was sent to the outer house; and, again I inquired,
"What is in this person's hand?"--"Grains of corn."--"Of what
nature?"--"Wheat." The hand was opened, and the contents were really as
was said;--confirming to all present, if they had ever doubted, that the
poor woman was possessed by the demon, as I have before represented.
Nearly two hours were spent in the most singular conversations, which,
whilst they amused me exceedingly, convinced me by my own observations of
the truth of that which I had but imperfectly believed before these trials.

'"I will certainly destroy you in this fire, unless you give me ample
assurances that you will never again annoy or torment this poor
inoffensive woman;" and, as I presented my preparation, the screams, the
cries of "Spare me! oh, spare me this fiery torment!" were repeated with
redoubled force. I asked, "What is your belief?"--"I believe in one God,
the Creator of all things;" was promptly answered.--"Then away to the
forest, the boon you first craved from me, nor again venture to return to
this house."

'The instant my command was given, the woman was calm, her reason restored
immediately; her shame and confusion were beyond expressing by words, as
she awoke from what she termed a dream of heavy terror that had
overpowered her. The appearance of a strange man,--herself but half clad,
for in the moments of raving she had torn off parts of her clothing,
leaving the upper part of her person entirely uncovered--nearly deprived
her again of returning reason; her husband's presence, however, soothed
her mind; but it was some time before her confusion was sufficiently
banished to enable her to converse freely with me. In answer to the
questions I asked of her, she replied that she had not the least
recollection of what had occurred. She fancied herself overpowered by a
dreadful dream which had agitated her greatly, though she could not
recollect what was the nature of that dream. I ordered some cooling
beverage to be prepared for my patient, and recommending rest and quiet,
took my leave, promising to visit her again in my professional character,
should any return of the calamity render my visit necessary. The whole
family heaped blessings and prayers on my head for the benefit they
believed I had been the instrument of Providence in rendering to their
house.

'This was my first attempt at the practice I had been instructed in; and,
you may believe, I was gratified with the success with which my endeavours
had been crowned. For several months the lady continued quite well, when
some symptoms of irritability of temper and absence of mind warned her
husband and family of approaching danger upon which, they urged and
entreated my second visit. I went accompanied by several friends who were
curious to witness the effect expected to be produced by my prayer. It
appeared the poor woman was more calm on my first entrance, than when _I_
had previously visited her; but after repeating my form of prayer, the
most violent ravings followed every question I put to her.

'Many hours were spent in this way. The replies to my questions were
remarkable; she always answered, as if by the spirit with which she was
possessed. I demanded, "Why have you dared to return to this poor
creature? do you doubt my ability to destroy you?" The reply was, "had no
power to fix myself again on the woman, until you entered the house, but I
have hovered over her."--I said, "I do not believe that you are the soul
of a deceased old woman as you represent yourself to be; perhaps you may
wish to convince me, by answering the questions that will be made by me
and my friends." The several questions were then put and answered in a way
that surprised all present.

Afterwards, I said, "You professed when here on a former occasion, to
believe in God. Answer me now, to what sect of people did you
belong?"--"Sheikh," was the reply, "and I believe in one God of mercy and
of truth,"'--"Then you are my brother,'" I said, rising, and holding out
my hand to the woman, "we will shake hands."---"No, No!" replied the woman,
with great agitation and terror, "I beseech you not to touch me; the fire
which I dread would then torment me more than I could bear. I would
willingly shake hands with all here present, that would give me no pain,
but with you the case is different; one touch of yours would destroy me
immediately. Not to prolong my story, at the husband's earnest entreaty,
the evil soul was destroyed by the practice I had learned, and the poor
woman, restored to health and peace, was no more troubled by her enemy."

When this story was related, I fancied it a mere fable of the relator's
brain to amuse his audience; but on a more intimate acquaintance with him,
I find it to be his real opinion that he had been instrumental in the way
described, in removing evil spirits from the possessed; nor could I ever
shake his confidence by any argument brought forward for that purpose
during many years of intimate acquaintance; which is the more to be
regretted as in all other respects he possesses a very superior and
intelligent mind, and as far as _I_ could judge of his heart by his life,
always appeared to be a really devout servant of God.

It is not surprising that the strongly grounded persuasion should be too
deeply rooted to give way to my feeble efforts; time, but more especially
the mercy of Divine goodness extended to them, will dissolve the delusion
they are as yet fast bound by, as it has in more enlightened countries,
where superstition once controlled both the ignorant and the scholar, in
nearly as great a degree as it is evident it does at this day the people
of India generally. Here the enlightened and the unenlightened are so
strongly persuaded of the influence of supernatural evil agency, that if
any one is afflicted with fits, it is affirmed by the lookers on, of
whatever degree, that the sick person is possessed by an unclean spirit.

If any one is taken suddenly ill, and the doctor cannot discover the
complaint, the opinion is that some evil spirit has visited the patient,
and the holy men of the city are then applied to, who by prayer may draw
down relief for the beloved and suffering object. Hence arises the number
of applications to the holy men for a written prayer, called taawise (
talisman) which the people of that faith declare will not only preserve
the wearer from the attacks of unclean spirits, genii, &c., but these
prayers will oblige such spirits to quit the afflicted immediately on
their being placed on the person. The children are armed from their birth
with talismans; and if any one should have the temerity to laugh at the
practice, he would be judged by these superstitious people as worse than a
heathen.


[1] Kanhaiya, a name of the demigod Krishna, whom Kansa, the wicked King
    of Mathura, tried to destroy. For the miracle-play of the
    destruction of Kansa by Krishna and his brother Balarama, see Prof.
    W. Ridgeway, _The Origin of Tragedy_, 140, 157, 190. The author seems
    to refer to the Ramlila festival.

[2] For cases of witches sucking out the vitals of their victims, see
    W. Crooke, _Popular Religion and Folklore of N. India_, ii. 268 ff.

[3] _Mazdurni_, a day labourer.

[4] On the efficacy of shaving or plucking out hair from a witch in order
    to make her incapable of bewitching people, see W. Crooke, _Popular
    Religion and Folklore of N. India_[2], ii. 250 f.

[5] _Mantra_.

[6] _Ta'wiz_, see p. 214.



LETTER XXVII

  Memoir of the life of Meer Hadjee Shah.--His descent.--Anecdote of a
  youthful exploit.--His predilection for the army.--Leaves his home to
  join the army of a neighbouring Rajah.--Adventures on the way.--Is
  favourably received and fostered by the Rajah.--His first pilgrimage
  to Mecca.--Occurrences during his stay in Arabia.--Description of a
  tiger-hunt.--Detail of events during his subsequent pilgrimages.--The
  plague.--Seizure by pirates.--Sketch of the life of Fatima, an
  Arabian lady.--Relieved from slavery by Meer Hadjee Shah.--He marries
  her.--Observations on the piety of his life.--Concluding
  remarks...Page 400


The name of Meer Hadjee Shah has so often occurred in my Letters, that I
feel persuaded a brief sketch of his life may be acceptable here, more
particularly as that venerated man presented to my immediate observation a
correct picture of the true Mussulmaun. I can only regret my inability to
do justice to the bright character of my revered father-in-law, whose
conduct as a devout and obedient servant to his Maker, ruled his actions
in every situation of life, and to whom my debt of gratitude is boundless,
not alone for the affectionate solicitude invariably manifested for my
temporal comforts, but for an example of holy living, which influences
more than precept. This much valued friend of mine was the mouth of wisdom
to all with whom he conversed, for even when intending to amuse by
anecdotes, of which his fund was inexhaustible, there was always a moral
and religious precept attached to the relation, by which to benefit his
auditor, whilst he riveted attention by his gentle manners and
well-selected form of words.

Before we met, I had often heard him described by his dutiful son, but
with all that affection had prompted him to say of his father, I was not
prepared to expect the dignified person I found him,--a perfect model of
the patriarchs of old to my imagination, nor could I ever look at him
through our years of intimacy, without associating him in my mind with
Abraham, the father of his people.

His form was finely moulded, his height above six feet, his person erect,
even in age, his fine cast of countenance beamed with benevolence and
piety, and his dark eye either filled with tears of sympathy or
brightening with joy, expressed both superior intelligence and intensity
of feeling. His venerable flowing beard gave a commanding majesty to the
figure before me, whilst his manners were graceful as the most polished
even of European society. Raising his full eyes in pious thankfulness to
God (whose mercy had thus filled his cup of earthly happiness to the brim),
he embraced us both with a warmth of pressure to his throbbing heart, that
pronounced more than his words, the sincerity of our welcome. Never have I
forgotten the moment of our meeting. The first impression lasted through
our long acquaintance, for he proved indeed a real solace during my
pilgrimage in a strange land.

The subject of my present Letter, Meer Mahumud Hadjee Shah, was a native
of Loodeeanah,[1] the capital city of the Punjaab territory, so called
from the five rivers which water that tract of country, and derived from
punje (five), aab (water). He descended through a long line of pure Syaad
blood, from Mahumud, many of his ancestors having been remarkable for
their holy lives, and his grandsire in particular, a singularly devout
Durweish, of whom are related in the family many interesting incidents and
extraordinary escapes from peril which distinguished him as a
highly-favoured mortal. On one occasion, when attacked by a ravenous tiger,
his single blow with a sabre severed the head from the carcase: the sabre
is still retained in the family with veneration, as the instrument by
which the power and goodness of God was manifested to their sire.

The father of Meer Hadjee Shah was a Kauzy (Judge) of the city of
Loodeeanah, a man greatly admired for his extensive knowledge of the
Mahumudan law, respected for his general worthiness, and venerated for his
holy life. He had a large family, of whom the subject before me was the
eldest son; his father designed to instruct and prepare him as his
successor in the same honourable employment, whenever old age or
infirmities should render his own retirement from the office necessary.
But,--as the son always regretted when talking over the circumstance, with
becoming remorse that his mind was differently swayed,--through an
enterprising spirit he preferred the adventurous to the more sober calling
for which his father had originally destined him.

To illustrate the temper of his youth, his often repeated anecdote of an
event which occurred when he was but twelve years old may here be
presented:--

'After our hours of study, boys of my own age were allowed to meet
together for exercise and amusement, without the controlling presence of
our Maulvees (tutors). Many an enterprising feat had been performed during
our hours of play, but none that has impressed me with so keen a
remembrance of my youthful follies as the one I am about to relate. We had
long observed the wild pigeons, which owned not any earthly master, take
refuge for the night in an old and dilapidated well outside the town; a
plan was laid between my companions and myself to possess ourselves of
some of these pigeons, and one evening we assembled by agreement to put
our project in force.

'A strong rope was procured, to which we fastened a piece of board, so as
to form a seat; a bag was provided, into which the game was to be
deposited as fast as it was caught; and a thick stick, with which to
ascertain in the holes the situation of each pigeon, which was to be
seized by the neck when thus discovered. Everything was arranged when,
"Who will be lowered first?" was inquired by the head of our party. Meer
Mahumud was not a little pleased when it was suggested, that he was the
bravest boy among them; and with a proud feeling of ecstasy my young heart
bounded whilst I seated myself on the board and was lowered from the
summit for several yards down the well, my young companions holding fast
the rope outside from which I was suspended; the bag conveniently slung
across my left shoulder, with the open mouth in front, to enable me to
deposit my gleanings without delay.

'I had collected several pigeons in this way; and, at last, my stick was
presented to search in a new aperture, where it seemed to be resisted by
something more than the soft feathers of a bird; fearless as I was, my
young hand was thrust into the hole, and I caught at something with a firm
grasp, which at once convinced me could not be a pigeon; but I resolved
not to part from my prize very readily, and drawing my hand and arm from
the hole with great difficulty (putting all my youthful strength and
energy to the task), I discovered my prize was a living snake of rather a
large size.

'Fearful to announce the nature of my present prisoner to the youngsters,
at whose mercy I then was, lest they, through terror, should let the rope
go, and thus precipitate me to the bottom of the well, I called out, "Draw
up! draw up quickly! delay not, brothers!" and I was soon brought to the
mouth of the well with the snake coiled round my arm, and firmly grasped
just under the head, so that it could not extricate itself or injure me.
The boys soon assisted me off the top of the well, and brought pieces of
stone, with which they bruised the snake's head until I was relieved from
its pressure on my arm by its death. I should remark, that I had presence
of mind to rub the head against the wall on my ascent, which had
considerably lessened the snake's pressure on my arm, and I believe it was
more than half dead before I had reached the top.

'My arm pained me dreadfully, but still my greatest agony was for fear my
father should hear of my exploit, which I felt convinced would not only
excite his present anger, but be the means of preventing my having another
opportunity of enjoying the society and amusements of my young companions.
Strict secrecy was therefore enjoined by my command upon the whole party;
and returning to my home, I thought to disguise my real feelings by
seeking repose instead of the evening dinner which was prepared for me. My
affectionate mother had no suspicion that I was ill, although she was much
distressed that play had destroyed the appetite of her son. I had dozed
for some hours, when the agony of my arm awoke me as from an uneasy dream;
I could hardly recollect the last evening's adventure, for my mind seemed
much bewildered. My groans, however, brought my mother to my bed-side,
whose tender care was exercised in fomenting my arm, which she found much
swollen and inflamed.

'The secret of my enterprize was never divulged by me until the news of my
sudden illness was reported in the neighbourhood; when some of my young
friends told the tale, and it was conveyed by one of the gossiping old
women, of the city to the zeenahnah of my mother. My arm was for a long
period rendered useless, and I was under the care of doctors for many
months; the whole skin peeled off, and left me cause for remembering the
circumstance, although it did not cure me of that preference for
enterprize, which afterwards drew me from my home to visit other places,
and to search for new adventures. Often did I remonstrate with my father
on the subject of my future profession: how often did I declare my
disinclination to pursue those studies (deemed essential to fit me for the
office I was in due time to be appointed to), and avow my predilection for
a military life!'

At that period of Indian History, the Punjaab district was disturbed by
the depredations of the Mahrattas.[2] Hordes of those lawless banditti
were in the habit of frequent encroachments on the Mussulmaun possessions,
committing frightful enormities in their predatory excursions against
towns and villages, spreading terror and desolation wherever they
approached. On this account military ardour was encouraged by the heads of
families, and the youth of respectable Mussulmauns were duly instructed in
the use of defensive weapons, as a measure of prudence by which they were
enabled, whenever called upon, to defend the lives and property of their
neighbours as well as of their individual families.

In describing this period of his life, I have often heard Meer Hadjee Shah
confess with remorse, that he was wont to pay far greater attention to his
military instructors than to the Maulvee's lectures on law or other dry
subjects of books, as he then often thought them, and at fourteen years
old he was perfect master of the sabre, spear, matchlock, and the bow;
able even then to defend himself against an enemy, or take the palm of
victory, when practising those arts with the youth of his own standing.

At seventeen, his love of enterprize drew him from the calm study of his
tutors under the parental roof, to seek amongst strangers employment
better suited to his inclination. His early adventures were attended with
many vicissitudes and trials, which would (however interesting to those
who have loved him) appear tedious to the general reader; I shall,
therefore, but digress occasionally with such anecdotes as maybe generally
interesting. One which presents him in the early part of his career
amongst strangers in a position which marks the bravery of his youth, I
shall take the liberty of introducing in his own words:--

'After a good night's repose, I was desirous of pursuing my march, and
prepared to take leave of my hospitable entertainer (a Kauzy of the
village), from whom I had received the utmost attention and civility. This
kind-hearted man was unwilling to allow of my journeying alone, and
insisted that two of his menservants should accompany me that day's march
at least. I had no fears, nor much to lose beside my life, and for some
time resisted the offer, but without avail. The men therefore accompanied
me, and after six hours' walk, I prevailed on them to take refreshment and
rest at the serai of the village, through which we had to pass, with leave
to retrace their way home afterwards with my duty to their master.

'Released from their guardianship, I felt my own independence revive, and
bounded on as lively as the antelope, full of hope that I might yet reach
the Rajah's territory by nightfall, who, I had heard, was willing to give
employment to the enterprising youth of Loodeeanah, in the army he was
then raising. I must have walked since the morning near twenty koss (forty
miles) without food or water; but I neither felt hunger nor fatigue, so
deeply was my heart engaged in the prospect of a military life. At length
hunger awakened me to a sense of my forlorn condition, for I had left home
without a coin in my possession; and although I passed through many
inhabited villages where relief would have been gladly tendered, if I had
only applied for it, yet my pride forbade the humble words of supplicating
for a meal; hungry as I was, death even would have been preferable at that
time to breathing out a want amongst strangers.

'I was overjoyed on approaching a cultivated tract of country to find a
field of wheat, ripe for the harvest, evincing the great Creator's
bountiful hand, and hesitated not, without a scruple, to possess myself of
an occasional handful as I passed along, rubbing the ears and eating as I
went, to save that time I deemed so precious; for my anxiety to reach the
Rajah and employment, increased as the day advanced. I had traversed near
thirty koss on foot, scarcely having halted since the dawning day; this to
a young man who had been through life indulged by the luxury of a horse
for exercise, whilst under the parental roof, may be imagined to have been
no trifling undertaking. But buoyant youth, filled with hopes of honour
and preferment is regardless of those difficulties which must subdue the
indolent or less aspiring spirit.

'At the extremity of a large field through which I had to pass, my eye
rested on a man with two oxen, certain indications, I imagined, of a well
of water being adjacent for the purpose of irrigation, towards whom I
approached sufficiently near to inquire if a draught of pure water could
be obtained for a thirsty traveller. The sturdy farmer-looking man seemed
to view me with scrutiny, without deigning to reply; my question was
repeated with civility, but no answer was given, and I then fancied his
looks foreboded no good meaning; he held in his hand a large heavy stick
studded at the top with iron rings (in common use with the lower orders of
people as a weapon of defence against robbers, tigers, wolves, or
reptiles), but as I stood far enough off to be out of immediate danger of
a sudden attack, if such was premeditated, the surly look of his
countenance gave me little concern until he called out in a commanding
tone, "Youngster! off with your garments; lay down those bow and arrows
instantly, or I will fell you to the earth with this staff that is in my
hand!" which he raised in a position to prove himself in earnest.

'My surprise was great, but it did not put me off my guard, and I replied
with courage, that his insolent demand would not meet with a willing
compliance; I was able to defend myself, young as I was, against his
treacherous intentions on an unoffending traveller; and I prepared my bow
in the expectation that he would either be deterred, or leave me no
alternative but to use it in self-defence. Two arrows were promptly
prepared, one placed in my bow, the other in my girdle, as he advanced
repeating his demand, with the countenance of a ruffian, and his club
elevated; he no doubt fancied that the bow was a plaything in the hand of
a mere ignorant stripling. I warned him repeatedly not to advance, or my
bow should teach him that my young arm was well instructed.

'He however dared my vengeance, and advanced still nearer, when seeing I
had no alternative, I aimed at his legs, not desiring to revenge but to
deter my enemy; the arrow entered his thigh, passing completely through:
he was astonished and stood like a statue. I then desired him to throw
down his club, with which I walked away, or rather ran a sufficient
distance to relieve myself from further expectation of annoyances from my
enemy or the villagers.

'Much time had been spent in that contest, which had left me the victor; I
waited not however to witness his further movements, but with hastened
steps in half an hour I reached the Rajah's palace. Several soldiers were
guarding outside the gate, where stood, as is usual, charpoys for their
use, on one of which, uninvited, I seated myself, fatigued by my long and
unusual exercise. The men with great civility offered me water and their
hookha, and when refreshed I answered their many inquiries, founded very
naturally on my appearance, my youth, and travelling without an attendant.

'I frankly told them that the Rajah's famed liberality had drawn me from
Loodeeanah to seek employment as a soldier under his command. One of my
new acquaintance recommended my immediately going into the palace, where
the Rajah was seated in Durbar (holding his Court) for the express purpose
of receiving applicants for the army now raising, under the expectation of
a hostile visit from the Sikhs. I followed my guide through several
avenues and courts until we arrived at the Baarah Daree[3] (twelve doors),
or state apartments.'

I must, however, here abstain from following Meer Hadjee Shah through the
whole detail of his intimacy with the Rajah, which continued for some
years, and by whom he was fostered as a favourite son; he accompanied the
Rajah to the field against the Sikhs, whose singular habits and manners,
both in battle and in their domestic circle, he has often amused his
friends by relating.

His first pilgrimage to Mecca was undertaken whilst a very young man,
travelling the whole way by land, and enduring many trials and hardships
in what he deemed 'The road of God'. On one occasion he was beset by
wolves whilst on foot; but as he always confessed his preservation was by
the power and goodness of Divine Providence, so in the present instance
the wolves even ran from the blows of his staff, howling to their dens.

During his stay in Arabia, when on his pilgrimage, his funds were
exhausted, and he had no knowledge of a single individual from whom he
could condescend to borrow, but as he always put his sole trust in God, a
way was made for his returning prosperity in rather a singular and
unexpected manner.

A rich Begum, the widow of a wealthy Arab merchant, had long suffered from
a severe illness, and had tried every medical prescription within her
reach without relief. On a certain night she dreamed that a Syaad pilgrim
from India, who had taken up his abode at the serai outside the town,
possessed a medicine which would restore her to health. She had faith in
her dream, and sent a polite message to the Syaad, who was described
minutely by the particulars of her dream. Meer Hadjee Shah attended the
summons, but assured the lady who conversed with him, that he was not
acquainted with medicine; true, he had a simple preparation, which enabled
him to benefit a fellow pilgrim, when by circumstances no better adviser
could be found: he then offered her the powder, giving directions how to
use it, and left her. In the evening a handsome dinner was conveyed by
this lady's orders to Meer Hadjee Shah, which he accepted with gratitude
to God, and for several days this was repeated, proving a sensible benefit
to him, and to others equally destitute of the means of present provision,
who were abiding at the serai.

In the course of a week he was again summoned to attend the Begum, who was
entirely cured of her long illness, which she attributed solely to the
medicine he had left with her, and she now desired to prove her gratitude
by a pecuniary compensation. He was too much gratified at the efficacy of
his simple remedy, to require further recompense than the opportunity he
had enjoyed of rendering himself useful to a fellow-creature, and would
have refused the reward tendered, but the lady had resolved not to be
outdone in generosity; and finding how he was circumstanced by another
channel, she made so many earnest appeals, that he at last consented to
accept as much as would defray his expenses for the journey to the next
place he was on the point of embarking for, where he expected to meet with
his Indian friends, and a supply of cash.

On one occasion, he was exposed to danger from a tiger, but, to use his
own words, 'as my trust was placed faithfully in God, so was I preserved
by Divine favour'. The anecdote relative to that event, I cannot pass over,
and therefore I relate it, as near as I recollect, in his own words:--'I
was at Lucknow during the reign of the Nuwaub, Shujah ood Dowlah,[4] who
delighted much in field sports; on one occasion it was announced that he
intended to hunt tigers, and orders were issued to the nobility and his
courtiers, requiring their attendance on elephants, to accompany him on a
certain day. The preparations were made on a grand scale, and excited a
lively interest throughout the city. I had never been present at a tiger
hunt, and I felt my usual ambition to share in the adventures of that day
too irresistible to be conquered by suggestions of prudence; and
accordingly I went, on horseback, accompanied by a friend about my own age,
falling into the rear of the Nuwaub's cavalcade which was far more
splendid than any thing I had before witnessed, the train of elephants
richly caparisoned, on which were seated in their gold or silver howdahs,
the whole strength of the Court in rich dresses.

'The hunting party had penetrated the jungle a considerable distance
before a single trace of a tiger could be discovered, when, at length it
was announced to the Nuwaub that the sheekaarees[5] (huntsmen) had reason
to believe one at least was concealed in the high grass near which the
party approached. The order was then given to loosen the led buffaloes,
and drive them towards the grass which concealed the game, a practice at
that time common with Native sportsmen to rouse the ferocious animal, or
to attract him, if hungry, from his lurking place; but it seemed as if the
buffaloes were scared by the number of elephants, for with all the goading
and whipping, which was dealt to them unsparingly, they could not be
pressed into the service for which they were provided.

'The Nuwaub was remarkable for bravery, and prided himself on his
successful shot; he therefore caused his elephant to advance to the edge
of the high grass, that he might have the satisfaction of the first fire,
when the animal should be roused. Some delay in this, induced the Nuwaub
to order the dunkah-wallah (kettle-drummer) on horseback to be guarded on
each side by soldiers with drawn sabres, to advance in front and beat his
drums. The first sounds of the dunkah roused the tiger: this being
instantly perceived, the horsemen wheeled round, and were in a second or
two cleared from danger. The tiger sprang towards the elephant, but was
instantly thrown back by her trunk to a good distance, the Nuwaub taking
aim at the same instant, fired and slightly wounded the animal, only
however sufficiently to add to its former rage.

'My friend and myself were at this time (attracted by our eagerness to
witness the sports) not many paces from the spot, when perceiving our
dangerous position, retreat was the thought of the moment with us both: my
friend's horse obeyed the signal, but mine was petrified by fear; no
statue ever stood more mute and immoveable; for a second I gave myself up
for lost, but again my heart was lifted up to the only Power whence safety
proceeds, and drawing my sabre as the tiger was springing towards me (the
same sabre which had been the instrument of safety to my grandsire in a
like danger) as my arm was raised to level the blow, the animal curved his
spring as if in fear of the weapon, brushed close to my horse's nose, and
then stuck its sharp talons in the neck of another horse on which a
Pattaan soldier was seated: his horse plunged, kicked, threw his rider on
the ground with a violence that left him senseless, his open sabre falling
on the handle, which, like a miracle, was forced into the earth leaving
the point upwards in a slanting position, just clearing his neck by a few
inches.

'The tiger turned on the man with fury and wide-extended jaw, but was met
by the sabre point, and the Pattaan's red turban, which fell at the
instant; the tiger endeavouring to extricate himself from the entanglement,
the sabre entered deeper through his jaw, from which he had but just
released himself, when a ball from the Nuwaub's rifle entered his side and
he slank into the grass, where he was followed and soon dispatched.'

In his travels Meer Hadjee Shah had often been exposed to the dangerous
consequences of the plague; but (as he declares), he was always preserved
from the contagion through the same protecting care of Divine Providence
which had followed him throughout his life. He has been often in the very
cities where it raged with awful violence, yet neither himself nor those
who were of his party, were ever attacked by that scourge. On one occasion,
he was, with a large party of pilgrims, halting for several days together
at a place called Bundah Kungoon[6] (the word Bundah implies the
sea-shore), preparatory to commencing their projected journey to Shiraaz;
he relates, that the mules and camels were provided, and even the day fixed
for their march; but, in consequence of a dream he had been visited with,
he was resolved to change his course, even should his fellow-travellers
determine on pursuing their first plan, and thereby leave him to journey
alone in an opposite direction.

He made his new resolution known to the pilgrims, and imparted to them the
dream, viz., 'Go not to Shiraaz, where thou shalt not find profit or
pleasure, but bend thy steps towards Kraabaallah. His companions laughed
at his wild scheme, and as their minds were fixed on Shiraaz, they would
have persuaded Meer Hadjee Shah to accompany them; but, no, his dream
prevailed over every other argument, and he set out accompanied by two
poor Syaads and fifteen mendicant pilgrims, embarking at Kungoon on a
small vessel for Bushire, which by a favourable wind they reached on the
third day. Here they first learned the distressing intelligence that the
plague had raged with frightful consequences to the population; and during
their few days' sojourn at Busserah, he says, many victims fell by that
awful visitation. The city itself was in sad disorder, business entirely
suspended, and many of the richer inhabitants had fled from the scene of
terror and dismay. No accommodation for travellers within his means could
be procured by Meer Hadjee Shah, and he was constrained to set out on foot
with his companions, after providing themselves with provisions for a few
days.

Unused to walk any great distance of late, and the effects of the short
voyage not being entirely removed, he grew weary ere the first day's march
was ended; 'But here', he says, 'I found how kind my Creator was to me,
who put it into the hearts of my companions to take it by turns to carry
me, until we arrived within sight of Feringhee Bargh[7] (Foreigners'
Garden), where we found many of the healthy inhabitants from Bushire had,
with permission, taken refuge, some in tents, others without a shelter;
and in their haste to flee from danger, had forsaken all their possessions,
and neglected provision for present comfort; a change of garments even had
been forgotten in their haste to escape from the pestilential city.

'Never', he says, 'shall I forget the confusion presented at this place
nor the clamorous demands upon us, whom they esteemed religious men, for
our prayers and intercessions that the scourge might be removed from them.
I could not help thinking and expressing also, "How ready weak mortals are
to supplicate for God's help when death or affliction approaches their
threshold, who in prosperity either forget Him entirely or neglect to seek
Him or to obey His just commands."

'The next day our march led us to the vicinity of a large populated town.
We halted near a plantation of date-trees, and one of our mendicant
pilgrims was dispatched with money to purchase bread and dates for our
sustenance, with instructions to conceal, if possible, our numbers and our
halting-place, fearing that the inhabitants might assail us with stones if
it were suspected that we came from the infected city. The quantity of
food, however, required for so large a party excited suspicion, but our
preservation was again secured by Divine interference.

'A Dirzy[9] from the city visited our resting-place, and finding we were
pilgrims, asked permission to travel with us to Kraabaallah, which was
readily agreed to, and when a host of men were observed issuing from the
town, this man, who was an inhabitant, ran towards them, explained that we
were all healthy men, and interested several Arab-Syaads to come forward
and befriend me and my party, which they readily assented to on finding
that brother Syaads were in danger. The Kauzy of the town hearing all the
particulars attending us, came to the spot which we had selected for our
halt, presented his nuzza of twenty-one dinars to me, entreated pardon for
the intended assault he had in ignorance authorized, obliged me to accept
his proffered civilities, and we remained several days in the enjoyment of
hospitality in that town, where we had at first such strong reasons to
anticipate violence and persecution; but this could not be whilst the arm
of the Lord was raised to shelter His confiding servants. To Him be the
praise and the glory for every preservation I have been favoured with! and
many were the perils with which I was surrounded in my walk through life,
yet, always safely brought through them, because I never failed putting my
trust in His mercy and protection who alone could defend me.'

On one occasion of his pilgrimage to Mecca, Meer Hadjee Shah, with all his
companions on board a trading ship, off the coast of Arabia, were attacked
by pirates, and taken prisoners; but, as he always declared, the goodness
of Divine Providence again preserved him and those with him from the hands
of their enemies. In the event in question, he undertook to speak for all
his party to the Arab chief, before whom they were taken prisoners, and
having a thorough knowledge of the Arabic language, he pleaded their joint
cause so effectually, that the chief not only liberated the whole party,
but forced presents upon them in compensation for their inconvenient
detention.

The most interesting, if not the most remarkable incident which occurred
to Meer Hadjee Shah in his journey through life, remains to be told. The
story has been so often related by his own lips, that I think there will
be little difficulty in repeating it here from memory. It may be deemed
prolix, yet I should not do justice by a farther abridgement.



FATIMA'S HISTORY

'Fatima was the daughter of Sheikh Mahumud,[9] an Arab, chief of a tribe,
dwelling in the neighbourhood of Yumen, who was a wealthy man, and much
esteemed amongst his people. His wife died when Fatima, their only child,
was but six years old, and two years after her father also was taken from
this world, leaving his whole estate and possessions to his daughter, and
both to the guardianship of his own brother, Sheikh ----, who was tenderly
attached to the little girl, and from whom she received the fostering care
of parental solicitude.

'This uncle was married to a lady of no very amiable temper, who seized
every opportunity of rendering the orphan daughter of his brother as
comfortless as possible, but her uncle's affection never slackened for an
instant, and this consoled her whenever she had trials of a domestic
nature to distress her meek spirit.

'When Fatima had reached her sixteenth year, an eligible match being
provided by her uncle, it was intended to be immediately solemnized; for
which purpose her uncle went over to Yumen to make preparations for the
nuptials, where he expected to be detained a few days; leaving with his
niece the keys of all his treasuries, whether of money or jewels.

'On the very day of his departure from home, a brother of his wife's
arrived at the mansion, and required, in Fatima's presence, a loan of five
hundred pieces of silver. This could only be obtained by Fatima's consent,
who firmly declared her resolution not to betray the trust her uncle had
reposed in her. The wife was severe in her censures on her husband's
parsimony, as she termed his prudence, and reviled Fatima for being the
favoured person in charge of his property. This woman in her rage against
the unoffending girl, struck her several times with violence. Situated as
their residence was, apart from a single neighbour, she feared to stay
during her uncle's absence, and left the house not knowing exactly where
to seek a temporary shelter; but recollecting a distant relation of her
mother's resided at Bytool Faakere,[10] no great distance off (within a
walk as she imagined), she left her home without further reflection,
unattended by a single servant.

'When within a mile of her destined place of refuge, she was observed by a
party of Bedouin robbers, who descended from their hill to arrest her
progress, by whom she was conveyed to their retreat, almost in a state of
insensibility from terror and dismay. Arriving at their hut, however, she
was cheered by the sight of females, one of whom particularly struck her
as being very superior to her companions, and in whose countenance
benevolence and pity seemed to indicate a sympathizing friend in this hour
of severe trial. The women were desired to relieve the prisoner Fatima of
her valuables, which were, in accordance with their station, very costly
both in pearls and gold ornaments.

'Fatima overheard, during the night, some disputes and debates between the
robbers, about the disposal of her person, one of whom was single, and
declared his willingness to marry the girl, and so retain her with them;
but Fatima had, when she was seized, recognized his countenance, having
seen him before, and knew that his connexions lived in the town of Bytool
Faakere, which she had unguardedly declared. The robbers, therefore,
dreaded detection if her life was spared; they were not by nature
sanguinary, but in this case there seemed no medium between their
apprehension and the death of Fatima.

'The female, however, who had at first sight appeared so amiable and
friendly, fulfilled the poor girl's impressions, by strenuously exerting
her influence, and eventually prevailed, in saving the orphan Fatima from
the premeditated sacrifice of life; and as no better arrangement could be
made to secure the robbers from detection, it was at length agreed she
should be sold to slavery. This decided on, the swiftest camel in their
possession was prepared at an early hour, a few short minutes only being
allowed to Fatima, to pour out her gratitude to God, and express her
acknowledgements to her humane benefactress, when she was mounted on the
camel's back, with the husband of that kind-hearted female.

'With the prospect of continued life, poor Fatima ceased to feel acute
agony, and bore the fatigue of a whole day's swift riding without a murmur,
for the Bedouin's behaviour was marked with respect. Towards the evening,
as they drew near to a large town, the Bedouin halted by the margin of a
forest, and the long night was passed in profound silence, with no other
shelter than that which the forest afforded; and at the earliest dawn the
march was again resumed, nor did he slacken his speed, until they were in
sight of Mocha, where he designed to dispose of his victim. She was there
sold to a regular slave-merchant, who was willing to pay the price
demanded when he saw the beautiful face and figure of the poor girl,
expecting to make a handsome profit by the bargain.

'The Bedouin made his respectful obedience and departed in haste, leaving
poor Fatima in almost a state of stupor from fatigue. Left however to
herself in the slave-merchant's house, she seemed to revive, and again to
reflect on the past, present, and future. Her escape from death called
forth grateful feelings, and she felt so far secure that the wretch who
had bought her, had an interest in her life, therefore she had no further
fear of assassination. But then she reverted to her bonds; painful indeed
were the reflections, that she who had been nobly born, and nursed in the
lap of luxury, should find herself a slave, and not one friendly voice to
soothe her in her bondage. She resolved however (knowing the privilege of
her country's law) to select for herself a future proprietor.

'Her resolution was soon put to the test; she was summoned to appear
before a fisherman, who had caught a glimpse of her fine figure as she
entered Mocha, and who desired to purchase her to head his house. The poor
girl summoned all her courage to meet this degrading offer with dignity. A
handsome sum was offered by the fisherman, as she appeared before him to
reject the proposal. "Here is your new master, young lady," said the
slave-merchant; "behave well, and he will marry you."

Fatima looked up, with all her native pride upon her brow; "He shall never
be my master!" she replied, with so much firmness, that (astonished as
they were) convinced the bargainers that Fatima was in earnest. The
merchant inquired her objection, us she had betrayed no unwillingness to
be sold to him; she answered firmly, whilst the starting tear was in her
eye, "My objection to that man is our inequality: I am of noble birth. My
willingness to become your slave, was to free me from the hands of those
who first premeditated my murder; and sooner than my liberty should be
sold to the creature I must detest, this dagger", as she drew one from her
vest, "shall free me from this world's vexations".

'This threat settled the argument, for the slave-merchant calculated on
the loss of three hundred dinars he had paid to the Bedouin; and Fatima,
aware of this, without actually intending any violence to herself, felt
justified in deterring the slave-merchant from further importunities.
Several suitors came to see, with a view to purchase the beautiful Arab of
noble birth, but having acted so decidedly in the first instance, the
merchant felt himself obliged to permit her to refuse at will, and she
rejected all who had made their proposal.

'Meer Hadjee Shah, in the fulfilment of his promise to his wife at parting,
to take home a slave for her attendant, happening at that time to be
passing through Mocha, inquired for a slave-merchant: he was conducted to
the house where Fatima was still a prisoner with many other less noble,
but equally unhappy females. Fatima raised her eyes as he entered the hall;
she fancied by his benevolent countenance that his heart must be kind; she
cast a second glance and thought such a man would surely feel for her
sufferings and be a good master. His eye had met hers, which was instantly
withdrawn with unaffecting modesty; something prepossessed him that the
poor girl was unhappy, and his first idea was pity, the second her
liberation from slavery, and, if possible, restoration to her friends.

'When alone with the slave-merchant, Meer Hadjee Shah inquired the price
he would take for Fatima. "Six hundred pieces of silver (dinars),"[11] was
the reply.--"I am not rich enough," answered the pilgrim; "salaam, I must
look elsewhere for one:" and he was moving on.---"Stay," said the merchant,
"I am anxious to get that girl off my hands, for she is a stubborn subject,
over whom I have no control; I never like to buy these slaves of high
birth, they always give me trouble. I paid three hundred dinars to the
Bedouin for her, now if she will agree to have you for her master (which I
very much doubt, she has so many scruples to overcome), you shall add
fifty to that sum, and I will be satisfied."

'They entered the hall a second time together, when the merchant addressed
Fatima. "This gentleman desires to purchase you; he is a Syaad of India,
not rich, he says, but of a high family, as well as a descendant of the
Emaums."--"As you will," was all the answer Fatima could make. The money
was accordingly paid down, and the poor girl led away from her
prison-house, by the first kind soul she had met since she quitted her
benefactress in the Bedouins' retreat.

'Fatima's situation had excited a lively interest in the heart of Meer
Hadjee Shah, even before he knew the history of those sufferings that had
brought her into bondage, for he was benevolent, and thought she seemed
unhappy; he wanted no stronger inducement than this to urge him to release
her. Many a poor wretched slave had been liberated through his means in a
similar way, whilst making his pilgrimages; and in his own home I have had
opportunities of seeing his almost paternal kindness invariably exercised
towards his slaves, some of whom he has, to my knowledge, set at liberty,
both male and female, giving them the opportunity of settling, or leaving
them to choose for themselves their place of future servitude.

'But to return to Fatima. On taking her to his lodgings, he tried to
comfort her with the solicitude of a father, and having assured her she
was free, inquired where her family resided, that she might be forwarded
to them. The poor girl could scarce believe the words she heard were
reality and not a dream; so much unlooked for generosity and benevolence
overpowered her with gratitude, whilst he addressed her as his daughter,
and explained his motives for becoming her purchaser, adding, "Our laws
forbid us to make slaves of the offspring of Mussulmauns of either sex;
although be it confessed with sorrow, unthinking men do often defy the law,
in pursuance of their will; yet I would not sell my hopes of heaven for
all that earth could give. I again repeat, you are free; I am not rich,
but the half of my remaining funds set apart to take me to my home in
India, shall be devoted to your service, and without any delay I will
arrange for your return to Yumen, under safe convoy" (and seeing she was
about to express her gratitude to him): "Forbear, as you respect me, a
single word of acknowledgement; if any thanks are due, it is to that good
Providence who hath preserved you from greater evils, to Whom be offered
also my humble praises, that through His mercy my steps were directed
through Mocha, at such a time as this, when an unprotected female required
fatherly protection."

'Fatima was in tears during this speech of her true friend, and when he
paused, she said, "Heaven, indeed, sent you to my aid; you seem like a
guardian angel. Much, much I fear to be separated from one so pious and so
bountiful. May I not again be thrown into similar scenes to those your
generosity has been exercised to release me from? Who but yourself and my
own dear uncle could ever feel that lively interest for my preservation?"

'Meer Hadjee Shah would willingly have conveyed the poor girl to her uncle'
s residence near Yumen, had it been possible; but his arrangements were
made to sail by an Arab ship to Bombay, which if many days postponed would
detain him nearly another year from India, where he was aware his return
was expected by his wife and family; and he was not willing to give them
cause for uneasiness, by any further delay; he however went out to make
inquiries at Mocha for some safe means of getting Fatima conveyed to her
uncle.

'In the meantime she resolved in her mind the several circumstances
attending her actual situation in the world, and before the next morning
had well dawned, she had resolved on urging her kind protector to take her
with him to India, before whom she appeared with a more tranquil
countenance than he had yet witnessed. When they were seated, he said,
"Well, Fatima, I propose to devote this day to the arrangement of all
things necessary for your comfort on your journey home, and to-morrow
morning the kaarawaun[12] sets out for Yumen, where I heartily pray you
may be conducted in safety, and meet your uncle in joy. Have no fears for
your journey, put your entire trust in God, and never forget that your
safety and liberation were wrought out by His goodness alone."

'"Huzerut[13] (revered Sir)," she replied, "I have weighed well the
advantages I should derive by being always near to you, against the
prospects of my home and wealth in Arabia, which I am resolved to
relinquish if you accede to my proposal. Let me then continue to be your
slave, or your servant, if that term is more agreeable to my kind master.
Slavery with a holy master is preferable to freedom with wealth and
impiety. You must have servants, I will be the humblest and not the least
faithful in my devoted services."

'The pious man was surprised beyond measure; he attempted to dissuade her,
and referred to his wife and children in India. "Oh! take me to them," she
cried with energy; "I will be to them all you or they can desire," This
arrangement of Fatima's was rather perplexing to him; her tears and
entreaties, however, prevailed over his preference, and he quieted her
agitation by agreeing to take her to India with him.

'After maturely weighing all the circumstances of the voyage by sea, and
the long journey by land from Bombay to Lucknow, he came to the
determination of giving Fatima a legal claim to his protection, and
thereby a security also from slanderous imputations either against her or
himself, by marrying her before they embarked at Mocha; and on their
arrival at Lucknow, Fatima was presented to his first wife as worthy her
sympathy and kindness, by whom she was received and cherished as a dear
sister. The whole family were sincerely attached to the amiable lady
during the many years she lived with them in Hindoostaun. Her days were
passed in piety and peace, leaving not an instance to call forth the
regrets of Meer Hadjee Shah, that he had complied with her entreaties in
giving her his permanent protection. Her removal from this life to a
better was mourned by every member of the family with equal sorrow as when
their dearest relative ceased to live.'

It is my intention (if I am permitted), at some future period, to write a
more circumstantial account of Meer Hadjee Shah's adventures through life,
than my present limits allow. In the meantime, however, I must satisfy
myself by a few remarks founded on a personal observation and intimacy
during the last eleven years of his eventful life. His example and precept
kept pace with each other, 'That this world and all its vanities, were
nothing in comparison with acquiring a knowledge of God's holy will, and
obeying Him, in thought, in word, and deed.'

He was persuaded by the tenets of his religion that by exercising the body
in the pilgrimage to Mecca, the heart of man was enlightened in the
knowledge and love of God. He found by obeying the several duties of the
religion he professed, and by enduring the consequent trials and
privations of a pilgrimage without regard to any feelings of selfish
gratification or indulgent ease, that, his nature being humbled, his love
to God was more abundant.

His law commanded him to fast at stated periods, and although he was
turned of seventy when I first saw him, yet he never failed, as the season
of Rumzaun approached, to undergo the severity of that ordinance day by
day during the full period of thirty days; and it was even a source of
uneasiness to my venerated friend, when, two years prior to his decease,
his medical friends, aided by the solicitude of his family, urged and
prevailed on him to discontinue the duty, which by reason of his age was
considered dangerous to health, and perhaps to life. Prayer was his
comfort; meditation and praise his chief delight. I never saw him
otherways than engaged in some profitable exercise, by which he was
drawing near to his Creator, and preparing himself for the blessedness of
eternity, on which his soul relied.

During our eleven years' constant intercourse, I can answer for his early
diligence; before the day had dawned his head was bowed in adoration to
his Maker and Preserver. At all seasons of the year, and under all
circumstances, this duty was never omitted. Even in sickness, if his
strength failed him, his head was bowed on a tray of earth, to mark his
dutiful recollection of the several hours appointed for prayer. The
Psalmist's language has often been realized to my view, in him, 'Seven
times a day do I praise thee, O Lord,' and 'at midnight I will rise to
give thanks unto Thee,' when witnessing his undeviating observance of
stated prayer duties; and when those duties were accomplished, even his
amusements were gleaned from devotional works, visits of charity, and acts
of benevolence. I never saw him idle; every moment was occupied in prayer
or in good works. His memory was retentive, and every anecdote he related
was a lesson calculated to lead the mind of his auditor to seek, trust,
and obey God, or to love our neighbour as ourselves.

The many hours we have passed in profitable discourses or readings from
our Holy Scripture and the lives of the Prophets have left on my memory
lasting impressions.

I was, at first, surprised to find Meer Hadjee Shah so well acquainted
with the prominent characters of our Scripture history, until the source
from whence his knowledge had been enlarged was produced and read aloud by
my husband every evening to our family party. The 'Hyaatool Kaaloob' (a
work before alluded to) occupied us for a very long period, each passage
being verbally translated to me by my husband.

When that work was finished, our Holy Scripture was brought forward, which,
as I read, each passage was again translated by my husband, either in
Persian or Hindoostaunic, as best suited the understanding of our party at
the time. So interesting was the subject, that we have been five or six
hours at, a time engaged without tiring or even remembering the flight of
those moments which were devoted, I trust, so beneficially to us all.

Meer Hadjee Shah's views of worldly enjoyments resembled the Durweish's in
principle; for he thought it unworthy to heap up riches, to swell his
wardrobe, or to fare on sumptuous diet; but his delight consisted in
sharing the little he could at any time command with those who needed it.
He possessed an intelligent mind, highly cultivated by travel, and a heart
beaming with tenderness and universal charity: so tempered were his
affections by a religious life, that the world was made but a place of
probation to him whilst looking forward with joy to the promises of God in
a happy eternity. His purity of heart and life has often realized to my
imagination that 'Israelite in whom (our Redeemer pronounced) there was no
guile.'

I must here draw my Letters to a conclusion, with many an anxious wish
that my gleanings in the society of the Mussulmauns of Hindoostaun may
afford profitable amusement to my friends and to those persons who may
honour my work with a perusal, humbly trusting that the people whose
character, manners, habits, and religion, I have taken upon me to pourtray,
may improve in their opinion by a more intimate acquaintance.

In my attempt to delineate the Mussulmauns, I have been careful to speak
as I have found them, not allowing prejudice to bias my judgment, either
on the side of their faults or virtues. But I deem it incumbent to state,
that my chief intimacy has been confined to the most worthy of their
community; and that the character of a true Mussulmaun has been my aim in
description. There are people professing the faith without the principle,
it is true; but such persons are not confined to the Mussulmaun persuasion;
they are among every class of worshippers, whether Jew or Gentile
throughout the world.

Of my long sojourn in the society of the Mussulmauns of Hindoostaun, I
need here but remark, that I was received amongst them without prejudice,
and allowed the free usage of my European habits and religious principles
without a single attempt to bias or control me; that by respecting their
trifling prejudices as regards eating and drinking, their esteem and
confidence were secured to me; and that by evincing Christian charity,
(which deters the possessor from proud seeming), I believe, I may add,
their affection for me was as sincere, as I trust it will be lasting.

It may be regretted, with all my influence, that I have not been the
humble instrument of conversion. None can lament more than myself that I
was not deemed worthy to convince them of the necessity, or of the
efficacy of that great Atonement on which my own hopes are founded. Yet
may I not, without presumption, hope my sojourn, with reference to a
future period, may be the humble means of good to a people with whom I had
lived so many years in peace? I must for many reasons be supposed to
entertain a lively interest in their welfare, and an earnest desire for
their safety, although at the present moment I can distinguish but one
advantage accruing from our intimacy, namely, that they no longer view the
professors of Christianity as idolaters. They have learned with surprise
that the Christian religion forbids idolatry,--thus the strong barrier
being sapped, I trust it may be thrown down by abler servants of our Lord;
for the Mussulmauns are already bound by their religion to love and
reverence Christ as the Prophet of God: may the influence of his Holy
Spirit enlighten their understandings to accept Him as their Redeemer!

Like the true Christian, they are looking forward to that period when
Jesus Christ shall revisit the earth, and when all men shall be of one
faith. How that shall be accomplished, they do not pretend to understand,
but still they faithfully believe it, because it has been declared by an
authority they reverence, and deem conclusive. Often, during my
acquaintance with these people, have I felt obliged to applaud their
fidelity, although, in some points, I could not approve of the subject on
which it was displayed--their zeal at Mahurrum, for instance, when they
commemorate the martyrdom of the grandchildren of their Prophet,--I have
thought 'had they been favoured with the knowledge we possess, what
zealous Christians would these people be, who thus honour the memory of
mere holy men.'

The time, I trust, is not very far distant when not one nation in the
whole world shall be ignorant of the Saviour's efficacy, and His
willingness to receive all who cast their burden at the foot of His cross.
My heart's desire for the people I have dwell amongst is that which St.
Paul in the Epistle to the Romans declares to be his prayer to God for
Israel, 'that they might be saved!' and I know not any way in which I
could better testify my regard for the Mussulmauns collectively, or my
gratitude individually, than by recommending the whole of the tenth
chapter of the Romans to the serious consideration of those persons who
possess such influence, us that the gospel of peace may be preached to
them effectually by well-chosen and tried servants of our Lord, who are
duly prepared both in heart and speech, to make known the glad tidings to
their understandings that 'God so loved the world, that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have
everlasting life;' that 'If any man sin we have an Advocate with the
Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;' and that 'He is the propitiation for
our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.'

Should the view I have conscientiously given of their character be the
humble means of removing prejudice from the Mussulmauns of Hindoostaun, so
that they may be sought and won by brotherly kindness, my humble heart
will rejoice that my labours, as an observer and detailer, have been
successful through the merciful orderings of Divine Providence.


[1] Ludhiana, a city, not the capital of the Panjab: 'the land of
    five rivers' _(panj-ab)._

[2] Under the Peshwas, Baji Rao I and Balaji Rao
    (A.D. 1720-61) the incursions of the Mahrattas extended as far north
    as the Panjab.

[3] _Barahdari_, a room nominally with twelve doors.

[4] Shuja-ud-daula, son of Mansur 'Ali Khan, Safdar Jang,
    Governor of Oudh: born A.D. 1731; succeeded his father, 1753. He was
    present at the battle of Panipat in 1761: became Wazir of the
    Emperor Shah 'Alam: defeated by the British at the battle of
    Buxar, 1764: died at Faizabad, then his seat of government, 1775.

[5] _Shikari_.

[6] Bandar [harbour] Kangun, a port on the west side of the Persian
    Gulf, about 100 miles west of Gombroon.

[7] Firangi Bagh, Franks' Garden.

[8] Darzi, a tailor.

[9] Shaikh Muhammad.

[10] Baitu'l-faqir, 'house of a holy man'.

[11] _Dinar_, Lat. _denarius_, a coin of varying value: see Yule,
    _Hobson-Jobson_[2], 317 f.

[12] _Karwan_, a caravan.

[13] _Hazrat_.



THE END

       *       *       *       *       *


BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS

USED IN PREPARING THE INTRODUCTION AND NOTES


Arnold, T.W. _The Preaching of Islam_, London, 1896.

Beale, T.W. _An Oriental Biographical Dictionary_, London, 1894.

Burton, Sir R.F. _The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night_, 12 vols.,
London, 1894.

Burton, Sir R.F. _A Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Mecca_, 2 vols.,
London, 1893.

Crooke, W. _The Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India_,
2 vols., Westminster, 1896.

Fanshawe, H.C. _Delhi Past and Present_, London, 1902.

Fazalalullah Lutfullah, 'Gujarat Musalmans', in _Bombay Gazetteer_,
ix, part ii, Bombay, 1899.

Führer, A. _The Monumental Antiquities and Inscriptions of the
North-Western Provinces and Oudh_, Allahabad, 1891.

Irwin, H.C. _The Garden of India_, London, 1880.

Jaffur Shurreef, _Qanoon-e-Islam, or the Customs of the Mussulmans of
India_, trans. G.A. Herklots, Madras, 1863.

_Gazetteer of the Province of Oudh_, 3 vols., Lucknow, 1877.

Hughes, T.P. _A Dictionary of Islam_, London, 1885.

[Knighton, W.] _The Private Life of an Eastern King_, London, 1855.

_Koran, The_, trans. J.M. Rodwell, Everyman's Library, London, _n.d._;
by G. Sale, London, 1844.

Lane, E.W. _An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern
Egyptians_, 2 vols., 5th ed., London, 1871.

_Mishcat-ul Masabih_, by Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah, trans. A.N.
Matthews, 2 vols., Calcutta, 1809-10.

Ockley, S. _History of the Saracens_, London, 1848.

Parks, F. _Wanderings of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque_, 2 vols.,
London, 1852.

Polly, Col. Sir L. _The Miracle Play of Hasan and Husain, collected from
Oral Tradition_, 2 vols., London, 1879.

Sell, E. _The Faith of Islam_, Madras, 1880.

Sleeman, Major-Gen. Sir W.H. _A Journey through the Kingdom of
Oudh, in 1849-1850_, 2 vols., London, 1858.

Sleeman, Major-Gen. Sir W.H. _Rambles and Recollections of an Indian
Official_, ed. V.A. Smith, 2 vols., Westminster, 1893.

Watt, Sir G. _A Dictionary of the Economic Products of India_, 6 vols.,
Calcutta, 1889-93.

Yule, Col. H., Burnell, A.C. _Hobson-Jobson_, 2nd ed., London, 1903.

       *       *       *       *


INDEX

Aameen, Ameen, Ami, Amen
Aaroon, Aaron
Abass Ali, 'Abbas, nephew of Husain;
  Abass Ali Huzerut ke Durgah, Hazrat 'Abbas 'Ali ki dargah
Ablution
Aboubuker, Abubakr, the Caliph
Abraham, sacrifice of Ishmael;
  his title
Abstinence during the Muharram festival
Adam, his burial-place;
  his title;
  image of
Affrine Khaun, Afrin Khan, a eunuch
Afthaadah, _aftabgir_, a sun-shade
Agha Mir, minister in Oudh
Ahmud Kaabeer, Sayyid Ahmad Kabir, a saint
Akbhar Shah, Akbar Shah II, King of Delhi
Akbar, the Moghul Emperor, his capture of Chitor
Alchemy
Aleppo
Alexandria, alleged destruction of the library at
Ali, 'Ali, son-in-law of Muhammad;
  murder of;
  imparted knowledge to the Sufis
Ali Reezah, Ar-Raza
Ali Ul Hoodah, 'Ali ul Huda
Al-kauloek, _alkhalaq_, a coat with sleeves
Allah Khareem, Al-Karim, 'the generous one'
Allah wo uckbaar, _Allah u akbar_, 'God is most great'
Alligators, caught by monkeys
Allum, _'alam_, a standard
Allumgeer, 'Alamgir, the Emperor Aurangzeb
Al Mauss Ali Khaun, Almas 'Ali Khan, a eunuch
Almsgiving at the Muharram festival
Alrouschid, Harun-al-Rashid, the Caliph
Amulets for children
Amusements of children
Angels, the attendant
Animal, fights at the Court of Oudh;
  mode of slaughtering by Musalmans;
  life, sanctity of
Antelopes, hunted by leopards
Ants;
  sugar laid near their nests;
  white
Apples
Arg, _arka_, the fire plant
Arms, polishers of
Arrack, _'araq,_ spirits
Artoojee, _ustadji_, a teacher
Artush-baajie, _atishbazi_, fireworks
'Ashura, the last day of the Muharram festival
Asof ood Duolah, Nawab Asaf-ud-daula;
  his proclamation against infanticide
Asthma, a cure for
Astrology
Ausmaun, 'Usman, the Caliph
Ausur namaaz, _'asr ki namaz_, prayer at the third watch of the day
Ayah, _aya_, a nurse
Ayashur, Ayishah, wife of Muhammad

Baalee Peer, Bala Pir
Baaraat, _barat_. the procession of the bridegroom
Baarah Daree, _barahdari_ a room with twelve doors
Babool, _babul_, the tree _acacia arabica_
Bacherkaunie, _baqirkhani_, a kind of bread
Ba daanah, _bedanah_, seedless grapes
Baer, _ber_, the tree _Zizyphus Jujuba_
Bahadhoor, _bahadur_, 'a champion', a title of honour
Baittee, _beti_, a daughter
Bamboos,
  uses of;
  flowering of;
  set on fire by friction
Banner of Husain (see ALLUM)
Bareheaded people not allowed in a house
Basun, _besan_, pulse flour
Bazars described
Beards worn by Musalmans;
  dyeing of
Bearer caste, the
Bedspreads
Bedsteads
Beeby Sahib, _bibi sahiba_, an English lady
Beggar, a famous, in Lucknow
Begum, _begam_, a title of a Sayyid lady
Biles and blains
Birds,
  catchers of;
  released in time of sickness
Birth rites,
  scanty rejoicings at birth of a girl;
  gun-firing;
  nursing,;
  first dose of medicine;
  bathing of child;
  forty days' impurity after childbirth;
  gifts made to the child;
  birthday celebrations;
  circumcision;
  child carried to the Dargah
Bis ma Allah, _bi'smi'llah_, 'in the name of Allah'
Bleeding, procedure at
Blistering, flies used for
Blood-spitting; cure for
Blue stone, a remedy for snakebites
Boats set adrift in honour of Khwaja Khizr
Bodice, the
Bohue Begum, _Bahu Begum_, a daughter-in-law
Bootkhanah, _butkhanah_, an idol temple
Borehaun, _burhan_, the critical days of fever
Bows and arrows, use of
Brahmanical cords burnt
Bread, varieties of
Bricks, ancient
Bride,
  the peculium of;
  modes of selecting;
  dress of
Bridegroom, veil worn by
Brushes for hair and teeth
Buckaria, Bokhara
Buckrah Eade, the _baqarah id_, festival;
  gifts sent at
Budgerow, a kind of boat
Bull-bull, _bulbul_, the nightingale
Bundah Kungoon, Bandar Kangun
Bunyah, Baniya, a corn merchant
Buraq, the animal on which Muhammad flew to Mecca
Burbut, _bargat_, the banyan tree
Burghutt, caste, regard for animal life
Burial rites, purification after touching the corpse; see DEATH.
Burkhundhar, _barqandaz_, a man armed with a matchlock
Burqa', a woman's veil
Burrhsaatie, _barsati_ a disease of horses
Burruff wallah, _barfwala_ a seller of ice
Bushire, a town on the Persian Gulf
Bussorah, Basra, a town on the Shatt el Arab in Asiatic Turkey
Bussund, _basant_, the spring festival
Butcher bird, the
Butchers
Buttaire, _bater_, a quail
Butter sellers
Buttooah, _batua_, ornamented bag
Bytool Faakere, _baitu'l-faqir,_ 'the house of a holy man'

Cain, reputed founder of Kanauj
Caliphas, _khalifah_, of Shi'ahs and Sunnis;
  a head of a trade or profession
Camphor, used in treating cholera;
  in burial rites
Cardimun, the cardamom
Cards, the game of
Carounder, _karaunda, Carissa Carandas_
Castanets, see CHUCKIE
Catechu, used with betel
Cattle, slaughter of, objected to by Hindus
Chaff, thrown on the head in mourning
Chain at the Ka'bah;
  of justice, put up by Jahangir
Chair, right to use
Chapaatie, _chapata_, a griddle cake
Charaagh, _chiragh_, a lamp
Charity, a religious duty;
  among Musalmans
Charpoy, _charpai_, a kind of bed
Chatnee, _chatni_, a kind of relish
Chattah, _chhata_, an umbrella
Cheek, _chiq_, a door screen
Cheetah, _chita_, a hunting leopard
Cherries
Children, fasting of
Chillum, _chilam_, the bowl of a water-pipe, the tobacco used to
fill it
Chillumchee, _chilamchi_, a wash-hand basin
Chilubdhaar, _chalapdar_, a cymba player
China vessels, use of
Chirrya wallah, _chiryawala_, a bird-catcher
Chitcherah, _chichra_, the _Achryanthes aspera_ tree
Chitlah, _chitra_, a kind of melon
Chobdhaah, Chobdhaar, _chobdar_, a mace-bearer
Chokeedhar, _chaukidar_, a watchman
Cholera;
  cures for
Chowrie, Chowry, _chauri_, a yak tail fan
Chowsah, _chausa_, four-sided, of dice
Chubbaynee, _chabena_, parched grain
Chuckie, Chuckee, _charkhi_, a kind of castanets;
  _chakki_, a grindstone
Chuddah, Chudha, _chadar_, a sheet
Chuhsah, _chhahsa_, six-sided, of dice
Chumund, _chaman_, a flower bed
Chundole, _chandol_, a kind of sedan chair
Chupha, _chhappar_, a thatched shed
Chupkund, _chapkan_, a kind of coat
Cider, made from melon juice
Circumcision
Clepsydra, used to mark time
Cloak, hooded, worn by women
Cock-fighting
Coel, _koil_, a kind of cuckoo
Concubinage
Confectioners
Cookery, in Musalman families
Cooking, prohibited in the house of mourning
Cord, Brahmanical, burned
Cossum, Qasim, nephew of Husain;
  model of his tomb taken in procession
Courtie, _kurti_, a woman's jacket
Cowry shells
Cream sellers
Cries of hawkers
Crown of the King of Oudh
Crows, impudence of
Cummerbund, _kamarband_, a waist-cloth, girdle
Cuppers
Curd sellers.
Currants
Currie, _karhi_
Cutlers
Cuttie, _khatai_, soured milk;
  kath, gum used with pan

Daak, _dak_, the letter post
Daaood, Daud, David, his mother's prayer
Dacca cloths
Damascus fig, the
Dancing, considered degrading;
  women
Dates, eating of
Dead, food for the;
  period of mourning for
Death rites
Debt, imprisonment for, said to be forbidden
Decca, Dacca
Delhi described
Deluge, said not to be known in India
Deputtah, _dopatta_, a double sheet
Devotees, Musalman.
Dhall, _dal_, pulse
Dhaullie, _dali_, a basket of fruit and vegetables
Dhie, _dahi_, curds
Dhie mudgelluss, _dah majlis_, the ten days of the Muharram festival
Dhobie, _dhobi_, a washerman
Dholle, _dhol_, a drum
Dhollie, a 'dooly', a litter;
  wives
Dhome, a drum
Dhull Dhull, Duldul, the mule of Muhammad
Dhurzie, darzi, the tailor caste
Diamonds
Dice, games played with
Dimishk, Dimashq, Damascus
Dinar, _dinar_, denarius, a coin
Dinners provided in time of mourning
Dirzy; see DHURZIE
Divination in selecting a bride
Divorce
Dog, an impure animal
Domenie, Domni, a singing woman
Dooar prayer, _du'a_, supplication
Doob grass, _dub, Cynodon Dactylon_
Dowry of bride, how fixed
Draughts, the game of
Dress, not changed during the Muharram festival;
  of a bride
Duffelee, _dafali_, the drummer caste
Dukhaun, _dukan_, a shop
Dulhaun, _dalan_, the hall, entrance of a house
Dullha, _dulha_, a bridegroom
Dullun, _dulhin_, a bride
Dunkah, _danka_, a kettle-drum;
  dunkah wallah, _dankawala,_ a drummer
Dunyah, _dhaniya_, coriander
Durbar, _darbar_, a court
Durgah, _dargah_, a saint's shrine;
  processions to, at Lucknow
Durwaun, _darwan_, a doorkeeper
Durweish, _darvesh_ a beggar, a religious mendicant;
  pretenders to the title
Dustha-khawn, _dastarkhwan_, a table-cloth
Dustoor, _dastur_, custom,
  the percentages on purchases taken by native servants
Dust-storms

Eade, _'Id_, a festival;
  eade-gaarh, _'Idgah_,
  the place where the festival rites are performed
Ear cleaners
Earrings
Earwax, human, administered to elephants
Earthquakes;
  follow a flight of locusts;
  Kanauj damaged by
Eclipse observances
Eggs sent at the Nauroz festival
Elephant trained to march in time;
  carriages drawn by;
  beggar riding on;
  etiquette on meeting the king
Elias ky kishtee, _Ilyas ki kishti_,
  boats set adrift in honour of Khwaja Khizr
Elijah, Elisha, the prophet
Emaum, _Imam_, leaders of the faithful;
  Jaffur Saadick, Ja'far as-Sadiq
Emaum baarah, _Imambara_,
  the place where the Muharram rites are performed
Emaum zamunee, _imam zamini_,
  a charm to secure safety in a journey
English women not visiting the Lucknow bazar
Esaee, _'Isa 'l-Masih_, Jesus Christ, the Messiah
Eshaa namaaz, _salatu 'l-'Isha_, the night prayer
Etiquette in the zenanah;
  at the Court of Oudh
Eunuchs, their power in the Court of Oudh;
  tale of a pilgrim
Eve, the grave of
Execution of criminals
Exercise, modes of, used by young men
Exorcism of evil spirits
Eyes decorated with antimony

Faakeer, _faqir_, a beggar, holy man
Fahteeah, _al Fatihah_, the first chapter of the Koran
Falsah, _phalsa, falsa_, the fruit _Grewia asiatica_
Fasting;
  exemptions from
Fat, not eaten by Musalmans
Fatima, Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad;
  an Arab girl purchased
Feringhee Bargh, _Farangi Bagh_, 'the Franks' Garden
Fierdowsee, Firdausi, the poet;
  translations of;
  on slavery
Fig, the
Fire, jumping into, and walking through
Fireworks at the Shab-i-Bara'at festival;
  see ARTUSH-BAAJIE
Firing guns at the birth of a boy
Fish, use of;
  varieties prohibited for use as food;
  a symbol at the Court of Oudh
Flags, in use at the Court of Oudh
Flies, inconvenience from;
  a variety which produces blisters
Flower gardens, neglect of;
  in Moghul palaces
Flowers, scent of, the food of aerial spirits
Folk tales, told in the zenanah;
  tale reciters;
  tale of Daaood;
  of the Prophet;
  of pilgrims;
  of a charitable Arab;
  of Syaad Harshim;
  of a saint changing the course of a river;
  of an ungrateful snake;
  of a king who longed for a fruit
Food, for the dead;
  not cooked in a house of mourning;
  lawful for Musalmans
Fraught, Furat, the river Euphrates
Friday, the Musalman Sabbath
Frogs
Fruit, use of;
  sellers of
Furniture in the zenanah
Furrukhabaad, Farrukhabad, Nawab of

Gabriel, the Angel;
  inspires the Koran
Games played by boys;
  in the zenanah
Gaming prohibited
Genii, the Jinn
Ghauzee ood deen, Ghazi-ud-diu, King of Oudh
Ghee, _ghi_, clarified butter
Ghurrie, _ghari_, a space of about twenty minutes
Glass, _gilas_, a cherry
Glass, vessels, use of;
  use in windows
Goatah chandnie, _gola chandni_, lace
Goattur, _gota_, a substitute for betel, at the Muharram
God, ninety-nine names of
Golard, Goulard water
Gooderie, _gudri_, a quilt
Goolbudden, _gulbadan_, a silk fabric
Goolistaun, Gulistan of Sa'adi
Goomtie, the river Gumti
Gooseberries
Gootlie, _guthli_, the first dose given to a baby
Grain, threshing and winnowing of
Gram, a kind of chick pea, _Cicer arietinum_
Green, the colour preferred by Sayyids;
  symbolizing Hasan
Greengrocers
Grief, exhibition of, at the Muharram festival
Guaver, the guava fruit
Guinah, _genda_, the marigold
Gurdonie, _gardani_, a neck ring
Gurhum dahnie, _garm dahani_ prickly heat

Haafiz, Hafiz, the Persian poet
Haarh, _har_, a necklace;
  see HARRH
Hackery, _chhakra_, a bullock carriage
Hadge, _hajj_, pilgrimage to holy places
Hadjee, _hajji_, a pilgrim
Hafiz, a man who has learned the Koran by heart
Hafsah, the wife of Muhammad
Hair, mode of dressing;
  let loose at the Muharram festival;
  not shaven in mourning
Hand, spread, a symbol;
  left, not used in eating
Harrh, _har_, a necklace;
  see HAARH
Harshim Syaad, Sayyid Hashim, tale of
Hasan, the martyr;
  Hasan ul Ushkeree, Hasan al-Askari
Hatim Tai
Haundhee, _audhi_, a dust storm
Haverdewatt. avadavat, the bird _estrelda amadara_;
  see LOLLAH
Heifer, sacrifice of
Herbs used in cooking
Hindu gods, images of
Holie, the Holi festival
Hookha, _huqqah_, the water-pipe;
  etiquette in use of;
  makers of 'snakes' for
Horse racing at Lucknow
Horses, food of;
  use of heel ropes;
  marks on;
  paces of;
  shoes fixed on doors;
  tails and legs dyed;
  tails not docked;
  use of in carriages
Hosein, Husain, the martyr;
  disposal of his head
Howdah, _haudah_, a seat fixed on an elephant
Hudeeth, _hadis_, the sayings of the Prophet
Hummoomaun, the monkey god Hanuman
Hummoon Shah, Hamun Shah
Hurkaarah, _harkara_, a footman, messenger
Hurrh, al-Hurr, the Shami leader
Hurrundh, _arand_, the castor-oil plant
Hurth Maaree, the scene of the slaughter of the martyrs
Husbandmen, life of
Huzerut, _hazrat_, a title of respect
Hydrabaad, Hyderabad
Hydrophobia, a cure for
Hyza, _haiza_, cholera

Ibrahim, son of the Prophet;
  Ibraahim Mukhaun, Ibrahim Makan,
  'the place of Abraham', at Mecca
Ice-making
Idolatry prohibited to Musalmans
Infanticide among Musalmans
Ink-making
Ishmael, son of the Prophet;
  sacrifice of
Islaaim, Islam

Ja'adah poisons Hasan
Jaffur Saadick, the Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq
Jahaun-punah, _jahan panah_, a title of honour, 'asylum of the world'
Jahmun, Jamun, _jaman, jamun_, the fruit _Eugenia Jambolana_;
  see JARMUN
Jains, their tenderness for animal life
Jarmun, see JAHMUN
Jaullie, _jali_, netting
Jeddah
Jerusalem, pilgrimage to
Jessamine tree, the
Jesus Christ, the Musalman title of;
  His Nativity;
  His Coming
Jewellery, craving of women for;
  put aside at the Muharram festival
Jhaawn namaaz, _ja'e namaz_, a prayer carpet
Jhammah, _jama_, a long gown
Jhaumdanie, _jamdani_, an ornamented bag
Jhanngeer, the Emperor Jahangir, his chain of justice
Jhewl, _jhul_, the trappings of an elephant
Jhillmun, _jhilmil_, venetian shutters for doors and windows
Jhy Singh, Raja Jai Singh, his observatories
Jillewdhar, _jilaudur_, an attendant on a man of rank
Jinn, the
Joel, the Prophet
Jonk, a leech
Joshun, _joshan_, an ornament worn by women on the upper arm
Judee, Mount
Jugglers
Jumma musjid, Jumna musjid, _Jame' masjid_, a congregational mosque
Justice, administration of in Oudh

Kaabah, _Ka'bah_, the holy place at Mecca;
  water spout at
Kaanaut, _qanat_, the side walls of a tent
Kaarawaun, _kawan_, a caravan
Kaareem Zund, Karim Khan Zand, anecdote of;
  see KHAREEM ZUND
Kaarjil, _kajal_, lampblack applied to the eyes
Kaawaus, _khawass_, a special female attendant
Kabooza, _kharbuzah_, the melon
Kalipha, _khalifah_, a Caliph, head servant;
  see CALIPHA
Kallonie wallah, _khilauniwala_, a toy-seller
Kannoge, the city of Kanauj;
  founded by Cain;
  destroyed by an earthquake
Katorah, _katora_, a shallow drinking cup
Kauflaah, _kafilah_, a caravan
Kaullie Nuddee, the Kali Nadi river
Kauzy, _Qazi_, a Musalman law officer
Keebaab, _kabab_, pieces of meat roasted on skewers
Keerah, _kira_, a leech
Ketcherie, _khichri_, rice cooked with pulse and spices
Kettledrum, the;
  see DUNKAH
Khadijah, wife of the Prophet
Khareem Zund;
  see KAAREEM ZUND
Khaun, _khan_, 'lord', a title of honour
Khaunce, Kansa, King of Mathura
Khaunie, a folk tale
Kheer, _khir_, milk boiled with rice
Khidmutghar, _khidmatgar_, a table servant
Khillaut, _khil'at,_ a robe of honour
Khodah Afiz, _Khuda hafiz_, 'God be your Protector!'
Khoraan, the Koran, Qur'an;
  its history;
  not to be translated;
  taught to girls;
  its doctrine regarding women;
  passages of, inscribed as amulets;
  learnt by heart;
  readers of
Khus-khus, _khaskhas_,
  the fragrant root of the grass _Andropogon muricatus_
Khusru Parviz, King of Persia
Khwaja Khizr, the saint
Kiblaah, _qiblah_, the direction assumed in prayer
Killaah, _qal'a qil'a_, a fort
Kirhnee, _kirni_, the fruit _Canthium parviflorum_
Kirrich, _kirch_, a straight thrusting sword
Kishtee, _kishti_, a boat
Kitchens in the zenanah
Kite-flying
Knife-grinders
Koofah, the city Kufah
Kootub, the Qutb Minar pillar at Delhi
Kornea, Kanhaiya, Krishna
Koss, _kos_, a measure of distance, about two miles
Kraabaalah, Kerbela, Karbala, the holy city
Kuffin, _kafn_, a coffin, winding-sheet
Kummeruck, _kamrak_, the  fruit _Averrhoa Carambola_
Kungoon, Bandar Kangun in the Persian Gulf
Kurah, _kora_, aloe water
Kurbootah, _kharbuza_, the shaddock fruit
Kutcher, _khichar_, rice boiled with pulse and spices

Labaadah, Labaadh, _labada_, a rain-coat
Labaun, _loban_, frankincense;
  see LAHBAUN
Ladies, European, not visiting bazars;
  Musalman, conversation of
Lahaaf, _lahaf_, a quilt
Lahbaun, see LABAUN
Lampblack, applied to the eyes
Lance, exercises with the
Leopards trained for sport
Leech vendors
Leechie, _lichi_, the fruit _Nephelium Lichi_
Left hand used for ablution, not for eating with
Letters, dedicated to God
Licenses for marriage unknown
Lights burned before the Taziahs
Lime, applied to wounds
Liquors, fermented, prohibited to Musalmans
Locusts;
  used for food
Lollah, _lal_, the bird _Estrelda amandava_;
  see HAVERDEWATT
Loodocanah, the city and district Ludhiana
Looking-glasses in zenanahs;
  bride's face first seen in
Lota, a brass water-vessel
Luchmee, Lakshmana, image of
Luggun, _lagan_ a washing pan
Lungoor, _langur_, the ape _Semnopithecus entellus_


Mabaaruck Now-Rose, _Nauroz mubarak_
Maccurrub, _muqarrab_, angel messengers
Madhaar, Madar, the saint
Magic, to bring rain;
  to cause fertility
Mahana, _miyana_, a kind of litter
Mahdhaar, _madar_, the tree _Calotropis gigantea_
Mahout, _mahawat_, an elephant driver
Mahrattas, raids of in the Panjab
Mahul, _mahall_ the seraglio
Mahummud, Muhammad, the Prophet, his mission;
  his title;
  tales regarding;
  fixes Friday as the Sabbath;
  laws of the pilgrimage;
  his rules of conduct;
  laws regarding polygamy
Mahummud Baakur, Muhammad Baqir
Mahurrum, the Muharram festival;
  date of;
  ornaments laid aside at;
  immense expenditure on;
  second day observances;
  fifth day observances;
  last day observances;
  clothes given away;
  inauspicious for marriages;
  objected to by Sunnis
Majoob Soofies, _majzub_, 'abstracted'
Mango tree, the
Marriage, forced, prohibited;
  age for;
  settlements unknown;
  service;
  exorbitant expenditure on
Matchmakers
Matunjun, _muttajjan_, meat boiled with sugar and spices;
  see MATUNJUN
Maulvee, _maulavi,_ a doctor of the law
Mautunjun, see MATUNJUN
Mayllah, _mela_, a fair, a religious assemblage
Mayndhie, _mendhi_,
  the shrub _Lawsonia alba_, apllied to hands and feet;
  smeared on bride and bridegroom;
  procession of;
  sent to bridegroom by bride;
  smeared on horses;
  rite at marriage
Mayvour, _mewa_, fruit
Mazoor, Mazoorie, _mazdur, mazdurni_, a day labourer
Meals, among Musalmans
Meat, use of by Musalmans
Mecca, the holy city;
  the Holy House;
  life held sacred at;
  Black Stone at;
  see KAABAH
Medicine, native system of
Medina, the holy city
Meer, _mir_, a title of Sayyids
Meer Eloy Bauxh, Mir Ilahi Bakhsh
Meer Hadjee Shah, Mir Haji Shah, his life;
  character;
  makes his own winding sheet;
  listens to the reading of the Bible;
  views on fasting;
  tea drinking;
  describes the Hajj;
  describes Mecca;
  life at Ludhiana;
  adventure with a snake;
  adventures with tiger;
  his pilgrimage to Arabia;
  cures an Arab lady;
  attacked by pirates;
  purchases Fatimah, an Arab girl
Meer Hasan Ali, husband of the authoress
Meer Hasan Ali, Mrs., the authoress
Meer Nizaam ood deen, Mir Nizam-ud-din
Meer Syaad Mahumud, Mir Sayyid Muhammad
Meetah, meettah, _mitha, mithai_, sweet, sweetmeats
Melons,
  cider made from the juice
Metals transformed into gold
Mhembur, _minbar, mimbar_, the pulpit of a mosque
Mhidie, al Mahdi, 'the Directed One';
  signs of his coming;
  his birthday
Mina, _maina_, the bird _Gracula religiosa_
Minerals, medicinal use of
Missee, _missi_, a preparation for staining the teeth
Mittie wallah, _mithaiwala_, a sweetmeat vendor
Moat, _moth_, the aconite-leaved kidney bean
Mocha, Mokha, a port on the Red Sea
Moghdhur, _mugdar_, a sort of dumb-bell or club used in athletic exercises
Mohur, a gold coin
Monkeys;
  and alligators;
  affection for their offspring;
  and snakes;
  wounded;
  and treasure;
  use of antidotes for poison
Moollakhaut, _mulaqat_, a mourning assemblage
Mooltanie mittee, _multani mitti_, fuller's earth
Moon, new, festival at;
  influence of;
  when full auspicious;
  drinking the;
  influence on wounds
Moonkih, Munkar, Munkir, the Recording Angel
Moonshie, _munshi_, a writer, secretary
Moosa, Musa, Moses;
  Musa al-Kazim, the Caliph
Moosul, _musal_, a pestle used for husking rice
Mortem, _matam_, mourning
Moses, Musalman title of;
  tale regarding
Moslem, Muslim, cousin of Husain
Mosque, absence of decoration in;
  caretakers of;
  at Kanauj;
  pollution of
Mosquitoes
Mourning, dress worn during the Muharram festival;
  chaff thrown on the head;
  head and feet left bare;
  for forty days after a death;
  shaving forbidden during
Muchullee, _machhli_, fish
Mucka Beg
Muckunpore, Makanpur
Mudgeluss, _majlis_, a mourning assembly
Muggalanie, _Mughlani_, a Moghul woman, a needlewoman
Mugganee, _mangni_, the marriage engagement
Muggrib, _maghrib ki namaz_, sunset prayer
Mukburrah, Mukhburrah, _maqbarah_, a mausoleum
Mukhdoom Jhaunneer, Makhdum Jahaniya Jahangasht, the saint
Mukhun, _makkhan_, butter
Mulberries
Mullie, _malai_, cream
Munall, _munhnal_, a pipe mouth-piece
Muntah, _mantra_, spells, incantations
Murdanah, _mardanah_, the men's quarters in a house
Murseeah, _marsiyah_, a funeral elegy;
  see MUSSEEAH
Musheroo, _mashru_, silk cloth permitted to be worn at prayer
Mushukh, _mashk_, a skin water-bag
Music in the zenanah
Musnud, _masnad_ a pile of cushions, a throne
Musseah, Musseeah;
  see MURSEEAH
Mustaches
Myriam, Maryam, the Virgin Mary
Myrtle, the tree

Naalkie, _nalki_, a kind of litter
Naarah, _nara_, a string
Nadir Shaah, Nadir Shah, King of Persia
Najoom, najoomee, _nujumi_, an astrologer
Nala and Damayanti, tale of
Namaaz, _namaz_, the daily liturgical prayer of Musalmans
Namaazie, _namazi_, one given to prayer, a devotee,
  one who calls the people to prayer
Nativity of Jesus Christ, observed by Musalmans
Naunbye, _nanbai_, a bazar baker
Nautch woman;
  Nautchunee, _nachni_, a dancer
Neam, _nim_, the tree _Melia Azadirachta_;
  see NEEM
Neellah tootee, _nila tutiya_, blue vitriol, medicinal use of
New Moon festival, the
New Year's Day, see NOU-ROSE
Nitre, manufacture of
Nizaam ood deen, Nizam-ud-din, the saint
Noah, Musalman title of;
  his place of burial;
  ark of, where rested
Nose-rings;
  see NUT
Nou-Rose, _nauroz_ the New Year's Day festival
Nudghiff Usheruff, Nejef, Mashhad 'Ali
Nujeeb, _najib_, a class of infantry
Nusseer ood Deen Hyder, Nasir-ud-din Haidar, King of Oudh
Nut, Nutt, _nath_, a nose-ring
Nuwaub, _nawab_, 'a deputy', title of the rulers of Oudh
Nuzza, _nazr, nazar_, an offering from an inferior to a superior
Nykee, Nakir, the Recording Angel

Omens, at Nauroz festival;
  used in selecting a bride;
  at marriage
Omir, 'Umar, the second Caliph;
  said to have destroyed the Alexandrian library
Ood-ood, _hudhud_, the lapwing, hoopoe
Oostardie, _ustadi_, a teacher;
  see ARTOOJEE
Orme, _am_, the mango
Orme peach, the peach
Ornaments, use of by women;
  see JEWELLERY
Otta, _'itr,_ otto of roses
Oudh, administration of justice in the Nawabi;
  Nawabs and Kings of

Paadishah Begum, Padshah Begam, the
Paak, _pak_, pure
Pachisi, the game
Paidshah, _padshah_, a King
Palace, the, at Delhi
Palkie, _palki_, the common palanquin
Pallungh, _palang_, a kind of bed
Paper, written, objection to burning;
  made of bamboo
Pataan, one of the Pathan tribe
Pawn, _pan_, betel leaf;
  not used during the Muharram festival
Pawndawn, _pandan,_ a box to hold betel leaf
Peach, the
Pearls
Pedigrees of Sayyids carefully kept
Peer, _pir_, a Musalman saint or holy man
Pellet bow, use of the
Pepul, _pipal_, the sacred fig tree, _Ficus religiosa_
Pickles, use of, and sale
Pigeon flying;
  shooting
Pilgrims, regulations for;
  cloak worn by
Pillau, _pilau_, meat or fowl boiled with rice and spices
Pineapple, the;
  see UNANAS
Plague, an outbreak of
Plums
Poison detected by means of dishes
Polygamy;
  among Indian kings
Pomegranate, the
Prayer, the call to;
  'opening of difficulties';
  carpet;
  times of, how announced
Prickly heat
Printing, not practised in Lucknow
Prisoners released to effect a cure of the sick or as a thank-offering
Punkah, _pankah_, a kind of fan;
  punkah wala, _punkah wala_, a fan-seller
Pappayah, _papaiya_, the papaw tree, _Carica Papaya_
Purdah, _pardah_, a screen to conceal ladies
Purrh, _pahar_, a watch, a measure of time
Pyjaamah, _paejama_, drawers;
  stuff used in making

Quail fighting
Quicksilver, use of in medicine

Racaab puttie, _rikab patthari_, a stone plate
Rain magic
Rainy season, the
Rajpoots, Rajputs, infanticide among
Raspberries
Ravenscroft, G., murder of
Red, the Sunni colour;
  of Husain
Reetah, _ritha_ the soapnut, use of in medicine
Resident at Lucknow, the
Resurrection, doctrine of the
Ricketts, Mordaunt, Resident at Lucknow
Right hand used in eating
River, course of changed by a saint
Romall, _rumal_, a handkerchief
Rooey, _rohu_ the carp fish
Rope-dancing
Roses;
  smelling of, causes colds and sneezing;
  rose water;
  syrup, seeds, oil, uses of
Roshunie, _roshanai_, ink
Rozedhaar, _rozadar_, one who keeps a fast
Rumzaun, Ramazan, Ramzan, the festival
Rutt, _rath_, a bullock carriage
Ruzzie, _razai_ a quilt
Ryott, _ra'iyat_ a subject, a cultivator

Saabeel, _sabil_,
  the place where sherbet is distributed at the Muharram festival
Saadie, Shaikh S'adi, the Persian poet
Saag, _sag,_ herbs of various kinds used in cooking
Saalik, _salik_, a devotee, a kind of Sufi
Saatarah, _sitara_, a guitar
Sabbath, the, among Musalmans
Sacrifice of animals at the Bakrah 'Id festival
Safdar Jang, Nawab of Oudh, tomb of
Sahbaund, Sawan, the fourth Hindu month
Sahib Logue, Sahib Log, Europeans
Saints' tombs at Kanauj
Sainturh, _sentha_ the grass _Saccharum ciliare_;
  see SECUNDAH
Sakeena Koobraah, Sakina Kibriya, daughter of Husain
Salaam-oon-ali khoon, _salam 'alai-kum_, 'Peace be with thee'
Sallon, _salan_, a curry of meat, fish, or vegetables
Sampwalla, _sampwala_, a snake-charmer
Sarchuk, _saachaq_, fruits, &c., carried in procession at a marriage
Saulgirrah, _salgirah_, the knot tied to mark a birthday
Scales, the, doctrine of
Scapegoat, released in times of sickness
Scorpio, moon of, inauspicious
Scorpions, mode of repelling
Seclusion of womem, origin of the custom
Secundah, _sarkanda_,
  roots of the grass _Saccharum ciliare_, used for mats and screens;
  see SAINTURH
Secungebeen, _sikanjabin_, oxymel, vinegar
Seepie wallah deelie sukha,
  _sipi wala gila sukha_, moist or dry cuppers
Seer, _scr_, a weight of about two pounds
Serai, _sarai_, a native inn
Seur, _suar_ a hog, a term of abuse
Seven, a lucky number
Shaah Jhee, Shahji, a beggar
Shaah Nudghiff, Shah Najaf, a shrine at Lucknow
Shaah ood Dowlah, Shah-ud-daula, a darvesh
Shah Allum, Shah 'Alam II, King of Delhi, his grave
Shah Allumgeer, Shah 'Alamgir, the Emperor Aurangzeb
Shah Jahan, the Moghul Emperor
Shahjee, see SHAH SHERIF OOD DEEN
Shahnama, the poem by Firdausi
Shah Nizaam ood deen, Shaikh Nizam ud-din Auliya, the saint
Shah Sherif ood deen Mahmood,
  Shah Sharif ud-din Mahmud, a darvesh
Shampooing
Shaving, discontinued during mourning
Shawm, Sham, Syria
Shawmie, Shami, a native of Syria
Sheah, Shiah, the Musalman sect;
  quarrels with Sunnis at the Muharram;
  their numbers compared with those of Sunnis;
  the creed of
Sheah-maul, _shirmal_, a kind of bread; see SHEERMAUL
Sheekaree, _shikari_, a huntsman
Sheermaul, _shirmal_, a kind of bread; see SHEAH-MAUL
Sheikh Mahumud, Shaikh Muhammad
Sherbet, _sharbat_, a drink, how made;
  distributed at the Muharram festival;
  payment for at marriages
SHERREFAH, SHERREEFHA, _sharifah_, the custard apple
Sheruff, Sharif, the governor of Mecca
Shimeear, Shimar, the chief agent in the murder of Husain
Shiraaz, Shiraz, a city in Persia
Shoes removed in sacred places and in houses;
  varieties of
Shooghur Allah, see SHUGGUR ALLAH
Shopkeepers, mode of doing business
Shroff, _sarraf_, a moneychanger
Shroud, the burial
Shubh-burraat, _Shab-i-bara'at_, the night of record, a festival
Shubnum, _shabnam_, 'dew', a kind of fine cloth
Shuggur Allah, _shukr Allah_,
  'Praise be to God!'; see SHOOGHUR ALLAH
Shujah ood Dowlah, Shuja ud-daula, Nawab of Oudh
Shutteringhie, _shatranji_, a striped floor-cloth
Sickley ghur, _saikalgar_, a polisher of arms
Sickness, attributed to spirits
Sikhs, the;
  campaign against
Silk, wearing of
Sin, repentance of
Singing women
Siraat, _sirat_, the bridge over which the soul passes
Sirrakee, _sirki_, the reed _Saccharum
  ciliare_, used for mats, &c
Sita ki Rasoi, a building at Kanauj
Slaves, domestic, condition of;
  female in the zenanah;
  liberated by or on the death of the owner;
  property of reverting to the master
Snake charmers, deception practised by
Snakes, superstitions regarding;
  and monkeys;
  tale of an ungrateful;
  an adventure with
Soap, substitutes for
Society of Musalman ladies
Solomon, King, tale of;
  the first Sufi
Soobadhaar, _subahdar_, a native officer, a viceroy
Soobadhaarie, _subahdari_, a province under a viceroy
Soobhoo namaaz, _namaz-i-subh_, the dawn prayer
Soofy, Sufi, a sect of Musalmans;
  consulted to solve mysteries;
  pretenders to piety;
  assemblage of with singing and dancing;
  principles of
Soojinee, _sozani_, a quilted cloth
Soonie, Sunni, the Musalman sect;
  rulers at Mecca
Soota-badhaar, _Soutabardar_, a mace-bearer;
  see SOTA-BADHAAH
Sota-badhaah; see SOOTA-BADHAAR
Spinach, varieties and uses of
Spirits, evil, exorcism of
Starvation, a cure for disease
Stockings, wearing of in the zenanah
Stone dishes
Strawberries
Subzah, _sabzah_, a song bird
Suffee Ali, Safiya 'Ilah, a title of Adam
Sulleed, _tharid_, a kind of bread
Sulmah, _surma_, antimony applied to the eyes
Sumdun Begum, _samdhan begum_, a connexion by marriage
Surraie, _surahi_, a long-necked water flagon
Surringhee, _sarangi_, a sort of violin
Sutkah, _sadaqah_, offerings of intercession
Suwaaree, _sawari_, an equipage, escort
Sweetmeats, sellers of;
  given to a man in a state of ecstasy,
Swine, held abominable by Musalmans
Sword exercises
Syaad, Sayyid, a class of Musalmans;
  their origin;
  care used and difficulty in making marriage engagements;
  respect paid to;
  dues received by
Syaad Ahmad Kaabeer, Sayyid Ahmad Kabir,
Syaad Harshim, Sayyid Hashim

Taaif, Ta'if, a fertile tract near Mecca,
Taarkhanah, _tahkhanah_, an underground room,
Taaseel-dhaar, _tahsildar_, a native collector of revenue,
Taaweez, taawize, _ta'wiz_, an amulet, talisman,
Tahujjoot, _namaz-i-tahajjud_, prayer after midnight,
Tale kee archah wallah,
  _Tel ka acharwala_, a seller of oil pickles,
Talismans; see TAAWEEZ
Tamarind tree, the, vegetation beneath it dying,
Tamerlane, Taimur Lang, introduces seclusion of women,
Tarantula, the,
Tattle, _tatti_, a screen, a device for cooling rooms,
Tawurshear, _tabashir_, a substance found in bamboos,
Tazia, _ta'ziya_,
  a model tomb carried in procession at the Muharram festival;
  not peculiar to India;
  not used by Sunnis;
  burial of,
Tea, use of,
Teeth, cleaning of, 59
Thonjaun, _tamjhan_, _thamjhan_, a kind of litter,
Throne, of the King of Oudh,
Tigers, tamed, wandering about the house;
  adventure with,
Time, Musalman division of;
  measured by a clepsydra,
Timoor, Taimur, his invasion of India,
Tin, use of in dyeing and in medicine,
Tithes,
Toddy,
Toothbrushes,
Tope, a grove of trees,
Tor, _tar_, the palm tree, _Borassus flabelliformis_,
Toy sellers,
Trades in Lucknow,
Travellers excused from fasting,
Treasure, burying of,
Trees, speaking on the Mahdi's birthday,
Tuckht, _takht_, a wooden platform on which men sit and sleep,
Tufaun, _tufan_, a storm,
Tumaushbeen, _tamashabin_, 'a spectator of wonders',
Tundhie, _thandi_, a cooling draught taken at the breaking of a fast,
Turkaarie, _tarkari_, vegetables

Uberuck, _abrak_, talc, mica,
Ulsee, _alsi_, linseed, _Linum usitatissimum_,
Umbrella, a mark of dignity,
Umultass, _amaltas_,
  the Indian laburnum, _Cassia fistula_, use in medicine,
Ungeeah, _angiya_, an under-jacket or bodice,
Ungeel, _injil_, Evangel, the Gospels,
Unnah, _anna_, a nurse,
Unrurkha, _angarkha_, a long tunic,
Ununas, _ananas_, the pineapple, _Ananassa sativa_,
Urzees, _arziz_, tin, used in medicine and dyeing,
Usury, forbidden

Vakeel, _wakil_, an agent
Vazeefah, _wazifah_, a passage read from the Koran
Vegetables, use of as food
Veil, worn by a bridegroom
Venus, the conjunction of
Vermicelli, used in the times of fasting
Villoiettee Begum, Wilayati begam, 'the foreign lady'
Vizier, _wazir_, the prime minister at the Court of Oudh

Walking barefoot, a sign of mourning
Wax from the human ear administered to elephants
White ants
Widows, dress of;
  reduced numbers of;
  marriage of
Window glass, scarcity of
Witch, tale of a;
  hair plucked from the head of;
  has crooked feet;
  sucking out the vitals of a victim
Witchcraft, general belief in
Wives, prescribed number of;
  large numbers of married
Women, belief that they do not possess souls;
  seclusion of
Wounds, treatment of

Yaacoob, Ya'qub, Jacob
Yeusuf, Yusuf, Joseph
Yieyah, Yahya, St. John
Yoube, Aiyub, Job
Yumen, Yemen in Arabia
Yuzeed, Yazid, second Caliph of the house of Umaiyah

Zahur morah, _zahr mohra_, the bezoar stone
Zarbund, _zerband_, a waist string
Zechareah, Zachariah
Zeearut, _ziyarah, ziyarat_, a visit to a shrine
Zeenahnah, the zenanah, described
Zemindhaar, _zamindar_, a landowner
Zohur namaaz, _salatu-'z-zuhr_, mid-day prayer
Zuckhaut, _zakat_, alms for the poor
Zynool auberdene, Az-zainu'l-'abidin





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