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Title: India and the Indians
Author: Elwin, Edward Fenton
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "India and the Indians" ***

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                    [Illustration: FELIX TIPNIS.]

                            INDIA AND THE


                          BY EDWARD F. ELWIN


                    "STORIES OF INDIAN BOYS," ETC.

                          WITH ILLUSTRATIONS




       *       *       *       *       *


India is really waking up, but she is doing so in her own Indian way.
For some years past it has been one of my daily duties to arouse an
Indian boy, and I know exactly how an Indian wakes. It is a leisurely
process. He slowly stretches his legs and rubs his eyes, and it is at
least ten minutes before he can be said to be really wide awake. And
every morning I have to say exactly the same thing: "Now remember,
Felix, to say your prayers; then go and wash your hands and face, and
then feed the pony." And if on any particular morning I were to leave
this reminder unsaid, and Felix left any, or all of these duties,
undone, and I were to ask him the reason, he would reply, "You did not
tell me."

With India waking up, there never was a time when she stands more in
need of some kindly person at her side to tell her what to do. She
needs to be taught to say her prayers, because with the old religion
gone and the True Faith dimly understood, India would be in the
appalling condition of a great country without a religion. We need to
tell her to wash her hands and face, because there are certain
elementary matters of sanitation which must be attended to if India is
ever to become a wholesome and prosperous country. And we have got to
teach her how to work, because India wide awake, but idle, might
easily become a source of great mischief.

Every Englishman who takes pleasure in the sense of Empire ought to
realise that it brings with it great responsibilities, and therefore
that every Englishman has a measure of responsibility towards India.
We must be taking care that, if when she is wide awake she fails to
fulfil her great vocation, at any rate she shall have no cause to
utter against us the reproach, You never told me.

A better understanding of what India and the people who live in it are
really like, seems to be the necessary preparation for sympathy and
work of any sort connected with that country; and to help, in however
small a degree, to bring about this end is the object of this book. I
have had unusually favourable and varied opportunities for getting to
know intimately the inner side of Indian life and character during a
somewhat long residence in this country. The contents of the book are
exceedingly miscellaneous because the daily experiences have been
equally so. Everything that is told is the outcome of my own personal
observations amongst a people to whom I am deeply attached, and I have
taken the utmost pains to record nothing of which I was not sure, and
to verify everything concerning which I was doubtful.

The photographs were all taken by Brother Arthur of our Society.




       *       *       *       *       *


CHAP.                                                 PAGE

I.        INTRODUCTORY                                  1

II.       INDIAN HOSPITALITY                           11


IV.       INDIAN EMPLOYEES OF LABOUR                   24

V.        THE INDIAN POSTAL SERVICE                    32

VI.       INDIANS AND ENGLISH CUSTOMS                  40

VII.      INDIAN UNPUNCTUALITY                         48

VIII.     INDIAN POVERTY                               54

IX.       INDIAN ART                                   60

X.        THE INDIAN VILLAGE                           66

XI.       INDIAN ENTERTAINMENTS                        74

XII.      THE CONVERSION OF INDIA                      83

XIII.     MISSION WORK IN INDIA                        89

XIV.      INDIAN MUSIC                                 98

XV.       INDIAN MEALS                                105

XVI.      HINDU PHILOSOPHY                            111

XVII.     HINDUS AND RELIGION                         117

XVIII.    RELIGIOUS PHASES IN INDIA                   124

XIX.      GAMES IN INDIA                              130

XX.       INDIAN WRESTLERS                            137

XXI.      BOOKS IN INDIA                              143

XXII.     INDIAN PAGEANTS                             151

XXIII.    THE INDIAN CHARACTER                        157


XXV.      WILD BEASTS IN INDIA                        170

XXVI.     SOME INDIAN ANIMALS                         176

XXVII.    THE INDIAN WORLD OF NATURE                  182

XXVIII.   INSECTS IN INDIA                            188

XXIX.     THE INDIAN ASCETIC                          196

XXX.      THE INDIAN WIDOW                            204

XXXI.     WRONGDOING IN INDIA                         212

XXXII.    PROPERTY IN INDIA                           221

XXXIII.   EAST AND WEST TRAVELLING                    228

XXXIV.    CUSTOMS OF EAST AND WEST                    234

XXXV.     SERVANTS IN INDIA                           241

XXXVI.    THE EDUCATED HINDU                          247

XXXVII.   UNFINISHED PLANS IN INDIA                   256

XXXVIII.  GIFTS IN INDIA                              263


XL.       INDIAN UNREST                               278

XLI.      THE ENGLISH IN INDIA                        288

XLII.     DISHONESTY IN INDIA                         295

XLIII.    INDIAN MOHAMMEDANS                          302

XLIV.     NIGHT ALARMS IN INDIA                       309

XLV.      THE INDIAN WASHERMAN                        317

XLVI.     AGRICULTURE IN INDIA                        328

XLVII.    EAST AND WEST ON BOARD SHIP                 337

          INDEX                                       347

       *       *       *       *       *


FELIX TIPNIS                                        _Frontispiece_

SWITHUN'S NEW HOME IN THE VILLAGE             _To face page 16_

YERANDAWANA CHURCH FROM A DISTANCE                  "       20

THE INDIAN VILLAGE POSTMAN                          "       38

NARAYEN KHILARI, A FARMER'S SON                     "       42


A MODERN HOUSE IN POONA CITY                        "       60

MRS SALOME ZADHAW                                   "       66

RAGU, THE NIGHT-WATCHMAN                            "       72

THE YERANDAWANA VILLAGE WRESTLERS                   "      138


MILKING THE BUFFALO                                 "      180

DOWD PHERIDE, THE EGG-MERCHANT'S SON                "      198

SARLA KALU, THE YERANDAWANA WIDOW                   "      206

THE INDIAN BUTLER                                   "      242

THE CEMETERY CROSS                                  "      268

       *       *       *       *       *




     Misconceptions about India. Hinduism. An "infernal
     religion." Hindu mythology. Ascetics. Translations of Hindu
     sacred books. Modern and ancient ways of teaching
     Christianity. Danger of the incorporation of a false Christ
     into Hinduism. Hindu India as it really is. Definitions of
     "What is Hinduism?" from representative Hindus.

India is not really quite so mysterious a country as it appears to be
on first acquaintance. But you have to live there a long time before
things begin to reveal their real shape. It is only on the ground of
long residence, and frequent and often close intercourse with a great
variety of Indians, that I venture now and then to give some of my
experiences to others. India remains almost an unknown land to a large
number of people in spite of all that has been written or spoken about
it, and it is hard to dissipate the many misconceptions which exist
concerning the country. Some of these misconceptions came into being
years ago, but they have become stereotyped. They were presumably the
outcome of hasty conclusions drawn from superficial knowledge. But
even visitors to India often view the country in the light of
preconceived ideas which they have either heard or read of, and they
therefore fail to see things as they really are.

It is inevitable in dealing with Indian things that the defects of the
people of the country should occupy rather a prominent place. The
cause is their misfortune and not their fault. They have many
delightful natural characteristics, and the years that I have lived
amongst them have only served to increase my deep affection for the
people of India, and the real pleasure that I find in their society.
The defects of Hindus come from their religion, which is deeply
steeped in idolatry, and neither gives them a code of morality, nor
grace to keep one if it had been given. The strongest denunciations of
Hinduism come from the people themselves. I often repeat what the old
Brahmin, who lived and died a Hindu, said when he roared out to me,
"It is a most infernal religion." And he proceeded to give instances
of its infernal nature which it is impossible to print, but which
justified the expression.

A Hindu admits the beauty of a moral life, but puts it aside as
impossible of fulfilment. He has no creed, and cannot tell you what he
believes. He is in doubt and uncertainty both as regards where man
came from, and whither he is going. Nearly every Hindu is an idolater
at some time or other, if only to please his wife, or to oblige a
friend. Some, nowadays, try to explain away the custom as being merely
an ancient tradition, but on that account to be respected; or as
edifying for the ignorant, who cannot find God in any other way.

The histories of the gods, like all heathen mythology, consist of
tales, some picturesque, some foolish, some dull and childish, some
obscene. How far the educated Hindu believes them it is difficult to
know. Those that are obviously absurd he will say are allegorical, and
in spite of their diversity he will maintain that they are all
manifestations of one god. The uneducated rustic, so far as he is
familiar with these stories, believes them.

The ascetic life, at any rate as represented by the professional
ascetics of India, is not held in admiration by the people of the
country. The real character of most of the wandering ascetics is
perfectly well known. But the people fear their curse; hence they give
them alms, and a measure of outward respect. That their profession and
their conduct are so often in contradiction does not apparently excite

Some English translations of Hindu sacred books must be taken with a
certain amount of caution. Enthusiastic and poetically inclined minds
have produced translations which can only be said to remotely
represent the originals (if we are to accept the opinion of some who
are competent to know), into which they have read much more than is
really to be found there. Also, terms taken from Christian theology
have, of necessity, a much fuller meaning to the minds of Christian
people who read them than is to be found in the vernacular expression
which they represent. Short extracts, given without the context, are
proverbially misleading, according to the individual bias of the
extractor, either favourable or the reverse.

Kindly advisers have been urging lately that missionaries should try
and discover what is good in Hinduism, and on that foundation
gradually build up the truths of Christianity. It would be just as
reasonable to expect to draw sweet water from a bitter spring. The old
teachers of Christianity in India preached it as a matter of life and
death, as indeed it is, and they made converts from amongst the
educated men. A Brahmin convert has told me that what impelled him to
carry his convictions to their proper conclusion was the belief that
if he held back he would be lost.

The apologetic way in which Christianity is sometimes preached at the
present day in India, in response to these well-meant but dangerous
promptings, may possibly lead to the disastrous result of the
incorporation of a kind of false Christ into Hinduism. Our Lord is
greatly admired by a large number of intelligent Hindus. The Bible is
often quoted by public speakers to illustrate some point in their
speech; not always, of course, with accuracy or appropriateness. Now
and then a Hindu will say that he is a Christian in heart; and that
being so, he pleads to be dispensed from the inconvenient ceremonial
of baptism, which would separate him from his own people. The laxity
of many Nonconformists, and some others, concerning baptism, gives him
some ground for making this petition.

To take a measure of Christian morality into Hinduism, to place the
Bible alongside their other sacred books, and to worship Christ along
with Krishna, would satisfy modern Hindu aspirations without entailing
much practical inconvenience.

In trying to describe everyday life in India, we shall at every turn
meet with instances of the effect that Hinduism has in warping and
marring natures which otherwise have so much which is attractive. But
the sole purpose of this book is to try and depict Hindu India as it
really is. People will only be stimulated to pray and work for the
country with the energy and fullness of purpose which the case
demands, when they have realised that the matter is vital and urgent.
People will understand how greatly Christian Indians need the prayers
of others when they realise that they have to lead their lives in the
midst of evil, inconceivably great, and with the weight of inherited
tendencies of wrong hindering their efforts to do right. Nor will
charitable persons be forgetful to pray for those who have to try and
shepherd these sheep and lambs, whilst they themselves have to live in
the midst of an atmosphere of evil influences, such as those who live
in Christian countries know little of.

It is satisfactory and significant to note that one of the most
pronounced of the agitators in favour of teaching Christianity through
Hinduism has become one of the most determined and persuasive
preachers of pure Christianity, with a corresponding increase of
far-reaching and productive influence.

The following definitions of what is Hinduism from certain leading and
representative Hindus will be of interest as showing that what has been
said of its nebulous nature is not an exaggeration. The editor of an
Indian paper called the _Leader_, asked the following question:--"What
are the beliefs and practices indispensable in one professing the Hindu
faith, as distinguished from what may be called non-essentials, which it
is left to one's option to believe and to adopt?"

Some of the answers were quoted in the _Delhi Mission News_, vol. iv.,
p. 108, from which the following extracts are taken. They are slightly
abridged, but the original sense has been carefully preserved.

Sir Guru Das Banerjee, an orthodox Hindu of Bengal, of great ability
and eminence, says:--"Owing to the highly tolerant character of
Hinduism and to the great diversity of opinion on the point, it is not
easy to answer the question with any great degree of definiteness. I
think that the beliefs that are generally considered indispensable in
a Hindu are: Belief in God, in a future state, and in the authority of
the Vedas. The practices that are generally considered indispensable
are: The rules prohibiting marriage in a different caste; forbidding
dining with a person of an inferior caste; and the rule relating to
forbidden food, especially beef. But courts of justice have gone much
further, and held dissenting sects which have sprung out of the Hindu
community, such as the Sikhs, to be Hindus, although they do not
believe in the authority of the Vedas and do not observe any
distinction of caste. And Hindu society now practically admits within
its pale all persons who are Hindu by birth, whatever their beliefs
and practices may be, provided they have not openly abjured Hinduism
or married outside of Hindu society."

Mr Satyendra Nath Tagore, another Bengali Hindu, whose family is among
the most distinguished in India, writes:--"There are no dogmas in
Hinduism. You may believe in any doctrine you choose, even in atheism,
without ceasing to be a Hindu. You, as a Hindu, must in theory accept
the Vedas as the revealed religion, but you may put your own
interpretation on the Vedic texts. This leaves a loophole for you to
escape from the thraldom of dogmatism. It is the adherence to certain
practices--rites and ceremonies--that Hinduism imperatively demands.
Chief of these is the system of caste as at present constituted, the
slightest deviation from which cuts one off from the community. In
determining the question proposed, the text is, What is it that
entails excommunication of a Hindu? Surely not any specific article of
belief, but a deviation from established usages and customs--such, for
instance, as the remarriage of widows, etc. Again, non-observance of
the prevailing modes of worship, non-observance of idol worship,
especially on ceremonial occasions, might entail serious consequences.
It is true that certain articles of belief obtain among the large body
of Hindus, but they are by no means universal or essential to
Hinduism. You may renounce the belief, provided you conform to the
ceremony which is the outcome of such belief. For instance, it will
not do to discountenance the practice of making funeral offerings to
deceased ancestors, although you have no faith in the immortality of
the soul."

Mr P. T. Srinivas Iyengar is principal of a college in Vizagapatam. He
writes:--"The evolution of religion in India has not provided the
Hindus with any belief or practice common to all who now go by that
name. The pre-Aryan tribes had their own religious beliefs and
practices, on which were superimposed those of the Aryans. The Vedic
age, the post-Vedic times, the Buddhist age, and the age of the
Paranas, have each contributed innumerable ideas and customs. The
religion of each one of us contains relics of all these strata, but
not one of these can be called essential to the Hindu religion,
because every belief or practice that is considered absolutely
necessary by Hindus of one corner of India is unknown or ignored by
some other corner. It is true that the various schools of Hindu
philosophy agree in regarding a few fundamental ideas as axiomatic,
but philosophy is not religion. The Mohammedans are one because they
have a common religion and a common law. The Christians are one,
because at least one point of faith is common. But the Hindus have
neither faith, nor practice, nor law to distinguish them from others.
I should therefore define a Hindu to be one born in India, whose
parents so far as people can remember were not foreigners, or did not
profess a foreign religion like Mohammedanism or Christianity, and who
himself has not embraced such religions."

The last answer, which reads the vaguest of any, is from Mr T.
Sadasivier, who is a Sessions Judge of Ganjam. He writes as
follows:--"One professing the Hindu faith has only to have the
following belief, namely, that the four Vedas contain moral and
spiritual truth, which are not less valid than any other spoken or
written words. He might believe in other spoken or written words (like
the Bhagavad-gita) as of equal authority with the Vedas, but he ought
not, if he is a Hindu, to believe such to be _superior_, so far as
moral and religious truth is concerned. Out-castes are Hindus so long
as they believe the Vedas to contain the highest moral and religious
truths. As regards practices, a Hindu ought to follow those he
believes to be in conformity with and not opposed to, the Vedas. He
can follow his own conscience and desires in ordinary matters, so long
as he believes that they are not opposed to the Vedas. Human nature
being liable to sin, even if he contravenes the practices believed by
him to be Vedic, if he admits he _ought_ to follow only practices
enjoined by the Vedas, he is a Hindu, even if he cannot study and read
the Vedas. If he believes that the Vedas inculcate certain practices
for him and that he ought to follow them, he is and remains a Hindu."



     Hospitality limited by caste rules. Feasts. The Hindu's
     guest-house. Laws of hospitality; observed by Indian
     Christians; their generosity to each other. Indian respect
     for the mother; retained through life; observed by Indian
     Christians. Swithun's mother. Indian affection shallow,
     except for the mother.

The peoples of the East are proverbial for their hospitality, and
certainly Indians in all parts of their country are true to this
excellent tradition, although the caste system of Hindus, which in so
many ways hinders their good purposes from producing their legitimate
result, restricts their hospitable efforts, within their own dwelling,
to the sometimes narrow limits of their own particular caste.
Invitations to members of castes above their own would not be
accepted. And if, in some cases, a broad-minded Hindu would be not
unwilling to invite to dinner a friend belonging to a caste lower than
his own, his good intentions would be almost certainly checkmated by
the ladies of his household, who would refuse to cook for the

Rich men give feasts out of doors to a variety of people, who sit in
groups according to their caste. Even lepers and beggars are not
unfrequently fed in this fashion on a large scale by those who are
wealthy. Such feasts, however, do not come exactly under the laws of
hospitality, because they are held according to the fancy of the
giver. It is practically a matter of obligation to feast people
bountifully in connection with marriages and deaths and some other

Any actual breach of the Indian code of hospitality is regarded as a
serious lapse, and even within the limits of the family and caste, the
burden of hospitality can become a very heavy one. A well-to-do Hindu
in Poona city built a new three-storied house in a corner of his large
compound. As he had already got a house of apparently ample
dimensions, I asked him what was the object of this new one. He said
that it was for his guests; and he then proceeded to give me a good
deal of information concerning Hindu customs connected with

He said that guests who come to stay usually arrive without
invitation, or previous notice. They are often attended by wife and
children and other relations, and remain for an indefinite time. A
visit of even two or three months' duration is quite usual. I asked if
it was not possible to hint that it was time that the visit came to a
close. But he said that to do so would be considered very rude, and a
great breach of hospitality, and that it was never done. People who
are not well off, often pay these long visits for the sake of the
free rations; and, on account of their poverty, it is impossible to
pay them back in their own coin by going to stay a corresponding time
with them.

Indian Christians retain strongly these national ideas concerning the
laws of hospitality, and are generous in their entertainment of each
other, even although it means that their monthly supply of grain will
run short, and that they will be hard put to it, and have to live on
short commons during the last days of the month. People
holiday-making, or out of work, will forage about in search of free
meals, and will drop in here and there just about dinner time without
much thought as to whether their company is welcome or not. Even the
poorest persons will cheerfully produce all that they have got in
order to feed these chance comers, with whom perhaps they have only a
slight acquaintance. Christians are also generous with their money in
helping other Christians who are in difficulties, or out of work. Some
who may have got good appointments are, nevertheless, often kept poor
by their efforts to help relations who, on their part, seem to have no
delicacy about making urgent demands for assistance. Even mothers will
prey without compunction on married children who can ill afford to
render help.

But the petition of the mother is never rejected. In Hindu family life
the respect and affection which the son has for his mother is a most
touching and beautiful characteristic, which only intensifies the
older he grows. The Indian boy is often wilful and disobedient and
rude to his mother, but he makes up for this by his dutiful conduct
when he grows to manhood. It is almost comical to find Hindus of
mature years referring everything to their mother, and even in small
matters of daily life saying that they must ask their mother before
they can do this or that. This filial conduct does not arise from fear
of the maternal wrath, but because of the son's deep respect for his
mother as such.

Many a Hindu has said to me, when discussing the possibility of
acceptance of Christianity, "It would grieve my mother, and I cannot
do that." When conversions have taken place, the final and most bitter
struggle has nearly always been when the lamentations and entreaties
of the mother had to be faced, and some men have not been able to
stand this pressure, and have turned back on that ground alone. The
tears of the wife are of small account compared with the distress of
the mother.

It must be added that the Hindu mother appears to accept the
considerate regard of her sons very much as a matter of course, and
that if she looks upon them with equal affection, her manner of
displaying it is, at any rate, different from the English ideal.

Happily Christian boys and men retain much of the same reverential
feeling concerning their mother. The Indian equivalent of the English
parish clerk at the village church at Yerandawana was about to be
married in Bombay, where his bride resided, 120 miles away. His mother
was a curious, cross-grained old woman, not yet a Christian. As he had
not much money, I suggested that there was no need to take his mother
to this distant city for the wedding, but that she could be ready to
greet the bride at their new home in the village when they returned.

But Swithun assured me that it was absolutely essential that his
mother should go with him, and that if he was married without taking
care to secure her presence, he would be for ever branded as an
undutiful son. She was not at all grateful for his kind consideration,
and made herself very disagreeable all through the wedding-day, but
the guests treated her with a good deal of respect and regard solely
on the score of her being the bride-groom's mother, and on that
account a person to be honoured.

Indian affection is quite real as far as it goes, but it does not go
very deep, so that it does not long outlive the removal of the object
of regard, either through death or any other cause. Nor will Indian
affection bear much strain. Petty complications in family life,
trivial misunderstandings between friends of long standing, or amongst
Christians some little hitch with the authorities of a mission, will
sometimes result in life-long separations or bitter animosity between
those who, for the time being, were objects of real, but shallow,
affection. But the Indian puts up with anything rather than quarrel
with his mother, and her memory remains fresh and green long after
other departed relations and friends have been lost in oblivion.




     Indians oblivious to scenery. The beauties of Nature.
     Results of learning drawing. Hindus' offerings of flowers;
     their garlands. Pictures of flowers. The new village church
     attracts; impressed by its interior; schoolboys visit it.
     Visitors from the Hindu college. A party from the Widows'
     Home. Brahmin ladies admire the embroidery. The "religious

Almost all Indians are apparently oblivious to beautiful scenery. You
rarely see them looking at a gorgeous sunset, or hear them speak about
it. You will seldom hear them make any reference to the beauty or
otherwise of their surroundings. As they travel along the road you
will not see them looking round about them. Some passengers gaze
listlessly out of the windows of the train, but to all appearance
without much interest, except at stations where there is a crowd on
the platform. Even the buildings or shop windows of a city only
attract a languid amount of attention; but a street quarrel, or a war
of words between two excited females, will soon draw a large crowd.

The brightness of the moon and the glory of the stars, astonishingly
brilliant as they are when seen through the clear Indian atmosphere,
does not seem to excite admiration, in spite of the divine attributes
which Hindus ascribe to such objects. Even ordinary secular education
does not do much to stimulate appreciation of the beauties in Nature.
Christianity does something in this direction by extending the range
of mental vision to the possibilities of the heavenly country, and the
knowledge of God as the Creator excites a measure of interest in the
objects of His creation. But even amongst Indian Christians any keen
perception of the beauty of scenery by land or on the sea-coast is

Drawing is a subject which is now extensively taught in schools in
India, and it is a branch of education which is helping to train the
Indian mind to observe and appreciate form and colour. At one time the
many lads who came to the Mission-house for old Christmas cards
scornfully rejected even the most beautiful pictures of flowers as
being of no worth. Pictures of birds, or beasts, or people they sought
for eagerly, because such objects came within their range of
appreciation, but the beauty of a flower as such they did not

Loose flowers without stalk or leaves are offered in temples, or they
are strung on a thread and hung on the god like a necklace. But the
value of the offering is in the scent of the flower, and not in the
beauty of its colour or form. The Yerandawana village children often
come to the church with their cap or pocket filled with flowers
plucked in this fashion, which they present as an offering. We have a
large brass bowl in which we receive such gifts, which is then placed
on the altar, with the prayer that those who have thus shown their
goodwill may be led on to give their own hearts to God.

The elaborate garlands which are used so largely as a complimentary
gift to those whom it is thought desirable to honour are also valued
for their scent rather than for any intrinsic beauty which they may
possess. If the flowers happen to be defective in this respect the
defect is corrected by the addition amongst their petals of powerfully
smelling attar of roses. So little is the natural beauty of the flower
recognised that in the more elaborate garlands small round
looking-glasses in tawdry brass frames are strung at intervals,
producing a painful incongruity.

But of late years quite a number of the more advanced students have
called at the Mission-house expressly seeking pictures of flowers as
drawing studies, and their discriminating remarks, and their
admiration of pictures of special beauty, and the excellence of some
of their own efforts in the production of drawings of natural objects,
shows that at any rate this department of education is bringing about
the desired results.

When the church at Yerandawana was building, the first indication that
its unusual design commended itself to the Indian mind was that
passers-by began to stop and look at it. You need to be familiar with
the Indian's state of oblivion concerning his surroundings, already
referred to, in order to understand the force of this. To pause and
gaze at a big building in process of erection is, with most people, a
natural and obvious thing to do; especially if time is of no object
and the design of the building a novelty. But not so the Indian. To
gradually slacken his pace, to turn and look, to pause and discuss,
was an indication that new and unwonted impressions were being made on
the Indian mind. The effect increased as the building approached
completion. Few people passed without regarding it attentively. Many
looked back to take another view before they had got out of sight. And
although, to the villagers at any rate, the church is now a familiar
object, many of them still seem to find a pleasure in looking up at it
as they go by.

Its interior never fails to impress Hindus of whatever age or station,
and it has become a valuable agent in the work of pioneer
evangelisation. People who enter the church in an easygoing way are
impelled to reverence and subdued tones at the sight of its domes, and
the many arches in the massive walls, combined with its extreme
simplicity. Controversial Hindus drop their controversy, and find
themselves uttering expressions of surprised pleasure. Young children
are so attracted by the church that they ask to visit it again and
again. Often when a Hindu boy comes and asks for pictures for the
first time, some of the old stagers will suggest that he must see the
church, and they are eager to display their knowledge of our
religious ways by explaining to him the meaning of what he finds


The English stories which are given as text-books in the upper classes
of Indian schools sometimes present great difficulties to the Hindu
masters, who have to explain the meaning of words and phrases. Miss
Yonge's _Little Duke_ was being read in some of the Poona City High
Schools one year. Even the Christian and surname of the author,
pronounced with exact reference to the spelling, produced such a
mysterious result that it was some time before I recognised the real
name buried up in strange sounds. Miss Yonge's references to churches
were often particularly perplexing, and a boy asking what was meant by
"the chancel," his master wisely advised his pupil to pay a visit to a
Christian church and see for himself. Quite a number of young students
at this period came and asked to be shown over the church, and to have
its various parts explained to them. Some of the questions were not
easy to answer, considering that the questioners were Hindus. What is
meant by "Holy Communion?" asked one of these young men. And later on
another, having had the font explained to him, said, "And how about
the ceremony of bread and wine?"

Even a little party of seven or eight female students from a Hindu
college, escorted by the one Christian girl in the establishment, came
to see the church. Some of them were carefully dressed with due
regard to Hindu fashion, but one or two were advanced women of the
modern school, who had introduced several innovations, especially as
regards a freer way of arranging the hair. There was something almost
pathetic in their interest in what they saw, because the hope of their
ever being otherwise than outsiders was, to say the least of it, very
distant. It was, however, a distinct mark of progress that the
Christian girl who brought them was not only tolerated as a boarder in
the college amongst high-caste girls, but she was evidently popular
and looked up to.

About a dozen Hindu widows came over one morning to see the church
from their home in the next village. They displayed a curious
combination of curiosity, apprehension, and interest. One oldish widow
literally fled to the other side of the church when she suddenly
realised that I was standing behind her. The other women were a good
deal amused at her alarm. It was evident that everything that they saw
was an enigma to them. Naturally Hindu visitors constantly ask, "Where
is the God?" and they are a good deal astonished to find that there is
no visible God. The widows were naturally interested in the needlework
of the altar cloths and hangings, and asked several questions about it
and admired it. Like the lady visitors from the Hindu college, they
showed some diversity of taste and opinion in their dress and
ornaments and arrangement of hair.

When plague was bad in Poona City many of the well-to-do people left
their homes and camped round about Yerandawana. In the evening, when
Brahmin ladies were taking a walk with their children, or returning
from their daily visit to the Hindu temple in the village, a party of
them would now and then come into the church and study it at leisure
with great interest. The beautiful figure of the Crucifixion, with Our
Lady and St John, above the high altar, worked in silk and gold, they
looked at and discussed with much appreciation of the skilled
needlework and the richness of the materials. How far the picture
itself appealed to them it was difficult to say. Finally, they would
gather round the great font, sometimes with caution till they saw that
there was no water in it, and listened respectfully to the description
of its use.

"Yes, I see, it is for a religious bath," said one of them; and we
wondered how long it might be before some of these good women would
again gather round the font to receive their own baptism.



     Studies of Indian character. Workpeople rude to their
     employers. Disobedience of female workers. The contractor's
     pay-day. The labourers cheated. The caretaker of the
     wood-store; the risk of fire; the caretaker's fidelity; his
     cheerful poverty; the tyranny of clothes; his prayers. The
     wood-cutters defrauded.

While the village church was in process of building, many valuable
opportunities occurred for getting insight into Indian character.
Various grades of men were employed, from the rough coolies who dug
the foundations, to the skilled decorator who gilded the cross on the
top of the tower. The prosperous Hindu contractor with his clerks and
overseers were constantly on the spot, and vendors of wood and stone
and other materials were frequently in the compound making bargains
about fresh supplies.

One noticeable feature amongst the working people was their rude
manner towards their employers. An English master would not have put
up with it for an hour, but it did not disturb the Indian contractor
in the least, and it was clearly only the normal state of things. Men
and women of all grades joked with their employers, laughed at them,
made game of them, and when angry abused them to their heart's
content. They on their part either took no notice, or laughed, or
abused them in return. Their masters did not resent even deliberate
disobedience. An Englishman generally expects to be obeyed at once,
and hesitation or delay on the part of the subject is looked upon as a
serious offence. But it is not customary for any Indian to obey an
order on the instant. You must always give him a little time.

The contractor's son, who acted as ganger or overseer, would find a
bricklayer's assistant, male or female, sitting in the shade doing
nothing. Women are employed largely as day-labourers, and more often
than not it was the woman who was the slowest to obey. The overseer
would tell her peremptorily to get up and go to work. The woman would
pretend not to hear him. The command would be repeated in louder
tones. The woman would continue to wear an air of supreme
indifference, and would remain sitting. Rougher words, accompanied by
threats, would at last produce the response, "All right! I am coming,"
but without any movement on the part of the woman. She would at length
leisurely resume work. The contractor appeared to be content with this
scant measure of obedience and not to expect more.

But when it came to wages day he was able to pay off old scores, but
not in coin of the realm. Almost everybody in India is paid monthly.
When a person says, "My pay is fifteen rupees," he means that this is
what he gets each month. But the contractor settled accounts when he
felt inclined, and at irregular intervals. Pay-day was a very stormy
one. Its advent was notified by the arrival of the money-box, much
resembling the old-fashioned wooden desk of the last century. The
contractor sat on the ground on a bit of old carpet, under the shade
of a grass-mat, with the box before him. The process of paying often
went on for some hours, because it was accompanied by much fierce
arguing and angry debate. The contractor, though taking large
contracts, could neither read nor write. Yet he was said to have his
complicated accounts clearly registered in his own mind. He
occasionally made a few mystic symbols to assist his memory, which no
one understood except himself. One of his sons, who was better
educated than he was, kept a record of what the labourers did, and it
was from this record that their pay was calculated.

A slight familiarity with the nature of Hindu business transactions
would lead to the conviction that the vehement protestations of many
of the labourers concerning the injustice of this record were well
founded. The contractor was bent on paying no more than he was
absolutely obliged. Considerations concerning justice, which still
have some influence even amongst indifferent Christians, would not
have entered his mind at all. His only anxiety would have been lest
his men should be exasperated to the point of leaving him. Hence the
workmen probably generally came out worst in the conflict because they
had no other means of redress, and labour is in most places abundant
in India, and vacant posts are quickly filled. The contractor, on
pay-day at least, was able to show his contempt for the underlings who
were so often rude to him, by the way in which he gave them their
money. Tossing it to them from a distance, they had to gather it up as
best they could out of the dust into which he threw it.

It is sometimes suggested that the want of truth and honesty in
business affairs amongst Hindus has been exaggerated. But it would be
scarcely possible to exaggerate the extent of what is almost
universal. If you were to ask one of themselves whether he knew of any
Hindu who could be really trusted in any matter involving money, he
would at once reply that he did not know of anybody. The day-labourer
in particular, being a defenceless mortal, rarely gets from anybody
the full sum to which he is entitled. If he is paid by the day,
bearing this in mind, he retaliates by doing as little work as
possible. Hence labourers are almost always paid by the job.

A Hindu wood-merchant took a contract for clearing a large tract of
forest land some miles beyond the Yerandawana settlement. The quantity
of wood was so great that there was no room for it in his yard in
Poona City, and so he rented a strip of land immediately opposite the
Mission bungalow as a temporary wood-store. This vast amount of dry
timber became a matter of some anxiety, because if it had caught fire
it would have roasted us out of church and home. Nor was this fear
altogether unfounded. An old man was appointed caretaker, and lived in
a frail hut in the midst of the wood. He cooked his dinner daily with
the help of a wild-looking, unclothed little daughter who shared his
humble home. They generally kindled their fire inside the hut, which
was made of most inflammable materials, and to judge by the clouds of
smoke which poured out through the coarse thatch at cooking time, the
operations were on rather a large scale. He also made a large bonfire
of refuse bits of wood outside his hut on cold nights, and there he
and a few friends would sit and toast themselves till a late hour.

This man was supposed to be paid by the month, but he told me that his
money was always doled out to him in small sums at irregular
intervals, and that he was never paid up to date. This is a common
custom to secure continuity of service. It would not matter if the
balance due was really given at the conclusion of the compact. But
this is rarely, if ever, done.

The old man watched the wood with exemplary fidelity for two years,
never absent from his post night or day, except for the briefest
possible visit to the bazaar at long intervals, to buy the few
necessities of his simple life. He then fell ill, and decided to give
up his job and return to his native village. But his employer only
gave him a portion of the final balance, on the plea that he must have
neglected his duty when he was unwell. He asked me to write a
certificate to the effect that he had stuck to his post all the time,
which I gladly did, but it was not likely to help his cause with his
heathen master.

This cheerful old man was an example of how happiness does not depend
on comfortable surroundings. The hut, which was of his own
manufacture, was of the most miserable description. Inside there was
literally only just space enough for himself and his little girl to
creep in and lie down. In the monsoon it was reduced to a pitiable
condition, the rain coming through like a sieve. The floor having
become mud, the old man was at last obliged to invest in a native
bedstead, which only costs about 8d. Having secured this luxury he was
quite content, and when he looked across at the Mission bungalow,
which, though homely enough, was a palace compared to his hut, I do
not suppose that he ever felt any wish to exchange residences.

The only thing that he could not bear was the tyranny of clothes, and
he wore even less than is usual in India. His chief joy was to sit and
bake in the morning sun, and to be coiled up in the shade during the
hottest part of the day. Now and then he came over and sat in one of
our verandahs for a little while, and he would wander into church and
gaze round with admiration. He was always smiling, or laughing, or
talking, or working, or sleeping. Though quite ignorant, he was a
devout Hindu according to his lights. It was pathetic to hear him in
his hut calling loudly on his gods, just about the time we went to
Compline. He always repeated the names of about half a dozen gods,
calling on each about twelve times or more in succession, in a rapid
but clear voice which could be distinctly heard in the bungalow. I do
not think that he ever missed his evening exercise. We tried to teach
him something of Christianity; but beyond sharing in the general
appreciation of the fabric of the church, and feeling that Christians
made good neighbours, I do not suppose that he took anything in.
Pictures he did not understand, or when we showed them to him, laughed
merrily, thinking that we meant it for a joke.

After the wood had lain there for a long time, but before the old man
retired, men were sent to cut it up for firewood. Half a dozen men
worked hard for two or three weeks, and sawed and split quite a
mountain of logs. Their day's work they measured in a primitive sort
of balance, and the tally was checked by the old caretaker. Once or
twice an agent from the wood-merchant came on the scene, and a war of
words always ensued on the subject of methods of weighing, and the
prospective payment of results. This was preparing the way for the
final scene when the men began to clamour for their money. The agent
declared that the wood had not been correctly weighed and that it must
be measured afresh, a process which would have taken some days.
Meanwhile he said he would give them a portion of what was due, and
the balance must stand over. The men on receiving their docked pay
indignantly gathered up their tools and declared that they would
return to their native village, which they did. The agent had no doubt
counted on this final result all the time, and was able to report to
his master how well he had served his interests.

The wood had no permanent guardian after the old man left. Other men
came from time to time, worked for a day or two, cut up a certain
amount of wood, and then threw up the job before they had been paid
anything at all, and thus the wood-merchant got a good deal of work
done for nothing. These are the sort of conditions under which nearly
all the poorer class of day-labourers in India have to labour.



     The post-runners; their fidelity. The village post. Letters
     to rustics few. Popularity of post cards. Indian
     train-sorters. Dishonesty. Insurance. Postal privileges. Use
     of the telegraph; its abuse; absurd instance of this. The
     postman a privileged visitor.

The excellence of the postal service in India is surprising
considering the difficult conditions under which it is worked. The men
engaged in the collection and delivery of letters are perhaps more of
a success than those who are employed within the post offices. These
latter have more temptations to dishonesty.

The lowest grade of all in the service is proverbially the most
dependable. These are the "post-runners," who are illiterate men who
collect letters but cannot deliver them, because they cannot read the
addresses. They often have very long beats in remote country
districts, where sometimes there is risk both from robbers and wild
beasts. The runner may be recognised by a sort of javelin which he
carries, presumably for his protection; and to this are attached some
jingling bits of iron or small bells, so that after dark you can
detect the post-runner by this sound. More often than not his long
journey extends into the night. Considering the lonely tracks through
which his road frequently leads, it is to the credit of the
inhabitants of the country that he is not often robbed. It is also to
his own credit that he is said to run any risk rather than fail to
deliver his mail-bag at its destination. His appearance, as he ambles
along in shabby attire with his letter-bag over his shoulder, is not
calculated to inspire confidence. But the Yerandawana letters are
picked up in the evening by one of these primitive post-runners, and
no instance is on record of any letter failing to reach its

Post offices are at present only to be found in a few of the more
important villages. The post-master is generally the Government
schoolmaster, who is grateful for any addition to his small income. In
thousands of Indian villages letters are only delivered two or three
times a week, or even less, and they have no post-box. People send
their letter to the post when anybody happens to be going to the
nearest town.

When the Mission first settled in Yerandawana there was no collection
of letters at all. The English mail letters, which reached Bombay on
Friday, sometimes did not get to Yerandawana till the following
Wednesday. But the postal authorities readily grant facilities as soon
as there is a reasonable demand for them, and there is now a daily
delivery; also a morning and evening collection from a post-box hung
in the verandah of the Mission roadside dispensary.

Villagers at present make so little use of the postal service that
greater facilities than they have already got are not yet required.
Few rustics can write with sufficient ease to enable them to write a
letter, and a considerable proportion of the few letters which come to
our villagers are soon brought on to the Mission-house, or to the
schoolmaster, because the recipients cannot read them for themselves.

Almost all Indian correspondence is carried on by means of post cards.
It is the only country, perhaps, in which the post card may be said to
be a real success. In India it exactly supplied a want. The card is
cheap (it only costs 1/4d.), and it is complete in itself. Stamps and
envelopes have to be wetted. The gum may have been made of the hoofs
or bones of the cow, and the thought of possible defilement of caste
comes in. The post card has no drawback. Its publicity, which makes
English people dislike it, is not considered a disadvantage by the
Indian. He reads other people's letters as a matter of course, and
expects other people to read his. I have often seen a postman seated
by the street side sorting out his post cards, surrounded by an
interested little crowd. He and they are reading as many of the post
cards as there is time for, and no one appears conscious of
irregularity in the proceeding.

A post-office inspector who was travelling in the train with me told
me that they have great difficulty in checking robberies committed by
the Indian train-sorters, because effective supervision is impossible.
In the interval between station and station, which in some of the mail
trains is often an hour or two, the sorters know that they are secure
from interruption. They get skilled in detecting by the feel the
presence of a bank-note within an envelope. In a country where paper
currency is largely in vogue people often send money by post in the
form of notes in unregistered letters, trusting to the thin note not
being observed.

Many such notes get stolen by the train-sorters. Even sending half
notes is not always a security, if the remitter does not take the
precaution of waiting to hear of the safe arrival of the first half.
The dishonest sorter having secured the first half, and having
observed the post-mark and hand-writing, will be on the look-out for
the other half, which he knows is likely to come along the same route
in a day or so. The only chance of getting hold of the thief is by
setting a trap for him in the shape of a marked note or coin. But the
Indian thief often suspects and avoids the trap. Inspectors board the
train at unexpected stations, and travel for a while with the sorters,
and look into their affairs; but the sorters are generally ready for
them, and no sign of irregularity is visible. Nevertheless a certain
percentage of thefts are brought to light, and the delinquents sent
to prison. Insurance of articles sent by post is a great safeguard, as
is shown by the fact that in one year recently the total insured value
of articles posted amounted to nearly £17,000,000, whereas the sum
paid in compensation was only about £500.

There are postal privileges in India such as England knows nothing of.
Not only is there the 1/4d. post card, but there is an inland 1/2d.
postage, for letters not exceeding 1/2 oz. in weight. The value of a
money order is brought in cash by the postman and paid into your hand,
and the receipt that you sign is returned by the post office to the
sender, and there is no possibility of your being defrauded, because,
if the money goes wrong on its way to you, the post office is

Another great convenience is what is commonly spoken of as
V.P.P.--that is to say, the "value payable parcel" system. If you
order something from a shop to be sent by post, the postman collects
the value of the parcel before he hands it over, and the post office
transmits the money to the sender. If the person to whom the package
is sent refuses to pay, or if he cannot be found, the package goes
back to the sender. If the goods are heavy and are forwarded by train,
the railway invoice is sent by post, but it is not handed over by the
postman until he has received the value of the goods. An immense
amount of trouble and correspondence is saved by this system, and it
is a great security to shopkeepers in a country where distances are
great, and many customers unknown, or migratory, or living in
out-of-the-way places.

The telegraph has become rather popular amongst Indians, and they are
inclined to use it on trivial occasions. As telegrams have to be
transmitted in English, I am familiar with the nature of those sent to
rustic Indians, because those that come to Yerandawana always find
their way to the Mission bungalow to be interpreted. Amongst the more
well-to-do Indians a death is now almost always announced by
telegraph. It is a new and impressive way of showing respect to the
deceased, and makes it appear that he was in his lifetime an important
person. In cases of sickness telegrams are despatched here and there
to relations, summoning them urgently and at once, before there has
been time to ascertain whether the sickness is really serious or not.
Relations hurry off from long distances at great expense (how they get
the money is in some cases a mystery), and arrive perhaps to find the
sick person walking about. Christians under similar circumstances act
with just as much hasty precipitation as other Indians.

A most absurd instance of the abuse of the use of the telegraph
happened to one of our Christian women. She got a telegram to the
effect that her son was going to be hanged on the following Thursday,
and that she must come at once. The woman brought the telegram to the
Mission-house in the utmost consternation and distress. The son being
rather a "ne'er-do-weel," his having got into some scrape was not
improbable; but that he should have committed murder, and been tried
and sentenced without anybody hearing of it seemed impossible. A
telegram was sent to the governor of the gaol where the lad was
supposed to be. A reply was promptly returned saying that there was no
prisoner of that name in the gaol. The whole thing proved to be an
absurd attempt on the part of the lad himself to get his mother to
come to the place where he was living. To have merely telegraphed that
he was ill might not have had the desired effect, but the appalling
contents of the false telegram he thought were bound to be effective.
The inevitable distress of his mother he does not appear to have taken
into account at all.

Telegrams are also used as a means of putting on the screw in case of
a debt, or perhaps as a means of extorting money falsely. "Send Rs. 20
at once"--"Bring Rs. 5 without fail to-morrow"--such have been some of
the village telegrams. The contents of a telegram soon become public
property, because a small crowd always accompanies its recipient when
he comes to have it read. They listen eagerly to its contents, discuss
it at length, and retail it to all absentees.


(The white paint-marks on his forehead and cheeks indicate that Vishnu
is his special god.)]

The Indian postman knows that he is a privileged and generally welcome
visitor, especially when he is the bearer of the bulky weekly mail
from England. He steps into the verandah, or in at any of the many
wide-open doors of the bungalow, with a confidence and with a
consciousness that there is no need to ask permission, such as other
Indian visitors do not always feel.



     Spread of English customs inevitable. No national dress.
     Christians and English dress. Increased refinement means
     increased expense; instances of this. Defects in the Indian
     style of dress. Beauty of the turban. Models in the Indian
     Institute. The transformed policeman.

"But why are they in English clothes? Why do they not wear their
Indian dress?" So said somebody when looking at a photograph of some
of the Christian lads who are working in the Mission stables.

The criticism is sometimes heard that missionaries are largely
responsible for the introduction of European dress and customs into
foreign countries. The charge is only partially true; in many cases it
is the restraining influence of the missionary which has done
something to check the inevitable growth of foreign customs, even at
the cost of provoking some discontent amongst the members of his

The real truth of the matter is that the spread of these customs is a
tide that cannot be stayed, and the most that can be hoped for is to
help to regulate it, so that things obviously out of place should not
creep in. As the knowledge of English spreads, the acquisition of
English ways gradually follows. This naturally is specially the case
amongst Christians, because so many of them are living in close touch
with English people.

Indian Christians are sometimes criticised and laughed at for their
frequent adoption of European dress, which often involves the adjuncts
of collars, ties, studs, shoes, and socks. But in so doing they are
not discarding a national dress, because India does not possess one.
Dress in India denotes religion or occupation, not country. The ample
linen cloth which the Hindu folds around his waist and therewith
clothes his legs, denotes that he is a Hindu. For that reason many
Christians do not care to retain it. The Mohammedans have their own
special garb, which of course Christians could not adopt. The English
being a Christian race, it has inevitably followed that their style of
dress should in India become associated with the idea of Christianity,
and few people except Christians wear it, except that coats of English
cut are now common amongst all classes of Indians.

It is true that some missionaries who are anxious to retain Eastern
customs as far as possible are nevertheless averse to the retention of
native costume, because experience has taught them that it has serious
disadvantages, and that it is wholesome for a Christian to be marked
as such wherever he goes by what he wears. Added to which, it is a
well-known fact that an Indian lad, neatly clad in English style with
all those adjuncts for which he is criticised, stands a much better
chance of getting work, and at a higher rate of pay, than would be the
case if he made his application dressed with equal neatness, but in
native garments. His English dress also secures him many little
concessions and courtesies, especially when travelling, which he would
not otherwise get.


Christianity rightly brings in its train aspirations for some of the
refinements of civilisation, and that these involve an increase of
expenditure is inevitable. Indian Christians are sometimes reproached
for their inability to live on the small sum on which a Hindu of the
same station manages to exist. No doubt some, partly from
inexperience, have followed Western ways to a foolish extent. But the
fact remains that a good Christian has unavoidably more expenses than
those of the average working Hindu. He cannot spend his evenings
dozing in the dark, therefore he must have a lamp, with its usual
adjuncts. He has been taught to read, and needs a few books. He now
and then writes a letter. He reads his Bible with his family, and says
some prayers before they go to bed. His wife can sew and mend her
children's clothes, and the evening hours with the lamp are of value
to her. He no longer cares to go about in the scant clothing which
satisfies a Hindu. He would not wish his little children to run
about naked, like those of his Hindu neighbours. He must have clean
clothes for Sunday, and though he can do a little rough washing on his
own account, he needs the skill of the _dhobie_ for some of his wife's
garments and his white Sunday suit. He is expected to contribute
liberally towards church expenses; and where the number of Christians
in a place is few, this burden falls rather heavily on each.
Occasionally he needs a new prayer book or hymn book. He would like to
take in a weekly paper. He has begun to understand a little what is
meant by home life, and so he is tempted to buy pictures and other
ornaments to make his house look pleasant. Without a clock he cannot
make much progress in the practice of punctuality, and he buys one in
order that he may get to church at the proper time. Greater regard for
cleanliness means soap and towels. He can no longer have a share in
the periodical Hindu feasts when poor people, at any rate once in a
way, get a full belly. On the contrary, the traditional spirit of
hospitality, especially at the time of great festivals, is often a
serious drain on the resources of many Christians, who, like most
Indians, are generally generous beyond their means to all comers. The
Indian Christian also desires to have his children educated, and
though he gets a good deal of help from mission schools he does so
less than formerly, and he is often told (and no doubt rightly) that
if he wishes education for his children he must pay for it like other

It would probably be considered almost a heresy even to suggest that
the various styles of dress worn by Indian men are not really more
picturesque than many other styles. A street in an Eastern city, with
its throng of quaintly dressed people, is much more fascinating in
appearance than the sombre hues of an average London crowd in the
winter time. The rich colours and the sparkling jewels of an assembly
of Indian nobility attract the eye by their brilliance. But if you
separate the individuals who make up the crowd, and take their costume
into individual consideration, you are conscious of defects. The
glittering array of an Indian chief appears more adapted to feminine
needs than those of a king or noble. The _dhota_, which takes the
place of trousers amongst Hindus, is not really a particularly comely
garment, and its loose folds are not at all convenient for working
men, especially masons and carpenters, who have to climb about on

The dresses of Indian women in general may safely be accepted as being
more picturesque and more convenient than the styles of female costume
prevalent in Europe. And the turban for the men, with its variety of
shape and colour, and its great practical utility as a protection from
the rays of the tropical sun, is without doubt the most artistic
covering for the head that the world produces. It is a sad pity that
the turban is being slowly but steadily ousted by the adoption of a
stupid little cloth cap, as ugly as it is useless.

How hopeless it would be to attempt to decide which is the national
dress out of any of those now worn in India, might be realised even in
England by a visit to a museum, such as the Indian Institute in
Oxford. There is there a most interesting collection of clay figures,
admirably modelled, and coloured and draped. They represent many of
the various types and dresses to be found in the country. These
figures are made in Poona City, and are absolutely correct. They do
not by any means include all the varieties of costume to be seen in
India. Nevertheless, if you were to mix them all up together, the
result would very fairly represent the motley throng which you might
see in the more crowded parts of Bombay City, to which place, as a
great sea-port, people come from all parts of India. If you were to
select a person out of the throng as wearing a dress suitable for
Christians to adopt, you would be told that that particular costume
denoted either the man's religion or his occupation, or both, and for
anyone else to wear it, except those of the same class as himself,
would create a false impression as to the wearer's identity. If you
were to suggest that the costume selected might be adopted as the
national dress for India, you would be assured that no one would
consent to wear it except the little group of people whose
distinctive garb it is.

How much dress has to do with the appearance of an Indian was brought
home to me one day, when a magnificent-looking policeman entered the
carriage in which I was sitting, at a station near Bombay. He had on a
tall blue turban, dark blue tunic with leathern belt, loose
knickerbockers, and putties. His clothes were put on with extreme
neatness; they were as spotless as those of a London policeman, and
the brass numbers and letters polished to the highest degree. I was
astonished to see this magnificent fellow rapidly divest himself of
all his clothing--turban, tunic, knickerbockers, putties--there would
have been nothing left, except that a Hindu wears beneath his uniform
the meagre garments which suffice for everyday life, so that when he
had got rid of everything which appertained to him as a policeman he
was still fit to go into Indian society. The ordinary garments of an
Indian are scanty, but the double set of clothing might be thought
rather oppressive in the tropics. But the Indian likes to be warmly
clad at any time of the year. Boys of the Mission will wear comforters
and warm coats well into the hot season if allowed to do so.

The effect of the removal of the policeman's uniform was startling. He
was evidently going off duty, because he handed all his discarded
belongings to a friend on the platform, and he was only using my
carriage as a dressing-room. The whole process of transformation only
took about two minutes, and he then walked off in the opposite
direction. But no one could have supposed that there was any identity
between the shabby Hindu, with shaved head and little pigtail and
fluttering _dhota_, and that fine-looking fellow who first entered the



     On the railway. The unpunctual neighbour. Indians' opinions
     concerning punctuality. Christianity only a partial cure.
     Servants and punctuality. Indians' unpunctuality at meals.
     Parable of the Marriage Feast. Patient waiting.

The inveterate unpunctuality of almost all Indians is a serious
obstacle to the progress of the country. Hours and days are wasted
through their failure to keep appointments, or to do work at the
proper time. The Indian takes long to understand, and never
appreciates, the Englishman's craze for punctuality. Because the
Englishman grumbles when the Indian is two hours late in keeping his
appointment, the latter thinks that it is only part of the former's
natural unreasonableness.

This Indian habit of unpunctuality would soon produce confusion and
disaster on the railway. For this reason English station-masters at
the principal stations, and English drivers and guards on most
passenger trains are, at present, a necessity. Subordinates, working
under English supervision, are obliged to hurry up. Parsees, who in
many ways display great business capacity, make reliable
engine-drivers. But they are themselves only settlers in India.


It is difficult to get subordinate Indian railway officials to realise
that minutes are of importance. Express trains, especially on some of
the lines where the number of European officials is not great, are
frequently held up through the carelessness of native station-masters
at roadside stations. I remember an express having to wait more than
ten minutes near a wretched little country station in the early
morning, the driver whistling frantically before the slumbering
master, who was the only station official, could be roused to lower
the signal. When at last the train moved slowly past the station I saw
this Indian official in process of being withered up by the scorching
language of the English driver. But in spite of that, the probability
is that he soon repeated the offence. Such carelessness involves the
additional risk that it tempts drivers to run past signals, on the
assumption that the signalman is asleep or inattentive to his duty.

A kindly Hindu offered to drive me in his carriage to the cantonment
on some business matter. He suggested that we should start at seven
the next morning, and he was a little disappointed because I said that
I should not be free to start till 7.30. As the carriage had not
appeared at that hour the next morning, I sent over to my neighbour to
ask how soon he would be ready. He replied, "In a quarter of an
hour." He came over himself at 8.15 to say that there was a slight
delay, but that we should very soon be off. He sat talking till 8.45,
and then said he would go and expedite matters. He returned in about
half an hour, and asked whether after all it might not be better if we
went in the Mission _tonga_. But as that was not available, he said
that it was of no consequence, because his own carriage would be ready
almost directly. At about a quarter to ten I went over to see what our
prospects were, and he then said that he thought we had better put off
the expedition for that day, and make a really early start the next
morning. He gave strict orders to his servant that the carriage should
be ready without fail, and soon after 6 A.M. it actually appeared. But
even then we did not get off till nearly nine. And this is only one
instance of the delay and uncertainty and waste of time which occurs
daily, and many times a day, in some phase or other, and is a
necessary feature of all Indian affairs.

Talking to an intelligent young Hindu about this defect, I suggested
that it might be partly due to the scarcity of clocks, and that when
these became more numerous and better understood there might be some
improvement. The young man replied: "Clocks and watches will make no
difference; the defect is in the Indian nature."

"Then will this never be cured?" I asked.

"Probably never," he said.

"Never," I answered, "until Christianity teaches you the value of

Another Indian, quite independently, expressed the same idea in almost
the same words. "Some of us have learnt to be punctual," he said, "in
our engagements with English people because we find that they expect
it of us. But we shall never be any different in this respect amongst
ourselves. We do not think it any drawback to be two or three hours

Another Hindu, referring with approval to the punctuality and
regularity of the services in the church, said, "We also have our
fixed times for our observances. But the difference between us is that
you keep them, and we don't."

It must be confessed that Christianity is only partially successful in
curing the defect of unpunctuality. Both amongst priests and people,
unless there happens to be some Englishman at hand with precise ideas
about time, there is an extraordinary vagueness as to the hour for
service, especially in country districts. Service begins when a
sufficient number of people have arrived. The bell is very little
guide, because when it has been rung and nobody comes, it is rung
again. A few people turn up much too early. A few more arrive just as
service is over. The rest have straggled in at intervals. Neither
priest nor people are in any way troubled, or disturbed, or surprised
at each other's want of punctuality. Because, it should be added, that
even if the congregation has gathered at the proper time, it does not
follow as a matter of course that the Indian priest will be punctual.

Servants learn to serve meals at the appointed time when they have
once grasped the idea that this is required of them, and they do not
hesitate to politely rebuke an habitually punctual master if by chance
he is late. If the bell for Office at the Mission-house does not ring
precisely at the moment, one of the house-boys is sure quickly to
appear before whoever is responsible, and will say reproachfully,
"Time is finished." Or, if the response to the bell for meals is not
immediate, he will come and say sternly, "The bell has rung." But this
does not mean that they see the value of punctuality. They look upon
it as an English peculiarity which it is expedient to humour, and
which the Englishman ought to uphold, but it does not make them
punctual in their own social or business arrangements.

Even although most Indians look forward to meal-time with a good deal
of relish, they cause their womenkind much inconvenience by the
irregular way in which they come home to meals. Not only has the wife
the trouble of trying to keep the dinner hot and ready for an
indefinite time, but as she never eats until her husband has been fed,
she has to fast until he returns.

In the parable of the Marriage Feast and the Great Supper, we read of
servants going to tell the guests, who (it should be noticed) had
already been invited, that they were to come, "for all things are now
ready." This is what actually takes place in connection with most
Indian feasts. The invitation is for a certain hour. But the chance of
the meal being ready at that time is very remote. Hence it is usual to
tell the more distinguished guests, living within reach, that someone
will come and call them when everything is really ready. And the
summons is expressed almost in the exact words of the parable.

The few people who happen to arrive at the hour mentioned in their
invitation are not disturbed at having to wait for their meal for a
period which may extend even to hours. It is to be feared that English
guests invited to a dinner-party at seven, and having to wait till
nine-thirty before the dinner-bell rang, would not be in a very
agreeable frame of mind by the time they sat down to table.



     Indian squalor. The Indian's house; how he takes his meals;
     no home life; physical results. Contrast of the Brahmin
     doctor's home; his little sons. But without a religion. The
     Hindu contractor; his visit to the Church; his pathetic

Whether the sometimes so-called "simplicity" of Indian native life is
really a thing to be desired, is a question which it may be well to
ask. It is, undoubtedly, a right general principle that each person's
life should be kept as homely and simple as circumstances will allow.
There is, however, a distinction between simplicity and the squalor of
sordid poverty.

A poor Indian lives as he does chiefly because he cannot help himself,
and partly, perhaps, because he has no other ideal. But it is at best
an unlovely and cramping form of existence. Though he can sustain life
on a remarkably small wage, he is nearly always hungry, and has so
little stamina that he easily succumbs under serious sickness. He
wears but little clothing, and his young children none at all. But he
suffers much in the rains because he has no change of garments, and
in the cold weather because his flimsy dress is no protection; and if
he gets a little money he gladly buys a blanket, or a warm coat. He
has no lamp in his dwelling because he cannot afford it, and after the
early nightfall he has to pass his evening hours sitting in the dark,
when there is no moon. In almost all the houses of a country village
in western India, and in many of the houses in towns, there is no
furniture at all. Sometimes there is a small cot for the baby, hung
from one of the rafters; and now and then a somewhat larger wooden
frame, suspended in the same fashion, is used by the grown-up members
of the family to sit or sleep upon. But, as a rule, everybody sits and
sleeps on the ground. The floors of the houses are invariably made of
earth, beaten down hard, and smeared periodically with a decoction of

Even a well-to-do Indian takes his food sitting on the ground in the
place where the food was cooked, which is often a dark lean-to
building, attached to the main dwelling. He takes off all his clothing
except his _dhota_, and eats with his fingers in silence. Sociality at
such a time is out of place; it diverts the mind from the business in
hand, which is that of "filling the belly," as the Indian himself
commonly expresses it. The women of the household never sit down to
dinner with the rest of the family. They wait on the men, and then
take their own meal afterwards by themselves. There is nothing
elevating in the process.

The meal of an average Indian Christian family is a complete contrast.
Poverty probably compels simplicity and frugality; but father and
mother and children sit down together, and there is much sociality.
The desire to sit on chairs merely as a mark of distinction is a
foolish aspiration. Nevertheless, as an Indian Christian once
expressed it to me, "The wish to come off the floor means that we are
growing in refinement and politeness."

There are usually no windows in most of the older houses of the poorer
people. Modern houses have sometimes several windows, but they are
barred and shuttered, and from long habit are usually kept closed by
preference. The only movable articles in the houses of the bulk of the
Indian population are the brass and copper, or earthenware, cooking
pots and pans, and the prosperity of the household can be pretty
accurately gauged by the quality, number, and condition of these
utensils. A few people own besides an old box or two, generally
containing an accumulation of old rags, which nearly all Indians seem
to take an interest in collecting. Extra clothes, when they have any,
are hung on large wooden pegs, which are fixed into the walls of most
rooms in Indian dwellings.

One result of the comfortless and dreary aspect of the interior of an
Indian's house is that very few of them have any home life, as we
understand it. The Indian does not sit indoors, unless compelled to
do so by sickness, or stress of weather. And though the majority are
satisfied so to live, because no other manner of life is known to
them, there is nothing beautiful about it. Even from a purely physical
point of view, it is an unwholesome state of things. The airless,
lightless houses are most unsavoury, and in times of sickness and
childbirth this is intensified. It cannot be wondered at that plague,
or cholera, or malignant fevers, often make frightful ravages in
families. Nor does it tend to elevate the character to sit on a mud
floor dozing in the dark, or telling scandalous stories with the
children drinking in every word.

By way of contrast, I recall the country home of a Brahmin doctor, who
has built himself a house at Yerandawana as a haven of refuge in time
of plague. It is surrounded by a little garden, radiant with flowers.
It lacks the neatness of an English garden, nevertheless it is
something far away ahead of anything which any of his neighbours have
attempted. His name means "seven sons." He has already got six, and is
hoping for the seventh. These six little sons are dressed in ordinary
English boys' dress. They are frequent visitors at the Mission
bungalow. It may, of course, be only English prejudice which makes
this dress appear to me better for the boys themselves than the scant
garments of the Indian. Instead of the usual shorn head and small
pigtail, their glossy hair, very neat in the case of the elder boys,
tumbled about in the case of the younger ones, is a delightful

But to look in at the open door in the evening at their home life, as
I have often done, is entirely convincing. A table is in the middle of
the room covered with a red cloth; there is a bright lamp, a few
pictures are on the walls, and the party of cheerful boys are sitting
round the table. Some are playing games, others are drawing, some are
looking at books. Though in such a different clime, the sight brought
back the memory of winter evenings in boyish days at home.

This Hindu doctor has practically parted with his religion. There are
probably no objects of worship in his country home, except a Tulsi
plant on a pedestal in the back compound. This plant is a good deal
venerated by women, and no doubt was provided for the benefit of the
ladies of his household. But although it is some gain to have given up
idolatrous customs, and to have adopted some of the refinements of
civilised life, he and his little family are in the unhappy condition
at present of being without a religion.

A Hindu contractor, who was visiting the church one day, surprised me
by saying, as he turned towards one of the pictures hanging on the
walls: "This is the baptism of Christ--the river is the Jordan. He was
baptized by John." I asked him how he knew all these facts. He replied
that he had been educated at a Jesuit school, and that he had learnt
them there. I said that, having been brought up under such
circumstances, and having learnt so much and being now well advanced
in years, how was it that he was still a Hindu. He answered: "I cannot
tell. All I know is that now I do not know what I am."

He asked many intelligent questions. Amongst the rest, did we hear
confessions? He was a type of a constantly increasing number of
educated men, who, although outwardly appearing as Hindus, only
practise the minimum of religious observances, and have no belief at
all. Amongst these are men, like the Brahmin doctor, who have imbibed
something of the spirit of Christianity from what they have heard and
seen, and are distinctly the better for having dropped so much of
their Hinduism. But their position is a pathetic one, because so few
of them have the courage to act upon the considerable measure of truth
which has come home to them.



     Intrusion of Western ideas; unfortunate result. Royal
     palaces. Carving and balustrades; graceful domestic
     utensils; their high polish. Native jewellery; beautiful
     examples in villages. Incongruous pictures from Europe.
     Indian oil paintings; effect of Christianity on Indian art;
     wall decorations. Women's taste in colour.

Indian art is sadly degenerating through the intrusion of inferior
Western designs. Modern houses in most Indian cities lack the artistic
grace which distinguishes many of the old houses of wealthy people.
Part of the beauty of many ancient dwellings in Poona City is to be
found in their admirable proportions. Modern houses in India are often
built in a pseudo-Gothic style, with barbarous innovations in the
shape of base metal-work and glaring coloured glass, and in which all
sense of proportion has been hopelessly lost.


Some of the modern palaces of Indian Rajahs are built and furnished in
this style, at an immense cost, and with most incongruous results.
Whereas many of the old palaces, and those of northern India in
particular, afford beautiful examples of royal residences, well
adapted to the needs of Indians, and yet capable of being modified
for the use of modern-minded rulers who have adopted some of the
household arrangements of the West. Sir Swinton Jacob has shown in the
fairy-like palace which he built at Jeypore, but which internally you
find exactly suited to the requirements of a modern museum, how
possible it is to adapt Indian architecture to present-day needs.
There is a good deal of carving, effectively placed and graceful in
design and skilfully executed, both on the outside and inside of old
houses in the City of Poona; and the balustrades that form the front
of the narrow verandahs, which run along so many of the houses with
happy effect, afford charming specimens of what the turner's craft can
accomplish. But nowadays ironwork, such as adorns a cheap bedstead,
more often than not is substituted for the graceful balustrade, and
some tawdry decoration, or coarsely-cut stone corbel, takes the place
of the picturesque carved woodwork.

The graceful outline of pots and pans used in Indian households has
often been remarked upon, and happily at present there are no signs of
degeneration in this department of domestic life. The traditional
shapes still hold their ground; and even quite common utensils, made
of coarse earthenware, are pleasing to look at. The more costly brass
and copper vessels in ordinary daily use are delightful examples of
how much beauty can be got out of an artistic outline, even when there
is an entire absence of ornamentation. In the midst of a vast amount
of apparent disregard for cleanliness, there are certain matters about
which a Hindu is excessively particular. The metal cups and pans must
be polished up to the highest pitch of perfection, and though the
Hindu woman will take the dust or mud of the street for her polishing
powder, the result of her labours is that the vessels shine
brilliantly. They are the more beautiful because, in order that
cleanliness may be assured by the smooth, unbroken surface, they are
quite unadorned.

It has sometimes been discussed whether the specimens of old Indian
brass in museums should be polished or not, and some collectors
carefully preserve the old tarnish. It would be impossible in the
English climate to keep the objects continually bright, without
infinite labour; but it is well to remember, in considering the
artistic merits of any brazen article, that its original normal
condition was one of high polish.

Native jewellery is also being influenced for the worse by the
infusion of Western ideas. The Indian workers in gold and silver are
apt now to imitate the design of the cheap jewellery imported from
Europe, and they are not aware that their own traditional designs are
really much the most beautiful. Many of the chains and necklaces and
bracelets worn by villagers, both male and female, are the best
examples of unadulterated Indian art, because modern ideas and shapes
have not yet reached them; or, if they see some of these new devices
when they come to give their order to the goldsmith in the city, they
are still conservative enough to prefer the designs of their
forefathers. There are quaint and ingenious devices for fastening the
necklaces, and part of the charm of the primitive handiwork is its
individual character, shown in a certain roughness and want of rigid

In the houses of the more old-fashioned wealthy Hindus, in their big
reception-room, only rarely used, may be seen curious examples of the
mistakes which may be made so easily when introducing objects of art
from another country without adequate knowledge. Pictures from
England, interspersed with mirrors, form the chief decoration on the
walls of many of these saloons. They are hung almost touching each
other, very high up, like the "sky-ed" line of the Royal Academy, but
with nothing on the walls below, and they often present a most curious
jumble: a few good engravings; gaudy pictures, first issued as
advertisements; portraits of persons, known and unknown; worthless
prints in gorgeous frames; and a picture with some merit, stuck all
awry in a frame which does not belong to it.

In the houses of a younger generation you will see large oil paintings
by modern Indian artists, in heavy gilt frames and properly hung,
although still rather higher than is usual with us. Some are family
portraits; some are scenes from the histories of the gods. The colours
used are exceedingly brilliant, and the picture itself is often
painted on a very bright background. The drawing, which used to be the
defective part of Indian pictures, is much improving now that drawing
has become a regular part of the education of the Indian boy.

It is rather difficult to judge of the artistic value of a picture
painted in a style so unlike Western models. But on the whole one is
led to think that the brilliant colours are suited to the country, and
that they are blended with astonishing taste, considering the extreme
difficulty of blending happily hues of such a pronounced character. If
only the study of Western examples helps to purify the Indian style
without destroying its individuality, one would hope that Indian
artists will eventually produce pictures which will have a great charm
of their own.

Their mythology for the most part only supplies them with gods whose
traditional form is either grotesque, or repulsive, or sensual. But
when Christianity has been accepted, and incorporated into the lives
of the people, the wide field for artistic and religious effect which
will then open out will give new scope, and one may expect some very
striking results when familiar scenes of sacred story are depicted by
the Eastern pencil and brush.

Indians are fond of decorating the outside whitewashed walls of their
temples and houses with mural paintings. They often present a quaint
mixture of hunting-scenes, and animals and gods, and soldiers and
Indians and Europeans. One such fresco, on the wall of the house of
the headman of Yerandawana village, is a most comical reproduction of
the garden front of Windsor Castle, taken from an _Illustrated London
News_, but embellished with many Indian characteristics. The purely
decorative part of these wall pictures is often graceful and
harmonious, and one can look forward to the day when the Christian
Indian artist will joyfully decorate, in his own traditional style,
the bare white walls of the village Church of St Crispin, and
beautiful saints and angels will take the place of the dethroned gods.

The, often richly coloured, garments of the Indian woman, whether poor
or rich, are always in perfect taste and harmony; even the Parsee
ladies, who boldly use colours of astonishing brilliancy in their
dresses, seem to be able to do so without producing that amazing
discord of colour which greets the traveller from the East as he comes
back Westwards into the streets of a European city.



     The village Panchayat; a rough and ready tribunal; its
     decisions. Magisterial trial of offences on the spot. The
     Christian Panchayat; its doubtful results; fans the spirit
     of discord; undesirable reiteration of incidents. Want of
     wholesome reserve. Knowledge of evil. Out-caste villagers no
     longer servile; disposal of dead carcases; burial of
     strangers. Mahars growing prosperous.

In Indian villages there is what is called a Panchayat, or committee
of five, for the settlement of disputes, although of late years many
of the Panchayats have become practically moribund. The members of
this council are chosen from the leading men of the village. All kinds
of disputes can be submitted to this court of arbitration, from cases
of cattle trespass, or doubtful land boundaries, to breaches of Hindu
religious custom. It is the Panchayat which has the power to out-caste
a man--a dreaded punishment--which means that his relations and
friends will no longer hold intercourse with him; no one will hand him
food or water; shopkeepers may refuse to serve him; and if he dies,
none of his own people will bury or cremate him, but his body will
be left to be disposed of by the scavengers.

[Illustration: MRS SALOME ZADHAW.]

The Panchayat is only a rough and ready way of settling disputes, or
punishing minor offences. Much of the evidence in the cases which come
before it is either false or else grossly distorted. The members of
the Panchayat are already probably prejudiced either for or against
the offender, and make no attempt to rise above their prejudices. Any
one of them will side with the party who will make it worth his while
to do so.

The final decision may, or may not, be in accordance with the facts of
the case. The guilty person, if an offence has been committed, may
escape; and an innocent person, who has few friends and little to
offer, may get punished. Men who are poor and unpopular sometimes get
sorely bullied, and even ill-treated, in an Indian village.
Nevertheless, at present the Panchayat has its use in Hindu India, and
the prospect of being brought under its power is a wholesome terror.
When India has progressed a stage further this primitive mode of
procedure, already a good deal discredited, will no doubt be
superseded altogether.

Unfortunately, even in more august tribunals where the desire to be
true and just is uppermost, false evidence is so rife that there has
to be a good deal of guesswork, and calculations of probabilities,
when trying to come to a right decision. It has lately been advocated
that magistrates should, when practicable, hold their preliminary
trial of offences in the village where the misdemeanour is alleged to
have taken place. The witnesses under these circumstances are more
disposed to give a true account of what has happened. They are
surrounded by neighbours who know, to some extent, whether they are
speaking the truth or not, and are apt to betray them in case of
falsehood. But if the inquiry takes place at a city police-court, the
witnesses come in contact with the false witnesses, and bad
characters, and petty lawyers (or "pleaders" as they are called), who
hang about in the vicinity, and the usual result is that having been
tampered with by some interested person, all hopes of an honest
narrative are at an end.

There is a laudable desire to adapt Indian customs to the needs of
Indian Christians. The result has not always been the success which
was hoped for. The truth is, that what may be advantageous in the
heathen world may be quite otherwise when applied to the circumstances
of the Christian community. Because it was the old custom in Hindu
villages to settle difficulties, secular and religious, by a
Panchayat, it was thought that it would be advantageous to exercise
discipline in the Church in the same way. It was well to give it a
trial, but many begin to doubt its applicability. The Indian often is,
like many others, a man of strong prejudices, and even Christianity is
not altogether successful in uprooting this fault. His likes and
dislikes are pronounced, and are not always according to reason.
Certain excellent people will side with a pronounced wrongdoer, for no
apparent cause; not necessarily from a charitable desire to give him
another chance. Also, the pleasing Indian characteristic of regard for
family relationship, which is so strong, leads to an anxiety to
belittle the wrongdoings of anyone who can claim kinship, and this may
be carried even to the verge of distortion, or suppression of the
truth. Anyhow, the conclusions of the Christian Panchayat are, not
unfrequently, singularly at variance with what would appear to be the
right verdict.

There is another reason why the Panchayat, as applied to Christian
congregations, is not altogether wholesome. The true spirit of charity
is a difficult virtue to acquire. When two people quarrel, unless they
quickly forgive, they are generally anxious to air their grievance.
Indians in particular wish the whole matter gone into with
elaboration, so that, as they say, justice may be done. The Panchayat
gives exactly the opening which they crave. A quarrel between two
neighbours, which ought to have been quickly adjusted by mutual
forgiveness, becomes a subject of endless discussion. Many others get
dragged into it; and the spirit of discord, instead of being laid to
rest by the proceedings of the Panchayat, often finds a greatly
enlarged scope for mischief.

In bringing a case of immorality before this tribunal the evil is
intensified. The matter is gone into minutely, with much freedom of
expression. Nor does it end there. The members of the Panchayat return
to their homes, and, with the fullest detail, repeat to wife and
children the incidents that the inquiry has disclosed. For days it is
the all-engrossing subject of conversation. "There is no reserve
amongst us in the sense that you English people have it," said a
leading Indian Christian to me; "there is nothing which our children
do not know." Consulting an intelligent Christian Indian on the
difficult question as to how much might be said with safety when
warning the young on the subject of purity, he replied: "It is
impossible to teach them anything which they do not know already.
Other people talk to them, and the youngest know all that there is to
be known."

It should be added, that although with very few exceptions this is
certainly true, the knowledge of evil does not, as a matter of course,
produce evil, and there are many Indian Christian lads who, sustained
by the power of sacramental grace, are leading lives of exemplary
self-control, while living in circumstances of great temptation.

Whatever may have been the case in years gone by, the out-caste people
of a village are not now the downtrodden, servile folk such as they
are commonly supposed to be, although there are still instances of
individual oppression. Most of them are leading more wholesome lives
than those of the richer, self-indulgent men, and this is evidenced
by their more vigorous and manly frame. They are, to some extent, at
the beck and call of the chief men of the place, and more especially
of the _Patel_, but they are independent in their bearing, and obey
cheerfully without cringing. Some of their duties may sound unsavoury.
As, for instance, they are responsible for the removal of a dead
carcase found within the village boundary. But if it is the body of an
animal fit for food, such as a buffalo, sheep, or goat, they feast
upon it themselves, quite regardless of what disease it may have died

A buffalo belonging to the Mission died from snake-bite, as it was
supposed, though that sometimes is only another name for wilful
poisoning. The disposal of its immense carcase seemed a perplexity.
But just as we were considering this point, we saw the buffalo
travelling away at a rapid pace on the shoulders of the village
Mahars, who took it as their natural perquisite, and did not think it
necessary to wait for leave. The horns, hoofs, skin, and bones are
marketable commodities, so that, besides the feast, they often make a
good thing out of agricultural tragedies.

The same class of men are responsible for any stray burials, which are
not at all uncommon in a country where there are many homeless
wanderers, some of whom, when weary and ill, just lie down by the
roadside and die. The Mahars of the nearest village bury the nameless
corpse. The clothes of the dead man are sufficient recompense for
hasty interment in a shallow grave, and the jackals the next night
probably discover, and make short work of, the corpse. I have seen the
body of some such poor wanderer, with scarcely a rag upon it, slung
upon a pole and carried like a dead dog by a couple of Mahars along
the high-road to a place of burial.

Many low-caste men have, of late years, grown prosperous and acquired
land of their own. In the neighbourhood of cities some of them get
well-paid posts as night-watchmen, and as they are often frugal
people, they gradually put by a good deal of money. The servants of
Europeans are also largely drawn from this class, and a capable
servant is able to secure wages which, together with pickings in the
shape of tips and perquisites, enable him to save. The low-caste
people of a village often present a brilliant appearance when they
turn out in holiday attire on some festal day, and the gold ornaments
of the women sufficiently indicate their prosperous condition. That
they have their own quarter, outside the village proper, does not
cause them any searchings of heart. They come into the village freely,
and talk and mix with the other people, and Mahar boys often play with
the other children. But when there is a village feast they have, of
course, to sit quite apart.


There are indications that the village low-caste people are beginning
to retaliate for whatever oppression they may have had to undergo, by
becoming rather insolent to their betters. Some of them are also
using the facilities for education which late years have put within
their reach with good effect, and have gradually risen to positions of
importance in Government and other service.



     Indian titles. The Inamdar. The _pan supari_ party.
     Mohammedan saints. The _nautch_; why objectionable. The
     Inamdar's house; its decorations; furniture. Mohammedan
     full-dress. The guests; nature of the entertainment. The
     guests garlanded; no hostess. General conclusions; not an
     occasion for a missionary.

The titles belonging to Indians of real or imaginary importance take
up an astonishing amount of space on paper. I received an invitation
to what is called on the card, a _pan supari_ party. The person who
issues the invitation is, so the card informs me, "Sardar Khanbahadur
Kazi Sayed Azimodin Gulamodin Pirzade Inamdar." His real name is
Azimodin. The rest could be dispensed with. He is the Mohammedan chief
of Yerandawana. Part of the revenue of that village was, at some
distant date, allotted to a mosque in Poona City. It is therefore
called an _Inam_ village, and the holder of the grant is called the
_Inamdar_, the word "inam" meaning "grant." A small percentage of the
Government land tax is paid over to the Inamdar, and he has other
small perquisites, such as the fruit of certain trees. He also has
some privileges connected with the river which flows past Yerandawana;
as, for instance, gravel cannot be taken from it without paying him a
royalty. He also has certain rights over the stone quarries and the
pasturage on some of the hills.

_Pan supari_ is the betel nut wrapped up in a leaf, which is
distributed to guests on festal occasions, and chewed by those who
like it. It is one of the few things which can be accepted and eaten
without prejudice to caste. Just as in England you might be asked to a
"tea" party, so here in India we were asked to a _pan supari_ party;
only, unfortunately, there is nothing very satisfying in the betel
nut, although all Indians are fond of it.

Mohammedans have a great respect for the memory of those of their
number whom they regard as "saints"; whether they are technically or
actually such does not seem to matter much. Many of their tombs may be
noticed in cities and villages, or by the roadside under some
spreading tree. The festival of each local saint is kept by the
Mohammedans of that locality with prayers and feasting and merrymaking
for several days. The occasion of the _pan supari_ party was the
festival of the local saint of the mosque which adjoined the Inamdar's
house in the city. The saint's names and titles were also of
formidable dimensions--"Peer Sayed Hisamodin Kattal Junjani Chishte."

I consulted another friendly Mohammedan as to whether I could safely
accept the invitation without running the risk of finding myself a
sharer in festivities of a doubtful character. He said that these sort
of festivals always commenced with great propriety, but often
degenerated as they proceeded. But that the _pan supari_ party to
which English were invited was sure to be eminently respectable, while
the concluding days would probably be devoted to singing and dancing
of the usual dubious kind.

Unfortunately, parties to which English are invited by both Hindus and
Mohammedans are not always free from objectionable features. Not
unfrequently part of the entertainment is dancing, and sometimes
singing, by professional performers. English people sometimes plead
that there is nothing particularly objectionable in the nature of the
dance, and that the singing is in a language which they do not
understand. But it is the character of the women who dance and sing
which some English people are not aware of. They are invariably
professional women of bad character, because no other kind of Indian
woman ever takes part in public performances of this nature in the
presence of men. And it is on this ground that Christians ought always
to refuse invitations to any festivity in which a _nautch_, or dance,
is put down as one of the events, stating politely the reason of
refusal. Indians often arrange for entertainments of this kind
because they imagine that it is the sort of thing which Europeans
enjoy. A few officials of high rank have done good service by
intimating that they do not wish to be entertained in this manner.

I accepted the Inamdar's invitation. I thought it might be useful
experience. The hour was from five to six. The address was nearly as
long as the host's name--"Badi Darga, Riverside, Zuni Mandai, in front
of Shanwar Wada, Kasba Peth, Poona City." But, in spite of these
precise directions, it would have been a difficult place for anyone to
find who was not pretty well acquainted with the labyrinths of the old

Sometimes one is tempted to smile as one thinks of the splendour of
Eastern entertainments, or of the "gorgeous East," as it exists in the
imagination of many English people, or in the mind of the newspaper
correspondent of an Eastern tour. The triumphal arch at the entrance
of the narrow lane leading to the Inamdar's house might have made an
effective Indian photograph for home consumption. But the poles,
draped with pink muslin, were a grateful sight only because they told
us that we were on the right track. Also, a coat of gravel newly
spread along the lane was a welcome indication that there was no need
to walk with the caution which is expedient in most of the streets of
Poona City.

The Inamdar's house is by the river side, and the river being at that
time in flood and full from bank to bank, it would have been a
picturesque sight, if it had not been for the colour of the water,
which gave the impression of a river of rolling mud. This is the case
with most Indian rivers, and detracts a good deal from their beauty.
The buildings forming the Inamdar's establishment enclosed an
irregular sort of courtyard. On one side of this was the mosque and
the tomb of the saint. The residential part of the premises formed
another side, into which the mixed assembly of a _pan supari_ party
would not be allowed to penetrate. A third side of the courtyard was
occupied by a long, low, whitewashed shed, open in front, and with a
few small windows at the back looking on to the river, and this was
arranged for the reception of the guests. It was elaborately festooned
with paper flowers and other adornments, something after the fashion
of Christmas-tree decorations. The effect was more gay than artistic.
I have never been able to ascertain where the particular sort of
furniture originally came from which adorns the reception-rooms of
Indians who are in a position to occasionally entertain distinguished
guests. It is a little like what is sometimes seen on the stage. The
sofas and chairs are very ornate, and equally uncomfortable. The
carpets are often really handsome, because their design and
manufacture is an art which is thoroughly understood in the East, and
in more primitive days they would have formed almost the only
furniture of a reception-hall.

Out in the compound were flowers in pots, after the manner of an
Indian garden, and a few trees, as well as one or two tombs of
Mohammedan saints of a somewhat lower rank than Peer Sayed Hisamodin.
A strip of red cloth from the place where carriages were to set down,
indicated that visitors were to make their way into the shed. I was
amongst the earliest arrivals, and was received by the Inamdar and his
son with all that graceful courtesy which no one knows better how to
show than an Indian. The full dress of a Mohammedan is striking and
effective. They never of course wear the _dhota_, which is the garment
of Hindus, but they wear instead trousers, fitting very close at the
foot, but of great width in the upper part.

I thought it prudent to ask what the order of proceedings would be.
They told me that there would be a little music, and distribution of
garlands and _pan supari_, and finally dancing. I replied that I could
not witness the last item in the programme. The Inamdar's son
intimated that this item would not come off till later on in the
evening, when the Europeans would have left. I asked him how they
could be willing to receive into their house women of the character of
the dancers. He looked sheepish, and was no doubt relieved that
another arrival called him away.

We presented a curious medley when all were assembled. A Hindu
Collector drove up in his motor car, faultlessly dressed in English
clothes, and so like a courteous European in his general bearing that,
except for his white and gold turban, it might have been difficult to
suppose that he was not one. Many Indians are, comparatively speaking,
very fair, and if you are living habitually in the country you become
almost oblivious to shades of complexion. The English Collector also
arrived, with his wife. Collectors are, of course, magistrates and
officials of importance. The Commissioner of the division followed,
who is senior to a Collector. Mohammedans, Hindus, and a few Parsees
arrived, some in smart carriages, a few in hired conveyances, and
others on foot. Another motor car with an Indian owner drove up. At
present the dash, and go, and smartness of a motor-car seem strangely
out of keeping with the spirit of leisure, and delay, and general
shabbiness so marked in things Indian.

When the party might be said to be in full swing I do not know that it
was much duller, or more pointless, than receptions in England.
Certainly a cup of tea is more refreshing than the fragment of betel
nut wrapped up in a leaf and enclosed in a piece of gold paper. Few
Europeans have courage to eat it, but it should always be accepted,
and after your departure you can gladden the heart of any native by
giving it to him. A few Indians provide spirituous drinks for their
English visitors, under the idea that they cannot exist without a
whisky peg. And, indeed, it is said that some young English guests
confirm this belief by the use they make of the drinks provided.

A couple of Mohammedan men came forward, and seating themselves on a
carpet gave a brief musical performance, after which a man sung a song
with an air of such comical affectation that it was difficult to
maintain the serious gravity with which the Indian part of the
audience listened to him. Preparations for a photograph of the
assembled company commencing, it was an indication that it was time
for me to depart. All the more distinguished guests had been
previously decorated with garlands of pink roses and white jasmine,
and in addition they were given a kind of sceptre, made of the same
sort of flowers tied to a short stick. The less remarkable people
received an inferior garland and a single rose with a few leaves, made
up like a button-hole; and a certain unimportant residuum did not
receive any decoration at all.

Perhaps what, to English eyes, appeared the most obvious blot in the
proceedings was the absence of any hostess. Both the old Inamdar and
his son had several wives, but except the English ladies who came as
guests, there were no females of any sort visible. One of these ladies
asked me whether the Inamdar would be displeased if she suggested a
visit to his wife, because she had once met her at one of those
parties which some kindly English people have tried to organise for
the benefit of the more exclusive women who live behind the _purdah_,
or curtain. So I told the Inamdar that the Madam Sahib would be
pleased to visit _his_ Madam Sahib. He smiled, and bowed, and made a
little bustle as if he was going to make arrangements for it, but I do
not think that anything came of it.

The point that I was anxious to learn from my attendance at the
Inamdar's party was whether, on the whole, it is advantageous for
English people to accept such invitations or not. The conclusion that
I came to was that, since it helps to some extent to bring about a
mutual understanding, it is a good thing for kindly Government
officials and their ladies to do, but that it is not the sort of
occasion when there is scope for a missionary. As a guest he is bound
to be courteous to his host, and if any practice is indulged in which
may call for rebuke, it is not easy to administer it without the
appearance of rudeness. Already some modern-minded Hindus urge that
all religions are alike, and that Christianity being suited to
Europeans and the Eastern religions to the people of the East, there
is no need to change. If the teachers of Christianity share in the
social gatherings of educated Indians with the politeness and
cordiality which such occasions demand, it may foster the impression
that unbelief and idolatry are no real barriers to mutual unity of
heart, and that one religion is as good as another.



     Missions still in the experimental stage. Effect of
     education on conversion. Brahmins and conversion. Caution
     needed in time of famine. People applying for work; caution
     again necessary. India and dissent; rival organisations,
     effect on the heathen; dissenters drawing to the Church.

It is an evidence of the perplexity which attends mission work in
India that many apparently elementary principles are still undecided
questions and subjects of discussion. Things are still in the
experimental stage. Almost every conceivable form of missionary
enterprise has been attempted; but the result is that no one method in
any department stands out as being signally better than another.
Perhaps the only definite conclusion that has been arrived at is the
obvious one, that the man is of more importance than the method, and
where there has been marked progress it has always been the
personality of the worker, sanctified and energised by God's grace,
which has been the moving power.

The conversion of India has been a slower and more difficult task than
some people at one time anticipated. Possibly it has been hindered by
too much haste at the outset. India has to be gradually educated up to
Christianity. At one time it was thought that the best way to do this
was to provide an advanced secular education, and that the mind thus
elevated would be ready to grasp and accept spiritual truths. No doubt
this has been the result in a few instances, but the more general
outcome has been that secular interests have become so absorbing that
spiritual matters have been crowded out, and the mind has proved less
rather than more receptive.

Great efforts have been made to reach the so-called "high-caste" men
of India. This was done, partly under the idea that their traditional
intelligence and opportunities of education would make them specially
capable of religious thought, and partly because it was felt that the
conversion of some of the leading men of India would surely result in
the conversion of the rest. There have been many notable conversions
of Brahmins, so that these efforts cannot be said to have been wholly
without result. But it must be added that the results do not seem
commensurate with the amount of labour and money which has been
expended in this particular direction. It was, perhaps, not
sufficiently taken into account that mere intellect may in itself be a
barrier to the reception of spiritual truth, unless there is also the
grace of humility and the desire to be taught. A Brahmin who has been
trained from his earliest boyhood to think himself worthy of divine
honour, naturally finds it difficult to sit at the feet of a foreign
teacher who preaches the need of repentance.

Nor does the conversion of a Brahmin lead to the conversion of other
Indians to the extent that might have been expected. Possibly the
unpopularity of Brahmins as a class, although they are still to some
extent venerated and feared, may partly account for the fact that the
conversion of some of them has not made others anxious to follow their
lead. In the case of low-caste people the conversion of a few has, in
many instances, led on to the conversion of large numbers. The
multitude of village folk who have, at various times, pressed forward
for baptism has been in certain places a real perplexity. The clerical
staff has been wholly inadequate to deal with them, and the greater
part of their instruction has had to be left to lay teachers, not very
competent for the task.

In some of the earlier famines missionaries were not always
sufficiently alive to the risk of people professing a desire for
Christianity, when their real motive was the hope of getting special
consideration when famine relief was distributed. In some districts
serious lapses took place after the distress was over. It is now the
almost universal rule in missions, in order to avoid the risk of
imposture, not to baptize any converts during the period when a
district is suffering from famine. The time of probation before
baptism has also been gradually prolonged in most Church missions. But
some workers, in their natural eagerness for the extension of Christ's
kingdom, are perhaps too ready to accept the protestations of ignorant
people in poor circumstances who say that they wish to become
Christians. The work which is given to them as a test is, almost of
necessity, lighter than that which they have previously been
accustomed to do. Whether the limited amount of genuine spiritual
desire probable in such cases should be accepted as sufficient, is
difficult to decide. Some of the older missions, with an experience
covering a long period, make it their invariable rule not to accept a
religious inquirer for definite instruction if he is out of work. He
is told that he must first get work, and then come for instruction.

Not unfrequently people who come to a mission applying for work, say
that if this is provided they are willing to become Christians. When
the village church of St Crispin was building, quite a number of
Hindus at different times asked for the post of caretaker of the
building when completed. And when it was urged in reply that a
Christian church ought to have a Christian caretaker, several of them
said that if the post was given to them, they were ready to conform as
regards Christianity. Some dissenters still baptize rashly, with
scarcely any probation and less teaching, and some have drifted so far
from gospel truth that they receive converts into their society
without baptizing them at all.

India has both suffered and gained from the number of religious sects
who have sent missionaries to convert her. No religious society seems
to think its machinery complete unless it has a mission in India. The
point of view from which she may be said to have gained from this is,
that where the need of workers is so great, any Christian teachers who
are in earnest are, in a sense, welcome. Nor are theological
differences so acute in the pioneer stage of work, when only
elementary principles are being taught. But, on the other hand, the
result is a bewildering multiplication of missionary efforts. Apart
from the amount of conflicting and erroneous teaching which is
ultimately the inevitable outcome, there is a great waste of energy
and funds in the support of a number of organisations which might be
concentrated into one. Also, rivalry amongst missions of conflicting
opinions has resulted in mission stations being planted in close
proximity to each other. Roman Catholics in particular are offenders
in this respect. The consequence is that, while on the one hand some
districts are overdone with mission workers, on the other hand there
are vast tracts of country without any.

The varied forms in which Christianity is thus presented is not so
great a stumbling-block to the heathen people as might be thought
likely. Hindus and Mohammedans are themselves divided up into such
numerous sects that they are not much surprised to find that such is
the case amongst Christians. But it is amongst earnest-minded Indians
who have been baptized by dissenters that difficulties develop. As the
spiritual energies of the convert from Hinduism become more
pronounced, he often begins to crave for what the religious system in
which he finds himself is unable to give. If such souls come into
touch with Catholic influences, they often discover that it is the
grace of the sacraments which their souls are needing, and there is
amongst Indian Christians a fairly steady flow from dissent into the



     Transfer of responsibility to Indians. Clergy desiring
     independence. Indian characteristics will remain. Want of
     tidiness; experiences in an Indian Priest's parish. English
     stiffness. Indian Suffragan Bishops. The Indian Bishop's
     Confirmation. Changes of head in a mission. English workers
     losing sympathy; consequent loss; need for prayer concerning
     this. The opinion of an old missionary; "too much of the
     individual, too little of the Holy Spirit."

One of the perplexities of mission work in India is how best to
gradually transfer European responsibility and control to the people
of the country. Some of the attempts in this direction not having been
altogether a success, there have been missionaries who, despairing of
any other arrangement, went into the opposite extreme and endeavoured
to keep everything in their own hands. Their attitude also towards
their native workers, and even towards their brother priests, was not
of a nature calculated to draw out loyal and cheerful service.

Amongst Indian clergy there is a widespread desire for greater
independence and responsibility, backed up by many of the laity, and
unless it can be rightly met in some way, it might easily become a
serious danger. If people are ever to learn to run alone, they must be
given the opportunity of doing so. If some stumble in the attempt,
that is only what must be expected at first. Amongst a few failures,
there are other instances in which the experiment of leaving the
management of affairs to Indians has been all that could be wished.
Indian priests have been put in charge of wide districts which they
have shepherded with unwearied labour; and when congregations are
apparently backward in the financial support of their church, they
will nearly always rise to the occasion manfully and do all that is
required, if the management of the church funds is definitely put into
their own hands.

It is a mistake to expect to find in the government of affairs by
Indians certain characteristics which are essentially English. The
Indian Christian remains an Indian, and from some points of view it is
best that so it should be. Exactness and order and punctuality are
matters which most Englishmen think much of. Most Indians think little
of them, and few pay much attention to them. A really neat house or
field is rarely to be seen in native India. The sort of neatness and
order which an English priest thinks of importance in the church under
his care would never be found in the church of even the most
conscientious Indian priest. It usually takes a long course of
patient training before the Indian representative of the English
parish clerk learns how to lay a carpet, or to put kneelers or chairs,
straight. And though he learns his lesson at last, and then for ever
does it rightly in the prescribed way, he does not himself see any
benefit in it. And the crooked carpet and irregular row of chairs,
which would disturb the devotions of the lady workers in the mission,
would never be noticed by a single member of the Indian congregation.

I once spent a night in the village of a devout and widely-known and
highly-respected Indian priest, now gone to his rest. Evensong was
held in the open air in front of his house, because of certain insect
intruders which had taken possession of the room which, at that time,
did duty as a church. Since those days a permanent church has been
built. Goats and cattle coming home, and taking short cuts to their
quarters, were a little disconcerting to the preacher, inexperienced
in interruptions of the kind, but the regular congregation took it as
a matter of course.

The next morning I was to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, which, of
course, had to be in the church, in spite of the intruders. I went at
the appointed hour and found the Indian priest just beginning to make
preparations. Vestments and altar linen and many other things were
mixed up in a box, in complete disorder, and it took him a long time
to sort out what was needed, and when at last all was ready, the
result would have been heart-breaking to an English sacristan. Service
necessarily began long after the proper time, but that created neither
surprise nor annoyance. The fact being that defects of the kind are
not felt to be such by an Indian congregation, so that they did not in
any way diminish the influence for good of this excellent priest.

It is often the very stiffness and rigidity of English methods which
hinders their acceptability amongst Indian people. On the other hand,
the Indian priest is more patient in dealing with the people's
difficulties. Rustics in England relate the history of a quarrel, or
sickness, or death at great length. But their tale is brevity itself
compared to the Indian's story of a grievance, and he expects to be
listened to patiently till he has had his full say. This the Indian
priest readily does, and he himself is not wearied by the recital. But
the English priest, even before the end of the preface, has probably
said that he has no time to listen to all these details, and that they
must settle the matter amongst themselves.

The circumstances of the country at its present stage of development,
with a certain number of English, mostly official, gathered into
cantonments, or scattered here and there in isolated places, and a
limited but steadily increasing number of Indian Christians, who are
for the most part not in touch with the European element, make an
Indian bishop for any of the dioceses as at present constituted out of
the question. But there are certain country districts covering a wide
area in which the number of Indian Christians is very great. An Indian
suffragan bishop might well be given jurisdiction over one of these
areas. There are certainly some Indian priests fitted for such a
trust. The result would probably be a great growth of spiritual life,
and wholesome church organisation, and self-support. The tradition of
an Indian bishop for Indians getting established in this way there
would eventually, if he acquitted himself well in his limited sphere,
be no difficulty about his ministering to English congregations when
it was convenient that he should do so.

But it should be observed that the Indian bishop must be allowed to
retain his own individuality, and to do his diocesan work in his own
Eastern way. Very possibly he will arrive for his Confirmation long
after the appointed time, even if he does not send a message at the
last moment to say that he will come to-morrow. If, by any misfortune,
there should be a European in the expectant congregation, he will say
indignantly that this is what comes of appointing Indian bishops. But
the Indian congregation will be quite undisturbed. Those who happen to
have come punctually will sit about in the church compound, in the
sun or shade according to the time of day, and chat happily till the
bishop arrives. His lateness would not create the least shade of
annoyance. He himself will probably have to wait in his turn for the
candidates from a neighbouring village who were vague about the time.
But he will do so with the utmost cheerfulness. Except that
unpunctuality means waste of time, it will have no other drawback.

When the actual Confirmation takes place after these possible delays,
it will be carried out by the Indian bishop with the greatest
solemnity. He and the candidates will have the fullest faith in the
wondrous Gift bestowed by means of the imposition of the Apostolic
hands. His address will be powerful and persuasive, and given with
full knowledge of the characteristics of the people of his own
country. Everyone will return to their homes happy and thankful, and
in telling their tale of the wonders of the day it will not probably
occur to anybody to mention that the bishop arrived late.

Now and then mission stations suffer, somewhat in the same way as a
parish here and there in England does, from the change of policy
brought about by a change of head. It is in practical, rather than in
religious matters, that a new head is sometimes the cause of unrest.
Missions being at present chiefly worked by societies which have their
own theological bias, the new-comer is generally of the same way of
thinking as his predecessor. But anyone coming to India for the first
time, in spite of everything being new and strange, is apt to think
that he sees his way clearly, and that the work has got into a rut and
that a general upheaval is necessary. The tendency of the Indian is to
be conservative of established traditions. He does not say much, but
he has his own way of showing the new head that he does not approve of
his changes. Some resign office, of others it is decided that they
have been too long at their posts, and the result is that a certain
number of old and faithful workers cut themselves, or are themselves
cut adrift. The new head ultimately establishes his position, and many
of his changes are probably improvements, but this has been
accomplished at considerable sacrifice. Missions worked by communities
are not wholly free from the same defect, though they suffer less than

English workers do not always retain the spirit of sympathy and
graciousness with which they began their ministry in India. The
defects of the Indian character are particularly galling to some
Englishmen. The sort of faults which the average Englishman is least
willing to condone are unpunctuality, untidiness, promises not kept,
inexact answers and false excuses, forgetfulness of favours received
but fresh favours asked for, slovenly work, laziness, and obstinacy.
When the missionary first meets his flock he sees pleasant and
courteous manners, and readiness to please and to obey, a certain
aptitude and handiness in work, a real spirit of devotion, and many
such-like qualities. The dark skin, the picturesque dress or absence
of dress, the bare feet and light graceful walk, all these things
appeal to the new-comer.

As time goes on he has to deal with the realities of things.
Difficulties, failures, disappointments have to be faced. A reaction
sets in. He thinks that the people need a firmer hand, that they have
been dealt with too lightly. He no longer keeps the good side
uppermost, and begins to see only the defects. He gets the mission
possibly into good external order, but much of the grace and beauty of
his ministry goes out in the process, and there will be no attractive
force at work to draw in the heathen. The worker in India needs to
pray constantly that the spirit of love and sympathy, and the yearning
to help souls with which he began, may never be allowed to grow less;
that he may retain his spirit of buoyancy; that he may keep hopeful
and expectant; and that while firm and strong with the people who need
his support, he may only love them the more when he has learnt really
to understand and know them.

A missionary in India of long and wide experience wrote that he had
often pondered as to the reason why the Church in that land has never
become a real indigenous plant. He went on to say--"Even if we were to
put aside the tradition of St Thomas having preached here, we know
that, at any rate from the eighth century onwards, with only a few
intermissions, there has been Christian effort at work in the
country." The conclusion that he came to was that "there has been too
much of the individual and too little of the Holy Spirit. St Francis
Xavier baptized thousands of children, and then went his way. The
Church has always depended on foreign aid, and when left to itself has
either died away or kept itself alive by maintaining a sort of
Christian caste. The Eastern people are, to a certain extent, pliant
and easily led. The somewhat masterful foreign missionary had bent the
people to his will and his ways. The house has been built square and
solid, and finished in appearance. But it is a building, not a plant.
It has not within it the power of life and growth. There has been more
building than sowing. It depends on the force of the individual, and
but little room is left for the power of the Holy Spirit to make it
really fruitful."



     Women singing as they grind. Singing to the bullocks.
     Singing on the road. The rest-house. Soldiers singing.
     Palanquin bearers. Indian taste in music. Indian musical
     instruments. The native band. The "Europe" band. Sir G.
     Clarke on Indian music. Evil associations of native tunes.
     Indian choir-boys.

One of the commonest sounds in India is that of women grinding at the
mill. You not only hear the grating of the revolving stone, but since
it is a hard and monotonous task, the toilers almost invariably
enliven it by singing. They do so rather melodiously, and it sounds
pleasant in the distance. Their songs are to a large extent made up on
the spur of the moment, and form a sort of running comment on what
they are doing, or on what is going on around them.

This custom of singing in order to relieve the monotony of labour is
universal in certain departments, and even the beasts get to look upon
it as a stimulus to work. When drawing water from the wells, the man
in charge of the operation invariably encourages the bullocks with a
cheery sing-song, at the critical moment when they are raising the
heavy leather pouch of water from the well, and if he was to remain
silent, the Indian bullock, who is a strong conservative, would
certainly refuse to start. When they travel round and round, working
the mill which squeezes the juice out of the sugar cane, or, in the
same fashion, causing the great stone wheel to revolve which grinds
the mortar, their master alternately whips them and sings to them. I
once listened to the song which the man sung when they were making
mortar. It was something like this--"Oh bullocks! what a work you are
doing. Going round and round making mortar for the masons. Oh
bullocks! go faster, go faster! The masons will cry out, oh bullocks,
for more mortar--more mortar. So, go faster, go faster," etc., etc.

On bright moonlight nights large parties of men and women come
trotting briskly along the Yerandawana road, bearing baskets of fruit
on their heads for the Poona market. Indians nearly always go at a
trot if they have an unusually heavy burden to carry far, and it
appears to make their task easier. I do not know whether other nations
have the same custom. There are many reasons why travelling by night
is preferable. The air is cool and pleasant, there is no scorching sun
to injure the fruit, and it gets into market in good time before the
rush of business commences. A charitable Hindu has built a rest-house
for the benefit of travellers, just opposite the gateway of the
village mission. Such rest-houses are to be found all over India.
They are only what we in England would call a shed, but they provide
as much shelter as the climate demands, and they are a great boon to
the many who travel the roads on business or pleasure. The Yerandawana
rest-house is often thronged with people, because it is so near Poona
that they can get some hours sleep, and yet get into market early. But
the travellers, who go swiftly along the road with their burden of
fruit, often sing delightfully in chorus for the greater part of the
way, so that what is really a task of great toil seems almost
transformed into a cheerful excursion.

Indian soldiers on the march are sometimes allowed to sing as they go,
or occasionally to whistle, which has a delightful effect. Some years
back, when visitors could only reach certain hill-stations by being
carried in a palanquin, unless they were sturdy climbers, because the
steep paths were not practicable for wheels, the team of six or eight
coolies who acted as bearers, turn and turn about, sung a good deal,
especially in the more difficult parts of the journey. They did not
realise that the Sahib they were carrying sometimes understood the
vernacular, and was able to appreciate their poetical comments on his
weight, or their musical speculations as to what sort of tip he was
likely to give them at the end of the journey.

People sometimes ask whether Indians are musical. It is difficult to
say. Indian taste in music is certainly peculiar, and perhaps
deserves greater study than it has yet secured. But it would lead the
casual listener to suppose that music amongst them is still in the
elementary stage, corresponding somewhat to the scales and time
exercises of the beginner. At the Inamdar's afternoon party, the
musical performance given by the two Mohammedans (p. 80) was probably
a fair sample of what would be considered refined music. One of the
performers had a kind of guitar with a large body, made out of a gourd
with a section sliced off and then faced with wood, and with a very
long stem. The whole instrument, with all its fittings, was
exquisitely made.

The other man had a large and peculiar instrument, called a _bin_, in
which the long keyboard is supported at each end with a big gourd.
There dried gourds are largely in request for musical purposes. The
_bin_ was also artistically finished, and adorned with brasswork and
inlaid woods. It had five or six strings. The performer played on it
with his fingers after the manner of a guitar, one of the gourds
resting on his shoulder. These instruments being so attractive in
appearance, and apparently large and powerful, and the two Mohammedans
setting to work with great solemnity, and a commendable hush coming
over the assembled company, I expected a musical treat. The performers
began by tuning up with great care; but the tuning continued so long
that I began to wonder how soon the real music would begin. Just then
the musicians ceased, and I found that the apparent tuning was the
actual performance and that it was all over. The audience appeared to
be pleased with what they heard.

For the more popular kind of music you must go to the native band,
which is the universal adjunct to every sort of entertainment, great
or small. The members of the band are unwearied in their exertions on
small drums and shrill pipes. The tune, which never seems to vary
whatever the occasion, consists of almost as few notes as the song of
an Indian bird, and it is played over and over again and no one grows
weary of it. Even the performers play it for the thousandth time with
almost as much enthusiasm as when they first began. When they have
played far into the night, and fall asleep from sheer exhaustion, they
wake up in the morning to begin again.

Though native instruments and the method of playing them does not
usually appeal to the English ear, except for condemnation, it must
also be said that Indians in general assert that they do not recognise
any particular beauty in English melodies; and the wealth of sound of
a full band, performing the composition of some great master, only
suggests to the Eastern mind a confused medley of meaningless noise.
At the weddings of wealthy men who wish to make a special display,
there sometimes appears what they call a "Europe" band, which consists
of Indian performers, dressed in cast-off uniforms and with Western
instruments, on which they play what are meant to be English popular
airs. But there is usually the old-fashioned band also in attendance,
and there is no question as to which band the guests really cared to

The truth appears to lie in the fact that the two nations are looking
for different effects in music. Europeans value the melody, and the
harmony which enriches it. Easterns care little for the melody,
dislike the harmony, but think everything of the time. It is the
unvaried repetition of the same meagre tune, repeated over and over
again with apparently wearisome monotony, which is the attractive
feature. And the amount of pleasure to be found in listening to any
musical exercise is proportionate to the skill of the performer in
beating out his even measure on drum, or pipe, with unwearied

Sir George Clarke, Governor of Bombay, at a meeting of an Indian
Choral Society in Poona, in August 1911, in sketching the diverse
developments of Eastern and Western music, suggested that the tones of
the instruments in vogue had affected the art of singing, and that the
falsetto style, common amongst Indians, is in imitation of the
shrillness of their reed instruments, while the fuller voice,
cultivated in Europe, follows the development of the ampler harmonies
of Western instruments. Each style of music represents a cultivation
of certain qualities with a neglect of others. The ultimate result of
intelligent study should be the combination of the great qualities of
both into a richer music than either East or West has known hitherto.
Sir George Clarke went on to say that, before Indian music could
develop or become widely known, it must be reduced to some
intelligible method of writing. Progress in this direction seems
rather slow at present, and Indian music is really in the position of
an illiterate struggling against a highly educated competitor.

Some attempt has been made to adapt Indian tunes to the translations
of English hymns, but without signal success. Also, Indian Christian
converts do not encourage the attempt. They say that the few popular
native tunes are so suggestive of the indecent songs to which they are
generally sung, that it is impossible to use them safely. English
popular melodies which some people, especially dissenters, have
adapted for religious use have no associations of this kind. The only
doubtful point in their adaptation is the risk of introducing an
element of comedy.

Christian Indians get to like the tunes usually associated with the
English hymns which have been translated into their vernacular, and
they sing them with spirit. Indian choir-boys often give sufficient
promise to indicate that, if they could be given the skilled training
which is generally lacking, they would not fall behind their English
brothers in sweetness of voice and delicacy of expression.



     Stones for grinding grain. Exclusively women's work.
     Elaborate inspection of the grain. Food a matter of much
     interest. The meals of a Hindu. Difference between Indian
     and English custom. Even beggars fastidious. Refinement of
     native dishes. What the daily bread is like. Hindu caution
     after the bath.

In the last chapter we spoke of the women singing when they are
grinding at the mill. The grinding-stones of their handmills are of
various sizes. The smaller ones are rather more than a foot in
diameter, and can be worked by one person. The lower millstone is let
into the ground. The upper one has an upright wooden handle stuck into
it near the edge. The grinder sits on the ground close to the stones,
and grasping the handle causes the upper stone to revolve vigorously.
The larger stones have two handles, and then two women work together.
They often go on grinding for some hours, generally beginning in the
early morning while it is still cool. By preference they only grind
what is required for the day's use, because the freshly-ground flour
is thought to make the best bread. But in the case of schools, or the
large composite families of prosperous Hindus, a large quantity of
flour is needed daily.

The custom of grinding the grain at home is almost universal, because
of the adulteration of flour sold ready ground. There are numbers of
working women whose sole occupation is that of grinding at various
people's houses, and though it is hard work, they earn in return what
is to them a pretty good living. It is curious that men apparently
never lend a hand in this department, even if the wife is poor and
sickly, and sorely in need of help. It appears to be regarded as such
an absolutely feminine employment, that a man would be disgraced if he
put his hand to the mill at all. Even Christians have not quite
succeeded in shaking off this idea.

Careful housewives go over all the grain minutely before it is ground,
so as to make quite sure that no bit of husk, or defective grain,
finds its way into the mill. This is a long and troublesome process.
Watching a Christian woman engaged in this occupation, I said
something to her husband with reference to its being rather a toil. "I
always have the grain prepared in this way," he said cheerfully. "Do
you never help your wife?" I asked. "No," he smilingly answered, "but
our little girl does."

Ever since the earth began to be inhabited by man and woman, food has
been a delicate subject to deal with, and probably the larger number
of domestic quarrels find their origin in this department of the
household. In India, certainly, food is a subject of prominent
importance in the minds of the people of the country. Well-to-do
Hindus find their chief interest and pleasure in the two big meals of
the day. Very few practise any real asceticism concerning food. An
orthodox Hindu does not break his fast until he has taken his bath and
worshipped his household gods, so that he is habitually fasting till
nearly noon. But those who have been always accustomed to this say
that it causes them no inconvenience. It must also be remembered that
their evening meal is nearly always very late. If guests are expected,
and the preparations more elaborate than usual in consequence, the
meal may be delayed till ten o'clock or later.

But at these two principal meals the Indian, if he can afford it, eats
a large quantity. It is not merely that his appetite should be
satisfied, but if the meal is to be regarded as a satisfactory one
there must be the physical sensation of repletion, and the diner does
not need to eat again for several hours. Nevertheless he nibbles odds
and ends of spices and fruits and sweets a good deal in the course of
the day. The custom of early tea, with some accompaniment, has become
general with Indians who have got a little familiar with English ways.

Easterns are astonished at the frequency of English meals, under the
idea apparently that we eat to repletion three or four times a day,
instead of only twice as they do. The breakfast bell rang when two or
three young Indian students were talking in the verandah, and they
asked if they might come and see our table spread for the meal. We
gladly assented, and explained the use and nature of the things set
upon it. Fortunately it was not a beef day, and they seemed relieved
to find that there was nothing terrible on view. But they expressed
great surprise at what appeared to them the small amount of food
provided, and we were able to point out the difference between English
and Indian customs in this respect, and that though our number of
meals daily is greater, we eat less than they do on each occasion.

A very large number of Indians, both Christian and heathen, live on
poor fare and go to bed hungry. This is from necessity, not from
choice. The poorest man is particular in his degree as to what he
eats, more especially as to the manner in which his food has been
prepared. Even the beggar off the road will unblushingly and loudly
grumble if the fare at a feast to which he has been invited by some
wealthy man is not exactly to his mind. The children of mission
schools, many of whom have come out of lives of real privation, are
sometimes very critical about their meals, and more especially as to
how it has been cooked, and they will leave a good supper uneaten and
go hungry to bed because of some trifling defect in the manner of its

Most Indian women have been taught how to cook from early childhood,
and many of them are experts and take much pleasure in their art. Some
of the native dishes take a great deal of care and toil to prepare,
and except that their tendency is to be rather too pungent for the
English palate, a really first-class Indian dinner is refined in
appearance; and in the variety of dishes, provided there are always
certain things which can be eaten with pleasure. The varied objects
which make up the meal are neatly grouped before each guest, and they
are meant to be taken in a certain order, so that the palate will be
constantly renovated for the next dish which it is to taste.

Even the ordinary daily bread, in the form in which Indians like to
eat it, gives a great deal of trouble to those who have to get it
ready. Not only is there the grinding of the flour to be done, but it
has next to be made up into thin flat cakes which look something like
pancakes, which are then lightly baked on a hot plate, and are eaten
at once by preference while hot. The preparation and baking of these
means that the women of the household have been busy in the kitchen
from an early hour, especially in Christian schools, where the
children's day begins earlier than in most Hindu households. Hindu
schools and colleges commence work very late in the day, because of
the necessity of getting the bathing and feeding over first.

Even the most orthodox Hindus have now no scruples about touching
Christians, except after they have taken their bath, but previous to
their meal. Having occasion to consult a Brahmin pleader rather
frequently concerning the purchase of some land, he always made a
point of shaking hands rather effusively, with an eye to business. But
I called one morning when he had just emerged from his bath, and he
was then careful to keep at a safe distance, because contact would
have involved the necessity of bathing again before he took his food,
in order to get rid of the ceremonial pollution.



     The barrenness of Hinduism. _The Golden Threshold_; its
     authoress--her poetry; the four kinds of religion; her
     motherly instincts; her letters; her father; her search for
     beauty; her portrait. Rarity of happy Hindu faces. The
     picture of "Jerome."

People sometimes say, when asking about Hinduism, "Surely if the
idolatry, and folly, and indecency, which we know exists in the
religion as it now is could be cleared away, we should find remaining
some deep philosophic thoughts and mystical poetical fancies which we
might admire?"

The reply to this question is that, if Hinduism was subjected to this
purging process, what would be left would be practically nothing at
all. This can be strikingly illustrated in the following way.

An Indian lady, Mrs Sarojini Naidu, has published a little volume of
poems called _The Golden Threshold_. There is an introduction to the
book by Mr Arthur Symons, giving a few particulars of the life of the
authoress. She is apparently a thoroughgoing Hindu, although one of
sufficient independence of character to marry another Hindu who was
not a Brahmin like herself, and on that account meeting with obloquy
from her own people. She is evidently a highly cultivated lady,
knowing English perfectly. But though she has lived in England, and
travelled much, there is nothing to indicate that she has been touched
in any way by Christianity. She has had, therefore, only Hinduism from
which to get poetic thoughts connected with religion. She is evidently
a true poet, and if there had been anything in the religion capable of
suggesting poetic ideas she would have certainly found it. She has
undoubtedly a mind of great refinement, so that all that is otherwise
in connection with Hinduism has to be eliminated from the field in
which she could gather poetic thought. What, then, is the result?
While there is a distinct charm in the rhythm of her verses, their
utter emptiness makes them of no real value. The only poem, curiously
enough, in which a deeper note is struck is when she describes the
four kinds of religion which flourish under the kindly rule of H.H.
the Nizam of Hyderabad: the Mohammedan, the Hindu, the Parsee, and the
Christian. The verse is as follows:--

    "The votaries of the Prophet's faith,
       Of whom you are the crown and chief;
    And they who bear on Vedic brows
       Their mystic symbols of belief;
    And they who worshipping the sun,
       Fled o'er the old Iranian sea;
    And they who bow to Him who trod
       The midnight waves of Galilee."

Each religion is happily touched with a delicate hand. To get a
suitable idea concerning each into a couple of lines of real poetry
shows a gifted mind, and the two last lines are specially happy. (The
capital letter in the pronoun is so printed in the book.) Her mind
coming thus into brief contact with higher and truer things, she rises
in the concluding verse to a kind of benediction on this beneficent
Mohammedan ruler, which almost approaches the nature of a prayer:--

    "God give you joy, God give you grace,
       To shield the truth and smite the wrong,
    To honour Virtue, Valour, Worth,
       To cherish faith and foster song.
    Your name within a nation's prayer,
       Your music on a nation's tongue."

The only other poem which rises above the mere commonplace is that in
which Queen Gulnaar expresses the unsatisfied condition of her heart
because she has no rival to her beauty, and with none to envy, life
has no savour. Although seven beautiful brides are sent for and
brought before her, she remains without a rival. Finally, with
delight, she finds what she sought for in her own little two-year-old
daughter. But it was not her religion which supplied the poetess with
this pretty fancy. It arose out of her own motherly instincts, which
amongst Easterns are charmingly dominant.

There are in the Introduction some extracts from Mrs Naidu's letters
which show that if there was anyone who might have been expected to
discover anything beautiful in Hinduism, or suggestive of true
philosophy, or capable of being idealised in any way, she was the
person who would have done so. She says herself: "My ancestors for
thousands of years have been lovers of the forest and mountain caves,
great dreamers, great scholars, great ascetics. My father is a dreamer
himself, a great dreamer.... I suppose in the whole of India there are
few men whose learning is greater than his.... He holds huge courts
every day in his garden, of the learned men of all religions. Rajahs
and beggars and saints, and downright villains all delightfully mixed
up. And then his alchemy!... But this alchemy is only the material
counterpart of a poet's craving for beauty, the eternal beauty....
What in my father is the genius of curiosity, is in me the desire for

She is described as being the embodiment of the wisdom of the East,
her intellectual development such as to make her a wise counsellor,
combined with "passionate tranquillity of mind."

Yet with this long ancestry of dreamers, and her own intellectual
capacity, and her poetic craving to find beauty, which even Nature did
not satisfy (because what is Nature without Nature's God?), she
obviously finds Hinduism completely barren of what she was yearning
for, and apparently not having searched for it anywhere else except in
Nature, she never comes at it at all. She appears to have been struck
by something in the faces of the monks that she saw in Italy, and she
"at one moment longs to attain to their peace by renunciation." But as
the secret of their peace was not known to her, it only makes her long
for Nirvana, or final nothingness.

Her portrait at the beginning of the book represents a touching type
of face which one meets with not unfrequently in India. The expression
is dull and lifeless. There is none of the light which shines out of
the face of a Christian Indian. But there is at the same time an
expression of wistful longing for that hidden treasure which Hinduism
could not give her, even when purged of its defilements. The result of
which is, that her poetic mind has had to waste itself upon such
themes as nightfall at Hyderabad, or the alabaster box in which she
treasures her spices, or the bride weeping because her lord is dead.

It is no exaggeration to say that a really happy-looking Hindu is a
rare sight, even when on pleasure bent. Childhood in the Hindu world
has its flashes of fun, but except in the passing excitement of some
romping game, the faces of the children are usually as dull as those
of their elders. Two Hindu boys were looking at the picture in the
story-book of "Jerome, the Brahmin boy," in which the photographs
taken on his first arrival is reproduced, showing his Hindu pigtail,
and the paint marks on his forehead, and his sacred thread. Contrasted
with this is the photograph taken soon after his baptism. I do not
suppose that the boys understood the full significance of the
pictures, and this made the comment of one of them the more valuable.
"There is a great difference," he said, "between these two pictures.
In the first the boy has a very bad face. But in the other picture it
is very good." An English boy, writing in a letter on the subject of
the same picture, says of Jerome as a Christian, "He looks twice as
happy as when he was a heathen."



     Irreverence in Hindu temples. Robbing the god. Burial of
     gods. Justice in native states. Giving the title of "god" to
     people. The god's relations. Hindu conception of god; of
     prayer. Nominal Hindus. The old army pensioner. The "thread"

Whatever the Hindu conception of a god may be, their behaviour in
their temples shows that it is something entirely different to the
ideas which a Christian associates with the name of God. The greatest
irreverence, from our point of view of what irreverence means, is
continually going on in a Hindu temple in the presence of the idol, to
which homage is done as to a god, and which is the object of a good
deal of ceremonial attention from the person whose business it is to
pay it. Talking loudly, and laughing and joking, children romping
about; all this is evidently not felt to be out of place in the
temple, because it goes on habitually, and apparently unrebuked.
Card-playing is constantly carried on in those larger temples in which
there is a space in front of the idol, and evidently nobody objects.
Indians are great card-players, and they play with a persistency and
absorbed interest such as the most inveterate bridge-player could
scarcely emulate. They often play for the greater part of the day and
half the night, and generally for stakes of some sort, however small.

Nor does even robbing the god involve the idea that the god has power
to take revenge, because some of the village boys have told me, as a
huge joke, of their exploits in robbing their idol of the offerings
made to it. People bring small gifts of money, or fruit, or
sweetmeats, and deposit them near the idol. These are the recognised
perquisites of the custodian of the temple. But in the case of a
village temple this official is often also engaged in secular
business, so that the boys watch their opportunity and, in his
absence, appropriate the offering before he returns.

Apparently burial in a river is a seemly way of disposing of a god. A
man was anxious to sell us a plot of land in a certain village, but
there was on it a very primitive temple, fenced in with a few sticks
and stones. Within this enclosure were several shapeless stone gods,
painted with vermilion. We said that if we bought the site the temple
would have to be removed first. The man replied that there would be no
difficulty about that, because the gods could be buried in the river.
The god is then supposed to leave the stone and pass out into the
sacred stream. The mud figures of the god _Gunpatti_, which people
annually enshrine in their houses for ten days, are then taken in
procession to the river and placed in the water, where, of course,
they quickly dissolve.

That even the word _God_ has for Hindus an entirely different
significance to that which it has for us, indicates how hopelessly
misleading our theological expressions may be in the mouths of
English-speaking Hindus. A small party of Hindus called at the Mission
bungalow to make a request on behalf of a friend who lived in one of
the native states. They affirmed that it was an impossibility to get
justice in a law-court in one of these states, except through the
intervention of the British Resident. They therefore asked me for a
letter of introduction to this official, with a request that justice
might be done them. The fact that I did not know the Resident, or the
applicant, or any of the facts of the case did not appear to them to
be an obstacle to my granting them their petition.

So hoping to attain their end by ingratiating themselves with me, they
began by adopting the methods which presumably are found to be
efficacious amongst Easterns. After profound salaams on all sides,
they refused to sit on the chairs which I offered them, but chose
humbler seats instead as a tribute to my own greatness. Flattery was
the next process, and after descanting on my accomplishments the chief
spokesman finished up by saying, "In fact I may say you are _god_."
When I pointed out the monstrosity of Hindu teaching which could
possibly allow the word to be applied to any human being, the Hindu
explained that anyone whom you hold in estimation may be called god.

Looking at the large framed photograph of the Indian editor, Mr Tilak,
who was deported out of the country for several years on account of
the seditious nature of his newspaper, the owner of the photograph
said to me, "He is a very good man; in fact he is our god."

A young student sat talking till dusk began to fall. The interval
between light and darkness is brief in tropical India. The student got
up and said he must hasten home. I asked him if he was afraid of the
dark. He said, "No, my god takes care of me." I asked him which of his
many gods would do this. He said, "Very likely Mahadeva." I asked him
where all the millions of gods lived. He said, "In heaven." I asked if
they all got on happily together. He said, "Of course." But then he
added, "There is only one real god; the others may, as it were, be
regarded as his relations"--which was a novel explanation of Hindu

Though the ordinary Hindu conception of the characteristics of a god
does not include holiness, the sort of characteristic which may be
looked for can be illustrated by a question which an intelligent Hindu
lad asked me when I was showing him the church. "And what _battles_
did your Christ fight?" said the boy. His visit to the church was
apparently his first contact with Christianity, and he listened with
respectful attention as I told him of the Son of God coming as the
Prince of Peace.

Asking an intelligent Brahmin convert what is the Hindu conception of
prayer, he replied that with them its object is entirely a selfish
one. A Hindu prays for his own worldly prosperity--that his crops may
be good, that his business may succeed, that his children may marry
well and become rich. Asking the same informant whether Hindus pray
for others, he laughed and said, "No, never; except for the members of
their own family."

The number of Hindus who are only nominal adherents is probably much
greater than is generally supposed, because many of them still retain
the outward marks of a religion in which they have ceased to believe.
Most of these have not become atheists, but they are feeling after a
true God, and those who are in earnest in their search come as near to
Him as their imperfect knowledge allows.

An old Brahmin came into the verandah of the Mission bungalow, and
sitting down, said very seriously, "Now tell me about your Christ." He
was an army pensioner with two medals. He was seventy-five years of
age, which is considered very old for an Indian. His only knowledge of
Christianity had been gathered up in a vague way from the few
Christians he had rubbed up against in the course of military
wanderings, including a few missionaries. Yet even the amount of
contact had been a help to him. Hindus sometimes are drawn towards
Christianity by contact with even rather nominal Christians.

I asked the old Brahmin if he ever went to the village temple. "There
is no temple," he replied rather fiercely. On my assurance that he was
mistaken, he said: "Then if there is one, I have never seen it. I go
to no temple. I pray to God in heaven." "The _one_ God," he added with
emphasis. Yet he had the usual red paint marks neatly inscribed on his
forehead, and his Brahmin's thread, like a long skein of cotton, was
worn sash-like next his skin, but just peeping out a little at the
neck for the people to see. Anyone meeting him would have taken him
for a most uncompromising and orthodox Hindu.[1]

[Footnote 1: His portrait is to be found opposite p. 23, in
_Thirty-Four Years in Poona City_.]

After I had explained to another Brahmin the meaning of baptism, and
that no one is a Christian until he is baptized, the Brahmin said:
"Baptism seems very similar to our _thread_ ceremony. Till a boy has
received his thread he is not permitted to read the sacred scriptures
or to take part in religious functions. He may be the son of Hindu
parents, but he does not become a real Hindu until he has been
invested with the thread."

I asked what then was the condition of those castes who are not
entitled to wear the thread. He said that there was no ceremony of
initiation for them, and so that they remained outside. I replied
that, if this was so, it was very hard that the large majority of
Indians should be left out in the cold. He agreed, and said that this
undoubtedly was one of the weak points in their religion.



     Hindus and Roman Catholicism. Parsees and Christianity.
     Their works of charity. Persian visitors. Religious
     controversy. Mr Hole's pictures. Hindu family quarrels.
     Indian repartee. Appreciation of the dignity of labour.

English-speaking Hindus, who are often eager to talk about religious
matters, are inclined to take up the cudgels in favour of
Protestantism, as compared with Roman Catholicism. But meeting an
intelligent Brahmin in a train in the Mysore State, he did just the
reverse, showing an unusual knowledge of ecclesiastical affairs. "Do
you know how the Pope is elected?" he asked of an old engine-driver
who happened to be a fellow-traveller, who seemed rather embarrassed
by such an unlooked-for question from such a source. "It is the most
extraordinary thing on earth," the Brahmin went on to say, and he
proceeded to describe pretty accurately the process of election.

"Now if the Pope was to come to St Paul's Cathedral, would your
Archbishop of Canterbury receive him with due respect as the greatest
dignitary on earth?" asked the Brahmin.

I said that the circumstances were not very likely to occur, but that
if they did, I had no doubt the Pope would be received with the
respect due to his office.

"And if your Archbishop went to Italy, would he stay with the Pope?"
said the Brahmin.

I replied that I did not think it likely that he would get an
invitation, but that if he did, he would probably accept it. The
Brahmin at times made use of semi-profane expressions when talking
English. "Good Lord! what a crowd," he said, putting his head into the
window of a carriage when we were changing at a junction. But in spite
of his knowledge of ecclesiastical affairs, he called on the Hindu god
_Rama_ when settling down for the night.

Meeting a Parsee, who having been educated at a Roman Catholic school
knew something of Christianity, I asked him how it was that this
knowledge had borne no practical fruit. His reply was that when in
Christian colleges attendance at a religious class is compulsory, it
makes the heathen boys hate Christianity.

Very few Parsees have become Christians. I asked another Parsee the
cause of this. He said that their religion was so pure that they did
not need to seek a better, and that they only looked upon light as a
symbol of God. But when the electric light was turned on in the
railway carriage where we were sitting, another old Parsee, looking up
at it, put his hands together and touched his forehead, after the
manner of a Hindu saluting an idol.

The real secret of their want of interest in Christianity probably
lies in the fact that they are the successful business people of
India, and their minds being much engrossed in worldly affairs there
is little room left for religious thought. Some of the richest people
in India are to be found amongst them. You seldom see a poor-looking
Parsee, partly perhaps because they have the reputation of being very
charitable towards their own people, and so they will not suffer one
of their number to feel the pinch of real poverty. They are also
lavish in their gifts for public purposes, although their act would
have more grace if the name of the donor was less prominent.

One day two Persian ladies came to see the village church, with an
English lady as their companion. The latter said that one of the
Persians was a big personage, and did not wish her name to be known.
They had noticed the boys playing about as they were passing by, and,
attracted by their faces, came in. On entering the church, the chief
Persian lady seeing the embroidered picture of the Crucifixion,
genuflected, and sending a little boy of hers to put some money on the
altar, she told him to kiss it and return. On leaving, she asked that
two candles should be burnt for her on the altar the next Sunday.

The effect that the church has upon visitors has been described
already, and how the din of controversy dies down within its walls. In
discussing theology with people of an entirely different religion to
one's own, it is almost inevitable that the conversation should
gradually become controversial; and when it reaches that stage, all
power for good in the intercourse is at an end. The proximity of the
church can then be turned to good account. "Would you like to see the
church?" is a question which nearly always draws out a ready assent,
and the pending risk is averted.

Many of Mr Hole's beautiful pictures illustrating the Life of our Lord
are framed and hanging round the walls of the church, something after
the fashion of the Stations of the Cross. In a church which Hindus
often frequent the Stations are not suitable, not merely because they
only represent the suffering side of our Lord's life, but because they
leave Him dead and buried. A selection from Mr Hole's pictures, from
the Annunciation to the Ascension, enables us to take a Hindu round
the church and tell him our Lord's life delightfully in picture story.
The best testimonial to the fidelity and correctness of detail in
these pictures is that they commend themselves entirely to the Eastern
mind. Even quite young Indian boys will turn away from large and gay
cartoons supposed to illustrate correctly some Scripture subject, and
will eagerly study its smaller and more sober counterpart, often
pointing out with much discrimination wherein the large cartoon errs,
and the particular points in which the smaller painting excels.

A young Hindu, who began by being very controversial, after visiting
the church and expressing extreme pleasure at what he saw there,
finished up by saying as he went away: "You Christians believe in your
religion. We Hindus don't believe in ours, and so we are all divided

I asked one of our visitors what work he was doing. He said that as he
had not been able to qualify for Government service, he was not doing
any work. It transpired that he possessed some land, and I asked why
he did not occupy himself usefully by cultivating it. He replied that
he had quarrelled with all his relations, and so there was no one to
help him in its cultivation. As he was married, I said that in the
north of England a farmer and his wife were quite capable of
cultivating a small plot like his, without relations at their elbow.
He said that in India this would be impossible.

As it appeared that he had not been on good terms with his relations
for some years, I said that Hindus were habitually quarrelling and
refusing to forgive, but that a true religion would teach the sin of
remaining for long periods at enmity with others. He answered that
this was one of the weak spots in their religion; that India needed
reform in its methods of trade and other matters; that when it had
been reformed its religion would improve.

I replied that that was beginning at the wrong end, and that before an
effectual reform of morals could take place there must be the
foundation of a true religion.

"Then is Hinduism not the true religion?" he asked.

On my replying in the negative, he said: "If I had time I would prove
to you that it is, only unfortunately my brother will be home
presently and I must go to meet him." And he went away.

Indians, nowadays, are rather inclined to back out when it comes to
solid argument, but they are often clever in rapid repartee and in
scoring a point quickly. A Hindu boy having been rude and troublesome,
I said that he must not come again for pictures for three months, and
that if he came I should not give him any. "Not if I come on the
King's Coronation Day?" (which was close at hand) he asked promptly.
And I was obliged to smile and say that if he came on that day it
would be all right.

Indians are beginning to understand something of what is meant by the
dignity of labour, although they are slow in making personal
application of the lesson. I was pointing out to a middle-aged visitor
the Boys' Home in the distance, on the other side of the compound.
Looking across, he caught sight of one of the Sisters carrying a pail
of water for the garden. "Why, the Sister is working!" he said with
eager astonishment and approval. "That is what we need to learn to do
in India, instead of sitting about talking or sleeping."



     Cricket and football. Use of English cricket terms. Each
     game has its season. Marbles. The Indian method.
     Spinning-tops. Splitting your opponent's top. Kite-flying.
     Battles in the air. Final result. _Itte-dhandu_; how played.
     The Indian "Tom Tiddler's ground."

Indian children are fond of games, and many Indians, until quite
advanced in life, continue to play games of a nature which are usually
associated with childhood. Cricket has become widely popular in all
the larger schools and colleges, and football also, but to a less
degree. Christian boys of all ages play these two games everywhere
with great zest, and the Hindu boys in their neighbourhood, stimulated
by the sight, follow their example to some extent. But they are
hindered by the scarcity of the necessary apparatus, which costs more
than most Indian boys can possibly afford. If schools and colleges in
England would systematically send their cast-off gear for games,
carriage paid, to foreign missions they would do a good work in
helping to keep young lives in wholesome and happy occupation. Even an
old tennis ball is received as a real treasure by an Indian boy, and
any number of balls would be gratefully welcomed by every mission.

In playing cricket it is almost a matter of necessity that the English
expressions connected with the game should be used, even by those who
know no other English. Out in a village, where English is never
spoken, it sounds curious suddenly to hear from the cricket field,
"How's that?" pronounced sharply and clearly; and then the prompt and
equally incisive reply, "Not out." Wonderful to say, the decisions of
the umpires are accepted with tolerable readiness, except when they
are flagrantly contrary to fact, as they sometimes are. A few of the
politically disaffected students have tried to boycott the game as a
foreign importation, but they have not met with much success.

There is a proper season for all the purely Indian games, and to play
any of them out of season is almost as great an enormity as to shoot a
partridge in England before the 1st of September. If you ask an Indian
boy if he has been playing a certain game, and if it happens not to be
in season, he will look at you with an air of pained surprise, and
briefly saying "No," he will change the subject.

Indians of almost any age play marbles, and there are many divers ways
of doing this, the rules of which are clearly established by an
unwritten tradition and are strictly adhered to. If a disputed point
arises when a company of boys are playing, an appeal to a senior
bystander is always conclusive. Games between experts are watched with
interest by quite a number of lookers-on, of every age. The Indian
method of shooting a marble is to use the middle finger of the right
hand as a sort of catapult. The marble is held with the left hand
against this finger, and bending it back, it is suddenly let go. The
effect of this is to volley the marble with great force and accuracy.
The English boy's method is tame by comparison. The prevailing
gambling instinct finds scope in this game, because the marbles are
generally kept by the winners, and experts amass great stores. Some
schoolboys, with a money-lender's disposition, make a fortune by
selling marbles cheap to small and inexperienced boys and then
promptly winning them back again.

Spinning tops is an amusement of which the Indian boy never grows
weary, and he only leaves off regretfully because its season comes to
an end. If he has nothing else to do he will be happy spinning his
top, on and off, from morning until nightfall, and naturally grows
skilful in the art, although, if he has no companion, it does not
admit of much variety. His chief exploit is to scoop up the top while
it is still spinning, on to the palm or back of his hand, or on to his
arm. But there are exciting contests, when one boy endeavours to spin
his top with all his force on to the revolving top of an opponent,
because if successfully accomplished the defeated top splits. A
scarred veteran sometimes becomes quite an honoured hero from the
number of its victims.

Some of the tops are of the roughest description, made by the village
carpenter. More finished ones can be bought in the native bazaar for a
farthing. But often a hopelessly disreputable-looking top, with an old
nail for its spike, has a better record for deeds done than a more
showy one bought in a shop. Those that are spun with the view of
splitting their opponent often have, instead of a spike, a flattened
bit of iron like a little chisel, which the boys sharpen on a stone,
and with these they do great execution. Sometimes somebody's foot is
seriously wounded in case of a miss-fire. Now and then, for a change,
a boy will play with a whip-top.

Kite-flying amongst Indians is an exciting sport, quite different to
the tame amusement of merely seeing how high a kite will go. The
Indian kites are nearly always quite small, made of thin coloured
paper pasted on to a frame of very slender wooden splints. The better
kites are made of paper of several different colours tastefully
combined, and often decorated with gold. Strong thread is used, of
which the enthusiastic flyer has a large store on a wooden roller,
which he intrusts to some small confederate who pays it out or takes
it in as required, and is proud to be allowed to have this share in
the sport.

But the real purpose of Indian kite-flying is to do battle with
somebody else's kite up in the air. You have to try and so manoeuvre
your kite that its thread crosses that of your opponent, who may be
stationed quite a long way off and out of sight. He on his part will
try and avoid you and get the upper hand himself. In the hands of
expert flyers the contest is most exciting. Crowds will gather and
watch the result with intense interest. The kites dodge, and rush
upwards, and dive downwards, as if they were alive, and the fight
often goes on for a long time. The thread is doctored with glass which
has been pounded into fine dust and mixed with gum. This gives the
thread great cutting capacity, so that if it fairly crosses that of
its opponent, by a dexterous sawing movement the thread is cut, and
the liberated kite sails away on its own account.

Then follows intense excitement amongst the crowds of onlookers far
and near. The kite, without the support of its line, soon begins to
flutter downwards. It is an established tradition that it becomes the
property of the person into whose hands it falls. The original owner
is rarely able to get near enough to secure it. Its zigzag course
makes it problematical where it will fall. Generally those who think
they are going to get it are disappointed by a final flutter, which
takes it out of their reach into another pair of outstretched hands.
Not unfrequently nobody gets it, because it is torn to shreds amongst
the many hands held up to grasp it.

Some schoolboys spend on kites, during their season, every farthing
that comes to them; and kites can be bought from a farthing upwards.
They have not a long life, even at the best of times. Frequently they
get torn by the wind on their first journey heavenwards, and a torn
kite can rarely be repaired to much purpose. Flying competitions on a
large scale, with substantial prizes for the winners, are organised,
and attract crowds of spectators. The competitors are for the most
part men, some being of mature age. It is a wholesome and entirely
harmless form of amusement, except for the betting which takes place
at the big contests.

There is a fine game called _itte-dhandu_, after the names of the two
pieces of wood with which it is played. It is a little like tip-cat.
The _itte_ is a rounded bit of wood 2-1/2 inches long and perhaps an
inch in diameter. Sometimes the ends are made to taper, but experts
say that this is not correct. The _dhandu_ is a stick of similar
diameter and about 15 inches long. It is a most exciting game, with an
elaborate code of unwritten rules. It can be played by any number of
persons from two onwards. The whole field is kept in constant
occupation, movement, and excitement. I have in vain tried to get some
one to commit the rules to paper. While the game is in season there is
no anxiety about how to provide for the wholesome amusement of
schoolboys, because they play it in every vacant interval, from early
morning till they go tired and happy to bed. But directly the proper
season has ended, the game is dropped till the next year. One of its
many advantages is that almost any jungle will provide wood from which
the _itte_ and the _dhandu_ are easily shaped with a pocket knife.

A game, not unlike "Tom Tiddler's ground," is very popular, chiefly on
moonlight nights, amongst men and boys. It is often played in the
streets of cities when traffic has ceased. The ground is divided into
squares, either by scraping boundaries in the dust, which lies thick
in the streets of a native city; or else at night by pouring water
along the lines, which makes a very conspicuous mark on the dusty
surface in the vivid moonlight of the East. This childish game is
played with great delight by people whom you might think were much too
old for such amusement, and it nearly always forms part of the
programme of any village festival.



     Wrestling. Village gymnasiums. Wrestling contests. The
     prizes. Rustic festivals. Modern novelties. Mineral waters.
     Ice cream. Incandescent lights. The music. Absence of
     merriment. The dull crowd. Return of the victor. National
     characteristics apparent when playing games.

Wrestling is the chief indigenous athletic exercise of India. Nearly
every village has its band of wrestlers and its gymnasium. The latter
is often a substantial house as village houses go, much decorated with
wall paintings inside and out. Besides the wrestling-pit, with its
thick layer of soft earth, it often contains Indian clubs, large
stones with which the young men exercise their muscles after the
manner of dumb-bells, the post round which they twist and twirl to
develop their arms and legs, and the drums which they beat in the
temple and elsewhere on festivals.

Every village of importance has its annual wrestling day, to which
people come from many miles round. Prizes are given from a fund
subscribed by the villagers. It is a point of honour that no one
competes in his own village, so that all the prizes may go to
outsiders. The wrestling is conducted with much decorum, in accordance
with exact and well-recognised rules. The decision of the referee
appears to be nearly always accepted without dispute; or if ever there
is a difference of opinion, the arbitration of one or two of the
elders amongst the villagers is generally sufficient. If arbitration
fails, a free fight is the only way of settling the matter; but such
incidents are rare.

The prize is generally a turban, and however many turbans a man
already possesses he likes to add to their number. Sometimes there is
a good deal of very audible grumbling if the quality of the turban is
thought to be defective. Now and then important contests between
champions in the world of wrestlers are held in cities like Poona, and
there is a charge for admission, and the prizes are of value, gold and
silver rings and sums of money. Wrestlers train carefully when they
are preparing for a contest, according to their own ideas of training,
and they drink a great deal of milk. The best side of Indian village
life is to be found in this sport, and as it is one of the few things
which is not tainted by idolatry, I could always accept with pleasure
an invitation to the gymnasium, or to be present on the annual sports


In our village little dinner-parties take place in the houses (or,
rather, outside the houses) of the principal farmers, the evening
before the annual wrestling competition. Feasts are nearly always
held in the open air, partly because most of the houses are so small
that there is not room inside to seat the guests; and also because
low-caste people, who would not be allowed to come indoors, can be fed
in the open so long as they sit a little apart from the rest.

Modern novelties are creeping into rustic festivals. Mineral waters of
native manufacture, and often astonishingly brilliant in colour, have
become a recognised luxury at such times; especially since it has
become an understood thing that no breach of caste is involved if you
drink your soda-water direct from the bottle. Enclosed in its glass
case the liquid could not have been contaminated by any external
touch, and there is no need to go so far back in its history as to ask
who made the soda-water. The ice-cream man, calling out his wares in
what is meant to be English, does a large trade in spite of the
microscopic nature of his helpings. Native torches are being
supplanted by the powerful incandescent lights of recent times, and
one or two of these are hired for the occasion, and are brought out
from Poona on the heads of coolies, and burn all night somewhere in
the centre of the village. It is an essential element of all Indian
festal enjoyments that they should begin in the evening and last all
night. Extremes meet, and this is a peculiarity which the Indian
social world seems to share, at any rate to a large extent, with the
fashionable world in England. Of course a band is also a necessary

I went down into the village one morning, after one of their festal
nights, and found most of the villagers seated under the shade of a
large tree listening to the band which, usually so indefatigable, was
strumming rather feebly after its all-night exertions. It was
accompanying a poor, faded-looking woman, who was singing in a
peculiar hoarse voice, with a slight attempt at action, and a feeble
sort of skip at the end of each stanza. I did not understand what she
was singing, but I soon withdrew, because the songs sung at such times
are said to be nearly always bristling with improprieties.

But Indians take most of their pleasures sadly, and the curious
feature of the whole scene was the complete absence of anything
corresponding to fun or merriment. Both the singer and the members of
the band were evidently meaning to be funny, but the audience might
have been listening to a dull sermon in church, so far as their grave
and uninterested faces were concerned. A visitor at any time almost
during the festivities would have found them in the same condition.
Even when feasting, beyond a certain enjoyment in the process, there
is no indication of merriment in the silent meal.

The wrestling competitions began in the late afternoon, when the power
of the sun had a little moderated, and lasted until dusk. They were
held in a field just outside the village, on newly ploughed land,
which affords a soft bed for the combatants when they fall. Many
large and beautiful mango-trees gave welcome shade to the two or three
thousand spectators, who formed an immense and deep ring round the
arena. Some of the young men of the place, armed with sticks,
displayed much energy in keeping the ground clear. The elders of the
village arranged the order of proceedings, and who was to compete with
who. But in spite of the great assembly taking evident interest in
what was going on, and especially in the spirited contests between
boy-wrestlers, it was a distinctly dull crowd, and there was little
animation in the faces of those who were watching the events closely.
The only group in which something approaching to cheerfulness was
visible was in the knot of customers gathered round the sellers of
fruit and drinks. On the road home the crowd sometimes shows a measure
of joviality, and it is always customary to usher victorious wrestlers
into their own village with shouts and loud proclamation of what has
been accomplished. After a victory in one of the big city contests the
hero may even be escorted home with lights and music.

It is in games, perhaps, more than in anything else, that national
characteristics make themselves apparent. This is specially noticeable
in India when anyone gets injured in sports or cricket, or if he has
run an exhausting race. The Englishman hates to be fussed over, says
that his injury is nothing, and that he can walk home quite easily,
when perhaps his leg is broken; and he feels dreadfully ashamed of
himself if he collapses at the finish of a race. The Indian, on the
contrary, makes extraordinary demonstrations over a slight injury; he
flings himself on the ground, and is apparently at the point of death.
His friends rush for water, and chafe his hands and legs, and they
think the Englishman unfeeling if he ventures to say that he thinks
the sufferer will soon be better. After these performances have gone
on for a sufficient time, the injured man quietly gets up and resumes
the game.

Almost invariably, at the end of any race, the winner thinks it
necessary to put on the appearance of great exhaustion as long as
anyone is looking at him. But when interest is diverted by
preparations for the next race, the fit of exhaustion is easily
concluded, and the sufferer joins the crowd as if nothing had



     India in fiction. Vernacular prayer books. Indian letters.
     Indian advertisements. Mistaken method of education. Slang
     expressions. Swearing. Indians possess few books. Want of
     respect for books. Cheapness of Christian books. Indian
     printing and binding.

There are a few writers of fiction who depict Indian native life and
talk faithfully. But many readers get an entirely false idea of India
and its people from certain popular novels, which are supposed to
paint a true picture, but in which the description even of cities, and
villages, and scenery are often as unlike the reality as the
circumstances and conversations. Indian people talk much in the same
way as ordinary folk in other parts of the world, except that unseemly
allusions are freely admitted into general conversation in a way which
would not be tolerated in a Christian country. The absurd, high-flown
conversational rhapsodies in the average Anglo-Indian novel are purely
imaginary. "Kim's" talk fairly represents the ordinary talk of the
Indian, although he was not one himself.

A missionary, newly arrived in the country, asked whether the Prayer
Book, translated into the vernacular, suited the Indian people, or
whether its sober language failed to satisfy the Easterns' desire for
rhapsody. But the high flights such as he had in mind are only to be
found in novels. People often speak of the Prayer Book as if it was a
modern compilation of purely Western origin, and they seem to forget
that it is teeming with ancient Eastern thought. It is an instance of
its Catholicity that it supplies the needs of all nations. When
carefully translated, many of the people of the East make more use of
it than some good Christians do in England. Even rustic Indians use it
intelligently and with great appreciation, and it forms their chief
manual of private devotion. Indian children soon learn to follow the
various services which it contains with happiness and profit. Many of
them have made themselves quite familiar with the whole book from
often studying it.

Innumerable examples have been published of the astonishing letters
addressed by Indians to Government officials and others. They are
astonishing, both in the nature of the requests made and the English
in which their wants are expressed. Some people suppose that the
examples published cannot be really authentic, or are greatly
exaggerated. Those who are familiar with some of the originals know
that exaggeration is impossible, because no feigned composition could
beat the reality. Here is a letter, copied word for word, which a
Hindu wrote and brought to me, asking me to correct it:--"To
Colonel,----. Sir, my eldest son has been suffering since last year
from Morbid heat of skin that is bone fever for which he had Quinine
Arsenic and chiretta, but without effect of recovery, he is gradually
getting day by day weaker, and we have had 'chit chat' at your
quarters for granting to my son an appointment as clerk in your
office, please try your best and grant him one, for which act of
kindness I shall ever pray for your long life and prosperity. Most
probably I shall see you during the Christmas Holidays. An early reply
will be greatly oblige, I remain Sir yours faithful and most
respectful servant Bulwant."

Indian tradesmen in their advertisements often promise to pray for
those who become their customers. Here is a quotation from an English
leaflet, put out by a bookbinder in our neighbourhood:--"Rates and
charges for different sorts of binding and gold work will be settled
by the undersigned and the party and the undersigned will ever pray
for him, who will call him up by a Post Card." The comicalities to be
found in shop signboards in the English language are endless.

But though comical examples of the misapplication of language have
been published to weariness, and the bombastic compositions of
educated Indian students held up to ridicule, the fault does not lie
with the pupil but with ourselves, who are ultimately responsible for
the subjects which are set him to learn. So long as he is made to read
books in antiquated English, he will naturally suppose that the
flowery and bombastic language of Addison in the _Spectator_, or of
Dr. Johnson, is the style which he ought to imitate when he writes a
letter. Nor is it possible for him to discriminate, in what is to him
a foreign language, between what is antiquated and out of date, and
what is mere modern slang, and so he sometimes combines the two styles
in his compositions with startling effect.

It would seem to be more rational to give him the best modern authors
to study while he is still a learner, and to leave it to him to dive
into the recesses of English literature, if he is so inclined, after
he has ceased to be a pupil. Students bring their books of selections
from English authors to the missionary, and ask him to clear up their
difficulties. But a long and involved paragraph, with several obsolete
words and obscure satire, is a tangle which it is almost hopeless to
unravel satisfactorily, when you are dealing with a language so unlike
in construction and modes of expression to that of the learner. Nor
are some of the allusions in the selected passages particularly
edifying to the Hindu mind, ready to scent evil even where it does not
exist. And they tempt him to buy cheap reprints of the literature of
the past, in the hope that he will find matter congenial to a mind
easily attracted to that which is pernicious.

Indian students are sometimes asked in their examinations to explain
out-of-the-way or obsolete expressions which are little better than
slang. As a result of this, students when speaking English will
introduce some of these expressions into their talk, thinking that by
so doing they show their familiarity with the language. When they try
to embellish serious sentences in this way the result is sometimes
remarkable. They will also repeat words, never heard in polite
society, under the idea that they are in common use. Now and then
students swear freely, supposing that all Englishmen do so. When
taking shelter from the midday sun at a roadside police station--only
a little hut a few feet square--I listened to the Mohammedan policeman
as he talked to a beggar, who was exhibiting the contents of his
bundle in order to show that he had not got any stolen goods. The
policeman was talking in Marathi, but presently I noticed that at
intervals a short word occurred, which sounded like what is popularly
regarded as being essentially the Englishman's oath. I soon discovered
that such was really the case, and that the policeman was adorning his
talk with the word which he had heard Englishmen use when they wanted
to give force to their orders. He was, of course, quite ignorant of
its meaning, but it was unfortunate that the only English word which
he knew, and which he evidently used constantly, should be of such a

Few Indians possess any number of books, either in their own language
or in English. The lesson books they may have used at school or
college gradually get dispersed. Even in the houses of educated people
little provision in the shape of bookcases is to be found. A recess in
the wall may contain a shelf or two on which a few books are placed in
disorderly array, but they are seldom read. Even those who read books
take little pleasure in their outward appearance, and the binding is
to them nothing more than a necessary protection to the book inside
it. Some wealthy Indian, following to some extent Western fashions in
his house, may have in his reception-room the _Encyclopædia
Britannica_, and a library edition of Dickens, elaborately bound. But
they are rarely opened and only form part of the decorative furniture
of the room, and stand a poor chance of notice in competition with the
big gramophone which, nowadays, is to be found in many well-to-do
Eastern households.

Indians have yet to learn to treat books with the respect which is
instinctive amongst people of refinement in most European countries.
To see a book rudely treated, or knocked about, is almost as
distressing to many people as if it was an object sensitive to pain.
But a book in the hands of even a cultivated Indian is almost sure to
suffer. If it is a new book, he will open it vigorously, and bend it
back as far as it will go, in order to make it open properly. Its
broken back is the permanent memento of the treatment it has
received. Even Christian Indians are slow to learn the outward respect
due to their religious books. Their prayer books and hymn books, more
often than not, soon go to pieces for want of reasonable care,
although women are much more careful than men. Want of appreciation of
the value of a book may partly arise from the fact that nearly all the
books which Christians use have been sold to them under cost price,
through the help of societies. Bible societies issue copies of the
Scriptures at extraordinarily cheap rates, so that they may come
within the reach of everybody, however poor. Vernacular prayer books
are generally sold at a cost much below that of their production. This
was inevitable in early days when Christians were few in number, and
often poor. But it has left the impression that a book is a thing of
little value, easily replaced.

A Brahmin seeing a book on India on my table which he thought he would
like to have, asked the price. On hearing that it was seven or eight
shillings, he lifted up his hands in dismay and said, "The price is
prohibitive. Write and tell Messrs Murray & Co."

At one time it was almost impossible to get good printing done in
India, although many people professed to be printers. Of late years
there has been a great change in this respect, and some of the presses
produce beautiful vernacular work, and soon their English printing
will leave little to be desired. Bookbinding also shows sufficient
promise to indicate that first-rate results would be forthcoming if
there was more demand for it. Some of the more enterprising newspaper
proprietors are issuing festal numbers of their publication in
imitation of our Christmas numbers, and though they are in substance
rather a sad parody of even our own publications in which the true
meaning of Christmas often has so little place, the manner of their
production is sufficiently artistic to show that India will be quite
capable of producing her own real Christmas number when the happy day
dawns when she is found demanding it.



     Processions. Marriage ceremonies. People take little notice.
     Funeral processions. Military display. Eagerness to see the
     King. Military ardour of Christian boys. Hindu procession
     diverted into the Church. Embarrassing result. Problems of
     worship. Religious dancing. Father Benson's "War-Songs."

It is commonly imagined that we in India live in a perpetual state of
pageant, and that the Indian is constantly occupied with brilliant
display and stately processions, and that he cannot be happy without
them. In reality, most Indian processions are of a tawdry character,
somewhat of the nature of, but not nearly so imposing, as that of an
average circus in England. Nor as a rule do these processions excite
much interest, except amongst those who are actually taking part in
them, and even their interest is often languid.

The chief processions are in connection with marriages, and rich men
spend a great deal of money on that part of the ceremonial. Bands, and
horses, and carriages, and bands of artificial flowers borne on the
heads of women, and surrounding the bridegroom as he rides on
horseback, large fans of peacocks' feathers waving round him to keep off
evil influences and imaginary flies, torches at night, now supplanted by
modern incandescent lamps carried on men's heads, displays of fireworks,
and the exploding of harmless bombs--processions such as these abound in
Indian towns, and in a simpler form in villages, at seasons which have
been declared propitious for weddings. Some of these cavalcades are
attended by a multitude of people whose chief concern in the matter
probably centres in the feast which is to follow.

But even the most magnificent procession hardly excites the faintest
curiosity amongst the people of the streets along which it passes. The
shopkeeper does not rise from the pillows on the floor of his little
shop on which he is dozing; the brass-worker or silversmith will
scarcely lift up his eyes from his work; the women will hardly come
even to their house-door to look; the little boys busy playing marbles
down some side street are too much absorbed in their game to run and
see the show. This is a curious contrast to the rapidity with which a
crowd will gather on the smallest provocation in a European city. Even
a hearse, standing at a house-door in England, will draw a very
respectable crowd, merely in order to see the door open and the coffin
brought out. A funeral procession in India is of much greater possible
interest, because most Hindus are carried to the place of burning, or
burial, as the case may be, on a flat bamboo litter with the face
visible, so that you have the opportunity of recognising, or not, the
face of a friend in the passing corpse. Yet few use the opportunity,
and the sight does not appear to excite the slightest curiosity.
Nobody bestows any tokens of respect on the funeral procession, and
scarcely anybody gives it even a passing glance. This does not
apparently arise from superstitious shrinking from the sight of a

Military display does not impress the ordinary Indian. When a governor
drives in state to hold a levee he is attended by a brilliant retinue,
and the Indian soldiers who form the chief part of his bodyguard are
picked men, looking magnificent in their superb uniform. This imposing
display is meant presumably to impress the native mind with the
dignity and authority of the representative of the ruling monarch. But
in reality it does not excite admiration, or interest, or any other
sentiment. The glittering cavalcade, which would bring out half London
to see it if only they had the opportunity, passes on its way, and the
chance passers-by hardly pause to look at it. This is not out of
disrespect to the powers that be, but merely because they see nothing
to interest or admire. The small body of the disaffected, of course,
look upon military display as part of the arrogance of the conqueror
towards his subjects. The multitudes who thronged the streets of the
great cities which the King visited, came together because they
wanted to see the King himself, and they would have been just as
pleased, and perhaps even more so, if he had ridden through the
streets in solitary majesty without any retinue. Some natives
complained that amongst the many English officers in gorgeous uniform
it was not always possible to distinguish for certain which was the

Not unfrequently large bodies of troops come past the Mission compound
in Yerandawana village on their way to the hilly country beyond, which
provides an ideal area for military tactics. The boys of the Mission,
through education and drill, and contact with Englishmen, are filled
with military ardour, and are worked up to a pitch of intense
excitement by the sight of guns, and mules, and baggage-waggons, and
marching soldiers, and they spend every spare minute by the roadside.
But to the Hindu villagers it means nothing at all. Perhaps one or two
of the village boys who are attending the day-school will catch a
spark of enthusiasm from the Christian boys, and will join them by the
roadside; but the majority of the villagers will hardly turn their
heads, much less walk ten yards, to see the sight. Religious
processions to some sacred place or shrine are sometimes impressive
from the enormous number of pilgrims taking part in them. One day a
large procession of Hindus from a neighbouring village, on their way
to the temple at Yerandawana, passed alongside the Mission compound.
They had with them a god, which they were carrying in a palanquin.
One or two boys, seeing me standing at the church door, called out to
know whether I had any pictures to give away. I invited them instead
to come and see the church, and several boys left following the
palanquin and came towards me. The crowd seeing this, and moved with
curiosity, did the same, and in a few minutes the greater part of the
procession was diverted into the church. The result of this was the
unusual sight of the church crammed to the doors with eager Hindus in
holiday attire, and it gave an idea of what will be its aspect on some
great festival, after the conversion of the village has become an
accomplished fact.

The situation, however, soon became embarrassing. The Hindus appeared
rather pleased with their surroundings. Some of them had got with them
the heavy brass cymbals which they clash as a musical accompaniment in
their religious processions. They began to sound their cymbals and to
dance in the slow, sedate way, which they do in their temples on
festal occasions, or when having an outdoor procession. Meanwhile the
directors of the ceremonies had grasped the situation, and setting
down the palanquin hurried into church, and expressing their
indignation by words and blows, endeavoured to drive out the crowd.
But as the church has nineteen large double doors this was no easy
matter, because as fast as they were driven out at one door they came
in at another. At length the church was cleared, and the much
disorganised procession went on its way. On its return, after an hour
or so, a good many Hindus again visited the church, in order to get a
better view of it than they had been able to secure amidst the crowd.

The sight of the people, solemnly dancing and clashing their cymbals
in the church, set one thinking as to the difficulties and problems
which the conversion of the villagers will give rise to. It is
purgatory to an Indian to sit still for any length of time. Outdoor
preachers have to adapt themselves to a congregation which is
continually changing. Very few can keep their attention for ten
minutes. An ordinary Evensong, with little variety of posture, is a
dreary exercise for a Hindu, and if he comes he seldom sits it out to
the end. The Christian Indian gets accustomed to it and learns to
appreciate it, but he rejoices in a procession, or in any ceremonial
which involves motion. If the solemn dance and clashing of cymbals
during the Magnificat could be allowed, the rustic Indian would enjoy

Father Benson, in his "War-Songs of the Prince of Peace," thus happily
translates the fourth verse of Psalm 150--"Praise Him with timbrels
tost in timely dance." And that is what the Christian Indian would
delight to do.



     Erroneous notions about India. The Indian nature shallow.
     The Indian as a student. Unfinished projects. Untidiness.
     Waste of time. Petty vanity. Quiet obstinacy. How to govern.
     Training of the Indian boy. Punishment. Patience. Rulers of
     the "Lawrence" school. Their success. The Declaration at
     Delhi. Unexpected contradictions of character.

Some of the perplexities of missionaries in India, and also probably
of Civil servants in the Indian Government, arise from preconceived
notions about the country and people which are either only partly
true, or are altogether erroneous. It takes years of growing
experiences before things gradually assume their proper proportions in
the mind.

The generally accepted idea that Indians have a depth of intellect
which it is almost impossible to fathom, is one of the most fruitful
causes of mistakes in government, whether within the comparatively
narrow limits of a Mission area, or when dealing with affairs which
concern the whole country. An extensive and varied experience amongst
Hindus of almost every class and age has led to the conviction that
the great depth which could not be fathomed is really a shallow, and
that we should have realised that we touched bottom long ago, except
that we continued to try and probe for it in a region which does not

If it is true that the Indian mind is shallow, and with limited
capabilities, it explains a great deal which otherwise seems
perplexing. Nor will this conviction lead you to think less of the
Indian. On the contrary, it makes you like him all the better, because
you can appreciate his many good qualities without being disappointed
because they do not yield all the fruit which might be desired.

Many instances might be given of the shallowness of the Indian's mind.
In his student days he will often slave at his books to an extent
almost unparalleled in any other student world. But when he has
attained the goal and secured his diploma, which is the summit of his
ambition, the number of students who make any further use of the
knowledge which they have acquired with so much toil is few indeed.
Or, if he has secured a post which would in due course lead on to a
position of responsibility and corresponding prosperity, he will often
throw up his work and sacrifice all his prospects on account of some
trifling rebuke or imaginary slight.

The marks of unfinished projects to be seen all over India point to a
want of depth of purpose. Interest and zeal has abated before the work
is complete, or it was entered upon thoughtlessly without having
counted the cost. It does not seem to cause the Indian any compunction
that an undertaking was begun but never finished. Nor is the partly
built house going to ruin because incomplete, or the well useless
because it has not been sunk deep enough, an eyesore to him. Even his
inveterate want of tidiness indicates a careless mind. Rubbish of all
sorts lying around or within his house, even if it be of a most
unsavoury nature, so that its presence forces itself upon attention,
does not distress him.

Inveterate unpunctuality, and the general absence of a sense of
responsibility concerning the value of time, is another indication of
shallowness of mind. Days and weeks are allowed to drift away with
nothing done, even amongst those who are supposed to be men of
business. Petty vanity is also a mark of a shallow nature, and there
are few heathen Indians who do not boast about attainments and
possessions and exploits, and make unblushing statements which perhaps
have not a vestige of truth in them. The reality of Indian affection
as far as it goes, but its want of depth, has been already touched

What ought to be firmness of character is apt to take the form of a
vein of quiet obstinacy, which is latent in almost all Indians. With
many it is not generally aggressive in character, and shows itself in
matters of no great importance. It is necessary, for the sake of
peace, to allow Indian servants to do certain things in their own
way. You explain how you prefer to have a thing done and you give your
reasons, and the butler or gardener will apparently agree, and they
will do it for a few days according to your wish; but as soon as they
think that you have forgotten, they will return to their own custom.
And if you were to tell them twenty times, they would twenty times
take the same course.

With Indian children a conflict of opinion is to be avoided if
possible, because, even with them, if the spirit of obstinacy is
aroused it may easily lead on to serious complications. An Indian lad,
if he gets his back up, becomes from the most reasonable of beings the
most unreasonable. Arguments and warnings are wasted upon him, and you
can only leave him alone and deal with him when he has recovered.

When shallowness of nature has been recognised as being that of the
average Indian, it simplifies your relations with him. You take him as
he is, and enjoy the many attractive qualities which flourish, up to a
certain point, in the shallow soil. It also makes it easier to govern
him, supposing you have responsibilities of that nature, if you
understand that you must not depend too much on certain qualities
which he only possesses in a limited degree. And this is equally true
whether your responsibility extends only to one or two individuals, or
whether it embraces a wide area and large populations.

With the Indian boy, for instance, firmness and kindness must be
judiciously blended. It is no good arguing with him in times of
difficulty, or you will stir up that latent spirit of obstinacy. Rules
concerning work or conduct must be clearly laid down, and deviations
taken notice of at once. Almost all Indians require the stimulus of
supervision to keep them up to their work. But many Indian boys are
slow in learning the duties of their office, whatever it may be. They
must be given time, and the same thing may have to be often patiently
explained before it is digested. A word of commendation for good work
or conduct may be dropped now and then, but not too often, or it will
be taken as an indication that a less amount of exertion will suffice.

The question of punishment should always be very carefully thought out
beforehand. But if threatened, and really earned, it is best given.
"Letting off" is looked upon as a sign of weakness, and does not
stimulate gratitude. Reasonable punishment, given good-temperedly, as
the proper due for debt incurred, never produces ill-feeling. But the
Indian boy smarts under a sense of injustice, and his case ought
always to be carefully weighed, and what he has to say in his defence
patiently listened to, and due deference should be shown to his
special characteristics as an Eastern and not a European. Also, the
infinite variety of character to be found amongst Indian boys should
be taken into account. They must be dealt with, not as a flock, but
as individuals.

The old Anglo-Indians of the "Lawrence" school, who were for the most
part eminently Christian men, ruled India much on the same lines as if
it was a large boys' school. And, when they were not hampered by undue
interference from headquarters, they were on the whole signally
successful, and were both beloved and feared. Unless the Indian nature
changes, and that can only be with the acceptance of Christianity, and
even then only up to a certain point, any attempt to govern India on
different lines will be a dubious experiment. People whose nature is
not very strong are often not unwilling to accept the support of a
kindly, but firm hand, to guide them. And as they rarely agree amongst
themselves concerning any course of action, they like to have things
settled for them, provided that the decision has wisdom and common
sense on its side. This of course does not apply to the little knot of
discontented political agitators. But they in no way represent the
attitude of the people of India. The manner of the declaration of
Delhi as the new capital, coming from the lips of a King of whose
goodwill they were already assured, was exactly the course of
procedure which most of all commends itself to the Indian mind.

There are, however, unexpected contradictions in the Indian character
which baffle explanation. In spite of the almost universal moral
laxity in the conversation and personal life of a Hindu, any English
lady could travel in perfect safety through the length and breadth of
the land, in city or in jungle, with no other attendants than her
heathen Indian servants. There are also English parents who have found
that an Indian boy is, from a moral point of view, a safer guardian
for their young children than the average Indian woman who usually
fulfils that office.



     Discussing religion with Indians. Their illustrations from
     Nature. Want of applicability. Access to the King of kings.
     Moral maxims for an ascetic. Misapplication of the word
     "religion." Observance of caste easy. Caste often broken in
     private. Brahmin schoolboy asking for water. The mischievous
     village boy.

People with missionary aspirations have hesitated to volunteer for
Indian work because they felt that they were not competent to grapple
with the acute intellects and subtle philosophy of Indian thinkers. It
is commonly said that the acutest intellects in India are to be found
amongst the Brahmins of Poona City. A tolerably wide acquaintance
amongst them would lead one to say that the would-be missionary's
fears are groundless. The real difficulty of controversy with Indians,
so far as it may be expedient to embark in it at all, which is
doubtful, is that their arguments are often so discursive, their
reasoning so childish, their illustrations so comically beside the
mark, that it is scarcely possible to deal with them seriously.

They are particularly fond of illustrations drawn from Nature, and
they always regard the illustration as a conclusive answer to an
argument. If you point out its want of applicability, they reply by at
once giving another illustration equally inapplicable. For instance,
the broad-minded modern Indian argues that all religions ultimately
lead to God, and so that they are all equally good; and he gives as
his illustrative proof, that many rivers starting from a variety of
sources eventually empty themselves into the sea. And he looks upon
this, not merely as an illustration, but as a clinching argument
against which nothing can be said. But if you demur he will put the
case in the reverse order, and he will say that just as in Poona City
there are many tanks, but the water which supplies them all comes from
the great reservoir many miles away, so the various forms of religion
found in different countries came originally from the same source, and
are therefore identical.

A Hindu, defending the multiplicity of gods, said to me that of course
there was only one Supreme Being, but that he was too great to be
approached by ordinary mortals, and that it was through the lesser
deities that man had access to him. To make this clear, he used the
following illustration. He said that if a man had a grievance he could
not go direct to the emperor and state his case, but he must begin by
approaching the district collector, and ultimately his petition might
reach the ears of the emperor. Happily this illustration gave the
opportunity to say that in the Kingdom of Christ the poorest outcast,
or the little child, can have direct and immediate access to the King
of kings, whose ears are always open to the prayers of all His people.

Moral maxims, such as they are, are often put into the same
illustrative form. The following maxims are for the guidance of an

"As the uncomplaining earth suffers injuries and affronts without any
sign of resentment, so should the ascetic be unperturbed by any
ill-treatment and indignities he may be subjected to.

"Into the serene sky ascend the glad sounds of mirth, the fierce roar
of battle, the beating of drums, and the clash of swords; but it
retains none of them; the ascetic in the midst of the turmoil of life
should, in like manner, retain no impression of the events about him,
be they joyous or mournful.

"As the pure flame feeds indiscriminately on all sorts of fuel, the
living timber of the forest as well as the refuse of the dung-heap, so
ought the ascetic to accept willingly whatever food is given to him,
never reflecting on its value, nor whether it is stale or fresh."[2]

[Footnote 2: Oman, _The Ascetics of India_, p. 158.]

The reader will be able to judge for himself how far the application
of these illustrations is calculated to help a man in his religious
aspirations towards asceticism.

The fact that Hinduism is a religion which still has a great hold upon
the majority of the people of India may be partly explained by the
shallowness of the Indian mind, which was referred to in the last
chapter. If there had been greater depth of feeling, and keener
perception of what the soul needs, the Hindu religion could never have
held its ground for so long. In spite of what many writers say about
Hinduism permeating every corner of domestic life, which is true in a
sense, it does not mean that "religion," as we understand the word,
permeates the Indian household. In an article in the _Fortnightly_ of
September 1909, an educated Hindu, Mr. P. Vencatarao by name, writing
on the subject, "Why I am not a Christian," after stating amongst
other things that "Hinduism has no fundamental dogmas," goes on to
say: "Hinduism is much more a matter of social intercourse and
domestic life than of religion in the proper sense of the word." And
that is perfectly true.

It is a particularly easy religion to follow. The moral code is left
undefined, and for the child depends upon the individual
characteristics of the members of the household in which he grows up.
The only clear rule of life which the Hindu possesses is concerning
the observance of caste. That is to say, he must never take food or
drink which has been in any way contaminated by the touch of a caste
lower than his own, and marriage may only be contracted within the
limits of his own caste. This rule he observes strictly, at any rate
in public, from the earliest childhood onwards. But it conveys no
moral obligation. On the contrary, it tends to self-esteem and
selfishness. Nor does it often cause any serious inconvenience. Or
when it does, as for instance when travelling, the exigences of modern
life have brought about a number of small concessions to the
strictness of the rule concerning food and drink, so that the
inconveniences have been mitigated or removed.

Numbers of Hindus break their caste rules in private. More than once a
high-caste visitor in the verandah, when he was alone, has asked me
for a drink of water; and there is no breach of caste so heinous as to
take water from the hand of a Christian. Now and then a Hindu lad will
display such an audacious courage in religious matters that it
partakes rather of the nature of a boyish freak. Several big Brahmin
lads, most of them being about sixteen or seventeen years old, had
been visiting the Mission-house rather frequently and showed a good
deal of interest in Christianity. One of them, when sitting in the
verandah, suddenly said to one of the Fathers: "Could I have a drink
of water?" The Father replied that he would fetch him the water if he
wished. The lad said: "Bring it, please"; and when the glass of water
was brought, he drunk it in the presence of his companions, and thus
deliberately and publicly breaking his caste. Unless he had been
prepared to follow his action up in some definite way, it had no
particular use; but it was not for us to suggest scruples. It need
scarcely be added that the visits from that particular group of lads
ceased, and it was long afterwards that, meeting the perpetrator of
this rash act in the road, I asked him what penalties he had had to
undergo for what he had done. He denied that any results followed, but
the cessation of his visits gave the lie to this assertion.

[Illustration: NIRARI BHOSLE.]

One of the village boys, who is endowed with a strong spirit of
mischief, implored me to cut off his pigtail in order that he might
have the fun of seeing his mother's horror when he returned without
it. But as he had no present intention of becoming a Christian, and it
would have made a row to no purpose, I refused to be an accomplice to
his mischief.



     Tigers not often seen. Unlooked-for visits. Appearance of a
     tiger. The dead panther. Government rewards. Annual return
     of people killed. The tiger's den. Jackals; their cry.
     Wolves. So-called "wolf-boys." The Asiatic lion.

When an English boy meets a missionary from India the only thing he
wants to know is whether he has ever seen any tigers, and he is
disappointed if he gets an answer in the negative. The truth is, that
though wild beasts are still numerous they keep out of sight as much
as possible. They soon realise that man is their enemy, and ordinarily
they give him as wide a berth as possible. When a grandee wants to
shoot a tiger the difficulty is to find one, and an elaborate and
lengthy campaign has to be organised, and an army of beaters called
into requisition in order to gradually bring the tigers within range.
A forest officer of long experience, in that jungly region where the
mouths of the Ganges open out into the Bay of Bengal, told me that
though tigers are known to frequent those parts, he had never seen

In the hot weather in India English people sleep with doors and
windows wide open on the ground floor, or in the verandah, or even
quite out of doors in their compound, without apprehension. Whereas in
England, where there are no wild beasts, and thieves may be supposed
to be under control, doors and windows are barred at night as if the
house was about to sustain a siege.

But where there are no barriers of sea to prevent wild beasts from
wandering wherever they please, unlooked-for visits are possible, even
if improbable. Animals are sometimes obliged to abandon their usual
haunts in time of drought, when the normal sources of water have dried
up, and they wander farther afield and come nearer to the haunts of
men than is their wont. Occasionally people are taken by surprise by
the advent of a panther, or even a tiger, in a district which they
were supposed to have deserted.

One of the Brothers and some of the Mission boys were climbing about
the hills in holiday time in the neighbourhood of Kala, a small
village twenty miles or so from Poona, and in the heat of the day
rested for a while in the shade of a thicket of small trees.
Continuing their walk, they were startled on looking back to see a
tiger jump out of the thicket in which they had been resting. Tigers
rarely come into the open in the middle of the day unless they have
been disturbed, and his sudden appearance was soon accounted for when
an Englishman, accompanied by some native beaters, emerged. The
Englishman fired, and the tiger gave a terrible roar, as he generally
does when wounded, and went back into the thicket. To dislodge him was
not an easy task, because a wounded tiger is, of course, a most
dangerous beast. But eventually he broke cover again, and the
Englishman shot him dead; and the boys had the novel experience of
inspecting at close quarters the body of a tiger who, not long before,
had been sheltering from the rays of the noonday sun in the same
thicket as themselves.

One Sunday a bullock-cart drew up at the Mission-house, containing a
large panther which had been shot, some eight or nine miles away, by a
Christian who is one amongst the few privileged natives allowed to
carry a gun. He was bringing the body in order to exhibit it to the
local authority, so that he might claim the Government reward. The
skin also fetches a good price. The scent was getting rather strong,
so after photographing the successful hunter and his son, standing
over the beast in the approved fashion, we were glad to hurry him on.
Its claws and teeth were in a very dirty and neglected condition,
which may partly account for the great danger of even slight
lacerations made by an animal of this kind.

Government sometimes spends as much as £8000 a year on rewards for the
destruction of wild beasts and snakes in British India, and the annual
return of the number of human beings reported as having been killed by
them shows that they are still sufficiently numerous to be a power in
the land. In a recent return this number reached the enormous total of
24,576. But snakes were accountable for 21,827 out of these deaths. In
the same year, in the case of 48 people killed by tigers in the
Central Provinces, nearly all were the victims of one tigress which
had been infesting the jungle for some years. A confirmed man-eater
becomes very crafty, and difficult to kill.

There are many hills and dales where wild beasts found a congenial
home from which they have gradually retreated in the face of man and
civilisation. A den in the hillside, visible from the Mission bungalow
at Yerandawana, is still spoken of as the "Tiger's den," and a remote,
but probably true tradition lingers of an immense tiger who lived
there and who was eventually hunted down and slain by order of the
then ruler of the district. At the present day, in the immediate
neighbourhood of Yerandawana the only wild creatures left are the fox
and the jackal, with an occasional hyena. Jackals visit the outskirts
of the village at night to see if there is anything eatable to be
picked up, and they sometimes race across the Mission compound in the
early morning on their way home. It is to be feared that they visit
the Hindu cemetery, where the graves are often so shallow that the
bodies are scarcely covered. The low-caste men, whose duty it is to
bury stray corpses, do not expend more labour over their task than
they can help.

Jackals generally travel in companies at night, and they utter a most
peculiar and rather attractive sharp cry in chorus, which they are
commonly said to repeat after exact intervals of time. But solitary
jackals are often to be met with. In the mountainous district somewhat
farther away wolves are still found, and they do a little damage
amongst the flocks of the villages. Some two or three hundred persons
are carried off yearly by wolves in British India. The majority of
these victims are very young children who have strayed away a little
from their parent's hut.

There is a widespread belief in rural India that wolves, instead of
devouring these babies, occasionally bring them up amongst their own
young ones. It has been questioned whether these stories of
"wolf-boys" have any foundation in fact. A schoolmaster, whose
evidence was reliable, told me that he had actually seen a boy of this
description brought to a mission in North India by people who had
found him in the jungle. They led him by a string, as if he had been a
wild animal. The Mission accepted the charge, and the boy proved quiet
and docile; but he never learnt to speak, nor, in fact, was it
possible to teach him anything. He did not join the other boys in
their games. When he went to church he sat there quietly, but without
any apparent understanding of what it meant. He learnt, however, to
smoke, and made signs to indicate that a cigarette would be
acceptable; and if one was given him he gave a kind of salute by way
of acknowledgment, which shows that his mind was not quite a blank. He
seemed to be about ten years old when the people brought him, but
whether he was still alive the schoolmaster did not know.

Even in this case there was no direct evidence to connect the boy with
wolves. But the natives have so many stories of the kind that it would
seem likely that there is some truth in them. It is not inconceivable
that the young wolves might welcome the arrival of the strange child
as a new playmate, and that if its life was spared at the first the
wolf-boy would, through his human nature, gain a sort of ascendancy
over his foster-parents, and they would eventually fear to hurt him,
after the fashion of Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling's _Jungle Book_.

The Asiatic lion is sometimes spoken of slightingly, as if it was a
feeble creature and almost extinct. A visit to Kathiawar, in Guzerat,
would dispel the idea. In one forest alone, only a few years back,
there were said to be a hundred lions, which were the terror of the
surrounding villages. One of these lions in recent years killed an
officer who formed one of a shooting party organised for the benefit
of one of the former governors of Bombay.



     The squirrel. The tame antelope. Effect of the railway.
     Monkeys in Delhi. In the jungle. Wild pigs; their
     destruction. The mongoose. The buffalo; its milk; its
     disposition. The Indian donkey. Hard labour. Poor fare.
     Indian callousness. Elephants. Camels. The horse.

In the jungle of trees and coarse vegetation which surrounds many of
the old-fashioned bungalows in India, the shrill, nor very musical
call of the squirrel--half cry and half whistle--may frequently be
heard. They gambol about the trees, and run up the walls of the
bungalow, and chase each other along the eaves with apparent gaiety
and freedom from care. But as you watch them through the chinks of the
blinds made of slender reeds, which shade the verandah from the glare
of the sun, you see signs that all is not harmony even in their small

The grey and black striped fur of the squirrel always appears
spotlessly clean, and in all their spare moments they are busy at
their toilet. The bushy tail is their chief beauty, and it is scarcely
ever at rest. Like so many other animals, they betray their varying
emotions by the way in which they frisk it about. Their manners are
beautiful, and when they have got hold of a choice morsel they take it
in their paws, and sitting on their haunches eat it with evident
enjoyment, but with a certain polish and grace of manner pretty to
see. Young squirrels are easily tamed, and soon get reconciled to
making their home in the jacket pocket of a schoolboy.

When I was staying in the bungalow of a country mission, an
exquisitely graceful antelope stepped into the verandah, and entering
the room where we were breakfasting, went up to my host and asked for
food. He had tamed it when young, but it was now living a semi-wild
life, and was often absent in the jungle for days together. In some
parts of India various kinds of deer may be seen from the windows of
the train. The making of a line of railway naturally has the tendency
to drive the wild creatures of the district deeper into the jungle,
but after a while they to some extent get accustomed to the passing of
the train, and delightful glimpses of animal life can sometimes be got
when travelling. Monkeys, for instance, have insatiable curiosity, and
when they have got over their first alarm the quaint sight may
sometimes be seen of a row of monkeys seated on the top of the
boundary wall to watch the train go by.

Monkeys have become lawless citizens of Delhi, and will no doubt
greatly welcome the enlarged scope for mischief which the new city
will open out to them. They travel in troops over the flat roofs, and
are very bold and mischievous, and great thieves. But monkeys must be
studied in their wild freedom in the woods to appreciate them. When
seen leaping from tree to tree with refreshing elasticity, or from
rock to rock in the open country, their spirit of fun and mischief
having full scope, the sight is a delightful one. They stick very
closely to their own districts, although now and then a solitary
monkey will detach himself from the rest and search for pastures new.

Wild pigs are common in some parts, looking like the poor relations of
their tame brethren. They do great harm amongst crops, and no weapon
is of much avail against them except the gun. The Christian who shot
the panther mentioned in the last chapter was largely employed by the
Hindu farmers round about to shoot any wild pig that came into their
fields. It was for him a profitable job, because, besides his fee, he
got the carcase of the pig, for which he could always get Rs. 10 from
a Parsee, who regarded the flesh as a great luxury. Wild pigs are also
chased in the so-called "sport" of pig-sticking, which is popular
amongst some English residents.

Now and then the mongoose, useful as a destroyer of snakes and rats,
may be caught sight of, with his long coarse fur, running across the
road, or hunting along a fence, much in the same way as a weasel
shows himself in England, although the mongoose is a good deal larger.
Sometimes they will even venture into a bungalow to prospect, and
young ones are easily tamed and become domestic pets.

Every morning a lumbering buffalo shambles into the compound to be
milked on the premises, in order to ensure getting the unadulterated
article. Even then it is expedient to look into the bottom of the
vessel to see that no water has been put there before the milking
begins. Buffalo's milk is not very rich, and the cream, such as it is,
produces a white and tasteless butter, which has generally to be
doctored and coloured before an Englishman will look at it.

The buffalo for the greater part of the year has not much flesh on his
huge skeleton, and is a sorrowful-looking creature with an
expressionless eye and an inky skin, and often with enormous horns
which give him a formidable appearance. But except when buffaloes
fight amongst themselves they are not savage beasts, although their
temper is uncertain, and they are said to be liable to attack an
Englishman in districts where they are not accustomed to the sight.
Generally buffaloes appear to take no interest whatever in life,
except to regard it as a burden too heavy to bear. A whole herd is
sent out to graze under the care of a small boy; they are in
astonishing subjection to his despotic rule.

The Indian donkey is very small, and its foal is a beautiful little
creature; but its life-long sentence of hard labour begins early. It
spends its days carrying great weights of earth, or brick, or stone,
or gravel, in panniers made of coarse sacking, for buildings,
road-making, and the like. They work in droves of a dozen, or twenty,
or more, according to the prosperity of the contractor. When they have
delivered their burden, the men and boys who are in charge each mount
a donkey, the legs of the men almost touching the ground, and the
cavalcade goes for a fresh load, often at full gallop.

It is an understood thing that an Indian donkey finds its own food,
how and where he can, in odd moments during the day, or at night when
he is turned adrift to wander as far as his hobbled legs can take him.
The brief period of plenty, when grass springs up after the rains, is
so brief that it must only make the rest of the year appear the more
blank by way of contrast. Indians are credited with being humane,
because they are unwilling to take life, but there are probably few
people who are so callous concerning the sufferings of the animal
world. The owners of the donkeys have a cruel custom of slitting their
nostrils, because it is supposed to moderate the loudness of their

[Illustration: MILKING THE BUFFALO.]

Elephants are used much less as beasts of burden than was the case in
days gone by. Some are employed in military service and in the pursuit
of big game, but their chief function is to make an imposing
appearance on grand occasions in some of the native states. But the
fact that elephants were not used in the royal processions at the last
Delhi Durbar, will probably lead to their being gradually less used
even for ceremonial purposes. Camels are employed for all sorts of
work in Northern India, and add greatly to the picturesqueness of the
road and street traffic. The horse plays a subordinate part,
comparatively speaking, in the labours of India, except for hack duty.
And though wealthy people, both English and Indian, drive handsome
horses, the motor-car is rapidly taking their place in the service of
the rich, or the prosperous professional, of all nations.



     The Southern Cross. Crocodiles. Fire-flies. Locusts; their
     ravages. Indian birds; they cannot sing; their plumage. The
     "brain-fever" bird. Swallows. Peewits. Vultures. Crows.
     Kites. Tameness of the birds.

In spite of the expression, "a traveller's tale," being equivalent to
saying that a story is probably untrue, your confidence in the general
veracity of the traveller is strengthened when you find that certain
things are even more beautiful or strange than books of travel led you
to expect. For instance, the Southern Cross is a glorious
constellation and an undoubted cross, and entirely satisfying, so that
you are not disturbed by the opinions of the few who say that it is
disappointing. Whether you see it for the first time from the deck of
the steamer in the Red Sea, or for the hundredth time high up in the
air over the heathen City of Poona, as if it claimed victory over it,
the sight is always equally inspiring.

The view of crocodiles lying on the mud-bank of a river in Bengal
inspired confidence in the accuracy of early teachings, because they
were so like the hideous monster in the picture hung on the nursery
wall. A crocodile can see and breathe while the whole of its body is
immersed in the water, because its eyes and nostrils are on a plane on
the surface of the head. A person incautiously bathing, or dipping
water out of the river, may be suddenly seized by a crocodile who,
though on the watch, is buried in the muddy water and invisible. Every
year a certain number of human lives are lost in this way. Cattle and
other animals coming to the river-side to drink are dragged into the
water and devoured. The Poona river, swollen to a torrent in the
rains, and for the rest of the year reduced to a small stream,
meandering along a stony and rocky bed, is not suited to the habits of
a crocodile, and there are none.

The brilliance of fire-flies is quite beyond the description usually
found in books. They flash hither and thither like tiny electric
lamps, and they are so numerous in certain places at certain times
that they might be supposed to be some organised scheme of fairy
illumination on a large scale. Boys sometimes capture two or three and
put them into a bit of muslin and carry them about as lamps, and the
light they give is quite appreciable. The insect itself is a
dull-looking little creature, apart from its luminosity.

Another astonishing experience in which the reality at least equals
the descriptions, is a visitation of locusts. When you hear for the
first time the peculiar rustling sound made by the beating of the
countless wings of the vast army which sweeps past in an unbroken
stream for hours, you realise what an invasion of locusts really
means. Military terms, such as "army," "invasion," are strictly
applicable, because locusts come with a rush and determination, and a
military precision, and an evident unanimity of purpose, which
suggests the movements of soldiers under orders. This idea is
accentuated when the head and body of the locust is of a bright red

The rapid destruction which they cause has also been described with
fidelity. They have jaws of great power, and when they take possession
of a tree it is stripped in ten minutes or so. When locusts settle
down on a group of trees, the colour of each tree is instantaneously
changed from green to red, because there is practically a locust to
every leaf. When they travel on again, the tree they leave behind them
is bare as an English tree in mid-winter. Little can be done to arrest
their progress. An ordinary garden may be protected to some extent by
beating the trees with poles, and so driving off the locusts as fast
as they alight. But to protect any large area in this way is

The natives try to frighten them by making a deafening din, beating
tom-toms and tin cans, but it is doubtful whether the locusts pay any
heed to these demonstrations. A few people amongst the lower castes
eat locusts, but they are not sought after by Indians in general.
Monkeys, dogs, and some birds eat them, but their numbers are so vast
that none of their enemies produce any appreciable diminution.

In the Indian world of nature the sweet melody of the birds of England
is absent. No Indian bird knows how to sing. Some make a brave
attempt, but they break down after the third note. The so-called
Indian nightingale only deserves its name because its performance is a
shade less disappointing than that of the rest. Nor do the birds
compensate for their lack of musical power by the splendour of their
plumage. It is generally supposed that plants and animals in the
tropics must necessarily be brilliant in colour. But many English
birds equal Indian ones even in this respect. For instance, the green
wood-pecker with his red crest is scarcely less gorgeous than the
green parrot, and the kingfisher only comes behind its Indian relative
in size. The plumage of the golden oriole is certainly sumptuous, and
brilliant sunshine has, of course, the effect of showing off colour to
the best advantage.

Though Indian birds cannot sing, they shout, and scream, and whistle.
What is known amongst English residents as the "brain-fever" bird, is
common in some districts. He makes a series of sounds, thought by some
to resemble this word, over and over again with increasing rapidity
and shrillness, until he breaks down and begins afresh. To people
actually suffering from the ordinary fever so common in India he is
sometimes a serious annoyance, because it is almost impossible not to
follow him mentally in his incessant repetition of "brain fever." To a
few fortunate people his peculiar note does not suggest these words.
Even the Indian sparrow drowns conversation with his shrill chirp,
taking advantage of the ever-open doors and windows to invade the
bungalow, and making determined efforts to make his nest in the most
inconvenient places.

The swallows which build in the verandah are like old friends, and are
always welcome. The curious cry which they make as they wheel in and
out of the verandah in the last few minutes before they plunge into
bed under the eaves, sounds almost melodious by contrast with the
strange noises made by other birds. There is also a species of peewit
who utters a rather pretty call, which might be supposed to be the
Marathi version of what the English peewit says.

Vultures are as uncanny-looking as they are painted, and to see them
waiting on the trees near the erections where Parsees put out their
dead to be devoured, is not a pleasant sight. They also sit and watch
near the Hindu burning-grounds, which suggests the uncomfortable idea
that pickings are to be had there also. The rapidity with which they
collect from all parts and swoop down upon the dead carcase of an
animal is astonishing to witness. Their value as scavengers is great,
and in a very short time nothing is left of the carcase but bare

Crows are also useful as scavengers. Nevertheless, they are a great
nuisance, especially in Bombay. Their loud cawing is often most
distracting; but they are also bold thieves, and do not hesitate to
enter houses when they see their opportunity and to carry off any
portable article which comes first to hand, even when it is of no
possible use to them. Some of the birds of prey are beautiful objects,
on account of their size, and the boldness of their flight. Kites
wheel about in the air in large numbers around Poona. Since people
carry almost everything upon their heads, a kite not unfrequently
makes a sudden swoop and snatches a prize out of the basket.

Few people are allowed a gun license, so that birds are less afraid of
mankind than they are in England, and favourable opportunities
constantly occur of observing them near at hand. A great variety may
be met with in an ordinary country walk in the cultivated parts of
India where food is plentiful. Although they cannot sing, many of them
have quaint and charming personal characteristics.



     Noise of insects at night. Troublesome in the evening. The
     blister-fly. Bees. Wasps. Cockroaches. Ants in the bungalow.
     White ants. Scorpions; their sting. Boys callous of the
     feelings of insects. Bugs. Spiders. Mosquitoes. The
     mosquito-net. Flies. The eye-fly. Insects resembling their
     surroundings. Butterflies. The praying mantis.

Amidst the many sounds of the restless Indian night, some far away,
some near at hand, there is one which, when it commences, drowns all
the rest. It is a harsh, metallic, rasping, shrill, unmusical sound.
It might seem as if it had to do with some machinery, except that it
is unlike the sound of any machine that you ever heard. It begins in
the room where you are sitting reading, or else out in the verandah,
where you are enjoying the cooler breeze of evening. Loud as it is,
you cannot locate it. At one moment you think it is up aloft amongst
the rafters, at another moment it seems to be close by. It emanates
from an uninteresting-looking brown insect, about an inch long, who
makes prodigious jumps like a grasshopper. One night when this din
was so great that conversation was almost impossible, I was astonished
to find that the insect was on the table, only a few inches away from
my book, and I was able to see his method of making this sound. He was
vibrating his horny wing-cases with marvellous rapidity, producing
such an amount of noise that, unless one had seen it in process of
production, it would have seemed impossible that it could arise from
such a humble source.

At certain seasons, and especially when it is warm and damp, the
evening meal in the country is attended with difficulty because of the
quantity of insects, especially beetles, which are attracted by the
lamp, and they appear to make a specialty of falling into any dish
which may be at hand. When camping out the difficulty is intensified,
and the only thing to be done is to put the lamp at a distance and to
dine in comparative darkness. Such a variety of insects come that an
entomologist might make quite a respectable collection in the course
of one night. One of these evening visitors after the rains is a long,
slim beetle, green, or sometimes buff in colour, with a small head
which fits loosely into his body. He twists his head about as if his
collar was uncomfortable. When alarmed he exudes a strong acid which
at once raises a blister. He is the more dangerous because, flying in
rapidly, he often alights on your collar or neck, and the action of
brushing him off causes the emission of the acid, and the blister

In the daytime, bees, black and hairy, immense in size, and making a
noise like a threshing-machine, come banging in at the open windows.
They are not as formidable as they look, except in their own domains,
and they quickly depart in response to indications that they are not
wanted. They know their way out without difficulty, which is contrary
to the experience of most intruding animals.

A solitary wasp is apt to select inconvenient places in which to build
a mud-cell wherein to deposit its egg, and the store of live
caterpillars destined to be the food of its young when hatched. You
find a keyhole, or the tap of a filter, filled with mud as the result
of this wasp's labours. It works so rapidly that it generally
completes its job in the course of a day. An even more inconvenient
site for its nest is the sleeve of a garment left hanging on a peg,
especially if you put the garment on while the wasp is at work. A
small colony of social wasps built their comb under the refectory
table of the village Mission-house. They were so determined to remain
that for some months they resisted all attempts to get rid of them,
returning as often as they were dispersed.

Cockroaches, some of great size, abound in most houses, and are very
destructive. They nibble the bindings of books, and cut quaint
devices, which look almost as if they had been done with a pair of
scissors, in clothes put away in drawers. They run at an amazing pace
when they think they are in danger.

Jet black ants, enormously big and warlike in appearance, come into
bungalows, sometimes in unpleasantly large numbers, to see what they
can pick up. They are not really aggressive, nor do they do any
particular mischief. Another kind of ant, very like an ordinary
English one though smaller, is a great trial to housekeepers. They get
into the bread and sugar and other stores, and though cupboards are
generally set in saucers of water on account of insect depredators,
these ants often manage to get in.

White ants are most destructive in a house if it is built of materials
which they can deal with. In the case of many houses in India, mud is
used instead of mortar, and the structure suffers greatly if the white
ants take possession. All woodwork, including furniture, ought to be
of teak, because they are unable to burrow into it. Sound hard floors
are necessary, so that when ants try to work their way upwards they
may find their road blocked. Otherwise, in the course of one night,
they will eat large holes in a mat or carpet, coming up from beneath.
They make havoc in a library if they get amongst the books. Many
ant-heaps out in the country are so large as to be conspicuous

Scorpions may be found anywhere. In your bedding, in your boots, in
your clothes, under your books and, out of doors, chiefly under
stones. You soon get into the way of prudently shaking each garment
before putting it on. The scorpion averages about two inches in
length, but they vary a good deal in size, and also in colour. They
much resemble a little lobster in appearance. Their sting is not
dangerous under ordinary circumstances, but the pain is great, and
resembles a blow on the funny bone, continuing acute for some hours.
The boys, sleeping on the floor and having bare feet, get stung now
and then, and generally make great lamentations over the misfortune.

Indian boys are like many English rustics in their disregard for the
feelings of animals--they appear honestly to think that they have
none--and they delight in forming a chain of scorpions by making them
grip each other, which they do fiercely, and hang on tenaciously. Boys
will also nip off the end of their tail to prevent them from stinging,
and leave them in this maimed condition.

Wherever Indians live, bugs are invariably found. Hence in schools
where many Indian children are gathered together these insects are
sure to find an entrance, in spite of vigilant care and cleanliness.
When the small boys of the Mission moved out from their old quarters
in the city, which like all old native houses was much infested,
immense pains were taken to make sure that no bug was transported to
the new home in the country. But it was not long before these
intruders showed themselves in the new house. Possibly they fulfil
some useful but at present unknown function as destroyers of microbes.

Spiders are much in evidence, and some are very large and fierce. Out
in the country I once fairly ran away from a great spider, which made
for my foot with a courage and ferocity such as one would not expect
to find in an animal of the kind. But they are not altogether
unwelcome in a house, because they help to keep down the population of
the insect world. There is a handsome little spider who spins no web,
and roves about, and springs on its victim like a tiger.

Mosquitoes are the most troublesome insects to be found in the
tropics, although some districts are much more infested than others.
There are several different kinds. The one that causes the most
irritation is smaller than the average English gnat. They are
veritable bloodsuckers, and the amount of blood which a mosquito can
imbibe is astonishing. They may be seen so distended after their
night's work that they can scarcely fly. Newcomers from England are
their special prey, and their bites often cause a good deal of
inflammation. The loud hum with which they approach is almost as
disturbing as their bite. Most English people have nets of fine gauze
surrounding their beds, and some Indians have adopted the same
precaution since the promulgation of the theory that the bite of an
infected mosquito is the cause of malarial fever. Natives when they
sleep, generally roll themselves up completely, head and all, in a
_dhota_, which they use then after the manner of a sheet. The
mosquito-nets cut off a good deal of air, and people are tempted to
discard them unwisely when the nights are intensely hot. The
framework from which the nets depend is a frail counterpart of the
four-poster of the Victorian age. The net is usually tucked in under
the mattress, to prevent any possibility of the mosquito entering. In
places where mosquitoes abound they are troublesome by day as well as
by night, and they are specially fond of attacking the ankles of
persons seated at table.

Towards the close of the rainy season flies become numerous almost
everywhere, but especially in a native city like Poona, and they are
an unpleasant indication of its unsavoury condition. They fall into
your cup, the table is black with them, your food becomes a matter of
dispute between you and them. But out of doors, except at meal-time in
camp, they are not nearly so aggressive as the summer flies which buzz
around during a country walk in England. Though they could be
dispensed with without regret, they are probably of great value as

There is a very small fly which is popularly known as the "eye-fly,"
because it hovers in front of your eye like a troublesome person who
will not take a refusal. It apparently thinks that the pupil is the
entrance into some desirable chamber. Fortunately it rarely gets
beyond the stage of prospecting this supposed entrance. Now and then
it travels round to your ear and prospects there also. But though it
does so at a safe distance it makes an irritating hum, and it is so
small that attempts to flap it away are futile.

There are many striking instances in India of insects being protected
from their enemies by their likeness in colour and markings to the
tree or plant on which they feed. The most noteworthy example of this
is a long insect, so precisely similar to a bit of dry stick that,
until you actually see it walk, you can hardly believe that it can be
anything else.

Butterflies, in the Poona district at any rate, are disappointing.
They are larger than the English ones--the scale of most things in
India is big--but their colours are not strikingly brilliant. Some of
the large moths are handsome, but not more so than many of the English
nocturnal moths.

The most comical insect is the praying mantis. It is of a fresh green
colour, often three or four inches long, and something like a
grasshopper in appearance. When it alights on your table in the
evening, attracted by the lamp, it behaves in a seemingly ridiculous
way. It puts its long front legs together as if praying, and sways
about as it does so in an absurdly affected fashion, reminiscent of
Thackeray's description of Charles Honeyman in the pulpit.



     The fakir from Delhi. Mohammedan tombs. A visit to the
     fakir; his possessions; his manner of life; his temper;
     diminishing austerity; building his shanty; he settles down.
     Hindu religious community; their dress; how they beg; of
     both sexes; the community children; the _Guru_; opinions of
     the villagers concerning them.

A fakir (that is to say, a wandering Mohammedan ascetic) from Delhi
took up his quarters by the tomb of a departed fakir, who is buried by
the side of a footpath, in the field of which the Mission property at
Yerandawana forms part. There are many such-like tombs, here and
there, all about India. They somewhat resemble rude altar-tombs in
appearance, two or three feet high, made of brick or stone, and
whitewashed. Generally they are under the shade of a tree, either
planted at the time of burial or growing there already. On the
anniversary of the day of death faithful Mohammedans will often cover
the tomb with a kind of coarse muslin, edged with gold or yellow
tinsel, and decorate it with flowers. That these tombs are numerous,
and that they are often found in remote country districts, is
accounted for, firstly, by the fact that this kind of asceticism was
formerly much more popular than is the case now; and, secondly, that
as the fakirs wandered everywhere, and ultimately died in the course
of their wanderings, each would be buried where he happened to die.
The Mohammedans of the district would then build up the, not very
expensive, tomb as a tribute to his religious profession, without much
reference perhaps as to the amount of strictness with which he
fulfilled his obligations.

The tomb at Yerandawana is in a very exposed situation. The only
shelter, several yards off, is a _barbel_, which is a tree bearing
small leaves and covered with thorns, and hardly affords any shade at
all, so that the fakir was exposed to the scorching rays of the sun
all day long. This has not the same malignant effect on an Indian that
it would speedily have upon an Englishman, but the former dislikes
sitting in the sun in the middle of the day quite as much as he values
the genial warmth of its morning rays in the cold weather.

After the fakir had lived here a while I went to call upon him, and
squatted down beside the tomb. A tall slender bamboo, which in such
cases is usually adorned with a little flag, marked the spot. He had a
small lantern burning at night, which I used to see glimmering when I
closed the church door after Compline. His other property consisted of
the crutch-stick, which is the emblem of his profession; a brass bowl
for water; a piece of sacking and an old blanket for his bed. There
was also a large accumulation of ashes from the wood fire on which he
prepared his food.

When I called he was just rekindling his fire, with the help of a
match-box and some splinters of wood which somebody had given him. He
was warmly dressed, considering that it was the middle of the hot
weather, in an old cloth jacket and a coloured _dhota_, rather scanty
but of thicker material than is usual in our part of India. He had
long black hair, which he said had never been cut. He seemed rather
proud of it, and often dressed it with a little comb. It was parted
neatly in the middle and fell in locks over his shoulders, and
glistened with oil. He wore moustache and beard, the former cut very
short. In the neatness and cleanliness of his person he was a great
contrast to the Hindus of the same type, who are called _gosavies_,
and whose heads are purposely left to nature, the result of which may
easily be imagined.

He told me that it had taken him one and a half months from Delhi, a
distance of nearly a thousand miles, and that he had travelled all the
way on foot, and that he meant to remain for two months by this tomb,
and then he would go to Delhi. He had been in all parts of India and
Burma, and had lived this life ever since he was a child. He knew
nothing about the particular fakir whose tomb he was honouring, but it
was sufficient that he had been a mendicant like himself.


An egg-merchant is the only Mohammedan living in Yerandawana, and I
fancy that the fakir was rather a tax on him, although a few Hindus
gave him small contributions. I asked him how he lived, and he said
that he ate what people gave him, and that if they did not give he
went without. I asked how he managed in the rainy season. He replied
that if people offered him shelter he accepted it, but that if there
were no offers of hospitality he sat in the rain. He said that he had
no books and that he could not read. The true fakir, he added, has no
books; his mind is his book, and all that he ought to know about God
is written there. I asked him whether he considered his life a useful
one. He said, "Yes, certainly; I pray." "For yourself?" I asked. "No,
for others," was his reply. I saw he was anxious to get on with his
cooking, and so I brought my visit to a close.

Unfortunately the fakir did not improve the longer he stayed with us.
The Mission children were at first inclined to make game of him. Their
attitude to the religions to which some of them once belonged is
generally one of intense contempt, and they do not always exercise
discretion in their way of expressing their feelings. The so-called
"ascetics" are feared in India, but not respected, and our children,
no longer fearing them, are apt to show their scorn. The fakir did not
accept with humility the disrespect of the children, and I first
became aware that they had been calling after him rudely, when he
turned and faced them with fierce rebukes.

But they were not the only people with whom he quarrelled. Both on the
road, and at his station by the tomb, I often heard him pouring out
torrents of angry eloquence, sometimes to the rather numerous women
who visited him, bringing him offerings of food. I was not near enough
to understand whether he was wroth because the offerings were not to
his taste. Also, little luxuries began to gather round him. With the
arrival of the rains came an umbrella. A smart new lamp to mark out
his encampment at night took the place of the shabby old one. He
usually returned from his frequent visits to the Mohammedan
egg-merchant enjoying one of the cheap smokes which Indians love, and
he began to put up the framework of a shanty as a shelter over himself
and the tomb. The materials for the shanty came in but slowly, so that
it was some time before the fakir could be said to have a roof over
his head. Perhaps the faithful did not altogether approve of the
diminishing austerity in the ascetic life.

His shed was completed at last, and he could no longer be said to be
quite homeless. But though his new house could not be called
luxurious, his life had lost the edifying element of the complete
poverty of his shelterless sojourn by the side of the tomb. Nor, when
his time was up, did he show any inclination to resume his wanderings,
and it seems not unlikely that he will remain in his quarters at the
tomb till _his_ turn comes to die, and then the kindly egg-merchant
will erect a whitewashed sepulchre over his remains, and he will be
reckoned among the saints.

Members of a large and peculiar religious community of Hindus are
often to be met with in the Bombay Presidency. Their habit resembles
the ordinary dress worn by Hindus, but a good deal amplified, and dyed
a slate colour. It is a rather successful adaptation of everyday dress
to religious purposes. They travel generally in large companies and
stay a long time in one spot, where, as a rule, they form a camp of
temporary huts. But sometimes they take a house for a while. Small
detachments from the main body wander round the villages, lodging in
an empty house, or taking possession of the village rest-house. They
remain till the charity of the village is exhausted, and then they
move on.

They beg on a large scale. The "one _pice_," or farthing, which the
ordinary beggar asks for, does not at all represent their idea of
charity. They expect any fairly well-to-do person, such as a
shopkeeper, to give sufficient food for the whole community for one
day, and they sit in his house till they get it. They do not stand at
the door and salaam and cringe, like the ordinary mendicant. They
boldly enter in uninvited and demand alms. They are much disliked on
account of the largeness of their wants. But they are also feared on
account of the terrible nature of their denunciations if they do not
get what they ask for. They profess to be celibates, but a
peculiarity of their constitution is that the community consists of
both males and females, and they camp close to each other. The small
detachments who travel round the villages are also mixed companies.
There are a large number of children attached to the community, who
are brought up to follow the same life and wear the same
slate-coloured habit. So also do the women, who receive an education,
contrary to the custom so prevalent in India, and are said to spend a
good deal of their time teaching the children. Their explanation of
the presence of children in their midst is that they are orphans, or
that they have been given to them by parents in fulfilment of a vow.

One of the small sub-sections of the community took up their quarters
in the verandah of a shut-up house in Yerandawana. Passing through the
village one evening, I came upon them just as they were about to sit
down to their evening meal. I asked a rather pleasant-looking,
middle-aged woman whether the several children that I saw playing
about went to school. She replied, "No. _I_ teach them." A tall, not
very attractive-looking old man came out of the verandah, and asked
who I was. When I gave him my name, he said that his name was "Krishna
_Padre_"--the latter being the popular title given in India to a
clergyman. He was the _Guru_, or religious teacher, to the community.

I said that I was the Christian _Guru_ of the place. He asked me the
usual questions as to what pay I got, and who gave me my food and
clothing, and the meaning of the knots in my girdle. Then he asked me
if I ate meat, and when I said that I did, he took a large pinch of
snuff, saying that I was not a true _Guru_, because a true _Guru_
never eats meat. Someone then called him away to supper. I invited him
to come and see the church next day, but the following morning they
all moved on to the next village. The Yerandawana people were thankful
to be rid of them, and assured me that the _Guru's_ assertion that he
never took meat was not true; as also another of his assertions, that
they never worshipped idols, because they carried one about with them
and the old _Guru_ worshipped it daily.



     Exaggerated statements about widows. Easterns naturally
     demonstrative in their grief. The conservative widow.
     Influential and wealthy widows. Remarriage of widows. Hindu
     Widows' Home; its aim and object; a visit to the Home; the
     daily routine; impressions made by the visit. The True
     Light. The future of the widows. Custom a hindrance to
     progress. The effect of caste. The Indian daughter-in-law;
     not necessarily in bondage. A kind-hearted mother-in-law.

There has been a good deal of false sentiment expended, and
exaggerated statements made, concerning the condition of widows in
India. The condition of a widow is of necessity a trying one in any
country. She often has to exchange a position of affluence and
importance for one of poverty and obscurity. The Indian widow is at
any rate sure of a home and support from her relations, which is not
always the case with the English widow. The stripping of the
ornaments, the shaving of the head, the shabby garments, the meagre
food, the hard work, and the despised position of the Indian widow has
often been described in moving terms. But the Western widow also lays
aside her ornaments during her time of mourning, and the shaving of
the head is a natural Eastern outward symbol of sorrow. The Hindu man,
who invariably wears a moustache, shaves it off when he loses some
near relation, such as a parent or a brother. The plain white garments
which the Indian widow usually wears have nothing of the dreary
severity of the garb of the veiled English widow, to whom also scanty
food, hard work, and humble station often becomes her portion from

Easterns are always demonstrative in their expressions of grief. Hence
the removal of the ornaments, the cutting off the hair, etc., is
performed in a demonstrative way. But the Hindu widow would not wish
it otherwise; and although all the ceremonies may not be exactly
congenial to her, she is at any rate a person of importance even in
her humiliation, and that is a great compensation to her. If she has
money--and some Hindu husbands leave all their wealth to their
wives--she will find herself surrounded by affectionate relations, all
of them ready to undertake the management of her property, and each of
them warning her of the necessity of being on her guard not to trust
any of the others.

At a Hindu Widows' Home, to be described presently, the inmates dress
as they like, wear what ornaments they please, and let their hair
grow. Someone visiting the Home was surprised to see a widow with her
head shaved, and wearing the unadorned white garments. On inquiry, it
transpired that this woman refused to avail herself of her freedom,
and that she preferred to bear the outward marks of widowhood out of
respect to the memory of her husband.

One of the most influential of the residents in Yerandawana village is
a widow, and she is much looked up to. She is well-dressed, wears a
good deal of gold jewellery, and her white hair sets off her wrinkled
brown face. She was photographed in a group with her grandsons; and
her relations and other villagers not unfrequently call at the Mission
bungalow and ask to see the photograph.

The real hardship for the young Hindu widow is that she cannot marry
again. In spite of much talk amongst so-called Hindu "reformers" about
the advisability of allowing the remarriage of widows, very little
practical progress has been made in this direction. Many young girls
are thus condemned unwillingly to lead unmarried lives, their
widowhood having often begun in actual childhood. The result of this
is, as might be expected, in too many cases disastrous.

Many of the attempts of Hindus to establish charitable institutions,
such as orphanages, have been definitely in opposition to Christian
efforts in the same direction, and they did not deserve to prosper,
and few survive. But there is one institution, which was founded with
a genuine desire to ameliorate the position of young Hindu widows,
which has not only held its ground, but has steadily enlarged its
sphere of usefulness.


This Hindu Widows' Home is out in the country, two or three miles
beyond our own village Mission. Its aim and object, as expressed in
their report, published in English as well as Marathi, is as
follows:--"To educate young widows from the higher castes that do not
allow widow remarriage, so as to enable them to earn an honourable
living and to cultivate their minds." The work, begun on a small scale
several years ago, has gradually developed. The inmates of the Home
number eighty or more, and nearly all of these are Brahmin widows. But
even Brahmins are divided into sections, and although in the Home they
are all able to eat in the same room, they sit in different groups
according to the section to which they belong.

A visit to the Home is an interesting, but rather pathetic experience.
The buildings are excellently adapted to their purpose; substantial,
well designed, and conveniently arranged. Extreme neatness and
cleanliness, so rare in India, prevail. The young women study
diligently under competent masters, and they all share in the
housework. The daily bath and the washing of their principal garment,
which is part of the necessary routine of a high-caste Hindu before
their chief meal, takes some time. Hindu schools never open till late,
except in the very hot weather, because these operations, including
their meal, have to be got through before the real work of the day
begins. The widows have only two regular meals, the one at 10, the
other at 6.30. But prosperous Indians eat largely at one sitting, so
that when people eat only two meals a day, which is the custom in most
Indian families, it does not mean that they are put on short commons.

They have a large prayer-room at the Home, in which they assemble for
the reading of Hindu scriptures and explanations of the same, and
occasionally there is a short discourse. There was no idol in this
room at the time of my visit, but I was informed that one would be
placed there eventually, not because it was in any way necessary for
their worship, but because it was customary. The small _Tulsi_ plant,
the common object of devotion amongst women, was the only visible
indication of idolatry. This plant was growing in one of the
courtyards on the sort of ornamental pedestal of brick and plaster
which is the usual arrangement. It was allowed in condescension to the
prejudices of the minority, and I was assured that it was only the few
who made use of it.

The high-caste Hindu woman has a grave and rather melancholy, lifeless
face, and the inmates of the Home were largely of this type. But they
did not look otherwise than contented, especially the younger ones.
But the impression left upon me, as I left the place and bade farewell
to the gifted and evidently most earnest Indian lady who showed me
over the establishment, was one of intense melancholy. Here was the
husk without the kernel. Consciously, or unconsciously, there was
much in the Widows' Home which was copied from Christian institutions,
and which never could have sprung out of Hinduism. If only Christ,
with all that He has to give, could be received into the Home, what
light and gladness He would bring into the hearts of these poor
gropers after truth! It is impossible to guess whether or no this
effort may be preparing the way for Christ in the distant future. At
present there is no indication that Christianity is a subject of
either interest or inquiry on the part of any of the inmates, except
for that visit which a few of them paid to our village church.

The serious flaw in the project, from a merely utilitarian point of
view, is that the future of these young women appears rather vague.
The demand for female Hindu teachers in India is at present small, and
a few only have found employment in this way. Three or four have
become nurses or midwives. Knitting, weaving, and other industrial
work has taken practical shape and may lead to something. But, so far,
only one student has accomplished remarriage, which is what would make
the Home a real blessing amongst Hindus. There are now a number of
educated men who feel the desirability of an accomplished wife who
could share in their interests and intellectual pursuits. The great
disparity of age between husband and wife, almost universal amongst
Hindus, is beginning to be recognised as an abuse, although the idea
still lingers, even amongst Indian Christians, that the husband
should always be rather the elder of the two. These young widows,
well-educated, trained, and disciplined by their busy life in the
institution, would make excellent wives for the educated Hindus. But
the power of custom is so overwhelming in India that, in spite of the
obvious advantages to be derived from the arrangement, the probability
is that the remarriage of a Hindu widow will for a long time continue
to be a most unusual event.

Caste here also, as well as everywhere else, is a barrier to progress.
I once suggested to a delightful and accomplished young Hindu, of good
position but not a Brahmin, who would have liked an intellectual and
companionable wife, that he should marry one of the widows from the
Home. But he assured me that such a thing was absolutely impossible on
account of his caste, and that not a widow in the Home would have him,
in spite of all that he had to offer her.

There has also been a great deal of exaggeration, in books about
Indian customs, concerning the position of the young daughter-in-law,
as if of necessity it must be one of great bondage. The mother-in-law
no doubt rules her daughter-in-law from the time she takes up
residence in the household, because she is usually still quite a child
and has to be taught her duties, and especially how to cook. But, for
the most part, the mother-in-law appears to be very devoted to her
daughter-in-law, and if she sometimes corrects her it is in her
anxiety that she should excel in domestic affairs, so that she may be
a good housewife.

One of the farmers' wives brought her youngest son's little wife to
the village Mission bungalow to ask us to show her the lad's
photograph, which had been taken some time back. There did not appear
to be any restraint or mystery in speaking of her husband, which we
are sometimes told in books is a characteristic of Hindu matrimonial
life. The young wife, who was a pretty child of about thirteen years,
was pleasantly shy; but her cheerful mother-in-law showed her the
photograph and discussed it, together with that of another group of
villagers, in which she picked out her own husband, with much animated
talk, and pleasant smiles and laughter. Except for the difference in
the setting of the picture it might have stood for a scene in a
country parsonage in England.



     The High Courts. The petty courts. Disappearance of the
     school clock. Methods of Indian police; indignation of the
     villagers; conduct of the police complained of; an inquiry
     instituted; unsatisfactory result. Police torture leads to
     concealment of crime. Detection of crime difficult in India.
     Thieving. Serious moral wrongs. Successful concealment.

In the Indian High Courts justice is administered with extreme care,
and sentences are pronounced with a full sense of responsibility and
with complete impartiality, so far as it is possible to come at the
truth where a large measure of false evidence is almost sure to have
place in every case. Indians who have been raised to important
judicial positions have shown themselves fully competent to discharge
the duties of their office rightly, and have shown much legal
sagacity, together with the other special qualifications which go to
make a good judge.

But when you descend to the petty courts, the state of things is less
satisfactory. When everything is in the hands of a lower grade of
Indian officials, and European supervision is necessarily of the
slightest, influence and money and favour and luck have much to do
with the chances for or against the prisoner. In the tracking of
culprits and the gathering of evidence, and in all the preparatory
work in which police are engaged, it is to be feared that unlawful
methods are still practised, especially in the more remote country
districts. Some of the European police do not seem to take much
trouble to stamp out these abuses.

We had an opportunity of seeing something of the ways in which Indian
police try to discover an offender, after the disappearance one night
of the clock from the village Mission day-school. We informed the
_Patel_, or headman, of our loss, which was the correct procedure. He,
at leisure, held a sort of court of inquiry in the verandah of the
Mission bungalow; but as nothing transpired he, again at leisure,
reported the matter to the city police, and two men in plain clothes
were sent to make preliminary inquiries. Not being able to ascertain
anything definite, they began to put in practise their own methods of
extracting evidence. They caned a suspected boy in order to try and
get him to confess, and also one of his companions who they supposed
might know something about it. I myself saw the marks of the cane on
the boys. The punishment would not have been excessive supposing they
had been convicted of the offence. The police were also said to have
beaten a labouring man in order to extort a confession, because there
was a rumour that the boys had given the clock to him.

The village, usually friendly and easygoing, began to get much
exercised over these attentions of the police. The _Patel_, a foolish
and dissipated young man, found his liberty seriously curtailed by
having frequently to attend the City Police Court to report progress.
The village _Mahars_, or low-caste men, are liable to be called upon
amongst their other duties to serve as village constables. These men
were getting tired of having to act as escort to the boys and others,
who were being summoned daily to the court, often being kept waiting
there for the whole day. A large deputation of villagers arrived at
the Mission bungalow to protest, and my assurances that none of these
proceedings arose from any promptings of mine were only partially

We were left in peace for a week or so, and I hoped that the matter
was at an end. But the police woke up again, and set upon Bhau, the
son of the Mission gardener, on the ground that he cleaned the school
and thus had access to the clock. Bhau was not a particularly
estimable character, but having helped to clean the school for many
years, it did not seem likely that he should suddenly have taken it
into his head to steal an old clock. But it is a disturbing feature of
police inquiries in remote districts, that they feel that anything is
better than to let the crime pass into the category of offences the
perpetrators of which have not been discovered.

It was now the turn of Bhau and his relations to appear daily at the
city court. For a time no cruelty was perpetrated, until one afternoon
two police appeared in the village and beat Bhau in the village
_chowdi_, or place of assembly, and they ordered him to attend the
court again the next day. As soon as I heard what had happened, I was
naturally as indignant as the villagers, and went myself to the court
with the boy. I was quickly taken to the Hindu police inspector of the
district in which Yerandawana is situated. In him I found a courteous,
English-speaking Brahmin, who promised to come himself and look into
the matter. He did so, examined Bhau, asked various questions, and
promised that the conduct of the police should be investigated.

Meanwhile I had written a letter of complaint to the District
Superintendent of Police, and two inspectors, one a Mohammedan, the
other a Hindu, were sent to hold a formal inquiry. One of these men
revealed something of their methods, when engaged in collecting
evidence, by remarking to me that "a few slaps would not be of much
consequence, but that anything of the nature of cruelty must not be
allowed." It was only in response to my assertion that nothing
whatever of the nature of punishment must be used in order to obtain
evidence, that he said, "Of course not. It must be stopped

The labouring man who was said to have been beaten was called to give
evidence. But unfortunately the policeman who was supposed to have
done this was sitting outside, and beckoning to him, got a word with
him before I realised what was taking place, and the man denied that
he had been beaten. I was glad to see that the inspectors showed real
indignation at this attempt to tamper with a witness. They were both
very polite, and in examining the village boys tried to copy our
paternal way of speaking to them, with rather comical results. When it
transpired that one of the boys was an orphan, the Mohammedan
Inspector said in English, "Oh dear! sad, sad," as if it was the first
case of the kind he had ever met with, and he recommended the boy to
seek refuge in the Mission orphanage.

Although they professed to be indignant with the police, and said that
they would be severely punished, I was not altogether surprised at the
nature of the report which they ultimately sent to the District
Superintendent, a copy of which was forwarded to me. It was
accompanied by a memorandum, saying that the charges appeared to have
been considerably exaggerated, but that the constable who was reported
to have "slapped" the boys had been "transferred to headquarters,"
whatever that might mean.

That irregular proceedings on the part of the police were only stayed
with difficulty by the force of English interference and emphatic
words and letters, suggests how hopeless may be the position of any
unhappy mortal in out-of-the-way places on whom the police choose to
father a charge. Many tales are told of the ingenious barbarities
still practised in the endeavour to extort confessions from suspected
persons, or unwilling witnesses, and it is to be feared that these
tales are not without foundation. The apparent tendency of some
English officials to make light of complaints, does not give much room
for hope that the evil system will be quickly eradicated.

Even supposing that torture was justifiable on the ground that it
leads to the detection of crime, the actual result is probably quite
the reverse. It certainly leads to false confessions. People in their
fear are tempted to say that they have done a certain thing, in order
to escape from present pain. It has often been urged that confessions
made by prisoners to the Indian police should not be accepted as
evidence, and this is a reform urgently needed. The trouble to which
the police subjected our villagers will not deter them from committing
offences, but it has convinced them, from the Patel down to the
Mahars, that if in the future there is any wrongdoing in the village,
anything is preferable to invoking the aid of the police. And that is
a serious result, because in an out-of-the-way village, if the Patel
takes no action, almost any crime, even murder, could be committed,
and the fact need never be known.

It should, however, be added that the detection of wrongdoers is
beset in India with peculiar difficulties. The presence of serious
crime in a certain locality may be a sufficiently self-evident fact,
and yet it may be years before it is brought home to its real authors.
The Western rogue often betrays himself by his clumsy efforts to
escape. The Eastern wrongdoer never commits this mistake. While the
police are searching for him far and wide, he is very likely all the
time living in their midst.

In the smaller sphere of a household or school, there is a similar
difficulty in discovering the real origin of some irregularity.
Thieving may go on in a certain bungalow; all kinds of people are
suspected, almost always the wrong ones; if the police are called in,
they generally lay the guilt on one of the poorer class of servants,
who in sheer fright at being accused, and with the dread of torture in
his mind, is almost ready to say that he is guilty. Innocent servants
are sometimes thoughtlessly discharged without character, only on
suspicion. Not unfrequently, even before the excitement has subsided,
fresh thefts occur, showing that the thief is still at large. And if
he is ever found out, which is not by any means invariably the case,
the chances are that he will prove to be somebody near at hand, who
was supposed to be above suspicion.

Serious moral wrongs may go on in an Indian household quite unknown to
most of its members, and so skilfully concealed that they may have
existed for years without suspicion. Even when the matter has
ultimately come to light, the head of the household is perhaps the
last to learn what nearly everybody else knew. Many Indian schoolboys
are ready enough to tell tales of each other concerning trifling
matters, and Indian school authorities unfortunately rather encourage
the habit, and the sneak does not get sent to Coventry as he ought to
be. But when something serious has happened which it is the duty of
the boys to report, it is rare to find amongst them one of sufficient
force of character to enable him to do so, and the unembarrassed
denial of any knowledge of the offence adds greatly to the difficulty
of detecting the offender. Though there are brilliant exceptions,
Christian principles rarely stand the test of truthfulness when really
serious complications have arisen. And the Indian story-teller so
seldom contradicts himself, and if he finds himself in a corner he
gets out of it so readily, that it is difficult not to believe him,
even when you have the strongest reasons for thinking that he is
deceiving you.

In a certain boys' school it was known that some evil influence was at
work, but it could not be traced to its root. When elder boys left who
were thought to be possibly the cause of the evil, it was hoped that
the trouble would cease. But several generations of boys passed out of
the school, and the evil influence remained. When its source was
discovered after some years, the clue was given by an almost chance
remark of a small boy. The person who had so long been a centre of
corruption had been so little suspected that, even after it had been
brought home to him, it was difficult to understand how he had been
able to secure concealment so effectually that no shadow of suspicion
was ever aroused.



     Boundary stones. Government Survey Department. The village
     map. How the stones are placed; how to use them. The Hindu
     village clerk. Litigation in India. Lawyers' devices.
     Conversation about money. Poverty great. Christians and
     money. English fair-dealing not always apparent.

If you want to buy land in India, it is nearly always difficult to
find out who is the real owner. But in one important point the British
Government has made the transaction quite simple. When you are
travelling through India in the train, the impression left upon you is
that of a country which belongs to no one in particular, because there
is often so little trace of any boundary between field and field.
There are scarcely any hedges or walls, or when they exist they are so
irregular and come to an end so unexpectedly, that they only add to
the impression of vagueness of ownership. But the traveller, if he is
observant of detail, will have noticed stones sticking up here and
there, bearing some trace of having been shaped with a tool and
painted or whitewashed, and apparently placed in their position for a
definite object. Sometimes the stones stand alone, sometimes they are
grouped in twos or threes or more. The traveller, vaguely mindful that
the worship of stones is common amongst Hindus, concludes that these
have been put there for religious purposes.

But that is not so. These are only the boundary stones planted by the
Survey Department of the Government of India, perhaps one of the best
organised and most useful of Government departments. The whole of
India has been elaborately surveyed, and the maps are being
continually revised and corrected, and brought up to date. When making
the survey the boundary line of fields and other property was
patiently and carefully investigated, objections and claims listened
to, and an impartial decision arrived at. Each village has now its own
map taken from the Survey. Not only every field and garden is clearly
shown, but the position of all the boundary stones is marked, and they
are arranged on a system which makes a mistake as to the limit of any
property almost an impossibility: unless, indeed, any one "removeth
his neighbour's landmark"; an offence which is not unknown, but for
which the penalty is heavy.

The system is a simple one. A boundary stone is placed at the corner
of a field, or wherever there is an angle, and the boundary is always
drawn in a straight line from stone to stone. If four fields meet at a
certain point there may be as many as five stones, one in the centre
and one on each of the four boundary lines a few feet from the
centre. The number and position of each stone being marked on the map,
even villagers who cannot read or write are able to identify the
different groups of stones by the number in each group, and the
direction in which the additional stones are pointing.

For instance, you want to know the length and precise direction of one
side of a plot of land. Often there is no indication on the ground
itself of any boundary line at all, especially if it is uncultivated
land--neither ditch, or wall, or tree, or any other mark. But you
station yourself at the corner, and from thence look towards the
stone, a few feet off, on the boundary line you want to fix. Now and
then your line of vision is made doubly sure by a second stone two or
three feet farther on. Then, far away, but exactly in a line with the
stones which indicated your line of vision, you will catch sight of
another boundary stone, and you know that that is the extent of the
plot, or that at any rate there is an angle at that point. Whenever
there is any doubt through a stone getting overgrown with vegetation,
or displaced, the truth is easily got at by going to some other corner
and taking the line from there.

Each field is numbered, and in the books kept by the village clerk, or
accountant, the owner of each plot is recorded, and change of
ownership, or any other matter of importance affecting the property,
is supposed to be noted. The reason why, in spite of this, it is
often difficult to come at the real owner, is that most Indian
landowners are in difficulties through expenses incurred in the
marriage of their children, so that their property more often than not
is encumbered with mortgages. The average Hindu village clerk also is
not to be depended on, and as they are dealing with illiterate people,
they have many opportunities of falsifying village records. Also, the
inveterate habit of procrastination leads to vagueness in the record,
and transactions take place which are never noted. But there never can
be any real doubt as to where each bit of property begins and ends,
and that is a great boon.

Some of the educated lads of the Mission have got employment in the
Survey Department, and find it an interesting sphere. Its only
drawback for Christians is, that they are liable to be out in camp for
months at a time in regions where Christian privileges are not to be
had, or only at a great distance.

Disputes concerning the ownership of property lead to a good deal of
that constant litigation which is such a curse in India, but which
gives employment to innumerable lawyers of various grades. A young
Indian barrister, who was proposing to go to a certain town to
exercise his legal profession, explained to me why it was likely to be
a favourable locality. The people, he said, were for the most part
well-to-do, and that always meant a great deal of quarrelling
concerning money and land. But they were at the same time very
ignorant, and easily duped. He gave the following instance of the sort
of thing which takes place:--A man comes into the "pleader," or
lawyer's office, for a consultation. The pleader says: "Now, what sort
of law shall I give you? If I take it out of this book" (taking up a
black volume), "it will cost ten rupees. But if you want to have the
best law out of this book" (taking up a red volume), "it will cost
twenty rupees." The applicant probably agrees to take the twenty-rupee
law out of the red volume, naturally thinking that the best law is the
safest, even if it costs more.

It has been said that if you chance to hear two Indians talking
together, the word "money," or something relating to it, will almost
invariably be heard. In our crowded rural road, as villagers go to and
fro in pairs or groups, I have often tested the truth of this
proverbial saying. It is undoubtedly the case that perhaps in nine
cases out of ten they are discussing past or prospective earnings, or
some difficulty or quarrel connected with money matters. But this does
not necessarily indicate a love of money in the Western sense of the
expression. The majority of people in India are poor. The struggle
even for the small sum required for daily bread is often acute. The
conditions under which the majority of the poorer class of people have
to do their work has been already described. Hence the injustice which
they have received from their employers; hardships connected with
money earned but not paid, or only in part; the ups and downs of the
daily struggle for bread; these naturally form the burning questions
of the day, and they are the natural topics of conversation amongst
men and women. The very scarcity of money intensifies the temptation
to think too much of it when it has been acquired. It is not uncommon
to hear the critic of the Indian Christian say that he cares too much
for money. On the whole, it would probably be true to say that he does
not err more in this respect than the average Christian of the West.
But he happily retains a good deal of natural simplicity of character
and does not pretend to be different to what he really is, so that
when he is importunate for a rise of salary he does not think it
necessary to beat about the bush, or to appear to blush.

It is sometimes urged that though natives may dislike the often
brusque manner of some Englishmen, they are more than compensated by
getting in exchange English honesty and fair dealing. It is to be
feared that this boast has its limitations. In a country where it is
so difficult to find out what is the proper price of any article,
because the vendor almost habitually asks far more than he expects to
get, the new-comer naturally begins by paying too much. But after he
has become aware of this he is apt to go into the opposite extreme,
and he begins to pride himself on his cleverness in making bargains
with the natives, and he often ends by paying too little, both for
what he buys and for work done. There are even mission workers who
have got their influence discredited in this way. The strength of his
standing as a European makes it almost impossible for an ordinary
native to get redress, if he has been wronged in his dealings with an
Englishman. Servants often suffer a good deal from petty injustice.



     Indian railway travellers. English rudeness; instances of
     this. Seeing off the Collector; his exclusiveness. The
     "white man's ship." Courtesy of Indians. The European and
     Eurasian compartment.

It is when travelling by train that East and West are most liable to
tread on each other's toes. Formerly first and second-class carriages
were used almost exclusively by Europeans. Of late years the number of
Indians travelling in these classes has greatly increased. This is
partly because at one time all passengers were subject to medical
inspection, in order to see whether they were suffering from plague or
not, but those who were not travelling third-class got many exemptions
in the process. Also the well-to-do Indian has gradually got into the
habit of travelling second-class in order to escape the mixed crowd of
the Indian third-class, where he may find himself compelled to sit
next a low-caste man whose touch may defile him.

On the other hand, they often meet with a great deal of rudeness from
certain English people, who resent the intrusion of a "native" into
their carriage. Even some men who ought to know better are guilty in
this respect. But it should also be remembered that men of very little
education or refinement come out to India for the sake of the higher
pay and position which they can secure in a variety of spheres. Some
men of this stamp are apt to give themselves great airs, and they
think to show their importance by their rudeness to the people of the

I once saw a man of this type in a railway carriage shove an Indian to
one side with considerable violence, and take his seat. The Indian was
a refined gentleman, much his superior both by birth and education,
and speaking English excellently. He was reading a volume of Mark
Twain for his recreation in the train. Although a good deal disturbed
by the rudeness which he had received, he did not lose his temper, but
remonstrated in emphatic but courteous language.

"'I say, guard, there is a native in this compartment; he must go
somewhere else.' That is the kind of speech which hurts our feelings,"
said an Indian gentleman to me, who was my companion in the train for
two nights and a day. "And yet," he said, "that is the sort of thing I
am frequently subjected to, because I have to travel a good deal. Is
it to be wondered at if we don't feel much love towards Englishmen,
when they treat us in this way?"

I saw a Scotch doctor, engaged on plague inspection duty at a railway
station, kick with savage violence a porter who accidently got in his
way on the platform.

If you see a little crowd of bowing, smiling, well-dressed Indians at a
station, gathered round a young Englishman in a sun tope, who is talking
to them affably, and trying not to look embarrassed by the garland of
flowers which they have put round his neck, you may know that it is
probably the Collector, or Commissioner, of the district, who is being
seen off by some of his constituents. The one or two attendants in blue
coats and red turbans, and sashes with large brass plates upon them,
waiting in the background, are the messengers, with which all Government
officials are liberally supplied. The Collector is the practical ruler
of the locality over which he is set to preside, and situations are
constantly arising which demand a great deal of tact and wise judgment.
That Collectors frequently win, not only the respect, but also the
confidence and regard of the people over whom they have been set, is an
instance of the capacity of the young Englishman, who is in earnest, to
rise up to his responsibilities.

Nevertheless he remains an Englishman for all that. A Collector whom I
knew, having had his usual "send off," travelled in the next carriage
to myself. At a roadside station a Hindu judge made for the
first-class carriage in which the Collector had established himself.
Although he had been exceedingly courteous to the Indian gentry who
had seen him off, he bitterly resented the intrusion of the Hindu
judge. The latter was not to be rebuffed, and was determined to
exercise his right to travel in a carriage in which there was plenty
of room. The Collector accordingly called his servant, indignantly
gathered up his belongings, and, having first come to the window of my
carriage to tell me of his troubles, took refuge in some other part of
the train.

"Well, this is a pretty state of things, when you find a native in a
cabin!" said a young military officer to me, when he saw an Indian go
into the adjoining cabin on board ship. "If he has paid for his berth,
he has a right to it," I said; "besides, he is not in your cabin."
"Well I did think that a P. & O. was a white man's ship," replied the
young officer with great bitterness.

"No doubt you missionaries have learnt to get over the prejudice,"
said a delightful young army captain to me on board the same ship,
"and I suppose it is very wrong of me; but I positively _hate_ a black

Though there are certain drawbacks connected with some native
passengers, they are much more courteous than the average Englishman
is, even to his own countrymen. The stranger, who at some wayside
station, intrudes into a carriage already sufficiently full, does not
expect to be welcomed. At night the large clerical sun hat meets with
a specially cold reception from the Englishman, who peeps out at the
intruder from beneath his blankets. But the Indian traveller will
assure you that there is plenty of room. He will cheerfully help you
with your luggage, clearing away his own belongings in order to make
space for yours; and on one occasion an Indian insisted on my taking
his berth, while he himself sat up on a corner of a seat for the rest
of the night.

However good the intentions of kindly Englishmen may be when
travelling, it is almost impossible to avoid the appearance of
acquiescing in arrangements which are trying to the Indian. On most
lines there are third-class compartments reserved for Europeans and
Eurasians. The arrangement is not merely to protect the Englishman
from the intrusion of native fellow-passengers. The Hindu is at least
equally unwilling to have the white man as an intruder in his own part
of the train, and it is generally understood that just as the native
must not trespass into the European compartments, so on his part the
Englishman should keep out of the carriages allotted to Indians.

Not being able to find the usual European compartment on a certain
train, I asked the young Eurasian ticket-collector whereabouts it was.
"There is not one on the train," he said, "but I will soon make one."
And going to one of the native compartments, already fairly filled
with people, he said rudely and roughly: "Here, I say, you have all
got to clear out of that." The Eurasian is inclined to imitate what he
thinks to be correct English style, by talking in a blustering way to
those whom he contemptuously styles "natives." The Indians, slowly
and unwillingly, but silently, transferred themselves and their many
belongings to another carriage, and then they saw three members of the
ruling race take their places in a carriage seated for twenty-eight.



     The up-to-date Hindu traveller; his outfit. Habits of East
     and West so different. The English toothbrush. The Indian's
     toilet; its publicity. Women's dress. Taking food with the
     fingers; defence of the custom; the touch of the meat-eater.
     Servants of Europeans. English hospitality restricted by
     caste. The Rajah's dinner-party. Instance of mutual
     misunderstanding. Regrettable results of rudeness. The true
     religion unites.

In spite of the fact that East and West do not always hit it off
happily together when travelling, it is then, more than at any other
time, that the up-to-date Hindu tries to follow European customs. His
bedding, his pillows, his rug-straps, his tin travelling trunk, are
all modelled on English lines; although excess of colour and
ornamentation indicate Indian taste, and the articles themselves
partake either of the flimsy nature of most Indian modern productions,
or else they are cheap goods from Europe made expressly for the
foreign market. He is nicely dressed in European clothes, but he wears
a turban which he takes off and puts up on the rack, just as the
Englishman does with his sun tope, displaying either a pigtail of
varying dimensions, or else hair cut in English fashion, and the
pigtail so reduced that it is invisible. He has a watch which he
often consults, and he is interested in the punctuality or otherwise
of the train, and will perhaps verify this by frequent reference to
his time-table. Possibly he will amuse himself by reading an English
magazine or novel from the bookstall. Yet, in spite of this outward
conformity to the English model, he is still as completely an Indian,
and as little of an Englishman, as when he wore his _dhota_, or even
when he thought his loin-cloth sufficient clothing. The result of this
is that, except where the crowded state of the train makes it
impossible, the Englishman and the Indian as a rule naturally
gravitate into different compartments, not from mutual antipathy, but
because the habits of the two nations are so different that travelling
together makes practical difficulties.

The nature of some of these mutual difficulties may be indicated.
Indians are extremely particular about cleaning their teeth. But the
English custom of using a toothbrush, which is only renewed after a
period of uncertain duration, is looked upon by the Indian as a most
objectionable practice. To retain, and to carry about with you in your
bag an instrument which has been used for such a purpose, he feels to
be an indication of great want of refinement. His own "toothbrush" is
the first finger of his right hand, sometimes supplemented by a small
twig taken from a certain tree, which twig he throws away after the
operation. The process is carried out with immense energy, and it is
accompanied by alarming guttural sounds. The manipulator has with him
a brass vessel, from which he takes deep draughts of water, which he
squirts out again with great force. He generally chooses a public
place for this toilet operation, such as the front doorstep of his
house in a crowded street. The extraordinary publicity given to many
domestic matters, with which we are accustomed to associate the idea
of privacy, tries the feelings of the Englishman just as much as the
sensibilities of the Indian are shocked by the permanent toothbrush.

To the new-comer from England the dress of the average Indian woman
looks rather scanty. But, on the other hand, the skirts of English
ladies, sometimes trailing behind them, and possibly gathering up
unknown defilements, awaken in the Indian feelings of disgust.

No Hindu, of whatever rank, would ever think of taking food in his own
country except with his fingers. In serving rice and other food to
guests at a feast, the hand is always the agent used for the purpose.
Indian Christians, except the few who have become completely
Europeanised, rarely take their food in any other way. The arguments
used by an Indian in defence of the custom were reasonable. "We always
wash," he said, "before we eat, so we know that everybody's hand is
clean. And after the meal, before we go to other duties, we wash our
hands again. You, on the contrary," he went on to say, "eat with
spoons and forks which have been in the mouths of hundreds of
different people. You leave them to be cleaned by servants who often
do the work carelessly, and who are perhaps dirty themselves."

Using fingers habitually, instead of spoons and forks, is popularly
looked upon as indicative of rudimentary civilisation. But it should
be added that those who have always been accustomed to eat with their
fingers do so with dexterity and neatness. And no one who has seen
Indians at their meals would be disposed to say that this method of
eating suggests the idea of lack of refinement. But to eat rice
elegantly with the fingers needs that your Indian social education
should have begun in early childhood.

The Hindu's objection to having his food or water touched by
Christians or people of low-caste arose, not so much from any notion
of inferiority of station, but chiefly from the nature of the food of
these classes. It was the touch of the meat-eater, in the days when
the Hindu was more strict in his observances than he is now, which
brought pollution. Contact with Christians was obnoxious because they
eat all kinds of meat, including the sacred cow. Low-caste Hindus were
much to be avoided, because they even eat animals which have died from
natural causes. The Hindu servants of most Europeans are chiefly drawn
from the ranks of this class, because they are the only Hindus who are
willing to handle dishes containing the uncanny food of the

Nowadays meat is eaten more or less frequently, either openly or in
secret, by nearly all classes. But to the orthodox Hindu it is a
matter of wonder that we allow people of what he considers a degraded
class to minister to our wants. The native women who act as ladies'
maids and nurses, and who are said to be handy and adept, are mostly
drawn from the same class, and many Indians are puzzled that an
Englishman should be willing that his wife and children should be
ministered to by these women.

Governors and other important Government officials make formal calls
on leading Hindus in native cities, and stay for ten minutes or so
talking polite platitudes, and the Hindu in return puts in an
appearance at the Governor's levee. But this, though good as far as it
goes, does not do much towards bringing about real mutual
understanding. The caste restrictions, which make it impossible for an
orthodox Hindu to take food with a Christian, add greatly to the
difficulty. A dinner-party in which English and Indians were
judiciously intermixed, if it were possible, would do much towards
bridging over the gulf. When Indian Rajahs entertain English guests,
which they do in English style on a most lavish scale and with truly
princely hospitality, the host himself cannot share in the meal, and
only puts in an appearance at the end of the banquet to take part in
the speech-making.

Here is a curious instance of a complete misunderstanding, arising
entirely from the different customs of East and West. A Brahmin
student told me, as an example of the intolerance of the British, that
a young Indian friend of his in London had been requested by an
English family to leave the house because he had bare feet. I asked
for particulars, and the Brahmin said that the young Indian, having a
letter of introduction to this family, went to present it. As the day
was very hot, while he was waiting in the drawing-room he took off his
shoes and stockings. In his own country this would have been a
perfectly natural thing to do. In fact, in his own home ordinary
politeness would have made him leave his shoes at the door. The
maidservant who had ushered him in, returning for some purpose, was
amazed to see what the visitor had done, and went and reported the
fact to her mistress. She, probably thinking that they had either a
madman or a would-be thief to deal with, sent to request him to leave
the house, which he did indignantly, and wrote to his friends in India
to tell them how he had been insulted by the proud English.

The rudeness of the thoughtless or ill-bred Englishman is very
regrettable, because it is productive of that feeling of soreness
which lies at the bottom of a great deal of the smouldering discontent
which, from time to time, makes itself apparent amongst the upper
classes in India. And some of the younger Indian men try to retaliate
as far as they dare, by being in their turn off-hand and cheeky. There
are indications that the same sort of spirit is spreading to some of
the lower classes, which might easily become a source of serious
danger. Anyhow it tends to make the process of amalgamation between
the two races increasingly difficult and slow.

There is a great charm about many Indians, and by those who set
themselves in earnest to understand them and to cultivate their
friendship, a great deal of happy progress can be made. But it must
always be remembered that there cannot be complete unity of heart
without the true religion, and it is only by their mutual
incorporation into the household of God that Indians and Englishmen
will become one nation.



     Government officials and missions. The honest native
     Christian. Christian servants. Housekeeping in India. The
     heathen butler. The _Dasara_ festival. Countenance of
     Hinduism. The visitors to Parbatti. The festival of the
     cattle. S. Anthony's Day.

There are a few Government officials in India who are not disposed to
smile on missionary enterprise, or on those engaged in it. They think
that natives had better be left to themselves, so far as religion is
concerned, and that the efforts of the missionary are a disturbing
element; and his reasonable complaints to officials of this type about
ordinary matters, such as the state of the roads in his district, or
the supply of water, often meet with slight recognition, or none at
all. How far this attitude on the part of the official may be due to
the faults, or want of tact of the missionary, I cannot say. Want of
appreciation of what missions are doing for the people of a country
often arises merely from lack of knowledge, and most Government
officials show generous recognition of the work, and give it their
kindly aid, when they come into real contact with it and its results.

It was a pleasant relief from the stereotyped "board-ship" saying,
that all native Christians are rascals, to hear the following from one
of the engineers of the great irrigation system of the Panjab. In the
course of ordinary conversation he happened to say that, in all his
experiences, he had only met with one really honest native, and that
he was a Christian. "In fact," he went on to say, "the other men led
him such a life, just because he was honest, that I had to transfer
him to a new district." This testimony was the more significant,
because there is no sphere in which there are greater opportunities of
exacting unlawful commission than in the department which deals with
the distribution of water.

[Illustration: THE INDIAN BUTLER.]

The common criticism of the casual Englishman, when he is talking
about missions, that a Hindu servant is better than a Christian one,
has an element of truth in it. That is to say, the Christian servant
will not be so submissive as the heathen one. His Christianity has
developed his grit, and he will be less willing to put up with
injustice, or violent language, or the habit, once common but now
almost universally reprobated, of cutting his pay as a punishment for
offences real or imaginary. He will not be quite so ready to be on
duty for unlimited periods at his master's pleasure, and he will
expect to be allowed time to go to church. Some of these new
characteristics may be of the nature of defects, but they also mean
that he is more of a man than he was in his heathen days. And as
regards honesty and general trustworthiness, although every Indian
Christian is not altogether impeccable, he is on a completely
different plane to his heathen comrade. It is also an unspeakable
relief, to anyone whose Christianity is something more than form, to
have Christian servants round about you.

Housekeeping in India is either difficult or very easy, according to
the view that is taken of the moral responsibility of a householder.
If you feel it a duty, or if poverty compels you, to endeavour not to
allow yourself to be cheated, the process of housekeeping will become
a contest between you and your heathen servants in which, in spite of
your vigilance, you will be continually worsted. If, on the other
hand, you are reconciled not to worry much about prices, and if you do
not grudge the traditional gifts of certain seasons, you can obtain
what is probably the most efficient and devoted service in the world.
Your head-servant will take the entire responsibility of your
establishment. When he has learnt what your wishes are, he will see
that his underlings carry them out to the letter. Meals will be
admirably served, and you will be waited on noiselessly and
graciously. Your own unpunctuality, your unreasonableness, the sudden
arrival of unexpected guests, none of these things will disturb the
admirable serenity of your Hindu or Mohammedan Indian butler. And
whatever the emergency, you will find him equal to the occasion. But
in return for this, you must not grumble because at every turn, and in
every transaction, he is privately supplementing his official income.

Those who employ Christian servants would do well to remember that
they ought to take care to pay them somewhat in excess of the small
wages which will satisfy a Hindu. Otherwise they will find it
difficult to live, and may be tempted to practise the same methods by
which the heathen servant probably doubles his receipts.

There is a popular Hindu festival called the _Dasara_, and this is one
of the days when stable-servants expect to be tipped, unless they know
that their master disapproves of Hindu ceremonies. On that day horses
are decorated and garlanded, and the grooms bring them round to the
front verandah of the bungalow in order to obtain the expected
recognition. Care needs to be taken to see that, in the desire to be
kind, a sort of tacit countenance of Hinduism is not involved. English
visitors to India unthinkingly are sometimes remiss in this respect.
There is a hill just outside Poona City called Parbatti. It is a
well-known centre of idol worship, and for this reason many visitors
climb up it out of curiosity, but also to see the view. One of the
custodians of the temples, after showing an English priest the idols,
etc., asked for a contribution towards "the support of the temple," as
he expressed it. And in spite of the terms in which the request was
couched, the priest gave an offering, to the astonishment of his
better instructed lay companion.

Hindus have a festal day for their cattle, called _Bile polar_, on
which they give them extra food; their horns are coloured and
decorated with gold paper and long tassels made of the fibrous roots
of a shrub, and a variety of devices are imprinted on their bodies in
red paint, generally circles or the outstretched hand. The biggest
bull of the chief man of the village sometimes wears a sort of crown,
or some farmer who is well-to-do drapes his best cattle in ornamental
cloths, reaching nearly to the ground on each side. The people also
set up clay models of cattle in their houses at this season, to which
they do reverence. When the cattle have been decorated they are
driven, with shouting and noise, up to a temple; and the fact that it
is their festal day does not save them from the whacks which the boys
bestow upon them freely in order to hurry them on. Some of their
owners go into the temple and worship the god, and soon afterwards the
cattle are driven back with the same demonstrations to their
respective homes.

It used to be the custom (and perhaps may be still) for horses to be
driven past the Pope on the Feast of S. Anthony (the patron saint of
animals), and he blessed them as they went by. It is good that the
creatures who do us faithful service should be gratefully remembered.
The Hindu festival of the animals might possibly be Christianised.
Their generous rations and their gay decorations, with the exception
of the paint marks on their bodies, are customs which might be
retained, and they might be brought in joyful procession to the church
door on S. Anthony's Day to be blessed by the parish priest.



     Education divorced from religion. Its effects on character;
     instance of this in Babaji. Wealth will not purchase social
     position. The new bungalow. Quarrels with the contractor.
     Indians nervous about thieves. Night raids. Robberies
     amongst plague refugees. Skilful thieves. Babaji's
     inconsistency; removing his neighbour's landmark. The future
     of the bungalow. Airy houses unpopular. Preference for
     apparent discomfort.

There are many opportunities in India of studying the effect on
character of education when divorced from religion. The effect on a
few has been that the cultivation of their mental gifts in secular
study has helped them to understand and assimilate Christian truth.
Others, with a natural propensity for evil, have had their capacities
for mischief quickened by the varied knowledge which they acquired.
But with the vast majority of Indians, and more especially Hindus,
English secular education does not alter their character, and except
for the assumption of a few European externals, they remain exactly
the same as they were before. Even many of those who go to England, if
they do not take up some definite profession on their return, drop
back so entirely into their former manner of life that you would
hardly suppose it credible that they had ever been out of their own

If you live amongst the people you will frequently meet with examples
of this kind of thing. And it should be observed that it is generally
in a man's ordinary everyday life that his real nature comes out. Here
is an illustration:--A Hindu, who was by caste a brass-worker, had
been for some years in the important position of assistant collector.
His father having been a good English scholar and a great reader of
books, both in that language and in Marathi, had given his son an
education which enabled him to rise to the responsible post which he
ultimately filled. He, in his turn, educated his sons carefully, and
they knew English well. The family possessed houses and land, so that,
together with the father's official income, they were well off.

But in India wealth will not purchase social position, as it does to
some degree in the West. Money is not powerful enough to override
caste. The members of this family, whom we will call Babaji, did their
best to pose as high-caste people, and were ready to dispense lavish
hospitality if it would have been accepted; but Brahmins ignored them,
and they never seemed to associate on equal terms with anyone except
members of their own caste, or those below it.

When the father of the family retired on his pension, he returned to
his own district and prepared to settle down. Besides a house in the
city, they had a sufficiently habitable one in a large garden in a
village in the Poona district. But the old grandfather had died in
this country house, and was said to haunt it. Servants refused to stay
there, and none of the family would live there. So they pulled it down
and prepared to build a new house in another garden.

I had an opportunity of watching the whole progress of this project,
and it gave me a good deal of insight into the character that Hinduism
creates. Babaji having seen something of English ways during his term
of office as collector, prepared to build the sort of house which
would suit an Englishman. It was conveniently planned, and had many
doors and windows and large verandahs. He also employed a contractor
of some repute. The house was quickly built, and would have been an
excellent one in all respects but for certain economies which Babaji
insisted on, to the great indignation of the contractor. He bought a
set of old doors and windows from a house in Bombay which was being
pulled down, and had them adapted to his new bungalow. And having been
accustomed to deal with petty contractors, with whom it is customary
to carry on a perpetual war of words, he tried the same plan with his
present builder, and whenever he came to inspect, railed at him for
faulty work and bad materials.

I asked him why he did this, when there was nothing to justify his
complaints. He said that it was the only way of keeping men up to
their work. There is also an underlying idea that if the cry of faulty
construction is uttered with sufficient persistency, it will give an
excuse for cutting down the final bill. Babaji made an effort in this
direction also, but the contractor said that unless he got his money
he should take the matter into court, and refused to have anything
more to do with the job. After much fierce wrangling, the latter came
triumphantly one day to show me the cheque which Babaji had just
written for him.

So Babaji was left to finish off his bungalow in his own way, and I
think that on the whole he was rather glad, because he could now do
things more in accordance with his own ideas. The English type of
bungalow is not really suited to Indian taste. A dark, windowless
house with an earthen floor is where the ordinary Indian feels most at
home. The first thing that Babaji did when left to himself was to put
iron bars to the windows to keep out thieves, and to close in the
fronts of his verandahs in the same way, so that they looked like
cages in the Zoological Gardens. Most Indians live in constant dread
of nocturnal thieves, and their fear is not entirely without
justification. In years gone by the raids made by robbers in villages
were sufficiently alarming. These depredators went to great lengths in
their efforts to induce women to declare where their gold and silver
ornaments were hidden. The threat to cut off their nose was not an
empty one, if we can trust the statement that in those days the sight
of a woman thus disfigured was not uncommon.

More efficient police supervision has done much to prevent these
organised raids, although they are still not unknown. But ordinary
night thieves are apt to come along wherever they think there is
plunder, and this type of Indian thief is as skilful in reality as he
is proverbially said to be. The habit of hiding money, instead of
investing it usefully, or the common custom of turning it into
ornaments for women, makes the visit of a thief to the house of a
well-to-do Indian likely to be lucrative.

When people moved out from the city because of plague and camped in
the surrounding villages, they were much troubled by thieves. The
refugees were afraid to leave their valuables in their shut-up homes
in the city, lest the house should be raided in their absence; and
yet, lodging in tents and frail huts, it was very difficult to
circumvent the robbers. Many people camped as close as they could get
to the Mission settlement at Yerandawana, under the idea that thieves
avoid the neighbourhood of Europeans. Nevertheless an extraordinarily
clever robbery took place in a hut exactly opposite the Mission
gateway. This hut was built of split bamboos tied to a wooden
framework and then plastered with mud. A house of this kind,
carefully put together, affords good shelter, and when the mud peels
off it can easily be repaired. A widow with her sister and little
daughter lived in this shelter during plague time. Their fortunes were
invested in the precarious form of personal jewellery. At night these
ornaments were put into two boxes, which they placed under the cot on
which one of the women slept, in order, as they thought, to be quite
secure against thieves. In spite of this precaution they woke up one
morning to find their treasure gone. Thieves had dug under the walls
of the house and had made an opening large enough to creep through.
How they were able to do this without waking the inmates, and how they
took the boxes from under the bed and got away with them unobserved, a
light having been kept burning in the room, is one of the mysteries of
Indian crime. The boxes were found, broken open and empty, a few
fields off, but the thieves were never detected. I myself saw the
burrow through which they got in.

Babaji had built his new bungalow immediately behind two dilapidated
cottages, in which he had sometimes lodged during brief visits to the
country. Everyone took for granted that he would pull down these
cottages when the new house was ready. They abutted on to the front
verandah, and occupied the ground which would naturally form the
approach to the house. But when Babaji, with pardonable pride, was
showing me round the completed house, he told me that he had decided
to retain the two cottages; they would be useful as cookroom and
storeroom; besides, they had been built by his father, and so out of
respect to his memory he would wait till they fell down of themselves.
I represented to him what a barbaric arrangement it was, but without
effect, and next day he was busy making a passage-way from the new
bungalow into one of the old cottages.

His next exploit was to try and acquire a strip of land by removing
his neighbour's landmark. Babaji wanted to build stables and other
out-buildings. In digging his foundations he purposely encroached
about four feet over his boundary line. When the owner remonstrated he
endeavoured by bluster to carry the thing through. He pointed to a
bogus boundary stone of his own planting, and called in the village
clerk to certify that there was an error in the village map, and that
the real boundary line was as Babaji represented it to be; the average
Hindu village clerk being ready to certify anything you like, if you
make it worth his while to do so. The owner of the land seated himself
on the disputed plot and defied the workmen to continue their
operations. The dispute continued for some days, waxing more and more
furious, until the owner and the contractor at last came to blows--a
form of demonstration which in India is impressive in appearance, but
the amount of damage done is infinitesimal. I was then asked to act as
arbitrator in the case. I declined; but I told Babaji that he was
totally in the wrong. Finally, after all this waste of time and
temper, he gave up the struggle and withdrew his forces to within the
proper limit.

That a man of education, who had himself been a magistrate, should
have made this attempt to filch a strip of land off his neighbour
might seem unaccountable. But his natural Indian characteristics, when
circumstances prompted it, came uppermost, and his English training
for the time being went to the wall.

The new bungalow proved after all to be a white elephant. The
water-supply was limited, and without plenty of water Babaji said he
could not live there. His servants, who were city people, said that if
he went to live in the country they would not go with him. So the
bungalow awaits the day, which we sometimes dream of, when it may fall
into our hands and become a convalescent home for Indians, which is a
great need, and for which it is admirably adapted.

Houses built by English missionaries for Indian mission workers are,
as a rule, not at all the kind of abode which the tenants really like.
A row of cottages, built some years ago in Poona City for Indian
Christians, has never been popular; chiefly because, besides many
doors and windows, there are ventilators in the roof which cannot be
closed. In more than one mission school some of the doors and windows
have had to be permanently bricked up, because both teachers and
children complained so much of the cold. Visions of tidy cottages for
Indian Christians gradually get dispelled. Here and there a home-like
dwelling is to be found, but they are scarce. A young married girl,
who had been brought up in refined surroundings and had an unusually
comfortable home when first married, had to live for a time in the
open sheds and apparent discomfort of a plague camp. Instead of
disliking it she settled in with great contentment, cooked her own
dinner in the open, and was evidently more at home than in her
well-built house. This also, as time went on, gradually lost its
original look of comfort. Hens, and goats, and cow-dung cakes, and
rubbish of all sorts by degrees got the upper hand, and proportionate
to the increase of apparent discomfort was the increase of contentment
in the minds of the young couple who lived there.



     Houses begun and never completed. The projected laundry.
     Abandoned wells. Shunker sinks a well; he gets tired of it;
     failure of his second well; begins again at his first well;
     destructive blasting operations; finally gives up the plan.

The marks left of projects begun but never finished is a common and
discouraging sight in India. There is scarcely a village which does
not bear evidence of this. A man prepares to build a new house. You
are astonished at the large blocks of stone, neatly cut and well laid,
with which he commences. If you ask him about it, he will tell you of
the beautiful superstructure which is to come on the top of the plinth
which he is now building. But after a while the work begins to
slacken; the men employed gradually diminish in number. You ask the
cause, and various reasons will be assigned--scarcity of stone, lack
of water, and the like. Finally the work ceases, probably never to be
resumed. The owner has got tired of the project, or, not having
counted the cost, the treasury has run dry. Sometimes after a long
delay, he will build a miserable mud-house on the top of his handsome
stone plinth. But in innumerable villages you will find examples of
unfinished houses which have remained in that condition for

In Poona City there are conspicuous instances of the same thing.
Nearly all the better-class native houses are very substantially
framed in wood, the spaces within the frames being filled in with
bricks, set in either mud or mortar, according to the quality of the
house. The framework of a two-or three-storied house is often
completed, sometimes including the roof and tiling, before the
brickwork has been commenced. In different parts of the city may be
seen the framework of large and handsome houses which have never
advanced beyond that stage, and have remained for years
melancholy-looking skeletons.

Hindus often have projects which are purely castles in the air, and it
is difficult to know whether the projector is deceiving himself, or
whether it is merely in the spirit of boastfulness, that he speaks of
the great things that he is going to do. A middle-aged Brahmin called
at the Yerandawana Mission bungalow and said that he was going to
start a laundry on a large scale in the village. It was to be
thoroughly up to date. He was going to get the most modern machinery
from America. He would only accept as customers those who sent to the
wash at least a dozen articles a week. The two or three-article man
he should refuse. He had called, he said, to solicit the custom of the
Boys' Home. We were able to give him, readily enough, a qualified
promise of support, and from that day to this we have heard no more of
the modern laundry.

There is no more valuable asset in rural India than a good well. Hence
many landowners begin to sink one. But with the propensity to begin
and not to finish, there are multitudes of unfinished, and therefore
useless, wells. There is a wide stretch of land between the Mission
field at Yerandawana and the low range of hills on which the boys are
so fond of rambling. It is only water which is wanted to make this
tract productive. Dependent as it now is on the uncertain rainfall of
the monsoon, an occasional and ragged crop, which often never comes
into ear, is all that it ever produces. More often than not the
farmers who own the property do not think it worth the labour and
expense of cultivation. Two attempts have been made to sink wells, and
both have been abandoned for years. In the case of one of these wells
at least, water had actually been reached, and if they had gone down a
little deeper there was every probability of an adequate supply. But
abandoned schemes are hardly ever taken up again, and these two wells
will remain unfinished to the end of time.

A near neighbour, whom we will call Shunker, determined to sink a
well. He discoursed to me at great length on the advantage of being
independent of the canal water for the irrigation of his land. He
also described the powerful pump, worked by a windmill, which would
supersede the old-fashioned method of raising water by means of

The sinking of the well commenced with great energy. Shunker remained
on the spot the whole day in order to see that the men did not idle.
Friends and neighbours came and sat around and advised, and speculated
how soon they would reach water. Shunker was confident that a depth of
15 feet would be sufficient. The ground, however, was very hard, and
the men soon reached solid rock and blasting became necessary. Shunker
was full of importance over this, and before an explosion took place
rushed up and down the road in great excitement, warning travellers to
halt. His interest in the well continued until the commencement of the
rainy season obliged him to knock off for a while.

But when the time came to resume operations Shunker's zeal had begun
to flag. The well was already 15 feet deep and there was no sign of
water, except that which had fallen during the monsoon. Shunker was
growing uneasy at the amount of money which he had spent. Work was
resumed, but only languidly. Then there came gaps of several weeks
when no work was done at all, and finally it stopped altogether, and
the scheme was apparently abandoned. Shunker, not knowing what to do
with the piles of stone which had accumulated from his excavation,
erected an immense shed with it in his yard, which he said would give
shelter to his bullocks. But it was piled up unskilfully, and being
without mortar, it soon became a ruin.

Indians do not always profit by experience. It might be supposed that
Shunker would hardly care to risk further experiments concerning
wells. But following the advice of his father, an apparently shrewd
man, he sunk another well in another garden. This time a European firm
took the contract, and the cost was heavy. The spot chosen
necessitated an unusually high platform for the bullocks who raise the
water, which added a good deal to the expense. But a fatal mistake was
made in the spot chosen for the well. It was sunk close to the bank of
a river whose bed was many feet below it, and though they tapped a
spring which would probably have provided a good store of water, it
soon found its way out of the well to the lower level of the river,
and the amount of water which remained was never deep enough to be of
use. So this rather imposing-looking empty well stands as a
conspicuous monument of an ill-advised scheme, involving total loss of
the money that it cost.

Somehow the failure of this second well stimulated Shunker, contrary
to expectations, to recommence work at his first well, and in order
that the job should be done thoroughly, he enlisted the aid of the
sappers and miners to conduct the blasting operations. The result was
that the Mission compound adjoining became like Lady-smith during the
siege. The explosions were terrific, and stones, some of large size,
fell in all parts of the compound. A bit of rock fell on the stable,
smashing a dozen tiles. Another stone travelled an immense distance,
and falling on the Sisters' bungalow, broke three of the large
Mangalore tiles, so famous in India for their rainproof qualities, but
proving themselves unequal to the resistance of bombs. Urgent
remonstrances were for a time unavailing. Shunker called, and in
polite English expressed his great sorrow that his operations should
have caused us annoyance. But the siege continued with unabated
vigour. At last the actual bit of rock which contained the charge rose
out of the well to a great height at the time of the explosion, and
then half buried itself in the ground immediately behind the
schoolmaster's house. If it had chanced to fall on anybody it would
have killed him on the spot. The display of this piece of rock had the
desired effect, and the sappers and miners were withdrawn. The work
was continued in more homely fashion with ordinary blasting powder.
With this the process is slower, but it is effective, and does not
devastate the surrounding neighbourhood.

None, however, of Shunker's efforts to procure water prospered, in
spite of his persevering attempts, which he carried to the extent of
rashness. He went on sinking his well until he had reached a great
depth, but there were no more signs of water at the end than there
were at the beginning, and he finally abandoned the search.



     The purchase of land. A plot for a cemetery; the Patel gives
     one. The Registrar's Court. The gift in jeopardy. Deed
     successfully executed. The Patel suffers persecution.
     Consecration of the cemetery. The Patel's chair. Hindus and
     gifts. Demand for tips. Hindu boys dissatisfied.

Buying land in India is generally a troublesome business, and
difficulties are multiplied when it is required for missionary
purposes, because although the owner may be willing to sell, he is
often coerced not to part with his land by his co-religionists, who,
as they are not going to profit by the transaction, can afford to
adopt a high hand concerning it.

It took some years to secure a plot of ground for the burial of
Christians in the village of Yerandawana. A cemetery is not welcomed
as a near neighbour in any part of the world, and in India
particularly there are many additional prejudices which have to be
taken into account. Amongst these, there is a vague idea that it is
unlucky to sell land for such an object, and that it may result in the
early death of the vendor, or some member of his family.

It has been explained that this village is _inam_ to a mosque in Poona
City. Hence Government has only the same sort of control over village
affairs that it has over those of a native state, and there is no
Government land in the place. But the Collector gave the Patel a
friendly hint that he had better look round and see whether some
suitable plot for a Christian cemetery could not be found. He did so,
and an excellent site on one of his own fields proved to be available.
It was on gently sloping ground at the foot of a low range of hills,
quite away from any habitations, but easily accessible because an
ancient right-of-way led up to it.

The finding of a site, however, did not mean that all difficulties
were solved. Prettily situated as it was, and commanding a charming
view, it was a bit of ground useless for agricultural purposes. Even
the grass which grew upon it was so coarse and wiry that cattle would
not eat it. But the Patel's first suggestion as to price was that Rs.
1500 would be a desirable sum, and he went away rather disheartened on
being assured that his suggestion was impossible. When he came again,
we said that as the plot of ground was to be used for religious
purposes it would be best to put aside mercenary ideas and make a free
gift of it. The sudden notion struck him as a good one, and he agreed.
As we knew that when it became known many Hindus would try and
dissuade him from his purpose, we set to work at once to get the
matter officially confirmed; writing to the Collector to tell him of
the successful result of the negotiations, and enlisting the services
of a lawyer to draw up a proper deed of gift to the church.

All transactions connected with the transfer of land in India have to
be signed and sealed publicly in the Registrar's Court, and unless so
done the transaction is not binding. The system is excellent in
theory, but it is difficult to prevent abuses in its way of working.
All the court officials appeared to be Brahmins. Our cemetery case was
nearly wrecked in its passage through the Registrar's Court. The
proceedings in minor courts where there are no Englishmen are
conducted in leisurely fashion, with much desultory talk and waste of
time. Although the deed of gift was a simple matter, the attempt to
get it registered occupied some hours, and eventually was not
accomplished at all that day. During the long time of waiting various
people about the court went and talked with the Patel, and our lawyer
felt sure that pressure was being put upon him to get him to draw
back. Anyhow, it ended by his saying that he was not prepared to sign
the deed that day, and that he must consult his friends on some points
connected with it.

The lawyer arranged for an early date for a renewed attempt, feeling
sure that it was a case of "now" or "never." The Registrar arrived
only two hours behind time. The Brahmin officials were all smiles and
affability to me, saying what an excellent act of charity the Patel
was performing. The lawyer sat like a hawk over the clerk who was
copying out the deed, in order to see that he did not alter it in the
process, a trick which, he said, was not uncommon. Watching the
business of the court in progress, I felt how completely the more
ignorant people were in the hands of the permanent officials, and how
easy it would be to get a negotiation doctored to suit one's own ends.

It was with almost surprised relief that at the end of nearly three
hours we left the court possessors of the completed document, and the
acre of land was now the property of the Church of S. Crispin in
perpetuity. Villagers and others had been asking the Patel what he
meant by making gifts of land to Christians, and that if he wished to
endow temples, why did he not endow the Hindu temple? The Patel was
getting shaky, and was beginning to repent his promise. But, the act
once accomplished, he was glad that he had done it, and received our
thanks with a pleasing combination of pride and shamefacedness.

The legal completion of his charitable act intensified the wrath of
his Hindu neighbours. He was not popular in his village. He was weak
and vacillating in his attempts at government, and foolish and
dissipated in his private life. Not only did they taunt him with
giving land to Christians, and jeer at him as he passed by, but they
went to even greater lengths. Stones were flung at his door at night,
people gathered opposite his house and made unearthly noises,
invitations to ceremonial feasts were withheld, and at last he got so
alarmed at the spirit of opposition which he had raised that he made
one of the low-caste men of the village, who are under orders to the
Patel, accompany him whenever he was out after dark.

The want of perseverance in the Indian nature has, under some
circumstances, advantageous results. A spirit of opposition, unless
industriously fanned, soon dies down. After a month or two, the
cemetery incident had passed out of the minds of the villagers. A
stone cross, 15 feet high, had been erected on the site, and in the
early morning when the sun shines upon it, this cross is a conspicuous
object from the high-road. The holy sign in a prominent spot in a
heathen land is a refreshing sight. When the bishop consecrated the
cemetery and dedicated the cross, he handed over to the Patel a
handsome chair with a gay cushion, as a token of our appreciation of
his kindness. In his official position as head of the village he
sometimes has to receive Government officers coming to the place on
business. But as no one in the village possessed a chair, he had
hitherto been obliged apologetically to spread a blanket for his
guests to sit upon. Hence a chair of state was a really useful

One or two graves were dug in readiness, according to the custom in
Indian cemeteries, because of the rapid burial necessary in a tropical
climate. But for more than three years there was no death in the
Christian settlement. At last one of the little boys in the Home,
described in a letter as "our youngest and our best," died suddenly of
plague, and was buried in the new plot, appropriately enough, on Holy
Innocents Day, 1911.

Someone asked, "Was the Patel pleased with his chair?" A Hindu is
rarely actually pleased with a gift, because, however large it may be,
he generally regrets that it is not larger. When it got whispered
abroad that the Patel was going to receive a present, he had visions
of one of great value. A silver cup, or even one of gold, was
discussed as a possible, or even a probable gift. And though he had
the grace, unlike some Indians, not to grumble in our presence
concerning the nature of the presentation, the comment, "only a
chair," was the prevailing sentiment expressed in the village.

[Illustration: THE CEMETERY CROSS.]

A Hindu almost always asks for more. If you are paying a large
building account, the contractor will suggest that, because of the
excellence of his work, it would be only just and right to give him
Rs. 100 extra. The driver of a _tonga_ almost habitually asks for
more, irrespective of what has been given him. Hence people practise
the innocent artifice of handing to him somewhat less than his legal
fare, and then when he asks for more giving him the balance, and he
usually goes away quite satisfied. Porters at railway stations
unblushingly beg for tips, and remonstrate at the smallness of the
gift, and pursue the traveller about the station beseeching him to
consider their poverty. If you have been staying in an Indian
bungalow, an array of servants gather round at the time of your
departure, unless the master of the house has set his face against the
stereotyped custom, and by their elaborate salaams and outstretched
palms indicate what is expected of you. The disappointed ones follow
you down the carriage-drive reminding you of your neglect. When I have
sometimes warned servants, who were rather officious in their
attentions, that having no money I should not be able to give them
anything at the conclusion of my visit, there has generally been a
perceptible falling off in their activity. Christian servants do not
clamour in this way, and give a pleasant "tank you" when they are
given something, and take great care of an impecunious wayfarer.

When Hindu boys ask for pictures, whether you give them one or
several, they at once beg for additional ones; and however good the
pictures may be, they will often hand them back immediately and say
they want better ones. It is only when they have learnt by experience
that these tactics generally result in their getting no pictures at
all, that they moderate their demands.



     Inaccurate statements. Village trades dependent on demand.
     Platforms for the bird-scarers. Shop lamps of the city.
     Supposed ascetics. Uncertainty of the monsoon; how it comes.
     Cold in India; how an Indian deals with it; he cannot work
     if he is cold. Englishmen and the Indian sun.

There are a number of sayings and statements about India and its
people which are either inaccurate or misleading, but which have
become almost proverbial, and which are copied from book to book, and
conveyed to new-comers by word of mouth, and their often mistaken
impressions of many simple things are partly caused by the erroneous
expressions and descriptions which they have heard or read. It takes
the first several years of a residence in India to gradually unlearn
the things which have been wrongly learnt. The stray visitor does not
stay long enough to get his view straightened out, and when he returns
to write his book about India he repeats the off-told tale.

It is often stated in books that in each village a representative of
every trade which supplies the ordinary wants of the inhabitants is to
be found--such as the barber, carpenter, blacksmith, potter, cobbler,
etc. But there is no rule about this, and it depends, just as it does
in English villages, on the size of the place and the demands of
trade. In many villages there is no resident barber, and the people
depend on the chance visits of one who itinerates. Blacksmiths are,
for the most part, wandering people who come and settle down near a
village for a few weeks or months, and then, when trade grows dull,
move on to a fresh pitch. The potter is now only to be met with here
and there. It is a sign of the increasing prosperity of India that
brass and copper vessels are largely taking the place of the
earthenware cooking-pots. A carpenter is found in almost every
village, because petty repairs to farming implements are an everyday
need. He is a man of some importance, and wears a sacred thread like a

When travelling in the train from Bombay to Poona for the first time,
I noticed here and there in the corner of many fields a sort of
litter, about the length of a man, raised on rough poles about six
feet high, and on it a mysterious heap of rubbish. I remember vaguely
to have read that the bodies of the dead in the East are exposed to be
devoured by birds, and I jumped to the conclusion that the platforms
were erected for this purpose, and that the heap of rubbish was the
remains of the corpse, and that solitary places in remote fields were
chosen in order that the dead might not be any annoyance to the
living. As a matter of fact, it is only the Parsees who place their
dead on tower-like structures, built for the purpose, to be disposed
of by the vultures.

I learnt in due course that these rural platforms are for the use of
boys who scare away birds and other creatures from the ripening crops,
and I have not unfrequently accepted the hospitable invitation of some
of the village boys to climb up on to the platform and share their
sport. From their post of vantage they can survey the whole field, and
they sling stones with marvellous force and accuracy to whatever
quarter the birds are attacking. They also make a din by beating empty
oil-tins, and use clappers as the country boys at home do. The heap of
rubbish only consists of the leaves and grass which the boys collect
to make their seat on the perch more comfortable, because they often
keep vigil for the whole of a long day.

The visitor having read that to the Hindu everything is permeated with
religion, thinks that everything that he sees has some religious
significance. Someone describing his first drive from the Poona
station to the Mission-house through the native city at night, said
how much moved he was at seeing the little flickering lamps burning
before the "idols" in the shops. But a Hindu does not put his
household gods in his shop, and the flickering lamp was merely his
ordinary shop lamp, which a few years back satisfied his wants. There
are some modern inventions which Indians have taken to very readily,
and amongst these are the new ways of producing brilliant light, and
the old-fashioned flickering lamp is now hardly to be seen in Poona.

Going out in the early morning a day or so after my first arrival in
India, I met three or four men walking silently one behind each other,
and wearing what looked something like a coarse brown habit with a
cowl, which they had drawn over their heads so that their faces were
almost hidden. Having heard so often about Indian ascetics, I looked
at them with some curiosity and respect, as being probably of their
number. But in the course of the morning I met so many others of the
same type, that I began to think I must have made a mistake. The
cowl-like habit turned out to be the coarse native blanket, used for
so many purposes by rustic Indians, and which they wear in this
monastic fashion in the, sometimes chill, early mornings, or when it
is wet. Their walking in single file was not in order to assist them
in the preservation of perpetual silence, but because jungle footpaths
make this mode of progression a necessity, and country folk get so
used to walking in this fashion that when they emerge on to the
high-road they preserve the same order.

The monsoon, or rainy season, I had been led to suppose began almost
invariably on a certain date, and that rain then fell continuously for
three months until another fixed day when it left off, after which no
more rain fell till the appointed date of the next year. The
expression, "the monsoon has burst," which is often seen in the
newspapers, suggests the idea that the advent of the rain is
something akin to a deluge produced by the bursting of a great tank.
In reality there is, at times, almost as much uncertainty about
weather in India as there is in England. The most that can be said is
that there are several months in which rain, though possible, is
extremely unlikely, and outdoor festivities can be arranged for
without those anxious watchings of the heavens which is the lot of the
organiser of garden fêtes in England.

But the date of the monsoon, its duration, and its quality, are most
uncertain factors and subjects of anxious speculation, and generally
of singularly incorrect prophecy. The country also is so large, and
its characteristics are so varied, that the monsoon not only does not
occur at the same time all over India, but the amount of rainfall
varies enormously in localities not far removed from each other. There
are parts of India where rain hardly ever falls, and there are other
parts where the total rainfall reaches an almost incredible figure.
But it would be possible for a skilful wanderer so to travel about
India that he would never come under the influence of the monsoon at

Nor is its "bursting" otherwise than a rather gradual process. Clouds
slowly gather, rumblings of thunder are heard, lightning flashes about
the mountain tops with great brilliancy, the air is close and
oppressive, there is often violent wind, and dust sweeps into the
bungalow in clouds, a few drops of rain fall, and people hope that
the monsoon has begun. But these symptoms are often prolonged for a
week or two before the real rain comes, and sometimes the clouds
disperse and brilliant sunshine returns for a time. Now and then the
monsoon is almost a complete failure in certain areas, and that means
famine, proportionate to the area which lacks rain. Even when the
monsoon begins in earnest, there is still room for speculation and
anxiety. In some years it ceases prematurely, and then the grain
either does not come into ear, or else the ears are small and parched.

When a good monsoon commences in sober earnest there is often a
combination of high wind and heavy rain which few roofs are proof
against, and a good deal of discomfort indoors is the result. After
the first day or two the wind generally drops, and a steady
perpendicular downpour follows, continuous and heavy according to the
locality, and the character of the monsoon in each year. In Poona and
its neighbourhood the rain rarely continues for many days in
succession, and there come breaks of delightfully bright sunshine. In
some years the rainy season is only spread over about two months, but
in other years it lasts on and off much longer.

Indians are naturally sensitive to cold. In Western India the
thermometer rarely falls very low. Nevertheless the difference between
the day and night temperature is so great in some parts, and the fall
in temperature in the small hours of the morning is so rapid, that it
gives the impression of a sharp frost, even although the thermometer
may have scarcely fallen below 50°. But in the middle of the afternoon
of the previous day it may have registered 90° in the shade, and a
drop of 40° is keenly felt. In January 1911, without any warning, the
temperature one night actually dropped to below freezing, and a film
of ice was found in a plate which had been left out all night, to the
great astonishment of the boys, and much damage was done to fruit
blossom and crops.

The Indian deals with cold in quite a different way to those who have
been brought up in northern countries. If you give him a comforter,
very little of it goes round his neck, but he wraps his head up in it
so that only his eyes and nose are visible, and if his head is warm he
does not seem to mind much about the rest of his frame, especially his
legs, which are generally bare. But instead of trying to counteract
cold by exertion, he delivers himself up to the miseries of the
situation. Clad in his scanty linen garments he crouches, and mopes,
and shivers, and waits for the sun to rise and warm him. Masons and
carpenters and labourers may be seen sitting round about the house
which they are building, waiting to get warm, and until that process
has been satisfactorily completed they will not touch a tool, however
late it may be.

You ask Felix, the boy who sweeps the bungalow, why he has not done
it, and he replies, "I was cold." You say, "You will sweep it as soon
as you are warm?" He says, "Of course." And there is nothing more to
be said, because it is an understood thing that a cold Indian cannot
work. His delight in a fire is intense. People collect leaves and
rubbish and make fires by the roadside, or even in the streets, and
crowds gather round and sit almost into the blaze, so that it is a
wonder that they are not scorched. Their only regret is that the
materials for the bonfire are generally so insufficient.

The joy of sitting in the sun to get warm, which the Indian can do
with impunity, is denied to the Englishman. He must treat the sun with
respect from the time it rises till the time it sets, and even on a
cloudy day the same caution is necessary. This does not mean that it
is unsafe to go out in the sun. It only means that no one should step
out, even for a few moments, without first putting on his sun-hat.
This is a complete safeguard if it is made of real pith of sufficient
thickness, and with a brim wide enough to protect the forehead and the
back of the head and neck. This kind of sun-tope is very light, but in
other respects it is a cumbersome and inconvenient sort of headgear,
and people, especially ladies, are tempted rashly to discard it. Many
ailments, and sometimes serious illnesses, quite apart from actual
sunstroke, may be traced to careless exposure to the sun's rays.



     The umbrella in India; now universal; carried by the police.
     The boycott of foreign goods. Political excitement.
     Resentment in the Plague Refuge Camp; how it was overcome.
     The agency of the Church. An improved type of Hindu
     schoolboy; how they dress; their manners; their interest in
     religion. Moral teaching in schools. Conceit of some young

The umbrella always has been, and is still to some extent, an
important feature of life in the East. Its importance is derived more
from its recognition as an emblem of dignity than from its practical
utility. It was one of the prerogatives of kings and nobles to have a
gorgeous umbrella borne over their head by one of their retainers. It
is only the gradual levelling up of classes that has made umbrellas
almost universal. Even up to quite modern times there were certain
parts of Poona City where Brahmins live, in which a low-caste man
would not have dared to walk with an umbrella. To do so would have
been regarded as an act of insolent presumption.

But when the barrier of prohibitive custom had once been levelled,
umbrellas came in with a rush, and they are now used to an almost
ludicrous extent. A mason may be seen sitting at work on a wall with
his umbrella in one hand and his trowel in the other. Farm labourers
out in the country, seated on the pole of their bullock-cart, or men
perched on the top of loads of wood in great cities, will enjoy both
the dignity and the shade of their outspread umbrella in the hot
season. That it is assumed in some cases more for dignity than for
actual need, is shown by the readiness with which it is discarded when
convenient, and its bearer sits cheerfully bareheaded in the blazing

The Bombay police are given umbrellas during the rainy season, and as
the rainfall in that city is very heavy, they are a necessary though
not a convenient burden for a policeman to bear. In Calcutta they go a
step farther, and the umbrellas are served out during the hot season
also, and the police are provided with an arrangement which looks
something like braces worn outside, on to which they hang the umbrella
when they find that it interferes with the discharge of their duties.
Whether the Calcutta policeman really needs this protection from the
sun may be doubted, when the majority of the people in the Calcutta
streets are, by their own choice, entirely bareheaded. But the
appearance of dignity which the umbrella conveys is no doubt an
advantage to the policeman, even if he does not actually need it as a

A few years back umbrellas of every imaginable size and shape and
colour and degree of disreputability were in evidence in the streets
of Poona City. There was a favourite umbrella with wooden ribs,
covered with a kind of oilcloth, red or yellow in colour, which was a
cheap and useful article. But in these modern days of growing luxury
such umbrellas are despised. "Why do you carry this kind of umbrella?"
said an elegantly dressed young Hindu student to me. "I do so because
it is cheap, and I am poor," was my reply. "You are not poor; you are
rich," was his answer.

Umbrellas from Europe are brought into India in shoals. When an
agitation arose in Bengal to boycott foreign goods the umbrella
question became a complex one, because their manufacture is
practically unknown in the country. The difficulty was solved by
importing the component parts to be put together in India, and then
they could be labelled "country-made."

Although now anybody who can afford it may carry an umbrella whenever
and wherever he pleases, a certain idea of dignity still lingers in
connection with it, and the bearer of this ancient symbol of
importance often does so with a slight swagger, and all the more so if
he is dressed in rags, or scarcely dressed at all.

The agitation in Bengal referred to above was an epidemic of political
excitement amongst educated classes, and more particularly young
students, which spread wider than usual, and threatened to become
serious. It had therefore to be dealt with firmly. The epidemic
spread to Poona City (and indeed it was freely said that the chief
wire-pullers in the movement lived there). As a result of this unrest
there was a marked cooling-off in cordiality amongst the visitors to
Yerandawana when plague broke out again in the city, and the annual
exodus took place. The deportation to a distance of one of the leaders
on the side of discontent in the city, for a period of some years, was
the chief ground of local resentment. Boy friends of previous years
held aloof; elder brothers, of the student class, were inclined to be
cheeky; and their parents, as far as they could, kept out of the way.

In former years crowds of lads came from the Plague Refuge Camp to ask
for old Christmas cards. Many of them were boys from schools of good
standing where drawing is carefully taught. In order to choke off the
mere idlers, we told a boy when we gave him a picture that if he
wanted another one he must make a copy of the picture given, and bring
back both the original and the copy the next day. The plan answers
admirably, and it has become our regular custom. It gets rid of the
loafers who do not want the trouble of drawing pictures, it gives the
boys an occupation in their long idle days, it quickens their interest
in drawing, and in a few instances has brought to light some genuine
talent. Boys grow ambitious, and get chalks and colours, and produce
results of artistic promise. It also brings the best type of lad
almost daily to the Mission bungalow for a definite object, and
affords many opportunities for useful talks on subjects religious and

But when the season recommenced after that period of political unrest,
there were few applicants for pictorial cards. A sprinkling of old
friends of previous years began to bring their drawings, but they did
this in the face of a sarcastic opposition which few had sufficient
backbone to withstand for long. But fortunately we had at that time
many exceptionally attractive pictures, which people had sent us from
England. The few gallant boys who braved the opposition got rewards
which soon awakened longings throughout the camp to be possessors of
the like. One by one, at first shyly, and then with growing confidence
as deserters from the opposition grew more numerous, the old friends
returned, to be followed by many new ones. The younger generation
being won over, their elders began to thaw and to exchange kindly
greetings, and now and then we were invited to see their hut or tent,
or to sit down outside for a few minutes' talk.

It is something to be grateful for when an attitude of distrust has
changed into one of friendliness. But from a religious point of view
this might not have been of much use, if it had not been for the new
agent which had come into the life of the village--and that agent was
the village church. The effect of the building upon the Hindu mind has
been already told. But in addition, many Hindus got some idea of the
nature of Christian worship by a spasmodic attendance at Evensong,
especially on week-days. The nineteen double doors, most of them
standing open in the hot weather when wind and dust are not too
aggressive, give an opportunity for taking stock of the situation
before coming inside. They are also available as roads of retreat,
supposing circumstances are suggestive of danger.

When, after a rather prolonged season on account of the plague
lingering longer than usual in the city, our visitors went back to
their homes and we were left in comparative peace, we felt that,
besides the dying down of the spirit of opposition, it had also been a
useful time of education concerning Christian manners and customs, if
nothing more. But without the two agencies of the pictures and the
church, I do not see that we could have attained either of these

There are some indications that the efforts which are now being made
to introduce more rational methods of teaching are beginning to
influence favourably the young Indian mind. That a large number of
students under the old regime have been lamentable failures nobody
denies, and much of the discontent of recent years, leading in some
instances to serious political crime, has been the inevitable fruit of
the foreign secular education which we have brought. But there is a
distinctly new type of Indian schoolboy appearing, amongst the
thousands of lads who are getting their education in Poona City. Some
of them not unfrequently find their way to the village Mission-house
on half-holiday afternoons, and ask to see the church, or beg for a
picture post-card. They talk a little English, dropping back into the
vernacular with some relief when unable to say exactly what they want
in the foreign tongue. They rather incline to English dress; in some
cases even substituting knickerbockers, or trousers, for the Hindu
_dhota_. The picturesque and useful turban they unfortunately give up
altogether, and wear instead a small round cap. Many of them have
ceased to shave their head, and are rather proud of their hair, which
they wear foppishly long in front. They only nominally retain the
Hindu _shinde_, or little pigtail. That is to say, the hair at the
crown of the head is left slightly longer than the rest, but it is
hardly noticeable. Some of them have a watch chain, but there is not
always a watch at the end of it.

Their manners are generally polite and courteous, except that some of
them, while retaining their caps, have begun to look upon it as a mark
of servility to slip off their shoes on entering a church or house. We
explain that whereas it has always been the Eastern custom to bare the
feet as a courteous recognition of place or persons, the Western
custom, on account of the cold climate, has been to bare the head.
Hence in India, where East and West meet, it is optional to follow
whichever use the individual prefers; but to enter a church or house
without baring head or feet is not polite. The lads quickly respond to
the kindly explanation. Some slip off their shoes; one or two take off
their caps instead, especially when they go into the church.

This they do rather shyly for the first time, and they are obviously
nervous as to what going into a Christian church may involve. But
confidence is established after two or three visits. Some are quite
ignorant of Christ. Others just know Him by name, and that is all.
More than once I have been asked for a photograph of Christ, thinking
that He was somewhere accessible, or that He had lived on earth in
modern times. Now and then a few lads who have heard scraps of
Christianity ask questions eagerly, and are delighted to see pictures
concerning Our Lord's life. Three new-comers asked me to give them
some of these pictures. I said that if I did so they would perhaps
turn them into ridicule. "We would never do such a thing as that," was
their eager and earnest reply. And though we rarely venture to give
religious pictures to Hindus, this appeared to be one of those
occasions when it might be good to do so.

This type of boy goes in a good deal for cricket and football, and
when playing a match knows, for the most part, how to keep his temper
and to play in a sportsmanlike manner. One of their clubs they call
"The New English Club." Some attempt is made to give what is called
"moral instruction" in the Hindu schools that this hopeful type of boy
attends. The instruction is, of necessity, of the "honesty is the best
policy" kind. That is to say, if you cultivate politeness and
truthfulness, it will enable you to be a better _citizen_. Or, if you
try to do what is right, you will be _respected_ in the world. These
are not the loftiest ideals, but anything that tends to strengthen the
character and purify the life is to be welcomed. Nevertheless, the
attempt to build up a scheme of morals, without Christian grace to
give the spiritual power to resist the evil forces which will try to
frustrate the effort, can at best only bring about a superficial
improvement, liable at any time to collapse. However, these
indications of an improved type of schoolboy give hope for an improved
type of man, which may mean much for the future of India.

Some of the young Hindus of the city, who speak English rather
fluently, become amusingly conceited in consequence. One of these lads
visiting the Mission-house said to me, "Your English pronunciation is
not good." I sometimes purposely reply to these English-speaking
youths in Marathi, because they rather affect not to know it. This
same lad said that it was no good my talking to them in that language,
because that no one could understand my Marathi. When I suggested that
even his English was capable of improvement, he replied that that was
impossible, because his English was "perfect." When I was showing him
the church, he asked if he might go into the sanctuary, and when I
said that that was reserved for the ministers, he replied that that
was "superstition." Seeing some of the Mission boys, who are simply
but nicely dressed, he exclaimed, "Why do you clothe your boys in this
miserable way? you should give them fine and beautiful clothing."
Ascertaining that I was pledged not to marry, he asked, "Why do you
lead this miserable existence? There is no pleasure in life without
marriage." But when the Brahmin wife of the schoolmaster happened to
pass by, he was immensely astonished to hear that she was a Christian.
After one or two visits young men of this sort often drop most of
their conceit, and talk naturally and pleasantly.



     Bishop Heber's sentiments still apply. Misunderstandings
     about India. Hindu character. Action of dissenters. Rashness
     of the early settlers. Early rising. Cold baths. The
     Bishop's dress. River excursions. Conservatism in India. The
     Englishman's bungalow. Arrangements for bathing; their
     primitive nature.

It is curious to note, in letters written nearly a hundred years ago,
that many of the things now said about India were said then, and hopes
and fears and perplexities concerning the progress of Christianity
were couched in much the same terms as at the present day.

Bishop Heber writes: "I have seen enough to find that the customs, the
habits, and prejudices of the people of this country are much
misunderstood in England." These words of the Bishop are still true,
in spite of the multitude of books which have been written about India
since his day, and the increasing number of people who visit the

Even the same misunderstandings linger. "We have all heard," writes
the Bishop, "of the humanity of the Hindus towards brute creatures,
their horror of animal food, etc.; and you may be, perhaps, as much
surprised as I was, to find that those who can afford it are hardly
less carnivorous than ourselves. And though they consider it a
grievous crime to kill a cow or bullock for the purpose of eating, yet
they treat their draft oxen, no less than their horses, with a degree
of barbarous severity which would turn an English hackney-coachman
sick. Nor have their religious prejudices and the unchangeableness of
their habits been less exaggerated. At present there is an obvious and
increasing disposition to imitate the English in everything, which has
already led to very remarkable changes, and will, probably, to still
more important." The same sentiments might be written with equal truth
to-day, and would be news to many.

The Bishop also describes the Hindu character with a good deal of
accuracy, but he adds truly: "I do not by any means assent to the
pictures of depravity and general worthlessness which some have drawn
of the Hindus." But when speaking of their religion as a "demoralising
and absurd religion," he is much nearer the truth than those modern
writers who try to idealise it.

Speaking of dissenters, Bishop Heber writes that they are "very civil,
and affect to rejoice at our success; but they, somehow or other,
cannot help interfering and setting up rival schools close to ours;
and they apparently find it easier to draw off our pupils, than to
look out for fresh and more distant fields of enterprise." This
description would apply to the mission field in many places now,
especially to the action of Roman Catholics and the Salvation Army.

The amazing rashness of the earlier settlers and missionaries comes
out in some of their books and journals, and it is no wonder that the
mortality amongst them was great, so that going to India was regarded
as an heroic act, and the chances of return dubious. The chief
precaution against the sun that they indulged in was to get up
extraordinarily early, so as to get their exercise while it was still
cool, and they took a long sleep in the middle of the day. Bishop
Heber in one of his letters from Calcutta says: "I held my first
visitation this morning at 6 o'clock (!), to avoid the heat of the
day." In another letter, when on tour, he writes: "I rise by three in
the morning and am on horseback by four." Again, speaking of his life
in Calcutta, he says: "Our way of life is simple, and suited to the
climate. The general custom is to rise at six in the cool season, and
at half-past four in the morning during the hot weather, and to take
exercise on horseback till the sun is hot; then follow a cold bath,
prayers, and breakfast." The plunge into the "cold bath" should be
noted, as being the ultimate cause of the Bishop's sudden death. Few
people take a cold bath in India now, and certainly not in the early
morning. Nor is the chill air in the early hours of the Indian day in
the cold weather a particularly healthy time, and nowadays the few
people who come to India with the intention of conforming to the
ancient custom of early morning exercise soon drop it. It is to be
regretted that the tendency now is to go to the opposite extreme, and
late hours at night, and comparatively late getting up, grows
increasingly common. Few people, however, now look upon the midday
_siesta_ as a necessity.

There are authentic sketches of Bishop Heber and others out for a
ride, dressed in frock coat and tall hat, as if they were in Rotten
Row. The Bishop, nevertheless, seems to have accommodated his dress to
the necessities of the climate more than most of the clergy, at any
rate when on tour. There is an amusing paragraph, bearing on this
point, in the journal of the Archdeacon of Bombay in 1825. When Bishop
Heber was drawing near to Bombay, after a long and arduous tour, he
was joined by the Archdeacon, who says in the course of his notes that
"there are some points, such as his wearing white trousers and a white
hat, which I could wish were altered with more regard to his station,
and which, perhaps strike me the more after being accustomed to the
particular attention of Bishop Middleton in such points." But he goes
on to say that he felt compelled to forgive him, on the score of all
his other excellent qualities. In a note the editor explains that "on
his journeys the Bishop wore a white solar hat, with a very broad brim
(lined with green silk), made from the pith of the bamboo. As it
afforded more protection from glare and heat he preferred it to the
episcopal hat, his usual dress when residing at any of the
presidencies. The white trousers he adopted soon after his arrival in
India, from their greater coolness; and he recommended them to his
clergy on all ordinary occasions." It might be added that coolness is
not the only thing to be considered for residents in India. A chill of
some sort is the cause of many Indian ailments, and shirt and trousers
of flannel, however thin, should be the invariable dress, by day and
by night.

One of the ways of trying to regain health amongst those early workers
in the East, was to go for an excursion of some weeks' duration on a
river. Possibly they had in mind the beneficial results of a boat
excursion on the Thames. But slow progress in a native boat, alongside
the mud-banks and reedy swamps of many Indian rivers, was about as
sure a way of getting, or increasing, malaria as they could have

There is a strong spirit of conservatism amongst most Englishmen when
they live in India. They appear to catch the traditional spirit of the
country, and "what has been must always be." Hence arrangements
adopted by the earlier settlers are continued to the present day, even
though in some respects they are particularly inconvenient. The
old-fashioned bungalow, which is always a one-storied building nearly
all roof, is simplicity itself as regards plan. But it is certainly
not beautiful to look at, and has nothing specially to commend itself
from a practical point of view. Yet it is only very gradually that
houses more attractive in appearance, and more adapted to the ways of
civilisation, are taking its place. Even in modern bungalows, the
extremely primitive arrangements for bathing, which formerly had to
suffice because there was nothing better, are still perpetuated. The
bathroom is often a dingy, lean-to shed, opening out of your sleeping
room. It has another door leading to the outer world for the use of
the water-carrier, as well as for the mysterious being who glides in
and out as he attends to the sanitary needs of the bathroom in a
country where there is no drainage.

The actual area for bathing is something like the sink in an English
scullery, but level with the floor and on an enlarged scale. The hole
in the wall, as an exit for the water, is unpleasantly suggestive of a
possible inlet for snakes. Nor is this fear without foundation. The
hole in the wall leading into the cool, damp, dark bathroom is a
distinct invitation to snakes to enter in, which they sometimes
accept. The wire guard is often absent, or broken. The water for
bathing is stored in utensils, varying in type according to the part
of India in which you may happen to be. Sometimes it is kept in tall
black earthenware pots, suggestive of those in which the Forty Thieves
of the Arabian Nights concealed themselves. Sometimes it is found in a
gigantic sort of round pie-dish, such as a giant might use for his
supper. Sometimes a modern galvanised iron tub indicates the fusion of
Eastern and Western habits.

A servant-boy will bring you a pailful of hot water from the
kitchen--that remote apartment, in some far-away corner of the
compound, to which no one ventures to penetrate, unless he is prepared
to eat his dinner ever afterwards with misgivings. A certain suspicion
of greasiness on the surface of the water is suggestive of cooking and
of vessels imperfectly cleansed. It is always rather a problem to know
how one is meant to use the water in the pail, which is usually
scalding hot. A visitor emptying it into the big tub of cold water,
and having a luxurious tepid bath, found that in so doing he had
unwittingly used up a store of cold water which was meant to last for
several days. There are many parts of India where clean fresh water is
scarce, and has to be fetched from a distance and used with economy.

The remaining apparatus provided for your comfort in the bathroom is a
wooden board, or rack, on which you squat, while you pour water over
yourself with a tin pint-pot. It is well to see that no scorpion, or
other stinging insect, has hid up in any of the crevices of the board.
A very refreshing bath can be secured in this primitive way, and
suggestions for improved methods are scarcely welcomed by those who
have got accustomed to, and now prefer, the old-fashioned plan.



     Ideal low concerning work. Bribery. On the railway.
     Dishonest ticket clerks. Servants' commission.
     Door-attendant's tip. Gifts from native merchants. Changes
     in modern India. The Indian "growler" disappearing. Wearing
     shoes. Cloth coats of English cut. The daily paper. The
     villagers' clothing.

Most Indians have a low ideal concerning work. If six or seven are
working together they take turns, and it is rare to see more than the
minority in active employment at any given time. Even those who are
set over them do not expect a fuller response. It is also rare to find
anyone (except a few first-class artizans) who takes pride in his
work, or who can be trusted to do it well except under supervision.
Even in a household it is rare to find a servant (except a few very
capable head-servants) who can be depended on to maintain a
satisfactory standard of work, unless he is frequently reminded
whenever he slackens off. In teaching lads a trade, the majority of
them need to be shown over and over again how to do a thing before
they grasp it. And even after skill has been acquired, it is not
until they have felt the inconvenience of being called upon to re-do
what has been done badly, that they realise that it is best to do it
well at first.

Hardly any transaction, great or small, is completed in heathen India
without something of the nature of a bribe taking place, and the
system is so almost universal that it seems as if it is likely to be a
long time before it is eradicated. Hardly anyone will do anything for
anybody without the stimulus of a reward of some sort. Many Indian
officials will not discharge even the ordinary duties of their office
without frequent "refreshers" from the people amongst whom they work.
It is naturally the poorest and weakest who suffer most from this form
of oppression.

On the railway there is almost unlimited scope for this. The doors on
to the platform of the waiting-rooms, or rather sheds, which are
provided for native passengers are generally only opened just as the
train comes in. The rush is often great, and the number of passengers
is constantly in excess of the vacant places in the train. The
official who unlocks the door leading on to the platform can easily
favour certain persons, and keep back others, with very little risk of
detection, and it is the traveller who has been most ready with his
"palm oil" who gets through the gate promptly, and so stands a good
chance of getting a seat in the train.

In selling tickets to third-class passengers there is vast scope for
cheating. They are mostly illiterate, and many of them inexperienced
in the ways of travel. A dishonest clerk can easily discriminate the
kind of passenger he is dealing with, and when he thinks it safe to do
so, can quote the price of the ticket as being something over and
above its real value, and then pocket the balance. The price printed
on the tickets is no guide to the majority of third-class Indian
travellers. In the course of a long day a dishonest ticket clerk, by
means of small irregularities, can add substantially to his income.
Detectives, disguised as poor passengers, are sometimes successful in
bringing a clerk of this character to book. The goods and parcels
traffic also furnishes a wide field for overcharge, and also of
vexatious delay when the stimulus of a commission on the transaction
is lacking.

If a servant is sent to fetch a _tonga_ from the bazaar, more often
than not he will make the driver give him a _pice_ or two, under the
threat of otherwise not giving him any more of his master's custom.
One of the many servants of the average Indian bungalow sits at the
entrance of the front verandah, and he is the channel of communication
between the outside world and the powers within. Door-bells, for some
inscrutable reason, are practically unknown in the Englishman's
bungalow. If the door-attendant happens to be absent, the visitor
shouts "Boy," a word which in Western India is applied, not very
happily, to any household servant of whatever age.

If the caller is a _sahib_, the door-attendant will quickly attend to
his wants and will bring him into rapid communication with his master.
But supposing you are a poor native, wanting to see the sahib on some
matter of business, unless you are lucky enough to waylay him as he
drives in or out, which he may possibly resent, you stand a poor
chance of getting near him unless you are prepared to tip the
door-keeper. It is to be feared that even Hindus, coming in an honest
spirit of inquiry to a missionary's house, have been choked off by an
official of this nature. It is of the utmost importance that the front
verandah of a mission-house should be freely accessible to whoever
likes to step into it.

District officers when they are on tour and living in camp, and who
are honestly anxious to be within reach of everybody who has a real
grievance, have sometimes great difficulty in preventing their good
intentions being frustrated by some of the subordinate officials who
form an inevitable part of their retinue.

Native merchants who deal with Englishmen have the idea so ingrained
that bribes are a necessary part of business, that they imagine that
the way to secure custom, or at any rate more favourable terms, is to
make large offerings of fruit and sweetmeats at Christmas, and
such-like auspicious times. One of the results of this is that most
things in the Indian markets, and even in some of the shops, grow
rather dearer just before Christmas, and the notion is spreading
amongst Hindus and others that it is a season for presents and
feasting. Some of these traders may even proceed to hint vaguely about
financial percentages, if they think that acceptance is at all likely.
It is to be hoped that the tradition that Englishmen in positions of
trust are proof against such suggestions, is one that may always be

Amongst the signs which indicate that India, for better or worse, is
beginning to move with the times, may be noted an increase in
refinement, a greater regard for outward appearance, and the gradual
introduction of things which conduce to greater comfort. The two-horse
conveyance, called a _shiggram_, which used to represent the "growler"
of Poona City, has almost disappeared. It was certainly a most
comfortless kind of carriage, something like what a growler would be
if you removed all its lining and padding, and with very narrow seats.
In its place victorias and landaus have become almost universal, and
those belonging to private owners are often well built and nicely
kept. The number of people wearing shoes of English pattern rapidly
increases, together with the use of socks. The Hindu Widows' Home has
established quite a thriving business in the manufacture of socks and
stockings for men. Indians have been accustomed to go barefoot, not
because they prefer it, but partly because to wear shoes was, like
the umbrella, a mark of distinction not to be assumed by everybody,
and partly because poverty forbade it. But there are times in the year
when an Indian suffers a good deal through going barefoot. In the
middle of the day in the hot weather the surface of a high-road is so
heated that an Englishman could not tread upon it at all with bare
feet, and even the hardened sole of the Indian is put to serious
inconvenience. Indians say that in the wet weather, when the roads are
often deep in soft mud, this mud gets in between the toes and is
extremely uncomfortable. And in the cold weather, the boys' bare feet
get deeply cut by the chill air of the early mornings which has
descended from frosty regions.

Masters in the better-class schools and the majority of students, the
numerous lawyers, and some shopkeepers, have taken to wearing cloth
coats, which are now almost universally of English cut, although the
native coat was very effective and convenient. Shops are arranged with
some regard to artistic effect, and many of the shops in Poona City
are now bright and attractive in appearance and contain a varied
stock. Formerly the shop was little more than the place where the
goods were stored, and there was little attempt to attract the
passer-by, and only a languid effort to attend to his wants if he
stopped to express them.

The daily paper has become a regular part of the day's routine of the
much-leisured Hindu, and the demand has greatly improved the
character of the supply, and some of the vernacular papers furnish
up-to-date news, and the leaders are written with ability. The more
stringent measures which it became necessary to put in force because
of the seditious character of many of the vernacular papers has done
much to purify the Indian press, so that while many of the papers
retain an independent line, their criticisms are couched in
sufficiently decorous language.

Even amongst the working classes there is a great advance in comfort,
especially as regards clothing. The scanty dress of the Indian arose,
not so much because of the hot climate, but because he could only
afford a few yards of calico. Now he is not only much less unclothed
than he used to be, but his garments are of better material and more
skilfully made. The Indian villager also often wears cloth coats of
English shape, but he has not made much advance as regards
cleanliness. He does not wash all over much oftener than his English
rural brother, except in the hot weather if there is a river within
reach. He rarely washes his clothes, but wears them till they are so
dirty that he can wear them no longer, and then buys new ones; and he
appears to think that this is the best arrangement.



     Mohammedans and marriage. Their conception of heaven. Their
     trading on board ships. The smell of India. The Indian
     "send-off." Use of the plural. Mistakes concerning it.
     Unappreciated English jocosity. Indian free-and-easiness.

A Mohammedan asked me whether if he became a Christian we would
provide him with a wife, and he appeared surprised to learn that as a
Christian he could only have one wife. "Our religion allows four," he
said. When I urged that more than one wife destroyed the idea of the
unity of husband and wife, he replied, "We consider one of our wives
as being our real wife, and the others are like servants." I said that
the additional marriages, under such conditions, could only be
contracted for the gratification of fleshly desires. His answer was,
"If a man can afford it, why should he not give himself pleasure?"
After this there was nothing more to be said.

Mohammedans succeed better than Hindus as men of business, and there
are many Mohammedan firms who do a large trade. In the harbour at
Colombo and at other ports, Mohammedan jewel-merchants come on board
the steamers in order to try and sell their wares to the passengers.
In the interval between the departure of one batch of passengers and
the arrival of another, some of these merchants, having nothing to do,
came over to where I was standing on the deck of a steamer, to talk
about religion. They all spoke English in that pleasant way in which
many Easterns speak it--rather hazy about the verbs, but clear in
their pronunciation, so that it is easy to understand them. An Indian
who knows perhaps only a few English words, generally pronounces them

"Good morning, father, I am very glad to see you," is how the
conversation began.

"Are you a Catholic?" I asked.

"I know all about the Catholic," was the reply, "I was taught in
Catholic school; I know all Catholic teaching."

"But you are not a Catholic yourself."

"No, I am a Mohammedan; but I like Catholic."

Some of the others then chimed in and began to urge their usual
objections concerning the Virgin birth, and the Holy Trinity. I was
interested in hearing what they had to say, because we do not often
meet Mohammedans in the Poona district. I thought that possibly the
assertion that their conception of heaven is so degraded might have
been exaggerated, so that I was glad of an opportunity to learn from
the lips of intelligent representatives of their religion what their
views really are. They affirmed that everything that there is on earth
will be in heaven, including all that concerns marriage. In order to
get at the bottom of the matter, I asked whether, as the result of
this, children would be born in heaven. They replied that nothing had
been revealed concerning that, but that probably children would not be
born. They were, therefore, only anticipating sensual gratification.

I told them the story of the seven brethren with the one wife, and
that Christ, whom they accepted as a true Prophet, said that they
neither marry nor are given in marriage in heaven. They answered that,
in spite of that, it was quite certain that there would be marriage in
heaven. It is hardly to be wondered at if, amongst nations specially
prone to sensuality, a religion spreads which allows four wives in the
present, and holds out such prospects for the future.

Yet there is something winning and attractive about many of these men
with their gentle courteous manners. Passengers coming on board, there
was prospect of business, so saying that they hoped that nothing that
they had said would have caused me any offence, they shook hands and
hurried off, and were soon deeply absorbed in the industry of trying
to see how much they could persuade the globe-trotter to give for
their wares. But their trade is not so good as it was some years back.
The traveller is more wide-awake, and his inclination now is to err
on the side of paying too little. Some shipping lines have also
forbidden traders to board the ships, because it gave an opportunity
for thieves to get on board under the guise of traders, and a good
many things had been stolen from passengers in this way.

Landing in Bombay from the same ship, an Australian lady said to me,
as the passengers were waiting on the Bunder while the luggage was
passing through the Customs, "What is this strange smell?" "It is only
the smell of India," I replied. "Then I don't like it," she said very
decidedly. There is in India a peculiar stale smell which you seldom
get entirely away from, unless on some lofty hills far removed from
the haunts of men. It is the smell of an undrained country, where the
habits of the people transgress the most elementary sanitary rules, so
that even out in country districts, if there are human habitations in
the neighbourhood, the air is tainted.

Whereas it is the English custom to receive a new-comer into office
with great ceremony, the Indian reserves his enthusiasm for the time
of departure. The new viceroy is welcomed with much state ceremonial,
but he departs in comparatively homely fashion. If the arrangements
were in the hands of Indians, it is the outgoing viceroy who would
receive the chief honours. After all, this may be the right way. The
new-comer has not yet been tried, whereas if he has done his duty
during his time of office, it is at the point of his departure that
display of gratitude is becoming. If the head of a mission has to go
to England on furlough, the residents at the mission-station will
probably give him a tremendous send-off, even if he is not
particularly popular. But when he returns, the Indians who saw him off
so enthusiastically will receive him back with gracious smiles and
kindly greeting, and half a dozen special friends may call and garland
him, but there will be no general demonstration, unless there are some
English people on the spot to suggest it as being the proper thing to

Mistakes made in the effort to speak a difficult Eastern language are
inevitable. But the new-comer is not aware of certain subtle dangers
which exist, quite apart from mispronunciation, or wrong tenses and
genders, or words misapplied. To use the singular number instead of
the plural in speaking to an Indian, except of the lowest rank, is
considered by him as an act of great rudeness. In speaking to children
the singular number is always used, and very intimate friends use it
in speaking to each other. High-caste Hindus use it in speaking to
low-caste people, in order to emphasise their own superior position.
Missionaries generally begin to exercise their conversational powers
in the vernacular by trying to say a few words to the boys of the
mission. And as their efforts are generally welcomed by the boys in a
kindly and encouraging spirit, the missionary waxes bold and begins to
converse with the elder members of his flock, or even with dignified
outsiders, with sometimes unfortunate results, because he uses
unblushingly, but unknowingly, the singular number which he grew
familiar with in his conversations with the boys.

"Where art thou going?" I said to one of the senior members of the
congregation--proud to be able to address him in Marathi. "You speak
like a Brahmin," was his reply. At the time I took this to be fulsome
praise of my pronunciation, and it was not till long afterwards, as I
recalled his words, that I understood that he meant that I was
addressing him in the contemptuous way in which Brahmins speak to
their inferiors. A lady worker, after struggling bravely with the
intricacies of Marathi, said that at last she felt encouraged when,
after conversing with some Indian women, she heard one of them say,
"She speaks like a Hindu." Fortunately, or unfortunately, she did not
understand the real meaning of the remark.

Indians do not readily understand or appreciate the half-jocose way in
which Englishmen are wont to show friendliness to others. I saw at a
railway station some rather venerable Christians from a village
mission seeing off a young missionary. The new-comer was trying to be
"hail-fellow-well-met" with these members of his congregation,
smacking them on the back and laughing a good deal, and calling them
"old chaps." The latter expression they did not understand, but they
looked grave and puzzled; and probably the newly arrived missionary
learnt, after a little longer experience, that all English manners and
customs are not applicable to India.

The reverse is also true. There is an Indian kind of free-and-easy
manner which is meant to indicate a spirit of friendliness, which is
just as little understood by the Englishman, and which he not
unfrequently imagines to be intentional rudeness, and resents



     Mortality caused by snake-bite. Snakes in the bungalow. The
     cobra; how it shows fight. An exciting contest. The
     night-watchman; his jingling-stick; his slumber. Village
     night-scare. Supposed dacoits. The village _chowdi_: lads
     sleeping in it.

It must be confessed that snakes are one of the drawbacks of country
life in India, especially after dark. That they are not an imaginary
source of danger is shown by the tremendous total in the annual
returns of those killed by snakes in British India. Every year this
amounts to about 20,000 people. The returns for the last ten years
show that, in spite of the attempt to wage war against snakes, the
toll of casualties does not diminish. The number of snakes killed in a
recent year, for which Government gave rewards, amounted to 63,719.
But in so vast a country the destruction even of so many would make
little appreciable difference.

Although the cobra is an object of worship, Indians do not become
reconciled to snakes. The cry of _sarp_--"snake"--makes almost as
great excitement as the cry of "fire." You never can be sure where
you may not find a snake. Once when I was coming home in the dark,
there was just light enough to enable me to see a snake travelling up
the steps of the verandah into the bungalow, and I was in time to kill
it before it hid up. The most uncomfortable situation is when you see
a snake go into the house and you cannot find out where he has located
himself. A _krait_, the most deadly snake in India, in the middle of
the day came in at the door of the room in which I was sitting
reading. It seemed surprised to see me, and retired behind the door,
where I quickly slew him. It was remarkable to see the horror of a
cat, who came in just afterwards and saw the dead body of the snake,
and for a week or two afterwards she would not pass through that room.
As we entered the refectory one evening for dinner we saw a large
snake vanish out of the back door, and we found it curled up behind
the water-butt.

It is impossible to get reliable local information as to which of the
snakes are poisonous or not. If you ask an Indian about the character
of any snake he always answers, "Very bad." But it is the cobra which
is really an unpleasant creature to have any dealings with. Most other
snakes will try and slink into a corner, or hide up. But the cobra, if
cornered, shows fight and becomes formidable. He raises himself up a
foot or two, puffs out his mantle, sways his head about as if he was
taking aim, and strikes with great force to some distance, according
to his size. I do not know if there are any instances recorded of
recovery from the bite of a cobra, but if so, they are exceedingly

Early one morning we found a cobra in a sleepy state, just outside one
of the church doors. By his swollen condition it was evident that he
was digesting his last meal. It was easy to despatch him with a long
bamboo, which we keep for cobras. But at the first blow he had still
energy just to raise his head into the fighting attitude, when he
looks most forbidding. We found inside him a frog, dead but otherwise
in good preservation, which accounted for his distended and sleepy
state. One day, just after Evensong, when the people were coming out
of church, one of the boys heard a hiss, and saw a cobra in the angle
of a buttress. The long bamboo was again equal to the occasion.

The village schoolmaster, returning in the dark with his family after
a day's holiday, heard a hiss as he opened his house door, and he saw
a snake glide down the verandah. But it was too dark to see whether it
went away, or whether it went into one of the other rooms. The process
of investigation was rather an embarrassing one. The door of the next
room was so situated that a view of the interior could not be got
without going inside, and the snake might have hidden behind the door.
After making loud demonstrations in the doorway with the bamboo, I
ventured in cautiously, and by the light of a lantern which the master
held, we saw at the further end of the room under a cot a large
cobra, with its head raised and slowly waving about, according to its
uncanny custom. As it was probable that it would make for the door if
attacked, because there was no other exit, I at once pinned it against
the wall with the long bamboo. A fierce contest raged for a few
moments. The cobra flung itself hither and thither, and getting free,
endeavoured to come down the room towards the door. Some sage advisers
say, "Hit a snake on the tail and he will die." But when it is
twisting about with marvellous rapidity and tying itself into
fantastic knots, there is no time to consider where to hit it. No time
is to be lost, and you must hit it wherever you can. I did so with the
cobra, who presently began to show signs of collapse, and I was able
to batter its head and the danger was over. We were grateful that the
adventure ended so favourably. We hung up the corpse on a thorn hedge
near by, as a warning to his tribe. But a snake is a dainty morsel to
many creatures, and by the morning it was gone.

Indians walking noiselessly with bare feet run a special risk,
especially at night when snakes are on the move. But in spite of the
number in the Yerandawana neighbourhood, I have never known a case of
snake-bite. They invariably try to get out of the way when they hear
anybody coming. The night-watchmen, who form part of the complicated
establishment of most bungalows in India as a supposed safeguard
against thieves, often have bits of jingling iron fastened on to the
end of the stick which they always carry. The typical night-watchman
at any rate once in the course of the night makes his noisy round of
the compound, striking his stick on the ground, partly in order to
frighten away snakes by the rattling of the iron, and partly to assure
his employer of his alertness. It takes a little time before you learn
to accept this as only one amongst the many other noises of the Indian
night, and not to be taken any notice of. If you feel any compunction
at resting comfortably in bed while the watchman is abroad, you will
be relieved if you chance to come out at any other hour except that at
which he is accustomed to take his little round. You are almost sure
to find him sleeping peacefully and soundly in the verandah. Possibly
in former days, when night alarms were more frequent and thieves more
aggressive than they are now, the watchman was more on the alert.

One night some of the villagers came to ask me to come down into the
village and help them in a difficulty. It appeared that for the last
three or four nights they had been alarmed by stones being slung into
the place from a distance. They fell with considerable force, and if
they had struck anyone he would have been seriously injured. As I drew
near one or two stones fell on the roofs of some of the houses, making
a great clatter. Some people said that four men had been seen hanging
about, wearing trousers and boots and big turbans; but many tales were
afloat, and none of them very authentic. The theory was that these
men were dacoits attempting to terrorise the place, preparatory to
attack and plunder. Though this kind of brigandage still survives, it
is no longer common, especially in the neighbourhood of Poona, with
its large police force. My own impression was that some larky young
fellows from the next village, which was noted for its rowdiness, were
trying to create a scare for the sake of a joke.

We paraded the outskirts of the place, accompanied by some of the more
valiant spirits, who were armed with long bamboos. They loudly
challenged everybody that they met, and were relieved when the answer
was equivalent to "a friend." Finally we all assembled in the centre
of the village in what, in an English town, would have been the
market-place, opposite to the town-hall. In our case the square was
very small, hemmed in by houses, according to the crowded arrangement
peculiar to most Indian villages. The town-hall was a low shed, in
which, in spite of its homely appearance, all the public ceremonies,
great or small, take place. It is also the custom in villages, amongst
the Hindu population, for the young unmarried men and boys to sleep in
this central _chowdi_, as it is called, which is often fairly
spacious. The dwelling-houses are thus left free for their parents and
sisters. General morality is enforced by the village elders, except as
regards conversation, and concerning that there is unbridled license.
The little market-place was crowded with those brave ones who had
perambulated with us, and the timid ones who had remained inside. In
fact, all the men and big boys of the village were there. Everyone had
a weapon of some sort. A council of war was held. I suggested that
such an assembly of stalwart fellows was a match for any number of
thieves. But they said that men of the dacoit class were armed with
long knives, with which they would slash your legs as soon as look at
you. I replied that with their long bamboos, rightly used, they need
not fear knives. Someone said that a gun was what was wanted, and
asked if I had not got one. I answered that a priest was a man of
peace, and had no need of guns. Another said, would I write and ask
for police protection? I reminded them of the resentment they had
shown on a previous occasion when they thought I had been responsible
for bringing police into the place.

At this juncture the clattering of more stones upon some of the
adjoining roofs sent the few women, who had crept out to listen to our
talk, shrieking into their houses, while I and a rather increased band
of braves again explored in the direction from which the stones had
come. We met two or three young fellows belonging to the large colony
of medicine-men who live in Yerandawana, but who do not mix much with
the other villagers. They are a roving, easygoing race, fond of
hunting and drinking, and with a largely developed element of mischief
and fun. I felt a strong suspicion that these young men, who I
thought seemed a little embarrassed at meeting me, could throw light
on the mystery. Anyhow the stir of that night had the effect of
frightening whoever were the authors of the scare, and there was no
repetition of the annoyance.

The Patel, who as head man of the village ought to have been to the
front in a time of difficulty, was so alarmed at the situation that he
made tracks for Poona, and did not return until he was assured that
peace had been restored.



     The _dhobi_, or washerman. The Christian _dhobi_.
     Laundry-work for mission boys; failure of the enterprise.
     How the _dhobi_ does his work; beating the clothes on a
     stone. Relaxations of the _dhobi_; his difficulties in the
     rains; his standard of honesty; he learns his trade in
     childhood; his bullock. Bells on cattle, useful at night;
     melody of the bells. An obstinate bullock a perplexity.
     Motor-cars and bullocks.

India is a country in which the washing of clothes is carried out to
perfection, so far as the cleansing and bleaching of the garments is
concerned. But it must be confessed that this desirable result is
attained at much cost to the garments themselves. The profession of
washerman, or _dhobi_ as he is called, like most other occupations in
India, is chiefly an hereditary one. It is very difficult for anyone
outside the _dhobi_ caste to get a footing in the profession. Washing
is done in the open air in a stream or river, or on the edge of a
tank, or _howd_. These washing-places are so jealously guarded by the
_dhobis_ that an intruder on their sacred preserves has no chance. At
one time it was hoped that _dhobi_ work might prove a useful
occupation for those boys of the Mission who do not shape into
carpenters. All the Mission washing would provide a good means of
livelihood for several lads. And in India it is men who run the
laundry. Their womenkind help, but in almost every case it is the man
who is the responsible person.

There was at one time a Christian _dhobi_ in the Mission. He was a
convert from Hinduism, and some people were uncharitable enough to
suggest that the secret of his conversion was to be found in his hope
that it would secure to him the Mission washing in perpetuity. But,
however this may have been, he managed to retain his rights as a
_dhobi_ after his baptism, and took his station at the usual
washing-place without difficulty. Increasing age and his need of
assistance first suggested the idea that he might teach his craft to
some of the Mission boys. The attempt was beset with many
difficulties. The members of the _dhobi_ caste had tolerated the old
convert, but when they found that he was taking Christian boys as his
pupils they were up in arms, and put every possible difficulty in
their way. A Hindu _dhobi_, who was already doing some of the Mission
washing, professed to be independent of the prejudices of his fellows,
and volunteered to protect the boys, and to instruct them in the
mysteries of his trade. He persevered gallantly for a while, but the
resentment of his fellows was eventually too much for him. They even
put him out of caste, and that is a punishment which no Hindu can

So, rather apologetically, because he had been bold in his
protestations of his disregard of public opinion, he told us that he
would not be able to continue to instruct our boys. They tried to
carry on the work on their own account, and though exposed to a good
deal of petty persecution from the Hindu _dhobis_, they managed to
assert their right to wash clothes in the stream. But they had not
been under instruction long enough to really learn the art, and
without any competent person to take the lead, their efforts soon
became so unsatisfactory that the industry had to be unwillingly

The Indian _dhobi_ always, by preference, washes clothes in a stream
of running water where such is to be had. Some municipalities, where
there is an adequate water-supply at their disposal, have made
artificial arrangements of this nature, with water running from taps
into small tanks where the _dhobis_ stand and wash. But they much
prefer the river. Many of the Indian rivers for a large part of the
year provide just the conditions which the _dhobi_ loves. The water is
generally reduced to a modest stream, running amongst rocks and
stones, with deep pools here and there, and long stretches of dry sand
or gravel, or even green grass, on which the clothes can be spread to
bleach. The _dhobi_ stands in the stream and rinses the linen in the
running water, sometimes using a little soap. But his real agent for
cleansing consists of large smooth stones belonging to the river-bed,
which lie handy or which he has fished out, and on these he dashes the
wet garments.

As I write [at Khandala] I hear the _dhobi_ in the stream just below,
busy with repeated flagellations which resound loudly. As I saw him
take up a pair of pyjamas I watched the whole process carefully. He
rinsed them for a short time in the stream. He then kneaded them
slightly on the stone and rinsed them again. Then doubling the
garments into a long roll which he held by one end, he raised it high
above his head and dashed it with all his strength on the stone about
eighteen times. When the water had been beaten out he again dipped the
roll into the stream and resumed his flagellations. He repeated this
process six times, so that by the time he had finished and the pyjamas
were added to the pile of washed clothes, they had been beaten on the
stone more than a hundred times. The process effectually expels all
the dirt, but the amount of literal wear and tear to which the garment
is exposed can easily be imagined. Mother-of-pearl shirt-buttons fare
badly under this treatment, and for this reason are not much used in

The scorching sun is another purifying element. Under its bleaching
influence the well-washed garments become white as snow, and have that
refreshing fragrance of complete cleanliness which an Indian resident
misses when at home and he has to receive his washing from an English

The ordinary Indian _dhobis_ only iron the clothes by smoothing them
over with their hands, but the more accomplished artists use large and
heavy box-irons, which are heated by filling the box with hot ashes.
The _dhobis_ who are experienced in getting up linen for English
residents do so with great skill, and accomplish successfully the most
elaborate tasks. Washing is very cheap, like most things in India
which depend on labour. The usual custom is to pay so much a month,
for which sum you may send to the wash as many articles as you like.
In Poona City Rs. 2 is the usual monthly payment--that is to say, 2s.
8d. in English money,--but Indians who employ a _dhobi_ pay much less.

It will be seen that laundry work done in Indian fashion is very
laborious; but the _dhobis_ are a cheerful race, and many of them make
a good deal of money. Their chief relaxation seems to be an occasional
social evening, which extends till the next morning. Liquor flows
freely on these occasions, and as the evening progresses the uproar
increases, and before the party finally breaks up a war of many words
generally ends in some, or all of the guests, having a free fight,
which, however, is generally without bloodshed and does not apparently
hinder the resumption of friendly relationships the next day.

The _dhobi's_ time of trial is the rainy season, when he pursues his
trade under great difficulties. The modest stream of clear water, so
well suited to his purpose, has developed into a rolling river of
muddy water. His smooth stones, his gravelly shoals, the banks of
green grass, are now buried deep in a foaming torrent. The air is
laden with moisture, and violent rain falls repeatedly. He lives in a
miserable hut, with none of the appliances which we are accustomed to
see in laundries. His artificial means for drying clothes are of the
most primitive character, and his customers are clamouring for their
garments, and abusing him because he is behindhand.

In a country where integrity in matters of trade is rare, it is not to
be expected that the _dhobi's_ standard of honesty will be higher than
that of other people, and the nature of his employment gives
facilities for petty dishonesty: such as exchanging old handkerchiefs
for new, or not bringing back the same number of garments as he took
away. But even when his intentions are good, it makes it the more
difficult to return the washing correctly that the English markings on
the clothes are to him only so many cabalistic signs, merely to be
recognised by their general appearance. And as the _dhobi_ often finds
himself misled in his attempt to follow this uncertain guide, he
adopts signs of his own for his regular customers, and with coloured
thread, or even ink, makes marks on the clothes intelligible to
himself, and not always conducive to the appearance of the garment.

From a merely utilitarian point of view there are some advantages in
the fact that certain trades are practically confined to the members
of certain castes. A _dhobi_, for instance, does not expect or aspire
to be anything different. Hence he begins to learn his craft almost
from infancy. Again, as I write, I can see in the stream below a busy
family of three generations of _dhobis_. The grandfather is
grey-haired, and though taking a good share of the work is obviously
getting into old age, although probably not much over fifty. But for
most Indians that means old age. His son is a hale man in the prime of
life. Two or three women, the wives of one or other, or of each, are
assisting. But there is a little grandson about three or four years
old. He still walks rather unsteadily on bowed legs. He is already
absorbed in learning the mysteries of his ancestral trade. He is given
a pair of stockings to wash, and, small as he is, he copies exactly
the actions of his parents. He rinses the stocking in the water, beats
it on the stone so far as his limited supply of strength will allow,
rinses it again, beats it again, and finally casts it on one side when
the process is complete, as he sees his father do. He is almost a
full-fledged _dhobi_ as soon as he has learned to talk and walk. Not
being very great at the latter accomplishment, he rides home on the
bullock, which is a necessary part of the stock and trade of every
prosperous _dhobi_. The bullock carries the clothes, which are formed
into a sort of huge bolster, which, when put on the back of the
bullock, nearly touches the ground on either side.

Bullocks almost invariably have a bell hung round their necks. When
cattle are out grazing the bell is useful, because it serves to
indicate their whereabouts when they have strayed. They also follow
more or less the sound of one anothers' bells, so that they tend to
keep a flock or herd together. The bells on the bullocks which are
employed in road traffic have a practical use, because, when
travelling by night, the proximity of a bullock-cart is often first
indicated in the dark by the tinkling of the bells. These are often
two or three inches in diameter, and in the comparative stillness of
night can be heard at some distance. When a string of a dozen or more
bullock-carts follow each other in close succession the jingling of
the bells rings out cheerfully. In fact, an additional reason why
people like to have bells on their bullocks is that the Hindu is
mostly timid at night, and the sound of the bells is a kind of
companionship, and may do something towards warning off evil spirits.

When a number of bells are tinkling at the same time they are
naturally not always in tune with one another, and discordant
combinations may result, especially when the bells of two bullocks
yoked together are much out of tune. But if you listen critically to
each bell, when a row of carts is passing, you will every now and then
hear one of a peculiarly rich and mellow sound. I once tried to
persuade a man to sell a melodious bell which I heard by chance as he
drove by, but he would not entertain the idea for a moment. Perhaps he
thought that it would be unlucky to part with it.

That the bullocks themselves get to look upon the bell as a necessary
accompaniment to work, has been often noticed. An Englishman
travelling by night in a bullock-cart found that the ceaseless
jingling of the bells kept him awake, and he ordered them to be
removed. But when the sound ceased the beasts took it as an indication
that work was over, and promptly lay down, and no further progress was
made till the bells had been restored. An Indian bullock is for the
most part a docile and long-suffering creature. But he makes up for
his usual good behaviour when he happens to get annoyed. He is not
unlike his Indian master in this respect. If a bullock lies down and
refuses to do his work, no amount of persuasion will induce him to
change his mind. Natives even go so far as to light straw under him
when all other efforts to make him budge fail. More often, when blows
and energetic tail-twistings have no effect on him, the beast has to
be humoured in some way. His mind is often restored to its normal
equilibrium by inducing him to change places with his yoke-fellow, or
with a bullock in another cart.

The eventualities of road traffic do not usually disturb the placidity
of the bullock, but if he once gets frightened and loses his head, he
gives way to unmitigated panic. The first appearance of the motor-car,
which is now almost as common in parts of India as it is in England,
reduced many bullocks to a state of abject terror. Fortunately most
mishaps with bullock-carts are not very serious in their results. The
cart is not easily broken, and is quickly righted. But having occasion
to travel in a public motor-car through a country district where the
car was then a novelty, it was alarming to see the state of chaos
which we were constantly leaving in our rear. The theory of the driver
of the car was that, if bullocks are frightened, the best course is to
dash past quickly and get it over. The result was not altogether a
success. The fact that a horrible monster had sped by was sufficient
to produce panic, and the first impulse of the bullock was to rush off
the road to some place of safety. In India it is easy to go off the
track at any point, because there is often neither wall nor hedge, and
the surrounding country may be uneven and intersected with beds of
streams and deep hollows.

In the course of our journey I saw a bullock-cart swerve off the road
and fall bottom upwards into a field on a much lower level. Anyone
unfamiliar with bullock-cart accidents would expect much more
disastrous results from such a mishap than was probably actually the
case; but I saw the tragedy when we were already far ahead, and our
driver of course never saw it at all. Consternation was excited in the
traffic ahead of us by the hoot of the car. Drivers, who had already
experienced the effect of a motor-car on their beasts, leapt from
their cart, and hastily urging the bullocks to the side of the road,
stood in front of them and blind-folded their eyes with their garments
so that they might not see the apparition tearing by. After a little
familiarity with motors, the philosophic Indian bullock soon gets to
regard them with supreme indifference.



     Agricultural colleges. Indian soil exhausted; need of
     chemical manures. Signs of progress among farmers. The city
     sweepings. Sugar cane; hospitalities connected with it; we
     are invited; our reception; the juice from the cane; its
     produce in other forms. Potatoes. The Indian evening; its
     rapid approach. Return of the cattle.

The Government of India are spending large sums on agricultural
research. They have a College of Agriculture on an extensive scale at
Pusa, in Bengal, and another big college near Poona has just been
completed. These handsome buildings, with their chemical laboratories,
lecture rooms, and English professors, seem at the first glance
strangely remote from the homely farmer in his native village, and the
first inclination is to suggest that these colleges will only produce
a crop of ornamental figure-heads, who will graduate in agriculture,
but who will make no practical use of the knowledge which they have

But the aim of these colleges is not quite so visionary as one might
think. The Government realises that it will be long before the
influence of the college reaches the small farmer in his village. The
real point is that the soil of India is worn out through continued
cropping without manuring, and it now only yields a small percentage
of what it might produce, if properly treated. Farmyard manure, such
as the English farmer so largely depends upon for the enrichment of
his land, does not exist in India. This is partly because the cattle
are roaming about all day, and as a rule are only gathered into sheds
at night; partly because the coarse stalks of the native kinds of
grain are not suitable for stable litter like English straw; but
chiefly because the droppings from the cattle are made up into flat
cakes and dried in the sun, which are then used as fuel in conjunction
with a certain amount of wood. This custom is so rooted that it would
be hopeless to try and modify it. Nor indeed is there any other fuel
available. It is long before coal will find its way into common use
for cooking purposes.

The moral of this is, that the only solution of the problem is to be
found in the introduction of chemical manure. But this can only be
done effectually after prolonged experiments. In a country so vast and
so varied as India the varieties of soil are great, and the climatic
conditions manifold. All sorts of different crops are grown. Hence the
experiments necessary to find out how this variety is to be
successfully treated must be spread over a long period of time, and
results can only be arrived at gradually. Even in the process of
irrigation, which at one time appeared to be such a simple matter,
because where an ample supply of water could be secured the genial sun
seemed to do all the rest, the lapse of years is revealing the fact
that repeated irrigation produces certain deleterious chemical changes
in the soil, which might ultimately become disastrous to the
production of the crop. Hence experiments have to be made to determine
to what extent irrigation must be restricted, and how the adverse
chemical conditions can be counteracted.

When facts have been ascertained, their dissemination and acceptance
is another problem. To accomplish this a good deal of the pioneer
work, as with most progressive steps in India, must be done by
Englishmen. Indians, however well instructed, would not be listened to
in the first instance with confidence by their fellow-countrymen. They
would suspect that self-interest was at the back of their advice, and
the chemical manure which they recommended would, on that account, be
distrusted. Hence, at present, a good many of the lecturers, and even
some of the inspectors who are to travel in the districts to advise
and assist the farmers in agricultural matters, have to be Englishmen.
But it is hoped that their places will gradually be taken by those
Indians whom they are now instructing.

Although farmers all the world over are conservative and opposed to
novelties, they generally end by adopting improvements when they have
realised that they are remunerative. Yerandawana village being close
to Poona City, the farmers can procure for their land the street
sweepings, which are sold by the municipality at so much a load. The
farmers see the difference between land which has been manured and
that which has not. They spend, what is to them, large sums of money
on this litter, and they do so readily because they find that they are
abundantly repaid by the increase in their crops. Street sweepings and
city litter can, of course, only be procured in the immediate vicinity
of large towns, and it is limited in quantity, so that this kind of
manure does not go far in enriching the impoverished Indian soil. If
farmers are able to see that chemical manure produces the same result
as the litter, it is reasonable to suppose that in process of time
they would be equally ready to buy the new agent.

Sugar cane is undoubtedly the most beautiful in appearance of all
Indian crops; and when the cane is being converted into raw sugar,
this is one of the most animated rural sights. The process takes place
in the open air in a corner of the field itself, or else close by.
Although it involves plenty of work and all is stir and bustle, it is
a time which the workers enjoy. They encamp on the spot, and it is a
sort of prolonged picnic.[3]

[Footnote 3: The process has been fully described in _Indian
Jottings_, p. 253.]

It is a pleasant custom amongst the sugar-cane growers to invite
little parties of friends to come to the plantation to drink the
fresh juice, and other uninvited guests are apt to stroll round in the
hope of getting something. The code of hospitality amongst Indians
being such a liberal one, even the palpable cadgers are not sent away
empty. Apparently every visitor to any garden must be made to take
away some tangible memento of his visit, if it be only a single

One of the leading farmers in Yerandawana was, from the first, very
adverse to the intrusion of the Mission into the village. He did not
openly oppose, but when at intervals the villagers got suspicious and
cooled off in their friendly advances, it was known that it was
largely due to the influence of this Hindu. But time gradually does
its beneficent work of pacification, and there came indications of
friendly advances on the part of Bulwantrao himself. Finally his
eldest son called one afternoon and asked two of us to go that evening
to his sugar-cane plantation, so that he might entertain us, and he
said that eight of the Mission boys might come with us.

We gladly accepted the invitation, and went to the appointed place at
sunset. The pleasant scent as we drew near was reminiscent of
jam-making in old days at home, and the process was somewhat similar.
Bulwantrao's son, Rama, a coarse-featured lad with a raucous voice,
welcomed us heartily. The Indian father usually drops into the
background if his all-important eldest son is present, and lets him do
the honours even when he is quite a boy. This is a pleasing feature
of Indian family life, and the father evidently feels great pleasure
in seeing his son and heir exercising the privileges of his position.

A brown country blanket was spread for us to sit upon, and Rama gave
orders concerning us. One of his men brought some of the raw sugar in
a brass bowl, just after it had cooled and consolidated. Presumably
this bowl was dedicated to the use of unclean persons like ourselves,
otherwise our touching it would have made it useless for their own
purposes; except that there are now so many exceptions to the old
rules of greater strictness, that perhaps the usual polish with earth
might be considered a sufficient purification. It was a pleasure to
eat sugar which one knew for certain was free from all taint of
adulteration. Meanwhile several lads and boys had harnessed themselves
to the mill which presses out the juice of the sugar cane, in place of
the bullocks who had gone off duty, and with great energy and much fun
and laughter, made it revolve until enough juice had been pressed out
for our refreshment. The sugar cane, looking and feeling like a thick
bamboo walking-stick, does not suggest itself as an object from which
juice could be extracted, but it pours out in streams as soon as the
stalk comes between the rollers of the mill.

A lemon was squeezed into the bowl of juice, which we were told
greatly improves its flavour, and then we had a most refreshing
drink. It was sweet and cool, but not sickly. There are places in
Poona City where this drink can be obtained in its season for a
farthing a glass, special crushing-mills being erected for the
purpose. It is essential that the juice should be freshly procured,
because if left to stand it quickly ferments, and it is then very
intoxicating. We were next given some of the syrup out of the big pan
which had just been taken off the fire. When poured into the moulds
prepared for the purpose it consolidates as it cools. But it was
rather like toffee at the stage when they put a lump of it into the
palms of our hands, and as it was extremely sticky, it was a difficult
matter getting rid of the after-effects; those who habitually use
their fingers for all purposes appear to acquire the knack of doing so
without getting their fingers into a mess.

Finally we were all provided with long sticks of the cane to take home
with us, and this was the part of the entertainment which the boys
valued most. But as teeth have to do the work of the crushing-mill, it
was only the younger members of the party who were able to make
personal use of the parting gift. We were also invited to look at
Bulwantrao's gardens, and though the tidiness which distinguishes a
cared-for English garden was missing, they were highly cultivated and
contained a varied assortment. People of one country do not take
readily to the natural productions of another country, especially
their vegetables, but potatoes have become popular in India, in spite
of their being small and tasteless. They are sold in all the native
bazaars, and the poorer people buy them largely. Bulwantrao's garden
was an illustration of what may be accomplished by intelligent
cultivation under the influence of the heat of the tropics, combined
with irrigation and manure. We were of course given specimens of such
fruit and vegetables as were in season.

Darkness was rapidly taking the place of sunshine as we returned from
this pleasant visit. There is a special charm about evening-tide in
all parts of the world, and India is no exception; although evening in
that country is peculiar and distinctive, and has the drawback that
the twilight of the tropics is so brief. You are reading a book with
ease, and ten minutes afterwards you can scarcely distinguish a
letter. The sudden fall of night resembles the gloom produced by the
rapid gathering of clouds before a thunderstorm in England, and gives
for the moment a certain sense of sadness. In the last half-hour
before sunset you see people hurrying along the roads and the many
footpaths which intersect each other all over India, in order to get
home before dark. The cattle which have been feeding all day on the
hills and jungle lands come straggling home, and they respond slowly
to the call for hurry, urged upon them forcibly by their young
attendants. If you happen to be in one of the narrow gullies of a
village just at the time when the cattle are coming home, the position
is an embarrassing one. There is scarcely room for them to pass, and
they eye a stranger with suspicion. They turn in at their respective
doorways as if they were the owners, and there is not much distinction
between the quarters allotted to them and the dwelling-place of the



     Christians and Hindu customs. The carpentry instructor; A
     taint of Hinduism; he retains his pigtail. Indians on their
     way to Europe; perplexities about bath and food. The Jain
     sect; their views. The Sikhs. Going to Germany for Sanskrit.
     Conversation of English-speaking Hindus. Indians on deck.
     East and West pull together. No room for the theosophist.

Some missionaries advocate the retention by Christian converts of such
Hindu customs as are not directly connected with idolatry, especially
in connection with marriage ceremonies. Others maintain that it is
impossible really to distinguish between what is innocent and what is
not, and that the only safe course is to come out altogether and be
separate. The elaborate restrictions concerning food, given to the
children of Israel, were apparently chiefly designed to prevent them
from mixing socially with the idolatrous people with whom they were
surrounded, lest they should drop back into any of the old evil ways.
For the same reason it would seem necessary in India for the Christian
convert to separate himself from everything which is in any way
distinctive of Hinduism, quite apart from whether the thing itself is
harmful or not. It is certain that lapses back to Hinduism have been
most frequent amongst Christians of those Missions where the laxer
view has prevailed.

An illustration somewhat to the point may be found in the case of the
carpentry instructor in the Poona City Mission, who was a convert from
Hinduism. He received the name of Bhumya at his baptism--his full name
being Bhumya Virappa Chondikar. The second name was that of his
father, which, according to Hindu custom, is always borne by the son,
and the last was his family or surname. He did not improve his
financial status by becoming a Christian. He was carpenter-master
before, and continued to be so for many years afterwards. But his
change of religion cut him off from any possibility of inheritance
from Hindu relations, of whom he had several in rather prosperous
circumstances. It also made such a ferment in his own household, where
he had a wife and mother-in-law and little son, that he had to leave
his home and lodge elsewhere so that he might not "pollute" them, as
they would express it, by eating with them. Two years after his own
baptism, however, he had the joy of seeing his wife and now _two_
little children, baptized, and the home life was happily resumed.
Eventually even his mother-in-law became a Christian.

But in spite of his own undoubted earnestness, his devout use of the
sacraments, his constant attendance at all the services of the church,
a sort of taint of Hinduism clung to him all through life and to some
extent dimmed his Christian joy, and prevented his example, in many
ways so edifying, from bearing the fruit that might otherwise have
been the case. None of his numerous Hindu friends were led to
Christianity through his influence, and none of his own relations
followed his example, nor was it possible to use him much in
evangelistic work, in spite of his readiness to help. He had a theory
that Christianity had somehow been evolved out of Hinduism, and though
even his intimate friends could never get to the bottom of his strange
ideas, his preaching was sufficiently unorthodox to make it necessary
that he should be a silent member of the preaching party in the
streets of the city.

The retention of Hindu ideas which thus warped his Christian life, and
prevented it from influencing his fellow-countrymen as it otherwise
might have done, may partly be accounted for by the fact that he not
only retained in every particular after his baptism the outward garb
of a Hindu and wore no Christian symbol, but his partially shaved
head, and rather long pigtail which he continued to wear, were so
definitely the outward tokens of Hinduism that he was often taken for
a Hindu, and several people at various times were startled to see a
heathen man, as they thought, collecting the alms in church.

The chief moral value of Bhumya's life is to be found in the fact
that, in spite of Hindu memories continuing to have some mysterious
attraction for him, he was both in life and death unswerving and
unshaken in his allegiance to Christianity.

Certainly a P. & O. steamer can no longer be described as a "white
man's ship," as the young officer expressed it when he complained of
the presence of Indians on board. The number of Easterns who go to
Europe for educational and other purposes increases so rapidly that
they now form a distinct element on many steamers. One autumn when
coming to England, half the passengers in the second saloon were
Easterns on their way westwards, chiefly for educational purposes, and
travelling at that season in order to be in time for the classes and
colleges, which begin their new course or term in October. We
calculated that there were nearly twenty different languages being
talked amongst us, and there were few phases of religion

In the first saloon were a few wealthy Indian lads on their way to
English public schools, clad in the most approved English boys' dress,
and nearly all these travellers were in full European costume, though
a few retained the turban. Some of the combinations of colour in the
shape of socks and ties were rather startling. But Indians quickly
correct any mistakes of this kind after they have reached England, and
have had time to observe what well-dressed people usually wear. Many
of them were at first in great perplexity how to perform their
ablutions in English baths, and the first morning or two they might be
seen wandering about in the region of the baths with anxious faces.
But they somehow found some solution to their difficulties, and
ultimately distracted the man in charge of the baths by staying in
long beyond the regulation ten minutes. "Too long," I heard the
bathman say to one of these Indian gentlemen, who had been taking his
bath in the leisurely fashion to which he had been accustomed in his
own home. "_Not_ too long," was the laconic reply.

The question of food is also a cause of great anxiety to some. "We are
vegetarians," I heard one of them say to a ship's steward as he
entered the saloon for his first meal, and the puzzled steward went
off to consult his superiors as to what was to be done. But as the
mere fact of crossing the seas to a foreign country constitutes a
breach of caste, according to strict Hindu law, which will have to be
atoned for on return, further breaches do not make much difference,
and many of these travellers appear to enjoy their newly found liberty
and eat freely all that is set before them, except that beef and pork
are respectively avoided by Hindus and Mohammedans. Modern-minded
Hindus even contend that to cross the seas does not break caste, and
that their sacred writings support this view, and the matter has
become the subject of long-drawn-out litigation by aggrieved Hindus
who have been out-casted on their return from foreign travel.

One of the voyagers belonged to the Jain sect amongst the Hindus, who
take the most elaborate precautions to avoid even the accidental
destruction of the smallest animal life. He had been prudent enough to
bring a Jain with him to act as his cook; but this man becoming
completely incapacitated by sea-sickness, his employer had to fall
back upon such stores of dry food as he had with him, until the cook
recovered. Indians are not good sailors, and a very moderate sea sent
most of them to the seclusion of their cabins.

This Jain was going to London to become a barrister. He told me that
his sect believes in the immortality of God, the soul, and matter.
Hence the two last are as indestructible as the first. The world,
therefore, will always exist, and each soul will continue to be
transmigrated for any number of ages until it gets absorbed into God.
Not to lead an exemplary life involves the unpleasant risk of
reappearing in some debased form, and also delays the realisation of
the final absorption. Their particularity about the taking of life
presumably arises from the possibility that if you destroy even the
humblest insect it may be a relation who has unfortunately had to
assume this form, and causes even eggs to be classed amongst forbidden
articles, because they contain the germ of life.

Three brothers, Sikhs, kept in their little inside cabin almost all
the voyage, with the door and ventilators generally closed, and seemed
perfectly content, except when prostrated by sea-sickness. They took
all their meals there, and they were heard imploring their steward to
be careful not to bring them any "beef." The smallness and stuffiness
of their cabin perhaps recalled pleasantly their Indian home. They
talked and laughed the whole day, and would have certainly done so
half the night, except that the English occupant of the next cabin
called upon them at bedtime and suggested that having talked all day
it might be well for the sake of others to devote the night to sleep,
and they cheerfully and courteously accepted the hint. Now and then,
if it was very fine and smooth, they came on deck, but held no
intercourse with the other Indian passengers, and played cards most of
the time. They wore European coats and shirts, the tails of the latter
being worn outside according to Indian custom. Their legs were cased
in the white breeches peculiar to their race, very baggy in the upper
part, but fitting so close below that the problem of how they get into
them remains a mystery. On their heads were immense and picturesque
white turbans. It was touching to see the extent to which the elder
brother was looked up to, with that delightful combination of
affection and respect characteristic of this particular relationship
in India. They were gentle, courteous people, and everybody liked

An Indian, who called himself a Parsee, but there was reason to think
that he was really a Bengali Hindu, was on his way to Germany to learn
Sanskrit. As India is its home, although it is no longer a spoken
language, except that Sanskrit words are found in many vernaculars, it
appeared strange that an Indian should be travelling westwards in
order to learn an Eastern language. But he explained that the Indian
Pundits, or teachers, though they know Sanskrit, have no knowledge of
how to teach it, and with characteristic disregard for the value of
time, spend at least six years in teaching what, with more rational
methods, might be learnt in two. In Germany this Indian hoped to see
the most up-to-date way of teaching languages, and then he proposed to
return to India and introduce the modern system in the college of
which he said he was professor of Sanskrit.

Passing alongside the Italian coast, he said to me: "I hope very much
to see Italy before I return to my own country. I understand that the
Italian cathedrals are very beautiful, and a cathedral always appeals
to me very strongly. I should also like to see Assisi. The character
of S. Francis has great charms for me." I said that, with ideas such
as these, he ought to be a Christian. "Possibly," he replied; "I have
the greatest veneration for Christ as the greatest among prophets."
English-speaking Hindus, however, have a remarkable power of adapting
their sentiments to their society. I overheard the same man
contrasting, for the benefit of a young Egyptian, the way in which
famine is dealt with in a native state and by the Government of India,
by which it would appear that whereas the former did everything, the
latter did nothing.

In the saloon the Indians naturally gathered to their own tables, but
in fine weather they entered into the usual deck life of a liner, sat
about in deck-chairs, made some show of reading, chiefly English light
literature, made an attempt at the stereotyped deck games, played
cards largely, and discovered that lemon-squash was a cooling drink,
and those who could afford it went in for it often. They nearly all of
them knew exactly where they were going to in London, and expected to
be met by friends or relations already there. There are also many
agencies and individuals who are ready to interest themselves in these
young students, and to help them with advice and sympathy when they
are willing to accept it. There are now quite a number of Indian
houses in London where students lodge, and where they can arrange to
have their food served in orthodox fashion. A few of these houses have
at times become centres of mischief, and have had to be kept under

The Indians on board lived very much in cliques, just as they do in
their own country, and with few exceptions there was but little
general interchange of ideas amongst themselves. Curiously enough,
the connecting link was to be found in the English population on
board, who mixed with them all good-humouredly. That it is possible
for East and West to meet on equal terms, and to dine in the same room
if not at the same table, and to get on happily in daily intercourse,
was proved by the pleasant way in which, within the narrow limits of a
ship's second-class quarters, everybody managed to pull together. It
was also a satisfactory feature of this medley of races and religions
that the only person for whom there was no place, and who finally got
sent to Coventry, was an Englishwoman who professed to be a


Affection, 15

Agricultural experiments, 329

Agriculture, 328; colleges of, 328

Animals, 176

Antelope, 177

Anthony, St., 245

Ants, 191;
  white, 191

Architecture, Indian view of, 17

Art, 60;
  degenerating, 60;
  Christian, 64

Artists, Indian, 63

Ascetics, 3, 196, 199;
  maxims for, 166

Band, native, 102, 140;
  English, 102;
  "Europe," 102

Baptism, 23, 338;
  Nonconformist laxity concerning, 5, 86

Barbel tree, 197

Barber, 271

Bath, 110, 290, 293, 341

Beasts, wild, 170

Bees, 190

Beetles, 189

Beggars, feasts to, 12;
  Hindu religious, 201

Bells, bullocks', 324

Benson, Father, 156

Bhumya, his conversion, 338

Bible, quoted by Hindus, 4

_Bile polar_, festival for cattle, 245

_Bin_, musical instrument, 101

Birds, 185, 187;
  scaring, 271

Bishop, Indian, 93

Blacksmiths, 271

Blasting, 261

Blister beetle, 189

Bookbinding, 150

Books in India, 143, 148; prayer, 144, 149; price of, 149

Boundary stones, 221, 253

Boy, Indian, 161, 163, 168, 192

Brahmins, 84, 85, 164, 265;
  ladies, 23;
  thread, 122

Brain-fever bird, 185

Brass, its polish, 62

Bread, 109

Bribes, 296;
  on the railway, 296;
  in trade, 298

Buffalo, 179;
  the dead, 71

Bugs, 192

Bullocks, 324, 325;
  drawing water, 98

Bungalow, 292, 297

Burial, 71, 268

Butterflies, 195

Camels, 181

Card-playing, 117

Caretaker, the faithful, 28;
  his contentment, 29;
  his prayers, 30

Carpenters, 271

Carpets, 78

Caste, 167, 210, 278;
  breach of, 168, 237, 341

Catholic Church, 88, 96

Cattle, festival for, 245

Cemetery, Christian, 263;
  consecrated, 267;
  Cross, 267;
  Hindu, 173

Chairs, 56

Character, Indian, 24, 90, 157, 249, 254, 289;
  shallow, 158, 160, 166

Cheating labourers, 26, 30, 31

Choir-boys, 104

_Chowdi_, 215;
  sleeping in, 314

Christian art, 64, 65

Christian Indians, 5, 15, 209, 226;
  their hospitality, 13, 43;
  honesty, 242;
  respect for their mother, 14;
  dress for, 41;
  their expenses, 42;
  their unpunctuality, 51;
  their meals, 56, 236;
  _panchayat_, 68;
  their happiness, 115;
  their prayer books, 144, 149;
  houses, 254, 255

Church at Yerandawana, 19-23, 126, 155, 282

Clarke, Sir George, 103

Clergy, Indian, 89, 90, 91, 92

Clerk, Hindu village, 223, 224, 253

Cobra, 309, 310

Cockroaches, 190

Cold, 275;
  Indians sensitive to, 276

Collectors, 80, 230

Comfort, increase of, 299, 301

Confessions to police, 217

Confirmation, 94

Conversion of India, 83;
  of Brahmins, 84, 85;
  of low castes, 85;
  in famine time, 85

Cooking, particular about, 108;
  pots, 56, 271;
  graceful shape of, 61

Court, High, 212;
  petty, 212;
  Police, 214;
  Registrar's, 265

Courtesy of Indians, 231

Cricket, 130, 285

Crime, 217, 218

Crispin, St., church of, 65, 266

Crocodiles, 182

Cross, Southern, 182

Crows, 187

Customs of East and West, 234, 239, 284, 294

Dacoits, 314, 315

Dance, _nautch_, 76, 79;
  religious, 155, 156

_Dasara_, Hindu festival, 244

Daughter-in-law, 210, 211

Deer, 177

Defects of Indians, 2

Delhi, 177, 181, 196, 198;
  declaration at, 162

_Delhi Mission News_, 6

_Dhobie_, washerman, 43, 317;
  Christian, 318

_Dhota_, Hindu garment, 41, 44, 55, 79, 193, 198, 284

Dishonesty, Hindu, 27, 297

Dissenters, 289

Donkey, 179

Drawing, 18, 281

Dress, English, 40, 41, 42, 236, 291, 300, 301;
  Indian, 41, 44, 45, 46, 65, 236;
  policeman's, 46

East and West, customs of, 234, 239, 284, 294;
  travelling, 228, 234;
  on board ship, 231, 337, 340, 346

Education, 84;
  mistaken, 146, 283;
  effects of, 247, 286;
  rational, 283

Elephants, 180

Employers of labour, 24

English, dress, 40, 41, 42, 57, 343;
  workers, 95;
  letters in, 144;
  advertisements in, 145;
  literature for Indians, 146;
  the, in India, 288, 292

Entertainments, 74

European customs, 40;
  control, 89;
  compartment, 232;
  goods, 280

Evening-tide, 335

Eye-fly, 194

Face, Hindu, 115, 208

Fakir, 196

Famine, 85

Feasts, to beggars, 12; village, 138

Fiction, India in, 143

Fingers, eating with, 236

Fire-flies, 183

Flattery, 119

Flies, 194

Flowers, offerings of, 18

Food, 107

Frost, 276

Fuel, 329

Furniture, 78

Games, 130, 285

Garlands, 19, 81, 230

Gifts, 263, 268

Gods, Hindu, 3, 120;
  conception of, 119, 120;
  burial of, 118;
  robbery of, 118

_Golden Threshold, The_, 111

_Gosavies_, 198

Government officials, 241

Governors, 238

Greetings, 305

Grinding, 98, 105

_Gunpatti_, Hindu god, 118

_Guru_, religious teacher, 202

Gymnasium, village, 137

Heber, Bp., 288

High castes, 84, 208, 248, 306

Hindu college, visitors from, 21

Hinduism, 2, 5, 6, 117, 128;
  and Christianity, 4, 6, 115, 121, 128, 209, 244, 285, 337, 338;
  definitions of, 6-10

Hindus, nominal, 58, 59, 121;
  educated, 247

Hole, Mr. W., pictures by, 127

Home life, absence of, 56;
  of Brahmin doctor, 57

Honesty, 226, 242, 243;
  of the _dhobie_, 322

Horses, 181

Hospitality, 11;
  Hindu customs concerning, 12;
  of Indian Christians, 13, 43

Houses, 249, 250, 254;
  how furnished, 55;
  Indian in London, 345

_Howd_, tank, 317

Hyderabad, the Nizam of, 112

Hymns, 104

Idolatry, 2, 208, 337

Immorality, 69

_Inam_, grant, 74, 264

_Inamdar_, 74;
  his house, 78

Insects, 188

Inspector, police, 215

Institute, Indian at Oxford, 45

Irrigation, 330

_Itte-dhandu_, boys' game, 135

Jackals, 173

Jacob, Sir Swinton, 61

_Jain_, sect, 342

Jerome, the story of a Brahmin boy, 115

Jewellery, native, 62

Jeypore, museum at, 61

Kala, village of, 171

Kathiawar, 175

Khandala, 320

Kim's talk, 143

King, H.M. the, 153, 162

Kipling, Rudyard, 143, 175

Kite, bird, 187

Kites, 133

_Krait_, snake, 310

Labour, employers of, 24;
  dignity of, 129

Land, buying, 263

Landmark, neighbour's, 253

Language, 306

Law-courts, 119, 212

"Lawrence," the, school, 162

Lights, incandescent, 139, 272

Lion, 175

Litigation, 224

Locusts, 183

Low castes, 85, 278

Magisterial inquiry, 67

_Mahars_, low-caste, 70, 71, 214;
  boys, 72

Mantis, 195

Manure, 329; farmers and, 331

Map, 222

Marbles, 131

Marriage, 151;
  of widows, 206, 209

Meals, 55, 107, 207, 236;
  English and Indian, 107, 109, 238

Medicine-men, 315

Middleton, Bp., 291

Military display, 153, 154

Mills, grinding, 98, 105

Mineral waters, 139

Misconceptions about India, 1, 272, 273, 288

Mission work, 89;
  heads of, 94, 96

Mohammedans, 302;
  ascetics, 196;
  conception of heaven, 303;
  egg-merchant, 198, 200;
  and marriage, 302, 304;
  merchants, 303;
  saints, 75

Money, 225

Mongoose, 178

Monkeys, 177

Monsoon, 273-5

Moral maxims, 166;
  instruction, 286

Mosquitoes, 193;
  net for, 193

Mother, respect for, 13, 16;
  Swithun's, 15

Mother-in-law, 210, 211

Motor cars, 80, 181;
  bullocks and, 326

Music, 81, 98, 100, 101;
  Sir G. Clarke on, 103, 104

Musical instruments, 101

Naidu, Mrs Sarojini, 111;
  her portrait, 115

National characteristics, 141

Nature, illustrations from, 164;
  Indian view of, 17;
  the world of, 182

_Nautch_, dance, 76, 79

Neatness, lack of, 90, 91

Night, alarms, 309, 313;
  thieves, 251;
  travelling by, 99;
  watchmen, 312

Obedience, Indian, 25

Obstinacy, 159

Oman, Mr. J. C., 166

Pageants, 151

Painting, mural, 64

Palaces, 60

Palanquin bearers, 100

_Panchayat_, committee of five, 66;
  Christian, 68

_Pan supari_, leaf and betel nut, 75, 80;
  party, 76

Panther, 172

Paper, daily, 300;
  vernacular, 301

Parsees, 48, 65, 125, 186, 271

_Patel_, headman, 71, 213, 214, 316;
  his gift, 264

Patience, 92

Payments, how made, 26

Persian visitors, 126

Philosophy, Hindu, 111

Pictures, from England, 63;
  by Indian artists, 63

Pigs, wild, 178

Plague Refuge Camp, 281

Pleaders, 225

Plural, use of, 306

Poetry, 112

Police, 213;
  umbrellas for, 279

Political unrest, 131, 280

Poona City, 77, 164, 281;
  ancient houses in, 60, 61;
  modern houses in, 60, 61, 257

Post, cards, 34;
  offices, 33;
  postman, 38;
  post-runners, 32

Postal privileges, 36;
  service, 32;
  train-sorters, 35

Potatoes, 335

Potter, 271

Poverty, 54, 108, 225

Prayer, Hindu, 30, 121

Prayer Book valued, 144

Printing, 149

Processions, 151;
  funeral, 152;
  religious, 154

Projects, unfinished, 158, 256;
  imaginary, 257

Property, 221

Proverbial sayings, 270

Psalm cl., 156

Punishment, 161, 213

Purdah women, 81

Purity, 70

Pusa College, 328

Religion, 117;
  true, 240

Religious controversy, 164;
  phases, 124

Repartee, 129

Rest-house, 99

Rewards, government, 172

Rivers, 77, 183, 319

Robbery, by train-sorters, 35;
  in temples, 118

Roman Catholics, 87, 124, 290

Rudeness, to employers, 24, 25;
  to Indians, 228

Sacred books, Hindu, 3

Salvation Army, 290

Sanskrit, 344

Scenery, oblivious to, 17

Schoolboys, 219;
  Hindu, 283, 340

Scorpions, 191

Sects, 87, 88

Servants, 295, 297;
  punctuality, 52;
  Christian, 242, 244, 269;
  heathen, 243;
  of Europeans, 72, 237, 238, 241

_Shiggram_, carriage, 299

_Shinde_, pigtail, 284, 339

Shoes, 299

Shops, 300

_Sikhs_, 343

Singing, 81, 98, 99, 100, 103, 140

Slang, 147

Smell of India, 305

Snakes, 293, 309, 312

Socks, 299

Soldiers, 100

Son, eldest, 332

Sparrows, 186

Spiders, 192

Spirit, Holy, 97

Squirrel, 176

State, native, 119

Station-masters, Indian, 49

Sugar cane, 331;
  parties, 332;
  juice, 333

Sun, 277;
  caution about, 290

Survey Department, 222

Swallows, 186

Swearing, 125, 147

Swithun's mother, 15

Symons, Mr Arthur, 111

Telegrams, 37;
  abuse of, 37

Temples, Hindu, 122;
  behaviour in, 117

Thackeray, Mr., 195

Thieving, 218, 250

Tigers, 170;
  den, 173;
  tigress, 173

Tilak, Mr., 120, 281

Tips, 269

Titles, 74

Tomb, Mohammedan, 79, 196

Tom Tiddler's ground, 136

Toothbrush, 235

Tops, 132

Torture, 213, 217, 218

Trades, 270;
  ancestral, 323

"Traveller's tale," 182

_Tulsi_ plant, 58, 208

Tunes, 103;
  Indian, for hymns, 104

Turban, 44, 284, 343

Umbrellas, 278

Unfinished projects, 158, 256, 258, 260

Unpunctuality, 48;
  instance of, 49;
  on the railway, 48, 49;
  at meals, 52, 53;
  incurable, 50, 51;
  amongst Christians, 51, 92, 93, 94;
  illustration from parables, 52

Unrest, political, 278, 280

Villages, 66

Vultures, 186

Washerman, 317

Wasps, 190

Watchmen, night, 72

Wells, 258, 260

Widows, Hindu, 22, 204;
  at Yerandawana, 206;
  garments of, 205;
  Home for, 205, 207, 299;
  marriage of, 206, 209

Windows, 56

Wolf-boys, 174

Wolves, 174

Women, their dress, 44, 65;
  their meals, 55;
  _purdah_, 81;
  grinding, 98, 105, 106

Work, low ideal of, 295

Wrestling, 137;
  prizes for, 138;
 competitions, 140

Wrongdoing, 212, 217, 218

Xavier, St Francis, 97

Yerandawana, 15, 18, 19, 33, 74, 126, 154, 196, 202, 206, 263

Yonge, Miss, 21

       *       *       *       *       *





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