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The following is Captain Graham's account of their religion. The Hill-people offer up frequent prayers to one Supreme Being, whom they call “ Budo Gosaee,” which in their language means “ Supreme God.” Prayer
to God is strictly enjoined morning and evening. They also offer up propitiatory sacrifices of buffaloes, goats, fowls, and eggs to several inferior, and some evil deities.
“Malnad" is the tutelary genius of each village;" Dewannee” the household god. “Pow” is sacrificed to before undertaking a journey. They appear to believe in a future state of rewards and punishments chiefly carried on by means of transmigration, the souls of the good being sent back to earth in the bodies of great men, and those of the wicked in brutes and even trees.
The great God made every thing. Seven brothers were sent to possess the earth; they give themselves the credit of being descended from the eldest, and say that the sixth was the father of the Europeans. Each brother was presented, on setting out, with a portion of the particular kind of food which he and his descendants were to eat. But the eldest had a portion of every kind of food, and in a dirty dish. This legend they allege as their reason for observing no restriction of meats, and for eating with or after any body. They say they are strictly forbidden by God to beat, abuse, or injure their neighbours, and that a lie is the greatest of all crimes. Hogs' blood appears to answer with them all the purposes which holy water does with some other nations. If a person is killed by a tiger, it is the duty of his relations to avenge his death by killing one of those animals in return, on which occasion they resort to many strange ceremonies. They are great believers in witchcraft; every ache which the old commandant feels in his bones, and every disappointment or calamity which befalls him or any of his friends, he imputes to this cause, and menaces or bribes some old woman or other. They have also many interpreters of dreams among them, whom they call “ Damauns," and believe to be possessed by a familiar spirit. When any of these die, they expose his body, without burial, in the jungle. They also suppose certain diseases to be inflicted by evil spirits, to whom they expose the bodies of such as die of them, those who die of small-pox are cast out into the woods, those who die of dropsy into the water.
They have no idols or images of any kind; a black stone found in the hills, is by some ceremonies consecrated and used as an altar. They have several festivals which are held in high reverence. The Chitturia is the greatest, but seldom celebrated on account of its expense. It lasts five days, during which buffaloes, hogs, fruits, fowls, grains, and spirits are offered up to the gods, and afterwards feasted on. This is the only festival in which
females are permitted to join. During its continuance they salute nobody, all honour being then appropriated to the gods. Polygamy is not forbidden, but seldom practised. The bridegroom gives a feast on occasion of the marriage; the bride's father addresses a speech to him, exhorting him to use his daughter well; the bridegroom then marks her forehead with red paint, links his little finger in hers, and leads her to his house. The usual mode of making oath is to plant two arrows in the ground thus,
the person swearing taking the blade of one and the feather of the other between his finger and thumb. On solemn occasions, however, salt is put on the blade of a sabre, and after the words of the oath are repeated, the blade being placed on the under lip of the person sworn, the salt is washed into his mouth by him who administers it.
Thus far l have learnt from Captain Graham ; Mr. Corrie tells me that further particulars of this interesting race are given in the Calcutta Annual Register for 1821; what follows I learnt from different persons in the course of the day.
The Hill country is very beautiful, and naturally fertile, but in many parts of it there is a great scarcity of water, a want which the people urge as an excuse for their neglect of bathing. As so much rain falls, this might and would by a civilized people be remedied, but the Puharrees neither make tanks, nor have any instrument proper for digging wells. The thick jungle makes the hills unwholesome to Europeans during the rains, but at other times the climate is extremely agreeable, and in winter more than agreeably cold. Mr. Chalmers one night had a jug of water completely frozen over to a considerable thickness in his tent, and close to his bed. The Puharrees are a healthy race, but the small-pox used to make dreadful ravages among them. Vaccination has now been generally introduced; they were very thankful for it, bringing their children from thirty to fifty miles off to Bog. lipoor to obtain it. Wild animals of all kinds are extremely
abundant, from the jackall to the tiger, and from the deer to the elephant and rhinoceros. Their way of destroying the large animals is, generally, by poisoned arrows. The poison is a gum which they purchase from the Garrows, a people who inhabit the mountains to the north of Silhet, at Peer-pointee fair.
No attempt has yet been made to introduce them to the knowledge of Christianity. The school at Boglipoor has scarcely been in activity for more than eighteen months, and being supported by Government, it cannot, in conformity with the policy which they pursue, be made a means of conversion. Mr. Corrie is strongly disposed to recommend the establishment of a Missionary at Boglipoor; but I am myself inclined to prefer sending him immediately, (or as soon as he may have gained some knowledge of the Puharree language,) into one of the mountain villages. I also would wish to employ some person to accompany the Missionary or Schoolmaster, who may instruct the natives in weaving or pottery; and to choose, in either of these capacities, some one who had himself a little knowledge of gardening. Civilization and instruction will thus go hand in hand,-or rather, the one will lead the way to the other, and they will think the better of a religion whose professors are seriously active in promoting their temporal interests. The Puharrees seem to have no prejudices hostile to Christianity, any other than those which men will always have against a system of religion which requires a greater degree of holiness than they find it convenient to practise. The discreet exertions of Missionaries among them will give no offence either to Hindoos or Mussulmans, and a beginning may thus be made to theintroduction both of Christianity and civilization, through all the kindred tribes of Gundwana and the Western Bheels, who are, at this moment, in the same habits of rapine and savage anarchy which the Puharrees were in before the time of Cleveland.
Boglipoor is a pretty situation, and said to be one of the helathiest stations in India. It is, however, much infested by snakes, particularly the cobra di capello. It stands nearly half way between the Rajmahâl and Curruckpoor hills, and commands a distant view of Mount Mandar, an insulated conical mountain, apparently about as large as the Wrekin, renowned as a place of Hindoo pilgrimage, and as having been employed by the gods to churn the ocean with, in order to procure the “amreeta," or drink of immortality. It is, Colonel Franklin assures me, remarkable as being a mass of granite, whereas all these nearer hills are of limestone. He also told me that he had been to the end of the cave of Puttergotta, which has been used as a temple to Siva. It is pretty, and very accessible, but by no means deep. The hills to the south of Boglipoor, beyond Mandar, towards Deogur, are very wild, and now almost entirely uninhabited, but
are full of vestiges, not of Brahminical but Buddhist worship. Colonel Franklin has himself a curious collection of idols of this latter kind, dug up in this part of India, and is employed in a dissertation on the subject. I forgot to mention that all these hills are full of wild poultry, exactly in crow, figure, and plumage, resembling bantams. Their flavour is superior to the domestic fowl, and resembles that of the partridge. They might, no doubt, be easily domesticated. The Rajmahal hills stand in a detached cluster, containing, perhaps, as much ground as Merionethshire and Carnarvonshire. They are bounded on all sides by a plain, or nearly plain country; after which, on the east, are the Curruckpoor hills, and on the south the very impracticable districts of Beiboom, Dranghur, &c.
August 11.-1 had a drive with Mr. Corrie this morning, and got a pretty good distant view of Mandar and the Curruckpoor hills. Colonel Franklin supposes the ancient Palibothra—a celebrated city and metropolis of Gangetic India, in the time of the ancient Greeks, to have stood in this neighbourhood, and has published several learned essays to prove it, which I remember looking at many years ago, when I had little curiosity about the question. He is a very agreeable and communicative old man, and his collection curious and interesting. His opinions are opposed to the alleged antiquity of the brahminical worship, and he coincides in general with the late Mr. Bentley.
BOGLIPOOR TO MONGHYR.
WIDTH OF THE GANGESCHARITY OF DANDEESSEETA COOM-MON
GHYR-FORT-ZEMINDARS-PENSIONERS-BAPTIST MISSION-DESERTION OF DANDEES-CHEAPNESS OF FIRE-ARMS.
At noon I again set off, with Mr. Corrie's budgerow in company. This part of the Ganges has undergone great alterations since Rennell's map was made. Boglipoor is laid down by him as standing on a separate nullah; but now nothing remains of the separation except a few marshy islands, immediately opposite the town. I find that instead of exaggerating, as I feared to do, I have, in my previous descriptions, underrated the width of this noble river. Last year, at the height of the inundation, a little below Boglipoor, it was nine measured miles across; and this year, though far less ground is covered, it is supposed to be full seven; and here we are perhaps six hundred miles, reckoning the windings of the river, from the sea !
During this night I was completely wakened by the uproar which the jackalls made. On asking if any reason could be given for such an unusual concourse, I was told that there was a field of Indian corn adjoining, of which they are very fond, and that the clamour which I heard was partly from the animals themselves, partly from the watchmen, who were endeavouring to scare them away. The noise was quite equal to that of an immense pack of hounds, with half the rabble of a county at their heels, except that the cry was wilder and more dismal. If his Excellency Count Falkenstein, “ the wild huntsman,” still keeps up his aerial chase in Germany, it is exactly such a cry as I should expect from his hounds.
August 12.-We passed this morning another encampment of gipsies, only differing from the former in having no boats. The name by which they go in this country is “ Kunja.” The men, many of them, wore large pink turbans; three of the women, and the children, followed us begging. These did not conceal their faces, and indeed had no clothes at all, except a coarse kind of veil thrown back from the shoulders, and a wretched ragged cloth wrapped round their waists like a petticoat. They are decidedly a taller, handsomer race than the Bengalee. One of the women was very pretty, and the forms of all three were such as a sculptor