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likely, bears a portion of the carving known to have been on the original column. The probability is increased by the circumstance that it is encased in copper, and is carefully watched over by the Brahman priests. It would be interesting to examine it, and to determine the age of its carvings, or of any inscription which
it. Previously to this outbreak, the Hindus must have cherished, for a prolonged period, very bitter feelings against the Mohammedans, on account of the insult which, ever since the time of Aurungzeb, had been heaped upon their religion in this locality. The pillar was once situated in the enclosure of a Hindu temple; but that ruthless monarch destroyed the temple, and, in its place, erected a mosque, leaving the curiously carved pillar either as an ornament to the grounds, or under a wholesome dread of provoking to too great a pitch the indignation of his Hindu subjects. The Hindus, 'however, continued to pay divine homage to the pillar, which, although repugnant to the feelings of the Mohammedans, was, nevertheless, endured by them, especially as they were permitted to receive a portion of the offerings. The natives say, that, after the serious collision between these two great sections of the people in the city, the pillar was removed to the banks of the Ganges, and thrown into the river.
The history of this famous disturbance is singular. It occurred during the Mohurram festival, a season when the fanaticism which is inherent in the disposition of a Mohammedan reaches its boiling point. It so happened, that, in that year, the popular Hindu festival
of the Holí took place at the same time. The processions of both classes of religionists were traversing the streets together; and it was, consequently, almost impossible for the violent passions of either section not to display themselves, when the processions passed one another. And so it turned out; for, on occasion of two large processions coming near each other, the one refused to give place to the other, imagining that the honour of the religion which it advocated would be sacrificed by so doing. As neither party would yield, the altercation proceeded to blows, each struggling to force a passage through the ranks of the other. The fight ended in the defeat of the Mohammedans, who, stung with resentment at the insult which had been cast upon their faith, determined to take a revenge so terrible and deep, that it should have the effect of exasperating to frenzy the entire Hindu population of the sacred city. They retired to the court-yard of Aurungzeb's mosque, in which stood the highly venerated Lát of Siva, and, combining together, threw it to the ground.
“The Hindus had a tradition,” writes the Rev. William Buyers, in his 'Recollections of Northern India, “that the pillar was gradually sinking; it having, according to report, been, once, twice its present height; and it was also prophesied, that, when its top should become level with the ground, all nations should be of one caste. The throwing down, therefore, of this pillar was regarded as most ominous and dangerous to Hinduism. The whole Hindu population, headed by the Brahmans and devotees, rose in fury on the Mus
salmans, and attacked them with every sort of weapon within their reach. One mosque was pulled down; and they determined to destroy every other in the city: but the civil authorities, with all the military force that could be collected, interposed, and, by putting guards to defend the mosques, succeeded in saving them.
"It was difficult, indeed, to trust to the native soldiers : but they did their duty well; for, though many of them were Brahmans, they kept guard manfully on the mosques, in fidelity to their military oath; though, doubtless, it would have been more agreeable to their own feelings to have joined in pulling them down. Yet they kept off the Brahmans, as well as others, at the point of the bayonet.
Two Brahman soldiers, keeping guard where the pillar was lying prostrate, were overheard thus conversing on the subject: "Ah,' said one, we have seen what we never thought to see—Siva's Lat has its head level with the ground. We shall all be of one caste shortly. What will be our religion then ?' 'I suppose the Christian, answered the other; “for, after all that has passed, I am sure we shall never become Mussulmans.'"
Although the storm was allayed through the interference of the authorities, yet the religious feelings of the Hindus, which had been so violently roused, were by no means pacified. “ In the early part of the quarrel,” says Mr. Buyers, “the Mussalmans, in order to be revenged on the Hindus for the defeat they had sustained, had taken a cow, and killed it on one of the holiest gháts, and mingled its blood with the sacred
water of the Gangá. This act of double sacrilege was looked on, by the Brahmans, as having destroyed the sacredness of the holy place, if not of the whole city, so that salvation in future might not be attainable by pilgrimage to Benares. They were, therefore, all in the greatest affliction; and all the Brahmans in the city, many thousands in number, went down, in deep sorrow, to the river side, naked and fasting, and with ashes on their heads, and sat down on the principal gháts, with folded hands, and heads hanging down, to all appearance inconsolable, and refusing to enter a house or to taste food. Two or three days' abstinance, however, tired them; and a hint was given to the magistrates and other public men, that a visit of condolence and some expression of sympathy would comfort them, and give them some excuse for returning to their usual course of life. Accordingly, the British functionaries went to the principal ghát, and expressed their sorrow for the distress in which they saw them, but reasoned with them on the absurdity of punishing themselves for an act in which they had no share, and which they had done all they could to prevent or avenge. This prevailed; and, after much bitter weeping, it was resolved that "Gangá was Gangá still, and that a succession of costly offerings from the laity of Benares,—the usual Brahmanical remedy for all evils,—might wipe out the stain which their religion had received, and that the advice of the judges was the best and most reasonable. Mr. Bird (the chief English official in Benares), who was one of the ambassadors on this occasion, said that the scene was very
impressive, and even awful. The gaunt, squalid figures of the devotees, their visible and, apparently, unaffected anguish and dismay, the screams and outeries of the women who surrounded them, and the great numbers thus assembled, altogether constituted a spectacle of woe such as few cities but Benares could supply.'"
Formerly, a large annual melá or fair used to be held on this venerated spot; but, of late years, the place has been well-nigh abandoned, so that even the melá fails to attract more than a few dozens of people.
By the side of the Kapilmochan Tank a narrow road branches off from the high road, at right angles to it, and runs on to the river Barna, which it crosses, and thence winds, through the country, to the city of Ghazeepore. Judging from the depth to which it occasionally sinks, as compared with the fields on either side, it must be of considerable antiquity. The road is traversed by large numbers of people, and may
be regarded as one of the chief outlets of the city in this direction. In the dry season a dam is thrown up across the Barna, over which passengers are permitted to pass, on the payment of a small toll ; in the rains the river becomes swollen and deep, and, consequently, the traffic of the road is conveyed over by means of a ferry. In olden times a spacious bridge, erected by the Mohammedan rulers of the country, spanned the river at this place, but fell into decay, and, eventually, into utter ruin. Its foundations are still visible in the bed of the stream ; but they are very limited in extent. A few years ago most of the stones of the ruined bridge were taken away, and