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sion to the old story of the 'burrowing ants' of Herodotus, and the ‘Hamakars' or gold-makers of Menu. The 'diggings' in Bengal are not less terrible than in California. Nothing less than the Rajah's life appeased the Yacsha guarding the treasures. The danger attending the excavation has deterred from all further operations of the kind.
Beersingha's line has become extinct for several generations. The present family is said to be descended from an emigrant merchant of Lahore. Though without any relationship with the preceding line, the present family, it is told, long smarted under Bharatchunder's keen and brilliant satire. It was strictly forbidden for many years to be enacted on a festival in any part of their Rajdom.
The Maharajah is all in all in Burdwan. He is the oldest and wealthiest Zemindar in Bengal, and keeps a state resembling that of a petty sovereign. His mansion is a palatial building, and superbly adorned with mirrors and chandeliers. His summer-house is decorated with a regal splendour. He possesses a vast store of gold and silver plate, a rich wardrobe of shawls, brocades, and jewellery. These are displayed to lend a princely magnificence to his birth-day balls and banquets. His Highness has a large stable of horses and elephants, an excellent dairy, and aviary. The favourite amusements of the present Rajah are architecture and gardening. He is taxed for carrying them to an excess. The appointed architects of his household are employed throughout the year in building and rebuilding; the
Burdwan,—the. Tanks,-the Dilkhoosa-baug. 159
upholsterers in furnishing and re-furnishing; and the songsters in giving new versions and cadences to their songs. The Khetrya of Menu is an extinct animal like the Mammoth. On this side of Bengal, however, the species is boasted to be perpetuated by the proprietor to the rich estates of Burdwan.
Half the town appears to be covered by tanks. The largest of them, Kristoshair, is almost an artificial lakelet. Two women once swam across this tankneither for love nor lucre-but betting only a seer of confectionery. They might have thrown the gauntlet to old Leander. The high embankments of the tank look like the ramparts of a fortress, the more so for being mounted with a pair of guns, though to all appearance they are as obsolete as the old English alphabet.
In the evening to the Dilkhoosa-baug—a pleasant lounge. The principal attraction in it is the menagerie. The pair of lions there staggers the orthodox Hindoo in his belief of the unity of the king of the forest. In Brahminical zoology, the species lion has no mate and multiplication. He is a single and solitary animal in the creation. But instead of one, the number found here is dual-a male and a female. From dual the beasts have made themselves into plural, by multiplying young ones some half a dozen in number. The lion also is an invisible creature according to the Poorans. But the old fellow
so great an aristocrat, as to make himself something more than merely visible to the human eye, by spouting urine at the crowds of spectators gathered to disturb his imperial humour. The brutes paired together, are observed to dally for twentyfour hours-quite in the fashion of Oriental kingsmaking their day live long in confinement. No goddess rides upon them to bless the vision of a Sacto. Nothing like a practical contradiction to the fallacies of priestcraft. The outlandish lion betrays the foreign origin of Doorga, who is probably a modified type of the Egyptian Ken—borrowed in the days of ancient Indo-Egyptian intercourse, and adopted by Pooranic idolatry to counteract the prevalence of Buddhism.
More than half the income of the Maharajah appears be expended upon Devalayas, or institutions of idolatry, made the medium of charity to the poor. In this way is squandered nearly one-tenth of the annual income of the Hindoos in Bengal. But the nation is imbibing more enlarged sentiments of benevolence; and Hindoo philanthropy and public spirit, hitherto confined to relieving only the physical wants of individuals, have begun to endow schools and colleges, and 'transmute money into mind.' There is to come a time, when idols shall disappear from the land, and the lapse of idol trusts shall form a puzzle to jurists and legislators.
October 20th.--LEFT Burdwan for Raneegunge. The train goes on careering upon the terra-firma as merrily as does a ship upon the sea. In it, a Hindoo is apt to feel the prophecies of the sage verified in the Railriding upon which has arrived the Kulkee Avatar of his Shasters, for the regeneration of the world.
Little or no change as yet in the scenery about us. The same vegetation, the same paddy-fields, the same sugar-cane plantations, the same topes of bamboos and mangoes, and the same dark bushy villages fringing the horizon, meet the eye in all directions. The botany of Burdwan hardly exhibits any difference from the botany of Hooghly or Calcutta. But the atmosphere at once tells as bracing, and cool, and free from damp. The soil, too, shows a partial change—the soft alluvium has begun to cease, and in its place occurs the gravelly kunkur. The country is no more a dead flat, it has begun to rise, and the surface is broken in those slight undulations that indicate the first and farthest commencement of the far-off hills.
The track of our progress then lay skirting the edge of the district of Beerbhoom-the mullo bhoomee of the
ancient Hindoos. Mankur is yet an insignificant town, and Paneeghur still more poor-looking. Lying thus far in the interior, these places were once out of humanity's reach. This was, when a journey to these far away, and almostthermetically-sealed, regions, exposed the traveller to disastrous chances' and 'moving accidents'—to the perils of the Charybdis of wild beasts, or to the Scylla of thugs and marauders. Way-faring was then inevitable from way-laying. Highwaymen in squads infested the roads, and had their appointed haunts to lie in wait, spring upon a stray and benighted pedestrian, and fling his warm corpse into a neighbouring tank or roadside jungle. The very men of the police, in those days, laid aside their duties after dark, and acted as banditti. But, under the auspices of the Rail, towns and cities are springing up amidst the desert and upon the rock,--and security of life and property is pervading the length and breadth of the land. Less danger now befalls a man on the road than what threatened him within his own doors in the early part of the century. Hercules of old turned only the course of a river. The Rail turns the courses of men, merchandise, and mind, all into new channels. • Of all inventions,' says Macaulay, 'the alphabet and the printing press alone excepted, those inventions which abridge distance have done most for the civilization of our species. Every improvement of the means of locomotion benefits mankind morally and intellectually, as well as materially, and not only facilitates the interchange of the various productions of nature and art,