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husbandman, if he is a Singh, differs little in character and appearance from the sol
who was upwards of a hundred years of age, had been a soldier, and retained all the look and manner of his former occupation. He came to me, and expressed his anxiety to see Lord Lake. I shewed him the general, who was sitting alone, in his tent, writing. He smiled, and said he knew better : the hero who had overthrown Scindiah and Holkar, and had conquered Hindūstan, must be surrounded with attendants, and have plenty of persons to write for him. I assured him that it was Lord Lake, and on his lordship coming to breakfast, I introduced the old Singh, who seeing a number of officers collect round him, was at last satisfied of the truth of what I said; and, pleased with the great kindness and condescension with which he was treated by one whom he justly thought so great a man, sat down on the carpet, became quite talkative, and related all he had seen, from the invasion of Nadir Shah to that moment. Lord Lake, pleased with the bold manliness of his address, and the independence of his sentiments, told him he would grant him any favour he wished. I am glad of it, said the old man, then march away with your army from my village, which will otherwise be ruined. Lord Lake, struck with the noble spirit of the request, assured him he would march next morning, and that, in the mean time, he should
dier, except that his occupations and habits tend to render him milder in his manners. He also wears arms, and is prompt to use them, whenever his individual interest, or that of the community in which he lives, requires him to do so. The general occupations of the Khalasa Sikhs* have been already mentioned. Their character differs widely from that of the Singhs. Full of intrigue, pliant, versatile, and insinuating, they have all the art of the lower classes of Hindús, who are usually employed in transacting business; and from whom, in
have guards, who would protect his village from injury. Satisfied with this assurance, the old Singh was retiring, apparently full of admiration and gratitude at Lord Lake's goodness, and of wonder at the scene he had witnessed, when, meeting two officers, at the door of the tent, he put a hand upon the breast of each, exclaiming at the same time, brothers ! where were you born, and where are you at this moment? and without waiting for an answer, proceeded to his village.”-Sketch of the Sikhs, by General Malcolm.
* Those brought up to accounts, matters of revenue, trade, &c.
deed, as they have no distinction of dress, it is very difficult to distinguish them.* But «
upon the whole, the Sikhs in general are a plain, manly, hospitable, and industrious people.
If a Sikh declares himself your friend, he will not disappoint your confidence; if on the other hand he bears enmity to any one, he declares it without reserve.”+
* General Malcolm + Tour to Lahore.
In passing through Sirhind, or that large tract of country belonging to the Sikhs, between the Jumnah and Setlege, the author says :-“ The inhabitants throughout this country, bear a high character for hospitality and kindness to strangers. Their benevolence is not narrowed by bigotry or prejudice, and disclaims the distinctions of religion or complexion. They are particularly attentive to travellers of all casts or countries. The chief of every town makes a point of subsisting all poor and needy travellers, from his own funds, a part of which is set aside for that purpose, and when that falls short, from an encreased number of indigent claimants, their wants are supplied by a subscription made from the principal inhabitants of the place. It is very pleasing to travel through the towns and villages of this country. The inhabitants receive
It is observed that the Hindus who become converts to the Sikh religion, con-. tinue to adhere to the usages and customs of the tribe or cast to which they belonged, as far as they may do so without infringing the tenets of Nanac, or the institutions of Guru Govind : hence they scarcely ever marry out of the descendants of their particular casts. The Brahmins and Cshatriyas who become Siklis, continue strictly to observe this; being the highest orders of Hindūs, they seem more tenacious than any other of maintaining their race unmixed with other blood. The Mohammedans who become Sikhs, also intermarry with each other, but they are not allowed to observe any of the practices peculiar to the professors of Islāmism.
A Singh, though infinitely less scrupulous than the Ilindu, before he will eat with
any one of another religion, draws his sword, and passing it over the victuals,
the stranger with an air of welcome that prepossesses him in their favour."
repeats a few words of prayer, after which he will sit down and sociably partake of the meal. *
The Sikhs have but one wife; in the event of her death the widower may marry again; but if the husband die, the widow cannot enter a second time into the nuptial state. They burn their dead, and the funeral pile, as with the Hindūs, is lighted by the nearest relation of the deceased. It sometimes, though very rarely, happens, that the widow burns herself with the body of her husband,—a practice from which it is said that Nanac, if he did not positively forbid it, at least recommended them to abstain.t He condemns excessive grief
* This interesting fact was communicated to the author by Mr. John Stuart, who, amongst his other numerous and extensive travels, visited the Panjab.
+ The author of the tour to Lahore, alleges, however, that at the city of Jummoo, “it is considered as an indispensable sacrifice to the manes of the deceased husband; and, if the widow does not voluntarily attend the corpse of her husband, and consign herself with it to the flames, the Rajeepoots consider it their duty, in