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court, such as the Panchayet of brethren or fellow-craftsmen, than for a King's Court of justice. Not such, however, is the opinion of the Népálese, who, while they are forcing confessions from young men and young women, by dint of scolding and whipping, in order to visit them afterwards with ridiculous penances or savage punishments, instead of discharging such functions with a sigh or a smile, glorify themselves in that they are thus maintaining the holy will of BRAHMA, enforcing from the judgment-seat those sacred institutes, which elsewhere the magistrate (shame upon him!) neglects through fear, or despises as an infidel.

When the banner of Hindúism dropped from the hands of the Mahrattas in 1817, they solemnly conjured the Népálese to take it up, and wave it proudly, till it could be again unfurled in the plains by the expulsion of the vile Feringis, and the subjection of the insolent followers of Islám. But surely the British Government, so justly famous for its liberality, cannot be fairly subjected to insinuations such as this? So it may seem; but let any one turn over the pages of MENU, observe the conspicuous station assigned to the public magistrate as a censor morum under the immensely extensive and complicate system of morals there laid down, and remember, that whilst it is the Hindú magistrate's first duty to enforce them, to the British magistrate they are and have been a dead letter: let him look to the variety of dreadful inflictions assigned to violations of the law of caste, and remember, that whilst their literal fulfilment is the Hindú magistrate's most sacred obligation, British magistrates shrink with horror and disgust at the very thought of them; and he will be better prepared to appreciate and make allowance for the sentiments of Hindú sovereigns and Hindú magistrates. The Hindú sovereigns dare not, and we will not, obey the sacred mandate. But in Népál, it is the pride and glory of the magistrate to obey it, literally, blindly, unbiassed by foreign example, unawed by foreign power.

An eminent old bichári or judge of the chief court of Káthmándú, to whom I am indebted for an excellent sketch of the judicial system of Népál, after answering all my questions on the subject, concluded with some voluntary observations of his own from which I extract the following passage:

"Below, let man and woman commit what sin they will, there is no punishment provided, no expiatory right enjoined.* Hence Hindúism is destroyed; the customs are Mohammedan; the distinctions of caste are obliterated. Here, on the contrary, all those distinctions are religiously preserved by the public courts of justice, which punish according to caste, and never destroy the life of a Brahman. If a female of the sacred order go astray, and her paramour be not a Brahman, he is capitally punished; but if he be a Brahman he is degraded from his rank, and banished. If a female of the soldier tribes be seduced, the husband, with his own hand, kills the seducer, and cuts off the nose of the female, and expels her from his house. Then the Brahman or soldier-husband must perform the purificatory rites enjoined, after which he is restored to his caste. Below, the Shastras are things to talk of: here, they are acted up to."

I have, by the above remarks, endeavoured to convey an idea of the sort of feeling relative to them which prevails in Népál. It will serve, I hope, as a sort of apology for the Népálese; but will, I fear, also serve to demonstrate the small probability there exists of our inducing the Darbár to waive in our favour so cherished a point of religion, and, I may add, of policy; for they are well aware of the effect of this rigour, intending to facilitate the restricted intercourse between the Népálese and our followers, a restriction which they seek to maintain with Chinese pertinacity. Besides, the Shastras are holy things, and frail as holy; and no Hindú of tolerable shrewdness will submit a single text of them, if he can avoid it, to the calm, free glance of European intellect.

Having already given the most abundant materials + for judging of the general tenor of the judicial proceedings and of the laws of Népál, it will not be necessary (or possible), in this paper, to do more than briefly apply them, as regards that intercourse between a Hindú, and a non-Hindú, at present under discussion.

The customary law or license which permits the injured

It is the exclusive duty of one of the highest functionaries of this Government (the Dharmadhikari) to prescribe the fitting penance and purificatory rites for each violation of the ceremonial law of purity.

+ In allusion to other papers by Mr Hodgson.—ED. VOL. II.

husband in Népál to be his own avenger, is confined to the
Parbattias, the principal divisions of whom are the Brahmans,
the Khas, the Magars, and the Gúrungs. The Néwárs, Múrmis,*
Kachúr-Bhotias, Kirántis,† and other inhabitants of Népál, pos-
sess no such privilege. They must seek redress from the courts.
of justice, which, guiding themselves by the custom of these
tribes prior to the conquest, award to the injured husband a
small pecuniary compensation, which the injurer is compelled

to pay.

Nothing further, therefore, need at present be said of them. In regard to the Parbattias, every injured husband has the option, if he please, of appealing to the courts, instead of using his own sword; but any one save a learned Brahman or a helpless boy, who should do so, would be covered with eternal disgrace. A Brahman who follows his holy calling cannot, consistently with usage, play the avenger; but a Brahman carrying arms must act like his brethren in arms. A boy, whose wife has been seduced, may employ the arm of his grown-up brother or cousin to avenge him. But if he have none such, he, as well as the learned Brahman, may appeal to the prince, who, through his courts of justice, comes forward to avenge the wrong (such is the sentiment here), and to wipe out the stain with blood; death, whether by law or extra-judicially, being the doom of all adulterers with the wives of Parbattias. Brahmans, indeed, by a law superior to all laws, may not be done to death by sentence of a court of justice. But no one will care to question the Parbattia, who, with his own hand, destroys an adulterer, Brahman though that adulterer be. If the law be required to judge a Brahman for this crime, the sentence is, to be degraded from his caste, and banished for ever, with every mark of infamy. If a Parbattia marry into a tribe such as the Newár, which claims no privilege of licensed revenge, he may not, in regard to such wife, exercise the privilege.

But must not a Parbattia, before he proceed to avenge himself, prove the fact and the identity of the offender, in a court of justice? No! To appeal to a court would afford a warning to the delinquents to escape, and so foil him. He may pursue

• Kachár = cis-Nivean.

+ See above, Vol. I., pp. 176 ff. 397 ff.

his revenge without a thought of the magistrate; he may watch his opportunity for years, till he can safely execute his design; and when he has, at last, found it, he may use it to the adulterer's destruction. But he may not spare the adulteress: he must cut off her nose, and drive her with ignominy from his house; her caste and station for ever gone. If the wife have notoriously sinned with many, the husband may not destroy any but the first seducer, and though the husband need prove nothing beforehand, he must be prepared with legal proof afterwards, in case the wife should deny the fact, and summon him before the courts (no other person can) for murder and mutilation.

And what is deemed legal proof in this case? The wife's confession made in the presence of two witnesses. But who is to warrant us that the confession is free ? This, it must be confessed, is an awkward question; since, by the law of Népál, the husband's power over his wife is extreme. He may beat her; lock her up; starve her ad libitum, so long as he endanger not her life or limbs; and that he will do all this and more, when his whole soul is bent upon procuring the necessary acknowledgment of her frailty, is too probable. But still, her honour, her station, and her beauty are dear to a woman; and every Parbattia wife knows, that the terrible avowal once made, she becomes in an instant a noseless and infamous outcast. There is little real danger, therefore, that a true woman should be false to herself, by confessing, where there was no sin, for fear of her husband; and no danger at all, I apprehend, that, as has been imagined, she could be won to become the tool of some petty malice of her husband, or of the covert political spleen of the Darbár. There are, indeed, some married Brahmans among the soldiery of Népál; and the wife of a Brahman may not be mutilated. But in proportion as the station of a Brahmaní is higher than that of all others, so must its prerogatives be dearer to her; and all these she must lose if she confess. She must be driven from her home by her husband, and be degraded and banished the kingdom by the State. But there is certainly a contingent hazard to our followers, arising out of the circumstance of the adulteress, if she have sinned with many, being required to name her first lover; for since she must, in every court, suffer

the full penalties of her crime, it may well be supposed that, under various circumstances, she might be led to name, as her first paramour, one of our sipáhis, instead of a country fellow. This, however, seems to me a vague and barely possible contingency.


The proofs and procedure before the Népál tribunals will fall more naturally under consideration, when we proceed to the next case. Suffice it here to say, that if, when the husband would cut off his wife's nose, or afterwards, the wife should hurry to a court of justice, and deny her guilt, the husband must be brought up to answer. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, the husband's answer consists in simply producing the two witnesses to his wife's confession of guilt. She, of course, affirms that the confession was extorted by unwarrantable cruelty towards her; and if she can support such a plea (it is hard to do so, for the husband's legal power covers a multitude of sins), in a manner satisfactory to the court, and if the husband have no counter-evidence to this plea, nor any circumstantial or general evidence of the guilt which he affirms, he may be condemned to death. But, in the vast majority of cases, his two witnesses to the confession, with such circumstantial evidence as the case, if a true bill, can hardly want, will suffice for his justification.


He who may give water to a pure Hindú to drink, is within the pale of Hindúism; he whose water may not be drunk by a pure Hindú, is an outcast, an unutterably vile creature, whose intimate contact with one within the pale is foul contamination, communicable to the pure by the slightest and most necessary intercourse held with them, and, through them, to all others. If trivial and involuntary, it may be expiated by the individual, if he alone be affected; or by all with whom he and they communicated before the discovery of the taint, if any such persons there be. The expiation is, by a world of purificatory rites, as tedious as expensive; and the tainted must segregate themselves from society till these rites are completed. But there are many sorts of contact between a Hindú and a non-Hindú, or outcast,

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