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[x] for certain parts of Sumatra, or for some of the islands that lie extended along the western side of it, are also branded with the fame character : and we find by Mr. Marsden, that it is generally belived, that man-eaters exist in Sumatra, even at this day. I refer the Bone Fortuna island to the Great Andaman ; and the 10 Maniola, to the northern Nicobars; being just the number of them : the 5 Baraja, and 3 Sinde islands, together with the 3 Saba-dibe ; are the islands I allude to, as being either parts of Sumatra, or illands near it.
SKETCHES of the History of HinDOOSTAN, since the Commencement
of the MAHOMEDAN CONQUESTS.
THERĘ iş, no known history of Hindoostan (that rests on the foundation of Hindoo materials or records) extant, before the period of the Mahomedan conquests: for either the Hindoos kept no regular histories; or they were all destroyed, or secluded from common eyes by the Pundits. We may judge of their traditions, by that existing, concerning Alexander's expedition : which is, that he fought a great battle with the Emperor of Hindoostan, near Delhi: and though victorious, retired to Persia, across the northern mountains:, fo that the remarkable circumstance of his failing down the Indus, in which he employed many months, is sunk altogether. · And yet, perhaps, few events of ancient times, rest on better foundations, than this part of the history of Alexander (see Section III. of the Memoir) as appears by its being so highly celebrated, not only by his cotemporaries, but by several of the most celebrated authors, for some centuries, following. As for the notices above referred to, in Herodotus, Pliny, and Arrian, &c.
they are rather transient views of the then state of Hindoostan, with a general account of manners and customs ; than á history. Not but that these accounts are infinitely more pleasing and satisfactory, than a history would have been, if it contained nothing more than that of the Mahomedan conquests : that is, an account of battles and massacres : an account of the fubversion of (apparently).one of the mildest, and most regular governments in the world, by the vilest and most unworthy of all conquerors : for such the Mahomedans undoubtedly were, considered either in respect to their intolerant principles ; contempt of learning, and science; habitual sloth; or their imperious treatment of women: to whose lot, in civilised societies, it chiefly falls, to form the minds of the rising generation of both sexes ; as far as early lessons of virtue and morality may be supposed to influence them.
The travels of Cosmas in the 6th century, and of the two Mahomedan travellers in the 9th, afford few materials for history : and but little can be gleaned from Marco Paulo, who crossed the peninsula, and went up the western side of it, to Guzerat, in the 13th century. Indeed, it is exceeding difficult to refer any incident related in this last author, to any particular country'; aš the geography of his travels is an enigma, for the most part:
It is chiefly to Perfian pens that we are indebted for that portion of Indian history, which we possess. The celebrated Mahomed Ferishta, early in the 17th century, compiled a history of Hindoo
I stan, from various materials; most of which, in the idea of Col. Dow (who gave a translation of this history to the world, about 20 years ago) were collected from Persian authors. The Mahabarut, an historical poem of high antiquity, and which I under stand, Mr. Wilkins is now translating from the original (as he has already done an episode of it, urider the title of Bhagvat Geeta) is supposed to contain a large portion of interesting historical matter : but if the father of Grecian poetry made so total a change in the story of Helen, in order to give a full scope to his imagina***
tion; what fecurity have we that another poet may not mislead us in matters of fact; that is, in all that is valuable in history, considered as such ? Mr. Dow was far from supposing that the Hindoos were destitute of genuine histories of their own.country: he was not indeed acquainted with the Sanscrit language, in which they must be written, if at all : but founded his belief on the information of people on the spot. If the specimens of early Hindoo history given in the Ayin Acbaree, are akin to those which Mr. Dow had in contemplation, I confess I can place no dependance on them. The most valuable part of Ferishta's history, he allows to be that, pofterior to the first Mahomedan conquests, about the year 1000 : and the following abstract of it is offered to the reader's notice, in order to fix in his mind, an idea of the successive changes in the state of the empire of Hindooftan ; which from a pure
Hindoo government, became a Mahomedan one; and continued to be fo, under various dynasties of Monarchs, from Persia, Afghanistan, and Tartary; until the beginning of the present century: these Princes, moreover, adding to the original country of Hindoostan, all the other provinces situated within the Ganges. This unweildy state then dropping to pieces, anarchy succeeded; which in most parts of it, is scarcely composed at present: and which had nearly given rise to a new Hindoo empire, under the Mahrattas : but the intervention of foreign powers, prevented it. Lastly, one of those foreign powers seizing on the fairest provinces, and taking the lead in the empire, although removed from it, the distance of an actual route of fifteen thousand miles * !
Even after the commencement of the Mahomedan conquests, we find little more in Ferishta, save the histories of the empire of Ghizni (or Gazna) and Delhi ; until the subjection of all Hindooftan, by the Patan Emperors in the beginning of the 13th century: for Hindoostan continued to be divided into a number of separate
No part of the Roman empire, was distant from its capital, by the most circuitous route, more than 2800 miles.
kingdoms, each of which, required a particular history and of which we know only such parts of it, as were interwoven with the history of the conquering country. Many of these old Hindoo kingdoms, bore the same names as the present foubahs (or viceroyalties) do; and had, probably, nearly the same limits. The hittory of the Deccan, is yet more obfcure than that of Hindoostan: being brought into view later, as the Mahomedan conquests extended thither : and which began to encroach on it about the year 1300, although the entire conquest of it, was not made until late in the 17th century.
It may be observed that the first Mahomedan conqueror who made any establishments; that is, Mahmood, found little less difficulty in fubduing the country, than the latter conquerors did; when so many kingdoins were united under the Patan Emperors : for these kingdoms, now become provinces, were too extensive, and composed of materials too discordant to unite properly: not to mention, that they were never long enough united, to produce the happy effects resulting from a long period of intercourse under one common head, and which assimilates the whole into one mass,' like the French or British provinces. And this must ever be the case, in very extensive empires, where a delegation of great powers, and distant situation, prepares the provinces for independency, whenever the supreme government happens to be placed in weak hands. Hence, Hindoostan, even under the Moguls, may be confidered only as a collection of tributary kingdoms ; each accustomed to look no farther than to its own particular Viceroy; and, of course, ever in a state to rebel, when the imbecility of the Emperor, and the ambition of the Viceroy, formed a favourable conjuncture. To this must be attributed the little resistance that was inade to the arms of Tamerlane, Baber, Humaioon, and Nadir Shah; alo! though so many provinces were at those times united, under one Prince.
The firkt Måhomedan conquests that led to permanent establishments in Hindooftan, were those of the beforementioned Mahmood, Emperor of Ghízni :-'for I make a distinction between these, and the first irruptions of the Mahomedans; which left such Night traces behind them, as to be scarcely apparent. Among others, was that of the Caliph Valid in the first century of Mahomedanism. The empire of Ghizni was founded by Abistagi, Governor of Korafan (A. D. 960) who revolted from the King of Bucharia ; whose ancestor, in his turn, had arisen to power, on the ruins of the Caliphat empire, about 87 years before. Ghizni consisted chiefly of the tra&, which composed the kingdom of Bactria, after the division of Alexander's empire: that is, the countries lying between Parthia and the Indus; and south of the Oxus *. Ghizni (or Gazna) a city placed among the western sources of the Indus, and not far from the Indian Caucasus, was the reputed capital ; though Balk or Balich claimed this honour, likewise.
Mahmood (commonly styled Sultan) was the third in succession from Abistagi : and was himself the son of Subuctagi, who appears to have meditated the conquest of the western part of India; and, like Philip, left his projects, as well as his kingdom, to his son. Subuctagi had carried his arms across the Indus, and ravaged the Panjab; but made no establishments : for we find, that at the time of his son Mahmood's invasion, a Prince of the Bramin race, or religion, named Jeipal, possessed the whole country, along the east side of the Indus, to Cashmere ; and that he had the Kings of Delhi, Agimere, Canoge, and Callinger, for allies : so that it may be concluded, from the circumstance of the frontier provinces being under a Hindoo government; and from the state of the Hindoo religion, throughout the scene of Mahmood's conquests; that the Mahomedans, whatever ravages they might have committed, previous to this time, had not, as we have before observed,
The reader is requested to consult the map at page !02, for the countries lying between the Indus and the Caspian sea.